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Osama, wild and free, is pleased...
August 22, 2003 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Terrorist playground: How America created a terrorist haven in Iraq Jessica Stern, a lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and author of "Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill" argues, in a New York Times op ed piece, that U.S. negligence has allowed Iraq to metastasize into a terrorist training camp to which Islamic militants from all over the Middle East are now flocking for a chance to attack American troops, and in which the Iraq/Al-Qaeda links alleged by the Bush Administration are becoming a reality. Listen to Jessica Stern on "On Point" tonight (a WBUR production and will be archived if you miss it).
posted by troutfishing (24 comments total)

 
yes. it is a brilliant article.

and to think i just read it yesterday.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:30 AM on August 22, 2003


HMMM
posted by clavdivs at 10:31 AM on August 22, 2003


Matt - oops. kill this post before it metasticizes!
posted by troutfishing at 10:41 AM on August 22, 2003


wow what a deja vu that was..I thought for a moment with only three comments that I was getting a cached front page... ;)
posted by dabitch at 10:49 AM on August 22, 2003


country that was not a terrorist threat
Please explain to me, why most civilian Iraqis will not hand over their weapons. Because they say they are more afraid of the bad guys, not the US army. Have you ever seen so much ammunition and weaponry coming out of such small communities?

Explain to me why a tight knit community would have such fighting powers too then, if terrorism was not a threat before we showed up.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:54 AM on August 22, 2003


Quote:
---
Please explain to me, why most civilian Iraqis will not hand over their weapons. Because they say they are more afraid of the bad guys, not the US army. Have you ever seen so much ammunition and weaponry coming out of such small communities?

Explain to me why a tight knit community would have such fighting powers too then, if terrorism was not a threat before we showed up.
---

Have you seen what the Middle East is like lately (or, in fact, for the last 50 years)?

Iraqi civilians won't hand over their weapons because they were invaded. Would you expect American civilians to hand over their weapons in the same situation?

This invasion has, indeed, created a rallying point for terrorists where one did not exist before.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:57 AM on August 22, 2003


Please explain to me, why most civilian Iraqis will not hand over their weapons.

Perhaps they believe in the right to bear arms?
posted by biffa at 10:58 AM on August 22, 2003


Have you ever seen so much ammunition and weaponry coming out of such small communities?

You would, if you tried and 'liberate' some of those northwestern state-based freedom fighters we have in our own country. Unfortunately, with our elite units in foreign countries, domestic law-enforcement units are hopelessly outgunned...

We're not willing to give up our weapons, either (or require rudimentary answers of people who'd like to buy guns)
posted by Busithoth at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2003


Also, why now does the UN want the US military to be security now, since they originally asked to have no visible US military around the building prior to it being blown up.

There are soldier every day doing what most of you want, gun control and risking their lives destroying ordinances and the weaponry stashed throughout Iraq, is this not good either? My brother witnessed six of his buddies injured doing the above, is only American weapons bad?
posted by thomcatspike at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2003


Iraqi civilians won't hand over their weapons because they were invaded. Would you expect American civilians to hand over their weapons in the same situation?

Your telling me they paid for these weapons too? Think how they got them. Can't afford food but buy weapons.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:06 AM on August 22, 2003


why most civilian Iraqis will not hand over their weapons

how do you say "from my cold dead hands" in Arabic? and in Assyrian?
posted by matteo at 11:20 AM on August 22, 2003


seriously thomcat if simple possession of weapons is a symptom of the presence of potential terrorists, well, what about Virginia, or Mississippi, or Texas?

Iraq is a former dictatorship where now nobody is really in charge. a lawless, perfect time for bad people to do bad things. with weapons

(the Iraqi Army was dissolved remember? their weapons caches kind of disappeared). plus there's jihadis coming to Iraq to kick American ass every day sadly.

a real mess. Stern has a point, power has this strange horror vacui, it always did
posted by matteo at 11:30 AM on August 22, 2003


Also, why now does the UN want the US military to be security now

Prior to the bombing, there was presumably the naive hope that the US invasion hadn't destabilized Iraq to the point where that sort of security was necessary. Now that it obviously is necessary, it seems only right that the US provide it.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:41 AM on August 22, 2003


Now that it obviously is necessary, it seems only right that the US provide it..

Agree to all above. My brother is so close to coming home, yet his missions for the last 4 months have been rounding up stashed ordinances. With his last close call to death, maybe I'm rallied by the good that I find, ridding the vast cache of weapons among the civilian population in this chaotic mess. Honestly at this point his return won't be soon enough.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:11 PM on August 22, 2003


plo chops.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:15 PM on August 22, 2003


how do you say "from my cold dead hands" in Arabic?

Min yadayni al-baridayni al-maatayn. Somehow, it just doesn't work.

Some of these weapons are kept by tribals who consider them emblems of manhood. Some more may be local militias who, to hear them tell reporters, are mainly concerned with bandits. Presumably, the guys shooting at US troops aren't talking to reporters. The tribals probably won't ditch their AKs, but could be persuaded to part with their RPGs. Most US casualties seem to be coming from roadside bombs these days, and also RPGs, not direct fire, since if you shoot at US forces, they shoot back.
posted by ednopantz at 12:33 PM on August 22, 2003


Er, uh, um, a RPG is a direct-fire weapon.
posted by moonbiter at 1:10 PM on August 22, 2003


No, it's a game for geeks.
posted by keswick at 1:24 PM on August 22, 2003


And then there are the RPGs in RPGs, which I guess makes them metaRPGs.
posted by moonbiter at 1:39 PM on August 22, 2003


Er, uh, um, a RPG is a direct-fire weapon.

I wasn't clear. What I meant was that you don't have to hit your target exactly to do them harm. One shot can blow up the whole humvee, ambulance, whatever, before the folks inside can react.
posted by ednopantz at 2:12 PM on August 22, 2003


Have you seen what the Middle East is like lately (or, in fact, for the last 50 years)?

Heck, the last 3000 years if you want to get picky about it.

I do kinda see the point of view. Saddam was no altarboy, but at least under his brutal regime they had electricity, clean water, roads, and a viable banking system.

*sigh* We broke it (this time), I guess we'd better get started fixing it.
posted by ilsa at 2:14 PM on August 22, 2003


To call the theme of the article/MeFi post sorta back into play apparently after it was inadvertantly already bought back into play see 27783:

I saved a full page ad from before the war even began. The ad still hangs in my closet. It shows Osama depicted as U. Sam and underneath it states, " I WANT YOU TO INVADE IRAQ"

Underneath there were links to Moveon.org and Iraqpolicy.org

I go to these sites today and they have not yet picked up on how, in reality (though they may not have exactly described it literally all those months ago ) their image choice was quite prophetic.
posted by RubberHen at 4:16 PM on August 22, 2003


Yeah, except it was a highly simplistic argument based on little evidence then and it remains so today.
Has the war in Iraq created legions of new Islamsists who would overthrow the region's govenrments? Well, so far, the evidence is: no. To the extent that people are going for jihad in Iraq, they are mainly Saudis, no doubt motivated in part by the post 11 May crackdown in that country. The non Arab jihadis who went to Afghanistan or Bosnia are simply not in evidence.
posted by ednopantz at 6:17 PM on August 22, 2003


"Has the war in Iraq created legions of new Islamsists who would overthrow the region's governments?"(ednopantz) - Who can answer this question? What government would give an honest answer? ........... None. So this is an ironic question, one that lacks likely official response. But I'd say that Jessica Stern's opinion on the subject carries a bit of clout

Rhe US occupation of Iraq has reinforced many pre-existing Islamic world stereotypes of US government foreign policy motives: try to prove these stereotypical suppositions wrong - good luck! . I've read a considerable number of accounts of non-Saudi Islamicists who have gone to Iraq to fight Americans. These accounts could be delusional or outright lies, of course.

But I think that the argument was based on rather basic observations of human nature, as in: people who are extremely different from us, and who constitute an invading force, are a priori bad, and should be attacked. I think this is a rather basic (if negative) human instinct, no?
posted by troutfishing at 9:03 PM on August 22, 2003


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