War in Iraq?, version 4.0 (Official Iraq thread)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ender Sai, Mar 12, 2003.

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  1. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Gonk...
    "It was not a decent life if you were a Kurd"

    Wow, I'm really glad for the Kurds that having to see one's fellow men, women and children gassed using chemical weapons is merely just not a "decent life."

    I'd hate to think they had to live under barbaric conditions under an evil regime which was trying to wipe them off the face of the planet.
  2. obhavekenobi78 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 5
    Actually this is wrong. Iraq as a country was quite prosperous in many areas under Saddam while he was allied with the US in the 80's. It was not a decent life if you were a Kurd, but anyone else was capable of getting a decent education and a middle-class life as long as you had no political aspirations.

    These are not 'poor barbarians' who have known nothing better in the past years. They are people who likely were not greatly enamoured with Hussein, but like the US less.


    When you place text into quotations the insinuation is that you are quoting someone. I never stated that the people of Mosul or Iraq itself were "barbarians" nor did I allude to it.

    The people of Iraq, including the heavy Shiia population were greatly oppressed by Saddam, whether they aspired to take part in politics or not. I would suggest you check out some of the United Nations (UNICEF) information regarding the shift Iraq took as a country under Saddam's rule.

    Obviously, the people in Mosul are upset over the continued US Military presence and to add to the anger and outrage you have Kurdish forces (who claim Mosul as part of their land) sweeping into the city and then a governor who is seen as a Saddam henchman.

    The inference that these people were happy under the violent rule of Saddam is outrageous, but that doesn't mean that the people of Iraq are going to capitulate so easily. In fact, it makes them very leary and cautious as they want to make sure that they are never ruled by someone the likes of Saddam and his regime ever again.
  3. Na Wibo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2000
    star 3
    From a couple days ago ...

    "To assume that the U.S. wants the Iraqi people to form their own government"

    yes, i actually beleive this is the goal of the U.S.


    I find this interesting. If I thought there were a chance that the US would stand by as Iraqis voted in whatever type of government they chose, I would have significantly less of a problem with this invasion. Unfortunately, in my opinion the US has a pretty bad track record at leaving countries alone to govern themselves, when US interests are at stake. There are numerous examples of the US arming military coups and thwarting democratic elections from Chile to (former) Zaire to Indonesia. I consider myself an optimistic person, but I don't see much chance of the US changing its policy in this case.

    I wonder, honestly, whether people who share yodashizzzle's opinion (that the US will not intervene to ensure an Iraqi government it prefers) also believe that the people of Iraq will need no coercion -- that when given a free chance, Iraqis will choose to implement the same policy that the US would like them to. I think there's a chance of this, but there's also a chance that the people would choose to, for instance, put Islamic fundamentalists in charge, or nationalize their oil, or develop biological weapons. Would the US be OK with that?


  4. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Wow, I'm really glad for the Kurds that having to see one's fellow men, women and children gassed using chemical weapons is merely just not a "decent life."

    I'd hate to think they had to live under barbaric conditions under an evil regime which was trying to wipe them off the face of the planet.


    Sorry if I did not dramatize the situation enough for you. However, if Saddam were literally trying to wipe them off the face of the Earth, and this was his sole aim as in the Nazis with the Jews and the Serbs in Bosnia, he was horribly inefficient. There were no death camps. There was no determined slaughter. It was at best itermittent over the years.

    What does this mean? Saddam was not really after 'Ethnic Cleansing' in the maniacal sense of the term. I think that's a term used for convenience in this situation. He was killing Kurds because he viewed them as a threat to his power, and in this case they WERE a threat to his power because they wanted to seperate from Iraq. The distinction is Stalinist, not 'Hitlerian'. He did not seek the Kurds out as a problem, they were a problem to start with. And so he started killing them as his solution to a problem. This is distninct from Hitler, who set out to specifically murder a race of people.

