News Are Iraq's people better off now than before the invasion?

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Are the people of Iraq better off now or were they better off when ruled by Saddam?


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Im sorry alexandra, but the comments of one person does not reflect the feelings of a population. You would need some sort of statistical sampling of the population.
 
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The last survey taken in regards to the conditions in Iraq was a multinational effort done in 2004. It was bad then. I doubt it is any better now. It isn't even possible for someone to take a survey. That is why we have to rely on bits and pieces coming from individuals.
 

alexandra

cyrusabdollahi said:
Im sorry alexandra, but the comments of one person does not reflect the feelings of a population. You would need some sort of statistical sampling of the population.
cyrusabdollahi, the OP topic is "Are Iraq's people better off now than before the invasion?" Surely people who are living in Iraq and living the (in my opinion, hellish) reality of what's happening there should have a voice about whether or not life is better there than before. I presented this as an example of a relevant 'voice'. Ignore it if you don't like what they say. Find a blog that says how marvellous everything is there now and post the link to that instead. We were not asked to do a statistical study to address the OP: we were asked our opinion. I have given mine, and I have provided some of the evidence I use to inform my opinon. I don't formulate my opinion entirely on the basis of a single blog - I do a lot of reading, I watch the news, I listen to analyses... I totally torture myself staying aware of all the horrifying things that are happening in this so-called 'civilised' age and time I am living in.
 
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I am not ignoring what they are saying alexandra. I am telling you that ONE blog is not enough to say how the Iraqi's feel about the situation. Do you think that if I found ONE person on the street and asked their opinion on America that it would reflect what the majority of what the population thinks? That is why you NEED a statistical survey.
 

russ_watters

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edward said:
The last survey taken in regards to the conditions in Iraq was a multinational effort done in 2004. It was bad then. I doubt it is any better now. It isn't even possible for someone to take a survey. That is why we have to rely on bits and pieces coming from individuals.
The survey I posted was taken 4 months ago.
 

dsky

I suggest that all the M people be involved and take charge in restoring peace in their brother's land, find a way to find a common ground for peace to grow as both are believers of "A", The most stable and sincere Arab countries should be the one to go in and establish peace in Iraq. All this seemingly horrible civil war is a muddied pool made by the western Leeches trying to hide the oil sucking. oops IMO only
 
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2,903
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You know you really are going to get booted for your nonsense opinions, right?
 

dsky

nonsense opinions, I dont think so.
 
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Yea, saying things like why germany should have exterminated the jews is pretty much nonsense.
 

vanesch

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cyrusabdollahi said:
I voted yes, becuase their future, for the first time, is in their own hands. If they decide to end the voilence they can turn Iraq around. With Sadam, they had no say. Times are tough right now, but in the long run they can be be bettter. With Sadam still in power, they could not.
I think that what's blinding people here, is the certainty of the past versus the possibility of the future. As such there's always more "hope" for the future than for the past, and is judged more positively.
So, yes, the probability exists that, 20 years from now, Iraq will turn out to be better than it was, 15 years ago. And as what happened 15 years ago is fixed, and clear, and wasn't very bright, this makes people think that the situation 20 years from now can potentially be better - so it was maybe worth the effort.
But what people seem to forget is that we should not compare what was the situation under Saddam, 15 years ago, with what will happen now, 20 years in the future. We should compare what would have evolved out of Saddam and no war, 20 years in the future, with what will evolve out of the current situation, 20 years in the future.
That's a harder exercise, because we now need not one, but two crystal balls.

The Iraqis now have a dubious potential of taking their own fate in their hands (at least if it pleases the occupying forces), which can go for the better or the worse (a bright young democracy, or a civil war, with a quite high probability for the latter) - so where will this lead us in 20 years from now ? A wide spectrum of possibilities.
If there would not have been an invasion, sooner or later Saddam would die (with a little help from his friends, or from old age). If the international community, the UN and so would not have sacrificed their legitimity for this invasion, they might, at that point, have intervened if the situation turned chaotic, or the Iraqis might have taken their fate in their own hands at that point - without the West taking the blame for it, without the polarisation of the West versus the Arab world and with a lot more legitimity.

