Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by darklordoftech, Jun 12, 2019 at 6:48 PM.
What if the WMDs were really there?
Then we don't invade.
We won't risk the body count.
Now if you are asking what if Hussein was on the cusp of a having weapons of mass destruction, but not really there yet. Well, still a hard sell for a war.
The US military was prepared if he had WMDs and there was the unspoken threat of what would happen if he used them. Gas only really kills unprepared troops, it can make life miserable and hamper operations but against prepared troops it isn't that lethal. The US administration and military were convinced he did have them when the invasion was launched, admittedly as a result of confirmation bias
Most likely Bush ends up somewhat more popular, US reputation somewhat better, but not enough to really change things in the near term
So say Bush 2 can produce WMDs from Iraq? He suddenly looks a lot more competent and shutting down Saddam a smart move. It may not mitigate the various issues with Iraq post invasion, but Bush can hold up evidence that justified what he did. I imagine the '04 election is a more decisive Bush win with a lot of small butterflies from that.
I'd still bet on a Democrat in '08, but that's as much due to the national mood and voter fatigue than anything else.
The fantasy was a fully operational panoply of NBC's (the nuclear being down the road a year perhaps) that he would happily lend out to various terrorist organizations (to this day that we bought that is to our national shame). And the officer elements of the US forces that were not in on the con job were seriously worried - Hussein had already shown he was able and willing unleash whatever it would take to preserve his regime. And we were going in for regime change - which means we had no credible threat of retaliation if he unleashed his NBC's.
I don't think anybody expected functional nukes, just an active nuclear program he wasn't supposed to have, with the actual weapons being Chemical, Biological or Radiological. Chemical, Biological and Radiological weapons are pretty ineffective against prepared troops
Using such weapons on the US would not help his regime, they wouldn't be that effective, and retaliation necessary for the credibility of the US deterrent would make things worse in the military sense
So, you mean something more than the WMD we actually did find he had there in Iraq?
The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons
I imagine it would have helped Tony Blair politically as well. Bush was lucky John Kerry was a weak candidate,was also lucky that Kerry's anti-war opportunism post Vietnam war created the swift boat veterans for the truth.
The potential chemical weapon part was a real stupid reason to go invade the place. Chemical weapons are not something anybody can police the world and prevent, its WW1 tech for Mustard gas, or WW2 tech for the Sarin, any country can turn legitimate peace time industry making that stuff almost overnight.
The big question will be U.S. response. We've hobbled our choices by relying on nukes with no chemical or biological option, so the question is how they're used.
A demonstration after the first chemical attack and hope it sends a message.
A tit for tat, every chem or bio attack gets a tactical nuke response.
Since the war's main drive is revenge would Bush consider hitting Baghdad strategically to try to get Saddam?
Um, how about a bit more reality first? "Revenge?" Bush Jr could've had plenty of "revenge" by targeting Saddam specifically. Kinda like Bill Clinton did upon learning of the Iraqi assassination plot.
The US led its coalition into Iraq for a number of reasons. First and foremost being the continued violations of the Ceasefire Agreement. The Iraqis had zero credibility in their claims of having disarmed themselves of their WMD. This, thanks to the years of subsequent UN investigations of Iraq which kept uncovering more and more WMD that the Iraqis swore they didn't have.
Another reason why the US went into Iraq was to shift the focus of the "War on Terrorism" from having to fight it in a reactionary mode within America's own borders and the borders of the other Western countries to fighting it within the borders of an enemy's country. It's a lot better and easier to do so "over there" than in your own backyard. As far as that aspect went, it succeeded handsomely. Agree or disagree with how the US led coalition handled "winning the peace" in Iraq after having deposed Saddam, the US occupation of Iraq served as a magnet for jihadis and Islamist terrorists throughout the Middle East and it drew them there by the thousands. That meant they came to fight on ground of America's choosing where the US could employ its military superiority to a far, far great extent than it would've been able to had the battles been taking place in New York, Los Angeles, London or Paris. Over time, this resulted in the elimination of thousands of extremists who were thus not destabilizing their home countries or taking their battles to the Western countries.
It still baffles me why Bush & Blair chose to make such a non-issue of all the WMD we did find in Iraq. In fact, the coalition forces were pretty active in downplaying it.
IRL - He did have them... unfortunately... he used them all on Iran a decade earlier and on his own people. Unfortunately he used them all up before Iraq War #1, then bluffed he had them before Iraq #2 - basically to push down descent and keep Iran from getting ambitious, and then the US called him on his bluff causing Iraq #2.
Actually, no. He didn't "use them all on Iran a decade earlier." After the end of the Gulf War 1.0 the UNSCOM kept finding more and more of the things. Then, after the end of the Gulf War 2.0 the US led coalition forces kept on finding more and more of the things. So, by no stretch of the imagination has the Iraqis disarmed themselves of their WMD.
What I meant to ask is, “What if Bush’s claims were accurate?”
Nah, it was revenge. Some childish mano el mano horseshit. Bush II saw not overrunning Iraq as his father's greatest failure, the timidity that unwound his Presidency and lost his second term. It was unfinished family business.
Lies and fabrications basically. Mobile chemical weapons labs, yellowcake uranium from Niger, fleets of drones capable of reaching America ready to spray chemical weapons, yadda yadda yadda. Imminent threat! Existential threat! Lies. Not exaggerations. Lies. Not mistakes. Lies.
Funny how Bush II refused to let the Weapons Inspectors conclude their work. I guess he had a war to get on.
Which, after the invasion, it turned out they really didn't have it! Gosh!
Some of us were actually around for this crap.
Of course, the Saddam Hussein regime was absolutely hostile to Al Quaeda in a 'shoot on sight' and Iraq wasn't actually a source of Islamic terrorism.
And the US was already in Afghanistan, bombing craters full of rubble looking not so hard for Al Quaeda.
Or to just pull bullshit out of your butt.
That's a wonderful fairy tale, and I'm sure it's very heartwarming to the millions of innocent civilians, women and children whose homes that the US decided to turn into a charnel pit. But it doesn't actually hold up all that well.
The vast majority of the Iraqi insurgency was home grown. America created tens of thousands of new terrorists, guys who would go on to found ISIS, who would bring new blood to the Jihadi movement, who would go on to create new bloodbaths in Mail, Mauretania, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Somalia. People who launched campaigns of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
So America's gift that kept on giving, over and over. It's no wonder so many people around the world think Americans are assholes.
Were there foreign Jihadi's that came to Iraq? Yep, some. Mostly the local insurgents welcomed them with open arms, and stuck them in suicide vests.
Oh yeah, and here it comes. 'America did find tons of WMD in Iraq! We just covered it all up, that's all!'
A couple of things...
First off, go look up thread a bit and click on the link to that New York Times article on all the WMD the US found after we deposed Saddam. By the way, the New York Times is hardly in the pro-Bush or pro-Iraq War camp.
Secondly, yes, the insurgency in Iraq was, by definition, homegrown. The number of foreign fighters the US led coalition engaged, captured or killed however, was not "homegrown." Or at least not "homegrown" in Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq certainly wasn't and they happily recruited throughout the Islamic world. The Iranians the Coalition engaged, capture or killed weren't "homegrown" either.
Those weapons inspectors did their job and found Iraq to be in "real and material breach" of the terms of the Ceasefire Agreement that halted the first Gulf War. That the Iraqis failed to comply with those terms is their fault. That the Iraqis also failed to note the change in the US administration is also their fault. Saddam clearly thought he could keep getting away with his evasions and corrupting of the UN inspectors and of its sanctions. He was wrong. Painfully and lethally so.
Now, if you're capable of discussing the facts in at least a civil and respectful manner then, by all means, let's do so. Otherwise?
I really hate to point this out, but the arms inspectors had found the Iraqis in violation of the arms control agreements that they were under after the first Gulf War. https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_10/iraqspecialoct02
Numerous times, for example, in 1996, the Iraqis denied inspectors access to the areas that they wanted to access per the document above.
Something else to consider is the actions of France, Germany and Russia. None of those countries chose to join the US led coalition as it enforced the terms of that Ceasefire Agreement - i.e., if Iraq failed to meet the requirements of that agreement the US led coalition had the option to renew military action against Iraq. All three of those countries had developed extensive business relations with Iraq through the 1990s. This, to the tune of tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars worth of contracts for oil development, access, and sales of various goods and machinery. Those contracts were with the Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein and if that regime was overthrown and Saddam deposed then those contracts would be worthless. All three of those countries maintained extensive contacts within Iraq throughout the 1990s and that was something neither the US nor the UK was able to do. Those contacts were throughout all levels of Iraqi society and, due to the nature of the business arrangements and such, that access was also all throughout the nation of Iraq. All three of those countries, France, Germany and Russia, also maintained their own independent and extensive intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities. These, quite independent of what the US and UK were operating.
Yet, all three of those countries also came to the same conclusion about Iraq's WMD as did the US & UK. Namely, that Iraq had either maintained or was about to reconstitute its WMD capabilities. All three of those countries agreed that Iraq was thus in violation of the terms of that Ceasefire Agreement.
And all three of those countries broke with the US & UK in what should be done about Iraq's violations. They preferred the continuation of the sanctions against Iraq - despite clear proof that those sanctions had been evaded and co-opted by the Iraqis. They thought more sanctions or more political pressure might thus work. At the very least, all three of those nations opposed the plans of the US and UK to renew military action against Iraq.
With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake as well as no small amount of international prestige and geopolitical relationships in the balance, if the governments of France, Germany or Russia had any proof that Iraq had not, in fact, reconstituted or retained its WMD capabilities then those three countries had EVERY reason to make such knowledge known to the world.
Do so would've been in their best interests. Doing so would've chastened the US and UK while enhancing the relative standing of France, Germany and Russia. The Russians, in particular were about to lose their biggest and most powerful client state in the Middle East.
Yet, despite all that, none of those three countries could find fault with the intelligence assessments of the US and UK that the Iraqis were in violation of the Ceasefire Agreement and thus posed a clear and present danger to the stability of the region to the international community at large.
If it had been but a lie by Bush and Blair then France, Germany or Russia could easily have revealed it as such. That the intelligence agencies of those three countries - the independent intelligence agencies - came to the same conclusion as did the US and UK agencies, makes it rather difficult to claim the US or the UK were lying or had some other petty motivation for actions.
I totally agree. I was just pointing out to DValdron that the 2nd Gulf War didn't happen in a vacuum and that Hussein wasn't the innocent bystander that some people make him out to be.
Saddam wasn't an innocent man. He was a cheap thug in fake medals who started and lost two wars, wrecked his country, and killed and tortured thousands of people.
But let's make no mistake. In 2003 he was disarmed. There were no WMD's left. The claim that there were amounted to Bush administration advance lies, and post-facto excuses and evasion. It was a war of choice.
Because after the first Gulf war to liberate Kuwait, Iraq was found to have substantial WMD programs and was required under the terms of the ceasefire to cooperate in revealing them and dismantling them.
Or do you mean the second war to invade Iraq?
Separate names with a comma.