Tuesday, December 06, 2005

International Relations

Is Saddam really that evil, or is he just a scapegoat for secretive U.S. foreign policy? Surely he ruled his country with an iron fist, but what 3rd world country leader doesn't?

As for the torture issue, nearly every other country does it, so why can't we? Will it substantially weaken the fact finding agents of the U.S. who extract information concerning our national security from "enemy combatants"?

Another question, has anyone seen that bit on Conan when they put someone else's mouth on Saddam's picture and make him say stupid stuff? It's Nutrageous. And regarding the title of this post "International Relations", I'm not talking about your trip to Puerto Vallarta, Nate.

As for me, I don't really have an opinion on any of these questions, except I do believe that Saddam is a scapegoat...


  1. There's a difference between torture and systematic killing of people who oppose your regime. I've heard arguments saying things were better under Saddam... but there's always the question of "better for who." Is Saddam a scapegoat... he is for the moment as this trial takes attention away from our administration, the planning of the war, and the day-to-day problems the troops experience. He was a good scapegoat for going to war in the first place as well... with no WMD's found everyone said "well at least we removed Saddam and we'll help 'stabilize the region'.

    The problem with condoning torture by U.S. agents is our position in the world. Often times we play up our role as 'defenders of democracy' around the world. When we legitimize torture, we loose respect and

    Tangent: we often play up our role as 'defenders of democracy' around the world, whether or not people want it. Our history is really different compared to other nations, you can't just throw in US style democracy when no one's ever had it... look at Russia and other former Soviet nations... they've got a lot of social and economic problems and they've been trying democracy for almost 15 years now.

    These are just my thoughts of the moment...

  2. First off I would say I am not sure about him being a scapegoat but I am quite certain that Saddam is really that evil.

    As far as us playing up our role as 'defenders of democracy' there is probably some truth to your comments there. The one clarification I would make is that more times then not the rest of the world puts us in to this role, mostly at there convenience. So when other countries want democracy enforced or they happen to need anything else at a time when it is convenient for them they do not hesitate to ask U.S... If we do not deliver or come to there aid it is the US being the bad guy who will not help poor starving people in "fill in the blank with any 3rd world aids/drout/famin/war ridden country". This being the case I tend to support US policy that works toward bettering the world in an idealistic sense. And no I am not talking about an Adolf Hitler approach to bettering the world; you are all smart people you can figure out what I mean by that. So whether we are defending democracy, human rights, borders or anything else in need of defending I am generally for it. So perhaps we are playing a role, but it is not only one we have appointed ourselves.

    It is kind of like the guy’s family who sues the bystander who happens to be a doctor for trying to save a guy in a fatal car accident. Do you blame the guy for trying to help??? It seems that in the world we live in today the answer is generally yes, which I think is to bad.

  3. I understand to problem of other nations relying on US intervention, we can't play 'Team America: World Police' and I'm not one to sue someone for helping out... but I think its important to Iraq as a different beast. We went to war because we thought Iraq had WMDs and was a threat to the US and our allies. So we put together a coallition of the willing and went against the UN since they were content with more sanctions and no fly-zones. Since then, the rhetoric used to justify the war has largely focused on fighting the war on terror, defending freedom, liberating the Iraqi people, and bringing in an example of democracy for the middle east.
    See 2002 State of the Union Address.
    Outside of our coalition of the willing, the rest of the world took a seat on this one.

    I know Alex has a done a lot of research on this stuff begining with the first Gulf War... feel like bringing your brain to the table, you out there?

  4. Just noticed... my "important point" Should have read...
    "it's important to treat Iraq as a different beast."
    -rock on

  5. There's probably other reasons for us going to war... hmmm let me think. What does Iraq have that we want? Just a wild theory, but maybe oil and money had something to do with our decision to bomb the heck out of a country that never attacked us.

  6. I understand your concerns. Misinformation and bad intelligence is a huge challenge for not only this country but for all other countries that are taking action at the global level. I do not envy the people at all who have to make judgment calls on the information provided to them. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

    Let’s use Iraq as an example. We can all agree that Saddam is a very bad guy. Let’s say his regime was actively developing WMD (I love that acronym) and that one day he got the notion to launch a big ass missile with some nasty shit loaded on the end of it into Saudi Arriba or Israel. Or for that matter anywhere else the lunatic may have decided to point his missile. So then maybe 20,000 people were killed and a city was royally fucked up. I am sure in that case had the US and other world powers done nothing but sanctioned Iraq and stuck with the no fly zone we would have been hearing the exact opposite. Things like we had all of this information, we knew what he was doing, why didn't we stop him.

    So I guess when I spell this out I see the exact opposite of what happened in Iraq right here in the US with the 9-11 stuff. With all of the committees trying to figure out why we did not proactively stop the terrorists from running planes into our buildings. People saying we had the intel to know that something like this was coming. On top of that we need to find someone to blame for it happening, someone should have done something, right. We knew there were terrorists in the US planning attacks so certainly we should have be able to prevent this from happening…. So really you react to the information you have or you do not. When you back your government one way or another you hope that they are correct. Some people trust that the government is acting in the best interest of the country/world some people believe that the government has its own completely separate agenda….

    So I guess I would have preferred that our information along with a lot of other people’s information had been better around what was going on in Iraq, but it was to some degree incorrect. So at this point I see it as an opportunity to remove a dirt bag killer from power in a truly oppressed country. This at the end of the day isn’t all bad.

  7. why would it benifit us to bomb Iraq. Does bombing them get us free oil?

  8. Politicians who help set up the "New Iraq" can be sure to keep the financial well-being of their constituents in mind when deciding how to run the country. That's how bombing Iraq gets people rich. It also secures big contracts for all those who profit from war.

  9. I see how money could possibly be directed to public firms, however there are quite a few people involved in the decision making process as to who is awarded those contracts. I would imagine it would be very difficult if not impossible to bribe all parties involved without the world knowing it. Wouldn't it be possible that the companies that are chosen to re-build Iraq are chosen off of merrit. This is the first time in a long while where any of "these firms " would have been able to make a profit this way. So if this was there there business strategy I would think it would not keep them in business very long.

    So i do see how some companies, individuals, countries may profit from war however I still do not see how oil plays into this

  10. All this disucssion is great but I think we are debating the past, The real question is: What do we do now?

    We can talk all about whether it was just, how the intelligence community failed (optimistic view) or Bush lied (pessimistic view), who was making $$$$ off Saddam's regime then and who is making it now...

    A lot of this past discussion focus on what is called the law of inertia in history: Whatever happened seems like it was inevitable, and the alterante course always seems so dumb.

    BUT none of this answers the present question.

  11. Ok, here's a quick way to fix most of the U.S.'s problems. First, demolish the Federal Reserve System and make all of our money based on precious metals. This will force the govt to "raise taxes" but it will stop govt overspending b/c we the people will be more consciuos of what our govt spends on.

    2nd, we need to put a cap on how much politicians can spend when running for office. This way we won't have Congressmen who owe favors to those who put him into office, especially when they will have to run for office agian in a few years.

    I realize that either of these would probably start a huge world war (especially #1), but I honestly think they are real solutions. The second one probably has some holes in it, I just thought of it about a week ago.

  12. true but there is a lot of value in learning from the past.