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March 01, 2004

GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ....I was planning to write a post about the good news coming out of Iraq recently, but David Adesnik beat me to it. He hit all the points I was going to make, so go read his post and just pretend that I wrote it.

If all this stuff is true, it's good news indeed. My only quibble is with the approval of an interim constitution. It's true that the document the IGC signed off on is pretty liberal, but as Juan Cole points out, that just means no one wanted to jeopardize the June 30 handover by holding things up, so instead they decided to save the real fight for the constitutional convention next year.

Still, once something gets written down it tends to become the baseline for further negotiation, so the interim constitution probably represents some real progress anyway. And getting the oil pumping and cutting down on coalition casualties is definitely progress.

It could all still go to hell, of course. But it's still nice to hear something positive coming out of Iraq.

Posted by Kevin Drum at March 1, 2004 03:07 PM | TrackBack


Comments

Kevin,
what is missing from your post is a diatribe about how everything Bush does is bad, and how everything bad in the world is Bush's (or Cheney's, or Rumsfeld's or Ashcroft's) fault.

Or could it be that if there is good news out of Iraq it can't be Bush's doing, it must be Kerry's (or Clark's or Clinton's or McCain's) doing?

Is your keyboard programmed in such a way that it is impossible for you to put "good news" and "Bush" in the same post?

Posted by: fw at March 1, 2004 03:26 PM | PERMALINK

There's been good news coming out of Iraq for a long time now. It's just that the mainstream media chooses not to cover it.

Posted by: FastNBulbous at March 1, 2004 03:27 PM | PERMALINK

If Chalabi has anything to do with it (and sadly, he does) - then it is most definately *NOT* a good thing.

Chalabi belongs in jail.
As do the people who listened to him, and have now placed him and his cronies in a position of power in Iraq.

Posted by: Occam's Cuisinart at March 1, 2004 03:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I don't quite share your optimism about the interim constitution. Yes, it could become a baseline for further negotiation, but that's a double-edged sword. The interim constitution establishes Islam as one source of law, and says that no law which violates the principles of Islam is valid. As an ultimate compromise, there is some merit in this compromise. But, as a baseline of negotiation, I'm worried what the ultimate compromise might turn out to be.

Posted by: Drew Vogel at March 1, 2004 03:34 PM | PERMALINK

The interim constitution establishes Islam as one source of law, and says that no law which violates the principles of Islam is valid.

Didn't Bremer expressly say such a provision would not be accepted by the CPA?

Posted by: cmdicely at March 1, 2004 03:36 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see what happens. I'll believe it's really good news in a year.

Posted by: tristero at March 1, 2004 03:37 PM | PERMALINK

...and isn't that just proof that we've gotten rid of the secular aspect of Iraq's secular non-democratic regime without getting to the point of elections and getting rid of the "non-democratic" point, which one would think was the higher priority. Or was creating an Islamist theocracy the main goal?

Posted by: cmdicely at March 1, 2004 03:38 PM | PERMALINK

"There's been good news coming out of Iraq for a long time now. It's just that the mainstream media chooses not to cover it."

SO true! That, and some people (no one here, of COURSE) are so obsessively filled with hatred of this administration that they only see what they want to see.

Posted by: Bill at March 1, 2004 03:38 PM | PERMALINK

The interim constitution establishes Islam as one source of law, and says that no law which violates the principles of Islam is valid.

Does anyone know if this means "Islam" or if they're talking about Sharia (of which, Law in the Koran, is a small subset), or if they're talking about including fatwas as well, which means any old Islamic Cleric can write legislation any time they please. . .

If they're talking about JUST the (Islamic) 10 commandments, that's fairly broad and open to interpretation. But many of the tenets of Sharia are simply 180-degrees out of phase with Western ideas of freedom and equality.

Posted by: Occam's Cuisinart at March 1, 2004 03:40 PM | PERMALINK

SO true! That, and some people (no one here, of COURSE) are so obsessively filled with hatred of this administration that they only see what they want to see.

Most of us do not hate Bush. We simply consider him a misguided incompetent who along with his cronies are rapidly wrecking nearly everything they touch.

Posted by: ____league at March 1, 2004 03:50 PM | PERMALINK

League --

Would you say that Iraq is a better place now than a year ago? Most would.
Would it be a better place if Kerry had his way?
No. If any of the Dems except for Lieberman had his/her way? No.

Don't talk to me about wrecking nearly everythhing they touch. Kerry and his crew wouldn't touch anything and hope (Clinton-style) that bad things wouldn't happen. That is a recipe for disaster.

Posted by: fw at March 1, 2004 03:53 PM | PERMALINK

Are you wingers just bitching from sheer force of habit? I'm re-reading Kevin's post, desperately trying to see what you're on about and I just don't get it.

Posted by: Laertes at March 1, 2004 03:55 PM | PERMALINK

Bush bad! Does that make you feel better fw & Bill?

Don't mess with my hatred of Bush little fellows. You don't want to find yourself on the receiving end.

Posted by: filchyboy at March 1, 2004 03:56 PM | PERMALINK

Is it true that the Iraqi constitution will include language similar to that of the ill-fated Equal Rights Amendment?

Posted by: Inquiring mind at March 1, 2004 03:56 PM | PERMALINK

FastNBulbous and Bill --

If "good news" is what we are looking for it's not hard to find, if only in the form of "less bad news": the media have "moved on" and are clearly paying less attention to the continuing deaths and injuries of U.S. troops.

Posted by: Joe Betsin at March 1, 2004 03:57 PM | PERMALINK

fw,
" Kerry and his crew wouldn't touch anything and hope (Clinton-style) that bad things wouldn't happen."

That is incorrect.

You might have missed it, but Kerry actually said that he would not cut and run from Iraq. See Calpundit's post called 40,000 troops.

Posted by: ch2 at March 1, 2004 03:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lets see now.

The invasion of Iraq has cost (ot will cost at least)
--- 550 American lives
--- 165 billion dollars

Results
--- Links To Al Qaeda found -- none
--- WMDs found -- none
--- US credibility abroad -- none


I don't think we can afford many more successes like this one.

Posted by: JonJuzlak at March 1, 2004 03:58 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, a lot of the news coming out of IRaq is a good news/bad news situation. Sunni clerics, for instance, denounced killing of other IRaqis. They said nothing about killing Americans.

One good bit of news though is that the rotation of troops has begun and so far we've not seen an increase in fatalities. This is clearly a vulnerable time for American soldiers -- fortunately the enemy is too badly organized to exploit it.

Posted by: JonJuzlak at March 1, 2004 04:03 PM | PERMALINK

woo hoo!
first post!

Posted by: Al at March 1, 2004 04:11 PM | PERMALINK

We have a pretty heavy calendar of economic releases this week. I’d like to see the following post.

March 05, 2004
GOOD NEWS ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT... I was planning to write a post about the good news about economic growth, coupled with tame inflation and a slowly improving job market.
************

The news on Iraq is a wonderful respite from what we've been reading. I know it can turn on a dime. I remain cautiously optimistic.

Posted by: bad habit at March 1, 2004 04:19 PM | PERMALINK

If you want the real skinny on the interim constitution, head over to Juan Cole.

http://www.juancole.com/

His main point, one which I agree with, is that the parties agreed simply because disagreeing could delay the handover of power on June 30. That is the one and only point all parties could agree on - that the occupation should end as soon as possible.

As Professor Cole explains:

"What has happened is merely that the big fights have been postponed for the constitutional convention next year. At that point there will be no reason to compromise, no urgency, and there will be every reason to poison the well for ideologues who don't get their way."

Of course he could be wrong. But I doubt it.

Saddam kept a lid on ethnic and sectarian tensions through brutal repression. Our approach to keeping the lid on is more carrot, less stick. But this is a difference without distinction.

The bottom line: The parties are biding their time - they will say and do anything to end the occupation. If you were in their shoes, wouldn't you?

Posted by: mkultra at March 1, 2004 04:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Why no thread on the U.S. coup against Aristide in Haiti? It's huge around the world.

Posted by: Timaeus at March 1, 2004 04:34 PM | PERMALINK

Would you say that Iraq is a better place now than a year ago? Most would.

Was this the metric? That Iraq should be "a better place" than it was pre-invasion? Funny, I thought the motivation was to prevent an imminent mushroom cloud over Manhattan. I don't remember Bush going in front of the nation and saying "We must invade Iraq immediately, in order to make it a better place."

Guess I missed that part of his uniting, not dividing speech.

Is this now standard operating procedure? I look forward to the Bush military invasion of California - we have some problems here, and I'd sure like it to get better.

Posted by: craigie at March 1, 2004 04:35 PM | PERMALINK

A few items:

First, the interim constitution is as yet meaningless. The strange position the US has created in regards to the transfer - soi-dsant - has crated strange and not sustainable incentives. The crisis has been deferred.

Second, in regards to the comments on the 'positive' things in Iraq, let me add as an investment professional directly implicated since March in Iraqi developments, that the "good news" arguments are pure shit.

I find it rather discouraging that soi-disant 'conservatives' continue to argue this bankrupt position. In fact there is little positive in regards to substantive developments in Iraq.

Electricity and other services have painfully climbed back up to pre-war levels, but are well below historical hights, and do not meet historical memories in the key urban areas regarding services.

Quality of life is clearly lower than pre-war period - whatever idiotic assertions American Administration apologitsts may advance. Hope it the main factor in current social attitudes, which speaks more to how hated Sadaam was than the efforts of the as yet incomptent American administration in Iraq.

The reality is that Iraq remains a bloody dangerous hell hole, for all that I plan investment options with real, non-theoretical money for the country.

We are not well served by bloody whistling in the dark fantastical thinking. Rather the admission needs to be made that at present policy in Iraq has been excessive short termist, election driven and frankly bloody counter productive.

When persons such as myself do not have to think three times over oin re petty 5-10 m USD investments in real fixed assets, then you know that the "mainstream media" is underreporting progress. Else you have bloody empty minded political spin as one has had in the idiotic positioning since June 2003.

Posted by: collounsbury at March 1, 2004 04:44 PM | PERMALINK

Shoulda known the MBFs would be stinking up the room with their farts after that post...

Posted by: Ras_Nesta at March 1, 2004 04:49 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of California - don't we have nuclear crosshairs painted on us from North Korea? I mean, we KNOW they have missiles, and we KNOW that they have enriched uranium, and the bomb-making knowhow from Pakistan (our "ally") and we KNOW that the west coast may be in their missile range.

So why doesn't Bush invade NK?

Or maybe Bush would be better served if LA and SF got nuked. A whole lot less liberals in this country, eh?

Posted by: Occam's Cuisinart at March 1, 2004 04:49 PM | PERMALINK

This is nonsense. Take a look at http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~stephan/USfatalities.gif. We have no idea yet whether there is a wind-down of the Iraq death machine. The only notable change for our warriors since "Mission Accomplished" was a particularly gruesome month of November.

