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Power User
Posts: 36590

« Reply #700 on: April 03, 2016, 08:42:56 AM »
Power User
Posts: 7794

« Reply #701 on: April 03, 2016, 12:00:20 PM »

Since the media gets it wrong, the history books get it wrong.  A lot went wrong in Iraq, but the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein was not wrong, IMHO.  The details of this are worth saving!
Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About The Conflict In Iraq
 John Hawkins,  Jan, 2012  

1) George Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.: This is a charge that has been repeated ad nauseum by opponents of the war, but the claim that Bush “lied” about stockpiles of WMDs doesn’t hold up to the least bit of scrutiny.

Once you understand one crucial fact, that: numerous prominent Democrats with access to intelligence data also openly declared and obviously believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, it becomes nearly impossible for a rational person to believe that Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq. We’re not talking about small fry or just proponents of the war either. The aforementioned Democrats include Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, John Edwards, Robert Byrd, Henry Waxman, Tom Daschle, and Nancy Pelosi among many, many others. Just to hammer the point home, here’s a quote from the 800 pound gorilla of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, that was made on Oct 8, 2002:

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.”

To believe that George Bush lied about WMDs is to believe that there is a vast conspiracy to lie about WMDs that goes to the highest level of both parties & that stretches across both the pro and anti-war movements.

It’s just not possible — and that’s before we even consider the numerous other pieces of exculpating evidence like: all the non-American intelligence agencies that also believed Saddam had WMDs, CIA Director George Tenet famously saying it was a: “‘slam-dunk’ that Hussein possessed the banned weapons”, the once secret: Downing Street Memo: which certainly proves that our allies in Britain believed Saddam had WMDs…

“For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.”

…and of course, that we did find: warheads designed to carry chemical warfare agents: and artillery shells filled with: mustard gas: &: sarin: (even though they were small in number and weren’t recently made).

When you add it all up, it appears that George Bush, like a lot of other people, was wrong about Saddam Hussein having stockpiles of WMDs. But without question, he did not lie about it.

2) A study released in March of 2003 by a British medical journal, the Lancet, showed that 100,000 civilians had been killed as a result of the US invasion.To be perfectly frank, it’s hard to see how anyone who has even a passing familiarity with statistics could take Lancet’s numbers seriously.: Fred Kaplanfrom Slate explains:

“The authors of a peer-reviewed study, conducted by a survey team from Johns Hopkins University, claim that about 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war. Yet a close look at the actual study, published online today by the British medical journal the Lancet, reveals that this number is so loose as to be meaningless.The report’s authors derive this figure by estimating how many Iraqis died in a 14-month period before the U.S. invasion, conducting surveys on how many died in a similar period after the invasion began (more on those surveys later), and subtracting the difference. That difference’the number of “extra” deaths in the post-invasion period’signifies the war’s toll. That number is 98,000. But read the passage that cites the calculation more fully:

We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period.

Readers who are accustomed to perusing statistical documents know what the set of numbers in the parentheses means. For the other 99.9 percent of you, I’ll spell it out in plain English’which, disturbingly, the study never does. It means that the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language’98,000’is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.)

This isn’t an estimate. It’s a dart board.

Imagine reading a poll reporting that George W. Bush will win somewhere between 4 percent and 96 percent of the votes in this Tuesday’s election. You would say that this is a useless poll and that something must have gone terribly wrong with the sampling. The same is true of the Lancet article: It’s a useless study; something went terribly wrong with the sampling.”

Bingo! What Lancet was in effect saying was that they believed 98,000 civilians died, but they might have been off by roughly 90,000 people or so in either direction.

Moreover, other sources at the time were coming in with numbers that were a tiny fraction of the 98,000 figure that the Lancet settled on. From a: New York Times: article on the Lancet study:

“The 100,000 estimate immediately came under attack. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain questioned the methodology of the study and compared it with an Iraq Health Ministry figure that put civilian fatalities at less than 4,000. Other critics referred to the findings of the Iraq Body Count project, which has constructed a database of war-related civilian deaths from verified news media reports or official sources like hospitals and morgues.That database recently placed civilian deaths somewhere between 14,429 and 16,579, the range arising largely from uncertainty about whether some victims were civilians or insurgents. But because of its stringent conditions for including deaths in the database, the project has quite explicitly said, ”Our own total is certain to be an underestimate.”

Via:, here’s another Iraqi civilian death estimate:

“On 20 October 2003 the Project on Defense Alternatives estimated that between 10,800 and 15,100 Iraqis were killed in the war. Of these, between 3,200 and 4,300 were noncombatants — that is: civilians who did not take up arms.”

Given all that, how any informed person can buy into Lancet’s numbers is simply beyond me.

3) The Bush Administration claimed Iraq was responsible for 9/11.: It’s always difficult to prove a negative, but that simply never happened.

Many people may believe this was the case because in “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Michael Moore truncated a comment by Condi Rice in order to deliberately give viewers of his movie that false impression. Here’s the quote as it appeared in the film:

“There is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11”

Now here’s the full quote:

“Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It’s not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York.”

Setting aside Moore’s little deceit, there just aren’t any quotations I’ve ever seen from anyone in the Bush administration saying that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. That’s why, in a piece called “Answering 50 Frequently Asked Questions About The War On Terrorism,” which incidentally was written about a week before the war began, I wrote this:

The Bush administration has never claimed that Iraq was involved in 9/11…

Furthermore, after the war had begun, in September of 2003,: President Bush himself publicly & explicitly said:

“We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks.”

It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

4) The war in Iraq was actually planned by people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz back in 1998 at a think tank called the Project for the New American Century.: The problem with trying to claim that the war in Iraq was preordained during some 1998 PNAC meeting is that the United States government has been trying to find a way to get rid of Saddam Hussein since the Gulf War. In an interview I did with him back in January of 2004,: David Frum, went into detail on this subject:

“The idea that overthrowing Saddam Hussein sprung out of the minds of a few people in Washington forgets an awful lot of history. In the 2000 election, both candidates spoke openly about the need to deal with Saddam Hussein. Al Gore was actually more emphatic on the topic than George Bush was. In 1998, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act. Just to show how conspiratorial they were, they put it in the Congressional record. In 1995, the CIA tried to organize a coup against Saddam Hussein and it failed. The coup was secret, but it has been written about in 5 or 6 books that I know of. In 1991, representatives of President George H. W. Bush went on the radio and urged the Iraqi people to rise up against Saddam Hussein. So America’s policy on Saddam has been consistent. What we have been arguing about for years are the methods. First, we tried to encourage a rebellion in Iraq, that didn’t work. Then we tried coups; that didn’t work. Then in 1998, we tried funding Iraqi opposition. That might have worked, but the money never actually got appropriated. Then, ultimately we tried direct military power. The idea that Saddam should go has been the policy of the United States since 1991.”

The reality is just as Frum pointed out: overthrowing Saddam Hussein by hook or crook was the de facto policy of the US government for more than a decade before the war in Iraq and the disagreement was over how to do it. That argument was settled in many people’s minds by 9/11, not by people conspiring in a think tank back in 1998.

5) The war on terror has nothing to do with Iraq.: This is another historical rewrite. The reality is that the pro-war movement in this country since 9/11 has plainly spoken of dealing with Saddam Hussein as part of the war on terrorism almost from the very beginning. Here’s George Bush in a: speech given on 9/20/2001:

“Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.

From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

Iraq certainly was a state that harbored and supported terrorists and the approach Bush discussed, the Bush Doctrine, was adopted and talked about often in relation to Iraq during the lead up to the war. As proof, look to a column called “Answering 50 Frequently Asked Questions About The War On Terrorism” that I wrote back on March 13, 2003:

Why are we going to invade Iraq?: Nine days after 9/11, George Bush said,“(W)e will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

That definition fits Iraq and since they happened to be the easiest nation to make a case against at the UN and in the court of World Opinion, they were our next logical target after Afghanistan — although they’re not our last target.”

The war on terrorism cannot be won as long as there are terrorist supporting states out there. So one way or the other, we need to get those rogue regimes out of the business of supporting terrorist groups of international reach. Saddam led one of those regimes and now, happily, he’s gone — perhaps before the US was hit with an Iraqi based terrorist attack:

“I can confirm that after the events of September 11, 2001, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received … information that official organs of Saddam’s regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations.” — Russian President Vladimir Putin as quoted by CNN on June 18, 2004

Even: John Kerry, the flip-flopping Democratic candidate for President last year, seemed to at least agree that the fate of Iraq was crucial to the war on terror:

“Iraq may not be the war on terror itself, but it is critical to the outcome of the war on terror, and therefore any advance in Iraq is an advance forward in that and I disagree with the Governor [Howard Dean].” — John Kerry, 12/15/03

Kerry even pointed out that he thought Saddam might give WMDs to terrorists:

“I would disagree with John McCain that it’s the actual weapons of mass destruction he may use against us, it’s what he may do in another invasion of Kuwait or in a miscalculation about the Kurds or a miscalculation about Iran or particularly Israel. Those are the things that – that I think present the greatest danger. He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. It’s the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat.” — John Kerry, “Face The Nation”, 9/15/02

Now if even John Kerry of all people is willing to admit that Iraq is: “critical to the outcome of the war on terror”: and that Saddam was the kind of guy who might use terrorist groups to attack the US, we should be able to at least agree at this point that it’s not the least bit disingenuous to suggest that Iraq is an important part of the war on terrorism.

6) Saddam Hussein had no ties to terrorism.: It’s amazing to me that today in 2005, people are still trotting out that oft-disproven quip. Christopher Hitchens was also apparently surprised when Ron Reagan, Jr. made a similar assertion recently and you may find his: response to be most enlightening:

“CH:: Do you know nothing about the subject at all? Do you wonder how Mr. Zarqawi got there under the rule of Saddam Hussein? Have you ever heard of Abu Nidal?RR:: Well, I’m following the lead of the 9/11 Commission, which…

CH:: Have you ever heard of Abu Nidal, the most wanted man in the world, who was sheltered in Baghdad? The man who pushed Leon Klinghoffer off the boat, was sheltered by Saddam Hussein. The man who blew up the World Trade Center in 1993 was sheltered by Saddam Hussein, and you have the nerve to say that terrorism is caused by resisting it? And by deposing governments that endorse it? … At this stage, after what happened in London yesterday?…

RR:: Zarqawi is not an envoy of Saddam Hussein, either.

CH:: Excuse me. When I went to interview Abu Nidal, then the most wanted terrorist in the world, in Baghdad, he was operating out of an Iraqi government office. He was an arm of the Iraqi State, while being the most wanted man in the world. The same is true of the shelter and safe house offered by the Iraqi government, to the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer, and to Mr. Yassin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. How can you know so little about this, and be occupying a chair at the time that you do?”

Mr. Hitchens is entirely correct. Saddam provided “safe haven” for: terrorists with “global reach.”: Among them were terrormaster Abu Nidal, Abdul Rahman Yassin, one of the conspirators in the 1993 WTC bombing, “Khala Khadr al-Salahat, the man who reputedly made the bomb for the Libyans that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over…Scotland,”Abu Abbas, mastermind of the October 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking and murder of Leon Klinghoffer,” & “Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, formerly the director of an al Qaeda training base in Afghanistan” who is now believed to be leading Al-Qaeda’s forces in Iraq.

Without question, Saddam Hussein had extensive ties to terrorism.

7) Saddam Hussein had no ties to Al-Qaeda.: A couple of quotes by the 9/11 Commission, which were often used out of context during the polarizing 2004 election cycle, have fueled the ridiculous claim that Saddam Hussein had no ties with Al-Qaeda. Here’s an excerpt from an article at: MSNBC: called: “9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida,”: that should give you a good idea of the anti-war spin that was put on the Commission’s comments:

“It said that reports of subsequent contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan ‘do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship,’ and added that two unidentified senior bin Laden associates “have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al-Qaida and Iraq.”The report, the 15th released by the commission staff, concluded, ‘We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States.’

However, the spin doesn’t match the reality.

What the 9/11 Commission was trying to get across was that there was no evidence that Saddam and Al-Qaeda collaborated on specific attacks, not that they didn’t have a working relationship.: 9/11 Commission Vice-Chairman (and former Democratic Congressman) Lee Hamiliton: echoed exactly that point in comments that were largely ignored because they didn’t fit the anti-war storyline some people were pushing:

“The vice president is saying, I think, that there were connections between Al Qaeda and the Saddam Hussein government. We don’t disagree with that. What we have said is what the governor (Commission Chairman Thomas Kean) just said, we don’t have any evidence of a cooperative, or a corroborative, relationship between Saddam Hussein’s government and these Al Qaeda operatives with regard to the attacks on the United States.”

While there may not be evidence that Saddam and Al-Qaeda cooperated in attacks on the United States, the evidence that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Al-Qaeda worked together is absolutely undeniable.

For example, no one disputes that Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who once ran an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and is leading Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in Iraq today, was in Iraq BEFORE the war started getting medical care. In and of itself, that would seem to strongly suggest a significant connection.

But wait, there’s more!

Consider this comment by former: CIA Director George Tenet: in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee on October 7, 2002:

“Credible reporting states that al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.”

Here’s more from: Richard Miniter, author of “Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror“:

* Abdul Rahman Yasin was the only member of the al Qaeda cell that detonated the 1993 World Trade Center bomb to remain at large in the Clinton years. He fled to Iraq. U.S. forces recently discovered a cache of documents in Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown, that show that Iraq gave Mr. Yasin both a house and monthly salary.* Bin Laden met at least eight times with officers of Iraq’s Special Security Organization, a secret police agency run by Saddam’s son Qusay, and met with officials from Saddam’s mukhabarat, its external intelligence service, according to intelligence made public by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was speaking before the United Nations Security Council on February 6, 2003.

* In 1998, Abbas al-Janabi, a longtime aide to Saddam’s son Uday, defected to the West. At the time, he repeatedly told reporters that there was a direct connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.

* Mohamed Mansour Shahab, a smuggler hired by Iraq to transport weapons to bin Laden in Afghanistan, was arrested by anti-Hussein Kurdish forces in May, 2000. He later told his story to American intelligence and a reporter for the New Yorker magazine.

Here’s more from Weekly Standard columnist Stephen Hayes, author of “The Connection : How al Qaeda’s Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America“:

“Evan Bayh, Democrat from Indiana, has described the Iraq-al Qaeda connection as a relationship of “mutual exploitation.” Joe Lieberman said, “There are extensive contacts between Saddam Hussein’s government and al Qaeda.” George Tenet, too, has spoken of those contacts and goes further, claiming Iraqi “training” of al Qaeda terrorists on WMDs and provision of “safe haven” for al Qaeda in Baghdad. Richard Clarke once said the U.S. government was “sure” Iraq had provided a chemical-weapons precursor to an al Qaeda-linked pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. Even Hillary Clinton cited the Iraq-al Qaeda connection as one reason she voted for the Iraq War.”

So is there proof that Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda worked together to hit targets in the US? No. But, is there extensive evidence that they had ties and worked together at times? Absolutely.

8 ) The Downing Street Memo proves Bush lied to the American people about the war.: The left-side of the blogosphere has been bleating ceaselessly about the Downing Street Memo since the beginning of May which might lead you to wonder why the reaction to the memo has been so tepid in the scandal loving mainstream media. Well, the problem with the DSM is that there’s no “there, there.”

Some of the anti-war crowd’s rantings about the memo have hinged on its acknowledgement of increased bombings in the Iraqi no-fly zones (“spikes of activity”) during the run-up to the war. However, the increased frequency of bombings was common knowledge even back in 2002 (See: here,: here, &: here). We had already been bombing the Iraqis in the no-fly zone and we increased the pace to soften them up a bit just in case we had to go in. It probably saved the lives of some of our soldiers and almost no one except members of Saddam’s government seemed upset about it while it was actually going on. So why should it be a big deal now in 2005? The carping about it at this point is pure political gamesmanship.

Moving on to another jejune point in the memos that has led to hyperventilation among Bush foes, take a look at this line:

“C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable.”

Note that no particular person in the Bush administration said war is “inevitable,” it’s just the perception that C, AKA Sir Richard Dearlove, has. Again, we’re talking about something that was common knowledge back in July of 2002, as even liberal: Michael Kinsley: pointed out in a notably unenthusiastic LA Times column about the DSM:

“Just look at what was in the newspapers on July 23, 2002, and the day before. Left-wing Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer casually referred to the coming war as “much planned for.” The New York Times reported Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s response to a story that “reported preliminary planning on ways the United States might attack Iraq to topple President Saddam Hussein.” Rumsfeld effectively confirmed the report by announcing an investigation of the leak.A Wall Street Journal Op-Ed declared that “the drums of war beat louder.” A dispatch from Turkey in the New York Times even used the same word, “inevitable,” to describe the thinking in Ankara about the thinking in Washington about the decision “to topple President Saddam Hussein of Iraq by force.”

Why, it almost sounds as if many people who weren’t passing around secret documents saw the invasion of Iraq as “inevitable,” even back then! I guess those “secret” memos aren’t as as chock full of sensitive information as you’d think.

But, let’s move on to the meat of the DSM. Via: Wikipedia, here is the part of the Downing Street Memo that has caused the most “excitement” on the left:

Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

Basically the charge here is supposed to be that Bush “fixed” the evidence for the war.

When the word “fixed” is mentioned in the memo, it’s obviously not being used as Americans would use it if they were talking about “fixing” a horse race. Instead, the writer was trying to get across that the Bush administration was attempting to build a solid case to justify its policy publicly. That’s certainly not a unique way of looking at it either. For example,: John Ware, a reporter at the very liberal BBC, seems to have roughly the same interpretation:

“Several well placed sources have told us that Sir Richard Dearlove was minuted as saying: “The facts and the intelligence were being fixed round the policy by the Bush administration.” By ‘fixed’ the MI6 chief meant that the Americans were trawling for evidence to reinforce their claim that Saddam was a threat.”

Furthermore, to even try to interpret the Downing Street Memo as supporting the idea that Bush was making up evidence — presumably about weapons of mass destruction — is extremely difficult to square with the fact that the DSM itself makes it absolutely clear that the British believed Saddam had WMDs. From theDSM:

“For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.”

If the Bush administration and the Brits believed Saddam had WMDs and was capable of using them, what exactly is supposed to have been forged? Nothing of course, because that’s not how the person taking the notes meant it to be interpreted. If he’d known his notes were ever going to be read by the public, I’m sure he would have been more careful about ambiguous phrasing that could be willfully misinterpreted for political gain.

On top of all that, there have already been investigations that have cleared the Bush administration of doing anything shady on the intelligence front. As Cassandra at: Villainous Company: correctly pointed out:

Quote (the DSM) all you want. Is there some evidence to back this up? Say, to refute the conclusions of the Butler Report (British), the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, or the 9/11 Commission, which all concluded that there was no improper manipulation of intelligence? Or are we now willing to disregard the conclusions of three official inquiries on the strength of one (word in an) unattributed set of minutes from a single foreign staff meeting?”

The Downing Street Memo is a lot of hullabaloo over nothing of note.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 02:24:40 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Power User
Posts: 5312

« Reply #702 on: April 03, 2016, 08:15:24 PM »

I have a real problem with medical journals publishing political articles.

I recall rarely seeing this prior to around 10 yrs ago.  We are seeing this more and more.  Also more in American Journals.

Was there a mention of how many Iraqis were killed by Iraqis?  As usual it makes it sound like Americans and allies went in there a butchered up to 100K Iraqis.   
Power User
Posts: 36590

« Reply #703 on: April 07, 2016, 09:30:55 AM »
Power User
Posts: 7794

« Reply #704 on: April 17, 2016, 05:02:00 PM »

Challenge:  Explain to a liberal or a kid why it was right for the US to drop those bombs at that time and why that does not make us at all like those who wish to bomb us.

Anyone want to take a crack at this?

The purpose of the war from the Japanese point of view was to conquer other lands, kill and enslave people and rule the region.  The purpose of the bombings was to end the war and save lives, especially ours; it did exactly that.  There is no moral equivalent to terrorists or other aggressors.  The proof is in the aftermath, we did not kill anyone after surrender or enslave anyone or take over their lands.  Instead we helped them to rebuild and recover.

Winston Churchill frames the math, the battles otherwise would have cost millions in more lives lost - and left the enemy in possession of the weapon and perhaps the world.

Churchill:  The decision to use the atomic bomb was taken by President Truman and myself at Potsdam, and we approved the military plans to unchain the dread, pent-up forces. . .  There are voices which assert that the bomb should never have been used at all.  I cannot associate myself with such ideas.  Six years of total war have convinced most people that had the Germans or the Japanese discovered this new weapon, they would have used it upon us to our complete destruction with the utmost alacrity.  I am surprised that very worthy people, but people who in most cases had no intention of proceeding to the Japanese front themselves, should adopt the position that rather than throw this bomb, we should have sacrificed a million American, and a quarter of a million British lives in the desperate battles and massacres of an invasion of Japan.

Are those numbers above realistic?  Look at the lives lost in the war:

Japan had already lost 3.8% of its population in a war of choosing by their Emperor, not us.
The Allies lost nearly 48 million people, compared to fewer than 12 million people on the Axis side.
The reason is because the Axis targeted civilians, the Allies targeted military.
74 percent of Axis deaths were military personnel; only 29 percent of Allied deaths were.
Poland lost an estimated 16 percent of its population, about 5.5 million, around 3 million of whom were Jews.
The Soviet Union, which lost around 14 percent of its population.
Lithuania, Latvia, and Greece all lost between 11.2 and 13.7 percent.
Germany lost 9.4 percent. Thus the chief aggressor, and the loser, is in sixth place.
Italy, despite some horrific fighting there, didn’t make the top 20.
When the Allies (other than the Soviet Union) killed civilians they usually did so from the air. The purpose was to cripple the Axis’ industrial and war machines.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was different. Its purpose was to end the war more or less instantly. It succeeded.
It can’t be equated with the war on civilians waged by the Axis. The American goal was not to exterminate a race, to enslave anyone, to firm up occupation rule, or to replace one population with another.

Please see Bill Whittle:

Power User
Posts: 36590

« Reply #705 on: April 21, 2016, 08:54:57 PM »

By Ian Morris

No one, it seems, has a nice word to say about Donald Trump's foreign policy thinking.

Nearly every pundit on the planet has taken a swing at his confused and alarming pronouncements. More measured than most, The New York Times began cautiously suggesting that Trump's views "reflect little consideration for potential consequences," but soon hardened its line to denounce Trump's "completely unhinged view of international engagement" as "contradictory and shockingly ignorant." The Atlantic magazine agreed that Trump had "no understanding of the post-war international order," and The Washington Post joined the chorus, concluding that "Donald Trump's ignorance of government policy, both foreign and domestic, is breathtaking." NBC called Trump "completely uneducated about any part of the world," while CNN described him as "wholly unqualified to handle the real issues facing America." Newsweek magazine neatly summed up the consensus: "When it comes to foreign policy, Donald Trump, he's just saying stuff."

At least, this is the kind of thing the foreign policy crowd was saying until recently, but one consequence of this unusual unanimity among the talking heads was that it quickly became difficult for a journalist to get noticed merely by thinking up new ways to denigrate the Donald. Instead, a new attention-grabbing strategy emerged this month: Columnists began pretending to think they had found a method in Trump's madness. In her recent column in Foreign Policy, for instance, Rosa Brooks — while hardly pouring praise on Trump — suggested that beneath the surface bluster, "Trump is, to a great extent, nonetheless articulating a coherent vision of international relations and America's role in the world." CNN, flip-flopping on its earlier criticisms, has gone further, saying that "his opinions also reflect basic common sense."

What is Global Affairs?

Trump's rationalizers claim he is simply a foreign policy realist. Back in 1848, British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston famously said, "We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual friends … [only] our interests are eternal and perpetual." Similarly, the neo-Trumpians argue, the billionaire businessman is just taking a cold, hard look at the geopolitical facts — much as Stratfor tries to do — and consistently putting American interests first.

Of all the stuff Trump is just saying, the revisionists seem most impressed by his views on America's system of overseas alliances. "To Trump," Brooks concludes, "U.S. alliances, like potential business partners in a real-estate transaction, should always be asked: 'What have you done for me lately?'" If an old ally such as Saudi Arabia has no satisfactory answer, Trump proposes, the United States should stop buying its oil. Or if Japan will not pay more toward the costs of American forces in the Western Pacific, those forces should withdraw.

"The old cliches roll easily off the tongue: U.S. alliances and partnerships are vital … And so on," says Brooks; "But this is pure intellectual and ideological laziness." Brooks does not, however, join Fox News in concluding that "Donald Trump is 100 percent correct to insist that our allies should share the burden of collective defense." (They do, of course, already share the burden; Fox News presumably means they should pick up more of the burden.) Nor does she follow CNN's new line that "Washington should stop defending its prosperous, populous allies." Rather, she more thoughtfully observes, "Trump's vision of the world demands a serious, thoughtful and nondefensive response."
The Cost of Abandoning Allies

I want to try my hand at such a response. To my mind, Trump looks less like a realist than like a caricature of a realist, claiming to offer completely transactional international relations, stripped of conventional policymakers' wooly thinking. Realism, though, is not simply a matter of being unsentimental. It is about knowing when an appeal to tradition, values and loyalty will advance a nation's interests and when it will not.

In an earlier Global Affairs column, I mused that "Even the most Kissingerian of geopoliticians tend to recognize that values have a place in strategy (a good subject for a future column, perhaps) and that it is usually a mistake to sell out allies or walk away from deeply held beliefs to win a small advantage." These may be obvious points to make, but the friendships that the United States has built in the 70 years since the end of World War II are worth much more than their weight in gold, and few things will undermine American security quite so quickly as throwing them over for the sake of short-term gains.

Signaling to former allies that past favors, shared values or common struggles no longer count for anything, and that every interaction will now be weighed on the "What have you done for me lately?" scale, is a surefire method for raising the cost of doing business (something a businessman such as Trump presumably wants to avoid). Perhaps Washington can bully Saudi Arabia into doing more against the self-styled Islamic State; but will the gains from that deal offset the costs if the Saudis conclude they can no longer trust America to take the lead against rivals such as Iran?

There is a saying in Chicago that an honest politician is one who, when you buy him, stays bought. A new president who walks away from America's "friends" — however slippery and self-serving she or he might think that some of them are — will run the risk of relearning another old Chicago lesson: that the costs of being seen as a dishonest politician can be fatal.

Appealing to values is certainly not an alternative to cold geopolitical calculation. In what is probably the clearest case of a struggle between right and wrong, Britain and the United States consistently took the moral high ground against Germany and Japan in World War II. Both Western allies were liberal democracies, and neither ever attacked a neutral country (although Britain did consider invading Norway in 1940), herded prisoners of war and members of what they considered lesser races into death camps (although the United States did intern Japanese-Americans), or committed genocide (although the English-speaking Allies did collaborate in killing more than a million German and Japanese civilians in air raids). Germany and Japan (and, of course, the Soviet Union) were totalitarian dictatorships and did all these bad things; and yet despite the stark contrasts, few countries voluntarily joined the Western Allies before 1945, by which time it was clear that Germany and Japan were going to lose.

The truth of the matter is that values and calculation are not alternative approaches to foreign policy; they are always inextricably mixed.
A Balanced Strategy

This simple fact has been hardwired into us by evolution, because people whose genes predispose them to combine ethics and cold calculation in just the right way are more likely to pass their genes on to the next generation than those whose genes predispose them to act differently. Across the seven or eight million years since the evolutionary branch that led toward humans split off from that which led toward the other great apes, people have developed what biologists call an evolutionarily stable strategy — or equilibrium — balancing morality and self-interest.

Even before seven million years ago, however, the last common ancestor shared by all five species of African great apes (eastern and western gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos, and humans) already had its own stable strategies, and modern humans' nearest genetic kin — chimpanzees and bonobos — see diplomacy in ways that are similar to, just less sophisticated than, our own.

In 1975, the primatologist Frans de Waal began a six-year study of politics among the chimpanzees of the Netherlands' Arnhem zoo, and since the 1980s numerous scientists have confirmed his findings among wild populations in Africa. Chimpanzees and bonobos both have steep dominance hierarchies in which a handful of alpha individuals (mostly males among chimps, mostly females among bonobos) lead a larger community; and in both species, alliances do more than use brute force to determine power. Primates have evolved to be extremely good at recognizing one another, remembering favors and insults, and calculating whom they can rely on when the chips are down. In fact, one of the most influential theories in physical anthropology holds that the whole reason primate brains more than tripled in size across the three million years separating Australopithecines from us was that apes that kept track of their allies were more likely to pass their genes on to the next generation than those that didn't.

De Waal documented in meticulous detail just how deadly serious this game is. In 1980, two of the Arnhem chimpanzees, Yeroen and Nikkie, manipulated friendships and rivalries to isolate the alpha male, Luit. Only then, when Luit was quite without allies, did Yeroen and Nikkie turn to hard power to dethrone him. In a vicious nighttime attack, they slashed Luit to pieces, biting off his fingers and toes and tearing out his testicles. He bled to death. Within days a new alliance system had formed, in which Nikkie was the top ape and Yeroen was the power behind the throne.

Biology seems to show that you should never turn your back on a friend — unless the gains from doing so clearly outweigh the reputational costs of being known as a dishonest politician. The secret of success lies in being able to judge the costs and benefits accurately.

On the whole, American leaders since 1945 have done a good job at balancing values and calculation. It is probably no coincidence that in addition to having the greatest military and economic dominance in history since 1989, the United States has also led the greatest network of allies in history. The only country that could possibly compare, mid-19th-century Britain, in fact did not even come close to American levels of dominance on either count.

At the end of the day, the brouhaha over Trump's incoherent policy pronouncements is no more than a colorful illustration of a small part of a larger debate over the place of values in international relations. The real argument is not between Trumpian transactionalism and establishment sentimentality, because even self-conscious realists always have to factor idealism into their calculations. (Historian Niall Ferguson was quite right to subtitle the first volume of his recent biography of Henry Kissinger "the Idealist.") What matters is the most old-fashioned virtue of all — good judgment — something that neither candidate Trump nor those who claim to see coherence in his statements have so far displayed. There's no need for us to sink to just saying stuff.
Power User
Posts: 36590

« Reply #706 on: April 23, 2016, 12:39:23 PM »

This echoes themes I have been discussing here for quite some time and adds some more:
Power User
Posts: 36590

« Reply #707 on: April 27, 2016, 09:09:16 PM »
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