Today is Krauthammer Day #13

by Henry on April 22, 2016

Again, it’s Krauthammer Day. Today is the unlucky thirteenth anniversary of the day when the prominent pundit announced:

Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.

As of today, we’ve had five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months, and another month on top of that of Charles Krauthammer’s credibility problem. He’s still opining.

{ 131 comments }

1

Peter K. 04.22.16 at 5:21 pm

Hillary has a credibility problem. How much responsibility do those Senators who voted for the Iraq War Resolution have for the war?

2

MPAVictoria 04.22.16 at 6:05 pm

Anyone else read the article in the NYT about how Hillary is a hawk?

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/magazine/how-hillary-clinton-became-a-hawk.html

There isn’t much new here but that doesn’t stop it from being terrifying. I am glad I am not an American and don’t have to hold my nose and vote for her in November.

3

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 04.22.16 at 6:24 pm

President Hillary trade recommendations:

Short: Palestinian child futures

Long: Big banks, weapons manufacturers, for-profit prisons, the GOP’s continued viability long past its expiration date
~

4

BruceJ 04.22.16 at 7:23 pm

In general, Of course Krauthammer is still punditing away. Being a conservative means never having say you’re sorry to be held to account.

@1: In large part, they were lied to, just like the rest of us. They SHOULD have demanded more details, and they should have listened to the people on the ground, but they were stampeded just like most of the country was.

@2: The NYT is to Hillary as Gamergate is to Brianna Wu.

Yes Hillary is a DLC hawk, but if the NYT said she was wearing a white dress, I’d presume she was wearing a black one.

@3: It’s not as if any of those recommendations would fail under a GOP president.

3 SCOTUS Appointments.

THAT is what the next president is likely to have. As much as I love and cherish the Notorious RBG, she’s in her 80’s. Kennedy will be in his 80’s. Presidente Francisco Scalia is still dead and needs replacing.

Who do you want appointing their replacements: Hillary, Ted or Donald?

Always, always remember, the lesser of two evils is the LESSER one, and we already went through that nonsense about “Maybe getting a terrible president in will wake up the sheeple” crap. That’s why we’re discussing the goddamn Iraq war right now.

Anyone who thinks that a President Gore would have invaded Iraq shout out.

[crickets]

Thought so.

5

RNB 04.22.16 at 7:43 pm

Clinton thinks she is President already, and she is probably quite happy that all these quotes were collected and leaked to indicate that she is willing to use force. Like Bob Graham who insisted that the US loudly threaten Iran with (I think) nuclear retaliation if Iran launched missiles at Israel , Clinton thinks the threat of force has to be credible to get the concessions she wants from, say, Assad or the Taliban (she thought an announced withdrawal date would encourage them to wait it out); but of course what concerns many of us here is that to actually make that threat credible she will actually have to use force gratuitously. Clinton does very little to signal to us that she will not be so trapped and that she at least understands that she is setting up a trap for herself and the many who would suffer from war.

6

Donald A. Coffin 04.22.16 at 7:50 pm

Back in 1968, a good friend of mine in college argued for voting for Wallace because if Wallace were elected, the revolution would certainly come. I argued (a) voting for Wallace will elect Nixon and (b) if the revolution comes, they’ll have all the guns. (I will refrain from quoting the lyrics to “Ohio.”) Well, I don’t know if he voted for Wallace, but we got Nixon, and wasn’t that a treat?

I’ll vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee (and as many down-ballot Democrats as there are); I’ll vote for Sanders if he’s the nominee (and ditto on the down-ballot races).

Either of them will be better than Cruz or Trump.

7

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 04.22.16 at 7:58 pm

@3: It’s not as if any of those recommendations would fail under a GOP president.

Indeed, Bruce.

So why can’t we vote for someone who isn’t a Dem simile of a GOP President?

I’ve voted for the lesser evil corporatist warmonger before. My experience tells me that we never get lesser evil, just more wars and corporatism.

The Supreme Court argument reminds me of this song.
~

8

Underpaid Propagandist 04.22.16 at 8:11 pm

1, 2, and 3.
And a dear friend of this blog makes a ton of money for a Paul Ryan fanatic and treats low-paid workers like dirt.
Ms. Rodham-Clinton isn’t perfect, but she has been dragged through NYT muck since she co-proposed and tried to enact upon national healthcare in 1992.
Everything is a fucking compromise.

9

kent 04.22.16 at 8:26 pm

Am I the only one who thinks “If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem” was supposed to mean “We, the United States, will have a credibility problem” rather than “We, the Charles Krauthammers of the world, will have a credibility problem”?

I don’t think “We, the Charles Krauthammers of the world, could have a credibility problem” is a possibility that has ever crossed Charles Krauthammer’s mind.

10

steven johnson 04.22.16 at 8:26 pm

Scalia will be replaced by the Republican Garland in December.

11

Rich 04.22.16 at 8:34 pm

BruceJ: I think you give dems who voted for the AUMF too much slack. Here’s my reading of Hillary’s brain on that:
She smelled bullshit, but making a few calls to any contacts in the Pentagon (Zinni?, DOE?) would have come out later, so can’t do that. Don’t ask questions you don’t want answered, or anyone finding out you even asked. She thought it was likely that the troops would be home in the Fall of 2003 to the ticker tape on Times Square after a short, low US casualty war, and we would then have the oil. If she had voted against, she would not have been welcome at the victory party, and the right-wing would have never let anyone forget that she bet against her own side. She figured the AUMF was going to pass anyway, so you might as well be on the most likely right side of it. It was a political calculation. I wonder what would have happened if democrats had spines, and mounted a vigorous fight against the invasion of Iraq. Constantly reminding everyone that anodized aluminum tubes cannot be used for uranium centrifuges, that there were no yellowcake trains, that the evidence presented by Powell at the UN was a joke. Maybe they could have stopped it. Maybe they could have prevented the unnecessary death of several hundred thousand people including 4500 of our own, plus many thousands wounded, disabled, divorced, estranged, sole proprietors who’s businesses went bust after being shipped out for so long since we didn’t have nearly the number of troops as the Desert Crossing war games concluded was needed. Did you think Shinseki pulled 350,000 troops out of his ass? Fuck Clinton. She knowingly voted to send Americans to become murderers and to die in a war based on false pretenses. I will never vote for her. I don’t care if Trump wins.

12

engels 04.22.16 at 8:42 pm

I am glad I am not an American and don’t have to hold my nose and vote for her

You might not believe this, but even Americans don’t have to

13

Sandwichman 04.22.16 at 10:52 pm

A Krauthammer unit is five months. A Friedman unit is six months. Is there a pundit unit for any other numbers of months?

14

Frank Wilhoit 04.22.16 at 11:08 pm

The Physical Impossibility of Truth in the Mind of Someone Believing.

15

roger gathmann 04.22.16 at 11:23 pm

Yup. The Democratic candidate is going to have been a supporter of the Iraq war and the Bush policy behind it, and the Republican candidate is going to be the only candidate so far who has said, Bush really fucked up 9/11 and Iraq was a disaster.
Strange times. And the GOP candidate is a racist jerk.
Let’s just rename election day, Cognitive dissonance day.

16

Tom M 04.22.16 at 11:27 pm

Well, conservative pundits do so have to face the music. Bill (ever wrong) Kristol lost his gig at the NYT. So there is that.

Kristol lost his job and then came Doubt-that. Scalia lost his job and then came…..JR Brown? That possibility is why I will vote for Hillary.

But I do wish Debbie W-S and Schumer would worry more about state and local elections and getting the vote out for more progressives.

17

BruceJ 04.22.16 at 11:43 pm

@8

If Hillary wins, President “fresh out of fucks to give” Obama will “bow to the wisdom of the Senate, and leave the choice to the next President” and withdraw Garlands nom.

The Scanners-like headsplody on the right would be a glorious thing to behold, matched only by that if President Hillary turns about and nominates the most recent distinguished ‘ constitutional law professor’ ex-president for the seat :-)

It’s not going to happen, but a boy can dream, can’t he?

18

RNB 04.23.16 at 12:16 am

@9 Engels I think you misread this. It’s not that you have to vote for Clinton; it’s that if you vote for her, you have to hold your nose. Which pretty much summarizes what will happen in Berkeley in November. After all, this is a town where people play the dozens with “Yo Mama’s So Berkeley” like Yo Mama’s So Berkeley that she delivered you at a rally for peace in nowhere in particular and then tried to make dread locks out of your four strands of hair.

19

cassander 04.23.16 at 12:29 am

I fail to see what you are trying to prove here. Krauthammer said there would be problems credibility if they didn’t find weapons in 5 months. there were. As far as pundit predictions go, this one seems pretty accurate.

@BruceJ

@1: In large part, they were lied to, just like the rest of us. They SHOULD have demanded more details, and they should have listened to the people on the ground, but they were stampeded just like most of the country was.

No, they weren’t. First, no one lied, at least according to Woodward, arguably the world’s foremost expert on the bush administration. They also spent the better part of the 90s saying exactly the same things, so if anyone lied to them, they lied to themselves.

20

mrearl 04.23.16 at 12:41 am

@7. Given the context, I think he meant “We the warmongers who backed this violent enterprise will have a credibility problem.” Which they resoundingly do. That this unmitigated hack is still allowed to publish is a scandal of the first water. As with Thomas Sowell, I refuse to read him. They’re old and in the way.

21

Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 12:55 am

“Before the war they had no need for travelling
Indeed, we can not know what made it so important to leave
After all this time I found that we’re avoiding it
For nothing more or less than fear
of what we have to gain from staying in the clear
Although it’s only Krauthammer Day that brings it near”

22

kidneystones 04.23.16 at 2:06 am

Thanks for the reminder, Henry. I see a very different future. Trump wins the WH with Reagan-like numbers. HRC retires or returns to the Senate. Dems support Trump, their natural ally, making deals on security and trade. The Dems may well take back the Senate, but not the House, I suspect.

America First is rampant. Patriotism is in, as is Buy America. Cash is repatriated as income taxes on the richest rise, and corporate taxes fall. Ted Cruz paints himself into a pink corner raving about trans-gender toilets while Americans concentrate on the busy tasks of rebuilding public infrastructure on time and under budget. (dream on). Krauthammer joins the National Review to grumble and Bill Kristol shrieks about the need to do more regime-changing and nation building.

All manner of regional mayhem erupts as America compels allies to re-arm. Putin solidifies his already considerable power and a number of European nations elect openly fascist governments, France, Holland, and Norway possibly among them.

If you’re old enough to remember Reagan, Kirkpatrick, Baker et al, you know what’s coming. The sole silver lining being that Trump is almost certain to offer non-documented workers both a path to citizenship and jobs building the wall that all Republicans and many Democrats want to see built asap.

23

Plarry 04.23.16 at 3:42 am

@2: Agree. The Times coverage of Hillary is shameful – their many excuses to the public editor over their coverage didn’t even rise to being risible.

@3: “weapons manufacturers”: Of the possible Democratic or GOP nominees on the horizon at present, the one the NRA likes least is Hillary.

@12: To say that Hillary was a “supporter of the Iraq war and the Bush policy behind it” is simply wrong.

24

Waiting for Godot 04.23.16 at 5:27 am

BruceJ @4

Please read the interview with Sy Hersh on Salon then come and talk about how clever a foreign policy wonk she is. If you liked Kissinger’s Nixon then you’ll love his President Hillary.

