Skip to comments.Issues From the Left – Answers That Work
Posted on 07/15/2004 3:25:44 PM PDT by flightleader
While attending several anti-Bush/anti-War demonstrations recently, I have managed to get a fairly decent grip on the arguments, fallacious though they may be, of the Left. I call this opposition research. Many of their arguments are conspiracy theories of various kinds (i.e. an oil pipelines in Afghanistan) and are not worthy of a response. However, the following represents the most reasoned issues raised and the answers I have provided. In all cases in which one of the demonstrators has agreed to discuss their issues, the conversations ended in their promise to research the issue further and get back to me. To date, no one has. Hopefully this helps all right-thinking people to better respond to Leftist allegations.
In short this is true. Unfortunately it is also an abysmal oversimplification of US foreign policy.
It is first necessary to understand something about US foreign policy. Our foreign policy has three objectives: (1) ensure the safety, security and tranquility of US citizens, (2) ensure the safety and security of US allies and (3) ensure the safety and security of US strategic partners. The first should be fairly easy to understand yet it is the second two that cause some people a fair amount of confusion. There is a huge difference between ally and strategic partner. These words cannot be used interchangeably however many people do so or simply refer to all foreign partners of the US as allies. Sometimes this may be nothing more than an innocent mistake but more often than not it is a deliberate attempt to obfuscate and create prejudice.
A nation described as an ally is a nation that, first and foremost, shares values similar to those of the US. Allies are typically religiously pluralistic though predominantly Christian, they have democratically elected governments, the government is accountable to the same laws as the people, they have an open or at least relaxed trade policy with the US and they are not allies of nations known to be hostile to US national and/or strategic interests. A clear sign that a nation is an ally is their ability to openly purchase from and sell to the US, advanced weapons systems and technology including dual-use technology.
A nation described as a strategic partner is in many ways the polar opposite of an ally in that they have cultural and social values that are inconsistent with those of the US and/or repugnant to most Americans. These countries are typically hostile to the idea of religious freedom in that they either practice a State religion such as Islam or they are atheistic, the government is run by a dictator, a monarch or an oligarchy that is not accountable to the governed and even when elections are held such elections are nothing more than window-dressing intended to solidify the power of existing ruler(s), they have very restrictive trade policies with the US, they are usually allies of nations known to be enemies of the US or at least hostile to US foreign and domestic interests and at times may even be hostile towards other US allies and partners. One indication that a nation is a strategic partner as opposed to an ally is that their ability to purchase US weapons systems require strict congressional approval, they are generally prohibited from purchasing weapons from the US nor may they purchase US-made weapons from our allies, the types of weapons available to them is severely limited (usually limited to non-weapons platforms such as troop transport vehicles) and they are subjected to a greater degree of scrutiny with respect to the purchase of dual-use technology.
Dual-use technology is at times difficult to classify. Cyanide, which is a chemical known to be lethal even in small doses, is not considered a chemical weapon for it is commonly used in industrial applications. Note the CDC description: In manufacturing, cyanide is used to make paper, textiles, and plastics. It is present in the chemicals used to develop photographs. Cyanide salts are used in metallurgy for electroplating, metal cleaning, and removing gold from its ore. Cyanide gas is used to exterminate pests and vermin in ships and buildings. On the other hand, it can also be converted into a chemical weapon with a fair amount of ease. Yet the same can be said of the common household chemical Chloride. Chloride was first used as a chemical weapon by Germany in WWI. Additionally, technology that most people would not readily associate with weapons systems can be converted to military uses (i.e. GPS Technology).
The obvious question then is: Why would the US involve itself with a country fitting the description of strategic partner? The answer is not as easy, nor as comfortable as most people would like.
During the Cold War the US had many strategic partners who, but for the Cold War, might have been considered enemies of the US including, but not limited to, Chile under the rule of Pinoche, South Africa during the Apartheid years, Communist China, Iran prior to the Islamic Revolution and Iraq from about 1985 to 1990. The only thing these nations had in common with the US was their opposition to known enemies of the US such as the USSR or in the case of Iraq, Iran. While our allies remain so year after year even when we have major disagreements, our relationship with strategic partners wax and wane with changes in US economic interests and national security concerns. Who could deny that the US warm relationship with Pakistan is directly related to our national security interests in neighboring Afghanistan? This despite the fact that Pakistan is an enemy of India a known US ally.
In 1963 a fractionalized Baath Party rose to power in Iraq. The Baath Party, which is an Islamic Socialist Party gained surprisingly wide-ranging support in the Arab world during the mid to late 20th Century. Baathism is largely secular like all socialist movements yet respectful and accommodating of Arabic cultural traditions particularly Islam. It became very popular in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iran however the only countries wherein Baath parties gained power were Iraq and Syria. Syria remains a Baathist state to this day. Similar to nearly all socialist movements that rise to power in the wake of revolution, the original Baath Party in Iraq was actually a coalition of divergent socialist groups: Arab Nationalists, Fascists, Communists and anti-Communist Socialists (Fabians, Solidarists, Trotskyists, etc.). While they were all socialists the only thing that truly united them was their opposition to British control and influence in the region. By 1968 the more radical elements of the Baath Party were in control thereof and as a result, in control of Iraq as a whole. They eliminated all non-conformist and dissident groups from their ranks. Saddam Hussein gradually worked his way up the ranks of the party and in 1978 became the leader of the Iraqi Baath Party. Hussein removed (via execution) all opposition members as well as those who were suspected of being such. During this time, the US had no formal diplomatic relationship with Iraq and because of Iraqs close relationship with the Soviet Union and its overt hostility towards Israel the US had no interest in establishing such a relationship. US interest in Iraq was limited to Iraqs membership in OPEC.
Refer to the difference between ally and strategic partner.
Hussein, shortly after gaining power in Iraq, began making territorial claims on Iran. There are many reasons for this though this history is not germane to our discussion here. When the Iran-Iraq War started it concerned the US for three reasons: (1) Iraqs proven oil reserves amounted to nearly 15% of the worlds total oil supply, (2) Iraq was not an ally nor partner of the US and (3) Iran was a declared enemy of the US. This situation placed the US in a precarious foreign policy situation. The US took a similar though much more cautious position in the Iran-Iraq War. The initial policy was to remain neutral in hopes that they would simply reach a stalemate and retreat to their respective borders. Unfortunately the tide turned in Irans favour and the US was forced to reconsider its position.
Historically, in the 1930s the US had no love for the Soviet Union nor Germany yet chose to support the Soviets in their war with Germany since Germany, at the time, represented the greater threat to US interests in the region. The decision was to establish limited diplomatic relations with Hussein, offer to assist him in the war with Iran short of direct military aid and hopefully encourage him to modify his positions towards Israel and the US. The two biggest obstacles were the facts that Iraq was on the US List of Terrorists Sponsoring Nations and that Iraq had already used chemical weapons against the Iranians. The US and envoy (current Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld) to Iraq to meet with Hussein and present the US offer of assistance in exchange for various concessions on his part. Any US assistance would be limited to troop transport vehicles and other non-weapons platforms and information on Iranian troop positions, movement and defense installations. Hussein agreed and the administration moved successfully to have Iraq removed from the US List of Terrorist Sponsoring Nations. For the record this is may be the reason that Syria and Lybia took over as the main supporters of terrorist organizations in the region. These organizations no longer had the oil-rich Iraq as a means of financial support and combat training. To be sure, Iraq still continued to provide support to certain organizations but direct training and financial support were severely curtailed. This was not out of a new affinity for the US. Rather, Hussein clearly understood that without the assistance being offered by the US, his war with Iran was all but lost. It should also be stressed here that the US position with respect to Iraq was, in appearance at least, in direct contravention of its official Cold War policy in that Iraq was an ally, even if loosely, of the Soviet Union and therefore considered hostile to, if not an enemy of, the US.
The War did not end as Hussein would have preferred and he immediately set his sights on Kuwait. This ended the almost 5-year relationship between the US and Iraq.