If in a couple of weeks the slope of the "death curve" decreases significantly, then maybe we can draw some conclusion.

Posted by: Barry Schwartz at March 1, 2004 04:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin
Thank you for a fair-minded and even-handed post

Posted by: Campesino at March 1, 2004 05:03 PM | PERMALINK

fw, etc.: Ease off a bit. I think Kevin deserves some credit for posting this. He could have just ignored it. Ditto for the New York Times, come to that. I understand the piece on the oil was a front-page story.

Posted by: tbrosz at March 1, 2004 05:04 PM | PERMALINK

Barry: Look again. A cumulative graph is always going to go up, unless some people start coming back to life.

Check out this site for a really good profile of casualties, including this graph.

I'm not calling the casualty drop a trend for a few more months, but I've got my fingers crossed.

Posted by: tbrosz at March 1, 2004 05:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, look: the adoption of the Constitution in this country was flatly illegal under the terms of the Articles of Confederation. So we can't really depend on things going our way, as Kevin predicts.

I would love it if democracy for a non-Israel country in the Middle East to work out. But the fact that something is on paper right now means nil.

Posted by: Matt Davis at March 1, 2004 05:11 PM | PERMALINK

Bad News From Pakistan:

"The former senior American intelligence official was equally blunt. He told me, “Khan was willing to sell blueprints, centrifuges, and the latest in weaponry. He was the worst nuclear-arms proliferator in the world and he’s pardoned—with not a squeak from the White House.”"

http://www.newyorker.com/printable/?fact/040308fa_fact

Posted by: Captain USA at March 1, 2004 05:14 PM | PERMALINK

Explain to me why the plight of the Iraqis was so severe that it required thousands of them and hundreds of our soldiers die. Was Hussein a threat to us? Was Iraq a state sponsor of terror? Was there an ongoing genocide? Was there anything that warranted violating their sovereignty?

Remind me again how many soldiers were dying in Iraq before we invaded? In fact, how many of our soldiers were dying every day in any place in the world before Bush decided to put the FUN back in funeral?

Posted by: Lori Thantos at March 1, 2004 05:16 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Lori. There was an ongoing genocide. Ask the Marsh Arabs and the Kurds. And yes, Iraq sponsored terror in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Posted by: tbrosz at March 1, 2004 05:42 PM | PERMALINK

One point about US causalties worth noting here is that it seems like the US has tamped down on the number of major raids. The biggest set of raids carried out was in November, which also saw the bloodiest set of figures for US troops. Now it seems like the US is puttling back, handing things over to the Iraqi police, who are taking the brunt of the attacks.

Posted by: Paladin at March 1, 2004 05:45 PM | PERMALINK

Something Lunaville's Casualty site does not show - unless you look closely- is that February was a terrible month for Iraqis.
I reviewed Lunaville's news items for February and found that at least 267 Iraqis where killed in attacks and 309 wounded.


Posted by: michaelw at March 1, 2004 05:47 PM | PERMALINK

There was NO ongoing genocide. The brutalities against the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs took place years ago. I believe that itnervention is absolutely justified when there is an ongoing genocide (as in 1987 in IRaq), but to suddently claim a conscience over this after 16 years is hypocritical.

Iraq's links to terror groups were minor. Yes, Hussein provided money to Palestinian suicide bombers, and possibly some assitance to Hamas. But Hamas, for all its brutality and murderous antics, is primarily an anti-Israel organization. It has not attacked Americans and is a purely local organization.

Arguably, Pakistan has been a far greater sponsor of terror, and that too of groups linked to Al Qeada ..

Posted by: Paladin at March 1, 2004 05:51 PM | PERMALINK

Anti Israel terror helps to promote all terrorism, especially anti American terrorism.

Posted by: RichardP at March 1, 2004 05:56 PM | PERMALINK

And yes, Iraq sponsored terror in the Middle East and elsewhere.

tbrosz: could you give an example of where, outside the Middle East, Iraq sponsored terror?

Posted by: S wapiti at March 1, 2004 05:58 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, when the most economically and militarily powerful nation on the planet goes from embargoing you economically and politically to serving as your foster-parent, you gotta figure SOMETHING's gonna start to go right.

And frankly, good on Iraq! Those poor people have been living under (internal) political and (US-led) international economic repression for so long, they deserve all the breaks they can get!

(Wingnuts: please note that, because of its evident bleeding-heart liberalism, you are not allowed to agree with the above statement.)

The question is still, as it long has been, when and how will the Shi'ites use their majority status?

Until then, I'm not investing any dinars.

Posted by: bleh at March 1, 2004 05:58 PM | PERMALINK

Something Lunaville's Casualty site does not show - unless you look closely- is that February was a terrible month for Iraqis.
I reviewed Lunaville's news items for February and found that at least 267 Iraqis where killed in attacks and 309 wounded.

It's too bad that Lunaville doesn't tally Iraqi deaths. I'd like to compare the number with February 2003.

Oh, right, I forgot, Iraqis who were tortured to death, thrown in plastic shredders, raped in front of their children, etc., in February 2003 don't matter. How silly of me... Hey, maybe Iraqbodycount counted those people?!? Nope. Checked there too... I guess the only Iraqis that matter are those killed by Americans or as a result of the occupation; we can forget about the rest.

Posted by: Al at March 1, 2004 06:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry tbrosz, just lying doesn't change the facts. The Kurds have long been protected by the No Fly Zones. As to the Marsh Arabs, there is little question that this is a sad situation, but don't you find it interesting that the Republicans never mentioned them until after Bush's decision to go to war? Since this apparently started in about 1993, can you explain the long silence on the part of, to give an example, Dick Cheney? When Cheney was running Halliburton and doing business with Hussein through shell companies, was that because Cheney believed that the best way to help the Marsh Arabs was to trade with Iraq's government? And do you have any evidence that this was going on in 2003? Perhaps you could help out Al, who seems to be under the misimpression that Hussein was blindly butchering his people right and left. Real numbers might tell us something about how much better off the Iraqi people are with thousands dead from the effects of Bush's little adventure.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at March 1, 2004 06:06 PM | PERMALINK

The brutalities against the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs took place years ago.

False.

Here's a Human Rights Watch report:

"The Iraqi Government Assault on the Marsh Arabs

A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper
January 2003
Summary

This Briefing Paper details the ongoing campaign by the Ba'athist government of Iraq against the Ma'dan or so-called Marsh Arabs-the mostly Shi'a Muslim population that inhabits the marshlands (al-ahwar) in southern Iraq around the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Numbering some 250,000 people as recently as 1991, the Marsh Arabs today are believed to number fewer than 40,000 in their ancestral homeland. Many have been arrested, "disappeared," or executed; most have become refugees abroad or are internally displaced in Iraq as a result of Iraqi oppression. The population and culture of the Marsh Arabs, who have resided continuously in the marshlands for more than 5,000 years, are being eradicated.

In December 2002, Human Rights Watch published a policy paper, Justice for Iraq,1 detailing some of the serious crimes perpetrated in Iraq during the 1980s and 1990s. It urged the establishment of an international tribunal to bring to justice the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. This Briefing Paper focuses on one such crime."

http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/mena/marsharabs1.htm

Note the date. Note also the present tense -- "are being eradicated".

Not that it matters. We are only allowed to care about genocide in countries that don't have oil. Any intervention in a country with oil is deemed to be solely for the benefit of Halliburton.

Posted by: Al at March 1, 2004 06:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be fascinated to hear why Saddam's low level support of anti-Israeli terror constituted greater support for terrorists than US ally Pakistan's far more large scale support for anti-Indian terrorists (with links to Al Qaeda) in Kashmir.

Posted by: Paladin at March 1, 2004 06:10 PM | PERMALINK

Its so easy to expose the lies of Al and his ilk.

Here is what Human Rights Watch has to say about IRaq and the morality of Invading Iraq on human rights grounds. http://hrw.org/wr2k4/3.htm#_Toc58744952

"Brutal as Saddam Hussein’s reign had been, the scope of the Iraqi government’s killing in March 2003 was not of the exceptional and dire magnitude that would justify humanitarian intervention"

"Human Rights Watch accepts that military intervention may be necessary not only to stop ongoing slaughter but also to prevent future slaughter, but the future slaughter must be imminent"

"But on the eve of the latest Iraq war, no one contends that the Iraqi government was engaged in killing of anywhere near this magnitude, or had been for some time.",

Its pretty direct, don't you agree.

"Not that it matters. We are only allowed to care about genocide in countries that don't have oil."

We are and should care about genocide everywhere. What we're not allowed to do is to suddenly wake up to a genocide that occurred 10 years or 16 years ago and to suddenly shed crocodile tears over the use of chemical weapons 16 or 20+ years ago and use it to justify something we're doing for our own reasons.

Posted by: Paladin at March 1, 2004 06:19 PM | PERMALINK

Al wrote: " guess the only Iraqis that matter are those killed by Americans or as a result of the occupation; we can forget about the rest"

Al, dear heart, if you actually possessed a brain, you might be able to see the connection that was clearly made above: that the U.S. is losing fewer men solely because it is pulling them back out of vulnerable positions and letting Iraqi forces take over.

If the situation were still volatile and the violence continuing, you would expect to see an increase in Iraqi deaths, which is precisely what was reported above. Hence, the so-called good news may, in fact, not be good news at all.

Now if you'd actually like to address that point instead of committing your usual act of verbal diarrhea, we'd be simply fascinated to read your rebuttal. As it is, you're just making yourself look foolish but, hey, what else is new?

Posted by: PaulB at March 1, 2004 06:22 PM | PERMALINK

And while you're at it, Al, dear one, you might want to actually try to reinvestigate that little allegation about the Marsh Arabs, since the excerpt you posted proved not one damn thing.

If 50 Marsh Arabs had been killed in 2002, you could still legitimately say they "are being eradicated," but few would think that that figure rises to the level of genocide.

Put some numbers on it, dear heart, and we'll take you seriously.

Posted by: PaulB at March 1, 2004 06:26 PM | PERMALINK

Its so easy to expose the lies of Al and his ilk.

Here is what Human Rights Watch has to say about IRaq and the morality of Invading Iraq on human rights grounds.

Actually, that's the opinion of one person in HRW, not of HRW itself.

Nevertheless, the evidence is NOT proferred for whether HRW believes that the invasion was justified or not; the evidence is proferred for the existence of the facts on the ground that genocide was existing and ongoing in Iraq in January 2003.

I believe HRW's assertions about facts on the ground; I would not trust HRW's moral calculations farther than I could kick them.

The facts on the ground are that there was an ongoing genocide against the Marsh Arabs in January 2003. You and Mr. Roth may not believe that ongoing genocide justifies an invasion (Apparently, in Mr. Roth's opinion, genocide does not justify invasion, so long as the genocide is not of "exceptional and dire magnitude".) I do believe that such ongoing genocide justifies invasion.

