Third Party & Independents Archives

Enough Is Enough

The administration did a quick job of removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq with very little loss of life. For that, I commend them. However, the post invasion actions in Iraq have been, to put it mildly, embarrassing. Not only that, any attempt to win the hearts of the Iraqi people have failed at a high cost to the United States. If the Iraqi people supported our occupation, understanding their security would be improved by the additional security that we could provide, then perhaps it would be worth it. Helping a fledgling new democracy get their constitution and government in order. But we know the sad truth now that our approval there by the very people we are trying to help is at an all time low.

A new poll conducted for the UK Ministry of Defense and seen by The Sunday Telegraph shows us quite clearly that any delusions that our help in Iraq is wanted by the Iraqi people is very mistaken indeed. Not only that, it appears that more and more hostility is being supported towards the coalition forces. Many may have felt that this was the case, as was evidenced by a poll done in April of this year. But this poll is worse than the previous one because it includes the amount of support that the terrorists in Iraq are gaining. And to insure that those being questioned would not influence their answer through fear, the survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces. The findings show:

• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province

• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops

• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security

• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation

• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened

• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces

Less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security. Are kidding ourselves here? What on earth are we doing there less than one per cent of the people we are protecting think we are doing any good at all?

In addition:

• 71 per cent of people rarely get safe clean water

• 47 per cent never have enough electricity

• 70 per cent say their sewerage system rarely works

• 40 per cent of southern Iraqis are unemployed

We are a smart country. We have smart people running AND opposing the current administration's efforts in Iraq. There should be some people who could take a break from bashing and hating each other to come to a consensus on how to get out of Iraq where the people don't want us without abandoning them to the terrorist groups that are starting to run the show and giving the terrorist groups the ammunition to claim it as a victory and harden towards the west even further.

My question is, can we do it? Can we get together as a country and find a way to say, 'Ok, Iraq, you're now going to have to make it on your own or fail on your own.' and then leave as we should have done a year ago? Until they are required to stand on their own two feet there is no way that they will have a chance to succeed. Only with a chance of failure can success become possible.

It's time for some 'big boy pants' to be put on.

Posted by Rhinehold at November 1, 2005 2:58 AM
Comments
Comment #89329

Rhinehold

Media perception goes two ways.

Much good has come from the Americian involvement in Iqaq,except we don’t hear about it.

For every 1 story about the good that happens,there are 200 bad stories in the media.

For every 1 damning statistic ,there are 100 good ones.

Last week I posted a bunch but they were pooh-poohed by the left.

This story, printed in Monday’s Christian Science Monitor tells a different tale.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at November 1, 2005 6:49 AM
Comment #89336

Sicilian Eagle,

I’m not sure of what you are suggesting; because the US media is reporting mostly bad news stories how does that influence the Iraqis to the point that less than 1 percent believe we are doing any good in their communities?

Also, I changed your reposting of the entire article into the comments section into a link to prevent it from taking up such a large section of the comments and possibly treading upon copyright laws.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 1, 2005 7:47 AM
Comment #89344

sicilianeagle,

“We must stay the course”
“We are taking the fight to the terrorists”
“The Iraqi people yearn to be free”
“We are winning the fight against terrorism”
“The smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud”
“We must stop Saddam Hussein and his WMD program”
“America has a mission and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs”
“America must not ignore the threat gathering against us”
“America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people”
“Any government that supports, protects or harbours terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and equally guilty of terrorist crimes.”
“Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups or seeks to possess weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilised world and will be confronted.”
“Everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear.”
“For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein’s regime is a better and safer place.”
“Bring them on.”

I thought these baseless,nonsensical talking points and rally cries would help to soothe you as you watch all justification for the war in Iraq crumble around this idiotic administration that has earned your unwavering loyalty.


Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at November 1, 2005 8:42 AM
Comment #89345

Rhinehold

Thanks for fixing the previous post.

In the future I have gotta figure out how to do that.

My apologies.

To answer your question:

By the end of the year,a new government,an elected government will be in place there.

Since January,an intrim government was elected,a constitution written and ratified,and a new government elected.

