Join 3,516 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Iraq: Bush's Islamic Republic 'n Stuff
July 19, 2005 9:24 AM   Subscribe

There are two central problems in today's Iraq: the first is the insurgency and the second is an Iranian takeover. The insurgency, for all its violence, is a finite problem. The insurgents may not be defeated but they cannot win. This, of course, raises a question about what a prolonged US military presence in Iraq can accomplish, since there is no military solution to the problem of Sunni Arab rejection of Shiite rule, which is now integral to the insurgency. Iraq's Shiites endured decades of brutal repression, to which the United States was mostly indifferent. Iran, by contrast, was a good friend and committed supporter of the Shiites. By bringing freedom to Iraq, the Bush administration has allowed Iraq's Shiites to vote for pro-Iranian religious parties that seek to create--and are creating--an Islamic state. This is not ideal but it is the result of a democratic process.   Iraq: Bush's Islamic Republic
posted by y2karl (46 comments total)

 
Obaid said in an interview from London that his Saudi study found that 'the largest group is young kids who saw the images [of the war] on TV and are reading the stuff on the Internet. Or they see the name of a cousin on the list or a guy who belongs to their tribe, and they feel a responsibility to go.' Other fighters, who are coming to Iraq from across the Middle East and North Africa, are older, in their late 20s or 30s, and have families, according to the two investigations. 'The vast majority of them had nothing to do with Al Qaeda before Sept. 11th and have nothing to do with Al Qaeda today,' said Reuven Paz, author of the Israeli study. 'I am not sure the American public is really aware of the enormous influence of the war in Iraq, not just on Islamists but the entire Arab world.'

Iraq: 'the vast majority of... foreign fighters are not former terrorists and became radicalized by the war itself.'

In the capital, many people believe the simplest way to stay alive is not to leave home. They cut their car journeys to the minimum. The streets are much emptier than usual. Many people with money have left the country. The main meeting place for Iraqi businessmen, frightened of kidnapping as well as bombs, is the hotels of Amman in Jordan. The same is true of much of the government. Ministers are notorious for their interest in foreign travel.

Iraq: A nation where suicide bombing is a fact of life

"Cost of the war": a cliché to normalize the carnage, like the anaesthetizing term "collateral damage" and that new semantic horror, "torture lite." And yet the "cost of the war" report, by now a hackneyed convention of American journalism, includes only American casualties--no Iraqis--itself a violation of the American mainstream media's own professed commitment to "objectivity." Three years of "anniversary" articles in the American media adding up the so-called "cost of the war" in Iraq have focused exclusively on Americans killed, American dollars spent, American hardware destroyed, with barely a mention of the Iraqi dead as part of that "cost."

Iraq: How many Iraqis have died in our war in their country?

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost taxpayers $314 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office projects additional expenses of perhaps $450 billion over the next 10 years.

Iraq: Casualty of War: The US Economy
See also Casualty of War: The U.S. Economy. Chronicle graphic

There are some Unintended Consequences.

To paraphrase--and in the voice of--Edward G. Robinson in The Ten Commandments, So, where's your dream of Democracy in the Middle East now, Moses?
posted by y2karl at 9:26 AM on July 19, 2005


y2karl, metafilter's keith moon: he beats one drum, but he beats it very well.
posted by three blind mice at 9:38 AM on July 19, 2005


Just because balkinazation failed once doesn't mean it will fail every time.

partitioning Iraq into independent states with a weak, central government that deals with Oil, national defense, and civil rights might be a good idea.

My vision would be: three or four independent states, with a guaranteed minimum level of civil rights for all ethnicities. People will have the freedom to travel, live, and work in all of Iraq, regardless of ethnicity.

Independent states cannot have their own armies, so they won't be able to go to war with each other.

Finally, oil money will be divided equally.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 AM on July 19, 2005


I thought this post was about Hersh's column on the U.S. fix of the Iraq Election. Still good though.
posted by destro at 9:48 AM on July 19, 2005


Independent states cannot have their own armies, so they won't be able to go to war with each other.

