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Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

The Iraq war was started thanks to a Liar

It’s in some ways surprising that this story has not been more widely circulated.

A man whose lies helped to make the case for invading Iraq – starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of dollars – will come clean in his first ever British television interview tomorrow.

“Curveball”, the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, smiled as he confirmed how he made the whole thing up. It was a confidence trick that changed the course of history, with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi’s lies used to justify the Iraq war.

I wonder if it’s becuase the lies were his, not Bush’s and Blair’s, or because of this:

He tried to defend his actions: “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime’s oppression.”

Basically, he wanted rid of Saddam.

I guess it’s because it doesn’t fit either narritive.

  1. It doesn’t really fit with the left’s narrative that Bush and Blair made it all up.
  2. It doesn’t really fit with the right’s defense… because they’ve long given up trying to make one.

But it’s the truth, so I guess it fits mine then.

Quote of the day – dumb guy trying to claim smart guy is evil edition

Via Ed Driscoll:

Stewart actually tried his best to take the clown nose off at first. Starting with Rumsfeld’s quote about the dangers of mixing power and certainty is a reasonable starting point for the liberal critique of Bush/Rumsfeld/Iraq (not saying I agree with it, just looking at it from the outside). The problem begins when Stewart thinks he can box with Rumsfeld…he can’t. Rumsfeld has been doing this longer than Stewart has been alive and Stewart isn’t in the top 1,000 of toughest people Rumsfeld’s dealt with.

As I’ve said before, the silly stories that liberals have made up about the Iraq war may sound really nice between them, but when they come up against the hard reality, they just don’t stand a chance.

In other words, a re-run of the John Yoo interview. Mind, in that instance Stewart didn’t even understand what the memos he hated were for….

Quote of the day, liberal agenda backfiring edition

From the Washington Post

The largest unauthorized disclosure of classified government documents in U.S. history confirms a long-standing assertion of President George W. Bush at the start of the 2007 troop surge: Iran was orchestrating one side of the Iraqi insurgency.

Wikileaks leaker Caught

BBC reports.

Specialist Manning, 22, was detained during a tour of duty in Iraq, and is being held in Kuwait pending further investigations.

The WikiLeaks website posted a video which it says shows the US military shooting civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

It has not confirmed Spc Manning as its source for the helicopter footage.

News of his arrest first broke on the Wired.com website.

A former hacker said he had turned the analyst in out of concern for US national security.

Apparently, he boasted about his exploits.

The ex-hacker, Adrian Lamo, said Spc Manning “boasted” to him about passing the helicopter video to WikiLeaks.Mr Lamo said Spc Manning claimed to have leaked video footage showing an air strike in Afghanistan in July 2009. The local authorities said nearly 100 people were killed in the attack at Garani

Spc Manning also said he had passed on 260,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

However, WikiLeaks has said it was not sent the diplomatic cables.

To shoot or not to shoot?

The left is going spare about a WikiLeaks video that shows US forces shooting at men on a street in Bagdad from the air.

Idiot/Savant is in no doubt what happened.

In February, WikiLeaks revealed that it would be holding a press conference in the US to expose a classified US military video showing the murder of civilians – sparking a camapign of harassment by US authorities. But despite that campaign, they have delivered – and the video shows exactly what they say it shows. In fact it shows more – because the civilians in question include Reuters news staff Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. The US military had claimed their deaths occurred during a firefight with “insurgents”. The video shows that to be a lie. Instead it was, as Iraqi witnesses claimed, a random bombardment by US helicopters. Bored and paranoid pilots seem to have seen a group of men, assumed they were hostile, and killed them – then slaughtered the people who turned up to take them to hospital.

This isn’t “collateral damage” or a “tragic mistake” – it is murder. …

Keith Ng agrees with the “they was murdered” thesis, but is a little more cautious.

Perhaps the crew really did think that there were guys with AKs and RPGs down there. If those people actually *were* a group of insurgents with weapons on their way to an ambush, would it look different? Is it possible for this to be a genuine, reasonable, yet catastrophic mistake?

Comments on that thread are generally appalled at Keith’s dissent from the “Americans are Evil” meme. Many point to various isolated crimes and stupidity by US military personnel (such as the US jet that hit a cable car) as “proof” that the US is just an evil regime out to get anyone and everyone who doesn’t have a photo of George W on their bedroom wall.

