sidebar 2005.05.06
One thing about Blair that sticks with me, some commentater pointed out the rhetorical courage he has relative to Bush...I think it was during a visit here and Blair described the coaltition experience in Iraq after the main combat had ended as "humbling". For all Bush's BS in 2000 about a humble governing, he could NEVER say something like that, because he shuns ANYTHING that sounds like admission of a mistake.

The two things I dislike about Blair are that whole pious / religiosity thing, and why he has put himself so firmly in Bush's pocket regarding Iraq.

One thing I noticed on google news but not getting a lot of play here (of course our news coverage is often irritatingly USA-centric, I have a hard time dealing with "the most local news on television" being an actual point in a commercial) is Trimble losing his seat as the Nationalists had a strong showing over the Unionists.  Any thoughts on if that indicates trouble for the peace accords there?
--Kirk Sat May 7 11:14:16 2005
Not wanting to start a big debate on the war, but just imagine for a second if we really had found a huge pile of WOMD when we were over there.

If these had been found, would the invasion have been justified (knowing how Iraq has handled things in the past)? I think that most people would agree, yes, the invasion would have been justified.

Now, did Blair and/or Bush lie about the evidence? Can you also imagine a scenario where a collection of over zealous intelligence and military advisors (in an environment that wanted to find something along with a dose of the 'emperor wearing no clothes'), might craft 'intelligence' reports that seem very believable. If this was the case, then Blair/Bush did not lie, but instead acted appropriately based on the information they were given. We should not be impeaching our elected leaders who made the 'correct call' based on the information they were given at the time, but instead be directing our energy in tracking down the people who falsified the evidence that the decision was based upon.

Now, some of you may say that Blair/Bush should be responsible for their cabinet and so still should take the fall, but how far down the food chain does that go? Do you think Bill Gates should resign if one of his employees robs a bank? (After all, he was responsible for the person who was responsible for the ... who hired that employee). Should Bush be responsible because he appointed the guy who he trusted to advise him on intelligence, who trusted the guy below him ... etc?

The president/Prime Minister is not an expert on everything. Ultimately, they may be called upon to make executive decisions, but they base their decisions on advice from their cabinets. You can't ask the President what is the correct procedure to follow for a heart bypass operation with complications, but I bet if he needed to make a decision about what to do, he would ask a series of his trusted experts in the medical field (who may base their opinions on X-rays and other tests performed earlier). If he was given bogus advice and then chose the course of action for the operation and the patient died, should he be accountable for the death, or should some/all of the blame fall on the shoulders of the people who falsified/exaggerated the reports and X-rays?

--/\/ick Mon May 9 15:43:56 2005
I have to say, I don't think you've necessarily seen the same news as we have in Britain, or we just have very opposing views on it. You make some good points, but I think the situations other than you have been led to believe.

But no, I don't want to start a big debate either :-)
--Catherine Tue May 10 08:21:29 2005
I wouldn't want to impeach Bush because there's much worse to take his place.

Nonetheless, I don't believe just because the President gets advice from other people, that doesn't make him unculpable or maybe "inculpable" of making, what I believe, is a really bad decision based on bad evidence. Saying that pretty much feels as if you're saying that the guy is not responsible for any of the Presidential decisions he makes, especially since he, himself, has even claimed that HE DOESN'T EVEN READ THE NEWSPAPER or, as we have seen, majorly insulates him and culls out contrary questions/opinions as much as possible from press conferences, speeches, etc. etc. so that supposedly different information other than what he wants and his own personnel, who he has appointed, want him to hear.

I guess one of the best quotes I've heard is about Iran by him, "We're not going to war with Iran. We're going to do what it takes to disarm Iran!" From at least what I've seen in the case of Iraq, there were still measures short of war that France, Germany and the UN were trying to follow to get to the bottom of the Iraq thing, then Bush goes along and invades the country in what, I personally have no problem saying, I consider a very atrocious violation of human rights invasion, using the "Shock & Awe" strategy.

I forget the author's first name, but I know his last name is Ritter, but he has written a very good short book on why Iraq didn't have WMDs, and if they did, they were quite useless because they were so old. He was one of the weapons inspectors.

Either which way, there is plenty of evidence out there, which if I had the time I would gather together in some kind of systematic form, that leads me to believe that his invasion of Iraq was more motivated by political motivations on the World scale, as in to discredit the UN and Kofi Annan, to hide possible evidence of other US contributions to atrocious violations of human rights when it comes to Saddam's "ethnic cleansing," the arms sold by the US to a country that they later labelled as a rogue state.

Honestly, as a US citizen, I'm very disgusted by the history of US foreign relations at least since the end of World War II and the lengths that it will go for domination, which again, includes atrocious violations of human rights, pretty much generally on foreign soil.

BTW, I do get pretty emotional about this topic. ;b
--Mr. Lex Tue May 10 14:08:24 2005
OK OK. . .maybe 'evidence' was a bit of a strong word, especially if it comes to 'material evidence.' I guess I should say that as I have viewed the information, as provided to me by many sources, I've come to the conclusions that I have reached.

And honestly, even though I have changed some of my opinions that I've debated with more conservative types on this issue (such as from arguing about calling the situation in Iraq a war rather to an insurgency to willing to call it an insurgency now, mainly because I've learned that many of the Iraqi civilians pretty much are willing to go along with the "make a government of our own" and calm down the violence in the country to just get the US out), I've found that conservatives for the war have a hard time actually having an argument based on information and evidence, instead just being stubborn or attacking someone making a more liberal argument with invective.

Not saying you will do so, Nick, because I have met some more conservative minded people who have shown a good amount of reasoning ability and rationality to have an actual discussion on a topic rather than fall back on irrational stubbornity and attacks. After all, didn't Ayn Rand (imagine a liberal referring to a libertarian/conservative!) say that the irrational would always win over the rational in the realm of argument if not necessarily the realm of truth? (I paraphrased there. . .)
--Mr. Lex Tue May 10 14:28:56 2005
"If these had been found, would the invasion have been justified (knowing how Iraq has handled things in the past)? I think that most people would agree, yes, the invasion would have been justified." 

Even finding WMD might not have justified it, since there might have been less costly (in human and monetary terms) ways of containing him. I still think that rather than withdrawing the inspectors, we should have given them military teeth (let them inspect this for WMD or we bomb it) and that would have been the best way of dealing with Saddam, and not exposed the limits of our military power so exactly.

No Bush and Blair wouldn't neccesarily responsible for the mistakes of their underlings (at least with what passes for "leadership" these days, "Buck Stops Here" my ass) but it look like they were "bad scientists", *selecting* their data and making it clear what kind of messages they WANTED to hear from their underlings...thus, they are possibly culpable.

no response to my Ireland thing?
--Kirk Tue May 10 16:09:46 2005