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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Matt, The fact that Iraqi

Matt,

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

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. 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.

Again, the overarching reason for the middle east being important is because it sits on a lot of oil. That has, unfortunately, precious little to tell us about why Bushco really wanted to invade. 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.

Regarding the oil infrastructure, its a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it can be the basis for a stable and prosperous Iraq (a profitable industry serving as the generator powering the larger, diversified service/industrial economy), but its also the reason why the various factions are fighting. Destroy the Iraqi oil infrastructure (including the ones in the Kurdish north, for argument's sake) and Iraq is then just a poor country, relatively resource poor to boot. The stakes are lowered dramatically, in which case political agreement might be easier. The problem now is that there is enough there that sides think its worth fighting for because they believe monopolistic control is within reach. That the CPA didn't write a minimum constitution for the Iraqis beforehand to settle some of these issues (and why they didn't insist on a bill of rights and strong federalism, I have no idea) is yet another case of incompetence, negligence, or worse.

As Rumsfeld pointed out, it is and was not at all clear what the net effect would be. Certainly when a foreign/alien power invades and occupies a country, you get native resistance. The difference in nominal religion/civilizational orientation also matters too. But there is the side factor of, well, killing the people involved, as well as the massive negative PR backlash the Islamist/death cult has gotten in Iraq and wider parts of the Arab world, as they see the folks for the "Ummah" slaughtering the Ummah and little else. 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 »

Joel, I have heard that

Joel,

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).

Joe, That rationale works,

Joe,

That rationale works, but only for the marginal case that is hypothetically swayed by the false/incorrect statement. One might also posit that in life there is always a chance for error in rationale, thus you should discount the positives by that uncertainty factor; if the present discounted benefits still outweigh the predicted costs, you go ahead and suck it up if it turns out that they were wrong (your argument is much stronger if it is a case of willful deception on the part of the government; fraud is fraud, but it has to be intentional).

(present discounted benefits? Who am I, Patri? :wink:)

Brian it looks like your

Brian it looks like your getting beat kind of badly here, but don't worry I'm here ot help!

Starting with the easiest first:

1. Cindy is to be pitied. She lost her son in a war she doesn't support. She is greiving in her own way, but with that said why is her grief something I should have to see and hear every day? In a war, soldiers die. Their families are left with a folded flag and their memories. It isn't approprite for some reporter to stick a camera in their face and ask how it feels - even if the family wants them too.

2. The Anti-War movement is losing steam and they needed a "new" posterchild. America knows all about Sean Penn and his anti-war stand, the Anti-War people needed a new face. Cindy provided that and a bully pulpit to cram things down people throat because they can't fight back.

3. The allagory between a Seattle man and the Sacramento government would be appropriate if for 12 years the Sacramento government refused to allow anyone access to any records and there where reports coming out of there that said that the Mayor had given that man control of the city cops, the fire department and a place to train them to kill anyone they wanted. In that case, I would support some way of removing the Mayor from his office. If he refused to go and threatened to kill anyone who came near his city, I would support a non-diplomatic response to the situation.

4. Oil. Yes, oil is a valuable commodity, but has no one wondered why that no oil exporting country has a fully functioning democracy? South America, Middle East, Baltic, Russia, not a democratic government to be seen (with the possible exception of Russia - we'll have to wait and see with Putin). The answer my friend is that America imports oil and hasn't tried to force those countries to, say, recognise the right of it's people to worship as they please (Saudi Arabia, where Christians are jailed for having Bibles) or to have a real capitalist economy (Some of South America's problems are because they havn't gotten around to completely giving up communism, but most of it is because the U.S. Government almost never tried to push capitalism). Why? Because every, single President in the last 60 years has been held hostage to Oil. The Big O. To single this president out because he is trying to do something about it, is dishonest on it's face.

(Sorry to break the format, but those where just ideas to be tossed out. Here comes the quote and respond part of my comment)

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.

You would have a point if recruiters where telling recruits that invading Iraq was nessicery to defend America.

But that begs the question, when in America's history have we ever waited for a country to become overtly hostile? When have we waited for a country to become an "immediate threat" when we could have done something to stop them? I seem to remember that the Revolutionary War was a premtive action against Britian. Civil War- the South decided to pre-empt the North. WWI- We dropped the ball and decided to hide, in the meantime Europe blew up. WW2- We drop the ball again, go hide for a little while, and Europe blows up, again. The difference, what did the Nazi's do to us? What "immediate threat" did Hitler pose to us? Did he have battleships off our coast? No! I think it's past time for some RDS, Roosevelt Derangement Syndrome.

(Sung to the tune of Blame Canada)

Blame Roosevelt, Blame Roosevelt, he got us into that war!
Blame Roosevelt, Blame Roosevelt, you know he's such a bore!
Blame Roosevelt, Blame Roosevelt, he got our kids killed!
Blame Roosevelt, Blame Roosevelt, is this how he gets his thrills?

In case any BDS person is wondering, yes, blame bush crowd, this is what you sound like.

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”.

:bomb::shock::wall:

Did you just seriously compare the United States Government to the Iranian Government and say that they where the same?

the Anti-War people needed a

the Anti-War people needed a new face. Cindy provided that and a bully pulpit to cram things down people throat because they can’t fight back.

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

Brian, _your argument is

Brian,

_your argument is much stronger if it is a case of willful deception on the part of the government; fraud is fraud, but it has to be intentional_

Agreed. Part of the risks that soldiers run is that of being given orders based on incorrect intelligence. For individual soldiers, it matters little whether the incorrect intelligence is that which led to some particular mission or whether it led to starting the war in the first place. Either way, it's a risk soldiers run. You can't say that a soldier's enlistment is somehow compromised because it was based on false information offered in good faith. False information offered knowingly does seem to undermine the very possibility of a real contract, though.

That said, it's important for the rest of us to know whether or not Iraq was based on flawed evidence offered in good faith, false information offered knowingly, or some mixture of the two. I tend to think it's probably the latter: evidence that was far more equivocal than was made out, spoken as absolute fact by people who knew that their evidence was shaky. But it's important to know which outcome is really the case. If Sheehan used her position to push for answers to this particular question, I'd be far more sympathetic to her tactics.

Dave- Well, some already

Dave-

Well, some already mustered themselves, in the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" counter-demonstration of military moms with sons/daughters KIA.

Marc - Thanks for the

Marc -

Thanks for the support but I'm doing fine by me onesies.

Joe- I think the problem we

Joe-

I think the problem we have here (in determining whether it was good faith, deliberate falsehood, or a mix) is that it was clear that they wanted to invade for other reasons but believed that the WMD angle was the surest way to attempt to get UN support, so they went with it. I think also because (as we disagreed on earlier in the year) the existing UNSC resolutions that would give justification for invasion without a new resolution were all WMD centric so that's where they went (rather than come up with a new justification based on security, settling accounts, etc). A very, very bad decision in retrospect, given what they (didn't) know. Its never a good sign when the leadership deems its own convincing reasons unacceptable to the body politic thus necessitating some other tactic (this goes way back, to Johnson, to McKinley, even further if you want to dig).

In any case, I think they wanted to go in to settle scores and eliminate a thorn in the US's side (with some salutary effects on the region) but were really, REALLY self-deluded. Man.

Marc, _When have we waited

Marc,

_When have we waited for a country to become an “immediate threat” when we could have done something to stop them? I seem to remember that the Revolutionary War was a premtive action against Britian. Civil War- the South decided to pre-empt the North._

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 suspect few here would endorse an invasion of India on the grounds that, with it's booming economy and warrior tradition, it could someday pose a threat to American hegemony.

_WWI- We dropped the ball and decided to hide, in the meantime Europe blew up. WW2- We drop the ball again, go hide for a little while, and Europe blows up, again._

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.

_What “immediate threat” did Hitler pose to us? Did he have battleships off our coast?_

Um, I seem to recall that Hitler had invaded a couple of places already. Like most of Europe. Who said that immediate threats had to to be threats against _us_? Aggression is aggression, regardless of where it's directed. The problem, though, is that Iraq hadn't aggressed against anyone.

Brian, I'll buy most of that

Brian,

I'll buy most of that explanation. I still have worries, though, that if your description is right, then it's very possible that we still have an issue of fraud. If the administration was just bullshitting about WMDs, then that's a pretty serious problem. (I'm using Frankfurt's BS definition: BS is saying something without really caring whether or not it's true). That, it seems to me, does pretty well characterize much of the pre-invasion rhetoric. It'd be really cool if that stuff we're saying turns out to be true, but if not, eh.

Joe- Excepting Kuwait, of

Joe-

Excepting Kuwait, of course... and that war, like Korea, was never concluded. 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).