    Which also meant that while Saddam did oppress some he also did things for other people in his country and for his country as a whole. And these are not people in Saddam's 'back pocket' but an entire middle-class. A bona-fide country. Does this mean he was loved? God, no. But it means there were others who were hated more.

    Iraq doesn't judge itself by looking at the US and saying "Look how good they have it there and how bad we have it here". They judge it by "Remember how bad it USED to be here? Well now it's not so bad anymore".

    So if under Saddam Hussein there were working hospitals in Baghdad and a lot more people got to eat than before, the people aren't going to care about the political situation and thier freedom of speech. And they're not going to care about who they view as seperatist troublemaker Kurds. They're going to stick with Saddam. Sure, they have issues and sure they won't like him, but they'll certainly side with him, or at least the Ba'athist party, over an army of foreign invaders.
  5. yodashizzzle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2003
    star 4
    "I wonder, honestly, whether people who share yodashizzzle's opinion (that the US will not intervene to ensure an Iraqi government it prefers) also believe that the people of Iraq will need no coercion -- that when given a free chance, Iraqis will choose to implement the same policy that the US would like them to. I think there's a chance of this, but there's also a chance that the people would choose to, for instance, put Islamic fundamentalists in charge, or nationalize their oil, or develop biological weapons. Would the US be OK with that?"



    actually, i think that some degree of coersion will be something that the U.S. WILL exert. absolutely. however, i think that ULTIMATELY, the United States genuinely (and certainly for the sake of rhetoric coming from Washington RIGHT NOW) wants to legitamately leave the iraqis to run things in a completely autonomous fashion. i totally agree with the questionable track record of America's past experiences in this area, and i'm certainly wary in the case of iraq. but for the sake of trying to hope for a better future, i'd LIKE to think that some genuine autonomy AND cooperativeness will be what sort of government we'll see in iraq in the coming years. maybe that's a naive or unrealistic thing to hope for. the problem may be how much coersion will the iraqi people accept and for how long. and the use of influence has to be done in a tactful and delicate manner. that's going to be hell of a task considering the tenuous nature of the americans staus in iraq.....and it has to be done delicately and openly so as not to seem deceptive to the iraqi people. that may be something that is seemingly contradictory in nature. i don't know, i guess time will tell. but i think just up and walking away right now would be a step in an extremely irresponsible direction. but to answer the questions you asked, no, i don't think the U.S. would be okay with any of those circumstances.

    the one sentence i previously used did not perhaps fully articulate my complete thoughts on this issue.

  6. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    The people of Iraq, including the heavy Shiia population were greatly oppressed by Saddam, whether they aspired to take part in politics or not. I would suggest you check out some of the United Nations (UNICEF) information regarding the shift Iraq took as a country under Saddam's rule.

    If you can show me areas where people were killed if they did not oppose Saddam Hussein at all, then fine. But I doubt it. Saddam was your average dictator. He was no more bloodthirsty or tortuous than the Shah. Which makes him pretty willing to spill blood, but not to the point where he's having death squads kill people for absolutely no reason or eating his own ministers (i.e: Idi Amien). If you have a level of oppression that is accepted by the population, it's pretty hard to turn them around. Look at the Russians and how they look back on Stalin, the one person who has actively killed more people than any other in history, with nostalgia.



    The inference that these people were happy under the violent rule of Saddam is outrageous, but that doesn't mean that the people of Iraq are going to capitulate so easily. In fact, it makes them very leary and cautious as they want to make sure that they are never ruled by someone the likes of Saddam and his regime ever again.

    I'm not saying they were happy, I'm saying there was a balance they accepted. He was a dictator, but he was THIER dictator. So even if you're bringing in 'democracy' it has to be acknowledged that hey, you're not Iraqi and you don't even speak Arabic. Ethnic ties are very strong.
  7. obhavekenobi78 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 5
    Sure, they have issues and sure they won't like him, but they'll certainly side with him, or at least the Ba'athist party, over an army of foreign invaders.


    As evident by the Iraqi men, women, and children tearing down every Saddam effigy that they can get their hands on. Often destroying, spitting, and slamming the idols with the soles of their shoes, a sign unmatched in terms of disrespect in their culture.

    [face_plain]

    I'm not saying they were happy, I'm saying there was a balance they accepted. He was a dictator, but he was THIER dictator. So even if you're bringing in 'democracy' it has to be acknowledged that hey, you're not Iraqi and you don't even speak Arabic. Ethnic ties are very strong.


    You are terribly misinformed regarding the level of hatred the people of Iraq hold for Saddam Hussein. These people are still digging up bodies and searching for loved ones, many of them children, who have been left to rot in prisons and torture chambers.
  8. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Na Wibo

    "I wonder, honestly, whether people who share yodashizzzle's opinion (that the US will not intervene to ensure an Iraqi government it prefers) also believe that the people of Iraq will need no coercion -- that when given a free chance, Iraqis will choose to implement the same policy that the US would like them to."

    You're missing something very important. DEMOCRATIC Iraq.

    The end result must be a democratic form of government.



    NaWibo

    "I think there's a chance of this, but there's also a chance that the people would choose to, for instance, put Islamic fundamentalists in charge, or nationalize their oil, or develop biological weapons. Would the US be OK with that?"

    No. Again, you miss the point that the end result will NOT be fundamentalist, which is anti-democratic.

    The result will include a country that freely and openly elects their leaders, and checks on political power.

    Both the means and the end will be democratic.

  9. yodashizzzle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2003
    star 4
    yup, shoe-slapping and beard tugging are pretty strong expressive statements in the arab world.

    obehavekenobi78-

    re: bob ross....there are no mistakes in painting, only happy accidents.


    yours is by far the funniest bio i've seen yet. ..... meat helmets... [face_laugh] nicely done, doctor.
  10. Na Wibo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2000
    star 3
    yodashizzzle, thanks for the response. I understand the idea of trying to achieve a balance of an autonomous and cooperative Iraq. I think that's where the so-called "battle for hearts and minds" comes in, aka propaganda (in the neutral sense), or as you put it, tactful and delicate influence. I suppose it's a matter of perspective whether that is really democracy or not.

    ShaneP, my understanding of democracy is one in which people freely choose their government (or lack thereof). So if they freely choose to create some kind of constitutional republic with open elections, and then vote in some fundamentalist leaders who nationalize the oil (for example), it's still a democratic process, even if the specific policies are not what the US would prefer. Sorry if that was confusing before.
  11. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Na Wibo...
    "...or develop biological weapons..."

    Well, there's the slight problem here for both the U.S. and Iraq. Iraq has already agreed not to develop biological weapons.

    The world community has already agreed that Iraq cannot develop biological weapons.

    Therefore, regardless of what position the U.S. has on the matter, it is ethically bound to some degree to support the UNSC resolutions barring Iraq from developing biological weapons.

    Presumably, the UN resolutions would have to be revoked or otherwise terminated before anyone in the UN can support Iraq's development of such weapons.

    Mind you, a democratic government of Iraq can "illegally" choose to develop such weapons, but there are ramifications for doing so from the world community at large.
  12. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Na Wibo, I understand what you're saying. My point is that electing a fundamentalist leader would, by definition of their beliefs, spell the end of further democracy.

    The U.S. will support an Iraqi gov't as long as it remains a democratic one.

    We didn't go in to just take away Saddam, but to change the way a nation operates now and in the future.

    Democracy isn't just about elections and voting, but also about institutions that disperse power throughout a gov't.

    Despotism is the exact opposite.
  13. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    As evident by the Iraqi men, women, and children tearing down every Saddam effigy that they can get their hands on. Often destroying, spitting, and slamming the idols with the soles of their shoes, a sign unmatched in terms of disrespect in their culture.

