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August 21, 2005

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President Bush claims that a main reason why America invaded Iraq was to bring democracy and liberty to that nation. In March, 2005, he specifically said that America would do its part to bring new rights and hopes to the... [Read More]

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Comments

Its domestic public relations over policy for the nth time. Move the goal posts regarding the mission for the nth time (we are there to "constitutionalize Iraq" rather than "democratize Iraq.") Get a constitution and declare victory no matter what.

Can Charles remind us again how this is fighting the war on terror?

Protection against the tyranny of a democratic majority is not, traditionally, a Republican strong suit. I'm not 100% sure that they acknowledge the existence of such problems. So if the end votes, whether the totals are influenced by unrest and violence or not, end up in the Shi'a favor, I assume they won't have an objection on that score.

One might think that our government might therefore feel a special obligation to ensure that their rights were protected ... Unfortunately, one would be wrong.

When the decision was made (and made again, when the Carter administration changed to the Reagan administration) to fund the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan because they were ready to fight against "the Communist menace" in their own country, I doubt if any weight at all was given to the fact that in Afghanistan, Communists and their supporters were, as a group, in favor of educating women and allowing women more rights and independence than a strict interpretation of shari'a law permits: and that a significant motivation for the groups being funded by the US was precisely that the Communists and other progressives were encouraging women to be independent.

That is to say, the welfare of women in Afghanistan, the welfare of fifty percent of the population, was utterly disregarded as irrelevant to the real world political decision to fund anti-Communist "freedom fighters.

Things really haven't changed much in 25 years. Women don't matter, Hilzoy: behaving as if women's rights are important enough to interfere with practical politics is radical feminism, and to be deplored.

Just imagine the reaction of the CIA in 1979 if they were told "You are forbidden to fund any group fighting the Communist menace if it's also fighting for the right to suppress women's rights".

Why would you expect anything to change? For the most part, the same people are in power in the US as were in power under Reagan: did anyone support women's rights in Afghanistan then? No: I recall much talk about "freedom fighters", and none at all that the freedom for which they were fighting included the right to deprive 50% of the population of any freedom at all.

Same goes for Iraq. Nothing has changed.

I think you may be underestimating the extent to which this outcome is what Republicans really want. Traditional values is Republican code for: We want to be able to treat women as chattel again.

"I hope that Mr. Gerecht never has to understand what it feels like to be married off at 13 to a drunk and abusive man, and to have no hope whatsoever of escape for the rest of his life.. And if he should ever find himself in some analogous position, I hope that the people around him have bigger and..."

you know, reading this line I had the strong suspicion that the sentence might have ended differently in the first draft. The one before you remembered that you have a

"...more generous heart than he has".

Things really haven't changed much in 25 years. Women don't matter, Hilzoy: behaving as if women's rights are important enough to interfere with practical politics is radical feminism, and to be deplored.

I couldn't disagree more. I don't find it radical. I would hope for better. I would hope that they could start out on a better footing than this.

But the fact of the matter is that Iraqi women are going to have to fight for their rights themselves, no matter what kind of constitution they have. (Much like how Iraqis will have to fight for their own freedoms.) We must remember that many countries have rights defined by paper. But, it is the implementation of what's on the paper that's relevant. Our own constitution is a good example.

We don't actually know how it will work out yet. Much like those chemical weapons Hilzoy was referring to earlier.

It seems obvious to me that the most productive societies in the world are that way because of the freedom of both men and women to contribute. We shouldn't trivialize that fact, but continue to demonstrate how this is true in our own countries.

Frank:I think you may be underestimating the extent to which this outcome is what Republicans really want. Traditional values is Republican code for: We want to be able to treat women as chattel again.

That's just offensive Frank. I guess it's okay if someone says that the Democrats want America to lose the war in Iraq.

I would hope for better.

Tad: the first draft (in my head) just said: well, screw you too, Reuel Gerecht. Or something like that.

Frank: in general, the site (which unlike most web sites, actually has feelings and thoughts and even a face) frowns on attributions of motives to large classes of people like "the Democrats" or "the Republicans". So I'm with DDR on that.

DDR: they are fighting for their rights in the normal sense: making their case, having protests, etc. But I think it's a bit much to want them to fight and prevail against people armed with guns and acid.

Sorry. That post really belongs on the Poor Man anyway.

It's OK -- one of my very first forays into this blog (as a commenter) involved doing just the same thing, and being jumped all over by Moe. It's not a wholly natural rule, but I've come to think it's actually a good one.

But the fact of the matter is that Iraqi women are going to have to fight for their rights themselves, no matter what kind of constitution they have.

