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Author Topic: This war  (Read 1240 times) Average Rating: 0
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Seraphim Reeves
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« on: December 15, 2003, 10:44:02 AM »

I know along with Serge (believe it or not, this is a subject we seem to agree upon, at least in a few basic respects), I was never a big fan of this war, or the "war on terror" in general.  Frankly, I think the tragedy of 9-11 was abused (in terms of the logical connections that were made), to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Do I think Saddam was a swell guy?  Hardly...knowing what I do of the things he oversaw in his own country (murderous supression of any form of dissent, even the most innocent, and the genocide of the Kurds, among other things), I have no illusions about the kind of "leader" he was.

Nor do I think it is, of itself, a bad thing that his regime has been toppeled, and he is now in the custody of the Americans.

I also do not think it is a bad thing, for the west to get a foothold into the Middle East in general, so as to mitigate the influence of pan-Islamism (which strictly speaking this war, and the larger "war on terror" is not supposed to be about...the American government spends a lot of time trying to say this is not a "war on Islam", which I find peculiar...), and hopefully instill some of the good aspects of western humanitarianism, and liberality (unfortunately, as Afghanastan demonstrated, a lot of the bad was also infused, almost immediately... ex. the almost immediate appearance of pornography after the Afghani's were liberated from the Taliban.)

My major problem was the pretext for entering Iraq (which I think was quite unsound, even opportunistic)...simply put, the reasons given, were not (I think, quite obviously) the real reasons.

I think most people, including Americans who have supported this war, understand that this war has been about bigger things than Iraq's status as a real threat to the United States' and it's citizens (which I do not think was the case - particularly when there are far more dangerous enemies for the U.S. to contend with).

I think the reality (or at least something close to it) is that this is an Imperial excercise on the part of a United States which is in the process of transformation - transformation from what was once (according to the vision of your founding fathers) an isolationist, republic, into a pan-continental Empire.  That sounds bold, maybe even like an exageration invoking images of Caesar and Charlemagne - but the truth is, this world has long known Imperium in various forms well into the 20th century (when the British Empire began to fall apart.)

Perhaps this transition into "Empire" status is unavoidable; for whenever a nation begins to have key interests (both economic and political, both short and long term) all over the world, and said nation prospers, it is hard not to avoid the temptation to control (subtly if possible, but quite obtusely if necessary) the activities of all of those "other players" who you (nation) rely on so much for your well being and prosperity.

If unavoidable, then perhaps my criticisms are misplaced?  To a point, I now am willing to conceed this, but not totally.  However, I think my criticisms that do remain, have to do with the sticky situation the American government (and by consequence, it's subjects) has now got themselves into.  By this, I mean that this is going to have to be an "all or nothing" campaign.  The problem is, I'm not sure if the American people (this is not a knock, just an honest observation/query) have the stomach for such a campaign, and I even have some doubts that the Bush administration and the hawks underlying it, are truly willing to see this through.

For example, there has been some waffling (admittedly, less so now... perhaps a realization of how important the following is) on what the United States' committment is going to be to post-war Iraq.  The fact is, if this is going to be dealt with properly, the United States should be looking forward to a very long term occupation, and overseeing the establishment of a new constitution for Iraq, and (let's be honest) the installation of a sufficiently servile government, which will basically take it's ques from Washington.

Such an occupation, as it's already proving, is going to be taxing, and extremely bloody.  I also think they (American government, but more importantly, the American public) should be prepared for this to result in an even larger campaign.

I also have to wonder if the American public is prepared for the radical changes which will have to take place (and indeed, are already being slipped under the door, so as to avoid too much public scrutiny) both in how they view their government, and even powers that government is going to have to excercise in order to maintain an Empire.  The vast growth of federal powers in the union, which has been something that has been going on for a long time now, are facillitating this - but more is to come, be sure, if this course is going to be persued.  I'll put it bluntly; Empires have typically, by design or default, ended up with Emperors.

Is this what the American people want?  Or do they even know what they want?  These are all things that are going to have to be reckoned with by the conscience of the American people.

I'd be interested in the thoughts of others on this subject, particularly the Americans here (who I'm guessing are the vast majority on this forum).  Is my analysis of this totally out to lunch, perhaps merely the ramblings of a foreigner who does not "get" everything involved here?  Or, if you do agree (at least that this transformation from republic to empire is going on), are you "for" or "against" this profound change?

Seraphim
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Seraphim Reeves
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2003, 11:08:09 AM »

Vicki,

Quote
Out to lunch.

While I respect your right to your opinion (indeed, I even invited that appraisal upon myself!), I was hoping for responses that are a little more substantial than this.  With this hope, I was wondering if you could elaborate why you think my assessment is erroneous?

Seraphim
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2003, 12:52:52 PM »

heh, good one Vicki! Smiley

Seraphim,

Actually, I agree with your assessment.  After the lengthy (and lucrative) post-Saddam Iraq is back to being our "stable element in the middle-east" I fully expect our government to do the same thing again.  I really don't think it has that much to do with the actual president though, as Clinton was happy to bang the drums of war against Serbia.  

I've said for years that our country seems to have many parallels with Rome.  It will be interesting to see if history will support that idea.
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Anastasios
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2003, 01:00:56 PM »

I never was an isolationist and believe that if Saddam was a threat to the world community at large even if not us directly and we have the ability to stop him then we should have.  We are the world's superpower, and with that comes great responsibility.  The Orthodox empires were not isolationsist, so neither am I. Smiley  or to rephrase it, if it was good enough for St Justinian and ST Nicholas the Tsar, it's good enough for me Wink

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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2003, 02:16:18 PM »

I agree with David.  I see this invasion and war against Iraq as simply the first step in the NeoCon's misadventure of turning the Persian Gulf into an American Lake (or at least an American Zone of Infuence). This entire war was dreamed up by a NeoCon think tank in Washingtion called the Partnership for a New American Century (PNAC) and PNAC advocated a war against Iraq as early as 1996.
The LONG TERM goal is to make the Persian Gulf into an area controlled and dominated by US power, thus preventing any future occurence of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo that precipitated the Energy Crisis in the USA in the early 1970s.  By controlling the oil supply in the Persian Gulf, the US could largely control Asia's oil supply (where do you think China and Japan get their oil) and a large amount of Western Europe's oil supply as well.    This will give the USA an edge over the quickly developing and expanding economies of Asia and a wedge against the strength of the growing European Union in the long term.  Why more people can't see this baffles me.  

Tikhon
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2003, 05:46:35 PM »

I'm sorry, but after 9/11 the notion that "it's all about oil" is too cynical to be taken seriously. No country can tolerate the violence of Middle Eastern instability being visited on its own shores. It's also pretty clear that France in particular is in serious denial about the possibility trouble being visited on it, and is also impotent to do anything anyway.
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2003, 07:03:11 PM »

Aren't all our countries guilty of supporting and propping up unpleasant regimes?

I do support the action in Iraq but as an ordinary person I wonder how much we have reaped the whirlwind we sowed ourselves.

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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2003, 08:16:58 PM »

[Such an occupation, as it's already proving, is going to be taxing, and extremely bloody.  I also think they (American government, but more importantly, the American public) should be prepared for this to result in an even larger campaign.]

I do agree we need to be ready for a larger campaign but I question the use of the term "extremely bloody".  I was talking to a person who served in Iraq and is regular army.  When I told him I was concerned over the great loss of life he told me that the army doesn't see it as a great loss.  He pointed out to me that in Vietnam the bodycount was running at about 500 or 600 per week, and told me he felt that we were getting off rather lightly in Iraq.  He was home escorting the body of a fallen soldier home to that person's family.

[I also do not think it is a bad thing, for the west to get a foothold into the Middle East in general, so as to mitigate the influence of pan-Islamism]

I disagree.  If we maintain a garrison in the Middle East we will always be seen as the occupying power and Islamic extremists will gain more followers using our ouster as their rallying cry.

If we're out to establish an empire we're doing a lousy job of it.  When Britain and France amassed their empires the military went in first destroyed the native govt then a civil service followed to rebuild the country.  We've got the military but not the civil service component.  Rather than establishing an empire I think we're establishing or maintaining a hegemony.

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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2003, 09:42:04 PM »

We're not a direct democracy -- we elect leaders to run things as they see fit, and if we don't like it, we can make our voices known at the next election.  Thus it behooves the leadership to do things the American people like, or they'll be voted out.

I don't think we're imperialistic -- on the contrary, I think a vast majority of the world wants to be like America because of the freedoms we have.

I do believe that our oil interests play a factor in our "strategic interests" in the Middle East --- why we don't tap our own oil reserves off of California's coast and in Alaska I never know.  Would save a lot of heartache and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  Did you know that 25 gallons of gas in Baghdad cost only $1?  Imagine filling your car up for less than $1 if we could avoid artificial inflation caused by importing so much of our oil!
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