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Hans Blix to UN

2003-02-14 21:57:20+00 by Dan Lyke 13 comments

Text of U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission Executive Chairman Hans Blix's statement to the United Nations concerning the status of weapons inspections in Iraq. Go read it. All of it. Almost makes me want to march on Sunday (Saturday conficts with the Chinese New Year here). Almost.

In my Jan. 27 update to the Council, I said that it seemed from our experience that Iraq had decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, most importantly prompt access to all sites and assistance to UNMOVIC in the establishment of the necessary infrastructure. This impression remains, and we note that access to sites has so far been without problems, including those that had never been declared or inspected, as well as to Presidential sites and private residences.

[ related topics: Politics Current Events Guns War ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-02-14 22:16:36+00 by: Dan Lyke

For lack of a better place ot put it, the Iraqi Explorer (IE) 404 page.

#Comment made: 2003-02-15 00:32:01+00 by: meuon

The IE 404 page is funny, but seriously, I agree with the 'No War' stance on Iraq. Even in Chattanooga, there will be a 'No War' demonstration in Coolidge Park Saturday.

#Comment made: 2003-02-15 22:02:08+00 by: TC

Well we have concensus on the IE404 page but I think I'm in the clear minortiy on the Iraq stance and there has been little debate on Flutterby recently so..... I'll fire the first salvo. If not war, then what is your solution to the Iraq crisis???(I direct this question to all of you not just Meuon)

#Comment made: 2003-02-15 22:53:59+00 by: Diane Reese

Can you demonstrate that there's any crisis in Iraq, other than the one Bush invented?

#Comment made: 2003-02-16 02:41:23+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Diane, that's a big part of my complaint with the administration. We've had a situation, not a crisis, over there for a decade or so. To divert resources to it in the middle of the "war on terror" (a nebulous idea like the "war on poverty" or "war on drugs") was obviously a mistake, but since Bush et al committed us we need to find a reasonable solution. It's not like anyone thinks that Iraq doesn't have weapons banned under the 1991 settlement terms and is raising the stakes for Israel, but it's far from clear that they have any "weapons of mass destruction", and Colin Powell's presentation to the U.N. is now being ripped apart by the very arms inspectors that he was supposed to be helping.

(If you're in "a mood", compare to this).

I saw the footage of the oil wells burning in Kuwait from enough sources that I believed that that evil happened. But it is becoming less clear that Sadaam Hussein has committed some of the atrocities attributed to him, including gassing the Kurds. And nobody's shown me that once we create a power vaccuum in there that there's anyone charismatic enough to step in and undertake the nation building that needs to happen, rather than just having thug #2 run the place.

If we have a crisis with a state involving harboring Al Qaida members right now, it's with Pakistan. But taking on Pakistan would involve going toe-to-toe with a true nuclear power that has allies.

#Comment made: 2003-02-16 02:56:22+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oh yeah: Other situation we need to note here is that France is currently involved in conflict in the Ivory Coast, and is probably playing their cards with Iraq very carefully with respect to what they can and can't end up doing in Africa. After all, remember who was in Vietnam before the United States...

#Comment made: 2003-02-16 14:01:12+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Solution. I really have none. I neither have enough factual information or enough real experience with international politics to be worth a farthing. I do have an overall feeling: we are the primary instigators of the current cluster fuck (my apologies, but the term fits well) and it's just going to get worse.

What would I like to see? I'd like to see us get out of being the worlds babysitter and wet nurse. Pull our troops back, stop supporting Israel (yes, I said it) and the rest of the worlds theo-political nutcases. Shut down our borders, impose tarriffs across the board on cheap imports to raise their prices to the point to make manufacturing and growing things in the USA a good idea again, and lets take care of ourselves and our economic socio-political peers. Call in all of our loans. My foreign policy would be simple crude and effective: mess with the USA at your immediate peril. Responses should be quick, decisive and targeted directly at the leaders of a nation (or terrorist group) and their immediate circle.

