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Author Topic: what is happening in Iraq????  (Read 8668 times) Average Rating: 0
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united
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« on: April 12, 2004, 08:20:18 AM »

The Americans and their faithful allies, the British, are committing war crimes, attacking a sovereign state outside the auspices of the UNO. Since there have been civilian casualties, these are war crimes by definition.
 
But aren't they helping the people by freeing Iraq? Freeing Iraq, under whose authority? How do you explain the fact that the Shi'ite south, which was supposed to welcome the "liberators" with open arms, has not risen up against the regime?
 
They're too frightened.
 
That is not the impression the TV crews are getting. They started by interviewing people in ths streets, asking them what they thought of Saddam Hussein. Every one of them said "Good, Saddam Good!" or "Saddam like God" or some such. The reporters started to say that in a dictatorship everyone was forced to say that but then they stopped making the interviews because everyone was saying the same thing.
 
But that was in Baghdad.
 
No, it was in the Shi'ite south, you know, those guys who are supposed to hate Saddam. Further north the support for him is just the same.
 
But the Americans want to give them a democracy.
 
What if they don't want a democracy based on the western model ? Look at the map, read it. How many countries in that area have western-style democracies? If there was a free election today, Saddam Hussein would be elected, if he's alive.
 
If he's alive? But I saw him on TV.
 
Yes, but which one? He has three doubles you see. There are rumours that he died four years ago, of cancer. One of the last shots of him was supposed to be a feeble old man with his hands shaking as he was trying to light a cigar.
 
They couldn't have kept that going for four years!
 
Couldn't they? Wouldn't that just be Saddam's last laugh?
 
Well the Iraqis will be better off anyway. They're all starving.
 
No, they aren't. The government has been very skilful in making sure they're properly fed despite the sanctions.
 
But the regime ruined Iraq.
 
No, it didn't. Sanctions did. You see, the sanctions were supposed to prise Saddam Hussein from power. There has been a grand design on Iraq's oil for a long time. The Gulf War was started as a pretext to topple Saddam Hussein from power, only he proved too powerful.
 
Hang on, the Gulf War was caused by Saddam invading Kuwait.
 
After Kuwait had been warned many times to cease its practice of cross-drilling, stealing Iraq's oil resources. They were given a final warning before the invasion, which they refused to listen to. The result was the invasion to protect the Iraqi economy, things were not exactly as they were presented.
 
So, it's been the Americans all along?
 
Quite. First they armed Saddam Hussein to the teeth, then when he was getting too powerful, they provoked the Gulf War, then they fomented the revolt by the Shi'ites and Kurds, which didn't work, so they had to leave them to die. The sanctions didn't work The weapons inspections didn't work. After the inspectors were expelled for spying, the USA ad one final attempt. Thinking the Iraqi regime wouldn't allow the inspectors back in, they prepared a coup de teatre in the Securoty Council. The regime did allow the inspectors back in. They found nothing. Frustrated by this and dying to start the war before the weather conditions made it impossible, they had to go in, without any justification and outside international law.
 
So they destroy the country and then claim they're the good guys by building it up again?
 
That's right. And guess whose company gets the lion's share of the oil contracts?
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2004, 10:39:45 AM »

"The Americans and their faithful allies, the British, are committing war crimes, attacking a sovereign state outside the auspices of the UNO. Since there have been civilian casualties, these are war crimes by definition."

Nonsense.  The notion that any armed conflict that does not have the formal blessing of the UN is per se illegal is nonsense.  The UN is not a straitjacket.  The UN process over Iraq frankly broke down under its own weight, as the UN was totally unwilling to enforce its own resolutions.  The system broke down and became a tool for France and Germany, the would-be architects of a new European superpower, to try to contain the power of the United States, and that effort failed dramatically when many of the co-European countries backed the US anyway.  

"How do you explain the fact that the Shi'ite south, which was supposed to welcome the "liberators" with open arms, has not risen up against the regime?"

Oh I think there were many who were happy to see Saddam go, but that doesn't equate to being happy to see the West arrive.  Those are two different things, lol.

"What if they don't want a democracy based on the western model ? Look at the map, read it. How many countries in that area have western-style democracies? If there was a free election today, Saddam Hussein would be elected, if he's alive."

Now this is a valid criticism.  One can question whether this is a legitimate goal ... I mean, it is legitimate in terms of wanting it to happen, but it may not be at all achievable or result in a desirable situation.  The larger strategic problem is what do we do with the Islamic world in general as a strategic matter.  Sure, democracy may not work there immediately, but then what?  Sit and wait for the various dictators and theocracies to develop nuclear weapons?  I don't think that's a viable option, either.  We need some good strategic thinking on the Islamic world at this point.

"No, it didn't. Sanctions did. You see, the sanctions were supposed to prise Saddam Hussein from power. There has been a grand design on Iraq's oil for a long time. The Gulf War was started as a pretext to topple Saddam Hussein from power, only he proved too powerful. "

Huh?  The Gulf War happened because Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait.  Now *that* was a grab for oil, hehehe.   If the Gulf War was designed to topple Hussein, why didn't we just invade Iraq in 91?  This is a misguided view of events in the early 90s, it seems to me.

"After Kuwait had been warned many times to cease its practice of cross-drilling, stealing Iraq's oil resources. They were given a final warning before the invasion, which they refused to listen to. The result was the invasion to protect the Iraqi economy, things were not exactly as they were presented."

Blah blah blah.  It's the Sudetenland all over again.  Guess what?  The entire world sided with the Kuwaitis on this one.

Look, the current situation in Iraq is definitely worthy of criticism.  But in order for the criticism to be valid, it has to be reasonable and rational and not based on grand conspiracy theories that frankly don't hold water.  One can make the case against the Iraq war without resorting to such nonsense.
 



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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2004, 02:55:35 PM »

During the Pascha liturgy we prayed for a parish member who is currently deployed in Northern Iraq.  According to his wife, he is away from all the fighting, and generally, the Iraqis are very happy to be rid of Saddam Hussein, except for the minority that we see on TV, who are committing atrocities.

God cares for ALL humanity, not merely comfortable Americans.  I firmly believe that God wanted Saddam Hussein gone, and Americans helping that come to pass means that we're doing His will.  If we leave now, a much worse civil war will break out -- and I don't think God wants that either.  I still think a post-Saddam Iraq with the battles we've seen is better than an Iraq under his iron fist.   I'm upset, however, that our international colleagues are putting their tails between their legs and running away - once again, leaving America to do God's work.  But that's not all bad -- history has shown us that when America does God's work, he invariably blesses us!
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2004, 10:10:13 AM »

For those of us of a certain age (ahem) the rhetoric and the news reports sound all too familar.
We were liberating the Vietnamese people too.
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2004, 12:10:27 PM »

united,

For one thing, sovereignty of a nation is not a universally accepted or applied rule.  When a nation becomes threatening to others, the international community can and does step in.

