Buying Out Thugs – A View In Retrospect

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sadaam.jpg
Juan Cole has picked up stories from Reuters and Harpers on a transcript of President Bush’s conversation with Spanish President Aznar that confirms that he had no intention of seriously pursuing UN Security Council support and was exceedingly optimistic over the outcomes of Iraq.
But here’s the kicker — the President was offered a deal by the Egyptians but passed on an opportunity to buy Saddam out, have him exiled to Saudi Arabia, and avoid a US occupation that has come at such a high cost.
Cole suggests these are impeachable offenses but I’m less concerned with that angle than as a lesson to current and future leaders who are grappling with a number of present security dilemmas, especially in light of the Senate vote yesterday that pushed us a step closer to conflict with Iran.
The counter-factual account — what if we had bought Saddam out instead of invading Iraq — should be pondered and instructive for our dealings with North Korea and Iran, who have at many points indicated their compliance could also be bought with security guarantees and economic incentives. Of course there are risks and a “buy-out” package, which would need to complemented by some credible sticks. But let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that the use of force comes without risks of failure or blowback as we are witnessing now in Iraq.
And the moral repugnance of buying out thugs like Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il like as some might invoke has to be balanced against the loss of our troops and global influence as well as expected but unintended consequences (let’s call them “known unknowns”) that ought to weigh on our moral conscience — like 600,000 Iraqi civilian deaths and over five million refugees.
–Sameer Lalwani

Comments

30 comments on “Buying Out Thugs – A View In Retrospect

  1. Sandy says:

    Thanks for these posts, Carroll. Very interesting. We have the W&M book; my husband’s reading it now.

    Reply

  2. Carroll says:

    Not to keep beating the horse, but everyone really should read W&M’s The Israel Lobby.
    First because they prove their case with facts and pure pragmatism.
    Second because they destroy any premise that jews ‘collectively” are responsible for the agenda of some Jewish groups and AIPAC. This obviously was to first, state a truth, and second beat AIPAC at it’s own game and make it O.K. to discuss or condemn AIPAC or any lobby regradless of it’s ethnic or religious origin.
    Third, and you need to do a second critical reading to appreciate this, I don’t think I have seen as good an example of how to defuse the bomb while throwing it as W&M’s treatment of this subject.

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  3. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sandy at September 29, 2007 02:43 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Here is a good example of the new ‘soft” tactics being used to defuse the growing public awareness of the Israel Lobby link and by extension the Jewish link, on the Iraq and perhaps Iran war linked below.
    This change in direct attacks of anti-semite smears to a more nuanced form I attribute to the success of the Israel Lobby book and the masterful way the authors handled the Jewish factor in their study of the Lobby.
    The article is “apparently” about the neo’s “tactics” in blaming the left for the Iraq failure.
    However, note the “exraneous” inclusion of comparsions of the “China Lobby” in the days of the communism scare and the comparsion of German “anti-semites tactics” toward Jews. These references aren’t necessary to the writers premise.
    But they take up two paragraphs of a five paragraph article.
    Lastly, his subject isn’t news. It’s a rehash of a 2 year old subject…..with the German- Jew and another “Lobby” example added to it.
    The writer is Eric Alterman who is a liberal Jew and not a war advocate. I have read him over the years and this is not his usual style. What this means to me is that the jewish establishment has suceeded in scaring even normal and should know better Jews into believing that unless the attention is taken away from the Israeli lobby connection to our wars in the ME and the anti-semite reason for criticism of AIPAC is reinforced, all the Jews will eventually be blamed and cause another holocuast.
    It’s a pretty standard soft propaganda tactic. It reminds of the Nazi tactics by transposing them to the neo’s tactics, and at the same time hoist the banner of the evils of criticism against the Jews that brought about anti-semitic Germany.
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071015/alterman

