Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Surge is Working

It must be time to abandon my “cut and run” “defeatist” attitude on Iraq and jump on the winning bandwagon.

I got better things to write about than this, but this is the world that Bush created. The earth was a festering scab on the ass of the universe before Bush got a hold of it. We have to deal with the reality on the ground though - "the surge is working" - so we write about Iraq.

I am soooo tired of the prepackaged poison that the news media feeds to the American people. The news is like our food - over processed, over refined, synthetic, artificial, colored, and modified - with no nutritive value.

American deaths are down in Iraq. Iraqi deaths are down.

Bush said:

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have stepped forward to join Concerned Local Citizens groups that are fighting al-Qaida and other extremists.
See: US Troop ‘Surge’ in Iraq One Year Old What a spectacular crock. The Maddi Army is a "concerned local citizen group." The wolf said to little red riding hood "The better to eat you with my dear." These 'concerned local citizens are more than happy to take our arms and training to use against us in the on coming civil war. We just keep creating one monster after the next. "When Will We Ever Learn?"

The death toll is down in Iraq because Iraqi "concerned local citizen" "death squads" have partitioned the country. They have ran out of people to kill. This policy of partitioning Iraq has been advocated for by DEMOCRAT Joe Biden for a long time. The Iraqis have accomplished it on their own - without any help from us and Bush and the Repubs want to take the credit. The death toll would have dropped in Iraq anyhow, and sooner without our interference, but Bush wants to attribute it to his brilliant, courageous, and steadfast leadership.

We want political progress in Iraq and we need for them to pass an oil sharing agreement. What a crock. "Oil sharing" does not mean sharing oil with each other. It means sharing it with Bush's friends Exxon, et al. See:

A new oil law set to go before the Iraqi Parliament this month would, if passed, go a long way toward helping the oil companies achieve their goal. The Iraq hydrocarbon law would take the majority of Iraq’s oil out of the exclusive hands of the Iraqi government and open it to international oil companies for a generation or more.
That is the political progress that Bush wants. He is drillin man - he likes to drill deep...
Vaseline is a petroleum product.

Bush declared "mission accomplished" - but he did not withdraw the troops. If the mission was accomplished, why did he leave the troops there??? Saddam - maybe??? Saddam captured and murdered by an American sanctioned kangaroo court??? Troops stayed. Iraqi elections??? Troops stayed. Iraqi Constitution??? Troops stayed. If the surge were a success - then Iraq has been pacified and the troops can come home. But Bush says fifty more years... And as Jon Rice points out; McCain says: "Heck, Make It An Even Hundred" Does that sound like success to you?

We just need to learn to understand Republican language.

I may have to add success to Ray's Brief Dictionary of Political Buzz Words and Phrases. Republican success means: 275 million dollars per day times 50 years = 5,018,750 million dollars + 12 leap days. For the math illiterate: that is 5 trillion and pocket change. That is what Republicans call success. That is what Republicans call fiscal responsibility. It is fiscally responsible for Dick Cheney's Haliburton - because that is where the money is going. The surge is working - for Haliburton.

The Republicans correctly pointed out that John Kerry was wrong when he suggested that Iraq would cost 200 billion dollars. John Kerry was wrong, (by a factor of 25). The Republicans were and are bald faced liars.

Pulling our troops out of Iraq will open the Pandora's Box that Bush has created. The ensuing civil war in Iraq will be a regional proxy war involving Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. It is a no win situation. We are defeated. Staying in Iraq will provide a smoke screen disguise for defeat, but it will not defeat defeat.

There is an excellent line in the movie Syriana that eloquently sums up the problem. I paraphrase here: An Islamic Mullah is talking to future terrorists... He says that when a country with 5 percent of the world's population spends more than all of the rest of the world combined on weapons - that country has lost all its influence in the world.

In other words, such a country is no longer "a shining city upon a hill." It is no longer a country that the rest of the world admires and wants to be like. It is no longer a country that the rest of the world wants to follow. Such a country has come to be seen as a dangerous cowardly, imperial power whose only influence is the ability to bully the rest of the world at the point of a gun. For such a country the gun has become both the symbol and reality of its false power. Its real power of spiritual, ethical, economic, political, and moral leadership has been thrown away by the corrupt chicken hawk Bush Regime in their sissified, cowardly penis envy worship of the phallic gun.

The United States of America will fall from within - not from without. Spending 5 trillion dollars on a lost war just to protect a failed Emperor's legacy is how that fall will occur.

Much cheaper and more fiscally responsible just to build him a nice pyramid and it would be a great tourist trap for millennia to come. We could build the creep a pretty nice crypt for a couple trillion.

See: The War in Iraq Costs

Posted by Ray Guest at January 10, 2008 2:55 PM
Comments
Comment #242812

Ray - couldn’t agree more. When you break down the 2008 cost of the ‘war’ to a local level it becomes even more astonishing. My local town has around 70,000 people, and our contribution to Bush’s catastrophe is over $46 million. Our local expenditure on all services, schools, healthcare, employees - basically, every necessary item to keep our town running - comes to $180 million. Imagine if that $46 million could be reinvested in our community, rather than in Dick Cheney’s retirement fund! That’s healthcare for every child in our town, universal preschool, road repairs, libraries, schools, disaster preparation - and we’d still have enough left over for Taco Bell.

Why aren’t we angrier about this!?

Posted by: Jon Rice at January 11, 2008 3:17 PM
Comment #242813

If you redefine the problem you can still write about how it is a problem. I like that, must work better for you than me though.

Deaths down is a good thing, and the trend is a good thing.

http://icasualties.org/oif/default.aspx

Are these number now being manipulated? But were true before. The link above was one I read/was provided here. And it was during one of many blogs about how bad the death toll was, and how it was rising.

And to your point of cost, I don’t like it either, not the war particularly either. However, the trends are heading towards us reducing troops and reducing costs and savings lives. That seemed to be what we wanted one year ago on these posts.

We know that the Surge is working because anything else but the war on Iraq has been a topic during the Primaries. If there were one shred of a decent story about the cost of the war and any failures it would be used in the Primaries. IMO. The war is so far off the media agenda it is amazing.

You know what would make a great media story about the war? That McCain did not think we had enough troops and he was right. That the Republicans supported funding the war and it has paid off. And that the Democrats consistently insisteted on a change of direction, which they got. Sounds like bipartisanship to me.

I wonder how hard it was to redirect campaign strategies as the Presidential candidates geared up for the primaries when the war seemed the clear focal point? I wonder why the “we need to talk with them” diplomacy that was the norm before the surge is almost non-existent?

Posted by: Honest at January 11, 2008 3:19 PM
Comment #242817

The reason the national media isn’t talking about Iraq is because they don’t want us thinking about Iraq. If a woman kills her husband in Atlanta it’s national news, but if nine americans die in northern Iraq it’s not worth reporting.
I remember before we invaded, i watched migs flying though the air on Fox news. They were supposed to be Sodom’s migs. Come to find out they were all destroyed in 1991. It’s all a matter how the media wants us to act.
P. S. The FCC just passed new rules, now an even smaller number of corporations can own all the media. Thank You George

Posted by: Mike the cynic at January 11, 2008 4:06 PM
Comment #242820

For the surge to work, it has to accomplish its strategic goal: political reconciliation among factions.

So far, this has not happened.

A lower level of violence, if true, is a good thing. Sadly, it is lower because the US has decided “insurgents” and “terrorists” are now “Concerned Citizens” and members of “Awakening Councils.” Instead of fighting them, we arm them, and leave them to take care of their ethnically cleansed neighborhoods.

“When they stand up then we’ll stand down.” Remember that line? Today, we simly incorporate Shia militias- once known as “Death Squads”- into the Iraqi military.

Any Iraqi not on board is now called “Al Qaida in Iraq.”

It’s all crap, a waste of time and money and lives. The majority of Iraqis want the US out of their country. Unless we can bribe the right people, their legislature will not sign over their oil to Exxon, Chevron, & BP.

Meanwhile, we pretend we are needed over there… by… someone. Certainly not Iraqis.

Posted by: phx8 at January 11, 2008 4:39 PM
Comment #242828

The Iraq “war” continues to be a quagmire, and as disputed and contended as ever. I can’t help but think that it has been all of the candidates’ handlers that have certainly helped to keep it out of the program. The media has done nothing to attempt redirecting the focus back on it either. The networks are seemingly calling the shots on how the “debates” are being conducted and what the contents and themes are to be.
I guess it would be up to us to remember the biggest and darkest shadow hanging over our heads and demand that there be a re-focus. However, I also don’t see that happening in time to make decisions or changes.

Posted by: Jane Doe at January 11, 2008 6:06 PM
Comment #242830

So sad…no one wants to talk about war except the liberal bloggers. This is very similar to the non-talk about man-made global warming that was all the rage a few months ago. Hey everybody, it snowed for the first time in human memory in Baghdad. How about that…sure wish big Al would make a comment on that.

Posted by: Jim at January 11, 2008 7:20 PM
Comment #242833

Jim,

Thanks for comment. Since big Al probably is not glued to this commentary thread and even though it has nothing to do with this discussion, I will respond on big Al’s behalf… Not the first time in human memory… Jesus did walk on the water…

By now, every educated science literate third grader knows that global warming creates climatic instability. Everything becomes more extreme - hot / cold - rain / snow - drought / flood - because the climate is “more stirred up” with the added energy in it. Thank You.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 11, 2008 8:00 PM
Comment #242834
By now, every educated science literate third grader knows that global warming creates climatic instability. Everything becomes more extreme - hot / cold - rain / snow - drought / flood - because the climate is “more stirred up” with the added energy in it. Thank You.

Yes, and this has been going on for billions of years with and without human interference. The Globe was warmer during the peak of the Roman Empire than it is now. Wine grapes were once grown in Scotland, and Greenland was once actually Green.

Posted by: Duane-o at January 11, 2008 9:35 PM
Comment #242836
By now, every educated science literate third grader knows that global warming creates climatic instability. Everything becomes more extreme - hot / cold - rain / snow - drought / flood - because the climate is “more stirred up” with the added energy in it. Thank You.

This argument was invented so we can say “It’s raining in Death Valley?—Global warming. It’s not raining in Seattle?—Global warming. It’s snowing in Baghdad?—Global warming. It’s freezing in Florida?—Global warming. Hurricane?—Global warming. Drought?—Global warming. Flood?—Global warming. Ice melting?—Global warming. Ice thickening?—Global warming. Ocean levels rising?—Global warming. Ocean levels dropping?—Global warming. Polar bears going extinct?—Global warming. Polar bears getting too numerous?—Global warming.” You see, Al Gore will always be right.

Posted by: Duane-o at January 11, 2008 9:44 PM
Comment #242838

I only notice the deaths in Iraq as George Stephanopoulos recounts them on Sunday. I do not want to hear any more about this idiotic war. I gave up last year after a local kid was killed there and OK, he was an idiot who joined up hoping to go to work for Blackwater after his enlistment was up, but he was 20 years old and now he is dead. For What?

Others have been maimed as featured in that Alive Day documentary with Gandolfini. Tammy Duckworth ran for Congress here, and the other party made it their priority to defeat her with their usual tactics, because who wants veterans in Congress when you are having a war.

Some Rpblcns like Huckabee want to change the tax structure to reduce the federal government to the level of a state government. So if they get their way, the military budget of the US should be a little bit more than that of California. Add a balanced budget amendment, and War Is Over. Yes, I am being sarcastic there.

