Skip to comments.Mark Goldblatt on Iraq: Containment & Context (answers General Anthony Zinni's recent spewage)
Posted on 05/15/2006 12:43:59 PM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
In a recent interview on Meet the Press, retired General Anthony Zinni recycled the tired argument that President Bush didn’t need to oust Saddam Hussein and his scummy regime in Iraq. “Containment,” Zinni told Tim Russert, “worked remarkably well.”
Well, yes, the policy of containment worked remarkably well, if by “remarkably well” you mean:
1. Saddam was left free to violate the terms of the cease-fire agreement which kept him in power after the 1991 Gulf Warviolations which included kicking out United Nations weapons inspectors and firing on American aircraft patrolling no-fly zones.
2. Saddam stood in defiance of 17 subsequent U.N. Security Council resolutions insisting that he come into compliance with the terms of the 1991 agreement or face serious consequencesthus making a mockery of the Security Council and the entire U.N.
3. Saddam was providing training facilities across Iraq for Muslim terrorists of every stripe, including thousands of radical Islamists, and he had opened up his territory as a safe haven for al Qaeda operatives chased from Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban.
4. Saddam was doling out cash rewards to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers who murdered Israeli civilians (and occasionally American citizens) in attacks throughout the state of Israel.
5. Saddam sought to recruit suicide bombers to attack American interests and Israeli civilians (as revealed by newly translated documents captured during the first stages of the invasion of Iraq).
6. Saddam kept open the door to forging an operational relationship with al Qaedaas indicated in a sealed 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden by the Clinton Justice Department, which reads in part: “Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.”
7. Saddam continued to fleece the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program out of billions of dollarsmoney which was supposed to be used to provide humanitarian relief to the Iraqi people, but which Saddam used instead to buy influence among European politicians and American and European businessmen in an effort to undermine U.N. sanctions…while hundreds of Iraqi children, under the age of five, died every month for lack of food and medicine that the Oil-for-Food program was supposed to supply.
That last number, the body count of Iraqi children, should settle the argument by itself, and utterly put to rest the idea that the pre-invasion status quo in Iraq was acceptable. It doesn’t, because critics of the war no longer recognize it; the number has conveniently “disappeared” from the collective mind of the political Left. Before 9/11, moonbats like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Ward Churchill regularly cited grotesquely inflated World Health Organization and UNICEF statistics, which put the body count of Iraqi children at 4,500 to 5,000 per month, in order to bash whatever aspect of corporate capitalism they had targeted at a given rally. Even if the actual number of dead children was a tenth of the WHO/UNICEF numberslet’s say 450 to 500 per monththat still makes the wanton murder sprees of the current insurgency a humanitarian respite from what came before.
So if the Iraqi status quo was unacceptableand it waswhat were President Bush’s options in March 2003? Three come to mind: He could have asked the U.N. to lift the sanctions on Iraq, and thereby reward Saddam for his non-compliance with the cease-fire agreement; he could have demanded Saddam dissolve his government, pick up his homicidal brood at the airport, and go into exile; or he could have invaded Iraq to oust Saddam. Bush tried the second option. When Saddam refused to depart, he moved on to the third.
Now, I can already hear the keening on the Left: What right did we have to demand Saddam depart Iraq?
That question, of course, returns us to the cease-fire agreement of 1991, the one Saddam signed after coalition forces, led by the United States, chased his army out of Kuwait. The cease-fire agreement permitted Saddam to remain in power on the condition that Iraq provide full and accurate disclosure of all long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq allow U.N. inspectors unobstructed access to weapons facilities to verify Iraq's disarmament, and that Iraq
not commit or support any act of international terrorism or allow any organization directed towards commission of such acts to operate within its territory and to condemn unequivocally and renounce all acts, methods and practices of terrorism.
No sentient human being believes Saddam ever complied with the cease-fire agreement of 1991, which is why there were 17 unanimous Security Council resolutions demanding that he come into compliance. When the U.N. wouldn’t authorize the use of force, the United States invoked its right, as leader of the 1991 coalitionand thus the principal aggrieved contracting party to the cease fireto resume hostilities with Saddam’s regime and remove him from power.
This is a critical pointand, again, a perpetual blind spot for critics of the war. The U.S. did not oust Saddam only because we thought he had, or was developing, WMD. Rather, the U.S. ousted Saddam because we thought he had, or was developing, WMD, which, along with other violations, put him in breach of the 1991 cease-fire agreement. Critics of the war, including Democratic-party hacks and Hollywood mouth-breathers, continually omit that last clause. That omission lies behind their smirks as they inquire: “Well, if we’re going to topple Saddam because he’s a bad guy, why don’t we go after all the other bad guys?”
Answer: Because the other bad guys aren’t in breach of a cease-fire agreement.
