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Let's Try It Again. Why Did Bush Go To War?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by YNCS, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. YNCS

    YNCS Ex-bubblehead

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    I think the trouble is that with the rapidly shifting rationales for war, President Bush winds up lacking authority. As with all political frameworks, there are, of course, those who never have accepted his authority in the first place, and there are those (you know who y'all are) who would defend the President no matter how misguided the policy.

    Knowing that it's only the middle ground that Bush has to exert this authority over, his propaganda has targeted that broad center as best as it can, and each new rationale convinces fewer and fewer people. For a President who complained that his opposition couldn't hold a position for more than a few minutes, he certainly seems to have his own problems hanging onto them.

    In the earlier days of these shifting rationales, he had to pump them out pretty quickly to provide a smokescreen to cover up the inviability of the previous one. Saddam was intimately involved in 9/11. (No, he wasn't.) He tried to buy yellowcake uranium. (No, he didn't.) He has weapons of mass destruction. (No, he doesn't.) He has a WMD PROGRAM. (Not really.) He INTENDS to build WMDs. (Well, sure, but saying "Gosh, I want a nuclear bomb" is not, in and of itself, a WMD program.) He tried to kill my Daddy. (Who cares?) He's a tyrant. (So what?) He's a despot. (So's the House of Saud.) He's hiding terrorists. (Where?) There are terrorists in Iraq. (Not until after we got there.) Everyone else thought he had WMDs, too. (Yes, based on information WE gave them.) He killed Kurds. (Yeah, in 1988, with weapons we sold him.) We're fighting terrorists there so that we don't have to fight them here. (And wasn't it nice of Iraq to loan us their country to use as a staging ground?) We have to keep fighting so that the sacrifice of the soldiers that already died won't be in vain. (True enough, but he keeps saying "complete the mission" without ever telling us how he plans to do that, so we keep doing the military equivalent of throwing good money after bad.)

    Bush himself admits that he didn't expect an entrenched insurgency, and, though he tends to mumble it under his breath, he also admits that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and that they had no WMDs. His attempts to rebuild his authority in the wake of being wrong about those things have mostly been on the basis of pure faith and blind patriotism, rousting the inner cynic of the moderates whose support he depends on.

    Now, the real question is, why did Bush start this war? Part of it might have been Afghanistan. We went to war against the Taliban and they vanished like a saltine cracker being sandblasted. It's almost certain that Bush was expecting as fast and easy a victory in Iraq, and that he was convinced that we'd have no trouble fighting the war on two fronts. He was also convinced, since he seems to only listen to people who tell him what he wants to hear, that our military was big enough to handle the job with just a few good men.

    The reality is that by dividing our attention between two countries, he lost a certain degree of control over both. I'd be standing at the right hand of the man cheering and voting Republican for life had he put as much effort and energy into Afghanistan as he did into Iraq, and I'm convinced that if he knew three years ago that we'd still be fighting both fronts today, he probably wouldn't have bothered. It's a terrible irony that the "war president" who "wants to be a peace president" is going to spend the major duration of his eight-year presidency at war, and the legacy of the "uniter, not a divider" is going to be one of the most divisive foreign policies in recent history.
     
  2. Civlord

    Civlord King

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    Halliburton and Cheney control Bush. That is a fact.
     
  3. SeleucusNicator

    SeleucusNicator Diadoch

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    The war was motivated by a fear that the Hussein regime would sponsor anti-American terrorist activities, possibly with Weapons of Mass Destruction. This was, I think, a legitimate fear, at least the first part.

    Bush was, I believe, emboldened by the common Neo-Conservative belief that all humans have a "democratic impulse"; that is, he believed that Iraqis inherently wanted to live under a democratic government, and he believed that by offering them this he would be welcomed as a liberator. He also believed that democratizing Iraq would prevent it from undertaking activities like sponsoring terror or developing WMDs. This is also linked to Neo-Conservative beliefs like democratic peace theory and the Neo-Conservative belief that internal factors are dominant in a state's foreign policy.

    I think the Iraq War will be looked upon as the point at which Neo-Conservatism becomes less attractive academically, because it serves as an empirical counterpoint to so much of that school of thought. Clearly, the Iraqis sense of nationalism (in a broader pan-Islamic sense) was stronger than the so-called "democratic impulse".
     
  4. thisispete

    thisispete The Man Who Would Be King

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    My gut feeling is that he wanted to bring things to a head. The no-fly zones were being patrolled since the end of the First Gulf War, and there were things like Operation Desert Fox. Basically there had been a low-level war going on since the armisitice in 1991.

    My feeling at the time was that the policy of containment was working and Saddam was hamstrung. I did not see a suitable reason for war. My guess is Bush didn't want to maintain such a commitment indefinitely and wanted to end it all.

