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Quick turn-over in Iraq(87 posts)

Quick turn-over in IraqPdxMark
Nov 13, 2003 10:36 AM
So is this really a good strategy? I mean, of course, the war was wrong to begin with, but that's old news. We now have a major ME country with no government, no governmental infrastructure, and an insurgency that is targeting both the Coalition and the current puppet government. 100,000 troops in Iraq are unable to squelch the insurgency.

We keep getting reports that the insurgency is centrally controlled. That's bad. That means the bad leaders (1) just dislike the US or (2) dislike not being in power. The targeting seems to suggest both (1) and (2). So how is a US-supported Iraqi government with 40,000 lightly armed troops going to do against an insurgency that's festering under US 100,000 troops? Likely no better, and probably worse.

So, are we really going to hand over power quickly? It seems like a quick road to any number of failed governments, like, oh, say, South Vietnam or maybe Lebanon. That would lead to the ultimate Al Qaeda breeding ground. Or, are we just making noise about a quick transition to hide the depth of the quamire in preparation for next year's elections? I think it's the latter.

At least making noise for the sake of domestic political grandstanding would be more responsible in the long run than bailing out of Iraq before it is stable.
Could you have missed the point?Silverback
Nov 13, 2003 11:07 AM
The REAL issue here is getting troops out of the area by summer, so things look rosy for the 2004 elections. Bush probably will win if the economy continues to improve and the U.S. casualty rate falls out of the headlines. Turning those duties over to Iraqis, even prematurely, will drop the U.S. body count. Once our soldiers aren't dying there, people will quit paying attention and the GOP can claim success.
What happens after November 2004 is another problem, but by then it won't matter to the administration.
LOL Crazy libs...No_sprint
Nov 13, 2003 12:56 PM
First they call for a quick exit strategy and fault Bush because it's not happening fast enough. Now, when it looks like it's coming, they claim it's a campaign tactic. Looks like it's coming rather fast, when did this whole thing begin? This is very fast in my opinion.

LOL The vision with blinders is just amazing.
I may be crazy, but I never called for a quick exit...PdxMark
Nov 13, 2003 1:14 PM
I've said all along that we have an obligation to clean-up the mess GWB created. The fact that we barely have enough troops to do the job over several years is just one of our headaches. (Cycling 1/2 of our ground combat forces through Iraq each year is creating massive logisitcs & morale problems). I think my good-hearted, misguided friends are wrong to seek an early exit.

Crazy conservatives for not being willing to clean up the mess they created. Apparently, personal responsibility for on's actions does not apply to political conservatives.
Read what's there, sprint, not what you want to see.Silverback
Nov 13, 2003 4:41 PM
I'm not calling for an early exit. I don't think we should have gone there in the first place, but now that we're in, we can't walk away.
What concerns me, though, is that the administration will decide reducing troop strength (and thus casualties) is necessary for re-election. I have no doubt they'd implement that if they thought it would help (look what they tried to do to vets' benefits and military combat pay even as Bush was praising our brave men and women in uniform). There's very little indication the Iraqis can handle things themselves, so if the troops come home for campaign purposes, whatever we've accomplished up to now could fall apart and all those people died for nothing.
"we'll be there as long as necessary"No_sprint
Nov 14, 2003 8:13 AM
Quote from Rumsfeld today. We're not bailing prematurely, although plenty of Bush haters have called for nearly that, and are now pretty dang quiet. Nobody has died for nothing.
Almost certainly...PdxMark
Nov 13, 2003 1:08 PM
But I was assuming that getting the troops out was the goal of an early tranistion to Iraqi self-rule. My point was that doing it prematurely could be disastrous, - resulting in a hostile, unstable or failed Iraq that could be a worse mess than Afgahnistan was (or is).

Saying that there would be a 2004 transition for domestic political consumption in an election year, but not actually following through, would be better in a geopolitical sense. It would simply be rank politicizing of the publicly-stated war strategy. Personally, I'd prefer such a Bush Administration misrepresentation (what's one more?) over a premature withdrawal from Iraq.
Why not cut our losses....Starliner
Nov 13, 2003 3:13 PM
... and get out ASAP? Your suggestion of what might happen if we get out on our own timetable - a hostile, unstable ... Iraq - is already a reality, and what makes you think it's going to change for the better should we remain there for an unspecified amount of time, until Iraq "stabilizes"? LOL.

Iraq is part of another world where men and women have strict, separate yet respected roles in life. America and what it stands for and what it does not stand for, is a threat to that culture. Thus we have encountered resistance. And its going to get worse. We may temper it here and there, but we will never win over their minds as long as we occupy one grain of Iraqi sand.

We knocked out Saddam Hussein and his family. We satisfied our aim of making sure Iraq didn't possess WMD's. So what must we now do? Have a try at the nation building business?

It's time to cut our losses, start scaling back and get serious about getting out. After what happened to the Italians, I don't think those few allies that we have left will be in disagreement with that decision.
Because of Afgahnistan...PdxMark
Nov 13, 2003 3:25 PM
We know the danger of letting a failed Islamic state fester - vast territorial, human and financial resources that are free to develop, train and grow into a dangerous terrorist network.

Under Saddam, there was no such network in Iraq, at least one that was directed to actions against the US. There may have been support and training for groups acting against Israel, but that was never a stated reason why we went to war there. But who knows, GWB is always looking for a new justification that sounds good.

We need stable and strong governments in Islamic countries to deny extra-governmental terrorist groups places to openly work. Democratic governments would be gravy. Walking away from Iraq with Baathists, Islamicists, Al Qaeda affiliates, and maybe even a few democrats slugging it out would degenerate into chaos. Besides being rightfully blamed for the mess, the US would be a main target of any terrorists groups that took root in the haze of the chaos.
Be that as it may. . .czardonic
Nov 13, 2003 4:57 PM
. . .we seem to be faced with two untenable options here: a) we preside directly over chaos in Iraq and bear the resulting resentment or b) we abandon Iraq to chaos and bear the resulting resentment.

The fact of the matter seems to be that for all of our good intentions, the US is a destabilizing factor that is distracting Iraq from reorganizing itself into a viable state. Many Iraqis don't trust us and many of those that do trust us still do not want us calling their shots. Moreover, Iraq is too mixed up in regional and ethnic politics to be re-made post WWII Japan style.

I think Silverback's point about cultural differences are a tad reductive, but the broader issue remains. Iraq is Iraq, and must be shaped according to its own people's vision. Freedom can not be force-fed to the unwilling. A hypothetical free Iraq, governed for and by the Iraqi people may well appear to be fundamentally different to the United States. But at its roots, freedom and democracy are about self-determination.

Jihadists, baathists and nationalists have recognized a common cause of driving the American led occupation out. Presumably, once the allies are gone they will duke it out, probably in perpetuity, for control. In response, it is time for the free-market capitalists, neo-con idealists, pacifists and plain old pragmatists to recognize a common goal of acheiving a stable, self-determined Iraq that can act as a foundation for whatever grandiose ultimate objectives they may entertain. Than let the ideals (free-markets, strategic alliances, etc.) battle each other, perhaps in perpetuity, but on their merits as viewed by a free Iraqi people rather than on their proximity to the ideology of the American President.

The most fundamental problem we are facing so far is the false inertia of our current approach. For all the small progresses, the general tack is not working and there is no reason to believe that it will work better as time goes on. It is not the only way, it is not the best way and by virtually open admission, it is not a way that much thought has been put into. Instead, it has boxed us into choosing between cutting-and-running or enduring a long, hard slog -- because a long, hard slog is the only way we are going to cram American style (and American dictated) liberal democracy down Iraqis' throats.

It's not a question of whether Iraqi's are capable of living under our system, its a question of whether they want to. There is no more a "one true way" of governing a country than there is a "one true way" to God's graces. Most Iraqi's differ in their views on the latter. If we can recognize that their different perspective on religion is nonetheless legitimate, than we expand our definition of legitimate government.

What we need most is a flexible approach that is willing, for example, to forgo the "liberation" and privitization of Iraq's markets for the greater good of getting Iraqis back to work and getting their lives back to normal. I think that would go a lot further towards thinning the ranks of the insurgency than answering sniper attacks with 500 lb. bombs.
Agreed, a constitutional democracy is hard to imagine there...PdxMark
Nov 13, 2003 5:41 PM
and I'm not suggesting that we wait around there until a post-War West Germany sprouts into being. But even the relative (false) stability of a post-war Afgahn government seems to be a long shot with the absence of any remotely acceptable central government personality.

We may get to a point where the chaos just putters along at an acceptably dull roar, but that is not the current situation. The central (puppet) authority seems likely to be weaker and less determined than the current opposition. It's a hard call to know where popular support lies. But until the central authority is at least strong enough to put up a good fight with the insurgents, I think we'd be crazy to pull out.

With enough billions of dollars, we might be able to build and garner some popular support for a central authority we can live with. If it's democratically elected, that would be great. But right now there are apparently 30-40 engagements a day (not between US troops & their Iraqi sweethearts), if I remember some recent news article correctly. The American trained Iraqi Police Department won't handle that any better than three or more US divisions.

I agree too that Operation Iron Hammer must either succeed quickly in crushing the insurgency (highly unlikely) or it will work mainly to spread deep hatred & resentment for the inherent civilian losses that come with high-powered military operation in urban areas (oh, say, like the Israelis).

It's a mess. But I think we have to stabilize it better than we have before we can pull out. Otherwise, we'll be sending guys back there in not too long.
I think the pieces are there.czardonic
Nov 13, 2003 6:06 PM
Iraq is a much more modern and cosmopolitan country than Afghanistan was (when we got there most recently). As such, I think it lends itself far more readily to an acheivable stability in the near-term. This is the grain of truth that fed the delusion of simply removing the Baathist head and leaving the body in tact. It can be done, but it won't be simple and it can't be gamed.

My gut feeling is that popular support always lies with prosperity. The trick is that Iraqis are smart enough to see that they shouldn't settle for a government that governs on behalf of American interests rather than their own.

I don't think they view guerilla attacks as a desirable alternative, or even support them on any significant level. But neither are they going to go out of their way to protect our ability to rule their country. In other words, they are neither with us, nor with the terrorists. It will take someone who can recognize such nuances to address the situation constructively.
The Iraqis (and we) just need to find that person nmPdxMark
Nov 13, 2003 7:27 PM
But, will the pieces fit together?Starliner
Nov 14, 2003 10:32 AM
It is delusional to think that pouring billions and probably trillions of dollars in the attempt at creating democratic stability within the borders of a place we call Iraq. What is Iraq, anyway? It's an imaginary line drawn in the sand some 100 years ago by foreigners, enclosing several distinct groups, tribes, clans, or whatever descriptive word is most appropriate to use, and then controlled by monarchs and despots.

Why do we feel we have to democratize the space within these imaginary borders?

Is there anybody here who can tell me how democracy will work here? Just how will it be possible to get all the tribes to set aside their differences and work together in peace and harmony? And what will it take in time and American dollars and lives to make the attempt?

I say its a bad, bad gamble to pursue, and the longer we stay chasing windmills, the harder the our fall will be. I don't think the separate tribes can be governed under anything but a strict and occasionally brutal centralized power.

Well guess what..... we are now that power, and we're in for a hell of a time trying to create something that doesn't want to happen.
One weekend a month my a$$critmass
Nov 14, 2003 12:43 AM
What does the reconstruction of Afghanistan tell us? Two years after the Taliban was ousted senior Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders still remain at large and are rebuilding forces in the East and South, security is precarious everywhere in the country and there is still deep poverty over the entire country. Powerful Northern warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ustad Atta Mohammad have resumed fighting each other and are breaking away from President Karzai. The education system is in shambles. Outside of Kabul women are still afraid to leave home without their burkas. The new constitution is being written by American selected individuals and that's caused resentment especially in the rural areas. In the face of increasing attacks on US and foreign troops, Dubya is now seeking to expedite elections and the hand over of civil authority. American soldiers are still dying there and the country is anything but the democracy Dubya and boyz said it would be. The good news for Dubya is that there are only 2 combat brigades there, compared to 16 in Iraq, and little press attention to what's going on. But then the Afghanistan drug trade is back with a vengeance and it is now the world's main supplier of opium and heroin again.

I guess Iraq rather than Afghanistan is where Wolfliewitz and the neo-con's want to be real democratic imperialists and remake it in America's image. They think that the only way to make America safe is to make Iraq just like us. Does Dubya have the political nerve to do it or will falling political support make him do what he has done in Afghanistan? The neo-con's want to deploy as many troops as it would take and spend how ever much money it would take to try and make Iraq stable and an American democracy. They see post war Germany in their dreams. How can Dubya and the neo-cons turn Iraq, a country devastated by war, economic mismanagement and corruption and deep ethnic, tribal and religious differences into a beacon of "American" democracy especially without international help? Because of his unilateralist approach to the war and his refusal to let the U.N. have any authority in Iraq that international help is looking dim. My worst fear is that the neo-con's win this battle for Dubya's brain. I've seen what the "best and brightest" have done before.

Nation building cannot happen when there is a war going on. Even the best-laid neo-con plans for Iraq will fail when the violence and insecurity pervade. As the violence increases in Iraq, as it has, we retaliate with even larger violence and more countries pull out their "peacekeeping" troops.. That is the plan of those fighting us. How many more Iraqi civilians have come to hate the "occupiers" as American soldiers drive through the streets firing into houses as they did after the shooting down of the Chinook Helicopter? Iraqi resentment of foreign occupation is growing daily. This is just the beginning of the real prolonged war in Iraq that Dubya and the boyz were talking about. Will this war spread to Syria or Iran? I hope not and don't see how Dubya can do it politically but some of those best and brightest certainly want it to.

The only scenarios that I have read that give even a glimmer of hope are those that have the U.S. turning over much of it's authority to international forces and internationalizing reconstruction. I haven't seen one word about this coming from Dubya and the boyz. The Afghanistan model would be a tragedy for the Iraqi's, the Middle East and all of us as it is for Afghanistan. The lives of American soldiers the neo-cons would spend is going to be unacceptable sooner or later to the American public. It should have been already. The internationalizing of the effort doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon. And so it goes.

The real cost of Dubya's lies
472 grieving families
Total U.S. wounded: 2309

11/13/03 Centcom: A 1st Armored Division soldieer died and one was wounded from
"real cost"?DougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 7:25 AM
The real benefit of GWB's political courage
10,000 Iraqi's not murdered by Saddam Hussein
100's of women not raped and killed by the Brothers Hussein
50 million people in 2 countries liberated from evil regimes
25 million women can show their faces in public and learn to read
Doug, Doug, DougTJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 7:34 AM
Haven't you learned that an Iraqi life is worth much less than an American one by now?

It's a basic premise of whatever party isn't in power when a war is going on.
sorry, you are correctDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 8:01 AM
I guess I also neglected to acknowledge that people only care about human rights in the United States, or at least in fully developed western countries. Those who would lay down their lives to desegregate the U.S. apparently can't tolerate soldiers doing the same to restore even basic human rights for 50 million people on the other side of the globe.
Here here!No_sprint
Nov 14, 2003 8:09 AM
and lies? LOL I haven't seen any.
re:Doug, Doug, Dougcritmass
Nov 14, 2003 9:53 AM
"We don't do civilian body counts"...Gen. Franks
I would like to be able to include the number of Iraqi civilian deaths and wounded but because of that attitude on the part of Franks and the U.S. it's been difficult to understand the number of civilians who have died or been wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
From a 6 week investigation of documents from 60 of Iraq's 124 hospitals it looks like, in just the first month of Operation Iraqi Freedom, at least 3,240 civilians died throughout the country, with 1,896 of those being in Baghdad. That number is a basic, conservative, beginning of the count of civilian deaths.
There are many press organizations, universities and other organizations trying to figure it out and people understand that the numbers will probably underestimate the real scale of civilian deaths. The accepted numbers at the moment are between 7000 to 10,000 for deaths and over 20,000 for wounded.
But then civilian victims of the U.S. military action in Afghanistan were suppose to receive aid from funds granted by congress. So far, according to the USAID, none of those funds have been dispersed because of security risks and other problems in the parts of Afghanistan where the money is meant to be spent.

The real cost of Dubya's lies
475 grieving families
Total U.S. wounded: 2313

11/14/03 Centcom: Two Task Force Ironhorse soliders were killed and three wounded when the convoy they were traveling in was attacked with an IED at approximately 4:30 pm on Nov. 13 north of Samarra
O.K.; if we want to play the numbersTJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 10:15 AM
Let's assume that the 10,000 number of civilians is correct, in a 9 month period. Annualizes to 13,333 (which is improper, considering that we aren't killing civilians at the rate we were, but we'll assume its right in the interests of conservatism).

So, over the last 20 years, was SH responsible for >260,000 civilian deaths? I believe he was, though he kept worse records than the US Army does. It seems like a net gain to me.
O.K.; if we want to play the numberscritmass
Nov 14, 2003 11:14 AM
I was referencing your callous accusation that "an Iraqi life is worth much less than an American one" to some. Those "somes" are Dubya and the boyz when it comes to Iraqi and Afghanistan civilian lives in this present combat.
But then I'll play your game: It's only fair that you figure into your calculations the lives Saddam took using the anthrax, sarin/cyclosarin, mustard gas and other nerve agents that Ray-Gun and Rummy sold him. Now remember that Rummy was in Iraq working on restoring diplomatic relations on March 24, 1984 the day the story of Saddam's use of nerve agents on Iranian troops broke in the international press. But then to Ray-Gun and Rummy those Kurdish and Iranian lives probably weren't worth much. Oh yeah and Ray-Gun and Dubya's daddy continued to sell biological agents to Saddam until 1990.

Off to ride.
Yeah, that seems fair; wait, it doesn'tTJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 11:20 AM
I don't really understand how you want me to calculate this. You want me to double count some bodies, because both parties were equally culpable? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Bottom line:

Was removing Saddam Hussein, at the cost of ~10,000 lives, a net benefit for the people of Iraq?

I maintain that it was. If you don't agree, that's fine, you don't agree. My "callous" reference to American vs. Iraqi lives is the direct result of you giving us the running total of the "real" cost in terms only of American life. Doesn't the "real" cost include Iraqi lives? I believe it does, and it is a cost worth paying.
His running total should say "only"...No_sprint
Nov 14, 2003 11:30 AM
A ridiculously small number in a simple comparison to conflicts in all of history. Not to say it doesn't matter, it does. Just a very small number when looking at or comparing to conflicts in all of history of the world.
Nov 14, 2003 11:45 AM
1.5 million died in the Iran/Iraq war.
"A cost worth paying"- by whom?torquer
Nov 14, 2003 1:28 PM
The dead can't speak about how grateful they are to be either liberated (the Iraqis) or to be liberators (the Americans). And their survivors won't.

But then again this administration is used to pursuing policies that shift costs to the disenfranchised (polution of land, air and water, "free trade" job losses) while their patrons reap all the benefits. When I see all the armchair generals (like Cheney, who had "other priorities" during Vietnam) put their own asses on the line, perhaps I'll take their rationalizations more seriously.
He isn't just counting Americans.DJB
Nov 14, 2003 2:00 PM
"...result of you giving us the running total of the "real" cost in terms only of American life."

The running total that we are repeatedly shown is not the total of Americans killed in action (hostile), but the total number of coalition deaths, both hostile and non-hostile (accidental).

I think the number of Americans killed in action to date is 273.
I guess grieving to you means only Americanscritmass
Nov 14, 2003 2:43 PM
My posts have always said "grieving families" and "Total U.S. wounded". Grieving because that is the effect of anyone's death on their families.
Maybe to you the British(53), Spanish(3) Danish(1), Ukrainian(2) and now Italians(17) don't grieve. Or maybe dying in Iraq because of an accident, happening only because you were there, doesn't cause grief either.
It's always been unclear to me,TJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 2:47 PM
Because you only outline the US wounded, I had presumed, apparently wrongly, that the total above that was also only American. I really don't pay close attention to the numbers, and I have no idea if yours are even close to reality. I do wonder why you don't include Iraqi lives though.
It wouldn't have his desired spin directionality,No_sprint
Nov 17, 2003 2:04 PM
therefore, it's ignored, like reality!
I guess grieving to you means only Americanscritmass
Nov 14, 2003 2:48 PM
My posts have always said "grieving families" and "Total U.S. wounded". Grieving because that is the effect of anyone's death on their families.
Maybe to you the British(53), Spanish(3) Danish(1), Ukrainian(2) and now Italians(17) don't grieve. Or maybe dying in Iraq because of an accident, happening only because you were there, doesn't cause grief either.
Nothing could be further from the truth.DJB
Nov 17, 2003 11:09 AM
I was merely correcting someone who had misinterpreted your number to be American deaths.

I would never say that one's family's grief is less important than another's. For example, the families of the estimated 300,000 people buried in Saddam's mass graves. Or the families of the estimated (not that I agree with this number) 25,000 Iraqi children said to die annually due to the U.N. sanctions. Remember those?