25

Waiting for Godot 04.23.16 at 5:37 am

BruceJ @ 14

Do you seriously believe that any of Mrs. Clinton’s choices to SCOTUS would vote to revisit Citizens United or resuscitate the Voting Rights Act? Seriously dude, have another hit on that bong.

26

Waiting for Godot 04.23.16 at 5:44 am

Plarry @ 19

Well now, Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iraq war and never,ever took a public stand against it or the way Bush ran it, so how is someone wrong to say that she supported the war and Bush’s policy behind it? I will stay awake long enough to read your answer.

27

Roger Gathman 04.23.16 at 6:25 am

19 thats bizarre. Clinton’s time at state was marked by the greatest arms sales bazaar since wwii. – which is why lockheed boeing northrop grumman are contributing most to hrc ahead of cruz.
Arms manufacturers are going to love clinton. 165 billion in arms sales is nothing to sneeze at.

28

steven johnson 04.23.16 at 12:42 pm

Bruce J@14 Why would Obama withdraw the nomination? Garland is politically congenial to him and leaving Garland in play sticks it to Hilary. Obama is dead opposed to Sanders’ politics but he can still barely bring himself to do anything for Clinton’s campaign.

29

Barry 04.23.16 at 1:32 pm

kidneystones 04.23.16 at 2:06 am
“Thanks for the reminder, Henry. I see a very different future. “

Yah.

30

Layman 04.23.16 at 2:02 pm

@ Waiting for Godot, although there are numerous reasons to moan about the idea of HRC in the White House, SC nominations is not one of those reasons. I have no doubt at all that HRC’s nominees will be judges inclined to strike down Citizens United and restore preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, and I don’t honestly see why anyone else would doubt it. It’s almost the only compelling reason to vote for her.

31

kidneystones 04.23.16 at 2:55 pm

@25 Hi Barry. Watching Trump live in CT pretending to be presidential and mugging for the crowd. Ripping the media, Romney, and HRC. Hilarious.

32

Shared Humanity 04.23.16 at 3:12 pm

We found the weapons. They were in our arsenal and then we used them on random brown people. It was fun while it lasted.

33

Jim Harrison 04.23.16 at 3:19 pm

Clinton’s foreign policy positions are too hawkish for me, but I don’t automatically assume that I know what’s best or that some pretty grim decisions won’t have to be taken in the next four or eight years. We’ve got a wolf by the ears in the Middle East. Over and beyond the impracticality of systematic non-intervention, we’ve got responsibility for the mess we had so great a role in creating. Diplomacy seems more promising than additional military action going forward, but I expect that more than talk will be needed at times.

34

Ben Alpers 04.23.16 at 5:55 pm

To state the obvious: many common criticisms of Hillary Clinton are unfair; many others are fair. The criticism that she is a hawk who voted for and supported the Iraq War is abundantly fair. While we have now come to the thirteenth anniversary of Krauthammer’s idiocy quoted above, we’re still about a couple months away from the second anniversary of Hillary Clinton finally admitting that she got Iraq wrong in her memoir Hard Choices, which came out in June 2014. And her recent AIPAC speech is a good place to see how her hawkish tendencies might affect her foreign policy choices going forward.

That said, if she gets the nomination, I’ll firmly be in the “hold my nose and vote for Clinton” camp. The alternative offered by the GOP will be much worse. And although Trump got Iraq right, I have even less confidence in his foreign policy decisions that I do in Hillary Clinton’s.

35

engels 04.23.16 at 6:08 pm

That said, if she gets the nomination, I’ll firmly be in the “hold my nose and vote for Clinton” camp. The alternative offered by the GOP will be much worse.

True, but it’s worth keeping in mind that your vote will make zero difference. Either Hillary is going to be elected or she isn’t and it simply will not matter what you do in the voting booth. Putting your hand on your heart and making a wish would be equally momentous.

36

Barry 04.23.16 at 6:33 pm

engels 04.23.16 at 6:08 pm

“True, but it’s worth keeping in mind that your vote will make zero difference. Either Hillary is going to be elected or she isn’t and it simply will not matter what you do in the voting booth. Putting your hand on your heart and making a wish would be equally momentous.”

Yes. BTW, did I ever tell you guys about how I got a personal reply from President Gore to an e-mail I sent?

37

engels 04.23.16 at 6:34 pm

No, what did it say?

38

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 04.23.16 at 8:24 pm

That said, if she gets the nomination, I’ll firmly be in the “hold my nose and vote for Clinton” camp. The alternative offered by the GOP will be much worse.

That’s our good cop. bad cop political setup. Brought to us by rich fucks who don’t give a shit about any of us.

And the best part? When we win, all we win is that it gets worse more slowly.
~

39

Lowhim 04.23.16 at 8:28 pm

@3 Nice. I do have one question to everyone here. Let’s say some crap “bio” weapons program was found. Would it have been all right to run that war? I’m saying no, but I’m more radical (in terms of being anti-war) than most. It’s a serious question, and I would like to hear something like the reasoning behind it.

40

Eric 04.23.16 at 10:38 pm

Jim Harrison, Ben Alpers,

See Recommendation: How to talk about your Iraq vote (advice to Hillary Clinton). Excerpt:
Your critics and competitors for the Democratic nomination for President hold against you, the same as they did in 2008, your Senate vote for the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq (Public Law 107-243).

However, if the partisan politics are set aside, a focused reading of the primary sources for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) shows that your support of the US-led enforcement of Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441) in order to “bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations” (Public Law 105-235) was well founded.

My recommendation for how to talk about your Iraq vote is to set the record straight on the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom.“

41

Eric 04.23.16 at 11:03 pm

The statement, “Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing,” is incorrect. See the answer to “Did Bush allow enough time for the inspections?”.

In fact, casus belli for Operation Iraqi Freedom was principally established by the finding of “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues” (UNMOVIC) – eg, “With respect to stockpiles of bulk agent stated to have been destroyed, there is evidence to suggest that these was [sic] not destroyed as declared by Iraq” (UNMOVIC) – in the UNSCR 1441 inspections which confirmed “Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687” (UNSCR 1441). With the post hoc Iraq Survey Group findings, “ISG judges that Iraq failed to comply with UNSCRs”, which corroborated the UNMOVIC confirmation of the Saddam regime’s noncompliance with the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) for (WMD) disarmament in Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441) with “full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions” (UNSCR 1441).

On the law and the facts, the decision for OIF was correct. The evidence shows Iraq had not disarmed as mandated by UNSCRs 687 and 1441 and was rearming in material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire.

42

Matt 04.23.16 at 11:59 pm

I do have one question to everyone here. Let’s say some crap “bio” weapons program was found. Would it have been all right to run that war? I’m saying no, but I’m more radical (in terms of being anti-war) than most. It’s a serious question, and I would like to hear something like the reasoning behind it.

I say “no” too. I also said no at the time. And at the time I thought there was a chance that some little bio program would be found. I actually expected some remaining chemical weapons production capacity would be found. I thought that a nuclear weapons program of any significance was ridiculously improbable.

Since the world’s most powerful states are eliminating their nuclear weapons on approximately the Fifth of Never, I think it’s both hypocritical and stupid to try to establish a principle that acquisition of unusually dangerous weapons constitutes casus belli.

43

Layman 04.24.16 at 12:33 am

“On the law and the facts, the decision for OIF was correct. The evidence shows Iraq had not disarmed as mandated by UNSCRs 687 and 1441 and was rearming in material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire.”

Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

44

Donald 04.24.16 at 12:57 am

I too will vote for Hillary in November, not because it matters, but to retain my credibility in blog comment threads. That doesn’t matter either, except to me, and it probably shouldn’t but there it is. If you don’t vote you can’t complain– that’s part of the sacred creed of our civil religion and the next line says something about how you have to vote for the warmongering Democrat or the guilt of all past and future war deaths falls entirely on your shoulders. None on hers, of course. She said she was sorry.

45

Eric 04.24.16 at 12:57 am

Lowhim:
It’s a serious question, and I would like to hear something like the reasoning behind it.

Here you go. See the answers to “What were President Bush’s alternatives with Iraq?”, “Why did Bush leave the ‘containment’ (status quo)?”, & “Why not free a noncompliant Saddam?”. See also the answers to “Did Iraq failing its compliance test justify the regime change?” & “Was Operation Iraqi Freedom about WMD or democracy?”.

46

Rich 04.24.16 at 1:14 am

@ Eric 41
Lot’s of acronyms, and smart-sounding words strung together all for the apparent purpose of obscuring the bottom line truth. If he was rearming, then where was it all? He clearly didn’t have any WMD, no one found any. So stop the bullshit please.

47

Van Buren 04.24.16 at 1:48 am

Keep in mind that starting day 1 of the HRC administration, every journalist in the world will be itching to write a killer story about how weak she is.

48

Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 2:26 am

Rather than dispute Eric with tedious “facts” and “not finding WMD”, I’ll agree with him. Insofar as law is at all meaningful in this case, law was followed — since law in this case is pretty much whatever the Security Council decides that it is. This only goes to show that the UN is a dysfunctional institution that is incapable of preventing aggressive war and other war crimes when they are carried out by the U.S. and do not directly affect other Security Council members. That the UN then went on to green light the Libya “humanitarian intervention” on its R2P principles only confirms that the UN now justifies wars, it doesn’t prevent them.

And the fact that the invasion of Iraq and the deaths of something like a million people and the associated tortures and murders were all legal under U.S. law only shows that U.S. law protects killers in authority, as we all knew.

49

Asteele 04.24.16 at 4:10 am

Oh great a crank with a web-site, check this out:

“President Bush handed OIF to President Obama having resolved the festering problem of Saddam’s noncompliant, threatening, tyrannical, radicalized sectarian, terrorist regime (not a moment too soon based on what we now know), revitalized international enforcement in the defining international enforcement of the post-Cold War, and proved the mettle of American leadership and devastated the terrorists with the Counterinsurgency “Surge”. The emerging pluralistic, liberalizing, compliant post-Saddam Iraq provided the US with a keystone “strategic partner” in the region.”

LOL as they say.

50

Asteele 04.24.16 at 4:11 am

Also, obviously the law == poop.

51

Bruce B. 04.24.16 at 7:24 am

Ah, Eric is either an enthusiast of lying to himself and/or others, or a visitor from an alternate history. I hate to accuse anyone just arriving of being some mix of “dupe for murderous scumbags” and “murderous scumbag, junior varsity”, so I’ll charitably wonder what else is different in the history he comes from.

52

derrida derider 04.24.16 at 12:18 pm

Way OT, but Rich is wrong. As a matter of law, the Iraq war was clearly illegal. At the very least all the other countries that voted for UN1441 believe it is, because the US envoy – Bolton – explicitly and publicly assured them that UN1441 did NOT authorise war, that they could safely vote for it in the knowledge that before any war began the matter would come back to the UNSC.

Just another in the long trail of lies from the Bushistas that got absolutely no coverage in the US media (though rest assured it did in the French and British ones!). Iraq made me realise Chomsky is absolutely right – the “free” US media’s role is to manufacture consent for the elite’s wishes.