That is called change at lightening speed.

The truoble is everybody ii too busy looking at the wound to heal…when you watch a wound heal…it takes forever it seems.

We need to stop examining every tree and take a step back and look at the forest.

If,in January,we put the aboves objectives as our goals,we would have attained them.

In 2006,the security forces must be way further along in their development,the new government begings to get on its feet and the first of our forces comes home.

Those would be my 2006 goals and I would stand back and see if they happen in ‘06,knowing that there will be peaks and valleys along the way.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at November 1, 2005 8:45 AM
Comment #89346

Sorry, Andre, the removal of Saddam was justified. The occupation is the problem. You fall down the wrong path of combining the two and trying to spread your displeasure across both of them.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 1, 2005 8:45 AM
Comment #89347

SE,

From the article you posted;

“Then on June 17, Lt. Noah Harris of Dawsonville, Ga., and Cpl. William Long of Lillburn, Ga., were killed when their humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in the area, and Risberg decided he’d had enough. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he says, pointing to the crater left by that earlier bomb as he rolled through Buhritz with just a three-humvee convoy.”

This is what the problem has been.
Do we expect to win the “hearts and minds” of Iraqis by putting out these “fires” one at a time, and only when they become the “straw that broke the camels back”?

Does it really matter that we have built thousands of schools, hospitals and whatnot, if it isn’t safe to to drive through the neighborhoods?

Recently the DOD released figures of the civilian casualty rate, and the numbers are appalling.
It doesn’t even matter that most were probably killed by the insurgents, their still dead.

It has been 2 1/2 years since we declared “Mission Accomplished” and yet in the war on terror nothing much has changed. The Iraqi people need to do a lot more for their own freedom.

When Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, I think he probably imagined a Iraqi insurgency that was fighting on our side.

If we are to be victorious in Iraq, our strategy needs to be more than just talking points.

Posted by: Rocky at November 1, 2005 8:47 AM
Comment #89348

Andre

Thanks for putting all my favorites in a convienent easy to find format.

I will be sure to include a few in every future post.

Since your post needs time to adequately respond to,I wanted to send you a quick note that the Sicilian Eagle is on the job and will reply later.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at November 1, 2005 8:49 AM
Comment #89349

SE, these should have been completed in 2005. The people running this occupation are not putting the finishing touches on the job quickly enough or with enough force. They are trying to win the hearts and minds instead of getting it done and getting out. They have failed at both, as we see now in this latest poll. Not just failed, but in a major way.

I do hope that we can accomplish those goals very soon and end the occupation, letting Iraq stand on its own feet, however I was hoping for that last year and the year before that. We are taking far too long, we are a better country than that. We are not holding ourselves up to the standards we are capable of and I’m getting tired of that.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 1, 2005 8:51 AM
Comment #89356

sicilianeagle,

I’m glad I can help.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at November 1, 2005 9:18 AM
Comment #89371

Rhinehold

I think most of us agree that the war was a success but the subsequent occupation less so. It is useful to ask what we should do now, but that is precisely the hard question and we don’t (none of us) have a good answer.

Sometimes you come to the wise but frustrating realization that the problem you face cannot be solved under the current conditions. That does not mean that it is unsolvable, but some other things have to happen before the solution comes. It does mean that we have to make many adjustments (as we have) and take advantage of opportunities (which we sometimes have not)

If you look at the Iraq Index you see that measures are getting better, but they are not getting better fast enough to satisfy rising expectations. That is why it is so important to put Iraqis in charge, so that those with expectations are also those who have to satisfy them.

We also have some wild cards. Syria is collapsing. This could be either a big help or a problem for us in Iraq. Iran is been being so bellicose that even the French are taking notice.

