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Okrzyki, przyjaciel!

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There he goes again [Jan. 11th, 2006|09:43 am]
Okrzyki, przyjaciel!
"The American people know the difference between responsible and irresponsible debate when they see it. They know the difference between honest critics who question the way the war is being prosecuted and partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people. And they know the difference between a loyal opposition that points out what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right."

I guess it is defeatist to say that we can't "win" in Iraq. We will surely win, just as we did in Vietnam, and just as the French did in Algeria.

And criticizing Bush's conduct of the war in Iraq is bad for morale of the troops. A guy is stuck in a foreign desert, beset on all sides by natives who at best distrust and fear him, and at worst want to kill him, without the proper equipment to defend himself, following orders that put him in harm's way with no real hope of improving things. Hearing that people back in America want him home sooner rather than later probably is just the last straw.

Bush's statement above is a classic example of his doublespeak. Of course we're in Iraq because of Oil, and of course Israel is an important integral part of our Middle East policies. And rather than respond substantively to refute the criticisms of the Democrats, it's much easier to just call them unpatriotic.

And I don't believe we're just there to 'steal' their oil. We could have bought a shitload of oil for a half a trillion dollars, much cheaper than starting a war to 'steal' it. I mean that if Iraq wasn't the third largest reserve of Oil in the world, Saddam would never have become a factor in world politics, and besides, the Neocons say explicitly that turning the Middle East into friendly democracies will provide us with a reliable source of energy. I don't even disagree with that, I just think you can't kill people into democracy.

And I'm having a hard time seeing what is going right in Iraq. You can point to elections, and it's great that they're able to have elections, but the elections do nothing to improve the country's infrastructure, or stop the insurgency, or make it safer to walk the streets. We have failed to rebuild the country, we have failed to make Iraq safe for Iraqis, and we have failed to put the conditions in place to prevent the coming civil war and subsequent balkanization of the country. We haven't even been able to provide our soldiers with the equipment they need to be nominally 'safe.'

All we have done successfully is spend a lot of money and kill a lot of people. The only winners in Iraq are the people that supply the military with the weapons and material they need to fight the war. And those winners, coincidentally are the friends, golf partners, and business associates of the Bush family. And for fuck's sake, if _THAT_ is what this war is really about, why don't we NOT invade, say we did, and simply cut checks to those people? It's a much more efficient and cost effective transfer of wealth.

Worst. President. Ever.

[User Picture]From: clobby
2006-01-11 04:46 pm (UTC)
iraq is nothing more than another cash cow for cheney and halliburton.
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From: elkay
2006-01-11 05:21 pm (UTC)
it's just too depressing for words
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From: elkay
2006-01-11 05:22 pm (UTC)
but you've said it quite well
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[User Picture]From: speicus
2006-01-11 11:12 pm (UTC)
"loyal opposition" -- wow, he just out-Orwelled Orwell!
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2006-01-12 03:16 am (UTC)
"Loyal Opposition" isn't a Bushism -- it's a fundamental idea of stable democracy, and probably goes back a couple hundred years. The idea is that you can disagree about policy, but agree that the political system is not up for grabs. In other words, the opposition may not like you, but they're not plotting a coup.

That's the least objectionable thing Bush is saying there. Of course, his whole political rise has been predicated on character assasination of people who disagree with him, rather than an honest debate over issues.
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[User Picture]From: speicus
2006-01-12 03:19 am (UTC)
Well, if he's implying that the "defeatists" are trying to overthrow the government, then yes, I do find that slightly objectionable.
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2006-01-12 03:35 am (UTC)
I think that we should not have invaded in the first place, and that having invaded, we should have had a realistic plan for the aftermath of the collapse of the Baathist government. Now that's all water under the dam, maybe, but at some point I want Bush to be held accountable for the actions of his government, which in several respects are in my opinion a betrayal of American values, if not outright criminal.

As for what to do now? If I was magically made President here's what I would do:

1. Tell the Iraqis we're getting out of the nation-building business, and that we're leaving as soon as we negotiate with them an orderly withdrawal.

2. Immediate high level action in the UN to start peace talks between all the indigenous groups in Iraq. Try and build a consensus in the UN to 'de-Americanize' Iraq, and if it's deemed necessary, arrange for UN peacekeepers to be deployed.

3. Pull American troops off the streets of Bhagdad and other cities, back to base, and only get involved if A) Requested by the Iraqi government and B) Sufficient forces can be brought to bear to actually restore order.

I'm not sure that we really have a say in how things end up in Iraq. It is quite likely there could be a civil war and a three part partition into Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish states. This was probably an inevitable outcome, whether we took Saddam out or not. There will either be a civil war or not, and it has to do with what the Sunnis and the Shiites are able to work out amongst themselves.

The only way we can prevent it is to stay there forever, spending trillions, killing thousands of Iraqis, and losing thousands of American soldiers. The conflict threatens to be a regional one, with Syria supporting the Sunni and Iran supporting the Shiites. Not to mention the fact that Turkey might get involved militarily if the Kurds declare independence.

We have kicked the hornet's nest. Not only have we alienated the whole Arab world, we've done nothing to lessen tensions with Israel. I don't know what should be done, but I know what we're doing is arrogant, incompetent, unrealistic, and morally wrong.

And what's worse, that's only the biggest, bloodiest thing Bush has done wrong. He's pretty much shit in the punchbowl no matter what the issue is. Way back in 2000, I was saying that Bush's method is to think of the dumbest fucking thing he can in response to any issue, and then go on and do that one shining, dumb fuck thing.

People have complained that I'm too negative on Bush, and that I blame him for everything, but they never seem to come up with anything he's done that's unambiguously positive and effective.
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2006-01-12 03:13 pm (UTC)
Iraq is a once and future mess. I don't think anyone in Iraq knows what would be best. From a Western persepective, it's easy to say Democracy will cure things, but it doesn't mean the same thing to Iraqis that it does to us. When they vote, they vote overwhelmingly in ethnic blocs, because for thousand years their allegiances have been primarily tribal.

It's pretty obvious that a majority of Iraqis want the US out, first and foremost. So we have common cause with them. The problem is getting out without condemning them to more war.

It is possible that if we did say "we've had enough, y'all got to work things out amongst yourselves" that it would give them a great motivation to figure out how to get along. And the fact is that there are good political reasons for not breaking the country up. The Sunni area doesn't have oil, so they want to get their share of benefits from the oil fields controlled by the Shia and Kurds. The Kurds would be isolated and vulnerable, surrounded on all sides by hostile countries. The Shia might have the best shot at going it alone, but they don't all want to live in an Iranian-style theocracy, so a heterogenous country serves their interests as well.

And if there's a Syrian/Iranian conflict, the last place we want to be is in the middle of it. In pragmatic terms, if those two decide to duke it out, it means they aren't causing problems for us.

I don't have the time or inclination to really figure this out, and if I did, no one in a position to change anything would listen, anyway, so it's moot to even discuss it. I just think it's sad and horrible and I want it to fucking stop.
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