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Poll results: Why a war on Iraq

Voters
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  • Disarm Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction

    5 13.89%
  • Regime Change

    8 22.22%
  • Privatize the Iraqi Oil reserves

    15 41.67%
  • National Security

    8 22.22%
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Thread: War on Iraq is a product of poor planning

  1. #1

    War on Iraq is a product of poor planning

    I can not argue with the article below. Our country is dependent on oil and our current energy policy is to continue this dependence. So my question to planners is: how can we change this and fast? Smart growth, moritorium on highway construction, light rail? We need to act fast and I want to start this thread to begin that conversation. Thanks.

    Published on Saturday, January 18, 2003 by the Guardian/UK
    Car Wars
    The US Economy Needs Oil Like a Junkie Needs Heroin - And Iraq Will Supply Its Next Fix

    by Ian Roberts

    War in Iraq is inevitable. That there would be war was decided by North American planners in the mid-1920s. That it would be in Iraq was decided much more recently. The architects of this war were not military planners but town planners. War is inevitable not because of weapons of mass destruction, as claimed by the political right, nor because of western imperialism, as claimed by the left. The cause of this war, and probably the one that will follow, is car dependence.

    [snip!]

    Administrator's note: Instead of reposting a long, copyrighted article, please limit quotes to a paragraph or two, and provide a link to the original article if it's available online. Better yet, instead of repeating a source word-for-word, read the article, attempt to understand it, and rephrase what it says in your own words.

    [/snip!]

    © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

  2. #2
    DA Monkey's avatar
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    Interesting article, although its probably drawing a long bow to blame the proposed war in Iraq on town planning.

    I would suggest look to your economic policies and politics first. The hold major corporations have on the political agenda is really a cause for worry.

    Roads were not built by planners and cars were not marketed by planners, the various "gasoline wars" are not the result of town planning.

    The call for more pedestrianism and TOD's walkability etc is getting a little "old hat" not to mention hypocritical, especially when you see governments advertising "roads to prosperity".

    The focus on road death and injury is also a little tired, surely there are bigger problems that the world's societies can resolve - how about Israel and Palestine for instance, third world hunger and disease, poverty.

    The bleatings of the wealthy few who can afford the luxury of choosing whether to walk to work/shops, or to live in upmarket TOD's are of little real consequence - the phrase "lead by example" comes to mind.

    Tell these people who sponsored the article to get real, donate their services to a third world country if they feel so strongly about changing the way things are - we have enough whingers in the world who do nothing but point out the problems and do nothing to solve them.

    At least planners in their own way are working to hold back/prevent the mistakes of the do nothing, whining, "look how bad things are" wannabe social engineers around the place.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Give me a break. The world does not revolve around planning. Planners don't build roads, the DOT does. Planners don't give the go-ahead for a new construction project, the municipality does, etc. etc.

    The war is not about oil. It is about stopping a kook with weapons systems that will turn your skin inside out.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Mike you are right. The premise is pure rubbish. If there is war in Iraq, its because Saddam Hussein threatens the world's democracies.


    Town Planning ha.

  5. #5
    That argument is about as ridiculous as blaming terrorism on SUV drivers. I guess we’d all be better off driving around in Segways, huh?
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  6. #6
    maudit anglais
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    Originally posted by jtfortin
    I guess we’d all be better off driving around in Segways, huh?
    I think you ride on a segway...

    I agree though - that article wasn't worth the paper it was written on. Blaming planners for war? Sheesh - must have been written by an engineer!

  7. #7

    Full Article

    I dont think the full article was posted, so here is the link.
    http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0118-01.htm

    Another article that hits on the point of this war is about oil and our addiction is linked below.
    http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2002/518/518p13.htm

    The article points out the energy policy Mr. Cheney has set forth and is an education in policy words.

    Like- National Security is not about citizen security, but more about ensuring our current stream of oil dependence.

    By posting these articles I am not trying to make planners mad. And I understand the limits in which we work, but as public servants what can we do to help reduce our dependence on foriegn oil?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    That was probably one of the most subjective articles I've ever read. Never mind that ridiculous assertion that town planners are directly (or indirectly) linked to causing this impending war.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Re: Full Article

    Originally posted by geotransit
    And I understand the limits in which we work, but as public servants what can we do to help reduce our dependence on foriegn oil?
    This is a troll from the APA Houston Zoning board....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Re: Re: Full Article

    Originally posted by Mike DeVuono


    This is a troll from the APA Houston Zoning board....
    Maybe we need to pay them another "visit"

