Sunday, March 9 2003

September 11, 2001
Terrorists attack the mainland of the United States of America, using four commercial airliners, and kill 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

September 20, 2001
President George Bush: Address to Joint Session of Congress

Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there....Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have seen. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

January 29, 2002
President George Bush: State of the Union Address

Time is not on our side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.

June 1, 2002
President George Bush: United States Military Academy - West Point, NY

The gravest danger to freedom lies at the perilous crossroads of radicalism and technology. When the spread of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons, along with ballistic missile technology -- when that occurs, even weak states and small groups could attain a catastrophic power to strike great nations. Our enemies have declared this very intention, and have been caught seeking these terrible weapons. They want the capability to blackmail us, or to harm us, or to harm our friends -- and we will oppose them with all our power.

For much of the last century, America's defense relied on the Cold War doctrines of deterrence and containment. In some cases, those strategies still apply. But new threats also require new thinking. Deterrence -- the promise of massive retaliation against nations -- means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend. Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies. We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants, who solemnly sign non-proliferation treaties, and then systemically break them. If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.

September 12, 2002
President George Bush: Address to the United Nations - New York City

The United Nations was born in the hope that survived a world war, the hope of a world moving toward justice, escaping old patterns of conflict and fear. The founding members resolved that the peace of the world must never again be destroyed by the will and wickedness of any man. We created a United Nations Security Council so that, unlike the League of Nations, our deliberations would be more than talk, our resolutions would be more than wishes.

Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation. And the regime's forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries and their resources. Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world. Yet this aggression was stopped by the might of coalition forces and the will of the United Nations. To suspend hostilities, to spare himself, Iraq's dictator accepted a series of commitments. The terms were clear to him and to all, and he agreed to prove he is complying with every one of those obligations. He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge, by his deceptions and by his cruelties, Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself.

In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities, which the council said threatened international peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored.

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke this promise.

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council through Resolution 687 demanded that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Iraq's regime agreed then broke this promise.

In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.

The Security Council renewed its demands on Iraq three more times in 1997, citing flagrant violations, and three more times in 1998, calling Iraq's behavior totally unacceptable. And in 1999, the demand was renewed yet again.

The history, the logic and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble, and this is a risk we must not take.

Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding or will it be irrelevant?

My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced, the just demands of peace and security will be met or action will be unavoidable and a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.

October 10-11, 2002
The U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passes a resolution authorizing President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States against Iraq. (United States Senate 77-23, United States House 296 - 133)

The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to-- (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

November 8, 2002
UN Security Council Resolution 1441 - The 17th resolution attempting to disarm and deal with Saddam Hussein's regime since 1991 is passed 15 - 0.

.....Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);

.....Requests the Secretary-General immediately to notify Iraq of this resolution, which is binding on Iraq; demands that Iraq confirm within seven days of that notification its intention to comply fully with this resolution; and demands further that Iraq cooperate immediately, unconditionally, and actively with UNMOVIC and the IAEA;

.....False statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations

..... Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations.

January 28, 2003
President George Bush: State of the Union Address

Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror, the gravest danger facing America and the world, is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.

This threat is new; America's duty is familiar. Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men seized control of great nations, built armies and arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world. In each case, their ambitions of cruelty and murder had no limit. In each case, the ambitions of Hitlerism, militarism, and communism were defeated by the will of free peoples, by the strength of great alliances, and by the might of the United States of America.

Now, in this century, the ideology of power and domination has appeared again, and seeks to gain the ultimate weapons of terror. Once again, this nation and all our friends are all that stand between a world at peace, and a world of chaos and constant alarm. Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people, and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility....

The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm. America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, and our friends and our allies.....

We will consult. But let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

February 25, 2003
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair: Statement to the House of Commons

To those who say we are rushing to war, I say this. We are now 12 years after Saddam was first told by the UN to disarm; nearly 6 months after President Bush made his speech to the UN accepting the UN route to disarmament; nearly 4 months on from Resolution 1441; and even now today we are offering Saddam the prospect of voluntary disarmament through the UN....

There is no complexity about Resolution 1441. I ask all reasonable people to judge for themselves...

