Iraq a Land Mine?


There are two kinds of land mines: the kind that explodes when you step on it, and the kind that explodes when you take your foot off. Which kind is Iraq? How can it be defused?

Posted by David Ignatius on April 30, 2007 9:36 AM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (144)

AJ, Troutman, NC :

The problem with this goes back to 1983. When the Embassy was bombed in Beirut, the US just pulled out. Then the USS Cole was bombed and we did nothing. 9/11 took down our twin towers and unified the US in all out battle for the end of terrorism...... for about 3 months. During those three months we eradicated those in command of Afghanistan. Then we set our sights on the 6th largest standing army in the world and decimated them in 3 weeks. We then set about taking apart the Axis of evil. Slowly we delivered and executed the perpetrators of warcrimes that make Bosnian war criminals pale in comparison. We now fight a battle of attrition with an enemy that knows that we have no stomach to see our soldiers come home in body bags. I dont like that we have troops dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in comparison with any war we have taken part in any war in the last century, this has been the most sucessful war by far. We have waged a War on Terror for over 6 years and we have lost 3500 troops. But the democrats and liberal media would have you believe that all is lost and we cant win ...blah blah blah.

Well here is what we should have done to fix this problem. In this region of the world, there is only one thing that these people respect and that is a badass MF kicking them in the teeth everytime they get out of line. When the Embassy was bombed in Beirut, the US should have responded in kind. It should have tactically nuked the area and promised more reprisals if further attacks continued. We should have said to those countries that harbor these terrorists, that the actions of those terrorists are a direct reflection on that country's leadership and we Nuke them regardless of the fact that this "enemy" we fight is stateless. At some point those countries are going to see that we mean business and we will go on the offensive. Then those countries will do what it takes to actually stop those individuals from attacking us.

Osama bin Laden has said many times that the US does not have the stomach for this. He is partly right. The liberal media and liberal politico's make it impossible to wage a war against an unconventional enemy. So much so that the conservative government has had to now employ Mercenaries in the area to fight those battles at a great expense to its constitutes. There are estimates that there are over 100,000 mercenaries in the region making 1,000 a day. The right force was already on the scene and just needed the go ahead to do what needed to be done.

Anonymous :

Yes BobL,
You are right that 9/11 was a major factor that got us into Iraq -- just the sort of self-defeating action that Bin Laden was hoping for. If he had just destroyed two buildings, that is a horrible tragedy; when he can provoke a debaucle like Iraq, the gutting of our constition, and turn us into torturers, he multiplies the effects of the terrorists in those 4 planes.

BobL-VA :

Tom,

Grenada it is. At least we don't have 25 million people (who hate us) to contend with.:)

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

The reality is that 911 was a unique event (hopefully) in our history. The decision to go to war in Iraq was based on a set of circumstances that began with the first Gulf War, but was obviously related to 911 (and I don't mean Iraq had anything to do with 911). The reasons for going to war in Afghanistan were much easier to determine because the World Trade Center terrorist trained and resided in that country. BOTH wars will have a lesson for future generations regarding regime change, and the will to follow through if regime change is the goal.

Pakistan would present a different challenge to the US (whomever is President) because they are a nuclear power and an ally, but also harboring the same terrorist that are planning and training for future terrorist attacks. Regime change would probably not be a goal(?), although a military event in that part of the world could certainly bring down the government which could then be replaced by a radical Islamic government with nuclear capability, so Pakistan represents a different set of challenges and dangers.

Each foreign policy decision is unique, and all teach us lessons, but future Presidents will always face different (unique) situations with their inherent risk.

I am just glad that I don't have to make those decisions

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

With the mood of the country, and the Republican candidates for President always invoking Reagan's name, our next foreign policy venture will be to subdue Grenada again....

BobL-VA :

Tom Wonacott,

You wrote,

"What do you believe will be the response if another Al Qaeda-sponsored terrorist attack is successful in the US or another part of the world (such as blowing up 10 planes over the Atlantic)?"

Interesting question. One of the few things almost everybody agrees on is that something like this will happen again. Hence, it would be incumbent on our government to have contingency plans for various scenario's already in place.

The only thing I hope for in these contingency plans is we're more focused in our approach to responses and don't go invading any other countries and getting bogged down in a war which we are unable to win. We have a great military, but they are not designed to be occupational forces and do so very poorly. Our future plans need to utilize our strengths and avoid the failings we should have learned in Iraq.

Tom Wonacott :

Salamon

"...When reality overcomes all misplaced beliefs, then the USA politician [of whatever party] will act to save continental USA, rather than force more war. Forcing, of course, is always possible, but the chances of Rusia, China, Pakistan or India putting up with it is questionable, for they all need world peace to advance their populatio's standard of living..."

The US is in dire straits economically, but you believe we will spend 3-4% of our GDP on Global Warming? (approx. $400-500 billion)

The cost of the war in Iraq is approx. $200-250 billion per year, so I believe it is unrealistic to suggest that the US will spend that much on global warming anytime soon.

Finally, how did Pakistan get into your statement? Everyone in the world understands that Pakistani Islamic terrorist are conducting a war on two fronts in Afghanistan and Kashmir/India. Training of terrorist is now conducted in Pakistan instead of Afghanistan. They are also harboring the world's most wanted criminal.

What do you believe will be the response if another Al Qaeda-sponsored terrorist attack is successful in the US or another part of the world (such as blowing up 10 planes over the Atlantic)? Pakistan is in no position to argue for world peace.

daniel :

To Jrlr from Daniel. You miss the point entirely. Your post I responded to more than implied that WW2 was won by the Soviets, and it pretty clearly stated that the U.S. did all it could do Vietnam and now in Iraq. My contention is that WW2 was not primarily won by the Soviets and that WW2 was the last time the U.S. did all it could do to win a war. Ever since WW2 the U.S. has been acting with morality whether you like it or not and it could have been much more evil in Vietnam and now in Iraq. The U.S. is living up to its democratic ideals more and more and this is compromising its war making powers. If the U.S. were less ethical the war in Iraq would be already won--and the U.S. sitting atop the place with totalitarian power. But the U.S. is not totalitarian--it is democratic. A pity because there are so many peoples that are not democratic and think they know a better path to world order...The question is not which path I suggest to world order Jrlr, the question is what plan do you have for world peace. In this very thread I have given an overview of my views and I have laid out as clearly a path as I could in many other posts on previous questions. But what do you give? Nothing. Please join Salamon, Bob, and the typical others who do nothing but criticize but give no overview for others to criticize. From now on at postglobal I think it would be a matter of integrity if everyone were to lay out a path toward world peace--which is to say turn this posting area into political philosophy, political economy, etc. Then we will tell sense from nonsense.

Anonymous :

"What is the best way forward in Iraq? Where do we go from here? First, Congress should admit its mistake in unconstitutionally transferring war power to the president and in citing United Nations resolutions as justification for war against Iraq. We should never go to war because another nation has violated a United Nations resolution. Then we should repeal the authority given to the president in 2002 and disavow presidential discretion in starting wars. Then we should start bringing our troops home in the safest manner possible.

Though many will criticize the president for mis-steps in Iraq and at home, it is with the willing participation of Congress, through measures like this war-funding bill, that our policy continues to veer off course. Additionally, it is with the complicity of Congress that we have become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrolled spying on the American people. Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home. More likely the opposite is true."

That's what Ron Paul has to say about it. I think it's worth considering.

George Cooksey :

"What is the best way forward in Iraq? Where do we go from here? First, Congress should admit its mistake in unconstitutionally transferring war power to the president and in citing United Nations resolutions as justification for war against Iraq. We should never go to war because another nation has violated a United Nations resolution. Then we should repeal the authority given to the president in 2002 and disavow presidential discretion in starting wars. Then we should start bringing our troops home in the safest manner possible.

Though many will criticize the president for mis-steps in Iraq and at home, it is with the willing participation of Congress, through measures like this war-funding bill, that our policy continues to veer off course. Additionally, it is with the complicity of Congress that we have become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrolled spying on the American people. Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home. More likely the opposite is true."

-Ron Paul
http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul384.html
http://ronpaul2008.com

Tom Wonacott :

JRLR

"...In Europe, the so-called second front appeared only towards the end of WWII, when the Soviets were already well on their way to Berlin and marching through Eastern Europe. It is arguable that, by then, the "allies" thought it would be in their best interest to be part of the solution to the conflict in a bigger way, and before the Soviets reached the Atlantic... which might have proved a wee bit embarrassing, to say the least..."


First of all, the "so called second front" appeared in 1939-1940, and was actually the first front. Germany fought WWII on two fronts the entire war. I am sure the British and US (and European resistance) fought only to avoid the "embarrassment" of the Soviets freeing Europe, but in your opinion, that's a valid and arguable point? I will grant you that many Europeans were probably more leery of Russia than Germany before WWII (and for good reason).


I can't take anything away from the Soviet contribution to WWII which was great sacrifice to the war effort to say the least. Their pursuit of the Germans all the way to Berlin after losing so many civilians and military personnel was just ridiculous but your arrogance in leaving out US (and British) sacrifice must be personal.

The US and Great Britain fought and liberated North Africa, and Europe also at great sacrifice. In addition, the US funded Britain when they were out of money, and, of course, fought a war on two fronts similar to Germany. America's ability to move tremendous amounts of supplies and personnel, and its manufacturing capability were amazing achievements and instrumental in defeating both the Germans and Japanese.

In addition, US (and British) air power bombed the Germans relentlessly making transportation of supplies difficult, and forcing the Germans to spend a considerable amount for antiaircraft weaponry. The bombing slowed down the German manufacturing machine.

Where the US failed was after the war when they forced democratic governments on western Europe, whereas Russia allowed the eastern European countries to vote in their communist regimes.

Once again, I hope you don't write history for a living


Salamon :

TOM W:

I am aware that most presidential candidates have stated various versions of continuing occupation possible threat top IRan, Syria et al.

My belief that the USA will withdraw completely from IRaq [and most of ME] is based on economic analysis [and I do not expect such movement before 2008, though surprises copuild come]:

1.,Some powers are getting tired of financing your idiotic spending habits. The USA $ is falling like the Bushie's belivebility.

2., Global warming efforts will take more and more capital nad running cost in USA [as elsewhere] 9 at least 3-4% of USA DGP and major dislocations -- see the weather news form Australia for a introduction].

3., the Oil pricing may [I think will] change away from USA FIAT currency [thus negating the power of the Federal Reserve to print money without serious complicating effects, such as inflation]

4.,For the abobve reasons the USA will run out of funds for war, run out of funds for defence forward positions [the 760 military bases in 130 countries]

5., The USA will not be able to fund the profiligate energy use of DoD - which at present would be the 4th largest nation in oil use, were the DoD counted as a nation on Spaceship Earth. [Do recall that the cost of 1 gallon of fuel for DoD in Bagdad is $24.00 as per Defence dept data I read on the Web].

When reality overcomes all misplaced beliefs, then the USA politician [of whatever party] will act to save continental USA, rather than force more war. Forcing, of course, is always possible, but the chances of Rusia, China, Pakistan or India putting up with it is questionable, for they all need world peace to advance their populatio's standard of living.

6., USa is running out of manpower for the armed forces short of DRAFT, a notion which is completely rejected by the RULING ELIT [the familiess with money and power]

JRLR :

Tom Wonacott : "Dang, I always thought the US fought Germany in North Africa and Europe, But I guess on "D Day", we must have attacked the French Resistance."

For the record, during WWII, 75% of the enemy forces in Europe were on the Eastern Front. Not resting, fighting. Day and night. It is therefore on that front (on those multiple fronts) that the Germans and their European allies were defeated, at the cost of more than twenty million Soviets lives. Literally, every Soviet family lost a loved one.

Readers who prefer Western sources can get some idea of the colossal Soviet efforts and of the magnitude of the fighting by referring to Oxford's Omer Bartov's famous "The Eastern Front 1941-1945". This is a relatively more recent book than the better known "classics" on the subject.

Readers who are not allergic by birth to Soviet publications can refer, of course, to "Memoirs" (with detailled coloured military maps) by most of the famous Soviet generals, amongst them Zhukov (on all the Fronts) and Vassilievsky (on the role of the Stavka).

In Europe, the so-called second front appeared only towards the end of WWII, when the Soviets were already well on their way to Berlin and marching through Eastern Europe. It is arguable that, by then, the "allies" thought it would be in their best interest to be part of the solution to the conflict in a bigger way, and before the Soviets reached the Atlantic... which might have proved a wee bit embarrassing, to say the least.


JRLR :

daniel : "Jrlr you take the cake for denseness." Thank you for awarding me the prize for denseness, Daniel... I love cake and yours is delicious.

You write: "The U.S. could take care of the problem easily if it were willing to compromise itself morally. The problem is precisely this unwillingness to compromise morally."

After reading that, I must admit your lucidity appears to be out of the ordinary.

Yet don't you think, Daniel, that after years of nothing but lies and deception before the whole community of nations, after hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, after the destruction of Iraq, after the use (well-documented) of depleted uranium on civilian populations in Iraq (with consequences that make it more than a war crime, indeed a crime against humanity), after Abu Ghraib, after Guantanamo-Gitmo, after kidnapping people off the streets in allied countries, after all those flights to secret locations for kidnapped people to be tortured by mercenaries, after the vast majority of the American people and the American media having been complicit in all those war crimes and crimes against humanity, don't you think, Daniel, that the US has been compromised enough morally already?

Do you really mean to say you want more of the same?

Don't you think that in the last decades the US has been compromised enough already in every country in South and Latin America, in Asia, and in Africa? Travel! Go ask people on those continents to give you some idea of what they think of US moral rectitude and purity. Go there and dare ask people!

Do you really mean to say you still want more of the same?

What more do you want, Daniel? Don't you think the US has already betrayed its values enough in Afghanistan, in relation to Palestine and to Lebanon. Do you really want the US to betray them further? Where? In Palestine? In Afghanistan? In Iran? In Syria? In North Korea?

Tell me: Does that humanitarian nonsense end somewhere?

What more do you want, Daniel? Nuclear war?

As they say: "I understand quickly but I am a slow learner", Daniel. Tell us all how easy it is for the US to take care of world problems, if only it will compromise itself even further, morally. Tell us how far you think the US should go. Tell us how far is far enough for you, beyond everything listed above! I am sure we are many here who, because they have had enough already, are interested to learn what you think has been missing so far. Tell us all: We are open-minded. Nothing will suprise us.


Tom Wonacott :

JRLR

"...2. In WWII, it was the Soviets who defeated Germany, which is why the Germans surrendered to the Soviets first (to Marshall Zhukov, victorious in Leningrad, in Moscow, in Stalingrad, and all the way to Berlin on multiple FRONTS, while there was no famous Second Front...). Hence the subsequent meeting of the "allies", not in London or Washington but in Yalta..."

Dang, I always thought the US fought Germany in North Africa and Europe, But I guess on "D Day", we must have attacked the French Resistance.

Suffice it to say that the Germans made a huge mistake to attack Russia, thus opening a war on two fronts, but Americans can proudly say that we defeated the Germans in WWII, and liberated Europe, just as the Russians can make the same claim by pushing the Germans all the back to Berlin from deep inside of Russia.

I hope you don't write history books for a living.

daniel :

Jrlr you take the cake for denseness. The U.S. could take care of the problem easily if it were willing to compromise itself morally. The problem is precisely this unwillingness to compromise morally. Under totalitarian systems terrorists are rapidly rooted out--in fact dissent of all types is rapidly put to rest. A good recent example is the Taliban in Afghanistan having destroyed opium production. Now the Taliban does not exist in power and opium production has skyrocketed. The U.S. in Afghanistan simply cannot be as hard as the Taliban in destroying opium production. It compromises the values of democracy. To be absolutely clear, a great problem with democracy is that although it is the best type of political system so far, it undercuts itself by not being willing to fight for itself as it should to continue to spread itself. No sooner does it establish itself to a degree it begins to have values which makes it difficult to ruthlessly defend itself. Fortunately the values themselves convert people because if the values were not so seductive democracy would be in trouble. The question is whether these values can convert the world before it sets democracy back by exploiting its unwillingness to be really ruthless in establishing its survival.

