Join 3,560 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Why We Lost In Iraq: The Language of Noncombatant Death
June 8, 2006 9:51 AM   Subscribe

The Language of Noncombatant Death - Perhaps, however, what the "incidents" have in common -- and what they really tell us about the war in Iraq (as in Vietnam long ago) -- is this: In both Haditha and Ishaqi, the dead were largely or all civilian noncombatants: an aged amputee in a wheelchair holding a Koran, small children, grandparents, students, women, and a random taxi driver all died... In modern wars, especially those conducted in part from the air (as both Iraq and Afghanistan have been), there's nothing "collateral" about civilian deaths. If anything, the "collateral deaths" are those of the combatants on any side. Civilian deaths are now the central fact, the very essence of war. Not seeing that means not seeing war.
Collateral Damage: The "Incident at Haditha"
The Power Point version: Why Did We Lose In Iraq ?
posted by y2karl (63 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The lack of decent media coverage of the use of air power in Iraq and Afghanistan -- as in South Vietnam -- as well as artillery, tanks, cluster bombs, and the like, helps obscure both the widespread nature and the centrality of indiscriminate civilian death. At least we do see something of the odd brutal Haditha or My Lai or Ishaqi, when, sooner or later, it rises to the level of media attention. Killing civilians from the air, which automatically seems to fall into the category of "collateral" or "accidental," and never the criminal (no matter how often civilians die from it), is actually far more destructive and so far worse. It should, of course, be obvious that, if you are going to destroy what you believe to be a "terrorist safe house" in the middle of an urban neighborhood, noncombatants who just happen to be living in the environs will be "damaged."

...If those horrific murders in Haditha become the mother of all "incidents," however, Iraq may not make more sense, but less. So let's widen the Iraq frame and take another look. Those 24 dead noncombatants are not, in fact, an "incident" at all, nor "isolated," nor -- another of those then-and-now terms -- an "aberration." Make no mistake, they are the essence of this war. From the beginning, the continual slaughter of civilians, as well as the destruction of civilian property and livelihoods, has been the modus operandi of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. That most of it didn't happen eyeball-to-eyeball with revenge on the brain certainly made little difference to the many victims, nor should it make too much difference to us.
See also The Power of Weakness, Again

See also Whose Security ?

PDF: The Quarterly Report on Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq: 'Fact, Fallacy, and an Overall Grade of 'F'

Short version: Anthony Cordesman: Give the Defense Department an 'F'
posted by y2karl at 9:51 AM on June 8, 2006


On Oct. 1, 1946, judgment was delivered by the Nuremberg Tribunal. From the judgment:

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole. ...Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced.”
Haditha, Bush & Nuremberg's Law
posted by y2karl at 9:53 AM on June 8, 2006


.
posted by zenzizi at 10:03 AM on June 8, 2006


Slide show is interesting. That's it, isn't it - we had all these ideologically-driven assumptions, and not only did we fail to question them, we held onto them with a white-knuckled death grip.

Which is why, as the wingers continue to insist that all we need is greater and continued fealty to failed ideology, they need to be kicked in the balls.
posted by kgasmart at 10:28 AM on June 8, 2006


Just to add to this : the first four 2,000lb "guided" JDAM munitions used in the decapitation strike against Iraqi leadership on the first morning of the war all missed. After the strike the American people were advised all four bombs had struck the targets directly and BDA (bomb damage assessment) indicated minimal collateral damage. The truth of the matter was revealed after the invasion force reached Baghdad and the terrible damage done to civilians became known.

As usual, a pointless "Whoops! We missed and killed a whole bunch of women and children" message was sneaked out the back door which very few members of the public remembered and very few read about.

Every time a war is fought you will kill civilians, the only way to prevent collateral damage is to fight with knives. The reason the innocent people of Iraq die in airstrikes is because their lives are simply not as valuable as the servicemen stationed there and that will never change.
posted by longbaugh at 10:37 AM on June 8, 2006


This is mostly bs though, right?

We aren't taking this too seriously, are we?

The endless inter-sectarian killings are much worse, much more serious an ethical, legal, and moral problem. So much so as to render even the US failures of discipline, like Haditha, unnoticeable.

But I see that this is not the case. All we see is Haditha. All we can understand is our own importance. The value of secularism, the value of rule of law... these pale beside our own self righteous calls for "peace", which only we will have when we withdraw.

Let's not confuse the deceits and ill considered plans and corrupt applications of some leadership with the ideology that struggles underneath.

The world has only really had secular Democracy for a few hundred years. Let's not be too quick to run from fights over it just for peace in our time.
posted by ewkpates at 10:39 AM on June 8, 2006


American Enantiodromia plunges Icarus to the cold hard ground.

It seems one must look (read: see) with the eyes of an MC Escher; an impossible chessboard. A POLARISATION method of the grand shellgame. "Suicidally beautiful."

"AMERICA FEELS LIKE IT'S UNRAVELING..."
posted by Unregistered User at 10:41 AM on June 8, 2006


To play devil's advocate for a minute (note: I don't want to seem a fan of any war), I'll make two points:

1) Collateral damage maybe somewhat higher, but troop deaths are lower. I bet in the Civil War civilian deaths were exceedingly low, but only because lives of confederate and union foot soldiers were worth almost nothing to their leaders.

2) "Bad guys" do hide amongst civilians and even act like them to escape fighting. I'm not sure what can be done about this or if anything should, but in these instances, does the responsibility for collateral damage not fall upon the shoulders of those seeking camoflauge amongst them?
posted by b_thinky at 10:42 AM on June 8, 2006


But I see that this is not the case. All we see is Haditha. All we can understand is our own importance. The value of secularism, the value of rule of law... these pale beside our own self righteous calls for "peace", which only we will have when we withdraw.

Or we might have had had we never gone in in the first place.

Look, Iraq was one faulty assumption after another, and that continues to this day. You can characterize it as a fight over secular democracy, but I'd characterize it differently - this is the greatest experiment in social engineering the United States has ever undertaken. And what has constanly amazed me is how conservatives who decry social engineering here at home - in the form of the redistribution of wealth - have so wholeheartedly embraced it on a larger scale.

"Well, we had no choice," some say. Yeah, we did.

At the very least, we might have asked, "What happens if this devolves into an insurgency," as it has. We might have at least sought to challenge our oh-so-comfortable assumptions.

Someone, somewhere, might have asked: What if this doesn't work?

But anyone who did ask that question was demonized, and still is.
posted by kgasmart at 10:53 AM on June 8, 2006


There will always be a moral difference between accidentally killing innocents in a stike against a military target, and soldiers intentionally and personally capturing and then killing innocents, who they know are unarmed, who they know are not enemy fighters, simply because they are angry or frustrated.

This may not have much effect on who is "winning", and it may not represent the typical way the war goes, but that's not the point. It is a horrific event in its own right, much moreso I believe than a missle strike killing civilians, because the personal intent of the murdering soldiers puts them so clearly in the wrong.
posted by adzuki at 10:54 AM on June 8, 2006


Anyone hoping for a secular state in Iraq without a strongman to enforce it (ahem) knows nothing about Moslem culture or the Middle East. Nothing.
posted by solipse at 11:00 AM on June 8, 2006


From Whose Security ? :
The first nugget we find hidden inside is that this battalion-sized task force, comprising the equivalent of 10 platoons and 50 or so assorted vehicles including M1A1 tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, was assigned to cover an area of Iraq of over 1,000 square kilometers.

Now, we all know how few troops are in Iraq relative to the size of the country. After all, we occupied a much smaller geographic area of a thoroughly beaten Germany with approximately 60 U.S. divisions in 1945. But 1,000 square kilometers truly took my breath away. Any U.S. police or sheriff’s department would consider such a patrol requirement impossible under peacetime conditions, let alone during an insurgency...


To this observer, admittedly safe at home in the U.S., it often appears that our military regards winning over the Iraqi population to be the primary goal of counterinsurgency. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The primary goal of counterinsurgency is to control the population. Which is also the goal of insurgency. Those they cannot persuade to join them or remain neutral they terrorize.

But a counterinsurgent can only control a population by providing them with security. It doesn’t matter how many schools and clinics we open, how many soccer balls and candy bars we hand out to the kids, how many Iraqi reporters we pay to write articles about what nice people we really are, or all the civil affairs and psychological operations we conduct. All these things don’t matter if, after we do them, we then drive back to our bases and leave the population in the hands of an enemy who knocks on their doors at night and doesn’t take no for an answer.

