The still continuing failure of the antiwar Left

Cindy Sheehan is stirring up a lot of emotion lately. Her one-woman vigil (which quickly became more populated) is angering the residents of Crawford, Texas, but inspiring many on the antiwar Left. As for my reaction, well, I'm a little bit angry and a little bit disappointed.

Let's divide soldiers into two kinds. The first kind treats their service basically like milfare (with all due credit to Hogeye Bill). They're perfectly content to get free job training, three hots and a cot, and stable employment for a few years; then when they get deployed they scream bloody murder. Our second kind will be the kind that knows being a soldier might mean you get deployed, and that being deployed might mean you get killed. They consider their service something of a duty that might require sacrifices.

I don't know which kind Army Spc. Casey Sheehan was, and I don't care to speculate. But given that he was not drafted, he must have signed up voluntarily. The least his mother could do is assume he made an adult decision and respect it. She's certainly right to grieve for her son, but don't treat him like a dupe whom Bush fooled into Iraq. Being in the military is serious, potentially fatal business, and I think that's pretty common knowledge.

The antiwar crowd still needs better spokespeople.

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"Even the anti-war left

"Even the anti-war left admits that there were WMD in Iraq that we gave to Iraq."

Everyone agrees that there *were* WMD in Iraq prior to 1994 (though I would quibble over what really should qualify as WMD, I think only nuclear weapons really fit the ordinary meaning of "mass destruction" as opposed to weapons for generating terror). Saddam Hussein had U.S. anthrax (though not weaponized), and had nerve gas (used against Iran and the Kurds), and had a nuclear weapons program that he may have even thought had been restarted, but wasn't. Iraq had no significant WMD after 1994.

There were some rather tenuous al Qaeda links (e.g., via Ansar al Islam in the northern territories controlled by the Kurds), but every one of the alleged solid links peddled by Douglas Feith's cherry-picked intelligence reporting (with qualifiers, counter-evidence, and discrediting information about sources like "Curveball" scrubbed out) turned out to be bogus.

This contrasts with Iran, which had more significant al Qaeda links than Iraq (though not as substantial as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan), and which really does have a nuclear program (partly due to help from Pakistan, which actually has nukes).

Doss THe “oil theory”

Doss
THe “oil theory” is sounding more and more like unfalsifiable theories of Marxism- all the way down to the “you just don’t understand the theory.”

I don't see how. The fact that you don't/didn't understand it doesn't mean it's incomprehensible. In fact, I don't even mean to be insulting when I say you didn't understand it- it's probably reasonable not to because the simplistic "war to keep oil prices low" theory has been occassionally trumpeted by protesting types as well as the mainstream media, the latter probably because it's kind of a laughable theory. The best argument I know of for the serious oil theory, aside from the fact that it's so consistent with our actions as detailed by Joel above, is simply the fact that all our declassified records discuss such motivations explicitely. In 100 years the theory won't be controversial at all.

The war in Iraq, as waged, makes no sense in terms of control of oil. The US has less control of oil resources now than it did in 2003. Primarily because nobody knows when or if Iraqi oil production will come back on line, an uncertainty that wasn’t in the cards beforehand under Saddam.

this is absolutely false, and in fact it's a nonsequitir, because you begin by talking about control over oil and then "dispute" it by making a claim about Oil production which is unrelated. The US has a massive military presence in an area which has 90% of the world's untapped oil reserves. The two countries with the largest amounts of oil are under US sway, and we're working hard at getting the trifecta. US control has clearly increased, though the costs are higher than we thought they would be, precisely because of how badly the administration has screwed things up (which has alot to do with trying to impose a free market utopia, incidentally.)

Indeed, Saddam wanted to sell as much oil as possible. He didn’t want to constrict oil production; his goal was to horde all of the profits from the ME’s low cost producer position to fund his war machine & personal aggrandizing. He’s certainly ruthless enough to have maintained order in the eastern Saudi fields or southwestern Iran (had he succeeded vs. revolutionary Iran) and would have kept the Kuwaiti fields a-pumpin. Why? because he wanted nuclear weapons and a huge conventional army.

absolutely and that's the reason we were okay with him for so long. He was a bit rogue, but it was clear that we wanted a "dictator who'd rule Iraq with an iron fist" (Thoman Friedman in 1992) so long as they were friendly to us.

If we are to believe that Oil or the control of it was the US’s policy, we would have seen backroom deals for cooperation and pressure to remove the sanctions- i.e. France/Germany/Russia’s behavior up to the war.

not at all- the sanctions actually were a feature of the control. The sanctions strengthened Saddam's rule (as was predicted) which was perfectly fine with us- our concern was with Iraqis taking things into their own hands and having a popular revolt (like the kind we refused to support right at the end of Gulf War, which was quite likely to have toppled Saddam.)

Bush’s actions have destablized the country, led to the destruction of a great deal of infrastructure, and have directly led to $67/barrel oil because of the instability in the region. Anyone motivated by oil would have actually secured the oil then installed a kinder, gentler Saddam to hold the whip hand over Iraq.

That was the intent, more or less, but it was violently opposed and became politically unfeasible, especially when no WMDs were found and we had to retroactively switch out propaganda line to "bringing democracy to Iraq."

As I have no interest in arguing with an apparently non-falsifiable theory (which brings us essentially to a matter of theology), I’ll have to leave it at that.

It's a historical analysis that's as falsifiable as any other. Never have I referenced any secret private information or anything metaphysical. It's all remarkably straighforward and fits the historical pattern with remarkable success. Perhaps you could argue your interpretation of the reasons- those are the ones that really produce Bullets to bite. For instance, if we were so concerned with ridding ourselves of Saddam (and punishing him for his failure to comply as you argue in your UN resolution argument) why did we say, 2 days before the invasion, that we'd invade regardless of whether he left? That was a sign that we were just going to invade no matter what, for reasons that were basically unrelated to the official doctrine. Tell me, what interpretation is that fact consistent with other than the Oil theory?