No US troops are committing war crimes. Are there mistakes being made? Of course.  Are innocent people being killed? Yes.  Is it war crimes? No.

Why has the Shiite youth not risen up? Because people don't usually welcome foreign troops into their country--even when the foreign troops are doing what's best for them. It's a natural human reaction to oppose foreigners in your territory.  Given that fact, I think it's amazing that things are going as well as they are---I expected worse.

united, don't even talk about Kurds and oh, you forgot to mention Assyrians. There's a reason why the bishops of the Assyrian Church supported the US intervention in Iraq--because Saddam Hussein was murdering their people, men, women, and children.  I have seen the videos smuggled out of Iraq showing the obviously-Assyrian and Kurdish people gassed and lying bloated and dead in the street.  You can't fake that.

As far as Kuwait is concerned, that had international support from the UN so I'm not concerned with your "criticism."

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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2004, 09:42:54 PM »



No US troops are committing war crimes. Are there mistakes being made? Of course.  Are innocent people being killed? Yes.  Is it war crimes? No.

Well, we really can't answer this.  We probably won't be able to for at least 5-10 years if not longer.  We committed plenty of actions that are traditionally categorized as war crimes in Serbia about five years ago and the people continue to suffer.  I pray that the Iraqis fare better under our boot.
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2004, 12:03:33 AM »

united,

For one thing, sovereignty of a nation is not a universally accepted or applied rule.  When a nation becomes threatening to others, the international community can and does step in.

Who decides what a "threat" is?  And arguably the United States has proven itself to be a "threat" to others.  Does that mean Canada has the right to invade us for "regime change?"  BTW, what is the "international community?"  How does it make its decisions?  Are you referring to the United Nations?  If so, does the UN have the right to represent the "international community?"  

Quote
No US troops are committing war crimes. Are there mistakes being made? Of course.  Are innocent people being killed? Yes.  Is it war crimes? No.

How can you be so sure?  War crimes always happen in war.  Now I think I'm much 'cynical' than you are about the use of force to do "God's will."  I think that people are human beings and therefore capable of terrible things and wartime brings out the worst in people.  I think the 'hysteria' about war crimes is misplaced.  Soldiers do things that in hindsight often look questionable.  The military trains people to be killers.  People in groups are very susceptible to bad ideas.  Therefore I really don't believe in the concept of "war crimes."  Looking at history, "war crimes" are things that we charge the loser with when in all honesty the winner also did bad things.  For example, was the bombing of Dresden a "war crime?"  Actually it probably was.  

So I'm fairly certain that a group of 20 year old guys over in Iraq under seige by a hostile population might easily be tempted (and probably carry out) to do some of "war crime."  "War crimes" are what happen in war which is why you don't go to war unless you have absolutely no other option.  

Quote
Why has the Shiite youth not risen up? Because people don't usually welcome foreign troops into their country--even when the foreign troops are doing what's best for them. It's a natural human reaction to oppose foreigners in your territory.  Given that fact, I think it's amazing that things are going as well as they are---I expected worse.

"Doing what's best for them?"  That sounds so paternalistic.  Why do you get to decide what's "best for them?"  

Quote
united, don't even talk about Kurds and oh, you forgot to mention Assyrians. There's a reason why the bishops of the Assyrian Church supported the US intervention in Iraq--because Saddam Hussein was murdering their people, men, women, and children.  I have seen the videos smuggled out of Iraq showing the obviously-Assyrian and Kurdish people gassed and lying bloated and dead in the street.  You can't fake that.

Everyone admits Saddam was awful and did terrible things.  The question is whether the US unilaterally had the right to invade Iraq to bring about regime change.  

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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2004, 12:13:31 AM »

Jennifer,

Now let me be cynical. I don't believe in total national sovereignty, I think the UN represents the international community because that's who we all have designated to do so (no one is forced to be a member of it!), I think we have to and should be the ones to intervene because we are simply the strongest, and I believe we are more civilized than Iraq under Saddam period--paternalistic? Yes.  We earned it.

War sucks and people do bad stuff in war.  I don't doubt that.  War crimes though in my book is when people deliberately carry out crimes in a war to bring fear to the local population.  I have not seen so far any evidence of that in Iraq, although I have seen some incidents of individuals doing stupid, evil, and mean things (like walking on the altar of that Church, shooting random people, etc).

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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2004, 09:18:25 AM »

Jennifer,

Now let me be cynical. I don't believe in total national sovereignty, I think the UN represents the international community because that's who we all have designated to do so (no one is forced to be a member of it!), I think we have to and should be the ones to intervene because we are simply the strongest, and I believe we are more civilized than Iraq under Saddam period--paternalistic? Yes.  We earned it.

"We all" designated the UN as our representation?  How can that be when the vast majority of people in the world do not live in democracies?  How can you know that the 1 billion people of China (1/6th of the world's population) have agreed to be "governed" by the UN?  

How have we "earned" the right to dictate who should lead other countries?  The US has done some pretty terrible things in the world.  We've caused a lot of trouble in a lot of countries.  And Saddam is evidence that we are not good at choosing leaders for 3rd world nations.  Remember we choose him.  We supported him for years all the while he was doing terrible things to his people.  How many leaders has the US "installed" who have been good leaders and earned the respect of their people?  How often have the government we've installed lasted?  Or been truly democractic?  West German and Japan are the only two that come to mind.  On other hand we have an exhaustive list of small time dictators installed by the US (including Saddam) who have been proved dismal failures.  In light of this, how have we "earned" the right to dictate who should run any country?  In fact, one could argue that our poor track record indicates that we should not be allowed to "install" governments in the 3rd world.  

I suppose when you claim we are more "civilized" than Iraq you are referring to the way we govern ourselves.  What is "civilized?"  I wouldn't think that average Protestant Southern Baptist American is more "civilized" than their Iraqi Assyrian counterpart.  Protestantism is inherently uncivilized because it is the rejection of history.  Furthermore one could argue that the US is a fundamentally "uncivilized" nation since it based on the rejection of history and prior civilizations.  Other, more civilized nations than the US opposed the invasion.  Do they have more of a right to determine what should happen in Iraq because they are more civilized than the US?  By more civilized nations I mean the western European countries that are undoubtedly more civilized because they have a more educated population.  They don't have the problems with poverty that we have.  They don't have the violence that we have.  

Quote
War sucks and people do bad stuff in war.  I don't doubt that.  War crimes though in my book is when people deliberately carry out crimes in a war to bring fear to the local population.  I have not seen so far any evidence of that in Iraq, although I have seen some incidents of individuals doing stupid, evil, and mean things (like walking on the altar of that Church, shooting random people, etc).

