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The Lounge => Media and Inspiration => Topic started by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 02, 2006, 11:12:05 pm

Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 02, 2006, 11:12:05 pm
This shit makes me want to puke in my soup.

I swear to God I hope I never run into Tom Friedman, cause I'd punch him in the mouth and go to jail.

These people are disgusting.

Quote
It seems that this very enthusiastic promoter of the unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq - which he proudly called "a war of choice," apparently not realizing that he was parroting the propagandists of the Nazi regime that killed millions of his ethnic kindred -- has now discovered that Iraqi Arabs are hopeless, worthless barbarians, broken by "1,000 years of Arab-Muslim authoritarianism" and can only be held together by an "iron fist." (He got all this from reading a new book, apparently. Well, a little literacy, like a little learning, is a dangerous thing, I reckon -- and as anyone who has ever exposed themselves to the dull, flat buzz of Friedman's prose can attest, his literacy is little indeed.)

In fact, the only thing America did wrong in its "effort to bring progressive politics or democracy to this region" was not coming down hard enough on this darky riff-raff: "Had we properly occupied the country, and begun political therapy, it is possible an American iron fist could have held Iraq together long enough to put it on a new course. But instead we created a vacuum by not deploying enough troops." Instead, we took it easy on them -- I mean, Jesus H. Jiminy Cricket Walker Christ, we only killed 600,000 of them; what kind of pussyfooting around is that? -- and look what happened. A Sunni insurgency sprang up, whose only goal -- whose ONLY goal, mind you -- was to make America look bad: "America must fail in its effort to bring progressive, etc., etc. America must fail – no matter how many Iraqis have to be killed, America must fail." What was their "only one goal" again, Tom? Oh yeah: America must fail. Not a single ding-dang one of them ornery critters ever had any other motive whatsoever to take up arms against an army of foreigners who had invaded and occupied their country.


More shredding of Friedman's "argument" can be found here, as well as the column being discussed (very handy so you can avoid enabling the NYT for printing this tripe).

http://www.chris-floyd.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=943&Itemid=135
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 02, 2006, 11:58:36 pm
Bad ideas about Iraq are nothing new, even if this guy is stupider than most.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 03, 2006, 12:01:20 am
Quote from: fonkaygarry
Bad ideas about Iraq are nothing new, even if this guy is stupider than most.


He might be the stupidest man in America.

Remember, Friedman, along with Judith Miller, were two of those lynchpin "Democrat hawks" who helped cheer the war along, giving it the gloss of liberal approval from their posts at the NYT.

And for someone who was one of the loudest cheerleaders to show not even the SLIGHTEST shame (and in fact advocating more violence) just makes me sick.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 03, 2006, 12:18:27 am
Shame is politically useless.  The Dems won a major victory in the midterm election, so now the useful thing to do is to push ideas from as many pulpits as possible, inside and outside the Capitol, and make themselves known as the Do Something Congress.  

Many of these ideas will be laughably awful.

So long as we get a plan, any plan, that lets us win this motherfucker so we're not back in Baghdad in 2015, I'll be happy as a pig in shit.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: droog on December 03, 2006, 12:30:55 am
The British were in India for several centuries....
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 03, 2006, 12:33:54 am
Quote from: fonkaygarry
Shame is politically useless.  The Dems won a major victory in the midterm election, so now the useful thing to do is to push ideas from as many pulpits as possible, inside and outside the Capitol, and make themselves known as the Do Something Congress.  

Many of these ideas will be laughably awful.

So long as we get a plan, any plan, that lets us win this motherfucker so we're not back in Baghdad in 2015, I'll be happy as a pig in shit.


I think part of the problem, part of what makes people like Tom Friedman so dangerous, is that he is STILL taken seriously, still listened to as we try to find a plan that works in Iraq.

And as he suggests in all seriousness that we stay for TEN YEARS, add 150,000 MORE troops to the country and crush it beneath our heel.

And his opinions are also taken seriously about other things, like Iran. And free trade (one of the things Friedman is supposedly an expert on).

Chuck
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Kyle Aaron on December 03, 2006, 12:34:19 am
"If brute force doesn't work, obviously you're not using enough."

:confused:
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 03, 2006, 12:36:17 am
Quote from: droog
The British were in India for several centuries....


So we should stay for several centuries in Iraq until the Iraqi Ghandi finally boots us the hell out?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 03, 2006, 12:43:47 am
Quote from: droog
The British were in India for several centuries....

What I was trying to say is that an extended anti-insurgency now is preferable to another invasion followed by another anti-insurgency ten years from now.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 03, 2006, 12:46:01 am
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
So we should stay for several centuries in Iraq until the Iraqi Ghandi finally boots us the hell out?
An Iraqi movement using hunger strikes and prayer vigils instead of car bombs and sniper attacks?  Holy shit, that would be cause for block parties across America.

EDIT: Here's hoping it doesn't take 100+ years...
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: James McMurray on December 03, 2006, 01:04:44 am
I think it's safe to say that anyone who actually uses the word "darky" can be safely ignored.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Kyle Aaron on December 03, 2006, 01:11:51 am
Quote from: fonkaygarry
An Iraqi movement using hunger strikes and prayer vigils instead of car bombs and sniper attacks?  Holy shit, that would be cause for block parties across America.

I've always said that if the alestinians were to get a Gandhi or an MLK, the Israelis would be fucked. Universal hatred and senseless violence the Israelis know how to handle - 2,000 years of living in ghettos surrounded by people who hate Jews was excellent preparation for living in Israel surrounded by Arab countries.

Non-violent opposition, tax refusals, strikes, refusal to participate in the occupiers' civil service, sit-ins, prayer vigils, hunger strikes... the Israelis wouldn't know what the fuck to do.

Same goes for the Americans in Iraq.

Sadly, I don't think that non-violent resistance is part of Arab culture. Mind you, it wasn't part of Hindi and Moslem culture, either, but Gandhi still persuaded them. And I don't think Protestants were too keen on it, either, but then along came MLK...

It'd be nice, but I'm not hopeful.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 03, 2006, 01:30:33 am
Dear God, we're having a civil Iraq thread here while 400+ posts of angry shitassery goes on over the personal failings of the dude who wrote Burning Wheel.

This means something.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 03, 2006, 01:30:49 am
Quote from: JimBobOz
I've always said that if the alestinians were to get a Gandhi or an MLK, the Israelis would be fucked. Universal hatred and senseless violence the Israelis know how to handle - 2,000 years of living in ghettos surrounded by people who hate Jews was excellent preparation for living in Israel surrounded by Arab countries.

Non-violent opposition, tax refusals, strikes, refusal to participate in the occupiers' civil service, sit-ins, prayer vigils, hunger strikes... the Israelis wouldn't know what the fuck to do.

Same goes for the Americans in Iraq.

Sadly, I don't think that non-violent resistance is part of Arab culture. Mind you, it wasn't part of Hindi and Moslem culture, either, but Gandhi still persuaded them. And I don't think Protestants were too keen on it, either, but then along came MLK...

It'd be nice, but I'm not hopeful.


I think the venture was fucked before it started and it will never be fixed until we leave.

See, we went in to "spread democracy". We figured that would work because, as Georgie keeps telling us, the people of the world want to be free.

Right there we were fucked.

WESTERN people want to be free. They value it more than anything else.

MIDDLE EASTERN people don't give a fuck about freedom. Their central societal ethos is based around justice and equality (equality does NOT equal freedom either- if everyone is oppressed equally- that's perfectly ok).

See we keep expecting them to be happy that we freed them from an oppressive dictator.

But instead, what you have a snowball effect where EVERY wrong, according to their social mores, needs to be redressed.

This is what's been going on between the Israelis and the Palestinians for decades.

It's why the WWII analogies are useless and it's why the Britian-Northern Ireland analogies are useless.

We went looking for WMDs and they were either never there or they are gone. We also went to remove a psychotic dictator from power and we did.

We are a living affront to their pride and their sense of justice. Some people said that before the invasion.

Now what we need to do is just get the fuck out and apologize profusely.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Kyle Aaron on December 03, 2006, 05:07:06 am
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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: droog 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: James J Skach 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]
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]

For two reasons.

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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Kyle Aaron 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Kyle Aaron 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck 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
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Reimdall 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: ChalkLine 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: ChalkLine 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Mystery Man 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: ChalkLine 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 04, 2006, 06:56:25 pm
You can't help people who don't want your help.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike 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.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dominus Nox on December 04, 2006, 07:59:59 pm
Quote from: Mystery Man
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.


Iran would have less problems dealing with resistance in Iraq, they'd simply round up anyone suspected of being in disagreement with their decrees and either kill them or torture them into submission. iran has officially and openly admitted it uses torture for various reasons, mostly to "purify" people of sin and non-muslim beliefs.

Suicide bombers would likely have their whole families killed in reprisal, that would pout an end to it in a hurry.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 04, 2006, 10:15:13 pm
Quote from: Spike
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.


Which of course we won't do, in accordance with Clauswitz- the types of tactics you're describing would do MORE harm to the political will to continue the fight.

Consult further the Tet Offensive.

American polticians often talk about our people as if they have a lack of will. Totally untrue. Americans made great sacrifices (as did the peoples of many, many nations) in WWII, not just because they were convinced our country was in danger, that explains the war against Japan, but also because we were convinced our fellow nations were in trouble, especially Britain and France and that the enemy we were fighting was a threat to the entire world.

This current conflict has already lasted longer than American involvement in WWII. But if we believed it was a conflict that threatened our security, or that our continued involvement would save others, we WOULD support it.

In short, the American people's will is based on a few of things totally lacked by the current leadership: insight, compassion and rational thinking.

Nothing happening in the Middle East right now compels us to remain in Iraq. It is not WWII, it is not the Cold War, it is not the existential threat of our times.

Chuck
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 04, 2006, 11:52:51 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
...it is not the Cold War, it is not the existential threat of our times.

Not for you.  For others, yes.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dominus Nox on December 05, 2006, 01:29:42 am
At times I think the best thing for the west to do would be to get the sunnis and shites to go to all out war, arm them both and let them kill each other.


Of course that's too neat and easy a solution to be realistically practical.

I will say this: the more sunnis and shites fight, the safer the west is. As long as they're killing each other they're not plotting a holy war against us.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 05, 2006, 03:08:45 am
Quote from: fonkaygarry
Not for you.  For others, yes.


So you're saying the threat faced by our country right now compares, in any way, to the threat we faced during the Cold War?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 05, 2006, 06:35:29 am
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
See, we went in to "spread democracy". We figured that would work because, as Georgie keeps telling us, the people of the world want to be free.

Right there we were fucked.

WESTERN people want to be free. They value it more than anything else.

MIDDLE EASTERN people don't give a fuck about freedom. Their central societal ethos is based around justice and equality (equality does NOT equal freedom either- if everyone is oppressed equally- that's perfectly ok).

See we keep expecting them to be happy that we freed them from an oppressive dictator.

Ummm... do you think the Kurds live in the Middle-East?

Despite being grotesquely under-reported, Kurdish Iraq is doing just fine.  It is stable, properous, and democratic.  And for the first time in history, they  actually control (some of) their historical lands.  Needless to say, thay are quite grateful to be rid of Hussein.

But sadly, most people in the West don't seem to give a shit about the Kurds, or the fact that their part of Iraq is actually succeeding.

In any case, your claim about people in the Middle-East is certainly not true of everyone who lives there.

Also, it is not clear to me how you can have 'justice' without 'freedom'.  I just don't buy that kind of cultural relativism.  ("Let's continue our traditional practice of propping up Middle-East despots because that's 'part of their way of life'.")

That philosophical point aside, the simple fact is that there are significant numbers of Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq who really hate each other, and have for centuries.  The removal of the Baathist regime has given the Shiites the first opportunity to make a serious play for power in recent history, and the Sunnis are doing what they can to retain their former positions of authority.  Hence the increasing cycle of bloodshed.

This kind of conflict was inevitable once the Baathist regime toppled.  Having the U.S. withdraw right now would not change this one whit -- except perhaps to make the Kurds more vulnerable to aggression from the south.

The U.S. invasion was the catalyst for this civil war.  But one the iron fist of Hussein's despotism was lifted, a Sunni-Shiite bloodbath was inevitable.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 05, 2006, 02:19:18 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
Ummm... do you think the Kurds live in the Middle-East?

Despite being grotesquely under-reported, Kurdish Iraq is doing just fine.  It is stable, properous, and democratic.  And for the first time in history, they  actually control (some of) their historical lands.  Needless to say, thay are quite grateful to be rid of Hussein.

But sadly, most people in the West don't seem to give a shit about the Kurds, or the fact that their part of Iraq is actually succeeding.

In any case, your claim about people in the Middle-East is certainly not true of everyone who lives there.


Uhhuh.

Ask people in Turkey how they feel about their wonderful, enlightened, Kurdish neighbors sometime.

You do realize the Kurds are the most violent group in the region, have the strongest ties to al-qaeda and a dream of an autonomous "kurdish homeland" made up of pieces of Turkey and Iraq right?

So yeah, I guess, the Kurds are "free".

The fact that they're actually bloodier than the Sunni or Shiia seems to be something you missed.

Quote
Also, it is not clear to me how you can have 'justice' without 'freedom'.  I just don't buy that kind of cultural relativism.  ("Let's continue our traditional practice of propping up Middle-East despots because that's 'part of their way of life'.")


Because you don't worry about "justice" or "equality" on an individual level, or a national level.

You have once again made the mistake of trying to put yourself in the shoes of a very different, very old culture.

Also, nice job picking out ONE of the four cultural pillars and trying to make it stand alone.

Justice, tradition, religion and equality.

In other words, all four of those factor into their decisions. So cutting off someone's hand for simple shoplifting, which we would consider a horrible act, meets their standards because it appeals to their sense of justice, tradition and religion.

And of course if you apply that sort of punishment unflinchingly to every shoplifter, no matter how hungry, then everyone is equal.

It's interesting to me that my summation of Arab culture has been pooh pooh'd here. Among actual experts of the culture of the region, it isn't in any debate.

The 1st infantry handbook I used as my reference was compiled by cultural experts from the military and CIA, and then was APPROVED by the autonomous Iraqi nationals we worked with prior to the invasion.

In other words, actual Arabs don't have a problem with it.

Quote
In an Arabian family, gender and age plays a big role in specifying responsibilities. The father is usually the head of the family and the provider for its needs, while the mother plays a major role in raising children and taking care of the house. This structure is not always the norm; in recent years, both the father and the mother provide for family needs, while household chores are taken care of by maids and servants.

In the past, most major family decisions were made by the father, but recently some of these decisions are made jointly by both the father and the mother. Sons and daughters are taught to follow the inherited traditions and are given responsibilities that correspond with their age and gender. Sons are usually taught to be protectors of their sisters and to help the father with his duties inside and outside the house, while daughters are taught to be the source of love and emotional support in the family, as well as helping their mother to take care of household chores.