Posted by: Al at March 1, 2004 06:33 PM | PERMALINK

If 50 Marsh Arabs had been killed in 2002, you could still legitimately say they "are being eradicated," but few would think that that figure rises to the level of genocide.

Really? I guess if you are on the tail-end of the 210,000 Marsh Arabs who were arrested, "disappeared," executed, or become refugees, you don't count any longer. I guess then, by your logic, Hitler's problem was that he didn't move fast enough... if here were down to the last 50 Jews, you couldn't call it genocide any more!

Posted by: Al at March 1, 2004 06:38 PM | PERMALINK

you would expect to see an increase in Iraqi deaths, which is precisely what was reported above

Nope.

A number of Iraqi deaths was reported. Whether it was an increase or not was not reported.

Posted by: Al at March 1, 2004 06:43 PM | PERMALINK

I loathe Bush. He is a toad, look it up.

As far as the good news goes, I am ecstatic, and my sister will be too.

Her son arrived, right in the tri and we haven't heard jack squat.

A Document, fuel and electricity.

Now rid the place of contempt, hatred and those that force their will upon others and I might just believe my Nephew will get out of there with all limbs and brain intact.

Thanx, Juan Cole wasn't nearly as optimistic; understandably cautious I suppose.

Either way, stainface is a toad, and NOTHING will ever change what history will show, for years and generations to come.

Posted by: rf at March 1, 2004 06:50 PM | PERMALINK

Actually the problem isn't Iraqis killed by Americans, or Americans killed by Iraqis, but Iraqis killed by Iraqis. The real threat there is not that some massive uprising will decimate the US army, or that the US will wantonly firebomb tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. The real threat is that heavily armed Iraqis will use every method of intimidation in the book to get their way. So far this last month it's meant car bombings in Irbil to screw the Kurds, car bombings outside police stations to kill both pro-US policeman AND civilians looking for work with the pro-US administration, continued shootings of intellectuals, revenge killings in the South, sectarian violence between Turkmen and Kurds, ongoing kidnappings related to God knows what political or apolitical cause, etc. These are the things that will define whether or not Iraq is stabilizing. Unfortunately Lunaville does not address those deaths, only the more politically relevant deaths of Americans. I don't take any comfort from the Lunaville facts alone. And considering Juan Cole's analysis of the interim constitution - kicking the substantive issues down the road - I don't take much comfort from that either. The good news is a long long way off, if ever.

Posted by: Elrod at March 1, 2004 06:55 PM | PERMALINK

I do believe that such ongoing genocide justifies invasion.

Al, could you give us a list of the nations the US should invade. Please start with the places where there is the most need and work your way down. Oh, and just because it would be instructive, please place Iraq circa 2003 at the appropriate place in your list.

Thank you.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at March 1, 2004 07:07 PM | PERMALINK

Are you wingers just bitching from sheer force of habit?

they're just reflexive liberal-haters. pay them no mind, for they have no use for it.

Posted by: ChrisL at March 1, 2004 07:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yes that is good news about the oil being pumped up to pre-war level.

Now I won't feel so guilty about leaving the refrigerator open in my SUV.

Is this the best Doonesbury comic ever...or what?

I guess it is good news...if you consider trying to sustain the unsustainable for a few more years good...rather than a tragedy.


Posted by: -pea- at March 1, 2004 07:38 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, that's the opinion of one person in HRW, not of HRW itself.

Research and comprehension not being among Al's strong suits, I took it upon myself to discover just how much HRW was dissociating itself from this paper and, surprise, found that it was part of HRW's 2004 World Report. That marks it as something remarkably different from what Al claims; apparently this document was sanctioned by the HRW organization. Oops.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at March 1, 2004 07:41 PM | PERMALINK

Paladin,

Just out of curiosity, would you have supported an invasion of Iraq in the mid-1990s, when the Marsh Arabs were being exterminated?

Posted by: Michelle Dulak at March 1, 2004 07:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Would you please notice that what this article talks about is oil PRODUCTION? Ask yourself, what is good about oil production if the oil can't go anywhere? Is the Ceyhan pipeline open? No. No oil out of the north is going anywhere. If you can't transport the oil you may as well leave it in the ground.

Have you ever heard the word "reinjection?"

From the Forbes, 2-23-04

"We are seeing regular attacks around the pumping station and further north in Hadar," said a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He was referring to the IT-A1 pumping station near the village of Makhul in northern Iraq, an area littered with Iraqi rockets and other arsenal destroyed by U.S. bombardment a year ago.

Iraqi oil officials had hoped to restart the northern pipeline by the end of March. The line carried 800,000 barrels per day north through Turkey, before the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein last year.

The pipeline starts in the Kirkuk oilfields, crosses a mountain range and the main highway to Turkey before reaching the pumping station.

Issa Hussein, manager of a local petrol station on the highway, said the last explosion he saw was around 10 days ago.

"The resistance fighters are daring, but they are losing support by sabotaging the infrastructure," Hussein said.

Iraq is reinjecting as much as 400,000 bpd of Kirkuk back into crude reservoirs because it cannot export the oil.

Currently the pipeline from Kirkuk to Doura is on fire and has been for the past two days. The only export facility is in southern Iraq, in the Gulf.

It would be nice to believe that something good is happening in Iraq, but I think that's unrealistic at this time. Sistani hasn't said anything about this "interim law" and neither has al Sadr. It's all ducky that the Puppet Council has copied down Bremer's instructions, but remember that very few iraqis consider the puppets to have any legitimacy at all.

Posted by: tex at March 1, 2004 07:55 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz writes: "Barry: Look again. A cumulative graph is always going to go up, unless some people start coming back to life."

Why do you think I refer to "the slope of the 'death curve'" (emphasis added)? If the cumulative death toll forms a straight line, it means that you are experiencing a constant rate of death. Constant means no improvement.

Most of the ups and downs (in slope) are merely "chatter", to use a term favored by that murmuring man-ape Dick Cheney. The only obvious deviation since "Mission Accomplished" was an increase in slope around November. We have yet to see whether the latest changes represent a decrease in slope or just more chatter. Crossing your fingers won't help a bit.

Posted by: Barry Schwartz at March 1, 2004 08:07 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, when you said, "constitutional convention," my first thought was a bunch of states trying to ratify the gay-bashing amendment.

Posted by: John G at March 1, 2004 08:27 PM | PERMALINK

Great work, Palladin and PaulB and Elrod and others in combatting tbrosz and Al; michelle, "exterminated" is the wrong word to use for the Marsh Arabs, but to be perfectly honest, no, i do not regard it as the duty of america to intervene in every case of attempted genocide.

The purpose of american foreign policy - and the use of american blood and treasure - is in support of american national interests.

I want the world to take every case of genocide as strongly as the friends of the iraq war take the Marsh Arabs (and in their bolder moments, the Kurds 12-13 years ago), but that's not what michelle is asking.

PS. Yes, Al, iraqi casualties at the level of police and security forces are definitely going up....

Posted by: howard at March 1, 2004 08:29 PM | PERMALINK

Does the Iraqi constitution include an amedment to BAN gay marriage?

--

PS: I don't believe ANYTHING the Bush criminal empire says, does, publishes, or supports.

Lokk over there... it's GAY MARRIAGE! it's JJ's TIT! it's the attack of the immigrants from Mars.

Posted by: Jay R. - Oregon at March 1, 2004 08:56 PM | PERMALINK

feh.

how would you feel about a clause in the US constitution prohibiting contradiction of Christianity?

and the Turks are going to love that Kurdish autonomy.

Sounds like another Republican-orchestrated circle jerk to me.

Posted by: xfrosch at March 1, 2004 09:59 PM | PERMALINK

HMR -
" The despotic and abusive rule of Saddam Hussein is gone, and Iraqis today can express themselves without fear of arbitrary detention, torture, or execution. Political parties and civic associations have emerged quickly, and many of the new associations are dedicated to one or another aspect of a larger human rights agenda, such as documenting cases of the “disappeared” or safeguarding and cataloguing documents of the myriad security agencies that were the infrastructure of Ba`thist repression. But the rule of law has not arrived, and as of this writing, seven months into the occupation, the country is still beset by the legacy of human rights abuses of the former government, as well as new ones that have emerged under the occupation."

Al and Lori-
It seems that you both are guilty of picking what you want to make an argument. The HRW report above more accurately reflects the reality. Human Rights are better, but the situation is resulting in problems, not all the making of the US. If you read the report the list of HR violations is not a systematical taking of rights as previous regiem, they are soldiers actiosn that result in civilians lives lost. Yes this us opening the debate of war is hell and innocents die. If we weren't there it wouldn't be happening.
By the way saying that the genocide is over is not really an argument when the survivors were enslaved and living with no human rights in squalor in Saddam City. That is like saying that once the Jews were in the ghettos in Warsaw, the problems ended because they weren't being gassed.

Posted by: sinop85 at March 1, 2004 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

cuisinart:

I don't believe that LA or SF are credibly within range of an NK missile threat.

Anchorage, maybe. Worst case in the Dear Leader's wildest fantasies, Seattle.

This is all pretty much academic, though. They can quite credibly threaten Tokyo, and that's plenty bad enough.

Posted by: xfrosch at March 1, 2004 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

An avid sports fan, I drop in on a number of college message boards for the fun of it. A fairly high percentage of the threads, no matter how innocently they start, devolve into comments on how the team and fans of School A sucks, followed by flames from trolls contending that School B's cheerleaders have mustaches, rejoined by clippings about the latest arrests of School A's athletes, countered by the manly shout of "scoreboard" (meaning School B beat your sorry ass 23-21 last year), with that dismissed by the recounting of a terrible holding call in the 2nd quarter --- but for which School B would not have scored, etc., etc.

As I read through this thread I have that same feeling; it also reminds me of preteens fighting in the backseat of the car on a long trip.

Kevin: good for you. You pointed out something worthwhile in a mature way. That is, when the NYTimes (not a favorite of conservatives or Bushies) reports on some things relative to actions and outcomes of the administration in a relatively "positive" way, it is noteworthy. I will file that away as worthwhile information.

Now, we all have our reasons for being tempted to twist and spin the fact that the reporting happened) one way or another. But why bother? Some are saying, "premature" for this and that reason; some are saying "about time." Some are saying, "there is reason to remain doubtful"; some are saying, "remarkable progress considering the earlier events." Fine.

But I will take the report on the report for what it is. Possibly a sign that progress is being made. And I will keeping watching and listening and reading, to see what happens next. I think this is a time to suspend judgement, be skeptical if you want or must, and find out what happens next --- not only in Iraq but in other places whose politics and strategies are being affected by our actions in Iraq and elsewhere.

My opinion, worth about 2 cents, is that we have all kinds of trend lines, and course changes, and tea leaf configurations to pay attention to in the next few months. And I see little to be gained by using every phrase as a launching board for celebrating, bashing, pouring salt on the wounds or gas on the fire. Let's see what we shall see.

Instantaneous judgements, in your-face-celebrating and taunting, and knee jerk emoting and reacting are characteristics of our society. But they are hardly the most admirable ones.

Posted by: Terry Ott at March 1, 2004 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone actually read the article instead of posting to Adesnik. The "attacks cut in half" line has been used for the last three months as well. Doesn't anyone remember this. The pre-war electricity claim has been used before as well. The Sunni dictate came around the December/January timeframe. This is nothing more than a bunch of PR wrapped up as "good new," If anyone is following closely, you realize that the "Iraq Success Story" is on a loop cycle. What a bunch of crap. Want to know why there are fewer coalition attacks on Americans and more on the Iraqis? Becuase the Americans have cut their operations by half. They cut patrols by half and they are moving towards larger bases in the countryside. I knew that this comment from Sanchez was in the making about the insurgents attacks going down. Remember folks, it's an election year and George and crew sure don't want to the sight of a few flag draped coffins to distract them.

Posted by: GB at March 1, 2004 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

paladin (et all)-
The genocide of 10-15 years ago is relevant. Iraq was a threat to world peace. The reason fundamentalism is so rampant is that the people that live under the dictors have lost hope. They have been denied any education, right to express, or right to even dream. Their only information they received was from their 'leaders' telling them that it is all America's fault. This is a pattern of dictators always. Hitler blamed Jews, Stalin blamed capitolist; Galligula blamed Eqypt, Egypt blames Israel, Israel blames Arrafat. As long as they control the peoples hopes, they can turn that anger into actions. Once the Gulags were full in the USSR they did not need to send more, only have the threat. Once the killing fields are known, people will become sheep in order to survive.
The lost of hope and information raised a generation that had serious people wanted to kill Americans by the thousands, by the millions if possible, and they were being funded and sheltered by hostile governments. Post 9/11 there was a reality that police actions were not going to work. In order to beat those dictatorships and hopelessness, America would have to create a new reality on the ground in Islamofascism's breeding ground. That's why Phase I was Afghanistan -- to specifically go after al-Qaeda -- but Phase II had to be Iraq. We had troops there, and the West was a laughing stock to the un-educated masses in the ME, and elsewhere, that Saddam was a hero.
Can America expect to change the world in 45 days? No, that is why the constant discussion of the long haul.
Now, I am not saying that the US; France; Germany, Russia, or any country is guilt free from planting and growing these dictators. But we have a reality in front of us that must be addressed. Should we have turned our back on the problem, as it was 10-15 years ago? Do we need to win back trust that was lost by failure to support after GW-1, Somalia, Beriut, Iran hostage (did I equally slam both Dem and Rep Presidents?) Yes! Should we expect a whole generation raised on propoganda (with no access to counter propoganda avialable) to suddenly see the light?
It takes time. Read the CPA website. (Yes it is heavy propoganda-but there are good thing to read. Truth in the elec and gas production; Boy Scout troops forming; woman right groups; schools)

Posted by: sinop85 at March 1, 2004 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

sinop85, I offer you the same deal I give all conservatives who've suddenly discovered the notion of human rights as a justification for war. Who should Bush go after next, and why was Iraq more important than any other target. Until you can answer those questions you are as guilty of picking what you want to make an argument as any here.

Anyone promoting the notion that the genocide of 10-15 years ago is relevant today, or that Iraq was a threat to world peace must answer why the real time response of those who have declared this an emergency was to a) do nothing, or b) trade with Iraq. That's why no liberal trusts Bush and Cheney to do the right thing – when it made them money they were happy to work with Hussein.

As to the notion that Iraq was the next step, this is laughable. There were two reasons to go to Iraq: Hussein tried to kill Bush's daddy, and it was the weakest enemy we could find with an Arab face. A dozen years of sanctions guaranteed that the world's largest army would have no trouble eliminating such a modest threat. The only real danger was that Hussein might actually have some kind of spoiler weapons – but the Bush team had to know that the odds of that were pretty low. After all, they had real intelligence reports, not merely the crap they fed the public.

Invading Iraq did not give hope to the hopeless. It merely proves that America can't be trusted to deal honestly with its own people, let alone the rest of the world. It proves that America is the single greatest danger to world peace, and that the might of the world's largest army is in the hands of dishonest madmen. The invasion of Iraq proves to the Arab street everything they ever feared about America. And I don’t have to believe everything they do to see how this action looks.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at March 1, 2004 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

For an in-depth commentary on the Draft Iraqi Interim Constitution, please take a look at:

http://worldonfire.typepad.com/world_on_fire/

Posted by: Rickfman at March 1, 2004 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, yeah, things are going just great:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/3524589.stm

Posted by: Mike at March 2, 2004 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect that the "good news" is going to keep on coming for the next ten years, if past U.S. occupations are any guide. I do suspect, however, that attacks against U.S. soldiers will continue to decline until the day we pull them out in April 2013 in order to hand the reins over to a secular Sunni dictator, in a repeat of the Hayes-Tilden Compromise of 1876 which eliminated voting rights for the majority of Southerners (the black majority -- remember, the Shiites are the darkies of Islam) in order to re-install the Confederacy (as long as it pretended to be part of the United States and pretended to no longer have slavery). We don't want the (majority) Shiites to elect their mullahs to power, after all.

Note that my perspective here is as a student of history, not as a partisan of any particular political party. And before someone brings up the examples of Japan and Germany, a) they surrendered, and b) they were democracies before dictators seized power in the 1930's, we re-instated democracies, we didn't try to bring democracy to lands with no history of democracy. How many U.S. soldiers died due to enemy action in Germany after the surrender? 0. How many U.S. soldiers died from enemy action in Japan after the surrender? 0. How many U.S. soldiers die every month in Iraq due to enemy action? Approximately 30, one a day, so far... the situations are nowhere the same.

Posted by: BadTux at March 2, 2004 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Following up the story from the BBC a couple of posts ago...

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/03/02/sprj.nirq.main/index.html

The conveniently-ignored metric in the Oxblog post was the escalation of attacks on Iraqi policemen and 'friendly' civilians. The commando-style attack on the police station a few weeks ago was unprecedented tactically. This attack was very worrying to people around town.

Also, I get the sense from talking to people who have returned from the civilian posts over there that it isn't going as well as indicated. This administration (and by extension the CPA) sees PR rather than spade work as the sine qua non of good government. If Oxblog wants to buy it, fine, but Kevin you're smarter than those whippersnappers.

Posted by: cb at March 2, 2004 01:17 AM | PERMALINK

yes things are just hunky dory in Iraq, especially for ordinary civilians, women and children....
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040302/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq&cid=540&ncid=716

A series of coordinated blasts struck Shiite Muslim shrines here and in Baghdad on Tuesday as thousands of pilgrims converged on the climactic day of the sect's most important religious festival. At least 81 people were killed and dozens wounded, hospital and police officials said.

Posted by: AKR in NYC at March 2, 2004 04:45 AM | PERMALINK

It's as if the bomber fuckers in Iraq were reading this blog. At least 50 Shiite killed on one of the holiest days of the calendar. The civil war continues. And yes, it is a civil war. Let's not pretend it's something else.

Posted by: Elrod at March 2, 2004 05:13 AM | PERMALINK

Have you seen the pictures of the attacks on Shiites today?

Posted by: Bob H at March 2, 2004 05:31 AM | PERMALINK

There's an old Army adage that says you can't polish a turd. After following the war in Iraq for the last nine months and blogging about it every day, our so-called Iraq policy remains a mess. Oil production is up? Big deal. Bremer forecast oil production levels would reach pre-war levels in September. The statement about restoring electrical power is pure rubbish. The CPA has provided power to Baghdad only by diverting juice from other areas. As for the interim Iraqi constitution, let them run it up the flagpole and we'll see who's still saluting it a year from now. Negotiations between the IGC and the CPA on a status-of-forces agreement for US troops after June 30th have broken down completely.

You can't polish a turd, although some people still try.

Posted by: yankeedoodle at March 2, 2004 05:38 AM | PERMALINK

Hundreds of Americans dead.

Hundreds of billions spent.

Military tied up, so we have no credibility elsewhere (N. Korea, Pakistan, Iran, etc.).

Worldwide reputation shot.

Nuclear proliferation rampant.

Country bankrupt.

Iraqi civil war, with no reason for optimism / no plausible end-game.

Slaughters in the past? Thank Reagan & Bush I. Cheney & Halliburton, Rumsfeld, etc.

Huzzah for BushCo!

Posted by: MattB at March 2, 2004 05:44 AM | PERMALINK

The pictures from Iraq are heartbreaking. Notice also that a similar attack happened in Pakistan. Sunni Fundamnentalist terrorism is, unfortunately, alive and well. Multiple, coordinated attacks, designed for maximum fatalities. The faces of the mourners tell it all. Awful. Just awful.

Posted by: Elrod at March 2, 2004 05:48 AM | PERMALINK

50-80 people dead this morning.

CAUCUSCAUCUSCAUCUSCAUCUSCAUCUS!!!!

Lick me raw GWB!!!

Posted by: perpwalk at March 2, 2004 06:12 AM | PERMALINK

what do all the trolls and bush cheerleaders have to say about this. This administration has to go and i can't wait to cast my primary vote today.

"Corpses of women in black veils and the long robes worn by Shiites were laid out in the morgue. Outside, frantic Iraqis slapped their cheeks in grief and anger, searching the chaos for missing friends or relatives. American military helicopers circled overhead at the shrine and the hospital.

Iraqis waited for word of the dead, some doubled over in grief as it filtered out. "He's gone, he's dead," said one. Rough-hewn wood coffins were loaded onto pickup trucks."

Posted by: akrnyc at March 2, 2004 06:25 AM | PERMALINK

since the invasion was all about oil, I guess you're right - great news...and since the mission is being accomplished, we can all forget about all the nasty little side affects that don't really concern us since we will be getting our precious oil:

Bring ‘em on: 30 dead in five bombings at Karbala shrine.

Bring ‘em on: Bomb at Shi’ite mosque in Baghdad kills 75.

Bring ‘em on: Kurdish militia attack Turkmen ITF offices in Kirkuk.

Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded in Baghdad ambush.

Iraqi insurgents promise to continue attacks against Iraqis working with US.

Posted by: oil-r-us at March 2, 2004 06:55 AM | PERMALINK

Won't you America-hating lubruls ever learn? This is just a sign that there will be fewer terrorists to kill us over here!

