Sunday, December 05, 2004

 

The Other Side of the Story


Yesterday, I posted a little true war story in my other blog "A Glimpse of Iraq" entitled (The Poet's Son) about a young Iraqi former officer who was killed following an ambush he and some of his friends set up for a US army convoy.

In that story, there were no civilian casualties, women or children involved as far as I know. All those involved were professionals. Nevertheless, I still see those events as a human tragedy – on both sides of this pointless war.

I don't know how many US soldiers were killed in that ambush. If any, they would also be young people who also died believing that they were fighting for Freedom! Some of them probably also left behind beautiful young children or grandfathers who will miss them for the rest of their lives.

Why are all these young people killing each other trying to achieve the same good thing: Freedom? People killing each other for the same noble ideal cannot all be right, can they? Is it just a misunderstanding? I think not! Liberty to most Iraqis has the same meaning it does to most Americans.

If some 80% of Iraqis believe that the US army is here as a conquering army and not a liberating one… people who do not believe the claims and publicly declared intentions so many Americans seem to take for granted, surely it would be natural for some of their young to resist such an occupation violently…

Isn't there something that can be done about it? So far, apparently not! As things are at the moment, most people on either side simply think of the combatants of the other side as terrorists.

Meanwhile, those vile, true terrorists who are killing people indiscriminately, and who are actually the true enemies of both sides, are getting away with their acts.

Hasn't there been enough bloodshed? Isn't it time to start thinking about political solutions to this mess?

Those people painting rosy pictures have for some time run out of colors. Now, they are using blood to paint their roses. The problem is: the color of blood turns ugly after a while.


Comments:

I'm curious what those who attack the US troops are hoping to achieve. Some here in the US say they are fighting *against* something but not *for* anything. You say they are fighting for freedom... but what do they have in mind by that? Just the absence of US troops? What sort of freedom will there be if US troops leave? Many here think there will be either civil war, rampant terrorism, or both. This is probably the biggest objection to the idea of US troops being removed, so I'd be most interested in your thoughts about this.
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
You can't say it often enough! It is primarily an anti-American insurgency(this part is what red bloggers can't admit), US troops are the issue. How ironic, Bush sends troops to Iraq to bring democracy and democracy cannot occur until US troops leave-'Catch 22'. When will this tragedy end..Jan 30, 2005?
 
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We already see a lot of blaming of the left. The media is blamed for not reporting good news (and even for being LAZY by not going out of the "Green Zone" -- never mind that dozens of reporters have been KILLED) and a recent statement from a soldier was that the only way the effort will fail is if the American people give up on it. That means it's all a matter of keeping the USA blanketed with happy stories from Iraq -- or else crushing dissent with an iron fist. (I don't know which of those two makes me more sick to contemplate.)

For the record, the first comment above is mine also (asking about what the resistance is fighting *for*). I'm a Republican but I have many objections to neocon policies, especially in foreign policy. I post at libertypost.org as ProspectorSam.
 
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Here's the answer:
The Sunnis participate in the political process, elect representatives to the constitutional assembly, and then negotiate with the Shiite and Kurdish representatives to form a unified Iraq that protects the interests of all citizens.

How hard is that?
 
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The first modern terrorists were the so-called American revolutionaries and the first victims of this terror were forced by the Ameri-Cong to move up North. And they even pursued these victims and their descendents in the War of 1812. Only the second time the victims fought back and repelled the terrorists. So we Canadians know all about terror and terrorists having fought them early on in our history. And even today we are being subjected to psychological terror by our neighbours to the South.

Good luck to you in Iraq. Hope you win real freedom!
 
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I respectfully urge comment posters to remain within the bounds of decency and relevancy and not to make sweeping, abusive statements against Iraqis or Americans.
 
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They want the same thing, why do they fight? How can it stop?

Tell me if this seems off base, but the common thread in both camps may be that there are a lot of young passionate men, who are obligated by their countries to follow the orders of their superiors. It seems those superiors, be it general or tribal elders, are doing a poor job of looking beyoind their own agenda and seeing what is the best path for all.

Hypothetical solution:

I know it's beyond reality but what if Bush said: "Hey we surrender. We wanted to bring freedom, but it was a bigger task then we thought and now we see that we are perceived as occupiers more then freedom fighterrs so we must be on our way. We really love you guys, we want what's best for you. But we figure less things will be blowing up if we just head on back home. When you get your new leader let us know if there's anything we can do."

This kind of result seems like it is being called for by many. So how would the street react?
 
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A political solution would indeed be best. A definite timetable for withdrawal, even if it is gradual, and transferral of power to local militias based on either tribe or city or neighbourhood. As the withdrawal progresses, a political process must be put in place to meld the smaller power blocs into ever larger ones, building the structure from the ground up ... not from the top down as the intent is at the moment. As long as the principle of popular accountability and local representativity is adhered to, I don't see there being any major problems with post withdrawal chaos. In fact, did Iraqis not organise such militias to protect their neighbourhoods and streets during the 'looting' phase?

I'm sorry, but rebuilding everything from the top down with big brushstrokes that hold the potential for manipulation by the US is rather dangerous; especially I feel the lack of grass roots accountability of individual politicians is going to be a problem.

Also: the Iraqis that are currently collaborating with the US must be given an opportunity to decide whether they want to remain in Iraq or to emigrate to the US (or other CF country) with their masters. I do fear widespread retaliation against the collaborators, and, given that they were coerced economically to work for the Occupation, the Occupation must take responsibility for the awkward situation that they have placed these people into. We all remember the Vietnamese collaborators left with their balls in the wind after the rapid US withdrawal, do we not?
 
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I offer that no country has a monopoly on violence and my post gets removed. Perhaps it was becasue I said the muslims perfected assymetrical warfare in the 8th century. There was no insult intended they were humane and brilliant tacticians of countering larger forces. and I will also note, as I get further on in this book I'm reading about war in the dark ages, that the Vikings were known exclusively for terrorizing non-military settlements to gain their riches.

Show me a man who comes form a country free of violence and corruption and I'll show you a man from another planet.
 
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Bruno:

Apparently, you don't understand the concept of a "political solution" as your "collaborators" comments indicate you envision a "resistance victory," rather than compromise and peaceful co-existence between pro-IG and resistance factions.

How can you fail to understand that, if one side or the other is subject to post-resolution domination and violent retaliation by the other side, your "political solution" is really just another name for a surrender. In which case, the losers have no real incentive to negotiate, but will instead choose to fight to the finish.

As to your Vietnam analogy regarding collaborators, there was no political solution to that conflict, but rather a military victory by the North over the South. As a result, that situation has zero relevance to any search for a true political solution for Iraq. Better examples of political solutions to insurgencies are Nicaragua, El Salvador and your country, South Africa. In those situation, insurgents groups joined in an electoral process so that the violent retalition and political oppression were not as problematic as they were in Vietnam.
 
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Sorry, last one was me. I really do have to register on e-blogger one of these days.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Some questions of morality are difficult. This one isn't.

The insurgents are fighting to create a government of tyranny, torture, and murder.

The Americans are fighting to create a government of democracy, tolerance, and respect for human rights.
 
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fathom --

Uh, I suspect that referring to the prophet Mohammed as a 'terrorist' might just maybe, possibly be the reason the post was deleted.

On another tack, however, I have also read a fair bit about the crusades, and it is indeed interesting to note the various tactics employed by the Muslims and Crusaders against each other. I dispute that the Moslems engaged in true assymmetrical warfare, however, given that they disposed of regular armies at least as large as the Crusaders. The skirmishing tactics employed by Saladin were of course in line with guerrilla warfare, and taking in account the terrain and climate, very effective against the cumbersome western forces.

On your post about violence being specific to all societies - I agree with that.

MY problem is that many far right types seem to believe that America is the embodiment of abstract moral principles and is always correct, despite contradictory evidence from the ground. I put it to you that this moralising tone coupled with opposite actions on the ground is one of the reasons for the global antipathy towards the US at the moment.

Hmm. I could not resist trying to think up some counter examples to your claim. So, just for interests sake: How about the Inuit and the San? I don't remember them attacking and dispossessing anybody.



Mark --

Aah! One of my favourite antagonists is back!

Hey, I've just returned from the deep South (blogolically speaking of course), and the change of intelligence level has caught me off guard for a second. Give me a moment to adjust :)

Alright.

First, you are correct of course in your definition of a political solution. South Africa is apt as an example, because we did indeed more or less resolve a serious division with relatively little bloodshed. Hm. Perhaps my idea of a political settlement *is* a little too close to a military victory, when you put it in that light.

On the other hand, at the moment it seems to me that the political process taking place is largely a sham designed to promote US interests rather than true Iraqi representativity, which is why I envision a repeat of Vietnam - a long bloody occupation with eventual US withdrawal. Which is why I see a US withdrawal under fire being more likely than a "let's sit down and hold hands" agreement type scenario, and was exploring the options in that light - ie - what sort of possible way it could be carried out while reducing possible Iraqi chaos to a minimum.

Nevertheless, even with a genuine settlement, there is the real possibility of revenge killings, and that is why I feel it would only be fair to give those that might have been put in such a danger by foreigners the opportunity to leave the country. I can imagine just how popular Allawi would be, for example.

Of course, let me illustrate the most likely scenario: The US does not withdraw. It realises it has lost credibility with central Iraq, and tries to polarise the political spectrum into Kurds - Sunnis -Shiites. Once this process gains momentum, it can set Iraq's different factions against each other, and try to force a military solution to the problem. Externally it will be painted as terrorist Sunnis being quelled in the interests of the majority of the country. Internally it will be a bloodbath in which opposition to US plans is stymied via brute force and intimidation. Will it work? Honestly I don't know. So far the insurgents have shredded the ING at every turn, so it seems that it will be up to US troops to do the dirty work, although naturally the neocons would prefer it being the natives killing each other instead. But if the US is prepared to level every dissenting town and the world squats on its thumbs as it has done up to now - who knows? The Russians are still fighting in Chechnya. I don't believe that Bush is scared of losing a few troops either. The outlook seems bleak.

PS - do get a blog name. It saves you the pain in the ass of typing out your credentials every time.



TallDave --

I refer you to this:


US Marine claims unit killed Iraqi civilians
AFP - December 8, 2004

A former US Marine said his unit killed more than 30 innocent Iraqi civilians in just two days, in graphic testimony to a Canadian tribunal probing an asylum claim by a US Army deserter. Former Marine Sergeant Jimmy Massey appeared as a witness to bolster claims by fugitive paratrooper Jeremy Hinzman that he walked out on the 82nd Airborne Division to avoid being ordered to commit war crimes in Iraq.
...
Mr Massey told Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) that men under his command in the 3rd battalion, 7th Marines, killed "30 plus" civilians within 48 hours while on checkpoint duty in Baghdad.

"I do know that we killed innocent civilians," Mr Massey told the tribunal, relating the chaotic days after the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003."
//end excerpt

Of course it would be naive to believe that this is the only unit which massacred civilians, given that their tactics were SOP.

and I refer you to the credentials of the US's current choice as Iraqi leader:


Iraqi prime minister accused of murdering detainees
By James Conachy - Jul 22, 2004, 16:13

"In an exclusive report in the Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers, two Iraqi men claim to have witnessed Iyad Allawi, the US-installed Iraqi interim prime minister, murder six handcuffed and blindfolded prisoners. The summary executions allegedly occurred in mid-June, while Allawi was visiting the Al-Amariyah security center in Baghdad.

The newspapers appear to have had the story for several weeks. They finally decided to publish the article on July 17, noting that “the failure by Iraqi and US officialdom to mount convincing denials makes the witness accounts impossible to ignore”. According to their Baghdad correspondent, Paul McGeough, who conducted the interviews, the two witnesses were found independently of one another and spoken to separately. Neither received payment."
//end excerpt

which fits perfectly in line with his historical tendencies like these:


Asia Times Online
Allawi struggles for acceptance - By Dahr Jamail

One of Allawi's earliest moves after his appointment in May was to form a new version of the feared secret police in Iraq. The Economist reported that Allawi's rivals accused him of "recruiting former torturers to man a new apparatus of oppression".
...
"Anger is building up against Allawi also over the role he played before he was appointed interim prime minister. He is the man many hold responsible for providing fraudulent intelligence that Saddam posed a threat to the US. His now-discredited statements to US intelligence that Saddam had links to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were used to justify the invasion of Iraq. This had shaken his credibility among Iraqis from the beginning."
...
Adam Daifallah wrote in the New York Sun that Allawi heads a group comprising primarily former Ba'athist associates of Saddam and "has received funding from the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency of the United States] and has unsuccessfully worked with American intelligence for years to oust Saddam through coup attempts".
//end excerpt

Of course we can go on. I find it a tad odd that the ends of "democracy, tolerance, and respect for human rights." are so incompatible with the means used to get there. You think that maybe your ideals might be tainted through the process?

It ... it is almost as if these ideals were just a lie.

(That these pretty words are a cover for other words, like "proxy rule"?)

Say it ain't so, Dave!
 
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Abu Khaleel:

Professor Juan Cole has and interesting suggestions for salvaging the legitmacy of the scheduled elections. His opinion piece can be found at the following link, "
http://www.detnews.com/2004/editorial/0412/05/A17-23977.htm . " I am particularly interested in your reaction to two of his proposals (1) a one time 25% Sunni Party set aside and (2) the idea of a two chamber legislature with Kurdish and Sunni over-representation to avoid the potential threat of "tyrrany of a Shia majority."

I realize that you prefer a more grass roots approach to elections, but that type of program doesn't seem likely at this time. Perhaps, the new Iraqi constitution can include some of your principles.

Bruno:

I am not your "antagonist." My intent is not to engage in rhetorical games or debates, but rather to stimulate discussion concerning approaches to possible peaceful resolutions.

I disagree with your conclusion that a U.S. withdrawal under fire is a likely outcome. I have already explained this is not likely as a U.S. administration will not take the risk that the security vacuum created by a withdrawal, prior to certains levels of internal and external security being achieved, could allow a potential terrorist haven to be created in Iraq.

Also, your divide and conquer scenario is not really logical either since encouraging a civil war in which U.S. troops will undoubtedly bear the brunt of the fighting makes little sense. From a U.S. military point of view, it makes far more sense to try and reach a political compromise with the "nationalist resistance," while isolating the "foreign jihadi resistance." Of course, if the jihadis decide to enter politics and renounce violence, they could be politically accomodated as well.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Bruno:

I refer you to the fact a deserter is about the least credible witness you could find short of the Iraqi Information Minister, and to the complete lack of any evidence of the allegations against Allawi.

>>>Of course we can go on. I find it a tad odd that the ends of "democracy, tolerance, and respect for human rights." are so incompatible with the means used to get there.
Of course you can go on making up false statments forever. I find it a tad odd you are trying to find moral equivalence where such an effort is so incompatible with common sense.

>>>You think that maybe your ideals might be tainted through the process?
No. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Surely you are not so naive as to think democracy can be brought to Iraq with flowers and perfume, any more than it could have to Germany or Japan.

Even if we take the farcical step of stipulating everything you said was true, your arguments lack a point. The insurgents don't even pretend to embrace any kind of ideals. They are certainly not bringing democracy or respect for human rights.
 
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>>>It ... it is almost as if these ideals were just a lie.
>>>( That these pretty words are a cover for other words, like "proxy rule"? )

Laughable, easily disprovable nonsense. The proof is that free elections will be held. All evidence suggests the election results will be respected. This is a not the sham election of a Soviet vassal state.

Your anti-democratic attitude is sad.
 
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Bruno,

"far right types seem to believe that America is the embodiment of abstract moral principles and is always correct, despite contradictory evidence from the ground"

Most significant groups executing organized violence do so under some sense of moral high ground. America doens't have a monopoly on that either.

And to be fair I didn't call Muhamed a terrorist. I linked terrorism to assymetrical warfare with an "if" and then I went on to talk about how humane Muhamed's fighters were along with the way they fought. From what little I've read I do not believe Muhamed was a terrorits. It was a repsonse to a comment in which America was portrayed as a nation of terrorists and I just wanted to suggest it's a matter of perspective.





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>>>far right types seem to believe that America is the embodiment of abstract moral principles and is always correct, despite contradictory evidence from the ground

Maybe you should look in S Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Taiwan, and Afghanistan for "evidence from the ground." All of those countries, with their hundreds of millions, were made or kept free and democratic through American military power.
 
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LOL!!!

Bruno's comments make about the strongest case possible for NOT withdrawing from Iraq.

Violent retaliation against "collaborators"? Security handed over to "local militias" ? Hahahaha!!

The truth comes out. What the left desires in Iraq is blood and death, and more blood that they can revel in and celebrate as a "victory" over the "evil Americans".

Vengance and hate are their motivating desires. How more obvious could it be?
 
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I thought I would mention, for the perusal of the anti-American posters here, that one of the mrn responsible for smuggling chemical precursors out of the US to Iraq has been arrested.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1368766,00.html

No doubt, the anti-war movement will continue to repeat the lie that the chemicals were deliberately supplied by the US government.
 
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Andromeda,

Thanks for that reference. I had indeed assumed that we had so supplied Saddam, for use in combatting Iran. As I am unaware of any American speculations or fears regarding the Kurds during the 1980s, the case against US supplying Saddam with chemical weapons for use in their suppression is somewhat stronger.

Anonymous,

Most of the left, as far as I can tell (being rather leftist myself) has no desire for more blood or deaths. In fact, that very resistance towards killing is one of the reasons so many right-wing militarists DESPISE the left.

As a left-winger with a concern for the ChaldoAssyrian natives of Iraq, I've noted the increasing difficulties of this embattled and threatened community. Before we liberated them, many lived in fear of Saddam, his sons, and opportunistic Baathists. However though their language and culture were threatened, they were free to practice their religion and their women were free to travel without the veil.
Last year, to their great consternation, we totally ignored all of their leaders, and allowed an interim law code which essentially made them outsiders in their own land--making Islam THE source for legislation. I don't know what we should have done--I merely here report what they were watching.

They have minimal representation in the governments, either in the Kurdish areas or in Baghdad. They are being hounded from their homes and villages, their shops, schools and churches. In fact, things have become so dangerous for this community that many, if not most, are fleeing.

Be Well,
 
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Thanks, Bob. The guardian article also jives with this discussion of how Iraq obtained chemical precursors, right down to naming the Dutch individual who was just arrested:

http://www.cbwinfo.com/General/Proliferation/Thiodiglycol.html

They also have a discussion of how Iraq built up it's chemical weapons plant. Judging by the credibility of their research into Iraq's methods of obtaining precursors, I'd say this is probably pretty accurate too.

http://www.cbwinfo.com/General/Proliferation/Pretext.html
 
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Mark --

"I am not your "antagonist." My intent is not to engage in rhetorical games or debates, but rather to stimulate discussion concerning approaches to possible peaceful resolutions."

Got it. If you read my post though, the mood is jocular and tongue in cheek.

Relax, OK?

(OH! Maybe you thought I was calling you stupid. Well, I was not, I was saying that having to deal with the borderline imbecilic for the last week has rendered me out of tune with your nuanced arguments; this is a compliment FYI.)

"I disagree with your conclusion that a U.S. withdrawal under fire is a likely outcome."

There are three outcomes. (1) The US is booted out through violence (2) the US manages the divide & conquer routine and manages to sit on a low intensity conflict indefinitely (3) a multilateral compromise is reached more or less accomodating everybody.

At the moment (1) and (3) are about equally remote. The elcetions are frankly going to do little to stem the violence if some sort of withdrawal date is not set, and if the Sunni parties feel done in. (2) seems to be the likely and most disastrous course that will be followed. But hey, these are merely the opinions of one who has been only *mostly* right on the course of this war so far, so take it with a pinch of salt. ;)

"Also, your divide and conquer scenario is not really logical either since encouraging a civil war in which U.S. troops will undoubtedly bear the brunt of the fighting makes little sense."

Here I must unfortunately disagree.

This method of pitting groups against each other is tried and tested, and not only is it successful (I'm thinking of my home country of South Africa now) but already underway, given that the ING is mostly comprised of either Kurdish ex peshmerga from the North or Shias from the South being deployed in the so called Sunni triangle. It is simply a matter of making each group hate the other more than the invader, at which point you can do what you want with them. Conversely, if we accept your statement that it is illogical for the US to encourage inter factional fighting , then do provide us with support that the US has tried to promote Iraqi national unity and has tried to heal rifts between the different groups. You will find none, I suspect.

Quite apart from the reality of growing Iraqi polarisation on the ground ( I refer you to the outrage that greeted the first attack on Fallujah from all segments of Iraqi society - the second was not quite protested to the same level; indeed there were mumblings from *some* Shia of "they deserved it") the partitioning of Iraq is an old dream of Israel's which they feel will greatly enhance their security and power in the region via the process of a single powerful country opposed to them being reduced to three squabbling rivals. Now, if we take into account the quite alarming (and to me puzzling) influence that Israel exerts on the US specifically on its ME policies via organs such as AIPAC ... this drift towards the idea of a federated system is understandable.

Let me gently put it to you that the same way that you say that the US is unlikely to cut and run leaving a power vacuum, I say that it is just as unlikely to deal with those it has labelled terrorists, murderers and thugs, and has crossed half the world to fight. This scenario, while agreeable to me, just does not seem likely.

"From a U.S. military point of view, it makes far more sense to try and reach a political compromise with the "nationalist resistance," while isolating the "foreign jihadi resistance.""

YES! I agree with you. Now tell that to the US military.

Basically, the US has a huge credibility problem on the ground at the moment. I doubt whether the resistance would believe that even genuine US plans for inclusion were in good faith. Some sort of concrete proposal would have to be made, such as a withdrawal timetable, attached to whatever conditions the US felt were reasonable for the resistance to comply with in order to illustrate THEIR good faith. How likely is this? 0% while Bush is in power.

Come on Bush, surprise me! (LOL)

Anybody who has perused PNAC and attendant writers like Kagan, Kristol, Ledeen, not to mention the Perle - Feith - Cheney - Rummy - Wolfowitz group knows that we are dealing with a group of ideologues that are unlikely to compromise in their vision of a US dominated Middle East. Talking to Baathists and disaffected Muslims simply does not feature in their scenarios.

In fact.

In fact I'm noticing a growing drumroll for military engagement with Iran before the Iraqi debacle is even finished.

Now, that is scary.
 
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TallDave --

Look, I am not going to spam Abu's blog with a dozen entries of US units mowing down civilians. Nor about Allawi's history of being chums with Hussein and car bombing Iraqi civilians. If you refuse to believe this, and believe that Allawi is a rosy cheeked cherub unjustly accused by the LIEberal media of bad things, then there is no point in even talking.

The only point that I am prepared to half concede is that the Resistance has no clear political agenda. At least, they have not told it to me. Unfortunately this is a consequence of being a disparate and fragmented collection of nationalists. The way they derive streangth from their fragmentation militarily, they lose it politically.

Some Baathists have claimed that they are in control of the insurgency, for example: Abu Mu'tassim, a field General in the Republican Guard said this (in an interview you can find on The Great Iraq blog) in response to a question on the Resistance's political programs for the future:

"This is none of our business. The political program is the business of the Resistance political branch, i.e. the Ba’ath Party leadership which launched a clear political program and which covers our actions."

This is a contrast to many interviews with guerrillas who either went out of their way to say they were anti Baathist or only took up arms AFTER Hussein was captured, because they did not want to feel that they were fighting for him.

Anyway, see BobGriffin below for an indication of the 'improved' human rights situation for Iraqi minorities.

Need I say more?
 
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Bruno,

Again, you seem totally incapable of understanding that the perfect is the enemy of the good. You have the attitude of a nine-year-old naif who is shocked to find out sometimes Mommy and Daddy get angry and yell.

No one is claiming Allawi is a sweet innocent little cherub who would never hurt a fly. Yes, there have been civilian casualties. That's tragic, but there were ten times more in Japan, Germany, and in fact probably almost every war fought in the last 100 years that resulted in a free and democratic society.

>>>The only point that I am prepared to half concede is that the Resistance has no clear political agenda.
Sure they do. Their agenda is quite clear: to seize power by any means possible and use it to oppress Iraqs and enrich themselves. All the evidence of how they ran Fallujah and every other area they controlled demonstrates this.
If they wanted to be part of a democratic Iraq, ALL THEY'D HAVE TO DO IS RUN FOR OFFICE.


>>>Anyway, see BobGriffin below for an indication of the 'improved' human rights situation for Iraqi minorities.
I bet the hundreds of thousands of Shias in mass graves would disagree. I bet the tens of thousands more who were maimed and raped by the regime also beg to differ. For every place things have gotten a little worse, there are 10 where things have gotten a lot better.
Also, you might ask BobGriffin's friends what would have happened to them pre-liberation if they dared criticize Saddam. Oops, there goes that argument.

>>>Need I say more?
No, you've amply demonstrated your ignorance of both history and the current reality.
 
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Mark,

I'm not sure that you will be able to find this response in the raging "battlefield". Please let me know if you do!

I find Professor Juan Cole generally well-informed and sensible but I cannot agree with this proposal of putting aside a certain percentage for "Sunnis" and going ahead with the elections. It is not only impractical but quite dangerous.

1. Sunnis don't have any ID to show that they are Sunnis.

2. About half of Iraq is thoroughly mixed, as I have stated a couple of posts back. How can you allow some people in Baghdad for example to vote and not others?

3. So many people of the "type" that should have a favorable effect on the process and that should be encouraged to be involved, eg the enlightened, the secular will refuse to be simply labeled as "Sunnis"… and they shouldn't be.

4. If a "geographic" approach is attempted and the "Sunni" provinces of Anbar, Saladin and Mosul are excluded, how do you deal with the other mixed provinces of Diala, Babel and with the sizable Sunni minority in Basra?

5. This scheme cannot solve the enormous problem of mixed and contested Kirkuk.

6. Any assembly that leaves large segments of the population unrepresented will lack legitimacy in the eye of many. How can such an assembly possibly discuss the future shape of the country and write a constitution?

7. Elections themselves are not an end. They have to be part of the democratic process. Running an election "for its own sake" without the other components will not solve the problem.

8. Finally, such an approach is extremely dangerous in that it may further polarize the Iraqi society along Sunni – Shiite lines. I find this a recipe for a future civil war.
 
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Tall Dave,

The Assyrians with whom I conversed, and whose on-line publications I read, were far from eager to say that things had been better under Saddam. The American-Assyrian community was (and remains) pro-occupation. Some of that community believed during Spring 2003 that American troops should be kept in Iraq perhaps for decades.

However, they feel betrayed. Nearly as betrayed by the Americans as they had been by the British after WW I & II. They were upset that we watched their heritage suffer fire and looting. Bremer and the rest of the American representatives tended to exclude them, while welcoming mullahs and ayatollahs. They gained barely a mention in the Interim Law, which also placed them as 2nd class Iraqis, since 'Islam is the religion of the state'.
They have been targetted as Christians, targetted as American allies, targetted as non-Muslims, by both Shi'ites and Sunnis (and of course Wahhabis and Salafis), both Arabs and Kurds.

It appears that 'liminal' at Shlonkom bazakay is a member of that community, so his blog is an access to the viewpoints of the Iraqi ChaldoAssyrian community. Fayrouz, the Texan, is an American ChaldoAssyrian (I don't remember her blog's name).

-----
on a different note:
I will be away from my computer (visiting family out of state) until the 17th or 18th, so I will be unable to contribute to any discussions during that time.

Be Well/'Eida Brika (A Blessed Feast!)
 
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BobGriffin,

As Victor Davis Hanson (http://www.victorhanson.com) pointed out, this is the first occupation in history to be criticized for not dong enough to protect the people being liberated from themselves.It's understandable people, esp. those in the minority, are frustrated with the slow progress. It's not a simple or easy thing to turn a blood-soaked police state dotted with rape rooms into a Jeffersonian democracy. Mistakes are going to be made, people are going to be overlooked, and the wheels of progress will move slowly - but they will be moving.
 
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Abu, could you provide us with an analysis of the positions of the candidates on the list announced today by Sistani's coalition? I havn't been able to find it anywehre in the news.

In particular, what groups are more heavily represented towards the top of the list.

In addition, did the other Shiite group, the SHiite political council eventually break off, and if so would you consider them to be more secular oriented, or just a different religious splinter group?
 
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TallDave --

"Again, you seem totally incapable of understanding that the perfect is the enemy of the good."

In other words, the ends justify the means. In other words freedom and democracy justify the slaughter and collateral deaths of 100 000 or more Iraqis. Or the slaughter of 1 million Cambodians in the quest for a better society. Or the countless that died in Stalins purges to the same end.

Ideologues like you from every side of the political spectrum are the real enemy of humanity, when you try to achieve by force what can be achieved via less destructive methods. That is, always assuming that the US truly means to export this freedom BS to Iraq. Because, in fact, this 'freedom' mantra is just a load of rubbish used in order to justify imperial proxy control, isn't it? Given the fact that the US had planned for many large bases in Iraq no matter who the government there is, and this well before your precious 911. (see Rebuilding America's Defences, Page 17) Strange that they never even thought of the possibility that Iraqis might not *want* foreign troops in their land, huh?

Do you really feel that your blatant LIES about the US being in Iraq for reasons of democracy ought to be believable given the fact that your country has undermined democracy on many occasions (Iran and Chile for example) when those governments did not suit it? And that it continues to support and fund many non democratic governments as we speak?

In actual fact the real agenda of America is "quite clear: to seize power by any means possible and use it to oppress Iraqs and enrich themselves."
In actual fact we can see the US agenda simply by considering the "evidence of how they ran Fallujah and every other area they controlled demonstrates this."

Your statement is merely hollow propaganda easily turned upon its head.

The reality is that the people of Fallujah initially capitulated rapidly to the invaders, and that the religious authorities, which bore little love for Hussein, kept order in the face of the looting and chaos that *your* heroes were either unwilling or unable to prevent. Only when Marines massacred 16 unarmed demonstraters there, and wounded scores of others, did the Fallujans begin to wake up to the real face of the United States. All your problems with Fallujah stem from that. YOU are the one ignorant of the history of this sorry episode.

Oh, and while you are conducting your investigations on people enriching themselves at Iraqi expense, you might want to take a peek at this:

"What happened to Iraq's oil money?" - NBC News - Nov. 30, 2004

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the United States took control of all of the Iraqi government’s bank accounts, including the income from oil sales. The United Nations approved the financial takeover, and President Bush vowed to spend Iraq’s money wisely. But now critics are raising serious questions about how well the United States handled billions of dollars in Iraqi oil funds.

Iraq's oil resources generate billions of dollars — money the United States promised to protect after overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Now, Frank Willis, a former senior American official in Iraq, tells NBC News the United States failed to safeguard the oil money known as the Development Fund for Iraq."There was, in my mind, pervasive leakage in assets of Iraq, and to some extent, those assets were squandered," says Willis.
...
In a series of reports on U.S. management of the oil money, auditors working for the United Nation's Iraq Advisory and Monitoring Board and the Inspector General of the Coalition Provisional Authority found:

Insufficient controls
Missing records
Two sets of books at Iraq's Finance Ministry, which did not match"
//end excerpt

And, keep in mind that not only are there BILLIONS unaccounted for, but also the main point: Virtually all this Iraqi oil money is being used to fund the operation of AMERICAN oil and security companies. Uh, you said something about profiteering? How you can sit here and tell me that without dying of embarrassment I don't know.

You mention the hundreds of thousands of Shia killed.

Given that the Lancet's statistical survey shows 100 000 excess deaths in merely 2 years, and given that Saddam ruled for 24 years as despot, *YOUR* country's projected total is 1,2 MILLION at present rates. But you are the "good" guys? Please, peddle your lies somewhere else. We all witnessed the destruction of Fallujah and Najaf. We have eyes, you know. I have seen for myself enough pictures of children with their limbs blown to pieces by US bombs to smell your propaganda for the garbage it is.

Let me put it simply for you. USA = Saddam

Except that the US has better 'spin', so that people like you can sleep at night feeling proud and strong. And as for the Saddam stifled dissent part ... well ... the sorry record that the US has in killing reporters and in closing news outlets that report news that might be inconvenient, through either force or legislation, is well known. Americans have killed or beaten up journalists they don't like. Oh, hey, and before you start mewling about how this is not true:

Support:

"You asked for my evidence, Mr Ambassador. Here it is"
In Iraq, the US does eliminate those who dare to count the dead
Naomi Klein - December 4, 2004 - The Guardian


"The first major operation by US marines and Iraqi soldiers was to storm Falluja general hospital, arresting doctors and placing the facility under military control. The New York Times reported that "the hospital was selected as an early target because the American military believed that it was the source of rumours about heavy casual ties", noting that "this time around, the American military intends to fight its own information war, countering or squelching what has been one of the insurgents' most potent weapons". The Los Angeles Times quoted a doctor as saying that the soldiers "stole the mobile phones" at the hospital - preventing doctors from communicating with the outside world. "
...
"It's not the first time journalists in Iraq have faced this kind of intimidation. When US forces invaded Baghdad in April 2003, US Central Command urged all unembedded journalists to leave the city. Some insisted on staying and at least three paid with their lives. On April 8, a US aircraft bombed al-Jazeera's Baghdad offices, killing reporter Tareq Ayyoub. Al-Jazeera has documentation proving it gave the coordinates of its location to US forces.

On the same day, a US tank fired on the Palestine hotel, killing José Couso, of the Spanish network Telecinco, and Taras Protsiuk, of Reuters. Three US soldiers are facing a criminal lawsuit from Couso's family, which alleges that US forces were well aware that journalists were in the Palestine hotel and that they committed a war crime"
//end excerpt

Let us be clear on your purpouse here. You are here to spout propaganda on the US's great morality and altruity in bringing democracy to the ignorant natives. Furthermore, you justify the killing of thousands to this end, ignoring that the very reason that dictatorships are deemed "bad" are because they are supposedly all murderous slaughterhouses. Related to this is the fact that you do not see how using the very same tactics as a dictatorship (Saddam, in this case) to maintain order and control puts you firmly in their murderous camp. Furthermore, the most important facet of this propaganda is that the US never had any intention to truly install a democracy but to use rhetoric to mask intentions. The elections that the US is punting are slanted to favour the current puppets in power, people that are bought and paid for by the CIA. Given this coutry's previous un democratic maneuvers in Iraq (Chalabi as dictator, cancelled municipal elections, caucuses) do you really expect us to believe in the integrity of these elections?

Would YOU trust elections held in the US if the Red Chinese had hordes of troops there and had imported ex-US exiles to stand as important candidates ?

The reality is, your country is acting as badly as Hussein did, has not brought peace to Iraq and has stated previously via important people that having a troop presence in Iraq is important to your national interests.

Go home.
 
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Abu,
I would like your take on the United Iraqi Alliance. I understand it includes Iraq's largest Shi'ite parties, a prominent Sunni tribe, and smaller non-Shi'ite groups. It has the blessing of the country's number one Shi'ite leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Sounds like a lot of posisitve action could come from such a group, but I haven't been able to find much about it.

What are the goals expressed by this group?
Is their support base as popular as it sounds?
What's your impression of this group?

Thanks for anything you can add.
 
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Bruno,

Your post is so strikingly depressing! When I started this unfortunate project, I never thought it would be so difficult to put the truth of what is truly going on in Iraq across to Americans.

Andromeda,

The wheeling and dealing of "practical politicians" is usually difficult for me to digest, let alone dealings of shady characters! At the moment I am still busy trying to understand what Iran-supported religious parties have in common with a neocon-supported secular "businessman / politician" with a dubious reputation! It may be a bit early to judge, but I will keep your questions in mind.
 
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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>>>>"Again, you seem totally incapable of understanding that the perfect is the enemy of the good."

>>>>In other words, the ends justify the means. In other words freedom and democracy justify the slaughter and collateral deaths of 100 000 or more Iraqis.
LOL Maybe you think France was better off under the Nazis. Most people would agree the 100,000 French civilians that died in the American invasion were justified by the ends of ending the Nazi regime. Would you then also argue freeing the blacks from slavery wasn't worth the 500,000 American lives it cost?

>>>>Or the slaughter of 1 million Cambodians in the quest for a better society. Or the countless that died in Stalins purges to the same end.
Again, your ignorance of history is simply astounding. Stalin and the Khmer Rouge were not creating free democratic societies, they were seizing or consolidating power for themselves.



>>>>Do you really feel that your blatant LIES about the US being in Iraq for reasons of democracy ought to be believable given the fact that your country has undermined democracy on many occasions (Iran and Chile for example) when those governments did not suit it?
I don't remember us undermining democracy in Iran, unless you are naive enough to think Ayatollah Khomeini was a "democrat." Allende was a butcher elected with less than 40% of the vote, who immediately began ruining Chile's economy and impoviershing it's people at an unbelievable rate.

Some unfortunate actions had to be taken to counter the 70-year expansion of the Soviet Empire, but it's hard to find any that were truly anti-democratic. It's hard to argue against actions that unless you'd rather be living under an Orwellian ideology that murdered 100 million civilians.

>>>And that it continues to support and fund many non democratic governments as we speak?
So? You could make that argument about every democracy in the world. The difference is - America actually overthrew some of those nondemocratic countries and replaced them with democracies.


>>>In actual fact the real agenda of America is "quite clear: to seize power by any means possible and use it to oppress Iraqs and enrich themselves."
You seem to be overlooking the elections in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention Germany, France, Italy, S Korea, Japan.


>>>Only when Marines massacred 16 unarmed demonstraters there, and wounded scores of others, did the Fallujans begin to wake up to the real face of the United States. All your problems with Fallujah stem from that. YOU are the one ignorant of the history of this sorry episode.
ROTFLMAO! Oh is *that* why they built hundreds of car bombs, decapitated aid workers, murdered civilians who would not cooperate, and said they would kill anyone who voted? I see.


>>>Given that the Lancet's statistical survey shows 100 000 excess deaths in merely 2 years
Not true. The study said there could be as few as 8,000, and that 8,000 was equally as likely as 100,000.

>>>Please, peddle your lies somewhere else. We all witnessed the destruction of Fallujah and Najaf.
The people of Najaf actually ASKED us to kick Sadr out -- and then told him not to come back.

>>>Let me put it simply for you. USA = Saddam
Let me put it more accurately: you = ignorant.

>>>Let us be clear on your purpouse here. You are here to spout propaganda on the US's great morality and altruity in bringing democracy to the ignorant natives.
You seem to be the only ignorant one. Most Iraqis are quite excited and optimistic about the prospect of freedom of democracy, while you seem to think they were better off in a blood-soaked police state dotted with rape rooms.
 
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>>>Would YOU trust elections held in the US if the Red Chinese had hordes of troops there and had imported ex-US exiles to stand as important candidates ?
If the "Red Chinese" had a 200-year-old democracy and I was living in a country that was not only a brutal dictatorship, but where the gov't had actually recently used nerve and mustard gas on its own civilians, while the leaders of the gov't raped and tortured anyone they felt like, and let the people starve rather than submit to international inspections -- yeah, I'd feel pretty good about anyone who brought elections. And I'd want those "Red Chinese" troops keeping the evil ex-gov't people on the run. And I'd thank them, over and over and over, for sacrificing their young men to bring me freedom.
 
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Abu Khaleel:

Your objection that Professor Cole's proposed 25% Sunni set aside may be polarizing is well taken. However, it seems to me that having a Shia dominated assembly drawing a permanent constitution with little input from
important Nationalist constituencies would be worse.

Also, I think you may misunderstand Cole's proposal. As I understand it, Cole would essentially guarantee that the new assembly would include at least 25% Sunni Arabs party legislators, no matter how poorly they faired in the elections. He is essentially trying to correct for an anticipated boycott by predominately Sunni Nationalist groups. He does not mention how he would assign those seats among competing Sunni political groups after the election, but I would assume that the intent is to hold most of them open for all Nationalist groups that boycott the election and later choose to enter the political process.

Speaking of Professor Cole, he has posted today an interesting critique of the AMS boycott position, stating:

"In short, Al-Dhari is wrong that the guerrilla fighters have achieved much positive; he is wrong that cooperating with elections cannot result in independence; he is wrong that the boycott movement is significant outside the Sunni Arabs. The only thing he is right about is that the technical preparations for the elections are problematic.

I was at a public event on Thursday night and someone asked me why the Sunni Arabs didn't just take the best deal they could get. I replied that they think they are the real majority of the country, or that is the public pose (requiring them to invent a million Iranian Shiite infiltrators to explain all those extra Shiites). They think they can push the Americans around and maybe even push them out of the country. They think once the US is gone, they will have a better, not worse chance, at regaining something like their former political ascendence.

In other words, they seem to be living in a dangerous fantasy land."

His analysis seems correct to me. I know you disagree with him concerning what he has apparently labeled a sectarian "Nationalist Resistance," but I think Professor Cole is speaking in short hand when he discusses "Sunni Arabs" in the second paragraph. I think what he really means is the "Nationalist Resistance." I seriously doubt that he believes all such groups are comprised entirely of Sunni Arabs, but rather that they predominate in them.

In any event, I believe that both you and he know more about the motivations of the "Nationalist Resistance" than I do. Do you have any thoughts on his analysis?
 
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Again, last one was mine. I tried to fill out the darn e-blogger profile and it kept rejecting it. Perhaps, they are trying to keep the riff-raff, like me, on the outside. I'll give it another shot later.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Mark:

Thanks for sharing, Cole's insights are interesting.

One thing that hardly gets mentioned at all is that there is an economic transformation happening in Iraq that is almost as great as the political transformation -- and they are closely intertwined.

Nearly the entire Arab world is entirely socialist. There is very little free enterprise. (The result has been the Arab world makes almost nothing. Outside of oil, the entire Mideast besides Israel has an economy roughly the size of Norway's.) In the Western world, one accumulates wealth and thereby acquires power. In the Arab states (esp among the Sunni), one acquires power and uses it to obtain wealth. This was true for the House of Saud as well as thugs like Hussein.

In this societal context, the intransigence of the Sunni insurgency perhaps makes more sense.
 
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I am new to this blog, so I'm not quite sure if you've already answered questions like this. You say that "some 80% of Iraqis believe that the US army is here as a conquering army and not a liberating one..."

It would do all of us a great deal of good if we could understand why so many Iraqis see our army as a conquering one. Like so many Americans, I want to see our guys come home as soon as physically possible. The only reason why we don't call for them to come home now is because we fear widspread civil war would follow. Are there signs that Americans will stay beyond the time that they are needed to keep stability? We have been promised by our leaders that they will be brought home as soon as Iraq is stable.

While Iraq doesn't have a representative government yet, we do. If you don't like what the American military is doing and are frustrated that you don't have a say in what the civilian leadership in Washington commands them to do, bring your case to the American people. We can change the leadership in Washington.
 
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Dan Hogan,

Those questions were actually repeatedly discussed and debated on this blog.

This seems to be a recurring problem with blogging. I will try and construct some sort of a site map to help people navigate.
 
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Dan,

In some sense the problem is not the answer but the question. It's like asking is an apple round or tasty? Both might be accurate, but one is factually true, the other a matter of opinion. Clearly the U.S. has in fact conquered and occupied Iraq; liberation depends on one's viewpoint. It's nonsensical and deceptive to make this, as the polls have, an either-or question.

There's also some question as to how much it really matters anyway. I bet 99% of post-WW II Germans and Japanese felt they had been conquered, not liberated. It wasn't a big impediment to quickly embracing liberty, democracy, and close alliance with their conquerors.
 
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What a sad, destructive situation this has become. Americans can't leave Iraq. If we leave now, Iraq will be taken over by another dictator after years of war, or be taken over by the religious fanatics & become a terrorist haven. All countries had to fight & die for their freedom, even America. They also had to have help from other countries. It's ashame most Iraqis have turned against Americans now. For this very reason, Iraq will probably never see peace. It seems the only way to have peace in Iraq now that the citizens have turned against us, which has happened to so many Islamic countries for these very reasons, is that another brutal dictator takes over. I can now see why so many Islamic countries end up with dictators. It has everything to do with the people in these countries fighting on the wrong side.
 
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Anon,

Take heart. Every day the new, democratic government gets a little stronger and more legitimate in the eyes of Iraqis, and the insurgents get a little weaker and less legitimate. Iraqis may not like having an occupying army around, but the insurgents' terrorist tactics are not winning them very many friends.

Think back to the first siege of Fallujah. It had to be called off in part because of massive protests by Arabs and Iraqis, including many in the interim government we were trying to hand over sovereignty to. After seven months of car bombings and beheadings, no one had much sympathy for the Fallujah terrorists anymore and they either tacitly agreed with the American assault or at least voiced very little outrage over it.

Within a couple years (maybe less), the new gov't should be strong enough to handle these problems themselves. I think the biggest turning point will not be the Jan 30th elections, but the referendum on the new Iraqi Constitution that will follow them. That will give every Iraqi the feeling they have a voice in the New Iraq.
 
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TallDave --

For somebody as uninformed and as misled as yourself, you sure do have a lot to say.

Firstly, the liberation of France was of course just, because they had been occupied by a rival *foreign* power. The same sort of position that the US occupies in Iraq at the moment, you know? Given that the majority of Frenchmen supported the ejection of the Germans, it was not unreasonable. Given that in this case YOU are the foreign power and that a majority of Iraqis support the expelling of US troops ... YOUR position is rather remeniscent of Hitler's, wouldn't you say? Especially given the fact that American companies are 'reconstructing' Iraq on largely Iraqi money; given the fact that the exclusion of foreign competitors will result in a US client state - I must come to the sad conclusion that you have no sense of irony when bringing up the subject of Nazi Germany.

">>>>Or the slaughter of 1 million Cambodians in the quest for a better society. Or the countless that died in Stalins purges to the same end.
Again, your ignorance of history is simply astounding."

Your intellectual dishonesty and / or poor reading skills are what is simply astounding.

You omitted my "Ideologues like you from every side of the political spectrum are the real enemy of humanity, when you try to achieve by force what can be achieved via less destructive methods." conclusion to that train of thought, demonstrating that either you are deliberately misreading me or are simply unable to understand the structure of an argument. *Ideologues* is the focus of the conclusion. (Although, to be fair, in a global perspective, your statement of Stalin et al consolidating their power bears a correlation to US global actions at present.)

Again, you seem to gloss over the fact that the US had planned years ago to station troops indefinitely in Iraq. I find it hard to believe that the US actually thought a democratic, hostile country would acquiesce to having thousands of foreign troops scurrying about its soil voluntarily. That spells out *dictatorship* or *proxy control* to me. Here is the actual excerpt, FYI:

From "Rebuilding America's Defences", Page 17
"From an American perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should Saddam pass from the scene. Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region."

Uh - huh. That spells out what is happening in Iraq perfectly - written in 2001, of course. Ya think this war was orchestrated? Or have you not spat out the WMD fairy tale yet?

"I don't remember us undermining democracy in Iran, unless you are naive enough to think Ayatollah Khomeini was a "democrat.""

Sadly this little statement deserves a sharp rap on the knuckles, given that you have just proven your profound ignorance of Middle Eastern affairs. Do yourself a favour and google "Mossadeq + CIA + coup" and read about the putrid history of America's involvement with Iran. Perhaps you will learn just a little as to why the Iranians also hate your guts. Yet, you feel you have enough knowledge and insight to come here and lecture US ??

As for the Chilean Allende, the point is (1) He was ELECTED. You are confusing the Chilean Presidential elections with the Congressional ones, where the opposition wanted to impeach him, yet he increased his party's share of Congress from 36 to 43%. (2) You claim he was a butcher. This implies massacres and rivers of blood. Pray, do you care to back this lie up with facts, or have you, in fact, got nothing? (3) The economy went bust largely due to the efforts of the United States which launched an embargo on Chile, as well as blocking international loans as well as formenting unrest there. Pinochet, his US sponsored successor, on the other hand, might well be described as a butcher.

Have you quite done embarrassing yourself here?

More BS on your part:
"under an Orwellian ideology that murdered 100 million civilians. "
while referring to Communism. Have you got any actual statistics that say 100 million, or is this a thumb suck? Not that the Soviets in particular were not responsible for huge massacres, but wild exaggerations tend to undercut your credibility, hmm? Oh, and do you care to compare Orwell's ideas with what the Americans have planned for Fallujah? ID cards, retina scans, no private transport, surveillance - he would have immediately recognised 1984 I'm guessing.

"You seem to be overlooking the elections in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention Germany, France, Italy, S Korea, Japan"

You make it sound as if the US imported 'democracy' to these countries, where in fact these institutions already existed (Nazi Germany / Italy were democracies gone bad - something that you might want to look at in your own country) or had existed (France). In fact, your 'liberation' of Italy contributed to the re-emergence of the Mafia as a serious and long standing problem there, because many mafiosi were appointed mayors straight from jail by the Allied forces. If one looks at Japan, 'democracy' was coupled to a neutering of their sovereignty making them wholly dependent on US military might for protection for a long, long time. Thereby necessitating US bases on Japanese soil, facilitating power projection for America there. Convenient, huh?

Afghanistan is also not an expression of democracy. If one looks at the severely flawed elections (where nearly the entire opposition to Karzai protested / boycotted) coupled with the US's open massive financial, media and military backing of the eventual winner, Karzai - if one looks at this, and still calls these elections democratic - then I fear that there is a huge rift between your understanding of the word and mine.

You said:
"If the "Red Chinese" had a 200-year-old democracy and I was living in a country that was not only a brutal dictatorship, but where the gov't had actually recently used nerve and mustard gas on its own civilians, while the leaders of the gov't raped and tortured anyone they felt like, and let the people starve rather than submit to international inspections -- yeah, I'd feel pretty good about anyone who brought elections."

Your Red Chinese answer fails to take into account that in the case of Iraq, the invaders (YOU, in case you didn't notice) also used weapons like Phosphorus and Naplam, also bombed civilian areas with weapons sporting a kill radius of 400m; whose leaders endorsed ideas along the lines of the Geneva Convention being irrelevant, who as a consequence engaged in the torture of detainees; who engage in collective punishment and the taking of hostages and, most importantly, had a major interest in the natural resources of your country. Oh, AND supported the previous brutal dictator that they had just replaced. In that light your facile answer seems a little lightweight, does it not?

(The argument that a 200 year old democracy is necessarily interested in exporting those same values as a matter of urgency over and above its other national interests furthermore is not only logically flawed, but demonstrates a great naivety in relation to international politics. I'm not saying that is what you are saying, but it sounds like you are implying it.)

Finally, your depiction of the current Allawi thugocracy as a democratic government puts the nail in the coffin of your understanding of the concept of democracy. I suggest that you have been watching too much Punch and Judy, and that you have become too attached to your puppets to see that in reality they have no life of their own. Allawi, the man bought by the CIA, is what is known as a "puppet". Just so you know for future reference.

Right.

Back to Iraq.

On the Lancet's figures:
You : "Not true. The study said there could be as few as 8,000, and that 8,000 was equally as likely as 100,000."

Again you show your ignorance of not only the research methodology that the Lancet engaged in, not only of basic statistics, but also you have engaged in the deliberate cover up of Iraqi deaths.

Now.

Let *ME* help any readers who might be inclined to believe TallDave's disinformation on the Lancet's figures.

Firstly, the range of deaths is not 8000 to 100 000, but 8000 to 194 000.

Second: the range takes the form of a normal distribution, ie - a bell curve, where the highest probability of certitude is at the apex. That highest probability of certitude happens to be 100 000. In a normal distribution the lowest or highest figures are *NOT* as equally likely as any other - the centre of the distribution represents the most likely number. Furthermore, the Lancet's methodology is widely used in the medical fields for estimating epidemics, and any inaccuracy in the method has been proven to *underestimate* occurrences, rather than the opposite. Finally, and as anybody who has actually taken a look at the methodology and figures would know, several hotspots, including Fallujah, were omitted either by chance or design (to avoid outliers skewing the statistics) so again, the casualties are under reported rather than the reverse.

On Fallujah:
I said : "All your problems with Fallujah stem from that."

Your intellectual honesty must again be called into question. How do you not understand the word "stem"? The situation of car bombs and severe fighting is the evolution of a process of escalatory attacks by both sides - NOT as you imply, a direct cause and effect. In the process of trying to distort my position, you only render yourself foolish. The Fallujah situation is analogous to the Iraqi situation as a whole. Bottom line? YOU started the fight. And YOU are prolonging it via your presence.

You know, dealing with the likes of you is like filling a dumpster with rocks - boring, repetitious work that frankly I have engaged in many, many times before. What exactly is your agenda here? You are contributing nothing to the discussion, merely engaging in the "America is freedom" rubbish without dealing with the facts on the ground and without dealing with how the hidden agendas and methods involved conflict with the official "democracy" line. Quite apart from your ignorance / dishonesty, your notions of pure American motivations even as far back as World War 2 are a little warped to say the least. Your idea that the resistance is weakening and that the next bogus watershed event will halt it (the same as Saddam's capture would stop it, that Fallujah's capture would stop it) simply *reeks* of Bushite talking point nonsense that is at best misguided.

Again, you offer no insight or opinions that are neither thought out nor constructive. We have heard this stuff a thousand times before, and it is getting a little stale. Sadly your lack of knowledge has been amply demonstrated, so I'm not holding my breath in hope.

I respectfully suggest you head over to ITM and engage in mutual backslapping and ego stroking with people that are like minded with yourself.

The experience will be a lot less bruising, methinks.
 
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Mark --

Check out that "Great Iraq" blog that I mentioned. You might have to wade through a bunch of propaganda, but the self styled resistance 'leaders' speak for themselves there.
 
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Bruno,

>>>For somebody as uninformed and as misled as yourself, you sure do have a lot to say<<<
Just trying to enlighten the ignorant and give hope to the oppressed.

>>>Firstly, the liberation of France was of course just, because they had been occupied by a rival *foreign* power. <<<
Of course we weren't talking about justification for the war itself, but the civilian casualties. So I take it you concede my point that civilian casualties ARE sometimes justified. In regards to the foreign aspect, you must either condemn the invasion of Germany following the liberation of France, or accept the invasion of Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait. Since Iraq never abided by the ceasefire agreement of 1991, the second Gulf War was just as necessary and legal.

>>>>You omitted my "Ideologues like you from every side of the political spectrum are the real enemy of humanity, when you try to achieve by force what can be achieved via less destructive methods." conclusion to that train of thought, demonstrating that either you are deliberately misreading me or are simply unable to understand the structure of an argument. *Ideologues* is the focus of the conclusion. (Although, to be fair, in a global perspective, your statement of Stalin et al consolidating their power bears a correlation to US global actions at present.)<<<
Again: democracy and freedom (USA) vs. totalitarianism and oppression (Stalin). You seem incapable of grasping that very essential moral distinction.

>>>>Again, you seem to gloss over the fact that the US had planned years ago to station troops indefinitely in Iraq. I find it hard to believe that the US actually thought a democratic, hostile country would acquiesce to having thousands of foreign troops scurrying about its soil voluntarily. That spells out *dictatorship* or *proxy control* to me. Here is the actual excerpt, FYI:<<<
Again, you are ASTOUNDINGLY ignorant of history. We still have troops in Japan, Germany, S Korea, etc. Are those “dictatorships” or "proxy" governments?

>>>As for the Chilean Allende, the point is (1) He was ELECTED. You are confusing the Chilean Presidential elections with the Congressional ones, where the opposition wanted to impeach him, yet he increased his party's share of Congress from 36 to 43%. (2) You claim he was a butcher. This implies massacres and rivers of blood. Pray, do you care to back this lie up with facts, or have you, in fact, got nothing? (3) The economy went bust largely due to the efforts of the United States which launched an embargo on Chile, as well as blocking international loans as well as formenting unrest there. Pinochet, his US sponsored successor, on the other hand, might well be described as a butcher<<<
I would suggest you actually read the history of Chile. Of course Allende nationalized key industries: he was a Communist. That's what Communism is. I don't dispute he was elected, just that his election in any reflected the will of the people. Allende was never popular. Pinochet had little choice; his actions were dictated by the fact Allende was murdering his allies.

>>>Have you quite done embarrassing yourself here?
I'm not at all embarassed. However, I do enjoy embarrassing you and the other anti-democracy defenders of totalitarianism.

>>>"under an Orwellian ideology that murdered 100 million civilians. " while referring to Communism. Have you got any actual statistics that say 100 million<<<
Yes. That's common knowledge. Again, it's astounding you would question this. 65 million in China, 10 million in the Ukraine, 5 million in other Soviet republics, 10 million in SE ASia, 5 million in N Korea (and counting)... I could go on.

>>>You make it sound as if the US imported 'democracy' to these countries, where in fact these institutions already existed <<<
Certainly not in Japan. And Italy and Germany would never have held elections again, so it's hard to argue they were any kind of real democracy, unless you are saying the Nazis were a “democratic institution”

>>>Afghanistan is also not an expression of democracy. If one looks at the severely flawed elections (where nearly the entire opposition to Karzai protested / boycotted) <<<
The opposition later accepted them.

>>>coupled with the US's open massive financial, media and military backing of the eventual winner, Karzai - if one looks at this, and still calls these elections democratic - then I fear that there is a huge rift between your understanding of the word and mine.<<<
The entire international community hailed the elections as not only fair, but historic. Given your ignorance on other topics, it's no surprise "there is a huge rift between your understanding" and the rest of the world's.

>>>Your Red Chinese answer fails to take into account that in the case of Iraq, the invaders (YOU, in case you didn't notice) also used weapons like Phosphorus and Naplam, also bombed civilian areas with weapons sporting a kill radius of 400m; whose leaders endorsed ideas along the lines of the Geneva Convention being irrelevant, who as a consequence engaged in the torture of detainees; who engage in collective punishment and the taking of hostages and, most importantly, had a major interest in the natural resources of your country. <<<
LOL Now you've descended into sheer moonbattery. This was the most humanely fought war in history, with precision weapons used to such great effect that the vast majority of Iraq’s physical plant was left intact. There was no flood of refugees, no mass starvation, no epidemics of cholera and the like. The U.S. military followed the Geneva convention (with any exceptions being carefully investigated) while the insurgents openly flaunted it. The debate over whether the Geneva Convention applied was about the Gitmo detainees from Afghanistan, not Iraq.

>>>In that light your facile answer seems a little lightweight, does it not?
No, it seems entirely accurate. It doesn't surprise me you don't understand it, because you still refuse to acknowledge a moral difference between totalitarianism and democracy.

>>>Finally, your depiction of the current Allawi thugocracy as a democratic government puts the nail in the coffin of your understanding of the concept of democracy.
LOL Apparently holding elections Jan 30th isn't "democracy."

>>>On the Lancet's figures: You : "Not true. The study said there could be as few as 8,000, and that 8,000 was equally as likely as 100,000." Again you show your ignorance of not only the research methodology that the Lancet engaged in, not only of basic statistics, but also you have engaged in the deliberate cover up of Iraqi deaths. Now. Let *ME* help any readers who might be inclined to believe TallDave's disinformation on the Lancet's figures.<<<
Your understanding of statistics is no better than your understanding of history -- that is to say, nonexistent

>>>Firstly, the range of deaths is not 8000 to 100 000, but 8000 to 194 000.
This is the only part you got right.

>>>Second: the range takes the form of a normal distribution, ie - a bell curve, where the highest probability of certitude is at the apex. That highest probability of certitude happens to be 100 000.
There is no basis within the study on which to make ANY statement on the distribution of the 95% confidence interval (8000 - 194000). 8,000 is 95% likely. So is 194,000. To further evaluate probabilities within this range, one would have to rely on other sources of information -- and such sources DO exist. The Iraq Body Count project, which does not even pretend to be objective but clearly states it's bias against the coalition action, finds a MAXIMUM of 16,853. So the actual number is certainly likely to be closer to 8,000 than 100,000.

>>>Your intellectual honesty must again be called into question. How do you not understand the word "stem"? The situation of car bombs and severe fighting is the evolution of a process of escalatory attacks by both sides<<<
Ridiculous. You make it sound as if the Fallujah insurgents would simply make peace and go home to peaceful, productive lives if the U.S. were to leave. This flies in the face of even their own rhetoric. They want power, pure and simple. If we left, they would attempt to take over Iraq and re-establish totalitarian rule.

>>>You know, dealing with the likes of you is like filling a dumpster with rocks - boring, repetitious work that frankly I have engaged in many, many times before. What exactly is your agenda here? You are contributing nothing to the discussion, merely engaging in the "America is freedom" rubbish without dealing with the facts on the ground and without dealing with how the hidden agendas and methods involved conflict with the official "democracy" line. Quite apart from your ignorance / dishonesty, your notions of pure American motivations even as far back as World War 2 are a little warped to say the least. Your idea that the resistance is weakening and that the next bogus watershed event will halt it (the same as Saddam's capture would stop it, that Fallujah's capture would stop it) simply *reeks* of Bushite talking point nonsense that is at best misguided.
It's amazing that people like you, beneficiaries of American benevolence for 50 years, attack the protector of your freedoms so viciously and ignorantly. That's OK though; America is forgiving as well as generous. When totalitarianism threatens you again, we will again be there to rescue you, and again receive your ingratitude.

>>>I respectfully suggest you head over to ITM and engage in mutual backslapping and ego stroking with people that are like minded with yourself.<<<
And let your anti-democracy lies go unanswered? I think not. I respectfully suggest you read a little history and gain a little moral perspective before embarassing yourself further.

Every human being deserves freedom and democracy. I'm sorry that you're so blinded by hatred for America that you can't understand that.
 
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Bruno says "Ideologues like you from every side of the political spectrum are the real enemy of humanity, when you try to achieve by force what can be achieved via less destructive methods."

I would counter that with:

"Ideologues like YOU from every side of the political spectrum are the real enemy of humanity, when you condemn billions to lives of horrible oppression under totalitarian regimes by refusing to achieve by force what cannot be achieved via less destructive methods."
 
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TallDave --

On the usual World War 2 analogies:

Invading Germany after liberating France was a logical step because, in case this tiny detail had slipped you by, GERMANY HAD DECLARED WAR ON THE USA in 1941. Now, *this* is exactly the sort of thing that I'm talking about when I say that you are embarrassing yourself. You are making correllations between disparate situations, and in your ignorance, you forget to take into account self evident facts like this.

When you talk about the 1991 Ceasefire, you are opening up a big can labelled "whuppass" that you really don't want to open. Let me spell it out for you.

The '1991' Ceasefire violations were what, exactly? Did Saddam continue military action against other countries? Did he refuse to leave Kuwait? Any other violent action against the Allies? No. The only 'violations' was the incomplete verification of the destruction of Iraq's WMD - incomplete according to the UN. In *reality*, we all know that these weapons were in fact destroyed as stipulated. The problem there was that inventory lists did not match, and it seemed as though Iraq still had weapons left over. So, did this legalise continued military action by the Allies? NO! Why? Because the LEGAL, SOLE custodian of the 1991 Ceasefire (Resolution 687) was the *United NATIONS* security council. It, and it alone, could sanction further action against Iraq. And it did NOT do so, preferring to commit itself to an inspections regimen.
Understand this:

UN Resolution 687:

"Affirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Kuwait and Iraq, and noting the intention expressed by the Member States cooperating with Kuwait under paragraph 2 of resolution 678 (1990) to bring their military presence in Iraq to an end as soon as possible consistent with paragraph 8 of resolution 686 (1991)"

The *real* violations were the continued bombing raids on Iraq by the US / Britain, and for a time, France. FYI, Resolution 687 specifically called for the cessation of hostilities by all members. It specifically called for the respecting of the sovereignty of the Kuwaiti and Iraqi nations. It did NOT say that military action was warranted in the case of Iraqi 'breaches'. Rather it said:

"UN Resolution 687 (34.) Decides to remain seized of the matter and to take such further steps as may be required for the implementation of the present resolution and to secure peace and security in the area. "

This clearly reinforces the idea that the resolution is final and that further resolutions would form the basis of any action or no against the country of Iraq. The US led "no fly zones" were in particular a grave violation of the Ceasefire. (Oh, and please do tell me about the Shia uprisings/massacres and how that justified the imposition of the no fly zones ... and then I will tell you about how the US wanted a Sunni general to overthrow Hussein as a new dictator, about how the elder Bush's call for an uprising was misconstrued by the Shia and how US actions actively contributed towards the crushing of the rebellion. And how the no fly zones were instituted formally only after the massacres, making a cruel mockery out of any humanitarian reasoning for them.)

So. Conclusion?

"So I take it you concede my point that civilian casualties ARE sometimes justified."

Yes. But one size does not fit all.

"In regards to the foreign aspect, you must either condemn the invasion of Germany following the liberation of France"

I've already discussed that. Not one of your finer moments. Answer: No.

"... or accept the invasion of Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait."

Also NO. Two wrongs do not make a right. Given that Saddam withdrew his troops, accepted the UN resolutions, and that most of his army was finished ... there was no reason for invading Iraq. You are trying to chase me into a false dilemma here, which is a flawed, dishonest way of reasoning, especially given that your basic premises do not stand up. Sad.

"Since Iraq never abided by the ceasefire agreement of 1991, the second Gulf War was just as necessary and legal."

As you have seen from the words of the UN, the second Gulf War was illegal. The UN is the custodian of the legal resolutions and IT decides what to do about them. The US != UN. It never authorised further military action, and if you recall 1441 specifically did not contain a 'trigger clause'. The US actively wanted this war. A war that was unnessecary, because all the lies and bluster of Powell's presentation at the UN were finally revealed as the crap they were.


"Again: democracy and freedom (USA) vs. totalitarianism and oppression (Stalin). You seem incapable of grasping that very essential moral distinction."

TallDave, the fact is, you see it that way. While I agree that the US is better than Stalin, I do not agree that you stand for democracy and freedom. The US stands for these ideals when these ideals do not clash with its agendas of economic exploitation and military expansion, and when the cost benefit ratio is favourable. My main problem with you is that you believe in your heart that the US is "the arsenal of democracy" and that it is always on the side of good. Your comparitively high standard of living and unipolar media reinforce these notions for you. In reality, the US has engaged in countless dirty wars and immoral actions that dramatically erode this idea of your country being a force for good. To tell the truth, you are starting to look like the new USSR from where I am standing.

When you say freedom and democracy, I see plumes of smoke rise into the air, and big mirrors being wheeled into place. The same reason the Commies sucked (violent exporting of a revolutionary ideology) is the reason you are starting to suck - because not only is the democracy angle BS, but you are dirtying these words for those to whom they might actually mean something. I have read what people like Ledeen have to say

(example:"If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well, and our children will sing great songs about us years from now.")

and it sounds very similar to Nazi sentiments from the 1930-40's. Total war? Now, that is scary.


The troops in foreign countries:

The truth? American troops are deeply unpopular all over the world.

Okinawans in Japan have to put up with their rapist tendencies and boorish behaviour. South Koreans? Well, there is a vibrant and flourishing anti American culture there, let me assure you. The reason that your troops are there is mainly because, for example, in the case of Japan, YOU neutered their sovreignty so that their armed forces were basically pathetic. As a result the long reliance on US force since WW2 has had advantages for Japan in that they have not had to develop their own forces or spend money on this aspect, nevertheless, the weenie constitution that they had foisted upon them in the first place is the root cause of this reliance.

I do not preclude the possibility that some countries might want friendly foreign troops on their soil as a precaution against the ambitions of more powerful rivals - S Korea for example. NATO is another good example of this. Nevertheless, to apply the "one size fits all" approach that you do is deeply flawed as an argument. It is almost like saying " Well, I'm a big, good looking guy. A lot of women want to have sex with me, therefore *all* women necessarily want to have sex with me."

If we look at the reality of the situation, Iraq was capable of looking after itself. It had no need for US troops to defend it against Iran. Your presumption that Iraq would welcome your troops a la PNAC is simply laughable. And it is a clear statement of intentions about how the US / neoconservatives saw Iraqis - as irrelevent inhabitants of geostrategically important soil.

Let us turn that Rebuilding America's Defences excerpt on its head:

From "Rebuilding Iraq's Defences", Page 17
"From an Iraqi perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should George Bush pass from the scene. Over the long term, Canada may well prove as large a threat to Iraqi interests in the Americas as Mexico has. And even should Iraqi - Canadian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in Iraq's security strategy given the longstanding Iraqi interests in the region."

Uh, yeah, that sounds good.

Look! Your country is being talked about as if it were a piece of meat on a butcher's slab. Does that excerpt ring of a considerate alliance with a friend, or of a conquerors diktat? Yet somehow you manage to turn it around in your mind as "good". Rethink your arguments.

Your Chile / democracy statements:
The "read Chile's history" blurb is rich, given that you have neither backed up your lie of Allende as a butcher, but have gone further in depicting Pinochet as an unfortunate victim of circumstance that was, sadly, *forced* to massacre his opponents. This is just sick. I guess the Shah of Iran was misunderstood as well, huh? Instead of recycling propaganda, point out to me *where* I am wrong.

You are unable to engage my statements on any meaningful level.

When I point out how the US deliberately undermined Chile's economy, you reply with "Allende nationalised stuff". WTF does that have to do with the price of eggs?

The fact is, this president, who was on the receiving end of a virulent US campaign to undermine him, increased his share of parliment by 6% in that period. Disputing his legitimacy is about the same as me saying Bush actually lost the first US election because he lost the popular vote, and thus your whole democracy is completely discredited and bogus. and that the rest of the world ought to invade / subvert the US in order to correct this travesty of justice and lamentable decision by the American electorate.

Ignoring the fact that your country has certain processes unique to it that all Americans agree with and abide by. (Such as the idea of a federated country and electoral college etc.) The statements that you make on Chile's democratic institutions smack of unilateral arrogance and condescension.

Afghanistan was free and fair huh? The main, US backed candidate telling his followers that they could vote as many times as they liked is OK, huh? Indelible ink that is not indelible is cool? Intimidation of voters by telling them that their houses will be burnt down if they do not vote for X is conducive to democracy? Of course the opposition ended up finally endorsing the result. What other choices did they have, if they were not to be excluded completely from the government? Given that the entire country is propped up by the US, it's hardly surprising.


On the 100 million massacred by communism claim:

I repeat: Have you got any actual statistics that say 100 million? It was also common knowledge that Iraq had WMD, but that turned out to be false, didn't it? It's common knowledge that the US killed 150 million Angolans, too. Oh, whoops, I made that up. Easy, isn't it? My point is not that Communism did not kill plenty, because it did, but that *you* are personally disposed towards the process called "pulling statements out of your ass". Which discredits your other arguments.


On the Lancet:

Damn, so the Body Count has become a reliable source now? Wow, I thought it was completely discredited as a leftist LIEberal propaganda piece. And ... you are admitting to your dodgy use of the range numbers too? Funny old world, how things change, huh?

Look, the Lancet study *is* a bell curve. That means the closer you go to the center the more probable your certitude. There is really nothing more to be said here, quite frankly. Your statement that any value is as likely as another based upon the 95% CI is simply incorrect. What that CI means is that in a 1000 study sample, you would receive these results 95% of the time. THAT is what it means.

The best argument you can make on the case is that it is a rather flat normal distribution; if you try and argue otherwise you are just proving your ignorance. Let us look at the other facts. Iraqi Body Count is wholly dependent on news for its numbers, and not only one report - three independent sources have to report the same incident. Given the passive nature of the system, and the measures taken by the US and its puppets to control and suppress news of Iraqi casualties, it *is* unreliable, because it likely reports only a tiny fraction of casualties.

We can look at the US military's *own* figures, if you like.

They claimed 1500 to 2500 insurgents killed in August. Extrapolate that over what, 14 months, and we have a total of 21 000 to 35 000 Iraqis killed by the US's *own* admission. You were saying, about the Lancet's credibility?

This completely excludes any civilian casualties, which are invariably higher than fighter's casualties in wartime.

(Please do remember that Saddam's 'score', as yet unconfirmed of course, of 300 000 killed, included a large percentage of people in arms against him, if you intend to engage in moral relativism and to say that insurgents "don't count" ) If we assume that as an exceptional occurrence, civilian deaths do not exceed soldier deaths as is the norm, we have a figure of 41 to 70 000 Iraqis killed by extrapolation. Naturally, if we extrapolate the insurgent deaths alone over 24 years (Saddam's rule) we have a projected figure of 432 000 to 720 000 Iraqis killed directly via Coalition (US) action over the same span of time. Congratulations, you are worse than Saddam.


"It's amazing that people like you, beneficiaries of American benevolence for 50 years, attack the protector of your freedoms so viciously and ignorantly."

MY rebuttal?

It's amazing that people like you, beneficiaries of Potato benevolence for 50 years, attack the protector of your freedoms so viciously and ignorantly.

*Yawn*

In othert words, more pointless propaganda that says bugger all. America has never lifted a finger to protect me FYI. Perhaps if you made less generalisations and stuck to specifics instead of making assumptions about people of whom you know nothing about, you would fare better.

On Fallujans
Your "They want power, pure and simple. If we left, they would attempt to take over Iraq and re-establish totalitarian rule."

statement is just crap. (1) Fallujah was initially well disposed to the idea of SH being removed. They didn't like him. (2) Fallujans have never 'controlled' anything. (3) You started the fight. You continued it, and are now trying to portray Fallujans as some sort of dictatorship in waiting. The only people imposing themselves by force in Iraq are your heroes.

Your "moral war" arguments add up to nothing. It is like saying I raped somebody, but it is actually OK, because it was the most humane and considerate rape ever conducted. That is even IF I were to concede your arguments, which I don't. Have you even *read* the Geneva Conventions? No, you have not. If you did, you would stick rather to other rationalisations for this war. Civilian areas have been bombed. '50 cal machine guns have been used against human targets. Torture has been condoned, as in the expansion of 'Copper Green' to Iraqi prison facilities, and the sending of Gen. Miller to "gitmoize" the Abu Ghraib prison. Collective punishment and hostage taking has been engaged in. Killing of captured prisoners has occurred. Hey, I can go on for hours. Just stick with the "They did it too!" angle, not that it excuses anything of course.

Conclusion?

Killing Iraqis is OK in order to impose a democracy which *you* control.
 
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>>>>Invading Germany after liberating France was a logical step because, in case this tiny detail had slipped you by, GERMANY HAD DECLARED WAR ON THE USA in 1941. When you talk about the 1991 Ceasefire, you are opening up a big can labelled "whuppass" that you really don't want to open. <<<
Sounds more like a giant can of “dumbass.” In case this tiny detail slipped by you, SADDAM DECLARED WAR ON THE USA by repeatedly firing on US jets from 1992-2003. The UN is a mostly worthless organization of dictators that was being bribed by Saddam to the tune of $20 billion; big surprise they wouldn’t authorize force to remove the source of their bribes. Just giving dictators the right to vote in the UN is example of how ironic and useless the UN is.

The logical conclusion one must draw from your grasping-at-straws reasoning is that had Germany not declared war on the U.S., then the US would have had to stop at Germany’s border in WW II and not invade them. Ridiculous. It was the invasions of Kuwait and France themselves, not any wordy declarations, that mattered.

>>>"Again: democracy and freedom (USA) vs. totalitarianism and oppression (Stalin). You seem incapable of grasping that very essential moral distinction."TallDave, the fact is, you see it that way. While I agree that the US is better than Stalin, I do not agree that you stand for democracy and freedom.<<<
As I’ve pointed out before, that’s because you’re ignorant.

>>> The US stands for these ideals when these ideals do not clash with its agendas of economic exploitation and military expansion<<<
“Military expansion?” Please. The U.S. has fought in over a dozen wars this past century, almost always for OTHER PEOPLE’S freedom. The only territory we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those of us who did not come home. “Economic exploitation?” You mean like forcing Japan to make all our consumer electronics and become one of the richest countries in the world?

>>>In reality, the US has engaged in countless dirty wars and immoral actions that dramatically erode this idea of your country being a force for good. To tell the truth, you are starting to look like the new USSR from where I am standing.<<<
In your fantasies, you mean. That’s because you’re paranoid and delusional as well as ignorant, and are probably standing in a psych ward.

>>>The truth? American troops are deeply unpopular all over the world.<<<
Yep – until they need us to defend them against Hitler or Stalin or Saddam or N Korea. Then it’s all roses and hosannas for a little while. But their ingratitude reasserts itself eventually.

>>>South Koreans? Well, there is a vibrant and flourishing anti American culture there, let me assure you.<<<
There are ignorant people everywhere. They loved us when we kept them free from N Korea. If N Korea successfully invades again, they’ll be SCREAMING for us to come back. And we will, because we’re America and that’s what we do.

>>>The reason that your troops are there is mainly because, for example, in the case of Japan, YOU neutered their sovreignty so that their armed forces were basically pathetic.<<<
Yeah, there was that little problem of the Japanese Empire invading China and attacking the U.S. Maybe you thought we should have re-armed them and turned them loose again. I know! How about we let them rebuild, but stipulate they can only invade S Africa? Tat seems fair. Get ready for a fun time, I hear their death marches are great!


>>>Your presumption that Iraq would welcome your troops a la PNAC is simply laughable.<<<
Don’t look now, but the Kurds and the Shias are laughing at YOU right now. The ones who aren’t in mass graves, that is. I think they like having us around.

>>>The "read Chile's history" blurb is rich, given that you have neither backed up your lie of Allende as a butcher, but have gone further in depicting Pinochet as an unfortunate victim of circumstance that was, sadly, *forced* to massacre his opponents.<<<
Pinochet would certainly have died had he not taken over. But I’m not here to defend Pinochet, who was also certainly not a beacon of light, but you seem to think Allende was some sort of cherub just because he once got 36% of the vote. Read some history, he had a group of leftist terrorists called MIF who murdered hundreds -- and tried to kill Pinochet’s allies to take over the military. He utterly destroyed Chile’s economy by nationalizing key industries and stopping debt payments, creating 12000% inflation and creating deadly poverty. Eventually two of three branches of gov’t ASKED the military to take over. Allende also held numerous Soviet-style “show trials” such as the “Doctor’s Plot” episode. So don’t hold Allende up as some kind of martyr for democracy. He was a butcher who would have killed tens or hundreds of thousands more if he had gained control of the military, just like his idol Stalin did.

>>>You are unable to engage my statements on any meaningful level.
As the ignorant often do, you spend too much time patting yourself on the back and telling yourself how clever you are and how dumb everyone else is, and not enough studying history.

>>>Afghanistan was free and fair huh? The main, US backed candidate telling his followers that they could vote as many times as they liked is OK, huh? Indelible ink that is not indelible is cool? Intimidation of voters by telling them that their houses will be burnt down if they do not vote for X is conducive to democracy? Of course the opposition ended up finally endorsing the result. What other choices did they have, if they were not to be excluded completely from the government? Given that the entire country is propped up by the US, it's hardly surprising<<<
Great, I’m sure you can explain why every international organization endorsed the elections. The Americans forced them to, right? I am simply amazed by your deliberate stupidity.


>>>Damn, so the Body Count has become a reliable source now? Wow, I thought it was completely discredited as a leftist LIEberal propaganda piece. And ... you are admitting to your dodgy use of the range numbers too? Funny old world, how things change, huh?<<<
Learn to read, I said they were biased, not reliable. And even they found fewer than 20,000. When the people biased against the U.S. can only find that many, that should tell you something about claims to have fund 5 times that many.

>>>Look, the Lancet study *is* a bell curve. That means the closer you go to tfahe center the more probable your certitude. There is really nothing more to be said here, quite frankly. Your statement that any value is as likely as another based upon the 95% CI is simply incorrect. What that CI means is that in a 1000 study sample, you would receive these results 95% of the time. THAT is what it means.<<<
LMAO Yeah, 95% of the time it would be between 8000 and 194000: that’s the confidence interval. *THERE IS NO BASIS FOR FURTHER EVALUATION OF THE DATA WITHIN THE CONFIDENCE INTERVAL* There just ISN’T. That’s not how statistics work. You don’t get to just invent a normal distribution within your confidence interval on the basis of no data. Given how ignorant you are on other subjects, I don’t expect you to understand the difference.


>>>They claimed 1500 to 2500 insurgents killed in August. Extrapolate that over what, 14 months, and we have a total of 21 000 to 35 000 Iraqis killed by the US's *own* admission. You were saying, about the Lancet's credibility?<<<
Of course the U.S. "*own* admission" didn’t extrapolate August to 14 months, because that would be ridiculous. But I see that didn’t stop you from doing it, and then doing even more crazy extrapolations, which somehow leave even your IBC friends (who, while biased, are at least actually COUNTING casualties, not doing farcical extrapolations) way, way behind.

>>>America has never lifted a finger to protect me FYI<<<
You think Hitler or the Soviets would not have eventually conquered S Africa had we not stopped them? You’d have been as helpless as newborn kittens. You can thank us for your freedoms today. (You’re welcome, btw).

Sometimes hearing people like you whine about how terrible the US is, I think it might have been better if America had just dealt with Japan, negotiated with Hitler, and let Stalin and Hitler fight it out for Europe, Asia, and Africa. I wonder how you’d like life in a concentration camp? At least we wouldn’t have to hear you. You could prattle on and on to the prison guards, and they would just beat you with their rifle butts when they got tired of your whining.

But then I remember there are some good people in those places, too. And every human being deserves freedom and democracy, even if they show a complete lack of gratitude for it.

>>>(1) Fallujah was initially well disposed to the idea of SH being removed. They didn't like him. Fallujans have never 'controlled' anything. <<<
That’s just ASTOUNDINGLY ignorant. Fallujah was home to Saddam’s most loyal cronies in the Saddam Fedayeen and Republican Guard. It was BUILT for them.

>>>Your "moral war" arguments add up to nothing. It is like saying I raped somebody, but it is actually OK, because it was the most humane and considerate rape ever conducted.<<<
Udai and Qussay and Saddam's regime loyalists REALLY DID rape people. Brutally. Sometimes even little kids, right in front of their parents. And we stopped that with our war. But you seem to think they were better off being raped.

>>>Civilian areas have been bombed. '50 cal machine guns have been used against human targets. Torture has been condoned, as in the expansion of 'Copper Green' to Iraqi prison facilities, and the sending of Gen. Miller to "gitmoize" the Abu Ghraib prison. Collective punishment and hostage taking has been engaged in. Killing of captured prisoners has occurred. Hey, I can go on for hours. <<<
All either total BS or normal collateral war damage. Im sure you can go on for hours spouting lies, irrelevancies, and trivialities. Saddam did far worse, for far worse reasons. We offer a future of democracy and freedom for Iraqis, and only fight those who oppose it.

>>>Killing Iraqis is OK in order to impose a democracy which *you* control.<<<
Yeah, right, just like we control S Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Italy…
 
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>>>It's amazing that people like you, beneficiaries of American benevolence for 50 years, attack the protector of your freedoms so viciously and ignorantly."

MY rebuttal?

It's amazing that people like you, beneficiaries of Potato benevolence for 50 years, attack the protector of your freedoms so viciously and ignorantly.
<<<

Potato?

Seriously, man, drugs are not good for you.
 
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FYI, it's widely acknolwedged that the Lancet study was just politically motivated BS.

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,11407979%255E25717,00.html

A recent claim that 100,000 Iraqis have died since the war in Iraq, mostly at the hands of Americans, is misleading, statistical junk.

JUST days before Americans voted for a president, Britain's Lancet medical journal rushed out a survey with the best bad news from Iraq any activist could want.
The invasion and "occupation" had killed at least 100,000 Iraqis, the survey's authors claimed.
Their toll of the dead in post-Saddam Iraq was stunning – about five times higher than any credible survey or count had found.
What's more, the survey claimed most victims had died violently – usually killed by Americans – "and most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children".
The editor of Lancet, Richard Horton, then grabbed this excuse for a political sermon: "Democratic imperialism has led to more deaths, not fewer." Iraq's liberation was "a failure".
The study's lead author, Les Roberts of Baltimore's John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, added: "I was opposed to the war and I still think that the war was a bad idea."
Yes, he'd been against the war when he thought of doing this survey. He'd also insisted Lancet could only publish its results if it did so just before the US election. Even its authors, it seems, rated this survey highly for its propaganda value.
Sure enough, its savage claim – shorthanded to "Americans killed 100,000 civilians" – became news around the world and is repeated again and again by "anti-war" activists, cartoonists and commentators who've shown no interest in checking if this astonishing figure could indeed be true.
Age columnist Professor Robert Manne, for instance, this week quoted the survey with relish and dismissed its critics by claiming even "the right-of-centre Economist magazine has praised the study unreservedly".
Oh, really? The Economist said the survey was "open to dispute", "not perfect", "subject to imponderables", and "extrapolates heroically from a small number of samples". I guess that's "unreservedly" – if you really, really don't want to hear the facts.
But take a closer look at the Lancet survey and you'll find its claims are unbelievable. Junk. Preposterous.
How could its claim of 100,000 deaths so easily have become the new gospel?
Just ask yourself: Have more than 180 Iraqis, mainly women and children, really died every day, on average, for the past 18 months, usually at the hands of the Americans?
If so, where are all the funerals? Where are the pictures? Where are the news reports from the Iraqi media, or pro-extremist outlets such as al-Jazeera and the BBC? And where are the American soldiers, reeling from the killing of so many children, to tell the TV cameras of their horror?
But few of the commentators who seized on the survey bothered to ask such basic questions, or even to heed Human Rights Watch, which warned: "The numbers seem to be inflated."
Nor did they wonder if it was wise to put their faith in a survey whose authors were so unsure of their results that they had to admit they had 95 per cent confidence that the true death toll from the invasion was only somewhere between 8000 and 194,000.
That's right – the toll could in fact be as low as 8000. Or even lower.
No one can be happy that any innocents have died in Iraq and each death is to be bitterly regretted.
Yet trying to work out the real casualty figures is not just a pitiless haggling over the dead. Surely, in trying to judge whether this liberation was worth the suffering, we must know how much suffering to take into account. We need to know how many lives were lost in liberating Iraq, just as we need to guess as best we can how many we may have saved from Saddam, his successors, his terrorist dependents and his imitators.
And that's why this survey lets us down so badly.
Its researchers interviewed 7868 Iraqis in 988 households in 33 neighbourhoods around Iraq, allegedly chosen randomly, and asked who in the house had died in the 14 months before the invasion and who in the 18 months after.
They then figured out the death rate before the invasion and the (allegedly higher) one after.
They then concluded there had been 100,000 extra Iraqi deaths since the invasion – by applying the difference in the two rates to all Iraq's 24 million people.
But this meant the researchers had to get two things right that they seem instead to have got wrong – the death rates both before and after the invasion.
Why are these figures important? Because a low death rate before the war, and a high one after, would allow the researchers to "prove" the war was costing many thousands of lives.
And bingo. According to the survey, Iraqis before the war were dying at the rate of just five in 1000 people each year. The death rate among infants was around the average for the region – about 29 in 1000.
But what evidence we have tells us these pre-war death rates were actually much higher. Dated United Nations figures suggest the overall death rate was well over seven in every 1000 – or close to, if not higher than, the present rate of 7.9 in every 1000 that the Lancet survey suggests.
But even more persuasive are 2002 figures from UNICEF, which in a much bigger survey of 24,000 households found the infant mortality rate in Iraq before the war was actually a tragic 108 deaths per 1000 infants.
This is more than three times higher than the Lancet survey claims was the case – and double what even the survey claims is the infant mortality rate today.
How could the anti-war activists forget? Remember, before the war, anti-American propagandists such as John Pilger denouncing this "genocide" of Iraqi children and blaming it on the United Nations sanctions demanded by those evil Americans?
We know now, in fact, that Saddam Hussein, with the help of corrupt officials in the UN, France, Russia and China, had stolen more than $US20 billion of oil money meant to feed his people and pay for their medicines, and malnutrition in his shattered economy was rife.
All that, thank God, has changed for the better since the liberation. The best figures – including statistics from the Iraqi Health Ministry – suggest many thousands of Iraq's children are in fact alive today who'd have died under Saddam.
The Lancet survey seems just as shaky in calculating Iraq's present death toll.
It interviewed some 240 people in Fallujah before the recent fighting there, and worked out that these 30 households had lost 52 dead due to violence, mostly women and children killed by the Americans.
The researchers did not ask for proof of the children's deaths and admit they were reluctant to ask for proof of all the adults' deaths, either, "because this might have implied that they did not believe the respondents, perhaps triggering violence". Were the Iraqis likewise scared to tell the truth?
So was that figure – of some 240 people losing 52 dead – credible as a sample of Fallujah's death rate?
Put it this way. Fallujah is a city of about 285,000 people.
If the Lancet survey of its residents is right and one in six people have been killed since the invasion, then nearly 50,000 residents died violently even before this month's fighting.
If we assume that the American casualty rates of seven wounded for one dead apply to civilians, too, then more people have been killed and wounded in Fallujah than actually live there.
So where are the mass graves? Why didn't Fallujah empty months ago, as the survivors fled the utter carnage? How is it that the Americans could kill a sixth of its people through aerial bombing, and wound the rest, yet leave most of the houses untouched?

Truly, these statistics are unbelievable. I suspect the study's authors thought so, too, which may be why they left the Fallujah figures out – calling them unrepresentative – when they calculated Iraq's death toll since the invasion.
But the survey techniques they used to give clearly wrong figures in Fallujah are the same ones they used in the other 32 clusters of households that they interviewed elsewhere in Iraq.
Did they give any better information?
In fact, the Iraqis in the remaining clusters came up with just 21 violent deaths between them – only two of women, and four of children. These deaths, if true, are the ones that the survey used to calculate a death rate that had them claiming at least 100,000 other Iraqis also died because of the war.
Note how terribly small this sample is and how easy to manipulate, accidentally or not, to produce wildly differing results.
Note that most of these dead are not women and children, nor necessarily civilians. The gloating headlines this survey has inspired of a massacre of the innocents in Iraq, with Americans to blame, are almost all wild guesses and almost all certainly wrong.
But saying all this won't make much difference. Too many commentators seem too desperate to believe the worst of the Americans and to belittle the liberation of Iraqis from a tyrant.
That desperation means even junk surveys such as this will find many eager believers, ready to hear the very worst. And to recklessly repeat it.
 
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TallDave --

I am reliant on my workplace for an internet connection, and we are closing for the holidays today. I regret that I cannot continue this discussion right now, but will be more than willing and able to, come January 10 / 11 next year. I'll look for you around here, or at the most likely places like ITM.

You have shown great tenacity and despite the fact that I feel you are hopelessly wrong on some points, other matters you raise can be the basis for good debate. Let us try again, without the venom, in January, OK?

Never let it be said that I am a runner!

;)

See you later.

(And ... have a good christmas! From your favourite atheist, LOL!)


Abu Khaleel, circular, Mark, fathom, James, and the others that are here --

Have a good holiday, and if you happen to be in Iraq, keep safe above all!

Cheers.
 
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Well, I will say a Merry Christmas to you as well then Bruno. I hope Santa brings you some history books. If you look at the history of the last 70 years honestly, I think you will be hard-pressed to find a stronger defender of democracy and freedom than the USA.

War is a terrible thing, but tyranny and oppression are worse. I can understand why some people think war is never justified, but I think those people generally don't have friends who grew up in the nightmare of totalitarian gov'ts under which their families were dragged away in the middle of the night for daring to suggest they had the right to choose their leaders. It is a tragedy for anyone to be forced to live this way, and a travesty for others to allow it.

Merry Christmas all! Best wishes for a free and democratic New Year.
 
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vile, true terrorists

I find the photograph of the execution of the election poll workers on a busy street in Baghdad wrenching. The men wielding the guns are not foreign fighters, these men are Iraqis, they are your neighbors, they are your cousins. I would wager they were, they are, part of the Saddam's security forces, accomplished in the manner in which they dispense with "collaborators." Do your poets make the distinction? What bothers me most about the manner in which this war has unfolded is that the very men we came to defeat are being celebrated as freedom fighters, insurgents with a just cause.
 
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TallDave –

On America’s Right to attack Iraq and the 1991 Ceasefire


You: “In case this tiny detail slipped by you, SADDAM DECLARED WAR ON THE USA by repeatedly firing on US jets from 1992-2003.”

Let us start from the beginning again. Iraq invaded Kuwait. (A US client state). Fair enough, that was bad. The UN Security Council authorized force to be used on Iraq in order to liberate Kuwait and to chase Iraqi forces back into Iraq. Also fair enough. The USA was a signatory and party to these resolutions. After these objectives were achieved, the 1991 Ceasefire was signed between the Security Council and Iraq – NOT between Iraq and the US. There is a big distinction here!

As I have illustrated to you, and as you have conveniently ignored, Resolution 687 specified that it was: “ Affirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Kuwait and Iraq …”

Now, kindly explain to me in what way does flying military jets over Iraq and bombing targets there affirm either its sovereignty, political independence and especially its territorial integrity? Simple. These actions do not. US actions like these are in clear contravention of the 1991 Ceasefire to which it also is a signatory. That makes YOUR country the oath-breaker and liar in the saga, does it not? (Iraq was fully in its rights to shoot at your jets, just a pity that they never hit any.)

But, you already know this, don’t you? You realize that the US was conducting illegal actions and then seek to unearth some sort of moral argument with which to buttress this repugnant action, like this:

You: “The UN is a mostly worthless organization of dictators that was being bribed by Saddam to the tune of $20 billion; big surprise they wouldn’t authorize force to remove the source of their bribes. Just giving dictators the right to vote in the UN is example of how ironic and useless the UN is.”

Your thinking closely reflects the thinking of neo-conservative ideologues within the US Administration, who see the UN as expedient when it is reinforcing US policies, and worthless when it is not. Of course, this is merely another example of your hypocritical stances.

I also like the way in which you conveniently generalize in order to make your point seem valid : have you any actual, umm, figures on how many countries represented in the UN are dictatorships and which are not? I guess not. Given that you find dictatorships so repugnant, I guess you would agree with me that a country which cultivates allies consisting mostly of dictatorships like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Azerbiajan, Libya, Jordan, Oman, Taijikistan, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and all the other ex-dictators like the Shah of Iran and Pinochet is equally worthless, not to mention ironic and hypocritical if it says poker-faced that it intends on bringing ‘democracy’ to Iraq.

Of course, you make no distinction between “the UN” and the specific individuals and countries within it that were actually on the take. So, I presume, by your reasoning, the United States, as a member state, also received cash? No? Well, then if this is the case, you must further admit that given that the US and the UN are separate legal entities. Given that the US is a subordinate signatory to the Ceasefire* it is hence bound by its strictures, and is unable to unilaterally decide which portion to obey and which not to – strictures which clearly forbid further action against Iraq. IF this was not to the liking of the US, then it should have spoken up before signing that document, right?

* Yes, it is subordinate to the UN, given that the UN consists of all world states including the US, as opposed to the US standing alone. Of course the US has a considerable veto power within that body, as befits its powerful status, and has often used that veto in order to protect its interests.

You said: ” The logical conclusion one must draw from your grasping-at-straws reasoning is that had Germany not declared war on the U.S., then the US would have had to stop at Germany’s border in WW II and not invade them. Ridiculous. It was the invasions of Kuwait and France themselves, not any wordy declarations, that mattered.”

Your Kuwaiti and France/Germany analogies seriously need to be examined in greater depth. Your understanding of the process of casus belli and the extent to which punitive consequences can be carried while still retaining a moral cloak are somewhat flawed. The juvenile idea that any transgression by one party on another justifies invasion and conquest of the former is indicative to me that you are not entirely familiar with the concept of a Just War, which you might do well to study in further depth.

Let us take for example your (incorrect) assertion that the downing of US aircraft in the no fly zone period would have been illegal and an act of war. If for argument’s sake, the UN had mandated the Zones, and Iraqis had shot down a US jet – would that automatically mean that the US was justifiably allowed to invade Iraq and conquer it?

Yes?

Now let us consider the incident involving the USS Vicennes which downed an Iranian airliner in 1987 in international airspace, killing all 290 aboard. Would that then justify the invasion and conquest of America by Iran? (Yes, I know in reality that possibility is, shall we say, remote, but we are talking casus belli and just war here, not power balances.) Here, let me help you out of this conundrum : the short answer is NO.

Just War hinges on several principles, amongst which are these principles : (1) The violence used in the war must be commensurate to the injury suffered and (2) a Just War is fought in order to redress the injury suffered and (3) a Just War is fought in order to re establish peace.

NOW.

With regards to the Iraq – Kuwait episode, it is obvious that the UN resolutions are in keeping with the principles of a just war. Namely, the ejection of the foreign invader, the re-establishment of international boundaries and the return of the indigenous Kuwaiti government. Lastly, the imposition of hefty reparations on the guilty party (Iraq) to redress the injuries suffered. Furthermore, strictures were placed on Iraq as to what types of weaponry it was allowed to possess, and this was deemed sufficient to curtail Iraqi military strength to a more modest level. This is all in keeping with the principles of a Just War.

Your suggestion that Iraq, through its actions, had justified its own demise and conquest, is not only philosophically incorrect and illegal, but also morally questionable. It begs the question as to whether the US has not, by YOUR reasoning, justified military action by foreign powers against it. Think on that for a moment, will you?

The old France / Nazi horse was a different matter. By declaring war against America, not only did Germany show the intent to prosecute a conflict with the US, but it indeed backed up the words with deeds, as you so astutely noted. The invasion of Germany proper could be justified on the grounds that Nazi Germany had declared a “total war”, or struggle to the finish. Merely ejecting it from France would not have guaranteed the end of the conflict (and hence peace) given that Germany disposed of considerable assets that would undoubtedly have been used by Hitler to continue the struggle. As it turns out, Saddam had far lesser plans in mind, and could be handled with far lesser measures. (I guess I’ll have to lend you those history books Santa brought me sometime, eh?)

Each conflict has aspects to it that are unique to it; your continued straight apples to oranges comparisons do you no favours.

On Afghanistan and US puppeteering:

*sigh * I’m afraid my outrage got me a little sidetracked from the main issue. While some organizations may well have (hardly rapturously) endorsed the election result, the point is, Karzai is a long exiled figure that was completely backed by the US, the occupying power in Afghanistan. Given that there is no real media network or national recognition of the electoral figures in Afghanistan, it is not surprising that rural people, faced with an electoral list of unknowns, will pick the choice that they have heard of, namely Karzai. Why him? Because he is the figure backed by the money and the power, and hence his opponent’s resources to mount a credible challenge is negligible.

Inside the ‘elections box’ the election of Karzai is (barely) legitimate. Outside that box we see a personage with no real standing in Afghanistan imported at the behest of the foreign invading force and through overwhelming backing, ‘elected’ the leader of that country. Through exploitation of the US’s overwhelming resources and the minimal resources and recognition of his opponents, we have a ‘democratic’ leader. This speaks more about the fragility of democracy and the ways in which it can be abused than about what has actually been instituted in Afghanistan. That is: a democracy in name only, with the real power behind Karzai constituted by US and allied troops.

(Of course, IF I wanted to press the point of bum elections then I could ask you this: how many international observers were there? Where were these observers mainly stationed? And how many polling stations were there? And, does this ratio seem sufficient to you (in the light of the wide scale warlordism rampant in Afghanistan) to ensure a high probability of detection of vote rigging? 121 observers seems a rather poor show for a superpower to scrape together, does it not?)

The Lancet and the Toll of Iraqis killed due to the War

The Lancet ? Rubbish.
Iraqi Body Count? Junk.
My modest extrapolations of Iraqis killed derived from US kill estimates? Laughable.

So.

Given that you have proven yourself remarkably adept at sticking your finger in your ears and humming in the face of these arguments, I invite you to provide us with the body tally that the US occupation (as a legal requirement) has conscientiously compiled. This ought to be good. Feel free to use these figures to blow my case out of the water.

Oh! You can’t.

Because, in fact, the Coalition has not only declined to count dead Iraqis, but has actively suppressed attempts to tally up any sort of a body count. Rather strangely, while members of the Coalition devote much time to discrediting any attempts to tally Iraqi dead, that organization does undertake its own surveys in order to reach a “genuine” figure, but rather suppresses news of Iraqi deaths. As do you. This conduct has been seen many times. Exemplified by the forbidding of the Baghdad morgue to release further death counts. As exemplified by Allawi’s ridiculous statement that “not a single civilian has been killed in Fallujah”. As exemplified by the prompt commandeering of Fallujah’s main hospital with the express purpose of preventing the news of killed Fallujans emerging onto the world stage.

Now, why is this? Obviously, the Coalition actions have not been violent, and indeed have been carried out with extremely great concern for the lives of Iraqis and furthermore, the unprecedented stability and security that the liberation has brought have improved the lives of ordinary Iraqis in a way that could only be described as miraculous! So why, in light of these developments, has the US not rushed out to measure the great decrease in Iraqi fatalities as a tangible measure of the improvement it has brought to the lives of the people of this wretched country? Because, perhaps, the suspicion that precisely the opposite has occurred, may have crossed the minds of the self-righteous war pimps in Washington? (//sarcasm off).

The very absence of a body count by the “Coalition” speaks volumes about where the truth lies.

Here is an interesting excerpt from (4 November 2004) The Economist, the very source which your Aussie paper quotes as questioning The Lancet’s figures:

“Statistically, 33 is a relatively small sample (though it is the best that could be obtained by a small number of investigators in a country at war). That is the reason for the large range around the central value of 98,000, and is one reason why that figure might be wrong. (Though if this is the case, the true value is as likely to be larger than 98,000 as it is to be smaller.) It does not, however, mean, as some commentators have argued in response to this study, that figures of 8,000 or 194,000 are as likely as one of 98,000. Quite the contrary. The farther one goes from 98,000, the less likely the figure is.”

Gee, well, I guess if The Economist contradicts your “*THERE IS NO BASIS FOR FURTHER EVALUATION OF THE DATA WITHIN THE CONFIDENCE INTERVAL*” statement, then it must simply be another LIEberal junk publication, huh?

Chris Lightfoot pointed out to me in an email that although the distribution is not strictly speaking your regular normal distribution, a curve close to a normal distribution will result from the ‘bootstrapping’ methods used to extrapolate from the sample, through sampling with replacement. Now, if you want to push the point, go argue with The Economist or with Dr Garfield himself, I’m through with this particular chestnut.

The other argument made about the validity of the study asks the pertinent question of “where are the funerals?” A fair enough question that is easily answered when one considers the miniscule amount of non – ‘embedded’ reporters that are free to roam the country, when one considers the dangers that they run by wandering around Iraq, aggravated by the repressive ‘hints’ dropped by the Allawi regime that reporters had better report positive news or else. This of course is not even counting the fact that you and most of the rest of the West does not watch the Arabic news networks such as the now banned Al Jazeera news which try to cover this humanitarian catastrophe. And of course, not even counting past and present US PsyOps and other media efforts to saturate global media with positive news drowning out the casualties, like this admission:


Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication
September 2004

The White House created a Coalition Information Centers (CICs) network linking Washington, London, and Islamabad. Modeled on techniques used successfully in British and American political campaigns, and by NATO in Kosovo, the CICs deployed language-qualified public affairs experts to respond to breaking news, Taliban and Al Qaeda claims, and regional events. They did so within news cycles — not hours and days later during business hours in western capitals. The CICs sought to dominate global media coverage with positive, coordinated coalition messages on humanitarian aid, building a representative government in Afghanistan, and other themes.

And to end it off, I noticed another blatant error / omission in your Herald extract – namely the fact that the Herald trumpets the ‘fact’ that the statisticians did not ask for death certificates for those killed … when in fact the researchers DID, and categorically stated that when they had asked for them, they received them promptly 81% of the time.

But, if we hypothetically accept what your extract insinuates - that is, that Iraqis are simply making these deaths up, then it leads us to the uncomfortable conclusion that they are fabricating deaths in order to discredit the occupation … which means that the battle for hearts and minds is long lost and that the occupation lacks popular support (and legitimacy) , and leads furthermore to the next issue :


On whether Iraqis want the US to keep troops there, with reference to this exchange:

>>>Your presumption that Iraq would welcome your troops a la PNAC is simply laughable.<<<
Don’t look now, but the Kurds and the Shias are laughing at YOU right now. The ones who aren’t in mass graves, that is. I think they like having us around.

I refer you to a US study ( so that I cannot be accused of biased sources ) that firmly puts the nail into that particular coffin:

Progress or Peril? Measuring Iraq’s Reconstruction i
CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project 2004


“With the possible exception of the Kurds, Iraqis generally dislike the continued presence
of the U.S.-led military forces in their country; many consider the occupation to
be ongoing despite the June 28 handover of sovereignty. The sentiment is caused by
the mere fact of occupation, rather than by the particular qualities and experiences of
this occupation—such as the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison, civilian deaths, or cultural
insensitivity—although those factors certainly exacerbate it. As such, the United
States should expect continuing resentment and disaffection even if the U.S.-led re-
construction efforts seem to be making positive, incremental improvements to the
country according to various quantifiable measures. In other words, the occupation
will not be judged by the sum of its consequences, but rather qua occupation.
Put simply, Iraqi pride in national sovereignty is a more deeply-rooted sentiment
than the United States anticipated.”


On Chile

Let’s recap. My point on Chile is that it was a democracy following a path opposed to US interests. Thus it was eliminated in favour of a brutal dictatorship that killed thousands by the CIA and the US. My point being: the US is for Democracy, unless that democracy threatens its interests. Then dictatorships are preferable. Your defences hinge upon the allegations that Allende ruined Chile’s economy and that he did not possess a mandate (essentially that is what you are saying) to do what he did. On the latter, I have already pointed out to you that he increased his support at a time when great pressure was being brought to bear upon Chileans to oust him. So much for that theory, then.

Secondly, the Chilean economy was ruined directly through the efforts of the USA. You insist on ignoring this key fact, and obviously I must spell it out for you, then. This is a short history lesson from which those who believe that the US stands for democracy uber alles might well derive a few lessons:

From AEI files:

“President Nixon was indeed deeply distressed at the prospect of an Allende presidency in Chile, and on September 15, 1970, he summoned Kissinger, Attorney General John Mitchell, and CIA director Richard Helms for a meeting in the Oval Office to discuss the matter. As Helms's notes of the meeting reflect, Nixon was determined to "save Chile" from Allende "even if the chances [were] one in ten." At this meeting there was even loose talk about spending $10 million to provoke a coup, and "more if necessary." Helms remonstrated with the President that Allende would in all likelihood be chosen by the Chilean congress and that only a "slight possibility" existed of a move by senior elements of the country's military to block his confirmation.”

Furthermore, Nixon wanted to orchestrate a military coup against Allende, and used every means possible to convince Rene Schneider, the head of the Chilean military to take matters into his own hands. When this man proved more committed to the principles of democracy than the Americans had hoped, Nixon and his entourage turned to alternatives :

From AEI

“When Schneider proved intransigent, the intermediaries tried to persuade Prats, again to no effect. The architects of Track II then focused on circumventing Schneider by kidnapping him and sending him to neighboring Argentina for a season while the political situation was adjusted.”

As a result, General Viaux, which the CIA was supporting at the time, killed Schneider in a botched kidnapping. Following this pro-democratic triumph, the US continued with action such as this:


From FAS (http://www.fas.org/irp/world/chile/allende.htm)
“Meanwhile, the United States pursued a two-track policy toward Allende's Chile. At the overt level, Washington was frosty, especially after the nationalization of the copper mines; official relations were unfriendly but not openly hostile. The government of President Richard M. Nixon launched an economic blockade conjunction with U.S. multinationals (ITT, Kennecott, Anaconda) and banks (Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank). The US squeezed the Chilean economy by terminating financial assistance and blocking loans from multilateral organizations. But during 1972 and 1973 the US increased aid to the military, a sector unenthusiastic toward the Allende government. The United States also increased training Chilean military personnel in the United States and Panama.
According to notes taken by CIA director Richard Helms at a 1970 meeting in the Oval Office, his orders were to "make the economy scream." It was widely reported that at the covert level the United States worked to destabilize Allende's Chile by funding opposition political groups and media and by encouraging a military coup d'état. The agency trained members of the fascist organization Patria y Libertad (PyL) in guerrilla warfare and bombing, and they were soon waging a campaign of arson. CIA also sponsored demonstrations and strikes, funded by ITT and other US corporations with Chilean holdings. CIA-linked media, including the country's largest newspaper, fanned the flames of crisis.”

This clearly, plainly shows that the US had taken a leading role in sinking Chile’s economy, yet you persist in laying the blame at Allende’s feet. This is dishonest and hypocritical. Let me square with you. I am no great fan of a Communist economic model, which I personally feel is flawed in key areas. Perhaps Chile would have gone down the tubes anyway, given enough time. HOWEVER, to pre emptively shovel the blame onto Allende and say HE destroyed Chile’s economy while ignoring the huge role the United States under Nixon played not only demolishes your argument of Allende as an economic disaster but also reveals your intellectual dishonesty in one fell swoop.

( This of course, is ignoring the fact that the economic angle to the Chilean saga is irrelevant to the legitimacy of its democratic institutions. EVEN IF Allende HAD single-handedly ruined Chile’s economy, that does not undermine the legitimacy of his rule, nor excuse attempts by foreign powers (US) to overthrow him. Economic mismanagement is not a measure of whether a country is a democracy or not.

Let us put it this way : if Allende had continued unmolested, and Chile’s economy and society had been wrecked by his policies, it would have been a resounding defeat for Communism and related socioeconomic methods. The very fact that the US intervened and overthrew him, makes the resulting mess a stain on the US, not on the Communists. And it also speaks volumes about the fear the US had that there might possibly be a country where communist methods might actually work; so much for the ideological conviction that Communism is a method doomed to failure, I guess.

Indeed,, your continued defence of the US’s removal of Allende seems to indicate to me a continued preference for the dictatorships which you supposedly abhor. Better dead than Red, huh? Well, you just continue defending dictatorships, and keep trying to prove to me that they are superior to the democratic alternative. LOL! You sure are fun.)

You said : “So don’t hold Allende up as some kind of martyr for democracy. He was a butcher who would have killed tens or hundreds of thousands more if he had gained control of the military, just like his idol Stalin did.”

LOL! A butcher who would have killed tens or hundreds of thousands? Do you realize how dumb this sounds? Uh, yeah, “insert name here” is a butcher who will in future kill tens or hundreds of thousands, so lets wipe the bastard out now! This is a rationalization that does not even deserve to be deigned with the term “argument”, yet somehow you manage to make it sound like a triumphant defence of your other statements. Not only did you make a misstatement by labeling Allende a butcher, but you compound your error by trying to defend it. Well, keep it up, dear fellow, you are nothing if not amusing.

The truth of the matter? The US was quite able to work with his successor, the real life de facto dictator-butcher Pinochet and this is merely one example of why your trumpeting of the US as an unconditional force for democracy rings decidedly hollow.


The rest of your statements are merely objective propaganda, which frankly don’t deserve space to be responded to.


-- Bruno --

( Posting anonymously due to technical difficulties :( )
 
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I'm hoping that this does not double post ...

TallDave –

On America’s Right to attack Iraq and the 1991 Ceasefire


You: “In case this tiny detail slipped by you, SADDAM DECLARED WAR ON THE USA by repeatedly firing on US jets from 1992-2003.”

Let us start from the beginning again. Iraq invaded Kuwait. (A US client state). Fair enough, that was bad. The UN Security Council authorized force to be used on Iraq in order to liberate Kuwait and to chase Iraqi forces back into Iraq. Also fair enough. The USA was a signatory and party to these resolutions. After these objectives were achieved, the 1991 Ceasefire was signed between the Security Council and Iraq – NOT between Iraq and the US. There is a big distinction here!

As I have illustrated to you, and as you have conveniently ignored, Resolution 687 specified that it was: “ Affirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Kuwait and Iraq …”

Now, kindly explain to me in what way does flying military jets over Iraq and bombing targets there affirm either its sovereignty, political independence and especially its territorial integrity? Simple. These actions do not. US actions like these are in clear contravention of the 1991 Ceasefire to which it also is a signatory. That makes YOUR country the oath-breaker and liar in the saga, does it not? (Iraq was fully in its rights to shoot at your jets, just a pity that they never hit any.)

But, you already know this, don’t you? You realize that the US was conducting illegal actions and then seek to unearth some sort of moral argument with which to buttress this repugnant action, like this:

You: “The UN is a mostly worthless organization of dictators that was being bribed by Saddam to the tune of $20 billion; big surprise they wouldn’t authorize force to remove the source of their bribes. Just giving dictators the right to vote in the UN is example of how ironic and useless the UN is.”

Your thinking closely reflects the thinking of neo-conservative ideologues within the US Administration, who see the UN as expedient when it is reinforcing US policies, and worthless when it is not. Of course, this is merely another example of your hypocritical stances.

I also like the way in which you conveniently generalize in order to make your point seem valid : have you any actual, umm, figures on how many countries represented in the UN are dictatorships and which are not? I guess not. Given that you find dictatorships so repugnant, I guess you would agree with me that a country which cultivates allies consisting mostly of dictatorships like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Azerbiajan, Libya, Jordan, Oman, Taijikistan, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and all the other ex-dictators like the Shah of Iran and Pinochet is equally worthless, not to mention ironic and hypocritical if it says poker-faced that it intends on bringing ‘democracy’ to Iraq.

Of course, you make no distinction between “the UN” and the specific individuals and countries within it that were actually on the take. So, I presume, by your reasoning, the United States, as a member state, also received cash? No? Well, then if this is the case, you must further admit that given that the US and the UN are separate legal entities. Given that the US is a subordinate signatory to the Ceasefire* it is hence bound by its strictures, and is unable to unilaterally decide which portion to obey and which not to – strictures which clearly forbid further action against Iraq. IF this was not to the liking of the US, then it should have spoken up before signing that document, right?

* Yes, it is subordinate to the UN, given that the UN consists of all world states including the US, as opposed to the US standing alone. Of course the US has a considerable veto power within that body, as befits its powerful status, and has often used that veto in order to protect its interests.

You said: ” The logical conclusion one must draw from your grasping-at-straws reasoning is that had Germany not declared war on the U.S., then the US would have had to stop at Germany’s border in WW II and not invade them. Ridiculous. It was the invasions of Kuwait and France themselves, not any wordy declarations, that mattered.”

Your Kuwaiti and France/Germany analogies seriously need to be examined in greater depth. Your understanding of the process of casus belli and the extent to which punitive consequences can be carried while still retaining a moral cloak are somewhat flawed. The juvenile idea that any transgression by one party on another justifies invasion and conquest of the former is indicative to me that you are not entirely familiar with the concept of a Just War, which you might do well to study in further depth.

Let us take for example your (incorrect) assertion that the downing of US aircraft in the no fly zone period would have been illegal and an act of war. If for argument’s sake, the UN had mandated the Zones, and Iraqis had shot down a US jet – would that automatically mean that the US was justifiably allowed to invade Iraq and conquer it?

Yes?

Now let us consider the incident involving the USS Vicennes which downed an Iranian airliner in 1987 in international airspace, killing all 290 aboard. Would that then justify the invasion and conquest of America by Iran? (Yes, I know in reality that possibility is, shall we say, remote, but we are talking casus belli and just war here, not power balances.) Here, let me help you out of this conundrum : the short answer is NO.

Just War hinges on several principles, amongst which are these principles : (1) The violence used in the war must be commensurate to the injury suffered and (2) a Just War is fought in order to redress the injury suffered and (3) a Just War is fought in order to re establish peace.

NOW.

With regards to the Iraq – Kuwait episode, it is obvious that the UN resolutions are in keeping with the principles of a just war. Namely, the ejection of the foreign invader, the re-establishment of international boundaries and the return of the indigenous Kuwaiti government. Lastly, the imposition of hefty reparations on the guilty party (Iraq) to redress the injuries suffered. Furthermore, strictures were placed on Iraq as to what types of weaponry it was allowed to possess, and this was deemed sufficient to curtail Iraqi military strength to a more modest level. This is all in keeping with the principles of a Just War.

Your suggestion that Iraq, through its actions, had justified its own demise and conquest, is not only philosophically incorrect and illegal, but also morally questionable. It begs the question as to whether the US has not, by YOUR reasoning, justified military action by foreign powers against it. Think on that for a moment, will you?

The old France / Nazi horse was a different matter. By declaring war against America, not only did Germany show the intent to prosecute a conflict with the US, but it indeed backed up the words with deeds, as you so astutely noted. The invasion of Germany proper could be justified on the grounds that Nazi Germany had declared a “total war”, or struggle to the finish. Merely ejecting it from France would not have guaranteed the end of the conflict (and hence peace) given that Germany disposed of considerable assets that would undoubtedly have been used by Hitler to continue the struggle. As it turns out, Saddam had far lesser plans in mind, and could be handled with far lesser measures. (I guess I’ll have to lend you those history books Santa brought me sometime, eh?)

Each conflict has aspects to it that are unique to it; your continued straight apples to oranges comparisons do you no favours.

On Afghanistan and US puppeteering:

*sigh * I’m afraid my outrage got me a little sidetracked from the main issue. While some organizations may well have (hardly rapturously) endorsed the election result, the point is, Karzai is a long exiled figure that was completely backed by the US, the occupying power in Afghanistan. Given that there is no real media network or national recognition of the electoral figures in Afghanistan, it is not surprising that rural people, faced with an electoral list of unknowns, will pick the choice that they have heard of, namely Karzai. Why him? Because he is the figure backed by the money and the power, and hence his opponent’s resources to mount a credible challenge is negligible.

Inside the ‘elections box’ the election of Karzai is (barely) legitimate. Outside that box we see a personage with no real standing in Afghanistan imported at the behest of the foreign invading force and through overwhelming backing, ‘elected’ the leader of that country. Through exploitation of the US’s overwhelming resources and the minimal resources and recognition of his opponents, we have a ‘democratic’ leader. This speaks more about the fragility of democracy and the ways in which it can be abused than about what has actually been instituted in Afghanistan. That is: a democracy in name only, with the real power behind Karzai constituted by US and allied troops.

(Of course, IF I wanted to press the point of bum elections then I could ask you this: how many international observers were there? Where were these observers mainly stationed? And how many polling stations were there? And, does this ratio seem sufficient to you (in the light of the wide scale warlordism rampant in Afghanistan) to ensure a high probability of detection of vote rigging? 121 observers seems a rather poor show for a superpower to scrape together, does it not?)

The Lancet and the Toll of Iraqis killed due to the War

The Lancet ? Rubbish.
Iraqi Body Count? Junk.
My modest extrapolations of Iraqis killed derived from US kill estimates? Laughable.

So.

Given that you have proven yourself remarkably adept at sticking your finger in your ears and humming in the face of these arguments, I invite you to provide us with the body tally that the US occupation (as a legal requirement) has conscientiously compiled. This ought to be good. Feel free to use these figures to blow my case out of the water.

Oh! You can’t.

Because, in fact, the Coalition has not only declined to count dead Iraqis, but has actively suppressed attempts to tally up any sort of a body count. Rather strangely, while members of the Coalition devote much time to discrediting any attempts to tally Iraqi dead, that organization does undertake its own surveys in order to reach a “genuine” figure, but rather suppresses news of Iraqi deaths. As do you. This conduct has been seen many times. Exemplified by the forbidding of the Baghdad morgue to release further death counts. As exemplified by Allawi’s ridiculous statement that “not a single civilian has been killed in Fallujah”. As exemplified by the prompt commandeering of Fallujah’s main hospital with the express purpose of preventing the news of killed Fallujans emerging onto the world stage.

Now, why is this? Obviously, the Coalition actions have not been violent, and indeed have been carried out with extremely great concern for the lives of Iraqis and furthermore, the unprecedented stability and security that the liberation has brought have improved the lives of ordinary Iraqis in a way that could only be described as miraculous! So why, in light of these developments, has the US not rushed out to measure the great decrease in Iraqi fatalities as a tangible measure of the improvement it has brought to the lives of the people of this wretched country? Because, perhaps, the suspicion that precisely the opposite has occurred, may have crossed the minds of the self-righteous war pimps in Washington? (//sarcasm off).

The very absence of a body count by the “Coalition” speaks volumes about where the truth lies.

Here is an interesting excerpt from (4 November 2004) The Economist, the very source which your Aussie paper quotes as questioning The Lancet’s figures:

“Statistically, 33 is a relatively small sample (though it is the best that could be obtained by a small number of investigators in a country at war). That is the reason for the large range around the central value of 98,000, and is one reason why that figure might be wrong. (Though if this is the case, the true value is as likely to be larger than 98,000 as it is to be smaller.) It does not, however, mean, as some commentators have argued in response to this study, that figures of 8,000 or 194,000 are as likely as one of 98,000. Quite the contrary. The farther one goes from 98,000, the less likely the figure is.”

Gee, well, I guess if The Economist contradicts your “*THERE IS NO BASIS FOR FURTHER EVALUATION OF THE DATA WITHIN THE CONFIDENCE INTERVAL*” statement, then it must simply be another LIEberal junk publication, huh?

Chris Lightfoot pointed out to me in an email that although the distribution is not strictly speaking your regular normal distribution, a curve close to a normal distribution will result from the ‘bootstrapping’ methods used to extrapolate from the sample, through sampling with replacement. Now, if you want to push the point, go argue with The Economist or with Dr Garfield himself, I’m through with this particular chestnut.

The other argument made about the validity of the study asks the pertinent question of “where are the funerals?” A fair enough question that is easily answered when one considers the miniscule amount of non – ‘embedded’ reporters that are free to roam the country, when one considers the dangers that they run by wandering around Iraq, aggravated by the repressive ‘hints’ dropped by the Allawi regime that reporters had better report positive news or else. This of course is not even counting the fact that you and most of the rest of the West does not watch the Arabic news networks such as the now banned Al Jazeera news which try to cover this humanitarian catastrophe. And of course, not even counting past and present US PsyOps and other media efforts to saturate global media with positive news drowning out the casualties, like this admission:


Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication
September 2004

The White House created a Coalition Information Centers (CICs) network linking Washington, London, and Islamabad. Modeled on techniques used successfully in British and American political campaigns, and by NATO in Kosovo, the CICs deployed language-qualified public affairs experts to respond to breaking news, Taliban and Al Qaeda claims, and regional events. They did so within news cycles — not hours and days later during business hours in western capitals. The CICs sought to dominate global media coverage with positive, coordinated coalition messages on humanitarian aid, building a representative government in Afghanistan, and other themes.

And to end it off, I noticed another blatant error / omission in your Herald extract – namely the fact that the Herald trumpets the ‘fact’ that the statisticians did not ask for death certificates for those killed … when in fact the researchers DID, and categorically stated that when they had asked for them, they received them promptly 81% of the time.

But, if we hypothetically accept what your extract insinuates - that is, that Iraqis are simply making these deaths up, then it leads us to the uncomfortable conclusion that they are fabricating deaths in order to discredit the occupation … which means that the battle for hearts and minds is long lost and that the occupation lacks popular support (and legitimacy) , and leads furthermore to the next issue :


On whether Iraqis want the US to keep troops there, with reference to this exchange:

>>>Your presumption that Iraq would welcome your troops a la PNAC is simply laughable.<<<
Don’t look now, but the Kurds and the Shias are laughing at YOU right now. The ones who aren’t in mass graves, that is. I think they like having us around.

I refer you to a US study ( so that I cannot be accused of biased sources ) that firmly puts the nail into that particular coffin:

Progress or Peril? Measuring Iraq’s Reconstruction i
CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project 2004


“With the possible exception of the Kurds, Iraqis generally dislike the continued presence
of the U.S.-led military forces in their country; many consider the occupation to
be ongoing despite the June 28 handover of sovereignty. The sentiment is caused by
the mere fact of occupation, rather than by the particular qualities and experiences of
this occupation—such as the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison, civilian deaths, or cultural
insensitivity—although those factors certainly exacerbate it. As such, the United
States should expect continuing resentment and disaffection even if the U.S.-led re-
construction efforts seem to be making positive, incremental improvements to the
country according to various quantifiable measures. In other words, the occupation
will not be judged by the sum of its consequences, but rather qua occupation.
Put simply, Iraqi pride in national sovereignty is a more deeply-rooted sentiment
than the United States anticipated.”


On Chile

Let’s recap. My point on Chile is that it was a democracy following a path opposed to US interests. Thus it was eliminated in favour of a brutal dictatorship that killed thousands by the CIA and the US. My point being: the US is for Democracy, unless that democracy threatens its interests. Then dictatorships are preferable. Your defences hinge upon the allegations that Allende ruined Chile’s economy and that he did not possess a mandate (essentially that is what you are saying) to do what he did. On the latter, I have already pointed out to you that he increased his support at a time when great pressure was being brought to bear upon Chileans to oust him. So much for that theory, then.

Secondly, the Chilean economy was ruined directly through the efforts of the USA. You insist on ignoring this key fact, and obviously I must spell it out for you, then. This is a short history lesson from which those who believe that the US stands for democracy uber alles might well derive a few lessons:

From AEI files:

“President Nixon was indeed deeply distressed at the prospect of an Allende presidency in Chile, and on September 15, 1970, he summoned Kissinger, Attorney General John Mitchell, and CIA director Richard Helms for a meeting in the Oval Office to discuss the matter. As Helms's notes of the meeting reflect, Nixon was determined to "save Chile" from Allende "even if the chances [were] one in ten." At this meeting there was even loose talk about spending $10 million to provoke a coup, and "more if necessary." Helms remonstrated with the President that Allende would in all likelihood be chosen by the Chilean congress and that only a "slight possibility" existed of a move by senior elements of the country's military to block his confirmation.”

Furthermore, Nixon wanted to orchestrate a military coup against Allende, and used every means possible to convince Rene Schneider, the head of the Chilean military to take matters into his own hands. When this man proved more committed to the principles of democracy than the Americans had hoped, Nixon and his entourage turned to alternatives :

From AEI

“When Schneider proved intransigent, the intermediaries tried to persuade Prats, again to no effect. The architects of Track II then focused on circumventing Schneider by kidnapping him and sending him to neighboring Argentina for a season while the political situation was adjusted.”

As a result, General Viaux, which the CIA was supporting at the time, killed Schneider in a botched kidnapping. Following this pro-democratic triumph, the US continued with action such as this:


From FAS (http://www.fas.org/irp/world/chile/allende.htm)
“Meanwhile, the United States pursued a two-track policy toward Allende's Chile. At the overt level, Washington was frosty, especially after the nationalization of the copper mines; official relations were unfriendly but not openly hostile. The government of President Richard M. Nixon launched an economic blockade conjunction with U.S. multinationals (ITT, Kennecott, Anaconda) and banks (Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank). The US squeezed the Chilean economy by terminating financial assistance and blocking loans from multilateral organizations. But during 1972 and 1973 the US increased aid to the military, a sector unenthusiastic toward the Allende government. The United States also increased training Chilean military personnel in the United States and Panama.
According to notes taken by CIA director Richard Helms at a 1970 meeting in the Oval Office, his orders were to "make the economy scream." It was widely reported that at the covert level the United States worked to destabilize Allende's Chile by funding opposition political groups and media and by encouraging a military coup d'état. The agency trained members of the fascist organization Patria y Libertad (PyL) in guerrilla warfare and bombing, and they were soon waging a campaign of arson. CIA also sponsored demonstrations and strikes, funded by ITT and other US corporations with Chilean holdings. CIA-linked media, including the country's largest newspaper, fanned the flames of crisis.”

This clearly, plainly shows that the US had taken a leading role in sinking Chile’s economy, yet you persist in laying the blame at Allende’s feet. This is dishonest and hypocritical. Let me square with you. I am no great fan of a Communist economic model, which I personally feel is flawed in key areas. Perhaps Chile would have gone down the tubes anyway, given enough time. HOWEVER, to pre emptively shovel the blame onto Allende and say HE destroyed Chile’s economy while ignoring the huge role the United States under Nixon played not only demolishes your argument of Allende as an economic disaster but also reveals your intellectual dishonesty in one fell swoop.

( This of course, is ignoring the fact that the economic angle to the Chilean saga is irrelevant to the legitimacy of its democratic institutions. EVEN IF Allende HAD single-handedly ruined Chile’s economy, that does not undermine the legitimacy of his rule, nor excuse attempts by foreign powers (US) to overthrow him. Economic mismanagement is not a measure of whether a country is a democracy or not.

Let us put it this way : if Allende had continued unmolested, and Chile’s economy and society had been wrecked by his policies, it would have been a resounding defeat for Communism and related socioeconomic methods. The very fact that the US intervened and overthrew him, makes the resulting mess a stain on the US, not on the Communists. And it also speaks volumes about the fear the US had that there might possibly be a country where communist methods might actually work; so much for the ideological conviction that Communism is a method doomed to failure, I guess.

Indeed,, your continued defence of the US’s removal of Allende seems to indicate to me a continued preference for the dictatorships which you supposedly abhor. Better dead than Red, huh? Well, you just continue defending dictatorships, and keep trying to prove to me that they are superior to the democratic alternative. LOL! You sure are fun.)

You said : “So don’t hold Allende up as some kind of martyr for democracy. He was a butcher who would have killed tens or hundreds of thousands more if he had gained control of the military, just like his idol Stalin did.”

LOL! A butcher who would have killed tens or hundreds of thousands? Do you realize how dumb this sounds? Uh, yeah, “insert name here” is a butcher who will in future kill tens or hundreds of thousands, so lets wipe the bastard out now! This is a rationalization that does not even deserve to be deigned with the term “argument”, yet somehow you manage to make it sound like a triumphant defence of your other statements. Not only did you make a misstatement by labeling Allende a butcher, but you compound your error by trying to defend it. Well, keep it up, dear fellow, you are nothing if not amusing.

The truth of the matter? The US was quite able to work with his successor, the real life de facto dictator-butcher Pinochet and this is merely one example of why your trumpeting of the US as an unconditional force for democracy rings decidedly hollow.


The rest of your statements are merely objective propaganda, which don’t deserve to be responded to.
 
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I can definitely relate to that. Before considering much else, I pretty much decided that immigration to Canada is my best option and although I'm tempted to reconsider from time to time, I keep thinking back on the 2000 elections and how much things have changed since then (and not for the better I'm affraid).

I enjoy your blog, keep us posted :-)
 
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Now that's a post I can relate to. You really got me thinking, I enjoy reading this blog.

I don't know how others feel, but I'm definitely looking into Canada immigration as an option. The good ól US of A aint what it used to be.
 
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Sallam Alaykum

Well it seems that you people really don't pay attention to the news. The United States of America is in Iraq liberating the Iraqi nation from Corrupt Government. The only war that America is fighting right now in Iraq, is not even with Iraqis, but with radical Muslims that misinterpret the Muslim message for there own reasons - usually to kill. These people do not want Iraq to have anything to do with the West and therefor do everything in their power to stop it. It is a losing battle with them and one day Iraq will be back to the example for other countries like back in the day (Babylon, Assyrians etc.) thanks to America. P.S - I am not an American trying to make my country look good, I'm actually an Iraqi - born Muslim.

Sallam
 
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