Ray Guest, the way the wind patterns are changing is the most disturbing aspect of global warming here. One storm late last summer blew all the apples off the trees. We just had tornadoes in January, and the last few weeks have been alternating between winter and spring

Historical Accuracy Alert:
No there were not wine grapes as far north as Scotland, although southern Britain had a very advanced agricultural system before the Romans got there. Greenland got its name as a real estate promotion trying to get people to go there. Ultima Thule or F-ing cold ass iceberg did not sound as good. They went there to fish, but the skraelings chased them away.

Some people that post here like to use Penn and Teller or Trey Parker and Matt Stone as sources on envirnomental issues. Listen to the Sierra Club and the Rocky Mountain Istitute instead, because they are not telling jokes.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 11, 2008 11:42 PM
Comment #242840

By now, every educated science literate third grader knows that global warming creates climatic instability. Everything becomes more extreme - hot / cold - rain / snow - drought / flood - because the climate is “more stirred up” with the added energy in it. Thank You.
Posted by: Ray Guest


C’mon, Jim, every thinking intelligent person knows by now that Global Warming causes Global Freezing! Where have you been?

JD

Posted by: JD at January 11, 2008 11:55 PM
Comment #242841

BTW, I just saw that last year was the 10th hottest year in recorded history (about 100 years or so?).

Sooo, 9 years were warmer? That mans it’s colder than it was last year? Wasn’t last year the 3rd warmest on record?

Just curious…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 12, 2008 12:08 AM
Comment #242846


According to Faux News, we have a lot more to worry about this week than global warming. We almost had a second Pearl Harbor perpetrated by a handful of dastardly Iranians in three bass boats.

The day that the Iraqi Parliment signs the oil over to ExxonMobil is the day that the Iraqi Parliment commits suicide and they know it. It is not going to happen. Therefor, it is time to set a date for withdraw.

The American people have learned a valuable lesson the hard way. If you put oil men in the Whitehouse, they are going to go after the oil.

Posted by: jlw at January 12, 2008 12:30 AM
Comment #242850

Yes, jlw, there is a valuable lesson to be learned. But most Americans I don’t think have learned it yet.

Posted by: Ray at January 12, 2008 5:19 AM
Comment #242854

jlw,

I never want to go bass fishing with you.;)

Posted by: googlumpugus at January 12, 2008 6:15 AM
Comment #242856

Bass boats. I am headed for Dearborn Michigan. We got lots of people down there that speak with that accent. The Iranians probably did engage in a provocation. Rouge elements in Iran, knowing that they have us on the ropes, probably want to draw us in and finish us off.

But with the Bush Regime wanting war with Iran, can we even be sure that the incident happened - given their track record of lies? Would the Iranians even know that it did not happen, or would they even be persuaded that they had rouge elements trying to provoke a war?

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 12, 2008 7:43 AM
Comment #242857

PLEASE, PLEASE let us elect a democratic to office in 2008 or I fear our country will be in the toilet. Americans in general seem unwilling or are too stupid to bother to educate themselves on the issues. We seem incapable of understanding the massive financial drain this war is placing on our country. We can fix nothing until we get out of Iraq. Iraq is coloring and impacting everything. It doesn’t matter whether the surge is working or not we can’t afford to maintain this war. In another few years we may be reading “how the mighty have fallen”. I personally think we are on the brink of diaster and in the not so distant future other countries (like maybe china) will be the guiding forces around the world and we will be a footnote.

Posted by: Carolina at January 12, 2008 8:39 AM
Comment #242859

Jim,

Thanks for comment. Since big Al probably is not glued to this commentary thread and even though it has nothing to do with this discussion, I will respond on big Al’s behalf… Not the first time in human memory… Jesus did walk on the water… Posted by: Ray Guest at January 11, 2008 08:00 PM

Ray, Which human from the time of Jesus is alive today? I could have done without the cutesy slam at Jesus.

Posted by: jim at January 12, 2008 10:14 AM
Comment #242860

ohrealy,
Looks like you could use an “accuracy alert” yourself. Quoting from the link above-

“Cores taken from the ocean bottom west of Iceland show evidence that the ocean conditions between the 8th and 12th centuries were relatively calm and that little sea ice was present to hinder navigation. The build-up of sea ice beginning in the 13th century correspond with evidence from ice cores whose layers of annual snowfall show isotopic evidence that the 14th century had the coldest climate known in Greenland during the past 700 years. Such conditions would have severely strained the farming resources of the Western Settlement and could well have caused its collapse.”

This evidence, by the way, tracks well with the course of the dominance of Nordic culture generally, and that people’s conquest of modern France, England, Russia, etc…

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 12, 2008 10:17 AM
Comment #242861

Ray Guest,
Pardon me if I have a little fun at your expense, but I had to laugh at the “rouge” elements in Iran. Could those be manned by the sort of guys Ahmedinejad says don’t exist in his country? No wonder they don’t know anything about it!

As to bass boats, Louisiana, the state in which I was born, is full of bass boats. Louisiana has a capital which I will now take to be “Baton Rogue” (Bad/Wild Stick). Undoubtedly this name was Theodore Roosevelt’s inspiration for his policy on the Western Hemisphere (“speak softly and carry…”)

It would be well to note that, in spite of the experience of the USS Cole being bombed in a Yemeni port by a rubber dinghy with the loss of sixteen sailors, the Navy spoke softly and didn’t swing its “baton rogue” when provoked by the “rouge” elements.

Bush hatred and humor aside, that does not speak badly for the U.S.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 12, 2008 10:46 AM
Comment #242866

Lee, hopefully someone responds to your misspelling with such “humor” and you can get such a kick out of it.
Thanks for the chuckle…..NOT

Posted by: Jane Doe at January 12, 2008 2:09 PM
Comment #242868

The latest and most accurately substantiated estimate to date now puts Iraqi deaths as a result of our invasion at 150,000. Killed by violent acts at the hands of Americans, Sunni Iraqis, Shiite Iraqis and Iraqi government police and military.

In addition, 1/3 of all American dollars sent to Iraq have been stolen or misappropriated from their intended use. That amounts to a minimum of over 220 BILLION American tax payer dollars stolen or lost to counter-productive purposes in Iraq. Some estimate the figure to be closer to 300+ billion or about 1/3 trillion dollars.

But don’t worry, its not coming out of your paycheck. It was deferred onto the national debt so that your children will pay it, not you. Pretty damn considerate of Bush and Congress, don’t you think?

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 12, 2008 2:28 PM
Comment #242869

Lee Jamison: I think we can all assume that the Navy has learned it’s lesson about the possible hazards associated with rubber dinghys and small boats in that region. I also think it is quite safe to assume that the commander of the American vessels did not in any way consider the actions of those boats a threat. Yet, in typical Murdockian fashion, Fox News, which takes it’s cues from Cheney/Bush, decided to portray the incident as a grave threat to the American Navy.

According to the Navy Times, the event was probably staged by a person or persons well known as the “Filipino Monkey.” “For 25 years, there’s been this mythical guy out there who listens in on ship-to-ship and then jumps on the net shouting threats, obscenities, and insults.” The Navy has said that the voice on the tapes did not originate on the boats because there is no background noise.

Many people are assuming that because of the NIE on Iran, attack or invasion of that country is off the table, at least for now. Many people also assume that because the Democrats in Congress have said that Bush cannot attack Iran without the approval of Congress, the President cannot do so. The assumers are wrong on both accounts.

Everyone, including those who try to deny it or those who lie about it, knows that the Invasion of Iraq was about Oil and Empire. Everyone should know by now that a world dominating empire cannot be achieved by military force alone. Military might must be combined with intimidation and outright blackmail if neocon aspirations for a Pax Americana are going to be achieved. Everything is dependent on control of the oil. First, Iraqi oil, then Iranian, Caspian Sea, and Russian oil.

Neocon aspirations are becoming increasingly unachievable because the window of opportunity is being slammed shut by the world wide liberal conspiracy known as “Global Warming.” However, IMO, the neocons still remain a viable threat to America and the world, especially if the next president adheres to their philosophy.

Posted by: jlw at January 12, 2008 2:50 PM
Comment #242872

Duane-o,

I will not respond to your comments about global warming because this discussion is about Iraq. Your opinions don’t hold water, IMO. I will try to write an article on the subject sometime so that we can have that argument.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 12, 2008 6:30 PM
Comment #242873

jim,

As an atheist myself, I tend to believe that there is a non-magical explanation for Jesus walking on water. I don’t remember all the details now, but there is scientific evidence that Mideast did indeed experience freezing temperatures at the time of Jesus. That was my point, but I would like to keep this discussion somewhat focused on Iraq.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 12, 2008 6:42 PM
Comment #242874

Ray,

While it appears that Petraeus has pulled a rabbit out of his hat I share your concern. Just a brief list:

(1)Even McCain said nearly a year ago that he’d prefer an even larger troop presence than dictated by the “surge”, but we were “all in”! All estimates said that our military was stretched to the limit. I should add that this “surge” was only possible due to increasing the length of tour’s of duty for our brave and exemplary volunteers. Just yesterday Bush said (in common cud-chewing lingo) that ‘Petraeus could back ‘er off’ if he wanted to”.

Wow, Sec-of-Def Gates is having to CONSIDER whether or not to send 3,000 more Marines to Afghanistan, but the POTUS is writing blank checks for Iraq. WTF!

(2)Gee whiz, hasn’t media reporting from Iraq dropped off dramatically? OK, I know the right will say it’s because the media is overwhelmed by liberals that love to report bad news, but where have FAUX News’ cameras been following our recent air strikes on AQI strongholds? How big does “shock and awe” have to be to make the headlines?

Where are the reports of collateral damage? Have we become so accurate that our bombs only get “bad guys”? Or has AQI given up on using innocents for shields? Or is this a “no news is good news” thing?

IMO Iraq has become another Afghanistan ……… just a minor footnote in the daily news! Would this be the case if more than 2% of Americans had an immediate family member serving in either theater of the WOT?

(3)David R. Remer already mentioned the financial aspect but it bears repeating; we’re NOT paying for this damn war!!!!! Future generations are!!!!! Also consider this, our front-line aircraft are falling the f$#& apart:

Air Force Fighter Fleet in ‘Crisis’
http://tinyurl.com/2rdvfb

Our National Guard is damn near “threadbare”!

Would someone help me find the silver lining?

(4)In one of the most recent propaganda videos did anyone else notice that the guy next to Bush damn near shit himself when Bush tried to scabbard that saber (aka: Tennessee toothpick)?

And we thought Saddam was a bad guy? Compared to who? OK, OK, Bush is still a little better than Saddam …………….. is that what now inspire to? We’re not as bad as the really bad guy????????