Winds of change do not spare any culture; the changes that entered the structure of some Arabian houses is not due to economical needs, but education for both men and women that is mandated by law in the Arabian countries. Education from kindergarten up to university degrees is free to nationals and sometimes residents of these Arabian countries.  Although culture, traditions, and Islam strongly stress the importance of women's roles in taking care of the house and raising children, it is a mistake to think that Arabian women are confined to this role.

Before Islam there were many successful Arabian businesswomen and they still exist throughout the Arabian region, but because of cultural reasons, they conduct business in an inconspicuous way.  A daughter lives at her family house as long as she is not married; once she is married she moves to her husband's home. Sons might move to their own houses when they get married, but at least one son will still live at the family house even if he is married in order to take care of the parents. When a woman gets married there are no changes made to any part of her name.


Here's an excerpt from a book on doing business in Saudi Arabia.

How many times is culture, tradition and family mentioned in this innocuous passage? It's their culture.

It's a mistake to go into radically different cultures and assume you understand them without doing some research. But hey, we continue to make that mistake in Japan, so why the fuck would I expect any American to be able to wrap their minds around the fact that an Arab might be different than them.

For example, the book I quoted above, one of its purposes is to help businessmen in Arab countries, and I quote from the book jacket here "avoid culture shock".

But hey... if businessmen have problems, an invasion and change of government should work just fine without real cultural awareness right?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 05, 2006, 02:27:09 pm
And since I've referred to it a few times, here's what the military told our soldiers going in about Arab culture, which jives real closely from what I heard from a father who spent a lot of time in that part of the world on business (my father was a British Commando in WWII who traveled a lot on business after the war):

Quote
ARAB WORLD VIEW
An Arab worldview is based upon six concepts: atomism, faith, wish versus reality, justice and equality, paranoia and the importance of family over self.
Atomism.

Arabs tend to see the world and events as isolated incidents, snapshots, and
particular moments in time. This is a key psychological feature of Arab culture. Westerners look for unifying concepts whereas Arabs focus on parts, rather than on the whole. It also means the Western concept of cause and effect is rarely accepted by Arabs who may not necessarily see a unifying link between events. They do, however, maintain a long-term memory over actions and events. It is important to point out that it is memory, not necessarily history that is important.

Deep belief in God.

Arabs usually believe that many, if not all, things in life are controlled by the will of God (fate) rather than by human beings. What might appear as fatalism at first, is more deeply a belief in God's power, sovereignty, active participation in the life of the believer, and authority over all things (business transactions, relationships, world events, etc.).

Wish versus reality.
Arabs, much more so than Westerners, express emotion in a forceful, animated and exaggerated fashion. Their desire for modernity is contradicted by a desire for tradition (especially Islamic tradition, since Islam is the one area free of Western identification and influence). Desiring democracy and modernization immediately is a good example of what a Westerner might view as an Arabs “wish vs. reality.”

Importance of justice and equality.

Arabs value justice and equality more than anything else. All actions taken by US forces will constantly be weighed in comparison to tradition and religious standards.


Paranioa.

Arabs may seem to be paranoid by Western standards. Suspicion of US intent in their land and a cautious approach to American forces are a primary example. Some Arabs view all Westerners as agents of the government that may be “spies.” Especially in the ethnically diverse areas, mistrust runs deep amongst these various groups.

Family versus self.

Arabic communities are tight-knit groups made up of even tighter family
groups and most often, apart of tribes. Most Westerners pride themselves on personal accomplishments instead of the typical Arab whose focus is on family pride and honor.


The emphasis in one part is mine. That reflects the real crux of the problem here.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Divine Hammer on December 05, 2006, 02:34:44 pm
Quote from: Mystery Man
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.


Only about 8% of the Iraq insurgency is composed of Iraqis.  A fair amount of it is already Iranian.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 05, 2006, 03:30:43 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
So you're saying the threat faced by our country right now compares, in any way, to the threat we faced during the Cold War?

Going by JimBob's arguments, one might say greater.  Mutually Assured Destruction went a long way towards preventing nuclear war.

The Turks have little to fear from an established Kurd population.  The Kurds have done nothing to show themselves as either psychotic or suicidal, both of which they'd have to be to get into a shooting war with a larger, richer neighbor.  Any Kurdish use of terror would leave them without any support the State and they have no Arab or Persian allies to call upon.  It would be suicide on a national scale.

The Kurds have nothing to gain and everything to lose with regards to Turkey.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 05, 2006, 03:48:20 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
Uhhuh.

Ask people in Turkey how they feel about their wonderful, enlightened, Kurdish neighbors sometime...


The Turks oppose Kurdish statehood because they fear the possibility of secession within their own country.  This is why they've carried out so many humans rights violations against their own Kurdish minority over the decades since the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Also, there is a huge difference -- of which you seem completely ignorant -- between the radical Kurdish insurgent group in eastern Turkey (the PLK) and the Kurds who peacefully, democratically managing their affairs in northern Iraq.  (Analogously, in Ireland where I live, an overwhelming majority of Irish reject the IRA and their tactics.  Your statement about the Kurds all being 'violent' is about as accurate as claiming all Irish are 'terrorist bombers'.)

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck

You do realize the Kurds are the most violent group in the region, have the strongest ties to al-qaeda and a dream of an autonomous "kurdish homeland" made up of pieces of Turkey and Iraq right?

So yeah, I guess, the Kurds are "free".

The fact that they're actually bloodier than the Sunni or Shiia seems to be something you missed.


Wow, you've just demonstrated that you don't know shit about what you're talking about here.

Please -- I dare you -- bring to my attention any legitimate news article that documents any tie between the Kurds and Al Qaida.  Or even any news article documenting anti-U.S. violence/unrest in the Kurdish part of Iraq.  Good luck.

If you want to educate yourself about how the Kurdish part of Iraq is doing, this interview with the current Kurdish president Massoud Barzani might be a good place to start:
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009165

Yes, it is true that the 'Kurdish homeland' (historically understood) includes parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.  But that has nothing to do with how the Kurds in Iraq are managing there own affairs.  They've achieved a high degree of stability and representative government.

I realize that this upsets the simplistic picture of Iraq that you seem to be attached to, but, alas, reality is often more complicated than black-and-white.

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck

In other words, all four of those factor into their decisions. So cutting off someone's hand for simple shoplifting, which we would consider a horrible act, meets their standards because it appeals to their sense of justice, tradition and religion.
...
It's interesting to me that my summation of Arab culture has been pooh pooh'd here. Among actual experts of the culture of the region, it isn't in any debate.
...
How many times is culture, tradition and family mentioned in this innocuous passage? It's their culture...


Yeah, whatever.  You're making the classical undergraduate fallacious inference of going from the observation of 'cultural diversity' to the truth of 'cultural relativism'.  

I don't deny that many Arabs might believe in highly inegalitarian, undemocratic forms of government.  That is what they believe justice to be.  That doesn't mean that that is what justice is.  And nothing about a culture's existing beliefs prevents them from changing.

Both India and Japan used to have deeply illiberal, undemocratic cultures.  But guess what?  Now they are two of the world's largest democracies (India the largest).

Of course, the costs of trying to change a country's political culture -- like Iraq's -- may be too great.  And, more significantly, the strategy for doing so may be deeply flawed, as the current U.S. strategy in southern Iraq obviously is.

But my point was that your analysis is too simplistic to be taken seriously.

(Note: none of what I state here should be interpreted as an endorsement of the U.S. strategy in Iraq!)
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: droog on December 05, 2006, 04:26:17 pm
Take up the White Man's burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 05, 2006, 04:29:09 pm
Quote from: droog
Take up the White Man's burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.


You know I was reading about that the other day, and the fact that no one knows whether he was being sarcastic or not. I choose to think he was.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 05, 2006, 05:25:52 pm
Quote from: Zalmoxis
You know I was reading about that the other day, and the fact that no one knows whether he was being sarcastic or not. I choose to think he was.


I can't imagine how anyone could think that Rudyard Kipling was being 'sarcastic' in writing that.  There can be no doubt that he was completely serious.

That aside, I think it is a fallacy of the grossest magnitude to conflate a concern with universal human rights and colonial imperialism.

It is a complicated matter how to promote universal human rights.  While some countries that were once colonial possessions are now legitimate liberal democracies (e.g. India), many are not.  

As an empirical matter, strategies other than invasion and occupation are to be preferred.  The moral costs are war are invariably great.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 05, 2006, 05:36:40 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
I can't imagine how anyone could think that Rudyard Kipling was being 'sarcastic' in writing that.  There can be no doubt that he was completely serious.


That is incorect. Shortly after writing it he wrote several letters and comments to the contrary. However there is some debate over whether or not he was backpedaling.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 05, 2006, 06:07:49 pm
Apologies... the bombing I looked at was not conducted by the PKK.

Chuck
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 05, 2006, 06:39:12 pm
Chuck,  help me out here.  Quote one had nothing to do with Al-Queda, and I don't think anyone claimed there were not Kurdish nationalists.

Quote two had nothing to do with Kurds. At least not in the quote. Unless you expect it to be self evident that the men named in the quote are Kurds :rolleyes:

Without a more explict tie, this is no more proof of kurdish al-qaeda ties than showing timothy mcvie is a terrorist bomber, and terrorist bombers have al qaeda ties...


Draw the connection, if you will.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 05, 2006, 06:52:30 pm
Quote from: Spike
Chuck,  help me out here.  Quote one had nothing to do with Al-Queda, and I don't think anyone claimed there were not Kurdish nationalists.

Quote two had nothing to do with Kurds. At least not in the quote. Unless you expect it to be self evident that the men named in the quote are Kurds :rolleyes:

Without a more explict tie, this is no more proof of kurdish al-qaeda ties than showing timothy mcvie is a terrorist bomber, and terrorist bombers have al qaeda ties...


Draw the connection, if you will.


Hmmm... upon doing a more thorough search, it seems the bombings I refer to were conducted by the IBDA, not the PKK. I have amended my post accordingly.

Sorry for any confusion (mostly mine).
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 05, 2006, 06:53:58 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
Hmmm... let's see... took me about 3 minutes.

[Irrelevant quotes]

These are the fine upstanding liberal democrats who did this, if I am not mistaken:


I wish you would actually read my posts before trying to reply to them.

Neither of your quotes show any connection between any Kurds and Al Qaida.

And the first quote concerns the PKK in Turkey not the Kurds in Iraq.  You may recall that I already mentioned the PKK as terrorists.  My points have to do with the Kurdish part of Iraq and how it is presently governed.  

Come up with quotes that show that the Kurds currently running Kurdish Iraq have ties to Al Qaida, or are significantly engaging in the ethnic conflict in southern Iraq.  Again, good luck.

Referring to the PKK as somehow representative of the Kurdish government in northern Iraq makes about as much sense as referring to the 'Real IRA' in Northern Ireland as representative of the Irish people in the Republic of Ireland (note: Northern Ireland is not part of the Republic, in case these things called 'boundaries' are confusing for you).

In short, your quotes prove nothing.  The real world is more nuanced than you care to admit.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 05, 2006, 06:56:12 pm
Quote from: Zalmoxis
That is incorect. Shortly after writing it he wrote several letters and comments to the contrary. However there is some debate over whether or not he was backpedaling.


Interesting.  That's news to me.  I always thought he was a straight-up supporter of British Imperialism.  But I'm certainly no expert on the topic!
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 05, 2006, 07:01:04 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
Interesting.  That's news to me.  I always thought he was a straight-up supporter of British Imperialism.  But I'm certainly no expert on the topic!


You're not alone... many people believed that at the time and still do, though there is a body of historians who think he was being critical. I think in light of what has happened (and continues to happen) in Iraq, it's an interesting read no matter what one takes from it. Also I'm no expert on this either. I had just read about it the other day and it was still fresh on my mind.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 06, 2006, 09:31:10 pm
I must say I'm shocked.

Quote
On page 94 of its report, the Iraq Study Group found that there had been "significant under-reporting of the violence in Iraq." The reason, the group said, was because the tracking system was designed in a way that minimized the deaths of Iraqis.

"The standard for recording attacks acts a filter to keep events out of reports and databases," the report said. "A murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database. A roadside bomb or a rocket or mortar attack that doesn't hurt U.S. personnel doesn't count."

Totally shocked. Not even sure I believe this.

Chuck
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Yamo on December 06, 2006, 10:02:49 pm
As Chevy Chase might say:

"RPGObjects_chuck, you ignorant slut..."

Here's some actual informed reading on the racist, xenophobic, anti-intellectual source material used in compiling your precious "1st infantry" propaganda handbook. I hope to God your bigot ass chokes to death on it, a circumstance under which I would be more than happy to close my heart to pity.

http://dir.salon.com/story/books/feature/2004/06/08/arab_mind/index.html
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: T-Willard on December 06, 2006, 10:19:55 pm
Quote from: Yamo
As Chevy Chase might say:

"RPGObjects_chuck, you ignorant slut..."

Here's some actual informed reading on the racist, xenophobic, anti-intellectual source material used in compiling your precious "1st infantry" propaganda handbook. I hope to God your bigot ass chokes to death on it, a circumstance under which I would be more than happy to close my heart to pity.

http://dir.salon.com/story/books/feature/2004/06/08/arab_mind/index.html
Eat shit and die, fuckstick.

Personally, I hope you die from internal bleeding from getting fucked in the ass by a horse, and your friends can all say: "Well, at least he died smiling."

Dickhole.

Did you even read what he put? About what Arab men value? You're fucking link is nothing but some bullshit sex book debunking.

Try doing your own research after getting done drinking horse cum with your Cheerios.

Tool.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Yamo on December 06, 2006, 10:52:02 pm
Quote from: T-Willard
Tool.

Have fun defending a (fellow?) racist and bigot.

Anyone who thinks "MIDDLE EASTERN people don't give a fuck about freedom", or claims to know what "Middle Eastern people" think about anything, undoubtedly also has some facinating insights to share with us on the black man's relationship to fried chicken and watermelon.

I can't wait.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 07, 2006, 12:02:12 am
Quote from: Yamo
Have fun defending a (fellow?) racist and bigot.

Anyone who thinks "MIDDLE EASTERN people don't give a fuck about freedom", or claims to know what "Middle Eastern people" think about anything, undoubtedly also has some facinating insights to share with us on the black man's relationship to fried chicken and watermelon.

I can't wait.


Actually black men love fried chicken and watermelon because they taste good. I have that on good authority. I suppose Middle Eastern people don't give a fuck about freedom because they live in a backward, oppressive culture where the only things they have that give them any hope are centuries-old tribal customs and religious laws.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Yamo on December 07, 2006, 12:22:31 am
Quote from: Zalmoxis
Actually black men love fried chicken and watermelon because they taste good. I have that on good authority.


Touche.