    You are terribly misinformed regarding the level of hatred the people of Iraq hold for Saddam Hussein. These people are still digging up bodies and searching for loved ones, many of them children, who have been left to rot in prisons and torture chambers.



    No, no, no... I'm not saying they loved Saddam. They were definately oppressed. What I'm saying is that, outside of the Kurds, on the whole, they may have actually preferred him to the actions of the United States. You better believe if the armies of Jordan had come bashing through Bagdhad, there would have been some of those thousands and thousands cheering in the streets. But the US? Many of them just find it humiliating.

    Sure, you can say Saddam was killing them and the US is not. But do they know that? Heck, given what's happened in some places in the past, we don't even know that for certain, because for all we know there IS this secret agenda to just seize Iraq's oil. More importantly, will the Iraqi people let up the pressure for enough time for the US to convince them otherwise if it really is about thier liberation?
  14. yodashizzzle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2003
    star 4
    "Sure, you can say Saddam was killing them and the US is not. But do they know that?"[i/]


    i hope so, because there is considerable effort being put forth to tell the iraqis about what to expect. there were leaflets dropped before the bombing began that told the iraqi military and civilian populaces to expect certain things. and there are leaflets being dropped by helicopter NOW in bagdad to keep the iraqis in the know about some procedural matters. as tense as the situation is, the U.S. has to be very careful to be as good as their word. word of mouth is also a key factor in iraq. the sense of mistrust might best be combated with some examples of the U.S.A.'s following through on certain issues.

    how the U.S. might achieve a widespread sense of trust in the iraqi people in order to stabilize and solidify the new government:

    1. inform the iraqi public of the policies to be implemented (on issues like curfews, protocol on how to approach a checkpoint, etc.).
    2. show an impartiality to any particular group or faction.
    3. show a reluctance in the use of deadly force. and finally,
    4. continue making additional efforts as needed to build up a sense of trust on a widereaching and broad basis.
  15. Na Wibo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2000
    star 3
    ShaneP, I get your point about fundamentalism. To take a different example, what if a democratic Iraqi government decided to nationalize the oil industry? Or to grant autonomy to the Kurdish region in some sort of loose federation? These could be done without falling into despotism, and without violating international law, but would be against US desires for the region. Would the US response be to hold Iraq up as an example to the non-democratic Arab states? That's what I'm wondering.
  16. yodashizzzle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2003
    star 4
    na wibo-

    well, if the U.S. does end up putting a puppet government in place to kow-tow ONLY to those interests of the west, i'd say that nature will have a way of creating or perhaps i should say "ADDING TO", the sense of mistrust and anger at the U.S. that some iraqi citizens may already have now. ultimately, the choices made in iraq NEED to be made by iraqis, not americans. and i think that it's a possibility that the "powers that be" in the U.S. will use many different avenues to see that this goal (the most important of all the goals, IMO) is met. again, america DOES have a history that tries to take advantage of situations and we have a sort of "fair weather fan" approach to some international matters, so your concerns are reasonable, na wibo.
  17. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Na Wibo, I understand what you're saying. My point is that electing a fundamentalist leader would, by definition of their beliefs, spell the end of further democracy.

    The U.S. will support an Iraqi gov't as long as it remains a democratic one.

    We didn't go in to just take away Saddam, but to change the way a nation operates now and in the future.

    Democracy isn't just about elections and voting, but also about institutions that disperse power throughout a gov't.


    This depends. Iran has a fundamentalist government and has been a funtional democracy since the death of Khomeni (?SP?)

    If this is the will of the majority of the Iraqi people, to emulate Iran, is the US to stand in thier way?
  18. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Na Wibo, Germany disagreed with us on Iraq and we didn't invade them.

    The point is that, IMO, the U.S. will support Iraq so long as those descisions it makes are made democratically.

    How many democratic nations around the world actually are enemies?

    Very few.

