Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Iraq: No way to win

  1. Jan 4, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Regarding the state of affairs in Iraq today. In short, there is no winning scenario in sight. We can't afford to go ahead with the elections, for one, because of the danger to the public, and secondly, the Sunnis are guaranteed to receive under-representation, approx 5% instead of 25%, which will only serve to destabilize the country. Or course, we can't afford to postpone the elections because this would encourage the insurgents and destabilize the country.

    The Iraqi security forces will require years at least, before they are ready to secure the peace.

    Then you have the core problem: We can't pull out since this would guarantee civil war and a return to the status quo, but we can't stay because resentment is growing by the day. Like Vietnam, the resentment will eventually boil over and we won't even know who we're fighting for or against.

    Dumb liberals. Why do they hate Bush so much?
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2005 #2

    How is your comparison to vietnam more appropriate than a comparison to S Korea?
     
  4. Jan 5, 2005 #3

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It may or may not be, I would have to think about that for a while, but the concerns and analysis that I've read and seen indicate that the resentment on the street is growing, and it will turn against us, just like in VN, if we don't pull out soon. Of course, just like in VN, we can't. Now we're committed.
     
  5. Jan 5, 2005 #4
    Except in Vietnam you did just up and go, and it turned out to be the right thing to do.
     
  6. Jan 5, 2005 #5

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Why couldn't we just pull out of Vietnam?
     
  7. Jan 5, 2005 #6

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Viet Nam and South Korea were more similar to each other than Iraq is to either one of them. The only real difference between SKorea and Viet Nam is that one worked out (somewhat, anyway - the country's still divided) and the other didn't.

    The only similarity between Iraq and the Asian conflicts is that we're noticably the outsider in Iraq, the same as we were in the Asian conflicts.

    Korea and Viet Nam were much more unified as a people than Iraq is. In fact, a divided Korea is more of an anomaly than a united Iraq. Both the Asian conflicts were political conflicts vs cultural. (at least initially - I would imagine SKorean culture has changed quite a bit faster than NKorean)

    Toss the US out of the equation in Iraq and you still have a conflict. The US just opened the box, it didn't create the contents. Iraq is a cultural conflict between at least three major groups (plus a bunch of smaller sub-groups with conflicting aims). Hussein didn't use chemical weapons on his own people just for enjoyment. It isn't easy to keep a country like Iraq together in one piece.

    But, the general gist is fairly accurate. Even Arab peacekeepers would find it almost impossible to handle things in Iraq. An outsider like the US has an even more difficult time.
     
  8. Jan 5, 2005 #7
    Its worth remembering that the region we call Iraq was created by force by the British and French:

    "Iraq (the old Arabic name for part of the region) was to become a British mandate, carved out of the three former Ottoman provinces. France took control of Syria and Lebanon. There was immediate resentment amongst Iraq's inhabitants... and in 1920 a strong revolt spread through the country - a revolt that was put down only with great difficulty and by methods that do not bear close scrutiny. The situation was so bad that the British commander, General Sir Aylmer Haldane, at one time called for supplies of poisonous gas".
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/iraq/britain_iraq_03.shtml

    For a map of the former territory, see
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/iraq/britain_iraq_01.shtml

    Iraq is a Frankenstein of our own creation.
     
  9. Jan 5, 2005 #8
    Hah, smurf with the stinger.
     
  10. Jan 5, 2005 #9

    kat

    User Avatar

    How many died due to the fact that we did "just up and go"? I'm not so sure it was...the "right thing" to do, morally.
     
  11. Jan 5, 2005 #10

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Why not?

    I don't see why the US is supposed to be the world's policemen. And, as the world's policemen, we don't even do that good of a job. We only address a few out of the many situations where a stronger group of people kill a weaker group of people.

    The only reason the US military should get involved is to protect American interests. That's not morally cold - it's managing your resources so the help you do give also has a direct benefit on you as well. The current problems we're having obtaining enough manpower and supplies for both Afghanistan and Iraq while meeting our other world wide commitments show military power isn't an unlimited resource, especially since we've been cashing in on the 'peace dividend' ever since the end of the cold war.

    Afghanistan would meet the standard of protecting US interests. The first Gulf War may have met that standard (there seemed to be at least a possibility that a success in Kuwait would just encourage Iraq to cause even more trouble in the region that would disrupt the flow of oil). The war in Iraq would meet that standard if the current situation in Iraq already existed prior to our involvement instead of being caused by us (it still meets that standard now, even if we're the cause of the situation we're trying to fix).

    Bosnia, Kosovo, and Somalia were none of our business, regardless of whether the operations turned out good or bad.

    In any event, if the country is devoting itself to improving the world in general on a given amount of money, would more lives be saved by using military action against 'evil' rulers or by your more standard forms of foreign aid, such as food and economic development programs?
     
  12. Jan 5, 2005 #11

    Kerrie

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

  13. Jan 6, 2005 #12

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    This is why I posed the question in my post:
    The key difference I see between Vietnam and Iraq (Iraq today) is that we created the current situation in Iraq and we didn't create the situation in Vietnam (the French, and to a lesser extent, the Sovs and Chinese did). So whether or not you agree with the general principle of the Moral Imperative, we do have a personal obligation to stay in Iraq until its fixed, and we didn't have that obligation in Vietnam.

    That said, part of the reason (the non-political part, and yes, the lesser part) we went to both is because of the general obligation of the Moral Imperative.

    The Moral Imperative is strong, but its not rock-hard: I don't know anyone who doesn't believe it a little bit, your "the only reason..." statement notwithstanding. Do you know what the biggest relief organization in Indonesia is right now? Its the United States Marine Corps. What selfish benefit do we get out of sending a billion dollars and a small army to Indonesia? How about Somalia? Rwanda? Haiti? Yugoslavia? Ivory Coast? All of these are combination military-humanitarian efforts with virtuall no selfish benefit for the countries involved. These are all trouble-spots where either collectively or individually, the nations of the world acted primarily upon the Moral Imperative that they all signed up for when they signed the UN charter and said "Never Again."

    The reason why we are the world's policeman is that we can and because we can, the Moral Imperative compells us to be.
    Well, you tell me: how well did sending food to Somalia work before the UN sent troops? How are things going on the Ivory Coast these days? Rwanda? Like it or not, sometimes humanitarian efforts can only be accomplished at the barrel of a gun.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  14. Jan 6, 2005 #13
    Time will heal, buy stock in Iraq corp. give it ten years and be rich.
     
  15. Jan 6, 2005 #14

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Unfortunately our presence in Iraq IS the problem. The quicker we get out the better for everybody.
     
  16. Jan 6, 2005 #15

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Not really. It was just as necessary for Saddam to use military force to keep Iraq in order as it is for the US. The US gives many people a common enemy for now, but if the military simply withdrew, I doubt peace would ensue. There would still be serious questions as to who gets what. Personally, I doubt whether there will ever be a free and peaceful unified Iraq unless it is made that way by tyranny or martial law.
     
  17. Jan 6, 2005 #16

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Imposed by who? :bugeye:

    I said nothing about peace following an American withdrawal. But at least it would be Iraqis fighting Iraqis, not the Americans. We can accomplish nothing by staying. All we have accomplished is destabilization. We have ousted Saddam, so now it is a crap shoot as to who will finally take over. Will the new government be any better then Saddam? Maybe, Maybe not. You can bet that anybody we support will have a tough time of it. We need to pull out and start promoting Bin Laden for president of Iraq, Perhaps then someone who might be a friend has a chance at winning. The only thing that we can accomplish by staying is the ruin our military through demoralization of the common soldier. This is one area where there are similarities with Vietnam, the local citizen who is your friend in daylight is shooting at you in the night. Soldiers soon learn that they cannot trust any locals. In this atmosphere atrocities happen (think Mei Lei) , moral and discipline go soon after. This is a nasty, nasty situation we must get free of it soon. There is nothing to gain and much to lose.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  18. Jan 6, 2005 #17
    Finally a good idea I can souport. Thanks Integral.
     
  19. Jan 6, 2005 #18

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You really believe that if we just pull chocks and leave now that a peaceful, prosperous, free Iraq would emerge? Germany and Japan didn't become the way they are today by accident: we imposed it by force.

    ...and that seems to contradict your next post:
    Who is everybody if it doesn't also include the Iraqi people? You're saying:

    -Staying causes destabilization.
    -Leaving won't bring peace.

    Are you simply saying there is no hope for Iraq?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  20. Jan 6, 2005 #19
    I don't think pulling out would bring a prosperous and free Iraq. But I do think, staying and occupying Iraq , inspires Iraqi's to fight the invaders.
     
  21. Jan 6, 2005 #20

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Did any of you read the first sentence of my last post! No I do not think pulling out will mean a peaceful and prosperous Iraq. Do YOU think that staying there, making new enemies every day, ruining our army and wasting American lives will bring a peaceful and prosperous Iraq?


    What a silly notion, how can it possibly do anything but more harm? Every day we stay there it makes it LESS likely that a USA friendly govnerment will result. Unless of course we do as Loseyourname proposes and impose "tyranny or martial law ". Now that sounds like a lot of fun! :yuck:

    EDIT:
    Once we pull out, then it will clear that the invaders are actually invaders and not "freedom" fighters comming to help defeat the American army. The Iraqis should then be able to deal with the obvious outsiders.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Iraq: No way to win
  1. Iraq's government (Replies: 22)

  2. Theocratic Iraq (Replies: 45)

  3. Progress in Iraq? (Replies: 98)

  4. Iraq WMDs (Replies: 11)

Loading...