53

Cranky Observer 04.24.16 at 1:48 pm

I’ve never been able to find an exact citation for the quote attributed to Churchill that he expected history to be kind to him since he intended to write it, but judging by _The World Crisis_ and _The Second World War_ he undoubtedly had thoughts along those lines.

Fortunately for us and our descendants the corps of propagandists hired by Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al around 2007 in an attempt to re-write the history of the colossal Iraq War II debacle in their favor are not 1/10th the historians or writers that Churchill was (nor were their principals 1/100th as accomplished as Churchill), and they have not been able to obscure the fundamental facts and truth no matter how hard they try. Somewhat cute that they still have paid counter-blogging efforts going on at this late date though.

54

Eric 04.24.16 at 3:24 pm

Layman:
“Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.”

Not “always”.

This recounting of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement leading up to OIF provides historical context.

The start point is Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, which was followed by UNSCR 660, adopted on August 2, 1990, and the President’s “Declaration of a National Emergency With Respect to Iraq” on August 3, 1990.

UNSCR 678, adopted on November 29, 1990, “authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area” (UNSCR 1441). Public Law 102-1, the 1991 AUMF, was enacted on January 14, 1991, “to use United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678”.

UNSCR 687, the basic resolution for the Gulf War ceasefire that established the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) for disarmament among its ceasefire obligations, was adopted on April 3, 1991. UNSCR 688, which established the humanitarian obligations for Iraq, was adopted on April 5, 1991. Public Law 102-190, which included addenda clarifying that the 1991 AUMF authorized enforcement of Iraq’s compliance with the terms of ceasefire established with UNSCRs 687 and 688, was enacted on December 5, 1991.

The burden of proof was on Iraq. The decision to either switch off enforcement with the mandated compliance or resume the Gulf War with breach of the Gulf War ceasefire was in Saddam’s hands. For over a decade until Saddam’s (second) “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441), which followed President Clinton’s determination, “Iraq has abused its final chance”, in December 1998, the enforcer of Iraq’s compliance with the ceasefire tried every enforcement measure short of resuming the Gulf War to convince Saddam to comply as mandated. Yet even facing the ultimate enforcement measure of regime change in his “final opportunity to comply”, Saddam chose to continue breaching the ceasefire.

55

Layman 04.24.16 at 3:47 pm

Eric, in truth your apology for the Iraq war nauseates me. Have you no decency?

56

John 04.24.16 at 4:23 pm

Waiting for Godot @ 25

I find it absolutely hilarious when people say Hillary supports Citizens United. Remember the actual court case? The video attacking a certain politician named Hillary Clinton?

People have created this insane parody of Hillary Clinton that leaves no room for reality. Not only does she support campaign finance but she is unique in being the specific person who got screwed over by the Citizens United case. Saying that Hillary Clinton likes Citizens United is like saying Al Gore liked Bush vs. Gore.

The fact that people say with a straight face that Clinton liked Citizens United shows us just how far out of touch with reality the anti-Clinton camp has become.

57

Eric 04.24.16 at 4:31 pm

Rich:
“If he was rearming, then where was it all?”

Keep in mind that the burden of proof was on Iraq. By procedure, OIF was triggered principally by Iraq’s failure to disarm with “full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions” in Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441) with the UNSCR 1441 inspections, not by the post hoc Iraq Survey Group investigation. The post hoc ISG findings can only be corroborative of the UNMOVIC confirmation of Iraq’s noncompliance with UNSCRs 687 and 1441, which was dispositive in establishing casus belli at the decision point for OIF.

See the <a href="answer to “Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq?”. Excerpt:
[The] law and policy of the Gulf War ceasefire plainly show the Iraq enforcement was compliance-based and “the resolutions of the Council constitute the governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441). … The prevalent myth that Operation Iraqi Freedom was based on a lie relies on a false premise that shifted the burden of proof from Iraq proving it had disarmed in compliance with the UNSC resolutions to the US proving Iraqi possession matched the pre-war intelligence estimates. … OIF opponents also overlook UNSCR 687 mandated “Iraq shall unconditionally undertake not to use, develop, construct or acquire any of the [proscribed] items” and proscribed more items and activities than just “militarily significant WMD stocks”. The disarmament mandates made no distinctions of enforceability between the various proscriptions.

That being said, besides corroborating the UNMOVIC confirmation of Iraq’s material breach, the Iraq Survey Group findings are rife with violations of UNSCR 687, such as “From 1999 until he was deposed in April 2003, Saddam’s conventional weapons and WMD-related procurement programs steadily grew in scale, variety, and efficiency … The procurement programs supporting Iraq’s WMD programs and prohibited conventional military equipment purchases were financed via a supplemental budget process that occurred outside of the publicized national and defense budgets.”

Of particular note, ISG reported, “The IIS [Iraqi intelligence services] ran a large covert procurement program, undeclared chemical laboratories, and supported denial and deception operations” and “secret biological work in the small IIS laboratories” … “The existence, function, and purpose of the laboratories were never declared to the UN”.

The IIS was, of course, Saddam’s regime arm notorious for working with terrorists and carrying out Saddam’s in-house black ops. In fact, Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons programs started in the IIS. Recall President Clinton’s February 17, 1998 warning on the distinctive WMD threat posed by Saddam’s alliance with terrorists and Secretary of State Powell’s February 5, 2003 warning on the danger posed by small amounts of chemical and/or biological weapon in the hands of terrorists. The Iraq Survey Group found Saddam was evidently capable of secretly producing weapon for covert precision attacks, whether in league with terrorists or by his own means, in violation of UNSCR 687.

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Cranky Observer 04.24.16 at 5:00 pm

So as far as Eric and Dick “PNAC” Cheney were concerned, unless Saddam proved a negative Iraq was subject to unprovoked invasion, death of 400,000 civilians, creation of 2 million refugees, and smashing of its society. Got it.

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Eric 04.24.16 at 5:00 pm

derrida derider:
“As a matter of law, the Iraq war was clearly illegal.”

Incorrect.

See the answer to “Was Operation Iraqi Freedom legal?”. Excerpt:
The disagreement at the decision point for OIF was not substantive. Saddam was confirmed guilty. Rather, the Council dispute involved a procedural issue: whether the American President and British Prime Minister or the UN Security Council, which included Saddam’s accomplices in Russia, France, and China, held the ultimate authority to order the enforcement of the threat of regime change in response to Saddam’s noncompliance in his “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441).

The procedural disagreement stemmed from the ambiguity of paragraph 12 of UNSCR 1441, which mandated the UN Security Council merely to “convene” to “consider the situation” if Iraq failed to comply with the “enhanced inspection regime”. “Consider” is not a term of art that is understood to mean ‘then decide on enforcement with a new specific authorization’. “Consider” just means consider.

Meanwhile, paragraph 2 “decid[ed] to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations … with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process” and paragraph 13 “recall[ed], in that context, the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations”.

The UN Security Council duly convened upon the presentation of the UNMOVIC Cluster Document on March 7, 2003. After considering the situation for 10 days, the decision for OIF came as a result of Iraq’s continued violations of its obligations – “Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area” (UNSCR 1441).

The operative precedent for the decade-plus US-led Gulf War ceasefire enforcement was that confirmation of Iraq’s noncompliance established casus belli with the standing authorization of UNSCR 678. With the operative precedent and without a contravening decision procedure in UNSCR 1441, the United States and United Kingdom satisfied the procedural requirement to “convene” and “consider” the “failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations” (UNSCR 1441) before deciding to act.“

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Eric 04.24.16 at 5:28 pm

Cranky Observer:
“attempt to re-write the history”

Actually, hewing to the primary sources of the mission – the situation, the controlling law, policy, and precedent that defined the operative enforcement procedure for the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441), and the determinative fact findings of Iraq’s breach of the Gulf War ceasefire that triggered enforcement – is the way to cut through the conjecture and misinformation that have obscured the actual grounds of the Iraq intervention in the public discourse, and re-lay the foundation of the issue on bedrock law and policy to set the record straight on the why of OIF.

If you rather review the primary sources of the mission for yourself, the basic essentials are linked here. A more comprehensive table of sources is linked here.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 5:36 pm

derrida derider: “Way OT, but Rich is wrong.”

(Parenthetically, there’s someone else commenting in this thread as “Rich” who isn’t me. But I assume that you meant me.)

“As a matter of law, the Iraq war was clearly illegal. At the very least all the other countries that voted for UN1441 believe it is, because the US envoy – Bolton – explicitly and publicly assured them that UN1441 did NOT authorise war,”

I am not at all sympathetic to this. Laws have meaning only when they are interpreted and carried out. The interpretation and execution was pretty much put into the hands of the U.S. with no ability to take it back if Bolton turned out to be lying or merely incorrect. If the U.S. Senators and Congresspeople pass a law which then gets interpreted by the Supreme Court in a different way and executed by the President differently than they expected, they can’t say that the ensuing actions were illegal, really.

Of course the ensuing actions were illegal by Nuremberg standards, but the other countries had sort of successfully smokescreened that by voting for the UN resolution in the first place. It was a way for other countries’ elites to give the U.S. the war it wanted while denying to domestic populations that they’d done so.

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Eric 04.24.16 at 5:39 pm

Asteele:
“Oh great a crank with a web-site, check this out:”

FYI, Asteele is citing from the answer to “Was Operation Iraqi Freedom a strategic blunder or a strategic victory?”.

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Eric 04.24.16 at 6:23 pm

Rich Puchalsky:
“the other countries had sort of successfully smokescreened that by voting for the UN resolution in the first place”

Like I alluded to in my comment to derrida derider, there is a marked disjunction between the operative enforcement of the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441), which President Bush carried forward from President Clinton and applied properly, and how it’s often portrayed in the public politics. For example.

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Sandwichman 04.24.16 at 6:57 pm

Who the hell cares anyway?

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Eric 04.24.16 at 7:23 pm

Cranky Observer:
“unless Saddam proved a negative”

Actually, Saddam was required to prove Iraq was positively disarmed to the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441).

UNSCR 687 and the UNMOVIC report are included with the basic essentials linked in my comment at 04.24.16 at 5:28 pm. For clarification sake, I’ll recommend them here.

Review the basic Gulf War ceasefire disarmament standard established with UNSCR 687, recalling UNSCR 1441 “Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991)”.

With the operative context in mind, review the UNMOVIC findings (“Unresolved Disarmament Issues Iraq’s Proscribed Weapons Programmes 6 March 2003”) that were the principal trigger for OIF. If you’re disinclined to read the 173-page report, the State Department has a fact sheet (“Historic Review of UNMOVIC’s Report on Unresolved Disarmament Issues”).