The issue is not time. It is will. If Saddam is willing genuinely to co-operate then the inspectors should have up to July, and beyond July; as much time as they want. If he is not willing to co-operate then equally time will not help. We will be just right back where we were in the 1990s....

Today the path to peace is clear. Saddam can co-operate fully with the inspectors. He can voluntarily disarm. He can even leave the country peacefully. But he cannot avoid disarmament.

March 6, 2003
President George Bush: National Press Conference

Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation. September the 11th changed the strategic thinking, at least, as far as I was concerned, for how to protect our country. My job is to protect the American people. It used to be that we could think that you could contain a person like Saddam Hussein, that oceans would protect us from his type of terror. September the 11th should say to the American people that we're now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home. So, therefore, I think the threat is real. And so do a lot of other people in my government. And since I believe the threat is real, and since my most important job is to protect the security of the American people, that's precisely what we'll do....

We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam.

March 11-12, 2003
UN Security Council will vote on an 18th resolution dealing with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.
Text of United States, United Kingdom and Spain Resolution
Text of British Amendment

Determined to secure full compliance with its decisions and to restore international peace and security in the area, Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Reaffirms the need for full implementation of resolution 1441 (2002);

2. Calls on Iraq immediately to take the decisions necessary in the interests of its people and the region;

3. Decides that Iraq will have failed to take the final opportunity afforded by resolution 1441 (2002) unless, on or before 17 March 2003, the Council concludes that Iraq has demonstrated full, unconditional, immediate and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations under resolution 1441 (2002) and previous relevant resolutions; and is yielding possession of UNMOVIC and the IAEA of all weapons, weapon delivery and support systems and structures, prohibited by resolution 687 (1991) and all subsequent relevant resolutions, and all information regarding prior destruction of such items;

4. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

The 'Unilateral' Coalition Publicly Supporting the United States

United Kingdom
Czech Republic

J. McIntyre 4:30 pm

Friday, March 7 2003
BUSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE: I thought Bush gave a decent performance last night. It wasn't spectacular and it probably didn't change many minds, but he did what he needed to do: clearly restate the case against Hussein and the reason the United States will use force, if necessary, to take him down.

The most impressive thing about Bush's performance was his discipline. Despite questions designed to lead him off into speculative and personal territory (is this another Vietnam, what if you've got it wrong, etc) Bush stayed focused on three main themes: Saddam is a threat to U.S. national security, we will reluctantly use force to disarm him, and we will respect innocent Iraqi life and help them achieve freedom.

I suspect that in private Bush would have given Terry Moran an old fashioned Texas tongue lashing, but last night he didn't even come close to taking the bait - to his great credit. Still, it's something I would've liked to have seen.
UPDATE: I just noticed that James Lileks provides an answer to my question of what a Bush tongue lashing of Terry Moran would look like -and it's funnier than I ever imagined.

TONY VS. MTV: I love stories like this. Heads of state debating baggy-pantsed twenty-somethings overflowing in the comfort of their own intelligence and self-righteousness. The quote:

Niklas Ergandt, 25, of Sweden set the tone early. "I'm able to produce anthrax in my bathroom," he said. "Why don't you bomb Sweden?"

I'm sure Niklas' question won him high fives and chants of "right on, dude" from his fellows, but let's take a minute to work it over: If you had already produced anthrax and used on someone; if for 12 years you were told by authorities to give up all of your anthrax but didn't; if for for the last 4 years you defied orders to allow people to monitor whether you had produced further chemical and biological agents; if you were known to have connections with terrorist organizations and presented a larger threat to the world community; and if you were given one final chance to disarm but refused, then yes, we should use bombs. Not on Sweden but on you in particular. It's really a pretty simple concept.

SPEND A MOMENT WITH PAUL KRUGMAN: But only if you can stomach it. Krugman says the Bush administration is so dishonest that it's keeping him from being his "usual cheerful self." I also got a chuckle out of Krugman saying that he's still the same "moderate Democrat" he was in 1982 - it's just that the whole world has moved to the right so now he looks like a total leftist. Perception really is everything.

