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Let's Make Enemies
April 2, 2004 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Let's Make Enemies...The CPA has also confirmed that after June 30, the $18.4 billion the US government is spending on reconstruction will be administered by the US Embassy in Iraq. The money will be spent over five years and will fundamentally redesign Iraq's most basic infrastructure, including its electricity, water, oil and communications sectors, as well as its courts and police. Iraq's future governments will have no say in the construction of these core sectors of Iraqi society. Retired Rear Adm. David Nash, who heads the Project Management Office, which administers the funds, describes the $18.4 billion as "a gift from the American people to the people of Iraq." He appears to have forgotten the part about gifts being something you actually give up. And in the same eventful week, US engineers began construction on fourteen "enduring bases" in Iraq, capable of housing the 110,000 soldiers who will be posted here for at least two more years. Even though the bases are being built with no mandate from an Iraqi government, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy chief of operations in Iraq, called them "a blueprint for how we could operate in the Middle East." ...
posted by Postroad (69 comments total)

 
how can any reasonable person - let alone an iraqi or anyone else living the middle east, not be cynical about this bullshit?
posted by specialk420 at 4:14 PM on April 2, 2004


Wait... I thought y'all were told you were leaving there in June?

*said sweetly, blinking lashes*

Oh, I'm sorry. Y'all are "handing over power" in June.

Next thing you know, it'll emerge that this $18.4 billion gift has to be spent on American goods and services.

Naw.
posted by stonerose at 4:15 PM on April 2, 2004


Iraq's future governments will have no say in the construction of these core sectors of Iraqi society

Hrmmm... you can burn and mutilate a lot of bodies with $18.4 billion...
posted by wfrgms at 4:15 PM on April 2, 2004


how can any reasonable person - let alone an iraqi or anyone else living the middle east, not be cynical about this bullshit?

Or sorrowful at the hubris and folly... If a democratic Iraq appears at the end of all this, I wll confess to my errors in thinking otherwise. I have my doubts that it will, however, and fear what troubles we may have caused for ourselves. We broke it but can we fix it? We shall see.
posted by y2karl at 4:21 PM on April 2, 2004


We broke it

We broke Iraq?
posted by BlueTrain at 4:28 PM on April 2, 2004


Hmm. I wonder if Halliburton will figure into this?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:30 PM on April 2, 2004


Hmm. I wonder if Halliburton will figure into these core construction projects?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:32 PM on April 2, 2004


While being skeptical as to how the United States, the UN and the whole world will handle the situation in Iraq and in the Middle East, reasonable people could say that military occupation of Japan and Germany worked out pretty nicely in the end.

Sure, be cynical, be skeptical, take the administration to task, but this strategy has worked before and, at least right now, there no reason to believe that Iraq can't be a Japan or Germany 20 or 30 years down the road. Of course the situations are different, and of course circumstances can change, but that's why the entire world should be pouring money and resources into Iraq to make sure it's a success story. Politics and past arguments aside, where are the other governments of the world presenting realistic and positive alternatives?
posted by loquax at 4:35 PM on April 2, 2004


[automated fpp bitching]

this posts because (check all that apply)

[x] You are pushing an agenda.
[x] You posted about Iraq.
[x] Newsfilter.

[/automated fpp bitching]
posted by keswick at 4:37 PM on April 2, 2004


er, that should be "this post sucks because"
posted by keswick at 4:38 PM on April 2, 2004


sorry Keswick--simplify things for us and send a list of what we can and can not post.
posted by Postroad at 4:39 PM on April 2, 2004


We broke Iraq?

blue train - i would imagine if you googled "saddam hussein and cia", and "saddam hussein and us support for war against iran" .... you wouild find your answer. not to mention the mess the us has made of the place since we "liberated" the iraqi's.
posted by specialk420 at 4:41 PM on April 2, 2004


I'm sorry, Postroad, but you're just being disingenuous. You know what makes a good post; you just don't care.
posted by keswick at 4:43 PM on April 2, 2004


You are pushing an agenda.

someone is pushing an agenda alright, postroad is just shining a little light on their efforts. thanks for the post mr. postroad.
posted by specialk420 at 4:51 PM on April 2, 2004


We broke Iraq?

