James Fallows, author and international correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly discusses the long-term repercussions of the United State's military and political involvement in Iraq.
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(00:00:00) From Minnesota Public Radio. I'm William wilcoxon researchers at Rochester's Mayo Clinic if proven for the first time that bone marrow cells can form new heart muscle cells and adults Minnesota public radio's Rob Schmidt's reports researchers. Say the findings could enable the body to replace heart muscle damage by heart attack until recently. The heart has been seen as an organ that cannot be healed and heart attack damage was considered irreversible mayor researchers studied for patients with leukemia who had survived thirty-five to six hundred days after receiving bone marrow transplants are tissue samples from their autopsies revealed a portion of their heart muscle cells originated from the donor bone. 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Art standards are the first installment in a batch of kindergarten through 12th grade academic expectations are intended as replacements for the profile of learning if the legislature abolishes those standards state representative Phil cranky wants to remove lawmakers from the Iron Range resources and Rehabilitation board and other local boards cranky says the separation of powers provision in Minnesota's Constitution calls it a conflict of interest for lawmakers to serve on Executive boards Greinke sponsoring a bill that would remove legislators from local advisory boards such as the I Triple R be the Minnesota amateur sports commission and the st. Anthony Falls Heritage Board. Mostly cloudy in northern Minnesota today chance of light snow near Lake Superior partly cloudy in the south high temperatures ranging from 20 degrees in the Northland of the upper 30s in the south west or the Twin Cities partly cloudy high in the mid 30s. I'm William. Wilcoxon, Minnesota Public Radio. All right. Thanks William. It is 6 minutes now past (00:01:52) 11:00. (00:01:57) And good morning. Welcome to midday and Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten more or less mix news for the Bush Administration today on the international front. The news is not particularly good there was talk that the administration wanted the UN Security Council to vote today to authorize the use of military force against Iraq, but that boat has now been put off because the US has failed find enough votes on the council to pass the resolution White House says, it's still planning for a vote sometime this week. However, if the administration seems to be losing ground is it looks for international support it apparently is gaining ground here at home. According to a new New York Times CBS poll 58% of Americans surveyed now say they share the president's impatience with the United Nations. That's up about 10 points in just the last month fifty-five percent of those surveyed now say they would support the use of military force. Against Iraq even in defiance of a security Council vote and while a slim majority 52% still say the inspections should be given more time. That figure is down from a month ago. Well during this our midday. We're going to focus on the latest Iraq developments with a specific focus on the problems that the United States will likely have to deal with if it does attack Iraq joining us today from our studios in Collegeville is James Fallows who is an author and National correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly magazine last fall James Fallows, wrote an influential article in the Atlantic about a post-war Iraq, and he'll be speaking on that subject tonight at eight o'clock at the science center at Saint John's University at speech is part of the st. John's critical thinking and Global time series. This our he's joined us on midday to take your questions on what problems await the United States if the u.s. Does attack Iraq, and we do invite you to give us a call. Our Twin City area number is 651227. 6065 12276 thousand our toll-free line is 1-800-218-4243 or 1-800 to for to to 828 our guests this our Atlantic Monthly is National correspondent James Fallows. Fellas. Welcome back to Minnesota. Thanks. It's fun to be here again in your mind sir. At this point. I given all that's transpired is war a foregone conclusion Nothing in life or in history or international events is absolutely inevitable. But a betting person would bet strongly on the fact that US troops will be in combat a month from now. Is there any way that combat can be avoided in other words? I guess what I'm really getting at is even if President Bush at this point decided, you know, the stakes are simply too high the opposition to strong. I really don't want to go ahead with this. Is there any way that he can back off at this point without severely? Undermining u.s. Credibility. Well, there is what you could think of as either a sort of World War One type or a Vietnam War type problem that he's developed by having so many troops so forward position and the authority of the US so strongly placed behind the need for regime change or combat that it becomes difficult for him and more costly to back out now than it would have been say three months ago or six months ago or a year ago. Although anything is conceivable and the main hypothesis people have for how we could get out of the current situation without having actual battle is something internal to Iraq either, you know, some kind of a coup against Saddam Hussein difficult as that is to really imagine or he gets hit by a bus or somehow other Arabs convince him to leave his post. But again the ways you can think of avoiding it are are harder to come up with and the ways you can imagine this unfolding in combat assuming that there isn't a dramatic change at the United Nations. What does it mean? The u.s. Proceeds here without un support. It's quite a dramatic turnaround over the last six months and actually restores things to the situation. They were in when I was doing the most of the reporting for this article in the Atlantic during August and September of last year. I was interviewing a lot of military and relief officials about the prospects after a war in after an assumed u.s. Victory and the main fear on the part of the US military in particular was what it would mean to go in there without a lot of allies because they saw a night and day difference between combat with allies and combat by the United States on its own. It was not in the military prospects because the u.s. Assumed it would do most of the fighting able to win either case. It was the legitimacy the blame the burden sharing the backlash all the things that came after the combat for a while through the late fall. It looked as if the administration was succeeding and having a multinational endorsement