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“We need to identify who the enemy is in Iraq, and how much of a threat they are to the United States interests to its people.”

Identify the enemy? There is – and never was – any physically threatening enemy of the United States in Iraq.

The United States as in here at home in America.

... How account for three thousand U.S. servicemen killed and ten thousand maimed for life?

They were sent there by lying neoconservatives to destroy Iraq. Deceit is part of the neoconservatives’ philosophy.

Parenthetically, what military power Iraq had, though no threat to the U.S., was given to it by the West, primarily the U.S.

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Mark H: You stated "Identify the enemy? There is – and never was – any physically threatening enemy of the United States in Iraq. "

Yes there was. Saddam Hussian was a dictator. In effect, he enslaved his people (at the point of a gun, but i shouldn't have to say that) to basically do his bidding. If they don't do his bidding, then they get killed.

A dictator, all dictators, survive on wealth that is either looted by force, or given to them. For a country to willingly give up that wealth to its enemies is a sacrifice. And a dictator would only seek out more wealth, and will end up attacking another country to get it (if the payments are stopped).

You also said "They were sent there by lying neoconservatives to destroy Iraq. Deceit is part of the neoconservatives’ philosophy."

I dislike the neoconservatives as much as you, however, I want proof that deceit was used to to start this war, by the Neoconservatives, and that deceit is part of their philosophy.

You also said: "Parenthetically, what military power Iraq had, though no threat to the U.S., was given to it by the West, primarily the U.S."

Yes, Iraq was a threat to the USA before the war started. Its a known fact that they had chemical weapons, which they used during the Iraq/ Persia war. Moreover, Iraq also used chemical weapons against the Kurds, and attempted to build a nuclear reactor (before Israel destroyed it).

Now, it looked like in 2002 and 2003 that the west was going to stop giving Iraq money. That means, for Iraq to survive, it had to get money from other sources, such as selling either chemical weapons, or nuclear weapons. Who would they sell it to? The terrorists, of course (which Saddam had a close relationship to). Therefore, we needed to take out Saddam before terrorists get those weapons, and before they use it either against the United States population or her interests.

My conclusion (unless evidence to the contrary is presented), the war with Iraq is just, but not the military actions after.

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The argument (paraphrasing):

“Because Iraq was a dictatorship therefore it was a danger to the U.S., a danger so great Iraq needed to be invaded right away.”

is surely fallacious. If it were valid, the U.S. would have to invade several dozen other countries besides Iraq.

Let’s see: China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, Pakistan, Cuba, Haiti ... but you can make your own list if you don’t like the start of that one. Your list will encompass a good deal of Asia, Central and South America, and Africa. (Don’t be fooled by “republic” in a country’s name, or “elections” in its political process.)

“... I want proof that

[1] deceit was used to start this [iraq] war,

[2] by the Neoconservatives, and

[3] that deceit is part of their philosophy.”

These are old and well-documented stories by now. For how the Administration – which [2] was advised by neocons like Perle, Wolfowitz, Ledeen, etc. – was [1] less than honest with the American public about its reasons for invading Iraq, Google:

pentagon + “office of special plans”

For how [3] deceit is part of the neocons’ philosophy, Google:

neoconservatives + “leo strauss”

Of course not all the items these searches bring up are reputable, but there are plenty of reputable ones that make the case.

“... it looked like in 2002 and 2003 that the West was going to stop giving Iraq money. ... for Iraq to survive, it had to get money from other sources, such as selling either chemical weapons, or nuclear weapons. Who would they sell it to? The terrorists, of course (which Saddam had a close relationship to).”

That Saddam was involved with the 9-11 terrorists is the biggest lie of the Administration’s run-up to the Iraq invasion. Saddam had nothing to do with al Qaeda or 9-11. And at that time Saddam had no chemical or nuclear weapons to sell anybody. And Saddam had no motivation to attack the continental U.S. And even if he hated the U.S. he wasn’t such a fool, being a relatively fixed target himself, as to do it.

So far about 3,000 American soldiers dead, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, in both cases about five times that many maimed for life, hundreds of billions of Americans’ dollars gone forever, America’s reputation for decency in tatters ... the Iraq War may be the greatest military disaster of all time.

It did destroy Iraq though, which is what the neocons wanted.

Edited by MarkH
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I'm going to argue that the best thing to do in Iraq is to stay put. Let the people actually involved work out how to secure the nation. It will take time. It is worth it. There are mistakes, but it is on the right track.

Iraq was a good move. If you want to hold Afghan, history has shown you have to stop Pakistani and Arab infiltration.

Pakistan was convinced to work with us, grudgingly. Pakistan has nuclear missiles, 165 million people and a military that can hold back India. A war with them would be expensive. So we have their limited help in keeping incursions down. Which is better than all out war.

If you're not going to fully stop the Pakistani infiltration into Afghan, you need to stop the Arabs at least.

Iraq was the most logical choice to create a diversion for the Arabs. Iraq has a population of 26 million (compare to 68 million in non-arab Iran) . It is very divided bewteen 3 or 4 major ethnic groups. You already have a safe haven of sorts in the Kurdish area. Your troops have already been there before. The Iraqi military was a joke. UN restrictions made the country weaker. You already had intelligence working in the Kurdish area. 80% of the population had no love of their government. Placing yourself in Iraq places you beside Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, all three are key in fighting terrorism. In short, Iraq was a failed state and the cheapest option in money and lives.

There was no other choice of a nation to invade to keep the Arab terrorists busy. Iraq was a sound strategic choice. A few thousand coalition soldiers dead? Stop being such whimps, they are soldiers. It's war. And it's cheaper to fight it in their lands than on ours. You should consider Iraq the strategic positioning in a war that will take out Syria and Iran.

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You should consider Iraq the strategic positioning in a war that will take out Syria and Iran.
If Bush really intended to use Iraq as a starting point and then take one Iran and/or Syria, it would be a super-strong case for war. OTOH, his real plan was not that. It was to take over Iraq, let democracy blossom, and let that example inspire the people of Syria and Iran into introducing democracy in their own countries. When the Iraqis democratically opted for a government based on religion, Bush found himself stumped. Now, Bush finds himself in a position where withdrawing will leave behind an iraq that is much weaker than before the invasion. That means that Iran and/or Syria will end up with influence over Iraq.

Right now much of Iraq is in civil-war mode. Is there any point staying there is nothing is going to change? And, if something is going to change, then what and how?

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Right now much of Iraq is in civil-war mode. Is there any point staying there is nothing is going to change? And, if something is going to change, then what and how?
At this point, I wonder if the only workable solution is to break the country into 3 autonomous nations. There would have to be a Kurdish nation along with Sunni and Shiite nations. I realize that the Turks don't want an independent Kurdistan on their border. However, convincing them to accept such a state would be easier than solving the disaster that is present day Iraq. Short of that, I don't see any way to stop the killing. If we just pack up and leave, I think the genocide that results will make Cambodia in the 1970s seem like a cake-walk.
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On the subject of Islam...

The Muslims Are Right

A poem by

Brandon Cropper

11-25-06

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=cropperb

The Muslims are right,

Just examine their ways

And you’ll see that they’re properly frightened;

The Muslims see clearly the threats to their culture,

For the West is a culture Enlightened.

While they tout religion and dogma and prayer,

And their youth memorize the Koran,

The West has its science and reason and freedom,

And the sovereign rights of man.

Islam preaches faith and belief -

The oldest saw in all history.

The West created the hypothesis,

And our science reveals every mystery.

Islam offers the altruist ethic:

Sacrifice they call virtue.

Jefferson immortalized our sacred phrase:

Its happiness man should pursue.

Islam claims that Sharia Law

Applies everywhere on the planet.

“Behead unbeliever!” they shout in a rage,

“Submit infidels to the gamut!”

But the West won’t give up -

We’ve come way too far

To submit to primordial beasts.

We will not regress to their ancient and dreary

Cannibalistic feast.

They spend more time praying

Than we spend at playing;

We work while they kneel in the mosque.

What will they get for their prayers when its over?

Nothing! They’ll see that they’ve lost.

Who will win this round?

Freedom, or Islam?

The West won before this began:

No more religion, hatred, contrition,

For we’ve found the Rights of Man.

The End

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However, convincing them to accept such a state would be easier than solving the disaster that is present day Iraq.

What disaster? There is no disaster.