You seem to forget the looting we had to permit because we wouldn't commit the troops to police the country after we defeated the regular military. We are going to be rebuilding a lot of infrastructure that was not damaged before the war for a long time to come. Whether we bombed or stood by while there was looting--which had been predicted in the discarded State Department post war plan--we are responsible for the damage.
posted by y2karl at 4:55 PM on April 2, 2004


"I hope someone feels safer, because we certainly don't."
posted by specialk420 at 4:58 PM on April 2, 2004


Whether we bombed or stood by while there was looting--which had been predicted in the discarded State Department post war plan--we are responsible for the damage.

But isn't that what the US is doing by keeping troops there and committing to the long term rebuilding and improvement of conditions in Iraq? For argument's sake, say every last thing the Americans have done in Iraq so far has been wrong, what would your policy be? What should the US do? Is keeping troops there and contributing billions towards infrastructure so bad that it warrants complete derision? Why isn't anyone else proposing alternatives that they can back with resources? What would Kerry do if elected?
posted by loquax at 5:03 PM on April 2, 2004


Of course, I meant "isn't the US taking responsibility...."
posted by loquax at 5:04 PM on April 2, 2004


we are responsible for the damage.

As I've made clear before, I've been persuaded to believe that Iraq was a mistake. But to suggest that we are responsible for Iraqi looting, compared to the dictatorial regime that existed prior to our war, is ridiculous and hyperbolic. They looted their own capital, taking advantage of the temporary anarchy that exists during changes in leadership of this kind. If we, the US, went in there with our troops, and lost even more lives, simply to preserve Iraqi artifacts or infrastructure, you'd be arguing that we shouldn't be there in the first place.

Yes, I believe it was a mistake, but our government approved the war and we must understand the consequences. Iraqis destroying their own country is NOT our fault.

Why not simply understand some of the collateral damage involved with such a military presence, instead of finding fault with every damn event? This is why I appear to be pro-Bush. Not because I approve of his decisions, but because I understand some of the consequences associated with them. Bush isn't wrong all the damn time. He's made some good decisions. He's made some terrible ones as well. Fortunately, I have the ability to change my mind as more information becomes available. I try not to make the President into the devil every time politics are discussed.
posted by BlueTrain at 5:06 PM on April 2, 2004


We broke Iraq?

Kind of like clogging up a toilet. It may be our shit... but it's still a toilet.
posted by wfrgms at 5:11 PM on April 2, 2004


In the short term, sure, it's a robbery. Some fatass rich Americans use their power over the aWol Administration and the US Army to become even richer, over the dead bodies of tens of thousands of Iraqis and dozens of Americans. Evil happens. It always has.

In the long term, like fifty years, Iraq might be another Japan. Which would be a good thing.

Considering the Iraqis are used to "gifts" from Saddam (and all his precursors, it's not as if Iraq was a paradise of peace and democracy before the US installed him), "gifts" from Uncle Sam won't look so bad.

As for what Kerry would do if elected ... let's face it, W's a hard act to follow. Not.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:22 PM on April 2, 2004


Sorry, BlueTrain, and I don't have the time to look it up--I've a guest coming to visit--but that there could be looting was anticipated. We had experiences with looting in Kosovo, I believe--and a plan was drawn up by the State Department that would have prevented at least some of the looting. But it was rejected by the Pentagon.

We did not provide enough troops to secure the country, therefore the looting is on our hands. That is my imperfect understanding. If I am wrong, some one will point it out.
posted by y2karl at 5:32 PM on April 2, 2004


He's made some good decisions. He's made some terrible ones as well.

say bluetrain ... since lists have emerged as part of the theme of this thread ... could you provide us a with a list of the "good decisions" you claim bush has made in the past 4 years (we could go back a lot farther looking for "good decisions" made by bush, but - indulge us, please... )
posted by specialk420 at 5:44 PM on April 2, 2004


to suggest that we are responsible for Iraqi looting, compared to the dictatorial regime that existed prior to our war, is ridiculous and hyperbolic.

Well, you do have a point. But that point is dulled somewhat by the fact that the (formerly relatively prosperous and egaliatarian, by middle-east standards) Iraqis were driven to selling everything they owned in order to get medical treatment under the inhumane, U.S.-led sanctions.

Of course, it's Saddam who's to blame for all that suffering, right? Saddam, who is simultaneously the "madman" and yet "responsible for the suffering of his people under the sanctions."

Whether it's south L.A. or Baghdad, poor people will eventually loot property if you keep them down long enough.
posted by stonerose at 6:02 PM on April 2, 2004


We broke it but can we fix it?

