Saturday, February 12, 2005

 

A Lesson from History


Britain also "liberated" Iraq 90 years ago. They landed in Basra in 1914, took Baghdad in 1917 and reached Mosul in the north in 1919. During that campaign, the Iraqi people were also divided. Some wanted to get rid of the Ottoman occupation at any cost; some saw the British as "infidels" and preferred the Muslim Turks.

The first thing they did when they took Baghdad was to declare that they came as "liberators" not conquerors. They put the country under direct rule but used a collection of people to form a government (Governing Council – Interim Government)!!

In June 1920, the whole country was up in arms; towns and countryside; south; center and north – all corners of all the triangles. Casualties and expenses mounted to convince the British that they should let the people govern themselves.

They too decided to make the country "in their own image" – A constitutional monarchy. A national assembly convened in 1924. Large segments (following the advice of leading clerics) boycotted it. It resulted in what looked like a democracy (parties, elections, opposition), but it was basically dominated by cronies: a cronycracy.

The system had a large number of good aspects. It made the country stand on its feet. Many good institutions were established; there was some accountability; management of resources was acceptable. But people were not convinced of its legitimacy. It took many political stands with its friends the British (but against some national sentiments and so-called "national constants"). The British embassy in Baghdad meddled too much in local politics. They had their reasons of course: oil, WW2, the undeclared Anglo-American conflict for influence in the area and, finally, the cold war. For a long time, many of the national politicians (some of whom were good people) were looked at as traitors or collaborators… and were detested.

Ultimately, 37 years later, it was toppled in 1958 by a coup of military officers using a small military force. The people did not defend it. For the next 10 years, Iraq spiraled down a path of military coups that ultimately led to the previous regime.

In this short account, I have deliberately overlooked many other important (local) economic and (regional and international) political factors that had significant effect; but my aim is to remain focused on the issue being discussed.

I can see so many similarities with the present situation. Why can't people learn from past lessons? If everything goes well and according to plan, under the present course, then the US administration could still end up making the same mistake as good old Britain.


Comments:

I think there’s three points to be made in response to that.
1) The so-called neo-cons, currently dominating foreign policy in Washington, did not author "Plan for the New American Century" and similar documents just because they wanted a new expensive brand of toilet paper. They were very serious about securing US and Israeli dominance in the Middle East by the use of force, starting with Iraq. (With a bit of exploitation and corporate profiteering on the side.) However
2) Even though these aims were openly stated, they could not be "sold" to the US public as the reason for (a) invasion and (b) occupation of Iraq. Hence (a) WMD and (b) "democracy." But "democracy" has become a trap because, despite some last-gasp neo-con noises, the Administration is now committed to withdrawal, even Rumsfeld says so. (And this includes cutting losses, they must realise that no independent Iraqi government is going to acquiesce in exploitation for long.) But withdrawal depends on at least the appearance of stability in Iraq. And
3) With all due respect for Abu Kahleel’s pious hopes, what are the prospects for stability? There’s the primary problem of an insurgency to be somehow brought under control. There’s the matter of Kurdish independence. There’s the alleged religious rift, and the possibly more serious rift between secular and fundamentalist impulses. There’s almost a total infrastructure to be reconstructed. A reliable police force is essential. Someone (Negroponte?) recently said that the Ration Card system should be dismantled. Too much military and you get more coups. Too little and you get lawlessness and nihilists. And so on, and so on.
It seems to me that if 30 years of Saddam produced "x" then two years of chaotic unplanned occupation have produced "x squared."
Look, how about inviting the British to come back and try again?
Circular
 
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AK my dear, tell me, Please please tell me this is really true before I go crazy again. I just read one of the most wonderful example of a poetic justice in a long long time. Read this and let the Liberity Bell ring for beating the war criminals at their own game! You don't have to let the occupiers steal your oil or speech or your right to evict these no good cockroaches out of YOUR country or any other property these greedy pigs have been trying to steal anymore. You kick them and their expensive fancy embassy war rooms right in their face. If this isn't for real, I'm gonna get real drunk, so please, I need some good news for a change

Link
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/21235/

here is a little teaser to set the mood:

"The Iraqi people gave America the biggest 'thank you' in the best way we could have hoped for."

Sincerely
me
 
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Oh my god, I should have read the whole article before I went and got all excited. I hate it when I jump at the first ray of hope. I feel like a fool. I should have known better. I guess my heart took over my brain.

I can wait as long as it takes to crush the evil coward. He's really pushing his luck. He's gonna get his butt kicked when yall collectively tell him he's no longer welcome. You got power in numbers. He's got a lot of pissed off kids wanting to get back home and try to regain what little life they got left.

I'm sorry I didn't read it before posting.

Yours in Peace
me
 
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@mpeachy

"I'm sorry I didn't read"

This should be the new mantra of the left.

But you are certainly correct on a number of issues. I think we can all agree that the majority of Iraqis want the US Coalition to leave. I think we can also all agree that the majority of people in the US want the soldiers to come home. The same goes for the soldiers themselves.

Isn't it nice when we agree?

The US/ Coalition is now needed to provide security for the new government in transition. This need will decrease over time. Who knows, maybe the new government will ask US to leave quickly. maybe.

One thing for sure is that Iraq needs help with security. No one but the US and the 'coalition of the unwilling' seem to be interested in HELPING Iraq with real security issues though - so it will take more time than it would have otherwise. That means more dead people in bakeries, hospitals, and mosques.

I'm sure the Iraqis will remember how in their time of need the world united to support them!
 
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Abu Khaleel,

If we just boil things down to the parallels you draw between 1920's and 2005, another conclusion could be that opportunities for Iraq don't come along that often.

There is probably no perfect form of government or socio-economic structure. Some are just better relatively than others. If we look at the 'rarity' of political and socio-economic opportunity, together with the improvement presented by representative government, I think the lesson might be that it would be a damn shame for Iraq if this opportunity was wasted.

Lesson: Be practical.

An inclusive representative government is not a bad thing - and may be the best possible hope for the Iraqis.

This means that any political groups whose platforms are based upon 'exclusive' principles, ought to be opposed politically. Militant fanatically exclusive groups must be opposed with force.
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel:

I have only limited Englis skills, then I am trying to comment your posts with other's words. It means, by sending some links to you and to the readears.

Robert Fisk writed an article adressing the same ideas you had in "A Lesson from History".

In World Social Forum that took place in February, 2005, Porto Alegre, Brazil, I met some Iraqis, militants of "Iraqi Patriotic Alliance", and I had received some articles of them that I am publishing in iraq-war.ru.

The most recently one is Iraqi Resistance's victory depends on the political front - An aproach of the Iraqi Elections

Those who cast their ballots voted for the end of the occupation but their hope will be frustrated soon pushing them towards the Resistance. All depends therefore on the capacity of the Resistance to form an inclusive political front

The ideas of this article fits with The Shi'ites' Faustian pact by Pepe Escobar.

The key reason for the war was control of Iraqi oil, supported by the installation of strategic US military bases. The key question now is which Iraqis will embrace the agenda of the Bush administration. Secular, moderate Sunni observers in Baghdad simply cannot believe the Shi'ite leadership will maintain public support for the rest of the year without telling the Americans to leave.

And I have a especial link to bait Charles:

Hogan's Heroes: Have Americans become like Nazis? Nah

I think the two initial links are on-topic, but the third is off-topic. Then I bag Charles to not comment it here but in iraq-war.ru.

Thanks to all in advance.

Alvaro Frota
 
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"The US/ Coalition is now needed to provide security for the new government in transition. This need will decrease over time."
I Remember Another Quagmire.
Just a query for Charles. To provide security, the matchless US army finds it necessary to deploy a lot of heavily armed helicopters and fighter-bombers, hi-tech observation drones, main battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers, armoured humvees, artillery, and so on.
The fledgling Iraqi army has none of these things - all they’ve got is grotty pick-ups and rusty AK47s.
Clearly the security forces need to be better armed than the insurgents. So presumably as part of training up the locals like everybody wants, all these things will have to be given to them?
(No, no, that’s not the American way! Sold to them, sold to them!)
As the Iraqi strength increases the US strength will be reduced. Presumably the point will be reached eventually when the Iraqi forces outnumber and outgun the US forces.
Coup time? Round and round we go in
Circles
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
Interesting, it reminds me of those time machine sci-fi TV shows where the hero keeps going back in time to fix the situation, except he's helpless to do anything. If he's lucky he figures out that he's the common element that prevents a positive outcome and finally just gives up trying to influence events.
Hmm...maybe if...
 
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"I Remember Another Quagmire."

Your allusion to Vietnam doesn't work beyond the tired soundbite of 'quagmire.' We can get into it if you want to describe for me the critical tactical and strategic similarities that you insinuate would lead to the same outcome as in Vietnam.

"The fledgling Iraqi army has none of these things - all they’ve got is grotty pick-ups and rusty AK47s."

First of all, the AK is an excellent weapon and very reliable.

"Clearly the security forces need to be better armed than the insurgents."

I think the Iraqis are putting together their first armored brigade. Do the freedom fighters have tanks? Iraqi security forces will prevail over your glorious freedom fighters based upon tactical intelligence. The tipping point for hearts and minds was obviously reached when the majority of Iraqis decided to vote. If you take out the threats of violence, the turnout numbers probably would have been 20-30% higher. Slowly but surely the people will turn in the baddies and the security forces will get the job done.

The process is unfortunately slow. Of course it would be quicker if other countries helped. Even something symbolic, like an unequivacle statement of strong support for the new Iraqi government, if they can't muster the courage to put boots on the ground.
 
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Charles,
I'm not so sure the Iraqi's feel that with all the incompetent bush chickenhawks and war profiteers and CPA's stealing and killing off people like they were ducks in season is gonna be seen by any resonable Iraqi as anything CLOSE to "security" I mean when did Napalm being the Pentagons admitted security device that destroyed innocent Iraqi's or at least they tried to wipe out one town twice for Christ sake only to be once again out smarted by the other team as usual. If you can call bombing hospitals and medical trucks with the only crime being extremely pissed at the mass murder being done to those free liberated my ass dead dying shattered children's limbs missing not to mention having these sadist upset cause it's unamerican to voice objection of senseless and immoral acts that kind of reminds one of the last dictator who used to use the rape rooms but now the rape rooms are under the new management of bush outsorced torture inc.

Seems to me Iraqi's seem to be better at security against occupiers and war criminals and now by all definitions certifed terrorist our own damn bloody atty general and resident dictator with no humanity what so ever now being just as evil and vile as their once buddy and partner in crime we liberated these people from! Christ almighty what in the hell does it take to make mass murder of people who never ever did anything in the world to deserve the rape and murder and totaly without any justice to the victims of the same crime that just did all the change everything after 911 balogna we arrogant stalinist antidemocrat republican shit heads use for whatever the little spoiled brat pulls out when terrorising people, human beings just like us. Only difference we been having it coming for long time. We are not good guys. We are arrogant pompus ass american style taliban. I wish the christians with the morals of Dracula would open up that damn bible and take a humble chill pill from Jesus who I can't seem remember being one that would be preaching about. I also think maybe it would be wise to all you l0 commandment wall paper brigrde freaks to go read it yourself before you ram it down others throat. Born again christian bush think thou shalt not kill is quaint like those quaint geneve convention old rules for old times.

I have a real feeling that Iraqis being much more intelligent than what this bunch of lying blood thirsty american terrorist have proved with the 51 warnings that the bush boys had to hide so we might not vote his sorry ass back for more bill of rights being removed under national security being the code word for destroying the sacred most ProAmerican God given blessings to all humanity with free speech the first one used against the protection of dictators like bush from being the founding fathers#1 insights that protect the rights liberty and all gods devine blessings to the human race. It just can't be that free speech and right to desent the tyrany of the free people is going to be unAmerican now just so it is handy to demonize the ones who are ProAmerican proud to defend our rights no matter what stupid name you fascist Nazi trained AntiAmerican thugs.