If you're going to include all coalition deaths, you shouldn't be blaming them all on Bush's 'lies'. We didn't force anyone to come with us.

As for including accidental deaths, accidents happen in the military throughout the world. And on farms. And on the highway. And when building parking garages for Atlantic City casinos. Accidents would not stop happening even if we brought everyone in the military home and housed them 'safely' on a base somewhere.
They have blinders and never respond to reality...No_sprint
Nov 17, 2003 1:25 PM
anything that doesn't spin their direction is dismissed by the stooges, even reality.
Nothing could be further from the truth.critmass
Nov 17, 2003 7:07 PM
I'm glad I was wrong about your compassion.
We can certainly say Blair was part of the lies but it's only because of Dubya's lies AND actions that Blair, Aznar, Rasmussen, Ciampi, Kwasniewski and Kuchma have lost troops. Perhaps one of them would have launched a war in Iraq on there own but somehow I doubt it. I have no problem saying that it's Dubya's lies that have cost the lives of those soliders.

Your thinking on accidental deaths makes me wonder whether OSHA knows how unsafe the military's domestic working conditions are. But then you may not have thought that one through or know the realities of danger in a war zone. Friendly fire deaths is just one of the things you should think about. I'm gone for 8 days so when I come back I'll check this thread to see if you post another retraction.

The real cost of Dubya's lies
499 grieving families
Total U.S. Wounded: 2336

11/17/03 Centcom:

Release Number: 03-11-24C
BAGHDAD, Iraq – A 1st Armored Division soldier died from a non-hostile gunshot wound at approximately 10:20 a.m. Nov. 17.

Release Number: 03-11-23C
TIKRIT, Iraq – One 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed when a convoy struck an improvised explosive device south of Balad at about 7:50 a.m. on November 17.

Release Number: 03-11-22C
BALAD, Iraq – One 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed and two were wounded when attackers using automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades fired upon their patrol at about 7:30 a.m. on November 17 in Albu Shukur.
Re:...Yeah, that seems fair; wait, it doesn'tcritmass
Nov 14, 2003 2:37 PM
I'm sure you don't know how to calculate it. It would upset your neat little view of what has happened in Iraq. I guess in your mind the war must be over since you don't seem to think the numbers are going to increase. Tell that to Dubya. We have no idea of the death and wounded totals and destruction that are yet to come. Since you seem to be into statistics look up some charts of the monthly/yearly death tolls for both sides in Vietnam. We have NO idea of the what's to come of this politically for Iraq or for the lives of American's or Iraqi's. If Afghanistan is the guide it won't look like we did much of anything for Iraq except add a few more dead bodies. But then I'm sure all the apologists will simply shift their focus away from all the lives saved by ousting Saddam, kinda like WMD's and Iraq-Niger nuclear links are just old yesterdays news and inconsequential anyway. If the neo-cons get what they want it means more lives on both sides dying. I find it amusing that apologists can only seem to think short-term and are not worried about tomorrow's events in this war or yesterday's events. But then Limbaabaa is back to help everyone see clearly. That's if he stays clean or doesn't go to jail.

I guess my running totals have hit a nerve with some of you. Here I'll add one from Afghanistan for all of you.

11/14/03 Centcom:

November 14, 2003
Release Number: 03-11-19C
MACDILL AFB, Tampa - A special operations force soldier died of wounds received when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device (IED) in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan today.
The name of the service member is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Yeah, this is Vietnam all over again,TJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 2:45 PM
That is one of the more foolish comparisons to draw - at least so far. Your numbers only strike me from the perspective of it being odd that you only seem to care about Americans, while arguing how hard the war has been on Iraqis.

And I maintain, my position has not changed. You're welcome to look.
Yeah, this is Vietnam all over again,critmass
Nov 14, 2003 2:58 PM
"at least so far" and that is the only way I too have framed it in my arguments. But then history doesn't seem to be a strong point on this board.

Did you read my post about how difficult it is to be certain about Iraqi deaths and woundings?????? I guess not. Remember "We don't do civilian body counts...Gen Franks"

Centcom will email you all notifications of deaths if you really want reality. Somehow i don't think you do.
Samd, Doug! You sound like aOldEdScott
Nov 14, 2003 8:52 AM
panty waste do-gooder liberal!
Should have been 'Damn.' I'm typing onOldEdScott
Nov 14, 2003 9:02 AM
a teensy little notebook keyboard that doesn't suit my blunt & heavy-handed writing style ...
when it comes to civil rights, you bet nmDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 9:22 AM
Really?Charlie Amerique
Nov 14, 2003 9:24 AM
I hope you're not relying on "Intelligence Reports" for those statistics. ROTFLMAO!!
can't stick your head in the sandDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 10:58 AM (prepared in 1999 under Clinton Admin.)

Removing Saddam from power
"Iraq under Saddam's regime has become a land of hopelessness, sadness, and fear. Iraq under Saddam has become a hell and a museum of crimes."

- Safia Al Souhail, Iraqi citizen, Advocacy Director, International Alliance for Justice

Shira A. Drissman
South End contributing columnist

I must be missing something. A brutal dictator is being removed from power, yet there are people who are upset about this. How strange.

Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq in 1979 and since then his specialty has been the torture and massacre of his own people.

Tens of thousands have disappeared under Saddam's rule. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International put the number of people that have disappeared between 70 and 150 thousand. "Ahmed," an anonymous current Iraqi citizen, told The Christian Science Monitor that "If you are arrested, your life is over."

Saddam has gassed his own people. Between 1983 and 1988, he murdered more than 60,000 Iraqi citizens, including women and children, with mustard gas and nerve agents. Against the Kurdish population, he used these chemical weapons against more than 40 villages. These weapons not only murder the population, but they disfigure people and cause other medical nightmares including cancer.

Women and children have no chance of having a normal life under Saddam's rule. Women are raped and tortured if someone in their family is thought to be disloyal. In one instance, an obstetrician was arrested for criticizing the corruption in the health services. She was then beheaded under the guise of being a prostitute.

Since the last Gulf War Saddam has built himself 48 beautiful palaces, using money from the oil-for-food program which was supposed to go toward the betterment of the people of Iraq. Pharmaceutical supplies have been exported for resale. Medicine for children is unable to enter the country since the government officials expect bribes from medical suppliers. He obviously doesn't care about the children.

While it seems that all this information is well known, why is it that France, Russia, Germany and China are against the United States action? Self-interest is the key.

The Heritage Foundation has documented the billions of dollars that have been made off of Saddam Hussein. France is Iraq's largest European trading partner, handling more than 22.5 percent of Iraq's imports. France's largest oil company, Total Fina Elf, negotiated a deal to develop the Majnoon field in western Iraq, which contains up to 30 billion barrels of oil. If Saddam is removed, this contract may go to another company, possibly non-French.

