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> US counterinsurgency expert expresses despair, We can only react in Iraq he admits
Dingo
post May 12 2006, 09:34 PM
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Ahmed Hashim says the only policy option available that is under our control is to leave.
US policy in Iraq has become one of simply reacting to events there
QUOTE
NEW YORK — Iraq is embroiled in a “low-level civil war” that is forcing the United States to react to events on the ground rather than shape them, according to a former U.S. military adviser who spent two years there studying the insurgency.

“Once you start reacting to events, you cannot impose a solution,” said Ahmed Hashim, a professor at the Naval War College who worked with U.S. troops in Iraq from November 2003 to September 2005 in an effort to understand the emotions and loyalties driving Iraq’s insurgents. “You go along with the flow.”
----------------------------
“To stay in Iraq and to affect the situation in Iraq will require a kind of understanding at a level far deeper than we have,” he said.

Hashim said he was struck by the shift in the attitudes of ordinary Iraqi civilians over the course of his time there. In 2003, most Iraqis he spoke to did not consider civil war a possibility, he said; two years later, all that had changed.


And just as an example of how helpless we are over there one need only look at what has happened with the principle resource Iraq has - oil.
Insurgents, smugglers and corrupt officials syphon off oil.

My question is:

Does anybody see any policy available to this country that can have a positive outcome in Iraq other than just leaving.

If your answer to the above is yes could you describe those policies.

If your answer to the above is no could you explain why you think our only option is leaving.

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moif
post May 27 2006, 12:31 AM
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QUOTE(Vermillion)
Moif, before I begin, a small point if I may. It very bad form to take somebody's rebuttal to a post that was not yours, and then answer their rebuttal as if those statements were generalised open comments as opposed to being directed at a specific issue. I assume you read the lead-up to my post, so pretending otherwise is not helpful to anyone.
Yes I did, but your post annoyed me so much I felt the need to respond to it.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
QUOTE(moif)
Bah! Give me a break Vermillion. People don't give a fig about these crimes. Sure, plenty of people have 'condemned' them, but that hasn't stopped either the flow of 'useful idiots' into Iraq nor the back door deals by western nations, paying millions, to release these fools who put themselves into the position of becoming hostages.

Your point being?
My point being, actions speak louder than words. Any one can say they condemn something or other but talk is so very cheap. Its actions that matter, what people actually do when their morals require them to act

What good is 'condemnation' without some form of consequence?

This notion that because people condemn atrocity they are then justified in what ever criticism they choose to give voice to is the true hypocrisy in the world today. And a shining example of this is Amnesty Internationals refusal to provide evidence for Saddam Hussein's trial. For years AI 'condemned' Saddam Hussein and documented his crimes. Now he has been caught and put on trial AI remains silent rather than act upon their condemnation.

What good is a voice of reason and moral outrage that has no strength or courage in its own conviction?


QUOTE(Vermillion)
You are correct, people are still entering Iraq to do humanitarian work, or to act as journalists and for an assortment of other reasons, generally following causes they believe in right ot wrong. What does that have to do with anything?
It demonstrates how biased such people are that they put their very lives in danger in order to help people who will willingly murder them, against the armed forces of their own nations. And the Stockholm syndrome cannot explain the willingness for these people to put themselves in danger, prior to their being kidnapped. From the beginning of this war there has been an unrelenting opposition that has made damned sure that the war would been seen as a failure, regardless of the facts on the ground. Every slight and set back along the way has been blown up out of all proportion by the western media whilst in Iraq, the news through independent sources paints a very different picture.

The global media has, from the very start, given both the Islamic terrorists and the Iraqi rebels the most potent weapon they have, and the means by which to defeat the western powers. Media attention. All these crack pots and religious maniacs have to do is write a letter, or make a video recording and the media broadcasts this propaganda out to the whole planet and more often than not adds its own bias to make sure the rabble understands the message.

There hasn't been a single day in the last three years where I have not read about how Iraq is 'sliding into civil war', or how the US military screwed up by not doing this, that or the other or to put it in the broadest possible terms, just how evil and stupid the USA is and what an evil despot GW Bush is and how the poor innocent Iraqi's are paying the ultimate price for US imperialism.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
When you say 'unscrupulous elements of the left', I have difficulty knowing to what you are referring.

If you mean there are a few left wing fanatics who think this way... well, probably, but that has no bearing on the whole. There are a few right-wing fanatics who think dead soldiers is God's wrath for legal homosexuality in the US.

If you are just referring to the whole of the left and taking a generalising jab, then I have to ask you to back up that opinion. What mainstream, representative groups have dealt with 'satisfaction' at the heads of missionaries in Iraq being severed? Name one mainstream, representative group that did not greet the whole event with total outrage. Please.
Oh give me a break!

What do you want. A list of statements made by prominent left wing politicians and media personalities? No such list exists. These people are not so politically inept that they actually say what they mean. Of course they voice their outrage at atrocity. They make damned sure they do because otherwise how else can they justify their critical stance?

As I said before its not words that matter. Any lying politico can voice words of anger, outrage and moral indignation. Such, mean nothing.

What betrays them is their smug, I-told-you-so attitude when the bad news comes flooding in. Just as you are doing in this thread. As if the bad some how proves this silly point that the 'war was bad'.

Well, there is no such thing as a 'good war'. All war is bad.

What remains after we've gone past the obvious is...

Saddam Hussein was a tyrannical military dictator whose regime sent millions to their deaths. Yes?

Iraq is now a democracy. Yes?

The ONLY argument then that detracts from what the USA is doing is the fact that Iraq is currently a very dangerous and violent place... and the USA has paid a considerable price in its efforts.

..but since this was always so, and since the seeds of democracy have been planted and since the turn out in the elections was pretty impressive, then there is no real reason for any one who believes in democracy to look upon the war with an expression of despair.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
QUOTE(moif)
If they were to lay down their arms and support their government, they could, by simple democratic means, acheive all their goals... if that is, they had the support of the people of Iraq. Their unwillingness to use democracy as a means towards their end, indicates, to me at least, that their following in the general Iraqi populace is perhaps not all that great as we are lead to believe by our media.

Firstly, that argument is fundamentally flawed and you know it.
Actually Vermillion, I think I know myself well enough to know that I do not know anything of the sort. I do not see this argument as 'fundamentally flawed' at all. If I did, then I would not have made the argument.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
There are plenty of examples all over the world of extremist factions representing moderates of the same faction who cannot make their goals met democratically. In this case, that would theoretically apply to the entire Sunni population.
So? How does that justify Iraqi violence or the opinion that violence in Iraq proves the war was wrong?


QUOTE(Vermillion)
Secondly, the democracy is falling apart and you well know it.
I most certainly do not!

And let me point out that democracy in Iraq cannot be 'falling apart' as you describe it, since in order to fall apart it must have been constructed first. Since Iraq has, as you've admitted, never been a democracy, had no tradition of democratic principles or traditions to assist in the founding of democracy, then just how can Iraqi democracy be falling apart?

Its this, utterly biased perspective that looks down upon the creation of a democratic Iraq that is so completely counter productive to the whole process of creating democracy in Iraq.

Its as if you are, and always were, so sure of your argument that you have not changed your tune in all the years of the conflict. You sound, exactly like the left wing media to whom I was referring earlier. Your points are the same as theirs and your bias is equally similar.

You assume that deep down inside I 'know' your point of view is correct because in your assumed opinion, you apparently cannot conceive of the possibility that the reason why creating democracy in Iraq is so hard is because all across the planet, people like you are arguing against it as a consequence of your own personal bias.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
There is still no democratic government a year later, and some the member groups who were convinced to vote in last elections (based on promises of what they would receive) are by and large rejecting the government when these promises of key posts are not being met.
There is a government. It was formed recently. There have also been interim governments that represented the people of Iraq.



QUOTE(Vermillion)
Here is the news from just TODAY:

http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I...AD&SECTION=HOME
The link doesn't work for me.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
Why do I keep having to repeat this? Progress is not slow, it is negative. How many times now have I asked for any tangible signs of progress? Because the tangible signs of regress I have presented in spades.
The people of Iraq voted.

That is all the progress that matters and I find it astounding that you, or any one else on this forum who enjoys the benefits of living in a democracy seek to ignore this fact.

So what if you've spent half a trillion dollars? Who's fault is that? Certainly not the people of Iraq. The extravangant expenditure of the USA is not their concern, nor is the unusually lax methods by which the US military appears to operate. Many military campaigns have been waged on shoe string budgets and been many times as effective as the war in Iraq. If the US military had any brains they'd be using locals to do the fighting, as the British did in the 'good old days' not their own soldiers...

...but this is besides the point. This thread is about a US counterinsurgency expert expressing despair, not the poor performance of the US government/military.

Who cares what some US counterinsurgency expert thinks? or even why GW Bush went to war in the first place! Its old hat. Whats important now is the fact that the people of Iraq have voted and whether we like it or not we owe them.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
I'm sorry but that’s a unreasonably and unjustified optimistic attitude that brooks no understanding of the complexities facing Iraq. Your talking about a nation with a shaky grasp of nationhood, having come through decades of tyranny, with no democratic experience what so ever and no traditions that come close to democracy either. Such a nation as Iraq, facing such a situation as it is, will undergo a long painful period of strife and confusion. It may even fail, but ignoring that reality and pressing on with ever increasing expense of life and treasure regardless of the reality is a staggering waste.
Why?

Why is the chance for a democracy a waste?


QUOTE(Vermillion)
I have already stated, I am well aware of the difficulties facing Iraq. Ironically, those very difficulties, and the inability to date of the US to overcome or even properly address them, is one of the reasons for those many obvious signs of regress I keep referring to.
Indeed. You appear to be convinced, despite the excellent turn out in the elections, that democracy in Iraq is not at all possible... or is at least so difficult to achieve that it will be too expensive.

Your arguments return, time and again to the idea that Iraq is regressing and you put forward bombed schools and killings to support this contention as if these vile acts somehow prove your point.

In my opinion however, such a period of unrest, possibly even civil war is inevitable when democratic is established in a nation like Iraq so whats all the fuss about? How is this even a regress?

Its more or less exactly what you'd expect and for as long as their is a majority of Iraqi's who wish the coalition forces to remain in the country then the only sensible course of action is to stiffen our resolve and keep on going until the Iraqi government and military are strong enough to take care of their people.

Iraq is not Vietnam.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
I find it amusing that you use this not-even-exhaustive list of the vast difficulties facing the country as an justification for your unevidenced optimism. Frankly, Your arguments of the validity of ‘sticking the course’ and ‘never say never’ were just as ‘valid’ (and just as often spoken by the right) in the latter days of Vietnam. Sometimes blind optimism and ‘gung-ho’ attitude isn’t enough.
Which means what?

Because the USA lost in Vietnam then Iraq is obviously unjustified? Wars are not court cases Vermillion. They do not set precedents. If they did, Europe would have been annexed by the Ottomans long ago.

And also, I'm not 'optimistic'. If anything I am pessimistic because I recognise the fact that we are fighting two fronts in this war and the more dangerous one is at home where a fifth column is doing its best to ensure failure in Iraq in order to score political points against the conservative forces represented by the Bush and Blair governments.

QUOTE(Vermillion)
Sorry Moif, I'm not even going to answer that. Trotting out the “you see the signs of growing disaster and address them, so you secretly WANT thus US to fail” argument is totally beneath you.

I'm trying to argue not that it is ‘wrong’, but that 'bringing democracy to Iraq' the way it has been done, the way it is being done and in its current form, may be impossible.


You KEEP asking me to justify my view, you insult it as 'wanting the US to lose', yet how many times now have I asked both you and Ted to justify your optimism in the fact of current facts? Why have you both been so unable to do so?
Because you simply refuse to accept the truth.

Iraq has held several elections and these were attended by a healthy majority of Iraqi's.

That you refuse to accept this as a reason to keep working towards Iraqi democracy demonstrates to me that you don't want to accept it and the only reason I can think of as to why you are so adamantly opposed to this work is because you are opposed to either the people who initiated that work or their political perspective.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
If its going so peachy keen and flowers in Iraq right now as you would like everyone to believe, show us evidence.
Ahh, well, you see, I've never asked you, or any one else, to believe its going 'peachy keen and flowers in Iraq' so why should I show you evidence to support such a ridiculous notion?

War is the worst possible out come to any political process and the people of Iraq are going through the meat grinder right now.

But the violence and conflict in Iraq right now is the natural consequence of removing Saddam Hussein and replacing him with a democracy.
Yes, it could have been managed better (but by whom?)
Yes, it could have been done cheaper, (but how?)
No we should not give up.

We have an obligation to the people of Iraq to stand by them and support them until they can support themselves.

If that means spending a whole load of money we can't really afford then I suggest we look at cheaper ways of fighting, but the hard truth is, the high cost in dollars is the reason for the low cost in American lives.

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Jaime
post May 27 2006, 12:46 AM
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CLOSED.

You guys were already given your final warning to stop with the belittling comments in this thread. You have now successfully forced us to close this. Shameful. Be civil.

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