Posted by: KansasDem at January 12, 2008 6:58 PM
Comment #242877

Lee Jamison,

Thanks, for comment, I guess I must have made a spelling error. How did I ever win that fourth grade spelling bee. Everything went right to heck after the third grade…

David Remer,

I agree - generally - but I think that the Iraqi death toll is much, much higher. There are sources that say 700,000, and over a million. I say I think, because I don’t know. I am going by my gut instinct. We don’t know, because we have made such a mess out of that country, that we, and they, can not even track the dead bodies. So I will accept the low number of a mere 150,000 dead, mostly innocent human beings…

I was opposed to this war before we started. Presented with the fait accompli, I supported it, then when it seemed clear to that it was a lost cause - I opposed it. But… we could really have won this thing. We could have made the Mideast a better place and transformed the world. We were that close. One shred of competence from the Bush Regime is all it would have taken.

jlw,

Thanks for your comment. I especially agree with:

Many people are assuming that because of the NIE on Iran, attack or invasion of that country is off the table, at least for now. Many people also assume that because the Democrats in Congress have said that Bush cannot attack Iran without the approval of Congress, the President cannot do so. The assumers are wrong on both accounts.

and:

However, IMO, the neocons still remain a viable threat to America and the world, especially if the next president adheres to their philosophy.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 12, 2008 7:14 PM
Comment #242879

I forgot to link to a credible source regarding this assertion:

“Wow, Sec-of-Def Gates is having to CONSIDER whether or not to send 3,000 more Marines to Afghanistan, but the POTUS is writing blank checks for Iraq. WTF!”

**************source**************

“The proposal is supported by Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and could be submitted to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as early as Friday. But Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, emphasized that Gates would not rubber stamp it.”

“The secretary is going to want to think long and hard about it before he approves it, because it involves a serious additional commitment of U.S. forces,” Morrell said.”

http://tinyurl.com/ys7xyu

It’s hardly a freakin’ secret. We ARE stretched to the limit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: KansasDem at January 12, 2008 7:22 PM
Comment #242880

KansasDem,

As usual thanks for your comment and the link. I did not know what AQI was. I had to Google it. For other slow folks like me: al-Qaeda…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 12, 2008 7:26 PM
Comment #242882
Iraqi deaths as a result of our invasion at 150,000

And how many people did our support of the UN sanctions kill?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 12, 2008 11:40 PM
Comment #242886
In what it describes as an “ongoing humanitarian emergency”, it shows a dramatic rise in child mortality rates in central and southern Iraq - areas controlled by Baghdad.

Unicef estimates that over the last 10 years at least 500,000 child deaths could have been prevented.

However, the report says that in the northern Kurdish areas, where the UN runs a relief operation outside Baghdad’s control, child fatalities have decreased by more than a fifth.

Baghdad blamed
Both the UK and the US have highlighted the difference.

US State Department spokesman James Rubin said both areas were subject to the same sanctions and both were covered by the oil-for-food programme.
He said the clearest conclusion was that the programme was successful where it was allowed to work freely.

“The bottom line is that if Saddam Hussein would not continue to hoard medicines and capabilities to assist the children of Iraq, they wouldn’t have this problem,” he said.

BBC Friday, August 13, 1999

So on one had Saddam Hussein can be held responsible for the increase death of children and on the other hand we are directly responsible for the death of 150,000 people. So the point is?

Posted by: Cube at January 13, 2008 2:55 AM
Comment #242887

We have created another Saddam in Pakistan and made him more dangerous. Is this our intention for the future of Iraq?

Posted by: Larry at January 13, 2008 7:33 AM
Comment #242888

But why was the world community sanctioning Saddam in the first place? He didn’t have WMD…

The point is, he was being sanctioned because of WMD, we invaded because of WMD (and a bunch of other reasons, IMO), both actions resulted in the deaths of Iraqis.

Are you wanting to take the moral high road for unnecessarily sanctioning Iraq (because Clinton was president during most of that time) and resulting in far more Iraqi deaths, mainly children while slagging the decision to invade Iraq for the very same reasons?

(Clinton lied, millions of children died…)

The fact is Saddam started the whole thing by invading Kuwait. The only thing done right was removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait. After that, everything we did was so very wrong… From turning our backs on revolting Iraqis, to bumbling our handling of sanctions for 10 years, for our complicancy in the Oil for Food scandals, believing Clinton when he told us there were WMD progams in Iraq, believing Bush who told us there were WMD in Iraq, etc…

The only good news is that Iraq now has some opportunity to build a nation (or 3 separate nations as should have happened in 2003) and a future is possible. And hopefully the work being done to secure an agreement in Iraq will have most of our troops out of Iraq so they can start moving towards that future.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 13, 2008 1:33 PM
Comment #242890

Ray, yes, the 150,000 figure is ‘substantiated’. Obviously, there are many more deaths which occurred as a result of violence. They are not included in this figure because of a lack of substantiation, eye witness, autopsy (rare), or actual documentation. Which is why that figure can be reasonably estimated to be significantly higher as you argue, though 1 million appears to be pure fabrication without any empirical basis at all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 13, 2008 2:34 PM
Comment #242893

Cube,

You wrote:

So on one had Saddam Hussein can be held responsible for the increase death of children and on the other hand we are directly

Good point here. I agree and not. Saddam was responsible for those deaths and many others. People would have died in Iraq anyway whether we were there or not.

Rumsfeld was literally shaking his hand while he gassed his own people. IMO, telling him that we needed for him to maintain “stability” in Iraq - wink. Stability in this context would be a code word for; you need to kill some mother copulators.

None the less, Saddam was in charge and he is responsible for those deaths. The problem is this: Saddam is not in charge anymore. We are. Two wrongs do not make a right.

WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE DEATHS!!!

I am an atheist, but even I know that saying that there are other more evil people in the world does not absolve us of our sins.

Consensus on the Iraqi street is that Iraq is worse off with us there than under Saddam. But even if 10 million people would have died in our absence, those deaths would not have been our fault. These are.

Rhinehold,

You wrote:

(Clinton lied, millions of children died…)

Clinton lied about getting his cigar licked - makes you nostalgic for the good old days - don’t it?

You also wrote:

The only good news is that Iraq now has some opportunity to build a nation (or 3 separate nations as should have happened in 2003) and a future is possible. And hopefully the work being done to secure an agreement in Iraq will have most of our troops out of Iraq so they can start moving towards that future.

I wish I may, I wish I might,

David Remer,

I understand what you were saying now. Thanks.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 13, 2008 4:28 PM
Comment #242896
Clinton lied about getting his cigar licked - makes you nostalgic for the good old days - don’t it?

No, not really. :(

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 13, 2008 9:44 PM
Comment #242898
But even if 10 million people would have died in our absence, those deaths would not have been our fault.

Ah, the old ‘stand idly by while a murderous tyrant slaughters millions of people’ argument…

Hey, not our fault!

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 13, 2008 11:08 PM
Comment #242906

That is what Churchill called a country without a chest. People who are capable to help innocents yet stand by.

Since being nationalized in ‘72 the Iraq oilfields have been underdeveloped. Kind of happens with any big government program.

The Chinese are working to help them explore while keeping agricultural land intact. You need professionals to not only produce effectively but also explore. Foreign companies are the best resource.

To maintain international credibility due to the huge debts ran up by saddam, they have to sell oil. Many times in business the best way (efficient and reliable) is to have someone else do it and pay you royalties.

Posted by: Kruser at January 14, 2008 9:54 AM
Comment #242930

Rhinehold, Kruser

What is so different about Iraq and Saddam?

Why not China, Cambodia, Congo, North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar, Iran, or any other of a number of countries that have, now or in the past, had or have populaces oppressed by ruthless dictators?

We did nothing about Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
We bailed on Afghanistan after the defeat of the Soviets, and allowed the Taliban to take power, and not coincidentally allowed Bin Laden a base of operations.

Neither the “Iraq Liberation Act of 1998”, which along with “Resolution 1441”, that those on the right tout as the reasons for invading Iraq in the first place say anything about invading Iraq.

The Iraq Liberation Act specifically states that America would “support” monetarily, and with munitions, those that would overthrow Saddam, but that America wouldn’t invade, or be militarily involved.

After the signing of Resolution 1441, the ambassadors of America, England and Syria, stated that the the resolution held no “hidden triggers” and no “automaticity” on the use of force toward Saddam and Iraq.

Humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people wasn’t even in the top reasons that Bush gave America for the invasion.

Posted by: Rocky at January 14, 2008 1:50 PM
Comment #242940

Let me put this another way;

After Sept. 11th, regardless of humanitarian aid, or intelligence for or against, IMHO the invasion of Iraq was a fait accompli, and nothing was going to stop it.

Oh, and BTW, when, if my brother refuses to stand up and fight for his own life, at what point do I cease to be my brother’s keeper?

Posted by: Rocky at January 14, 2008 3:19 PM
Comment #242945

Some of you have raised the “my brother’s keeper” issue.

First, we did not go to Iraq to keep our brothers.

Second, being your “brother’s keeper” does not mean taking responsibility for our brother’s choices.

Taking responsibility for your brother’s choices is called co-dependency. I recommend Co’dependents Anonymous for people who are afflicted with that disease. For those of you afflicted with the disease, I recommend extreme caution however, since becoming healthy will turn you into a Democrat.

Actually trying to help our oppressed Iraqi brothers would have required first taking responsibility for our own choices which is something that co-dependents are characterlogically incapable of doing since we are too busy taking responsibility for the choices of others.

Taking responsibility for ourselves in this context would require addressing the issue of global warming and breaking our dependence on foreign oil by: 1) Becoming Vegetarian. 2) Driving slightly smaller vehicles. 3) Reversing urban sprawl. 4) Insulating our homes and using energy efficient light bulbs.

So, you see, healing our co-dependency, and taking responsibility for our own crap for a change, would allow us to become honest power brokers in the region instead of the empire building, Christian crusading, Imperialist oppressors that we are.

Then, you see, we might actually be able to help our Iraqi brothers… …if we really wanted to help them… …but we don’t… …we just want to control them… …it is for their own good, after all.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 14, 2008 4:38 PM
Comment #242990

Ray said: “I recommend extreme caution however, since becoming healthy will turn you into a Democrat.”

No. Not really. Becoming health will turn you into an independent. NFL mental types who believe managing a society of 300 million people is a team sport are the ideological and partisan defectives. Healthy is making choices based on the best idea available regardless of which side of the spectrum it comes from.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2008 10:09 PM
Comment #243011

Rocky,

After Sept. 11th, regardless of humanitarian aid, or intelligence for or against, IMHO the invasion of Iraq was a fait accompli, and nothing was going to stop it.

Before, even.

After 9/11, it only becomes so (too?) easy to sell to americans. All they have to do was putting Saddam/Iraq and 9/11 in the same sentence or paragraph, and that was it.

Worked like a charm.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 15, 2008 10:09 AM
Comment #243015


Isn’t socialism co-dependence toward government? One major symptom would be to depend on something then complain about how it is opressing you.
Actually you can apply phyco-babble terms to ascribe about any normal behavior to a syndrome. It is good comedy material.
We all need to be vegan Amish. That would solve the world’s energy crisis and global warming.
The difference between Saddam and other regimes is that he not only threatened but had a history of using WMDs. We could conclude therefore that he didn’t just want them for self defense as Iran’s perception appears to be.
These concerns were amplified by the previous admin. and justified by 9/11. Most everyone wanted to be pro-active then but they chickened out when it got hard. It only becomes complicated when cut and runners have to come up with material to justify their lack of resolve.
Had we suceeded in setting up a model government in the first couple years, all of you would be blogging to take credit.


Posted by: Kruser at January 15, 2008 10:26 AM
Comment #243024

Kruser,

“These concerns were amplified by the previous admin. and justified by 9/11. Most everyone wanted to be pro-active then but they chickened out when it got hard. It only becomes complicated when cut and runners have to come up with material to justify their lack of resolve.
Had we suceeded in setting up a model government in the first couple years, all of you would be blogging to take credit.”

This is comedy, right?

Justified by Sept, 11th?