Russia is also a good trading partner with Iraq, controlling 5.8 percent of Iraq's annual imports. Their total trade with Iraq was between $530 million and $1 billion for the six months ending in December 2001. Iraqi oil seems to be the main issue here, too. Russia's LUKoil currently holds a $4 billion, 23-year contract to rehabilitate the 15 billion barrel West Qurna field in southern Iraq. In 2002, Russia and Iraq signed an agreement worth $40 billion, allowing oil exploration throughout western Iraq. Iraq also owes Russia $8 billion due to arm sales during the Iran-Iraq war.

Germany is next on the list doing $350 million annually in direct trade with Iraq, with another $1 billion through third parties. Next is China. China controls about 5.8 percent of Iraqi annual imports. They also have a contract to negotiate a 22-year-long deal for future oil exploration in the Al Ahdad field in southern Iraq worth billions.

We have seen the terror that has controlled the lives of everyday Iraqis. They live in constant fear of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person and ending up being tortured and murdered. If they are Kurdish or Shi'ite they may be removed from their homes or gassed. Those non-existent WMD are now in the open to see. The United States has taken the moral high ground in eliminating the monster of Iraq and creating a democratic system. It's too bad that France, Russia, Germany and China can't see past their financial interests in order to do the right thing.
Just Who Is Saddam Hussein?
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2003 -- He's a madman danger to the world. He's a revolutionary leader. He's a savior of his people.

Just who is Saddam Hussein?

The Iraqi president is secretive about just about everything from his whereabouts to his methods. But some things are known.

Hussein was born in Tikrit, Iraq on April 28, 1937. The city is the seat of Saladdin province northwest of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Tikrit is still Hussein's base.

Hussein grew up in the town of Al Dawr. Visitors to the area described it as a mud-brick town on the banks of the Tigris River. Hussein's parents were poor farmers, but he came under the influence of his uncle, who was an Iraqi army officer. Even as a teenager, Hussein gravitated toward the military and politics.

The means into politics was the Ba'ath Party. He joined the socialist party when he was 19 and three years later participated in an assassination attempt against Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qassim. Hussein was wounded in the leg during the attempt and fled the country. Iraqi courts sentenced him to death in absentia on Feb. 25, 1960.

He went first to Syria and then to Egypt where he went to the College of Law in Cairo.

In February 1963, the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party overthrew Qassim. Hussein returned to the country and was elected a leader in the Ba'ath Party. The Ba'athists were deposed that November in a military coup led by Col. Abd-al-Salam Muhammad Arif, who'd been co-leader in the 1958 coup that brought Qassim to power.

Hussein was arrested in 1964 and imprisoned in an Arif crackdown on the Ba'athists. He escaped in 1966.

Arif died in a helicopter crash in April 1966 and was succeeded by his older brother. Hussein then figured prominently in a Ba'athist-led coup that ousted the brother in July 1968. Gen. Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr, the new president, was Hussein's cousin.

Hussein became vice president and also took charge of the secret police. He immediately purged and murdered dozens of Iraqi government officials suspected of disloyalty. He also formulated policies to suppress the Kurds living in the north and the Shi'ia "Marsh Arabs" living near Al Basrah in the south. Over the course of the next 30 years, thousands of Kurds and Shi'ia Muslims were murdered, arrested or deported. Whole villages were razed, and property was confiscated and turned over to loyal Hussein supporters.

Hussein led the effort to nationalize foreign oil companies in Iraq in 1972.

He expanded the secret police and appointed men to the force loyal to him. Bakr resigned in 1979, and Hussein took over as president. Again, he lost no time in purging and murdering those in the government he deemed insufficiently loyal.

In 1980, Hussein thought to take advantage of a weak Iran and trumped up a border dispute over the Shatt al Arab waterway into a full-scale war. At first, the Iraqi army swept the field, but Iran refused to admit defeat. Human waves of Iranian "martyrs," some going to the front with their death shrouds with them, entered the fray. By 1984, Iran had driven Iraq from its soil and was invading Iraq.

This was when Hussein shifted strategies and started using chemical weapons on the invading Iranians and on the Kurdish people in the north of Iraq who opposed him. Thousands are estimated to have died in these attacks.

The war ended in 1988 with the Iran-Iraq border pretty much back where it had started. Casualties are estimated at between 1 million and 1.5 million people.

In August 1990, Saddam Hussein made another miscalculation. He sent his troops into Kuwait, invoking Iraq's claim on Kuwait as its 19th province. The invasion also threatened Saudi Arabia, and the international community responded immediately. The United States led an international coalition to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Then, as now, the United Nations tried to reason with Saddam, but he would not go along.

Finally, on Jan. 17, 1991, the Persian Gulf War began with a coalition air campaign. The ground war started Feb. 24 and Kuwait was liberated in 72 hours. By the time Iraq signed a cease-fire on March 3, tens of thousands of its soldiers were dead or wounded and coalition forces had taken tens of thousands more prisoner.

In the pact that ended hostilities, Iraq agreed to stop persecuting minorities, return prisoners and to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.

Following the war, Hussein survived a Kurdish rebellion in the north and viciously put down a Shi'ite insurrection in the south. The Northern and Southern No-fly zones were imposed, in part, so Saddam could not murder his own people.

Since the Gulf War, Iraq has been under U.N.-imposed economic sanctions. These sanctions would be lifted if the Iraqi dictator decided to honor his word to the United Nations.

Saddam Hussein has violated every U.N. Security Council resolution directed at Iraq in the 12 years since the end of the war. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, passed Nov. 8, 2002, states he's in "material breach" of those resolutions and now must prove to the United Nations that he is complying with the will of the international community.

Hussein is married and has two sons and three daughters.

By John Sweeney
Reporting from Iraq for Correspondent

Read your comments here

As coalition forces approach Baghdad, BBC Correspondent's John Sweeney reveals even more gruesome evidence of Saddam's tyrannical regime.
You could not get two more different witnesses to the true nature of Saddam's regime.

A former Iraqi colonel and a tomb-raider.

Both men have revealed details of two separate mass graves.

They insist these graves conceal bodies of defenceless civilians murdered by Saddam's forces.

The colonel - anonymous for security reasons - defected from Iraq in early 2003. His body is scarred by horrific torture.

The tomb-raider drew a map of a mass grave
He says he saw army bulldozers bury people - dead and alive - in a pit dug in a long traffic island in Al Hayaniya, a suburb of Basra.

This mass burial took place in 1991, when the mainly Shia people of Basra staged an uprising against Saddam's regime in the wake of the American "100 hours to free Kuwait".

The colonel said: "Basra was assigned to Ali Hassan Al-Majid" - Saddam's cousin, known as "Chemical Ali".

Bulldozed bodies

They brought some people alive and pushed them into the hole and buried them alive

A former Iraqi colonel

"He didn't try to interrogate people. He would round up 20 or 30 people and murder them on the spot. He enjoyed killing people.

He recalled what happened in a poison gas attack against a Kurdish village: "They removed the corpses and dug a big hole and buried them in it.

"Then they brought some people alive and pushed them into the hole and buried them alive using army bulldozers.

"If they thought someone was in the uprising, they would bring the mother over and kill her and bury her here."

The colonel drew a precise map of the mass grave location.

He indicated it was on the traffic island in Al Hayaniya, on the road towards Sa'ad square in Basra.