for this effort the famous 15 to nothing vote in the security Council putting pressure on On the rack as things have gone back to the situation of last summer where it's more or less the US Britain and a couple of others against a lot of significant traditional allies. I think the US military wants more sort of contemplating the difficulties of managing Iraq more or less by itself after a war in terms of managing Iraq after award as the US with the u.s. Likely get some credit for at least having tried to elicit diplomatic support or conversely is as it essentially made the situation worse for the United States having tried and failed. That's an intriguing question. And I know that when President Bush decided to go to the UN last fall in September a lot of the people who had been most strongly in the Hardline Camp the so-called neoconservative or Hawk Camp people like Paul wolfowitz are can Adelman or James Woolsey? They were despairing of this move by President Bush because I thought that it could not possibly Mike turn out. Well, they thought that in the end the UN would not line up with the Bush Administration and that in the end. It would look worse for the u.s. In the way that you're describing. I think that probably the US will get little retrospective or retroactive credit for having tried this route given that it's going to end up as it now looks like with three vetoes if if China France and Russia are all going to cast a veto votes that is quite a significant obstacle for the US and in a way is worse than if President Bush has not tried the UN at all. Now the Bush Administration again today, I believe mr. Wolfowitz was making the case again today that well, you know, even without un official un sanctioned by golly. We've got a lot of allies on our side some of whom don't wish to be identified right now, but a lot of a lot of countries are behind us is that true it's true and untrue it is true. There are two aspects of his truth one isn't a simple headcount basis, you know, they're now a whole lot of Reason the world with the breakup of the Soviet Union and sort of the proliferation of countries. And so probably there will be 12 or 15 countries that are in favor of what the US does mean the most significant one apart from the US and Britain has probably Spain the number of Eastern European countries Bulgaria's weighing in the probably be a few Southeast Asian ones. I can imagine Singapore chiming and so number 1 there will be a number of countries on the list. Number two. I think the Bush Administration is probably right in saying that it has tacit support although sort of face level opposition from some other countries in the region because there is no real network of enthusiasm for Saddam Hussein in the region as a whole the way in which that claim is not true is that it's not nothing to go against three vetoes in the UN Security Council to have a really significant difference of opinion between the u.s. And and most European countries. And so yes, there will be some allies. Yes, the Bush Administration feels that this is its rendezvous with 3 but on the other hand, there is more significant opposition to this than any major foreign policy decision. I can remember. There is a long list and you to tell them well in your Atlantic Monthly article long list of problems that the United States is going to face, assuming that it goes ahead with an attack on a rack and succeeds in ousting the Iraqi government and I want to talk about most all of those but of all of those is there any one of them that just jumps out at you and says boy, we really have to deal with this if we have any hope of coming out the other end of this in good shape the one that seems most difficult to me and so I'm answering your question sort of obliquely. But the one that I would hope massive brain Powers being applied to is what to do about the Kurdish regions of Iraq as most Americans have come to know they're essentially, you know, three main ethnic / Regional divisions in Iraq. There are the the Kurdish territories and in the north. There's the Shia Muslim areas in the Southeast and the Sunni strongholds in the center of the These have run the country. Although they are a numerical minority for for a long time that the Kurds essentially have had their own independent state operationally since the end of the Gulf War. They are under the protection of the no-fly zone in the North and the dream of all the Kurdish Chieftains is that when US troops roll into Baghdad, they'll declare independence from the Iraqi regime which they feel has oppressed them and they were not any kind of natural part of Iraq turkey which with which the US has a big disagreement now, but it's part of NATO traditional us Ally in the last decade or so turkey one of the fundamental parts of its National interest strategy is that no Kurdistan be allowed to develop that the Curtis Kurdish regions in Iraq bordering the Kurdish parts of turkey not be allowed to form this kind of a separatist group and so one way or another when the Kurdish tribes declare independence somebody is going to oppress them either will be the US troops holding them. I'm saying you're part of u.s. Occupied Iraq or else will be the Turkish troops and the Turks have made clear. This is a first order issue of national strategy for them. So I think the hardest question will be how the u.s. Intends to militarily hold that country together when part of it wants to break away. And do you think that I mean have policymakers come up with any solution to that? I'm sure they are working the I hope as a citizen that they are working this through many fronts and I assume they are one is probably they're going to have US troops sitting in the Kurdish territories very very promptly to sort of try to nip Rebellion before it occurs. And there's been a number of sort of sour exchanges in the last week or two between Kurdish leaders in the u.s. Diplomatic establishment the curd saying hey, wait a minute, you know, we're doing fine just now let's not have us be more oppressed and we've been at been up till the current time there. Also, I'm sure is tremendous pressure on Turkey. I mean, there's a kind of to front Allied pressure of the Trying to work on trying to make sure that Israel, which is going to be attacked by Saddam Hussein on the way down. The Israel doesn't retaliate in some way that just in flames and expands the combat and that turkey does not respond to the Kurds in some way that also has expanded Regional War. So I hope and also assume that work is underway on those fronts James Fallows has joined us author and journalist. He's a national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and he's in Collegeville for speech this evening at st. John's University about what happens after a war what kinds of problems await in in Iraq where Saddam Hussein has in fact been ousted. He's joined us from our studios in Collegeville to take your questions on this subject. So give us a call six five, one two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand. Our toll-free line is 1-800-218-4243. Had your first go ahead please. Yes Gary. Thank you. (00:14:02) Mr. Fowler's I've appreciated your work over the years. (00:14:04) Thank you. No (00:14:06) the question is this I want to discuss an assumption that has been made over time here. It has to do with the United Kingdom. I believe that Mr. Blair actually made it very clear to fairly early stage in all of this that participation of the United Kingdom would be contingent Upon A UN resolution being passed authorizing force and we haven't really discussed that the Assumption has been over the Brits are going to be with us and really no one's really question that given what's been going on the last couple of weeks and what's probably going to happen this coming week when this resolution is either voted down outright or vetoed by one or more of the other permanent members of the security Council. What does that say about the British participation and on top of that if we go even without the British, what will that say about our relationship with our allies? And what will it say about the other the other parts of The so-called Coalition of the Willing the Spaniards and others if the British decide that for all kinds of reasons they cannot go because the resolution failed (00:15:14) that is an intriguing question. I think that the absence of the British from the Coalition of the Willing would be the one almost fatal blow to the plans from the administration's point of view because all along they have assumed they've taken tremendous strength and comfort from the support of the Prime Minister Blair the factual point you raised about whether Mr. Blair support has been contingent on a u.s. Resolution that maybe I'm not aware of that. I had assumed that he was making the case much as Bush was that this was a historical necessity Etc. If you are right in saying that he has made it depended on the you end and then that does does change the equation. I had not believe that to be true but I'm not I'm not absolutely sure the larger question about Alliance politics I think is a very serious one and on the one hand people in the administration will say during the Reagan Administration. In the Europeans were all wringing their hands about a tough line against Gorbachev. They were wringing their hands about theater nuclear missiles. But in fact they all came along and in fact, there's always there's always complained in the Atlantic Alliance, but it always survives. It seems to me that this actually is a more serious level of disagreement and complained and sort of unease with the unipolar US power situation that we've had in the last five or six years. And so the the diplomacy quote unquote of the of the months before September 11th by the Bush Administration, I think looks not so good in retrospect of essentially thumbing their nose at various Global organizations. And if they care about Alliance in the long run, I think Shoring it up will be yet. Another post-war duty. Is it fair to essentially give the bush administration's diplomatic efforts a big fat F. Especially since November in November, they were successful in getting a unanimous resolution. In from the United Nations to go ahead with the inspections and essentially for Saddam Hussein to cooperate since then there seems to have been a steady in erosion of support on the international level that seems to be accelerating day by day. It is an intriguing either historians or journalists will find great intriguing great richness in the international politics of the last three months of what it was that has led to this erosion and support and I have not looked deeply enough into it or I don't know if anybody has to sort of be able to say what exactly went wrong. I do think that the actually the the lower grade for Bush Administration diplomacy would be in its first year in office when there was an almost willful disregard of the value of doing anything in an Allied Way and I think some of the the blowback in the the popular term is from that first year is coming where people were saying what you didn't think you needed the world Court you didn't need the Kyoto agreement. Didn't need any of these sort of international means for discussing economic or environmental or security issues. Why exactly should we play ball with you now? So the play that's going on even as we speak to try to line up those votes in the security Council and try to sort of make the French to embarrass the French out of casting a veto which they now won't be with if they have company that that is a dramatic play and the somebody will explore it but I don't think we can do it yet Tom your question for James (00:18:33) Fallows. Hi, good morning, even talking a little bit about Coalition of the Willing that we've assembled and I won't even give me an update on who the countries are that are backing us right now. I don't know who that is currently. And also if you could talk a little bit about any of the financial packages that we've been offering to these folks who are now a part of our Coalition and if your guest thinks that kind of weakens our argument a little bit that we're really buying support as opposed to getting support for folks who truly believe in what we're doing (00:19:01) In the Coalition of the Willing the the two really significant members and really are two are the British in the Spanish the Spanish because they are because they are European powers and there are a number of the so-called new Europeans probably knows most notably the Czech Republic. We're about a month ago and there's famous letter to the Wall Street Journal which The Wall Street Journal to its credit initiated the Wall Street Journal wrote to variety of European leaders and said we hear from the British and the French chefs from the French and the Germans that they don't like this. What about you and a number of sort of the former Eastern European States weighed in and a number of of Arab states, you know, the kuwaitis for example will be supporting this the Saudis are giving tacit support the Turks will probably in the end give tests of supported of some kind but it's mainly the British the Spanish and the Eastern Europeans with led by the checks that the Danes have have weighed in at number of sort of odd countries, you would think but it's a sort of ragtag Alliance. Are we Beyond just some support going into the into the war assuming again that the US military successful. Are we are we hoping at least that these countries will help pay for this operation. Are we hoping that they will help govern Iraq. What do we want from them after the attack? Well, this this reminds me of the answer this answer the second part of the previous colors question