    Democracy tends to diffuse tension and power among rival democracies.

    Dictatorships and democracies have difficulty because a dictatorship focuses power and might into one man's hand and can be dangerous.

    Democracies are inefficient, clunky, clumsy, and slow, but they can prevent tyranny.

    If Iraq decides to nationalize, as in take the oil for themselves, I will guarantee the nations in the nearby region will dislike it much more than we.

    We're already procuring alternatives to mid-east oil.

    It's not the oil, it's the danger posed by fundamentalism combined with WMDs, despots, and terrorism that's the concern.

    Most of the oil used here, in the U.S. rockies(Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado) come from those states and processed locally.

    The idea mid-east oil is used everywhere and by everybody in the U.S. in incorrect.
  19. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Iraq, as a unified nation(no major ethnic clashes), has the potential to become a major power in the region, possibly in all of Eurasia. Of course, Western nations will never allow that. The Iraqi people probably will have the freedom that Westerners enjoy, but Iraq will not have the freedom that Western nations enjoy.
  20. yodashizzzle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2003
    star 4
    i'm wondering......how can you have a people who qualify as free, yet a nation that as a whole which does not? if the people are truly free, isn't there an inseparability with the NATION being free?
  21. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    i'm wondering......how can you have a people who qualify as free, yet a nation that as a whole which does not?

    Well, people can have the freedom of speech, press, religion, etc., but the government would not have the freedom to do what some other nations can do(i.e. Western nations). Also, the governement wouldn't have the freedom of millitary operations that other nations enjoy, no matter how trustworthy they may be. I really don't like it.
  22. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Gonk,

    Iran is not a democracy, but a THEOcracy.

    Iran is moving closer to democracy every day.

    Even Khatami has expressed a desire for dialogue with the U.S.

    The only thing holding them back, IMO, is the control of military and police organizations by the mullahs(clerics).


    EDIT:

    Back on Iraq: Na Wibo, you asked something earlier about the democratic Iraq granting autonomy to the Kurds or a loose federation.

    I'm not even sure if they'll even be able to form a federal republic.

    It might have to be a confederation. You would have social and cultural autonomy for the kurds, shiia, and sunni, respectively, then have a national gov't for foreign policy and a national army.

    They might even have regional parliaments for each cultural majority.

    A confederation may be "as good as it gets" for democracy there.

    The good thing about a confederation is the de-centralization of power that would prevent a powerful group from seizing power, as Saddam and the Baathists did via coup in the late '60's.

    The bad thing is a confederation could lead to "island states" existing and alienation amongst minorities in each state.
  23. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Going back to sacking of the Iraqi National Museum, here is condemnation of US failings by a supporter of the war.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2003/04/17/do1702.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/04/17/ixportal.html

    Suppose the government of your country had just sustained a cataclysmic reverse. It might have been an evil government, but it was yours. Suppose that your army had just been cut to ribbons by a force so overwhelmingly superior that comparisons had been drawn with the massacres of the Zulus, or the Aztecs. You might think that your country's army had been fighting for a bad man. But it was your army.

    Suppose you were asked to agree with the victors that the past 25 years of your nation's history had been an appalling aberration. You might be among the huge numbers of Iraqis who rejoice to see the downfall of Saddam. But it is your country's history that is being anathematised. You would be only human if, at the same time, you yearned for something you could cling to; some symbol of an Iraq that predated Saddam.

    You would want some evidence that there was still something about you and your country that was great, and admirable, and unique. And then imagine that, under the eyes of the incoming army, the most splendid treasures of your national museum were carted off. Not the usual melange: the Impressionist donated by a supermarket tycoon's wife; the ho-hum sculpture by Degas.

    No, imagine that your country has suddenly been pillaged of its most emblematic works, the equivalent of the Crown Jewels, things that were meant eternally to incarnate the culture of your land.

    Think how you would feel if you knew that, even now, these things were being secretly crated up, given false bills of sale and deprived of their museum code numbers. How would it strike you, when you reflect that these things are about to be flogged to the tiny minority who can afford to buy them, principally in the conquering country?

    I supported this war, and I support it. But it fills me with rage to think that at least some of the spoils of Iraq's National Museum will, in all likelihood, end up as the bibelots in the brownstone of some banker in New York.

    No one knows what has happened to the limestone Warqa Vase of 3,500 bc, or the bull's head harp of Ur, or the squatting Akkadian king of 2,300 bc.

    According to Irving Finkle, of the Ancient Near East department of the British Museum, at least four of the looted objects were so vast - such as a larger-than-life sculpture of an Assyrian king - that it would have taken a fork-lift truck to move them.

    As Dr Finkle points out, all it required was a couple of determined American troops to stand outside, with or without a tank. Now 170,000 items are missing, and all because America was unwilling to expend the necessary resources. Why? If you launched a military operation against Athens, wouldn't you take steps to prevent the destruction of the Parthenon?

    In this week's Spectator, Rod Liddle talks to an archaeologist who attended a meeting on January 24 at the US Defence Department, of a newly formed group called the American Council for Cultural Policy. The chairman, William Pearlstein, represents about 60 leading American lawyers and collectors. According to Pearlstein, Iraq's policy towards cultural artefacts has been excessively "retentionist". The group apparently told American defence chiefs that, under the new regime, it would like "more objects to be certified for export". Well, whatever you say about the post-war Iraqi order, its policy towards historic artefacts is about as retentionist as a burst paper bag.

    If I were an Iraqi, joyful at the removal of Saddam, but struggling to come to terms with the crushing of my country by America, I would want to know how this has happened. I would be instinctively "retentionist", because in a dirt-poor country, fallen on very hard times, these objects remind me that Mesopotamia, not America, was once the greatest country on Earth.

    In fact, it was a mere 4,000 years ago
  24. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    The looting of the museum was a major screw-up by the military no doubt from me about that.

    Why after all the notification from scholars here and abroad about the importance of the museum it was still looted?

    I have no idea. Bad deal all around.

    We've apparently put the FBI on the case to attempt to track the items on the black market.

    Interpol is on the job too.
  25. yodashizzzle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2003
    star 4
    well, if by nations not having the "freedom to do what the west can," i'm assuming that you mean in terms of wielding power and influence and in terms of military might. well........what do you want me to say? that the U.S. should apologize for being the wealthiest nation on the planet? that the U.S. should sit on it's hands and that an equalibrium and peaceful state will just "happen?" are you suggesting that it's somehow fundamentally unfair that the U.S. can undertake complicated military action on its own as it sees fit? see, the question for me is not who should be the most free or powerful nation, but rather if that power and freedom are exercised in a way that is responsible and positive. i don't happen to subscribe to a pacifist view of the world, nor do i feel that "might" arbitrarily "makes right." but if belgium (to just pick a name out of the hat) were the most powerful nation on the earth, then i guess it'd be their call to exercise their power in whatever way THEY saw fit. as it is, belgium is not the most powerful nation. the united states is. and while there will certainly be some criticism for the wielding of that power, to use a nation's powers doesn't automatically equate with that nation being evil or a thinly veiled imperialist conqueror.


    and it's true that iraq's military will have a limited military capacity. but so did japan and germany after WWII. but because they agreed to not pursue the objective of military might and imperialism after they surrendered and because they were cooperative with the united states, they were perceived as our allies. in a parallel with the Godfather movies, if you make an ally of the U.S., and japan were to make enemies after the war, then they would become the united state's enemies.......(quoting vito corleone) " and then your enemies will fear you," thus giving japan some sense of safety. i'm sure that the impotence felt by japan and germany has taken many years to overcome, but if some stability can be achieved and some growth through hard work can occur, iraq can certainly have as bright a future as japan and germany.
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