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News So what will Democrats do to Iraq?

  1. Nov 15, 2006 #1
    There are conflicting signals. Iraq is clearly descending into massive civil war - even http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061116/ap_on_go_co/congress_iraq [Broken] says so. But Democrats are planning on quick withdrawl. It's unfortunate that they won on rhetoric about getting out fast and damage control - now their political situation seems precarious indeed!

    Besides, why is American politics so America-centered anyway? I've seen very little national guilt over the incredible toll of human suffering our country's military involvement has accomplished on a foreign people. We're capable of blame, yes, it's not painful to blame it all on the actions of a moronic administration. But given the current reality, isn't it grossly immoral to pull out now out of self-interest, and let the country collapse on itself? What kind of additional death toll would that cause?

    The cynic in me says to me, that the military occupation hasn't brought any stability as it is, so there's no extra harm in getting out. :frown: I'm not sure how valid this argument is.
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  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2006 #2
    The Democrats can do little in Iraq. Bush is the commander in chief. All the Dem's can do is pressure him by cutting off the money.

    My guess is that Bush will follow James Baker's recommendations. With Bob Gates as secretary of defense, they will begin implementing a new strategy, one designed to extricate us from Iraq and salvage W's presidency along with the Bush family name.

    Or, Bob Gates is Cheney's man and our military involvement will escalate.

    Old and biased article, but some chilling comments.

    http://english.alarabonline.org/display.asp?fname=2006%5C10%5C10-02%5Czopinionz%5C963.htm&dismode=x&ts=01/10/2006%2011:05:41%20%C3%A3 [Broken]
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  4. Nov 15, 2006 #3
    to me it sounds like a strong american presence in iraq won't prevent this scenario from happening anyway. if the usa maintains their presence while the deck of cards collapses, the rest of the world would at least give the us credit for making the sacrifice of trying to prevent it. if they leave before it really falls down it will look like the us just said "no WMDs? tens of thousands of people killed? total anarchy? Whoops! well we gota go. see you next time guys" and something like that will earn a country resentment from much of the world.
  5. Nov 16, 2006 #4


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    I watched a Letterman show som weeks ago, where he argued he wanted US out of Iraq because he didn't want more american soldiers to die! How American-centered isn't that? And what's worse, I've always seen Letterman as one of the "good guys" in US, so I can just guess how American-centered the general americans are...
    US soldiers dying is of course a minor problem compared to the death of civilians in Iraq.

    Thereby I'm not arguing against a move out from Iraq, just saying the morals seem to be screwed up from my point of view.
  6. Nov 16, 2006 #5
    In the minds of many Americans, the last election was a referendum on the war in Iraq. To the extent that it was, I wonder what Republicans and Democrats will do in the face of this expression of the people's will.
  7. Nov 16, 2006 #6
    Put up more smoking mirrors, spread more disinformation, and generally do what has been done for the past X years..
  8. Nov 16, 2006 #7


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    Democrats aren't planning anything. During the campaign, they insinuated a lot of things, though. Regardless, the point is that now that once they get control in January, they'll need to do something.
    Blame is easier than guilt, but the motivator and net effect are the same and thus I view them as different manifestations of the same thing.

    That said, a decent fraction of Democrats never did support the war, so it is tough to have guilt and a decent fraction of Republicans are proud of the fact that we got rid of Saddam, so that tempers the guilt.
    Its a catch-22: since we can't predict the future except to say that there is no such thing as instant perfection, any course of action will have downsides.
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  9. Nov 16, 2006 #8


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    Sorry, but that just plain isn't a valid argument because of the double-standard it requires. The rest of the world (particularly Europe) likes to complain about bad situations in the UN, but when push comes to shove, it is the US who takes the lead in solving them. Whether in Yugoslavia, the Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, whatever - if Europeans really cared more about a million foreigner's deaths than the deaths of a dozen of their own troops (not to mention a couple of million dollars), they'd do more to fix such situations.

    No - every nation is self-centered (and rightly so) and the US is, if anything, less self-centered than average based on our willingness to back up our Hallmark sympathy cards with troops (the UK is a close second). And only Japan has been consistent in substituting money for troops (based on the fact that they are not allowed to have a real military). Kosovo is a great test-case: While the UN wrote nasty letters, they did nothing about the crisis. Clinton went around the UN by invoking NATO and led the fighting. After the hot part was over, the UN put together a coalition for peacekeeping. It's the epiome of not wanting to get your hands dirty.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  10. Nov 16, 2006 #9


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    Yes, if the pull-out is more likely (and I believe it is) to cause this collapse, it is grossly immoral!

    (almost as immoral as it is to randomly pick someone else's house to wage a war on terror and say it's better to fight them there than here)
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  11. Nov 16, 2006 #10


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    There were hearings on the Iraq war in the Senate and House yesterday. General Abizaid testified and was questioned concerning troop withdrawal or an increase in troop deployment. There was posturing by politicians on both sides. Actually, I have to wonder why in the middle of this, such a hearing on the policy of the war is conducted in public. I can't imagine Roosevelt and Churchill discussing such matters in public during WWII.

    With Politics as Subtext, Senators Clash on Iraq
    General Warns of Risks in Iraq if G.I.'s Are Cut

    According to an NPR report, with Rumsfeld's departure, Abizaid is the new 'whipping boy' for the media and the politicians on Capitol Hill. Well, Congress and President got us in this mess, and they should public accept responsibility, and not be criticizing the generals who have had their hands tied by the politics in Washington.

    Why can't these guys simply ask Abizaid - "OK, General, what do you (we) need to do to do this right?" - and do it behind closed doors.
  12. Nov 16, 2006 #11


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    ??? Valid argument about what? When did I ever say other countries aren't self-centred too?
    Are you trying to insinuate I don't have the right to complain about america being self-centred just because Europe isn't that good in general either. I'm not Europe, I'm an individual which means I necessarily do not stand up for what the politicians here do.
    For example I had no chance to affect what was happening (and not happening) in Yugoslavia, so why should I be held back by Europe's failure there?
  13. Nov 16, 2006 #12


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    Your post was a generalization of the US, so my response was a generalization of other countries, including yours. And yes, I am saying that if your country is no better (or is, in fact, much, much worse in that respect), you shouldn't be complaining about how others do things.

    You could have, for example, lamented on the fact that human nature is selfish, rather than just targeting the US, which implies you think the US is unique in that failing. Ie, is it a bigger problem that Americans are talking about leaving or that other countries are not talking about helping?
  14. Nov 16, 2006 #13
    You weren't simply complaining, you were america bashing.

    I believe your argument was that Letterman, one of the "good guys", wanted a pullout for purely selfish reasons. You then made the deduction that since Letterman was one of the good guys and wanted a pull out for selfish reasons, us average american jerkwad yokel hillbillies must also have a selfish motivation as well.
  15. Nov 16, 2006 #14
    For all this talk of morality, I have not heard one person mention the immorality of allowing attrocities to go on unchecked.

    For instance, is it not immoral to allow a woman to be raped? Is it not immoral to allow the deliberate destruction of an environment in order to facilitate genocide against an ethnic group (I'm speaking of the marsh arabs)? Is it not immoral to throw your dissenters into torture chambers, never to be heard from again?

    Granted, the execution of the war has been garbage and bungled at every turn. But as the world's most powerful nation, I do believe we have a moral imperative to stamp out evil in this world. We are the only ones with the resources and, more importantly, the willingness to do it. I don't see the French sending 200,000 troops to iraq to help quell the insurgency.
  16. Nov 16, 2006 #15


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    Why not? I'm not in charge over my country (and definitely not over other countries in Europe) so why shouldn't I have the right to complain? Note that I'm complaining about things I think Sweden is doing wrong too. (I'm just not bringing such stuff up here, since I guess noone here would care too much about Swedish politics.)
    The actions of US highly affects me, so why should I shut up just because some persons I don't know of, and who I was not able to affect in any way, failed to do something about Kosovo? I don't get the logic?
    (Btw I think Swedes in general are much less self-centered than americans, but that doesn't really matter.)

    Of course human nature is selfish. I'm just amazed the patriotism (or rather nationalism) is so strong in US that even Letterman find the death of the US soldiers worse than the death of the civilians in Iraq...
    Btw I think it's a good idea US starts to prepare for leaving, and I don't get what you mean by other countries not helping? For example Sweden didn't help invading Iraq, but nevertheless we are helping out now.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  17. Nov 16, 2006 #16
    Well...this makes perfect sense. Using this sort of logic, I could, for instance, say that the fact that America uses torture renders our complaints about Saddam's use of torture hypocritical. Then again, that's not how we justified the war, right? We invaded because of his links to Al Qaeda and his WMDs, didn't we? Even ignoring the fact that Saddam neither had ties to Al Qaeda nor WMDs...didn't we originally support and help arm Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in the Middle East...and don't we have WMDs...?

    Well damn...there goes our future as the world police...after all, we wouldn't want to be hypocritical, would we?
  18. Nov 16, 2006 #17
    I agree with you in the sense that I think these things are immoral. But the problem is that most real-world situations aren't as simple and clear-cut as seeing a woman being raped on your way home from work. Obviously, if that I saw a woman being raped, I would do my best to stop it. But if doing so would destabalize a government, give rise to a powerful, merciless insurgency, and cause the deaths of thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people, I have an obligation to consider those consequences and choose to act or not accordingly.

    Similarly, governments (represented by me, in my example) have to operate on an entirely different scale than individuals, with significantly larger and potentially much more deadly consequences to actions like preventing torture. It would certainly be nice if it was purely a matter of "immoral vs. moral," but there are other concerns.

    I mean...I'm certain that Iraq would have been a better place had we replaced Saddam with a peaceful, stable, democratic government. But unfortunately, my emphasis has to be on "would have been," at least so far.

    It's always struck me as arrogant that many Americans believe that they have some sort of "moral imperative" to wipe out "evil" in the world. Exactly what gives us the right to do things like deposing legitimate world leaders we dislike? Our power? Doesn't that strike you as ever so slightly dictatorial?

    If you ask me, we don't have a moral imperative...we have power and the willingness to use it for our ends (which happen to coincide with those of other countries, sometimes).
  19. Nov 16, 2006 #18


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    I think the democrats are suggesting/recommending a quick or relatively quick withdrawal. I think the military will resist that option.

    National politics is nation-centered. The are many Americans who are concerned about the high loss of life in Iraq, as well as the unnecessary loss of life of US troops. One key question the US government has to ask - "Are we doing more harm by staying or more harm by leaving." There is a national interest (strategic security and economic) in staying, and there is perhaps an interest in leaving.

    The policy has to change and it must be realistic - not fantasy.

    Ideally, the US has to strengthen those in Iraq who can make it more stable.

    Backdrop - http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1560025,00.html
    Re-Baathification, i.e. restoring some of the Baath party, has been suggested, as well as strength certain Shiite individuals and groups, while diminishing others, particular Maktadr al Sadr.

    One Military Officer's Aggressive New Plan for Iraq

    Searching For a Strategy

    5 Ways To Prevent Iraq From Getting Even Worse
  20. Nov 16, 2006 #19


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    You could do that, but since you are comparing having prisoners stand naked in a cold shower to slowly lowering people into plastic shredders, it wouldn't exactly be an apples-to-apples comparison, now would it?

    And by the way - we're prosecuting individual offenders. So again, no double-standard/no hypocrisy there.
  21. Nov 16, 2006 #20
    The night before shock and awe, I looked at satellite overviews of
    Bagdad, and I was appalled that for any reason, my nation was threatening to bomb the hell out of that place. As it turned out, there was no good reason to do so, and the high civilian casualty counts attest to the poor planning, and tunnel vision, that brought us to occupy Iraq. I hope that the Democrats will find a way for us to do good, in a bad situation, that continues to disintegrate daily. I hope that the Democrats will be able to express the conscience of our nation, in such a way to restore faith in our basic good intent, and in so doing find a way to better serve the people of Iraq.

    The damage of ongoing occupation, and increasing civil war, is incalculable, and looms, casting potentially a long dark shadow over time and darkens our history as a nation. It will take the wisdom of some sort of Solomon to come up with a good answer as to what to do "in Iraq", rather than what to do "to Iraq".

    That area of the world is layered with vanished civilizations and conquering civilizations, that each struggled to thrive in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates. The history of the place is stark and beautiful, and the Iraqis are a well educated people, that deserve their freedom from the tyrannies that they struggle within.

    Hopefully the Democratic victory in the US will hearten the Iraqi people and help them understand how peace and democracy work, once established it is less painful than other means to power.
  22. Nov 17, 2006 #21
    I think that what will be suggested by the Democratic Congress with bipartisan support will be to engage Iraq's neighbors to help quell the violence through diplomatic means. Regional governments have more influence and prestige than Bush and may be able to stabilize the conflict.

    Bush has no credibility in the Arab world and by association, niether does the US. I don't know if there is a solution. One thing is clear though, we, the US, must reduce our presence. It is our presence that is inflaming the situation.

    It won't be long now before you will hear the "liberal media" blaming the Democrats for the Iraq war
  23. Nov 24, 2006 #22
    It's always struck me simillarly, also the US governement and media is often very keen to present alot of countries that work against it's interest as evil or immoral, when if you actually examine the situation from an impartial basis there is no such thing as the good guys and the bad guys.

    Let's take Iran: it is being held to standards above and beyond the Non proliferation treaty, in fact it practically has a treaty all to itself that only it is expected to follow, people are saying it has no need for nuclear energy(which is wrong) People also forget that the US supplied Iran the technology and engineers to build nuclear plants in the first place, and the reasons they did so. If you examine the case impartially and lose the BS, chest thumping rhetoric of Ahmedinejad and Bushes cronies. It actually becomes a much more complicated deal than just they are evil and the US is good, it becomes much more about oil interests and economics than about fear of nuclear weapons, it's of course a concern, but there is just more too it than that, it is the simple rhetoric that people blindly subscribe too sometimes.

    There is no "Axis of Evil", this is propaganda and most people should be above taking these sort of blanket labels seriously, if there is such a thing as an axis of Evil then the term the Great Satan has just as much justification, it all depends which side of the world you happen to live on. I'm not saying the US is more or less evil and I'm not saying their wrong in all cases, but there is a tendency in the past to shift attention onto the "enemies" evil and away from their own, and a tendency for people not to look beneath the surface.

    Don't get me wrong it is only natural to see your country as more shinning and honest than any other, we all do, what alarms me is when this patriotism stops people from questioning things more deeply if at all, or makes them make erroneous decisions, a healthy cynicism for your government is not only wise but it's also what democracy is about to some extent.
  24. Dec 1, 2006 #23


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    Probably not too far off. Bipartisan support, except to blame Iraqis for the invasion failing to result in a successful democracy.

    Putting the blame somewhere besides Republicans gives them a graceful way to change their minds about the war and to support withdrawal. It's also a more savvy move than generous gesture since Democrats don't really need people looking through the voting record for the Congressional act authorizing the invasion.

    I'm not sure how much control neighboring countries could exert, but something to keep an Iraqi civil war from bringing the neighboring countries into direct conflict with each other needs to be in place. It's going to be a hot area - if Sunni countries step in to prevent Sunnis from being slaughtered and Iran steps in to prevent Shiites from being slaughtered, you could wind up having two or more countries find themselves in a bigger war neither intended to start.

    If the US military has a significant role left to play, it will be to control the more ethnically mixed regions where you don't want two different militaries running into each other. That's not going to get much public support considering that's going to be the most volatile areas.

    All in all, whatever may have worked or may have at least minimized the damage - all of those actions are in the past. This has been bungled from the very beginning, from the reason for the invasion, to the fiasco of going to the UN for approval, to the actions after the invasion, right on up to the present.

    While I always thought disaster was more likely than the rosy picture Bush and Rumsfeld were pushing, I really thought the most likely outcome would be an incredibly great effort that achieved something not very good. I'm surprised Bush managed to stick to his original plan long enough to put us at the brink of total disaster. Most wouldn't have gambled so much on such bad odds.
  25. Dec 1, 2006 #24
    The current trend seems to be to blame the Iraqi government, especially al- Maliki, for not controlling the same militias that we were unable to control.:rolleyes:
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