Obviously your mileage may vary. I agree with your broader point though- sophistry & glib rationalization is no substitute for applying some sort of rigor to what an ethical pursuit of war should look like.

Joe and Marc- It might be

Joe and Marc-

It might be worth mentioning that some IR theorists have contended that the new NS stragetegy (as practiced in Iraq) is not preemtpion at all, but rather "preventive" warfrae. Preemption being justfied if planes are flying over to your country or Hitler's troops are marching toward the Czcheck border. Preventive war is preemption without an imminent threat, but rather with a "percieved threat." It'd Hitler's justfication of invading Poland for instance- that it was a "dagger pointed at the heart of Germany" in his memorable and deplorable phrase. That's much more similar to the Iraq war than is preemption. The huge problem with this idea, of course, is that it could justify anyone attacking anyone- it'd certainly support most of the countries of the world invading the US for instance, and it'd support a regional invasion of Israel. Basically if countries followed this approach the world would be terminated very quickly.

Also, Joe, when you were discussing the treaty justification for the Iraq war, are you talking about the UN resolution for the first Gulf War which was never formally closed? Just curious.

Jim-
You're analysis is quite correct.

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).

Iran certainly would have been a more logical target than Iraq for these reasons, but the problem is that Iran is strong and can actually fight back. It's been widely known in Military theorist circles for some time that while a populace will support heavy losses for a just war (like WW2) they have pretty good instincts when it comes to unjust wars which they will oppose if the losses are too high. This is called the "Vietnam Syndrome."

Matt

Saddam funded martyrs

Saddam funded martyrs families and gave a bounty for every Jew killed in Israel. But, of course, to judenhass scum like Mother Sheehan Jews don't count. She is using her son, who was a brave and loyal soldier, for her own far-left ends. Have you seen who she choses to share a stage with? The woman is beneath contempt. :furious:

I agree that WMD was a

I agree that WMD was a pretext (as Bamford argues in _A Pretext for War_) and there were other reasons (e.g., the Wolfowitz/Perle plan they tried to sell to Netanyahu years earlier; James Mann's _Rise of the Vulcans_ shows how far this goes back).

Somebody mentioned Egypt, Lebanon, and Libya as areas that have seen marked improvements as a result of the invasion of Iraq. I'll grant Libya (they found ad baculum persuasive and have improved relations with the U.S.), Lebanon is arguable whether Iraq was the proximal cause of Syrian withdrawal, and Egypt has yet to have any real improvements to speak of (Mubarak's opening up the presidential elections to more than one candidate still left a lot of restrictions in place, e.g., no independent candidates, only party leaders; only 18 days of campaigning allowed; only voters who got a registration card last December are permitted to vote; paid television commercials are not permitted; there are fees on campaign posters in public places; etc.).

Matt, _I’ve never really

Matt,

_I’ve never really heard the argument laid out, but it seems a little preposterous that we should be authorized against the wishes of most of UN citing an opinion that’s 10 years old. I suppose that the resolution that Iraq violated would have justified any member of the UN to invade indpendently then, if they personally felt that Iraq had violated the terms? That seems crazy_

Agreed. The main legal argument offered in favor of the war, though, revolves around the argument that Gulf War I never ended, and the 2003 invasion was really just a resumption of an already-authorized war. My argument is that, while that could be a legal explanation, it would be so only if the SC had voted to reauthorize the resumption of force. Given the explicit rejection of such authorization, the attempt to use 687 as legal cover just doesn't fly.

Yes, it is the resolution that has to do w/ WMD. It's pretty clear that Iraq was in breach of 687, not because it had any WMD, but because it wasn't complying with inspections. 1441, the resolution that Americans and Brits kept citing, was really little more than a directive to comply with 687. Neither one, though, contain automatic trigger language for resuming hostilities.

_do you think there have been any cases of major and successful HI operations? The Kosovo bombing seemed to actually increase the atrocities, for instance, so I wouldn’t call it “succesful.”_

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.

I declare this thread

I declare this thread awesome.

Matt, In talking about the

Matt,

In talking about the SC Resolutions, I was referring to 678, which was the authorization for war, and 687, which was the cease fire. It's the text of 687 which leaves out the automatic triggers and requires instead that the SC explicitly authorize the resumption of force.

