Thursday, September 27, 2007

Revelations of the bleeding obvious

The transcript of the Bush-Aznar conversation is completely unsurprising in what it reveals of the approach to the war. This bloke thinks that Bush should be impeached because he was determined to bring Saddam down whether there was a second resolution or not.

The transcript shows Bush actively plotting to sidestep the UNSC if he could not, gangster-like, threaten its members into compliance.

The blessed innocence of it all! How does he think international affairs are managed? By kindness? As guided by a kindergarten teacher? And what are the "gangster-like" threats that Bush is handing out? War? Assassinations, a blockade? Er, no.

Lagos must know that the Free Trade Agreement is pending ratification in the Senate and that a negative attitude on this issue could jeopardize that ratification. Angola is receiving funds from the Millennium Account that could also be compromised. And Putin must know that his position is endangering Russia’s relationship with the United States.

The threat regards how much money the US will be giving them. A little more or a little less. As a Mafia boss, he wouldn't go too far.

There's a second reason Bush should be impeached according to the sagacious Mr Cole.

The second grounds for impeachment is that Bush rejected out of hand a deal brokered by the Egyptians whereby Saddam Hussein would leave the country with a billion dollars and some documents about his WMD program. Reuters reports:

'The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1 billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction," Bush was quoted as saying at the meeting one month before the U.S.-led invasion.'

Excuse my repeating it, but did you catch that "if he's allowed to take $1 billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction". Weapons of what?

Obviously, he should have been allowed to go into exile; that's what any responsible leader would have done.

This conversation reveals nothing more than that George Bush was aiming to do what should have been done long before and what he said he was aiming to do: remove a very dangerous man.

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15 comments:

wodge said...

The transcript shows that Bush consciously intended to go to war without a United Nations Security Council resolution. The United Nations Charter, to which the United States is a treaty signatory (so that it has the force of American law), forbids any nation to launch an aggressive war on another country. The only two legal mechanisms for war are either that it came in response to a direct attack or that the attacker gained a UNSC authorization. The transcript shows Bush actively plotting to sidestep the UNSC if he could not, gangster-like, threaten its members into compliance.


That is an impeachable offence.

NoolaBeulah said...

Then so should Clinton be prosecuted for Kosovo.

wodge said...

Well, yes he should. The Nato bombing actually made matters worse.

From Juan Cole's website:

The second claim that I made was that Bush was aware of, and rejected, an offer by Saddam Hussein to flee Iraq, probably for Saudi Arabia, presuming he could take out with him a billion dollars and some documents on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. Both provisions were intended by Saddam to protect him from later retaliation. The money would buy him protection from extradition, and the documents presumably showed that the Reagan and Bush senior administrations had secretly authorized his chemical and biological weapons programs. With these documents in his possession, it was unlikely that Bush would come after him, since he could ruin the reputation of the Bush family if he did. The destruction of these documents was presumably Bush's goal when he had Rumsfeld order US military personnel not to interfere with the looting and burning of government offices after the fall of Saddam. The looting, which set off the guerrilla war, also functioned as a vast shredding party, destroying incriminating evidence about the complicity of the Bushes and Rumsfeld in Iraq's war crimes.

NoolaBeulah said...

Sorry, Wodge. I forgot the Americans / Israelis / West (delete as appropriate) can never be right, even if they stop a war.

For the rest, once again I have to apologise. I cannot take this sort of thing seriously. If there's anything like proof, then fair enough, but an argument about what doesn't exist based on the assumption that its non-existence is a proof of its ex-existence just doesn't get my juices flowing.

Mind you, I don't dismiss the possibility that Rumsfeld et al did such things. They've done a lot worse in the past and undoubtedly will do again. But, simple of mind as I am, I prefer the obvious explanations until there is good reason to suppose there are other ones. And the American actions in Iraq are adequately explained by the obvious reasons long in the public domain. I acknowledge that this is not sufficient if you need to believe the American evil always and everywhere.

wodge said...

Bingo!

I wondered when you'd come up with the Western self loathing argument. Perhaps you'll grace us with the you don't hate Israel because of the "the ethnic cleansing, the ongoing military occupation, the starvation and deprivation of electricity and restrictions of movement and the tens of thousands of detainees they hold without charge or trial", you hate them because you're 'anti-semiticism'.

So anyway what documents did Saddam want to take with him then?

Perhaps, Melanie Philips was right. Perhaps it was the secret location of the hidden caverns under the Tigris where he hid his super secret stash of invisible WMDs. Although, this does raise the question: if he was so good at hiding WMDs, why didn't he do a better job of hiding himself?

Or perhaps he'd invented a Islam-o-raygun that would instantly dhimmify the West and he wanted to take the blueprints?

NoolaBeulah said...

I respect Israel because, despite living in circumstances that would drive most countries into dictatorship, it actually makes more things that other people want, contributes enormously more to the sum of human knowledge and maintains a higher level of liberty and civil rights than any regime for several thousand miles in any direction.

I've got no bloody idea what Saddam wanted to take with him. I'd never heard of the deal till that idiot started using the transcripts to say exactly what they didn't.

There is no doubt that Saddam had lots of nasties stored away. He fooled everyone in the 90s - all the inspectors and all the intelligence agencies said he was clean, and if not for his brother-in-law scarpering, we would never have known the truth. In 2003, he fooled us again - he even fooled his own hierarchy, most of whom were convinced he still had the nasties. God, he had enough time to do whatever he wanted with them what with the blathering on in the months before the invasion.

wodge said...

Well, here's a summary of what Hussein Kamel said: http://middleeastreference.org.uk/kamel.html

And here's the full transcipt: http://www.casi.org.uk/info/unscom950822.pdf

And here are a few quotes:

"I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed" (p. 13)

"not a single missile left but they had blueprints and molds for production. All missiles were destroyed." (p.8)

"...we changed the factory into pesticide production. Part of the establishment started to produce medicine [...] We gave insturctions [sic] not to produce chemical weapons." (p.13).

So I guess you're probably talking about Saddam's non-existant brother in law.

wodge said...

Incidently, it's already in the public domain that the US was instrumental in Saddam's rise to power. (http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/4/10/205859.shtml)

As is the fact that the US was key to supplying Iraq with WMD in the first place. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran-Iraq_war

So it's entirely within the realm of possibility that Saddam would have had documents that could have made the US look bad.

In any case, it's a lot more plausible than your claim that Syria is embarking on a Nuclear weapons because none of the Arab countries condemned the recent Israeli attack.

NoolaBeulah said...

I'd misremembered the details of Saddam's son-in-law to the extent of calling him a brother-in-law as well as what he had revealed. Thanks for the correction.

However, the point I was trying to make was that no-one over here ever got a real handle on what Saddam was up to at any particular time. Hussein Kamel's defection resulted in an avalanche of new documentation handed over to UNSCOM about programs, already aborted, that they had known nothing about.

The inspectors go in again; Saddam throws them out. What are you supposed to think given his past record?

About the past sins of the American government (in which they were generally not alone as you will have seen in the articles you link to), we have already spoken. I can't see what difference it should make about what we do now.

Saddam's documents. If the Wikipedia article is at all accurate, I can't see that he'd have much worse than has already been revealed in the American Senate.

Please, if you have a better explanation for the Arab silence over the attack on Syria, tell me. I don't know. I'm just guessing.

wodge said...

Firstly, if the article you linked to in the above post is to be believed Saddam was prepared to surrender and go into exile. Presumably, if this deal had gone through it would have include full disclosure of the locations of any WMD.

Secondly, Saddam had WMD at the time he invaded Kuwait and as I'm sure even you can recall they didn't do him all that much good. So even if, inspite of the sanctions and weapons inspections, he had been able rebuild some of them, I doubt that he would have presented any sigificant threat.
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Past sins? When exactly was it that the US stopped being the number one state sponsor of terrorism? I must have missed that report.
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The US wasn't just one of the countries that was supply Iraq with weapons, it was the country that facilitated it. If the US hadn't authorised it, do you really think Britan, France and West Germany would have gotten involved?

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As far as the bombing in Syria goes.