EXTRA CREDIT: I usually try not to link to lengthy academic pieces on the blog but I've got to make an exception. Michael Doran is an Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He recently authored this article in Foreign Affairs which analyzes the Palestinian problem and its relation to our strategy on Iraq.

Doran contends that much of the conventional wisdom surrounding the Palestinian issue is based on faulty assumptions because Palestine's power in the Arab world (and beyond) is largely based on symbolism. Doran concludes that forcing a settlement of the conflict - such as the one Clinton tried to achieve in late 2000- may temporarily alleviate political pressures, but won't change the symbolism of Palestine throughout the world and therefore won't result in any flow of "goodwill" toward the U.S.

Doran believes that only a fundamental change to U.S. policy in the Middle East will alter the Palestine-as-symbol paradigm that now exists and that the impending liberation of Iraq may be a harbinger of such change:

What the Bush administration seems to understand better than its critics is that the influence of the United States in the Arab-Israeli arena derives, to no small extent, from its status as the dominant power in the region as a whole -- and that this status, in turn, hinges on maintaining an unassailable American predominance in the Persian Gulf. It is worth remembering that Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 came on the heels of the first Palestinian intifada, which also provoked much Arab hostility toward the United States. It was Saddam's defeat that cleared a space for the Madrid Conference and eventually the Oslo peace process. Then as now, defeating Saddam would offer the United States a golden opportunity to show the Arab and Muslim worlds that Arab aspirations are best achieved by working in cooperation with Washington. If an American road to a calmer situation in Palestine does in fact exist, it runs through Baghdad.

Find some time to read the rest. And, for double extra credit, you can click here to read a recent interview with Professor Doran where he discusses his article in more depth. Enjoy. - T. Bevan 9:40 am

Thursday, March 6 2003
BACK ON THE RESERVATION: If you want to know what's wrong the left's position on Iraq, look no further than today's column by Mary McGrory. McGrory apologizes for writing an earlier column in which she said she was persuaded by Colin Powell's February 5 presentation at the United Nations. This column offended her liberal readers, of course, and generated a flood of angry mail asking why she'd left the reservation.

Look at what McGrory wrote on February 6, the day after Colin Powell's presentation to the UN:

Powell took his seat in the United Nations and put his shoulder to the wheel. He was to talk for almost an hour and a half. His voice was strong and unwavering. He made his case without histrionics of any kind, with no verbal embellishments. He aired his tapes of conversations between Iraqi army officers who might well be supposed to be concealing toxic materials or enterprises. He talked of the mobile factories concealed in trains and trucks that move along roads and rails while manufacturing biological agents. I was struck by their ingenuity and the insistence on manufacturing agents that cause diseases such as gangrene, plague, cholera, camelpox and hemorrhagic fever.

Would Saddam Hussein use them? He already has, against his own people and Iranians. He has produced four tons of deadly VX: "A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes." The cumulative effect was stunning...

I wasn't so sure about the al Qaeda connection. But I had heard enough to know that Saddam Hussein, with his stockpiles of nerve gas and death-dealing chemicals, is more of a menace than I had thought. I'm not ready for war yet. But Colin Powell has convinced me that it might be the only way to stop a fiend, and that if we do go, there is reason.

This isn't a 180 degree turn in McGrory's position. She still not for war. All she did was make note of the fact that there is a good reason to go to war if we choose. Yet even the slightest acknowledgment of justifiable cause in the case against Iraq caused her liberal base to shriek in pain.

Exactly what has changed about Colin Powell's presentation since February 6? Has any of the evidence he presented been discredited or contravened? Are the violations and atrocities he spoke of any less true today than they were five weeks ago? Of course not. But the people who castigated McGrory for being persuaded by Powell were never open to seeing or hearing facts that would contradict their positions in the first place.

And so instead of standing up and saying that she's still not for war but that Powell's presentation still offers proof of Iraqi noncompliance, McGrory backslides:

We have been through a great deal together -- the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, El Salvador, Grenada, Lebanon and Florida. For the first time I can remember, we are estranged.

Alas, this is too much for McGrory to bear. She pleads to return to the antiwar reservation, where emotion and orthodoxy are king and where facts, whenever unhelpful, be damned:

You see how sorry I am. I hope now that all is forgiven and that I can come home again.