Thing is, the US is fighting insurgents in Iraq. Actually, a better name is “Terrorist”. These are people who violate the Geneva Convention by failing to identify themselves as a fighting force. They have no problem shooting (and hiding behind) civilians, including women and children.

The US didn’t create that situation. Yes, you might blame them for the fact there’s a conflict. But they in no way forced anyone to walk around with guns without identification shooting at people who pissed them off.

But they have to deal with it. They’re morally obligated to protect the civilian population, which means they have to fight, and kill, any insurgent they identify.

The above image (see here) shows a section of the image repeating over and over. It clearly shows a man with an RPG – its absolutely not a camera. While AK47’s and other assault rifles might conceivably be for defense, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would carry a rocket launcher for that purpose.

But let’s assume it was, and that this guy wasn’t an insurgent. Even then, he’s in a warzone, knowingly carrying military hardware that’s going to make him a target.

The US solders identified the RPG, and other weapons. The video shows that they relayed this information back to HQ, and received permission to fire. [Correction: The RPG was only identified after the fact. ]

In doing so, they had every reason to believe that:

a) they were shooting at armed hostiles

b) they were saving innocent lives by doing so

Looking around the conservative blogosphere, a few more points come to light.

Second, note how empty the streets are in the video. The only people visible on the streets are the armed men and the accompanying Reuters cameramen. This is a very good indicator that there was a battle going on in the vicinity. Civilians smartly clear the streets during a gunfight.

WikiLeaks clams there was no other fight.

Fourth, there is no indication that the U.S. military weapons crew that fired on this group of armed men violated the military’s Rules of Engagement. Ironically, Wikileaks published the military’s Rules of Engagement from 2007, which you can read here. What you do see in the video is troops working to identify targets and confirm they were armed before engaging. Once the engagement began, the U.S. troops ruthlessly hunted their prey.

Fifth, critics will undoubtedly be up in arms over the attack on that black van you see that moves in to evacuate the wounded; but it is not a marked ambulance, nor is such a vehicle on the “Protected Collateral Objects” listed in the Rules of Engagement. The van, which was coming to the aid of the fighters, was fair game, even if the men who exited the van weren’t armed.

The attack on the van is the most troubling part of the incident. If the left focused their concerns on this aspect, (and many of the MSM are) I believe they might actually be able to present a case not based on hysteria and hype.

Baghdad in July 2007 was a very violent place, and the neighborhoods of Sadr City and New Baghdad were breeding grounds for the Mahdi Army and associated Iranian-backed Shia terror groups. The city was a war zone. To describe the attack you see in the video as “murder” is a sensationalist gimmick that succeeded in driving tons of media attention and traffic to Wikileaks’ website.

Hard to argue with any of that. This wasn’t the site of the national tiddlywinks championships, it was a warzone.

In the end, Idiot is condemned by his own words.

…People who play with guns don’t get to make mistakes and walk away from them. With martial artists, posession of capability imparts a greater requirement for caution….

Even more so if walking around with one in a warzone, during an insurgency.

But I must leave the last comment to this gentlemen, who seems quite oblivious to what he is saying.

Bloody hell, that injured man from the initial shoot-up crawling away on hands and knees, and the crosshairs on him and the chopper crew just aching for him to pick up a weapon so they have a reason to blow him to pieces…

Yes, those evil Americans, shooting “unarmed” men, then obeying the rules and waiting for them to arm themselves again before shooting once more.

Ugly, yes.

It’s a war.

Update: This thing bothers me, a lot.

DPF has posted the full video and I finally decided to watch it. My advice is, don’t bother with the “edited” version. But I also point out that the “unedited” version is also edited – it doesn’t show the context of identifying these men as terrorists.

I woke up early this morninging, and so far have viewed the video again, read the Rules of Engagement and looked trough the military report again. You can see my comments at DPF’s.

Iraq has moved *forward*

From the Times online:

Imagine for a moment that you’ve woken up to the election results from North Korea. Or Syria. Or even China. The turnout is above 62 per cent, and millions of votes have been cast throughout the country for an exhaustingly wide range of candidates from all sorts of political parties and groups. No group will have a majority, so soon negotiations about forming a government will begin.

You’d think it was a bloody miracle. And so it is, and it happened in Iraq at the weekend.

You’d think it would be a cause of celebration for the entire western world, seeing a country take such massive steps towards freedom.

Unfortunately, we have people called “anti-war activists” who prefer people to die under tyrants.

What, so that we can hear the same stock phrases, the same conventional wisdoms that now pass from brain to lip without encountering thought along the way? The war was illegal, immoral, the greatest foreign policy blunder since Suez or since Pharaoh spurred his chariot into the Red Sea, Blair lied or dissimulated, was Bush’s poodle, was driven crazy by his own messianism, didn’t tell the Cabinet anything, didn’t listen to the country’s clear opposition — all the sentiments that led to the bizarre spectacle of Clare Short being applauded at the end of her woeful evidence at the inquiry.

It was interesting to read about Tony Blair’s hesitant start. He seemed to relise as his testmony went on that those opposing him were simply people who’d repeated the same stock (not to mention nonsense) phrases time after time and thought that was intellectual reasoning.

Seven years in which (I say it not because it’s important, but because it illustrates something) those who supported military action to remove Saddam have had this support treated as if it were the only thing they did.

Indeed. Idiot at NRT keeps reminding us just how much he personally hates, loathes and despises Blair for giving Iraq the vote.

We rightly make much of our violent shortcomings, as with the death of Baha Musa in 2003 at the hands of our troops. As The Times reported yesterday, his family may have received up to £3 million in compensation. It is true, but difficult to say, that had Musa been a victim of Saddam Hussein, not only would there have been no inquiries, no money, no apologies, but that anyone even whispering such things would have quickly ended up murdered. And yes, that difference matters greatly.

A point equally ignored by the left.

t is (I am told) “understandable” that many sensitive Britons feel “wounded” by the circumstances of the war. Well, it certainly was understandable, but it isn’t any longer. Seven years on, it’s gone well beyond the original wound, and we’re at the stage where many folk twist the knife in their own scar to keep it bleeding. They want to stay wounded — they enjoy their wounds. And I’m not even talking about that corrupted part of our body politic that took sides with the murderous insurgents and described them as liberators.

…and blamed the murders they perpetuated on the allied forces. That’s sort of blaming the Bain murders on the Dunedin Police.

But the biggest reason for lamenting seven years of obsessive Shortism is not that it’s been horrid, but that there has been an intellectual and strategic cost to it. In the first place it has made it almost impossible to discuss the Iraqis themselves, to consult them or listen to them. They have become ghosts, invoked as (implausible) casualty figures, or seen on TV briefly lamenting a death or maiming. The Hurt Locker, however worthy of an Oscar it might be, is not a film about Iraq. It is a film about Americans. There has been no popular film yet made about Iraq.

Well said.

My specific concern is that there is huge pressure from the re-wounders, the knife-twisters, for Chilcot and his committee not to learn the long-term lessons of Iraq but to emerge with a conclusion that would effectively hobble future governments in taking action abroad. I note the pressure that Shortists of both Left and Right have put on the historians, Lawrence Freedman and Martin Gilbert, because they haven’t grandstanded, cross-examined like barristers or got all arsey and sarcastic with Messrs Brown, Blair and Miliband.

We know what the Shortists want. They want Chilcot to say, in effect, that it shouldn’t have happened and mustn’t happen again. Some explicitly want Britain to turn away from the troublous world and its bleeding peoples, and to isolate ourselves, leaving tyrants alone and hoping the resulting refugees can be stopped at Calais.

It’s ignoring festering sores and “death to the west” speeches outside our shores that allowed 9/11 to happen. With modern technology, the distance between motivation and an actual attack is ever shorter.

Saddam might not have had Weapons of Mass Destruction ready to deploy. But that wasn’t the only reason to go to Iraq.

See also Kuwait, Marsh Arabs.

Churchill and Iraq

Sometimes it’s hard to pick out a quote, but I’ll do my best with this excellent essay. Emphasis mine.

As the War Cabinet met, the fate of the Dunkirk evacuation remained unknown. Fighting on seemed to offer, well, only blood, toil, tears and sweat. And defeat. The chance of preserving something of the British way of life might be better with Halifax’s scheme.

You cannot judge whether Churchill was right simply by noting that, to use a George Formby phrase, things “turned out nice again”. Victory might have come through dumb luck after pursuing a course of reckless irresponsibility. Using hindsight doesn’t help. Without it you are left with two things. First, what was the probability of a good outcome or, conversely, a bad one if Churchill’s policy was followed? Second, what were the consequences of good or bad outcomes?

Churchill’s genius was that, at a very early stage and unlike almost anyone else, he knew the answer to not just one, but both these questions. He realised not simply that the probability of victory was tiny (others — Halifax, Chamberlain, most Tory MPs — could see that), but also that the consequences of defeat or even a negotiated peace were horrendous. It was the combination that made a policy of “victory at all costs” the correct one.

As the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s five days approaches, I write all this not as a historical rumination, but because, like many others, I have been riveted by the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. And I think the experience of May 1940 is directly relevant.

…Yet I worry that it will not establish the one thing that was central to Churchill’s judgment. It won’t ask or establish what would have happened if we had not acted. It won’t do this partly because it is very hard to do. You end up speculating. But also because human beings are prone to what is known as omission bias. We tend to judge things that happen because we made them happen more harshly than things that happen because we merely knowingly let them do so. We prefer sins of omission to those of commission.This is particularly important in the case of Iraq. The best case for our action — made, for example, by Bill Clinton’s adviser Kenneth Pollack — was based on a speculation about what might happen if we did not act. Mr Pollack argued that sanctions were breaking down and that every time in the past that he was free of such constraints Saddam had launched an aggressive war. If his sons took over they would be worse. The status quo would not hold, so we had to invade. Whatever view you take of Mr Blair’s dossiers or George Bush’s politics, without a proper estimation of the possible consequences, as seen at the time, of not acting, the whole war is impossible to evaluate or understand.

How many anti-war protesters talk about the sanctions on Iraq and the people they were hurting (or rather, the people Saddam was using them to hurt)?

It’s a funny thing, because those people are the same ones who were telling us how bad the sanctions were pre-9/11.

Blair Schools the World on Iraq

He made some very good points.

“This isn’t about a lie, or a conspiracy, or a deceit, or a deception, this is a decision,” said Blair, who initially looked nervous but grew more confident as the hearing went on.

A decision with far wider consequences than any taken by those (sometimes literally) screaming for his head.

“And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam’s history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over 1 million people whose deaths he caused, given 10 years of breaking UN resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons programme?

“I believed … that we were right not to run that risk,” added Blair, saying he was convinced even now that Saddam was intent on restarting his WMD programme even though no such weapons have ever been found.

People forget that Iraq was under strict sanctions, no fly zones etc. Yes, it seems now that Saddam’s WMD programs were almost completely defunct.  However that ignores the question of what would happen if the sanctions were lifted. Continueing the sanctions wasn’t an option either, since Saddam was using them to starve the population to gain PR points. Sooner or later something had to be done.

No evidence has emerged to link Iraq with 9/11, but Blair said the attacks on the United States had changed the “calculus of risk.”

“Up to September 11, we thought he (Saddam) was a risk but we thought it was worth trying to contain it,” Blair said.

“The point about this act in New York was that had they been able to kill even more people than those 3000, they would have. And so after that time, my view was you could not take risks with this issue at all.”

…..

The al Qaeda strikes against US cities had transformed the global security picture, raising the risk that militants could kill even more people if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from a rogue state were to fall into their hands, Blair said on Friday (Saturday morning NZ time).

Blair would have been much more worried about facing another sort of inquiry as he made that decision. I’m sure he’s a lot more comfortable facing this one, than one discussing why Saddam was allowed to re-arm and attack the west.

Arrest Blair, and give me Proof Saddam was a Murderer!

No Right Turn is encouraging vigilantism for PR purposes.

Enter the Arrest Blair campaign. They’re offering a bounty to anyone who attempts a peaceful citizens arrest of Tony Blair for crimes against peace. The attempt doesn’t have to be successful, but it does have to be reported in the media. The aim is to embarrass the government into enforcing the law; making the rat live in fear of justice for the rest of his life (as Pinochet did) is just a bonus.

The idea is suggested in this Guardian article.

Others have explored it, however. Two weeks ago a Dutch inquiry, led by a former supreme court judge, found that the invasion had “no sound mandate in international law”. Last month Lord Steyn, a former law lord, said that “in the absence of a second UN resolution authorising invasion, it was illegal“. In November Lord Bingham, the former lord chief justice, stated that, without the blessing of the UN, the Iraq war was “a serious violation of international law and the rule of law“.

