Sentences to ponder

Already, hundreds more American troops have been killed in Afghanistan during the less than three years of the Obama administration than during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.

Here is more.  I don’t think that “# of Americans killed” is a good final standard for right and wrong, still I believe many Americans would be shocked to see this comparison.


Wonder what the comparision is in "wars started by GWB" versus "wars started by BHO".

It's worse.

There are no benefits to us of BHO's wars whatsoever.

What were the benefits of Iraq war again?

Already one more Osama Bin Laden has been killed during the less than three years of the Obama administration than during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.

Bush wasn't focused on Afghanistan. He was focused on Iraq and the non-existent WMD (or on doing what his father didn't or on enriching Haliburton or whatever his motive was).



The estimates of dead Iraqis under the sanctions were half a million. Perhaps you don't remember but when Bin Laden declared war on all Americans, anywhere on the Globe, he cited the suffering of the Iraqis.

bin Laden was found by US intelligence and killed by the US military. Of all the heads, hands, and hearts that went into killing bin Laden, Zero's contribution was among the slightest. The guy or gal who fueled the helicopters did more work and faced more danger than Zero.

Have you been to Afghanistan? ISAF is a multinational effort. We were all "focused" on the battle with the Taliban and Al Qaeda all the time. The identity of the president didnt alter our operations or focus.

Kellogg, Brown, and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, became a wealthy company under Kennedy and Johnson during the Vietnam War and were awarded major contracts by NATO during the Balkan Wars under Clinton.

So you might want to rethink your position, or rather start thinking.

The identity of the president didn't alter our operations? Are you suffering from memory loss? The exact question of whether the president, if given information that OBL was hiding in Pakistan, would order a unilateral strike into Pakistan without informing them was brought up during the 2008 election. Obama said he'd do it, and McCain and Hillary attacked him for that position relentlessly.

So you might want to rethink your position, or rather start remembering.

The relevant issue was whether we were going to widen the war to include Pakistan, similar to the debate on whether to widen The Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia (for the same reasons).

I dont take proclamations by presidential candidates to mean anything. In a vacuum of information, it's all just hypotheticals. I have absolutely no doubt that any man or woman sitting in the Oval Office would have made that strike on bin Laden.

As for notifying the Pakistanis, your memory is deficient. After being criticized for brash statements he made in ignorance, Obama clarified his muddled position by saying, "if we have actionable intelligence about high value terrorist targets AND IF PRESIDENT MUSHARAF WILL NOT ACT, we will." Emphasis added.

A few days later, Obama repeated this: "With respect to Pakistan, I never said i would bomb Pakistan. What i said was that if we have actionable intelligence against bin Laden or other key al Qaeda officials and we...and Pakistan is unwilling or unable to strike against them, we should."

The statement that "Pakistan is unwilling or unable to strike" IMPLIES he intended to contact Pakistan first.

McCain's position was that we should not be telegraphing our position to bomb an allied nation, not that we should not do so if the situation demands it. The CIA was already bombing targets inside Pakistan at the time.

White House press secretary Tony Snow didnt comment on Obama's statements, but he said Bush was "keeping all options open if there's actionable intelligence."

Try reading some newspaper clippings at the time of the debates and not what's been spun lately on Daily Kos.

So you might want to remember correctly before you criticize someone for not remembering.

blah blah blah. The question is not whether any president would have ordered the strike, it's whether any president would have ordered it without informing Pakistan first. And there are probably lots of men and women who could have been sitting in the Oval Office who would have informed Pakistan, which potentially could have given OBL a chance to escape.

Obama also made the decision to send in the SEAL team rather than just bombing the complex, which was a lot riskier (see the contingency plan for engaging with Pakistani troops), but also allowed for full confirmation that we had actually gotten OBL and ultimately ended up being a lot better for us than the potential aftermath of bombing a city in Pakistan, despite the risks.

The bottom line is you're giving Obama what amounts to zero credit for this, and it makes you sound like an utter partisan hack. Though your other posts don't help a lot with that either.

Blah blah blah. The question is how much credit a president...ANY PRESIDENT...deserves for killing one enemy leader. The correct answer, in all but a few cases, is zero.

I already quoted Obama for you twice stating that he would have informed Pakistan first. How would he know whether Pakistan was unwilling or unable to strike unless he was in communication with them about the strike?

It goes to show that cheap talk as a candidate is meaningless.

A janitor from Hoboken could have made the decision to send in the SEAL team rather than a bomb, given that we wanted PROOF of his death and to protect nearby sensitive buildings. There were at least five hospitals in the vicinity. But a bomb wouldnt have been a horrible choice either.

The bottom line is that Obama contributed precisely ZERO ideas or efforts to kill bin Laden, but he wasted no time claiming credit for it. Had i been president, i would have given full credit to the operators, but then Ive been a soldier in combat and Obama hasnt. He "considered" joining the military once, briefly between cocaine experiments.

Your convenient dismissal of quotes i bothered to look up for you to refresh your memory demonstrates you are the partisan hack here, rejecting reality and substituting your delusions.


Would you have said the same things if we'd been talking about Bush taking credit for killing Saddam Hussein?

Sure, Obama is doing the Bush doctrine a little kinder and gentler, but he's still willing to screw the pooch by doing drone attacks in Pakistan.

News flash, there are no real "high value" targets in either country.

This shows that it is not a Democrat versus Republican false dichotomy, it is about being stupid and inconsistent versus being smart and sticking to a consistent set of policies based on principle.

Start here - don't attack other countries without clear and significant benefits and only when they pose an actual threat.

'I dont take proclamations by presidential candidates to mean anything.'
How about presidents? '"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."' - G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

"I am truly not that concerned about him."
- G.W. Bush, responding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts,

A Texas oil man always keeps his eyes on one thing. And that isn't some terrorist leader who is considered responsible for killing thousands of Americans. One presidential candidate who became president said his priority was to kill Osama, and under his administration, Osama was killed.

Another president, who was in office when thousands of Americans were killed, said the quoted text above, and of course, his administration did not kill Osama.

It seems, well, uninformed, to think that the commander in chief has no influence on commanding America's armed forces. As the difference in stated goals demonstrates, when compared to results.


I said exactly the same thing about Saddam. I think i was quite clear about not giving presidents too much credit for anything, including killing bad guys or creating jobs. I dont believe the lie of the Imperious President.

Before FDR, most Americans barely knew their president existed in their daily lives. Lincoln was probably the only president other than FDR whose policies, for ill or good, had broad reaching impact.

America is a monument to its people, not its presidents.


Did killing Osama change anything? War's over?

Did the CIA, FBI, NSA, et al ever stop looking for OBL under Bush?

No, the pronouncements mean nothing. What's happening is what matters.

@Mike - you wrote this 'Blah blah blah. The question is how much credit a president…ANY PRESIDENT…deserves for killing one enemy leader.' and this 'I dont take proclamations by presidential candidates to mean anything. In a vacuum of information, it’s all just hypotheticals. I have absolutely no doubt that any man or woman sitting in the Oval Office would have made that strike on bin Laden.'

When facts are presented that demonstrate those statement can easily be disproved by simply pointing to real events and real statements from real people, your response is to again repeat the same basic nonsense -'No, the pronouncements mean nothing. What’s happening is what matters.'

What happened is that under one commander in chief of America's armed forces, in that commander in chief's own words, finding out where Osama was, a fundamental prerequisite to killing or capturing him, was not a priority of the man who is the executive in charge of the CIA and FBI, and the commander in chief of the NSA, which is part of the military. Did they stop looking? No - but did their then boss care? According to him, he didn't.

Then another man assumed the position of commander in chief, a man whose stated goal was to find and kill Osama. A goal that was achieved.

Did it make a difference? I don't care, actually - but the reality is, one man said he didn't care, and achieved no results, while another man said he did care, and achieved results.

It really doesn't get any more simple than that. Good luck trying to shift the goalposts around again.

Our politicians are stupid, evil warmongering fucks. It was good to hear Ron Paul basically say that the other night. He may be the only non stupid, evil warmongering fuck in Washington.

David nails it - Obama nailed Osama, while Bush kept his eyes focussed on the thing that has always marked a Texan oil man.

Why just Afghanistan? Let's count the total war casualties and then compare.

More than than would be shocked that you believe we should trust a failed opinion page that was refuted in it's own assertion, and again in trading?

Doubling down is probably your best bet now, but... the wrong horse, when you're riding against the smart people probably chafes.

To be not-off-topic, why? America wants these wars. We've been doing it for, depending on how you count, 50 or so years. We seem to li ke purchasing them. Why would it be strange for a Democrat to offer a crowd pleaser?

>I believe many Americans would be shocked to see this comparison.

Well, yeah. Who would tell them these things? The media? Sorry, they are too busy working on getting Obama re-elected. Doesn't fit the narrative, I'm afraid.

And as for "Bush was focused on Iraq" -- yeah, right. Like most tired DNC Talking Points, people blurt them out without even noticing they don't make the slightest bit of sense. Maybe if we could get Barry to "focus" on Iraq like GWB did, the US corpses in Afghanistan wouldn't be piling up so rapidly? Is that how it works?

Uh, the US corpses would piling up in Iraq.

Are you contradicting the claim that Bush was focused on Iraq? Or justifying the focus?

Bush was properly focused on both wars. The relative number of American forces in the two wars does not take into axcount the efforts of multinational forces or the relative capabilities of our enemies.

Dont you find it amusing that before he became president, Obama was calling Afghanistan the "central front" of the War on Terrorism, and after he became president, he dropped the "War on Terrorism" moniker altogether.

The "central front" of a war on an international terrorist network is everywhere they are operating.

The same guy, Ira Stoll, makes a similar comparison for Iraq during the first three years of the two administrations, conveniently ignoring the fact that the Iraq War did not start until March, 2003, more than two years into the Bush Administration.

In fact, from March 2003-Sep 2005 the US had over 1900 deaths in Iraq, while from Jan 2009 thru July 2011, we had about 250. So even ignoring Afghanistan casualties many more US soldiers died under Bush during the equivalent period than under Obama.

Stoll is being dishonest, Tyler, and it's beneath you to cite him.

By the way, I meant, "even ignoring Afghanistan casualties under Bush."

More to this point:
* Total US casualties in Iraq from the start of the war to 1/20/2009: 4,232.
* Total US casualties in Iraq since 1/20/2009: 246.

Total US casualties incurred in the war completely unrelated to its claimed purpose: all of them.

I think it's hypocritical. Liberals say they want to avoid violence by supporting democracy at home, but suddenly become willing to interfere with other nations for no good reason, causing massive destruction in the world. I think much of the resentment against the ME has been because the US has supported governments that the people in those regions don't like, which acts as a rallying call for Islamic extremists.

There has always been somewhat of a consistency in liberal/conservative foreign policy, although Iraq was a bit of a departure in that it was a massive invasion based on preventive war with no attack on the US to speak of.

I don't see how any of the wars against South America, Indochina, or the ME were at all defensible and historians will likely look back at those acts of aggression the same way we look at the ill-treatment of the Indians today.

Yeah, allowing evil dictators to grow, fester, murder, and oppress unopposed will be viewed by historians as the more prudent option.

"a good final standard for right and wrong": what's that got to do with the price of fish?

The war in Afghahistan - that is, the war of occupation as distinct from, say, a quick punitive expedition - is undoubtedly wrong, at least in the sense of wrong-headed: it's a fool's errand.

The major criticism of the conduct of the Iraq War is that Bush didnt do enough to stabilize the nation after major combat operations. Now the criticism of Afghanistan is that we're doing too much?

Do you really think Americans expected the war to last 10 years? Do you think that's what Bush sold?

Do you think Eric Shinseki got fired for predicting this?

Shineseki was not fired you fool. He left his position at the end of his four year term. Only two generals in our history have ever served as CSA longer than four years: MacArthur (5 yrs) and Marshall (6 yrs). Obciously, Marshall was extended because of WWII.

Shinseki never predicted how long we would be in Iraq. How do you people make this stuff up? The testimony is on YouTube if you care to look it up.

Shinseki was called to testify on other matters when Senator Levin ambushed him. Levin asked how many troops we would need for post-war stabilization, and Shinseki correctly tried to defer to his ground forces commanders for an estimate based on their needs. But Levin pushed the issue for a range of troops, and Shinseki said, on the order of what we currently have mobilized to this point...several hundred thousand. When Levin asked what effect that would have on readiness, Shinseki said that if it was for a prolonged period and IF the Army was in it alone, the effect would be significant. He suggested we needed the support of our allies.

This small, vague response has been aggrandized into some prescient prediction and dire warning. Shinseki wasnt testifying on the Iraq War and wasnt prepared to answer questions about it. He did no analysis. He simply pulled a vague number out of his ass.

This testimony was four months before his pre-planned retirement, but you people have tried to spin it into some form of retribution.

Do you think Americans expected to have forces permanently stationed in Germany, Japan, or Korea when we entered those wars? I dont think so.

Dont talk to me about expectations. My Stryker unit was the one extended in Iraq after our advance party had already returned to Ft. Wainwright. We had mainly a COIN role for the remainder of our tour, fighting in Baghdad.

Maybe it wasnt so smart to deactivate two Active Army divisions during the 1990s under Clinton.

You got it. They can't criticize the exercise, only the execution. Both the criticized and the official type criticizers are idiots.


You are also setting up a false contradiction.

Afghanistan: It's basically ungovernable. That's a good reason not to invade for two reasons. First is the obvious. Second, we can't keep the insurgents down, and yet we expected this from the Taliban. It's asinine.

Iraq: It actually was being governed by Saddam. That's a good reason not to invade.

So yes, the opposite critique can make sense in both cases. Not that it does, but it could.

Ungovernable? Democracy is only suitable for caucasian anglo-saxons? I think we said the same thing about Japan after WWII.

So Iraq was "governed" by Saddam. Is that the new euphemism for murder and oppression?

Drive-by governing.

Why not get the Republicans complaining about this. The Obama could withdraw without the cut and run complaints. Ending those wars (and their endless off-budget appropriations) would go a long way towards reducing the deficit too.

What!? I thought we left Afghanistan 2 years ago!

Now I bet you're going to tell me that the Patriot Act was re-authorized.

Well, at least we got out of Iraq. Obama can't do everything, y'know.

Duh! The tired old WMD gambit ... EVERY SINGLE SIGNIFICANT Democrat in Congress voted to support the Iraq War using the same intellegence that Bush used. Please update your inanity.

You mean it's their fault because they thought Bush's intelligence was reliable, rather than being ginned up to support the war?

It wasnt "Bush's intelligence." it was intelligence gathered by the entire US intelligence community and those of our allies. Every major democrat firmly believed Iraq possessed WMD through the beginning of the war, and they said so in public statements. Bill Clinton expressed support for the war 1 year into it, even after no significant WMD was found.

The question isnt whether Iraq had WMD. The question is what they did with the WMD we know they had. They didnt destroy it because they didnt have the capabilities, and they never provided proof required by UNMOVIC or UNSCOM. There were a large number of reasons for invading Iraq in the Joint Authorization, and not all of them were related to WMD.

I didn't. I was right.

You didnt have any information on which to base an intelligent opinion. You might as well have flipped a coin, and i dont give you any credit for correctly calling "heads."

Iraq was REQUIRED to prove they had destroyed their WMD, and they did not do so. They were required to fully cooperate with UNSCOM and UNMOVIC and they did not do so.

How do you prove you dont have WMD? Unfettered inspections, invitations to witness destruction, and presentation of debris and residuals to prove destruction.

The only thing not finding WMD proved is that it is unaccounted for.

This is a bunch of lies. Iraq was disarmed up to 90% by the late 1990s and Saddam was barely in control of a third of the country. And, furthermore, the intelligence agencies and UNSCOM knew that Saddam never had the capacity to develop Weapons of Mass destruction. Not even Bush himself was convinced by the argument. You're just making things up.

"Iraq was REQUIRED to prove they had destroyed their WMD, and they did not do so. They were required to fully cooperate with UNSCOM and UNMOVIC and they did not do so."

This is also a lie. The US ordered the inspectors out. They were not forced out. Furthermore, everything was inspected, but when you require someone to prove they don't have something you've built into the process the concept of proving a negative and that can never happen.

We see conservatives can't understand third grade logic.

"The empty hand has nothing to give."

Are you Baghdad Bob?

Iraq had the burden of proof in the destruction of their WMD. UNSCOM and UNMOVIC made this point repeatedly as Iraq tried unsuccessfuly to claim that because those authorities had found nothing, there was nothing to find.

Read this report. Save some time and go straight to the conclusions. #69 refers to the burden of proof:

The report describes the commission's work as mostly complete with respect to MISSILES, but not with respect to biological agents or nerve agents. The report is dated October 1998, or "the late 1990s" if you prefer. This was the last report before the UNSC disbanded UNSCOM because of Iraqi objections, obfuscation, and noncooperation.

The Iraq Liberation Act stated clearly that Iraq ceased cooperation with UNSCOM on August 5, 1998. Contrary to your mischaracterization, the Act did not "forbid" force, it stated that nothing in the act could be construed to authorize the use of force in its implementation for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power:

That authorization came later in the Joint Authorizarion for the Use of Force in Iraq.

Democrats did NOT state that Iraq "might" have WMD. They stated emphaically that it DID have WMD:

Nice try.

"Read this report. Save some time and go straight to the conclusions. #69 refers to the burden of proof:"

That's not what it says. It says that if Iraq asked the commission to prove that they had nuclear weapons they wouldn't be able to do so without the disclosure that only Iraq can make. In any case that document is irrelevant because only the Security Council can authorize the use of force under International Law.

Furthermore, those UN inspectors' reports in October and December 1998 show that they eliminated all of Iraq's nuclear program and most chemical and biological programs. [1]

You just made up your own language (or probably from a book by Sean Hannity you read) and applied it here.

"The Iraq Liberation Act stated clearly that Iraq ceased cooperation with UNSCOM on August 5, 1998. Contrary to your mischaracterization, the Act did not “forbid” force, it stated that nothing in the act could be construed to authorize the use of force in its implementation for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power:"

Yes, which fits in with Clinton's policy of containment and it forbade the use of military force by the President against Saddam Hussein. That's exactly what I said.

"Democrats did NOT state that Iraq “might” have WMD. They stated emphaically that it DID have WMD:"

Those quotes refer to the capacity of Saddam to develop nuclear weapons, his holding of some chemical weapons (most of which had a shelf-life of only a few years and would have been expired), and so on. None of them state that Iraq actually had nuclear weapons, which is what people refer to when they say that Bush lied about the Iraq War, and in fact say that Saddam might have nuclear weapons in five years, contrary to Bush propaganda about a "smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

The entire point is irrelevant anyway as, as I said, Iraq had been disarmed up to 95% in the late 90s by UNSCOM weapons inspectors and this fact was told to Bush by his own CIA. And they were not kicked out prior to Operation Desert Fox, they were ordered out because the US claimed they weren't cooperating even though the US had no evidence that was hiding anything at all.

George W. Bush had every intention to invade Iraq before and immediately after 9-11. They even floated trial balloons suggesting Al-Qaeda suggesting that Al-Qaeda might be regrouping in Somalia and thus we need to invade (in fact they started patrolling the sea lanes in November, 2001, but the idea didn't go over well given that it didn't work well the last time), Sudan, and even Yemen, [2] until they settled on Iraq by deceiving the public that Al-Qaeda could be stopped by killing Saddam Hussein. Of course, they knew that Saddam wasn't a threat to anybody. Why else would they delay the war from January 2003 until March of 2003 just for Tony Blair because Blair asked bush to seek a second resolution from the UN, even though "time was supposedly not on our side"?

And why would they present false evidence such as the Niger documents if "everybody already knew that Iraq had WMD?" In October for a speech Bush gave in Cincinnati a few months before his State of the Union address where he made that argument, our own CIA said the intelligence wasn’t good enough and not to use it in his speeches. He didn't use it, in Cincinnati, but he gave the impression that the documents were real in his State of the Union address a few months later. When Condoleezza Rice was asked about this on Meet the Press, she said it wasn't that "it got back in," it was that, three month's later, "people didn't remember." [3] The Niger documents are interesting, because they appeared genuine at first, but on further inspection they found that several French words were misspelled, and dates didn't even match the day of the week.[4] Bush tried to blame everybody, from George Tenet (who told him not to put them in his speeches), and then Condoleezza Rice's deputy, Stephen Hadley, tried to claim that it was he who approved the languages in Bush's January address. Finally, in a rare press conference on July 30, he admitted it was his own fault for having spoken the words. There were never any chemical weapons in the facility that Colin Powell presented and showed to the U.N. in is speech. UNSCOM inspectors had inspected it numerous times, and the inspections were going on all the way until Bush launched his war against Iraq. To believe the photos are proof is to believe that Iraq would put its crown Jewels in one of the few places that the United States would bomb first, or that the U.N weapons inspectors would go to first.

They also lied about Hussein Kamal, as someone who was a defector who had given them information for the whereabouts of WMDs. Kamal also said, and he was in charge of the bio, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs, at his command, that all these things had been destroyed in 1991, "I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missiles, nuclear were destroyed." [5]

Bush also completely made up the connection between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.

So you have an enormous propaganda campaign that was timed to the offset of the congressional elections, and proof that Bush wanted to invade. It had nothing to do with old 1991 resolutions that are expired or any fear of Iraq, and, in fact, was highly illegal according to international law.

You're another Libertarian who is interested in rewriting history.

[1], AND


[3 ]



The Clinton administration policy was one of containment and the Iraq Liberation Act specifically forbade the use of force. Democrats stated that they thought he might have had them, but since Bush was plugging away with lies they voted to support the war for fear of losing their elections.

There was no legal reason to invade Iraq.

Iraq violated the 1991 cease fire agreement. That alone was sufficiently "legal" reason to invade Iraq.

UNSCR 678, 687, and 1441 were the authorizations, but the US does not need UN permission to go to war.

Congress authorized President Bush to go to war in the Joint Authorization.

"Mike" writes: " "Iraq violated the 1991 cease fire agreement. That alone was sufficiently “legal” reason to invade Iraq."

No it isn't. And in fact, Iraq offered up a peace treaty in 1991 that the US rejected. And he only violated the peace fire agreement after he misunderstood US orders about the border.

There were plenty of lies about that war too, such as the baby incubators and about it being to defend Kuwaiti democracy and so on, even though the monarchy retained power. If the US is so interested in helping the world, why not focus on other hot spots instead of Iraq, and why even give funding and aid to Iraq in the first place?

Certainly 1991 was irrelevant to international peace in 2003.

"UNSCR 678, 687, and 1441 were the authorizations, but the US does not need UN permission to go to war."

All of the relevant UN documents were expired by them. Furthermore, you are obviously not a scholar in international law. The decision to respond to a threat to international security lies solely with the Security Council, not with the US or the congress. The UN charter specifically prohibits the use and the threat of force by a state that is not a victim of armed attack. That means when an army is launching an attack in visible form by crossing an international boundary, and when necessary action is "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." It doesn't mean "preemptive war," i.e., war in which a country launches an attack based on a perceived threat in the future.

"Congress authorized President Bush to go to war in the Joint Authorization."

In violation of the Constitution because Article VI, section 2 states: "all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land." This would apply to the UN charter.

It's not the United States job or duty to go around enforcing international law for the world, and in fact, the war was an illegal act by the United States (which has vetoed more UN resolutions than any other country since the 70s), an aggressive country that has killed millions in unnecessary wars.

Bush talked about how "god was on our side," and we were justified in our invasion because of it.

Perhaps little Bushy and little Mikey should read political science (international relations) and learn a little bit about Hans J. Morgenthau. He puts condemns such blasphemous statements far more eloquently than I ever could:

"All nations are tempted -- and few have been able to resist the temptation for long -- to clothe their own particular aspirations and actions in the moral purposes of the universe. To know that nations are subject to the moral law is one thing, while to pretend to know with certainty what is good and evil in the relations among nations is quote another. There is a world of difference between the belief that all nations stand under the judgment of God inscrutable to the human mind, and the blasphemous conviction that God is always on one's side and that what one wills oneself cannot fail to be willed by God also.

The lighthearted equation between a particular nationalism and the counsels of Providence is morally indefensible, for it is that very sin of pride against which the Greek tragedians and the Biblical prophets have warned rulers and ruled. That equation is also politically pernicious, for it is liable to engender the distortion in judgment which, in the blindness of crusading frenzy, destroys nations and civilizations -- in the name of moral principle, ideal or God himself."

Here's further proof that this Libertarian chickenhawk doesn't know what he's talking about: SANCTIONS ACTUALLY DID SEVERELY WEAKEN SADDAM:

"The failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has prompted much handwringing over the problems with prewar intelligence. Too little attention has been paid, however, to the flip slide of the picture: that the much-maligned UN-enforced sanctions regime actually worked. Contrary to what critics have said, we now know that containment helped destroy Saddam Hussein's war machine and his capacity to produce weapons."

Even though the sanctions were brutal, Saddam was severely weakened by them, and by inspectors who had disarmed Iraq. The propaganda campaign was an attempt to revise history like little Mikey is doing.

I'm sure if we had a decent media they could have interviewed real foreign policy experts, former UNSCOM inspectors (such as Scott Ritter), and international relations professors, instead of the current military and elite sources. That's an example of one of the five filters in the media (see Herman-Chomsky): elite sourcing. Just another proof that the propaganda-model for the mainstream media is highly accurate, and highly supported.

'That alone was sufficiently “legal” reason to invade Iraq.'

Jesus, you war cheerleaders just won't let it rest. It was a stupid war. Period. We were sold that it would be short, cheap and WMD would be found. None of those things came to pass.

Oh, and no one told us the winner would be Iran.


Because I did not accept the bullshit reason to go to war and REQUIRED proof of threat rather than people wanting to go to war promises.

I was right.

You can create all kinds of tripwires that someone can say justifies war. This practice is stupid, and even stupider is following up on them because you "have to" when the people who want war are only using UN justification and other tripwires when it suits them.

I don't think number of deaths shows the overall problem here which is Obama's total lack of direction. I mean, he got his props for getting Bin Laden but whoever thinks this was 100% his doing is just a partisan. Bush tried as hard as Obama to get him and the info that got us to OBL was in part collected during the Bush era.

But going back to the lack of direction: Obama told us he would end the 2 wars. He has not done that in either case. Iraq was already 'stable' when he took power and he is drawing back troops at a rate that feels exactly the same as Bush or McCain would do. He did send more troops to Afghanistan but apparently not nearly enough and he is already talking about leaving without really accomplishing anything.

And just for kicks he started a 3rd front that is somewhat innocuous but still is what it is: another war. And for all his criticism of Bush's policies he was even less transparent with the Lybia deal (Bush might have lied but he got congress to go along; Obama simply bypassed congress).

What? You folks didn't know that combat fatalities had increased five-fold under a 'surge' destined to fail because the smartest President ever announced the end date? Did any of you know that the DoD told the smartest President ever that Libya wouldn't work and he ordered them in nonetheless? The smartest President ever does NOT listen - not to DoD, DoJ, his own economic team or even his Chief of Staff. If you want some really scary stats go and look at the suicide rates in the Army, and then look at the National Guard. He is killing them. Thanks, voters!

is it really that clever to attract the polittrolls of the world for this topic on this website?

The “# of Americans killed” is a not good final standard for right and wrong, but it is what people use in deciding if the gains from a war is worth the cost. Bush got in trouble because people did not think we had enough reason to invade Iraq to justify the cost, but most people know that Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan. There is no reason the think that there would have been large anti war protest if the death rate there had been as high under Bush as they have been under Obama.

For pete's sake. How out of context is this? Obama CAMPAIGNED on getting us out of Iraq and moving troops into Afghanistan. The premise, which was fairly popular among no Bushies (which was most of the country at that point) was that Afghanistan was the home of the Taliban and the real threat to American security. Iraq was a fake-out sideshow.
Bush let Afghanistan get out of hand by removing troops and never fully supporting the efforts there. Obama intended to bring some order there. It may not have worked, but don't pretend the premise never had a lot of support or that the result of more casualties should somehow be surprising. That's called intellectual honesty.

The Taliban were never a threat to the US. They care only about local power. The Taliban aided bin Laden out of mutual support, but Mullah Omar never fully trusted bin Laden.

With Al Qaeda destroyed, the entire war in Afghanistan is about security and stability for the region, not hunting down threats to the US.

Obama's campaign statements were talking points and platitudes. Neither he nor anyone on his team had any idea what they were talking about with respect to the wars, much less a coherent strategy to withdraw or secure victory. His position was best described as "anti-Bush" which suits you rather well.

You lack both intellect and honesty as well as experience.

Ok, so the US was after Al Queda. Al Queada leadership was hiding in Afghanistan, guests of the Taliban. The hunting down of threats seems clear enough to me.


From where you stand, it isn't that far to where I stand. Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was never a threat to us. They were a convenient nail to a government that only had a tack hammer.

No, we're not really far apart Andrew'

I served in OEF. My job didnt take me outside the wire very much. I agree with you from what ive heard from friends there now that there's not much more we can do. But ultimately i think going in was the right thing to do and democracy will eventually take hold there.

Afghanistan has a far better chance of success than Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Iran, etc.

US fatalities per year (Afghanistan + Iraq, from

2001 - 12
2002 - 49
2003 - 534
2004 - 901
2005 - 945
2006 - 920
2007 - 1021
2008 - 469
2009 - 466
2010 - 559
2011 - 336

(Trying to fix the formatting)

2001 - 12
2002 - 49
2003 - 534
2004 - 901
2005 - 945
2006 - 920
2007 - 1021
2008 - 469
2009 - 466
2010 - 559
2011 - 336

2001 - 12

2002 - 49

2003 - 534

2004 - 901

2005 - 945

2006 - 920

2007 - 1021

2008 - 469

2009 - 466

2010 - 559

2011 - 336

What this proves is that the's of the world never cared about the wars and the military soldiers that died. They used the military soldiers like a $2 wh0r3s to get Obama Messiah elected. Afterwards, Cindy Sheehan and the less than 10,000 people that actually cared about the wars and the military soldiers that died got thrown under the bus.

What the f*** are you talking about?

Is it Obama or's fault that the pusillanimous pussyfooting bedwetters in congress forbid closing Guantanamo? Whose fault is it that when Obama announces a timeline for a pullout all the chickenhawks suddenly appear to start yelling about how that's not a strategy for "victory"? Whose fault is that when he agrees to US involvement to air support for the Libyan rebels, he gets assaulted for not "leading"? (God forbid the French should be leaders on something!) Every positive thing Obama has tried to do gets him savaged by the right wing, even if it's mostly their ideas (or at least ideas that were theirs until Obama said favorable things about them)?

What are you and all the other trolls here talking about?

Yes, everybody is a troll except for you. What is his strategy for the ME? He is the President, he needs to have a strategy for the most vital region of the world. From what has transpired it appears that Bush diagnosed the problem correctly ( a lack of accountability from leaders aka democracy) but Obama has ended what Bush was trying to do. He cut the funding for democracy promotion 50%! Now the entire place is going up and we don't appear to have a plan. What is his strategy?

The Dems had control of the House, Senate, and Executive branch for 2 years and did jack sh&t. Maybe if you pulled your head out of your a$$ you would realize there is no difference between D's and R's when it comes to what they DO. Talk is cheap and is the only place the two differ.

Sentence to ponder #1

If Rossi's LENR is 1/5 as good as its verified experiments, there will be no economic reason for the US to be in Iraq or Afghan....

Sentence to ponder #2.

Within a year the science of saturation macroeconomics will be on the same footing with physics, chemistry, and biology.

Death counts are morbid and treasonous ways to measure a war, but if you are going to do that, the proper way is to count the number of deaths or casualties per soldier-day served. Iraq and Afghanistan are the least bloody major wars we've ever fought.

Again, lets stop this business of the "Imperial President." Neither Obama or Bush are personally responsible for any soldier deaths, not even when their specific orders resulted in those deaths - even in an imperfect decision.

"He purposes not their deaths when he purposes their services."

The enemy killed our soldiers, not the president and not war.

But it is highly instructive that the grim body counts in the media came to a complete stop once Obama became president. When Bush was president, the media was leading with bleeding.

I move that invocation of treason be added to Godwin's law.


"The enemy killed our soldiers, not the president and not war."

Not really in the case of elective wars.

Incidentally, I do think the military should be given an extra vote on war. But I think they should be given a veto vote rather than an extra "go" vote.

So treason has ceased to exist as a crime?

Whats treasonous about a death count?

"I don’t think that “# of Americans killed” is a good final standard for right and wrong"

It's as good as any I could think of.

So we have at least 400,000 reasons not to have entered World War II?

It's funny how people who oppose a war are acutely aware of the costs, exagerate them, and double count them, but they seem not even slightly aware of the benefits.

Youve always struck me as someone who prizes liberty, Andrew', and im surprised you dont value the liberty of others or recognize the costs to attain or maintain liberty. Isolationism may run with American libertarianism, but inappropriately so. Rights are something all men are born with, not just those lucky enough to be born within borders that respect those rights.

De oppresso liber!

Rights are something all men are born with, not just those lucky enough to be born within borders that respect those rights.

Interesting. I'd love to hear your views on immigration.

Generally supportive, but not in violation of our laws. Dont confuse rights and liberty with doing any damned thing you please. States still have an interest in controlling movement through their borders. It seems the US is the only country criticized for doing so.

Ever wonder what happens to illegal immigrants in Mexico?

Oh, I'm no Mexican apologist. They probably are worse than the US.

I was just exploring if you'd be willing to stretch the rights of non-Americans rhetoric if it impacted on, say, immigration. Admitting that the privilege of a nice western-world "rent" being a quirk of fate is a good start, though.

"So we have at least 400,000 reasons not to have entered World War II?"

Of course. That's not all of course. You can also say it is about the costs AND the benefits and the deaths are a cost and how many people you survive the war with are one of the benefits. But I'm not 100% utilitarian on war either, so the deaths are special.

We've lost more people in foreign wars than in any terrorist attacks ever, so maybe the benefits of these wars of aggression can you explain to me exactly what the benefit is?

Deaths are a pretty good proxy for the cost of war, and conveniently they are also a good indicator of whether or not you won or lost the war.

It may not be everything, but it's damn big, and if you needed just one indicator, that's what I'd choose.

This is the most braindead collection of comments I've seen on MR in a long time.


I have refuted the little Libertarian chickenhawk's points in this thread with actual sources, quotes from international relations scholars, and a link to foreign policy magazine.

That has turned the thread into one of the most scholarly collection of comments on MR in a long time.

I enjoyed reading your comments.

I did however think you oversold the role of the Security Council in legalizing the use of force. Collective self-defense is authorized (article 51) and it isn't specific about time frames, There are other legal arguments that people have made about other legal justification for the use of force, and in any case their is no real adjudicating body to interpret international law, so I don't know how we can sort out what international law really means.

I'm also not sure that the delegation of the authorization of the use of force to the UN works in the way you suggest. My impression is that there is serious dispute if congress can fully delegate by treaty powers reserved in the constitution for congress.

That UN Charter crap was stale the first time we heard it. No nation has become obliged to seek the UNs permission to go to war, certainly not the US. Funny how Pelosi, Reid, and Obama didnt hold immediate trials for the unjust, illegal, and immoral wars when they held power.

Our government has not and could not abrogate its power to wage war to an international body consisting of enemy nations and those with divergent interests. Russia, France, and China were the top three arms salesmen to Iraq, and Russia and France had signed contracts with Iraq to exploit oil resources after sanctions were lifted.

Answer me this: if Iraq had been in compliance with UN resolutions, then the proper response in 2003 would be to lift sanctions, yes? So where does your "containment" go?

You’ve refuted nothing. You've only drawn from your faulty memory of Scott Ritter's rants. The man resigned from UNSCOM in 1998 precisely because of Iraq's non-cooperation and the UN's unwillingness to enforce disarmament of Iraq. He stated in 1999 that Iraq maintained WMD and the capabiltiy to produce more. In 2003, years after he had no access to additional information, he reversed claims he had previously made. He is a pathetic man who lashed out against people he thought had betrayed him and his innate greatness. Ultimately he was sent to jail on child pornography charges.

I linked to actual UNSCOM reports and UNSC resolutions and quotes from democrats. You link to pointy headed left wing scholars and you think you have an advanced understanding of matters? Youve digested only information that supports your preconceived notions. I live in the real world, not the ivory tower of cloistered pontificators.

The UN resolutions had not expired. In 2003, UNSCR 1441 invoked the very resolutions you claim expired! Did the UNSC suddenly forget that their previous resolutions expired? Maybe you should have flown to New York to tell them.

I didnt misinterpret anything. UNSCOM stated quite clearly in the Sixth Report that Iraq attempted to shift the onus onto UNSCOM to verify reports issued by Iraq rather than have Iraq provide evidence for the reports and disclosures it had made. It also stated clearly that they had not completely destroyed their biological and chemical weapons capabilities. Iraq never possessed the capabiltiy to destroy its stockpiles of VX nerve agent. They never provided the residue from neutralizing it. That residue could easily be transformed back into VX.

The results of this report not only culminated in Ritter's resignation, but also the Iraq Liberation Act and Operation Desert Fox. The Clinton Administration asked UNSCOM to leave for their own safety. At that point Iraq was no longer in compliance, and further attempts at inspections would be fruitless. Operation Desert Fox claimed to have degraded WMD capabilities, but only 13% of the strike packages were aimed at such facilities. The operation destroyed mostly air defense capabilities.

Who said Im libertarian? And i served in both OEF and OIF. You're the chicken and liar here.

Hmm...You say you aren't libertarian; and obviously you don't sound like a hippie, pacifist, left-winger etc. Doubt you are a communist either nor an anarchist.

Out of curiosity, what's your pigeonhole?

"No nation has become obliged to seek the UNs permission to go to war,"

What was used to justify the use of force?

Now only people who are veterans aren't cowards and liars? Why not active duty then?

Come on man.

One main reason I didn't consider the military is because of how the government is abusing it, not because I'm afraid of any bullshit. We are all going to die. I'm most of all afraid of dying in a negative return investment.

Linking to a UN resolution doesn't prove anything if the interpretation is wrong and the history is incorrect. Understanding context and expert opinion is important. The only UN resolution that authorized the use of force was Resolution 678. That authorization, however, was terminated in the early 1990s with the ceasefire. Resolution 686 refers to Resolution 678 and makes it clear that it is to be valid only temporarily. The UN had rejected US efforts to authorize force if Iraq failed to comply with the provisions of the ceasefire. Generally, UN resolutions that support the use of force expire once there is a cease-fire. "Despite the general terms of paragraph 1, the history and text of the cease-fire resolutions clearly show that the Resolution 678 authorization to use force expired with the conclusion of the permanent cease-fire. " [1] What this means is that the resolution is still valid but the use of force is not without authorization from the Security Council. Resolutions 706 and 712 expired in 1992. [2]

Even if we take this argument seriously, resolution 678 does not say that states can act unilaterally to implement its measures. And even if it did, it is up to the Security Council itself, NOT individual members, to determine exactly how Security Council resolutions are enforced. [3] As I said, the UN had rejected the argument that the resolutions from the early 1990s provided justification for continued intervention, such as on Dec. 16, 1998. "That day, U.S. and British warplanes launched air strikes against Iraq after learning that Iraq was continuing to impede the work of UNSCOM, the weapons inspectors sent to Iraq at the close of the Gulf War, and thus was not in compliance with Resolution 687." [4]

Here is a further analysis of this rather pathetic argument provided:
... US and UK officials have argued that existing UN Security Council resolutions related to the first Gulf War and the subsequent ceasefire (660, 678), and to later inspections of Iraqi weapons programs (1441), had already authorized the invasion. Critics of the invasion have challenged both of these assertions, arguing that an additional Security Council resolution, which the US and UK failed to obtain, would have been necessary to specifically authorize the invasion....

No UN member has brought this issue of the war's legality before the Security Council and no nation-member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has expressed the desire to have the ICC rule on the war's legality....The UN Security Council, as outlined in Article 39 of the UN Charter, has the ability to rule on the legality of the war, but has not been asked by any UN member nation to do so. ...

"... UNSC resolution 1441 was passed unanimously on November 8, 2002 to give Iraq 'a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" that had been set out in several previous resolutions (resolution 660, resolution 661, resolution 678, resolution 686, resolution 687, resolution 688, resolution 707, resolution 715, resolution 986, and resolution 1284). ...

...The legal right to determine how to enforce its own resolutions lies with the Security Council alone (UN Charter Articles 39-42), not with individual nations. On 8 November 2002, immediately after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1441, Russia, the People's Republic of China, and France issued a joint statement declaring that Council resolution 1441 did not authorize any 'automaticity' in the use of force against Iraq, and that a further Council resolution was needed were force to be used. Critics have also pointed out that the statements of US officials leading up to the war indicated their belief that a new Security Council resolution was required to make an invasion legal, but the UN Security Council has not made such a determination, despite serious debate over this issue. To secure Syria's vote in favor of Council resolution 1441, Secretary of State Powell reportedly advised Syrian officials that "there is nothing in the resolution to allow it to be used as a pretext to launch a war on Iraq. '..." [5]

As for why the sanctions weren't lifted it was because the US and the UN wanted a continued policy of containment. They most certainly could have been lifted and there were far more dangerous states in the world than Iraq, such as Somalia, Iran, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia (where most of the hijackers were from). These could also have provided a bigger threat to America. The problem was that the first Bush had compared Saddam Hussein to Hitler, and when you call someone Hitler you can no longer allow them to survive. This meant the US had an interest in weakening Saddam as much as they could, which, as shown, is one of the reasons why he no longer posed a threat. They wanted somebody that looked like Saddam, talked like Saddam, acted like Saddam but was not named Saddam. That's why the US actually opposed an uprising against the one-party dictatorship in the 90s, although Washington did hope that a military coup might remove Saddam "and then Washington would have the best of all words: an iron fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein."

And the quotes don't prove anything. They don't prove that the Clinton policy makers wanted a war. Here's a quote from Richard Clarke, on the activities of the Bush administration after 9-11: "The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, "I want you to find whether Iraq did this." ... I said, 'Mr, President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. Mr. President, there's no connection.'
He came back at me and said, 'Iraq. Saddam. Find out if there's a connection.' ... We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. They all cleared the report, and we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the national security adviser or deputy. It got bounced and was sent back saying, "Wrong answer. Do it again.' ... And I don't think he, the president, sees memos that he wouldn't like the answer." [6] --Richard A. Clarke

Boy, that sounds like he's chomping at the bit reading to invade Iraq, doesn't it? In fact, he knew Iraq didn't have anything to do with 9-11 and told the Bush administration this, but the Bush administration was interested in going back and revising history.

As for Ritter, noting his personal problems no more refutes his arguments than noting Bush was a crackhead refutes his own justifications for the war.

[1] Jules Lobel, Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh Law School
[3] (A very good read and a balanced view to the subject.)
[4] Ibid

While I understand the history of the "libertarian chickenhawk" reference, you don't need to use it as a personal attack on someone you don't know anything about.

By implying that only people who go to war can have an opinion on war do you understand the implications of that?

He doesn't have an opinion about war, Andrew, but he has a lot of other people's opinions.

You speak from the heart. He argues ad verbosum.

When do the politicians admit that we won the war in Afghanistan in a few weeks and bring our troops home from this quixotic attempt to turn Afghanistan into Switzerland?

How did Switzerland become the nation it is today?

Clearly by what we used to deride as a nation-building exercise until a Republican ran the joint.

By keeping out non-Swiss.

We have created the situation in Iraq which was used to invade Afghanistan. We are trying to make Afghanistan into what we had in Iraq before we invaded.

The longer we stay in Afghanistan, the worse the situation will become. This was, and is, predictable. Read any history of the country, and you will see that it is not a country that is hospitable to invaders. The English knew this during colonial times. The Russians found out. The US is slow to learn, but when we finally pull out, it will be obvious that we should have been out of there years ago.

So many words and so few of your own.

And not one of them on the brutality and oppression of Saddam's four decade reign of terror.

Tell me, succssfulbuild, how long were you in Iraq? I was a Stryker Platoon Leader there for 16 months? How many Iraqis have you ever met, not including DC cab drivers?

Zinn, Chomskey, Ritter, Johnson, American Imperialism...explains everything about you.

Finally, if Libertarians are not much interested in the intellectual argument invoking the UN against the Iraq war -- even though they should be since states should follow their laws, carry out their obligations, and uphold their principles -- what about the real world argument? The Iraq war had a recuperating effect on al-qaeda: "The U.S.-led war on Iraq gave Al Qaeda the opportunity to reinvigorate its weakened terrorist network with new recruits and more funding, say experts on terrorism. " It was counterproductive: "Two British scholars say the US strategy for defeating al-Qaeda is in fact having the opposite effect. They describe the military response to the terrorism of 11 September as "deeply counter-productive". And it allowed the terrorist organization to remain strong: "Al Qaeda is the strongest it has been since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a new U.S. government analysis concludes, according to a senior government official who has seen it."

Furthermore, it had a devastating effect on Iraq, with more deaths per-capita than the US civil war:

Millions have been dislocated and displaced and the ones who remain still suffer from poor conditions:
"4. Lights Still Out

Thirteen years of bombings and sanctions crippled the infrastructure and basic services of what was once a wealthy country. Then came the 2003 invasion, which destroyed electrical plants, sewage systems, water treatment facilities, hospitals and more. Eight years later, the living conditions of Iraqis are worse than under Saddam Hussein, with the country plagued by a continued lack of electricity, clean water, medical care and security. Iraqis wonder how it is, after the most powerful country in the world occupied it and ostensibly spent billions on reconstruction, they are still living in the dark.

5. Millions Flee Their Homes

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, since 2003 “more than 4.7 million Iraqis have fled their homes, many in dire need of humanitarian care”-- hardly an endorsement of life in the “liberated” nation. Many Iraqis fled their homes to seek asylum in Iran, Jordan and Syria, while roughly 1.5 million fled to other parts of Iraq, the majority of which “have found no solutions to their plight,” according to the UN. In the aftermath of ethnic cleansing, millions will never be able to return."

Plus, it has continued to increasing nuclear proliferation, exactly as predicted by the anti-war left, and no great decline in Islamic extremism.

Of course, there's also the argument that you can make that the US hasn't had a formal declaration of war in over 60 years if you're not into the whole UN thing.

So-called Libertarian pacifists (what about the violence used to justify private property?) should support the UN and the Security Council argument, or at least point out that the Iraq war was illegal. The problem with the pseudo-intellectual justification for the war is that it bypasses the requirement for explicit approval from the Security Council by invoking irrelevant UN resolutions. This would lead to more ambiguous authorities such as NATO to use force at their will, leading to more wars and conflicts. Indeed, the Security Council has authorized the use of force in very few conflicts.

Of course, there is the argument that a leftist like Chomsky would give, and maybe even someone like Rothbard: That it's a genocidal, imperialist country that has murdered millions of people around the world (South America, Indochina) and has committed genocide against its own populations and has stolen land from the Natives and conquered small islands away from its people. This is certainly in contrast to the more liberal-intelligentsia belief that the United States is benign in its interventions, but has made a few minor mistakes. I don't buy this argument. Wars are caused by many reasons and in today's world it's probably over resources, such as the first Iraq war, which was obviously for oil.

The argument for the wars during the cold war were just as weak as the Iraq war if not weaker. The US really asserted its "right" to intervene in Latin America and manipulate it in 1904 (before the creation of the Federal Reserve, by the way) and FDR referred to South America as that little continent down there that's never hurt anybody. Our little continent. The cold war excuse broke down and the excuse became Islamic terrorism, with an increasing military budget that is a greater % of the top ten military spenders now than it was during the cold war.

Some Libertarians, instead of attempting to provide empirical and documented explanations for all those interventions, instead place the blame bizarrely on the Fed or on the state in a way that makes no sense whatsoever. Is there any Libertarian who's done really good research on the wars? There are a few articles, like at the fff web page that are pretty good, but I don't see consistent writing in the likes of Chalmers Johnson, Zinn (who documented Coolidge's intervention in Nicaragua in the 20s), Chomsky (who constantly invokes Reagan's support of the contras in the 80s), etc.

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