Or defend themselves

People will have the freedom to travel, live, and work in all of Iraq, regardless of ethnicity.

And be greeted as liberators with rose petals at their feet where ever they travel
posted by ElvisJesus at 9:52 AM on July 19, 2005


That Hersh column was pretty good. Where are your free elections now?
posted by caddis at 9:54 AM on July 19, 2005


Visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said that Tehran and Baghdad have decided to form five working committees. According to IRNA, Iraqi State Television quoted the Prime Minister as saying the committees' focus will include economic, political, and security issues and other affairs of mutual interests...

During the meeting, al-Jaafari pointed to historical and geographical commonalities between the two states and said that Tehran and Baghdad have been enjoying close and stable relations. He expressed the hope that Iran and Iraq would consolidate cooperation on issues of mutual interest through consultations.


Iran, Iraq form five working committees

So, there is one clear winner in this war: Iran.
posted by y2karl at 9:56 AM on July 19, 2005


There is, in fact, no Iraqi insurgency. There is a Sunni Arab insurgency.

So this means that the Shi'ite Insurgency was defeated. Which seems like progress to me. Is it enough progress? I don't know.

Also, y2karl's original link is not an analysis, its an opinion piece.
but the [Iraqi] government has no intention of keeping on people associated with Saddam's regime (specific indicators? I mean besides Shi'ites hate Sunnis)

The ratification clause of the TAL creates a timed fuse that could blow Iraq apart, and as is true for so much else that has gone wrong, it is American arrogance and ignorance that are to blame.
(how will the TAL blow Iraq apart? What specific acts of arrogance/ignorance are to blame?)

The Bush administration should, however, draw the line at allowing a Shiite theocracy to establish control over all of Iraq.
(what kind of line and how should it be drawn, and what I found even more interestingly was the advocacy for MORE US meddling in Iraqi affairs, not less.)

I'll have to follow his links in the comments, later today. I'm hopeful they are better than the FPP link.
posted by forforf at 10:57 AM on July 19, 2005


25,000 civilians killed since Iraq invasion, says report

The coalition appears to be killing four times as many Iraqi civilians as the insurgency is.
posted by carter at 11:07 AM on July 19, 2005


but the [Iraqi] government has no intention of keeping on people associated with Saddam's regime
(specific indicators? I mean besides Shi'ites hate Sunnis)


Next sentences:

Too many of them have the blood of Shiites or Kurds on their hands, and neither group is in a forgiving mood. But the Americans, with little comprehension of Iraq's recent history, seem not to understand. Recently, the Kurds identified the retired Iraqi officer who personally carried out the 1983 execution of more than five thousand members of the tribe of the Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. The killer's son holds a senior security position in Iraq, appointed by the American occupation authorities.

The ratification clause of the TAL creates a timed fuse that could blow Iraq apart, and as is true for so much else that has gone wrong, it is American arrogance and ignorance that are to blame.
(how will the TAL blow Iraq apart? What specific acts of arrogance/ignorance are to blame?)


Next sentences:

When Iraq's Governing Council was considering the TAL in February 2004, the Kurds came up with a simple proposal to protect their existing autonomy: the permanent constitution would come into effect if ratified by a majority of Iraqis, but would only be operative in Kurdistan if ratified by a majority of Kurdistan's voters. This simple formula, which involved no veto on the ratification on the constitution but only a geographic limitation on where it would apply, was largely acceptable to the Arab Iraqis. But it was not acceptable to the American administrator, L. Paul Bremer, who did not want to concede that Iraq's ethnic communities should be treated differently. He came up with the three-governorate formula, preparing the way for a future train wreck.

and from above:

While the Shiite religious parties accepted the TAL when it was promulgated in 2004, the Kurds now believe they don't mean it. When he swore in his cabinet on May 3, 2005, Shiite Prime Minister Jaafari eliminated the reference to a "federal Iraq" from the statutory oath of office; this so angered Barzani that he forced a second swearing-in ceremony. Some Shiite drafts for Iraq's permanent constitution would sharply restrict Kurdistan's autonomy and demote Kurdish from its current status at the federal level as an official language equal with Arabic. The Kurdish leaders also worry that the Shiites will try to eliminate Kurdistan's current ability to modify the application of national law in Kurdistan; they fear that the Shiites will, at least, stop secular Kurdistan from rejecting the imposition of Islamic law.

The Bush administration should, however, draw the line at allowing a Shiite theocracy to establish control over all of Iraq.
(what kind of line and how should it be drawn, and what I found even more interestingly was the advocacy for MORE US meddling in Iraqi affairs, not less.)


Next sentences:

This requires a drastic change of strategy. Building powerful national institutions in Iraq serves the interest of one group—today it is the Shiites—at the expense of the others, and inevitably produces conflict and instability. Instead, the administration should concentrate on political arrangements that match the reality in Iraq. This means a loose confederation in which each of Iraq's communities governs itself, and is capable of defending itself. It may not be possible to accomplish this in a constitution, since the very process of writing a constitution forces these communities to confront issues—religion, women's rights, ownership of oil, regional militaries— that are hard to resolve ideologically.
posted by y2karl at 11:13 AM on July 19, 2005


And y2karl, it's an opinion piece in a MAGAZINE of BOOK REVIEWS. I don't mind, but you should. But go ahead, explain to me how different it is when you do it.
posted by davy at 11:26 AM on July 19, 2005


I read those y2karl, but I don't see how the data justifies the conclusion.
Impending Sectarian Violence:
The broad brush statement of "too many have blood on their hands" does not do it for me. It would have been more compelling if the author quoted Shi'ites or Kurds intimating blowback was imminent. Or specific cases of revenge being extracted. Also, how to explain that Shi'ite restraint to the provocations of the insurgents? or that most Iraqi blogs (Riverbend, Healing Iraq) seemed to imply that the average Iraqi did not see divisions among sectarian lies.

Impending TAL Implosion:
If by TAL implosion the author meant that the existing TAL would have to be reworked. I agree, and as the T in TAL stood for Transitional, I think this was pretty much understood. If by TAL Implosion he meant the disintegration of Iraq into three seperate governments, then I just see stuff about Kurdistan pushing for greater autonomy. I agree this is a sticky negotiation point, but I think predicting failure is premature. Hell, I've seen Texans act worse than the Kurds.

Recommendations on Strategic Changes:
Even with the support you added it still reads as the author's opinion, and it still advocates MORE meddling in the process by the US, not less. Which still seems contradictory to the statements of US "arrogance" and "ignorance".
posted by forforf at 11:36 AM on July 19, 2005


The shortest speech was given by the head of the Iranian intelligence service in Erbil, a man known to the Kurds as Agha Panayi. Staring directly at Ms. Bodine, he said simply, "This is a great day. Throughout Iraq, the people we supported are in power." He did not add "Thank you, George Bush." The unstated was understood.
Oh dear.
posted by OmieWise at 11:52 AM on July 19, 2005


Also, I think this is an important caveat to the headline carter had in his comment.

The figures up to March 2005 do not include the period since the elected Shia-led government of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Iraqi prime minister, took office and the insurgency has worked at an increasing rate to kill Iraqi civilians and police officers.

I don't know if the additional data would change the implication of carter's post, but I think understanding trends is just as important as understanding numbers.
posted by forforf at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2005


No forforf, the Shi'ite insurgency WON. The Shi'ites run the country now. And yes, they SAY it's different Shi'ites, but remember that the Shi'ite hierarchy refused to condemn and/or disown al-Sadr and his Mahdi militia.
posted by davy at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2005


