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Bush to Restate Plans for Yet More Iraqs

Old 03-16-06, 07:35 AM
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Bush to Restate Plans for Yet More Iraqs

The Washington Post

Bush to Restate Terror Strategy
2002 Doctrine of Preemptive War To Be Reaffirmed


By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer


President Bush plans to issue a new national security strategy today reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled experience in Iraq.

The long-overdue document, an articulation of U.S. strategic priorities that is required by law, lays out a robust view of America's power and an assertive view of its responsibility to bring change around the world. On topics including genocide, human trafficking and AIDS, the strategy describes itself as "idealistic about goals and realistic about means."

The strategy expands on the original security framework developed by the Bush administration in September 2002, before the invasion of Iraq. That strategy shifted U.S. foreign policy away from decades of deterrence and containment toward a more aggressive stance of attacking enemies before they attack the United States.

The preemption doctrine generated fierce debate at the time, and many critics believe the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq fatally undermined an essential assumption of the strategy -- that intelligence about an enemy's capabilities and intentions can be sufficient to justify preventive war.

In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War. In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the document continues. "When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize."

Such language could be seen as provocative at a time when the United States and its European allies have brought Iran before the U.N. Security Council to answer allegations that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons. At a news conference in January, Bush described an Iran with nuclear arms as a "grave threat to the security of the world."

Some security specialists criticized the continued commitment to preemption. "Preemption is and always will be a potentially useful tool, but it's not something you want to trot out and throw in everybody's face," said Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "To have a strategy on preemption and make it central is a huge error."

A military attack against Iran, for instance, could be "foolish," Ullman said, and it would be better to seek other ways to influence its behavior. "I think most states are deterrable."

Thomas Donnelly, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has written on the 2002 strategy, said the 2003 invasion of Iraq in the strict sense is not an example of preemptive war, because it was preceded by 12 years of low-grade conflict and was essentially the completion of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Still, he said, recent problems there contain lessons for those who would advocate preemptive war elsewhere. A military strike is not enough, he said; building a sustainable, responsible state in place of a rogue nation is the real challenge.

"We have to understand preemption -- it's not going to be simply a preemptive strike," he said. "That's not the end of the exercise but the beginning of the exercise."

The White House plans to release the 49-page National Security Strategy today, starting with a speech by national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to the U.S. Institute of Peace. The White House gave advance copies to The Washington Post and three other newspapers.

The strategy has no legal force of its own but serves as a guidepost for agencies and officials drawing up policies in a range of military, diplomatic and other arenas. Although a 1986 law requires that the strategy be revised annually, this is the first new version since 2002. "I don't think it's a change in strategy," Hadley said in an interview. "It's an updating of where we are with the strategy, given the time that's passed and the events that have occurred."

But the new version of the strategy underscores in a more thematic way Bush's desire to make the spread of democracy the fundamental underpinning of U.S. foreign policy, as he expressed in his second inaugural address last year. The opening words of the strategy, in fact, are lifted from that speech: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

The strategy commits the administration to speaking out against human rights abuses, holding high-level meetings at the White House with reformers from repressive nations, using foreign aid to support elections and civil society, and applying sanctions against oppressive governments. It makes special mention of religious intolerance, subjugation of women and human trafficking.

At the same time, it acknowledges that "elections alone are not enough" and sometimes lead to undesirable results. "These principles are tested by the victory of Hamas candidates in the recent elections in the Palestinian territories," the strategy says, referring to the radical group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States.

Without saying what action would be taken against them, the strategy singles out seven nations as prime examples of "despotic systems" -- North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe. Iran and North Korea receive particular attention because of their nuclear programs, and the strategy vows in both cases "to take all necessary measures" to protect the United States against them.

"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the document says, echoing a statement made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week. It recommits to efforts with European allies to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations of nuclear weapons, then adds ominously: "This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided."

The language about confrontation is not repeated with North Korea, which says it already has nuclear bombs, an assertion believed by U.S. intelligence. But Pyongyang is accused of a "bleak record of duplicity and bad-faith negotiations," as well as of counterfeiting U.S. currency, trafficking in drugs and starving its own people.