This is like saying “if it hadn’t been for my horse, I wouldn’t have had to spend that year at collage”.

Our “friends” that we support (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, etc..) in the Middle East are some of the most repressive and least democratic regimes on the planet, yet we chose to invade Iraq.
Saddam was a bad guy to be sure, and yes, he deserved to be deposed, but it has been shown again, and again that he had nothing to do with Sept, 11th.
You just can’t keep throwing stuff on the wall and hope that it sticks.

Purple thumbs, and elections do not make a democracy, and the sooner the right figures that one out the better. We are now making slow progress in Iraq, but it has been a long painful slog, and we are still on the razors edge.
Lack of support for this administrations policy in Iraq was not the cause of the unconcienable mistakes made in this venture.
Point of fact I think the reverse is actually more toward the truth.
We cannot expect to build a country from the top down.

Sooner or later the Iraqis will take charge of their own country and we will have to live with the results of our mistakes.

Posted by: Rocky at January 15, 2008 12:11 PM
Comment #243043

The point is, regardless of your cut and run justifications, most people were in favor of invasion at the time. The opposition gained strength only when it wasn’t going easy.
Deposing saddam was always considered necessary, but 9/11 made it urgent. We saw thousands of our own innocent people killed, he was firing on our planes, not only vowed to use wmds but had by past observation the mental capacity to follow through. The resolution mentioned above was another watered down token by corrupt (oil for food) UN officials. They were satisfied and being enriched by the statis quo. The realization that we could not afford it anymore was galvanized by the mass unjustified deaths before us.
But back to the point. You all would be clamoring for credit had it gone easy, therefore the arguments presented are due to it becoming a hard task and not because of the numerous premises given.

Posted by: Kruser at January 15, 2008 8:42 PM
Comment #243046

Kruser,

Most people were lied to. In fact, all people were lied to. Some of the rest of us, who saw through what were blatantly obvious lies, including me, were cowed into relative silence by the flag waving proto-fascist warmongering of the neo-cons. A few quiet anti-war candle light vigils. That was all I did.

The American people were foolish enough to believe that their President had their best interest at heart and was basically honest. Then there were the sceptics like me.

Of course, the big money corporate mass media were beating the drums for a profitable war…

Some Americans have awoken.

My concern now is that this proto-fascist hyper-militaristic Regime will still start another war - or refuse to surrender the reins of power to a legitimate government - and / or that the Repubs will steal another election and / or that the moneyed interest will succeed in getting a bought and paid for Democrat nominated so that we will have a choice without a difference.

American Constitutional democracy based on the rule of law hangs by a frayed thread.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 15, 2008 9:58 PM
Comment #243051

Kruser,

There are those on the right that are so closed minded, so incapable of thinking for themselves, so willing to be lead around by the nose, and so confused by the empty rhetoric of their chosen pundits/spokespeople, that they wouldn’t recognize the truth if it bit them on the butt.

Reality is a bitch.

Mr Bush eschewed the advice of Colin Powell, a man who actually served his country with honor, on how to prepare for Iraq. It was called the “Powell Doctrine”.

Sure, the rush to Baghdad was exhilarating, but what followed was an unmitigated cluster &#*%.
What followed was made “harder” because there was no plan to secure the country.
What followed was made “harder” because we were in such a needless hurry to electively invade, that the attitude of “you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want” was acceptable.

Any child that has played “Risk” could tell you that you don’t go into an elective war without the preparation that will assure you a swift victory. That anything else is a needless waste of men and material, but Mr. Bush “knew better”, and what we have today is the result of that knowing.

I’ve been posting on this site since 2003, and there have been those, including myself, that actually asked why we were so criminally unprepared to deal with the problems that always happen in wars. Why it took three years of “stay the course” before we figured out what was necessary to do the job.

You may choose to accept the vitriolic spin on reality put forth by the Limbaugh’s, and the Hannity’s, or you can choose to see the truth of what actually happened.

You only get to pick one.

Posted by: Rocky at January 16, 2008 8:08 AM
Comment #243055


Those against the invasion were afraid of casualties and Saddam’s inclination to use poison on a massive scale. This proved unjustified.

Few if any anticipated the difficulty or time it would take to make a post war government and provide security. This couldn’t be predicted because you would have to know the mind of the people and it is impossible to know how to respond to their needs without actually being there.

Those talk show guys aren’t using this take that I know of. Maybe we all ought to listen and find out.

So the blog is about cut and run. The invasion was well planned and a big success despite your misgivings and you were incorrect if you opposed it.

The postwar reconciliation was more difficult than anyone had imagined. It couldn’t be fully planned until you saw where the people were at. This is where resolve comes in. Cut and runners are displaying their lack of resolve and then justify it with feigned conspiracies. The successes we see today are due to those who stuck it out.


Posted by: Kruser at January 16, 2008 9:45 AM
Comment #243060

Kruser,

“Few if any anticipated the difficulty or time it would take to make a post war government and provide security. This couldn’t be predicted because you would have to know the mind of the people and it is impossible to know how to respond to their needs without actually being there.”

One word;

Security. You cannot have a government without it!

There was none. NONE!

We failed to secure the country.
We failed to secure ammo dumps.
We failed to secure the towns we took on our way to Baghdad.
We failed to step in and quell the anarchy in Baghdad after it’s fall.
We failed to address any of this before we started to build the “Taj Mahal” of embassies.

We were also told that we would thought of as liberators, and as such we would be greeted with flowers, and that we had the “hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people behind us.
Unfortunately this was another failure as none of it was true.

The successes we see today came only after we failed to address the problems caused by a lack of foresight by this inept administration.

And, it took three painful years of “stay the course” to make any change in strategy, or policy.
So I guess we see that the right prefers to see circumstances through the rosy lenses of rhetoric, and refuses to acknowledge reality.

Posted by: Rocky at January 16, 2008 12:17 PM
Comment #243061

Kruser,

You wrote:

Those against the invasion were afraid of casualties and Saddam’s inclination to use poison on a massive scale. This proved unjustified.

Half true. Half truths are better than lies. Harder to prove false, as the Bush Regime obviously knows well…

I did think that Saddam had the weapons of mass destruction that we gave him. We did give them to him. I assumed he had them. I still think that he may have had them and that may have been passed to Syria. I was concerned that once defeated, that he or someone in his intelligence service might give or sell them to al Qaeda.

I knew that he would never do that as long as he remained in power. He may have been an evil statesman - but he was a statesman. He was smart enough to know that giving WMD to al Qaeda would be suicide. They would attack his enemy the U.S. alright, but they would deliberately leave a trial leading straight back to him.

Stalin was more than ten times worse than Saddam. Stalin truly was nuts. Saddam was just ruthless. Stalin had WMD. We did not need to attack him…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 16, 2008 12:48 PM
Comment #243065

The surge may be working, and that’s good.
Unfortunately, the fragile peace achieved was expensive.
How long can it last and how much will it cost to sustain?
Was it worth it?
If you could ask the hundreds of thousand that died, their answer might be much different than those that think it was worth it?
Lastly, since there were no WMD, was it necessary?

Posted by: d.a.n at January 16, 2008 1:48 PM
Comment #243079

d.a.n,

Obviously, I do not think that the surge is working at all, nor that we are anywhere near creating a viable state in Iraq. It is an attribution problem. What do we attribute the good news to?

As mentioned elsewhere I was opposed to this war before it started and supported it after it started.

I think that historical parallel here is Rome. Rome was the world’s only super power. Where are they now? In terms of world power, the Italians are a joke. Look at the face of your own countries future.

Rome was an evil imperialistic empire just like the U.S. But they were the best thing in the world, the best thing for the world, at the time, just like the U.S. They extended good roads, the rule of law, and stability wherever they went. They made the world a better place. They were the “Shining City upon a Hill.” Everyone wanted to be like them. Everyone hated their imperialist domination. Their military, like ours, was invincible. Then, like us, they privatized it. See:When Mercenary Armies Go CrazyThe fall of Rome brought the dark ages. The fall of the U.S. will bring a new dark age. Imperial powers need to win their wars. So I supported the war once it started.

We could have won it. We could have made Iraq a better place. We could have secured our imperial empire for decades to come. But we privatized our army and the chicken hawk neocons talk a better war than they fight.

Let’s assume that I am wrong. Let’s assume that the surge is really working. Let’s assume that we succeed in leaving Iraq a better place.

What do we attribute the good news to?

Not Bush. Not the neocons. The credit goes to our brave sons and daughters who served, who fought, who were maimed by the 10s of thousands, who died. Bush never served a day in his life. He partied at the Air National Gaurd for a while… The credit goes to the good intentions of the American people. The credit goes to the Iraqi people. The credit goes to Saddam for teaching the Iraqi people to love democracy. None of the credit goes to Bush - none.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 16, 2008 7:19 PM
Comment #243088

We aren’t trying to get credit for anything, just help the country become a safe democracy.

Hard won successes always come after failures. The invasion was a sucess. You were against invading. No one was against their becoming a safe democracy. Securing the country was much harder than we anticipated. We did our best without having a crystal ball. The armed forces had the run of things the entire time so they are the ones you are criticizing, but since I am not there I choose not to criticize them. They are doing a much better job than you or I could.

These feined conspiracies serve no purpose other than to justify your lack of resolve, cut and run,or whatever you want to call it.

Posted by: Kruser at January 16, 2008 8:42 PM
Comment #243093

Kruser,

You wrote:

We did our best without having a crystal ball. The armed forces had the run of things the entire time so they are the ones you are criticizing, but since I am not there I choose not to criticize them. They are doing a much better job than you or I could.

Yeah, OK… The armed forces had the run of things the whole time????????????? They freely chose not to send in enough troops to secure ammo dumps after how many Generals got fired???????? Give me a break… They are the ones that decided to go into Iraq in the first place. Yeah, I agree, this fiasco is all their fault - not the Bush Regimes. The Cammander and Chief is not responsible. You have to hold the people with authority accountable - not the Commander and Chief.


Posted by: Ray Guest at January 16, 2008 11:07 PM
Comment #243095

When something wasn’t working we made changes. Sounds normal to me.
Don’t forget the conclusion to everything.

therefore we need to cut and run….

Posted by: Kruser at January 16, 2008 11:27 PM
Comment #243097

The point is that it isn’t the armed force’s fault or the president’s. The real fault is the unknown.
As I said before, there are numerous factors that worked together to impede progress. Some bad decisions (we aren’t infallible). Organized terrorists, unorganized suicide bombers, roadside bombs, and factions with varied loyalties. Fearful lawmakers, and bigotry. American media putting fear in Iraqis that we might cut and run also contributed to slow progress. Finger pointing doesn’t improve anything however. Unless you want to justify an immediate exit.

Posted by: Kruser at January 16, 2008 11:50 PM
Comment #243098

Kruser,
You make it sound like the Iraqis want the US in their country. Do you really think they want to sign over their oil reserves to Exxon, Chevron, and BP? Do you really think Iraqis want permanent US military bases established in their country? The US was not exactly invited in, you know.

It was an invasion, conquest, and occupation, pure and simple. It was a classic example of imperialist aggression in action, based upon misinformation, lies, and pretexts.

Safe democracy? What a laugh. A kleptocracy, perhaps. Let me know when the Iraqis vote on whether they want foreign troops in their country.

Posted by: phx8 at January 17, 2008 12:00 AM
Comment #243100

Kruser,

You wrote:

therefore we need to cut and run….

