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looting in iraq is unacceptable.(25 posts)

looting in iraq is unacceptable.colker
Apr 12, 2003 8:15 PM
coalition forces have to take responsability over the situation they created. there should have been an alternative to established power from the beginning. now, hospitals are being looted, patients, children included, are dying. there is no assistance. unicef and un aid can't reach them because of lack of secutity.
this is a humanitarian disaster and could be called a war crime against the civil population of iraq.
"war crime against the civil population "?Live Steam
Apr 13, 2003 4:11 AM
Get a grip my friend. I guess things went too well up until now and this is the only thing the Left can look at and criticize. This is like the "The Sky is Falling" BS that you guys were screaming when the supply lines to the fighting force were a little stretched. Chill out. I am confident that the situation will get rectified soon. War is messy and not neat as you would like it to be. Each step in this action will take some time. It is not a Hollywood production! Maybe the Iraqi people should start to take some responsibility for their actions and for themselves. It looks bad because it is being sensationalized by network TV, but it may not be as bad as it looks. Hell it happened in LA after the OJ trial, so it can certainly happen anywhere.
Another point to cinsidersn69
Apr 13, 2003 4:27 AM
is that there is still being a war fought and that the total troop committment is still rather low. As the days progress, more and more will arrive, including Military Police units who have the requisite skills and training to cope with things like this.

I share your concern about the wellfare of those who are old, young or without the physical power to protect themselves from the criminal element that is behaving this way. It's upsetting to watch. Then again, so was LA after the Rodney King fiasco, Miami after Andrew and the outlying part of New Orleans after our two storms last summer. I won't go off on a tangental discussion on the stupid behavior of some that always accompanies taumatic societal events, but you get the picture.

I understand your call for immediate action--I'm assuming that your perspective is based upon the premise that "we caused this; therefore, we must step up to make things perfect immediately." I'm confident that we will, but immediate gratification isn't very realistic. The military hospitals are full over there too, with civilians as well as coaltion forces. According to simplistic CNN reports, the hospital ship Mercy currenty has over 200 Iraqis on board.

What I'm getting at in my pre-coffee ramble is that it's not as if the forces in place are doing nothing. Imagine, if you will that you are in the center of Compton in April of '92. Sure, you've got a rifle and training, but how much are you going to immediately be able to affect?....

Finally War Crimes are actually laid-out in excruciating detail in the Geneva Conventions and by International Law. By both standards, the military actions taken so far have been as humane as the inane act of war possibly can be. By way of comparison, go look at photos of Dresden, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Hanoi (after we began bombing again), Kigali, etc.
Another point to cinsidercolker
Apr 13, 2003 5:21 AM
i've used the expression war crime without any legal fundament. you are right but... it's total disregard for the civil pppulation safety to destroy the country's power structure and not replacing it immediately.
an alternative to the regime should be ready and working BEFORE the invasion took place. like degaulle in england while the liberation of france took place or the ayatollah khomeini in france during the shah's deposition..
there are iraqui leaderships in exile, some under heavy suspicions of corruption but better someone in power than no one.
First, I can't spell for crap. Sorry.sn69
Apr 13, 2003 5:47 AM
Coffee is the staff of life in this household.

Second, like I said before, I think the issue of power structure is the trickiest part of this event. One has to reconcile long-standing fueds between the Ba'athists and the normal populace, cultural-religious antagonism between the Shi'ites and the Sunnis, and the politico-economic/cultural issue with the Kurds. Amidst it all is the bugaboo of oil, specifically that the vast majority of it lies in the territorial hands of the Kurds and Sunnis, two groups who have traditionally been oppressed by the third. Yikes...the diplomatic equation is far beyond my meager intellect.

Also, I think it's fair to at least consider the full impact that the looting has had. To date, the majority of the looting that I've "been allowed to see" courtesy of this goofball media frenzy (admittedly limited in the extreme) has been of SH's multitudinous palaces and offices, Ba'athe party facilities and associated businesses. I don't say that to make excuses, but so far, it still looks far calmer than the Miami/Liberty City riots I remember from college in Florida. Also, it appears at least that there is an ever-increasing degree of control by the occupation forces.

