Wednesday, January 19, 2005

 

Tarnishing Good Names


Prime Minister Tony Blair, following the disclosure of more prisoner-abuse photos:
“I hope we do not allow [our disgust at the photographs] to tarnish the good name of the British armed forces “.

No sir! Of course not! We will not allow any of these minor incidents by groups of few bad apples tarnish the good names of the British armed forces, the US armed forces, the British and US intelligence communities, the good offices of army planners or the good offices of US political leadership. No sir!

Nor these acts by other groups of bad apples:

1. Soldiers steeling money from houses they searched.

2. Soldiers, when faced with anything like a threat, firing at random…killing women and children in the process. Hundreds of such incidents!

3. Soldiers forcing open doors of stores and government establishments to looters.

4. Soldiers shooting and killing thousands of innocent civilians in their drive to take over unresisting Baghdad.

5. Soldiers forcing old, retired people and disbanded army officers to stand in line for most part of the day under the Iraqi summer sun and using truncheons to keep them “well-behaved” when receiving their pensions.

6. Soldiers shooting and killing people in a peaceful demonstration protesting against the use of a local school as military barracks… because they claimed they thought someone had fired a shot at them. None of those soldiers was even scratched. They left 13-17 unarmed dead bodies.

7. Scandalous, inhumanely sick behavior by personnel wearing US army uniform, including torture and the rape of women, men and small boys.

Nor those actions by the larger bad apples:

1. The demolishing of much of the holy older Najaf, to fight insurgent and to “bring Moqtada to justice”.

2. Bombing and killing more than 700 people in Fallujah-I (including more than 200 women and children) and injuring many more, in revenge and mass-punishment for an atrocity committed by a handful of villains!

3. The demolishing of some 50,000 houses in Fallujah-II and leaving the inhabitants homeless for most of this cold winter to “break the back” of terrorism and catch M.r Zarqawi – having managed neither. The people are still homeless up this minute.

4. Allowing the looting of the Iraqi museum, despite warnings by reputable American academic institutions of its value and vulnerability.

5. The desecration of the ruins of Babylon, chosen out of all the vast empty areas in Iraq to house a military base.


Nor those actions by the really big apples – operating on a grander scale:

1. False claims and repeated inaccuracies regarding WMD or Saddam’s intentions to buy uranium from Nigeria or his capability to launch WMD within 45 minutes.

2. Continued false affirmation of Iraq’s links with international terrorism. Such links do exist now… after your “successful operation”.

3. Insinuations of indirect responsibility for 9/11 or fear from another 9/11 coming from this corner. To play on the fears of gullible millions.

4. The disbanding of the whole Iraqi army leaving some 400,000 men jobless, seeing their country being raped – and wishing that they would not to do anything about it.

5. Disbanding the whole of the police force, claiming that it was infested by elements of the previous regime and building a new force infested with hardened criminals and “special interest” groups. The result is that criminals are on the loose up to this minute, having a field day! The new police force is busy going after “insurgents”!

6. Leaving open and unguarded the country’s long borders so that anybody can come in to do horrible things to the people or to “fight it out” with you, using the Iraqi people as fodder… and then whining about neighboring countries not controlling their borders.

7. Causing so much damage and destruction of the country’s infrastructure that today, two years after the success of your project, people have to go without basic amenities including water and electricity.

8. Presenting the Iraqi with some criminals, thugs, murderers, embezzlers and lowly characters in the pay of an assortment of powers as people representing them for high office. The “new democracy” we are being asked to support is designed around these people.

9. Putting green youngsters in charge of building and reconstructing a country the size of California and 6000 years older.

10. Managing the country in such a chaotic manner that the number of innocent Iraqi killed can only be guessed at. People in the West are still arguing whether the number is 10,000 or 150,000! A range of 10:1. The difference is only 140,000 lives!

11. Making such a mess of running liberated Iraq that people are still baffled by the unbelievable sequence of events. This has left people wondering in amazement at a possible explanation to end up with the following ugly alternatives:
(a) At best: gross, criminal incompetence,
(b) A plan that went horribly wrong due to shear incompetence of conception and design
(c) That this was the plan all along to devastate this country for some sick, obscure reason.


But we will not let those minor incidents tarnish the good names of Britain or America. No sir!


[I apologize to the Iraqi people for not listing many of the other “incidents”. No list can possibly convey the misery, fear, worrying, suffering and losses that they have gone through over the past two years.]


Comments:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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Charles,

I have advised you a couple of posts back to read my previous writings before commenting. That would have helped you look less foolish and uninformed.

I do not rely on propaganda sources. I live here. I have posted more than a dozen articles on these items over the past 7 months. If you to wish to be taken seriously by me and by others, please spend some time reading them.

I have deleted your post and invite you to post again, using a better mannered mode of address.
 
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Thanks Mr. Khaleel,

I did read many of your previous posts.

Gee wiz and I am gosh awful sorry for dissenting and looking foolish.

I shall reread them. I'm sure it will become clear to me then that:

- US soldiers are intentionally targeting civilians, raping women and even boys!, pilfering petty cash from impoverished Iraqi's,
- US has too many troops in Iraq
- US doesn't have enough troops in Iraq
- disbanding saddams oppressive security apparatus was surely a mistake,
- Saddam never supported terrorists,
- never had WMD, surely never used them,
- US invaded iraq to steal oil,
- US didn't protect museum from iraqi women and children looters
- US shouldn't have secured archeological sites
- report claiming US killed 100000 iraqis based upon extrapolation of anecdotal evidence of about 20 deaths from all causes has not been misrepresented
- elections and democracy are a sham
- etc., etc.
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,

Thank you for beeing our "Abu Information"...

I publish your post in Iraq War.

Hope this time it will be some comments...

If you want to comment, registration is needed. We took this measure to avoid the trolls. But only a e-mail is needed to register.

Best regards.

Álvaro Frota
 
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Excellent post, Abu Khaleel! A summary of why most Iraqis are not too happy about their 'liberation', by now. I'll see if it can be translated into Italian and posted on Italian Websites.
I keep being astounded, though, at the apparent naive ignorance of Bushist posters (those being in good faith, at least; I ignore if 'Charles' above is one of them). Out of perusing the Web on the Iraqi war in these last two years, and the comments pages of other Iraqi blogs in the last year and a half, I have got the impression that their sources of information have got a completely different content from those of the rest of the world. They truly believe, apparently, that in Abu Ghraib just occurred some light mistreatment in the form of 'fraternity pranks' (they never heard about the rapes, and the prisoners killed as a result of torture & beatings); and, just to give another example, that it is the 'insurgents' killing thousands of Iraqi civilians, while only very few of them (maybe 5 or 10) were killed by the 'Coalition' forces by mistake, or by one or two exceptional 'bad apples' in their military. All the while they rant against what they call their 'MSM' (Main Stream Media) they deem too 'anti-war', for not giving enough 'good news' from Iraq. It is strange, because - as far as I can see from the Web - plenty of the info on what actually the 'Coalition' has been doing in Iraq since the invasion comes from American Non-Mainstream Media (but some from their MSM as well). Now I wonder: is it a matter of their choosing their sources of information according to their political biases (so that they are completely blind to reality: self-deluded fanatics, actually), or of some 'soft' totalitarian management of their media, or of a mixture of both?
An Italian.
 
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Excellent post, Abu Khaleel! A summary of why most Iraqis are not too happy about their 'liberation', by now. I'll see if it can be translated into Italian and posted on Italian Websites.
I keep being astounded, though, at the apparent naive ignorance of Bushist posters (those being in good faith, at least; I ignore if 'Charles' above is one of them). Out of perusing the Web on the Iraqi war in these last two years, and the comments pages of other Iraqi blogs in the last year and a half, I have got the impression that their sources of information have got a completely different content from those of the rest of the world. They truly believe, apparently, that in Abu Ghraib just occurred some light mistreatment in the form of 'fraternity pranks' (they never heard about the rapes, and the prisoners killed as a result of torture & beatings); and, just to give another example, that it is the 'insurgents' killing thousands of Iraqi civilians, while only very few of them (maybe 5 or 10) were killed by the 'Coalition' forces by mistake, or by one or two exceptional 'bad apples' in their military. All the while they rant against what they call their 'MSM' (Main Stream Media) they deem too 'anti-war', for not giving enough 'good news' from Iraq. It is strange, because - as far as I can see from the Web - plenty of the info on what actually the 'Coalition' has been doing in Iraq since the invasion comes from American Non-Mainstream Media (but some from their MSM as well). Now I wonder: is it a matter of their choosing their sources of information according to their political biases (so that they are completely blind to reality: self-deluded fanatics, actually), or of some 'soft' totalitarian management of their media, or of a mixture of both?
An Italian.
 
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Hi Italian anon,

To start, I must say that it was quite refreshing to go to Italy after living in Germany for 6 months (back in '89). The German's could lecture you with authority for one hour on the proper way to peel an orange - the 'german' way... The Italians seemed to think it was nice to eat oranges (any way you wanted).

In my recent posts (one of which was deleted) I tried to respond almost point for point to the claims Mr. Khaleel makes. I try to respond directly but I get no response to the questions I pose. Many of his claims are contradictory to the point of schizophrenia (nothing personal Mr. Khaleel - I can only imagine how stressful life must be in Iraq and you are certainly an intelligent fellow).

Simple things like adding up Alvaro's 'iraqwar' US casualty figures (men & material) prove him to be an utter fraud. Why doesn't anyone else call him out on this?

Regarding the sick SOB's who tortured Iraqi prisoners, you can rest assured that their lives have changed for the worse and many will be spending time in jail for their crimes.

Can you say the same for the jihadists and baathists who saw off heads and blow up civilians? Do the societies they represent 'condemn' them and run them to ground? Do they get turned in?

Regarding Iraq, the old saying is true: "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."
 
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Dear Charles. You said:

Can you say the same for the jihadists and baathists who saw off heads and blow up civilians?

I think you are being paid to write this kind of lies. USA has enough money to pay some guys to make public relations in all Iraqi Blogs.

By the way, the official amount of causalities in the end of Vietnam war is about 6.000. But it turned to be 56.000. And there were more "miss in action" soldiers that public relations like you told American people they were "prisoners of war" despite they were killed too.

In Iraq, the same lies. The 1.300 causalities will turn to be at least 6.000.

Conspiracy Theory? The truth is son of the time, not of the authority.

Best regards,

Alvaro Frota
 
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Alvaro,

All of your numbers are wrong. It would not be possible. Soldiers are in touch by phone/email with friends/relatives on a regular basis. It simply could not be covered up.

Sometimes it may take a few days before identities of killed/wounded are released publicly, but that is simply to protect the privacy of relatives. They must be informed first. But the numbers of casualties are still reported. They even report belatedly if a wounded soldier dies days/weeks later.

Can you explain to me how it would be possible to simply erase people as if they never existed?!? Think man. We do not live in the 15th century.

PS - I wish I was getting paid for this. Do you have number I could call to sign up? They probably wouldn't want me though because sometimes I get frustrated/over excited and I'm not a well disciplined writer.
 
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Alvaro,

Try this link. It even lists contractor casualties with occupation (driver, security, etc.).

http://icasualties.org/oif/default.aspx
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel:

It is very very sad, but true:

2. Soldiers, when faced with anything like a threat, firing at random…killing women and children in the process. Hundreds of such incidents!

How you explain this, Charles? Who are the baby killers, after all?

There are another solution but expel the occupiers by all means?
 
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Boy oh boy, who got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning! Temper, temper, Abu!
Still, it has produced an excellent summary of the moderate Iraqi perspective. But you’re wasting your time trying to get through to Charles (and his ilk) with reason - just doesn’t work.
Look Charlie boy (you don’t mind if I call you Charlie, do you? You certainly seem to be one!)
could you try answering just one simple question for me.
Now we’re agreed that Iraq had WMD by the trainload, all ready to be fired in all directions:
We’re agreed that Saddam was in hourly conference with Bin Laden, and loved him dearly:
We’re agreed that he was the worst dictator that the world has ever seen, bar none:
We’re agreed that it was vitally and urgently necessary to liberate the Iraqi people from him:
We’re agreed that oil or middle east hegemony were the very last things on our minds:
We’re agreed that the freely published plans of the neo-cons were faked by evil liberals:
We’re agreed that the Iraqi people, being ignorant Arabs, would need the guiding hand of America for years after liberation, and the brotherly assistance of friendly US troops:
We’re agreed that the best way to do this is to hold elections in which the names of the candidates are kept secret from the voters (even Stalin and Mao didn’t think of that one)
We’re agreed on all that, but can you please tell me, why oh why oh why have you MADE SUCH A SICKENING MONUMENTAL BALLS-UP of the whole exercise?
Why, with all your wealth and power, can’t you handle a few thousand guerrillas? Sorry, terrorists? Why is the image of America now terrified homicidal troops blowing away innocent civilians at checkpoints? On the BBC, for all the world to see?
Why is your supposedly great nation now a world-wide laughing stock?
Why have you FAILED?
Circular
 
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And while Abu’s in a bad mood, I may as well provoke him with an annoying question.
The photos of British prisoner abuse are bad, sure, but I submit that there is actually a qualitative, rather than a quantitative difference between this and Abu Ghraib. This genuinely was a few bad apples, whereas all the evidence indicates that US abuse was directed from the top, as a matter of policy.
I have been unable for months to find any reporting on conditions in the South, but the absence of much negative news from there must surely suggest that the British occupation has gone better than the US one? That there has been a more genuine effort at reconstruction there? And that this has been due not just to the Shia make-up of the area, but to the more professional approach of the British occupiers?
(After all, most of the British officer corps must have had grandfathers who knew about pacifyin’ the natives in Burmah and Indiah and Africah. And Iraq.
"Good God, Carruthers, the natives are revolting!"
"Yes, indeed they are, old boy! Pass the Gin!")
And Blair wasn’t after hegemony, Britain is just another European nation these days, he was just being a good little lapdog and now can’t get out of his master’s lap. But will have to soon.
The point being, would you admit Abu that by and large the other deluded coalition partners, who collectively still number well over 12,000 troops, have in proportion not been accused of anything like the excesses and atrocities of the Americans? Have no Fallujahs to their names?
It seems important to me. Something to do with right actions arising from right intentions?
Circular
 
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Abu khaleel --

I opt for both these options:

" a) At best: gross, criminal incompetence,
(b) A plan that went horribly wrong due to shear incompetence of conception and design."

Anti American though I am, I don't believe that they go about causing mayhem for the sheer pleasure of it as a matter of national policy.

For sure Bush would have preferred an Iraq that docily accepted its puppets and atrocious mismanagement, that forgot about national pride and became a nice place where people live well and buy American products.

It is the factors of massive incompetence, blind belief in their neocon ideological dream and total ignorance of the region and its people that have caused this. And to think that we told them ... but hey, we were just ignorant back then, right?



Italiano --

The world views are radically different because of the polarization of the world today. On the one hand we have the American far right who, together with the military establishment, have actually admitted to trying to drown out negative press on Iraq with a flood of pro occupation articles. Also, coupled to this are deliberate lies and attempts at psyops to manipulate public perceptions that the US indulges in. On the other hand we have the far left which also tends to stretch the truth, by putting the worst possible spin onto any information they lay their hands on.

I do think, however, that the Left is rather more in touch with reality than the Bush - worshippers, most of which are woefully ill informed and misguided.

Most people sift through the media according to political bias if dealing with politics; the irony is I have discovered that the most damning information comes from the mouths of the enemy themselves – case in point : PNAC and their loathsome ideas.



Charles –

Have you read the piece linked to by Alvaro? While I do not agree with all of its conclusions, it is certainly reasoned out well enough. Let me put it this way, through Landstuhl alone over 25 000 casualties have passed. As I have said before, it is doubtful that they evacuate a soldier to Germany for paper cuts. If we are generous and assign a 1 to 10 ratio of killed/wounded to this figure, we get 2 500 KIA. Usual ratios in war are 1 to 3 FYI, although US armour and medical attention have distorted the figure favourably. Almost certainly the figures released are too low, although I don’t say that they are necessarily as high as 6 000.

As for the integrity of the criminal justice procedures in the US, permit me to doubt. Ask Zeyad how much justice was dispensed for the murder of his cousin, over at Healing Iraq. Even Calley, that repugnant piece of slime scraped off of the floor of a high turnover peepshow booth, only served 2 ½ years of his sentence, such as it was. Graner and company will not serve their entire sentences either, mark my words – and I personally feel that their actions are the result of directives from higher up, and that other people should be also held responsible. How do you spell 'scapegoat', again? Hersh’s article “The Grey Zone” is recommended reading.
 
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@Alvaro -

"How you explain this, Charles? Who are the baby killers, after all?"

The captions are quite clear. The vehicle failed to stop even after warning shots were fired. Its a terrible tragedy.

Its also not rocket science alvaro. The insurgents and terrorists (primarily the latter because no freedom fighter Iraqi would ever put civilians in jeapardy by engaging US troops in a populated area) are effective in provoking US troops. The US army (any army) is a dangerous thing full of guns and weapons. If you get to close there is a risk of bad things happening. If they are constantly being provoked by people in civilian clothes taking pot shots and bombing them, they will take a more aggressive stance. This is bound to happen and the terrorists know this full well. They love it when this sort of thing happens and the BBC broadcasts pics all over the world.

I'll bet if the insurgents/terrorists stopped the attacks, there would be far fewer tragedies.

Believe me, we are all in favor of pulling our troops out as soon as the Iraqi's can guarantee reasonable stability.
 
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"But you’re wasting your time trying to get through to Charles (and his ilk) with reason - just doesn’t work."

'Reason'?!? Much of his list was comprised of obvious virulent propaganda. He tries to convey that it is the policy of the US and its soldiers to pilfer Iraqi's, rape women (even boys!), target civilians, etc., etc.

"Look Charlie boy (you don’t mind if I call you Charlie, do you? You certainly seem to be one!)"

Yeah yeah - if using the diminutive somehow makes you feel superior - I don't really care. Most people are afraid to even post their real names - uh - mr circular.

"Now we’re agreed that Iraq had WMD by the trainload, all ready to be fired in all directions:"

Again, Mr. uh circular (or miss?), the UNSC found Saddam in material breach of disarmament resolutions that the original cease fire was contingent upon. Try reading the UN resolutions. Saddam was a proven liar, and after 9/11 Bush wasn't about to trust him. He had ample time to prove disarmament in good faith - over a decade - yet even in the mid 90's he was caught red handed lying about bioweapons programs. Bush went in to verify disarmament. It would have been much easier on everyone, including the Iraqi's, if Saddam had complied with disarmament as per res 687.

"We’re agreed that Saddam was in hourly conference with Bin Laden, and loved him dearly:"

Again, unanimous UNSC condemnation for support of terrorists. Period.

"We’re agreed that he was the worst dictator that the world has ever seen, bar none:"

Now this is where you could win me over. Everthing else is BS as far as I am concerned. If this guy was really as bad as they say - murder, torture, gassing kurds, etc., etc., then his overthrow was long overdue.

If those claims are BS, and he was a benign dictator, then the US was wrong to overthrow him. Mr. Khaleel, was he really a bad guy?!?

"We’re agreed that it was vitally and urgently necessary to liberate the Iraqi people from him:"

I don't think it is in the worlds interest to let brutal dictators trample their people and threaten the peace - especially in such a critical region.

"We’re agreed that oil or middle east hegemony were the very last things on our minds:"

Oil was definitely part of equation. Who has denied this? It is not to 'steal' the oil though. US just didn't want such violent unpredictable meathead who supported terrorists in the middle of the ME.


ooops - gotta run to airport...
 
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Taking a flight? Or just taking flight?
 
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We’re agreed that the freely published plans of the neo-cons were faked by evil liberals:
We’re agreed that the Iraqi people, being ignorant Arabs, would need the guiding hand of America for years after liberation, and the brotherly assistance of friendly US troops:
We’re agreed that the best way to do this is to hold elections in which the names of the candidates are kept secret from the voters (even Stalin and Mao didn’t think of that one)
We’re agreed on all that, but can you please tell me, why oh why oh why have you MADE SUCH A SICKENING MONUMENTAL BALLS-UP of the whole exercise?
Now where was I...

"Why, with all your wealth and power, can’t you handle a few thousand guerrillas? Sorry, terrorists?"

What do you mean 'handle'? Is that some rhetorical insinuation that you know something important but don't want to share it? Very, um, clever of you, um, mr/ms circular.

In my opinion it is the Iraqi's, in principle, that must defeat the baathist insurgency and jihadi terrorists. US can fight battles with them, but the Iraqi's must defeat them if they want freedom. If they fail to accept the challenge, then Saddam will be replaced by someone similar.

"Why is the image of America now terrified homicidal troops blowing away innocent civilians at checkpoints?"

That's too easy! Maybe it has something to do with what 'images' you are seeing and what 'interpretations' you are regurgitating so often the stink has become familiar?

"Why is your supposedly great nation now a world-wide laughing stock?"

Well, if you and the rest of the world think it is 'funny', then I'm not sure how to respond politely.

Whatever it is, it surely isn't funny.

"Why have you FAILED?"

The US succeeded in overthrowing Saddam. It is up to the Iraqis to succeed or fail in achieving a free/stable/prosperous future (or not).
 
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Good. Then why don't you just GET OUT AND LEAVE THEM TO IT?
You're not doing any good there, your murderous troops have proved that they're good at winning one-sided battles, but absolutely and completely hopeless at winning hearts and minds, at befriending and helping people.
Why are you there? As you say, you've got rid of Saddam. What right did that patrol have to shoot that family? A perfectly innocent Iraqi family driving around in their OWN city in their OWN country on their OWN roads? Not yours. Failing to slow down sufficiently for an illegal checkpoint manned by illegal foreign troops who, according to you, have no right to be there, this is a shooting offence? Do you shoot everyone who runs a red light in your own country?
Go on, bleat bleat, but there's all these terrible terrorists around. In other words, you can't handle them without killing innocents.
You're like a big clumsly child playing too roughly with your new kitten, then screaming for Mummy when it scratches you.
Great nation? Great farce!
Sorry, Abu, guess I got out of the wrong side of the bed too.
Bloody Circular
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
Lately I have been taking Circular and Alvaro to task for their shrill and tasteless baiting of the red American bloggers, my countrymen. But today I saw the inaugural of Bush-the Enemy of Tyranny, his parade down streets emptied of normal crowds, paroled by military and police snipers. Protesters are held in cages. An iron curtain has descended...upon America. I don't know this country.
 
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From Circular
Shrill and tasteless? Me? You wound me, Sir! Let’s see you write something as funny, as good-humoured, as penetrating as my "Iraq highway" comment, or earlier my "Liberation of NZ" comment.
Even if I do say so myself - we don’t want any false modesty round here!
I’m sorry but I haven’t been aware of being taken to task by you, because I can’t distinguish one Anonymous from another and therefore haven’t noticed. Have you some religious objection to giving yourself an identifying moniker?
Regarding the country you don’t know, have you meditated on Condi Rice’s statement that the tsunami disaster was "a great opportunity for America?" Presumably, in addition to merely being crass, she meant an opportunity to show that the US was capable of disinterested benevolence. Doesn’t it follow logically that she means that in other instances, like that ME country that got unfortunately blown up, the US acted out of self-interested malevolence?
Or have you considered her additions to the axis of evil? The message going out to these countries, as far as I can see, is "You better shape up, or we will invade you and bog our army down in your territory in a misconceived quagmire for years. Just as soon as we’ve figured out how to get it out of its present morass."
I said to the idiot Charles above that the US is becoming a laughing stock . He evidently didn’t understand what I meant, judging by his incoherent response.
It’s not the streets emptied of normal crowds, it’s the "besieged bully" mentality that emptied them that has made the country you don’t know. And doesn’t that describe the situation of your army in Iraq exactly?
What are you going to do about it?
 
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Charles –

Yet again, let me state categorically that the UN resolutions NEVER called for violations of Iraqi sovereignty. They called for inspections and monitoring, and the evaluation of the progress of these inspections was entirely at the discretion of the UN, NOT the US.

If any country is free to interpret UN resolutions as it wishes, and take unilateral action on that basis, we have returned to the wild west. Or rather, we have become Neanderthals once more, where laws and morals are irrelevant, where consensus decisions are non existent and where might is right. A good place to be if you are the strongest, isn’t that true, Charles?

In the US zeal (if we believed this motive to be true, of course) to remove the dictators of the world, it is itself aiming to become that dictator, in a global sense.

I leave you with this neoconservative gem:

From "Rebuilding America's Defences", Page 76
" Global leadership is not something exercised at our leisure, when the mood strikes us or when our core national security interests are directly threatened; then it is already too late. Rather, it is a choice whether or not to maintain American military preeminence, to secure American geopolitical leadership, and to preserve the American peace."

(“American Peace”? Like in, “Pax Romana”?)

Personally, if the US wants to be the “Global Leader”, then I might even accept that … PROVIDED I and others around the world can stand both as candidates in the US elections and vote in them. (Gee, I wonder if that’ll happen?)

Otherwise it is just a “Global Dictator”.
 
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I see that the Baathist resistance you champion and support is at it again this morning, targetting collaborators "outside a Baghdad mosque, killing as many as 14 Iraqi civilians and injuring another 40." "The car bomb exploded as worshippers, who had celebrated the Eid al-Adha holiday, were pouring out of the mosque."
 
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I posted above, I did not mean to imply that you, Abu Khaleel, champion and support the Iraqi-on-Iraqi, the muslim-on-muslim, violence.

Some of your commentators, perhaps you, view the Americans as the worst of two evils. I, like Charles, beg to differ.

Take a close look at the Moscow based website, iraq-war.ru, where Alvaro posted your article.

Willfully Obtuse
 
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Charles,

Believe me I know it's tempting to try to talk some sense to the folks in here, but it's not going to happen. You're like the fourth person to make a concerted effort and the path you're on looks no different from those who tried before you.

At first everyone is cordial enough, questions directed at Abu get answered by his choir boys Bruno and Circular. They eventually accuse you of being uninformed and then that quickly moves to questioning your intelligence, Abu will say you're looking foolish for not reading every word in the blog. Alvaro will come in slinging around his slanted news bits (that he pimps around in many comments sections. Where does he find the time?)And that's about where you are now.

I was once in the same place. The next thing that may very well happen is Abu will come out and get all pissy with you for getting off topic and basically not seeing things his way and he'll accuse you of being all kinds of things you're not and never said you were. And then the choir boys will dance around disparaging you further in the wake of his comment. Then, alone in their comments section Abu and the choir boys will happily go off topic and agree with one another about whatever they damn well please until someone new comes along to challenge them and the process repeats.

I've seen two sensible folks travel down this road some distance before disapearing. And I'm doing the same thing.

Some try conservative rationalizations. Some try to put things into context. Some have a wealth of facts. I came from a moderate standpoint and I may have well been speaking chinese. It didn't register with these people. They got me all wrong and it simply wasn't worth it for me to take the time to make them understand me properly so I jsut stopped when it got to a head. Bottom line, if you have a different opinion. These people do not want to hear it.

As Abu told me a while back: "This site is not for you." And you know, it's his blog and he's right. If only, right off the bat, he would tell that to whoever wandered in with an opposing opinion we'd all save a lot of time and typing.

And choir boys, I don't plan on responding to whatever you've got to say. So fire at will, I just wanted to save Charles some time and effort. But you know Charles, if you took three days time and dedicated your life to going back and reading every single comment ever written in this blog, you'd have known this was going to happen ;)
 
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Charles, Willfully Obtuse, & Fathom,

I am a frustrated left-leaning American, who has been following events in Iraq sporadically since the 1980s. I have observed the low level of training in Arabic and Iraqi culture of the American troops, the apparently total lack of interest in protecting Iraqi antiquities (at least at the beginning---I have no way of determining whether or not the stationing of an American base at the ruins of Babylon was an attempt to protect that site from looters), the apparent lack of interest in the Chaldean/Assyrian community and its fears...
I read in an on-line Assyrian magazine accounts where Assyrians and Chaldeans, often targetted by Saddam due to their ethnic leanings, are complaining that things are worse now than they were under Saddam. I read of the near dis-enfranchisement of much of the American Iraqi community, due to the long commutes [100 miles, 400 miles, and up] (and major traffic jams) between their major population centers and the nearest voting/registration location.
I recall with disgust a discussion with fellow Americans in early 2003 (February or March), where the majority held that if we were to rid Iraq of Saddam, we should have a claim to the oil. (It was a small group--perhaps 15 or 20 members of Mensa).
I have seen my fears of a radicalized Islamic movement in Iraq realized, although it's not entirely clear whether the radicals are Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian, or Saudi. I am reading even today of the targetting of Assyrians by our allies, the Kurds (members of Barzani's group). I read in 2003 of the targetting of Assyrians and Chaldeans in Basra by Badr's Brigade.

I long for a popular secular democratic government in Iraq (my biases, although I'm personally very religious), but it appears to me that such a possibility is receding over time.

I have also found many fellow liberal Americans to be grossly lacking in awareness of Iraqi culture and history. Some have held that Saddam was merely villainized by the US. Some seem to view the Iraqi-American community as the creation of G.W.Bush. Some, in their opposition to current American policies seem almost to prefer Zarqawi to Bush.
In 2002 a number of articles were written stating that Iraq, as an honor-shame society, once subdued by us militarily, would quickly be quite willing to be guided by the American conqueror. How much this material influenced the current administration I can't know, but our behavior in Iraq seems to follow that model. Some of the reference to post-war Japan is based on that model.
These are some of my thoughts and frustrations as an American who has been interested in Iraq for some time. I have no family in Iraq and I have no connections with Iraq, so for me these concerns are 'academic' and not personal. They are only personal in that my nation is involved.
For our host, similar concerns are deeply personal, as he resides in Iraq, and is deeply concerned with rebuilding Iraq as a viable democracy (see his website-Rapid Democracy for Iraq). This blog is his attempt at a dashboard warning-light. It is not intended as a 'bash America' blog, or a 'gosh I need a political ad hominem argument' blog.
Be Well,
 
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@ Fathom

Thanks for warning. But for know - until I get kicked off and while time permits - I choose to participate. Its valuable to me because I can learn about opposing opinions, and better understand which are reasonable and which are not. although my writing doesn ot convey it - these discussions help me focus my thinking.

@ Bob

I share your concern about all issues you mentioned. But I just don't buy the oversimplified arguments of the left, the islamofascists, and the passive and virulent anti-americans active on these blogs (not that the above mentioned are necessarily participating here).

I think if the amount of monday morning quarterbacking, white tower analysis, and media ambulance chasing had occurred during just about any prior conflict, WWII would have been lost on December 8th.

Too many troops, too few troops, not enough forcefulness/weak security, too much forcefulness, save the artifacts, don't shoot the looters, preserve power structure of previous regime, liberate from oppressive regime, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum. Someone once said that war is just a timeline of mistakes - whoever makes the fewest wins. He was probably correct.

I do not believe that the administration would embark on this endeavor to steal oil, and that our soldiers enjoy slaughter, rape, theft, and mayhem. Many here do.

"I read in an on-line Assyrian magazine accounts where Assyrians and Chaldeans, often targetted by Saddam due to their ethnic leanings, are complaining that things are worse now than they were under Saddam."

Things usually are worse for all sides during a war. Its a question of outcomes and perspective whether or not things are worse after the war.

"I read of the near dis-enfranchisement of much of the American Iraqi community, due to the long commutes [100 miles, 400 miles, and up] (and major traffic jams) between their major population centers and the nearest voting/registration location."

And I read of Iraqi's getting blown to bits for voting in Iraq.

"I recall with disgust a discussion with fellow Americans in early 2003 (February or March), where the majority held that if we were to rid Iraq of Saddam, we should have a claim to the oil. (It was a small group--perhaps 15 or 20 members of Mensa)."

I got only so far as to think that Iraqi oil revenues would finance reconstruction after US had exhausted initial (quite considerable funds). I think it is pretty well accepted that most of the reconstruction requirements are not due to war damage, but rather due to neglected infrastructure by Saddam. Not that much was not destroyed during conflict.

There will be a certain point that I reach logically that will tell me - ok - we executed and sponsored liberation, we executed and sponsored stabilization, but some day soon post election the new Iraqi government should take over all responsibility. Many other countries have pledged billions in help.

"I have seen my fears of a radicalized Islamic movement in Iraq realized, although it's not entirely clear whether the radicals are Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian, or Saudi."

Probably all of the above. My feeling is that this needs to get worked out democratically. If the islamofascist types will not accept a democratic iraq, then security will necessarily be imposed with heavy hand and things might gravitate back to secular dictatorship. But that is really up to the Iraqi's. They have been offered a fortifying yet initially bitter gift.

Liberating France cost tens of thousands of civilian casualties, and complete destruction of entire towns. Would they have traded that for life under hitler?

"I am reading even today of the targetting of Assyrians by our allies, the Kurds (members of Barzani's group). I read in 2003 of the targetting of Assyrians and Chaldeans in Basra by Badr's Brigade."

I heard something - some rumors - about an example of kurds kidnapping people. Isn't it more likely just criminals? The kurds are doing quite well for themselves, relatively speaking, and there is no incentive for them to initiate violence.

"I long for a popular secular democratic government in Iraq (my biases, although I'm personally very religious), but it appears to me that such a possibility is receding over time."

Most Iraqi's i have read, and most polls seem to attest to fact that theocracy is not the most probably outcome. Of course it may happen. Many possibilities. A shia theocracy that aggressively competes with Iran over who dominates the shia world. anything could happen.

"Some, in their opposition to current American policies seem almost to prefer Zarqawi to Bush."

Yes - it is amazing to see how a liberal can transform into its polar opposite - and beyond - due to his hatred of Bush.

The only thing that would truly and fundamentally get me to change my mind about Iraq is if it turned out that Saddam wasn't so bad.

"In 2002 a number of articles were written stating that Iraq, as an honor-shame society, once subdued by us militarily, would quickly be quite willing to be guided by the American conqueror."

Perhaps. Maybe Iraq should have been defeated and shamed. Instead we focused the 'defeat' on the regime, and briefly shared 'liberation' with the people. I don't see the US acting differently though. However imperfect the occupation has been, I think the goal was to liberate and not defeat the people.

"How much this material influenced the current administration I can't know, but our behavior in Iraq seems to follow that model. Some of the reference to post-war Japan is based on that model."

Its hard for me to say. Perhaps Mr. Khaleel can inject his point of view.

Notwithstanding security requirements and blunders, do you think that coalition forces have tried to cooperate and help their iraqi counterparts? Across all ministries/police/defence/education/etc.? Or is US simply trying to dominate the iraqi's as if they are inferior and defeated enemies?

"For our host, similar concerns are deeply personal, as he resides in Iraq, and is deeply concerned with rebuilding Iraq as a viable democracy (see his website-Rapid Democracy for Iraq). This blog is his attempt at a dashboard warning-light. It is not intended as a 'bash America' blog, or a 'gosh I need a political ad hominem argument' blog."

And I can only imagine how difficult it is for him and all other Iraqi's to stay sane and not go over the edge.

They need to find hope somewhere.
 
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@ Bruno

"Yet again, let me state categorically that the UN resolutions NEVER called for violations of Iraqi sovereignty."

Giving Saddam an ultimatum cannot be interpreted as anything other than subjugation of his sovereign control of Iraq. If 1441 had just been a threat that the UN will simply get mad and write another angry letter, that's one thing. In fact, it was a 'final' opportunity. No more opportunities. The outcome was either full, immediate, unconditional compliance, or the forfeiture of sovereignty to participate in process of verification/enforcement.

Blix reported inconclusively on at least two occasions. The first was worse than second, but he could only admit to receiving superficial cooperation that was not the result of good intentions, but rather 250K troops poised on border. This is not immediate, complete, and unconditional.

Several UNSC member states then saw fit to announce that the UNSC ultimatum would not be enforced. It seems to me that the UNSC was hijacked in an effort to preclude it from enforcing its own ultimatum. It was a pickle to be sure.

"They called for inspections and monitoring, and the evaluation of the progress of these inspections was entirely at the discretion of the UN, NOT the US."

Wrong. They called for immediate, complete, and unconditional compliance (as if that wasn't obvious in 1991). Blix did report at least twice and could not confirm immediate, complete, and unconditional compliance. He in fact reported many examples of delays, incomplete information, and conditions. Saddam was forfeit.

"If any country is free to interpret UN resolutions as it wishes, and take unilateral action on that basis, we have returned to the wild west."

If any country, or group of countries, decide to completely ignore the will of the UNSC, and even worse, if some of those countries are members of the UNSC who stubbornly refuse to enforce their own ultimatums, then we are truly on the verge of international lawlessness.

It was Saddam who defied the will of the UNSC. It was certaion UNSC members, led by France, who decided to ignore their own obligations to enforce the ultimatum.
 
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I can't resist:

"Regarding the sick SOB's who tortured Iraqi prisoners, you can rest assured that their lives have changed for the worse and many will be spending time in jail for their crimes."

Except the one who has just been named Attorney General.
 
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Hi Sadie,

Gosh you are clever! Good girl!

Try checking hammorabi's blog. He has links that will put things in perspective for you.
 
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Charles –

“@ Fathom

Thanks for warning. But for know - until I get kicked off and while time permits - I choose to participate. Its valuable to me because I can learn about opposing opinions, and better understand which are reasonable and which are not. although my writing doesn ot convey it - these discussions help me focus my thinking.”

That is a statement that I can respect. While I disagree with much of what you say, I appreciate the fact that you bother thinking through the issues.

As for fathom, I plead guilty to pouncing on him after his first post. In my defence, it was a woefully ill informed and abrasive post. However, his other posts were not nearly as clueless. TallDave on the other hand was beyond help …

On UN Resolutions

Bruno : "They called for inspections and monitoring, and the evaluation of the progress of these inspections was entirely at the discretion of the UN, NOT the US."

Charles: “Wrong. They called for immediate, complete, and unconditional compliance (as if that wasn't obvious in 1991). Blix did report at least twice and could not confirm immediate, complete, and unconditional compliance. He in fact reported many examples of delays, incomplete information, and conditions. Saddam was forfeit.”

I hate to sound monotonous, but “the evaluation of the progress of these inspections was entirely at the discretion of the UN, NOT the US”. *Furthermore*, any consequences were to be decided by the UN, NOT the US. Which would need a SPECIFIC resolution for action. Again, you are trying to make the case that the US can unilaterally decide on the action to be taken in reaction to broad UN resolutions, even if the action breaks those resolutions.

You feel that the ‘spirit’ of the law supercedes the letter. I do not. If, for example, the UN were to condemn Israel for beating up on the Palestinians and call for it to stop … a neighbouring Arab state could, using your methods of interpretation, invade it under guise of protecting the Palestinians, and still claim to be within the aegis of UN law. I’m sorry, but that is not acceptable.

Oh, and certain things told about Saddam WERE lies, that are coming out now. Stuff like the woodchipper machine and the stories by Jumana Michael Hanna about being raped by Uday are turning out to be false. Not to defend Saddam, because he was a definite SOB, but to show that people are quick to lap up the spin that the US ladles out.
 
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Charles

I went to hammorabi, where I learned that our illegal war has set off violence and retribution on an unprecedented scale. And this somehow supports your point? You know I have three children, and when one of them breaks a lamp I don't let him off the hook because Johnny-next-door also broke a lamp.

I honestly can't understand you pro-war people, though I swear to God I really am trying. Why do you insist that the best way to fight fire is with gasoline?
 
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@ Sadie

I was just trying to present to you a contrast between a naive and snide comment about the US attorney general (who you infer is responsible for abu ghraib sadism), and the real terrorists who do far worse. They are SOOOOOOO much worse that to be honest, I could not bring myself to watch the beheadings. Have you watched them? I just can't.

It's too easy for moral relativists to reduce things to 'broken lamps' and cute comments. You make it clear that as far as you are concerned, there is no difference.
 
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Charles,

Alberto Gonzales is responsible for the torture at Abu Ghraib, because he is the one who authorized it. This is a basic military principle called chain of command.

Here are some points you are missing:
1) The reason for not torturing prisoners is not just humanitarian (for my part, I do believe in a God we will all have to answer to, maybe you don't but that's your perogative). The reason is tactical. Towards the end of WWII, German soldiers began fleeing for the western front to surrender to American troops, because they knew what Russian prisons were like. Now that the world knows about Abu Ghraib, and Guantanomo Bay, that would never happen again. The insurgents in Iraq have no incentive but to fight to the death now, and how does that make our soldiers' jobs any easier?

2) You didn't answer my question about fire and gasoline. Osama bin Laden has been quite frank with us -- his strategy is to bleed the US dry with military entanglements, just like they did with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. It worked great then, and with our $370 billion deficit, and, what is it now, $200 billion and counting for the war in Iraq? It looks like things are working out well for him. George Bush's doesn't seem to know any strategy other than to jump when bin Laden says "froggy."

3) This is basically the same problem as the one about the prisoners, but on a larger scale. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, but the US attacked it anyway. George Bush says he has no regrets, he would do it again etc. Now, imagine you are the leadership of Syria, or North Korea, or Iran. What are you thinking? "I'd better get myself some nuclear weapons but quick. That is the only protection I have against them." And since Bush has basically taken his eye off the ball of nuclear proliferation this will not be a problem. (didn't you just groan during the debates when Kerry answered the question "what is the gravest threat facing the world today" with "nuclear proliferation," and all Bush could do was kind of blink his eyes and say, "yeah, what he said"?)

I wasn't being facetious when I said I wanted to understand your point of view. I really do. I told you already I believe in God, and judgement, and I also believe that we will get to the gates of heaven together or not at all. That's why think these kinds of arguments, as exasperating as they may be for all of us, are vitally important.
 
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@ Sadie

”Alberto Gonzales is responsible for the torture at Abu Ghraib, because he is the one who authorized it. This is a basic military principle called chain of command.”

One thing you probably did not do before forming your opinion is READ the original document. Also, you are mistaken if you believe the white house counsel is part of the military chain of command.

White House Counsel’s job was to advise the President on legal matters and present to President competing arguments (that others developed) regarding legal issues that may impact the White House. He could then advise the President on the legal grounds for each argument. Gonzales did not make policy.

The so called “Torture Memo” (real catchy title, huh? Good thinking MSM! – now that is fair and balanced), presents the legal assessments for and against the application of Geneva Convention rights to al quaeda and Taliban prisoners.

Here is a quick summary:

1. I previously advised you that DOJ had issued legal decision that Geneva does not apply to AQ.
2. I previously advised you that DOJ opinion also concludes that there are grounds for excluding Taliban from Geneva.
3. You decided that al quaeda/Taliban are not POW under Geneva.
4. SecState asked you to reconsider.
5. SecState believes that AQ/T are not POW’s by default under Geneva, but that status should be decided on case by case basis.
6. This memo outlines potential ramifications
7. According to constitutional law, Pres has right to qualify or disqualify AQ/T prisoners according to geneva
8. DOJ has concluded that Geneva does not apply to AQ according to international and domestic laws.
9. DOJ has concluded that Pres has authority to find Talib unqualified for Geneva.
Grounds for such determination may include:
a. Taliban failed state, not recognized as state
b. Not a gov but a group of militants/terrorists
10. DOJ’s ruling is legal and definitive, but you may still consider SecState position
11. Ramifications (positive)
a. Flexibility – war on terror a new war not between nation states as envisioned by Geneva; flexibility important because now individuals (not countries) are the agents of potential mass murder against civilians; quick info necessary to save lives, thus much of Geneva is obsolete; some Geneva requirements are “quaint” (commissary privileges, monthly pay, athletic uniforms, scientific equipment).
b. Geneva excludes many benefits to non pow’s, determination that Geneva does not apply to AQ/T eliminates need for case by case consideration, this determination also maintains flexibility for future conflicts that do not create identifiable enemy forces as a whole for pow status;
c. Concluding that Geneva not applicable to AQ/T keeps option open against non-state agents
d. Reduces threat of prosecution under US war crimes act whose basis is Geneva
e. Geneva full of undefined language that is open to subjective interpretation
f. Future needs and circumstances of war on terror impossible to predict
g. Future motives of prosecutors/counsel impossible to predict
12. Ramifications (negative) (meaning you might want to consider AQ/T as POW’s:
a. Precedent – US has always applied Geneva in conflicts with regular armed forces
b. US could not invoke Geneva for its prisoners fighting AQ/T.
c. War Crimes Act could not be used against enemy (although many other laws apply)
d. Current position will lead to condemnation from allies and domestically – even if we agree to abide by major Geneva principles
e. Other countries will look for loopholes themselves in future conflicts
f. Other countries may not turn over terrorists if we do not fully apply Geneva
g. US military ‘culture’ that emphasizes high standards in combat could deteriorate
13. Rebuttals to negative ramifications:
a. Precedent – US considered Geneva nonapplicable in Panama, even though we chose to adhere to principles; new type of war/threats that were not envisioned by Geneva; Bush 41 said that Geneva would apply to nation state enemies meaning it is not applicable to terrorists
b. Inability to invoke Geneva for US prisoners – US practice of humane treatment enough to expect same from adversaries; US can still prosecute for war crimes; point is academic because these AQ/T forces to not treat US prisoners according to Geneva
c. International/Domestic criticism – its true US will be criticized, and we are, but we can emphasize that Geneva holds for conventional conflicts, and that in any case US still recognizes other standards
d. Even if Geneva not applicable, US will continue to treat detainees humanely in conformity with Geneva (treaty obligations; universally accepted minimum standards; applicable military regs)
e. US military culture should not be degraded because you have ordered them to be bound by principles of geneva

“The insurgents in Iraq have no incentive but to fight to the death now, and how does that make our soldiers' jobs any easier?”

Not true. There are lots of amnesty’s going on over there. Sadr, Falluja I, etc. This will continue.

”You didn't answer my question about fire and gasoline.”

OK. Different issue. This is a big issue. In short – if we win, you are wrong, if we lose, you are right. Also – whether or not we fight back, they will continue to attack US.

"I'd better get myself some nuclear weapons but quick. That is the only protection I have against them."

OK. Different issue. Your examples (Iran/NK) were already after nuclear bombs before Iraq (just like OBL attacked us before Afghanistan). Their desire, intent, and practice of acquisition existed prior to Iraq. They really want these things so increased speed of acquisition is debatable, and irrelevant. Can you see that? Iran and NK have been trying to get bombs for years (decades). Many accept NK already has them. This has nothing to do with Iraq.

“And since Bush has basically taken his eye off the ball of nuclear proliferation this will not be a problem.”

US spends billions on non-proliferation and control. This is probably another case where you formed an opinion before learning the facts of the matter. Did you ever read the UNSC resolutions against Iraq before forming an opinion on the Iraq war?

“I wasn't being facetious when I said I wanted to understand your point of view. I really do. I told you already I believe in God, and judgement, and I also believe that we will get to the gates of heaven together or not at all. That's why think these kinds of arguments, as exasperating as they may be for all of us, are vitally important.”

I agree with you.

Do you agree with Kennedy
”The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."
 
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Charles –

One small point about nuclear proliferation – it is ironic to note the billions you claim that the US spends on non proliferation, when it has gone ahead and scrapped nuclear non proliferation treaties and is furthermore proceeding with the development of the RNEP armament. Is it not hypocritical to demand non proliferation while proliferating oneself?
 
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Sorry for the anonymous post. I don't have a blogger account. You can call me rorschach, if any of you decide to respond to this.

Just a brief comment on the whole "the US did it for the oil" rationale. That's an obvious red herring if you do the math. The US has spent about $200 billion on Iraq so far. Another $80 billion is in the pipeline for next year.

Assuming Iraq is able to get back to full oil production at 3 million barrels/day, at a wholesale price of $50 barrel (it was $36 when war started - I'm being generous with the price), the US could have simply bought the full theoretical maximum oil production output of Iraq for about 4-6 years for the price of the war. And could have continued to buy it forever at half the annual cost of occupying the country.

The US administration had pretty good projections on the war cost. They would have known this. Why would they have decided to "steal" the oil using a method that would cost American lives, cause conflict with allies, and cost 2-4x the cost of just BUYING it?

You can debate the motivations, but it wasn't the oil.

--rorschach
 
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Charles,

I have never run across that quote from Kennedy before. It's beautiful. Thank you for showing it to me. By now you have probably figured out I am a fire-breathing liberal, but I do have a few friends who are rock-eating conservatives, and for the most part it works out okay because we have an understanding that we will work with each other every chance we get, but against each other when we have to. A lot of times it's easy for those of us on opposite sides of the fence to lose sight of the fact that while we have to do what we think is right, the other side does too, but you seem to share this point of view and I appreciate that.

And with that in mind, back to the matter at hand!

You disagree with my analysis of Gonzales and his relationship to what happened at Abu Ghraib. You know what, you don't have to take my word for it, here is letter written and signed by a bunch of retired generals asking Congress not to confirm him:

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=125&article=26767

You say that as far as Iraq goes, if we "win" you will be proved right but if we "lose," then I will, but see what I 'm afraid of is that there is no way to win this. From where I sit, this is nothing more than another story of conquest and occupation, and you cannot win one of those. This is what the Europeans tried to tell us, they have been down that road already. And it drove me crazy how the right-wingers crucified them for it! The way I see it, your real friend is the one who takes your car keys away when you've had one too many, and this is what they were trying to do, but we wouldn't listen!

I don't think any limited, small-scale amnesties can undo the damage of the torture exposure, compounded by the never-ending and secretive detentions at Guantanomo Bay, medals of honor for the architects of the war, and promotions for Rice and Gonzales.

Also I don't think, no matter how many billions are being spent, that Bush is serious about non-proliferation. Surely you don't think spending money on a problem = solving it? Just who is supposed to be the conservative in this conversation?

Don't get me wrong, I never said the leaders of Syria, Iran, etc were a bunch of choirboys who would never do anything wrong. My complaint is that Bush has put them into a box where there is only one way out -- nuclear weapons, and that's just poor strategy. You should always leave your opponent a way to escape and save face, that's basic. And a good strategist will make sure that that escape hatch just happens to lie in the direction that serves his own interest.

I guess my biggest fear is this, and I'm still hoping you can tell me something to make me feel better about it:

"Most empires begin as idealistic constructs emerging from the ashes of an earlier social system. They achieve their apogee of power, stability, and wealth based on an ever-increasing reliance on the conquest and/or control of other states and their resources. Reliance becomes dependence, and dependence demands an ever-increasing oppression of domestic and colonial dissent in order to maintain control. The diversion of resources from maintaining the well-being of the populace to controlling the populace gives rise to greater dissent, and eventually fatally destabilizes the imperialist state, rendering it vulnerable to dissolution through internal collapse or external conquest (or both.)"

We have had a good run of two-hundred plus years, here, but that is not enough for me. I am selfish. I want my children and grand-children to grow up as citizens of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, but every day it looks like the chances of that happening are slipping away.
 
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Hi Sadie,

Now you can call me Abu Katya.

"I have never run across that quote from Kennedy before. It's beautiful."

Check out his Berlin speech. I actually left out the famous "ask not..." part. i started looking at old speeches because of the left seemed so out of sorts regarding Bush's latest speech. If those people on the left were to actually read previous speeches by people they supposedly respect, they would see that Bush's rhetoric is not different, and in some cases softer.

Kennedy said we would 'bear any burdon.' Bush said we are limited in how much we alone can carry.

"You disagree with my analysis of Gonzales and his relationship to what happened at Abu Ghraib. You know what, you don't have to take my word for it..."

You will find lots of people ready to support any side of any position. Remember OJ? (I hardly do because I was living abroad at the time). Read the document for yourself. Its only a couple of pages long. Gonzales basically laid out the cases for and against the various interpretations. He advised the President of exactly what your generals mention as a cause for concern. Gonzales DID NOT make the policy.

I think most people would agree that Geneva was put in place to regulate the conduct of war between nation states. It was an agreement between nation states. It has always been considered ok to treat non-uniformed combatents very severely because that type of combat in itself was considered uncivilized. If we found a Nazi fighting out of uniform, in many cases he would be shot on the spot.

"You say that as far as Iraq goes, if we "win" you will be proved right but if we "lose," then I will, but see what I 'm afraid of is that there is no way to win this."

In a traditional sense of conquering and occupying another country, you are right. But that was never the strategy here. In this case, we wanted to get rid of Saddam, help rebuild, and establish some sort of representative democracy. Although there are plenty of people who will disagree, I do not think it was our intention to colonize and occupy Iraq. I can't even imagine how they envision colonization? What would it look like? Are there any examples of this? The coalition "won" the war to overthrow Saddam. We are now fighting for the Iraqi government to help THEM win their war to stabilize country and establish democracy.

One thing the US probably did not expect was that the civilized world would not rally to support the new Iraq. Security is the main problem. Even the most liberal estimates put the insurgency and terrorists at below 1% of the population. The number is relatively small, especially in the beginning, but even a few hundred well armed terrorists could cause big problems - let alone 40,000. In any case, rebuilding and establishing democracy ain't easy when the people are being terrorized. The UN ran at the first sign of trouble. Member states, that the UN urged to help, have done exactly what to help the real problems Iraq faces today (or 2 years ago)? Just what has the UN with all of its noble charters and peace for all and equality and human rights done to help establish security?

So, it is possible that the US could fail in its mission to help Iraq. The terrorists and insurgents have an effective strategy of sabotage, murder, and provocations against the coalition forces hoping to escalate violence and alienate the population. But, the US could help Iraq to 'win'.

Let's imagine that the elections are held, brave Iraqis turn out in large numbers to vote for party lists that they (not US) created. A new government is elected by the people. The new leaders figure out a way to coopt reasonable sunnis, and leverage their mandate to crush the terrorists and those left that prefer violence to political debate. The US takes less visible role in patrols, etc., and returns to bases. Government establishes itself, security situation improves, and US forces begin to pull out. What is so god awful about that? I would call that a victory. In five years, if Iraq has a stable democratic government, reconstruction continues, etc., etc., etc. History will judge this is a great leap of progress and a success. History will also wonder about all of those countries who could have helped... but didn't.

"From where I sit, this is nothing more than another story of conquest and occupation, and you cannot win one of those. This is what the Europeans tried to tell us, they have been down that road already. And it drove me crazy how the right-wingers crucified them for it!"

European colonialism was basically a policy set up back in what - the 17th century? It plugged along nicely for a few hundred years and then died during the last century. The political and socio-economic contexts that allowed colonialism no longer exist. I do not think US was a big part of that game anyway. Do not misapply historical analogy - however convenient it may seem. Far closer to the mark would be looking at post-war Japan and Germany, but even here direct comparisons are not entirely accurate.

"The way I see it, your real friend is the one who takes your car keys away when you've had one too many, and this is what they were trying to do, but we wouldn't listen!"

That's a cute, convenient comparison, but it's not applicable here. What really happened is that key UNSC members, cynically failed to back up their own ultimatum to Iraq. Many of our traditional allies chose political convenience over the values that we all pretend to hold dear.

One thing I am sure of is that if the coalition had received support from traditional allies, and solid moral support from UN, Iraq would be well on its way to stability right now. Even if countries disagreed with the war - they should not leave the Iraqis to suffer through insecurity just to spite the US.

"I don't think any limited, small-scale amnesties can undo the damage of the torture exposure, compounded by the never-ending and secretive detentions at Guantanomo Bay, medals of honor for the architects of the war, and promotions for Rice and Gonzales."

If there is a solid turnout in the election, government will have mandateto resolve these issues.

"Also I don't think that Bush is serious about non-proliferation."

What are your suggestions?

"My complaint is that Bush has put them into a box where there is only one way out -- nuclear weapons, and that's just poor strategy."

I think it is a very flawed argument to blame Bush for what has happened in the ME over the last century. Bush didn't put them in a box - he simply decided to call a spade a spade.

"You should always leave your opponent a way to escape and save face, that's basic."

But you should also understand by what rules your opponent plays the game.

"Virtuous motives, trammeled by inertia and timidity, are no match for armed and resolute wickedness." W.C.

That's the only quote I was ever able to memorize - so I write it often.

"Most empires begin as idealistic constructs emerging from the ashes of an earlier social system. They achieve their apogee of power, stability, and wealth based on an ever-increasing reliance on the conquest and/or control of other states and their resources. Reliance becomes dependence, and dependence demands an ever-increasing oppression of domestic and colonial dissent in order to maintain control. The diversion of resources from maintaining the well-being of the populace to controlling the populace gives rise to greater dissent, and eventually fatally destabilizes the imperialist state, rendering it vulnerable to dissolution through internal collapse or external conquest (or both.)"

Sounds rather archaic. The world is far too interdependent for this to have any real meaning. It seems to refer more to Rome than to US. The US (western liberal economic/political structures) has emerged as a dominant power due to the its relative superiority over competitive socio-economic structures. Have you ever been to a communist country? I was in east germany before the wall came down, and I lived in Russia for 6 years. Ideology aside, those countries were jsut stagnant pools of corruption and economic inertia. Countries and systems that promote democracy, free thought, free enterprise, etc., as a general rule, will adapt better and faster to an ever changing world. They will ride the wave as it were.

China is becoming a powerhouse not because of communism, but because of economic liberalization.

"We have had a good run of two-hundred plus years, here, but that is not enough for me."

But that 200 years saw lots of ups and downs. There are plenty more to come.

"I am selfish. I want my children and grand-children to grow up as citizens of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, but every day it looks like the chances of that happening are slipping away."

If Islamofascism wins the next round - you may be right!
 
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Sorry Charlie - That lil witch gal Sadie slammed dunked you at each point.

She makes good, true, and logical points.

She uses good metaphors.

You start out calling her snide, you imply superior knowledge, you parrot the stupid party line like a good little sheep.

I would bet she read the Winny the Poo Heffalump story as a kid and knew how to put the heffalump trap right in front of you and in you went.

Sucker!
 
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Abu Katya? Sorry, I don't get it. And I'm ashamed of not recognizing the Berlin speech, though if you had included the "ask not" part I might have had a chance. As for you, you should be ashamed of not recognizing a straight-up Marxist analysis when I quoted it at you, especiallly if you've lived in Communist countries!

No, my problem with George Bush is not his words. It's just I would like them a lot better if they had even the tiniest connection to reality. And as far as the whole "spreading democracy" concept, don't you remember that was not the reason we went to war? That rationalization only popped up when it became painfully obvious that 1) there were no WMD's in Iraq and 2) Sadaam Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11. Now, we never will know the truth about what Bush knew when about the first of these, but he and his spokesmen pushed that lie about Iraq and 9-11 and they kept pushing it, until at one point something like 80% of Americans thought it was true. And the "liberal media" totally gave them a blank check on it.

Personally, I remember what happened two years ago and spreading democracy was not part of the picture. We were attacking Iraq because if we didn't, they were going to get us first. The smoking gun was going to be a mushroom cloud, remember?

Surely you are not blaming Europe for this morass? That's what I thought your post said but maybe I misinterpreted.

"Countries and systems that promote democracy, free thought, free enterprise, etc., as a general rule, will adapt better and faster to an ever changing world. They will ride the wave as it were."

Well, yeah. I guess the problem is, I see the Bush administration, and the bad decisions they have made, as moving us away from this, our traditional source of strength, and you don't. Probably we won't agree on this one.
 
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Rorschach,

Ever heard of Occam's Razor? Mideast oil is the lifeblood of the American economy. This is why we support and maintain dictatorships in that part of the world. With a dictatorship you have only one person to negotiate with, whereas democracies tend to be ....willful. They have a nasty habit of trying to please their citizens instead of their patrons. Witness the Europeans' refusal to enter into this little adventure with us.

The only problem with dictators is that from time to time they get full of themselves and have to be replaced. They get uppity. This is what happened with Saddam Hussein. You have to take them out in order to 1) get a more compliant dictator in place and 2) set an example for the other dictators who might be getting ideas.

Your argument that Bush's War is not about oil because it ended up being more expensive than what the administration projected does nothing to refute any of this.
 
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Sadie,

I truly hate to break it to you, but i just haaaad to google your premise:

U.S. Oil Policy in the Middle East
Volume 2, Number 4
January 1997

-US domestic suppliers provide about 50% of our oil
-Primary foreign sources are: Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, and several African countries.
-US imports about 10% of our needs from ME
-U.S. competitors in Europe and Japan depend much more on Gulf oil than the U.S. does: 30% of European oil imports and nearly 80% of Japan’s come from the Gulf.
 
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Charles (Katya?)

Well now that's interesting. I went and googled it myself and the very first entry I found was this:

"But the proportion of United States oil imports flowing from the Middle East remains high — about 24 percent, down from levels during the oil crises of the 1970's, but up by a third over the last few years. And oil executives say that they have not markedly changed their plans for where to seek out, produce and purchase oil.

"Diversifying supply is important for any country, and the industry is looking at other things besides the Middle East," said Clarence P. Cazalot Jr., chief executive of the Marathon Oil Corporation, a Houston-based energy company pursuing projects in the Middle East, West Africa and most recently Russia.

"But at the end of the day, oil has to come from where oil is available, and most of the oil and gas in the world is in the Middle East," Mr. Cazalot added. "It's just an inescapable fact of life."

It's from the New York Times, Oct. 2, 2002. How far down the list did you have to go to find that 10% figure?

Face it, our nation's energy policy at this point is nothing more than smash-and-grab, and that just ain't sustainable.

Here's one more for the road:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." 
-- Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda, 1933-1945

One of the cleaning ladies at the Bohemian Club found that in Karl Rove's suite after he checked out ...
 
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@ Sadie,

My point is simply that you paint a picture that the US somehow 'controls' the ME and all its leaders are our 'puppets' and they give the US all its oil. Argue percentages if you must. The ME is NOT our major oil supplier.

"Face it, our nation's energy policy at this point is nothing more than smash-and-grab, and that just ain't sustainable."

Who have we smashed to grab their oil? The US has historically protected the commerce of the free world. I suppose you could consider it an extension of the monroe doctrine. If you think its a bad idea, that's ok.

"Here's one more for the road:"

Don't you think its a bit over used?

Are you the one telling a lie when you say that Karl Rove left that in his suite?

Are you, intentionally or not, spreading lies and disinformation Sadie?
 
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Sadie B:

In your response to me, you said "Your argument that Bush's War is not about oil because it ended up being more expensive than what the administration projected does nothing to refute any of this."

That's not at all what I argued. Indeed, I argued that the administration knew well in advance what the war would cost. Remember the much-discussed $87 billion that Kerry voted for before he voted against it? That was an initial appropriation. It was widely assumed - by both critics and supporters of the war - that the total cost would run into hundreds of billions.

If they wanted nothing more than oil, they could have just bought it. Pure and simple. My earlier analysis was overly generous, in fact. Prior to the war, Iraq was producing about 2 million barrels per day, and oil was at about $30-36 per barrel. At that price and production level, the initial $87 billion alone would have bought more than 4 years worth of the total oil output of Iraq. The total cost of the war to date would have bought 10 years worth. At the rate that Iraqi oil was coming to the US, it would have bought perhaps 100 years worth.

Actually, by the way, the US economy isn't the only one with a dependency on middle eastern oil. As others here have pointed out, Europe and (increasingly) Asia, particularly China, are extremely dependent on M.E. oil. If you look at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/pgulf.html
you'll find that Japan is more than 75% dependent on ME oil. Since 1985, the US has ranged from 11% about 23 or 24%. That tracks well with Western European demand.

None of that detracts from my initial point, though. The initial war budget request the administration asked for EVEN BEFORE THE WAR STARTED would spend on the war effort would have bought ALL of the Iraqi oil for years. And US consumption accounts for very little of the sales of Iraqi oil.

Oh, by the way, your comment about democracies being "willful" is a bit of a non-sequiteur, as well. Saddam would have taken US money for oil, whether he was feeling "uppity" or not. An elected government, as you point out, might not. So why would it be in US interests to take the time, expense, and difficulty to install one (even one that I'm sure you will contend is a puppet)? Wouldn't it have been simpler for for the US to simply deal with the devil it already knew?

By the way, the "US supports dictators" line never ceases to amaze me. The US is attacked for supporting Saddam against Iran. It's attacked for leaving him in power after the '91 Gulf War (which was, by the way, what the UN mandate required). And it's attacked for taking him out this time around. Meanwhile, most of Saddam's war machine was sold to him by the Russians and the French. The Germans sold nuclear technology to him. Europe sold the guy FAR more weaponry than the US ever dreamed of. Yet no one blasts France or Russia for "supporting dictators". Out of curiosity, why is that?

Anyway, as I said before, it would have been much simpler and cheaper to just buy Iraq's oil. Especially when Iraq was a negligible contributor to US oil imports. Doesn't that make a lot more sense that believe the US chose to "steal" the oil by spending 6x as much in 2 years as it would have cost to buy it?

Like I said in my original post, whatever motivations you want to assign to Bush and company, they didn't do it for the oil.

--rorschach
 
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Charles,

That bit about Karl Rove at the Bohemian Club was supposed to be a joke, come on!

Do I think that Goebbels quote is over played? Well, no. If more people were aware of that technique and how it works, then it wouldn't work anymore. I thought that was obvious? All you have to do is turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper to see it is still working everyday.

I'm not having fun anymore. We've degenerated to the level of "is not" "is so," and I think we have mostly run off our audience. Well, except maybe Rorshach, but he is so far behind, I really don't feel like starting all over at square one again. I try to limit myself to only three fights on the internet at one time, and I already have other ones going now that are more fruitful. So anyway, this will be my last post here, but if you want the last word I'll give to you. Go ahead and post and I promise to read it, and think about it, as you have done me the courtesy of reading and thinking about what I have to say.

You've been a worthy adversary, and I look forward to crossing verbal swords with you in other forums.
 
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rorshach –

The reasons that nobody slams Russia and France for supporting dictators? Well, (a) there are bigger fish to fry, like you-know-who, (b) these countries have not turned their love of democracy into the central pillar of their nation’s identity and (c) relating to (b) these other countries do not engage in the practice of using democracy as an excuse to invade and occupy geostrategically important countries in the furthering of an agenda of global dominance.

I suggest to you that it is the US’s hypocrisy in the matter that makes it a particularly attractive target. If you were not so busy tripping over your own feet and making such an attention – attracting ass of yourselves, I put it to you that the countries you mentioned would indeed be the target of our vitriol and scorn.

On the oil issue: I must seriously put together an encyclopaedic post on the subject, and comprehensively dissect the issue for people like yourself. Let me put it very simply. If your objective is not to buy the oil for economic use, but to control it as an economic weapons against future competitors, then it makes sense to control either directly or by proxy the source from whence it comes. Even if your agenda is a more innocuous economic one, not controlling the source makes your vulnerable to fluctuations in the price, like the Oil Crisis, that, if timed right, can seriously screw your economy. Controlling output will guarantee the stability of the oil price as well as delivery. Thirdly, the price you buy it for today will not be the price you pay in thirty years time. The value of Iraqi oil will increase exponentially as worldwide reserves start to run dry.

These are some points you can think about.
 
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