Seriously, though, it just burns me to see someone quoting so blithly from shameless propaganda material prepared from the "neocon bible" that is The Arab Mind.

It's like discussing Jewish culture using a perspective gleaned from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Disgusting.

Maybe I should give RPGObjects_chuck the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he doesn't know how vile his sources of information are. If so, I apologize, but I also hope he educates himself more throughly on the subject. The sooner the better.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: David R on December 07, 2006, 12:25:45 am
If anyone is interested, Martin Amis has written an article (2 parter I think) called the Age of Horrorism which deals with some of what folks here are discussing :

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1868732,00.html

Regards,
David R
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 07, 2006, 12:35:30 am
Quote from: Yamo
Touche.

Seriously, though, it just burns me to see someone quoting so blithly from shameless propaganda material prepared from the "neocon bible" that is The Arab Mind.

It's like discussing Jewish culture using a perspective gleaned from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Disgusting.

Maybe I should give RPGObjects_chuck the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he doesn't know how vile his sources of information are. If so, I apologize, but I also hope he educates himself more throughly on the subject. The sooner the better.


Honestly, I have not the slightest idea why you are quoting this book to me.

Was it used as a source for the 1st ID Iraq Handbook? Neither the article you quote nor the 1st ID handbook mention one another.

Also, a book about Arab men's sex lives doesn't seem to have much in common with the material I quoted.

I mean, this, doesn't seem to have much in common with the work in question.

Quote
Deep belief in God. Arabs usually believe that many, if not all, things in life are controlled by the will of God (fate) rather than by human beings. What might appear as fatalism at first, is more deeply a belief in God's power, sovereignty, active participation in the life of the believer, and authority over all things (business transactions, relationships, world events,
etc.).

Importance of justice and equality.

Arabs value justice and equality more than anything else. All actions taken by US forces will constantly be weighed in comparison to tradition and religious standards.

Family versus self.

Arabic communities are tight-knit groups made up of even tighter family
groups and most often, apart of tribes. Most Westerners pride themselves on personal accomplishments instead of the typical Arab whose focus is on family pride and honor.


One last point I'd like to make.

If you wish to disagree with me, fine. But I have now been called a racist three times in the last 4 posts.

Um... none of you guys know me.

Could you cut it the fuck out?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Kyle Aaron on December 07, 2006, 06:32:47 am
I think it's alright to call him a racist fuck if you think he is one, but you should put it at the beginning and end of some rational discussion. That gives it more punch.

Unless, of course, you can't manage rational discussion because you're an ignorant fuck. Then it all starts looking like Rain Main playing Forrest Gump in a blindfolded chess match - only they both have Tourette's.

So, here's my rational argument:

If your car pulls up by the side of the road, and there's smoke coming out of the engine, side panels falling off, steering wheel spinning, and you say, "Well, my car's manual says -" then I'm going to be pretty damned sure your car's manual ain't worth a damn.

The 1st Div handbook is full of shit. Plain as dog's balls it must be, since the whole place has gone to shit, and more US troops are dying as time goes on, and the war heats up.

The USA went to war in Iraq because it had to.

I am a bit tired of encountering clueless people who wonder why we're at war in Iraq, or why we buddy up to murderous dictators. They realise it's because of oil, but then they say, "Oil is the heroin of governments". But governments are not the addicts, they are the dealers - we're the addicts.

It's the general public who are tying off, tapping a vein, and jabbing that needleful in.

Elected politicians are followers, not leaders. If they are securing a supply of oil, it's not so they can drink it at afternoon tea. It's so the general public can burn it to maintain their lifestyle.

If you don't want your elected politicians to make dodgy deals with dodgier corporate and political leaders, then reduce or stop your use of oil.

Of all the significant oil-exporting nations of the world, only Norway is a liberal democracy. All the rest - Venezuela, Nigeria, Libya, Iran, Kazakhstan - have some degree of dictatorship, oppression, corruption or civil conflict. So if the USA will not import oil from such countries, then the USA will not import oil at all.

The USA produces 8.7 million barrels of oil a day. It consumes 21 million a day. Therefore, it must import 12 million. From where can it get these? I speak of the USA, because it's the single biggest consumer of oil - 21 of 82 million barrels every day - and the single biggest importer - 12.1 million each day. And in any case, developing countries often use the USA as their economic model - thankyou, IMF! So what the USA does affects everyone.

Top oil exporting nations, production of oil in millions of barrels per day going to export (Source, US govt) (http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/topworldtables1_2.html)
1) Saudi Arabia 8.73
2) Russia 6.67
3) Norway 2.91
4) Iran 2.55
5) Venezuela 2.36
6) United Arab Emirates 2.33
7) Kuwait 2.20
8) Nigeria 2.19
9) Mexico 1.80
10) Algeria 1.68
11) Iraq 1.48
12) Libya 1.34
13) Kazakhstan 1.06
14) Qatar 1.02

Figures are for 2004, and so have not accounted fully for subsequent decline in Iraqi and Nigerian production due to conflicts in those areas. Canada produces three million barrels, but consumes over two million of those, and so doesn't make it into this list.

Now, supposing you wish for the USA to not import from countries with oppressive or corrupt regimes. Please find in that list of countries producing more than a million barrels of oil a day, at least 12.1 million barrels. Let's take Norway's lot of 2.91. Now you have to find "only" 9.2 million. Please choose the least oppressive and corrupt countries only. And bear in mind that other countries would like to buy oil from liberal democracies as well. Japan imports 5.3 million barrels of oil each day, China 2.9 million (and rising by 9% annually), Germany 2.4 million, South Korea 2.2, and so on.

Alternately, the USA could rely solely on its domestic oil production of 8.69 million, consuming only that. This would require that each and every person in the United States reduce their personal oil consumption, direct or indirect, to 8.69/21 = 41% of what it is now. And of course, US proven oil reserves (http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/natural_gas/data_publications/crude_oil_natural_gas_reserves/current/pdf/ch3.pdf#page=2) [340kb pdf download] are 21,371 million barrels. So the USA can, even supposing production could be increased overnight from 8.69 to 21 million barrels a day, last for about three years before it runs out. On consumption of 8.69 million barrels a day, the USA could last for about eight years - again, assuming an overnight change.

Western politicians are not addicted to oil, the Western public is. That's you and me. The Western public asking their governments why we're at war in Iraq or buddying up with murderous dictators is like the spoiled kid who demands expensive toys from his dad, then wonders why his dad works overtime and doesn't come home for dinner. They're just giving us what we demand. So if you want us to stop our involvement in Iraq, and buddying up with murderous dictators... use less oil.

We are responsible for what our governments do. They represent us. So if you ain't happy with us being at war in Iraq, or with the way we're fightin' it - get up from your computer, and go take a look in the mirror. But don't switch the light on to do it - that uses oil.

You ignorant fuck!

See? It's much punchier after all that rational discussion. And what's best, you don't know which one I'm callin' iggeran'.
:combust:
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: T-Willard on December 07, 2006, 09:42:17 am
Quote from: Yamo
Have fun defending a (fellow?) racist and bigot.
Oh, yeah, he's the fucking bigot.

Grab that string dangling out of your mouth, and pull on it till your head pops out your ass, you fucking retard.

Read. Comprehend. Post.

I'll fucking say it.

Based on the evidence I saw after working in the Middle East for 5 years, your average Middle Eastern Muslim is a goddamn coward who runs in packs, couldn't give a shit less about freedom, and thinks all Westerners are out to rob him blind and destroy his culture.

Now, Mr. Oh So Fucking Enlightened, do you know why I formed this opinion?
Quote
Anyone who thinks "MIDDLE EASTERN people don't give a fuck about freedom", or claims to know what "Middle Eastern people" think about anything, undoubtedly also has some facinating insights to share with us on the black man's relationship to fried chicken and watermelon.
Nice race ploy, cockmonkey. Got any other things out of the bleeding heart, Internet tough guy handbook?

How about yelling about my sexuality too?

Don't you have a fucking bridge to hide under, you leper cum drinking bathroom floor licking troll?

Quote
I can't wait.
No shit. You couldn't wait to come in here, bouncing on your fucking Pogo Stick of Stupidity & Ignorance, to drop your Go-Bot Underoos, and shit all over the thread.

Did you even read the section of the 1st ID pamphlet he posted? Did you even read the bolded part, or would that have gotten in the way of your righteous indignation?

You're still a fucking tool, and all the claims of bigot and racist won't change that.

Unless your gonna compare my opinions of Middle Eastern Muslims to black people too.


As far as the 1st ID handbook section goes, try fucking reading it sometime, instead of making blithe assumptions about shit. And WHAT THE FUCK does your little link have to do with the goddamn handbook?

Funny thing is, maybe if more people in the Administration read that fucking handbook, they'd realize the whole fucking problem of introducing black propaganda, sweeping shit under the rug, and the other collosal fucking blunders they'd made.

Maybe you should fucking read it.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 07, 2006, 10:59:22 am
You just don't get this level of debate on RPG.net, that's for sure.

Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 11:39:50 am
The only thing I take exception to in T-Willards post is the description of Arabs.

Are they cowards because they run in packs and ambush soldiers?

Of course not. They are cunning and ruthless.  How else are they going to fight a larger, more organized military with better gear?

To frame it another way: Are American Soldiers cowards because they wear body armor, ride in armored vehicles, and never go anywhere without at least a dozen buddies?

No, that's how you fight and survive in a warzone.


Asking the other side to play nice, be fair is blinkered foolishness.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 07, 2006, 12:43:56 pm
I think all the problems we have with that entire region - well before Iraq - can be summed up in a single sentence.

We expect them to act/think/feel like we do.

Its a different culture, shaped over hundreds or thousands of years. It ain't gonna happen. Ever. No matter what.

The whole "they don't want freedom" argument is false, because their definition of "freedom" is different from ours. Hell, WE can't agree on "freedom" ourselves many times.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 07, 2006, 12:51:14 pm
Quote from: Werekoala
I think all the problems we have with that entire region - well before Iraq - can be summed up in a single sentence.

We expect them to act/think/feel like we do.

Its a different culture, shaped over hundreds or thousands of years. It ain't gonna happen. Ever. No matter what.

The whole "they don't want freedom" argument is false, because their definition of "freedom" is different from ours. Hell, WE can't agree on "freedom" ourselves many times.


I think that's very accurate. The question then becomes, if those people wish us harm, and we can't change them to our point of view, what do we do with them?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 07, 2006, 01:06:07 pm
Quote from: Werekoala
I think all the problems we have with that entire region - well before Iraq - can be summed up in a single sentence.

We expect them to act/think/feel like we do.

Its a different culture, shaped over hundreds or thousands of years. It ain't gonna happen. Ever. No matter what.

The whole "they don't want freedom" argument is false, because their definition of "freedom" is different from ours. Hell, WE can't agree on "freedom" ourselves many times.


Ok... I realize this is probably a lost cause... but here we go..

The whole "they don't give a fuck about freedom" thing was one line out a dozen or so posts in this thread, that folks seem to enjoy quoting out of context to bash me and/or my arguments over the head.

What I said was that we FREED them and expected them to love us. They are already free, clearly they care about freedom and wish to be free.

I THEN SAID that "they don't give a fuck about that" in a larger context of- yes they're free, that doesn't mean we're best friends forever or that they want us to occupy their country forever.

Honestly, what I meant to say is just about identical to what werekoala just said. We expect them to act and think and feel like us, and they won't.

Chuck
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dr Rotwang! on December 07, 2006, 01:24:19 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
So we should stay for several centuries in Iraq until the Iraqi Ghandi finally boots us the hell out?
He might have a cool curved sword, even if he doesn't believe in using it.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 01:26:38 pm
They are human, if you prick them do they not bleed?

We are fully capable of understanding them and their culture, as they are of understanding us and our culture.  While Americans worship on the alter of Democracy and pray to the God Freedom, this does not necessarily hold true of all men.  This does not mean that we cannot understand each other at all.

What do you do with a nation that does not care about freedom? Nothing at all. It isn't your place to tell them how to live. In fact, that runs in direct contravention of your Faith. Not that it has ever stopped anyone in the past.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Reimdall on December 07, 2006, 01:27:57 pm
Go-Bot Underoos is genius.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 07, 2006, 01:35:51 pm
Quote from: Spike
It isn't your place to tell them how to live.


What if they are inflicting harm upon us? We just sit back and take it?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 07, 2006, 01:42:55 pm
Quote from: Zalmoxis
What if they are inflicting harm upon us? We just sit back and take it?


I think if we left Iraq, all the folks in Iraq would stop killing us.

The central dilemma we are now playing out is this: for 100 years or so, terrorism was treated as a law-enforcement problem. You follow leads, sometimes trying to prevent a crime before it happens, but mostly chasing the perps after the deed is done.

After 9-11 we decided we were going to treat terrorism like a military problem, basically the way no country in the world, with the exceptions of Israel and Great Britain, has ever treated terrorism.

And it doesn't seem to be working out too well for us. But lots of folks could have told us that (and they tried) because we can look at what it's gotten Israel and Great Britain, which was more terrorism.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 01:50:25 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
... But lots of folks could have told us that (and they tried) because we can look at what it's gotten Israel and Great Britain, which was more terrorism.


Britain?  :confused:

Are you aware of the Good Friday Agreement and the Belfast Agreement?  And the fact that the IRA has renounced terrorism and has decommissioned its arms?

And that all parties in Northern Ireland now agree that the political future of the province should be determined through peaceful democratic procedures?

It seemed to work out well for Britain in the end.

I'm not sure what alternative strategy the British should have pursued.  Giving in to the IRA demands?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 01:56:34 pm
Quote from: Werekoala
...
Its a different culture, shaped over hundreds or thousands of years. It ain't gonna happen. Ever. No matter what.
 ...


This is fallacious reasoning.

India, Japan, and (South) Korea were all cultures radically different from the West.  

[If anything, they were more different from us than the Middle-East.  At least with the Middle-east, we share similar religions (the monotheistic faiths all have the same historical roots), and centuries of interaction (not always violent).  Western philosophy was heavily influenced by Arab philosophers during the Middle Ages, and vice versa.]

Yet, despite having radically different cultures from the West, India, Japan, and South Korea are all now functioning democracies in which people enjoy individual rights and liberties.

Why rule out similar transformations elsewhere?

Cultures aren't static.  They can -- and do -- change.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 07, 2006, 01:57:55 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
Britain?  :confused:

Are you aware of the Good Friday Agreement and the Belfast Agreement?  And the fact that the IRA has renounced terrorism and has decommissioned its arms?

And that all parties in Northern Ireland now agree that the political future of the province should be determined through peaceful democratic procedures?

It seemed to work out well for Britain in the end.

I'm not sure what alternative strategy the British should have pursued.  Giving in to the IRA demands?


That's because, despite all their differences, the two sides in the conflict were products of Western post-enlightenment civilization. They had common ground, no matter how much they thumped their chests or how many carbombs they set off. As such, they could come to a settlement, becuase they could UNDERSTAND each other.

