So loud sound the drums of hate...
March 31, 2003 9:19 AM   Subscribe

A Pyrrhic victory in a catastrophic "March of Folly"? - historian Barbara Tuchman asked: why do leaders persist in pursuing catastrophic policies? Regardless of Baath regime executions of Iraqis, the Islamic world will witness mainly "American Atrocities" - and be outraged by gruesome images, on Al Jazeera and elsewhere, of every single child killed by American bombs. Iraqi tactics - of suicide bombing, ambushes, and faked surrenders - will erase the civilian/combatant distinction, leading to more and more incidents like this (to be televised to an appalled Islamic world): and all this merely a foreshadow of what may be urban warfare on a scale seldom seen in the 20th century. Grozny comes to mind. Mainstream US media asserts that the solution for the whole "miscalculation" is just more US troops

But the war is tailor made to provoke tribalistic, Pan-Islamic fury (and corresponding, furiously tribalistic US patriotic support for war). Escalation is in the air: statements by Rumsfeld, Powell, and the US State Dept. indicate an awareness that the current war could spread, drawing in Syria and Iran. Consequences also could include the destabilization or the takeover, of nuclear armed Pakistan, by Islamic militants, and a Nuclear miltarization across a wide region, from Iraq to Japan.

If only this were "South Park: The Movie", where the onset of Armaggeddon can be stopped by an heroic act of sacrifice by Kenny.
posted by troutfishing (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
roping south asia into it is a bit of a paranoid fantasy. sure, the mullahs in pak are in a lather over this, but it's pavlovian. their main concerns are subcontinental. beyond kashmir, the interest and outrage degrade considerably.

for starters.

but yeah, our country is being run by a bunch of nutters, and they're knocking on all the doors in all the world, asking the other nutters if they can come out to play. this is what happens when dumb rich kids buy the white house. it's a veruca salt world right now.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:26 AM on March 31, 2003


Great link to informationclearinghouse. Real front lines reporting there. So sad to see innocence lost. Hemmingway wrote of this.

"The wealthy never sacrifice at the altar of patriotism." - you name the author

Are these the opening shots of World War 3? Do the wing nuts in the White House care? Are they self-delusional?
posted by nofundy at 9:47 AM on March 31, 2003


looks like we may have to add istanbul to the list of cities we are going to have to invade and occupy:

“The Syrians are coördinating with the Turks to screw us in the north—to cause us problems.”

i just saw my first "Liberate America" sign - proudly posted in a north minneapolis nieghborhood lawn. i suspect it wont be the last.
posted by specialk420 at 10:06 AM on March 31, 2003


Saddam Hussein has indeed pursued catastrophic policies, which first resulted in disaster for his own people, and the fallout of which is now in the process of destroying him.

If he had not made war on two of his neighbors... if he had not manufactured poison gas and biological weapons... if he had destroyed his WMD's as he agreed to and cooperated with UN inspectors in confirming that... he might have a prosperous and viable nation now. He could have stepped back from the brink at many points. But he never did.

March of Folly, indeed.

I don't know how the rest of the war in Iraq will go, except that the Coalition forces will win it. Given that the left was talking about a Vietnam quagmire from the first day of the war in Afghanistan (and before), I don't think they have too much credibility at the moment.

What will happen then is unknown. But if Iraq, in the hands of Saddam's opposition, successfully makes the transition into a democratic state (as Afghanistan is scheduled to do at its elections in 2004), that could be a signal of an entirely different kind, that a pluralistic democratic Islamic Arab state is possible. That would certainly create instability in the Arab world, but instability of a good kind.

A democratic regime next door would be a strong boost to younger, progressive elements in Iran, for example. The House of Saud would find it more difficult to resist demands for reform. These things won't happen immediately. But over the next two decades or so, a stable democracy in Iraq could do very good things for the region.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:06 AM on March 31, 2003




This post sounds would be a great addition to....(drum roll) Warfilter!
posted by Karl at 10:08 AM on March 31, 2003


Personally I find it disturbing that the republican administration has steadily expanded the borders of its military theatre from Afghanistan to Iraq and has now apparently began to make noises about several other middle east states. If I didn't have a steady diet of CNN to better inform me I might think that the U.S. had the intention of more or less invading and occupying the entire region. Perhaps it won't be long before we begin to hear why it is absolutely necessary to invade Iran and Syria. In this case we may be back to terrorism as motivation, or something else entirely. The waffling of the U.S. pr machine on its motivations seems to reveal a 'whatever works' point of view when it comes to the discussion of its motivations. Once more it seems entirely likely that the better part of the U.S. population in its sonambulic state will rise up to support the president or 'the troops' or whatever

I am not sure that its simply crazy. In fact its carefully premeditated. The blueprint for many of the current conflicts (Iraq and S.Korea) was laid over a year before 9/11 in a very interesting document.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

It is written in a measured way with a steady hand. The only thing crazy about it is that it simply does not address the question of whether it is 'right' for the U.S. to enforce its will on the rest of the globe. The idea that it should be the entirely pre-eminent superpower is simply not an issue.
posted by randomnfactor at 10:08 AM on March 31, 2003


Meanwhile, in Afghanistan...
posted by black8 at 10:10 AM on March 31, 2003


Given that the left was talking about a Vietnam quagmire from the first day of the war in Afghanistan (and before), I don't think they have too much credibility at the moment.

First I've heard that and I keep up with these things. Can you provide sources or was that intended as a misleading troll?

And what black8 linked to. It ain't over 'till it's over, correct? In other words, if you can credibly source that statement it's still possible that victory has been prematurely declared.
posted by nofundy at 10:22 AM on March 31, 2003


So, nofundy, what you're saying that your views are non-falsifiable?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:42 AM on March 31, 2003


If only Kenny could save us from trolling warfilter links that take up two screens....

"Oh my God, you've killed Metafilter! You bastards!"
posted by darren at 10:58 AM on March 31, 2003


Did someone say 'Afghanistan'?
posted by homunculus at 11:36 AM on March 31, 2003


Can you provide sources or was that intended as a misleading troll?

I'll vouch for Slithy_Tove. Here's an article on the phenomenon from Time mag, Halloween, 2001.
posted by shoos at 11:37 AM on March 31, 2003


darren - just scroll past that offensively realistic (content rich) post. It's easy. Why not contribute a NON-Warfilter post of your own, to cheer things up? Find the next "Vibrating Broomstick" story, why don't you? I'll read it! [And turn off your radio and TV, while you're at it - it's disturbing, this incessant media war chatter. And duck tape your doors and windows, too. You never know.]

Karl - When unwilling to argue actual points, ridicule and marginalize, eh?

Slithy_Tove - Your mention of the crimes of Saddam Hussein's Baath regime, whether real (executions, slaughter of Iraqis, which I acknowledge in my post) or exaggerated (Iraq's WMD threat, most likely) are largely irrelevant to my argument:

That, regardless of the evil nature of the Baath regime, the US invasion of Iraq is moving towards a worst case scenario, of polarization between the US, Britain, Israel, and the Islamic (and Arab too, perhaps) world in which -

1) a steady diet of "American Atrocities" aired on Al Jazeera and other Mideast media, provokes worldwide Islamic outrage which, in turn, aids the recruitment of terrorists to commit acts which, in turn again, will further enrage the Americans, and further provoke them into self defeating behavior as they march along on their course of folly....

2) a steady rise in US outrage at Iraqi tactics (among both US civilians and troops) which asks - "How could they fight like that!.....They, they....they are animals, savages!..." [with this, unnoticed but implicit, question lurking in the background - "Why don't Hussein's troops and paramilitaries just line up in neat columns and march into the desert so we can simply annihilate them, neatly and efficiently, from the air?"]

3) A steady increase in regional hostility as Syria, Iran, and other Islamic countries ratchet up their rhetoric against the US invasion and the US, in turn, warns Syria, Iran, Pakistan, and other nations against aiding "terrorist linked" Iraq, or of promoting terrorism in any form. [Implying - "Stay out of this, or you're next"]

4) Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea rush to develop Nuclear Weapons to deter the (broadly hinted at) US aims of toppling regimes in those countries, destroying their WMDs, or both - with further, resulting, Nuclear proliferation in a wider region (all the way to Japan, perhaps).

5) Thousands of Muslims from the region flood into Iraq to volunteer to fight the Americans as live combatants or as suicide bombers. The fight against the Americans and British comes to be seen as both a patriotic war (on the part of the Iraqis), a Pan-Islamic, Pan-Arabic struggle against a Neo-colonial invasion, and also an Islamic holy war, an armed Jihad.

6) American troops grow increasingly frustruated, confused, and angry - both at their situation, at the slow pace of the war, and at Iraqis in general - their stubborn refusal to simply roll over and surrender. They begin to see the Iraqi people as enemies - the exact mission which Saddam's (his son Uday's, to be exact) Fedayin have been ordered to accomplish - and begin to treat all Iraqis as such: potential enemies [and how could the American soldiers do anything else but this, when any other course could mean suden death? ].

7) The Iraqi population, bit by bit, comes to loathe their US "liberators": not because the Americans have killed on a scale which even remotely approaches Saddam Hussein's death toll (that would be hard) but merely because the Americans have invaded are in Iraq, someone else's country, and are so hated - as unwelcome interlopers. Or, to put it in Iraqi terms, "Saddam was a bastard. But he was our bastard."

8) Any Iraqis still caught in the middle in this conflict come to align themselves - out of anger and frustruation - against the Americans due to the peripheral results of the war such as as lack of food and water, disease and lack of medical care, and the overall environmental stress of urban warfare leads to the large scale suffering of Iraqi civilians.

Remember - Stalin had just finished a particularly nasty round of purges when Hitler invaded Russia and, although initially, in some areas, the invading German troops were welcomed as liberators, the Soviet (Russian or not) people were soon fighting, passionately, against Hitler's armies. They were NOT so fighting as much for Stalin as they were fighting to defend their homelands against the German invasion.

Also, re: "Given that the left was talking about a Vietnam quagmire from the first day of the war in Afghanistan (and before), I don't think they have too much credibility at the moment." - Afghanistan is far from over (indeed, I suspect it has merely begun) and, though the US may reduce parts of Iraq's cities to rubble in house to house fighting, I hardly think this will 'pacify' Iraqi resistance which, at first, will be mostly Baathist but later, if I am right, majority Iraqi resistance (with the participation of volunteers from all over the Islamic world). Meanwhile, I suspect that Afghanistan will continue to fester for years. It will, however, continue to produce record crops of Opium.

It's really quite odd, I think, that US conservatives - who once laid claim to being the camp on the US political scene who most acknowledged the inherent tendencies of human nature - are now in such ferocious denial of it. I would note that the "Paleocons" at least, on the US right, see the invasion of Iraq as insanely counterproductive (Pyrrhic, probably). But the rump-majority of the US right, spearheaded by the NeoCon charge, seems to believe (suddenly, too - in denial of 100 years of US interventions, CIA organized coups, etc. around the World against popular governments) with great religious fervor that the US has the responsibility to bring Democracy to the unwashed of the World, and especially those who have a lot of oil.

The Arab street collectively rolls it eyes. What is the US doing to counteract it's skepticism of US motives, or it's fury, in general, at the US, Britain, and Israel? Nothing, and worse than nothing.

Osama Bin Laden, if alive, is softly chuckling to himself...["Suckers....they fell for it. Amazing. What Idiots."] or, if dead, is wailing in grief and helpless remorse for what he has set in motion.
posted by troutfishing at 11:46 AM on March 31, 2003


First I've heard that and I keep up with these things. Can you provide sources or was that intended as a misleading troll?

From the October 31, 2001 New York Times: "Military Quagmire: Afghanistan as Vietnam." Of course, Afghanistan was liberated two weeks later.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:44 PM on March 31, 2003


An alternative (and hopefull equally improbable) apocalyptic scenario, for those , you know, who believe that bad shit happens in threes - its circa 2011, the new World Trade Center is up, its Spring and its sunny, when the earth shakes, the sky goes dark, and NY is really toast this time, as are by the way, Washington and Phildelphia. Damn that boy Uday - always knew he was up to no good.
posted by Voyageman at 12:51 PM on March 31, 2003


Of course, Afghanistan was liberated two weeks later.

Of course, your grasp of current events is as poor as your grasp of history. Do call up the families of these two soldiers and tell them Afghanistan's been "liberated" for years now, so they should pay no attention to those puzzling, permanent vacancies at the dinner table, will ya?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:02 PM on March 31, 2003


Let me repeat the quote from Slithy_Tove and then reprint the applicable excerpts form the linked articles and then perhaps you will see why I questioned his assertions.

Given that the left was talking about a Vietnam quagmire from the first day of the war in Afghanistan (and before), I don't think they have too much credibility at the moment. (emphasis mine)

Now for the links (to the same Wurlitzer piece no less):

Conservative columnists such as Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol have warned against fighting a war by half measures, and Senator John McCain has echoed their calls for a far greater U.S. military commitment.

Not exactly the voices of the left, wouldn't you agree? So, yes, the FAR RIGHT questioned this policy but the left has been way too quiet on the subject exactly BECAUSE of charges such as those leveled by Slithy_Tove. But then, the truth isn't all that important for fans of the far right it would seem. Just throw all the mud you can and hope some sticks somewhere.
posted by nofundy at 1:13 PM on March 31, 2003


Troutfishing, you beat me to the punch. I don't know why it always seems to require to such thoroughness and eloquence to counter the pollyanna scenarios put forth by the right, but isn't it always the way?

There can be no argument to the contrary that US has done some awful things to Joe Islam, middle east resident during the past 50+ years, e.g.:

Supporting the brutal regime of Shah Reza Pahlevi, abandoning the mujaheddin after the Soviet withdrawal of Afghanistan, supporting Saddam and selling him chemical weapons even after the 1988 attack on the Kurds, selling out the Kurds and the Iraqi Shi'as after Desert Storm... and these are just the highlights.

HOWEVER,
All nations have interests: political, ideological, industrial and military. And all nations must seek to protect and further those interests, and be willing to bear the risk and cost that those actions might incur. This doesn't make any nation either completely benign or completely evil; it is what it is. The same goes for the United States, the UK, France and Germany as it does for Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

The only way I can look at the current situation without becoming too frustrated by it, is to look at it from the standpoint of what the likely outcomes are. You have to ask, given our difficult (to put it mildly) relationship with middle east muslims in all these years, is it likely that we would be welcomed into Iraq as liberators? Does this likelihood increase as the number of Iraqi civilians killed in operations goes up?

I think the Bush administration would answer "yes" to both of these questions, even though, in my view, that position is naive in the extreme. I'm not sure that it is dishonest, as I don't have sources placed that highly, but I think "naive" is fair.

A terrible result of the ham-fisted diplomacy employed by the Administration is that we have damaged essential international apparatus beyond repair. How can we possibly go after terrorist sponsors in Iran, a country with nearly 5x the population of that of Iraq and even less friendly to the US, without the UN or NATO? What about North Korea? Who will want to back us in a potential nuclear conflict once we have set out on the path of "going it alone"?

In the end, we end up with an inflamed world muslim populations, scores if not hundreds of our own casualties, a depletion of our own armaments and materiel, and for what purpose? Even with a successful conclusion to Iraqi chapter of "the war on terror", we have basically sabotaged our own efforts in achieving our objective of taking on global terrorism.

And it gets worse, as you correctly put it. In the conduct of this war in Iraq, regardless of the extreme pains the military really takes to observe the rules of engagement, civilian casualties will occur. Couple this with our lack of credibility on the "arab street" and the result is that we are creating a huge recruitment campaign for terrorist orgs.
posted by psmealey at 1:14 PM on March 31, 2003


I must not think bad thoughts
What is this world coming to
Both sides are right, but both sides murder
I give up, why can't they?

. . .

I must not think bad thoughts
I'm guilty of murder of innocent men,
Innocent children, innocent woman, thousands of them.
My planes, my guns, my money, my soldiers,
My blood on my hands, IT'S ALL MY FAULT.
posted by divrsional at 1:20 PM on March 31, 2003


troutfishing, psmealey-Thanks for breaking it down for us.
While I believe the U.S. will eventually achieve a victory, what that "victory" will look like is what frightens me the most. I've heard a 5 or 10 year occupation is might be in order to stabilize Iraq...but what if it's 25 or 50?
How many times were the Marines sent to Haiti in the last century?
posted by black8 at 2:53 PM on March 31, 2003


A democratic regime next door would be a strong boost to younger, progressive elements in Iran, for example. The House of Saud would find it more difficult to resist demands for reform. These things won't happen immediately. But over the next two decades or so, a stable democracy in Iraq could do very good things for the region.

This line of wishful thinking reminds me of that old Steve Martin routine which went

You can be a millionaire and NEVER PAY TAXES!

...first, getamilliondollars!

posted by y2karl at 2:56 PM on March 31, 2003


y2karl: but what is troutfishing doing but engaging in 'wishful thinking' of a different kind? He's assuming that everything bad that could possibly happen will happen, and nothing good that could possibly happen will happen.

Dolores Scenario, the evil twin sister of Rosy Scenario, may be just as mistaken.

nofundy, here's a lefty equating of Afghanistan with Vietnam (before the fact). Or you could just Google www.commondreams.org for "afghanistan vietnam".

