Archive for Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New strategy

January 10, 2006


To the editor:

When will we be told the truth?

We invaded Iraq because intelligence sources said they had weapons of mass destruction; they didn't. Because they were involved in 9-11; they weren't. Most recently, because we want to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq; but candidates elected who had been members of Saddam's now-outlawed Baath Party will not be allowed to take their seats in the legislature, and there are widespread charges of election fraud and demands for recounts.

Can Muslims in the Middle East trust our promise of democracy? After all, we supported the shah in Iran, fought a war to reinstate the emir of Kuwait; the royal family in Saudi Arabia are our friends. Is that supporting democracy?

In Vietnam, we were told that if we withdrew, communism was going to spread all over Asia and threaten the entire world (any similarity with Iraq?). We lost 50,000 young men there, killed over a million Vietnamese, they are still communist and President Bush is planning to visit a now rather friendly Vietnam this year.

War is not the answer. For every "insurgent" (they call them hero, martyr or freedom fighter), "suspected" insurgent or civilian we kill, three to five uncles, brothers, sons, fathers will take his place. There is no end in sight. Should we perhaps stop, get out, and try instead love, compassion and extensive financial assistance to restore the infrastructure we destroyed, help them build up their education and health system now in desperate shape, and reduce widespread poverty? Doesn't that sound like a better solution to the Iraq problem?

Harry Shaffer,



memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 12 years, 5 months ago

And everyone get ready for Arminius and his tired ol' cut-and-paste "5 points for invading Iraq." And then prepare for him to once again defend his boy Bushie and talk about Clinton chasing bad girls and missing his chance at Osama. Get ready for him, like his boy Bushie, to argue the connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, even though many studies--for one, The 9/11 Commision Report--clearly state the opposite. Prepare for him to take cheap shots at you if you disagree with him. Prepare for him to use the word "liberal" quite a bit, and get ready for him to make the claim that liberals' hatred of Bush prevent them from seeing the truth--even when we can apply the same idiotic formula to Kevin and Clinton. Get ready for mindless banter about "facts." Prepare for the same tired lies and propaganda from Armi, even as the Bush adminstration is finally falling down around us. The lies and the deceit have finally caught up to them, and truth will out.

Whaddya think, Armi-boy? Have I covered it for you? Maybe now you don't need to post, and will spare us. But I'm predicting not . . . I hear the furious response hammering out on a keyboard in East Lawrence right now. It's OK, Armi, I'm down with Bushie, and he told me where you live. God, don't get mad; it's his right and duty as a president; he wants to rid America of terrorists. [snicker, snicker].

Linda Endicott 12 years, 5 months ago

Sad to say, I don't think Iraq can handle democracy. Especially since we are not such a shining example of how well it works, are we?

The people of Iraq have lived with violence, in one form or another, under one ruler or another, for decades...they don't know any other way of life. If we leave Iraq (and I'm not convinced that we ever will totally leave), what are the chances that over time the people will just install another dictator, maybe even worse than the one they had?

Violence in the middle east has always been there during my lifetime, and I suspect it always will be, no matter how hard we try to change it.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 5 months ago

They have never known democracy. How easy would it be for you to adjust and change to their way of life if the situation were reversed? Would you willingly comply, or would you rally to keep the kind of life you'd always known?

And I said nothing at all about Muslims. You are the one who brought that subject up. I never said anything about religion.

Stop putting words in my mouth. You have a big enough job handling your own.

bisky1 12 years, 5 months ago

hey harry: maybe we could buy them all a coke and teach them to sing, that would certainly make me feel better about family in chicago. here's your post sleepwalker-

Jamesaust 12 years, 5 months ago

"try instead love"

Yes, if only Saddam's mother had loved him more.

The author seems to believe the insurgents' goal is some combination of non-interference, roundabouts, school lunches, and health insurance. The basis for such a belief escapes me.

The tribal insurgents wish some version of the ante bellum situation - that is, the minority of Sunnis continuing to dominate, subjugate, and exterminate everyone else. The religious insurgents wish for even more nihilist goals (Taliban on the Tigris).

Often said in jest, this question seems to apply here -- does the author hate freedom in general or just freedom for Iraqis?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

Does freedom mean having more meaningless elections, but just without Saddam as the only candidate? And as soon as the a Shia-dominated government is in place (to the extent allowed by the US military,) it'll mean they will be able to call in US airstrikes against the Sunnis and anyone else they don't like.

This is apparently what BushCo mean when they say "freedom" and "democracy."

Linda Endicott 12 years, 5 months ago

"We never knew democracy prior to 1776. If we could adopt democracy, why can't Arabs? Again, isn't it racist to state that Arabs are inherently incapable of operating a democracy? (btw, religion is different from race.)"

My bad. I didn't read carefully enough.

I didn't really mention race, either, though I did mention the middle east. I was primarily talking about the Iraqis, since that was the original topic.

I didn't say that Arabs wouldn't be capable of operating a democracy. I suppose they would be just as capable of having a democracy as anyone else, but I don't think it's likely. Remember, when the English came over here and established a democracy, they planned to. I don't think that's the case with Iraq. If they wanted a democracy so badly, then why are there so many insurgents?

I don't think many Iraqis want a democracy. They want their own way of life back. And that's a cultural thing, not a race thing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

It's pretty widely accepted that the WMD were destroyed in the early 90's, except by the sycophants clinging to the "the dog ate my homework" claim that they were spirited off to Syria.

There was no love lost between the Syrian and Iraqi Baathists, and it's pretty silly to insist that they would assume possession of the weapons that were the pretext of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Ember 12 years, 5 months ago

Quote: "What do you believe Saddam did with his WMD? If he destroyed them as required by the UNSC, why did he fail to document their destruction?"

I am not so sure they existed to begin with, at least not at the start of this war, I don't think anyone has proof that they did or did not exist. So far it appears they didn't. As for the second question, ask Saddam. Asking someone a question that they cannot possibly answer, and then trying to make them look bad because of it, is just another way you attack.

End Quote.

You don't think the WMDs existed at all?

What did the Kurds die of in the early to mid 90's? Too many beans in their diets?

The point of the matter is yes, they did exist. That we haven't found them in a land where one sand dune looks suprisingly like the sand dune just beyond it really shouldn't be that suprising.

We, as civilians, use GPS systems to go from our homes to a restaurant. Why is it inconceivable that the Iraqi government, most likely under direct orders from Hussein, buried them in small caches and simply recorded the GPS coordinates for later extraction? Am I the only one that finds this plausible? I grew up in Arizona, and it is very difficult to track anything there if it is even halfway sneaky about moving. How do you follow footprints in the sand when that same sand covers your own in under a minute in any kind of breeze?

And as to the U.N.

The U.S. has been the teeth of the U.N. for a number of years. For that same period of time, we've been repeated told to not growl at anyone, so to speak.

What is the point of being the guard dog if you are not really allowed to guard anything?

The U.S. should have pulled out of the U.N. a long time ago.

plumwild 12 years, 5 months ago

How about a 2-response per reader limit to Letter reactions?

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 5 months ago

The administration obviously changed their rationale multiple times for invading Iraq.

Nation-building is now the rationale of the moment, something to which this administration has stated its opposition.

Oh, well, all is different after 9/11. "Johnny, why did you throw as baseball through Mrs. Terwilliger's window?" "Ah, gee, Ma, 9/11".

Whatever the rationale, we are there now. The pertinent question is did the Bush administration knowingly manipulate intelligence and use the power of the executive branch to punish opponents.

We shall see.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

Didn't have anywhere to go with that one, did you, Kevin?

It was pure desperation on Saddam's part, and there is some indication that they were mostly defections, anyway. Guess what happened to those planes.

To give you a hint, here is what Saddam had to say about it:

"We erred in thinking that Iran was no longer an enemy of Iraq when we sent 115 of our aircraft there. Iran's behavior is unprecedented. It refuses peaceful relations, in spite of all our peaceful initiatives."

Pretty much anybody who did any weapons inspections believes that they were all gone by the early nineties. But even if you are right that they were moved to Syria in anticipation of an invasion, then the whole point of the war had the exact opposite effect it was supposed to have, and those WMD are no longer locked inside Iraq's borders, and could be in a homeland near you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

Still trying to blame Clinton, eh, Kevin?

Still pathetic after all these years.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

You just can't quit your obsession with Clinton, can you? I think you are even more obsessed with him than Monica was.

But that's ok, Kevin, we won't ask so you won't have to tell.

Ember 12 years, 5 months ago

I assume that Clinton's foreign policies have had no effect on the current administration's foreign policies?

I suppose none of the administrations during the VIetnam Conflict has any influence on the ones that came after them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

Saddam is a murderous idiot, but his biggest mistake was to become a free-lance murderous idiot-- no longer our idiot. Although he had no WMD, and certainly no way to deliver them anywhere, maintaining the mystery over them made him feel more powerful that he really was. It'll cost the US one to two trillion dollars, and almost certainly more dead Americans than died on 9/11 to install a new despotic government there.

The Clinton Administration's policy on Iraq was primarily a continuation of the policy of BushCo I, and that will be a black mark on Clinton's legacy (as will most of his DLC, Republican-lite policies.)

BushCo II was itching to invade well before they even took office, and most certainly well before 9/11. George Tenet, a Clinton appointee who fully embraced the war-mongering of the neocons, quickly caught on to what would please his new masters, and cooked the intelligence to order.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

OK, Kevin, now tell us that the Project for a New American Century didn't really exist, and that it wasn't populated by many of the architects of this invasion before they were selected into power.

Or maybe you could just change the subject. Again.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

I'm not the Left. I'm not Clinton. BushCo still sucks, and you're still pathetic.

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