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Another great article today from which I learned a few things. Hopefully I can return the favour:

Without international support, an attack would make us look like an aggressive, reckless bully and would damage relationships with other countries. This could cost us dearly in the future when we engage in trade negotiations, deal with other conflicts, etc.

Well, I must point out here that, as a Canadian, I haven't ever seen much in the way of negotiation on America's part. We are your biggest trading partner (something like $1.2B per day) and IIRC we export the most energy to you (not you specifically Whitney, though I do hear you leave the lights on when you go out) yet when something doesn't go your way, unilateral action seems the norm (for example, the softwood lumber dispute).

So, I guess what I'm saying is that, from this side of the fence, America already has that reputation.

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Howdy Whitney et al,

Hmmmmm ... First I'd like to say that I definitely like the approach you have taken in trying to analyze and maybe make some sense out of the current situation with Iraq. Next, I'd like to let y'all know that personally I have waffled back and forth so much on this issue that I now feel that worn down tennis balls are long lost brethren for this flea friendly lupine <smile>. Please note that I am neither as concise or clear a writer as yourself, so you might need to translate my wolfspeak then cogitate on my verbose points to understand them.

Even though I remain impressed by your approach AND your willingness to publicly address this topic, I was sort of struck by maybe an unconscious bias? Could be in the lists you drew up or could be in my own curdling excuse for lupine neuroprocessing. I thought your list of reasons for NOT attacking now were more erudite and inclusive (I also liked Simon's point about future trade negotiations) than those for attacking now.

I may be naught more than an old furbearing curmudgeonly mongrel, but I have seen the direct effects of war up close and personal like. Of course they aren't pretty. But I have also seen the truly pervasive pain and suffering that is the want of the depraved perverse set, including the sociopathic “bully”. More to the point, I have personally seen what well-meaning but never ending debate delays mean to the innocent bystanders. The incessant debaters club members never do seem to take ANY responsibility for their part <sigh>. Me thinks the present suffering and deadly peril that Iraqis deal with daily, and would have to endure as debates and deadlines string out, might be more strongly made.

To this 4 legger, Saddam sure does seem to be in at least this unrepentant “bully” group, wouldn't you say? How many of such people do you think respond positively to reason and change their ways? Sadly, in my personal wolfish experience I have never known that to happen for any 2 legger. I've seen this pov written up in various ways in multiple places. Maybe y'all have more / better experiences with such abnormal 2 leggers than I? When folks such as he are involved, delays translate directly into pain suffering and death <sigh>.

A much more prominently discussed reason for action now seems to be associated with Saddam's response (for over a decade) with regard to UN resolutions. For instance, even the very first one had language of the sort that Saddam had to declare AND destroy any and ALL WMD (including programs to develop same) WITHIN ONE YEAR or ELSE. Well … the years have shown that he didn't take the resolution (or subsequent ones) seriously. I would think a decade + of “last chances” and more than 10 resolutions is more than a few too many. But then again I do howl at the moon a lot, so what do I know <g>? Might lack of acting decisively now cause significant (irreparable?) harm to the UN itself?

Going both ways (so to speak <g>), stepped up inspections (with possibly direct interdiction?) might be seen as an adequate means of containing the threat that is Saddam, especially as it has worked well in the past. But like all tasty lil rabbits have an ear on each side of their heads, there appears to be another side of this point. Namely that inspections had essentially FAILED to detect IRAQ's nuclear program AND multiple disallowed weapon's systems. Rather, until defectors offered verifiable proof, Iraq denied their existence and ANY associated paperwork PLUS seemed to suffer no consequences for their duplicity.

It appears well known that Iraq is quite expert and experienced in the subtle art of deceiving “inspectors”. And so in this regard, inspections do not seem to be any sort of alternative to military action now. As a related supporting point, what 2 legger believes that Iraq's re-admission of inspectors and the various recent partial and public appearances of compliance with resolutions could have been achieved without the very real credible and direct threat of military action?

Well … I could ramble on and on, but I best head out before any of you start thinking a wolf skin would look good over the mantle <smile>.

Take care,
IcyWolf -- fearing that ALL choices at this point will have terrible consequences and inherently unpredictable risks going forward. And so, if no “right” answer exists …
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