How do you know individual soldiers haven't done stupid things to bring about fear in the Iraqi people?  You cannot say with absolute certainty that there are no war crimes in Iraq.  

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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2004, 12:36:28 PM »

Quote
How have we "earned" the right to dictate who should lead other countries?  The US has done some pretty terrible things in the world.  We've caused a lot of trouble in a lot of countries.  And Saddam is evidence that we are not good at choosing leaders for 3rd world nations.  Remember we choose him.  We supported him for years all the while he was doing terrible things to his people.  How many leaders has the US "installed" who have been good leaders and earned the respect of their people?  How often have the government we've installed lasted?  Or been truly democractic?  West German and Japan are the only two that come to mind.  On other hand we have an exhaustive list of small time dictators installed by the US (including Saddam) who have been proved dismal failures.  In light of this, how have we "earned" the right to dictate who should run any country?  In fact, one could argue that our poor track record indicates that we should not be allowed to "install" governments in the 3rd world.  

This would make a good paragraph in the "Blame America Book" if one were to be written. We also didn't "choose" Sadam. He came to power on his own terms. Also, what other dictators are you reffering to that we installed???

Quote
I suppose when you claim we are more "civilized" than Iraq you are referring to the way we govern ourselves.  What is "civilized?"  I wouldn't think that average Protestant Southern Baptist American is more "civilized" than their Iraqi Assyrian counterpart.  Protestantism is inherently uncivilized because it is the rejection of history.  Furthermore one could argue that the US is a fundamentally "uncivilized" nation since it based on the rejection of history and prior civilizations.  Other, more civilized nations than the US opposed the invasion.  Do they have more of a right to determine what should happen in Iraq because they are more civilized than the US?  By more civilized nations I mean the western European countries that are undoubtedly more civilized because they have a more educated population.  They don't have the problems with poverty that we have.  They don't have the violence that we have.  

Another paragraph full on nonsense. I guess America can never do anything right. I wouldn't call protestantism "uncivilized" either. That is just plain stupid & makes no sense. Sure they are misguided, but many of them seem to live a more sincere faith and adhere to the principles of the gospels than many in traditional apostolic christian churches.  Your comment about America being uncivilized is very irrational also. We sure are prosperous and civilized enough more most immigrants making America their # 1 choice to move to.  I would say that the European countries are becoming less civilized since they have lost thier faith and have accepted a "culture of death" mentality. The fruits of secularism has given birth to a declining population and birthrate that can't even replace the population at an even level.


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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2004, 01:51:12 PM »

This would make a good paragraph in the "Blame America Book" if one were to be written. We also didn't "choose" Sadam. He came to power on his own terms. Also, what other dictators are you reffering to that we installed??? Another paragraph full on nonsense. I guess America can never do anything right. I wouldn't call protestantism "uncivilized" either. That is just plain stupid & makes no sense. Sure they are misguided, but many of them seem to live a more sincere faith and adhere to the principles of the gospels than many in traditional apostolic christian churches.  Your comment about America being uncivilized is very irrational also. We sure are prosperous and civilized enough more most immigrants making America their # 1 choice to move to.  I would say that the European countries are becoming less civilized since they have lost thier faith and have accepted a "culture of death" mentality. The fruits of secularism has given birth to a declining population and birthrate that can't even replace the population at an even level.


Gotta go, at work & more to come later.........

Ah, we *did* support Saddam Hussein quite a bit during the earlyu to mid 80s when he was at war with Iran (and when he was gassing the Iranians!).  That particular dog did come back to bite us a few years later when he invaded Kuwait.  Other examples?  Chile comes to mind.  South Vietnam.  The Shah.  Saudi.  A few Central American countries.  Haiti.  We didn't always "install" them (but sometimes we did), but we often supported them during the cold war because we preferred the cranky autocratic dictator to the socialist-leaning elected president or unelected revolutionary junta.  Tough row to hoe, though, because by supporting unpopular leaders we fuel the flames of those who seek to undermine our power and influence.

The real issue, the "moose on the table" here, is what the heck do we do about the Middle East and the Islamic world in general?  What is the game plan?  Exporting democracy doesn't seem to be likely both because the preconditions (literacy, economic prosperity, the existence of a significant middle class) aren't there, and the likely result would be an Islamist government that would not be in our interest (noone in the West wants another Iran or another Taliban).  It is *possible* on the fringes of the Islamic world (see: Algeria, which seems to be running better now, but recall the brutal, bloody civil war it took to get there), but is it really possible in Iraq?  Doubtful.  Iraq to me looks like Yugoslavia, a country that noone had an allegiance to except the folks who were in charge of the army.  What is our strategy?  What's our game plan about Saudi Arabia?  Do we really think that monarchy can last all that much longer?  What follows after that?  Another Iran, only this time far worse?  What is our game plan?  I don't think we have one because our paradigms for looking at national strategy are based either on (a) traditional grand strategy flowing from nation-states and their interests a la Kissinger or (b) cold war "bloc"-based international relations.  Neither really applies here.  I think we are honestly casting around in the dark.  And the Europeans are no better, they are taking a see no evil/hear no evil approach, thinking that the rest of the world operates on a deliberate consensus-based system, when it does not.  I don't think Europe has a clue as to what to do about the Middle East other than "let's wait and see what happens".

I work with Europe every day professionally and I also do not agree that Europe is more "civilized" than the US, they are just very different from us, more different than we sometimes like to think.  Our historical experience has created a culture that is very individualistic, perhaps excessively so ... it runs the risk of atomization (which happens sometimes in our culture) or at least apathetical social attitudes (which is very much the case here, witness our collective *ahem* enthusiasm at participating in our own democratic institutions).  Americans tend to feel that they are self-made, and therefore there is a lesser expectation of a paternalistic state apparatus.  Europe's historical experience is very, very different.  It is far less individualistic, more consensus-driven, more paternalistic in general, much more homogeneous and less diverse than the USA.  As a result, there is a greater degree of political consensus in Europe than there is in the United States.  Europe never shied away from socialism, but in the United States the socialists never really got off the ground, and I would argue that this is not because the USA is not civilized, but rather because the message of socialism fell on barren ground in the USA.  Our social structure is remarkably fluid, one *can* come from humble beginnings and advance very high in our society, and there is a sense of individual achievement that goes along with this.  We speak a lot about "creating opportunities" ... I *never* hear that in Europe, because in Europe it is accepted that the working class will, for the most part, be the working class ... always, with only a few exceptions here and there.  The professionals I deal with in Europe are for the most part people with elite backgrounds, and the educational systems in Continental Europe support this social stratification.  There is much less social movement in Europe than in the United States, even given the progress that Europe has made in this area, and as a result there is much more of a paternalistic attitude taken towards the poor, and it is a given that the rather lavish state handouts that exist in Europe are more or less permanent for a certain segment of society.  The result is that most European countries run standard unemployment rates of between 10 and 15% -- this would result in a Revolution in the United States, but is accepted as a standing thing in Europe and the answer is to throw them a sop with state handouts rather than do anything meaningful to create opportunities for social and economic advancement.  As a result, Europe seems more progressive from the outside than it really is on the inside.  I honestly think that North America and Europe each have their upsides and downsides, but that they are very different, and will remain so, for reasons of societal structure, historical experience and demographics.

Brendan




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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2004, 01:58:31 PM »

Well, I stated my opinion and Jennifer, Nacho, and Brendan stated theirs. Jennifer, even though I disagree with you, I think you bring up valid points, but I still don't agree, especially with your characterization of Southern Baptists.  While there are plenty of ignorant ones, living in Virginia and North Carolina led me to greatly respect them, even if they are objectively wrong.

I would agree that European society as a whole ismore civilized than American society for the reasons you cited such as less crime, etc, which is part of the reason that I married a European woman, becuase she and her family are very cultured.  However, I have met many, many fine American gentlemen and ladies.  I have also met fine Arab gentlemen and ladies as well whom I love and respect.

Have a nice day!

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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2004, 04:17:11 PM »

Civilized Europe? Give me a break...you mean the same people who decry American policy in Sadam's Iraq but not long ago were the warmongers against Slobodan's Yugoslavia under a nearly identical situation ? Sorry, neither side has any moral capital to spend.

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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2004, 06:34:00 PM »

Oh shoot, I guess my protestant family isn't civilized. I've been raised by wolves.
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2004, 07:16:54 PM »

Protestantism is inherently uncivilized because it is the rejection of the past.  BTW, my parents converted to Catholicism so almost all of my family is Protestant.  

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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2004, 07:25:47 PM »

I suppose this begs the question of "What *IS* Civilized?" Literacy and learning?  Common courtesies of behaviour?  Ideals of caring for others who aren't members of ones own tribe/clan/family/religion? Non-dictatorships?  Not performing bodily functions in public or on the carpet? Not mugging little old ladies or killing someone who annoys  you?  Some combination of all of them and more besides?

 To say that Protestantism is inherantly uncivilized means what? How did they "reject history"?  When is it rejecting history and when is it learning from history about bad things and trying to not repeat them?

Frobie, if you were raised by wolves I guess I was too, but I haven't stalked a deer or howled at the moon in months.  Cheesy  But then Romulus and Remus had a wolf foster-mother according to legend and they founded the city of Rome.

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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2004, 08:38:36 PM »

Protestantism is a fundamental break with the past.  It is the rejection of what came before.  It's not so much "learning from history" as "honoring" history.  

It's hard to define what constitutes "civilization" although I would argue that it means that one accepts the traditional understanding of the relationship between man and society.  Man is understood through his relationship with God and the Church.  Government is given authority by God.  Protestantism divorces government and the Church.  It says that man by himself is accountable only to God and that man is capable of discerning God's will all by himself.  

I would argue that my  understanding of "civilized" is based on social order.  As Teyve says in "Fiddler on the Roof" "where everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."  In civilized societies people don't reinvent themselves.  There is no disconnect from society and family.  A civilized society can be repressive.  However, I would argue that it leads to greater harmony.  

It's no accident that democracy developed in Protestant countries.  I would argue that democracy is somewhat uncivilized.  I forgot who wrote that democracy invariably leads to radicalism.  A democracy isn't a "conservative" society.  It's always about who is in charge today.  Who has the power today.  A more "civilized" society would be one that is governed the elders, i.e. people who because of their experience know more.  

I think a society that is illiterate can civilized if it has a civilized social order, e.g. doesn't have that drive to radicalism that leads to social disorder.  I think Americans have a hard understanding "civilized" behavior because we think we're "civilized" but I would argue that we're not really "civlized."  We're too individualistic to be civilized.  There has always been social disorder in the US.  People are much more mobile here.  More disconnected from their extended families.  This leads to social unrest.  
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2004, 09:07:56 AM »

Protestantism is a fundamental break with the past.  It is the rejection of what came before.  It's not so much "learning from history" as "honoring" history.  

It's hard to define what constitutes "civilization" although I would argue that it means that one accepts the traditional understanding of the relationship between man and society.  Man is understood through his relationship with God and the Church.  Government is given authority by God.  Protestantism divorces government and the Church.  It says that man by himself is accountable only to God and that man is capable of discerning God's will all by himself.  

I would argue that my  understanding of "civilized" is based on social order.  As Teyve says in "Fiddler on the Roof" "where everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."  In civilized societies people don't reinvent themselves.  There is no disconnect from society and family.  A civilized society can be repressive.  However, I would argue that it leads to greater harmony.  

It's no accident that democracy developed in Protestant countries.  I would argue that democracy is somewhat uncivilized.  I forgot who wrote that democracy invariably leads to radicalism.  A democracy isn't a "conservative" society.  It's always about who is in charge today.  Who has the power today.  A more "civilized" society would be one that is governed the elders, i.e. people who because of their experience know more.  

I think a society that is illiterate can civilized if it has a civilized social order, e.g. doesn't have that drive to radicalism that leads to social disorder.  I think Americans have a hard understanding "civilized" behavior because we think we're "civilized" but I would argue that we're not really "civlized."  We're too individualistic to be civilized.  There has always been social disorder in the US.  People are much more mobile here.  More disconnected from their extended families.  This leads to social unrest.  


Hi Jennifer --

While I agree that your definition is one way to define "civilized", I don't think that it is the only way.  European societies are, by definition, less fluid than American society is ... but a large part of the reason for that is that there is very little social mobility in Europe as compared to the US (and I'm speaking here of socioeconomic mobility rather than geographic mobility because Europeans do move around geographically these days quite a bit) and European societies are, certainly when compared with the USA, very homogeneous.  I would argue that these factors -- entrenched elitism and a homogeneous demographic -- are the factors that are principally responsible for the relatively high level of social cohesion in Europe as compared with the United States.  But to me it seems limiting to define "civilized" in a way that really canonly be achieved in an elitist, non-diverse setting.  It seems like a circular definition to me.

I think that a central part of the American experiment is whether you can actually operate a country that is as demopgraphically diverse as ours without having it fall apart.  I think that under the circumstances we have performed remarkably well.  Yes, we can be atomized, isolated, and suchl leading to social ills like increased violent crime ... but I think this is in part the price we pay for having the opportunity-driven society that we have.  That's not an excuse for the assymetries of our own society, we can always do better and we should work towards that.  The Europeans aloso pay a price for their own form of social cohesion ... namely rather limited opportunities for those who do not come from elite backgrounds and an accepted level of standing unemployment of between 10 and 15%.  Neither system is more civilized than the other, it seems to me, it is just that each system works in its own way in a rather different demographic, social and historical context.