Michael Walzer has done a bit with the preemption/prevention distinction that you mention. I've been writing on it some lately. I think that it's an important distinction, but it's probably also slipperier than Walzer seems to think. My position (at the moment; this is still in flux a bit) is that prevention can never justify going to war, but it might provide a sufficient reason for waging a war that is justified for other reasons. That is, wars can be justified in the sense of being morally permissible without at the same time being morally obligatory. Wars that fall into that category may or may not be waged. Whether my nation wages such a war will turn largely on questions of prudence.

So right now my view is that preemption provides sufficient _jus ad bellum_ cover. Prevention does not, though, some wars, if they have other _jus ad bellum_ justification, may rightly be waged for (if not justified by) prevention.

In talking about the SC

In talking about the SC Resolutions, I was referring to 678, which was the authorization for war, and 687, which was the cease fire. It’s the text of 687 which leaves out the automatic triggers and requires instead that the SC explicitly authorize the resumption of force.

I've never really heard the argument laid out, but it seems a little preposterous that we should be authorized against the wishes of most of UN citing an opinion that's 10 years old. I suppose that the resolution that Iraq violated would have justified any member of the UN to invade indpendently then, if they personally felt that Iraq had violated the terms? That seems crazy, and it seems to me that we would never have accepted an Iranian invasion for instance. I realize that I'm not arguing against anything you've written of course, I'm just trying to figure out the argument. Also, didn't 687 call for the elimination weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems from "the Middle East"? I suppose that since all these Hawkish johnny-come-legal scholars are so interested in the wording and text of the resolutions they'd support an invasion of Israel as well for failure to comply (with that and many other resolutions)?

My position (at the moment; this is still in flux a bit) is that prevention can never justify going to war, but it might provide a sufficient reason for waging a war that is justified for other reasons. That is, wars can be justified in the sense of being morally permissible without at the same time being morally obligatory. Wars that fall into that category may or may not be waged. Whether my nation wages such a war will turn largely on questions of prudence.

Well I think that's right, but I wonder then: what could justify a war alongside a prevention argument? I'm not sure that I know of any other convincing answer. It just seems to me that anyone could justify invading anyone on such grounds. Supposing that we tried to universalize the maxim of preventive war (in the Kantian way) we'd get complete and utter chaos. Would you agree that it is not a universalizable maxim?

which happened to coincide with my work on a paper on humanitarian intervention.

just curious- do you think there have been any cases of major and successful HI operations? The Kosovo bombing seemed to actually increase the atrocities, for instance, so I wouldn't call it "succesful." Liberia was very succesful but the US presence was basically formal. Interested to know...

matt

A slightly off-topic

A slightly off-topic aside:

Back in May, Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris went on state-run Palestinian Authority TV and basically announced his desire for another Holocaust, comparing Jews to a virus such as AIDS and proclaming that Muslims must "finish off every Jew."

But what was the global media obsessing over in May? A (questionable) Newsweek story about something to do with a mishandled Koran and toilet water.

Anti-Americanism sells.

Brian, While we're on this

Brian,

While we're on this subject again, I wanted to mention that I learned much from our disagreements last time around, which happened to coincide with my work on a paper on humanitarian intervention. I'm now finishing up with revisions on the paper, which is scheduled to be published in November/December. I wanted to include a shout-out to you, but wanted first to (a) clear it with you, and (b) ask about what the attribution should look like (I know some people here post under a pseudonym). I'm sure that, what with your status as a honcho on the site, you have access to my e-mail if you'd rather not answer online.

"I was raised in a country

"I was raised in a country by a public school system that taught us that America was good, that America was just. America has been killing people . . . since we first stepped on this continent, we have been responsible for death and destruction. I passed on that bullshit to my son and my son enlisted. I'm going all over the country telling moms: "This country is not worth dying for." If we're attacked, we would all go out. We'd all take whatever we had. I'd take my rolling pin and I'd beat the attackers over the head with it. But we were not attacked by Iraq. We might not even have been attacked by Osama bin Laden if 9/11 was their Pearl Harbor to get their neo-con agenda through and, if I would have known that before my son was killed, I would have taken him to Canada. I would never have let him go and try and defend this morally repugnant system we have. The people are good, the system is morally repugnant. . . . " http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/Articles/Stewartrally.htm c/o Opinion Journal WSJ

Cindy Sheehan At U. of San Fransisco anti-war rally 4/27/2005 Dupe, Dolt or Visionary-- you decide.

Matt, I don't think Bushco

Matt,

I don't think Bushco was lying, either. I also think, ala Bushco, Cindy Sheehan doesn't care if what she's saying is true. Its bullshit all around, and regardless of what final goal you have or how great you think it is, if one is bad the other is, too- its the same thing.

Er, uh, to the person who

Er, uh, to the person who said something about "no oil exporting country is a democracy" I think the Norwegians would have a tough time with that one... and if I rememeber correct, the U.K. does export some of that North Sea Crude....

If all you mean by "dupe" is

If all you mean by "dupe" is someone who was tricked, then sure he was. What I was rferring to was "dupe" as defined on dictionary.com which means "an easily decieved person." Dupe seems to carry a heavily negative connotation which lends credence to the dictionary.com definitionI'm citing. I don't think being fooled by the US gov't (assuming that you've grown up in America and taken civics classes and the like) makes one a "dupe" in definition I'm using. As such I'd say it's part of Cindy's argument that her son was misled, but not because he was an idiot; simply because the government was trying to mislead us.

I'm saying Casey Sheehan is

I'm saying Casey Sheehan is a dupe complicit in war crimes by his mother's argument, I'm not saying anything about him.

I don’t think Bushco was

I don’t think Bushco was lying, either. I also think, ala Bushco, Cindy Sheehan doesn’t care if what she’s saying is true. Its bullshit all around, and regardless of what final goal you have or how great you think it is, if one is bad the other is, too- its the same thing.

It's not the same thing at all. The idea that you shouldn't deliberately mislead people, is quite different from "you should never try to convince people of something if you're infact wrong about something". The latter is what's under discussion in te Sheehan case (hers being even more abstract because she's not very wrong about the primary thing she seems to be trying to convince people of- that the Iraq war is wrong.) There's no way to ensure that you're correct in some objective way about what you believe, and so that last maxim would seem to tell people that they should never try and convince someone of anything, which is of course ludicrous. If you believe that the BA was telling the truth then you have no argument about Bush lying, plain and simple. I don't think he told the truth- I think the administration pressured the intelligence agencies to produce info that matched their ideologies. That's a distortion of the truth for political ends and is a lie. If you think the BA believed everything and were completely Naive about the whole thing but just wrong, then you have no claim in that regard against them.

matt

Isn't someone misled into

Isn't someone misled into warring on behalf of a war criminal a dupe?

I have no idea what the

I have no idea what the point of that link was. If she thinks he was fooled by the Bush Administrations propaganda in the lead up to war, I think she should say so. You think she should keep mum to preserve her son's image? I doubt that anyone considers him a dupe- the sympathy aroused by such a story is precisely the fact that he isn't a dupe, but rather a trusting, good american kid who was misled. If you really cared about her son's posthumous image I don't know why you'd imply that being fooled by the US government makes you "a dupe comlicit in war crimes."

matt

Sheehan is a corpse dragger

Sheehan is a corpse dragger who is painting her dead son as a dupe complicit in war crimes.

I don’t believe that

I don’t believe that Sheehan cares whether the antisemitic conspiracy theories she’s hawking are true, they just fit her current ideological mindset. She probably thinks they’re true, at least enough.
I don't think that's true. People don't select anti-semitism in the US for strategic reasons- that's one of the surest ways to get dismissed as a loony. By the way, it's far from clear that opposing Israel is being anti-semetic and as such I only adopt the term for arguments sake and not because I've taken a serious look at Sheehan's positions. For all I know her positions are quite reasonable. Anyway, I don't know what on what grounds you'd base your assertion that she doesn't care about the truth content of her "anti-semetic" assertions.

They had reasons other than WMD, etc to attack Iraq (that they thought were true and good) and they believed the WMD intel could be good enough, they just didn’t particularly care since they were motivated by other reasons to attack and invade Iraq. I don’t believe there was intention to “mislead” people in the sense of some cackling back room deal “heh heh, lets cook up some lies and see if they buy it". They thought the greater goal (eliminating Hussein and removing a thorn in the US’s side in the region) was enough that whatever other intel they could get “would do".

I think it may be true that they legitimately believed there were WMDs in Iraq (I believed there probably were) but that's not really the claim. They claimed that they were motivated solely by the belief and that that was the reason for the invasion ("The sole question is will Saddam disarm") which was highly false and misleading. In fact the idea that Saddam had WMDs had little or nothing to do with the invasion and claiming that it was was deliberately misleading.

Sheehan’s anger at the Bush administration is because her son died for a cause/mission she is adamantly against. The antisemitism and paranoid conspiracy bits are thrown out because it’s red meat for the crowds she’s talking to, which serves her “get the people angry at the Bush Admin” cause, and I don’t think she particularly cares how truthful any of them are.

I have no idea why you assume that's true. I doubt very much that anti-semitism functions as "red meat" for her audience, and "apranoid conspiracy bits" only appeal to marginal attendees. I'd be very surprised if she was making this up just to be an effective speaker, and I think you'll have to demonstrate this, lest you be accused of harboring "paranoid conspiracy" fantasies.

Marc-

I think you’re getting too wrapped up in the theortical aspects of this approach . Maybe, theoritically speaking, it would be possible to “prevent” every country, but bring it back down to the “real-world".
if we deny the principle aspect then we're left to deal in straight power concepts (might makes right) which are hardly what we should be discussing. Proposing preventive war as a principle (as we did in the NSS) puts a value judgement on the principle itself. As such we analyze it as a principle, universalizing it to see if it's reasonable. Even beginning to apply such a principle to the world brings complete chaos- India and Pkaistan go to war, the middle east attacks Israel, Koreans battle each other, etc.

The examples you cite wouldn't happen because for power reasons, which are quite beyond the realm of the principle.

Okay, you’ve followed the theory to it’s logical end, now turn around and think instead of “is it possible?” “is it probable?". The answer? In most and almost all cases, no. It will take a lot to cause a “free” (i.e. Democratic, Freedoms, etc.) to go to war because any short term benefit it gives (victory, national pride, spoils of war) is taken away by the costs of war -finacially and in the manpower used up.

I think this may be a strecth of what's meant by democracy, but you're correct that this theory has caused minor waves the Poli Sci field. Nevertheless, I fail to see it's applicability when discussing a principle which doesn't even approach the mildest tests of universalizability.

No one can deny the worst case senario, but find the middle senario.

I'm interested in what you mean by this...

Matt

matt- Preventive war is

matt-

Preventive war is preemption without an imminent threat, but rather with a “percieved threat.” It’d Hitler’s justfication of invading Poland for instance- that it was a “dagger pointed at the heart of Germany” in his memorable and deplorable phrase. That’s much more similar to the Iraq war than is preemption. The huge problem with this idea, of course, is that it could justify anyone attacking anyone- it’d certainly support most of the countries of the world invading the US for instance, and it’d support a regional invasion of Israel. Basically if countries followed this approach the world would be terminated very quickly.

I think you're getting too wrapped up in the theortical aspects of this approach . Maybe, theoritically speaking, it would be possible to "prevent" every country, but bring it back down to the "real-world".

Would Great Britian sanction an attack on America? Would America sanction an attack on Russia?

Okay, you've followed the theory to it's logical end, now turn around and think instead of "is it possible?" "is it probable?". The answer? In most and almost all cases, no. It will take a lot to cause a "free" (i.e. Democratic, Freedoms, etc.) to go to war because any short term benefit it gives (victory, national pride, spoils of war) is taken away by the costs of war -finacially and in the manpower used up.

No one can deny the worst case senario, but find the middle senario.

Matt, I don't believe that

Matt,

I don't believe that Sheehan cares whether the antisemitic conspiracy theories she's hawking are true, they just fit her current ideological mindset. She probably thinks they're true, at least enough.

That is precisely what the Bush administration did. They had reasons other than WMD, etc to attack Iraq (that they thought were true and good) and they believed the WMD intel could be good enough, they just didn't particularly care since they were motivated by other reasons to attack and invade Iraq. I don't believe there was intention to "mislead" people in the sense of some cackling back room deal "heh heh, lets cook up some lies and see if they buy it". They thought the greater goal (eliminating Hussein and removing a thorn in the US's side in the region) was enough that whatever other intel they could get "would do".

Sheehan's anger at the Bush administration is because her son died for a cause/mission she is adamantly against. The antisemitism and paranoid conspiracy bits are thrown out because it's red meat for the crowds she's talking to, which serves her "get the people angry at the Bush Admin" cause, and I don't think she particularly cares how truthful any of them are.

These two events are essentially the same.

Isn’t someone misled into

Isn’t someone misled into warring on behalf of a war criminal a dupe?

not neccesarily- I feel that a large part of the rhetorical power Ms. Sheehan has is simply the fact that her son was a patriotic, trusting kid. If he were a dupe people would be more apt to write things off. I alos don't think we should let this libertarian circle get to our heads and assume that most people distrust Bush- last I checked a majority still thought he "trustworthy."

Matt