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engels 04.24.16 at 8:25 pm

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engels 04.24.16 at 8:50 pm

Links to contemporaneous legal opinions on the legality of the Iraq war:

For the position that the war was illegal:

“Iraq Invasion Violated UN Charter” (news.com.au, August 7, 2003) (“With unusual candour, the former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix today denounced the US-led war on Iraq as a violation of international law, and questioned Washington’s motives for the invasion.”)
Law Professors for the Rule of Law
“War on Iraq Was Illegal, Say Top Lawyers” (Severin Carrell and Robert Verkaik, The Independent, May 25, 2003)
“International Legal Experts Regard Iraq War as Illegal” (Peter Schwarz, World Socialist Web Site, March 26, 2003)
“Tearing up the Rules: The Illegality of Invading Iraq,” Center for Economic and Social Rights, March 2003 Superb
“Canadian Law Professors Declare US-Led War Illegal” (Henry Michaels, World Socialist Web Site, 22 March 2003)
Robin Miller, “This War Is Illegal,” March 21, 2003
“Chirac: Iraq War Breaches International Law” (Middle East Online, March 21, 2003)
“Is the War on Iraq illegal?” (Irwin Cotler, The Globe and Mail, March 21, 2003)
Jim Lobe, “Law Groups Say U.S. Invasion Illegal,” OneWorld.net, March 21, 2003 (an open letter signed by 31 Canadian international law professors calls a U.S. attack against Iraq “a fundamental breach of international law [that] would seriously threaten the integrity of the international legal order that has been in place since the end of the Second World War.”)
Joan Russow, “U.S. Enagaged in an Illegal Act,” March 20, 2003
International Appeal by Lawyers and Jurists against the “Preventive” Use of Force
Michael C. Dorf, “Is the War on Iraq Lawful?” Findlaw, March 19, 2003
Emma Thomasson, “Iraq War Illegal but Trial Unlikely, Lawyers Say,” Reuters, March 19, 2003 (“President Bush and his allies are unlikely to face trial for war crimes although many nations and legal experts say a strike on Iraq without an explicit U.N. mandate breaches international law.”)
Hilary Charlesworth and Andrew Byrnes, “No, This War Is Illegal, The Age [Melbourne, Australia], March 19, 2003
Matthew Happold, “A Talented Lawyer Arguing a Weak Case,” The Guardian, March 17, 2003 (“The [British] attorney-general’s assertion that the use of force against Iraq is legal without a second UN resolution does not stand scrutiny”)
Keir Starmer, “Sorry, Mr Blair, But 1441 Does Not Authorise Force,” The Guardian, March 17, 2003
“Analysis of the US Legal Position on the Use of Force Against Iraq” (Greenpeace, March 16, 2003)
Richard Norton-Taylor, “Law Unto Themselves, The Guardian, March 14, 2003 (“A large majority of international lawyers reject the government’s claim that UN resolution 1441 gives legal authority for an attack on Iraq.”)
Robert Verkaik, “‘Illegal War’ Could Mean Soldiers Face Prosecution,” The Independent, March 12, 2003
Anthony Howard, “War Against Iraq–The Legal Dilemma, The Times [London], March 11, 2003
Mark Littman, “A Supreme International Crime,” The Guardian, March 10, 2003 (“Any member of a government backing an aggressive war will be open to prosecution.”)
“The UN Must Take Mr Blix’s Report Seriously–by Voting Against Military Action,” The Independent (editorial), March 8, 2003
“War Would Be Illegal,” The Guardian, March 7, 2003 (“The doctrine of pre-emptive self-defence against an attack that might arise at some hypothetical future time has no basis in international law. Neither security council resolution 1441 nor any prior resolution authorises the proposed use of force in the present circumstances.”).
Michael White and Patrick Wintour, “No Case for Iraq Attack Say Lawyers,” The Guardian, March 7, 2003 (commenting on letter, just above, by 16 professors of international law).
“War With Iraq ‘Could Be Illegal,'” BBC, March 6, 2003 (British Professor Nicholas Grief says that Bush and Blair could face prosecution for war crimes, specifically waging an illegal war).
Alan Elsner, “US War Without UN Approval Would Be Seen as Illegal,” Reuters, March 6, 2003 (“Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, said eight out of 10 international lawyers would consider a U.S. attack without a new resolution as a violation of international law.”).
“Australian Legal Experts Declare an Invasion of Iraq a War Crime” (James Conachy, World Socialist Web Site, February 27, 2003)
Bill Bowring, “Bush and Blair Must See Law Has a Life of Its Own,” AlertNet, February 21, 2003.
Julie Mertus, “The Law(?) of Regime Change,” JURIST, February 20, 2003.
Thalif Deen, “Of Man and God and Law,” Asia Times, February 14, 2003.
Nathaniel Hurd, “UN SCR 1141 and Potential Use of Force Against Iraq,” December 6, 2002.
“IN THE MATTER OF THE POTENTIAL USE OF ARMED FORCE BY THE UK AGAINST IRAQ AND IN THE MATTER OF RELIANCE FOR THAT USE OF FORCE ON UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1441,” Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, November 2002.
“Lawyers Statement on UN Resolution 1441 on Iraq,” November 27, 2002.
Mary Ellen O’Connell, “UN Resolution 1441: Compelling Saddam, Restraining Bush,” JURIST, November 21, 2002.
Marjorie Cohn, “UN Resolution 1441: Blackmailing the Security Council,” JURIST, November 21, 2002.
George P. Fletcher, “Did the UN Security Council Violate Its Own Rules in Passing the Iraq Resolution?,” CounterPunch, November 16, 2002.
“Legality of Use of Force against Iraq” (Public Interest Lawyers on behalf of Peacerights, September 10, 2002)
Mary Ellen O’Connell, The Myth of Preemptive Self-Defense,” August 2002.

For the position that the war was legal:

Greg Hunt, “Yes, This War Is Legal, The Age [Melbourne, Australian], March 19, 2003
“Attorney General: War Is Legal,” The Guardian, March 17, 2003

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Donald 04.24.16 at 8:53 pm

Given enough time, I would not be surprised to see the Erics of the world successful in relitigating the Iraq War. We already have Clinton as the nominee of the party whose members were supposedly so upset by Bush’s war and Clinton’s regret over her vote was obviously for political reasons. Eric does a good job with the bureaucratic gobbledygook that impresses DC types so much when it gives them permission to bomb people. Polls permitting, I’m sure Clinton would leap at the opportunity to reassert American global leadership in the delivery of high explosives.

Give it another few years or maybe a decade and Eric will be mainstream. We will kick the Iraq syndrome just like the Gulf War kicked the Vietnam syndrome. We just need to find a crappy little country whose bombing can be portrayed as a success. Clinton might think Libya should qualify if we just went back in.

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Rich 04.25.16 at 12:36 am

Eric,
You have too much fucking time on your hands. Find yourself a girlfriend. The time you put into assembling your various contrivances here would be useful if it were not obvious that you were pulling from the documented record whatever pieces could be arranged to support your position, and drawing whatever conclusion you want from it.
You earlier post seemed to be repeating that Iraq was defying the UN resolutions. If so, I ask again, motherfucker. Where were the god damned fucking weapons? Where were the programs, and the equipment, the infrastructure to support WMD programs? He didn’t fucking have any. So just stop. Did you enlist after 9/11? Did you fight? Or did you hold up copies of meaningless UN bullshit while other men went and fought for you? Fuck you.

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roger gathmann 04.25.16 at 1:52 am

33. I’m curious. Why don’t you think you know best? Surely it isn’t that the people who “know best” in D.C. really know anything. They lack, for instance, languages – we’ve been warring in the Middle East for 30 years now and not one pres, secstate or def sec, as far as I know, has bothered to learn Arabic. Nor do they hire people who have any even surface knowledge of the cultures involved. So I think you can probably get as well informed in a week as Robert Kagan for instance, if you are feeling behind.

As for grim decisions, tough decisions, deciding to be tough, etc. – the ideology of tough has led america into trillions of dollars of trouble, and hundreds of thousands of deaths all through the region. Myself, I think decisions should skew soft. What is the softest end that can be achieved, which preserved the greatest number of lives? And ultimately leads to that soft, cheap, weak, permissive thing called peace.

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kidneystones 04.25.16 at 2:36 am

Democrats for the Wall and America First. Those who have any doubt about the wave about to sweep over America may wish to read this entire article about Pennsylvania: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/politics/4016904-more-60000-disgruntled-pennsylvania-democrats-switch-parties

” A retired middle school principal was so moved by Donald Trump that he switched his Democratic Party registration so he can vote for him in Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary. So did the daughter of a steelworker, who twice voted for President Barack Obama but says she is “over” the Democrats’ political correctness. And a husband-wife team of Trump volunteers — she’s a laid-off airport worker, he’s a laid-off truck driver — were Democrats for 30 years, until recently. “We always voted Democrat,” said Laurie McGinnis, as her husband Ricky hung a Trump banner outside their South Greensburg home. “But not any more.” Some of these newly minted Pennsylvania Republicans are formalizing a process that began with Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, when conservative-leaning Democrats began shifting away from the party in the faded industrial state. Others moved abruptly, inspired by Trump and fed up with a party they say no longer speaks their language. Together the result is one of the most sizable shifts of partisan allegiance ever in Pennsylvania: 61,500 Democrats have become Republicans so far this year, part of a 145,000 jump in Republican registrations since the fall 2015 election, according to state figures analyzed by both parties. It’s more new Republicans than in the previous four years combined. The onslaught has helped make Trump the favorite heading into Tuesday’s primary, helping put Pennsylvania, which voted for Obama twice, in play in the November presidential election.”

There are numerous other shifts. I realize full well that some here may object to my mockery and ‘cheerful rudeness’. Others, have more deeply-felt hostility. However, my predictions about the problems Labour would face in 2015 over immigration and wage compression were utterly vindicated by the results. All four Labour leadership candidates reversed their anti-EU referendum positions about six months too late to prevent the SNP from decimating Labour in Scotland and significant Labour attrition to the Greens and UKIP.

Bernie may not be all people want, but he’s definitely not HRC, an individual I supported as late as 2008. HRC is utterly without the credibility to prevent a majority of voters in a great many states from voting for Trump, who is the only plausible change agent on the horizon. I expect, in fact, that a number of CT readers are going to think very hard about voting for Trump, rather than back HRC. Those who will not will be quick to declare their repugnance, but there will be many who simply recognize that more of the same is no longer acceptable for the majority of America’s middle-class. Trump has yet to make his case to minorities and to women. I’ve heard the argument and from Ivanka Trump, an extremely attractive, intelligent, and persuasive advocate. My guess is that Trump’s message to minorities will be simple. Dems talk about jobs for minorities and do nothing. A truly disturbing percentage of people here actually believed that conditions for black Americans had improved during the last 7 years. That’s how out-of-touch liberals actually are.

Don’t think minorities haven’t noticed. HRC is currently raving that Trump will ‘remove every right Americans enjoy’ – the right to poverty, the right to wage compression, the right to suffer from globalization, the right to watch prison populations rise and educational quality run largely by Dem hacks collapse. You get the picture.

Teh Donald is offering an end to political correctness, an end to apologies over past crimes, and a future full of hope and bright prospects for America’s youth. I’m not sure if Bernie can match that, but I’m dead certain HRC can’t. 61,000 Pennsylvania Democrats clearly agree.

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Brett Dunbar 04.25.16 at 8:42 am

The legal grounds were that Saddam wasn’t co-operating properly with the inspection process. The obstructiveness in relation to the so called presidential palace sites for example. It turned out that his regime was rather irrationally concealing a lack of any weapons programme. Quite what he was trying to achieve by this is hard to understand. His actions make sense if he believed he had a WMD programme while the people supposedly running it were actually embezzling the budget and lying to him. Otherwise he was trying to bluff to intimidate his neighbours and when his bluff was called by the USA (which was blatantly looking for an excuse to eject him) he failed to convince them that he was bluffing.

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kidneystones 04.25.16 at 11:01 am

HRC’s caboose is firmly tied to Krauthammer, a point I should have made more clearly. Her evasiveness is one of her biggest negatives and any claims she may wish to make about being deceived are belied daily by her long track record both of bellicosity and of deceit. Expect Trump to exploit these weaknesses to the fullest. In addition, I probably erred in trumpeting my own modest prediction skills, rather than Trump’s political skills. To those who doubt his ability to beat HRC I can only say go ask the 14 Republican heavyweights backed by the GOP establishment and millions in PAC that he’s already dispatched about Trump’s limitations. This part of the primary campaign reminds me very much of Obama naysayers claiming that should he actually win the nomination he’d stand no chance in the general. Other than the fact that he knocked everyone out of the race but Clinton and then knocked her out, too, they were completely right.

This piece in the Guardian about the historic nature of a Clinton presidency illustrates several problems HRC and her supporters face.http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/23/hillary-clinton-historic-woman-president

First, the word jobs and economic development appears nowhere in the entire article. Young people facing crushing student debt with no prospect of employment growth are expected to become excited, instead, about electing a geriatric insider to the oval office. OK. The writer is young, attractive, intelligent and about informed about wage compression and job loss in the US as the paper’s staffers were about the same problems and fears in rural Britain last year. The frigging stunning arrogance of the writer is simply breathtaking. The author doesn’t even begin to mention how a Clinton presidency might translate into improved economic conditions and growth. It’s simply a given that participating in an historic event will suffice – let them eat confetti, as it were.

I’ve watched a great many Trump speeches and he’s getting better all the time. He’s already promoting the idea that had Bill listened to Donald 9/11 would never have occurred. The GOP has brokered, I suspect, a deal between the two remaining duds to try to derail Trump in Indiana, where Trump is currently ahead. Given that Cruz refused to even mention John, other than to suggest that he get out of the race, the GOP must understand that it’s already all but too late.

Trump is ahead in Indiana. I expect Trump to crow victory whether he wins Indiana, or not, and take the nomination. Which gives the HRC folks about six weeks to figure out how to make electing this aging hack somehow far more meaningful to voters starved for change and a pay rise, than simply ‘historic’.

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Paul Davis 04.25.16 at 3:14 pm

The GOP has brokered, I suspect, a deal between the two remaining duds to try to derail Trump in Indiana, where Trump is currently ahead. Given that Cruz refused to even mention John, other than to suggest that he get out of the race

Read your newspapers/newsfeeds/sources this morning.

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Ogden Wernstrom 04.25.16 at 4:17 pm

Brett Dunbar 04.25.16 at 8:42 am

It turned out that his regime was rather irrationally concealing a lack of any weapons programme. Quite what he was trying to achieve by this is hard to understand. His actions make sense if he believed he had a WMD programme while the people supposedly running it were actually embezzling the budget and lying to him. Otherwise he was trying to bluff to intimidate his neighbours and when his bluff was called by the USA (which was blatantly looking for an excuse to eject him) he failed to convince them that he was bluffing.

At that time, I was working with a Saudi who gave me the idea that Saddam had to maintain the image that he had WMDs, to prevent the neighboring states and/or internal opposition from deposing him.

At the time, Saddam probably feared those forces more than he feared the USA. After all, the USA was not known to sanction torture. Yet.

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casssander 04.25.16 at 6:54 pm

@Brett

> It turned out that his regime was rather irrationally concealing a lack of any weapons programme. Quite what he was trying to achieve by this is hard to understand.

He was trying to make sure he could intimidate both his domestic rivals and foreign enemies with the threat of WMD while not actually getting caught having said WMD..

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Brett Dunbar 04.25.16 at 7:18 pm

In the process he gave the USA the excuse it was looking for to overthrow him. They wanted him gone and WMDs were an excuse to launch military action if he didn’t go into exile. This was literally a fatal error on his part.

He created the impression that he probably didn’t have much readily available at the time but would in the not too distant future. So if you wanted to overthrow him then the window of opportunity was closing as if he was left too long you would have a North Korea type situation.

The US wanted to overthrow him but absent a reasonable belief that he had a WMD programme they lacked legal justification to do so. If he hadn’t given the impression he had something to hide the US wouldn’t have had legal grounds for overthrowing him.

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Guano 04.26.16 at 7:54 am

Thanks for reminding us of Krauthammer Day once again. It’s worthwhile keeping Krauthammer Day special just to remind ourselves that the justification for the invasion of Iraq was WMD: real live Weapons of Mass Destruction and real WMD programmes with real laboratories and real stockpiles of active raw materials. It’s worthwhile keeping Krauthammer Day special just to remind ourselves that Dick Cheney said that there was no doubt that Iraq had WMD, and Tony Blair said that it was established fact that Iraq had WMD, and (in the UK at least) the public were bombarded for six months with sound-bites about “Saddam Hussein and his Weapons of Mass Destruction”. It’s worthwhile keeping Krauthammer Day special just to remind ourselves that the invasion of Iraq took place while inspections were in progress and had turned up nothing more than abandoned laboratories in the same damaged state as they had been left by the inspectors five years previously. And it’s worthwhile keeping Krauthammer Day special just to remind ourselves that it was claimed that it was urgent to invade Iraq because Saddam might give his WMD to the kind of terrorists who had attacked the USA 18 months previously.

Within a few months it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, no programmes, no stockpiles of active raw materials. It became clear that the assertion that it was an established fact that Iraq had these things was based on interpretations of unspecified behaviours of the Iraqi regime and not solid intelligence.

But by then Iraq was on the way to being a failed state and then a sectarian “democracy”, which exacerbated sectarian tensions across the region and provided boundless opportunities for the kind of terrorist group who were supposed to be an existential threat.

Krauthammer was repeating elite conventional wisdom that was completely wrong. If the Krauthammers of this world had learnt from this episode the need to be circumspect about elite conventional wisdom, a lesson might have been learnt from this disaster. There is little sign of that.

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Guano 04.26.16 at 10:06 am

#81

There was indeed a great deal of pure propaganda, and a certain similarity to hate Week (including the switch of target).

The general (and polite) lesson for people like Krauthammer, though, is the need to be circumspect about elite conventional wisdom. Just because everybody who was anybody said that it was an established fact that Iraq had WMD didn’t make it true.

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kidneystones 04.26.16 at 12:23 pm

59% percent of African-American youth are unemployed under Dem leadership. Trump begins his assault on the Dem base in Wilkes-Barry PA. I actually believe that we could be looking at a seismic shift in both political parties. Naturally conservative Christian African-Americans and minority youth will remain largely loyal to Dems this cycle.

I fully expect Trump to take a substantial percentage of the African-Americans vote, far more than any other Republican could even envision. BLM will try for the racism angle, but Trump is likely to respond by offering the more enterprising jobs. In fact, I recall him doing precisely that with an African-American woman who’d lost her job to some kind of relocation.

Dems and liberals act like their feet are nailed to the floor. If/once Trump busts loose the Dem coalition, how easy will it be for Dems to rebuild. Trump has yet to attract a significant Dem endorsement, but this, too, seems a certainty. The Clintons and the DNC have currently corralled the African-American vote – witness Sanders’s difficulties. That may well change once teh Donald whips out his checkbook and starts funding charter schools and offering scholarships.

Trump is now demanding that Cruz and Kasich quit the race so that the GOP can unify against HRC. Trump praised the GOP elites and held them blameless for the ‘rules’. I had lunch with my partisan Dem-supporting pals. Many Dems will remain loyal to a candidate who supported one war of choice, helped engineer another, and seems keen to start a third. Others will question the wisdom of supporting more illegal wars.

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kidneystones 04.26.16 at 2:14 pm

Hey Ze K, Numbers, numbers, numbers. The best graph I’ve seen today is on the GOP side, with teh donald far surpassing the others. Sanders, I think, fare better than HRC against Trump in one poll. But these head-head to head match-ups don’t tell us that much, yet. Will HRC manage to win over white women, for example? She’s definitely losing the under 35s across the board to Sanders. I frankly don’t see how the Dems mount a compelling argument to place HRC in the WH. As noted, the Guardian writer didn’t even manage to mention jobs/employment. I think a very sizeable chunk of the middle has had enough of politics as usual. One dem supporting colleague observed that this may be an election where the unhappiness of the poorest and those on the political extremes matches that of the middle-class. I don’t see anyone promoting the status quo doing well, which in part explains why the ‘luminaries’ of the GOP fared so poorly, and HRC and Bill fail to generate any/much of their former electricity, such as it was. Trumps critics and admirers are both trumpeting Trump’s liberalism, not that many here in bubble-land can believe or accept that. His defense of social security, medicare, and advocacy of improved education and drug treatment, not to mention his liberal stance LGBT issues “they can use any toilet they like in Trump Tower’ marks him as a liberal in favor of same-sex rights, controlled immigration, higher taxes on the richest and water-boarding.

Most Dems want the wall, tighter border controls and fewer undocumented workers. I frankly wouldn’t be surprised to hear HRC supporters chanting ‘build that wall’ by the time September rolls round. The Kochs don’t like her, but both they and Rupert Murdoch evidently prefer her to Cruz and Trump. What does that tell us? No more illegal wars and an end to the bankopoly? I don’t think so.

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Guano 04.26.16 at 6:09 pm

Ze K #83

I tend to agree about the framing. However that was Krauthammer’s framing, and Tony Blair’s and thousands of other pundits and politicos. And it was nonsense.

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Layman 04.26.16 at 7:11 pm

“Most Dems want the wall, tighter border controls and fewer undocumented workers.”

At the risk of being accused (again) of always disagreeing with you, I have to disagree with you.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/15/americans-views-of-immigrants-marked-by-widening-partisan-generational-divides/?utm_content=buffer21692&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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casssander 04.26.16 at 8:40 pm

@layman

>At the risk of being accused (again) of always disagreeing with you, I have to disagree with you.

Nothing in the article you quoted contradicts what kidneystones said.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/171962/decrease-immigration-increase.aspx

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-09-03/americans-in-poll-increasingly-want-tough-border-control

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Layman 04.26.16 at 9:01 pm

kidneystones: “Most Dems want the wall, tighter border controls and fewer undocumented workers.”

Pew research: “The proposed border wall is deeply divisive along partisan lines. By nearly two-to-one (63% to 33%), Republicans and GOP leaners favor building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. By contrast, just 13% of Democrats favor building a border wall, while 84% are opposed.”

@cassander, try reading the article and looking at the poll results.

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kidneystones 04.26.16 at 10:11 pm

File under ‘ultimate irony’. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/26/us-unions-donald-trump-us-election-2016

“We can’t be fooled” claimed Richard Trumka, as polls confirm that Trump’s protectionist message is winning over significant numbers of disaffected workers. even union members. I watched 2 of Trump’s rallies yesterday and the intensity of his support cannot be overstated. I predict a wipe-out in November.

@ 90 Thanks for this. Allow me to reformulate my claim more precisely, if I may. ‘most voters who plan to vote for Democrats, or often do, want more effective border controls, including physical controls.’ The same is/was true about the temporary ban on Muslims entering the US. I don’t have a handy link to my original comment, but when the question was framed ‘do you agree with Donald Trump that…’ something like 17% said yes. When the question was framed ‘do you believe that a temporary ban should be placed on Muslims…’ with all references to Trump and political parties omitted, support jumped to around 50%, or more.

I confess to a certain level of rhetorical excess, but stand by the basic argument.

Just as many Dem leaning voters were enthusiastic, even ecstatic, supporters of the Iraq blood bath, many Dem voters are deeply unhappy that HRC and the DNC is not allowing for a more robust and violent patriotism. Don’t think HRC isn’t listening. She’ll simply code “BUILD THAT WALL” in language more acceptable to the Dem narrative and the media. I believe, for example, that deportations are actually up under Obama, for example. Look, too, at the free pass HRC generally receives from the press over her blood lust, bellicosity, and willingness to out-Bush Bush in terms of regime change.

Dem leaning voters want to be able to scream “BUILD THAT WALL” just as loud as other Americans. It’s a free country.

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Layman 04.27.16 at 2:08 am

“Thanks for this.”

You’re welcome.

“Allow me to reformulate my claim more precisely, if I may.”

Don’t bother, unless you’re going to bring some evidence to back up your claims and predictions. The latest polling data pretty comprehensibly demolishes the idea that Trump’s immigration message is working with Democrats. They don’t want a wall, they don’t want tighter controls, they don’t want to deport people, and they want to give everyone amnesty.

Trump can’t even win a majority of Republican primary voters. How does he win a majority of all voters in November? Not on immigration. He’s a rodeo clown.

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kidneystones 04.27.16 at 3:54 am

@92 Your own reply confirms the main part of my claim re: the November wipe-out. Trump just swept 5 more states. I’m in transit now and can’t reply at length, but I believe he took at least 4/5 by better than 50 %. The evidence I’ve already supplied includes 2 specific references to attrition. Will consider adding more later. In the meantime, I’ll dare to remind you that Ronald Reagan was a real make-believe cowboy who managed to define a combat decorated WW 2 vet Bush and Carter, a former commander of a nuclear submarine, as effete poseurs. Rodeo Cowboys, comics, and movie stars are highly respected and trusted in America and win over smarter, more capable candidates. Or, hadn’t you noticed.

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Layman 04.27.16 at 11:26 am

“Trump just swept 5 more states.”

I’m guessing you don’t know what primary elections are. The republican nominee – whether Trump or not – is wildly unlikely to win any of those 5 states in a general election.

That aside, there’s no evidence for any of your predictions about how Trump’s anti-immigration stance will play with Democrats. On the contrary – polling data pretty much demolish the idea.

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drpuck 04.27.16 at 12:04 pm

#93 (ongoing series)

If Trump wins, despite his being a sociopath/racist/sexist/xenophobic/mendacious charlatan with explicitly stated sadist’s dreams, well, bad on USA.

It would seem to me most likely that a President Trump would quickly revert to his own time honored (and proven,) tendency: to focus exclusively on feathering and plumping the Trump Family bed.

It would be impossible to convince me that Trump sincerely wants to make America great again. It’s an obvious con dressed up in his well known schtick. He has never done anything before to make America great, but his track record of self-aggrandisement and self-enrichment is solid, and, he is fit perfectly to our new gilded age.

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kidneystones 04.27.16 at 12:43 pm

@94 There’s actually a great deal of evidence, but I don’t doubt you’re ready to discount all of it. One poll (Rasmussen May 2015) confirms your essential claim: most Democrats do not support building the wall – just 30% of Democrats favor building the wall, nearly 1 in 3, but a tiny number compared with 57% of unaffiliated voters who want the wall, and the much larger percentage of Republican voters who want the wall. I assume HRC understands that she has zero chance of winning the WH if only 1/3 of 1/3 of Democrats decide to cross party lines to build the wall. Second, Trump is not anti-immigration, he’s anti illegal immigration. You’re quite welcome to consistently misrepresent Trump’s position on immigration as I’m sure you must. The fact that 30 percent of Dems already support building wall very strongly suggests that once Trump starts promoting limited legal immigration Australia/Canada style, as he is certain to do once the general starts an even greater percentage of Dems will definitely join the Pennsylvania Dems who’ve already decamped.

A few brief remarks re: the general and Trump’s sweep. Let’s say you’re right and Trump loses all these states, even Pennsylvania. He’s still going to do extremely well against HRC in traditional GOP strongholds and also win Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Virginia, and compete well in California and New York. That’s if Dem support holds firm. My guess is that Trump is going to earn some serious bi-partisan endorsements. I fully believe a large number of Dems are going to sit this one out. Trump is liberal enough on the big issues: abortion, LGBT, social security and medicare to allow single issue voters to stay home and, I suspect, will continue to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs to drive HRC right out of the race. I see the bottom falling right out of her support and if that happens, Trump will take one or more of the 5 states he just swept. HRC opted to stay in the spotlight for last 8 years and Trump is going to tie her to every unpopular policy enacted in the US since 1996, including NAFTA.

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Layman 04.27.16 at 1:13 pm

“There’s actually a great deal of evidence, but I don’t doubt you’re ready to discount all of it. “

I stand ready to discount your supporting evidence when you get around to providing it. If a year-old poll which rebuts your argument is your choice from ‘a great deal of evidence’, I imagine discounting the rest will be easy. Otherwise, we’re way off topic here, so I’ll say no more.

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kidneystones 04.27.16 at 1:24 pm

Fair enough on the evidence. As for the off-topic, I very much disagree. The issue is Iraq-bogus-justification for war-unrepentant liars-and the risk of future wars. It’s easy to blame Krauthammer and Henry is right to remind us of his dishonesty. Charles did not cast a vote in favor of war, did not engage in regime change in Libya, and had no power to depose Assad. The common theme of lies, war, and the failure of the press to hold criminal liars to account is very much applicable to HRC and Trump. Had a Republican Sec of State engaged in regime change in Libya and tried to depose Assad and sanctioned an illegal war in Iraq to such disastrous consequences CT would be screaming about war crimes, not talking about holding noses and can she win.

But you know all that.

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LFC 04.27.16 at 2:03 pm

As engels’ list @68 suggests, my recollection/impression is that most experts on international law — not all of them, but the majority — thought the ’03 Iraq war was illegal. The American Journal of Intl Law published a forum on the issue in one of its issues in ’03.

Glancing at engels’ list, I notice this:

Alan Elsner, “US War Without UN Approval Would Be Seen as Illegal,” Reuters, March 6, 2003 (“Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, said eight out of 10 international lawyers would consider a U.S. attack without a new resolution as a violation of international law.”). [n.b. Slaughter, as most will prob know, subsequently moved to other jobs–LFC]

I think that was indeed the split of opinion among int’l lawyers — it was probably 80-20 or something roughly like that.

These are people some of whom spend their professional lives studying the material that the commenter rich — not Rich Puchalsky, but the other rich on this thread — calls, in his comment above, “meaningless UN bullshit.”

If you think all UN resolutions, and more importantly the UN Charter, comprise meaningless bullshit, then you have no grounds for arguing about whether the ’03 invasion was illegal or not.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.27.16 at 2:09 pm

LFC: “If you think all UN resolutions, and more importantly the UN Charter, comprise meaningless bullshit, then you have no grounds for arguing about whether the ’03 invasion was illegal or not.”

I think that calling an aggressive war that killed a million people “illegal” is a bit of an understatement. I also think that the the UN, functionally, now empowers warmaking rather than discouraging it. Finally I think that legality in this area is simply victor’s justice, and that when experts calling something “illegal” leads to no actual sanction, then there’s some real question about whether there is actually any law as such.

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Layman 04.27.16 at 2:10 pm

“The thing about ‘the wall’ is that there is, definitely, a large group of people who are crazy about the wall.”

Per Pew, that large group is 33%, so it’s only a bit larger than the group who think Obama is a Muslim (29%). Unless they’re the same group…

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Layman 04.27.16 at 2:40 pm

‘The wall’ is not new rhetoric. Has support for it grown since McCain and his ‘build the danged fence’ campaign?

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Layman 04.27.16 at 2:44 pm

And the answer is, support for the wall has actually declined…

http://hotair.com/archives/2016/03/31/pew-poll-support-for-border-wall-with-mexico-drops-to-3858/

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kidneystones 04.27.16 at 2:52 pm

The Pew Poll makes for interesting reading. Unlike other Pew products, the authors do not [appear to] provide any downloadable PDF, forcing us to rely on the editorializing and a smattering of data. Overall, I’ve no major problems with the conclusions, other than to note that the phrasing of similar polls, specifically the temporary ban on Muslims produced the results I mentioned earlier. The link provides an abbreviated version of the original question, which appears to read “I favor building a wall along the entire border of Mexico.’ which is close enough to what Trump is actually proposing to be factually accurate. More problematic are the paragraphs mixing claims about ‘undocumented workers’ and ‘immigrants’. The conditions under which undocumented migrants might be offered citizenship are unstated. The loaded term ‘illegal’ appears nowhere, other than to discuss deportations of undocumented migrants guilty of committing illegal acts.

Overall, I concur with the those who note that much of Trump’s early rhetoric panders to bigotry and xenophobia, if not outright racism. As with all discussion of immigration and borders, however, it is entirely wrong to imply or assert that the only people concerned about immigration and borders are racists, xenophobes, and bigots. That’s precisely what Labour did in 2014-15 and it cost them the election. That’s what Dems are doing now and I predict precisely the same result. Brighter Dems realize the risk realize and are trying for the straddle, as HRC does over trade relations with China. I frankly put little stock in the Pew poll cited, not so much because I believe the results to be false, but because I can’t see the actual questions (perhaps because I can’t locate the download button) and that seems odd. I find Dems every bit as violent and bigoted as Republicans. The difference being Republicans tend to regard this form of badge of honor and Dems simply deny the existence of any fear towards others.

To return to the OP. HRC is far more responsible for the Iraq debacle than Krauthammer and has largely received a free pass for her vote. Had she, Colin Powell, and a few more of the more reasonable Dem centrists (Biden) resisted the demand for force authorization, there’s are a real chance the war could have been averted, Libya would not be a ‘shit-show’ and western Iraq and parts of Syria would not be a 7th-century wild west. If Krauthammer belongs in the stocks HRC and the rest of the pro-war crowd belong there with him.

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Layman 04.27.16 at 3:02 pm

“HRC is far more responsible for the Iraq debacle than Krauthammer and has largely received a free pass for her vote.”

From whom has she received this free pass? I think you’ve erected a bit of a straw man here. One can decry both Krauthammer’s cheerleading and HRC’s vote – one need not choose just one or the other. And, in fact, I rather imagine that most people who do the one also do the other.

Also, too, I find your post confusing. In the first paragraph, you write

“…Overall, I’ve no major problems with the conclusions…”,

while in the second paragraph, you write

“…I frankly put little stock in the Pew poll cited…”.

Which is it? Do you agree with the conclusions, or do you put little stock in them?

101

Layman 04.27.16 at 3:09 pm

Ze K @ 105, you’re right, McCain’s ‘danged fence’ was a feature of his 2010 Senate campaign.

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LFC 04.27.16 at 5:10 pm

@Rich Puchalsky

calling an aggressive war that killed a million people “illegal” is a bit of an understatement.

You can also call it immoral; they’re not mutually exclusive.

when experts calling something “illegal” leads to no actual sanction, then there’s some real question about whether there is actually any law as such.

This is a version of an old question, namely: Is international law really law? There has long been a view that it isn’t. The other view is that it is, albeit different from what int’l lawyers call ‘municipal’ (i.e. domestic) law. (Prob too tangled an issue for a blog comment.)

the UN, functionally, now empowers warmaking rather than discouraging it.

On balance there would prob be more wars if the UN didn’t exist.

Also worth noting, though it’s off the topic of the Iraq war, that UN peacekeeping or ‘peace enforcement’ can be effective in civil conflicts, esp. when peacekeepers are armed, deployed in adequate numbers, and given a reasonably expansive mandate. (See Hultman et al, “Beyond Keeping Peace,” Am Pol Sci Rev, November 2014)

In recent years there has been publicity about the downsides of UN deployments, including e.g. allegations of sexual abuse by some soldiers in some cases. UN troops from Nepal sent to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there brought cholera with them, resulting in an epidemic. On balance however and despite the mixed record, UN peacekeeping and peace enforcement and other missions, taken as a whole, have saved lives overall.

Of course the UN functions best in security matters when there is a rough consensus among the key member states, and a situation like the Syrian civil war is not something the UN, beyond hosting negotiations (such as they are), can be expected to solve.

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Brett Dunbar 04.27.16 at 6:16 pm

It seems a little ironic that some of the same people who criticised the US support for despots such as the El Salvador Junta during the cold war also criticise the US for opposing dictators. It’s almost as if they object to whatever the US does because the US is doing it not about whether it is the right thing to do.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.27.16 at 6:41 pm

LFC: “On balance however and despite the mixed record, UN peacekeeping and peace enforcement and other missions, taken as a whole, have saved lives overall.”

This mixes two different eras together. I think that the UN is best seen as a typical piece of social infrastructure that was built up post-WW-II and has been steadily looted (“disinvested” as BW says) in the neoliberal era. The looting, in this case, is a looting of built-up credibility. There were a very significant number of people who thought that a war was OK if approved by the UN: this credibility was looted for aggressive war justification a la Eric’s site. At this point the only use of remaining UN credibility is going to be to burn it to justify more wars of choice, so I think that it’s best to preemptively dismiss it.

But if you sum up everything from the start of the UN through now, and ignore the inflection point that happened, probably, around the Clinton era, you may still get a positive total. You won’t if people still defend the UN and let it be used for one humanitarian intervention bombing after another.

105

LFC 04.27.16 at 7:10 pm

Ze K @110
The component designed to deal with international security is the UNSC. The UNSC was a venue for the consiglieres of the main ‘families’ to meet and work things out. It used to work, somewhat. But since 1991 it’s pretty much over: there’s one global boss who doesn’t listen; or at least not in this setting. To whatever extent there still might be negotiations (as opposed to simple orders), this super-boss conducts them informally, individually, and secretly. So the UNSC doesn’t make much sense anymore.

This gets the history of the UNSC almost exactly backwards. The period when it didn’t really work that well was 1945-1988. The successes of UNSC-authorized peacekeeping and peace enforcement came mostly, though not exclusively, in the period after 1988, which was when Javier Perez de Cuellar began to revivify the UNSC when he got the permanent UNSC members together in an effort to halt the long-running Iran/Iraq war. And the UNSC worked much as intended during the first Gulf War 1990/91. The record continues mixed, but better in the post-CW period than before. I’m not convinced ’03 was some kind of inflection pt, as Rich P. argues; it cd just as easily be seen as somewhat aberrational. I admit that this pt is debatable. But Ze K’s history of the UNSC gets it, as I say, backwards.

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LFC 04.27.16 at 7:20 pm

p.s. One criticism of UNSC that does have some validity is that there shd be more permanent members. Obama endorsed India’s bid for permanent membership during his first term, iirc, not that anything came of it.

pps. I didn’t read closely the commenter Eric’s posts above, but I don’t see the UN’s credibility as having been “looted” to support the Iraq invasion of ’03. One can tie oneself in all kinds of interpretive contortions about the previous resolutions, but the fact remains there was no UNSC resolution directly authorizing the invasion. Three of the five permanent members — France, Russia, and China — opposed the invasion.

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engels 04.27.16 at 7:28 pm

Fwiw one can perfectly consistently be critical of the UNSC system and think the fact the war was illegal was significant (I’m against private property but if the PM of UK was caught stealing I’d think that mattered).

Also ime the only two ‘liberal’ states where the idea of non-existence of international law has much support are US and Israel, and there seem to be rather obvious self-serving reasons for that

108

Rich Puchalsky 04.27.16 at 7:34 pm

LFC: “One can tie oneself in all kinds of interpretive contortions about the previous resolutions, but the fact remains there was no UNSC resolution directly authorizing the invasion.”

I wasn’t really endorsing these contortions. But when the US says “This war was legal because of the UNSC resolution: that’s our story and we’re sticking to it”, that’s looting in this context. People can no longer trust that UNSC resolutions will be taken to mean what they apparently mean: this loss of trust has been used for the purpose of preserving a fig leaf of not very plausible deniability that, even though it is not very plausible, still had the intended effect of permitting domestic audiences to believe that the U.S. was acting legally. It seems to me like the classic use of trust in, for instance, a bustout.

109

LFC 04.27.16 at 7:38 pm

W/ apologies for quoting myself (something written elsewhere, a while ago):

The revival of an active UN role in resolving difficult armed conflicts dates from the late 1980s, when a confluence of developments, including Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’, enabled the Security Council to pass Res. 598, demanding an immediate cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war, then in its seventh year. A good deal of credit for this revival belongs to then-Sec. Gen. Pérez de Cuéllar, who at an informal meeting on Jan. 16, 1987…prodded the representatives of the permanent members of the Security Council to act on the Iran-Iraq war.

Source for the above is mostly Paul Lewis, “Rise of the Blue Helmets,” N.Y. Times Book Review, Nov. 6, 1994 (reviewing a book by Cameron Hume).

110

LFC 04.27.16 at 7:43 pm

@RP
when the US says “This war was legal because of the UNSC resolution: that’s our story and we’re sticking to it”, that’s looting in this context.

Ok, I agree w this particular pt.

111

Ronan(rf) 04.27.16 at 7:53 pm

I think ze k’s main point (afaict, anyway ) is that the UN was set up primarily to regulate the relationship between the two main powers (Ie ” The UNSC was a venue for the consiglieres of the main ‘families’ to meet and work things out. “) . Since one of those “families ” Is no longer around, the other one uses it as a protection racket (or at least a justification for war making). It worked in its initial stages because it did what it was supposed to do, regulate great power rivalry , it doesn’t work now because there’s no great power rivalry to regulate (in theory) , so it serves no function but to allow the remaining superpower expand its power.
I think this overly cynical and largely wrong,but as a historical tale it’s logical and supportable enough . Afaict

112

Layman 04.27.16 at 8:05 pm

Brett Dunbar @ 111: “It seems a little ironic that some of the same people who criticised the US support for despots such as the El Salvador Junta during the cold war also criticise the US for opposing dictators.”

This is sloppy enough that it has to be willful bad faith. Surely even you can imagine some reaction to dictators which falls into the very broad expanse between ‘arming them’ and ‘bombing their victims into the stone age’. I mean, you’re not really a cretin, right?

113

engels 04.27.16 at 8:07 pm

114

kidneystones 04.27.16 at 9:24 pm

@107 This really is off-topic, but I’ll employ some of your reasoning to respond for fun.

You @96 “Otherwise, we’re way off topic here, so I’ll say no more.”
You @ 121 “This is sloppy enough that it has to be willful bad faith.”

My impression is that you’re extremely bright, a very careful reader, and utterly disingenuous in your protestations, questions, and complaints. I explained my reservations about polls in general, and with the Pew poll you cite (and rely on almost entirely) in particular. HRC is far guiltier than Krauthammer because she, Pelosi, and the rest of the Dem hierarchy almost certainly saw all/much of the dubious ‘intelligence’ used to justify the war, and had the authority to delay, or stop the invasion. I never argued for an either/or, if we’re on the topic of straw, but pointed out that if HRC were a Republican you and many here would be arguing to have her in the Hague, rather than the WH.

I stand my contention that enough Dems favor Trump and Trump’s policies in general to allow him to crush HRC in November, in large part because of her Krauthammer-like recalcitrance, deceit and bellicosity. Sanders supporters are independents and Dems who’ve voiced this sort of critique. How many of them will stay home, or move to Trump because of her support for Krauthammer’s favorite war is an open question, and one that is almost certainly very much on the mind of Dem vote-counters and Dem media allies. Hence, the ‘how to explain Hillary’s warlike tendencies and lies’ talking points.

That’s it for me for now, thx.

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LFC 04.27.16 at 9:38 pm

C’mon Ronan, this comment @119 is well below your usual standards. If Ze K is “largely wrong” (which he is), then how can his history be “logical and supportable”?

The UNSC was not set up to regulate the rivalry betw the US and USSR. The establishment of the UN (1945/46) predated the real onset of the Cold War in 1947.

Interpretations differ, as is usu the case when it comes to such things, but one defensible view (indeed, prob the mainstream view inasmuch as there is one) is that the UNSC was set up to do what the Charter says: guarantee intl peace and security, i.e. tamp down conflict where possible. Sure it was designed to serve a conservative, if you like, vision of world order (cf. FDR’s ‘four policemen’) but it was designed to do things when deemed necessary. The CW rivalry hampered that aim severely, gridlocked the UNSC, and let the proxy wars of the superpowers in the third world, from Angola to Nicaragua to Indochina, run riot. Why was it a big deal when, in ’88, the P5 agreed on a cease-fire res. for the Iran/Iraq war? Wd it have been such a big deal if the UNSC had been working as intended all along, i.e., as a vehicle of great-power collaboration and co-operation? Clearly not.

Ze K @120 is hardly worth responding to. The neocons prob cdn’t even fucking locate on a map some of the places where the UNSC has authorized peacekeeping or post-conflict-reconstruction missions. The neocons enjoyed their pd of ascendance during the GW Bush admin, and since then, as far as actual influence on US fp goes, have been largely in eclipse.

p.s. Been a while since I’ve thought about all this and admit that I need to re-read some key parts of the UN Charter. That said, the idea that the UN was set up to “regulate” the Cold War is, imo, quite ridiculous because, as I said, the UN predates the Cold War. The fact that certain people saw the CW coming is true but, in this context, not relevant. Some imperialists thought the UN wd be a vehicle for preservation of the colonial empires (see Mazower, No Enchanted Palace) and some world-federalists and others saw it as a first step toward a genuine world govt, but I think no one intended it to regulate a Cold War that hadn’t really yet started.

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Layman 04.27.16 at 9:50 pm

“I never argued for an either/or, if we’re on the topic of straw, but pointed out that if HRC were a Republican you and many here would be arguing to have her in the Hague, rather than the WH.”

Point away, but also answer the question: Whose views are you attempting to represent here? Apparently, you think there is some person who believes that HRC saw through the fraudulent intelligence case, and voted for war anyway, out of malice or calculation or eagerness to kill people; and that this vote is a war crime; and yet who also fervently desires that she be elected president. Who is that person? I don’t recognize them.

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LFC 04.27.16 at 9:53 pm

p.s. correction: Indochina not a ‘proxy war’ on the US side, since it was, obviously, very directly involved.

118

Ronan(rf) 04.27.16 at 10:05 pm

The unsc, rather than UN. Poor phrasing on my part. I could be wrong on that but my understanding is its primary purpose on being set up was to regulate and resolve great power conflicts. Although I agree my defence of ze k’ s argument was ridiculous ; )

119

Ronan(rf) 04.27.16 at 10:12 pm

” is that the UNSC was set up to do what the Charter says: guarantee intl peace and security, i.e. tamp down conflict where possible”

But that doesn’t really contradict my point. “guarantee intl peace and security” mainly means avoid great power war. I agree that there have been genuine attempt a to resolve conflicts etc, but they’ve Bern tangential to the main purpose, and dependant on it (great power rivalry ) not being salient

120

Asteele 04.27.16 at 10:39 pm

121. You people are mad when we murder people to install right-wing regimes and when we murder people to install right wing regimes. Hypocrites!

121

Brett Dunbar 04.28.16 at 7:11 pm

More you are mad at us when we arm right wing regime mad at us when we depose right wing dictatorships and attempt to install democracy.

122

engels 04.28.16 at 10:59 pm

I find #121 etc are pretty caricatured and unpersuasive, especially the reference to ‘neoconversatives’ (sorry Ze) but here’s a reasonable version of a position not too far from it

2. The United Nations is not a seat of impartial authority. Its structure, giving overwhelming formal power to five victor nations of a war fought fifty years ago, is politically indefensible: comparable historically to the Holy Alliance of the early 19th century, which also proclaimed its mission to be the preservation of ‘international peace’ for the ‘benefit of humanity’. So long as these powers were divided by the Cold War, they neutralised each other in the Security Council, and the organisation could do little harm. But since the Cold War came to an end, the UN has become essentially a screen for American will. Supposedly dedicated to the cause of international peace, the organisation has waged two major wars since 1945 and prevented none. Its resolutions are mostly exercises in ideological manipulation. Some of its secondary affiliates – Unesco, Unctad and the like – do good work, and the General Assembly does little harm. But there is no prospect of reforming the Security Council. The world would be better off – a more honest and equal arena of states – without it.

NB. I’m not really on board with this either, and I think Kate Soper’s response (printed after) is pretty good.

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kidneystones 04.29.16 at 1:44 am

John Judis chimes in the election and on the very existence of the Democratic party. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-clinton Please go to TPM to read the entire post.

” I think it’s now reasonable to look toward a general election contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I have two thoughts. One of the key voting blocs that has gone Democratic over the last fifty years is professionals…n a contest between Clinton and Trump, this group may flee the Republican party en masse… that could make it very difficult for Trump in many swing states. And it could also hurt down-ballot Republicans in states like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire or Illinois where there will be competitive senate races.

My second thought is in the opposite vein. When the pundits on television comment on Trump’s speeches, they always focus on the outrageous statements he makes about women or immigrants or Muslims. Tonight it was about his saying that Hillary Clinton would only get five percent of the vote if she were a man. That’s fine. But when I hear Trump, he often begins by talking about American corporations that are moving jobs to Mexico or overseas. Tonight, he talked about Carrier moving 1400 jobs from Indianapolis to Mexico and promised that if he is president, he will save these jobs.

Clinton, it seems to me, is preparing to run a campaign based on some version of identity politics…She could very well win the election on that basis, but I wouldn’t underestimate the extent to which Trump’s focus on jobs and trade and runaway shops – echoed incidentally by Bernie Sanders – is going to be important to voters. Not, perhaps, the post-grads [CT community] I described above, but certainly the working class voters that Democrats need to attract to be a viable majority party in America.

John Judis isn’t always right. However, he’s very clearly not of the right. TPM and Instapundit are both meme shops, but provide some sense of the arguments-bun fights. So, let’s concede that Judis may be more of a Sanders supporter/sympathizer. So, perhaps his pieces is just a well-crafted piece of pro-Bernie propaganda. On the other hand, Judis has deep ties to the old New Republic and the neo-liberalism often discussed here, so it’s probably wrong to suggest Judis is entirely anti-HRC.

Drudge has a big photo of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on the front page right now sitting smugly in an extremely fine looking suit. The caption beneath: “Bezos makes 6 billion in 20 minutes!” Bezos, of course, is another of the new old media moguls. The WP editorial board rips Trump and the GOP regularly now. Bezos and Amazon are feared and hated by virtually every workers’ rights group in the world. Jeff may very much care about Carrier Air-Conditioning and the plight of the ‘poorly-educated,’ as Trump has referred to them, but he’s doing a very poor job of showing it.

Right now most minorities and most women will continue to vote for Dems, including HRC, through this election cycle. That’s not in question. What is very much open to question are the attrition rates. White working-class males have already decamped. The Guardian piece above confirms Big-Labour’s concern that the mass cross-over we see in Pennsylvania of Dems to GOP is not localized to just one state. All rust-belt states are in play.

The real question is how forcefully and effectively Trump can meld his own electoral ambitions with the goals of the new GOP. One of the main reasons the GOP establishment came out so strongly and violently against Trump was that his wild-ass rhetoric about “Mexican rapists” blew Grand-Canyon-size holes in the fiction that the GOP was no longer the party of old white men.

I’ve watched a lot of Trump, virtually all of his speeches over the last 8 weeks. Recently, he let slip that he’s running because he couldn’t see a ‘great president’ in either party, and that America needs a great president. (Ahem, let’s leave that aside for the moment) America, Trump argued, needed a great president and it didn’t matter to him whether the president was a Democrat, or Republican.

He hasn’t repeated the admission often, from what I can see. http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/22/trump-we-need-a-good-president-i-dont-care-if-it-was-a-democrat-video/

Trump is a vulgarian NY billionaire liberal celebrity, capable of uttering any falsehood to win or defame an opponent, who went to good schools, and who claims to be the champion of the working man. In short, Trump is a classic Democrat, only with a great deal more money, savvy, resources, and connections than any Democrat. His bombast and right-wing rhetoric has already won hims the GOP nomination in only 10 months. That kind of accomplishment is unmatched. Trump understands Dem politics and the media game as well, or better, than any Dem politician. Within a month, or so, Trump is going to set his sights on winning the Dem primary, by becoming the champion of Sanders policies primarily. And, more importantly, by doing everything he can to appeal to other key constituencies in the Dem base. I’ve no idea how well he’ll do in these efforts, but I’m certain he’ll do far better than the naysayers here and elsewhere (the post-grad snobs) are willing to allow. And when have these over-educated clowns ever been wrong?

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kidneystones 04.29.16 at 2:23 am

Trump insider dumps Apple stock [over fears of China trade war, as Trump looks to close the deal]. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/29/billionaire-investor-carl-icahn-sells-entire-stake-in-apple

As usual, the dunces at the Guardian manage to somehow miss the connection between the timing of Carl Icahn’s announcement, Trump’s rising fortunes, and China’s souring mood towards the outside world. Let’s be clear, Icahn’s decision is not based exclusively on the likelihood that Trump will be the nominee, but rather on a combination of factors – the most important of which is that Trump and Sanders succeed, in large part, because many, many Americans on both sides of the political aisle believe deeply (an oxymoron, I know) that the American government has done far, far, far too little to protect the interests of American workers, consumers, and small businesses. Icahn, it seems, can see the writing clearly on the wall – in the short term US-China relations are going to become worse.

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kidneystones 04.29.16 at 5:55 am

Bobby Knight offers his independents endorsement of Trump, explicitly distancing himself from the GOP and claims that Trump will be next great president, just like [democrat] Harry Truman. Hello Democrats!!

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kidneystones 04.29.16 at 2:11 pm

Trump plans to directly target Sanders voters. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/lewandowski-trump-targeting-sanders-supporters

Now it’s official. With the nomination pretty much confirmed the Trump campaign will burnish teh Donald’s liberal credentials to draw a strong contrast with his campaign and that of Queen Goldman-Sachs Iraq-Libya-Syria Regime Change Let-them-eat-confetti III. Sanders supporter Susan Sarandon publicly declared that Trump’s wall concerns her far less than Hillary’s wars. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/04/28/susan_sarandon_i_fear_hillarys_record_more_than_trumps_wall.html

Sarandon promised she won’t vote for Trump. She doesn’t need to. If the Sanders supporters simply stay home, that’s enough to tip the election. Trump, of course, is unlikely to gamble in that way. He’s going to offer a vision of America’s future designed to appeal to the Sanders voter. One key change in the Trump stump speech that I just noticed this weekend is the absence of any discussion of deportations and ‘sending them back’. Trump is adamant that ‘he’ll build the wall’ and that ‘Mexico will pay for it. My guess is that the wall will be built. Then we’ll see some form of compromise, because he is after all running as a deal-maker. Gangs, criminal organizations, and those with criminal records may well be deported quickly. Long-term residents, employed, but without documents and free of any criminal conviction could well find themselves at the front of the line for citizenship should they apply outside from outside the US.

With all the focus on the supposed impending crack-up in the GOP and looming Dem victory predicted by the brilliant David Brooks, only John Judis, I, and many/a few? nameless others see the opposite occurring.

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Collin Street 04.29.16 at 2:16 pm

> He’s going to offer a vision of America’s future designed to appeal to the Sanders voter.

But to actually market something to someone who doesn’t agree with you, you need functional empathy and to not be for eg narcissistic or a sociopath.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.29.16 at 2:28 pm

Collin Street: “But to actually market something to someone who doesn’t agree with you, you need functional empathy and to not be for eg narcissistic or a sociopath.”

Oh well. I was really hoping that what kidneystones was writing was true. Having Trump bring out his “Sanders voters, vote for me” campaign would have been more entertaining than anything in American politics in years.

If anyone in the Trump campaign is listening, I suggest that Trump show his cred by chanting various Occupy slogans and doing twinkles. Alternatively he could, in a debate with HRC, hold up his hand in a C shape while she talks and then when she looks at him quizzically he could say “See? You’re so out of touch with the youth that you don’t even know that means ‘clarifying question.’ Vote for me, the true outsider!” That would really influence my vote, if I planned to vote.

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AcademicLurker 04.29.16 at 2:36 pm

Trump should totally pick Sarandon for VP.

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engels 04.29.16 at 2:40 pm

But to actually market something to someone who doesn’t agree with you, you need functional empathy and to not be for eg narcissistic or a sociopath.

Ii don’t really want to jump down this particular rabbit hole but I’m pretty sure the reverse is meant to be true.

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kidneystones 04.29.16 at 2:42 pm

@140 You’re quite welcome to giggle, Rich. What I write may well be chock full of inaccuracies and errors, but not the part you’re complaining about. You’re one of the most willfully and proudly uninformed big-mouths on the site. Your voluble confidence is based on watching precisely how many Trump speeches? My guess is none. Utter lack of knowledge combined with brimming self-confidence is a trait normally assigned to ‘narcissists and sociopaths. I fully expect that you and Collin base your sneers on nothing more than your ignorance and immense confidence in your lack of knowledge.

So, I’m grateful for such a quick and public display of hubris. Had you clicked through and read the link at TPM (right-wing hate site) you’d have learned that 13% of Sanders supporters already have a positive view of Trump. But please don’t change, look for information that might undermine your own bloated confidence in your sense of moral and intellectual superiority, or start to think. To lazy to click through to a link.

That’s so CT.

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