...And therein lies a gravely perilous path, for those forces have to treat lightly on Muslim tradition and sensibilities. This is a case where it would be nice for some other Muslim nations like Egypt and Jordan to step up to the plate to lend assistance....
We Can't Have It Both WaysJon Billheimer
Apr 13, 2003 6:04 AM
The U.S. decided as a matter of policy that it was going to go it alone in Iraq, and any other place where American interests are at stake. Given its military power this tactic will be workable for awhile when it comes to winning wars---maybe. But winning and maintaining the peace is quite another matter. The U.N. has been rendered meaningless as a result of its failure to fulfill its own mandate. America has alienated not only its own allies but especially neighbouring middle eastern governments, even though they all hated Saddam. The Iraqi expatriates that Wolfowitz has nominated to run Iraq are a really bad joke. So unfortunately, I don't think the U.S. can expect a hell of a lot of assistance from anyone in helping to clean up the mess it has created in Iraq. Upon coming into the Presidency Bush said that he wasn't interested in nation building--nor do he and his advisors have much expertise in this area. He should have stuck to his original position.
I think that there's some measure of truth to that,sn69
Apr 13, 2003 7:13 AM
yet it's also worth mentioning that the neighboring countries in the region have a long-standing tradtion of duplicity, foreign relations inconsistency and policy blunders that equal ours. They simply lack the wholesale strength to do much (beyond persecuting from within).

Take, for example, the Paliestinian and Kurdish problems in the region, and to a lesser extent that of the Turkmen. These groups are to the region what the gypsies were/are to Europe, a people held in low regard and perpetually kept in a state of politico-economic stasis. Incidentally, I'm referring to the Pre-Israel Palestinians. In the case of these people, the regional power-brokers sought to displace the groups from their lands long before the advent of Israel and the supposed Zionist consipracy (that I'm STILL waiting for my piece of, dammit). The nations in the region did nothing to protect the interests of fellow Muslims, which, to me, speaks of the double-standard that "this is an Anti-Muslim" issue. I don't believe that's true. Rather, this is a power and regional stability issue. It's unfortunate amidst that, that we do not share equally firm policy with KNOWN totalitarian regimes who BLATANTLY support, say, Saudi Arabia.

Therein lies the foreign policy duplicity of the American gov't that Czar and I have spoken of in the past.

As for the UN, I don't think this necessary undermined their capabilities any more than they have done to themselves for many, many years. We bear a large part of that, no doubt, particularly in light of our rediculous blanket approval of Israel's activities. Still, the UN fell on their proverbial swords utterly with the tragedy that continues to envelope Central Africa (which, incidentally began in 1959 and whose death toll in the past decade alone eclipses that of the Holocaust), they failed to adequately enforce the original sanctions against SH and his regime, and they have countless other policy blunders of their own (thanks recently--in the past 10 years--to Butros Butros/Duran Duran).

Still, for whatever personal reason, I'm not yet ready to give up on the UN. Maybe I still respect the founding principles...dunno. I hold-out hope that things can be made to work, no matter how nonsensical that might be.

Can we have it both ways?'re right in that regard. We can't have it that way anymore than the far left could have had the amicable, diplomatic solution or the far right can have their regional hegemony throughout the Middle East...or any more than Osama can recreate the world into this personal vision of 12th century Islam. The fringes never work. The middle ground of cooperation, mutual respect, and, above all else in this particular case, compassionate victory are the things that lead to success. I hope, sincerely, that we can rediscover that path....