I guess we only have so much freedom and democracy to give out, huh? Sorry, ladies, back of the bus.

dmbeaster 1st sentence sums it up: P.R. over policy. gotta get this war wrapped-up by the start of the next election cycle. sorry ladies.

Phil: I guess we only have so much freedom and democracy to give out, huh? Sorry, ladies, back of the bus

Sad, but true. Have we not proved that in our own country? Whether we are talking about women's rights or racial discrimination. Isn't it hard to fathom that at one time in our country black people were accorded 3/5 of a person and women couldn't vote? That really wasn't that long ago.

I'm still very confused why so many want to hold the Iraqi's to a standard that we couldn't meet ourselves.

I have stated many times here that this is an attempt at providing Iraqi's with a democracy. No matter how much we might desire to shove democracy down their throats ultimately they will have to choose it.

Where is the Iraqi Susan B. Anthony? I don't know, but given the opportunity I bet she shows up for work.

Is it just me or am I the only one taking a liberal position in this thread?

Hilzoy: But I think it's a bit much to want them to fight and prevail against people armed with guns and acid.

Your right Hilzoy, the girls need guns.

http://www.girlswithguns.org/news/news0016.htm>http://www.girlswithguns.org/

I have stated many times here that this is an attempt at providing Iraqi's with a democracy. No matter how much we might desire to shove democracy down their throats ultimately they will have to choose it.

And so the seeds of the post-failure PR are sown...

No matter how much we might desire to shove democracy down their throats ultimately they will have to choose it.

Too bad we didn't think of this before we invaded. Oh, wait, some people did.

But the fact of the matter is that Iraqi women are going to have to fight for their rights themselves, no matter what kind of constitution they have. ...it is the implementation of what's on the paper that's relevant. Our own constitution is a good example.

there's an important difference between fighting to implement rights embedded in a constitution (as individuals and groupings in the US have certainly had to do) and fighting for rights a constitution either severely limits, or denies (as Muslim women in Iraq may have to do). And there is a massive difference between the situation of Muslim women living under Sharia law subordinated to civil law (as in the UK) and Muslim women living where Sharia law is sovereign. More, Sharia law is variable but I think we can expect a harsh version in Iraq.

Jesurgislac, this reminds me, too, of Afghanistan. And yes, it's the same old story.

There is no reason for us not to remain optimistic and work hard towards achieving our stated goals. Keep your chin up. Have more faith in the Iraqi people and our troops working with them every day.

DDR: "I have stated many times here that this is an attempt at providing Iraqi's with a democracy. No matter how much we might desire to shove democracy down their throats ultimately they will have to choose it."

In this post, I am objecting to our attempt to push a compromise constitution that would strip 60% of Iraqis of fundamental rights. We are the ones who are pushing this. Moreover, the committee drafting the constitution is itself completely unrepresentative as far as gender is concerned, so even if the committee accepted it, that says nothing about its acceptibility to the people. As I said in the post, I don't think we should have established a deadline for a constitution, and I don't think we should be meddling in it. But if we have to meddle, we could at least meddle in a good way.

As for the Iraqis: they had very little freedom under Saddam, and they have very little now. All this does is make it that much more likely that they'll end up with even less. And since they do have to fight it out against people who are armed, I don't see any reason to suppose that the outcome will be what most of them want.

Hey, Sharia law sucks. Should we use guns to enforce these freedoms for women? If you feel that way please start a campaign for it. I will support you.

The fact of the matter is we were condemned by many on the left for the way we fought the Afghanistan war. Just recently Sheehan said something about how we should have only targeted AQ. We were condemned for being ruthless in Fallujah.

But if you guys are serious about having the US military enforce women's right through force, then I think you should request it. Campaign for it. Get every lefty blog on the Internet to start talking about it. I would love to see you guys take this kind of action.

What the women in Iraq need are their own human shields. Now that might make a difference. Or their own AK-47.

I'm glad that Frank retracted his incautious slur of Republicans, after DDR compared it to a slur on Democrats.

Because, after all, it is not true that *all* Republicans have been hostile to women's rights.

It is only true that very large, powerful, and influential segments of the Republican leadership have been, for many decades, going so far as to write opposition to womens' rights into their official party platforms. And Republican-connected churches have argued that wome should be subservient to men in the household ("male headship"), And the Republican party has raised a lot of money by running against women's issues, and won a lot of votes by demonizing feminists.

So that is completely parallel to the three powerless loons who have been in favor of the US losing in Iraq, who have had no connections to the party structure, who have brought in no money, who have never written anti-US planks into any platform, who have never earned a Democratic vote, and so on and so on.

Yeah, they're really parallel. Frank said something that is true of a significant portion of the Republican base. Ooooh, bad. DDR responds with something false of 99.999% of all Democrats. Oooh equally bad.