Osama bin Laden was one of many jihadist who flocked to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets as part of the Mujihadeen. He used his wealth to setup religious schools also known as Madrasas, to help the people of Afghanistan. These Madrasas were actually military training academies and they were as opposed to the US as they were the Soviets. Although there is no evidence of collaboration between US-backed fighters and bin Laden/Pakistan-backed groups, the later were not going to attack the US when the US was in effect, fighting on their side in the battle. This did not make bin Laden nor any of the other jihadists US allies.
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the US took its standard Cold War position: support the enemy of the Soviets even if their interests are unlike our own. The resistance fighters in Afghanistan included Afghans and a host of jihadists who flocked to the country in an attempt to repel the invading Soviet army. These groups did not share the same interests and were only united in their opposition to the Soviet Union. When the US began providing military aid and training to the more moderate elements among them, even the extremists were willing to set aside their anger towards the US if it meant defeat of the Greater Satan in the form of the Soviet Union. When the Soviets pulled out in defeat the country fell into civil war with the once loosely united groups now fighting for power in the country. A group known as the Taliban which sprang up out of Pakistani and bin Laden supported Madrasas became the only group with the ability to bring order in the chaotic aftermath of war. The biggest problem was their hostility towards the US. The US preferred that one of the groups associated with the Northern Alliance ascend to power but their own fractionalization and limited numbers made this unlikely if not impossible. Neither the US nor any other Western nation ever established formal relations with the Taliban. The only country to officially recognize the Taliban as the government in Afghanistan was Pakistan.
If one were to review every official statement of the Bush Administration prior to the invasion of Iraq, you would not find a single reference to Iraq as an imminent threat. By official statement here I mean statements reflecting the policy of the administration rather than the mere opinions of individuals associated therewith. What George Bush said repeatedly is that Iraq represented a growing and gathering threat and that the US could not afford to wait until that threat became imminent.
George Bush never declared an end to the war, rather he declared an end to major combat operations and concurrently success in accomplishing their mission of overthrowing the Baathist regime in Iraq. Additionally he cautioned that the road ahead would be difficult.
It is interesting to note that those who have complained about the lack of protective gear for combat forces also opposed the $87 billion appropriations bill requested by the administration.
The way this argument is presented suggests that the US sent soldiers into battle wearing Bermuda Shorts, Hawaiian Shirts, Baseball Caps and Mukluks. This claim largely stems from the fact that as of the beginning of combat operations in Iraq, a new (emphasis on new) type of helmet and body armor was coming into production and being rushed to front-line troops. All troops in combat zones wear protective gear including, but not limited to, Kevlar helmets and Kevlar body armor which was introduced in the 1980s. The only problem with Kevlar is that it is heavy, bulky, constricting and while it offers protection against some projectiles and small arms fire, it is largely ineffective in many battlefield conditions. In effect the benefits of Kevlar are more psychological than physical. In 2003, Natick began shipping a new helmet and Interceptor body armor under DOD contract. The new helmet weighs less and has the ability to stop a 9mm round at close range and provides greater protection against large-calibre rounds. The new Interceptor body armor can actually stop an AK-47 round as close as 50 yards and weighs 4 pounds less than the Kevlar vests. No combat useful helmet or body armor is fully effective against all projectiles especially at close range. The first troops to be provided with the new protective gear were troops stationed in Afghanistan and US Special Forces and front-line forces in Iraq. By November 2003 more than 75% of all combat troops had been outfitted with the new protective gear.
The DOD is constantly searching for new technology to improve the safety of US combat forces and minimize collateral damage in war. No technology will ever eliminate these dangers but it cannot be denied that we have come quite a long way from the days when we would sacrifice hundreds of infantrymen whose only real protective gear was a helmet, to take out a single enemy position or destroy an entire village or town as in Dresden, Germany, to take out a single target. All US forces are equipped with the best and most advanced equipment available at the time however, as the saying goes necessity is the mother of invention. Combat in Iraq has forced the DOD to order the retrofitting of all troop transport vehicles with additional armor. Additionally, helicopters, which normally fly at low altitudes so as to minimize the ability of an enemy to target them, are, now that threats from radar-guided and heat-seeking munitions have been eliminated, flying at higher altitudes to minimize exposure to small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. You can be assured that combat in Iraq is influencing the research and development of new military equipment at this very moment.