So to me, if the argument is that we should make the balance not now, after 3 year, but rather after 20 years from now, of the improvement of the Iraqi situation thanks to the invasion, I answer that you don't know what was the alternative you'd have to compare to and that you don't know where things will be in 20 years.
And if the predictions over 3 years (namely what would have been the outcome of the invasion, just before doing it) are already terribly off the mark, I really don't give much credit to the predictions over 20 years from now.
In other words, that invasion was nothing else but a totally random act, and if it improves anything in the long run, then that's sheer luck.
 

alexandra

cyrusabdollahi said:
I am not ignoring what they are saying alexandra. I am telling you that ONE blog is not enough to say how the Iraqi's feel about the situation. Do you think that if I found ONE person on the street and asked their opinion on America that it would reflect what the majority of what the population thinks? That is why you NEED a statistical survey.
No, I do not think that if I found one person on the street and asked their opinion about something it would reflect anything at all about the entire society they are living in (that would truly be stupid of me).

To clarify: this is just one of many blogs I read (if you'd like, I could provide a long, long list of others that also basically say that life in Iraq is pretty rotten at the moment - they say, in fact, that it is worse than it was before, under Hussein. Maybe they're all crazy?). So, on the basis of reading such blogs written by people who live there, and also listening to news on radio, watching tv news reports and documentaries, listening to and reading analyses of the situation, I formulate an opinion. I base my opinion on all these sources.

For the purposes of this particular thread - we were asked to give our opinions, but were not told to go to statistical sources to find out what the bulk of the Iraqi people feel about it. I feel that I am meeting the OP's demands.
 

Curious3141

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Russ your own link seems to contradict your rosy assessment. Scroll down to see this :
Other views, moreover, are more negative: Fewer than half, 46 percent, say the country is better off now than it was before the war. And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004.
Isn't that a direct answer to the question posed by the author of the thread ?
 

BobG

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Curious3141 said:
Russ your own link seems to contradict your rosy assessment. Scroll down to see this :

Isn't that a direct answer to the question posed by the author of the thread ?
I believe Russ's point is that the hope of democracy outweighs the current problems - something that could be a valid point if you believe the US actually has some obligation to actively spread democracy (as opposed to promoting democracy by favoring countries that make democratic changes on their own).

If you wanted to present the whole story, the next paragraph puts the violence in Iraq into perspective. 71% believe their own lives are going well, even though 52% believe the country is doing badly.

A paragraph above the one you quoted said 69% of Iraqis expect things in their country to improve, but only 35% in Sunni provinces expect things to improve.

The biggest problems are in the Sunni region and they are the ones suffering the most from the overthrow of Iraq. The rest aren't doing horribly.

The significance of the problems in the Sunni region and the fighting between Sunnis and Shi'ites are more important than the extent of the problems. There's major problems that will envelope the entire country if they're not resolved soon (hence pessimism about the country as a whole even for those doing okay). The only thing in your paragraph that directly contradicts Russ's position is the trends in the polling. Half of Iraqis now say that it was wrong for the US to invade as opposed to only 39% a year ago. The optimism within the country was beginning to run a little thin four months ago even before the Amercian public began to see how close Iraq is getting to an all-out civil war.

Hmmm. Russ probably doesn't want me defending his position anymore :rofl: , but the point is - you need the whole picture, not just the part that defends your own position.
 

Curious3141

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BobG said:
I believe Russ's point is that the hope of democracy outweighs the current problems - something that could be a valid point if you believe the US actually has some obligation to actively spread democracy (as opposed to promoting democracy by favoring countries that make democratic changes on their own).
Why would anyone believe that ? The US has no right to be spreading democracy by violence. Especially without the overt support of the UN.