So, Frank--try to add on your qualifiers, okay? Not all Republicans want to treat women like chattel. Just significant, influential, policy-making ones, who bring in a lot of votes. Which for DDR, means moral equivalence to a few traitorous loons somewhere out left of leftville.

And speaking of moral equivalence, I'm delighted by DDR's live-and-let-live attitude towards other people's struggles for freedom. I mean, hey, those Iraqi women? They've got to tough it out for themselves.

Of course, when the Iraqi *people* were laboring under a tyranny--well, then, my god, we can't idly sit by and do nothing. No, no, we must go invade a country because otherwise we are not advancing the cause of democracy! Only spineless liberals would allow their cries for freedom to go unanswered! We can't simply stay at home and let the Iraqi people work it out on their own, no no--there's a bad man there, who has guns, and who also insulted Bush's daddy once. Yes, we must assemble a coalition of the willing, we must spare no expense, we must spill our soldiers' blood, to assiste them in their quest for those precious, universal, rights of all mankind.

But if the Iraqi women are crying for freedom? If there is a man with a gun in every one of their houses? Oh, well. Bored now. Isolationist now. Not our problem now.

Despicable.

Hilzoy: As I said in the post, I don't think we should have established a deadline for a constitution, and I don't think we should be meddling in it. But if we have to meddle, we could at least meddle in a good way.

Agreed. Let's apply that patience you exhibited so easily early. I'm not so sure how things are going to pan out with this story.

"There is no reason for us not to remain optimistic and work hard towards achieving our stated goals. Keep your chin up. Have more faith in the Iraqi people and our troops working with them every day."

Is there *any* reason to have someone posting utter propagandistic tripe like this on this site? Do we really *need* a daily dose of the Dear Leader's propaganda, fed live into our homes? Man, if this came with graphics, I can just imagine the Socialist Workers' chins being kept up in the air.

I'm still very confused why so many want to hold the Iraqi's to a standard that we couldn't meet ourselves.

You did notice the part where, for all the horrors, women were the beneficiary of relatively progressive policies concerning equality in Saddam's Iraq, right? You know, before we decided to go eff up their country? Why are you having trouble comprehending that we'll be subjecting Iraqi women to a step backwards? I realize it interferes with your excuse-making about how, gee, we can't force democracy on people after all, but you really should try to understand the parameters here.

Tad,

You certainly have managed to bring the tone of the thread to a new low.

"But if the Iraqi women are crying for freedom? If there is a man with a gun in every one of their houses? Oh, well. Bored now. Isolationist now. Not our problem now.

Despicable."

I would actually support us being more forceful with Iraq, especially with respect to women. As I mentioned earlier I think the female component is essential to a healthy society.

I only see one way to accomplish that. Force. I will support the use of force to accomplish that. Will you?

Phil,

Would that be the women raped or the women raped and killed you are referring to.

Nidal Shaikh Shallal related some of the ways Iraqi women have suffered at the hands of Saddam.

"The Iraqi woman has lost her loved ones -- husbands, brothers and fathers," Shallal said. "The Iraqi woman has endured torture, murder, confinement, execution, and banishment, just like others in Iraqi society at the hands of Saddam Hussein's criminal gang."

"The heads of many women have been publicly cut off in the streets under the pretext of being liars, while in fact they mostly belonged to families opposing the Iraqi regime. Women, especially dissident women, have been raped by members of Saddam Hussein's gang ... The wives of dissidents have been either killed or tortured in front of their husbands in order to obtain confessions from their husbands . . . Women have been kidnapped as they walk in the streets by members of the gangs of Uday and Qusay [SaddamÆs sons] and then raped," Shallal said.

Maybe you are talking about these women:

Women and girls have also suffered from increasing restrictions on their freedom of mobility and protections under the law.26 In collusion with conservative religious groups and tribal leaders, the government issued numerous decrees and introduced legislation negatively impacting women's legal status in the labor code, criminal justice system, and personal status laws.27 In 2001, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Violence against Women reported that since the passage of the reforms in 1991, an estimated 4,000 women and girls had been victims of "honor killings."28 In recent years, both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) administrations in northern Iraq issued decrees suspending laws allowing for mitigation of sentences in honor crimes, but the degree to which the suspension has been implemented is unknown.29

DDR, you mean we should use military force to create and maintain public order and safety and a state monopoly of violence, so that these gangs of vicious thugs can't go around terrorizing women (and everybody else)? Funny, last time I checked, our failure to do that has been the subject of criticism from, well, every lefty blog on the internet.

Oh, and DDR: would it be too much to ask you to provide links to whatever the heck it is that you're quoting?

Would that be the women raped or the women raped and killed you are referring to.

No, it wouldn't. Your repeated attempts at misdirection are amusing if predictable, though.

Also, links to your alleged cites would be helpful. Finally, these two statements cannot both simultaneously be true:

I have stated many times here that this is an attempt at providing Iraqi's with a democracy. No matter how much we might desire to shove democracy down their throats ultimately they will have to choose it.

I would actually support us being more forceful with Iraq, especially with respect to women. As I mentioned earlier I think the female component is essential to a healthy society.

I only see one way to accomplish that. Force. I will support the use of force to accomplish that. Will you?

So, which one is true, and which one is the posturing, strutting lie?

DDR: your previous cites show (a) that some women were brutally raped under Saddam's regime, as they are now, and (b) that they were losing some of the rights they had under Saddam, though not nearly as many as they will lose if they are subjected to Sharia law. What is this supposed to prove?

Also: if you were so impressed by my patience (which you've brought up several times now), you might ask yourself this: why did I decline to use that story as fodder to criticize Bush, but go ahead and use this one? Possibly, it's because I try to base my opinions on facts, as best I can, and this story strikes me as a legitimate basis for criticism. Possibly it's because there's more to this story. Just a possibility.

And finally: lots of us, including me, thought that we should not have gotten into this war to start with, but if we did, we should do it right. That would have required more troops, and I would have supported sending them. It was your guy who decided it would all be a cakewalk.

It doesn't surprise me that you can see no other way to obtain your objectives than by force. Certainly moral authority is not an option for you.

It used to be an option for the US. That was until your party, your leadership, the people you voted for, squandered America's moral authority.

We used to have lots and lots of options. But the force of arms just looked like so much *fun*. And we all know that being a war president is so good for your poll ratings. So force it was.

But...not really *effective* force. Just cosmetic, image-campaign force. You know, "shock and awe". Enough to give the poll-numbers a boost, it's true. But not enough to make a country safe.

Would I support the use of force to turn things around in Iraq? I have done, and on this site, too. If you think you can take any trumps by assuming you're talking with pacifists, you are on the wrong site, by a long shot.

I have said, and will repeat, that if Bush is at all serious about bringing about a satisfactory end to this fiasco, he should institute a draft and send over a much larger force, one that could actually stabilize the situation, provide security and improvements in living condition.

But, no--all of his real objectives have already been met. He got to be a war president. He got to outdo daddy. He got to topple Saddam. And he got re-elected.

As for the rest? Bored now. Time for vacation. We'll let the useful idiots start re-writing history to make the story sound better.

Thanks for trying out your rough drafts on us.

DDR is only one example, of course, but I predict we will see further signs of strain in the coming weeks and months.

On the plus side, it points toward more posts on shrillblog.

"I only see one way to accomplish that. Force. I will support the use of force to accomplish that. Will you?"

Absolutely. It was my desire all along. I will support massive tax increases, a draft, and the use of force to force the US Constitution, or something very close, down the Iraqi throats. I will certainly go myself, if I can be useful, and have a minimum of protection. I would carry a rifle, and would not expect to be completely safe.

The Iraqi Susan B Anthony is likely already dead. Many prominent Iraqi feminists have already been assassinated. Asking, under probable conditions, the Iraqi women to free themselves is like asking Southern slaves, circa 1850, to free themselves.

This is the only opportunity the West is likely to have this generation. Sharia in Iraq will put the momentum on the side of the Jihadists, and will make conditions likely worse for women thruout the ME and the world. We have an army in place, and are allowing this to happen. Everyone should be ashamed, and I think liberals should be especially ashamed for betraying their ideals. Will not comment on the Right because of posting rules. Use the darker reaches of your imagination.

Later I may say why I think feminism in the ME is critical to Western and US security. Friedman said as much. More important than nukes.

I'd like to see DDR answer Phil's question. He's said two things that can't simultaneously be true, and I'd like to see his final answer as to which one he now says he thinks is true.

What do I think is going on?

The Wannsee Conference in public. Bush is at the table, drinking coffee, voting yes and working out the fine mechanics.

Women will be raped, beaten, and die because of this deal. I am not exaggerating, it is as morally bad, merely smaller in scale.

Bob Mc.: I liked your post a lot, but could you explain what you meant by " I think liberals should be especially ashamed for betraying their ideals."? I just didn't get it. Thanks.

I agree with bob mcmanus about the importance of feminism for the project of spreading the best American values throughout the globe.

This is part of why the Abu Ghraib episodes are so damaging. It plays right into the Islamicist propaganda that the US is a paradise for sexual predators, and that women can only be truly safe behind the veil.

"I think liberals should be especially ashamed for betraying their ideals."?"

The left is even more in favor of unconditional withdrawal that the right is beginning to be, has absolutely little interest in escalation or increasing our forces...Hillary is getting pounded on the blogs...whereas I have heard from many calls on the Right for more troops.

I quite frankly did not expect Bush to be a strong force for women's rights in Iraq, tho I expected better than this, which appears worse than Afghanistan, worse perhaps than SA. I expect more from the left, but by moving into an anti-war position they managed to lose all influence and avoid all responsibility.

Note: I know of American men & women who have died in Iraq in the last few years trying to improve the lot of women, working on property law, setting up shelters. I do not know their politics.

I hereby apologize for the Wannsee reference, perhaps over-the-top, but me and Tacitus and a few others on the right seem to be the only ones seriously upset by this.

Chickee over at Klein's is all indignant:

"I want one thing to happen before the United States goes anywhere. I want women to have rights in Iraq, or at the very least for the constitution to be secular"

followed by extended Bush/Rice bashing, but no call for a delay in withdrawal. Yglesias flat out says George should simply stop governing Iraq. Not Matt's problem.

"I expect more from the left, but by moving into an anti-war position they managed to lose all influence and avoid all responsibility"

You know, bob, I just don't see that as the pivotal moment when the left lost influence with the Bush administration. For one thing, there hardly *is* any anti-war position, even on the far left. Maybe in 2005. Not before that.

Neither the left more broadly, nor the centrist Democratic leadership, have had any influence or power in Washington for the last five years. It's a Republican town, from one end to the other. They own the whole shop, and they have no intention of giving anyone else a slice.

Oh--unless you are a corporation with a lot of money. Then you get a seat at the table when legislation is drawn up.

So--yeah, maybe the left lost some influence by not donating enough to DeLay's machine. Maybe we should have paid more to Abramoff. Not signing up as Bush Pioneers was probably a goof.

But I just can't see blaming it on the anti-war stance.

I've never been particularly interested in having my son, now almost 16, someday put himself in harm's way to enforce women's rights in Iraq. Jersey City, maybe.

Let's take DDR's vaguely clever solution (actually just some smirky talk-radio kibitzing aimed at hoisting Hilzoy et al on their own DDR-supplied petards), of arming Iraqi women with AK-47s, to no doubt start picking off one-by-one the Iraqi Assembly (last week we called them brothers).

They may then turn to cutting a few heads off with an eye toward country-wide unisex bathrooms, because we know what happens when femi-nazis get a taste for blood.

As happens with all armed liberation movements, however, maybe the more bitter, hard-core radical Iraqi women will have noticed that the U.S. Government is now aiding and abetting the move toward embedding Islamic law in Iraq, and might decide to throw a little fire at American troops as a way of gaining vengeance against our meddling. Maybe they'll the AK47s against the militias and THEIR U.S.-supplied Ak47s. Maybe then that won't be enough; maybe we start noticing all-female terrorist cells, armed by the U.S. (a la Afghanistan before the Taliban) through some former Soviet break-away states, carrying out terrorist attacks, a la OBL, against the U.S., perhaps even 18 or so pissed off female hijackers flying some planes into buildings in an American or European city.

The bad boy in me likes this idea; after all, if women and blacks in the U.S. had started blowing stuff up big time instead of waiting around, maybe the Constitution might have applied to them a little sooner than it did. Or maybe we just would have slaughtered all of them. As it turned out, watching them wait until liberalism won the day in legislatures and courts was boring, and we're told, has destroyed American culture and the judiciary to boot.

On the other hand, as we have (not) learned too many times, our kind, sincere, noble generosity in arming folks usually ends up with our young people (guys mostly, women and gays not usually invited along) needing to "go in there" and kindly, generously, and with misty-eyed, bring-it-on nobility kill every last one of them.

Any more good ideas? Or was it an idea in the first place?

For one thing, there hardly *is* any anti-war position, even on the far left

Half the nation was anti-war when the war was being launched, more than half is now. What legislators do is not congruent to what the electorate wants. Why is that?

f-r-man--

assuming your numbers are right, allow me to revise to "organized, politicized, active anti-war position".

And are those numbers right, for March '03? I thought the war enjoyed more popular support at the outset. I know I supported it. Anybody have the polls?

And are those numbers right, for March '03?

Support for the war got a bump when the actual invasion occurred, of course. October 2002 numbers (Pew research) put 55% in favor, which suggest to me that the idea that there was hardly any anti-war position is not true. 45% of 300 million is...no one?

Woo-hoo.

Islamofacism is on the march!

"45% of 300 million is...no one?"

Well, since I take it 300 million is the total population, all ages, let's subtract off the toddlers, first.

But the real gap between "X% were in favor" and "100-X% were anti-war" is just the huge apathy factor.

So, anyway--I don't know--do *you* think there has been any significant anti-war position, prior to, say, three weeks ago? Adding on the "politicized, organized, active" parts? I mean, I guess Chuck Hagel might count now, but who else?

Tad:"And are those numbers right, for March '03? I thought the war enjoyed more popular support at the outset. I know I supported it. Anybody have the polls?"
The short answer, according to this NPR transcript from March 03, 2003, a majority of Americans (CNN-Gallup said 59%, CBS 66%) did support US military action in Iraq. But reading further, that support is qualified:

[A]sk the question, `Should the US take military action fairly soon, or should it wait to give the UN inspectors more time,' and you get a more complicated answer. In the CBS poll, 62 percent say give the inspectors more time. In the CNN poll, 40 percent approve of going to war without UN approval, but that number jumps to 80 percent with another UN resolution.

[...]

About six in 10 Americans say that they are willing to send US ground troops to Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein, so it's sort of a `yes, but.' You know, yes, it's an important thing to do, yes, we're willing to do it, but there are certain conditions that they want to see met.

This seems to indicate that most people who did support the invasion of Iraq from the outset wanted a very different war than what ultimately resulted. It's not a stretch to conclude that this has contribued to the subsequent erosion of US public support for the war effort.

Tad and FR: it seems important to me to distinguish two questions: (a) was anyone against the war before it started? (yes), and (b) is anyone in favor of pulling out immediately? (if I had to guess, I'd think that the number of people in favor of this wasn't at all comparable to the number of people who opposed the war before it started until quite recently.)

I only mention this since FR cites pre-war figures, while Tad is talking about the existence of an anti-war movement now.

mattbastard & felixrayman--

thanks for hunting up numbers.

You know, this one strikes me as pretty interesting:

"In the CNN poll, 40 percent approve of going to war without UN approval, but that number jumps to 80 percent with another UN resolution."

To me, that looks like the responsible Democrats and Independents, right there in that 40% slice. People who were not opposed to US intervention, were clearly not anti-war, but still saw considerable value in coordinating our efforts with the UN.

That's a big chunk of people, too.

I think you mean the 80% slice, Tad.

;-)

hilzoy--

thanks, yeah, I don't know that there has been any outright confusion of the two time-periods, just some comparisons.

The really relevant question would be: what period was bob mcmanus referring to in his comment

" by moving into an anti-war position [the left] managed to lose all influence"

That's where I asked my question, i.e. has it so moved? Did it so move? Is it so moving? etc.

Harold Meyerson did a WaPo editorial some months ago on the lack of any anti-war movement in the US. That's still pretty much how it looks to me. (Though again, we need to disentangle "movement" from "sentiment" from "lack of endorsement in the polls" etc., and cross-tab those against the various eras).

Speaking of Iraq, women, etc:

This is just sickening. Anyone else seen it? It's a clip of a guy being questioned by [apparently] an Iraqi military officer, admitting to being part of a squad of guys whose job it was to gather women suspected of collaborating and, mostly, raping and killing them after they'd been interrogated. There's nothing visual that's sickening, just the guy's matter-of-factness. Click the man's picture to view.

Well, I'm awfully sorry that Iraqi women, on the whole, are going to emerge from this thing with fewer rights. I'm sorry that a whole bunch of people are not going to emerge from this thing at all, they're in graves.

From where the ball sits on the fairway right now, I think we're just going to have to cut the Iraqi women loose. The cost to us in lives and PR to try to dictate this kind of thing -- to wage a culture war on the Shia majority in the parliament -- is too great. If we force equal rights into the constitution, two things will necessarily follow: (a) the constitution will lose some backing among Shia fundamentalists, and (b) even if the thing does get ratified, it will be an offense to the will of Allah -- an imposition by the Crusaders -- and will be a rallying point for all opponents. Basically, we'd be de-legitimizing the constitution, and thus killing what little hope there is of avoiding failure for the enterprise.

BTW there was a great cartoon on this subject in yesterday's Post. I'll try to figure out if I can link to it.

So, anyway--I don't know--do *you* think there has been any significant anti-war position, prior to, say, three weeks ago?

By "significant" do you only mean politicians or do you mean the public at large? If the latter, the answer is an emphatic yes, there was widespread opposition to the war in Iraq at the time it was being launched.

That is one of the most important things to realize as far as I am concerned, there were more than a hundred million people opposed to going to war but they were given no voice whatsoever in the media at the time the war began.

There are certainly people who were initially against the war who now think that once we've gone in, we need to stay in order to do the least harm possible, but those numbers seem to be going south also.

The cost to us in lives and PR to try to dictate this kind of thing -- to wage a culture war on the Shia majority in the parliament -- is too great.

Because 50% of the population don't really matter, don't really count, and it won't be good PR "back home", either, certainly not among Bush's core support.

I don't doubt you're right, Charley: since the US Ambassador has already set it up that women are the losers, it would be far more difficult to turn it around.

Jes: I can see a point that I won't actually attribute to Charley, not being him, but that's closely related, namely: that while the rights of 50% of the population are extremely important, they are not as important as, say, not making a full-bore, all-out civil war, of the sort that might draw in other countries, inevitable. Here one might say: Bush in his infinite wisdom has left us only bad options, and amazingly enough, ditching women's rights is not the worst of the lot. And, if one took this line, one would never forgive the people who stuck us with this as a choice.

Hilzoy, I take your point: both my comments on this thread are strongly inspired by the sarcasm of despair.

The Taliban were close to the worst possible government I could imagine. Nevertheless, as a government, they were better than the situation they replaced, that of warlord rule, and the situation that has replaced them everywhere but Kabul, rhat of warlord rule. Some kind of systematic governance where if you obey the rules you can avoid getting into trouble is - fractionally, but it is - better than a situation where whoever has most power in a region can do literally anything he likes.

So, well, yes. A Taliban-style constitution for Iraq will be fractionally better than an all-out civil war where whoever currently holds power in any one area can do anything - not to approve either one.

Jes: I'd empathize, but I don't need to: I feel the same way myself.

Frankly, the fact that these are the best options we've been left with by the decisions of the clowns in charge pisses me off with the strength of ten tigers.

Sweet Jeebus this is bad. I don't want to be feeling ill about Iraq for the next few decades.

Think that's bad? I just wrote the gloomiest Iraq post ever. And I actually tried hard to think of good, positive solutions.

Angry doesn't begin to describe me anymore, when I think about Iraq.

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2003_08_01_riverbendblog_archive.html>Riverbend href> Aug. 1, 2003. "We've only just begun"
Before the occupation, I more or less dressed the way I wanted to. I lived in jeans and cotton pants and comfortable shirts. Now, I don’t dare leave the house in pants. A long skirt and loose shirt (preferably with long sleeves) has become necessary. A girl wearing jeans risks being attacked, abducted or insulted by fundamentalists who have been… liberated!

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040312-5.html>President (and Laura) Bush Mar. 12, 2004. Globally promote women's human rights.
Support for human rights is the cornerstone of American foreign policy. As a matter of national conviction, we believe that every person in every culture is meant by God to live in freedom. As a matter of national interest, we know that the spread of liberty and hope is essential to the defeat of despair and bitterness and terror. The policy of the American government is to stand for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity -- the rule of law, the limits on the power of the state, free speech, freedom of worship, equal justice, respect for women, religious and ethnic tolerance, and protections for private property. That is what we believe and we're not going to change.

http://www.tompaine.com/articles/betraying_iraqi_women.php>Lucinda Marshall July 16, 2004. "Betraying Iraqi Women"
Yanar Mohammed, founder of the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq, says it’s tough to quantify the situation. "There is no way to describe how much deterioration has struck the lives of millions of women in Iraq," she says.

http://www.peacewomen.org/news/Iraq/April05/politicalpower.html>NY Times reprint April 12, 2005. Iraqi women split on new political power.
Hours later, another group of women who are assembly members arrived in Dr. Jaafari's office. They wore black abayas, the garments that cover a woman's body from head to foot, and they had another agenda. They wanted to put aspects of Islamic law into Iraq's legal code... This is no accident. The Shiite leadership, in fact, is shrewdly relying on these women to carry much of the fight in the new assembly over where Islam itself, not just its women, should fit in Iraqi society.

I'm too tired to work the "War Against Radical Islam" branding and the "no atheists in foxholes" cliche into proper a snark tonight. OTOH- which do you have in mind reading the last link; the 2 male guards to leave home, or the 60% demographic?

Hmm.

Eyes formerly permitted nothing but black or white have suddenly begun to see shades of grey.

felixrayman: I'd like to see DDR answer Phil's question. He's said two things that can't simultaneously be true, and I'd like to see his final answer as to which one he now says he thinks is true.

I aim to please. Hopefully, I am answering the question you wanted.

Finally, these two statements cannot both simultaneously be true:

I have stated many times here that this is an attempt at providing Iraqi's with a democracy. No matter how much we might desire to shove democracy down their throats ultimately they will have to choose it.

I would actually support us being more forceful with Iraq, especially with respect to women. As I mentioned earlier I think the female component is essential to a healthy society.

I only see one way to accomplish that. Force. I will support the use of force to accomplish that. Will you?

So, which one is true, and which one is the posturing, strutting lie?

Both of the statements are true. And it is Phil's question that is the posturing and strutting. I don't think anyone here would argue that a liberated female society in Iraq is crucial to their long term success.

We can't shove democracy down their throats (Anyone want to argue that we can?) anymore than you can force a horse to drink. But we can lead the horse to water and we can force the horse to the trough. We can use force to create an environment for democracy to take root.

As to the Iraqi women, I would support using more force to try and lead that horse to water. Giving women a more equal footing in that society will ensure the success of democracy in Iraq.

Even our founding fathers understood that both of those statements could be true at the same time. It is unfortunate that you can't grasp that. Why do many liberals see the world in only black and white these days? As I said before, I feel like I am the lone liberal voice in this thread. How weird?

Tad: It doesn't surprise me that you can see no other way to obtain your objectives than by force. Certainly moral authority is not an option for you.

Well atleast I am not alone with my lack of moral authority. Guess who made this comment:

Would I support the use of force to turn things around in Iraq? I have done, and on this site, too. If you think you can take any trumps by assuming you're talking with pacifists, you are on the wrong site, by a long shot.

Mabye, a big fat hypocrite?

Catsy: Frankly, the fact that these are the best options we've been left with by the decisions of the clowns in charge pisses me off with the strength of ten tigers.

May I recommend going to Iraq and acting as a human sheild for some women. With the strenght of 10 tigers there is alot you could accomplish.

I don't think anyone here would argue that a liberated female society in Iraq is crucial to their long term success.

I'm sincerely hoping that you didn't write what you meant there...

We can't shove democracy down their throats (Anyone want to argue that we can?) anymore than you can force a horse to drink.

Tacitus, for one, will (or did) argue that such was possible, as would (or did) a rather hefty contingent on the right, most often citing the Philippines 1898-1945 (the end date's a little fuzzy, I'm picking one of the more common ones) as the archetypal example. I don't believe I've ever seen anyone on the left make that argument, though I'm perfectly willing to be proven wrong on that claim. Certainly, if such elements existed on the left, the word "infinitesimal" seems to summarize them adequately.

IOW, there's an old saying about "motes" and "beams" that seems applicable here.

May I recommend going to Iraq and acting as a human sheild for some women. With the strenght of 10 tigers there is alot you could accomplish.

If we're going to bandy about that sort of callow insult, what have you done for the war effort, DDR?

Anarch: I'm sincerely hoping that you didn't write what you meant there...

Serious typo, huh. Of course I meant women were crucial to the success. I have been making typos all day. Don't know why.

I did my time in the sand box. Alot of my friends and a few loved ones are still active. I support them with my emails and packages that I have sent and my taxes of course.

It wasn't an insult. I think it would be productive if much of the world could unite now for Iraqi women like they united for Hussein. Don't you? But, this time they could do it for a much better cause. That is if they really care about women's rights versus protecting a dictator.

I'm not making any implication about Catsy whatsoever. I am making a general comment about what I think could help the women of Iraq. I wish we could see the same passion supporting women in Iraq as we had opposing the war.

Sadly, I doubt we will.

I for one will be disappointed in this constitution if it doesn't provide equality for all Iraqi's. Disappointed, but not disheartened.

It wasn't an insult. I think it would be productive if much of the world could unite now for Iraqi women like they united for Hussein. Don't you?

In what sense do you mean "like they united for Hussein"?

"Certainly, if such elements existed on the left, the word "infinitesimal" seems to summarize them adequately."

Bout sums me up. Is this the time or place to say why I think women's rights are crucial, or at least such liberation as we have in the West?

Friedman has dealt with the economic grounds, of wasting so much of your human capital in our very competitive global economy. I go further.

If I understand Marxism correctly, an awful lot of energy is spent in analysing the "oppressors", the capitalist and petty-bourgeous classes, with the understanding that those classes are as much victims of the system as the proletariat.

I am not sure if as much energy is spent by feminists in understanding the ways oppressive sexist misogynistic societies oppress and victimize men. One would certainly like to believe the research is out there, and I am simply ignorant.

But in my ignorance, I will simply make assertions. Sexist societies create violent young men. It was no coincidence that Mohammed Atta didn't want women to visit his grave.

Anarch: In what sense do you mean "like they united for Hussein"?

In the sense they tried to protect Hussein's resources.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2693289.stm>http://news.bbc.co.uk

http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030321-023627-5923r>http://www.upi.com

In the sense they tried to protect Hussein's resources.

Good grief. You think that the human shield protesters were there to protect Saddam Hussein's resources? I don't know where you're at, but around here the kind of sh** you're smoking is seriously illegal.

May I recommend going to Iraq and acting as a human sheild for some women. With the strenght of 10 tigers there is alot you could accomplish.

Yet even the strength of ten tigers cannot compare with the strength of my laughter just now.

Seriously. Smarter trolls, please.

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Whatnot


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