The New Iraq, Five Years and Counting: Current Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Mr44, Jan 1, 2007.

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  1. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Perhaps you should watch the interview before formulating an opinion, E_S. The agent interviewed Saddam for months and was able to gain Hussein's personal trust, enabling great insight into the dictator's decision making and thought processes.

  2. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I thought everyone was aware that Saddam knew he couldn't repay his debts, and could easily conquer Kuwait. Hell, even the US State Dept was embroiled in a suggestion that they greenlit the invasion.

    Is the interviewee still a serving FBI officer?

    ES
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I didn't see the entire interview but I think the personal insult account is probably accurate, from Saddam's view at least. While things like the war debt and the lost revenue were the rationale, the insult was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, and is what kicked off the actual hostilities.

    Also, isn't this the same interview that revealed that Saddam never expected the US to invade, and he had purposefully planned on keeping the entire "sanction affair" in limbo for years to come?
  4. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Just finished a really interesting book "The view from the valley of hell" by Mark Willacy, an Australian ABC correspondent who was stationed in the Middle East for four years. He won a Walkley Award for his coverage of the US invasion of Iraq and covered the first elections.

    He tells an interesting story of how hordes of Iraqis flocked to the Ministry responsible for births, deaths and marriages to change their names from Saddam to something else after Saddam's regime fell. Apparantly Saddam gave tax and other rebates to families who named their children Saddam and so Saddam became a popular name. Now, people are ridding themselves of the Saddam monicker in the thousands. Interestingly, he tells of a new fad- naming children 'Bush' or George' although apparently that fad appears to be relatively shortlived as the occupation wears on.



  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Poor Americans... You started a war five years ago, and you're still debating if it was the right thing to do, with the exact same arguments.

    Removing a dictator is good. Still happy you got rid of Milosevich. But the invasion of Iraq was just the wrong place at the wrong time - and it's a capital crime to try and sell it as part of the 'war on terror'.
  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    A side note on Milosevich-apparently he was dug up and staked through the heart after he died. :p


    http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_2229686.html?menu=news.quirkies


    Way to go, forward-thinking Europeans :p
  7. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I was reading the article on Saddam Hussein on Wikipedia the other day, and one thing that struck me was how he drastically improved the standard of living in Iraq when he took power. If the article was accurate and wasn't vandalized, sabotaged or whatever, then maybe Saddam wasn't quite as evil I thought? Not to say that his accomplishments cancel out the crimes he committed, but I'm starting to hold out the possibility that the first Gulf War was maybe an overreaction given what Kuwait was up to at the time. We'd probably still have had to send troops there and even forcefully evict the Iraqi military from Kuwait, but perhaps it could have been a more limited policing action rather than an all-out offensive on the Iraqi infrastructure and military?

    In the end Saddam is still a war criminal, but if he benefited his country at some point and wasn't actively killing his people, then perhaps the use of force to remove him was not quite that necessary? Especially if the alternative was demolishing the infrastructure, leaving people with no power or utilities, and letting them massacre each other in a near-civil war.
  8. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    Gee, ya think?

    I remain faithful to the same opinion I've had for about 15 years on this topic*: the best plan would have been to normalize relations no later than the mid-90s, and begin a process of aggressive economic engagement. Without the ability to use outside enemies as a rallying point and pretext for brutal crackdowns (first, the Iran-Iraq War, followed by the ongoing struggle with America), Saddam Hussein and his corrupt, inept bureaucracy would never have been able to hold power for long after the rise of a prosperous and educated middle class in the 70s, and economic engagement with the rest of the world would have caused the numbers of said middle class to swell.

    Basically, in the early years, the rule of the Ba'ath Party laid the groundwork for social and economic changes that would have ultimately carried Saddam Hussein out of power, and the only reasons he was able to stave off his own obsolescence were war and economic isolation.

