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Author Topic: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity  (Read 3900 times)

droog

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2006, 07:51:29 AM »
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
So we should stay for several centuries in Iraq until the Iraqi Gandhi finally boots us the hell out?

I wonder whether the British would have let Gandhi get his way were it not for being exhausted and bankrupted by two world wars.
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RPGObjects_chuck

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2006, 10:29:59 AM »
Quote from: JimBobOz
Well, I dunno about Middle Eastern people "not wanting democracy." Seems like quite a generalisation for all those hundreds of millions of people.

I would say the problem is more than we in the West imagine that all democratic countries automatically love one another. So, the countries have a free vote and... elect a government which hates us.

We want them to have free elections, but then at the free elections an anti-Western government comes to power. So then we become not so keen on free elections. We've had this problem since Guatemala in the 1950s.

The freely-expressed will of the people may be to tell the USA to go fuck itself. Amazingly, the USA isn't so happy about this.

The problem then is not that the USA, etc, have tried to install a democratic government, but that they've tried to install a democratic government, and at the same time a government which loves the USA. These are two incompatible goals. Thus, a real fashlah, as the Israelis say.


Well, my statement that Arab culture doesn't really value freedom comes primarily from the 1st Infantry Division Iraqi Handbook.

In other words, it's a recognized trait of Arab culture that American soldiers have been PREPARED, goiing in, to be prepared to cope with.

I can quote it directly when I get back on my home computer, but to summarize the US Army's own experts on Arabic culture, they value: tradition, religion, justice and equality.

Worse, they value all these things at the FAMILY level. As opposed to westerners who tend to think in two parallel way, personal and nation-state.

So look at our invasion in that light. They have a traditional dislike of the west, because we don't act in accordance with their notions of religion and justice and don't treat them as equals.

So now here we come throwing our weight around, but it's ok, cause we made them FREEEEEEE.

Except in so doing, we have completely offended the four pillars of their culture.

It's dumb. It was a strategy doomed to fail from the very beginning precisely BECAUSE it's dumb.

James J Skach

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2006, 10:30:20 AM »
Since we're speculating about what the US would like or not like; and since I'm one who believes that this really is about oil (just not in the way most mean the phrase), I'll posit the following.

[LIST=A]
  • Xanadu hates the US.
  • Xanadu sells oil to the US.
  • Part of the prince of oil is implied allowance of the continued oppression of the people of Xanadu.
  • Xanadu is a rather nasty dictatorship.

The current administration decided this was not a good setup. It was no "noble" gesture - however it might have been, or attempted to have been, spun as one.  It's a selfish goal based on the idea the stable democracies tend not to house terrorist training camps and roaming groups of international terrorists. And they sell us oil without us having to have a guilty conscience about the oppression carried out with our petrodollars.  Whether or not people are oppressed would mean nothing if it didn't happen to be a factor in the purely selfish desire to diminish terrorism as a threat to US national security and the ability to purchase oil without a guilty conscience.

So the US is perfectly fine with:
[LIST=A]
  • Xanadu hates the US.
  • Xanadu sells oil to the US.
  • Part of the prince of oil is implied allowance of the continued oppression of the people of Xanadu.
  • Xanadu is a relatively stable democracy.

For two reasons.
  • The US will not have a guilty conscience - hey, if they don't like being oppressed, they can change it! It's a Democracy!
  • Xanadu, for the same reason (it's a democracy), will tend not to be the progenitor and trainer of foreign terrorists that will attack the US. They will be domestic Xanadu terrorists!

It is all about the oil. It's all about being able to purchase the oil without having to deal with a regime that thrives on the oppression of its people and uses that to generate and support international terrorism. Because the US wants its oil cheap, relatively safe, and conscience free.

It's part of my conjecture that the the worst thing that could happen to "the Middle East" is to have someone come along with alternative fuels. Without the oil, the West will treat "the Middle East" like it treats Africa.  And then watch "the Middle East" get pissed off for being ignored on top of everything else.
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RPGObjects_chuck

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2006, 10:35:08 AM »
Quote from: James J Skach
Since we're speculating about what the US would like or not like; and since I'm one who believes that this really is about oil (just not in the way most mean the phrase), I'll posit the following.


If it was about oil it was STILL a dumb strategy.

What has happened to the price of oil since we started our Mesopotamian Adventure?

And the more we muck up the region, the more that oil prices will CONTINUE to climb.

It's possible you're right. It has long been a neo-con fantasy that our military might could make our "oil problem" go away.

But it can't.

So if that was the reason we went in, it was still dumb.

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2006, 10:41:22 AM »
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
Well, my statement that Arab culture doesn't really value freedom comes primarily from the 1st Infantry Division Iraqi Handbook.

In other words, it's a recognized trait of Arab culture that American soldiers have been PREPARED, goiing in, to be prepared to cope with.

In other words, it's a trait which an American book has said that Arabs have.

Shortly before WWII, the US Navy said that Japanese couldn't possibly match Americans in dogfights of fighter planes, because their slitty eyes made them all short-sighted.

