An Iraqi comments on the war and the Left - Jay Maynard

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Wednesday, 12 January 2005


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0651 - An Iraqi comments on the war and the Left

Eric Raymond's weblog (echoed here as esrblog) recently had a pointer to this essay by an Iraqi citizen, How the Left Betrayed My Country - Iraq. It's not very long, and yet it manages to utterly destroy the Left's argument that the war in Iraq was a Bad Thing for Iraqis.

Read it. Pass it along. This deserves as wide distribution as it can get.

current mood: [mood icon] contemplative

(63 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:eamethan
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what a load of crap. nothing but propaghanda as far as im concerned.
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From:phanatic
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How intellectually honest of you.
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From:eamethan
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don't get angry at me for having an opinion. i'm sorry i just don't believe everything i read especially when it is something that is just written to talk crap about someone else. this is what one might call an op-ed piece. its opinion rather than fact, and i'm taking it is propaganda.
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From:phanatic
Date: - 0000
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this is what one might call an op-ed piece. its opinion rather than fact, and i'm taking it is propaganda.

"It's opinion rather than fact" is a superficial false dichotomy. It would be more accurate (That is to say, 'correct'), to describe it as an opinion piece, which contains facts.

What parts of it do you dispute? Which objective claims does the author make which you feel are false or misleading?

Soon afterwards, I met a Dutch woman on Mutinabi Street, where booksellers lay out their wares on Friday morning. I asked her how long she’d been in Iraq and, through a translator, she answered, “Three months.”

“So you were here during the war?”

“Yes!” she said. “To see the crimes of the Americans!”

I was stunned. After a moment, I replied, “What about the crimes of the regime? It killed millions of Iraqis. Do you know that if the regime was still in power, the conversation we’re having now would result in our torture or death?”


What in that do you dismiss as "propaganda?" Do you dispute that the Hussein regime killed Iraqis by the truckload? Do you dispute the fact that having such a conversation on the street under such a regime would result in the torture or death of the participants?

Sure it's propaganda: the promotion of a particular idea. What you ignore is that propaganda is often *factual*. The leaflets we dropped during the first Gulf War explaining that Iraqi soldiers who surrendered would be treated well, and that those who did not would be engaged and destroyed, were propaganda. They were also true.

It's a fallacy to dismiss as false all propaganda simply because it is propaganda. It's also a fallacy to ignore information simply because it doesn't fit your preconceived notions, which is exactly what you're doing.

Like I said: How intellectually honest of you. And I'm not getting angry at you, I'm being contemptuous of you.
From:eamethan
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From:phanatic
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From:grumpydragon
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An extreme over generalization. I am on the 'left', or liberal, and I don't think that the war is bad because its bad for the people of Iraq. I think its bad because America attacking another country without provocation is unacceptable. American soldiers should not be dying in Iraq.

I think the end result will be positive for Iraq, but the ends do not justify the means in this case.
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From:unspeakablevorn
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The moment I see any of the original justifications for this war showing up, I might possibly believe that this war was a good thing.

The moment I see the large minority of Sunnis getting listened to, I might possibly believe that this war was a good thing.

The moment I see us doing the same thing in countries that were worse off than Iraq, I might possibly believe that this war was a good thing. And don't say Afghanistan; I'm talking about Sudan, Israel, and several others where the group in power seems intent on destroying other groups' ways of life.

The moment I see the administration admitting its mistakes (as opposed to, say, giving medals to those who have), I might possibly believe that the Bush administration has ever done anything right.

The moment I see evidence that invading Iraq has reduced terrorism (and it has, by all accounts, not done so, especially in Iraq, where anti-american sentiment is so strong that suicide bombers are willing to kill dozens of their own people who just happen to be at the market in an occupied iraq) I might believe that the war is a good thing.

I haven't seen any of these things.

Instead I see a war without justification, that has overstretched the military, that has failed in its original intent, and that the people in charge have consistently and continuously lied about.

Am I wrong in opposing this?

Vorn
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From:phanatic
Date: - 0000
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Instead I see a war without justification, that has overstretched the military, that has failed in its original intent, and that the people in charge have consistently and continuously lied about.

1. The only justification we ever need for a foreign policy is "it is in our interest."
2. Overstretched the military? If you're talking about stop-loss and retention orders, are you aware that it has been part of American military doctrine for more than 30 years that the Reserves are an essential part of the force, and that in times of war they will be expected and relied on to serve right alongside front-line units? If you're not, on what are you basing the notion that the military is overstretched? The many thousands of troops and entire divisions that are sitting around in Western Europe? The many fighting divisions that still go about their daily activities outside the theater of Iraq, going about their duties and training as they did before the war? What, exactly?
3. Its "original intent" was to kick off a grand strategy that will play out over the next half a century. Saying it has failed in its original intent is to admit to a grotesque misapprehension of what that original intent was. It's like saying on June 27th, 1944, that the D-Day landings were a failure because Hitler was still in power.
4. Politicians lie. Partly they do this because telling the truth would be an obstacle to their goals. That, in turn, is partly because people are stupid.

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From:shelbystripes
Date: - 0000
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The only justification we ever need for a foreign policy is "it is in our interest."

This is the very sentiment that terrifies the left, because of the complete and utter lack of responsibility (or rather, the simple utter selfishness) it indicates. Especially in a world full of nuclear weapons, this kind of mentality will inevitably get everyone killed.
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From:phanatic
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This is the very sentiment that terrifies the left, because of the complete and utter lack of responsibility (or rather, the simple utter selfishness) it indicates.

No, that's not "the left." That's the modern-day morally and culturally relativist incarnation of the left. The left in this country used to be the classical liberals, the ones who truly believed that individual liberty was an ideal worth striving for, the ones who claimed that we should be willing to "pay any price, bear any burden," to stand up for freedom abroad.

The current left thinks that brutal dictators have some sovereign right to rule as they see fit, and things like human rights be damned.

Do you seriously think that Germany and France's opposition to the war stemmed from anything but their own national self-interest?
From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:angelwind
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From:phanatic
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From:angelwind
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From:phanatic
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From:angelwind
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From:phanatic
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From:angelwind
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From:jmaynard
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From:angelwind
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From:jmaynard
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From:shelbystripes
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From:jmaynard
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From:jmaynard
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From:phanatic
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From:phanatic
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From:angelwind
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From:shelbystripes
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From:phanatic
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From:shelbystripes
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From:unspeakablevorn
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Yes.

Vorn
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From:unspeakablevorn
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1. The only justification we ever need for a foreign policy is "it is in our interest."

Then what is our interest?

3. Its "original intent" was to kick off a grand strategy that will play out over the next half a century. Saying it has failed in its original intent is to admit to a grotesque misapprehension of what that original intent was. It's like saying on June 27th, 1944, that the D-Day landings were a failure because Hitler was still in power.

Bzzzzt.

On June 27, 1944, the strategy was before us: remove Hitler. Today, I don't know why the hell we're in Iraq, because the story keeps changing. First it's WMDs (which apparently don't exist), then it's "He tried to kill my daddy" (okay, fine, but does the whole country need to be invaded?), then it's al Qaeda links (which definitely don't exist; al Qaeda hated Hussein more than we did), then it's "bringing democracy to the Middle East" (okay, fine, but why then are we not starting by showing support for Turkey and Bahrain, both of which are well on their way to being true democratic republics?). I don't know what the hell the Bush administration wants in Iraq, because they apparently can't make up their minds.

What is this "grand strategy" you speak of? Why haven't I heard about it? What good, exactly, would invading iraq do in terms of, say, democratizing the Middle East (a noble goal, okay, but why didn't he say that in the first place if that's what he wants, instead giving us a cock and bull story about WMDs and al Qaeda that we still haven't found any positive evidence of?) that encouraging Bahrain, Turkey, and the more moderate portions of Palestine couldn't do? Those would have cost us considerably less in money and soldiers. Why did we have to go in and remove a militarily impotent but generally civilizing leader (hussein was a secular leader - perhaps too secular; the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran are considerably more extreme), his entire power base, and the entirety of the military and police force, when much of the military and police could have carried on the basic tasks of keeping the country sane during the occupation?

4. Politicians lie. Partly they do this because telling the truth would be an obstacle to their goals. That, in turn, is partly because people are stupid.

You're right. They do. But the better ones admit it when they're caught out.

Vorn
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From:phanatic
Date: - 0000
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Then what is our interest?

In this context, it's pretty clearly modernizing, by force if necessary, the governments and social structures of the middle east. The year's 2005, but a lot of people over there are still living lives virtually indistinguishable from the 13th century, and their governments are archaic pseudo-tribal patriarchies presiding over antiquated single-product economies.

13th-century societies with access to 20th-century weapons are a bad thing. We can't do away with the 20th-century weapons, so the only remaining solution is to modernize the societies.

Today, I don't know why the hell we're in Iraq, because the story keeps changing.

Of course the story keeps changing. Do you think that we could actually come out and say "The biggest fundamental threat to this nation right now is the House of Saud" when the House of Saud is not only ostensibly an ally but also has a total stranglehold on the economy of Europe?

If you're so incapable of actually analyzing the situation on your own and putting it into a geopolitical and historical context, I'd say you're pretty ill-equipped to comment on the situation at all. "But Bush says..." is not thinking, it's just parroting.

Why haven't I heard about it?

Because you're a lackwit. The makers of grand strategies do not generally entrust their security to lackwits.

Why did we have to go in and remove a militarily impotent but generally civilizing leader

Because he was not only the most clearly hostile power in the area, but was also a known bad actor. With Hussein in power, he would be free to move to counter or even just spoil any move we could make in the region, and he had amply demonstrated his perverse intentions, so we could be sure that he would do so. Therefore, a necessary first step was his removal.

And I kinda gotta ask what these "more moderate portions of Palestine" are.
From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:unspeakablevorn
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From:phanatic
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From:fitz99x
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Hate to link and run, but I think this is about the end of concervative appolgy for the war:

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7307840
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From:rorture
Date: - 0000

Doesn't change a thing.

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They may have been cut off from the world back then, but now they're dying every day.
Sorry to bring up the oft-used left argument, but:
Iraqi civilian losses exceed 10,000, far, far more than the lives lost in September 11.
10,000 innocent people dying so american compnies can get lucrative contracts in iraq is unacceptable.
Iraq is not free now, if you consider the fct that many iraqi's re now afraid to leave their homes and I don't think it will be i the future, since such anarchy will easily be reigned in by an even more brutal dictator.
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From:unspeakablevorn
Date: - 0000

"Grand Strategy"

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I know, I know, I should be replying to one or another of those threads with this, but it's mentioned repeatedly.

What I'm wondering is how one implements "grand strategy" when you're certain your side will not be in power long enough to see it through. The only reason the cold war continued through multiple parties is because everyone pretty much agreed that it needed to. No other grand strategy survived the end of a regime; look at Charlemagne, Napoleon, Bismarck. In the United States, the democratic process guarantees that no side will be in power forver.

Now, given that.

Why is it that those who feel that the implementation of the "grand strategy" is inappropriate are constantly belittled by those who feel that it is obvious? If this strategy is so important, why do the proponents of it actively alienate people who can help the implementors of the strategy if only the importance and justification of the strategy can be explained persuasively? If the strategy is promoted actively, positively, and persuasively, even if the Democrats or the Greens or Libertarians or whatever come into power, the strategy continues unhindered because everyone agrees on it, despite differences in other areas. Why are people who don't understand called "lackwits", when the only thing that's wrong is that the strategy as a whole has not been explained to their satisfaction? If the strategy is really so great, the ends will justify the means, for everyone.

Or am I being obtuse again, and missing something like "part of the strategy is to force a one-party system on the US"? In which case everything makes perfect sense, and those who oppose the strategy should immediately flee to a country where the ruling sect doesn't want to take over the world.

Vorn

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