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July 28, 2004

Comments

Gee, who could have predicted?

[Deleted first, sarcastic sentence: it's by no means a subject for sarcasm.]

If a person or persons set off a bomb in a crowded downtown area, killing large numbers of civilians, they are terrorists. Doesn't matter what they call themselves - we're in agreement on this one, I trust. (As for example - another attack that killed 62 Iraqis.)

If you are a native of a country which is under occupation by a foreign army, and you take up arms against that army, you are a resister or a soldier: but you are not a terrorist.

One of the many reasons the occupation of Iraq is so f---ing complicated is because there exist both terrorists and resisters, who are being blurred together as if they were an identical unitary group: and while it would be folly to defend terrorists as a lawful resistence to a foreign military occupation, it is equal folly to attack the lawful resisters of a foreign military occupation as terrorists. (Yes, in fact, under international law, Iraqis have a right* to attack US soldiers occupying their country: the job of the US occupation is and always has been to win over the hearts and minds of the Iraqis so that they won't want to. But see Abu Ghraib, and a hundred other follies of the US occupation.)

You do appear to be failing to make this distinction in your post: if this wasn't your intention, I suggest you edit it.

*Please don't claim I want US soldiers to be attacked. I don't. What I want is for the US occupation of Iraq to be run in a successful way so that US soldiers, doing their job, won't be attacked.


closing italics post

I think it is safe to say that the bastards who intentionally kill unarmed innocent civilians are trying to create terror among the population. Hence, the attackers are terrorists.

Now whether the terrorists were insurgents or resistors we don't know.

*Please don't claim I want US soldiers to be attacked. I don't. What I want is for the US occupation of Iraq to be run in a successful way so that US soldiers, doing their job, won't be attacked.


Seems that is happening since Iraqis are the ones being targeted...


I thought the Iraqi's were going to greet the collaborators with flowers too, just like the Occupiers. Is my Neocon Handbook out of date? Surely the Iraqi people are safer now than they were when Bush took office! I know I am safer here in lower Manhattan where our President has not only beaten Al Qaeda but caught the man responsible for my neighborhood's destruction, all the while flooding my city with much needed and promised security funding instead of low threat locales like Wyoming and South Dakota. Why is there this total disconnect where the truth is concerned?

"Yes, in fact, under international law, Iraqis have a right* to attack US soldiers occupying their country..."

But the Iraqi civilians actually under attack are not to my knowledge US soldiers.

"and while it would be folly to defend terrorists as a lawful resistence to a foreign military occupation, it is equal folly to attack the lawful resisters of a foreign military occupation as terrorists"

There is ambiguity in your sentence that I don't understand. I think you are going from rhetorical to physical say 'defend' and 'attack'. Are you saying that it would be folly to 'defend' rhetorically terrorists....but it is equal folly to 'attack' physically lawful resisters? Or are they both rhetorical? Are you suggesting that the US can only attack terrorists but not those who you classify as lawful resisters? Because if that is your reading of international law, I must strongly disagree.

Also, which class do you place the bombers in? Is attacking the civil structure with car bombs ok because the US supports the civil structure?

Yes wilfred, I'm sure that Ba'athists think of common police recruits and other bus riders as collaborators. It is somewhat sad that you do too.

And your comment offers a fascinating disconnect. You suggest that Iraqis are not safer than they were under Saddam--an interesting suggestion in itself--but fail to note that they would be safer if the 'resistance' weren't blowing up civilian buses.

Wilfred, how does your sarcasm help the discussion?

"Why is there this total disconnect where the truth is concerned?"

Yes, Wilfred... I would ask the same question

Who said they would all greet us with flowers?
Who said they would greet those "collaborators" with flowers?
Who has a copy of the neocon handbook?
How many people did Hussein kill per year in Iraq?
How many innocent Iraqis are Americans killing in Iraq?
Are you saying they have done nothing to improve security in NYC since 9/11?
Or just not enough to satisfy you?
Why has U.S. soil not been attacked since 9/11?
Who claimed that AQ was defeated?


Really Wilfred... why is there a disconnect with the truth? I'd like to know.


My guess is that some of them are nationalists and not terrorists, and some of them are desperate or stupid kids in it for the money, but I wouldn't call any of them freedom fighters. Perhaps some of them believe they are, but no good will come of attacks on U.S. soldiers and attacks on Iraqi civilians are far worse. The people who did this are nothing more than murderers.

And yeah, I expected it, but what does that matter now? I've been wrong too--drastically wrong about some things. I hope people don't need to throw that in my face when I denounce murderers.