    * Damn, I feel old.
  9. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, given that he'd already started one very unpleasant war that resulted in the deaths of a million or so people and ultimately accomplished zilch, I'd say the rough handling regarding Kuwait wasn't uncalled for. When you pick two fights with your immediate neighbors in a neighborhood the rest of the world has a vested interest in staying stable, you're asking for trouble, frankly. :p
  10. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    Oh, for the love of... he'd already started that very unpleasant war because we told him to.
  11. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I don't see how that excuses him from some aspect of responsibility.
  12. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    The same Reagan administration hawks who supported Saddam Hussein in the 80s (and their proteges and such) were the ones citing the same atrocities he committed with their tacit consent in the 80s as reasons to overthrow him in 2003. If they were serious about seeking justice for those responsible, they would have turned themselves in at some point.
  13. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Yeah seriously, Bush's arguments for war had so many holes that I could not believe what I was hearing from him. Why didn't people protest this back in 2003? Why are they complaining now that it's too late to pull out?

    This might just be my personal bias, but couldn't people tell that Bush sounded like he had compiled favorable evidence around a pre-manufactured decision? Any other president would have just given us the cold hard facts (if the intel is wrong then so be it), but Bush constantly tried to use Saddam's evil as a justification for war....and that is highly unethical.
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Diz: I know that. But, it does not remove any responsibility Saddam had for committing those acts; it's the same BS defense the Nazis tried at Nuremburg-"I was just following orders." Saddam Hussein was not a child being told by his parents what to do; he was a national leader-he could have told us to screw off, and did not, and therefore, he's responsible for his own actions every bit as much as his sponsors are. To suggest he's somehow removed from responsibility from starting two seperate wars because the US turned a blind eye to them is ridiculous.

    Alpha-I think the main reason Bush's war here went over so smoothly is that the Dems were scared of his popularity at home, and just went along with it. He had enormous popularity at the time, and the time span from the initial "Iraq is hiding WMDs and so on" announcements to invasion was incredibly short; not much time for anyone to do much of anything. He basically had a free pass from 9/11/01 to mid-2004 basically, and then things started going bad for him; I'd say that started when Rumsfeld made that jackassed announcement about "going to war with the army you have."

    I'll post abit on the weardown of our military later tonight; another soldier needs the KBR-supplied computer. :p


  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    It's not like the Democrats didn't have any valid arguments for opposing the war. They could have played the "moral card" and demanded that Bush work with the United Nations. We've all seen the history books, we've all seen how the League of Nations fell apart because nobody was held accountable to it and the dire consequences of that....the Democrats could have used this to stand up to Bush while minimizing political fallout.

    Anyway, Bush is mouthing off about how he is still "absolutely convinced" that going to war was the correct choice. John Kerry was right, there's a big difference between being absolutely convinced of something and being right, and being absolutely convinced of something and being wrong.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I haven't been able to get the text of Bush's Iraq War 5th Anniversary speech yet, but he seems to have tauted removing Saddam Hussein as the right thing to do.

    I don't blame him for highlighting that. Today, five years, 100k plus civilian deaths, 4000 U.S. military deaths, 2 million refugees, $.5 trillion dollars later, removing Saddam Hussein from power remains the only achievement of the war.
  17. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, as promised, I managed to get another half-hour on our computers. Here goes:

    The US military drawdown in the 1990s was focused on making our forces smaller, faster, and more responsive. It was believed that large forces overseas were a thing of the past(wrong, obviously), while at the same time, counterinsurgencies were thought to be the sort of war we'd be fighting (right.)

    Now, what the planners did not appreciate is that counterinsurgencies are never fast, done-in-a-month wars. That sort of thing happens with actual force-on-force fighting for limited objectives, like a land war with the Russians in Europe, or the Arab-Israeli wars, or the 1991 Gulf War. Counterinsurgencies drag on and on, with little visible progress routine. In other words, our armed forces were going in exactly the wrong direction-we cut units that made power-projection a reality, while safeguarding "teeth" units.

    This was the wrong way to go, in my opinion. It did one thing correct-it kept combat arms (relatively) intact; otherwise, it wound up costing taxpayers ridiculous sums of money, as when we wound up occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, we no longer had enough infrastructure to support a large combat force in place in either country. And I've seen US army combat-support units get replaced by KBR personnel at least once since I've arrived in-country.