You're telling me you were referring to the infrastructure that was damaged during the war, and you question whether it can be rebuilt? Hmmm. What an odd question.

If a democratic Iraq appears at the end of all this, I wll confess to my errors in thinking...

Your confession will be good for your soul, but won't be enough to compensate those who had to listen to your unrelenting rhetoric between now and then. You see, it's going to take quite some time, and you, karl, never shut up.

Of course, it's Saddam who's to blame for all that suffering, right?

Actually, all of Arab society shares the guilt.
posted by David Dark at 6:32 PM on April 2, 2004


And here I was hoping my taxes were going to my future retirement funds.
posted by drpartypoopercrankypantsesquire at 6:52 PM on April 2, 2004


Wait... I thought y'all were told you were leaving there in June?

*said sweetly, blinking lashes*

Oh, I'm sorry. Y'all are "handing over power" in June.


Americans understand the distinction very well, Barry. Our forces won't be leaving for quite some time, and we know it. You must be thinking of the Spanish, who believe that they can appease the bullies by meeting their demands.

Sadly, this is not the case...
posted by David Dark at 7:08 PM on April 2, 2004


I have an opinion on everyone's comments. My opinion is americans can do as they damn well please with their money. Evidently this is somehow hard to understand for commies. Let me explain. See this dollar bill, commies? ITS MINE. GET IT?

I also have an opinion on the article itself. It seems to be written by some sort of communist. Almost certainly unwashed. You can tell by the casual "hip" mention of the "anti state"-"state" propaganda organ BBC and its typical anti american drivel.
posted by Bad Commie at 7:21 PM on April 2, 2004


Bad Commie, are you lost? this isn't fark.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:39 PM on April 2, 2004


Actually, all of Arab society shares the guilt.

And maybe you can explain why blaming all Arabs for the actions of Iraq is any less ridiculous and reprehensible than blaming all Jews for the actions of Israel?
posted by Ty Webb at 7:45 PM on April 2, 2004


I may be lost, but the shining light of my knife will tell me where the commies went. Please, expeditiously direct me to the nearest commie so I may stab it, if you want to help.
posted by Bad Commie at 7:46 PM on April 2, 2004


It's Operation Enduring Bases.
posted by rdone at 7:58 PM on April 2, 2004


Oh Bad Commie, I know a lot about commies (I studied in the Soviet Union back when I was CIA double agent), and you are the baddest. Save us with your knife!
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:01 PM on April 2, 2004


Please, expeditiously direct me to the nearest commie so I may stab it, if you want to help.

I don't suppose there's any chance you could confine this hilarious routine to your riotously amusing blog?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:07 PM on April 2, 2004


If you want to be saved you should probably read the Bible or see "The Passion" or something. I'm only "looking out" for knife makers.

These political articles are very tedious, but the application of a vigorous stabbing usually gets the blood going and sorts things neatly into column A and dead pile of commie corpses B.
posted by Bad Commie at 8:11 PM on April 2, 2004


No, I'm afraid not, commietage. Awfully sorry, old chap.

Is there a reason why you can't tolerate criticism of communist drivel?

It's a black and white world. You have to get with the times, m'boy. When talking about politics, the debate needs to be elevated to eye level, where it's easier to stab commies.
posted by Bad Commie at 8:15 PM on April 2, 2004


On to practicalities. It seems to be obvious that by the US directing their infrastructure rebuild, it will accomplish the following:

1) All the parts will work together with optimum efficiency. For instance, while a standardized and interactive electrical grid seems commonplace here, Iraq's spotty non-system was too piecemeal--a problem way too common in the Mideast. Rural development in Iraq was crippled, as a consequence.

2) That a friendly-to-the-west Iraq becomes a democratic and economic powerhouse changes the cultural dynamic for maybe 20 countries in the region and Africa. Right now their rate of growth is #1 on the planet. If that can be maintained, their economy could rival Japan's in 20 years.
More than anything else, they would strongly counterbalance Iran, assuming Iran remains a rogue state (which would be a tragedy in itself.)

3) No Iraqi corporation is large enough and international enough to guarantee massive infrastructure development on time and to specs. Early criticism that Iraqi contractors could have rebuilt this or that bridge cheaper is only true for a single project; to rebuild 30 or 40 bridges *now*, and well, you need to go outside of Iraq.

4) While creating large corporations creates jobs, medium to small companies create far more employment. A working infrastructure makes it possible for the rapid development of medium and small companies--all that is needed is startup capital, if your water, power, supply and other needs can be met.

