Agent to USA: "Yeah, about those bioweapons labs..."

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SOC

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41609536/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa

So it seems one of the Iraqi defectors (or "traitor" to Gordonites failing to understand the concept) claims he made up the stories about the biological weapons truck things in Iraq. I'm curious to know how this affects people's impression of the war's origins. From where I sit, I can almost guarantee that this will be used as another attempt by the media to undermine anything remotely connected with Bush II and prop up the New American Socialist. What people should also be remembering are a few basic facts:

-This guy was only one piece of the puzzle.

-I entered the USAF in 1999. We took an Iraqi WMD program seriously back then, and surprise, surprise, that was before Bush II even entered office.

-Numerous chemical weapons have been discovered in Iraq since 2003.

My opinion? We were going to hit Iraq regardless of 9/11, Afghanistan, or anything else. We just had to paint some sort of believable picture to get the crowd of observers to let us go ahead and get things over with. The WMD argument fit based on a decade-long perception and a pre-existing UN mandate, as Saddam was never in the required full compliance with the cease-fire terms of 1991. This guy had a story that fit with what we already believed, and yeah, if this is true, we got played. But it was going to happen regardless. I mean, it's not like SOUTHERN WATCH and NORTHERN WATCH were huge wastes of time and resources or anything.

Oh wait, they were!
 
Half the point of a functioning intelligence agency is that you can't get played. You check, cross check, and vette your sources. In this case, those processes were largely circumvented.
 
But can we say that Iraq was a deliberate circumvention? The article mentions that the DIA found the guy to be non-credible. Easy for them to inquire about now, but rememeber that post-9/11 one of the major issues was that intel just wasn't being shared by the big players. If Germany got ahold of this guy, the info would likely have been passed to CIA or State. If disseminated in the system from there, you could get DIA calling BS and CIA drawing an entirely different picture, both based in part on said intel they aren't sharing back and forth to begin with. Then when CIA is asked to make an assessment, you end up with their picture of events. Bottom line: if you want to say that US intelligence was (and probably still is) seriously flawed, I'd definitely agree with that.
 
quellish said:
Half the point of a functioning intelligence agency is that you can't get played. You check, cross check, and vette your sources. In this case, those processes were largely circumvented.

Things have not improved if you recently had Leon Panetta CIA Director on Capital Hill testifying, "according the media reports"! Yes he was getting his on the ground intel in Egypt from the media not CIA sources.
 
It's also important to keep in mind not only what was thought to be known at the time about that time, but what was known at the time about the future. Whether or not Saddam had an active WMD program in 2002-03, what was known was that the inspection regime was going to end shortly, allowing Saddam to go full-bore anyway. And since various foreign powers were *already* doing shady business with Saddam re: WMD, it's easy to see that in the post-inspection era, he'd be able to get back up and running really quickly.

So it was a decision between "go to war now on less than stellar intelligence, but we know he doesn't yet have WMD," and "wait for him to arm up, and then bring the war to us." If you think Bush is on the wrong side of history now, imagine how history would see him in an alternate reality where he didn;t go to war in 2003, and in 2008 New York City gets nuked.

These are the sort of decisions a President has to make. And it's why they tend to age really, really fast.
 
SOC said:
But can we say that Iraq was a deliberate circumvention? The article mentions that the DIA found the guy to be non-credible. Easy for them to inquire about now, but rememeber that post-9/11 one of the major issues was that intel just wasn't being shared by the big players. If Germany got ahold of this guy, the info would likely have been passed to CIA or State. If disseminated in the system from there, you could get DIA calling BS and CIA drawing an entirely different picture, both based in part on said intel they aren't sharing back and forth to begin with. Then when CIA is asked to make an assessment, you end up with their picture of events. Bottom line: if you want to say that US intelligence was (and probably still is) seriously flawed, I'd definitely agree with that.

CIA, DIA, and eventually BND would not stand behind CURVEBALL's reporting because it never checked out, and he was a known fabricator. The only source that corroborated any of his reporting was another known fabricator managed by INC.

CURVEBALL reporting was discarded by those agencies, but it still somehow rose to the attention of policy makers. That is where the failure lies.

It is unfortunate that CURVEBALL reporting was included in Sec. Powell's address to the UN, but did not make a difference in the long run.
 
House-facepalm.jpg
 
Scott:
go to war now on less than stellar intelligence, but we know he doesn't yet have WMD
The short-term consequence of providing intelligence which later proves to be of dubious quality is you get to go to war *with* your allies.
The long-term consequence is they will hesitate to believe you the next time you cry wolf. Your allies may find/think 1) you misled them deliberately, or they may find/think 2) you were misled yourself. 1) speaks of arrogance, 2) speaks of incompetence. The worst case: they will consider you guilty of both.

I sincerely hope this snafu (saying Iraq already possessed bioweapons) was an honest mistake. Lying to allies is bad form, especially when they catch you at it.
Scott:
wait for him to arm up, and then bring the war to us
Fortunately, in my view, that did not happen.

SOC:
I can almost guarantee that this will be used as another attempt by the media to undermine anything remotely connected with Bush II and prop up the New American Socialist.
'The media'? The media are diverse. 'New American Socialist'? Where did you pick that up? From 'The media'?
 
Give me a little credit, I made that one up all by myself!
 
Well, it's in the media NOW :)
 
Arjen said:
Scott:
go to war now on less than stellar intelligence, but we know he doesn't yet have WMD
The short-term consequence of providing intelligence which later proves to be of dubious quality is you get to go to war *with* your allies.
The long-term consequence is they will hesitate to believe you the next time you cry wolf. Your allies may find/think 1) you misled them deliberately, or they may find/think 2) you were misled yourself. 1) speaks of arrogance, 2) speaks of incompetence. The worst case: they will consider you guilty of both.

I sincerely hope this snafu (saying Iraq already possessed bioweapons) was an honest mistake. Lying to allies is bad form, especially when they catch you at it.
Scott:
wait for him to arm up, and then bring the war to us
Fortunately, in my view, that did not happen.

SOC:
I can almost guarantee that this will be used as another attempt by the media to undermine anything remotely connected with Bush II and prop up the New American Socialist.
'The media'? The media are diverse. 'New American Socialist'? Where did you pick that up? From 'The media'?

Let's not forget many NATO countries intelligence services agreed with the US the WMD were in Iraq. Let's not forget the tons of yellowcake found and taken out by the US or the artillery shells (old shells yes) that had trace amounts of Sarin, Saddam's own generals thought Iraq had WMD because in a closed society even they were being lied to. That fact that Saddam sought Uranium in Niger, is a fact despite the media attempt to portray Joe Wilson and his wife as some kind of heroes.

I think there are aspects of the intelligence gathering/go, no go to war decision process that can be criticized but I feel strongly to this day that there was no deliberate lying or misinformation by the US or the British or anyone.
 
Let's not forget many NATO countries intelligence services agreed with the US the WMD were in Iraq.
They did, but based on what? There was a case for going to war with Iraq, and then people wanted it gold-plated, to win over more allies.
 
bobbymike said:
I feel strongly to this day that there was no deliberate lying or misinformation by the US or the British or anyone.

Remember, even those in the US with a strong political motive to find fault and blame with Bush were forced to admit that statements by Bush & Co. were "generally substantiated by the intelligence".


http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=141

Was the intelligence flawed? You betcha. But it was flawed on *both* *sides.* Many people to this day actually believe that Joe Wilson actually did some sort of meaningful investigation that proved that Iraq wasn't after nuclear material, when in fact he did, and discovered, nothing of the kind.
 
SOC said:
My opinion? We were going to hit Iraq regardless of 9/11, Afghanistan, or anything else. We just had to paint some sort of believable picture to get the crowd of observers to let us go ahead and get things over with.
It never ceases to amaze me that a country whose citizens frequently can't tell the difference between Danmark and Paris seems to think that it knows exactly what's right for the rest of the world.

The result is countless loss of lives, both on the American and Iraqi side. A very high price to 'get things over with' if you ask me.
 
m1lkman said:
The result is countless loss of lives...

Since the beginning of Iraq War II, something like 90,000 Iraqi civilians have died, and something like 4000 US soldiers.

As memory serves, prior to the war something like 100,000 Iraqi civilians were dying annually due to the sanctions. And had Saddam produced a nuke or a bioweapon, how many would then have died? Perhaps he would not have used it on the west, but instead on Iran. Several *million* died in the first Iran-Iraq war. How many would die in the second?

One does not need to know the difference between "Danmark and Paris" (what, some form of cheese?) to tell the difference between tens of thousands dead, and MILLIONS dead.
 
Orionblamblam said:
One does not need to know the difference between "Danmark and Paris" (what, some form of cheese?).....

Don't make me come over there......

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg (expatriate Dane)
 
m1lkman said:
It never ceases to amaze me that a country whose citizens frequently can't tell the difference between Danmark and Paris seems to think that it knows exactly what's right for the rest of the world.

The result is countless loss of lives, both on the American and Iraqi side. A very high price to 'get things over with' if you ask me.

You thouroughly missed the point. I never said it was necessarily right for the rest of the world, but that the US was going to war with Iraq one way or another regardless of the reason we saturated the media with. The WMD debate smelled exactly like a reason to win over the rest of the world rather than an actual justification, as again, we were going to go to war with Iraq regardless. You could even argue that had we ignored everyone else we may have gotten in and out without nearly as much trouble as we've got now.

And yes, I know the difference between Denmark and Paris.
 
SOC said:
-Numerous chemical weapons have been discovered in Iraq since 2003.
Change "numerous chemical weapons" to "a few decrepit old rounds" and you would be correct.

[quote author=SOC]never said it was necessarily right for the rest of the world, but that the US was going to war with Iraq one way or another regardless of the reason we saturated the media with.[/quote]
Captain Obvious be thy name.
 
Lauge said:
Don't make me come over there......

If you feel you must, I'm in Utah. Utah is in neither California nor New York, so good luck finding it.

If you think Americans have trouble telling the difference between Denmark and Paris, you should see the entertaining times I've had trying to get many Euopean types to tell the difference between, say, Iowa and Idaho. Pfff. It's like they'd never even *been* to Sioux City or Pocotello!
 
It is widely held that if one traces U.S. foreign policy one discovers that elections only have an indirect effect. So, yes, Iraq before Bush and Iraq after. t should be a source of solace to those who fear Obama's administration - given the influences and culture behind foreign police there shouldn't be any abrupt turns.

However, there is always the chance that the decision on when and how to go in would be different (more competent or less competent). There is also a chance that the wait would have taken until 2011 and the events in Egypt would weaken Saddam's administration (or make it vulnerable to an internal Coupe). Who knows?

P.S. Yes, it is funny as a Canadian to talk to Brits - they just don't get the distances...
 
Orionblamblam said:
Since the beginning of Iraq War II, something like 90,000 Iraqi civilians have died, and something like 4000 US soldiers.

As memory serves, prior to the war something like 100,000 Iraqi civilians were dying annually due to the sanctions. And had Saddam produced a nuke or a bioweapon, how many would then have died? Perhaps he would not have used it on the west, but instead on Iran. Several *million* died in the first Iran-Iraq war. How many would die in the second?

One does not need to know the difference between "Danmark and Paris" (what, some form of cheese?) to tell the difference between tens of thousands dead, and MILLIONS dead.
This is correct and the deaths were mostly children. However, at the cost of over 3 trillion dollars, I would have certainly sent somebody over there and offered Saddam a spread in Florida, a billion dollars spending money, and total immunity. It would have been vastly cheaper than the current price tag. Did anybody even try thinking outside the box, or was war the first and only choice? I'm not an anti-war hippy, I am a hey cant we do this cheaper so my grandchildren wont have to pay this off?
 
Simon666 said:
Change "numerous chemical weapons" to "a few decrepit old rounds" and you would be correct.

Given their potential effect, 500 is more than "a few". And aren't those the same weapons Iraq swore they completely rid themselves of? Who's to say there aren't more still buried in the desert? We kinda ended up with a distraction thanks to Iranian and AQ backed butthole terrorists.

sublight said:
Did anybody even try thinking outside the box, or was war the first and only choice? I'm not an anti-war hippy, I am a hey cant we do this cheaper so my grandchildren wont have to pay this off?

That's certainly an interesting idea, but completely impossible. It'd require the government to exert some form of fiscal responsibility.
 
sublight said:
However, at the cost of over 3 trillion dollars, I would have certainly sent somebody over there and offered Saddam a spread in Florida, a billion dollars spending money, and total immunity.

Cheaper still would have been to set off unannounced and anonymous nuclear weapons in Baghdad and the primary WMD weapons facilities. Make sure to take out *all* of the Husseins, including his horrid sons.

If it could have been worked out that blame would have fallen on Iran, so much the better.

If you offer a tyrant goodies to bail, you are incentivising his replacement to be just as bad. Better to make the role of "personal enemy of the US" into a job that people recognize comes with the substantial risk of not only personal vaporization, but the vaporization of your extended family as well.

Nuking Baghdad would have cost tens or hundreds of thousands of lives. But it would've been *cheap.*
 
sublight said:
Orionblamblam said:
Since the beginning of Iraq War II, something like 90,000 Iraqi civilians have died, and something like 4000 US soldiers.

As memory serves, prior to the war something like 100,000 Iraqi civilians were dying annually due to the sanctions. And had Saddam produced a nuke or a bioweapon, how many would then have died? Perhaps he would not have used it on the west, but instead on Iran. Several *million* died in the first Iran-Iraq war. How many would die in the second?

One does not need to know the difference between "Danmark and Paris" (what, some form of cheese?) to tell the difference between tens of thousands dead, and MILLIONS dead.
This is correct and the deaths were mostly children. However, at the cost of over 3 trillion dollars, I would have certainly sent somebody over there and offered Saddam a spread in Florida, a billion dollars spending money, and total immunity. It would have been vastly cheaper than the current price tag. Did anybody even try thinking outside the box, or was war the first and only choice? I'm not an anti-war hippy, I am a hey cant we do this cheaper so my grandchildren wont have to pay this off?

You're off by a tad the Iraq war so far has cost less than the "stimulus" package. Here's a good link http://costofwar.com/en/

It is one of the cheapest conflicts in terms of percentage of GDP in American history.
 
Orionblamblam said:
Nuking Baghdad would have cost tens or hundreds of thousands of lives. But it would've been *cheap.*

Think of the deterrent effect. Hell after something like that I'll bet Pakistan would have hunted down Bin Laden themselves and mailed us his head just make sure we knew who's side they were on.
 
sferrin said:
Orionblamblam said:
Nuking Baghdad would have cost tens or hundreds of thousands of lives. But it would've been *cheap.*

Think of the deterrent effect. Hell after something like that I'll bet Pakistan would have hunted down Bin Laden themselves and mailed us his head just make sure we knew who's side they were on.

Assuming the nukes work after 20 years of no testing :D During the 80's I used to watch the nightly news because most nights had some nuke news like a Nevada test shot, an MX test, a B-1 launching a cruise missile, Pershings deploying to Europe, oh the good ole days.
 
Reading some remarks in this thread (and some others), I allways get surprised about how often/easily terms like "new American socialist" and such are used.
Waw... there's for once a US president who inserts a healthcare-reform that benefits someway his less wealthy citizens, and suddenly he's a true socialist.
If he would f.e. prolongue unemployment-allowance (isn't that limited to barely 3 months or so in the US ?) by 1 month, he'd probably be called a communist. ;D
I'm certainly NOT an Obama-fanboy, but his "social reform" is not even peanuts compared to the healthcare, retirement-pensions, and other wellfare-systems we have had in Western(!)-Europe since at least the end of WW II. There are good aspects with that and less good ones, but it was what W-Europe chose for in the past, by democratic election.
Even in Western-Europe, the US is often considered as an economically ultra-liberal country. Obama and the Democrats are just a little less ultra-liberal; here they would still be regarded as a conservative party. So I guess many Americans should consider Europe as communist as North-Korea, at least? ::)

I didn't know the difference in social/cultural way of thinking between the US and Europe was THAT big, till Obama became president and I started reading the comments.
 
I think this whole "America" as rogue state thing is interesting. Just remember - if you start wiping out millions of civilians in countries which *might* *someday* pose a threat and because you want to exterminate all of the relatives of someone whose mustache you no longer like - you have to accept that people will be really "anti-American" and have a good reason (whereas right now, where most of us are just faking it). ;)

It's a scary, scary world when this forum turns to politics - we should really have a party next Halloween - discuss nuclear war, empire, bioweapons, lunatics, political division, capital punishment... :D
 
Dreamfighter said:
Waw... there's for once a US president who inserts a healthcare-reform that benefits someway his less wealthy citizens, and suddenly he's a true socialist.

Rather off-topic, but the point here is that the health care idustry in the US is *already* far too socialist, and the job of any good President would be to get the government out of the health care business. Adding more government does not help the less wealthy, but rather hurts *all.*

If he would f.e. prolongue unemployment-allowance (isn't that limited to barely 3 months or so in the US ?)

Two years, actually, and being attempted to be extended.

by 1 month, he'd probably be called a communist. ;D

And this is another area where the government needs to get out. Franklin was right about making people comfortable with poverty.

I'm certainly NOT an Obama-fanboy, but his "social reform" is not even peanuts compared to the healthcare, retirement-pensions, and other wellfare-systems we have had in Western(!)-Europe since at least the end of WW II.

I weep for you. The problem in the US is we're rushing headlong in your direction. We've been doing so for some years, and you can track America's economic and social decline right along with it. For instance, we instituted the "Great Society" welfare state programs, and lost the space program.

Even in Western-Europe, the US is often considered as an economically ultra-liberal country.

In the US, the US is starting to be seen as an economically ultra-liberal country. Which for those of us who want the US to be an economically *sound* country, this is a terribly sad and depressing thing.
 
Avimimus said:
you have to accept that people will be really "anti-American" and have a good reason (whereas right now, where most of us are just faking it). ;)

If America is going to be seen as an Evil Empire, we might as well get something out of it.

And who picks on the giant, spooky crazy guy who lives down the block? Nobody, that's who. It's something I've seen on every scale from the personal to the national, from children to adults... bullies will pick on anyone but those they think will put up a good fight... and they avoid like the plague those they think will enjoy giving the bully a full-blown psycho beatdown. One of my all-time great epiphanies came in the fifth grade, when all of a sudden all of the bullying I got (for being the Class Nerd) came to a screeching halt when I let it slip both that I knew where the bully lived... and I knew how to build an atomic bomb (I didn't, but bullies don't tend towards the cerebral). In a world without effective law enforcement, such as grade school playgrounds and the world at large, the proper application of terror can work wonders. It has to be terror backed up with overwhelming force and a convincing display of full-blown batcrap insanity, only one of which Al Queda could gin up.

For example: A Realistic Plan for World Peace a.k.a Nuke the Moon

http://www.imao.us/docs/NukeTheMoon.htm

It's satire. But by God it'd work!
 
Orionblamblam said:
Dreamfighter said:
Waw... there's for once a US president who inserts a healthcare-reform that benefits someway his less wealthy citizens, and suddenly he's a true socialist.

Rather off-topic, but the point here is that the health care idustry in the US is *already* far too socialist, and the job of any good President would be to get the government out of the health care business. Adding more government does not help the less wealthy, but rather hurts *all.*

If he would f.e. prolongue unemployment-allowance (isn't that limited to barely 3 months or so in the US ?)

Two years, actually, and being attempted to be extended.

by 1 month, he'd probably be called a communist. ;D

And this is another area where the government needs to get out. Franklin was right about making people comfortable with poverty.

I'm certainly NOT an Obama-fanboy, but his "social reform" is not even peanuts compared to the healthcare, retirement-pensions, and other wellfare-systems we have had in Western(!)-Europe since at least the end of WW II.

I weep for you. The problem in the US is we're rushing headlong in your direction. We've been doing so for some years, and you can track America's economic and social decline right along with it. For instance, we instituted the "Great Society" welfare state programs, and lost the space program.

Even in Western-Europe, the US is often considered as an economically ultra-liberal country.

In the US, the US is starting to be seen as an economically ultra-liberal country. Which for those of us who want the US to be an economically *sound* country, this is a terribly sad and depressing thing.

OBB thanks for responding. As I formulated my response I held back because with all due respect the original post was by someone who does not understand the US politically, historically, or economically. The US is the only nation in the history of mankind "born in freedom" and that commitment to freedom while under assault shall never perish. "Give me liberty or give me death" is not a catchphrase but ingrained in the soul of the nation.

While Colin Powell has said things I disagree with he said one thing that will stay with me forever. When giving a speech for NATO, I believe, he talked about how American boys came across the Atlantic, twice, to free a continent from tyranny and "all we have asked in return was a place to bury our dead".
 
Dreamfighter said:
So I guess many Americans should consider Europe as communist as North-Korea, at least? ::)

North Korea? :mad: Those pink, wishy-washy, calls-themselves-stalinists closet-capitalist running-dog lackeys? Don't get me started.....

Orionblamblam said:
Utah is in neither California nor New York, so good luck finding it.

I found Tulsa last year (or actually, the airline did, but it's the thought that counts) ;)

Orionblamblam said:
Sioux City or Pocotello!

And, just to make sure, those are not cheeses either ??? Or did you mean Pocatello? ::)

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
 
bobbymike said:
As I formulated my response I held back because with all due respect the original post was by someone who does not understand the US politically, historically, or economically.

Excuse me?
 
bobbymike said:
The US is the only nation in the history of mankind "born in freedom" and that commitment to freedom while under assault shall never perish. "Give me liberty or give me death" is not a catchphrase but ingrained in the soul of the nation.

First, I'd think citizens of the Irish Republic and African-Americans (amongst others) would disagree with you as to the "born in freedom" comment.

bobbymike said:
While Colin Powell has said things I disagree with he said one thing that will stay with me forever. When giving a speech for NATO, I believe, he talked about how American boys came across the Atlantic, twice, to free a continent from tyranny and "all we have asked in return was a place to bury our dead".

Whilst laudable, it is hardly unique: peoples of the British Empire came from over the world to free that same continent too.
 
SOC said:
bobbymike said:
As I formulated my response I held back because with all due respect the original post was by someone who does not understand the US politically, historically, or economically.

Excuse me?

Excuse me what, dreamfighters original post reads to me like someone, no offense (I don't know a lot about most countries histories and cultures, etc. Gabon or Croatia for example) who doesn't understand why Obama might be called a socialist. If you read about the socialist/progressivist movement in the US over the last 90 years or so I think it is rather obvious why some would use such language.

starviking said:
bobbymike said:
The US is the only nation in the history of mankind "born in freedom" and that commitment to freedom while under assault shall never perish. "Give me liberty or give me death" is not a catchphrase but ingrained in the soul of the nation.

First, I'd think citizens of the Irish Republic and African-Americans (amongst others) would disagree with you as to the "born in freedom" comment. Thanks for the non-sequitur I did not say citizens I said nation born in freedom. The US was a free nation at is founding the only one in history

bobbymike said:
While Colin Powell has said things I disagree with he said one thing that will stay with me forever. When giving a speech for NATO, I believe, he talked about how American boys came across the Atlantic, twice, to free a continent from tyranny and "all we have asked in return was a place to bury our dead".

Whilst laudable, it is hardly unique: peoples of the British Empire came from over the world to free that same continent too.
Again totally irrelevant to what I was saying. I did not infer nor imply other nations did not sacrifice but was quoting an American who was obviously talking about Americans. Ya kinda have to use their words for accuracy. I was addressing an American with my post.
 
SOC said:
bobbymike said:
As I formulated my response I held back because with all due respect the original post was by someone who does not understand the US politically, historically, or economically.

Excuse me?

I think he was referring to me. ;)

I do understand most of the US' historical background, as History is one of my fields of interest, though the US is in that matter not on the top of my list. US National (not international) politics and economics, indeed I know less about that, but I'm learning. ;)

What I was saying at the end of my previous post, was that I didn't know the ideological gap between the US and Old Europe (which I was aware of it existed) was/is SO big.
Of course many US citizens have a more liberal way of thinking on social issues then most Europeans; for one reason the US is the land where lots of our ancestors emigrated to, and where they had to struggle to build up their lives on their own efforts without government-help. Many Amercians feel that one may become as succesfull as he wants, but everyone has to make it on his own. If you fail, the government won't support you. There isn't much willingness to support the less blessed in society. From a historical viewpoint, I can more or less understand such thinking.

In most of Western Europe, the view of many political parties (not just the Socialists, even the Conservatives to some degree) is that there should be at least some systems of wellcare for those who are less blessed in life. The costs for keeping these systems work are shared by every citizen, through taxes (and higher wages to compensate for higher taxes). That has allways worked fine, but yes, due to the economical crises and f.e. cheap labour in Asia, there now is a lot of stress on these systems.

I understand the background of the difference between US and Europe, and I'm not condemning any American for having a different view. I think a very small reform in the US that resembles - to a small degree - just one of several European wellfare-systems, shouldn't make US-citizens panic that their country will suddenly become assimilated by Socialism.
 
Dreamfighter said:
SOC said:
bobbymike said:
As I formulated my response I held back because with all due respect the original post was by someone who does not understand the US politically, historically, or economically.

Excuse me?

I think he was referring to me. ;)

I do understand most of the US' historical background, as History is one of my fields of interest, though the US is in that matter not on the top of my list. US National (not international) politics and economics, indeed I know less about that, but I'm learning. ;)

What I was saying at the end of my previous post, was that I didn't know the ideological gap between the US and Old Europe (which I was aware of it existed) was/is SO big.
Of course many US citizens have a more liberal way of thinking on social issues then most Europeans; for one reason the US is the land where lots of our ancestors emigrated to, and where they had to struggle to build up their lives on their own efforts without government-help. Many Amercians feel that one may become as succesfull as he wants, but everyone has to make it on his own. If you fail, the government won't support you. There isn't much willingness to support the less blessed in society. From a historical viewpoint, I can more or less understand such thinking.

In most of Western Europe, the view of many political parties (not just the Socialists, even the Conservatives to some degree) is that there should be at least some systems of wellcare for those who are less blessed in life. The costs for keeping these systems work are shared by every citizen, through taxes (and higher wages to compensate for higher taxes). That has allways worked fine, but yes, due to the economical crises and f.e. cheap labour in Asia, there now is a lot of stress on these systems.

I understand the background of the difference between US and Europe, and I'm not condemning any American for having a different view. I think a very small reform in the US that resembles - to a small degree - just one of several European wellfare-systems, shouldn't make US-citizens panic that their country will suddenly become assimilated by Socialism.

So then you must be aware that the US has the most, or very close to it, progressive tax system compared to all other OECD nations. The wealthy pay a higher percentage of total government revenues at all levels of government than in Europe. Therefore by your very rationale the US has the fairer system.

US corporations also pay a very high rate of tax as compared to other developed nations, again does this make the US fairer than those other countries? You portray the cliched "laissez faire" canard about the poor all starving and dying in the US from lack of government services. That the US is some social Darwinian survival of the fittest. You are basically saying that the US has the potential for more upward economic mobility but at the same time leaves those who have failed economically to wallow in desperate poverty because there are no government services. That is just not true anymore the US welfare state has grown to be one of the most lavish in the world, especially when combined with consumer standard of living measures.

It should also be noted that government spending at all three levels of government in the US is basically the same as in Europe with one major difference, the amount the US spends of defense as a percentage of GDP which is two to three times higher than the EU average.
 
Orionblamblam said:
Rather off-topic, but the point here is that the health care idustry in the US is *already* far too socialist, and the job of any good President would be to get the government out of the health care business. Adding more government does not help the less wealthy, but rather hurts *all.*

In my country in (Western-Europe) everyone has to have a health-insurance by governmental law, so that everyone can have at least some healthcare, even poor people. To make this work, every citizen contributes to a healthcare-fund. For the past 60 years that didn't hurt anyone, on the contrary, and the rich didn't become poor, perhaps 0.005 % less rich then without it.
People who have no job or unemployemnt-allowance, get a government-allowance. (does have a negative side: control is needed to verify people don't abuse this system.) That allowance isn't high, just enough to pay rent and stay alive, but at least you won't see rows of homeless people laying in our streets, or people cueing up for a free warm meal, like is the case in some US cities.

Orionblamblam said:
Franklin was right about making people comfortable with poverty.

Why should people be made comfortable with poverty? Would that be helpfull in any way to general development of people? Would that give us better chances for our children to get university-degrees and to be economically succesfull in a competitive world?

Orionblamblam said:
I weep for you.

Don't, I'm quite happy as are most of my fellow country(wo)men. ;)


Orionblamblam said:
we instituted the "Great Society" welfare state programs, and lost the space program.

I can't imagine the US lost the space program because of some few welfare programs. A US without the space program is a pitty, but I think much other reasons are the cause for that, not some healthcare.
 
bobbymike said:
So then you must be aware that the US has the most, or very close to it, progressive tax system compared to all other OECD nations. The wealthy pay a higher percentage of total government revenues at all levels of government than in Europe. Therefore by your very rationale the US has the fairer system.
Here the more you earn a month, the higher the percentage. Not all property and financial resources are taken into account (yet), but you've to make a fincancial declaration each year and if you have a lot of money or real estate, part of that will be taxed too.
If one's total financial resources (savings at the bank, stockmarkt-shares, real estate, etc) are taken into account in the US for the percentage, then indeed that could be considered fairer.

bobbymike said:
US corporations also pay a very high rate of tax

Same overhere. That's one reason why cheap labor in Asia is bad for US/European economies.


bobbymike said:
You portray the cliched "laissez faire" canard about the poor all starving and dying in the US from lack of government services. That the US is some social Darwinian survival of the fittest. You are basically saying that the US has the potential for more upward economic mobility but at the same time leaves those who have failed economically to wallow in desperate poverty because there are no government services.

To a certain degree I'm saying that, yes. But not to the extremes you suggest I do.

bobbymike said:
That is just not true anymore the US welfare state has grown to be one of the most lavish in the world

That it has grown, yes. That it is one of the most lavish ones in the world, well, I'm not totally convinced of. I've seen footage and reports from the past years that don't convince me of that.


I would invite you to come live in Europe for a while, as we're becoming the asylum for the rest of the world because of the lavishness of our welfare. ;) (not suggesting you need asylum!).
I never said our social sytems are ideal; there are negative sides too (see previous sentence), but at least for now, these are outweighed by the benefits.
 
bobbymike said:
with one major difference, the amount the US spends of defense as a percentage of GDP which is two to three times higher than the EU average.

Yes, true. And though I'm not British, I don't feel so pleased with the British defence cuts lately. Our contribution to NATO is rather limited...
I'm between 2 views actually: I don't want Europe to give up it's social systems, on the other hand I wished we would spend a bit more on defense, which may be contradictionary.

PS
Though totally unrealistic, I would jump of joy if the bigger European nations would be able to purchase some F-22's. ;) I hope you guys get some more of them eventually.
And with this, I'm off now; gonna read the aviation-topics.
 
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