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Iraq War - One Year In

Is your perception of the US's standing in Iraq...

  • Lagging behind where you thought we'd be by now

    Votes: 8 28.6%
  • Just about where you thought we'd be at this time

    Votes: 10 35.7%
  • Ahead of where you thought we'd be by now

    Votes: 6 21.4%
  • I'll reserve judgement until after June 30

    Votes: 4 14.3%

  • Total voters
    28

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
To me, it's the obvious topic that no one seems to be discussing right now. I guess most of us are generally aware of individual positions on the war, and maybe a little weary of the rhetoric on either (or all) side(s).

I suppose I'm the one who will light the stick of dynamite among us.

Any thoughts on the war effort so far?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Its hard to form an opinion when the administration's objectives and exit strategy have changed 3 times in 120 days. Let me know when Dubya gets his balls back from Condi and I'll let you know. ;)
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Chet said:
Its hard to form an opinion when the administration's objectives and exit strategy have changed 3 times in 120 days. Let me know when Dubya gets his balls back from Condi and I'll let you know. ;)
Ditto and in an election year to boot. Coincidence? It has gone about as I expected, but I am interested to see how things go this summer.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
It's going pretty much as I expected.

In Osama's deck of cards, one down (Aznar), two to go (Blair & Bush).

It's not surprising that a democracy like Spain, where the population strongly disagreed with the war, would turn out the war government. The British people strongly opposed the war. U.S. citizens were mildly opposed to unilateral invasion before the (mostly) unilateral invasion. Blair would have no problem staying in power if he had not supported the war, but is shaky now. Bush has built much of his persona on being a "war president." But he started with war with lies, doesn't seem to have a plan for how to pursue it, and doesn't have an exit strategy. I think that will work against him by November.

Put another way, If I were a reservist pulled from my job to spend a year in Iraq -- for a war that is based on either lies or incompetence -- I would be miffed. If I were the parent of a soldier killed or wounded in Iraq, I would be enraged.

Given the absence of WMD or terrorist links in Iraq, it's obvious that there were still diplomatic options available when we invaded. We may have needed military action after pursuing those options, but we had some time. We could potentially have ousted Saddam without war or gone to war with a broad coalition of our allies, rather than turning them against us.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
Saddam needed his ass kicked and we did it well. The Iraqi's will be better off and we truly did them all a favor. France is isolated and they deserve it. The world got the message that you don't F*** with Uncle Sam - they needed to hear it. All is well and the Mass Blue Blood will go down easily.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
I'm not real big on "politics" and tend to not follow such things (if my husband were to come home in a bodybag, I wouldn't need to watch the nightly news to learn that -- the military would inform me :-D ). But, coincidentally, a friend of mine in the middle east sent me a pic a few days ago of protestors holding up a sign that said "Bombing for Peace is like F****** for Virginity". It all just kind of makes me sad. America has so much power and ... we act like the biggest kid on the playground, shoving everyone around. Sigh.

But the decision to go to war is just kind of the inevitable outcome of our general narcissistic oblivion to any views but our own. The woman who researched "Diet for a Small Planet" discovered that countries that recieved U.S. food aid got worse because they got American-style food and then wanted more of that and the traditional diet that was sustainable for the region was undermined. In countries where they could afford to feed their people raising beans and such for the traditional diet, they raise beef to sell to the U.S. which their own people cannot afford ... and the people starve while a few beef barons pocket the money. The American hubris is just really toxic -- where we think our culture and its trappings are innately superior and we have so little sensitivity to context and such for people we try to "help"... god, is it any wonder that folks find us callous?

America seems to have lost its soul. We were instrumental in rebuilding Japan and Germany after WWII. It seems like we used to use our vast material wealth to get behind causes that were about more than mere material wealth, material security, etc. But, now, it seems like securing physical property, etc, is the whole goal -- as if there is no higher purpose in life than being fat and happy. I was not terribly surprised by the attacks on 9/11. I am really saddened by the fact that America as a nation seems to refuse to hear the message: that we are doing things so terrible to other peoples with our callous disregard for any viewpoint but our own that people are boiling over with rage to the point of being willing to die over it. It is sort of a metaphor: a screaming anguished cry that "America, you are killing us".