5) Their entire infrastructure will be compatible with American and European models. Therefore upgrading will be a lot easier and cheaper, and will save Iraq a lot of money in the future.

The bottom line is that this seems to be more a subject of economic practicalities rather than political tomfoolery.
posted by kablam at 8:24 PM on April 2, 2004


The CPA has also confirmed that after June 30, the $18.4 billion the US government is spending on reconstruction will be administered by the US Embassy in Iraq.
That'll go over especially well if Wolfowitz is the ambassador to Iraq then (rumor has it he's being considered for the job). (Not the best link, but at the moment it's just a rumor about a possibility anyway.)
posted by uosuaq at 8:27 PM on April 2, 2004


And maybe you can explain why blaming all Arabs for the actions of Iraq is any less ridiculous and reprehensible than blaming all Jews for the actions of Israel?

I would, but then, the link does it for me. That's sort of the point of linking. Off you go, now, to read what you should've read already.
posted by David Dark at 8:42 PM on April 2, 2004


Agreed kablam. I don't see how the goals of the United States in Iraq, if fully carried out to their successful conclusion can do anything but help the people of Iraq and the region in the ways you mentioned. Political bickering and overreaction to short-term setbacks and tragedies aside, Iraq has the potential to be the place to be this century. The world should be dwelling on the future and how to best accomplish that rather than obsessing over the minutiae of the past and present. If these efforts fail, either through incompetence or lack of support, the tragedy to come in Iraq will dwarf anything we've seen yet.
posted by loquax at 8:46 PM on April 2, 2004


could you provide us a with a list of the "good decisions" you claim bush has made

specialk420, try this:

Executive Order on Terrorist Financing

Listen, I don't need to prove to you, or anyone else, that Bush has made a great deal of "good decisions". Truth is, I don't pay enough attention to mark down every event in which I agree with the guy. But the BS about his being "evil" or "the worst President in history" is ridiculous and extremely polarizing.

Unfortunately, I think a bunch of people here feel that the only way to promote their views is to make their opponents into the devil, which is ironic, since the same people denounce Bush's rhetoric as "us vs. them".
posted by BlueTrain at 8:50 PM on April 2, 2004


specialk420, here's another reasonably good decision by the current administration, at least in my books:

The lack of the Taliban seems pretty positive, in particular the following passage:

[F]ollowing the Taliban's refusal to hand over Usama bin LADIN to the US for his suspected involvement in the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, a US-led international coalition was formed; after several weeks of aerial bombardment by coalition forces and military action on the ground, including Afghan opposition forces, the Taliban was ousted from power on 17 November 2001
posted by loquax at 9:05 PM on April 2, 2004


Sorry, there was a link there to the world factbook entry on Afghanistan, which is where the quote is from.

http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html

Still trying to get a handle on this posting business...
posted by loquax at 9:10 PM on April 2, 2004


1) All the parts will work together with optimum efficiency.

But we're not primarily interested in efficiency, but effectiveness. If involving the locals significantly increases the likelihood of success it may well be worth it even if doing so takes longer and costs more. In other words, it doesn't matter how nice a power station we build them if someone comes along and blows it up afterwards.

We're going to be in this for the long haul one way or the other so we might as well try to do it right. Doing it right neither involves walking out nor pretending that everything that has been done so far has been good and effective.

A good plan for the future would probably include admitting mistakes, so we can learn from them, and including more other people, such as perhaps the UN, in the mix. The current administration has shown zero inclination for either of those so far, but even they are capable of change for the better.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 9:11 PM on April 2, 2004


I would, but then, the link does it for me. That's sort of the point of linking. Off you go, now, to read what you should've read already.

Yes, I see that you can use the link function below. Very good. I also see from your retreat into sarcasm that you cannot defend your argument. Wanna try again?
posted by Ty Webb at 9:31 PM on April 2, 2004


could you provide us a with a list of the "good decisions" you claim bush has made -- Executive Order on Terrorist Financing

How ironic that you should choose this as your citation since it is a perfect example of Bush's pattern of making an announcement, taking a bow and then failing to follow through. This report from the Council on Foreign Relations, a bipartisan panel of terrorism and financial experts, shows Bush did very little on this score, in particular with regard to the Saudis, partly because of the long history financial dealings involving his family.
posted by JackFlash at 9:48 PM on April 2, 2004


No, the irony, JackFlash, is that just a day ago I mentioned how no Democratic politician claimed Al Qaeda as a major threat. Not more than an hour later I was bombarded with talk of Clinton's bombing in Sudan in search of bin Laden, to which my response was, he failed to follow through.

Again, you can't have it both ways. What exactly needs to happen for a President to claim success? Absolute victory, a moral victory, dead brown people, a brainwashed populace, or just a bunch of partisan wankers, on any issue/position, talking one side up by destroying another? What is the criteria for success?
posted by BlueTrain at 10:01 PM on April 2, 2004


Listen, I don't need to prove to you, or anyone else, that Bush has made a great deal of "good decisions". Truth is, I don't pay enough attention to mark down every event in which I agree with the guy. But the BS about his being "evil" or "the worst President in history" is ridiculous and extremely polarizing.
Touche. You don't, technically, even need to keep breathing. And "evil" seems to be a matter of taste. But I, and many people I know (granted, I live in a very liberal area) seriously feel that Bush is the worst president in American history. But it's not ridiculous, because (a) one of the presidents has to be the worst, and (b) Bush has done so many things we think are bad that we've lost track (admittedly, not all are well-reported...I blame the press not only for his election but for the fact that his approval rating is still at the overly high level of 49%). And if it's polarizing, it's not our fault that we read about what he's done and feel that way. Disliking the president is polarizing the way wishing the Federal minimum wage ($5.15) would go up after seven years is class warfare. You can "agree with the guy", and I can think you're stupid, or maybe just a tool, for doing so -- but let's be democratic and argue our cases rather than killing the discussion by calling it partisanship.
posted by uosuaq at 10:32 PM on April 2, 2004


"...just a day ago I mentioned how no Democratic politician claimed Al Qaeda as a major threat. Not more than an hour later I was bombarded with talk of Clinton's bombing in Sudan in search of bin Laden" - Bluetrain, that's a selective omission. You were also bombarded with the names of those Democratic politicians who considered Al Qaeda to be a threat prior to 9-11 (And the names of a number of such Republicans as well).
posted by troutfishing at 10:40 PM on April 2, 2004


You don't, technically, even need to keep breathing.

Really? I get the distinct impression that you prefer my early demise. Perhaps that's me, though. Here I though breathing was necessary.

that's a selective omission.

troutfishing, I could accuse you of the same tactic. You've ignored my concluding questions, which included the context of my previous comments, in favor of establishing a point that never existed. My comment wasn't pointing to the lack of politicians, because that comment was debunked in the previous thread. My idea was to establish the basis for a President's measure of success, since that was being called into question earlier in this thread.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:55 PM on April 2, 2004


And my last comment was barely coherent. If anyone can decipher it, let me know. My ass needs some sleep.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:59 PM on April 2, 2004


Bluetrain, he would have to **BE** PRESIDENT to start with. Everything he does is, by definition, a failure because he is NOT THE PRESIDENT. We left Constitutional authority in 2000.
posted by filchyboy at 11:45 PM on April 2, 2004


Kablam's support for the spending plan seems disingenous to me. Regarding specific points:

#2- The culture of Iraq will affect the culture of the mideast, but it works in the other direction too. I see no reason that the prediction that a west-friendly Iraq will soften regional opinions of the U.S. is more likely than the prediction that regional hostility will increase because of the greater perceived threat we now pose. And the argument about mideast growth is silly; I've got a petri dish of bacteria doubling every half hour. If they continue that rate of growth, they'll cover the Earth in a week!

#3- You're right, no Iraqi corporation is ready to handle our jobs. And by keeping our $18.4 billion away from them, it will now be even longer until they are.

#4- Regardless of what size company you're dealing with, if you want to create Iraqi employment, the solution is to pay Iraqis, not Americans. And the argument about company size can be turned on its head as well; I think that you'll create more jobs by paying small companies, because the money is more likely to stay in the country (as opposed to going funding American stock options). Plus, I'm not sure that large companies benefit from running water any less than small companies do.

#5- Similarly, what if the Iraqi infratstructure becomes compatible with Western practices, and incompatible with regional ones?

I think that having reconstruction funding be handled by the U.S. is good because established western corporations will probably get more done for the same buck, but that doesn't matter. We should pay extra to have the work be overseen by and performed by Iraqis.
posted by gsteff at 3:37 AM on April 3, 2004


"Why isn't anyone else proposing alternatives that they can back with resources?"

