Sunday, June 04, 2006

The War in Iraq: Rebuttal Time

For those of us who want an end to the war in Iraq, how do we argue convincingly against the war?

We often hear reasons why we cannot leave Iraq. I believe that it is important to be able to articulate why you support or do not support this war.

I read this article and think the author nailed the points very well. It's a slightly long read, but by plowing through it, I guarantee you will get a better understanding of the war, and why we need to bring our troops home now.

Iraq War Fallacies: Proponents of Keeping Our Soldiers in Iraq Repeatedly Offer the Same Rationale for Their Viewpoint. Here, Their Most Often Cited Reasons Are Refuted.

by William F. Jasper

FALLACY: If the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq now, the country will collapse into chaos, civil war, and dictatorship, and will almost certainly end up being ruled by a regime hostile to us.

REBUTTAL: That is certainly possible if we pull out now, but we have no guarantee against that same outcome if we remain in Iraq three more years, 10 more years, or 20 more years, after expending thousands more lives of American soldiers and hundreds of billions more taxpayer dollars. In fact, the current "friendly" regime we have installed is very friendly with Iran, and the growing Baghdad-Tehran axis should be a major concern to all Americans.

When Iran's foreign minister visited Iraq in May of 2005, he was warmly received by Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. Mr. Jaafari is a radical Shi'ite Muslim and a disciple of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who, it may be recalled, labeled the United States the "Great Satan," inspired the overthrow of the pro-American Shah of Iran, held our embassy and American citizens hostage, and launched a new age of terror. Prime Minister Jaafari, "our ally" in Iraq, made an historic pilgrimage to Tehran in July 2005, with eight of his cabinet ministers in tow, to lay a wreath on the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini. Jaafari spent nine years (1980-1989) in Iran, and at Ayatollah Khomeini's behest, became a founding member of the Ayatollah's Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

With Shi'ite Muslims comprising 90 percent of Iran's and 60 percent of Iraq's population, and Iraq's pro-Iranian radical Shi'ite "pope," Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, being the most influential religious leader in the country, we are already witnessing the transformation of Iraq into an ally of Iran.

FALLACY: The huge turnout of Iraqi voters in the January and December 2005 election proves President Bush's hopeful vision that this "is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East."

REBUTTAL: It "proves" nothing of the sort. Iraq has no history of "democracy," constitutional or otherwise, and it is the height of imperial conceit to expect a couple of elections under a military occupation to change thousands of years of cultural, religious, and political tradition.

Ancient Iraq (formerly known as Mesopotamia) is often referred to as the "cradle of civilization." Yet from the time of the Sumerian empire to the Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Mongol, and Turkish empires on up to modern times, Iraq has always been under autocratic, dictatorial, or tyrannical rule. For a relatively few brief periods, it has enjoyed relatively benign autocratic rule, but never genuine self-rule and limited, constitutional government. During World War I--the war to "make the world safe for democracy"--British troops drove out the Turks and replaced them as Iraq's occupiers.

In 1920, Britain accepted a League of Nations mandate to occupy Iraq and prepare it for independence, under the British-installed King Faisal. Despite 12 years of British occupation (1920-1932), Iraq was then and thereafter regularly in turmoil, suffering assassination, coups, attempted coups, and revolution. All of which is not to say that Iraq will never become a peaceful republic, but to point out how ludicrous it is to suggest that it is on the cusp of doing so.

About the only thing any of the warring factions in Iraq agree on is getting U.S. forces out of Iraq. Independent polls (USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll in April 2004; U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority poll in May 2004; BBC/Oxford Research International poll in December 2005, to cite a few) show that Iraqis of all persuasions--Sunnis, Shias, Communists, Kurds --overwhelmingly look unfavorably on the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, and a majority favor an immediate U.S. pullout. By continuing to stay where we are not wanted, we only assure that we will alienate all sides in this tragic corner of the world.

FALLACY: But we must support democracy if we hope to stop terrorism. As President Bush said in his second Inaugural Address: "So, it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

REBUTTAL: If "democracy" is our Holy Grail, then President Bush will have to be willing to accept majority votes that may be unpalatable. After all, Venezuela's Communist leader, Hugo Chavez, was democratically elected. As was his pro-terrorist, anti-American Marxist comrade, President Lula de Silva of Brazil. Ditto for Iran's democratically elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And there are the recent victories of the radical Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's parliamentary elections. Then there's our supposed democratic ally, Pakistan, which supports a multitude of terrorist groups, and whose spy chief, General Mahmoud Ahmad, is implicated as a paymaster for the 9/11 hijackers. The UN General Assembly is filled with democratically elected despots.