If you wanted to present the whole story, the next paragraph puts the violence in Iraq into perspective. 71% believe their own lives are going well, even though 52% believe the country is doing badly.
"Going well" is hardly a comparison between before and after. Besides the truly ironic thing is that if you took such a poll *before* the invasion, I'd bet you'd get 100 % saying things were going peachy ! :D That's because of the fear of Saddam that permeated Iraq pre-invasion. In that respect, the 71 % here is a more believable figure.

Then again, it *isn't* a comparison between before and after. The bit I quoted is, and since it comes now when people don't have to hold their tongues for fear of reprisals, it's also an accurate opinion. The majority opinion is that the country is not better off now than it was before, that's what the OP wanted to know.

but the point is - you need the whole picture, not just the part that defends your own position.
That's fair enough. I'm not disputing that some, even much good has come of this invasion. But enough to justify the losses from the invasion and the destruction of infrastructure and the lives of not a few people ? Personally, I don't think so.
 
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russ_watters said:
The survey I posted was taken 4 months ago.
A lot of really terrible things have happened Since November.
The 2004 survey interviewed 22,000 people. The more recent survey of 1,700 was obviously conducted in relatively safe areas, because no one is venturing into the "Real Iraq" The Kurds are in a relatively safe area at present.

At the rate we have detained people I doubt that many would be dumb enough to describe how they really feel. The survey did not mention that the cities only have 10 hrs of electricity per day or that only 30% of the people having safe drinking water. (percentages from Face the Nation this morning)

Interviews for the poll were conducted Oct. 8 to Nov. 22, 2005, in person, in Arabic and Kurdish, among a random national sample of 1,711 Iraqis age 15 and up. (Oxford Research International)
 
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russ_watters

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Curious3141 said:
Russ your own link seems to contradict your rosy assessment. Scroll down to see this :

Isn't that a direct answer to the question posed by the author of the thread ?
Yes, it is - but ironically, some of the poll answers contradict each other and the movement in the polls with time is relevant as well. People will say the country is not better off, yet say they, individually are. Its a curious perception issue.

But anyway, Bob is right - "better off" is as much a matter of future potential (more than just the hope of democracy, I mean improvement in standard of living as well) as anything else and that is a big component of my point.

Besides - when exactly did I give a "rosy assessment"?
 

russ_watters

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Curious3141 said:
Why would anyone believe that ? The US has no right to be spreading democracy by violence. Especially without the overt support of the UN.
Whether or not the US was right doesn't have anything to do with whether or not Iraq is better off as a democracy.
 

Curious3141

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russ_watters said:
Yes, it is - but ironically, some of the poll answers contradict each other and the movement in the polls with time is relevant as well. People will say the country is not better off, yet say they, individually are. Its a curious perception issue.
Polls like this in general are fairly useless since the questions are poorly standardised and posed inconsistently.

But anyway, Bob is right - "better off" is as much a matter of future potential (more than just the hope of democracy, I mean improvement in standard of living as well) as anything else and that is a big component of my point.
This remains to be seen. How can you be sure a peaceful democracy is sustainable there ?

Besides - when exactly did I give a "rosy assessment"?
I would consider your optimism about the fate of that region to be rosy, yes. I have no confidence a peaceful representative democracy is ever going to take root there. Maybe a tyranny of the majority over the minority followed by yet another pogrom ? Or perhaps another dictator arising from the ruins ? Who knows ?

Whether or not the US was right doesn't have anything to do with whether or not Iraq is better off as a democracy.
Does the end justify the means ? In any case, most people are FAR from convinced that a sustainable representative democracy will ever exist there.
 
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To Vanesch :tongue2:

To answer your comparison, it is too unpredictable at this stage to say whether or not Iraq will turn out for the better or the worse. Had Sadam remained in power, we do know that he would have continued his old policies. This included deceiving the UN. Kofi Annan said last week that with respect to Sadam, he had manipulated the UN into trying to get it to lift its sanctions. He had even paid off some representatives and their companies that worked for the UN. This even caused trouble for Annan himself as his son got caught up in the scandal. Let's also remind ourselves of the oil for food program. So the UN had lost its legitimacy long before the invasion.
TABAnother problem was that Sadam had a policy which he called 'deterrence by fear.' He knew he had gotten rid of all his chemical weapons, but by his actions, he wanted to put fear and doubt into people’s minds so he could retain his illusion of power. He did this, not because he wanted to put fear into the United States; rather, he wanted the Iranian's to have doubts in their minds as to what he did or didn't have. Likewise he wanted the Kurds to fear his use of chemical weapons on them as well. Even up to the days just before the war, his own generals thought he still had chemical weapons! Of course, this backfired on him when he misjudged the change in US policy after 9-11. We also know that he would have continued to jail and murder his own people. The theory of the coop attempt while possible seems very unlikely. With the amount of power and fear he yielded, I could see Iraq being handed over to his sons rather than a coop. In which case it would just result in a new Sadam for the next 30 years to come.
TABNow let's look at the possibilities of the future. For one thing, Iraq was never a heterogeneous country. It was only after being forced as a conglomerate Vis a Vis Sadam’s authoritarian regime that Iraq held together. It was said tonight on The Charlie Rose Show, by many experts that Iraq was already ready to collapse. The infrastructure was, in their words, becoming paper thin. Also, the clashes between the Sunnis and the Shiites is nothing extraordinary that would not have occurred if Iraq overthrew Sadam on their own. There has always been a divide between the two due to the fact that the minority enjoyed the majority of the power for the last 30 years. We can also see based from the bombing of the Golden Mosque that after the violent protests the Iraqi's for the first time realized how far they were going and took a step back. You can see this by the words of the clerics who called on the people not to blame the Sunnis or the Shiites in retaliation.
TABIf Iraq manages to become a stable country(ies) in the foreseeable future, I would not go so far as to say it was because of shear luck, but because of the hard work of the Iraqi people. I must admit; however, that at this point their future does look very bleak. They still do not have a real police force and their political leaders are out of touch with the people on the streets. Most of the leaders have been in the green zone for the last 3 years.
*BUT* the reason why the Iraqi's are better off is found by looking at the area. You have many countries were the people are envious of the Iraqi's because they have a government that is not an authoritarian leader, like Egypt, or Syria. They have a government that is by the Iraqi people, for the Iraqi people. In effect they have a stake in their own future. But at the same time Iraqi's neighboors are worried, because if Iraq goes wrong Iraq will be their headache now as well.
But overall, the Iraqi's are still better because they have control of their own political future. And this is the main reason why they are better off in my opinion.
 
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vanesch

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cyrusabdollahi said:
To answer your comparison, it is too unpredictable at this stage to say whether or not Iraq will turn out for the better or the worse. Had Sadam remained in power, we do know that he would have continued his old policies. This included deceiving the UN. Kofi Annan said last week that with respect to Sadam, he had manipulated the UN into trying to get it to lift its sanctions. He had even paid off some representatives and their companies that worked for the UN. This even caused trouble for Annan himself as his son got caught up in the scandal. Let's also remind ourselves of the oil for food program. So the UN had lost its legitimacy long before the invasion.
That's not on the same level, is it ? Imagine that it is discovered that there is some bribery going on at high levels in the US gouvernment ; does that make the entire US democratic structure loose its legitimacy ? I wouldn't think so. However, imagine that the Texas governor decides to take some army bases in Texas, and go fight a war, say, with Mexico, on its own, EVEN if there's no approval by Congress or the president.
(I know that this is rather crazy as the army is federal and so on, but just let us imagine that there are a few generals who go with the Texas governor). And then that same governor is not even sanctioned, but goes and tells congress that things turned out sourer than he thought, and now it is up to the federal gov. to see what it can do to clean up the mess. Now is THAT not a much more serious loss of legitimity for the federal state than some bribery of individuals ?

TABAnother problem was that Sadam had a policy which he called 'deterrence by fear.' He knew he had gotten rid of all his chemical weapons, but by his actions, he wanted to put fear and doubt into people’s minds so he could retain his illusion of power. He did this, not because he wanted to put fear into the United States; rather, he wanted the Iranian's to have doubts in their minds as to what he did or didn't have.
Well, that was a good thing for the West, wasn't it ? That Iran had some (imaginary) counterweight from a non-religious leader ?


We also know that he would have continued to jail and murder his own people.
Yes, as do many other dictators...

The theory of the coop attempt while possible seems very unlikely. With the amount of power and fear he yielded, I could see Iraq being handed over to his sons rather than a coop. In which case it would just result in a new Sadam for the next 30 years to come.
All this could be said of Kadhafi too.

TABNow let's look at the possibilities of the future. For one thing, Iraq was never a heterogeneous country. It was only after being forced as a conglomerate Vis a Vis Sadam’s authoritarian regime that Iraq held together. It was said tonight on The Charlie Rose Show, by many experts that Iraq was already ready to collapse. The infrastructure was, in their words, becoming paper thin. Also, the clashes between the Sunnis and the Shiites is nothing extraordinary that would not have occurred if Iraq overthrew Sadam on their own. There has always been a divide between the two due to the fact that the minority enjoyed the majority of the power for the last 30 years. We can also see based from the bombing of the Golden Mosque that after the violent protests the Iraqi's for the first time realized how far they were going and took a step back. You can see this by the words of the clerics who called on the people not to blame the Sunnis or the Shiites in retaliation.
Of course, but in that case, it would have been a purely internal affair for which the West wouldn't take any blame. It looks like saying: hey, the patient was very ill anyways, and was going to die, so it is not so bad that I killed him hitting his head with a hammer.

*BUT* the reason why the Iraqi's are better off is found by looking at the area. You have many countries were the people are envious of the Iraqi's because they have a government that is not an authoritarian leader, like Egypt, or Syria.
Well, maybe I'm wrong, but I wouldn't think that may Egyptians or even Syrians are so envious of the average Iraqi! I think that the actions over there have radicalised public opinion in favor of Islamism.

They have a government that is by the Iraqi people, for the Iraqi people. In effect they have a stake in their own future. But at the same time Iraqi's neighboors are worried, because if Iraq goes wrong Iraq will be their headache now as well.
Exactly, and there are serious chances that it DOES go wrong. The ONLY hope for the Iraqi invasion to have a positive effect in the long run, and to play its "domino effect" is for it to turn into a very prosperous democracy. THEN it will be envied by its neighbours, and THEN people will maybe decide that - after all - fundamentalist Islamism is NOT the right way. But if it turns in anything LESS than that - which it probably will - then all the troubles that fall on the heads of the Iraqis will be perceived as the fault of the West (and the US/UK in particular) - and hence feed anger and hate, and as such, serve as a recruitment basis for fundamentalist organisations.
Look at Iran: it was on its way towards less theocracy, and the Iraq invasion radicalised the population to elect an extremist president. They ALSO have their fate in their own hands!

If it was known (and it was!) that Iraq was an unstable entity which didn't turn into a a civil war mess ONLY because of the iron hand by which Saddam held them in his fist, then why, o why, take away that last element of stability and take the blame on you for the inevitable mess that was going to result ?

But overall, the Iraqi's are still better because they have control of their own political future. And this is the main reason why they are better off in my opinion.
So do the Iranians!
 

Curious3141

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Astronuc

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With regard to whether or not Iraq will become a democracy, it is still not clear and neither is it a forgone conclusion.

In Basra, Anniversary Marked by Disappointment
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5291314
Three years after the invasion of Iraq, one of its largest cities is beset by disappointment and fear. Residents of Basra say they feel forgotten by their own political leaders and embittered by unkept promises of help by the U.S. and British forces that ousted Saddam Hussein.

Situated in the overwhelmingly Shiite south, there is little of the sectarian violence now common in Baghdad. There are rarely car bombs, but assassinations are on the rise. Basra faces a different type of insurgency than that plaguing the region around the capital. The enemy is harder to identify and often closely associated with competing Shiite militia groups, many of whom are linked to mainstream religious political parties and tribes.

After the U.S.-led invasion, Basra was seen as the future economic engine of Iraq -- a city whose natural resources could make it rival the wealthiest cities that dot the Persian Gulf. But little has been done to improve the crumbling infrastructure. Though it sits on a sea of oil, those riches are not evident. The city is awash in sewage, which collects everywhere in fetid pools. There is no system of garbage collection. Electricity is only now at prewar levels, which, even then, were far from adequate.

A respected moderate cleric who has kept his distance from political parties says people have lost all hope that conditions will improve.

A senior Iraqi official, who asked that his name not be used because he fears for his life, confirms that the Islamist political parties are involved in smuggling, gun-running, corruption and assassinations. Last May, the Basra police chief said publicly that half of his forces belonged to militias and that he trusted only one-fourth of his officers.

The political parties deny that they have militias or anything to do with the violence. The Basra spokesman for radical cleric Muqtada Sadr insists his organization has been reformed, and Sadr's militia here is now a cultural educational institution. The local leader of the prominent political party Sciri, the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution In Iraq, denies that its Iranian-trained militia is a source of trouble. Both blame the British, who are responsible for the Basra region.

Criticism of the British has been on the rise. Responding to popular pressure, Basra's provincial council voted last month to sever ties with the British troops. The final straw was the release of a video shot in 2004 depicting British soldiers beating Iraqi boys.

British troops recently launched a comprehensive effort to cleanse and rehabilitate the police force, similar to U.S. efforts further north. Citing improvements, the British plan to cut their force levels to 7,000 from 8,000.

Many in Basra are quick to call for an end to what they say is an occupation that has worn out its welcome. But many don't want the British to leave yet, fearing a power vacuum that neighboring Iran might seek to fill.

Basra Crippled by Control of Islamist Extremists
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5293139
Once a thriving river port, the southern Iraqi city of Basra fell on hard times during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war and years of U.N. sanctions. Three years after the U.S. invasion, the city is still mired in poverty, and daily life in this once cosmopolitian city is being transformed by the growing power of conservative Islamist parties.

Nine-year-old Zainab works at her father's automotive shop in Basra, selling oil and welding motorcycle parts. She was once the top student in her class, but her father felt the school was too far away.
It does not look promising for democracy. And I think Bush would be quite comfortable with that as long as he and his oil buddies get access to a stable supply of oil. :grumpy:
 

dsky

Curius3141: ...mole people...
bud I'm sure your lot smarter than that?
 

Curious3141

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dsky said:
Curius3141: ...mole people...
bud I'm sure your lot smarter than that?
Probably not.:tongue2:
 
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Pengwuino said:
A better question is to ask whether or not the Iraqis will be better in the future then they were back under Saddam.

It's similar to asking whether the Japanese were better off in 1947 then they were before they began their asian campaign.
Pengwuino, is right.We occupied Japan after WWII just like Iraq after the invasion and Japan now has a very ecconmy.
I wonder how much similer Iraq will be to Japan in the future?It probally won't be exactllay like Japan but it might have a strong ecconmy for country in the middle east.If it does a strong ecconmy the insurgency might would be lot weaker the insurgents aren't fighting for ideology but for money(Sucide bombers don't get payed they get free life insurence) and it would be good thing for other countries there too to have another country with a good ecconmy.
 

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