So I don’t want to say, “stay the course” since that is so cliché, but what we are doing NOW (not what we did initially) seems to be the best thing to do. That means we root out the insurgents in the countryside while trying to replace the American face with an Iraqi face in the places most people see soldiers. It also means that we set up permanent presence after we root out the bad guys. (Let’s not learn the wrong lesson from Vietnam. In the early 1970s, we successfully dismantled the insurgency in S. Vietnam so that the coup de grâce had to come from an actual invasion, not the insurgency) We continue with the timetables on the elections (even in the face of opposition). I think we could talk about withdrawal, but with a timetable based on events, not the calendar. I would not want to say that we will be out by such and such date, but we might say that when x number of Iraqi security forces are trained, we plan to pull our y number of American and coalition forces.

Posted by: Jakc at November 1, 2005 10:05 AM
Comment #89380

The United States will never leave Iraq. We must keep fighting the terrorists there to keep from fighting them here. All we can do is encourage more Conservatives to Enlist. Too bad they are not showing up.

Posted by: Aldous at November 1, 2005 10:37 AM
Comment #89381

btw… Nobody cares about Iraq anymore. Iraq is old news. Look at the back pages of the Washington Post if you want to learn about the 5 dead GIs that died that day.

Let’s face it. Americans are shallow and fat. Iraq is no longer has any entertainment value. As long as only military families enlist in the armed forces, who cares if they die? They volunteered, right? “Its a great tragedy”, they would say. Then they would turn around and complain about the gas they paid to drive their SUV to the Walmart less than a block away.

Welcome to the War, Republican Style.

Posted by: Aldous at November 1, 2005 10:44 AM
Comment #89396

Rhinehold,

The pre-invasion phase of the invasion of Iraq was mishandled due to the Bush administrations push for war that included both doctored and incorrect intelligence data.(Grade F)

“I wish I had not been involved in it,” says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005. “I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life.”
“Wilkerson is one of several insiders interviewed for the CNN Presents documentary “Dead Wrong — Inside an Intelligence Meltdown.” The program pieced together the events leading up to the mistaken WMD intelligence that was presented to the public.”

The administration found success in the initial phase of the invasion because of our obvious military might, having nothing to do with the Bush administration’s leadership or planning.(Grade c-)

The third phase of occupation has been an absolute disaster. He was warned by many top advisors that this would be the case. He went in anyway.(Grade F-)

How is it that the Bush administration would get high marks for any phase of the invasion of Iraq?
Bush creates a mess that he still will not admit is a mess, but you write that we should get together to solve this mess. How can we get together to solve a problem when Bush supporters don’t see or refuse to admit that there is a problem?

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at November 1, 2005 11:15 AM
Comment #89414

Rhinehold,
The first sentence you write reveals the problem with Iraq in a nutshell.

“The administration did a quick job of removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq with very little loss of life.”

What you probably mean is “very little loss” of American lives. A large number of Iraqi lives were lost. And that is the problem.

It’s not about us. It’s about them.

Somewhere around 25,000 Iraq soldiers died in the invasion, to say nothing of ‘collateral damage.’ Since then, we’ve attempted to keep a country together that was originally created by British colonialists, a country created with British oil interests in mind.

Much to our dismay, we’ve discovered what it takes to keep the country together. Saddam Hussein discovered it too.

The British put down rebellions by co-opting the Sunnis. The paid off the Sunnis, gave them political and military power, and said ‘take care of the Shias and Kurds for us.’ From a British & Sunni perspective, this worked very well.

Saddam continued the strategy. When rebellions broke out among Kurds and Shias, Saddam put them down. Hard. From a perspective of maintaining a united Iraq, this worked very well.

But back to your first sentence. The US has arrived in Iraq, and we cannot view Iraq with an Iraqi perspective. Our invasion killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, and we can quite innocently say we accomplished the conquest with “very little loss of life.”

We enjoy our western culture and political structure. We quite innocently assume the Iraqis will also enjoy our western culture and political structure. The Shias represent a majority of the population, so we naively assume it would be right and fair to put them in charge of the other ethnic groups, and that they’ll all enjoy western culture together.

It’s why I opposed invading Iraq in the first place; not for WMDS’s, or some connection with terrorists. I opposed it because removing Saddam meant taking the lid of a pressure cooker, with no plan about what to do after the lid came off.

It was stupid. I cannot express the depths to which I despise the Bush administration for doing this. We’re losing lives- American and Iraqi- with little apparent progress. We’re losing treasure.

