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Iraqis want war
December 16, 2002 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Iraqis welcome war to remove Saddam A survey (.pdf) taken inside(!) Iraq says Iraqis would favor a war to topple Saddam. The report itself is more interesting than the Independent piece.

The overall impression...was one of exasperation and even anger after twelve years of uncertainty and international isolation and even more years of warfare, combined with a growing sense that the current regime's days are numbered.

The report is most interesting in the details of Iraqis' expectations: that advanced US technology will somehow anesthetize Iraqi soldiers rather than hurt them, the US will rebuild their country for them, there will be no breakup of Iraq, nor postwar bloodbath, etc.

A fascinating and important portrait of a people at the end of their rope.
posted by ednopantz (38 comments total)

 
Hmmmm...
posted by zekinskia at 4:33 PM on December 16, 2002


it's a crying shame. iraq could lead the arab states out of the middle ages. the trick is to liberate it without destroying it. i don't know that we're so good at that.
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:00 PM on December 16, 2002


it's up to iraqis to free themselves if democracy is going to stick.
posted by chris0495 at 5:05 PM on December 16, 2002


Chris, they've tried several times only to be brutally beat down. I've got a personal theory that most large countries can no longer support a true revolution without major outside support. It's not like during the civil war where all you needed was a bunch of men with small arms to change a country. Saddam has fully trained troops, a deadly secret police/assassination squad, tanks, missile launches, etc etc etc...

The catch 22 of the situation is that if we try to give rebel factions arms, it could turn into another Afghanistan. And look how crappy they are currently recovering. Apparently many people already miss the Taliban for its policing policy, now rape, theft and murder are much larger problems.

I wish to hell I had the right answer but as always its a case of which choice sucks least. I'll leave that for the better informed and empowered to decide.
posted by madmanz123 at 5:11 PM on December 16, 2002


But let's say the US marches in, topples Saddam, and reorganizes the government. Will the Iraqi people openly welcome a democratic secular society in which discrimination and human-rights must be respected (yeah, I know, as opposed to the US...), or will they say, "Saddam is gone. Infidels out, we're running our country again. Now, someone get me a woman driver and a homosexual to stone. Thanks much."
posted by benjh at 5:50 PM on December 16, 2002


The report is most interesting in the details of Iraqis' expectations: that advanced US technology will somehow anesthetize Iraqi soldiers rather than hurt them

this is sad.
posted by eddydamascene at 5:51 PM on December 16, 2002


Chris0495 - that's a position that ignores history.

The American revolution, at least, was ably assisted from the outside (unless you don't count the French or Spanish?)
posted by swerdloff at 5:58 PM on December 16, 2002


Hang on... Before taking this as gospel, do we know the political stance and general credentials of the "authoritative Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG)" that made the report?
posted by raygirvan at 6:03 PM on December 16, 2002


We don't need a war, if we NEED to kill Saddam, (which is debatable), he's only one person. You're telling me that the most powerful nation in the world with unlimited resources can't bribe Saddam's own people to kill him or send a CIA agent in there to assassinate him? Bush wants a war, Bush wants Saddam's oil, Bush wants to drag the whole situation out to get national sympathy and support. What should we do? Bomb all of Iraq and hope we hit Saddam? Sure as hell didn't work with Bin Laden. He's laughing at us and sending videos to taunt us once in a while. Only if you can guarantee that you aren't going to kill innocent people, then go ahead and have a war. When McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City building we didn't bomb all of Oklahoma to get his ass... this talk of war is ridiculous. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration is setting up elaborate mechanisms to take away our freedoms and monitor innocent Americans back home. Apparently no one cares and I know I am preaching to an empty America where everyone values "security" over freedom, but this is not America... I don't support it, and I am ashamed to be an American at this point.
posted by banished at 6:04 PM on December 16, 2002


You're telling me that the most powerful nation in the world with unlimited resources can't bribe Saddam's own people to kill him or send a CIA agent in there to assassinate him?

correct.

Search for the phrase "your men are dead" to learn what happened the last time the CIA tried organizing a coup against Saddam. Short answer: people died.
posted by ednopantz at 6:19 PM on December 16, 2002


Will the Iraqi people openly welcome a democratic secular society

iraq is already pretty secular, considering its location. i don't foresee that as the biggest obstacle. it's got a fairly educated, literate society.
posted by donkeyschlong at 6:33 PM on December 16, 2002


If you want to win the war, screw dropping bombs. Drop televisions... tempt them with the Britney Spears and Pepsi Free.
posted by banished at 7:09 PM on December 16, 2002


"The report is most interesting in the details of Iraqis' expectations: that advanced US technology will somehow anesthetize Iraqi soldiers rather than hurt them"

Shhhh, be very quiet, they're sleeping.
posted by sharksandwich at 7:10 PM on December 16, 2002


"If you want to win the war, screw dropping bombs. Drop televisions... tempt them with the Britney Spears and Pepsi Free."

Or bomb their taste buds with the flavor explosion of Pepsi Blue (TM)!
posted by sharksandwich at 7:15 PM on December 16, 2002


Well, I did the search for "your men are dead" and mostly came up with endless Matrix scripts. However, I also found this interesting article from World Net Daily.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:27 PM on December 16, 2002


fff:
The better link for US plots against Saddam is http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/gunning/etc/script.html

Frontline has had some top notch reporting on the ME. Their access to big personalities is amazing. "The Road From Oslo" is the best reporting on the ME I have ever seen.

More on Iraq:

Check out this interview with Richard Perle in Le Figaro. Google does a passable job of translating it. It is interesting because Perle is one of the top four people in the administration, and arguably the chief "big picture" foreign policy thinker. He is more prominent in this interview because it is for French consumption and he doesn't have to hide his influence.
posted by ednopantz at 7:57 PM on December 16, 2002


Well, I did the search for "your men are dead" and mostly came up with endless Matrix scripts.

LoL, I think ednopantz meant search for that phase in the link he gave.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:32 PM on December 16, 2002


These Iraqis really need to make up their minds.
posted by skryche at 9:18 PM on December 16, 2002


...), or will they say, "Saddam is gone. Infidels out, we're running our country again. Now, someone get me a woman driver and a homosexual to stone. Thanks much."

Your knowlege of Iraq and its society is profound. You are clearly qualified to comment.
posted by chaz at 9:37 PM on December 16, 2002


Before taking this as gospel, do we know the political stance and general credentials of the "authoritative Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG)" that made the report?

well i know some people who work for them and they are excellent and do have a good reputation for providing serious and balanced analysis.
posted by quarsan at 11:02 PM on December 16, 2002


The ICG is a centrist policy body, rather than a humanitarian assistance or intervention body. They work closely with governments, NGOs, and the UN around the world. The curretn President and CEO is Gareth Evans, formerly Foreign Minister of Australia, who has a solid reputation as a peacemaker; the board is eclectic, including legislators, diplomats, generals (Wesley Clark), Nobel Peace Prize winners (Arias Sanchez), strategists (Zbigniew Brzezkinski), philanthropists (George Soros) presidents (Fidel Ramos, Philippines), and princes, such as Prince Hassan of Jordan (who would have been king but for brother Hussein's last-minute replacement of his son as heir), who runs (bet you didn't know this) the Club of Rome -- which is the same group responsible, a generation ago, for the Limits to Growth report that largely launched the sustainable development movement. (Hassan is also a second cousin once removed of the executed King of Iraq.) They clearly favor negotiated solutions to problems that take into account the needs of all parties, but they also back a report advocating intervention by the international community when nations cannot or will not protect their own populations. Last October, as the UN debate over Iraq got under way, an Evans op-ed criticized the Bush administration, suggesting that the UN disarmament process would be sufficient to bring about improvements in Iraq; this month, they updated their Iraq backgrounder, which covers in depth just about every political scenario possible.
posted by dhartung at 12:43 AM on December 17, 2002


dhartung: Thanks. Good analysis.
posted by raygirvan at 4:54 AM on December 17, 2002


Muslim shi'ites represent 60% of the population. Sunni muslims represent 35%. If Saddam is toppled, what guarantee is there that shi'ite law will not be imposed by the new leaders that the US will put into place?
posted by benjh at 5:17 AM on December 17, 2002


I've wanted to post this since I heard it a couple of weeks back, and here seems as good a place as any:

Andy Kershaw is a world/roots presenter for BBC Radio 3, and did a couple of programmes in Iraq. He interviews a lot of people, government, opposition and regular folks. It's basically about Iraqi music, and though politics is ever-present, it kind of bubbles under the surface a lot of the time - he deals with it with a raised eyebrow rather than a raised voice. I found it fascinating, but I suppose some might feel it's not openly critical enough. I didn't come away from it with increased love for Saddam Hussein, though.

It did answer sharksandwich's point, though: there is a radio station dedicated to western music, and it's on our list of things to bomb (it was bombed last year). Make of that whatever you will.

Two hour-long programmes. You can listen to them here (RealAudio needed. Sorry, blame the BBC).
posted by Grangousier at 6:20 AM on December 17, 2002


I don't support it, and I am ashamed to be an American at this point.

And we're ashamed that you are.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:33 AM on December 17, 2002


benjh: There's no such thing as "Shi'ite law." Shi'ites follow the same religious laws (shari'a) as other Muslims, though they use different legal authorities; they are just as capable as other Muslims of living in secular societies. If you're thinking of Iran, the situation there is entirely anomalous; traditionally, Shi'ites avoided any involvement in worldly politics, since the only acceptable ruler was an imam, and the last one disappeared (or "went into occultation") in the tenth century (common era). It was Ayatollah Khomeini who broke with centuries of tradition and promulgated the doctrine of velayat-e faqih 'government by the jurisprudent,' which for the first time claimed that ayatollahs had the right to rule in the name of the imam. There is, of course, the possibility that the Shi'ites of southern Iraq would make common cause with their coreligionists, but it's at least equally likely that they would steer clear of them—many Iraqi Shi'ites fought bravely against Iran during the Iran-Iraq War.
posted by languagehat at 8:22 AM on December 17, 2002


And we're ashamed that you are.

who is "we?"
posted by mcsweetie at 8:23 AM on December 17, 2002


We is everyone but you and he. Obviously.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:39 AM on December 17, 2002


Look. The war is GOING to happen within 45 days. Iraq will be fully occupied within 60. So get over your panty-waist tendancies and concentrate on pressuring the Bush Adminstration to go all the way, and set up something good in Iraq afterwards.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:55 AM on December 17, 2002


(the bigger danger, assuming you're not living in Israel) is that the Adminstration won't fully engage on the Post-War tasks.)
posted by ParisParamus at 8:57 AM on December 17, 2002


um, ok.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:02 AM on December 17, 2002


So get over your panty-waist tendancies and concentrate on pressuring the Bush Adminstration to go all the way, and set up something good in Iraq afterwards.

Okay, I'll bring it up with them over our next luncheon.
posted by octavius at 9:04 AM on December 17, 2002


This panty-waist. It vibrates?
posted by Fezboy! at 10:07 AM on December 17, 2002


Look. The war is GOING to happen within 45 days. Iraq will be fully occupied within 60. So get over your panty-waist tendancies...

Are you polishing your rifle in anticipation of your call-up, pee-pee? Or just polishing the pink trombone at the prospect of a live-on-CNN bloodbath? Honestly, chickenhawks like you make Dubya look like a war hero.
posted by riviera at 12:53 PM on December 17, 2002


Riviera: it would be nice if you would move to some Muslim country asap. Stop free riding in the West.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:24 PM on December 17, 2002


Meanwhile, in Afghanistan: UN Group Says Al Qaeda Has New Camps in Afghanistan. If true, this doesn't seem like a good time to open a new front.
posted by homunculus at 5:57 PM on December 17, 2002


I don't doubt there are Al Qaeda still in Afghanistan; they're probably in Jersey City as well. But that's hardly a reason not to get ride of the Irak problem. Don't worry: we can juggle a number of balls without too much problem.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:35 PM on December 17, 2002


Riviera: it would be nice if you would move to some Muslim country asap. Stop free riding in the West.

Only if you promise to sign up for military service and take potshots at me, mate.

I don't doubt there are Al Qaeda still in Afghanistan; they're probably in Jersey City as well.

And there's definitely an outpost of the Chickenhawk Irgun in Brooklyn.

Don't worry: we can juggle a number of balls without too much problem.

That royal 'we' again? I think you've already proved that you don't have any balls to juggle with.
posted by riviera at 7:43 PM on December 17, 2002


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