    There's some pretty ridiculous spending in this war; Kimball, if you're still looking for a job, you could probably get one manning a desk and making sure nobody cheats at the 30-minute time limit that everyone deals with here. All you'd be required to do is watch a list of names, and you'd make 80 grand a year or so because you have a degree.


    In other words, cutting combat-support units in the 1990s are costing us dearly now.
  18. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Actually, I do blame him for highlighting it, because fighting this war solely for removing Saddam Hussein still isn't worth it. Saddam wasn't Stalin, Saddam wasn't Hitler. Yes he murdered couple thousand people with chemical weapons, but invading Iraq obviously didn't bring them back. If we were doing it for humanitarian reasons....well, Sudan and North Korea top Iraq in that category by far.

    Bush could have said "I take responsibility for what happened," he could have said "the buck stops here". Instead, he keeps trying to export his stupidity to the American people. In truth I think there's plenty of reasons to stay in Iraq, first and foremost to keep the peace and helping them rebuild. But turning it around to say that the war was just from the very beginning for the purposes of political gain is just irresponsible and sickening.
  19. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    I think it's time to either change the "Four" in the thread title to "Five", or maybe start a continuation thread.
  20. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Not a bad idea.

    There have been other achievements in Iraq besides ousting Saddam Hussein. Aside from the cost and the civilian and military deaths, and the ethnic cleansing, the biggest and perhaps most lasting piece of Bush?s legacy in Iraq is the refugee crisis:

    -1/5 of the population have been forced out of their homes.
    -2.5 million people are displaced within Iraq.
    -2.5 million people have left the country.
    -Syria closed its borders to these people in October of last year. The United States has never opened its borders.
    --After Vietnam, the U.S. settled 1.4 million Vietnamese/Cambodian refugees in the U.S.
    --Since the invasion, the U.S. has resettled 3,775 Iraqis in the U.S.
    -Despite the surge, the UN states that Iraq is not secure enough for a mass return.
    -About 50,000 Iraqis returned to Iraq between September 07 and January 08.
    --72% returned only because they had lost residency status in Syria/Jordan or had run out of money to stay abroad.
    -Today, about 700 Iraqis are returning to Iraq every day, but about 1,200 are fleeing every day.

    As much as I want to give the President credit for acknowledging that there is a "debate" over the war, I'd like him to acknowledge why there is a debate, and what the terms of the debate are, and explain in detail why his side of the debate wins out over the other side. He has never done it. Not once.
  21. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Eh, I think I worded my last sentence badly and it's too late to edit. Meant to say: "...turning it around to say that the war was just from the very beginning and doing this for the purposes of political gain..."
  22. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    That was a large part of my opposition at the time of invasion. I felt that between state of the country and threats made, North Korea was, by far, the top of the list.
    Though, the one difference I do see is that Iraq was the only country we had a past with to use as further reasoning as to HOW we could go into the country, not just why.
  23. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Israel would be at the top of my list... Not that that would surprise anyone here.
    But that could have been a very effective campaign in the 'war on terror'.
  24. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    Are you saying we should've invaded Israel instead of Iraq?

    :confused:

    [face_thinking]

    [face_cowboy]

    [face_flag] [face_dancing][face_flag]




    :p
  25. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I watched part 1 of "Bush's War" on Frontline last night. A phenomenal documentary. Part 2's on tonight.

    Last night offered up a concise presentation of Cheney and Rumsfeld and their influence in Bush's cabinet relative to Rice and Powell, how Tony Blair and Colin Powell were outmaneuvered into support of the war, how Tenet blew it, the infighting between the State department and the Pentagon over planning for the post-invasion period in Iraq, Chalabi's sway over the neocons in the White House, etc.

    Great stuff. Maybe no new revelations for those who have followed the war in detail, but definitely a big picture look at the major strategic decisions and tactical process that led to the Iraq war. Tonight will focus on the aftermath of the invasion.

    I liked how the documentary goes out of its way to humanize Dick Cheney and why he was wary of the CIA intelligence on Iraq, why he and Rumsfeld felt it necessary to set up a special outfit in the Pentagon to promote faulty/flimsy intelligence about Iraq over the better intelligence that was coming from the CIA.
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