And what “leading authorities” on terror do you speak of?

the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the best-known and most authoritative source of information on global military capabilities and trends, has said that the war in Iraq has accelerated recruitment for Al Qaeda and made the world less safe. It states that the occupation has become the organization's "potent global recruitment pretext." St. Andrews is one of most respected indepdent centers for the study of Terrorism, and they have come to the same conclusion.

spin- very very conservative Islam that must, essentially, repeat the initial wave of Islamic imperialism/expansion-via-conquest to destroy the ‘moderate’ Muslims, apostates (Shia, Sufi, etc), and of course bring to heel the Dar-es-Harb (sp?), the infidel world beyond wherever Islam had ever ruled (so of course Spain is the first target for reconquest).

sure, but these ideologies exist everywhere- the important thing is what they're able to accomplish and what level of public sympathy they're able to garner. Our government has proclaimed that people are "either with us or against us" , and there are fringe groups all over the world which adopt such ideologies. I don't think anyone seriously contends that Arab terrorism has always operated at its current level, or even anywhere close. I've read a few critiques of the religion itself (arguing that it hasn't had it's "reformation" which is somewhat persuasive) but I think that these factors are minor at best and that the real answer is to be found by looking to the history of the region, especially WRT to western influence.

Framing it as “examples of terrorism” is a bit disingenuous. The ideology preceeds the acts, though there was terror aplenty vs. the British in Iraq (and vs. the Hashemite rulers of Arabia, led by the insurgent Ibn Saud carrying the banner of Wahhab’s militant/intolerant Salafism.

I hardly know what you're talking about at this point, because you aren't quoting anything I write. Sure the ideology precedes the acts in a Sartrian sense, but we're not talking about the crazy people here; we're talking about the growing public sympathy which incubates such fringe movements and allows them to exist.

In any case, Islam picked a fight with the west loooooooooong before upstart European powers mucked about in the sandbox.

I don't know of any serious analyst who considers the wars of middle ages to bear seriously on a discussion of modern day terrorism. You could easily make the same argument about western powers today (that the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand was the natural response to the Franks' pillaging or something), but it's completely academic, in the worst sense of the word. I doubt that the reformation has very much at all to do with America's behavior in post-war global happenings, for instance. It's certainly much more fruitful to take into account things like the middle-class political movement in Iran in the 50s that we (and britain) destroyed in order to set up a brutal dictator who only allowed dissent to be channeled through Mosques, leading to an incredible spike in fundamentalism and the powers of the Mullahs. Just as any serious look at Afghanistan would be seriously lacking if it concentrated on the Hun invasion of 398 AD, but ignored the russian one.

In fact, to make this a better more complete point, I should mention that when Russia invaded Afghanistan and were facing terrorist attacks, I wouldn't be surprised if the "serious" russian analysts who wanted to talk about the Greek invasion and rule of 323 BC as the root "cause" of Afghanistans problems, too. That way they'd never have to consider their own insane behavior and could instead look to the west, just as we insist in puffing up some marginal feature of Islam to ignore our own brutal past in the region.

Of course, our actions post WWII have done little to help our position, but at least the actions of the 50s and 60s are fairly blatantly and explicitly “Oil Theory” in action- everything we did (from sponsoring democide to propping up the democidal tyrants) was about maintaining political stability & access to oil. Which is yet another blow to the “Oil Theory” for the Iraq War, which is doing the exact opposite of everything the actual oil-theorists did in the 50s and 60s.

for one thing, you can be damn sure that they weren't openly conceding that they were doing the stuff for oil at the time. It was about "defending ourselves" from the Russians and so forth, in the propganda of the time. If you and I were debating this in 1956, you'd be telling me that Mossadegh was a Russian stooge and that since the US was producing most of our own oil domestically (true at the time) the oil theory was false on its face. You should cite an example of something you think was different then- our treatment of the Egypt crisis of the late 50's is mildly reminiscent of the Iraq situation over the last 20 years... exactly what do you have in mind?

Matt

Johnathan, _The man was an

Johnathan,

_The man was an adult and able to think things through. He signed for a second tour of duty._

Many people in Iraq are adults who can think things through and who have signed up for second tours of duty. That, however, seems to be beside the point. The objection is that no one can _really_ consent to some action if they are deceived about the real nature of the action. Contracts in which one party lies to the other are invalid contracts.

No one doubts that Casey Sheehan volunteered and that his volunteering was noble. Indeed, had the reality of Iraq matched up with the rhetoric on Iraq, then I would be tempted to say that perhaps ultimately he had done the right thing. The problem is that the reasons given for invading Iraq, the reasons that led people like Sheehan to volunteer, were false. It seems important to know whether those offering the reasons knew them to be false or whether they were just simply wrong. The former would be grossly immoral. The latter would be grossly incompetent (not necessarily Bush, but somewhere along the line). Either way, doesn't it seem important not to sweep it under the rug?

Lying about something to

Lying about something to motivate others to do your bidding/join your cause because “it’s the right thing to do"- isn’t that the core of the criticism about Bushco in the run-up to war? If its not OK for Bush to employ bullshit (let alone antisemitic lies/libel, ala Sheehan) for “the greater good", I can’t see how Cindy Sheehan can be given a pass no matter how much you think motivating anti-Bush sentiment is.

I don't think she's lying I just think she's wrong- that's completely different.

Matt, Lying about something

Matt,

Lying about something to motivate others to do your bidding/join your cause because "it's the right thing to do"- isn't that the core of the criticism about Bushco in the run-up to war? If its not OK for Bush to employ bullshit (let alone antisemitic lies/libel, ala Sheehan) for "the greater good", I can't see how Cindy Sheehan can be given a pass no matter how much you think motivating anti-Bush sentiment is.

This isn’t really an

This isn’t really an argument for preemption, though. All this shows is that it would have been a good idea to have gotten involved in WWII sooner.

It may not be a perfect arguement for preemption, but it does establish a pattern of behavior. Wars that where started on a preemptive basis are more likely to turn out better and have a reduced cost, whereas wars that we waited for an immediate threat to appear last longer and cost more. Wars that had both preemptive and waiting qualities did worse. (Vietnam for example)

Iraq hadn’t aggressed against anyone prior to our war against them in 2003.

Iraq hadn't invaded anyone prior to our war against them in 2003. I would think that the USAF fighter pilots felt "aggressed against" during the years when there where recorded "incidents" (read: attempted shootdowns) against them.

We can’t continue to invade Germany at will simply because they began an aggressive war once upon a time. The same is true of Iraq. There’s good reason for thinking that there should be a statute of limitations on these sorts of things.

I agree that there should be a statute of limitations on these things, but on each seperate issue. Imagine, hypotheticly, that instead of the Lend-Lease Act we had sent the full military over to Europe and the combined armies of Britian, France and America had beaten the Nazi's before they even got started on Paris and instead of redoing the Versai (sp) Treaty the Allies had just said that German couldn't send its military across it's borders and that the Germans had to scale their military down or something similar to what Japan had to do.

In my little thought expiriment we have an almost perfect similarity to Saddam and Iraq. Defeated but not beaten. In the decade that followed Hitler would still be in power, the S.S. would still be killing people (more then likely more slowly to prevent detection), and the Luftwaffe would still be training.

Does anybody think that in the next 10 years Hitler wouldn't have tried something? We know that the Nazi's had support in many other countries (Hell, look at the KKK here. They love the swastika), how much do you wanna bet that Hitler wouldn't have used them with as much passion as the KGB used the Leftist/Socialist/Communist groups in America? Do think Hitler would have given up his vision of "German reunification" and Jewish extermination?

If not, why would Saddam give up his dreams of becoming the next Caliph (sp), killing the Shia's and getting and controling nuclear weapons? Why else would he have kicked out the U.N. inspectors more then twice over 12 years? Why else would he have acted like he did?

She is using her son, who

She is using her son, who was a brave and loyal soldier, for her own far-left ends.

I find this unpersuasive. By all accounts I've read the loss of her son inspired this change. She'd only be using him if she's always had a political agenda she wanted to make public and now took this opportunity to do so. Even then, it's still unclear what's meant by "using him" since she's really playing off her own feelings as a mother rather than him.

I don't guess that I'd agree with much of what she says about Israel (but who knows- I haven't read it and usually don't pay attention to this crap) but my guess is that she's probably effective at getting people motivated against the Bush administration which is a fine goal. If people find it persuasive and go out and make differences I'm not going to quibble over her interpretation of Middle East events (I.e. Israels' doings) until that becomes a major part of her platform and effects serious change in people for the worse.

Certainly we're dealing with

Certainly we're dealing with some gray area, because people don't sign up for the reserves with the understanding that they can be killed on a whim. The unspoken (and reasonable) agreement is that if we really have to go to war, these people will go first. I don't think it's a scenario in which it's fair to recruit kids by talking about how easy it is to be a reserve and how it'll get you through college, but then send them off to fight in an unneccesary war like the Iraq one. I understand and support the bitterness.

matt

Er, make that my 7:01 p.m.

Er, make that my 7:01 p.m. comment, not 7:22...

Correction to my 7:22 p.m.

Correction to my 7:22 p.m. Aug 22 comment--the "A Clean Break" plan for Israel (stop trying to be peaceful with your neighbors and go on the offensive militarily) didn't involve Wolfowitz, it was by Doug Feith, Richard Perle, and David Wurmser; it was an individual under Feith, Larry Franklin, who was apparently funneling intelligence information about Iran to Israel. Netanyahu, to his credit, did not adopt the "A Clean Break" plan, and its authors shopped their plan to a more receptive audience in the U.S.

Yeah, there have been some.

Yeah, there have been some. Kosovo was a success looked at the right way. It may have increased the atrocities temporarily, but it did eventually halt them. It could have been handled better–Marines on the ground, say, rather than bombs from 10,000 feet, but it did eventually work. The French halted genocide in Rwanda, but only after the SC stopped dragging its feet and only after a lot of needless slaughter. Liberia as you suggest. Somalia was actually working until Clinton got squeamish.

With several of thse, especially Kosovo, it seems to me that issue is that they could have been done much better if not for certain priorities that the intervening government had. There's little question that it curbed long term atcoties in Kosovo (though the atrocities were at a trickle and had been for a while at the time of the bombing, if I remember correctly) and that our way of handling it could have been significantly more effective had we done things otherwise. Increasing the atrocities as a direct consequence of military action, and then screwing up the military action seems to me an instance to sunsuccesful HI. What do you make of India's intervention in East Pakistan in the 70's, or even Vietnam's intervention in Cambodia which ceased the Pol Pot horrors? Both seem to be good eaxmples of HI, as well.

Matt

Dain and Matt, Cindy

Dain and Matt,

Cindy Sheehan's Wikipedia article (which is what you get if you search for Casey Sheehan) indicates that Casey Sheehan enlisted in 2000 and then re-enlisted in 2003 knowing he'd be sent to Iraq—facts I wish I'd known when I wrote the post. Further it said he volunteered for the specific mission in which he was killed.

Her son clearly believed in what he was doing. Somebody else should be the spokesperson.

And she's wrong how? Except

And she's wrong how? Except for the last remark about Palestine, which is admittedly beside the point, she's pretty much on the mark.

Brian, _IN my view, the SC

Brian,

_IN my view, the SC was to the US/Coalition what the US Congress is to the Executive/DoD - a war powers act deal, where the SC granted the green light and thus the justification was there for the coalition and the justification was not later revoked. THat is, the SC is the gatekeeper and not the executive. Once congress declares war/authorizes force, the Executive/Military is more or less unleashed- while they have to fight legally (US laws and treaty obligations) Congress does not have a day-to-day say in the conduct of the war (one hopes) nor does Congress negotiate the surrender/cease fire terms (though they do ratify them, via the Senate or full congress, not sure). So in my view the resolutions that authorized war and continued war in the face of breach gave the US/coalition the justification to resume warfare after the breach._

I like this analogy. I don't recall having seen it anywhere in the literature, though I can hardly claim to have exhausted all the material out there. Certainly this is an interesting take.

The worry I have is that the language of the cease fire specifically calls for the SC to reconvene and vote on further action to be taken in case of material breach. The SC does sometimes use automatic trigger language, and that language is conspicuously absent from the cease fire. To the extent that we think original intent matters, plenty of ambassadors from SC members who were present when the cease fire was constructed mentioned that the lack of automatic trigger language was intentional, that the resolution specifically was intended to posit discretion for resuming hostilities solely with the SC.

Mark j- I am not saying

Mark j- I am not saying that it destroys your case, but Canada is our biggest oil supplier. It does seem that countries whose primary export is valuable raw material such as gold, oil, cocaine, precious stones, etc can have a lot of despotism, tyranny and wealth in what is otherwise a backward country. The economists around here could probably explain.

Excuse me, but there WERE

Excuse me, but there WERE WMD, and there WERE links to Al-Qaeda, and worldwide Sharia has been the stated goal of islamic fanatics for years.
Rick, assertions like that certainly require a bit of explanation.

Bin Laden declared war on US in 1996, and the entire Congress, including ALL the Democrats, voted for regime change in Iraq in 1998.
One crazy guy who declares war on the US doesn't mean we can invade Iraq, that's a massive non sequitir. Despite basically nonexistant confidence I have in your ability to prove the "Iraq- Bin Laden" link you alluded to, I'll construct an analogy granting that point just for fun. Suppose that a crazy guy in Seattle declares war on the UK, and it turns out the Sacramento government has met with him at one point... Can we bomb Sacramento into the stone age? That argument is absolutly laughable.

As far as the oil goes, I wish it WERE a war for oil, but it’s not. We could’ve taken over tons of oilfields in the 1991 war, but we didn’t.
yeah but we dont need to actually own the oil fields. We didn't go after the oil fields because we were pretty much okay with Saddam running the show. As the NYT pointed out (actually Thomas Friedman): the best thing for Iraq (as far as the US is concerned) would be a strong arm dictator like Saddam but without the Saddam name. Since no others were forthcoming, we stuck with the next best thing.

Fact is, FDR, Truman and Ike gave away OUR oilfields to a bunch of primitive barbarians who, it turns out, decided to give billions and billions of oil dollars to fund the most vicious kind of fanatic-making educational system – in Wahabbist Islam. See what you get when you try to apply moral equivalence to primitive cultures?
I have no idea what you're talking about here. I'm not sure that you could call the culture "primitive", and I definitely know that "moral equivalence" as a concept, has no place in civilized conversation. If it means anything, and I doubt it does, I can't make sense of it as any else than a short-cut past thinking.

Excuse me, but there WERE

Excuse me, but there WERE WMD, and there WERE links to Al-Qaeda, and worldwide Sharia has been the stated goal of islamic fanatics for years. Bin Laden declared war on US in 1996, and the entire Congress, including ALL the Democrats, voted for regime change in Iraq in 1998.

As far as the oil goes, I wish it WERE a war for oil, but it's not. We could've taken over tons of oilfields in the 1991 war, but we didn't.

Fact is, FDR, Truman and Ike gave away OUR oilfields to a bunch of primitive barbarians who, it turns out, decided to give billions and billions of oil dollars to fund the most vicious kind of fanatic-making educational system -- in Wahabbist Islam. See what you get when you try to apply moral equivalence to primitive cultures?

No, she's made it pretty

No, she's made it pretty obvious that she just wants to attempt to embarrass him: "I'm gonna tell them, 'You get that evil maniac out here . . .' And I'm gonna say, 'And you tell me what the noble cause is that my son died for.' And if he even starts to say freedom and democracy, I'm gonna say, bull----. 'You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me that my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You get America out of Iraq; you get Israel out of Palestine.'"

I agree with the original

I agree with the original posting. The man was an adult and able to think things through. He signed for a second tour of duty. His mother seems afflicted with what Mark Steyn has called "Bush Derangement Syndrome".

A sad tale. You are right, the anti-war left needs to give the paranoia and name-calling a miss and try to argue its case in an adult fashion. Alas, this seems beyond nearly all of them.

Randall, I suppose that's

Randall, I suppose that's interesting and I should probably point out that my 1st post had nothing to with this lady or her son, but about reserves anyway. I think your post is interesting theoreitcally, and that's what I chose to discuss.

Regarding Cindy, I'm not so sure that that hurts her case. The idea that er son was duped and caught up glorified lies still strikes me as a valid criticism, regardless of how enthusiastic he was.

matt

As far as the oil goes, I

As far as the oil goes, I wish it WERE a war for oil, but it’s not. We could’ve taken over tons of oilfields in the 1991 war, but we didn’t.

Well, different administrations have different goals, but the whole "war for oil" thing still doesn't make any sense to me. Is there an explanation for this that doesn't rely on the left-wing axiom that multinational corporations are the root of all evil?

Randall, what she's upset

Randall, what she's upset about is that her son was killed under false pretenses. WMD, links to Al-Qaeda, etc. He joined in good faith but died for no good reason.
She demands to know what "noble cause" Bush led us into war for, and for him to say it to her face...WITH a straight face.

-Dain

Marc, _Exactly my point. We

Marc,

_Exactly my point. We didn’t preempt WWI or WW2 and look what happened._

This isn't really an argument for preemption, though. All this shows is that it would have been a good idea to have gotten involved in WWII sooner. I'm not really aware of anyone who has seriously argued that the U.S. should have invaded Germany _before_ the Germans invaded Czeckoslovakia. Immediately afterward, though, would have been justified.

_Joe: Um, I seem to recall that Hitler had invaded a couple of places already._

_Marc: Kind of like Iraq._

_Joe: The problem, though, is that Iraq hadn’t aggressed against anyone._

_Marc: Care to run that one by me again?_

I should have been more specific. Iraq hadn't aggressed against anyone prior to our war against them in 2003. Yes, it's true that Iraq invaded another country. In 1990. Responding to that bit of aggression was perfectly justified. Indeed, I take it that Gulf War I is pretty much a model just war. You can't get a much clearer case of aggression than that. But the mere fact that they invaded another country 13 years earlier didn't mean that they were still actively aggressing against anyone.

We can't continue to invade Germany at will simply because they began an aggressive war once upon a time. The same is true of Iraq. There's good reason for thinking that there should be a statute of limitations on these sorts of things. I'd hate to think, for instance, that someone would decide to wage war on the U.S. as a response to Americans passing out blankets laced with smallpox to Native Americans in the 19th C.

Dave, _I take it that Joe

Dave,

_I take it that Joe Miller is implying that soldiers were lured into service under false pretenses._

Actually, I wasn't making that claim, quite. I was intended to pose a hypothetical: _if_ the administration deliberately lied about WMDs in order to secure support for a war of choice, then soldiers who enlisted thinking that doing so was necessary to defend the country were lured into service under false pretenses.

It's by no means certain that the administration deliberately lied; it's possible they offered arguments in good faith and those arguments turned out to be false. My points was that one needs to know the answer to the antecedent. Simply pointing out that Casey Sheehan was a volunteer and that his mother is therefore wrong to use his death is a legitimate objection only if it turns out that Casey did legitimately consent. And he could legitimately consent only if he wasn't actively deceived about the conditions under which he consented. The argument turns on determining whether or not the administration deliberately lied.

Of course, our actions post

Of course, our actions post WWII have done little to help our position, but at least the actions of the 50s and 60s are fairly blatantly and explicitly “Oil Theory” in action- everything we did (from sponsoring democide to propping up the democidal tyrants) was about maintaining political stability & access to oil. Which is yet another blow to the “Oil Theory” for the Iraq War, which is doing the exact opposite of everything the actual oil-theorists did in the 50s and 60s.

Sorry if I cherry-pick your comment Brian, but it eloquently sums up what I asked in my earlier comment: Why is it that almost none (partial exception of Russia) of the oil exporting countries have a democratic government with a capitalist economy?

The answer? Brian's comment above :grin:

Regarding the failure to

Regarding the failure to find WMD- This is a big fluke that the anti-war people have ridden to death. Foreign intelligence is incredibly inaccurate. When Mohimar Quaddaffi gave up his nuclear program he was way ahead of predicted schedule. Russia set off its atomic and hydrogen bombs at least 5 years before intelligence predicted it. Saddam fully intended to rearm eventually. Can we please move on.

I take it that Joe Miller is implying that soldiers were lured into service under false pretenses. Actually a career in the military is one of life’s many options and especially in the last 65 years with the US maintaining a large standing Military Establishment. Until the Seventies practically every man had to serve.
Then they went to all volunteer. I don’t think anyone who has joined has been denied the opportunity to go into combat, so the idea that that isn’t part of the package is not accurate. I personally know quit a few young men who have been or are going to go to Iraq. Reenlistment is very common. Being a soldier is like any other profession. They are professionals in a dangerous trade. They play the odds and most of them win. They believe in what they are doing just as much as anyone hopefully believes their life's work is laudable. They have ethics like any profession. They don’t make policy. I along with others support what they are doing. For a counterpoint to Cindy Sheehan see http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2005/08/message-to-cindy-sheehan.html

Matt, The "oil theory" is

Matt,

The "oil theory" is sounding more and more like unfalsifiable theories of Marxism- all the way down to the "you just don't understand the theory."

If the theory has a value it's not as some guide to how it fits into a larger narrative, but whether or not it can actually explain what people do *now*. The war in Iraq, as waged, makes no sense in terms of control of oil. The US has less control of oil resources *now* than it did in 2003. Primarily because nobody knows when or if Iraqi oil production will come back on line, an uncertainty that wasn't in the cards beforehand under Saddam.

Indeed, Saddam wanted to sell as much oil as possible. He didn't want to constrict oil production; his goal was to horde all of the profits from the ME's low cost producer position to fund his war machine & personal aggrandizing. He's certainly ruthless enough to have maintained order in the eastern Saudi fields or southwestern Iran (had he succeeded vs. revolutionary Iran) and would have kept the Kuwaiti fields a-pumpin. Why? because he *wanted nuclear weapons and a huge conventional army*.

If we are to believe that Oil or the control of it was the US's policy, we would have seen backroom deals for cooperation and pressure to remove the sanctions- i.e. France/Germany/Russia's behavior up to the war. Bush's actions have destablized the country, led to the destruction of a great deal of infrastructure, and have directly led to $67/barrel oil because of the instability in the region. Anyone motivated by oil would have actually secured the oil then installed a kinder, gentler Saddam to hold the whip hand over Iraq.

As I have no interest in arguing with an apparently non-falsifiable theory (which brings us essentially to a matter of theology), I'll have to leave it at that.

Regarding terrorism, you assert that the threat is higher, but I don't see how we can say one way or the other, absent Rumsfeldian metrics (that he was also wishing for). And what "leading authorities" on terror do you speak of? I read a lot of verbiage both ways and its the usual highly equivocal IR language which, befitting its initials, is almost always more heat than light. I don't think anyone can point to a secular *increase* in terrorism post 2003 (outside of the Iraqi insurgency zone). We *have* seen a decrease in operational complexity in terror post-9/11, but that suggests a decline in terror capability.

Ibn Wahhab, in the 18th century under Ottoman dominion and prior to the French then British conquest of Egypt (and well prior to the post-WWI cleavage of the Ottoman Empire into European protectorates/colonies), revitalized Salafi Islam with a particularly militant and expansionist spin- very very conservative Islam that must, essentially, repeat the initial wave of Islamic imperialism/expansion-via-conquest to destroy the 'moderate' Muslims, apostates (Shia, Sufi, etc), and of course bring to heel the Dar-es-Harb (sp?), the infidel world beyond wherever Islam had ever ruled (so of course Spain is the first target for reconquest).

Framing it as "examples of terrorism" is a bit disingenuous. The ideology preceeds the acts, though there was terror aplenty vs. the British in Iraq (and vs. the Hashemite rulers of Arabia, led by the insurgent Ibn Saud carrying the banner of Wahhab's militant/intolerant Salafism. But in any case, the anti 'western' animus has, arguably, been at the core of post-Mohammedan political Islam since Abu Bakr usurped the Caliphate from Ali in the wake of the Prophet's death (that Ali got to be Caliph later notwithstanding). After all, the first thing Abu Bakr did after massacring Arab/muslim rebels in teh wake of Mohammed's death was to invade 'western' Iraq and Persia, conquering them from their relatively western (by comparison), hellenized rulers in favor of Arab overculture. The next to go was definitively western Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, then progressively more western Libya/Carthage, north Africa, and Ur-Western Iberia (from the Visigoths), helping cause the collapse of European trade & civilization (prompting the dark ages in the west during the long adjustment away from a mediterranean/african trade system).

In any case, Islam picked a fight with the west loooooooooong before upstart European powers mucked about in the sandbox.

Of course, our actions post WWII have done little to help our position, but at least the actions of the 50s and 60s *are* fairly blatantly and explicitly "Oil Theory" in action- everything we did (from sponsoring democide to propping up the democidal tyrants) was about maintaining political stability & access to oil. Which is yet another blow to the "Oil Theory" for the Iraq War, which is doing the exact opposite of everything the actual oil-theorists did in the 50s and 60s.

Dave- Not really, is it that

Dave-

Not really, is it that hard to muster up a couple of family members of lost soldiers who are pro-war to cricize her?

On one hand:

If any right wing politican or group came out with a family member of a dead soldier who disagreed with Cindy and demanded a meeting with her, what do you think the reaction would be?

On the other hand:

Why should anybody trot out the mother of a dead soldier just to confront the mother of a dead soldier? If they (the families of dead soldiers) want to confront her, then they should, but why should we have to "muster up a couple of family members... to critize her"?

Conclusion:

If any "offical" right wingers try something, they'll get screwed anyway. They should sit back and wait. Eventually Americans will either get tired of her remarks about all types of non-Iraq War things or they won't and then it will continue on until they do.

Joe- Speaking of begging the

Joe-

Speaking of begging the question. If you take this sort of approach, you can always reframe any war on any side as preemptive. The Germans were just trying to preempt French involvement, so they sent tanks to Paris. The Austrians were just trying to preempt Serb dissidents. The Chinese were just preempting American involvement in Korea. The list can go on. If we’re going to make any sense of just war theory, we need some sort of standard for determining what counts as aggression and what doesn’t. That line can be tricky to draw, but it doesn’t follow that it can’t be drawn at all.

I wasn't disagreeing with drawing lines, but merely with the arguement that we have to wait for an "imminant threat" before doing something. The easiest way (that I can think of) to draw the line of aggression would be to say "Is this the best, easiest or most comprehensive way to protect the country?" If the answer is no, then there's something wrong with the action.

Interesting strategy. Deny that the U.S. has ever waged wars that aren’t preemptive and then provide two examples of wars that, by your own admission, weren’t preemptive.

Exactly my point. We didn't preempt WWI or WW2 and look what happened.

Um, I seem to recall that Hitler had invaded a couple of places already.

Kind of like Iraq.

The problem, though, is that Iraq hadn’t aggressed against anyone.

Care to run that one by me again?

Joe, I see. IN my view, the

Joe,

I see. IN my view, the SC was to the US/Coalition what the US Congress is to the Executive/DoD - a war powers act deal, where the SC granted the green light and thus the justification was there for the coalition and the justification was not later revoked. THat is, the SC is the gatekeeper and not the executive. Once congress declares war/authorizes force, the Executive/Military is more or less unleashed- while they have to fight legally (US laws and treaty obligations) Congress does not have a day-to-day say in the conduct of the war (one hopes) nor does Congress negotiate the surrender/cease fire terms (though they do ratify them, via the Senate or full congress, not sure). So in my view the resolutions that authorized war and continued war in the face of breach gave the US/coalition the justification to resume warfare after the breach.

If I am correct, your view is that the UNSC is the executive and the US/coalition mustered to expel Iraq were essentially contractors to the executive with no agency of their own. My trouble with this is that the US at all times acted as though they were the executive power and not proxies for the UNSC (the US negotiated & agreed to the cease fire terms, IIRC, without a UN plenipotentiary present or part of the process). Granted, acting as though you are the executive != actually being the executive.

But I think yours is a valid interpretation too. And yes, for any non-obvious defensive war (ala WWII) the justifications for going to war (and in all cases the justifications for proper war aims) should be rigorous and as non-arbitrary as possible.

I think Cindy would get

I think Cindy would get wider support, even from a good number of conservatives, if she just focused on the Iraq theme. But when she rambles about "neo-cons", Israel, oil, and - of course - engages in the obligatory Nazi/genocide comparisons, she comes across sounding like a third-rate Michael Moore at an ANSWER protest. I generally lean toward the Anti-Iraq War side of the fence, but that sort of shrill turns me off.

Brian- The fact that Iraqi

Brian-

The fact that Iraqi oil production is still below pre-war levels certainly counts against the “war for oil” thesis.

only if you fail to understand the argument. The theory is one of strategic control, I know of no serious theorist who's argued that the primary aim was to boost production so the US could have more oil immediately. Fortune magazine did say something to that effect in April of last year (it was their position that it was true), but I think it misses the point.

The CPA’s subsequent haphazard administration of the country put a premium on paying American and some European contractors a lot of money to do very little, with specifically very little done towards restoring Iraqi oil production. If it were for securing oil supplies, the US would have had a stronger hand in Basra and the south and written off the Sunni triangle altogether (a completely irrelevant area w/r/t Iraqi oil production).

yes but important for long term political stability. This isn't a short-sighted enterprise, as you seem to be assuming. The US had a very strong hand in the major oil regions, but that's not the only concern. You also have to ensure some manner of a political future for the country if you'd like to ensure control.

Saying “its for oil” means you have to look at the prosecution of the war and the peace in light of that relatively short term cost-benefit (indeed, Bushco rarely takes any kind of long view), and what someone thinking “its for oil” would have done to maximize their oil for the buck.

this is a gross misrepresentation of the position. Why should we assume that Oil theorists must be short sighted? I'm not even sure how to respond to something so disconnected to the argument at hand.

Looking at reality as it is & applying occam’s razor, absent compelling evidence to the contrary (which I have not seen), it is more parsimonious to reject the idea that the war was for oil.

for one thing, I don't see how Occam's razor applies at all. It seems to me that oil control (given that that's what State planners have been saying was important in the middle east for the last 50 years) seems the most simple and graceful theory by far. Theories about spreading democracy, which have to assume a level of political benevolence so naive as to impugn the sanity of the arguments' proponents, are what should really fall by the wayside under Occam's razor as they have no serious precursors in the history of US (or other) foreign policy. That is to say- theorizing that the US actively spreads democracy as a goal of policy is something akin to speculating that if you spin around 3 times with a paper bag over your head a demon will appear. That's the metaphysical unprovable doctrine- not oil.

As I said above, I see neither method nor strategy in the Bush prosecution of the Iraq war & reconstruction- so I’d actually prefer a narrative that gave some rhyme and reason to what’s going on aside from negligence & incompetence approaching criminal at this stage. But nothing aside from “dilettantish idealism” as a rationale that has been offered so far is convincing.

the oil theory explains what's going on very well, you just have to understand what the theory says.

The Iraq war has certainly changed the situation in the region for the “better” in many cases (Egypt, Lebanon, Lybia), so its far more complicated than saying “there are more islamists in IRaq now than before so its a failure the end.” As Nick Gillespie pointed out on Reason On-line, that much must be granted at a minimum to have any relevance to the debate today.

If we're fighting a war on terrorism (and not a war against arab nationalism, which we've been fighting for a long time, and which you seem to suggest above) then the proper criterion by which to judge the action in Iraq is quite simple: did it increase or decrease the threat of terrorism? It was estimated before hand that it would increase the threat (by the US gov't, which renders Mr. Runsfeld's words nothing more than a preemptive excuse) and it has been widely understand by the leading authorities on terrorism that it has dramatically increased the threat of terrorism. What else is there to say? You seem to want to argue about positive effects of the war, a question which (while interesting) is quite apart from our little test of the theory that the US invaded Iraq in order to fight the war on terrorism.

I have heard that argument, and it is weak and unpersuasive. Aside from denying the agency of Arabs & nonwesterners (aka the Wogs, from a less sensitive time) by making them merely determinist reactors to what the US/West does, it ignores the fact that this militant & suicidal antiwestern strain has been there well before the US had any presence in the region, or even before the gulf war (with the convenient invocation of “infidel troops on holy ground” bit post 1991).

Please explain this in detail, as I think it's very qrong. Britain has had been screwing up the middle east for a very long time, which may explain some of the "anit-west sentiment" of which you speak. It's also true that we;ve been making enemies over there since at least 1953. What is this pre 19th century widespread muslim terrorism of which you speak?

Matt

Brian, _Saddam broke the

Brian,

_Saddam broke the terms of the cease fire within a year of signing it, so IMO the US/coalition was justified in resuming hostilities with Iraq at any time (we sort of did, given the low level bombing campaign maintained for almost a decade for enforcing no-fly)._

I actually agree with part of this, anyway. Certainly Iraq violated the terms of the cease fire, and he was clearly in material breach of the contract. Our main disagreement here lies in who the agreement was between. I think that the contract was between Iraq and the Security Council. That means that the SC could have acted on the breach had it chosen to. But the SC didn't make that decision. For the US to do so on its own is no more justified than for me to pursue breaches of contract on my own on behalf of companies in which I own stock. I have a stake, but I don't get to decide such things all on my own.

I think that we do agree generally, though, on the need for some sort of rigorous justifications for war.

Joe- Yeah, I think they were

Joe-

Yeah, I think they were Frankfurt-style bullshitting on Iraq. "This might be true, it would be cool if its true, but eh." That is troubling but I don't think it invalidates the relative good faith beliefs in other areas (that Iraq was a threat to world security regardless, and any doubt on the WMD question is too much). But yeah, its pretty poor in hindsight.

My bigger problem is with the ineptitude of the reconstruction. That bugs me far more than bungled intelligence (mostly because I thought it should have been done anyway, long before 2003, long before 9/11). That the antiwar folk *still* seem obsessed with the decision before war boggles my mind. There is plenty of rope to hang him with post war to need worry about prewar (though, obviously, for future initiatives of this kind we need to know so as to not repeat the mistakes).

My problem is that Cindy

My problem is that Cindy Sheehan has two LIVING children still around that she's abandoned on her ultimately self-indulgent crusade. Not to mention too her husband that she abandoned, and her job, friends, etc., to become a token for the antiwar left to rally about.

It appears that the loss of her son has left her literally deranged, and I think that is cause for pity, but certainly nothing of merit. Certainly the toxic spew she delivers at anti-war rallies (about the Jews, conspiracies, etc) is socially (and I'd say morally) unacceptable, and it is a poor mark amongst the people hanging abotu her that her normally socially unacceptable sentiments/positions are given a pass in the context of "being antiwar".

Excuse me, but there WERE

Excuse me, but there WERE WMD, and there WERE links to Al-Qaeda, and worldwide Sharia has been the stated goal of islamic fanatics for years.

Rick, assertions like that certainly require a bit of explanation.

Even the anti-war left admits that there were WMD in Iraq that we gave to Iraq.

What Joe Miller

What Joe Miller said.

Personally, I believe that most of those who serve do so knowing full well that they may have to fight IN DEFENSE OF THE UNITES STATES, and are quite willing to do so, much to their credit.

But there is no evidence that Iraq posed an immediate threat, nor any that the war has made us any safer. And it certainly tied up plenty of resources that could have been better used tracking down the real terrorist threat, securing our own soil, and intimidating regimes like the one in North Korea or the one in Iran to behave better.

Instead we’ve thrown billions away on a non-existent threat and bogged down our military in a way that implies that we will be invading no one else for the foreseeable future.

I'm curious as to what the

I'm curious as to what the actual contract looks like that binds people to military service.

Brandon, Well, different

Brandon,

Well, different administrations have different goals, but the whole “war for oil” thing still doesn’t make any sense to me. Is there an explanation for this that doesn’t rely on the left-wing axiom that multinational corporations are the root of all evil?

Sure there are, B. Most serious analysts don't take the influence of Oil companies all that seriously (though it's certainly there.) Instead they look to the documentary record we have access to (the most demonstrative being the post-war planning stuff NS64, etc. done by George Kennan) in which he discusses quite openly the reasons we should take the region of the middle east more seriously than other regions. It has to do with "strategic control" of the world's resources that give the US "veto power" and ensure a "lever of control" over the other major countries. That has very little to do with multinational corporations, and it's quite straightforward. A failure to understand this properly is what leaves many of the left stuck grapsing at "Israeli Conspiracy" straws in a struggle to understand why we seem so obsessed with the middle east.

Dave,

Even the anti-war left admits that there were WMD in Iraq that we gave to Iraq.

at one point sure, but not immediately before/during/after the invasion, correct? That's all the that's relevant here. Certainly we can't invade Germany right now because they used to have one of the most threatening armies in the world. Did I miss a big headline or something?

Well, Scott, here's the Oath

Well, Scott, here's the Oath of Enlistment:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

I bet there's more than that, but it seems clear (and broad) enough to me.

As an aside, does anyone

As an aside, does anyone doubt that the main reason that the middle east is important enough to commit arm into is primarily due to oil? There are many places in the world where a) the regime needs a'changin' or b) there are seething jelousies and hatred towards us or 3) there really are WMD but the reason the ME rises to the top of the "meddle in" list is because of the black gold..... North Korea is a perfect place in point that satisfies all the reason we have stated we invaded Iraq and yet you don't see us engage in regime change there....

Garth, you're absolutely

Garth, you're absolutely right. Yes, however, many people doubt that including a place as educated and (mostly) freethinking as this blog is. The proof I provided was more like the "positive proof" and yours is the "negative proof" (i.e. what's the other reasonable modus operandi that we can ascribe to gov't so as to explain why they'd invade puny Iraq but not cryzy N. Korea.) Both have informed my opinion about why the US acts how it acts.

Regarding the contract, I feel that (along the lines of what Joe said) the BUsh administration rhetoric (of which we're all familiar) was much more instrumental in the decisions of the many GIs who've died than was the precise wording of the contract they signed.

Iraq only happened because

Iraq only happened because it satisfied the following three conditions neccessary (in the eyes of the administration):

1.) Satisfied the neocons in the administration to establish a democracy. Their goal is that it will turn infectious and will help relieve pressure off of the US and Israel long term. Possibly some also view that it will add greatly to humanity's bottom line long term.

2.) Satisfied the geo-political folks as the cost of the war will be paid back many folds through a democratic non-OPEC source of oil. Gives them an excuse to get off Saudi soil too.

3.) There was a legal recourse to justify invasion from prior behavoir.

Only because Iraq sat at this particular nexus it was invaded.

However, I do not think Bush made the right(moral) move. The analogous situation is that he saw a hot deck while playing BlackJack and took a significant portion of everyones bankroll(some way more than others), and decided to risk it on the next hand. It was not within his moral authority to do so regardless of the results.

Matt, Yes, the ME is at all

Matt,

Yes, the ME is at all important these days is because the region is is the least-cost producer of the elixir of modern life (crude oil).

That said, it doesn't tell us much about the proximal reasons for any given policy or action by the west/US in the region, just why anyone cares to begin with (as opposed to say, Myanmar).

So when someone pops up and said "it was for oil" it doesn't tell us anything new or cast extra light on the proximal reasons for this, that, or the other thing, which is usually the point of contention. I think it is rather clear that Bushco didn't invade Iraq "for Oil," given the lack of protection of Iraq's oil assets, pipelines, etc. At this point in time I'm left scratching off possible rationales until all I'm left with is "because" but that is likewise unsatisfying.

What other "interests" does

What other "interests" does the USA have in that region besides fuel?

Joel- How about dealing with

Joel-

How about dealing with the death cult inhabiting that region that is currently exporting death and terror around the world? Whether or not you agree with either the methods or the strategy, that is certainly the text and sub-text of our policies in the region.

That said, it doesn’t

That said, it doesn’t tell us much about the proximal reasons for any given policy or action by the west/US in the region, just why anyone cares to begin with (as opposed to say, Myanmar).

sure it does- it's absolutely crucial to such an understanding, because it allows us a context in which to view such "proximal reasons" like supporting democracy or establishing military bases. Any proxmial reasons must be consistent with our major approach to the region. Let's take Israel for example- I doubt Israel had much to do with Iraq in any deep sense. In a surface way, the policy planners might have considered Israel important but only in the general strategic context which we're talking about and as such there's almost no point in discussing Israel with regard to the war in Iraq. This can also be done to analyze the "spreading democracy" interpretation and all others. I think it's incredibly valuable to know the overarching framework in which things take place.

I think it is rather clear that Bushco didn’t invade Iraq “for Oil,” given the lack of protection of Iraq’s oil assets, pipelines, etc. At this point in time I’m left scratching off possible rationales until all I’m left with is “because” but that is likewise unsatisfying.

I think you're quite wrong about the protection of Iraq's oil- that was a major wartime priority. from commondreams:

"In the first U.S. combat operation of the war in Iraq, Navy commandos stormed an offshore oil-loading platform. "Swooping silently out of the Persian Gulf night," an overexcited reporter for the New York Times wrote on March 22, "Navy Seals seized two Iraqi oil terminals in bold raids that ended early this morning, overwhelming lightly-armed Iraqi guards and claiming a bloodless victory in the battle for Iraq's vast oil empire."

Indeed, Iraq has developed into a two-front war: the battles for control over Iraq's cities and the constant struggle to protect its far-flung petroleum infrastructure against sabotage and attack. The first contest has been widely reported in the American press; the second has received far less attention. Yet the fate of Iraq's oil infrastructure could prove no less significant than that of its embattled cities. A failure to prevail in this contest would eliminate the economic basis upon which a stable Iraqi government could someday emerge. "In the grand scheme of things," a senior officer told the New York Times, "there may be no other place where our armed forces are deployed that has a greater strategic importance." In recognition of this, significant numbers of U.S. soldiers have been assigned to oil-security functions. "

Matt

Brian- How about dealing

Brian-

How about dealing with the death cult inhabiting that region that is currently exporting death and terror around the world? Whether or not you agree with either the methods or the strategy, that is certainly the text and sub-text of our policies in the region.

what's remarkable is the consistancy of our policies in the region, clearly indicating that the "death cult" of which you speak provides little but a rationale. The PNAC document, crafted by many of the relevant people in power in the Bush administration, advocates going into Iraq and restructuring things in exactly the way we are now. In moment of rare prescience for these guys, they mention that a major terrorist attack of gloabl catastrophe could prove instrumental in justifying such an invasion to the american populace. Beyond that, I think you'd be hard pressed to understand US policy in terms of opposing Al Qeada- it was quite clear that the Iraq war was going to increase Al Qeada's recruitment (and just as expected and as the CIA warned, it obviously did.) If you take the "war on terrorism" at all seriously, you are simply left to conclude that Bush is the worst wartime leader in US history, having spent 100 billion dollars fighting a battle we knew we would lose (as it empowered global terrorism, not the opposite) and we are lsoing quite badly. Take your pick.

matt

Brian - the policies of

Brian - the policies of intervention arguably created the so-called "death cult". Why were the policies of intervention in this region implemented in the first place? Altruistic interests in saving humanity from the evils of "violent global extremism" or a major fuel source needed to ensure Pax Americana for generations to come?

The USG is exporting the lion's share of death and terror at the moment, so that flimsy justification reminds me of the Iranian Supreme Council of Freedom Hatred crying for the death of the "Great Satan"

I wonder whether the Oath of

I wonder whether the Oath of Enlistment is really the crucial thing to look at in asking about the contract that binds people to military service. The Oath describes what it is that people are required to do once they actually become soldiers. My worry in the case of Iraq has to do with the claims being made to convince people to sign up and take the Oath.

If you tell me that invading X is necessary to defend the nation and that you need soldiers to invade X, then I might very well sign up as a soldier. Once I sign up, I'm then obligated to defend the Constitution and to obey lawful orders issued by those legally authorized to give them. The issue, though, is whether it really is true that invading X is necessary to defend the nation. If invading X is not necessary, then you persuaded me to join on false pretenses.

That, it seems to me, is the point that Sheehan _ought_ to be making. The crap about Israel and Palestine is clearly beside the point, though I think it's the case that at least _some_ of the really dumb stuff being attributed to her is not actually stuff that she said.