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View Full Version : saddam is the bravest leader of all



lebanies
06-01-2007, 09:33 AM
ya you may find it weird,espesially with the media crab that they are stuffing our minds with about saddam,saddam is that and this,just remember that iraq is a independent country that was invaided from a foreigen one, and his mistake was that he defended his own,and now he is dead,did"nt the americans do the same when the invaided japan killed all the high officers,they were in thousands.....did"nt they do the same in vietnam,what about afghanistan they put 3000 men in 6 containers and left them for 3 days in the middle of the dessert till the were dead,a horible death,ya when the temprature reachs 45 degree.what about iraq,3000 iraqies are dying on a regular base in iraq monthly,did you know that?where was the media then telling about the crimes of the us "marines"and now they hanged saddam cause he killed 148 men in a village where he was about to be killed by them,did you know that 20 of his body gaurds were dead in that operation and this attempt happened in the middle of the war with iran,and it is well known that in war time revolt is punished by death.
now days,every single day passes more than 150 people die in iraq but...........who will accuse the usa troups with any murder eh?what brought the us troops into iraq for?for freedom,all the iraqis sees now is death.
well,at least saddam walked to the roope in high heels,defient,and not scared....a leader.
he was insulted at the time the rope was on his neck,but he stood still....a leader.
yes the same like george buch when in 9\11 ,he flew like a rabbit into a safe house with his dick shini thing,yes such a leader,i can"nt imagine what the iron leader g.buch would do if he was in saddam"s shoe ,yes i can imagine.
it is not about the US to judje on saddam,history will.

rewch
09-01-2007, 01:04 PM
superb... keep it up

IdleRich
09-01-2007, 01:17 PM
"well,at least saddam walked to the roope in high heels,defient,and not scared....a leader"
Those bastards really were determined to humiliate him weren't they?


"george buch when in 9\11 ,he flew like a rabbit into a safe house with his dick shini thing"
I have to say I'm pretty curious about this dick shini thing - what is it?

lebanies
09-01-2007, 06:03 PM
well I dont know if I pronounced it right,is the vice president of the great hero buch:p
dont let your mind go into naughty thoughts

Guybrush
09-01-2007, 06:05 PM
what about afghanistan they put 3000 men in 6 containers and left them for 3 days in the middle of the dessert till the were dead,a horible death,ya when the temprature reachs 45 degree.

Even if there may be granules of truth in what you write, I highly doubt this claim (a logistical nightmare if there ever was one).

tht
09-01-2007, 06:15 PM
that is sort of true, probably 3000 is using a different number system known only to seers and endearingly incoherent internet pixies (or they were huge fucking crates) but i know US special forces gave some captured talibanalqaeda a similar treat

judging by some of the corpses they also let the friendly cuddly afghans (the northern alliance) torture loads of them to death in a more baroque fashion

lebanies
09-01-2007, 07:31 PM
well,you have to focus on the aritcle as a whole,dont no mock just by finding some quote that you dont like or disbelive.
you did read,but the 3000 dead, is that what you saw in the whole article.
well if you read back in time you will know also that 500 prisoner were drawned to death in the (ghanji casstle) in afghanistan,besides the ones died in the containers.
This article is not about afghanistan if it was i could just tell you soooo many information about the attrocites the us troops done there,but as long as you listen only to one side media you will never know the truth.......

bruno
09-01-2007, 07:57 PM
now days,every single day passes more than 150 people die in iraq but...........who will accuse the usa troups with any murder eh?what brought the us troops into iraq for?for freedom,all the iraqis sees now is death.
well,at least saddam walked to the roope in high heels,defient,and not scared....a leader.
he was insulted at the time the rope was on his neck,but he stood still....a leader.
yes the same like george buch when in 9\11 ,he flew like a rabbit into a safe house with his dick shini thing,yes such a leader,i can"nt imagine what the iron leader g.buch would do if he was in saddam"s shoe ,yes i can imagine.
it is not about the US to judje on saddam,history will.
oh for fucks sake.

how does this last dignified stance, this leader quality you gush over absolve him in any way of his crimes?

and hasn't it crossed your mind that iraqis might just be partly responsible for the current bloodshed in iraq? you will invoke resistance to occupation, but how is blowing up people queuing up for work resistance to anything?

adruu
09-01-2007, 08:03 PM
i heard the story about the cargo containers four years ago. ... not on the internet.

i have no idea if its true or not, and i probably never will. im actually incredibly surprised to read this here. I have never repeated what i heard to anyone.

i know seymor hersh called the troops in iraq the most vicious and brutal killers he's ever seen...that was off the microphone.

but to call saddam brave is clearly delusional...

bruno
09-01-2007, 08:39 PM
it's fine to oppose the invasion and occupation of iraq, but to elevate hussein to martyr status on the grounds of a flawed judicial process is frankly an insult to the thousands that were tortured and killed under his régime. how many people would have been content with even a fraction of the facilities offered to him.

lebanies
10-01-2007, 12:38 PM
insult to the thousands that were tortured and killed under his régime.
can you tell me the exact date and location of saddam"s crimes????

crackerjack
10-01-2007, 01:54 PM
Well Haladja for one, the invasions of Iran and Kuwait for two others. If you want more specifics I'm sure Amnesty International will oblige you.

Do yourslef a favour Lebanies. Don't deify one monster in order to demonise another. The enemy of your enemy could just be a wanker himself.

swears
10-01-2007, 01:57 PM
Saddam was in cahoots with the US against Iran in the 80s anyway, wasn't he?

vimothy
10-01-2007, 02:00 PM
Saddam was in cahoots with the US against Iran in the 80s anyway, wasn't he?

I would say you have that back to front.

vimothy
10-01-2007, 02:15 PM
Joking aside, I have to agree that it's frankly rather silly to canonise Saddam simply on the basis of his having been executed by the Iraqi government. "Bravest" because dead? Plenty of Iraqis are executed every day (in much worse conditions, and with absolutely no judicial process, however compromised you believe it to be) and I'm quite sure that most die with a lot more dignity than Saddam - to say nothing of being infinitely less deserving of their fate. Saddam might be popular now ("Saddam: A Tribute" is the title of a recent article in the Guardian, for example) amongst left wingers and the anti-war set, but he is still responsible for the deaths of many of his own citizens, two regional wars and, to a degree, much of the sectarian chaos engulfing Iraq.

Whatever your opinions of the US liberation/invasion, Saddam was a murderous thug - hey the world just got lighter, so don't sweat it.

crackerjack
10-01-2007, 02:27 PM
"Saddam might be popular now ("Saddam: A Tribute" is the title of a recent article in the Guardian, for example) amongst left wingers and the anti-war set"

Could you qualify that remark please. I consider myself left-wing and anti-war, but I make no excuses for Saddam and cheered inside when he was hanged. I don't deny there are those who see any enemy of the US as their friend but they're not the majority, or even a large minority. Call them Trots, the jihadi left, the idiot left, whatever you want, just not *the* left. Not in my name (etc).

lebanies
10-01-2007, 02:59 PM
Whatever your opinions of the US liberation/invasion, Saddam was a murderous thug - hey the world just got lighter, so don't sweat it.

Do you think the world is lighter now for the iraqis,now saddam is gone,well......I am sure that you know by now ,that they pity his days, at least there were no daily blood shed like now days.

as for halabja the curds revolted on saddams government in the middle of the war with iran and that would be considered as a an act of treason,and treason is punished by death in war time. well as for kwait all knows about the u.s ambassador in iraq appril glasspy who framed saddam to go into kwait by spreading the word that the US have no interest of what is happeneing between the two nations which was explained in the diplomatic language as a green light ,they did that ,to have the reason for the us to come to the gulf region...not for you ,but for the oil.
as for if you ask Amnesty International about the us troops I am sure that they will give you more crimes commited by them than saddam,you know abou ghreb prison..... ......

vimothy
10-01-2007, 03:05 PM
"Saddam might be popular now ("Saddam: A Tribute" is the title of a recent article in the Guardian, for example) amongst left wingers and the anti-war set"

Could you qualify that remark please. I consider myself left-wing and anti-war, but I make no excuses for Saddam and cheered inside when he was hanged. I don't deny there are those who see any enemy of the US as their friend but they're not the majority, or even a large minority. Call them Trots, the jihadi left, the idiot left, whatever you want, just not *the* left. Not in my name (etc).

Sorry, you're quite right: Saddam might be popular now amongst some of the left-wing and anti-war set... (As this thread demonstrates).

There are still plenty of decent lefties (Berman, Kamm, Cohen, Hitchens, Aaronovitch, etc) who aren't pro-totalitarian (I would probably use the phrase "the pro-tyrant left"), just as there were during the Communist era. I don't think "Trots" is appropriate, as I would see Trotsky as having more in common with pro-intervention leftists, or even Neo-cons.

vimothy
10-01-2007, 03:58 PM
Do you think the world is lighter now for the iraqis,now saddam is gone,well......I am sure that you know by now ,that they pity his days, at least there were no daily blood shed like now days.

I think this is a bit confused. The last poll of Iraqi public opinion I saw (December 2005, by Oxford Research International) had roughly a roughly 50/50 split of opinion in the interview population - just under half saying that the country is better off and just over saying that it is worse. (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=nation_world&id=3717385)
But opinion polls change (the previous poll in 2004 was much more supportive of the intervention), and it is not that hard to imagine, surely, that if the security situation were to improve (leading to social and economic stability - let's face it, Iraq could be a wealthy country if this were to occur), then the Iraqi public would feel that the intervention had been worthwhile.
You are wrong if you think that most Iraqi's mourn their dead "leader" (a better title for this thread would have been "Saddam, the bravest torturing despot of them all"): perhaps in the Sunni triangle where the population feels disenfranchised and under threat, but not in Shia or Kurdish regions.
As for there not being daily blood shed, well, obviously there was, Saddam murdered plenty - it just didn't make the news as often.


as for halabja the curds revolted on saddams government in the middle of the war with iran and that would be considered as a an act of treason,and treason is punished by death in war time.

Way to nail your colours to the mast - let's all sing the praises of genocide!
But I don't know where you have got this from; perhaps you could explain it a little (in which state treason in war is punishable by death, the view of international law, etc) and provide corroborating links.
I also take it from this statement that you believe that 1. Iraq's war with Iran was legally and morally justified (obviously not that concerned about American Imperialsim, if so), and 2. that the Kurds deserved it (you obviously don't value human life, if so), including the use of chemical weapons against them.
Interestingly, there are those who believe that Tony Blair could be charged with treason under British law, for betraying the country by taking it to an unnecessary and illegal war. Could Saddam not be accused of the same?


well as for kwait all knows about the u.s ambassador in iraq appril glasspy who framed saddam to go into kwait by spreading the word that the US have no interest of what is happeneing between the two nations which was explained in the diplomatic language as a green light ,they did that ,to have the reason for the us to come to the gulf region...not for you ,but for the oil.

So Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was the fault of the Americans was it, even though they actually liberated the country (which pissed off bin Laden no end)? This is doublethink worthy of any Jihadist ideologue. Obviously Saddam went there for oil - the origins of the conflict are to be found in the debts accrued by Iraq during the (justified?) war with Iran. Iraq wanted the Kuwaitis to wipe their debts, and to to cut oil production to push up the price of oil, thus paying for his (non-imperialistic, naturally) war. (I can certainly think of an appropriate if inane phrase here: No blood for oil. Oh, but wait, only the US is interested in oil).
Even if the US were to give a green light to Saddam's invasion (certainly not what i've heard: "U.S. ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie met with Saddam in an emergency meeting on July 25, 1990, where the Iraqi leader stated his intention to continue talks. U.S. officials attempted to maintain a conciliatory line with Iraq, indicating that while President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker did not want force used, they would not take any position on the Iraq-Kuwait boundary dispute and did not want to become involved. The transcript, however, does not show any statement of approval of, acceptance of, or foreknowledge of the invasion." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam#Tensions_with_Kuwait), Saddam would still responsible for the invasion. If I were to tell you that it's ok to kill someone, and you do, is their death my fault or yours? What about Iraqi agency in the conflict?
Again though, unless you explain yourself properly and provide some evidence it's quite hard to refute what you say.



as for if you ask Amnesty International about the us troops I am sure that they will give you more crimes commited by them than saddam,you know abou ghreb prison..... ......

Of all the things you've said, this is the most appalling load of bullshit (except the bit about the Hallabja Kurds being reponsible for their own genocide).
I've got an idea, why don't you get the relevant data and prove that, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, the treatment of prisoners under the US Armed Forces is worse than under Saddam? Because you can't?

Here's an account of life in Abu Grhaib under Saddam:

“‘They called all the prisoners out to the courtyard for what they called a ‘celebration.’ We all knew what they meant by ‘celebration.’ All the prisoners were chained to a pipe that ran the length of the courtyard wall. One prisoner, Amer al-Tikriti, was called out. They said if he didn’t tell them everything they wanted to know, they would show him torture like he had never seen. He merely told them he would show them patience like they had never seen.'’This is when they brought out his wife, who was five months pregnant. One of the guards said that if he refused to talk he would get 12 guards to rape his wife until she lost the baby. Amer said nothing. So they did. We were forced to watch. Whenever one of us cast down his eyes, they would beat us.’ ‘Amer’s wife didn’t lose the baby. So the guard took a knife, cut her belly open and took the baby out with his hands. The woman and child died minutes later. Then the guard used the same knife to cut Amer’s throat.’ There is a moment of silence. Then Idrissi says: ‘What we have seen about the recent abuse at Abu Ghraib is a joke to us.’”

Or perhaps you should read "The Republic of Fear".

vimothy
10-01-2007, 04:12 PM
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Republic-Fear-Politics-Modern-Iraq/dp/0520214390/sr=1-1/qid=1168448988/ref=sr_1_1/203-2534436-6988710?ie=UTF8&s=books

It might help.

craner
10-01-2007, 05:04 PM
I Like this Vimothy guy. He talks sense.

Guybrush
10-01-2007, 05:09 PM
Here's an account of life in Abu Grhaib under Saddam:

“‘They called all the prisoners out to the courtyard for what they called a ‘celebration.’ We all knew what they meant by ‘celebration.’ All the prisoners were chained to a pipe that ran the length of the courtyard wall. One prisoner, Amer al-Tikriti, was called out. They said if he didn’t tell them everything they wanted to know, they would show him torture like he had never seen. He merely told them he would show them patience like they had never seen.'’This is when they brought out his wife, who was five months pregnant. One of the guards said that if he refused to talk he would get 12 guards to rape his wife until she lost the baby. Amer said nothing. So they did. We were forced to watch. Whenever one of us cast down his eyes, they would beat us.’ ‘Amer’s wife didn’t lose the baby. So the guard took a knife, cut her belly open and took the baby out with his hands. The woman and child died minutes later. Then the guard used the same knife to cut Amer’s throat.’ There is a moment of silence. Then Idrissi says: ‘What we have seen about the recent abuse at Abu Ghraib is a joke to us.’”
Ugh, that is the most horrible thing I have read in a long while, the exact moment when human nature hits rock-bottom. Thanks for taking your time arguing against the hair-raising delusions put forth here; I agree with most everything you write.

bruno
10-01-2007, 05:19 PM
that is horrific.

vimothy
11-01-2007, 11:08 AM
If you need more horror - consider this evidence of Saddam's "bravery", from an interview with the execrable Scott Ritter, an American weapons inspector:


You've spoke about having seen the children's prisons in Iraq. Can you describe what you saw there?

The prison in question is at the General Security Services headquarters, which was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children — toddlers up to pre-adolescents — whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,351165,00.html

matt b
11-01-2007, 11:19 AM
There are still plenty of decent lefties (Berman, Kamm, Cohen, Hitchens, Aaronovitch, etc) who aren't pro-totalitarian (I would probably use the phrase "the pro-tyrant left"), just as there were during the Communist era. I don't think "Trots" is appropriate, as I would see Trotsky as having more in common with pro-intervention leftists, or even Neo-cons.

i don't wish to derail the thread- i agree with nearly all you say, but you need to replace the word 'decent' with 'pro-war' for the first sentance above to make sense.

tht
11-01-2007, 12:58 PM
There are still plenty of decent lefties (Berman, Kamm, Cohen, Hitchens, Aaronovitch, etc) who aren't pro-totalitarian

these are cunts and by any worthwhile measure not left wing (not sure who the first one is, several people with that surname afaik)

vimothy
11-01-2007, 01:36 PM
these are cunts and by any worthwhile measure not left wing (not sure who the first one is, several people with that surname afaik)

[Berman refers to Paul Berman, a professor of Journalism and an editor of Dissent Magazine]

How so? Because they're anti-totalitarian?

matt b
11-01-2007, 01:43 PM
[Berman refers to Paul Berman, a professor of Journalism and an editor of Dissent Magazine]

How so? Because they're anti-totalitarian?

as they were pro-war, there is an argument to make that they are pro-totalitarianism

vimothy
11-01-2007, 02:19 PM
Hi Matt


i don't wish to derail the thread- i agree with nearly all you say, but you need to replace the word 'decent' with 'pro-war' for the first sentance above to make sense.

To be honest I'm not sure that I do.

"There are still plenty of pro-war lefties who aren't pro-totalitarian, just as there were during the Communist era."

This doesn't seem appropriate to me. Perhaps you could explain your reasoning, and I'll do the same...

There are no decent lefties who are pro-totalitarian, necessarily (because that's included in my definition of a decent lefty). However, there are decent, anti-totalitarian lefties - I just wouldn't want to describe them as "pro-war".

To say that one is "pro-war" without qualification, IMO, is as nonsensical as saying that one is anti-war. Consider a blog I've just discovered (thanks to a link at Dissensus): Lenin's Tomb (http://leninology.blogspot.com/). If you visit the site, you will see that on the right hand side of the page there is a banner linking to stopwar.org directly above a banner for Hezb'allah. If "anti-war" is meant absolutely, the two banners are mutually exclusive (the Hezb are a non-state "resistance" army at best, foreign funded terrorists at worst) - whatever your beliefs about Hezb'allah, they fight wars. So Lenin's Tomb is pro- and anti-war at the same time time. I noticed also that "lenin" (very anti-war; why not go the whole hog and call yourself Stalin, eh?) reads Zizeck - is this then an example of the Freudian dream logic with which Zizeck characterises the US Administration?

