Wednesday, August 22, 2012

W. & WMD's

I watched the Oliver Stone move W. a couple of nights ago after I recorded it on RTE1 last week. It is not a great movie really. I know the lefties hate it and feel utterly betrayed by Stone who portrays Bush in a surprisingly favourable light. I on the other hand disliked the lazy psychological profile of Bush that obsesses with his insecurities that stem from his relationship with his father. I mean, who out there doesn't have some personal childhood hang-up that continues to motivate them in some way. The main focus of the movie should have been the highly controversial George Bush Presidency and not whether George Senior hugged him enough.

There were some interesting scenes though. The one that struck me the most was the one in which Bush's closest advisors held a meeting to discuss why no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. In it David Kay of the Iraq Survey Group makes what I believe is the most important point about the Iraq war which is almost always overlooked. In this scene the David Kay character explains to a gobsmacked Bush administration why Sadam Hussein behaved like he was hiding WMD's when he in fact had none. Sadam was trying to thread a very thin line. He wanted to be ambiguous with the west so that they would confront him over his WMD's but not to the extent that they would take military action. His most important objective was to make his own people believe the perception that the Iraqi military had stockpiles of chemical weapons. The belief that such weopans existed was what prevented his own people from rising against him. The majority Shia Muslims in the south and the ethnic Kurds in the north were terrified of an arial gas attack in the event of an uprising just as the unfortunate citizens of Halabja had sufered in 1988. This point is so often missed when discussing the Iraq war. Because had Bush allowed the UN weapons inspectors to find out what we subsequently knew to be true, that Sadam was toothless on the WMD front, then it is very possible, if not quite likely that it would have led to the overthrow of Sadam Hussein by his own people. Unfortunately though, it seems that others wanted war and a lot of people died unnecessarily.


Paul said...

There would have been a bloodbath at some point anyway. Iraq is astride the Sunni/Shia fault line and also throw the Kurds into the equation. A revolution by his own people would certainly have killed more. The western failure was to not concentrate on supporting a fully democratic Kurdistan. The Kurds would have been delighted, a largely secular people. Plus it would have weakened Iran and Syria.

Ted Leddy said...


Perhaps, however the big gain from a western point of view is that the US and Britain would not have been drawn into an extremely costly war which eroded their power and influence in the region.

Paul said...

That's my point a limited intervention with carefully delineated objectives. A liberation of Kurdistan and support of it's independence.

Anonymous said...

If you're watching political movies, you should check out the Fog Of War assuming you have not already seen it. There is a great line where Robert McNamara (talking about Vietnam) said that they couldn't get any of their allies to sign on for it and he says something like "if you convince societies which comparable values to your own to the rightness of your cause you should at the very least re-examine your reasoning."