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BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

03 Aug 02 - 04:46 PM (#759408)
Subject: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

I was going to put this in the anti-war thread, but really it deserves a thread of its own:

"We continue to favour the reintroduction of the inspectors and we are supporting them as much as we can," said the US Under-Secretary of State, who is Washington's arms control expert. "But...our policy at the same time insists on regime change in Baghdad. That policy will not be altered whether the inspectors go in or not," Mr Bolton added. — From the BBC website.

Talk about having your cake and eating it.

Scott Ritter, who led one of the earlier inspection teams, is telling public meetings that Iraq's military capability is now little better than zero. What dose he base this on? Well contrary to popular wisdom, only about half a dozen inspections out of several hundred were interfered with by Saddam - and those were just delayed, not thwarted. Why does Ritter say it? My guess is, because he believes it's true. I can't think of a single reason why he would want to do Saddam any favours.

Such opinions, and the complete lack of evidence about WMDs (which plenty other countries have anyway) suggest that this bird won't fly.

Which must be why the US line keeps peddling the myth about an axis between Saddam and Bin Laden. Can there be anyone who seriously believes this? Saddam, again cotrary to some popular misconceptions, has no truck with muslim fundamentalism; moreover he was spawned by Saudi Arabia which bears Iraq enough emnity to have played a crucial role in Desert Storm. (According to the BBC, Washington's threatened hostility against Iraq has actually succeeded in uniting Iran and Saudi Arabia against such action.)

If Washington does plough in and destabilise the region, against the advice of even its friends, and the result is to provoke a few more 9/11s, I would have no qualms about saying the Bush administration had reaped what it sowed.

03 Aug 02 - 05:44 PM (#759427)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Perhaps Scott wishes to sell copies of his book in Iraq, Fionn.


03 Aug 02 - 06:30 PM (#759452)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Well yes, that's a possibility I suppose. But surely it would have been better commercial sense to pander to the American audience. (Remember the way stores sold out of the flag a few months ago?!)

03 Aug 02 - 09:05 PM (#759457)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Joe Offer

As an American, I have to say I am very embarrassed by what the Bush administration calls "foreign policy."
Wouldn't this be better grounds for impeachment than the Lewinsky affair? I wasn't proud of the last U.S. president, either.
-Joe Offer-

04 Aug 02 - 01:19 AM (#759462)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: MAG

Yeah, but remember Nixon was ousted for Watergate, not the carpet bombing of Cambodia (after destabilizing it by ousting Prince S.).

04 Aug 02 - 10:32 AM (#759581)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

There is no real difference between Clinton and Bush, Democrat and Republican as it regards US foreign policy. One of the reasons Sadam shut down the weapons inspections is because the US put our spies on the UN inspections teams. THAT is how the world got the information on Iraq's military capabilities. And that was admitted by the US administration on Clinton's watch.

Doesn't leave much incentive for Sadam to open up to weapons inspectors now does it? This guy was, at one time, our son of a bitch despot, just like bin Laden. So, I think the lesson to be learned here is that the entire culture of US foreign policy, which is to nurture son of a bitch despots, isn't doing anything for national security. It does, however, put a lot of money in the coffers of the multinationals who want to do business in these regions unimpeded by labor and environmental laws. Which of course makes the politicians and businessmen the worst despots of all, doesn't it?

05 Aug 02 - 04:56 AM (#759917)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Escamillo

> Which of course makes the politicians and businessmen the worst despots of all, doesn't it?

I'll wholeheartedly endorse this comment !

Un abrazo - Andrés, banging the bank's fences in Buenos Aires

05 Aug 02 - 07:53 AM (#759957)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,John Hernandez

"It does, however, put a lot of money in the coffers of the multinationals who want to do business in these regions unimpeded by labor and environmental laws." So sayeth the anonymous guest regarding United States foreign policy! Ah yes, the Middle East is well known for its progressive labor and environmental laws -- as well as for its constitutional safeguards protecting the rights of women, children, ethnic and religious minorities, political dissidents, conscientious objectors, homosexuals, and people accused of crimes. That stands in stark contrast to the USA where women are routinely stoned to death for alleged sexual improprieties, where children are treated as chattle, where ethnic and religious minorities are either expelled or repressed, where political dissent is brutally crushed, where conscientious objectors are beheaded, where homosexuals are crushed to death under bulldozed brick walls, and where criminal defendants aren't even afforded the trappings of due process. Long live Saddam Hussein!

05 Aug 02 - 09:51 AM (#760008)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Mrrzy

Sorry to interrupt a rant, but did you mean Cattle or Chattels?

05 Aug 02 - 10:18 AM (#760021)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,John Hernandez

The word "chattle" without an s can be be taken in either a singular or plural sense meaning property. The word "cattle" is actually one and the same. But grammar aside, does anyone seriously put any faith in Iraq's labor and environmental laws (presuming that such laws even exist)?

05 Aug 02 - 01:01 PM (#760110)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: robomatic

The case for war, courtesy of a British publication:

Sorry but I don't know how to make it a bleu click-ee and I don't have the time right now to learn.



05 Aug 02 - 02:26 PM (#760146)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Bobert

GUEST, John Hernadez: I think you may have misread GUEST's point which is that it's no secret that as the the world's military industrialists are gonna do what ever they can to maximize their profits, even if it means using the labor of the world's peasant class in areas of the world where they can get away with polluting the local environment. Hey, these are the same folks who have brought us Enron, Worldcom, off shore tax evading and a host of other examples of what greedy folks can do when left to guard the hen house. And I agree with GUEST in that Bush and Co. certainly don't have the market captured in blatent misdeed-ery for the Democrats are owned, lock, tock and barrel, by the same corporate croonies.

Yeah, sure, Bush seem to be more of a unilaterialist than Clinton but I think the actual differences are more in theis indivdual sales styles. I mean, would you really buy anything from Junior? The boy just don't think to well on his feet and won't look ya straight in the eye unless he's threatenin' to blow your butt up...

Yeah, this is one messed up foriegen policy and at its roots is the well being of the world's military industrial complex. I know some Catfolk don't like me using that term because its got a few miles on it but, hey, the reason it's got so many miles on it is because it so claerly describes the monster that we're dealing with...

Think outside the box. Think anything but the Repubocratic Party. Think democracy. Think.



05 Aug 02 - 02:39 PM (#760153)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: JedMarum

... and Saddam is such a nice guy, too. I can't believe the US government has the nerve to upset the peaceful ways of the region!

05 Aug 02 - 03:10 PM (#760170)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Joe Offer

No, Saddam is not a nice guy. According to the rules of warfare, if the leader of a nation is not a nice guy, the innocent citizens of that nation are open to attack from those who wish to make the world "safe for democracy."
If we attack Iraq, Saddam won't suffer - but the people of Iraq sure will.
-Joe Offer-

05 Aug 02 - 03:10 PM (#760171)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Deda

Click here for the Economist piece that robomatic cited. Saddam's use of chemical weapons against the Kurds are well documented and really horrific, and were an experiment that he meant as practice for his destruction of Israel. He intends to be remembered in history as the "hero" who destroyed Israel. The New Yorker did a long and detailed article about this, about the hideous chemical attacks on the Kurds, which has been cited on the cat before, I don't have the address to hand. It's a blood-curdling piece.

I don't like the idea of the US attacking him, but neither do I like the idea of ignoring him, or of pretending he's not a real menace. I wish we had finished the job when we were there before -- but it's a very nasty piece of work. It would have been then, and it will be any time, and a lot of people on both sides will probably die. It makes me shudder to think that W may time his attack in order to restore his own approval ratings and give the Republicans a boost in the next election.

05 Aug 02 - 04:06 PM (#760214)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

In the UK, many are drawing parallels with Suez in 1956, when a personally obsessed Tory prime minister (who had to take a recuperative holiday mid-crisis and was subsequently eased out of office on medical grounds) got the UK into a monumental folly against Nasser's Egypt, in deceitful collusion with France and Israel.

On that occasion it was the constraining voice of Ike who put a stop to the nonsense and forced an ignominious withdrawal of British troops. There are still constraining voices in the States, but alas they are outnumbered by the mindless kick-ass brigade so ably represented by this Bush administration.

Jed, Saddam is one of the worst. But is he really that much worse than the despotic, feudal ruling family that the US leapt to defend with Desert Storm? Or the military dictator in Pakistan, that the US has so suddenly befriended? Or many others that the US has actively supported (Mobutu, Pinochet, etc)?

So Saddam's record is hardly the point. The point should be that he's no threat to America, in any meaningful way.

He has no ballistic missiles, and has no prospect within his lifetime of building missiles that could reach the States. He has no chemical weapons, and if he has biological weapons they are almost certainly degraded by now. (His chemical/biological weapons - which never amounted to WMDs, by the way - were built up in the 80s with support from the UK and US, when Saddam was Iran's enemy, and therefore the west's friend.) He has no chance of developing such weapons on his own without it being detected by western intelligence agencies.

Furthermore there is not a shred of evidence that Saddam had the slightest thing to do with 9/11. Nor would it be likely that he had any involvement. In fact he has no truck with muslim fundamentalism and has made it a capital offence to proseletyse the islamic faith.

Everything I've said here is now being argued by the last head of the UN weapons inspectorate in Iraq, Scott Ritter. It is now fashionable in Washington circles to deride this guy. But hey - what's going on in the states?!! This guy is an ex-marine! A war vet! a former CIA agent! Apart from which, he was given the runaround by Saddam a few times. Why is he saying all this, and not what lynchmob America wants tho hear, which is surely where the money is?

So come on Jed - what's the case, beyond facile rhetoric, for war with Iraq?

05 Aug 02 - 06:48 PM (#760323)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

I gotta feel sorry for the Kurds. The US uses them as a convenient excuse to send our boys and girls anywhere we want in the past decade, and it isn't for the ultimate good of the Kurds. Turkey is our ally and we never complain about their ongoing systematic attempts at the "ethnic cleansing" of their own Kurdish citizens. Nor has the US ever called Turkey to task for the ethnic cleansing of 200,000 Cypriots and the ongoing occupation of 40% of Cyprus, despite the repeated pleas from Cyrpus. And then there are the Armenians... I fear Turkey may be one of our future middle-east mistakes that comes back to bite us.

And yet... one of the reasons Iraq is actively deporting the Kurds is because the Kurds are engaging in their own "cleansing" the Assyrians from what the Kurds view as their territory.

Dubya is just itching to go down in history as finishing his daddy's work. At least daddy had an idea of what foreign policy was (however much I disagreed with it), but out fearless leader doesn't seem to have a clue that the calculus of his actions goes far beyond 1+1.

05 Aug 02 - 07:28 PM (#760350)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: kendall

Is it significant that the only U.S. president to have a degree in history was Woodrow Wilson? Fact, The greatest general that ever lived was Alexander the great. He was defeated in Afghanistan,Fact,

Great Britain, one of the most powerful forces ever, defeated in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union a super power, driven out with their tails between their legs. Does Bush know this? If so, what can he hope to gain by re arranging the rubble in Afghanistan? Is this why he needs to focus attention eleswhere? Is it about "nation building"? what good will it do to take Saddam out? it would just mean another despot unless we impose a democracy on them, and that would take years, and billions of dollars.

"Oh when will they ever learn..."

06 Aug 02 - 10:15 AM (#760608)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Mrrzy

I've been looking through an "atlas of history" which is very interesting... Palestine first appears on Page 8. They even go through how the Hebrews became Jews, and why, and when. Palestine was Palestine when Lebanon was Phoenecia, and before... and they have never been a "nation" by our modern definitions. Reminds me of the Africans and native Americans who didn't have papers that said they owned their land... so the land had no owners, according to the white males involved. When, indeed.

06 Aug 02 - 11:53 AM (#760669)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: harpgirl

What pains me so much about what seems to be imminent war in the region, initiated by George Bush, is my impression that this is really about improved access to oil and running a pipeline to China and just who will benefit financially in the long run. I don't pretend to be well versed in political science, but it all seems to be about the economy of the US at the moment, and the future profits of American corporations.

Shouldn't we be more concerned with water? When all the oil is gone ( like a glass slurping the bottom of the straw, and we will surely use up more faster with this war) water will quickly become more precious and another source of world strife. I hope I get to my retirement land in Arkansas with a drilled well before this all comes to fruition...very sad and frightened today it seems, hg

06 Aug 02 - 12:07 PM (#760676)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Fionn: If you will produce proof of the claims you make that Saddam has none of the weapons he is suspected of having, you could save a lot of lives.

I don't understand (well I really do)why you folks credit Bush with the initiation of a probable war with Iraq. If Saddam had complied with the U.N. resolutions he signed, there would be no need for a conflict. Saddam is blameless in all of this mess?


06 Aug 02 - 12:29 PM (#760693)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: wilco

This kind of political material doesn't need to be in this venue. There are many other sites on the web.

06 Aug 02 - 12:34 PM (#760698)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

Water is a hugely important factor in political science harpgirl--on the water wars in the western US, try reading the book "Cadillac Desert". Explains much.

Anybody remember Bechtel from the Reagan/#41 days? And the corporado kingdom they built on Saudi soil?

Yes Bobert, Guest John H. did misread my post, and thank you yes, you did interpet it exactly correctly.

06 Aug 02 - 12:53 PM (#760716)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: kendall

How many years were the inspectors in Iraq?

06 Aug 02 - 01:14 PM (#760740)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

In response to the post not even credited to a guest: very pertinent commentary re Turkey. Turkey has the second largest army in NATO. It and Iran are two of the nations most looking to gain from a vacuum in Iraq. (One of the reasons that Iraq was not defeated by the coalition last time.)

As it happens, both Turkey and Iran are striving to keep muslim fundamentalism out of government. In Turkey, parliamentary democracy is propped up by the Army; in Iran, elected parliamentarians (with about 75 per cent popular support) are working towards a liberal democracy, but massively hampered by a council of ayatollahs who retain influence through a flawed constitution put in place in the heady days after the Shah was ousted.

Doug, I can't prove anything more than you can. On everything about Iraq's military capabilities I'm quoting Scott Ritter (UNSCOM) and the international atomic energy authority. Who is it (and be honest about this) that you are choosing to believe?

But what have WMDs got to do with anyting? Musharraf and Sharon, among others, openly proclaim their WMDs. Musharraf recently tested his, in defiance of world opinion, including American. Musharraf and Sharon are friends of America; Saddam, with a military capability close to zero, is enemy #1. Are you sure this is making sense, Doug?

I really see no need or excuse for war with Iraq. What is needed is political engagement, initially through intermediaries. A slow process, maybe, but in the meantime Saddam poses no threat to America. (If he is any threat to his neighbours, why are they all so hostile to an American invasion?)

Have we learnt nothing from the 20th century???

06 Aug 02 - 01:23 PM (#760746)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Just seen Kendall's question. Can't check for sure right now, but I think they were there 1991-98. Again going from memory, I think they carried out about 500 inspections, of which about ten were interfered with in any way - and then only postponed, not refused. If any of this turns out to be wildly wrong when I've checked, I'll do a correction.

From what Ritter has been saying in interviews, it seems he is sympathetic to the Iraqi view that some of the disputed inspections sought to go too far into Iraqi state security, and therefore way beyond the brief.

06 Aug 02 - 01:32 PM (#760752)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Any chance you are so high on Scott Ritter because he supports your point of view, Fionn? If I am not mistaken, I believe Scott Ritter's boss does not concur with his opinion. I'll do some research on that statement to be sure I am correct. I think it is conceivable that Scott Ritter's primary interest is selling his book, and seeking speaking engagements for which he can demand a large speaking fee. He has a lot of company, however, in this regard who are both liberal and conservative.


06 Aug 02 - 01:39 PM (#760757)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

Right DougR. And as usual, we are still waiting for you to cite *your* "facts" in support of your claims. All you ever do in these threads is come in, make spurious and dubious claims that you never back up with any information. You then ALWAYS project "bias" onto everyone else's information.

Those sorts of tired old Republican tactics are obvious to some of us. But your down home, folksy style of "getting along" with the Mudcat regulars keeps too many in this forum from challenging both your claims, your source of information, as well as your motives.

Now, as to the history of weapons inspections, here is a relevant clip from FAIR's website, on an article from Aug 1, 2002:

Quote of article starts here:

Three and a half years ago, some key information about U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq briefly surfaced on the front pages of American newspapers -- and promptly vanished. Now, with righteous war drums beating loudly in Washington, let's reach deep down into the news media's Orwellian memory hole and retrieve the story.

"U.S. Spied on Iraq Under U.N. Cover, Officials Now Say," a front-page New York Times headline announced on Jan. 7, 1999. The article was unequivocal: "United States officials said today that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors ferreting out secret Iraqi weapons programs.... By being part of the team, the Americans gained a first-hand knowledge of the investigation and a protected presence inside Baghdad."

A day later, a followup Times story pointed out: "Reports that the United States used the United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq as cover for spying on Saddam Hussein are dimming any chances that the inspection system will survive."

With its credibility badly damaged by the spying, the U.N. inspection system did not survive. Another factor in its demise was the U.S. government's declaration that sanctions against Iraq would remain in place whether or not Baghdad fully complied with the inspection regimen.

But such facts don't assist the conditioned media reflex of blaming everything on Saddam Hussein. No matter how hard you search major American media databases of the last couple of years for mention of the spy caper, you'll come up nearly empty. George Orwell would have understood.

End quote

Here is the link to the article in full:

06 Aug 02 - 01:39 PM (#760759)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Bobert

No, Fionn, we haven't learned a danged thing from the 20th century. Maybe that's why there are so many folks who feel they need to repeat the course by turning back the clock. Thinking in the large sense it makes no sense to me, but then I don't consider myself one of the sheep in the herd.

But when you look at it under a looking glass, hmmmmm, smells of money, ego and control. The only way the Republican fraternity thinks it can hold the power is to keep "a good war" (insert you own comment here:______) on the front burner. They've got a true light weight in the White House who was selected by his daddy's court appointments, who is a draft dodger, thief, a bad businessman and won't look anyone in the eye unless accompanied with some sophmorist threat. They have bungled the economy with their Cash Give-away, creating deficits (al la Reagan..) and destabilizing the market and the faith of investors. They passed an education bill but now won't write the checks. They talk big, but do little and that which they do they won't pay for or canb't pay for. So, yeah, for them to stay in office, they've called the "ol' end around" play from the olden days. War, war and more war until the American people throw em' out, which, unfortunately they haven't seen enough yet to do...

Sad thing is that I have no faith whats so ever in Joe Leiberman and Tom Daschle's Democrats. If they were really anything more than a rival fraternity, they woulod be all over the Iraq situation, offering alternatives. And they would be all over the corporate corruption. Further proff, as if we needed it, that we have a one party system in the US and right now it's Hell bent on WAR.

Rant over.

Vote Green, or anything but Repubocrat


06 Aug 02 - 01:42 PM (#760763)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

And here is an excerpt from an article in the Guardian, giving some background on the history of UN weapons inspections in Iraq:

Start quote:

First, there is the history of UN weapons inspections in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. It is true that Iraq has not fully complied with its disarmament obligation, particularly in the field of biological weapons. However, this failure does not equate to a retained biological weapons capability. Far from it. Under the most stringent on-site inspection regime in the history of arms control, Iraq's biological weapons programmes were dismantled, destroyed or rendered harmless during the course of hundreds of no-notice inspections. The major biological weapons production facility - al Hakum, which was responsible for producing Iraq's anthrax - was blown up by high explosive charges and all its equipment destroyed. Other biological facilities met the same fate if it was found that they had, at any time, been used for research and development of biological weapons.

M oreover, Iraq was subjected to intrusive, full-time monitoring of all facilities with a potential biological application. Breweries, animal feed factories, vaccine and drug manufacturing facilities, university research laboratories and all hospitals were subject to constant, repeated inspections. Thousands of swabs and samples were taken from buildings and soil throughout Iraq. No evidence of anthrax or any other biological agent was discovered. While it was impossible to verify that all of Iraq's biological capability had been destroyed, the UN never once found evidence that Iraq had either retained biological weapons or associated production equipment, or was continuing work in the field.

End quote

Link to full article:,3858,4280517,00.html

06 Aug 02 - 03:38 PM (#760837)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Doug, what I've heard from Ritter has seemed well-informed and persuasive, and as such it's influenced my view. The interviews with him that I've seen here in the UK have not mentioned, let alone plugged, any book, so I didn't know about that, beyond your earlier comment.

Are you saying Ritter has made it up to sell a book, even though the patriotic truth (as you may see it) would presumably have got him better sales? What exactly IS your line on Saddam/Iraq/Ritter etc, Doug, and would you care to say who/what has been informing YOUR viewpoint? I ask because I honestly don't see how anyone could read up on this subject and still be sanguine about where Bush is going.

Bobert, Joe and others, I can imagine how difficult it must be to take issue with a particular issue when that issue has been so heavily wrapped in the national flag.

06 Aug 02 - 06:17 PM (#760926)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: NicoleC

Uh, the Turkey comment was mine. My cookie crumbled (again.)

Scott Ritter has a history of being solid Republican conservative, and very hawkish. He's a former Stormin' Norman crony and Geo. Bush supporter. The reason so many people are taking what he says to be a valid assessment is precisely because it's out of character for him. This is not a guy who is pro-Saddam in any way. The only people that don't seem to be listening are the ones who hired him in the first place.

Ironically, although Richard Butler was called to testify in the Senate hearings, Rolf Ekeus was NOT -- and he served the longest as UNSCOM chairman, and during almost all of the period in question (1991-98). The hearings were a sham and the desk was stacked, and yet the pro-attack Foreign Relations Committee still can't come up with a single reason why Saddam would be so suicidal as to attack us. He may be a scoundrel, but he's also a very political creature, and he knows that such an attack would be his death warrant. On the other hand -- say he DOES have these weapons, do you think he would withhold their use if he were under attack by America? I'm hard-pressed to imagine he wouldn't.

But the fact is, the US and UN spent a lot of time looking for solid evidence in Iraq and didn't find a darned thing. If we had any evidence, Bush & Co. would be trumpeting it as loud as they could right before bombing the hell out of another bunch of mid-East civilians. As it stands, attacking Iraq without a shred of proof is the moral equivalent of slaughtering an entire family because you have a gut feeling Dad might commit a crime in the future.

Doug: Which agreement are you specifically saying that Saddam violated and exactly how? There's a few in play here.

07 Aug 02 - 01:38 PM (#761395)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Thanks for the background on Ritter, Nicole. Didn't know about the Republican/hawkish background, and for me it adds weight to his present stance. As Churchill said: "It's better to be right than consistent."

The serious newspapers in the UK reported the Senate hearings in line with your account. A mass-circulation tabloid (Daily Mirror) reported 91 per cent against supporting military action against Iraq, in a readership poll.

I'm still interested to hear what sources have been influencing Doug's views.

(As I write this, the BBC is saying that a UK junior foreign minister has just had a meeting with Gadaffi. Expect to see him back in the international fold sometime soon. THat should be the objective with Saddam too.)

07 Aug 02 - 01:41 PM (#761399)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

Fionn, please don't hold your breath waiting for Doug to post his sources. The world needs good guys like you.

08 Aug 02 - 10:34 AM (#761887)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Donuel

My story starts with a typical example of our foriegn policy with small countries and then moves on to Tora Bora, the Caspian pipeline and planned invasion of Iraq.

Out at the Flint Eastwood chicken farm.

Sharef Jarge I ain't got no quarrel with you,
its the damn railroad men that want my land.

Bart, yer gonna hafta take the money or face yer maker.

Oh Sharf, please no. Yer not one ofem too...

Black Bart yer gonna clear out or eat lead. Its upta yew.

'but i dont have no gun'

The Sheriff throws one down on the ground in front of Bart.

"Go ahead , reach fer it"

'I dont wanna'

"Go ahead ya coward , I'll give ya a count to 3. One Two

Black Bart bites the dust.

Sheriff... Sheriff its deputy Dick don't shoot.
Both banks in town jus bin blowed up.

Didja see who did it?

No Sheriff...

I spect I knowd who did it. Ben Fagen that no good, one way snake in the grass. An ta think my daddy taught that boy to shoot.
Were gonna hafta round up a posse ! ...

High in the Terry Berry hills.

He's up thar in those rocks somewhere. You go around and come up the back while we cover you.

But thats Indian territory back there...

Wouldja rather we walk straight up that mountain in plain sight?

Maybe we kin just burnem out?

The winds goin the wrong way. It'll just come back on us. Now git on up thar and flush him out from behind.

Sheriff can't we jus head em off at Mule Packer pass?'

"Just do what I say. We're stayin here in case they double back."

But Sheriff they might git away an cross into injun territory. You know they're thicker than thieves.

Quit cherwhinin, make mistake no bout it. Jus git in them caves an once urine, fire off some wornin shots.


Umm, Make no mistake about it...Never mind that. Were stayin here an you go flush em outta them caves back toward us.

"Sheriff ,they gotta way. They're holed up in Injun country and the heathens said they won't handem over."

'We'll just ride in with our posse and takem'

"Well Sheriff some of the boyz down thata way are kinda skittish to face them injuns. They're the only ones in them parts that got big guns"

A mans gotta do what a mans gotta do, Were goin in.
We want Ben Fagen Dead or Alive. Were gonna huntim down ,smokim out, and bringim to justice or my name ain't Sheriff Jarge. Were gonna git every last one ofem.

Are you comin with us Jarge?

No, but yer a goin.

"Thats stretchin it Slim. No matter how ya cut it we're out numbered up there"

Yeah? Well...mebbe yer right Dick, it don't matter no never mind. While they're in there we got their land fer the railroad line.

Ya know Jarge, while were at it we might think about killin the Irapaho chief so we kin git at them gold deposits once an fer all.

That ain't a half bad idea. My Daddy took on them Iraps an nearly had em too
iffin it hadn't been fer them Fort Jude Generals bein afeard ofa injun uprisin.
Tell ya what...
Lets head on back ta town, declare marshall law an git some more men.

Do ya think they'll buy it?

Hellsbells, half never belived me when I tole the truth an the other half believed every lie I tol'em.

Yep, an half never even voted fer ya.

What was that?

Uhh, nothin Sheriff I was jus thinkin, what about Ben Fagen ?

He's probly dead already. Now lets git us some gold an co - lect some of that railroad money.

Yee Haaw

Back at the tumble weed saloon

Jeb: Hey deputy Dick don't shoot , how ye been?

Deputy Dick whispers to Jeb: Thank God fer yer daddy's sake that steerin Jarge is as easy as lettin the horse find its way home while he's sleepin in the saddle.

Jeb: Should we tell'em we knowd that the banks might be blowed since the 4th a July?

Dick: Are you nuts? He'd blame the whole galldurn thing on us.
By the by whare is yer brother Jarge?

Jeb: He wuz tellin Daddy back home bout howee got Ben Fagen single handed when he choked ona pretzel real bad.

dh 2002

08 Aug 02 - 11:55 AM (#761945)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar

That's it in a nutshell, Donuel.

08 Aug 02 - 12:11 PM (#761952)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Donuel

Jeb: Whare ya goin Dick?

Deputy Dick: An undisclosed location.

08 Aug 02 - 02:33 PM (#762022)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Nicole: The resolutions I referred to are listed in a resolution by the U. N. Security Council adopted at its 3924th meeting, on 9 September 1998. The document can be found at Sorry I can't do blue clickies.

Fionn: I base my opinions on information received from major news sources. Fox News Network, CNN, you name it. I believe these sources, though not perfect, are more reliable than sources that heavily weigh the news either to the left or the right. GUEST is fond of quoting the GUARDIAN. That publication could hardly be described as a bastion of conservatism. The Washington Post and the New York Times are viewed by conservatives the same way. We are influenced by what we read and what we hear. Despite GUEST'S snide remarks to the contrary, I do listen and read both sides.

I have not heard of any liberals challenging the veracity of NPR and Public Television. Therefore, in order to reply to your request, Fionn, I went to that source to see if I could find information to support my views.

As all of us know, the arms inspection problem has been with us since about 1996 so it is not a new one. Iraq never welcomed U. N. Inspectors as they agreed to do, and toward the end by all reports thwarted the efforts of the inspection team at every turn. An interesting interview with Richard Brooks, Chief of the U.N. SpecialCommission to Iraq by Elizabeth Farnsworth on the Jim Lehrer can be found in the News Hour archives at:

At that same site you might want to read the Secretary of Defense Cohen's interview by Jim Lherer. The U. S. has been considering military action against Iraq since 1997 as a possible solution to ensure that Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction.


08 Aug 02 - 03:10 PM (#762037)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

I just realized that I did not address another question I was asked. Someone wanted to know a source for my comment that Scott Ritter's boss did not agree with his point of view.

Those of you who are enamored of Ritter should do a bit of research on the Internet. I think you will find evidence to support my statement that he might be more of an opportunist than patriot, regardless of his Marine Corp experience. I found a interesting article on the website dated October 1, 1998 from Correspondent Richard Roth. In the article Roth reports that "U.N. reprimands former weapons inspector." I quote only the first three paragraphs but the whole article is there for you to read:

"UNITED NATIONS (CNN)--Former United Nations arms inspector Scott Ritter has been taken to task by his former boss for allegedly violating his U.N. contract by going public with information about weapons inspections in Iraq.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said United Nations Special Commission Chairman, Richard Butler sent Ritter a letter, supported by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, expressing concern about his public airing of knowledge obtained through his job.

Ritter resigned in late August in protest over lack of action by the United Nations following Iraq's refusal to cooperate in weapons inspections."

In those same archives (CNN) there is another interesting article in which Ritter takes the U. N. to task for "Catering to Bagdad." It can be found at: http//

The title of Scott Ritter's book is, "The Endgame:Solving The Iraqui Problem Once and For All."


08 Aug 02 - 08:31 PM (#762227)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

Even though Woodrow Wilson had a degree in history he is in fact the US President who invented screwing with other countries governments. He constantly meddled with Mexico (invaded the country some 14 times or so, I can't remember the exact amount,) He supported the Whites with American troops in the Russian Revolution, effectively galvanizing the Reds towards the US and contributing mightily to the coming Cold War, and his "peace efforts" at the end of World War One helped demolish the German economy, making Adolf Hitler a viable alternative.

08 Aug 02 - 08:42 PM (#762230)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,truer_sound

The Woodrow Wilson comment is mine. I didn't type a name in. Sorry.

I don't know exactly where Doug R's fact disprove Ritter's point of view. I don't think it matters cause no ones posted to this for hours.

08 Aug 02 - 11:18 PM (#762281)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,Souter

I am unfortunately unable to comment on your other points, truer_sound, but Wilson did try to prevent the Treaty of Versailles from being written the way it was. At least, that's what I learned in American History. He wanted there to be no retaliation against Germany, among other things, and he was shouted down. Was it his 11 point plan? I think so. Sadly, I am too ignorant to know if that is the correct number. If anyone knows better, please feel free to post.

08 Aug 02 - 11:19 PM (#762282)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,Souter

To remember, should say, I know it just fine. Just haven't thought of it in a while.

09 Aug 02 - 01:16 AM (#762347)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Ok, truer_sound, let me see if I can simplify it for you.

1. Scott Ritter resigns his position in 1998 with the U. N. Special Commission, because he doesn't feel the U. N. is being TOUGH enough on Saddam, who was preventing the team Scott was on to do the job they were hired to do. That job, was to see that Iraq was 100% disarmed. Not 20%, 50% or 80% ...100%. That was the agreement Iraq made with the U. N. in exchange for the U. N. not continuing Desert Storm.

2. Ritter is formally chastised by his boss, with the approval of the Secretary General of the U. N. for releasing classified information he gathered while on the job for the U. N.

3. Scott Ritter writes a book the subject of which is how the Iraqi situation should be resolved.

4. The purpose for a writing a book is to sell them and make money.

5. Scott Ritter, in 2002 states that Iraq is not a threat, has no weapons of mass destruction, etc.

6. Since there have been no inspections, how does he know that?

You see no discrepency in his positions?

Still too complicated to understand? :>)


09 Aug 02 - 06:23 AM (#762465)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Well none of us here are experts Doug, but I would have thought it was pretty obvious that some weapon systems require access to materials that are in scarces supply and fairly easily tracked. Western intelligence for instance claims a fairly good knowledge of where the world's weapons-grade uranium is.

Add to that that the US is bombing Iraqi defence installations nearly every day and has complete control of Iraqi airspace. Surely the most technologically capable nation on earth is able to accumulate a lot of evidence from such a situation?

Add also that Iraq's transport/electricity infrastructure was bombed to kingdom come in 1991. And add further that the country has for several years been surving under a tough sanctions regime.... Can you begin to see how intelligent people might find their way to draw intelligent assumptions?

I still hear nothing about how a war might improve the situation, and if it would, why not a war too against India, Pakistan, North Korea and a few others?

09 Aug 02 - 07:06 AM (#762492)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Janice in NJ

I'd like to get back to the issues John Hernandez raises. What he describes through his sarcasm is not just Iraq, but many so-called friends of the USA as well -- Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Egypt. In general most effective way the West has in dealing with such repressive regimes is through strengthening our own democratic institutions, living up to our own democratic values, and teaching by example. Yes, sometimes economic sanctions and military actions are necessary, but only in the short run. Meanwhile, what is most important for us to do is not succumb to the temptation to destroy our own democracy (fragile and imperfect it is) in the name of preserving it. That means, at very least, turning Hamdi and Padilla back over to US civil authorities for criminal prosecution, if a case can be made aginst them. Otherwise, it means letting them letting them go, as distasteful as that might seem. Allowing the US government to hold a person in military custody indefinitely with neither due process nor POW status means that the terrorists and all the other enemies of democracy have won a enormous victory. We should be ashamed of ourselves if we let that happen.

09 Aug 02 - 08:16 AM (#762524)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Bobert

I'll second those thoughts, Janice in NJ, since I really don't have time this morning for one of my patented tirades and you've presented the position well.


09 Aug 02 - 10:01 AM (#762561)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,John Hernandez

I also second Janice's thoughts, even if that means I'll be agreeing with Bobert this time. Now as for Bobert's "proof" that the USA has a one-party system, I suggest that he visit my native country, just 150 breezy kilometers south of Key West, and take some careful notes on what a one-party system really is. I suspect Bobert has been listening to too many songs by the likes of Jim Garland, Florence Reece, Sis Cunningham, and Sarah Ogan Gunning. For example:

Take the two old parties, mister,
No difference between them can I see,
But with a Farmer-Labor Party,
We can set the people free.

From I Don't Want Your Millions, Mister
by Jim Garland

09 Aug 02 - 10:15 AM (#762573)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: truer sound

What I don't hear in this is where the United States obtained the right to decide whats best for any nation they please. Think of how laughable it would be if Saddam Hussein announced to the world that he was committed to "Regime Change" in the United States. That he or anyone else feels that the current US admninistration is corrupt and indecent does not, in the eyes of the world, give him the right to depose it. Yet the United States, being as they have the big F'ing guns, can raise hell anywhere they like.

Souter, it was 14 points.

Doug R., no reason to get nasty. We've only just met.

09 Aug 02 - 11:39 AM (#762609)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

I've said it before: to imagine that Iraq is a threat to the USA is asinine. Iraq was once a threat to its neighbours when the USA was arming it to the teeth and backing it. That Iraq is not much of a threat to its neighbours now seems pretty clear...Saudi Arabia, for one, has just informed that USA that they will NOT permit an attack on Iraq to be launched from their territory. Interesting development.

Saddam Hussein is like a former mafia hitman who screwed up and was dumped by the Big Boss. Not useful anymore. Just like that jerk Noriega, remember him? He screwed up too. He screwed up reallll bad! Then there's that other hood, Bin Laden. He outlived his usefullness bigtime after the Russians left Afghanistan. There's nothing worse than a hired killer who has outlived his usefullness.

So whaddya do wit' old hitmen when dey've outlived der usefullness? Ya send in da gang and waste 'em! What if it's gotta be done on someone else's turf? Well, ya pay da saps off or ya cow 'em into submission wit' ya superior firepowah, dat's what.

A kid could figure dis one out! Whatta buncha saps!

Dat joik Saddam is gonna be on da bottom of da harbour wearin' cement ovahshoes when we det 'troo wit' him. Just wait and see!

Did I forget to mention...da Big Boss has his headquarters in Washington, D.C. He owns da city. Nobody crosses da Boss...and lives.

- LH

09 Aug 02 - 12:54 PM (#762641)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Sorry if you thought I was being nasty, truer sound, I was merely trying to make my points clearer.

Fionn: The former head of Saddam's program to build nuclear weapons defected to the U. S. and recently presented testimony to a congressional committee. He says Saddam will have a nuclear weapon within three years. Is it your position that we should wait, let him develop it, and then assume that he won't use it?

Do all of you really believe it is reasonable to compare Saddam with the leadership in India and Pakistan? North Korea, yes. India and Pakistan, no my opinion.



09 Aug 02 - 01:08 PM (#762647)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

The UK government is holding to the line that military action against Iraq needs no further UN mandate. This flies in the face of not only public opinion, but also the government's own legal advisers.

Incidentally the UK government's legal advisers have said that if the US handed over the Brits among those folk they've banged up in Cuba, they would have to be released. There are simply no grounds for putting them on trial. As for the rest, if there is a case against them, it is about time we heard it in one court or another.(I would suggest they go on trial in china, which might be counted on to support the American approach to their human rights.)

09 Aug 02 - 01:28 PM (#762657)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Doug, what's your benchmark for a leadership you can trust? (Pakistan's is a military dictatorship which replaced a democracy by force and was (briefly) ostracised by the US as a result.)

And yes, let Saddam have his nuke, if that's what he wants. It's not your worry anyway - he'll not be able to hit the states with it.

Sooner or later, someone who has access to these weapons is going to use them - probably because he or she has been pushed into a corner. JFK came about as close as anyone, but maybe Bush will outdo him. Why should I trust such a petulant kid? As for the minor nuclear powers (and Iraq will be about as minor as South Africa is now) what will work best with them will be political engagement, not crass force.

09 Aug 02 - 01:55 PM (#762667)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Well, Fionn, you and I might be safe from Saddam's trigger finger, but what about Israel? Turkey? Other friends of the free world? Do you take the position that the two major powers have no responsibility for their welfare?

Also, since there has been no monitoring of Saddam's weapons build-up of weapons of any sort (a reminder that the U.N. inspectors were charged with the responsibility of monitoring ALL of Saddam's weapons of any type)for at least five years, how can you be so certain Saddam will not have the capability of lobbing his weapons to the U. S., Great Britian or wherever he wants to by the time he has nukes?


09 Aug 02 - 03:02 PM (#762706)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: NicoleC

Just the fact's ma'am:

Claim: Saddam harbors al Qaida Fact: Despite the Bush administration's attempts to find any since 9/11, US intelligence admits there isn't any evidence to support this claim.

Claim: Saddam is a terrorist because he gives financial aid to the Palestinians Fact: So does the US, the whole EU, and our "ally" Saudi Arabia

Claim: Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and will blow us all up Fact: No credible expert, including Rolf Ekeus, believes Iraq has this capability now. Fact: The only evidence that Iraq has a biological or chiemical warfare stockpile are precursor chemicals that inspectors couldn't find (but believed were there) between 1991 and 1998, and may or may not be able to be used for chemical and biological warfare. Fact: The US is one of the chief violators of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention of 1972 which we are accsing Saddam or (maybe) violating. To be fair, practically everyone that signed this treaty violates it. But the US fought tooth and nail in 1995 to prevent any kind of enforcement practices -- would we could use as leverage over Iraq.

Claim: Iraq is a threat to it's neighbors Fact: Iraq has made peace with the Arab League, sent envoys to for arch-enemy Iran, and has been renewing diplomatic relations with the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. NONE of Saddam's neighbors, including our allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia, support military action against Iraq. Fact: If the US attacks Iraq, Iraq will launch their existing short-range missiles at Israel. Israel's current leadership is unlikely to show the restraint they did during the Gulf War, and Israel WILL (justifiably) fire back, potentially sparking a massive regional war -- upsetting the oil exports we are so desperate to protect.

Claim: Iraq has violated several UN Security Council Resolutions Fact: True. The US has also refused to allow UN chemical and biological inspections. The US has violated more treaties and UN resolutions than any other member nation, and threatening a sovereign nation with war without a specific UN mandate is a violation of international law. Who are we to point fingers? Fact: The impending war has nothing to do with weapons inspections. John Bolton: "Our policy... insists on regime change in Baghdad and that policy will not be altered, whether inspectors go in or not."

Claim: Saddam is "evil" and the US is "good" Fact: Saddam is a blood-thirsty, violent man. Personally, I haven't seen any signs that Dubya is anything less. This kind of naive, simplistic black-hat / white-hat approach to the world is the surest sign that the current resident of the White House is completely inadequate to the task of being a world leader. Lots of folks think the US is the black-hat. Did their perception of that justify the attacks on the USS Cole or the World Trade Center? What does it say about us if we use the same justification to attack anyone we want?

09 Aug 02 - 03:04 PM (#762707)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: NicoleC

Sorry for the typos above. That's what I get for ranting :)

09 Aug 02 - 05:46 PM (#762762)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,Souter

Thanks, I knew it couldn't really have been 11!

09 Aug 02 - 06:50 PM (#762784)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Janice in NJ

Nicole, whoa! Isn't there any middle ground between a full scale inavsion of Iraq and your wanting to nominate Saddam Hussein for the Nobel Peace Prize?

09 Aug 02 - 07:17 PM (#762795)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: NicoleC

Hey, I did call him bloody-thirsty and violent. :) "Tyranical" might be a good adjective, too. My point is that a lot of crap is flying out the the current administration about how evil he is, but the arguments they are using are fundamentally flawed because they HAVE NO EVIDENCE. Our allies aren't buying it and neither should US citizens.

By justifying military action and the deaths of Iraqis and American soldiers for the sole reason that "we don't like him" makes a mockery of our own American values of justice and self-determination. If WE don't practice what we preach, what's to convince anyone else to follow our lead?

I think that Saddam's recent attempts at international politics and negotiation should not be dismissed out of hand. Even the "bad guys" moderate over time. Arafat used to be a full-fledged radical terrorist; none of this diplomacy stuff. So did Sharon, who blew up more than his fair share of Palestinian civilians when Israel was trying to establish a sovereign nation, but now he's a prime minister.

As long as Saddam is willing to come to the table and talk, why not? It's not like we aren't going to stop spying on him or get rid of our army camped on his doorstep in the meantime.

(Because peace doesn't help you win elections, that's why not.)

09 Aug 02 - 07:33 PM (#762804)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Wow, Nicole, you do go on when you are riled up dont' you? I hope you never get mad at me! I'm going back to the ranch now and pull the covers over my head. :>)


09 Aug 02 - 07:38 PM (#762805)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: truer sound

Its funny how the general beef of the American Right is often "welfare".

Why are hard working, tax paying Americans responsible at all for the condition of their fellow citizens who are less fortunate? It's an outrage that they should get one dime of assistance from the national kitty!!

Yet when justification for Military Action is needed, Uncle Sam is completely responsible for every needy citizen on planet earth.

Says Doug R: "...but what about Irael? Turkey? Other friends of the free world? Do you take the position that the two major powers have no responsibility for their welfare?"

09 Aug 02 - 07:41 PM (#762808)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

If Saddam was a threat to his neighbours, they would be showing some kind of gratitude for US belligerence, rather than open hostility. As for the threat to Israel, Doug, you must be joking. Israel's nuclear programme is about 25 years ahead of where Iraq's is now. I don't think Saddam's going to lob a bomb in their direction.

Washington's concern is all very touching, but frankly not wanted. Even a successful outcome could destabilise the region and leave the US more widely unpopular than it is already. Is it worth the risk, just to grab a few months of glory for Junior?

Janice, it sounds like your so-called "middle ground" would involve hostilities of some sort against Iraq. How do you arrive at this view? Just national pride?

09 Aug 02 - 09:18 PM (#762837)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Bobert

Nicole: I want to congratulate you for renderin' ol' Dougie speechless. That ain't no easy feat.

And well, heck of a rant! And on the mark!

Yeah, your assessment is right on that this ia all about Bush and Co. getting their anti-human butts re-elected. No doubt. The guy has nothin' else to show for 2 years in office. Yaeh, the American sheep-people have been so duped my the Establishment Military Indusrial Media that they don't have a clue and are willing to say, "Yeah", when the pollsters call their sheep-selves and ask, "Are you behind the PRESIDENT in the WAR ON TERRIORISM?"

Makes my Wes Ginny boney butt sick.

Hey, this guy has set the country back about 35 years in just 24 months. At that rate, by the end of his term, we may go back to slavery. (Heck, Bobert. half the folks is slaves now. Just don't know it...) Yeah, this guy and his cohorts are more dangerous than a thousand Saddam's as far as I can see.

No, Saddam ain't no siant. Nor are a lot of folks who run the shows of the countries that we consider to be our allies.

Man, what total hypocrasy. Sharron is a war criminal having killed innocent Lebonese and Palestinians, yet he gets to waer a white hat?

Yeah, Nicole, you keep blastin' away. When your right you are entiled to rightous. Go for it...

As for the folks that think that Saddam, inspite of the facts, is palnning his attack of the US with his vast arsenal, beam my boney butt up............


09 Aug 02 - 09:34 PM (#762841)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Bobert

Not "my" but "by" the military.......

09 Aug 02 - 11:31 PM (#762872)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Bobert: you have to rein in your typing. Your fingers are getting ahead of your thinking! :>) DougR

10 Aug 02 - 07:28 AM (#762973)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Bobert

DougR: You are right on this one. Guess that law of averages finally caight up with you... Jus funnin with ya there, this mornin. (Any day that begins with messin with my buddy, DougR, is a good one...)

Now, as for the typing. First of all, I'm not sure which keys are which because my teenaged son has worn the letters off most of them and so I spend a lot of time going back and fixing stuff. But then, I got a bad case of lexdexia and so what looks right to me ain't...

There, Dougie, I believe I've "left" you an opening...


10 Aug 02 - 07:31 AM (#762975)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

truer soudn, I completely overlooked that lamentable backsliding by Doug. I'm sure he didn't mean the "welfare" word to slip out!

10 Aug 02 - 08:03 AM (#762978)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

It's refreshing to see people who can disagree and still maintain a sense of humour about it. One of the reasons I like this place...

- LH

10 Aug 02 - 10:40 AM (#763010)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Janice in NJ

Fionn asks: Janice, it sounds like your so-called "middle ground" would involve hostilities of some sort against Iraq. How do you arrive at this view? Just national pride?

To which I answer: My middle ground would be strict enforcement of the UN Security Council resolutions which Iraq accept as a condition for ending the 1991 Gulf War.

As for national pride, it should not be the reason for going to war. But I am nonetheless proud of my nation (the USA), not because it is a perfect nation or even the best nation, but because it allows itself to become a better nation. And I say so even though I am aware of the wrong it has done.

Anyway, I come from a family of fighters. We love getting our licks in -- always have, always will -- but first we want to make sure we're in the right fight. And at present, the right fight is to preserve and strength our own democratic principles and institutions. I want to fight, for example, so the time will soon come when Americans will look back in shame that we imprisoned people, including our own citizens, without charges and without due process of law.

We also like a good barroom brawl. I've kicked a little ass in my day, only to have had the pleasure of caressing that same sweet ass by night!

10 Aug 02 - 12:29 PM (#763035)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Hear! Hear! Janice in NJ! I like your style. Whatch out for old Bobert, Fionn and L.H., they're going to try to fry you! :>)


10 Aug 02 - 07:02 PM (#763146)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Janice, how is the USA "allowing itself to become a better nation"? Is it simply by putting more and more of its population in prison, even though it already has a higher ratio of people imprisoned than any country on earth (and by a fantastic margin)? But then, what else can you do if you are going to have people living in abject destitution right beside others who live in obscene wealth? (GOP policy of course is to allow the gap to widen.)

But to stay within the context of this thread, in what way is the America of Junior, who wants to wage war for family glory, better than the America of Dwight D Eisenhower, to which I referred earlier (when I was making the point that in 1956 Ike pressured the British and French to abandon a madcap assault on Egypt)?

10 Aug 02 - 09:05 PM (#763199)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

Your point of view is totally understandable, Janis, but it makes demands which are a little unrealistic, perhaps, in that they are simply one-sided.

What I mean is...if you must have "strict enforcement of the UN Security Council resolutions which Iraq accepted as a condition for ending the 1991 Gulf War."...and short of that...another war...

Then what do you do about enforcing the World Court's rulings against illegal USA-sponsored attacks on Nicaragua back in the 80's? The USA ignored the World Court, just as it has sometimes ignored the U.N.

How can the USA be compelled to obey international law when it thumbs its nose at the rest of the world?

It can't, because no one out there is strong enough to make the USA obey the law.

Thus, what we have in the world today is not in any sense the rule of law...but rather the rule of the powerful and well-armed. Saddam is more powerful inside Iraq than his Iraqui opponents...therefore he can tyrranize and dominate the local population. The USA is more powerful in the world than Iraq or Nicaragua or Canada...therefore the USA can attack Iraq and Nicaragua as it pleases (despite political fallout here and there) and can run Canada as a sort of compliant branch plant of corporate USA, despite the wishes of the Canadian public, because all Canadian political parties have been BOUGHT by corporate USA.

To imagine that any of this has anything to do with anything but brute strength and the will to use it is naive. Talk about justice and democracy is just window dressing to fool the American public, who generally have a short memory, assuming they ever heard about the World Court in the first place on their corporate-sponsored news networks...

- LH

12 Aug 02 - 02:44 PM (#763966)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: truer sound

Wasn't it the Eisenhower Administration that originally deposed the elected Shah of Iran, a watershed event that's pretty much (in my opinion) led up to many of the United States' current woes?

They were none of them angels. Ike did his share of covert meddling, just like every American administration in the 20th century.

12 Aug 02 - 08:38 PM (#764112)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Suffet


For all those who enjoy ganging up on Janice, I offer the following anthem for the musical left.

--- Steve


Music: Tramp, Tramp, Tramp by George F. Root (Same tune as God Save Ireland and Fight for Liberation and Are You Busy, Fellow Workers?)

New words: Stephen L. Suffet © 2002

In a world that's gone berserk,
Where every theocratic jerk,
Invokes some holy name to sell a cause,
Where the prophets, like of old,
Meet the profits, like of gold,
And hand in hand they bring us holy wars!

But ...

Let's fight, fight, fight against each other,
Down with social democrats!
Make the liberals in cahoots,
With the fascists lick our boots,
And drive away those Zionistic rats!

In a bleak morass we sit,
Covered up in Ashcroft's shit,
While the Bill of Rights is shredded to a pulp,
Where corporate rape and plunder,
Leave our planet six feet under,
Soon they'll sell us air at fifty cents a gulp!


Let's fight, fight, fight against each other,
Down with all the slightly pinks!
Make that wishy-washy crowd,
Cry "Uncle!" right out loud,
And admit they're just a bunch of right wing finks!

Papa Marx he had a dream,
But it's broken, it would seem,
Yet I hear his dream-like words come once again:
Working people, let's unite,
For our freedom we shall fight,
We'll lose these chains, we have a world to win!


Let's fight, fight, fight against each other,
Down with the imperialist lackey swine!
And if you ever voice a thought,
That I clearly can't support,
Then you better leave, because the Truth is mine!

12 Aug 02 - 10:14 PM (#764142)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk it a pro-left or an anti-left song? I've read it twice, and I'm still not quite sure. It sounds like it's making fun of everybody, right or left, and that's not a hard thing to do in the political arena.

If you go back and look at political cartoons from the 1800's you'll see that there was even more intemperate controversy then than there is now.

You can be in my dream if I can be in yours...

- LH

12 Aug 02 - 10:38 PM (#764159)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,Visitor - Richard H

Most Americans I've met are honest, decent, helpful people.

Yet in "Made In America" (Bill Bryson), one reads: "By 1960, military spending accounted for 49.7 percent of the federal budget - more than the combined national budgets of Britain, France, West Germany and Italy...Of the $50 billion that America distributed in aid in the 1950s, 90 percent was for military purposes."

At that time, of course, the Soviets were a threat. But writing in 1999, Richard Maybury ("The Thousand Year War in the Mideast" worth reading, by the way) states: "The US has troops in 144 countries, which is about two-thirds of all the countries on earth."

Could someone explain to a non-American why US citizens keep supporting administrations so preoccupied with war, and with setting up, arming and controlling tin-pot regimes all around the world?

The good-guy image is wearing thin.

12 Aug 02 - 10:49 PM (#764160)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Bobert

Control.... Motive?: Ask someone of the ruling class...


12 Aug 02 - 10:58 PM (#764164)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

Well, Kipling called it "the White man's burden" when the British were ruling the roost. The Americans used to call it "Manifest Destiny" at one time, but later renamed it "The Free World" and still later the "New World Order". The Japanese used to speak of a "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere".

Have a little compassion, Richard...those who must bear the burdens of an imperial policy have feelings too! :-)

- LH

13 Aug 02 - 12:11 AM (#764189)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: NicoleC

Dunno, Richard, but as a US taxpayer it annoys the hell out of me that we can only pay our buck privates $12k a year plus food stamps, but spend a few billion every year giving tanks and planes to {insert name of pet peeve repressive country here.} Is it any wonder hardly anyone votes when both choices are both the same old schtick?

But as Bobert said, I'm just a taxpayer, not a member of the ruling class. All I can do is holler about it -- a priviledge I am very thankful to have, even if most days it doesn't seem to accomplish much but let off steam.

Americans will fuss over tax money being used as non-military aid of any kind, yet most Americans happily and voluntarily dig in and send their personal money to victims around the world. Some days I just don't understand my fellow countrymen :)

13 Aug 02 - 06:23 AM (#764296)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Truer sound's last post was so staggeringly wide of the mark that it's worth a lenghty digression.

The Shah was never elected. Eisenhower propped up the Shah's disgusting regime and was dead before its downfall. The facts are more like this:

The Shah's dad seized the Iranian throne in about 1920. In WW2 he turned out to be too pro-German for Brit and Soviet liking. so they engineered the son's succession.

Anglo-Iranian (formerly Anglo-Persian, latterly BP) continued owning Iran's oilfields after the war. The Shah's government voted to nationalise the oil in defiance of the Shah, whereupon the CIA tried to destabilise the country and regain the Shah his authority. The plan (approved I think by Eisenhower)backfired big time, and the Shah was briefly deposed and exiled (1953), and parliament terminated the dynasty.

The CIA didn't give up, and with the support of Iranian army dissidents they got the Shah back in the driving seat within a matter of days. The motivation was oil plus fear of strong Soviet influence in Iran.

Thereafter the Shah pursued a blatant pro-west and pro-Israeli line which helped fuel anti-west muslim fundamentalism. By 1977 his secret police (SAVAK) were spreading terror without constraint, martial law was imposed, and America was the Shah's only friend in the world. In 1979, during Carter's US presidency, the Shah fled, and Khomeini returned to Iran from exile and of course the hostages were seized.

Digression over!

Getting back to the subject, it looks like the politicians follow Mudcat, because since this thread started, I've at last heard dissent being voiced in Washington against an assault on Iraq.

Here in the UK the Daily Telegraph (right up Doug's street I should think, even if the Guardian isn't) led yesterday with a survey showing two-thirds of UK voters against supporting miliatary action. Blair would never want to upset the voters, so that's Bush's only ally gone. Even Bush, in my view, will have to heed that signal, and back off, so for the moment I'm a bit more relaxed about the way things are going.

13 Aug 02 - 06:46 AM (#764301)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Suffet

"Let's Fight, Fight, Fight Against Each Other" was written in response to a very well known left-wing singer-songwriter who said he can no longer be my friend after I wrote the song, copied below, shortly after Sept. 11th and performed it on the Songs of Freedom TV show.

The New Battle Hymn of the Republic

Music: "John Brown's Body" ("The Battle Hymn of the Republic")
New words: Stephen L. Suffet © 2001

Stanzas only, slow and dirgelike, without choruses.

An evil hand of terror has smitten our land,
Cruel war is thrust upon us, and united we shall stand,
But before we loose the dogs of war, the truth we must demand.
May the truth go shining on!

Are our weapons so intelligent, are our bombs so smart,
The evil and the innocent our bombs can tell apart?
Or together will they perish once the bombings start?
May the truth go shining on!

And if we march to battle in the Good Lord's Holy Name,
How are we so different from the ones we choose to blame?
War is never holy; it is evil and profane.
May the truth go shining on!

And the ones whose souls are guided by the sacred Inner Light,
Shall we brand them all as traitors because they will not fight?
Shall we lock them into prisons and keep them out of sight?
May the truth go shining on!

And the one we call Bin Laden, oh may the truth be known,
We armed him and we trained him when we claimed him as our own;
Now he bites the hand that fed him, as we've reaped what we have sown.
May the truth go shining on!

Will we who fight for freedom ourselves succumb to hate?
Or will our ranks be open wide to all who'd risk our fate?
The hand that smote our nation knew neither gay nor straight.
May the truth go shining on!

And when the battle's over, will those who now protect,
Be treated then with decency, with honor and respect?
Our will they suffer homelessness, addiction and neglect?
May the truth go shining on!

Yes, although that war is evil, we still may choose to fight,
For the lesser of two evils might just bring us through this night,
But let us not deceive ourselves that two wrongs make a right.
May the truth go shining on!

Is that a pro-war or an anti-war song? I wrote it and I still cannot decide. Maybe that's why Janice likes to call me a "militant moderate"!

--- Steve

13 Aug 02 - 07:53 AM (#764319)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Teribus

Without the active support and involvement of Saudi Arabia and Turkey there can be no war - militarily it is just not feasible.

Before anyone quotes the recent campaign against Afghanistan in defiance of that statement, consider the following factors

1. Air power alone did not, and could not have, toppled the Taliban from power. The elements required to accomplish that were air power in support of the Northern alliance forces on the ground.

2. In that campaign the carriers were operating in the Indian Ocean, a vast expanse of water, completely devoid of any threat to the naval forces assigned to the task. For a seabourne assault on Iraq they would have to operate in the closely confined waters of the Arabian Gulf. Only one way in and one way out, relatively shallow water and surrounded by potentially hostile countries.

3. The use of air power against the Taliban in Afghanistan relied heavily on the free use of air space to over-fly Pakistan, without that they could not have got there.

Fionn has twice mentioned the Suez Crisis of 1956, where the American administration of Ike forced the British and French to evacuate the canal zone which they had taken in under 72 hours. I believe that was the biggest mistake made by any American government since the end of the Second World War, as the result of which we see what is happening in the Middle East today. The daftest thing about it was that America, because of it's stance on Israel got no credit at all from the Arab world - the USSR did. I say it was their biggest mistake for the following reasons

1. Had the British and French been allowed to occupy the canal zone and safeguard its use as an international waterway, Nasser could only have attacked Israel by confronting the troops of two NATO countries, both permanent members of the UN Security Council. Not even the Russians would have contemplated that.

2. Nasser's dream of a pan-Arabic coalition against Israel would have come to nothing. There would have been no Six Day War in 1967 and no Yom Kippur War in 1973 - as a result there would be no occupied lands in dispute today.

3. Elsewhere in the region there would have been no attempt by Syria to destabilise Lebanon (America waded in there themselves in 1958 to attempt to do what they had condemned Britain and France for doing two years before in Suez). The vast majority of Arab states would not have fallen under the influence of the Soviet Union during the Cold War period, particularly those along the North African coast, which caused America for the first time in it's history to deploy a permanent fleet in the Mediterranean.

13 Aug 02 - 08:17 AM (#764327)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

Interesting theory, Teribus. I wonder why America did oppose the British and French on that one? Any thoughts, anyone?

- LH

13 Aug 02 - 09:00 AM (#764348)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Bobert


Neither, my friend. But it perhaps reflects well the confusion that many folks in the middle are feeling about the events of 9-11 and the US response.

Being a peace-nic from way back, I could not have written your song, but this is not written in judgement but observation. As an artist, one has to carve out a territory and you have done just that and I think it well reprsents the majority's thinking, so well done.


13 Aug 02 - 03:34 PM (#764593)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Well that's a thought-provoking hypothesis about Suez, Teribus. But I don't think you've made due allowance for cold war tensions, with the whole world then in fear of WW3. It also threatened to bring Arab-Israeli tensions to the boil when there was already alarming instability in Europe and Asia.

America on that occasion was in line with the whole of world opinion. Ike thought economic pressure would keep Egypt onside, but when he withdrew aid for the Aswam dam, Moscow stepped in - and Nasser nationalised the dam as another means to raise revenue (effectively stealing the canal from some Brit-French company that previously owned it).

To its credit America still argued against military force, on the grounds of international law and self-determination, believing that Egypt was inevitably going to face increasing economic pressure. (The US helped fund tanker construction, to ship oil around the cape, and pipelines were to be run, undermining the value of the canal.)

The US went as far as tabling a UN resolution aimed at peaceful resolution, but France and Britain vetoed it. These two former world powers finished up acting against world opinion and outside international law, all on the strength of a deceitful conspiracy with Israel. Half the British population (nearly half of parliament too) opposed the whole fiasco as a last wild imperial fling.

Effectively UK and France cost the west the moral high ground right when Kruschev was turning to the methods of Stalin (whom he had recently denounced) by sending the tanks into Budapest.

East and West had been frantic to win the battle for influence in the region. With hindsight (eg the Iraq spat in 1958) the Arab nationalism then emerging was actually a bulwark against communism rather than its agent, as was feared in 1956. And again with hindsight, there were opportunities for rapprochement with Moscow after the Stalin denunciation, rather than continuing a stand-off based on fear and hysteria.

Incidentally, after seizing the canal, Nasser subsequently accepted a UN resolution opening it to international shipping. So there was no justification for a war there. (I assume that this did not extent to Israel, which had been banned way back in 1948 or 49, regardless of who then owned the canal.)

The bottom line was that Britain and France could not afford the adventure. If it could have been resolved in the 72 hours that Teribus mistakenly thinks it took, they might have got away with it. But there was never a prospect of that. Britain simply could not afford to maintain an army in Egypt: in fact it was by withholding an IMF loan that the US forced the UK to retreat.

Moreover Britain had huge business interests in Egypt and thousands of UK nationals owned property there. Such implications were never thought through - Eden couldn't even decide whether British troops were officially at war or not.

Can't say your scenario might not have happened, Teribus, but it seems wildly optimistic to me.

13 Aug 02 - 05:56 PM (#764695)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

Pretty good summation, Fionn. Thanks. I was not too well up on the details of that particular episode.

- LH

13 Aug 02 - 08:18 PM (#764800)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Damn! "Nasser nationalised the dam" should have been "Nasser nationalised the canal
13 Aug 02 - 08:22 PM (#764804)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Damn and blast! "Nasser nationalised the dam" should have been "Nasser nationalised the canal" in my last post. (Now my penultimate post!)

13 Aug 02 - 09:44 PM (#764860)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: truer sound

SOrry for the misinformation in My post about Ike.

14 Aug 02 - 07:19 AM (#765038)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Teribus

LH - here's a potted history of the event that gives a little more background

The Suez War of 1956

In the fall of 1948, the UN Security Council called on Israel and the Arab states to negotiate armistice agreements. Egypt agreed, but only after Israel had routed its army and driven to El Arish in the Sinai. At that time, the British were ready to defend Egypt under an Anglo-Egyptian treaty. Rather than accept the humiliation of British assistance, however, the Egyptians met the Israelis at Rhodes.

UN mediator Ralph Bunche brought them together at the conference table and was later honored with a Nobel Peace Prize. He warned that any delegation that walked out of the negotiations would be blamed for their breakdown.

By the summer of 1949, armistice agreements had been negotiated between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Iraq, which had also fought against Israel, refused to follow suit. Bunche succeeded at Rhodes because he insisted on direct bilateral talks between Israel and each Arab state.

Meanwhile, on December 11, 1948, the General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the parties to negotiate peace and creating a Palestine Conciliation Commission (PCC), which consisted of the United States, France and Turkey. All Arab delegations voted against it.

After 1949, the Arabs insisted that Israel accept the borders in the 1947 partition resolution and repatriate the Palestinian refugees before they would negotiate an end to the war they had initiated. This was a novel approach that they would use after subsequent defeats: the doctrine of the limited-liability war. Under this theory, an aggressor may reject a compromise settlement and gamble on war to win everything in the comfortable knowledge that, even if he fails, he may insist on reinstating the status quo ante.

Egypt had maintained its state of belligerency with Israel after the armistice agreement was signed. The first manifestation of this was the closing of the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping. On August 9, 1949, the UN Mixed Armistice Commission upheld Israel's complaint that Egypt was illegally blocking the canal. UN negotiator Ralph Bunche declared: "There should be free movement for legitimate shipping and no vestiges of the wartime blockade should be allowed to remain, as they are inconsistent with both the letter and the spirit of the armistice agreements."

On September 1, 1951, the Security Council ordered Egypt to open the Canal to Israeli shipping. Egypt refused to comply.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Muhammad Salah al-Din, said early in 1954:

The Arab people will not be embarrassed to declare: We shall not be satisfied except by the final obliteration of Israel from the map of the Middle East (Al-Misri, April 12, 1954).

A New Type of Warfare
In 1955, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser began to import arms from the Soviet Bloc to build his arsenal for the confrontation with Israel. In the short-term, however, he employed a new tactic to prosecute Egypt's war with Israel. He announced it on August 31, 1955:

Egypt has decided to dispatch her heroes, the disciples of Pharaoh and the sons of Islam and they will cleanse the land of Palestine....There will be no peace on Israel's border because we demand vengeance, and vengeance is Israel's death.

These "heroes" were Arab terrorists, or fedayeen, trained and equipped by Egyptian Intelligence to engage in hostile action on the border and infiltrate Israel to commit acts of sabotage and murder. The fedayeen operated mainly from bases in Jordan, so that Jordan would bear the brunt of Israel's retaliation, which inevitably followed. The terrorist attacks violated the armistice agreement provision that prohibited the initiation of hostilities by paramilitary forces; nevertheless, it was Israel that was condemned by the UN Security Council for its counterattacks.

The escalation continued with the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran, and Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal in July 1956. On October 14, Nasser made clear his intent:

I am not solely fighting against Israel itself. My task is to deliver the Arab world from destruction through Israel's intrigue, which has its roots abroad. Our hatred is very strong. There is no sense in talking about peace with Israel. There is not even the smallest place for negotiations.

Less than two weeks later, on October 25, Egypt signed a tripartite agreement with Syria and Jordan placing Nasser in command of all three armies.

The continued blockade of the Suez Canal and Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, combined with the increased fedayeen attacks and the bellicosity of recent Arab statements, prompted Israel, with the backing of Britain and France, to attack Egypt on October 29, 1956.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Abba Eban explained the provocations to the Security Council on October 30:

During the six years during which this belligerency has operated in violation of the Armistice Agreement there have occurred 1,843 cases of armed robbery and theft, 1,339 cases of armed clashes with Egyptian armed forces, 435 cases of incursion from Egyptian controlled territory, 172 cases of sabotage perpetrated by Egyptian military units and fedayeen in Israel. As a result of these actions of Egyptian hostility within Israel, 364 Israelis were wounded and 101 killed. In 1956 alone, as a result of this aspect of Egyptian aggression, 28 Israelis were killed and 127 wounded.

One reason these raids were so intolerable for Israel was that the country had chosen to create a relatively small standing army and to rely primarily on reserves in the event of war. This meant that Israel had a small force to fight in an emergency, that threats provoking the mobilization of reserves could virtually paralyze the country, and that an enemy's initial thrust would have to be withstood long enough to complete the mobilization.

Israel Routs Egypt

When the decision was made to go to war in 1956, more than 100,000 soldiers were mobilized in less than 72 hours and the air force was fully operational within 43 hours. Paratroopers landed in the Sinai and Israeli forces quickly advanced unopposed toward the Suez Canal before halting in compliance with the demands of Britain and France. As expected, the Egyptians ignored the Anglo-French ultimatum to withdraw since they, the "victims," were being asked to retreat from the Sinai to the west bank of the Canal while the Israelis were permitted to stay just 10 miles east of the Canal.

On October 30, the United States sponsored a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate Israeli withdrawal, but England and France vetoed it (This is the resolution referred to by Fionn). The following day, the two allies launched air operations, bombing Egyptian airfields near Suez.

Given the pretext to continue fighting, the Israeli forces routed the Egyptians. The IDF's armored corps swept across the desert, capturing virtually the entire Sinai by November 5. That day, British and French paratroops landed near Port Said and amphibious ships dropped commandoes on shore. British troops captured Port Said and advanced to within 25 miles of Suez City before the British government abruptly agreed to a cease-fire.

The British about-face was prompted by Soviet threats to use "every kind of modern destructive weapon" to stop the violence and the United States decision to make a much-needed $1 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund contingent on a cease-fire. The French tried to convince Britain to fight long enough to finish the job of capturing the Canal, but succeeded only in delaying their acceptance of the cease-fire.

Though their allies had failed to accomplish their goals, the Israelis were satisfied at having reached theirs in an operation that took only 100 hours. By the end of the fighting, Israel held the Gaza Strip and had advanced as far as Sharm al-Sheikh along the Red Sea. A total of 231 Israeli soldiers died in the fighting.

Ike Forces Israel to Withdraw
President Dwight Eisenhower was upset by the fact that Israel, France and Great Britain had secretly planned the campaign to evict Egypt from the Suez Canal. Israel's failure to inform the United States of its intentions, combined with ignoring American entreaties not to go to war, sparked tensions between the countries. The United States subsequently joined the Soviet Union (ironically, just after the Soviets invaded Hungary) in a campaign to force Israel to withdraw. This included a threat to discontinue all U.S. assistance, UN sanctions and expulsion from the UN.

U.S. pressure resulted in an Israeli withdrawal from the areas it conquered without obtaining any concessions from the Egyptians. This sowed the seeds of the 1967 war.

One reason Israel did give in to Eisenhower was the assurance he gave to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Before evacuating Sharm al-Sheikh, the strategic point guarding the Straits of Tiran, Israel elicited a promise that the United States would maintain the freedom of navigation in the waterway. In addition, Washington sponsored a UN resolution creating the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) to supervise the territories vacated by the Israeli forces.

The war temporarily ended the activities of the fedayeen; however, they were renewed a few years by a loosely knit group of terrorist organizations that became know as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Fionn - In my initial posting, the 72 hours I referred to was the time it took for the Anglo-French forces to secure the canal zone - I made no mention of them resolving the conflict in 72 hours. I still contend that had they stayed they would have created a line that Egypt would have had to breach to get at Israel. As to the Russian threat - that was pure bluff (mind you Nikita was rather good at that) - as was their Berlin Blockade a few years earlier - they had a hard enough time in Hungary.

Another little side note:
Very few countries that disappeared behind the "Iron Curtain" accepted Marshall Aid, one that did was Tito's Yugoslavia, Stalin tried like hell to alter that state of affairs and threatened full Soviet occupation - Tito's response was to tell Stalin in no uncertain terms that if he were to send in Soviet troops the Yugoslav's would do the same to them as they had done to the Germans - Stalin backed down, one of the rare occasions he did so when threatening a considerably weaker nation.

Another off-shoot of Suez was ultimate withdrawal of France from an active role in NATO - their reasoning being that, on past performance, they could not trust America. Within their military that perception exists to this day.

14 Aug 02 - 01:14 PM (#765235)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

Fascinating stuff. A few observations...

France is quite correct not to trust America. Mind you, the French are not trustworthy either! :-)

I always admired Tito for his independent stand. He was a tough customer. It's a pity that recent intrigues have torn apart the country which he managed to keep united for some considerable time.

It is not surprising that the Arab world reacted to the sudden creation of Israel in their midst by deciding that it had to be eradicated totally. How would any part of the world react to the abrupt arrival of a distinctly different cultural group from many places far afield, the carving out of an area of land for that group by terrorism and warfare at the expense of the local people, and the maintenance of that group as a new military and political power in the region??? The same way the Arabs did, that's how. Think about it if it happened on your land, for heaven's sake...

It is equally unsurprising that the Israelis felt justified in what they did, and fought like hell to survive and defend Israel. That's the way most people are...entirely self-interested.

Each side was seeing it strictly from their own point of view.

These problems all arise because the human race has not yet matured enough to see itself as one cooperative family, rather than as competing groups. Little children don't worry about the artificial divisions of humanity (toddlers don't, I mean), but their parents make sure to "educate" them as soon as possible by passing on hatred, suspicion and prejudice. By the time they're 7-10 years old, the damage has been done.

This could change as time goes by, and given other social advances that have occurred over the last few thousand years, I believe it will...a bit at a time. I am not one of those pessimists who flings his hands in the air and says: "It's always been this way and it always will be."

The visionary stories in science fiction about a united society on this planet are not just visions, they are a perception of what must finally occur as humanity matures.

- LH

14 Aug 02 - 05:19 PM (#765432)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,John Hernandez

Little Hawk asks, "How would any part of the world react to the abrupt arrival of a distinctly different cultural group from many places far afield, the carving out of an area of land for that group by terrorism and warfare at the expense of the local people, and the maintenance of that group as a new military and political power in the region???" As a Latino in general and as a native-born Cuban in particular, I can appreciate the question. Certainly we know how the Arawak peoples responded to Spanish colonization, and we also know what the consequences of that response were. However, out of the Resistance and the Conquest, and also out of the African enslavement and eventual Emancipation, emerged the Latin American culture that the world recognizes and honors as a wonderful amalgamation of the Native American, the Iberian, the West African. Maybe the day will come when, whatever the outcome of the current Israel-Palestine conflict, a new and beautiful society will develop which no one would have anticipated. On the other hand, it took several centuries of slaughter and oppression us Latin Americans for that to happen.

14 Aug 02 - 06:25 PM (#765461)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

Yes, time can work wondrous things...there was once a time when many small tribes battled each other over places now called France, Germany, Mexico, etc. The basic tendency of human beings is toward larger cooperative associations. Things tend to get nasty, though, when there is a shortage of certain resources. They wouldn't get nearly so nasty if those resources were shared in a relatively equal manner.

- LH

14 Aug 02 - 10:51 PM (#765576)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: robomatic

As with the creation of the multiple Latin cultures of today, it is not unknown for centuries of conflict, persecution and pain, not just between cultures but within them, to result in something coherent, worthwhile, and even beautiful. I would like to believe that this can happen in the Mideast. I certainly believe it SHOULD happen in the Mideast.

What would be really nice would be a kind of world-wide cessation of all hostilities and a grand collection of everyone with an axe to grind, and let's say a three year colloquiam:

Year One: Bitch Bitch Bitch. "Your grand-dad killed my grand-dad and stole his chickens." The back and forth of the truly pissed-off.

Year Two: "Well, we'll pay off for the chickens, but grand-dad was just a little quicker than your grand-dad, and his powder was drier."

Year Three: "Well, let's take this dry powder idea of your grand-dad's and put it into grain storage and go into business together. Only one problem is, whose country gets to tax us?"

"Who cares? We'll incorporate in Bermuda!"

As Abba Eban said: There will be piece, after we have exhausted all the alternatives...

14 Aug 02 - 10:59 PM (#765579)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: robomatic

P.S. Teribus:

Thank you for your play-by-play of the 1956 Mid-east war. Cogent, well-written, and reasoned.


15 Aug 02 - 04:03 AM (#765667)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Teribus

robomatic - thanks but the words were not mine, they came from source material that I have used while researching the origins of the conflicts in the middle east.

LH - ""How would any part of the world react to the abrupt arrival of a distinctly different cultural group from many places far afield, the carving out of an area of land for that group by terrorism and warfare at the expense of the local people, and the maintenance of that group as a new military and political power in the region???"

Examples -
The British Isles (Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings, Normans.) The USA (English, French, Spanish) Canada (British, French) Australia (British) New Zealand (British) South Africa (Dutch, British)

15 Aug 02 - 09:00 AM (#765779)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

Teribus - Yep. Got that right. And those are just a few of the available examples. This sort of tragic stuff has been going on for a long time...and it never fails that the people on both sides of such disputes think that they are cleaner, more righteous, and more innately human than the OTHER guys...

However, as I said before, I do think that we are slowly moving toward greater human unity on this planet. There are just setbacks from time to time along the way.

- LH

29 Aug 02 - 01:33 AM (#773383)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

What are we to do Little Hawk?

30 Aug 02 - 01:29 AM (#774047)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Venthony

Sometimes even as decent a nation as the United States -- the greatest and best and most compassionate state in the history of humankind -- simply has to kill the bastards who are trying to kill us.

Peace, as an abstraction, is a fine thing. Peace without justice and reckoning is meaningless.

I don't just want bin Laden and Saddam dead. I want them hung in public on a sunny small town square in Nebraska or Missouri. And then I want to play a lot of old fiddle tunes and have dinner-on-the-ground to celebrate.

You must understand, it's not President Bush who's at war. The American people are at war. Those of you in Europe may not appreciate this, and those of you over here on the lunatic fringe of the leftover left may not approve. But the overwhelming majority of Americans want this murdering, thuggish "jihad" out of business and buried deep in the ground.

The U.S. is a peaceful nation, but once aroused -- and this is a trend among democracies in general -- we don't merely defeat our enemies, we destroy them utterly. Think about world history since 1940, and you'll see what I'm getting at.

Democracies don't like to fight. It's not good for business, and there's no money in it. But once the horror starts -- history teaches -- we finish it.


30 Aug 02 - 05:18 AM (#774111)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,Bagpuss

I haven't had time to read this whole thread, but I did notice someone concerned about Iraq's ability to attack "friends of the free world" such as Israel and Turkey. We should worry about a country's ability and propensity to attack any other country regardless of whether they happen to be currently cosying up with Washington. And it is mostly about whose side you are on, not about what is happening in the country. We all know about UN resolutions etc flouted by Israel, and Turkey is hardly a model country either. They have a terrible record of human rights abuses, and their record against the Kurds is almost as bad as Iraq's.

And if the US wants countries to comply with weapons inspections, maybe they should agree to them themselves (they rule them out on the grounds of "national security") and maybe they should think before they use such a body as a means to spy on other countries. It's little wonder other countries may be suspicious of their impartiality.


30 Aug 02 - 05:21 AM (#774112)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: GUEST,Bagpuss

Venthony: why do you want this particular "murdering, thuggish "jihad" out of business and buried deep in the ground", as oposed to all the other murdering thuggish leader out there in the world?

30 Aug 02 - 10:39 AM (#774237)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Little Hawk

GUEST - Well, that's a pretty broad question... I'll tell you what I'm going to do: I'm going to cook up some brown rice and stir fry. I really have no idea what you should do, but maybe washing behind the ears would help... :-)

Venthony - Your description of an aroused democracy is entirely appropriate to the events of December '41, but not to most other historical cases of the USA at war. Most of them involved opportunism at the expense of someone militarily Spain, Mexico, Canada, hundreds of Indian tribes, and so on. Yes, the citizenry was always all het up about defending "democracy", but the citizenry is easily fooled. What the hell, they spend their money daily on crap like cheesies and beanie babies, don't they? They are accustomed to being fooled.

The present "war on terrorism" is as phony and unrealistic as the "war on drugs". Terrorists are like little tiny fish that pass through a net. You cannot eliminate them by invading and massacring small countries (killing a bigger fish that is caught in the net). You can create lots more future terrorists by doing so, however. And...since the USA itself has been practicing and funding terrorism routinely for a couple of centuries all over the can the USA be against terrorism???? The World Court brought down a ruling against the USA for practicing and funding terrorism against Nicaragua in the '80's, and the USA ignored it. Have you ever heard that reported on your local news programs? I bet you haven't. You live in a controlled media fishbowl with its own version of reality, and it's not even telling you half the story. No one is threatening your democracy except the people who run it...from the top. They lie to you, steal from you, and use you to keep the economy running. Their behaviour suggests to me that they hold you (the voters) in contempt, although they certainly find your patriotism convenient for their larger purposes.

- LH

05 Sep 02 - 12:49 AM (#777259)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all

Little Hawk - you are pro-terrorist and pro-drugs?

30 Jan 03 - 05:54 PM (#878655)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: Felipa

I just got around to reading this thread. I usually stick to song threads (the main reason for Mudcat's existence), and this thread is long,but the issue is so important ...

31 Jan 03 - 12:52 AM (#878869)
Subject: RE: BS: US foreign policy - an example to us all
From: DougR

Felipa: if you think it is important enough to revive after such a long period, perhaps you would share with us what you think (other than the fact that you think it is an important subject).