You simple minded can't fight your way out of a wet paper bag. We real lovers of freedom and democracy have a civic lesson in what fighting for our country is if you think we don't know patriots are indeed alive and fighting mad in red blue, black or blue color coded states and you better wake up and not be doing the mein kumph or whatever it spelled you know the little Nazi for dummies play book that is being played out with too much exposure this time. No wonder bush grand prescott was hitlers banker and protecter. They really do seem creepy and both use Christian values to the most empty bunch of willing SS brown shirts that need someone to tell them how the with us or against us gives the legal authority of the state to pick just who is or isn't a right to life issue !

Facist fruit cakes. May God give justice to the war criminals hiding behind the Flag of Freedom and Justice for ALL!! Not too hard to understand the word All if you just use your brain instead of listening to Faux news giving you the liberal commie pinko fluff to keep the taste of blood when your leader wants to keep his crimes well out of sight out of mind. Like he said "you can run but you can't hide", well looky who has noplace on earth to hide is bush not osoma. And the time will come for him to be brought to justice like it or not, his shit stinks same as saddam. So what. Rule of Law, remember, we are a nation of laws. He's evil to the core.

Now you have a nice day. And pick up some reading material by some smart long gone but never forgotten founding father cats that had some little dittys on just what defines America from this stalinist vomit karl rove talking points crap.

I am proud to be alive and LIBERAL. Wingnuts are bout out of steam with their leader doing his own hanging. too bad that they get so freaked out over having the rule of laws bite them too.

Security would be nice, but really the Iraqi's are adults and have many times been able to hold their own. US should step aside and let the people do their healing and rebuilding the contractors were so well paid just for keeping the rich greedy rotten robber barrons fat with worthless $ that could have been used by helping the ones that earned it with their lives. It's gonna be a day of glory once the greed gets to be owned by the nice commies in china town and russia.

Pigs will fly before I ever agree with people that keep pimping bush like he's anything more than the responsible one that has killed with pride these people who did not, I repeat did not attack the bloody people on the infamous 911 day that didn't kill half as many of us as we slaughtered and continue to slaughter because it's what cowards afraid of real warfare that brag like a fool that's too stupid to go after the ones that 51 and counting memos that his gut told him not to bother his vaction from all that work he's too damn lazy to do reading to do his sworn under oath duty like protecting us and the constitution. Now he's taken abuse of power to what I believe to be and act of treason. We have lost jobs, rights for due process, loss of the right for privacy, justice has just been sold off to pay off the corporate criminals from the love of worthless money and protection from even more sinister greed with this blatent theft of any rights to our own social security money that nobody can ever prove to me bush has any idea what so ever about money, after all it ain't been too hard with all the money his family has stolen from the tax payers to worry about the people that get nothing but higher rates and less able to cope with being secure and safe with the insane gibberish spoken by someone with the IQ of a piece of lent, and that's a stretch. Pigs will fly before I agree with you! Wake up he;s poison and insane.

I get so angry better take my blood pressure meds before he steals them too.
And remember to have a nice day.
 
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"All this shows how infinitely regrettable it is that political discontent was allowed to grow till it reached rebellion. If we had been setting up native institutions in the midst of order instead of in the midst of disorder, the task would have been incomparably easier."
Gertrude Bell 20.11.1920

For those intrested in the entire history of the British occupation of Iraq, there is no better reference than Miss Bell's letters and diaries which can be found at the link below. I leave it to our host to explain who was this woman.

http://www.gerty.ncl.ac.uk/

while you are there its well worth glancing the photographs too.

I sometimes wonder how things might have turned out had Bush/Rumsfeld/Bremmer et al had read Gertrude Bell's letters before they set foot in Iraq. You can say they would have been the true Letter to America!!!
 
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BRAVO!

Michael Moore could not have said it better.

My only criticism, and don't take this wrong, is that the following should be changed:

"the IQ of a piece of lent"

to:

"the IQ of belly button lint."

Feel free to use it in your next rant and you don't need to credit me. I think the image of belly button lint is more provocative and expressive than just plain old lint (like the stuff you take out of the dryer filter). The stuff from the dryer is soft, delicate, and smells fresh. Belly button lint, on the other hand, may well be globbed and most certainly smells sour (if one were to actually smell it).
 
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AP:
Registered voter turnout numbers for 12/18 provinces: 60%

694,192 494,054
3,678,261 1,750,772
624,099 210,574
429,182 383,265
409,081 297,201
417,273 246,957
281,987 173,155
493,808 359,268
486,827 337,220
914,441 731,323
778,574 522,271
494,955 324,678

9,702,680 5,830,738 0.600940977
 
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I regret to report that bush cant read beyond 2nd grade level even on one of his good days. This should be required for any true democracy to have any chance to make sure they know how to read 51 memos that could maybe have prevented 911 killing us for lousy policy and the major mother of all war crimes the leader of the free world taking revenge on thousands and thousands of already people with whom we punished with 10 long years of bombs and sanctions that again punished the innocent rather than the guilty. For all the dead we lost, is never going to justify war crimes and torture of people that even with saddam bad as he was he took years to commit the torture and rape rooms the nightly raids we now have been outsourcing with money that could better be spent arming the Iraqis that are dying to secure the once home to only one dictator. Thanks to geore bush they got more terrorist than the world deserves. All thanks to bush with his fried brains caused by his cocain being his major in frat land. Says his gut talks to him on policy, he didn't read 51 memos that is causing the insecurity. Nobody will ever be safe long as he's loving every bit of the blood and guts being spilt just to stroke his smirk like he's so above the ones that don't hurt nobody, yet are paying for the pleasure and profits of evil stupid american terrorist. God may he boil in hell.

Charles you know all that missing Iraqi oil money we just lost poof, into thin air back when bremmer was the acting dictator sitting cool and comfy lots of nice cool air, water, electric lights? while the rest of Iraqi were not to bother the man that was stealing all the treasures and monies that were Iraqi property and they could have been the army that rummy can't train cause they either get killed or they see that security is not with the occupation using them as bait.

Man if UN is under some accounting, by God I do believe the holy whiny wingnuts better find out just what der leader did with all the missing loot that vanished once the buck stops on the crooks hand rule of law as they say!!!We can't be calling the law on one crime and be unAmerican thief of bagdad for our own mismanaged theft

again have a real nice day.
 
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"Of course it would be quicker if other countries helped."
But Charles, we DID try to help! We marched in our millions, all around the world, saying "Don't rush into this! It's not urgent! It's not essential! You don't know what you're getting into!"
Wasn't that helpful? Wasn't that good advice?
Circular
 
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Dear mpeachw

"Charles you know all that missing Iraqi oil money we just lost poof, into thin air back when bremmer was the acting dictator..."

At the risk of pouring oil on fire, I thought you may appreciate some hard facts about Iraqi oil money (and American Tax Payer money too). Listen to this report.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/file_on_4/4216853.stm
 
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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Abu Khaleel, you sound like Toby Dodge
!
 
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Attention please

Correction of the unread memos warning der leader danger alert, man the battle stations

should have read 52 ignored warnings of impending attack against the republic till after bush decided he better classify in order to lie and cheat his way back to greed and power and more deaths than the original attack. all cause he would have been tried and convicted of treason and murder, and he might be going down to death row he used on more innocent souls with glee.

And just stay tuned cause this is not going away.

You think you could vote for him if you knew he ignored 52 memos Charles? Think about how much overkill we got over Mrs. Kerry being wealthy. What news takes the liberal bias my ass msm as the most important information that a real news reporter could inform the public of that's going to relate to the lives of everday people deserve to know when important choice of selecting the best man to trust with the business of the protecting the people in which you swear under oath to do? Some wife that is rich getting a beating from other rich people that don't seem to see that the beating should have been given equal time . Hmm Ketchup lady french looking war hero bashing was more important since the wingnuts have to hide behind the fluff that is usually what bully kids on play ground who got nothing but being the least likely to become a productive adult you would trust with your garbage can much less the free world>

Treason and they impeached Clinton for a bj? My how low has that bar of the rule of law and lied under oath been lowered to keep this gang from prison without parole. What a Ken Starr would do if it was a Clinton bust. God knows we wasted enough time and money and The Big Dog beat them to a pulp smiling even more popular that before. bush would blow a fuse under such transparancy he's fond of others.

nice day Charles?
 
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Abu Hadi,

I'm a bit surprised at you!

"some hard facts"

The reporter worked in a lot of juicy hard facts like:

"One US company is accused of massively inflating its profits by setting up sham companies to send fake invoices which the coalition paid."

Now call me crazy - but this is not a fact. If his sources were so good, why not identify the company by name? What invoices? How much?There might be something behind this and I'm all in favor of transparency. But before sending inflamatory allegations like this to print he really should have included some substance.

"Others are alleged to have demanded dubious commissions which then came out of Iraqi funds."

Wow! What a headline! Who? Who made the allegations?

"Even some Coalition officials are said to have openly demanded bribes of up to $300,000 in cash."

Who who who!

BBC makes it look like US officials stole money. Isn't the real story that in the chaos following the unexpected collapse of Saddam, looting, massive unemployment, utilities and ministries not functioning, no banking/financial system, etc., etc., the CPA made the decision (possible incorrect in some cases), to get the funds out to the ministries and companies responsible for providing service?

The issue is not whether the CPA stole funds, but potentially mismanaged them by handing them over to Iraqi ministries without rock solid auditing and accountability structures.

The main task for Bremer was to get the ball rolling. The ball was stuck deep in the mud in the middle of a sand storm in the middle of the night at the time.

Many on this forum complain that the US took to long to get the ball rolling. Many complain that the evil US was running the country and should have given more responsibility to the Iraqis. The US gave the money to the Iraqis and expected them to act responsibly. Probably most of them did.

The reporter here made it sound like US$8 billion were deliberately stolen.

I would like to see a better report on this. How much money came in, How much went out, To whom, etc.
 
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Have we missed a deadline for announcing the results?

I had been led to understand that we would hear results by Thursday.

Circular, your point 2 sounds very optimistic.

[[
But "democracy" has become a trap because, despite some last-gasp neo-con noises, the Administration is now committed to withdrawal, even Rumsfeld says so. (And this includes cutting losses, they must realise that no independent Iraqi government is going to acquiesce in exploitation for long.)
]]

This baffles me to some degree. Is it so hard to say the US is lying about democracy?

Why on earth should there be an independent Iraqi government?

What happened to your point 1? Goodness gracious - don't you understand that US and Israeli dominance in the Middle East (which you correctly say are the open goals written on paper for anyone to download by the advocates of this invasion) is inherently contradictory to democracy?

Can't you see the difference in the way that defense against Russia and China is not inherently contradictory to democracy in Germany or Japan?

The US was also lying about the weapons of mass destruction. Not just Bush II, but pretty much ever since Gulf War I ended. You believe that right?

Do you think there is an independent Afghani government now? Or there will be for the indefinite future?

I agree that Iraq has a much better chance than Afghanistan did, mostly because installing and a puppet will be much more expensive than it was in Afghanistan. Mostly because of the insurgents, but a lot of the credit goes to the potential insurgents who aren't fighting yet but who apply their own form of negative pressure.

If Sistani can come to an agreement with the insurgents, that's game set and match Iraqis. I'm sure hoping.

And when the results are announced and we see how people react to the results, the occupation enters its next stage.