Although I'm perhaps using an unfair example, clearly it is possible (and likely, to say nothing of sensible) that one would be anti-war in one instance and pro-war in another. Hitchens, to use another example, was pro-war re US intervention, and anti-war re Jihadist attacks on New York.

So why describe yourself as the "pro-war left"? It's misleading: no rational actor can or should be pro-war in every context.

And within the context of this thread, is it possible anyway to be "anti-war" and anti-totalitarian? Or perhps it would be better to say, what does it mean to be both anti-war and anti-totalitarian? What are the anti-war policies? What is the response? What if they are less effective or more harmful than an armed response? There are many now defending dictatorships against Western intervention. But war is already being waged in many of the regimes, by the state (or by terror groups like Hezb'allah and al Qaeda) against civilians. How can one claim to be anti-totalitarian, yet be unprepared to place your money (or troops, or own flesh) where your mouth is, to try to use violence to aid those who are already its victims? "People are being abused, but God forbid we should go to war, then it would be our responsibility." I guess to some, war is a greater evil than totalitarianism, even though totalitarianism metes out violence to its own people and war to its neighbours.

vimothy
11-01-2007, 02:23 PM
as they were pro-war, there is an argument to make that they are pro-totalitarianism

Seems like a strange argument to make, if you ask me, though I confess that it is unfamiliar. Because they support positive action against totalitarianism, they are totalitarian?

vimothy
11-01-2007, 02:55 PM
Seems like a strange argument to make, if you ask me, though I confess that it is unfamiliar. Because they support positive action against totalitarianism, they are totalitarian?

And by the same logic, wouldn't, for example, Orwell be totalitarian as well?

tht
11-01-2007, 02:56 PM
amazed that this sophomoric shit gets aired 4 years after a transparently sociopathic landgrab by thieves and likudniks is now transparently a disaster for america in every respect, save for a few who had their hand in the till at the right time

all of those fat decrepit extrotkyist hack cunts like hitchens/aaronovitch et al should surely be more marginalised now than the few people in the same profession who weren't sucking off wolfowitz/.cheney/murdoch circa 03 (to be obvious someone like krugman in the nyt, notably not a de facto journalist)

IdleRich
11-01-2007, 03:31 PM
"I think this is a bit confused. The last poll of Iraqi public opinion I saw (December 2005, by Oxford Research International) had roughly a roughly 50/50 split of opinion in the interview population - just under half saying that the country is better off and just over saying that it is worse. (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sec...rld&id=3717385)
But opinion polls change (the previous poll in 2004 was much more supportive of the intervention), and it is not that hard to imagine, surely, that if the security situation were to improve (leading to social and economic stability - let's face it, Iraq could be a wealthy country if this were to occur), then the Iraqi public would feel that the intervention had been worthwhile.

So the poll in 2004 was supportive and the one in 2005 was less so, that seems to be trend away from supporting the war to me. Considering that the situation in Iraq has worsened over the last year I think it's pretty hard to use this change (decrease) in support to argue that it may now have increased.
I agree with you that if the security situation was to improve and it did indeed lead to social and economic stability then the public would feel that the intervention had been worthwhile (apart from all of them who were dead and their families of course) but at the moment there is no sign whatsoever of that happening, that's the problem.

vimothy
11-01-2007, 03:50 PM
So the poll in 2004 was supportive and the one in 2005 was less so, that seems to be trend away from supporting the war to me. Considering that the situation in Iraq has worsened over the last year I think it's pretty hard to use this change (decrease) in support to argue that it may now have increased.

You misunderstand me - I was trying to demonstrate that the Iraqis don't "pity [Saddam's] days", which I take to mean that Iraqis miss Saddam's rule, not that support inside Iraq for the war has increased. (Obviously it has decreased). My point is that this is hard to prove: even the most recent poll has an almost 50/50 split between support and opposition to the intervention. Nobody is asking "do you miss Saddam?" because that would be pointless and insensitive. Of course they don't, even if they don't now feel that the intervention has been a success. But in any case the poll reflects the dire security situation in places like Baghdad - and that is subject to change, hence the decrease in support. So that even were pollsters to ask after Saddam, the response would be conditional, i.e. tied to the time of asking and the state of the Iraqi state.

So, if we are using this measure (Iraqi support for intervention) to justify or attack US policy, the war would have been justifiable in 2004, unjustifiable in 2005, and who knows, possibly justifiable again in 2010.


I agree with you that if the security situation was to improve and it did indeed lead to social and economic stability then the public would feel that the intervention had been worthwhile (apart from all of them who were dead and their families of course) but at the moment there is no sign whatsoever of that happening, that's the problem.

Indeed...

Guybrush
11-01-2007, 03:57 PM
Matt B: If you by ‘as they were pro-war, there is an argument to make that they are pro-totalitarianism’ allude to the Bush administration, you are using the word ‘totalitarian’ awry. There is some contention over when to use the words ‘totalitarian’ and ‘authoritarian’ to describe a regime or a country, but no serious debater would ever call the U.S. of today ‘totalitarian’.

Vimothy: The word ‘decent’ is a value-word so I would suggest refraining from using it rashly. I think your summary (‘there are still plenty of pro-war lefties who aren't pro-totalitarian, just as there were during the Communist era’) is a bit shaky, by the way: there are several perfectly legitimate reasons for opposing the war and demanding a swift withdrawal, to articulate them is by no means to be ‘pro-totalitarianism’.

Slothrop
11-01-2007, 04:08 PM
Matt B: If you by ‘as they were pro-war, there is an argument to make that they are pro-totalitarianism’ allude to the Bush administration, you are using the word ‘totalitarian’ awry. There is some contention over when to use the words ‘totalitarian’ and ‘authoritarian’ to describe a regime or a country, but no serious debater would ever call the U.S. of today ‘totalitarian’.

Vimothy: The word ‘decent’ is a value-word so I would suggest refraining from using it rashly. I think your summary (‘there are still plenty of pro-war lefties who aren't pro-totalitarian, just as there were during the Communist era’) is a bit shaky, by the way: there are several perfectly legitimate reasons for opposing the war and demanding a swift withdrawal, to articulate them is by no means to be ‘pro-totalitarianism’.
Yep - you don't have to have been a fan of Saddam's regime to have opposed the sort of military intervention that was attempted. It's also not impossible to have opposed the intervention but to believe that given that it has happened and Iraq's in a shocking mess because of it, the best way to sort that mess out is to keep troops there.

vimothy
11-01-2007, 04:14 PM
Vimothy: The word ‘decent’ is a value-word so I would suggest refraining from using it rashly. I think your summary (‘there are still plenty of pro-war lefties who aren't pro-totalitarian, just as there were during the Communist era’) is a bit shaky, by the way: there are several perfectly legitimate reasons for opposing the war and demanding a swift withdrawal, to articulate them is by no means to be ‘pro-totalitarianism’.

Ha - you're right of course, I'm trying to be controversial. (Though people do talk about the "decent left"). I accept that you can be both "anti-war" and anti-totalitarian, just not very effectively. (Again though, what does this mean in its context? Of course you could oppose US forces in Vietnam on reasonable grounds - such as the sanctity of human life - but could you not also use the same principle to agitate for US intervention to rescue the Cambodians from Pol Pot)?

vimothy
11-01-2007, 04:20 PM
Yep - you don't have to have been a fan of Saddam's regime to have opposed the sort of military intervention that was attempted. It's also not impossible to have opposed the intervention but to believe that given that it has happened and Iraq's in a shocking mess because of it, the best way to sort that mess out is to keep troops there.

Well, no but: can you be both anti-totalitarian and anti-a-solution, or anti-a-reponse? Surely we can't rule out the use of force, or the threat of the use of force (I'm not necessarily thinking about Iraq here), in every instance?

[Not saying that it's impossible, but I'm interested to hear where others stand on this].

Guybrush
11-01-2007, 04:29 PM
But by ‘anti-war’ most people in here mean the Iraq war, not war as a means of self-defence in general.

Here’s what Andrew Sullivan (an initial supporter of the war and a self-proclaimed conservative, as I’m sure you know) wrote after the President’s speech last night:

If the president tonight had outlined a serious attempt to grapple with this new situation - a minimum of 50,000 new troops as a game-changer - then I'd eagerly be supporting him. But he hasn't. 21,500 U.S. troops is once again, I fear, just enough troops to lose. The only leverage this president really has left is the looming regional war that withdrawal would bring. Yes, if we leave, the civil war will take off. And if we stay, with this level of troops, the civil war will also take off. One way, we get enmeshed in the brutal civil war in the region. One way, we get to face them another day, and perhaps benefit by setting them against each other, and destabilizing Iran. That's the awful choice this president has brought us to. Under these circumstances, I favor withdrawal, while of course, hoping that a miracle could take place. But make no mistake: a miracle is what this president needs. And a miracle is what we will now have to pray for.

Thus, he now supports immediate withdrawal, on reasonable (if bleak) grounds, I would say.

IdleRich
11-01-2007, 05:01 PM
"You misunderstand me - I was trying to demonstrate that the Iraqis don't "pity [Saddam's] days", which I take to mean that Iraqis miss Saddam's rule, not that support inside Iraq for the war has increased. (Obviously it has decreased). My point is that this is hard to prove: even the most recent poll has an almost 50/50 split between support and opposition to the intervention. Nobody is asking "do you miss Saddam?" because that would be pointless and insensitive. Of course they don't, even if they don't now feel that the intervention has been a success. But in any case the poll reflects the dire security situation in places like Baghdad - and that is subject to change, hence the decrease in support. So that even were pollsters to ask after Saddam, the response would be conditional, i.e. tied to the time of asking and the state of the Iraqi state."

It's an either or situation, presumably a lack of support for the war means that they would rather it was as it was before ie when Saddam was in charge. I take it to be Lebanies' point that in other words they consider the war sufficiently bad to mean that Saddam's rule was preferable.
I agree with you that all other things being equal most Iraqis would not want Saddam (if Lebanies is indeed claiming this then I would beg to differ) but all other things aren't equal and I don't think that you can separate them out that easily.

craner
11-01-2007, 05:44 PM
Well I would like to derail this argument because I don't think it's going to go anywhere and, after yesterday, there's a lot to talk about.

Like, what does it mean when coalition troops raid an Iranian consulate in Irbil?

Or, when Bush says, "We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq," does that mean he's finally paying attention?

adruu
11-01-2007, 06:44 PM
Are the Kuwaitis and Saudi's not sending guns and money into Iraq right now?

Guybrush
11-01-2007, 06:59 PM
Or, when Bush says, "We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq," does that mean he's finally paying attention?

Sadly, it probably means another six months of deadly stalemate followed by a jumbly retreat. Here is my candidate for the next ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ hotspot, anyway:

Islamic Emirate of Waziristan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Emirate_of_Waziristan)

Borat would be proud (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waziristan):

The tribes are divided into sub-tribes governed by male village elders who meet in a tribal jirga. Socially and religiously Waziristan is an extremely conservative area. Women are carefully guarded, and every household must be headed by a male figure.

craner
11-01-2007, 07:14 PM
You mean like Operation Mountain Storm, but again?

swears
11-01-2007, 07:21 PM
I would say you have that back to front.

Nah, I'm fairly sure Reagan had beef with Iran in the 80s and was flogging Saddam weapons.

Guybrush
11-01-2007, 07:51 PM
You mean like Operation Mountain Storm, but again?

More like a full-fledged war. Doesn’t it look eerily like pre-2001 Afghanistan? The paltry press coverage so far (which is another similarity, as it happens) suggests that, I think.


Nah, I'm fairly sure Reagan had beef with Iran in the 80s and was flogging Saddam weapons.
The Reagan administration considered Saddam’s Iraq a bulwark against the Iranian school of Islamism.

vimothy
12-01-2007, 08:42 AM
It's an either or situation, presumably a lack of support for the war means that they would rather it was as it was before ie when Saddam was in charge. I take it to be Lebanies' point that in other words they consider the war sufficiently bad to mean that Saddam's rule was preferable.
I agree with you that all other things being equal most Iraqis would not want Saddam (if Lebanies is indeed claiming this then I would beg to differ) but all other things aren't equal and I don't think that you can separate them out that easily.

Why can't Iraqis be unhappy with their current situation (though the violence is located in specific areas of Iraq and not everywhere), and not want Saddam back either?

IdleRich
12-01-2007, 08:59 AM
"Why can't Iraqis be unhappy with their current situation (though the violence is located in specific areas of Iraq and not everywhere), and not want Saddam back either?"
They can of course but a question that asks "would you rather the war had happened or not?" isn't offering that option (just as reality hasn't). Don't you think that implicit in that question is "did you prefer it under Saddam or now?"?

vimothy
12-01-2007, 09:24 AM
But by ‘anti-war’ most people in here mean the Iraq war, not war as a means of self-defence in general.

Here’s what Andrew Sullivan (an initial supporter of the war and a self-proclaimed conservative, as I’m sure you know) wrote after the President’s speech last night:

If the president tonight had outlined a serious attempt to grapple with this new situation - a minimum of 50,000 new troops as a game-changer - then I'd eagerly be supporting him. But he hasn't. 21,500 U.S. troops is once again, I fear, just enough troops to lose. The only leverage this president really has left is the looming regional war that withdrawal would bring. Yes, if we leave, the civil war will take off. And if we stay, with this level of troops, the civil war will also take off. One way, we get enmeshed in the brutal civil war in the region. One way, we get to face them another day, and perhaps benefit by setting them against each other, and destabilizing Iran. That's the awful choice this president has brought us to. Under these circumstances, I favor withdrawal, while of course, hoping that a miracle could take place. But make no mistake: a miracle is what this president needs. And a miracle is what we will now have to pray for.

Thus, he now supports immediate withdrawal, on reasonable (if bleak) grounds, I would say.

I don't know about Sullivan's analysis. He thinks we should pull out of Iraq and leave our enemies, both Shia and Sunni, to fight it out amongst themselves, which is probably a good strategic idea as far as it goes, except that it isn't great for Iraq (although I'm sure many conservatives would say that Iraq has been taken to water, and it's their problem what they do from here). There's also the question of emboldening the mujahideen, letting them think that they have defeated the West in Iraq (and therefore that they can in other places as well). Remember what "defeating" the Soviet Empire did for jihad.
As for the troop levels, they will not actually be that different. In fact, there were actually more troops in Iraq until recently than at present, even including the troop "surge". Probably there are good tactical arguments for sending more troops. However I suggest that numbers are less important than having a decent aim or mission statement (or wheatever the hell the US military calls it), fit-for-purpose rules of engagament, and a determination to take control of the security situation. The US military seem like passengers at the moment.

What I'd like to see:
Most importantly, disarm the militias (esp. the Shia militias in Baghdad) with a zero tolerance approach - in fact I'd disarm everyone, or if that's not possible, I'd certainly make keeping or carrying arms illegal in the "hot zones" where there is a lot of conflict.
Lean on Maliki to either get with this programme (and turn against the militias) or quit.
Amnesty for low level Ba'ath Party workers, especially the civil service. (I'm not saying let the insurgents off, but Iraq could definitely do with a btter infrastructure).
Progressive involvement of Sunni elements, protection of Sunni areas and a softly-softly approach to any not involved in the insurgency.

matt b
12-01-2007, 09:42 AM
There are no decent lefties who are pro-totalitarian, necessarily (because that's included in my definition of a decent lefty). However, there are decent, anti-totalitarian lefties - I just wouldn't want to describe them as "pro-war".

you call aaronovich a 'decent lefty' and argue he is anti-totalitarian. i disagree. he was a member of the communist party and has a leninist/stalinist past. such ideologies are totalitarian in essence.

if we agree that communists/leninists/stalinists are 'leftists', then aaronovich is a pro-totalitarian lefty.
he has no problem ignoring democratic means when the aim is to suit goals he agrees with.

[although, as guybrush points out. i used 'totalitarian' in the broadest sense and somewhat flippantly. this doesn't however effect many of the commentators you mention]

craner
12-01-2007, 09:47 AM
If you disarm Shia militias you don't just lean on Maliki, you undercut him completely. His ship's tied to Sadr.

Which is why it's a good idea to disarm Shia militias, obviously.

The appointment of (now) General Petraeus is a startlingly sensible choice. Cf. Fouad Ajami, The Foreigner's Gift ("Ana Mosulawi!")

matt b
12-01-2007, 09:53 AM
So why describe yourself as the "pro-war left"? It's misleading: no rational actor can or should be pro-war in every context.

And within the context of this thread, is it possible anyway to be "anti-war" and anti-totalitarian?


anti-war/pro-war in this context relates to the current iraq war

matt b
12-01-2007, 09:58 AM
Seems like a strange argument to make, if you ask me, though I confess that it is unfamiliar. Because they support positive action against totalitarianism, they are totalitarian?

they supported action against a regime without recourse to international law and in the UK and Spain, against the will of the general population. that at least is authoritarian. if the same action was taken by a 'rogue state', it would be declared totalitarian.

who the action was against is irrelevant. how they went about it is important

matt b
12-01-2007, 10:03 AM
And by the same logic, wouldn't, for example, Orwell be totalitarian as well?

it would depend on which part of orwell's life you are commenting on- post-spanish civil war he lost any sympathies the had for russia and became extremely anti-totalitarian, much to the chagrin of many of the 'decent left'.

vimothy
12-01-2007, 10:16 AM
you call aaronovich a 'decent lefty' and argue he is anti-totalitarian. i disagree. he was a member of the communist party and has a leninist/stalinist past. such ideologies are totalitarian in essence.

if we agree that communists/leninists/stalinists are 'leftists', then aaronovich is a pro-totalitarian lefty.
he has no problem ignoring democratic means when the aim is to suit goals he agrees with.

[although, as guybrush points out. i used 'totalitarian' in the broadest sense and somewhat flippantly. this doesn't however effect many of the commentators you mention]

This reminds me of the Hitchens - Galloway debate (where Galloway constantly went on about Hitchens' past views). Comminists/Stalinists/Leninists are lefties. Aaronovitch is no longer the Trotskyist he once was - hence he is no longer pro-totalitarian. At least I've seen nothing to suggest otherwise. Perhaps you could link to the articles which support your view?

vimothy
12-01-2007, 10:17 AM
If you disarm Shia militias you don't just lean on Maliki, you undercut him completely. His ship's tied to Sadr.

Which is why it's a good idea to disarm Shia militias, obviously.

The appointment of (now) General Petraeus is a startlingly sensible choice. Cf. Fouad Ajami, The Foreigner's Gift ("Ana Mosulawi!")

Exactly - Maliki must choose.

vimothy
12-01-2007, 10:37 AM
they supported action against a regime without recourse to international law and in the UK and Spain, against the will of the general population. that at least is authoritarian. if the same action was taken by a 'rogue state', it would be declared totalitarian.

who the action was against is irrelevant. how they went about it is important

Ok, international law is a tricky one. I think Norm Geras has it right here:


First, there is a long tradition in the literature of international law that, although national sovereignty is an important consideration in world affairs, it is not sacrosanct. If a government treats its own people with terrible brutality, massacring them and such like, there is a right of humanitarian intervention by outside powers. The introduction of the offence of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trial after the Second World War implied a similar constraint on the sovereign authority of states. There are limits upon them. They cannot just brutalize their own nationals with impunity, violate their fundamental human rights.

Is there then, today, a right of humanitarian intervention under international law? The question is disputed. Some authorities argue that the UN Charter rules it out absolutely. War is only permissible in self-defence. However, others see a contradiction between this reading of the Charter and the Charter's underwriting of binding human rights norms. Partly because the matter is disputed, I will not here base myself on a legal right of humanitarian intervention. I will simply say that, irrespective of the state of international law, in extreme enough circumstances there is a moral right of humanitarian intervention. This is why what the Vietnamese did in Cambodia to remove Pol Pot should have been supported at the time, the state of international law notwithstanding, and ditto for the removal of Idi Amin by the Tanzanians. Likewise, with regard to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq: it was a case crying out for support for an intervention to bring the regime finally to an end.

Just think for a moment about the argument that this recent war was illegal. That something is illegal does not itself carry moral weight unless legality as such carries moral weight, and legality carries moral weight only conditionally. It depends on the particular law in question, on the system of law of which it is a part, and on the kind of social and ethical order it upholds. An international law - and an international system - according to which a government is free to go on raping, murdering and torturing its own nationals to the tune of tens upon tens, upon more tens, of thousands of deaths without anything being done to stop it, so much the worse for this as law. It is law that needs to be criticized, opposed, and changed. It needs to be moved forward - which happens in this domain by precedent and custom as well as by transnational treaty and convention. I am fully aware in saying this that the present US administration has made itself an obstacle in various ways to the development of a more robust and comprehensive framework of international law. But the thing cuts both ways. The war to depose Saddam Hussein and his criminal regime was not of a piece with that. It didn't have to be opposed by all the forces that did in fact oppose it. It could, on the contrary, have been supported - by France and Germany and Russia and the UN; and by a mass democratic movement of global civil society. Just think about that. Just think about the kind of precedent it would have set for other genocidal, or even just lavishly murderous, dictatorships - instead of all those processions of shame across the world's cities, and whose success would have meant the continued abandonment of the Iraqi people.

http://www.normangeras.blogspot.com/2003_07_27_normangeras_archive.html#10594831625716 3866

The will of the population in the UK was unknown, as there was no referendum. Some people marched (shamefully I was there too), some didn't. There is also the argument that politicians are elected to make decisions in their best judgement on our behalf, not carry out our uninformed orders.

And I disagree that who went to war with is irrelevant, it's the whole point.

vimothy
12-01-2007, 10:42 AM
it would depend on which part of orwell's life you are commenting on- post-spanish civil war he lost any sympathies the had for russia and became extremely anti-totalitarian, much to the chagrin of many of the 'decent left'.

When I said "decent left" I meant anti-totalitarian.

IdleRich
12-01-2007, 11:03 AM
"Some people marched (shamefully I was there too)"
You marched against the war? I'd be interested to know what has happened since then that has made you change your opinions.

wheninrome
12-01-2007, 11:22 AM
You marched against the war? I'd be interested to know what has happened since then that has made you change your opinions.

A lobotomy?

matt b
12-01-2007, 12:11 PM
Ok, international law is a tricky one. I think Norm Geras has it right here:.


i think he's talking shit- it means that anyone can do anything if they claim its moral


There is also the argument that politicians are elected to make decisions in their best judgement on our behalf, not carry out our uninformed orders.


ah, democracy. how sweet it smells

Guybrush
12-01-2007, 12:35 PM
However I suggest that numbers are less important than having a decent aim or mission statement (or wheatever the hell the US military calls it), fit-for-purpose rules of engagament, and a determination to take control of the security situation. The US military seem like passengers at the moment.

But many military bigwigs think the lack of personnel does matter a great deal (I cannot give you a verbatim quote, but the testimonies are easily found with a little bit of googling I’m sure). The porousness of the Iraqi borders is a direct consequence of the lack of U.S. border guards, for example.


What I'd like to see:
Most importantly, disarm the militias (esp. the Shia militias in Baghdad) with a zero tolerance approach - in fact I'd disarm everyone, or if that's not possible, I'd certainly make keeping or carrying arms illegal in the "hot zones" where there is a lot of conflict.
Lean on Maliki to either get with this programme (and turn against the militias) or quit.
Amnesty for low level Ba'ath Party workers, especially the civil service. (I'm not saying let the insurgents off, but Iraq could definitely do with a btter infrastructure).
Progressive involvement of Sunni elements, protection of Sunni areas and a softly-softly approach to any not involved in the insurgency.

This sounds a lot like what has been attempted unsuccessfully in the past I think. The ‘zero tolerance approach’ against Sadr (which, I assume, means street fights in Sadr City) is going to result in a blood bath, I think (it did in 2004, remember?).

vimothy
12-01-2007, 01:43 PM
But many military bigwigs think the lack of personnel does matter a great deal (I cannot give you a verbatim quote, but the testimonies are easily found with a little bit of googling I’m sure). The porousness of the Iraqi borders is a direct consequence of the lack of U.S. border guards, for example.

Well, of course - there are those who think that Iraq requires more troops, those who think it requires less and those who think that the numbers are right at the moment (inc. I think Abizaid?). There are doubtless persuasive arguments on all sides (for e.g. a bigger footprint would only be one downside to increased troop levels). What I'm getting at, however, is that changing the number of troops alone is not enough to change the tide - what is more important what these troops are going to do. Look at the troop levels: in December 2005 there were about 160,000 US troops stationed in Iraq (figures from www.globalsecurity.org and www.nambian.com), at present there is about 132,000 rising to 153,500 with additional troops. So what will the Americans accomplish with 153k in 2007 that they couldn't accomplish with 160k in 2005? It won't make that much difference unless accompanied by a change in policy.

I'm not against increasing troop levels, by the way.


This sounds a lot like what has been attempted unsuccessfully in the past I think. The ‘zero tolerance approach’ against Sadr (which, I assume, means street fights in Sadr City) is going to result in a blood bath, I think (it did in 2004, remember?).

Sadly, this is the only way to reduce the violence, and I think most Iraqis would be very happy to have the whole country disarmed. (In fact I heard an Iraqi woman interviewed on the streets of Baghdad by al Jazeera say exactly that - "no one should be allowed weapons"). Sadr City is the most important test of will because success there would establish US unwillingness to compromise for the sake of an easier ride to the militias, the fairness/non-partisan-ness of their approach to the Sunni faction (both locally in Iraq and regionally in the Middle East), and their desire to help ordinary Iraqis secure thir country from a terror which still plagues it. So although the fighting might indeed be bloody, the long term results would be less violence, rather than the continuation of what we have now. IMO.

IdleRich
12-01-2007, 02:14 PM
Quote:

"Some people marched (shamefully I was there too)"

You marched against the war? I'd be interested to know what has happened since then that has made you change your opinions.
I'd still like to know the answer to this question Vimothy. The reason I ask is because I've heard lots of previous war supporters now admitting that they were wrong but you're the first person I've heard of to swing the other way.

vimothy
12-01-2007, 02:55 PM
I'd still like to know the answer to this question Vimothy. The reason I ask is because I've heard lots of previous war supporters now admitting that they were wrong but you're the first person I've heard of to swing the other way.

Sorry - getting distracted by work.

Basically felt that I should do some reading and find out more about the whole thing. Read the usual uninspired shite that I thought I should (you know what I mean: anti-Americanism + post-structuralism + marxism + simmering resentment, etc), and eventually - I can't remember how I came across it - read Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman, which I recommend, even if you disagree with the War on Terror for ideological reasons, as a really lucid and informed book. This started me off reflecting on what was happening, who was fighting and what was at stake, as well as doing more reading of the, I guess to everyone else but I saw it in a new light I suppose, usual stuff: Hitchens, Aaronovitch (I used to think Aaronovitch was a "traitor"), Cohen, Bernard Lewis and beyond (generally conservatives in the US (not that conservative really means the same thing in the US as the UK) and lefties here), getting especially more interested in economics and globalisation and the failures of socialism (as an economic programme) and all of that shit.

I guess that's why I'm harping on about the left - I feel betrayed to some greater or lesser extent, by a movement that I think has lost touch with reality. (For instance, does anyone remember Tony Benn on Newsnight accusing the Iraqi left resistance parties of being stooges of the CIA, because they wanted to be liberated and didn't give a toss about Benn's ideas of "US imperialism")?

I don't think any of my values have changed, in fact I think, or hope at least, that I better understand them now - and how positive outcomes can be affected by political and economic "machines".

vimothy
12-01-2007, 03:00 PM
Maybe I'm just a contrary bastard.

IdleRich
12-01-2007, 03:36 PM
Thanks.

Guybrush
12-01-2007, 03:45 PM
Regarding the troop levels: Yes, there were 160,000 troops at a time, but even that was woefully insufficient. Have a peek at this (http://mediamatters.org/items/200506280010?show=1) summary for information on this topic. Here are some telling quotes:


Central Command originally proposed a force of 380,000 to attack and occupy Iraq. Rumsfeld's opening bid was about 40,000, "a division-plus," said three senior military officials who participated in the discussions. Bush and his top advisers finally approved the 250,000 troops the commanders requested to launch the invasion. But the additional troops that the military wanted to secure Iraq after Saddam's regime fell were either delayed or never sent.


Franks, the former commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), has acknowledged that he felt more troops were needed in Iraq. He wrote in his recent book American Soldier (Regan, 2004) that he projected that 250,000 troops would be required to secure postwar Iraq, as he acknowledged in an August 16, 2004, appearance on CNN's Paula Zahn Now.

vimothy
12-01-2007, 03:54 PM
Regarding the troop levels: Yes, there were 160,000 troops at a time, but even that was woefully insufficient. Have a peek at this (http://mediamatters.org/items/200506280010?show=1) summary for information on this topic. Here are some telling quotes:

Again, I think there are good arguments for increasing troop levels and for leaving them as they are (based around established COIN principles - not just political bullshit). I will try to dig out the arguments made by various military analysists and writers after the weekend. But my point remains the same: what can be done with 153,500 in 2007 that couldn't be done with 160,000 in 2005? I think the situation requires a new strategy, as this (more troops) isn't by itself the panacea its being built up to be in some quarters.

vimothy
12-01-2007, 04:02 PM
i think he's talking shit- it means that anyone can do anything if they claim its moral

No it doesn't - why would you act in an (subjectively of course) immoral way? Why would you not choose the more moral path?


ah, democracy. how sweet it smells

Hm... You want the reins?

[how does the old quote go: "deomcracy is the worst political system, except for all the others"?]

craner
12-01-2007, 04:03 PM
You could read Kagan/Keane (http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.25396/pub_detail.asp). I think that's the plan. Well, it's a lot better than Baker-Hamilton.

vimothy
12-01-2007, 04:12 PM
Scanning through it, it seems sensible and positive. I'll give it a proper read on Monday. I'm sure you can guess, I'm no fan of the Baker-Hamilton axis or any of the other so called "realists" (let's wheel out Nixon's corpse while we're at it).

vimothy
12-01-2007, 04:14 PM
Thanks for the debate everyone, it's been (for the most part) really engaging.

rewch
12-01-2007, 04:35 PM
superb... keep it up

matt b
12-01-2007, 05:19 PM
No it doesn't - why would you act in an (subjectively of course) immoral way? Why would you not choose the more moral path?

bin laden claims he is acting morally. therefore according to the above quote he is justified in doing it.





[how does the old quote go: "deomcracy is the worst political system, except for all the others"?]

i don't agree with that either ;)

craner
12-01-2007, 05:59 PM
WSJ on David Petraeus (http://opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110009515).

crackerjack
14-01-2007, 05:54 PM
Quite agree with Vimothy, not on the case for war, but in his distaste for where too much of the left is going, Galloway, Respect and Benn being some of the most obvious examples of this. Everything is seen through the prism of "anti-imperialism" (ie anti-capitalism, ie anti-Americanism). The kind of thing that leads to this

"bin laden claims he is acting morally. therefore according to the above quote he is justified in doing it."

No, Matt B. The point is to see it through the morality you subscribe to. That doesn't mean if you believe in one thing and Bin L believes the opposite that both of you are right. it means you adhere to certain fundamentals (and here's one I'd like to think we can all agree on: democracy + freedom of speech = good; dictatorship = bad) and don't subject them to the moral relativism that makes excuses for people who won't allow women an education or gays the right to exist.

btw Aaronovitch is now as much a Communist as Beckham is a Man Utd player.

matt b
14-01-2007, 06:53 PM
Quite agree with Vimothy, not on the case for war, but in his distaste for where too much of the left is going, Galloway, Respect and Benn being some of the most obvious examples of this. Everything is seen through the prism of "anti-imperialism" (ie anti-capitalism, ie anti-Americanism). The kind of thing that leads to this

"bin laden claims he is acting morally. therefore according to the above quote he is justified in doing it."

The point is to see it through the morality you subscribe to...<snip>


you're making an assumption that i agree with galloway et al- i don't.

also, you wilfully misread my bin laden comment- it isn't my own view but a criticism of the Norm Geras position.

the point is that morality IS relative- religions claim a moral justification for all sorts of things you mention above. they would state that these ARE fundamentals.

i think part of the problem we face with regard to religious fanatics has been fanned by justifications for actions based on 'certain fundamentals' as stated by bush and blair, rather than legal justifications. that was the point i was trying to make.

with regard to aaronovich, i know he's not a communist, but some the authoritarianism that comes with communism remains in his current world view.

crackerjack
14-01-2007, 08:23 PM
Matt B
I wasn't misrepresenting you and I know perfectly well the context in which you're comment was made. The problem is, when you cite Bin laden's own convictions as a counterweight to those of the pro-war lobby then you're indulging in moral relativism.

I'm curious about this legal argument that so many put forward these days. Is the UN the sole arbiter of international law? Are there any limits to your faith in international law? Would you, e.g. have opposed the Tanzanian overthrow of Idi Amin or the Vietnamese in Cambodia on the grounds that neither were UN-approved? Where did you stand on NATO's action in the Balkans?

Also, if democracy isn't the least worst option, what is?

matt b
14-01-2007, 08:44 PM
Matt B
I wasn't misrepresenting you and I know perfectly well the context in which you're comment was made. The problem is, when you cite Bin laden's own convictions as a counterweight to those of the pro-war lobby then you're indulging in moral relativism.


i repeat. morality is relative.



I'm curious about this legal argument that so many put forward these days. Is the UN the sole arbiter of international law? Are there any limits to your faith in international law? Would you, e.g. have opposed the Tanzanian overthrow of Idi Amin or the Vietnamese in Cambodia on the grounds that neither were UN-approved? Where did you stand on NATO's action in the Balkans?

your examples suggest you don't know how international law works.

i have little faith in international law, but its all we've got. otherwise we are in the position i described above

craner
14-01-2007, 10:25 PM
Matt B, you were never this polite to me.

matt b
15-01-2007, 08:19 AM
Matt B, you were never this polite to me.

oliver, how could you say such a thing!

i never set out to be rude. maybe subliminally, i knew you could take it.

craner
15-01-2007, 11:35 AM
I know, I know.

vimothy
15-01-2007, 11:47 AM
bin laden claims he is acting morally. therefore according to the above quote he is justified in doing it.


So the American liberation of an oppressed country is as justified/as reprehensible as 9/11?

No, that isn't how it works at all mate. Saying that something is morally justified is hardly the same thing as something being morally justified. What bin Laden claims can be examined - and there's nothing from that camp that excuses the mass murder of thousands of civilians.



i don't agree with that either ;)


Why not expand on some of these points Matt?

vimothy
15-01-2007, 12:00 PM
you're making an assumption that i agree with galloway et al- i don't.

also, you wilfully misread my bin laden comment- it isn't my own view but a criticism of the Norm Geras position.

the point is that morality IS relative- religions claim a moral justification for all sorts of things you mention above. they would state that these ARE fundamentals.

i think part of the problem we face with regard to religious fanatics has been fanned by justifications for actions based on 'certain fundamentals' as stated by bush and blair, rather than legal justifications. that was the point i was trying to make.

with regard to aaronovich, i know he's not a communist, but some the authoritarianism that comes with communism remains in his current world view.

If we are to live on this planet without murdering each other then there should be some fundamentals that we can agree on (and you obviously don't think much of your beliefs if you think they are just a "matter of opinion"), after all we share a common genetic heritage which should give us a massive amount of scope for agreement. The right to basic liberties, political freedoms, the separation of religion and state, etc, have all been acheived through hard struggle and should not be discounted as "relative".

I take issue with your statement that Bush and Blair have fanned the flames by not adhering to your morally advanced meta-ethics. Religious fundamentalists have been fighting JIhad for years and need no encouragement. Trying to pin the blame on Bush and Blair also has the rather unfortunate side effect of placing less of the blame on the murderers themselves (take a bow Simon Jenkins and the rest).

I would be nice to see some evidence supporting your assertion that Aaronovitch is a commie or infected with commie-derived authoritarianism. Why not link to some of his articles?

matt b
15-01-2007, 12:01 PM
ffs. oliver, you may see me getting less polite now ;)



So the American liberation of an oppressed country is as justified/as reprehensible as 9/11?