Hell, I've seen Texans act worse than the Kurds.
I'm sure people will have a field day with this statement of mine, but before the thread gets sidetracked into snarky (but probably funny) comments on the behavior of a certain high profile Texan. Just wanted to clarify what I was intending to say. There used to be (and probably still are) many people in Texas whose loyalities laid with Texas over the federal government. However, despite this Texas has managed to fully participate in the federal government.
posted by forforf at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2005


good point davy ... and an excellent illustration of how a win/lose paradigm in a political process is problematic. I think one US goal was to get the Shia engaged in the political process and to stop using violence as the method. That goal seems to have been generally met.
However, a goal of the Shia insurgency (and by this I primarily mean Sadr and his group) was the withdrawal of the US from Iraq. Which has not happened yet, but the Shia do seem to have a fairly large political presence. I'm sure the goal or getting the US out still exists, but now the activity is on a political front rather than using violent insurgent tactics. So I think both sides have an opportunity to claim success.
posted by forforf at 12:09 PM on July 19, 2005


I don't really care about the whole finger-pointing thing, whether here on me-fi or at (insert administration here). The bottom line is this whole mid-east thing is screwed, screwed, screwed, and until our legislators on both sides of the fence own up to it, start acting like responsible adults and actually start doing something, the Iraqi people, and in a larger sense, the mideast is going to suffer.
y2karl's got a good post with lots of relevant information that is important for us all to read and digest so we can formulate for ourselves what our response should be to the issues that affect us all today, whether lib, repub, euro or arab. These issues are affecting us all and we need to acknowledge that and stop passing the buck to 'it's the repubs fault', 'it's the liberals fault', 'it's the arab's fault'. We need to all accept the blame and move on to a responsible resolution.
posted by mk1gti at 12:11 PM on July 19, 2005


Quoting the Galbraith article: "There is, in fact, no Iraqi insurgency. There is a Sunni Arab insurgency. And it cannot win. Neither the al-Qaeda terrorists nor the former Baathists can win. Even if the US withdrew tomorrow, neither insurgents nor terrorists would be knocking down the gates to Iraq's Presidential Palace in Baghdad."

So why are our troops still there? With Iraq becoming a Shi'ite Islamic Republic and the Kurds splitting off, the stated US agenda has already lost.

To answer mk1gti, a responsible solution would be a US withdrawal.
posted by davy at 12:14 PM on July 19, 2005


Who was killed?

24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years.
Women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths.
Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths.

When did they die?

30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003.
Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).

Who did the killing?

US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.
Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.
Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.

What was the most lethal weaponry?

Over half (53%) of all civilian deaths involved explosive devices.
Air strikes caused most (64%) of the explosives deaths.
Children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordnance (including cluster bomblets).

How many were injured?

At least 42,500 civilians were reported wounded.
The invasion phase caused 41% of all reported injuries.
Explosive weaponry caused a higher ratio of injuries to deaths than small arms.
The highest wounded-to-death ratio incidents occurred during the invasion phase.

Who provided the information?

Mortuary officials and medics were the most frequently cited witnesses.
Three press agencies provided over one third of the reports used.
Iraqi journalists are increasingly central to the reporting work.


IRAQ BODY COUNT: A Dossier of Civilian Casualties in Iraq
2003–2005



also


The warning is contained in an Internet statement signed by Al Qaeda group the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades.

"This message is the final warning to European states. We want to give you a one-month deadline to bring your soldiers out from the land of Mesopotamia [Iraq]," the statement said.

The statement says that after August 15, "there will be no more messages, just actions that will be engraved on the heart of Europe".


Al Qaeda sets deadline for Iraq pull-out
posted by y2karl at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2005


This is reminding me of Jonathan Kwitny's book Endless Enemies: Once again, the US overthrows a government it doesn't like only to get a government it likes even less.
posted by alumshubby at 12:19 PM on July 19, 2005


Alright, O y2karl, I'll have to be consistent and applaud your latest comment. Do continue.
posted by davy at 12:22 PM on July 19, 2005


It just struck me: why would Sunnis want the US/Europeans to leave Iraq if that'll only mean being ruled by the Shia? As Galbraith said, the Sunni insurgency can't win. Is it "let us pick our own oppressors" or what?
posted by davy at 12:27 PM on July 19, 2005


Hmm, so the root problem is that Iraq contains a problem of it's own, not actually imposed by anyone from the outside.

The Sunni's are possessed, apparently, of a deep sense of entitlement regarding worldly power and a de-humanizing attitude regarding non-Sunni's. This is an extreme variety of middle eastern ethnicity-based tribalism? In this case a belief in a natural (god-given?) destiny to dominate lesser mortals, a culture that virulently despises other ethnicities. This is the one thing least understood by the west?

Of the people coming to Iraq to fight, they're focussed short-term on killing Americans, but what is their attitude toward the radicalism of the Sunni's, their seeming inability to imagine 'equal', their world view which seems to believe they're in a perpetual life and death struggle to either dominate or be-dominated?

Do they believe equality between ethnic groups is possible or also subscribe to the dominate or be dominated view? If the latter, which group do they support? Do they all support one or the other or would they start killing each other once the Americans left?
posted by scheptech at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2005


Davy,
I'm not sure not liking the people who will stay means that you don't want the occupiers to leave. If there is only one enemy, so much the better.
posted by OmieWise at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2005


IRAQ BODY COUNT: A Dossier of Civilian Casualties in Iraq
2003–2005



Via CNN:
The Iraqi government disputed some of the finding of the report.

"We welcome the attention given by this report to Iraqi victims of violence but we consider that it is mistaken in claiming that the plague of terrorism has killed fewer Iraqis than the multinational forces," said the prime minister's office, citing recent terror strikes, including the Musayyib bombing that killed nearly 100 people on Saturday.

"The international forces try to avoid civilian casualties, whereas the terrorists target civilians and try to kill as many of them as they can."



...A distinction which often gets conveniently ignored around these parts.
posted by dhoyt at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2005


forforf writes "So this means that the Shi'ite Insurgency was defeated."

Galbraith suggests that the Shiite militias are still active, now protecting Shiite politicians. "Many Shiite ministers use the Shiite militias in the same way [for protection in Baghdad]."
posted by OmieWise at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2005


"The international forces try to avoid civilian casualties,

US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims...


Over half (53%) of all civilian deaths involved explosive devices.
Air strikes caused most (64%) of the explosives deaths.
Children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordnance (including cluster bomblets)...


Although a December 2003 HRW report, Off Target, found that "U.S.-led coalition forces took precautions to spare civilians," it decried the use of cluster munitions (launched both from the air and the ground) by the American military. These particularly vicious weapons, which pepper victims with shrapnel so small that the shards shred flesh and are impossible to remove, are being used in Iraqi cities. They can maim long after their original use. The unexploded bomblets remain live and go off, often in the hands of children. "Tens of thousands of duds" litter Iraq – as they still do Vietnam, Cambodia, and many other war-torn countries – the report charges. HRW reported that cluster bombs had caused "at least hundreds of civilian casualties" by June 2003.

Besides cluster munitions, a new and improved version of napalm, the Vietnam War's other most grisly weapon, and its chemical cousin white phosphorous, have been used by American forces in Iraq, a fact known to few Americans because our media has barely reported on the subject. The Pentagon has admitted that it used napalm near the Kuwaiti border during the invasion, though the use seems to have been more widespread than the Pentagon said. For instance, the Bush administration reportedly lied to its British allies about its use. (In Europe, the evident use of napalm by the U.S. in its assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah last November sparked headlines and furious opposition in the British Parliament.)...

Almost nothing has been reported in the American media about bombing operations in Iraq and especially the use of bunker-buster bombs to target what the U.S. military calls "high-value targets" or insurgent leaders, who are often dug deep in heavily populated urban neighborhoods. HRW's Off Target examined four such attacks and charged that they caused "dozens of civilian casualties" while failing to kill the targeted leaders. Six months after Off Target was released, a front-page piece in the New York Times on such targeted attacks actually quoted Human Rights Watch. But the piece focused on the spectacular "zero success rate" of the leadership raids, not civilian casualties caused by the bombing.


