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Saturday, February 26, 2005

U.S. to Attack Iran, Manipulated Iraq Election?

Appearing on the United for Peace Web site is an article, excerpted below, reporting on comments by Scott Ritter, former UNSCOM weapons inspector:

Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail yesterday in Washington State, dropped two shocking bombshells in a talk delivered to a packed house in Olympia’s Capitol Theater. The ex-Marine turned UNSCOM weapons inspector said that George W. Bush has "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, and claimed the U.S. manipulated the results of the recent Jan. 30 elections in Iraq.

The principal theme of Scott Ritter's talk was Americans’ duty to protect the U.S. Constitution by taking action to bring an end to the illegal war in Iraq. But in passing, the former UNSCOM weapons inspector stunned his listeners with two pronouncements. Ritter said plans for a June attack on Iran have been submitted to President George W. Bush, and that the president has approved them. He also asserted that knowledgeable sources say U.S. officials "cooked" the results of the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq.

On Iran, Ritter said that President George W. Bush has received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran’s alleged program to develop nuclear weapons, but Ritter said neoconservatives in the administration also expected that the attack would set in motion a chain of events leading to regime change in the oil-rich nation of 70 million -- a possibility Ritter regards with the greatest skepticism.

Predictably, Ritter offered no concrete evidence of manipulation of the Iraq election, or substantiating material for his prediction of an attack on Iran, other than to say that this would soon be reported by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in a major metropolitan magazine, which the writer believed was an allusion to New Yorker reporter Seymour M. Hersh.

The Web site proclaims "We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy." This position appears to mirror the sentiment of Old Europe, where old men prefer to talk and talk until they turn blue, despite any worthwhile progress toward their goal. The peace-at-any-cost crowd is a danger to free people everywhere.

The full story can be found here.

10 comments:

JL Pagano said...

Please, PLEASE, enlighten me as to what you mean by "Old Europe". I take it to mean Those Europeans Who Have The Audacity To Oppose The Wishes Of America. I also would take "New Europe" to mean Tony Blair.

49% of Americans voted against President Bush in 2004. Is this "Old America"?

James Howard Shott said...

I am surprised that a sophisticated gent such as yourself doesn't know what "Old Europe" is.

Perhaps you're familiar with Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. Secretary of Defense? He used the term recently to describe European nations, primarily France and Germany, which haven't quite adapted to the modern world, still clinging to old notions.

Rumsfeld identified a shift in the center of gravity eastward toward the Baltic states, and pointed to plans to extend the NATO Alliance to those nations.

There are bright days ahead in Eastern Europe, whereas Old Europe is more stagnent.

New Europe, then, would be the nations of Easterr Europe, which have recently been freed from the tentacles of the USSR, and are now developing nicely.

Vitriola said...

But Old Europe is just that. A term coined by Mr Rumsfeld. I think the wider implication that America is the future and that the views of such countries are of the past is faintly patronising, not to mention...well, scary. As though perhaps we all shoulc convert to 'modern ways' as dictated and moderated by the United States.

'Old Europe' isn't a tangible thing, it's just a veiled insult. Personally I equate 'Old Europe' to nations who 'are less willing to go dropping bombs at the drop of a hat'. Which is fine by me.

James Howard Shott said...

Glad to see you active again, Vitriola.

“Old Europe” is much more than a term coined by Donald Rumsfeld. He didn’t just come out with it while driving home after work. It is the way he describes what is the result of events and trends in Europe that are distinctly identifiable. It is, then, a tangible thing.

As I explained to JL above, Eastern Europe is where the action is today. France and Germany (as Rumsfeld primarily identifies “Old Europe”) are caught up in a stodgy sameness, stubbornly and arrogantly standing still, behaving as if nothing has changed. They believe that diplomacy means talking endlessly without noticeable results. They eschew the use of force in almost every conceivable scenario. Their views are unrealistic, and out-dated.

And this isn’t about America being the future, or about America at all, except to the extent that America recognizes the changing face of Europe, where France and Germany do not. And since it is not about America, it also is not about “dropping bombs at the drop of a hat,” either. Frankly, I find that characterization of America shallow and na├»ve.

What many Europeans fail to recognize is that the same impetus that drove the United States to save France and much of the rest of Europe in World War II is what drives the U.S. today to fight terrorism worldwide and to discourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons, particularly by North Korea and the nations of the Mid East whose unstable governments can not be trusted with them, and generally to support the spread of freedom and democracy around the world.

Who would not prefer peaceful resolutions to the controversies and issues that plague us today? And rest assured that diplomatic means will be exhausted before force becomes necessary. But make no mistake: Force is sometimes necessary. If you believe that radical Islam can be talked out of its murderous ways, or if you believe that North Korea will voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons ambitions, you are not being realistic. You are part of “Old Europe.”

JL Pagano said...

Every definition you have given for the term "Old Europe" relates directly to mine, "Those Europeans Who Have The Audacity To Oppose The Wishes Of America".