Sebastian, i completely agree about the fact that Iraqi's are much safer! Why my goodness, my DAR bridge club just bought a 'Euphrates Extravaganza' package to stay in that lovely Green Zona Rosa tourist area this fall. The brochure said we get our own souvenir Kalashnikov upon arrival! What's not to love?

There's an idea expressed here that suggests the people attacking Iraqi targets are "terrorists" in the generic sense. The run-of-the-mill type terrorists that hate everything good and blow up innocent people because, well, that's what terrorists do.

Isn't it much more likely that what we're witnessing in Iraq is either a) a resistance movement by the Baathists who want to return to power or b) the infancy of a civil war? Both of which have much more specific goals than simply reaping tyranny. As if that were some end unto itself that made sense.

I mean, if the targets are other Iraqis, how on earth are these people gaining anything in the "terrorists'" assumed battle against Christians and Jews or against democracy or against whatever ?

Calling them "terrorists" as if they came off the no-name shelf in some discount store does little to illuminate what's actually happening there.

... today's car bomb ought to dispell any remaining doubts about whether they are fundamentally 'freedom fighters' or 'terrorists'.

Today's car bomb indicates that car bombers are terrorists, but we all knew that already. What we don't know (unless there's some really interesting intelligence that someone has access to that wasn't shared in the post) is that the people who built and triggered the car bomb are the same ones who are fighting occupation forces.

They may well be the same people, but I think that taking this act as a fait accompli that they are one and the same is either jumping to a conclusion to support a preconception, or a lumping of all enemy factions together into a cohesive and intellectually convenient mass.

Edward,

I have no idea what a run of the mill type terrorist is.


What's a terrorist in a general sense?
Can you give me some examples these?

If resistance against occupation forces is not terrorism, what do we call attacks on collaborators?

post-wwii, the french referred to the killing of collaborators as "rendements de contes" which translates best as "the Accounting".

Caleb Carr's oped today in the WaPo seems pretty silly. Osama has some pretty fantastic long-term goals, like putting spain under islamic law, and some pretty straightforward short-term ones, like getting the US out of Saudi Arabia. (already achieved) He is waging assymetrical war, with the tools he has available.

Since 9/11, who has killed more innocent civilians, him or us? (yes, i know, we're not trying to. but i saw most of "bright shining lie" on tv late one night just recently. Daniel Ellsberg, who is a friend of Vann, ultimately becomes dillusioned with the war because we started creating terrorists / irregular combatants faster than we were killing them, due in part to the effect of our raids on the civilian population.)

my point, such as it is, is that using the word "terrorism" stifles debate, rather than promoting it. No one is "for" terrorism. So once an attack is labeled as terrorism, the ritual denunications start. but are we making any progress?

think about the kind of people who will be willing to become police in this environment. hard cases, right? how comfortable are we that their loyalty will be to Iraq when the chips are down, as opposed to their religion or their tribe?

ritual denunciation: suicide car bombings are bad. the persons who did this should not go to whatever heaven they believe in.

now that that's out of the way, who did it? why? why don't we know more? why does our intelligence still suck? what policies will successfully bring a majority of Iraqis to support the concept of a unified Iraq? Beats the hell out of me, but i can say with a fair amount of certainty that what we've done so far ain't working so well.

cheers
Francis

Regrettably, I can say there is no Iraqi people yet, but only deluded human groups void of any national idea. Iraqis are not only disunited but evil-motivated, anarchy prone and always ready to prey on their government.

The above is a quote from King Faisal in 1937.
At the time he was dealing with Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. And he was also dealing with the various regional armed warlords whom he paid off for stability.

Seem familiar?

dear mnp (you adorable youngsters and your unisex names!) such a sweet but puzzling response to my post.

Where do i begin? I do belive you asked 'who said they will greet us with flowers'? Why that was our beloved VP Dick 'go FY' Cheney! He said it on video on Meet the Press with that cute Tim Russert. But i know you might be right as video does lie, just like an proper lady's drivers license sometimes does so i just might need to correct my post.

And you are so right (yet again mnp), they have done so much to secure my city! Why we have tons of security and i feel ever so much better and am thinking of moving north towards the Madison Square Garden where most of it seems to be concentrated this August.

Is it enough to satisfy me? why 'mnp', you devil you. A proper gentlemen would never ask that question, you're making me blush. But then with those intitials maybe you could be a lesbian like our beloved VP's daughter Mary Cheney, God help her soul. I do pray for her kind just like Rick Santorum tells me to. Just thinking those 'man on dog' thoughts! I can't believe they publish that in family newspapers.

And last but not least sweet mnp, sarcasm and satire are very different birds. Now i'm off to target practice. We get hunting licenses with our Vacation Package and we hope to bag more Terra-ists on our trip than ducks with Supreme Court Justices!