Results 1 - 100 of about 301, says Google.

No, a year after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan is still not as peaceful as Scarsdale. No one should expect a tribal culture of competing warlords to settle down and play nice after twenty years of civil war. There will be unrest for a while. But there's less unrest than there has been in the past two decades. Hamid Karzai is disarming the warlords and merging their fighters into the national army and police. I think there's reason to be hopeful. Afghanistan is not turning out anything like Vietnam.

They say generals are always ready to fight the last war. It's probably true. But peace activists seem to be fighting a war from thirty years ago. Not everything is Vietnam, guys.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:30 PM on March 31, 2003


I love Barbara Tuchman, although some historians say she plays fast and loose with the facts.
Thanks to Tuchman, I may have understanding of Afghanistan. I read Tuchman's "Stilwell and the American Experience in China" and she describes China in the years before Chian Kai-Shek and Mao. There were warlords controlling their own parts of the country, with constantly shifting alliances.
It's a great book. Won the Pulitzer Prize.
posted by stevefromsparks at 9:52 PM on March 31, 2003


Not to change the subject or anything, but you were fantasizing about a democratic Iraq, Slithy_Tove, not Afghanistan. Here's a concept: What is current Arab opinion? Let's quote On The Media's program tonight:

Through Middle Eastern Eyes

If one goal of the war in Iraq, according to the Bush administration, is to re-define Middle East politics, the U.S. may be getting more than it bargained for. Martin Walker, chief correspondent for United Press International, says that the war and the emerging Arabic media are feeling an explosion of pan-Arabism unseen in 40 years. He joins me now from Kuwait City. Martin, welcome back to the show.

Bob Garfield: So the Arab governments to one degree or another are mainly in support of the coalition in this war, but the Arab street seems to be very anti-war and anti-Western. Tell me what you're seeing in the press.

Martin Walker: What I'm seeing is the creation or the, I suppose, the re-creation for the first time since Nasser in the 1950s, 1960s of a real pan-Arab, nationalist, patriotic consciousness, and I'm seeing this not just in traditional leftist papers or papers of radical governments but even in the newspapers of America's friends. When you read in Al-Akhbar which, you know, one knows to be a semi-official newspaper in Egypt "The evil axis of Bush and the evil forces will not gain their main political objective from the war to crush the Arabs. The Arabs are rising." -- it's really quite extraordinary. I mean I was looking at Al-Riyadh which is the offical Saudi government daily. Now the Saudi government we all know is secretly being very helpful to the war, but this is its editorial. "It's a surprising historical paradox that the most modern civilization is fighting the most ancient human civilization with false arguments in an attempt to vie for its resources." It's a kind of a, a mood of contempt for the West and its supposed hypocrisy and real patriotic flood of support behind the Iraqis.

Bob Garfield: It's interesting how these state organs or semi-official state organs are being used as means for these governments to play both ends against the middle, in grudging degrees supporting the United States in the war, and on the other hand to deal with their own internal problems by criticizing the United States and the war for public consumption. Is that the purpose of these editorials?

Martin Walker: You know a month ago I'd have said yes. I'd have said this is part of the traditional Arab game through which authoritarian Arab regimes which like to stay in close contact with the West allow a kind of a safety valve to their people. But this is something new, and for example in Egypt, Al Wafd which is quite a popular newspaper, when it starts in a front page editorial writing hero-grams to, I quote, "the Iraqis' steadfastness and their brave resistance is noble and gallant, the pride of us Arabs, the pride of us all, and an inspiration to us all," I mean that rocks me back on my heels a bit. It's as though this is not simply a war against Iraq; it's now a war against the Arabs as a whole.


And how about that democratic government we're going to give them?
A disagreement has broken out at a senior level within the Bush administration over a new government that the US is secretly planning in Kuwait to rule Iraq in the immediate period after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Oops, that's not quite But if Iraq, in the hands of Saddam's opposition, successfully makes the transition into a democratic state (as Afghanistan is scheduled to do at its elections in 2004), that could be a signal of an entirely different kind, that a pluralistic democratic Islamic Arab state is possible. That would certainly create instability in the Arab world, but instability of a good kind.