Posted by: Al at March 2, 2004 07:27 AM | PERMALINK

Lori-
I did not say that there is a direct correlation of the raising sympathy to justify direct intervention. Nor, does this mean that we need to make a list of where to go next. What I said was that the genocide was part of a pattern and therefore, is relevant. I think that if you read the Iraqi blogs, pro and anti-occupation, what they distrust is that America, and the world, turned their backs during the genocide, and this is something that needs to be corrected. Once there is an example of where the west has raped these countries and makes a stand to the people, not the Governments then hopefully our actions will be able to stand behind our word. That is what America is suppose to be about. The people have been subjaceted to tyranny since the Europeans split them into artiffical countries and robbem them blind upon 'discovering' their land. So the answer to your question, is that I don't see another Iraq on the horizon. Nor do I see the need to make a list. Nor do I see to make up silly accusations such as Bush is avenging his Daddy (do beleive that trying to assasinate a President is a pattern of recklessness), or he is prejudiced against Arabs (do believe that there is a world stance that Saddam was a bad man, and the world was wrong to support him), or that this is done so that Haliburton can make money (if Haliburton didn't get the contract, who should have? There are only two significant OFS companies in the world HLB (80% of oil drilling and infrastructure building) and Schlumberger (85% of oil field management), and Schlumberger has spent the past 5 years getting out of infrastructure to focus on reserve management)
Since I answered your question, please answer one for me. What would you do if you were President, continue to react to terrorism and go after the symptoms (specific terrorists) or go after the cause?
I am writing this post the bombing this morning, that happened at a religous ceremony that has been banned for 35 years. I see several posts that implied this would not have occurred if it weren't for the Americans being there. True, because the major religous celebration of the majority of the people had been banned by Saddam. The people in the parades were celebrating what they have longed for, and were vicously attacked and killed. What were the bombs trying to destroy, the people or the hope that they were having for a future? It bothers me to see them, especially after seeing the pictures of jubilation from the past 7 days of the celebration. (I do look at the good and bad news in order to try and form my opinions of situations)

Posted by: sinop85 at March 2, 2004 08:04 AM | PERMALINK

When I read Kevin’s post I thought at first that he was being sarcastic but then I read the comments. People actually believe that things are getting better in Iraq. By now, I thought, we would agree that you cannot believe anything that comes forth from the Bush II Administration. On the same day that Kevin posted the following actually occurred: Attacks on Shi'ites Kill 143 in Iraq's Bloodiest Day

Also, a comment on Senator Kerry’s proposal to add 40,000 troops shows that the Democrats are strong on national defense. Hardly, if the US is to avoid a failed state right on top of the second largest oil reserves, ten times that number of boots on the ground and policeman are needed just get enough security that maybe some soldier outsourcing can occur. In 2005, National Service will be introduced by President Kerry or a draft by President Bush as long as the US continues the occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: Jim S at March 2, 2004 08:20 AM | PERMALINK

As you all know by now, there were 2 huge explosions in Baghdad and Karbala. Seems that every time there's some "good" news out of Iraq, something bad happens. (Coincidence or not?)

Like everyone, I want a stable, peaceful Iraq. But once again we see how fragile this place really is. Once again I think we need to ask ourselves, why did we put ourselves in the middle of this situation? What does it mean when we find out that the original justification for going in was a fiction (WMD--Al Qaeda links--remember those?)

A second point which has not really been brought up much in the editorial pages is how the triumph of the mullahs in Iran may be a result of our entanglement in Iraq. From everything I've read, the mullahs see our situation as a chance for them to grab for more power, knowing we're too bogged down in Iraq (and Haiti!) to worry much about democracy in Iran. Far from stabilizing and democratizing the Middle East, the war seems to be creating a lot of "collateral damage", just as the Vitnam War destabilized Laos and Cambodia.

Why can't we follow the advice of 2 of our most sentient presidents (both celebrated generals), who warned us when they left office of foreign entanglements and the dangers of teh military-industrial complex?

Posted by: germdoc at March 2, 2004 08:26 AM | PERMALINK

These sick people with guns are seeking to start sectarian strife so they can consolidate their positions," said Adal Abd al-Mahdi of the Shia Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

"Their aim is to stop Iraqis from winning their sovereignty."
Al-Jazeera Tuesday 02 March 2004, 18:33 Makka Time, 15:33 GMT

Posted by: sinop85 at March 2, 2004 08:31 AM | PERMALINK

Sinop85 wrote: "Iraq was a threat to world peace."

You're going to have a hard time proving that, given that Iraq had no real weapons or military strength and was pretty much hamstrung by sanctions, no-fly zones, and world scrutiny. The only thing that Iraq was a threat to was its own people.

"The reason fundamentalism is so rampant is that the people that live under the dictors have lost hope."

Except that life in Iraq wasn't really fundamentalist. It was, perhaps, the most secular of all of the Arab nations. Women, for example, were arguably better off in Iraq than they were in Saudi Arabia.

"They have been denied any education,"

And again, pre-sanctions, I seem to recall that Iraq led the way in education of its people.

Yes, Saddam was a brutal dictator. Yes, I'm glad he's gone. Yes, his people will probably be better off (I'll hold off the rejoicing until we see what develops in Iraq over the next few years). But it looks to me like you're reciting talking points that have little to do with the reality in Iraq at the time we went to war.

"Their only information they received was from their 'leaders' telling them that it is all America's fault."

This has been done in parts of the Arab world for years. What is your point?

"As long as they control the peoples hopes, they can turn that anger into actions."

Except that in Iraq, so far as we can tell, this never happened.

"The lost of hope and information raised a generation that had serious people wanted to kill Americans by the thousands, by the millions if possible, and they were being funded and sheltered by hostile governments."

Except that in Iraq, so far as we can tell, this never happened. Your little scenario has little relationship with reality.

"Post 9/11 there was a reality that police actions were not going to work."

There is no such "reality." Moreover, nobody is calling simply for "police actions." The "war on terror" is a "war" of many facets, most notably intelligence, but also international cooperation, political pressure, economic pressure, "police actions," and yes, military power. Nobody is denying that all of these things have an appropriate role. It's when one of these is used inappropriately that we have a problem.

"but Phase II had to be Iraq."

So far, you're not making much of a case for this assertion.

"We had troops there,"

Which means that, geographically speaking, we had troops "there" for just about every country in the Middle East.

"and the West was a laughing stock to the un-educated masses in the ME,"

Not after Afghanistan. Morever, I've not seen any research that documents that we were a "laughing stock" anywhere. They may have hated us, called us the "great Satan," and so on, but they weren't laughing.

"and elsewhere, that Saddam was a hero."

Now this is just absurd. Saddam wasn't a "hero" until we made him one. And even then, he wasn't much of a "hero."

"Can America expect to change the world in 45 days? No, that is why the constant discussion of the long haul."

But no plans or information for this "long haul" are being provided. What, exactly, is meant by this? What are we trying to do? How are we doing it? Is it working? The evidence to date is mixed, at best, and at worst, it's indicating that our "long haul" is in real trouble.

"Should we expect a whole generation raised on propoganda (with no access to counter propoganda avialable) to suddenly see the light?"

And how has this been changed by the war in Iraq? Iraq was never the threat. And those countries where propaganda was a problem, well, propaganda is still a problem.

Everything you cite may be true, but very little of it applies to Iraq. Instead of attacking the real threat, we attacked a non-threat, leaving the real threat still waiting.

Posted by: PaulB at March 2, 2004 09:04 AM | PERMALINK

Al wrote: "Really? I guess if you are on the tail-end of the 210,000 Marsh Arabs who were arrested, "disappeared," executed, or become refugees, you don't count any longer."

Al, dear heart, nice try at completely ducking the issue. You insisted that this was an ongoing genocide, thereby necessitating immediate action. I was simply pointing out to you that the "ongoing genocide" may have been nothing of the kind. Instead of defending your position, you immediately engaged in your usual tactic of trying to change the subject, not to mention invoking Godwin's Law. Highly amusing, of course, but hardly relevant.

Now, if you'd like to try again to actually defend your assertions, I'll be right here. I'll not be holding my breath, though.

Posted by: PaulB at March 2, 2004 09:10 AM | PERMALINK

Unemployment is down to only 80% higher than the height of our great depression. People are still drinking dirty water and children are still dying of diarrhea-caused dehydration. Women can't leave their homes when the sun goes down. Hospitals can't get even basic resources. The oil money is handled by Americans who dole it out like pious overlords. Tens of thousands of innocent or non-Saddam aligned people died to the few that actually deserved it.

What's not to like?

Posted by: Don at March 2, 2004 09:20 AM | PERMALINK

My cousin returned from his tour in Iraq last week. He returned with a disease that swept through his unit because they were sleeping outside on the ground with no bug spray for 3 months last summer (Sand Fly Disease).

Along with many disturbing stories about his time there, he also had several other conclusions he had come to from living in the Sunni Triangle and near the Iran border:

1. The army has no mission in Iraq.

2. We are wasting our time training Iraqis as policeman and military officers. Why? Because it will disintegrate into civil war the moment US troops leave (if not before).

3. The army is giving local control to whoever kisses up to them, without regard to suitability.

4. Americans think Iraqis are pro American because they say nice things about President Bush at times (ie the Gallup polls). What he pointed out is that they say nice things about whoever seems to be in charge - it's part of the culture. They are the same people who will shoot soldiers in the back when night falls.

5. The army is forced to kill civilians on a regular basis, though frequent raids and retalliation for attacks. The only problem is that the attackers don't tend to get killed - the young and elderly do.

6. The army gave Kurds the green light to kill anyone they wanted during the war.

7. I asked him what the people though about the Governing Council and whether the people chosen had any legitimacy in their eyes. His response was, "how would the people know anything about the governing council? It's not like these people have any decent news sources."

I find it hard to believe that this is going to turn out well. Oh, and by the way, my cousin was for the war when he left.

Posted by: K. Osb at March 2, 2004 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

But hey, those Iraqis are darkies, not Americans, so it doesn't count that they're dying by the droves. It's not like they're, like, PEOPLE, y'know? They're just, well, animals, right?

Sarcastically yours,
Badtux the Angry Penguin

Posted by: BadTux at March 2, 2004 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Total hogwash. The company I work for very seriously considered working in Iraq, converting old propellants into fertilizers which Iraq desperately needs. I was in charge of finding out what the real situation was to see if we could set up a plant there. EVERY chemical factory in the country was bombed, and the scraps then looted. There is no one in the country who can tell you what chemicals are available for production and what factories are capable of producing. The odds are, there are NO functioning chemical facotries, except a few refineries working at under 10% of prewar capactity, which was about 30% of pre-sanction capacity.

The casualties have gone down only IF YOU IGNORE THE IRAQI COALITION CASUALTIES. Remember, we are putting tens of thousands of Iraqi security forces on the ground as agents of the coalition. Their casualties sky-rocketed last month, over 150 just in major attacks that made the news. If you include all of the coalition, including the Iraqi security forces that operate at our command, the coalition lost more people than in any other month, including the war month.

Lets look at some other "good news"...

"With additional production increases expected, oil exports this year could add $14 billion to Iraq's threadbare budget, compared with a little more than $5 billion last year, said a senior official with the Coalition Provisional Authority, the occupation government."

Gee, another optomistic projection. I suppose the good news is that we continue to be able to make optimistic projections without newsmen directly laughing at Bremmer. We had equally ridiculous projections for oil production last year. And it is still below prewar levels.

An ugly fact about Iraq that people don't talk about is that OIL DID NOT DOMINATE THEIR GDP. It was less than 15% of the country's commerce, and was less than 5% of its employment. Many experts on Iraq's enconomy have pointed out that the laser-like focus on oil production does NOT help Iraq's population much. The reconstruction contracts are going to foreigners, so the money does not stay in Iraq's economy. It does not put many Iraqi citizens back to work - unemployment will not drop much even if Iraq oil production reaches prewar levels. And the revenues generated are skimmed by a half dozen different companies, then deposited into "trust" fund that no Iraqi organiation has access to. The vast majority of gasoline comes from out of the country still.

"The top American civil administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, appeared on Iraqi television on Friday to announce that electricity generation, a major source of discontent for this country of 25 million, had been restored to prewar levels and was expected to rise rapidly as summer approaches."

This is the third time they have announced this. The first time was three months after the war. Do a google search.

The sad fact is, they are deliberately using misleading language. Yes, they reach prewar electrical generation numbers - the lowest possible prewar number (no aircondition month, at night), for a few hours. They can power all of Bagdad for a few hours at a time. At night, when power demands are at their lowest. In the day, it is still rolling blackouts.

As a contractor, we were told to expect erractic power supplies for the next three years, BY THE CPA. The same bastards that paint rosy scenarios to the press are the ones openly stating - bring your own generators, and bring your own gasoline to power them from out of the country. And bring all of your own chemicals. And your own security, we are no longer responsible for protecting contractors. And train your people to use automatic weapons. Seriously, all of that was directly stated to our divisions VP in a conference run by the CPA for small businesses interested in contracting in Iraq. And expect it to be that way for the forseeable future.

Iraq's power generators are all German and French made turbines. They were forbidden from purchasing replacement parts by the sanctions. Now that they want to repair them, they are DISALLOWING the german and french companies who made the turbines from coming to work on them.

In conversations with Iraqis working for the CPA, one word kept reappearing when discussing their situation - nightmare. They can't get good information about anything, because the coalition let all record keeping functions of the state be destroyed by looters... save the oil ministry. We had troops there. Property documents are gone, inventory documents are gone, factory regulatory documents are gone, criminal history documents are gone. There isn't a single organization that knows much about the status of anything in the country.

The question keeps being asked "are Iraqi's better off without Saddam Hussein?" Well, Duh. Of course losing your meglomaniacal paranoid dictator is a good thing. But that isn't the real question. The real question is "Are Iraqi's better after the war?" Yes, the war got rid of their lunatic leader. But it also killed tens of thousands of iraqi's. It destroyed every security function - Iraqi's suffer from crime like they have never suffered before. Sure, they had to fear that the Baath party would take an active interest in their individual lives - but that was a rare and unlikely event, one that could be planned against. You knew how to minimize your risks while going about your daily life.

Now, women cannot stay out after dark. Non-Islamist business are attacked and burned. Having a nice car means it will be stolen at gunpoint. If you let a kid out to play there is real chance he will be kidnapped for ransom.

So, other question that have to be answered Are iraqis better off now that:
a) Hussein is gone
b) all records have been destroyed
c) most industry has been destroyed
d) most security has been destroyed
e) Iraq's state businesses are being sold off to foreigners
f) tens of thousands of iraqis have died from the war and the crime that has followed.
h) terrorists have come into the country to kill americans and american sympathizers
i) unemployment is at 70%
j) iraq's 3 main factions verge on civil war (heck just go read about the violence in Kirkuk between the arabs, turkmen and kurds)

Yes, Hussein killed tens of thousands of Kurds and Shi'ites. but look at when these events happened. The Kurd gassing happened in a town which had either been occupied by Iranians or switched ot the Iranian side. the Shi'ites were killed when WE TOLD THEM TO UPRISE against hussein after the Gulf War, claiming we would support them - then we didn't. These people were killed by Hussein AFTER we gave him back his military helicopters. These people were killed by Iraqi tanks UNDER THE SOUTHERN NO-FLY ZONE, while we watched. The southern marches were drained to allow husseins tanks to drive into them to root out the last of the resistance, while our J-stars monitored their movements from overhead.

Hussein was not a cartoon character, he did not wake up each day and say "Kill me some Shi'ite babies". He believed in crushing resistance brutally, which is why we supported him in the 80's. While most Iraqi's lived in fear of what Hussein could do, it was not a crippling-can't-leave-the-house fear. It was just like us living in suburban communities fearing crime. For a comparison of fear levels, imagine you went to bed in brentwood hills wondering if your house might be robbed and woke up in the worst slum apartment with your family, surrounded by crack dealers in the apartments next to you. That is the difference for most Bagdad residents.

The sad fact is, most Iraqis are NOT better off today than they were a year ago. Yes, they have freedom from a tyranical government, but they now have crime, unemployment, insecurity and death.

Thats not to say we should have left hussein in power. But, if we were hell bent on this course of action for the last three years, why in the hell didn't we have a plan to stabilize the country? How many of those bad questions would have been solved by putting enough troops on the ground to protect Iraq's institutions? Or to have new powerplants lined up on the Kuwaiti border? We knew what the countries facilities were from UN reports and defectors. It was within our power to do this the right way - both in terms of telling the truth to teh world and being prepared to stabilize the country.

The very very sad fact is that not only did we lie to the world to start the war, we lied to ourselves about the aftermath. We listened only to the rosy scenarios about how Iraqi's would feel about liberation, just like we listened only to the most dire predictions about what Iraq was capable of. And just a few names come up over and over again about why we behaved this way... cheney, rumsfeld, armitage, chalabi.

Posted by: TMorgan at March 2, 2004 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, how do you get itallics in this space.

Sinop85 wrote: "Iraq was a threat to world peace."

“ You're going to have a hard time proving that, given that Iraq had no real weapons or military strength and was pretty much hamstrung by sanctions, no-fly zones, and world scrutiny. The only thing that Iraq was a threat to was its own people. “

I agree on a direct military threat; however, that is not the point and is a very narrow view of the root cause of the problem. The threat was a cultural threat. Terrorists never attack military, they attack cultures. The Saudi, Yemen, Kuwait, Jordan and Egyptian newspapers run editorials on this topic regularly. October 1, 2003 Qusti published a column in Arab News titled 'Solving Problems: The Saudi Style.' The following are excerpts from the article: "The road to unity, prosperity, and reform is not an easy one to travel, but we must go down it. The alternative is to stay where we are, develop even more problems which are never addressed, and so find ourselves victims of stagnation, frustration, and despair."

I am sure you have been reading these types articles and others before forming an opinion; so I will not have to point out that the rest of the article finds fault in the system. The point is, that these talks are happening, and they were not before.

"The reason fundamentalism is so rampant is that the people that live under the dictors have lost hope."

Except that life in Iraq wasn't really fundamentalist. It was, perhaps, the most secular of all of the Arab nations. Women, for example, were arguably better off in Iraq than they were in Saudi Arabia.
O.K. No argument, but that has nothing to do with the discussion. I never stated Iraq was fundamentalist. I did say that fundamentalism has risen because of the harsh conditions that existed in all the Arab countries. Iraq was secular because Saddam crushed all forms of religion. But that still ignores the discussion that the suppression of a group of people, and Saddam was the most vicious, led to hopelessness and attacking out at where the people were told the problem laid. The west. (Iraq was a financial backer of terrorism, not an active participant. This is how Saddam, and others, protected themselves

"They have been denied any education,"

And again, pre-sanctions, I seem to recall that Iraq led the way in education of its people.

No, they may have gone to school, but that does not equal education. It was indoctrination. The average education was primary. Being the best at the worst does not make you good.

Yes, Saddam was a brutal dictator. Yes, I'm glad he's gone. Yes, his people will probably be better off (I'll hold off the rejoicing until we see what develops in Iraq over the next few years). But it looks to me like you're reciting talking points that have little to do with the reality in Iraq at the time we went to war.

"Their only information they received was from their 'leaders' telling them that it is all America's fault."

This has been done in parts of the Arab world for years. What is your point?

That this has led to escalating terrorism. Something had to be done. Do you have an alternative plan?

"As long as they control the peoples hopes, they can turn that anger into actions."

Except that in Iraq, so far as we can tell, this never happened.

It is not Iraq! It is an entire lost generation in a region! What would be your starting point?

"The lost of hope and information raised a generation that had serious people wanted to kill Americans by the thousands, by the millions if possible, and they were being funded and sheltered by hostile governments."

Except that in Iraq, so far as we can tell, this never happened. Your little scenario has little relationship with reality.

I do not have an Iraq scenario, I have a bundling of multiple event scenario. I have seen the growing attacks, the growing rhetoric, the growing frustration. This is the same concern that all the Islamic countries are raising. If you read the editorials in Arab papers between 9/11 and today there is a change!

"Post 9/11 there was a reality that police actions were not going to work."

There is no such "reality." Moreover, nobody is calling simply for "police actions." The "war on terror" is a "war" of many facets, most notably intelligence, but also international cooperation, political pressure, economic pressure, "police actions," and yes, military power. Nobody is denying that all of these things have an appropriate role. It's when one of these is used inappropriately that we have a problem.

What is your reality then? Why did bombing of the African Embassy bombings occur; Bali; USS Cole; and 9/11 occur? It was not planned in 9 months. The plan went back several years. If you are not calling for just police actions, what is you plan. 9/11 was not the beginning, it was the biggest, and hopefully will remain the biggest.


"but Phase II had to be Iraq."

So far, you're not making much of a case for this assertion.
Iraq was deemed the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East by the United Nations. There was no difference of opinion on this. (Read world leaders comments on Saddam’s capture) The difference of opinion was on how to deal with the problem.)

"We had troops there,"

Which means that, geographically speaking, we had troops "there" for just about every country in the Middle East

No, we had troops in Iraq enforcing the No Fly zones for the United Nations.

"and the West was a laughing stock to the un-educated masses in the ME,"

Not after Afghanistan. Morever, I've not seen any research that documents that we were a "laughing stock" anywhere. They may have hated us, called us the "great Satan," and so on, but they weren't laughing.

Read the Arabnews and Al Jazeera editorials between 1990 and 2003. Read Arrafats speeches. Read Osama’s speeches, and other fundamentalist sermons. The west was portrayed as incapable and throwing stones from the safety of their bases.

"and elsewhere, that Saddam was a hero."

Now this is just absurd. Saddam wasn't a "hero" until we made him one. And even then, he wasn't much of a "hero."
Saddam was as hero in the slums of many Arab countries. They routinely carried his picture for standing up to the ‘Infidels’ after the first gulf war. I never said that the west was not guilty of creating a hero. That does not make the problem go away.