    Reply

  4. Sandy says:

    From RAW STORY:
    KUCINICH ‘SERIOUSLY THINKING’ ABOUT FORCING VOTE ON CHENEY IMPEACHMENT
    Nick Juliano
    Friday September 28, 2007
    Rep. Dennis Kucinich says he is so concerned about what he sees as the Bush administration’s push for a war with Iran that he is considering using a parliamentary measure to force the House of Representatives to vote on impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney.
    “We’re preparing for another war, and they’re going to destroy America,” the Ohio Democrat said Thursday on the Ed Schultz show. “We have a government in place right now that has to be challenged. I’m seriously thinking about calling a privileged resolution on impeachment of the vice president and forcing a vote on the floor of the House.”
    A privileged resolution would force the full House to debate about whether to proceed with impeachment, but it remains unclear precisely how, when or whether Kucinich would be able to introduce such a resolution. Privileged measures “may be called up on the floor whenever another measure is not already pending” and the House agrees to consider it, according to the Congressional Research Service.
    Privileged measures can include questions of House privileges or resolutions of inquiry, according to the CRS report.
    A conservative site set up to push for former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment lays out a strategy to bring such a measure to the House floor.
    “According to Jerome Zeifman, however, it is possible that such a resolution could be called up for an immediate vote,” the Conservative Caucus site observes. “But that option appears to be within the control of the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader.”
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who took control after last year’s Democratic takeover of Congress, maintained that impeachment is “off the table” as recently as this week in an interview with CNN.
    Kucinich introduced a resolution calling for Cheney’s impeachment this spring. Since then the bill has gained more than a dozen co-sponsors, but it seems to be dying a slow death in the House Judiciary Committee. It’s chairman, John Conyers, has stood with Pelosi in refusing to debate the impeachment resolution or bring it to the House floor for a vote.

    Reply

  5. Sandy says:

    Like Carroll, I have read tons of this stuff and it has only served to make me feel angrier and more desperate and hopeless about our prospects as a country.
    Instead I’m going to re-read Eckhart Tolle’s THE POWER OF NOW….and Wayne Dyer’s THE POWER OF INTENTION.
    Much healthier choices. I have no power over these war criminals and what they’re about to do…and have done. I do have the power of choosing not to let them kill my spirit.

    Reply

  6. Kathleen says:

    Read Imperial Hubris, if you haven’t already.

    Reply

  7. Sandy says:

    I don’t see how they would have any luck disguising where they stood on going to war in Iraq. Or Iran.
    Norman Podhoretz not only did that lead article for Commentary last month — (something like) Why We Need to Bomb Iran….he also has a book out now….even more vocal.
    And, the neo-cons (Bill Kristol….all the Weekly Standard folk) haven’t been the least bit shy about trumpeting….and ownership of THE PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY (PNAC). That and A CLEAN BREAK….spell it out! No escaping it!
    Those, and, as you say, tons and tons of other stuff!

    Reply

  8. Sandy says:

    Yes, right, Carroll. We all know why.
    I started to post today’s Juan Cole (War Crime) earlier….but I was too blue in the face….(and heart)

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    I absolutely cannot take it anymore
    Here is the English translation of the entire Bush converation regarding Saddams offer of exile that Cole has provided today.
    http://www.juancole.com/2007/09/bush-aznar-transcript-war-crime-of.html
    This IS the smoking gun. This is all congress needs to impeach Bush.
    But the won’t. And we all know why.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sandy at September 28, 2007 02:31 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The comments are not isolated remarks. The Jewish establishment is running scared and calling on everyone they know, particulary fellow jews who might have a public voice for help. They saw that their previous attacks and smearing produced exactly the kind of attention and confirmation of their tactics they did not want.
    Now the word is out to change tactics and use more indirect ways to try and defuse the public perception of Israel, the country being linked to the Iraq war. Especially because they are now trying to get a war started with Iran.
    Unfortunately for them there are too many cache versions of AIPAC statements on the Iraq war still on the net. And while this doesn’t prove that AIPAC actually ordered up the Iraq war it does show where they stood offically in their support of it.
    “The Israel Lobby” is not about what control Israel , the country, has over the US it’s about the control that the Israel “Lobby” has.
    The AIPAC supporters are among other efforts, trying to blur where the responsibility for the Israeli influence actually comes from.

    Reply

  11. Sandy says:

    September 28, 2007 Counterpunch.com
    See No Evil
    The Teflon Alliance with Israel
    By KATHLEEN and BILL CHRISTISON
    Two recent offhand comments, both widely publicized, have seriously undermined whatever progress might have been made in exposing the fact that the Iraq war was initiated at least in large part to guarantee Israel’s safety and regional dominance in the Middle East….” (clip)

    Reply

  12. Sandy says:

    Juan Cole is a highly respected expert on the Middle East. Today he calls this (war on Iraq) “The War Crime of the Century”.
    THE WAR CRIME OF THE CENTURY!!!!
    Apparently no one in Congress….nor at The Washington Note….believes in the Constitution or the rule of law.

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  13. Sandy says:

    What are your reasons for not being concerned with impeachment?

    Reply

  14. Kathleen says:

    Correction:
    Weeeee were not trying to buy out Saddam.
    Heeeee was trying to buy us out… big difference.
    He offered the US, through a representative of the Egyptian gov’t, 2 billion dollars for safe passage for himself and his two sons, into exile.
    We’ve helped many despicable dictators the choice of going into exile. If our true motive was to free the Iraqi people, how was slaughtering thousands of them a better choice, especially since our support kept him in power?

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  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You’re attitude is absolutely baffling. I’d love to have you explain in detail how you don’t find it completely counterproductive to what seems your chosen purpose and life work.”
    Don’t hold your breath.

    Reply

  16. JonU says:

    I think one lesson that other leaders will take away from this is that political/diplomatic insiders with prominent media soapboxes won’t actively pursue bringing them to justice if they undertake illegal wars of aggression.
    “Not that concerned with that angle”. Jesus. Knowingly and deliberately defying the laws against wars of aggression and you’re not that concerned with it? Do you even care about the treaties we are bound by? The UN charter itself, which forbids exactly this behaviour, that you are not that concerned with?
    I’m sure you feel you’re taking the “long view” in not being concerned with this. But you are also an advocate of international diplomatic law and treaties. Now one has been violated by our own president in the absolute worse way and you’re not that concerned with it?
    And yet you wish people to enter into diplomatic treaty and law, when the very advocates of those laws refuse to actually enforce them, or pursue those who break it. Isn’t this the very reason the law exists? The absolute, penultimate reason? To forestall deliberate wars of aggression. If the charter and laws of the UN doesn’t exist for this very reason at least, what does it exist for? If you don’t enforce this law upon even the very worst of the offenders (i.e. our president), then what message does that send to other leaders who will consider undertaking such behaviour in the future?
    You’re attitude is absolutely baffling. I’d love to have you explain in detail how you don’t find it completely counterproductive to what seems your chosen purpose and life work.

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    i agree with poa… the folks running the usa would never have bought out saddam… how would have that helped the military industrial complex? how would it have helped take control of the oil?
    this idea that bush and his war buddies would have done something like this is just plain naive..

    Reply

  18. just john says:

    Similarly, the US could buy Afghanistan’s entire opium crop and remove heroin from our streets (at least for a year,) and probably for less than we spend on heroin enforcement.
    But war, in this case the War on (Some) Drugs, is FAR more fun!

    Reply

  19. just john says:

    Similarly, the US could buy Afghanistan’s entire opium crop and remove heroin from our streets (at least for a year,) and probably for less than we spend on heroin enforcement.
    But war, in this case the War on (Some) Drugs, is FAR more fun!

    Reply

  20. Kathleen says:

    Those who are “not interested in the impeachable offenses”, are consciously setting the standards of offical conduct while in office criminally low and deal a blow to respect for the rule of law, throughout the land.
    Democracy requires that no one is above the law. When you make an exception, you cease to be a Democracy.

    Reply

  21. Sandy says:

    …or, Sameer.

    Reply

  22. Sandy says:

    Ditto from me, too, to all of it. You really ought to listen to yourself sometime, Steve.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    You know you don’t even make sense. You say you are more concerned about future leaders “lessons learned?”
    What lesson would that be? And how exactly do they learn?
    There will be no lessons learned by rouge leaders if there is never any punishment or justice.
    Those who treat this and the other crimes as just “bad moves” in the little “oh aren’t we all so very smart in our cozy think tank “monopoly games” are nothing but pus ozzing around our wounds. Seeping pus, they contribute nothing but the smell of infection.
    And Ditto everything everyone above me just said.
    BURN WASHINGTON TO THE GROUND AND START OVER

    Reply

  24. Kathleen says:

    This is old news… I read, I think in Imperial Hubris, about Saddam’s offer through Egypt, to give us $2 billion dollars if we let him and his two sons go into exile. We could have used that $2 billion to help Iraqis form their new government., wihtout any of the destruction, but then, how would Halliburton have made their billions?
    And further, without totally destroying the Iraqi oil infrastrucre, how could we “justify” our need to take the lion’s share of oil revenues from Iraqi oil? Supposedly, they have to invest so much to “rebuild” the oil industry there.
    General Karpinski said the invasion met with little or no resistance but the insurgency began when we showed the pictures of Saddam’s two dead sons. We wanted war and nothing was going to get in our way. Our “leaders’ are saddistic bastards and Demz are complicit in this with their limp noodle, non-strategy.

    Reply

  25. Chesire11 says:

    Phillip of Macedon once said that o fortress was impregnable to whose walls an ass laden with gold could be driven…well, at least we had the ass.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “As I mentioned in previous comments, refusal to buy out Saddam was a critical mistake, because it makes future adversaries more willing to take the ship down with them.”
    Why in God’s name would the neos have wanted to buy Saddam out? It would have been counter-productive to their own designs for Iraq. Its a non-issue. It was never an option they would have entertained. The billions spent on “rebuilding” Iraq were part and parcel of this scam, as long as those billions could be channelled into the coffers of Bechtel, Halliburton, etc.. These fuckers intended to build their own kingdom from the ground up. Merely removing Saddam would have never opened the window through which they could implement their grand design.

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  27. JohnH says:

    As I mentioned in previous comments, refusal to buy out Saddam was a critical mistake, because it makes future adversaries more willing to take the ship down with them. They saw what happened to Saddam and the inner Ba’athists. Either way they know they are going to die, so from their perspective, what’s the point of yielding anything to their opponent? Why not inflict the maximum damage on their way out? What incentive will they have to leave a functioning Persian Gulf oil industry behind them?

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, buying Saddam out might have been an option if the motives for our meddling were honestly presented. But the whole thing is one fuckin’ lie after another. Sameer presents his argument as if Saddam being a “thug” is relevant. Its not, and it never was. We have a long history of supporting, even creating, one “thug” after another.
    If Saddan’s “thuggery” was the issue, we hardly could have bought him out, then marched in and destroyed the Iraqi infrastructure, disbanded the army, installed a puppet regime, and commenced to install the laws that would legalize our theft of the Iraqi oil assets now, could we have?
    And how interesting that you use this flimsy bit of flim flam as a rationale for iumpeachment. Bush has done far far more than just refuse an offer to buy Saddam out that warrants his impeachment, indictment, prosecution and execution. But hey, you people just don’t get it with your ego driven think tank mentalities. You are too deeply part of the problem to be able to see how your arrogance and undeserved self proclaimed expertise has fed this monstrosity of a situation this nation now finds itself in. Your “best” minds brought us here. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

    Reply

  29. Back says:

    These are hang by the neck until dead offenses, and always have been.

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    Bush could have bought the whole country of Iraq for less than the cost of this war. If I recall correctly, Iraq had a GDP of about $65 Billion in 2002. We spend more than that just trying to occupy the place every year. But apparently having control of the oil spigots is priceless.

    Reply

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