I doubt we'll ever have such a rosy outcome in any dealings between the West and Islamic cultures - they're just TOO different, fundamentally. I'll go out on a limb and say we'll face similar problems with China in the not-to-distant future.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 02:01:28 pm
Quote from: Zalmoxis
What if they are inflicting harm upon us? We just sit back and take it?



That is hardly implicit in not telling people how to live.  

Seriously.  


My opinion should be obviously clear. If someone attacks you, you stop them, by whatever means necessary. Survival... war, is brutal, ugly and painful. It should be.  If you can not just stop them from attacking you, you destroy them utterly, root and branch.  

Telling them how to live has nothing to do with it.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 02:02:12 pm
Quote from: Spike
... What do you do with a nation that does not care about freedom? Nothing at all. It isn't your place to tell them how to live...


I agree fully that it is not our place to tell other peoples how to live.

However, we can have no idea what another people 'wants' unless it has democratic institutions.  If a people lacks democratic institutions (and attendant minimal individual rights), all we know is what the tyrant or ruling class wants.

The Taliban claimed to express the interests of the people of Afghanistan.  Yet they never bothered to consult them, especially women.

It doesn't make sense to attribute national self-determination if the members of that nation cannot participate in their own collective determination.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 02:05:20 pm
Quote from: Werekoala
... I doubt we'll ever have such a rosy outcome in any dealings between the West and Islamic cultures - they're just TOO different, fundamentally. I'll go out on a limb and say we'll face similar problems with China in the not-to-distant future.


I've already made this point, but I don't understand your pessimism about the ability of cultures to change.

Your pessimism has been falsified by history many times.

Was Japan TOO different, fundamentally, for it to become a democracy?  Or South Korea?  Or India?  Or, hopefully, Turkey (it's not there yet, but it's moving in the right direction, and needs to before it can join the EU)?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 07, 2006, 02:06:08 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
Britain?  :confused:

Are you aware of the Good Friday Agreement and the Belfast Agreement?  And the fact that the IRA has renounced terrorism and has decommissioned its arms?

And that all parties in Northern Ireland now agree that the political future of the province should be determined through peaceful democratic procedures?

It seemed to work out well for Britain in the end.

I'm not sure what alternative strategy the British should have pursued.  Giving in to the IRA demands?


Right, Britain came to their senses and STOPPED using the tactics that Israel (and now America) uses.

I wasn't saying Britain still has that policy. I was saying they were (past tense) part of the wave of nations attempting to leverage their military might to combat a non-military problem (terrorism).
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 07, 2006, 02:06:15 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
This is fallacious reasoning.

India, Japan, and (South) Korea were all cultures radically different from the West.  

[If anything, they were more different from us than the Middle-East.  At least with the Middle-east, we share similar religions (the monotheistic faiths all have the same historical roots), and centuries of interaction (not always violent).  Western philosophy was heavily influenced by Arab philosophers during the Middle Ages, and vice versa.]

Yet, despite having radically different cultures from the West, India, Japan, and South Korea are all now functioning democracies in which people enjoy individual rights and liberties.

Why rule out similar transformations elsewhere?

Cultures aren't static.  They can -- and do -- change.


True, but none of those cultures had the centuries of baggage that the West and Islamic countries do. They were introduced to the West AFTER our own "enlightenment" period when we gave up things like Crusades and such. I know, we had wars and abuses of their cultures too, but in historical terms, they ended relatively quickly. Places like India, for example, had many years of colonial rule to adapt andadopt many Western ideas - not to mention the fact that their religion and culture were more "peaceful" than Islam in many ways.

Point is, the well between the West and Islam was poisoned centuries ago, and its not going to be cleaned anytime soon. That's a product of both cultures. We want instant results, they still hold grudges from 750 AD. Hard to reconcile those two world-views.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 02:10:23 pm
Quote from: Werekoala
... Places like India, for example, had many years of colonial rule to adapt andadopt many Western ideas - not to mention the fact that their religion and culture were more "peaceful" than Islam in many ways.
...


You know that India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, right?  :)  Sure they're a minority, but that's only because India has over a billion people.

But your point about the centuries of West-Islamic conflict is an important one.  Still, I'm less pessimistic than you.  I see hope for reconciling Islam and democracy in places like Turkey, Indonesia, and even Afghanistan.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 07, 2006, 02:10:33 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
I've already made this point, but I don't understand your pessimism about the ability of cultures to change.

Your pessimism has been falsified by history many times.

Was Japan TOO different, fundamentally, for it to become a democracy?  Or South Korea?  Or India?  Or, hopefully, Turkey (it's not there yet, but it's moving in the right direction, and needs to before it can join the EU)?


Japan is the only one of those examples where there was significant external influence though.

And frankly, no one knows WHY Japan worked out as well as it did.

Still, if we assume the Japan analogy is valid, all we have to do is let Iraq simmer in civil war for approximately 500 years, emerge as a brutal power bent on world domination that engages in a massive, surprise military attack on the United States, then we go to full scale war costing millions of lives, nuke them, overthrow their government and instill democracy in their people.

For people who use Japan as an analogy and start at 1938 and then say "see, they went from brutality to democracy" seems to me to be missing the big picture in a big way.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: J Arcane on December 07, 2006, 02:11:20 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
I think if we left Iraq, all the folks in Iraq would stop killing us.

The central dilemma we are now playing out is this: for 100 years or so, terrorism was treated as a law-enforcement problem. You follow leads, sometimes trying to prevent a crime before it happens, but mostly chasing the perps after the deed is done.

After 9-11 we decided we were going to treat terrorism like a military problem, basically the way no country in the world, with the exceptions of Israel and Great Britain, has ever treated terrorism.

And it doesn't seem to be working out too well for us. But lots of folks could have told us that (and they tried) because we can look at what it's gotten Israel and Great Britain, which was more terrorism.
Most of the actual intelligent analysis of terrorism I've read suggests that, in fact, military action CAUSES terrorism, especially the interventionist variety.  

Terrorism is what happens when a people feels desperate and weak in the face of a superior threat, and so find other ways to affect violent change.  

Personally, I think that our whole bull in a china shop approach is liable to create more terrorism than ever before.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 02:16:27 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
Right, Britain came to their senses and STOPPED using the tactics that Israel (and now America) uses.

I wasn't saying Britain still has that policy. I was saying they were (past tense) part of the wave of nations attempting to leverage their military might to combat a non-military problem (terrorism).


When did Britain ever use the tactics vis-a-vis the IRA that Israel uses vis-a-vis the Palestinians?  Your analysis is fundamentally flawed.

And for the record, the British never changed their 'military strategy' for dealing with terrorism.  Rather, both the British and Irish governments put pressure on the sectarian groups in Northern Ireland to find a peaceful solution to the Troubles.  They predicted that, should such a solution be put on the table, that there would be huge domestic support for it in Northern Ireland, which would further undercut support for sectarian paramilitary groups.  And they were right.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 07, 2006, 02:17:00 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
You know that India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, right?  :)  Sure they're a minority, but that's only because India has over a billion people.


Of course, but they weren't subjected to centuries of conflict with the West. All conflicts - as with all politics - is local. :)


Quote
But your point about the centuries of West-Islamic conflict is an important one.  Still, I'm less pessimistic than you.  I see hope for reconciling Islam and democracy in places like Turkey, Indonesia, and even Afghanistan.


It possible, sure. Anything can happen. Just not in our lifetime - or several, I'd wager. Hope to be around to pay off the bet if it does come to pass. :)
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 02:20:44 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
I agree fully that it is not our place to tell other peoples how to live.

However, we can have no idea what another people 'wants' unless it has democratic institutions.  If a people lacks democratic institutions (and attendant minimal individual rights), all we know is what the tyrant or ruling class wants.

The Taliban claimed to express the interests of the people of Afghanistan.  Yet they never bothered to consult them, especially women.

It doesn't make sense to attribute national self-determination if the members of that nation cannot participate in their own collective determination.



Of course, you could validly argue that the 'tyrant' or 'ruling class' DOES represent what the people want.  It is possible... no... EASY to find Russians of a certain age that miss the 'old days' and think that Putin should be MORE dictatorial, more "Strong Hand on the Tiller".  I don't mean 70 year old former party leaders, I mean fourty year old 'man on the street'...  

The Taliban imposed a largely unpopular regime upon a largely unwilling population. The US had no difficulties invading, finding people that liked our intervention among the local population.   If the Taliban had been popular, then our military actions would have been horribly bogged down.  But one key to our success there is that we are NOT attempting to impose our own vision of how things should be upon the Afghans. In Iraq, however, we imported our own leaders, and began attempting to impose our vision upon the nation.  Saddam was unpopular, he was a tyrant... these things are true. But he didn't really impose his tyranny on how people lived, unlike the Taliban. Iraq, ironically, was very free culturally, at least compared to their neighbors.  I saw women in skirts, wearing high heels in Iraq. I saw men sitting on the side of the road while their neighbors prayed at a Mosque.  I saw women with cleavage and tight teeshirts for christ's sake, hardly the vision of a repressive theocracy with no rights.

Ironically, it may be our attempts to impose our vision of what 'Women's rights' should be in Iraq that could drive the population to close ranks and become worse.  Think of it as you would an abusive relationship, though this imposes a value judgement we aren't qualified to make. Attack the abusive partner and the abused partner will leap to the defence. Always.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 02:21:52 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
... Still, if we assume the Japan analogy is valid...


You're missing the overall (and more important) point by fixating on irrelevant details.  The point is that it is simply false to think that simply because a culture is very different right now (say, inegalitarian, undemocratic), that it can never become a liberal democracy.

If you don't like the Japan example, consider South Korea, which has a very different history and route to democracy.

In any case, I hope that, for the sake of the world's future, democracy and Islam can be reconciled.  Otherwise, we're in for a lot more bloodshed as the century progresses.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 02:30:44 pm
Quote from: Spike
Of course, you could validly argue that the 'tyrant' or 'ruling class' DOES represent what the people want.  It is possible... no... EASY to find Russians of a certain age that miss the 'old days' and think that Putin should be MORE dictatorial, more "Strong Hand on the Tiller".  I don't mean 70 year old former party leaders, I mean fourty year old 'man on the street'...  

Of course, without polling and voting, we wouldn't know that there exists so much support for Putin's 'strongman' approach.  ;)

But you're right that people might choose regimes that we find noxious (strongmen, theocrats, etc.).  Nonetheless, we have no idea whether people want the government that they have unless they have a free vote, and enjoy freedom of the press and freedom of association (at least to some adequate degree).

(Can people freely choose to be unfree?  I have philosophical views about that, but best not get into them here.)

Quote from: Spike
... Iraq, ironically, was very free culturally, at least compared to their neighbors...

Unless you were a Kurd or a Marsh Arab.  Or a political opponent.  In which case you were gassed.  Or tortured.  Or worse.

Quote from: Spike
Ironically, it may be our attempts to impose our vision of what 'Women's rights' should be in Iraq that could drive the population to close ranks and become worse.  Think of it as you would an abusive relationship, though this imposes a value judgement we aren't qualified to make. Attack the abusive partner and the abused partner will leap to the defence. Always.

I don't disagree with this at all.  Trying to promote acceptance of basic human rights is hard work, and in this respect much of what the U.S. is doing in Iraq now is quite destructive to that end.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 02:31:53 pm
Quote from: J Arcane
Most of the actual intelligent analysis of terrorism I've read suggests that, in fact, military action CAUSES terrorism, especially the interventionist variety.  

Terrorism is what happens when a people feels desperate and weak in the face of a superior threat, and so find other ways to affect violent change.  

Personally, I think that our whole bull in a china shop approach is liable to create more terrorism than ever before.



Historically, open democratic societies breed more domestic terrorism than oppressive military juntas, by a huge fucking margin.  

Interventionalist military action is not causing terrorism in Iraq. What we have here is a confusion of terms. Terrorism is a wildly different creature than guerrilla warfare, though they do look the same.  Iraq, ironically, is free. And some people are using that freedom to commit terroristic actions against their neighbors. Kill enough Shites and maybe they'll convert or leave... or maybe they'll all be dead and you won't have to tolerate them anymore.  Like all terroristic acts it is largely self defeating. The Terrorist can not let the fight go, can not LET GO... even in victory.   That is one reason you see so much fracturing in terrorist groups when peace is on the table.

Guerrilla warfare is assymetrical combat against a superior force. The guerilla attacks military targets with the goal of crippling operations and reducing morale. He can not defeat the military in a tactical engagement, so he adopts the strategy of breaking the military cohesion and morale.  

In 9/11 none of the planes attacked a military base, they attacked symbols, and MOST of those symbols were civilian in nature. Yes, the pentagon is more a symbol than a military target.  The goal is to scare, or terrorize, the populace into changing into what the terrorist wants.  Attacking military targets would be an act of war, and would mobilize the population.  The US is, or was, relatively unique in how they responded to Pearl Harbor, and for a time to 9/11.  There was a very real expectation on behalf of the strategists in Japan in WWII that pearl harbor, in addition to crippling our naval assets, would break our will to fight.  One can suppose Al-Qaeda thought the same of 9/11.

Now, as I miss a lot more news than I used to: has there been a terrorist attack against the US since 2001?  I haven't seen one.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 02:39:39 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
Of course, without polling and voting, we wouldn't know that there exists so much support for Putin's 'strongman' approach.  ;)

But you're right that people might choose regimes that we find noxious (strongmen, theocrats, etc.).  Nonetheless, we have no idea whether people want the government that they have unless they have a free vote, and enjoy freedom of the press and freedom of association (at least to some adequate degree).

(Can people freely choose to be unfree?  I have philosophical views about that, but best not get into them here.)



Unless you were a Kurd or a Marsh Arab.  Or a political opponent.  In which case you were gassed.  Or tortured.  Or worse.



I don't disagree with this at all.  Trying to promote acceptance of basic human rights is hard work, and in this respect much of what the U.S. is doing in Iraq now is quite destructive to that end.



Again, you worship at the Alter of Democracy so feircely that you view anyone who would chose to live differently as 'not having a say'.  People always have a say.  Recall that the government always rules at the whim of the people. Without people, no government can prevail.

While  I don't have any polls, I do have quotes from magazines.

As for chosing to be unfree: Haiti, in the wake of abolition, there are documented incidents of former slaves rioting and destroying their former plantations because their masters would not take them back.  Damning.  Instituionalized? Perhaps.  

When you consider the tendancy of Americans to vote in dynastic politcal families over common men, you get the idea that for many of us the words Democracy are paid more lip service than actual faith.  Who do I mean? Kennedy, Gore, Bush. What about the wife of Sonny Bono, who 'inherited' his seat?  There are more, but those names should suffice for now.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: T-Willard on December 07, 2006, 02:41:44 pm
Quote from: Spike
The only thing I take exception to in T-Willards post is the description of Arabs.

