Euphoria in Baghdad
April 9, 2003 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Euphoria in Baghdad • In scenes reminiscent of the Cold War's final days, citizens are filling the streets, throwing flowers, tearing down monuments of Saddam Hussein and any reminders of his long, brutal regime. As this is a moment of reckoning for many people, a lot of questions lie ahead: Was it a risk worth taking, despite the casualties? Could any amount of liberation and jubilation compensate for those casualties? Will this be a celebrated historical moment, or the staging ground for new aggressions? However one feels about the war, it sure is good to see all the smiling Iraqi faces.
posted by dhoyt (310 comments total)

 
(I'd anticipated discussions of the liberation over at Warfilter. For some reason, though, it seemed to be a topic largely ignored.)
posted by dhoyt at 11:40 AM on April 9, 2003


dhoyt, maybe because it isn't over yet?
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:42 AM on April 9, 2003


As this is a moment of reckoning for many people, a lot of questions lie ahead: Was it a risk worth taking, despite the casualties? Could any amount of liberation and jubilation compensate for those casualties?

For Americans, yes... or we wouldn't have been there in the first place. For Iraqis, you'll have to ask them. None of us are even close to qualified to know the answer.
posted by Witty at 11:46 AM on April 9, 2003


Try Little Green Footballs - though most of those folks are merely preaching to the choir and would be pulverized if they stepped out of their little hothouse conservative environment.
posted by kgasmart at 11:47 AM on April 9, 2003


(I realize it isn't completely over. I just thought the Iraqis' newfound freedom to roam the streets and celebrate was worth discussing from a historical standpoint)
posted by dhoyt at 11:48 AM on April 9, 2003


...it sure is good to see all the smiling Iraqi faces.

Oh... and yes, you're right. :o)
posted by Witty at 11:51 AM on April 9, 2003


It's funny how the war quickly turned from "this is going to take a long, long time to win" to partying in the streets in just a week.

Is the end really in sight (I hope so, for the sake of our economy and troops)?
posted by mathowie at 11:53 AM on April 9, 2003


...it sure is good to see all the smiling Iraqi faces.

It is. Those flower pictures were really striking -- and heartwarming, too. There is some promise here.

Was it a risk worth taking, despite the casualties? Could any amount of liberation and jubilation compensate for those casualties?

This isn't something anyone is going to be able to say with any degree of certainty for a decade or two, let alone weeks. Will it lead to a higher quality of life for the Iraqi people? Is the U.S. more serious about reconstruction than they were about Afghanistan? Will there be a power vacuum? Will crime step in and fill it? Will there be strong reactionary movements, terror engagements? We don't know.
posted by weston at 11:56 AM on April 9, 2003


I doubt if the last shot has been fired... but it seems as though any decent-sized organized resistance is over. That sure would be nice.
posted by Witty at 11:57 AM on April 9, 2003


They're partying like they'd won the Final Four. In the states, I believe that we'd call it "rioting."
posted by waldo at 12:03 PM on April 9, 2003


i was happy to see a few gorgeous young women in the streets, dancing with uncovered manes of beautiful black hair, wide glowing smiles, laughing eyes and tight t-shirts...! what a huge departure from what we've been seeing... masses of dusty men and the occasional older woman mummified from head to toe. i wonder tho' if they'll get in trouble later for having been so free in public... i hope not...!
posted by t r a c y at 12:05 PM on April 9, 2003


This is the strategy, folks. No one (that I know of) ever doubted that the Iraqis would be glad to see Saddam go. Whether significant numbers of them continue to be glad Americans are there is up in the air. But the legitimate question before we went in was, is this the only way to do this? The answer was simply to go ahead and do it. Now that it's a fait accompli (OK, quasi-accompli) the perception will harden into "fact" that since this is the way it was done, this was how it had to be done.

Sorry, but I still don't buy it.
posted by soyjoy at 12:05 PM on April 9, 2003


when i saw the statue of saddam being pulled down i geniunely was reminded of the fall of the berlin wall. think about it, most of us live in free countries, we can't imagine how bad things have been for the general population of iraq. i have supported the war purely out of compassion for those people. i am happy that they are free, at long last. i think the quality of their lives and the lives of future generations of iraqis will be better for this. face it, they can't be worse. we should be hopeful anyway.
posted by mokey at 12:06 PM on April 9, 2003


Like Chou-en Lai said of the French Revolution, too soon to tell. (Compare and contrast.) It was always argued that the true test begins with 'the day after'. Perhaps it's time to airlift the British troops up from Basra?

Also, while it's heartwarming to see the scenes of celebration, let's not allow them (and the politicians celebrating them in turn) to divert our attention from the fact that none of the supposed 'weapons of mass destruction' sites that were loudly uncovered have turned up any substances of substance. Which, as David Blunkett noted, will make the debate afterwards 'interesting', especially in Britain, where 'regime change' was explicitly not the policy, and removing WMDs definitely was.
posted by riviera at 12:08 PM on April 9, 2003


Tempted to link to a picture of a small Iraqi boy who recently lost both his arms but instead....

Interesting that a few hundred joyful Iraqis carry such symbolic weight when millions of anti-war protesters, scorned at the time, have already been airbrushed.

Interesting too that such a vicious regime, one which carried such a massive military threat to the west (cast your minds back to the original premise for pre-emptive action), appears to have crumbled more than 100 times faster than Hitler's did.

Interesting moreover that the Stealths and B52s managed to avoid the focus of today's propaganda coup.

Most tellingly of all perhaps, the Saddam statue fell not at the hands of the Iraqis in the street but only with the intervention of a US tank .
posted by skellum at 12:08 PM on April 9, 2003


Not to be negative, but I really expected to see tons of weeping, smiling faces from the description of the links. Instead I see a few (U.S.-organized) actions, a sign that says "Good-bye Sadam" and a lot of rioting.
posted by argybarg at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2003


. I just thought the Iraqis' newfound freedom to roam the streets and celebrate

like the freedom they had a week or so ago to roam the streets, pulverize the riverbank with automatic weapons fire and jubilantly burn the brush looking for downed pilots?

my point is, i don't think anybody understands what the images coming out of iraq really mean, even though my local propoganda rag is proclaiming jubilant victory and the undying love of iraqis for americans. i doubt the iraqi mobs could agree what it means. some great looting going on though.
posted by quonsar at 12:11 PM on April 9, 2003


Try Little Green Footballs

barf. don't poison a perfectly good thread.
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:13 PM on April 9, 2003


oh, and to answer the last question: staging ground for new aggressions. duhbyuhs got hisself the whole middle east to conquer yet...
posted by quonsar at 12:15 PM on April 9, 2003


The best I hope for now is enough openness for Iraqis to feel free to speak out and be heard. Let them tell the world their side of the story without Baathist minders, the invisible threat of Saddam, or the US Military there - those are the stories the world should really be hearing, through western media and Al Jazeera, and independently, through their own publications and online outlets. That's the best hope I have for some truth and clarity here. I only hope that years of conditioning under a tyrant won't keep people silent, or make them cling to the party line of whomever is in power.

But in the real world, those stories will be a long time coming, there's some fighting left, and a lot of political, emotional, and physical healing to do... not to mention the hangover of mourning - the loss of stability, the loss of certainty, the loss of loved ones, the loss of security. All of these need a lot of time to be processed or rebuilt, and a decent environment to build them in. I just hope for the best, as trite as that may sound.
posted by kokogiak at 12:15 PM on April 9, 2003


Most of the celebrants are from the poor side of town (Saddam city), and stand to gain from any upset in the social order; also most of them are young men--there's a lot of rioting going on, and a great deal of looting, and a lot of pent up rage venting. In the meantime, the hospitals are overwhelmed, and bodies are piling up. There'll be some kind of hangover from all this, and you can bet that most people are still hiding out wherever they might feel slightly safe...
posted by jokeefe at 12:15 PM on April 9, 2003


Baghdad is 5M people. Sure that # dwindled prior to the war and during. To me it looks like there would be more people out in the streets. We have seen pictures prior to the war and the places were filled with people. I say this because some are out to loot, some just out to celebrate, but together the #'s look low. Then again a picture can be deceiving, they could just be out of camera shot. Or were these all soldiers in civilian clothing we have been seeing.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2003


They're partying like they'd won the Final Four. In the states, I believe that we'd call it "rioting."

Don't give Al Davis any ideas for relocation.
posted by machaus at 12:17 PM on April 9, 2003


Yeeee hawwww, now let's get on with the gratuitous profiteering!
posted by zekinskia at 12:17 PM on April 9, 2003


the Iraqis' newfound freedom to roam the streets and celebrate

Oh, and I won't believe in freedom to roam the streets until you see women out doing their shopping with kids in tow. Then the streets will be free and safe for roaming; what they are now is safe for rampaging.
posted by jokeefe at 12:17 PM on April 9, 2003


First of all, you know, size of celebrations--it's like deciding, `Well, I'm going to rate success based upon a focus group.'
posted by eddydamascene at 12:19 PM on April 9, 2003


....it sure is good to see all the smiling Iraqi faces.

Fascinating spin, seeing as how world news sites are also filled today (as they have been for days) with pictures of wounded and dead Iraqi civilians, dead American and Iraqi soldiers, and families grieving over the same.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2003


The best I hope for now is enough openness for Iraqis to feel free to speak out and be heard.

Ah, yes. And on a more practical level, we can talk to those scientists now can't we? The ones who know all about the WMDs? I wonder if we will. After all, once the circus starts who needs the sideshow?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:22 PM on April 9, 2003


I'd anticipated discussions of the liberation over at Warfilter.

Some of us tried to kick them off.
posted by moonbiter at 12:24 PM on April 9, 2003


until you see women out doing their shopping with kids in tow.

The American way, joking, but that's what I was looking for in the pictures. Street full of people doing various things not just celebrating or looting, like it was mentioned above; that looks like a riot.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:25 PM on April 9, 2003


The best I hope for now is enough openness for Iraqis to feel free to speak out and be heard

This is pretty much what Rummy said about 2 hours ago at a Pentagon briefing. Chequebook journalism will never have had it so good. What price Iraqi talkshow hosts as the next big thing on US primetime?
posted by skellum at 12:25 PM on April 9, 2003


For all those apparently not the least bit happy that Saddam's regime has been terminated, this one's for you.
posted by quercus at 12:27 PM on April 9, 2003


i was happy to see a few gorgeous young women in the streets, dancing with uncovered manes of beautiful black hair, wide glowing smiles, laughing eyes and tight t-shirts...! what a huge departure from what we've been seeing...
Tracy are you sure? From Baghdad? I've been seeing different pictures on TV obviously. Until recently most urban Sunni Iraqi women were veil-less, and the regime until recently encouraged (to put it mildly) dropping the scarf. This is macabre but you probably are referring to Iraqi women in mourning maybe?

And while I too, was convinced that the Iraqis were indeed celebrating en masse, the Greek Public TV's correspondent in Baghdad Petros Haritos just a while ago sent a report saying that 1000 people maybe were celebrating, but there were thousands looting and the vast majority just stayed at home scared stiff not opening even a window. This seems to be corroborated by the fact that it was Saddam City (a living hell) that was celebrating and not Sunni Baghdad. BBC's correspondent indicates something similar at the end of this report:

Our correspondent says people would not be behaving in this way unless they were sure Saddam Hussein's grip on the city had been broken.
But he added that, although the Shias who had been repressed by Saddam Hussein's regime were welcoming the marines as agents of change, the US is not popular in Iraq.


An aside many might find of interest: Greek Public television's other correspondent in Baghdad is Peter Arnet - this is not a joke they hired him 24 hours after NBC dropped him!
posted by talos at 12:33 PM on April 9, 2003


Absolutely Pink, - lets hear from the scientists, the dissidents, the Kurds, the apparently now-terrified minority of Sunni Muslims, the Fedayeen, the Basra Shiites, the man on the street in Tikrit, and the woman on the farm in Kerbala. I really hope the idea of an open society can take hold, at least to a degree where residents are comfortable with it.

There is an excellent article in the latest National Geographic magazine (sample here) about the 'openness by decree' in the Wahabi Muslim state of Qatar, and all of the issues it brings up. (The young women are more conservative than the older generation, the ability for women to vote does not equal open-mindedness about women in government, etc).

(on Preview) Quercus - you hit it on the nose there... I really hope these stories come out without the taint of Western propaganda, or personal agendas if at all possible. I don't know how easy that will ever be though.
posted by kokogiak at 12:34 PM on April 9, 2003


What they're saying in Baghdad: "I, for one, welcome our new American overlords."
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:36 PM on April 9, 2003


i was happy to see a few gorgeous young women in the streets, dancing with uncovered manes of beautiful black hair, wide glowing smiles, laughing eyes and tight t-shirts...!

You write this as if you assume that women in Iraq wear burkas.

They generally do not.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2003


1941: The Ukrainians detested the Communist regime which had closed down their churches, persecuted Ukrainian intellectuals and wiped out the upper class. They greeted the Germans with religious fervor, hoping to improve their national status. (picture)

I wouldn't get too excited by these celebrations. Not yet, at least. Gratitude can turn sour quickly, especially if Iraq fails to stabilize and prosper the way that many people are probably expecting it to. And the first ones to take the blame will be the very people who liberated them in the first place.
posted by Ljubljana at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2003


quercus: So what is it now... a competition to see who can find more evidence of unhappy Iraqis verses happy ones? It would be the only way that WE could keep arguing about this war on MetaFilter, right? It doesn't take away from the fact that there ARE indeed some Iraqis that feel some amount of joy right now. What's the point of down playing that fact with continuously pointing out that there is still opposition. We know that... there always will be. But some smiling faces is certainly something we haven't seen in weeks, months, years. That should be a good thing, regardless of which side of this issue you come from.
posted by Witty at 12:41 PM on April 9, 2003


I should think the number of Iraqis fighting against the Americans is an indication that there are "unhappy Iraqis." Seems to me that the invasion is not a widely-welcomed event.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:42 PM on April 9, 2003


Will the NRA protest when all the Iraqi's weapons are taken away from them?

I understand most adult males own automatic rifles there, is that correct?

Will democracy take root in Iraq? If it does does that mean an Islamic government? Will the Sunnis and Kurds and Shiites live peaceably together? Will this really help curb terrorism and WMD?

I fear the easy part (getting rid of Saddam and his government, HOORAY) is over and the messy part is about to begin.
posted by nofundy at 12:48 PM on April 9, 2003


Ljubljana: Godwin.

Yay.

Another war thread I don't have to read.

;)
posted by linux at 12:49 PM on April 9, 2003


i was happy to see a few gorgeous young women in the streets, dancing with uncovered manes of beautiful black hair, wide glowing smiles, laughing eyes and tight t-shirts...!

Tracy: From what I know, unlike Saudia or Afghanistan, women have not really been persecuted in Iraq. They have a women's soccer team. Saddam / The Baath party was an equal opportunity terrorizer. In fact, Iran too was comfortable with their women until the Mullahs took over.

From what I have seen so far, I think there is a good deal of ambivalence among the Iraqis about the Americans. But I am glad that Saddam is gone and I am happy for the Iraqi people. But I can not help having a sinking feeling in my stomach this is going to be disastrous in the long run.

I also can not help thinking that If this administration made a genuine, matured effort to involve more countries, the marines would not have needed to finish it in such a tearing hurry, so many innocent people would not have died or been maimed, so much property would not have been destroyed. As it is, kids in Iraq will be picking the cluster bombs off their cities for years to come. And many soldiers will have to live with this horror for the rest of their lives. It could have been better.

I also think there indeed is a very strong lobby allied with the administration which truly wants to see democracy in the middle east. But considering the track record of incompetence and take-the-greasy-way-out foreign policy, of this administration, I don't feel incredibly hopeful that great things will come out of this engagement.

I am sorry to sound so pessimistic. Nonetheless, I am very glad that the war is 'over'.
posted by justlooking at 12:50 PM on April 9, 2003


Iraq's UN ambassador: "The game is over." Meanwhile, Arab-Americans in Dearborn celebrate the defeat of Saddam.
posted by gyc at 12:51 PM on April 9, 2003


For those who opposed the war: isn't it possible to accept the fact that the Iraqis are happy, mostly, to be free of Daddam anmd that whether or not you were against the war there may well be a chance now for Iraq? It is tough to admit you were wrong, I know, but you might well argue that thus far no proven WMD, a reason we went in, and that we may confront further animosity in the region etc. etc.
But all that said or assumed, still, the many pictures speak for themselves much as the jubilation at the end of the Berlin Wall signified so much for so many.
It is possible to be wrong. Both the Left and the Right are not always correct. It is also possible to say: I misjudged things.
posted by Postroad at 12:51 PM on April 9, 2003


While I am glad Saddam Hussein is deposed, we went about it the wrong way, with the wrong consequences. Bush's overt eagerness, like a 12-year old that can't wait for Christmas, was almost perverse.
As for celebrations, I'm sure Iraq is just as excited as, say, Afghanistan is about all of the aid and support they'll receive from us. Think of all the lucrative reconstruction contracts and job positions going to Iraqi companies! No, wait...that doesn't sound right.
And, remember, this is just the start. The United States on Wednesday warned countries it has accused of pursuing weapons of mass destruction, including Iran, Syria and North Korea, to "draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq". Keep in mind that we haven't exactly found much in the way of WMDs in Iraq, and we say this while we tell North Korea that we're interested in a diplomatic solution.
Yep, some diplomacy - "as long as you do everything we tell you, you'll be OK. Otherwise, we'll destroy your government and bomb the bejeezus out of you. After all, just look at what we did to Iraq."

A final caution - remember that we opened this Pandora's Box, and we may not be able to close it for a decade or more. Then, remember how we financially and morally pillaged the next decade for the funds and wherewithal to just open the Box. Hope you enjoyed this blockbuster presentation, because the supposedly one-time ticket price is now the subscription cost, and I for one am not looking forward to the money, rights, and lives that will be spent for "Bush's decade."
posted by FormlessOne at 1:01 PM on April 9, 2003


I knew this post was a given, and I thought of doing it myself this morning but I decided against it because I knew somebody cover it.

It's good to see people celebrating in Iraq. But give it 6-12 months. We'll see. Remember this: Israeli troops were greeted by flowers when they went into Lebannon in 1980, for Yassar Arafat was their little tin-pot dictator. But within 12 months that same population was carrying out suicide bombings against the Israeli troops.

The Americans can probably mitigate this threat, I think, if they actually put some real money into rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure and economy now in ruins, and into building a real democracy.

Let us hope.
posted by troutfishing at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2003


But some smiling faces is certainly something we haven't seen in weeks, months, years. That should be a good thing, regardless of which side of this issue you come from.

Absolutely, as is the story circulated yesterday about the Iraqi children freed from prison. These are wonderful stories.

But dhoyt did ask "Could any amount of liberation and jubilation compensate for those casualties?", and that is a fair question. How do you do the moral calculus? How do you measure this cheering crowd against a truckload of dismembered women and children? I don't know.

As others have said, if the Iraqis decide it was worth it, then it probably was, and I will be happy to have been wrong. But only time will reveal the true repercussions.
posted by homunculus at 1:04 PM on April 9, 2003


...i am happy that they are free, at long last.

Yes, and according to CNN, about 1200 Iraqi's are "free" forever... gone... dead.

(In addition, 5000 wounded)
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:07 PM on April 9, 2003


Don't miss riviera's second link: American Bomb Kills 11 Afghan Civilians
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on April 9, 2003


Postroad - exactly what are we supposed to admit to being wrong about? Just curious.
posted by soyjoy at 1:08 PM on April 9, 2003


I am reminded of the Old Man in Catch-22 who Cheers for the Germans when they invade, and then again for the Americans when they roll through.
posted by thirteen at 1:08 PM on April 9, 2003


actually witty, i was and am abivalent about the war-but today-pro or con-is a day to be happy because Saddam is gone. I never celebrated one day of the war, because its..well, war. And I don't begrudge anyone who opposed the war, but anybody who can't pause for one second today and be thankful Saddam is gone is really too far gone themself.
posted by quercus at 1:10 PM on April 9, 2003


For all those apparently not the least bit happy that Saddam's regime has been terminated.

Bullshit. Name one person here unhappy to see Saddam go. Those fretting over the hard parts to come, and feeling ambivalent about how this (welcome) change came to pass, still have very valid concerns, in my opinion.

It is possible to be wrong.

Jesus I'm thrilled to be wrong (on the potential months-long urban warfare quagmire of taking the city, soyjoy - at least so far). I also pray I'm wrong about the colossal fuck-up I think Iraqi reconstruction is going to be. I'm not hopeful though.
posted by jalexei at 1:13 PM on April 9, 2003


quercus: Agreed.

Yes, and according to CNN, about 1200 Iraqi's are "free" forever... gone... dead.

And don't forget the 100,000s before them, that had nothing to do with the U.S. at all.
posted by Witty at 1:14 PM on April 9, 2003


Where's Salaam?
posted by mnology at 1:15 PM on April 9, 2003


quercus: I also think I misunderstood your original post... sorry.
posted by Witty at 1:15 PM on April 9, 2003


And don't forget the 100,000s before them, that had nothing to do with the U.S. at all.

Oh, I see. Saddam killed alot. We only killed a little. We're better. So there.
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:17 PM on April 9, 2003


Postroad: I see 200 happy Iraqis out of a bombed city of 5 million. When the crowds of jubilated Iraqis outnumber the piles of dead Iraqis and the crowds stroll through the streets of a rebuilt Baghdad paid for by an Iraqi-managed government using Iraqi-controlled oil funding, then I'll be impressed. Until then, I just see the two-faced conversations of the Bush administration:

- "Yeah, we'll rebuild Afghanistan - we just won't publically budget anything for it."
- "Yeah, we believe in democracy in Afghanistan - by handing 'walking around money' to Afghan warlords bent on supressing human and women's rights."
- "Yeah, we'll use diplomacy with North Korea - we'll quote Iraq as an example."
- "Yeah, we want to free Iraq - and divvy up Iraq's natural resources (read: oil) among American corporations to 'manage' while the Iraqis get back on their feet."
- "Yeah, we're doing this because of UN Resolution 1441 - and to ensure it's carried out, we'll exclude the UN from any real role in the oversight of Iraq's reconstruction, prevent the international courts from trying Iraqi war criminals ('cause you can't just shoot'em that way...), and seize as many Iraqi assets as possible while begging the World Bank to pay for your unsanctioned war costs."
- "Yeah, we'll minimize civilian casualties in Iraq - by setting up kill boxes over non-military areas and by using cluster bombs and DU in urban settings."
- "Yeah, we're all for fair reporting - as long as we pick the reporter and surround him with armed guards and censor his output, while accidentally shooting, accidentally bombing, intentionally arresting, or somehow 'losing' independent reporters."
- "Yeah, the Patriot Act is just to help fight terrorism - but now we want to add Patriot Act II and make the Patriot Act permanent."

Actions speak a lot louder than words. Did I misjudge? I don't think I went far enough, to be honest.
posted by FormlessOne at 1:17 PM on April 9, 2003


so, why isn't the price of gasoline dropping like a rock?
[ducks, runs]
posted by quonsar at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2003


D'oh! Here. Sidenote, looks like even blogspot isn't free from typosquatting.
posted by mnology at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2003


I have not been wrong to date. I thought a few Americans would die, a lot of Iraqis would die, and that this would cost my country a lot of money. I was unsure about the "weapons of mass destruction", but they really did not matter to me. I am unsure where Iraqi happiness falls into the government's mission statement.

Speaking of the WMD, If they do not find or plant some soon, that means the gamble did not pay off and the preemptive strike becomes a war of aggression does it not?
posted by thirteen at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2003


And I don't begrudge anyone who opposed the war, but anybody who can't pause for one second today and be thankful Saddam is gone is really too far gone themself.

Well put, quercus. Some folks really seem to wallow in cynicism no matter what the outcome of the war will be. It would not be unfashionable to take a second to be celebratory on behalf of the Iraqis, for right now, for today, for the moments captured in those pictures.
posted by dhoyt at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2003


And for those of you wondering why the "human and women's rights" phraseology, it's because I hate glossing over women's rights by just quoting "human rights."
posted by FormlessOne at 1:19 PM on April 9, 2003


all the smiling Iraqi faces? huh? i'll admit that it's great to see all those little kids let out of jail, but i didn't see a whole lot of smiles outside of the children's photo.

i'm all for freedom and peace. i just thought there would be better pictures by now. i'd like to see them (but i'm not going to hunt them down), so somebody please post more.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:20 PM on April 9, 2003


and what Formlessone said.
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:21 PM on April 9, 2003


I covered my ass with "apparently" jalexei. I notice many people here, DU etc. saying the obligatory "Good to see Saddam go but..." which is just a repeat of the old "September 11 was an atrocity but... in both cases follwed by blame America rants. I'm not a friggin cheerleader for us imperialism, but IMHO some viewpoints do need to be radically reengineered.
posted by quercus at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2003


jalexei: Agreed. I'm happy to see Saddam go - the man was, by any account, a horrible, ruthless leader of an oppressed people. Was firing over a half a billion dollars' worth of Tomahawks the way to do it, though? I'm happy to see him go, and I'm appalled by our gross ineptitude in both backing this guy and removing this guy. I'm horrified at the potentially irreversible harm that's been done in our own country in order to get this guy out, not to mention the disturbing contemplation of how much harm is to come over the next ten years as we pay for this mess.
posted by FormlessOne at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2003


Where's Salaam?

Aren't US college students on spring break right now?

(Yeah, I'm still in the "Salaam's a fake" crowd. Personal assurances from people I don't know about people I don't know don't mean squat to me.)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:30 PM on April 9, 2003


And don't forget the 100,000s before them, that had nothing to do with the U.S. at all.

I hate to be clinical, but in a cost-benefit analysis those lives are a sunk cost. In deciding whether to go forward, they are relevant only as either a) reason for retribution, or b) evidence that future lives will be lost. Now that we are already in, of course, the cost-benefit analysis of entering the war is largely moot. Now I fervently hope that the reconstruction will not be a colossal disaster.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:31 PM on April 9, 2003


to come over the next ten years as we pay for this mess.

...and whatever new messes we get into now that we are the "duke of playground."
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:32 PM on April 9, 2003


as to being wrong: what thirteen said.

though I must once again stress that if WMD are found, that still doesn't make this right.
posted by soyjoy at 1:32 PM on April 9, 2003


Was firing over a half a billion dollars' worth of Tomahawks the way to do it, though?

Why do you keep asking us that? Our answer to that question is yes. Instead of just repeating yourself, you should offer alternatives. But that never seems to happen. You sound just like the people in this video. Surrounding images may now be suitable for work.
posted by Witty at 1:43 PM on April 9, 2003


Oh, I see. Saddam killed alot. We only killed a little. We're better. So there.

yeah. the fewer people who die the better. or do you take the opposite view?
posted by mokey at 1:44 PM on April 9, 2003


It's nice to see Saddam gone, but at the same time, all the Shi'ite mullahs that are saying "don't interfere with the Americans" are also saying that there will be blood shed if the Americans don't get out of Iraq very soon afterwards.

So, yes, the majorities of Iraq see this as a victory for them, in that it allows them a chance to democratically bring about Islamic law. They'll be more united in religion and in policy with Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Arab nationalism will have a fertile place to grow.

This, of course, is not what Bush would like. However, if he wants to look like a dictator by trying to force things on the Iraqis that they do not want, (i.e. Chalabi, US multinationals, etc.) then he'll get a lot of people killed in the process.

Sooner or later, Iraq will rule itself and the Americans will be gone, period... and you can't help but think that leaving as soon as possible would be for the best, because any attempts at colonialism will only incite more anti-Americanism.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:46 PM on April 9, 2003


First of all, you know, size of celebrations--it's like deciding, `Well, I'm going to rate success based upon a focus group.'

Most brilliant. Line. Ever.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:47 PM on April 9, 2003


yeah. the fewer people who die the better. or do you take the opposite view?

"Some must perish that many may live" should not have been our decision for Iraq, or any other nation beyond our own. This was not our fight. And I oppose interfering, particularly when things aren't "just peachy" at home.
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:49 PM on April 9, 2003


The case of Basra may be instructive of what to expect in Baghdad: Iraqis in Basra weigh freedom's cost
posted by homunculus at 1:50 PM on April 9, 2003


And don't forget the 100,000s before them, that had nothing to do with the U.S. at all.
A lot of those had a lot to do with the US, the UK, France and every other gun broker that armed and nurtured this monster. Saddam would never have had waged war against Iraq without US / western backing which gives us collectively in the west, what 50% of the casualties, so around 500,000 dead on our collective hands? The logistics of mass murder is seldom uncomplicated.
posted by talos at 1:51 PM on April 9, 2003


What I saw was Iraqi men almost fighting over the single sledgehammer they had to pound away at the base of the Saddam statue. And the glee of those who drug the statue's head through the streets-with folks astride it. I have heard Iraqi men with thick accents saying "Thank you Mr Bush" over and over...

Yes, we enter the most dangerous phase right now. But like many on this thread have said, we need to stop and celebrate the deposing of a wicked tyrant. We can argue about who is right and who is wrong about the method of disposing of him later.
posted by konolia at 1:54 PM on April 9, 2003


And this liberation... it vibrates?
posted by shadow45 at 1:56 PM on April 9, 2003


I covered my ass with "apparently" jalexei. I notice many people here, DU etc. saying the obligatory "Good to see Saddam go but..."

You said "For all those apparently not the least bit happy that Saddam's regime has been terminated,..." which is really quite different than "Good to see Saddam go but..." even if followed with a "blame America rant."

I'm still waiting to see one person here unhappy that Saddam is out....
posted by jalexei at 1:57 PM on April 9, 2003


Saddam would never have had waged war against Iraq...

talos: I'm assuming you meant Iran. I'm not talking about casualties of war. I'm talking about Iraqi people... dead at the hands of Saddam.
posted by Witty at 2:01 PM on April 9, 2003


So much for the "nice to see some smiles" discussion.

The flowers and kisses are moving.

Even with a perfect ending w/ prosperity and freedom for the Iraqis, people here would still bitch about the process and even the outcome. .
posted by tomplus2 at 2:02 PM on April 9, 2003


Agreed, Konolia.

But just something to keep in mind as perhaps a sign of things to come: while some people were indeed saying "thank you, Mr. Bush", the chant that reverberated through the streets was la illahah illallah, wa muhammadur rasul allah (there is one god and his prophet is muhammed). Also, as soon as Saddam went down, an Iraqi flag went up on the base of the pedastal.

The message I saw was Thank you so much for getting rid of this murderous bastard, but don't forget that we are Muslims and Iraqis, and this is our country.

Yes, it's too early to draw any conclusions, but I have to say that while I opposed the war in theory, there is a lot of good that can come out of this, as postroad noted above. If you truly care about Iraqi people, you will switch from opposing Bush and Rumsfeld to holding them accountable for their claims of a peaceful, free, democratic, and prosperous Iraq.
posted by cell divide at 2:03 PM on April 9, 2003


a chance to democratically bring about Islamic law. They'll be more united in religion and in policy with Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Arab nationalism will have a fertile place to grow.

Ji, you should note that Iran's Wilayat-e Faqih, Saudi's Wahhabist Islam, and Arab nationalism are generally thought of as incompatible ideologies.

...force things on the Iraqis that they do not want, (i.e. Chalabi

Chalabi will be lucky to get an advisory post at the ministry of finance.

But why let facts spoil.. never mind.
posted by ednopantz at 2:09 PM on April 9, 2003


Witty, that video was brilliant.
posted by pjgulliver at 2:11 PM on April 9, 2003


yeah. the fewer people who die the better. or do you take the opposite view?

Stop making the faulty "would you have killed Hitler" argument. We know only of the past and the present, and whatever the future holds in no way lessens the immorality of how we started this war: Instigating war with a constantly-changing rationale and a near-complete dearth of evidence. One dead civilian, let alone a thousand, will never be justified with "see, we told you so."

Meanwhile, let's not start throwing parades yet.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:13 PM on April 9, 2003


Even with a perfect ending w/ prosperity and freedom for the Iraqis, people here would still bitch about the process and even the outcome.

If a pefect ending includes 1200 dead and 5000 wounded Iraqis at our hands, and, oh yeah, 130 dead Americans, well then, uh, ok, I'd like to take back everything I said.

Not.
posted by LouReedsSon at 2:15 PM on April 9, 2003


Yes witty Iran... fast editing, sorry.
Starting an unjustified war isn't a crime? He killed a lot of people in total, some with our (and I mean "our" as in US and Europe) help. A large part of atrocities against Iranians and Iraqis (Arab and -mainly- Kurdish) were commited at the time of the war. A large part of these "hundreds of thousands" were killed during that period... while the west applauded.

And let me ask: if these were Russian or Iranian troops "liberating" Baghdad, don't you think the same number (or even more) of people would be cheering? Would you support such an Iranian / Russian invasion? Would you call it liberation or occupation?
posted by talos at 2:22 PM on April 9, 2003


>And don't forget the 100,000s before them, that had nothing to do with the U.S. at all.

Err, the US helped arm its ex-ally not to mention coddle him everytime he decided to do something stupid, with the exception of Kuwait.

Good news, unfortunately no massive WMD stores found and no Al-Qaeda links. This war sounds more and more like fiction everyday. We even have posters going on about how women are free from their burkas. Sorry, wrong country, wrong war.
posted by skallas at 2:29 PM on April 9, 2003


I will celebrate when the killing stops.

1200 civilians plus how many 10s of thousands of troops - do you really think that they were all fervent supporters of Saddam?
posted by daveg at 2:32 PM on April 9, 2003


jalexei if you don't see it all over this thread you're denser than osmium.
posted by quercus at 2:33 PM on April 9, 2003


Written by John Bush:

Specious Anti-war Argument #552
The War is illegtimate because America once supported Saddam.

The full history of Iraqi-American dealings is outside the spectrum of a blog entry. So for the sake of argument let's give the appeasers this point. Heck, let's go one better and posit that we somehow CREATED Saddam. He's our Frankenstein.

What we have managed to do is merely strengthen the case for war.

If he's our monster, then we bear partial responsibility for the 1.5 million deaths in the Iran-Iraq war, the 100,000 Kurds from the failed uprising, the countless civilian deaths in his gulags... This responsibility requires restitution. It would be absolutely incumbent upon us to remove this monster from the necks of his people. Liberating them would be a down payment on the debt we owed. Reconstruction would go still further.
posted by aaronshaf at 2:33 PM on April 9, 2003


Even with a perfect ending w/ prosperity and freedom for the Iraqis, people here would still bitch about the process and even the outcome.

Prove it. Come on, oh purveyor of common knowledge, oh wisdom drenched seer, the one who knows the minds of others. Do one thing. Prove your statement.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:34 PM on April 9, 2003


aaronshaf, the speciousness of that specious pro-war argument has already been pointed out here dozens of times. To make it really, really easy to understand: If I come up to you and break your leg, does that mean I'm the most qualified or logical person to set it?
posted by soyjoy at 2:42 PM on April 9, 2003


Well we'll see Talos-the Iraqi peole are now free to fly Iranian or Russian flags if they so choose.
posted by quercus at 2:43 PM on April 9, 2003


Wulfgar!, hang tight, in time. But if you must, get a taste of it here, today...
posted by tomplus2 at 2:44 PM on April 9, 2003


If I come up to you and break your leg, does that mean I'm the most qualified or logical person to set it?

Yes, especially if you repeatedly punch me in the crotch while putting the cast on.
posted by Ljubljana at 2:47 PM on April 9, 2003


If I come up to you and break your leg, does that mean I'm the most qualified or logical person to set it?

Well, I can't set it by myself. I know that much.
posted by Witty at 2:49 PM on April 9, 2003


While attempts were being made to pull the statue down CNBC Europe presenters were speculating on who it was a statue of, one of the suggestions was Teddy Roosevelt.
posted by richard m at 2:50 PM on April 9, 2003


It seems that the ICRC and MSF don't seem to think that things are so rosy!

It's a strange victory when an average 100 casualties per hour are still arriving at hospitals.
posted by daveg at 2:50 PM on April 9, 2003


Even with a perfect ending w/ prosperity and freedom for the Iraqis, people here would still bitch ...

I was thinking just that thought a few hours ago.
posted by shoos at 2:51 PM on April 9, 2003


Soyjoy a better analogy would be if my dog was viciously attacking you-you follow the logic...
posted by quercus at 2:52 PM on April 9, 2003


tomplus2, all I got a taste of from the statement I quoted was someone trying to marginalize those who aren't wetting themselves at our stunning victory. A little reality check: The Iraqi people don't yet have freedom and prosperity, the war isn't over, and its been far from perfect. Insulting the users of a community website because they point out these niggling little facts, isn't a very nice, or honest, thing to do.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:52 PM on April 9, 2003


i was happy to see a few gorgeous young women in the streets, dancing with uncovered manes of beautiful black hair, wide glowing smiles, laughing eyes and tight t-shirts...!

I read comments like these and wonder if anyone remembers that there are other ways for people to live their lives aside from (evidently now unquestioned) western institutions of consumerism, materialism, etc. I don't understand how the displacement of an ancient culture--no matter how unphotogentic and "dusty"--can be seen as purely good. McShellbucks is bulldozing a gorgeous, mystical and ancient civilization. Of course the corporate media want us to think this imperialism is a great thing--that's why they're pitching it as a battle between oppression and liberty. But it's more complicated than that.

I'm all for democracy, but this not democracy, it's imperialism. it's is a crying shame, and it's far from over.
posted by squirrel at 2:53 PM on April 9, 2003


"Could any amount of liberation and jubilation compensate for those casualties?"

Yes, of course it can.

Liberty is an incredibly valuable thing. A free nation, a free people is something that is worth an enourmous amount of bloodshed if necessary.

Freedom is good. Democracy is good. Not living under a governemnt that will torture and murder you for speaking up is good.

Those good things will cost lives in the future, just like they have in the past. That sucks, and it is unfortunate... but it is worth it.

And it is certainly worth it to liberate an entire nation from a man who killied 100's of thousands at the cost of less than 2,000 civilian casualties.

This is the most sucessful, least bloody national liberation in history as far as I can tell. The national infrastructure in Iraq is mostly intact, their industry is preserved and we killed very, very few of their citizens.

You don't think the war was a good Idea? Fine. But it is amazing how many peopel simply are so prideful or set in their dissent that they won't admit the obvious...

A Iraq free from Saddam control is better off.
posted by soulhuntre at 2:54 PM on April 9, 2003


It's a strange victory when an average 100 casualties per hour are still arriving at hospitals.

As opposed to all those other totally sanitized, deathless wars that have been fought over the years to get rid of dictators.
posted by dhoyt at 2:57 PM on April 9, 2003


A Iraq free from Saddam control is better off.

Not if it's under US control; not if Iran and Turkey attempt to take their chunk, not if bloody civil war insues. I'm all for a story that has a happy ending. Assuming an ending doesn't make me happy, it makes me uncomfortable.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:01 PM on April 9, 2003


Postroad, my being against the war has nothing whatsoever to do about what is happening on the ground in Iraq. That Saddam would be deposed was never in doubt. That it would ultimately be a good thing for Iraq is certainly worth entertaining, and I came down on the side of it being so. But whether it was a good thing for the United States is a completely different question. One that you cannot apply such a facile response to. I was against the war before and I am against it now.
posted by filchyboy at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2003


Well, even if you were against the war before, that debate has ended. Take your greviences to the polls and vote with them. But now that has been done has been done, what now? What is the best action we do at the moment?

(I'm speaking as the United Statian here, though any others are welcome to speculate not only what the USA should do, but also their own nations.)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2003


Tracy are you sure?

yup, i'm sure. cbc newsworld has had quite a bit of footage that cnn and the bbc haven't, altho' an edited down bit was briefly shown on cnn this morning but then, as far as i can tell, was not repeated again.

Tracy: From what I know, unlike Saudia or Afghanistan, women have not really been persecuted in Iraq.

yup, i know. it was just a seriously nice change, from the last 3 weeks of dusty men and warring. altho' i can't say that i've really seen a lot of iraqi girls in skin tight tshirts, ever. at any rate, they were so pretty and alive, it made me feel hopeful for iraq. i suppose i should state that i have never been supportive of this war and my happiness at seeing these girls does not preclude my being saddened and angered by the loss of life and the terrible injuries.
posted by t r a c y at 3:05 PM on April 9, 2003


But it is amazing how many people simply are so prideful or set in their dissent that they won't admit the obvious...

A Iraq free from Saddam control is better off.


That was never the issue. Will it make you happy if I say it? Fine.

A Iraq free from Saddam's control is better off.

You act like people are crying for Saddam, and repeating it often will not make it true

Now that I have said it, know that I also say that
A Iraq free from Saddam's control does not justify the loss of any American lives, any of my freedoms, or any of my tax dollars.

None of the reasons used to justify this war have panned out, and your side has a lot of explaining to do if they do not come out soon. Pointing to happy faces is not going to cut it, and the end does not justify the means.
posted by thirteen at 3:07 PM on April 9, 2003


jalexei if you don't see it all over this thread you're denser than osmium.

If you equate criticism of the US (justified or not) with being pro-Saddam, you're a simpleton.
posted by jalexei at 3:12 PM on April 9, 2003


I read comments like these and wonder if anyone remembers that there are other ways for people to live their lives aside from (evidently now unquestioned) western institutions of consumerism, materialism, etc.

fer fuck's sake, it was just that they were beautiful in their happiness, and abandon...! so sue me that i was impressed with all the cleavage, that doesn't make me ethnocentric. pfft.
posted by t r a c y at 3:13 PM on April 9, 2003


The message I saw was Thank you so much for getting rid of this murderous bastard, but don't forget that we are Muslims and Iraqis, and this is our country.

And the problem with that is?
posted by konolia at 3:15 PM on April 9, 2003


Bah. Sure, Iraq is better off with Saddam, but why even bother to opine about this? First off, all we're seeing on the news is the iconic imagery. We don't know how the Iraqi population will react when a provisional government is put into place. And we still have sketchy tie-ins with both WMD and al-Qaeda. And then there's the troubling implication of going after Iran and Syria with the same "coalition." I'm sorry, but I can't let off the party poppers, nor can I overlook the liberation of the Iraqi people. This war doesn't make me any less concerned about terrorists or US-international relations.

Besides, Iraq was practically a slam dunk. 200,000 troops, equipped with state-of-the-art military equipment, versus a fragmented military that doesn't even have so much as a nuclear warhead. That's like the U.S. Dream Team slaughtering Finland in an Olympic basketball game. Why should we feel good about this? And why should we use this "victory" as an excuse to stroke our superiority complex?
posted by ed at 3:16 PM on April 9, 2003


Wulfgar!, your last post doesn't make any sense. You're saying that Iraq is better off if Iran and Turkey try and take their chunk WITH Saddam in charge. So you're one of those who would rather see Saddam still in power?

Future problems, conflicts, wars, this and that will occur... that's true. But not having Saddam's nose in the middle of it is still better. The way you piece things together you might as well say, "All of this crap was a waste of time if a giant meteor were to strike the earth tomorrow."

Yep, that's true too.

The message I saw was Thank you so much for getting rid of this murderous bastard, but don't forget that we are Muslims and Iraqis, and this is our country.

I think that's the best message for all involved.
posted by Witty at 3:17 PM on April 9, 2003


...our superiority complex?

Speak for yourself.
posted by Witty at 3:19 PM on April 9, 2003


dhoyt: I was not suggesting that 100 casualties per hour was out of the ordinary for a war. I was suggesting that if the casualty rate has not dropped, then maybe, just maybe victory hadn't been achieved yet.
posted by daveg at 3:24 PM on April 9, 2003


yup, i'm sure. cbc newsworld has had quite a bit of footage that cnn and the bbc haven't, altho' an edited down bit was briefly shown on cnn this morning but then, as far as i can tell, was not repeated again

Tracy, all due respect, but I've had CBC Newsworld on and off all day, and I have seen no film of women in the streets of Iraq--it's all been men, to the point that I started really watching for any female figures at all. Didn't see any.... Given the chaos in the city right now, I hope those girls will be okay; and I am also hoping that daybreak doesn't find bodies hanging from lampposts... As for how things will fallout over the next few weeks I still say Wait and See; and otherwise, for those of you who seem unable to handle complexity, don't tell me that I'm not happy to see Saddam gone. I want freedom and security for people in general too, you know, even if I don't think it's best achieved at the barrel of a gun, and even if I question the so called "moral authority" of the States' actions in Iraq.
posted by jokeefe at 3:24 PM on April 9, 2003


Konolia, your response is perhaps indicative of the problems this entire thread has. I didn't say there was any problem with that. I was just making an observation.

It seems that everyone ought to take a breath. Nothing has been decided, but one thing is sure-- Saddam's reign is over. Whether he or his comrades emerge in some other capacity remains to be seen, how the Americans will fare in Iraq remains to be seen. Let's not begrudge those in Iraq and elsewhere their moment to celebrate the fact that a gangster no longer has control of a nation. But also let's not jump to conclusions about what will happen next, and start calling each other names based on those conclusions.
posted by cell divide at 3:27 PM on April 9, 2003


Tracy, all due respect, but I've had CBC Newsworld on and off all day, and I have seen no film of women in the streets of Iraq--it's all been men

well, you can do one of 2 things. assume i'm lying, or assume you missed it when you weren't looking. i'm fine with either choice and i thank you for giving me the little nudge i needed to disconnect for the rest of the day.

you people are all crazhyhuhkookoonuts 8-)
posted by t r a c y at 3:34 PM on April 9, 2003


witty: US goes to UN asking for support, US then says to hell with UN we'll fight battle anyway, disregarding UN as inspections are underway. Tell me that isn't a superiority complex. Tell me that the word "unilateral," defined as "performed or undertaken by one side" or "emphasizing or recognizing only one side of a subject" isn't even remotely arrogant within the great complexities of international relations. It was a clear case of superiority (superior weapons, superior troops, superior military) that allowed us to get to Baghdad this fast.
posted by ed at 3:37 PM on April 9, 2003


Nothing like Cell Divide to state the obvious and focus on the glass being 6% empty...

Please, PLEASE, hold an anti-war rally this weekend in New York.


"Most tellingly of all perhaps, the Saddam statue fell not at the hands of the Iraqis in the street but only with the intervention of a US tank."

Except that we were someone complicit in putting the statue up in the first place via our gas tanks, so it's not totally inappropriate.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:37 PM on April 9, 2003


Baghdad is finally liberated! The streets are are filled with women in their best dresses, cheering kids, and looters! The future looks bright!
posted by dydecker at 3:38 PM on April 9, 2003


If I come up to you and break your leg, does that mean I'm the most qualified or logical person to set it?

That's a philosophical question, and the reality is my fucking leg hurts so if you know how to set it and you're willing to do it for me, I'd appreciate it if you'd stop asking silly questions and just fix it. Thanks.
posted by David Dark at 3:40 PM on April 9, 2003


I watched the scenes outside the hotel on the BBC today, but as I was working on my puter I also had up the Baghdad webcams from TV4all (slow day at work). At one point the webcam zoomed in on four men carrying a large banner that read "GO HOME US WANKERS". I checked all my news stations on TV and none of them showed this scene.

Now as my webcam view was mute I have no idea who these people were (the use of the word "wankers" may indicate they weren't Iraqi, I have no idea if they use that word or maybe they get Viz in Baghdad), but it troubles me that none of the stations showed this image. The fact that the webcam was zoomed in by someone on this scene may hopefully indicate it was being used for something other than just the web.

Did anyone else see this image or have any information about what was going on?
posted by ciderwoman at 3:42 PM on April 9, 2003


Paris, your reading comprehension seems to have sunk to new lows. I am celebrating the end of Saddam just as you are, all I was asking for was for people to not start yelling at each other based on false premises and predictions for the future. Which you seem to have picked up with aplomb.
posted by cell divide at 3:44 PM on April 9, 2003


"Could any amount of liberation and jubilation compensate for those casualties?"

Yes, of course it can.

Liberty is an incredibly valuable thing. A free nation, a free people is something that is worth an enourmous amount of bloodshed if necessary"

Actually, do you really have to go that abstract? Are not at least some portion of Iraqi non-civilians killed responsable for their fates? How many civilians and millitary would five, ten or 20 more years of Saddam and Sons regimes have killed, and so on.

Also, be suspect of anyone here, or anyone anywhere who claims that no WMDs have/will be found. Personally, if none are found, Saddam's past use of WMDs, plus his refusal to seriously cooperate with the UN recently is/was enough for the liberation.

Also, look in the coming weeks for a story I heard on the radio last night--WABC in NYC--that a significant number of the UN inspectors were actually in cahoots with Saddam.

Time now for a word from out sponsor:

FUCK FRANCE AND CHIRAC.

Now, back to our regular programming....
posted by ParisParamus at 3:45 PM on April 9, 2003


I don't understand how the fall of Baghdad equals proof of anti-war demonstrators being wrong, ignorant, unpatriotic or pro-Saddam. It's kind of weird that instead of being happy that a dictator has fallen, many seem happy that events "proved" that their political ideas were somehow correct. I am happy that Baghdad fell, even though I am against the idea of this war. Why? If we're going to fight this war we might as well "win," whatever that means. I'd like to see this conflict end as soon as possible.

And guess what? The fall of Baghdad proves nothing. The proof will be and can only be in the peace that will hopefully follow. Now the US has a chance to prove that Iraq had WMD, that Iraq was a growing threat. They now have a chance to prove that the US believes in an Iraqi democracy, even if that democracy chooses a path the US doesn't want. Now is a chance to prove that we didn't just fight a war to take control of oil and other resources to enrich the Bush cabal. Now is a chance to bring stability to the region by working in partnership with other governments.

It seems many are cheering about the US victory when the only real victory is a stable and peaceful middle-east. The cheering is premature and the middle east is a long way from being stabilized.

And, if the neo-cons continue their course we may have another invasion liberation to prosecute.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:46 PM on April 9, 2003


These Iraqis from before the bombs started dropping looked pretty freaking happy as well. I hope all of these people are still happy, and that they still have homes, parents, children, arms.
posted by willnot at 3:46 PM on April 9, 2003


A meditation on sex and death
posted by homunculus at 3:46 PM on April 9, 2003


Did anyone else see this image or have any information about what was going on?

Mentioned here
posted by dhoyt at 3:48 PM on April 9, 2003


And, if the neo-cons continue their course we may have another invasion liberation to prosecute.

Spain?
posted by homunculus at 3:49 PM on April 9, 2003


Germany was better off after Hitler was defeated. South Africa is better off now because apartheid has been thrown out; Eastern Europe is better off now that the Berlin Wall is gone. . . . What is the FUCKING matter with you people? Do you hate America and George Bush so much that you would rather have seen an Iraqi population continue to live under Sadaam's opression? Can't you see the fall of Sadaam for the obvious positive thing that it is?
posted by Durwood at 3:53 PM on April 9, 2003


This is the most important sentence I've read in an article today:

"We discovered that all what the (Iraqi) information minister was saying was all lies," said Ali Hassan, a government employee in Cairo, Egypt. "Now no one believes Al-Jazeera anymore."

That's one small step towards the end of the tyrany of Assad, and in the West Bank and Gaza.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:53 PM on April 9, 2003


Also, be suspect of anyone here, or anyone anywhere who claims that no WMDs have/will be found. Personally, if none are found, Saddam's past use of WMDs, plus his refusal to seriously cooperate with the UN recently is/was enough for the liberation.

That would me among others. That is really pretty justification. Of course, nobody in the government was saying that a month ago, but you have to make lemonade when all you have are lemons I suppose. Any other lies you would like me to swallow?

Also, look in the coming weeks for a story I heard on the radio last night--WABC in NYC--that a significant number of the UN inspectors were actually in cahoots with Saddam.

You should watch your posts a little more carefully, cause you are tripping yourself up on the UN stuff. Were the Iraqis in cahoots with the inspectors or defying them?
posted by thirteen at 3:55 PM on April 9, 2003


Ciderwoman: Iraq was administered by the British until 1963 and those protesters looked pretty old. They probably learned "wanker" in primary school.
posted by dydecker at 4:01 PM on April 9, 2003


dhoyt: I can't see any specific details about the scene I saw on the webcam in that article (it's late and I apologise if I missed it). My point is that in the middle of this square where hundreds of camera crews were not one station on my TV set showed this scene.

Not trying to prove that there weren't scenes of jubilation, just surprised no one showed this scene when it was happening right in front of them.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:02 PM on April 9, 2003


dhoyt: Interesting. That's what cinderwoman was asking about too. I'm glad you point it out.

I'm going to make a wild guess, right off the top of my ass:

The sign says"Go home/humanshields/You US wankers" Perhaps they are refering to the anti-war protesters who went to Baghdad to serve as human shields? I think they already left, but I don't remember.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:04 PM on April 9, 2003


Any other lies you would like me to swallow?

I just noticed you said "personally" bringing the statement that followed it an opinion that you want me to swallow and not a lie. I apologize
posted by thirteen at 4:11 PM on April 9, 2003


t r a c y--it's always the cleavage with you, isn't it?
posted by y2karl at 4:18 PM on April 9, 2003


Also, look in the coming weeks for a story I heard on the radio last night--WABC in NYC--that a significant number of the UN inspectors were actually in cahoots with Saddam.

I have full confidence that the Bush administration will do absolutely all they can to fling detritus at the UN now they've embarked on the road towards making it an irrelevance. Personally, I've a lot more confidence in the integrity of the UN and its inspectors than I have in that of the powers that be in the US.

What is the FUCKING matter with you people? Do you hate America and George Bush so much that you would rather have seen an Iraqi population continue to live under Sadaam's oppression? Can't you see the fall of salaam for the obvious positive thing that it is?

The fall of Saddam is of course a positive thing, but what now? The expectation that people will abandon all reservations about the future of Iraq (and subsequent "liberation" exercises) at the first glimpse of some feelgood pictures strikes me as far from obvious. Freedom from Saddam for the Iraqi people is great, now let's make sure we don't replace it with something that makes things little better. for them. The right (and arguably the necessity) to critique this war should not end with Saddam's fall from power.

Also, comparisons with the Berlin Wall don't work for me. Today's scenes, whilst undeniably emotional, were orchestrated by an invading army. The fall of the Berlin Wall was a spontaneous and unique celebration of freedom, driven by the people not an army, and on a scale that far surpasses today's events.
posted by zygoticmynci at 4:19 PM on April 9, 2003


I don't understand how the fall of Baghdad equals proof of anti-war demonstrators being wrong, ignorant, unpatriotic or pro-Saddam. Perhaps not patriotic, but what it proves, or at least VERY strongly suggests is the protester's underestimate of the power and decency of the United States and its military, and that somehow, American hegemony (assuming, arguendo that exists, is somehow worse or comparable to the regime which has just been destroyed. Or perhaps it suggests that much of the world is too racist to believe that Arabs are capable of democracy, and that the status quo is better than the unknown.

You know, it's one thing to be unsure where you stand; it's another to actively oppose some action. Which is why Germany and France were so contemptiable at the UN: they didn't merely abstain from voting yes; they actively were voting NO, as if the last 12 years, indeed the 1979-2003 regime of Saddam had not yet provided enough evidence that, all other things having been tried, it was time for war.


And guess what? The fall of Baghdad proves nothing....
No. It proves that the US was able in a few weeks to do what most ofthe world imagined woould take months, or longer., which again, I think points to the protester's disdain and doubt of American power, talent and decency.

What i'd really like to know is, in a an almost parallel universe, were this War to have been waged by the former President (almost parallel because President Clinton would never have had the balls/conviction to pull this off), with everything else the same, would the protests have been as large? Would there have been any? Would France have gone along? Why so much animosity for a President whose greatest sin has been, apparently, to decline participation in unrealistic environmental treaties, and declined participation in a sham World Criminal Court? Or is it the religion thing? I think many of the protesters need to look in the mirror. Or at the ceiling from an analyst's couch.

...They now have a chance to prove that the US believes in an Iraqi democracy, even if that democracy chooses a path the US doesn't want. Implicit in this statement is your dellusion that in recent times, the US has, somehow done otherwise, which is a lie. It's not 1964, or 1974, or even 1994. Stop living in the past.

Now is a chance to prove that we didn't just fight a war to take control of oil and other resources to enrich the Bush cabal. Only in your mind. I'm sure you'll eventually conclude that Iraqi culture has been ruined by the presence in Bagdhad of Burger King, or some other odious American institution, and that the Iraqis have been brainwashed to "think" they like such things.

Now is a chance to bring stability to the region by working in partnership with other governments.
Assuming they're genuinely interested. One thing which is magnificent about the Bush adminstration is they have the balls to ignore or not appease horrible people such as Arafat, Assad, KDG, etc.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:19 PM on April 9, 2003


Also, comparisons with the Berlin Wall don't work for me. Today's scenes, whilst undeniably emotional, were orchestrated by an invading army.

But nothing to do with American Military spending, of course....
posted by ParisParamus at 4:30 PM on April 9, 2003


One thing which is magnificent about the Bush administration is they have the balls to ignore or not appease horrible people such as Arafat, Assad, KDG, etc.

Too true! - and I'm glad to see the administration taking such a strong stance on the Saudis. You know, the (majority of the) 9/11 hijackers, the folks who throw around far more money on nervously trying to appease the fundamentalist, terrorist-funding contingents of their own population than Saddam. Oh, sorry, nevermind.

(Talk about a parallel universe!)
posted by jalexei at 4:32 PM on April 9, 2003


Wow.

I can't believe how easily some of you are convinced by this melodramatic propoganda. As far as I can tell this is no where near over.

The bulk of the iraqi army is still in existence, probably hiding among the civilian population, as the relatively low number of iraqi military wounded and captured should illustrate to anybody who isn't content to be hoodwinked by special forces orchestrated "reality TV scenes". So they send a few tanks to an undefended part of Baghdad and the CIA pays a couple of hundred Iraqi malcontents to jump up and down, ritualistically drape a US flag over and then pull down a statue. The only thing missing was for the solidiers to start handing out Coca Cola or something. Dear God, somebody said that this reminded them of the Berlin wall coming down??! Maybe it was more like when the US Hockey team beat the evil SOVIET hockey team in 1980, USA USA USA!

LOL

As much as you may want it to be, this is not a made for TV movie, this is life and death and believe me there is going to be a whole lot more dying before this is over. Its obvious that the chickenhawk neocons are declaring "preemptive" victory as a way to convince "moron america" to stop sucking their thumbs and to start charging on their credit cards again.

If things are going so well why did the US have a tank attack the foreign journalists in the Palestine hotel yesterday? Two reporters were killed, one Uzbek and one Spanish, in a totally premeditated and deliberate attempt to intimidate the remaining journalists out of Baghdad. Not to mention the bombing of the Al Jazeera and Abu Dahbi offices (All war crimes by the way). In Spain, hundreds of professional journalists protested today in front of the US embassy and snubbed Spanish President Aznar at a press conference as a way to show their disbelief and anger at this latest attack on freedom and democracy. Why did they order the strike? Doesn´t the US want the journalists to report the roses being tossed to the "liberators"? Or perhaps they don't want real journalists exposing these "liberation scenes" for the propoganda that it is?

The Bush administration has been caught in so many lies before and during this war, why are some of you so eager to believe whatever they flash on your TV screen? Concentrate, use your heads, something is not quite right about these pictures, THINK. Never forget that those are your soldiers dying out there too.

.
posted by sic at 4:41 PM on April 9, 2003


sic: are you Noam Chomsky?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:45 PM on April 9, 2003


It's not 1964, or 1974, or even 1994. Stop living in the past.

We sure supported democracy in Venezuela, didn't we. Not to mention our support of democracy a bit closer to home.

I'm sure you'll eventually conclude that Iraqi culture has been ruined by the presence in Baghdad of Burger King, or some other odious American institution, and that the Iraqis have been brainwashed to "think" they like such things.

Well, that's your words in my mouth and not what I'm arguing. I worry that US interests will take control of Iraqi resources. I could care less if Iraq gets a Gap or a Starbucks.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:45 PM on April 9, 2003


hahahaha! Good for the Iraq people. Bring on the hippies and peace protesters!
posted by Macboy at 4:47 PM on April 9, 2003


You know, the (majority of the) 9/11 hijackers, the folks who throw around far more money on nervously trying to appease the fundamentalist...

You have somewhat of a point, but just remember. The list of despicable regimes just got one entry shorter, so everyone moves up a notch. I think the Saudis are more scared than you might imagine.


posted by ParisParamus at 4:48 PM on April 9, 2003


I worry that US interests will take control of Iraqi resources.

Please offer me a list of countries where, in recent years, the US, or US companies have done this in some kind of nefarious way.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:50 PM on April 9, 2003


Venezuela, Afghanistan, India, Argentina, Honduras, Panama, Columbia, Indonesia, Philippines......
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:56 PM on April 9, 2003


We each see things NOT as They are but rather as WE Are.
posted by Postroad at 4:57 PM on April 9, 2003


5 seconds of googling
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:59 PM on April 9, 2003


Postorad: For those who opposed the war: isn't it possible to accept the fact that the Iraqis are happy, mostly, to be free of Daddam anmd that whether or not you were against the war there may well be a chance now for Iraq?

At least for me opposition to the war has never included an ounce of love for Saddam Hussein. To some degree this is barking up a straw man.

As for the future, we will see. The current administration has not shown much regard for the rights of American Citizens, much less foreign nationals living in America revealing a fundamental lack of understanding of why we created a constitution with a Bill of Rights in the first place. (The rights enumerated were among those considered "inalienable", rather than a temporary grant that could be revoked if inconvenient.) In addition, key members of the current administration shed no tears when "liberation" was a code word for training and funding terrorists to massacre entire communities, making dissidents "dissappear" and engineering military coups to depose or murder elected officials. I would feel much better about the liberation effort if the "war on terror" included an investigation of the crimes assisted by Reich, Abrams, Poindexter and Kissenger.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:00 PM on April 9, 2003


A typical chickenhawk response: smirking derision aimed at avoiding the question at hand while maneuvering to turn the debate into a personal attack.

Let the pathetic smear tactics begin.

Of course, you could also consider that in none of the images shown on the news or in the photos of this thread do we see more than several dozen Iraqis "celebrating" in a city numbering in the millions. Or, where does an Iraqi living in a city that has been pummeled by the "shock and awe" of hundreds of cruise missiles and 10 ten bombs, that has suffered under weeks of thick black oil burning smoke find a perfect bouquet of purple carnations, instantly, when the "liberators" come marching in? Perhaps he ran to the corner flower shop when he heard the rumbling of the tanks?

I suppose that nobody here recognizes the importance of propoganda in a war?
posted by sic at 5:04 PM on April 9, 2003


So they send a few tanks to an undefended part of Baghdad and the CIA pays a couple of hundred Iraqi malcontents to jump up and down, ritualistically drape a US flag over and then pull down a statue.

Can I get a source for that, Captain Hyperbole?
posted by dhoyt at 5:10 PM on April 9, 2003


"To some degree this is barking up a straw man."

There are no degrees of strawman (or is it breeds of straw man?) The whole point of those nauseated with the anti-war camp is that their position evinces a cynical perspective on thew motivations of the US; the evils of living in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and the menace such a regime posed to the region and world. With the Soviets, this was called moral relativism, and moral equivalency. You're free in a free country to take such a position, but you're also free in a free country to be myopic, cynical and blind.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:17 PM on April 9, 2003


What is the FUCKING matter with you people? Do you hate America and George Bush so much that you would rather have seen an Iraqi population continue to live under Sadaam's oppression?

Have Fox News et al. really beaten this canard into people's heads to the degree that reason has become impossible? Or is it just the ad hominem du jour for people who want to drag down the level of debate and avoid defending their positions? If there's a quote anywhere on MetaFilter expressing joy at the thought of Hussein remaining in power I hope someone will link to it; otherwise we need to keep a dunce cap handy for anyone who trots out the "why do you love Saddam" bullshit.

[[And guess what? The fall of Baghdad proves nothing....]] No. It proves that the US was able in a few weeks to do what most ofthe world imagined would take months, or longer., which again, I think points to the protester's disdain and doubt of American power, talent and decency.

You sound like a drunk driver who managed to make it home safely, shouting "See? What were you people so paranoid about? I made it home just fine!". Most drunk drivers do make it home safely -- that doesn't mean that driving drunk is a wise choice. Though I suppose it's easier to take risks with the lives of others rather than your own.

Some folks really seem to wallow in cynicism no matter what the outcome of the war will be.

The whole point of those nauseated with the anti-war camp is that their position evinces a cynical perspective on thew motivations of the US;

You guys are making the absurd assumption (along with lots of others, it seems) that a military victory means this invasion was the right thing to do, and that any surviving complaints about it are motivated by a simple desire to complain about things. Sorry if critical thinking is spoiling your victory party, but poisoning the well and saying "you guys just like to complain" is a non-answer to criticisms about the war.

And I think I'll barf if I hear the word "democracy" used one more time in reference to Iraq. I'll eat my hat if anything resembling a democracy is permitted in Iraq. As if they're going to hand control over to the Shia majority, who are theocratically aligned with Iran, who are likely to want to maintain control over Iraq's oil resources, and who are much more likely than the Sunni minority to support radical Islamic terrorism. That'll be the day.

You can easily fool Americans into thinking we've established democracies in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, because most people don't care to learn about what's going on once the cool bombs stop exploding, but you won't fool residents of the Middle East, who will see us more plainly for what we are (namely, a country who cares about human rights only when they serve our political or economic interests -- unless we started bombing our good friends in Turkey while I wasn't looking).
posted by boredomjockey at 5:24 PM on April 9, 2003


It's great to see the Nebuchadnezzar Division of Metafilter so well represented in this thread...what the hell happened to the Hammurabi Division? If you are lying in wait for a sneak attack, fine, but otherwise show some pride and love for your Metafilter; put on your pony-skin uniforms and your pancake berets and jump in!
posted by Mack Twain at 5:26 PM on April 9, 2003


If I were an average Iraqi citizen, I'd be a touch too scared to go out into the streets - is the fighting over yet after all?

The fall of the Berlin Wall was a singular image - people look at that and feel a closure on that way of life. For the Iraqis, they face an uncertain future - is Saddam really gone? Where is he? Where are all those people in his party? Why did the fighting suddenly die down and they all disappear?

I told myself I wouldn't answer to hawkbait, but hey..

ParisParamus -

I don't think anybody realistically thought that billions of dollars of US ordanance/a quarter of a million coalition troops would have that much trouble with Iraqi forces sporting somewhat crusty munitions and bad organisation.

Saudi's aren't all that scared.. If there were democratic elections right now there, the resultant government would be so rabidly anti-US it wouldn't be funny (yeah, I know lots a Saudis).

The plans for the interim government have already been drawn up by the US. The resultant government will have no choice but to be pro-US - anything other than that would be a risk to US interests and therefore (and quite logically) not allowed by the General in charge. Why would it be anti-US? Because people have short memories sometimes and the most immediate deaths would be those of husbands/sons by the US (remember, the Iraqi army is not a volunteer force and they get people when they're young). That and nobody likes foreign troops on their land for too long..

Hmm, why am I bothering? I won't make you change your mind. Please stop calling people with dissenting views names and instead try the line that they're intelligent (possibly, well they can type anyway) people who are openminded to good argument. I for one would give you more respect then. For what its worth.
posted by Mossy at 5:32 PM on April 9, 2003


monju_bosatsu:

> I hate to be clinical, but in a cost-benefit analysis those lives
> are a sunk cost.

A similar cost-benefit analysis found no benefit in saving a few hundred thousand poor brown people in Rwanda, so nobody did. Piss on cost-benefit analysis. It's for locating new landfills, not deciding whether to rescue human beings.
posted by jfuller at 5:35 PM on April 9, 2003


I hate you hippies so much
posted by Joeforking at 5:44 PM on April 9, 2003


Of course they're happy. Their brutal dictator is "gone". Does that mean they're glad we're there? Doubtful. When I watch that scene of the statue coming down on T.V. I couldn't help but think that the entire thing looked pretty staged...with the Flowers and the cheering etc. There were probably only a few hundred people there as well. What about the rest of the 5 million people in Baghdad?

Oh and another thing...if someone took out our President, you'd find a few million people in the streets cheering as well. Think about it.
posted by GrooveJedi at 5:45 PM on April 9, 2003


>sic: are you Noam Chomsky?

No paris, but you are a troll. Not only are you posting almost every other comment in this thread with a high noise to signal ratio, but you're not above name-calling. Why not address sic's post? Think before you click that post button or take a breather, you're only convicing yourself at this point and your zeal makes whatever rare good points you make easy to ignore.
posted by skallas at 5:50 PM on April 9, 2003


Does anyone else here remember the staged footage of kids celebrating after 9/11?

I am certainly glad that Saddam is dethroned. However, it really does not change my opposition to war in general. Furthemore I find it interesting that the only time neocons are concerned about human rights is when they have a villian to fight. I don't see an ovewhelming concern about the Saudi's who are comfortably in their back pocket. Pakistan is tolerated as long as its problems remain local. While the White House spent quite a bit of time publicly gnashing its teeth on behaf of Kurds in Iraq there was not a peep when Turkey outlawed a Kurdish political party last month. And of course, the problems of unexploded munitions and depleted uranium remediation will not be treated as human rights issues as long as they are near and dear to military hearts.

But here we have another bit of newspeak in that those of us who believe that human rights should be extended to everyone, not just where it is convenient for American economic and military interests are guilty of "moral relativity." If I have any moral failing it is in that I'm not morally flexible enough to believe that if it is wrong to kill my neighbor, it is permissable to kill an anonymous person in Iraq, or that it is permissable to kill a convict in prison.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:53 PM on April 9, 2003


"you're also free in a free country to be myopic, cynical and blind"

..that's why we tolerate what you have to say, PP, even if we know you're blind , cynical, and myopic.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:54 PM on April 9, 2003


Libs beside themselves. I like the ones stating that there are only select images of celebrations. These are the same folks who thow up one shot of a bandaged civilian and blast the effort.
posted by HTuttle at 7:07 PM on April 9, 2003


No paris, but you are a troll. Why not address sic's post?

Now, I could be way off-case about this, Skallas, but isn't sic's initial contribution to this thread the very definition of a spectacularly transparent troll? Why is Paris a troll to you, and not sic?

To wit:
Its obvious that the chickenhawk neocons are declaring "preemptive" victory as a way to convince "moron america" to stop sucking their thumbs and to start charging on their credit cards again.

What's there for Paris, or us, to address? Sic's posts in this thread sound like overheated Fox News-style conjecturing, but in the Bizarro World, as delivered by a neophyte poly-sci major.
posted by dhoyt at 7:12 PM on April 9, 2003


Also: Metafilter IRC....NOW!
posted by ParisParamus at 7:22 PM on April 9, 2003


Oh and another thing...if someone took out our President, you'd find a few million people in the streets cheering as well. Think about it.

Should I call the Secret Service?

Actually that is an extremely stupid statement. I hated Bill Clinton with the heat of a thousand suns, but I would have been out there sobbing with every other decent American had he been assassinated while in office.
posted by konolia at 7:37 PM on April 9, 2003


Mohammed al-Shahhal, a 49-year-old teacher in Tripoli, Lebanon, said the scenes reminded him of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"Those who applauded the collapse of Lenin's statue for some Pepsi and hamburgers felt the hunger later on and regretted what they did,"

al-Shahhal said.
posted by specialk420 at 7:43 PM on April 9, 2003


the iraqis only need to look over the border to kuwait to see how serious the americans are about democracy in the middle east.
posted by specialk420 at 7:46 PM on April 9, 2003


I couldn't help but think that the entire thing looked pretty staged

Somehow, I suspect you think most things which turn out successfully which you didn't agree with were staged.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:48 PM on April 9, 2003


This just in: today's dog bites man story from Haaretz:
05:36 Mohammed Al-Douri, Iraqi Ambassador to the UN, leaves New York and is headed for France
posted by ParisParamus at 7:58 PM on April 9, 2003


aaronshaf, the speciousness of that specious pro-war argument has already been pointed out here dozens of times. To make it really, really easy to understand: If I come up to you and break your leg, does that mean I'm the most qualified or logical person to set it?

soyjoy, the rebuttal I pasted is specifically against:

The War is illegtimate because America once supported Saddam.

This pro-mass-murderer-dictactor-torturer/anti-liberation (hey, everyone needs to vent) argument is not a rejoinder to any such pro-war argument as "because we broke the leg, we must be the one to fix it."

I am arguing that the proposition "we broke the leg" doesn't negate our morality in fixing it, and that if we did break the leg, we are in debt to Iraq, and must reasonably do what we can to pay up.
posted by aaronshaf at 8:02 PM on April 9, 2003


If I come up to you and break your leg, does that mean I'm the most qualified or logical person to set it?

If the breaking is done to correct a previously improperly set break, and "I" am a surgeon, the answer is yes.

What are you arguing? That the UN should now take over?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:07 PM on April 9, 2003


That the UN should now take over?

They never should've been cut out.
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:09 PM on April 9, 2003


Somehow, I suspect you think most things which turn out successfully which you didn't agree with were staged.

Somehow, I suspect that you regarded the 'liberation' of Kabul as a 'success'. And that was a rather well-staged event, especially the coercing of shit-scared women to take off their burkas for the cameras.

Also, I suspect that you regard the situation in Israel right now as a wonderful success. And that Ariel Sharon is wiping his flaccid penis, having successfully removed it from your quivering rectum.
posted by riviera at 8:18 PM on April 9, 2003


If the breaking is done to correct a previously improperly set break, and "I" am a surgeon, the answer is yes.

If 'you' didn't set the break properly in the first place, they 'you' should be sued for malpractice rather than re-employed to have another shot at it. Gosh, any decent lawyer would be licking the dirt from the floor for such a case.
posted by riviera at 8:21 PM on April 9, 2003


Tempted to link to a picture of a small Iraqi boy who recently lost both his arms but instead....

Oh, please don't. I was for this war, but I had no idea people would actually get hurt! You can't be serious. Please blow my false vision to pieces!

God, why do ignorant people believe that if you're prowar you must not realize what actually goes on? That by showing a tragic picture we may change our views, or even feel guilty.

The war, as wars go, was not near the blood bath the antiwar crowd thought it would be. But don't admit you were wrong, that would be too logical.

...the pictures don't tell the whole story...this was the easy part...here's a picture of a boy with no legs...blah blah blah.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 8:23 PM on April 9, 2003


Tom Friedman's writing often irritates me, but his latest NYT piece - on the grim situation in Um Qasr - is dead on, I think:

"Umm Qasr was the first town liberated by coalition forces. But 20 days into the war, it is without running water, security or adequate food supplies. I went in with a Kuwaiti relief team, who, taking pity on the Iraqis, tossed out extra food from a bus window as we left. The Umm Qasr townsfolk scrambled after that food like pigeons jostling for bread crumbs in a park.

This was a scene of humiliation, not liberation. We must do better......

We are so caught up with our own story of "America's liberation of Iraq," and the Arab TV networks are so caught up with their own story of "America's occupation of Iraq," that everyone seems to have lost sight of the real lives of Iraqis.

"We are lost," said Zakiya Jassim, a hospital maintenance worker. "The situation is getting worse. I don't care about Saddam. He is far away. I want my country to be normal."

America broke Iraq; now America owns Iraq, and it owns the primary responsibility for normalizing it. If the water doesn't flow, if the food doesn't arrive, if the rains don't come and if the sun doesn't shine, it's now America's fault. We'd better get used to it, we'd better make things right, we'd better do it soon, and we'd better get all the help we can get.
"   
posted by troutfishing at 8:39 PM on April 9, 2003


Good one riviera-you are just the king of anal rape humor. It's great mefi is typed, and not spoken, so you don't have to take Saddam's dick out of your mouth to communicate.
posted by quercus at 8:49 PM on April 9, 2003


Also, I suspect that you regard the situation in Israel right now as a wonderful success. And that Ariel Sharon is wiping his flaccid penis, having successfully removed it from your quivering rectum.

Riviera. Assuming you don't already, why don't you move to one of the lovely paradises with which you contrast Israel. Wherever you are, I suspect you owe your freedom to America much more than you can bring yourself to admit. And while Palestinian Arabs suffer at the hands of Saddam-like leadership, and exploitative leaders throughout the Arab world, you cling to the pathetic dellusion that Israel has somehow caused Palestinian Arabs to suffer.

What a pathetic excuse for a Palestinian Arab advocate you are. You are the Palestinian Arabs' worst enemy.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:51 PM on April 9, 2003


Troutfishing: What TF says isn't fair, but it is true. President Bush has now bit off a lot, and the US had better be able to "chew it." Although, as I wrote above, I'm not sure how we can ever make the Arab Street happy: we are their scapegoat.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:55 PM on April 9, 2003


Arab News has a good article. It's not just Saddam who fell.
posted by tomplus2 at 8:56 PM on April 9, 2003


Wow! There's is a shit load of people here on MeFi that are very upset that Saddam's grip over the throats of the Iraqi people has been removed.
posted by ZupanGOD at 9:07 PM on April 9, 2003


Soon enough the "Baghdad Boner" will become flaccid and the post-coital push that keeps the pro-war types from dominating this thread will go away and we'll be stuck with the unanswered questions about an arguably illegal war, why so many people suddenly believe the-ends-justify-the-means, the questions of WMD, the questions of al-quada and Saddam, and last but not least of all - how is the US to help Iraq when Afghanistan is still a mess. Hopefully, the unpopulatiry of this war will make the US behave.

Meanwhile, lets not act too stunned that the most powerful military force known to man can defeat a fourth-rate military.

So if we're supposed to feel great right now, should I be preparing myself to be feeling like shit when journalists have full access to the Iraqi hospitals tomorrow?

>Saddam's grip over the throats of the Iraqi people has been removed.

I'm sure newly made orphans too young to understand what the hell is going on are wildly waving little flags with the arm they haven't loss to US bombs. Whoops, I mean GO BUSH!
posted by skallas at 9:11 PM on April 9, 2003


Yes, ZupanGOD, the fall of Saddam is the Bush-haters' worst possible nightmare. and they can't deal with it at all.
posted by BubbaDude at 9:13 PM on April 9, 2003


I hated Bill Clinton with the heat of a thousand suns

One of the best lines so far!

One of those suns must have shined on Iraq yesterday. It certainly is nice to see people cheering and laughing in the streets.

Thanks, soldiers.
posted by hama7 at 9:29 PM on April 9, 2003


What a pathetic excuse for a Palestinian Arab advocate you are. You are the Palestinian Arabs' worst enemy.

Did he just say what I think he said? Was that ParisParamus telling someone else that they're the worst enemy of those they support?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe his comment may have been the most ironic one e'er to be posted on MeFi.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:33 PM on April 9, 2003


Thanks soldiers, thanks Iraqi people, thanks Congress, thanks Tony Blair, and thanks to George W. Bush for ignoring the peaceniks blinded by hate and doing the right thing.

The Iraqi people are free for the first time in 30 years, thanks to an illegitimately-elected conservatice Christian oil man, and loony left is having convulsions.

I love it.
posted by BubbaDude at 9:36 PM on April 9, 2003


the pathetic dellusion that Israel has somehow caused Palestinian Arabs to suffer
--ParisParamus, avatar of morality, truth, justice, and spelling. Thank you for your words of wisdom over the past few years. Sure there are a lot of failed lawyers in America, but how many of them have time to spout nonsense on websites all day long?
posted by chaz at 9:54 PM on April 9, 2003


Wow! There's is a shit load of people here on MeFi that are very upset that Saddam's grip over the throats of the Iraqi people has been removed.

Please link to one comment that supports your statement.
posted by thirteen at 9:55 PM on April 9, 2003


Yes, ZupanGOD, the fall of Saddam is the Bush-haters' worst possible nightmare. and they can't deal with it at all.

Bubba, it's sad that you're even pretending that anyone here actually believes that OR the comment by ZupanGOD you were addressing, any more than the idea that I honestly need to provide the standard response to that standard piece of rhetoric. Let's just assume we continued your troll-feeding, hmmm? If you want to gloat, at least do it creatively. We had some brilliant anal jokes going on before......

And FreedomParamus, you hit a two-fer on this one: first of all, you're the last person to tell someone they're a damage to their supported cause in the Middle East crisis, and your pot-naming was coupled with a equal-to-BubbaDude-in-the-field-of-creativity display of insisting someone moves out of the country because they Hate America So Much. I'm teary-eyed with nostalgia.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:00 PM on April 9, 2003



posted by y2karl at 10:07 PM on April 9, 2003


The Iraqi people are free for the first time in 30 years, thanks to an illegitimately-elected conservatice Christian oil man

and all you sudden supporters of human rights, free speech, and democracy are popping champagne corks and patting yourselves on the back for a job well done ...

how easily you forget who supported saddam hussein while he tortured, murdered and invaded ... and brush aside the plight of repressed peoples who's deaths are being supported with your tax dollars.

as previously noted - please check with the average laborer in kuwait on how "democracy" has bloomed in their country in the last 10 years since their "liberation" ... something has taken root and its not democracy.

pat yourselves on the back in 8-10 years people.
posted by specialk420 at 10:35 PM on April 9, 2003



posted by y2karl at 10:42 PM on April 9, 2003


specialk420, good points. I don't like the "Haha! Look what we did while you guys were whining about foreign policy and international law" attitude. When its our foreign policy TODAY that will decide who we will have to kill TOMORROW.

>pat yourselves on the back in 8-10 years people.

Seconded.
posted by skallas at 10:54 PM on April 9, 2003


The war, as wars go, was not near the blood bath the antiwar crowd thought it would be. But don't admit you were wrong, that would be too logical.

I'm incredibly grateful that more people were not killed. I'm glad Saddam no longer has control of Baghdad.

I'm not glad that the USA went ahead without the UN. I'm not happy about those that did die. Americans, Britons, and Iraqi alike.

This isn't completely over, either. There is still fighting going on here and there throughout Iraq. And where are our POWs? (they may have been found by now, I've been without a news link for a few hours, while shopping.)

I, along with most who were against this war, wish things could have been done differently. Hell, even if we had just repealed the executive order disallowing assasinations of heads of states.

We still lost many of our military personnel. The Iraqis lost many of their civilians. I can't forget that. Call me soft-hearted, call me a loony liberal, whatever you wish. I feel bad for the families on all sides of those who were killed.

And nothing will stop that.

I fervently hope that we will do right by the Iraqi people and allow them to govern themselves, now. I also hope those families whose lives have been torn apart the strength to pull themselves back together.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:56 PM on April 9, 2003


There's is a shit load of people here on MeFi that are very upset that Saddam's grip over the throats of the Iraqi people has been removed.

Yes. As a person who does not believe that this war is justified, I love Saddam and all his little wizards.
posted by jess at 10:57 PM on April 9, 2003


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
posted by tomplus2 at 11:01 PM on April 9, 2003


Soon enough the "Baghdad Boner" will become flaccid...

...and some new tragedy in Iraq will tent the trousers of the various and sundry marginalized, bitter hippies of metafilter.
posted by shoos at 11:03 PM on April 9, 2003


whoops, sorry, thats from the Declaration of Independence
posted by tomplus2 at 11:05 PM on April 9, 2003



posted by y2karl at 11:06 PM on April 9, 2003


Would all those against the war please raise their hands?

Would all those defending the war please raise their hands?

Ok, that's everyone.

All those with raised hands, keep them in the air if you've lived under a brutal dictatorship for the past, say, 25 years.

Not a hand in the air. Amazing.
posted by bwg at 11:35 PM on April 9, 2003


Can't you just be happy for one second???
posted by homunculus at 11:44 PM on April 9, 2003


If French Fries became Freedom Fries does that mean the French represent Freedom?
posted by bargle at 11:49 PM on April 9, 2003


*singing* Oh say can you see, by the dawns early light......

Something about counting chickens before they hatch???

BWG....can my Mother count as a brutal dictator??
posted by Civa at 12:36 AM on April 10, 2003


Hahaha Civa... I dunno, was she that bad?
posted by bwg at 12:50 AM on April 10, 2003


"None of the reasons used to justify this war have panned out, and your side has a lot of explaining to do if they do not come out soon. Pointing to happy faces is not going to cut it, and the end does not justify the means."

In fact every single reason I supported this war have panned out. my reasons do not depend, for instance, the actual presence of wmds in iraq... the issue was never absolute surety that they existed; the issue was the fact that the risk was too big to take given the best information we had at the time. if there aren't any there then we still did the right thing - the possibility and threat had to be neutralized and the inspections were clearly useless in this regard.

"Why should we feel good about this? And why should we use this "victory" as an excuse to stroke our superiority complex?"

I'll tell you why I feel good about it - because I am damn happy that we have overwhelming military force when we need it. That superiority did some really good things like keeping the number of us and Iraqi casualties to a minimum and keeping a potentially regionally inflammatory conflict contained.

Our superiority allowed us to achieve our objective with an absolutely minimal loss of life both sides while preserving the vast majority of the national infrastructure of iraq.

Our superiority allowed us to keep the conflict from being a war in any meaningful way. if there had been a large engagement with a significant chance of stopping the us the risk of iran and others coming to the aid of iraq would have been much higher... as it is the fact that it was so clearly a lost cause prevented that.

Our superiority prevented the vaunted saddam forces from being much of a factor at all (so far). not had they lost so far - but they have lost so badly and with such a complete lack of resistance that the entire basis for pro saddam sentiment in the middle east is eroding. the man who exhorted others to die in his name, who promised them the victory of gods chosen over a corrupt force has failed to make any significant contribution. this goes a long way to making people stop and think in the middle east about the promises of such men.

"US goes to UN asking for support, US then says to hell with UN we'll fight battle anyway, disregarding UN as inspections are underway. Tell me that isn't a superiority complex. Tell me that the word "unilateral," defined as "performed or undertaken by one side" or "emphasizing or recognizing only one side of a subject" isn't even remotely arrogant within the great complexities of international relations."

Arrogance is not a bad thing all the time. The reality is simple, the UN was a completely ineffectual tool for this job - they were paralysed by politics that had little to do with the merits of invading Iraq. The US eventually had to take action to accomplish its goals.

I, for one, am glad that we have not so completely given over our national will to the UN and that at need we are still capable of acting in our own interests without needing to beg France and Russia for permission.

"The proof will be and can only be in the peace that will hopefully follow. Now the US has a chance to prove that Iraq had WMD, that Iraq was a growing threat. They now have a chance to prove that the US believes in an Iraqi democracy, even if that democracy chooses a path the US doesn't want. Now is a chance to prove that we didn't just fight a war to take control of oil and other resources to enrich the Bush cabal. Now is a chance to bring stability to the region by working in partnership with other governments."

I agree. The tone of the next phase of international relations will be set in the next year or less. The US has taken upon ourselves a heavy moral burden with this action - and we will need to go well out of our way to show that we are up to the task.

We need to rise to the level of what the US can be and should be - this is an opportunity to be the country we see ourselves as - we can chose to be liberators or conquerors right here and now.

I hope that we will rise to the challenge and continue to be liberators.

"I don't understand how the fall of Baghdad equals proof of anti-war demonstrators being wrong, ignorant, unpatriotic or pro-Saddam."

Because it DOES prove many of them wrong. I listen to a fair amount of NPR and the silliness they have been spouting in the anti-war movement has been proven completely false.

They told us this would be a long drawn out war - another Viet Nam with the whole population rising up to throws us out. No such thing happened.

They told us that this war would bring the entire Middle East into a conflagration that would bring us to the risk of world war. No such thing happened.

The told us this invasion would so fan the flames of Muslim hatred for the US that we would be engulfed by terrorist attacks as we were the subject of a multi-nations Jihad. No such thing yet.

Similarly, the promised hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead never really materialized either.

Basically - a lot of people in the anti-war movement painted the direst pictures they could - and they were wrong. Flat out, dead wrong.

"So they send a few tanks to an undefended part of Baghdad and the CIA pays a couple of hundred Iraqi malcontents to jump up and down, ritualistically drape a US flag over and then pull down a statue."

You must be joking. You know, they can still read your mind through common tin foil these days. Try 2 ply.

"I don't think anybody realistically thought that billions of dollars of US ordanance/a quarter of a million coalition troops would have that much trouble with Iraqi forces sporting somewhat crusty munitions and bad organisation."

Actually yes, many vocal people in the anti-war movement thought exactly that. They really predicted that the nation of Iraq would rise up - to a man, woman and child - to toss out the US satanic demons and defend their popular and benevolent leader.

"I like the ones stating that there are only select images of celebrations. These are the same folks who thow up one shot of a bandaged civilian and blast the effort."

Now you know, if it's anti US then its real, true and genuine. If it's PRO US then the media staged it as tools of the Illuminati. What I find REALLY amusing is how many people who will claim that the US media is not to be trusted or believed still quote it so often when they need supporting information :)

posted by soulhuntre at 1:02 AM on April 10, 2003


amazing scenes the celebrations were truly raucous, an outporing of joy that was truly unprecedented, I would hate to be the one to have to clean up halliburtons' boardroom.

"It's like setting someones village on fire and then reassuring the populous that you are doing a special offer on funerals."
posted by johnnyboy at 1:05 AM on April 10, 2003



posted by y2karl at 1:14 AM on April 10, 2003


Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia: Was it liberation or invasion?

It's wonderful news that Saddam's gone. Vietnam's liberation/invasion of Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge makes an interesting historical counterpoint.
posted by plep at 1:24 AM on April 10, 2003


I'm just saying there is allot of people here that are awfully cynical about the freedom of these Iraqi people.
posted by ZupanGOD at 1:27 AM on April 10, 2003


paris:
you are a troll and an idiot.

of the hundreds of people that i know who oppose this war, not one of them did so because they thought the US would not "win". you speak of underestimation of US military strength as if it is equivalent to racism or child porn. might i remind that much of the world sees the US as a hegemon (roughly the same 90% of the world that thought this war sounded like bullshit), which is hard to conflate with a lack of comprehension of the length and righteousness of our sword.

you also may want to check out the difference between "cynical" and "critical". it's pretty cool. so it turns out that one can question or probe a given phenomenon or institution without a pre-formed rejection of its principles. applying this notion to the buildup to the war in iraq led one to see certain interesting patterns and connections.

i want to be happy that saddam is gone, but it seemed cool at first when tito got booted. if saddam is replaced by a power void...

democracy involves elections, which are either won or lost. as we see in the west, having lots of resources is a great way to win an election. is it coincidence that communists won so many posts in post-soviet russia? thus, old power structures often rename, and organized crime or even -- gasp -- terrorist groups can more power through democract than before. am i racistly stating that arabs are incapable of democracy? no. indeed, i am simply pointing out something that i think explains the bloody, unpredictable, and disgusting history of ad hoc "nationbuilding".

NOVEL IDEA: let's let the iraqis decide if this war was a good idea or not (parisparamus is unlikely to be chosen to speak on tehir behalf). if instability in iraq turns into ethnic violence, even if it is, like, months from now, it will be directly linkable to this war. whether many in the major media care to report on this will be up in the air.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:39 AM on April 10, 2003



posted by y2karl at 1:42 AM on April 10, 2003


To the poster who said I was trolling to suggest that the images we are seeing about the "liberation" of Baghdad are largely propaganda and irreal, I say that you only read half my post (or selectively responded to it). Why is the US attacking and killing foreign journalists? Why are they trying to intimidate them out of Baghdad? Don't they want the "joyful victory parades" to be covered by the world wide press? Or, as I suggested earlier, is it because they don't want real journalists exposing the "liberation" as a lie?

Millions of Iraqis live in Baghdad, yet only several dozen are seen in any image "celebrating". Where are the rest? I asked where does an iraqi find a bouqet of perfect purple carnations, the instant the "liberators" appear, in a city that has been steadily bombed for three weeks and lived under a thick black oil fire cloud for about the same time. Local flower shop? Why do the images seem so staged?

Has anybody ever heard of US Special Ops? In the 1950's they overthrew a democratically elected government in Guatemala using only propoganda and psychological terror tactics. But I´m sure they no longer create propoganda. Not for the totally transparent and honest Bush administration.

I wasn't trolling, I was asking people to THINK. To REFLECT upon what is being shown to them in tightly controlled images via the TV screen and by whom. What are there motives? What do they have to gain? This is called criteria. If you use it, you may see the "liberation" of Baghdad very differently.

The battles and dying are not over. They are not even over in Afghanistan, where only Kabul was truly conquered. Since the "end" of that attack there has been a constant (relatively) low level of violence and US helicopters keep "having accidents". Now it appears that in some areas the Taliban are resurgent and the warlords are definitely back in power. There is NO real democracy in Afghanistan.

With the Iraqi army largely intact and mixed with the civilian population, not to mention various hotspots in the South and the Kurdish North where the Turkish army is ready to roll south in a moment's notice do you really believe that from now on everything will be rainbows and singing?

There will be more bodybags and lots of them.

But of course it won't be covered on the US news because they have already reported victory.
posted by sic at 2:02 AM on April 10, 2003



posted by y2karl at 2:03 AM on April 10, 2003


sic:
look, you raised valid points, and the war cheerleaders declined to respond. they got all ad hominem on you instead. now, you act suprised. you've been to metafilter before.

i personally don't have trouble believing that folks in iraq are absolutely thrilled right now. but that doesn't preculde me from critical thinking when it comes to the words of a government which is known to lie and media apparati that are known to pander to drama.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:12 AM on April 10, 2003


y2karl:

look, you raised valid pictures
posted by TheFarSeid at 2:20 AM on April 10, 2003


Hayao Miyazaki's touching and magical animated film, Kiki's Delivery Service, to be released on DVD in the US on April 15, w00t!

y2karl, can i play too?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 2:28 AM on April 10, 2003


this Kiki movie, is it any good?
posted by matteo at 2:45 AM on April 10, 2003


Yay! Hussein is history, good riddance to the bastard. Let the Coca-Colonisation begin!

I was passing a betting shop uptown this morning which had a nice feature in the window, offering odds on the next country to be selected for 'liberation' by the US. Odds were pretty short on Syria today, with Iran close behind, followed by France, with North Korea taking up the rear. There were a good number of other Middle Eastern countries in the field too. I think it was a spoof, but it was, indeed, a source of mirth to behold.

So, any takers?
posted by Doozer at 2:53 AM on April 10, 2003


I don't believe this thread, and I can't believe the straw men erected by the pro-war party...
This peacenick expected 3 good things to come out from the war:

- Saddam's fall
- The end of sanctions (which make it a given that the post-war economic situation will be better than the present one no matter if Mickey Mouse is put in charge... hopefully at least)
- A new Kurdish "federal republic" of some sort that will allow the world's largest nation without a country, some sort of homeland (with Socialists in power to boot!). This quasi-state would then become some sort of democratizing force in neighbouring Turkey. If you want to see how real celebrating in the streets looks like wait until Kirkuk falls to the Kurdish rebels.

The first is accomplished, the second is certain, the third is very iffy it still seems.

But these things could not, in my mind, offset the dangers and disasters visited upon the region:

- The murder of innocent people, the destruction of civilian infrastructure. Do you think the relatives of the murdered civilians in Basra or Baghdad are celebrating in the street?
- The reaction of the Arab world. Including a lot (most?) of Iraqis in being occupied by a foreign army.
- The impossibility of democracy in a country whose (otherwise arbitrary) borders were designed so that the country could only be run by despots and foreign assistance.
- The fact that Iraq would (will) become a staging ground for US agression all over the region promising more death, more destruction and more instability. The countries that will be invaded will not feature people celebrating in the streets at all.
- The fact that the opportunism of the ideological extreme right wing elite now running the White House will be further reinforced. The US is now seen in most parts of the world as a greater threat to their safety and well being than Osama bin Laden or, certainly, Saddam.
- The possibility of all hell breaking loose in Iraq itself starting a civil or liberation war with no end in sight. A shudder at the reaction of the Iraqis when they realise that they will restart exporting oil to Israel.
- The disastrous effect that the total destruction of the system of international law (that has served, even to the limited extent that it has, the world well) will have. The UN's practical demise opens the door for open agression by stronger countries against smaller countries.
- The demise of the concept of national sovereignty.

So While I have no problem celebrating for the fall of Saddam and the (temporary?) liberation of Kirkuk, I am scared shitless about the consequences.
posted by talos at 3:05 AM on April 10, 2003


Ignatius: I agree that a few Iraqis are thrilled to have the Americans in control of their country and probably many Iraqis would prefer not to live under Hussein's dictatorship whatever the alternative, but I truly believe that MOST Iraqis are much more terrified of a future of utter chaos and prolonged violence that is likely to follow in the aftermath of the "liberation" and I am damn sure that almost NO Iraqis believe that George Bush gives two shits about their well being, dignity and, well, their lives.

So many factions that will be at each other's throats (those loyal to Hussein, those who despise Hussein, the Sunnis, the Kurds, the Shiites, the Turks, the Iranians, the Syrians, Al Qaeada etc. ) that in all likelihood much more innocent blood will be shed and yes I believe that it will be MORE blood than was being shed under the dictatorship, much more. The US media paints the Boogie Man picture of Hussein so well that I think that many Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was slaughtering thousands of his citizens daily and eating their unborn children. Unlikely.

Remember the US troops that are in Iraq will be part of this chaos and many more will die while the Bush chickenhawks are pumping oil and deciding their next victim.

So, while all this is happening, will the US have the patience, wisdom, money and will to foment peace and democracy, IRAQI democracy, in the country? That, my friend, is about as likely as Bush taking up arms and risking his own life in one of his dirty wars.


Victory?

-

ps) Doozer, shouldn't you be over at Little Green Footballs? At Metafilter even the trolls at least attempt to be creative or intelligent while you come off like a screeching chimpanzee at a MENSA meeting.
posted by sic at 3:06 AM on April 10, 2003


Meanwhile, CNN is running a film loop of US sappers blowing up the crotch of a Saddam statue in Baghdad.

God only knows what terrible coded messages this is sending to the Arab world about the desire of America to emasculate them with high explosives.

PS: matteo, the movie so good it positively vibrates!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 3:11 AM on April 10, 2003


By the way, good post Talos.
posted by sic at 3:12 AM on April 10, 2003


From scared shitless to the celebrating witless, truly a cornucopia of emotional responses.
posted by johnnyboy at 3:12 AM on April 10, 2003


Sic - troll??? What on earth are you talking about????
posted by Doozer at 3:25 AM on April 10, 2003


Well I was very happy to see the scenes of celebrating and I don't think they were staged. I saw Iraqi translators travelling with news men openly and genuinely welcome the US troops. I also saw burning pictures of Saddam on many of the streets and this is from the BBC, not Fox.

What concerns me though is the fact that much of Iraq's infrastructure has been bombed to hell and young men are now roaming the streets. No doubt there will be reprisal attacks against Baath party members and counter reprisals. The looters will have to be controlled. Who will the soldiers use to control them? What we have is a power vacuum. Here's a rather worrying report from the FT about what may be in store.
posted by Summer at 3:28 AM on April 10, 2003


if instability in iraq turns into ethnic violence, even if it is, like, months from now, it will be directly linkable to this war.

Hmmm... if the idea is that the only alternative to ethnic violence in that region is a brutal and repressive dictatorship that existed only because it was willing to torture, maim and rape its own citizens then I think you are sadly mistaken.

Why is the US attacking and killing foreign journalists?

That's easy - we aren't. A number of reporters were killed because they were in a WAR ZONE. A place they knew in advance was dangerous and a place they were told in advance they might well not be safe.

do you really believe that from now on everything will be rainbows and singing?

No, I don't. I think there will be more violence - and a lot of pretty horrible people will try and use the perceived power vacuum as a good way to settle old scores.

If we keep a goodly amount of force in place, and ignore the rally this weekend yelling for us to "bring our troops home" (and thus guarantee a bloodbath of ethnic violence) we can show those who would do so that it would be a bad, bad idea.
posted by soulhuntre at 3:31 AM on April 10, 2003


I'm not glad that the USA went ahead without the UN. I'm not happy about those that did die. Americans, Britons, and Iraqi alike.

Hilarious. Can you imagine old Abdul in the torture chamber telling the US Marine who came to liberate him: "sorry, American imperialist, I'd rather sit here with the electrodes zinging my balls until Hans Blix and Dominique de Villepin say it's OK for me to go home. Now stop invading my country and get your sorry unilateralist ass out of here."

I can't either.

And just for the record: Iraqis were already dying at Saddam's hands before we invaded. You can look it up, faux moralist.

This would be a good time to show your alleged compassion by feeling good for the Iraqi people instead of parading your shallow politics around for all to gawk at.
posted by BubbaDude at 3:32 AM on April 10, 2003


Summer: what you describe is (partly) the real war. And it is still to come. Read Talos' post to get an idea of the varying problems that are now going to come to a head. Anti-americanism has to be at an all time high among the civilian populace since many of them saw their families blown to bits. Loving or hating Saddam won't figure in that homicidal resentment.

Soulhunter: the US are targeting foreign journalists, although I´m sure it hasn't been extensively covered in the US media. The day before yesterday, a tank rumbled up to the Palestine hotel, aimed and held positionfor about 15 minutes. The journalists of course trained all of their cameras on the tank and they report that there was no firing from anywhere (as the Pentagaon initially lied) when the tank opened up on the known civilian target, killing two journalists, a war crime. The Pentagon later changed their story to enemy binoculars were sited in the building (LOL) but, as one Reuters reporter pointed out, if they saw the binoculars how is it possible that they missed all of the camera lens' pointing out the windows? The attack on the Al Jazeera office in a residential part of Baghdad, far far from any legitmate target is quite obvious. They also "accidently" bombed Al Jazeera during the Afgani conflict. Coincidence?

Bubba: some Iraqis will be overjoyed to accept anything other than Saddam, I´ve stated already, but the vast majority of the population never visited Saddam's torture chambers and only see violence and an uncaring American overlord in their future.


I find it farcical for the US to crowing victory at this stage.
posted by sic at 3:50 AM on April 10, 2003


For those that missed dydecker's post, about a previous liberation of Baghdad: here's what happened next.
posted by talos at 4:09 AM on April 10, 2003


For relevance, I'll take any random actual tearfully-joyful Iraqi over all the millions of antiwar protesters you care to mention.

Just because "the vast majority of the population never visited Saddam's torture chambers" doesn't mean they don't know about them. Ask any American Jew about Auschwitz.

All that said, I'd like to see us ask the Poles, the Italians and the Spaniards to take over whatever transitional peacekeeping's needed, and have the US pull out.
posted by alumshubby at 4:27 AM on April 10, 2003


What a load of polemic bullshit. Yes, it's good to see the back of Hussein. No, that doesn't necessarily mean this was the right thing to do. Why should it not be possible to hold both viewpoints simultaneously?
posted by walrus at 4:47 AM on April 10, 2003


Alumshubby: even if some of those anti-war protesters are Iraqi? A lot of them lost loved ones, husbands, wives, children, parents, to American bombs. I doubt that they are going to simply forget that the US was largely responsible for their deaths and it is an armed population. I don't think that hatred or resentment of Saddam AND the US are mutually exclusive.

And although you are correct to point out that many who did not visit the torture chambers were aware of and despised them, but I wrote that in response to somebody who was insinuating that ALL (or at least most) Iraqis were being tortured by Saddam Hussein, which is a silly argument and I should have left it to die by itself.

But in all fairness, in the US everyone is knows about death row, many are familiar with the truly awful conditions in the prison system and yet the vast majority approve of both. This situation is repugnant to people in most of the other highly industrialized countries. Is it possible that the some or most Iraqis accepted the way Hussein's regime treated dissidents, just as Americans accept death row, even if that treatment is repugnant in most of the rest of the world's eyes? Just a thought.

I would like to see the UN be in charge of the rebuilding and trasitional peace keeping of Iraq. I would like real thinkers and statesmen, people who are familiar with and sensitive to middle eastern culture and the present state of the region, attempt to build a viable democracy in Iraq, including a free Kurdish state. If the US would simply bow out and not grab all the oil (and not attack several other sovereign nations in the region) I would take back much of what I have said.

But the US is not going to do that, instead they are going to put an arms dealing ex-general (Jay Garner) in charge of the country, a man who has no readiliy discernible abilities for dealing with this highly complex and explosive situation other than his war experience. Frightening.
posted by sic at 4:54 AM on April 10, 2003


Walrus: it is possible. That is the point, this is a very complex and dangerous situation. There is no black and white version of the world, regardless of what Bush thinks.
posted by sic at 4:56 AM on April 10, 2003


Is it possible that the some or most Iraqis accepted the way Hussein's regime treated dissidents, just as Americans accept death row, even if that treatment is repugnant in most of the rest of the world's eyes?
sic: No, most Iraqis I have met do not accept the way Hussein's regime treated dissent. It's not a realistic comparison. Most families in Iraq have on average at least a member persecuted / executed by Saddam.
You are right about Garner though:

Garner's stated opinions on Middle Eastern politics make him singularly unsuitable for the indescribably sensitive task of being the first U.S. administrator of a large Arab country. In 2000, Garner signed a statement backing Israel's hard-line tactics in enforcing the occupation of the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This statement, which was organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a think tank close to the Israeli far right, praised the Israel Defense Forces' "remarkable restraint in the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of a Palestinian Authority" and advised the strongest possible American support.

posted by talos at 5:04 AM on April 10, 2003


Talos: interesting (and, again, frightening) information on Garner.

I was wondering where you have met Iraqis? In Iraq or exiles living in other countries? Not that their point of view is unimportant (let it be clear that I am against the death penalty AND torture chambers) but I can't help but wonder if their point of view is representative of the majority IN Iraq. If they have been victims of repression and torture, it stands to reason that they would be vehemently anti-repression and torture. But, as in the death penalty analogy, if you believe you reap some benefit from these actions, for instance a "safer" society, and if you perceive yourself to never have been a direct or indirect victim (I say perceive, because I believe that inre: the death penalty, torture, war and violence we are ALL victims, abstractly), you may have a very different point of view than the Iraqi exiles.

Of course all of what I say is pure speculation (I hope coming from sound reasoning) as I know not a single Iraqi personally and have never been to that country.

.
posted by sic at 5:19 AM on April 10, 2003


This post—The Great Lie—is interesting reading from a self-confessed former lefty.
posted by bwg at 5:42 AM on April 10, 2003


I fervently hope that we will do right by the Iraqi people and allow them to govern themselves, now.

As if. I seriously doubt it, that is. In a perfect world where a superpower saw an injustice and set out to right wrong, then that might actually happen. But let's face it; this injustice has gone on for decades, but suddenly, out of left field, a champion of the oppressed appears? Shah.
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:46 AM on April 10, 2003


I hate you hippies so much

rest assured that we hippies hate you greed-driven forked-tongue speaking propoganda-spewing self-enriching other-raping big-stick-wielding bastards even more. unfortunately, our principles prevent us from spilling your worthless, life-polluting blood and guts in the streets. you know, the principles you claim to have until sticking to them would cost you money. fuck.

*gags up line and sinker, carefully removes hook*
posted by quonsar at 5:52 AM on April 10, 2003


sic: granted, all of the Iraqi's I've met were political refugees or families of political refugees. So yes there is a chance that they would be "unrepresentative", although it wasn't just their personal opinion but their description of popular sentiment.
However here in Greece we do have a large number (and growing) of Iraqi (mostly illegal) immigrants, dirt poor people that work day and night to save and send home a few euros. I saw a TV broadcast a few nights ago from a couple of Iraqi immigrant coffee shops. In the Kurdish coffee shop people were saying "war is bad, Saddam is bad, but if it means we get a country let there be war", in the Iraqi Arab coffee shop there was this one guy that seem to capture the community consensus: "I'd like to kill Saddam, he is a tyrant, but my country is being invaded and I don't want americans running it, if I were in Iraq I'd fight against the invaders".
I did not see a single one of them that said that Saddam is not a despised tyrant (except for the Iraqi ambassador that is...).

bwg: And that is the lie that those of us who believe Saddam and his murderous apparatus should be ripped from Iraq forcefully care not one jot for those killed and maimed in the process... etc.
Straw man again: I do not doubt that there are conservatives who do care. I just don't believe there is a "conservative" in the US government who cares.
No not even that: I don't believe that there is a "conservative" in the US government who cares more about Iraqi lives than his personal or national financial interests. That doesn't mean they like seeing shredded corpses. It's just that dead third worlders are a very low priority in their list.
posted by talos at 5:56 AM on April 10, 2003


Ha. this dude has this thread nailed:

"THE PLAYBOOK. After listening to a lot of NPR for a couple of days (Q: why oh why do I do this? A: because otherwise I'd have to listen to AM radio for news), I have managed to reverse engineer their general guidelines for commentators who hate Bush and the war (i.e., most of them) as they come to grips with the infuriating triumph of their foes:

Make clear that it was obvious all along what the military outcome would be, and that skepticism about it formed no part of your opposition to the war. Give the aural equivalent of a shrug and make references to the world's largest military machine, etc.

State that of course you are happy for the Iraqi people -- those who weren't killed in the invasion -- but be careful never to end a sentence that way. Instead, always follow that sentiment with another that begins "but," or "; I only wish..." or "I only hope..." and then segue into other concerns -- the "diplomatic mess" we've created, or the "long term" picture, or "winning the peace," and so forth.

Talk a lot about things that "aren't clear" or that "remain to be seen." These sorts of assertion are good because they are hard to falsify. E.g.: "it's not clear how much of the excitement the Iraqis are showing is because Saddam is gone and how much of it is because of all the looting they are able to do." Or: "it remains to be seen whether the factions in the country can be governed in anything like the way the administration is imagining."

Be forward-looking. Or past-looking. The point is to de-emphasize the present. Dwell on what hasn't been done, not what has been done. The sudden liberation of millions of people from tyranny is not, repeat not, the most important thing. Say that what counts is what comes next, that all this will only be meaningful if it ends up leading to true democracy and prosperity for Iraq. (Set the bar as high as you plausibly can.) Say that the real work lies ahead; say that the real test will be whether we can keep the country under control. Again, set the bar high so that if there is disorder six weeks from now -- fighting between factions, etc. -- you will be able to announce that the celebrations of early April were premature.

Remember: you haven't been proven wrong about anything, and the neocons haven't been proven right about anything."
posted by quercus at 7:03 AM on April 10, 2003


bwg: your post does little to convince me that the majority of the pro-war camp care enough about the innocent Iraqi victims of the war to even consider that Saddam's regime could have been taken on in a way that did not involve bombing the civilian population. For instance, inspections were working, they could have finished the disarmament since they were down to "exposing" balsa wood and duct tape model airplanes that could theoretically fly to Washington and deliver a biological payload. The fact that the iraqis have never used their alledged WMD should not be lost on anyone. I think it is safe to say that they no longer exist and therefore the inspections and embargos had done their job (although the embargos also decimated the civilian population). After complete disarmament they could have brought in UN and/or Arab league observers to ensure that there were real democratic elections. This would have avoided the surely homicidal rage that has to be filling Iraqis that saw their families blown apart by American cruise missiles and cluster bombs. Something along more peaceful lines could have and should have been forumulated.

If this were the true goal of this war.

But there are far too many ulterior motives for me to believe that this is a moral or "humanitarian" war as some have called it (oil, Israel and arms contracts).

Its interesting to note that the current neo-con coterie in the government were originally far-left Trotskyists. Which isn't so hard to believe if you understand that the political spectrum is not drawn along a straight line but rather it is a closed circle. The extreme left and the extreme right rub shoulders and have much more in common with each other than with centrists. This is one of the (many) reasons that traditional mad-hatter conservatives, like Pat Buchanon, despise them so.
posted by sic at 7:10 AM on April 10, 2003


I wasn't trying to convince anyone of anything. I merely pointed out a differing point of view.

I'll let you all decide what to make of it.
posted by bwg at 7:40 AM on April 10, 2003


I'll let you all decide what to make of it.

I couldn't bear to read past the first strawman. How did it end?
posted by walrus at 7:50 AM on April 10, 2003


Are these righty tighty trolls the same ones who call ME names? Sheesh!

O' Defenders of All Things Duhbya
Why do you shame yourselves so?
Hating with the heat of 1000 suns
Blinds you to the simple truths
Necessary for a free peoples and a functional democracy.
The bell tolls for thee.
posted by nofundy at 8:09 AM on April 10, 2003


"None of the reasons used to justify this war have panned out, and your side has a lot of explaining to do if they do not come out soon. Pointing to happy faces is not going to cut it, and the end does not justify the means."

In fact every single reason I supported this war have panned out. my reasons do not depend, for instance, the actual presence of wmds in Iraq... the issue was never absolute surety that they existed; the issue was the fact that the risk was too big to take given the best information we had at the time. if there aren't any there then we still did the right thing - the possibility and threat had to be neutralized and the inspections were clearly useless in this regard.
So you do feel the ends justify the means. Wonderful. The war is justified because you were afraid that weapons that so far do not appear to exist could not be proven to exist. I imagine if these weapons were turning up everywhere, you would be crowing that you and yours were right all along, but since they are not you have to hide behind the liberation of the Iraqi people. I realize your arguments are personal, but I hope the President does not try to get away with such a gutter low pathetic justification. Bush gambled here with our soldiers lives, and our money. If he was wrong about the weapons, he should pay.

I am not ashamed of people being liberated, but I am wondering how this became the job of the US government. I need someone to explain why American lives are so cheap that they can be spent on the freedom of other nations that should be fighting their own revolutions.

I was against the war in Kosovo (for the same reasons), and no one ever accused me of being a Slobadon sympathizer. I am curious what is different. The pro-war arguments do not stick on me because I am hardly a supporter of the UN, or of alliance actions.

Also, keep hoping Fundy, some day you will be a real live boy.
posted by thirteen at 8:46 AM on April 10, 2003


The sudden liberation of millions of people from tyranny is not, repeat not, the most important thing. Say that what counts is what comes next, that all this will only be meaningful if it ends up leading to true democracy and prosperity for Iraq.

But hasn't this always been an issue about whether we should let the same Reagan-era foreign policy wonks who were cheerleaders for Saddam, Pinochet and disaffected Somoza terrorists run a "liberation" effort given their extensive resumes of supporitng torture and murder?

Or for an even bolder history lesson, the Viet Cong were American trained and supported freedom fighters against brutal Japanese occupation. There are even a series of letters available in which Ho Chi Minh praised American and British efforts to remove the Japanese and offering extensive support for an American democratic reconstruction of Indochina. Instead, what they got was sent right back into the French Empire.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:39 AM on April 10, 2003


Again, I hope we get the hell out of Iraq as fast as possible. And as far as "grabbing the oil," we've said we're not going to do that because it's not ours. What hasn't been said is that it's not necessary anyway because now that it'll be coming into the world energy markets to fuel the reconstruction of Iraq, it's a great guarantee of stable energy prices for some time to come, which predictability is highly desirable in its own right. In fact, "grabbing all the oil" would be so counterproductive to getting Iraq fixed that nobody in their right minds would countenance robbing the Iraqis of it in light of the political nightmare they'd create.

Or so I hope, anyway.
posted by alumshubby at 10:46 AM on April 10, 2003


Right on, quercus. You nailed it.



Has quickly become


posted by David Dark at 10:47 AM on April 10, 2003




From Kynn's post about "how many people were there, really?"*

* the "news" source is indymedia, which is a crackpot's haven, so beware
posted by mathowie at 11:39 AM on April 10, 2003


Yesterday was the first day EVER that those people could go outside w/o fearing being killed by their own government while voicing their opinion. Besides, if there were tanks outside my door, I wouldnt go outside either.
posted by tomplus2 at 12:01 PM on April 10, 2003


mathowie: I had strong reservations about that piece too. But now comes the news that the soldier who draped the U.S. flag over the statue was just following orders. Also, the flag in question just *happened* to be the flag which flew over the Pentagon on Sept. 11. Curious things like this just sometimes happen. But the story just may be worth looking into a bit further.
posted by raysmj at 12:21 PM on April 10, 2003


guess they didn't have time to post flyers about the event.
Man that is really fuckin' low to question a people's liberation like that. Have you not seen other pictures or read reports about what happened in Iraq yesterday? None is so blind...
posted by quercus at 12:24 PM on April 10, 2003


Besides, if there were tanks outside my door, I wouldnt go outside either.

That was my first thought as well. When someone mentioned seeing women in the streets, I figured it was a true liberation, if the entire population were out in force. But I looked and looked but only see young men, and assumed it was still a terrifying time to be outside.

Personally I find the indymedia stuff is sounding more and more like the stuff you hear from "the moon landing was faked I tell you!" folks. While symbolic in many ways, and a huge bit of PR for the campaign, I strongly doubt the entire thing was conceived and faked, and I say this as a self-identified cynical person.
posted by mathowie at 12:29 PM on April 10, 2003


Thanks for the link raysmj. This is the best part though:

"Chin, [the soldier who draped the flag] 23, and his family are ethnic Chinese from Myanmar, formerly Burma. The family moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., when Chin was just a week old. Chin, a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, joined the Corps in 1999 and was assigned to the First Tank Battalion at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., before being shipped off to Kuwait in January.

His parents, Stanley and Lai Chin, said they did not know exactly where their son was until Tuesday, when his fiancee received a call from Chin saying he was OK and about to go into Baghdad.

They were watching the live pictures coming from Baghdad Wednesday when they spotted their son.

"Ah, that's him. My son. I so proud, and then I so happy, and then I cry, you know," Chin's mother Lai said. "I quickly call my daughter, and 'You know, my son is on the TV.'"

"I thought, 'Oh, my son, you are making history, you are part of the Iraqis' liberation," said his father, Stanley Chin."

Being from Burma, I'm quite sure the Chins know liberation when they see it.
posted by quercus at 12:35 PM on April 10, 2003


That's classic! So Stan Chin was behind this?
posted by soyjoy at 12:41 PM on April 10, 2003


I'll believe this is "liberation" when I see the last American soldier leave.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:47 PM on April 10, 2003


well mars the soldiers are still in Germany and Japan, and they seem pretty free and liberated to me. eventually, lots of them will leave, but i am sure not all.
posted by chaz at 12:51 PM on April 10, 2003


So you do feel the ends justify the means.

The ends of any action should be sufficient to justify taking that action - that is simply common sense no? In this case, I believe then ends (liberation, reducing the threat and removing a enemy of the US) were justified.

The war is justified because you were afraid that weapons that so far do not appear to exist could not be proven to exist.

The war was justified because Saddam posed a real and credible threat to US security. If he had no weapons in reality then so much the better in my mind because he didn't have them available to use on us. That's life.

In my opinion we simply could not let the risk and danger remain, the information as good enough that intervention was ethical.

I train cops some of the time when I am not posting here on metafilter, and the ethical questions come up all the time - how far do you have to let things go before you act. In this case, a gun was pulled and intention declared - the fact that there may not be any bullets in it was not something we could have known, and thus the response was justified.

I imagine if these weapons were turning up everywhere, you would be crowing that you and yours were right all along, but since they are not you have to hide behind the liberation of the Iraqi people.

Hide behind? I don't think so. One of the several reasons for action was liberation. The liberation is proceeding nicely. that's not HIDING, that's simple reality.

Bush gambled here with our soldiers lives, and our money. If he was wrong about the weapons, he should pay.

Pay for acting in a way to reduce a credible and immediate risk to the US? I don't think so.

Think multi-dimensionally.
posted by soulhuntre at 1:08 PM on April 10, 2003


mathowie: I don't think the flag bit makes the questioning of the story's ridiculousness quite that clear cut. it was maybe, as you implied but may or may not have meant to, *partially* staged or pushed along. Maybe certain parties had been waiting for such a moment, had planned for it.

I doubt any of us will ever know what really went on over there, however, even if it's arguably worth checking into further. All we really know is that the event was rather small compared to events to which it was compared. Secondly, we know that Saddam was an asshole, which most of us already knew or should have, and certainly many if not most Iraqis wouldn't be unhappy to see him gone. Also, we know there was a suicide bombing this morning and the conflict isn't over yet.

Meantime, we know that there are at minimum 15-20 years of American taxpayer-funded years of building democracy in Iraq ahead - if our leadership and people don't forget about it or grow weary of it, and move on to the next thing. I'm not feeling too upbeat about the chances of this working, but we're committed nevertheless. I just hope our future leadership - or whatever party or political stripe - is more fully committed to spreading democracy, and that they promote such through non-violent and saner means.
posted by raysmj at 1:35 PM on April 10, 2003


Crowd Kills Islamic Cleric in Iraq
Power vacuum in Iraq, power struggle in Washington
What a Shiite Stabbing Says About Post-Saddam Perils
EBay abounds in real, unreal trophies of Iraq conflict

posted by y2karl at 1:43 PM on April 10, 2003


Meantime, we know that there are at minimum 15-20 years of American taxpayer-funded years of building democracy in Iraq ahead...

Hey, look, the European Middle Ages weren't ended in three weeks either. But it's not clear at all whether investing in Iraq will not reap big dividends; even pay for itself in lower energy prices, increased trade, and other opportunities. Who knows: maybe even OPEC will crumble in time.
(although, hopefully in time, we won't be running our economy on oil at all...)
posted by ParisParamus at 2:04 PM on April 10, 2003


And in other positive news, that symbol of pseudo-French sohpistication, the Concorde,, is ending its White Elephant run.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:06 PM on April 10, 2003


"BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. Marines may have found weapons-grade plutonium in a massive underground facility discovered beneath Iraq's Al Tuwaitha nuclear complex, an embedded reporter told Fox News Thursday."
posted by ParisParamus at 2:13 PM on April 10, 2003


"BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. Marines may have found weapons-grade plutonium in a massive underground facility discovered beneath Iraq's Al Tuwaitha nuclear complex, an embedded reporter told Fox News Thursday."

Oh, once and for all, just shut the fark up, will you?
posted by JollyWanker at 2:31 PM on April 10, 2003


Paris: It will take a lot longer than 15 years to wean ourselves off of oil, unless some amazing new transportation device comes along before then. Meantime, would we even care about the Middle East or Iraq if we didn't use so much oil? I don't see us headed to Zimbabwe to free people of oppression there. Methinks we're committed in Iraq regardless, but if America oil disappeared all that would be left if the purely moral commitment, combined with some concern about Israel from a minority, if no peace process works out before then. The rest of the bit about being an example for the Middle East would cease to be a concern, really, for most sensible Americans.
posted by raysmj at 2:35 PM on April 10, 2003


OTOH, if this really IS about oil, why aren't we doing anything about the low-grade civil/ethnic/religious strife going on in Nigeria? Hell, militarily they'd make the Iraqis look like the Wehrmacht by comparison.
posted by alumshubby at 3:11 PM on April 10, 2003


"I don't see us headed to Zimbabwe to free people of oppression. If America oil disappeared all that would be left if the purely moral commitment, combined with some concern about Israel from a minority."

Well, so what? Lets be happy for the liberation we've done, and work towards opposing maniacs everywhere--its a very slippery slope between consistency/idealism; and inaction (Of course, the argument could be made that fixing Zimbabwe would be a lot harder than fixing a potentially very wealthy country.)

AS for the Israel thing, I will say, gratuitously that We'd care about Israel regardless. Christians have a love-hate relationship with Jews, and I think, after 2000 years, its time to realize that interest in Israel transcends the rational. And isn't going away.

Sorry, Riviera and Co. : (
posted by ParisParamus at 3:22 PM on April 10, 2003


Paris: It will take a lot longer than 15 years to wean ourselves off of oil,

Tell that to the enlightened, ultra savants who got on the US's ass for opposing the Kyoto Accord.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:41 PM on April 10, 2003


Hell, militarily they'd make the Iraqis look like the Wehrmacht by comparison.

And Bruce Willis's new movie might break even!

And isn't going away.

At least until 2010 when, according to current population projections, Muslims will out number Jews in the United States.

Voulez-vous cesser de me cracher dessus pendant que vous parlez!
posted by y2karl at 4:00 PM on April 10, 2003


"BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. Marines may have found weapons-grade plutonium in a massive underground facility discovered beneath Iraq's Al Tuwaitha nuclear complex, an embedded reporter told Fox News Thursday.""


Faux News, the most credible source since Soviet era Pravda.


But it's not clear at all whether investing in Iraq will not reap big dividends; even pay for itself in lower energy prices, increased trade, and other opportunities. Who knows: maybe even OPEC will crumble in time.

But at least you're honest about this war being about oil. Of course it is not clear whether oil will be cheaper, much cheaper, or more expensive, much more expensive. This will be at the whim of the US oil companies who will fix the prices, much like Cheney's energy industry chums (including Enron) did in California two years ago creating a fabricated crisis that provoked rolling brown outs and price gauging. Will the profits be enough to pay for the war? Most likely not, but that's ok, the US taxpayer is footing the bill!! And it only will cost them what is left of the paltry US social programs and possibly the Baby Boomer's social security. But hey, they need to spend their money to protect the interests of the richest 1% in the US and they sure kicked Iraq's ass!

When the rest of the world makes the Kyoto treaty work, will you still see them as "ultra savants" or will you recognize that the US simply was not interested in wresting the power from the oil concerns since the Bush adminstration is neck deep in the industry? No, I suspect you will not.

I was wondering if you are going to sign up to fight in the next war?
posted by sic at 4:09 PM on April 10, 2003


>Besides, if there were tanks outside my door, I wouldnt go outside either.

Here's a nice ethical problem. You're in charge of psyops and you know that if you plant some American flag waving confederates into the crowd and help organize a pro-USA rally but play it off as spontaneous then did you do anything wrong?

Arguably, you're helping the people you've just attacked by pushing the image of "beloved liberators" which might help keep post-war violence down and help the transition to a US-led/friendly government, but you're also pissing on any real attempt at democracy and the expression of true public opinion.
posted by skallas at 5:29 PM on April 10, 2003


The war was justified because Saddam posed a real and credible threat to US security. If he had no weapons in reality then so much the better in my mind because he didn't have them available to use on us.

I just want to isolate those two statements in apposition, simply because it exposes the sublime way that the White House managed to dupe so many people, by shifting the focus from its rather dubious effectiveness in Afghanistan towards Iraq. If Saddam had no 'weapons in reality', where exactly was that 'real and credible threat'? It didn't exist. It never existed. One might as well say that the moon represents a real and credible threat, if you squint your eyes and look at that moon-man's face hard enough.

In this case, a gun was pulled and intention declared - the fact that there may not be any bullets in it was not something we could have known, and thus the response was justified.

You obviously trained the cops that shot holes in Amadou Diallo, then, soulhuntre. Or at least applaud their actions.

I mean, there was apparently a fucking demostration at Ground Zero today 'in support of the troops'. (Organised by unions, no less.) How much proof of the ability of the Bush regime to elide the terrorist threat into justification for war with Iraq?

Oh, and PeePee: political interest in Israel certainly does not 'transcend the rational', though your own bigotries certainly do represent a long vacation from it; it's just that carrion-hungry birds of a feather flock together. Do they do roast chickenhawk in kosher for Passover?
posted by riviera at 9:04 PM on April 10, 2003


Never in my life have I witnessed such a dramatic display of moral vacuousness and general stupidity as from the anti-everythings posting to this thread. You folks are truly remarkable, and should be congratulated only because it's illegal to shoot you.

The people of Iraq suffered under the worst tyranny on the planet for thirty years. A three-week war has freed them, and all you can do is grumble and bitch.

You must be from some other planet, because sentiments like these don't qualify you has human.
posted by BubbaDude at 2:20 AM on April 11, 2003


It's a truly surreal experience, trying to engage brainwashed people in "debate", something akin to having a discussion about philosophy with a Moonie.

The shocked and offended disbelief that some in this thread show toward others who actually expend thought in tyring to analyze and understand what is going on around us, especially momentous and distressing events (like a war), intermingled with the now mandatory thinly veiled threats of violence is truly sad, but to be expected, I suppose, in George Bush's World. Questioning if blowing up civilians is the best way to "help" them "disqualifies" us as human beings in this Bizarro world version of humanity?

Weird.
.
posted by sic at 2:43 AM on April 11, 2003


BubbaDude, it's precisely my questioning which does qualify me as human, otherwise I am some kind of insect. Semantics can't be chopped like liver, so step away from that cleaver before someone gets hurt.
posted by walrus at 6:40 AM on April 11, 2003


BubbaDude - 'The people of Iraq suffered under the worst tyranny on the planet for thirty years'

Which planet?

Please can you point me in the direction of information that verfies the proposition that the B'aath regime in Iraq had the worst human rights record in the world or at least in the region. I don't think you'll find any such information.
Compared to other countries under similar regimes, Iraq was far from the worst. When Iraqis/Kurds were suffering in the 1980s, what did the US do? (If you answered: Ignore the human rights issues and sell Iraq anthrax, you were right). There are plenty of other regimes backed by the US today, which have terrible human rights records.
I will also repeat the request for any information that will dissuade me from the notion that the US/UK has killed far more Iraqis than the B'aath regime via almost continuous bombing for the past 12 years and inhumane sanctions. For Saddam to have killed more than us you have to count the 150,000 to 340,000 Iraqis and 450,000 to 730,000 Iranians killed during the Iran-Iraq War, as well as 100,000 Kurds killed or "disappeared" as victims of the B'aath regime alone as well as those killed by sanctions. They certainly were not acting alone during the Iraq/Iran war, or in control of the lifting of sanctions. You could just as legitimately blame the Israeli regime for the deaths of their people at the hands of suicide bombers.
I hate having to say this, but it seems to need repeating. Some people have an active interest in promoting human rights around the world. They monitor reports on human rights issues, they follow the world political scene, they form opinions on the information provided. They have been aware of the appaling human rights situation in Iraq for many years, they do not often support war as a solution to human rights problems.
posted by asok at 8:44 AM on April 11, 2003


asok the information you seek is right in front of your face-if, as you propose, the US/UK inflicted more death on Iraqis than Saddam, where is the outrage of the Iraqi people? Why are they toppling Saddam icons and looting government offices instead of burning American or British flags-much less ahem-attempting to kill the troops? Even Fisk himself has reported much of the resistance we did encounter was from non-Iraqi Arabs. So why are Iraqis not venting pent up anger at the US? Why did Iraqis not fight the invasion and why aren't they fighting the occupation?
posted by quercus at 9:42 AM on April 11, 2003


The story of Saddam starts about forty years ago.

Iraq had a monarchy. It was overthrown in a allahawful military revolt that the USA completely ignored. Gen. Qasim became the new President.

But because this bloodthirsty madman was anti-Commie, the USA supported him. Who cares that he slaughters his own people -- at least he's not Red!

At least, the US government didn't care about him until he got uppity and became a commie. Oh no!

So the CIA hired Saddam as a would-be assassin. Saddam fubared the job and had to highball it into exile. Then, much to the CIA's surprise, there was a coup against Qasim. Came right out of the blue, stunned the CIA.

The CIA immediately ran guns to Ba'ath anti-communists, who proceeded to slaughter commies by the thousands and thousands, as well as anyone even remotely suspected of being commie, plus anyone they just didn't like.

Then the CIA put Saddam in charge of the Iraqi Secret Service, where he was trained to be a sick fucker who used torture to get information. A lot more people died.

When Iraq went to war against Iran, the CIA and DoD supplied weapons and battlefield information to the Saddam. The USA helped Saddam slaughter lots and lots of Iranians. Amazingly, the CIA was also supporting Iran at the same time -- helping them slaughter lots of Iraqis! It was an amazing act of duplicity.

This support continued for a full decade, even as Saddam turned toward killing his own citizens, and installed his sick mofo of a cousin as Chief Torturer.

The USA also gave Saddam the nod and thumbs-up for invading Kuwait. And then promptly stabbed him in the back. In the war that followed, the USA military killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

The USA government then pushed for massive sanctions against the Iraq, which only served to hurt the Iraqi civilian population, killing yet more hundreds of thousands.

Finally, the USA has gone on a second war against Iraq, and has again killed thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of civilians.

In all, the USA has KILLED MORE IRAQIS than Saddam, by far. By supporting Qasim, Saddam, entering two wars, and imposing sanctions, there is a LOT of blood on the hands of the USA government.

This is NOT to say that Saddam was anything but murderous scum who deserves anything less than death. And this is NOT to say that the removal of Saddam is anything but a Very Good Thing, even if the means were poorly chosen.

But let's all be perfectly honest and blunt: the US government is directly responsible for most of the bloodshed.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 AM on April 11, 2003


so then answer the questions i posed above five fresh fish.
posted by quercus at 11:30 AM on April 11, 2003


Quercus: the outrage of the Iraqi people has been manifested by their rigid defense against the American invasion, a defense taken up with far more enthusiam than any of the neocons planning the attack ever imagined (to their dismay). Don't you remember that Rumsfeld expected the Iraqis to rise up in rebellion with a few days of the first bombardment? When that didn't occur, in fact quite the opposite occurred, even among the Shiites who were paid millions by the CIA, the US had to suck it up and attack on the ground and suffer (relatively) heavy losses.

In the now lawless regions of "liberated" Iraq, looting of government offices, and hospitals and private homes and basically everything, is taking place not for love of the US or hatred of Saddam but because there is no law and the people are desperate and hungry and out of control.

As far as the statue toppling propaganda that has been on 24 hours Fox news and CNN rotation, that has been EXPOSED as the FARCE that it was EMPHATICALLY on the internet.

That is not to say that many Iraqis aren't happy to see Saddam go, but just as many if not nearly all Iraqis don't want the Americans to stay. Do you think that somebody who has lost their entire family, wives, husbands, parents, CHILDREN, to US cluster bombs and cruise missiles is going to be America's friend? Even the most rabid Saddam hater is still going to be anti-american if the Americans caused the death of their family. When the war ends (which it has NOT), it will not be long before the Iraqis begin to harass their new overlords with all kinds of deadly guerilla tactics much like the afghanis did to the Soviets in the 1980s (and are starting to do the US today).

And of course there is the fact that the vast majority of the nearly half million strong Iraqi army are still alive and have melted back into the general population. Don't suppose that they will be heard from again do you?
posted by sic at 11:35 AM on April 11, 2003


Well sic-we obviously inhabit a different reality-so be it. My prediction is we'll have a sizable presence in the country for a long time to come-indeed my guess is we're going to have a military base there. As far as every bomb creates a future terrorist, I don't know the origin of this idea. We killed 140,000 Japanese civilians, but I can't think of even one act of vengeance, and I think the US Japanese relationship is pretty good.
posted by quercus at 1:31 PM on April 11, 2003


Let's assume that the anti-everythings who claim the USA, under past administrations and in different conditions, created Saddam and put him in power are absolutely correct (just for the sake of the discussion.)

Whose responsibility is it then to correct this mistake?

Thanks for playing.
posted by BubbaDude at 2:51 PM on April 11, 2003


Do you think that somebody who has lost their entire family, wives, husbands, parents, CHILDREN, to US cluster bombs and cruise missiles is going to be America's friend?

Three weeks of war to end thirty years of tyranny. Do the math.
posted by BubbaDude at 2:52 PM on April 11, 2003


quercus - apples and oranges.

Warfilter.
posted by asok at 3:12 PM on April 11, 2003


BubbaDude, do two wrongs make a right on your planet?
posted by asok at 3:25 PM on April 11, 2003


Whose responsibility is it then to correct this mistake?

I wouldn't tell the cheater he has to grade the tests, nor the murderer that he must now pick his own jury.

And, again just for the sake of discussion, do you ever at any point plan to make an original thought about "the pro-war people" contrary to copy-and-paste hyperbole from web sites where the only people on the planet who actually do believe in their demented little minds that war protestors "support Saddam" gather?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:51 PM on April 11, 2003


Quercus: I'm gratified that I was able to convince you that the Iraqis are not entirely pro-american as your earlier post seemed to suggest. I agree with you that the US will most definitely have to maintain a very sizable force in Iraq for years to come to maintain even a semblance of structure to the "liberated" Iraq and most likely will create permanent military bases to protect its oil claims, oh, and freedom and liberty, and, uh, democracy. Of course, during this permanent occupation of the country, the anti-american elements in Iraq and the region, of which there are too many to count, will make life a living hell for all, including the americans soldiers and civilians stationed there, probably killing many of them in daring, creative and unpleasant ways (see 1980s, Afghanistan).

The Japanese-German reconstruction argument, as asok pointed out, is comparing apples to oranges. Totally different situations, different cultures, different periods in History, etc.

As far as your skepticism as to the terrorism threat, I find it hard to believe that even after 9-11 you don't accept that the Arab world is bursting with anti-american sentiment (justified in my opinion by US treatment of the same, especially in the Palestine question) and that this war (unjustified in my opinion and in theirs) will provoke even more fanatical anti-americanism and that this will lead to more terrorism. But we can argue this point until we are blue in the face, or we can just wait and see what happens in the middle east now that Bush has had his dirty war.

By the way, your impressions of the wide angle shot of the Berlin wall, I mean, the toppling of Saddam's statue?


Bubba: compounding a mistake is not correcting a mistake, or maybe it is in Bizarro-world, you tell me.
.
posted by sic at 4:10 PM on April 11, 2003


apples and oranges because you say so-as I said my reality is different. I reject the notion that all Arabs are little fetus terrorists waiting to be born by American action. Sure there are some Timothy McVeighs-but we got McVeighs right here too. The vast majority of Arabs just want to lead everyday lives. A Palestinian state is coming-that will solve a lot of problems. As far as the statue-my comments are already posted.
posted by quercus at 5:47 PM on April 11, 2003


Tell me, sic, how removing Saddam Hussein from power is a "mistake".

I do have to give you credit for admitting you're anti-war because you're pro-Saddam, however.
posted by BubbaDude at 6:08 PM on April 11, 2003


(To the tune and beat of the good old baseball game organ rally)

         Bait
                    Bait
                              Bait
                                         Bait

              Bait
                     Bait
                            Bait
                                   Bait


You're fools to feed the troll, total fools.
posted by y2karl at 8:23 PM on April 11, 2003


y2karl: the bubba character is just here for comic relief, we don't take his insults seriously, but quercus seems to have a glimmer of intelligence beneath a lot of heavy rhetoric, so I´m trying to draw him out in intelligent debate, which I think he'd enjoy since, fortunately, he hasn't resorted to insulting me directly even though he hates what I say.

So far.

And so quercus, I say that it's apples and oranges, referring to the difference between 1950s Japan and Germany, because of mainly cultural reasons and secondly political reasons. In the 1940s we have the mother of all European wars, fought primarly by Europeans in Europe. The Japanese also fought primarily other Asians in Asia, until they foolishly attacked the US and were obliterated (literally in the tragic cases of Nagasaki and Hiroshima). After WW II, the axis and everything they stood for was completely spent and what remained of their countries were in no shape to do anything but receive foreign aid, nor had they any allies left, anywhere. One could argue that, at least in the case of the Germans, they were fighting against their own culture, that is to say European and Judeo-Christian (many of the Jews that were victims of the Holocaust were of course German and of course France and Germany are natural allies, the "heart" of Western Europe). In addition, most of their immediate "enemies" England, France, Poland, et al. were also spent by the war, as were the immediate "enemies" of Japan, namely China and Korea, leaving only the US and USSR in any kind of position of global power. This is important because both of these nations strongly distrusted each other and almost immediately began positioning themselves for the Cold War. Neither Japan nor Germany offered any kind of important natural resource that either of these countries wanted or needed to control outside of the actual human beings and potential markets that these countries represented. So rebuilding them and fostering democracies made sense, while continued domination of them made no sense at all (I'm speaking of the US of course not the USSR). After all, one could argue that the treaty of Versailles, which punished and humilliated Germany after WWI, led directly to the rise of Fascist Germany. Nobody wanted to make that mistake again.

In 2003 we have an imperialist war, where only one superpower, a predominantly Judeo-Christian one (at least where it counts: in the White House), without any real opposition from other "Christian" powers but with only tenuous support from among them is crushing a Muslim country with an enormous cache of oil. This natural resource, in the eyes of the US, is worth fighting for and controlling, forever. To control the oil they need to do more than rebuild the country and create a democracy (difficult, dangerous and costly tasks), they will need to maintain a military occupation of the region (as we agreed upon in earlier posts). This situation may very well lead to further war in the region. In fact, with dangerous characters like Buah and Rumsfeld in charge, it is almost a certainty.

Now as we have learned in the past two years the Islamic world has ties that go far beyond national boundries, which is why mujadeen from many different Islamic countries (not just Arabic) have volunteered to fight against "infidels" in Afghanistan and Iraq and will continue to fight in both places, I venture. Many of the other Arab countries in the Region, some mortal enemies of Saddam Hussein, see the US imperialist aggression not as an attack on Saddam Hussein, or Iraq, but on the Islamic world as a whole. The fact that the US has not only attacked Iraq, but will occupy that country with an armed force and in fact most assuredly will build permanent miltary bases is going to be met with fury from Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world. Iran has already publically stated that it will not tolerate what the US intends to do, occupy Iraq. These countries, which include Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia (the people not the leaders), Jordan (again the people), Egypt (again), Lebanon and Pakistan (again the people, and they are definitely the scariest of the bunch) are not spent as the Axis was after WW II. Although you refer to them as "little fetus terrorists" their
brothers will call them martyrs and freedom fighters, you can bet on that.

So any (fictious in my opinion) nation building in Iraq will be met with fierce resistance from many different Iraqi factions, especially if the US sets up the standard puppet goverment, which it appears to be doing, as well as all sorts of outside agitation ranging from diplomatic, military, fanatic terrorism and other. Not a single one of these types of things factored into the rebuilding period of Japan and Germany, creating, in my opinion, an Apples and Oranges comparison between them.

Ok I'll read your reply tomorrow because my wife is dragging me out the door.

.
posted by sic at 1:02 PM on April 12, 2003


sic i agree with most of that analysis, but: the vast majority of people of any culture are cattle. The Arabs are hardly going to send suicide bombers down to the last man. There's a hardcore jihadist ideological elite that apparently dominates current Arab thought-but I think your average Arab increasingly senses it's not really the answer. I think the Iraqis people unwillingness to go to bat for saddam was a real eye-opener.
Arab societies have to be liberalized, if not for their good, at least for ours. Islamofascism is just bad for business. So it's being terminated with extreme prejudice. That's more a statement of fact than a value judgment. Your average Arab will learn to accomodate. No one's seeking to eradicate Islam-just, you know, it's the 21st century-get with the effin program Pan-Arabia.
yes-this process may take the next 50 years. The current war may well actually have retarded that progress. I have no idea. I only got into this thread to point out that no matter how you slice it-Saddam's ouster was a great thing.
I see people are now freaking looting is going on. I say great, Iraq is already more like Los Angeles than it was three days ago.
posted by quercus at 10:02 PM on April 12, 2003


I don't think anyone has ever argued that "all" arabs will become martyrs, but if there is even a 1% increase in young arab (or other islamic) men willing to sacrifice their lives in a holy war against western agression, that is a very significant number since that population numbers in the billions. It is something to be concerned about in all countries, not just the US. I hope it is evident that I don't condone any extremism, whether it come from the neo-conservatives, Likud, Saddam Hussein, Karimov (in Uzbekistan), Castro or Al Queda.

The idea that the minds of an unwilling Islamic world can be converted into facsimilies of the West through preemptive attacks, military force, deadly economic sanctions, "branding" and the other methods employed is completely mistaken and insanely dangerous, considering the recent upswing in attempts to achieve a nuclear aresenal in countries that feel the heat of the US crosshairs (N. Korea, Iran). Antagonism can only breed hatred and irrationality.

If you believe that it will take half a century to "pacify" the anti-american world, I say it will take half a YEAR to inflame that world into a fever pitch, if we aren't already there. That doesn't mean every Arab will become a freedom figher, but consider this, in the US around 60% approve of this attack on Iraq, not all of them rabid neo-conservatives I´m sure. So then why is it unthinkable that in the Islamic world a similar number would approve of armed resistence to imperial aggression. In my opinion, there will be more conflicts, more violence and the stability and safety of the planet will become almost non-existent for all of us. For ALL of us. Our families and theirs, our children and theirs. In the end, we are all in this together, regardless of race or religion and I don't think that throwing the world into utter chaos, that benefits only the Richard Perles, Osama Bin Ladens and Ariel Sharons (violent extremists) of the world, to defend "business interests" that, and be honest with yourself, don't benefit you or I either directly or indirectly but rather benefits a tiny percentage of the world population. A very tiny percentage.

In a rational world, Saddam Hussein would have been dealt with in a very different way that didn't include starving (sanctions) or bombing innocent people and turning even his mortal enemies against the US and the West. In a rational world the citizens of the US would not have to stock up on gasmasks and duct tape. In a rational world Palestinian children would not be reduced to waging a rock-throwing campaign against Israeli tanks. In a rational world, oil wouldn't even be worth fighting for anymore because we would be pouring all of our considerable energy and resources into finding alternative fuels, safe alternative technologies, instead of cowtowing to an outdated oil industry that is immersed in pollution, misery and blood. Aren't you at all concerned at how much this mess is going to cost you, directly, as a tax contributer in the United States?

Oh, for a rational world...

.
posted by sic at 4:12 AM on April 13, 2003


In a rational world, Saddam Hussein would have been dealt with in a very different way. . .

Let's hear what actions that rational world would have taken.

?
posted by shoos at 2:23 PM on April 13, 2003


Well I should that for starters, shoos, a rational way wouldn't involve starving (sanctions) or bombing innocent people.

Care to explain how starving the people of Iraq did them, or us, any good at all? I'm reall curious to hear you explain it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:58 PM on April 13, 2003


Care to explain how starving the people of Iraq did them, or us, any good at all?

Well, when I get my crystal ball in working order, you'll be the second person to know.

Why doesn't the anti-war-in-Iraq detachment ever just come out and say 'let's do nothing'? Isn't that what the thought is? Sanctions bad, weapons bad, it's a difficult situation. So let's just go about our business like Iraq's not there. That way, nobody gets hurt - not at our hands anyways.
posted by shoos at 11:16 PM on April 13, 2003


Shoos: the fact that US bombs and UN sanctioned embargos caused many more innocent victims to die in the last 12 years than the Hussein dictatorship did in 30 is a pretty strong argument to search for alternative methods to help them. The new question is how long the utter chaos caused by the conquest of Iraq is going to further the misery of these same innocents? Saddam, like Osama, has apparently disappeared leaving behind a country devastated by the US.

So what alternatives were available? The first step, not just in Iraq, but everywhere, is to STOP supporting regimes that have terrible human rights records for pragmatic, generally economic, reasons. The US likes a region where it has "interests" to be tightly controlled in the most repressive manner available, liberty and democracy be damned. From Marcos, to Pinochet, to Suharto, to Noriega, to the Shah of Iran, to the Contras, to Mubutu, to Karimov (in Uzbekistan, a current member of the "coalition of the willing"), to Likud, to the very same Saddam Hussein, the US has supported them all. This needs to stop. Period.

Regarding the Hussein monster that the US helped to create, after the Gulf War, when his regime was severely weakened, why didn't the US maintain the military presence in the Gulf, impose Hans Blix style weapons inspections, leading to total disarmament, and then bring the UN and the Arab league to monitor real democratic elections? The new Iraqi goverment could have brought Saddam to Justice for his crimes against his own people.

Even after missing the Gulf War I window of opportunity, the US could have supported the weapons inspections (which were working, since Blix was down to uncovering model airlplane made of duct tape and balsa wood, and as you know, no WMD were used by Iraq in the last month) instead of hindering them and then cutting them short just when they were really paying off. Then they could have tried the same democratic elections I mentioned earlier.

If the US would have at least tried this or a similar method, respecting international law and order and the rights of the Iraqis, perhaps post-Saddam Iraq really would have learned to love the US and it would have a life-long ally instead of a seething cauldron of hatred, lawlessness and mistrust toward America, Americans and their interests.

Don't limit yourself, as Bush demands of the entire planet, to thinking in black and white terms. If we are rational, if we think, we can find answers to even the most complicated problems without killing anybody.
.
posted by sic at 3:35 AM on April 14, 2003


sic: Free elections in Iraq under the watch of UN observers? Are you being serious? Maybe I just can't think outside the box.

Assuming that WMDs in Iraq were never an issue - but that everything else about Iraq was the same - wouldn't you say that nothing should be done about Sadaam, other than electing him out?
posted by shoos at 12:30 PM on April 14, 2003


UN and Arab league observers, yes.

If you can't see my whole point is to try to find solutions that are not violent you are not thinking out side of Bush's box.

"Assuming that WMDs in Iraq were never an issue - but that everything else about Iraq was the same - wouldn't you say nothing should be done about Sadaam, other than electing him out?"

This type of statement worries me, because it insinuates the need for some kind of violent retribution by the United States in order for any response to be more than "not doing anything", which is incorrect. I don't need to spill blood to satisfy my desire for Justice. But I did mention that, once they had a real democracy, the rest of the world could have let the Iraqis judge Saddam for his crimes as THEY see fit, which were perpetrated against them and other groups in his region, but NOT against the US or Europe. The other alternative would be to try Hussein for crimes against humanity in the new International Court, which the US refuses to recognize, naturally. To me, and I dare say to the rest of the rational people of the world, the rule of law is infinitely better than the rule of force which only leads to chaos and spiraling cycles of violence and in the end proves nothing.
posted by sic at 4:38 PM on April 14, 2003


No, sic, I do see that your point is finding nonviolent solutions. I'm just curious to know the details.

The ones I have you down for regarding Iraq (or the Iraq that was, pre-invasion) are:

1) continuing weapons inspections there

2) having the UN mediate free elections of the Iraqi leadership

Were there any others? I'd like to know.

My question, the one that worries you, was hypothetical. Say there were never WMDs, or at least no one ever cared if Iraq had them or not. Would you propose that anything (militarily, diplomatically, whatever - the sky's the limit) be done about the shortcomings of the Iraqi leadership, particularly regarding of the oppressive nature of the leadership?
posted by shoos at 12:05 AM on April 15, 2003


Shoos, this is my last post in this thread, because I am repeating myself so often, that I don't think that this discussion will ever progress.

Your inability or refusal to equate inspections, disarmament, valid elections and legal trials in a non-US court with action (for why else do you keep repeating the same question, effectively dismissing these alternatives without even addressing them?) is exactly what worries me because it is the predominant mentality in the White House and, through much propoganda, has taken hold in the US populace. It's amazing to me how the official "goal" of the aggression against Iraq keeps shifting as the excuses fall apart under even the most casual scrutiny (from disarmament, to 9-11, to "liberation", to the Palestinian peace process) and how the US media and population keeps swallowing everything that is presented to them without recognizing the contradictions or even being bothered by the fact that they were previously misled. Quite the opposite. Now the majority of Americans DON'T EVEN CARE if there are WMD in Iraq, they actually BELIEVE that HUSSEIN was directly responsable for 9-11, they believe that the toppling of the statue of Saddam was similiar to the Berlin Wall and not a staged media event, and now, incredibly, they are buying the incongruent reasoning behind Bush and Sharon's ultimate cynical spin that destroying Saddam will open the door to the peace process in Palestine, without, of course, explaining the connection, since one does not exist. (In addition, over the weekend while Sharon was paying lip service to a future peace process, his tanks were brutally attacking refugee camps in Gaza, again, killing yet more Palestinians.)

All of this highlights that the Bush administration NEVER cared about inspections, disarmament, the UN, the rule of law or international order. The only thing they wanted was to conquer Iraq militarily and do so with popular US support even if that meant lying to them and the world repeatedly. Of course they got their way, it is the strongest military force in the world.

salud.
posted by sic at 2:37 AM on April 15, 2003


Riviera feigns fishing for five fresh flounders.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:30 PM on April 15, 2003


sic, why do you are you eluding my straightforward question?

Again: would you have proposed doing anything, of any sort, about the Saddam government, independent of the entire WMD question.

I really don't care about the Bush admins motivations or the American public's at this moment. I want to hear your position.
posted by shoos at 7:02 PM on April 15, 2003


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