Are we so dense that we do not understand the point behind attacking the world trade center? Do we not understand that other cultures feel stomped on by our commercial agenda, which we push with nigh complete disregard for other values? It is a kind of pimping of the world's resources to our pleasure, while we turn a blind eye to the consequences. Cultures that value family and spirituality and so forth more than we do ... cannot get in line and "be successful" on the terms we dictate. America's general attitude is sort of like saying I shouldn't have been a homemaker and a devoted mom because I could have made more money as a hooker, and, therefore, it's my own lack of "work ethic" and other "virtues" (such as greed and valuing money above all else and holding nothing truly sacred, I suppose) that has left me in debt.

I have friends in a number of different countries. They are generally shocked at my lack of bias, my willingness to see America through their eyes and so on. America is kind of like a person who insists that "good manners" means everyone else owes us enormous respect but we don't owe them any. And god forbid that you should offend us. Because at that point we will prove what "civilized" people we really are by chopping your head off for not saying "please" and "thank you" while kowtowing in just the right way.

All this in the name of "egalitarian" ideals. Yeah, we believe in equality: we believe that every nation on the planet is equally entitled to have our system and our culture shoved down their throat.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Michele Zone said:
Do we not understand that other cultures feel stomped on by our commercial agenda, which we push with nigh complete disregard for other values?
America the bad?

Chrysler is owned by Germans.
I belirve Toyota now has the best-selling car in America.
Much of the consumer electronics sold in the world is made by Asian companies.
Tea is not a foodstuff, but is grown primarily for consumers in places other the US of A.

World War One was fought because Germany had the affrontery to think that there should be a free market to trade among countries, an idea that imperialist powers like France could not accept. You remember France, the country which controlled a massive share of Iraq's oil prior to the invasion? I suppose the good people of France do not need to push a commercial agenda when their own commercial agenda is sitting there quite nicely.

No, I have never been a supporter of the Iraq invasion, but I do not accept the "US is hated because of its commercial agenda" argument. These people (terrorists) are motivated by an agenda of reactionary religious hatred. It has nothing to do with commerce.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
Cardinal said:
America the bad?
I don't think it is as simple as that. Not by any stretch. I would think you would know me better than that by now. And I have no desire to argue anything. I doubt I could put all my thoughts into words anyway.

I will just note that your comment that it's motivated by "reactionary religious hatred" is kind of in line with my point: America is culturally insensitive to the values of others and is kind of quick to chalk it up to "those nutcase religious freaks". Yes, if you take the premise that spiritual ideals and cultural values are not a reasonable basis for motivation, sure, they are nuts. So were many of the people who fled religious persecution in Europe and came to this continent to ultimately found the U.S. of A.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
Michele Zone said:
America is culturally insensitive to the values of others and is kind of quick to chalk it up to "those nutcase religious freaks".

Michele,
Sorry kid but I have to say that is bull****. No country does more ass kissing and apologizing than the US of A. We got cultural sensitivity coming out our ying yang. Ask your self if you have ever met a culturally sensitive Arab that was not an academic? How culturally sensative are the Japanese? They'd be back in Manchuria in a heartbeat. The US gets its troops killed to be culturally sensitive. We don't fire on Mosques that are being used as firebases. We are TOO culturally sensitive for our own good. :)
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,492
Points
41
I voted "ahead of my expectations" because I feared a quagmire of urban warfare inside Basra, Baghdad, Tikrit and many smaller 'burgs reminiscent of Mogadishu. I envisioned many more soft targets being attacked, especially national infrastructure. The troops have performed exceptionally and heroically.

I remain greatly concerned of a post-US Iraq. Civil War seems completely unavoidable unless we are prepared to deploy our national treasure there for many years to come to separate Shiia', Ba'athists and Kurds from creating the next killing fields. Not to mention an incubator for al Qaeda and every other anti-western extremist.

I am not prepared to leave US troops in Iraq for another 8-10 years as one talking head predicted last night.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
el Guapo said:
Michele,
Sorry kid but I have to say that is bull****. No country does more ass kissing and apologizing than the US of A. We got cultural sensitivity coming out our ying yang. Ask your self if you have ever met a culturally sensitive Arab that was not an academic? How culturally sensative are the Japanese? They'd be back in Manchuria in a heartbeat. The US gets its troops killed to be culturally sensitive. We don't fire on Mosques that are being used as firebases. We are TOO culturally sensitive for our own good. :)
LOL. I pretty well "knew" you would state your disagreement with my views. I expected that in part because you are a veteran. And I have the deepest respect for the wisdom of veterans. I also believe in sincerely honoring the sacrifice they made so that I can remain a spoiled American. :-D

I said it makes me SAD, not angry. I do not have some fantasy that other countries and other people are morally superior to us. I think you would realize by now that I am a patriot and I love my country. I think we have a better way than most places have. But if I were in charge, I would seek to further raise the bar.

