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December 15, 2009


I left this link at the end of the Jaws thread, probably not the best place. I'm having a hard time seeing how this isn't the death of the current policy.

I'm also reminded of Tom Friedman's crack about washing a rental car. Just as was the case with proponents of the flypaper theory who didn't recognize who the real flies were, here we have a case of someone who can't seem to keep straight who's only renting the car.

Certainly those who've been arguing the need for Afghan escalation to protect/enhance Pakistani stability might want to have their settings checked.

(Sorry to attempt a threadjack. This story d=really does seem important enough).

This is threadjack-worthy.

I've said all along that I remain highly skeptical that Pakistan would turn on the Afghan Talibs that it cultivated, and that it sees as the best means to deliver a proxy/ally in Kabul.

They don't want Karzai in office. He's too close to India. They won't cooperate with a policy that aims to weaken them vis-a-vis India. Full stop.

Under the "More News" section of the NYTimes.com front page right now:

U.S. to Proceed With Taiwan Arms Sales 8:57
Bomber Strikes Near Hotel in Kabul 10:33 AM ET
Deadly Bomb Hits Market in Pakistan 9:32 AM ET
3 Sites Hit by Bombs in Baghdad 11:22 AM ET

We sure providing alot of that world peace and stability, what with our arms sales and wars in at least three separate countries. U!S!A!

Siraj Haqqani maintains an uneasy relationship with the Pakistani Taliban, said Maulana Yousaf Shah, the administrator of the madrasa at Akora Khattack.

Mr. Haqqani believed the chief jihadi objective should be forcing the foreigners out of Afghanistan, and he had tried but failed to redirect the Pakistani Taliban to fight in Afghanistan as well, he said.

I'm sure someone will drop by shortly to tell us that Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are identical, inseparable, and interchangable.

I'm sure someone will drop by shortly to tell us that Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are identical, inseparable, and interchangable.

Yeah, that battle lasted weeks on this site, although it does seem that knowledge has prevailed for the most part.

I've always thought that the 'Saddam and his Sons' is a red herring. Given the state that Iraq was in, I think Saddam's days were numbered and that was the chief urgency for the war. He wouldn't be around much longer - and his sons ? - please, they wouldn't have lasted two seconds.

from the article
Mr. Haqqani believed the chief jihadi objective should be forcing the foreigners out of Afghanistan, and he had tried but failed to redirect the Pakistani Taliban to fight in Afghanistan as well, he said.

I'm sure that it is better to not have presented Mr. Haqqani and his followers with this particular conundrum. And we all know that when people driven by a religious objective achieve that, they usually quietly slip away and don't demand other changes. I'm also sure that the ISI also deserves the space to get all their ducks in a line.

If it's okay to threadjack back to the post, I have no idea what you could possibly like about Shadi Hamad. He starts out with an "undoubtedly true" statement that is stunning in its arrogance and while this makes him a rather typical foreign policy apparatchik (sp?), it doesn't make him worth reading, unless one is interested in the pathologies of people like that. I suppose one should be, since no matter who wins elections people who think like this set policy.

Of course, he posts at "Democracy Arsenal", so one should expect this sort of thing.

The only possible 'mitigating' factor for the war proponents (not involved in the actual decision making) I could see is that few could reasonably expect that it would be that bad. Even I who strongly opposed it from the beginning would (probably) not have believed if someone told me that Bush's splendid Iraq adventure would kill a million plus and turn several times that into refugees. At least not after Rummy had to drop his original shock-and-awe plan (which consisted iirc effectively of a gigantic massacre of civilians by firing 1500 cruise missiles into Baghdad on the first day). In other words I did not expect that more Iraqis would die as a result of Bush's attack than Saddam managed to kill in decades.
Even if removing Saddam from power could be seen as a 'good', everything surrounding it was likely to negate any (or at least most) positive effects. It seemed obvious to me that the intent was to replace Saddam with another strongman (but this time with stronger strings attached) who would do the democracy kabuki but actually sell out Iraq's resources to US based corporations and would allow a massive permanent US military presence (replacing Saudi Arabia that became to inconvenient).

DJ: Shadi is often an interesting read. His hobby horse is spreading democracy in the Middle East. While he is no neocon by any stretch, I think in this piece he let his desire for democratic change get the better of him.

From somebody against the war in Iraq and Afganistan based on its flawed primises, and acknowledging the human suffering post saddam/Iraq war, there is also the problem of the pre-Iraq war human tragedy.

- The mass and systematic persecution of Shia/Shi'ite muslims by Saddam, his party and government.

- The mass ethnic cleaninsing of beforementioned minority group. The mass graves found with bodies stacked on top of each other is no news.

- The rapes of (young) iraqi females, especially virgins, i.e. by Uday Hussain, who had a soft spot of virgins and sought to take as many virginities as possible knowing very well what that would do to the girls and women involved (social ostrazation, humiliation, isolation by family, loss of "honour", and the stigma of "shame" driving many women to harm themselves and suicide). These women were taken from the streets, from their homes, and brought to Uday and others just for the night.

- The consequences of Chemical Ali on his targets.

- Systematic torture throughout 30 years.

- The internal warfare and dictatorship led by Saddam and his men against anybody who was different or defiant for 30 years, 3 decades without the world, and even the muslim world, caring or objecting. Leading thousands of people to flee elsewhere.

All of this has also been well documented in various media.

What is worse then? Better off, I suppose, is subjective.

Wandering: What is worse then? Better off, I suppose, is subjective.

Well, given that Saddam Hussein and the US/UK sanctions caused thousands of people to flee elsewhere, whereas the war on Iraq and subsequent occupation caused millions of people to flee elsewhere, I think we in fact have a pretty objective measurement of which is worse.

Another objective measure: over thirty years, it's estimated that Saddam Hussein probably killed about thirty thousand people. Over six years, the war/occupation killed at least a million people.

Another objective measure: LGBT Iraqis who were tolerated under Saddam Hussein's secular regime, are being systematically hunted down and killed under the occupation.

There are plenty of objective measures that demonstrate life for Iraqis was, by comparison, better under Saddam Hussein than after. But supporters of the war tend to prefer not to think about them.

The US directly and indirectly killed or displaced an order of magitude more people in Iraq in a short time than Saddam did during his long reign of terror. Also predictable threats got replaced by non-predictable ones. In an established dictatorship people have quite a good notion on how to avoid or at least minimize harm coming from the governmnent. The chaos conjured by Chain-Eye/Rummy/Shrub changed that. Now threats to life and well-being come from several different directions and behaviour avoiding harm from one side almost inevitably increases the risk from another.
We should also not forget that Saddam's worst atrocities against the Shiites came after Bush the Elder instigated their uprising and then did not support it and also did not interfere with Saddam's revenge (reasons still not fully clear even today). Talk about the flu replaced by Ebola.

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