By "anyone else", you mean "any other country", I presume.

The answer is simple. The U.S. controls the country and its entire economy, and is violating international law in order to exercise this control and tamper with their economy.

Likewise, it violated international law to attack Iraq in the first place. Bush flat-out promised that he would go to the UN for an up-or-down vote for authorization to attack Iraq. He lied.

Why should the nations of the world reward the U.S. by helping them rebuild Iraq, unless the U.S. makes some kind of reasonable concessions on anything of importance, giving up some of their power over Iraq?

As for the argument that only the US could rebuild Iraq's infrastructure in a timely and correct manner, that's just hokum. If the US is paying for a given contract, they are in the position to define the contract, its specs, and the quality of the work expected. Going to the lowest bidder who could reasonably execute on the specs would have employed more Iraqis, reduced tensions in the country, reduced the level of interference in reconstruction projects, sped up the reconstruction, and brought in more specialists from around the world, including neighboring Arab states and Europe. Oh, and it would have saved us taxpayers money too...

There is *NO* supportable evidence that getting the job done by U.S. companies would result in more getting done for the same buck. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary, however -- everything from the long lines in Iraq for overpriced gasoline to the bridge reconstruction projects that cost an order of magnitude more for the U.S. to repair. Of course, any economist could also tell you that by keeping the jobs local, there is a very significant additional economic benefit to the Iraqi economy and to the unemployment figures, but that's just common sense.

By attempting to economically control and micromanage every aspect of the reconstruction, all that has been done is to make the reconstruction far more time-consuming and expensive, both in cost and in lives. It has also prolonged the suffering of the Iraqi people, who are still facing 50% unemployment, kidnappings, shootings of intellectuals, repression of women, and escalated acts of violence against the civilian population.

So, yes, there have been plenty of alternatives available, but they all depend on one thing -- the U.S. relinquishing its chokehold on the people of Iraq.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:41 AM on April 3, 2004


Listen, I don't need to prove to you, or anyone else, that Bush has made a great deal of "good decisions". Truth is, I don't pay enough attention to mark down every event in which I agree with the guy.

you sound exactly like every other bush supporter who i have asked the same question of ... kind a vague statement about how he is "good" and "does what he says he going to" ... but never any specifics.

the terrorist financing link is BS - what specifically has bush down in saudi arabia to pursue those that funded the 9-11 terrorists (including the wife of his buddy bandar)? or any other fundamentalist groups there? .... very little if anything.

as for afganistan - i believe if we had a president gore we would have done the exact same thing ... except i think gore would have stuck with afganistan and followed through with rebuilding afganistan and tracking down the terrorists and taliban rather than running off to iraq - to chase false claims about terrorists connections there and non-existent wmds.

karzai himself said just last week that his country was in danger of falling back into the grip of terrorism and drug dealing.

indulge us - and create your little list of things of things you think bush has done right ... excuses about being tired and making notes to yourself about all the "great deeds" bush has done during his 4 years in office, don't quite cut it.
posted by specialk420 at 10:27 AM on April 3, 2004


How about this, specialk420?
posted by BlueTrain at 12:18 PM on April 3, 2004


McNamara might be sneaky and self-serving, but his sheer vigour and unapologetic brainpower are as refreshing as iced water. What a change to the mealy-mouthed doublethink emanating from Downing Street and the down-home evasions in the White House. What does McNamara make of the difference between weapons of mass destruction and weapons of mass destruction "programmes"? What does he think of 9/11? What does he think of the Iraq wars? Frustratingly, we never hear him chance his arm with some straight talking about something that concerns us all right now. After all, in 30 years' time maybe Donald Rumsfeld will sound twinkly-eyed and charming too.
posted by matteo at 1:26 PM on April 3, 2004


insomnia_lj: you forgot how good the current alternative seems to be working. Such as unemployment dropping from 50% to 28%.

It must be brutal living in a country with the highest growth rate in the world, the best tax structure in the region, billions of dollars from oil flowing out along with vast amounts of consumer goods flowing in, 5.5 million students going to school, a working health care system, and an honest sectarian government for a change, ALL UNDER the vicious and uncaring American regime, huh?

France could do it better, no doubt.
posted by kablam at 1:40 PM on April 3, 2004


ALL UNDER the vicious and uncaring American regime, huh?
Why does Iraq get what we don't? We live under the vicious and uncaring American regime, and we don't even have a working health care system or money for our schools here, let alone a good growth rate.
posted by amberglow at 1:50 PM on April 3, 2004


How about this, specialk420?

that's your list bluetrain? i hope you didn't spend all afternoon on that one.

i hope you don't seriously think bush really gives a shit about child sex trafficking? and how old were those girls his brother neil was messing around with over in thailand?
posted by specialk420 at 5:06 PM on April 3, 2004


You've just proven why your comments aren't worth an intelligent response. If you have one iota of proof demonstrating Neil's acts of child molestation, post it. Otherwise, leave the blatant trolls off the blue.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:11 PM on April 3, 2004


What do allegations against Neil Bush made by his ex-wife (even if true) have to do with administration policy, the situation in Iraq or anything else? Do we really want to drag up Roger Clinton again? He wasn't relevant to Clinton administration policy either. Not to mention Billy.

If you want to say that Bush is a horrible president, fine, but then let's at least talk about George.
posted by loquax at 7:35 PM on April 3, 2004


save your piousness for someone else bluetrain -

you made the statement bush has made "good decisions" then when called out to list the "good decisions"

you made excuses then came up with an flimsy triple link to an intiative that most certainly was not one of that came from the shallow mind of awol bush - but rather one that he was more than happy to take credit for when given the opportunity - i doubt there was a lot of critical decision making going on when that one crossed old boys desk.

finally...

you seriously think all those thai hookers neil bush got into were over 18?
posted by specialk420 at 7:50 PM on April 3, 2004


Can we talk about "Nancy" now? I suppose she wasn't "relevant" either though....
posted by SweetIceT at 8:12 PM on April 3, 2004


"...such as unemployment dropping from 50% to 28%."

Bullshit. That's not what it says. The article says that the World Bank puts unemployment at 50%, while Iraq's planning ministry says it is 28%. Which one of those two groups has the largest motivation to fudge the statistics?

Meanwhile, the article says that over 60% of Iraqis require rations -- food, dried milk, soap, etc. -- just to keep afloat. The only way that this could gibe with 28% unemployment is if over half of these "employed" workers are either underemployed or are paid a salary that is lower than subsistance level.

Just the other day, the Christian Science Monitor did a piece where they quoted the CPA as saying that the unemployment was as high as 45%... and again, those are CPA statistics. What is clear is that unemployment is still a huge problem in Iraq, and even amongst those who are employed, jobs do not pay enough to live on. So yes, I call that brutal.

As for the vast amount of cheap goods flowing in, that is also a problem, in that it is making it impossible for local Iraqi businesses to get off the ground, much less compete with foriegn producers. Of course, by outsourcing so much of the reconstruction work, when the contracts are over and the businesses go home, Iraq may well be left like some kind of inner city reconstruction project -- an improved infrastructure that falls apart (or gets looted) because the longterm job growth and the hope aren't there for enough of the population to support it.

And as for a working heathcare system, that is an even greater pile of bull. Did you even read the second page of the FPP?

"The Iraqis can deal with their decrepit hospitals all by themselves, complete with their chronic drug shortages and lack of the most basic sanitation capacity."

Which leads me to say this to you -- If you love Iraq so much, why don't you move there? Go join your comrades happy, democratic citizens and live in their socialist free market utopia. Share meals of steak and lobster in front a widescreen television (where the power never goes out). Enjoy their quality healthcare and drink lots of the crystal fresh water straight from the tap.

I'm sure they'll welcome another American like you with open arms. Hell, if you go to Fallujah, maybe they'll even show you the view from the top of the bridge.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:22 PM on April 3, 2004


ouch
posted by matteo at 11:32 AM on April 4, 2004


SweetIceT: Nancy who? Reagan? If so, she was out there, but she likely had more influence on that administration than various black sheep brothers. That's all I was trying to say, I wasn't trying to highlight democratic black sheep family members.
posted by loquax at 6:10 PM on April 4, 2004


insomnia - i owe you cold one.
posted by specialk420 at 6:24 PM on April 4, 2004


We broke Iraq?

Before the war with Iraq, Powell bluntly told Bush that if he sent U.S. troops there "you're going to be owning this place." Powell and his deputy and closest friend, Richard L. Armitage, used to refer to what they called "the Pottery Barn rule" on Iraq: "You break it, you own it," according to Woodward.

It's not an uncommon assessment.
posted by y2karl at 3:59 AM on April 17, 2004


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