What I have found in 19 years of marriage, raising a 14 year old and a 16 year old, is that the viewpoint and wisdom that a father typically brings to a family and the viewpoint and wisdom that a mother typically brings to it tend to be very different and often appear diametrically opposed. When one seeks to insist that their view is the only valid view and seeks to impose their view as the only allowable basis for a decision, it twists the family and becomes toxic. The best decisions get made when the concerns of both parents are treated with equal respect and when both sides are heard and taken into consideration.

I believe that there is a really good reason why so many of our presidents and other leaders are former soldiers. I am about to really step in it here, but my personal bias is with Heinlein: if you do not serve your country, what right have you to claim full citizenship? I generally put more faith in someone who has served in the military than someone who has not. Regardless of differences in personal preference, political views, etc, I find that men who have served in the military can be trusted further to make sound judgements and to do the right thing to the best of their knowledge and ability, even if it isn't the "convenient" thing for them peronally. The psychological consequences of pledging your life for a cause greater than yourself makes for better human beings, more qualified to genuinely SERVE as leaders.

I stress the word "serve" because without that background or one similar to it, there is too much temptation to see a leadership position without any real grounding in the idea that it is supposed to SERVE the people or the nation or anything greater than ones own political ambitions and personal lust for power. I believe that the cornerstone of Bill Clinton's problems with "morality" (for lack of a better term) is that he never served in the military. My husband often spoke of how Clinton simply did not seem to understand -- he treated our military forces like pawns in a chess game and seemed oblivious to the very real suffering of the humans he sent to foreign soils and the families they left behind.

Pledging to give your life to your country is a sacred pledge and should be honored as such. Clinton's actions amounted to "throwing away" their lives and he thereby violated a sacred trust. Our country is the poorer for it, in terms of having our sense of integrity shattered. If we do not treat the lives of our soldiers as sacred and to be spent only in good cause, not merely for political gain or such, then we are all dehumanized. Every last one of us.

The deep understanding of that essential issue which a veteran brings to the job when he takes a position of leadership makes them better leaders, because it makes them better human beings.

However, the woman who stays behind to raise the kids and tend the homefires also pays for her husband's pledge of his life first and foremost to something other than his family, something greater than his family. Many military families are broken because of it. It is a heavy burden to bear. I have born it for a long time, with much grace. And that is a whole other source of wisdom, with views different from yours. And I believe that when this country has as many former homemakers in Congress as it has former soldiers, this will be a far more humane nation, and wiser.

I mean no disrespect by disagreeing with you. But I also make no apologies for it. I have the view of a mom watching her children squabble. I cannot punish one and reward the other for it. That is no cure and will only make the situation worse in the long run. Both must be treated with equal compassion and genuine understanding of their view and their needs and ... the reasons why it turned into a fight. That is the roll of a diplomat. Which is a very different point of view from those who protect us with their lives. You have earned the right to always advocate a protective position in favor of your nation. As has Cardinal. But such things do not make for "peace". They make for survival. Survival is an essential, basic need. Without it, we cannot seek anything greater. But focusing exclusively on survival is a "lowest denomination" position. And I wish for something greater for my country and my world.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I think we are a little behind where I expected. I kinda thought it would be more like Afghanistan - we go in there, kick ass, and then there may be sporadic attacks, but nothing like we see now. I am sure that war supporters also figured that they would have found WMD by now so they can throw it back in the face of all of us "big time lefty peaceniks" who said the war was unnecessary. If the US would have used all of this manpower in Afghanistan, they would have likely found Osama a while ago...I guess that will have to wait until the fall, when Bush's numbers are lagging behind.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Michele Zone said:
You have earned the right to always advocate a protective position in favor of your nation. As has Cardinal. But such things do not make for "peace". They make for survival. Survival is an essential, basic need. Without it, we cannot seek anything greater. But focusing exclusively on survival is a "lowest denomination" position. And I wish for something greater for my country and my world.
MZ - If I read you correctly, I think you misread my position. I am, ultimately, an idealist and hope for a different world. I am pretty sure EG would take a similar position.