Under the United Nations charter, two conditions must be met before a war can legally be waged. The parties to a dispute must first “seek a solution by negotiation” (article 33). They can take up arms without an explicit mandate from the UN security council only “if an armed attack occurs against [them]” (article 51). Neither of these conditions applied. The US and UK governments rejected Iraq’s attempts to negotiate. At one point the US state department even announced that it would “go into thwart mode” to prevent the Iraqis from resuming talks on weapons inspection (all references are on my website). Iraq had launched no armed attack against either nation.

All of which ignores several things, such as the invasion of Kuwait, the cease fire, Saddam’s undermining of the inspections, Saddam’s undermining of the sanctions, The UN’s constant dithering over whether do do anything about that, Saddam’s use of the Oil for Food program to enrich himself, the suffering of the Iraqi people under the sanctions, the many UN resolutions threatening but never actually restarting the Gulf War, and finally the well-known fact that Saddam had fixed the UN votes by bribing key members, Saddam’s support of terror, and the lessons of 9/11.

In other words, they ignored the entire history of what brought us to this point. Not to mention that terrorists, not the US, caused most of the human suffering.

Anyway, strangely for an article that encourages people to break the law based on utterly flawed logic, comments are moderated. You’d think that if they give their columnists free reign to spout illegal nonsense then everyone else would get the same privileges.

But it sums up the whole debate I think, to read this comment.

Heiland Heiland

25 Jan 2010, 7:45PM

@freewoman

“Saddam killed two million not counting Iranians and tortured ethnically cleansed many more.”

Could you please provide links and proof for this assertion?

Poor Blair, he’s going to be hounded for life by these idiots.

Nice to see somone reply to the “Saddam was armed by Americans” point though.

These would be his Chinese Type 59/69 tanks would they? Or his ex-Soviet T55s and T72s? Or his MiG fighters, perhaps?

Maybe America sold him his French Mirage jets? He did have some old British Corvettes in his Navy, perhaps you mean those?

The vast bulk of Saddam’s military equipment was either supplied by the USSR or was a Chinese copy of a USSR original.

If you mean, the West bought Iraqi oil and he used the money to buy weapons from Russia and China, well, yes. That is why Iraq’s oil was such an issue. It allowed the dictator to build an army big enough to wage war on his neighbours.

Emphasis mine.

I think that last point is critical. It’s the real reason wars occur around oil producing nations. Not because “we” want the oil (and the US hasn’t taken any, much to moonbat confusion) but because of what the oil wealth means to dictators like Saddam.

But for Saddam, the army paid for by oil didn’t just fight Iran who had equal military might, it attacked the peaceful nation of Kuwait on a whim, then using any innocent foreigners present as hostages. Saddam richly deserved the noose given him by the free Iraqi people. Enabling that trial should have earned Blair the thanks of the peace movement.

But now they just want to “arrest” him.

Go figure.

Where are the human shields when  you need them?

Iraq, Oil, Irony and Leftist Stupidity

The BBC reports that China is drilling in Iraq.

Critics of the US invasion six years ago often said its ultimate aim was to control Iraq’s vast deposits of oil.

So it is ironic, perhaps, that the first foreign oil company to start drilling operations in the country since 2003 should be from America’s growing rival, China.

A year since it signed a 23-year, $3bn (£1.84bn) deal to exploit the small al-Ahdab field, in Wasit province, south of Baghdad, China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has already struck oil.

Which prompted me to look up the word “irony“.

Situational irony is the disparity of intention and result: when the result of an action is contrary to the desired or expected effect.

The idea that the US was invading to get the oil was only ever US policy in the heads of the left. In this instance, those conspiracy theorists have been proved wrong which isn’t irony. If I told you you were going to fly to LA tomorrow, and you didn’t, that’s not ironic, it’s me being stupid.

In short, I’d have been proved wrong.

Now, it you’re going to talk about those who tried to stop the invasion, that’s another story. It’s amazing that so many people ignore the quite public information that France and Russia had oil interests in Iraq not being invaded.

Yes, this is old news – I put it in the “draft posts” pile and forgot about it.

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