Iraqis are killing each other off. The war is in their lands. Not ours. Coalition troops should stay. To leave would invite Iran and Syria into the picture. To stay tempts Iran and Syria to meddle in Iraqs affrais, which can be used as more justification to engage them in war.

Iraq was and is the right move.

And yes, a democracy in Iraq could influence the rest of the people in the region. And that is a lot cheaper than all out war.

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What disaster? There is no disaster.
The place is out of control, with roughly 3,500 civillians being killed this month and dozens of our soldiers. On top of that, the situation is beginning to become politically unmanageable in this country.

Iraqis are killing each other off. The war is in their lands. Not ours. Coalition troops should stay. To leave would invite Iran and Syria into the picture. To stay tempts Iran and Syria to meddle in Iraqs affrais, which can be used as more justification to engage them in war.

Iraq was and is the right move.

There simply isn't the political will in this country to unilaterally engage Iran and Syria in a war.

And yes, a democracy in Iraq could influence the rest of the people in the region. And that is a lot cheaper than all out war.
That's a pipe dream because the people of Iraq are incapable of creating a peaceful democracy. I would have preferred to see us depose Saddam and then leave after we had captured and executed him. I don't really care what kind of government rules Iraq as long as it doesn't threaten our interests.
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There was no other choice of a nation to invade to keep the Arab terrorists busy... And it's cheaper to fight it in their lands than on ours.
How do you make the argument that if we didn't invade (and don't continue to occupy) Iraq, there'd be more terrorist attacks here?
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Iraq was the most logical choice to create a diversion for the Arabs.

hmmm. That's an interesting proposition.

To be an effective strategy you have to keep a majority of the terrorists busy to the point of distraction from other objectives. What's your evidence that this is actually happening?

Realize that we've probably spent a whole other 9/11's worth of money and lives to continue this war, and if it was not to eliminate the threat of another 9/11, but just create a distraction, then I'm not sure that it's an effective strategy. It is as if they hit us again.

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$$$ wrote:

“To stay [in Iraq] tempts Iran and Syria to meddle in Iraq’s affairs, which can be used [by the Bush Administration] as more justification to engage them [iran and Syria] in war. Iraq was and is the right move.”

Amazing first sentence, even assuming the premise.

Creating justification for a war is something a monarchy of Old Europe would do, not to mention more recent totalitarian states.

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Creating justification for a war is something a monarchy of Old Europe would do, not to mention more recent totalitarian states.
You know, it's so easy to get off track when somebody say something completely irrelevant, and you feel that you should focus on their error. As you presumably know, the two political topics that contemporarily create the most contension amongst Objectivists are the Demo vs. Repo division, and the war in Iraq. I'd like to know your position on the war in Iraq:

  • Was it morally wrong to forcibly depose Sadam Hussein?
  • Was it morally wrong to do so with US soldiers?
  • Was it morally wrong to do so with taxpayer money?
  • Is it ever morally proper to attack a foreign country; if so, under what conditions?
  • Under what conditions would it be morally right to continue military presence in Iraq?
  • To what extent should the US allow threats from abroad, without reaction?

I would like a short but clear answer to each of these questions; the reason why I want an answer to these questions is that I'm trying to distinguish your posts here from those of numerous anti-Objectivist drive-by anarchists that we've had here, who simply hold that men should be thrown to the wolves and left to fend for themselves. Thus I want to undestand exactly what your position is, and not conclude anything rash from the snippets that you've posted here. For example, if you only objection is "I don't think taxpayer money should be used", then you could say that and I'd actually agree with you.

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Freedom can be gained by force.

I think it is important to note that it cannot be given by force which is what this war is really all about. The neocons believe that we can establish democracy in the middle east and that it would be in our best interest to do so. What rational they base this belief upon is beyond me. Consider this. A fellow classmate of mine who has served one term in Iraq and is fluent in Arabic described to me the difficulty of English to Arabic translation. The Arabic equivalent of "Freedom" does not exist. The closest Arabic words are "lawless" and "anarchy". When telling Iraqi citizens that we are trying to establish "Freedom" in Iraq, they responded to him with fear and anger because they interpret him as saying, "We are trying to establish anarchy in Iraq."

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$$$ wrote:

“To stay [in Iraq] tempts Iran and Syria to meddle in Iraq’s affairs, which can be used [by the Bush Administration] as more justification to engage them [iran and Syria] in war. Iraq was and is the right move.”

Amazing first sentence, even assuming the premise.

Creating justification for a war is something a monarchy of Old Europe would do, not to mention more recent totalitarian states.

Sorry, to create MORE justification to other nations. I know the USA should not care about that, but having allies backing you up is a good thing in general.

edit: how about that , I did say MORE justification

Edited by $$$
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Realize that we've probably spent a whole other 9/11's worth of money and lives to continue this war

I think the alternative was worse. Letting Saddam stick around was a bad idea. Not having a military presence in the Arab world would make them feel the West was a push over. Now they know what happens when their home grown terrorists, morally supported by many, attack us. We do respond. We shall change your world, even if it causes chaos in YOUR lands. Libya saw the light. And, unlike the USSR's experience, we don't have too many Arab fighters going to Afghanistan.

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The place is out of control, with roughly 3,500 civillians being killed this month and dozens of our soldiers. On top of that, the situation is beginning to become politically unmanageable in this country.

There simply isn't the political will in this country to unilaterally engage Iran and Syria in a war.

That's a pipe dream because the people of Iraq are incapable of creating a peaceful democracy. I would have preferred to see us depose Saddam and then leave after we had captured and executed him. I don't really care what kind of government rules Iraq as long as it doesn't threaten our interests.

Well Iraq certainly isn't a glorious success, but it isn't a disaster. Ask the Kurds for a start.

The people of Iraq can handle a democracy, as they have already shown. What they might not be able to handle right now is the concept of Western freedoms.

Iraq no longer threatens the West's interests. If we leave now, they could. If we didn't show up for the party, Saddam would threaten our interests. He always has.

If the situation does become a real disaster, forces can leave, head to Kurdistan and support their independence. Let the Iraqi's duke it out, give support to any faction that suits our interests.

I suspect it is politically unmanageable because people keep saying it's a disaster for some reason. I'm not sure it is unmanageable either. What have the "anti-iraq-war" people been able to really accomplish? Troops are still there, for years now.

Edited by $$$
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  • 1 month later...

There is a great op-ed column in the Washington Post today by Jackson Diehl on the impending new Bush strategy for Iraq. I have included some interesting highlights below.

The new plan for Iraq that President Bush will announce this week will suffer from the same fallacy that has infected each of his previous war strategies -- and also most of the counterproposals sprouting up in Washington. That is, the notion that American action can produce decisive results in Iraq in six to 12 months.
After citing several previous war strategies that were expected to take approximately half a year, the columnist then makes his assessment based on historical comparisons on how long the Iraq will remain unstable.

In historical context, the country is not much different from others that have emerged from decades of dictatorship and tried to sort out a new political status quo among multiple competing ethnic groups. Yugoslavia began to break down in 1991; despite repeated Western interventions, the bloodshed continued until the end of the decade. The wars over Congo's future began in 1994 with the end of the Mobuto dictatorship and didn't end until 2003. Lebanon's civil war began in 1976 and ended in 1989.

As the behavior of the Maliki government and its Sunni enemies has made painfully clear, Iraq is nearer the beginning than the end of its sorting out. Each of the main sides -- Shiite, Sunni and Kurd -- remains convinced that it can impose its sectarian agenda by force. The Sunnis believe they will reconquer Iraq when the Americans leave. Maliki himself is eager for the U.S. Army to stand back so the Shiite-dominated police and army can attempt to wipe out Sunni resistance. The Kurds intend to fight before they will share Kirkuk. Until all are convinced that they have exhausted the option of force, there will be no settlement.

If Iraq is like the rest of the post-Cold War world, this will take six to twelve years, not six to twelve months.

Retired General Wesley Clark has also contributed a column to the Washington Post today. Here is an interesting highlight from his article where he relates the situation in Iraq to his experiences in Kosovo.

The odds are that this week President Bush will announce a "surge" of up to 20,000 additional U.S. troops into Iraq.

::: SNIP :::

Yes, several additional brigades in Baghdad would allow for more roadblocks, patrols and neighborhood-clearing operations. Some initial successes would be evident. But how significant would this be? We've never had enough troops in Iraq. In Kosovo, we had 40,000 troops for a population of 2 million. That ratio would call for at least 500,000 troops in Iraq; adding 20,000 now seems too little, too late.

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I can't see what a troop surge is going to do in the long term. Given the nature of this war, the nature of our enemy, and our unwillingness to attack the supporters of our enemy (Iran & Syria, among others), the Bush strategy seems less than edequate.

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  • 1 month later...

A few days ago, Glenn Beck (CNN) interviewed a muslim author, Irshad Manji. She appears to be campaigning for an Islamic protestantism, urgining muslims to think and evaluate their scripture for themselves, and within a modern context. Here's the transcript at CNN. Here's a portion of the inteview that's pretty close to what an Objectivist would say:

BECK: I think, you know, honestly, I think that it was to try to pacify the Middle East by saying, "We`re not trying to create another America." Why wouldn`t we try to create another America, and democracy, and freedom, and install a right to freedom, freedom of religion and speech? Why wouldn`t we want another America?

MANJI: Why wouldn`t we? That`s exactly it. And here`s the thing. In that sense -- and this is the great irony of all -- the Bush administration has become little more than the left in this country, in the sense that they`ve said, you know, we don`t want to impose our culture on you, right, so we will allow Sharia law, Islamic law, to have greater predominance in your constitution.

If they go one step further along this path, they might see that it is democracy that they are criticising and rights that they are supporting.

I just posted the following comment to the Glenn Beck site:

Re: Glenn's interview with Irshad Manji.

You're right that we should not apologise if we want Iraq to be like America; but, this is not the essence of the problem.

The root of the problem is that Bush and others think that giving Iraq a constitution and democracy *does* make it like America. It does not, because the essence of our system is not democracy nor the presence of a constitution -- many countries have those and are very different.

The essence of our system is the specific rules laid down in the constitution, whereby people are granted individual rights and government (including democratic ballot-box government) is held in check.

Edited by softwareNerd
Added comment send to CNN
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  • 1 month later...

For my own amusement, I decided to delineate the current conflicts that seem to be on-going in Iraq. Please feel free to add to or to discuss these:

Current ideological struggles in Iraq:

  • (Saudia Arabia backed) Sunni militants versus (Iranian backed) Shiite militants.
  • Shiite extremists versus pro-al-Maliki moderate Shiites.
  • Iraqi insurgents (residents who just want us out of there) versus U.S. and allied troops.
  • Al Qaeda versus U.S. and allied troops.
  • Iranian backed Shiite extremists versus U.S. and allied troops.
  • Kurdish militants versus Baathist loyalists.

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Admiral William J. Fallon, who has replaced General John Abizaid as the new chief of the U.S. Military's Central Command based in Tampa, Florida, has released some interesting comments on his perception of the current tensions in Iraq.

Some interesting notes from the CNN article:

* Fallon says he doesn't think Iraq is in a civil war.

* He says there are places in Iraq that aren't besieged by violence and are, in contrast to Baghdad, booming and prosperous -- such as Irbil in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq -- and there are other areas that are relatively quiet.

* He says that reconstruction strides are successful in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, and places such as Falluja, where he says 200,000 people have returned after fighting subsided during the past few years.

* He characterizes the Iraqi conflict as being driven by "small factions fighting each other."

There are killers still on the loose in this country. I think it's a very small percentage of the population, and the idea that this whole country is at war with one another is absolutely not true. There are zealots here that will stop at nothing.
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I saw an inteview with an ABC reporter last night who spent a lot of time recently in Iraq with Fallon. She said that the most remarkable thing is Fallon's difference in opinion and priority with his predecessors. He realizes that the patience of the American public is running out, so the "surge" has to work quickly or not at all. As a result, he is placing emphasis on short term projects (anything more than six months is too long term).

She says she sensed skepticism amongst some of his subordinates that anything in Iraq could work both quickly and well.

Despite the intense controversy and hot air swirling around the issue, I find the question of Iraq kind of moot. Unless something drastic happens, the US will be mostly out in two years and Iraq will be Shia dominated more or less Islamist tyranny with the trappings of democracy and slow motion civil war. Does anyone disagree?

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That certainly seems to be where things are headed. Unfortunately this has been handled poorly by the current administration and it could have been done differently. When we pull out, I'm afraid that all hell is literally going to break loose.

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