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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:26 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
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People will die? Of course people will die. They've been dying all along. Somehow it's better if they die while the US army is in Iraq, than if it wasn't?


The point is that vastly, vastly more people will die if the US Army is gone. But apparently to you it doesn't matter how many brown prople die so long as Westerners aren't involved.


As a brown American, I suppose that what matters to me is how many brown people have died in Iraq BECAUSE Westerners (Americans) have been involved. In particular, I am concerned that Iraq has 5 million orphans as of the end of 2007 (35 percent of their child population.) I wonder how many of those brown children would have had brown parents and now have lost both of theirs...how many more, who have lost only a single parent, are not even counted in that statistic. And I wonder how many of those mothers' and fathers' lives were taken by OUR (usually less-brown) forces.

In twenty years, we will react with horror and surprise when some of those children - whose parents' lives were lost by a violent situation we created (or at least, greatly exacerbated by our presence) - turn on us with guerilla style violence. And though their actions may be no more moral than ours, it will be the height of chutzpah on our part to display that horror and surprise.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:53 pm 
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The thing is, you know, that I don't look at the world in terms of "brown" or "white". I look at PEOPLE. Human beings.



Shakespeare wrote:
Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.


—Act III, scene I

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:13 am 
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Of course we *should* have stayed out. Of course the Neocon project was a blundering concoction of hubris and self-delusion. By rights we shouldn't be there at all.

But we are. The question is what to do *now*, not what should have been done (or not) in 2003. The mistake cannot be unmade, and you're completely fooling yourself if you think that abandoning the Iraqis to the tender mercies of Al-Qaeda and assorted militias is going to make things all better. How many more orphans, Nerdanel, if we yank out what little stability there is, and the only hope for decreasing the anarchy?

The bull in the shop isn't the US Army.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:47 am 
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Nerdanel wrote:
In twenty years, we will react with horror and surprise when some of those children - whose parents' lives were lost by a violent situation we created (or at least, greatly exacerbated by our presence) - turn on us with guerilla style violence.


Like all the Vietnamese terrorists the U.S. needs to deal with? Or the Korean, German and Japanese anti-U.S. guerilla movements?

solicitr wrote:
Of course we *should* have stayed out. Of course the Neocon project was a blundering concoction of hubris and self-delusion. By rights we shouldn't be there at all.

But we are. The question is what to do *now*, not what should have been done (or not) in 2003.


Agreed.


Last edited by Túrin Turambar on Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:17 am 
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Come now, L_M. Do we seriously have to engage in the farcical pretense that the Middle East is not a different place with respect to terrorism than the other places you named?

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Oh, you will see me thrive
Can't write my story
I'm beyond the archetype
I won't just conform
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'Cause my roots, they run deep, oh

When, when the fire's at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They're whispering, "You're out of time,"
But still I rise
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When you think the final nail is in, think again
Don't be surprised, I will still rise


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:17 am 
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solicitr wrote:
you're completely fooling yourself if you think that abandoning the Iraqis to the tender mercies of Al-Qaeda and assorted militias is going to make things all better.

Assorted militias is the reality of what Iraq is. Should we 'abandon' Iraq to itself? Yes. They are the only ones who can sort things out, and the sorting out won't begin until we are gone. Whatever happens there, we will bear the responsibility for it, but trying to postpone the inevitable is no solution.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:46 am 
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nerdanel wrote:
Come now, L_M. Do we seriously have to engage in the farcical pretense that the Middle East is not a different place with respect to terrorism than the other places you named?


Different enough that Iraqis are going to go after the U.S. in 20 years' time? The Guerillas in Vietnam, once they became the Government, seemed to prefer a quiet life. I don't see why Iraq would be that different.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:49 am 
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Cerin wrote:
solicitr wrote:
you're completely fooling yourself if you think that abandoning the Iraqis to the tender mercies of Al-Qaeda and assorted militias is going to make things all better.

Assorted militias is the reality of what Iraq is. Should we 'abandon' Iraq to itself? Yes. They are the only ones who can sort things out, and the sorting out won't begin until we are gone. Whatever happens there, we will bear the responsibility for it, but trying to postpone the inevitable is no solution.


Precisely. Well said, Cerin. "Bear the responsibility". A dreadful load, but earned by the most incredible stupidity of last 40 years.

"All better." No, there is no way anything the US can do is going to make it "all better". It's broken. It's wrecked. That sucks, eh? That's tragic, that's sad, that's too bad. That's what you get, when you go off half-cocked, mad with hubris and testosterone, or whatever cocktail the Bush people supped on.

Just get out, go home, and absorb the lesson. As if . . .

I rather doubt that Al-Qaeda will have much to do in Iraq, once the USA is gone. Al-Qaeda is not a political party, it is not a monolithic body requiring territories and buildings. There are those Iraqi leaders who are chums with Al-Qaeda, and those who are not. Again, that's a result of monumental stupidity, and it's not going to be a simple process for the Iraqis to deal with. It is sickening to remember that Iraq was once one almost certain anti-Al-Qaeda nation in the Middle East, and I can only think of one other.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:24 am 
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I don’t see that it is a foregone conclusion that Iraq will degenerate into a killing field, or a haven for terrorists, if we leave. From what I can tell, Al-Qaeda is there because we are there. That may not mean they will leave as soon we leave, but recent developments make it fairly obvious that Al-Qaeda is not welcome there by the local population, and I think it is just as likely that the Iraqis would run them out on their own as soon as they would let them assume any sort of autonomy or control.

The sectarian violence is another issue, but I think it is important to remember that, in a land where so much of the ethnic tension is driven by religious ideology, Iraq has been for most of its modern history the most secular country in the region. I think it is possible, perhaps not likely, but possible, that they could find a way to avoid massive bloodshed that did not depend on our continued military occupation.

I can’t help but think that much of the fear of Iraq succumbing to terrorists or militias is being fabricated in order to justify our continued presence there. I may be wrong, and I’m freely willing to admit I may be wrong, but I will not simply accept that those making these claims are automatically right.

On the other hand, I do think it is a foregone conclusion that the Iraqi Shiites will eventually establish some sort of ties with the theocracy of Iran, but I think that is inevitable whether we stay there one year or a hundred. Unless we really do want to maintain a full scale military occupation for many decades to come, I think we are going to have to get used to the fact that we have created a situation where the inevitable is going to happen. And I fear that will prove to be the worst legacy of our entire folly in Iraq.

One last thing - the characterization of the Democrats advocating that we “cut and run” is a false one. Neither of the Democratic frontrunners is saying we should abandon the Iraqis to fate. My understanding is that both Obama and Clinton are advocating that we plan for an orderly withdrawal of combat forces while at the same time replacing them with a multi-national peace keeping force. That may be a pipe dream, but it's not quite the same as "cut and run".


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:28 am 
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Cerin wrote:
They are the only ones who can sort things out, and the sorting out won't begin until we are gone.


I’m no longer convinced that this is the case. The decline in violence in the last three months has given me hope for victory in Iraq for the first time since 2004. Also, the use of two intellectually-disabled women in a suicide bombing today suggests desperation, and there’s rumours floating around the intelligence community that there are few foreign fighters left to continue the insurgency. If these trends continue, I don’t see why we won’t end up with a peaceful and independent Iraq.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:44 pm 
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Lord_Morningstar wrote:
Cerin wrote:
They are the only ones who can sort things out, and the sorting out won't begin until we are gone.


I’m no longer convinced that this is the case. The decline in violence in the last three months has given me hope for victory in Iraq for the first time since 2004. Also, the use of two intellectually-disabled women in a suicide bombing today suggests desperation, and there’s rumours floating around the intelligence community that there are few foreign fighters left to continue the insurgency. If these trends continue, I don’t see why we won’t end up with a peaceful and independent Iraq.


???? Well, you could be right, of course.

But in my view, the place has largely sorted itself out already and the "peaceful" aspect of things shows me that is the case.

The "insurgency"? What, exactly, is this "insurgency"? I think that is an American construct, as a term. Who are the "insurgents" supposedly fighting against? What they are is fighting against whatever particular strong man is taking over in any given area. Where the strong man is Shia, the "insurgents" are likely Sunni, and vice versa. Then you have the Kurds.

The word "insurgency" implies a sort of rebellion - as if there was, in fact, a government to rebel against. I don't see that.

And, Lord_M, your use of the word "victory" puzzles me even more. What victory? Who won what, or is winning what?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:17 pm 
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"All better." No, there is no way anything the US can do is going to make it "all better". It's broken. It's wrecked.


http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/rub ... b-2008.htm

Note especially Yon's trenchant observation, "politics that fails to keep our word always true is more than dumb–it’s dangerous."

But some of you would just abandon these people, word or obligation or duty or honor be damned. I disagree. Especially since we can do and are doing good.

Not that the general public would know it, given that our lazy press corps can't be bothered to leave its air-conditioned hotels and report on anything more than bombings and body counts.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:26 pm 
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When do you think would be a reasonable time to leave, sol?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:42 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
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"All better." No, there is no way anything the US can do is going to make it "all better". It's broken. It's wrecked.


http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/rub ... b-2008.htm

Note especially Yon's trenchant observation, "politics that fails to keep our word always true is more than dumb–it’s dangerous."

But some of you would just abandon these people, word or obligation or duty or honor be damned. I disagree. Especially since we can do and are doing good.

Not that the general public would know it, given that our lazy press corps can't be bothered to leave its air-conditioned hotels and report on anything more than bombings and body counts.


I don't know about lazy American reporters, but the Canadian reporters I hear on CBC, or the other reporters from the BBC, the Economist, etc., aren't prone to lolling about air-conditioned hotels in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The stories they have to tell are not very much like your version, solictr. The reports from others who have served there as doctors and nurses, in both countries, are not much like the Bush version, either.

America's word, America's duty, and Americas' obligations were broken when the US invaded Iraq. Two wrongs don't make a right.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:11 pm 
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Parts of Iraq are a bloody mess. Reporters cover these. "If it bleeds, it leads." Other parts are not as messy, indeed are slowly returning to a semblance of normalcy. These are rarely covered, and military operations are never covered at all, ever. There is no sense of context, no big picture, no startegic overview just the steady drumbeat of bombing and casualty reports conveying the impression of random chaos which have been highly successful in convincing people (like yourself) that all Iraq is the Seventh Circle of Hell.

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JUNE 6, 1944. THOUSANDS OF ALLIED TROOPS SLAUGHTERED ON NORMANDY BEACHES
Hundreds of French civilians dead from errant bombs, shells.
Ernie Pyle pronounces war hopeless, urges US withdrawal


This is not the whole story, the big picture, or balanced reporting. The cameras gravitate to the hellholes, not the towns and neighborhoods which are peaceful and slowly returning to life. I would assume most people would like the former to shrink and the latter to grow, as has been happening for six months.

The latter only exist because American troops are there, and in the near term will only continue to exist because American troops are there.

But your ilk apparently, just to 'prove' your point, just to vindicate your hostility to the US invasion, would rather see bloody chaos wreaked upon the poor Iraqi people. To you American failure is the most important thing: a pretty damn callous sort of schadenfreude.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:16 pm 
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You're assigning false motivations to people here, Soli. Whose "ilk"? Do you seriously think anyone here wants more Iraqis to die because of American actions? You think anyone here is bloodthirsty?

Please allow us to be more than mildly pissed off that we were lied to and led into the whole bloody mess in the first place. No, getting out will not be simple or fast, if as much life as possible is to be preserved. But staying forever to protect the oil and Bush's immensely swollen ego is not going to be an option either, alas. We cannot afford it in any sense.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:40 pm 
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No, we can't stay forever. But we can stay long enough to give the Iraqi government, army and police the ability to maintain order. I very much think that will not be especially long, because most Iraqis are sick and tired of the bloodletting. Sunni and Shia have had their Rwanda moment. Most of what's left results from the deliberate pot-stirring of those whose interests lie in fomenting chaos: Al-Qaeda (possibly about to be winkled out of their last bolt-hole, Mosul.


Incidentally, Prim, the oil is already protected: the oilfields are within the spheres of the Shiite militias and the Kurdish peshmerga, who have every reason to keep it flowing. Remind me again, how was this 'steal the oil' thing supposed to work? Was it pumped into the White House basement?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:58 pm 
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I said nothing about stealing any oil, Soli. Indirectly controlling it works just fine. My point is that we would have cared a lot less what a tin-pot dictator did inside his own country and to his own people if there were no oil involved.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:05 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
But your ilk apparently, just to 'prove' your point, just to vindicate your hostility to the US invasion, would rather see bloody chaos wreaked upon the poor Iraqi people. To you American failure is the most important thing: a pretty damn callous sort of schadenfreude.


That's unfair, soli. No one here wants to see the Iraqi people suffer. You are reading too much into an idealogical disagreement.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:40 pm 
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People on all sides are terribly frustrated by the situation. It's bitter for those of us who believe the war was a mistake to realize how much more suffering will be necessary before it can possibly end. It's bitter for those who support the war to see the costly mistakes that have been made in carrying it out and that have undermined it with the public. Each side seems frustrated about the news, good or bad, that the other side chooses to minimize or ignore or dispute.

But none of us are bloodthirsty, none of us wish anything but well to the troops, none of us want people to suffer and die.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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