As for myself, it was idealism that caused me to enlist in the first place, and idealism that caused me to volunteer for service in the Gulf War. I believed that the invasion of Kuwait was morally wrong, and later saw the evidence to confirm my views. I think, had we continued into Iraq with the full support of that coalition, and at that time, it would have been viewed as a shining example of nations working together in a just and noble cause. At this time, with as little support as we have, and as little justification as has been shown, we are creating a lasting problem for ourselves. Perhaps the problem with the Iraq War is that it is neither survival (Iraq did not pose a threat to us) nor was it something more (relieving the Iraqi people from a dictatorship was an afterthought). The war was undefined.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
Cardinal said:
MZ - If I read you correctly, I think you misread my position. I am, ultimately, an idealist and hope for a different world. I am pretty sure EG would take a similar position.
No, it was not intended to suggest that you are not an idealist. Only to say that my viewpoint is bound to be different and I do not feel compelled to agree with anyone, even when I feel compelled to treat their personal sacrifices on behalf of my country with reverence.

As I said: I don't generally follow the particulars. It is not my decision to make, whether we go to war or not. Nor is it my husband's decision. It is his job only to dutifully go where he is sent. Whether we agree or disagree with the whys and wherefores, he is duty-bound. As am I, as long as the marriage exists.

I am well aware of the pitfalls of an undefined war or a war where the goals are wrong. Vietnam was disastrous in part because we set ourselves artificial limits -- drew a line that we would not cross -- which others felt no need to honor. We set ourselves up in a position where we could not win, because we could not attack or pursue. We could really only kind of "defend" a certain territory. I don't remember all the other particulars as to why that war was so "wrong" and so fundamentally mishandled.

I am kind of of the opinion that they should have let Schwarzkopf pursue Desert Storm to its logical conclusion. Had he done so then, I don't imagine we would be back there again. When you go to war, you really should go all the way. Once the decision has been made to kill or be killed, pulling back tends to simply leave a wounded and vengeful enemy in your wake, with his eye on your back. After you have gone to war is the wrong time to worry about "diplomacy" -- which I think was the reason Schwarzkopf was reined in.

But it does sadden me that there is so much hosility between two cultures and so little effort to effectively bridge the chasm. Hurling epithets will not ever mend such a rift.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
Whatever else was given as a reason (and I personally think history will show that they knowingly lied to us), this has been a war about resources: specifically about oil and the security of certain corporations' supply of that commodity. If we forget that, we will miss all of the lessons that can be learned from this colossal diversion of resources from the programs that really build national security.

What if we had listened to Jimmy Carter and made a goal of energy independence? Would American soldiers be dying in Iraq just because of Saddam? No.

I have no doubt that Saddam is/was a bad man who abused his power. He indeed did deserve to "his a** kicked." But that was't our job. It was up to the Iraqis, or at the worst, to Iraq's neighbors, who could perhaps have legimately acted to protect their co-religionists. But our intervention (and our, the Western powers', meddling in that part of the world goes back a long way) is based strictly on the self-interest of those who control the current administration.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
el Guapo said:
Saddam needed his ass kicked and we did it well.
Of course we did it well. We have the world's strongest military and the best trained and most dedicated soldiers. There was no doubt that they would defeat a third rate dictator with decades old equipment and unloyal soldiers.

Our army and soldiers shouldn't be sent to combat based on fabricated threats when there are still diplomatic options.

Aside from television reports, the never-ending Presidential speeches about the war on terror, and impacts on a relatively few soldier's families, we are living as if there is no war. Money to fight the war is being borrowed. Cars and houses are bigger than ever. Unemployment is not all that bad.

But the war does have impacts. A few thousand Americans are dead or wounded. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead or wounded (by Americans, not by an evil dictator). We had dissed the nations who have been the basis of our mutual defense for half a century (hardly the way to set up a cooperative defense against international terrorism). We have blown a huge hole in the national budget. We have shown the world the limits of our military as well as its strength (Most of the U.S. combat ready strength and most of its reserves are dedicated to post war Iraq). Every statement by the American President must be evaluated to determine if he is telling the truth or a lie. And the consolidated press, eager to please the administration, is not the free press needed for a free society.

So, my conclusion still is, in the absence of WMD, the U.S. had time to pursue a diplomatic solution, or to build a real and worldwide coalition should there be a need for war.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Wulf9 said:
Of course we did it well. We have the world's strongest military and the best trained and most dedicated soldiers. There was no doubt that they would defeat a third rate dictator with decades old equipment and unloyal soldiers...

Aside from television reports, the never-ending Presidential speeches about the war on terror, and impacts on a relatively few soldier's families, we are living as if there is no war. Money to fight the war is being borrowed. Cars and houses are bigger than ever. Unemployment is not all that bad...