Worse, if we’re just driving through the neighborhoods, then all the tasks we employ for counterterrorism and force protection (and how easily they can become one and the same) begin to backfire. If people are not secure in their homes (it’s no accident that appears in our Constitution), then all our checkpoints, roadblocks, aggressive high-speed driving to avoid IEDs and suicide bombers, helicopters overhead all night, house raids, and detention of suspects become objects of at best antipathy and at worst resentment. Not to mention our bunkered bases with levels of service and luxury the majority of the native population can only dream about.
From The Power of Weakness, Again:
Now, to see the situation as it is, turn that telescope around. Every firefight we win in Iraq or Afghanistan does little for our pride, because we are so much stronger than the people we are defeating. Every time we get hit successfully by a weaker enemy, we feel like chumps, and cannot look ourselves in the mirror (again, with IED attacks this happens quite often). Whenever we use our superior strength against Iraqi civilians, which is to say every time we drive down an Iraqi street, we diminish ourselves in our own eyes. Eventually, we come to look at ourselves with contempt and see ourselves as monsters. One way to justify being a monster is to behave like one, which makes the problem worse still. The resulting downward spiral, which every army in this kind of war has gotten caught in, leads to indiscipline, demoralization, and disintegration of larger units as fire teams and squads simply go feral.
posted by y2karl at 11:02 AM on June 8, 2006


b_thinky, I think your devil, and his advocacy, point to the solution rather than the problem. Had the U.S. acted in a manner better suited to helping Iraqi civilians, to winning their hearts and minds so to speak, rather than simply shrugging and announcing that collateral damage is just the price of modern wars, with their low combatant-mortality rates, well then the civilians might not let the insurgents/terrorists hide so readily among them. They might in fact tell them to get the fuck out or to offer up some subtle finger pointing when Iraqi police or Americans pass by. Instead the U.S. said: shock and awe baby! Ooops, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis? Suck it, that's just the price of regime change. You can imagine why this approach didn't turn out to be quite as persuasive to the general public. Well, the ones that survived, at any rate.
posted by hank_14 at 11:05 AM on June 8, 2006


bthinky /puts on false beard and draws furrowed brow to simulate deep philosophical thinking

Collateral damage maybe somewhat higher, but troop deaths are lower.

Oh, so it all balances out. Good.

I bet in the Civil War civilian deaths were exceedingly low, but only because lives of confederate and union foot soldiers were worth almost nothing to their leaders.

Or maybe because they fought on battlefields and kept most of the fighting out of towns and cities. But that pesky Sherman did do a bit of "collateral damage" as he raped his way through the south. And that was a "good war".

"Bad guys" do hide amongst civilians and even act like them to escape fighting. I'm not sure what can be done about this or if anything should, but in these instances, does the responsibility for collateral damage not fall upon the shoulders of those seeking camoflauge amongst them?

Oh, heavens yes! The "bad guys" should know they are bad guys and stand out in a field to be shot at. Otherwise, they are just endangering the lives of civilians. The question always remains, if we don't know squat about WMD, or looting, or infrastructure integrity, how the hell do you suppose we know who the bad guys are? Don't you find it a bit odd that our minders strut around as though they do know, and yet the resistance keeps growing and more civilians die collaterally? Did you read any of the links?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:05 AM on June 8, 2006


The value of secularism, the rule of law,

The only thing less likely to win hearts and minds than indiscriminate killing is to bandy about the idea that we're there to impose secularism. In what timeframe do you imagine that the typical Iraqi is going to accept that objective? To put it forward, particularly in the context of the current slaughterfest, is to say "we don't just want to kill you, we want to kill your religion." Imagine how foreign imposed secularism would play in the U.S. Bible Belt, then multiply that a few times to get the idea.

Even if the majority valued secularism or even fully understood what it meant in your terms, do you think that anyone in the Middle East regards the current U.S. government or its objectives as secular? I don't and I live here. Hell, I don't because I live here. There are very few people in the world who would hold U.S. as it currently behaves as a model of secular rule or the rule of law, because we have given them every reason not to.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:11 AM on June 8, 2006


My great fear is that since we have crossed the rubicon Lil nero caesar wearing his 'dark ero's crown has moved his Bishop and he can't move it back. Nabokov once wrote, the Bishop was a metaphor for a search light, (read: Business For Carlyle) whereas the Knight was "a lever adjusted and tried, and readjusted and tried again," (think Iran, total war, full-spectrum dominence at home and abroad). All the while, they have no choice but to go for broke. Making the pile higher is their moto. Because they know they face Queen Beatrix of the hague if they blink. And they will take us all down with them in their ideological tale of arrogance, hubris and greed.