We’re watching inconceivably large amounts of money disappear through graft and corruption from the Iraqi Defense Ministry. And yet we keep wondering why wishing isn’t making it so, why no Iraqi national army will replace our troops, why the Iraqis seem unwilling to fight for anyone outside their own ethnic group.

What to do? There’s little choice. Withdraw. Best wishes to the Iraqis.

Posted by: phx8 at November 1, 2005 12:30 PM
Comment #89420

The prolific idiocy of right and left partisanship on these blogs is the best advertisment yet for “VOID”ing both parties.

Unfortunately, i see more support for the movement from the left—not surprising since democrats are full of teenage angst and always anti anything older than the newest fad.

The glaringly public split within the GOP over the Meirs’ nomination is ample evidence that the overwhelming majority of partisan hacks are holed up today in the Democratic party.

i do not think any administration could do any worse than the Bush team in foreign policy, including Iraq; yet i hate to think what a congress wholly composed of partisans could do to us domestically.

Posted by: jo at November 1, 2005 12:50 PM
Comment #89422

phx8

Sorry can’t run now.

Syria is up next,not too mention Iran right behind.

Syria is supplying the B’aathist Sunni insurgency and Iran the hard line Shia insurgency.

Both are setting themselves up for regime change.

Iraq was a necessity.

The emina nozzle had to be put somewhere…Saddam’s Iraq was the appropriate place.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at November 1, 2005 1:02 PM
Comment #89427

Andre:

“We must stay the course”

The president was right when he said it and it’s right now.What do we do?Run?


“We are taking the fight to the terrorists”

They certainly are not taking it to us,are they?How many events here in the states since 9/11?
Ask OSL how he feels about buying a 5 year CD at the bank.Think he’ll live long enough to cash it?

“The Iraqi people yearn to be free”

What,they don’t?Think they are all dolts?Only the left can criticize that one.

“We are winning the fight against terrorism”


Ah,this is the one that sticks in your throat.Whatt is supposed to say,that we losing it?That’s what Kerry and Kennedy say.Their words send a terrible message to our troops and the enemy.A commander in chief is SUPPOSED to say those things.


“The smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud”

Better safe than sorry.That is pre-emptive attack is all about I guess.Would you have waited to see that mushroom cloud?


“We must stop Saddam Hussein and his WMD program”

Both done.Saddam is in jail and not one WMD left in Iraq,.


“America has a mission and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs”

Freedom.Try criticizing that one.


“America must not ignore the threat gathering against us”


Again,is that statement bad?We ignored warnings once…during the Clinton presidenency..and the testimony to that is in New York.Bush was on the job 8 months prior to 9/11.

“America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people”

Goddam right.Who do you propose.the corrupt UN?

“Any government that supports, protects or harbours terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and equally guilty of terrorist crimes.”


Again a correct statement.How can you criticize those words?


“Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups or seeks to possess weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilised world and will be confronted.”


Supported my me completely.Think North Korea and Iran now.


“Everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear.”


Again I suppose you disagree with that.I don’t.


“For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein’s regime is a better and safer place.”


Better place,yes…safer place…to be determined.


“Bring them on.”

Completely stupid and juvenile.


In retrospect,there are no more than two of the above sentiments that I disagree with.Parse it out yourself and be truthful

Posted by: sicilianeagle at November 1, 2005 1:17 PM
Comment #89429

Sicilianeagle:

The emina nozzle had to be put somewhere…Saddam’s Iraq was the appropriate place.

I have never agreed with your posts, and this disgusting example is one reason why.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 1, 2005 1:26 PM
Comment #89434

womanmarine

Sorry if you got grossed out…wasn’t my line…I am not that original.

About agreeing with my posts.Again sorry.We can agree to disagree

Posted by: sicilianeagle at November 1, 2005 1:44 PM
Comment #89441

Sicilianeagle:

Wasn’t your line? You posted it.

Shows what you think about the Iraqis.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 1, 2005 1:51 PM
Comment #89444

Womanmarine

Not all Iqaris…Saddam’s Iraqis.