But the war does have impacts. A few thousand Americans are dead or wounded. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead or wounded (by Americans, not by an evil dictator). We had dissed the nations who have been the basis of our mutual defense for half a century (hardly the way to set up a cooperative defense against international terrorism). We have blown a huge hole in the national budget. We have shown the world the limits of our military as well as its strength (Most of the U.S. combat ready strength and most of its reserves are dedicated to post war Iraq). Every statement by the American President must be evaluated to determine if he is telling the truth or a lie. And the consolidated press, eager to please the administration, is not the free press needed for a free society...
Wulf9, I couldn't have said it better myself.

I voted that the war effort is about where I thought it would be at this time, figuring that once the US forces came in we'd be facing terrorist attacks and witness a move toward civil war among the largest ethnic/religious groups there. I'll bet our military is at least 5-10 years from being out of Iraq.

I can't help but think that the war has been a case of kicking the dog after 9/11, even if the dog was a snarling pit/doberman mix.
 

DA Monkey

Cyburbian
Messages
84
Points
4
:eek:| Crikey

what a "heavy" conversation. All the more interesting because of the lack of levity, rather than due to it.

MZ raises some serious issues and thoughts on the matter - and in many respects down here it has been a hot argument around quite a few barbies since the invasion.

Right up front, I have to say I did not and still dont support the invasion and occupation.

In many respects I feel ashamed about Australia's involvement - not related to the behaviour, motivation or performance of our troops - and yours, who I believe have displayed the high ideals and committment that should be the goal of a modern military - but ashamed of the scheming and lying of our politicians who so misled us and the world at large.

I often think of the Iraqi families who have lost people, or the American families who continue to lose loved ones - I have an 18yr old boy and Id hate for him to be there because Bush and Howard are playing politics.

In many ways I agree with MZ and her views, although Im happy to admit Im glad you yanks have a military and are prepared to use it in the support of freedom etc. During my service, I met many yanks, and aside from their inability to hold their beer, they were generally top blokes :-D

However, you could do with a new president (one who lies a little less and is less involved with the corporate world) and we could definitely do with a new Prime Minister - "little johnny" is a lying two arsed snake who has done a great deal to devalue and destroy the Australia i want my kids to live in. :eek:|
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
Cardinal said:
MZ - If I read you correctly, I think you misread my position. I am, ultimately, an idealist and hope for a different world. I am pretty sure EG would take a similar position.
OT: it sort of irritates me that you "Read" that into my comments when I went to great lengths to state my sincere feeling that your time in the military represents a sacred pledge and I hold it in the highest esteem etc. I have repeatedly told you that I respect your high ideals and ethics. Sometimes it feels like you go out of your way to seek out our differences and turn a blind eye to the things we agree on, and there seems to be plenty that we fundamentally agree on. :-D (And I don't think eG will take offense. He and I have spoken privately a few times. I take it as a mark of respect that he feels no need to mince words with me. He is not being rude to say "bull****", he is treating me as an equal from the same culture: military culture. -- of course, I could be completely wrong. But that was how I "heard" his remarks. :) )


Now, onto more pontificating:

I know I don't amount to a hill of beans in this forum, but in some homeschooling forums, I am held in very high esteem. I have a great deal of presence in such forums. And it has been my observation that I and some others who are seen as "big whigs" in those forums ... cannot afford to slip up. If we misstate something or if we are not super sensitive and polite, etc, people just completely freak out on us and begin hurling accusations. I am often in hot water because my comments in such forums carry such great weight that if I say something in a careless manner, it can cause huge repercussions. With power comes responsibility, whether you want it or not. The fact that I am held in high esteem in those forums means that I have to weigh my words carefully and simply accept that others who feel weaker than me will get very hurt if I do something "wrong", no matter how innocent my mistake.

I do not think America is "bad". But America is very powerful and, as a nation, we seem to not fully appreciate how much that impacts others. It kind of makes me think of when my clumsy youngest child was small: if he bumped into me, he fell down but I was unaffected. It made me feel really bad, when he would hit the floor. I don't think he ever really got hurt and it wasn't in any way intentional on my part. But when you are so much "bigger" and "weightier" than others, you do need to be extra careful in all that you do. And it doesn't matter how "unfair" it feels. If you don't do that, others will get incredibly upset with you -- because it hurts them, whether you intended it or not.

I think America acts like a big kid in that we don't seem to want to accept the greater-than-normal responsibility which is part and parcel of greater-than-normal power. I understand why we chafe at this burden. It personally irritates the hell out of me when I am attacked in homeschooling forums because one stupid figure wasn't sufficiently precise. (And that kind of nonsense does happen at times, sigh.) I am also upset that in one forum I am in, someone recently said "Take me off this list if Michele is the only person allowed to state her opinion." That isn't remotely close to the truth and it really amounts to a misunderstanding. This same person kind of idolized me when they first showed up. Such things cut both ways and I actively seek to NOT be seen in heroic terms. But I get seen that way anyway, because I often have good suggestions for sticky-wicket problems that have tormented people for a long time. Sigh.

America likes it when we are seen as Heroic. But we don't want to accept the other half of that -- which is that people then expect more of us all the time. You cannot rest on your laurels. You cannot just be "one of the gang" if you are a hero and like that image and want to embrace it. I don't really like that image. I do like being given credit for the things I do well. But I am just human. And I screw up plenty. And I want very much to be "one of the gang". I have been lonely my whole life. Being one of the gang means not demanding "privileges" that others do not have. America wants to say that "we are just one of the gang" and other nations should also help, it should not all fall to us, but then we want to say "we have the most power and it is our decision to make and you can't tell us what to do". Wanting it both ways like that is a mark of immaturity. And it is bound to get us into hot water with nations who feel daunted by the power we wield.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Michele Zone said:
OT: it sort of irritates me that you "Read" that into my comments when I went to great lengths to state my sincere feeling that your time in the military represents a sacred pledge and I hold it in the highest esteem etc. I have repeatedly told you that I respect your high ideals and ethics. Sometimes it feels like you go out of your way to seek out our differences and turn a blind eye to the things we agree on, and there seems to be plenty that we fundamentally agree on. :-D (And I don't think eG will take offense. He and I have spoken privately a few times. I take it as a mark of respect that he feels no need to mince words with me. He is not being rude to say "bull****", he is treating me as an equal from the same culture: military culture. -- of course, I could be completely wrong. But that was how I "heard" his remarks. :) )
[ot]Michele - I want to clarify that in questioning your comments, I meant in no way to dismiss your opinions and esteem for military service. In fact, you appear inclined to give it more weight than me. What I was uncertain about was your comment on a "protective" or "survival" viewpoint as opposed to "something greater." I would argue that my viewpoint is something greater, and as different as his is from my own, I believe that EG is motivated by more than a protective stance.[/ot]
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
Cardinal said:
[ot]Michele - I want to clarify that in questioning your comments, I meant in no way to dismiss your opinions and esteem for military service. In fact, you appear inclined to give it more weight than me. What I was uncertain about was your comment on a "protective" or "survival" viewpoint as opposed to "something greater." I would argue that my viewpoint is something greater, and as different as his is from my own, I believe that EG is motivated by more than a protective stance.[/ot]
Cardinal, my father is a veteran of two wars. And I have seen the studies of how all-male institutions tend to be more violent than other institutions and I have seen other studies of how, in times of threat, the men in a village (or what have you) will act together in a rather paranoid and suspicious manner. These things are, at times, absolutely necessary to the survival of a group. Unlike many, I do not find anything inherently evil in the violent tendencies of men. Those violent tendencies can be put towards good or evil use. If they are put to use for protection of others, they are clearly good men. If they are put to use beating up their wife, who is half their size, then they are clearly bad.

It is my observation that men like you, and eG and my father tend to have a world view that is a bit on the paranoid and suspicious side. I grant veterans a good deal of tolerance for comments or behavior that I would dismiss as 'psycho' in others. I believe in my heart that the life-long burden of a seeming inability to go through life "unarmed" -- emotionally, psychologically, or however you want to call it -- is a cost that men pay when they give of themselves as soldiers for their country. I believe that scar is one we all should treat with respect and kindness and which often gets no such treatment. It is a kind of emotional "rape" to be intolerant of the somewhat suspicious nature of veterans -- it adds insult to injury -- when they ended up that way doing selfless service for the benefit of their nation and at great personal, human cost to themselves.

