Was George W. Bush's Response to 9/11 Justified?

  • News
  • Thread starter epkid08
  • Start date
In summary, the conversation discusses the decisions made by President George W. Bush during his presidency, particularly in response to the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq. Some people believe that Bush did the right thing in pursuing those involved with terrorism, while others criticize his actions and believe that the war in Iraq was unnecessary. The conversation also touches on the issue of US support for Israel and how it may have played a role in the 9/11 attacks. Overall, opinions are divided on Bush's presidency and his decisions as president.
  • #36
edward said:
I agree completely. We support monsters and then have to go back and kill them. The Taliban is one of those monsters.

Wasn't Saddam aswell?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #37
TheStatutoryApe said:
Wasn't Saddam aswell?


He was definitely a monster and we definitely did support him for a number of years.
 
  • #38
edward said:
He was definitely a monster and we definitely did support him for a number of years.

At one time I thought that might be good enough reason in and of itself to go to war in Iraq. That and the continuously perpetuated myth that Saddam had WMDs. I was prone to listening to conspiracy theories for a while (I still find them entertaining).
But it seems to have been a rather gross miscalculation, even on the off chance there are still WMDs hiding in the sand out there somewhere.
Going after Osama/the Taliban and Saddam were both bad ideas. I don't see how just because the US was attacked by some terrorists it gave us the right to bomb the hell out of the country they decided to hide out in. Its too bad assasination is illegal, perhaps for good reason though.
 
  • #39
TheStatutoryApe said:
The US is still in Afghanistan. And the situation is not so rosy.

But it's not where the main focus is.
 
  • #40
edward said:
I agree completely. We support monsters and then have to go back and kill them. The Taliban is one of those monsters.
Ugh. You completely missed the point. We are the monsters.
 
  • #41
kyleb said:
He did issue with our bases in Saudi Arabia, but in the text of your link he also puts our involvement in Israel's occupation of Palestine right up there with it:

He mentions Israel briefly but most of the document is a rant about how the Infidel is occupying the land of two holy cities. The Israeli/Palestine situation has been going on now for quite some time yet he waits until the US establishes bases in SA to issue the Fatwa. This is seen by most as being the primary reason he issues the declaration of war...

Clinton didn't say he wanted to go to war with Iraq there, but rather that he still held hope for a diplomatic solution:

Clinton lobbied our allies and the UN Security council for military action or strengthening the UN sanctions during that timeframe. He was unsuccessful in convincing the UN to strengthen the sanctions and so he embarked on a separate military strike plan. This plan was eventually employed as "Operation Desert Fox".
If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. We want to seriously reduce his capacity to threaten his neighbors.

I am quite confident, from the briefing I have just received from our military leaders, that we can achieve the objective and secure our vital strategic interests. (Was he receiving a briefing about further diplomatic efforts?)

Let me be clear: A military operation cannot destroy all the weapons of mass destruction capacity. But it can and will leave him significantly worse off than he is now in terms of the ability to threaten the world with these weapons or to attack his neighbors.

And he will know that the international community continues to have a will to act if and when he threatens again. Following any strike, we will carefully monitor Iraq's activities with all the means at our disposal. If he seeks to rebuild his weapons of mass destruction, we will be prepared to strike him again.

Clearly Clinton is laying the groundwork for military action. No other interpretation is possible.

Regardless, that was back when Iraq actually had weapons capable of causing mass destruction, while Bush attacked Iraq after the threat had been removed.
There was never any proof that the threat had been removed. Clinton initiated military strikes in hopes of destroying any in places suspected of having them. The military strike resulted in Saddam kicking out all of the UN inspectors and there was no information indicating that anything had been destroyed or if anything had even been there in the first place.
In late 2002 France and Russia reversed the position they took in the late 90's and helped pass UN Security Council Resolution 1441. That resolution gave Saddam a 30 day deadline to give "...a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material." He never did provide the evidence needed to prove that the unaccounted for weapons had been destroyed, even after 4 months.
 
  • #42
Yeah, the official policy of the US towards Iraq was "regime change" under the Clinton administration. Anyone who thinks there's a "diplomatic" method for achieving that is delusional. That doesn't mean outright invasion by US forces, but it does mean the use of force, and the support of such force by America. And, indeed, Clinton did unapologetically use force against Saddam. The (naive, even ridiculous) hope was that if you keep Saddam weak enough, the people of Iraq would rise up and handle this all themselves. Of course, the sanctions weren't effective at weakening Saddam vis-a-vis the Iraqi population (far from it), and the Iraqi people were far too fragmented, sectionalized and tribalized to ever mount a systemic challenge to the Baathist apparatus in the first place. So the easy strategy of hoping for the best while maintaining the status quo (which included grinding the Iraqi population into dust under Saddam's boot) wasn't going to pan out.

By the time Bush came along, the choice was to either stand back and watch the sanctions regime disintegrate, and with it the security of the Middle East, or take direct action to remove him. The reason to hate Bush is not that he opted for the latter (who wouldn't? it's war either way...), but that he bungled it, and much of the War on Terror, so badly. If the fact of the invasion is what bothers you, you should be directing your ire at Jimmy Carter for screwing up on Iran so badly that we ended up having to support Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war.
 
  • #43
quadraphonics said:
... The (naive, even ridiculous) hope was that if you keep Saddam weak enough, the people of Iraq would rise up and handle this all themselves. Of course, the sanctions weren't effective at weakening Saddam vis-a-vis the Iraqi population (far from it), and the Iraqi people were far too fragmented, sectionalized and tribalized to ever mount a systemic challenge to the Baathist apparatus in the first place. ...

Agreed, though I would change 'even ridiculous' to 'though understandable' because, as John Burns NYT correspondent points out, the true condition of Iraqi society was not that well understood, at least by the press.

"Five Years"
By JOHN F. BURNS
Published: March 16, 2008
John Burns said:
...reporters, too, may wish to make an accounting. If we accurately depicted the horrors of Saddam’s Iraq in the run-up to the war, with its charnel houses and mass graves, we have to acknowledge that we were less effective, then, in probing beneath the carapace of terror to uncover other facets of Iraq’s culture and history that would have a determining impact on the American project to build a Western-style democracy, or at least the basics of a civil society.

... from the exhaustive reporting in the years since, Americans now know how deeply traumatized Iraqis were by the brutality of Saddam, and how deep was the poison of fear and distrust. They also know, in detail, through the protracted trials of Mr. Hussein and his senior henchmen, of the inner workings of the merciless machinery that transported victims to the torture chambers and mass graves.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/weekinreview/16jburns.html?pagewanted=2

Burns has elsewhere condemned other reporters from major newpapers for making sweet heart deals w/ Saddam's information people prior to the war.
 
  • #44
TheStatutoryApe said:
Wasn't Saddam aswell?

Saddam was no angel, but he was no devil either. He was a smart leader who managed to trick the western world into giving him weapons and times he needed, but more precisely, this man was the puppet of the west. Once he realized it and tried to stand on his own, he got f... over royally.
 
  • #45
cristo said:
This question is an impossible question to answer, since no one on this forum is privy to the necessary intelligence. Whilst I'm all for questioning some of the decisions made by world leaders, it should not be forgotten that the United States is not a dictatorship- George Bush was elected by your people as the best person to lead your country. This point seems to go out of the window all too much recently, and seemingly no one agrees with his policy decisions. Well, that begs the question, why is he there?

Many of us were shocked by his election in 2000, not to mention in 2004. Bush is there because he, Rove, Cheney et al took disinformation and misinformation to new heights. They were assisted by the likes of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, hate radio generally, and internet bloggers.

HE is there because he got the radical Christian vote. This was what made GW possible: The religious far right.

HE is there because hate [in this case, the hate of "liberals"] sells better than truth.
 
Last edited:
  • #46
If the Christian vote is so influential, then liberals will have to influence Christians in order to get into office. If you want to be President you have to kiss up to the Christian voter. Basic politics. Get to work libs.
 
  • #47
They are working. Every time you hear a politician mention faith, bam, it's sucking up to the Xtians. Obama doing the whole "Faith-based" thing that Bush started?

Clinton saying "My pastor isn't like Wright" instead of saying "Wow these Xtians are bat**** insane"

If either of them let on that they were atheist (if they are, I don't know) they'd drop in polls faster than... than... ummm... really fast.

They don't appeal to the hardcore evangelicals, but let's be serious, libs and evangelicals are polar opposites.

But you have plenty of people who vote Democratic who are still religious, for example blacks and latinos.
 
  • #48
WarPhalange said:
They don't appeal to the hardcore evangelicals, but let's be serious, libs and evangelicals are polar opposites.

No they aren't. Many evangelicals are quite liberal in many ways. Not in gay rights and abortion, but those are not the only liberal issues in the World. Many evangelicals are very uncomfortable with the Bush Administration's anti-poor stance. That is an opportunity for the Democrats.

Actually, many conservatives support abortion rights. Roe vs. Wade was passed not by the Democrats but by the Republicans (5 of the 7 voting for it were Republicans). The dissent was written by a Moderate Democrat (White) and the majority opinion was written by a Moderate Republican. It is a sign of the brilliance of the Republican political leadership that they managed to blame the Democrats for Roe.
 
  • #49
Ok, you have a point. But liberals can appeal to evangelicals through the things you mentioned, helping the poor, environmental care, etc. They still wouldn't have to "show their faith" as it seems to be a requirement to do these day to get into politics in the US.
 
  • #50
DaveC426913 said:
It is naive to start the 'what should he have done' clock on the day of 9/11. The clock should be started on the first day of his inauguration, and move forward asking what, if anything, the president did to make peace with the Middle East.

He gave Arafat the "high hat," and erased the progress Clinton had spent years making.
 
  • #51
epkid08 said:
A war with Iran - Should we go to war with Iran? The benefits would be great, but maybe not apparent for the next fifteen years...

Taking over Iran's oil production will help both of those needs. If Bush did this, I'd say he did the right thing.

It really scares me that someone who is (I assume) born and raised in a democracy which the US still is, would think it is OK to unilatirally attack another country purely to steel it's resources.

Who are you with, the East Indy Trading Company?

I wonder which percentage of the US thinks this way. If it is more then 5% we have a serious problem in this country.
 
  • #52
jaap de vries said:
It really scares me that someone who is (I assume) born and raised in a democracy which the US still is, would think it is OK to unilatirally attack another country purely to steel it's resources.

Who are you with, the East Indy Trading Company?

I wonder which percentage of the US thinks this way. If it is more then 5% we have a serious problem in this country.

You're not the only one who's scared. And yes, it's a serious problem.

We still go to war over resources. Might as well face that fact that, as world society, we are not as civilized as we like to think we are.
 
  • #53
jaap de vries said:
It really scares me that someone who is (I assume) born and raised in a democracy which the US still is, would think it is OK to unilatirally attack another country purely to steel it's resources.

Who are you with, the East Indy Trading Company?

I wonder which percentage of the US thinks this way. If it is more then 5% we have a serious problem in this country.

A little over 5 years ago, it was unthinkable that the US would attack a country that hadn't initiated some kind of hostile action first. Now, ruling out the option of being the attacking country is seen as weakness in national security.

I wonder how long that Bush legacy will last.
 
  • #54
jaap de vries said:
It really scares me ...

DaveC426913 said:
You're not the only one who's scared. And yes, it's a serious problem...
:bugeye:
 
  • #56
BobG said:
A little over 5 years ago, it was unthinkable that the US would attack a country that hadn't initiated some kind of hostile action first. Now, ruling out the option of being the attacking country is seen as weakness in national security.

I wonder how long that Bush legacy will last.

russ_watters said:

My post wasn't specific, but I meant unthinkable to Americans.

Still, the perception of American intentions by other countries is pretty important, too - something that Reagan had to learn pretty early in his term:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer
Three years had taught me something surprising about the Russians: Many people at the top of the Soviet hierarchy were genuinely afraid of America and Americans. Perhaps this shouldn't have surprised me, but it did … During my first years in Washington, I think many of us in the administration took it for granted that the Russians, like ourselves, considered it unthinkable that the United States would launch a first strike against them. But the more experience I had with Soviet leaders and other heads of state who knew them, the more I began to realize that many Soviet officials feared us not only as adversaries but as potential aggressors who might hurl nuclear weapons at them in a first strike …

As President, Reagan was never really the nuclear war hawk his pre-election image suggested. Of course, spending a night or two perusing the message templates for a post-nuke scenario could easily shock any sane person. Those things can give you nightmares for a few nights.
 
  • #57
It might not all be because of all the international mistakes that Bush has made, but also from domestic failures. He certainly expanded the gap between the rich and the poor with his "faith based initiatives" and I don't remember him doing anything for those without any healthcare...except exacerbating it by vetoing that bill that would expand childrens' access to healthcare. There's also No Child Left Behind, his lip service in averting global climate change, failure to address weakening infrastructure, immigration, etc.
Yeah, to sum it all up. A lot of lip, little action. He's a liar.
It's surprising how 9/11 occurred, not because of Osama's reasons to do so, but because they were able to. the terrorists were able to enter the U.S. even though 15 out of 19 of them failed to fill in the proper visa documents. U.S. intelligence had knowledge that the terrorists did receive flight training and also on several occasions of bin Laden's whereabouts, but never took action.
 
  • #58
BobG said:
My post wasn't specific, but I meant unthinkable to Americans.
Yeah, that's the part that wasn't true: our nuclear policy does not and never has completely and unconditionally ruled-out first strike. Yeah, I also doubt that we ever would have done it, but that's not the point. The point is that we don't take such things off the table because leaving them on the table has deterrence value. It also avoids the potential problem of painting yourself into a corner.

The world likes to condemn unilateral aggressive action of any kind and does not make value judgements regarding the actions themselves. They should. Such actions are sometimes the right thing to do. Israel's attack on the Isirak reactor complex in Iraq in the early 80s was the right thing to do. If Iran continues to violate the NPT and a few years down the road gets close to having a nuclear bomb, taking it out will be the right thing to do.
 
Last edited:
  • #59
DaveC426913 said:
You're not the only one who's scared. And yes, it's a serious problem.

We still go to war over resources. Might as well face that fact that, as world society, we are not as civilized as we like to think we are.

It's easy to say that and then wake up and drive to work in your oil can. This civilized world doesn't run without recources. Period. That is still no excuse for making war on a people, but I just thought it was funny because all these wars are fought to keep our society civilized. If you're looking at it from a economic standpoint, that is. From the human standpoint, we liberate peoples from oppression. Whatever you want to say about oil, Saddam killed hundreds of thousands in horrendous atrocities.
 
  • #60
russ_watters said:
Yeah, that's the part that wasn't true: our nuclear policy does not and never has completely and unconditionally ruled-out first strike. Yeah, I also doubt that we ever would have done it, but that's not the point. The point is that we don't take such things off the table because leaving them on the table has deterrence value. It also avoids the potential problem of painting yourself into a corner.

A nuclear first strike was effectively ruled out by the MAD policy. In fact that was the point, so by default we did agree to a no first-strike policy. Also, a full-scale nuclear war cannot be compared to the invasion of another country. And one can hardly compare the threat of 20,000 nuclear warheads to the threat from terrorism; even if Saddam had been involved in 911, which he wasn't. The scale of the two situations are many orders of magnitude apart.

The world likes to condemn unilateral aggressive action of any kind and does not make value judgements regarding the actions themselves. They should. Such actions are sometimes the right thing to do. Israel's attack on the Isirak reactor complex in Iraq in the early 80s was the right thing to do. If Iran continues to violate the NPT and a few years down the road gets close to having a nuclear bomb, taking it out will be the right thing to do.

What does this have to do with attacking the wrong country, which, if we assume that Bush isn't lying, is what we did? Whoops.
 
Last edited:
  • #61
Herodotus said:
It might not all be because of all the international mistakes that Bush has made, but also from domestic failures. He certainly expanded the gap between the rich and the poor with his "faith based initiatives"...
What faith based initiatives did President Bush implement? I believe the answer is none.
 
  • #62
Yeah hahahaha He said he'd do it to get support from the fundies and then stabbed them in the back. Quite possibly the only thing I like about him, even if he did it for the wrong reasons, i.e. he just didn't want to be bothered with it, whereas I would have done it on purpose.
 
  • #63
mheslep said:
What faith based initiatives did President Bush implement? I believe the answer is none.
Believe again.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/rightsandfreedoms/a/bushchurch.htm
http://www.rockinst.org/publications/religion_policy/default.aspx?id=374
http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/action/recent/Community-Solutions-Act-7-03-01.html
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,361521,00.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3944/is_200303/ai_n9170697
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #64
Aww man, they actually got some money? :(
 
  • #65
mheslep said:
What faith based initiatives did President Bush implement? I believe the answer is none.

Gokul43201 said:
Believe again.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/rightsandfreedoms/a/bushchurch.htm
http://www.rockinst.org/publications/religion_policy/default.aspx?id=374
http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/action/recent/Community-Solutions-Act-7-03-01.html
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,361521,00.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3944/is_200303/ai_n9170697
Only the first post discusses any money, only $1M, dispensed under the 'faith based initiatives' program. To stay on point: that initiative was about giving federal money to religious based institutions doing humanitarian or educational work, and not the broader umbrella issue of the division between church and state.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #66
mheslep said:
only $1M,

You might not think that's a big sum, but my taxes went to that. What ever happened to "small government", by the way?
 
  • #67
WarPhalange said:
You might not think that's a big sum, but my taxes went to that. What ever happened to "small government", by the way?
That's very nearly 0.3 cents :rolleyes:.
 
  • #68
mheslep said:
Only the first post discusses any money, only $1M, dispensed under the 'faith based initiatives' program.
So what? We can convert into a theocracy tomorrow with no additional taxpayer cost!
 
  • #69
Ivan Seeking said:
A nuclear first strike was effectively ruled out by the MAD policy. In fact that was the point, so by default we did agree to a no first-strike policy.
I don't agree, but ok...
Also, a full-scale nuclear war cannot be compared to the invasion of another country. And one can hardly compare the threat of 20,000 nuclear warheads to the threat from terrorism; even if Saddam had been involved in 911, which he wasn't. The scale of the two situations are many orders of magnitude apart.
I'm just trying to get people to acknowledge that the line exists.
What does this have to do with attacking the wrong country, which, if we assume that Bush isn't lying, is what we did? Whoops.
No one said anything about attacking the wrong country, so nothing. Whoops.

I'm discussing the general concept of unilateral first strike. I argued that there are times when it is the right thing to do. I agree that attacking Iraq was not the right thing to do (in hindsight only), but that doesn't have any bearing on whether we should do it if a situation presents itself where it is the right thing to do.

I'd argue that the 6 day war was another example of a unilateral first strike that was the right thing to do.
 
  • #70
Gokul43201 said:
So what? We can convert into a theocracy tomorrow with no additional taxpayer cost!
I only mentioned this to point out the flaw in Herotodus statement:
...He certainly expanded the gap between the rich and the poor with his "faith based initiatives"
since the government did not do anything of significance with the latter that could effect the former (the gap).
 

Similar threads

  • General Discussion
Replies
9
Views
3K
  • General Discussion
2
Replies
45
Views
7K
  • General Discussion
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • General Discussion
Replies
1
Views
9K
  • General Discussion
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Set Theory, Logic, Probability, Statistics
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
Replies
11
Views
3K
Replies
21
Views
4K
  • General Discussion
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • General Discussion
Replies
2
Views
2K
Back
Top