Edward, "The run-of-the-mill type terrorists that hate everything good and blow up innocent people because, well, that's what terrorists do."

There may be such people, but I don't know who they are or what they have to do with the discussion.

"Isn't it much more likely that what we're witnessing in Iraq is either a) a resistance movement by the Baathists who want to return to power or b) the infancy of a civil war? Both of which have much more specific goals than simply reaping tyranny. As if that were some end unto itself that made sense."

More likely than what? More likely than that they are affiliated with Islamism and funded by Iran? I seriously doubt that it is more likely.

And none of these potential goals are good, right? We have to fight them either way. In World War II the Germans were fighting for their Reich and the Japanese were fighting for a theistic empire, but we had to kill lots of of people from both countries even though they had different long term goals.

"I mean, if the targets are other Iraqis, how on earth are these people gaining anything in the "terrorists'" assumed battle against Christians and Jews or against democracy or against whatever?"

I presume your inclusion of 'democracy' was a mistake since it is obvious how their actions help the battle against that. And there is an interplay between a failure in Iraq and the ongoing Middle East narrative about America's lack of resolve which seems worrisome to me.

Fdl, I don't think it is as mysterious as you do. These are either people who want to reinstall the vicious Ba'athist regime, or people who are allied with Islamist groups.

In both cases we have to fight them. In both cases winning against them will be great for the people of Iraq.

"my point, such as it is, is that using the word "terrorism" stifles debate"

Debate about what? Whether motivated by a desire to reinstall Saddam or by a desire to help Iran or by a desire to install an Islamist state, we still have to fight them. Right?


fdl,

I am not trying to put words into your mouth, but this is how I interpreted your post.

"my point, such as it is, is that using the word "terrorism" stifles debate, rather than promoting it. No one is "for" terrorism."

That seems amoral to me and I can't buy into that.

Actually, there are many people that are "for" terrorism based on their actions. These people don't actually distinquish between the "collaborators". If some on a bus passing by are killed that seems to be okay.


"Since 9/11, who has killed more innocent civilians, him or us? (yes, i know, we're not trying to."

Again, the moral choice not to intentionally kill civilians makes a difference.

The progress is made in helping to define the enemy. I think your real issue here should be with the ones who abuse the term. Not the ones who apply is accurately.

"think about the kind of people who will be willing to become police in this environment. hard cases, right? "

No, not necessarily. I feel confident many Iraqis value their society and want to help rebuild it after Hussein.

I think trying to approach this from an amoral perspective makes the problem worse.

Sebastion,
"We have to fight them either way. In World War II the Germans were fighting for their Reich and the Japanese were fighting for a theistic empire, but we had to kill lots of of people from both countries even though they had different long term goals."

Give me a break and cut out the comparisons to WWII. Iraq had a tyrant leader who was deposed. The rest of the difficulties are in no relation to the US's WWII dealings with organized states and their modern armies.

Carsick, my point is that people who want to kill you don't always have the same ideology. Knowing they have different ideologies doesn't mean that you can avoid fighting them. It also doesn't mean that they will abstain from working together against you.

I'd also like to suggest that our intelligence gathering on secret organizations and groups in this part of the world is always going to be poor. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how much effort or resources we expend.

Many of the groups are extremely small. Familial and tribal affiliations are extremely important. And diglossia is an important factor. Dialects are extremely local and easily identifiable to most people in the area.

This all adds up to organization that are extremely difficult to penetrate by placing your own people in them (not to mention dangerous). And extremely difficult to turn existing members because of the family connections.

I've read quite a bit about our being able to place our own people in al Qaeda. We'll see if anybody makes it past foot soldier. Or more than like we won't.

You could have chosen a better example than two essentially homogenous societies to compare to a country that has at least three major groups with competing ideologies all their own - in country.

To think that we will depose the tyrant and all will magically change the historical grievances and competitions within his country is the height of hubris. "We're bringing them freedom and democracy. Why are the taking advantage of our largesse? Damn them. Kill them all."

I don't believe I said anything about killing all Iraqis.

And is my point less true with three ideologies than with two? Are we fighting the Kurds anyway?

Just out of curiousity... I have been trying to find a transcript of the Russert interview with Cheney about being welcomed with flowers. Now, I have limited skills and time in accomplishing this, but the closest I could find was the exchange below. I have always accepted the flower statement by Cheney as accurate. Now, I am doubting it. I would like to know the entire exchange. If anyone can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.

MR. RUSSERT: People like Ahmed Chalabi, former Iraqis who came in and briefed—you talked about—did they sell us a bill of goods? Did they tell us this would be easier, that we’d be welcomed with flowers, and not the kind of armed resistance we’re being met with?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think they felt—certainly, they were advocates of the U.S. action because they wanted to liberate Iraq from, you know, what has been one of the worst dictatorships of the 20th century, the Saddam Hussein regime. And I see and receive evidence on a fairly regular basis. I mean, if you go out and

look at what’s happening on the ground, you’ll find that there is widespread support.

There was a poll done, just random in the last week, first one I’ve seen carefully done; admittedly, it’s a difficult area to poll in. Zogby International did it with American Enterprise magazine. But that’s got very positive news in it in terms of the numbers it shows with respect to the attitudes to what Americans have done.

One of the questions it asked is: “If you could have any model for the kind of government you’d like to have”—and they were given five choices—”which would it be?” The U.S. wins hands down. If you want to ask them do they want an Islamic government established, by 2:1 margins they say no, including the Shia population. If you ask how long they want Americans to stay, over 60 percent of the people polled said they want the U.S. to stay for at least another year. So admittedly there are problems, especially in that area where Saddam Hussein was from, where people have benefited most from his regime and who’ve got the most to lose if we’re successful in our enterprise, and continuing attacks from terror. But to suggest somehow that that’s representative of the country at large or the Iraqi people are opposed to what we’ve done in Iraq or are actively and aggressively trying to undermine it, I just think that’s not true.


Wilfred,

Your posts are idiotic and inaccurate. I am not young... married with kids. I regret even trying to engage you in an intelligent discussion.

Ledeen, however, is less frivolous. In The War Against the Terror Masters, he identifies the exact regimes America must destroy:

First and foremost, we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the Big Three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips with Saudi Arabia. … Once the tyrants in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia have been brought down, we will remain engaged. …We have to ensure the fulfillment of the democratic revolution. … Stability is an unworthy American mission, and a misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize.

Rejecting stability as “an unworthy American mission,” Ledeen goes on to define America’s authentic “historic mission”:

Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. … [W]e must destroy them to advance our historic mission.

mnp say:

"Again, the moral choice not to intentionally kill civilians makes a difference."

That statement comes close to amorality...9,000 Iraqis, oops, all for a divine cause and all that...right-wing nihilism is still nihilism, man.

You just don't get to turn into some grand reinterpreter of morality to fit your agenda…”As long as we say we are killing and destroying in God’s name (or democracy’s) it’s cool, really, god told me.”

Sebastian
Are you being deliberately naive?
Wars are always about different ideologies.
What is going on in Iraq is an in country struggle among three different factions for future control of the country, not the region or even the religion. You write as though all Iraqi's are a homogenous group and some terrorists are now killing them.
The ideaology shared by the populaces of Japan and Germany was about dominance, invasion and occupation.
Saddam Hussein was a tyrannical leader who once dreamed of invasion and occupation but that was long ago and it would be hard to prove that he had the support of his populace.

As far as the rest about "kill them all" I was reiterating rightwing postings by others to make a point about the results of frustration regarding the Iraq situation. It is far more complex than the pie-in-the-sky planning this administration led themselves and many Americans to believe would bring stability to Iraq and the Middle East.

Sebastion,
Who is "you" in the phrase : "Carsick, my point is that people who want to kill you don't always have the same ideology."
Because I don't remember the Islamic fundamentalists of Iraq declaring war on the US before we invaded. In fact the recent bombings show we're still on their radar primarily because we are still on their turf. The killings will probably continue even if we left tomorrow (not something I advocate by the way). "All politics are local" probably applies here very well unless we don't want to acknowledge the history of the place.

Haven,

Can you cite some instances where we are intentionally targeting civilians?

I'm not redefining anything.

Fighting wars are bad, but sometimes necessary.
Killing other people is bad, but sometimes necessary.

Intentionally targeting civilians is for death is always bad. No matter who does it.

I think we begin to look a bit insincere (at the least) when we organize a media event to remind folks that we didn’t really mean to kill groups of innocent people but were after the evil folks among them. Our intelligence told us there were bad guys in the area and we had to eliminate them, so sorry for that, it’s all done with good intentions … really.

We have knowingly put ourselves into a position that would randomly kill innocent people. At some point we have to realize that we are knowingly killing people. We can no longer hide behind the-naïve-and-innocent-child-with-good-intentions act, we are putting our soldiers into a brutal context knowingly…we have lost this battle…we were led into an immoral act by immoral people using other immoral people as the excuse…we brought this chaos and brutality with us, it is ours you can no longer use Hussein as the excuse for your sins.

Haven,

I couldn't disagree more with your post.

But, atleast I understand were you are truly coming from now.

We look insincere
We knowingly randomly kill innocent people
We hide behind... something
We have lost the battle
We were led into an immoral act
We followed immoral people
We used immoral people as an excuse
We brought this chaso and brutality with us
We can no longer use Hussein as an excuse
We are sinners

Interesting...


...we brought this chaos and brutality with us, it is ours you can no longer use Hussein as the excuse for your sins.

There was no brutality before we arrived? One can argue that "chaos" was in short supply - although I'd find randomly having members of my family disappear forever to be chaotic - but I'll grant this. "Chaos" was reduced under Hussein by his brutality. Were the United States ruling brutally, therefore preventing chaos, would you find this morally acceptable? I wouldn't.

Meanwhile, those who perform the acts of brutality described in this post are curiously absent of sin. The United States is sinful by virtue of not be able to stop the brutal acts of others. Does Iran or Syria get any blame here for supporting various insurgents? No? Why not?

Seems to me this moral calculus is based upon your own desire to remain morally unquestionable by having no involvement in a morally complex situation.

"As far as the rest about "kill them all" I was reiterating rightwing postings by others to make a point about the results of frustration regarding the Iraq situation."

Then take it up with the people who actually hold the positions that you're objecting to.

think about the kind of people who will be willing to become police in this environment. hard cases, right?

Francis, I appreciate your comments but c'mon, wouldn't the hard cases have been the first to sign up? My faith in people leads me to believe that those signing up now are committed to helping protect their people from violence.

My understanding of cowards like those who did this leads me to believe that they are not trying to foment a civil war, but rather entice Iraqis to abandon their quest for freedom for a bit of security.

My hope is that after each blast, the lines to become police grow longer, not shorter. Mohammed at Iraq the model agrees saying this is not the 1st time this happens and the response of Iraqis to such attacks was always more volunteers and longer lines

Sebby seems to agree with the point that, in fact, Bush's Iraq policy has created terrorists aplenty where (arguably) very few existed before.

Instability, not guarding stockpiles of weapons, not enough troops in initial phases of war, failure to adequately 'keep the lights on' and death have built up a resentment and hatred which causes people to do these things.

Thanks for making the point that Bush's policies created more terrorists. I owe ya.

Modifier, alright a lot falls at the feet of civilian leadership within the Pentagon. Who appoints them and where does the buck stop?

crionna: that would be extremely good news. it seems a trite thing to say, but the only way american troops are not coming home in defeat is if ordinary iraqis respond to these attacks by a renewed commitment to a unified and peaceful iraq.

mnp: i reject the contention that i'm amoral. i just believe this war was poorly conceived and worse executed. i am troubled by the administration's refusal to recognize that at least some of the opposition is pure resistance to american occupation, as legitimate (at least in the eyes of the resistance) as, say, french resistance to german occupation.

the reason why I'm troubled is not some pro-underdog moral relativism. the reason i'm troubled is that we do not appear to have a theory of victory. we grip more tightly, and th resistance gets worse. we grip more loosely, and the revolutionaries get worse. that's why knocking off autocrats is hard work. there are so many unresolved grudges. see, eg, haiti and the fall of the Duvaliers.

francis

"Sebby seems to agree with the point that, in fact, Bush's Iraq policy has created terrorists aplenty where (arguably) very few existed before."

Moey seems to think that being a little less cutesy with the nicknames is in order here, folks.

In fact, replace 'seems to think' with 'states'.

I agree with carsick, that this post is simplistic.

My own opinion, is that a significant percentage (minority? majority) of the middle Sunni population is enrage by the change in government. This PARTICULAR population has been "occupied", and is resisting occupation.

I really don't believe that the Sunni population I am referencing is going to be satisfied by the Sunni inclusion in the new government, or satisfied by elections.

Now, I DO believe that the peaceful south, and of course the Kurdish north are not participating in the - you know what? I'm going to call it - civil war. You have an element of Iraqi society that was in power, and now is not, and this element simply doesn't accept the status quo, and are willing to fight, bomb, assasinate, until they are simply spent, or until they are silenced.

The most likely outcome, is the type of bombing we are seeing, continuing for many upon many years.

The only question, and I think it is about 50/50, is whether the current installation of the Iraqi government will be accepted by both the south and the kurds, given the continuing violence that will occur. At what point will these populations declare themselves independent? Or will these populations have a "token" support for the central government, while in reality governing themselves? This is similar to the situation in Afghanistan now, and it is also how the Kurds are setting themselves up.

So again, three situations:

1. Town to town "reconquering" of Sunni areas that believe they should be in charge of Iraq. Again, like all occupations (even the united Iraqi government will seem like occupiers to these Sunni). It seems to me this will inevitably fail - as all occupations fail, long-term.
2. Lip service to the central Iraqi government, with basically independent areas - Sunni, the Shiite south, a Balkanized Baghdad, the Kurdish north, and probably a couple of other independent city-states, such as Fallulah and Ramadi. Perhaps, in the long-term, this will eventually integrate into a greater Iraq, as the illusion of a central government slowly becomes a reality. But this is on the scale of 10-20 years.
3. The actual declaration of independence by various sections of Iraq, and the dissolution of Iraq proper.

I think the most likely scenario is 2 - with a large possibility of 3.

Now, what this means, is this low-intensity bombing and violence continues for the foreseeable future. I can't see an end in site.

You could still make an argument that this is better than a Saddam-or-Uday led Iraq. Vast swathes of southern Iraqis have better lives. The civil war that is being seen now, has been "held in" to a large degree by the brutality of Saddam Hussein. And this civil war could have been much worse without american troops. (and can definitely get much worse.)

By pre-emptively occupying Iraq - even given the violence that has been, and that will continue to be - the US has moderated the Sunni on Kurd on Shiite violence. And have done so, in a way that insures that the oil reserves that are in Iraq, are available to world supplies and world needs.

Yes, this is a far cry from the initial claims of the Bush administration. And this likely outcome is still worse than a lot of the Bush administration is, still, admitting at this time is possible.

But you can still claim that this occupation has:

1. Insured the availability of Iraqi oil in world markets for years to come. And the money from this oil will be (marginally) better spread out among various groups of the Iraqi population.
2. Pre-empted future violence and death in a Saddam-or-son controlled Iraq - whether internally in Iraq by Saddam, or administered through outside sanctions, and the deaths this caused through malnutrition and the like.
3. Freed up millions of people under a brutally repressive government.

Are these 3 accomplishments WORTH, the price? In money, in american lives, in the inflammation of passions in the region?

I don't know. Really, I don't even pretend to have any idea.

But we have to move beyond statments like the "terrorists", and it seems to me there is enough information about those who perpetrate the violence, to make affirmative statements about who is engaged in the violence, and who isn't.

fdl,

I just want to go back and emphasize what I said at the beginning of my post to you.

fdl, I am not trying to put words into your mouth, but this is how I interpreted your post.

I was not at all implying that you are amoral as a person. But, I do think that your approach to this particular use of the word terrorism is amoral. If you still find that offensive, then I apologize but that is how it appears to me.

Now you say:

i am troubled by the administration's refusal to recognize that at least some of the opposition is pure resistance to american occupation, as legitimate (at least in the eyes of the resistance) as, say, french resistance to german occupation.


Well, that comment is really where the rubber meets to the road. That is moral equivalency, but the situations are not equivalent morally.

Again, I can't buy into that. The administration has acknowledged that some of the resistance is from Iraqi citizens. But, no way do I think it is fair to compare them to the French in WW2. Again, that would be equating our actions to those of the Germans and if the administration ever acknowledges the resistance as legitimate I would be greatly disappointed.

It's always fun to watch postmodern right-wingers reinterpret morality and blame others for forcing them to do things they claim they don't want to be doing. This seems to be the foundation of your moral clarity:

George W. Bush, when asked by Bob Woodward "how is history likely to judge your Iraq war?" replied, "History, we don't know. We'll all be dead." (Woodward Shares War Secrets, CBS News, 60 Minutes, April 18, 2004).

Nihilism by any other name would be just as sweet.

Thoughtful post JC.

Moe
My point (certainly not as clear as JC's above) was that Sebastion is a bright guy and his reiterating the idea that the situation in Iraq is about "terrorists" and the US is a simplification that folks not of his intellectual capacity and reasonable attitude use to heighten the rhetoric when the reality turns out to be much more complex.

[As per the Posting Rules, this cut and paste has been deleted entire. This is why they invented hyperlinks, folks. - Moe]

Not anonymous | 07.28.04 - 10:45 am | #
From the angry arab

does this turn off all that bold?

I think I'm going to want a cite for all of that, Haven. If you're going to present something as fact, you'll have to anticipate that someone will ask what the source of the data is.

It's always fun to watch postmodern right-wingers reinterpret morality and blame others for forcing them to do things they claim they don't want to be doing. This seems to be the foundation of your moral clarity:

Personal foul mind-reading. This is normally an ejection penalty, but I'm not an official official.

George W. Bush, when asked by Bob Woodward "how is history likely to judge your Iraq war?" replied, "History, we don't know. We'll all be dead." (Woodward Shares War Secrets, CBS News, 60 Minutes, April 18, 2004).

Nihilism by any other name would be just as sweet.

Which belies an utter absence of understanding on your part. George's whole point was, the historical perspective isn't available until far, far down the road. How nihilistic is that?

Never mind the cite. I've gone to the comments section and looked at the droppings there, and done a little recon of my own:

In its report, Human Rights Watch did not attempt to determine the total number of civilians killed and wounded from March 19 through the end of April. But it cited estimates indicating that there were thousands of civilian casualties, according to the Washington Post Friday.

So, I guess no data; just take HRW's word for it? Might as well go visit iraqbodycount, where the deaths of insurgents as well as civilians killed by insurgents are treated as murders committed by the occupying forces. An honest tally would be refreshing; that'd be something we could actually discuss.

I just don't understand how any of you can think this thread is simplistic! Why screaming "Terra!" is no different here than screaming "Commie!" at those hideous people by our wonderful late Senator Joseph McCarthy. After all, those people needed to be silenced and have their jobs taken away or else my children were going to be spending their entire lives under their school desks waiting for the inevitable Commie nuke blast. Their dirty hands were just itching to drop those babies right on us- thank goodness our own hands are clean there i tell you!

I think you all need to treat this complex issue like I do, with all the reverence it deserves! I mean, how can we even contemplate that some of these people consider themselves 'Freedom Fighters' and 'the Resistance' of their Occupiers or even, God forbid, people involved in the early stages of a civil war- why heavens they don't even have separate uniforms. If Margaret Mitchell were alive today she'd be the first to tell you there are no Rhett Butlers in Baghdad!

Wilfred's evidently turned up to 11 on the snark-o-meter today.

Why Slarti, thank you for proving my theory that all that time swallowing Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Rove means there is no time for Heller, Swift and Rudnick! But something tells me you may have seen O'Rourke at least!

Between, “We don’t do body counts”-General Tommy Franks and Iraqi Body Count, I think we pretty much have made the point of destroying lives to save them. (Burning down the village to save it?) All in God’s/democracy’s name, of course. I am sure the majority of the Iraqi's are glad you volunteered them to sacrifice their lives for God's plan/Arab federalism and good government...and our national security...and economic security...and love and justice (I guess it's a mixed bag to sacrifice for.

Bush's statement concerning history?

You give the Cheerleader from Andover to much credit (or you are in denial); I think he has a very real apocalyptic/fundamentalist Christian view of history/eschatology. Once God’s plan has been revealed to the elect/chosen, the means by which to usher His/God’s divine plan are not the believer’s concern (it would be a lack of faith to second guess what Gad has revealed, don’t you know) ...but he is your Alpha Male and attempting to use a secular hermeneutic to understand him might leave you short.

Don’t forget, there is a difference between traditional mainline Protestants and the new fangled apocalyptic evangelicals.

Jonathan Edwards’ Puritanism (as conservative as it was) was NOT apocalyptic and mystic revelations were always treated with suspicion among most of the elders of the church, especially in political matters.

"Personal foul mind-reading."

Oh and sorry to read your minds...but God revealed this to me...that you all are in desperate need of guiding and I was afraid to doubt Him.

I don't think I've ever seen so much meaning read into such a terse statement. Congratulations. Of course, a little justification (other than arm-waving sufficient to achieve flight) is normally warranted for such things to be taken seriously.

Or, you could continue applying the Inverse Ockham's Razor, if that kind of thing floats your boat.

wow slarti, look at your post. No one can touch you in terms of snarkiness, you are indeed the Snark Prince of Obwi! Pot, Meet Kettle Supreme. Now if we can only train you to tell snark from satire.

Now if we can only train you to tell snark from satire.

Or even self-parody. I'm on the other end of the spectrum from "nuanced", I guess.

Bush said he did not remember asking the question of his father, former president George H.W. Bush, who fought Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But, he added that the two had discussed developments in Iraq.

"You know he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal to," Bush said.

You think his Father taught him history? His other father seems to be a bit of a wimp, compared to his Almighty Father, anyway.

And now we've traveled so far from anything resembling debate or discussion that...........................................................................................................................................................

Sorry, went head-down on the keyboard there.

I got some stuff on St. Augustine's sex life, I found in JSTOR and Muse.

Sheesh, I'm gone half a day and the conversation has drifted into complete incoherence. Why are we talking about evangelicals?

Are the people who bombed in this instance terrorists or no?

Straight answers anyone above?

Hmmm.

You're doing it again. Saying "terrorist" as if there was some generic brand of them.

Enough of this. The question is not are they "terrorists"? The question is who are they and why are they killing people? Or more immediately who are they and how can we kill them?

To label them terrorists when the US is involved not only in a war on "terror" but also still debating whether or not invading Iraq was a good choice in the War on Terror and whether Iraq had any connection to the terrorist actions here in the US is potentially misleading.

They seem to be Iraqis killing other Iraqis. They are using terror in their battle. They are hiding as terrorists do. There seems to be no indication yet that they are associated with Al Qaeda or Hamas or the IRA, ETA, or whatever.


Bur really, calling them simply "terrorists" serves what purpose?

The question is who are they and why are they killing people?

Actually, the immediate question ought to be "where are they"? Who can wait; why can wait even a bit longer.

Ledeen seems to call it "creative destruction" (or is that when we do it?) see, he says, "Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity which menaces their traditions." Anyway, according to Ledeen, "stability is an unworthy American mission' So chaos and anarchy is a breeding ground for "democratic revolutions" that "will advance our historic mission"

He's zany.

The guess is pissed off Sunnis from Al-Anbar province, and a majority of those cities, with a smattering of supporters in other areas - larger support in segments of Baghdad, slim to none in the South.

Again, an incipient civil war, with the last "ruling class" of Iraq. The way the U.S. has decided to deal with it - and not a bad option, given the less than palatable choices - is to give local governance to the main areas of insurgency, and deal with the fallout and bombings that are exported to other areas.

"the conversation has drifted into complete incoherence'.

well i for one am astonished, especially when we started on such a high (horse)!

Haven Perez, it has become clear that you have not in point of fact read the Posting Rules for this site; please do so before posting here again.

Thank you in advance for your compliance in this matter.

"My point..."

OK, carsick, fair enough and nevermind.

Moe

Moe, you're so meta- these days. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you'd grown weary of bickering about politics.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you'd grown weary of bickering about politics."

It's been a long election season. And all the really hardcore stuff starts Monday. :)

Moe,

Sorry for highjacking the thread (it really was unintentional), however it might be wise for the Bush apologist to stop twisting themselves into knots trying to reinterpret his fundamentalist theology, while claiming the theology of the Islamist “is just crazy death cult stuff.”

'Moey seems to think that being a little less cutesy with the nicknames is in order here, folks.'

With your name it'd be just easier to write Moe. Should I have wrote Sebastian instead? Would that have been enough to spur a response to the charge that the Bush administrations policies in Iraq (in particular) are a likely boon to terrorist recruiters?

Excuse my disrespect Mr. H and Mr. L. for using a familiar form of the writers name. I know neither of you. The point is to initiate a relevant debate, one I've been harping on for a while.

If it is easier to say the critique is irrelevent because I called Sebastian sebby, then by all means do so. If not, stand and deliver.

No, the critique is not irrelevant, it is merely wrong. Terrorist recruiters gain more from signs of weakness and retreat than they do from brutality. Know the culture.

I do know that extremist like to bring out the extremist in their opponents, as to by pass those wishy-washy rationalist/moderates within their own group and their opponents group. Diplomacy and discourse is for those with a lack of faith. Action and only action proves they are getting something done!”

Just when you think you’re a brave steadfast warrior king on a mission to spread truth, justice and the American way wowing the darkies with your neat-o GI Joe suits, you actually look like a foolhardy and clumsy child with many dangerous toys and no intellectual capacity to use them. (Plus every one knows you stuff that fake bulge and could never make the team).

And you really wouldn’t know a comprehensive strategy if it crashed into the Twin Towers killing thousands.

The “you” I use is the abstract universal “you” and not the specific “you”.

Right. The 'you' you are using is not responding to any of the arguments brought forward by the actual people writing on this thread.

Actually, the immediate question ought to be "where are they"? Who can wait; why can wait even a bit longer.

That's a splitting of hairs that doesn't clarify. Assuming if you know who they are you can find where they are makes more sense to me than assuming if you know where they are, that is specific enough to keep you from bombing innocent civilians in some attack.

'the critique is not irrelevant...'

As a man with a degree in anthropology who's working on a masters in diplomacy and international relations, I understand about culture.

'Terrorist recruiters gain more from signs of weakness and retreat than they do from brutality'.

This argument, on its face, almost seems sensible. Thus we have the strong autocrat idea of leadership in the middle east theory.

What it disregards is external causation. Stability under a hated autocrat is a bad bargain, but when the path taken leads to chaos and anger at the US worldwide, then you must be certain of the justness of your means and ends.

We are talking about terrorism, the growth or recession of it. You say 'Know the culture'.

A massive footprint of Christian troops in a predominantly muslim nation is expected to do what? Spread democracy, freedom? Disarm a dictator?

I say fine, but understand that actions have consequences. The way the Bush administration has prosecuted the war against Iraq have sowed the seeds of collateral damage and hatred. End result, more terrorists because of bungling the peace. Take it or leave it, but we all have to live with it.

eakao fzuo.

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