No, that isn't how it works at all mate. Saying that something is morally justified is hardly the same thing as something being morally justified. What bin Laden claims can be examined - and there's nothing from that camp that excuses the mass murder of thousands of civilians.


MORALITY IS RELATIVE.

bush, blair and bin laden have all justified their actions b referring to morals.

a different set of morals, but morals none the less.

if bush can do it, why can't bin laden (or vice versa)?


i'm not saying its right, i'm just saying it is. please read what i write.



Why not expand on some of these points Matt?

very briefly; i am no fan of representative democracy as used in the UK. i believe it is alienating and gives our 'leaders' far too much power.

i much prefer anarcho-syndicalist style direct democracy (see: kropotkin, rudolph rocker, colin ward, bertrand russell for further information or 2.11 here (http://www.infoshop.org/faq/secA2.html#seca211) for a concise/simple overview)

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 12:05 PM
"No, that isn't how it works at all mate. Saying that something is morally justified is hardly the same thing as something being morally justified. What bin Laden claims can be examined - and there's nothing from that camp that excuses the mass murder of thousands of civilians."
True indeed, saying attacking Iraq is morally justified does not make it so and does not therefore provide a reason to ignore international law.
Everyone agrees that morality is a more important guide to the right thing to do than law - that's pretty much what it means. The question is where does the morally right thing to do lie? That's what we're debating isn't it?


"So the American liberation of an oppressed country is as justified/as reprehensible as 9/11?"
Well someone who wanted to argue that might point out that the "liberation" killed more innocent people.

matt b
15-01-2007, 12:09 PM
If we are to live on this planet without murdering each <snip>

please read what i've written

i have a set of morals that i try to live my life by. i don't disregard morals completely. but i understand that others may well have different morals (i don't eat meat for example, many people do).

we were discussing morality vs international law in relation to nation states/ terrorism, which is something different, particularly in the way both bush and bin laden have used their morality to justify actions that go against other tenents of their faith e.g. though shalt not kill (innocents).

vimothy
15-01-2007, 12:14 PM
ffs. oliver, you may see me getting less polite now ;)


Go for it.



MORALITY IS RELATIVE.

That's your thesis, yes...


bush, blair and bin laden have all justified their actions b referring to morals.

a different set of morals, but morals none the less.

if bush can do it, why can't bin laden (or vice versa)?

Bush can do it, and so can bin Laden - it doesn't make either right though. If I say turning a plane into a giant human filled bomb and flying it into a busy city centre is morally justified, is it morally justified?



i'm not saying its right, i'm just saying it is. please read what i write.


Look mate, it's either morally justified or it's not: which is it?



very briefly; i am no fan of representative democracy as used in the UK. i believe it is alienating and gives our 'leaders' far too much power.

i much prefer anarcho-syndicalist style direct democracy (see: kropotkin, rudolph rocker, colin ward, bertrand russell for further information or 2.11 here (http://www.infoshop.org/faq/secA2.html#seca211) for a concise/simple overview)


Hmm...

vimothy
15-01-2007, 12:19 PM
True indeed, saying attacking Iraq is morally justified does not make it so and does not therefore provide a reason to ignore international law.
Everyone agrees that morality is a more important guide to the right thing to do than law - that's pretty much what it means. The question is where does the morally right thing to do lie? That's what we're debating isn't it?

Exactly: what is the right thing to do? I think the right thing (at the time certainly) was the liberation/invasion, not because George Bush says so, or whatever the moral relatvism argument states, but because of the humanitarian arguments and because of the growth of Jihadism in the Middle East. To say that something is moral is not to end the debate, but should be supported by critical analysis. Why one thinks an action is moral is surely important.



Well someone who wanted to argue that might point out that the "liberation" killed more innocent people.


Well, that's a bit more complicated (after lunch!) but it should certainly be remembered who has done the killing.

matt b
15-01-2007, 12:25 PM
Go for it.



That's your thesis, yes...



Bush can do it, and so can bin Laden - it doesn't make either right though. If I say turning a plane into a giant human filled bomb and flying it into a busy city centre is morally justified, is it morally justified?



Look mate, it's either morally justified or it's not: which is it?



Hmm...


to reiterate.

you said that the iraq invasion was fine because it was morally justified.

i responded that as morals are subjective, people can use morality to justify all sorts of actions- just as bin laden has done.

i didn't at any point say i agreed with either of those actions or that i personally felt they were justified, i was simply criticising your position with regard to the iraq invasion.

surely that's clear enough now?

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 12:36 PM
"surely that's clear enough now?"

The only thing clear about that is that you're an intellectual coward. If morality is subjective, and therefore an irrelevance in matters of politics, wtf are you doing on a political blog? Since something called international law is apparently the sole arbiter surely you'd be better off at a legal one.

vimothy
15-01-2007, 01:02 PM
to reiterate.

you said that the iraq invasion was fine because it was morally justified.

i responded that as morals are subjective, people can use morality to justify all sorts of actions- just as bin laden has done.

i didn't at any point say i agreed with either of those actions or that i personally felt they were justified, i was simply criticising your position with regard to the iraq invasion.

surely that's clear enough now?

But the reasoning is very different in the two cases - yes bin Laden probably thinks that he is acting morally, that's not the point. Who's case is better? Who's case is actually morally justified? It's certainly not bin Laden's.

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 01:04 PM
"Exactly: what is the right thing to do? I think the right thing (at the time certainly) was the liberation/invasion, not because George Bush says so, or whatever the moral relatvism argument states, but because of the humanitarian arguments and because of the growth of Jihadism in the Middle East. To say that something is moral is not to end the debate, but should be supported by critical analysis. Why one thinks an action is moral is surely important."
OK. But I think that Matt was justified in his criticism of that quote because it seemed to suggest that anyone can appeal to an abstract idea of morality to justify whatever they want. Presumably international law (as any law) is supposed to be an attempt at providing a framework based on morality ie in an ideal world its decisions would be morally correct. Obviously this is not the case in actuality but in theory countries agree to abide by its decisions as if it were. I think that the US and UK acted pretty shabbily by saying that they would disregard any "unreasonable" veto. It is clear that what they meant by unreasonable is one with which they disagreed. The thing is that the arguments (humanitarian or otherwise) they presented were not sufficient to convince the UN of the morality of their planned action so what they did then was pretty much say "but it is morally right so fuck you" - precisely the problem in that quote that Matt identified.


"Well, that's a bit more complicated (after lunch!) but it should certainly be remembered who has done the killing."
I agree. Personally my gut feelng is that a terrorist attack which has killing civilians as its primary aim is less justified than an attempt to liberate that is reckless to the number of lives it claims even if it claims far more. The same is probably true even seeing that "liberation" more cynically as an oil grab or whatever, for me there is some difference in that it is not primarily trying to kill citizens. I would find it quite hard to justify why I think this though.
My point was just that it's not quite as certain as all that which of the two actions was more morally reprehensible.

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 01:12 PM
Idlerich
I largely agree with your first para, especially your assessment of the US/UK position re the UN. But I think your wrong about what Matt B was saying. Vimothy's argument wasn't that Bush appealed to morality, therefore the invasion was justified, but that the invasion could be justified for moral reasons. Matt's stance is that morality is irrelevant since one man's ethics are another man's female genital mutilation.

vimothy
15-01-2007, 01:17 PM
Idlerich
I largely agree with your first para, especially your assessment of the US/UK position re the UN. But I think your wrong about what Matt B was saying. Vimothy's argument wasn't that Bush appealed to morality, therefore the invasion was justified, but that the invasion could be justified for moral reasons. Matt's stance is that morality is irrelevant since one man's ethics are another man's female genital mutilation.

Exactly

Mr. Tea
15-01-2007, 01:18 PM
now days,every single day passes more than 150 people die in iraq but...........who will accuse the usa troups with any murder eh?

A lot of people seem to think "people dying in Iraq" = "US/UK troops going around butchering people for no reason". Without wishing to deny that US/UK troops *have* killed a lot of Iraqis, and by no means all of them fighting men, the vast majority of deaths currently happening are the result of attacks carried out by Iraqis themselves. A hugely complicated and ugly civil war is going on and the 'coallition' forces seem to be running around like clueless teachers in a school full of feral children, without any idea as to how to stop it.

It seems to me that the situation in Saddam-era Iraq was a bit like Tito's Yugoslavia - an admittedly tyrannical leader keeping a lid on tribal tensions that have simmered away for centuries (possibly - I'm no expert on Arab history), with all hell breaking loose once that lid is removed.

Oh, and hi, Rich. :)

Edit: I've sort of jumped on the end here without reading the whole thread, so I apologise if someone already made this point days ago.

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 01:37 PM
"But I think you're wrong about what Matt B was saying. Vimothy's argument wasn't that Bush appealed to morality, therefore the invasion was justified, but that the invasion could be justified for moral reasons. Matt's stance is that morality is irrelevant since one man's ethics are another man's female genital mutilation."
I agree that he does seem to have veered down that path but (what I take to be) his original point is sound. Of course morality is more important than law but the quote that Vimothy supplied doesn't really give any moral argument for the war, it simply states that because it was the "right" thing to do then the law ought to be changed. The whole point is that a lot of people thought it wasn't the right thing to do.
If I am mis-representing Vimothy's argument then I'm sorry but it is an understandable mistake because I take it that it is being presented as a defence of US actions and the US did in fact act exactly in the way that Matt feared that quote was being used to justify.

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 01:45 PM
"Oh, and hi, Rich."
Hey.


"A lot of people seem to think "people dying in Iraq" = "US/UK troops going around butchering people for no reason". Without wishing to deny that US/UK troops *have* killed a lot of Iraqis, and by no means all of them fighting men, the vast majority of deaths currently happening are the result of attacks carried out by Iraqis themselves"
True, and I think that Vimothy did kind of draw attention to that earlier but the US were repeatedly told that this is exactly what would happen and they either didn't care or were just arrogant/dumb enough to think that they knew better. In either case some sort of moral responsibility does lie with the people who made the decisions that caused this to happen doesn't it?

Mr. Tea
15-01-2007, 01:52 PM
Oh, sure. As you say, if it wouldn't have happened if they hadn't invaded, and it was a reasonable assumption that it would happen, then responsibility for those deaths does lie at least partly on the US.

As a former invasion-supporter, it saddens me to think that life for most Iraqis was better five years ago than it is now. What a wasted opportunity (and I'm talking here about the monumental cock-up that has been the post-invasion 'strategy', if you can call it that, rather than the invasion itself - I still think things could have worked out much better if they/we'd had an idea of what they/we were going to do once Saddam was deposed).

I can't help but think the Americans lost the real war the moment they raised Old Glory in Baghdad. The stupid twat that did that wants shooting.

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 01:57 PM
"In either case some sort of moral responsibility does lie with the people who made the decisions that caused this to happen doesn't it?"

No question. But the primary responsibility must lie with those doing the killing, otherwise you wind up with a thesis that makes excuses for murderers and an inverted racism that holds people in foreign countries to be incapable of individual agency.

"I still think things could have worked out much better if they/we'd had an idea of what they/we were going to do once Saddam was deposed)."

They did have an idea. Chalabi told them some fairytales and they chose to believe them.

matt b
15-01-2007, 02:01 PM
Idlerich
I largely agree with your first para, especially your assessment of the US/UK position re the UN. But I think your wrong about what Matt B was saying. Vimothy's argument wasn't that Bush appealed to morality, therefore the invasion was justified, but that the invasion could be justified for moral reasons. Matt's stance is that morality is irrelevant since one man's ethics are another man's female genital mutilation.


no it fucking isn't.

you don't know what my stance on morality is, because we weren't discussing it. it was brought up in relation to the quote cited about two pages ago which stated that 'morals' [the article didn't state any specifics] could be used as a justification for the war.

i countered that if you take that vague view, then many actions could be justified- just as bin laden has done.

as i hinted at above i feel morals are hugely important, but the morals used to justify the war haven't been discussed on this thread.

matt b
15-01-2007, 02:07 PM
The only thing clear about that is that you're an intellectual coward. If morality is subjective, and therefore an irrelevance in matters of politics, wtf are you doing on a political blog? Since something called international law is apparently the sole arbiter surely you'd be better off at a legal one.


oh gosh.

i didn't say morality is 'an irrelevance in matters of politics' of course its not

i didn't say 'international law is apparently the sole arbiter'

if those statements are the basis for calling me an intellectual coward then you're a lying cunt. ;)

vimothy
15-01-2007, 02:08 PM
I agree that he does seem to have veered down that path but (what I take to be) his original point is sound. Of course morality is more important than law but the quote that Vimothy supplied doesn't really give any moral argument for the war, it simply states that because it was the "right" thing to do then the law ought to be changed. The whole point is that a lot of people thought it wasn't the right thing to do.
If I am mis-representing Vimothy's argument then I'm sorry but it is an understandable mistake because I take it that it is being presented as a defence of US actions and the US did in fact act exactly in the way that Matt feared that quote was being used to justify.

There's two separate issues here. I believe:

1. There is a moral case for war.

2. The moral case is... (we can discuss this later, if anyone wants to)

Matt b's stance seems to be that any moral justification is impossible because morality is subjective. He is disagreeing with point 1 - ie there cannot be a moral case for war - not with point 2.

Mr. Tea
15-01-2007, 02:12 PM
"I
No question. But the primary responsibility must lie with those doing the killing, otherwise you wind up with a thesis that makes excuses for murderers and an inverted racism that holds people in foreign countries to be incapable of individual agency.


I agree entirely, but there is shared responsibility in situations like this. Without wishing to sound condescending, people who've lived under tyranny and oppression their whole lives, with a simmering undercurrent of ethnic/religious hatred they've inherited through the generations, can't be expected to behave like good citizens as soon as they have 'freedom' - it's a bit like a classroom full of highly disturbed kids when the authoritarian teacher/minder leaves the room, you can't simply expect them to sit quietly and study like well-balanced kids from nice families.

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 02:18 PM
"no it fucking isn't.

you don't know what my stance on morality is, because we weren't discussing it. it was brought up in relation to the quote cited about two pages ago which stated that 'morals' [the article didn't state any specifics] could be used as a justification for the war.

i countered that if you take that vague view, then many actions could be justified- just as bin laden has done.

as i hinted at above i feel morals are hugely important, but the morals used to justify the war haven't been discussed on this thread."

Well fucking discuss them then. All you've done is say Vimothy shouldn't refer to moral justifications since Bin Laden does the same thing.

"i didn't say 'international law is apparently the sole arbiter'"

No, but you did say this

"i think part of the problem we face with regard to religious fanatics has been fanned by justifications for actions based on 'certain fundamentals' as stated by bush and blair, rather than legal justifications. that was the point i was trying to make."

and this

"i have little faith in international law, but its all we've got."

So if international law is all (note: that's 'all', not 'the best'), then presumably you oppose any action which breaches it. Is it reasonable to deduce from that that you see it as the 'sole arbiter'?

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 02:22 PM
"Is it reasonable to deduce from that that you see it as the 'sole arbiter'?"

Correction: that should be 'main arbiter'.

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 02:24 PM
"There's two separate issues here. I believe:
1. There is a moral case for war.
2. The moral case is... (we can discuss this later, if anyone wants to)
Matt b's stance seems to be that any moral justification is impossible because morality is subjective. He is disagreeing with point 1, not with point 2."
If that is indeed Matt's stance then I disagree with it. What I think he is in fact saying is that the US stating that there is a moral case for war did not make it so.
Let me say again that the US invoked an (in my opinion) imaginary moral high ground to say that they were more right than the French, Germans or whoever opposed the war. They did not successfully demonstrate this in a way that convinced anyone that their opinions were correct so they decided to act (effectively) unilaterally. The quote that you linked to seemed to suggest that they were right to do so but why? They believed that they were acting morally as did Bin Laden - Matt was surely asking what makes their morality better than his when you have only their word to say that it was?
I get the feeling that we're going round in circles here. Obviously the thing that makes you feel that the US were correct and Bin Laden wasn't is that you agree with what they think and not what he thinks. The problem is that everyone is going to think that the opinion he holds is morally correct and therefore gives him the right to ignore international law. What, therefore is the point of interntational law?
As far as I can tell that is roughly what Matt is saying.

matt b
15-01-2007, 02:33 PM
As far as I can tell that is roughly what Matt is saying.

correct.

did i really express it poorly?
(having re-read my posts, don't think so)

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 02:34 PM
Idlerich
"What I think he is in fact saying is that the US stating that there is a moral case for war did not make it so. "

The second half of this sentence is beyond dispute. That doesn't mean there is and can be no 'moral case' for war. Obviously international law is important, but it is also hugely dependent on a UN that is almost incapable of doing what it was set up to do (viz; Rwanda then, Sudan now)

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 02:35 PM
"2. The moral case is... (we can discuss this later, if anyone wants to)"
All of the above debate does somewhat ignore the fact that I don't believe that the US did think that they had a moral justification to invade Iraq. They clearly lied about WMD and were at least as interested in oil and their own political ends as they were the Iraqi people (I accept that they probably hoped that it would turn out ok for them and be a nice added bonus but that's about it) and that is why I find it particularly galling that they constantly harped on about their moral duty to break international law.
If there was a moral case to invade, in my opinion, the US certainly didn't make it.
Of course it's equally possible that the French were making the right decision for the wrong reasons which doesn't necessarily reflect much better on them.

matt b
15-01-2007, 02:56 PM
Well fucking discuss them then. All you've done is say Vimothy shouldn't refer to moral justifications since Bin Laden does the same thing.

no i didn't. i said that if you are simply using vague justifications, such as 'its moral', other people who may have different morals may say the same thing



No, but you did say this

"i think part of the problem we face with regard to religious fanatics has been fanned by justifications for actions based on 'certain fundamentals' as stated by bush and blair, rather than legal justifications. that was the point i was trying to make."

and this

"i have little faith in international law, but its all we've got."



neither of which are ringing endorsements of international law, but in the case whether or not you invade a foreign country that is no threat to your own, i think international law should be followed for the sake of the world community, because it is agreed to by all nations.


the case put forward by the USA/UK included a number of practical reasons why saddam must go (WMA, 45 minutes etc- since found to be untrue) and moral ones (spreading freedom & democracy, saddam's a tyrant etc).

the UN believed neither the practical or the moral cases (something they did do in relation to afghanistan).


the moral case has been flawed from the beginning because it has not been followed consistently in all cases- attempted coup in venezuala supported by the USA, removing funding for the democratically elected palistinean gvt by Bush, torture flights, detention without trial etc etc.
this lack of consistency undermimes their moral position.

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 03:04 PM
"this lack of consistency undermimes their moral position."

Agreed. And you could throw in their 'interest' in oil supplies, protecting Israel, family grudges etc.

But I'm still interested in this:

"in the case whether or not you invade a foreign country that is no threat to your own, i think international law should be followed for the sake of the world community, because it is agreed to by all nations."

So if, say, Clinton had sent US forces to Rwanda in 94 you'd have cried foul?

matt b
15-01-2007, 03:11 PM
"this lack of consistency undermimes their moral position."

Agreed. And you could throw in their 'interest' in oil supplies, protecting Israel, family grudges etc.

phew!


So if, say, Clinton had sent US forces to Rwanda in 94 you'd have cried foul?

if it wasn't sanctioned by the UN, then yes.

vimothy
15-01-2007, 03:17 PM
If that is indeed Matt's stance then I disagree with it. What I think he is in fact saying is that the US stating that there is a moral case for war did not make it so.

Well, I don't think anyone could disagree with that, and I have in fact said as much.



Let me say again that the US invoked an (in my opinion) imaginary moral high ground to say that they were more right than the French, Germans or whoever opposed the war. They did not successfully demonstrate this in a way that convinced anyone that their opinions were correct so they decided to act (effectively) unilaterally. The quote that you linked to seemed to suggest that they were right to do so but why? They believed that they were acting morally as did Bin Laden - Matt was surely asking what makes their morality better than his when you have only their word to say that it was?

Obviously the US position should be assessed and judged on its own merits.



I get the feeling that we're going round in circles here.

To say the least...



Obviously the thing that makes you feel that the US were correct and Bin Laden wasn't is that you agree with what they think and not what he thinks. The problem is that everyone is going to think that the opinion he holds is morally correct and therefore gives him the right to ignore international law. What, therefore is the point of interntational law?
As far as I can tell that is roughly what Matt is saying.

However, both opinions aren't necessarily right. And international law isn't always a reliable arbiter, as crackerjack has pointed out.

vimothy
15-01-2007, 03:28 PM
if it wasn't sanctioned by the UN, then yes.

The law is an ass.

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 03:33 PM
"However, both opinions aren't necessarily right. And international law isn't always a reliable arbiter, as crackerjack has pointed out."
But in that case what is? Surely the idea is to improve international law not completely discredit it which is what the US has done.
I think that the whole Iraq business left people with the opinion that the US will act in the way that it perceives to fit best with its own agenda. If international law sanctions this then great, if not tough. Shouting about morality was just a smoke screen to allow them to do what they wanted to do anyway and I think that to link to that quote and then argue as you have is disingenuous because it is clear that the US did indeed mis-use that argument in exactly the way they have been accused of doing.
As with any law there ought to be reforms at times when it is found wanting but I think it's very tenuous indeed to say that this is one of them.

vimothy
15-01-2007, 03:54 PM
But in that case what is? Surely the idea is to improve international law not completely discredit it which is what the US has done.
I think that the whole Iraq business left people with the opinion that the US will act in the way that it perceives to fit best with its own agenda. If international law sanctions this then great, if not tough. Shouting about morality was just a smoke screen to allow them to do what they wanted to do anyway and I think that to link to that quote and then argue as you have is disingenuous because it is clear that the US did indeed mis-use that argument in exactly the way they have been accused of doing.
As with any law there ought to be reforms at times when it is found wanting but I think it's very tenuous indeed to say that this is one of them.

Well, I guess we all have to pick our way through the mine-field. It's a matter of opinion that the US has discredited international law. I think that the EU is a worse culprit, being unable or unwilling to enforce decisions or support its allies, and standing idle because its own interests are threatened.

Did the US really make the moral case for war? As I remember it they focused very heavily on WMDs and it was only afterward that I heard arguments in favour of intervention based on human rights and the like. Tony Blair certainly did, although the press didn't give it very much coverage. I have even heard arguments (from the "fat cunts") that Saddam abandoned any legitimacy he had as a ruler both when he attacked Kuwait and when he gassed his own people. In any case, it's not for Bush's sake that I support intervention - and the same is/was true for many people (Johan Hari for instance).

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 04:05 PM
Originally Posted by IdleRich

But in that case what is? Surely the idea is to improve international law not completely discredit it which is what the US has done.

Unfortunately international law is going to be very very difficult to improve, since you're talking not about changing the law, but the structrue of the UN. Let's tkae the Rwanda case (since I'd have thought it's fairly clear cut). The French sided with the Hutus and would've vetoed any attempt to interfere in the country, allowing them to massacre 1m Tutsis. As permanent security council member they have a veto. So international law says we should've stayed out. I say we should've gone in. Who's right?

vimothy
15-01-2007, 04:14 PM
The French were terrible with regard to Rwanda.

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 04:20 PM
"Did the US really make the moral case for war? As I remember it they focused very heavily on WMDs and it was only afterward that I heard arguments in favour of intervention based on human rights and the like."
Well, I kind of thought that they did and that all of those things you mention were part of an over all case that the morally right thing to do was invade. They thought it was the "right" thing to do and I assume that that means they thought it was the morally right thing to do. I actually thought that you were saying that they had indeed made a moral case rather than argued through expediency. In fact you are saying that there is a moral case that the US did not make - I wonder then, does this make their actions ok?


"I think that the EU is a worse culprit, being unable or unwilling to enforce decisions or support its allies, and standing idle because its own interests are threatened."
Of course many of the EU countries have been just as bad over the years. It just pisses me off really, all of the countries pick and choose when they are going to obey international law and when they aren't. Not much more to say about that really is there?


"Unfortunately international law is going to be very very difficult to improve, since you're talking not about changing the law, but the structrue of the UN."
Again, agreed. But why can't we change the structure of the UN? It will almost certainly have to change in the near future to admit more countries but I'm with you in that there should be a more fundamental change. The veto system has always struck me as very strange, I can't imagine anyone thinking that the best way to set up any type of body is to allow any single member the power to block any measure.

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 04:33 PM
I can't imagine anyone thinking that the best way to set up any type of body is to allow any single member the power to block any measure.

But sadly the UN is only as powerful as the countries supporting it and the superpowers aren't going to do anything that cedes real power to a body they can't control. That is why the most powerful get the veto - otherwise they'd have left it long since. It ain't right, but it ain't gonna change.
btw, when you say "admit more countries" you presumably mean onto the security council. I don't know if the 5 permanent members would allow anyone else to join their little club, except perhaps India (which would piss Pakistan off no end). Brazil might want in too.

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 04:39 PM
"btw, when you say "admit more countries" you presumably mean onto the security council. I don't know if the 5 permanent members would allow anyone else to join their little club, except perhaps India (which would piss Pakistan off no end). Brazil might want in too"
I thought that there was a real chance that at least one of India, China or Brazil would become permanent members in the relatively near future. I must admit I don't know much about this and I could well be wrong. More to the point I accept that there is a need for a far more fundamental reform than just adding a couple of countries and I also accept that there is very little chance of this happening.

Mr. Tea
15-01-2007, 04:42 PM
I thought China was already a permanent member?
I was under the impression there were five: US, UK, France, China, USSR/Russia. The five 'old school' nuclear powers.

Edit: yup, China is too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Un_security_council#Permanent_members

Incidentally, as an adendum to the India/Pakistan rivalry thing, did you know one of the Indin nuclear tests was called 'Smiling Buddha'? I mean, sheesh, even the 'Merkins didn't have the gall to call any of their bombs 'Baby Jebus'...

crackerjack
15-01-2007, 04:42 PM
china are already in (it's UK< US, France, Russia and China). What you say about India and Brazil rings a bell (not just from my previous post!), and perhaps Japan too. Like you, I'm not up on this and either wway i'm sceptical about the effect it will have.

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 04:44 PM
Oh yeah. Whoops.
More up than me I guess...

matt b
15-01-2007, 05:16 PM
Of course many of the EU countries have been just as bad over the years.

not quite:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2828985.stm


with regard to rwanda, i don't think anyone involved can look back with pride (namely the UN, belgium, france and the US):

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=5296

totally agreed on the 'picking and choosing' point

craner
15-01-2007, 06:07 PM
with regard to rwanda, i don't think anyone involved can look back with pride (namely the UN, belgium, france and the US):

True enough, though I would say that France deserve more blame than anybody bar the actual genocidaires and their leaders. Followed by the Egyptians actually, which is something nobody mentions.

Followed, then, by the UN. And Belgium.

Then the US and others.

There's a pyramid of complicity and culpability in this case, very definitely.

vimothy
16-01-2007, 08:54 AM
not quite:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2828985.stm


with regard to rwanda, i don't think anyone involved can look back with pride (namely the UN, belgium, france and the US):

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=5296

totally agreed on the 'picking and choosing' point

Actually, I don't think anyone need be as ashamed as France.

Check this out for complete and utter vileness (and note the picture of Hutus carrying banners saying "France" and "Operation Turquiose" at the top of the page):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/rwanda/story/0,,1987596,00.html


When the genocide started, Paris made no secret of where its loyalties lay. The French military flew in ammunition for government forces and, in the following weeks, a stream of Hutu officials travelled to Paris, including Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, who was later convicted of genocide by the international tribunal, for meetings with President François Mitterrand and the French prime minister. Even as the mass graves filled across Rwanda, Paris engineered the delivery of millions of dollars' worth of weapons to the Hutu regime from Egypt and South Africa.

Africa has traditionally been considered such a special case in Paris that France's policy is run out of the presidency. At the time, the "Africa cell" was headed by Mitterrand's son, Jean-Christophe, a close friend of the Habyarimanas. He later said that there could not have been a genocide because "Africans are not that organised". France's president did not deny what had happened, but took a view no less racist: "In such countries, genocide is not too important."



France immediately sent troops and weapons to defend Habyarimana's regime. Politicians and the military top brass cast the conflict as between Francophone Hutus and invading Anglo-Saxon Tutsis - though 15% of Rwanda's population were Tutsis who had not left the country. Some in the French military talked of the RPF as wanting to destroy the Hutus, calling the rebels the "Black Khmers". Despite the growing evidence of a genocide in the making during the early 1990s, and the excesses of Habyarimana's regime in assassinating opponents and organising periodic massacres of Tutsi civilians, France's support did not waver.

Even as the Hutu government was facing collapse in the last phase of the genocide, and no one doubted that there had been a slaughter of Tutsis, France was trying to save the failing regime by sending troops to carve out a "safe zone" in the western parts of Rwanda still under Hutu control. "Operation Turquoise" was billed as an intervention "to stop the massacres and to protect the populations threatened with extermination". But, as the Rwandan commission into French actions has been hearing, the zone proved to be safe for the Hutu Interahamwe to carry on murdering and to protect the extremist government from capture and trial by the RPF. The killers understood this. At the roadblocks, they cheered the first French troops to arrive. Later, General Jean-Claude Lafourcade, commander of Operation Turquoise, admitted that the safe zone was intended to keep alive the Hutu government in the hope that it would deny the RPF total victory and international recognition as the rulers of Rwanda. It was also an opportunity for France to help leading members of the regime to flee. Other killers made their own way to France knowing they would find protection from justice.

[Props to Hyperstition for the link]

craner
16-01-2007, 10:08 AM
Two good books, this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/o/ASIN/1845112474/ref=s9_asin_image_1/203-2902597-8522320) one and this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/People-Betrayed-Role-Rwandas-Genocide/dp/185649831X/sr=1-1/qid=1168945559/ref=sr_1_1/203-2902597-8522320?ie=UTF8&s=books) one.

Vis a vis the topic of this thread, you could always start talking about Mitterand, Chirac & Saddam, another secret history that rather diminishes "Rumsfeld sold Saddam chemical weapons" and other lies and distortions.

vimothy
16-01-2007, 10:23 AM
Oliver, thanks for the two articles. Kegan/Keane plan looks solid (still haven't read the full thing yet). Didn't realise that Petraeus was responsible for the new COIN manual, which is excellent, but it's good to know that the Americans are finally getting sorted.

vimothy
16-01-2007, 11:20 AM
Well, I kind of thought that they did and that all of those things you mention were part of an over all case that the morally right thing to do was invade. They thought it was the "right" thing to do and I assume that that means they thought it was the morally right thing to do. I actually thought that you were saying that they had indeed made a moral case rather than argued through expediency. In fact you are saying that there is a moral case that the US did not make - I wonder then, does this make their actions ok?


I take the "moral case" to be separate from the WMD case as was made and which was based on fear and self-interest (i.e. that they might attack us). There is a massive literature by now of people who've made much better arguments in favour of Saddam's removal.

I never said that the US government had made a moral case for the liberation of Iraq, merely that one could be made (and this became my argument with Matt b). Blatantly they should have done a lot better, and they should be doing a lot better explaining the WoT in general - we can't afford to lose against Salafism, for everyone's sake, including (perhaps especially) the Muslim Middle East.

And for what it's worth, I support the US intervention for my own reasons, not because I'm convinced about WMDs (though I have no doubt that at least some within the Administration share similar views, despite all the pre-war realpolitik).

IdleRich
16-01-2007, 11:37 AM
"I take the "moral case" to be separate from the WMD case as was made and which was based on fear and self-interest (i.e. that they might attack us)."
You could argue that the US believed (or claimed to believe) that they had a moral duty to protect their citizens and the rest of the world from the WMD.


"I never said that the US government had made a moral case for the liberation of Iraq, merely that one could be made (and this became my argument with Matt b)."
Fair enough. You were in favour of intervention and you provided that quote that seemed to be a fairly good description of US behaviour in the way they had said that they could override an "unreasonable" veto - presumably because they had right on their side (as I have described above). I therefore took you to be saying that you believed that the US had acted in accordance with the doctrine of moral rightness superseding international law and were in favour of them doing so.
Rather, you were saying that moral rightness can supersede international law (and would have done in this case) but the US did not make that case.
Apologies for misunderstanding you.

Mr. Tea
16-01-2007, 11:49 AM
You could argue that the US believed (or claimed to believe) that they had a moral duty to protect their citizens and the rest of the world from the WMD.


Having WMDs and having the means to deploy them are two very different things. Even when Blair claimed Saddam could launch missiles at 'British interests' at 45 minutes' notice, he was talking about our military bases in Cyprus, not the UK mainland. No US citizens would have been in danger even if Saddam had had WMDs and the most advanced delivery systems he could feasibly have possessed - it was Israel that would have been the target (as it was in the first Gulf war, with Scud missiles that could easily have been fitted with chemical warheads).

crackerjack
19-03-2007, 02:33 PM
new poll data:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/19_03_07_iraqpollnew.pdf

in the interests of fairness i should say the Sunday Times published a more favourable (to the US) one yesterday, though i can't see a detailed breakdown
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article1530762.ece

vimothy
19-03-2007, 02:47 PM
"One in four Iraqis has had a family member murdered".

What a statistic - just fucking terrible.

Here's hoping the Americans can finally disarm the militias and restore some sort of order to the country.

vimothy
19-03-2007, 02:50 PM
The poll discussed in the Times piece can be found here:

http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=67

adruu
19-03-2007, 03:26 PM
As if this sort of bloodshed and violence wasn't predictable post-Saddam.

From a purely technocratic standpoint, although saddam and his kids were completely lunatic pieces of shit, there was no way that the Iraqi state could be transformed into a peaceful civil society by anyone, much less a bunch of bungling freemarket will save the world types.

craner
19-03-2007, 04:04 PM
I'm shocked that people still give any credence to any polls, seeing as they are only determined by what is asked in what context to whom, to state something obvious. The reason? Well, they back up a position, which you adhere to or not. If not, there's always another poll. Polls obfuscate, even if their intention is to elucidate. Hence today, when we have two contradictory polls to argue about. Regardless.

Incidentally, I wonder how you can be so sure about this:

there was no way that the Iraqi state could be transformed into a peaceful civil society by anyone

What is that? Historical realism or prejudice? How can you make that call?

vimothy
19-03-2007, 04:08 PM
As if this sort of bloodshed and violence wasn't predictable post-Saddam.

From a purely technocratic standpoint, although saddam and his kids were completely lunatic pieces of shit, there was no way that the Iraqi state could be transformed into a peaceful civil society by anyone, much less a bunch of bungling freemarket will save the world types.

How did you predict the violence prior to it occuring? Just a hunch?

Who is in a better position than the leaders of the most powerful state in the world, adruu? The Communist Party?

Why is it such a bad thing to want to improve people's lives in any case?

vimothy
19-03-2007, 04:09 PM
I'm shocked that people still give any credence to any polls, seeing as they are only determined by what is asked in what context to whom, to state something obvious. The reason? Well, they back up a position, which you adhere to or not. If not, there's always another poll. Polls obfuscate, even if their intention is to elucidate. Hence today, when we have two contradictory polls to argue about. Regardless.

Well, I don't think I can disagree with that.

Mr. Tea
19-03-2007, 04:12 PM
I would say, "by anyone, within a short span of time".

Let's be honest here, it was ridiculously naive to suppose that the moment Saddam was removed, the Iraqis would happily adopt democracy and start living a normal, peaceful life growing dates and exporting oil in perfect harmony with each other. There were the same religious and ethnic faultlines you find in every country that's been stitched together out of a tribal patchwork by an outside imperial power - Saddam's mob were just keeping the lid on it all, as Soviet influence did in former Yugoslavia. Remove that lid and it all goes to hell.

craner
19-03-2007, 04:26 PM
Alright, look a formulation like this

the Iraqis would happily adopt democracy and start living a normal, peaceful life growing dates and exporting oil in perfect harmony with each other

is silly and beside the point. To build the basics of a functioning democratic state was not impossible, and some elements have been successful. They have the chance to erect an independent judiciary, for example. Why be so glib about that? They had a chance to foster an independent trade union movement, which has been blocked by succesive Iraqi administrations, by the Bremer occupation, by ex-Mukhabarat killers who keep bumping off trade union leaders, and partisan unions who abhor the very idea of independent unions anyway.

And this:

There were the same religious and ethnic faultlines you find in every country that's been stitched together out of a tribal patchwork by an outside imperial power - Saddam's mob were just keeping the lid on it al

is precisely the propaganda 'Saddam's mob' peddled, to very useful and successful ends, even while they were doing the very opposite. They were not keeping a lid on ethnic faultlines, they stoked these to consolidate their own narrow ethnic power base. Divide & Rule. And religious faultlines? They killed powerful religious leaders who posed any kind of threat, at least until the 90s, when they thought it expediant to import and synthesise Islam into their own State structure. Don't forget Saddam's mosques!

vimothy
19-03-2007, 04:29 PM
I would say, "by anyone, within a short span of time".

Let's be honest here, it was ridiculously naive to suppose that the moment Saddam was removed, the Iraqis would happily adopt democracy and start living a normal, peaceful life growing dates and exporting oil in perfect harmony with each other. There were the same religious and ethnic faultlines you find in every country that's been stitched together out of a tribal patchwork by an outside imperial power - Saddam's mob were just keeping the lid on it all, as Soviet influence did in former Yugoslavia. Remove that lid and it all goes to hell.

"With hindsight" seems a bit more accurate, IMO. Were Iraqi opposition parties saying this? Were Iraqi intellectuals? "Don't overthrow Saddam, our country is filled with murderous jihadis waiting for the opportunity to slaughter civilians in their thousands..." Seems far-fetched to me. I don't believe anyone could have predicted what has happened.

Though I could easily be wrong: perhaps someone can link to some pre-war analysis that predicted what is happening?

vimothy
19-03-2007, 04:29 PM
Well said Oliver.

tht
19-03-2007, 04:32 PM
http://www.rawstory.com/printstory.php?story=2798

Mr. Tea
19-03-2007, 04:47 PM
There were the same religious and ethnic faultlines you find in every country that's been stitched together out of a tribal patchwork by an outside imperial power - Saddam's mob were just keeping the lid on it al

is precisely the propaganda 'Saddam's mob' peddled, to very useful and successful ends, even while they were doing the very opposite. They were not keeping a lid on ethnic faultlines, they stoked these to consolidate their own narrow ethnic power base. Divide & Rule. And religious faultlines? They killed powerful religious leaders who posed any kind of threat, at least until the 90s, when they thought it expediant to import and synthesise Islam into their own State structure. Don't forget Saddam's mosques!

Ahh, OK - I certainly didn't mean that Saddam was doing a great job of ensuring equality and harmony between the various factions; I'm well aware of the favouritism shown towards the Sunni minority, and the often murderous persecution of Shi'ites, Kurds and marsh Arabs. By 'keeping a lid on it' I just meant that the country wasn't tearing itself apart like it is now (or, at least, seems to be). I'm also well aware that Saddam's rule was a huge catalyst for this tension. But at the same time isn't it true that Iraq, as an entity as such, was created by the British as a League of Nations mandate after WWI?

adruu
19-03-2007, 05:02 PM
Yes its realism, and a prejudice against authoritarian cultures with mono-economies. Life in poor countries is brutal and violent. Pregnant women have their babies cut out of them. Men rape children. People get woken up with a bullet in their head. Is that a newsflash for you?

I am also prejudiced against neo con types that preach about democracy and elect an ex-presidents dumb kid, privatize armies, lose plane loads of cash, and fiegn compassion when they read stories about how absolutely horrible it is to live in Iraq right now.

This plan was completely unworkable from the start, and I think most people suspect that when pro-Iraq war types pretend that this wasn't forseeable know that you just wanted to see Arabs kill themselves and perpetuate a blatantly racist, suprematist, war machine fantasy about how great the blessings of your lord and savior are. God is great right?

Pick one of Reagan's adventures into South America and tell me that it provided a long term solution to the prosperity and peace of the country and its people. Ortega is president in Nicaragua if you havent noticed. Look at Mexico for fuck's sake. What sort of influence do you really think America has if a country that has provided cheap labor and goods to its nieghbors has had a completly corrupt political system, and a economy that has failed to provide for the majority of the population over its ENTIRE history.

Read a fucking defense department white paper, and then come back and tell me "no one planned for this" You couldnt get a small bank loan with this type of planning.

craner
19-03-2007, 05:03 PM
This was a reply to Mr Tea by the way:

Yes it is.

So you suggest that Iraq be dissolved...into what?

You wouldn't have bad company (http://www.amazon.co.uk/End-Iraq-American-Incompetence-Created/dp/1416526250/ref=sr_1_1/026-3464586-2174817?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174327358&sr=8-1) actually. (Hint: excellent book.)

craner
19-03-2007, 05:08 PM
I am also prejudiced against neo con types that preach about democracy and elect an ex-presidents dumb kid, privatize armies, lose plane loads of cash, and fiegn compassion when they read stories about how absolutely horrible it is to live in Iraq right now.

Gibberish.

What's the conclusion? 1. Saddam's rule was justified because it was the only way to contain the wild energies of his savage subjects or 2. the catastophic Coalition intervention was at least neutralised morally because without Saddam this brutal violence was inevitable anyway so the invading armies merely fasttracked the process.

What kind of mental chaos are you in?

adruu
19-03-2007, 05:50 PM
Quaint deflection. Saddam's rule wasnt justified in the 80's either. You can keep playing this game about Supporting Saddam vs. The Consequences of Destabilization but how long is it going to take for you to admit that your crowd didnt even bother planning. Do you need to be Kasparov to understand actions have consequences?

If there are ways of "spreading democracy" it probably requires 1) honesty (not hyped WMD) 2) planning (see clinton era state department projects on recovering failed states that were shelved) 3) money, insane amounts of money without any promises on a return of investment, and 4)multilateralism

Ultimately, your crowd isn't going to fix the world, but it will make some of the most horrible things about it worse, and then sob about it afterwards. That's the mental chaos I have to deal with.

(Newsflash #2 - Letting Bin Laden and Zawihiri live "emboldens" terrorists, so does giving witness protection to Ali Muhammed.)

Guybrush
19-03-2007, 09:10 PM
‘Betrayed’ (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/26/070326fa_fact_packer), an article by George Packer on the Iraqi translators collaborating with the U.S. forces, was published today. Read it and weep.


By the end of 2006, there were almost two million Iraqis living as refugees outside their country—most of them in Syria and Jordan. American policy held that these Iraqis were not refugees, that they would go back to their country as soon as it was stabilized. The U.S. Embassies in Damascus and Amman continued to turn down almost all visa applications from Iraqis. So the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world remained hidden, receiving little attention other than in a few reports from organizations like Human Rights Watch and Refugees International.

Additionally, a large number of the female refugees have had to turn to prostitution to survive in that godforsaken limbo. One cannot but wonder why they don’t get as much exposure as their Iranian counterparts.

What struck me the most upon reading the article was the toxic combination of ignorance, arrogance, and malfeasance, seeming to permeat every stratum of the U.S. Army. Sure, the responsibility ultimately lies with the persons at the top, but the middlemen seem to make a pretty damn good job at making bad things worse. Anyway, I’m proud that Firas, whose brave dedication the article relates, eventually was granted asylum over here.

Mr. Tea
20-03-2007, 12:06 AM
This was a reply to Mr Tea by the way:

Yes it is.

So you suggest that Iraq be dissolved...into what?

You wouldn't have bad company (http://www.amazon.co.uk/End-Iraq-American-Incompetence-Created/dp/1416526250/ref=sr_1_1/026-3464586-2174817?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174327358&sr=8-1) actually. (Hint: excellent book.)

Saying that a country was founded for the wrong reasons in the first place does not equate to saying that the country, once established, should be broken up, does it? See also: Israel.

I like to remain optimistic and think that something good will come of this eventually.
It's just that, at the moment, Iraq looks like everyone's fault: Saddam and his henchmen, obviously; Reagan in the 80s for supporting Saddam; Bush Snr. for failing to support the popular uprising after the first Gulf War; Bush Jnr. and Blair for invading without any international mandate or any idea as to how to effectively rebuild the country afterwards (and all the corrupt wankers supposedly involved in the 'reconstruction' now), the Sunni insurgents trying to derail the democratic process, the Iran-sponsored Shi'ite militias sticking their oar in...the word 'mess' is scarcely adequate.

vimothy
20-03-2007, 09:19 AM
I am also prejudiced against neo con types that preach about democracy and elect an ex-presidents dumb kid, privatize armies, lose plane loads of cash, and fiegn compassion when they read stories about how absolutely horrible it is to live in Iraq right now.

Does it make it easier for you to pretend that members of the US government are baby eating monsters who jump inside when people are murdered? Does Tony Blair look like he's having a great time? I think that's a pretty heartless thing to say.


This plan was completely unworkable from the start, and I think most people suspect that when pro-Iraq war types pretend that this wasn't forseeable know that you just wanted to see Arabs kill themselves and perpetuate a blatantly racist, suprematist, war machine fantasy about how great the blessings of your lord and savior are. God is great right?

God is dead.

This is an obvious no brainer: if I really am racist and blood thirsty, why do I support democratic government in Iraq? Why do I support Iraqi self-determination? Why would I not have been perfectly happy with Iraq as it was when the butcher of Bagdhad was murdering and torturing and gassing his own people? Why support intervention if my fantasy is already occuring? We could invade a more stable country, like Jordan, instead, and fuck that up!


Pick one of Reagan's adventures into South America and tell me that it provided a long term solution to the prosperity and peace of the country and its people. Ortega is president in Nicaragua if you havent noticed. Look at Mexico for fuck's sake. What sort of influence do you really think America has if a country that has provided cheap labor and goods to its nieghbors has had a completly corrupt political system, and a economy that has failed to provide for the majority of the population over its ENTIRE history.

It is not Reagan's fault that South America is in the state it is in.

vimothy
20-03-2007, 02:12 PM
Update on the Baghdad security Plan:

http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/03/the_baghdad_security_1.php

Mr. Tea
20-03-2007, 03:06 PM
I heard about the chlorine gas attacks the other day. Couldn't help thinking there was a certain sick irony in this, what with chemical weapons being classed as a 'WMD'.

craner
28-03-2007, 02:46 PM
Everybody has an agenda. (http://www.meforum.org/article/1654)

Mr. Tea
28-03-2007, 03:13 PM
"The Middle East Forum Promoting American Interests"

Well, at least they wear theirs on their sleeve!

Guybrush
28-03-2007, 06:57 PM
Apropos of nothing in particular, but emblematic of how bad things are, this (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/28/AR2007032800166.html) article barely made the Washington Post’s main page.


Shiite militants and police enraged by massive truck bombings in Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents in the northwestern town Wednesday, killing as many as 60 people, officials said.

The gunmen roamed Sunni neighborhoods in the city through the night, shooting at residents and homes, according to police and a local Sunni politician.
[...]
The hospital official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, said the victims were men between the ages of 15 and 60, and they were killed with a shot to the back of the head.

Looking awfully bleak, doesn’t it?

craner
28-03-2007, 07:05 PM
Well, at least they wear theirs on their sleeve!

It's best to.

craner
28-03-2007, 11:22 PM
Reagan in the 80s for supporting Saddam

As an aside, as it gets rather tiring this line:

The US did not "support" Saddam at any time during his total rule years; they, at points during the Iran-Iraq war, tilted towards him. As they did, by the way, Iran, in a more covert but actually effective and material way. None of which I would condone.

But what I am saying is that, if you say "support" in the case of Reagan, or Ford-Kissinger, then compare US policy on Iraq to, say, France.

Who acctively supported and finanaced and armed Saddam's Ba'ath Iraq (to make a distinction) in various ways at various times UNTIL THE VERY END.

Did I mention FRANCE?

Take context, and certain quantitative elements, and suck on it.

Mr. Tea
28-03-2007, 11:49 PM
From the Wikipedia entry on Saddam:

The Reagan administration gave Saddam roughly $40 billion in aid in the 1980s to fight Iran, nearly all of it on credit. The U.S. also sent billions of dollars to Saddam to keep him from forming a strong alliance with the Soviets. Saddam's Iraq became " the third-largest recipient of US assistance"

Sounds like 'support' to me. Is that not the case, then?

Edit: what did I say about France? I don't think there's anything I wouldn't put past those cheese-eating surrender-monkeys...

crackerjack
29-03-2007, 06:15 PM
[QUOTE=Mr. Tea;81839]From the Wikipedia entry on Saddam:

The Reagan administration gave Saddam roughly $40 billion in aid in the 1980s to fight Iran, nearly all of it on credit. The U.S. also sent billions of dollars to Saddam to keep him from forming a strong alliance with the Soviets. Saddam's Iraq became " the third-largest recipient of US assistance"

Sounds like 'support' to me. Is that not the case, then?QUOTE]


There's nothing inherently wrong with the word 'support' here, certainly not in its literal sense. The problem arises when people extrapolate from that to claim that Saddam was Frankenstein's monster. There are those who'll tell you everything he did was at the behest of the CIA, including the invasions of Iran and Kuwait.

Mr. Tea
29-03-2007, 06:33 PM
Such people would be twats, then. I've certainly never thought any such thing; Saddam was doing a great job of being a terrible cunt all by himself, he was just made a somewhat richer and better-armed terrible cunt by America in the 1980s, is all.

crackerjack
29-03-2007, 06:39 PM
Such people would be twats, then. I've certainly never thought any such thing;

I wouldn't dream of suggesting you did.


Saddam was doing a great job of being a terrible cunt all by himself, he was just made a somewhat richer and better-armed terrible cunt by America in the 1980s, is all.

Yes, although it should be pointed out that in the scheme of things America's arms contribution formed a pretty insignificant portion of his arsenal.

http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/000578.html

Mr. Tea
29-03-2007, 06:44 PM
As little as 1%, eh?
I knew the Soviets were busy down there, I remember seeing Saddam's MiGs on telly during Gulf War I.

Mr. Tea
29-03-2007, 06:45 PM
I wouldn't dream of suggesting you did.


Sure, I didn't mean to imply you had!

benjybars
21-04-2007, 01:34 PM
Saddam might be popular now ("Saddam: A Tribute" is the title of a recent article in the Guardian, for example) amongst left wingers and the anti-war set

hmm:slanted: i don't know ANY left-wingers or opponents of the war who see saddam as a hero..

crackerjack
21-04-2007, 03:18 PM
hmm:slanted: i don't know ANY left-wingers or opponents of the war who see saddam as a hero..

'Hero' might be overstating it, but I'm sure you don't need reminding of galloway's paean to Saddam, nor the fact that he describes Tariq Aziz as a friend. There are many, many, many others who've made common cause with the Sunni insurgency, many of whom are disaffected Baathists.

Is it your contention that the likes of Galloway, Tariq Ali, Pilger etc aren't of the left?

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-04-2007, 09:22 PM
'Hero' might be overstating it, but I'm sure you don't need reminding of galloway's paean to Saddam, nor the fact that he describes Tariq Aziz as a friend. There are many, many, many others who've made common cause with the Sunni insurgency, many of whom are disaffected Baathists.

Is it your contention that the likes of Galloway, Tariq Ali, Pilger etc aren't of the left?

As opposed to all those neo-cons who made common cause with Hussein while he was up to his eyeballs in US-sanctioned atrocity, just in case our geo-political amnesia is terminal.

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/rumsfeld-saddam.jpg

Mr. Tea
22-04-2007, 06:33 AM
OMG Raygun and Saddam used to be buddies I never knew that!!!!11

hundredmillionlifetimes
22-04-2007, 08:03 PM
From the Wikipedia entry on Saddam:

The Reagan administration gave Saddam roughly $40 billion in aid in the 1980s to fight Iran, nearly all of it on credit. The U.S. also sent billions of dollars to Saddam to keep him from forming a strong alliance with the Soviets. Saddam's Iraq became " the third-largest recipient of US assistance"

Sounds like 'support' to me. Is that not the case, then?


There's nothing inherently wrong with the word 'support' here, certainly not in its literal sense. The problem arises when people extrapolate from that to claim that Saddam was Frankenstein's monster. There are those who'll tell you everything he did was at the behest of the CIA, including the invasions of Iran and Kuwait.

The problem arises when people reconstruct history in accordance with their unexamined prejudices.


Roger Morris (http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0420-05.htm), a former State Department foreign service officer who was on the NSC staff during the Johnson and Nixon administrations, says the CIA had a hand in two coups in Iraq during the darkest days of the Cold War, including a 1968 putsch that set Saddam Hussein firmly on the path to power.

Morris says that in 1963, two years after the ill-fated U.S. attempt at overthrow in Cuba known as the Bay of Pigs, the CIA helped organize a bloody coup in Iraq that deposed the Soviet-leaning government of Gen. Abdel-Karim Kassem.

"This takes you down a longer, darker road in terms of American culpability ....

"As in Iran in '53, it was mostly American money and even American involvement on the ground," says Morris, referring to a U.S.-backed coup that brought the return of the shah to neighbouring Iran.

Kassem, who had allowed communists to hold positions of responsibility in his government, was machine-gunned to death. And the country wound up in the hands of the Baath party.

At the time, Morris continues, Saddam was a Baath operative studying law in Cairo, one of the venues the CIA chose to plan the coup.

In fact, he claims the former Iraqi president castigated by President George W. Bush as one of history's most "brutal dictators" was actually on the CIA payroll in those days.

"There's no question," Morris says. "It was there in Cairo that (Saddam) and others were first contacted by the agency."

In 1968, Morris says, the CIA encouraged a palace revolt among Baath party elements led by long-time Saddam mentor Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, who would turn over the reins of power to his ambitious protégé in 1979.

"It's a regime that was unquestionably midwived by the United States, and the (CIA's) involvement there was really primary," Morris says.


The Devil in the Details: The CIA and Saddam Hussein


"The coup that brought the Ba'ath Party to power in 1963 was celebrated by the United States.

The CIA had a hand in it. They had funded the Ba'ath Party - of which Saddam Hussein was a young member - when it was in opposition.

US diplomat James Akins served in the Baghdad Embassy at the time. Mr. Akins said, "I knew all the Ba'ath Party leaders and I liked them".

"The CIA were definitely involved in that coup. We saw the rise of the Ba'athists as a way of replacing a pro-Soviet government with a pro-American one and you don't get that chance very often.

"Sure, some people were rounded up and shot but these were mostly communists so that didn't bother us".

This happy co-existence lasted right through the 1980s." 1

"One thing is for sure, the US will find it much harder to remove the Ba'ath Party from power in Iraq than they did putting them in power back in 1963. If more people knew about this diabolical history, they just might not be so inclined to trust the US in its current efforts to execute "regime change" in Iraq." 3

Here then are some quotations that I've gathered on this fascinating early history of CIA involvement in the vicious history of "regime change" in Iraq: In early 1963, Saddam had more important things to worry about than his outstanding bill at the Andiana Cafe. On February 8, a military coup in Baghdad, in which the Baath Party played a leading role, overthrew Qassim. Support for the conspirators was limited. In the first hours of fighting, they had only nine tanks under their control. The Baath Party had just 850 active members. But Qassim ignored warnings about the impending coup. What tipped the balance against him was the involvement of the United States. He had taken Iraq out of the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact. In 1961, he threatened to occupy Kuwait and nationalized part of the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), the foreign oil consortium that exploited Iraq's oil. In retrospect, it was the ClAs favorite coup. "We really had the ts crossed on what was happening," James Critchfield, then head of the CIA in the Middle East, told us. "We regarded it as a great victory." Iraqi participants later confirmed American involvement. "We came to power on a CIA train," admitted Ali Saleh Sa'adi, the Baath Party secretary general who was about to institute an unprecedented reign of terror. CIA assistance reportedly included coordination of the coup plotters from the agency's station inside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad as well as a clandestine radio station in Kuwait and solicitation of advice from around the Middle East on who on the left should be eliminated once the coup was successful. To the end, Qassim retained his popularity in the streets of Baghdad. After his execution, his sup- porters refused to believe he was dead until the coup leaders showed pictures of his bullet-riddled body on TV and in the newspapers."

Sources:

1 Saddam's parallel universe (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/2694885.stm)

2 Andrew and Patrick Cockburn, excerpt from Out of the Ashes, The
Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, 2000. Cited by Tim Buckley
http://www.casi.org.uk/discuss/2000/msg01267.html

3 Richard Helms: CIA Assassination, Regime Change, Mass Murder and Saddam (http://coat.ncf.ca/articles/links/richard_helms_october_2002.htm)
By Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade and editor, of COAT's quarterly magazine "Press for Conversion!"

http://www.ddh.nl/pipermail/wereldcrisis/2002-October/003148.html

http://www.muslimedia.com/archives/features98/saddam.htm

hundredmillionlifetimes
22-04-2007, 08:27 PM
Reagan in the 80s for supporting Saddam

As an aside, as it gets rather tiring this line:

The US did not "support" Saddam at any time during his total rule years; they, at points during the Iran-Iraq war, tilted towards him. As they did, by the way, Iran, in a more covert but actually effective and material way. None of which I would condone.



What follows is an accurate chronology of United States involvement in the arming of Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war 1980-88. It is a powerful indictment of the Bush administration attempt to sell war as a component of its war on terrorism. It reveals US ambitions in Iraq to be just another chapter in the attempt to regain a foothold in the Mideast following the fall of the Shah of Iran.

A crisis always has a history, and the current crisis with Iraq is no exception. Below are some relevant dates.

September, 1980. Iraq invades Iran. The beginning of the Iraq-Iran war. [8]

February, 1982. Despite objections from congress, President Reagan removes Iraq from its list of known terrorist countries. [1]

December, 1982. Hughes Aircraft ships 60 Defender helicopters to Iraq. [9]

1982-1988. Defense Intelligence Agency provides detailed information for Iraq on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb damage assessments. [4]

November, 1983. A National Security Directive states that the U.S would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing its war with Iran. [1] & [15]

November, 1983. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro of Italy and its Branch in Atlanta begin to funnel $5 billion in unreported loans to Iraq. Iraq, with the blessing and official approval of the US government, purchased computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other industrial goods for Iraq's missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. [14]

October, 1983. The Reagan Administration begins secretly allowing Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to transfer United States weapons, including Howitzers, Huey helicopters, and bombs to Iraq. These shipments violated the Arms Export Control Act. [16]

November 1983. George Schultz, the Secretary of State, is given intelligence reports showing that Iraqi troops are daily using chemical weapons against the Iranians. [1]


December 20, 1983. Donald Rumsfeld , then a civilian and later Defense Secretary, meets with Saddam Hussein to assure him of US friendship and materials support. Rumsfeld -Reagan's Envoy- provided Iraq with chemical & biological weapons
[1] & [15]

July, 1984. CIA begins giving Iraq intelligence necessary to calibrate its mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. [19]

January 14, 1984. State Department memo acknowledges United States shipment of "dual-use" export hardware and technology. Dual use items are civilian items such as heavy trucks, armored ambulances and communications gear as well as industrial technology that can have a military application. [2]

March, 1986. The United States with Great Britain block all Security Council resolutions condemning Iraq's use of chemical weapons, and on March 21 the US becomes the only country refusing to sign a Security Council statement condemning Iraq's use of these weapons. [10]

May, 1986. The US Department of Commerce licenses 70 biological exports to Iraq between May of 1985 and 1989, including at least 21 batches of lethal strains of anthrax. [3]

May, 1986. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade botulin poison to Iraq. [7]

March, 1987. President Reagan bows to the findings of the Tower Commission admitting the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for hostages. Oliver North uses the profits from the sale to fund an illegal war in Nicaragua. [17]

Late 1987. The Iraqi Air Force begins using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq. [1]

February, 1988. Saddam Hussein begins the "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq. The Iraq regime used chemical weapons against the Kurds killing over 100,000 civilians and destroying over 1,200 Kurdish villages. [8]

April, 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of chemicals used in manufacture of mustard gas. [7]

August, 1988. Four major battles were fought from April to August 1988, in which the Iraqis massively and effectively used chemical weapons to defeat the Iranians. Nerve gas and blister agents such as mustard gas are used. By this time the US Defense Intelligence Agency is heavily involved with Saddam Hussein in battle plan assistance, intelligence gathering and post battle debriefing. In the last major battle with of the war, 65,000 Iranians are killed, many with poison gas. Use of chemical weapons in war is in violation of the Geneva accords of 1925. [6] & [13]

August, 1988. Iraq and Iran declare a cease fire. [8]

August, 1988. Five days after the cease fire Saddam Hussein sends his planes and helicopters to northern Iraq to begin massive chemical attacks against the Kurds. [8]

September, 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade anthrax and botulinum to Iraq. [7]

September, 1988. Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State: "The US-Iraqi relationship is... important to our long-term political and economic objectives." [15]

December, 1988. Dow chemical sells $1.5 million in pesticides to Iraq despite knowledge that these would be used in chemical weapons. [1]

July 25, 1990. US Ambassador to Baghdad meets with Hussein to assure him that President Bush "wanted better and deeper relations". Many believe this visit was a trap set for Hussein. A month later Hussein invaded Kuwait thinking the US would not respond. [12]

Sources:

1. Washingtonpost.com. December 30, 2002
2. Jonathan Broder. Nuclear times, Winter 1990-91
3. Kurt Nimno. AlterNet. September 23, 2002
4. Newyorktimes.com. August 29, 2002
5. ABC Nightline. June9, 1992
6. Counter Punch, October 10, 2002
7. Riegle Report: Dual Use Exports. Senate Committee on Banking. May 25, 1994
8. Timeline: A walk Through Iraq's History. U.S. Department of State
9. Doing Business: The Arming of Iraq. Daniel Robichear
10. Glen Rangwala. Labor Left Briefing, 16 September, 2002
11. Financial Times of London. July 3, 1991
12. Elson E. Boles. Counter Punch. October 10, 2002
13. Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988. Iranchamber.com
14. Columbia Journalism Review. March/April 1993. Iraqgate
15. Times Online. December 31, 2002. How U.S. Helped Iraq Build Deadly Arsenal
16. Bush's Secret Mission. The New Yorker Magazine. November 2, 1992
17. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia: Iran-Contra Affair
18. Congressional Record. July 27, 1992. Representative Henry B. Gonzalez
19. Bob Woodward. CIA Aiding Iraq in Gulf War. Washington Post. 15 December, 1986
20. Case Study: The Anfal Campaign. www.gendercide.com

[Not that Mr Craner condones this, preferring to simply, breathtakingly deny it instead].

Guybrush
22-04-2007, 09:21 PM
'Hero' might be overstating it, but I'm sure you don't need reminding of galloway's paean to Saddam, nor the fact that he describes Tariq Aziz as a friend. There are many, many, many others who've made common cause with the Sunni insurgency, many of whom are disaffected Baathists.

Is it your contention that the likes of Galloway, Tariq Ali, Pilger etc aren't of the left?

Aye, and Pat Buchanan and countless other questionable persons are part of ‘the right’. There are nutmegs and basket cases in any political movement. For this reason, all jabber about a supposed wealth of leftist supporters for the Iraq insurgency is extremely disingenuous. Where is the proof people? Most allegations seem but ill-disposed misinterpretations.

crackerjack
22-04-2007, 09:54 PM
Aye, and Pat Buchanan and countless other questionable persons are part of ‘the right’. There are nutmegs and basket cases in any political movement. For this reason, all jabber about a supposed wealth of leftist supporters for the Iraq insurgency is extremely disingenuous. Where is the proof people? Most allegations seem but ill-disposed misinterpretations.

What's your point here? I'm certainly not out to defend the likes of Pat Buchanan (although I doubt he has cheered on the Iraqi 'resistance') in particular or the right in general, since I'm on the opposite side

But are you seriously suggesting that there aren't many significant figures and movements on the left (Galloway, Tariq Ali, Pilger, Respect, STWC) who support any old bunch of fundamentalist and/or sectarian murderers so long as they make Iraq ungovernable and embarrass the Americans?

bruno
22-04-2007, 10:12 PM
incidentally, everyone armed iran-iraq, not just the united states.

Mr. Tea
22-04-2007, 10:21 PM
incidentally, everyone armed iran-iraq, not just the united states.

According to some stats in a link posted up there somewhere, the USSR/Russia was by far Iraq's biggest arms vendor, followed by France with the USA on a measely 1%!

bruno
22-04-2007, 10:43 PM
i'll catch up on the thread, tea, sorry. yes, i wouldn't be surprised.

another point, and i'm blurry on the subject, is how pro or against does a government have to be for an arms deal to go forward? because i was under the impression that the arms industry fucntioned much like the drug trade in that it's supranational, with oscene amounts of money, and that these deals will happen with or without official consent, or at such a low level as to bypass scrutiny. i wondered how much of this is going with the inevitable (and making a profit) and how much is actual political decision to press with an arms deal.

vimothy
23-04-2007, 08:35 AM
The problem arises when people reconstruct history in accordance with their unexamined prejudices.

Thought this was worth repeating ...

vimothy
23-04-2007, 02:02 PM
Aye, and Pat Buchanan and countless other questionable persons are part of ‘the right’. There are nutmegs and basket cases in any political movement. For this reason, all jabber about a supposed wealth of leftist supporters for the Iraq insurgency is extremely disingenuous. Where is the proof people? Most allegations seem but ill-disposed misinterpretations.

I think that Guybrush makes a good point here. I'm not reading a fantastic amount of left-wing blogs (unless you count the Euston Manifesto lot as leftists (I would)), but I have seen stuff in the Guardian, among other places, praising Saddam. Mostly, support for Saddam and the insurgency is something that I've heard uttered by student activists at work. The insurgents are secular leftists, so I've been told. Saddam was too. They're fighting an anti-colonial war against the US imperialist agressor. I don't think there's anything shocking or unexpected in this, given the wide amount of credance that these tropes have.

But I'm interested in finding out how widespread support for the insurgency is among the left.

vimothy
23-04-2007, 02:07 PM
Has anyone read Cohen's book (What's Left?) yet? Any good?

crackerjack
23-04-2007, 05:31 PM
Has anyone read Cohen's book (What's Left?) yet? Any good?

been reading his stuff on Iraq for years weekly in the Obs, so don't really see the point in shelling out to see it again. I'm more interested in what he has to say on the post-60s development of the left, the way in which a creed that was once all about activism and solidarity has become (in some cases) characterised by a sort of selfish nihilism that thinks blowing raspberries at authority constitutes a political programme.

I had a huge row with a mate recently who slated Nu Lab for its lack of socialism while defending a friend of his who systematically and massively cheats on her tax.

hundredmillionlifetimes
23-04-2007, 08:10 PM
I had a huge row with a mate recently who slated Nu Lab for its lack of socialism while defending a friend of his who systematically and massively cheats on her tax.

But what actually was it that upset you so? Somebody criticising New Labour for appropriating and normalising Thatcherite ideology while hanging out with a greedy, egotistical tax evader, or the unpleasant witnessing of the schizophrenic societal norm we call hypocrisy?

Not that the citizens of Iraq are intensely angst-ridden in making these finer distinctions at the moment.

crackerjack
23-04-2007, 10:46 PM
[QUOTE=hundredmillionlifetimes;84184]But what actually was it that upset you so? Somebody criticising New Labour for appropriating and normalising Thatcherite ideology while hanging out with a greedy, egotistical tax evader, or the unpleasant witnessing of the schizophrenic societal norm we call hypocrisy?QUOTE]

People can hang out with whoever they like. But condoning tax dodging (and we're talking here about a very, very comfortably off tax dodger, not somone earning an extra £20-30 on the sly) while calling yourself a socialist is like fucking for virginity.

Guybrush
23-04-2007, 11:26 PM
People can hang out with whoever they like. But condoning tax dodging (and we're talking here about a very, very comfortably off tax dodger, not somone earning an extra £20-30 on the sly) while calling yourself a socialist is like fucking for virginity.

Absolutely. You won’t see me defending it, anyway, that’s for sure.

Guybrush
24-04-2007, 09:16 AM
Let’s discuss the ‘surge’.

Yesterday’s toll (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/23/AR2007042301704.html?hpid=topnews). Sadly, pretty much business as usual:


A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-rigged truck into a U.S. military outpost near Baqubah on Monday, killing nine soldiers and wounding 20 in one of the deadliest single ground attacks on U.S. forces since the start of the war in Iraq, military officials said early Tuesday.

...

Another car bombing Monday at an Iraqi police checkpoint near Diyala's provincial council headquarters in Baqubah killed seven Iraqi policemen and wounded 13, the military said. The council was about to begin a meeting to discuss its 2007 budget, the U.S. military said.

...

Bombings in different parts of the country Monday killed at least another 44 people and wounded more than 100, police said. Twin car bombings killed at least 19 outside Ramadi, about 60 miles west of Baghdad, and a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a restaurant near Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, killing seven and injuring 14.

I find this (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/22/AR2007042200110.html?hpid=topnews) story even more worrying, for some reason:


A few days ago, a Yazidi woman from Beshiqa, a nearby village populated mostly by Yazidis, eloped with a Muslim man and converted to Islam. To punish her, Jabouri said, the woman's family stoned her to death.

On Sunday afternoon, workers from a Mosul textile factory were heading home to Beshiqa when gunmen stopped their bus, police said. After checking passengers' identifications, the gunmen drove them to an isolated Mosul suburb, then lined up 23 of them and shot them to death, said Abdul Kareem al-Kinani, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

And now they are planning on raising walls round certain Baghdad neighbourhoods, West Bank style. Wise, or vain attempt at displaying decisiveness?

Here (http://www.exile.ru/2007-February-23/the_modocs_a_beautiful_little_war.html) is the War Nerd (thanks for the tip Vimothy) on the ‘surge’:


The Surge. Jeez, just that title, "the Surge" - what Stan Lee fan thought of that? The DoD is addicted to these corny titles. Can't just say we're going to increase troop numbers in Baghdad. No, it's "The Surge"! Like the name you'd give some lame X-Man added for ethnic balance, maybe a gay Samoan cripple who can turn himself into a tidal wave when danger threatens. One minute he's a mild-mannered Green-Zone accountant making $800 a day, and then -- Kaboom! he becomes a Tsunami of freedom, washing the scum off the "Arab Street."

If only. Unfortunately, this isn't a surge, just a reinforcement, and a pretty small one. And if you have to ask whether it'll work, you don't understand guerrilla war. Of course it won't work. Classic guerrilla doctrine - Hell, plain common sense - says when the occupier floods the city with troops, the guerrilla lays low. Which the Iraqis are doing. And yet people are so stupid they're already crowing that "incidents are down" since the Surge.

Well, duh. That's the idea: avoid battle, watch the Arabic-subtitled Dynasty reruns, let the clueless foreigners zoom up and down the alleys. Meanwhile, every soccer-playing kid in the street is memorizing patrol times and tipping his uncle off about the vulnerable small outposts we're now occupying as part of our meet-&-greet policy. Just yesterday the Sunni hit one of those mixed Iraqi/US outposts in daylight: two GIs killed, 17 wounded.

There's no point watching this like a Dow Jones graph, because any sane primate knows where it's going. Bush drove our car into a tree, and it's not going to un-total itself. All the crazies on Free Republic who screech "Nuke it from orbit!" are actually talking sense compared to Cheney & co. Because nuking the Sunni Triangle would work - might cause trouble elsewhere, but it would solve our problems in places like Ramadi. Whereas feeding more troops in, putting them on show to be blasted by IEDs - that's not warlike, that's...see, I can't even come up with a word for what these neocons are. They're not warmongers, that's for sure, because they'll never use our nukes. They're tinkerers, that's what it is - home improvement assholes who hit the sewer main with their first dig, then try to pretend the shit isn't filling up the basement. They won't nuke or leave, just hope their salaries rise faster than the sewage level.

He is right, isn’t he?

crackerjack
24-04-2007, 09:34 AM
And now they are planning on raising walls round certain Baghdad neighbourhoods, West Bank style. Wise, or vain attempt at displaying decisiveness?

Hasn't the Iraqi govt put a stop to that?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6582225.stm


He is right, isn’t he?

(sigh) Yes. The situation is irredeemable. i've always thought the US morally olbiged to stay as long as the Iraq govt want them, but I'm now convinced that even with the best will in the world (let's just pretend, ok) they're just prolonging the agony. They should leave. If Iraq is destined for all-out civil war then it might be better to get it over with.

vimothy
24-04-2007, 11:25 AM
Let’s discuss the ‘surge’.

Ok, but let's also remember that the USAF is finally getting its finger out, finally fighting COIN, finally appointed some good commanders (Petraeus, Nagl, Kilucullen) who understand and study COIN, and so on. Counterinsurgency warfare is rock solid, especially for 2GW army like the USAF, especialy in an area were they are completely outside public and cultural life. NI took thirty years, Baghdad might well take longer, if the coalition can hold

Is it being fought properly? Probably not, but fighting it badly is all part of the process.


He is right, isn’t he?

Right about what? Brecher is a nihilist and an imperialist - he wants war to be pure heart of darkeness - I love his writing, but I don't think that anybody should be asking him for solutions to the violence in Iraq. Do you seriously think that we should drop a nuclear bomb on the sunni triangle?

vimothy
24-04-2007, 11:32 AM
Hasn't the Iraqi govt put a stop to that?

It was pretty depressing watching the news last night (al Jazeera mostly), hearing everyone compare it to Palestine, no one comparing it to Algeria, no one mentioning counterinsurgency warfare. People apparently complaining that it will shut them off from the community(!)

I think it just goes to show you how badly the US are doing in the propaganjda war, that it can't even justify its best ideas to the people who's lives it's trying to protect.

Having said that, Robb thinks that the Algerian solution won't work because we're too networked nowadays, even in places like Iraq, and that gated communities will prevent economic activity in that particular area from functioning properly.

crackerjack
24-04-2007, 12:01 PM
Ok, but let's also remember that the USAF is finally getting its finger out, finally fighting COIN, finally appointed some good commanders (Petraeus, Nagl, Kilucullen) who understand and study COIN, and so on. Counterinsurgency warfare is rock solid, especially for 2GW army like the USAF, especialy in an area were they are completely outside public and cultural life. NI took thirty years, Baghdad might well take longer, if the coalition can hold

Is it being fought properly? Probably not, but fighting it badly is all part of the process.

Do you think any amount of brilliant generalship can turn this situation around? Just seems to me the US presence is a busted flush and the only thing left to do is leave.

vimothy
24-04-2007, 12:31 PM
Do you think any amount of brilliant generalship can turn this situation around? Just seems to me the US presence is a busted flush and the only thing left to do is leave.

Yep, but it's going to take a very long time and probably a lot of changes to the military and to the way that the campaign is being fought (for instance, civilian involvement).

Anyway, it seems obvious that US troop withdrawal would make the situation for Iraqis worse, so no one should be aiming for that.

crackerjack
24-04-2007, 12:38 PM
Anyway, it seems obvious that US troop withdrawal would make the situation for Iraqis worse, so no one should be aiming for that.

A year, even 6 months, ago I'd have agreed with that but I honestly think they're now just delaying the inevitable.

crackerjack
24-04-2007, 12:49 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2064354,00.html

matt b
24-04-2007, 01:20 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2064354,00.html

damn those ungrateful arabs

Mr. Tea
24-04-2007, 01:27 PM
A year, even 6 months, ago I'd have agreed with that but I honestly think they're now just delaying the inevitable.

I think I'd probably agree with that. Not so long ago I thought the anti-war slogan "Bring the troops home now!" (for the good of Iraq, not the good of the troops) was an extremely irresponsible thing to be saying, as it would just remove the one thing preventing the country from completely falling apart. Now it's looking increasingly as if the best thing to do is to let them get on with it (horrible thing to say, I know) on the basis that only a violent solution is going to ease the tentions, and that the American presence is just delaying the inevitable.

vimothy
24-04-2007, 01:43 PM
One more from the War Nerd:

http://www.exile.ru/2004-November-13/war_nerd.html


I think you can see where I'm going here, folks. That's right: Bring back Saddam!

Look at the man's record! He came up from nowhere, a peasant boy from the boondocks (Tikrit) and took control of the craziest country on the planet. Better still, he kept control for decades. He survived every crisis a ruler could have: rebellions in Kurdistan and the Shiite zone, all-out war against Iran, American bombing and invasion, CIA assassination plots, blockade. None of it even fazed him. There were literally hundreds of attempted coups against him - and the guys who planned them are fertilizing the desert now - some of them taken out by our own guy, Doctor Allawi.

Guybrush
24-04-2007, 02:30 PM
One more from the War Nerd:

http://www.exile.ru/2004-November-13/war_nerd.html

Another brilliant column! Funny thing is, despite being hilarious as hell, all of his predictions were, and are, much better than the so-called pundits’ blindly fumbling.

I, too, started favouring a partial troop withdrawal about half-a-year ago. My reasons?

1. Those who could have helped making the surge work are either dead, have fled, or are to terrified to come forth. (As all agree, the surge will fail unless we see some constructive political development.)

2. The surge is way, way too paltry.

3. I don’t know of any historical example where a country has gone straight from anarchy to something resembling democracy. I am not saying it cannot happen, but I am pessimistic. Therefore, the best we can hope for, I think, is for a strong semi-authoritarian cabal to gain control of Iraq, and pray that they go easy on their adversaries. Some Shiite constellation would be an obvious candidate, were it not for Iran.

Some U.S. officer commented on the car bombings a month or so ago, and he said that under the best of circumstances it would take at least six months for their numbers to start going down.

crackerjack
24-04-2007, 02:34 PM
1. Those who could have helped making the surge work are either dead, have fled, or are to terrified to come forth. (As all agree, the surge will fail unless we see some constructive political development.)

A very good point. the professional classes have been leaving Iraq in droves. I read there are almost 1m in Jordan alone.

crackerjack
24-04-2007, 02:35 PM
Another brilliant column! Funny thing is, despite being hilarious as hell, all of his predictions were, and are, much better than the so-called pundits’ blindly fumbling.

btw, who is this guy? Don't have the time to go through his stuff now.

Mr. Tea
24-04-2007, 02:36 PM
A very good point. the professional classes have been leaving Iraq in droves. I read there are almost 1m in Jordan alone.

What a slaaaaaaaaaaaaag! :)

Guybrush
24-04-2007, 02:45 PM
btw, who is this guy? Don't have the time to go through his stuff now.

He’s a buxom war nerd from Fresno, California. And a sharp-witted writer on anything war.

vimothy
24-04-2007, 03:13 PM
So basically it's, "bring the troops home, because we can't think of anything better to do"?

vimothy
24-04-2007, 03:15 PM
He’s a buxom war nerd from Fresno, California. And a sharp-witted writer on anything war.

He's definitely worth reading, and he knows his (war-related) shit.

Mr. Tea
24-04-2007, 03:15 PM
So basically it's, "bring the troops home, because we can't think of anything better to do"?

Well if they're not doing any good by being there, and potentially making the problem worse...at least it'd stop so many of them being killed.

vimothy
24-04-2007, 03:20 PM
Well if they're not doing any good by being there, and potentially making the problem worse...at least it'd stop so many of them being killed.

I'm not sure that they're making the problem worse. Pull out the American soldiers and what's to stop shia and sunni going at it properly? What's to stop jihadists fermenting civil war if it doesn't break out naturally? What's to stop Kurds taking revenge on sunnis for the crimes of the Saddam era? What's to stop Iran or saudi Arabia moving in under the cover of "regional stability" and advancing their own agendas?...

Guybrush
24-04-2007, 04:25 PM
I'm not sure that they're making the problem worse. Pull out the American soldiers and what's to stop shia and sunni going at it properly? What's to stop jihadists fermenting civil war if it doesn't break out naturally? What's to stop Kurds taking revenge on sunnis for the crimes of the Saddam era? What's to stop Iran or saudi Arabia moving in under the cover of "regional stability" and advancing their own agendas?...

None of that sounds especially pleasant, but some of it will happen regardless of the U.S. staying or not—they way I see it.

hundredmillionlifetimes
25-04-2007, 11:42 PM
Clearly, the racist and genocidal sentiments being spewed forth by certain sociopathic posters here ["nuke the sunni's" etc], are comparable - in the 1930s - to a bunch of cackling Nazis arguing about "what's to be done about The Jews."

Much worse, much more disturbing, much more ominous than some fucked-up kid at Virginia Tech. Worse, because they seek to normalize their twisted ravings.

Again, Baudrillard was absolutely right: these screwballs permanently reside in a giant video game.

The Horror.

crackerjack
26-04-2007, 09:07 AM
Clearly, the racist and genocidal sentiments being spewed forth by certain sociopathic posters here ["nuke the sunni's" etc], are comparable - in the 1930s - to a bunch of cackling Nazis arguing about "what's to be done about The Jews."

Much worse, much more disturbing, much more ominous than some fucked-up kid at Virginia Tech. Worse, because they seek to normalize their twisted ravings.

Again, Baudrillard was absolutely right: these screwballs permanently reside in a giant video game.

The Horror.

The part that I and presumably Guybrush were endorsing was the bit about the surge being doomed to failure.

Thanks for giving me the chance to clear that up, and also for the rest of your comment which is as constructive and rational as ever.

vimothy
26-04-2007, 09:14 AM
Clearly, the racist and genocidal sentiments being spewed forth by certain sociopathic posters here ["nuke the sunni's" etc], are comparable - in the 1930s - to a bunch of cackling Nazis arguing about "what's to be done about The Jews."

Not really.


Much worse, much more disturbing, much more ominous than some fucked-up kid at Virginia Tech. Worse, because they seek to normalize their twisted ravings.

So its much, much worse to discuss massacres than it is to carry them out (unless you try to "normalise" them)?

Mr. Tea
26-04-2007, 11:09 AM
Clearly, the racist and genocidal sentiments being spewed forth by certain sociopathic posters here ["nuke the sunni's" etc], are comparable - in the 1930s - to a bunch of cackling Nazis arguing about "what's to be done about The Jews."

Could you please show me the exact post where someone on this thread says anything that could even remotely be interpreted as "nuke the Sunnis"? Ta, much obliged.


Much worse, much more disturbing, much more ominous than some fucked-up kid at Virginia Tech. Worse, because they seek to normalize their twisted ravings.

Yup, gotta hand it to you - people rationally discussing world events on an internet forum is INFINITELY worse than an unprovoked massacre.


Again, Baudrillard was absolutely right: these screwballs permanently reside in a giant video game.

The Horror.
You'd better watch out, boy - I'm packing Quad Damage here...
KILLING SPREE!!! :)
http://homepage2.nifty.com/tomy_s/quake1.jpg

Mr. Tea
26-04-2007, 11:14 AM
So its much, much worse to discuss massacres than it is to carry them out (unless you try to "normalise" them)?

Welcome to Baudrillard's meta-textual post-narrative media-led hyperworld! ;)

vimothy
26-04-2007, 11:15 AM
hundredmillionlifetimes is talking about the discussion of the War Nerd article that Guybrush linked to, where Brecher slams the surge as trivial and declares that the only solution to the insurgency would be to nuke the sunni triangle. Guybrush and crackerjack both said that they thought he was right, although there's obviously more than one way to take that. (One might even say that maybe nukes are the only way to stop the insurgency - that still isn't the same as advocating their use). I'd link to it if I knew how, but it's somewhere on page 13.

vimothy
26-04-2007, 11:16 AM
Welcome to Baudrillard's meta-textual post-narrative media-led hyperworld!

God, I feel so self-disavowed.

Mr. Tea
26-04-2007, 12:09 PM
hundredmillionlifetimes is talking about the discussion of the War Nerd article that Guybrush linked to, where Brecher slams the surge as trivial and declares that the only solution to the insurgency would be to nuke the sunni triangle. Guybrush and crackerjack both said that they thought he was right, although there's obviously more than one way to take that. (One might even say that maybe nukes are the only way to stop the insurgency - that still isn't the same as advocating their use). I'd link to it if I knew how, but it's somewhere on page 13.

Yeah, Rich just reminded me of it - I actually read it the other day, forgot about the "nuking" bit. (Still, it'd show the Iranians how things are done, eh?)

Guybrush
26-04-2007, 02:07 PM
It should go without saying, but my endorsement only regarded the first paragraphs of Brecher’s text (that the surge won’t work).


Much worse, much more disturbing, much more ominous than some fucked-up kid at Virginia Tech. Worse, because they seek to normalize their twisted ravings.

Again, Baudrillard was absolutely right: these screwballs permanently reside in a giant video game.

The Horror.

While boyish romantisation of war is hard to defend, I think it’s fairly innocuous.

The Ward Nerd’s writings are far from twisted, actually. The fact that he relishes war aside, he has a very sober and grounded way of discussing it. As I wrote earlier, as far as I can see, all of his predictions (http://www.exile.ru/archive/by_author/gary_brecher.html) have been correct so far. Moreover, he didn’t support the war back in 2003, so he isn’t—and never was—one of the nation-building cheerleaders.

crackerjack
26-04-2007, 02:31 PM
As I wrote earlier, as far as I can see, all of his predictions have been correct so far.

i just clicked on that link hoping for a tidy little list of all his predictions made at the war's outset: statue toppling, fallujah, iranian meddling, rummy resignation, david kelly suicide, that sorta thing. damn these commentators and their long articles:(

Guybrush
08-05-2007, 08:12 PM
http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/7684/123wm0.jpg

So what is this? You ask. It’s the view from one of those fancy new outposts that are meant to bring the U.S. soldiers closer to the Baghdad people. This one overlooks the edge of Sadr City. I’m still curious of what you surge-backers think of how things are going. Are you ready to change your opinions?

vimothy
09-05-2007, 08:43 AM
What opinions?

I know that the Petraeus/Nagl approach to COIN is going to be very difficult, and in all probability unlikely to succeed in the time which will be given to it. I've spent the last few months reading military critics of their approach (and have linked to some of the best on this board), particularly the 4GW writers. I back the surge because I want it to succeed, and the slaughter to stop.

Happy to hear your reappraisal though.

vimothy
09-05-2007, 12:27 PM
http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/7684/123wm0.jpg


Pat Lang blogs about the very outpost your picture shows:
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2007/05/a_disaster_wait.html

They seem to serve little purpose except as targets. Lang doesn't really mention this but it's discussed in the comments.

Guybrush
09-05-2007, 03:30 PM
Pat Lang blogs about the very outpost your picture shows:
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2007/05/a_disaster_wait.html

They seem to serve little purpose except as targets. Lang doesn't really mention this but it's discussed in the comments.

Yeah, I grabbed it from that Washington Post piece. Actually, I think this is one of the better initiatives since the war started. The soldiers mentioned that it means that the turn-out times are vastly shortened, which is a good thing.

Guybrush
10-06-2007, 06:39 PM
This article contains some interesting statistics that illustrate the scope of the carnage.

Iraq's Ominous Numbers Game (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1629812,00.html)


According to figures compiled by the Brookings Institution at the end of May, the number of sectarian murders, carried out mainly by Shi'ite death squads against Sunnis, has risen noticeably in recent weeks after a drop-off that began in the latter part of February. Sectarian deaths are often described as "extra-judicial killings" (EJKs) and involve the abduction, torture and murder of the victim, with the body usually left on the street. In May, says the Brookings report, citing Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, there were roughly 700 EJKs across Baghdad. While still lower than the pre-surge figure of 800 in February, that's a substantial increase from the estimated 500 in each of March and April, the first two months of the surge. So far in June, about 20 bodies have appeared on the streets of Baghdad a day; at that rate, at least 600 murder victims will surface in Baghdad by the end of June. Meanwhile, the number of bombings targeting civilians in Baghdad, the chief tactic of Sunni extremists out to kill masses of Shi'ites, has remained roughly the same since the surge began, at about 50 per month.

...

From the beginning, however, the surge strategy relied heavily on the idea that the increased presence of U.S. forces would deter sectarian violence. That worked, for a time. The Mahdi Army, the largest Shi'ite militia, tacitly agreed to suspend its campaign of murder and intimidation against Sunnis as the surge got rolling in March and April. For two months, Shi'ite death squads largely checked themselves, even while Sunni extremists pressed a campaign of bombings that left 617 Iraqis dead in March and 634 dead in April. (In May, the fatalities from bombings fell to 325).

adruu
11-06-2007, 04:07 AM
i understand this has become sort of the Iraq War thread, but honestly, seeing the title get bumped every so often really bugs me. Can the mods just start another Iraq war thread please? Clearly we do not need to be stuck in the cul-de-sac discourse about whether this war was solely about keeping Saddam vs. removing him.

There was a few excellent pieces about post-cold war military tactics in the new Harper's but I will wait to post it later.

vimothy
15-06-2007, 10:09 AM
I think this is worth a read, Scott Burgess pretty much summing up the liberal quandary:


Whether they're journalists, academics or neither, critics of America in general - and the conduct of the Iraq and Afghanistan actions specifically - need to look into their souls and ask themselves some hard questions. Here's one to get you started:

Honestly - in your heart of hearts, and as a first reaction - what would be your immediate emotional response to this headline?

A NEW ERA DAWNS IN IRAQ
IRAQI INSURGENTS LAY DOWN ARMS, CALL FOR 'PEACEFUL, DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS' IN DECEMBER
JOY SWEEPS THE COUNTRY; ELECTRICITY, OIL PRODUCTION BACK ON TRACK - FULL RESTORATION SOON
JUBILANT POPULACE CHEERS TROOPS - BUSH, US 'VINDICATED'

Assuming for the purposes of this (admittedly unlikely) thought-experiment that everyone believed the story to be true, I think that the response of many anti-war westerners would be an immediate groan, and that there'd be much gnashing of teeth at likes of Kos and Democratic Underground (as when Saddam was captured).

Independent comment-writers, Guardian journalists, anti-war readers and peace marchers: What would your first, emotional response be? A groan, or a cheer?

You don't have to tell us the answer. Just ask yourself the question. Honestly.

- http://dailyablution.blogs.com/the_daily_ablution/2005/11/emotional_adole.html

Guybrush
15-06-2007, 05:57 PM
I think this is worth a read, Scott Burgess pretty much summing up the liberal quandary

No, he is not. He is merely summing up his own prejudices.