History, of course, will sort out whether President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was a wise one. If Iraq stabilizes anytime in the next ten years, and if it thereafter evolves into a decent liberal democracy, Bushdespite his domestic failureswill surely go down as a great or near-great president, ranking with Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan. Indeed, even if Iraq degenerates into chaos, and the chaos precipitates a pan-Islamic civil warthe worst-case scenariothe judgment of history will still likely be favorable for Bush’s presidency, because he did not simply kick the can down the road. History teaches that civil wars are not “sparked”; they are bred, over the course of decades, or even centuries, until collective differences become irreconcilable and one side or both sides believe they finally have the upper hand. That’s when the wholesale bloodshed starts. The sooner they commence, they less bloody they are. A pan-Islamic civil war in 2010, if it comes, will be less horrific than a pan-Islamic civil war in 2050.
History will render its judgment in due time. What remains, meanwhile, is the incessant drumbeat of defeatism. The political Left, both in America and in Europe, has become a mindless, wandering rabble, a coalition of 1960s retreads and wannabes held together by a congealed psychic-mucous of rage, paranoia, and self-righteousness. They are desperate for Bush to fail in Iraq. Their irrational hatred for him resembles not so much the Right’s substantial hatred of Bill Clinton but the South’s pathological hatred of Lincolnwho, for the record, oversaw prisoner abuses far worse than those at Abu Ghraib, and who took liberties with the Constitution far beyond warrantless wiretapping.
The judgment of history on Bush-haters will not be kind.
—Mark Goldblatt is author of Africa Speaks, a satire of black urban culture.
The real question that should be asked of those who were/are against the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam: How could we possibly have allowed Saddam to remain in power after 9/11 and fought the WOT?
Unemployment at 4.7 % is not a failure .....
If only the White House were as succinct in their arguments. Unfortnately, Gen Zinni's assertions are considered the gospel truth by the MSM and the Dems, retreads and wannabes on the right such as Pat Buchannan, and probably half of the Republican party at this point.
General Zinni was supposedly a well respected officer. I don't believe the American pilots that were being fired on in the no-fly zone by Iraq would consider Zinni's assertion that containment was working to be credible.
Your post creates a repugnant moral equivalence between Saddam's Iraq and Israel. Moreover, your position is refuted in the article.
Still drinking Post-Modern Koolaid eh?
When you grow up and become an adult you learn the difference between UN resolutions that are mandates and UN resolutions that are not mandates.
Zinni is so honorable that he trashes a war he helped plan only after he retires and starts to collect a pension and shill for his book sales.
Honorable my *ss. Zinni should have resigned like Cyrus Vance did re Iran if he disagreed with the war effort.
Zinnis decorations include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters; the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V and gold star in lieu of a second award; the Purple Heart; the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of a second award; the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V and gold star in lieu of second award; Navy Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of a second award; the Combat Action Ribbon; the Vietnamese Honor Medal; the French National Order of Merit; and the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
His son, a captain, currently serves in the Marine Corps.
How many have you earned, Kid ?
The judgment of history on Bush-haters will not be kind. -Mark Goldblatt
Heh heh. He said congealed psychic-mucous.
Zero. How about you ? I don't think you have to have medals to know what honor means. That sounds just like the argument Kerry used to deflect criticism.
Zinni may be brave in battle but a moral coward in other respects. Go read the story about Cyrus Vance.
One inescapable fact remains: Hussein had a working arrangement with Al-Qaeda that together with his support of other Islamo-fascist terrorists made him an ANTI-AMERICAN ISLAMO-FASCIST TERRORIST!!! Period. Which made his removal necessary. End of argument.
You can't be serious. Your argument is ridiculous. Is Israel a friend or an enemy? Was Iraq under Hussein a friend or an enemy? Is Iran a friend or an enemy?
I'd like to know who you think in the Administration is engaging in characte defamation or character assassination ? I sure haven't seen it.
I'm no shill for this administration, but the charges of character defamation et all must surely be placed at the feet of the Democrats. I haven't heard Bush or anyone in the Admin calling anyone a liar, but I sure have heard it in plenty from the Dems. Are you proud of Rep Murtha, a retired Marine, calling the troops broken ?
BTW I don't like it when anyone engages in anything other than factual argument. If my facts are wrong I'll gratefully accept the correction but I won't accept that some class of people have a higher moral authority than others.
I have an x-brother-in-law who was a Lt in the Marines in 1968 and an X who was an E7 in the Army - flew helicopters in 69. Being female there weren't many combat positions for women at that time and they weren't looking for older women when women were "integrated" into frontline (or suport for frontline) troops ... I appreciate the service of all military personnel and their sacrifices, but I don't believe it confers special dispensation on them regarding accountability for personal conduct.
Remember, Zinni was a Clinton man.
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