Here's an analogy for you; if America was a guy in a bar and France/Germany was an attractive woman who had just spurned his advances, then he's the type of guy who would turn around and say "well I could tell you were a lesbian anyway".

Radical Islam and Radical North Korea are merely baiting and responding to the Radical Neo-Cons.

They should ALL go drink somewhere else and let civilized people socialize in peace.

James Howard Shott said...

You have it exactly backward, JL: Every interpretation of my definitions is met with the same closed mind. Like so many on the Left, you hate America, and will go to any lengths, however illogical and tortured the effort, to justify that hatred.

If you open up and read for meaning, you’ll see that what you interpret as American “audacity” does not have America as its center or focus.

Fighting terrorism, for example, is not solely the province of the United States. Ireland, obviously, has had its share or more of it. Spain has seen attacks. A disco in Germany was blown up. An Italian cruise ship was hijacked and passengers killed. Terrorists attacked innocent people in cafes in El Salvador. Attacks in airports in Rome and Vienna killed innocent travelers. And let’s not leave out Israel, which has been and is the leading target of terrorism. But while the list of nations victimized by terrorism is long, the list of nations actively fighting terrorism is noticeably shorter.

And your analogy is wrong, too. The guy would not attempt to “date” lesbians, knowing full well what they were.

I find it interesting, and also a little disturbing, that you want to blame radical Islam’s terrorist activities on the U.S., and even more so the idea that all anyone must do to stop terrorism is to leave them alone.

I’m repeating the paragraph that follows from the comment immediately preceding yours, in case you didn’t see it. It explains why you are wrong in the perception of arrogance and audacity as the motivator of the American initiative against terrorism and nuclear proliferation in North Korea and the Mid East. “What many Europeans fail to recognize is that the same impetus that drove the United States to save France and much of the rest of Europe in World War II is what drives the U.S. today to fight terrorism worldwide and to discourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons, particularly by North Korea and the nations of the Mid East whose unstable governments can not be trusted with them, and generally to support the spread of freedom and democracy around the world.”I realize that the Left is frightened by strong leadership and by leaders who are decisive and unafraid to confront problems head on. Unlike France and Germany – Old Europe – the U.S. is unwilling to rely on endless talking without results, and is taking action. That is in the interest of Europe, both Old and New, and the rest of the world.

Vitriola said...

Hi James. Glad to be back.

I entirely agree with you that force is sometimes necessary. I think it was entirely necessary in 1939.

I don't categorise America as a nation willing to drop bombs at the drop of a hat. I categorise George W Bush and Tony Blair as people who will put up spurious reasons for us to support their bombing people at the drop of a hat. And by drop of the hat, I mean without due care or attention to the safety of their own armed forces as well as civilian populations in the areas they choose to attack.

I like America. It's a beautiful place with a great deal to offer. I like Americans. I have several close friends who are American and some of the most intelligent and literate people I have ever known. I do, however , think that there is a fair proportion of Americans that don't really know or understand what is going on outside of their own country. This happens in any country, my own included. I also don't trust the American media or the British media , as they both have the ability to sway people into certain beliefs without ever presenting the true facts. I'm not anti-American. I have as much a tendency to criticise my own and other governments as the US one. And I don't believe that my opinions on the US are naive at all.

What you say about terrorism is true. Many countries have had to deal with this issue and take measures to try to eliminate it. The majority haven 't gone so far as to bomb civilian populations on the basis of it. Until now.

I am of the opinion that South America is one area where the US have unquestionably messed up and behaved badly.

It's not a question of being afraid to tackle these things head on. In addition to the humanitarian concerns I have, it's about not aggravating wounds and making the situation worse. Bombing Middle Eastern countries doesn't solve the problem. It creates even more resentment. It makes criminals of civilians who try to defend themselves from attacking forces. The resentment causes even greater extremism, and I believe will only lead to continued terrorism... car bombs... people dying daily in Iraq. For example.

I think Islamic terrorism has been aggravated by latter twentieth century interference from western nations. You think it's crazy to say that terrorism has been caused by the US. I don't think that the west did it all by itself, but I certainly don't think it is blameless in this regard.

All of this talk about Korea and Syria and Iran. Israel has fitted the profile of 'rogue state' for years and we did nothing about that.

mark said...

James

I agree with JL and Vitriola that "Old Europe" is much rather a term of abuse or insult than a "tangible thing", as you put it. Countries have different opinions. The fact remains that (like the UK), the populations of both France and Germany were strongly against the war. Furthermore, the German constitution specifically forbids this sort of war:

Article 26 [Ban on preparations for war of aggression]

(1) Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offense.

France and Germany are old countries, certainly - but that doesn't make them irrelevant. Equally the fact that most Eastern European countries have only recently become democracies doesn't make them any more relevant.

Unlike France and Germany – Old Europe – the U.S. is unwilling to rely on endless talking without results, and is taking action.
I don't think that's fair. Remember for example Yugoslavia, where Germany was one of the keenest proponents of intervention there. (Incidentally this wasn't contrary to the German constitution as it wasn't an act of aggression - it was to prevent human rights abuses.) This intervention could have been done in a better way, but the example (along with the example of Afghanistan) at least shows that Germany isn't unprepared to use force, though it is certainly wary of it. I think that's a good thing. Similarly, France has been involved in peacekeeping operations in both the Balkans and Ivory Coast.