The Republicans are extremely talented at framing the rhetoric. I wish we were as good at that as they are. It would be more accurate to say that the conclusion to everything is that we are dealing the reality that this Regime has led this country into an unnecessary, inappropriate and unwinnable war.

That would be the truth of the of the situation - but of course this lying Republican Regime is not interested in the truth - they are only interested in a good partisan frame.

They want good way to sum an entire geopolitical situation up in three words. A complex nuanced geopolitical situation and there answer is three words and they wonder why us 5 word elitist call them dumb…

We call them dumb. The truth is they are extremely talented at the manipulating the American people. Nobody wants to cut and run - not even me. Nobody wants to fight a lost cause either…

Most folks don’t really care though. We don’t have a draft, so most people have no stake in the war - especially affluent Republican leaders. If there were a draft, and if we were not using mercenaries to fight the war, there would be 10s of millions of people in the street. Remember though, the Blackwater mercenaries that we use to fight our wars today can be used by Queen Hillary tomorrow against you after she uses Bush’s over-empowerment of the Presidency to declare you an enemy combatant. Those guys are pretty good. Enjoy them while you can. They are coming for you next…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 17, 2008 12:13 AM
Comment #243103

We have had 2 presidents from Texas, both of whom prosecuted wars based on faulty intelligence. Reasonable people thought we would be out of Iraq soon after the Saddam statue fell. Instead we are doing nation building and oil grabbing while the Iranians are buzzing around us and we are wasting lives, assets and prestige trying to reconcile religious fanatics with religious nonfanatics.

Armies and wars, Roman or ours, create industries that can not be shut down without dislocation in the economy. Mercenaries should make war less frequent by making it more expensive, but the governments always just raise the taxes or borrow the money to keep the machinery rolling.

Rome had other problems besides the army, the main one being that they outgrew the capital a long time before Constantine. The seat of government remained in Rome for religious reasons, which was economically useless.

Our capital has remained in the same place from when Virginia was the most populous state, but has no economic value to the country. It’s just there for the government, with monuments imitating Greek and Roman religious temples. Our founding father thought that the slave owning Romans were the good guys, only the Emperors were the bad guys.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 17, 2008 12:30 AM
Comment #243116
Ray Guest wrote: d.a.n, Obviously, I do not think that the surge is working at all, nor that we are anywhere near creating a viable state in Iraq. It is an attribution problem. What do we attribute the good news to?
Less death and destruction is good.

If it weren’t for Bush’s numerous blunders, there probably could have been much less death and destruction.

Better yet, had he not started a war based on trumped up, flawed, and exaggerated intelligence, there would have been even less death and destruction.

Ray Guest wrote: As mentioned elsewhere I was opposed to this war before it started and supported it after it started.
You were right to be opposed.

Is it because you believed there really was no WMD ?

Ray Guest wrote: I think that historical parallel here is Rome. Rome was the world’s only super power. Where are they now? In terms of world power, the Italians are a joke. Look at the face of your own countries future.
I think that it is a cycle rooted in a few basic human traits (greed and laziness):
  • ,-(1) Corruption, oppression, tyranny,
  • | (2) courage, Responsibility, rebellion,
  • | (3) liberty, growth, abundance,
  • | (4) selfishness, complacency, fiscal irresponsibility
  • | (5) apathy, dependency, fiscal & moral bankruptcy,
  • ` - - return to step (1)
Ray Guest wrote: So I supported the war once it started.
That’s understandable.
Ray Guest wrote: We could have won it. We could have made Iraq a better place. We could have secured our imperial empire for decades to come.
We still might, but my question is at what cost?

Is it worth it?
If you could ask the hundreds of thousand that died, what would their answer be?

Ray Guest wrote: But we privatized our army …
That’s a mistake, as evidenced by Blackwater and their apparent immunity to their crimes. Yet, Gates expressed concerns about our allies’ troops? Never mind that no WMD were ever found, which was a major reason for invading Iraq.
Ray Guest wrote: Let’s assume that I am wrong. Let’s assume that the surge is really working. Let’s assume that we succeed in leaving Iraq a better place. What do we attribute the good news to?
Less death and destruction is good.

That in no way minimizes the future costs (in lives and monetarily) to sustain the fragile gains.

Ray Guest wrote: Not Bush. Not the neocons. The credit goes to our brave sons and daughters who served, who fought, who were maimed by the 10s of thousands, who died.
Absolutely!

Bush only gets credit for starting a pre-emptive war based on flawed, trumped-up, and exaggerated intelligence (if not, out-right lies) that led to unnecessary death and destruction.

Ray Guest wrote: The credit goes to the good intentions of the American people. The credit goes to the Iraqi people.
Yes.

However, the American voters are culpable too, because too many voters literally reward incumbent politicians and the two-party duopoly for all of it with 96.5% seat-retention rates (since year 1980).
Despite all of that, observe how many incumbent politicians in Congress, who abdicated their responsibility to formally declare war, and then craw-fished on their votes to allow the invasion of Iraq, get re-elected again and again. And while our troops went without armor, adequate medical care, and promised benefits, Congress rewarded itself for all of it with a raise every year (9 times between 1997 and 2007).

The voters are culpable too for repeatedly rewarding Congress for all of it with 95%-to-99% re-election rates.
We’re all culpable.
All of us.
Not only Republicans. Not only Democrats.
The circular partisan warfare is simply a grand distraction from our own culpability.

It is very sad that so many of our troops and other innocent people have died and suffered due to the actions of a few that are very irresponsible, if not genuinely corrupt and dishonest too.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 17, 2008 10:33 AM
Comment #243117

Yes they do want peace. No one wants a police state with either local or foreign enforcement. Yes they do want help from foriegn companies to produce oil more efficiently. They are simply privatizing the industry from a poorly run state owned enterprise. Many other countries do the same.

American people aren’t as dumb as you think.

I think someone needs to read actual history books. You can twist any story to fit your ideology. Try using greek mythology, it can be fun.

Posted by: Kruser at January 17, 2008 10:35 AM
Comment #243123

d.a.n,

I agree. The American are culpable as well. I am culpable for not standing up and fighting harder, for allowing myself to be cowed into relative silence…

Kruser,

You wrote:

They are simply privatizing the industry from a poorly run state owned enterprise. Many other countries do the same.

No they are not just doing what other countries do.

See:
“The international oil companies could also be offered some of the most corporate-friendly contracts in the world, including what are called production sharing agreements. These agreements are the oil industry’s preferred model, but are roundly rejected by all the top oil producing countries in the Middle East because they grant long-term contracts (20 to 35 years in the case of Iraq’s draft law) and greater control, ownership and profits to the companies than other models.”

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 17, 2008 11:59 AM
Comment #243140

Kruser,

You wrote:

I think someone needs to read actual history books. You can twist any story to fit your ideology.

I could not agree more. Someone does need to read the history books…

d.a.n,

Your wrote:

I think that it is a cycle rooted in a few basic human traits (greed and laziness):

* ,-(1) Corruption, oppression, tyranny,
* | (2) courage, Responsibility, rebellion,
* | (3) liberty, growth, abundance,
* | (4) selfishness, complacency, fiscal irresponsibility
* | (5) apathy, dependency, fiscal & moral bankruptcy,
* ` - - return to step (1)

Agreed. America will fall. Sooner or later, it is inevitable. Your process above is how it will happen. IMO, the neocon’s Promethean (Greek Mythology) failure to take the lessons of history seriously is hastening the day of the fall. Just as we do not know exactly when Rome fell, we will not know when America falls. It is a process. We will know that it was falling when the Bush Regime lied us into a war and subverted the Constitution of the United States by spying on Americans. We will know that it was falling when the neocons looted the treasury of the United States by taking excess Social Security payroll taxes and using them to give tax cuts to the rich thereby willfully and knowingly backrupting Social Security…

But when did it fall? It was probably the bj in the oval office…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 17, 2008 1:30 PM
Comment #243151

Ray Guest,
Yes, and the process takes a long time.
What stage of the process are we?
The stages can over-lap, but I think we are in (5) and returning to (1).
Here’s something interesting (suggesting an 80 year cycle).

I used to despise incumbent politicians, thinking they alone were the biggest part of the problem, but it is now all too clear that it is all of us, and few (if any) of the politicians in either party of the two-party duopoly are the solution.

If they were, their 96.5% seat-retention rates (since year 1980) in Congress would have solved our many problems, growing in number and severity, a long, long time ago.

Instead, things are getting worse, and have been for about 30 years. I think a number of things started to unravel staring in the late 1970s (e.g. regressive taxation, illegal immigration, massive debt, massive borrowing, spending Social Security surpluses, incessant inflation, rising healthcare costs, bloated federal government growing ever larger to nightmare proportions, waste, corruption, constitutional violations (e.g. Article V), and a worsening wealth disparity, etc., etc., etc.)

Posted by: d.a.n at January 17, 2008 2:22 PM
Comment #243155

I was only joking about using greek mythology comparisons to prove ideology. It is comical that is was already being done.

To be honest, critical thinking for me has improved over the years, because I have observed the same stories in opposite perspectives. The same parallels used by conservative revisors. It seems funny to see them used by libs. My conclusion is to leave the historical parallels for fiction writers. Reality works better than story telling. Present factors such as technology and transportation along with communication, energy and many other things negate parallels with ancient history.
If ancient history can be used then the Bible should also. There is alot of scripture being used both ways. I doubt libs would use it due to their religiophobia. As you see the parallels are totally subjective.

Posted by: Kruser at January 17, 2008 2:59 PM
Comment #243192

Ray Guest, we do know exactly when the Roman empire fell, it was 1453 CE when Constantinople fell to the Turks. From the founding of Rome, this was about 2200 years of governments by monarchy, theocracy, aristocracy, tyranny, lunacy, brutality, and incompetence. The mess that occurred in the 5th and 6th centuries was a natural environmental catastrophe of literally volcanic proportions.

I do not know why anyone thinks we are falling, but you better get one of those First Alert things if you think you are going to fall and you can’t get up.

Kruser, If you want to use that b word book, then you had better be ready for the Mahabharata, too.

Reality imitates fiction, because fiction writers imitate reality, and history repeats itself because humans just really are that stubborn.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 17, 2008 7:00 PM
Comment #243262

They are also unpredictable. That is why conservatives believe in limiting government.

Posted by: Kruser at January 18, 2008 10:25 AM
Comment #243279

Kruser,

You wrote:

Present factors such as technology and transportation along with communication, energy and many other things negate parallels with ancient history.

“Those who do not learn will repeat.”

Technology has nothing to do with human nature. History, on the other hand, has everything to do with human nature. It is entirely dependent on the patterns of human behavior, the choices that people make - both collectively and individually.

I am not surprised however. The neocons cannot see the forest for the trees. They will point out a million individual tree limbs and say: This tree limb is growing different than tree limb grew in Rome. I will say yes grasshopper, but the forest is still a forest. (Forget Greek Mythology. I am going straight for the parables.)

It is a fascinating study figuring out why this tree limb grew differently than that tree limb. We should absolutely study that. We must also be able to rise above that and see the big picture in order to have wisdom. Studying the tree limb brings knowledge - very useful - seeing the forest brings wisdom - Grasshopper.

Communications; they will say: They did not have Ipods during the dark ages so there can be no dark age now. I will say yes Grasshopper, you are right, they did not have Ipods. During the dark ages Grasshopper, scientific, technological, social, political, and economic progress stagnated. Technology stagnates during a dark age, Grasshopper. But technology that pre-exist a dark age continues to exist during a dark age.

Metal working pre-existed the dark ages - Grasshopper. It continued to exist during the dark ages, but it stagnated. Religious fanaticism is already stifling stem cell research in this country just as it stifled scientific research during the dark ages - Grasshopper. (Forget parables. I am going Platonic dialog here.)

Lest I seem to be picking on the poor Christians, it was in many cases also Christians who rebelled against the religious oppression of the dark ages. For example: René Descartes passionate Christian, renaissance philosopher and mathematician.

There is nothing wrong with faith, the problem is oppressive fundamentalist faith like the faith of bin Laden and Jerry Falwell. In this general opinion, I am in the excellent company of Soren Kierkegaard another passionate free thinking Christian.

Whereas his first authorship focused on Hegel, this authorship focused on the hypocrisy of Christendom. It is important to realise that by ‘Christendom’ Kierkegaard meant not Christianity itself, but rather the church and the applied religion of his society.
Posted by: Ray Guest at January 18, 2008 12:54 PM
Comment #243312

ohrealy,

You wrote:

I do not know why anyone thinks we are falling, but you better get one of those First Alert things if you think you are going to fall and you can’t get up.

The Roman Empire was falling for a long time. The U.S. will continue to exist. America stands for something - in theory at least. If think, as you say of the Roman empire that: “2200 years of governments by monarchy, theocracy, aristocracy, tyranny, lunacy, brutality, and incompetence” would not constitute the loss of the United States of America…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 18, 2008 5:19 PM
Comment #243317

Anybody seen links to the actual data that prove the surge has reduced violence throughout Iraq? I’ve looked, but have been unsuccessful in finding hard numbers.

Posted by: mental wimp at January 18, 2008 6:22 PM
Comment #243324

Mental Wimp,
There are very few reliable numbers when it comes to Iraq, very little hard data.

I suppose the most reliable numbers involve US combat deaths, but what do they mean? Changes might reflect different tactics rather than levels of violence.

There are very few dependable numbers. Both the US government and the Iraqi government have routinely refused to provide or collect hard data, and it is too dangerous for anyone to come up with the information independently. In terms of the big picture, the Bush administration has made continuous claims about winning since 2003. However, we know there are more troops than ever stationed in the country, and more money being spent.

We do know money is not being spent on reconstruction. We do know oil exports remain down. According to multiple sources, we know there are over two million Iraqi refugees in other countries, and another two million have been internally displaced. We know the refugees are not returning to Iraqi in large numbers, despite the offer of bonuses and many other extreme pressures. We know a lot of Iraqis are unemployed, although no one knows exactly how many.

It is safe to say nearly anything the Bush administration says about Iraq is probably a self-serving lie, based upon the obvious fact that they must have been lying in the past; if they had been telling the truth in the past, the current situation would not exist.

Posted by: phx8 at January 18, 2008 10:45 PM
Comment #243346

phx8,

Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed and agree with the whole thing.

You wrote:

I suppose the most reliable numbers involve US combat deaths, but what do they mean? Changes might reflect different tactics rather than levels of violence.

I agree in general, but even in terms of combat deaths; there are more mercenaries there than soldiers. They don’t have to report those deaths and don’t.

You also wrote:

It is safe to say nearly anything the Bush administration says about Iraq is probably a self-serving lie, based upon the obvious fact that they must have been lying in the past; if they had been telling the truth in the past, the current situation would not exist.

Well said.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 19, 2008 12:48 PM
Comment #243372

Ray,
Every parallel can go two ways. Human responses are unpredictable.
Historical accounts can also be interperated two ways. For instance, Falwell may have taught that the fall of the USA will be due to the acceptance of Gays as it did in Rome. This kind of nonsense goes back and forth and I choose not to participate in baseless speculation both about the past or the future.
You can see what behavior works best for humans but can’t ascribe motives or put out “The End of The World is Here” signs. It is curious how those who claim to hate judgement are predisposed toward using it.

Posted by: Kruser at January 20, 2008 9:48 AM
Comment #243376

Many nations have declined because the seat of government was in a place removed from the economic activity of the country, and the leaders were out of touch. Are we declining? I think we have improved since the days of Deadwood, or the slaveholding society of our founding fathers. Teddy Roosevelt and FDR were 2 of those most responsible for improvements, representing, the Rpblcn, Progressive, and Democratic parties. Both of them unfortunately helped build up Washington D.C., where the globalizers are once again promoting slavery. This time we are moving the work to the slaves, rather than the slaves to the work, but it is producing the same kind of economy of service industries and property owners.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 20, 2008 12:18 PM
Comment #243386
Both of them unfortunately helped build up Washington D.C., where the globalizers are once again promoting slavery. This time we are moving the work to the slaves, rather than the slaves to the work, but it is producing the same kind of economy of service industries and property owners.
Exactly. It is by design.

What can be done about it?
Is it just one party of the two-party duopoly?
After all, both parties (combined) have enjoyed 96.5% seat-retention rates since year 1980.
Therefore, turn-over in Congress is definitely not the problem.
Perhaps repeatedly rewarding bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians with 95%-to-99% re-election rates isn’t working?
Also, 90% of all elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money.
99.95% of all 200 million voters are vastly out-spent by a very tiny 0.15% of wealthy voters that make 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more).
Seems like the voters would finally stop doing that?
Perhaps they will when it becomes too painful?
Until then, these regressive and oppressive systems, which did not all come about by mere coincidence.
Education is part of the solution, to reduce abuse and exploitation.
Either way, voters will get their education, and they will have the government that they deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 20, 2008 3:30 PM
Comment #243399

ohrealy - d.a.n,

Thanks for your comments. I generally agree. I made a remark about Bush but I am not saying that the U.S. has fallen or even is falling now. It is falling in some sense under the Bush Regime, but in historical terms perhaps not. The damage done by the Bush Regime could be reversed or at least neutralized. I like d.a.n’s 80 year idea. The U.S. almost certainly has fallen and risen several times already. What I am saying is that the U.S. will eventually fall in absolute terms, and if we continue in this direction, that fall will be hastened. It could come quickly… …or not. The Bush Regime has created many serious existential threats to the continued viability of Constitutional democracy based on the rule of law.

d.a.n,

Incumbents can sell “bridges to nowhere” in exchange for campaign contributions. So, as I say at every excuse - public financing of elections. In addition to that: We need some form of rank order or instant run off voting. And we need to take political power / person hood status away superhuman, predatory, sociopathic, soulless corporations. These three things would shift power towards the people, towards third party / independents and away from corporations / corporate oligarchy and incumbency.

Kruser,

You wrote:

For instance, Falwell may have taught that the fall of the USA will be due to the acceptance of Gays as it did in Rome.

Those who do not learn will repeat - period.

Anybody can make an historical argument. The questions to ask are: Is that argument accurate? Does that argument make sense (valid logical argument)? If Falwell argues or has argued that Rome fell because of the acceptance of gays - then his argument would fail both of those questions.

The Romans accepted homosexuality during their rise. They did not like the “little boys” during the early Republic. But liking “little boys” is one good sized step beyond homosexuality. The spiritual corruption and moral bankruptcy associated with Rome’s eventual acceptance of pederasty may well have been an element involved in Rome’s downfall. That has nothing to do with homosexuality. Pedophilia is a separate orientation / sickness / disease / addiction. Some pedophiles are also gay, most are not. See: Homosexuality in ancient Rome.

If you want to defeat my historical arguments, you need to challenge their historical accuracy or logic. If you simply want to bury your head in the sand about the fact that history has valuable lessons to teach - well then - enjoy the view. We simply have nothing left to argue about… It will not change the fact that history has valuable lessons to teach… …whether I have figured this one out or not.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 20, 2008 7:13 PM
Comment #243415


I have studied the subject of history vs. current affairs and was very zealous about it in my youth. Won many a debate on my views. After observing historical interpretations constantly change and be applied to new current events, the logical conclusion is to discount them. Then it was the soviets now it is the Muslims. Ten years from now the so called “accurate” applications you are using now will be obsolete and a new generation will have new events to correlate to the same history. Different factors will be important depending on what point they will want to make.
Applying bigoted ideals to history belittles the actual facts and behaviors found in it that we can learn from. It isn’t worth debating premises applied that are faulty to begin with.
For instance “America is falling” is an opinion based in your bias. Were a dem in the white house we would be considered progressing and different so called “historical applications” will be applied by you and conservatives will change in their optimism. Even if you know the stories accurately, the application to the present is wrong. The “end of the world” doctrine has been taught from many angles in about every generation. This is the nonsense I am referring to.



Posted by: Kruser at January 21, 2008 10:17 AM
Comment #243423

Kruser,

You wrote:

Applying bigoted ideals to history belittles the actual facts and behaviors found in it that we can learn from.

We can discuss whether my case is reasonable, but you have not challenged me on that point. The above statement seems internally inconsistent, i.e. we can learn from history but must ignore it.

I agree that people often misconstrue and misapply it. Until now you have been saying there is nothing to learn…

I have said nothing about the “end of the world” - although it to shall end - tomorrow or 2 billion years from now… Our species will disappear soon - almost certainly within a 1000 years. Hopefully we will be replaced with something better. Not only do we evolve genetically, we also evolve socially. Now we can evolve social-genetically and bio-mechanically. Certainly we are the last of a dying breed…

Good job though. You have done a masterful job of diverting the discussion into the applicability of historic lessons and away substantive discussion of the fiasco that the Bush Regime has created in Iraq.

Those who do not learn will repeat - period.

I am suggested that there are lessons that can be learned here and suggesting what those lessons might be. You have not challenged the lessons that I have suggested. You have only challenged the notion that lessons can be drawn and applied. If you think that this is a misapplication of the lesson, then it is intellectually incumbent upon you to challenge it, so together we can learn the real lesson…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 21, 2008 11:59 AM
Comment #243426

Ray Guest, actually, the world is supposed to end on Dec. 21, 2012, at the end of the Mayan Long Count


http://www.levity.com/eschaton/Why2012.html

Clients of mine who were terminally ill actually seemed to find this idea comforting.

Thank you for your participation in this forum. I had not been in here for a long time and there seem to be very few people writing anything interesting at all.

History is the study of human beings, and what they are like, their brilliance and their brutality.

The Devil’s Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee is an interesting light read
where the author claims that coffee brought the world into the age of reason.

I’m slogging through something that Coleridge wrote, but I end up just trying to diagram his sentences.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 21, 2008 12:23 PM
Comment #243433

“The United States of America will fall from within - not from without. Spending 5 trillion dollars on a lost war just to protect a failed Emperor’s legacy is how that fall will occur.”

“America will fall. Sooner or later, it is inevitable. Your process above is how it will happen. IMO, the neocon’s Promethean (Greek Mythology) failure to take the lessons of history seriously is hastening the day of the fall.”

Sounds like prophesy to me.

I clearly explained the factors involved in the sucessful invasion and the adjustments needed to respond to numerous factors including the mindset of the iraqi people. This is a learn and respond thing that could not be planned in advance as the invasion was and is certainly not a fiasco. Those who approve of invasion and then choose to cut and run have a lack of resolve are committing the greater evil. Roman applications are simply nonsense and yet another distraction to justify of the fear of finishing the job.

Posted by: Kruser at January 21, 2008 2:39 PM
Comment #243471
d.a.n, Incumbents can sell “bridges to nowhere” in exchange for campaign contributions. So, as I say at every excuse - public financing of elections.
I’m OK with that.

