Fizzle material is the stuff in the nuclear bombs that go boom. Most uranium is actually unuseable for Nuclear weapons. I thought WTF do they mean fizzle the first time I heard it, but it's apparently a very common term. If Iraq got a shipment of Uranium, and it had no fizzle material, it would mean that it's pretty much useless unless you have a nuclear reactor. (Then you can process it to the point where it becomes a great weapon)
I could be wrong, since I hardly read "Nuclear Weapons Weekly" or anything, but I could have sworn the term was "fissionable", as in "material that can undergo fission".
Fission is when heavy elements break appart into smaller elements. An example of fission is when a pound of Uranium or Plutonium that fits into a breadbox sized warhead converts into a cloud of hydrogen that quickly expands (with much heat and light) to fill a very large volume. That's also called a nuclear explosion.
Fusion is when lighter elements are "fused" into a heavier one. It's usually a byproduct of nuclear reactions. Yes folks. Modern "alchemy" really can turn lead into gold. It's just vastly more expensive then just digging gold out of the ground and will likely leave the most of the gold in a radioactive state.
The massive ground troops, well, yeah, I'd still have them be coming in as the mop up. You don't want to underscore your troop strength either if you're invading a country with potential WMD's. It'd be bad to lose your fighting ability because you had too few soldiers. But the massive amounts of troops would have been mainly for the mop up, and securing.
Eh? Hard to say. You're playing a delicate diplomatic balancing act here. Too few troops and you are vulnerable to the inevitable agitators and rebels. Too many, and you look too much like an occupation force rather then a liberating force. There's a time element to that as well, but I'll get to that later.
As far as the example of Bush using WMD's on his own people, you should put that in context of, they were resistance fighters. That'd be like the North using WMD's on the South during the civil war. Sometimes a lot of civilians were taken out also, but the US has used that tactic before. Even though he used the weapons on neighbors, and resistance fighters, he still had no capability for striking the US. Probably the only ally that Saddam could reach is Israel. Even then just barely, and only with the rockets he was destroying towards the end.
I'm extremely confused by this paragraph. When did Bush using WMD on his own people come into the discussion? Wasn't that Saddam who did that? I had to read the bit about Israel about 3 times to realize you meant "ally of the US". It sounded like you were implying that Israel was an ally of the Iraqis.
In any case though. The difference is that certain types of weapons are "illegal" to use (geneva conventions, UN resolutions, and such). Using bio/chem weapons on civilian populations is a biggie. Using them in war is also a biggie. He did both.
The Kurds are "resistance fighters" in about the same way that seasonal Mexican crop laborers here in the US are. A marginalized, "foreign" group that the regime doesn't like and wouldn't mind just disappearing. The difference again is that while the US may attempt to make things unpleasant for illegals in the US, to my knowledge, there has never been an incident of the US government using poison gas to kill off shantytowns full of those darn, border-crossing, sneaky folks who just want to earn a living.
If Bush comes up with proof that there actually was a clear and present danger to Americans, then I'll say the war was perfectly justified. Otherwise, it sets a very dangerous precedent. I like that Saddam is gone, that was the biggest bonus out of the war. Bush would have me won on the war if it was for that reason (even though that's a dangerous precedent as well). I just don't like Bush's tactics for the most part. He's a pretty OK person, he just see's things in too much of a black and white for me to completely like him though.
I've asked this before. I'll ask again. What exactly would you consider "proof" of this? A "Clear and Present Danger" scenario isn't always easy to prove. At least not until after the fact. Actually, it's kinda funny that we use that term, but in the modern world, there's nothing "clear" about it at all. The only "Clear" danger would be a military force, with stated intention to attack, posted just across our border. Given the geographical, political, and military position of the US, that's just not likely to happen anytime soon.
Everything else that presents a "Danger" to the US is by neccessity going to be vague and unclear. You can't have a "Clear" proof of someone attacking with a suitcase bomb until the bomb goes off. The point was that we knew these things:
1. Iraq had an active WMD program prior to the first gulf war. This is an absolute fact.
2. Iraq did not destroy nearly as many weapons under UN inspections as they *should* have had. Note, that we can never know for sure how many they produced, only estimate them based on the amount of infrastructure they've got, resources, etc.
3. Iraq made great pains to conceal/destroy all evidence of the WMD programs that they had. We've got virtuall no actual documentation of where they build their WMD, how many they built, where they were stored, or what became of them.
Fast forward. This state is going on for 10 years. At what point does this go from oddity to "clear and present danger"? At what point do you conclude that if they can hide the weapons they did have, and are going to obvious and great efforts to retain as much ability to continue building more WMD once the santions are lifted and the inspectors leave as possible, that they obviously intend to build more weapons? If we can make that conclusion, then how much of a stretch is it to conclude that the weapons they do make will largely be aimed at us?
Iraq does not need to have missile capable of reaching the continental US. They just need to give the material to any of a number of terrorist groups (not even Al-queda), and let them be the delivery platform. It's just that when you add up the increase in terrorist activity towards us and the great potential for Iraq to supply really deadly warheads to those terrorists, and the imminent removal of UN sanctions and inspections which were arguably the only thing preventing Iraq from building those weapons and Saddams stated hatred for us and intention to hurt us if he could, I think you can arguably state that allowing Saddam's regime to continue in power in Iraq did represent a "Clear and present danger" to the US.
I don't need "proof" to know that handing a gun to a man with a record of armed robbery means that he'll likely use it to rob someone. That's exactly what was about to happen. The UN was about to lift the sanctions and inspections in Iraq. Every bit of intel screamed that if that happened, Iraq would go right back (very quickly) to building bio/chem weapons, and resuming attempts to build a nuclear program. Heck. Common sense tells you that would have happened. Whether the "terrorist as delivery system" method would have been utilized is the only unknown in the equation. Can you honestly state, with no doubt in your mind that Saddam wouldn't have done that? Would you, if you were the president, have made the choice to do nothing? We had the ability to remove Saddam's regime (clearly). Thus, we had the ability to prevent those future weapons from being built in the first place. We did not and do not have any ability to prevent bio/chem weapons from moving from a country that builds them into the hands of a terrorist organization. We did not and do not have any really effective way of finding and preventing said terrorists from using those weapons against US citizens. Given all the options available, toppling Saddam's regime was the choice that granted the highest probability of preventing the loss of US citizens lives in the long run.
Now. Having said that, there are a number of things that must be done to follow up on it (or it's possibly a wasted effort). Toppling Saddam bought us some time. We need to use it to get more reliable intel in the area. We need to finally start taking terrorist groups seriously. I think we're doing that now, but there's no way for us as average citizens to know how effectively. We can hope though...
Also, the occupation needs to be ended as quickly as possible. We've been dragging our feet a bit on this. I would assume it's because we hadn't gotten Saddam yet. The transition from provisional government to permanent one is a vulnerable time. Leaving Saddam as a potential player would have been disasterous. I think the best choice at this point is to help the Iraqi's build a new government for themselve. I also think we need to let them make all the choices about it. Insist on initial representation from the whole country, put them in a room to hammer out the rules of their new government, and then let them do it from there on their own.
I also think we should let them try Saddam. However, I'd make a condition that they must try him with whatever legal system they come up with (ie: It's done after their permanent government is in place). They will need to live with whatever system they use. I think that most people, when given the power and responsibility will tend to act responsibly. We can't sit in their country forever. The sooner we hand control back to the Iraqi's, the better. Even if whatever government they come up with isn't one we particularly like, we'll have better relations with them and the entire region if we let them choose it, instead of forcing our desires on them.