It's not unusual for militaries to have incorrect ideas of foreign cultures, particularly of foreign cultures they're involved in wars with, or think they'll be involved in wars with.

I think there's a logical process we can follow here. It involves wondering why, if the US military has such a fine appreciation of Arab culture, the war is still going. An understanding of the culture would, you'd imagine, lead to either winning the war, or being able to negotiate a peace. Unless, of course, you believe that "Arab culture" consists of "mindless savagery", which does not lend itself much to either military defeat or diplomatic negotiation.

World experience with the US military would suggest that they in fact have a rather poor appreciation of foreign cultures. Apparently, round eyes can be short-sighted, too.
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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2006, 10:50:38 AM »
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
If it was about oil it was STILL a dumb strategy.

What has happened to the price of oil since we started our Mesopotamian Adventure?

"Getting oil" is not the same as "getting oil cheaply."

The simple fact is that proven oil reserves, at the current world annual increase in consumption of 2%, will run out in 30 years. The unproven but "it's reasonable to suppose they're there" oil reserves will run out 25 years after that.

About three-quarters of world oil reserves are in the USA, Canada, Iraq and the states bordering Iraq (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Syria). The USA uses 25% of the world's oil supply. The USA is also particularly keen on the Iraqi and Saudi oil, since they have proportionally lighter oils - they have more of the kind of oil you can easily turn into jet fuel, car fuel, etc, whereas other countries have heavier oil.

It's not about the USA having cheap oil, it's about the USA having enough oil at any price. The crunch in supply is coming in the next decade or two. At some point, with India and China's rising industrial economies, demand will greatly outstrip supply. At that point, price will be no object, but it'll be kept down to merely huge levels for the USA by its puppet state in Iraq, and the threat to surrounding states.

The USA went to war in Iraq in 2003 for the same reasons Japan went to war in the Pacific in 1941 - for resources, to keep its way of life going. The issue for Japan was not the price of oil, the issue was having enough oil at any price.

Luckily for the USA, there is no-one to the USA in 2003 onwards what the USA was to Japan in 1941.
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RPGObjects_chuck

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2006, 10:55:04 AM »
Quote from: JimBobOz

I think there's a logical process we can follow here. It involves wondering why, if the US military has such a fine appreciation of Arab culture, the war is still going. An understanding of the culture would, you'd imagine, lead to either winning the war, or being able to negotiate a peace. Unless, of course, you believe that "Arab culture" consists of "mindless savagery", which does not lend itself much to either military defeat or diplomatic negotiation.


Well, you're assuming that the military makes policy rather than implements it here, which is where your argument totally breaks down.

Maybe you should try and look at what American generals were saying about this project, what would be required, before the invasion.

You know, the things Rumsfeld FIRED them for saying.

You might also consult all the arguments Colin Powell made for NOT toppling the Hussein government and occupying Iraq in the first Gulf War, which are also along these lines.

Chuck

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2006, 11:14:14 AM »
Quote from: JimBobOz
The problem then is not that the USA, etc, have tried to install a democratic government, but that they've tried to install a democratic government, and at the same time a government which loves the USA. These are two incompatible goals. Thus, a real fashlah, as the Israelis say.

Not to mention the fact that Iraq has, for at least, what?  600 years, been an artificially-cobbled together and forcefully held together mish-mash of various folks who just hate each others' guts.  The Sunni and the Shia have been at each others' throats since the Safavids and the Ottomans were at each others' throats. That's not even mentioning the Kurds.  Then more boundaries are drawn randomly by the British, monarchies and military dictatorships ad nauseum.

Then someone decides, "hey, all that really needs to happen is this one bad guy needs to be gotten the hell out, and then this union with artificially drawn boundaries made up of various groups of people who have hated each other's guts for a thought-grindingly long amount of time will certainly just want to have elections and transition to a form of participatory self-government that they don't want and further, have no experience running."

It's not like this just didn't happen in Yugoslavia.  Central, iron-fisted control goes offline, and then everybody wants a piece of everyone else.  Saddam was a nightmare.  To assume that Iraq is going to immediately hang together at all as a sovreign state (democratically, no less) without a similar top-down, authoritarian means of control (whether that's a ridiculously long, mind-draining US military occupation or something else) is irresponsible dreaming of the worst kind, especially from "government" "professionals," who should have known better.  

:confused: :rolleyes: :yell: :gnasher: :rtfm: :diarrhea:

Ugh.  The mess we made makes me want to vomit.
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ChalkLine

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2006, 07:20:41 AM »
Quote from: James J Skach
It is all about the oil. It's all about being able to purchase the oil without having to deal with a regime that thrives on the oppression of its people and uses that to generate and support international terrorism. Because the US wants its oil cheap, relatively safe, and conscience free.