Are they cowards because they run in packs and ambush soldiers?

Of course not. They are cunning and ruthless.  How else are they going to fight a larger, more organized military with better gear?

To frame it another way: Are American Soldiers cowards because they wear body armor, ride in armored vehicles, and never go anywhere without at least a dozen buddies?

No, that's how you fight and survive in a warzone.


Asking the other side to play nice, be fair is blinkered foolishness.

My opinion was actually formed in the years before the current Iraq war.

I saw they were all horrendously brave in pack, but singly, they were quick to retreat to gather reenforcements. They'll beat a woman, but knuckle under to a man. They'll get a crowd together and start throwing rocks, but when you wade into them with 2 other guys wielding axe-handles, suddenly you're being brutal and they're the victim.

But it's a nasty part of my I don't like any more than you do. I just have the balls to admit it.

As far as their guerilla tactics, it's standard warfare for a weaker foe against a stronger one. It's not cowardly, it's survival. I don't belittle that.

I'm talking about in other parts of life.

Familiarity bred contempt.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: J Arcane on December 07, 2006, 02:45:00 pm
Quote
Historically, open democratic societies breed more domestic terrorism than oppressive military juntas, by a huge fucking margin.


This is pure comedy right here.  'Cause you know, there's carbombings every day in, say Canada or the EU.

Quote
In 9/11 none of the planes attacked a military base, they attacked symbols, and MOST of those symbols were civilian in nature.


No shit, Sherlock.  That's how terrorism fucking works.  It's the whole fucking point.  Breaking the will of the people to fight by scaring the shit out of them.  

Quote
Now, as I miss a lot more news than I used to: has there been a terrorist attack against the US since 2001? I haven't seen one.


I don't seem to recall terribly regular terrorist incidents prior to 2001 either.  Are you suggesting the US should be taking credit for business as usual?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 03:01:20 pm
Quote from: Spike
Again, you worship at the Alter of Democracy so feircely that you view anyone who would chose to live differently as 'not having a say'.  People always have a say.  Recall that the government always rules at the whim of the people. Without people, no government can prevail.

:confused:

I don't understand how anyone could possibly argue this.  'People always have a say'?  What does that mean?

Without basic democratic institutions (and attendant freedoms) people do not 'always have a say'.  They face coercion and oppression.  This is so obvious, I can't believe that I actually have to state it.

Do you honestly believe that Stalin's regime ruled 'at the whim of the people'?  If you do, there is no point in talking further with you, since your beliefs have no relation to the real world.

I don't 'worship at the altar of democracy'.  I'm simply making a conceptual point: we have no epistemic warrant for thinking that a particular government truly 'represents' its people without certain institutional mechanisms, viz. democratic institutions and procedures (or at least adequately representative institutions).

Quote from: Spike

While  I don't have any polls, I do have quotes from magazines.


:rolleyes:  Anecdotal evidence is hardly a reliable basis for making arguments.

Quote from: Spike

As for chosing to be unfree: Haiti, in the wake of abolition, there are documented incidents of former slaves rioting and destroying their former plantations because their masters would not take them back.  Damning.  Instituionalized? Perhaps.  


Well, I didn't want to go down this route, but suffice to say that I think that people in abusive relationships don't have a proper appreciation of their own interests.

Quote from: Spike

When you consider the tendancy of Americans to vote in dynastic politcal families over common men, you get the idea that for many of us the words Democracy are paid more lip service than actual faith.  Who do I mean? Kennedy, Gore, Bush. What about the wife of Sonny Bono, who 'inherited' his seat?  There are more, but those names should suffice for now.


No existing democracy is perfect, including (especially?) the U.S.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 03:07:30 pm
Quote from: J Arcane
This is pure comedy right here.  'Cause you know, there's carbombings every day in, say Canada or the EU.



No shit, Sherlock.  That's how terrorism fucking works.  It's the whole fucking point.  Breaking the will of the people to fight by scaring the shit out of them.  



I don't seem to recall terribly regular terrorist incidents prior to 2001 either.  Are you suggesting the US should be taking credit for business as usual?


Really now, J.  The 'original' terrorists, where we get our ideas about bomb throwing anarchists were russians in the 19th century under the Czars.  Or the Symbionise Liberation Front, who were founded in colleges in California?  Or the  Red Brigades, which fluctuated from middle class criminals, to middle class, college educated political terrorists depending on the time of day?  



You should learn to read before posting. My fucking point was those acts were Terroristic Acts for the exact same fucking reason YOU just tried to argue. Great. We agree. Your point?


Really now? USS Cole, embassy bombings in Africa with Al-Qaeda ties, the FIRST WTC bombing in 1993?  I don't have the link handy, but I know for a fucking fact that there were 8 major terrorist attacks against the US in the 8 years leading up to 9/11... 8 that were linked to Al-Qaeda. There were closer to a dozen all told. Since 9/11? Not so many.   Your memory is very selective, J.  Very fucking selective.  Notably, during those 8 years the US responded to NONE of the attacks in any way, barring stern language.  Military intervention may not be the best solution, but by my count it's several thousand times better than doing nothing at all.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 07, 2006, 03:14:30 pm
Well, we DID blow up an aspirin factory in the Sudan and a few tents in Afghanistan... AND strong words. VERY strongly worded statements, if I remember. :muttering:
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 03:20:48 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
:confused:

I don't understand how anyone could possibly argue this.  'People always have a say'?  What does that mean?

Without basic democratic institutions (and attendant freedoms) people do not 'always have a say'.  They face coercion and oppression.  This is so obvious, I can't believe that I actually have to state it.

Do you honestly believe that Stalin's regime ruled 'at the whim of the people'?  If you do, there is no point in talking further with you, since your beliefs have no relation to the real world.

I don't 'worship at the altar of democracy'.  I'm simply making a conceptual point: we have no epistemic warrant for thinking that a particular government truly 'represents' its people without certain institutional mechanisms, viz. democratic institutions and procedures (or at least adequately representative institutions).



:rolleyes:  Anecdotal evidence is hardly a reliable basis for making arguments.



Well, I didn't want to go down this route, but suffice to say that I think that people in abusive relationships don't have a proper appreciation of their own interests.



No existing democracy is perfect, including (especially?) the U.S.


People always have a say.  If Saddam didn't get people to enforce his whims, then his tyranny is only as long as the reach of his arm. Historically people revolt when they can't stand their rulers any longer.  The success or failure of those revolts is irrelevant to our discussion here.  Were there revolts against Saddam? Certainly he believed so, and the Kurds would probably have loved one to rise up.  

The Czars in Russia were unpopular, the revolt succeeded despite oppression and coercision, and we get 50 years of Anastasia fetishizing. Communisim fell why? Because the people had enough of it. Governments, no matter how oppressive, can not exist in a vacuum. That vacuum is filled with people propping it up.  It sucks to be on the wrong end of the gun, but if too few people are on the right end of the gun, then the government falls. Always.


You do worship at the alter of democracy. Simply this, you feel that no one is free unless they are properly represented by a western style democratic instituition.  Thus, throughout history NO ONE could have been free until, say, 1776.  If you feel generous, you can push it back a few centuries to the signing of the Magna Carta, but I doubt you are.   Are people 'free' under democracy? To an extent. Democracies can inflict evils upon their citizens as surely as any other form of government, or need I remind you that the US was notably slower than other 'western democracies' in freeing her slaves?


Ancedotal evidence is not as firm as scientificly rigorous studies, true. But I assure you that you are as guilty as I am of using it. Roll your eyes at yourself, if you please.

I never claimed that abusive relationships were healthy.  You asked for evidence of people wanting to be unfree, I provided it.  Dismiss it if you like, but YOU DID ASK.  


As for your last comment: I wasn't trying to point out that our democracy wasn't perfect, I was pointing out the natural human tendency to ignore democratic processes in favor of comforting familirity in their leaders, their rulers.   But, if you won't accept that you are in fact arguing in favor of an ideological standpoint, I see no reason to try to debate this with you. At least most churchmen are willing to admit they ARE ideologs, which is why I can debate with them the nature of God.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 03:36:24 pm
Quote from: Spike
People always have a say. ...

*sigh*

This reasoning is overly simplistic.  It is indeed true that, in certain extreme situations, people can and do rise up against oppressive regimes.

But to infer that in the absence of such revolts there exists general support for the regime in question is manifestly fallacious.  

An oppressive regime uses coercion, threats, imprisonment, and so forth, to maintain itself.  Engaging in a revolt against such a regime is a very risky thing to do.  The 1956 Hungarian revolt was ruthlessly crushed.  Not all revolts work out as peacefully as the 'Velvet Revolutions' of 1989.

People might choose to live under an oppressive regime rather than risk torture or death.  That does not mean that they support that oppressive regime.

Quote from: Spike

You do worship at the alter of democracy. Simply this, you feel that no one is free unless they are properly represented by a western style democratic instituition.  Thus, throughout history NO ONE could have been free until, say, 1776.  ...

More fallacious reasoning.  :rolleyes:

Look, I never stated that, in the absence of democracy, NO ONE was free.  In earlier societies some people were free.  In ancient Athens, propertied upper class males were free, but not women and slaves.  In pre-democratic societies, the majority of people were not free.

My point is rather simple: unless you have democratic institutions, you have no reliable basis for thinking that the majority of people in a given country support the government.

Quote from: Spike

...  You asked for evidence of people wanting to be unfree, I provided it.  Dismiss it if you like, but YOU DID ASK.  ...

Actually, I didn't ask.  Sorry for the miscommunication.  The comment was merely an aside, gesturing towards deeper philosophical issues that I didn't want to get into at this time.

Quote from: Spike

But, if you won't accept that you are in fact arguing in favor of an ideological standpoint, I see no reason to try to debate this with you. At least most churchmen are willing to admit they ARE ideologs, which is why I can debate with them the nature of God.

I am arguing for a conceptual point: viz., it doesn't make sense to attribute 'national self-direction' to a people who lack the necessary institutional mechanisms to collectively exercise self-direction.  

You can call it an 'ideological' point if you like.  I couldn't care less what label you want to apply to it.  I see it as a conceptual point: I'm making a claim about the necessary conditions for attributing properties to peoples.  If you disagree with me, give me arguments.  If calling my position 'ideological' is simply an excuse to not take my position seriously, then I think that's lame.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: droog on December 07, 2006, 03:48:54 pm
Quote from: Spike
Democracies can inflict evils upon their citizens as surely as any other form of government, or need I remind you that the US was notably slower than other 'western democracies' in freeing her slaves?

The US was not a democracy at the time the slaves were freed.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 03:51:27 pm
Quote from: droog
The US was not a democracy at the time the slaves were freed.



Do you suggest some refinement of the term, or are you making some snide aside that only you get?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 04:04:15 pm
Quote from: Spike
Do you suggest some refinement of the term, or are you making some snide aside that only you get?


A reasonable view is that all (adult) persons in a democracy have an equal vote.  Demos = People.  

While earlier systems of government may have called themselves 'democracies', that was only because they unjustly restricted the scope of 'people' (i.e. to exclude slaves, women, etc.).
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 04:04:21 pm
Akrasia: You have implicitly stated that without democratic representation people are perforce NOT FREE. Only, democratic representation was most certainly not the norm anywhere in the world until very recently.  Thus, you ARE saying just that.

More: you seem to be equating a lack of democracy to totalinarinism, as if you only have one or the other, which is where I strongly disagree.  Are people under a brutally oppressive regime unfree? Certainly. The cure is not necessarily democracy, or even democratic instituitions.  We KNOW democratic instituitions can work, more we trust them, sometimes unreasonably.

Let's go back to my non-mythical russian. Does he want Putin's stormtroopers to kick down his door and slaughter his family? Of course not. What he does want is for Putin, or any russian government to be ruthless and effective when dealing with enemies, foriegn and domestic. He doesn't want terrorists running free to take schoolchildren hostage, he doesn't want opium farmers just over the mountains in the next country over. He'd rather loose 'freedom' for it. That is his call, and more open democratic reforms won't give him what he actually wants, which is a strong leader to keep things stable.


So: Iraq has a culture with no real history of democracy, or even loud outcries for it. We remove a strongman, and because we don't believe in strongmen we try to make an egalitarian democratic government in it's place.

Only, Iraq is full of angry, competeing tribes who don't think in egalitarian or nationalist terms, but tribal and religious sectarian ones.  A strongman does not necessarily have to be a despot, though yes, they do tend to go that way, don't they.

This puts us on the horns of a dilemna: we know a strongman can keep the peace, but we are utterly opposed to letting one take over.  We are unwilling, or incapable, of filling the role ourselves.  

So: Find me a solution that works and stop trying to claim that 'if only we gave them the necessary grounding in democracy they'd be just like us'.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 07, 2006, 04:08:38 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
I think if we left Iraq, all the folks in Iraq would stop killing us.


The problem is, not all of the people killing folks in Iraq are Iraqis... there are jihadists from Syria, Iran and elsewhere, not to mention international terrorists. Even if we repel those folks from our shores, we face the prosepct of having the entire Middle East ruled by religious fanatics with lots of money to buy weapons and fund attacks.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 07, 2006, 04:12:07 pm
Quote from: Spike
That is hardly implicit in not telling people how to live.  

Seriously.  


My opinion should be obviously clear. If someone attacks you, you stop them, by whatever means necessary. Survival... war, is brutal, ugly and painful. It should be.  If you can not just stop them from attacking you, you destroy them utterly, root and branch.  

Telling them how to live has nothing to do with it.


Your approach is entirely punative and lacks compassion. I would rather that we try as best we can to change people from enemies into allies without waiting for them to attack us, and then destroying them.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 04:13:46 pm
Quote from: Spike
Akrasia: You have implicitly stated that without democratic representation people are perforce NOT FREE. Only, democratic representation was most certainly not the norm anywhere in the world until very recently.  Thus, you ARE saying just that.


A 'People' as a collective agent is not free ('self-governing') without democratic institutions.

That statement is perfectly compatible with thinking that particular persons within an largely 'unfree' society can be free (to some extent).

Quote from: Spike

More: you seem to be equating a lack of democracy to totalinarinism...


No, not necessarily.  There is a continuum here between, say, an 'ideal democracy' and a 'complete tyranny'.

My point is simply that there is a point on that continuum at which it no longer makes sense to attribute to a people (as a collective agent) meaningful self-direction or self-government.  That point, roughly, is a set of adequately representative institutions and associated freedoms.  

Perhaps you think that the relevant point is somewhere else, in which case we can have a conversation.

Quote from: Spike

Only, Iraq is full of angry, competeing tribes who don't think in egalitarian or nationalist terms, but tribal and religious sectarian ones.  A strongman does not necessarily have to be a despot, though yes, they do tend to go that way, don't they.

This puts us on the horns of a dilemna: we know a strongman can keep the peace, but we are utterly opposed to letting one take over.  We are unwilling, or incapable, of filling the role ourselves.  


