Friday, February 04, 2005

 

Declaration of Independence


Why is this Iraqi angry with America?

When I read the American Declaration of Independence I am moved by the noble humanistic ideals expressed. I can sense the noble spirit behind it. The word ‘independence’ takes a meaning beyond the political independence of country from a colonial one… more like an independence of the human spirit.

And when I examine the Constitution, I see those words taken from the rhetoric domain and transferred into political reality in the most impressive practical idealism… complete with checks and balances.

On top of that, when I look into the biographies of some of the people involved, I feel that their honor and integrity still shine after more than two hundred years. My personal favorites are Franklin, Jefferson, Washington and Adams, in that order.

Those people were imperfect human beings like the rest of us but had visions that transcended their own narrow and immediate interests and tailored a system for the good of the whole, yet preserved individual aspirations. Many were religious people, some of them deeply so, yet they did not allow religion to dominate society in a rigid fashion.

The result was that the foundation they designed endured and supported a massive political and economic structure that was built upon it for more than two centuries.


But now, when I look at America I see a nation that has retained the form of that system yet lost much of its spirit and true content.

I look at the some of the issues deemed important by the electorate… and I feel sad.

I look at the politicians, and I mostly feel dismay and disappointment. I look at the candidates and I see actors, more worried about their “image” than about what they want to say; compromise artists and appeasers for those forces that hold the throne and control the coffers. When was the last time you had a truly grand statesman running America? Why?

The answer is simple. Would any idealist visionary, true to the spirit of the Founding Fathers have a chance to be elevated by the major party machines or funding contributors? My contention is that the initial filters discourage, even expel, people of the required caliber.

What chance did “outsiders” have against the gigantic red-blue polarizations and their huge spending machines? How many Americans had a chance to hear what those people had to say? How many Americans were interested?


Complex, varied life is packaged in two colors, in two huge containers, with all the wide range of social, political, religious, economic issues (each of which itself a complex maze of issues).

Is this abnormal? It is more like the normal course of evolution of a system… to fine-tuning if you like. But the problem is that these complex stratification and filtering stages produce mediocre results.



What has this got to do with Iraq? How insolent is this Iraqi attacking the system that produced the world’s sole hyper-power?

My grudge is this:

Because these people have lost sight of the original American ideals (that I personally cherish and respect) but they retained the form and the rhetoric without the substance, practical, shortsighted, we-versus-them cold-war mentality. These people are now playing God and tailoring Iraq “in their own image”. I wouldn’t have complained if that “image” were based on the original ideals. But it is based on the form with an ugly content.

I contemplate our new ‘major players’ on the Iraqi political arena, made or incubated in foreign lands and I see anything but Founding Fathers. Perhaps “Foundation” Fathers or ‘Fund’ fathers… but not Founding Fathers. The new deal and the new democracy were designed around these people.

These people will entrench. No, they have already entrenched. They will write a constitution to maintain this status quo; A compromise, half-baked solution that reflects not the true spirit and the richly diverse mosaic of the country… but the three or four external colors from the dark ages.

And you, no matter how well-meaning you may be… you cannot give what you no longer have!


Comments:

You have no earthly idea what I have.
 
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You have no idea what we have as Americans. In our country politicans and the police go to jail. Our presidents can be put on trial or made to resign. Name another country that happens in. About our politicians your right they suck! Thomas jefferson put the 2nd amendment in the constituion just for the purpose of keeping the goverment in line with an armed citizery.
 
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It’s been said a cynic is a frustrated idealist.

When you refer to external colors from the dark ages are your referring to what Amir Tahiri names as the 4 political families: Al Uruqah, Islamist, Westernisers & Al Urubah?
 
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Why do you expect from us what no one else in the history of the world has been able to deliver. Yes, they were great sentiments in the Declaration and, no we don't always live up to them. But we try.

Now, we're trying to give you a chance to try to approach those standards as well. You don't have to believe me when I tell you what our intentions were, it doesn't really matter. Hate us, love us, I don't really care.

What I do care about is that the people of Iraq don't lose this chance to set things right for themselves. You have the chance to build a country that is closer to those ideals of the Declaration then the one you have now.

Don't screw it up.

Join the Democratic process in Iraq and if you don't like what's happening - work to make it better. But do so within that democratic process. The people will let you down. You'll get venal politicians who vote for incredibly stupid stuff and who care more about winning the election then they do about the country.

Absolutely true, it WILL happen.

And yet democracy is still better than any other system out there.

A lot of people say that in a democracy the people get the government they deserve. Perhaps that's what has happened here as well. Even without death threats Iraq had a higher election turnout than we did. So, it's up to you, your friends, your neighbors and your countrymen. Get to work to make a government of which you can be proud. And, in the future, you don't like the idiots that get elected, accept it, until the next election and, in the meantime, work even harder.
 
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Abu Khaleel,

I agree with what you said, and what the anons et al said...

My favorite is Jefferson:

"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We...solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states...And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

"Almighty God hath created the mind free…All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens…are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion…No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively."

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever."

"Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than these people are to be free."

"I am certainly not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
"But if there
was yet a thirst in their ambition, that must still be fed with
new trophies and triumphs, the Parthian and German wars would
yield matter enough to satisfy the most covetous of honor.
Scythia, moreover, was yet unconquered, and the Indians too,
where their ambition might be colored over with the specious
pretext of civilizing barbarous nations."
Beware of 'civilizers' bearing gifts of 'democracy'or 'civil government'.Remember the US 'liberation' of the Philipines in 1894 or French 'liberation of Spain in 1807.
Exporting 'democracy' is usually just camoflage for western security ambitions.

'That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun.'
 
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"But now, when I look at America I see a nation that has retained the form of that system yet lost much of its spirit and true content."

Your confusion stems from the fact that you're reading the wrong documents. The document you need to read is the "National Security Act of 1947".
 
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Dear Abu Khalil,

thanks for your post. I find it very eloquent and thoroughly reasonable. If it's of any comfort to you, there are many Americans who are deeply disturbed and right now the progressive zone is openly debating whether or not to jump the Democratic Party ship because it is obviously already sinking - and should.

Unfortunately, no credible election challenges could be mounted despite obvious fraud because the courts are also stacked.

You might find a trip to Asia Times Online interesting if you don't know it. Henry Liu has a very cogent article showing how America meets most of the definitions that it uses to define a failed state. Certainly the checks and balances are no longer working, no matter how many jingoists wave their flags either gleefully or sincerely. Also Spengler's forum tries to wrestle with issues such as Islam + democracy = ? or... Your input there would be valuable and bring some reality to what is sometimes overly intellectual, albeit delightfully so. His last article was about the election, and even though he usually supports the right wing policies of the US (albeit for unusual reasons), he lambasted this election quite thoroughly. You are not alone in your perceptions!

I read tonight that Mosul only had a 7% turnout, and many other areas had less then 10% that were not directly in heavily Sunni areas. In any case, it is obviously a bogus election. It was not an election. It was an event that can provide vocabulary for future rhetoric.

There are underground stories here below the surface 'election and new democracy' issues that you know far better than I: the provisional constitution drafted by Bremer which tells farmers to buy new seeds, allows 100% foreign ownership of assets and zillions of things like that which the recently elected body has no power to change. Many such provisional constitutions, i.e. in Iran, Germany and so on lasted for decades. Contracts are being signed that will last for decades even as we read and write this stuff.

Also, I very much doubt if the Americans will be leaving their bases, just as the Israelis don't stop building their settlements. And as long as the Americans stay, so much longer will some insurgents attack them. And so they will stay, because what Iraqi really wants to go around killing Iraqi insurgents?
It is a truly sad, sad situation. Bush is definitely a 'dry drunk'. He may not be drinking any more, but he is still addicted to, and keeps recreating, nightmare, or hell. Those who think he is a man of faith and a decent sort must have a brittle sense of kindness and decency at best.

Democracy cannot be imposed. It presupposes a common culture and an established ruling class. I don't know anything about Islam or Iraq, but I am not sure if democracy is the right structure. Probably Hussein's structure was fine but he was a brute. (I would be curious what you think about that.) From what I read, you had great healthcare, fantastic education, a thriving middle class, many religions and so on and still a strong, tribal culture. Something was working there despite some glaring problems. Or am I wrong?
There are glaring problems in America with its being Nr 37 in teh world with infant mortality, highest percentage of prisoners (disproportionately black) highest percentage of poor people in developed world and so on. And yet nobody is going to invade them to impose regime change - which they badly need!

Have you ever been in a destructive relationship? You don't sound like the type. But once you get into something bad like that, one thing that has to happen is that you acknowledge it and cut the emotional ties. I appreciate your appreciation for the American Consitution. I myself am a direct descendant of two of the signatories on it. But it was written quite some time ago and obviously has not quite succeeded. No document alone can do that. But no matter your respect, indeed yearning, for such a noble constitution - which it is - you have to let it go and begin to realise that neither it nor America is your friend.

How can you truly befriend a state that has wreacked such havoc on your people? That has lied going in, and is lying even now? That has done just about everything it could to make sure that your democratic process was a) not yours and b) not workable?

Of course innocent young Americans have been doing their best and giving their lives, most of them honourable and sincerely, even if some of them have gone 'snakey' from the stress and aggression that is war. But they are very young and are not responsible for the policies they serve. They too are victims of this sorry, bloody mess.

Really, I see no alternative except for you Iraqis to deal with this horrific situation and somehow begin to sort it out yourselves. You don't have the power to do that right now on the outside, but you do on the inside by seeing things clearly - which you obviously do. And I am glad that you can express your anger, and humbled that you do it with such humanity and eloquence. It speaks well for you and your people.

I am sad to say it, but we are not your friends. And even if we were, after what we have done, you would be very angry with us. I am not talking about individual people, or even American people in general necessarily. But as a State, we have treated you in a way that can only be described as criminal.

All the best,

Tharpa,
US Citizen.
 
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Abu,

You are right to be "moved by the noble humanistic ideals expressed " in the American Declaration of Independence. But those are IDEALS. The framework for our country was born of compromise, and there were bitter arguments over the details. Some might argue that the best features of our constitution were the result of compromise, the dilution of deeply held convictions. That is how democracy functions. Political leaders have been actors since the beginning of time. Humanity and our political and economic systems are inherently flawed--there is no way to guarantee 100% equality of outcome, we can only pick a system that is less flawed than all the others. Government is at once tyranny and a necessary evil. Don't blame us for the imperfection of our government, it has always been imperfect, as all others have been. There is not a political party in America that even comes close to fitting my ideals, and yes there are cronies, special interest groups and pressures to maintain the staus quo. But there is not a government on earth, barring my ascension to post of grand exalted ruler of the world, that would fulfill my ideals. So I vote, I write letters to the editor of my local paper, I attend city council meetings--I participate, without the fear of being murdered for that participation. I can VOTE for change. That, in itself, is a beautiful thing. This is my grudge: you can dismiss our "well-meaning" intentions and tell us that our country is but a pale dilution of the grand ideals of its birth, but many people in Iraq had the opportunity to vote for the first time in an election that did not have but one possible outcome: a tyrannical status quo under a brutal dictator. Not perfect enough for you? It never will be.

Nick, USA (atheist and independent, glad to be out of the dark ages)
 
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Gee, Abu, have you developed some sort of death wish? You can’t criticise the USA like that - you’ll be getting a midnight visit from the Marines before you know it.
"I look at the some of the issues deemed important by the (US) electorate… and I feel sad."
Let me inject a little note of personal venom here, it may infuriate Charles (and Fathom who I see has re-emerged from the deep.)
One of my daughters is a scientist, doing cutting-edge genetic research. Her doctoral work, on prevention of blight, was part of an effort that has major implications for world agriculture. She is now rooting around deep inside the wheat genome - God knows what will come of that. Most of the world presumably welcomes and appreciates her research.
But in one great country, her work means nothing, because it depends on certain essential "evolutionary" assumptions about natural selection and mutation rates. And in that great country, about half the population "believe" fervently in some ridiculous nonsense called Creationism, which denies those basic assumptions. As far as these fanatics are concerned (and they include the President and his core red state support) my daughter has been wasting her time for ten years, deluding herself that she is in a laboratory, being very handsomely paid for doing nothing. She would be unable to teach in many States of that country without denying that she has ever got any results. (Although the natives would doubtless be happy to eat the fruits of her research.)
Apparently no other country subscribes to this madness to anything like the same extent. And the Catholic Church doesn’t. (What’s the Islamic attitude to basic science, Abu? Is there any conflict between science and religion?)
While such "tyranny of ignorance" seems to be "deemed important by the electorate" what hope can there be? There was a TVNZ crew following the US elections last year. One segment consisted of an interview with a mid-western "soccer Mom," who was taking pistol lessons because she was quite convinced that the terrists were just beyond yonder hills, coming to get her, and that Saddam was personally responsible for 9/11. The interviewer kept a straight face, but you could see that he was wondering whether he had somehow strayed into the New Guinea highlands. The terrifying thing was, she looked absolutely normal.
Circular
 
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As I say continually, I do not believe the aim of the United States was ever to impose democracy on Iraq.

The aim of the United States is, as a first choice, to install a pro-American dictator on Iraq similar to the models of Mubarak in Egypt and Musharraf in Pakistan.

The aim of the United States is, as a second choice, to impose a destabilizing civil war that will leave Iraq unable to pursue any foreign policy at all for a long period and leave Iraq impoverished, exhausted and maybe more willing later to accept a pro-American dictator.

The story I've read about the elections is that they were forced upon the US by Sistani, who used the implicit threat of widening the insurgency to cause the Americans to accept an electoral process it did not want.

That implicit threat wielded by Sistani is the key to avoiding the US vision for Iraq. Hopefully Sistani still understands that.

So the electoral process imposed on the Americans by Sistani seems designed to cause a continuation of the Iraqi governing council.

The Parliament requires 66% of representatives to form a government and the final constitution can be rejected by a small number of provinces.

These are not usual rules for democracies and they seem aimed at producing an electoral process - that the US accepted against its wishes - that is designed to fail.

My guess is that the short term strategy of the US is for this process to be unable to create either a government or a constitution, which as a default, would leave Iraq's current US imposed dictatorship in power.

It is absolutely clear to me at this point that the US has no intention of leaving regardless of the will of the Iraqi people and the US has very strong preferences as to the leadership of Iraq that it intends to impose on that country, again regardless of the will of the Iraqi people.

Sistani still can foil the American plan. But he waited until January elections it is reasonable to expect him to wait until the results are published.

Sistani has developed into a central power broker of the Southern region. The Central region, which includes Baghdad, hopefully will develop a person able to speak as a spokesperson independent from the Americans.

One way to do that would be to elect one for Central Iraq, independently of the US. Ballotting can be done over several weeks at mosques or door to door. The Iraqi people are more than able to develop their own process and that process will grant the winner more legitimacy than the US-accepted process does nationwide.

Another way would be for various Iraqis to begin making public statements and so that everyone would generally develop a rough sense of whose ideas resonate best.

That person could then have the power Sistani has in the South in relation to the Americans. That person would be able to credibly threaten to increase or promise to decrease the intensity of the insurgency. That person could also interact with the Southern Iraqi leadership.

About your anger at the US: If you're angry with America now, wait until after the civil war, when president-for-life Allawi has more Iraqis imprisoned for their political beliefs than Saddam at his worst!

Here's hoping we can avoid that.

Mr. Democracy
 
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@ Circular

"One of my daughters is a scientist, doing cutting-edge genetic research. Her doctoral work, on prevention of blight, was part of an effort that has major implications for world agriculture. She is now rooting around deep inside the wheat genome - God knows what will come of that."

Bravo!

"Most of the world presumably welcomes and appreciates her research."

Just don't let her try to sell her frankenfood to anyone in Europe!

"half the population "believe" fervently in some ridiculous nonsense called Creationism, which denies those basic assumptions. As far as these fanatics are concerned (and they include the President and his core red state support) my daughter has been wasting her time for ten years, deluding herself that she is in a laboratory, being very handsomely paid for doing nothing."

Now thats just plain ignorant. Can you name a country in the world that has made more progress on the practical applications of genetic engineering in agriculture? Maybe there is one. But I would hazard that the US is waaaay ahead of its enlightened european brethren.

"She would be unable to teach in many States of that country without denying that she has ever got any results. (Although the natives would doubtless be happy to eat the fruits of her research.)"

Whut the heck are you talking about? While its a bit disturbing the current fight over including creationism (?) in elementary text books in some states, I doubt your daughter's grad students at top US universities anywhere in the country would be disallowed from listening to her lectures. That's just nonsense.

The US is at the forefront of genetic research. It is the Europeans who don't allow any practical application in agriculture.

Abu Katya
 
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Why is this Iraqi angry with America?

Why were this brazilians so angry with America?

Because The USA oppressors have left us with no choice but to fight them.That is all.

Alvaro Frota
 
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Father of the scientist daughter. You may find humor in the soccer mom taking lessons. I find no humor in it. You may think it will never happen again. It may happen again.
 
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Anonymous above: What may happen again? You are unclear. The point about the soccer mom was her conviction that Saddam was behind 9/11. Since the whole of the civilised world knows damn well that he wasn’t, the implication is that (a) she can’t read, or (b) that she is seriously misinformed, or (c) that she is uncivilised.
Charles. You never seem to get the point the first time, so I guess I have to spell it out for you.
I was not commenting on the standards of science in the US, I was commenting on the disproportionate influence in the US of ignorant, uneducated people, such as the soccer mom above and the fools who espouse simple-minded nonsense such as Creationism and then vote on the strength of their misguided beliefs, rather than on the really important matters.
Hence my quoting of Abu’s concern at "some of the issues deemed important by the (US) electorate…"
Circular
 
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@ Circular

Oh- sorry - it just seemed to me you were making sweeping generalizations.

"But in one great country, her work means nothing, because it depends on certain essential "evolutionary" assumptions about natural selection and mutation rates."

Here I thought you were implying that in the US, her work is meaningless because we don't agree with evolution.

BTW - Having been an american for most - nay - all my life, I think its strange that even here in the rural hills of NH I have never met any of these people who deny evolution. I'm sure there out there.

There are a lot of people who believe in God. I think the vast majority of people the world over are religious one way or another.
 
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@ Alvaro

If you and your scantily clad, drum beating, socialist brethren really want to fight the US - just please - attack the Marines - and not the civilians ok? Actually, if that bunch you showed in the photo's really wants to, they can pick a fight with US civilians. May I suggest the state of NH, or NC, hmmm, or SC, or GA, or .... even WI.

Those hippy freaks would be on the wrong end of so much whooop ass - and paper targets get so boring...

Come on Alvaro -

Also, you might try asking the permission of the Iraqis if you want to start attacks from their territory. Lately, they have been rather strict with foreign terrorists causing trouble in their country.

Good luck in your jihad.
 
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Charles
"There are a lot of people who believe in God. I think the vast majority of people the world over are religious one way or another."
Again you miss the point. It is perfectly possible to be religious but also rational. Setting up a false dichotomy based on wilful ignorance - either one believes in God or one believes in evolution - is OK if those doing so are just a fringe group of nutters, But when this sort of perversion of reason afflicts a significant proportion of a population, and influences their choice of leaders, then something is going wrong. You want leaders who are chosen because of their wisdom and experience, not simply because they are "born again." And maybe NH is a little island of rationality, but the reports I get seem to indicate that these sorts of simplistic convictions play perhaps too important a part in the US political process.
Anyway, maybe Abu will tell us that Islamic countries are no better in this respect.
Circular
 
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OK, Abu, bit of uninformed amateur philosophising here to clog up your Blog.
Regarding democracy, I feel that the current US administration, and you perhaps, are going a bit overboard on it. It’s nice, but it’s not everything.
Insofar as we all want much the same thing for our countries - a good society where people can lead lives free from excesses of want or injustice - I like the analogy of the three-legged stool.
One leg is democracy, sure, the worst political system apart from all others, but to my mind the other two legs are equally important if the stool is to stand.
The second leg is law and order, freedom of the individual on the one hand balanced against the duties of the individual towards an effectively functioning society on the other. The US constitution addresses some aspects of this but it’s not alone - UN declarations of human rights are more recent and more comprehensive. And it’s a two-way street - the government has a reciprocal duty towards the governed in this respect.
The third leg is economic viability, the country needs to be a going concern. You can have an excellent police force and justice system, and elections every second day if you like, but if the people are starving the stool is going to fall over.
(In the Iraqi context, perhaps one could say that a major error following the Occupation was that the Coalition casually sawed off the second leg. And have been trying frantically ever since to glue or nail it back on.)
I would suggest that, seen from this angle, the US stool isn’t in too bad shape. Sure it’s a bit more wonky than many other countries, and there are areas of real concern - the present administration seems rather too fond of detention without trial, with a pinch of light torture thrown in, the election process for President has become a bit farcical (but not the process for the legislature as a whole - checks and balances), and apparently the economy is virtually at the mercy now of the goodwill of the world’s Central Banks - but it should be able to survive all this.
Provided, I guess, it doesn’t continue with its present ambitions for foreign Imperial adventures as the world’s self-appointed policeman. That could result in all three legs coming off.
That should provoke a fair amount of abuse.
Circular
 
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@ Circular

You are simply mistaken. While the far right did apparently contribute to Bush winning this time around (I have no way of knowing if this is actually true or not) by contributing a few million votes, it is a gross exaggeration to try to paint a picture of a fundamentalist USA. It's just not the case.

I know it makes a great MSM story about red/blue states, and it certainly resonates well with the losers, both domestic and international ;-), but 'creationist dumb white crackas' are not dominating forces in US politics.

In this US election there definitely WAS a strong element of 'traditional values voters', but that is far from proving that 'flat world creationists' dominate our politics.

I'm sure your newspapers will tell you otherwise. I'm sure they tell you a lot of things.
 
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Democracy for Dummies - in 5 easy stepsYou express regret that my country has not put forth any great statesmen and that your country has not called forth any founding fathers. Not to worry, a well written constitution can help mitigate less than stellar leadership.

I don't pretend to know the details or fully understand the dynamics. Am I correct in understanding that if 3 provinces vote against the proposed consitution, as a block they can derail its implementation? I'm curious to know if provinces will be putting forth their own consitution. I am assuming the Kurds are drafting or have a drafted a constitution for their parliament. I am assuming the proposed national constitution will confer some rights to the Kurdish regional governance. Have you given any thought to drafting a consitution for your own province? Will provinces have their own set of family and civil courts and some taxation to provide for services, education and security?

Beautiful Mosaic It can be pieced together.
 
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More and more, your posts lack believability. You attempt to speak with a neutral voice of wisdom, but an agenda bleeds through your words. You attack what you don't know from real experience, while somehow patronizing the western reader at the same time. We call this disingenuous.

You would make a good career politician - you are clearly worried about how you are viewed as you champion a personal agenda unaffected by the burden of objectivity. We see no leadership or statesmanship in your words.

Someday, you will also become practiced at seeing the same in others - democracy hones the skill.
 
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Dear blog Author

Wow. That was incredibly inspiring. Thank you. With moving outbursts of humanity such as this, perhaps all hope is not lost.

Now all that remains is for me to stop wish~washing around and let forth a bit of bravery myself, again.
 
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Charles,
Maybe it is because I'm a Southern Californian, maybe it's because I'm an ex-fundamentalist--I am friends with a number (small) of Creationists. I attended church with quite a few. I'm not sure whether the Biology professor attending was a Creationist. I have been told that he still is attending that church, so if he's not a Creationist, he probably keeps his viwepoints quiet around those who would disapprove.

Pepperdine University, my alma mater, had one or more Creationist professors in the Biology department. I don't know whether that is still the case, as I don't know whether the university is still interested in attracting students from fundamentalist families.

I am not sure I know any 'Young Earth Creationists', though I think I knew several when I was in High School. (Note for Circular et al--Young Earth Creationists hold to a rather recent creation, within the past few thousand years. Old Earth Creationists may agree that the earth is millions of years old, and the universe billions of years old, while insisting that life is the result of divine creation.)

I don't know whether many of the right-wing talk show hosts (Rush Limbaugh for instance) are Creationists. A significant portion of their audience holds to creationist beliefs. Jerry Falwell and the members of the Christian Coalition are creationist, though I don't know where Billy Graham stands on the issue.

I gave up Young Earth Creationism while studying Ancient Near Eastern history and languages in college. If I recall correctly, some of the early Mesopotamian archeological remains precede 4004 BCE (typical Young Earth Creation date, derived from R. Usher's dating) [7000 BCE for Jemdet Nasr?]. Early Sumerian tablets definitely precede Usher's date for the Noachic flood, wreaking havoc with interpretations of The Tower of Babel. (Note--the Arabic word for scribe--'tifsar'--probably is derived from the old Sumerian word--'dub-sar'.)

Old Earth Creationism, which is sometimes conjoined with 'Intelligent Design', while more 'scientifically palatable', is more of a rear-guard action than a scientific theory. I have held to an OEC position for some years, but I can't defend teaching it as a theory. In fact, I'm not sure I believe it myself any more.

Another characteristic of many Creationists is a belief in the utility of physical punishment. 'Spare the rod and spoil the child' is a well-known Bible quote. This is probably background to Gonzalez's position and to Limbaugh's lack of response to the tortures at Abu Ghraib. 'Tough Love' is a popular concept with much of this crowd. (Note--this attitude is also found in the Sayings of Akhiqar, an ancient Aramaic wisdom text, and in the Wisdom of Solomon, written during the 2nd Temple period)

Be Well,
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
I wanted to believe voting would be a good thing, but I was totally wrong. My hope was that seculars could find a way to be heard, but that never happened. Sistani said he would answer to God for his sheep and so they voted. This uncritical wishful thinking is typical of Americans but not Iraqis. Sistani is openly pushing sharia law as his very first demand. Some Iraqis say there is no contradiction between democracy and sharia..really?!
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
I wanted to believe voting would be a good thing, but I was totally wrong. My hope was that seculars could find a way to be heard, but that never happened. Sistani said he would answer to God for his sheep and so they voted. This uncritical wishful thinking is typical of Americans but not Iraqis. Sistani is openly pushing sharia law as his very first demand. Some Iraqis say there is no contradiction between democracy and sharia..really?!
 
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The worst thing on this earth is that you do not do nothing and terrorism WON!
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,

When I read YOUR words, brother, I am so much moved beyond words. Beyond any possible words I am ashamed. But I wanted to say, this American loves you so much.
I wanted to say that like Jesus said to his Father, "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do", and so I ask that you try to forgive my Government someday. I am learning to get involved to elect new leaders. I love you so much brother.
Don't forget, Mohammad and Jesus are ancestral brothers. And so are Iraq and America. I hope I say this right-Salaam aleikum and may God's hand be upon your heart as you have touched mine.
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,
I just posted but I need to tell you to read about the Marquis De Lafayette and his relationship to George Washington and America. The Marquis named his son after George and George thought of the Marquis as an adopted son. He is not always mentioned but he was a humble but major helper in winning our democracy. He was loved so much that the original states made him travel to each one in exhaustive succession for fanfare and parades before he could go back to France. There are literally thousands of streets and towns named after the Marquis. When he left America for the last time he took some dirt with him to be buried with. The French honored that and at his grave there is an American flag flying.

I hope you know we are not perfect, but our country is so amazed by your peoples courage. I, as I'm sure many would have liked to be your country's Marquis De Lafayette.
 
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To Anon 2.02AM
Just a note to explain that Sharia Law already exists in Iraq. It applies to Civil Law whereby people have an option to use an Islamic court (of their sect) for marriage, divorce, inheritance,
commercial disputes etc. Both sides decide whether to take their case to Sharia or Civil (Secular) court. For Criminal Law, only state courts (secular) can deal with cases.

In my view the implication of Sistani's insistance that Islam is "the only source of all legislation" is not necessarily to abandon this system which has served Iraq very well in the past. In fact it is virtually impossible to roll back civil law for instance to make it based purely on Sharia courts, simply because of interfaith and inter sect marriages in the country. The potential problem with making Islam the only source of legislation is who decides a law is Islamic or not. In Iran the Ayatollahs short circuited democracy by installing an upper body made up of religious people to vet laws passed by parliament (a veto power). My fear that building this sentence into the constitution could mean a future powerful ayatullah (Muqtada Al-Sadr?) could invoke the same system of religious veto in Iraq.

Abu Khaleel, please correct me if I had the status quo wrong?
 
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Abu Billy-

I wasn't arguing (w/circular) that creationism doesn't exist. I just felt that the whole christian fundamentalist movement is NOT as powerful as it is portrayed by left/europe. It is the European's who won't allow genetic engineering of food - not the US. His daughter is much better off trying to do research here than over there (if she actually wants it to be applied someday).

Just to add to your list - I think Gilgamesh was written about 5-6000 years ago.

Abu Hadi-

You don't really think that Sadr has a significant role to play do you? I jsut figured he was coopted by Sistani to calm things down (why fight when the power is being given to you). I also heard that Sadr was not well respected (theologically) among clerics. Is that true? Was he actually on Sistani's list? Let him have a seat in parliament. No better way to shut up the opposition than to make them take responsibility.

Let's see what the final election results are. Now it looks like Sistani will get 50-55%, 20-25% Kurd, 10-15% Allawi. I just don't think Sistani would have the political weight to pull some bloodless fundamentalist coup. I don't see the Iraqi's accepting that anyway. Of course things could degenerate into all out civil war - but this risk is obvious and Sistani seems to have gone to great lengths to avoid this. Of course the Iraqis who do not want this to happen should pay very close attention -

Any news on trends in insurgency? Media showing lots of bloody attacks but there seem to be hints of better government/civilian cooperation. Any real evidence of this? What are your relatives saying?
 
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Hello Abu Hadi,
A true believer will never accept the judgement of a civil court and while an established islamic family court option sounds innocuous, I doubt that is what is being proposed as the sole authority. 'Islam and the state are one' is their anthem. Only seculars with nerves of steel could (which was why I was praying for 324) challenge the shia mullahs and there aren't any about. It is impossible to expect 'restraint' from them when their power is still rising. Funny..lots of secular Iraqi bloggers are whispering..it's not that bad...they don't really mean it...it's nothing new.
I expect such wishful thinking from deranged Bush but not from Iraqis.
Me, I am confounded to see Iraq, the putative leader, the center of civilization transformed into a squalid backwater of the like of Sudan. Now why should I be quiet about that!
 
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Abu Khaleel --

I just want to clear some things up. IF a sharia based law is implemented in Iraq, how will that resonate with Sunnis who may also be quite religious? What I am asking is, is there such a thing as separate strains of “Sunni Sharia” and “Shia Sharia”, and if so, how important are the differences between them? Is it possible to reach a compromise?

Also, how fanatical would the Islamists be in implementing their vision? Do you think that they might accept a live and let live attitude with say, secular Iraqis and Christians, as long as these groups do not cause friction, or do you feel that behaviour and dress codes etc will be dictated ?


Émigré --

Hullo there! Good to see you around. Post more often. ;)


This Anonymous post is the sort of thing that riles me up, though:

“More and more, your posts lack believability. You attempt to speak with a neutral voice of wisdom, but an agenda bleeds through your words. You attack what you don't know from real experience, while somehow patronizing the western reader at the same time.”

First off, he criticizes our host for an “agenda”.

This presumably, is an agenda to manipulate innocent minds (anonymous does not say for what, though) through utilizing an objective stance. Let me be blunt. Abu Khaleel has seen his country beaten into the mud by a foreign occupier. If I were him, I’d probably be arguing with bullets, not words. It is a testimony to his intelligence and restraint that we are able to conduct this sort of civilized debate. It is remarkable that he tries hard to incorporate the opposing view into his posts. Yes, he would like to see the US out of Iraq. I do believe that most Americans would like to see that too. Is it unreasonable to try and find a middle ground that would have that result, while leaving Iraq intact and independent? I don’t think so.

Secondly, I find it extremely ironic that you say he attacks what he does not understand (electoral process? America? Democracy?) when the US was quite happy to traipse into Iraq not understanding Iraqis, their society, their reactions or what they wanted. The US was quite happy to patronize Arabs and to speak on their behalf, and to assume it knew better than the dwellers of Iraq what Iraq needed. Gee, I don’t suppose you see the irony. I do, however.

Charles --

A comment on Muqtada Al Sadr: he is indeed not respected that much theologically, even though his father was quite an important figure … however, his approval rating amongst the ‘common’ Iraqis seems to be quite high. Don’t discount him.
 
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Abu Katya
My reference to Al-Sadr was to his future potential. He is not respected now because of his age. But he is followed because of his father. He milks that very well. But in say 20 years time he may well turn into a far more significant force. No he was not on Sistani's list but they included some of his people on the list. There is talk now that ministers in the next interim government do not have to be elected. This opens the door for Muqtada and the Sunni Islamists.
Sistani is playing the long term game. He is full of compromise at the moment. But his heart is set on just one issue, that of including that sentence about Islam being source of all law. He may well get it in return for compromises over ministerial jobs, Kurdish autonomy etc.

Insurgency is same as before. Slight imporovement in fuel supplies and electricity (very slight). Reduction in normal crime (kidnappings and armed robbery). I heard one speach by a Baathist insurgent who went after Zarqawi accusing him of falsly attempting to lead the resistance and for causing sectarian strife. So signs of a split perhaps.

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

Anon 9.09AM
Personally I attribute the rise of the Mullahs to the sanction years where people lost hope and religion became a last resort as well as to the increase in illiteracy (5% in 1989 to 45% now). These are dynamic factors that will change in time towards more secularism. The reason lists 324 and 158 etc did not do well is because of lack of funds. It is said that Allawi's TV campaign alone cost $200m... I wonder if that was Amercian tax payer money or Iraqi oil revenues, but that is another story.
As for pessimissm and optimism, Iraq is already a squalid backwater like Sudan (if not worse) and has been for the last 10 years. So things can only get better!! But I leave you with another source of optimism. Deep inside the Alliance list (169) lurks 30% of names belonging to the Dawa party. They are the joker in the pack. They are almost secular and certainly would not entertain Sharia law or ayatullah rule. So much so there is even talk of a major split in the Alliance list emerging anytime soon. Just keep an eye on the battle for the PM post.... especially the gender of the winner!!!!
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,

I hope I don't bore you, but here is some more about the Marquis DeLafayette of France.
I thought his story would be inspiring to you because you do appreciate some of Americas original thinkers and activists. The Marquis' life was inspiring to me as an American and I just learned of him in my adulthood.

He came to America as a teenager just because he simply believed in freedom for mankind. Even though he was wealthy! He asked to be in the regular army without rank or pay even though he had experience and rank in Europe. The Americans realized his abilities and gave him good rank.
As i have said, George Washington who had no biological son bonded strongly with the Marquis. There is so much to tell of this freedom fighter.
When he went back to France as all good people seem to, he was jailed eventually there under Napoleon. George Washington gave safe haven to the Marquis's son George. American diplomats helped to free the Marquis through their writings to the French authorities.

Anyway, my point is if a teenager who so believed in the struggle of a country across an ocean with a different language could do so much for it plus go on to write and influence against slavery and tyranny in his old age, each Iraqi can contribute so much in many ways big and small to your beautiful Iraq.

For my part, if I did not have three children and a husband I would find a way to be more closely helping Iraq. But what I can do now is dialogue with you. What I can do is give you hope and please don't stop hoping or believing in grand ideals. There were all kinds of cynics during the forming of my country and yours. But they are not the ones who can say they did something beneficial.
I am better involved in politics latley so that maybe, just maybe our two countries can heal. Someday even together.
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,

I hope I don't bore you, but here is some more about the Marquis DeLafayette of France.
I thought his story would be inspiring to you because you do appreciate some of Americas original thinkers and activists. The Marquis' life was inspiring to me as an American and I just learned of him in my adulthood.

He came to America as a teenager just because he simply believed in freedom for mankind. Even though he was wealthy! He asked to be in the regular army without rank or pay even though he had experience and rank in Europe. The Americans realized his abilities and gave him good rank.
As i have said, George Washington who had no biological son bonded strongly with the Marquis. There is so much to tell of this freedom fighter.
When he went back to France as all good people seem to, he was jailed eventually there under Napoleon. George Washington gave safe haven to the Marquis's son George. American diplomats helped to free the Marquis through their writings to the French authorities.

Anyway, my point is if a teenager who so believed in the struggle of a country across an ocean with a different language could do so much for it plus go on to write and influence against slavery and tyranny in his old age, each Iraqi can contribute so much in many ways big and small to your beautiful Iraq.

For my part, if I did not have three children and a husband I would find a way to be more closely helping Iraq. But what I can do now is dialogue with you. What I can do is give you hope and please don't stop hoping or believing in grand ideals. There were all kinds of cynics during the forming of my country and yours. But they are not the ones who can say they did something beneficial.
I am better involved in politics latley so that maybe, just maybe our two countries can heal. Someday even together.
 
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And one more thing, you are an excellent writer Abu Khaleel. It is an honor to give you my opinion and I don't even think I deserve to have you read it.
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,

I found this website today: http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/02/good-news-from-afghanistan-part-9.html

It is a US right-wing blog, but the report is about what's happening in Afghanistan and it seems to be well written with good data.

And it looks like pretty good news. Of course, there is nothing substantive about the opium trade, and last decade that was a major conduit for CIA under-table financing. Since the CIA seems to be out of the loop, maybe it's now Pentagon-based, or maybe it really is just private enterprise let loose and that is an old, familier crop in that country. But leaving that aside, it really does look much better than I have been imagining - considering there is almost news coverage for us in the west about it.

Maybe, maybe, maybe Iraq will get better news like that on some fronts if the violence starts to go down....

All the best,

A. Howes, Canada.
 
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@Tharp

"I found this website today: http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/02/good-news-from-afghanistan-part-9.html"

Nice job! It makes sense to consider other points of view. There are many decent blogs out there that do not spout the usual doom and gloom conspiracy theories. Browse through the blog rolls and click away - you will be off on an eye opening adventure!

"It is a US right-wing blog"

I thought he was a polish aussie?

"and last decade that was a major conduit for CIA under-table financing. Since the CIA seems to be out of the loop, maybe it's now Pentagon-based"

Oh - ha - ho - heee.

"Maybe, maybe, maybe Iraq will get better news like that on some fronts if the 'violence' starts to go down...."

Iraq WILL get better. Believe it!

And I just love the way the word 'violence' is often used - as if it is some ambiguous neutral force that sometimes just rains down on innocent people. Unfortunately, the violence here is very deliberate. It is absolutely premeditated. It is carefully planned and executed and its goal is to terrorize.

The argument that the terrorists were really just freedom fighters, while wrong from the beginning, is now debunked. Anyone willing to engage in the difficult task of building a new Iraq is invited. All those who prefer violent provocation and terror must be confronted and destroyed.
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel:

I think you know "Iraq Patriotic Aliance" as well as Shaik Jawad al-Khalesi, a renowned [Shiite] Muslim scholar and the leader of a multi-party coalition boycotting the elections in Iraq.

Al-Khalesi and Sammi Alaa, a militant of "IPA" were in Porto Alegre, Brazil, participating in the World Social Forum. I met your contryman, Alaa. Whith the support of some Brazilian, Argentinian and American organizations, we organized a sucessful march. As both a demonstrator and a witness, I took some photos.

In Iraq-war, we published two news about it, with the photos:

World Social Forum: Anti-war support for Iraqi resistance strong.

Iraqi Resistance demo challenges WSF in Porto Alegre.

I invite you to read both.

Now, we (I and many of my contrymen) are trying to organize in all capitals of Brazil, at 19-20 March, the most ample manifestations with all Brazilian people who are anti-war and for the peace in the world. Inside this movement, we are trying to organize all the people who are for the unconditional support of Iraqi Resistance and for the defection of USA Empire enterprise in Iraq.

Thank you in advance,

Alvaro Frota
------------
Charles: I bag you to refrain from trolling this particular comment in Abu's blog. Thank you in advance too.
 
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OK

;-)

Workers of the world...
 
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Abu Hadi --

“I heard one speach by a Baathist insurgent who went after Zarqawi accusing him of falsly attempting to lead the resistance and for causing sectarian strife.”


Now this is interesting. I have read elsewhere that the home grown Iraqi resistance (Baathist or otherwise) was getting fed up with the Zarqawi types. Could you elaborate on this, please?

Charles --

“ [the violence] It is carefully planned and executed and its goal is to terrorize.

The argument that the terrorists were really just freedom fighters, while wrong from the beginning, is now debunked.”

Yes, I agree with you.

The American actions like “Shock and Awe” were indeed carefully planned to terrorise Iraqis into submission, and the Orwellian nightmare that Fallujah has been turned into debunks the fact that it is there for “freedom”. Not to mention the pathological insistence that there will be US bases in Iraq. These terrorists must be dealt with.


Alvaro --

Hmm. You are a lot more organized than I thought. Congratulations on your efforts.
 
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Abu Hadi --

“I heard one speach by a Baathist insurgent who went after Zarqawi accusing him of falsly attempting to lead the resistance and for causing sectarian strife.”


Now this is interesting. I have read elsewhere that the home grown Iraqi resistance (Baathist or otherwise) was getting fed up with the Zarqawi types. Could you elaborate on this, please?

Charles --

“ [the violence] It is carefully planned and executed and its goal is to terrorize.

The argument that the terrorists were really just freedom fighters, while wrong from the beginning, is now debunked.”

Yes, I agree with you.

The American actions like “Shock and Awe” were indeed carefully planned to terrorise Iraqis into submission, and the Orwellian nightmare that Fallujah has been turned into debunks the fact that it is there for “freedom”. Not to mention the pathological insistence that there will be US bases in Iraq. These terrorists must be dealt with.


Alvaro --

Hmm. You are a lot more organized than I thought. Congratulations on your efforts.
 
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Questions for Abu Khaleel and Abu Hadi:

It is starting to seem as if the next target of the Americans will be Iran.

We've gotten a statement from Rice that there are she does not have any plans at this time to use military force against Iran.

This parallel's Bush's claim that there were no plans to invade Iraq "on his desk" in late 2002.

Bush has told members of the press that there are no good options for use against Iran which led those members of the press to understand that Bush is considering one of the bad options - a military strike against Iran.

For the US to be considering strikes against Iran, presumably staged from Iraq and certainly over supposedly sovereign Iraqi airspace at the very least makes it clear that regardless of their "victory" in the elections, the Southern Iraqis, who are the most pro-Iranian segment of Iraq, will not be in power in any real sense.

We can call this another lesson for Sistani and the world about US-style democracy in the Middle East. File it with Afghanistan, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and the others.

But if I understand correctly, the least pro-Iranian segment in Iraq is the population that lives in Central Iraq.

What would your thoughts be on the US imposing sanctions on Iran and enforcing those sanctions from Iraq?

How would you feel about Iraq playing the role in Iran's regime change that Kuwait played in Iraq's regime change?

How many Iraqis would you estimate would support Iraqi assistance in aggression against Iran?
 
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The previous question about Iraqi cooperation with measures against Iran was asked by Mr. Democracy.
 
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The Quietest"Sayyid Sistani knows about the French Revolution, the American Revolution. He had read about the election in East Timor," Shahristani, the nuclear scientist, said. "I remember when I went to see him, I joked and said how impressed I was at how much he had read.""

"A cleric friend said Sistani had readied himself to wrestle with constitutional principles. "He is knowledgeable about the American, French and German constitutions and the British unwritten constitution," said Sheik Jalaludin Saghir, the chief cleric at the Bratha mosque in Baghdad, one of the city's largest Shiite mosques."
Los Angeles Times Feb. 5, 2005
---------
Could you come to accept Sistani as a Founding Father?
 
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Mr Democracy (Abu Demo?)

"What would your thoughts be on the US imposing sanctions on Iran and enforcing those sanctions from Iraq?
How would you feel about Iraq playing the role in Iran's regime change that Kuwait played in Iraq's regime change?"

Nice loaded questions:-) It would take too much space to give it any justice. So I will just give you a list of thoughts that crossed my mind when I read your questions.

1) There is a deep de ja vu feeling when I hear the various pronouncements by the US administration on Iran. It really feels like what they said about Iraq all over again. I wouldn't wish it to any other country to be liberated (aka WMD stripped) ever again the same way Iraq was.

2) Iraq has been a launch pad for insurgency against the Iranian regime eversince the early 1980s. Mujahidi Khalq had between 10,000-20,000 fighters based in Iraq and well looked after by the previous regime. There is a big story here because these people took part in crushing the Iraqi uprising back in 1991. In 2003 some Badr forces had a go at shelling their camps but the US army intervened to stop them. Then they were stripped from heavy weapons (Saddam gave them tanks and artillery). They were then declared as a terrorist organisation by the the US government, only to be retracted. I am not sure where and what they are doing these days. Their leadership operates out of France.

3) When Iraq was under sanctions all neighbouring countries especially Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran benefited immensly from the smuggling trade. Perhaps it would be Iraq's turn to do smart business if Iran is put under sanctions.

4) Just in the past 22 months, Some 2m Iranian visitors came to Iraq to visit the holly shrines. The income to Iraq from religious tourism is serious money and can possibly be future alternative to oil. Any sanctions/war is bound to impact this source of revenue to Iraq.

5) Iraqis have enough problems on our plate to last us 100 years. Getting involved in troubles with neighbours is hardly helpful. So I wish if they'd use Afghanistan for any action against Iran.

6) On the wider picture, we are living under the threat of the Israeli nuclear bomb. With nutters like Sharon around anything is possible. Hence the Middle East needs a balance of power with Israel. Who knows it may focus their mind to make peace as it did with India/Pakistan. Provided they don't assasinate all Iraqi scientists (someone is trying to do just that now), then Iraq has a business opportunity to sell consultancy services here;-)

It would be a stupid thing to attack Iran. Even more stupid if an Iraqi government blesses the action.... Me thinks.
 
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Abu Hadi,

Are you saying you would not feel threatened if nuclear weapons were in the hands of the Iranian theocracy?

Are you saying Israel is more of a threat to Iraq than Iran?

Are you saying that if Iran acquired nuclear weapons that Iraq would not feel compelled to arm herself to the same degree?

Are you saying that Iraq would feel secure under the umbrella of Iran's nuclear defensive shield?

Are you saying that if Iran acquire nuclear weapons that there would not be an arms race* within the region - whether it be it Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey? Would the pursuit and acquistion of nuclear weapons not bankrupt the region or be a tremendous misapplication of resources?

(*An arms race to greater degree than what currently prevails in the region - I notice Russia and France have been dropping by the region - shoring up buddies, exploring new markets. And, no doubt, our own arms merchants are itching to cash in.)
 
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Abu Hadi,

Maybe I'm just an ignorant fellow from New Hampshire, but don't you think that an Iranian bomb would be incredibly dangerous? MAD worked between US/USSR because deep down neither side wanted to be vaporized. Does that work with Iran? I thought they DID (still) want to vaporize Isreal? I thought they were Islamic Fundamentalists who think killing infidels and blowing yourself up in the process will get you laid 'big time' up there with the virgins...

Or is that all just talk - and they are really reasonable and decent folks? Their ideology, and their support for terrorism and martyrdom, really makes people concerned in the US. They need to come clean one way or the other. If they insist on being fanatics, then they just can't have the bomb. We already know what a teenager wrapped in TNT sticks can do. Imagine if entire cities could be destroyed - all for 'allah.'

I suppose we could debate the merits of the issue one way or the other - but keep in mind that this is quite serious. It would be unfortunate if things got out of hand. I would imagine the Isreali's would act first - since Iran has promised to destroy them at first opportunity.

Unless Iran renounces its aggression toward Isreal and makes a formal peace - then I would consider pre-emptive strikes by Isreal to be self defense.

Can you see the logic? Iran's public policy is to destroy Isreal. If they have the bomb that's a real possibility. MAD won't work because the mullah's might just think that martyring themselves (and all their citizens) is a reasonable sacrifice to rid the world of Isreal...

Or am I just being paranoid - eh? Tell me they are really decent folks who never meant what they said...
 
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Abu Hadi and Abu Khaleel:

From what you've seen and experienced, is there any constituency in Iraq that would be happy to see Iraq help the US put Iran through what Iraq is going through?

I'm assuming many Shia have ties to Iran and would be strongly opposed. (Some democracy :) )

But to what degree do other Iraqis perceive tension and/or rivalry with Iran?

Would staging attacks from Iraq have any support at all?
 
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The previous clarification of the question regarding whether or not there are any groups of Iraqis that would be happy to see Iraq used in an attack on Iran was posted by Mr. Democracy.
 
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"Maybe I'm just an ignorant fellow from New Hampshire..."
Charles, Charles, it’s entirely possible.
Apologies to Abu for wandering far from the topic of his post but the tone of your comment really upsets me, Charles. Consider:
(a) There is supposedly some unrest or agitation for greater secularity in Iran, but by the sound of it not of great significance. As the 1980’s Gulf War showed, the Iranians are not afraid of sacrifice in defence of their country. It’s basically a unified state, not divided like Iraq. It’s four times bigger than Iraq, with three times the population. It possesses considerable conventional armament. It could not be defeated militarily by a quick "shock and awe" campaign like Iraq was - a long campaign of occupation would be needed, and would probably be bitterly opposed. So despite the occasional bit of aggressive bravado from the White House, I would say that there is absolutely no prospect of a US invasion of Iran from Iraq. What Army would you use? The present one is stretched to the limit in Iraq already, and the best hope there is for a slow reduction of the insurgency. You’d be most unlikely to get any coalition partners at all. And China might get a bit upset at interruption of its gas supply, and unload its dollar holdings, which would send your economy rapidly downhill.
(b) Therefore any pre-emptive action would have to be in the form of air strikes against supposed nuclear plants. I gather there’s quite a few of them, most genuine power-production facilities with the naughty ones, if there are any, not signposted "bomb here." If US "intelligence" on Iran is anything like it was on Iraq’s WMD’s, the chances of hitting anything significant are pretty low. All that would be achieved would be to stir things up, so that the border with Iraq would become a volatile area, on the unproven assumption that Iran might be heading towards testing one bomb, which if it worked might lead them to make more, which they then might use against Israel, if they had a way to deliver them, but which they would never get as far as the US. Meanwhile the EU is working steadily and sensibly to promote Iranian openness about its capabilities and intentions, and would certainly not object if the US were to join them in this.
But just for the sake of a lot of "mights" and "possiblys" (not even probablys) you would apparently quite happily plunge the Middle East into more chaos.
"Or am I just being paranoid - eh? Tell me they are really decent folks who never meant what they said..."
When was the last time the Iranian Government threatened to attack someone? Never mind extremist fundamentalist clerics (you’ve got those in the US too, you know, of the Christian variety) there is actually a civil government there.
I like to read the Lonely Planet Travel Guidebooks. The latest one on Iran makes it sound like a perfectly safe destination for tourists, with very friendly and helpful people.
Why destroy that for the sake of a remote possibility of a threat?
Circular
Oh yeah, and why do you always invariably have to find an attack in anything anyone says. I never actually wrote anything about my daughter working in "genetic modification," she doesn’t, nor did I write anything comparing US and EU attitudes towards GM. Why always this aggressiveness?
 
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I was in a foul mood when I wrote this post. I was angry and disappointed (mainly at the disfigured newborn and at the US administration’s political architects) and I guess it showed.

Over the past few days, my mind kept going back to an Egyptian national hero who lived early in the last century. His name was Saad Zaghlool - a nationalistic patriot who fought the British domination of Egypt politically and left his mark on Egyptian politics. He was much respected by most of the people as well as the political forces at the time.

I had a dear old friend, now dead, who lived for some time in Egypt. He used to say that Saad, in his last moments, a sad old man, was a home in Alexandria. He turned his back to Egypt, faced the Mediterranean and said to his old sister: “Saneyyah, give me the blanket. It’s no use!” He sat on a chair, wrapped in that blanket, his back to Egypt, and quietly died.

Today, you still find high regard for the memory of Saad Zaghlool in Egypt. The spirit of that honorable old man lives on, long after his death. (Thomas Payne?)

When I am in such a black mood, I always remind myself that after Zaghlool, Eygpt, an old and a resilient country, refused to die quietly. Even today, faced with an enormous onslaught of forces of decay, Egypt refuses to die!

Anyway, back to the present! As usual, regular comment posters have successfully ‘derailed’ the forum from what I wanted to discuss to what occupies their minds more. Perhaps this is the way it should be anyway :)

Thank you for such a wide spread of views in so many different comments based on widely different perspectives. So much food for thought... as well as some touching sentiments. Your comments actually portray my own reluctance to post over the past few days: So many new concerns, so many new contradictory signals and, as Abu Hadi puts it, so much ‘horse trading’.

Sunni life under Shiite rule; Islam and democracy; Islam and science; Iraqis and religion and nationalism; Iraq and Iran; the Iraqi Shiites and Iran; the enigma called Sistani; and of course the question of religion and terrorism (which I once promised to come back to!) etc etc.

At the moment, I am contemplating all these issues trying to determine how best to go about discussing some of them… and frankly I haven’t a clue… not for want of things to say, on the contrary! I will try to look into this comment section later on tonight or tomorrow, and I would be most grateful for any input. One thing is certain: I will try not to discuss the ‘horse trading’; I have a healthy detestation of the whole subject.
 
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I was in a foul mood when I wrote this post. I was angry and disappointed (mainly at the disfigured newborn and at the US administration’s political architects) and I guess it showed.

Over the past few days, my mind kept going back to an Egyptian national hero who lived early in the last century. His name was Saad Zaghlool - a nationalistic patriot who fought the British domination of Egypt politically and left his mark on Egyptian politics. He was much respected by most of the people as well as the political forces at the time.

I had a dear old friend, now dead, who lived for some time in Egypt. He used to say that Saad, in his last moments, a sad old man, was a home in Alexandria. He turned his back to Egypt, faced the Mediterranean and said to his old sister: “Saneyyah, give me the blanket. It’s no use!” He sat on a chair, wrapped in that blanket, his back to Egypt, and quietly died.

Today, you still find high regard for the memory of Saad Zaghlool in Egypt. The spirit of that honorable old man lives on, long after his death. (Thomas Payne?)

When I am in such a black mood, I always remind myself that after Zaghlool, Eygpt, an old and a resilient country, refused to die quietly. Even today, faced with an enormous onslaught of forces of decay, Egypt refuses to die!

Anyway, back to the present! As usual, regular comment posters have successfully ‘derailed’ the forum from what I wanted to discuss to what occupies their minds more. Perhaps this is the way it should be anyway :)

Thank you for such a wide spread of views in so many different comments based on widely different perspectives. So much food for thought... as well as some touching sentiments. Your comments actually portray my own reluctance to post over the past few days: So many new concerns, so many new contradictory signals and, as Abu Hadi puts it, so much ‘horse trading’.

Sunni life under Shiite rule; Islam and democracy; Islam and science; Iraqis and religion and nationalism; Iraq and Iran; the Iraqi Shiites and Iran; the enigma called Sistani; and of course the question of religion and terrorism (which I once promised to come back to!) etc etc.

At the moment, I am contemplating all these issues trying to determine how best to go about discussing some of them… and frankly I haven’t a clue… not for want of things to say, on the contrary! I will try to look into this comment section later on tonight or tomorrow, and I would be most grateful for any input. One thing is certain: I will try not to discuss the ‘horse trading’; I have a healthy detestation of the whole subject.
 
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On Iran –


I can quite understand people like Charles being concerned about Iran having the nuclear bomb. Let us forget legalistic arguments, and focus on the realities of the situation. The reverse of the situation is also true: that Israel is a premier enemy of Iran, and why should Iran not have nukes to protect ITSELF against Israel? Looking at history, the Iranians have been on the receiving end of: British, US, Iraqi and now again, it seems, US aggression. Quite frankly I don’t blame them for wanting the Bomb.

The whole “terrorism” angle is quite frankly starting to stink.

“Terrorist” groups depend upon their “terrorist” status from which country they are viewed. The MEK, for example, was used by Saddam vs Iran. It was then disarmed by the US and declared a terrorist organization. Now that status seems to have quietly been dropped, and the MEK is going to be armed by the US again. The Contras were armed and directed by the US.

I am for non proliferation, BUT … if non proliferation is going to be used in a selective hypocritical fashion in order to keep the power balance tipped firmly in the camp of “approved” countries – then I am all for an Iranian bomb. An invasion of Iran is on the cards, and if the Bomb is what keeps them safe, then they must have it.

(And, the “they are crazy” angle cuts no ice with me. If Stalin and the USSR hardliners never had the balls to use it, and if even Hitler understood the essential underlying principle of MAD … then I doubt strongly that the Iranians will want to turn Tehran into a glass lake for the sake of whacking Israel. Furthermore, Pakistan, a country full of Muslim radicals, has had The Bomb for quite a while, and has not used it.)

Basic message?

Don’t put people under pressure, and you will find they don’t *need * NBC weaponry.
 
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@ Circular

"I would say that there is absolutely no prospect of a US invasion of Iran from Iraq."

You are probably right.

"on the unproven assumption that Iran might be heading towards testing one bomb,"

You are kidding, right? Its one thing to support their right to have a bomb because you think its a good thing - its another entirely to pretend they are not trying to get one. Please clarify your position.

"which if it worked might lead them to make more, which they then might use against Israel, if they had a way to deliver them, but which they would never get as far as the US."

Due to proximity, how much warning would Isreal have if Iran decided to launch an attack? 5 minutes?

"Meanwhile the EU is working steadily and sensibly to promote Iranian openness about its capabilities and intentions, and would certainly not object if the US were to join them in this."

? If you equate 'sensible' with non-confrontational appeasement, then you are correct. They are certainly not doing anything to slow down the process of armament. Maybe that's ok - but don't pretend otherwise.

I'm not saying it would be a good thing to attack Iran. I have nothing against the Iranians in general. I just wanted to point out the concerns that might lead to escalation of conflict.

"When was the last time the Iranian Government threatened to attack someone?"

I thought they had an openly declared policy re: Isreal. Covertly, aren't they one of the largest sponsors of terrorism in the world? Heck, sponsoring terrorist groups used to be an overt line item in their budget.

"Why destroy that for the sake of a remote possibility of a threat?"

As per above, please clarify. On the one hand you seem to support the position that they are in fact not working on bomb. Or you might take the argument that the bomb is ok, cause they would never use it. Which is it?

"Oh yeah, and why do you always invariably have to find an attack in anything anyone says."

Me??? Did I misunderstand something you wrote?

"I never actually wrote anything about my daughter working in "genetic modification," she doesn’t, nor did I write anything comparing US and EU attitudes towards GM."

Oh. I guess I did misunderstand. I thought you wrote something about your daughter being unable to conduct genetic research here in US because we don't believe in science...
 
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Hello Bruno,
This hysterical propaganda campaign against the Islamic Republic( notice how all of Bush's propaganda is hysterical--coming straight out of the US Jewish lobby)is really getting nauseous. It's perfectly reasonable for Iran, with declining oil reserves to want nuclear technology. A few weeks ago the Iranians were talking very nicely not only to the UN and Europe but even to the US and putting out peace feelers. Then comes in Condo Rice squashing all that optimism with her unintelligible 'double-talk'. OTH, the 'exporter' of nuclear weapons technology-North Korea, who supplied Pakistan and Libya with their equipment is being ignored as the Russian and Chinese 'parallel'negotiations with totalitarian North Korea are going nowhere.
It's time everyone just ignored the warmongering Bush and got on with business. Hopefully he'll just go away.
 
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I think if we look at things realistically, we must accept that continued proliferation is just a fact of life. Its that whole 'genie/bottle' thing.

So what do we do?

One objective problem of proliferation is the fact that the higher the rate of dispersion, the greater the likelihood that weapons/technology could fall into the wrong hands. Assuming (!) that nation states are 'responsible' entities who would not use these weapons, we must acknowledge that there are fanatical groups/individuals who would. Proliferation directly increases their potential capability.

So what strategy should be used to confront this new threat and new fact of life?

Mutual assured destruction will work with nation states. At least it worked in the past. But what about individuals/groups who would gladly martyr themselves in some apocolyptic ecstacy?

We must establish some hideous policy of confrontation that would force countries with nuclear ambitions to be VERY careful and exert extensive and pervasive control over the technology/materials.

How about neo-MADism? Something along the lines of - if we are attacked with WMD/nuclear/radiological weapons, we will immediately retaliate and completely annihilate any country we consider might be responsible.

Does that sound to harsh?

Dirty bomb goes off in NYC, and NK and Iran get turned into glass.

WDYT?
 
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Re all things Iranian.
I think Circular and Bruno have already mentioned all the arguments I would have made. If we go strictly by results, then the major threats to Iraq are in the order of 1) Electricity/water/sewage 2) Islamic terrorism 3) USA 4) Israel 5) Iran 6) Native mafia 7) Turkey 8) Ahmad Alchalabi:-)

Abu Khaleel
You are picking a huge number of topics. Since you are very good at linking, how about using an example of an incident to draw from it wider conclusions?
A good example is the assasination of Abdul Husain Khazal. A member of the Dawa party in Basra, head of communications at the local council, correspondent to the American TV AlHurra and Radio Sawa. For an added intrigue he was killed by a group calling itself Imam AlHassan AlBasri Brigades!! Discuss.
 
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Do not attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once.
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,

They are right--do not write on both sides of the paper at once, you might get pricked.

Now it is my turn to be in a dark mood. With more Iraqi police killed in a shootout today so bad that their compatriots can't get to them and 20 truck drivers killed and dumped by the roadside I am furious my Government lied to us Americans and is adding to the huge death toll of Iraqis as well as my countrymen. This never had to happen. I feel so helpless.
 
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Slightly off-topic enquiry, but while we're waiting for Abu's next post someone knowledgable might like to respond.
I know that things are meant to happen within a certain time-frame, e.g. two weeks for the Assembly to choose the Presidential Council, etc, but is this controlled or mandatory, is it enforceable?
I'm thinking of the first MMP (proportional) election here back in the 1990's, when neither major party could form a majority by itself, and the balance of power was held by a third party. Its leader was an egotistical populist who kept the whole country waiting for 6 weeks while he dithered and negotiated before finally coming to an arrangement (not quite a coalition) with one of the main parties.
Could something similar happen in Iraq?
 
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That was me - Circular
 
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Charles --

On your MAD proposal.

“Dirty bomb goes off in NYC, and NK and Iran get turned into glass.”

Assuming of course, that it is proved that NK / Iran are responsible, I have to agree with that. Fair’s fair. I would not say that eliminating the entire country is fair, but turning Tehran into a mirror would be justified.

(Even if the old maxim of two wrongs don’t make a right is true, I can just imagine how *I* would feel if my family was vapourised. I’d push the red button with a goddamn hammer.)

I’m fully confident that, the same way the US will not go to war with a nuclear armed Iran, Iran will never risk using a nuclear weapon against somebody who can respond in like method. (It is ironic the way in which the most destructive weapon ever made can by a tool for peace in this aspect, no?)

Charles, maybe right after the Islamic Revolution under Khomenei I would have agreed that the Iranians *might* have done the old “out in a flash of glory” routine.

But that fervour and anger has largely dissipated, and the country is far too stable, civilized and developed to contemplate this route. Read the Brooding Persian blog for an example of an Iranian intellectual, and tell me people like that are willing to off themselves just for the sake of hitting Israel.

Oh, and as a matter of fact, I do believe it was the USA that kicked off their nuclear program in the first place, so that domestic power could be produced without burning precious oil, which is a major source of revenue. The same arguments used to persuade them to adopt nuclear power are dismissed out of hand now. Strange, huh?

NB! It IS also debatable as to whether Iran is ABLE to produce the Bomb, and whether they are directing their efforts to that end. For those that are interested, these are extracts from an interesting article I found a while back:


Is Iran Building Nukes? An Analysis
Pacific News Service, William O. Beeman and Thomas Stauffer,
News Analysis, Jun 26, 2003



State Department accusations of dangerous Iranian intentions for the Natanz and Arak facilities are based on a patchwork of untestable, murky assertions from dubious sources, including the People's Mujahedeen (Mujahedeen-e Khalq, MEK or MKO), which the United States identifies as a terrorist organization. These sources assert that there are centrifuges for enriching uranium (an alternative to fissile plutonium for bombs) or covert facilities for extracting plutonium. Neither of these claims are especially credible, since the sources are either unidentified or are the same channels which disseminated the stories about Iraq's non-conventional weapons or the so-called chemical and biological weapons plant in Khartoum.

The testable part of the claim -- that the Bushehr reactor is a proliferation threat -- is demonstrably false. There are several reasons, some technical, some institutional.

--The Iranian reactor yields the wrong kind of plutonium for making bombs.

--The spent fuel pins in the Iranian reactor would, in any case, be too dangerous to handle for weapons manufacture.

--Any attempt to divert fuel from the Iranian plant will be detectable.

--The Russian partners in the Bushehr project have stipulated that the fuel pins must be returned to Russia, as has been their practice worldwide for other export reactors.



The great irony in America's accusations is that Iran's nuclear program was first developed on the advice of American specialists, who urged the government of the Shah to begin producing nuclear power in order to save oil reserves for more lucrative purposes than fuel.

//end excerpt.


I heartily recommend Googling for, and reading the whole article. (Sorry, no links – it’s on my hard drive)
 
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Circular

"Could something similar happen in Iraq?"

Just a couple of thoughts about this question. First we too have many egotistical maniacs. But the difference here is that we are into unchartered waters from here on. So anything can happen.

Secondly, throughout the 1990s there were many attempts to hold big conferences for the opposition to unify behind an agenda. They all failed. In one famous conference they agreed the agenda then abandoned it when Islamic parties insisted on having the mantra (In the name of God, etc) written as a heading. The secularists refused and they all went home without issuing the document! Hence the recent collective decision making capability experience in the Governing Council surprised many Iraqis including myself. Not only that but they have shown remarkable knack to meet deadlines too. So perhaps there is hope a formula for the government can be found.
Mind you the cynic in me thinks if they cannot agree we are about to witness the birth of the world's largest cabinet made up of 275 ministries:-)

Hey this new comment page is an improvement.
 
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@ Bruno

"Assuming of course, that it is proved that NK / Iran are responsible, I have to agree with that. Fair’s fair. I would not say that eliminating the entire country is fair, but turning Tehran into a mirror would be justified."

You miss the point of MAD. It isn't fair. It isn't rational. It is supposed to scare the you know what out of the backside of everyone and give them cold shivers and nightmares. Neo-MADism is even worse. Because these 3rd world countries (4th in some cases) want to join the club, the equation changes dramatically. Neo-MADism now applies loosely to nation states who may be responsible (with or without intention) for proliferation of these weapons/materials to non-state agents. Imagine some radical scientists working for Iran who have their own ideas on how best to use these weapons? We already saw it in Pakistan.

The policy must be terrible and unpredictable enough to scare these governments straight and to crack down on radicals and exercise tight control.

MAD should not be proportional. It should be ABSOLUTE annihilation.

If it is reduced to a rational and proportional response, then that makes it possible to calculate cost/benefit.

The whole point og MAD is not to actually execute the destruction of another country, it is to avoid having to do so.

Once someone uses the bomb - I don't know what would happen. It doesn't make sense to kill millions of people. But we must posture that we will not hesitate. If something does happen, maybe it is actually in the interest of the world's future that someone does get incinerated to prove the point.

"(It is ironic the way in which the most destructive weapon ever made can by a tool for peace in this aspect, no?)"

It makes the world a hell of a lot more complicated and dangerous. Believe me. I grew up under the shadow of annihilation from soviet ICBM's. The soviets were predictable.

The Islamic bomb is more dangerous because of the radicals who might get access to materials and technology.
 
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Charles,
You are preposterously MAD(also insane). By your logic the US should give Iran nuclear bombs(something they very likely don't want)so that you can threaten them with nuclear annihilation. Try to make some intelligent suggestions or simply be quiet (for you a novelty). Stop grunting, freedom of speech is not freedom of noise!
 
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cold shivers and nightmaresLt. Col. Stanislav Petrov disobeyed his orders, defied military protocol and averted nuclear holocaust on September 26, 1983.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of politically unstable regimes such as Pakistan and North Korean terrify me. I can't help but believe that the Iranians are pursuing weapons out of ego rather than necessity. Fools.
 
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@ Nameless Anon

I hate to break it to you, but MAD is not something that I invented. It was the common policy of all nuclear states throughout the cold war (most notably US/USSR).

You are obviously ignorant of this fact, hence your personal attack on me.

Joining the nuclear club has some very serious membership costs. They aren't pretty. Having that kind of power is a huge responsibility. We have already seen that non-state agents who officially work for a state can proliferate technology (Pakistan). The state that gave them access to this technology is accountable. What alternative is there?

"By your logic the US should give Iran nuclear bombs(something they very likely don't want)so that you can threaten them with nuclear annihilation."

Sorry, but I didn't quite catch the logic behind your assertion. I don't think the US should give nuclear bombs/technology to Iran. I think the French/Russians have that covered. In an ideal world, if Iran wants to join the club, they need to understand the cost of membership. In the real world, there is also the minor fact that Iran actively sponsors groups who commit acts of terrorism against Isreal, and their national policy and political ideology seems bent on the destruction of Isreal.

Isreal is going to be quite concerned about Iran joining the club and may do something unpredictable. As far as I can tell, Iran going nuclear just increases danger in an already dangerous region.

"Stop grunting, freedom of speech is not freedom of noise!"

Uh-guh.
 
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Charles, he said STOP grunting!
 
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Dear Charles (Chuckles?),
Maybe you're talking about the period between 1945 and 1949 when the US had a monoploy on the bomb. Yeah, the time when the Commies took over half of Europe and all of China. Yeah, they were seriously detered. After Stalin got the bomb, the mutually assured destruction doctrine took off-no need during monopoly phase. Are talking about a nuclear monopoly against Islamic countries-also in the past( filled with radicals)? Pakistan is very interesting as the ISI security police also ran the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Then you said this:
"The policy must be terrible and unpredictable enough to scare these governments straight and to crack down on radicals"
To make it work you need a balance of terror, as in MAD.
If the Iranians have the bomb, they would tell us to stay the hell out of their territory and we would do the same. But this is not what you want either.
Actually, this is more Israel's fear than the US. Israel would love to have good relations with Iran, but the mullahs won't accept Israel(haram). So Israel will settle for fear and bad relations and simpleton Bush is using 'US capital' to push Israel's agenda.
So far Rice's murky diplomacy has lead to a North Korean claim of a bomb for self-defence, so Iran will probably be next. MAD is a rational doctrine.
 
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To the above,

It is not Condoleeza Rice's "murky" diplomacy that has led to N. Korea's claim of having nuclear weapons. She has just begun her position and b). they have been meaning to do this all along for leverage.
 
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@ Anon

"Maybe you're talking about the period between 1945 and 1949 when the US had a monoploy on the bomb."

I gather from your coments that you have NO IDEA what I am talking about.

Instead of a rant, why not try making a point? My point was simply that joining the nuclear club is not all fun and games. It makes the world more dangerous. Might there be benefits? Sure. Maybe. Are there terrible and catastrophic risks? Definitely.

"So far Rice's murky diplomacy has lead to a North Korean claim of a bomb for self-defence,"

Uh-guh. She's been in office for what - 3 weeks (you twit)?

The nice thing about NK is that now we can wash our hands of the matter. It would be a pointless waste of effort and a mistake to engage them. They have been deliberately lying about their program in an effort to blackmail countries into giving them money - aid. Now they have no carrots to offer. I feel bad for the NK people though. Grass soup is not very nourishing. Maybe China will take car of it.

"so Iran will probably be next. MAD is a rational doctrine."

But didn't you say they don't want weapons? :-)
 
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Abu Khaleel, Abu Khaleel,

Help uuuuuuuusssss!
 
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Anon and Charles,
"So far Rice's murky diplomacy has lead to a North Korean claim of a bomb for self-defence,".......
When asked about a possible US attack, Rice said,"The question is SIMPLY not on the agenda at this point".
Rather terrifying when you consider...
" In his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, President Bush called Iran "the world's primary state sponsor of terror."

"I gather from your coments that you have NO IDEA what I am talking about."
Just trying to make some sense out of your nonsense, Charles.

"My point was simply that joining the nuclear club is not all fun and games."
No game, nuclear bomb programs happen when countries are under threat of invasion.
"Uh-guh. She's been in office for what - 3 weeks (you twit)?"
Both Bush and Rice start off the new term with threats and the North Koreans got mad, nothing new, but it was a chance for a new
diplomatic opening. But you want to have a war(preferably nuclear), right?

"The nice thing about NK is that now we can wash our hands of the matter."
This is why I call you Chuckles.


But didn't you say they don't want weapons? :-)
I don't think they did but the logic of MAD will force them to defend themselves with nuclear weapons. Especially after just bluffing a la Saddam doesn't work with Bush.
 
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@ Anon

"Just trying to make some sense out of your nonsense, Charles."

Nice try. I'm sure you have good intentions. I still don't get your point.

"No game, nuclear bomb programs happen when countries are under threat of invasion."

The NK nuke program has been underway for decades. The threat of this program is the only reason anyone gives a hoot about NK. NK wants it as a tool of blackmail and to get concessions.

"But you want to have a war(preferably nuclear), right?"

What are you talking about?

"This is why I call you Chuckles."

OK - what's your proposal? Do you think it is a reasonable precedent to pay off countries who violated every rule in the book to acquire nuclear weapons? I certainly do not want to give NK anything. I think they made a big mistake.

"I don't think they did but the logic of MAD will force them to defend themselves with nuclear weapons."

Um. I think you misunderstood again. If you are not part of the nuclear club the rules don't apply to you. If Iran did not have a nuke capability, they would not be able to use them (they don't have them), meaning they would be under NO threat of nuclear retaliation a la 'assured destruction.'
 
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Charles,
In the mind of NK, they have been under attack for decades, at least that is what they tell their people. Why did they wait until now to come out with the provocative statement that they have weapons? Because of Bush's and Rice's murky, threatening rhetoric--my point. You're basically an empiricist so making connections is doubly hard with you. Or do you think that on-going sanctions are finally kicking in!

"OK - what's your proposal? Do you think it is a reasonable precedent to pay off countries who violated every rule in the book to acquire nuclear weapons? I certainly do not want to give NK anything. I think they made a big mistake."
Yes, you want to punish them, big surprise(you're Chuckles the Bad Clown persona)! But you're inconsistant what about proliferator Pakistan?
My proposal is to step back from the rhetorical pie throwing and let Iran enter the nuclear age under the IAEA. But you're too afraid of 'radicals' getting hold of a-bombs which becomes a self-fullfilling prophesy. If you want people to take responsibility you must give them respect.

"Um. I think you misunderstood again. If you are not part of the nuclear club the rules don't apply to you. If Iran did not have a nuke capability, they would not be able to use them (they don't have them), meaning they would be under NO threat of nuclear retaliation a la 'assured destruction.'"
LOL-Tell that to Saddam Hussein. True, to be a real member you have blow off an atom bomb. I'm not sure the North Koreans didn't do that as there was a very big explosion a few months ago which was quickly labeled as non-nuclear. Where as a smaller underground explosion by Pakistan was hailed as the Islamic bomb.
The problem with your theory comes when propaganda and poor intelligence makes arms verification a joke as in Iraq. The same elements are present in Iran now.
 
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@Anon

"Why did they wait until now to come out with the provocative statement that they have weapons?"

You could lose a lot of sleep wondering why the great leader comes out with provocative statements for as long as he has been in power. I don't think this is the first time he has mentioned nuclear weapons.

"Yes, you want to punish them"

No, I just don't think they should be REWARDED. I do not think we should REWARD them with aid. You did not respond to my previous question - What would you do with NK now?

"But you're inconsistant what about proliferator Pakistan?"

How so? You don't think Pakistan would be attacked if they decided to lob nuclear bombs at other countries?

"let Iran enter the nuclear age under the IAEA."

OK. As I said before (and I think you missed): 'I think if we look at things realistically, we must accept that continued proliferation is just a fact of life. Its that whole 'genie/bottle' thing.'

"If you want people to take responsibility you must give them respect."

Where do you draw the line and using what criteria? Should Ivory Coast or Sudan get the bomb too? Please clarify for me. I REALLY want to see your list! For you it seems to be a rhetorical issue. In about 10 years I will have to hand over the keys to the car to may daughter. It will make me nervous. But if she had promised to run over the first person she sees, would it be responsible of me to give her the keys?

I'm just saying that the world is going to be a far more dangerous place, existentially speaking, the more this technology proliferates. More dangerous not just for the evil US, and these new club members, but for the world as a whole. Humans make mistakes. Zealots don't always exercise the best judgement, etc., etc.

Anyway - back to Iraq:

Your freedom fighters have been quite active this week. Dozens and dozens of civilians killed! Congrats! The bakery job today was impressive - and the reporter with his 3 year old son - I especially like their tactic of blowing people up as they come out of places of worship! Now that's stickin it to 'em!
 
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Charles,
I am taking time to explain this to you because I hope you will reflect on the reckless course our country seems to be repeating in the spirit of honesty and true patriotism.


What would you do with NK now?
I would listen to their needs, as Clinton did and BUY their cooperation as Clinton did. I would not threaten them, but encourage them to allow full IAEA inspections and eventually request their nuclear disarmaments.
Why is this impossible? Open your mind!!!
"How so? You don't think Pakistan would be attacked if they decided to lob nuclear bombs at other countries?"
The only country that has used nuclear weapons is the USA. The Russians first put bombs on ballistic missiles, but testing a ballistic missle does not equal nuclear attack. Such a thing as you are suggesting has NEVER HAPPENED!

'I think if we look at things realistically, we must accept that continued proliferation is just a fact of life. Its that whole 'genie/bottle' thing.'
You are absolutely wrong about this. Under Clinton there was a massive reduction in US and Russian nukes and South Africa actually disarmed. Bush's tough talk has reversed things.

Where do you draw the line and using what criteria? Should Ivory Coast or Sudan get the bomb too? Please clarify for me. I REALLY want to see your list! For you it seems to be a rhetorical issue. In about 10 years I will have to hand over the keys to the car to may daughter. It will make me nervous. But if she had promised to run over the first person she sees, would it be responsible of me to give her the keys?
You're really shaking, Charles. I can see the fear. You are not being rational. Remember 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself'? Up to 911, things were very much improved. Also, I would like to see any evidence of Al Qaeda's WMDs. There are irrational fears as well as rational ones.

'I'm just saying that the world is going to be a far more dangerous place, existentially speaking, the more this technology proliferates. More dangerous not just for the evil US, and these new club members, but for the world as a whole. Humans make mistakes. Zealots don't always exercise the best judgement, etc., etc.'
You're still frightened Charles and you want the whole world to feel as you do. Europeans,etc. look at you and they are frightened of you( you are acting strangely and spouting gibberish)!
'Your freedom fighters have been quite active this week. Dozens and dozens of civilians killed! Congrats! The bakery job today was impressive - and the reporter with his 3 year old son - I especially like their tactic of blowing people up as they come out of places of worship! Now that's stickin it to 'em!'
You are angry that I am not as 'frightened' as you are. One reason is that I am not living in Iraq. I totally reject such heinous violence. I know that much of the violence has resulted from foreign fighters coming to Iraq to fight the US troops on behalf of the disenfranchaised baathists and the US military has not been able to stop it. We need to try reason and that starts with putting aside your paralyzing fears.
Americans seem to be more fearful by nature than other peoples so you must not ridicule them, but try to be sympathetic. Unfortunately when the leader is fearful as well, the flock is sucked into a mass psychosis.
 
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Charles on nuclear proliferation (how the hell did we get onto that?):
"I think if we look at things realistically, we must accept that continued proliferation is just a fact of life."
"I'm just saying that the world is going to be a far more dangerous place, existentially speaking, the more this technology proliferates."
Well that’s stating the blindingly obvious. What isn’t clear is what solution Charles advocates.
(a) The self-appointed world policeman should, at its discretion, bomb the bejasus out of any proliferating country that it chooses to.
(b) The self-appointed world policeman should work with other leading nations to defuse tensions
and suspicions that lead to proliferation.
(c) The citizens of the self-appointed world policeman, particularly those living in New Hampshire, should make loud indignant noises about terrorists and pointy-headed liberal leftists and Saddam sympathisers and ... and ... , thereby causing all the bombs to vanish.
(d) ?
(e) ??
Circular
 
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The only help I can give is to change the subject back to Iraq. I just did!
 
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@ Anon

"I would listen to their needs, as Clinton did and BUY their cooperation as Clinton did."

OK. You want to set precedent of paying off failed country who threatens region with nuclear weapons. BTW - Clinton did not buy their cooperation. He gave them money and they did not cooperate.

"I would not threaten them, but encourage them to allow full IAEA inspections and eventually request their nuclear disarmaments."

OK. We should talk nice to them (but not give them anything), and hopefully they will do a 180 and decide to disarm.

"Such a thing as you are suggesting has NEVER HAPPENED!"

If you mean nuclear attack - you are right. Things did get hairy a few times, but disaster was avoided. LEt's hope that the folks in charge of NK, Iran, Sudan, etc., bombs are able to avoid mistakes.

"Under Clinton there was a massive reduction in US and Russian nukes and South Africa actually disarmed."

But during that time NK, Iran, Pakistan, etc. were actively pursuing nuclear technology. It has nothing to do with Clinton or Bush. These countries think it is in their interest. It has nothing to do with who is in the White House.

"You're really shaking, Charles. I can see the fear. You are not being rational."

Ah - yeah. Thanks for the pop psycology analysis doc. Back to my question: where do you draw the line? Answer the question please. What criteria?

"(you are acting strangely and spouting gibberish)!"

Excellent analysis again. But you avoided my question. Please answer...

"foreign fighters coming to Iraq to fight the US troops on behalf of the disenfranchaised baathists"

Um, the best they can muster against US troops are IED's. They are attacking Iraqi civilians - bakeries, hospitals, mosques.
 
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Charles,
One more time...
"Where do you draw the line and using what criteria? Should Ivory Coast or Sudan get the bomb too? Please clarify for me. I REALLY want to see your list!"
Who should have the bomb?
Nobody, the goal should be disarmament. People who are threatened with atomic bombs will build atomic bombs. The US did so fearing a nazi bomb. The bomb which you like threatening people with is totally unethical, like mass murder, poison gas, germ warfare,etc. Fear of attack causes these bombs to be built, only reducing fear will stop the spiral.
Iran, Pakistan and North Korea( and Bush) need to understand that nukes will not help their fear problem, which they cannot attempt while they are under verbal assault.
 
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Charles,
One more time...
"Where do you draw the line and using what criteria? Should Ivory Coast or Sudan get the bomb too? Please clarify for me. I REALLY want to see your list!"
Who should have the bomb?
Nobody, the goal should be disarmament. People who are threatened with atomic bombs will build atomic bombs. The US did so fearing a nazi bomb. The bomb which you like threatening people with is totally unethical, like mass murder, poison gas, germ warfare,etc. Fear of attack causes these bombs to be built, only reducing fear will stop the spiral.
Iran, Pakistan and North Korea( and Bush) need to understand that nukes will not help their fear problem, which they cannot attempt while they are under verbal assault.
 
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@ Anon

"Who should have the bomb?"
"Nobody, the goal should be disarmament. People who are threatened with atomic bombs will build atomic bombs."

Now that's the kind of practical solution I like! The fact that the technology exists means that the threat will always be there. The genie won't go back in the bottle.

Seriously, you think its reasonable for Iran to have bomb. Who doesn't make your list? The arguments you use for Iran could be used by any country that wants the bomb. Maybe total proliferation IS a good thing and will lead to a more 'mature' world. I'm just trying to get my arms around your position. Since I'm not as smart as you just please spell it out for me in plain English.

Are there any countries you can think of whose acquisition of the bomb should be opposed? Opposed with nasty letters? Sanctions? Military force?

"The bomb which you like threatening people with"

I think you are confusing me with someone else. I never threatened to bomb anyone. If you are referring to the fact that I think retaliation in the event of an attack is reasonable, then yes, I'm guilty.

"Iran, Pakistan and North Korea( and Bush) need to understand that nukes will not help their fear problem, which they cannot attempt while they are under verbal assault."

I guess your basic premise is that this will all work out if we just 'do away' with armed conflict and violence.
 
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Charles,
"Now that's the kind of practical solution I like! The fact that the technology exists means that the threat will always be there. The genie won't go back in the bottle."
Wrong, the technology of making atom bombs isn't trivial (unlike poison gas and germ warfare). The expenditure is enormous and great will is required to sustain it (Libya dropped out). Perceived, long term external threats are needed to justify the cost.

"Seriously, you think its reasonable for Iran to have bomb. Who doesn't make your list?" Even America should not have the immoral bomb, can you live in a world where America doesn't have nuclear weapons?
"Maybe total proliferation IS a good thing and will lead to a more 'mature' world. I'm just trying to get my arms around your position.
Not my position, see "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb(1964)"
Are there any countries you can think of whose acquisition of the bomb should be opposed? Opposed with nasty letters? Sanctions? Military force?
None-America included, a-bombs are totally immoral WMDs. Seriously, can you trust a Frenchman with his finger on the button..mon dieu!

"If you are referring to the fact that I think retaliation in the event of an attack is reasonable, then yes, I'm guilty."
Earth to Charles, Earth to Charles..'there are NO such examples in human history!"

"I guess your basic premise is that this will all work out if we just 'do away' with armed conflict and violence."
Before Bush we were closer than you think. Most of the wars generated by the Cold War were dying down, Europe, the Far East, Latin America were largely demilitarized. The international arms trade was in crisis. As it turns out even Saddam disarmed (WMDs). It is cheaper, more rational to disarm than to arm. Nationalism, love of military paraphenalia and fear of attack are the the usual drivers of arms purchases. All the above were declining before Bush.
 
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@ Circ

"Well that’s stating the blindingly obvious."

Is it? Many here seem to think its a very progressive policy and will lead to the maturation of questionable regimes if we 'respect' them enough to allow them to have the bomb. Maybe. I tried to clarify what limits they might impose, or criteria they might use to differentiate between countries that should be allowed to get bomb, and which shouldn't, but the response was some pacifist nonsense about hoping for world peace...

Do you have any ideas?

"Charles advocates: bomb the bejasus out of any proliferating country that it chooses to."

I never wrote that. You are beginning to invent things.

"(b) The self-appointed world policeman should work with other leading nations to defuse tensions
and suspicions that lead to proliferation."

? Uh, Sure. Is this statement somehow related to the fact that I do NOT think that the US should reward NK with continued aid?

"those living in New Hampshire should make loud indignant noises and thereby causing all the bombs to vanish."

I don't think the bombs are going to vanish whatever we do.
 
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On Nuclear Proliferation --


Charles, you do have a point when you mention out in your round about way that MAD actually does advocate the total elimination of an enemy. However, if we imagine the US to actually carpet bomb Iran with nukes in the event of a strike on NYC, for example, the idea is ridiculous. You really have no idea how dangerous these weapons are, do you? The fallout and radioactive dust raised by such an attack would inevitably contaminate vast tracts of Asia and / or Europe, and possibly carry back to the US through high altitude winds. This scenario leaves the US open to retaliation by other countries that are in the region, who see massive numbers of their citizens succumb to radioactive contamination. Besides, the oil would be un-extractable if the country was glowing like a torch.

(Interesting aside: the US already considered radiological contamination in the ME as a defence against the Russians gaining control of the area. The idea was shelved, not due to concern for the effect on the local Arabs, but due to the fact that the oilfields would be unworkable after that.)

Don’t worry about other countries not believing you will follow through on that MAD promise, though. I just look at the neocon literature and Bush’s blank chimp face and I know for a fact they will.

By the way, the lastest nuclear weapon the Bush administration is sponsoring, the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) is meant to destroy bunkers etc. built by ‘non compliant’ nations. It is really just a big nuke in an armour piercing casing. It will *certainly* be used against nations that are non nuclear capable. The fallout is not expected to be any less that a conventional nuke, some say more. Just so that people know what is being contemplated as policy in the current Administration’s plans.


Charles --

You do not understand the Iranian position, I’m afraid. They have been the beating boy of both Britain and the US in the past, not to mention Iraq. When Saddam used chemical weapons against them, the Iranians raised a big hue and cry about it, expecting some action from the UN / US. Everybody quietly ignored the problem. The lesson they have learned through bitter experience is that they cannot count on others for justice, they must be in a position to count on themselves for protection. Perhaps if the international community had acted more strongly when Hussein first used chemicals against Iran, they would have confidence that there is a strong international protection against being invaded and against non-conventional warfare. I’m afraid that we are reaping the fruits of our complicity on this matter. We need more justice. We need more respect for laws. And we need more, not less, multi-lateralism.

I agree with you that the proliferation of nuclear weaponry ought to be stopped. We disagree about how to go about it. You feel threats and invasions are the way. I feel threats and invasions cause the problem in the first place. I think that the absence of these factors would cause the abandonment of nuclear weapons programs. Case in point: show me a single country that has invested in this expensive sort of weaponry that did not feel itself to be under serious threat.

I think you’ll find none.
 
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On Nuclear Proliferation --


Charles, you do have a point when you mention out in your round about way that MAD actually does advocate the total elimination of an enemy. However, if we imagine the US to actually carpet bomb Iran with nukes in the event of a strike on NYC, for example, the idea is ridiculous. You really have no idea how dangerous these weapons are, do you? The fallout and radioactive dust raised by such an attack would inevitably contaminate vast tracts of Asia and / or Europe, and possibly carry back to the US through high altitude winds. This scenario leaves the US open to retaliation by other countries that are in the region, who see massive numbers of their citizens succumb to radioactive contamination. Besides, the oil would be un-extractable if the country was glowing like a torch.

(Interesting aside: the US already considered radiological contamination in the ME as a defence against the Russians gaining control of the area. The idea was shelved, not due to concern for the effect on the local Arabs, but due to the fact that the oilfields would be unworkable after that.)

Don’t worry about other countries not believing you will follow through on that MAD promise, though. I just look at the neocon literature and Bush’s blank chimp face and I know for a fact they will.

By the way, the lastest nuclear weapon the Bush administration is sponsoring, the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) is meant to destroy bunkers etc. built by ‘non compliant’ nations. It is really just a big nuke in an armour piercing casing. It will *certainly* be used against nations that are non nuclear capable. The fallout is not expected to be any less that a conventional nuke, some say more. Just so that people know what is being contemplated as policy in the current Administration’s plans.


Charles --

You do not understand the Iranian position, I’m afraid. They have been the beating boy of both Britain and the US in the past, not to mention Iraq. When Saddam used chemical weapons against them, the Iranians raised a big hue and cry about it, expecting some action from the UN / US. Everybody quietly ignored the problem. The lesson they have learned through bitter experience is that they cannot count on others for justice, they must be in a position to count on themselves for protection. Perhaps if the international community had acted more strongly when Hussein first used chemicals against Iran, they would have confidence that there is a strong international protection against being invaded and against non-conventional warfare. I’m afraid that we are reaping the fruits of our complicity on this matter. We need more justice. We need more respect for laws. And we need more, not less, multi-lateralism.

I agree with you that the proliferation of nuclear weaponry ought to be stopped. We disagree about how to go about it. You feel threats and invasions are the way. I feel threats and invasions cause the problem in the first place. I think that the absence of these factors would cause the abandonment of nuclear weapons programs.

Case in point: show me a single country that has invested in this expensive sort of weaponry that did not feel itself to be under serious threat.

I think you’ll find none.
 
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@ Bruno

"if we imagine the US to actually carpet bomb Iran with nukes in the event of a strike on NYC, for example, the idea is ridiculous."

That's the point of MAD. Its a deterrent, not a practical policy. If it ever came down to it, it would be unthinkable - right? On this we all agree.

You really have no idea how dangerous these weapons are, do you?

Wrong. Don't misunderstand me. No reasonable country wants to use them.

The fallout and bla bla bla"

Yeah? We all grew up with this in the US/USSR. We know quite clearly. You are making the mistake of trying to rationalize and calculate. If someone dared a nuclear attack, then all bets are off (at least that is what they need to think).

"I just look at the neocon literature and Bush’s blank chimp face and I know for a fact they will."

Then maybe its working? But anyway, MAD existed long before Bush.

"You do not understand the Iranian position, I’m afraid."

I think we should try to be more sensitive - you are right!

"The lesson they have learned through bitter experience is that they cannot count on others for justice,"

That's reasonable. But I would think that many Iranians currently living under the yoke of the mullahs might question whether the mullahs would know justice if they saw it.

"international community had acted more strongly when Hussein first used chemicals against Iran"

Or when Iran held US diplomats hostage for how friggin long? Or when Iran decided to start supporting terrorism and threatening Isreal?

Where is this 'international community' of yours? It seems the best they can muster is the rape of congolese prepubescent girls.

"You feel threats and invasions are the way."

After decades of trying peaceful solutions. Keep in mind - its not the gun that kills, but the person firing the gun.

"I feel threats and invasions cause the problem in the first place."

If we all played by the same rules, maybe. But diplomacy is impotent without a credible threat. Period. It doesn't exist. Let's not ignore human nature and history - ok? Please?

"I think that the absence of these factors would cause the abandonment of nuclear weapons programs."

As per above. Get real.

"Case in point: show me a single country that has invested in this expensive sort of weaponry that did not feel itself to be under serious threat."

People, tribes, nations, alliances, have always threatened each other and fought to the tune of hundreds of millions of deaths. All of this before nuclear weapons. They don't fight because of the weapons, they fight with the weapons they can get. Now countries can get nuclear weapons. Uh - oh.
 
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Bruno and Circular:

I know you are debating with Charles and sometimes passions get ahead of logic, but you can't possibly sincerely believe that the only reasons for a nation state to choose to pursue nuclear arms are purely defensive. How about the offensive reasons for doing so, such as, the age old desire to dominate ones neighbors, become a world power, or settle disputes on more favorable terms by nuclear black mail? Surely, given a particular set of circumstances, such ambitions could rationally be outweigh the costs of pursuing them.

Do you really believe that human nature has been permanently altered for the good that no despotic regime will ever arise that seeks regional or global offensive advantages from every means at its disposal? Furthermore, the U.N. Charter assumes that aggressive despots (or megalomaniacs, if you prefer) will continue to arise over time as has been the case from the dawn of human history. The collective security system devised under it is the only rational defenses to such threats. Of course, the prevention, wherever possible, of nuclear proliferation is a wise supplement to that strategy.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Mark
"I know you are debating with Charles ..." Debating is rather a charitable word for it.
1) In my view, the nuclear arms race of the 1950’s to 1980’s is now seen by most rational people as an aberrant result of the "total war" mindset of WW2. The amount of potential destructiveness produced by the participants reached insane levels and genuinely threatened the continuation of life on earth. Hopefully this situation is now more or less under control, the major nuclear powers (US, UK, Russia, France and China) although still possessing ridiculous levels of nuclear arms (what the hell does France need 200 nukes for) have no reason, for the foreseeable future, and no intention of using them on each other.
2) This is a totally different situation of "rogue" smaller powers such as Israel, whose nukes are totally a "last ditch" deterrent against a conventional threat, or India and Pakistan, who are basically just imitating their nuclear "elders and betters," so to speak. All these nukes are indeed defensive or deterrent in intention, and are very unlikely to be used.
3) Which just leaves NK, and perhaps Iran - their intention to possess nukes is by no means proved. Even if NK is a real wild card, neither of them merit 3000 + US nukes aimed at them, or provocative threats - just working with them quietly and calmly is far more likely to succeed in lowering tensions.
4) The only real threat your precious US at present is the smuggled terrorist nuke - and that is most likely to come from stolen Russian stock, not from Iran or NK. Instead of making blustering noises about Iran, the us should be doing what it started to do after 9/11 - hunting down the real terrorist threat.
Circular
 
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Mark --


It is true that a country *could* use nuclear weaponry as an offensive weapon, or as a bargaining chip. North Korean diplomatic efforts have a taint of the ol’ nuclear blackmail to them. However, and to date, these (expensive, difficult to acquire) weapons have not been developed outside of countries that have not felt themselves under severe threat. India and Pakistan, Iraq and Iran, Israel and the Arabs, the Commies and the Capitalists are all examples of nuclear weapons being produced as a deterrent to invasion.

I very much agree with this:

“The collective security system devised under it [the UN] is the only rational defenses to such threats. Of course, the prevention, wherever possible, of nuclear proliferation is a wise supplement to that strategy.”

My problem here is that there is a very strong perception of the “American leviathan unbound” that is basically using its massive power to unilaterally impose its own vision on the world … BYPASSING the collective security system. Now, there are people that argue that a Pax Americana would be a good thing. As one might suspect, I am not one of them.

Given that this collective security system is obviously not working, it seems that it is up to individual countries to see to their own security … hence the idea that an Iranian bomb would provide security to Iran. The message seems to be: if you don’t have the Bomb, you are vulnerable. To me that will increase, not diminish, nuclear proliferation.

I feel that greater American sincerity, consistency and deference to these collective systems, and less unilateral remoulding of the world’s political landscape would contribute to their success. Instead of people like me pointing to the US, screaming and shouting about hypocrisy and whatnot, you might well have us on your side, pointing out that North Korea has no reason to possess the bomb because there is nobody to threaten them, and that perhaps they ought to consider giving it up. As it is NOW, I can’t blame them.


Circular --

As usual, I pretty much agree with almost all you have written on your last (10:46) post. This interaction we are having with Charles can get acrimonious … but let me assure you, he is one of the saner specimens ‘out there’. I’m trying hard to remember and appreciate that fact.


Charles --

On Iran :

“[charles] But I would think that many Iranians currently living under the yoke of the mullahs might question whether the mullahs would know justice if they saw it.

[me] "international community had acted more strongly when Hussein first used chemicals against Iran"

[charles] Or when Iran held US diplomats hostage for how friggin long? Or when Iran decided to start supporting terrorism and threatening Isreal?”

Hmm. Many questions raised in a short post. Quick replies, then:

(1) The Iranian position was indeed hardline at the eve of the Revolution. It has progressively softened. In a decade or two we may see a transition to a much freer and representative society than there is now. They are on track to solving their own problems, through internal processes. Threatening them with war is merely hardening their stance and making pro democracy advocates seem unpatriotic.

(2) There was a REASON for Iranian anger at the US. I remember why they were pissed off. Do you remember?

(3) Iran supporting terrorism? Charles, what is terrorism? I regret to inform you that terrorism is not limited to Iran, and in fact was employed by Israel first. I doubt that Fox ever mentioned that, though. Many would argue that Israel still engages in terrorism. It is a matter of which side of the line you are on, I’m afraid. I would also like to point out that Hezbollah, the group which Iran supports, has greatly softened its stance of late, in fact, it has gone so far as to try to integrate itself into the legitimate Lebanese political structure.


[bruno] "I think that the absence of these factors would cause the abandonment of nuclear weapons programs."

[charles] As per above. Get real.

Real? South Africa.

Now, you have yet to provide me with *my* example of a non-threatened country developing nukes.


[charles] “But diplomacy is impotent without a credible threat. Period. It doesn't exist.”

Diplomacy without carrots does not exist either. Then it is called dictatorship. The skill in diplomacy is to compromise between the two. There is a shortage of greens in the global diet lately …
 
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Just out of curiosity what has believing in God got to do with genetic research? Believers in God have no problem with genetic research--Get out of the Twilight Zone, man! Just admit you are a thinly disguised atheist and therefore abhorrent to a Muslim!----As concerns the United States intentions, here is a very wise Australian words: 2005-06-09

Thanks America
Where do I start? I've wanted to say this for a long time. It is unbelievable that America gets badmouthed all the time. America has helped the cause of freedom more than anyone else. First of all I'd like to thank America for saving Australia's butt at the Battle of the Coral Sea in WWII. This prevented the Japanese from landing here, and bringing with them the concept of "comfort women". I think Australia's nature is such that we would have sacrificed 90% of our population rather than hand over any woman. America's intervention meant that we were never required to make that terrible choice. Thanks America!

Then of course there's the fact that you saved Europe's butt, not once but 3 times - WWI, WWII and the Cold War. I don't know why we don't hear more thanks from Europe for this. But in the absence of thanks from ungrateful recipients of American largesse, let me say it instead - thanks America!

And then there's all the foreign aid you give. And all the technology you provide. And all the knowledge that is provided for free. And the Mars rover images, also provided for free. And the GPS system also provided for free. Why don't the third world countries thank you for all the stuff they receive from America? I don't know. But let me thank you instead. Thanks America!

And something that is far more important than foreign aid is the security umbrella you provide, that the entire free world lives under. If there was any justice in the world, the rest of the free world would provide money to fund the American military, and hand over a cheque with a BIG SMILE. Instead, what do we see? Protests in places like South Korea. Unbelievable. How you can put up with the South Koreans is beyond me. The fact that you do put up with them, with a smile, exemplifies the inner beauty of the American soul. Thanks America!

And then there's the fact that after defeating an enemy, instead of rubbing his nose in the dirt, you instead show great magnimity and help him to his feet, immediately, ala Germany and Japan. You show that the best way to defeat an enemy is to turn him into a friend. You teach that we should judge people by their current behaviour, not past bad behaviour. If only the rest of the world could learn from America. But instead most of the rest of the world maintains grudges for centuries, transferring guilt to perfectly innocent people, and pretending to inherit suffering and permanent victimhood. If only people would adopt the American way, the world would be so much better. What can I say? Nothing. I am humbled in the face of American largesse. Thanks America!

And then there's the glorious imperial measurement system that you still cling to, in honour of the glorious King George, long after the rest of the world, including Australia, has metricized, which even caused one of the Mars probes to be smashed to smithereens. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. Ok. Hmmmmm. Let's move on folks, nothing to see here.

And then there's the fact that you give money to others in the event of a natural disaster, such as the Tsuanami, regardless of race or religion, yet no-one ever gives you a dime when you have a natural disaster. Both the government and the people individually have unmatched generosity. And even rich people in America tend to give their money to charities instead of passing it on to their kids, like people in most other countries. Thanks America!

And then there's the fact that after 9/11, instead of nuking the entire Middle East in response, you instead freed 52 million people from state-slavery/holocaust/institutionalized rape, and then poured BILLIONS into those countries, on top of the BILLIONS that the war cost itself, plus the sacrifice of your countrymen. All while everyone is accusing you of stealing oil. I don't know why these ingrates don't thank you for all you have done. Maybe it's because they're ingrates? Maybe with education their children will thank you. Just like European children thank you. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Nevermind about that. Let me thank you instead. Thanks America!

Ok, I do have some complaints about America. No-one's perfect. But they're pretty minor in comparison to what America has done for the world. Sometimes I feel guilty even mentioning them. I feel that any time I mention them I should prefix them with "Despite how much America has done for the world, unequalled, and for which I am so grateful, could I please bring your attention to this relatively trivial matter ...". But in actual fact I'm just like everyone else - I just blurt out my complaint. This is actually pretty normal though. People normally only complain when something is wrong, they don't ring up "customer service" to say that the "product is working fine". So sorry for being human AND GET OFF MY BACK ALREADY!

Anyway, while I'm here, I'd like to ask for one more favour. Yes, that's right. Another bleeding foreigner asking for yet another favour. That's right, he couldn't just say thanks and keep his gob shut. He had to suck at the teat YET AGAIN. Ok, this is it. I want Iran to be liberated. And I want it to be done similar to how Afghanistan was done - with minimum force. I'm pretty sure you just need to ground the enemy aircraft and the people will liberate themselves. Protect any town that manages to liberate itself and possibly send in troops to make sure it stays liberated. Yes, I know you're sick of liberating ungrateful foreigners. So much of Iraq was ungrateful. But in Iraq it was necessary to disband the old army. In Iran, this is not necessary. What that means is you don't need to provide your own troops and do nation-building. You just need to flip the government like was done in Afghanistan. It should be an even more spectacular success than Afghanistan. But you need to have the faith to do one last liberation that will complete the jigsaw puzzle. I've already sent a letter to the Australian Prime Minister to liberate Iran, but of course I received no reply. So once again, I need to depend on the US to get anything done. I am hoping that the success in Iran will inspire you to liberate the rest of the world as well, but let's not worry about that at the moment. I hope that with the rest of the world liberated, we will be able to sort out a workable UN, and stop coming cap in hand to you all the time. But we haven't reached that stage yet. Please, I urge you to do this one last thing, after Iraq has quietened down.

Anyway, regardless of what you choose to do, as per your sovereign right to not do anything, and let me just reiterate that you are perfectly within your rights to take an attitude "we've done enough for the world already", I just want to repeat, from the bottom of my heart - THANKS AMERICA!

UPDATE - thanks to an email reminder, let me add that in return for liberating Europe et al, America never asked for anything in return, except perhaps somewhere to bury their dead. It didn't colonize the defeated nations. It did not rape German women and then subjugate the nation, unlike the Soviet "liberators". Not only did it not ask for anything, it actually provided assistance to allies so that they could rebuild. And I've remembered something else myself. After the Japanese were defeated, and China was liberated. Do you think that the Chinese were exuberant in their thanks? Nope. The commies took the credit for US heavy-lifting and then turned around and started calling America "capitalist pigs". Unbelievable. I don't have words to express my feelings.
# posted by Paul Edwards @ 19:37
 
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I have a mlm lead list site. It pretty much covers mlm lead list related stuff. Check it out if you get time :-)
 
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