The strategy offers a much more skeptical view of Russia than in 2002, when the glow of Bush's friendship with President Vladimir Putin was still bright.

"Recent trends regrettably point toward a diminishing commitment to democratic freedoms and institutions," it says. "We will work to try to persuade the Russian Government to move forward, not backward, along freedom's path."

It also warns China that "it must act as a responsible stakeholder that fulfills its obligations" and guarantee political freedom as well as economic freedom. "Our strategy," the document says, "seeks to encourage China to make the right strategic choices for its people, while we hedge against other possibilities."

To assuage allies antagonized by Bush's go-it-alone style in his first term, the White House stresses alliance and the use of what it calls "transformational diplomacy" to achieve change. At the same time, it asserts that formal structures such as the United Nations or NATO may at times be less effective than "coalitions of the willing," or groups responding to particular situations, such as the Asian tsunami of 2004.

Beyond the military response to terrorism, the document emphasizes the need to fight the war of ideas against Islamic radicals whose anti-American rhetoric has won wide sympathy in parts of the world.
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Old 03-16-06, 07:38 AM
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So you don't think future Presidents (from both sides) are going to reaffirm this "preemptive strike" capability?
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Old 03-16-06, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by nemein
So you don't think future Presidents (from both sides) are going to reaffirm this "preemptive strike" capability?

In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War.
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Old 03-16-06, 08:04 AM
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Yes, I read that... the statement I made was based on your "January 20, 2009 can't come to soon for me." comment and whether or not you think future presidents are or aren't going to maintain the same policy. We'll have to see what happens but I suspect it's going to be one of those things that's "kept on the table" from now on.
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Old 03-16-06, 08:07 AM
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No, I just want you to admit that Iraq was not a 'candidate' for a pre-emptive strike.

Will you now, in possession of all the evidence, admit that?

BTW: I would like for a few others who supported the invasion to make that admission also.
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Old 03-16-06, 08:20 AM
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Iraq thread #1076

Of course it was a candidate for a pre-emptive strike, then again so is China and I'm sure somewhere buried in the Pentagon is some sort of first strike plan against China. Now whether or not the pre-emptive strike against Iraq was the "right" thing to do is highly debatable, but IMHO I would have been surprised (given the recent history we've had w/ Iraq) if Iraq wasn't atleast considered a candidate.

Let the begin though I guess...


BTW you haven't answered the question about whether or not you think future Presidents will retain this capability...
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Old 03-16-06, 08:31 AM
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One thing is certain. The disarmament policy was a failure.
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Old 03-16-06, 08:31 AM
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I think, and pray, that future presidents will use it far more wisely than this president has.
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Old 03-16-06, 08:36 AM
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I suspect given our experience w/ Iraq any future attempt will be dealt w/ from a more skeptical POV... atleast for a generation, after that it's anybody's guess.
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Old 03-16-06, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
One thing is certain. The disarmament policy was a failure.
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Old 03-16-06, 08:46 AM
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If it had been completed properly (by both sides) the question of whether or not SH/Iraq had WMD should have been answered during Clinton's admin (to est a time frame not to "blame Clinton") and the thought of carrying through on the pre-emptive strike plans shouldn't have even really come up.
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Old 03-16-06, 09:40 AM
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Yahoo News

Reuters

US says launches biggest air assault in Iraq

The U.S. military said on Thursday it had launched its biggest air offensive in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

A military statement said the operation involving more than 50 aircraft and 1,500 Iraqi and U.S. troops as well as 200 tactical vehicles targeted suspected insurgents operating near the town of Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

The statement said "Operation Swarmer" was launched on Thursday morning and is "expected to continue for several days as a thorough search of the objective area is conducted."

Samarra was the site of a bombing attack last month on a Shi'ite shrine that set off sectarian reprisals and pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.
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Old 03-16-06, 10:44 AM
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Have the war drums began beating against Iran?

George W. Bush has around two to three years left to strike against Iran. His father was able to start a war in the latter years of his first term. Are these pronouncements of Dubya in preparation of such an attack? I, for one, believe that this Iranian goverment should not have nuclear weapons. My question is, is this the beginning of a new onslaught?
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Old 03-16-06, 10:48 AM
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Bush the war president

I'm not a bit surprised by this

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Old 03-16-06, 10:50 AM
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14 posts and no Bush poll numbers yet?

Come on people, you're slipping!
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Old 03-16-06, 10:58 AM
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Bloomberg

Bush's Approval Rating Falls to Lowest-Ever 37%, Poll Indicates

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush enjoys the approval of only 37 percent of the U.S. public, his lowest-ever rating, against 58 percent who take a poor view of his job performance, according to the latest monthly poll carried out by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News.

The survey indicates that the Iraq war is a crucial cause of dissatisfaction; 61 percent of respondents said they disapprove of Bush's handling of the situation there, against 35 percent who take a positive view of it, and 51 percent said the overthrow of Saddam Hussein hasn't been worth the cost in human and financial terms, against 39 percent who said it has.

Fifty percent of those questioned said the war has weakened the U.S.'s standing in the world, against 28 percent who thought otherwise, and 57 percent said they were less confident that the war will end successfully, against 32 percent who voiced confidence.

The poll indicates that Iraq has damaged the prospects of the Republican Party in next November's congressional elections; respondents said they'd prefer Democratic control of Congress after the elections by 50 percent to 37 percent.

On certain questions concerning the war, however, sentiment was still positive: 47 percent said it's strengthened anti- terrorism efforts, against 27 percent who said it's weakened them; 46 percent expressed the view that the war has strengthened Iraq as a nation, against 34 percent who took the opposite view; and 43 percent said it's strengthened Middle East democracy, against 20 percent who said it's weakened it.

The poll was based on telephone interviews across the U.S. with 1,005 adults, conducted between March 10 and March 13; the margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
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Old 03-16-06, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by X
14 posts and no Bush poll numbers yet?

Come on people, you're slipping!




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Old 03-16-06, 11:12 AM
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Well, it worked...
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Old 03-16-06, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by joeydaninja
George W. Bush has around two to three years left to strike against Iran. His father was able to start a war in the latter years of his first term. Are these pronouncements of Dubya in preparation of such an attack? I, for one, believe that this Iranian goverment should not have nuclear weapons. My question is, is this the beginning of a new onslaught?
I don't believe that even this administration is reckless enough to invade Iran.
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Old 03-16-06, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
BTW: I would like for a few others who supported the invasion to make that admission also.
I'll make that admission, in possession of all the evidence now available.

That does not, however, lower my personal "approval rating" of Bush.
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Old 03-16-06, 11:50 AM
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In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War. In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
So out goes the "...unfeathered by international treaties or concerns" bit, which should make this revision slightly less megalomaniacal.
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Old 03-16-06, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
No, I just want you to admit that Iraq was not a 'candidate' for a pre-emptive strike.

Will you now, in possession of all the evidence, admit that?

BTW: I would like for a few others who supported the invasion to make that admission also.
What are you trying to say here? You're against the invasion but you said it yourself that after 9/11, the administration saw Iraq as a threat in the region. That region IS a vital interest to the US.
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Old 03-16-06, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Myster X
What are you trying to say here? You're against the invasion but you said it yourself that after 9/11, the administration saw Iraq as a threat in the region. That region IS a vital interest to the US.
I was opposed to the invasion - and have said 50 times on this forum.

Simply seeing Iraq as a threat is not sufficient for invasion. China is a threat to this country.

How severe is the threat & how immediate is the threat are the questions that must be answered. The evidence has clearly shown that the threat (if there even was one) from Iraq was neither great nor immediate. Therefore, the situation in Iraq did not warrant a U. S. invasion.
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Old 03-16-06, 01:36 PM
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I expect we'll be bombing Iran before his term is over. He's got a misplaced hard-on for particular countries.
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Old 03-16-06, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
I expect we'll be bombing Iran before his term is over. He's got a misplaced hard-on for particular countries.
I hope you're wrong, because that would be a complete disaster.
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