I wonder if they'll let me out of the straightjacket on nice Sundays...

#Comment made: 2003-02-18 00:25:10+00 by: TC [edit history]

Dianne & Dan: I don't know if I can defend the timing other than it was on the "todo list" and has come due. The crisis should have occurred 4 years ago. It's like cleaning the rain gutters, you can put it off for a while but the problem will get worse if you wait too long.

Dan>we need to note here is that France is currently involved in conflict in the Ivory Coast

I think France's stoopidity has more to do with the 50 billion in debt Iraq has to France currently. I think these contracts should be sorted between which ones are legal(not in violation of U.N. resolutions 661,687,712,986,1051,1111,1115,1129,1134,1137,1143,1153,1158,1175,1194,1210,1242,1266,1281,1284,1302,1409,1447) you can read them here. The new Iraqi government should be compelled to make good on them.

Meuon: You're an isolationist? I never would have figured that. Well a foreign war would be contrary to xenophobic views so I'd say your consistent but like to convince you that isolationism is a bad idea, but perhaps in another thread.

Flutterby et al: No solutions? Part of my problem with the so called peace movement is the lack of alternatives alternatives that would work.

#Comment made: 2003-02-18 02:55:54+00 by: Dan Lyke

Solutions: Unfortunately, given what our cowboy in chief has started, I see little alternative to brinksmanship for the near future. If I could go back 15 years, I'd tell April Glaspie that we do indeed have an "opinion on Arab Arab conflicts." A quarter of a century and I'd point out that the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend, and the fact that a government was taking military aid from the Soviets and is now willing to take military aid from the United States could possibly mean that the leader of said government is an opportunist, and not necessarily that the leader has had a change of heart and is switching ideologies.

If I could go back 50 years, I'd try to convince folks that installing a brutal repressive dictator in Iran was a bad idea. I'd also mention to the New York Times that employing a CIA agent as their correspondent in Tehran would lead to generations of cynicism about the objectivity of the press and lots of hazards for journalists of the future. But I digress.

However, as much fun as hindsight is, it doesn't help us solve the problems of today amd temds to make one think that isolationism maybe isn't all that bad an idea. So, what problems are we trying to solve now? I'm not sure, but I see a couple:

  1. The continued threat of attack on the United States and United States forces by various fundamentalist Islamic organizations.
  2. The disputes over who owns land in and around Israel.
  3. A region upon which we're economically dependent filled with with repressive unstable governments and populations unfriendly to the U.S.
  4. A specific unstable government we've dicked around a bit that's unfriendly to the U.S.

The solution to all of these problems really involves changing the perception of the United States in that region. Somehow in the last half of the previous century we managed to take all of the hatred in that region that should have been directed at the colonial powers of Europe and redirect it to the United States. The solution seems to involve changing the image of the United States.

I think the first step is to make the war on Iraq #2 in the headlines byconcentrating on building Afghanistan on a scale not seen since the reconstruction of Germany and Japan post World War II. Not rebuilding, since Afghanistan has never really been built. This is a damned hard problem, but it needs to involve low interest low amount loans to individuals to build business, special low tariffs for imports from Afghanistan, massive assistance with de-mining, and the imposition of a constitutional government. And all aid needs to be structured in such a way that it is not being delivered by local Afghan governments.

We need to be putting pressure on Pakistan to sit down, shut the hell up, and start handing over the various enemies of the United States that have taken refuge there. Yes, Pakistan is a nuclear power, and yes brinksmanship is scary, but we can put pressure on India here to help negotiate this.

As far as Iraq goes, we need to figure out what the hell to do with Turkey. If we could set up a democratic government in northern Iraq that'd give the Kurds some autonomy, see Afghanistan, and defend it, we could probably avoid doing a hell of a lot of urban ground fighting, and we'd eventually convince folks that maybe we're not such bad guys. Abandoning the Kurds in the early 1990s was inexcusable, and we've got a lot to make up for. Unfortunately, Turkey's not really into a government friendly to a large ethnic group they control right next to them, and I'm not sure how we overcome the religion thing there.

And if we have any information on Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, we can start to release it, and we can stop asking for things that simply aren't possible. Let's say, for instance, that you're a research scientist in Iraq and the weapons inspectors want to talk with you. Given that you can't up and move your community to the U.S., and probably wouldn't want to anyway because you've got a relatively cushy job right now and would be just a small fish in a big pond who doesn't speak the native language elsewhere, are you going to say "sure, I'll happily meet with you without a lawyer to help me". No matter how the government change ends up that's career suicide; either you're suspect for blabbing, or when the new government comes in you're suspect for having worked for the old one. It's not the government of Iraq that's preventing these folks from talking to the inspectors, so we may as well give up on the idea that they're going to tell us anything negative.

I'm sure there's more, but the styrene cement is dry and I need to assemble the next few pieces of my motion tracking head.

#Comment made: 2003-02-18 13:47:21+00 by: meuon

Isolationist. Yes, when it comes to dealing with the 3rd world and hostile governments. Dan, you are right, our PR and image over there sucks.

[sarcasm] let's build a real country in the middle east, invest billions of dollars in infrastructure and education and.. while not fixing our own problems in the USA first. [/sarcasm]

Although.. if we built up a country that way, and then populated it with like minded people (transplant a few hundred thousand or million Americans) it's be a heck of change in middle east social-geo-politics. Maybe make sure they are all white evangelical Christians? - Or would that make us just like Isreal?

#Comment made: 2003-02-18 15:16:25+00 by: topspin

Dan, the "Marshall plan" was a great idea for a culturally similar people to us who were coming out from under a pretty nasty dictator who held power for about 15 years, but the Arabs of Afghanistan (and the middle east) have CENTURIES of animosity toward us. We also had "help" from the Soviets in the European region to keep the nearby ethnic issues quiet.

Rebuilding the middle eastern countries isn't gonna change what grandpa's grandpa's cleric taught and the clerics are still teaching..... that we're infidels and dogs. It isn't gonna make the Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Uzbeks "feel the love" for each other.

In Japan, we basically westernized the culture by force. In the U.S., we were genocidal toward the Native Americans (I add them because the ethnic tribal issues seem to coincide.) These are better examples because the German culture was very similar to our own while the Japanese and Native American cultures aren't/weren't.

Love's a wonderful thing. Getting folks to love each other and us would be a wonderful thing. Getting the Islamic culture to love the Judeo-Christian culture would take centuries, if it's possible at all. Getting the Tajiks and Pashtuns to calmly share power and trust each other is gonna be tough row to hoe. We dealt with similar problems with Japan and Native Americans, but the methods AREN'T pretty and they AREN'T based upon love and respect for the current culture of the region.

We've got to face this. If we want OUR VERSION of stability in the middle east, we're gonna have to enforce it brutally and completely. It's not pretty, it's not loving, and it's not gonna make us look like anything but the big, strong, bad-ass country we are.

#Comment made: 2003-02-18 17:27:04+00 by: meuon

I wish we were a big bad ass country. We fall short. We have the capacity for it. but we are just not there..

#Comment made: 2003-02-18 18:08:36+00 by: Dan Lyke

Topspin: Yep, and the only way that Israel will ever have peace is to do roughly the same thing to the Palestinians that we did to the Native Americans. But right now I'm feeling pretty expansionist, mainly because we Californians are being choked and imprisoned by the other United States which won't let us make our own more stringent clean air rules (despite the fact that our air blows over the rest of y'all) or medical marijuana laws, and damn it, if we can't even keep folks who are allegedly subscribing to the same constitution from attacking us then there's little hope for peace from the Muslims. So imposing a our culture is the only way.

Only a little tongue-in-cheek, I'll try to be more serious later.