Finally, I also agree with Vitriola that America is at least to some extent responsible for the terrorism which it is now being threatened with. Remember that America gave massive support to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Those guns and rocket launchers that the US gave are now being used back against them. And double standards annoy me too.

James Howard Shott said...

Vitriola and Mark, a joint response, if you don’t mind.

Vitriola, your view of Bush and Blair illustrates the philosophical quandary: How long is long enough to wait, and how long is too long? Bush and Blair want quicker action and are less willing to wait, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. Waiting fortifies the “enemy,” particularly when the enemy has no intention of acquiescing.

“The majority haven 't gone so far as to bomb civilian populations on the basis of it. Until now.” About whom are you speaking? The U.S.? I am unaware of any civilian population to be deliberately target by the U.S. since Japan in 1945, and even then circumstances were quite dire, and required something dramatic to persuade the Axis to surrender.

Regarding Korea and Syria, and other rogue states, until George W. Bush became President, the U.S. President for eight years was Bill Clinton, who more closely matched European leaders in his ability to do nothing when actions was needed. And while he did nothing, and while the European leaders did nothing, the situation worsened.

You may argue that action by the West in general, and the U.S. in particular has aggravated terrorism, and ramped up the level of violence. But had that not occurred, terrorism would not have lain dormant. It would have been spreading silently throughout free nations all over the globe.

Mark, the German Article you noted deals with wars of aggression. The Iraq war was not and is not a war of aggression. A war of aggression occurs when one nation intends to conquer and occupy another for eternity, or as long as it can. If you think back to the build-up to the war, even though France and Germany opposed the war, they were part of the world community that believed that Iraq had WMD, which of course was what the U.S. and England also believed, and what primarily motivated George W. Bush to attack Iraq. So for Germany to use that as an excuse to oppose the war, it would have to have believed that the U.S. wanted to take over Iraq. That was never the U.S.’s intent.

And I’m not saying that I believe that France and Germany are irrelevant, or that the U.S. believes that. I am saying that from the U.S. point of view, conditions in the world require a modernized perspective that France and Germany do not possess.

I think your example of Germany/Yugoslavia more or less proves my point that Germany prefers to talk too long. Germany wanted to end human rights abuses, but was wary of using force to do so, and put off taking action, allowing human rights abuses to continue. If you object to human rights abuses, and you have diplomatically demanded that they cease and Yugoslavia refuses, why wait to end those abuses?

The alternative to the situation where the U.S. supported Afghanistan against the Soviet Union was to have done nothing, and allowed our Cold War enemy to perhaps have expanded its empire. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and Afghanistan fit the bill, and at the same time deserved to be aided in its struggle to remain free of Soviet rule. I don’t believe it was possible then to have foreseen that the future Afghanistan would harbor terrorist training camps that would be used against the U.S. years later. It’s just a chance you take when you act on what you believe is the right thing, and you must do what you believe is the right thing.

mark said...

The Iraq war was not and is not a war of aggression.That may be what you think (rightly or wrongly), but millions of people across Europe perceived it so. As I've said before on Vitriola's site, the weapons inspection process was working. The US and Britain chose to go outside of this alone to invade Iraq.

I certainly didn't think Iraq had WMDs. The sort of statements that were coming out of No 10 and the White House only reinforced this belief. When Powell's evidence to the UN consisted of some dubious satellite photos and a cartoon of what he thought these "mobile laboratories" looked like, I just laughed. How can you take that sort of thing seriously? And that was the summation of his evidence.

In Britain, I sincerely don't believe that Blair thought there was a large amount of WMDs in Iraq, and I certainly don't believe that he thought they could attack either Britain or British interests. We got things like the 45-minute claim, which turned out to be single-sourced and totally bogus (as well as only referring to battlefield WMDs, of which none have been found), a large amount of one of the reports was plagiarised directly from a university student's thesis as someone found out on google. There was no way that you could really keep a straight face and say "there are WMD in Iraq" (unless you were a politician, of course).

In any case, that article of the German constitution not only refers to "acts of aggression", but also "Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations". And it's hardly Germany's fault that its constitution is so, seeing as it was a key demand of the occupying powers after the war. I also don't think Germany and France's perspective is old-fashioned, as you suggest. It's simply different, and a view that the majority of Britons held prior to the Iraq war (and still hold).

Germany was one of the more hawkish nations in going into Yugoslavia, and wanted to take action much more quickly. Remember also that Clinton didn't want to commit American forces to Kosovo, but needed a bit of arm-twisting from Blair for that to happen.

Again, with Afghanistan, when Soviet troops pulled out of there there was a power vacuum, and the Mujahedeen filled it. The US seemed a lot less bothered about Afghanistan remaining a free and prosperous country than it did about the reach of the Soviet Union. The term "use and abuse" seems appropriate here.