JRLR :

Thompson Stanley : "The best way to defuse Iraq is first treat it like a war and not a minor police action. This would require the following... these actions will never be implemented... We have enough fire power that we can annihilate the country if we wanted to. We did it to Germany and to Japan. Those were wars where we were committed to win."

So that "excursion" into Iraq that has lasted already more than four years, that little adventure was just "a minor police action", was never treated like a war; there was no real US commitment to war and to winning? Ah! I see... that's why there is no end, so far, to the US winning that "thing"! How did the world not figure that one out before?...

The interesting question is WHY the actions you propose will never be adopted and implemented. I suggest it is partly because: 1. They have been tried before, in Vietnam, with the results we all remember full well. 2. In WWII, it was the Soviets who defeated Germany, which is why the Germans surrendered to the Soviets first (to Marshall Zhukov, victorious in Leningrad, in Moscow, in Stalingrad, and all the way to Berlin on multiple FRONTS, while there was no famous Second Front...). Hence the subsequent meeting of the "allies", not in London or Washington but in Yalta.

These reasons are of no historical significance, needless to say... .

Tom Wonacott :

Anonymous

Actually, the US was hoping for a "Domino" affect in the Middle East. All the regimes are dictatorships, however, the US hoped that, in this case, an established democracy in Iraq would lead to democratization in the ME.

In fact, the Iraqi elections did have an affect on the people of the ME, but dictatorships backed by a well fed and armed military are hard to overcome. Lebanon is a good example of a country attempting to democratize, but freedom loving regimes like Syria and Iran are working against the Lebanese people by assassinations and disruptions of the political system. Their ultimate goal is to bring down the current Lebanese government.

Just for the record, the aftermath of the fall of South Viet Nam was anything but peaceful.

The reeducation camps kept people confined for years. From Wikipedia:

"...In Vietnam, the new communist government sent many people who supported the old government in the South to "reeducation camps", and others to "new economic zones." An estimated 1 million people were imprisoned without formal charges or trials.[1] 165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's re-education camps, according to published academic studies in the United States and Europe.[1] Thousands were abused or tortured: their hands and legs shackled in painful positions for months, their skin slashed by bamboo canes studded with thorns, their veins injected with poisonous chemicals, their spirits broken with stories about relatives being killed.[1] These factors, coupled with poverty, caused millions of Vietnamese to flee the country..."

Regarding some other issues brought up on this forum:

The US pays reparations (published April 11, 2007):

"...In all, the military has paid more than $32 million to Iraqi and Afghan civilians for noncombat-related killings, injuries and property damage, an army spokeswoman said..."


Iraqi oil revenues should be used to pay reparations to the victims of Saddam's regime. The relatives of victims uncovered in mass graves (primarily Shia and Kurds), or victims of torture, victims of WMDs used on the Kurds including ones that will have health problems the rest of their lives, victims of the gassing of the Iranians, war reparations from the invasion of Iran, as well as the deaths of Iraqis from the same war. Reparations should also be paid to Iraqi military personnel (families) killed by US/coalition forces resulting from the invasion of Kuwait. Reparations should be paid for political killings including the deaths resulting from Saddam's rise to power.

Currently, Iraq still owes about $30,000,000,000 in reparations to Kuwait (to be paid by oil revenues).

Reparations should also be paid by the leaders of the militias in Iraq (for example, Sadr) supported by the Iranians and Syrians responsible for the targeting and killing of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

The US should pay for the reconstruction of Iraq, but it's difficult to finish that task while there is a war in progress.

Don't count :

It IS interesting, isn't it, that the Irquis,the people we cared so much about having a democracy, are the same people whose deaths, which we caused ,are not important enough to even count. More of the maddness of this mess. Actually, of course, it's not maddness, but lies and greed. If US foreign policy were run by Americans for America, instead of by Jewish neocons for Israel, we'd be working on American defense...

Anonymous :

Daniel - Regret that you, being from a DEMOCRATIC country, have forgotten that there is such a thing as a REFERENDUM.

The best and easiest way to extricate yourselves from the Iraqi quagmire is to hold a referendum as to whether they want you to quit or not.

ASK THE IRAQIS AS A WHOLE - KURDS, SUNNIS & SHIAS. I am sure that the majority will say OUT YOU GO.

That is the best FACE-SAVING way for you. No need for you to declare defeat or victory.

The pundits had declared that if Vietnam fell there would be a DOMINO affect and all of southeast Asia would fall to the commies. They were wrong you know.

Now the pundits say that there will be a bloodbath if the Americans leave.

They could be wrong again you know.

jdwill :

Agree that we broke it, we own it - or whatever metaphor or analogy you want that says we are stuck.

Better question: Could a hypothetical patient super power (certainly not the US ;-} ) be able to make enough right moves over time to salvage Iraq and set them on the road to a stable, basically democratic government with rule of law? What might those moves be?


The Iraqi's seem to have good economic instincts, and they have some legal tradition via Islam, but can they undo decades of murderous social damage between the Shia and Sunni? I highly recommend a couple essay by Fouad Ajami, Blind Liberation and Iraq in the Balance, which are online on TNR.

Also, what about the potential explosion from Turkey as the Kurds pursue their national yearning?

Makes you want to pull the blanket over your head and go back to sleep.

bobL-VA :

Thompson Stanley,

Why waste the time and the resources? Let's just kill them all now. Then we can erect a series of 3 forty foot high fences around Iraq to keep the Latin Americans from infilitrating our new 51st State. Bush can finally get his democracy in Iraq that way.

Your post does bring up a fundamental issue about "modern warfare." Miliarty strength can be used for very specific goals such as Reagan's bombing of Libya. It can also be used under extraordinary circumstances like World War II to decimate populations. However, it has not proved effective as occupying forces and trying to win the hearts and minds of the people we've attempted to do so with.

brian mcc, the arctic :

So we've found ourselves in the middle of a mine field. Attempts to diffuse the device have failed. There will be an explosion, so predictions abound on the extent of future collateral damage. The Post reported when an 'ied' detonates, the force travels @ 1600 feet/sec. Despite the protective headgear, in the blast zone, the brain is rattled within the skull. Deployment and over-extended tours of duty are a landmine when the combat veteran returns home. Mental illness on time delay.
Some feel we are in Iraq for oil and if that is true, then our commanders in chief are Exxon, British Petroleum and Conocco Philips.

stan :

the media coverage of this war is fascinating - major media are owned by new york liberals. they want to stay in iraq and bomb iran, no matter how much we have to borrow from china, or how many americans have to die to do it. also fascinating is how there isn't a presidential candiddate that thinks the federal government is too large-

Thompson Stanley :

The best way to defuse Iraq is first treat it like a war and not a minor police action. This would require the following:
1. Reinstate the Draft.
2. Bring the Army back to the strength needed to send 1 million troops to Iraq.
3. Lock down the country and disarm everyone. If they don’t disarm, kill them.
4. Require everyone to wear an id tag that can be scanned for positive recognition.
5. Persons without ID’s are either Jailed or Killed.
6. Increases Taxes to pay for this.
7. Apportion a percent of Iraq Oil to go directly to the US in payment for our Help.
8. Make a commitment for 10 years as the controlling force in Iraq, during which time train our replacements
9. Since these actions will never be implemented the best thing to do is to leave the metropolitan areas and re-deploy to protect the oil fields and direct a certain percent of the oil to the US to help pay the cost of this police action. Let the Iraq’s settle their own dispute. The idea the if we leave they will follow us is ludicrous. We have enough fire power that we can annihilate the country if we wanted to. We did it to Germany and to Japan. Those were wars where we were committed to win.

Jai Khosla :

The USA got rid of a murderer, facilitated elctions and the writing of the first free Constitution and the Iraqi army ran away without fighting. These are not indications of a US defeat.

The US can do nothing about Shias and Sunnis killing each other. Shias and Sunnis have killed each other ever since Muhammad founded Muhammadanism. It is up to the Sunni Muhammadan and the Shia Muhammadan as how they will settle their dispute.

Having said that the US did go in. It broke the china in the china shop and must now mend the china shop.

The answer is:

1) Send in another 100 troops.
2) Give warnings to Iran and Syria and act on those warnings.

3) set a timetable of 5 years to get out. And keep to the time table.

the US will never be able to win the hearts and minds of Muslims anywhere. This is not Japan or Germany where there was a high level of education and les religion.

daniel :

To Berry from Daniel. Just a note to be sure you do not confuse me, the usual Daniel, with the Daniel you agreed with...But as long as we are on the subject, what is this "consult with the Iraqi people" you and the other Daniel speak of? And what is this list of reparations to be made to the Iraqi people? What I mean exactly is what Iraqi people? I see no Iraqi people. I see the "country" divided into three essential groups, and I fail to see how any sense can be arrived at from asking the opinion of the Iraqi people. What if one group asks us to stay--as the Kurds have been doing--but the others want us to go? Are we supposed to act on majority opinion? And how do we make reparations? Do we split everything up between the warring groups? Can we even make any order of things to make reparations? Actually this question makes clear the absurdity of blaming all the violence on the U.S. The clearer the U.S. is to blame the clearer the victim--and vice-versa. But we have all these warring factions and it is virtually impossible to tell who is the victim of whom. But maybe you and the other Daniel--and why not enlist Salamon as well--can tell us all here at postglobal exactly the "Iraqi people" to be consulted on whether the U.S. should leave and also work out a plan of reparations to the three essential groups that have been fighting for centuries....

Jim Preston :


Thanks to Berry from Ecuador for bringing up the question of reparations to the Iraqi people. What a surprise that such an idea did not come from one of the American posters! Not even one politician has had the courage to state such a plan. If you look a few years down the road, there are really three options in Iraq, which I can specify as follows:

1. (most likely) America will mostly leave Iraq, cut the nees coverage, and pretend everything is pretty much OK. This will probably require the installation of some kind of strongman leader. Let us call this the Status Quo Ante solution. Minor details such as whether airstrikes into Iran will be required to maintain stability in the region will, of course, be left completely up in the air.

2. (somewhat unlikely) The Iraq situation will devolve into a regional war. The costs of this are so high that we have to assume that the major powers will take fairly considerable steps (those darn airstrikes again) to avoid it.

3. (highly unlikely, but honorable) The US military will leave Iraq, with the promise that, if some human rights and anti-corruption benchmarks are met, approximately $20 Billion per year, for 20 years, in reparations will be made to the Iraqi people to rebuild their country. The US will finance the reconstruction of the Iraqi national oil company, without the Iraqi's ceding any interest to the oil multinationals. Invading Iraq was a bad decision, made by all of us collectively as Americans, whether we agreed with the invasion or not, and when an honorable man makes a bad decision that causes others to suffer, he apologizes profusely and opens his checkbook to pay for the consequences. I would submit that the last thing that a real gentleman would do is to offer strongly worded advice to his victim about how they should be handling the results of his errors.
peace,
now?
Jim

JAKE :


I THINK THE BEST WAY TO DEFUSE THE SITUATION IN IRAC WOULD BE TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT,VICE PRESIDENT,CARL ROWE, DON RUMSFIELD,CONDI RICE AND ALL THE OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO BACK THIS FIASCO A M-16, A HELMET, SMALL FLACK JACKET AND A 2 YEAR TOUR OF DUTY. POSSIBLEY THEN THEY MIGHT UNDERSTAND

JAKE :


I THINK THE BEST WAY TO DEFUSE THE SITUATION IN IRAC WOULD BE TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT,VICE PRESIDENT,CARL ROWE, DON RUMSFIELD,CONDI RICE AND ALL THE OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO BACK THIS FIASCO A M-16, A HELMET, SMALL FLACK JACKET AND A 2 YEAR TOUR OF DUTY. POSSIBLEY THEN THEY MIGHT UNDERSTAND

JAKE :


I THINK THE BEST WAY TO DEFUSE THE SITUATION IN IRAC WOULD BE TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT,VICE PRESIDENT,CARL ROWE, DON RUMSFIELD,CONDI RICE AND ALL THE OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO BACK THIS FIASCO A M-16, A HELMET, SMALL FLACK JACKET AND A 2 YEAR TOUR OF DUTY. POSSIBLEY THEN THEY MIGHT UNDERSTAND

JAKE :


I THINK THE BEST WAY TO DEFUSE THE SITUATION IN IRAC WOULD BE TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT,VICE PRESIDENT,CARL ROWE, DON RUMSFIELD,CONDI RICE AND ALL THE OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO BACK THIS FIASCO A M-16, A HELMET, SMALL FLACK JACKET AND A 2 YEAR TOUR OF DUTY. POSSIBLEY THEN THEY MIGHT UNDERSTAND

JRLR :

berry, ecuador : "the U.S. must agree to pay compensation to Iraqis, accounting for:

+ all the oil stolen
+ all infrastructure destroyed
+ the thousands and thousands of men, women and children murdered during these years
+ all civilians forced to flee the country
+ all cases of systeematic torture"

Berry, you forgot the victims of depleted uranium. This is very much a long term debt... More so even than with agents orange, purple, etc., in Vietnam. Depleted uranium destroyed the genetic material of humanity in those men, women and children. How much is that worth? How can one account for that? How can one make up for that crime against humanity?

For the record, refer to "The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children", an award winning (ÖKOMEDIA 2004) documentary film produced for German television by Freider Wagner and Valentin Thurn, and released by Ochoa-Wagner Produktion in 2004 in Germany. It exposes the use and impact of radioactive weapons during the current war against Iraq. ... Dr. Siegwart-Horst Günther, a former colleague of Albert Schweitzer, and Tedd Weyman of the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) traveled to Iraq, from Germany and Canada respectively, to assess uranium contamination in Iraq. (http://www.traprockpeace.org/depleted_uranium_children.html)

Anonymous :

The war in Iraq is a disaster and staying in to protect a President's legacy is a lame excuse for continuing to fight a battle against the so-called Al Qaeda in Iraq. We all know the real fight is between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites and we (the U.S.) should get out of there.

People who say that all heck will break loose if we leave are likewise getting their opinions from a propoganda machine in this country that convinced us that we would be greeted as liberators when we arrived. I may be wrong, but I do not believe that chaos and mayhem on a higher level will occur when we leave. We will certainly see a continuation of short-term civil strife, but at some point, neighboring diplomatic forces will arrive to quell the unrest, if for no other reason than to prevent spillage into their territories.

Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to find a true political solution, perhaps one that divides the country into 3 autonomous zones with separate central governments in each. The only question would be the level of military protection granted by the international community.

Shiveh :

You can't defuse a land mine on your own while standing on it. Now, does it have anything to do with Iraq?

AD94 :

I myself feel conflicted. I see the Bush Administration flout the public will to get out now and at the same time recognize what a long term disaster it would be to just up and go. The real issue is credibility. If there were a way to hand foreign policy over to some kind of sensible bipartisan coalition (at least temporarily) and completely shut out Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, et al it may be just possible to get support in the region and leave without massive bloodshed for the innocents and a multi generational stain on America

MikeB :

Worthless now - Then, I suggest you go elsewhere. Actually, this forum is representative of needed civil discourse between people with strongly held and oppossing beliefs. You, and I recognize the syntax and logic thread, have been busy around these forums, denigrating precisely what takes place here. You evidently prefer the attack dog, take no prisoners, style of Limbaugh and Fox "News". Go away!

Worthless now :

This post, as all do, has devolved into childish
garbage by the same old names. Long, unreadable, uninformed, same old (hidden, they think, pro israel)stuff. And now, like every chat room they infest, worthless.

Anonymous :

Remarkably enough, Iraq is a dual land mine. It was one when Bush decided (?) to invade, because
had the Bush administration really understood Iraqi culture, we would never have gone to war. Not in a million years. There's no harder case than Iraq based on its history, which is there to be studied. When the United States cut off the hydra's Ba'thist head, power reverted to its most basic and stable form -- the tribe," she wrote. "The tribal insurgency is a direct result of our misunderstanding the Iraqi culture."
And five years later, we are in the middle of a civil war. As Bush stated today, when he vetoed the first Iraq funding bill, if we leave, the insurgency will overthrow the government. (How can 20% Sunni plus Al Qaeda overpower the 80% Shias?). We are in a situation without solution, except to get out. The initial mistake has ben compounded for 4 years.
So it is a land mine going out and will be whenever we leave.

