Interesting UK Daily Mirror Article
Simon, thank you for finally tackling my points head on.
The first point I refer to is that the US gives billions in aid to countries around the world which you followed with the red herring, "people spend more on lipstick". Lipstick has nothing to do with the fact that we give a TON of aid. What are we supposed to do, give more? I counter that no, we should not give more and really the people who are directly responsible for the plight of the third world man are that man's direct leaders. These leaders are often corrupt and use such aid for their own gain all the while stepping on the backs of their people to keep them dependent on foreign aid. I don't think that forein aid is a good idea for the world nor will it eventually cure the worlds ills. Redistribution of wealth has always put the power over so much into too few. Thats simply the way I see it.
Now I don't think we should go around, conquering the world and force these societies to accept democratic government either. But in the case of Iraq, plenty of evidence has been revealed over the last 12 years that Saddam Hussein has developed weapons of mass destruction, that he has used weapons of mass destruction and that he has aided terrorists with money, supplies, technology and training. This represents a threat to the free countries of the west. You say that the weapons inspections are making progress when Iraq first declares that they have no weapons, then when things don't look so good for them, they say "ok, well we have a few missles" and destroy them while they still have others and are making more. Saddam is not dealing in good faith and he is playing a shell game with the UN and the inspectors. Saddam only purpose is to somehow delay action long enough for him to either develop something usable or make it strategically hard for the US to act. He has no intention of disarming, you know it and I know it. He has never dealt in good faith, he has broken numerous agreements and he is an all around bad guy. This again represents a threat to the security of the US, especially in this post September 11 world where we realize that people can and will kill us in our own neighborhoods if given the chance. This does not mean "nuke the world" and the United States under President Bush has not responded as such, but it does mean we need to take prudent action when necessary.
Look Simon, I think you are a good guy, don't get me wrong, but we do have a difference of opinion on this. I did not mean to misrepresent you and I'm sorry for doing so. But call me a Bush "propagandist" if you like, but I prefer to say "supporter", its far far better than supporting the cause of a man like Saddam Hussein which I know you don't.
plenty of evidence has been revealed over the last 12 years that Saddam Hussein has developed weapons of mass destruction, that he has used weapons of mass destruction and that he has aided terrorists with money, supplies, technology and training.
The important issue is not what Sadam has done in the past, we all know his history - the important issue is NOW. Does he have these weapons now? There seems to be confusion about this matter even at the highest levels of some respected governement. Of course if these weapons exist then they should be dealt with even if just to set an example, if they do not however, sanctions against his people should be lifted.
As to his supplying technology, training, money and supplies to terrorists you conveniently forget who aided and armed Saddam for many, many years, with the very things that you feel condemn his nation. The US.
Either I need glasses, or Hillary is having trouble with his "q" key.
Rush Limbaugh is sent from God. Amen
As I see it, many Americans see a lot of 'American bashing' when there is nothing more than criticism.
Referring to America as the most dangerous rogue nation on the planet is nothing more than "criticism?" I hardly think so.
What grates with many people is that America is quick to dismiss the thousands and millions that die each year, in part because of it's policies.
America, more than any other nation, shares it vast wealth with others. After WW2. with the defeat of Germany and Japan, they were not set up as puppet nations, but given freedom and democracy, even to the point of currently disagreeing and oppossing us. What other nation has pledged $18 billion dollars in aids research and treatment to Africa?
You seem to speak a lot of America's policies, but I never see any documentation of them. Just hollow claims. The anti-semitism coming out of Europe over supporting Israel, one of a small handful of democracies in the Middle East, is deafening lately. It's little wonder that Hitler was able to massacre so many during the holocaust.
America is far from perfect, but I fail to see trying to give others the freedoms we enjoy as a bad thing.
The weapons inspectors who are actually there are saying totally different things such as "no evidence of any Nuclear weapons" etc ... The thought that they are trying to fake the reason for the war is bad enough.
Try reading the written reports, not just the transcripts of the oral reports, sometimes. They are available on the UNs website and reveal much, as well as raise questions to me, like why Hans Blix doesn't speak of the finds, but buries them in the written reports.
Finding totally intact bombs filled with biological agents buried is hardly "faking a reason for war," in my book. Refusing to account for other known weapons is another. The discovery of undeclared pilotless drones could be another.
After 10 / 12 years ... why the rush?
Waiting 12 years is a rush to war? Should we wait until we discover he actually has all the weapons by unleashing them on a neighbor? Or, would it be alright with Europe if they were only unleashed against Israel?
I wil take seriously President Bush's promise to rid the world by whatever means of terrorists, when he turns his attention to Northern Ireland where terrorism and its accompanying trauma is a daily routine.
Are you calling for America to be the Worlds Police Force? Northern Ireland is hardly a world threat. But, I happen to agree and believe terrorism should be dealt with worldwide, including white supremacist groups in the US too. First priority must be given to those who a threat to the world, then to those who are a local threat and personally, I am ashamed it took Septemeber 11 for America to get involved in the world fight against terrorism. I am glad we finally have a leader with the guts to try to eleminate it.
The important issue is not what Sadam has done in the past, we all know his history - the important issue is NOW. Does he have these weapons now? If so they should be dealt with, if not sanctions against his people should be lifted.
As I said above, many weapons have been unearthed in various quantities, but the mention of this is buried in the written reports, not in the oral reports. Check the UN website and read it all for yourselves.
As for NOW, evidence is there, much which cannot be shared publicly. With the refusal to account for known weapons, he has not shown evidence that they were destroyed, as agreed to 12 years ago. If he had shown them destroyed, the sanctions would have been lifted long ago. To just lift them could be suicide, without the proof he really destroyed them. That is what the ispectors are there for, to verify the destruction, not to unearth hidden weapons.
Backing off now would encourage him to continue in his quest for weaponry and yes, given his history, he would undoubtedly use them against his neighbors. If Saddam were an honorable man, maybe more trust could be placed on his regime, but he has shown himself not to be.
The real answer is for Saddam to disarm, but given the mood of the world placing so much trust in him and so little in Americas determination to disarm him, he sees the support for him. If the world stood together andd emanded he disarm, the sanctions would already have been lifted and war could be averted. A show of determined strength is what Saddam understands, not protests.
1) It has well been documented that the current U.S. administration, along with others, already were formulating plans to invade Iraq BEFORE 9/11. Why?
2) While at a social gathering last month, a Viet-Nam vet told me that as he was preparing to leave Viet-Nam after his last tour in 1971, he was approached by a U.S. agent seeking soldiers for a covert operation to put down the insurrectionists that were fighting AGAINST the Pol-Pot regime in Cambodia. Why? He was a decorated, gung-ho Marine at that time. He hasn't trusted U.S. politicians since.
It has well been documented that the current U.S. administration, along with others, already were formulating plans to invade Iraq BEFORE 9/11.
I for one, would appreciate seeing this documentation. Care to share it, since it is so well documented?
"The big question: If a second resolution falls, Blair will have to decide whether to go to war in any case. Would it be legal for Britain to do so?
Going to war without a new UN resolution backing military action would be illegal despite claims to the contrary made by Britain and the US. This is the near-unanimous view of international lawyers, and was supported this week by the UN secretary general. "If the US and others were to go outside the security council and take unilateral action they would not be in conformity with the charter," Kofi Annan said.
Some international lawyers say war is justified - with or without any further resolution - because Saddam has not honoured the UN-backed ceasefire terms after the 1991 Gulf war.
However, the widespread view in Whitehall is that a new, strongly-worded UN resolution was needed before a war could be regarded as being backed by international law.
This view is believed to be shared by Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, who yesterday had a meeting with Mr Blair and Mr Hoon."
In my opinion US & Brit going to war without backing by the UN nations would be stupidity. The whole point in having a UN association is to bring about unity between countries when making decisions like this. US/UK should resign from the UN if they go against UN overal majority. The UN nations should then be moved to France!
Going to war without UN backing would be dumb and illegal (hey, maybe Bush and Blair can be first candidated to try out the new world court in the Hague?).
They have defied, ignored and bypassed the UN many times in the past though so I would not be surprised to see them do it again. Ironic that they claim one of the reasons for attacknig Iraq is that they have defied the UN ... hypocrites.
There seems to be some belief that the US gives lots of aid. Lets just dispell that myth. The US gives a lot in pure monetary terms but when looked at in more detail it is not nearly as impressive as it first appears:
(quotes taken from http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp)
USA's aid, in terms of percentage of their GDP is already lowest of any industrialized nation in the world
"Most of the United States' increase in 2001 was due to a $600 million disbursement to Pakistan for economic support in the September 11 aftermath. (political)
Official Development Assistance (ODA) for 1999 and 2000
Click on column headings that are links to change sort order ODA in U.S. Dollars
ODA as Percentage
Country 1999 2000 2001 1999 2000 2001 1. Denmark 1,733 1,664 1,599 1.01 1.06 1.01 2. Norway 1,370 1,264 1,346 0.91 0.8 0.83 3. Netherlands 3,134 3,075 3,155 0.79 0.82 0.82 4. Luxembourg 119 116 142 0.66 0.7 0.8 5. Sweden 1,630 1,813 1,576 0.7 0.81 0.76 6. Belgium 760 812 866 0.3 0.36 0.37 7. Switzerland 969 888 908 0.35 0.34 0.34 8. France 5,637 4,221 4,293 0.39 0.33 0.34 9. Ireland 245 239 285 0.31 0.3 0.33 10. Finland 416 371 389 0.33 0.31 0.33 11. United Kingdom 3,401 4,458 4,659 0.23 0.31 0.32 12. Spain 1,363 1,321 1,748 0.23 0.24 0.3 13. Germany 5,515 5,034 4,879 0.26 0.27 0.27 14. Portugal 276 261 267 0.26 0.26 0.25 15. New Zealand 134 116 111 0.27 0.26 0.25 16. Austria 527 461 457 0.26 0.25 0.25 17. Australia 982 995 852 0.26 0.27 0.25 18. Japan 15,323 13,062 9,678 0.35 0.27 0.23 19. Canada 1,699 1,722 1,572 0.28 0.25 0.23 20. Greece 194 216 194 0.15 0.19 0.19 21. Italy 1,806 1,368 1,493 0.15 0.13 0.14 22. United States 9,145 9,581 10,884 0.1 0.1 0.11
Among the big donors, the US has the worst record for spending its aid budget on itself - 70 percent of its aid is spent on US goods and services. And more than half is spent in middle income countries in the Middle East. Only $3bn a year goes to South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa
See also, for example, the well-regarded Reality of Aid project for more on the reality and rhetoric of aid. This project looks at what various nations have donated, and how and where it has been spent, etc.
While the US provided large amounts of military aid to countries deemed strategically important, others noted that the US ranked low among developed nations in the amount of humanitarian aid it provided poorer countries. "We are the stingiest nation of all," former President Jimmy Carter said recently in an address at Principia College in Elsah, Ill."
While the U.S. aid amount might look very generous in sheer dollar terms (ignoring the percentage issue for the moment), the World Bank also points out that at the World Economic Forum in New York, February 2002, "[U.S. Senator Patrick] Leahy noted that two-thirds of US government aid goes to only two countries: Israel and Egypt. Much of the remaining third is used to promote US exports or to fight a war against drugs that could only be won by tackling drug abuse in the United States."
To reach the target of 0.7% is not an economic problem, but a political one. This can be seen in the context of other spending. For example, the U.S. recently increased its military budget by some $100 billion dollars alone, and Europe subsidizes its agriculture to the tune of some $35-40 billion per year, even while it demands other nations to liberalize their markets to foreign competition. The U.S. also introduced a $190 billion dollar subsidy to its farms through the U.S. Farm Bill, also criticized as a protectionist measure
"Many in the first world imagine the amount of money spent on aid to developing countries is massive. In fact, it amounts to only .03% of GNP of the industrialized nations. In 1995, the director of the U.S. aid agency defended his agency by testifying to his congress that 84 cents of every dollar of aid goes back into the U.S economy in goods and services purchased. For every dollar the United States puts into the World Bank, an estimated $2 actually goes into the U.S. economy in goods and services. Meanwhile, in 1995, severely indebted low-income countries paid one billion dollars more in debt and interest to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) than they received from it. For the 46 countries of Subsaharan Africa, foreign debt service was four times their combined governmental health and education budgets in 1996. So, we find that aid does not aid." -- Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Eyes of the Heart; Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization, (Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 13
One could add to the above that while aid does not aid the recipient, it aids the donor. For the US here, its aid agency was an aspect of its foreign policy to enhance its interests, successfully.
Some details of the reality and often under-reported happenings in Iraq. Note the 1998 bombardment which predates Sept 11.
The sanctions have been described as a weapon of mass destruction. Who is going to bring the USA to account for it's illegal use of uranium weapons?
"When asked on US television if she [Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State] thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children [from sanctions in Iraq] was a price worth paying, Albright replied: "This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it."" -- John Pilger, "Squeezed to Death", Guardian, March 4, 2000
It would have been better obviously if Saddam hadn't been created by the west becasue of ill thought out and short term policies and dabling in the affairs of the middle east. However, we are where we are and need to handle the current crisis. I just wish I had more confidence in the ability and the integrity of those who are in charge. How did we get to where we are now, this big crisis involving big powerful countries, from where we were 6 months ago? Why were issues made and deadlines set that weren't needed?
The USA and the UK need to do things through the UN and make the case for war. So far, that have failed to do this. They have presented cobbled together and fabricated "evidence" and propaganda and this, they have done poorly. If they have thought out the consequences of their action in the same way they have put together their 'argument for war' then I fear for the future.
Now, re: the attitude to America since Sep 11 (going back to the topic). What happened was terrible and we saw a massive, global outpouring of sympathy with the USA, even from long term and historic enemies. It really did bring the world together and people were behind the USA in it's fight against terrorism.
Perhaps the real question should be: How, how, how has George W managed to fritter away all that good feeling and support in less than a year?