The truth about life in Iraq

By the way, how do you pronounce ""Umm Qasr""?

Is it like, ""Um, I don''t know"" or more like, ""mmmm, cookies""?

It''s ""Um"" for the most part, but I''ve heard it pronounced ""Oom.""

""Qasr"" is pronounced ""Cas-sar""

""ralcydan"" is pronounced ""jack-as...""

I''m referring to everything except the actual war, which went as well as, or even better than could be expected. Particularily the horrible, horrible mess Rumsfeld and friends made of international relations during the build-up, and the constant exaggeration of the threat and misleading of the public concerning the WMDs. The Bush administration doesn''t seem to have that well thought-out a plan concerning post-war Iraq either.


""ralcydan"" is pronounced ""jack-as...""

Thank you for the validation that I am winning the arguments. When ""Jack-as"" (sp) is your great retort, it''s probably a good indication of how much you have to offer on the subject.

The pronounciation I found odd was for Qadar.

Everyone in the press was saying it like ""cutter"".

Seems to me it would be more like ""Kah DAHR""

*shrugs*

But in the end, all that really matters is how good a job we do at providing the Iraqi people with liberty and democracy.

That troubles me, and is a point that I disagree with people a lot on. I''ve said it before, I''ll say it again, nine times out of ten, I''m just not an end justifies the means kind of guy. That''s not to say I don''t want the Iraqi people to have liberty and democracy, but I don''t believe it''s all the really matters. The means are just as important.

And that''s where a lot of this argument is settling. The question to me is, were our means noble, not simply our goal?

"fangblackbone" wrote:
The pronounciation I found odd was for Qadar.

Everyone in the press was saying it like ""cutter"".

Seems to me it would be more like ""Kah DAHR""

*shrugs*

And it gets worse with accents. Sometimes you''ll get ""Cutta,"" other times you''ll get ""Gitar.""


The question to me is, were our means noble, not simply our goal?

That''s a great question, Elysium.

Personally, I believe that Saddam would never have gone willingly, and that his regime would have carried on in his sons or someone like them. At some point, only war - whether with us, or civil - would have ended this regime, and that could have been decades from now, or never, had he obtained nuclear weapons 10 years down the road.

If war was necessary, as I contend, I would also argue that we prosecuted this one with less bloodshed and suffering, and more benevolent discrimination than any war in history, while unleashing more actual firepower than any war in history. We targeted the leaders of the regime, kept civilian casualties lower than anyone could have dreamed, and encouraged the surrender of troops who were then treated humanely and well. We didn''t destroy the infrastructure or resources of the nation.

Rat Boy wants to know the result of our actions for the average Iraqi. I''ll take up that challenge. Look at Iraq 1 year from today. I submit that you will see a free Iraq, run by Iraqis, at peace with its neighbors and welcome in the world community. If it is not prosperous by the world''s standards at that time, neither will it be poor, and its economic trends will be positive. There will be large numbers of Middle Eastern immigrants wishing to enter Iraq because they see it as a better, freer alternative to the countries they are leaving. And Iraq''s people will be grateful to us and especially George Bush.

I will happily admit I am wrong if every one of those predictions isn''t true.

In answer to one of Rat Boy''s questions (though this post bloated quickly into just a general statement that has nothing to do with the Lord of the Rats):

Would a liberal have these views:

I''d say definitely. Being a liberal - and I generalize that word because we use language and we have to name things - isn''t simply being in constant opposition to Republicans/Conservatives/whatever. After all, if Conservatives say it''s wrong to stab a puppy with a butter knife, then one can''t automatically assume that it''s the liberal position to stock up on butter knives and head to the pet store. I agree with many of the illustrations you use, and I don''t think anyone would argue I don''t have liberal leanings. And _that_ is the thing I''ve found sometimes most disturbing about these debates, from everyone including myself. It seems like people get so worked up in proving the other wrong (on both sides) that they refuse to even agree on any fundamental point. I think it''s as crucial for me to say that there are things I agree with Ralcydan and JohnnyMojo on (though they aren''t copious amounts of things) as it is for me to disagree when I do.

God, I''m just prattling now. I guess maybe I''m making a point of saying that, though I''m guilty, there''s just no value in extreme polarization. I do think Americans were misled to drum up support for the war, and I think that the hard questions being asked now are based on a recognition of that. Was it actually illegal? I don''t know.

And that''s what troubles me Ralcydan. Not our actual application of war, and let''s be honest here, we''re far more humane to the Iraqi citizens than Saddam had been to us if the situation were reversed, but whether we were misled, or perhaps openly lied to, in order to achieve what may or may not be a valuable end. I''m very happy to have the Iraqi citizens with a better life, but not potentially at the expense of the democratic process here.

It may be naive and idealistic, but that''s kind of the whole point for me. I have no great desire to sacrifice what I believe is right for the mantle of ''practical'' (which is not to say that those who support the war have). Anyway, I''ve never been one for winning a debate, which is why I''ve increasingly stayed out of this. I just wanted to talk about what my impressions were right now. If I see something that changes my mind later, then I may not have the same position. Some see that as a weakness, but I think flexibility and admitting your previous position was flawed is a strength.

God, blah blah blah. Someone tell me to shut the hell up.

After all, if Conservatives say it''s wrong to stab a puppy with a butter knife, then one can''t automatically assume that it''s the liberal position to stock up on butter knives and head to the pet store.

New sig!

God, blah blah blah. Someone tell me to shut the hell up.

Shut the hell up. Christ.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

""ralcydan"" is pronounced ""jack-as...""

Wow.

Rat Boy = 0
ralcydan = 1

Good job ralcydan. Try to get him to foam at the mouth now!


New sig!

Dammit Certis! Beat me to it. Ah well. I''ll do it anyway...


I do think Americans were misled to drum up support for the war, and I think that the hard questions being asked now are based on a recognition of that.

I guess my big problem is that statement. If you believe Americans were misled, what is the basis?

If it''s the SOTU line about Iraq trying to obtain African uranium, why does this constitute ""misleading""? The media (and people on these forums) have conflated two separate issues into one, falsely. The CIA had doubts about its own Niger report. Fine. But the adminitration has never wavered from the story that the SOTU line was not based on the CIA''s Niger report, but rather on separate British claims. Even the forged documents only refuted the CIA''s reports - the British maintain that their intel is not based on these documents. Those are the facts. Every linked story, including by Ratboy, support them.

But you''re right, in a way. The administration has a credibility issue. The only problem is that it is one manufactured by the use of faulty deductive reasoning and assumption. The existence of forged documents is taken as proof that there was no case. Failure to find weapons is taken as proof that there never were any. Stories proving that Saddam was in violation of UN resolutions and the terms of the Gulf War cease-fire are buried and ignored.

But the media and liberal pundits harp over and over that there must have been lies and there is now a cover up, and the people start to believe it. And certain people have preconceptions that the administration is evil, and that is all they need to latch onto these false stories for life.

It''s a matter of perspective. Imagine I, before the war, had polled the American people with these questions (I have included Rat Boy''s answers as I predict them for humor value):

1. ""Saddam has hidden weapons for a decade. We have given him a year to prepare for our coming. How long should the US have after the war to find WMDs or WMD programs?""

Rat Boy''s answer: ""10 days.""

2. ""Once the war ends, we will not be in total control of the country for some time and our troops will come under daily fire in some areas. Will this further hinder our search for WMDs?""

Rat Boy''s answer: ""No. Although I will point out repeatedly that large parts of Iraq will remain dangerous after the war, I still expect the full cooperation of the populace and easy access for searchers in those areas.""

3. ""If we find evidence that Saddam did not destroy his nuclear weapons program, but instead hid the component pieces and documentation, would this support the assertion by the administration that Iraq could obtain a nuclear weapon very quickly if it obtained fissile material?""

Rat Boy''s answer: ""A kindergartner could''ve told that the Niger documents were forged. Bush lied."" (see also: ""I like pie."")

4. ""Would finding the hidden components of Saddam''s nuclear weapons program, which he has claimed to have destroyed, constitute a violation of UN resolutions and the terms of the Gulf War cease-fire?""

Rat Boy''s answer: ""No. Although the real answer is yes, this could be used to justify the war, and I don''t want that. So, no.""

Keep in mind, polls are stupid (none more than that one). The case against Saddam hasn''t changed since it was presented in 1991, 1998, and 2002-2003. If it was right to take him out then, waning public support after the fact doesn''t mean it shouldn''t have been done.

Because its a purposefully sensationalistic misrepresentation of something that was carefully construed to be factually true. Not to mention the fact that it appears to have planned fall back positions should it fall under public or press scrutiny.

In other simpler words, its a half truth told to incite fear in the american public.

I am absolutely for the removal of Saddam Hussein by force. I did have some questions on whether the quality of life is better in Iraq now or will be at some point. However, the point about exiles being returned home to their families and political prisoners freed is a very positive end.

However, if I had known we were going to have a $400 trillion deficit, no matter how just the war, we cant afford it and we shouldnt have done it.

Saddam was contained. The war only proves this point. And if he wasn''t contained or started to wriggle his way out of containment we have duly proved we have the ability to contain him in a matter of weeks.


We didn''t destroy the infrastructure or resources of the nation.

Um, how long were free Iraqi''s without power, food or water? How long did it take us to contain looting?


However, if I had known we were going to have a $400 trillion deficit, no matter how just the war, we cant afford it and we shouldnt have done it.

Actually, the war is not the cause of the deficit. And if you want to say ''if we can''t afford it, we shouldn''t do it'', I say bravo. Write your congressman and let him know that you would like to see a reduction in Federal spending.

Federal spending needs to be reduced across the board, but not in matters of defense. The expenditures on the military (including the war with Iraq) are one of the few things I think we should spend as much or more on.

"ralcydan" wrote:
But you''re right, in a way. The administration has a credibility issue.

I''m printing that out with gold foil and hanging it next to my degree.

Ralcydan, my evidence is my interpretation of the events before Iraq in contrast to what we see is the reality afterward. I think there was a clear push by the administration to exaggerate the immediacy of Saddam''s threat. Perhaps mislead is the wrong word, because you''re right it does imply nefarious intent, but there was certainly a campaign of encouraging Americans to support the war. I felt that the portrayal of Iraq''s threat, and that the confidence with which the administration portrayed the weapons program was out of line with what has since been uncovered, so I think there was a propaganda campaign to at the very least exaggerate.

It''s a matter of personal interpretation, of course.


ralcydan wrote:
But you''re right, in a way. The administration has a credibility issue.

I''m printing that out with gold foil and hanging it next to my degree.


No problem, as long as you use the whole quote:

The administration has a credibility issue. The only problem is that it is one manufactured by the use of faulty deductive reasoning and assumption.

I''d hate for you to be guilty of ""half-truths and misquotes""...

Oh, and fangblackbone:


Quote:
Um, how long were free Iraqi''s without power, food or water? How long did it take us to contain looting?

Looting - about 2 weeks
Power - while there are still sporadic outages, most of Iraq never lost power and more than 90% has been restored in 10 weeks
Water - off for a week or so in select areas, where it had to be supplied by the US military.
Food - also only a problem in limited areas and resolved within the first week or so after major hostilities ended. The military and aid organizations have filled the gaps.

Elysium, I love you man, but let''s be honest about this. Selling war on Iraq to the American people was about as easy as selling water to a man lost in the desert. Hey, doesn''t that sound flowery like something people in the Middle East would say.

Look in this poll in August 2002. This, of course, was before the State of the Union Address where Bush intentionally lied to trick Congress and the American people into supporting war with Iraq.

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/Da...

Nearly 70% of Americans sight unseen were ready for war with Iraq. He already had a mandate without Powell''s speech to the U.N. or the claims of uranium. I believe this was due to the public''s desire to rid the world of an islamic dicatator post 9/11.

Now, if I was a liberal trying to undermine the credibility of Bush, I would say, that after the inspectors entered Iraq and found no weapons, Bush had to engage in ""puffery"" to justify the occupation. But look at the polls throughout that links archive, support was always strong.
In other words, its not just the administration that wanted this war. Right or wrong, Americans wanted it too and were ready to believe anything the administration said at face value.

Now the Senators are complaining that they were misled. But, they were afraid to vote against the war so soon before an election.

So it may be we have fought a war and the primary justification has proven false. Will ""history forgive us"", as Blair predicts?

Selling war on Iraq to the American people was about as easy as selling water to a man lost in the desert.

I never said it was hard, but that statistic drops to <60% without support of allies. Allies, plural. Still, I don''t dispute that it was an easy sell, though by August it wasn''t exactly a brand new topic. I do mean to suggest that since 9/11, and certainly throughout most of 2002 there was an effort underway to pressure Iraq toward an ultimatum, and to prepare (encourage?) Americans toward war. Again, I''m not saying whether this in itself was positive or negative, only that by August the game was fully on.

Now the Senators are complaining that they were misled. But, they were afraid to vote against the war so soon before an election.

I''m with you here. Where were these guys back in October? They were floating their fingers in the breezes to see which way opinion polls were trending. Pissants. You support war ... that''s fine, I can respect standing up for what you believe in. I also think those who didn''t support the war, even when it was popular to do so, deserve respect. I respect candidates who came out against the war and lost for holding their convictions ... Walter Mondale springs to mind from my own state (though there are a variety of reasons he didn''t win). But, to support the war because you haven''t got the balls to say what you believe to win an election is .... typical.

Right or wrong, Americans wanted it too and were ready to believe anything the administration said at face value.

I agree, but _my_ point is that you can''t just throw that ''right or wrong'' in there. What I''m saying is that right-or-wrong makes a difference, and the American public''s possible willingness to believe anything for justification doesn''t justify the administration not being completely forthright about their intentions. Let me make myself clear, if the administration had gone in from the start as a humanitarian mission to depose a tyrant with the mandate of the American people and the support of our allies, then I wouldn''t be singing the same tune. But, we went in with a different reason, and for me the reasons are important. Maybe not for everybody else, but I''m not really talking about them. For me, we need to back up our statements with confidence and with results, not with deniability and backtracking.

Will ""history forgive us"", as Blair predicts?

Well, since we''ll be the ones writing the history, my guess is, yeah.

Anyway, that''s all I really have to say on the topic. I''d welcome you to disagree ... in fact, I''d bank on it.

"ralcydan" wrote:
Looting - about 2 weeks
Power - while there are still sporadic outages, most of Iraq never lost power and more than 90% has been restored in 10 weeks
Water - off for a week or so in select areas, where it had to be supplied by the US military.
Food - also only a problem in limited areas and resolved within the first week or so after major hostilities ended. The military and aid organizations have filled the gaps.

Source? Just so we keep factual claims grounded in...er...facts.


Anyway, that''s all I really have to say on the topic. I''d welcome you to disagree ... in fact, I''d bank on it.

I am rather disagreeable, ain''t I?

Actually, I can''t find anything to disagree with in your last post, Elysium.

You have brought up ""the ends justifying the means"" and the ""intentions"" on several occasions. This is a bit off topic, but what the hey. I am convinced there are differences between liberals and conservatives. Duh, I''m a regular El Baradei.

Convervatives are an ""ends-oriented"" group, and liberals are a ""means oriented"" group.

Allow me to explain:

Republicans have a goal, oh, let''s say, free elections in Central America. So what do they do? The pay an arms dealer to sell weapons to Iraq so they can take the money and secretly funnel it back to the Nicaraguan Contras in violation of congressional law so they can overthrow the dicatorship and invite Jimmy Carter to oversee the first free election. Kind of unsavory, isn''t it? Shudder...

Democrats are more ""means"" oriented. It''s the journey that matters not the destination. They want a positive result, but the way to that results is so important, success is virtually inconsequential. Oh, let''s say, assistance for the poor. Liberals will spend a trillion dollars over 30 years as part of a ""great society"" program that results in a depedent inner city welfare class, and the destruction of the minority family structure. But, liberals can feel good about it because they can say, ""Hey, at least we tried, let''s keep trying.""

So you want to feel good about us going to war and wish the President relied on issues that you felt were important: the suffering of the Iraquis. That would make us seem more benevolent.

Welcome to my world.

Do you honestly believe, 20 years from now, when democracy has matured in Iraq, and presumably in Iran, that people are going to be saying, ""You know, they never proved that Iraq-Niger connection""? When''s the last time you have an Iran-Contra affair debate? I mean besides this post.

So we have a democracy is growing in Iraq. We should be proud and fascinated at the birth and formation of a new nation. A new nation that was created in no small part because of our country and the sacrifices of our soldiers. Nahhh....let''s get Bush.

I don''t care if George Bush gets re-elected in 2004. Let''s boot the bum out, the economy sucks, give the Democracts a chance! That''s really whats on peoples mind. Even if George Bush was impeached tomorrow, what did we gain? Al Quaeda has been scattered to the point that they are at least not committing the systematic terrorists attacks we sustained during the Clinton era, Afghanistan is a fledging democracy, Iraq is a fledging democracy, Arafat has been set aside and we are closer to peace between Palestine and Isreal than we have ever been since the formation of Israel. Are things perfect? Of course not, just ask ratboy. Do the ends justify the means? Yes Virginia, they do, and what wonderful ends they are.

Good day....

Good day....

And good day to you too.

...

And that, Gentlemen, is how you have a civilized political discussion.

Thank you , Elysium. And now I''m off to shoot some hookers in Grand Theft Auto Vice City.

What Lawyeron said...

Someday we can have the discussion about systemic change vs. intentional change. Would make for a fascinating discussion.


And that, Gentlemen, is how you have a civilized political discussion.

Well, you''ll note that neither of you ws talking to Rat Boy...
[/sarcasm, well mostly sarcasm...]

"Lawyeron" wrote:
Republicans have a goal, oh, let''s say, free elections in Central America. So what do they do? The pay an arms dealer to sell weapons to Iraq so they can take the money and secretly funnel it back to the Nicaraguan Contras in violation of congressional law so they can overthrow the dicatorship and invite Jimmy Carter to oversee the first free election. Kind of unsavory, isn''t it? Shudder...

Umm...I''d say that was a bit of a poor example. If you were looking for a noble goal that is. After all, the Sandinists *were* an elected goverment.

[size=9]And I wouldn''t call goint to a voting booth with a gun to your head ''free''. Even if it isn''t physically there.[/size]


the Sandinists *were* an elected goverment

So was Saddam Hussein.

Please enlighten me as to what ""noble cause"" Finland has ever taken for any other country other than Finland? I went on the web and reviewed the entire illustrious history of Finland. 5 minutes later I concluded that other than allowing Germany to use Finnish soil to attack the Soviet Union during World War 2, I couldn''t find anything.

Please enlighten me.

And don''t get me wrong, I''ve got nothing against Finland, they make great cell phones. The ladies are hot, too.