While it is true that pre-war intelligence was grossly inaccurate, there is no argument that Iraq had WMD for he had actually used them against both the Iranians and the Kurds. Additionally, everyone involved agreed that his final declaration regarding WMD in January 2003, was sorrowfully insufficient. He never accounted for the WMD we knew existed and although he stated that the remainder had been destroyed, he never specified how or when. Since the end of major combat operations, coalition forces have discovered sporadic quantities of Serin and Mustard Gas and in June 2004 the US relocated nearly 1.8 tons of enriched Uranium (weapons-grade) form Iraq to an undisclosed location in the US for safekeeping.
It was Iraqs responsibility to declare all WMD and assure the UN of their location and/or total destruction. The burden of proof was on Iraq, not the US or the UN. We knew what he had and even if we add what the UN destroyed with whatever Iraq claims to have destroyed we still come up short. The greater concern is not that the weapons have not been found in Iraq, rather, that they have not been found. Keep in mind that our failure to find Osama bin Laden to date is not evidence of the fact that he is a figment of our imagination.
Good stuff. However, most liberals have a "fingers in their ears and humming loudly" attitude when presented with the facts.
Most liberals will say bush lied, but have no proof to back their statement.
Most liberals will say Bush lied, but have no proof to back their statement. I usually ask for quotes and where they may be seen, but never get an answer.
Good work. People 35 and older that have blood flowing to their brains should know all these things already, however.
Nice, thanks! I'm bookmarking for later reading.
Nice job, I will save this for later arguing with lefty fools.
People who wilfully ignore the plain meaning of words will not be persuaded by more words.
I'll add that someone who DID say that Saddam/Iraq was an imminent threat was none other than prospective Dem VP nominee Edwards.
Of course his response now is that Bush didn't do anything "like he should have" (whatever that means).
"Keep in mind that our failure to find Osama bin Laden to date is not evidence of the fact that he is a figment of our imagination."
Tried this one out before on my father in law. After provoking him enough to say there were no WMD in Iraq I threw this one at him. He looked like a fembot from Austin Powers.
good synopsis. Will keep this if you do not mind.
Very well done summary of the facts, some of which I didn't know.
Thanks for posting it!
<<"It was Iraqs responsibility to declare all WMD and assure the UN of their location and/or total destruction. The burden of proof was on Iraq, not the US or the UN".>>
We know the "oil for food" fraud reaches the highest levels of the UN, So how do we know the're telling the truth about the WMD?
It's not right for the US to murder all those innocent Iraqis
The innocent Iraqis that were killed while liberating Iraq were not murdered. Murder is defined as "The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice". The two qualifiers are unlawfulness and premedited malice.
The US Congress, including John Kerry and John Edwards, gave the president legal authorization to conduct the forceful removal of the Hussein regime. Additionally, several UN resolutions gave prerequisites for the use of force, which were sufficiently fulfilled, even though it was never voted on by the General Assembly. It equates to if I murder you, and the law does not charge me, I have still commited murder. The legal justifications have been made at both the national level and the international level.
The innocent civilians were accidentally killed by US munitions. Killed being defined as "To put to death or to deprive of life". The United States military went to extraordinary lengths to cut to a minimum accidental deaths. Even so far as to put US service members at greater risk. This is of no consolation to those that have lost loved ones, due to US action. It should be consolation to those that otherwise would have been killed had the US indiscriminately used it's power. In short the US did not go into action pruposely targeting civilians.
Good stuff!!! Well done!!! Very useful -- I plan to print this out as a resource, and will share it with others.
It's always helpful ... especially for those of us in the "... and older" category, to have stuff written down. Reagan didn't refer to notes during his speeches for nothing, you know.
Damn.....thanks to you I will now feel guilty whenever I play my Kingston Trio recording of Where Have All the Flowers Gone.....I love it, it never occurred to me it was an anthem of the left....
Thanks. It is true that "facts are like cryptonite to a Liberal" but I have been able to engage them without much difficulty. They legitimately feel threatened however when their world view is attacked. As the old saying goes, "Change is the only constant. Fear is its companion."
That just about nails it.