Defusing it is as hopeful as making peace in the 1300 year war between Shia and Sunni .
With Iran and Syria on the side lines needling, and other forces bent on giving us pain, there is no defusing.
The Russians learned that lesson in Afghanistan, after the US did its part to stir the pot.


When you are caught in a minefield that you entered out of ignorance on how to handle a situation, and kept making the wrong decisions, you are stuck. Your only savior is a helicopter - like the last days of Saigon.

Andrew Einspanier Northern Wisconsin :

Yes , we're trapped . We can't leave Iraq . Since we're there for a while we had better start to become a good neighbor . Go native as they say . We are now the " American Tribe " .
We are in a blood feud with the " Terrorist Tribe " . No incomprehensible silly talk about democracy . We want the blood of the Terrorist Tribe . We'll roast their stomachs on our bayonets ! If other tribes want to borrow our B52's , this can be arranged , for a price . Its best to be our friend . You never know when you may need an air strike . We , the American Tribe , think secure borders , the free flow of oil and quiet Persians are in everyone's best interest .

The above is far more clear than Bush's/Condi's diplomacy . Best of all , it might work .

berry, ecuador :

I completely agree with Daniel:

The only decent way to get out of Iraq is by respecting the opinion of Iraqi people, expressed in a referendum about whether to allow western troops and contractors remain in Iraq any longer.

I would add:

After the referendum, a fast, orderly withdrawal. It should't take more than one month.

Then, the U.S. must agree to pay compensation to Iraqis, accounting for:

+ all the oil stolen
+ all infrastructure destroyed
+ the thousands and thousands of men, women and children murdered during these years
+ all civilians forced to flee the country
+ all cases of systematic torture

(This is not a joke. If the U.S. fails to accept its responsibility as the agreessor, history will haunt for decades, or centuries)

Finally, if the U.S. truly intends to regain some respect, Bush and Cheney should be impeached and then sent to an international criminal court.

***

The debacle caused by the Iraq invasion goes well beyond faction fighting, regional instability and even economic concerns. Bush and the neocons destroyed the foundations of American prestige and respect. Now, nobody cares about what the U.S. thinks or says, because it is too obvious the neocons don't understand the world, and their slogans about spreading freedom and democracy are as empty as Bush's brain.

I write this as a friend of the U.S.

Tom Wonacott :

Salamon

While I generally agree with your post, I have doubts about the US completely leaving Iraq for the near future. Clearly, the US will begin bringing military personnel home, but I will be surprised if it occurs before the 2008 elections.

If the "surge" is given an opportunity to succeed, and if there is clear progress (a big if), it could take longer yet (its what the Democrats fear the most, that is, having to make the decision).

From your previous post, you suggests the US needs to stay out of the ME. I don't believe that's realistic. Check out this article by Eric Kenning:


"...As tensions between Iran and the United States continue to mount, Vice President Dick Cheney has threatened military action by asserting that the Bush Administration has "not taken any options off the table." Clearly alarmed by this belligerent rhetoric and the prospect of another disastrous, unwinnable war, Democratic presidential candidates have been scrambling to distance themselves from it by staking out their own positions. Hillary Clinton, for instance, has declared, "No option can be taken off the table." Barack Obama, on the other hand, has argued, "We should take no option, including military action, off the table." Meanwhile, John Edwards, a lonely voice in the wilderness on the issue, has concluded, "We need to keep all options on the table."..."

If you are looking for US Presidential candidates that are against a US interventionist policy, then Republican Ron Paul or Democrat Dennis Kucinich (I assume) would be good choices. Neither has a prayer...

Serhio :

To stay on the mine is the only chance for US to solve the economical problems. Idea was to get a global control on the resourses ( something real instead of virtual dollar which is going down). US needs in war. Mine is in mind. It's the end of the of financial world time may be. US wants to change virtual power to real ( I slit between US- people and US- state). But big game- high cost.
Two mines are hot- Iraq and Afganistan, but US is looking for third- Iran, may be Syria...

Anyway- it will explode, be sure. I wish US people to be patient and start to think about reality of Al-Quaeda, 9/11, attaks in Iraq and a role of mass- media in our life.
Question in the head of discussion by another words is: what is more danger- to kill somebody or to be catched after and moved to the courte?
Financial people need in the war !

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

Actually, the only comment I want to make is concerning your statement "...If the democrats had won enough seats in the last election to overturn a Bish veto they would have overturned it in a heartbeat..." which is exactly my point. The strategy for the war in Iraq is split along party lines.

The Republicans want to give the surge awhile to develop while the Dems for the most part don't i.e., they want to cut and run, but they want to do it in a fashion that doesn't hurt them politically. That's why they don't vote to cut off funding. It's political and it is gutless, after all, they campaigned on an "Iraq is a failure" platform to regain control of Congress. Many people (just on this site alone) thought the troops would be headed home soon.

From a Washington Post editorial, March 23, 2007:

"...Altogether the House Democratic leadership has come up with more than $20 billion in new spending, much of it wasteful subsidies to agriculture or pork barrel projects aimed at individual members of Congress. At the tail of all of this logrolling and political bribery lies this stinger: Representatives who support the bill -- for whatever reason -- will be voting to require that all U.S. combat troops leave Iraq by August 2008, regardless of what happens during the next 17 months or whether U.S. commanders believe a pullout at that moment protects or endangers U.S. national security, not to mention the thousands of American trainers and Special Forces troops who would remain behind...As it is, House Democrats are pressing a bill that has the endorsement of MoveOn.org but excludes the judgment of the U.S. commanders who would have to execute the retreat the bill mandates. It would heap money on unneedy dairy farmers while provoking a constitutional fight with the White House that could block the funding to equip troops in the field. Democrats who want to force a withdrawal should vote against war appropriations. They should not seek to use pork to buy a majority for an unconditional retreat that the majority does not support..."

Say what you want about Bush, but the Dems are as good as any when it comes to deception and they are only beginning (four months).

Sorabh :

In the Indian epic, "The Mahabharata," the character Abhimanyu knows how to enter an impenetrable defense but doesn't know how to get out. Hence he was doomed to die. A 2500 yr old story of an individual which seems to be a perfect analogy for the US mission in Iraq.

I am and was always in favor of democracy in the middle-east, however, I was always convinced that force will not achieve it. Hence I was never in favor of the US mission in Iraq. But now that we are there, while the mission's lofty goals are in tatters and cannot be met, it will be immoral to leave and almost certainly worse for US interest and the region. So I don't think we have any other option but to stay.

Also, while I am an Independent leaning towards Democrats, I cannot see how setting a deadline and declaring it in public is good strategy. I do not support Democrats on this particular idea.

Andy :

This PostGlobal section really s u c k s. Can you please bring back World Opinion Roundup?

nzo.nelson :

In my opinion it exploded the instant we stepped into the desert. We have been sucked in by duplicitious peoples, sectarianism, and the Baathists who are the republican leadership here.In other words they will do anything to achieve the most destruction. NOw as the cheerleaders come out of the woodwork for War, right here right now, the indistinct thinkers of america get whipped around on slogans and fear, overlooking the fact that all the deaths and destruction is for naught. The posturing for money making, while making it look intelligent, has fallen away for those of us who are horrified by the needless deaths. None of the named dignitaries has one shread of honor, since, despite the poisoned rhetoric of Bush, Americans Want Peace, want out of this ill advised war and want to right what is wrong. If you recall, Bush senior failed to finish the war in Desert Storm, leaving this condition for his son to continue. If Mr. bin Ladin could be found, and the truth of that WTC event determined, it would be much easier to find out what this war means. Otherwise, the events, as we Know them, are we invaded Iraq on a Napolean whim, on a madmans thought, and its worse than any of us make out!

nzo.nelson :

In my opinion it exploded the instant we stepped into the desert. We have been sucked in by duplicitious peoples, sectarianism, and the Baathists who are the republican leadership here.In other words they will do anything to achieve the most destruction. NOw as the cheerleaders come out of the woodwork for War, right here right now, the indistinct thinkers of america get whipped around on slogans and fear, overlooking the fact that all the deaths and destruction is for naught. The posturing for money making, while making it look intelligent, has fallen away for those of us who are horrified by the needless deaths. None of the named dignitaries has one shread of honor, since, despite the poisoned rhetoric of Bush, Americans Want Peace, want out of this ill advised war and want to right what is wrong. If you recall, Bush senior failed to finish the war in Desert Storm, leaving this condition for his son to continue. If Mr. bin Ladin could be found, and the truth of that WTC event determined, it would be much easier to find out what this war means. Otherwise, the events, as we Know them, are we invaded Iraq on a Napolean whim, on a madmans thought, and its worse than any of us make out!

Salamon :

TOM W:

I am sure that the USA can [and perhaps will] recover from the moral moress perpetrated under the Bush administration [with respect to IRaq, Afganistan, internal constitutional transgressions, etc] with hard work by the next President[s] in cooperation with Congress [nullifying some statutes and many presidential orders, directives etc].

The recovery from Economic problems will be far greater challenge, for things have changed since Korea, Iraq war #1. The USA is a net borrower [$3 billion a day] outsourced most of its manufacturing, faces far greater scarcity of raw materials [as reflected in commodity prices since the rise of India and China] and not the least the problem of GLOBAL WARMING and expenses thereto. The final problem is the runaway printing presses of the Federal Reserve Bank, trying to mollify all the problems of the present economy -- which is actually transferring greater problems to the future [as history shows all runaway central government printers cused extreme havoc for their citizens].

I believe that the USA will recover [in as much one can say that for any country] to a level below the standard of living at present, which is positive notion, as the total WORLD's RESOURCES are incapable of sustaining the present standard of living in USA and EU.

A Serious problem in food inflation might arise if the susbsidies to grain/corn/etc ethanol process use up too large a segment of the grains necessary for human consumption and or the raising of farm animals.

Aside from the above I wish the USA luck, and expect that in the near future Iraq will be without foreign invadors on her soil. That the USA [and coalition of the "willing"] will be out of Iraq [and Afganistan] sooner than later is certainity --- the only question remains how many more deaths/injuries and destruction will be achieved ere the end of occupation.

BOB L VA:

Your analysis is correct.

Hugh M. :

Iraq as a landmine? I'm not sure the analogy applies. Gen. Petraeus' approach to the situation ought to have been taken from Day 1. And it may be too late for that approach to bear fruit. What we should be prepared to do to salvage the situation is to choose a side. Sunni, Shiite, & Kurd, pick and help them win.

I think it's actually possible to choose *two* of the participants and forge a "victory": Kurds/whoever. Will this ignite a problem with Turkey? Not if it's handled with aplomb. Which means that the next administration should handle it, because this one doesn't know how to rule with anything other than a stick. That's why Bush felt such an affinity for Putin when first they met; birds of a feather...

mohammad allam :

A wise man thinks hundred times before any act and foolish act thousand times and thinks not a single time.This is the case with iraq,where American whole establishment lost the sense and jumped in iraq without thinking about the post iraq situation.They forgot that iraq is different from the other nation of arab world.The ethnic and secterian division presents it a fire in a bowl and once this bowl will break no one is going to control that fire.By using saddam without war America could be in more powerfull position than right now without saddam.Iraq now present as swamp for america as more and more it is trying to come ,the more it is tangled by the situation.It is not land mine where you either have death or life.But here iraq, neither letting america to comeout not it allowing to stay.
The so called iraqi landmine can be diffused by following ways
1.Aamerica ensure the share of power among the different sects of iraq with proprtional share of income from oil on the basis of percentage of population
2 America ask the friendly neighbouring countries to be ready to enter in iraq with their army under UNo command.
3.America try to win the baathist,saddamist and other insurgents group to give them a new test of power.BY disbanding iraqi forces America forgot that this was controlling iraq for decades and enjoying a position of command.How easily they will accept this position of begging.In my opinion America intentionaly disbanded iraqi forces to make a chance to stay in iraq.vcause it cannot be believ that america could not know the threat of well 6 million trained army including 1.8 lakh well trained Republican guard.
4.America clear his position regarding the realtion with iran.In sunni world there is some suspision about America role in middle east.one hand it making arab world to face another war of america and iran while otherhand same america cooperating shia led goverment in iraq and have an strategic allaince over Afghanistan against Taliban.
5.America should realize that this war cannot be win as there is not a single faction in Iraq now and in the form of nation and state but america facing unknown enemies without any boundry and any goverment.
6 America should give a time table of withdrawl from iraq with a warning to Iraqi goverment and the people of Iraq that if peace will not develope then america will stay longer and as soon as peace will, america will leave the country.
7.America should not have a tendency of changing aims in Iraq.See how it entered in Iraq in the name of WMD but later swift to democracy,Saddam Hussain and now the end of secterian violence.Due to this continuous lying from the side of authority the people of iraq lost the faith in America.
8 There should be unity between president and the congress.The present tussle on the question of withdrawl led the people to think American projected democracy as a mockery.one hand congress under democrate wants to set a time table and other hand the veto by honourable presedent led the people to think where america is ruled by a democratic representative or by a person like sddam Hussain who marginalised the power of people.in my opinion the difusuion of iraqi landmine needs a political and diplomatic solution not the military.As soon as we will realised this fact ,we will able to difuse the iraqi landmine.other wise the same process of killing to each other and making innocent as a terrorist will continue.What the wise man says that" by love you can win the whole wolrd and by sword even you cannot your own family."this was the mission of all prophets in genral and jesus christ in particular.Let america to be a land of Jesus christ not a country of devil which spreads hatred.

Disgusted :

Ignatius thinks a representational global panel for our edification is two Jews from Israel (Israel is the most populas nation in the world, of course) and several Jews from other nations with names that sould regional.Who does he think he's kdding?

BobL-VA :

Tom,

Everyone I know believes the war should be concluded with the best possible outcome. The discussion is "what is the best possible outcome?"

My argument is withdrawing will lead to the best possible outcome. It gives Iraq the ability to determine what their future will hold for them without US interference. Exactly the same thing that happened when we pulled out of Vietnam. The majority of the citizens decide what is best for their nation. (whether we like it or not) I assume, but I don't know, it will unfortunately be a rather bloody time as the factions fight it out. That is going to happen sooner or later anyway. The moment we leave, whether it's next month or in 10 years, that process will start. We've been trying to establish an artifical political structure and it never works. The people in Iraq need to decide their future. We're absolutely not smart enough to do it for them.

If the democrats had won enough seats in the last election to overturn a Bish veto they would have overturned it in a heartbeat. Since they don't have enough seats yet a compromise will have to be worked out, but don't hold your breath on it being a civil compromise. It won't be. Virtually all of the democrats, most of the independents and a growing number of republicans detest Bish. They don't just think this guy is a poor leader they really don't respect him in any way. Once a person gets to the point where they believe someone is lying just by openning their mouth all respect has vanished. That's how bad Bish has alienated the majority of the American people. This is a terrible president and he and Chiney should resign their offices, but alas they won't so we'll muddle through in the next 20 months just trying to reduce the harm this bozoo duo can cause.

20 months from now another president and administration will take office and whether it's republican or democrat it will be far better then this administration. I'm not against repulicans I'm against Bushies for making a mockery out of this country.

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

I think you are misreading Republican voters, and voters in general. The leading Republican candidates for President of the US, Giuliani and McCain support the surge. That doesn't mean that most Republicans support the war, but most feel its in the best interest of the US and the ME to conclude the war in a positive fashion. Where is Chuck Hagel's support?

If the Dems want to get out now, then why not just vote to pull the funding? Why start a pullout in 4 months and not tomorrow? Why do Hillary and Obama support leaving troops in Iraq if they are elected?

How am I fear mongering if you suggest that more violence is a possibility? Why is it fear mongering if I suggest a regional conflict is a possibility when the Saudis have said the same thing (as well as numerous other people)? We know Al Qaeda is positioned in Iraq.

George Tenet also said that the CIA was wrong about weapons of mass destruction which they predicted were in Iraq (slam dunk)? Historians can't dispute that fact.

We may not be a direct party to the violence if we leave, but we certainly would bear responsibility for the war's aftermath, whether it was just confined to Iraq or spread regionally.

Got to go.

BobL-VA :

Tom,

First, I'm neither pessimistic nor optimistic about the ME. It is a region in the world run by a conservative religion that is at odds with the 21st century. Israel and oil just add adverse conditions to their development. Were it not for their struggle to rid "their" land of Israel and the oil reserves the industrialized nations need they would be a rustic and quaint travel destination.

Second, I strongly disagree with your view American involvment has turned into a republican vs. democrat issue. Most republicans today admit Iraq was a mistake and want a way out. At the same time they have to deal with the political realities of not looking like "Pelosi." As many people are fond of saying both republicans and democrats voted for this conflict. There was a consensus to go to war. (Whether that consensus was a knee jerk reaction to 9/11 or the intentional misleading administration statements or a combination of both history will reveal) Today there is no consensus to continue this conflict. There is a majority opinion in Congress to bring it to an end. There is a greater majority percentage of the American people who want it over and they want it over now. Only 23% of the American public believes Bush has done a capable job in Iraq. 23%. Wake up and smell the coffee. When 3/4 the people oppose you in a democracy you have a consensus to take action. In this case the action is withdraw from Iraq and offer whatever aid we can.

Third, what will happen in Iraq if we leave? I don't know. I do know nobody else does either. Bush certainly doesn't have a clue. He's proven that over and over again. However, in an attempt to answer this question only 3 things can happen. One, the violence increases. Two, it stays about the same. Three, it decreases. (pretty safe assumptions) In all three cases if we withdraw we won't be a direct party to whatever level of upheaval and violence that takes place. We won't be a continuing cause of the violence as we are to a degree today. Also, I would argue the Iraqi people have the right to self determination and as long as we are an occupying force that can never happen. In their inevitable quest for self determination will there be bloodshed? Probably, there will be bloodshed. Will it be greater, the same or lesser then whats going on today? Nobody knows the answer to this question. However, our staying there only prolongs this natural process. It can't really start until we leave.

Finally, our leaders have a duty and responsibility to act judicously in committing our armed forces in combat. Richard Clarke was the first high ranking administration offical to state our leaders rushed into conflict without considering the facts. George Tenet has been the latest to support Clarke's claim. Ambassador Wilson and his wife weren't bleeding heart liberals and they received the shabbiest of treatment by an administration hell bent on going to war for even suggesting there was a problem with the intelligence being used. At the very least there is a disturbing pattern emerging here that would lead a reasonable person to start serious inquiry into the processes that lead our nation into Iraq to start with. (this is what historians do)

It's been just a tad over 4 years since Bush gave his "Mission Accomplished" speech on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln. In fairness to tweedle dee he did say we had just completed defeating the Iraqi army and we still had work ahead of us. Well, he's had 4 years and it's worse today then it was 4 years ago. That's failure. Iraq is not a better place today then it was before we started this war it's a worse place. America isn't a better place today it's also worse. Both Iraq and America are worse because Bish has been a failure. He has been an incompetent and arrogant president who people really dislike. However, I do give him credit for being smart about one thing. His choice of Cheney for VP was brilliant. As long as Cheney is VP nobody is going to demand the impeachment of Bush to end up with tweedle dumb as president. No, that impeachment process would have to either be a package deal or no deal at all.

Art M :

Well, since you are standing on the land mine and your foot is still attached, it would be safe to assume that you have stumbled upon the latter type. As far as what to do next, well, let's take a few moments to run over what you should NOT do. 1. Don't tell yourself that you are really standing on a turtle, or that standing on this land mine is a really good thing, as that might tend to reduce the seriousness of the situation. 2. Don't invite all your friends and loved ones to gather around and share in the experience, unless you really don't like them very much. 3. Don't try to maintain some sense of pride or worry what your current demeanor will look like in the future, as any future aspect to your existence looks a bit bleak at the moment. 4. Don't blame the land mine, after all, you stepped on it. In fact, blame is a luxury, and one you cannot afford.

Now, as for things to do. 1. See if you can get a big rock to put on the mine so that it will think that you are still standing on it. Then, haul butt. 2. Invite everybody you don't like over to stand next to you and sing songs. 3. Stockpile a large supply of bandages and other medical supplies for use if the mine goes off, and you are still alive. 4. Wave goodbye to your foot, and take a desperate leap away, hoping that the crowd of people you don't like will absorb most of the shrapnel.

Cayambe, Philo, CA-USA :

MikeB....Oops sorry. I should have mentioned I was refering to your description of landmines in Burma and other places.

Cayambe, Philo, CA-USA :

MikeB: I was impressed by your post ... and depressed. I liked the way you wrote it, sans excess and fulsome adjectives. The straight scoop is most penetrating.

Thanks for the info.

Tom Wonacott :

Shiloh

I am not denying anything. Saddam created the conditions (for the hatred) that has lead to the brutal civil war in Iraq. That is a fact. They spend more time targeting each other than Americans, and they almost always target civilians. You are exactly right that we, by overthrowing Saddam, precipitated the civil war. I am not sure that any occupation plan short of a dictatorial rule would have been successful, however.

The Shiites are rightfully ruling the country. Not much good news has come from the war in Iraq, but the elections and the liberation of the Kurds and Shia from the oppressive rule of Saddam are positive results.

BobL

If you disagree with my previous post i.e., reasons 1-4, "fear mongering" is not an answer other than it suggests (to me) that they are very unlikely to occur (a civil war is very unlikely?). What do you believe will happen in Iraq (and the ME) if the US just pulls out tomorrow? Another interesting possibility was posted by Dame Folly concerning Turkey, Iran and the Iraqi Kurds.


By the way, I think you are more pessimistic about the ME than I am (I also remember your "thats who they are..." post on the people of Afghanistan), so it strikes me as odd that you think that I am fear mongering.

Sorry, I believe the war in Iraq is a Democrat vs Republican issue. Both voted to authorize the war, but the Democrats want to pull out i.e., set a date to begin pulling troops out. I disagree with that policy for the reasons that I previously stated. I think it’s the wrong policy, no matter what you believe about the invasion.


In my opinion, we also have an obligation to the Iraqis since we did overthrow the government and precipitate the civil war (read: not create).


I couldn't agree with you more about Republican pork and just overall spending. They deserved to be kicked out of Congress. The Dems are interested in ending the war so why not just vote to cut off funding?

MikeB

Try to remember that it was Congress that authorized the war in Iraq. That includes Republicans and Democrats. Republicans still support the "surge" or else Congress would have successfully voted to override the veto.

What would you expect Bush to do. Most people view the war in Iraq as a total failure, but for all the reasons you stated in your first post, that policy can fail worse (sorry about the English).

Salamon

We recovered from WWII, Korea, the cold war, Viet Nam, Bosnia, and Kuwait so I'm confident we'll recover economically and morally from Afghanistan and Iraq. Your point is well taken, however.

joe :

No question. Get all U.S. military and civilian personnel out of Iraq -- and Afghanistan and all other countries where they don't belong anymore. Stop all government foreign aid.

There is plenty for folks and our tax money to do right here at home without provoking half the world over our actions. The rest of the world can get along just fine without our direct involvement.

joe :

No question. Get all U.S. military and civilian personnel out of Iraq -- and Afghanistan and all other countries where they don't belong anymore. Stop all government foreign aid.

There is plenty for folks and our tax money to do right here at home without provoking half the world over our actions. The rest of the world can get along just fine without our direct involvement.

joe :

No question. Get all U.S. military and civilian personnel out of Iraq -- and Afghanistan and all other countries where they don't belong anymore. Stop all government foreign aid.

There is plenty for folks and our tax money to do right here at home without provoking half the world over our actions. The rest of the world can get along just fine without our direct involvement.

joe :

No question. Get all U.S. military and civilian personnel out of Iraq -- and Afghanistan and all other countries where they don't belong anymore. Stop all government foreign aid.

There is plenty for folks and our tax money to do right here at home without provoking half the world over our actions. The rest of the world can get along just fine without our direct involvement.

Daniel :

In all these discussions I do not hear one word about the Iraqi's viewpoint. The way forward is simple. We get the Iraqis to have a referendum with one simple question: should we go or should we stay? And we would execute the will of the Iraqis. The voting would have to be validated by international observers. That's the only way to bring any kind of legitimacy to this occupation. Who better to judge whether or not our presence there is aggravating the situation.

Once that is complete, start impeachment proceedings against Bush AND Cheney.

Bob G. :

Once again we are treated to a catalogue of reasons why it was good to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Why him, when the U.S. has been in the business of aiding and abetting criminal dictators for the past sixty years (Batista, Somoza, General Rios Montt, Marcos, Pinochet, and yes, even the very same Saddam Hussein, whom we encouraged and aided in the war he started with Iran). Here's the bottom line: there are not enough Americans willing to put their lives on the line to fight this Iraq war. The true danger is that the animosity towards the Iraq war will pollute genuine patriotism that would surface when the U.S. would be involved in a valid, nation-threatening conflict. What would happen if the U.S. withdrew from Iraq are the same things that are happening now, and will continue to happen in the future, if the U.S. stays. In addition, if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, it will be able to focus more on its long-neglected and true spouse, Latin America. The true destiny of the U.S. lies with our neighbors to the south- they have youthful vigor, they have natural resources, and they will, more and more, have purchasing power. Come home, America! Here's a few more possible effects of a U.S. pullout from Iraq- a balanced budget, a return to political sanity instead of mindless partisanship, the implementation of a national health insurance plan, money devoted to education and all the good things that a healthy, modern society should be focusing on, instead of destroying itself slowly because of an immoral war without end. Neocons, get down in the bunker with your Fuerhur, we will end that rotten war and hold accountable by legal means all those who started this country on this hellish journey.

Tom Wonacott :

dame folly:


"...Iraq was never a country..."

OK, so what? Its completely irrelevant when and why Iraq was created.

You obviously know nothing about Iraq's history or just don't care. Maybe I can repeat a few facts for you:


1. Saddam invaded two countries (Iran and Kuwait) and used WMDs on Iran and his own people (the same Kurds that you predict (hope?) will be crushed by Turkey and Iran).

2. Saddam is responsible for the death of 1,500,000-2,000,000 million people, many were the Shia and Kurds that have been uncovered in mass graves.

3. In addition, since Saddam would not cooperate with the inspectors, sanctions took their toll on the people of Iraq. The UN estimates 1,500,000 people died because of those sanctions which included 500,000 children.

So the grand total for deaths that can be directly attributed to Saddam reaches 3,000,000-3,500,000. Now, that may not be Hitler-like statistics, but, none the less, not bad for twenty (+) years of ruling.

"...If you don't like what is happening in Iraq now, wait until your Kurdish "success" story goes up in the flames of nationalism that will sweep out from Turkey and Iran to consume northern Iraq..."

One thing I can guarantee is that "peaceful" Iran will not attack the Kurds while the US is in the neighborhood (another good reason to stay, however). Turkey is a US ally, and although there is some worry that Turkey could retaliate against PKK interest in Northern Iraq, again, I doubt that Turkey would carry out a full scale military operation, at least, while the US is present.

"...What makes you think that the U.S. can do anything to contain the Pandora's box o' treats it has opened upon Iraq? Why don't you try shovelling the ocean with a spoon?..."

My guess is that you are a optimist by nature.

It's really an impossible question to answer at this point as there are no guarantees, however, if we pull out then I foresee these possibilities (which I stated in a previous post):


1. A high probability of full blown civil war,

2. possible regional war pitting Sunni and Shia interest,

3. Al Qaeda will remain entrenched in Iraq within the Sunni region. They are a small but significant force in Iraq.

4. Iran potentially gains control, or at least access to Iraq oil reserves.

5. This one I'll add for your benefit. A possible confrontation between Turkey or Iran and the Kurds of Northern Iraq.

We precipitated a civil war in Iraq by disposing of Saddam, so, at the least, we have an obligation (to the people) to attempt to stabilize Iraq.

Thanks for the post.

nallcando :

It is too late to take the moral high ground, this war was not started on a Moral cause it was started on a lie, that I see as revenge for 9/11. The Republican Party with it monkey head Bush had ideas of attacking Iraq before 9/11. Our country attacked and beat by shock and awe, a country that really could not defend itself. Please someone tell where is the moral high ground in
that. Our soldiers are caught in the middle of a civil war that this administration will not even actknowledge is happening now. There are three fractions of Iraqis who are killing each other, yet the one thing that brings them all together is US! The Iraqi People want us out of their country and I think we should go. 68.000 Iraqis are dead because of us, how many more will it take for the pro-war fans to feel like they have won! It is time to remove our troops and leave the Iraqis to it. Just like we had to fight our Civil wars here in the States. Iraq has a fragile government infused with Democracy, yet it will never be a Democracy for they will not be able to separate Church from State, the best they could hope for would be a Theocracy. Well it there and it is up to the Iraqis themselves to decide how they want to govern themselves. If you read History then you will know that our country started with much less. As the ole saying goes," You can lead a horse to water but you can not make him drink." Look at it this way our being in Iraq is causing blood to be shed, our leaving will cause blood to be shed. You have two negatives the positive is to leave.

alessandro biglioli :

Irak was just like every other arab country, a dictatorship where dissent wasn't allowed.
should we talk about the wonderful world of Saudi arabia, where women cannot even drive (let alone vote) and there's no opposition.
should we talk about the emirates, kuwait, qatar, bahrein, oman, etc.....these are our allies.
The "enemies" are just dictatorships that don't "fall in line" basically and don't sell us their oil at our conditions.
So we went to war with one dictatorship instead of another just to see if we can intimidate the whole region into "behaving" and follow our guidelines for how to dispose of their oil, unfortunately the strategy backfired and now everybody is emboldened and realizes what it takes to get the mighty US on their collective knees, basically a remainder of what the Korean and Vietnam wars were to our previous generations. Apparently having a president that didn't fight in a war it's recipe for disaster, they didn't feel it on their skin. That's exactly why bush father handled Saddam the way he did (he was in a war.....while GW dodged it and all the neocons too, i would really like to have seen them with a rifle in their hands or a loved one on the front....).
What amazes me the most is the fact Bush was re-elected, this is a thing the world will never ever forgive the american people, be sure about it.
Alessandro

dame folly :

Tom W:

A few facts:

Iraq was never a country.

George Bush did for Al Quaeda what it could never do on its own -- defeat a secular Muslim leaderf .

What makes you think that the U.S. can do anything to contain the Pandora's box o' treats it has opened upon Iraq? Why don't you try shovelling the ocean with a spoon?

If you don't like what is happening in Iraq now, wait until your Kurdish "success" story goes up in the flames of nationalism that will sweep out from Turkey and Iran to consume northern Iraq.

Can't you just admit that Bush et al have screwed this country totally?

In closing I'd like you to recall (or learn about)
a favorite quote of mine from Oscar Wilde, "when the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers."

Unfortunately, it appears that the gods answered the neocon's prayers.

Todd Sanders :

Wars are never over moral issues but over financial gain or pride. It is sad. So many lives given, so many children to grow up as orphans on both sides. So many people lost. Yet the soldiers that I know personally have all said that this is important and that they are proud to be there. I think that they are the only ones that should forge the opinions since they are the one who earned it.

Wardropper :

Is America impotent? If ever there was a time for Americans to stand up and do something, this is it. They have been manipulated into a humiliating position in Iraq. Are they going to just take it? I thought it was only the Brits who had the stiff upper lip when under pressure, and pretended that everything was just fine. In any case, how dare Bush put mines under our feet!