However, I feel no need to agree completely with the kinds of views that this "bias" (for lack of a better word) fosters. I grant enormous respect for the very real and valuable hard-won wisdom that combat experience buys for men, at such a dear cost. But I hope it is always balanced by the hard-won wisdom that I can only think of as "motherly". I do not doubt that you wish for a better world. But wishing does not make it so. And it is clear to me that starting from an overly suspicious position .... well, it can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. I often find myself in a position of seeing only "failure to communicate" where others seem to see "bad motives". I also find that, very often, when someone is genuinely being "not nice", well, they have their own valid reasons for feeling hurt or whatever. If I seek to understand why they are hurt and so on and address that, rather than jumping to my own defense, I can often mend fences and bridge communication gaps. That can not possibly be done if my own defense is my first concern. I must be willing to bleed, be willing to be attacked and villified in spite of being innocent of that which I am accused, and I must be willing to put down my own metaphorical "weapons" in the face of threat and hostility, in order to have any hope of achieving a goal of genuine peace and understanding and stuff like that.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I cannot prove it and I cannot really explain it, but it is my observation that the manner in which you frame a situation in your mind powerfully shapes the outcome. The tendency of veterans to be on the suspicious side, while it has its own merits, tends to promote conflict. I have often observed people get really upset and combative merely because they were treated with suspicion. It can feel like an accusation of guilt, which tends to go over very badly with most people -- especially if they feel completely innocent. Simply being suspicious of someone tends to bring out the worst in them. Most people are pretty reactionary in the way they relate to situations and to other people. And the attitude of the "audience" makes a huge difference in the way something is stated. If you feel you have a receptive audience, you are likely to state it more neutrally and calmly, without feeling like you must "argue your case". If you feel you are facing someone highly inclined to disagree with you no matter how you say it, that will tend to elicit a very different manner of speaking.

And I don't think this is the time or place to begin to address some of my thoughts on cultural differences and such which promote an enormous sense of conflict, which isn't entirely "necessary". Nor is this really the time or place to talk about the subtle ways in which people in power quash the ability of those less powerful to even voice their views -- and why that is such a big deal. But my views are complex and touch on many topics. I am not capable of excluding all that "stuff" from this topic. It is all relevant to how I interpret things. Which is why I mention those things, even while feeling this is not the time or place to address them.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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Gedunker said:
I remain greatly concerned of a post-US Iraq. Civil War seems completely unavoidable unless we are prepared to deploy our national treasure there for many years to come to separate Shiia', Ba'athists and Kurds from creating the next killing fields. Not to mention an incubator for al Qaeda and every other anti-western extremist.
Yep, I think civil war is inevitable.

I voted lagging behind, because we should have already been on to North Korea by now. Actually I'm surprized we didn't attack Saudi Arabia either, seeing how they have been harboring terrorists and al "Q" for years.

All in all, it was going to happen eventually, regardless of who the president was. Saddam needed to go down, and I hope we get that retard dill laden as well.
 

Tom R

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sigh!

Michele Zone said:
I am well aware of the pitfalls of an undefined war or a war where the goals are wrong. Vietnam was disastrous in part because we set ourselves artificial limits -- drew a line that we would not cross -- which others felt no need to honor. We set ourselves up in a position where we could not win, because we could not attack or pursue. We could really only kind of "defend" a certain territory. I don't remember all the other particulars as to why that war was so "wrong" and so fundamentally mishandled.

There is a lot of "interestiing" history being discussed here. Let me address just one with my own opinion that I believe is shared by some if not many. The US military did not lose a single major engagement during the Vietnam war. When this fact was expressed to a senior North Vietnamese official Gen. Giap, I think.) his answer was yes, this fact is true but also irrelevant. It was a political war of attrition and the Vietnamese and their Chinese and Soviet backers had the staying power. The war in Iraq is more of an economic (read oil) political war that that has turned into a religious anti-crusade. We will see who has the staying power. Now, my own pre-emtive strike. The perpretators of the September 11 and other terrorist attacks had to be dealt with along with their backers. I still fail to see how invading Iraq achieved this.
 

el Guapo

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Michele Zone said:
(And I don't think eG will take offense. He and I have spoken privately a few times. I take it as a mark of respect that he feels no need to mince words with me. He is not being rude to say "bull****", he is treating me as an equal from the same culture: military culture. -- of course, I could be completely wrong. But that was how I "heard" his remarks. :)
You read me 5 by 5 Michele :)
 

boiker

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It's actually ahead of where i expected it to be. I expected much more intense urban fighting. I expected more military deaths. Thank god that it's progressing better than I envisioned.
 

mgk920

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boiker said:
It's actually ahead of where i expected it to be. I expected much more intense urban fighting. I expected more military deaths. Thank god that it's progressing better than I envisioned.
Agreed.

Also, even though we turned the civilian governments of both Germany and Japan loose in the very early 1950s, our troops are STILL there today, nearly 60 years after the end of major hostilities of WWII. Our post WWII occupation forces were still the targets of pot-shots from recalcetrant Nazis and Imperialist Japanese as late as 1949 in two places that nearly everyone had written off as lost causes in late 1945. Yet, both are now strong, stable representative/parliamentary democracies, something that the Japanese had NEVER known before (they were Imperialistic for over 2000 years before WWII).

I like to see reports from those journalists who take the time (and risk) to venture out of the hotels of central Baghdad to see how things are REALLY going. I am continually heartened and inspired by the progress that they report on. Our guys (and gals) are doing heroic, yeoman work.

Mike
 
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7,649
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el Guapo said:
You read me 5 by 5 Michele :)
lol. I don't know that term. But I am glad I "got it right". :-D (However, I do sometimes slip into militar-ese and completely lose civilians in conversation. :p )
 

Tom R

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2,274
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25
5 X 5

Michele Zone said:
lol. I don't know that term. But I am glad I "got it right". :-D (However, I do sometimes slip into militar-ese and completely lose civilians in conversation. :p )
5 X 5 is old military radio talk. I believe it was a rating system of how well a radio signal is received on a scale of 1 to 5 regarding loudness and clarity. Therefore 5 X 5 is loud and clear.
 

boilerplater

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916
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21
Bulls on Parade!

In November of 2002 I had a letter published in the local paper stating my opposition to the war and what I believed it would lead to. I can find no satisfaction in learning that I was right on several accounts, such as turning world opinion against the US, and breeding a new generation of terrorists. :u: Didn't they find that the attacks on US soldiers in Iraq are being carried out by Islamic extremists and not by Saddam supporters? What are their future targets likely to be? A war under false pretexts throws us back to the Gulf of Tonkin-like business. When you hear that Rumsfeld said we should bomb Iraq and not Atghanistan after 9/11 "Because they have better targets", it evidences the idea that it is all done with the dictum that "War preserves the health of the state." It is depressing to think that we need to do this to preserve our lifestyle.

On the other hand, I have been impressed at the professionalism of US soldiers, with the exception of Persian carpets and similar booty ending up on Ebay! On CNN presents, they showed some incidents which could have easily resulted in the massacre of dozens of civilians, but which they were able to defuse and walk away from w/o a shot fired.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
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23
My brother is in Iraq, (national guard) this is the second time he's been called up in the last two years. He went willingly the last time when he was called up after Sept. 11th. We lost our aunt and uncle in the WTC. At the time he thought he was doing the right thing. After a few months on guard duty (never issued live rounds) and a few missed paychecks his "idealism" withered when he realized it for what it is "a dog and pony show".

He saw the lying about Iraq for what it was worth when the rhetoric was just heating up. Yeah, it's great Saddam is gone and hopefully the Iraqis will be better off - if Iraq doesn't turn into another Iran - but let's be real about it. There are plenty of "ruthless dictators" the world over that are/were much worse than Saddam that our presidents past and present either ignored or sold weapons to. They just didn't happen to share a border with Iran and Syria or sit on a mountain of oil. Plenty of dictators and regimes have been forced from their thrones in the last 10 years. An invasion was completely unnecessary.

But he can tell you what it's about with the pictures to prove it - AT&T gouging GI's for a phone call home. When Iraqi Telephone charges 1/3 the price the command makes it off limits to soldiers. You're not allowed to eat local food but they have Pizza Hut, Subway, and Burger King contracted by KBR (a Halliburton subsidiary)
and staffed by the local population. No background checks. And people at home are always wondering why those mortar attacks are so precise.

The situation there is not secure - it took him 4 days to get from Kuwait City to an area near Tuz northeast of Baghdad getting shot at nearly the entire way. Afghanistan? What's been going on there for 2+ years? The fighting there never stopped but Iraq was a good diversion of troops, materiel, and more importantly - the media. The Iraq invasion was planned 5 years ago - you can read it online. It calls for a 17 year occupation.

I spent 4 years in the army and 3 years in the national guard. I don't need to be an armchair anything when i talk about this becuase i know what it's like. I don't need people telling me I "hate america" because GW is not america. He's a figure head that could've used a lot more advice from his dad and not surrounded himself with the childlike diplomatic skills of people like Rumsfeld.

As for religious fanatics - I agree they're a problem in the middle east and they're a problem in the middle west. When the two rub up against each other there's bound to be friction. George Bush's ideology is just as dangerous as their's is because it's essentially the same thing - but W has bigger bombs and the planes to carry them.

To whoever compared this to Tonkin, right on, and "Remember the Maine" and while you're at it "Remember the Alamo" too.
 

Tom R

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2,274
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iraq

jresta, I wish your brother well and may he remain healthy and have a safe tour and trip home.
 
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