6.06.2005

The Debate for Iraq

No matter if one suggests the reason for the American led invasion of Iraq in March of 2003 was a means to disarm a tyrant of weapons of mass destruction, or part of the overall war on terrorism, or as a foreign policy strategy with the goal of making Iraq and the Middle East safe for democracy, the present situation in Iraq is a mixture of all three arguments, and many others, as well as an indicator to the confusion of the entirety. Iraq today is easily the result of numerous rationales, tactless planning, great sacrifices, enormous progress, missed opportunities, huge successes, and immense struggles for all involved-- all of which are just as debatable as the next.

It’s entirely possible to argue that Iraq is on the path to democracy while still admitting that things have not went as smoothly as believed in the beginning. We can convincingly argue that it is a wonderful achievement to depose of Saddam Hussein even as admitting the planning for his removal was ill fated and still not completely understood. We can argue that the WMD, which has never been located, in the wrong hands of a person who hates the US would be a horrible mistake for the future, while believing that the rush to war by the Bush administration mistakenly overlooked many items that have proven to be a horrible mistake for the future. Can’t all of the above be possible?

The Iraq debate is undoubtedly a paradox of logistics, planning and arguments. Iraq is essentially anyone’s argument or spin.

The British memo helps matters none. Some call the memo a fake, and whatever the impulse for either believing or discarding the memo does nothing for the troops on the ground. Don’t show me leaked memos to explain this war, because I can show you another leaked memo to prove it otherwise. Don’t show me European intelligence briefings about the motive for the Anglo-American invasion. I will show you centuries worth of European colonialism of the Middle East that created this modern world. I don’t want to hear utterances by Bush praising the policy, which no one can explain, while ignoring the reality. And I sure don’t care about reports by Amnesty International rebuking America for the treatment of prisoners and human rights when I have yet to see any report about the treatment of hostages and women by Muslim extremists or any reprove for their support of suicide bombers, which exemplifies the total decay of society.

Even the contradictions in my reasoning are abundant.

Bush’s most outspoken positive achievement of the Iraq debate is not how well the troops have performed, but the merriment of the January elections. The January elections took place not because Bush planned it so, but because American troops guaranteed it so. Every first words out of Bush’s mouth should be the infinite praising of the sacrifice and accomplishments our troops have achieved. Again, I don’t want to hear the constant patting on the back of Bush policy because none of it measures up to the undertakings of the American military.

Since the January elections almost 250 American soldiers have been killed, 80 in the month of May. Over 3,000 Iraqi civilians have been murdered in the streets since January, most from the absurd act of suicide bombings, over 700 in the month of May alone. Insurgent attacks are at an all time high with an average of 70 per day. And yet I’m not supposed to mention any of this-- because it’s viewed as overshadowing substantial long-term progress-- without mentioning that oil exports are actually up from this time last year, that fuel supplies almost doubled from last June, that telephone usage has more than doubled since this time last year, that internet subscribers have almost tripled since last June, that 65% of Iraqis now believe that their country is finally heading in the right direction- up from 50% last June, that more schools opened in May 2004 than April 2004, because all that is viewed as the progress.

The debate itself is as polar as the “with us or against” simple talk of Bush’s first term, because that attitude leaves absolutely no room for dissent on any matter. Conversely, the slightest disagreement with something that is Bush immediately ignites labels of anti-Americanism, “against this war,” anti-Bush and refusing to acknowledge the progress, while any optimistic views about the war are immediately argued as blind appeasement of a fascist-like president. It is with this that the debate begins and ends. And none of it does anything for the troops on the ground.

Somewhere in this large contradiction of a debate there must be room to argue for the importance of overthrowing Saddam merely because this post 9/11 world would not tolerate a tyrant like him, and the necessity and strategic importance at which American troops be present in the Middle East, and yet still disagree with the tactics, the rush to war and the lack of policy direction, all the while supporting the troops because this 21st century project along with all the burdens are squarely placed on them. It must be possible to argue that Bush and the politicians in charge of this war have not lived up to the troops and those who have so valiantly executed it.

So far, nothing of that substance appears visible in the current debate for Iraq.

54 comments:

CaliValleyGirl said...

Great post, sometimes it seems like some guys think that world is Sim City.

Although my standard comment: hindsight is 20/20. It's always easier to say we should have done things differently after the fact.

Household6 said...

I like this post. I've read comments of yours from CVG's blog, but hadn't read any of your's yet.

I like the conflict of ideals you have - that's the best way to describe how people feel about this whole thing - conflicted.

Household6

Markkind said...

This was really really good. I'm glad to see that you can appreciate the complexity of the Iraq situation.

As far the convoluted "Bush Policy" there's a great book called "Civilization and It's Enemies" by Lee Harris, which I thinks goes pretty far in explaining what it is we're doing. He says in short that the world is too small for isolationism and that empire building is ultimately counter-productive. He suggests the future of American foreign policy will be something in the middle. A guiding interventionism. Essentially, we go in, take a place over, rebuild, and then leave it in the hands of fairly reasonable indigenous people. I think the Bush administration is trying to work out the kinks of that plan in Iraq.

Sminklemeyer said...

Wow, that was quite provoking. I would say yes to all the above. I still believe that there were WMD in Iraq, but because we couldn't secure the northern borders, they were transported into Iran or Syria. Just a theory; I have no proof and never have heard of actual evidence. Another thing is we should have never disbanned the Iraqi army. And everybody said we shouldn't, but we did. This left a big unemployment gap in Iraq. Great post!

Chris said...

Thanks CVG. Glad you enjoyed. I know it's our famous hindsight argument, but I thought I did a better job of not complaining about coulda, woulda, shoulda this time. This is about as down the middle as I can get with the subject. And from a policy analyst standpoint (a Democratic one at that), I'm not sure I can get any closer to the center. I'm sure it's possible to be more centric on the subject, just not any more possible for me.

Besides, I still disagree with a lot of the current political decisions that are being made.

Household, glad to see you around. Stop by any time. Conflict might be the most accurate word yet to describe Iraq.

Mark, I hope the future of American foreign policy will be something in the middle, because what we have now is so far right wing that it can't possibly sustain itself. But I'm not sure I agree with an agressive foreign policy that goes in and just takes over. I mean, unless we are attacked by a said state, then I am against just invading because a supposed threat exists.

I don't think you are suggesting such, but just according to your wording, I would have to be a little cautious of the plan. Though, I would still argue that we have more than some kinks to work out in Iraq. Thanks for reading. I will buy the book you mention. You always do a great job with your site.

Smink, good to see ya. I too believe that Iraq had the weapons, and I too have nothing to prove it with. However, if the WMD did escape Iraq, and we invaded to stop the spread of WMD-- which was the basis of our invasion until Bush started talking about democracy, Wilson and Jefferson-- then wouldn't that mean that our objectives were not met?

I'm being serious here, and I'm in no way saying that our military failed in Iraq, but rather if WMD did get smuggled out of Iraq, then obviously that is a much worse intelligence failure than Iraq not having any in the first place. Right?

I'm not sure what scares me more: the fact that Iraq had the weapons and we let them escape, or the fact Iraq never had the weapons in the first place.

This is some serious discussion here, much more serious than a blog comment section. But this is actually where the conversation needs to go. I mean why has Bush all of a sudden stopped talking about Iraq, WMD and the reasons for invasion? And where exactly are the weapons?

Smink, you bring up a good point. Thanks for stopping by.

dav said...

A clever attempt at balance.

Boiling down to:

"Somewhere in this large contradiction of a debate there must be room to argue for the importance of overthrowing Saddam merely because this post 9/11 ...and the necessity and strategic importance at which American troops be present in the Middle East, ..."

This is exactly the argument Bush/Blair is making now.

A military presence in Iraq is just an extension of european imperialism.

Yes, good thing Saddam is gone. But Saddam didn't just leave, 'we' had to kill an awful lot of people to get rid of him.

and there are NO WMDs.

It is a mess, and it was always going to be. Do you honestly think an invading force can kill thousands of people and then turn around and say but we're here to help. Just take a look at other conflicts. Northern Ireland for instance, the divisons there are massive and the scale of repression was on a much smaller scale.

"The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, is undoubtedly right when she says (The Irish Times, August 4th) that President Saddam Hussein of Iraq violated international law by invading Kuwait 10 years ago.

She was not right when she said previously that the deaths of 50,000 children a year in Iraq since the imposition of sanctions is a price worth paying to get rid of Saddam Hussein."

Jack Toerson said...

Dav, for the sake of debate, what do you think would happen in Iraq if the US and other troops pulled out?

dav said...

Jack, for the sake of debate. What do you think would have if US troops remained?

dav said...

happen*

Jack Toerson said...

Dav, I think it will be messy, I think people will die, and I think we are going to be there for a decade at least. I think that the war will continue as it is, with small but continual progress. I think that it will take a very long time for any kind of normality to return.

However. I think that if the troops are pulled out it will be worse. People are not starving, there is a distinct possibility that they will be in the event of widespread popular war (the 'insurgency' is not a popular movement, the majority of people want peace). It is also possible that the North and South will become autonomous, leaving those in central Iraq far worse off. There is a distinct posibilty of Shiite domination of other religious factions, even forming strong political ties with Iran (Homework for readers: Al-Sistani is/was based where?). In summary I think that your average Joe in Iraq (those who just keep their heads down and get on with it) will be far worse off.

I didn't support the war in Iraq. I strongly believe that it will be worse to leave now we're there. I am yet to hear any kind of predictions regarding what would happen if we pull out. I am genuinely interested in hearing them. So, again, what do you think will happen if the US and other forces pull out?

Sminklemeyer said...

I'll answer your question, Jack. As from somebody whose been there, I can promise you that a lot of good Iraqis would be killed. There are about three or four different issues that could spark a Civil War if we left. The main one being the former Ba'athists and Loyal Sadaam types. They have lost so much money and power since their regime was discontinued. Problem is that there is still a lot of fear in that population from the Ba'athists. Another is Sunni vs. Shia. This issue is not like a racial difference in America. There is a pure hatred between the two sects and throughout Iraqi history, one has punished the other. I'd actually recommend doing a little research on the different beliefs as I cannot possibly begin to explain the extent of their differences. A very like situation would be Kurds vs. Arabs, or northern Iraq vs. the rest of the country. Throughout their people's history, Kurds have been crapped on. They've never had their own country and every where they go, they get disbanned or killed -- especially under Sadaam. Normally doing the killing or disbanning are the Arabs. Over time, many Kurds developed a hate as did the Arabs. I asked an Arab once why he hated the Kurds so much and all he could say is "they are just stupid." This too is a very atypical hate. And the fourth and final scenario I could see if we pulled out would be Iran or Syria moving in for the kill when the country cannot defend itself. To understand the culture there, I would recommend doing some Google searches of "Kurd vs. Arab" or Shia vs. Sunni. After reading the history, I think you might have a good idea what would happen.

The great thing that is happening now is all these sects and ethnicities are working together. Now, is that just because we're looking over their shoulder? I don't think so. I truly believe that the majority of the Iraqis have turned the corner and dropped their "Shia" or "Kurd" differences in hopes of improving Iraq. I hope this answers your question.

dav said...

"People are not starving"


"Children Pay Cost of Iraq's Chaos
Malnutrition Nearly Double What It Was Before Invasion

By Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 21, 2004; Page A01

BAGHDAD -- Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.

After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A809-2004Nov20?language=printer

UN Monitor: War on Iraq Has Doubled Malnutrition Among Iraqi Children


GENEVA -- The war in Iraq and its aftermath have almost doubled malnutrition rates among Iraqi children, a UN specialist on hunger has told the world's major human rights body.


An Iraqi mother waits for treatment with her daughter, who is suffering from diarrhea, in the waiting room of the General Teaching Hospital for Children in Baghdad, Iraq, in this June 3, 2004 photo. Malnutrition among the youngest Iraqis has almost doubled since the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, a hunger specialist told the U.N. human rights body Wednesday March 30, 2005 in a summary of previously reported studies on health in Iraq. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Acute malnutrition rates among Iraqi children under five rose late last year to 7.7 per cent from four per cent after the ouster of President Saddam Hussein in April 2003, said Jean Ziegler, the UN Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food.

Malnutrition, which is exacerbated by a lack of clean water and inadequate sanitation, is a major child-killer in poor countries. Children who manage to survive are usually physically and mentally impaired for the rest of their lives and more vulnerable to disease.

Acute malnutrition signifies a child is actually wasting away.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0331-08.htm



There is ample reason to believe that the coalition presence is making the violence much worse. The coalition is not trusted, the government is not trusted, because it serves as a puppet gpvernment, the iraqi army is not trusted, as it works under the puppet government.

The new iraqi police are being used as a buffer by the coalition. They are ill-equipped and untrained. There is a danger that civil war will erupt, but as George Bush said, "a democracy cannot function under military occupation" (in relation to lebanon).

If Iraqis are given full control of their resources and finance for the rebuilding of their country, they should be able to figure it out themselves. I don't know this, but at the same time, I can say with more certainty that if the coalition remain, peace will not be reached. Even an increase in violence, via Fallujah, via Negroponte's death squads, etc etc could not curb the war. The coalition have had their chance, if we are to believe their rhetoric, they have f*cked up, if we (I) don't they have accomplished a continuing war, brought in greater government control (britain is getting ID cards too now, these things catch on quickly) and Iraq's oil will soon be ours. Job done.

Unadulterated Underdog said...

Heck of a good post! I am absolutely amazed that anyone still believes it when Bush claims the war is going well. There are more deaths per day now than at any time previously. I agree Saddam needed to go but we shouldn't have lied about our intentions or rather Bush and Blair shouldn't have. I hope for the sake of world peace and security that in future, when something like Iraq happens again it will be justified for the right reasons from the git-go, planned as well as possible and executed with a multinational force rather than a unilateral one with only a small handful of allies. If we had done the right thing, the second war would have been like the first, a real international peace effort. Instead, it looked like a powerful nation removing a weaker nation's leader because they didn't like him. We drug our name through the mud for Dubya. Over 1600 military deaths later, are we better off? Just think how things could have been better had Bush and Company been honest in the first place?

Jack Toerson said...

Dav, thanks for your reply. It's better this is debated than getting into the usual internet name calling.

With regards of the situation in Iraq, in certain areas things are worse than under Saddam, but I don't see that is a justification for pulling out. I'll explain why. Please bear in mind that I did not agree with the war. I'll try to be clear in explaining why I think you're wrong, because you were clear in explaining why you think I am wrong.

Any statistics regarding the situation before the war do not reflect the situation now.

A one on one comparison, for instance a one on one comparison with malnutrition then and now, is not justified because it implies that the situation would revert back. I don't think the situation can/will revert back. A war cannot be undone (Ctrl-Z in Windows).

All a 'one on one' comparison is good for is checking what our esteemed political leaders predicted and what the case is now. The question is what we can now do about it. I don't think pulling out will help. I accept that things are pretty f**ked up in places.

I would like to note that I don't believe in saying things like "other people torture far more than us, so it is OK when we do it". It is a double negation, you cannot justify something bad with something else that is worse. However, what you can say is that the truly foul parts of this war are far outweighed by a majority of people that are good. Both Iraqi and Soldier.

I take a pragmatic stand. I cannot expect a war to be free of injustice. I don't think there has been a war that is free of injustice. What I do know is that you have to make the best of what there is, especially if the alternative is worse.

I know that the majority of Iraqis want peace. I don't think pulling out will achieve that. I view Saddam Hussein as a Tito like figure, but, of course, far worse to his people. I think without the troops, and the absence of Saddam Hussein, there will be a Yugoslavia like situation or worse. Hence, despite being anti-war on principle, I take the stand that I do.

Until the Iraqis can defend themselves against the terror, leaving them defenseless would be a crime. You say that the Iraqis can sort this out themselves. I don't think that is the case. They are not dealing with rational people.

The aim of the terrorists is not just to remove the foreign troops, it is to impose their will on the rest of the Iraqi people against their will. They will not stop, even if the troops go.

Chris said...

I'm not sure where I'm supposed to chime in here, so I will try to touch quickly on a couple things.

First I want to thank everyone for commenting and reading.

Dav, I'm not sure that my argument, which does drive a thin down the middle, is exactly what Blair and Bush are arguing as well. For starters, Bush doesn't even talk about Iraq. All he mentions is that progress is being made. Blair is receiving more heat, mainly cause of the memo, but I don't think him and I would be in much agreement about the subject.

My very contention with Bush is the very fact that he doesn't talk about it. To me the issue of WMD is crucial. If Iraq did not have the weapons, I want to know why we failed in that regards. If Iraq did have the weapons, I want to know where they are now. I really don't care about the democracy crap that Bush preaches now. It's just a cover.

Maybe the American invasion is an extension of European imperialism. I think people who argue that point have a very valid argument. I mean if this is a new form of colonialism, I gotta argue that it's better than the European form.

Also, if in this crazy messed up world it's possible to fly airplanes into skyscrapers and murder over 3,000 people, then by all means it's possible to take the fight to wherever it may go. It's also very possible to argue that the invasion was illegal, and that's probably true, but when you are the toughest kid on the block, who's going to stop you?

Now I'm sure all that sounds so unintellectual, so Bush-like, but in so many ways this world operates on very simple levels. To think that war is now at a level reserved for the highest regards of civilization is fantasy. War is the most basic human action. We just haven't come that far.

Dav, I understand your concern for all the killing. I too have argued for the senseless planning by Bush that has resulted in all the killing. I argue it on both sides.

Jack, good to see you here. I think you are new. I too agree that we can't leave Iraq, not now. I think we should stay forever. I think we should build permanent bases like in Germany and Japan. Now I don't think combat should continue forever. I think we have to secure Iraq, end the resistance and build permanent bases for active duty and send our reserves and guard home.

We broke Iraq. Now we gotta fix it. We have to make it right.

I do have to side with Dav on the people starving. People are starving in Iraq. There doesn't have to be a famine in order for starvation to be present. People are starving in America as well.

OK Dem, I agree that Bush has been less than honest about this whole operation. And now to call him on his reasonings for war is to be unpatriotic, or so that's the acceptable norm right now. I'm just not going to play those lazy political games of wearing the flag. I want more than that.

Again, thanks to all for reading and commenting. I'm not sure I made much sense here, because I'm typing so fast, but I'm just glad that a debate has sparked because of this post. If I knew of a way to make the debate larger to include more people I would. Thanks to Sminky for highlighting the post and linking to it. Without that, I don't think I would have had 5 comments.

Thanks

dav said...

"Any statistics regarding the situation before the war do not reflect the situation now."

of course they are. it is dircetly through our actions, the situation is as such. if you accept your view, then it is pointless to say "its good that saddam is gone" or "its better than when saddam was around" (ignoring the reality that the second one is factually incorrect) as they are both the result of comparison with the past.

"I accept that things are pretty f**ked up in places."

Iraqis are predominantly city slickers, Baghdad for instance is still a war zone, Fallujah was levelled. F*ucked up does not even begin to describe it.

"I take a pragmatic stand. I cannot expect a war to be free of injustice. I don't think there has been a war that is free of injustice."

okay, so now that you know it hasn't been free from injustice, how do we bring justice to people like Bush, Halliburton, those responsible for Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, those involved in "oil for food" and the theft that that dwarfed "o.f.f.", the sale of oil through turkey etc etc

"I would like to note that I don't believe in saying things like "other people torture far more than us, so it is OK when we do it"."

true, because we are not extremists are we? 'we' are fighting a very very small number of terrorists using very very very big guns. If they kill one innocent person, it doesn't really compare to the tens of thousands we have killed. We have created a breeding ground of anger, and it was always obvious the extremists would hope to thrive in that anger.

"The aim of the terrorists is not just to remove the foreign troops,"

it is estimated that the insurgents (counter insurgent would be more accurate) number 200,000. They are obviously not all foreign fighters. It begs the question, are the Iraqi people allowed to resist foreign occupation violently? would you criticise american people if they took up arms against a foreign invading force which they considered hostile?

First, do no harm.

dav said...

"To me the issue of WMD is crucial. If Iraq did not have the weapons, I want to know why we failed in that regards."

have you read the memo? it has not been portrayed as a falsification by the government.

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

read paxman's interview on newsnight, asking blair about the "kicking out" of weapons inspectors.

fabrication: The deliberate act of deviating from the truth

"I understand your concern for all the killing. I too have argued for the senseless planning by Bush that has resulted in all the killing. I argue it on both sides."

senseless planning? The death toll simply makes the war less popular, it makes Bush's (and those around him) job more difficult. Apart from that, it's not an issue. Thats why victims don't get counted, they just don't care. Look at how veterans are treated... research Depleted Uranium, this is a long term killer, like landmines, only worse.

"because this post 9/11 world would not tolerate a tyrant like him"

have you been following what happened in Uzbekistan "the bloody massacre of hundreds of civilians in Andijan is fast becoming yesterdays 'story', the West will soon be free to continue its blind dance with the brutal dictator Karimov."

9/11 is not the first murder on a massive scale. others just go unnoticed and those who suffer don't get to seek retribution in a foreign land on a people who have no responsibility (afganistan anyone?).

The murder in Andijan will be forgotten and the 'west' will re-establish it's support for another oppressive regime after a light slap on the wrist yadda yadda yadda yadda...............

Jack Toerson said...

“of course they are. it is dircetly through our actions, the situation is as such. if you accept your view, then it is pointless to say "its good that saddam is gone" or "its better than when saddam was around" (ignoring the reality that the second one is factually incorrect) as they are both the result of comparison with the past.”

No, I was making the point that using the past as an argument for pulling out doesn't work. It's a fine argument for quantifying the state of things now. And attributing blame. But saying “we should pull out because more people have severe deficiencies now than before” omits that things may get worse. What you're actually saying is “we should pull out, because more people have severe deficiencies now than before, even if that means things could get worse”.

“okay, so now that you know it hasn't been free from injustice, how do we bring justice to people like Bush, Halliburton, those responsible for Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, those involved in "oil for food" and the theft that that dwarfed "o.f.f.", the sale of oil through turkey etc etc”

Actually thinking war isn't being free from injustice isn't a 'now' thing. It's something I think is a truth. The above can't be justified in terms of relatives. But blaming all Americans in Iraq is much like blaming all Iraqis for the 'insurgency', or worse, attributing the 'insurgency' to all Iraqis.

“true, because we are not extremists are we? 'we' are fighting a very very small number of terrorists using very very very big guns. If they kill one innocent person, it doesn't really compare to the tens of thousands we have killed. We have created a breeding ground of anger, and it was always obvious the extremists would hope to thrive in that anger.”

That is quite probably true. Politicians, terrorist or otherwise, will always exploit the losses of others in order to impress their message.

“it is estimated that the insurgents (counter insurgent would be more accurate) number 200,000. They are obviously not all foreign fighters. It begs the question, are the Iraqi people allowed to resist foreign occupation violently? would you criticise american people if they took up arms against a foreign invading force which they considered hostile?”

I would criticize American people if they started blowing up other American people without discrimination!

The way that I understand it is that the foreign fighters are being used as cannon fodder and for suicide missions. Largely by Baathists and former Special Republican Guard soldiers (the majority Shia realise that political inclusion is the way to go). The IEDs are being placed by people in exchange for currency --- by people that are being exploited because of their poverty.

The ideological base is very loosely nit. So of that 200,000 it is likely that people have very different reasons for their actions. So talking about them in terms of a functional bloc is wrong. But it does not change that the majority of people do not want trouble, they want security. I don't think pulling out will achieve anything that the majority of Iraqis want.

In a nutshell I really don't see how things can get better if there was a pullout. You think things will get better after a pullout, I am yet to hear a convincing argument supporting that view. Because things were worse before the invasion doesn't mean that things will get better after we leave, because horrific things have happened (name a war that hasn't) doesn't mean that things can't move forward and talking about absolutes such as "imperialism" is unhelpful as it is black and white.

dav said...

"I know that the majority of Iraqis want peace."

you know, i know that, everybody knows that.

what we also know is that they don't want to be occupied anymore. But we know better you see.

i quoted the statistics in contradiction of your asertion that people were not starving. This is not true. Because they are not starving, "popular war" or not.

"The above can't be justified in terms of relatives. But blaming all Americans in Iraq is much like blaming all Iraqis for the 'insurgency', or worse, attributing the 'insurgency' to all Iraqis."

relatives? relative to whom/what?

who blamed all Americans? The coalition is a force within Iraq, it acts under an authority who directs its actions. We know Abu Ghraib wasn't a remote instant, as torture still goes on, with approval, in gitmo. the leaders of this debacle should be tried for war crimes. These are our laws, we expect others to abide them, and so should we, whatever the "relatives".

"I would criticize American people if they started blowing up other American people without discrimination!"

It is widely mischaracterised that the 'insurgency' (not a single entity) aims its attacks primarily against civilians, this is not the case.

""imperialism" is unhelpful as it is black and white."

imperialism is black and white, we are 'white' they are 'black'.

'we' know better, 'our' rule of law is morally better than theirs, our 'ethics' are more advanced...

unfortunately we have yet again failed to 'prove' this. until you see this as a tactical game, with new bases sprouting up all over the middle east, 10 years is chicken feed. this is about creating stability, stability for oil. Terrorism and democracy are merely the vehicles for stability. As long as coalition deaths can be decreased, the occupation will continue, the iraqis will suffer and the oil will flow. This may sound trite, but it is scarily predictable, as has everything so far.

Jack Toerson said...

“what we also know is that they don't want to be occupied anymore. But we know better you see.”

This is a typically black and white way of characterizing opinion in Iraq. It is very similar to the way the war was sold, in fact I think you're the other side of the same coin. In Iraq opinion is far more nuanced than you suggest. You seem to like to say “if they dislike the coalition they must be against it”. It is very possible that people dislike something, or even against something, without wanting an armed struggle against it. It's like lumping Ghandi and Che together. You omit how many people want security.

“who blamed all Americans? The coalition is a force within Iraq, it acts under an authority who directs its actions. We know Abu Ghraib wasn't a remote instant, as torture still goes on, with approval, in gitmo. the leaders of this debacle should be tried for war crimes. These are our laws, we expect others to abide them, and so should we, whatever the "relatives".”

Sorry, you mean instance, these things do not happen immediately. I'm sure, as I have said frequently during this discourse, that war is a nasty old affair. The difference is that what replaces it would be worse.

“It is widely mischaracterised that the 'insurgency' (not a single entity) aims its attacks primarily against civilians, this is not the case.”

That's funny, because far more civilians seem to be hurt than soldiers. Regardless of who they're attacking. What you're suggesting (that they don't deliberately attack civilians) sounds very much like an apology for collateral damage.

“'we' know better, 'our' rule of law is morally better than theirs, our 'ethics' are more advanced...”

No, but we can say that more people will die as a result of leaving, which is a worse fate than the invasion itself.

“unfortunately we have yet again failed to 'prove' this. until you see this as a tactical game, with new bases sprouting up all over the middle east, 10 years is chicken feed. this is about creating stability, stability for oil. Terrorism and democracy are merely the vehicles for stability. As long as coalition deaths can be decreased, the occupation will continue, the iraqis will suffer and the oil will flow. This may sound trite, but it is scarily predictable, as has everything so far. “

The PNAC stuff may well have being behind this. It doesn't change what is needed as a result of it. It's all very well being idealistic but it's much more difficult to deal with things as they are.

Sminklemeyer said...

MJ, you have yourself a really great debate going here. this could be a radio talk show or something.

Markkind said...

I got dibbs on Sean Hannity's career when he's done with it ; )

dav said...

"What you're suggesting (that they don't deliberately attack civilians) sounds very much like an apology for collateral damage."

no offense, but this is a cheeky thing to say, as you continually refer to war as "that war is a nasty old affair." Needless to say I wasn't apologising for it, only pointing out that it is infact in many cases a +counter-insurgency+.

"In March 2005 there were a reported 1,400 attacks on coalition forces, averaging 45 attacks a day. On this basis there may have been over 750 attacks from 5 April."

http://www.libdems.org.uk/international/iraq_statistics.html

"No, but we can say that more people will die as a result of leaving, which is a worse fate than the invasion itself."

we can say this, but whether it is true or not is unknown.

"In Iraq opinion is far more nuanced than you suggest."

nuanced as it is, most if not all polls show a +distinct+ dislike/distrust of coalition forces. The 'election' may be the best measure of this, where those that could/did vote, voted in huge numbers for a candidate thats main stated plan was to call for a military withdrawl, subsequent to his winning, he dropped this plan, predictably.

Chris said...

I think so Smink.

I'll just sit back and stay out of this one.

Mark, oh you are so much better than Hannity. That guy's a fruit cake. If you do take over his show, please be don't be a block head like him.

Markkind said...

Thanks MJ. Frankly I too think Hannity is a douche but if Fox wants to pay me oodles of money to be a Republican windbag then allow me to huff and puff and blow rational analysis clear out da building ; )

Hey, in case you don't see it in my blog comments section, if you hate Bush, you have to check out he book I just finished on Alan Greenspan called, "Greenspan's Fraud" by Ravi Batra. Greenspan appears to be worse than Bush and save for control over the military, far more powerful.

Gun-Toting Liberal said...

All of the above can be possible. Great post!

Jack Toerson said...

Dav, with regards of innocent people getting killed (or as its euphemism "collateral damage") I have never said that I didn't expect it. So it wasn't such a cheeky thing to say. I was pointing out that the terrorists seem to do that a great deal, on a daily basis.

With regards many people not wanting foreign soldiers in their country, I imagine that is true. But I also think that the majority of those people don't agree with violence. In the same way that the majority of troops aren't represented by the actions of a minority.

For me this comes down to whether pulling out would be worse than staying. I have made up my mind (as people can see in the previous posts). I don't think you or I are going to agree on this.

But, and I stick by this, I am yet to hear any convincing argument about what would happen if we pulled out before things were secure. This, for me, is the big hole in the present anti-war movement's arguments.

It's all very well talking about what has gone wrong. The big question is what to do about it. The press is very good at talking up the negative but, even in opinion pieces, nobody has said how to move forward. As far as I can see things are moving forward slowly, and that is better than the alternatives.

I don't want to go in circles in this one, it's boring for me and for you. Though I respect your opinion, even if I do disagree strongly.

dav said...

"But, and I stick by this, I am yet to hear any convincing argument about what would happen"

ditto

Jack Toerson said...

"ditto"

I've emailed Juan Cole about this. He's replied ,but at the moment he's too busy for a full reply. I asked him what the consequences of pulling out of Iraq are. If he replies, which I think he will, I'll tag the comment at the end of this discussion. Even if he disagrees with me.

Likewise if anyone has any interesting links to add, regarding moving forward in Iraq (I think people can get the majority of bad news from the main stream media, so please avoid replication), I'd like you to post them here. Dav and I have made our positions clear :).

Chris said...

That sounds good to me Jack.

Let me know if you need another forum or post to continue.

I think both you and Dav have made excellent points, and both have kept it civil, which is more than I can say about Sminky and myself.

I agree with both of you on certain things. To me, however, whatever moves Iraq forward and out of the chaos is well worth the debate.

Thanks to everyone.

dav said...

Exit strategy: Civil war
Pepe Escobar

June 9, 2005

"In reality, the electoral process was designed to legitimize the occupation, rather than ridding the country of the occupation ... Anyone who sees himself capable of bringing about political reform should go ahead and try, but my belief is that the occupiers won't allow him."
- Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr

As Shi'ites and Kurds fought for three months to come up with an Iraqi cabinet, it is emerging from Baghdad that soon a broad front will emerge on the political scene composed of politicians, religious leaders, clan and tribal sheikhs - basically Sunni but with Shi'ite participation - with a single-minded agenda: the end of the US-led occupation.

This front will include, among others, what we have termed the Sinn Fein component of the resistance, the powerful Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) and the Sadrists. It will refuse any kind of dialogue with new Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and his government unless there's a definite timetable for the complete withdrawal of the occupation forces. Even the top Marine in Iraq, Major General Stephen Johnson, has admitted, "There will be no progress as long as the insurgents are not implicated in a political process."

But the proliferation of what many moderate Sunnis and Shi'ites suspect as being Pentagon-organized black ops is putting the emergence of this front in jeopardy. This is obvious when we see Harith al-Dhari - the AMS leader - blaming the Badr Brigades (the armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution - SCIRI - in Iraq, a major partner in the government) for the killing of Sunni Arab clerics.


continued...

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GF10Ak03.html

Jack Toerson said...

Thanks Dav. I think that commentator may have made up his mind already. There's no real indication, even in that rather emotive op-ed piece, that pulling out would make the situation any better. Reading that article in isolation would suggest to the reader that civil war is in some way sought by the coalition. Which is clearly not the case (not least because of the 2008 US elections). If the coalition wanted civil war they could withdraw from Baghdad, moving to the strategically important north and south, and let people blow each other up. What is typical, and this is something that article shares with most conspiracy theories, is that on the one hand it suggest incompetence, then on the other suggests that there is some master plan. I don't think that either is the case.

dav said...

History is not a conspiracy theory, making a judgement like this adds no weight to your argument.

"I think it will be messy, I think people will die, and I think we are going to be there for a decade at least. I think that the war will continue as it is, with small but continual progress. I think that it will take a very long time for any kind of normality to return."

"in certain areas things are worse than under Saddam, but I don't see that is a justification for pulling out. I'll explain why."

Your approval of military occupation stems from what you imagine will happen. Following on from this, the necessity of US/UK occupation, you see only small improvements over a long period. The coalition has shown their inability to make progress, plumbing for faux elections to attempt to bolster support, and yet you see progress under their authority.

I consider it a conspiracy theory that the US does +not+ have a 'plan', we know the Iraq venture was in progress well before 9/11 and the UK was simply looking for a 'vehicle' to make it possible. We know human rights were not the issue, because Saddam was a friend, a foe (sanctions kill 50,000 children a year), and then a threat (WMDs, resulting ina war claiming XXX amount of lives).


Try this (I am not totally happy with the condensation of the 'story', but to say imperialism is a conspiracy theory is lunacy):

"Needless to say, there is nothing extraordinarily new to this. The end of this story is well known –we have seen it over and over again in many other regions. The sequence of US involvement in Iraq reproduces the features and stages of capitalism’s expansion since the nineteenth century, especially (but not only) in Africa and the Middle East:"

http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2004-01/13adamovsky.cfm

Jack Toerson said...

“Your approval of military occupation stems from what you imagine will happen. Following on from this, the necessity of US/UK occupation, you see only small improvements over a long period. The coalition has shown their inability to make progress, plumbing for faux elections to attempt to bolster support, and yet you see progress under their authority.”

I think that is an accurate description of how I feel. I don't see that abandoning things that we've broken (and don't forget Saddam's role in all of this), to the smörgåsbord of political, religious and terrorist movements will make things better.

“I consider it a conspiracy theory that the US does +not+ have a 'plan' ...

I suppose my problem with the idea of a conspiracy theory is that it assumes that there are single group of people leading something. Even the 17th/18th/19th century British Empire, through things like the concept of Plantation (rather than its modern usage), people were not acting from the top down. Things were often financed, planned and executed by groups with conflicting interests. They had everyone from the Temple in London, to the Scottish protestants (whom had totally conflicting ideologies) acting for their own interests. My point is that I don't think Iraq was just about the PNAC style plans for 'securing' the Middle-East. It was about a series of interests that converged. It's not to undermine the errors, rather that a conspiracy theory narrowly attributes blame, when blame for something may be diffuse or even systemic (And particularly hypocritical, there are very few articles attacking why Saddam Hussein didn't co-operate, but plenty talking about Colin Powell's UN rubbish. If they were unbiased surely they should address both?)

"Needless to say, there is nothing extraordinarily new to this. The end of this story is well known –we have seen it over and over again in many other regions. The sequence of US involvement in Iraq reproduces the features and stages of capitalism’s expansion since the nineteenth century ...

The 18th/19th century expansion of Empire (particularly referring to the British in this context) wasn't a top down plan. It also largely succeeded in its goals. They had everything from the idea of 'plantation' to private interests represented by the liberal system of the day (like the East India Company). It wasn't something that could be attributed to a single group of people (other than they were from what we now know as the UK). In fact it could be argued that Queen Elizabeth was responsible for England's Maritime might, so she was responsible for the system that made an empire possible. But that would be too simplistic. Hence I think the focus on the Bush government is a double edged sword. On the one hand people can address their problems at the ballot box but on the other hand it ignores everyone else in a rather simplistic summation of what is actually a conglomerate of bad planning. It isn't like the expansion of the 19th century, and people had far worse attitude (even among the British public) towards the 'natives' (let alone people with different skin colors). If anything until Iraq is fixed it precludes any attempt at a British style Empire. The real question should be how to move forwards. Which should be a politicically neutral question. And don't get me started on the history of French, Belgian, Portugese and Spanish colonisations...

My problem with many of the anti-war pieces is that often terrorists are treated three-dimensionally, yet coalitition forces are not given the same treatment. That makes me suspicious of anything they write (I feel the same way about Faux News). Truly unbiased reporting covers both sides of the story neutrally. There's not being much of that from either side of the debate.

dav said...

"I don't see that abandoning things that we've broken (and don't forget Saddam's role in all of this), to the smörgåsbord of political, religious and terrorist movements will make things better."

and by that same token, from what has passed, I don't see how the coalition remaining will improve the situation. Not to mention the fact Iraq had long been 'broken' by years of sanctions, Saddam's role being predictablly massive, but irrelevant.

"My point is that I don't think Iraq was just about the PNAC style plans for 'securing' the Middle-East. It was about a series of interests that converged. It's not to undermine the errors, rather that a conspiracy theory narrowly attributes blame, when blame for something may be diffuse or even systemic (And particularly hypocritical, there are very few articles attacking why Saddam Hussein didn't co-operate, but plenty talking about Colin Powell's UN rubbish. If they were unbiased surely they should address both?)"

Few articles attacking Saddam? We know Saddam was mad, this has gone past discussion. Why he didn't co-operate, well to the best of my knowledge, he couldn't co-operate more, he had nothing to hide.

"It was about a series of interests that converged."

I agree, but the kind of political structure we are likely to see under US control, is one that will pander to US interests, obviously. This is not a conspiracy, it is the evolution of imperialism.

"It wasn't something that could be attributed to a single group of people"

I don't think this was implied. There are thousands of interests, factors, players involved. Money helps connect us all.

Jack Toerson said...

Well, I totally disagree. Obviously. The best thing Saddam Hussein could have done was give up, quit and leave the country. That would have been the unselfish thing to do. I don't think he couldn't co-operate more. In fact most detail regarding that period show a combination of arrogance, selfishness and total disregard for the fate of his people. In fact, according to pieces like this, it may have been even more complicated. Saddam is largely responsible for the situation in Iraq today. I don't think this is imperialism. I think it is something new and will be regarded as such in history books.

dav said...

"I don't think he couldn't co-operate more. In fact most detail regarding that period show a combination of arrogance, selfishness and total disregard for the fate of his people."

I think we have covered the fact Saddam is/was a despotic monster. A regard for the fate of his people would have been firstly, totally out of character and secondly relinquishing his 'delaying the inevitable'.

"In fact, according to pieces like this, it may have been even more complicated."

This is well known, and it is also well known that there is a good chance the weapons that were destroyed were the product of biological specimens received from American companies in the 80s.

This doesn't change Scott Ritter's testimony that Iraq was fully disarmed by 1998.

Jack Toerson said...

I think we have covered the fact Saddam is/was a despotic monster. A regard for the fate of his people would have been firstly, totally out of character and secondly relinquishing his 'delaying the inevitable'.

No this is exactly my point. You link to articles that attack what the coalition is doing, but they talk about it in isolation, a real unbiased look at this would talk about all of the elements in a full three dimensions (inc. Saddam). Reading the pieces you link to would give any independent readers a sense of schadenfreude that is entirely innapropriate. Likewise you used the term imperialism, when I don't think it is accurate when compared to any past empires.

The point you miss about the article I linked to, a rather obvious point, is that Saddam may have beleived that he still had bioweapons. He was so tyranical that his people were afraid to tell him he didn't. Which puts the ball in his court, rather than that of some machiavellian conspiracy.

Then we come back to the past, the anti-war favorite, (Scott Ritter, 80's biotech transfers) which are again arguments about how this war started. Which, as someone whom opposed it, isn't something that I think is worthy of argument outside of attributing blame. That is something for elections.

You can argue about how this war started until the end of time (and I'll probably agree) but it doesn't address what would happen if we pulled out. People publicly calling for a pull out, without really thinking about what would happen next, are taking quite an ironic position. The anti-war movement seems to want another Vietnam.

Which was a triumph for the anti-war movement, but not so good for the Vietnamese people, and even worse for the Cambodian people.

But then they can blame that on the troops being there in the first place, rather than blaming any one after we left. It's as if the Khmer Rouge never existed.

Nobody in the anti-war camp said "how do we move forward" what they were saying, the same as what you're saying now: "Lets pull-out, f**k what happens next, the war was wrong".

Out of sight, out of mind. Pull out and forget. It's amazing how many Baby Boomers campaigned against that war, but how many of them have ignored the aftermath (how many people in their fifties have you seen waving placards saying "remove landmines from Vietnam now" or "lets cough up for damage from Agent Orange" -- very few -- out of sight out of mind, they're too busy living comfortably). I think the same behavior is existant in the Iraq anti-war movement.

They want to go to bed with a nice warm feeling that they've beaten the evil forces of world domination, safe in the knowledge that the aftermath can be blamed on straw men.

horsewhspers said...

"..We can argue that the WMD, which has never been located.."

I don’t understand the struggle with REALITY the American population has with WMD’s. Granted there were NO *mass* “functioning” manufacturing facilities found but the TRUTH of the matter is that the WMD’s were present, they were documented, tagged, inventoried photographed and presented as EVIDENCE to the United Nations Security Council.

27 January 2003

“..Another area of focus has been to determine how certain other “dual use” materials have been relocated or used — that is, materials that could be used in nuclear weapons production but also have other legitimate uses. A good example is the Iraqi declaration concerning the high explosive “HMX” — which states that, out of the HMX under IAEA seals in Iraq at the end of 1998, some had been supplied to cement plants as an industrial explosive for mining. The whereabouts and final use of the removed material are matters that will require further investigation — although it will be difficult to verify the disposition of the HMX that is declared to have been used..”

http://www.un.org/News/dh/iraq/elbaradei27jan03.htm


The *Security* council in there infinite wisdom NEVER removed these weapons, Where would one suppose the composition of the IED’s are currently coming from? 380 tons of *non existent* WMD’s…


Monday, October 25, 2004

“..Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei is expected today to send a letter to the President of the Security Council expressing his concerns about missing explosive materials. That letter is expected to be received by this afternoon..”

http://www.un.org/News/ossg/hilites/hilites_arch_view.asp?HighID=150



for those that would argue those *aren’t* WMD’s one has to only look at the casualty count (from January to current) to realize that they are about the equivalent of the Halabja incident, oddly enough the UN doesn’t put a defined number on what categorically falls under the definition of WMD…the IAEA has stated these explosives have the potential of 380 nuclear bombs…

of course we can also get into Hans Blix report to the UNSC just 12 days before the Iraq war…


SECURITY COUNCIL 7 MARCH 2003

“..A part of this effort concerns a disposal site, which was deemed too dangerous for full investigation in the past. It is now being re-excavated. To date, Iraq has unearthed eight complete bombs comprising two liquid-filled intact R-400 bombs and six other complete bombs..”

http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/SC7asdelivered.htm


it is important to note that “to date” in the Blix report was from December 2002 until March of 2003…

MJ I wish I could say that synopsis was “a little off the mark” but you obviously have no “mark” at all. Your thesis isn’t filled with well researched and documented FACTual information but you chose to regurgitate whatever shows up on the front page of the newspaper. This very same drivel can be collected from the any number of web sites owned and operated by the “liberal left” whose apparent agenda is to propagate and perpetuate misinformation…

By your own definition (that of the liberal left) you are just another “sheeple”, a tool, a pseudo intellectual hiding behind anonymous name, purporting the “leftist” agenda…Like Noam Chomsky denying that the holocaust ever took place you have chosen to deny the WMD’s that are right in front of your face…

Chris said...

Okay horse, whatever you say.

I'm not going to get into a long debate about WMD. If you had read the whole post I think you would find that I actually believe Iraq had WMD. And no I don't have any factual evidence to support my claim, and neither do you.

If I'm the liberal left, then I would really hate to meet a right winger.

Thanks for your comment, you prove my point exactly in my Longing for the Middle post.

Thanks for reading.

horsewhspers said...

What I “say” is irrelevant really, what possible *debate* could you possibly present against the truth? What I “say” is merely and encasement of those FACTs…

“…And no I don't have any factual evidence to support my claim, and neither do you..

of course I do and so do you, look man if you can’t accept the TRUTH as presented by Richard Butler/Hans Blix, if you want DENY the FACTs that were presented by the IAEA that is your business but at that point that I have to make the summation that like so many of the other “media” outlets, you are an idiot. Unless you want to conjure up some “conspiracy theory” to post on the mouth piece of the Lebanese government (Counterpunch) or that vast wasteland “Commondreams”. Perhaps Blix/Butler/ElBaradei are just making up stories, that must be it over the past 14 years all three of them have just been “out to get” the US huh?

The sad part of the whole thing is that until you and your ilk see someone else “tell you” what you should believe…until the WP or NewsWeek or some other rag tells you that there were WMD’s you’ll continue to spew forth whatever is on the front page…whether it is truthful or not…

dav said...

"Pull out and forget."

Yeah, exactly? Just like the sanctions were ignored, just like the 'unrest' in Uzbekistan is ignored, just like burma, just like bolivia etc etc

Your 'if' is pretty big, infact huge. Saddam could have completely in the dark about his lack of WMDs for 10 years! Likelyhood?

The point you missed, was that this wouldn't have made a bit of difference, the US/UK wanted a war, regardless.

I'm not going to bother replying to that lengthy insult of the non-existant entity, 'the left'. It would take too much time, and prove pointless.

You detest the use of history to make arguments, and yet call on vietnam.

Why focus on the coalition? Because that is our responsibility.

"America's military mission [in Iraq] has become impossible to succeed in," (London-based) International Institute of Strategic Studies

Chris said...

Horse, you got some problems.

If you can't keep it civil, don't come in here.

dav said...

horse, why is the US government covering up the fact that WMD were found?

------------------------------------


The coalition has shown a total disregard for Iraqi life, culture and religion. This first and foremost is not a basis for developing a functioning society, independence will not exist under military (US/UK or any other) occupation.

Jack Toerson said...

Your 'if' is pretty big, infact huge. Saddam could have completely in the dark about his lack of WMDs for 10 years! Likelyhood?

Quite possible actually. Like Stalin, one of Saddam's role models, it is likely that people didn't want to give him anything that may inflame his temper.

The point you missed, was that this wouldn't have made a bit of difference, the US/UK wanted a war, regardless.

No I haven't missed that. I agree. I just don't think campaigning for a pull out based on the justification for a war being bogus is justified without thinking about the consequences. In fact it is lazy.

You detest the use of history to make arguments, and yet call on vietnam.

I detest arguments about how this war was started being used to justify a pull out. I didn't mean to damn all history, so I could have being clearer. For me the argument about how this war was started is already won. It was a bad move. But just because something was a bad move doesn't mean that it can't be handled a little better than retreating and forgetting about it.

Why focus on the coalition? Because that is our responsibility.

That's hardly a way to cover news though is it? Or to analyze things. The last time news was that one sided was WW-II. And that was imposed by censorship. If self-censorship, i.e. covering what you consider to be our responsibility, is actually desired it doesn't bode well for freedom of the press, or impartiality. In affect schadenfreude is cool, provided they're coalition forces.

"America's military mission [in Iraq] has become impossible to succeed in," (London-based) International Institute of Strategic Studies

Gosh, anyone would think the IISS had a particular political axe to grind. I'd like to see their projections about what would happen after a pull out. I bet they haven't though, because like people shouting "pull out of Iraq now" they don't care. Which is why there are so many parallels with baby boomers forgetting about Vietnam after the troops left. They're slogan shouting 2D cut-outs.

If, on the other hand, people were saying "pull out now, I think it will be better for the Iraqi people", I would at least think they've thought it through. But in my experience the majority of people calling for a pull-out are chanting slogans, just like the Baby Boomers, and don't actually care, or haven't even thought through what will happen next.

dav said...

"on the other hand, people were saying "pull out now, I think it will be better for the Iraqi people", I would at least think they've thought it through."

This is exactly it, have you a model on which to base your assertion, or is it simply blind faith in the coalition, their aims and abilities?

Army recruiting is dwindling, the expense is skyrocketing, they have shown little/no progress and the Iraqis don't trust them.

I'm talking about independence, this is not on the agenda now. And of course they will have to be properly compensated.

Jack Toerson said...

This is exactly it, have you a model on which to base your assertion, or is it simply blind faith in the coalition, their aims and abilities?

Yes I do have a model. At the moment the good people in Iraq (the majority) are not able to defend themselves from the bad people (as shown by frequent news reports about the Iraqi Defense Force). The Iraqis do not like being occupied but the majority favor politics over blowing people up (as shown by the majority of polls from Iraq). They may dislike the coalition a lot ("").

But in reality they face a ruthless bunch of people whom don't want just to remove the coalition, but want to impose their will on the people regardless of what they think (as shown by the use of everything from beheading to attacks on other religions). The terrorists do not have a set agenda, which makes (in the event of a pull out) civil war more likely, and chaos certain, because there is no overriding ideology (as shown by the myriad of different groups in Iraq).

The terrorists will not go away if the occupation leaves, because they are in part a symptom of removing a dictator who held centralized power (and an unemployed special army). There is a power vacuum and power is seen as up for grabs, by both fundamentalist and Baathist alike (this has being shown again and again througout history from Tito to Cromwell to the fall of Rome).

The terrorists, unlike many of the Iraqi people, are not just after an independent Iraq, they want an Iraq that conforms to the political ideologies that accept innocent people being hurt as an occupational hazards. Things may be bad, but small progress is being made.

The policy/strategy should be looked at critically. For me there is a big difference between bringing to account people for things like this and calling for pull out. They're two separate issues. I hope that the troops are 100% successful and wish them the best, at the same time I'll dislike policy as much as anyone else. I just see calling for a pull out as an overly simple (and potentially very harmful) solution.

On a very tasteless level I think more people will die if the coalition leaves than if it stays.

I suppose it could be boiled down to "better the devil you know" but that is a shallow way of putting it. And implies that the coalition is itself a devil, which isn't the case, because there have been many examples where a military presence in a country has (eventually) helped stabilize and rebuild a country.

Now if you disagree with me that is fine. I think you've presented a reasoned argument, you're not talking rubbish, you've thought about it, but if we're going to disagree, let's stop going in circles (ME INCLUDED).

Here's what strikes me most: People are talking too much in binary terms (Stay! or 0, Go! or 1). The pro-war (Stay!) camp is as guilty of that as the anti-war (Go!) camp. One side sees no problems and the other side sees nothing but problems. That is something that everyone who has a brain should see as wrong.

horsewhspers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
horsewhspers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris said...

Horse, you are wrong, this is a private blog.

I am a private citizen and this blog is privately controlled by me. I reserve the right to do whatever I shall please.

If you disagree with me, that's fine. But don't come in here talking like a bad ass know it all. Dav and Jack have been debating back and forth for over a week now, and not once have they gotten uncivil or out of line, even though they completely disagree with each other. Obviously you don't have the mentality for such.

horsewhspers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris said...

Horse, I really don't care what you do or where you post your comments about me.

You must have a lot of time on your hands.

I'm glad that you read my comments on Sminky's site. You obviously know nothing about that situation either.

I'm just deleting your comments from this blog because your stupidity serves no purpose for a discussion as important as Iraq. If you could form a debate intelligently and thoughtfully, and so far I haven't seen any of that, maybe then you could participate.

And, yes, this is a private blog. The public domain is blogger. However, Political Notio is private.

Chris said...

Besides, you are violating copyright laws by reproducing this post, unless I give you permission, which you don't have.

Markkind said...

This is a bit late in the game here but, when did you ever say or repeat anything that Chomsky has written?

You and I have had our disagreements and so on but I wouldn't catagorize you as Chomsky.

Bizarre