While the statement wasn’t mine,I agree with it but I apologize for offending you.


Posted by: sicilianeagle at November 1, 2005 1:54 PM
Comment #89447

sicilianeagle,

They’re all bullshit excuses used to justify the attack of a country that was no threat to us.
It’s not the words. I can say that “for the love of a puppy I must do what is neccessary.” Is their anything wrong with a puppy’s love?
No, but if I use the love of a puppy as an excuse to kick my elderly female neighbors ass, then it’s a problem.
Your logic is mind-boggling.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at November 1, 2005 1:58 PM
Comment #89457

Rhinehold,

Good article. The Democrats have been proposing sending in more troops to increase security, improve living conditions, and more quickly recruit and train Iraqi forces.

Of course, these suggestions are so common sense that I guess no one gives them credit for these “new ideas”. But the fact is that this administration still refuses to follow any of the above, and we continue to be stuck in the mess that is Iraq.

Posted by: Burt at November 1, 2005 2:15 PM
Comment #89465

The War was not necessary. For all of the claims the Bush Administration had regarding Iraq, we can point to other nations who exhibit the same behavior. China is the best example. The people are not free. They are told what to do. There is oppression as several hundred thousand dissidents have been imprisoned over the last 50 years. China has a significant cache of weapons of mass distruction including nuclear weapons. All of these facts should suggest that we invade China to liberate the chinese, and rid the world of the threat of nuclear weapons. Other countries with the same base characteristics: Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. etc.

Rhinehold is correct that we should have gotten out last year. I think the longer we stay the less stable things become. It’s pretty clear that there will be significant turmoil (hopefully political and not civil war) in Iraq for many years. I don’t think we need to be there for an indeterminate period of time. The insurgency seems far from being “in its last throes” as the Vice President said last summer and as long as the west is there to remind them that they are indeed an occupied nation, then the insurgency will remain. Draw down our forces slowly, and methodically, do what we can to train the Iraqis and get out by next summer. We don’t need to lose any more of our folks on this.

Posted by: Dennis at November 1, 2005 2:41 PM
Comment #89467

Dennis

The War was not necessary. For all of the claims the Bush Administration had regarding Iraq, we can point to other nations who exhibit the same behavior. China is the best example. The people are not free. They are told what to do. There is oppression as several hundred thousand dissidents have been imprisoned over the last 50 years. China has a significant cache of weapons of mass distruction including nuclear weapons. All of these facts should suggest that we invade China to liberate the chinese, and rid the world of the threat of nuclear weapons. Other countries with the same base characteristics: Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. etc.

Which of these countries is also supporting terrorism, violating several UN Chapter 7 resolutions, set up rape rooms as a method of terrorising their citizens, used WMD in the recent past and under the yoke of several years of sanctions that is killing millions of their citizens?

Because, if they are, I agree that we should doing everything in our power to remove those regimes from power…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 1, 2005 2:50 PM
Comment #89478

Rhinehold,

I would submit that we have little knowledge what is happening in the bowels of closed countries like Iran, North Korea and China. As far as you and I know, these same methods are being utilized today. It was very clear the Chinese of only 20-30 years ago were using extremely oppressive measures against their own citizens. I would expect that there are similar situations in NOrth Korea and certainly within Iran. I would agree with you that the sanctions were terribly damaging to the people in Iraq. That was devestating to them. I’m not sure the cure has been any better however. I’ll defer an opinion on this over time. I really hope it works out for the better for the people of Iraq. My beef right now is that we seem to causing more damage with our presence that positives. I hope as SE says, that we aren’t hearing the good, but as the US body count continues to build, I’m not convinced.

Posted by: Dennis at November 1, 2005 3:21 PM
Comment #89482

Rhinehold,

Well, Saudi Arabia supports terrorism - against us. Pakistan is harboring Al Qaeda and has distributed WMD to virtually every crackpot regime on the planet EXCEPT Hussein’s. These are Bush’s “allies” in the war on terror. And you wonder why it is going badly?

By the way, this article seems to say that your numbers regarding deaths due to sanctions are overstated. Either way, wouldn’t it have been a better strategy to simply improve the sanctions rather than bomb the hell out of the country further if you really were just trying to improve huminitarian conditions?

Posted by: Burt at November 1, 2005 3:31 PM
Comment #89486

Dennis,

I agree that we agree that the issue is now that we are not doing the best we can do in Iraq now and it is causing more problems than good. Had we invaded and done the job right afterwards we would have been out of there by now, a strong coalition of US politicians are going to need to drop the partisan rhetoric and ‘get the job done’ because the current way is just not working.

Burt,

You’ll have to accept my apology, I was using outdated information from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and several other organizations that at the time were giving us those numbers to spur us to do something (they wanted us to drop the sanctions and leave them alone, but…)

It is sort of funny now watching all of the people who were saying that millions were dying under the sanctions and who also were against us going to war now backtracking on their own ‘intelligence’ that was wrong and trying to explain how it was really still bad but not bad enough, etc… But sometimes I get amused at terrible things, that’s not right.

The fact is that it was horrible what we were doing to them to try to punish Saddam, a tactic that was intended to only last for a short time until he relented. He refused and continued to spurn the UN, we were well on our way to another Cuban situation. I don’t think any of us agree that our current relationship with Cuba is working for anyone’s needs at the present time, I don’t see why we would want to continue it.

Basically, if they didn’t have WMD then we should have dropped sanctions immediately. Unfortunately, I think we all know what would have happened the next day, all of the weapons programs would have come back online and greater ease to use their terrorist activities to further their own goals would have been the rule of the day. I just don’t believe that the middle of the road ‘punish for the sake of punishing’ is the best way to handle these situations. I believe that had we just dealt with Cuba in the last 60s we would have a tremendous ally and economic partner just miles from our shores. It may have been bad for a few years but I think that in the long run the US, Cuba, and probably the world, would be better off than we are now with the mockery that exists today.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 1, 2005 3:47 PM
Comment #89497

Rhinehold,

“It is sort of funny now watching all of the people who were saying that millions were dying under the sanctions and who also were against us going to war now backtracking on their own ‘intelligence’ that was wrong and trying to explain how it was really still bad but not bad enough, etc… But sometimes I get amused at terrible things, that’s not right.”
——————————

Actually, it’s not funny, but more ironic. I agree with your point. It does seem on review that had we done something earlier, perhaps the the suffering in Iraq from 1991 on would have been alleviated. We don’t know that, but perhaps it would have. I think it’s a hard lesson we need to learn about attempting to drive others towards our beliefs and systems of government. I don’t have an answer, and would think that there are smarter minds than mine that have tackled this problem. I’d like to think that, but then again we have the last 14 years as evidence that event those “smart minds” didn’t make it work either.

General Brent Scowcroft, Bush I’s National Security Advisor has an excellent article in the latest New Yorker that is worth a read. Scowcroft is an avoid hawk, and was the chief architect of the drive to war during the 1991 Gulf War. He’s got a pretty interesting perspective on the matter and it’s worth a read. I don’t know if we need to be in the business of nation building. It’s a noble thought, that we can deliver autocratic governments into democracy, but I’m not so sure that we need to be in that business. Certainly, we have enough on our plate at home to be concerned about.

What you are correct on Rhinehold, is that good people from the left and the right need to drop the B.S. about who was right and who was wrong and work on resolving the matter now. It’s going to be ugly for some time to come I think, so there won’t be any silver bullets. I’m no fan of Hussein, but I’m also no fan of fundamentalism of any stripe. We are going to have to work at it for a long, long time. I believe though, in the long view, that diplomacy over war will carry the day. Even Churchill said “It is better to Jaw-Jaw than War-War”. Who knows. I’m glad Hussein is gone, but I really would like to have gotten Bin-Laden, Mullah Omar and the rest of his ilk taken care of by now.

It’s a subject for serious people and certainly beyond my ken to know the answer. My concern right now though is that we keep losing people and we don’t in my view seem to be making sustainable progress. I can’t imagine the next logical steps are to take down Syria and Iran, but it seems like this administration are preparing for this now. I’ve got an 18 year old son that has on occasion discussed going into the armed services. As I consider that possibility, I don’t see right now it being “worth it” for him to join up and get killed. Perhaps I never will.

Posted by: Dennis at November 1, 2005 4:28 PM
Comment #89506

Rhinehold,

Yes, the suffering under the sanctions was bad. In my opinion, going to war the way that we did was not the best way to ease that suffering.

Indeed, I’d rather have the current Cuba than the current Iraq.

Posted by: Burt at November 1, 2005 5:02 PM
Comment #89587

Burt:


Indeed, I’d rather have the current Cuba than the current Iraq.

I think if Iraq had the same amount of oil under it as Cuba, and had a Catholic religious background your idea would work just fine!!!

Right now Saudi’s fling airplanes into our buildings just because we have combat troops on Muslim soil. How in the world would we enforce sanctions without troops on the ground? Got any ideas?

I think it’s a bit different.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 1, 2005 10:15 PM
Comment #89598

Burt, would you rather have 5 years of the current Iraq or another 50 years of the current Cuba in the middle east? With the current Iraq option, we can have 45 years of moving on and letting a country develop and flourish.

I’ll stop from actually trying to determine the motives of why you would pick one over the other.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 1, 2005 11:03 PM
Comment #89694

What short memories the so-called-right has. Can you go back a decade and remember what they said about Bosnia? Can you go back 2 years and remember the reasons we were given for this war? Can you go back 1 week and remember what they said about Scooter and Miers?

It seems everything from that side is an excuse for a failure. They point to useless statistics, like built schools, in the same way they reported the number of dead VC. All bull. The Iraqi people are as screwed as the ARVN and we’ll leave them hanging in the end too.

There is nothing to be proud of from this administration. They screwed up everything except sucking up to the christiantaliban and even that may be coming to an end.

Posted by: Dave at November 2, 2005 9:44 AM
Comment #89710
Burt, would you rather have 5 years of the current Iraq or another 50 years of the current Cuba in the middle east? With the current Iraq option, we can have 45 years of moving on and letting a country develop and flourish.

I guess if you could guarantee that there would be 45 years of development in Iraq, and a pro-US state, then I would choose that option. But that’s a very big “IF”, my friend.

I’ll stop from actually trying to determine the motives of why you would pick one over the other.

Is this some backhanded way of trying to call me a communist? I would presume that to be beneath you.

Posted by: Burt at November 2, 2005 10:52 AM
Comment #89761

Burt,

No, I was seriously stopping myself (and hopefully anyone else) from going down the path of trying to assign some nefarious ‘motive’ to your stance. I am a little surprised you came up with communism as well, THAT motive didn’t come across my mind until you mentioned it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 2, 2005 12:41 PM
Comment #89796

I’m beginning to wonder about the federal government’s real motives.
What possible motivation would there be to linger and delay leaving IRAQ ?
It’s almost as if the federal government wants to drag this out longer than necessary.

It seemed unlikely to me that it was simply for the oil, but some things make one wonder.

Why, when some generals and troops were saying there should be an increase in their numbers, it was ignored?

Why hasn’t there been more aggressive training of IRAQI troops and police forces?

Why were the Marines withdrawn from Fallujah before the city was secured? Many Marines weren’t happy about that withdrawl.

IRAQ has over 26 million people.
Aren’t at least half willing to enforce peace and the new constitution?
78% of voters voted to approve the constitution.

So, we should be getting close to telling IRAQ it’s about time we left IRAQ, and some of the 26 million IRAQIs need to take our place.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 2, 2005 2:18 PM
Comment #89805

Rhinehold-
First, compromise is the courtesy of decision makers to those who do not have as much authority to do things in a sphere of influence. Two companies compromise in a deal because each controls something the other cannot. When the compromise, in terms of power, is made between non-equals, it is up to those with greater power to take the initiative on compromise. The alternative is that the minority must compromise by submission to the majority.

Here, that is not a useful compromise.

As for our motivations, I’ll give you what was the consensus fear among Americans: 9/11, version 2. If Bush had not emphasized the WMD and terrorist angle, had not implied complicity between the regime and al-Qaeda, Americans would have never stood for a war in Iraq.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 2, 2005 2:36 PM
Comment #89876

How right you are Stephen. Long after the claims of links between Saddam and OBL and Al Queda had been thoroughly discredited, Cheney was still claiming that Saddam was linked to 9/11. Powell advised GW before the war that if you break it, it’s yours. When you think about it, that makes perfect common sense. When the coalition drive Saddam out of Kuwait in 91, Bush 41 stopped the war. Firstly, the coalitions UN mandate had been achieved. But just as importantly, Bush realised that toppling Saddam would leave the very mess that the US now finds itself in. Even when Bush 41 encouraged the Iraqis to rise up against Saddam after the war, and when Saddam was slaughtering those who had answered Bushs’ call, he would not go in to support them. The reason being that he knew that the change needed to come from within the regime. Another strong man was needed to hold Iraq together, one that the US could do business with. Iraq may be a nation, but even more so it is a collection of tribes and religious groups, and the US invasion had stirred the sumliminal tensions that have always been between these groups. Saddam held it together with ruthless repression. The lid is off now, and that is why the Iraqi Army and police are not ready to act. They are predominantly loyal to tribal and religious ties than a wider national loyalty. You guys have stirred a hornets nest, and there is no end in sight, and no easy way out. The neocons in their hubris, thought that US military might could easily subdue Iraq. Well, they could defeat its armed forces with relative ease, but your experience over the last two and a half years has shown the limits of US military power. For all of its awesome firepower, it cannot subdue armed opposition elements with relatively unsophisticated weaponry. Iraq has defied all of the military lessons from Vietnam - if you have to go in, go in massively, know what your objective is and how you will attain it, and most importantly of all, have a coherent exit strategy. Powell knew this, and tried to caution Bush, but Bush had his mind made up on Iraq long before 9/11. And now US kids are paying the price with their lives and limbs, not to mention the price countless thousands of Iraqis are paying. How ridiculous now mission accomplished looks, major combat operations completed - the action man in the flying suit. Have you guys learned nothing from Watergate? How can any significant number of Americans put so much faith and trust in any President?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at November 2, 2005 6:32 PM
Comment #90075

Yes, Paud in Euroland…sad, isn’t it ?
It’s because we get lied to all the time,
and have resigned to the futility to change it.

But, there is a way. Right under our nose.
It’s been there all along.
Simply start voting out incumbents until things get better.
The amazing thing is that the idea is really the most simple, easy, quick, safe, inexpensive, non-partisan, peaceful, easy to understand, easy to communicate and share, and most responsible action to peacefully force a balance of power (not simply shift) between government and the people.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 3, 2005 12:02 PM
Comment #90793

Rhinehold,

This is an excellent article. I was opposed to this war from the start but now believe that we should try to win it. Although, as I have written elsewhere, I believe that it is close to becoming impossible to win because Bush the Second has led us into a double bind no win situation. If we stay, we effectively create more terrorist and provide live combat training to many of them. If we leave, we show apparent weakness and leave the terrorist a safe haven.

As a liberal, I need to eat a little crow - (preferably cooked with barbecue sauce). I was one who was very critical of Bush the First for not finishing the job in Iraq. So… I was in complete alignment with the neo-cons - parish the thought. I now see that I was wrong and that Bush the First was in fact much wiser than I was. Too bad Bush II wasn’t wise enough to seek the guidance of elder statesmen like Clinton and Bush I.

Posted by: Ray G. at November 6, 2005 12:36 PM
Comment #91025

This is in response to Rhinehold’s comment from the original post. First two sentences.

“The administration did a quick job of removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq with very little loss of life. For that, I commend them.”

According to sources on the Iraq body count database the civilian losses resulting from major combat operations March 03’-May03’ is 7,350.

It was certainly quick. However, an innocent life cost figure that reaches into the thousands is not something to dismiss lightly.

Posted by: Jordan Burns at November 7, 2005 6:46 PM
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