I found, without much difficult, reports that Turkey had complained about Israel's unauthorised use of their airspace.

And another report on Al jazeera (I'm pretty sure that's based somewhere in the Middle East) about various Iraqi ministers compalining about the action.

So the silence wasn't as deafening as you seem to be claiming.

Or maybe you meant the brave and fearless leaders of the Arab countries friend with the US. Well, I guess they were to busy doing what they always do, lining their own pockets, to have noticed.

If either Israel or the US had actual proof wouldn't they have been on the news 24/7 saying "See, See, we told you so?"

NoolaBeulah said...

I saw no mention of full disclosure, and even it there had been, how would you know he'd made full disclosure?

I don't know why he didn't use them in the 1st Gulf War. If I had been commander-in-chief of the allied forces, I would have made very clear to Saddam the consequences of using them because whatever he's got, we've got worse and we can deliver it. That may be the reason. But I don't know.

The US "the number one state sponsor of terrorism". Quite.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the top three suppliers, from 1981 to 2001, were Russia, China and France with 50, 18 and 13% respectively. The Sipri link is dead, but the figures are here.

The Arab reaction relative to the normal Arab reaction to Israeli attacks is virtually non-existent. Where's the Arab Street? Where are the cries of "zionist aggression and imperialism" and "American Islamophobia"? A few ministers complaining barely amounts to a formality.

As I said, I don't know what happened. I just found it very, very curious indeed that Israel should mount a bombing raid on an Arab country in the present climate and that the reaction should basically be "Hmmm". But the New York Times is on about the nuclear 'option' now, though once again using unnamed sources.

wodge said...

So, let's just review the facts so far:

1. Hussein Kamel leaves Iraq and tells the world that that all the WMDs have been destroyed.

2. The Weapons Inspectors find no trace of WMDs.

3. After the invasion of Iraq, the tens of thousands of Coalition troops find no trace of WMDs.

4. Even after Saddam's capture, the tens of thousands of Coalition troops still stationed there find no trace of WMDs.

Given these facts, there are two possiblities:

1. That all the WMDs were destroyed.

or

2. Saddam's was secretly in league with Iran (a country he went to war with), Syria (a country that supported the country he went to war with), al Qaeda (an organisation whose ideology he was fundamentally opposed to) and presumably Hitler, Stalin and the wicked witch of the west. And he used his top secret band of invisible pixies to spirit the WMDs away to these places to be used in the global jihad. And of course, the reason none of them have actually been used elsewhere is because those evil muslims are a bit dim and haven't finished reading the instruction manuals yet.

Take your pick!

--------------------------------

Now let's have a quick look at your response.


"I saw no mention of full disclosure,.."

No, you didn't but that would have been a condition.

"and even it there had been, how would you know he'd made full disclosure?"

And how do you know he wouldn't?

"I don't know why he didn't use them in the 1st Gulf War. If I had been commander-in-chief of the allied forces, I would have made very clear to Saddam the consequences of using them because whatever he's got, we've got worse and we can deliver it. That may be the reason. But I don't know."

Er, I just said this. "So even if, inspite of the sanctions and weapons inspections, he had been able rebuild some of them, I doubt that he would have presented any sigificant threat." BTW, wasn't that one main of the reasons given for invading him. That and the concern for the human rights muslims in Iraq. (Oddly enough though they don't seem to give a stuff about human rights in Egypt or Lebanon or Saudia Arabia or Iran or ....)


The US "the number one state sponsor of terrorism". Quite.

Well, there currently sponsoring the MEK in Iran, Sunni insurgents in Lebanon. And what else would you call that Israeli air raid which they just approved? A pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-emptive strike?

Allegations of state terrorism committed by the United States

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the top three suppliers, from 1981 to 2001, were Russia, China and France with 50, 18 and 13% respectively. The Sipri link is dead, but the figures are here.

According to Jane's Defence News, "the USA reportedly approved the export to Iraq of US$1.5bn worth of dual-use items, including powerful computers, precision machine tools and advanced electronics. Suspicions by Pentagon officials halted the export of certain items, such as 40 kryton nuclear triggers (high-speed timing devices) which US and UK customs agents had seized in London in 1990, and 'skull' furnaces that could be used in the development of missiles and nuclear bombs.

An investigation of US corporate sales to Iraq, headed by Republican Congressman Donald Riegle and published in May 1994, listed some of the biological agents exported by US corporations with George Bush's approval as head of the CIA and later as vice-president under Ronald Reagan. The Iraqis are reported to have acquired stocks of anthrax, brucellosis, gas gangrene, E. coli and salmonella bacteria from US companies."

It's odd that The Heritage Foundation doesn't mention that.


The Arab reaction relative to the normal Arab reaction to Israeli attacks is virtually non-existent. Where's the Arab Street? Where are the cries of "zionist aggression and imperialism" and "American Islamophobia"? A few ministers complaining barely amounts to a formality.

As I said, I don't know what happened. I just found it very, very curious indeed that Israel should mount a bombing raid on an Arab country in the present climate and that the reaction should basically be "Hmmm". But the New York Times is on about the nuclear 'option' now, though once again using unnamed sources.


Exactly, "[a]s [you] said, [you] don't know what happened."

You have no proof except for a few op-ed pieces by neo-con hacks about what the target actually was or what the reaction on the 'Arab street' was.

NoolaBeulah said...

What does the phrase 'don't know' communicate to you? The point is that they didn't know in 1991 exactly how much he had. Again when his son-in-law did a runner, they didn't know that he had destroyed them all. Again in 1998, they didn't know what he was hiding, just as in 2003, they didn't know what he had or didn't have. Some people may have thought they knew, but they were wrong. Even now, no-one knows what he was up to. And even if, having made a deal with the UN, he'd vowed on his newly-precious Koran that all the weapons were dust, you just couldn't know. No-one did, and no-one does. The certainty you display is hindsight.

Granted, the claims made for the level of immediate danger were exagerated. I thought so at the time, and that's what made me search out other motives for taking him down and led me to conclude that WMD were, however much a concern, not the biggest one. The WMD were what the "international community" could accept. I wrote in a post that the fact that Blair chose to go down this line was a signal that he didn't believe us adult enough to face the facts about how international relations work. Sadly, it seems he was right.

US companies supplied the Iraqis with some nasties. I don't dispute that. Foolish and short-sighted. That's 'realism'. But note where you get the information - the US.

This information does not contradict the fact that the countries supplying Iraq with most of its weapons were the peace-lovers of 2003-3.

About the Israeli raid, once again, I say that I don't know. It would seem to follow from that statement that I don't have any proof. It goes without saying. I repeat, I think the target was nuclear because I can't think of another explanation. If you can, please tell me.

If the Israeli target was a nuclear installation, I call it 'a good shot'. If they're working to bring down the Iranian regime (as I sincerely hope they are doing), I'll wait to see if it is effective or ineffective.

wodge said...

If I throw a brick out of a window, I don't 'know' it's going to hit the ground until it actually happens but I think you'll find it invariably does. So much for hindsight bias.

As for your arguments so far, let's see.

You've said that Saddam was such a threat that he had to be prevented at all costs from acquiring WMDs. Even letting him go into to exile would be too much of a risk.

AND you've also said if he actually had WMDs, he wouldn't be a threat "because whatever he's got, we've got worse and we can deliver it".

You've said US/Israeli surveillance is so good that they can detect WMDs in Syria but not apparently in Iraq.

NoolaBeulah said...

Your analogy (with a physical law) demonstrates that this is precisely a case of hindsight bias. Human affairs are never like that.

The first part of your summary I would agree with. In the second part, you are remembering what Blair's dodgy dossier said, and not me. Saddam's WMD would not have been a problem for us in a direct conflict because we could always outgun him. (His own people couldn't, of course.) The real problem was where they would end up and in whose hands. Here ideology meant nothing and no-one could predict what Saddam might do. But I have also said that WMD were only one of a list of reasons for attacking Saddam.

The last comment demonstrates that you are missing the point willfully (I know you are not stupid). And I'm still waiting for an alternative explanation. No, not explanation. Just speculation, as I've made clear mine is.