Bob G. :

In the Saddam Hussein era, there were no "mines" in Iraq. The dictator kept tight control on all levers of power, and repressed all forms of opposition, including Muslim extremists. He was a secular ruler, an admirer of Joseph Stalin. Al-Qaeda didn't stand a chance in Hussein's Iraq. He was the enemy of our enemy. The United States has "mined" the country with all sorts of combustible and explosive material- the disregard for the basic clan structure and the delicate balance between Sunni and Shiite, the violation of the "turf" of nationalistic Iraqis, the killing of civilians (yes, I know the extremists have also killed civilians, but that's great company to compare ourselves with), and the failure to provide basic needs to the Iraqi people. What the U.S. is trying to do with the remaking of this country is akin to what Pol Pot tried to do with Cambodia- annihilate all traces of the organic past, and proceed as if there were no context for the lives of Iraqis and their pre-existing attitudes.(No, I'm not comparing the U.S. to the satanic Khmer Rouge, but I am pointing out that the strategies of both are built on ignorance of the societies they seek to "reform".) For God's sake, let us admit that it was morally wrong to invade Iraq, which led to our becoming a catalyst for the country becoming a killing field. We have lost any rationale for claiming to be a moral nation until we admit our mistake, and ask for international help in finding a political solution. Only then can the "mines" created by America be cleared away.

Chase :

Perhaps it is the kind of mine that goes off whether your foot is on it or not.

If a mine goes off on a road, and none of us are there to get killed by it, do we even care?

The US does not fight wars to prevent people from killing each other. Darfur shows that. And it cannot fight infantry wars against irregulars on foreign turf. Vietnam shows that.

No war that is fought without international support and in violation of international law can be a moral war.

Americans like to believe that our wars are fought for good causes. But when the world's largest oil consumer uses the world's most powerful military to occupy ground over the world's largest remaining known cache of oil that is not already under its de facto control, in violation of international law, and continues to remain there for years after all of the original objectives are either achieved or shown to be bogus, you cannot blame people for being suspicious. Perhaps you are asking the wrong question.

Perhaps our occupation is a cause of violence, and not a deterrent.

chris :

It's become a ridiculous situation. The decision to enter Iraq the way it was done was mindless, now we're there, Bush talks terrorists in Iraq, being the reason to stay, the real reason is to retain stable oil and natural gas pricing and supply structures. The democrats are equally mindless, not mentioning this aspect at all. The reason for this avoidance? I'd like to hear it out of the mouths of the politicians. Do we need to stay, if we do, we need to completely change our approach.

Greg C :

Doesn't matter which. It can't be defused. Which is precisely why this should have been at least considered before starting this stupid war, instead of this dim-witted idea that an invading foreign army would be seen as liberators. What is it that neocons put in their coffee?

Jason :

Instead of worrying about oversea nations we need to address the corruption going on here in the States.

Google southdakotagov.info and click on the link in the paragraph.

Federal crimes concealed by States in order to get federal funding is an out of control nightmare.

Morric :

To Salamon...

Rarely agree with you. But how right you are about the US decline...should we wonder whether it's rapidity means our beloved democracy isn't/wasn't as strong as we believed? As London and Asia grab the title of capitalist center...our 24th place in terms of medical care, our loss of place in education and tech.Our most hated status, 3rd most hated
behind only, and mostly because of our backing of the savage Israelis, begs the question of whether a new admninistration can change policy and begin to reverse it.

berry, ecuador :

To Daniel:

In order to be a neocon you must meet some requirements:

- Family? Your family must be rich and have deep connections in politics and business: politics serve business, and business serve politics.

- Morals? Self-preservation and self-interest are your only morals.

- The economy, the balanced budget, taxes? As long as your group gets fat profits, who cares about the economy?

- Rule of law? You must be kidding! Laws are only instruments to serve your interests and those of your group.

- Checks and balances? Je je je, that is for old people. We neocons don't need anybody controlling us.

- The media? We have mixed views on this: let's give Fox all the freedom it deserves so that our message gets to the people; but jail NYT reporters who reveal our dirty secrets.

- Fraud prosecution? Fire prosecutors!!

Being a true conservative is one thing. Being a neocon is exactly the opposite. So, I don't think you are a neocon.

BobL-VA :

Shiloh,

Yes, Tom can deny this. The reason is simple. Anything that goes wrong is either the Democrat's fault or the Terrorist's fault. Anything that goes right is Bish's wisdom. Oh yeah, I forgot nothing has gone right so everything is either the Deomcrat's or Terrorist's fault.

Salamon :

A BEUATIFUL Summary of Mission accomplished and 4 years later.

It is hearthbreaking, they did not list the Iraqi Dead [we do not count them philosophy unfortunately got to this blogger]:

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/05/01/mission-accomplished-07/

Peruse and cry [esp USA citizens]

BobL-VA :

Tom Wonacott,

Optimistic? What optimism? I'm not optimistic about the ME at all. Maybe Bish still is, but we all know he doesn't know anything so he really isn't relevant any longer.

Bish & co. took a messy situation and made it worse. What's to be optimistic about? There are no good outcomes. Only outcomes that may be worse then others.

Also, I'm not quite sure what global warming has to do Iraq? Is that just a red herring to obsucre the issue at hand? (you don't have to answer this)

No matter how one looks at the Iraq issue today it is apparent Bish/Chinney have seriously misled the American people and the Congress over Iraq. Whether these misleading statements were "representative" in nature or not is not the point. The point is they have misled and mismanaged Iraq. I no longer believe a single word that emits from either of their mouths. I no longer trust them to provide accurate information as well as not trusting them to be able to lead this country. They have failed.

If the US had a parlimentarian system Dumb and Dumber would already be out of office for incompetence. However, we don't so we'll have to wait a little over 20 months to see these morons retire and write books trying to justify the unjustifiable.

Since Bish et al wants a surge and no timelines I'm all in favor of the opposite simply because they've been dead wrong about everything up to this point so my odds of being right about this issue improve dramatically by just doing the opposite of what they recommend. This is a really pathetic administration and I'll be amazed if it doesn't go down in history as the worst of all time. Three major issues stick out for me. First, Bish never captured/killed Bin Laden. Second, Bish put this country in a war that couldn't be won. Third, Bish's administration didn't and couldn't clean up the mess Katrina left. Any one of these issues would be damning in it's own right, but put them together and it defines incompetence.

I hope you've noticed no where so far in this post I've used the word republican. This is on purpose because I don't believe the republican party is incompetent by nature. I believe they provide a useful balance in the political process as I believe the demorats provide as well. This isn't a party issue with me. It is a competence issue. I can easily divorce Bish from the republican party. (I have no doubt many republicans feel exactly the same way today)

The thought of more American deaths and shattered lives based on a history of failed policies and incompetence should seriously cause all of us to think very deeply about what we're doing and how we're doing it.

PS: no response to Trent Lott putting a 7 billion dollar rider on the war funding bill that Bish has labeled democrat pork. This doesn't even begin to address the republican pork tied to every other war funding bill that Bish has signed.

MikeB :

Tom Wonacut -
Allow me to try and place, in perspective, the White House policy with regards to Iraq. "Support the troops, fund the war in Iraq." As the father of two sons, serving as front line troops in Iraq, I think my opinion ought to count for something. When Bush and others on the right say "support the troops", do you want to know what I really think? I think, I KNOW, he is using MY CHILDREN as human hostages. This is what his veto amounted to yesterday. We parents of children in Iraq tend to communicate and socialize with each other and I can tell you that not one, NOT ONE of us supports giving Bush one dime to continue this fiasco. We want our children home and are horrified that Bush and the right have stooped to using them as human hostages. Human hostages, no different than Somali thugs using women and children a few years back to kill our Army Rangers on a humanitarian mission! That is precisely what the despicable actions of Bush and his supporters amount to. It is so immoral, so horrifying, so god-awful, that he needs to be impeached for it and the right wing that suggests it need to be called on it and condemned for it. And the Democrats need to elicit loudly and publicly that this is the new policy of the Bush White House, to use our troops, our children, as human hostages to leverage funds for their failed foreign adventure in Iraq. Bush's veto was no "victory". It was an act of desperation. An act of callous disregard for the wishes of the American people and for the safety of our troops.

Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA :

Tom W may deny that the U.S. "created" a civil war in Iraq, but he cannot deny that the U.S. as change agent precipitated a civil war through its lack of planning and foresight and inept execution of the occupation.

Salamon :

Tom W:

Your statement : there is no vacuum in Iraq is wholly mistaken.

Your idiotic war is sucking in the future of the children [and those yet unborn] of the USA [You, Tom, sure as heck not going to pay for the cost of this war, and the cost of the federal deficit]. That vacuum is sucking the life-blood out of numerous Iraquis daily, as it sucks the life blood of numerous USA soldiers in similar fashion. The vacuum destroyed the USA's moral political and economic power in 4 short years. The vacuum dstroyed most infrastructure of IRaq, and aided and abetted the lack of infrastructure renewal in the USA [Katrina, Interstate Highjway system, hundreds of river dams, Universal Health care]. Finally, the vacuum is sucking out the value of the US $, whose fall will have very damaging consequences for a long time [We in Canada had the pleasure of enjoying SERIOUS LOSS in the value of our $, and kept paying the price for 20 odd years].

The vacuum's source is the emptiness between the ears of certain highly placed USA politicians and their supporters. The mumbling emating from the mouths of these NEOCON-s is like an overused meaningless refrain: STAY THE COURSE, SURGE, VICTORY [undefined and unattainable].

The vacuum will disappear if and only if the USA pulls out [completely] from Iraq, and most of the ME, but the damage from the vacuum will affect the USA and her citizens for many years.

Aiya :

Bush and his cronies have created a mess and they're waiting it out for the Dems to come in to clean up....knowing full well the extent of the problems they've created. In the meantime, the war profiteering cronies are raking in much money as they can before the game's over. Iraq is a country filled with educated, intelligent, citizens. They have a civilization much older than our Western one. The US needs to pay a retribution, and let them manage themselves. Let them tell us what they need instead of micro managing so disastrously. The Bush admin is akin to what happens when elementary school children are allowed to run city hall....Lord of the Flies filmed in the Whitehouse.

Anju Chandel, New Delhi, India :

Ask George War Bush!

Tom Wonacott :

MikeB

Not exactly the most optimistic post you've put together.


We didn't create a civil war. The civil war is a culmination of a centuries old animosity worsened by Saddam's brutal, oppressive dictatorship where the minority Sunnis were in power, and murdered and tortured Shiites and Kurds over a two decades period. Shiites are in the majority, and much like the black population in South Africa, they deserve to rule.

I might be wrong but I don't believe that Al Qaeda is in Iraq to defend the Sunnis from Shia death squads. Zarqawi's intentions were to fight the Americans and start a civil war to undermine the Iraqi government. His idea was criticized by Al Qaeda leadership (at the time), but even they must realize the brilliance of that plan by now. Don't get me wrong though, Al Qaeda probably gets a great deal of pleasure out of killing Shia civilians.

There is no way that Congress overrides the Bush veto, so, in affect, the Republicans are holding fast against setting a timetable to retreat. I agree, however, that many Republicans wish that Bush and Cheney would just go away.


Note that the front runner for the Republican nomination is Guliani - not exactly a Reagan conservative. Furthermore, his latest statements support the "surge" and in polls pitting potential Democratic candidates against Guliani, he is winning. He is a very strong Presidential candidate with some concerns from the religious right who will NOT vote for Hillary (or Obama). Hillary is losing ground, and Obama is a media created candidate.

There is no vacuum in Iraq as long as the US is present, and that's why our presence is so important (in a regional sense), in my opinion. The questions are:

1. How long are we willing to stay and fill the void until the Iraqis can stabilize their own country?

2. How long will it take for the Iraqi government to reach the point where they are able to maintain stability in their own country (without a Hussein strongman or a significant US force present)?

DoneSteptNIt :

America, you done stepped in a mess. You followed Bush yelling GUNGHO! without looking back to see what a mess you made. Afganistan is unfinished and you don't care. One of your Rod Sterling episodes is fixin to come to real life and open up a bucket of whuupast and there is nothing you rednecks can do about it but stand on the street corner of life and beg for ANYONE to give you a piece of bread. Lets get the guns and protect ourselves! But you can't eat guns.

DoneSteptNIt :

America, you done stepped in a mess. You followed Bush yelling GUNGHO! without looking back to see what a mess you made. Afganistan is unfinished and you don't care. One of your Rod Sterling episodes is fixin to come to real life and open up a bucket of whoopass and there is nothing you rednecks can do about it but stand on the street corner of life and beg for ANYONE to give you a piece of bread. Lets get the guns and protect ourselves! But you can't eat guns.

Stan :

When we remove our foot from Iraq - we will find ourselves indebted to China for their financing of our endeavors, and we will find our energy supplies lacking. Also, while the rhetoric from congress has changed, we will find our congress is still hastening the collapse of america on military, political, economic and moral fronts.

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

You are absolutely right. There is far to much "fear mongering" from the war on terror to global warming. Why can't we just be a little more optimistic?

Say the US just pulls her troops entirely out of Iraq tomorrow:

The civil war ends immediately in Iraq. Within weeks Iraqi refugees return from exile filling the vacant neighborhoods of Baghdad and other cities. Sunni and Shia embrace and form a human chain that stretches from Saudi Arabia to Iran. Sunnis renounce their version of Islam and become Shias ending centuries of strife. The entire Middle East recognizes Israel. The Palestinians give the West Bank and Gaza to Israel and ethnically cleans themselves.

Al Qaeda now is a radical Shia organization. They no longer behead or bomb anybody, but instead just kidnap British soldiers and return them unharmed!

Maybe we can call this "optimist mongering". Its a wonderful life....


elc :

I think it would be a mistake to just leave Iraq without enforcing a plan and some measures that would ensure that Iraq does not implode. Our government really needs to partner with world leaders to devise an economic plan to make sure what happened in Afghanistan does not happen in Iraq. The only answer to the Iraqi and Middle-eastern problems is an economic one where Iraq can be rebuilt and thrive in the future. The recent wave of protests and escalating attacks proves that what we are doing is not working so there needs to be an alternative that is economic rather than violent.

According to the Borgen Project, $340 billion has already been spent in Iraq and we have a $522 billion military budget. What has resulted from that money? The money would be better spent on plans such as the UN Millennium Development Goals to end global poverty. Just $19 billion annually can end starvation and malnutrition. Issues such as poverty foster a lot of the tensions that exist in the world today. As leaders in this world, we really need to get behind peaceful growth rather than war.

Victor van Meter :

Maybe this sounds a bit callous, but if Muslims are willing to slaughter Muslims over a bit of oil and a chunk of dirt, let them burn.

Saddam Hussein, despicable as he was, at least kept the peace in Iraq, relatively speaking. When you're afraid that even speaking out could get you arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for life, bombing things is the last thing on a sectarian mind. Still, it fomented a lot of the hate we're seeing now against the Sunnis, at least the ones at the bottom of the jar.

It's the fluffy leaders at the top who are going to be making a lot of oil money if they manage to take over the government. Of course, letting your neighbors in to take a share of the spoils isn't something most of the partisans at the top are interested in.

Sure, taking our foot off is going to be followed by a hail of violence. But I'm not even talking about just that. We're getting the slow-pressure release of violence now. My point is that it's coming regardless of what anyone intends to do about it. It's either going to leak out slowly or pop the cork off, but either way, a lot of people are going to die over a lot of rather stupid political moves.

But what do I know? I don't go out wholesale slaughtering everyone that doesn't quite measure up to my mindset. Maybe I'm missing out on all the fun.

garbage/vergiage :

All of these long tirades, some reasonable, are still just garbage unless you remember how we got into the war and who got us in.
Israel wanted this war, for many reasons. Israel wants troops in Iraq and American bases all over. They started the plan, their part of the 'trek down' in Lebanon summer 2005...and the US Bush and idiot Rice wouldn't even stop them as thousands of innocent Lebanese civilians were killed.
Why? Israel considered it had an excuse to begin the takeover of the ME...their job being to take Lebanon and Syria, and then and then. The US was to have taken Iraq and Iran for their part by then....the cakewalk. The Jewish Neocon dream.
Go to Google, read up on some of the think tanks about "american stragety" usually with the words security or
middle e ast in them Look deep in the bowels of their stuff. They won't even both to hide it much any more they're so frustrated. Do just the mininum of homework. Start with the big ones...AEI, Hudson.PNAC...and go on down.

MikeB :

TOM WONACOTT –
First off, you are completely correct, but remove the word “likely”. Iraq is in the fist phase of an all out civil war. We created it. Iraq was an artificial country that only existed due to a series of brutal strong men who brooked no opposition. Bush removed Saddam Hussein, he/we were warned that removing Saddam would lead to this, and it has. We replaced him with a series of Bush-Cheney like crooks, who have enlarged their Swiss bank accounts preparatory to our exiting and their finding the screaming mob on their doorstep.
Al Qaeda has set up shop in Al Anbar province as a counterbalance to the emerging Shia militia groups. They are the only effective unifying force that prevents those militias from slaughtering all and every Sunni they run across. Al Qaeda’s residence is a direct result of removing Saddam and destabilizing the country. As a consequence of all of this, count on Iran moving in and taking control of the oil fields in the South. Count on the Shia population there and Baghdad moving under Iranian protection as a soon as possible. Likewise, look for a war between Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and “Iraqi interests” (mostly Kurds) over the Northern oil fields and territory. Now, General Petreus knows this and he doesn’t have a plan to deal with it. He thinks he can keep the genie in the bottle by stuffing the mouth with American bodies, but that will only work for the short term. General Preteus “hopes” that somehow, some way, some sort of new strongman arises, a new Saddam, and stabilizes Iraq. The chances of that happening are zero and you and I and General Preteus and the American people and the whole world know it.

Congress has voted to cut off funds for our misadventure in Iraq. Bush was going to veto it, but the message from Republicans in Congress is that they cannot afford to have that gasoline filled tire around their neck of being associated with him. Bush is the kiss of death to Republican candidates across the board. The Reagan Republican’s and genuine conservatives are talking of their own nominee, even of founding a third party, because Bushies have turned the Republican Party into nothing so much as a criminal organization. Every day we read of some new official indicted for some new crime, new evidence of another conspiracy, another foreign or domestic failure, economic doom with a stock market and business that is completely disconnected with the lives of ordinary people. Nixon, for all of his failings, at least had China. What on earth will Bush leave as his legacy?

I expect the whole of the Middle East to blow up and drag in China, Russia, Europe and even a (by then) reluctant U.S.. It’s going to be a mess. And, you what? There isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. Bush and Cheney’s series of mis-steps and scheming have created a mess, a series of power vacuums and instability, like a truck wreck that spread dollar bills all over the highway, and everyone simply cannot avoid the inevitable grab and dash and fighting over the seemingly free loot. People with common sense and a knowledge of that region, who actually understand foreign policy, as opposed to the infatuated Ms. C Rice, have been warning about this and the potential for it igniting a global conflict…and haven’t been listened to.

Dave! :

PG
I think that there is one foot on each kind of mine. I think that it is easy for Iraqis to blame the US for the problems that are caused by the Sunni/Shia/Kurd animosities that have existed for quite some time (since we have caused numerous other major problems). Most of the killing is against Iraqi civillians by other Iraqis. The excuse you hear is that they are killing those that are working with the "Occupiers". How blowing up people at Mosques is actually that is unknown to me. Anyways, i see no real let up if the US pulls out. I don't see everybody saying "Whew, the US is gone. Now let's sit down and solve our problems." I see a weaker government that will be futher hampered in trying to establish law and order and increased violence because the US is not there. If you are the Democrats, you appear to be ok with that scenario.

On the other shoe, you find that the US is in the middle of this civil warish fight and there appears to be little opportunity for a political solution because the sides are waiting for the US to pull out so they can get a military advantage. Why would you deal yourself a bad hand if you figured you could improve it in a couple of months once the US leaves? The Republicans appear to be ok with this scenario.

The prevailing theory is that Iran and Syria's help are needed (despite the fact that they appear to be a large part of the problem). Please pass me the gasoline for that fire. For a political solution to materialize, there needs to be a regional commitment. That won't happen for a number of reasons, the biggest is that the people in the middle east are reluctant to deal with and solve their own problems. Time and again you hear that US leadership is needed (or missing) for this isssue or that issue - most notably the Israel-Palestinian conflict. When the US gets involved, you hear that the US is meddling in middle east. For too long, the nations of the ME want it both ways and because of this can use the US for a scapegoat for many of their own issues. Now many will say (correctly)that the the US has caused many of the problems in Iraq as well as the region. That may be true but there are issues they have that the US has little, if anything, to do with. The animosity between Kurds, Shia and Sunni is one. We caused the lid to be lifted when Saddam's dictatorship fell. That provided them an opportunity but that act also had risks (and we are seeing the results now). We have an obligation to help these people if we can. War is never easy and it is never without cost. That said, its imperative to get the most out of it when you are in it.

Cristina :

To be objective:
1 - Nivedia has a point. However, this is relatively an easy question(from a mere and strict point of view). The question would interesting of consideration if that would have been put this way: "Considering Iraq a land mine, up to blow whit or without any American occupation, what other steps could have been taken to defuse this danger?"

2 - To date: Multiculturalism is a dead talk and everyone that is well informed and plugged knows that. I commented something before and mistyped one word for this one. I don't believe in multicuralism because I followed it arising and dying in Europe and read about it too...

3- on the other hand, I cannot and I will not endorse any thoughts that try change the world order by keeping exactly as it is today. This is not change, not all...I repeat my example: is to change a wig of the same actor playing the same play on tour: the head is the same, the play is the same, what changes is the stage (I forgot to mention the wig)...There is nothing new(less so modern) about that and Eisntein once said something that goes somewhat like that: we do not solve a problem by using the same principles and rationale that caused us the very problems we are trying to tackle.

4 - Lecturing about change, specially world change and world peace from an armchair is a piece of cake (even for myself). But it depends on the sensible minds to work these questions out and try to formulate new paths. History tends to repeat itself in cycles. This is a fact. However, we are reaching a point in humankind history where old refurbished formulas will not work, not anymore and we must take actions to try avert something irreversible facts already in march, such as the global warming. This is truly and e facto a global war, a global war for survival. Some advanced nations insist stubbornly that there is an exaggeration about that...Ok then. Strike! Then, if those advanced nations come to here the same old song they are forced to hear now, please don't complain. Which song? The song called: " I told you so".

My view is that the magnitude of the world change over the last few years is such that we are still stupefied, dizzy with all that has happened in such a short period of time. Where to go then? Someone -- in this case, world leaders -- has to have the sufficient capacity to stand clear of prejudices and preconceived ideas of what to do and try new paths. What is to come over the next decades will make this Iraq war (or the others before that, no matter) look a simple distraction of commanders-in-chief that needed desperately something remarkable like a war against the evil that would put them in history books.

5 - I repeat: lecturing on peace and solutions from an armchair is easy, and some do that without reformulating themselves. My proposal is to stop all of what is on course and have the sufficient courage, not to see the path, but to try a new one, a track yet...somethings this. But it would be costly (financially costly) and against interests of some in those "advanced nations" that insist in seeing, perceiving the world ONLY from their point of view. This is sad because it signals tat there is no real change ahead, only more of the same with the same actors paying on a different stage and perhaps with a different wig...

6 - Nothing will change if we do not change our viewpoint. If we do not reformulate ourselves in the first place. This, I agree, will be tremendously costly. In all senses. I am not a catastrophist, but if we do not change our way of thinking the world, the entire world, seen as truly GLOBAL community, all will remain the same, new "Iraqs" will come, social unrest, social convulsion, mass immigration, drought..then whatever we came to know as social order, as mutual respect, law and etc...well al of that will be laid on our feet or beneath them.

Does it seem an horrendous outlook of the coming decades. Well, it is if nothing REALLY CHANGES...Not a change that keeps all in the same place..the same actor and the same player on a different stage.

How to defuse Iraq? Defusing first ourselves and taking the dust of our bran, particularly the brains of those in charge of this stupid war. We say here: everything that starts for the wrong or false reasons, ends up the same way.

Not to forget: Multiculturalism is a dead talk. NO one well informed considers it anymore.

BobL-VA :

Tom Wonacott,

OK, I finally understand. You're not really Tom Wonacott. You're really Tony Snow using an alias.

Thank you for relisting all the talking points that are mouthed daily by the White House. We all know how accurate they've been.

Let's see, there's the snippet, "Cut and Run," which really translates into, "Stay and slaughter and be slaughtered."

"Petreus has a plan," translates into he was the last General that Bush could find who agreed with him so he's now in command. That's a comforting thought.

"Pork in the war appropriations bill," ain't going anywhere because 7 of the 24 billion is for Trent Lott's district alone.

"If the US leaves 1.-4." FEAR MONGERING used to justify death and destruction.

Anyway, it's good to have you back to work Tony.

TT :

It is a very difficult case. I liked the suggestions of Dr. Ettefagh about early elections and a referendum.

Yousuf Hashmi :

The first switch is already detonated. US entered a zone which they never thought was so dangerous.

Now they should forget what will happen to this mined land. This is survival time and therefore they must protect themselves.

They are aware that this land is full of potential mines. If they advance further they can detonate more mines and create more chaos.

And if they stay in this danger zone indefinately then what they will achieve. Will they be able to defuse all mines and switch them to bloom roses. If they have a capability to do so then they must stay and wait for the best.

If this is not a possibility then taking the risk of lifting the foot is more wise. every body knows that most of the time flip-flop switches work on one direction ,so a mine which is already detonated can not explode again.

Tom Wonacott :

PG

What is the solution in Iraq?

First of all, cutting and running is not the solution. Thankfully, we are blessed with the gutless Democrats. Yes, the same ones that claimed Congress based on their opposition to the war, yet will not cut off funding to the war (or even bring it to a vote). Why? Too costly politically. Already Hillary and Obama are planning to keep troops in Iraq if elected. How many troops? Didn't they listen to Harry Reid?

Involving Iran and Syria is another colossal waste of time. Why should they help us? In fact, it makes perfect sense for them to keep undermining (and that is what they are doing) the pacification of Iraq. Time is definitely on their side. Can anyone give some good reasons why Iran should help the US achieve a victory in Iraq? Maybe they want to make amends for the 15 British soldiers they kidnapped.

If the US leaves:

1. A high probability of full blown civil war,

2. possible regional war pitting Sunni and Shia interest,

3. Al Qaeda will remain entrenched in Iraq within the Sunni region. They are a small but significant force in Iraq.

4. Iran potentially gains control, or at least access to Iraq oil reserves.


General Petreus has a plan for Iraq. Give the plan time to work. Its ridiculous to establish a plan for Iraq and four months later declare we need to set benchmarks, or declare the war is lost.

Finally, if the Democrats are confident that 70% of Americans are against the war, then vote to cut off funding. Quit playing the Congressional games. Democrats regain Congress and the best they can do is attach a bunch of pork to an Iraq funding bill?


JRLR :

"... if the U.S. would simply go home, the Iraqis would then peacefully sort things out by themselves. This is pure fantasy. Without U.S. troops in Iraq to at least try and keep a lid on things for the time being, there would be a wholesale bloodletting or truly staggering proportions, most likely blossoming into a full-scale regional war... Does anyone with even a grain of common sense see that as a preferable outcome?"

Could the claim to worry terribly about "a wholesale bloodletting of truly staggering proportions" in Iraq, by those directly and exclusively responsible for one that already happened there, be a wee bit disingenuous, not to say laughable? Sounds like the Mob claiming that were it to leave organized crime in the hands of others, gang members would start shooting at each other (something that they of course would never dare do in current circumstances...).

Yet this kind of blackmail has been heard towards the end of most "wars". It invariably came from the losers... who ultimately had to leave anyway. As a matter of fact, those bloodbaths never materialized, remaining the figments of the losers' imagination. To blackmail is not to predict: It is only trying to force action in a given direction through intimidation.

hvrds :

The obligations of empire are not easy. America's early experience meant that if you want to change history you have to use the hard power to practically destroy the will of your enemy. The American experience proved this in the Philippines. It was politically correct to practice genocide then. It is close to Powell's doctrine. You want the military to do it's job you have to use overwhelming force. The U.S. military is the best in the world in utilizing men and logistics in the most efficient manner.

The scorched earth policy worked to contain an insurgency. This was done on a country that was predominantly Christian. Almost 10% of the population was obliterated. America also did a better job in obliterating the native Americans.

After the so called pacification campaign, soft power came in. U.S military history in insurgency and counterinsurgency (later against the communist) was shaped by its experience in the Philippines all throughout.

That worked in the Philippines, Japan and Germany.
Try to put together the same coalition from the First Iraq war. Bush and Cheney will have to sacrifice their cronies interest in Iraqi oil. Bring in the Chinese, Indians and the other major players including Russia and Saudi Arabia. Economics is at the heart of this conflict. At the end of the Second World war even England had to complete the payment of all its debts to the U.S. It also gave up patents to the then new technologies on aviation, pharmaceuticals and nuclear know how.

Stop the charade with all the slogans. The U.S. went in unilaterally. Change that equation. If necessary talk to Iran about it with the direct warning in clear terms that the goal is the setting up of a new state aided by the U.N. but backed by force (multilateral force) to include not only Europeans (white men).

Otherwise be prepared for a long slog with an endless insurgency that will continue to unite the many Muslims in what they perceive to be truly a war of civilizations. Bush defined the reality as such and the other side is responding in kind.

The U.S. wanted to initiate the birth pangs of a New Middle East. Causes and effect are linked to the history of the series of networked causes and effects. He who can use the hard power and soft power to influence the direction of history in Iraq will prevail. No matter what happens it will be bloody and the only way out is to look for the best option for minimizing the blood. You cannot use insurgency 101 tactics in a situation where a burgeoning blood feud is ongoing.

And if Bush and Cheney would like to really succeed do what Hitler did- Unite the many, isolate the few and then you crush the enemy one by one. Just take care as they may be crushed instead. This where the individualistic nature of America will have to decide on the course of it's own history. Push the empire equation and wait for the eventual effect of the creation of it's nemesis. We the the cusp of the beginings of the nemesis of empire.

Spencer :

It all comes down to one basic question: Is this war that our president brought us (in order to get himself re-elected) worth the life of one more of our sons or daughters? Is it worth taking a child away from his father or mother? Those that cannot relate either have no childen or would have a more sobering understanding of what is at stake if we brought back the draft...but a REAL draft!
We need to get our troops home, and stop saying we respect them while at the same time know that we are taking their lives for granted.

JRLR :

The current situation in Iraq is of the US's own making, and under the US's exclusive international responsibility as the occupier of the country.

There is only one solution. It is for the US to pack up and leave. Go home! The US was never part of the solution, always the problem. That remains true and will not change, as the US cannot even "rebuild" Iraq and has no intention ever to do so. One more reason to leave.

Whenever we'll revisit (that will be many times still), this will become more and more obvious.

rzzzzz :

I am sick of the way the Cambodian situation has been mischaracterized by Kissinger and Buchanon, and now repeated as if fact.

Cambodia tried to remain neutral during the Vietnam conflict, but it's leader, Prince Sihanouk was pushed out by the military right with the aid of the Nixon administration. This new governing group was shakey, and things became greatly destabilized by the subsequent US bombings and the "cleansing" of villages along the trail. Only under this perfect storm were the people of Cambodia desperate enough to allow a marginal and dangerous player like Pol Pot to come to power as a reaction to the invasion. (Oddly enough, because the North Vietnamese were enemies of both Pol Pot and the US the latter two actually had diplomatic ties.)

So if folks want to use the history of genocide in Cambodia as a lesson for today's situation, get the story straight. The mixture of invasion and occupation is a dangerous precipitant.

Scott in PacNW :

Iraq is not a landmine. Iraq is multiple self-inflicted gunshots. And GWB wants to keep pulling the trigger.

Dan :

Ultimately, the kind of "landmine" that Iraq really is will come down to what kind of Iraq the Iraqis themselves really want. I believe that the majority of Iraqis want to maintain their current country and have the three sects ... Sunni, Shia, and Kurds ... live together in peace in a representative deomcracy in which basic civil rights are guaranteed for all. Opinion polls taken in Iraq have consistently supported this position. But a minority of extremists on both the sunni and shia sides have determined to derail this process by whatever means necessary, no matter how vile, in order to increase their own power. For the long-term good of both Iraq and the rest of the world, this simply cannot be allowed to happen. Therefore, as bad as things are in Iraq today ... and they are definitely bad .... if the U.S. simply pulls up stakes and leaves they will become immeasurably worse.

The anti-war crowd conveniently forgets the millions who died in Vietnam and Cambodia after public pressure forced a U.S. withdrawl in 1975. These same people apparently want to believe that if the U.S. would simply go home, the Iraqis would then peacefully sort things out by themselves. This is pure fantasy. Without U.S. troops in Iraq to at least try and keep a lid on things for the time being, there would be a wholesale bloodletting or truly staggering proportions, most likely blossoming into a full-scale regional war with Iran coming in on the side of the Shia and Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc. coming in on the side of the Sunnis. Does anyone with even a grain of common sense see that as a preferable outcome?

What is needed in Iraq more than anything else is the emergence of a political center. And in that regard, underneath the car bomb and suicide vest attacks that grab all the headlines in the senastionalist U.S. press, there are definite positive trends slowly emerging that suggest such a covergence may be happening. Sunni tribal shieks are turning against Al-Qaeda in increasing numbers, and their followers are now working with the Iraq government against the terrorists. The importance of this shift in attitude is hard to overstate.

Similarly, it's looking like Moqtada Al-Sadr's influence may be on the wane among the Shia. His march in An-Najaf a couple of weeks ago attracted far fewer demonstrators than he had wanted. (Half of those that did show up probably had to be paid with Iranian money to do so.) And his recent call for all Iraqis to stop working with U.S. forces and instead directly attack them seems to have fallen flat. No doubt his credibility has taken a significant hit as the result of him running to hide underneath the skirts of his protectors in Iran.

The U.S. can still salvage a respectable outcome in Iraq, but only if a) the Iraqi people themselves can come together and decisively reject the extremists on both sides, and b) if the U.S. stands its ground long enough for that to happen. Provided that the Iraqis are willing to make a serious effort to do what is necessary, I think it would be morally unforgivable for the U.S. to simply pack up and leave before the Iraqis are able to stand on their own.

DontbeaBabyKiller :

More Hate filled I hate America Rants from leftwing nuts

Mark W. :

I suppose that once we accept the fact we have entered a minefield, then we must tread lightly and very carefully.

The man from Beruit has offered the digging a deeper hole scenerio. I would liken it to quicksand. Panic and struggling only buries the camel deeper.

In both cases, the best chance is outside help. Air lifting ours out of the minefield while standing still is like putting a rope around the camel's neck from outside the quicksand and pulling ours out.

Question remains will others avoid the quicksand. I will bet on civilization, progress of society which affords the majority the best of lives. You know, Arab League had negoiated asylum for Hussien.

I have seen numerous examples of wisdom coming from Kings, Shahs, Holymen and suffering of masses which seem to indicate a united opinion supporting order in Iraq.

Therefore as a westerner myself, having been blessed with freedom and liberty, I need to respect autonomy and soveignty of foreign lands. And know that there are are more peaceful societies throughout the world which acheived greatness without the heavy handedness of rule of Hussein Regime.

In fact to mimick Hussein's actions through torture or attacks akin to gassing the kurds (shock-n-awe of the Invasion) have been counter productive and negative publicity for Democracy.

We must now tread lighty in the mindfield or the Quick may gobble us up completely. Arab ways are to seek revenge and that is just how it is. Are we to say that we do not deserve revenge ?

I had a good friend who was saved from Beruit Airport bombing early one morning because he was on patrol that evening. I wonder what he would say ?

Janair Williams Sr. :

On Queen Elizabeth, I would like to thank her for coming to America., I believe in her and that is in part to some of her men I worked with in Europe in the 1980's., they were great men!!! GOD Save The Queen!!! atleast she knows how to extinguish a time bomb! Janair Williams Sr.

Janair Williams Sr. :

President Bush, you started this time bomb! You need to go ahead and pass the bill the Senate and House sent you., and then get your friends ATT,BellSouth,Blackplanet,Microsoft,Yahoo,Excite,Websense Enterprises and MyWay Computer Security Firms, along with your IT Hubs to help you., and if you need any more money, get the money the victims of Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi did not get and use it, since it looks like they will not get it! and if that is not enough, get the research money you gave to Dr.Murray Raskind to experiment on me with-Brain Fingerprinting and using Prasozin, so if I found 1 study, I would not find the other, with the radiotracers your people put in my body to follow me to Washington D.C.and other places, because your people THOUGHT I was a Terrorist!!!

Janair Williams Sr. :

President Bush, you started this time bomb! You need to go ahead and pass the bill the Senate and House sent you., and then get your friends ATT,BellSouth,Blackplanet,Microsoft,Yahoo,Excite,Websense Enterprises and MyWay Computer Security Firms, along with your IT Hubs to help you., and if you need any more money, get the money the victims of Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi did not get and use it, since it looks like they will not get it! and if that is not enough, get the research money you gave to Dr.Murray Raskind to experiment on me with-Brain Fingerprinting and using Prasozin, so if I found 1 study, I would not find the other, with the radiotracers your people put in my body to follow me to Washington D.C.and other places, because your people THOUGHT I was a Terrorist!!!

Janair Williams Sr. :

President Bush, you started this time bomb! You need to go ahead and pass the bill the Senate and House sent you., and then get your friends ATT,BellSouth,Blackplanet,Microsoft,Yahoo,Excite,Websense Enterprises and MyWay Computer Security Firms, along with your IT Hubs to help you., and if you need any more money, get the money the victims of Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi did not get and use it, since it looks like they will not get it! and if that is not enough, get the research money you gave to Dr.Murray Raskind to experiment on me with-Brain Fingerprinting and using Prasozin, so if I found 1 study, I would not find the other, with the radiotracers your people put in my body to follow me to Washington D.C.and other places, because your people THOUGHT I was a Terrorist!!!

Observer :

The British had already done this once when they marched into Baghdad and told Iraqis that are liberator and not occupier. Soon there was insurgency. Again, British official warned of the dire consequence if the British pulled out. Sounds familiar? It is no wonder George W Bush is the only presidential candidate ever been quizzed about geo politics because he was the only candidate who was not well read. So, history is repeating itself.

oceanictruths@gmail.com :

The sunni arabs from morrocco to saudi arabia won't give maliki and company the legitimacy he seeks until he sends the american boys home. Maliki is afraid that once he sends the boys home the sunni arabs will usurp power again as they have in the last couple of centuries and so refuse to send the american boys packing. The sunni arabs bomb the iraqi shia's indiscriminately to put further pressure on maliki. Iran (not to mention hezbollah) come to maliki's rescue by intensifying its nuclear program in opposition to the US and peppering israel with missiles. This gives the iraqi shia's greater room to manoeuvre with the US without being labeled stooges but ends up in dual containment of the US and Iran. Iran dosen't mind given that in a lose - lose game with the US the americans always have more to lose. In the end, everyone's happy except the US, since it has the least stamina for this game. Just wait - afterall its a waiting game.

BobL-VA :

I love easy questions. The correct answer is BOTH.

The lack of political stability combined with old scores to settle make it that way. People in Iraq (anyone) will blow up by stepping on a mine just as easily as they will blow up by removing their foot from one (metaphorically speaking).

Under Saddam it could be easily argued Iraq was a country where one triggered a land mine by stepping on it. Saddam made no attempt to even hide where these land mines were. If you stepped on one you were blown up, shot, decapitated or drown. One way or the other your life would end in a painful way for stepping on one of Saddams mines.

Under the US occupation and de-stabilization there are simply land mines of all types everywhere. If the US doesn't kill you the Sunni's will. If the Sunni's can't get you the Shia's will. If all of these methods fail the dreaded terrorists will get you. These mines are no longer visable to the average citizen of Iraq. Now they are hidden throughout the entire country.

Let's face it, we made a bad situation much worse. I don't think Bush meant to make it worse, but that's what you can expect when you give a child a military complex to play with.

The argument over staying in Iraq and trying to make it better before leaving is a terrible argument. Not that we don't owe the Iraqi's aid for blowing up their country because we do. However, what we don't owe them is the certainty of more lives lost in a cause that isn't winnable. We really don't know what will happen when and if we pull out. We don't know if the violence will abate or accelerate. Anyone who says (Bush included) that they are certain of what will happen is lying or stupid. We can postulate several possible scenarios. About half of these scenarios have violence increasing and about half of them have violence reducing. We simply don't know what will happen. Hence, staying there and inciting violence by our very presence as an occupying force is counter productive to the goal of reducing violence in the region. To stay there and be responsible by our presence for inciting violence on the premise if we leave it will positively lead to greater violence is a fallacious argument as we already know we don't know what will happen if we leave.

I've previously written the US is like a group of vandals who break into someones house when it comes to Iraq. Now we've been caught by the police and want to argue we should be allowed to stay on the assumption we might be able to repair the damage we've caused. I will suggest anyone who tries that logic on a police officer in this country will be the butt of jokes in any police station in this nation. Why shouldn't Bush also be the butt of our jokes for even attempting to make us believe this behaviour is acceptable?

Dave J. :

The answer seems to be both, and that is the reason that invading Iraq was so unwise before a smart bomb was ever dropped. We stepped on the first kind of mine to start with – the kind that explodes in your face immediately and causes horrendous damage even if no further explosions occur. But underneath that exploded mine we are standing on a bigger one of the second type – if we now take our foot off, then the subsequent explosion will probably be even more damaging than the first.

The only way that second mine can even be partially defused is through a regional solution aggressively pursued, with a willingness to make significant concessions to Iran. Nick Kristof of the New York Times has the details of the proposition by Iran in 2003 to normalize relations with the U.S. posted on his blog. The Bush White House apparently cut if off at the knees. Now our position has deteriorated to the point that we have much more to gain from that step than do the Iranians, or at least the psychology of who is in the driver’s seat has changed to that point of view, real or not.

So, if a sound solution is to be found before we step off of that second mine, our current leadership will have to eat a lot of humble pie, and probably make concessions unthinkable only a few years ago. That’s what happens when you willingly step on that first mine and it blows up in your face. It is the direct fallout of the fundamentally horrendous decision to invade Iraq in the first place.

David Halberstam called Iraq the “greatest foreign policy miscalculation of my lifetime,” and he was the national conscience who saw clearly the damage Vietnam was doing to this country. So, if a person with his perspective and experience says Iraq was a much bigger mistake than Vietnam, you get some idea of the damage we have done to ourselves by throwing ourselves on that first mine.


Nicholas Alexander :

History provides only lessons about how we could have dealt with Pol Pot, Hitler, etc. The twentieth century does not provide useful answers to the landmine dillema. It is neither.

American presence in the ME is a time bomb, America and Israel believes their desires will never be honoured and that is because of a continual state of war in the ME.

Saddam removal by America was an expensive military mistake - may have been the right thing to do on morale grounds - but it was not. Saddam was the leader of an artificial nation. Now that nation is trying to find its feet, but there are too many landmines under them, and the American army restricting the actions of warriors/terrorists to kill their enemy and thus resolve the issue.

If America withdraws, within 15 years, Iraq will become aligned with Iran. The Baathists stopped that for the minority Sunni popularion, but introduce democracy and the majority gets power. And that is Shiite.

The real strategic error committed by Bush was invading Iraq. America was already running a 10 year war of attrition, it was cruel and generated a crop of those willing to give their lives to save their world.

The war is making matters worse. How about building universities and offering the new generation of Iraqi leaders (who will take power in 10 years from now) an alternative? The foot will have to stay on the landmine until the landmine is defused or America risks being lured into committing more war crimes.

km :

a rule in financial investing can apply: CUT LOSS QUICK

emainland :

The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal under the UN Charter, at least in the view of UN Secretary General Annan, Chief UN Weapons Blix, the King of Saudi Arabia and many others. Bush's action was not "mismanaged," a "mistake", a "blunder" or a "landmine". It was and is a criminal enterprise. The UN Charter, a treaty to which the U.S. adheres, has the force of U.S. law. IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST THEN BUSH.

Salamon, Canada :

It is unfortunate that David et al brought up the landmine metaphor. For the landmine that was armed in Iraq by dubious means [illegal under international law], started to fragment, with lots of pieces ending up on the wrong side of the Atlantic.

While the Deceiver and his cohort were busy getting things blown to smitereens in Afganistan and IRaq, the Federal Reserve was madly printing money to allow the "WAR COSTS + TAX CUTS" to be covered. Lo, and behold the fragments from that mine have aided and abetted a collapse of the US$, the collapse of the USA economy [if we take out of the GDP the munition factories, whose product is used/wasted in the ME], fragmented the USA's moral standing, fragmented the Armed Forces, and created the most divisive citizenry since Vietnam.

The powers to be from Congress [we want troops out, but leave lots there], the President [stay the course] The Federal Reserve keep printing [and hope that China/Russia/EU/OPEC does not call our bluff], the players at NYSE hope that the rise of Dow in US $ terms will pacify the masses [while they know that the value has dropped in terms of EURO, UK Pound, etc], are all trying different spins hoping against hope that the fragments from that ill fated mine will disappear without further distruptions..

Unfortunately the mines keep blowing up, causing more and more damage on the three fronts, where two are unsolvable by more armed intervention, and the third hangs in the balance depending on military spending to stay even.

Perhaps the lesson for the authors of this topic is do not play with fire in situtaions where explosives are available - nor advise others to do so. Reading their recent contributions in MSM, I do not think that they have learned the lesson.

PITY, their grandschildren will be still paying the price of thyeir foolsihness.

emainland :

The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal, at least in the view of UN Secretary General Annan, Chief UN Weapons Inspector Blix, the King of Saudi Arabia, and the UK Foreign Office Legal Advisor, among others. However much the media ignore this fundamental fact, Bush's action violated the UN Charter and was naked "aggression" every bit as much Hitler's invasion of Poland or Saddam's of Kuwait. It was exactly what the U.S. and the concert of nations set up the Charter to prevent after World War Two. Therefor, its chief perpetrators -- Bush, Cheney and the neocon cabal -- must be held to account, be put on trial and if convicted, do their time, and answer for their other crimes as well (outlined, for example, in John Dean's book "Worse Than Watergate" or, yesterday, the California State Convention of the Democratic Party). Bush's invasion was not just "poorly executed" "mismanaged", " a "mistake", a "blunder", a "debacle" or a "landmine". It was, and is, au fond a criminal enterprise. IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST THEN BUSH.

daniel :

There are two kinds of land mines: the kind that explodes when you step on it, and the kind that explodes when you take your foot off. Which kind is Iraq? How can it be defused?

For the record, and as strange as it sounds to even myself, I would have to characterize myself as a neoconservative--yes, the dreaded and hated neoconservative.--But with certain qualifications. I opposed the war in Iraq--I was for alliances toward moving the world gradually toward democracy, but neoconservative in the sense of always believing it would be a messy process. I still believe it will be a messy process. I believe the U.S., Europe, Russia, China--the advanced powers in general--will have to unite toward moving the world toward a transnational and transreligious world order.

But I did oppose the war in Iraq because I believed it was a dangerous situation to just rush into someone else's territory and expect it to be easy. I could understand the WMD argument, but I could also see that if the U.S. was not prepared to be hard it would turn out to be a disaster. And something else bothered me. I thought that although the democrats then and still today had no real grasp of the difficulty in establishing democracy worldwide--not to mention the dangers to the U.S.--I thought the Republicans before the war were only slightly more aware and were in fact using 9/11 as a pretext for toppling Saddam. In other words, today Republicans cry how dangerous Islamic terrorism is etc. but back then they were not really aware and were actually happy 9/11 occured so Saddam could be toppled and American power extended. Also toss in oil, Israel, etc.

Now of course Republicans are more aware of our difficulties. Even democrats are becoming more aware. But we have yet to enter a truly noble and pure neoconservatism--which is to say the essence of it in the sense of needing to establish democracy worldwide and being willing to use force for such--and of course needing alliances for such. Most people unfortunately believe in multiculturalism--the triumph of precisely everyone's nationalism and religion in some sort of happy world order...I would suggest a look at European history, what it took to establish the European Union. A transnational and transreligious order must be brought into being and it will require the advanced powers to unite for such. A Darfur not to mention other violences would be impossible with such a unified front of transnationalism, law and order, free press, democracy, science, separation of church and state, etc.

