Just Another Ant
Thursday, 20. November 2003

Gary Kamiya faßt im Salon Magazine auch die zweite Diskussion zwischen Mark Danner und Christopher Hitchens zusammen [The great debate, reloaded Daypass req.]

Nachdem sich Hitchens beim ersten Zusammentreffen im Januar pro-Krieg ziemlich weit aus dem Fenster gelehnt hatte, fragt sich Kamiya nun:

How would the legendarily silver-tongued Hitchens talk his way out of this one?

Antwort: Auf den ersten Blick überraschend gut, weil wie üblich rhetorisch gefinkelt und noch zusätzlich motiviert durch missionarische Leidenschaft. Daß die meisten seiner Prognosen* für den Fall einer Besetzung des Iraks nicht eingetroffen sind, bringt ihn anscheind nicht aus dem Gleichgewicht. Wie es mit einigen seiner wichtigsten Argumente (praktisch identisch mit denen der US-Regierung) für eine Invasion des Irak steht, ist außerdem eine gute Frage. Thomas Powers hat dazu in der "New York Review of Books" einen längeren Essay mit dem eindeutigen Titel The Vanishing Case for War geschrieben, in dem die Behauptungen Washingtons, namentlich:

Iraq was actively developing weapons of mass destruction including nuclear bombs; that it had a secret working relationship with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network, which had been responsible for the attacks on September 11; and that the danger that Saddam Hussein would provide terrorists with weapons of mass destruction was so grave that it amounted to an imminent threat.

genauestens analysiert und mit CIA-Unterlagen und dem vorläufigen Bericht des jetzt im Irak arbeitenden Waffenexperten David Kay verglichen werden. Powers' Fazit: Fast keine läßt sich belegen, was zumindest der rein faktischen Seite - es gibt ja noch die moralische - von Hitchens' regime change-Enthusiamus die Grundlage entzieht.

*Kamiya über die Positionen der Diskutanten im Jänner:

Hitchens said that America had no choice but to invade, both because Saddam represented an imminent threat and because it was our moral duty to do so. Saddam was evil, unstable and connected to Islamist terrorists such as Ansar al-Islam. He possessed a terrifying arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which inspectors would never be able to find, and had shown in the past that he was willing to use them. His eventual fall was sure to be chaotic and risky: It was better to seize the initiative and remove him at a time of our choosing. It was also essential to demonstrate to the bin Ladens of the world that America was not a paper tiger. The risks were not great: The war would be quick, the occupation relatively painless, we would be greeted by most Iraqis as liberators, and reconstructing Iraq would proceed apace. The rest of the Arab and Muslim world would not erupt: Indeed, striking down Saddam could help revive the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Above all, the U.S. simply had the moral responsibility to strike down psychopathic tyrants like Saddam Hussein.

Danner argued that invading Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein was both unnecessary and too risky. Although he acknowledged that Saddam was a loathsome tyrant and he would have supported ousting him under the right circumstances, he maintained that the costs were not acceptable. Saddam did not, he said, represent an imminent threat: There was no evidence that he was connected to global terrorism, and aggressive inspections backed up with the threat of airstrikes would keep him in his box. As for the consequences of invasion, they could potentially be dire. U.S. invasion would require a prolonged occupation that would expose American troops to guerrilla attacks and could result in a fractured, failed state that would be a haven for terrorists. America, with its short attention span, was not good at nation building to begin with, and was facing an enormously difficult task in Iraq, an artificially created country divided along religious and ethnic lines that had suffered despotic rule for decades. Finally, invading a major Arab state would be certain to stir up Arab and Muslim rage against the U.S., leading to more attacks against us -- just what bin Laden had hoped for.

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