Nope, Iraq's not Vietnam--it's Lebanon :

It was Sunday night, four days into the war, the night that everyone but Americans first saw footage of U.S. prisoners of war in Iraqi hands. "Bush's war is getting tangled up," said the TV anchor on the country's most popular prime-time news show. "America is sinking deeper in the Iraqi quagmire." That wasn't Egyptian TV, or French, referring to "Bush's war." It was Israel's Channel Two. And the Hebrew word translated here as "quagmire" has a very specific connotation: It conjures up Israel's disastrous war of choice in Lebanon in 1982.

And from Afghanistan, here's the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) : The US Government Wants War, the People of US and the World Want Peace!

Not some straw man Google search but a real news story: Iraqi resistance 'restores Arab honour'

First, getamilliondollars!

Oh, and here from Ma'ariv - What If Saddam Survives?

Then, two simple words: I forgot!

First you have to make those Arabs forget that they've seen a different war than you, Slithy_Tove, then you're going to have to get them to buy into your vaporous spin. Good luck!

PS. A crap link entitled Karzai Wants To Purchase Weapons From Warlords /= Hamid Karzai is disarming the warlords and merging their fighters into the national army and police.
posted by y2karl at 10:10 PM on March 31, 2003


y2karl, please review the exchange between nofundy, black8, and me. That's how Afghanistan got into it.

Not some straw man Google search but a real news story

We're not allowed to use Google, now? Who knew!

I know the Arab street doesn't like the war. That's not at issue.

A crap link [...]

Insults are silly. If you want to address the content of the link, do so. Did you read it past the headline?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:38 PM on March 31, 2003


I'm wisely going to stay out of the discussion above, except to note that the so-called Arab (or Muslim) "street" has been singularly unreliable in its rising up, time and again. Yawn. Outside of ruthless paramilitary organizations who recruit with promises of money and inculcate with the ideology of martyrdom, they can't even manage that many suicide bombings in Israel anymore. Wait for another fedayeen to try this, then maybe we can call it an actual trend. Meanwhile, the common Iraqi people are approaching American soldiers for food -- or serving it up themselves.

On the Is Afghanistan Liberated? page, we have the spanking new draft constitution just delivered to Hamid Karzai, with adoption and elections presumed to follow. The nastiness continues, but then it's largely our old friend Hekmatyar, who killed far more Afghans in his repeated 1990s shellings of the capital than Americans did taking over the whole country. He's just a troublemaker par excellence, but has never found widespread popular support. At some point, the moaners and groaners are just going to have to recognize that civil administration in Afghanistan is growing by leaps and bounds, and the lives of ordinary Afghans have improved markedly. Repatriation of refugees -- before the war, Afghanistan had a record 5 million citizens accounted for as displaced persons under UN rules -- continues at the rate of some 1500 a day; returning refugees outstripped all expectations, with as many as 7000 daily throughout 2002. They must be going home to something. I don't suppose Afghan refugees voting with their feet will convince a single ideologue, though.

And the New Yorker provides a word of warning regarding that patriotic-Russians meme that's making the rounds in its {alas ephemeral, so be quick} Books column on Taubman's new Khrushchev bio:

Taubman’s biography gives a thorough account of Khrushchev’s early career, and he does not play down Khrushchev’s role in the 1937-38 Great Terror. When he was appointed head of the Ukrainian Party committee, in 1938, he pledged to "spare no efforts in seizing and annihilating all agents of fascism, Trotskyites, Bukharinites, and all those despicable bourgeois nationalists." His suppression of the Ukrainian nationalist movement in the mid-forties was ruthless. Taubman notes that three-quarters of a million men, aged nineteen to fifty, were conscripted, given eight days' training, and thrown straight into battle against the Germans. All this is a reminder that the huge Soviet mortality rate in the war cannot be presented simply as heroic sacrifice.
posted by dhartung at 12:49 AM on April 1, 2003


Did you read it past the headline

I did--it was a weak link, a puff piece made by a Pakistani news site. Hardly authoritative or informative. You cite it as proof for what you wish to be true.

We're not allowed to use Google, now? To set up a straw man argument? Well, duh...

I know the Arab street doesn't like the war. That's not at issue.

Two words: al Queda. It's not an issue we've just created a hundred al Quedas? Remember we were attacked by al Queda, not Iraq. We've stuck our head in the hornets nest. Way in. All the wishful thinking in the world will not wish this fact away.

As for your other wishful assertion, here's Why we’re unlikely to see democracy in Afghanistan any time soon.
posted by y2karl at 1:04 AM on April 1, 2003


« Older hammurabi   |   Why I Quit 'The Sun' Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments