Wednesday, November 16, 2005

 

The Five Americans


Some of the tides are turning. A steadily increasing number of Americans seem to be aware of some the lies that they have been fed and some of the deceit they have been subjected to. It may be time to assess the new developments on the soil of the American public, and perhaps to venture into the question of what to expect from them as a result.

A Crude Analysis of American Public – An Iraq War Perspective

The crude tagging of America into ‘red’ and ‘blue’ does not do people justice. It is a ‘binary’ approach probably necessitated, among other things, by the two-party political system. But as far as the war in Iraq is concerned, that model is not sufficient to form a picture of the American people.

It is simply not possible to compartment a country the size of a continent into a few (or even a few dozen) slots accurately. But this approach is not unusual. Thanks to the media, most of the world was convinced to reduce my own complex country, which is 30 times as old as America, into three words: Kurd, Shiite and Sunni! I have come myself to form my own rough-and-ready categorization of the American public. It is perhaps not as coarse as the red-blue model, but it is still crude nevertheless. It cannot be seen as a general approach. It is an Iraqi perspective: Looking at Americans looking at the war in Iraq

I have come to put adult Americans into five categories. I call them the Five Americans. Each roughly represents a segment of the American public that is by no means uniform; each category probably has its own ‘normal distribution’; I cannot claim that they all have the same size; there are no sharp cut-off lines between them. The categorization attempted here is with regards to foreign policy and the war on Iraq in particular.

The First American: The group represented by this American covers a wide spectrum that is by no means uniform, but they were all against this war all the time. Many of these people, some 20% of Americans, have been against this war right from the start - many even before the war started. No doubt some of those people were against this particular far-right, religiously oriented Administration as a matter of principle. But many of these people knew that this was a morally wrong adventure and were dead set against it. They include Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

The Second American: This American is generally liberal, is inclined to vote Democrat, also believes in the political process in America and generally has an open mind. The group includes many of the ‘blue’ people of America. This is a mainstream-media following crowd that is significantly influenced by that media.

The Third American: This is the ‘grey’ American, suffering from a chronic case of apathy. For a variety of reasons (lack of interest, lack of time, poverty, disillusionment, cynicism, etc.) people in this group are simply not interested. Most will not vote, they will not debate politics, they will not read newspaper articles. Many do have their own views about things, but they are unlikely to do anything about them.

The Fourth American: This one is quite similar to the second American, but on the other, red, side of the mean line and the grey area occupied by the third American. Many of these people are conservative-leaning, probably with religious inclinations. Many have a firm belief that America is basically ‘good’ and have considerable faith in the present political system and traditional social values. Some of them have an open mind, but they are generally resistant to change and definitely resistant to dramatic changes of opinion. These Americans are also a mainstream-media following crowd.


The Fifth American: Personally, this particular American has been a source of fascination for me over the past two years! These Americans are dead set on supporting this administration no matter what! They will not listen; they will not consider; they will not budge; full stop. No amount of reason, debate or argument, will produce any change of position. Not even facts will incite any prospect of reconsideration. I personally have given up trying to address them. They are mainly an American problem, but they have also indirectly done much damage to the world. This group includes the super-religious, the super-patriots, the super-haters, bigots and the super-dead-set! Even today, with the lies being slowly uncovered, massacres in Iraq being exposed, torture scandals exposed for all the world to see, “war on terror” being demonstrated to have been a disaster… these people refuse to acknowledge any of these things. With ready-made excuses, some of them incredibly flimsy, they will simply attack, attack and then attack any view point that they don’t agree with.

***


Battle for America

More than anything else, President Bush’s legacy will be associated with the war on Iraq. Over the past two years of the conflict in Iraq, support for that unfortunate adventure has been steadily declining among the American public. Poll after poll has been confirming this trend.

I was fascinated by this Washington Post / ABC chart plotting President Bush’s approval and disapproval ratings that I found on the BBC website a few days ago. A picture may indeed paint a thousand words.


Some key points are of special significance to the present categorization:

• Soon after President Bush took office in 2001, nearly 3 Americans out of our five approved of him (two of them are definitely the 4th and 5th Americans); two Americans did not (one of them is definitely the 1st American).

• After the 9/11 tragedy, almost all 5 Americans were supportive. This is of extreme significance. Non-Americans sometimes fail to see the significance of that colossal event on the American public’s attitude. Even the 1st and 3rd Americans largely approved of President Bush. I expect it simply means people rallying around their leadership in a time of calamity.

• For more than a year after that (during which time the invasion of Afghanistan took place), President Bush steadily lost the approval of nearly 2 of those Americans – despite the ‘success’ in Afghanistan.

• The amazing feat of the media and the propaganda campaigns over the weapons of mass destruction paranoia, the link to Al Qaeda and the war frenzy… can be seen in the early months of 2003. Four out of 5 Americans (2, 3, 4 and 5) approved. This is truly impressive. Only the worst-case 1st American opposed the war, sometimes quite vocally and actively.

• Since then, in the period following the invasion, President Bush was steadily losing approval. Where did that come from?

It is noteworthy that during the critical period between April and November of 2004 during which the atrocities of Abu Ghraib, Fallujah I, Najaf and Fallujah II took place, there were cries of outrage from decent quarters; however there was no drastic drop in approval rates!! I find that extremely discouraging and disappointing. But, on the other hand, there was no rise in approval rates after the ‘brilliantly successful’ elections in Iraq either. This too is perplexing. Doesn’t what happens in Iraq in terms of the success or failure of the ‘project’ affect the American public?

It therefore appears that they are partly people who have turned against the war for a number of ‘internal American’ reasons that include: mounting losses in the US army, and grief or fear over their loved ones; the mounting expenditure of billions of dollars; the realization they are no more secure following that war; that world terrorism is still a potent and a threatening force; the realization that America is not winning this war; anger at being lied to and misled to support that war…

Reasons of self interest!

There is nothing wrong with that. It is human nature!

This is why I believe the recent dip in approval ratings is self-explanatory with Katrina and all the scandals breaking out…

At the moment it seems that 3 out of 5 Americans disapprove of President Bush’s management. Nearly 2 Americans still approve of him.

And there is no ‘absenteeism’! While early in 2001 (for a very short period after President Bush took office) nearly 20% of Americans did not have a view, now all Americans do, including the apathetic 3rd American!! It does seem to indicate that the whole American nation is now interested… or polarized.


Conclusion

The main point I want to make is that President Bush’s approval rating is extremely unlikely to fall below 20% no matter how badly he does in Iraq, no matter how many Iraqi and American people die, no matter how much money is squandered and no matter how badly America is viewed by the rest of the world. As far as the war in Iraq is concerned, the 5th American, I believe, is a hopeless cause barring another calamity. The fifth American will keep supporting this administration’s venture in Iraq, pursuing “Freedom and Democracy”, or whatever case the administration presents.

The other point is that the American society does seem to be largely self-centered and inward-looking. The issues that matter in their approval or disapproval, except for part of the 1st American, are largely domestically oriented. I cannot ignore the depressingly small effect all those atrocities have had on American public opinion at large. This is not a handicap in itself; many other societies are inward-looking. But for a country that wants to be heavily involved in other people’s affairs and design the New World, it is disturbing. This is probably why successive administrations have had an almost free hand in foreign policy.

The current battle in America, it seems to me, is to win over as many of these people as possible! Democrats, smelling blood, are already onto the quarry. There is no doubt that many will use the war in Iraq as a vehicle for their domestic agenda. It is sad that all the talk is about whether the present administration misled the Congress and the people or not. I have yet to see a clear vision of what they want to do with this war or with the American involvement in Iraq. In this respect, neither the politicians, nor most of the public seem interested.

Finally, it has to be remembered that this crude model does not cater for the fact that elections are usually won or lost by margins of few percentage points… a small fraction indeed of one of those 5 Americans.


Comments:

My two previous posts were actually an experiment to try and bring out what I now call 5th American. Perhaps it was a bit wicked of me, but I needed to demonstrate my point. They have been rather quiet on this blog for some time. Within half an hour of publishing that first post about the President’s reaction to 9/11, I received three responses in rapid succession – probably from the same poster. I think the point has been amply demonstrated that the 4th and 5th Americans do exist, as described in this post.

Furthermore, Geoff, as Circular has noted in the previous post, illustrates the basic ‘individual’ decency of many of the people in these groups, particularly those in group 4. Some people tend to think of them all as evil. I tend to think of them as people behind the curtains. Geoff’s response and his media-constructed view of the ME brilliantly demonstrate this. The evil ones I believe only exist in group 5 and even then they are a small fraction of that group. However, the group as a whole is excellent raw material for the evil manipulators.

The tentative categories I am proposing are rather crude and their definitions still a bit hazy. I would welcome any input that would help define them better. An attempt I made to apply the model to the last US elections did not prove successful. So, for the moment, I think we better restrict its application to the War Iraq.

Circular: Sorry to have got you all worked up and angry in that last post. My fault.

Mark: Now is the time to attack my over-simplification of America. I have already pleaded guilty.
 
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Who’s worked up and angry? I was quite enjoying Madtom, he’s nowhere near as bad as Charles was.
Not quite on topic, but a bit of very amateur political theorising here, to start things off. At one point you mention the "normal distribution." Also known as the normal curve, years ago in Psychology we were taught that this applies to many human characteristics, such as height and intelligence, with the majority clustered around the average, and the curve tapering away to small numbers at the extremes.
I get the impression that the spectrum of political opinions, in most Western countries at any rate, tends now to have solidified into a normal curve, with limited numbers at the extreme right and left, the curve bowing upwards from both ends to the majority in the centre.
My question is: logically you would expect that, if this is correct, then a "centre" party would stand the best chance of gaining and holding power, but this doesn’t seem to happen much, you keep getting swings one way or another? I don’t know enough about enough countries to say this with any assurance, but someone may care to educate me. (I don’t need telling that the US doesn’t really fit this model, you’ve got a choice between the right or the far right.)
E.g. here in NZ, you couldn’t say that the (just) ruling Labour Party is really leftist any more, certainly not in economic policy. The far left, if there is one, is now occupied by the Green Party, basically environmentalists. Nevertheless, the recent election in the end came down to who offered the best electoral bribe, the Nationals waving across-the-board tax cuts for everyone, Labour countering with more assistance targeted at low-to-middle income working families. Their narrow win seems to have been partly due to this (essentially leftist) offer drawing more of the female vote. Oh dear - another complication.
Abu, in the very unlikely event that Iraq achieves some sort of stability, instead of becoming another Somalia, as my paper suggests today: is there a Western-style right/left division there underlying or cutting across the sectarian differences, does this become a factor? The paper also suggests that the Coalition would look with favour on the replacement of Jafaari by Adel Abdel-Mahdi, a former Maoist.
Maoist? I thought they were mythological beasts, like dragons.
Circular
 
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Nobody got nuthin' to say?
Just out of interest, Abu, I was wandering around and I came across a Blog, http://www.roadstoiraq.com and guess who was there! Our very own Charles, no less!
He hasn't changed a bit - still posting compulsively, obsessively, arguing in endless detail, over and over, about some irrelevant point, quotation piled on quotation...
I hope your experience of him didn't influence too much your rather bleak description above of the Fifth American - "They will not listen; they will not consider; they will not budge; full stop. No amount of reason, debate or argument, will produce any change of position. Not even facts will incite any prospect of reconsideration...they will simply attack, attack and then attack any view point that they don’t agree with."
That's Charles all right, but I don't think he's really representative of anyone but himself and his condition - a pathological urge to post at any cost.
I hope it isn't catching - why does my hand keep reaching for the keyboard...?
Circular
 
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There are some people here in this country who would never disapprove of anything this president and his sociopathic accomplices would do. One wag commented that Bush could have sex with a sheep on the White House lawn in public and then set the sheep afire, and a lot of Republicans would say, "awwww. the sheep was lonely, and i was cold. " No kidding.
 
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Abu Khaleel:

I think your segmentation of the American public is about as accurate as any system can be that only has five categories in which to slot roughly three hundred million people. Your system may be an over simplification, but it captures many of the main strands of American political thought (or lack of thought in one case).

However, it completely misses the Jacksonian (international isolationists, until crisis makes war unavoidable) foreign policy tradition. See the link http://www.techcentralstation.com/032204A.html for a further explanation. Some of the conservative Jacksonians wanted to leave Iraq as soon as Saddam was found, since they oppose "nation building" as a philosophical matter. Their influence explains much of the lack of serious occupation planning since they intended to leave as soon as possible. It is the Wilsonians (Neo-Cons, if they are conservatives, Internationalists, if liberal, e.g., Christopher Hitchens) that favor such things as international adventures, the exportation of democracy, and nation building. The fact that the Neo-Con segment of the administration couldn't wield enough influence to plan or execute an even semi-competent occupation will doom their political vision for the foreseeable future here.

The most cogent portion of your analysis is its identification of an essential truth of American politics, that is, the political center is where close national elections are won and lost. The populations segments at the political poles seldom change their views, voting patterns, or party affiliations (although, under adverse political conditions, the party faithful sometimes are so demotivated they negelect to vote). In most close national elections, the outocme is determined by how the centrist segment votes.

In my view, Bush is in the process of losing that segment. The recent spate of scandals combined with his lack of support for the McCain anti-torture amendment seems to be badly damaging his reputation with moderates. This bodes ill for the Republican party in the mid-term Congressional elections and in the next Presidential ones, although his and his party’s political fortunes could change based on any number of unforeseen world events.

I hope all is well with you and yours.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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I dont know where I fit in? Which American am I? I'm sorry for your pain. Please be at least considering of mine.

It was a wonderful post that I read. As an American, you hit it pretty darn close. The only thing that I would like to add is that I would never take away from your atrocities going on in your own country, but the PLANET is hating my country for policies. Policies that I can't control. Those aren't all of GW Bush's policies either. We're not the enemy. I'm not.

While many and I do mean MANY Americans see more outside of our borders than EVER, you must remember that we only had two choices. We had TWO. I would never push Christianity or Islam or any other religion on anyone. Neither do I think a Democratic government will work for everyone.

I personally feel that Americans "thought" and still do that we saved you in some way from an evil dictator who did evil things to you ALL. In the beginning, we "thought" by taking him out of power, it would help us both. It would secure the world and free the Iraqi people.

I happen to work with a guy from Bagdad. He explains to me that life was not bad with Saddam. His world touched few. But imagine those few? I don't have answers. I have empathy. I have empathy for both countries. While I know that yours is the only one that sheds blood at the moment, that blood is not all yours. My men die there too.

US polices are not great, I'll admit. GW Bush is not the enemy either. Remember, we had two choices... where would we be with John Kerry?

You say that the USA has always wanted to stick its nose in other countries affairs- please-

please, please---

The United States of America has had to make decisions to stabilize this planet and will have many more to come. Take that into consideration with your thoughts. That is NO easy task my friend. It has NOT always been self interest and self absorbed. We've done many many good things that happen to be ever so slightly OVERLOOKED with this war.

My blog has no religious or political agenda. I rarely even ever speak of my political view because they are so controversial here. Please visit sometime and try to get a lighter side of life, no matter how hard it is at this time.

My apologies if I owe any. I'll never apologize for being an American. our motto, at the moment, E pluribus unum- (out of many ONE) could never be further from the truth.

Sincerely,
Debbie
 
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Interesting post from Debbie above, Abu - in some ways reminiscent of Geoff’s in the last section.
As Mark says, you can’t really fit the full spectrum of opinion into just five segments: but I suggest that you left this point of view, or set of beliefs, out of your "Fourth American" category: in addition to "a firm belief that America is basically ‘good’" an equally firm belief that this goodness is expressed in US foreign policy, and that Americans have a responsibility, perhaps even a destiny, to save and run the world.
In a sense, perhaps a belief that economic and military supremacy must necessarily be a product of moral supremacy?
I mean, Debbie complains that " the PLANET is hating my country for policies" but then later says "The United States of America has had to make decisions to stabilize this planet and will have many more to come ..." (I think Mark sometimes used to project a similar flavour of "self-appointed world policeman" thought.) it seems to be a tendency to place too much emphasis on the past glories of WW2 and possibly the Cold War, and not to accept that the world has moved on.
There doesn’t seem to be so much emphasis nowadays on comparisons with Vietnam, as far as this latest effort to stabilise the planet goes. I’d be very interested to know what Debbie (or Mark) knows and thinks about Vietnam. I sometimes re-read John Kerry’s speech to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, on behalf of Vietnam Veterans.
" ...we are angry because we feel we have been used in the worst fashion ...all that we were told about Vietnam and about the mystical war on communism. We found ... that it was a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever ... In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the USA. ... we rationalised destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted My Lai very coolly ... And now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of Vietnamising the Vietnamese ... How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
I hope your Blog has educated your readers sufficiently that the above will not attract ad hominen comment about John Kerry (2005 model) but will instead concentrate on what John Kerry (1971 model) actually said. "To die for a mistake ..."
Circular
 
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Mark,

Thank you for that link. Very interesting. I really have no idea how influential those currents are. Are these categories descriptive of current of political thought, or are simply ‘tags’?

Circular,

I find the debate (well more like monologues) above interesting. It took some time. I guess the post was… not very palatable. I agree that those categories are rather coarse. I have already pleaded guilty. I really couldn’t expand on that post much. It was already too long.

I was mesmerized by the flood of news coming from Washington. Too much input and so hard to filter out the news through the noise and the smokescreens. What’s happening?

Senior Democrats grinding their teeth and making loud threatening noises, calls for immediate withdrawal (!!!!), Abramoff, White Phosphorous, etc.

And now this new fiasco about the torture house in Jadriya. The US army ‘stumbling’ on it almost by accident. The poor fellows didn’t know. They seem to be always the last to know, except for the poor 5 Americans. People have been yelling for months, the “Observer” wrote about them in July. Now they vow to search for others. Well there are more than a dozen large ones. They could ask any kid on the street.

On the Iraqi side, something tells me that those Salvadorians-in-disguise, wearing Iraqi police commando uniforms, may be out of favor with the administration.

Also that conference in Cairo that finished today has been morale-lifting! A small, but a definite step forward. Perhaps the administration has been telling some people that they may not be there for them for long and they better extend their hand to others? Wishful thinking?

I am also beginning to see a small ray of light at the end of the American tunnel. Those image curtains are beginning to project some new images.

We are bound to see more of the same in the coming months with the election fever rising.

Shall we start discussing exit strategies?

Somehow I feel that we are in for a new ‘ball game’ as Americans would say. The Democrats are poised for an anti-war posture… perhaps for the wrong reasons, but I can’t complain really.

It has been also extremely gratifying to hear some respectable American patriots and veterans saying some of the ‘unrespectable’, ‘anti-American’ and other obnoxious things I had written on this blog!

Somehow, it makes me feel that my job has been done and that tough American professionals now have the ball and are going to make a dash for it. (A good thing really, as I am in no mood for political blogging, as can be seen from my latest post on the ‘Glimpse’.)

But can we hope? (Perhaps we better wait for a while for a better “image” to emerge ;)
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
Don't get your hopes up too much. The democrats are more frightened than frightening to Bush. The real chance to catch Bush is the next election a whole year away, when a democratic sweep might give them control of Congress. This is too long for Iraq and the US to wait. I hope Iraqis can finally express their feelings in the upcoming election and their representatives negotiate a clear withdrawl plan for the occupation. Don't lose the current momentum.
 
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Mark --

A detailed and interesting remark as usual. Thanks.

[mark] “Some of the conservative Jacksonians wanted to leave Iraq as soon as Saddam was found, since they oppose "nation building" as a philosophical matter.”

In many ways I wonder if this would not have been the best option. Get rid of Saddam, prove there are no weapons, and scarper. Hand the country to the UN or whoever would be willing to handle this hot potato, and leave. Then sit back, have an ice cream in the shade and watch the criticism pour in on whoever (if anybody) accepted the task of administration.

Fact is, though, that many parties in the US view Iraq as the perfect test case with which to try out their radical economic and societal reforming theories (thinking neocons here) whereas others merely saw the opportunity to make a quick buck. Mix this in with the people who thought controlling (or ‘protecting’ if you prefer ;) ) ME oil regardless of the wishes of the owners of that oil was a hot idea … and we have a serious problem.



[Debbie] “Remember, we had two choices... where would we be with John Kerry?”

Pretty much the same, methinks. The big mistake – invasion – had already been committed. But I could be wrong.

Your post was from the heart and sincere. I think that people appreciate that. It shows that you are not observing events from a soulless and impersonal distance.
 
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[circular] “I mean, Debbie complains that " the PLANET is hating my country for policies" but then later says "The United States of America has had to make decisions to stabilize this planet and will have many more to come ..." (I think Mark sometimes used to project a similar flavour of "self-appointed world policeman" thought.) it seems to be a tendency to place too much emphasis on the past glories of WW2 and possibly the Cold War, and not to accept that the world has moved on.”

You hit it on the head there. While I don’t doubt Debbie’s essential sincerity, the fact is that meddling extensively in the guise of a self appointed ‘globocop’ WILL often lead to blowback and negative sentiment. Particularly when that meddling is not seen as impartial policing, but as an effort to peddle foreign policies that are advantageous to the US. As I often say, let America lead by example, rather than by force.


[abu Khaleel] “And now this new fiasco about the torture house in Jadriya. The US army ‘stumbling’ on it almost by accident. The poor fellows didn’t know. They seem to be always the last to know, except for the poor 5 Americans. People have been yelling for months, the “Observer” wrote about them in July. Now they vow to search for others. Well there are more than a dozen large ones. They could ask any kid on the street.”

Well, of course they “didn’t know” until it was convenient to know. I mean, Adnan Thavit’s thugs have been busy for months, broadcasting on US funded TV, and so have the SCIRI types. Gee, gosh, what a surprise. Riverbend has an excellent post on the subject.

As an interesting aside, those people who were captured were most likely innocents. Given that the Iraqi resistance has no compunction in attacking well – defended police stations, US Army patrols and even Abu Ghraib, I can’t imagine why they didn’t take out those places if their own were in there. Which makes me think that they weren’t.

[abu K] “Also that conference in Cairo that finished today has been morale-lifting! A small, but a definite step forward.”

I think I missed it. What was it about? Who attended?

[abu K] “It has been also extremely gratifying to hear some respectable American patriots and veterans saying some of the ‘unrespectable’, ‘anti-American’ and other obnoxious things I had written on this blog! Somehow, it makes me feel that my job has been done and that tough American professionals now have the ball and are going to make a dash for it.”

GOOD FOR YOU! :) I was getting the idea that you had given up this exercise as totally hopeless.

There are definite cracks emerging. The Bush façade is starting to crumble, even though it be ever so slowly. Give it a while longer.
 
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"Somehow I feel that we are in for a new ‘ball game’ as Americans would say. The Democrats are poised for an anti-war posture… perhaps for the wrong reasons, but I can’t complain really."

So you play madtom. It's good to know that I could have such company. You made my day with that. Thank you.
 
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Bruno. The conference was an Iraqi National Accord or Reconciliation Conference, hosted by the Arab League in Cairo.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051121/ap_on_re_mi_ea/egypt_iraq_conference_1
Please note:
"The conference's final statement also stated that "resistance is a legitimate right for all people" — a nod to Sunni Arab leaders who have sought to distinguish Iraqi insurgents they say are resisting the U.S. presence in Iraq from terrorism.
But the statement added, "Terrorism is not legitimate resistance and thus we condemn terrorism and the acts of violence, killings and kidnappings that target Iraqi citizens; civil, governmental and humanitarian organizations; national wealth and houses of worships. We ask that they be immediately confronted."
"...acts of violence, killings and kidnappings that target Iraqi citizens..."
Depending on how you read this, it can be taken as the Iraqi Government agreeing that foreign occupying troops are legitimate targets for resistance.
Goddam puppet’s strings have broken again.
Circular
 
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MadTom,

I am delighted that I made your day… although I have no idea how. I find your messages frequently cryptic. Anyway, you’re welcome.

Bruno,

Well, we all need a glimmer of hope sometime, don’t we? There are people in the States who have some hope that this campaign may yet succeed. Some of them even hope that it will end world terror. So I hope that my hope is somehow more justifiable :)

Circular,

Thank you for responding to Bruno’s question. I think you have expressed it concisely. Another item agreed was to seek a time-table for US withdrawal. In any case, it was all premature. Within 48 hours General Casey re-defined the whole thing. Within hours, both Barzani and Adel Abdul Mehdi (of SCIRI) who is also VP retracted, saying that there was no resistance in Iraq, only terrorism. So, those strings are still intact, it seems.
 
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Can I ask when was the last time a statement from the Arab League was worth the paper it was written on? Just curious.
 
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No you can't, because it's not a relevant question. The statement wasn't from the Arab League, it was from the Iraqi parties present at the meeting.
Anyway, as Abu says, they're now backtracking furiously.
Try again.
Circular
 
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[madtom] “Can I ask when was the last time a statement from the Arab League was worth the paper it was written on? Just curious.”

Can I ask when last a statement by Madtom was worth the bytes it took to send? Given that he rarely, if ever, has the vaguest clue of the subject at hand. Please, go fight Castro or something. (I’d say I wanted Charles back, but I’d be lying.)

AbuK, Circular, thanks for the enlightenment on the Cairo meeting.
 
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Oh I don't know, the administration is starting to talk about a draw down of troops early next year, so you never know. At this point the message does seem to be a bit confused, it's looking like everyone took what they wanted from the meeting. Some are calling it progress!
If that's actually true then I'm all for it no matter where it came from. I think we'll have to wait an see.
 
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Abu, I think that your five Americans is as good an explaination as any. We Americans are constantly having similar discourse on how to categorize sentiments and politics in the U.S. Often the controversy is boiled down to a mere three; Left, Center, and Right, with the Center routinely being pulled back and forth by the extremes. One of the best aspects of the American system of politics is that the discourse of the extremes takes place over years and precludes rash judgements. We fortunatly have wait until the next election to change "captains" who will steer the ship of state in a different direction. One of the recent issues of discussion is the falling popularity of GW Bush. It's often touted by those who wish to wrest the wheel from the elected President as an indication that the ship will soon be turning in different directions. But history shows that almost all US Presidents have had periods of low popularity. Some have even been lower than Bush's. Alexander Hamilton, one of the framers of the US Constitution was very aware, and fearful of the danger of acting rashly, what he refered to as "the heat of the moment". As a result political decisions often move at a pace that is unpalatable to many. After the American Revolution began in 1776 it didn't end with the surrender of Britain in 1781. It wasn't until the year 1787 that a constitution was finally signed. By that measure Iraq is doing better than the US did over two hundred years ago. But too many in the US decry the supposed slow pace and call for a rapid disengagement of US forces. While everyone wishes that this could be so, it would be wise to look to history for possible events that could occur. On one hand a prolonged US involvement could work in a similar fashion as it did in Japan, creating a stable powerhouse of a country. Contrarily, disengagement that is done too swiftly could result in the ascension to power of a regime that caused the deaths of millions as happened in Cambodia and Vietnam.

I suppose that the debate over justifications for war against Saddam will rage on for decades. But the point now is to find a way to turn Iraq back to you and your fellow Iraqis in a manner that will neither involve a long term involvement of the military or the rise of a brutal regime that is worse than the deposed Saddam. My neighbor, Kassim (sp?) was formerly in Saddams army but managed to escape the clutches of his conscripted service after the first gulf war. He has spoken of the US involvement to me and has said that although he is overjoyed that the Ba'athist control is over, he fears the aftermath nearly as much. Of the five types of Americans you mentioned I don't think there is any one of them that doesn't share that same worry. The biggest difference is the means and the time element for returning full control to Iraq's citizens.
 
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Abu.
Remember that you rejected my tag "The Glorious Foreign Resistance", well now I keep seeing this ""the noble resistance"" and all I have to say is that I like mine better.
 
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Wow, the mininformation, twisting, turning, manipulation, out and out lies told here are making my head spin.

The lack of knowledge about history and how Americans think shown by the original poster here is mind boggling.

Okay, first the history lesson. Sadaam Hussein launched an unprovoked invasion of Kuwait in order to annex Kuwait. The U.N. put together a force and kicked Iraq out of Kuwait. The war was ended prematurely, which was viewed as a mistake at the time by many, but that was the decision taken. The UN imposed conditions on Sadaam that had to be followed in order for a cease fire to continue in place. Sadaam broke those conditions, this is what led to the 2nd Gulf War. President Bush made a huge PR mistake in needing to justify the 2nd war, the 2nd war needed no justification, it was allowed by the terms of the UN resolutions that ended the 1st gulf war. President Bush didn't need to bring up WMD and links to al-Queda.

No one can prove that the president knew or believed that Iraq did not possess WMDs, many intelligence agencies the world over believed this to be a fact. Okay, none were found, but labs for making chemical and biological weapons were found, just devoid of chemical or biological agents. But, Iraq had 12 years to move any damaging materials, move, export, or destroy. Who knows? I certainly don't. but, this is irrelevent. Iraq was in violation of the terms of the cease fire of the 1st Gulf War, so no justification was needed to continue the conflict.

9/11 changed things and President Bush made a big PR blunder. Many, many Americans would have supported this war if it was simply announced as an offensive against the Arab/Islam enemy that had declared war on us on 9/11. No further explanation needed.

The Arabs/Islamists brought this war to us. They want war, we oblige them. That is all the President need to have said.

The stated objective of the war was to topple Sadaam. This was accomplished. So, the war has already been won. Whether Iraq becomes democratic or whether they tear each other to pieces in a civil war is not relevent. The President was wrong to link nation building with finishing the 1st gulf war and deposing Sadaam.

You are wrong if you think that the majority of Americans believe the nonsense that we see on TV. We have too many sources of information. You are right that there is a very vocal, albeit small group that will oppose the Republicans no matter what they do. These cowards and traitors cannot win at the ballot box so they seek to win through propaganda. No one listens to them except people who are already convinced, they get no new converts.

I think you are the one misled by their propaganda. I will give you a case in point. Shortly after the 2nd gulf war began the leftists held an anti-war rally in Washington D.C., it was attended by a few hundred people. Not far away from the anti-war rally there was a pro-America rally which was attended by over 20,000 people. I know because I was there. The leftists' pals in the media made much out of the anti-war demonstration and didn't mention the pro-America rally at all.

So, if you are getting your information as to how Americans think from the leftists and their pals in the media, you are being fooled.

What Americans are upset about, isn't that Sadaam was toppled, isn't that there were or were not WMD, we are upset that this war is not being fought to a finish. We want the gloves taken off and our enemies brought to ground and buried under it. This is why we are upset.

The democrats are not going to win anything in the next election if they try to use the war against our enemies as the only thing they have to talk about. Anyone with half a brain knows that we are in a fight to the finish with the Arab/Islamist world and Americans fight to win. The democrats are going to be sadly disappointed if they run on a platform of turning tail and running.

You want the Americans to go home. Then what? What is your plan? Please enlighten us.
 
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An' after we've killed off all the Arab/Islamists, only about a billion of them, then we'll take on the leftist Europeans, less than a billion of them, and then the Chinese, another billion ...
Dribble, drool, dribble.
 
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FightForYourFreedom,

Thank you for the illustration.

What a fine specimen of the 5th type!
 
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[ffyf] “Okay, first the history lesson. Sadaam Hussein launched an unprovoked invasion of Kuwait in order to annex Kuwait.”

What? No mention of the dispute of the Rumaila oilfields? Or the Kuwaiti slant oil-drilling? Or the indifference of the UN to official Iraqi complaints? No mention either, I see, of the Iraqi blood and treasure spent protecting the smaller emirates from Iranian expansion (often with their explicit approval) and the subsequent ‘stuff you attitude’ of Kuwait vs Iraq. No mention either of the historical claim Iraq has over Kuwait, not the implicit ‘green light’ April Glaspie gave Saddam?

For the record, I happen to agree the UN was right to boot Iraq out of Kuwait. However, your ‘history’ is more than a little incomplete and more than a little black and white. Makes me wonder how deep your knowledge on the matter really is.


[ffyf] “Sadaam broke those conditions, this is what led to the 2nd Gulf War. President Bush made a huge PR mistake in needing to justify the 2nd war, the 2nd war needed no justification, it was allowed by the terms of the UN resolutions that ended the 1st gulf war.”

Oh-oh. Here’s the clincher. The above statement REALLY tells us that you have NO clue of what you’re talking about. Why don’t you state the exact paragraph of the “UN resolutions that ended the 1st gulf war.” – which authorised the second? Please, enlighten us poor heathens with the glow of your wisdom.

(Reality: no further action was mandated. IF further action was to be taken, it was up to the UNSC to decide on it. Not the USA. In short: you are WRONG and don’t know what you are talking about.)

[ffyf] “No one can prove that the president knew or believed that Iraq did not possess WMDs, many intelligence agencies the world over believed this to be a fact. Okay, none were found, but labs for making chemical and biological weapons were found, just devoid of chemical or biological agents.”

Uh, the neocons specifically went out of their way to discredit any voices of truth on the matter. When the CIA expressed doubts about the continued ability of Hussein to produce or stock NBC weaponry, the neocons quashed or ignored these caveats. Labs were found, huh? Which labs? The ones that you promised would be found under hospitals and at the bottom of leadlined wells? Or the two hydrogen tankers for filling weather balloons bought from the British?

The fact that you spend so many words in trying to justify yourself merely shows how flimsy your case is.

[ffyf] “Many, many Americans would have supported this war if it was simply announced as an offensive against the Arab/Islam enemy that had declared war on us on 9/11.”

Many, many Americans are f^&*$@# morons then. (Apologies to the non-idiots included automatically, of course.)

[ffyf] “The leftists' pals in the media made much out of the anti-war demonstration and didn't mention the pro-America rally at all.”

Oh, hey, I believe you. The same as huge anti war rallies are held by the non-morons, and a couple dozen freepers try to steal their thunder. Your politics there are extremely polarised. Both sides routinely exaggerate.


[ffyf] “We want the gloves taken off and our enemies brought to ground and buried under it. This is why we are upset.”

Really? Who ARE your ‘enemies’? Chances are, you will be unable to provide a concise definition which will not apply to 70% of the planet.

[ffyf] “Anyone with half a brain knows that we are in a fight to the finish with the Arab/Islamist world and Americans fight to win.”

OOOh! Now I understand. You just want to “kill all the Arabs / Muslims”. See, I was right in my initial assessment that you are CLUELESS. Another American bent on murder and pillaging. ( Mark, how on earth do you stand the SMELL of these unwashed Mongols? )

“dribble drool” commenter had it just right. I’ve already wasted too much time on this post.

( Abu Khaleel, this IS a FINE specimen of “Americanus Quintus” that you have fished out for us. )
 
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Dear 'Fight for your freedom',

Do you recall the news in 2002 about the CIA analysis of Iraq, and the President's resonse to that analysis? I do. Essentially, the CIA stated that Saddam Hussein would be unlikely to attack the US (even if he had the Weapons of Mass Destruction) UNLESS provoked or backed into a corner. The President's rewording of this was that Saddam Hussein WOULD BE LIKELY to attack the US.
Actually, events have proved both wrong. Even when backed into a corner and attacked, Saddam Hussein launched no attacks either on the US or on any other nation.

In fact, George W. Bush's response to the CIA report suggests the Bush did NOT believe that Iraq had any means of attacking the US, since the explicit warning was that Saddam would be most likely to attack if threatened, and Bush spent the next several months threatening Saddam. At the same time, the message was put forth that we KNEW that Saddam had WMD.

This of course justifies none of Saddam's tyranical behavior.

Be Well,
Bob Griffin
 
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I just found this blog, and I must say it's excellent. As a student of ancient Mesopotamian history, and also being obsessed with the illegal and unjustified invasion of Iraq, it's just perfect for me.

I love the stuff about the farmer's calendar. It sounds like something from Hesiod's Works and Days.

The poetry is also fascinating, both the Arab and Sumerian/kkadian stuff. It's pleasing to see that Iraqis are so conscious of their bottomless history.

On the topic, I'd say your "five Americans" analysis is spot on. I certainly can't think how to improve on it. You are right that the third American has lost his disinterest. Also about the selfish motives of US latecomers to the antiwar movement. The timing of their change of heart says it all.

But I worry that the fifth American is somewhat more than 20% of the population. In fact, I think Bush's popularity (and the war's) has bottomed out at about 35% - who would stick by him if he were caught devouring Iraqi children.

I also dispute the generous assertion that most of these "5th Americans" are good at heart. We have to call a spade a spade - what is evil if they aren't?
 
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On a happier note, I think that many Americans have recently moved from the second to the first category...and they won't be trusting their government again in a hurry.
 
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hi there;

If you want to study your "Fifth American" look to www.freerepublic.com and their message boards. A few points though- in my experiences of America it is the third group that dominates - apathy is a curse of modern day america, and perhaps 50% of the people I have met fall into this group. In recent ears, however they have been filtering off into groups 2 and 4 due to the increasing polarisation of thier society - a result of a polaric and vitriotic 2 party system.

A further point - the "Fifth American" is almost exclusively present on non-proximity based forms of communication, such as the internet and "Talk Radio". Its difficult to find people in America that support any war so enthusiastically when they cannot log off/hang up if they are not winning the argument. The same can, likewise, be said of american 1 but these tend to band in protest groups and use numbers to thier advantage when out in public.

hope this adds a little flavour to your writings - I am at work and so cannot dignify your work with a structured response im afraid.
 
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The fifth American.
A local guy was boasting about "going to Iraq to kick some Iraqi ass" with the marines. He's now six feet under after getting second prize in a firefight over there! I believe if I encountered such an individual entering my country with the same mindset, I would also have a duty to protect myself, my family and my nation from such a brainwashed bully.
However, in our society this type is raised up as some kind of hero. I just feel his ignorance was used to help pursue the goals of a neo con agenda. The world would not put up with domination by Nazi Germany. There is absolutely no way that it will now accept domination by a country ruled by corporations and populated by a majority of people who are too lazy to drag themselves off the couch to really learn about their government and the world around them. Forget dreams of an empire, America. Instead, continue putting more and more effort into keeping gays out of your churches, reading about celebrity scandals, and eating yourselves to death. You can do this while you not having to think about US corporations moving you jobs to cheap labor countries, ignoring the fact that 40 million Americans don't even have health insurance, or closing your eyes to massive tax cuts given to the wealthiest while the poor and middle class are made to pay more and more of the bill.
 
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LOL
First, Newsguy, I think you have your Presidents mixed up. That was the President before Bush and his followers.
I support our President though I don't agree with all he has done.
If the majority of Iraqis don't want Americans there and really do want Saddam back, he is still alive. Not saying that meanly, but only that he is out of power because Americans, Brits and others did commit sacrifice to take him out. I see some are confused with what the Bush supporters believe. I have never heard our President say Saddam was in on 9/11 or that he had WMD but that when he got them it would be too late. The only thing about the Middle East I am adamant about is that the U.S. stand steadfast by Israel. I wish freedom and prosperity for all others but if the majority really believe we are not doing right then I would agree, we should leave it for them to handle on their own.
 
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Abu Khaleel--

I agree with you wholeheartedly; it's precisely the ignorant self-aggrandisement of the average American that made me decide to leave that country to study in the UK. Admittedly Britain was involved in the plunder of Iraq, but I've found Britons generally more tolerant of different opinions and better informed about world issues than the 'holier than thou' people on the other side of the Atlantic. Alas, the freedom-'loving' USA has turned into a xenophobic dictatorship of the WASP, intent on silencing what remains of its 'diversity' of opinions and on driving out their mistreated 'brown brothers' from what had once been their lands.
 
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What many are overlooking, both about Iraq and America, is that this war has nothing to do with Saddam, or Iraq oil. Saddam after the UN actions from 1991-98 had approx 90% of the documented WMD and Factories (charged as re-producing stockpiles of WMD) destroyed.

It was after 1998 and in fact year 2000 that Saddam became a danger, and the Bush-Admin began crisis statements saying that it was imparative we install a "new regime" in Iraq. What happened after 1999 and in fact in 2000, Saddam declared that he was going to drop the US $-Dollar as 'note of exchange' and demand (only) the $EURO.

If you take a close look at the check-kiting scheme that America calls our Debt-Economy, you will note that the 'Total-Debt' of America portioned out, comes to almost $500,000.00 for every household, and except for people like Cheney with a Tax-form listing $800-Million(+), most Americans would be hard put to cough it up.

No, President GHW Bush stated it correctly (regarding why they had to go to war), in saying "our lifestyle is not negotionable." Couple this with the US Corp/Gov importing easily 80% of (all) US Consumables, coming from locations like Communist China, and you can see why our tremendous Trade-Deficit along with losing control of the Int'l-market was a direct attack against the US Empire.

Oil is still king of the world, especially in 3rd-World markets like Communist China where today American industrialist's are building American Factories. Should the dollar hit the fan, as did the same scheme of Germany after WWI, we also would need a wheelborrow of funny money to buy a loaf of bread. As the 3rd-World is prone to do in showing their affection for the US-Empire, the American Elite now destroying Americas infrastructure by outsourcing US-Industry, would very likely have their factories and fortunes nationalized by these same 3rd-World peon's.
 
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I would be interested in how you would classify Iraqi's into five categories. My sense is that there are these categories

1. Iraqis that wish for the return of their dictator Sadaam, to a time when only a few enjoyed the "good life" and everyone else suffered.
2. Iraqis that incite or support strife between the Sunnis & Shias because they will never believe that the two can live in harmony.
3. Iraqis that genuinely want a representative form of government that allows all Iraqis no matter what background, religion or political leaning to live in peace but that are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices personally and as a country to achieve such a goal.
4. Iraqis that genuinely want a representative form of government that allows all Iraqis no matter what background, religion or political leaning to live in peace and that are willing to make the necessary sacrifices personally and as a country to achieve such a goal.
5. Iraqis that distance themselves from the problems within Iraq and just want to isolate themselves from everything.
 
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I call what is happening in America as intellectual dishonesty, no one could be as uninformed or misinformed as the majority of America would like to appear.

Granted there are fringe groups, these I believe having gone paranoid trying to convince the silent majority to their point of view.

Still, over the decades of advancement, having almost reached our abyss that out leaders appear trying to push us, this state is not one of ignorance, but very likely proves the god we trust is mostly mysticism, rather than religious.

My hope is that it is not the cockroach who the evolutionists believe will survive, who start over.
 
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amy

The US Shadow government have become top in the field of PSYOPS, their mind-control manuals may be secondary only the the secular group of Zionist's who as a minority control Israel.

What is happening in Iraq today is a program the US Shadow government has used all over the world, simply put, divide (peoples) who then conquer themselves. You may have seen this in America.

The entire Middle East if analyzed from this perspective is then easy to understand. Along with this of course, is four-long-years of keeping Iraq destabelized and under suppressive need (such as over 55% unemployment after $450 Billion spent rebuilding) is simply a part of this program.

Want answers, look up the Pentagon contingency plan called the Salvadore Option.
 
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Asalaamu alaikum, or Peace to all:
I am an American, I have been against this war from the start: Sadaam wore heavy boots and was questionable (extremely) in his methods of rule, but the people were not bombing each other. True he committed atrocities, but he will have to account for his deeds to our Creator on the Last Day, as we all will.
I cry when I read of the suffering of the people of Iraq and pray for their safety and health. Allah hafiz
 
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Asalaamu alaikum, or Peace to all:
I am an American, I have been against this war from the start: Sadaam wore heavy boots and was questionable (extremely) in his methods of rule, but the people were not bombing each other. True he committed atrocities, but he will have to account for his deeds to our Creator on the Last Day, as we all will.
I cry when I read of the suffering of the people of Iraq and pray for their safety and health. Allah hafiz
 
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السلام عليكم

منتديات فيكه دوت كوم
موقع ترفيهي تحشيشي منوع شامل لكل ما هو جديد وحديث في عالم الفن والفنانين واحدث الاغاني والفديو كليبات واخر تطويرات تكنولوجيا
البرامج والتحديثات وعالم المسنجر وتطوير المواقع والمنتديات واحدث طرق اختراق الشبكات والمواقع والبريد الالكتروني والحمايه منها وعالم
الثقافة الجنسية والحياة الزوجيه والتعارف نحن لسنا الاوائل ولكننا الافضل

تفضلوا بزيارة موقعنا على الرابط ادناه
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Well, that's good for them I agree.
 
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