"Can America expect to change the world in 45 days? No, that is why the constant discussion of the long haul."

But no plans or information for this "long haul" are being provided. What, exactly, is meant by this? What are we trying to do? How are we doing it? Is it working? The evidence to date is mixed, at best, and at worst, it's indicating that our "long haul" is in real trouble.
The plan from the day it started was to remove Saddam; fix infrastructure; hand over power. The steps are happening. Is it working smooth as silk? No. But should we pack up and leave? Should it not have been done? It is not going to happen in one day. It is not going to happen without sacrifice. The tactical and the strategic plan are not linked, unless the tactical plan is in violation of the strategic plan. Where are you seeing this?
"Should we expect a whole generation raised on propoganda (with no access to counter propoganda avialable) to suddenly see the light?"

And how has this been changed by the war in Iraq? Iraq was never the threat. And those countries where propaganda was a problem, well, propaganda is still a problem.
And Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Everything you cite may be true, but very little of it applies to Iraq. Instead of attacking the real threat, we attacked a non-threat, leaving the real threat still waiting.

What are you saying is the real threat? Osama? Only if he can get recruits, which have to come from somewhere.

Posted by: sinop85 at March 2, 2004 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

No sinop85 what you explicitly did is REFUSE to answer the question. Your question on the other hand presumes facts not in evidence – most notably that Iraq was the "source" of terrorism. The point about Bush avenging his daddy is that he was planning to invade Iraq on 1/20/2001 – according to those who worked closely with him. Far from being a silly accusation it is a rational response to the idiocy coming from the Bush Defenders who pretend that there was any valid reason for attacking Iraq.

But because I am in a charitable mood I will do what you didn't, and answer your question. Of course I would go after the root causes. I would pressure Israel to stop its aggressive expansion plans. I would have focused on getting bin Laden (as Clinton recommended to Bush). I would have worked with the world community to root out Al Queda and related groups. But I certainly wouldn't have created a tissue of lies about Iraq and squandered the good will of the world and our military strength on a secular state that was arguably the smallest source of terror to be found in the area.

I'm not, on the other hand feeling charitable enough to respond to the whole nonsense post of 11:32, where you claim, again in defiance of all the evidence, that Iraq was a breeding ground for terror. Does it not strike you as odd that this breeding ground provided NONE of the 9/11 terrorists, none for the Cole bombing, none for the Khobar Towers, and none for the 1993 bombing of the WTC?

But, to answer your other question <i>Text</i> gives you Text. However, you MUST remember to start a new set of italics before each paragraph you want italicized (paragraph breaks automatically end the italics command on this page).

Posted by: Lori Thantos at March 2, 2004 01:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sinop85 wrote: "By the way, how do you get itallics in this space."

HTML tags work just fine here. If you want text to be bolded, you type:

<b>bolded</b>

If you want text to be italicized, you type:

<i>italicized</i>

And so on for the other HTML tags.

"I agree on a direct military threat; however, that is not the point and is a very narrow view of the root cause of the problem."

Even granting that you are correct, you still have a problem in that Iraq really didn't have much to do with this "cultural threat." The source of that was more likely to be found in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or any one of a dozen other countries.

"The point is, that these talks are happening, and they were not before."

You are asserting facts not in evidence. You first have to demonstrate that this was not happening before. You next have to demonstrate that such talks are actually having an effect now. Until you do, this is nothing more than an empty argument.

"O.K. No argument, but that has nothing to do with the discussion."

Huh? That was central to your argument and now you're claiming that it has nothing to do with the discussion???

"I did say that fundamentalism has risen because of the harsh conditions that existed in all the Arab countries."

What does this have to do with Iraq then? We didn't attack those other Arab countries; we attacked Iraq. You insisted that "Phase II had to be Iraq."

"But that still ignores the discussion that the suppression of a group of people, and Saddam was the most vicious, led to hopelessness and attacking out at where the people were told the problem laid."

Except that it didn't! The Iraqi people didn't attack us. So all of this suppression led precisely nowhere. What the hell is your point?

"(Iraq was a financial backer of terrorism, not an active participant."

Not really. Yes, he contributed money to the families of suicide bombers and there is reason to believe he contributed some money to Hamas, but if you follow the real source of money, rhetoric, inspiration, manpower, etc., it doesn't lead to Iraq.

"No, they may have gone to school, but that does not equal education. It was indoctrination."

How convenient. I call you on an error and you immediately redefine the terms of the discussion. Sorry, but I don't play by those rules. And once again, you're still wrong, because if you want to talk about anti-West indoctrination, you should be looking at Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, etc., not at Iraq.

"The average education was primary. Being the best at the worst does not make you good."

No, but it pretty much destroys your point about why we attacked Iraq.

"That this has led to escalating terrorism. Something had to be done. Do you have an alternative plan?"

Sure, go after the people who were actually causing the problem, which by your own admission, doesn't seem to be Iraq!

"It is not Iraq! It is an entire lost generation in a region!"

If "it is not Iraq," then what is your rationale for attacking Iraq??? And why did you insist that "Phase II had to be Iraq?"

"What would be your starting point?"

Pakistan, probably, or Saudi Arabia. Maybe Iran. Maybe Libya or Syria. You know, countries where these problems actually existed!

"I do not have an Iraq scenario,"

Then how can you possibly justify the attack on Iraq? And why did you insist that "Phase II had to be Iraq?"

"Iraq was deemed the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East by the United Nations."

I'm sorry, but that is simply not true.

"There was no difference of opinion on this."

This is not true, either. There was considerable difference as to the magnitude of the threat that Saddam posed. Few, outside Britain and the U.S., thought that Saddam posted any real immediate threat.

"The difference of opinion was on how to deal with the problem.)"

And again, this is not true. There was also considerable difference of opinion on whether there was a problem.

"No, we had troops in Iraq enforcing the No Fly zones for the United Nations."

Um...you might want to do a little more homework. None of our troops was actually in Iraq, if I recall correctly. We enforced the no-fly zone by aircraft patrols launched from Saudi Arabia.

"Read the Arabnews and Al Jazeera editorials between 1990 and 2003. Read Arrafats speeches. Read Osama’s speeches, and other fundamentalist sermons. The west was portrayed as incapable and throwing stones from the safety of their bases."

Sigh...quote these to me, please, because right now, this is an unsupported assertion. Morever, you will note that I was careful to limit my assertion to "after Afghanistan," so I'm only interested in this "laughing stock" meme post-war.

"The plan from the day it started was to remove Saddam; fix infrastructure; hand over power."

You're not going far enough. The plan was for a smooth transition to true democracy.

"And Rome wasn’t built in a day."

But you've provided nothing more than a rosy scenario. You've provided no connection or linkage between our actions in Iraq and the problems you describe. And yet you still assert that, "Phase II had to be Iraq." Why?

"What are you saying is the real threat?"

There isn't one single threat, which is kind of my point. I'd probably start with the schools in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Or maybe I'd go after the funding. I'd certainly be trying to build up international cooperation and alliances. Taking a good hard look at our intelligence operations. A real investigation into the failures that led to 9/11. A real investigation into the failures of our Iraq intelligence analysis. There are all sorts of ways to go.

"Osama? Only if he can get recruits, which have to come from somewhere."

According to one source, the post-war conflict in Iraq has resulted in increased recruitment for Osama. He's getting them from where he's always getting them. And it wasn't from Iraq.

Posted by: PaulB at March 2, 2004 01:33 PM | PERMALINK


Paul B/Lori-
thanks for the info
It looks like we will never agree, because you look at the war at Iraq in context of Iraq, and I look at in context of the ME. Not saying your wrong, just a different perspective.
Iraq was considered the biggest threat. Not to the US, but to stability in the ME. It is the only country that had invaded 2 neighbors and launched an official State attack at Israel (Gulf War I). Even today, the UN inspection team wants the US data as they have unanswered questions on missle and cluster bomb making capability, and we are admitting that it was a mistake. Only the UK stated that it was an imminent threat. Not even Bush stated it was. (his quote was 'do we need to wait until the threat is imminent (sic)'.
Iraq was the worse suppressors of it's people and threat to their neighbors. Why else did Saudi allow the US to run bases on their land until Saddam was removed.

But why Iraq, and not Saudi Arabia - home of Mecca, or Egypt - home of Pan Arabism or Pakistan- home of nuclear weapons? Because there is o% chance of success if these sites are touched, and they would be a last resort. Hopefully they will change internally.
How does the West start with the schools that are teaching not to listen to the US. The west has not level of credibility in standing up to the mindset in a region that is dominated by close minde hatred. We have tried.
I never stated that the other terrorist attacks were attributed to Iraq. (at least not intentially as I don't believe it) (I ws scared to click your insert lori that i would lost this. I'm not a computor savy person) I stated that the attacks were attributed to the suppression of people, of which Iraq was the worse offender. The other regiems could use the brutality of Iraq against their people. And they did, to a lesser extent.
Saudi is opening up their schools to women. Women were invited to the Saudi Islamic Council meeting. Pakistan did shut down the 'preach-hate' schools. This approach has not worked. Pakistan has stopped the exportation of nuclear arms (late but better then never) Libya opened it's doors, even allowing a Human Rights commission to enter their country. The plan for a true democracy is to have the Iraqi vote. Not vote when emotions are high, and people are in Utopia. As was stated earlier on the comments, don't use Germany at WWII as it was previously a democracy. OK. It still took 5 years for elecetions to get over an ~15 year dictator (and the people were highly educated and had access to information). Why expect Iraq to have elections in a year with no information?
You say it rosy picture. OK. I say you are pessimistic. I am not happy with every step of implementation, but I have not seen a diversion from the plan. Setbacks, yes. Sidetracks - yes, wavering-yes. Abandonment- no. This was most evident in the realease of the al-Zarqawi Al letter, the American's aren't leaving.
I also agree with getting Israel to pull back, but it is hard to do with the security threat. I was optimistic for a while when the roadmap was formally announced. The setbacks by the fringes (both sides) have not derailed but slowed the process. There have been many small victories.

The editor of Al-Akhbar,Galal Duweidar, wrote: "… The whole world, including the Palestinians, knows that there is no unresolved problem between Egypt and Israel after the [1973] October victory and the signing of the peace agreement… The only [remaining] reason [for problems between Egypt and Israel] is the defense of the rights of the Palestinians, and not the defense of any direct Egyptian interests….."Even before then, the Palestinians accused [Egyptian president Gamal] Abd Al-Nasser of betrayal for accepting U.S. Secretary of State Rogers' plan. They accused Anwar Sadat of betrayal when he invited them to the conference at Mina House. Had they agreed to participate in this conference, or to accept the principles of the Camp David agreement, they would not have made it possible for Israel to establish the settlements and the separation fence, and would not have needed to make all these concessions!…


Good reading on insight into the propaganda Arab machines (little harsh, Israel slant, but presents both sides. From what I read believe the source to be Israel based. http://www.memri.org/index.html

Special Dispatch Series - No. 647 - Egypt Popular Egyptian Singer's New Song: 'Hey People It was Only a Tower and I Swear by God that They [the U.S.] are the Ones Who Pulled It Down'

Columnist Bassyouni Al 2003- Hilwani "Bush has forgotten that the Arab and Islamic peoples prefer to be ruled by a dictator such as Saddam Hussein than by a democratic president of the likes of Bush,

Special Dispatch Series - No. 655 - Egypt,
New Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Resistance in Iraq and Palestine is Legitimate; America is Satan; Islam Will Invade America and Europe

Special Dispatch Series - No. 655 - Egypt,

New Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Resistance in Iraq and Palestine is Legitimate; America is Satan

Islam Will Invade America and Europe

Posted by: sinop85 at March 2, 2004 04:43 PM | PERMALINK

See what happens when an old dog learns new tricks, I bolded the whole paragraph. Even after Lori specifically warned me!

Posted by: sino85 at March 2, 2004 04:44 PM | PERMALINK

Sinop85 wrote: "Iraq was considered the biggest threat. Not to the US, but to stability in the ME."

You've really done nothing to support this position other than to simply repeat it. Iraq was contained, remember? It had hostile neighbors. It didn't have much of a military left. Most intelligence agencies didn't think it was much of a threat from the WMD perspective, either.

Iraq had no real long-range attack capability, no nuclear program, no delivery vehicle for chemical or biological weapons, and it had a decaying infrastructure for those WMDs it might have had. At most, people thought that Hussein still had some stockpiles, but nothing that merited the designation of "biggest threat" to anyone, either in the area or elsewhere in the world.

"It is the only country that had invaded 2 neighbors"

And got royally stomped in the latter invasion, with much of its military capacity destroyed. And even more destroyed in the sanctions and in the 1998 bombings. Look at the comments from its neighbors prior to the war. If I recall correctly, none of them were really concerned about Hussein. If he was such a big threat, how come we had so much trouble persuading the people he was supposedly threatening to help us get rid of him?

"Even today, the UN inspection team wants the US data as they have unanswered questions on missle and cluster bomb making capability, and we are admitting that it was a mistake."

Huh? Might I ask what you are referring to?

"Iraq was the worse suppressors of it's people"

I'd rank Hussein in the top 10, perhaps, but there are other dictators out there that are just as bad, including some in the Middle East. None of these countries are exactly models of human rights.

"and threat to their neighbors."

What part of "had no military capability" are you having trouble understanding?

"Why else did Saudi allow the US to run bases on their land until Saddam was removed."

For several reasons, one of which was, of course, to make sure that Hussein never recovered. In other words, he was not a threat; they wanted to make sure it stayed that way. Seems to me it worked.

"Hopefully they will change internally."

So we went after a country that wasn't a threat to us and wasn't connected to the real threats to us in hopes that some other countries "will change internally"? I sure hope you're right, but right now, that isn't making a whole lot of sense to me.

"How does the West start with the schools that are teaching not to listen to the US."

Dunno...you asked for my impressions of the real threats; I gave them to you. Now you want me to solve them, too?

"The west has not level of credibility in standing up to the mindset in a region that is dominated by close minde hatred."

Other than, say, attacking Afghanistan and throwing out the Taliban? Seems pretty credible to me.

But then we largely abandoned that country, which then led to the suspicion that the U.S. still had no credibility. And, of course, we attacked Iraq on false pretenses, which didn't do our credibility any good, either. Seems to me like we've still got a credibility problem, wouldn't you say?

"I stated that the attacks were attributed to the suppression of people, of which Iraq was the worse offender."

If your theory were correct, as the worst offender, Iraq should have had something to do with attacks on the U.S. You might want to rethink that theory.

"The other regiems could use the brutality of Iraq against their people. And they did, to a lesser extent."

I have no idea what you're saying here.

"Saudi is opening up their schools to women."

You'll forgive me if I ask for some confirmation (article, link, citation, etc.) of these signs of progress. I'd like them to be true; I'm skeptical.

"I say you are pessimistic."

Fair enough. My response is that I've got damn good reason to be pessimistic, given this administration's record in Afghanistan and Iraq thus far.

"I am not happy with every step of implementation, but I have not seen a diversion from the plan."

Huh? Where have you been? We've caved on just about every one of our pre-war and immediate-post-war plans in the past few months.

"Setbacks, yes. Sidetracks - yes, wavering-yes."

How do these differ from diversions?

"Abandonment- no."

Abandonment of the dream of a utopia in Iraq has pretty much already happened. At the moment, all we're doing is trying to figure out how to minimize the damage.

Not sure what point you were trying to make about the propaganda machine. Nobody has ever denied it existed. The fact that it's still going is sort of a contradiction of the Bush administration's plans for Iraq, not to mention your rosy scenarios.

"See what happens when an old dog learns new tricks, I bolded the whole paragraph. Even after Lori specifically warned me!"

Yeah, you have to always be careful to put in the closing tag after the text that you've bolded (the </b>). Using the Preview button is a great way to catch those errors.

Posted by: PaulB at March 2, 2004 06:43 PM | PERMALINK

My sources for your requests on UN inspectors and Human right changes....

The report cites several problems inspectors were unable to resolve before they left. These include an aluminium part possibly intended for
a chemical warhead, a mold intended to produce a cluster warhead for a rocket, and steel spheres designed for use in a cluster bomb."

swisspolitics.org 3 Mar 2004 - Un Iraq inspectors seek says US not helping

JEDDAH, 3 March 2004 — The first independent human rights organization has been established in Saudi Arabia. The organization consists of 41 male and female members, including journalists, and includes a special panel to monitor rights violations against women.

arabnews.com 3 mar 04

Saudi daily editorial on the attacks are terrorists (not the US) that are trying to prevent Iraq from prospering.

http://arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=40491&d=3&m=3&y=2004&pix=opinion.jpg&category=Opinion 3 mar 04

If your theory were correct, as the worst offender, Iraq should have had something to do with attacks on the U.S. You might want to rethink that theory.

I like my theory. I believe the root cause of the problem (e.g person that eggs a crowd to riot is just as guilty as the one that starts it. Even if they do not get involved in the riot). And Saddam Bottled up? I recall right before the inspectors pulled out they were destroying rockets that were illegal. Now, before I get hit with they were being destroyed. If you were Saudi and the rockets were made under UN inspections, would you feel comfortable that Saddam was bottled up?


Again, not going to beat a dead horse as you believe the war was a 'tactical' attack. I believe it was a strategic attack. As throughout history, we do not have the story, and never will. Did FDR leave Pearl Harbor open for attack?Please tell me where you have seen the post war plan that is being abandonded outside of blogs and conjecture. I believe the plan was to establish infrastructure and the plan was to take a while. In fact I heard it distincly from Bush and the Pentagon that this is not a short term operation. The only ones I heard say it is off schedule is opponents. Please site your source for Abandonment of the dream of a utopia in Iraq has pretty much already happened. At the moment, all we're doing is trying to figure out how to minimize the damage And opinion web sites don't count. This is not a run in and fix it. That is what we have done in the past. I was invited yesterday to help support the Boy Scout unit being organized in Baghdad (and before this is called American propoganda, the BS have been there since 1951, and is a stable throughout the ME.) Again, an attack the source, education in tolerance.
I also do not see an abandoment of Afghanistan. I see the same thing. A long term plan. Osama is bottled up in the mountains. Yes there is trouble outside of Kabul, but things take time. but sending more military into Afghanistan would only create more targets. The social problems must be cured, This is not an hour long show, and hopefully no re-runs.

Posted by: sinop85 at March 2, 2004 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that Iraq was a threat to mideast stability is nonsense. there are two major destabilizing influences in the middle east. The Isreali/Palestinian conflict and the thoroughly lopside distribution of wealth in the oil rich countries. Just being a little impartial in Palestine would pull a lot of the rug out from under the feet of terrorist recruiters against the US. The Iraq war has made recruiting terorists easier.

Posted by: TMorgan at March 3, 2004 09:48 AM | PERMALINK

Hi,

Turn the prisim. Ask yourself what loved ones are dead now. If the answer is >1 then perhaps your goal is measured by a real cost.

Which one of your family would you lose for such improvements in your life?

-jx

Posted by: johnx at March 3, 2004 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

> The invasion of Iraq has cost (ot will cost at least)
> --- 550 American lives
> --- 165 billion dollars

How about smashing Iraq, spreading terror and killing thousand of human beings?

Are only the Red White and Blue corpses of nationalistic murders worth counting, or are their victims also worthy of consideration?

-jx

Posted by: johnx at March 3, 2004 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sinop85, thanks for those references. Just a couple of additional comments and then I'm done.

"I like my theory. I believe the root cause of the problem (e.g person that eggs a crowd to riot is just as guilty as the one that starts it. Even if they do not get involved in the riot)."

The trouble is that you still haven't established that Saddam Hussein was doing any inciting. Using this logic, we should be going after the fanatic clerics in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who genuinely were inciting the crowds to riot.

"And Saddam Bottled up? I recall right before the inspectors pulled out they were destroying rockets that were illegal.

Did you actually look up the details on those rockets? They were illegal by just a few kilometers of range. This was not the smoking gun you're looking for. None of the neighboring countries were threatened by these rockets, anymore than they were threatened by those rockets that were perfectly legal. So yes, Saddam was bottled up.

"Again, not going to beat a dead horse as you believe the war was a 'tactical' attack."

No, I think it was a mistake.

"Please tell me where you have seen the post war plan that is being abandonded outside of blogs and conjecture."

The speeches of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, and so on, but I'm too tired to dig up references for you. There is absolutely no question that the early plans have changed. Now, we could legitimately debate how serious those changes are, but it is undeniable that the early rosy scenarios are no longer under discussion.

"I also do not see an abandoment of Afghanistan."

Bush neglected to ask for any money for Afghanistan in his 2002 budget. He neglected to provide enough troops to do anything to stabilize any part of this country outside of Kabul. There are some really good things going on in Kabul. With a little more money and a little more manpower, those good things could happen elsewhere in Afghanistan. So far, it's not happening.

"The social problems must be cured, This is not an hour long show, and hopefully no re-runs."

I'm sure not seeing any sign that this is taking place.

Posted by: PaulB at March 3, 2004 02:01 PM | PERMALINK

I had written: "The speeches of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, and so on, but I'm too tired to dig up references for you."

Okay, now while this was true, it was unfair. I had asked sinop85 to dig up some references for me and he (she?) did so. And then I punted when asked to do the same in return. Since I have not backed up the claim, I withdraw it.

In any case, I suspect that even had I provided the relevant citations, we would have simply disagreed about how major the changes in post-war Iraq plans were.

Posted by: PaulB at March 3, 2004 07:16 PM | PERMALINK

A room without books is like a body without a soul.

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Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.

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He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.

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