On a different topic, Jon, please, for the love of God, call off your pack of rabid dogs. We beg forgiveness for our plan to invade Canada and bequeath you the entirety of the Florida Keys and the Eastern Sierras if you'll only show some mercy and MAKE CELINE STOP!!!!!!!
I think that there's some measure of truth to that,Jon Billheimer
Apr 13, 2003 12:30 PM
First of all Scott, there's nothing I can do about Celine. She's French-Canadian and has oversized vocal chords! Gimme a break:)-

The reason that I brought up the U.N.'s irrelevance isn't because it's dilatory behaviour now is any different than it ever has been, but because the current administration has made a critical policy decision to go it alone, in part because of a lack of unity and consistency within the U.N. I think the nonsensical bickering at the Security Council gave the neo-con extremists the ammunition they needed to convince Dubya to play World Policeman all on his own. And I really do believe that American hegemony and unilateralism is here to stay and that the U.N. can no longer act as a check on American power or as international power broker. And this is not a good thing, IMHO.

Second, I quite agree with your comments on Arab duplicity with respect to their own internal self-governance and the Palestinian problem. Their failure to materially aid the Palestinian people going way back to 1948 and their failure to confront their own internal problems of corruption, poverty, and civil governance are as responsible as, if not more so, the behaviour of Israel for perpetuating and exacerbating the Palestinian issue. Palestinian terrorism arose out of a sense of powerlessness and Arab gov'ts. have supported it simply because it's easier to externalize problems rather than effectively deal with them. Israeli bad behaviour has been largely a defensive reaction to the displaced aggressions of Arab extremists. For all the pan-Arab and Islam-as-community rhetoric, Arab governments have failed completely to support one another in any meaninful way or to relieve the plight and misery of their own populations. Instead they blame all their problems on the U.S. and Israel. And regardless of how bad the U.S. may be, it can't be blamed for every freakin' thing in the middle east now, any more than Britain could sixty years ago.

For these and other reasons I think the idea of democratizing the middle east with a combination of Abrams tanks, smart bombs, and ballot boxes is a uniquely American conceit. At best a new pro-American puppet gov't will get set up in Iraq that while not democratic in any meaningful way surely won't be as bad as the old regime. And I also believe that Wolfowitz's "dream" of democratizing the middle east will eventually go the way of the dodo bird.
true sn..colker
Apr 13, 2003 3:09 PM
destabilizing iraq and leaving it to looters, even for a couple of days, is a disaster. like in old yugoslavia, nations that hate each other were kept together by brutal hands of a corrupt murderer but unlike it, iraq wasn't in flames. declaring a liberation war and throwing chaos on 5million citizen cities isn't the best propaganda for western democracy.

i agree the damage is infinitesimal compared to dresden but i saw on bbc that hospitals were being looted and the museum of anthopology in bagdad that held sumerian art is gone. i saw a kid in shock, after his home was sacked.

if the u.s have difficulties in finding a legitimate, fair authority for iraq, why invade it in the first place? i don't hear of weapons of mass desctruction anymore, it's only "loosening the grip of terror on the iraqi people" which i translate for "better businness opportunities for american companies and less corrupt nationalism". fine but don't throw a war and pretend it's for justice, love and compassion.

i wish SH rots in hell and don't care the least for syrian nationalism nevermind the exploitation of the palestine cause from arab rulers. palestinians, to a certain extent an arab elite, well educated people, were left to their devices till they became an "issue' to be exploited by tyrants. the palestine cause is badly explained and you did a fine work here. the zionnist conspiracy is a bad joke, a siamese twin of other antisemitic campaigns of past. thank the existence of israel so that jews are not poor victims anymore. just wished that sharon packed and retired, along with arafat, a scoundrel in my book. israel deserves better. will peace happen now, after this bloody mess? wish i was more optimistic...
why are people blaming everyone but the looters? nmDougSloan
Apr 13, 2003 7:37 AM
why are people blaming everyone but the looters? nmsn69
Apr 13, 2003 7:53 AM
I think the tangental argument/discussion is more one of the potential posed by an enabling environment. Jon wisely cautioned me that I can't have things both ways. I think the same argument applies here, where some would demand that the cities be immediately returned to Western-level affluence. That's not very realistic.