  11. #11
    INACTIVE
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    Instead of debating the idea presented, you attack the person who posted the article. It is hard to think that you actually believe that Bush is trying to make the world free for democracy. He supported the coup leaders in Venezuela who wanted to suspend the constitution. Attacking the planners for designing one of the most car dependent transportation systems on earth was not necessarily a personal attack on any 1 planner. It is hard to argue that the government didn't lead the country to auto dependency. I am not suggesting that most planners had evil intentions, we know more now than we did in the past.
    It was the government that decided to pay for all land, roads, policing, maintenance, to subsidize parking and to phase out tolled turnpikes. The government decided to force all buildings to provide convenient off street parking at their own expense. The government incorporated zoning which segregated land uses away from each other, so that homes were far from malls were far from offices. The government mandated a street pattern which protected against frequent access to arterials so that traffic could move faster, and restricted street crossings that would slow down traffic. The government redlined the inner city and pushed development to the greenfields in it's racist loan programs. Who moves the post office to the outskirts, who consolidates schools and places them at the edge of communities, the interstate system? Let's face it, the government likes to talk transit and force auto dependent sprawl to be built.
    Bush and Cheney are married to oil. Right now France and Russia have the most control over Iraqui flow. The first part of American war plans are to secure the oil fields. Right now republicans are furious with Saudi Arabia, remember the hijackers? Since the US is in control of most of The number one oil producer's oil flow it would be suicide to trouble relations now. However if the US can gain control of the number 2 producer's oil they will have much more leverage.

  12. #12
    Your argument fails to address the real reason for dependence on foreign oil....personal preference. Some people love to live away from the City. Some people like driving SUVs. Some people don't mind driving 30-40 miles to work so they can live where they choose. I rather enjoy living in a Country where I can decide what kind of car to drive and where I can live.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    A planner from Houson- that's an oxymoron.. wait, isn't that just a..

    Planners didn't create the wack job that wants to play hide and seek with nukes. We're planners, not G*d.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  14. #14
    INACTIVE
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    Iraq war

    It is true that there are many other variables involved in going to war besides building an auto centric transportation system. In fact the US would still exist if it had to pay higher prices for oil. We could still survive if US based transnational oil companies lost distribution rights, (pipeline control & drilling rights) in several countries.

    Planners did not decide that the US should spend the most on the military. Planners did not allow campaigns to be financed by the oil industry. Planners did not vote 5 to 4 to select two oil executives as leaders of America. Planners did not fight for years for fossil, not renewable energy. Planners did not tell Sadam to stop co-operating with the US and switch oil distribution to France and Russia. Auto centric planning was only one part of the story, it could have gone differently..

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    The Power of Planning

    Blaming planners for oil dependency and by extension war is ridiculous primarily because planners have no real power or backbone. Land use planners either:

    say it's the free market that makes all the decisions, in which case why does the planning profession even exist, (oh and by the way there is no such thing as the "free market"),

    or

    get bogged down in reactionary regulatory minutia as evident by the number of hours spent in Planning Commission hearings discussing setbacks, kennels and landscaping requirements to dress up the pig (big boxes, parking lots, etc...). Not to say that details of the built environment aren't important, but that there are larger forces that shape our communities.

    Is oil dependency a problem? Putting all of your local and regional transportation eggs into one basket is dangerous. Just like putting all your money into one stock. Political power of the automobile industry fueled by the consumer's love affair with the automobile spawned a century of investment into the largest road system in the history of the world.

    But the beast got away from us. We've built a road system that we can't maintain indefinitely to the level expected by consumers. We've started subsidizing the purchase of SUV's. The politics of oil is very real, not that oil is a primary reason for war, yet. The beast is also in our brain. The car a person drives is a status symbol in our society. It's not whether you can get from point A to B efficiently, but how you look doing it. This is societal self centeredness at the expense of public education, for instance.

    Yes, this is a personal choice, but in the broader sense, there really is no choice. Do an experiment. Ride your bike (if you own one) or walk to work or to do your shopping. Was it safe? Were there facilities in the right-of-way for you? How far did you have to go? We've invested too much to consider anything else. It's an addiction that spirals out of control. If you don't believe it. If you still think it's a choice, try to wean yourself off or leave cold turkey. Then you will find out if you have a choice or not.

    Has anyone ever noticed that politicians continously talk about "growing the economy"? What does this mean? In part it means promoting inefficiency so we can spend more for the same result. Thus the SUV tax break, otherwise we'd be giving tax breaks for Ford Escorts. If we find a more efficient way to travel, rest assured the automobile industry, highway engineers and insurance companies will flex their political muscle.

    Within local government, planners are reactionary peons, while most transportation engineer's livelihoods are tied to the need for increased traffic congestion. Without traffic congestion, they'll need to learn new tricks.

    Believe me, my house is awash in hypocrisy, but I recognize it and am weaning myself from it. I took a major step backwards last year and am paying the price.

    Dear Responder: Please, don't fall into partisan babble. I only submitting my view and there is no black and white. I find that people on this site have a habit of "defending" their beliefs by accusing "liberal elitism" followed by "it's the free market driven by choice". If this were so, there would be no taxes and no subsidies, PERIOD. To say everything is "free market drive" is to simplify reality to terms fit for a child.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    "Dear Responder: Please, don't fall into partisan babble. I only submitting my view and there is no black and white. I find that people on this site have a habit of "defending" their beliefs by accusing "liberal elitism" followed by "it's the free market driven by choice". If this were so, there would be no taxes and no subsidies, PERIOD. To say everything is "free market drive" is to simplify reality to terms fit for a child."
    Perhaps you would feel better if you wrote my reply for me?

  17. #17
    Member dbhstockton's avatar
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    Does anybody know what percentage of oil is used for petroleum products other than gasoline? A nit-picking point, I know, but I've always wondered (I'll probably have to dig that up on my own later).

    Taking another topical leap, what would be the economic consequences of the collapse of the US auto industry? I've read again and again that profits from SUV's are keeping the whole thing afloat -- Detroit loses money on every other line of automobile. In that light, Detroit is fighting for its life in these SUV culture wars (which probably means odds are good that they'll find a way to keep winning). But in the event that the political will did arise to enact less SUV-friendly legislation, overwhelming the auto lobby's obstructions, the long-term consequences could be disastrous. What are the middle-ground positions in the SUV wars? Is there room for compromise?


    Let it be said that I drive a Honda Civic (best car ever made) when I'm not walking or riding mass transit.

    As for blaming planners for our oil wars, it's definitely unfair, but not entirely off the mark. I'll leave it at that for now.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Runner's avatar
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    Originally posted by dbhstockton
    What are the middle-ground positions in the SUV wars? Is there room for compromise?
    No, SUVs are the root of all evil!
    Cheers,
    UrbanRunner
    :)
    _____________________________
    WWJJD
    "What Would Jane Jacobs Do?"

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    UN Update

    Hans Blix has demanded that Saddam Hussein immediately begin destroying the Iraqi cache of DPMs. The Donkey Propelled Missle is beleived to have extended range and is fuelled only by water. "This serious threat to regional security should not be underestimated" said Blix.

  20. #20

    worthwhile to note

    Let's not forget the simple fact that we only import about 20% of our oil from the Middle East. Someone mentioned Hugo Chavez earlier, and I think that if you wanted to find American support for dictators (tied to oil concerns), that's the place to look - not Iraq.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    worthwhile to note
    Let's not forget the simple fact that we only import about 20% of our oil from the Middle East. Someone mentioned Hugo Chavez earlier, and I think that if you wanted to find American support for dictators (tied to oil concerns), that's the place to look - not Iraq.



    Dictators aren't democratically elected in landslides. Disagreeing with a leaders politics or economic theories also doesn't make that leader a dictator. The guy was elected to a three year term. If, when his three years is up, he doesn't get reelected, and he doesn't give up the presidency then you can call him a dictator.

    Plenty of people don't like George Bush but that doesn't mean we go staging coups with a wink and a nod from the pentagon.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    Are you saying that Saddam Hussein WASN'T a dictator?
    Then what would he be? President of Iraq for life? Let's remeber that Saddam was on top of the Iraqui government for more than 20 years. If that's not a dictator...then what the hell is one? Sure he won a presidential election not long ago with 100% of aproval, that's just plain logical. All voters felt free and didn't feel fear that if they voted against him, they would die.
    Actually what other candidate was there? There must have been a handfull since Iraq had one of the most stable democracies in the world under Saddam.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Hugo Chavez

    My post was about Hugo Chavez - not Saddam.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  24. #24

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    jresta brings up a good point: How deep is our support for "democracy" if that "democracy" pursues policies we (or our multinationals) don't like. Not very deep. (Skeleton?)

    My question about Iraq is the benefit to the world if, once having removed Sadaam, Iraq degenerates into some fanatical "Islamic Republic"? Is that already happening? Iran is sure meddling effectively. Its amazing that Arabic pride is NOT offended when Iranians are doing the meddling.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    In the context of planning i find it peculiar that there were plenty of troops to "secure and guard" the oil fields but virtually none could be found when museums, hospitals, and aid stores were looted.

    Priorities?

    I also find it interesting in a geographic context that, without a doubt, the US now has hegemony in that region. Syria is now flanked by Israel and a US controlled Iraq

    Iran is now flanked by a US controlled Iraq and a US puppet in Afghanistan as well as a nuclear Pakistan controlled by a US friendly military dictatorship. (actually, for those who care, the Afghan war isn't over and Karzai doesn't control much more than the province around Kabul.)

    So what makes a dictatorship friendly and what makes them "brutal"?

    The cause was looking noble for a few days and now it's looking less and less like Operation Iraqi Freedom and more and more like

    Operation
    Iraqi
    Liberation
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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