    Now that the regime is overthrown, though. I don't think foreign forces should leave until some measure of stability is returned.
     
  5. shadowdude

    shadowdude cynic in training

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    Caving in to the popular consensus so quickly?

    While both listed entities have sway over Bush there are much bigger influences on our esteemed commander-in-chief.
     
  6. taper

    taper Meet Tux

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    And how did you get this fact? Halliburton has a long history of successful military support, getting their start under the Clinton administration in Bosnia. It was pure incompetant management that led to their problems in Iraq, and Cheney and Bush had nothing to do with it. Go to the library and read the article in the April 18th issue of Fortune magazine if you want the real story of Halliburton's successes and meltdowns.

    Oh, and Saddam is responsible for the deaths of millions of Kurds, financially supported terrorism against Israel, violated the terms of the 1st Gulf War cease-fire, and Clinton signed legislation advocating the removed of Saddam from power: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Liberation_Act

    If genocide isn't a reason to take someone out, what is?
     
  7. I am the Future

    I am the Future Oi Oi Oi !!!

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    Bush went to war because he had to get americans minds off the fact that his tax cuts did nothing to stimulate the economy
     
  8. ligertiger

    ligertiger Warlord

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    Then why didn't we step into Rwanda or the current Darfur problem?!

    Yes, it was a very elaborate smokescreen through which a very few number of people saw. I'll admit, I liked the man at first, but then came the stories of tax cutting and no spending cutting and the current fiasco of Iraq. Here's a perfect icon for him :king:

    Also, anyone hear of the theory of the war being perpuated to save our debt and deficits? It's got stuff to do with China and other countries that are funding our deficit and also has something to do with how oil is priced in dollars.
     
  9. taper

    taper Meet Tux

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    In all honesty, and I mean this in a non-racist way, the *civilized* white world doesn't care about black people killing black people in 3rd world countries. We definately should have done something about the killing, but nobody, not Republicans, not Democrats, not the UN, not Europeans, nobody lifted a finger to stop it.

    A small explanation is that those conflicts had no chance of spilling into our laps, but we were afraid Saddam might have the means and will to harm us or our friends.

    Bush may have emphasized, and the media solely picked up, the WMD threat, but there are many other justifiable reasons for the war, and the world will no doubt be a safer place five years from now than it was three years ago. The danger might be more apparent, but a smaller problem you see is better than a large problem simmering in the shadows.
     
  10. SeleucusNicator

    SeleucusNicator Diadoch

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    To be truthful, the general consensus before the war was that Saddam -did- have WMDs. There were exactly two people on Earth who doubted this before 2003:

    1) Sean Penn
    2) me

    And I was only 50% confident about that.
     
  11. Japanrocks12

    Japanrocks12 tired of being a man

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    Desert Storm should have been extended, then we wouldn't have to deal with this fiasco.
     
  12. The Yankee

    The Yankee The New Yawker Retired Moderator

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    Why do you hate America? :p

    I don't have a problem with suspecting someone who is an unsavory character of trying to do a reach around to harm us. However, the problems came when the wanted result was used to shape the process rather than the process producing a result. We've seen our intelligence teams drop the ball so many times, yet it was forged ahead anyway. This is the problem that is slowing us down. We would have known (okay, a bunch of us probably knew anyway) we would need more soldiers, or that the threat was hyped, or a trillion other things. Now, with our reluctance to even acknowledge those problems, we're stalling in both Iraq and in Afghanistan, where we lost focus.
     
  13. The Yankee

    The Yankee The New Yawker Retired Moderator

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    We probably would have had greater Iraqi support then. The Shi'ites and the Kurds were slaughtered in 1991 after being encouraged to rise up, and they expected American backup. Sigh...we're stuck with what we have...
     
  14. Strider

    Strider In Retrospect

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    Gun manufacturing companies weren't doing very well.
     
  15. The Yankee

    The Yankee The New Yawker Retired Moderator

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    They weren't doing well in the United States of America!? :crazyeye:
     
  16. Japanrocks12

    Japanrocks12 tired of being a man

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    The U.S. should have extended Desert Storm. The advent of M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks would have procured the fall of Saddam anyway.
     
  17. The Yankee

    The Yankee The New Yawker Retired Moderator

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    Plus we had 500,000 over in theatre...and I'm sure a bunch of the coalition forces would have stayed too, at least some time.

    Woulda, coulda, shoulda...thing is...it isn't.
     
  18. vbraun

    vbraun Raytracing

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    War is cool. :rolleyes:
     
  19. The Yankee

    The Yankee The New Yawker Retired Moderator

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    Maybe they saw how Gulf War I looked like an old videogame on CNN and wanted to try it?
     
  20. Sims2789

    Sims2789 Fool me once...

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    Except that by 2003, they hadn't found the alleged weapons... :rolleyes:
     

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