I can see why the announcement would be delayed. It is real easy for this stage to get really bad for the Americans.

But democracy is not a trap - the US does not have to create an independent democracy just to match its rhetoric. It's much easier just to lie about democracy.

When the US leaves, it will be because staying is more expensive than its worth to the Americans.

I think that together the Iraqis have the cards to make the Americans leave. If the insurgents can work with the people who successfully forced elections that the Americans did not want, the US is headed for a tremendous defeat and the Iraqi people are headed towards an independent government of their choosing.

Ah, we can only hope.
 
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Mr Dem,

Your stream of consciousness writing style is difficult to follow at times. Try formulating complete ideas in your mind - then write them down, se we can follow.

"And when the results are announced and we see how people react to the results, the occupation enters its next stage."

Yeah?

"It is real easy for this stage to get really bad for the Americans."

Yeah? Have there been any particularly easy stages that you can recall?

"When the US leaves, it will be because"

The sovereign elected Iraqi government has asked the US to leave, or because US feels Iraq can take care of itself.

"If the insurgents can work with the people who successfully forced elections"

That's what we all are hoping for. But your freedom fighters are going to have to stop murdering civilians at mosques, bakeries, hospitals, etc. That's gonna be tough for them.

"elections that the Americans did not want"

You are just too funny! Two weeks ago you and others were ranting about how the US was forcing elections on Iraq and how they would fail miserably and be illegitimate. Did you forget? Your inconsistency is pathological.

A healthy mind would begin reconsidering assumptions if it turned out that its previous reasoning had proved absolutely wrong. An unhealthy mind would simply deny and ignore the previous assumptions and reasoning altogether as if it had never happened, and continue on -

"the US is headed for a tremendous defeat and the Iraqi people are headed towards an independent government of their choosing"

ROFLMAO (is that a word?). Iraq just had an election and voted for independent parties that will form a national assembly to write a constitution for Iraq. Have you been on vacation somewhere? Even the UN said the election went surprisingly well and urges all countries to cooperate to the utmost to help Iraq stabilize security and get back on its feet.
 
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In response to your post, there is a difference between America now and Britain 90 years ago... The difference is that Britain was at the end of its imperialistic era while (despite the massive propaganda) the United States never had an imperialistic agenda. From what I recall from Iraq history, Iraqis have this disease of murdering weak leaders (King Fasial, Abd Al-Kareem Quasim, etc..). Americans don’t have this particular pathology. Had the Iraqi’s supported the King or even Quasim (who was not such a bad man), you wouldn’t be in this mess.

I was for this war when it started, it felt good to get rid of a tyrannical dictator. Now however I am vehemently opposed to it now and I weep for every American who died there. What a waste of a human life. In my opinion, the entire middle east is not worth one American soldier, not even the “abu Garib” veriety. The Americans should have just bombed the country to rubble, the propaganda would have been the same as it is now. Why Americans would go the extra mile of providing freedom to a country of despots is beyond me.

There is a reason why the Arabic world has no democracy, because they tend to murder the leaders who do not rule with an iron fist. I disagree with most Americans who are naive enough to think that Iraqi’s are capable of ruling themselves for the exception of the Kurds, I cant see this happening. The Shia’s want Khumaini and Sunnis want bin-ladin, same “zibil” different man.

So you can complain all you want, Iraq will most likely revert to some dictator soon and then Iraqi academics in America will blame “Imperialism and Capitalism”

Stop whining and fix your own bloody problems.
 
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Charles:

"Your stream of consciousness writing style is difficult to follow at times."

You now officially have my permission to not follow my writing.

Don't tax yourself with this difficulty on my account, but if you insist, you may be able to follow if you concentrate. It depends on how well you read.

Everyone else:

A real important moment is coming when the parliament sits and we see who they are, hear what they have to say and hear what the rest of Iraq has to say about them.

All we can do is hope for the best.
 
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Mr Dem et al,

Please accept my condolences.


Abu Khaleel and Abu Hadi,

Congratulations to you and all Iraqis for not giving up! The future is now yours. Its all up to you now. We will do everything we can to help. Good Luck!

PS - Sorry things didn't go perfectly, but this is truly a historic opportunity. What are your thoughts? Any positive feelings?

Abu Katya
 
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Hello Charles,
'Mission accomplished!',eh?
Now how about that reconstruction aid?
 
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Ah - yes - Bush really got beat up for telling the crew of the aircraft carrier that was leaving theater because it had completed its mission that it had in fact completed its mission! If I had been Bush, I would have berated the crew for doing such a lousy job with close air support that their mission in support of the campaign to overthrow Saddam had taken 3 whole weeks and they were obviously to blame for the whole fiasco.

The 'mission' of securing legitimate elections was certainly accomplished. The US is proud to have helped. Do you doubt it? 60% of registered voters braved death - literally - to choose a national assembly from their own independent parties. If not for the terrorists, the numbers would certainly have been higher.

All of the main parties have pledged a policy of inclusion. Sunni groups have agreed to organize and participate. The law itself demands that minority interests be addressed because of referendum requirements.

The particular mission of securing legitimate elections was accomplished. Now there will different missions to help secure the new democratically elected government and execute its policy initiatives. Hopefully, the Iraqi people now feel that this is 'their' government and will fight hard to protect it.

Every day we are closer to a free and prosperous Iraq, and a US/coalition draw down and exit from Iraq. Every terrorist attack delays that date.

Of course (just so the terrorist and tyrant loving morally bankrupt dirtbags don't lose hope completely), there are many risks and trials ahead. As usual, there are no guarantees.

Good luck Iraq!

Abu Katya
 
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"Tyrant and terrorist loving dirtbags"

You would think these words would come from the side that does _not_ make the strategic decision to bomb the water facilities of major cities.

We are literally talking about baby-killers. It is impossible to be more morally bankrupt than that.

The United States certainly would have preferred elections like the ones in Afghanistan, where the US stooge did not have to face organized competition.

The USSR occupied Afghanistan during the 80s and the Russian puppet won fair elections than in US occupied Afghanistan. With equally high turnout and the fact that if not for the terrorists, turnout would have been even higher.

The fairness of elections in occupied countries depends on how costly the resistance makes it to impose and then maintain the preferred stooge. This is as true in occupied Iraq as in occupied Poland.

Some people here seem to think that if they repeat the phrase "legitimate elections" a lot of times, the elections become legitimate. So we can see them hard at work.

The results for Iraq's election are not in yet so we cannot yet see how effective the resistance was. I'm hoping for the best.

We know that in addition to the power of the state that was given to him by the Americans, Allawi spent $200m on his election. Compared to Iraq's $20b GDP, that would be like some foreign country giving their chosen candidate $100 billion dollars to campaign in the US elections.

That candidate would win. But that would not be a legitimate democracy.

Allawi despite the advantages he had, did not have enough advantages to get more than 15% of the vote. That is a victory for those who want to see Iraq independent. Without both the armed resistance and the non-cooperation of those led by Sistani and others, Allawi would have been where Karzai is.

On the other hand, we don't know yet what the US Embassy in Baghdad is doing behind the scenes now, who is being paid what, specifically how the US intends to limit Iraq's independence and what the Iraqi people can do to further thwart those plans.

We do know that the US has positive plans to maintain a long-term presence in Iraq and we know that most the population of Iraq does not want that.

We also know that the US has other items on its agenda for Iraq, including using Iraq to host attacks on other countries in the region that would not be possible if Iraq was an independent democracy. (That agenda is possible if Iraq is an Egypt or Saudi Arabia-model puppet dictatorship.)

So now we wait. Will the Americans prevail over the Iraqis?

I keep saying that depends on how well the Iraqi people communicate and work with each other.

We have to wait to see what position the Americans take and what the Iraqi reaction to that is.

For entertainment while we wait, we get to listen to the chorus of American useful idiots who are insisting that the United States has no agenda for the Middle East other than democracy.

Forget everything the Americans wrote when they began planning this occupation. Forget the entire history of US interactions in the region. Forget America's current support for dictatorships and terrorist groups that promote America's agenda. Forget America's support for Saddam Hussein when Hussein supported America's agenda.

Just keep repeating: "Legitimate Elections" "Legitimate Elections" "Legitimate Elections" "Legitimate Elections" "Legitimate Elections" "Legitimate Elections" "Legitimate Elections" "Legitimate Elections"

That will make it true.
 
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Let me correct a statistic, Iraq has nearly a $40 billion purchasing power-calculated GDP . $200 million in foreign campaign money would compare to $50,000 million dollars on a US campaign.

George Bush and John Kerry each spent almost $400 million dollars on their campaigns.
 
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"Some people here seem to think that if they repeat the phrase "legitimate elections" a lot of times, the elections become legitimate."

Please clarify. Do you believe the election results are illegitimate? If so, please explain why. Be specific. I thought the Iraqis set up their own party lists (a very diverse bunch BTW), and Iraqis voted freely for the party of their choice.

Did the US somehow control which candidates participated, who voted, and for whom they voted?

Who else shares your view? Actually I haven't seen what foreign leaders are saying. I think even Kofi said that they were a success. Are any major world leaders agreeing with you that the elections were illegitimate? What are the positions of EU, Asian, ME leaders?
 
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Mr Dem,

Here is your main man at the UN - and the link in case you think I am lying...

How to Move Iraq Forward

By Kofi A. Annan
Saturday, February 12, 2005; Page A19

The success of the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq has created an exciting moment of opportunity. It matters greatly that Iraq's transition is a success. I am determined to make certain that the United Nations will play its full part in helping the Iraqi people achieve that end.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17599-2005Feb11.html

PS - You must register to read the whole thing.
 
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Charles:

As I keep saying, I'll form an opinion on how successful the Iraqis have been in thwarting the US intention to prevent the emergence of an independent Iraq after I see who is seated, what the people who are seated are saying and what the people of Iraq say about them.

I'll tell you now that the elections in Afghanistan were not legitimate, did not represent in any way the desires of the Afghan people and were not better in any important way than the elections held earlier under USSR occupation.

I'm hoping the Iraqi election is better.

Of course Charles, your poor reading skills shine through again. Mr. Annan is hopeful that the after the elections the situation will improve for the Iraqi people. Mr. Annan does not say that the elections were free of foreign influence, or that they were designed to or succeeded in reflecting the will of the Iraqi people.

Nobody will be able to say that until we see who is seated where, what they say and what the Iraqi people say about them.

"I hope the transition is a success" and "I think the elections were legitimate" are two very different statements.

If reading and understanding is too difficult for you, save yourself the effort. You're wasting your own time more than anyone's.

If you insist though, then ask yourself the question, would the US be a democracy if the Indian government promoted a former asset of the Indian intelligence services to be president and that person outspent Bush and Kerry 100-1?

Everyone else:

I found this link about "demonstration elections" that discusses how the fixed and fraudulent elections in Nicaragua and Vietnam were covered by the US media using essentially identical terms to the election in Iraq, while the fixed and fraudulent elections in occupied Poland and in the freer elections in El Salvador were reported using different terms, though the most important real difference was the political identities of the winners.

One point of the article is that "demonstration elections" are more for the benefit of people like Charles than for the people governed, and the people governed end up with a result essentially opposite to what they thought they were voting for.


Link here

 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,
now the official election results are in.
It took two weeks (FOURTEEN DAYS) to produce them, although all the ballot boxes had been in Baghdad one day after the elections.
Two weeks? OK, 8 million votes plus, and the first elections (so they love to tell us) in forty years. But with a single constituency, and just one tick per ballot, it does seem a bit fishy indeed...
I do suspect that some slight 'arrangement' may have occurred... and the Iraqi Electoral Commission had been nominated by US Gauleiter Bremer, after all...
It was difficult to steal votes from the al-Sistani-blessed coalition, and even more difficult to steal them from the Kurdish coalition. But I suspect that it was quite easy to steal votes & rig the results at the expense of the Communist Party list (no. 324, if I'm not mistaken) and of all minor parties, in order to pump up the list of the US puppet of the day (Allawi).
Maybe I'm very mistaken, and no such vote fraud occurred...
What is your opinion on the subject, Abu Khaleel?
 
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Mr Dem says:

"Mr. Annan does not say that the elections were free of foreign influence, or that they were designed to or succeeded in reflecting the will of the Iraqi people.

Mr. Annan says:

"The success of the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq has created an exciting moment of opportunity."

"we all share a common agenda: to move Iraq from ...its successfully completed elections -- to a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future."

Although Mr Dem is right that the elections did not occur without foreign interference:

"The United Nations is proud of the assistance it was able to give them, both in developing the political base for elections and in the technical preparations. We helped to draft the electoral law and to form the Independent Electoral Commission, which ran the elections."

Abu Katya says:

"You are too funny!"

When pressed to provide evidence to back up his claim that the recent Iraqi elections were illegitimate, Mr Dem responds:

"I'll form an opinion on how successful the Iraqis have been in thwarting the US intention to prevent the emergence of an independent Iraq"

Hmmmm. Suuuuure. But you now claim the elections were illegitimate. I would like to understand how you drew that conclusion. Based upon what facts? I am not interested in what fantasies are currently spinning around in your head. Is there any evidence that leads you to believe that the elections were illegitimate (i.e. not legitimate)?

Can you name for me any country that has been MORE supportive of the emergence of an independent Iraq than the USA???
 
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Charles, it’s nasty old Circular back again. You say:
"Can you name for me any country that has been MORE supportive of the emergence of an independent Iraq than the USA???"
Can you answer for me a hypothetical question, just to clarify your stance. It is perhaps unlikely, but it is theoretically possible, that the new Government in Iraq, if it is successfully formed in the next few weeks, might say to the US: "Thanks very much for your help, but we’ll take it from here. We’ll sort out our own problems now, find our own way to deal with the insurgency. We would like you to take all your troops, and your bases, out of our country, right now. You can leave a moderate sized Embassy if you like."
Well two questions actually: if this happened, should the US do it? And would the US do it?
 
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On the Iraqi Elections –

They were most certainly illegitimate. If one considers the following aspects:

(1) the lack of candidate names on the ballots (2) the lack of knowledge as to what the parties actually stood for (3) the lack of debate between the parties and debate on what the different parties had to offer (4) the woeful lack of voter education (5) the fact that they took place under occupation (6) the fact that the occupation spent a fortune in pimping its own puppet candidate (7) the extremely sparse state of foreign / international observers (8) the voter intimidation rife on both sides of the spectrum (9) the boycott of probably over a quarter or so of the population from the elections (10) the unsuitability of the food rationing card system to be used as a voter’s roll, as the US has already told us … (oh wait, that opinion has changed now) …

then one can hardly call these free, fair or legitimate. The best spin I could put on them is that they acted as a barometer of Shiite and Kurdish support, and that the results should be taken in that spirit. That is to say, now that these parties’ support is quantified, they must use that ‘legitimacy’, at least in the eyes of the US, to reach out to the Sunni / resistance types, and forge agreements that will (a) quell the violence (b) eject foreign troops.

Basically, what I’m saying is, it is in everybody’s interest to try and make the best possible deal out of this abortion of a process … irony of ironies, perhaps there still exists the possibility that a peace may be salvaged from this result. The Resistance is the result of a violent nationalist undercurrent in Iraqi society. It is not some alien cancer that must be cut out, no matter what Charles may think.

(I like the way, for example, that the war pimps automatically assume that the act of Iraqis voting is an affirmation of Iraqi support for US policies in that country. Does it ever occur to them that perhaps Iraqis are trying to test the veracity of the US claimed support for democracy as a means of ejecting the foreign entity?)

Only Iraqis amongst themselves can sort it out, co-opt the resistance, and in the process eject the invader.



On other countries ‘pitching in’ --

Why don’t other countries help the US in ‘helping’ Iraq?

This one is quite easy.

Would the US accept a subordinate role in a greater UN mission in Iraq? Would it place its troops under, say, a nice Belgian general? Alright, maybe that is too much to ask. Would it accept a very significant input from other countries as to the direction of a true Coalition in Iraq? Would it, for example, scrap those no bid contracts for reconstructing Iraq and throw the process open to all? Would it provide assurances that it would drop its imperialist bent in Iraq in the process? Would US and other soldiers be held accountable to the world if their conduct is criminal?

Answer: NO.

Then:

Our answer to you: NO.
 
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@ Circ


"We would like you to take all your troops, and your bases, out of our country, right now. You can leave a moderate sized Embassy if you like. Well two questions actually: if this happened, should the US do it?"

Absolutely.

"And would the US do it?"

Absolutely.

I won't be surprised if the new government, in an effort to reconcile with resistence, were to offer withdrawal as a token - Some tentative plan/timetable. It is time to begin planning. It is also in the US interest. In addition to calling the bluff of the resistance, it will also give the Iraqi government a timetable to get its house in order. To really press the boundaries to see where the gaps are.
 
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@ Bruno

"They were most certainly illegitimate. If one considers the following aspects:"

I'm sure it will be an interesting list. I think the main test is whether or not the people were able to express their will both quantitatively and qualitatively, and exercise their right to choose who would lead them. Don't confuse 'imperfect' elections with illegitimate elections.

"they must use that ‘legitimacy’, at least in the eyes of the US, to reach out to the Sunni / resistance types, and forge agreements that will (a) quell the violence (b) eject foreign troops."

They will use their legitimacy as they see fit.

"it is in everybody’s interest to try and make the best possible deal out of this ... process"

Absolutely. What should the international community do to support Iraq?

"irony of ironies, perhaps there still exists the possibility that a peace may be salvaged from this result."

I know - its tough to come to grips with - a peaceful democratic Iraq... again, my condolences.

"The Resistance is the result of a violent nationalist undercurrent in Iraqi society."

Well tie me down and grease me with pork fat! You must be right. They are all just freedom fighters!

"Does it ever occur to them that perhaps Iraqis are trying to test the veracity of the US claimed support for democracy as a means of ejecting the foreign entity?"

Absolutely. I think many Iraqis voted because they thought that it would lead to the US leaving sooner. They are absolutely CORRECT! Can you think of why other Iraqi's voted?

"Would the US accept a subordinate role in a greater UN mission in Iraq?"

Sure. But only if its role and contribution were represented proportionally. It would be silly to have a contingent of 100K US troops being led by a contingent of 100 Belgians with a leased Russian Mi-8 helicopter.

"Would it, for example, scrap those no bid contracts for reconstructing Iraq and throw the process open to all?"

Its mind boggling why you continue to spout this nonsense. Do you have any idea how many contracts have been awarded to non-US firms? Do you know that Halliburton won the logcap competitively under Clinton and again under Bush? You don't find it absurd that you qualify the amount of international support for Iraq based upon how much US taxpayer $$$ will be given to foreign companies? Do you really think you have the right to tell the US how to spend its money? go spend your own $$$ ;-)

"Would it provide assurances that it would drop its imperialist bent in Iraq in the process?"

Oh yeah - I promise! (?)

"Would US and other soldiers be held accountable to the world if their conduct is criminal?"

The world? I guess it depends on who you call the world. In general, I don't think the US legal system is worse than any of the 'best' countries that you include in your world.

"Our answer to you: NO."

I'm sure Iraq appreciates your generosity and brotherly sacrifice to aid them in their time of need.

Noble!
 
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Charles:

When you said following my writing style was difficult for you, you weren't lying.

All I can say is read what I already wrote more carefully. All of your questions are already answered in both of my last two main comments.

I'm pretty sure nobody else thinks I wrote what you think I wrote.

I could repeat what I've already written more than once, while periodically calling you stupid in between, but if you haven't been able to comprehend yet, why would you the third time?

Otherwise, here's a truce. If you think someone is a dirtbag, call that person by name and make sure that person is not me or a group that could include me. Then I'll just go back to ignoring you.

Everyone else:

I'm still guardedly optimistic that once in place the new government will be substantially outside of US influence.

I expect that the US is pouring a lot of money in behind the scenes to ensure the new government is as close to a puppet as possible, but I'm even more optimistic now than I was 24 hours ago that this US money is just being flushed down a toilet.


Over at Informed Comment
, there is an english translation of a story about the Association of Muslim Scholars and the efforts they are making to reach out to Sistani and his followers.

I think it might work. I think the Iraqi people might beat the Americans. I'm really hoping.

We'll see.
 
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@ Mr Dem

"I'm pretty sure nobody else thinks I wrote what you think I wrote."

Oh, wait - I think you must be right! Annan was really agreeing with you. When he said repeatedly and with great hope and optimism that the Iraqi elections were a success, he really meant that they were 'a failure and illegitimate.' When he said he was proud of the UN's role in setting up the rules for the election, and organizing their execution, what he really meant to say was that ' the US has illegitimately installed a puppet government in its efforts to establish their evil imperialist hegemony over the peace loving peoples of the world' - right?

A nod is as good as a wink right? We all know what he really meant to say...

But seriously, let's settle this point before you engage in the usual strategy of bouncing off to another topic.

Was Annan referring to the elections and the opportunities for a free democratic Iraq in positive and almost glowing terms because he thought they were a pointless illegitimate exercise?

"If you think someone is a dirtbag, call that person by name and make sure that person is not me or a group that could include me."

If the shoe fits. To be more precise, I called you and your ilk "terrorist and tyrant loving morally bankrupt dirtbags." I'm sure there are other epithets that apply - those were just the first that popped into my head. You can try to hide behind some socialist or pacifist ideology, but that is a sham. You are a misguided sham.

A healthy skepticism is reasonable, but your virulent conspiracy theories and hatred for the US just make you look sad and foolish. Not on this forum, of course, because the vast majority to a greater or lesser degree share your ideology.

"I'm still guardedly optimistic that once in place the new government will be substantially outside of US influence."

Duh?

"I'm even more optimistic now than I was 24 hours ago that this US money is just being flushed down a toilet."

Whew!

"Over at Informed Comment, there is an english translation of a story about the Association of Muslim Scholars and the efforts they are making to reach out to Sistani and his followers."

Now only if Saddam Hussein were in charge! If only these illegitimate elections had never happened! If only, if only...
 
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"I called you and your ilk "terrorist and tyrant loving morally bankrupt dirtbags.""
Charles! Do you mean me too? After all I've done for you!
I assure you that I have never knowingly embraced a terrorist or tyrant in my life.
Well that may not be strictly true - the wife's a bit domineering ...
Circular
 
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Ya Abu Katya,

It appears I am the only person (other than our host) paying attention to the dis-enfranchising of the ChaldoAssyrians. (The Yezidis and Turkmen experienced similar problems as well--see the most recent issue at zindamagazine.com ) [note, I leave spaces after website names to make it easier to copy and paste JUST the link]
As a native of Los Angeles, I know something of what is involved in travel around this metropolitan area. I know something of the extended traffic jam running from San Diego into Irvine and back. So I know the strength of the arguments made by the ChaldoAssyrians of California about too few polling places.
If this were merely about a fraction of some large group which will surely be represented by SOMEONE, then I would let it pass. However, it is about the group(s) least likely to be represented, most likely to be oppressed...

Yes, I was (and AM) against the war. I was partially against the war because I feared that things would become more dangerous for this embattled community upon our invasion, and so it has happened. DO YOU THINK I'M GLAD THIS IS GOING ON???!!! DO YOU THINK I'M GLAD THAT MY FEARS APPEAR TO BE JUSTIFIED????!!!!
I'm deeply disappointed by your lack of response to this situation. For my fellow left-wingers, it's all more of the same. "It's a sham anyway". "What do you expect?" and so forth. They (we) didn't really believe it in the first place. But you!? You BELIEVE in the process.

I'm watching the possible destruction of this community, which has been self-documented in Iraq since before my ancestors had any idea anyone anywhere could read or write. I'm ANGRY, I'm upset!

I've known something of the history of Kurdish/ChaldoAssyrian tensions for some time (due to my interest in the Assyrian culture and people). We have documentation of a repression of the vote among this community, and I read little or nothing.
I wouldn't be surprised if you merely dismiss this as a new form of left-wing rant. I'm saying that your cherished Iraqi elections may be 'legitimizing' the disenfranchising and destruction of Iraq's oldest community.
---
Bechtel and Haliburton don't care about the ChaldoAssyrians. It's not a profitable interest. I don't blame THEM for not caring. My problems with them are more political/economic.
----
My apologies for my vehemence. I'm worried and with very good justification. Read about 'The Year of The Sword', or search out the articles regarding the behavior of Badr's Brigades in Basra towards the local ChaldoAssyrians. Please understand, the Armenians were not alone in suffering (and dying) under the Turks (often with Kurds acting for the Turks). And Iraq has a less-than-hopeful history with regards to this community. And some the Syrian Kurds are bringing their own prejudices into play in dealing with their ChaldoAssyrin neighbors in the Jezireh.
---
Abu Khaleel,
My apologies for running on about this. I wish my fears were unjustified.


Bob Griffin
 
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@ Circ

Nah - and sorry everyone for that outburst. I just get rather annoyed when I am bombarded with vile, rancid, and vomitous rhetoric that is complete BS.

Again, my sincere apologies to everyone who isn't a terrorist and tyrant loving morally bankrupt dirtbag.

Did you make your wife smile on valentines day?
 
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" Charles " does not exist.

It is a propaganda project paid for by the Ministry of Truth for the Republic and the Party.

In addition to buying some reichwing loons, the Party which fabricates reporters for the White House does other dirty tricks. e.g.- Add poison and ignorance and angry racism to blog talk posts.

Charles is a faith based initiative. Two or three Rapturites are getting a thousand $ a week for their propaganda work.

Ignore Charles - it's poison.
 
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Hello Bob,
I think the best bet for the Christians is to go to Kurdistan, where the Kurds are likely to resist Sharia law, otherwise they will probably have to leave Iraq for good. So much for Bush's crusade.
 
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Abu Billy,

Do you really think that if democracy takes hold it will be bad for the ChaldoAssyrians in the long run? Some of the things you talked about indicated a possible genocide. Is that really the case? Or are you more concerned that they were not well represented in the recent election?

Abu Khaleel? Abu Hadi? The ChaldoAssyrians are the true people of Iraq, correct? It was their ancestors who can claim connection to the cradle of civilization - and not the arabs - right? What do arabs think of them?

The current situation involves a massive and unprecedented shift in power to an oppressed majority. Big blocks of people making lots of noise. I can well imagine the ChaldoAssyrians (and other tiny minorities) being drowned out.

Do they have any domestic/foreign allies? Is there any acknowledgement from the other major groups regarding their plight?

One thing I can say for sure, is that the world is going to be paying a lot of attention to Iraq as the new government establishes itself - and probably for years to come. Iraq is not Albania. The world is watching. Once the dust settles from the Shia, Kurd, and Sunni groups, more attention will fall to the smaller groups.

The best I could do would be to try to get other bloggers interested/involved.

This I will do. Don't lose hope. Its always darkest...

Abu Katya
 
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@ Anon 4:46

Its fine to disagree with me. I'm sure you would be much happier living under Saddam. My guess is that many many Iraqis are glad that their children will not.

Your arguments and opinions betray an illness. I feel sorry for you. On the one hand its funny - you dreaming up a fantasy about Charles working for the government of evil USA or being part of some religious group (or both)! I especially liked the part about getting paid - you even thought up how much!

In all honesty its just sad.

I'm sure that the same mental faculties and capacities that allowed you to dream up that fantasy, have also led you to all of the other WRONG conclusions that have been spinning around behind your eyes for most of your life.

The poison is in your head.

Mental illness can be treated. Do not feel ashamed to see a doctor. They can help.
 
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Well Charles, you're certainly getting madder and madder.

I'm still waiting to see what government sits.

When that happens I'll form a judgment on the process that produced that government. This is the third time I'm writing this in this post. I've written it before in other posts.

You have not read it before, you won't read it now. Oh well.

While I wait to see what government forms, as you get madder and madder, you get more and more entertaining.

But since you are going to be such a vocal participant here, I think it is important for me to explain to everyone why you are so angry.

In a previous comment in this post I referred to useful idiots of the United States, but didn't stick to that point for long.

In Charles' mind, the United States only has one agenda for Iraq. That agenda is to create a democracy. Charles is honest when he says, for example, the US should leave if the Iraqi people want it to.

That image of the United States as the pure and innocent force of good forms an important part of Charles' self-image.

Unfortunately for everyone, Charles does not work in the US State Department.

So when asked the question, would the US tolerate an Iraq that is as hostile to US interests as Iran, Syria or Saddam Hussein's Iraq, as long as Iraq is a democracy, Charles replies "absolutely".

The US State Department has a record that says "absolutely not".

It is simplicity itself to point to three or four priorities that the US, by its policies proves it values more greatly than democracy.

But when someone points those priorities out or points to the plentiful evidence that democracy is not the primary objective of the United States in the Middle East, that hurts Charles in his core. That is an attack on a central component of Charles' self image.

That's why Charles wants strike back at those who hurt him. It seems unprovoked to people whose identities don't depend on the purity of US foreign policy, but to Charles, it is self defense.

There is no democracy in Afghanistan. After Charles brings up Germany and Japan, I can easily bring up a half dozen other US interventions in nations more similar to Iraq that worked against democracy.

And that hurts Charles at least as much as if I had besmirched the honor of his daughter.

To understand how this comments thread is developing, I offer this explanation.

I am pretty unlikely to make an actual statement that Charles can disprove. If I do, Charles will quite eagerly disprove it and you will never hear it from me again.

But it does not take a disprovable statement to hurt Charles' core. And when that happens Charles has to attack. If there is not a statement he can disprove, he has no choice but to make up statements, assign those statements to me and attack me for those.

I say the United States wants to control Iraq - Charles says I love tyrants and terrorists, my mind is full of vile virulent conspiracy theories. To Charles it's an eye for an eye.

One thing that is unfortunate for everyone is that the professionals in the US State Department do not live in Charles' world where their personal identities depend on the purity of US political motives.

For the professionals in the State Department, a democratic Iraq that that threatens US interests in the region is just as unacceptable as an Iraqi dictatorship that threatens US interests.

The professionals in the United States State Department are just as willing to kill Iraqi civilians to prevent one as to prevent the other.

But to assert that where Charles can read it causes Charles to lash out in counterattack. If he can't attack the message, he has no choice, but to attack the messenger.

I'm prepared to be even more entertained by the lashing this inspires than I have been up to now.
 
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Charles,

I am not going to delete that offensive and almost unwarranted outburst since you have apologized… but please try to control yourself and reduce the personal attacks (like you have managed to reduce the number of “quotes” :)if we are to have a civilized debate. Remember, we are all being asked to learn from the America that you represent.

Iraq has been continuously inhabited since the last ice age. There is no such thing as “the” true people of Iraq. The first civilizations were started by the Sumerians. They were not Semites and nobody knows where they originally came from. All other civilizations were built by Semites. Akkadians, Babylonians, Amorites, Assyrians and Arabs are Semites (based on the roots of language). Kurds are not. The Kurds came from the North East of Iraq. All others came from the South (the Arabian Peninsula: Yemen and Saudi Arabia). Abraham was a Semite who lived in Sumer.

There are four major Christian groups in Iraq. Chaldeans (who I think still use the original language of the Bible, Bob?), Assyrians, Arabs and Armenians. The first three are all Semites. The Armenians are recent newcomers who fled Turkish genocide. In my humble opinion, they all have equal claim to being true Iraqis.
______________________________

Bob,

I am afraid that your fears are not misplaced. These people (and many others) are in for a rough ride.

If you have the time, have a look at the details of the vote (http://www.ieciraq.org/English/Home.htm ) you may notice such a disproportionately low vote for the major Kurdish slate from Kurds in Baghdad (estimated between 800,000 and one million)! Similarly, many of the Baghdadi Christians that I know did not vote on sectarian or religious lines. Cosmopolitan Baghdad apparently still has some (but perhaps not yet enough) fighting spirit left in it.
______________________________

Circular,

I liked your response to Charles. It seems that you managed to diffuse his anger, but at the expense of taking out yours at the poor wife!
 
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Mr Kahleel, honoured sir, could I make a few suggestions.
1) Re-name your Blog "Iraqi Letter to Charles." This would reflect reality. Or
2) Post some really interesting stuff about the ancient Iraqi art of flower arranging, or the intricacies of the Baghdad sewerage scheme, or anything else that Charles knows nothing about. Or
3) Preface each future post with an acknowledgement that US motives and methods in Iraq have been positively virginal, purer than the driven snow, that the US has made no errors in Iraq, has not harmed a single hair of an innocent Raghead mother or child. Or
4) Could we set a given time, say 12.00 noon GMT next Tuesday, when we all go "Blaaaaaaaah, Charles!" An echo heard around the world! Or
5) Any other suggestions, anyone?
I’m sorry, Abu, but this relentless propaganda assault on reality is getting up my nose.
Ah Choo!
Circular
 
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Charles --

On troop withdrawal:

So you support a timetable for withdrawing US troops? That must be the most positive thing that you have yet said. I admire your blind belief in the US to stick to its word. I also want to see a timetable called for, so that the US’s bluff will be called. Imagine! Bruno eating humble pie as the Coalition streams out of Iraq. You might think that that would be a bitter dish to eat – you would be wrong. (It’ll never happen, of course.)

From:
“Sorry George, but Iraq has given you the purple finger”
Naomi Klein - February 12, 2005 - The Guardian

“"You don't set timetables," George Bush said four days after the Iraqis voted for exactly that. Likewise, Tony Blair called the elections "magnificent" but dismissed a firm timetable out of hand.”


“Don't confuse 'imperfect' elections with illegitimate elections.”

Suuure. The Referendum Saddam held was also legitimate, as people were able to indicate disapproval of him. And the elections in Zimbabwe are also approaching, where ol’ Bob Mugabe will doubtless be crowned as president for his nth term in office. I’ll chat to you then, and you can explain to me how *those * elections were ‘imperfect’ but legitimate. Democracy is dead.

“I know - its tough to come to grips with - a peaceful democratic Iraq... again, my condolences.”

Ah! An attempt at sarcasm! I suspect your ‘peaceful democratic Iraq’, if it in any way reflects the will of the Iraqi people, will disappoint you, and the USA, and Israel. I’m keen to see what machinations the Bushistas will concoct in order to subvert the Islamists.

“Do you have any idea how many contracts have been awarded to non-US firms?”

No. Please enlighten us.

Meanwhile, you can read this:

U.S. Bars Germany, France from Iraqi Reconstruction Contracts
10.12.2003 - Deutsche Welle

““It is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts for these procurements,” Wolfowitz said in a statement. “An unsuccessful reconstruction effort would have serious negative effects on the ultimate success of the war effort.” The move makes good on a warning from the Bush administration that those nations that opposed the U.S.-led campaign to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein would not play a large role in the rebuilding of the country.

Russia and Canada, which stood with Germany and France against the war, will also be barred from the 26 contracts for Iraq’s electricity, communications, water and transportation infrastructure. Firms from all countries, however, will be eligible for smaller work as subcontractors.”


Charles said : “Do you know that Halliburton won the logcap competitively under Clinton and again under Bush?”

Do you know that Halliburton was chosen by AMERICANS to rebuild IRAQI infrastructure destroyed by AMERICANS ? Do you know that IRAQIS had no say whatsoever in the matter of who was going to rebuild *their* country? (You know, Iraq?) Using, to date, IRAQI funds?
That is the point of the matter. Whether the logcap was competitive in America or not is entirely the affair of Americans, NOT the affair of Iraqis. I’m afraid you are unable to grasp this point, for some reason.

Charles said: “You don't find it absurd that you qualify the amount of international support for Iraq based upon how much US taxpayer $$$ will be given to foreign companies? Do you really think you have the right to tell the US how to spend its money? go spend your own $$$ ;-)”

Charles, you are a more or less sane commenter, and that is better than I can say about most of the pro war pod people out there; this is the reason that I have refrained from outright insults based upon your (lack of) knowledge of the situation. You can also be excused to some extent because your government confuses the issue, probably deliberately.

So, for your information:

(a) The money that the US has itself contributed and has earmarked for Iraqi reconstruction (this being a very small portion of the overall money spent on prosecuting the conflict in Iraq) has gone pretty much exclusively to US companies, and the lions share of that to those companies associated with regime leaders like Bush, Cheney etc. (Fair enough, in a way you are right, it is your $ and you can do what you like with it.)
(b) A small fraction of the money the US has itself contributed for reconstruction has actually been spent on that. The bulk lies unused, and in fact is being diverted from projects like water and sewerage to security – ie – paying for military operations.
(c) The money that *has* been used comes from the Iraqi oil revenues, and formerly frozen funds, which the USA controls (and will continue to control) at least until 2007. Furthermore, Bush has declared US oil companies immune from prosecution in the US, in the case of irate Iraqis wanting to take them to task for any ‘mistakes’ they might make. For example, if these US oil companies should accidentally purloin a few million barrels of um, excess Iraqi oil, any future Iraqi government has no legal recourse in the US for this. (They could always go to the World Court, a highly effective institution, of course. Just ask Nicaragua.)

Here is just one of many sources in support of this:

Middle East Economic Survey - VOL. XLVII - No 48 - 29-November-2004
The Iraqi Oil Industry: A Look Ahead
By Walid Khadduri

“The situation was further exacerbated by the fact that while the US authorities used Iraqi oil revenue to fund US firms, it withheld financial resources from the Iraqi authorities. A study published last September by the Open Society Institute's Iraq Revenue Watch (IRW) suggests that the CPA awarded US firms 74% of the value of the $1.5bn in contracts paid for with Iraqi funds and together US and UK companies received 85%. Iraqi firms, by contrast, received just 2% of the value.

Meanwhile, about $1.5bn has been spent on the reconstruction of upstream and downstream facilities, with the majority of the work being carried out in the south. However, most of the $18.4bn of US aid earmarked for Iraqi reconstruction has not been spent yet, despite the fact that the Project Management Office was specifically established to take over the CPA's work in supervising the allocation of US aid.”


Charles said “"Would US and other soldiers be held accountable to the world if their conduct is criminal?"”

OK, this is a thinly veiled dig at the fact that the US wants other countries’ troops to be liable to war crimes prosecutions but refuses to submit its own to the same procedures. (If I recall, France had the same attitude, if that makes you feel better.) I don’t have much faith in the US military courts at all, by the way. Take a look at the thirst for truth displayed by the US military in punishing the killers of Zeyad’s (Healing Iraq) cousin, and see what I mean. (Even Calley got off with like 2 years house arrest for mass murder in Vietnam)

Charles said: “I'm sure Iraq appreciates your generosity and brotherly sacrifice to aid them in their time of need.”

I’m assuming that you have contributed financially in some way to helping Iraqis?

“Its always darkest...” … before you die.
 
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Abu Khaleel,

I'm glad you admitted that my regretable outburst was 'ALMOST' unwarranted.

Mr Dem et al,

All of your yapping about mistakes and conspiracies, does not change the fact that the US led the effort to overthrow a brutal dictator and establish democracy in Iraq.

You opposed this every step of the way. Even after 8 million Iraqis braved death to cast ballots for parties that were established independently from the US 'puppet masters', and even though there is no way for the US to control a democratic Iraq, you still yap.

While you undervalue the strategic policies that helped establish, support, and protect democratic governments throughout the world (Japan, ROK, most of Europe, etc.), you overvalue the tactical actions that on the surface seem to contradict these strategic policies. Digging deeper you would find there is no contradiction (although there may have been mistakes). Weigh them and measure them. Compare prosperity, human rights, individual freedom, diversity, tolerance, etc. You will undoubtedly find that in the great conflicts the US has engaged in, it has been on the correct side.

I know you will continue yapping, but my position is based on the fact that a truly democratic Iraq will be good for the US, the region, and the free world. A democratic Iraq will have differences with the US, sure - but they will not be controlled by the US. This is not possible (however much you need this to happen to support your claims, it just couldn't occur).
 
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PS - Due to the actions of the US/coalition that you so vehemently oppose, the ME will probably experience more positive political reform in the next ten years than it has in the last 5000 years.

Yet, ten years from now - you will still be yapping.

In the words of 1LT Prakash:

"Please enjoy exercising your freedoms without fear of persecution or death."
 
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Abu Khaleel,
Tha Assyrians and Chaldeans speak dialects related to the language of Jesus, however there have been enormous changes over the centuries. The language used in their traditional church services is much closer to the language of Jesus, but there are still differences of dialect (somewhat like that between Iraqi and Egyptian Arabic).

The language spoken by the Assyrians around Mardin and Midyat in Turkey is a bit closer to that spoken by Jesus, as far as I can tell, but I don't have much documentation on that dialect.

(Note:some of the words in the modern Irani and Iraqi dialects of Aramaic actually are derived from ancient Assyrian, and not ancient Aramaic)
For the most part, the Assyrians and Chaldeans are native to northern Iraq. The earlier communities in the south appear to have disappeared during by the end of the 14th century, whether by death, conversion, or migration.

The community in Tigrit is primarily native, while that in Baghdad and the south is more mixed, with some ChaldoAssyrians possibly being ancestrally from around Lake Urumiah.

----
Charles,
Given that the Kurds have been pushing for ChaldoAssyrian lands, and both SCIRI and the Wahhabis/Salafis see them as infidels, I don't see democracy under the current situation (including the suppression of ChaldoAssyrian votes in areas under Kurdish domination) as boding well for the ChaldoAssyrians.
The Iraqi-Armenian community MAY have an advantage in contacts with the world-wide Armenian community, which MAY be able to exert influence for the sake of their fellow Armenians. The Pope may be able to exert SOME influence on behalf of the Chaldeans, who are Catholic. However, in spite of the presence of the major Assyrian patriarch in the US (Chicago), the US remains mostly ignorant and uninterested in the plight of the Assyrians. For most Americans, they're just Middle-Easterners (terrorists?) with wierd accents, if even that much is known. I don't know if Europeans in general are any more aware, although there have been a few British parliamentarians who have spoken up for them.
So, in both the Kurdish north and in the Shi'ite south, ChaldoAssyrian hopes for good results from democracy are like Gay-American hopes for pro-Gay policies as a result of Bible-Belt democracy. They are nearly as much a minority in Iraq as the American Indians are here in the states, and in the north they are probably about as likely to be protected by a Kurdish-dominated democracy as Navajos occupying Uranium-bearing land are to be protected by the US gov't when mining corporations want access to the minerals.

Be Well,
 
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Abu - I've read 54 comments.

Charles is a thief - he steals your readers' attention.

In the best circumstances, it is not easy for people to talk and reason together.

When someone who just wants to provoke fights, it's almost impossible.

It does not matter if Charles is a paid agent-provocateur or a gifted loon who can diagnose mental illness better than psychiatrists.( Doctors actually see and speak with people.)

It does not matter if Charles is one person or a group.

What matters is - the blog's comments have a hijacker on board.
 
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Uh, it sounds like Charles has just about run out of steam, because he is returning to vague generalizations and falls back on the rickety old crutch of “yeah, but if you look at the big picture, the US is a force for good” when, in fact, the details contradict that assertion at every turn. Of course, if one takes the view that what is good for America is good for the world, then he may well be right. I do not, however.

[Charles] “All of your yapping about mistakes and conspiracies, does not change the fact that the US led the effort to overthrow a brutal dictator and establish democracy in Iraq.”

Well, that’s nice spin.

The REALITY is however, that the US supported that self same dictator and protected him from condemnation and criticism during the times in which he perpetrated a number of atrocities. His toppling is more a sign that he could not be trusted than that his policies warranted his removal. Islam Karimov, anyone?

Secondly, the intention *never was* to install democratic rule. The intention was to install Chalabi as a soft – touch dictator. When it became obvious that the INC’s support base was largely composed of the figments of Mr Chalabi’s fertile imagination, the US turned to the “caucus” system of handpicked “representatives” to rule Iraq. To compound this anti democratic action, Bremer cancelled the results of local municipal elections, preferring to install autocrats that could be controlled.

When Sistani demanded direct elections based on the ration card system, it was deemed unworkable by the US, and shot down out of hand. This unworkable system is what the current elections are based on, naturally, with the security situation being many times worse than when Sistani demanded them. It was Shia pressure that forced the hand of the US. The intentions of the US were never to allow democracy. The intentions of the US, as plainly spelled out by its actions when it felt it held all the cards just after the fall of Iraq, were to install a new puppet government. And it has still not ceased meddling.

[Charles] “…even though there is no way for the US to control a democratic Iraq …”

Except through bribery and legislative tricks of course. Except for subsidizing handpicked Iraqis (Allawi) to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, of course. Why is it, I wonder, that the US does not allow foreign funding of candidates in the US elections? Because that would otherwise affect the sovereignty of the US, perhaps? Come now, grow up Charles.

“You will undoubtedly find that in the great conflicts the US has engaged in, it has been on the correct side.”

Iran, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Vietnam, Chile … just a few of your triumphs. I might agree with you that the USSR was rather worse than the US. The existence of that evil, however, does not excuse the ills that the US had perpetrated itself, as some might argue. Now that the “Evil Empire” has fallen, your conduct is even more inexcusable, given the absence of the excuse of having to pick “the lesser evil”.

[charles] “A democratic Iraq will have differences with the US, sure”

A truly democratic Iraq, reflecting the opinions of the Iraqi people, would be closer to Iran, opposed to Israel, opposed to US troops in the country and most likely trade oil in Euros. Oh, and it would have a robust military, not to mention the fact it would likely (historically speaking) be a client of France, Russia and China rather than the US

If you can live with that, so can I.

[charles] “Due to the actions of the US/coalition that you so vehemently oppose, the ME will probably experience more positive political reform in the next ten years than it has in the last 5000 years.”

Conveniently forgetting the home grown Iranian democracy subverted by the US in 1953, of course …


Circular --

Mh. Maybe I must take you up on setting that date for expressing “blaargh!”.
 
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Charles,

I am addressing you because I think that you do not represent just yourself, but many millions of Americans who are still supporting that administration in its ‘puritan’ adventure in Iraq and are certain that they are doing the right thing. Around 58 million Americans who do not care what the other 5 billion people around the world think.

I found your last comment even more offensive than the earlier, insulting one.

You expect that your white knights in shining armor will “probably” bring forth more positive political reform in the next ten years than it has in the last 5000 years. I frankly find this so ignorant and arrogant!

Do you have any idea how many upheavals and political, religious and cultural changes took place in this region over the last 5000 years? The written word, the written laws and the world’s major religions just to name a few!!

All these momentous achievements seem to pale in your view in comparison to what your administration is going to “probably” bring forth through innocent blood, bombing, incompetence and devastation… just because they helped set up those elections that you seem to believe are a true manifestation of democracy. I suppose we have to ignore all that blood and suffering and the facts on the ground… and take your word and the word of your administration for it.

Judging by the past record regarding the WMD and the links to Al Qaeda, you have to agree that it is not really a very promising prospect!

When this campaign of yours “probably” fails and Iraq and the rest of the world are more dangerous places, with hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead, with billions in Iraqi and American funds wasted… we all would still have your word! You and your administration would “probably” still be claiming victory much like now.

In the first comment, you insulted a few people. But in the second, you insulted many millions, many centuries of human effort as well as scores of civilizations and human achievements.

Ignorance is a lot easier to cure than mental illness. All it requires is some willingness to learn and some effort to obtain new info. Arrogance is “probably” more difficult. It may have to be treated the hard way, which unfortunately can only mean more suffering.
 
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Charles, Circular, Bruno, Abu Khaleel and others:

What happened to the middle ground on this site? Charles insists on the moral purity of U.S. intentions, while the rest of you insist on the moral depravity of them. It now contains two polar opposite views with no effort on either side to bridge the gap. The possibility that motivations and intentions could be mixed, i.e., that they may include elements or self interest and altruism, are not even considered.

For example, at some point, Sistani's insistence on direct elections probably became viewed by U.S. officials both selfishly, as the best way of Iraqification of the battle against the insurgency, as well as, altruistically, as the most appropriate means to pass power to the long suffering Iraqi people. There were, of course, other options for fighting the insurgency that a “self-interested Evil Empire” could have chosen, including tightly retaining all political control and engaging in a massive military build up to crush it. The Nazi, Romans, and many other relatively ruthless Empires had little trouble dominating conquered territory by purely military intimidation.

Where an attempt at nuance is made, it is merely a flaccid rhetorical device. For example, I am sure that the many Eastern European victims of Soviet repression would find Circular's assertion that, "I might agree with you that the USSR was rather worse than the US," demeaning to their considerable suffering, particularly where it is merely a throw-away concession in his broader attack on U.S. intentions.

Rather than examining the subtleties and nuance of interplay between mixed intentions that have influenced U.S. policy over time, this site is becoming a forum for creative insults. It is DEPRESSING!

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Charles, Circular, Bruno, Abu Khaleel and others:

What happened to the middle ground on this site? Charles insists on the moral purity of U.S. intentions, while the rest of you insist on the moral depravity of them. There are now only two polar opposite views expressed with no effort on either side to bridge the gap. The possibility that motivations and intentions could be mixed, i.e., that they may include elements or self interest and altruism, are not even considered.

For example, at some point, Sistani's insistence on direct elections probably became viewed by U.S. officials both selfishly, as the best way of Iraqification of the battle against the insurgency, as well as, altruistically, as the most appropriate means to pass power to the long suffering Iraqi people. There were, of course, other options for fighting the insurgency that a “self-interested Evil Empire” could have chosen, including tightly retaining all political control and engaging in a massive military build up to crush it. The Nazi, Romans, and many other relatively ruthless Empires had little trouble dominating conquered territory by purely military intimidation.

Where an attempt at nuance is made, it is merely a flaccid rhetorical device. For example, I am sure that the many Eastern European victims of Soviet repression would find Circular's assertion that, "I might agree with you that the USSR was rather worse than the US," demeaning to their considerable suffering, particularly where it is merely a throw-away concession in his broader attack on U.S. intentions.

Rather than examining the subtleties and nuance of the interplay between mixed intentions that have influenced U.S. policy over time, this site is becoming a forum for creative insults. It is DEPRESSING!

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Abu Khaleel,

Its refreshing to see you show some emotion.

"I frankly find this so ignorant and arrogant!"

That's not surprising really.

"Do you have any idea how many upheavals and political, religious and cultural changes took place in this region over the last 5000 years? The written word, the written laws and the world’s major religions just to name a few!!"

Obviously I was painting with a broad brush. I wanted to use as a starting point your examples of the written word and codified law.

I think a more reasonable rebuttle from your side would be to criticize my estimate of ten years. Assuming I used an arbitrary 10 years to represent the amount of time required to bring the ME in line with accepted norms of decent political society.

I expected you to say: "Charles, how naive, ignorant, and arrogant, it will take AT LEAST a generation!"

OK - It might take a generation - or more. But my initial statement remains true. Even if the goal of true civilized representative government (however imperfect) is not met within the next decade, that does not refute the fact that there will be more positive political reform in the ME during that time frame than the past few millenia.

"just because they helped set up those elections that you seem to believe are a true manifestation of democracy."

They are certainly closer to democracy than to tyranny! As most people agree (even prominent sunni clerics) - they are the first step of the journey.

Would I be close to the mark if I made the claim that up until the 20th century, ME socio-economic and cultural development had basically stagnated from a point that was reached hundreds years prior. In fact, for the most part, thousands of years?

All contemporary political and socio-economic reform movements in the ME, however ill conceived or ill fated, are most likely the result of direct foreign influence, or osmosis. They are not home grown.

Due to the stark contrasts between ME and rest of the world in terms of political development, coupled with thousands of years of strong arm leadership and inherent cultural conservatism, the rise of the contemporary secular/theological authoritarian regimes is not surprising.

What gives me hope in Iraq and the ME are exactly the examples you brought up (written word/codified law), and the same universal sentiments you find attractive and compelling in the Declaration of Independence. You are not dumb or incapable. The values that guided our 'founding fathers' are the same values that have inspired others because of their universal appeal.

Transitioning out of the dark ages into the modern world (for good or ill), may have necessitated, or at least provided favorable conditions, for clenched fisted rulers. Transitioning from clenched fisted rulers may require force - but at the end of the day the only fist that could have 'lowed' Saddam is just as ready to open into a warm handshake. This is a big difference and a big opportunity.

Some people love to claim that freedom and democracy cannot be imposed by force. I would argue that in principle, no true revolution (overthrow of socio-economic and political structures)has ever occurred without force.

"In the first comment, you insulted a few people. But in the second, you insulted many millions, many centuries of human effort as well as scores of civilizations and human achievements."

I would say that 95% of the posts on this forum insult the latter group you mention.

The US is fighting tyranny. It respects the values of freedom, tolerance, and liberty. Millions have died throughout the course of history to secure these values. Who is insulting who?

PS - first tiem I submitted this I received error so sorry if it posts twice.
 
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Mark
you quote "Circular's assertion that, "I might agree with you that the USSR was rather worse than the US ...""
Are you sure I said that, you’re not confusing me with someone else? I’ll take your word for it if you can quote chapter and verse, but I don’t remember saying it and it doesn’t sound like me.
As to the "no middle ground" thing, I strongly disagree. You are certainly out of order if you accuse any of us "liberals" as actually approving of or siding with "terrorists" or "tyrants," as Charles does. But as world citizens we are perfectly entitled to take exception to what we see as the dishonest, incompetent, unrealistic and arrogant attitudes and actions of the current US administration. There is a very large body of opinion in the US which agrees with us! We *are* the middle ground.
You will note, I trust, that the US administration is now trying to mend bridges with Europe, and has scaled down its "world leader, do as we tell you" rhetoric and bluster. It seems unlikely to launch a "pre-emptive" attack soon on North Korea, or Burma, or Syria, or Iran, and as undesirable as those regimes are, that is probably best from the point of view of world peace. There is no hugely pressing urgency, and the lesson of Iraq is that a badly planned and clumsily executed "liberation" is not much better than no liberation at all.
If you can’t take criticism, don’t promote yourself as bigger and better than everyone else, just be one of the gang.
(And if the majority rules, I’m not sure, as I’ve said before, how far to go in separating the country from its current and temporary leaders.)
Circular
 
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Further to Mark, and by way of illustration of my feelings towards the current US administration, and also as a complete change of subject away from Iraq for a moment, can I say something about the US response to the Tsunami disaster. Three developments struck me (though I’m open to correction of my memory here):
1) Condy Rice’s statement that the disaster was "a great opportunity for America." I.e. presumably a chance to show the humanitarian side of the US for a change. Grown-ups don’t talk like that! You may think it, you may infer it privately to friends, but you don’t say it out loud and publicly - complete lack of subtlety and sensitivity.
2) Shortly afterwards, someone announced that the US would form a coalition of itself, India, Japan and Australia to lead disaster relief. A few days later, India said rather huffily that it didn’t need any help from anybody, then the Japanese foreign ministry said that the coalition was off. Reading between the lines, it seemed pretty clear that the US announcement was made before they bothered to consult the other partners - it was just assumed they would fall into line. Again, sensitivity and subtlety.
3) Next, Colin Powell and Jeb Bush (who?) fly out to the Far East to "co-ordinate disaster relief." A few days later they’re back home, and it’s announced that the UN will handle it after all. Again, pushing for a leadership role that the rest of the world just didn’t want to know about.
US ships and helicopters made a great contribution to immediate relief in Indonesia. But it was noticeable that the Indonesians and Sri Lankans were very reluctant to have any actual American boots on the ground in their countries. Wonder why that was? (By way of contrast, there’s been a large ANZAC Army medical team in Banda Aceh for weeks. Yet a few years ago the ANZACS were actually fighting Indonesian militia in East Timor.)
These Bush guys are primitives, out of touch with reality. This administration has just been a total disaster for America’s foreign policy and world image.
Circular
 
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@ Circ

Just to round out your sources on the tsunami, I strongly recommend you check out the diplomad's opinion.

Unfortunately he is now off the active blog rolls...

http://diplomadic.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_diplomadic_archive.html

http://diplomadic.blogspot.com/2005/01/usa-responds-and-un.html

http://diplomadic.blogspot.com/

In latter link, scroll down to Jan 27.

Interesting perspective.
 
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To Mark and all:

Charles insists on the moral purity of U.S. intentions, while the rest of you insist on the moral depravity of them.Perhaps you will find both moral purity and moral depravity in this news:

Four men say they witnessed shooting of unarmed civilians

If there is a struggle of moral purity against moral depravity, the side of moral purity will only win when Charles gives up.

But, as I think he is being paid to write propaganda stuff in Abu Khaleel's blog, he will never ever give up. If he gives up, he will prove that I was wrong about he and the defensors of the moral purity will win.
 
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Charles
I was attempting to correspond with Mark.
I did not need a referral to a Blog representing the "State Department Republican Underground." If I want to read about Neanderthals, I've got a book, thanks, pictures and all. Petty-minded mean-spirited point scoring over human suffering by petty-minded mean-spirited sneerers does not make for informative reading.
As we say in NZ, in our friendly Kiwi way, "Piss Off!"
Circular
 
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@ Circ

First off, if you want to have a private conversation it would be more logical to do it in a private forum.

Second, I think you will like the Diplomad. He has nothing but praise for the kiwis.

Third, regarding 'petty mean spirited point scoring,' your previous post complained of: 1. Dr. Rice's tone of voice; 2. Shrill yaps at the only countries that actually saved thousands of lives as first responders; 3. something negative about sec state and florida governor (who this year handled disaster relief for three disasterous hurricanes). The thing you found negative was that they allowed the UN to take the lead (figuratively) and credit for the relief efforts in which they played no part. If that ain't humble multilateralism, then I fear there is nothing the US could do to redeem itself in your eyes.

I dare you to read the diplomad. He is no neanderthal (aren't they from France originally?).

I accept your apology in advance.
 
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@ Alvaro

That certainly is depravity to be sure. It sounds authentic, and since it has traction in the MSM I'm sure that both they and independent bloggers will run it to ground.

We already know that in September the company CB was banned from further contracts. If this report is true, then they should be kicked out immediately and other contractors investigated. These companies should certainly not hire untrained Iraqis with a score to settle.

Not that it makes a difference to the people killed, and it certainly doesn't excuse the management of the company from responsibility, but the article you posted stated that it was Iraqis who worked for the company that were shooting people.

The f-350 truck crushing another vehicle by driving over it from behind is also a bit questionable. Its a big truck - but not that big. A tank could certainly do it though.

Here is what another contractor had to say:

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/001373.php

They are probably all telling the truth.

In any case, while the despicable actions of these Iraqis, and any Americans who did not report them deserve punishment, these examples have nothing to do with the validity of the mission.

Just as the sick and depraved insurgents who murder women and children with bombs, and saw off the heads of civilians in chillingly cold premeditated murders, do not reflect the moral sensibilities of decent Iraqis.
 
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Mark-in-Chi-Town
(where the hell is Chi-Town, anyway?)In case you are thinking of responding to my post to you above, about my supposed statement "I might agree with you that the USSR was rather worse than the US."
I've just looked back, and that was actually Bruno, not me.
Bruno's occasional excesses are in my view excusable - he sometimes forgets to wear his sun hat.
Circular
 
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Well, just to put everyone’s minds at rest, I’ve had some enquiries made (mes espions sont partout) and it turns out that "Charles" is actually three pimply adolescent boys (CHuck, ARrthur and LESter) in Idiocy, New Hampshire. This explains the variability in their posts: Chuck is the gullible one who watches Fox news all day, Arthur is the excitable one who uses ad hominen argument about terrorist-lovers, and Lester has just learned to spell "tyranny" and is using it every chance he gets.
They aren’t CIA agents (too young for Federal employment) but they are linked to CRAP (Committee for Republican Analysis of Propaganda) which is monitoring the effectiveness of their total credulity about every changing White House line. (As 12-year-olds, they were totally convinced that that Iraq was awash with WMD. Now, they’ve never heard of WMD, or "foreign fighters" which were the flavour of the month last year, they’re fixated on Lester’s excitement about tyranny.) After tyranny has been totally eradicated from the world, the next item on their agenda is mixed bathing.
Maybe not, they may have grown up by then and come to appreciate it.
My advice is, don’t respond to them, or engage in "debate" with them.
They should be doing their homework anyway.
Not Circular. Definitely not me!
 
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Circular:

You are correct. The language I quoted was posted by Bruno, not you. I was confused by his referencing your name at the very end of the post into thinking you were the author. I apologize for the error.

If your views differ substantially from him on this point, please feel free to explain, because to my ear, the substance of your comments sounds as if you are in agreement with him. Please feel free to correct me, if I am, again, in error.

As to your claim to be the voice of moderation, you are confusing the concepts of majority opinion and moderation. Moderation, in this political sense, means critically examining opposing views and attempting reconcile and synthesize them in effort to screen out partisan biases. By engaging in such a process, one hopes to arrive at a closer approximation to the "truth," than can be generally found at the two extremes. Where, as in the current circumstances, large numbers of people are polarized at opposite extremes, one can be both "moderate," as I have defined the term, and hold a minority view point.

Also, your assertions concerning U.S. troops in Indonesian are largely incorrect. U.S. troops are being drawn down from a high of 15,000 to 5,000 for continued disaster relief. Most other foreign troops are also being drawn down since the situation is now entering the long-term reconstruction phase, which is more appropriately handled by employing local civilians. See http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/128823/1/.html . Further, it seems that al least some common Achenese would prefer that the foreign troops stay to protect them from the repressive Indonesian military. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05030/449504.stm .

Concerning the phase out of the “Core Group,” its creation to some extent was due to its member’s wariness concerning the U.N. bureaucracy ability to rapidly cope with an emergency of this scale. By the time it was disbanded, U.S. and other foreign troops were already in Indonesia getting aid to victims, while the U.N. continued to struggle with its administrative role. As express by Colin Powell after he discussed the issues with Kofi Annan in Jakarta, "We talked about the need for the U.N. agencies — if they are going to play that coordinating role — to get on the ground and start playing it." See http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=389190 .

As to the Condi Rice comment, she was responding to a comment made by a Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, who commented that the massive U.S. help for victims of the Asian tsunami had aided the nation's image.

Ms. Rice Responded:
"I do agree that the tsunami was a wonderful opportunity to show not just the U.S. government, but the heart of the American people," Rice said. "And I think it has paid great dividends for us." See http://www.freep.com/news/nw/rice19e_20050119.htm .

Former President Clinton has been quoted as expressing similar sentiments, "I am grateful for the opportunity that this terrible tragedy gives for religious reconciliation in the world." Clinton is a much more polished public speaker, yet expressed comments that could be criticized for the same lack of empathy for the victims of the Tsunami. See http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,11920491-401,00.html .

Thus, your criticism of Rice seems unfair and, in my view, serves as a better example of your political view point, than her incompetence. This is not to say that the Bush administration has not been ham-fisted in its handling of a number of matters, most prominently, the governance of post-invasion Iraq. Further, it is certainly true that the Bush administration has damaged the image of America in many quarters in the short run. However, it is far too soon to speak of what the ultimate judgment of history will be.

Mark-In-Chi-Town

P.S. “Chi-Town” is local slang for Chicago, Illinois. Yes, if you must know, it is a “blue state.”
 
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Mark:

This is not a situation where one side is saying the US is worse than Nazi Germany and the other is saying the US is angelic.

This is a situation where one side is saying the US has interests that can and do override its supposed interest in promoting democracy and another side seems to be saying some combination of "promotion of democracy is the only US agenda" and "whatever the US installs is democracy."

In other words, this is a real one side is right, the other side is wrong issue. And its pretty easy, using the historical record, to show which side is which.

So while "the truth is somewhere in between" is a lofty sounding thogh meaningless stance, it just does not apply here.

At some point the elected government will sit and we will see what control it has over what aspects of the country, and we will learn what role each player has been playing.

Until then we are waiting. In the meantime one side is getting upset and calling names and losing coherence and the other side is responding to that.

When what's going on behind the scenes comes to light, we'll have plenty of substantive things to discuss along with the name calling and the responses to the name calling.
 
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Mark
"This is not to say that the Bush administration has not been ham-fisted in its handling of a number of matters, most prominently, the governance of post-invasion Iraq. Further, it is certainly true that the Bush administration has damaged the image of America in many quarters in the short run."
Well thank you very much. That’s all I’ve been trying to say.
The question is why they have been ham-fisted and damaged the image of America. I would put it down to ignorance, arrogance and ideology, not necessarily in that order.
" ... it is far too soon to speak of what the ultimate judgement of history will be."
I think before Bush’s term is out there is a fair chance that history will already have spoken - the US will have become marginalised while the major players, China, India, Russia, the EU, South America, and yes, the Arab Muslim states, work out their own new world order. Without much reference to the failed ideology of the present US administration. You brought it on yourselves.
Circular
 
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"In other words, this is a real one side is right, the other side is wrong issue."

We agree again! Its uncanny!

"Until then we are waiting."

Don't pretend such generosity. You are not waiting. Your opinion and inferences are set in stone.

"the US will have become marginalised while the major players, China, India, Russia, the EU, South America, and yes, the Arab Muslim states, work out their own new world order."

How romantic. But I wonder what the kids will look like?

And all because the US overthrew a dictator...
 
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[
"Until then we are waiting."

Don't pretend such generosity. You are not waiting. Your opinion and inferences are set in stone.
]

Aaah Charles. I understand.

When you are so angry that you have to argue with something, but I haven't written anything you can argue against ...

Just make something up, say that's what I really believe then argue against that.

You can calm down. The wait will be over soon enough.

We don't know yet what the US has been doing behind the scenes between election day and the day the elected government sits. But we will know soon.

And when we do, we will easily be able to determine the degree to which the United States is working for or against the establishment of an independent Iraq.
 
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Mr Dem,

Give it a rest. I am not angry but I do admit that I find you annoying. Get over it and spare us the pop psychology - eh?

Eh?

Now put your thinking cap back on and think of another way to weave your latest defeat into a conspiracy theory that proves you were right all along.

I expect nothing less from you!
 
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Charles,
May I make a suggestion? I come in Peace, I promise. But in order for any hope of giving these beautiful people any hope of the life that we ourselves have taken for granted far too long, we must have dialog between the two different clutures. We must respect our host country.

I feel you're like my dad who refused to believe America was anything but godly. "My country, right or wrong" Well, it's our country in the USA, but we are not gods chosen. We haven't beeb able to correct our own election system. So I have no reason to believe the manipulations from us, and anyone else that puts greed and power before the PEOPLE..

Maybe AK or one of the others could turn you on to some reading material that could help you get an idea of what they, the little people, just like us, have had to endure under not Saddam, we already know that was a horror, but what our leaders are forcing our troops to do. And take a look at Cspan for a real balance, not just DOD, or state dept pr. Several web sites from vets returning from Iraq tell quite a different story than Fox, cnn, and others.

If you really care about democracy, don't belittle these beautiful wonderful brave human beings for their anger and frustration. Start by looking up what we did in Falluga (I know i didn't spell it right) Our leaders, and that's civilan mind you not military,sent our kids into that town lying sayin we won, well, they won destroying and killing, but did they catch the perp? No, So that failure followed another assult on what's left. Dogs were eating the dead innocent women and children left to rot out in the street. Because We bombed 2 hospitals for beinging anti american when they protested about not being able to give these sick and dying any assistance. Is that what America wants to show as democracy? Abu Grahib, (forgive spelling) When we last assulted these innocent people in Fllugha, we cut off their water, what little elect they had if any. Dying, starving in bombed out dwellings watching helplessly as family member dies slow death. Pain these people did not deserve.

Do some google Charles, see what the real debate is. Forget Kofi, forget bush, and clinton for a moment. Read actual accounts of observers.

Elections in Iraq, as in the states, are not accountable to the people. So the right to question the goings on behind closed doors is not treason. It is the very essense of a tru democracy, go read some jefforson, ben franklin, tom pain, and see what it says about getting into others business. After all, we lied and they died and continue to die over WMD. Then the excuse to liberate is not so liberating. These fine people will do well, to kick our incompetent lying butts out, keep their oil, water, and don't let the priviate sector steal any more from them. The base isn't just one, it's more like 10 or 13. To me, I'd be very pissed at some tresspasser on my land. Bush would'nt want anyone on his "ranch" The Iraqi's have far more intelligence than the occupation. And they don't have to use tax payers money for fake news or fake plants in scotts world of no speak

I truly wish you would read up on these people. You don't know the whole story from falwell on Islam. I have Muslim friends. They are just like you, well, maybe they're a little more open minded, sorry, but we have fundies in the "so called christian" faith here, KKK for one. They are radical extreme. Falwell and robertson are dangerous because they want to govern us. Well, as a Christian, I don't believe gays are the most evil destructive thing in this country, I believe uneducated fearful people who feel they can only be above what they demonize. Like the blacks, the slaves, woman, and on and one. We're all Gods children, however one wishes to believe. Baptist fundies been shooting up clinics, Osoma is another fundie who has his own devils to shoot.

Please give some effort to close a gap that keeps more in line to the road of peace than a gun.

Peace Charles
Not arguments
Now go sin no more :-)
 
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