....LMB: "Jake's Position Statement"....

October 04, 2002

I am opposed to the proposed U.S. war on Iraq.

The main reason I am against this war is that it will likely cause terrible death and destruction. The first Gulf War killed over 100,000 Iraqis and left their country in a shambles from which they have still not recovered eleven years later.

In addition, there is the possibility of much more far-reaching consequences. The aftermath of such a war could possibly bring civil war, strife or destabilization to other countries in the region, like Turkey or Iran. During Gulf War I, Iraq attacked Israel in an attempt to draw both that nation and other Arab countries into the fray. It is likely that he would do so again, and perhaps this time Israel would not be so restrained. Which means that there is a chance that the invasion of Iraq could bring about World War Three.

Any plan that has such potential for catastrophic loss needs to have an extremely important justification. I can find no such justification for this plan.

The Bush administration's primary given reason for this attack is that Saddam Hussein has, or seeks to obtain, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. The evidence of this is extremely flimsy, as no weapons inspectors have checked Iraq since 1998. Having examined all of the public evidence they have cited, I can only conclude that Iraq may have some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, but with very few effective means of delivering those weapons to enemies. Iraq does not seem to have any nuclear capabilities. One report claimed that if another country gave Iraq some uranium or plutonium, that Iraq could perhaps have a nuclear bomb within a matter of months. However that same report concluded that it was unlikely that any country would aid Iraq in this way. Without outside help, the report stated that Iraq would probably be unable to develop a nuclear weapon for at least five years.

Even if Iraq did have these weapons, that does not mean that the nation is necessarily a threat. Many nations around the world have some weapons of mass destruction, and no one seems particularly worried. After 12 years of media demonization, the American public seems content with "he has weapons of mass destruction" and "Saddam Hussein is evil" to consider him a threat. But Saddam Hussein seems primarily concerned with maintaining his own power. Using any of his weapons against the United States would be his downfall, because the Americans would not hesitate to retaliate. This U.S. attack would result in more destruction of his country, possibly his removal from power, and possibly his death.

And finally there has been some talk of the possibility that Saddam Hussein would give some of his weapons of mass destruction to terrorists who could then use them against the United States. Again, this seems unlikely because Saddam wants to stay in power. Most terrorist groups in the Middle East are Islamic fundamentalists who want to replace all secular governments with Islamic ones. Saddam Hussein's government is secular. Giving these weapons to the terrorists would be aiding potential enemies. Could he choose to ally himself with them against a greater foe, the United States? Perhaps. Could a terrorist-sympathizer in Iraq with access to these weapons give them to terrorists? Sure. Are these possibilities justification for war? I don't think so.

Perhaps there is other, secret evidence that the White House has which proves Iraq's danger more clearly? I don't know. It seems that if they did, they would present it to the public or at least publicly refer to it. They have been struggling to sell this war to the American people for months, and if they had this secret evidence, they surely could have used it in some way to be more persuasive.

So looking at the "weapons of mass destruction" argument, I find it extremely unconvincing. A dictator that may or may not have chemical and biological weapons, who would probably not use them against the United States unless he was under extraordinary circumstances, does not seem like much of a threat to me. Even more persuasive was the fact that, until the U.S. began trying to rally their support, none of the countries in the Middle East-- not even Iraq's neighbors-- were particularly concerned about Iraq or its weapons. If they live next-door and have no fears of Iraq, why should Americans when they're 10,000 miles away?

Given the flimsiness of this evidence, I conclude that it can't possibly be the real reason that the Bush administration wants to attack Iraq. I cannot believe that any world leader would look at the current dossier and feel that an attack on Iraq was more important than any other conflict or issue. Therefore this public reason must be a smokescreen to hide another reason for this attack, a reason that would not be acceptable to the American people.

So what is that reason? It's obvious that the sole goal of the Bush administration is "regime change" in Iraq. But why do they want that? The most popular theories I've read are: domestic politics; oil and control. "Domestic politics" argues that the sole reason the Bush administration wants to attack Iraq is to boost Bush's popularity and increase the chances that Republicans will win in the upcoming Congressional elections. "Oil" argues that this is simply the latest military venture to secure cheap oil for the U.S. I think that the best argument is "control," with the other two playing significant sub-roles.

In my opinion, the U.S. goal is to attack Iraq as the first step in trying to radically reshape regional politics in the Middle East. This concept is being tossed around by ultra-conservatives who have Bush's ear. I've read about it in terms of "democracy" and "defeating tyranny". I've also heard it referred to as "empire" and "Pax Americana".

In other words, given the importance of Middle Eastern oil to global politics, the United States government will take the steps necessary to turn all of the governments in the region into regimes that will do what the United States wants them to. This not only gives the US access to all the oil it needs, it also gives the country some leverage in deciding which other countries get how much oil for their own needs.

So that is my final stance. I oppose the war on Iraq because:

Posted by Jake at 11:07 AM

Well said, sir. You have my vote.

Posted by: Chris at October 6, 2002 06:47 PM

In my opinion, the U.S. goal is to attack Iraq as the first step in trying to radically reshape regional politics in the Middle East. This concept is being tossed around by ultra-conservatives who have Bush's ear. I've read about it in terms of "democracy" and "defeating tyranny". I've also heard it referred to as "empire" and "Pax Americana".

These are bad things? Do you think regional politics in the middle-east are fine the way they are? Democracy presents a problem for you? Tyranny should triumph?

Americans don't want an empire but there are worse things to contemplate than an "American Peace".

Posted by: Michael Wagner at October 7, 2002 05:16 PM

Those phrases were in quotes for a reason.

If I believed that the U.S. actually intended to replace those dictatorships with democratic governments, that would be one thing. I don't. As I've said in some other entries on this site, the "democracy" angle is one of the only reasonable and morally justifiable arguments I've heard for this war. But due to a frequent U.S. habit of putting U.S.-friendly dictators or corrupt puppet regimes into a position of power, I'm skeptical.

If the people of Iraq wanted us to overthrow their government for them, that would also be justified military action. But I've read reports from people who are in, or who have recently returned from Iraq, and they all seem to say that they don't want war.

Posted by: Jake at October 8, 2002 12:39 AM

I'm hopeful that with the demise of communism the expedience of supporting dictators in lieu of reds is no longer the case. I believe that democracy is exactly what we have in mind for Iraq. Many of my friends and neighbors are Iraqi so my impression of what the Iraqi people want may be skewed. The Iraqi population in my neck of the woods are saddened that it will take a war to do it but they definately want to be rid of Saddam.

Posted by: Michael Wagner at October 8, 2002 08:53 AM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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