Aesop's
The Dog And The Shadow

A DOG, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and took it for that of another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size. He immediately let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the other Dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.

Lear: Who is it that can tell me who I am? The Fool: Lear's shadow.

American global sciamachy .

And the most frightening move is yet to come. If they lose or if they win we lose.

Check.
posted by Unregistered User at 11:11 AM on June 8, 2006


That powerpoint is absolutely asinine. As is posting it on the day that Iraq appointed important ministers to round out the government.

But looking at the powerpoint, the guy asks the question, "did we lose?" He then, on the second slide, shows how we accomplish all of the objectives, but then argues it cost a lot. So his essential argument is that, although we accomplished all of our objectives (the typical analysis of whether one succeeds or fails), it should be considered a "loss" because it cost a lot and we didn't do it perfectly. What idiocy. The war didn't go swimmingly, and that is certainly true. But only a hack would argue that we "loss." And that is what this guy is. On one slide, he argues that our history of occupation is mixed. And one of his examples is "the inner cities." That tells me all I need to know about this guy. He is one of these jackasses who can put forth the argument in seriousness that the United States occupies its "inner cities." He certainly points to the obvious failures in the planning and execution, but it is an act of intellectual disarmament to go from defects in execution to complete failure.

I also like the fact that he points out one of the costs of the war is "destroyed the myth of US invincibility." That is just too priceless on multiple levels. For one, he calls it a myth, which, if that were true, would hardly be a loss. Second, we were told that myth was destroyed in Vietnam. Third, the US is still standing. The US military hasn't been defeated. The losses are nothing like Vietnam.

All in all, that powerpoint is completely worthless. The rhetoric the guy uses exposes his prejudices and the inadequacy of his over-all argument.
posted by dios at 11:12 AM on June 8, 2006


"Bad guys" do hide amongst civilians and even act like them to escape fighting. I'm not sure what can be done about this or if anything should, but in these instances, does the responsibility for collateral damage not fall upon the shoulders of those seeking camoflauge amongst them?"

Get back to us on that one when a regiment of Iraqi regulars invades your neighborhood, kicks down your door, puts a hood over your head and drags you away to a cold prison cell for a few weeks for some nice friendly questioning.
posted by rougy at 11:13 AM on June 8, 2006


Was that supposed to be a retort rougy? I'm pretty sure there is a logical fallacy somewhere in there.
posted by dios at 11:15 AM on June 8, 2006


Instead the U.S. said: shock and awe baby! Ooops, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis? Suck it, that's just the price of regime change.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite Onion headlines:
"Dead Iraqi Would Have Loved Democracy"
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:19 AM on June 8, 2006


Actually Dios, it was but not to you, just so you know.

"Dios's (critique of the) powerpoint is completely worthless. The rhetoric the guy uses exposes his prejudices and the inadequacy of his over-all argument."

There it reads better that way..
posted by Elim at 11:22 AM on June 8, 2006


dios -

If anybody would know a logical fallacy, you would as a husband knows his wife.

"...we accomplished all of our objectives..."

A puppet government. A defense contractor's wet dream cum true. Daily car bombings, kidnappings, assassinations. Instability gross in nature and gargantuan in scale.

I don't recall you or Bush or any of the pro-war "save us from the Islamo-fascists" tipping me off about any of that.
posted by rougy at 11:25 AM on June 8, 2006


"From the beginning, the continual slaughter of civilians, as well as the destruction of civilian property and livelihoods, has been the modus operandi of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq."

...and Germany and Japan... Although the ultimate goal of eliminating civilian deaths remains elusive I do believe we have made great strides in recent decades in efforts to reduce the civilian death toll. Compare civilian deaths due to airstrikes in Iraq to, say, Dresden or Tokyo and you'll see that things are getting slowly better.
posted by MikeMc at 11:26 AM on June 8, 2006


"Compare civilian deaths due to airstrikes in Iraq to, say, Dresden or Tokyo and you'll see that things are getting slowly better."

I like you, MikeMc, but I really don't see any bragging points in that.
posted by rougy at 11:29 AM on June 8, 2006


1) Collateral damage maybe somewhat higher, but troop deaths are lower. I bet in the Civil War civilian deaths were exceedingly low, but only because lives of confederate and union foot soldiers were worth almost nothing to their leaders.

I think the real reason there were so many soldier deaths in the Civil War was that armies met on the battlefield, and not in town. Also, jets didn't drop bombs on cities to kill a few soldiers. Also, I'd argue agaisnt the 'soldiers lives meant nothing' remark.. especcially for the south, where the armies constantly met opposition with greater numbers. For the north, recruitment was difficult.. either way, it's hard to waste soliders.

But anyway, enough derailing.. =)

I'd say the real why there are so many civilian deaths is that, liek you said, the enemy hides in urban areas, next to where innocents live. Also the use of bombs, as opposed to the Civil War-ish battlefield scenario, make big explosions, destroying the target, and sending shards of it throughout the surrounding area.

The only way to not have this would be to engage all enemy opposition face to face, which would leave more U.S. soldiers dead (more than are being killed now).
posted by triolus at 11:30 AM on June 8, 2006


"... the enemy hides in urban areas, next to where innocents live."

The "enemy" are the "innocents." Can't you see that?

The "enemy" are the people who live there and who have lived there for generations.

The "enemy" is comprised of the very people we claim to be liberating.
posted by rougy at 11:32 AM on June 8, 2006


Yeah, sorry, I didn't comment on the power point...

Confidentially, it stinks.

Its really rhetoric, disguised as argument, which is, in turn, pretending to be informative.

As I said, it stinks.

No one questions that the administration planned poorly, is operating poorly, and that the problem is too large to be manageable. Given this, things aren't going too badly. It's not Vietnam. It isn't good, though, either.

Would it be a better world for anyone if Saddam was still in charge? What's a good price for freedom?

And whoever said puppet government should remember that "puppet government" is exactly what any good democracy has... officials who are manipulated by their lobbyists.

As opposed to a non-puppet government, that does what it likes.
posted by ewkpates at 11:34 AM on June 8, 2006


Would it be a better world for anyone if Saddam was still in charge?

Why don't we poll the Iraqis. Do they like this "liberation" we've given them? Do they feel safer since we bestowed our magnanimity upon them?
posted by kgasmart at 11:38 AM on June 8, 2006


the enemy hides in urban areas, next to where innocents live.

Exactly where else are they expected to go?

Would it be a better world for anyone if Saddam was still in charge?

Possibly, for some of the 200,000 (I think it is now?) dead Iraqis, it might be. If those are our only two choices.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2006


The "enemy" are the "innocents." Can't you see that?

Yea, I know that. I was going to be "quotes" around "enemy" and "innocent", but I thought it looked tacky.

I'm not condoning the killings. I don't condone the war. But Bush has kicked the hornet's nest, and now the U.S. will have to deal with that.
posted by triolus at 11:44 AM on June 8, 2006


The "enemy" are the people who live there and who have lived there for generations.

Al-Zarqawi, for one, is Jordanian. He's as close to an enemy of the US as they come.
posted by Pacheco at 11:44 AM on June 8, 2006


"I'm not condoning the killings. I don't condone the war. But Bush has kicked the hornet's nest, and now the U.S. will have to deal with that."

And the Iraqi citizens too remember, even if we leave they have to deal with it.
posted by Elim at 11:46 AM on June 8, 2006


ewkpates -

"Given this, things aren't going too badly."

Yes, in fact, they're going horribly, by any measure.

You support puppet governments? You support the lobbyists over the people? You support the few over the many? You support the money over the flesh?

You imply that all non-puppet governments are, what, dictatorships?

And puppet-governments - the definition being a group of rulers controlled by a handful of powerful people at the expense of everybody else - this is something you warm to?

Are you American?
posted by rougy at 11:48 AM on June 8, 2006


The US military hasn't been defeated.

The military hasn't just been defeated, it's been routed. It's not even a noble defeat. Iraq is a complete failure. The country has devolved into civil war. More than a thousand people are dying each month in non-initiated violence. Until the military admits that Iraq is a failure things simply will not improve. The military will keep on doing what it's doing: standing around, waiting for the insurgents to attack, and dropping a lot of bombs. Nothing will change until the top brass admit the full extent of the failure and begin focusing on an exit strategy. Anybody who seriously thinks that anything in Iraq has been "won" is just delusional at this point.
posted by nixerman at 11:55 AM on June 8, 2006


The point of the FPP seems to be that we are loosing/have lost the war because of excessive civilian casualties.

But that would mean that we are loosing it to people who cause, many, many more civilian casualties than we do, and who stated aim is cause millions of civilian casualties when they come to power.

So are we loosing the war because we're killing too many civilians or too few?
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:22 PM on June 8, 2006


We haven't "lost" yet, but realistically how can we "win?" It seems the only universal value in Iraq is anger toward the US. I guess being driven out with our tail between our legs might provide some unity to Iraq. Would that be a win?
posted by caddis at 12:23 PM on June 8, 2006


That powerpoint is absolutely asinine. As is posting it on the day that Iraq appointed important ministers to round out the government.

You're right. President Bush said this was "an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle." Just like last month's formation of a new government was a "turning point." Just like the January 2005 elections were both "a turning point in the history of Iraq" and "a milestone in the advance of freedom." Just like it was a "turning point" when we turned over "real and full sovereignty" in June 2004 ("Let Freedom Reign!"). Just like the formation of a temporary governing council in July 2003 was an "important milestone." I'm dizzy from all the turning points.

Wow, Iraq has been really and fully sovereign for over two years. Which didn't stop the Bush administration from pressuring democratically-elected Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari out of office in 2006 after praising him in 2005.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:27 PM on June 8, 2006


The only way to not have this would be to engage all enemy opposition face to face, which would leave more U.S. soldiers dead (more than are being killed now).

But of course this would be unacceptable.

Civillian casualties en masse are inevitable, not as a consequence of fighting a war, but of how wars are typically fought by technologically superior opponents -- from a distance. If deaths on "our" side were considered acceptable and expected, we wouldn't consider one soldier's death spared worth -- what would the ratio be? 10, 100, 1000 foreign civilian deaths?

No wonder some people abroad are starting to think that the U.S. will never question such mathematics until war comes home to them.
posted by dreamsign at 12:39 PM on June 8, 2006


I think the real reason there were so many soldier deaths in the Civil War was that armies met on the battlefield, and not in town.

There was very little urban combat in the US Civil War, true, but there was a far higher proportion of deaths from battlefield wound trauma/shock/surgery and subsequent disease. Also, I think most people overlook the effect that communicable diseases had in winter encampments and POW camps on both sides. I don't have figures handy, but ISTR seeing an assertion someplace that most Civil War military deaths were due to noncombat disease.

hope you'll excuse the derail
posted by pax digita at 12:41 PM on June 8, 2006


(High US Civil War deaths were due largely to the intersection of antiquated military tactics and modernized weaponry.) Sorry, continue on...
posted by mania at 1:34 PM on June 8, 2006


While the average soldier believed the bullet was his most nefarious foe, disease was the biggest killer of the war.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:19 PM on June 8, 2006


The military hasn't just been defeated, it's been routed. It's not even a noble defeat. Iraq is a complete failure. The country has devolved into civil war. More than a thousand people are dying each month in non-initiated violence. Until the military admits that Iraq is a failure things simply will not improve. The military will keep on doing what it's doing: standing around, waiting for the insurgents to attack, and dropping a lot of bombs.

On the other hand, the insistence by people like Dios that in fact things are going well, or that all main objectives have been won, brings to mind the possiblity that in fact chaos and terror and destruction was the aim all along, and that there was never any plan to rebuild Iraq because rebuilding Iraq was never on the "real" agenda, and perhaps all this serves more sinister ends that we can only guess at? [/only half kidding]
posted by jokeefe at 2:48 PM on June 8, 2006


Would it be a better world for anyone if Saddam was still in charge? What's a good price for freedom?

And whoever said puppet government should remember that "puppet government" is exactly what any good democracy has... officials who are manipulated by their lobbyists.

As opposed to a non-puppet government, that does what it likes.


Sweet mother of god, do you call that an argument? WTF?
posted by jokeefe at 2:50 PM on June 8, 2006


The "enemy" is comprised of the very people we claim to be liberating. - rougy

I think that bears repeating.
posted by raedyn at 3:05 PM on June 8, 2006


posted by Unregistered User

clavdivs, is that you?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:26 PM on June 8, 2006


The "enemy" is comprised of the very people we claim to be liberating.

I'm confused - aren't liberating the oil?
posted by spazzm at 5:28 PM on June 8, 2006


We. We're liberating the oil. Sheesh.
posted by spazzm at 5:32 PM on June 8, 2006


Modern war has NO innocents.
posted by HTuttle at 8:17 PM on June 8, 2006


(or...you LOSE)
posted by HTuttle at 8:17 PM on June 8, 2006


Thanks Tuttle, your subtle insights enlighten Metafilter more than you will know.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:41 PM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


@stavrosthewonderchicken

clavdivs? Not unless clavdivs lives in Montana and is a new mefi member...

But I have been to your blog, I'm an Asian fan...


Welcome to the culture wars; the Grand shellgame.
No Cathederal's in Iraq, no pork chops in Tel Aviv
Well, there is the Al -Askariya shrine, but it's been bombed out...

Vatican says no to churches used as mosques
posted by Unregistered User at 9:28 PM on June 8, 2006


clavdivs? Not unless clavdivs lives in Montana and is a new mefi member...

Heh. No worries. Your slightly oblique commenting style is very reminiscent of his, is all, and in my book that's not a bad thing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:00 PM on June 8, 2006


Well, tanike..

Inarestingly enough, It was your posts that pushed me to finally sigh up after years of lerkin..; then I felt in love w/the blue and the parallax view of the other patrons.

But lets forget all that for now, the war, ...

the war, the war. imperialism. global capitalism. anti-immigrant racism. these cretins like the corporate democrates (you know who I mean, or at least you should) who have managed to highjack "progressivism"--no, that's not quite right--these people who have inherited a "progressive politics" constructed for them by republicans, reflexively demand a progressive politics emptied of anything to really fight for, anything that matters; whose heroes are clinton and blair, the staus quo of catastrophe distracted by nice smiles and the ambition for "diversity," safe sex, biofuels, organic foods, 99 cent mp3s, and the acceptable inevitability of the slaughter of brown people unfortunate to possess what we think we need.

these people are far more dispicable and dangerous than what they offer as the epitomies of their political "opposition."

no, lets forget all that, Each And Everyone, for now.
posted by Unregistered User at 10:15 PM on June 8, 2006


The many thousands of Iraqis who are killed - including babies and children who are shot to death, blown up, or incinerated - remain completely unknown to the American public. So not only is there very little empathy for the suffering of Iraqis, there is virtually no sense among ordinary Americans of a shared responsibility for that suffering.

posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 11:28 PM on June 8, 2006


Oliver Poole article UK Daily Telegraph.
posted by adamvasco at 4:43 AM on June 9, 2006


At the dam there was one American civilian, an engineer sent out by the US government ... The troops he was quartered with terrified him, so much so that he would not let his name be quoted for fear of reprisal.

But if he's the only American civilian there it won't be very difficult to work out who he is, will it, Mr Poole?
posted by Grangousier at 10:50 AM on June 9, 2006


Thanks for that article, adamvasco, except that now I've got "Mistah Kurtz... he dead" stuck in my head like an annoying pop song.
posted by jokeefe at 12:51 PM on June 9, 2006


For the women of Iraq, the war is just beginning
posted by homunculus at 5:04 PM on June 9, 2006


Not sure if this got posted anywhere else on the blue...I searched unsuccessfully for it...but I didn't think it was worth a FPP, either...Victor Davis Hanson, on Memorial Day weekend, blogged that Iraq has been worth it. Ummm, yeah, right.

(Gracias, War Nerd.)
posted by pax digita at 5:11 PM on June 9, 2006


Wow - War Nerd really doesn't know a goddamn thing does he? I suppose the fat speccy fuck never actually did anything but spank off to Jane's Infantry Weapons volumes because some of his statements in that article are just ridiculous.
posted by longbaugh at 7:22 PM on June 9, 2006


Sooner or later America will pay for all she'd done
posted by zouhair at 8:53 PM on June 9, 2006


The gravity well gets deeper as the event horizon of circling the drain narrows: On Zarqawi and milestones and turning points counts eleven turning points, five milestones and one watershed event the President alone has announced between July 23, 2003 and the present day. Man, all those turning points are enough to make one's head spin.
posted by y2karl at 9:35 PM on June 9, 2006


Haditha: General Faults Marine Response to Iraq Killings, July 7, 2006.
posted by taosbat at 8:28 PM on July 7, 2006


« Older Memento Mori...  |  Sir David Attenborough,... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments