Re: Super Anti War Computers

From: John Mashey (
Date: 03/14/03

From: (John Mashey)
Date: 13 Mar 2003 23:56:47 -0800

"Bill Todd" <> wrote in message news:<>...
> "John Mashey" <> wrote in message
> > (This is really John Mashey, @ with the usual old login
> > name;
> >
> > Anil T Maliyekke <> wrote in message
> news:<b4mfpr$dr4$>...
> > > The problem with this is putting Saddam in his box requires the constant
> > > presence of American and British troops and aircraft in the Middle East
> to
> >
> > (reasonable post, showing signs of actually knowing something!)
> But unfortunately, as with most statements supporting the proposed war,
> completely missing what for many people is the real crux of the matter:
> whether the U.S. has the *right*, under both international precedent and
> whatever laws exist, to take action *without* U.N. support.
> I'd consider it interesting but essentially irrelevant to the question of
> whether, regardless of one's assessment of such longer-term risks, *the U.S.
> has the right to take unilateral action at this point in time* (when there
> is absolutely no evidence of an imminent threat to our country).

1) I think the laws and international precedents are murky [and I've
read a lot
of analyses, and looked at various UNSC RES items, but they are
non-trivial to digest, and especially because international precedents
are really murky.] I strongly prefer UN-approved action whenever
possible. I find no evidence of an imminent threat to the US.

2) But, these days, I'm not sure what war is, any more, and as I read
a lot of
history, sometimes I take current reasoning and try to apply them
backwards to previous events. For example, under the current rules,
would it have been legal for France to have attacked Germany (or
threatened to) in 1936 for
the Rhineland remilitarization? Would it have been legal for England
and France to threaten war in 1938 over Czechoslovakia? {Might have
saved 50M lives, but might not have been legal (?)] Was US's support
for UK before DEC 1941 legal? Was it good idea? The Israeli attack on
Osirak must *surely* have been illegal .. but I can't say I'm sorry
they did it. I've enjoyed my visits to the mid-East, but I'm allergic
to radioactivity, and if any leader in the world would actually use
nukes if he had them, Saddam would rank highly.

3) From my viewpoint, the best outcome (it's too late now, of course),
would have been a crisper UNSC RES 1441, with more specificity and
deadlines, and 100% support from France and Russia telling Iraq that
we really meant it,
hopefully resulting in a South-Africa-style cooperation and clear
disarmament, finally. That probably couldn't have happened, for
various reasons.

4) The heavily-conflicted problem that I've got is the choice between:
- a war driven by an administration I don't like, with motives I don't
particularly trust, with many downsides, and whose legality is murky,
- letting a really nasty dictator off the hook, again [%$^#^ Bush Sr],
especially when his history makes it plausible that he might again be
a serious threat to the region a few years from now, with
non-negligible probability.
On the other hand, maybe he will die of natural causes first, and
maybe Qusayy will be more rational.

5) From anti-war advocates, all I really want are well-reasoned
alternative scenarios that I can believe work. I'm always willing to
listen to them, as I'd much prefer a non-war solution. I just wish
most of them didn't come down to "trust in inspections" or "war is
bad". [Both my parents were WW II officers in war zones, so I believe

The sanctions have to go, and so will the no-fly zones (which already
look like war to me, and which will not be supported by Saudi and
others much longer, and which already look and act like war). That
probably means genocide for the Kurds, but I guess that's the way it
goes. I do want to know what true peace approach doesn't leave the
Kurds and Shiites as toast.

For various reasons, I think there is only one chance to do an
and it's already here, under less auspicious circumstances than it
should have been. To me, the real issue comes down to whether or not
Saddam can be disarmed, and kept disarmed peacefully [and without 200K
troops on his borders] for the reaminder of his natural lifetime.

If that is possible, then that is good.
If it is possible, but we invade, then it is bad, although the people
who would have died in the torture chambers will thank us; it will
still be a mess.

If we let Saddam off the hook, and if he is able to build or buy
nukes, then some US president is going to face a really tough decision
5-10 years from now, and there would be a non-negligible chance of a
radioactive mid-East [Tel Aviv, Baghdad, and Saudi Oil-Fields likely.]