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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Connecting the Dots...

Bill Bearden wrote:
> You are brave, Eric.
Thank you, sir.    (01)

My only real hope for surviving the potential for flames,
in fact, is to treat the subject as an honest inquiry,
IBIS-fashion. A few items that I generally thought of us
non-sequitors (Ok, so he gassed the Kurds. That's bad but
it's just rock throwing -- or so I thought.) Suddenly
gelled with other data points to produce a plausible line
of reasoning.    (02)

> Question: Does Iraq really have biological and/or
> chemical weapons? We are told they do. I believe they
> do. However, if they don't, the whole thing falls
> apart.
You are absolutely correct there. If they don't, then
the chain of logic breaks, and the proposed action would
be pointless.    (03)

> Question: If Iraq has biological and/or chemical (or
> other WOMD), can they actually deploy and use these
> weapons?
That, I believe is a nonsequitors. It makes no difference
whether he can or would deploy them. But if he would sell
them to Al Queda (who were, in fact, found investigating
crop sprayers, among other things) that is a whole different
story. The disaster scenario is Iraq as supplier, Al Queda 
as delivery vehicle. That is the sequence which must be
interrupted.    (04)

> And even if Iraq has no means of using these weapons
> effectively in a military sense, these weapons could
> potentially be used non-militarily against the US and
> its allies. Eric mentions the use by terrorists. This
> is certainly at least a theoretical possibility. But
> one must ask, if so, why hasn't it happened in the
> years when there were no inspections.
I have two answers to that. I'm not sure which is more
  1. Al Queda is now a "proven commodity". Where before
     it might have simply produced trouble, it could now
     be seen as a viable option.    (05)

  2. The exact same argument could have been used for 
     every day of the 9 years before the first attack
     on the world trade center, and the 2nd. Right up
     until Sept 11th, when "Why haven't they done it
     before now?" ceased to be an effective argument.    (06)

> And Jack asks how were these weapons procured. Did
> Iraq make them? Did they have help making them? Did
> they find their way out of the old Soviet Union?
Might have. But I didn't see any relevance until your
next question.    (07)

> If Iraq procured these weapons before, couldn't they
> do that again? Even without their current leadership?
Absolutely. As could many existing states. The state of
affairs that Bill Joy warned of is coming to pass, and
this is just the tip of the iceberg. The threefold path
to world nirvana involves:
  a) Being a whole let less materialistic in this culture,
     so we stop worshipping materialism in a way that
     makes it unacceptable to earth-friendly cultures.
  b) Bringing everyone else up to speed, in terms of
     a minimal-environmental-impact-maximum-human-benefit
     materialism. (i.e. spread the wealth)
  c) Figure out some way to put the genii of evil-technology
     back in the box, and nail down the lid. (I don't have
     any real hope of that, but I wish.)    (08)

> Question: What does regime change guarantee? In
> baseball, when a team has a bad season or two, the
> manager gets fired. But the manager didn't strike out
> or commit any errors. It is a very difficult thing to
> predict whether there will be more or fewer deaths in
> the US (and allies) from terrorism with the current
> Iraqi leadership continuing in place or without it. We
> will never know what would have happened.
Yeah. This is a major problem with global-impact decisions.
You don't get to try to both ways and see what happens.
So you go at it game-like, predict the best strategies for
the other players, and come up with a strategy that makes
sense for yourself. Not easy.    (09)

> Question: Is certainty possible in a situation like
> this? Can we even be certain about the odds?
I don't think so. What I think we can say, if the conclusion
leads to the fact that, sooner or later, selling WOMD to
Al Queda makes sense for Iraq, then every day that goes by
simply increases the chances that it will happen (or has 
already).    (010)

> My opinion is that the odds for a safer future lie
> along the very nasty path through war. But it is
> certainly little more than a vague notion since I
> don't know everything that the CIA, NSA and MI6 know.
The most compelling thing on that subject was an item I 
got from one of the experts on a news interview Sunday
(meet the press, or MacNeil Lehr, or one of those shows).
He said that we suspected the USSR was backing some
terrorist efforts. But when the iron curtain fell, we were
astonished to find out how *much* they had been doing.    (011)

I'm with you in predicting a similar level of revelations
after we go in. But I understand that it is an article of
faith, and that not all people share it. So I understand
that some people are against such an action.     (012)

I just thought I'd lay out what I see as the case for going
in that can be reasonably made -- a case which isn't being
made very effectively in public forums, I'm afraid, possibly
because its just too damn scary to contemplate.    (013)

One thing I know, if it weren't for Sept 11th we would be
happy holding the embargo and letting time take its toll.
10 years of Iraqi defiance isn't all that much, really, when
you consider that the iron curtain was in place for more than
30, before it fell.    (014)

It's just that, after Sept 11, we don't have the luxury of
spending another 20 years -- if a connection can be made
between them (or postulated with reasonable probability in 
the future).     (015)

My sense so far is that the case is sufficiently probable to
justify action. I remain open to counter argument, though.
But I wanted to focus on the *real* issues, for a while.    (016)