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eric76
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09 Dec 2012, 7:58 pm

For what it's worth, at the time of the Gulf War (and still today), I thought that Kuwait deserves Saddam. I was all for leaving him there.

To the first President Bush's credit, he did what he said he would do. We reached our clearly stated objective of kicking Saddam out of Kuwait and then he called it off and we left. I admire the first President Bush greatly for that.



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09 Dec 2012, 8:17 pm

ShamelessGit wrote:

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The only difference between what the USA does and what Germany did is that USA kills innocent civilians in other countries, whereas Germany killed its own civilians.

So you’re saying that the Nazis only killed people in Germany and killed no one in the allied and occupied countries or in the battles to gain those countries. Operation Barbarossa, as just one example, was bloodless?
All those bombs dropped on England killed no one? No allies at all died?


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The death toll is within the same order of magnitude (millions). It is factually correct that millions of civilians died in Vietnam… .

Not by the wildest estimations.

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………and that the USA created Al Qaeda.

If we did, and I don’t care one way or the other, it was for the purpose of sticking a thorn in the side of the USSR during the occupation of Afghanistan in the 80’s.


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09 Dec 2012, 8:29 pm

http://vi.uh.edu/pages/buzzmat/htdtisgulfwar.html

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... By 1968, the Ba'ath had consolidated power and ruled Iraq, and within a few years Saddam, by making alliances with army officers and murdering those who got in his way, surfaced as the most powerful man in the country. The Americans had never liked Karim Kassim and were not unhappy with the Ba'ath coups or with Saddam, who began killing off dissidents, especially the Iraqi Left and including the Iraqi Socialist party. Saddam also repressed minority groups like the Kurds in the north of Iraq, prompting the U.S. to briefly support clandestine efforts to help the Kurds and oust Saddam, but then reversed policy and quit supporting the Kurds in 1975, at which point Saddam murdered about 25,000 of them, and prompted Henry Kissinger's famous explanation that "covert operations is not missionary work.:"

By the 1980s Saddam was one of America's most reliable allies. The greatest threat in the Middle East, from 1979 on, became the Islamic Fundamentalist revolutionaries in Iran, led by Ayotallah Khomenei. Iraq, a sworn enemy of Iran, thus became America's great friend.


In September 1980, Saddam went to war against Iran and the U.S. was there to encourage and support and arm him. Iraq hoped to gain Iranian oil lands, control the Shatt al Arab waterway, and topple Khomenei's Shiite regime. The U.S. became Saddam's biggest patron. In the 1980s, the Reagan junta made off-the-books arms transfers to Iraq and kept them secret from congress, sent about $40 billion in arms to Iraq, and about $5 billion in technology for nuclear and chemical weapons programs.

Throughout this time, Saddam continued to kill and gas dissidents and minorities like the Kurds in Iraq, without any attempt by the U.S. to stop him and, in fact, with American military advisors present in the field. Moreover, in 1987 an Iraqi aircraft bombed U.S. frigate STARK and killed 37 American sailors, but accepted the Iraqi apology and continued to support Saddam. Finally in 1988 the Iran-Iraq war ends, inconclusively, with huge losses of life and money.

Saddam thus faced huge debts because of the war, and with oil revenues dwindling, had to find a way to regain economic strength, and he began to look south at Kuwait, which had actually been a part of Iraq until separated arbitrarily and invented as a country by the British in the 1920s and which had been apparently stealing Iraqi oil via diagonal drilling equipment.
In 1990, however, the U.S. was on good terms with Iraq: Assistant Secretary of State John Kelley called Saddam a "force of moderation" in the Mideast. And U.S. Ambassador April Glasbie, on orders from officials i Washington, told him America "has no opinion on inter-Arab disputes such as your border dispute with Kuwait."

Saddam not illogically took that as a green light and began his invasion on 2 August 1990; Bush initially wavered but was given a pep talk by British P.M. Margaret Thatcher and he decided that "this will not stand." Saddam, one of America's best friends in 1980s, had become the New Hitler, but clearly was a dictator who could proudly wear the "Made in the USA" label.



Chaos_Epoch
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09 Dec 2012, 8:34 pm

Just chucking this out here, New Zealand holds a peaceful stance in the middle east and has had more progress in stopping the Taliban threat by getting involved with the community instead of simply sending drones and artillery in.



eric76
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09 Dec 2012, 8:46 pm

ArrantPariah wrote:
http://vi.uh.edu/pages/buzzmat/htdtisgulfwar.html

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In September 1980, Saddam went to war against Iran and the U.S. was there to encourage and support and arm him. Iraq hoped to gain Iranian oil lands, control the Shatt al Arab waterway, and topple Khomenei's Shiite regime. The U.S. became Saddam's biggest patron. In the 1980s, the Reagan junta made off-the-books arms transfers to Iraq and kept them secret from congress, sent about $40 billion in arms to Iraq, and about $5 billion in technology for nuclear and chemical weapons programs.


This makes it sound like we encouraged him to invade Iran. This is simply not true, at least not according to anything known in public. Perhaps there was some secret encouragement that we don't know about, but I really doubt it.

The reality was that when Iraq invaded Iran, the US government remained neutral. Many US citizens liked it because after the issues with the Ayatolla, they wanted to see the Iranians get their butts kicked hard.

I really hate to use Wikipedia as a source -- the reliability of the information it provides is always a big question -- but I've got other things to do, so here goes. From [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran–Iraq_war#U.S._reaction_to_the_conflict[/url]:

Quote:
According to Zbigniew Brzezinski's memoir, the United States initially took a largely neutral position on the Iran–Iraq War, with some minor exceptions. First, the U.S. acted in an attempt to prevent the confrontation from widening, largely in order to prevent additional disruption to world oil supplies and to honor U.S. security assurances to Saudi Arabia. As a result, the U.S. reacted to Soviet troop movements on the border of Iran by informing the Soviet Union that they would defend Iran in the event of Soviet invasion. The U.S. also acted to defend Saudi Arabia, and lobbied the surrounding states not to become involved in the war. ... Second, the United States explored whether the Iran–Iraq War would offer leverage with which to resolve the Iranian Hostage Crisis. In this regard, the Carter administration explored the use of both "carrots," by suggesting that they might offer military assistance to Iran upon release of the hostages, and "sticks," by discouraging Israeli military assistance to Iran and suggesting that they might offer military assistance to Iraq if the Iranians did not release the hostages.


That doesn't sound to me like we told Iraq to invade Iran.



eric76
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09 Dec 2012, 8:48 pm

Chaos_Epoch wrote:
Just chucking this out here, New Zealand holds a peaceful stance in the middle east and has had more progress in stopping the Taliban threat by getting involved with the community instead of simply sending drones and artillery in.


The United States got along okay with al Qaeda until the first Gulf War when we were allowed to station troops in Saudi Arabia.



eric76
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09 Dec 2012, 8:55 pm

Hmm. According to this, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/, we did not begin to support Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war until 1982. Remember that Iraq invaded Iran in 1980.

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The U.S. was officially neutral regarding the Iran-Iraq war, and claimed that it armed neither side. Iran depended on U.S.-origin weapons, however, and sought them from Israel, Europe, Asia, and South America. Iraq started the war with a large Soviet-supplied arsenal, but needed additional weaponry as the conflict wore on.

Initially, Iraq advanced far into Iranian territory, but was driven back within months. By mid-1982, Iraq was on the defensive against Iranian human-wave attacks. The U.S., having decided that an Iranian victory would not serve its interests, began supporting Iraq: measures already underway to upgrade U.S.-Iraq relations were accelerated, high-level officials exchanged visits, and in February 1982 the State Department removed Iraq from its list of states supporting international terrorism. (It had been included several years earlier because of ties with several Palestinian nationalist groups, not Islamicists sharing the worldview of al-Qaeda. Activism by Iraq's main Shiite Islamicist opposition group, al-Dawa, was a major factor precipitating the war -- stirred by Iran's Islamic revolution, its endeavors included the attempted assassination of Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.)

Prolonging the war was phenomenally expensive. Iraq received massive external financial support from the Gulf states, and assistance through loan programs from the U.S. The White House and State Department pressured the Export-Import Bank to provide Iraq with financing, to enhance its credit standing and enable it to obtain loans from other international financial institutions. The U.S. Agriculture Department provided taxpayer-guaranteed loans for purchases of American commodities, to the satisfaction of U.S. grain exporters.


Assuming this to be accurate, our involvement in the early days of the war was far less than what I had believed and we certainly would not have told Iraq to invade Iran.



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09 Dec 2012, 9:13 pm

ShamelessGit wrote:
I was already familiar with those things, but like I said, I do not expect better of the Taliban. What I said was that I doubt that they have killed as many.


That isn't even close to being accurate, 2007 was the only year the Taliban weren't responsible for over half the civilian deaths occuring in Afghanistan.



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09 Dec 2012, 9:20 pm

ruveyn wrote:
eric76 wrote:
ShamelessGit wrote:
eric76 wrote:
You seem to have the highly irrational belief that if the US provided any support to any regime at any time, then it is somehow responsible for the atrocities committed by that regime.



No, but when the USA explicitly tells Saddam to invade Iran


What? The USA told Saddam to invade Iran? When was this?

Cites please.
.


That dunce, April Glasbie gave Saddam the impression that is Saddam invaded Iran the U.S. would not do anything strenuous about it. Given Saddam's appetite for war, that is all the encouragement he needed. No, the U.S. did not explicitly encourage Iraq to make war upon the Ayotallah.

ruveyn


srry about that



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09 Dec 2012, 9:32 pm

MDD123 wrote:
ShamelessGit wrote:
I was already familiar with those things, but like I said, I do not expect better of the Taliban. What I said was that I doubt that they have killed as many.


That isn't even close to being accurate, 2007 was the only year the Taliban weren't responsible for over half the civilian deaths occuring in Afghanistan.


I looked this up briefly and it looks like you're right. I'm sorry if what I said before was inaccurate. However, all the sources I saw seemed to only count deaths that were a direct result of combat, and so were generally less than 5k. It is estimated that up to 40 000 afghanis died in the first 3 months of fighting alone because US bombing disrupted foreign aid that kept them from starving to death.

Also, although this doesn't have anything to do with how many people the USA killed, it probably seems to the afghans that the USA is the cause of all of it because there was relative peace in most of Afghanistan (I'm aware that there was a civil war, but the Mujahedin were hiding in the mountains and the Taliban couldn't get them) before we came.



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09 Dec 2012, 10:00 pm

Thank you guys (like ruveyn) who actually know what they're talking about for fact checking me. I'm not old enough to remember a lot of this stuff and when I'm arguing I'm trying to quickly look up stuff quickly and I make mistakes. I'm not really an expert and I wasn't planning on arguing like this when I made the post.

I don't appreciate eric saying that everything I say is wrong just because he hasn't heard of it, and then still arguing when he's proven wrong over and over again.

I've looked through what I've said today and from what I see right now these are the things I said which were not true. There may be more but I'm not aware of them yet:

--I was not aware that most of the combat related civilian deaths were caused by the Taliban. That is kind of ignorant of me. But the number of combat related deaths are actually only a fraction of the total deaths. Most of what I know about the war comes from a book that was written by a reporter that has worked in Afghanistan since the Soviets first invaded, and his primary focus was on secondary causes of death, which are much greater. He did not really care about keeping score.

--I said once that we were doing drone strikes in Qatar. I think it's actually Yemen (I get the countries in that peninsula confused).

--I said once that we caused millions of civilian deaths in Vietnam. I looked it up and it looks like that is the total death toll. Apparently it is estimated that agent orange only killed 400 000 civilians. But like in Afghanistan and Iraq, I still think the US is largely to blame for all of them because it got involved when it shouldn't have (but that of course is contestable) .

And I said once that the USA kills foreign civilians whereas the Germans killed their own, and somebody acted like that meant that I didn't know that WWII happened. I'm well aware of what the Germans did. For instance it is estimated that up to 23 million Russians died.



ShamelessGit
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09 Dec 2012, 10:00 pm

Also I forgot I said that the USA told Saddam to invade Iran. Apparently we only gave them the go ahead



eric76
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09 Dec 2012, 10:12 pm

ShamelessGit wrote:
Also I forgot I said that the USA told Saddam to invade Iran. Apparently we only gave them the go ahead


Still wrong.

In 1980 when Iraq invaded Iran, Iraq was a Soviet client state, not a US client state. We had little influence with Iraq at that time. It wasn't until a couple of years later that relations between the US and Iraq improved and we started providing them support. Two years later, not at the time of the invasion or before.

The event mentioned earlier was not about invading Iran, but about invading Kuwait. And as we all know, that led to the first Gulf War.

As I remember what I have read about the event at that time, we did not give Iraq the go-ahead to invade Kuwait. Rather, Iraq asked if we had any serious interest in Kuwait and they were told no by the US ambassador. That basically indicated that we would not act against Iraq if they did so. That said, it's been quite a while since I read much about it.



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09 Dec 2012, 10:20 pm

redrobin62 wrote:
I'm willing to admit that no country is perfect. They all have biases, influences, morals and goals unique to the way they live. I like that America has gay rights (to a certain extent), women's rights and freedom of speech. I like that, in America, there is no caste system and one can rise to the top through hard work. Prejudices do exist here as well as poverty, homelessness, apathy and every vice under the sun. Still, I wouldn't trade imperfect America for a country that bans beer and forbids freedom of speech.


Not the point. A country's foreign policy is not the same as its domestic policy. Internally, the US is one of the most free and prosperous societies in the world. Does that mean that it must have a nice foreign policy? Of course not. In fact, if you look at history I think you will find that the most free and prosperous countries are often the ones who have the most terrible foreign policy. Think about imperial Britain, or the Roman empire.



eric76
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09 Dec 2012, 10:28 pm

From http://hnn.us/articles/1066.html:

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In July 1990 Saddam’s diplomats met with the U.S. Ambassador April Glasbie, who told them that Washington would take no position with regard to regional border disputes, a view that Baghdad reasonably assumed was a green light to enter Kuwait, which it did in August 1990. After initial vacillation, President George Bush, bolstered by hawkish advice from British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who exhorted him not “to go wobbly,” declared “this will not stand,” and imposed sanctions and bought an international coalition to oppose Iraq. By November 1990, over a half-million American forces had been deployed to Saudi Arabia and the U.N. Security Council had ordered Iraq to evacuate Kuwait by 15 January 1991 or face attack.


From http://freewebs.com/iraq-/Regional%20History.htm:

Quote:
In 1990 Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade Kuwait, but first he requested the approval from the United States. In July of 1990 Saddam’s diplomats met with U.S Ambassador April Glasbie. During their discussion Ms. Glasbie told the Iraqi diplomats that Washington would take no stance on border disputes. The Iraqi diplomats took the statement as a proverbial green light to invade Kuwait, which they proceeded to do in August 1990.


For what it's worth, if Iraq had just settled for taking some land they disputed, I imagine that the Gulf War would not have occurred. But instead, they took the entire country of Kuwait.



eric76
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09 Dec 2012, 10:35 pm

Finally found what I was looking for. I was thinking that Kuwait had taken some land from Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. That was the border dispute. I finally found something that confirms my memory of that.

From http://www.csun.edu/~vcmth00m/iraqkuwait.html:

Quote:
While Iraq was distracted by its war, Kuwait had accumulated 900 square miles of Iraqi territory by advancing its border with Iraq northward. This was presented to Iraq as a fait accompli and it gave Kuwait access to the Rumaila oil field. The Kuwaiti Sheik had purchased the Santa Fe Drilling Corporation of Alhambra, California, for $2.3 billion and proceeded to use its slant drilling equipment to gain access to the Iraqi oil field.


That is the border dispute. If Iraq had settled to take that land back instead of overtaking the entire country of Kuwait, I don't know that we would have done anything. Taking the entire country of Kuwait went far over the line.