We may believe the autocratic monarchical regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Bahrain to be less than ideal, but who can believe that we will benefit if Iranian or Iraqi-style democracy were to sweep jihadist mullahs to power in those countries? Our Iraqi occupation is making that more likely, as each passing day stokes the anti-American fires of the extremist factions.

The United States is not and never was a democracy. Our Founding Fathers, wisely despising democracy as a dangerous fraud, gave us a constitutional republic, which guarantees the rights of all, especially minorities. It subjects us all--and especially the government--to the "rule of law," another goal frequently proclaimed by the Bush administration. However, the U.S. Constitution provides no authority for the president or Congress to establish global democracy or "end tyranny" throughout the world, even if it were possible to do so. Bush's attempts to do so are a gross usurpation of power and blatant violation of the rule of law he claims to desire to promote.

"America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy," said President John Quincy Adams. "She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

FALLACY: We must not lose our resolve because of setbacks and casualties; we must "stay the course" in the war against terror.

REBUTTAL: Stay which course? And for how long, and to what end, and at what cost? We have been the victims of a gigantic, serial bait-and-switch scam, with constantly changing goals and definitions. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, the American public rightly supported military attacks on those responsible. The Bush administration made a generally acceptable case for pinning culpability on Osama bin Laden and for attacking al-Qaeda's bases in Afghanistan, as well as the ruling Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

However, after gaining approval and momentum for the Afghan invasion, the Bush administration and the foreign policy elites repeatedly misled and lied to the American people in order to expand the "war on terror" to include Iraq. After failing to provide any evidence to back its insinuations that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, the administration shifted gears: Saddam was a future terror threat who was amassing a huge arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). We were in imminent danger, we were told, of nuclear or biological weapon attacks by Saddam's agents or terrorist surrogates. Saddam must be removed immediately.

Saddam was removed. U.S. forces demolished his regime within three weeks of landing on Iraqi soil. Saddam has been captured, his sons killed, and most of the rest of his cabal of despotic, sadistic megalomaniacs killed or captured. However, after turning the country upside down, no WMDs or WMD program could be discovered. Instead of declaring "mission accomplished" and bringing our troops home, the administration changed the U.S. goal in Iraq to one of national reconstruction and establishing "democracy" and ending tyranny--not only in Iraq, but throughout the entire world.

By December of 2005, we had already sacrificed more than 2,300 American lives and spent $228 billion. Administration officials have been saying for nearly two years that we are on the verge of beating the insurgents, but we are no closer than when we started. Former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell stated in December 2005 that it will likely be "many years" before U.S. troops can be pulled out of Iraq. According to Linda Bilmes, who teaches budgeting at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, if the war lasts five years, it will cost Americans about $1.4 trillion. That's a lot of taxes for a bankrupt nation. And the toll in blood will be even more costly. Are we willing to sacrifice our sons' and daughters' lives on the Iraqi sands and indenture future generations of Americans for the ever-changing goals of this "war on terror"?

FALLACY: George W. Bush did not lie us into war. He made the best decision he could based on the intelligence he had--and the Democrats, using the same intelligence, came to the same conclusion.

REBUTTAL: That "consensus" only proves either bipartisan ignorance or bipartisan treachery. The evidence that was used as the strongest argument for invading and occupying Iraq has been shown to be false, and there is strong reason to believe that elected officials in both parties knew the evidence was false, or at least highly suspect. Those who challenged the phony "intelligence" have been vindicated.

FALLACY: President Bush is our commander in chief and it is our patriotic duty during this time of war to support him. REBUTTAL: It is unpatriotic not to question the conduct, direction, and objectives of this undeclared war. Even if genuine intelligence had conclusively shown that Iraq was indeed involved in the 9/11 attacks and/or was planning an attack on the U.S., the president is constitutionally required to obtain a declaration of war from Congress before starting hostilities. And Congress is required to go on record with a declaration of war, not simply authorize open-ended military action pursuant to some United Nations resolution. It is not unpatriotic to question the conduct, direction, or objectives of this undeclared war.

FALLACY: But Iraqi forces are rapidly being trained and are nearly ready to take over. It is irresponsible and immoral to pull out before they are capable of surviving without us.

REBUTTAL: According to General Shahwani, head of Iraqi intelligence, the insurgents have around 40,000 "hard core fighters." The only estimates from U.S. intelligence officials are that the insurgent numbers are "somewhat smaller." According to the Pentagon, the U.S.-trained and -equipped Iraqi Security Forces now number 100,000. Must we stay another two or three years and train another 50,000 or 100,000? And, if so, will that be sufficient, or will the timelines and numbers be shifted again?

If 150,000 U.S. troops--equipped with America's high-tech weapons and our overwhelming air and sea support--have not brought the Iraqi "insurgents" under control in nearly three years, it is highly unlikely that the Iraqi military, police, and government, which are saturated with anti-U.S, elements--Sunnis, pro-Iranian Shias, Communists, al-Qaeda jihadists--will do so in short order. Like it or not, this is a complex and intractable conflict that the Iraqi people must work out for themselves. We cannot do it for them, nor should we try.

FALLACY: We are helping make life sustainable after U.S. forces leave by providing schools, hospitals, water and sewer systems, and training our replacements to run the infrastructure. We can't let this all go down the drain.

REBUTTAL: Undoubtedly, there is some good that has come from our presence in Iraq. But the major humanitarian and reconstruction effort has been put in the hands of the most corrupt institution on earth, the United Nations.

Humanitarian aid is being handled by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), which is composed of UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNESCO, UNHABITAT, UNFPA, UNIDO, UNIFEM, UNHCR, UNDP, UNEP, FAO, WHO, and ILO. All of these agencies have atrocious records for waste and corruption. Iraq's reconstruction has been placed under the auspices of the UN Development Group Iraq Trust Fund (UNDG-ITF), which includes most of the same agencies as UNAMI. These are all the same UN miscreants who gave us Saddam's multi-billion dollar "oil-for-food" racket, one of the biggest heists in history. In short, the Iraq aid package is an outrageous scheme to further enrich Kofi Annan's corrupt minions and politically favored corporate cronies, while further impoverishing American taxpayers.

FALLACY: It is better to fight the terrorists in Iraq than to fight them in the United States.

REBUTTAL: Tragically, the war in Iraq is making it more likely that we will be fighting the terrorists here in the United States. First and foremost, as the 9/11 attacks clearly demonstrated, our nation is wide open to terrorist attacks because our borders are a sham and our immigration and customs security are a joke. The 9/11 terrorists had easy access to our country, violating our visa "security" with virtual impunity. Rather than taking serious measures to close the gaping holes in our borders that allow millions of aliens to freely come and go without security checks, the administration has chosen to deplete our defense forces to dangerous levels by deploying our military to the far corners of the Earth.

At the same time, our military actions in Iraq are bringing in new terrorist recruits faster than we can capture or kill them. Don't take our word for it. The Bush administration itself has admitted this. "Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S, jihadists," CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 16, 2005. "These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focused on acts of urban terrorism," Goss testified. "They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries."

Likewise, Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the same Senate panel: "Our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment.... Overwhelming majorities in Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia believe the U.S. has a negative policy toward the Arab world." Adm. Jacoby said the Iraq insurgency had grown "in size and complexity over the past year." That testimony by Goss and Jacoby comports with the evidence from Muslim sources as well as independent media sources, terrorism experts, and security analysts.

In the asymmetrical warfare of terrorism, it is dangerously delusional and counterproductive to use massive military force against small, clandestine groups that mix with local populations. It is tantamount to using a sledge hammer or a shotgun to take out a mosquito in the living room or nursery. The collateral damage is unacceptable for the objective.

Iraq War Fallacies: Proponents of Keeping Our Soldiers in Iraq Repeatedly Offer the Same Rationale for Their Viewpoint. Here, Their Most Often Cited Reasons Are Refuted. William F. Jasper; The New American, Vol. 22, January 9, 2006


At 1:19 PM, Blogger Time said...

Nice post. I agree with his points of view and before I had ever heard of him, posted the same ideas myself. This is why I'm so against the war, and espically this President.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Citisucks said...

Pretty Good, let me ad a few responses...

Fallacy:It is better to fight the terrorists in Iraq than to fight them in the United States.

Response: There are more terrorists in the United States than there are in the rest of the world. What makes you assume that terrorists have to be non-white. Killing people is terrorism, Bu$h mass murders are terrorism and Citigroup and the other banking terrorists that steal from starving children and their parents in far off lands are terrorists. Is it any wonder the world hates us?

Fallacy: George W. Bush did not lie us into war. He made the best decision he could based on the intelligence he had--and the Democrats, using the same intelligence, came to the same conclusion.

Response: The Green Party always oppossed the "war". This is why I support the Green Party and this is one of the reasons why I will never again support the Democrats. I pledge to give my support to a party that was always opposed to this "war".

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Left of Center said...

Well put G... What constructive use of blog space. :)

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

I was thinking, I should make little flash cards with the falacies on one side and the rebuttal on the other. Then, when my insane cousin blabbers out some Republican nonsense, I could hold up the flash card and read the response. Thanks, Glenda and well done.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Frederick said...

What really pisses me off about one point this article brings up is the whole, "huge turnout of Iraqi voters in the January and December 2005 election," thing. People don't realize, because it wasn't widely reported in the MSM that Iraqis were told they would have their rations cut off if they didn't vote.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Wha-?? They'd have their rations cut if they didn't vote?! I REALLY never cease to be amazed at the depths of this administration's depravity!

Did y'all know that while New Orleans sits largely untouched and STILL vulnerable to another hurricane, the U.S. is building an embassy in Iraq THE SIZE OF VATICAN CITY with everything it needs - food, water, electricity, etc. - to remaind autonomous for decades to come?

Great post, Glenda, as always!

At 7:32 PM, Anonymous earl bockenfeld said...

[Ugly Suspicion] Iraq oil fields has always been the elephant in the room, as far as US intentions and for the reason the US invaded Iraq. The secret Chenney energy meetings has been the smoking gun as far as much of the world has been concerned. Below are some links and discussion about the role of oil in this war.

This map explains why those secret energy meetings were about.

Just like nearly every other meeting Cheney had several months before 9-11!

The secret energy meetings seem to have been about the coming Conquest Of Iraq--and which company would get which oilfields and exploration blocks.

This map has never been shown on TV or displayed in a newspaper as far as I know.

More illuminating was when Wilkerson spoke to one of the dark, and largely hidden secrets of the Bush administration. He discussed earlier "policy planning about actually mounting an operation to take the oilfields in the Middle East." While Wilkerson didn't mention the specific timing of these policy planning discussions, he didn't really have to.

Many of you will remember the first Bush administration fighting like the devil to withhold information around Cheney's secret closed-door energy policy meetings. Dubbed the "Energy Task Force," Bush tasked Cheney with the duty of establishing a comprehensive U.S. energy policy merely nine days after taking office in 2001.

The big deal is that the meetings have been kept secret with the greatest effort by Cheney.

Why would Cheney have the maps there? These are oil execs, they know where the oilfields are in the world.

They didn't need these maps to talk energy--unless.

Unless they really were going over all the exploration blocks--including Iraq--and deciding right there who could explore and develop what.

Iraq of course, had to be conquered first but they all knew that would only take a few weeks.

[Solution] Doing a Murtha style pull-off would be the best way to put the lie to the war theory of "Blood for Oil" and would salvage more world respect than the US deserves.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Great comments. Thanks to all of you. I have been lollygagging around all weekend while you were doing the hard thinking. This was pretty long, but I learned some new information as well.

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Pekka said...

I think that this post was an excellent source of information to those of whom were lacking in that department. Hopefully, I am not going to piss you all off by saying that an average European, such as myself, has had a lot better handle on all things relating to the Iraq fiasco than you Americans. This is propably due to the unfortunate fact that the first causualty of a war is the truth.

When one observes things from a little bit farther away big picture tends to be clearer. This is a natural result of being away from the reach of a warring partys's propaganda machinery, which without an effective opposition in your case, was one of the best I have seen.

Many of us, European friends of yours, were classified as weak kneed anti-Americans, when we were asking you not to take that leap into a unknown. I am personnally a simple man but somehow it was so clear to me that attacking Iraq would have more or less the consequenses it has, and there is still more to come. After starting a war, there is hardly anybody who can tell where it leads. This is certainly the case with this one, too. My prediction is that this artificial country, created by the outsiders in the aftermath of WW I, will eventually split at least in three parts and none of them will be the democracy that this incredibly stupid man, who became the leader of the free world, hallucinated about. What a frigging mess!

At 12:54 AM, Blogger sumo said...

I saw a program on PBS some weeks ago about Iraq...starting with its ancient history up to today. The western world took an interest when 'oil' became the issue...pure and simple. Yeah...the Brits kicked out the Turk's...the whole Lawrence of Arabia thing. British Petroleum to the rescue...and the middle east hasn't been the same since. Oil makes the world go around...

At 3:17 AM, Blogger glenda said...

I agree. Europeans have seen this for what it is from the start. Italy and Great Britain came into it because of Berlousconi and Blair, but I don't believe the people supported it. Other countries, even past allies have opposed it and Bush put a spin on their opposition to be Freedom Fries!! You can put lipstick on a pig, but ut's still a pig. Americans are starting to wake up, finaly, as evidenced in Bush's very low approval ratings, as well as Blair's. But this country has allowed itself to be brainwashed by a media that goes unquestioned by the general population that has been fed misinformation by the government. I would love to come visit your country.

Sumo, I will look and see if I can find a re-run of that program. It sounds great.

At 6:50 AM, Blogger betmo said...

what an excellent post! this is a clear, concise, firm rebuttal to what is clearly a weak argument in the first place. thanks

At 11:52 AM, Blogger belledame222 said...

When Iran's foreign minister visited Iraq in May of 2005, he was warmly received by Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. Mr. Jaafari is a radical Shi'ite Muslim and a disciple of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who, it may be recalled, labeled the United States the "Great Satan,">

He's a uniter! Not a divider! God bless our Presidunce.

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