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May 26, 2007

Comments

"(Not glad that I didn't update, but glad to be wrong.)"

I should read ahead.

"Jes, that doesn't matter much if we get our troops out of harm's way reasonably quickly. The iraqi troops will have a lot more credibility when we aren't helping them."

That's not the point. Iraqi troops aren't the point. Training isn't the point. Troops and training are irrelevant if there isn't a government with some popular legitimacy that's making national, non-sectarian, decisions. That doesn't seem to be coming along at all. Troops and training are completely irrelevant to this problem.

"At least with shias. And without us interfering the shia government can make some acceptable compromise with sunnis, maybe."

Where do you get that from? What's it matter how many fine troops we train, if there is no decent government?

For obvious reasons, some war-supporters like to delud themselves that somehow if we train enough troops well enough, that'll overcome the problem of no decent government, whereas some war opponents like to delude themselves that if we leave, Iraqis will reconcile and form a decent government. I can't see much evidence existing that makes either scenario remotely plausible and non-delusional.

OCSteve: "Jennifer Grey would be a mitigating factor though."

Not Lea Thompson?

Mm. Even if one sets aside countries such as Vietnam, the case of the Philippines does come to mind.

Which the US conquered in 1891, where the resistance fought on for another twelve years, which remained an exploited colony for an additional twenty two years after that before becoming a client state, and finally became independent eleven years after that in the wake of WWII. And which wasn't floating on oil.

Yup, I'm sure the history of the US in the Philippines will reassure Iraqis.

In the event that the US was invaded by a nation state after 30 years of a brutal dictatorship I would initially hang back and give them a chance to stand up a new democratic government.

No, almost certainly you wouldn't. Said brutal dictatorship in Iraq did not exist through brute force and secret police alone; it existed because the majority of the population was willing to live with it, willing to accomodate it, willing to go along and rationalise it.

Said brutal dictatorship in the US would be the same, probably justified as a "return to Christian values" or "getting tough on crime" or "standing up for American pride" or whatever other justification for fascism Americans would be vulnerable to. And the majority would be willing to get by under it.

And then along come the Chinese or something - Johnny Foreigner who do not speak English, think Christianity is ludicrious, wipe their asses with pieces of grass and spout endless rhetoric about "freedom through socialism" or some other ideological twaddle. They starve your country through sanctions, bomb the shit out of it, and then overthrow the New American Theocracy and install an occupying army in its place.

Now, you didn't really like the New American Theocracy. You didn't like what they did to the Jews and the queers - but what the hell, you ain't a Jew or a queer, and since you kept your head down and prayed in public, the New American Theocracy didn't bother you much. But this bunch of arrogant fucking Chinese soldiers have twice this week busted down your door and turned your house upside down looking for weapons, while spouting rubbish about "socialist democracy" and neo-Maoism - and you think you're going to give them the benefit of the doubt?

"Yup, I'm sure the history of the US in the Philippines will reassure Iraqis."

Nice straw, since no one claimed any such thing, and that topic hasn't even been under discussion.

Since you've commented here numerous times in the past, it's hard to believe you're not aware of the posting rules.

"Yup, I'm sure the history of the US in the Philippines will reassure Iraqis."

Did I say anything about Iraq? Jes had made an extremely broad assertion about the behavior of the United States in general, and I pointed out an exception to her claim.

I have said nothing about what I believe Iraqis feel, or should feel. Please do not put words in my mouth.

PiaToR: "Yup, I'm sure the history of the US in the Philippines will reassure Iraqis."

Gary: Nice straw, since no one claimed any such thing, and that topic hasn't even been under discussion.

Previously...

Jesurgislac: "once the US gets to build military bases in your country, the US will never withdraw. (The one exception, I think, over the past sixty years; Saudi Arabia, 2003."

Jim Parrish: "Mm. Even if one sets aside countries such as Vietnam, the case of the Philippines does come to mind."

You don't believe the question of whether the US ever withdraws from countries it occupies based on history may be relevant to Iraqi attitudes towards the current occupation, which is, you know, the original topic of the post?

If you think I'm assigning you positions you didn't expouse, I apologise. But the US in the Philippines has to be one of the most obvious historical disconnects between American rhetoric and actual national behaviour, and the rest of the world judges you on the latter.

"You don't believe the question of whether the US ever withdraws from countries it occupies based on history may be relevant to Iraqi attitudes towards the current occupation, which is, you know, the original topic of the post?"

Of course it is; but that's not what I was commenting on. That I said nothing about that issue proves nothing except that I said nothing about that issue.

Of course context matters; of course the discussion in general had to do with Iraq. *My comment did not.* If you wish to draw invidious conclusions about my beliefs from my tendency to pick nits about side issues, I can't stop you, but your conclusions are profoundly mistaken.

Oh, and by the way, there is only one "r" in my last name. That, too, I'm picky about.

"You don't believe the question of whether the US ever withdraws from countries it occupies based on history may be relevant to Iraqi attitudes towards the current occupation, which is, you know, the original topic of the post?"

You weren't addressing "the original topic of the post." You were addressing and quoting Jim Parish, and then lectured him about something he didn't say. If you wanted to respond to something in the original post, you could have indicated that by quoting what you were responding to. You quoted and responded to Parish, instead.

"If you think I'm assigning you positions you didn't expouse, I apologise."

This would be more plausible if you'd not first explained why you were entirely justified.

"But the US in the Philippines has to be one of the most obvious historical disconnects between American rhetoric and actual national behaviour, and the rest of the world judges you on the latter."

Which is nice, but irrelevant to the question of whether "once the US gets to build military bases in your country, the US will never withdraw" is a true statement, which it isn't. Which was the only point Parish made.

If you wanted to argue with some other point, made by someone else, including some point in the original post, then quoting Parish's comment and responding to that other point, which he didn't make, rather than responding to his point, wasn't the way to do it.

Gary: Not Lea Thompson?

Dude. Dirty Dancing? Come one…


Phoenician: No, almost certainly you wouldn't.

While I’m flattered you appear to know me so well, I’ll have to disagree here.


Jes: I think you cut me some slack here. I thank you for that ;)

Moral equivalency in the abstract is interesting. In the real world, it has less weight IMO. I’ll swear to you this much:

The next time I invade and occupy the UK, you will not have to cover yourself from head to foot. I promise not to crush you under any stone walls. That whole decapitation thing seems extremely messy to me. I can dress a deer, but that makes me a bit squeamish.

Hell, you can marry whoever you like and adopt children if you like. You can make them from stem-cells in your kitchen sink for all I care.

I will be a most benevolent dictator ;)

Dude. Dirty Dancing? Come one…

Er...

Come on...

OCSteve: Jes: I think you cut me some slack here. I thank you for that ;)

Oh, the virtual spectacle of you belly-laughing over my *buffs fingernails* crack gets you a lot of slack. ;-)

But, seriously, I did feel the conversation had become unnecessarily personal, speculating about what you would and wouldn't do were you part of an insurgency. Given that the speculation had been triggered by you patiently and reasonably answering scenarios that Nell and I dreamed up, I would feel I owed you slack even if you didn't laugh at my jokes.

I will be a most benevolent dictator ;

In the best Quaker tradition, I shall find evil ways to ensure your dictatorship is completely uncomfortable and unsatisfactory for you, while giving you no excuse to respond violently.

Jes: I shall find evil ways to ensure your dictatorship is completely uncomfortable and unsatisfactory for you, while giving you no excuse to respond violently.

Ah well. The best laid plans of mice and men…

For obvious reasons, some war-supporters like to delud themselves that somehow if we train enough troops well enough, that'll overcome the problem of no decent government, whereas some war opponents like to delude themselves that if we leave, Iraqis will reconcile and form a decent government. I can't see much evidence existing that makes either scenario remotely plausible and non-delusional.

Gary, if there are sufficient sufficiently-trained troops, enough of them *may* be loyal to some strongman that he can enforce some sort of order. It doesn't look to me like a good thing, and it doesn't look particularly probable, but I can imagine it might happen.

And if we leave, the iraqi government *might* arrange a reconciliation that they can't manage while we're interfering. I don't see any sign of it now, but then I wouldn't....

Sadr has been talking a good line of reconciliation all along, or at least intermittently. He might pull it off. But nobody who wants to look powerful is going to try it while we're there.

Allawi tried it soon after the handover to him. He announced that he was going to buy tanks, and Bremer announced that the budget was already fixed and there was no money for tanks. Allawi announced an amnesty, and Bremer said Allawi could have an amnesty for insurgents who only attacked iraqis, but there would be no amnesty for insurgents who attacked americans. Allawi announced that he was going to stop excessive american airstrikes. That time they gave him an out, they took him in a small room and talked to him privately, and he announced that the americans had shown him their airstrikes were so precise they only killed terrorists, so he was going to allow them.

An iraqi prime minister who doesn't want to look powerless had better clear anything important with the americans first. But if we weren't in charge, who can be sure what would happen?

I won't argue that things *will* work out when we leave. But I strongly argue that things *might* work out well when we leave. It isn't a sure thing that life will be a lot worse for iraqis without us.

Slarti, would you mind explaining why you can't see OCSteve setting off a car bomb in a flee market?

Dunno. Maybe it's because I can't see OCSteve killing a bunch of innocent women and children in some oddball attempt at fighting back. Because - who knew? - women and children are not the enemy in any foreign-invasion scenario I can imagine.

Probably I ought to have read to the end of the thread before responding, because I imagine OCSteve has some rather emphatic opinions in this regard.


While I’m flattered you appear to know me so well, I’ll have to disagree here.

Again, "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert as a look at human cognitive biases.

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