Government shouldn’t be FOR-SALE.

But, we also need to energize voters, and encourage them to STOP repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians with 95% re-election rates.

To me, the problem is not one problem.

It is these 10 systems, which did not all come about by mere coincidence, that are chipping away at the foundtation of the nation.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 21, 2008 7:59 PM
Comment #243485

Kruser,

You quoted me and then wrote:

Sounds like prophesy to me.

In regards to your first quote of me:
When the U.S. falls this will be true: “The United States of America will fall from within - not from without.”

The existential threats to American Constitutional Democracy based on the rule of law are within and as I have already said IMO many were created or exacerbated by the Bush Regime.

As to the second part of your first quote of me:
“Spending 5 trillion dollars on a lost war just to protect a failed Emperor’s legacy is how that fall will occur.”

Does sound like a prophesy there except that: We have not spent the 5 trillion yet on the failure’s legacy. But if we do - IMO: 1. That will only actually happen if the corporate oligarchist win i.e. America falls. 2. If we spend 5 trillion dollars - IMO - that will break the bank and cause economic and political collapse that will - at the very least - further undermine our already fragile undermined constitutional democracy. 3. Spending 5 trillion dollars on the failure’s legacy would stand as proxy for / or indicate that we were continuing in the current wrong direction. In other words, it would be symptomatic of a whole range of problems.

In regards to your second quote of me:
America will fall. Sooner or later, it is inevitable. Your process above is how it will happen. IMO, the neocon’s Promethean (Greek Mythology) failure to take the lessons of history seriously is hastening the day of the fall.”

You got me there. That one is a prophesy. So, forget Greek mythology, parables, and Platonic dialog. I am a prophet.
But:
Except for what I think may have been a typo on my part I think that quote pretty much stands on its own.

Everything ends sooner or later - including the whole friggin universe. I think that the U.S. is in grave danger of ending sooner, rather than later, but I make no prophesies about that - dire warnings like all true prophets, yes - prophesies, no.

We may have already fallen. Which is what I was trying to indicate with my tongue in cheek rhetoric something about not knowing the exact time of the fall but that we would look back and blame it on Bush. I did not mean for that to be taken quite literally. I think that it is literally possible that we have passed the point of no return. It is also literally possible that we are just getting started. We may indeed literally look back on the Bush Regime as causing the fall - or not.

Our founding fathers were profoundly liberal and in many dimensions the U.S. is the most liberal that it has ever been, i.e. the truest to their vision. In many other dimensions the U.S. is the most conservative and reactionary (what they rebelled against) that it has ever been. There is cause for great optimism. There is cause for great pessimism. There is cause for realism. This article may have fallen a little to the pessimistic side but mostly I try to be a realist.

d.a.n - ohrealy,

Thanks for your comments.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 22, 2008 12:01 AM
Comment #243544
Ray Guest wrote: Everything ends sooner or later - including the whole friggin universe. I think that the U.S. is in grave danger of ending sooner, rather than later, but I make no prophesies about that - dire warnings like all true prophets, yes - prophesies, no.
Yes, the potential exists.

The Great Depression was not caused by one or two things, alone. It was a number of things, all culminating simultaneously (e.g. debt, abuses, speculation, monetary system problems and abuses, drought, debt from World War 1, exacerbation from bad trade policies, etc.).

Again, the list of problems is growing. Some indicators are worse now than the Great Depression (in number and severity).

The potential for an economic meltdown is not far-fetched.

But, even if there is no severe economic down-turn, there will be painful consequences for 30+ years of excess, fiscal irresponsibility, and lawlessness. But perhaps, the most dangerous factor is the voters’ apathy, complacency, and misplaced loyalty.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 22, 2008 3:21 PM
Comment #243565

d.a.n,

Another factor to consider in all of this is the petrodollar cycle. IMO this is real reason that Bush is so desperately determined to go to war with Iran.
See: Indeed, current geopolitical tensions between the United States and Iran extend beyond the publicly stated concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions, and likely include a proposed Iranian “petroeuro” system for oil trade. Similar to the Iraq war, prospective military operations against Iran relate to the macroeconomics of ‘petrodollar recycling’ and the unpublicized but real challenge to U.S. dollar supremacy from the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency.

The petrodollar cycle has given America an unlimited credit card. The whole world has to buy dollars in order to buy oil - so we can print as many as we want. Money is about the only thing that the U.S. still sells to the world.

The petrodollar cycle is how we have financed decades of trade deficits and government spending deficits and still have been able to maintain a “strong” dollar.

This is another small aspect of the lie of neocon free market economics. There is no free market economics. They don’t want free market economics. The notion predatory, sociopathsic, soulless corporation would ever want a free and fair market is ludicrous.

The collapse of the petrodollar cycle could collapse the empire so Bush desperately needs war with Iran in order to punish them for their attempted rebellion against imperial authority and to force them back into line.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 22, 2008 8:12 PM
Comment #243617
Ray Guest wrote: The collapse of the petrodollar cycle could collapse the empire so Bush desperately needs war with Iran in order to punish them for their attempted rebellion against imperial authority and to force them back into line.
Yes, but Bush is not alone.

Not hardly.
Not just Republican politicians.
Not just Democrat politicians.
Yes, there many unpublicized root causes for our growing problems.
Profits from oil, our addiciton to it, and those that want to keep us addicted to it, is one of our many problems.

Ray Guest wrote: This is another small aspect of the lie of neocon free market economics. There is no free market economics. They don’t want free market economics. The notion predatory, sociopathsic, soulless corporation would ever want a free and fair market is ludicrous.
You’re right. We are not as free as we want to believe.

The problem is BOTH (1)Republican politicians and (2)Democrat politicans.
But it is also most (3)voters that reward Congress with cu$hy 95% re-election rates.
So, it is all of us, but only one of those three groups can change it: the voters.

Yes, money system is a fraud and the Federal Reserve (a privately owned bank), is little more than a counterfeiter.

And if Iran wants a bourse (oil exchange) and wants to deal with EURO’s, that’s their choice. While the U.S. government and Federal Reserve have forced us by law to use fiat-funny-money as legal tender, and outlawed any other currencies (and have confiscated other currencies, such as the Liberty Dollar), that does not mean the U.S. can force the world to use U.S. Dollars. And why would any one want it (e.g. over other currencies), when it is falling like a rock against all other major international currencies?

It is likely that the entire world fiat-funny-money system will eventually collapse due to its ponzi-type design, in which banks receive interest on loans of money created out of thin air, and can confiscate real assets and property on defaulted loans and foreclosures, which is essentially converting money printed out of thin air into to real property and assets.

Cha Ching!

In the current fiat funny money system, when the Federal Reserve (a privately owned bank) makes a new loan, 89% of that 1st loan is new money created out of thin air (see this 47 minute video; you may be surprised by the truth).

Here’s how it works … they don’t teach this in public schools.

Let’s say a person borrows $10,000.00 .

$8,888.89 (which is 89%) of the $10,000 loan, is new money created out of thin air.
The bank only provides $1111.11 from its reserves (i.e. $1111.11 + $8,888.89 = $10,000.00), which it can get from depositors.

But, it gets better.

That first $10,000 loan is then used to pay for something (a car) and the person(s) receiving that $10,000.00 deposits it back into the bank system (a closed loop monopoly bank system). Or, that person buys something else, but someone deposits it back into the bank system.

That deposit allows another loan, where 90% of the new loan is new money created out of thin air.
(001) 90% of that $10,000.00 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $9,000.00 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(002) 90% of that $9,000.00 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $8,100.00 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(003) 90% of that $8,100.00 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $7,290.00 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(004) 90% of that $7,290.00 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $6,561.00 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(005) 90% of that $6,561.00 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $5,904.90 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(006) 90% of that $5,904.90 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $5,314.41 consisting of money created out of thin air.
: : : : : :
(088) 90% of that $1.16 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $1.045 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(089) 90% of that $1.45 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $0.94 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(090) 90% of that $0.94 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $0.85 consisting of money created out of thin air.
: : : : : :
(130) 90% of that $0.014 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $0.013 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(131) 90% of that $0.013 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $0.011 consisting of money created out of thin air.
(132) 90% of that $0.011 can be loaned out again, to create a new loan of $0.01 consisting of money created out of thin air.

Thus, from that first $10,000 loan, another $90,000 in more new loans can be created, for a total of $100,000 in new loans (all from an initial reserve of only $1,111.11 ; 1.11% of the total $100,000 loaned; that is, 98,888.89 of new money created out of thin air).

Not only that, but:

  • (1) The bank receives the interest on all of those loans.

  • (2) And if someone defaults, the bank confiscates their property (house, car, business, etc.), converting money created out of thin air into real property and assets.

Cha Ching!

Therefore: MONEY = DEBT

However, (PRINCIPAL + INTEREST) is always greater than (MONEY_IN_EXISTENCE).
Therefore, the money supply must keep increasing, borrowing creates more debt, but all money in existence is debt.
Strangely, since money is created by debt, if there was NO debt, there would be no money.
Thus, the only limit to the total MONEY in existence is the limit on DEBT.
It’s a Catch 22.
It’s a circular system that can not be sustained (only managed to some degree for a while).
It’s like playing the game of Monopoly where one person (the bank) can print and loan all the money they want.
Before long, the bank owns everything, and everyone else is broke or deep in debt.
How is it that all the people that create and produce are all in debt to the bank that simply sits back and collects interest and creates money out of thin air?

That is partly why we currently have over $20 TRILLION personal nation-wide DEBT, and $9.2 TRILLION National DEBT, the PBGC pension system is $450 BILLION in the hole, banks are trying to get everyone they can into debt, because that banks make interest on money created out of thin air, and banks then confiscate real property from foreclosures and defaulted loans; completing the conversion of money printed out of thin air into real property and assets. The wealthy aren’t stupid, and consequently don’t maintain their wealth in U.S. Dollars that are falling like a rock. They have property, land, gold, corporations, etc. But those living on a salary, that salary is shrinking as the currency is steadily eroded.

At any rate, the eroding U.S. Dollar is just one of many 10 Regressive / Oppressive systems that did not all come about by mere coincidence.

One thing should be obvious to most of us by now: Rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians in Do-Nothing Congress with 95%-to-99% re-election rates is not working.

And wallowing in the circular, divisive, blame-game, distracting partisan-warfare doesn’t seem to be working either, does it?
Could it be that most (if not all) bought-and-paid-for politicians don’t give a damn about anyone but their own self-gain, their wealthy puppeteers, and giving themselves a raise every year?

Who among you can name 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible and accountable?
Who among those in Congress doesn’t vote on pork-barrel, graft, waste, and bridges to nowhere?

What was it Albert Einstein said?
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” - Albert Einstein U.S. (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

We should think about that the next time we go vote (for the 50% to 60% that even bother to vote) on 4-Nov-2008, and feel tempted to blindly pull the party-lever (i.e. vote straight ticket).

We’re all culpable.

There is something we can all do; something we were all supposed to be doing all along.
And that isn’t blindly pulling the party-lever and repeatedly rewarding corrupt, bought-and-paid-for politicians with 95% re-election rates.
There’s no one thing, but there is the first step:

  • (1) Education (this is one of the first steps to create outrage; arouse sufficient motivation and interest, and battle apathy, complacency, and laziness);

  • (2) With enough Education, enough voters might stop rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with 95% to 99% re-election rates (this is the only thing that will force change and get Do-Nothing Congress to police their own ranks);

  • (3) Transparency (required to see what is being perverted, who is doing it, and how to stop it);

  • (4) Accountability (law enforcement; stop Constitutional violations; stop ignoring violations of the law; prosecute the violators);

  • (5) Then begin to address those 10 regressive / oppressive systems (see above) used by some to use and abuse other PEOPLE.

At any rate, the voters will get their education one way or another, and the voters will have the government that they deserve.

We can learn the smart way, or the hard and painful way (again).

Regardless of who the next president is, that president will be useless if they are saddled with the same Do-Nothing, corrupt, FOR-SALE Congress.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 23, 2008 3:15 PM
Comment #243620
Further evidence of the dollar’s erosion the global financial markets occurred in July 2005 when China announced that it was slightly re-valuing the yuan/RNB currency. While the Bush administration indicated this was a “step in the right direction,” China’s re-valuation was not nearly as important as its decision to divorce itself from a dollar peg by moving towards a “basket of currencies” – likely to include the yen, euro, and dollar.[8] Incidentally, the Chinese re-valuation immediately lowered their monthly imported “oil bill” by 2%, given that oil trades are still priced in dollars, but it is unclear how much longer this monopoly will last.
And look at the falling U.S. Dollar compared to the Chinese YUAN since July-2005.

And, against all other major international currencies.

Moreover, the euro’s higher valuation relative the dollar also explains why Russia, Venezuela and perhaps even Saudi Arabia have expressed interest in moving towards a petroeuro system for oil transactions.[6][7] Without a doubt, a successful Iranian oil bourse may create a shift away from U.S. dollars and towards euros in the oil market. The drop in demand for petrodollars would cause the value of the dollar to plummet further, thereby undermining the U.S. position as the global economic leader.
Who can blame them, when the U.S. Dollar is falling so drastically?

Unfortunately, very few Americans understand any of this. They don’t teach monetary system theory in public schools, and with our public education falling in quality and rising in cost, it’s not likely to change.

A lot of things are not likely to change for a while … that is, until it becomes too painful … and there’s no guarantee that when change comes, it will be for the better.

Of course, there are many that will trivialize all of this and call it doomsdayish and chicken little rhetoric. We will see. I hope they are right.

At any rate, voters will get their education and they will have the government that they deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 23, 2008 3:41 PM
Comment #243677

d.a.n,

You wrote:

Thus, from that first $10,000 loan, another $90,000 in more new loans can be created, for a total of $100,000 in new loans (all from an initial reserve of only $1,111.11 ; 1.11% of the total $100,000 loaned; that is, 98,888.89 of new money created out of thin air).

So, at even a simple 2% interest rate the bank would have their money back plus overhead cost in the first year of the loan…

Thanks for the excellent analysis here as well as your links. Please post this information higher up in other commentary threads where more people will see it…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 23, 2008 11:22 PM
Comment #243750
So, at even a simple 2% interest rate the bank would have their money back plus overhead cost in the first year of the loan…
Easily.

After all, the Interest on some home loans can be 2 or 3 times the Principal.

On a mere $1111.11 initial bank reserve, $98,888.89 of new money (Principal) can be created out of thin air.

The amount of Interest can often exceed the Principal itself!
If the bank can create $98,888.89 out of thin air on $1111.11 in reserves, and the banks receive 50% of the Principal back in Interest, that’s a return of $49,444.45 on the initial $1111.11 in reserves, which amounts to an annaul 12.6% interest rate (over 30 years).

Cha Ching!

But, as you know, on most 30 year loans, the interest is about 2.5 times the principal (e.g. 98,888.89 x 2.5 = $247,222.22).

That means, the equivalent annual earning rate for the bank could be as high as 18.2% !

Banks love those 30 year loans where the Interest is 2.5+ times the principal.

Cha Ching!

That’s why I encourage people not to buy more house than they can pay off in 5 to 10 years.

Yes, I’ll try to repost this information when the topic permits it.

It is essentially a pyramid scheme, and all pyramid schemes eventually collapse.

The problem is getting bigger every year.
It’s a problem that few understand, and those that understand it, avoid the subject.
The problem is a fractional (9:1) banking system that is a pyramid scheme.
90% of each new bank loan is money created out of thin air.
But a Loan = Principal + Interest
But money created for each loan only creates the Principal.
QUESTION: Where’s the Interest come from?
ANSWER: By printing more money.
But printing more money creates inflation.
The only thing stopping the collapse of this pyramid is a short time lag by creating more debt and printing more money.
But that time lag is shrinking every day, as the ability to repay debt becomes more difficult.
All pyramids collapse eventually.
It could take decades.
It could take centuries.
But, eventually, it is a mathematical certainty that it will collapse.

To delay this collapse, the federal government is using other sinister methods to increase productivity, debt, and get back dollars from savings, pensions, Social Security, etc.

Those sinister methods are: massive illegal immigration, increasing population, easy credit, low interest rates, more debt, more excessive money creation.

The results are massive $20 Trillion nation-wide personal debt, $9.2 Trillion National Debt, plundered pensions (PBGC $450 Billion in the hole), rising foreclosures, rising bankruptcies, unemployment, the $150 Billion M3 Money Supply in 1950 is now over $10 Trillion.

It’s the reason for the proposed $140 Billion economic stimulus package. Print more money to prevent the collapse of the pyramid.

But for anyone who thinks it is bad now, they haven’t seen anything yet.

It is going to get much worse, because all pyramid schemes collapse eventually.
Eventually, the debt and inflation will become impossible to deal with.
We will not be able to create more debt to create more money.
We will not be able to print (money) our way out of the collapse (due to inflation).
We will not be able to immigrate our way out of the collapse.
We will not be able to grow our way out of the collapse.
We will not be able to tax our way out of the collapse.
We will not be able to create more debt to create more money.

But this will never be taught in public schools.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 24, 2008 7:05 PM
Comment #243785

d.a.n,

Thanks again for the comment.

From back in my old Marxist Socialist days, as I understand Marx’s analysis of capitalism: We learned that the problem with capitalism was the disconnect between paper assets and real economy. If you hold paper (stocks, debt instruments, ect.), you expect your assets to yield a return on investment. Toilet paper sitting on the table should create more toilet paper - but it is just toilet paper.

It has no connection to real economy. For example, if Mexico owes you $80 billion dollars, you need to maintain the integrity of that debt. You need to get that debt paid back. If that means devaluing the peso %30 overnight - so be it. If that means that Mexican peasants have to go hungry because they cannot afford to buy American corn to make tortillas - so be it. If that means that the John Deer factory has to close because American farmers cannot afford to buy tractors - so be it. You gotta get your $80 billion dollars back.

So Marx’s point was that there is an irreconcilable internal conflict in the capitalist system due to the dominance of the paper economy over the real productive economy. He did not propose Marxism because he thought it was such a great system, but rather, because he thought that it was a necessary next step when the capitalist system collapsed from its own internal contradictions.

I subsequently learned that Marx was studying the British system of mercantile capitalism and was correct about the inevitable eventual collapse of that system. Marx thought that the American system of industrial capitalism was only a slight variation on the British system. I have since learned / came to understand / believe that the American system of industrial capitalism is qualitatively different from and superior to British system of mercantile capitalism and also superior to Marxism.

The American industrial capitalist system emphasized the primacy of real productive economy over paper assets - therefore it is not doomed to collapse from internal contradiction. That is the good news. The bad news is that American industrial capitalism is long gone. As I understand it: We now operate under what is essentially British mercantile capitalism…

Now: Forget about $80 billion… America’s national debt: $ 48 Trillion - - and soaring. Now that is what I call some serious no friggin around pocket change… That money is owed to the same banks as Mexico’s $80 bil and they intend to get it back - no matter what - we aint talkin corn tortillas anymore…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 25, 2008 12:47 AM
Comment #243840

The problem with all of these systems is not that they are necessarily bad (in theory), but they are abused.

Our monetary system (among other things) has become severely abused. It is unsustainable.

  • “All of the perplexities, confusion, and distress in America arises not from defects of the Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.” - John Adams, One of the Founding Fathers of the American Constitution

I’ve read that many times (the link you provided above), and there is a LOT of good analysis there. He (M.W.Hodges) does a great job of explaining the debt, income vs debt rates, etc.

What he never quite concludes (not that I’ve seen) is the major reason for so much debt and the following:

  • $20 Trillion nation-wide personal debt,

  • $9.2 Trillion National Debt,

  • plundered pensions (PBGC $450 Billion in the hole),

  • rising foreclosures,

  • rising bankruptcies,

  • rising unemployment,

  • pressure to raise taxes for those that have money (i.e. the wealthy),

  • pressures to increase illegal immigration to increase productivity and growth (cheap labor),

  • stock market and real-estate bubbles and volatility,

  • the M3 Money Supply $135 Billion in year 1950 to $10.15 Trillion by year 2005.

  • inflation; a 1950 U.S. Dollar is now worth less than 11 cents,

  • the pressure to spend and borrow (i.e. numerous credit card applications in the daily mail),

  • bank fees (i.e. to increase reserves for more loans; the banks receive the interest),

  • the U.S. Dollar falling against all major international currencies,

  • and now, the recently proposed $140 Billion economic stimulus package; printing more money to increase the time-lag to prevent the collapse of the PYRAMID scheme.

The major reason is that the current monetary fractional banking system is a PYRAMID scheme.

For anyone who thinks the economy, debt, and borrowing is bad now, they haven’t seen anything yet.

But this will never be taught in public schools (see 47 minute video)

Unfortunately, monetary theory is not taught in public schools, and it has not inspired any block-buster movies.

  • “The government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credits needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers. By the adoption of these principles, the tax payers will be saved immense sums of interest. The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of government, but it is the government’s greatest creative opportunity. - Abraham Lincoln, assassinated President of the U.S.

  • “Whoever controls the volume of money in our country is absolute master of all industry and commerce … and when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled one way or another, by a few powerfu men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate.” - James A. Garfield, assassinated President of the U.S.

  • “The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.” - John Kenneth Galbraith, Economist

  • “Permit me to issue and control the Money of a nation, and I care not who makes the laws.” - Mayer Anseim Rothschild, Banker

  • “Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of sovereignty of Parliment and of democracy is idle and futile … Once a nation parts with control of its credit, it matters not who makes the nation’s laws … Usury once in control will wreck any nation.” - William Lyon MacKenzie King, former Prime Minister of Canada (who also succeeded in nationalizing the Bank of Canada).

  • “We are grateful to the Wasthington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected the promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The supramational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the National auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” - David Rockefeller, in an address to the Trilateral Commission meeting, 1991.

  • “Only small secrets need to be protected. The big ones are kept secret by public incredulity.” - Marshall McLuhan, media “guru”

  • In 1913, the struggle for a better monetary system was lost when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act, giving the privately owned international banking cartel the power to create the United States money. Later, Woodrow Wilso stated: “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world, no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men. - Woodrow Wilson, President of the U.S. 1913-1921.

  • “Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when the speak in condemnation of it.” - Woodrow Wilson, President of the U.S. 1913-1921.

At any rate, the voters will get their education one way or another, and the voters will have the government that they deserve. Especially when they repeatedly reward corrupt, FOR-SALE, do-nothing politicians in Congress with 95% re-election rates.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 25, 2008 2:14 PM
Post a comment