I agree that it is quite possible that democracy is not viable in Iraq now, or for the near future -- aside from the Kurdish part, of course, which is (reasonably) democratic.

But a system of government less oppressive than Hussein's is certainly possible.

Quote from: Spike

So: Find me a solution that works and stop trying to claim that 'if only we gave them the necessary grounding in democracy they'd be just like us'.


I never claimed that.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: droog on December 07, 2006, 04:15:57 pm
Quote from: Spike
Do you suggest some refinement of the term, or are you making some snide aside that only you get?

Both....
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 07, 2006, 04:17:53 pm
Quote from: Zalmoxis
The problem is, not all of the people killing folks in Iraq are Iraqis... there are jihadists from Syria, Iran and elsewhere, not to mention international terrorists. Even if we repel those folks from our shores, we face the prosepct of having the entire Middle East ruled by religious fanatics with lots of money to buy weapons and fund attacks.


Which is pretty much the situation now.

I certainly dont think our activities in Iraq have altered that situation FOR THE BETTER anyway.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dr Rotwang! on December 07, 2006, 04:24:15 pm
See, Iraqi Ghandi is a pacifist through and through.  He's got a sword, sure, but it's more a symbol than anything: "I got a sword, I could use it, but I won't, because no."  And he hangs out with a djinni, see, who granted his wish: the means to bring peace.  But the djinni keeps trying to mess with him, tries to tempt him to flip out and kill like a madman, but Iraqi Ghandi's all, like, "No, Djinni, shut up."  But sometimes he wonders if the whole peace thing is really gonna work out, and he thinks-- what if the djinni's right?

...

...This is a goldmine.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 07, 2006, 04:27:56 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
I certainly dont think our activities in Iraq have altered that situation FOR THE BETTER anyway.


No, they have not, and that's regrettable.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 07, 2006, 04:40:52 pm
Quote from: Dr Rotwang!
See, Iraqi Ghandi is a pacifist through and through.  He's got a sword, sure, but it's more a symbol than anything: "I got a sword, I could use it, but I won't, because no."  And he hangs out with a djinni, see, who granted his wish: the means to bring peace.  But the djinni keeps trying to mess with him, tries to tempt him to flip out and kill like a madman, but Iraqi Ghandi's all, like, "No, Djinni, shut up."  But sometimes he wonders if the whole peace thing is really gonna work out, and he thinks-- what if the djinni's right?

...

...This is a goldmine.


Just remember to thank me when you accept your Pulitzer.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 04:58:59 pm
Akrasia: You and I seem to have gotten caught up in the sheer volume of words we were tossing at each other, and missed the other's points. I think we've gotten more on track since then, which is cool, since you seem to be a reasonably smart poster, even if we disagree on some things.

I will say that I don't buy democracy as providing greater freedoms than any other reasonable form of government, you just exchange the oppressor from 'that guy' to 'those guys'. Call it the nature of the beast.  An absolutely egalitarian democracy, which is what you seem to think of as 'Democracy' is even newer and rarer than democracy as a whole, and while certainly more FAIR than other forms of government, still often enacts laws based off the loudest shouting rather than 'what everyone wants'.  


Zalmoxis:  I never claimed to be compassionate. I could claim to be practical, but that doesn't address your point. Survival is ugly sometimes. The compassionate thing is not always the right choice.  Punative, I take exception to. If you were to break into my house, I would use force to chase you out, possibly deadly force if necessary. That is survival. Punative is chasing you down and continuing to apply force once you've run off. I didn't advocate that.  There is merits to punative force, just as there are downsides.  

So. I'll leave compassion to the martyrs and saints.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 07, 2006, 05:14:40 pm
Quote from: Spike
I will say that I don't buy democracy as providing greater freedoms than any other reasonable form of government, you just exchange the oppressor from 'that guy' to 'those guys'.


Well by 'democracy' I mean 'liberal democracy', that is, a system of government that combines rule by the majority with protection of individual rights and liberties.  Without the latter, democracy can indeed be oppressive ('tyranny of the majority').  I should have been more precise on this point.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 07, 2006, 05:20:59 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
Well by 'democracy' I mean 'liberal democracy', that is, a system of government that combines rule by the majority with protection of individual rights and liberties.  Without the latter, democracy can indeed be oppressive ('tyranny of the majority').  I should have been more precise on this point.



Even a liberal democracy, even with protections. But yes, given the long mottled history of democracies with equal protection laws I think a more clear statement of your point was certainly warranted. Just like I should clarify that my intent is not to praise tyranny, but to simply suggest that democracy is not the end all be all of governance, simply one alternative among many.

Tyrannies serve only the tyrant, and even that not well as most tyrants come to bad ends.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 07, 2006, 05:24:51 pm
Quote from: Dr Rotwang!
See, Iraqi Ghandi is a pacifist through and through.  He's got a sword, sure, but it's more a symbol than anything: "I got a sword, I could use it, but I won't, because no."  And he hangs out with a djinni, see, who granted his wish: the means to bring peace.  But the djinni keeps trying to mess with him, tries to tempt him to flip out and kill like a madman, but Iraqi Ghandi's all, like, "No, Djinni, shut up."  But sometimes he wonders if the whole peace thing is really gonna work out, and he thinks-- what if the djinni's right?

...

...This is a goldmine.

I smell musical!
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Yamo on December 07, 2006, 09:48:22 pm
Quote from: T-Willard
Based on the evidence I saw after working in the Middle East for 5 years, your average Middle Eastern Muslim is a goddamn coward who runs in packs, couldn't give a shit less about freedom, and thinks all Westerners are out to rob him blind and destroy his culture.


I almost feel bad here. A guy should have to do more to win an argument with you than just sit back and let you talk.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dominus Nox on December 08, 2006, 12:00:27 am
Quote from: Yamo
Have fun defending a (fellow?) racist and bigot.

Anyone who thinks "MIDDLE EASTERN people don't give a fuck about freedom", or claims to know what "Middle Eastern people" think about anything, undoubtedly also has some facinating insights to share with us on the black man's relationship to fried chicken and watermelon.

I can't wait.


True to form, the politically correct, kool aid drinking pod person refers to someone who disagrees with him as a "racist" and a "bigot".

YAWN


Don't you people ever get tired of just chanting the same words over and over again anytime anyone disagrees with you on any issue? You know, if you keep calling people "Racists" and "Bigots" often enough, some of them might decide they might as well be what you're constanly accusing them of.

Now, since you're going to accuse me of being a "Racist!" and a "bigot" for disagreeing with you, excuse me while I go to KKK.com and order a white robe and hood.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Warthur on December 08, 2006, 12:01:53 am
Quote from: Akrasia
And for the record, the British never changed their 'military strategy' for dealing with terrorism.  Rather, both the British and Irish governments put pressure on the sectarian groups in Northern Ireland to find a peaceful solution to the Troubles.  They predicted that, should such a solution be put on the table, that there would be huge domestic support for it in Northern Ireland, which would further undercut support for sectarian paramilitary groups.  And they were right.

Yes, comparing Britain in Northern Ireland to the Israel/Palestine situation is ludicrous, on several counts. In Northern Ireland, the military's role was mainly to back up the police. In Palestine, the Israeli military conducts freaking air raids on a sadly regular basis. (And the violence directed at Israel from Palestine absolutely eclipses the best efforts of the IRA at their peak.)

That's what made a negotiated solution a viable option in NI - while blood had been shed on both sides, the amount of blood shed was not quite so much that peace was unthinkable. The deal's been sealed by the excellent economic growth NI has experienced since the Good Friday Agreement - peace has brought prosperity, and so the peace more-or-less holds because while nobody is 100% happy with the current solution, nobody except a few kooks want to backslide to the bad old days.

In Israel and Palestine, both sides need to be willing to set past bloodshed aside, and Israel needs to be willing to let Palestine sort its economy out and begin to become prosperous (or at least not locked in crippling poverty). I'm not seeing either at the moment.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dominus Nox on December 08, 2006, 12:02:42 am
Quote from: Zalmoxis
Actually black men love fried chicken and watermelon because they taste good. I have that on good authority. I suppose Middle Eastern people don't give a fuck about freedom because they live in a backward, oppressive culture where the only things they have that give them any hope are centuries-old tribal customs and religious laws.


At last, someone else around here understands the real situation.

Welcome to the club, brother.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Yamo on December 08, 2006, 12:08:48 am
Quote from: Dominus Nox
True to form, the politically correct, kool aid drinking pod person refers to someone who disagrees with him as a "racist" and a "bigot".

YAWN


Don't you people ever get tired of just chanting the same words over and over again anytime anyone disagrees with you on any issue? You know, if you keep calling people "Racists" and "Bigots" often enough, some of them might decide they might as well be what you're constanly accusing them of.

Now, since you're going to accuse me of being a "Racist!" and a "bigot" for disagreeing with you, excuse me while I go to KKK.com and order a white robe and hood.

It says a lot that you replied when I wasn't even addressing you.

Your sig says even more.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: J Arcane on December 08, 2006, 12:19:22 am
Quote from: Yamo
It says a lot that replied when I wasn't even addressing you.

Your sig says even more.
I thought the funniest part was when he referred to you of all people as "politically correct".  

That's pure comedy gold right there.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Yamo on December 08, 2006, 12:35:58 am
Quote from: J Arcane
I thought the funniest part was when he referred to you of all people as "politically correct".  

That's pure comedy gold right there.


It's a cold day in hell that I'm even factually correct. :)

Now back to draining this bottle of limoncello I bought on a whim on the way home from work today...

Damn you, DeVito!
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 08, 2006, 12:35:58 am
Quote from: Warthur
Yes, comparing Britain in Northern Ireland to the Israel/Palestine situation is ludicrous, on several counts.


What the fuck is it with me and this thread, and everyone reading a shitload of stuff into my comments that isnt there.

I didnt fucking "compare" Palestine and Northern Fucking Ireland.

What I fucking said was that Britain, Israel and the United States had tried to solve terrorism militarily in the past.

That's it.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Hastur T. Fannon on December 08, 2006, 08:01:34 am
Quote from: Akrasia
And for the record, the British never changed their 'military strategy' for dealing with terrorism.  Rather, both the British and Irish governments put pressure on the sectarian groups in Northern Ireland to find a peaceful solution to the Troubles.  They predicted that, should such a solution be put on the table, that there would be huge domestic support for it in Northern Ireland, which would further undercut support for sectarian paramilitary groups.  And they were right.


This is the perspective of someone born during the Troubles and who has missed being blown up by a matter of minutes on two occasions (admittedly only one of those was the Provos)

The Provos switched to primarily economic targets designed to disrupt life rather than destroy it.  Within months the British government was at the negociating table having sworn for years that it would never negociate with terrorists.  Admittedly everything worked out ok in the end, but if Al-Q ever learns this lesson then we'll all be in trouble
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 08, 2006, 09:16:50 am
Quote from: Spike
... my intent is not to praise tyranny, but to simply suggest that democracy is not the end all be all of governance, simply one alternative among many...


No one would deny that there are many alternative forms of government.  That's an empirical fact.

My point is that only democratic governments can plausibly claim to express the views of the people that they govern.  This is a morally significant difference.

As Churchill once said: "Democracy is the worst form of government possible.  Except for all the other ones."
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 08, 2006, 10:22:34 am
Quote from: Yamo
It's a cold day in hell that I'm even factually correct. :)

Now back to draining this bottle of limoncello I bought on a whim on the way home from work today...

Damn you, DeVito!


Threadderailment:

What exactly IS Limoncello? I'd never even heard of it until last week, now its everywhere. Even the password to a Call of Duty server that I played on last night!
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 08, 2006, 12:14:59 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
No one would deny that there are many alternative forms of government.  That's an empirical fact.

My point is that only democratic governments can plausibly claim to express the views of the people that they govern.  This is a morally significant difference.

As Churchill once said: "Democracy is the worst form of government possible.  Except for all the other ones."



I got this quote from a game: Democracy is the only government worth a damn, because its the only form of government where the people get exactly what the deserve.



Maybe I've got a rather dim view of humanity.  The fact of the matter is, in large groups humanity can be rather stupid, even childish.  Children can't be given total self determination.  What I see out of democratic states is a gradual trend towards populism in law, a rise of stupid, counterproductive laws designed to 'get votes' rather than 'run a government'.   You see shit like in france where everyone is garuanteed lifetime employment, and it's ruining their economy... and the government CAN'T get rid of it without massive riots.  

Another, less drastic, method of looking at it, the US Civil war was essentially a war between two different forms of 'democratic' government, a federalized central power, and a statist confederacy. This isn't to denigrate the actual war or it's causes, but to illustrate something about governments.

Now, arguable, the voting population of the South was 'More Free' than the voting population of the North.  Each State was entirely self determinant, which is what they wanted: Freedom from controls imposed by 'others'.

One of the reasons the North won was the Army was entirely under the command of the central government, whereas in the South each state commanded their own army. So if Georgia was getting pressed hard, they'd withdraw their troops, screw the big picture.  Virgina wouldn't send troops to help Georgia out, so Georgia has to fight alone...and might pull HER troops away to defend her own borders, further crippling the main army. And the confederation government couldn't stop them.  

Now, that is an incredibly selective way of looking at it, but it was a factor in the war.  It is also illustrative why giving people the freedom to be self determinant in a civilized nation might not always be a 'good thing'.

Like any parental figure, a good government needs to listen to it's children, but more imporantly needs to be able to make descisions that are unpopular for the good of the people.... and Democracy has a very poor track record with 'unpopular' decisions.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: fonkaygarry on December 08, 2006, 01:02:09 pm
Quote from: Werekoala
Threadderailment:

What exactly IS Limoncello? I'd never even heard of it until last week, now its everywhere. Even the password to a Call of Duty server that I played on last night!

Break your google button? (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=limoncello&btnG=Google+Search);)
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 08, 2006, 02:21:07 pm
Quote from: fonkaygarry
Break your google button? (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=limoncello&btnG=Google+Search);)


I just figured hearing about it from someone who actually DRANK it would be more informative, but I'll look into it. :)
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Yamo on December 08, 2006, 08:45:30 pm
Ice-cold (ideally) liquor made from lemon rinds, sugar and about 25%-30% alcohol.

It tastes to me like Lemonheads candy in boozy liquid form.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 08, 2006, 10:27:46 pm
Quote from: Spike
...  giving people the freedom to be self determinant in a civilized nation might not always be a 'good thing'.

Like any parental figure, a good government needs to listen to it's children, but more imporantly needs to be able to make descisions that are unpopular for the good of the people ...


Dude, I could have lifted the above quote from pretty much any 1930s fascist speech.

Do you really want to go down this argumentative road?

Quote from: Spike

.... and Democracy has a very poor track record with 'unpopular' decisions.


Um, okay.  It has a bad track record.  Pretty much awful.  Well, except for the nondemocratic systems.  Those are actually worse.