Some looters, I suspect, are the poor and formerly oppressed taking what they think is rightlyfully their. Some on the other hand, are probably the same type of bad-seeds that plague damn-near every society.

why are people blaming everyone but the looters? nmAlpedhuez55
Apr 13, 2003 10:11 AM
Well, considering a lot of the talking heads blaming the US for the looters in Iraq were telling us 10 years ago that the Rodney King Riots were justified by "decades of oppression."

The US and Iraq have already started to work together to get the looting under control. The US wants to involve the Iraqis in this as much as possible.

If Colker expected the US to have a goverment with a police force in place with 72 hours I would say he was overly optimistic. But something tells me if they did have a pre picked leader ready to be installed he would be complaining about the US inserting thier own Puppet Dictator.

Mike Y.
You make a very good point .....Live Steam
Apr 13, 2003 11:39 AM
"But something tells me if they did have a pre picked leader ready to be installed he would be complaining about the US inserting thier own Puppet Dictator."

There are people serving and endorsing certain adgendas. The Left has been picking at the cracks of this undertaking from the start. If the US had everything ready to put in place (governing body, civil patrol, etc) -though I doubt it really could be achieved easily even if it were planned - the Left would be singing the "Nation Building" blues. Most of what we are hearing aee the talking points from the Left, and don't believe for one moment that they are not hunkered down somewhere figuring out how to turn this victory into a defeat for the Republican Party in the next election.

What really galls me is the line above about us "hurting our relationship with our allies". If they were our allies, they would be standing next to us in unity. They picked the wrong side here. The UN and the sanctions were a farce. Why isn't it percieved that those few countries that were against this action were hurting their relationship with us and the rest of the coalition? That is not what the mainstream media wants you to hear because it goes against the talking points of the DNC. There are more than 40 other countries besides the US and GB that supported this. Lets look at the truth and not what others want you to believe is the truth.

This will get sorted out. Hopefully sooner than later for the sake of those that it is taking the severest toll on - the young, the old and the infermed. However, I do not want the US and the military to take sortcut that may jeopardize our men and women who have already given a lot and who have made the extra effort to limit civilian casualties.

This war cannot be compared to WWII. This region of the World cannot be compared to Western Europe. The looting is getting more air time than it is worth because it plays to the crowd. It is sensationalism at it's worst. People want to see it just as they do a car accident at the side of the road. The tone of the war has dropped of decidedly. This is the only way to keep the sets tuned to the news outlets. These media outlets have a lot invested in this too. They don't want everyone to be tuning in Opra and Judge Judy just yet.
You can't be serious.colker
Apr 13, 2003 3:27 PM
"The looting is getting more air time than it is worth because it plays to the crowd. It is sensationalism at it's worst."

so, what happens when you take police off the streets on city with millions of habitants? why do it in the first place? to help people you are now leaving exposed to hunger, looting and sicknness? it looks now as if the liberation agenda is hypocrisy. being critical of it doesn't make one immediately a leftist neither does the reporters of bbc television. the point is: humanitarian disaster. the same agenda as president bush.
I'll try.purplepaul
Apr 13, 2003 3:40 PM
Although I found it puzzling that the troops did so little to stop the looting at first I expect it was to ward off critics accusing the US of inflicting the Iraqis with its hegemony. Imagine if a little looting took place and the military shut it down. Help, help, I'm being repressed! I can hear it now (but I'm also watching Monty Python's "The Holy Grail").

I believe it was two days after the war started that the first use of "quagmire" appeared in the NY Times. Just give this thing some time. It'll work itself out.

As far as the US installing a puppet government, your opinion has been immortalized. Let's see if you'll admit it if you prove to be wrong.
hope i'm wrong.colker
Apr 13, 2003 5:17 PM
it's just that i get anxious when i see that unicef and red cross desperately needed aid(food, water, medicines) cannot travel in iraq due to vacuum of power and total chaos. then, the liberation war doesn't make sense to me.
doesn't make sense to andrew peck, former u.s. ambassador in bagdad, too, just watched his interview.
hope i'm wrong.sn69
Apr 13, 2003 5:39 PM
I know I sound like a foolish broken record, but "it's worth mentioning" that UNICEF and the Red Cross/Red Crescent have bemoaned the facilities, access and humanitarian infrastructure in Iraq since the earliest days of SH. In my opinion, this is a case where one set of situational parameters have been replaced by another, only the critical difference is that now there's room for change. Before, there was not. Police will exist where secret police once existed. Due process will hopefully take place where religous and policital toture (courtesy of Qusay's fixation with acid) once existed. Freedom at least to chart their own course will occur where once a dictator ruled with fear of dismemberment and death.

Granted, all of these issues pale in relative comparison to the supposed righteousness of a quest to quash (poor alliteration NOT intended) the proliferation of WMDs. Have we found any? Depends on who you elect to listen to. That's all I'm gonna say on that issue.

Still, you are right at least in your assertation that, given America's actions, the time has come to provide for a people who have become unwittingly dependant upon us for care and nurturing (lord...did I just say "nurture" in context?!).

As for Andrew Peck, I wonder what his commentary would be about Desert Fox and the various TLAM strikes under President Clinton, most of which landed in affirmed civilian sectors. IOW, how much of his commentary is driven by partisanship? That too begs another question; namely, if this action had been taken by an administration with a higher "likeability" factor, what would the global reaction have been? Subtract Wolfie, Rumsie and Perle from the equation and ponder the answer. I'd wager to guess that it would have been more moderate save for Fraqnce, Russia and Germany, all of whom had significant and dubious economic dealings in Iraq, incidentally in violation of UN stipulations. Business and commerce answer to no law in the grand scheme at times... (Czar, that's your que to slam me for my past comments on capitalism).

Back to the issue at hand. I'm sincere when I say that I hope the Iraqi people get relief quickly. I think most Americans are. We're not bloodthirsty animals, and in spite of the reservations a great many have about the current administration (and others in the past), we still give at an utterly amazing capacity.
hope i'm wrong.Alpedhuez55
Apr 13, 2003 6:24 PM
Give things a few days Colker. I think the Military will start getting food and medicine in to Baghdad quickly. The shipping channels are still being cleared. I think the are rail lines open which would be the most efficient way to get food to the North. The US did not bomb them for a reason. They airport should be secure and ready to take aid soon but that would not be a great way to feed a city the size of Baghdad.

Also remember Edward Peck was Ambassador during the Carter Administration. Relations were a little different back then. He probably has a lot of friendships with people in Hussein's Regime. He probably dined with many of them and hosted them on many occasions. That is the part of being a diplomat. He probably was also mostly exposed to Bath Party Members while there. That is probably why he thinks that they did not want to be liberated. The people are being liberated from the Bath Party.

Sometimes you have to trust what you see with your own eyes over what the talking heads say. Look at the Iraqis wanting to cooperate with the US in getting looting under control, look at people dancing in the streets, look at the people waving at, kissing and giving flowers to Coalition Soldiers. Then see what Edward Peck has to say about that.

There is a lot of support for the liberation of Iraq in Iraq. I think Edward Peck will be proven wrong just like he has been wrong about most things in the war so far.

Mike Y.
"You can't be serious." - Well I am!Live Steam
Apr 13, 2003 4:31 PM
I think I can say with certainty that humanitarian aid is moving into Iraq and is being distributed, but that is not half as sensational as watching bombs blow or people smashing windows and carrying off TVs and sofas. If the coalition forces were to act as policemen, those like yourself would be crying that they were acting as conquerors and occupiers and not liberators.

You obviously have an agenda as did Downhill. As a matter of fact, I would almost be willing to bet you are one and the same. You both reference the BBC. Well the British military even shut off the BBC for their biased reporting. CNN by the way is not a conservative voice and their tactics and actions concerning Iraq and other areas of conflict, are reprehensible. They have made allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the US which have been proven to be lies.
Apr 13, 2003 4:55 PM
seeing "obvious" action where there isn't.. "downhill"? no. no agenda but questions.
bbc, biased reporting? bbc is a very conservative (formally) standard of journalism and ... it's english, not french, german, leftist, pacifist... they are serious and what i saw at their news was hospitals being defended by doctors with small guns and kids frightenned after their homes were looted.
Apr 13, 2003 7:33 PM
Yes, I'm sure our military took police off the streets so that there would be more suffering of the Iraqi people. That makes a lot of sense. Most police left because they were hated members of Saddam's secret police. They wouldn't be effective in controlling the people now, and shouldn't ever be put in that position again.

It may look now to you that this is a humanitarian disaster. I'd say it's many years past that point (and you can't blame Bush for what came before him). I'd say there's reason for concern, but it's awfully early to be laying down blanket statements that this is a disaster or failure, or that Bush cares only about conquest.

So you saw terrified people in hospitals? What do you think was more traumitizing: seeing your home looted or watching your parents executed because they didn't want to fight for Saddam. Geez, where is your criticism of any evil not allegedly caused by America?

And the bbc is not biased. It's only US broadcasters who are biased because... why?
It is feudal to waste good bandwidth on ...Live Steam
Apr 14, 2003 5:22 AM
some of these naysayers. They have taken a position on this and will never give the President his due. I have no problem with it, especially if the leaders of their party - Kerry, Daschle et all - keep it up too. It will be their Waterloo. If you notice, someone is conspicuously absent here. Hillary Clinton has kept her trap shut. She is not stupid. How can any intelligent person argue with the results so far?
It is feudal to waste good bandwidth on ...Alpedhuez55
Apr 14, 2003 7:15 AM
Actually I heard one of the talking heads on some network say Hillary was going to gain points on this for her silence. He also added that every time she talks and tries to increase her visability, her popularity drops. It was actually a pretty good observation.

Right now the Democratic leadership is trying to move to the left while most of the country is moving to the right. I think they need to rethink that if they want any chance of gaining control of the house, senate or White House any time soon.

As for John Kerry, he is like New Englad Weather. If you donly like where he stands on something, wait a few minutes!!! He is probably Senator for life, even if he loses in the presidential Primaries. Massachusetts has a poor history of kicking out incumbents.

Mike Y.
like every one who speaks the "truth" but..colker
Apr 14, 2003 8:27 AM
this is not what it's about. it's right to point fingers when there are civilian casualties. any single life has to be accounted for. it's impossible to avoid casualties... right. that's why war should be the last resort but there must be war, sometimes. there must be invasions, interventions and brutal force.
how i wished u.s. and european troops have invaded yugoslavia, preventing the massacres, the ethnical cleansing done by the serbs against bosnians and croatians. the gang raping... how i wish i didn't know about those things.
what i question is not the legitimacy of this present war. still believe iraq had weapons of mass destruction and they are in syria. why not? genocide is SH's style. the u.s did a great job to humanity in getting rid of that dinasty of monsters.
what i protest, demand, ask, beg, whatever is more commitment to the civil population.. this war is being fought in their name. imagine yourself at the mercy of looters in your town? no law to protect you? even if it's hours only, it's a nightmare and it happened for two days. there could have been some sort of a plan. it was bound to happen.
like every one who speaks the "truth" but..Jon Billheimer
Apr 14, 2003 9:38 AM
I think we suffer from the illusion of unlimited, ubiquitous American power, that a nation so obviously powerful is capable of virtually anything and everything. This just isn't so. The U.S. forces have had their hands full prosecuting the war on several fronts, looking for Saddam & Co., looking for WMDs, establishing control of various sectors of Baghdad, etc. There is only so much that can be done in a very short time frame. Undoubtedly more troops will be arriving along with the U.S. interim gov't.

Three weeks of war to collapse a foreign government and three days of urban anarchy is a breathtaking sweep of events within an unbelievably short time frame.

My second and last point is that we all also suffer from television-induced attention deficit disorder. Wars and civil reconstruction used to take years and decades. Now in our CNN-drugged minds these things are supposed to be accomplished in days, hours, minutes. We truly live in a McLuhanesque Wonderland.