Criticism is treason

Saddam appears on almost every street corner
The tomb-raider and his friends would make a bit of money from robbing Sumerian archaeological sites near the city of Ur, digging for gold bracelets and ancient artefacts.

They found a modern grave, the corpses still with skin, hair and shreds of Arabic dress.

He said: "The skulls had holes in the back of the head, as if they had been shot."

He too drew the precise area of a mass grave.

He estimated between 150 and 250 bodies had been buried there.

He believed the dead were kinsmen Marsh Arabs who had been killed after the failed uprising in 1991.

He mourned Saddam's destruction of his home, saying: "The process of draining the marshes started in 1994, until they disappeared completely by the end of the 90s.

"No-one can say a word against the regime in Iraq. Any criticism is interpreted as treason by the regime and therefore no-one can say a word."

Cried till she died

But why don't people tell foreign journalists inside Iraq about mass graves, torture or talk to the UN weapons inspectors?

The colonel said Saddam's secret police used the threat of torture of family members to keep mouths shut.

He said he was tortured after his parents-in-law fled the country, his flesh scarred for life and his toenails ripped out.

Marsh Arabs' lives were devastated by the end of the 90s.
But, far worse for him to bear, was his pregnant wife being so badly beaten up that she lost her unborn baby.

The colonel was interrogated at the Al-Hakimiya underground prison in Baghdad.

He described the evil place: "Everything is dark red. It's very intimidating and affects you both psychologically and physically.

"All I could hear was people crying for help and begging for mercy but no-one did anything to help them.

"The crying was disturbing at first but you soon get used to it.

"What was very disturbing was the cries of a woman, even though it was a male prison. She cried until she died.

"The screaming was deafening. Are you surprised that people are frightened to talk to the inspectors?"
"real cost"Starliner
Nov 14, 2003 10:45 AM
What GWB could have done with the billions of $$ wasted in Iraq
-transcontinental high speed rail line
-high speed rail between several major population centers
-investment in alternative energy technology
-investment in education
-etc. etc.
$$ has been better spentNo_sprint
Nov 14, 2003 10:56 AM
Pouring money into education is ineffective. Who wants a rail system that will be under used and overpriced by hundreds of billions? Nobody. $$ from private industry is better spent on energy technology. That's not government's charge in my opinion.

What it all comes down to, you don't like the way things have gone recently, I do. It makes neither right, just different.
what compassionDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 11:02 AM
What choices: better mass transportation vs. liberating 50 million people

That's about the most shallow comment I've heard in a long while.

Third choice.OldEdScott
Nov 14, 2003 11:11 AM
The money should have gone to tax cuts! What's WRONG with you, Doug?
Nov 14, 2003 11:13 AM
Sure, a viable alternative, but you gotta give the Pres some discretion... ;-)
I wonder what support for the war would have beenOldEdScott
Nov 14, 2003 11:31 AM
if it had been sold, pure and simple, as a humanitarian war of liberation?
humanitarian war of liberation... but only in IraqPdxMark
Nov 14, 2003 11:40 AM
Neocons, and even RBRcons, only seem concerned about freedom for Iraqis. What about Congo, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Cuba even? Freedom in those places isn't quite the pressing issue it is Iraq. Can someone explain why freedom for Iraqis is a critical US issue, but freedom in other countries isn't? GWB has even opposed peacekeeping in places like Bosnia & Kosovo.

Until someone can explain why Iraqi freedom matters more than freedom in other despotic Hell-holes, then the liberation agrument is nothing more than yet another after-the-fact rationalization for an ill-considered war.
Well, I guess that's my point.OldEdScott
Nov 14, 2003 11:45 AM
Normally, the neo-cons and regular cons have little interest in such undertakings. Normally liberals do. It's interesting, now that every other rationale for the war has been blown to smithereens, to hear the cons talking like panty wastes, juts chock full of wimpy humanitarian concern, and the 'real' panty wastes trying to rebut a position they normally would take.
It is heart-warming to see such goodness bubbling up...PdxMark
Nov 14, 2003 11:49 AM
like Texas tea, oozing up as a groundswell of deep caring about the oppressed peoples of the world. Makes you wanna hug a neocon.
Remember, neo-conservatism has its roots inOldEdScott
Nov 14, 2003 11:53 AM
Trotskyism. These guys' Commie internationalist roots are heaving up out of the ground! 'Oppressed peoples' indeed!
convergence of reasonsDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 11:57 AM
No doubt there were multiple reasons for this war. You could include: 1. humanitarian 2. UN Resolutions 678 and 1441, etc. ("authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660", etc) 3. Oil 4. find/rid WMD's 5. slow/deter terrorists 6. UN/US reputation for enforcing resolutions and treaties/agreements, among a few others. All are at least somewhat valid. In fact, this situation reveals a convergence of multiple reasons, some of which are human rights oriented, some political, some military, and some economic. Something in it for everyone. That's why there is apparently an odd mix of support for it. Me? I was always largely behind my first listed reason, but the other reasons are not insignificant.

So, no, this war was obviously not supported ONLY for humanitarian reasons, but that doesn't mean it's not a damn good reason.

As to intervening other places, I like to know 3 things: 1. should we police the *entire* world? 2. If we can't police the entire world, does that mean we should butt out and do nothing anywhere? and 3. Are you saying we really should intervene in Congo, etc.? Take a stand.

You must know better than that.czardonic
Nov 14, 2003 12:09 PM
Does anybody believe for a second that these bleeding-heart-come-latelies are one bit sincere in their relief over the liberation of Iraq from Saddam's depredations? These are the exact same people who tacitly supported Saddam via their votes for Reagan and Bush 41.

Who is rebutting the notion of improving the lives of Iraqis? What is being rebutted is the notion that Bush, his regents or his apologists care one whit about the Iraqi people or plan to do anything for them that does not serve their own personal interests first and foremost.
Now vs then.DJB
Nov 14, 2003 2:12 PM
"It's interesting, now that every other rationale for the war has been blown to smithereens, to hear the cons talking like panty wastes, juts chock full of wimpy humanitarian concern..."

You really ought to stop trusting the Times! (scroll down)

""President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night [at his American Enterprise Institute speech] of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a 'free and peaceful Iraq' that would serve as a 'dramatic and inspiring example' to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time." -- New York Times editorial, February 27, 2003."

""The White House recently began shifting its case for the Iraq war from the embarrassing unconventional weapons issue to the lofty vision of creating an exemplary democracy in Iraq." -- New York Times editorial, today." (11/13/2003).
correct; human rights expressly a part of the supportDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 2:30 PM
Yes, for Democrats and other Liberals, or just Bush haters in general, now to state or imply that the only reason that Bush went to Iraq was to find WMD's, and it had nothing to do with human rights, is as much of a lie as any attributed to Bush. Pure selective highsight.

Bush's 2003 State of the Union:


In Afghanistan, we helped liberate an oppressed people. And we will continue helping them secure their country, rebuild their society, and educate all their children -- boys and girls.


This threat is new; America's duty is familiar. Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men seized control of great nations, built armies and arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world. In each case, their ambitions of cruelty and murder had no limit. In each case, the ambitions of Hitlerism, militarism, and communism were defeated by the will of free peoples, by the strength of great alliances, and by the might of the United States of America. (Applause.)

Now, in this century, the ideology of power and domination has appeared again, and seeks to gain the ultimate weapons of terror. Once again, this nation and all our friends are all that stand between a world at peace, and a world of chaos and constant alarm. Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people, and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility. (Applause.)


Different threats require different strategies. In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction, and supports terror. We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty and human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny -- and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom. (Applause.)


The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages -- leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained -- by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. (Applause.)


And as we and our coalition partners are doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people food and medicines and supplies -- and freedom. (Applause.)


Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity. (Applause.)

Anyone read that and tell me honestly that Bush did not expressly and emphatically include human rights as support for invading Iraq. It's pure lying drivel to make that claim, and any of you who do know it.

Actions speak louder than words.czardonic
Nov 14, 2003 2:47 PM
Especially when those words are coming out of a politician's mouth, and even more especially when they are coming out of Bush's mouth.

Bush's actions demonstrate the hollow sanctimony of his words. Perhaps if he had delivered that speech 20 years ago he could be taken seriously. But this is a man representing and even employing as advisors the very people who tolerated and even facilitated nearly every one of the attrocities that he now purports to avenge.
you seem to be missing the entire pointDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 2:59 PM
Someone alleged that Bush, and his supporters here, for that matter, never brought up human rights before the war, and that it was a post hoc rationalization. I think I have demonstrated that to be false.

Whether he meant it or not is another issue. However, he clearly did state that as a reason.

Are we holding him to what he says or not? Or, would you rather pick and choose what words you want to make him accountable for?

I don't care what he says.czardonic
Nov 14, 2003 3:18 PM
I am not impressed by his cynical lip-service. Human rights were never anything more than a rhetorical ploy.

I am all for holding Bush accountable for all of his words, and that is why I am disgusted by his continued use of human rights as a cover for his political ambitions and the machinations of his crony capitalist cohort.

I see your point, but I remain unconvinced. Human rights were never a credible rationale in the mouth of Bush. He had no plan to address humanitarian issues, and his team has refused to account for the humanitarian costs.
what about the result?DougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 3:26 PM
Do you think the end result will be better human rights for Iraqi's? I couldn't be much worse that it was. If so, then that matches Bush's expressed intention, in part. How can that be a "rhetorical ploy?" By the same token, I guess Lincoln deserves no credit for freeing slaves; soldiers deserve no credit for liberating people or firefighters for saving lives -- if their true motivation was to earn a living or something other than pure altruism.

Now, I think you've gone from alleging that he was purely motivated by the wrong reasons (and none of the right reasons, that is, human rights) to alleging he just didn't do a good job of it. That's different. Of course, though, any action can be attacked in hind sight by the Monday-morning-armchair-quarterbacks.

Nonetheless, I won't agree that human rights was not a credible rationale. If that's what he said, and that is what will be acheived, then that's about as genuine as it gets.
What about it?czardonic
Nov 14, 2003 4:25 PM
What about Afghanistan? I suppose you could argue that a brief respite between periods of anarchy, warlordism and religious tyranny is "better" than no interuption at all. Personally, I think that is setting the bar too low.

I also think that settling on the notion that Iraq couldn't be worse than it was is setting the bar too low. Iraq is much worse than it should be and could have been if we had gone about it properly. And the current state of affairs can be directly linked to the inattenion of Bush's team to the humanitarian principles that where lumped into their omnibus pretext for this invasion. Thus, I am asserting that Bush was motivated only by the wrong reasons, and largely as a result, he is not doing a good job. (Also, to claim that "any action can be attacked in hind sight" is a red herring, especially when the failures of a given action were duly predicted before hand.)

I agree with your ultimate assertion that if human rights are significantly advanced, that is good enough. But I disagree with your assumption that this is what will happen. I don't much like Bush, but if he can bring peace and prosperity to this nation and to the world then that is good enough for me (just as Lincoln's contribution to emancipation is good enough or any ancillary expansion of the greater good.)

Hollow talk, no matter what it pays lip-service to, is what is not good enough.
nice to have you back, by the way ;-) nmDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 2:59 PM
good to be here. (nm)czardonic
Nov 14, 2003 4:27 PM
maybe 10% for, 90% opposed....Starliner
Nov 14, 2003 11:48 AM
.... but it doesn't surprise me that those who were so convinced that we'd uncover treasure troves of WMD's and such now use the "compassion" card to justify their error in judgement and to sandbag themselves against criticism.
Look it up, if the archive search worksTJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 11:56 AM
Since before the war, my position has not wavered. I didn't and don't care if they find WMD (though I thought they would). I have consistently said that I think Zimbabwe should be next.

The compassion "card" isn't a new argument for me. It should be all in the archives.
Doesn't matter, it sold itself... facts...No_sprint
Nov 14, 2003 11:51 AM
To get higher than the 73% supportive as reported by CNN seems entirely unlikely. Getting 73% agreement on anything in this huge country seems pretty incredible actually.

Facts remain, Saddam tried to take over another country, he lost, he made a contract with the world as punishment, he ignored it for about 10 years, he was given an ultimatum, he thwarted it and approximately 75 countries in some way acted together as a coalition and stomped him.

Really simple. No spin.
Right on! nmNo_sprint
Nov 14, 2003 11:13 AM
Nov 14, 2003 11:32 AM
How can you say they are liberated, with what's going on now?

Does your compassion include guaranteed quality health care for each of your fellow citizens, or is that going to cost too much money for you?
Or since people are starving worldwide, I assumeOldEdScott
Nov 14, 2003 11:36 AM
'compassion' dictates we share our food equally with them. After all, the starving folks' lives are worth as much as ours.

This wild liberalism of Doug's is out of control!
Were they better off before?TJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 11:38 AM
That's a rhetorical question, because I don't think anybody here is qualified to answer it. But given that they're in the middle of a war, and we have to wonder whether that is better or worse than their former condition, I'd say things will probably be better in the long run.

I don't really see what guaranteed quality health care has to do with compassion. Do you support paying for guaranteed quality healthcare for all people, or just your fellow citizens? I think the money can be put to better use than keeping an American alive for three more days.
a question for an investment bankerStarliner
Nov 14, 2003 1:18 PM
Let's set aside the emotions for a moment, and look at this Iraq thing as a dollars and cents investment. What will (not might) be our return on the billions of dollars we'll be pouring into Iraq?

What are the objectives, and why can they be not achieved through less costly and/or more effective means?

What are the risks to the investment, how can these risks prevent us from acheiving our objectives, how can these risks be overcome?

My amateur assessment is that the results will not justify the expenses - that it will be like trying to make a world-class wine from sour grapes.

You're the designated expert, so now, without emotional arguments, sell me on why this is a good investment.
It's pretty hard to put this sort of thing in dollars and centsTJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 1:35 PM
I wish there was a good answer to that question. $87 billion is a lot of money. But there are a few possible answers.

If this were to cause the average price of a barrel of oil to fall by $1, in 12 years, we would have saved the cost of the war, simply in decreased oil costs. Bush bashers will love that tidbit.

We might gain a valued trading partner in the Middle East - all the money we spend on oil, they're going to be buying something with, and there's a good chance it will be American-made somethings. Interestingly enough, the United States has a trade surplus with every OPEC country we do business with. It would be pretty hard to estimate the dollar impact there, but Saudi Arabia has spent more than $1,000B on US goods and services since 1970.

An objective is certainly a free, open Iraq, with basic human rights and an alliance with the U.S. - but I don't know that you can put a price tag on that. In the context of possibilities, $100B isn't that much money, and I think there can be a positive return on that kind of investment. Risk adjusted? I'm not sure. I'm not really in a position to assess the risk.
Nov 14, 2003 2:14 PM
What is included as costs of the war or rebuilding? Does it include reimbursement for $ spent with American contractors for munitions, equipment, logisitical stuff, soldiers' compensation, and American contractors for actual rebuilding? If so, consider that much of that will be taxed again, will be returned to American workers' and business owners' pockets, and stimulates industry here.

short-term stimulus, not a long term solutionStarliner
Nov 14, 2003 3:27 PM
War economies are temporary and for the energy they expend, offer little long-term benefits and returns to society. It's an unwise way to prop up your economy because it takes away energy and resources which could be spent on things which have a more positive and direct effect on society.

Which is the danger we're facing with the Iraq debacle - good money being thrown after bad.

Investing some of those billions in improving our own infrastructure; speeding up the pace of development for alternative power sources and getting them ready for mass consumption; these are also things that would be good for business and jobs. And the results would directly benefit society by ensuring economic stability and strength. Both of which we need to have if we want to remain a positive, influential, and leading player in the world.
I agree, mostlyDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 3:29 PM
My preference would overwhelmingly be to spend the money here, or not spend it at all. However, once you invade and occupy a country, you have an obligation to support it.

let's start with the fundamentalsDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 12:07 PM
There's a long stretch in the continuum of rights, with "guaranteed quality health care" way out on one end. Let's start with some fundamentals, like the right to live without being raped, tortured, and murdered by your government. If we could acheive that, along with some respectable self-determination, we've done 90% of the work needed to make opportunities for further human rights available. You seem to suggest it's an "all or nothing" question, like, "Well, if we can't give them "guaranteed quality health care, then let Saddam keep on raping the women and beheading people." Talk about BS.

selective actionStarliner
Nov 14, 2003 12:39 PM
Health care is very fundmental. It's a first chakra issue, meaning that it concerns bodily survival. I don't see how we can ignore our own all the while taking responsibility for the welfare of select groups of others.

We're really not in disagreement over horrors being horrors. Where I think we don't agree is how to deal with them.
Us vs. ThemTJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 12:46 PM
"I don't see how we can ignore our own all the while taking responsibility for the welfare of select groups of others"

Why are our own more important than everybody else? Isn't that a selfish view to have? If I'm going to allocate $5 for healthcare, I'd like it to go to somebody who needs it the most. I don't care whether he's from Detroit or Tehran. I want it to go where it will do the most good. And I think providing universal healthcare to Americans is pretty far down the list of ways to expend money to help the common good of the people of the world.
TJ the socialist?Starliner
Nov 14, 2003 1:39 PM
You know, if there was a system in existence that would ensure that your $5 allocated to health care in Teheran would be spent on health care in Teheran and not taxed and lost in untouchable, foreign systems of bureaucracy along the way, then maybe your point could be taken seriously.
That's comedy,TJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 1:50 PM
I don't put myself in political boxes, I leave that up to the rest of you.

"You know, if there was a system in existence that would ensure that your $5 allocated to health care in Teheran would be spent on health care in Teheran and not taxed and lost in untouchable, foreign systems of bureaucracy along the way, then maybe your point could be taken seriously."

If there was a system in existence that would ensure that your $5 allocated to health care in Detroit would be spent on health care in Detroit and not taxed and lost in untouchable, domestic systems of bureaucracy along the way, then maybe I could consider universal healthcare.

I'm not opposed to universal healthcare as a premise, I'm opposed to an unlimited system that doesn't define "quality".
even more fundamentalDougSloan
Nov 14, 2003 2:02 PM
Before "quality health care" can even have a meaning, you need to set up a system where people can enjoy even basic freedoms. What good is health care if you live in constant fear of being raped, tortured, or murdered?

Plus, we cannot even begin to hope to provide quality health care for everyone in the US, much less the rest of the planet. What we can and should do, however, is to help provide the fundamental rights and systems wherein people can freely engage in commerce and work so that they can best be able to help themselves, and provide their own quality health care.

[ooo, an AWAC plane just flew directly overhead and down really low... don't see those often in Fresno]

We cannot possibly provide enough money to heal the entire world. We'd go broke trying, or our tax rates would need to be so high that either there would be a rebellion here or it would be too severe a disincentive to produce. The best thing to do, again, is to provide the framework, the seed money, so that a greater number of people can also produce.

I'd be interested in a poll of the world's citizens, asking whether they'd be more in favor of guaranteed quality health care or living freely without oppression and in fear of being raped, tortured, or murdered by their government? What would people say?

Who says that's the government's job?No_sprint
Nov 14, 2003 12:08 PM
To guarantee "quality" health care for each and every citizen? Should the government house all homeless year around, feed them, take of them if they're slightly ill? (could be each and every one of them).

If that's what you want, go ahead and pay, I don't want to.
re: Quick turn-over in IraqDuane Gran
Nov 14, 2003 5:59 AM
I'm concerned about a report from the CIA placing the number of insurgencies in Iraq at around 50,000. That is a lot of pissed off people for 100,000 troops to keep in check. As czardonic plainly stated, we are in a lose/lose situation in Iraq.

For the umpteenth time, I regret that we ever bothered to invade to Iraq. It isn't that I don't have the stomach to go to war for the right reasons or that I don't support the troops. I just wish someone would come straight and explain why the hell we invaded Iraq.
Last evening a general said the number was 5k not 50kLive Steam
Nov 14, 2003 7:15 AM
where did you get your number?
We invade Iraq because of UN santcions, no wait, WMDs, ...PdxMark
Nov 14, 2003 11:46 AM
no wait, terrorist connections, no wait, freedom for Iraqis, ya, that's it, freedom for Iraqis. GWB's USA spreading the gospel of Consitutional Democracy and rooting out evil tyrants wherever they be... well, actually, only if they happen to be someplace a neocon geopolitical wank thinks we could make a big statement. All the other evil tyrants are welcome to murder & rape to their heart's delight.
Once again, back in the real world, no BS, no spin...No_sprint
Nov 14, 2003 12:12 PM
Saddam tried to take over another country, he lost, made a promise with the world, thwarted it for about 10 years, was given an ultimatum, thwarted it, ~75 countries in some way formed a coalition and stomped him.

re: We dont know the face of the enemyjrm
Nov 14, 2003 8:30 AM
we have only tagged them as "terrorists" because it plays into the Bush Admins agenda which centers around the PNAC, and caryle group.
You cant force democracy on any one nation.

Its colonization and the coming of the 4th crusade of christ. Thats what theres oppostion.