Here is where I disagree, because Iraq fostered very little in the way of terrorism.
Terrorists were occasionally Palestineans until the PLO came to the strange realisation that hijacking Airliners has no effect on Israel, they were occasionally Libyans or Syrians following similiar pan-Arabic nationalism as existed in Iraq (Ba'athism) who came to the strange realisation that blowing shit up in the west meant shit getting seriously blown up in Arab states, and had no effect on western oppression of Arabs.
Often, however, they were extremist Wahabi fundamentalists out of Saudi Arabia striking at the evil western decadence that was corrupting Islamic culture, regardless of the fact that the other 99.99% of Arabs were enjoying the direction their cultures were heading. These are the crazy fuckers who will never come to the strange realisation that blowing shit up over here will have any effect on globalisation in their own culture, and that the return of the Caliphate is about as likely as me being made president of the potato people.

Iraq, as you say, was all about oil. It was never about terrorism.
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ChalkLine

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2006, 07:25:38 AM »
As a point of history, Britain made Iraq out of the three provinces that were fairly distinct ethnicities, in an effort to ensure that desert people got to share in the oil bounty.

Saddam made a point of colonising and controlling the provinces with his own ethnicity, and causing internal diasporas to weaken social structures. This artificial situation was common history long before the Iraq Invasion, and everyone went into with their eyes wide open and knowing the place would have to turn inside out before it ran on an even keel.

What you're seeing now is nothing compared to the ethnic cleansing that will occur once the outside imposed restrictions are taken away. This is why the US military is freaking, because they're holding a volcano together, just.
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Zalmoxis

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2006, 11:25:33 AM »
You know, I'm one of the people who think that the idea of toppling tyranny and bringing democratic reform to Iraq was a noble intention. However, it just isn't working. People can debate what should have been done, if anything would have turned out differently, but the reality is that now little can be done by the US to make this right. We are now standing in the middle of a civil war that is being instigated by foreign elements, dispossesed Baathists, Syria and Iran... our soldiers and civilian contractors are being killed for basically no reason at this point, as their mission won't be successful. Often in times of civil war there must be a period of "bleeding out" before peace and rebuilding is possible. I suspect that is true of Iraq, and that's the reason why I support pulling our people out of there.

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2006, 11:36:30 AM »
Quote from: Zalmoxis
You know, I'm one of the people who think that the idea of toppling tyranny and bringing democratic reform to Iraq was a noble intention. However, it just isn't working. People can debate what should have been done, if anything would have turned out differently, but the reality is that now little can be done by the US to make this right. We are now standing in the middle of a civil war that is being instigated by foreign elements, dispossesed Baathists, Syria and Iran... our soldiers and civilian contractors are being killed for basically no reason at this point, as their mission won't be successful. Often in times of civil war there must be a period of "bleeding out" before peace and rebuilding is possible. I suspect that is true of Iraq, and that's the reason why I support pulling our people out of there.


Yeah, it's time to go. Shit, leave and let Iran try to take the place over and deal with the same shit the US is dealing with now. You'll see suicide bombers in Iran blowing the shit out of people there eventually. Concentrate on propping up Afghanistan and prepare it for the chaos that will ensue in both Irag and Iran to be the major power in the region. Crazy idea I know.
 

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2006, 05:27:00 PM »
Won't invading on a pretext, fucking the country over, and leaving (with the oil) be seen as a little 'irresponsible'?

Don't forget, we've been doing this shit for years, this is just the biggest ugly in 30 years. Ask anyone in South or Central America how helpful we are in thier politics and economical positions, not that we'd put in mean fuckers who like to kill their own people and run a kleptocracy for us. Noriega, anyone?

We (the USA/Australia/UK bloc) tend to move between Isolationist and Interventionist, both are incredibly crappy behaviour. Out Isolationist tariff sprees screw over other economies, and our Interventionist invasions kill thousands. No wonder we're so loved world wide.

Our corporations are unmoderated, the moment the go offshore they act like potentates. I've worked with guys who've laid pipe in South East Asia and they talk calmly about the death toll among the local labourers, where we have a shit-fit if someone is even injured at home.

I know we're not alone, but we're the worst of a mean bunch. The worst thing about us is we're such fucking hypocrits. Freedom. Yeah.
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Zalmoxis

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2006, 06:56:25 PM »
You can't help people who don't want your help.

Spike

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2006, 07:39:26 PM »
Winning a war is both simple and incredibly difficult.  To be blunt, the US military won an extended battle, and fiat ended the war without winning it.

Von Clauswitz discusses Total War, and why it can't/shouldn't exist. This leads to a psychological understanding of the mechanism for winning a war, any war.

Remove the enemies ability and will to fight.

Will to fight is largely what we are addressing in Iraq.  We can, having failed to properly win during the conventional military phase, still turn around and win by one simple expedient.

You/we have to crush them utterly. Respond to any military action with excessive force. Level villages, destroy infrastructures without allowing chances to rebuild, slaughter anyone who even looks like they are holding a gun, take entire families prisoner for interrogation techniques that would make Torquemada weep.

It is easy to do.


If you need me to explain why it is also very hard to do, then I weep for your lack of understanding, if not your humanity.    

War becomes the balancing of atrocities. Do you commit your atrocities early and openly, shortening the war, or do you keep your hands clean and allow the ongoing atrocity of war to perpetuate for generations?

The worst atrocity would win fastest: Eliminate all human life in the region other than your own.
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