The coalition forces seem to have kiled a hell of a lot lot more civilians than the insurgents...

A distinction which often gets conveniently ignored around these parts.

posted by y2karl at 1:15 PM on July 19, 2005


"The international forces try to avoid civilian casualties, whereas the terrorists target civilians and try to kill as many of them as they can."

...A distinction which often gets conveniently ignored around these parts.


Yeah, and which magically transforms the actual hard numbers of Iraqi civilian fatalities due to the coalition presence into squishy feel-good numbers.

Sorry, but I don't buy it. I understand your ongoing project, dhoyt, of emphasizing how much the troops go out of their way to avoid killing innocents and how the discussion needs balance; that's great. No one's talking about that here. If anyone had stopped to listen to the critics of the administration before the Iraq invasion began, instead of just labeling them crackpot liberals, we could have prevented all this because it's exactly what many predicted: War kills lots of people and makes life very ugly for the ones it doesn't. That's what wars do. Quit being an apologist for the policy of the war just to defend the honor of the men and women who fight it--no one doubts that they have intentions that are brave and honorable. It's the administration's intentions, and the soundness of its judgment, that we're talking about. And anyway, good intentions (for anyone who still thinks there were any within the political apparatus that spun out this war) mean very little when you're talking about the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent human beings. Can there be any doubt that those Iraqi civilians would still be alive today had Bush not invaded Iraq? Even accepting that Saddam was a brutal tyrant, his numbers since being dropped from our list of allies are nothing compared to Bush's--and guess what? Don't doubt for a second he killed them all "in the best interests of his nation," too.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:22 PM on July 19, 2005


Those who obstinately oppose the most widely held opinions more often do so because of pride than lack of intelligence. They find the best places in the right set already taken, and they do not want back seats.

La Rochefoucauld

posted by y2karl at 1:30 PM on July 19, 2005


To answer mk1gti, a responsible solution would be a US withdrawal.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Right there with ya brother. . . Can we say 'tar baby' here? I knew ya could. . .
posted by mk1gti at 1:37 PM on July 19, 2005


good intentions (for anyone who still thinks there were any within the political apparatus that spun out this war) mean very little when you're talking about the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent human beings.

well said. </echo>
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:10 PM on July 19, 2005



Those who obstinately oppose the most widely held opinions more often do so because of pride than lack of intelligence. They find the best places in the right set already taken, and they do not want back seats.
--La Rochefoucauld


The masses are asses.
--Alexander Hamilton

posted by Kwantsar at 2:35 PM on July 19, 2005


The current Iraqi government is much better for the average Iraqi than the previous one, and probably better than most (if not all) preceding governments. The security situation is NOT. The presence of US troops is not particularly stabilizing either, but pulling them out won't make it better.
Pulling out would probably improve the national security posture of the United States.
Pulling out may improve the safety and security of some Iraqi's, namely the thugs and militias.

But if the desired end state is a stable, secular Iraq with basic freedoms and opportunities, then the only way I can see that happening is if we stay and help.

Please don't lecture me on all the incredible f*ck ups. I know, and I've seen them too, and I think that Iraq was a strategic distraction from the Al Qaeda problem and that pisses me off too. But it doesn't change the facts on the ground. The facts being is that right now, the overstretched, overburdened US military seems to be the only thing preventing Iraq from sliding completely into chaos, and maybe even despite their best efforts Iraq still may slide into chaos. But I support the efforts attempting to stabilize Iraq, mainly because I see no other option on the table that has any real chance of working.
Maybe at some point enough Iraqi Army and Police will have been trained to stabilize Iraq, but they are not there yet.

Additionally, from looking at the Iraqi Body Count Database quoted in comments above, I came up with the following:
Civilian Deaths since April 2005 (min/max) = 1437/1584
Civilian Deaths by Coalation Forces since April 2005 = 30/30
I'm not trying to minimize what's occured in the past, only pointing out the picture prior to April 2005 is different than the picture post April 2005.
posted by forforf at 3:08 PM on July 19, 2005


forforf wrote: The facts being is that right now, the overstretched, overburdened US military seems to be the only thing preventing Iraq from sliding completely into chaos, and maybe even despite their best efforts Iraq still may slide into chaos. But I support the efforts attempting to stabilize Iraq, mainly because I see no other option on the table that has any real chance of working.

This line just isn't valid anymore. The US is not stabilizing Iraq in any meaningful way at this point. The chaos it would fall into has already arrived. What would the targets of the car bombs be the day after US troops leave? How is that different from today?
posted by Pliskie at 3:48 PM on July 19, 2005


Jesus Christ. Let's declare victory already. Can we all simply agree that we need to leave that place NOW. There is zero point to staying. None.

And if somebody says we have to stay to "stabilize" Iraq I swear I will Darth Vader you right through your frigg'n monitor.
posted by tkchrist at 4:28 PM on July 19, 2005


The international forces try to avoid civilian casualties...

The risk of repeated small massacres of civilians is an understood feature of the way the West fights its wars. Small massacres are “accidental” in the sense that they are not specifically intended and that efforts are made to avoid them. But they are simultaneously programmed into the risk analysis of war. Each of the West’s wars has been marked by numerous massacres, most commonly of a handful of people, but in numerous cases of 50-100 civilians at a time, with the largest single incident being the Amirya shelter bombing in Baghdad in 1991, in which around 400 died. The risk of massacres is not only known and understood by Western military planners, it is a completely predictable consequence of the protection provided to Western military personnel. Reliance on high-altitude and long-range bombardment keeps aircrew and soldiers safe; but it inevitably leads to errors of targeting in which hundreds or thousands of civilians die in each campaign. So the transfer to civilians of the risks of being directly killed is deliberate and systematic...

...The care taken for civilians is not only less than the care taken for American soldiers, it is undermined by a policy adopted to keep the latter safe. Risk to civilians is reduced not as far as practically possible, but as far as judged necessary to avoid adverse global media coverage. Civilians’ risks are proportional not to the risks to soldiers, as Walzer envisaged, but to the political risks of adverse media coverage.


Risk-Transfer Militarism and the Legitimacy of War after Iraq
posted by y2karl at 4:47 PM on July 19, 2005


y2karl
I agree with your last post, at least if the point is that the maniacal force protection posture of the coalition is somewhat cross-purposes with preventing innocent Iraqi deaths.

tkchrist
I think prudence and self-interest align with your position. I'm just saying that it bugs the hell out of me when people try to equate the US leaving with being good for Iraq. It won't, and history backs up my assertion. I am NOT arguing to stay (well ok a little, because I think we should fix things we break, but I'm willing to admit we may be past the point of being able to do that) ... but I am arguing that a departure should not be dressed up as a "good for Iraq" thing.
and furthermore ... uhhh ... erff ... ugghhh ... ack ... akhhkhkhh........
posted by forforf at 5:29 PM on July 19, 2005


Buzzie Muzzie had a bomb,
Its blast was quite a blow --
It made the children sit quite calm
To watch the Baghdad show.

In time we can update Mary's lamb to reflect the normal, unending war in Iraq. (After last week, maybe "London" should be substituted in that last line.) Many westerners (especially Brits) have been calling Muslims "muzzies," perhaps hoping for a muzzling of extremist violence. We have reached the abyss and the only intelligent action is to withdraw. The cycle of violence we instigated with an illegal regime-change plan is like other such cycles, raging beyond the control of the initiator.

Ozzie Maland
posted by ozziemaland at 6:04 PM on July 19, 2005


Right now the only thing keeping Iraq together is that both Shiites and Sunnis want America out. Once America leaves it is civil war. Kurds in the north could pose problems for Turkey who may get involved. Shiites with their numbers should win although the Sunnis have the military experience/weapons I assume. It will be interesting... Iran dominance over the region likely.
posted by j-urb at 8:59 PM on July 19, 2005


A working draft of Iraq's new constitution would cede a strong role to Islamic law and could sharply curb women's rights, particularly in personal matters like divorce and family inheritance. The document's writers are also debating whether to drop or phase out a measure enshrined in the interim constitution, co-written last year by the Americans, requiring that women make up at least a quarter of the parliament.

The draft of a chapter of the new constitution obtained by The New York Times on Tuesday guarantees equal rights for women as long as those rights do not "violate Shariah," or Koranic law. The Americans and secular Iraqis banished such explicit references to religious law from the interim constitution adopted early last year...

Article 14 would replace a body of Iraqi law that has for decades been considered one of the most progressive in the Middle East in protecting the rights of women, giving them the freedom to choose a husband and requiring divorce cases to be decided by a judge.


Iraqi Constitution May Curb Women's Rights

...The Iraqi people are emerging from decades of tyranny and oppression. Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Shia and Kurds were brutally oppressed, and the vast majority of Sunni Arabs were also denied their basic rights, while senior regime officials enjoyed the privileges of unchecked power. The challenge facing Iraqis today is to put this past behind them, and come together to build a new Iraq that includes all of its people.

They're doing that by building the institutions of a free society, a society based on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and equal justice under law.


President Addresses Nation, Discusses Iraq, War on Terror
posted by y2karl at 7:51 AM on July 20, 2005


One word:

Quagmire

Can you say quagmire? How I was savaged here for predicting it. No joy in being correct. Withdraw now. Nothing positive possible by staying. All chances were wasted by an inept bunch of Bushwhackers.
posted by nofundy at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2005


The Iranians hold a powerful hand in the Iraqi poker game. They have geopolitical advantages, are flush with petroleum profits because of the high price of oil, and have much to offer their new Shiite Iraqi partners. Their long alliance with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani gives them Kurdish support as well. Bush's invasion removed the most powerful and dangerous regional enemy of Iran, Saddam Hussein, from power. In its aftermath, the religious Shiites came to power at the ballot box in Iraq, bestowing on Tehran firm allies in Baghdad for the first time since the 1950s. And in a historic irony, Iran's most dangerous enemy of all, the United States, invaded Iran's neighbor with an eye to eventually toppling the Tehran regime -- but succeeded only in defeating itself.

The ongoing chaos in Iraq has made it impossible for Bush administration hawks to carry out their long-held dream of overthrowing the Iranian regime, or even of forcing it to end its nuclear ambitions. (The Iranian nuclear research program will almost certainly continue, since the Iranians are bright enough to see what happened to the one member of the "axis of evil" that did not have an active nuclear weapons program.) The United States lacks the troops, but perhaps even more critically, it is now dependent on Iran to help it deal with a vicious guerrilla war that it cannot win. In the Middle East, the twists and turns of history tend to make strange bedfellows -- something the neocons, whose breathtaking ignorance of the region helped bring us to this place, are now learning to their dismay.

More than two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, it is difficult to see what real benefits have accrued to the United States from the Iraq war, though a handful of corporations have benefited marginally. In contrast, Iran is the big winner. The Shiites of Iraq increasingly realize they need Iranian backing to defeat the Sunni guerrillas and put the Iraqi economy right, a task the Americans have proved unable to accomplish. And Iran will still be Iraq's neighbor long after the fickle American political class has switched its focus to some other global hot spot.


The Iraq war is over, and the winner is... Iran
posted by y2karl at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2005


yes the shiittes are the lunatic fringe and rule iran (nuclear imams)and want to do same in iraq after we leave, sunnis are the more nice ones ,
posted by xtiml at 10:14 AM on July 21, 2005


whats a neo con?
posted by xtiml at 10:16 AM on July 21, 2005


Oh dear.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:28 AM on July 21, 2005


« Older justcurio.us...  |  An LSAT game a day until the O... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments