Monday, October 18, 2004


Victorious Losers

The last war in Iraq took place because Saddam invaded Kuwait. He was kicked out. But in the process the country was ravaged: 42 days of continuous bombing and destruction that left very little of value standing.

The UN sanctions continued of course and led to more damage.

There was much suffering, unreported by the media of course. Neither was the humiliation felt by most people.

Amid those ruins stood Saddam, defying what everybody else thought, claiming victory!

It was said that an old man once grumbled loudly in a bus: "If this is the state of the victors, may God help those who lost the war. I wonder how they are managing"! I don't know whether it was a true story or a constructed joke.

I realized later that Saddam was right! He was victorious… because he remained in power.

Twelve years later, President George W. Bush, stood on May of last year, also claiming victory!

Eighteen months later, thousands of US soldiers are dead and injured and more dying every day, billions of his country's money down the drain, no weapons of mass destruction found, no link with Al Qaeda found, the battle on the ground is going into a dead end, the US army stuck in a quagmire of blood, freedom and democracy not in sight, Al Qaeda is stronger than ever, US reputation around the world worse than ever…

Yet, President Bush is still claiming victory.

I wonder if this man is also right!


I guess we'll know after the U.S. election. If Bush wins and starts building palaces for himself, then the world is really in trouble.
And if he starts writing novels as well ...

I thought Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qeada so how are they stronger than ever?

Look folks we are at a cataclismic clash of civilizations or ideals (and I don't just mean Iraq and the US, or "Christian vs. Muslim". Many of us in the US feel that we are trying to do the right thing both in Iraq and Afghanistan. As with the "Cold War", only history will tell who is "right".

When I was growing up in the eastern part of the USA we heard nightly how well things were going in Vietnam. Finally we pulled out, lost that "war" (never officially a declared war), after nearly 60,000 American dead and I've no idea of how many Viet Nam citizens killed. What did anyone gain? How did the armed conflict enhance life?

Abu, your post saddens me because it seems a likely future scenario where the US remains in Iraq for many years and the fighting, killing, and hostage taking continue. Then there is Barry's comment, all too typical of many Americans, implying there is no difference between our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many Americans would be challenged to find the two countries on a map.

When a nation is large and wealthy its people don't tend to take the rest of the world too seriously -- hmm, and that goes double when the people of those other nations happen not to have white skin, or have a great military force or significant economy. We do take oil seriously, though, and Iraq is seeing the consequence of that.

I think many Americans, most of them, wish Iraq to be free and democratic. But that is not what this war is about. What people will be more than satisfied with is a _stable_ Iraq in which multi-nationals, especially oil companies, can operate safely. If there are a dozen US military bases there as well -- to make sure the stability endures -- all the better. At the end of the day we just want to ensure the oils flows as needed and care little about the fate of the Iraqi people. We do not show Iraqi casuality figures in our media, certainly not civilian figures, although we do take note of the bombing of Christian churches. At times there are small ariticles in the news about how little of the reconstruction money has been spent and how that is due to terrorist activity.

But if it is any consulation, many of us find the Bush adminstration's conduct in the world disgraceful and agaisnt everything we think the USA used to stand for. In a few weeks, we will vote a new president into office and support him in trying to fix this disaster.

But make no mistake, you are living on top of what is now American oil and will have to accept that for a long time to come. It is not just about what a Kerry administration might do differently, it is about what big energy companies need and big automobile companies want. A change from Bush to Kerry will not change that fact.

All of which brings me back to Barry's comment about the clash of cultures. I think this is a clash between pure, unbridled military-capitialism with a short term view and a new and emerging sense of reasonable socialism. Socialism is a dirty word in America. It is worse to be called a socialist than a liberal I think.

Ironically, it was the great WWII general and former Republican US President Dwight Eisenhower that warned in his parting address of the "military-industrial complex." You in Irag are seeing the result of that warning going unheeded.


What exactly is "reasonable socialism"? And I'll ask you the same question I have asked other pukes like you. If all we wanted were oil, why would we be taking any precautions at all and not just level the place? It's not like we have many allies left anyway.. Why would we be rebuilding ANY infrastructure? Or better yet, why not just be like the French and get all of our oil through the back door and let the Iraqi people starve to death?

Apparently you have no fucking idea what a "typical" American wants so stfu!

Hello Barry,
"And I'll ask you the same question I have asked other pukes like you. If all we wanted were oil, why would we be taking any precautions at all and not just level the place?"
Have you seen pictures of Najaf?
"It's not like we have many allies left anyway.."
Poland is reducing its contingent and other are looking for a quick way out. Bush just rejected a Saudi offer.
"Why would we be rebuilding ANY infrastructure?" Less than 5% of the designated funds are going to reconstruction.
"Or better yet, why not just be like the French and get all of our oil through the back door and let the Iraqi people starve to death?"
The French did try to get sanctions lifted in 1999. If they were so evil then they would of kept them on to get more oil for food money.

Apparently you have no fucking idea what a "typical" American wants so stfu!

You're what's wrong with America. You and Bush that is. Stop the insanity, dump Bush.

"Have you seen pictures of Najaf?"

Yes, what's your point? I still see the Imam Ali mosque unlike the 5 or 6 churches your friends blew up recently...

"Poland is reducing its contingent and other are looking for a quick way out. Bush just rejected a Saudi offer."

WOW, what are we losing there about 300 troops? Why wouldn't Bush reject a Saudi offer, they are the center of terrorism..

"Less than 5% of the designated funds are going to reconstruction."

Maybe because they keep blowing shit up after we fix it?? Hmmm??

"The French did try to get sanctions lifted in 1999. If they were so evil then they would of kept them on to get more oil for food money."

Ah yes, leave Saddam in power, throw mud in the eye of the Great Satan the US, and have even more direct relations with Saddam, what a beautiful dream...

"You're what's wrong with America. You and Bush that is. Stop the insanity, dump Bush."

Well I have no great love for Bush but between he and Mr. "I have a plan", I'll stick with the devil I know, thanks..

Barry, what caused you to use language like this: "And I'll ask you the same question I have asked other pukes like you." I mean, that's simply uncivilized. It's rude to me and disrespectful of Abu on whose blog we are having this discussion. I don't mind a sharp retort but personal insults are unnecessary.

The answer to your question about why don't we just level the place has many parts, which I know is difficult to accept in this time of sound bites. Perhaps the biggest part is simply the cost involved. We are executing this war on the cheap. General Sinseki's estimate given to Congress was 300,000 troops. We have about 140,000 there now and have spent upwards of $120 billion so far -- and both these numbers far above initial Rumsfeld projections.

Another part is the desire of the Bush administration to stay in power. They'd never be re-elected if Iraq was "leveled" as you so delicately put it.

Yet another part is economic. Look at how our world-wide reputation has sunk already. If we had prosecuted the war in an even more destructive manner, we'd become a pariha. As much as some Americans dismiss the rest of the world our economic well-being depends on a modicum of good relations with countries like France, Germany, China, and Russia to name a few.

And, of course, if you destroy the country, how do you then extract the oil? Where would the labor pool come from? How would you deal with an even larger humanitarian crisis?

Bush and his team have made enough of a mess at a horrible cost in lives and dollars. It's time for them to go.


While a number of Americans looked at Iraqi oil as the benefit we would share (or own) for ousting Saddam, I don't believe any more that it was our primary motivation for invading. An important motive [compare our lack of protection for the national museum with our protection of the Oil Ministry], but not the primary one.

Our primary goal appears to have been regime change, with a hopefully democratic free market ('laissez-faire'?) capitalist regime replacing the Baath party. This is consistent with both the pro-war/pro-Bush propaganda and with much of the anti-war/anti-Bush propaganda. It is also consistent with the philosophies of the most influential members of Bush's cabinet.

Much of the mess we've stirred up is a result of an unwillingness to commit sufficient resources to the task. This unwillingness was rooted in a fantastically poor understanding of Iraqi culture, and a belief that our post-WW II experience in Japan and Germany was a prequel to what would happen in Iraq. At least as early as 2002 American academics were arguing that defeating Saddam Hussein would result in Iraqis meekly submitting to the American conquerors. (Personally, I believe this shows a radical lack of understanding of 'honor/shame' societies. The claim was made that Israel was such a society in Roman times, yet look at the rebellion of 60CE and the later rebellion under Simon Bar Cochba.)
Be Well,
Bob Griffin

To those who would call me a 'puke'

While I would not make a good soldier, my ancestors fought to free the 13 colonies from Great Britain. My father served in Europe during WW II, and my mother served in Berlin after the war. I was reared to respect folks, not to insult them. I am tempted to invite you to find a country (such as Chile under Pinochet) where leftists are treated as the enemies you so appear to hate. You are not welcome to change an America which could support both Alexander Hamilton AND Thomas Paine. Disagree with your political (and religious and philosophical) opposition. Argue with them. Think what you will of them. At the end, they have as much place here as you do. John C Calhoun was no less (and no more) an American than John Brown.

Be Well,

Bob Griffin:

I agree with the majority of your analysis concerning the reasons for the invasion of Iraq. However, you have left out the medium to long term strategic reasons for the invasion. If the sanctions against Iraq would have been lifted in accordance with Russian and French wishes, there is no doubt that Saddam would have rearmed as fast as humanly possible.

In view of these medium to long term risks, the calculation was made to face Saddam now, rather than risk facing a nuclear armed Saddam (from Pakistan or N. Korea) after he had rolled tanks into Iran, Kuwait and/or Saudi Arabia. By pursuing such a stategy, Saddam would hope to achieve a strangle hold on the world's most important industrial commodity. If successful, you could expect major disruptions to the world economy and for Saddam to pursue further military conquests until the entire middle east was under his thumb.

Mark In Chi Town

Mark!!?? Wow, welcome! :-)

Barry PajamaSalami


May I join others in appealing to you not to use foul or disrespectful language! It offends so many people, reflects badly on your argument and degrates the standard of the debate. Please?I will have to delete comments with such language.

Mark, welcome back!


Fair enough, my apologies. Though I don't quite understand why folks are so sensitive about language.


Saddam proved that he was unable to take on Iran. When armed with everything we've since denied him, he was unable to hold onto Kuwait, and might have also lost Iraq had we chose to oust him.

Be Well,


You ignore the fact that the sanctions regime was not going to last forever. The sanctions placed the West in a serious moral dilemma since they hurt the Iraqi people far more than Saddam's regime. The French and Russians have been working to lift the sanctions since 1998 and would have gladly rearmed him as soon as they were lifted.

A nuclear armed Saddam would be a completely different animal than faced by Iran or by the U.S. in Gulf War I. Are you asserting that it would have made sense from a strategic point of view to allow Saddam to rearm and acquire nuclear weapons before having to confront him? It is quite likely that a rearmed Saddam (with nukes) would make a move against one or more of his neighbors, probably Kuwait or Saudia Arabia for financial reasons.

These issues were certainly part of the calculus in deciding whether to invade Iraq. I am not asserting that Saddam would have necessarily been successful in such conquests, just that a delayed confrontation would have been much more bloody. I am also not asserting that a rearmed Saddam on a rampage scenario was inevitable, but only that it was a risk to be considered.

Last one was mine.

Mark In Chi Town

Well i gotta say some people just cant see .What was the great opium wars for and what resulted in them .How and why did Britain get Hong Kong.We needed the heroin from afganistan and the pipeline for oil from the capsican sea.We needed to control the oil before some one else did .Its also no great mystery that for the last 14 years weve been building a great army and navy in the most strategic position in the world .The middle east can be used to attack europe asia africa .Quite simply control the oil and drugs ie heroin and coke and control the world.These wars to me are the wars for drugs and oil.Who can make a move on the usa if they cant get enough oil.
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