Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News How can the Iraq war make US more secure?

  1. Apr 15, 2004 #1
    This is a mindboggling question to me.
    Bush says: "A secure and free Iraq is an historic opportunity to change the world and make America more secure.".
    So two goals:
    (1) change the world
    (2) make America more secure

    What is this guy talking about?
    Have you any idea? :confused:

    reference: link
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2004 #2
    It is empty rhetoric, meaning nothing.
  4. Apr 15, 2004 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    (1) change the world - The Middle East has long been about the most unstable region of the world (with the possible exception of Africa). It clearly has problems that need fixing. "Change" means 'fix.'

    (2) make America more secure - Since America is the world's policeman (wether you agree that they should be or not is not relevant: they ARE), and global stability is important to world geopolitics and economics, fixing the problems in the middle east will make America more secure, both geopolitically and economically.

    Again: see, "Marshall Plan."
  5. Apr 15, 2004 #4
    Interesting, Russ, that you equate "security" with politics and money, and not with Americans not getting killed.


    It fits your apparent(if not explicitly stated) worldview, and is quite possibly what Bush meant. Great observation, it gives me something to think about.
  6. Apr 15, 2004 #5
    Okay, russ, what exactly is your interpretation of how the Marshall Plan applies to all this Middle East business?
  7. Apr 15, 2004 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    "Geopolitical" includes war, Zero.
    Well...no. I don't really feel like answering questions from someone who never answers anyone else's. Its a pretty simple answer though, and I know you're smart enough to figure it out on your own.
  8. Apr 16, 2004 #7
    Please russ. Tell me how the Marshall Plan applies. This should be good.
  9. Apr 16, 2004 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    "How can the Iraq war make the US more secure"? By removing from power a dictator who's stated goal and plan is to attack the US.

    I'm not conversant with all the articales of the Geniva Accords, nor the bilaws of the UN, so I don't know the official definition of "declaration of war". But, if someone says they are going to destroy our country, then they have declared war on us, wether it was by officially recognised language or not.

    Did 9/11 teach us nothing?! We can no longer sit back and wait for somene to launch the next attack on the US, we must take action when the intent is declared, not after the disaster has struck.
  10. Apr 16, 2004 #9


    User Avatar

    Lurch your concern is commendable but here is some one elses' take on the 'WHY' of going to war with Iraq.

    here: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/apr2004/nf20040415_0640_db009.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  11. Apr 16, 2004 #10

    Have you ever asked yourself WHY?
    Why would someone attack US?
    Was it Saddam? No.
    Did he declared war to US, implicite or explicite? No.

    Did the Did 9/11 hearings teach you nothing?
    All information was there. Bush went on vacation.
    But why was Osama that furious on US? Do you know?
    Give it a try ...
  12. Apr 16, 2004 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    To a large extent, I agreed with Thomas Friedman's take on the war. There were 4 reasons:

    "There was the stated reason, the moral reason, the right reason, and the real reason.

    What he termed "the right reason" is really the only one that applies to US security. It conflates the two goals; it is necessary to change the world in order to make the US safer.

    The right reason for the war, according to Friedman, is that dictatorial regimes in the middle east churn out angry young men willing to die in attempts to do great harm to the US. They don't even do it intentionally. It does not matter if these dictators are friendly to the US (Saudi Arabia) or hostile (Syria). Because their society is not free, and hostility to their government is not healthy, they turn their hostility to Israel and the US.

    The idea is, if the states in the middle east develop democracy, the citizenry will be empowered to act on their dissatisfaction in a constructive way.

    This justification assumes a lot. It assumes that we don't antagonize Arab Muslims beyond repair. It assumes we can make Iraq democratic. It assumes that the democracy will last and spread. I assumes that democratic states in the middle east will not produce (intentionally or unintentionally) terrorists.

    That may seem like too many assumptions. But they must be weighed against against the reality that exists now. The nuclear suitcase bombs that will destroy Washington and New york have already been built somewhere. They may be in Pakistan or North Korea, but more likely, they are in a warehouse in the ex-Soviet Union waiting to be liberated by bribery. The best way to stop those bombs is if there is no one willing to carry them.

  13. Apr 16, 2004 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You know, something that now seems obvious just occurred to me. If the reasoning I outlined above existed 13 years ago, we blew a golden opportunity. We should have refused to reinstall the Emir of Kuwait. We should have insisted on a more democratic government.

    By "we", I mean the UN. It would have been far too arrogant for the US to do it, but the US could have been a strong force in the UN pushing for it. There would not have been much opposition. Even the other Arab and Muslim states are not fond of the monarchical Arab governments. There would have been a lot of benefits:

    -Kuwait is a wealthy state. They could easily set up multiple media organs larger and more free then Al Jazeera

    -Kuwait is a well educated country. Kuwaiti intellectuals would be free to publish pro-democracy literature in Arabic.

    -Kuwait has a very large Palestinian population who do not live nearly as well as the Kuwaitis. A democratic state would certainly improve the lot of these people. Think of the effect on the Israeli-Palestinian problem if a population of well-to-do free Palestinians existed.

    Oh well. Even if someone had thought of it, it probably wouldn't have been tried.

  14. Apr 16, 2004 #13


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I have thought of this as well. I think Bush I was too concerned with his coalition than with the long term outcome of the war. The other middle eastern states would not have joined for any result but status quo ante. The rest of the world, however, probably would have agreed that we should have siezed the opportunity when we had it and - again, the Marshall Plan.

    After WWII, we did not just give Europe status quo ante - that would have meant re-installing a Nazi regime in Germany and allowing the contries decimated by him to wallow in their own destruction. Instead, we built stable, prosperous democracies in every country we had a chance to - allies and enemies alike. The success of that plan for the West is chrystal clear.
  15. Apr 16, 2004 #14
    He Russ, before Germany invaded we had real democracy. When they were pushed out - mainly by US - the democracy was restored.
  16. Apr 16, 2004 #15
    You know Njorl,

    Nobody in the world is waiting for lessons about ethics, democracy and freedom from America. We in Europe have our standards on ethics and I believe they are on a higher quality level. We don't need to use fake and hollow words like 'national security' and the 'national interests' to motivate our deeds. We don't tell what other people think. We don't believe in preemptive attacks to restore "justice". Our idea about justice is classic, not the Wild-West case of 'the good' and 'the bad' guys.

    When Bush says: "A secure and free Iraq is an historic opportunity to change the world and make America more secure." we could ask first:" Why is US not secure?". Are some countries or population full of jalousie, ... or is USA too rich ... or to smart ... or is there something else?

    Can it be that during the years USA has really upset a number of people, groups or countries by actions that were not justified? In another post you referred to the installation of a number of dictators by US. And indeed USA did so and judged economic values higher than human rights values.
    This has to do with the capitalist system in which the stronger or smarter are 'better' than the weaker.
    A different tradition and culture in Europe makes us believe that there are also values which are at least equal important, such as solidarity. Indeed the weaker groups of society need protection because sometimes the circumstances were unfavorable. I believe Jesus said something about that, something like: " What you do to the weakest ... ". Americans will describe that basic human solidarity in a negative sense as 'Socialism' but it has to do with human respect, dignity and ethics. We understand that some people in society are not or have not the ability to be very successful.
    The reason that Europeans choose such a way has to do with Christianity but also with humanism, and we believe that this is something we may be proud of. A type a brotherhood. This is how the Human Right Manifest was created. Everybody has a number of fundamental rights. We still stick on them. It's part of our culture. Related to solidarity is a understanding that 'communication' between different visions is important. Try to settle things. Only use the hard way as the ultimate way.

    But opposite to such humanism there is extreme individualism: Capitalism. This is the tough approach of the survival of the strongest and the fitest. Having the power gives your the right to do whatever you want. Thus: slavery, colonialism, imperialism ... The basics of this was even partly religious! Calvinism promoted that the individual success in business and wealth was a proof of being very near to God. So when you have the power your are right, and the weak deserve their problems.

    So the whole problem between Europe and USA in approaching 'world problems' like Israel an Iraq is a different perspective. You see this even now in the different coalition approach on Falluja (US: show that we have the power, and UK: softly-softly).

    My point is that USA is not secure for the moment because it has done a numbers of pro-profit things which have provoked counter-reactions. One of the reasons - probably the main reason - is that US has covered for many years the aggressive policy of Israel. Sure Israel has the right to exist (since it was internationally created by UN in 1949, and not by a miracle based on a bible written by humans) but Israel has also a number of obligations, such as the respect for human rights.
    Infringing such rights, but playing innocent at the same moment and always covered by US, has caused a lot of resentment in the Islamic against US. That's the old but fundamental problem that gave the actual insecure situation in US. It accumulated. A solution of the Israel/Palestine conflict is key. Dialogue, communication. But is that the goal of capitalism? No, the goal is money. Conflicts generate money. Conflicts need weapons. Halliburton et al.
  17. Apr 16, 2004 #16


    User Avatar

    pelastration- I think that if you are speaking of Europe as a whole and not just your own little corner of it then you need to review the history of Europe both recent and in the past. Europe is not nearly so "humanitarian" and concerned with the underdog as you propose. A quick review of recent statements from Rwanda on the guilt of the French for the recent genocide of their people is one good example.
  18. Apr 17, 2004 #17
    Sure Kat, also Europe is a mixure of various tendencies, but the general attitude is 'communication' to settle things. Not first kill and then talk to the dead guys.
    Rwanda is not that simple. Their actual president was one of the main 'activators' of that genocide and involved in the shooting of that airplane. Finally it were no the French who were killing, it was an internal clash of populations/clans who hate each other for centuries. Once agression or uprise starts it's very difficult to stop it. Revenge by the clan/tribe is very important. That's one of the dangers in Iraq too. When the bullets come from US soldiers shooting on a crowd ... there will revenge.

    And that can be from clan members living in USA. That brings a new circle of insecurity ... not more security in US.
  19. Apr 19, 2004 #18
    But iraqi americans never avenged their clanmembers in the USA.
  20. Apr 19, 2004 #19


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    My point was that had we not helped to restore it, its anyone's guess if it would have restored itself. Some countries would certainly have decended into long-term anarchy and/or tribalism.
    Kat's point (if I may, kat...) was that that attitude is barely 50 years old. Prior to WWII, nationalism ruled international relations. If you described the EU to the average European in 1935, he/she would have laughed at you. Its little short of miraculous how far Europe has come in 50 years.
    Indeed (welcome to the site, studentx) - Iraqi Americans are here because they like America and they like democracy. Heck, they appreciate what they have better than a lot of Americans. Chances are, their not-so-lucky relatives would not be participating in the anarchy. Also, the Iraqi Americans were quite satisfied with the US's ability to keep the civilian casualties to a minimum.
  21. Apr 19, 2004 #20
    (1) Self-restoration: It will stay a guess.
    (2) Every nation had it's ideas on politic structure, economy, currency, etc. But most were democracies, meaning separated power (parliament, head of state, juridical system), reduced power of religion.
    But there was no official segragation system against minorities like US used (cfr. Barry Goldwater, etc) to discriminate i.e. blacks which only stopped in ... 19...
    (3)Studentx: you only need a small group of 3, 4 people to change the situation in USA. It all depends of the motivation. If you tease a group to much some individuals of that group will go crazy.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook