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Iraq End Game?(25 posts)

Iraq End Game?Wayne
Feb 27, 2003 5:24 AM
OK, after listening to Bush's speech to a conservative think tank last night (where he could be a little more forthcoming) I think I finally understand what's going on, and I'd like to hear your opinions.

I think the whole idea that this is really about oil (or fighting terrorism for that matter) is hollow, it would be easier to get at the oil by buddying up to Hussein or at least lifting the embargo, etc. (We'll see, but years from now I really doubt the US government or even US oil companies will be in control of the Iraqi oil. Bush even explicitly said the oil would remain in the hands of the Iraqi people.)

I think the real ultimate end-game is to establish a Islamic democracy in the middle east. Doing this in Iraq has several advantages vital to our national interest.

1) We have the excuse that 9/11 provided (although nobody is really buying it except conservative or non-critical Americans) that is, it's vital to our national security (in which case why did we ever involve the UN?). Unfortunately, the world isn't buying this, although they did buy our invasion of Afghanistan (so they're not implacable to reasonable arguements). So now we have to justify the invasion by convincing the world that not complying with UN resolutions makes Hussein a real threat (We'll see, but again, it appears that very few are buying this arguement). Consequently, this has turned into a political nightmare and we're really looking like the bad guy.

2) If we pulled our military out of the middle east now, Hussein would still be a threat to his neighbors (mainly the Saudi's and Kuwaiti's in the short team and ultimately maybe even the Israelis). Consequently as long as the current Iraqi regime is in power we have to have a military presence there. This is BAD, muslims resent having infidels in the Holy Land (this was the primary reason given by al-Queada for 9/11). The sooner we can get out of the area the better.

3) While the link between Iraq and any kind of terrorism vs. America is pretty much non-existant he does support Palestinian terrorism vs. Israel. The sooner we can get this under control the better for stability in the region. Removing Hussein would at least help in this area.

4) He probably at least has the capability to get some biological or chemical weapons into the hands of terrorists. So removing him would alleviate this concern. Although given that he's yet to do this, nor did he even use them in the first Gulf War, this is probably a very unlikely event (that will become exceedingly more probable if we invade and back him into a corner!).

5) Democracies are contagious. Establishing one in Iraq would probably benefit the burgeoning democratic movement in Iran and help to prop up the one in Turkey. Not to mention provide a model for hopefully one day will be a Palestinian democracy.

So in principle, I think the administration is ultimately in the right, in that, establishing democracies and fostering stability is both morally good, and from the economic and national security perspectives desirable. On the other hand, doing this via a war may not be the most sound practice!


BUT, there are some huge problems with this whole idea.

1) Clearly the world (and I fear, alot less Americans if it was explicitly laid out for them) is not buying the justifications. If only you could be honest and say look, it's in our interest, it's in every western democracies interest, it's in the interest of even the other totalitarian regions in the region to get rid of this regime, so we're going to do it, O.K.?

2) How much is this going to cost and how long is it going to take, AND is it even possible?

I took note of how Bush said we would ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq once we occupy it. This was a clear call out to the Kurds (and probably the Shiites in souther Iraq as well) that don't think you're going to carve out a country for yourself in
the rest...Wayne
Feb 27, 2003 5:28 AM
I took note of how Bush said we would ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq once we occupy it. This was a clear call out to the Kurds (and probably the Shiites in souther Iraq as well) that don't think you're going to carve out a country for yourself in some post-Saddam civil war. In the case of the Kurds this is clearly to assure Turkey that we will not allow the establishment on a non-friendly new country on their southern border.

Whether in the long run this all works out to the benefit of the US I have serious doubts. It seems like there are far to many things that could go wrong, and in the meantime we are engaged in policies that probably have new recruits for radical islamic groups flooding their recruiting offices.
Valid pointsCaptain Morgan
Feb 27, 2003 6:21 AM
One issue that I have not seen discussed much is the no-fly zones protecting the Kurds and Shiites. Although our efforts have eliminated Saddam's ability to attack and kill his 'rivals,' our military presence has created ill will within the Arab community (even though we are saving lives of their Arab brothers -- I find this ironic, because if we did not enforce these zones, certain fratricide would occur in these zones). However, we cannot keep up these zones indefinitely.

The strategy of setting up a democratic model in the middle east makes some sense. For some reason, the region has embraced non-free governments (http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/2003/world.html), and thus far it has not worked for them.

I also had a revelation this morning, and that is that there a lot of Arabs that despise the U.S. for its immorality, such as our sinful TV programming, pro abortion, and lack of religion in our government. Ironically, these are all things that the liberals (who are acting as "human shields" over there and are demonstrating on our streets) embrace.
Brief observationsn69
Feb 27, 2003 6:40 AM
I've always found the criticism's of America's debaucherous immorality funny when compared to Europe and the Far East. If you ever spend much time watching public television programming in either area, you will, in short order, find that nudity and sexual innuendo is commonplace. Furthermore, that combined with relatively liberal standards surrounding alcohol and drug legislative control would lead the objective observer to conclude that the US is still relatively puritanical comparatively speaking.

Frankly, I think a lot of the claims of oppulent immorality are a vehical to justify opposition. While there are most certainly significant cutlural differences between the West and much of the Muslim world, I've come to the conclusion that the issue of morality is a convenient argument that fits nicely into Wahibi-oriented interpretation/philospohy which hates all things West. Non-Wahib Muslim ideology is much more tolerant of diversity in cultural standards (even in Iraq and Iran).

You might also notice that there's never any mention of America's foriegn aid program(s), charitible contributions as a function of state derived monies, armed intervention on behalf of Muslim people (BH/Kosovo/Balkans), food and medical contributions, etc.

Rather, the focus is always on the negatives. Again, to disarm those who will naturally disagree...YES, we permit/sanction transgressions inasmuch as any other country does as a function of the "game" of international diplomacy. (I'm not justifying those actions; in stead, I'm simply observing that ALL nations take part in it.) Still, no country offers as much so freely to other nations. Yet somehow, we are the sole perpetrators of evil and wickedness. Incidenatlly, this feeling abroad procedes GW. It was just as palpable under Clinton, GW Sr., and so on.

Wow...go watch a Japanese gameshow or prime time Italian television some time. It's a adolescent teenage boy's "pants around the ankles" fantasy compared to "Survivor 17" or Buffy the Melrose Place Slayer.
Well just because...Wayne
Feb 27, 2003 6:59 AM
the islamic fundamentalists are puritanical doesn't mean that the every day muslim is necessarily anymore puritanical than your everyday Christian. I'm sure you appreciate this. There are plenty of Christians of the puritanical ilk that rail against the "evils" of western culture. Although they wouldn't put it in those terms and thankfully are largely non-violent.

In some sense, Iraq is an ideal "muslim" country to establish a western style democracy with its concommitant freedoms. It is perhaps one of the most secular islamic countries in the world and as such will probably suffer alot less right wing religious backlash to the preceived ills of this freedom.
No doubt....sn69
Feb 27, 2003 7:16 AM
I think your points are correct. Interestingly, in the past ten years alone we have seen a rise in violence on the part of so-called Christian groups, or at least more high-profile anarchistic violence associated with them. The Murrah Building bombing is a good example, and the spineless fascist pigs in the Klan (anti-American, anti-human no good pieces of sh!t...not that I have a strong opinion on the issue) have always masked their hatred and violence under the auspices of warped/peverted religious morality.

Regarding the second point, it's an odd reality that some of the more extreme dictatorships are also the most secular in the region, including Iraq, Syria and the pre-revolutionary Iran (whom we supported without remorse, and the Shah's SAVAK were no better than the Tan Tan Makout).

Still, I worry at the symantics of trying to establish a "western style democracy." It's fraught with peril on so many levels in spite of the good many of us think it would do.....

Scott
Yes doubt...Captain Morgan
Feb 27, 2003 7:45 AM
No, the Murrah Building is NOT a good example; it is a very POOR example. The act was performed by only a few individuals, not an organized Christian group. I seem to recall reading McVeigh's prison diary, and there were absolutely no religios undertones. Regarding the KKK, I agree that they suck, but I have never considered them to be a religious organization.
Yes doubt...sn69
Feb 27, 2003 7:54 AM
Whether or not how WE regard them, many of these groups claim to be motivated, at least in part, by their version of religious morality. It's not too far removed from Al Quaeda and their claim to represent "true Islam." Having personally spoken to an Imam about this (Navy chaplain), I was left with much the same impression that I get from Christians and Jews regarding fundamentalist and/or extremist groups within their own religions. These extreme factions perpetrate abberant behavior linked through their own psychoses to religion.

Yes, you are correct (and I stand corrected) that McMoron was not specifically linked to right-wing Christian groups. But there were various influencing factors stemming from those types of groups that helped influence him to committ mass murder.
What do you mean...Wayne
Feb 27, 2003 6:42 AM
"the region has embraced non-free governments, and thus far it has not worked for them"?

In the case of non-free governments isn't the mark of "success" the sustainability of that government? Seems like the Saudi, Syrian, Jordainian, Kuwaiti have all been successes in that the royalty is still in power as it traditionally was before occupation by the west (the British mainly), and was probably "put" back in charge when the Brits pulled out.

Actually the countries where "it's not worked for them" and the governments have changed (Iraq and Iran) have been the headaches (at least for us).
Focusing more on the well-being of citizensCaptain Morgan
Feb 27, 2003 7:04 AM
Fair question; I was vague. I was commenting that the whole region consists of repressed regimes which provide little amounts of freedom, and continue to result in poor economies, high unemployement, restricted freedoms, etc. I recognize the fact that the royalties, dictators, etc. are able to stay in power, albeit at the expense of their citizens.
HA HA HA HA HA! "Ironically."OldEdScott
Feb 27, 2003 7:27 AM
Wow. It's a 'revelation' to me too! Didn't know I was to blame for Arabs hating us! It's because, ironically, I 'embrace' immorality! HA HA HA HA HA!
Your revelationMcAndrus
Feb 27, 2003 9:15 AM
Conservative talking heads and scribes (the chattering class, as they say) have been pointing this out since Afghanistan. Our actions there were opposed by liberals - almost radical liberals really - and they were thus supporting the Taliban: one of the most repressive regimes I can think of.

They seem to be doing the same thing today. From a morality perspective, opposing Bush can be said to be supporting Saddam. I think that argument is starting to get some traction and the human shield types are going to catch some flack for this.
WHOA! Hold on! Geesh!OldEdScott
Feb 27, 2003 9:23 AM
Which liberals opposed the action in Afghanistan, or supported the Taliban?? Certainly not this one, nor any I know. Liberals have been OBLIGED to hate the Taliban for years, based on their treatment of women, if nothing else. The feminists have been hopping mad about them forever! You know a coven of anti-feminist, pro-Taliban liberals somewhere?
WHOA! Hold on! Geesh! Part IIOldEdScott
Feb 27, 2003 9:29 AM
You sau:

"From a morality perspective, opposing Bush can be said to be supporting Saddam."

How in God's name can you say that? There's absolutely no logic in that. That's like saying 'From a morality perspective, opposing the space program is the same as being glad the shuttle crashed.' WTF??

I oppose the war. IRONICALLY, I do NOT support Saddam. So how do you reconcile that?
Well,sn69
Feb 27, 2003 9:33 AM
at the very least they are likely to catch some frag...quite literally. What they are doing is foolish and they cannot reasonably expect coalition forces to avoid strategic and tactical targets because they're there. "Guarding" and orphanage is one thing, but offering yourself to stand fast at a power station is dumb. The concept of surgical targeteering infers that you must take out the infrastructure to deny certain capabilities to the enemy. It's either that or carpet bomb...and the latter option isn't too appealing.

These human shields are fools, in my humble and worthless opinion. Where were they when Slobodan was slaughtering Muslims in Kosovo or when the Hutus and Tutsis were killing other tribes' children?

Selective ideologicall enlightenment......isn't.
wouldn't this US citizen "human shield" thing be treason? nmDougSloan
Feb 27, 2003 9:44 AM
That's a question for you, I think.sn69
Feb 27, 2003 9:49 AM
Specifically, how does one legally define "aiding and abetting the enemy?" Can inferred, indirect aid be construed as such? If so, wouldn't that mean that Jane Fonda was guilty of it for sitting at North Viethnamese AAA sites and for aiding the North's POW campaign?

Or does it only apply to active participation by those willingly offering some form of assistance to an enemy nation, like John Walker or Aldritch Aimes?

What do you think Doug?
Scott
If the 'human shields' are willing to passively die,OldEdScott
Feb 27, 2003 9:58 AM
and do not take up arms against American soldiers, or help Iraqis fight them, how can that be treason? They're making a moral statement, however misguided the statement or the means of expression.
If the 'human shields' are willing to passively die,sn69
Feb 27, 2003 10:06 AM
Don't get me wrong, Ed...I don't think it's treason. Stupidity yes, misguided yes, somewhat naive yes. Treason, no, it doesn't satisfy my personal requirements for treason. I find what John Walker did much more reprehensible and more worthy of severe punishment. Still, I'd like to know what Doug can look up in all those books behind his desk.

Ultimately, however, I think if this does come down to war, that these people cannot reasonably expect us to counter-target any facility that they're at that we deem important. ...Even though they probably do expect that....

I wonder how many billions their families will sue for once the TLAMs and JDAMs blow them into so many tiny bits.

Scott
No, you're right, they cannotOldEdScott
Feb 27, 2003 10:13 AM
expect us to counter-target. In the great tradition of civil disobedience, you lay your body on the line and take what punishment comes. It's a serious commitment, and requires scorching soul-searching before you undertake it.

If that is what these folks have in mind, I can only salute their bravery while questioning their wisdom. I only hope they really know what they're letting themselves in for, because at this level it's not a game with campus cops on the steps of the administration building.
TreasonCaptain Morgan
Feb 27, 2003 10:32 AM
First, I doubt that they would be charged. However, aren't they calling themselves "human shields"? Doesn't that imply that they are participating in some defensive capacity? They view it as more than a "moral statement."

I think it would hilarious if we were to invade Iraq, and if (there is a chance of this) Iraqis turn on Saddam, where would that leave the shields? They could get their asses kicked by the very people they are "supposedly" protecting. However, I think the more likely outcome is that the U.S. would be viewed as a liberater, and the "shields" will be partying in the streets, taking partial credit for something they opposed in the first place.
"shield"DougSloan
Feb 27, 2003 12:21 PM
At least from what I understand, their goal is to put themselves in harm's way, such that the U.S. will be less likely to attack that particular site. Maybe it's "attempted treason," as that is the goal, assuming the military will disregard them.

What if the military were about to take out Saddam and the "shields" jumped in the way, allowing Saddam to go free? Sounds like treason to me.

Here are some US Code sections:

Sec. 2381. - Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/htm_hl?DB=uscode18&STEMMER=en&WORDS=treason+&COLOUR=Red&STYLE=s&URL=/uscode/18/pIch115.html#muscat_highlighter_first_match

Doug
But who is the 'enemy?"OldEdScott
Feb 27, 2003 12:38 PM
That's probably the key word. Humanly shielding a hospital -- are the patients, doctors etc inside the hospital 'enemies?' Especially absent a formal declaration of war, how would civilians and innocents be seen? Would they be 'enemies' just because the President ordered a military operation against their government and its army? Is the term 'enemy' a blanket the President can throw over an entire populace? Would American Red Cross workers treating/helping Iraqi refugees be commiting treason? Can the President pick and choose. "Oh, no, that's OK."

If someone jumped in to help Saddam escape, or to protect Iraqi soldiers, that would be one thing. To passively shield civilian non-combatant targets would be another, under this definition you offer.
impeding our militaryDougSloan
Feb 27, 2003 1:07 PM
This is just a lay view, but I think anything intended to impede our military efforts could be treason. If, for some odd reason, the military chooses to bomb a hospital, and US citizens get in the way, then that likely is treason.

Nonetheless, I think this is sort of academic, as I doubt the "shields" will have their intended effect.

Doug
That's silly...Wayne
Feb 27, 2003 9:49 AM
you can think that it is desirable for Saddam to be removed from power (hell, even killed) and still not think that the best way to achieve that end (or even that it needs to be actively facilitated) is by a huge costly, military operation, that in the long run may come back and bite the US in the ass.

You've created a dichotomy that doesn't exist, there are other positions besides support a totalitarian dictatorship or support removal of that dictator by force!