about the financial underpinnings of the Coalition of the Willing. There was the bargaining with turkey finally became some so overt and sort of oriental rug bizarre like in the last week or two that that sort of embarrassing to all sides and the Turks were saying, well you have to have this many more billions and finally the US was sort of embarrassed out of that. But but that is part of the nature of great power politics in the modern era the US has benefits to bestow and it and in its whole texture of relationships with other countries money is as part of it. So the Coalition of the purchased is what it will be to some extent. Stamp with with turkey for what? We hope for people after the war. I think financially will be very different from the first goal Gulf War depending on the calculations. You could say the u.s. Actually made a profit on the first Gulf War the contributions from Japan in particular and Saudi Arabia may have outweighed the whole expanse the u.s. Made no one is assuming that will be the case this time the cost of the war will be largely borne by the United States. The main reason the US wants allies there is not simply the implied legitimacy for the operation as a whole but also in this is the point of view of the US military. It's for sort of being the presence and the scapegoat and the objects and the enforcing presences, you know in the months and years after a war if for example you have arabic-speaking countries in your alliance, you can have arabic-speaking military policeman, which the US doesn't have much of if you have people wearing some helmet that says other than US Army then when sniper Shoot at them or whatever it's different from just just striking back at the great power of the United States. So the main thing the US wants is is a combined presence to share the responsibility. Even if you have a u.s. Is paying most of the money for the sort of the inevitably irritating fact of a military occupation force. Is there any realistic belief that after the military action is concluded that in fact Arab states or more broadly speaking What Muslim states would participate in some kind of interim governing arrangement with the United States. This is one of the almost religious issues of difference on on the on the whole subject because people who have been most strongly supportive of the war have said yes. Yes. Yes, you're going to hear complaints from all the neighboring states about strong-armed ISM about a new Crusade by intervention by the United States, but Once you're there once you show that your will is strong. Once you show that life is better without Saddam Hussein. These people will come around they will bow finally to force forces. There is the coin of the realm and the Arab world Etc. And so there is both a contention and I would say an assumption on those most strongly recommending a war that that crew that critical mass of Arab support will be there after a victory is accomplished. Even if there is protest before it takes place. The countervailing view is known fact, there will be more backlash will be more resistance. They'll be they'll be various forms of outrage. I don't know how to judge those claims. I'm just saying that there is a polar difference in extremes of prediction on this point. Shane your question (00:23:47) place. Some of the costs and benefits (00:23:50) Shane. Can you speak up a little bit (00:23:51) can sorry we're talking about some of the costs and benefits of winning the war with the basic presumption being that we're going in within the month as you've said, I'd like to back up a little bit if I could. Can you tell me what in your opinion would be some of the ramifications the repercussions long and short term internationally for us. Pulling back at this point for us basically saying, you know, assuming that the UN vote goes against us that the the three bigs cast their vetoes and that the United States at this point says alright, we will respect World opinion. We will uphold our duty if you will to Nato and we will not go to war at this point. Can you tell me in your opinion what that would do to us or for (00:24:42) us? Okay. Thanks and and let me say before answering this this interesting question that it is an extreme hypothetical the sensors almost impossible to imagine that happening number one because the determination of the Bush Administration is so strong to carry out this war and number two even for any Administration. The hook has been set so deep now that the costs of of backing out are are are significant. But but with that stated, let's say the best case scenario for funding way to back out would Having the u.s. Find some way to declare Victory and declaring Victory depends on what the way you define what the contest was what you're trying to achieve and if the us could say the victory it was looking for was some confidence. This is Dom Hussein was neither developing new or disseminating weapons of mass destruction. And the expressed will of the International Community through the United Nations was such that it was that Uso sure that all of its allies and the International Community was going to keep inspectors there was going to keep the the stopper on the bottle wasn't going to sort of back off over time as was happening the late 1990s. And so the us could say our objective was to put the stopper on terrorism. We have won by having our forces there. We have made the Iraqi regime accept International inspections of the sort they had resisted before so we declare Victory and we're going to keep it an eye out. So that would be the way you could imagine this happening in some with a different Administration. You can imagine this happening. I expect that what is going on? The administration's mind is that it in this at this point? It is so much placed its reputation and its credibility on the line is so much gone to the mat in persuading other countries to try to join in that it can't plausibly back out now, it would fear chaos, but it could conceivably declare Victory and back off James Fallows is our guest this our he is the national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. He is in Collegeville at st. John's University for a speech at St. John's tonight about a post-war Iraq in the many problems that the United States will likely have to deal with if in fact there is a war and the u.s. Is successful in ousting Saddam Hussein from Power James Fallows has joined us this hour to take your questions on that subject. So do give us a call. Our Twin City area number is 6512276 thousand six. I've won two two seven six thousand heart or toll-free line outside. The Twin Cities is one eight hundred two, four two 2828 get to more of your questions here right after we conduct a little business and first up. This is a test of the emergency alert system. All right that work the way it's supposed to and now let's bring in William wilcoxen with some headlines William. Thanks Gary in the news President Bush is still trying to push for Action from the United Nations security Council. He's telephoning world leaders today to try to win a new UN vote setting a deadline for Iraq to disarm or face War the president called the leader of Angola which is seen as a key Swing Vote on the council. The UN is holding open meetings on the Iraqi situation today. And tomorrow. Japan is pressuring Mexico to back the u.s. Resolution in the security Council. Japan's prime minister is urging Mexican president Vicente Fox to adopt the March 17th ultimatum for Iraq to disarm. He says International divisions put the un's authority at stake. Japan is not currently a member of the security Council that is joining the lobbying behind the scenes. There have been more Allied air strikes in Iraq, the US military says Coalition planes patrolling the southern no-fly zone bombed three unmanned underground military. Communication sites early today sites are located in separate towns south east of Baghdad in recent weeks. The ongoing airstrikes have been used to soften a rocky defenses in preparation for a possible us lead wore a senior Pentagon official is outlining a massive and costly reconstruction for Iraq that initially has no International involvement the official predicts the initial effort could be completed within months at first under the direction of the u.s. Later. The official says the u.s. Expect some International Help. The official won't predict how much this will cost but is outlining and extensive u.s. Involvement and Xcel Energy official and st. Paul says he resents allegations of corruption in the company's system for reporting power outages an independent auditor found that excels record-keeping system is unreliable and Report has been submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for review. Minnesota lawmakers say, they're impressed after their first look at proposed math and language arts standards. The new standards were quickly assembled by a Citizens committee their intended as replacements for the File of learning if the legislature abolishes those standards this session mostly cloudy in northern Minnesota today with a Chance of light snow in the Northeast partly cloudy in the south high temperatures from 20 degrees in the far north to the upper 30s in the south west for the Twin Cities partly cloudy with a high in the middle 30s right now in Bemidji. It's cloudy and 19 degrees in the Twin Cities. Mostly sunny and 32. I'm William Wilcox in Minnesota Public Radio. All right, thanks. Well, um, it's 26 minutes before twelve. This is midday on Minnesota Public Radio Our Guest this are James Fallows author well-known author and National correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. He has joined us this hour to talk about some of the problems that a weight if the u.s. Does in fact attack Iraq and successfully ousts Saddam Hussein, he wrote a very influential article about this subject last fall and it's been the subject of a good deal of discussion since then he's in st. John's University today for a speech this evening. On this subject and he's also been good enough to join us here on midday to take your questions. By the way. We should note that a lively discussion on this very subject is underway on our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot-org. So we invite you to join that online discussion. Just go to the midday site and then the your voice section Minnesota Public Radio dot-org James Fallows before we get back to listener calls here Afghanistan. Did we learn any lessons from that that would apply it in any way shape or form to what would happen after a war in Iraq You could argue both a positive and a negative lesson from the bush administration's perspective. The positive lesson was that there was sort of active, you know sense of Liberation by much of the Afghan population. Once the Taliban was removed. And so the Bush Administration could say so too in Iraq where people have lived in a repressive regime, will they welcome u.s. This isn't getting rid of a tyrant the I think the more the we T r- lesson is how quickly the United States is sort of forgotten about Afghanistan's a little more than a year ago that we were declaring Victory there in the middle of combat there and now it is something that really I think most Americans don't want to think about and if you if you accept one of the administration's deep assumptions, which is that that removing Saddam Hussein could be the key to a whole Democratic Revolution throughout the Middle East throughout the Arab world part of that rest on the idea that the US will be there long enough to really rebuild some kind of or build some kind of Democratic Society and Iraq and the the extrapolation from Afghanistan would not be that encouraging that's because clearly we're already sort of out of interest and certainly out of Aid money for Afghanistan Neha. What's your question, please (00:32:35) thank you for taking my call. I'm from turkey and I'm a Turkish Citizen and I felt really bad that Bush Administration doesn't know the meaning of diplomacy. They think that they can just talk like so rudely to Turkish government to search people or drying the comics and send a trick is like some kind of Audubon bizarre or whatever. All I want to say is that sometimes that you cannot just buy the countries with the money and you just have to be nice to them so you can get to a result that you're looking for and back in 1991 so you can help America lat and now we are still paying the price for that. Even Paul wolfowitz came to Turkey and said that it was promised to get Thirty billion dollars, but just got 250 million dollar after that. So yeah, I just wanted. That's why I say that. Okay, (00:33:35) thanks. And can I say that I certainly agree with the main thrust of what you're saying. I think that in the last two weeks the bizarre like nature of the public dealings with between turkey and the United States were probably the mutual blame of both countries where dids become this public haggling over money in a way that was embarrassing both sides, but in the months and years before that, I agree with you, it's part of a think it's the aftereffect of the first year. The Bush Administration was an office where there was this High handedness that that in an age of Great American power you could sort of act as if nobody else mattered and now we're seeing how difficult that is. We just heard in the news that the Bush Administration is trying to persuade Angola to have a vote in the security Council the idea that us would be sort of coming to Angola with request would have seemed absurd two years ago the Bush Administration President Bush specifically has been frequently praised for what's often called is Clarity of vision. Shouldn't on the other hand. He's also been criticized for that as seeing things in a black-and-white way, you know in a world where there are a lot of Gray's how is that his vision if you will, how's that affecting this whole diplomatic dance? That's underway. I think and I say this without the benefit of ever having interviewed the president but having read a lot about him and interviewed people around him that that both the praise and the criticism are Justified and reflect the same thing about him that he is a person For Better or Worse who grasps onto big Clear Choices and has neither a sort of Interest nor command over all the gray areas and you know the way in which Bill Clinton was ridiculed for what the meaning of is is would never apply to George w-- Bush. He doesn't want to know the details. He has a big picture in the month or so after September 11th. I think that was seen as a strength both internationally and in the United States when he could say our nation has been attacked we need to do X Y and Z and there was a kind of wartime Clarity to his his presentation of the issues, I think given how complex how chess like how multi-dimensional how neuralgia inducing how Shades of Grey the current effort is to understand the right way to wield influence in the Middle East and in the world and to balance all the different interests and problems United States has from Iraq to North Korea to Al Qaeda to dealings with its traditional allies dealings with turkey Etc. I personally think that his yes or no black or white good or evil approach has risks and I think it probably has been a large factor in sort of the Diplomatic difficulties the Presidents had and how do you suppose that approach that thinking might affect what happens in Iraq after Saddam as Saddam Hussein is ousted in the Sense of I suppose being willing to deal with a lot of Shades of Grey, you know bad people kind of not too bad a people good people try to figure out who the good people are all of that sure. I mean one of the ways in which this will come up is trying to figure out who the next leader of Iraq will be it is in the nature of tyrannies that normal sort of democratic opposition doesn't rise up within the country because they get killed off or they get expelled. So most of the leaders of the of the opposition groups who are in Exile have their various drawbacks. They've been funded by the CIA. They've been funded by the state department. They're sort of like the white Russians. They do not have tremendous legitimacy inside Iraq. There are other sort of you know generals within the regime in Iraq or kernels or Military Officers who might seem to be somewhat better than Saddam Hussein, but there's no kind of Mahatma Gandhi. There's no not even either a Corazon Aquino as it was in the Philippines to come in and so the Shades of Gray of finding somebody you can deal with of How much of a military governorship the u.s. Can can put up with I think this will be a challenge and so if George W bush believes as he seems to that this is his historical destiny that the the test on which he'll be judged, you know for centuries to come. I hope that after exercising the clear sort of black white good evil judgment. He is exercising now from his point of view in in forcing a war that he will recognize the complexity of the post-war situation because it's going to be every kind of gray Pat your question, please (00:38:08) I'm wondering since this Administration in this war is a little bit under little bit question to what and on what is going to happen if our army goes in there and they don't find any weapons of mass destruction that will prevent them from planting some and then say see we told you so who's watching that? (00:38:31) Well setting aside setting aside the the you know, the planting of what happens if they don't find any it's an interesting question and I think that probably probably Administration will be able to deal with that and their argument would be we don't even care. What's there today? We don't care what the might be there tomorrow, but we care a week from now a month from now a year from now that what might might spring up and fundamentally if you see the situation as the administration does which is a a Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany type situation where there is a kind of locus of evil a locus of just kind of ill will upon the Western world that sooner or later will cause a problem then you don't care if you find the vial of Anthrax the nuclear bomb because it's the one that would have been produced Next month you're concerned about so that's how they see it and I think they would be able to get away from that problem when you did your research for for your article. I mean, you talked to a whole range of people military folks arabist soil industry. People spies or the full diplomats the full range in general. Did they share the sense of Saddam Hussein posing? If not, an imminent threat to the United States then an inevitable threat to the United States some I think almost everybody I spoke with had a sense of the gravity of the Enterprise the US would be entering on if it if it launched a war and took over the country and how how years and perhaps decades later the u.s. Be feeling the impact of that. Some of them thought. It was nonetheless necessary others thought that it was not worth it worth the cost and it's interesting. I think to view this whole decision as the way you balance to clouds of uncertainty to things that are basically unknowable one is the unknowable risk of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. And if you think that sooner or later that will lead to a Hitler type situation or another, you know, Al-Qaeda type situation, then you take that seriously. The other is the unknowable risk the unknowable consequences of launching a war and where that might lead. Most of the people I spoke with emphasized the latter more strongly but a few of them felt that they thought the danger of Saddam Hussein in place was too great to tolerate Steve your (00:40:48) question. Thank you Gary. Mr. Fellows. You said a few moments ago, you believe that some of the Middle East countries will go along with us. If we do go to war and take out Saddam. How do you reconcile that with President Bush has recently expanded Vision rationale for the for going to war in promoting greater democracy in in that part of the world are those kind of odds with each other isn't a democracy a challenge to the Saudis for instance. Thank you. (00:41:17) It certainly is and I think your question sort of puts its finger on the most interesting sort of intellectual issue involved in this war, you know, you hate say intellectual issues about war but there is a real sort of ethical or or He questioned here the people who are most influential in making the war policy inside the government think that not only does it have the negative virtue. So to speak of removing a threat in the form of Saddam Hussein, but also it has a positive virtue that because Iraq as a sort of naturally rich country with its oil because it does have a well-trained population. They feel that it can be the first sort of middle-class democracy in the Arab world, which then we'll sort of Ripple through Syria Saudi Arabia Iran Egypt, etc. Etc. Now this is what they really believe and it's a large part of The propulsive Proposal force behind the war. But as you say this is not something that's going to bring the Saudis on board. It's not something it's going to make the Egyptians of filo. This is a great concept. And so you have the main idea behind the war cannot freely speak its name when lining up the alliance and that is I think will be seen historically as one of the main problems of this moment that the main idea behind it has not been advocated clearly. To the American public nor certainly clearly to the allies and the rest of the world night that is going to be a tremendous Dilemma to untangle after a war. So if the administration were more blunt about this, I guess it would be the word they would say to the American people. Look we we want to get rid of all these guys will start with the worst one first, but eventually all of these dictators and autocrat sought to be removed is that yes sir. There would be a sort of outright Woodrow Wilson type rhetoric behind the war that is a war to make the world safe for democracy. And that that there would be a sort of threat analysis and spin to it saying that in the long run Islamic autocracies Islamic tyrannies are a source of instability for the world and there would be the positive sense that if democracy is come to East Asia if it's come to the former Soviet Empire. Why should it be denied in the Arab world to but it would be the most honest case for the war. Reflecting the wishes of the people who are guiding. It would be a Woodrow Wilson type case of bringing democracy to the world Rick your question, please (00:43:40) hello James and hello. All you listeners that are interested in this subject is so wonderful and please if you would allow me just a moment to present the question to you. That's like a paradigm scenario of what could be. (00:43:50) Okay? Keep it short (00:43:51) though example, like if like like a special Berlin wall that we have now, that's that we don't see but it's going to come down in for example when MacArthur signed the thing on the ship and we had we won World War Two we freed the Europe and the rest of the world and the world today has a lot of people people in power. They're not doing what we really set them forth to be able to do to be free, you know and to have The thing in all America has a lot of troubles with there's things that with our military and our going over there in the troubles were having with Europe and winning them and but if there is something that would change all of that that came into the world today and into the view of people could be like this God is not willing that any should perish and why should some countries not allow the gospel to go in there when we set it free back in World War II and why should the dead soldiers not have their Victory? We're taking it away from everyone perhaps you can answer something about (00:44:48) subjects wreck. I'm sorry. I don't I have no idea what you just said, I guess basically our you're suggesting that if war is successful in Iraq, it would dramatically change the world in terms of it. Make the world a better place. Is (00:45:01) that what you said it? Everybody come to the understanding that God doesn't want a nation under God but a nation called by his name. So America is in the wrong position right now to try to do something. Maybe we need to get the right clothing on the right words to say to the world to let the world be with us. We need to be the leaders that we have. Given the leader (00:45:18) position. Okay, James Fallows. Do you do you know what he was suggesting answer that this let me answer a related question. Exactly one Rick is Raising. I think there is a when President Bush and I slip of the tongue about a year ago used the word crusade to talk about the undertaking against Saddam Hussein that was reported in every newspaper every news outlet that through the Arabic world because the background sense in the in the Arab world. The Islamic world is that this is yet another installment in the 2000 year old struggle or 1500 year old struggle between Christianity and Islam and that is not what the United States wants to project to the world. United States is a is a nation of many faithful people and some people who do not subscribe to any religion but it does not want to be seen to have a religious spirit behind its International International efforts because the rest of the world doesn't necessarily share the same religion and I think we the any implication this was a crusade would be a disaster Joe. (00:46:17) No your question, please. Yes, I was astounded last night. I was listening to the BBC and they reported that the United States Bush was going to allocate either 900 million or 900 billion. I didn't hear which one but either one it's a fantastic amount but to rebuild Iraq after the war and that they had already put the contract. So to various corporations in the United States that the contracts were tailored to fit these corporations. And one of the corporations was Jenny's Corporation, and the other ones were all related corporations and that they had already allocated that money and In those contracts out now. Okay. Number one. I want to know how they could do that couldn't isn't there supposed to be some kind of discussion or act or something into it smells decidedly fishy to (00:47:34) me. Is it premature for the Bush Administration to be thinking about rebuilding Iraq? No, it's not premature. And if anything they've usually been folded for the reverse of not thinking enough and certainly not say enough about what would happen after a military Victory on the question of shouldn't there be some discussion, you know, I fault the Democratic party here. There was supposed to be a discussion last fall about the merits of the war itself and the Democrats for various, I think tactical and more or less Craven reasons decided not to engage the president on the merits of the war in general. So the Congress both houses the Congress have endorsed this strategy and the Pentagon is now sort of applying these reconstruction contract such as reading. This morning on the internet are an implication of that. I think the main ripple effect. This will have on the short term is to complicate the international efforts because if the French or the Germans the Russians say wait, you're already lining up to pay back tail. You're lining up to pay Halliburton. This looks all the worse of just a u.s. Venture go ahead and do it yourself. And what about the implicit charge? I think that was included in Jones question that essentially the Bush Administration is, you know, greasing the palms of its friends. Let me say this. Let me say this in respect to the credit of the Bush Administration. I you know, I think will become clear it has been clear that I am not in favor of any kind of rush to war, but I think President Bush is doing this because he sincerely believes he should and if you just wanted to grease the palms of his friends there would be easier ways to do that in tax cut policies or or whatever because this is a gigantic gamble for I am to say, you know setting apart the gamble for the rest of the world for the United States. It is very hard from a political point of view or sort of crass economic point of view to say, oh this is going to turn out well for him. It probably will be popular in the very short run. I would suspect that the year from now will not look like a politically wise thing to have done. So I think the only reason President Bush is pushing as hard as he is is that he personally believe this is necessary. I disagree with that assessment, but I have no questions about his motives and doing it and so your question. (00:49:51) Yes, what would happen if Saddam Launches on Israel like he did last time will we be able to keep Israel at Bay or would that complicate more things and I'm God bless the hundred and first and 82nd Airborne. (00:50:04) Now, you said earlier James Fallows and it's almost a given that Saddam Hussein if he's going down will strike out at Israel. The CIA has said they don't think Saddam Hussein will use his weapons unless he's But if he does he'll use everything he has why not and and the nearest place he can hit his Israel and there have been conflicting reports in the Press over the last two or three months about what exactly the US will expect Israel to do on the one hand a girl Sharon may not listen to the u.s. At all and he's been nobody's idea of restraint and almost anything he has done there have been occasional report saying the US will do everything it can to protect Israel on its own to seize those missile Fields first etcetera, but the most recent report I saw two days ago was essentially the US had had endorsed the idea of Israel making some kind of response. There are big differences in the response Israel makes if it's only back at Iraq and only back essentially a defense at sort of military Targets in Iraq, that's one thing if it escalates the battle with two neighboring countries, if there are pre-emptive strikes against Iran or Syria, then we do step closer to Armageddon in my view when I ask you a couple of other questions about what happens. If a war breaks out, first of all, are there any reliable casualty figures any estimates of casualties civilian casualties? I'm sure there are some estimates. I think there are no reliable estimates because nobody really knows mean it's striking that since the Vietnam war combat has consistently turned out better for the United States than was expected. Even if the post-war aftermath does not always do so clearly there will be some probably thousands of Cavill civilians killed and some hundreds or perhaps thousands of American soldiers killed and many many thousands of Iraqi soldiers killed but more precisely than that. I don't think anyone knows reliably, are there any reliable guesses as to how many troops it will take US troops to essentially occupy Iraq after Saddam Hussein is ousted. There are actually estimates there and they while they are contested with the administrator within the administration the low end is about 75,000 in the short term and the And as you know, maybe 250 or 200,000 but it's clearly in the tens of thousands of US soldiers for certainly at least months and probably a number of years. I was going to say how long then could we anticipate the u.s. To be deeply committed in Iraq and that depends on the fundamental question. We were talking about earlier of what exactly our ambition is if our ambition is to get rid of Saddam Hussein and get somebody else in there. Then that can be relatively quick. You can think, you know, the Grenada Invasion or the Panama Invasion. But if the ambition behind this is the one that I think really is guiding it inside the administration then you know trying to really remake that Society is a many many year undertaking Saddam Hussein in terms of the folks you've spoken with how important is it or would it be for the u.s. To actually kill or capture Saddam Hussein as opposed to you know, the Osama Bin Laden situation, it would be highly desirable. But I think many people think it is. It is unlikely that the US will be sure of what has happened to him. This was during the original Gulf War. The u.s. Is trying very hard to hit his sort of command winnebagos it winnebagos. He drove around in with various missiles and they could never find the right one. He's had a decade plus to hire body doubles to be on the Move each night. And so I think the likely scenario is the Osama Bin Laden one, finally James Fallows. There's a theory that says this is really much bigger than just a rack whatever happens here could dramatically alter the world as we know it. Would you agree with that? I think yes, and the theory behind the war is that that they will alter the world in a good way. This will be like the fall of the Soviet Union will be like the sort of the change in China. That's a possibility the darkest nightmare scenario is that will lead to a real it will be the high Watermark of US influence and Lead just to chaos that will be reaping for decades to come. Don't know where the truth is probably is between those but I think this will be a major change in history were living through James Fallows. Thanks so much for joining us and have a good speech tonight. My pleasure. Thank you, James Fallows the national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. He is joining us. He joined us rather from our studios in Collegeville. He's speaking at st. John's University tonight part of St. John's critical thinking and Global time series talking about Iraq essentially as a 51st state and the problems the issues that the United States will have to deal with if in fact there is a war in Iraq and the war successfully host Saddam Hussein from Power like to thank all of you who've been with us this hour now, if you'd like to continue this conversation go online Minnesota Public Radio dot-org click on midday and you'll find a your voice section where there's a lively discussion of post-war Iraq under way, Minnesota Public Radio. (00:55:17) Or (00:55:18) programming is supported by Ecolab dedicated to improving cleaning and sanitation standards for leading Hospitality Healthcare and food processing customers worldwide on the web at Ecolab.com. 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