Read my Churchill quote again.  Think about the quote.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Yamo on December 08, 2006, 10:43:51 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
Dude, I could have lifted the above quote from pretty much any 1930s fascist speech.

Do you really want to go down this argumentative road?
 


He has something of a point, though. Democracy needs some limits. Hell, it's the whole reason that democratic nations have Supreme Courts: So that unrestrained mob rule is less able to do vicious and unjust things like deprive minorities of rights.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 08, 2006, 11:30:48 pm
Quote from: Akrasia
Dude, I could have lifted the above quote from pretty much any 1930s fascist speech.

Do you really want to go down this argumentative road?



Um, okay.  It has a bad track record.  Pretty much awful.  Well, except for the nondemocratic systems.  Those are actually worse.

Read my Churchill quote again.  Think about the quote.


Well... I am personally VERY leery of increased power of the central government.

But I think one thing Spike might be thinking of is racial integration of schools.

Southern senators were VEHEMENTLY opposed, because their CONSTITUENTS were.

Similarly, southern governors and elected law enforcement officials fought against the integration for the same reasons.

Even state courts mostly sided with segregation in the south, and if the judges were elected, that rises REAL dramatically.

Again, because the PEOPLE wanted segregation to continue by an overwhelming majority.

In other words, all those elected officials in the south were doing EXACTLY what they should have done in a democratic system.

It was purely the federal courts, backed by the National Guard that FORCED integration down the throats of these southern states.

That's a case where the "will of the people" was pretty ugly. We're talking about a time when Senators CAMPAIGNED against anti-lynching laws that would "change the culture of the south" and went on to landslide elections.

Similarly, Hitler rose to power completely through legal means, leading his party to a majority in the Reichstag. When the Austrian Nazi party engineered a coup and Hitler came in "to restore order", his first act was to hold a plebescite in which 99% of the populace requested he stay and merge Austria back into Germany.

The "will of the people" has as much capacity to be ugly as human beings do, which is to say a lot.

Chuck
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 08, 2006, 11:44:25 pm
Quote from: Yamo
He has something of a point, though. Democracy needs some limits. Hell, it's the whole reason that democratic nations have Supreme Courts: So that unrestrained mob rule is less able to do vicious and unjust things like deprive minorities of rights.

I agree that there need to be institutional protections for individuals and minorities.

I've already explained that I'm committed to liberal democracies.  Liberal democracies have institutional mechanisms to protect individuals and minorities against the 'tyranny of the majority'.

This is an old point.  I had already made Spike aware of it.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 08, 2006, 11:48:55 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
... The "will of the people" has as much capacity to be ugly as human beings do, which is to say a lot....


There's no denying that.  Things are complicated.  But my point is simply that we have no idea what people actually 'want' outside of democratic means.  Maybe they want bad things, in which case we should argue and try to change that.  And be grateful for individual rights that protect people (hopefully!) who dissent.

There's no reason to assume that a dictatorship (or any nondemocratic system of government) would be superior.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 08, 2006, 11:52:47 pm
Quote from: Akrasia

There's no reason to assume that a dictatorship (or any nondemocratic system of government) would be superior.


100% Agree.

For every Elizabeth I (yes, I consider her a superior, though totally ruthless monarch) there's a couple of Adolf Hitlers and a whole SLEW of garden variety, Henry VIII/Benito Mussolini whackjobs, and even more who are just incompetent like the fucker we still have to put up with for another couple of years.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Divine Hammer on December 09, 2006, 11:24:38 am
Quote from: Spike
I got this quote from a game: Democracy is the only government worth a damn, because its the only form of government where the people get exactly what the deserve.


And this is why it's vital for Democracy to take root all through the Pan-Arabic world.

When the fighting eventually catches up with the demographic scale of this conflict, I'll feel better knowing that the people dying have had some sort of say in the government running their respective countries.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: ChalkLine on December 09, 2006, 05:04:34 pm
I'm glad to see this thread has swung back to intellectual discussion, and totally without outside (cough mod cough) intervention. Some other lists could learn from this.

Spyke;
I understand your pragmatism, but I have a few points I'd like to raise.
 - We invaded Iraq. We fucked over their whole world. If we pull out, we'll still be attacked because the Iraqis have a truckload of payback owed. If we cantonise into armed laagers and focus on reconstruction, mortar sales will be the hot shares in the middle east. If we disperse into the community and try to go 'softly softly' as per the British model, we'll be involved in RPG attacks, car bombs and running gunfights with militias and the very forces we're training there. If we sponsor one power and then hover nearby in another country, we in effect colonise the host nation and we can get their homegrown guerillas as well as cross border attacks and ambushes.
We have stuck our dick in a blender.

Akrasia;
I'm a democratic (soviet consilliar) socialist, I understand your point. It may well be that we're viewing arrested development in the Middle East, we're prolonging the birth pains through intervention and stabilisation. When the powers pulled out, they tried to install traditional rulers and stabilise the situation (the Shah et al) through innate cultural conservatism, but the population base was far larger than such structures could maintain. With affluent Western cultures just across the Med, many Middle Eastern people thought it might be a good idea to come up with Islamic democracies, but the Ba'athist nationalism theme was usually attacked by us (as it favoured nationalising our oil assets incountry, see JimBob's interesting mini-essay on our oil addiction) until it could become moderate and economically globalist.
In essence, we'll never see democracy in the Middle East while we coerce their governments into giving us their one and only resource on our terms.

Anyone attacking the First Division Handbook;

You are making a major mistake.
The title of the handbook is not 'a perfect guide to every Arab/Islamic culture on earth'. It is a an avenue for soldiers, many who are recruited from culturaly homogeonous and poorly educated areas (and there's many who aren't, I'm not hassling the US Army) to be able to think outside their cultural box and get a handle on some of the motivations of a foreign culture. I assume, and I haven't read it, that no allowance is made for Persian cultural influences as that is outside the scope of the book. The same handbook is consulted if you're in Saudi Arabia, Turki or Iraq, three radically different places. To bridge this gap troops are given orienteering lectures by specialists.
View the material for the reason it was written. It is not a scholarly work bent on definitive cultural analysis, but a handbook for soldiers who get shot at and want to have some idea why.

History;
This current fetish with The Crusades as an evil war of mindless aggression in isolation against a peaceful people is, to be technical; bullshit.
Just as much Islamic territorial aggression occured before and after The Crusades, something Islamic scholars are just as willing to agree. The pop history about that time really, really shits me. It also forments cultural bitterness, something out of place with the actual events. Please, if you must cite The Crusades, learn a bit of mediaeval history or you just come off looking stupid.

Islamic Ghandi
This is just personal; but I dont think he should have glasses, but definitely should have boots with turned up toes.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 09, 2006, 09:31:28 pm
Chalkline:

I agree, we did stick our dicks in the blender, which is why I would suggest a less likely alternative to giving a democracy to people who don't care about it, and would view our appointed leaders as puppet governors anyway.

I don't think we should have gone, true enough. I don't like how we've handled it while we have been there... equally true. I just keep waiting to hear something grounded in practical solutions rather than pie in the sky idealism.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 09, 2006, 10:14:47 pm
Quote from: Spike
Chalkline:

I agree, we did stick our dicks in the blender, which is why I would suggest a less likely alternative to giving a democracy to people who don't care about it, and would view our appointed leaders as puppet governors anyway.

I don't think we should have gone, true enough. I don't like how we've handled it while we have been there... equally true. I just keep waiting to hear something grounded in practical solutions rather than pie in the sky idealism.


Well, there's a lot that we don't know.

But I think one thing that we DO know is that fewer American soldiers will die if we pull out.

And no, I don't believe we are "fighting them over there rather than fighting them here".

This country isn't that hard to get into, especially when you consider that if you can get into either Mexico or Canada you can get into the US even MORE easily.

If we went to get WMDs they either were never there or they're gone.

If we went to get Sadaam he's about to be executed.

Since those two missions were accomplished, we've been spinning reasons why we must stay in perpetuity. I think our continued presence has caused the violence to rise as well.

The insurgents know there's no good reason for us to still be there too... UNLESS we want permanent bases and/or oil.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Zalmoxis on December 09, 2006, 10:20:13 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
Well, there's a lot that we don't know.

But I think one thing that we DO know is that fewer American soldiers will die if we pull out.

And no, I don't believe we are "fighting them over there rather than fighting them here".

This country isn't that hard to get into, especially when you consider that if you can get into either Mexico or Canada you can get into the US even MORE easily.

If we went to get WMDs they either were never there or they're gone.

If we went to get Sadaam he's about to be executed.

Since those two missions were accomplished, we've been spinning reasons why we must stay in perpetuity. I think our continued presence has caused the violence to rise as well.

The insurgents know there's no good reason for us to still be there too... UNLESS we want permanent bases and/or oil.


I wholeheartedly agree.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: James J Skach on December 10, 2006, 08:55:19 am
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
Well, there's a lot that we don't know.

QFT

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
But I think one thing that we DO know is that fewer American soldiers will die if we pull out.

This is your thought.  I'm not so sure about that.  It all depends on the time-line and scope with which you bound that statement.  Will fewer die in Iraq in the next year?  Almost assuredly this is true. How about ten years in the Middle East? Will fewer or larger numbers of American (or British, or Australian, or Italian, or Polish, or...) soldiers die in the Middle East in the next ten years if we pull out now? How about world-wide over the next 20?

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
And no, I don't believe we are "fighting them over there rather than fighting them here".

This country isn't that hard to get into, especially when you consider that if you can get into either Mexico or Canada you can get into the US even MORE easily.

So I assuem you are all for a border fence/wall.

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
If we went to get WMDs they either were never there or they're gone.

One of the justifications for invading Iraq was to ensure that WMD of the Saddam regime were not distributed to terrorists who would then use them against the United States or its allies. Whether or not this was successful will not be known for a few years.  To date it has been.

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
If we went to get Sadaam he's about to be executed.

This would be a good signal to use to get out.  When he and his first tier cronies are gone, there's no chance they will return to power. Regime Change can be checked off the list.

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
Since those two missions were accomplished, we've been spinning reasons why we must stay in perpetuity. I think our continued presence has caused the violence to rise as well.

I would argue that our lack of overwhelming presence has caused violence to rise. This is my shit-or-get-off-the-pot theory.  Either put another 100,000-200,000 troops in now for at least the next two years, or get out over the next two years.  Do one or the other. I believe the US media has use the pentagon references of Go Big and Go Home as the options.  I think Go Long, the other option, is a mistake.

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
The insurgents know there's no good reason for us to still be there too...

To which insurgents are you referring? The radical Iranian-influenced Shia would now like us gone so they can carry out the pogrom.  The moderate Shia would still like us there to help keep the lid on.  The moderate Sunni, no matter how few, want us there to protect them against the coming storm of radical Iranian-influenced Shia.  The radical Sunni, no matter how few, can't decide if they a) want us there for protection, b) want us there as a target/recruiting source, or c) want us gone so they can try and overthrow the Shia. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda operative run around whispering in everyone's ear, slide money across the table, manufacture/supply weapons, and otherwise stir the pot to make America (and its allies) look weak an ineffectual. So it all depends on who you ask.

Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
...UNLESS we want permanent bases and/or oil.

Permanent bases, at this point, whether the US was overwhelming successful or not, would be a bad idea.  I think that’s why the US Administration has been denying wanting that outcome.  Besides, the US has bases all over that region. We will have to find a place for all those who were in Saudi Arabia before OIF; one of the reasons, btw, that Al Qaeda claimed a grievance against the US.

The US doesn’t want their oil as in take it.  The US wants easy access without those petrodollars going to support terrorism. The US wants guilt-free accessible oil. It makes sense if the global economy is petroleum based.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Akrasia on December 10, 2006, 09:17:16 am
Good post, James.

Also, my thoughts:

If U.S. forces were to withdraw wholesale in the immediate future, there would be a horrible bloodbath in Iraq -- one far worse than the quasi-civil war that we see now -- as the Sunni and Shiites militants would make a no-holds-barred push for power.  The current government (which, despite all its faults, does include members of all three ethnic/religious groups, and was elected) would surely collapse.  An explosion of such violence would likely increase anti-U.S. sentiment in the region.  The U.S. has a choice of 'lesser evils' right now, and simply pulling out is almost assuredly the greater evil.

In the long-run, I see no alternative to some kind of partitioning of Iraq (whether into legally distinct countries, or de facto autonomous 'regions') with Baghdad as a special, heavily policed 'special administrative region'.  The Shiite and Sunni Iraqis just hate each other too much for a unified government to work.  The U.S. should encourage this partition, focus its troops on making and keeping Baghdad reasonably secure and safe, and ensure that any final arrangement guarantees the Sunnis an adequate share of oil revenues.  Some kind of international (ideally) or U.S. (far more likely) force is going to have to stay in Baghdad for years.

It's also worth mentioning that the Kurds of Northern Iraq would be grateful for a long-term U.S. base in their part of the country.  They are pro-American (so U.S. forces would not be under regular attack there), and would be grateful for the security against both their fellow countrymen to the south, and Turkey to the north.  

The U.S., after overseeing the partition of Iraq into Sunni and Shiite regions (the Kurdish region is already effectively self-governing and separate), could then withdraw some of its troops, leaving the rest focused on Baghdad to help maintain order there, and a Kurdish base to deal with any truly dire situations in the south that might threaten the partition.

Well, that's the 'least bad' alternative, as far as I can see.

Sure it would have been better 4 years ago had the U.S. decided to focus on Al Qaida and Afghanistan instead of embarking on this Iraq endeavour.  But time machines don't exist yet, and given the current situation, simply packing up and leaving doesn't seem like an acceptable alternative.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 10, 2006, 02:16:29 pm
Quote from: James J Skach
I would argue that our lack of overwhelming presence has caused violence to rise. This is my shit-or-get-off-the-pot theory.  Either put another 100,000-200,000 troops in now for at least the next two years, or get out over the next two years.  Do one or the other. I believe the US media has use the pentagon references of Go Big and Go Home as the options.  I think Go Long, the other option, is a mistake.


If we had another 100,000 - 200,000 troops lounging about to SEND, I might consider that alternative.

Given that the only way for us to raise a force of that size would be to either A) institute a draft or B) raise incentives/lower standards (probably both) drastically to swell the pool of volunteers.

I don't see either option as likely, or desirable.

In other words, "go big" isn't a viable option. We can either go long, a stand which has already been repudiated by the American people, or we can come home.

I agree the come home option sucks for the Middle East, just like our pullout sucked for the Vietnamese who had allied with us in VietNam. But, the first duty of American foreign policy should be to look after American interests.

Our army needs a break. Equipment and men are wearing down. We need an influx of fresh bodies and options for getting them have been allowed to wear thin.

Bad policies tend to reduce options, while good policies increase options.

We're down to two options here.