Strictly about Iraq: It is now obvious that Saddam was holding that country together--that his brutality was necessary, and in the absence of such there would be a power struggle. Of course the U.S. is being blamed for all the deaths today, but that is nonsense. If the U.S. were to leave all hell would break loose. We are being blamed for exploding Iraq by stepping on it (like the landmine metaphor) but the truth is that taking our foot off Iraq--and in fact the advanced powers taking their foots off all the advancing powers around the equator and below--will be the true explosion. The advanced powers--particularly the U.S., E.U., Russia and China must put their differences aside to guide all the ambitious and ascending powers which will be only too in thrall to nationalism and religion.

We need a worldwide neoconservatism by the advanced powers which is simply a correct reading of history in the sense of reading what it took to solve the European problem, what it took to have the European powers put nationalism and religion aside. In a sense we need to add the U.S., Russia and China to the European equation and then we will have a solid front to keep adding powers to the growing whole. But if this front cannot be created I am extremely pessimistic. I just see no other path to worldwide order. Certainly not a less violent path. Neoconservatism today is maligned, but it seems people just believe all the nations and civilizations will just come together peacefully under an economic umbrella and just be multicultural and happy...

I see no real precedent for that in history. Certainly two world wars have shown us that this hypothetical economic umbrella itself cannot be born without a certain discounting of nationalism and religion...

So to answer the question without further complications, I believe Iraq will explode if the U.S. leaves. I also believe if the U.S., Europe, Russia and China do not get it together we will have an increasingly multicultural and violent world of jockeying powers filled with nationalism and even religious fanaticism...Extremism is on the rise--we see the difficulty of even the U.S. holding itself together. Is there not someone who can guide us through disaster to democracy worldwide?

Statesmen are necessary--especially from the advanced powers--and the process toward worldwide democracy will not be easy. The key is making this as little authoritarian as possible. And that is what I mean about the neoconservative path to democracy.

Mike :

I think the lesson for America is to support dictators, regardless of human rights. Better to have security than rights.

The age of American idealism is over. I guess we'll see if the world is better off. I'm sure the altrusitic leaders of China and Russia will be much better than those bad old Americans.

Ray, New York :

I totally disagree that what's going on in Iraq was not anticipated by the gang of four (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice) with the aid of the neocon-Israeli cabal who has been in power in the USA since 2001. These people want Iraq to be in turmoil so that they can keep US occupation forces to intimidate Iran/Syria, other Arab client-states of Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Egypt.. The bottom-line is Israel/USA want to dominate middle-east and control the flow of oil. Only way the contnuing massacre of innocent Iraqis and Palestianians will stop is when Arabs get revolutionary leaders like Ho Chi Minh or Mao who can unite the masses against the Western colonial/imperial rules.. Until then, the violence may go-down a bit once in a while, but US/Isreal direct & indirect ccupation/subjugation of various Arab states will continue..

Tom Brucia :

The question is about "the kind that explodes when you step on it, and the kind that explodes when you take your foot off. Which kind is Iraq? How can it be defused?" Before that, here are the important questions: (1) Since the mine is going to explode either way, where is the nearest emergency room? (2) If one has wandered into a mine field, but hopes to escape with a single leg left, how does one avoid walking into new mine fields? (3) Who said that mines can be defused, in the first place? Do you believe that person? (4) Since you're going to lose a foot regardless of what kind of mine it is, isn't there a better way to spend your time instead of wondering about the mine's classification? (5) Is there any way to shield your 'vitals' and minimize your loss to an injury, and not worse? (6) When and if you escape with your life, it's time to wonder who the idiot was that sent you into the mine field in the first place, and why you were such a moron to do what he said!

Khalid :

I hate Saddam, but perhaps he was an answer to this situation.

Hyperion76 :

Whenever I think of Iraq, I think of an old phrase from a song by John Lennon. He sang this phrase during a Christmas song, and he sang it over and over. The phrase said, quite simply, "War is over -- if you want it."

The war in Iraq continues for the same reason that the war between the Israelis and the Palestinians continues; the war continues because all of the factions in Iraq want victory more than they want peace.

Now, I will be glad to concede that there is blame enough to go around. At this point, it is obvious that the Bush administration handled the occupation with complete incompetence. Anybody can start a list of the Bush administration's failures. First, the Bush administration failed to protect the center of Baghdad, even though every intelligent observer inside and outside of Iraq knew that the Iraqis would steal the statues from their own museum and even steal the chairs from their own government ministries. Second, the Bush administration failed to secure all of Saddam's weapons depots, or to round up every member of Uday's secret police. In fact, the Bush administration failed to capture even the members of Saddam's family -- men and women who then went overseas with truckloads of money to fund the Bath terrorists. The Bush team even sent our military to capture many 'Ali Babas' in the first months of the occuption, and then let them go after a 'tongue-lashing,' rather than executing them or even locking them down hard. Third, the Bush administration delayed elections for more than a year while Arthur Bremer and the other 'illusionists' tried to inflict a 'flat tax' on Iraq. If there was ever a chance to install a secular government that the Iraqis would trust, the Bush administration squandered it in the first year.

All of these failures are obvious, and all of these failures have helped create the sense of panic and license which contributed to the unravelling of Iraqi society. However, we should make no mistake. Neither America nor the Bush adminstration is forcing the Iraqis to kill other Iraqis. Nobody is hypnotizing the Iraqis into planting bombs by the sides of the roads, and nobody is using voodoo to make the Iraqis lob mortars into market places. Nobody is using narcotics to trick the Saudi princes into sending money to fund the Hajis, and nobody has wires in the brains of the thousands of idle young fools who scurry from every corner of the Arab world to strap bombs on their bellies and blow up Iraqi children at bus stops. The insurgents and the people who fund the insurgents are Arabs. Their motives come from the heart of Arab culture. Since the time of Mohammad, Moslem culture has taught that violence solves problems, and that the bigger the problem is, the more violence is needed to solve it. If the ordinary Arab on the streets of Baghdad sees that his family cannot afford food and that his electricity is going on and off, he does not join together with Iraq's elected government to hunt down and kill the Haji who are deliberately disrupting his food supply and his electricity; instead, he takes five hundred dollars in Saudi money from the insurgents and goes out to kill the children of other Iraqis; and it never occurs to him that he is causing his own problems. When a Westerner is angry about the way things are, he joins a political party or at leasts put an angry message on blog. When an Arab is angry about the way things are, he gets a bomb and he blows up Arab children. Lord knows, if the Iraqi people really were 'united in their desire to see America out and rule themselves,' as some people have suggested, then the Iraqis could fill their own streets with a few hundred thousand sitdown strikers the way Gandhi used do, and the entire American army would be gone within a month.

Now, some people of the politically-correct persuasion have argued that the war is a reaction to the American occupation. This is also nonsense. The war in Iraq began when Saddam and the Bath took over Iraq in the late sixties, and it kept going for more than thirty years, while Saddam made war on Kurdistan and Kuwait and Iran, and while Saddam made war on the Shias in his own country. The present phase of the war is hellish, of course, but the previous phases were hellish as well, and none of the politically-correct cared about the massacres of the Kurds or the Shia because those massacres were not on television and because the politically-correct could not find a way to blame those massacres on America. The war in Iraq exists because centuries of minority rule and religious devision have persuaded Iraqis to believe that Iraqis of other religions are the source of their troubles, and those same Iraqis believe that if only they can triumph over the rest of Iraq, their troubles will be over.

The politically-correct have suggested that the war will end if America leaves Iraq. Again, that is nonsense. If America leaves Iraq, then the politically-correct will be pleased by what they will see a victory over America, but nobody will be there to keep the Iraqis from assembling vast armies and importing weapons from other countries, and then Iraq will have a war which is ten times larger than the war it has now. Under those circumstances we will be lucky if Turkey and Iran have enough sense not to join their Sunni and Shia brothers in that war.

What is the solution? I will admit that I dispise George Bush and the Bush administration as much as anyone, and I remain proud that I voted for Bill Clinton, twice, and that I voted for Al Gore and John Kerry. However, we really only have two choices in Iraq. The first is to continue to support the Maliki government with the hope that the Iraqis will finally get sick of killing each other and rally behind a secular government. That would be best for Iraq and for the Middle East, but only the Iraqis can make that decision, and if the Iraqis have other objectives, than there is nothing that America can do to make them change their minds The other choice is to do what Dick Cheney suggested, and to help the Shia subdue the Sunni, while keeping enough American soldiers in Kurdistan to protect the freedom and safety of the Kurish people from the Turks and from the Iraqi Shias. The idealist in me wants to continue to support the Maliki government, and the realist in me would like to help the Shias move into Fallujah and do what we are too kind to do and pacify the Sunnis the same way the Sunnis controlled the Shia for centuries. To be honest, I have read nothing on this board which makes me feel idealistic.

Blue Tiger :

There are many I designed that are not being used. For example, the ones that snuggle up then go off. There are the ones that listen for helicopter and fire a self forging fragment at it. There are the ones that explosively jump to fill in for any missing members in the field. There are jumpers and clingers that fire downward with a self forging fragment into the top of a armored vehicle. All of this and the treaty on mines is why we don't do this. Don't kick over rocks. Remember the prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the lord my soul to keel from robots, snakes and things that creep.

oceanictruths@gmail.com :

The americans are deadlocked. Externally in Iraq and internally between the congress and the presidency. Sometimes too many checks and balances are not such a good thing after all. The starting point to untie this knot is at home by dissolving the institution of the presidency and replacing it with a less powerful prime ministership. Otherwise, every new hostage situation or new 9/11 or any number of scenarios involving a loss of face at the beginning of a presidency (or in the middle) will lead to a creeping paralysis which in turn may cause an accumulation of blunders over a extended period like the latest Iraq fiasco. The question is can the traditional american psyche accept such a change given the new realities and if so how soon?

Amir :

Since United States has chosen the worst decision to invaid Iraq,it must undrego all the cosequences.Iam sure that Americans completely ignore the history of the nations,depending exclusively on bad gays as C.I.A agents,so the defeat will be imminent.Bush has lost the only one to defuse that land mine by getting rid of him...he was Saddam.

dangerosa :

One can't help but wonder why the mainstream media continues to keep Israel's connection to the war in Iraq out of the news. Israel needs oil, and wants the pipeline to Syria to be re-directed to Haifa, Israel. (Readers can google-search using the phrase, "Iraq oil pipeline to Haifa, Israel.") The tragedy in Iraq was originally about oil, and it has resulted in bloodshed and the blackening of the American name. We must get out of Iraq now and leave the responsibility for what happens to the United Nations, which must be strengthened. We must also insist that all nations with nuclear capability sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The U.S. must return to its once proud reputation for negotiations and diplomacy. Also, Paul Wolfowitz, who engineered the war, should resign from the World Bank before he causes more trouble!

pkelley4@hotmail.com :

It is no where near that simple,the comprison is a total waste ot time.

IMSOTI :

We stepped on the Iraq landmine; it shattered one of our two legs. Now we found out if we lift the other foot, nothing of our body will be left to recover. So we have to stay there forever. No other solution.

Fisch, BN, Germany :

Probably more or less nothing would happen. The West has completely wrong expectations!! See the Lebanon during the hottest times: war on wednesday on the right side of the street, war on tuesdays on the left side of that street etc. They are not crazy or wild, they just want to show the U.S. that they cannot rule the country. It is war in its most civilised way, violence for a certain purpose, nothing else.

MikeB :

This is something I know a bit about. In Burma, government soldiers plant landmines around Karin villages, on the trails leading to water, on paths other villages, and where the people go to gather food. The chief victims are children, young people, who are not as watchful as a war weary adult might be. There are many children with legs and feet blown off. Lots die from infections and a many die horrible deaths from the mines themselves. The landmines are from China, North Korea, Russia and the U.S. Most are Vietnam era U.S. mines and current Chinese mines. The most dangerous are the non-metal mines from China. These contain very few metal parts and are extremely difficult to detect. There are current technlogy U.S. mines, too, lots of them. Where do they come from? Somebody "over here" is selling them to someone, and they end up in Burma...and Iraq.

Perhaps Davis or Fahreed will arrange for me to post some photographs of victims of these mines and the mines themselves. It's pretty horrible, seeing a 12 or 15 year old child, with a leg just blown off, nothing there but raw meat and splinters of bone, in agony. It is even worse knowing that no matter what I do, *MY* government trades with the monsters that planted that mine, the Bush government had campaign buttons made using Karin slave labor, and we trade with China and have the gaul to call them an ally in our "war on terror", as if their providing landmines and machines and mortars and artillery to the Burmese government forces that use them to murder Karin and other peaceful villagers wasn't an act of terrorism.

We supply modified metal detectors that are used to detect the mines. Karin men sweep the foot trails and off those trails for 20 feet or so and dig up the mines. Sometimes, the mines are booby-trapped (a metalic mine with a non-metalic one buried underneith and rigged to explode when the metalic mine is disturbed) and the men are killed when digging them up. People who really want to kill people are endlessly inventive.

So, using Iraq as an illustration in this exercise, what you do is stop providing money and weapons ourselves and quit acting like hypocrites. And, cease trading with monsters that do likewise and stop pretending that they are anything other than monsters, every bit as bad as we are. If we get out, if we use our economic carrot to get the Chinese out, the weapons would not be available for the government to use in their war of terror on the ordinary people.

Now, none of this is coincidental. The same countries provide the bulk of the weapons used by the "insurgents" in Iraq. The artillery shells are American and old, many originally supplied to the Shah of Iran; but a surprising number of them quite new and sold on the international market by American businesses. It matters little to the Karin child that we might have given that mine to some other government. It was sold or traded or stole and ended up on that trail and blew that little childs foot or leg off, it killed her father or brother or mother and it ended their future. The other mines, perhaps the bulk of them, are Chinese and quite current. Some are Russian, others North Korean. The same vultures dine on the victims of death and heartbreak everywhere - Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam (where the Mhong people replace the Karin as the victims), the Sudan, Haiti, Mexico, Bulgaria, Iran... And, we can stop pretending that these countries and others are not murdering innocent people, not doing these horrible things.

If the situation in Iraq is likened to a landmine, realize that we likely supplied that mine or one of our businesses or friends did. The mines cannot all be defused, the deaths undone, the nightmares and heartache ended until we stop meddling, stop laying those mines, stop providing them, and use whatever means we have to see that others do not fill in the void we leave...when we leave.

Anonymous :

There is no shortage of mines in Middle Eastern politics.

cave laden :

The iraqi mine is a mind mine it will blow the american mind leaving it without a head that can think properly. This mindless body will then run helter skelter without any direction.....

Disgusted :

Why bother to wonder what happens if we get out.
The Israeli lobby and neocons (you know their names, everyone does) who got lied us into the war want American military presence there forever for the protection of Israel. They've won so far, haven't they?

AMviennaVA :

Iraq is both. It exploded when we stepped on it. It will also explode after we stop stepping on it (when we leave). The only question is whether the explosion while we are stepping on it is worse than the explosion after we leave.

Tony :

Nivedita's comments are entirely reasonable. The race is on(who will be first, The White House, The Pentagon or Fox News?) to blame the debacle on the Iraqis. They did not invite the invasion and subsequent mind-numbing incompetence and crassness and they, not the soldiers, are the principal victims. Millions(some relief organisations say 2, some say 5) have been displaced, the mountain of dead notwithstanding -'we don't do body counts', remember. The worst trans-national, trans-cultural crime in my lifetime.

D. :

In my opinion, for the USA Iraq is the kind of landmine which explodes when you step on it. This is why present US administration should be delighted to take the excuse of the democrat's bill, to bring the GIs back home as soon as possible.

Nivedita :

Unfortunately, Iraq is a mixture of both. The U.S. has this wonderful knack of meddling unnecessarily. It propped Saddam when it needed him, and then conveniently generated mass paranoia and hysteria to murder him when he did not toe its line. The US has always backed dictators in foreign countries when very hypocritically, it speaks of "gifting" democracy to the Middle East! The U.S. is getting what it deserves in Iraq, but the poor American soldiers who are fighting a war that makes no sense have gotten the worst possible deal: To stand by their dictator (read Bush) and obey his orders when he himself would shudder to go there himself.

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