We also should remember that it took a while for this relatively cosy (if surprisingly distressing in terms of economics) consensus to emerge in Europe.  European societies were hotbeds of every sort of radicalism for much of the 20th century, veering between the two totalitarian extremes of fascism and communism ... while the USA was enjoying a period of continued stable democracy.  The reason for this was the glaring socioeconomic inequalities that alienated both the working class and the middle class ... and this was addressed in part through a rather bloody series of wars, but in domestic terms not by creating opportunities for social movement, but rather by expanding the welfare state to ameliorate the ill effects of the socioeconomic inequalities.  The USA never developed this kind of radicalism because our "social safety valve" is the relatively fluid social structure we have here, whereas pre-Welfare-State Europe didn't have this or the welfare state, and it led to massive problems in Europe, as we all know.   As a reference, British Professor Mark Mazower of Oxford has written an enlightening book in this regard called "Dark Continent", which describes just how radical and wild Europe was for much of the 20th Century.  It's an interesting perspective, at least, and not an American one.

I think that the theory that Protestantism and Democracy are interrelated makes theoretical sense.  It's interesting, however, that the real hotbed for democracy in Continental Europe was Catholic France.  Of course the radicals in France that led the Revolution were anticlerical and it was in many ways as much a revolution against the Catholic Church as it was against the monarchy ... but in subsequent generations when the radicalism cooled off, France veered between proto-fascist regimes, on the one hand, and rather democratic ones, on the other hand, but Protestantism was not really a part of the equation.  I suppose one could say that France's approach of radical secularism (radical in the context of Europe, much more separation of church and state than most European countries) is a proxy for Protestantism in a way, because of its underlying anticlerical roots, but it is interesting that, even today, the French revel in their democracy more than any other European nation (they really do!  I don't know if you've ever experienced an election in France, but it is a time of national rejoicing) while remaining a Catholic nation, at least in cultural terms.

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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2004, 06:27:50 PM »

I would argue that my  understanding of "civilized" is based on social order.  As Teyve says in "Fiddler on the Roof" "where everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."  In civilized societies people don't reinvent themselves.  There is no disconnect from society and family.  A civilized society can be repressive.  However, I would argue that it leads to greater harmony.  

If there were no disconnect from society and family, I doubt that we would be Christians today.  The first few centuries of Christianity were full of disconnects by the converts, and that happens even today.  

I wonder at what it means to "reinvent" oneself as opposed to being what one is, with the individual gifts that a person has been given.  Being different from our ancestors?  Not doing the same things our parents did?   Repression leads to harmony in that voices that don't fit the chord are silenced, maybe.  In "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" Lewis writes of making sure that there are no 'standouts' in society, forcibly making everyone the same.  

Quote

I think a society that is illiterate can civilized if it has a civilized social order, e.g. doesn't have that drive to radicalism that leads to social disorder.  I think Americans have a hard understanding "civilized" behavior because we think we're "civilized" but I would argue that we're not really "civlized."  We're too individualistic to be civilized.  There has always been social disorder in the US.  People are much more mobile here.  More disconnected from their extended families.  This leads to social unrest.  


Many things lead to social unrest.  The poor being ground down and told to keep their place have lead to a revolution or two.  One question, maybe, is "Does a society that has harmony because people know their place benefit all, or the ones who rule?"  The ones on the top often want to make sure that they stay there and don't lose any goodies.  Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" is an interesting work on "ideal" societies, amoung other "utopias" and "distopias" in literature.

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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2004, 07:35:40 PM »

It's interesting to debate what "civilized" means and how one society become more "civilized" than another.  

Aside from 'philsophical' exercises, it seems to me that there are 'indicia of civilized' and that using these 'indicia' the US appears to be less 'civilized' than western European countries.  Of course we could all disagree about what "civilized" means but I would assume there would be greater consensus about what indicates 'civilized' or 'uncivilized.'  

IMHO obvious 'indicia' of "civilized" are crime, in particular violent crime.  I also think the way society punishes crime is an indicia of civilized.  For example, the pope claims that there is no need to execute murderers in today's world.  It is actually cheaper to incarcerate someone for life than to execute them.   I would say that the death penalty is not an 'indicia of uncivilized' by itself but it is an indicia of uncivilized in a society which has other ways of protecting its population from dangerous people.  Along with the death penalty itself are debates about who should eligible for execution.  A society 100 years ago didn't understand mental illness.  They didn't understand mental retardation.  We understand these things today however still execute people who are retarded and mentally ill which I would argue is an another indicia of uncivilized.  Furthermore our legal system has the resources to provide adequate counsel to people on trial for their lives but our system doesn't require that.  I would argue that if we were more civilized we would appalled that someone could be sentenced to death when their attorney slept through their trial or when they spoke no english so could not communicate with counsel.  

I suppose what I am arguing is that if a society is capable of doing better, e.g. have the means, but doesn't 'do better.' then it is less civilized.  

Some of this comes down to differing understandings of the purpose of government.  Is it 'uncivilized' that the US doesn't provide healthcare to all of its citizens?  The counterargument is economic.  However, our healthcare system is in massive trouble and it's not because of overregulation.  (I work in healthcare so this is a subject I know a lot about.)  I would say that our inability to face the problem head-on and solve it is an indication that are not as civilized as we could be.  If we were to truly sit back and let the market work that would be more civilized because at least it would be consistent.  

In summary, in my opinion the US is not as civilized as it could be as indicated by its lack of a cohesive, sensible health policy; antiquated and unfair criminal justice system; the refusal to devote adequate resources to education, among others.  

But then of course people bring up the demise of western Europe which raises the question whether a civilized people is bound to self-destruct.  
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« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2004, 08:47:29 AM »

My problem with the Iraq situation is more an issue of the pretext the Americans used to go over there, than it is with the real reasons (though I have plenty of problems with this, since the more altruistic ones are overshadowed by cowardice and greed.)

If the American government (my barbs here are not aimed at "joe-average" who goes to work, pays his taxes, and in most respects is no different from myself...if he has any fault, it is his confidence in the integrity of his leaders) had come out and more or less stated this was an attempt at imposing the "American peace" (kin to the old "Roman peace") upon the Middle East, I would not be so cynical about the whole affair.  But this is not what happened.  Instead, the American public was unashamedly lied to at every turn, with the constant innuendo of a "Saddam-Al Queda" link constantly thrown around, and the almost as shameful lie that the Iraqis not only had un-conventional weapons (or "Weapons of Mass Destruction"), but even more of a stretch, had a means of deploying them against American targets.  Both were lies, and damned lies.  The Bush cabal took advantage of a fearful and angry public, too ill informed and upset to make the fine distinctions that are necessary when speaking of international politics, in particular the Middle East.

The WMDs will never show up...but this will be forgotten as quickly as the original point of the Afghani campaign was forgotten.

Now that the USA is over there, however, on a pragmatic level I believe they'd better finish what they started - sadly, that might include an escalation of this conflict to parts outside of Iraq. Sad  It's not a good situation in the least, and it would have been better it had never started.  But it has started - if the US pulls out any time soon, Iraq (at least the south) will become "Iran - Part II", the north will become a <bleep> fight between Arab Sunnis, Kurds, and Turks, with the added pox of the whole region being all the more angry at the United States than it was before this whole mess begain.

There is no "half-way" if one wants to play the game of Emperor/Empire-building.  Since it is obvious this wasn't even a "pre-emptive defensive attack", there is no doubting this was an effort on the part of those who feel they have some obligation to impose their will (and their vision of peace and justice) upon lands abroad...Imperial activity.  Well, if that's the game the American gov't wants to play, it's going to have to keep trucking, or be left worse than they were before (if that can be avoided at all.)  That means getting used to a regular stream of body bags coming home, increased military spending, and at some point, mandatory military service for all able bodied males (like they have in many parts of the world) and/or conscription.

It would be good, however (if this is to be the case) if the American gov't were at least helmed by men of martial experience, and not a bunch of chicken hawk, armchair warriors who did their best to avoid the war contemporary to their youth.

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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2004, 10:53:24 AM »

"There is no "half-way" if one wants to play the game of Emperor/Empire-building...That means getting used to a regular stream of body bags coming home, increased military spending, and at some point, mandatory military service for all able bodied males and/or conscription."
Exactly Seraphim!
See my previous post. "It's deja vu all over again."
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2004, 11:00:35 AM »

I also think it's deja vu all over again.  We'll see if it ends up to be another Viet Nam.  Personally, I don't want to see as many body bags as we had coming home during that war.  I know two names on the Wall (they were the fathers of girls that I knew).
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« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2004, 09:14:57 AM »

PEACE..will cover the planet






united for peace and JUSTICE(don't forget the children of AFRICA)
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« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2004, 05:17:46 PM »

agree 100% Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2004, 09:35:25 AM »

people are strange
when you are stranger
faces look ugly
when you are alone
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« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2004, 08:02:34 PM »

I'm upset, however, that our international colleagues are putting their tails between their legs and running away - once again, leaving America to do God's work.  But that's not all bad -- history has shown us that when America does God's work, he invariably blesses us!

This statement seems a little dangerous to me.  Kinda like the Jack Van Impe thing I was talking about in the other thread.  "God's work?"...That's a little presumptuous.  I don't believe that God ordered our leaders to "smite Saddam" or anything like that.  But then again, I didn't buy the whole "manifest destiny" thing being ordained by Heaven either.  

My hopes for the Iraqi war are threefold:

1.) That our troops who are still alive (including two of my relatives) come home safely as soon as possible.  Add to this that we DO NOT implement a draft so that more of our youth (most likely from poor and working class backgrounds) will have to face that meat grinder.  

2.) That the Iraqi people know peace & prosperity and are allowed to control their own destiny without foreign rule ASAP. (I pray especially for the indigenous Christians.)

3.) That the big companies who planned to make millions off of rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure, procuring oil, etc., operate at a loss.

What I want to know is: What is our exit strategy?
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« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2004, 09:18:51 AM »


What I want to know is: What is our exit strategy?

There isn't any!  That's part of the problem, there isn't *any* exit strategy that they seem to have in mind because they are not willing, it seems, to put the place in the hands of the UN.  That would be the most logical exit strategy, since the administration dragged our country and some of our allies into a wild goose chase to find non-existent WMDs.  Right now, they are all about maintaining control, and not about the logical exit strategy which is policing the place through the UN.  Frankly there isn't much more positive that the US can do there now, there will not be anything like a functioning democracy there any time soon because there is a tiny middle class there, and so we should get out, admit our mistake and move on.

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« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2004, 08:08:44 AM »

U.S. forces have to hit religious sites

They cannot honor presumed immunity in warfare if the enemy misuses them as bases to carry out attacks
 
   
BY ROBERT STEWART

April 28, 2004

In early 1944, Allied forces in World War II faced a decision that is now disturbingly common in Iraq: What to do with enemy forces using holy sites as defensive positions?

German troops were entrenched behind the Gustav Line, south of Rome, and defending the key city of Cassino from the heights of Monte Cassino, and its famous and revered sixth-century monastery. The Allies made a fateful, though ultimately militarily successful, decision: Using hundreds of American bombers, they destroyed the Abbey of Monte Cassino, clearing the way for eventual Allied success in piercing the Gustav line in May 1944, taking Rome on June 4, and liberating Italy within the year.

Despite the obvious public relations setbacks, coalition forces in Iraq faced with similar decisions (more visible than in World War II given the unblinking eye of 24-hour cable news coverage) must make the same choice. Failure to do so will lead to additional casualties and, worse, signal to insurgents that they are safe when using a mosque as a fortress, weapons storage facility or sniper nest.

Military actions this week show that the military leadership in Iraq understands this important lesson of history. Coalition forces in Iraq made the right - if unpopular - choice Monday when U.S. Marines came under sniper fire from the minaret of a mosque in Fallujah, where some insurgent positions in the city came under heavy American fire last night.

After taking casualties Monday, the Marines returned fire and destroyed the minaret and the snipers. When attacked again later that day from within the same mosque, Marines called in armor and air support. U.S. forces fired on insurgents in the mosque, killing eight.

The attack on the mosque will not be unique, and the use of religious sites by insurgents or terrorists is not happening only in Fallujah. As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday, "there have been additional attacks from mosques in Fallujah" before Monday's. And radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his loyalists regularly use holy places in Najaf as refuge.

Capturing or killing al-Sadr is key to ending the insurgency in Najaf and elsewhere. If al-Sadr continues to misuse such sites, coalition and Iraqi forces will have no choice but to enter - and perhaps destroy - such facilities.

Such actions will likely be seen by many as an attack on Islam. They are not. The mosque in Fallujah was used to shoot and kill troops; it is no longer serving that unholy purpose. The same will be true elsewhere across the nation.

There are early signs of optimism that Iraqis will disapprove of the misuse of mosques. And there were reports from Najaf yesterday that suggest a new group - the Thulfiqar Army - has killed members of al-Sadr's force, is handing out leaflets threatening those cowering in mosques, and is threatening to kill others unless they leave Najaf immediately. In some quarters, at least, the blame for misuse of religious centers is being rightly laid at the feet of insurgents.

A Marine commander, Col. John Coleman, said following the attack in Fallujah that the decision was made after insurgents occupied the mosque, redefining its status. Coleman said of the building, "instead of serving as a center of religious life, it was employed as a bastion in the attack."

At that point, the once-holy site was transformed from a building to be protected to an obstacle to peace and security for its congregants. The message of the coalition response was clear, and essential to the future safety and success of a free Iraq: No insurgent is safe when misusing a mosque; no attack will go unanswered.

The fighting in Fallujah sends an important message of resolve and leaves no doubt in the minds of those who might use mosques similarly elsewhere. Coalition leadership must not back down in its support for the decisions of the local commanders. Such actions are never pleasant, rarely win immediate friends, and must be taken only after a certainty of danger - but they are essential to victory.

Following the destruction of the Abbey of Cassino in 1944, German troops used the ruins as defensive positions. They were successful in turning back American troops and then their New Zealander replacements. It wasn't until a month later, on May 18, that Polish troops raised their flag on the mountaintop with the Nazis in full retreat.

Like coalition forces in Iraq Monday, the Allies in World War II chose to destroy a religious facility used by the enemy for non-religious means. Despite the obvious drawbacks, and Allied reticence to raze a religious treasure, it was the right choice, saved lives and helped lead to the liberation of Europe.

Similarly, security in Fallujah will come only after insurgents who attempt to use the ruins as a political defensive position - as they surely will - are publicly and overwhelmingly defeated.

In 1964, a rebuilt abbey was reconsecrated at Monte Cassino. Iraqis, too, can rebuild a mosque defiled by terrorists, but only when insurgents are in full retreat and mosques are used only for saving lives, not taking them.

Robert Stewart, a former Army intelligence analyst, is a Washington-based writer.
Copyright -¬ 2004, Newsday, Inc.
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« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2004, 02:43:37 PM »

I'm sure that by now everyone has seen the photos of those animals torturing people in Abu Ghraib, and also those British troops who tortured that kid (probably to death, or at least close to it) for eight hours.  If the Iraqis weren't doing this to whatever US/UK prisoners they had already, I'm sure they're gonna start now.  We need to get the heck out of there.  What a debacle.

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact

http://www.longhornblog.com/more.php?id=207_0_1_0_M

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/tm_objectid=14199634%26method=full%26siteid=50143%26headline=shame%2dof%2dabuse%2dby%2dbrit%2dtroops-name_page.html

Edited to fix link.  Thanks Mor!
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« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2004, 05:58:24 PM »

Again anotnious
then peace will cover the  planet.
peace will cover the planet....i'm sure about that.
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« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2004, 06:03:26 PM »

I'm sure that by now everyone has seen the photos

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Doubts are growing over the authenticity of photographs that allegedly show British troops mistreating an Iraqi prisoner.

Some British military officials have cast doubt on the pictures -- first published in the Daily Mirror newspaper -- saying the clothing and equipment pictured is not currently troop issue.

But military and photographic experts have pointed out a series of inaccuracies and inconsistencies, suggesting the pictures were fakes.

The experts say the SA80 rifle shown in the images was not issued to British soldiers currently serving in Iraq.

They also say the alleged captive's shirt depicts the pre-1988 Iraqi flag and is too clean to be that old.

And the location of the photos suggest the inside of a Bedford truck -- but experts say those vehicles are not being used by British forces in southern Iraq.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/05/03/iraq.photos/index.html


NOTE -- This certainly does not mean that I believe that ALL of these stories are lies. Terrible things happen in war.


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« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2004, 07:39:49 PM »

Interesting Tom.  It would be nice to find out that this was indeed a fake.  Still, like you said, this does not mean that all of the allegations of abuse were faked.  Did you follow the link to the article?  There were several accounts of abuse given by several British soldiers.  And what those American troops were doing in Abu Ghraib was doing was certainly not faked.

You'd better believe that as soon as the enemy catches some of our guys it'll be payback time. And the sad thing is, the person they catch won't even be one of the dumb bastards who did this, 'cause they'll all be safe in military lock-up. Except the one dumb chick giving the thumbs-up while the guy with the bag on his head masturbates. She got to go home pregnant. They all need to get their dumb behinds locked up in Leavenworth, because the other more responsible soldiers will be left to catch the hell for them.  And little miss thumbs-up-for-forced-masturbation should receive the same harsh penalty as the other perps, regardless of her being in the "family way".  The whole thing is a debacle. We need to get our guys the heck out of there.

united - You keep saying that "peace" will cover the planet.  Is that a genuinely benign wish, or by "peace" do you by any chance mean "Islam"?  We "dhimmi" know all about that kind of "peace".
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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2004, 07:50:14 PM »

The whole thing is a debacle. We need to get our guys the heck out of there.

Yes it is. But at this point you cannot just cut and run. Bush should admit that the intelligence was flawed and work with the UN to find a way out.

It disgusts me how Bush has squandered the capital we had after 9/11. Our enemy are the terrorists, not a despot ruler.
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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2004, 08:48:22 PM »

Yes it is. But at this point you cannot just cut and run. Bush should admit that the intelligence was flawed and work with the UN to find a way out.

It disgusts me how Bush has squandered the capital we had after 9/11. Our enemy are the terrorists, not a despot ruler.

But he'll never admit that he's wrong because his base would never allow it.  His base demands a kind of 'purity.'.  He's got to be strong.  It doesn't matter what he's strong about or even if he's wrong.  All that matters is that he 'stands for something.'  

Think of all the people you know who are die-hard Bush supporters and imagine their response to an "apology" or even an admission he wasn't right.  

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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2004, 09:56:34 PM »

I heard an Army Colonel say that of course this war is about oil.... it runs our economy, and therefore going to war to fight for oil is nothing to be ashamed of.  This statement is a little silly..... at least they could make it seem like getting rid of an awful despot was a noble goal.  I agree, though, terrorists as a whole are a much bigger enemy than Saddam Hussein.

I don't know how to vote this November because I think Bush is an idiot, but I can't agree with a lot of the Democrat's social policies.  I'm thinking of writing-in my Mother-in-law.....  (I'd write in my wife or myself, but neither of us is old enough yet.)
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« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2004, 07:14:31 AM »

when i say peace,it means peace and not islam
peace means all religons will live together in harmony......i truly feel that.
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« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2004, 08:21:00 AM »

The outrageous thing is that if you read Woodward's book, you'll see that the administration actually considered Hussein a bigger threat than Al-Qaida, even *after* 9/11!!  Another reason they deserve to be fired.
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« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2004, 08:26:09 AM »

The outrageous thing is that if you read Woodward's book, you'll see that the administration actually considered Hussein a bigger threat than Al-Qaida, even *after* 9/11!!  Another reason they deserve to be fired.

Gee, why would they think that a fairly powerful Middle Eastern nation on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, with a proven propensity for using biological and chemical weapons and for sponsoring worldwide terrorism, could be a greater threat than a single, loosely-knit terrorist organization?
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« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2004, 10:30:16 AM »

"Gee, why would they think that a fairly powerful Middle Eastern nation on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, with a proven propensity for using biological and chemical weapons and for sponsoring worldwide terrorism, could be a greater threat than a single, loosely-knit terrorist organization?"

I completely disagree.  The focus after 9/11 should have been on Al-Qaida, not on Iraq.  It is an outrage and an insult to the people who lost their lives that day that the administration instead made a priority of settling an old score in Iraq based on shoddy intelligence (even the war cabinet believed that the intelligence was weak when CIA presented it!).  As between a Saddam Hussein without WMD (which is what we found) and Al-Qaida, the latter clearly has to be the number one priority in terms of our national security.  

There's no evidence that Iraq *ever* sponsored international terrorism.  That is a canard.  Noone in CIA was saying that at the time, and noone says it now.  Iran, on the other hand, clearly *does* sponsor international terrorism.  Are we invading them?

There is no evidence that he was on the "verge" of developing nuclear weapons.  Furthermore the fact that he used chemical and biological agents in the past has been known for over 15 years, so why the urgency now?  Another canard.  Again, Iran is apparently on the verge of a nuclear breakthrough, and if they do not back down and desist, will we attack them?

And as for the real reason as to why Al-Qaida is more of a threat to the US than Saddam's Iraq:  Al-Qaida attacked us repeatedly, in East Africa, in Yemen, and then in Washington and New York.  Iraq never attacked us.  We attacked Iraq, justly I think, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but that doesn't mean Iraq was a threat to us.  Al-Qaida, on the other hand, has demonstrated repeatedly that it is capable of and willing to attack us.  That, if nothing else, demonstrates that they should be priority number one, not Iraq.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2004, 10:57:40 AM by Brendan03 » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2004, 11:30:27 AM »

I agree with that assessment 100% Brendan.  Al Qaeda has proven that they are a serious threat to us.  I'll put it this way, when I take trips into NYC now, the thought of Al Qaeda operatives blowing up the train I'm on or the bridge I'm driving over seems much more probable than running into a Ba'athist with an RPG launcher on 125th Street.
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« Reply #41 on: May 05, 2004, 11:04:44 AM »

"Gee, why would they think that a fairly powerful Middle Eastern nation on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, with a proven propensity for using biological and chemical weapons and for sponsoring worldwide terrorism, could be a greater threat than a single, loosely-knit terrorist organization?"

I completely disagree.  The focus after 9/11 should have been on Al-Qaida, not on Iraq.  It is an outrage and an insult to the people who lost their lives that day that the administration instead made a priority of settling an old score in Iraq based on shoddy intelligence (even the war cabinet believed that the intelligence was weak when CIA presented it!).  As between a Saddam Hussein without WMD (which is what we found) and Al-Qaida, the latter clearly has to be the number one priority in terms of our national security.  

There's no evidence that Iraq *ever* sponsored international terrorism.  That is a canard.  Noone in CIA was saying that at the time, and noone says it now.  Iran, on the other hand, clearly *does* sponsor international terrorism.  Are we invading them?

There is no evidence that he was on the "verge" of developing nuclear weapons.  Furthermore the fact that he used chemical and biological agents in the past has been known for over 15 years, so why the urgency now?  Another canard.  Again, Iran is apparently on the verge of a nuclear breakthrough, and if they do not back down and desist, will we attack them?

And as for the real reason as to why Al-Qaida is more of a threat to the US than Saddam's Iraq:  Al-Qaida attacked us repeatedly, in East Africa, in Yemen, and then in Washington and New York.  Iraq never attacked us.  We attacked Iraq, justly I think, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but that doesn't mean Iraq was a threat to us.  Al-Qaida, on the other hand, has demonstrated repeatedly that it is capable of and willing to attack us.  That, if nothing else, demonstrates that they should be priority number one, not Iraq.


Well, I disagree with you, at least in part.

The focus very quickly did become Al-Qaeda, which is the reason we struck in Afghanistan first.

Iraq has sponsored international terrorism, including providing financing for suicide bombers and rewards for their families, and it was on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. Its regime ignored the UN timetable for weapons inspections repeatedly. It persecuted, tortured, and murdered its own people.

You are right about Iran, but you left out Syria and a number of other rogue states.

We cannot (or should not) attack them all at once, sadly.

If Iran goes ahead with a nuclear weapons program, we may have to destroy those facilities, if practicable.

Speaking of "canards," your entire last post was merely the Democratic party line redux.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2004, 11:05:18 AM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: May 06, 2004, 11:11:06 AM »

Linus,

Quote
Gee, why would they think that a fairly powerful Middle Eastern nation on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, with a proven propensity for using biological and chemical weapons and for sponsoring worldwide terrorism, could be a greater threat than a single, loosely-knit terrorist organization?

Hey, I got a bridge for sale, if you're interested.  I'm shocked that anyone still buys that line.  It's funny that the claim has changed, however...from "there are WMD's" to "oh, he was on the verge of making them."  Sigh.  btw. the bridge...cheap!

Seraphim
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« Reply #43 on: May 06, 2004, 12:15:48 PM »

"If Iran goes ahead with a nuclear weapons program, we may have to destroy those facilities, if practicable."

So this is the proposed strategy then?  If you don't do what we want, we will attack you?  On what basis?  And what is the wait?  It's being widely reported that Iran may have the ability to produce nuclear weapons in 1-2 years.  Isn't this worse of a threat than Iraq was, given that we know that Iraq didn't have any WMDs now?  Why don't we just start issuing ultimatums to Teheran now, especially given that we have the troops there now, and simply invade, take down their nuclear research facilities and force a "regime change"?  After all, Iran *is* very close to developing nuclear weapon capability and is proven to be a supporter of international terrorist groups (unlike Iraq).  Heck, let's just invade and get it over with, and then we can turn the troops around and take Syria out while we're still in theater.  Yep, lots of regime changes to take care of.  LOL.

"peaking of "canards," your etire last post was merely the Democratic party line redux."

Really?  I am an independent, probably have voted GOP 80% of the time historically, but I can't support this nonsense regime we have right now, regardless of its party affiliation.  I certainly disagree with the Democrats on many issues, but it's at least possible that they are correct in some of their critiques of the current administration's handling of this war, and the reason why we got involved in the first place.

BTW, anyone taking bets on how much longer Rumsfeld remains as Secretary of Defense?

Brendan
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« Reply #44 on: May 06, 2004, 01:26:25 PM »

No telling, if Bush is re-elected.

Quote
There's no evidence that Iraq *ever* sponsored international terrorism.  That is a canard.  Noone in CIA was saying that at the time, and noone says it now."

That's right, though what I want explained is the logic behind this: 15 of the 17 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi, so of course, we invade...Iraq?
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