Chuck
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: T-Willard on December 10, 2006, 02:39:04 pm
Quote from: Yamo
I almost feel bad here. A guy should have to do more to win an argument with you than just sit back and let you talk.

That's my point of view from on the ground observations.

At least I realize that my point of view has been skewed more than other peoples, and I can realize that it's a nasty little part of me that I struggle to get rid of.

But I suppose personal observation and interaction is always trumped by internet theory.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 10, 2006, 02:41:27 pm
I still dispute this "we're stretched to the breaking point at 130,000" argument. With a standing military of 4 million (admittedly, many Navy/Airforce/etc) - if we can only put 130k pairs of boots on the ground, there's something SERIOUSLY wrong with our military. Seriously. Especially considering this is the exacty type of conflict we'll be fighting for the next 50+ years. If nothing else ,the Islamists have shown everyone else how to fight us.

Drop the ultra-tech fighters. Forget next-gen attacks subs. Screw all that. Invest in bullets and bayonets, and make sure everyone knows how to use them.

Where's David Hackworth when we need him...
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 10, 2006, 07:57:50 pm
Check this out:

http://www.strategypage.com/fyeo/howtomakewar/databases/wherearethedivisions.asp

I don't really see a whole lot of give there. Basically every division on that list is either in Iraq, recovering from service, training/undergoing equipment upgrades or in a spot where they must remain for national defense reasons.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: T-Willard on December 10, 2006, 08:12:42 pm
One thing to remember is that many units are badly unstrength, and many national guard units, and even active duty units, have reported almost zero critical maintenance to systems due to a lack of funds.

I personally know two BN level commanders whose units were forced to deploy with over half of their crew served weaponry deadlined.

Training has been lackluster at best due to budget crunches.

The situation has been artificially inflated by many of the civilian analysts in order to jibe with the administrations "military vision."
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dominus Nox on December 10, 2006, 09:49:52 pm
Well, come on guys. W got to manage several businesses due to his family connections, he drove them all into the ground. He owned a sports team, it went into a losing streak. His bro managed the silverado S&L, it went into multi billion dollar bankruptcy.

Was anyone really stupid enough to believe W could lead a war without it becoming a disaster for america?

It's not all W's fault, tho. Anyone who voted for him in 2004 is a moron who helped get america into this mess. Yes, I literally blame the people who voted for bush for a lot of this. America has a habit of blaming the politicians, but not blaming the people who vote for them. I'm changing that.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: ChalkLine on December 11, 2006, 01:29:47 am
Well, we've all heard the pragmatic view, here's a voice for rational idealism.

We have commited a great crime, and made a bad situation far worse.

Like it or not, the world sees the USA/UK/Aus bloc as warmongering incompetents who put self interest before international law and custom. Currently the USA maintains bases in over a hundred countries, stations powerful fleets off the coasts of other nations and vetoes anything that it doesn't particularly like in the UN. The UK and Aus support this wholeheartedly.

We have to act now to turn this trend around, before we find that we are the pariah states.

12 years ago, the Australian foreign policy was dedicated to being 'A Good Global Citizen'. Other nations came to us to arbitrate international conflicts, our peacekeepers were welcomed by both sides and we maintained a regional and friendly relationship with other nations. Inside of a decade, we are now viewed as an extension to US Imperialism. Australia has done nothing to prove the lie to this perception.

We have to stop throwing our weight around. We have to accept in a global democracy we won't always get our way. We have to play fair, and by fair I don't mean 'a level playing field' so beloved by the powerful, but we have to restrain ourselves from victimising nations weaker than us economically, culturally and/or militarily.

In Iraq, we have an opportunity to prove we've learned our lesson, and are prepared to change. Instead of foisting our companies on their resources, we should build theirs up. We should go hard and disarm the country - our reason for invading and so much bloodshed - and foster the peaceful groups. We should allow the people there to create their own sort of equality based society. We should suffer the consequences of our stupidity and fix things.

Otherwise, we will continue to be reviled as the blundering child-giant that needs coalitions formed against it, that needs terrorists recruited against it, that needs stopping.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Spike on December 11, 2006, 05:59:09 am
David Hackworth is dead, man.

But the fact is, the US COULD send forward more troops. They'd have to drop the one year rotation thing out the window, which would be a hardship on the troops, but less than you might expect. After 6-8 months or so, you stop noticing the time so much, you get acclimatized, in the groove... After one year, the next isn't so bad.  

Precedent: WWII, troops fought for three to four years non-stop, with only occasional passes and leaves for R&R.

But yes, an ungodly percentage of the military budget goes to the Navy and the Air Force, despite conventionaly military wisdom that such megabudget projects don't ever earn their money back.  

Because traditional (rather than conventional) military wisdom is stuck 50 years in the past AND is in bed with politics and big business. Billion dollar building projects are huge political bene's for everyone but the troops.  The population prospers in the form of Jobs, the military prospers in the form of huge bugetary allotments, the businesses get richer, and the politicians get reelected.  Hell, the generals who never have to go to war get cushy retirement jobs from teh people they pass contracts too.

You do the math.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Hastur T. Fannon on December 11, 2006, 08:52:53 am
Quote from: T-Willard
I personally know two BN level commanders whose units were forced to deploy with over half of their crew served weaponry deadlined.

Training has been lackluster at best due to budget crunches.


Fuck, fuck, fuuuuuck.  I can't locate it right now, but there's a footnote in Gibbons "Decline and Fall" where he links the fall of Rome as a military power to their reliance on mercenaries and siege engines, resulting in budget cuts, leading to undermanning of the legions and lack of maintenance and training
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 11, 2006, 10:21:31 am
Quote from: Spike
David Hackworth is dead, man.



I know - it was a rhetorical question.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: James J Skach on December 11, 2006, 03:26:57 pm
Quote from: Dominus Nox
I'm changing that.

Yes, you are changing that..by...posting to a relatively small Role Playing Game forum.

How old are you, really?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: James J Skach on December 11, 2006, 03:49:19 pm
Quote from: ChalkLine
Well, we've all heard the pragmatic view, here's a voice for rational idealism.

I was wondering where I misplaced the Voice of Rational Idealism. Turns out you had it all along.

Quote from: ChalkLine
We have commited a great crime, and made a bad situation far worse.

Which crime was that? Can you expound please?

Quote from: ChalkLine
Like it or not, the world sees the USA/UK/Aus bloc as warmongering incompetents who put self interest before international law and custom.

Here's a little news flash.  The USA (and to a lesser extent the UK/Australia block) have been seen that way for decades. That was the idea spread by the Soviets for years, and then changed to fit the "Only Superpower" view that came later. Hell, the Middle East has hated that set as long as I've been alive.

Quote from: ChalkLine
Currently the USA maintains bases in over a hundred countries, stations powerful fleets off the coasts of other nations and vetoes anything that it doesn't particularly like in the UN. The UK and Aus support this wholeheartedly.

All the better to control the world.  I mean, how the hell else are you going to consume 25% of the world's resources if you don't have bases everywhere?

Quote from: ChalkLine
We have to act now to turn this trend around, before we find that we are the pariah states.

As I said before, the US has been a pariah state for a long time.

Quote from: ChalkLine
12 years ago, the Australian foreign policy was dedicated to being 'A Good Global Citizen'. Other nations came to us to arbitrate international conflicts, our peacekeepers were welcomed by both sides and we maintained a regional and friendly relationship with other nations. Inside of a decade, we are now viewed as an extension to US Imperialism. Australia has done nothing to prove the lie to this perception.

I can't speak to Australian foreign policy.  However, if IIRC, Australia is the only country that's backed the US in every war since both were instantiated as Nations. So why did their reputation change? They are seen as an extension of US Imperialism who like to think the US is an Imperialist nation (in other words, those battling against the US for power on the world stage).

Quote from: ChalkLine
We have to stop throwing our weight around. We have to accept in a global democracy we won't always get our way. We have to play fair, and by fair I don't mean 'a level playing field' so beloved by the powerful, but we have to restrain ourselves from victimising nations weaker than us economically, culturally and/or militarily.

When the world becomes a democracy, get back to me.

Quote from: ChalkLine
In Iraq, we have an opportunity to prove we've learned our lesson, and are prepared to change. Instead of foisting our companies on their resources, we should build theirs up. We should go hard and disarm the country - our reason for invading and so much bloodshed - and foster the peaceful groups. We should allow the people there to create their own sort of equality based society. We should suffer the consequences of our stupidity and fix things.

If the US left it to the Iraqi's to rebuild using their own companies, this would be a 100 year project. The Coalition did go hard and disarm. Which peaceful groups. The Coalition, despite stumbling, did provide a path to a freely elected government - does that suffice? I'm so confused I can't even tell what you're advocating as a solution other than platitudes.

Quote from: ChalkLine
Otherwise, we will continue to be reviled as the blundering child-giant that needs coalitions formed against it, that needs terrorists recruited against it, that needs stopping.

The US could pull back every soldier from every base around the world, retreat to it's own borders (if anyone was willing to enforce them), and the world would still see it as a threat. Because with little notice the US can project it power just about anywhere in the world.

Here's a thought.  How about a world-wide US boycott.  I'm serious.  Want to show the US what it really means to have power? Cut off all trade with the US.  Buy nothing from the US, sell nothing to the US. Remove any protective umbrella the US provides for anything. All military goes back to the US proper. Send back all aid the US provides - don't take a penny of that tainted money. In a sense, really tell the US to fuck off. Now that would be interesting to see.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: James J Skach on December 11, 2006, 03:52:53 pm
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
or in a spot where they must remain for national defense reasons.

I only had a chance to quickly peruse the list (they expect me to do some work), but remind me again what national defense reasons all those troops in Germany and Italy are there for? South Korea I can see, but Europe?
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: RPGObjects_chuck on December 11, 2006, 04:35:01 pm
Quote from: James J Skach
I only had a chance to quickly peruse the list (they expect me to do some work), but remind me again what national defense reasons all those troops in Germany and Italy are there for? South Korea I can see, but Europe?


Well I don't think they're there to defend Europe anymore per se. If you look at the list, there are a number of units whose home bases are in Germany currently stationed in Iraq.

My guess is that those units are being rotated in just like troops in America are.

When I mentioned troops that couldn't be moved for national defense reasons the troops I was referring to were those in Korea and the forces in red, which are American national defense forces, stationed in DC, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, California and Hawaii. In fact I'm very surprised that some elements of the 11th Cav in California are listed as being in Iraq. It's very unusual to move these forces. They're where they are for very specific reasons of having a certain force level able to reach any area in the country quickly.

I think these are even listed as BEING deployed despite being stateside, as part of Operation "Noble Eagle", though someone can correct me if I'm wrong here (that would probably have to be YOU T-Will).

But here's the rub: our active army is about 485,000. We currently have committed 369,000 around the world. WAY WAY too high a %. Which is why we've been forced to rely on reserve and national guard forces.

Spike mentions how units were deployed in WWII. Yeah, units can be deployed indefinitely. But it's not pretty. Especially not when fighting an insurgent war that might go for another DECADE.

And of course this brings the issue of our army being a volunteer organization into question.

Anyone think a high percentage of our forces will sign on for a 10 year deployment? With no chance of returning home?

The basic truth of the situation is that our forces are wearing out. They are over deployed. We need a larger force or a small number of international commitments.

Yes our military can be called upon to make WWII level sacrifices as Spike suggests and they will do so if asked because that's the kind of folks they are.

But is this really a national emergency on the scale of WWII? If it is, then we need a draft, a huge influx of men and material to fix vehicles that badly need it.

If it isn't. BRING THEM HOME.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Werekoala on December 11, 2006, 07:44:46 pm
Quote from: ChalkLine
We have to stop throwing our weight around. We have to accept in a global democracy we won't always get our way. We have to play fair, and by fair I don't mean 'a level playing field' so beloved by the powerful, but we have to restrain ourselves from victimising nations weaker than us economically, culturally and/or militarily.

Um, no. We missed our chance at World Hegemony after WWII and I'm eager for us to catch up. We won't, of course, because despite what you think we're FAR too concerned with What People Think of Us to ever get it done. That'll be the NEXT Globe-Spanning empire. Not us, alas.

On a lighter note, you just gave me an idea for a killer slogan for the US Air Force: "We Level the Playing Field" :D
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dominus Nox on December 12, 2006, 12:04:50 am
Quote from: Werekoala
Um, no. We missed our chance at World Hegemony after WWII and I'm eager for us to catch up. We won't, of course, because despite what you think we're FAR too concerned with What People Think of Us to ever get it done. That'll be the NEXT Globe-Spanning empire. Not us, alas.

On a lighter note, you just gave me an idea for a killer slogan for the US Air Force: "We Level the Playing Field" :D

 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Me like.:)

Me steal. :D
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dominus Nox on December 12, 2006, 12:06:19 am
Quote from: James J Skach
Yes, you are changing that..by...posting to a relatively small Role Playing Game forum.

How old are you, really?


Yo fuckwit, I say the same thing in other places, and I have opely said that we have to start blaming voters for electing fuckwits like W for what they do in office. I don't just say it here, dick.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: David R on December 12, 2006, 02:58:58 am
Quote from: Dominus Nox
Yo fuckwit, I say the same thing in other places, and I have opely said that we have to start blaming voters for electing fuckwits like W for what they do in office. I don't just say it here, dick.


No, seriously, how old are you ? I could introduce you to  some really mature teenagers...you may learn something from them.

Edit: Sorry Dom, that was not very productive. I still think you are wrong, but if I wanted to add something meaningful to the discussion at hand, I should...and not take swipes at folks from a distance.

Regards,
David R
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: Dominus Nox on December 12, 2006, 04:50:37 am
Quote from: David R
No, seriously, how old are you ? I could introduce you to  some really mature teenagers...you may learn something from them.

Edit: Sorry Dom, that was not very productive. I still think you are wrong, but if I wanted to add something meaningful to the discussion at hand, I should...and not take swipes at folks from a distance.

Regards,
David R

OK, let's drop it then. Hell, it's that season, the one for goodwill, peace on earth, etc.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: xech on December 17, 2006, 08:53:33 am
I mostly don't agree with the logic that lies behind this forum's discussion. I believe in the current period, USA's army is a professional army, rather a patriotic army. Thus, in the case there had been a draft in the USA -and the war had been lasting so long and doing the way it does, in an analogous manner-, I believe it could have sense for me discussing most of your points in this forum.
 Let's say WWII as an example reference does not have much to do with it. Perhaps, France's war with Algery could have more to do with it.
 Today, I believe the professional army is also a tool to the govermental elite and what is behind it (big capital and business). The extention of how much misuse of this tool can be done is formulated by political means (see terrorism and media).This is the iraqi war IMO.
 For one, to understand the choices behind this war, I believe, he has to have knowledge of businesses of the highest levels- which I doupt anyone of us has at the moment.
Title: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
Post by: JongWK on December 17, 2006, 09:51:25 am
Spambots keep getting weirder and weirder.