Have a safe trip Mary....

OSAMA'S ALIVE: That's what the AP is reporting. But what would you expect Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to say? - T. Bevan 7:56 am

Monday, March 3 2003
STOPPING THE WAR: This Washington Post story chronicles the braintrust of the antiwar movement as they prepare for more demonstrations and work to organize acts of civil disobedience against U.S. targets around the world.

There are three paragraphs worth a closer look. Here's the first:

Many of the organizers confess that they were stunned by the size and scope of the demonstrations two weeks ago. "A big part of our meeting was about digesting the shock of the earthquake that was February 15," said Larry Holmes, an organizer in New York for International ANSWER, one of the U.S. groups organizing the rallies. "We were just as surprised as everyone else. But you're seeing a new sense of confidence among organizations. People don't want this war, and they're giving us a mandate to do whatever it takes to stop it."

The fact that the antiwar movement now feels it has a "mandate" is just one of many examples of the price we are now paying for continued delay. The longer we wait the greater likelihood things will begin to unravel. We should act now and mend fences later.

It's clear that Bush's instinct has always been for quick, decisive action, but he succumbed to Colin Powell and the siren song of the United Nations - which was still probably the right thing to do. As a result, however, while we have been playing games with France in the Security Council for the last four months antiwar forces around the world have grown.

But now let's read the other two paragraphs from the Washington Post story on the genesis of the antiwar movement:

The organizers say the February rallies were first agreed upon at a small strategy session in Florence in November. But their roots go back to the days just after Sept. 11, 2001, when activists say they began meeting to map out opposition to what they anticipated would be the U.S. military response to the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

In Britain, according to organizer John Rees, several hundred activists first got together the weekend after Sept. 11. Most were from the hard core of the British left -- the Socialist Workers Party, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the anti-capitalist organization Globalized Resistance, along with Labor Party legislators Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway. Within weeks, they had combined with representatives from two more important elements -- Britain's growing Muslim community and its militant trade unions. By October they had a name: the Stop the War Coalition.

So, according to the Post, while smoke was still pouring from the ruins of the WTC towers you had socialists, anti-capitalists, and the anti-nuke crowd (in other words, people who despise America) combining with the Muslim community and representatives from its "militant" trade unions to form the core of the movement.

Clearly the antiwar movement has spread well beyond this original group and now encompasses large chunks of people who aren't anti-American, only antiwar. Still, it matters a great deal who is organizing the protests. I don't absolve the "true" antiwar protesters for taking part in a march organized by American-hating groups any more than I'd absolve someone who marched in a legitimate protest of immigration laws if it was sponsored by the KKK.

SPEAKING OF ANTIWAR ACTIVISTS: Mike Farrell's appearance on Meet the Press yesterday left me speechless - especially this part:

The new inspections have a toughened mandate, and as well, they have more technologically sensitive equipment. They have U-2 overflights. We have, hopefully, the addition of U.S. intelligence, provided not only by spy satellites, but other sources. We have the country surrounded by hundreds of thousands of troops. We have the ability to destroy it, should we choose to do so. But why not let these inspectors, who are doing a very fine job, continue to do their job, and if we need more, have more inspectors there? We can do this job without wasting the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians, without endangering the lives of our troops, and it seems to me we can do it far cheaper than we can by invading and occupying a country that has done us no harm.

The question is obvious: why exactly do we have a strengthened inspections regime and U-2 overflights in the first place? Mr. Farell decries the President's warmongering but doesn't seem to have a clue (or be honest enough to admit) that it is precisely George W. Bush's strong stance and the threat of military action that put inspectors back on the ground in Iraq and has precipitated every single concession by Saddam Hussein in the last few months. - T. Bevan 8:14 am

Sign up for free updates from RCP:

2/3/03 - 2/9/03
1/27/03 - 2/2/03

Our Favorite Blogs
Ashbrook Center
Best of the Web
Geitner Simmons
Hit and Run
John Ellis
Patrick Ruffini
Political Wire
Rich Galen
Talking Points Memo
The Corner
The Note
The New Republic

The Optimate
The Volokh Conspiracy