Archive for the Iraq Category

Death Pamphlets

Posted in Big Government, Bulletproof Diction, Healthcare, Iraq on August 20, 2009 by mb007bpd

I didn’t expect my next post to involve something that made me simply sick to my stomach.

Apparently, the rightfully-derided “end-of-life counseling” that has been recently dropped from the healthcare bill already exists in government-healthcare…at the VA.

The Orwellian-titled “Your Life, Your Choices” contains some appalling questions:

There is a section which provocatively asks, “Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘If I’m a vegetable, pull the plug’?” There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as “I can no longer contribute to my family’s well being,” “I am a severe financial burden on my family” and that the vet’s situation “causes severe emotional burden for my family.”

To our veterans: our country has asked all that it can of you.  And for our government to ask, in return, that you sacrifice your life for us twice does not make me proud of my country.

(By the way, note that this pamphlet was introduced in 1997 under Clinton, suspended under Bush, and is now being reinstated under Obama.

Maybe conservatives are right when they claim that liberals hate the military.)

UPDATE (8/24): More VA failures exposed: 1,200 veterans told they had fatal Lou Gehrig’s disease, when in fact they didn’t.

And it took over a week for the problem to be corrected.


George W. Bush, Realist

Posted in Barack Obama, Bulletproof Diction, George W. Bush, Iran, Iraq, Nuclear Weapons on July 2, 2009 by mb007bpd

In a move that validates the opinion of some in International Relations circles, FBI FOIA requests were revealed today showing that Saddam Hussein claimed that his weapons programs were a bluff to keep from looking weak to Iran.  This theory has been floated before, quite frequently, in fact, so it comes as less of a surprise and more of an affirmation.  However, some questions remain.

What did Saddam know about Iran’s nuclear program back in 2003?

Ostensibly, this would explain what level he was willing to take his plans, and whether it was in-development or all a bluff.

Of course, the information today doesn’t explain something equally important, this time from the liberal perspective.

Why didn’t Saddam come quietly to the US, explain his situation, and either seek our help or ask us to give him cover?  We gave him solid ultimatums, so he can’t play the “poor me” role in the Middle East without appearing as if he exhausted all of his options.  This question is lent more credence by the quote at the end of the Washington Post article:

Hussein replied that the United States was not Iraq’s enemy, and that he simply opposed its policies.

Well then, if he felt so buddy-buddy with the US, then why didn’t he engage in some implicit or tacit coordination with us?  After all, he had everything to lose if he took the route that he did, which was to rebuff the US, UN and the world until it reached a breaking point.  And especially since one Bush came so close to having him eliminated, did he not think his son would attempt to take it to the next level?

However, Saddam’s explanation seems to fit too neatly in with the IR theories of academia.  If the argument can be made that Saddam was engaged in a problem of credible commitments, then let’s examine this from a perspective that academia would probably be uncomfortable with.

From the American perspective, you have Saddam Hussein, who is running roughshod over US treaties, bragging about weapons capabilities, and basically being the largest belligerent on the world stage.  For a second, let us indulge in a reality in which President Bush did not authorize the invasion of Iraq and left it as-is, just as AP at HotAir proposed.

Fast-forward, 2005.  Iran is developing nuclear weapons.  Iraq is either claiming it already has or is currently developing nuclear weapons.  Does anyone think that the rational actors at the head of either of these countries is going to behave rationally with nuclear weapons?  And what about beforehand?  Imagine the race to nuclear strength that would have ensued between Iran and Iraq.  Wouldn’t the neighbors be worried?  Already the UAE and Saudi Arabia are pining for nuclear weapons.  Could the world stand an even more unstable India-Pakistan-esque standoff, just 15 years after the Iran-Iraq War?  Mind you, with a cabinet, DoD, and DoS steeped in Sovietology, the prospect of a Middle Eastern Cold War was likely, with two almost-equally-unlovable characters.  So, what choice did President Bush have to make?

Take out the worst of the two.

And that’s the decision that was made.

So perhaps the whole conflict can be deduced to a lack of communication.  Of course, according to James Fearon, that’s the main way that wars begin.

And the institution that’s supposed to prevent these wars from beginning, that’s supposed to facilitate communication, utterly failed.  The UN was as guilty as Saddam in this situation, as well as the war’s main detractors: France, Germany, and Russia. Had these institutions not been so corrupt, perhaps they could have prevented what happened.

And now, one day after US soldiers have withdrawn from Iraqi cities, it’s clear that the right decision was made.  In alternate 2009, there would not be a free Iraq, there would not be democratic uprisings in Iran, there would just be one country left barely standing, the other in smithereens, and a Middle East scarred by nuclear war.  But in actual 2009, we are in the current situation, a situation much-derided but starkly better in comparison.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.