Thursday, April 25, 2013

This needs some 'splainin

From Fred Kaplan, who, if memory serves, excoriated Bush for giving Saddam the bum's rush, in Slate:

At least five times in the last eight months, President Obama has declared that any such use of chemical weapons would cross “a red line.” These are fighting words, or very close to them. If a president describes a possible action as “crossing a red line,” then does nothing about it, no future declaration of red lines—no threat to respond with force to some horrible action—will be taken seriously by anyone, friend or foe.

So how is it that Assad's (possible) use of chemical weapons crosses a credibility threatening red-line, but Saddam's killing over 5,000 Kurds with chemical weapons did not? On what basis did Obama vote against invading Iraq?

Enquiring minds want to know.

6 Comments:

Blogger Bret said...

Oh, ya know, those were just Kurds so it wasn't a big deal, because, like, Kurds are relatively pro-western (for the region) so they must not be worth much. Kill 'em all!

April 25, 2013 5:20 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Very simple, progressive math. One is retrospective and the other prospective. You simply add up the number of people Hussein massacred and compare that to the number of people who died in and since the war. You then conclude to resounding applause that Hussein was preferable. "Not saying he was all good mind you, but..." Q.E.D.

The best answer is to point out that such thinking would condemn the Allies for not doing a deal with the Nazis, but WW11 is receding in history and you can no longer count on a squirming response to that one.

April 26, 2013 3:00 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

How are you making a connection? Did any American president draw a line in the sand about chemical weapons use in Iraq?

No.

Did any American president invade Iraq because Saddam massacred Kurds? (Or Marsh Arabs?)

No.

Is Fred Kaplan the representative of any government administration?

No.

I looked it up. Saddam's attack with poison gas was in 1988. By that math, Obama has until 2028 to take firm steps.

April 27, 2013 8:42 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

How are you making a connection? Did any American president draw a line in the sand about chemical weapons use in Iraq?

Well, there is the 1925 Geneva Protocol, to which the US is a signatory.

I looked it up. Saddam's attack with poison gas was in 1988. By that math, Obama has until 2028 to take firm steps.

Full score for point missing. Obama voted against deposing Saddam at a time when his use of chemical weapons against Kurds was a documented fact.

Yet somehow, if Assad uses chemical weapons, his government, according to that very same Obama, has crossed a red line.

So tell me, which red line could Syria have crossed that Iraq didn't?

As for your math, apparently red lines require the most dilatory reaction possible. I think that is what is meant by destroying credibility. But, with respect to chemical weapons, that is okay with you.

May 01, 2013 6:27 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I don't get why using gas makes a difference. Having it seems bad enough.

But my point was, the Republicans were cool with Saddam using gas for, oh, always.

Now, having lost 2 wars in the koran belt, they seem anxious to try again.

Obama's red line statement was dumb. Hey, let's compound the error by doing, instead of just saying, something really stupid.

May 01, 2013 11:34 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Now, having lost 2 wars in the koran belt, they seem anxious to try again.

Lost, with respect to what, exactly? That is the question you, and all so-called progressives fail to answer.

Or, if you do, you first engage in fantasy (arm the Kurds) then contradict yourself (not enough boots on the ground to guard the ammunition dumps) within the space of two paras.

You need to explain how, given the status quo ante, the consequence of leaving Saddam in place, and all that would have entailed, would have produced circumstances preferable to him gone.

Otherwise, as always, your judgment is with respect to a null.

The NYT's Bill Keller displays the same lack of historical and strategic sense.

I couldn't have asked for better timing.

May 11, 2013 8:35 PM  

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