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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #750 on: December 22, 2011, 07:20:41 PM »

BTW, my bad-- I should have asked you these questions in the Afpakia thread.

BTW, this was in my email today:

Back in the USA for the past 2 weeks.  Well...  I do foresee us returning to Iraq again as a military force in the future.  That place is screaming corruption and the whole situation is a poster child for mismanagement.  There is a rule since DOS (Dept of State)  is running the show in Iraq: fire a shot and you go home and are banned from DOS contracts for a year.  In way that is good.  That's because it protects you from the Iraqi legal system.  It's one thing for an accidental discharge.  It should not happen.  It's another to fire a shot in self defense.  We had one of our employee (ex-swat guy) kill a translator who came to his living area drunk and attempted to rape him.  He got sent home and banned to work on DOS contracts and banned from Iraq.  If he did not go home Iraq would have put him on trial for murder.  Dept of State would not have protected him.  Man on man rape is popular in Iraq.  We had an US Army general raped by a bunch of muslim dudes (East Indian muslims) in the shower area during my tour of duty.  It was at a different camp.  We have been fortunate that it was not in our camp.  Now I'm applying for other security contracts so we shall see what will happen next
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 07:26:11 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #751 on: December 22, 2011, 08:04:32 PM »


As the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq ended Dec. 18, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched a political offensive against high-level Sunni officials. The crisis came rapidly but was also a long time coming, as Iraq’s Shiite majority — and by extension Iran — have been waiting to exploit the vacuum left by the United States to consolidate influence in Iraq. The main regional stakeholders opposed to Iran’s expanding influence — the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are poorly positioned to counter the Shia, leaving open the question of how far Iran will go in trying to use Mesopotamia to reshape the region’s politics.

STRATFOR forecast nearly one year ago that a political crisis would erupt once the United States withdrew its last troops from Iraq, and would reverberate throughout the region. The geopolitical trend centered on Iran’s opportunity to fill the power vacuum the United States would leave in Baghdad, ending centuries of Sunni rule over Mesopotamia. For Iran to fully realize this historic opportunity, it would first need to enhance its hold over Shiite groups in Iraq. Tehran would also need to consolidate its power within Iraq’s government, allowing Iran both to secure its western flank and to use Iraq as a base from which to project influence in the wider Arab world.

The political fury emanating from Baghdad in recent days can thus best be understood as Iraq’s entering a wrenching, albeit  predictable, phase of Shiite consolidation. Leading this transformation is al-Maliki, who is fast becoming Iraq’s Shiite authoritarian.

Ever since al-Maliki became prime minister in 2006, he has been working to monopolize Iraq’s military as well as its security and intelligence services, mostly through purges and through the creation of loyal parallel security agencies. After he won a second term in 2010 following nearly a year of intense political wrangling over electoral results, al-Maliki concentrated on cementing his authority over the political, security and economic affairs of the state. The makeup of the current Cabinet clearly illustrates al-Maliki’s prowess; he holds the positions of acting defense minister, interior minister and minister of state for national security. But in order for al-Maliki to effectively wield his influence in each of these arenas, he needed to go beyond Baghdad politics and whittle down whatever tenuous influence Iraq’s Kurdish and Sunni factions maintained.

Desperate Times for Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds
Al-Maliki’s political battles against the Kurds mostly occurred in the field of energy. Mountainous geography, significant energy assets and U.S. protection provided the foundation for Kurdish political autonomy — but the United States is no longer part of that framework. Previously, the Kurds could use foreign investment in the northern oil fields to resist al-Maliki’s campaign to control the right to sign contracts independently and to manage the share and distribution of oil revenues. Now the Kurds must deal alone with their Arab rivals. This dynamic manifested itself most recently in October, when U.S. energy major ExxonMobil struck a natural gas exploration deal with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) without Baghdad’s consent. The ExxonMobil move was intended as a signal to the Iraqi central government of U.S. support for the Kurds. Rather than acceding to Kurdish demands in energy negotiations, however, the al-Maliki government (knowing that U.S. forces were on their way out of the country) retaliated by threatening to blacklist ExxonMobil from deals elsewhere in the country. By mid-December, al-Maliki was meeting personally with ExxonMobil executives and he announced that the energy firm had decided to “reconsider” its deal with the KRG.

The Sunnis are in an even more desperate situation than the Kurds. Iraqi Sunnis chose the bullet over the ballot in 2005, boycotting elections and waging an insurgency. By doing so, they allowed Shia and Kurds to garner disproportionate power in parliament. When Sunnis tried to re-enter the political scene in 2010, they did so under the banner of al-Iraqiya, a centrist political bloc with heavy Sunni representation. Though al-Iraqiya won the largest number of seats in the 2010 elections, al-Maliki and his Shiite allies maneuvered to deny al-Iraqiya an electoral victory. In the early stages of its formation the government half-heartedly promised al-Iraqiya various appeasements, but it did not take al-Maliki long to begin purging the government of Sunni power. While resisting U.S. pressure to integrate Sunni Awakening Council members into the security apparatus, al-Maliki used the Shiite-led Justice and Accountability Commission as a vehicle for targeting Sunnis and former Baathists.

The Sunnis, who unlike the Kurds have no energy assets or autonomous territory, tried to loosen Baghdad’s grip with their own autonomy drive — first in the mainly Sunni Anbar and Salahuddin provinces and then in the more ethnically mixed Diyala province. The autonomy push in Diyala province came about through Sunni-Kurdish collaboration: Sunni council members allegedly promised the KRG control of the Khanaqin district in exchange for Kurdish council member votes in favor of Diyala’s autonomy. This gave some indication that the Sunnis and Kurds were finding reasons to align against a more significant Shiite threat.

But the Shiite response was fast and fierce. Al-Maliki declared the province’s proclamation illegal. Shiite militias were deployed to the province and Shiite rallies quickly broke out in Diyala to protest the Sunni autonomy drive. Al-Iraqiya announced Dec. 17 that, in response to the events in Diyala and to the growing centralization of government powers, the party was boycotting parliament. A day later, al-Maliki launched his political offensive against high-level Sunni officials.

The Shiite Offensive
On Dec. 18, al-Maliki urged parliament to pass a vote of no confidence against Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak, who described al-Maliki in an interview as “worse than Saddam Hussein.” The same day, Iraq’s Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi was escorted off a plane at the Baghdad airport and two of his bodyguards were detained on terrorism charges. Al-Hashemi was permitted to fly to Iraqi Kurdistan but on Dec. 19, an arrest warrant was issued against al-Hashemi alleging that he and his security detail had commissioned assassinations of Iraqi political and security officials. One of the charges to which al-Hashemi’s detained bodyguards confessed involved an assassination plot three weeks ago against al-Maliki. Al-Hashemi, banned from traveling abroad, is now in Kurdish territory in the north, trying to evade the arrest warrant. The KRG, still resisting pressure from Baghdad, announced Dec. 21 that it would not hand over al-Hashemi to the central government authorities.

Al-Maliki’s drive against the Sunnis is designed to achieve Shiite preeminence in Iraq. Al-Maliki now has every Sunni politician in Iraq wondering who will be arrested next. The Sunnis are faced with stark choices: accommodate the Shia, attempt to flee the country or resist. Power in Iraq rests largely with the Shia, and the United States is no longer in the country to assist the Sunnis, making resistance — political, militant or both — difficult to sustain.

The Kurds also have a big decision to make in response to al-Maliki’s latest power surge. The Kurds face opposition from both Sunni and Shiite Arabs, but the Shia (given their disproportionate power) currently pose the greater threat. The Kurds and Sunnis have thus found common cause for collaboration and reportedly are discussing an attempt to form a new government. With their combined parliamentary clout, the Sunnis and Kurds could trigger a collapse of the al-Maliki government in an attempt to slow the Shiite consolidation drive.

However, a Sunni-Kurdish move to collapse the government could end up strengthening al-Maliki’s hand even more. The prime minister already has broken out of parliamentary bounds in asserting his dominance over the political system. The Sunni and Kurdish political blocs have the ability to bring down the government but lack the numbers to form a new government on their own. Al-Maliki, who has already leaked rumors about running for a third term, may not mind a government collapse, since parliamentary paralysis would leave the effective governance of the security, military and intelligence establishment open to the Shiite leader at the helm. If the Kurds view the Shiite show of strength as too formidable to resist, and they are still involved in territorial disputes with the Sunnis in the north (especially over the oil-rich province of Kirkuk), they may have to reconsider their options and reluctantly move toward accommodation with their Shiite rivals in Baghdad.

Iran’s Role
Iran is crucial to the outcome of this crisis. Al-Maliki may have strong political ambitions of his own, but his actions clearly align with  Iran’s strategic interest in consolidating Shiite control in Iraq. With the United States now out of Iraq, Iran needs to exploit the growing sense of vulnerability felt by the region’s Sunni Arabs if Tehran is to reshape the politics of the region in its favor. Iran’s strongest hand is in Iraq, where it has been building up assets since well before Hussein’s fall. Iran can thus exploit the political fire in Baghdad to make a show of Shiite strength at this critical time. Iran’s need to demonstrate its growing leverage in the region, in order to fend off pressure from the Saudis, Americans and Turks in Syria, makes this even more important.

For now, al-Maliki’s actions help Iran meet its imperative of consolidating Shiite strength in Iraq during this sensitive transitional period. In the longer run, Iran likely will work to temper al-Maliki’s authority, to avoid having to contend with a more independent-minded leader in exerting influence in Baghdad. The question moving forward is how far al-Maliki intends to take this offensive against the Sunnis and the degree to which Iran is directly manipulating the crisis. Al-Iraqiya is trying to involve the Arab League and  Turkey to build some foreign backing against Iran’s Shiite expansionist agenda, but neither Turkey nor Saudi Arabia is well-positioned to compete effectively with Iran in Iraqi politics. This political crisis far transcends the desires of a single Iraqi politician like al-Maliki; it exemplifies a long-standing Iranian strategy to shift the balance of power in the region firmly in its favor.



Read more: Special Series: The Shiite Political Offensive in Iraq | STRATFOR
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G M
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« Reply #752 on: December 22, 2011, 08:31:45 PM »

Man on man rape is popular in Iraq.  We had an US Army general raped by a bunch of muslim dudes (East Indian muslims) in the shower area during my tour of duty.  It was at a different camp.  We have been fortunate that it was not in our camp.  Now I'm applying for other security contracts so we shall see what will happen next.

WTF ??

I'm pretty jaded, but mannnnnnnn..........  shocked
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JDN
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« Reply #753 on: December 22, 2011, 09:52:25 PM »

I'm jaded too, but ......  And I agree, WTF???

But this does NOT sound credible........  Sorry.  Sources are important here....
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #754 on: December 23, 2011, 02:16:58 AM »

That was from a one to one email sent directly to me by someone I know who has been corresponding with me while he was there.  There are additional identifying details in his follow up to my queries, but I choose to not post them here.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #755 on: December 23, 2011, 02:29:08 AM »

I agree.  It just doesn't seem to work that way.

Because of mealy-mouth "multiculturalism" garbage. I'm reminded of a friend of mine who's ancestors were Italian immigrants. They changed their name from Casio to Cash, refused to teach their kids Italian and explained to them "We came to America to be Americans".

It still works that way. My fiancée parents immigrated in the 60s, but you couldn't tell by talking to her.
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G M
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« Reply #756 on: December 23, 2011, 02:40:31 AM »

I agree.  It just doesn't seem to work that way.

Because of mealy-mouth "multiculturalism" garbage. I'm reminded of a friend of mine who's ancestors were Italian immigrants. They changed their name from Casio to Cash, refused to teach their kids Italian and explained to them "We came to America to be Americans".

It still works that way. My fiancée parents immigrated in the 60s, but you couldn't tell by talking to her.

I hope she is fluent in Italian cooking!
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bigdog
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« Reply #757 on: December 23, 2011, 06:25:15 AM »

One of the things that seems lost in the U.S. leaving Iraq is that Democrats and/or liberals, including many anti-war activists who were opposed to the invading Iraq to begin with, recognized that upon invasion it became the duty, or even moral imperative, of the U.S. to improve the Iraqi situation.  Leaving prematurely, allowing for sectarian violence, no matter what public opinion says, is in my opinion shirking the duty of the nation.  While I realize that it was the Bush administration who invaded, this situation should not be ignored by a new administration.  I get so g&%d#%! pissed off at all the partisan finger pointing, Republican vs. Democrat, liberal vs. conservative bullsh!+ that goes on in Washington, state caps, and even here sometimes.  This is a question/issue that should be beyond the pale of partisanship and political ideology.  It is a moral question.  It should be the responsibility of the United States and the American people to do what is right.

Below is a link to an article dated from Oct., 2004 which includes the following, in regards to Iraq: "'Secretary of State Colin Powell told this president the Pottery Barn rule,; Kerry said, 'If you break it, you fix it.'... 'Now if you break it, you made a mistake. It's the wrong thing to do. But you own it. And then you've got to fix it and do something with it. Now that's what we have to do.'  http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/arts/17iht-saf18.html (even John Kerry got the responsibility of the US in Iraq)

I remember many, many anti-war activist/protester folks using the analogy before the invasion.  Now, though, and immediately in the wake of deposing Saddam, they wanted to get out.  BS then and BS now.  It IS the responsibility of the U.S. to make it right.  
« Last Edit: December 23, 2011, 07:07:08 PM by bigdog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #758 on: December 23, 2011, 07:59:10 AM »

Very well said BD. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #759 on: December 23, 2011, 05:19:12 PM »

"In Iraq this year I asked an Iraqi military officer doing joint training at an American base what was the big thing he'd come to believe about Americans in the years they'd been there. He thought. "You are a better people than your movies say." He had judged us by our exports. He had seen the low slag heap of our culture and assumed it was a true expression of who we are."

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Cranewings
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« Reply #760 on: December 23, 2011, 05:56:46 PM »

I agree.  It just doesn't seem to work that way.

Because of mealy-mouth "multiculturalism" garbage. I'm reminded of a friend of mine who's ancestors were Italian immigrants. They changed their name from Casio to Cash, refused to teach their kids Italian and explained to them "We came to America to be Americans".

It still works that way. My fiancée parents immigrated in the 60s, but you couldn't tell by talking to her.

I hope she is fluent in Italian cooking!

Taiwanese - I'm the actual cook though (;
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G M
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« Reply #761 on: December 23, 2011, 06:20:44 PM »

Taiwanese is good, except for the rotting dofou dishes. Bleargh!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #762 on: December 24, 2011, 12:08:42 AM »

Iraq's fragile political ecosystem was sure to be tested after the Obama Administration pulled out all U.S. troops to cash a campaign chip. Only the speed and gravity of the crisis now unfolding comes as a surprise.

In hosting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last week at the White House, President Obama hailed Iraq as "sovereign, self-reliant and democratic." Mr. Maliki returned home and promptly began a putsch against his Sunni coalition partners.

Before television cameras on Monday, the Maliki government laid out lurid terrorism charges against Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni leader, and issued a warrant for his arrest. Mr. Hashemi fled to the autonomous northern Kurdish region. Two days later, Mr. Maliki signalled his readiness to break up his multisect coalition and moved to unseat his Sunni deputy prime minister. He ordered the Kurds to "hand over" Mr. Hashemi or face "problems."

Mr. Maliki is playing a combustible game. Iraq is only four years removed from vicious sectarian fighting, which was halted by the 2007 U.S. troop surge and the "Sunni awakening." Instability, renewed violence or a break-up of Iraq would be welcome by Tehran, some of its Shiite proxies in Iraq and al Qaeda-inspired terrorists. The latter were presumably behind the 16 bombs set off in Baghdad yesterday, killing 69.

The signs of trouble have been building for some time. Mr. Maliki's forces have arrested a couple dozen people connected to Ayad Allawi, leader of the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya party that nearly won the last election. Violence is rising in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, whose Sunni-dominated council last week declared autonomy. The Kurds can probably maintain a measure of independence. But the Sunnis, interspersed among Shiites, have nowhere to go.

America's military presence had calmed these sectarian fevers. Out of view of regular Iraqis, U.S. soldiers were honest brokers in Kurdish and Sunni eyes, shielding them against Mr. Maliki's heavy hand. With the U.S. on the ground, Mr. Maliki also had less reason to fear threats—real or imagined—from rivals.

U.S. commanders recommended that a force of 15,000 to 18,000 stay on, which was welcomed by Sunnis and Kurds. The White House rejected the advice and floated, without pressing its case in Baghdad, the idea of keeping 3,000. Mr. Maliki, who has to protect his own nationalist flank, refused to pay the political price to accept a small force and he let the 2008 withdrawal agreement play out.

Former Prime Minister Allawi, a Shiite, on Tuesday offered the following analysis to Reuters: "The Americans have pulled out without completing the job they should have finished. We have warned them that we don't have a political process which is inclusive of all Iraqis and we don't have a full-blown state in Iraq. We want to resolve issues between Iraqis in a peaceful way and we want to bring stability. Iraqis should fill the vacuum, rather than anyone else." Iranians and al Qaeda may fill the vacuum now.

Inevitably we'll hear this is all the fault of the Bush Administration and the original sin of invasion. Some facts are inconvenient. In the last four years, Iraq put together a workable if imperfect political process. Major violence ceased and a 600,000-man military was formed. Oil revenues are flowing. What changed? The U.S. decided to leave.

The White House, which hoped to take credit for success, seems to understand it has a problem. CIA Director David Petraeus flew to Baghdad on Tuesday to press the case for moderation. Vice President Joe Biden called Mr. Maliki and requested an "inclusive partnership government." Yet the U.S. finds itself with little leverage. On Wednesday, Mr. Maliki ignored Mr. Biden and declared his intention to take Iraq to "a new stage" of Shiite-dominated rule. If Iraq now descends into a sectarian brawl or dictatorship, Mr. Obama's withdrawal will have been the needless trigger.

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G M
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« Reply #763 on: December 24, 2011, 12:12:15 AM »

Yes. Next question?
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Cranewings
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« Reply #764 on: December 24, 2011, 12:44:23 AM »

Taiwanese is good, except for the rotting dofou dishes. Bleargh!

The vegans I know keep on trying to get me into that... yuck...
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G M
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« Reply #765 on: December 24, 2011, 01:15:02 AM »

Taiwanese is good, except for the rotting dofou dishes. Bleargh!

The vegans I know keep on trying to get me into that... yuck...

I knew a chef who was widely praised for his vegitarian meals. One night after several drinks, he confided in me his secret.


"Beef and chicken stock".
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #766 on: December 24, 2011, 03:00:58 AM »

Woof,
 HA! cheesy
           P.C.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #767 on: December 24, 2011, 07:25:45 AM »

Vegetarian is actually an old Apache word meaning "bad hunter".
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Cranewings
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« Reply #768 on: December 24, 2011, 11:08:42 AM »

Taiwanese is good, except for the rotting dofou dishes. Bleargh!

The vegans I know keep on trying to get me into that... yuck...

I knew a chef who was widely praised for his vegitarian meals. One night after several drinks, he confided in me his secret.


"Beef and chicken stock".

Nice. I used to be vegetarian until I decided it was just impossible to keep it up an feel healthy. Some places I just had to drop it anyway to keep from arguing, like Asian restaurants.

"is this vegetarian?"

"yes... It just has chicken in it."
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DougMacG
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« Reply #769 on: December 24, 2011, 12:15:52 PM »

"Leaving prematurely, allowing for sectarian violence, no matter what public opinion says, is in my opinion shirking the duty of the nation."

bigdog,  Your post here yesterday is a great one.  I agree 100% in the moral responsibility of: "If you break it, you fix it."

The vote to go to war was bipartisan and it was made very clear from the start that the effort was not simply to bring down Saddam but to take care in what replaces that regime.  

Very shortly into the war when fighting became more difficult and more personal, it seems that dissent and political opportunism and publicly polling kept undermining the effort.  We will never know what part of the loss of life and length of the war were attributable to our own lack of resolve which was certainly followed by the enemy combatants.

Where I differ with Sec Powell and others is the inference in that guiding principle that a) things were not broken when we arrived, and b) that we have the capability to fix it now.

Low violence under 100% oppression is a hard thing to judge.  Add in the mass murders of his own people, attacks on 4 of his neighbors and a known history of supporting terrorists and terrorism, Iraq under Saddam was already broken.

My view at the time was that if your neighbor's house is on fire (rule by Saddam Hussein) and you have the only fire hose available (American military) then you pitch in and fight the fire until it is out.  Further, you help with the rebuild rather than walk away from a family sitting in the ashes if they need your help, but not forever if they keep tearing down what you help build or are shooting at you while you work.

From my midwest armchair with no intelligence briefings it would be presumptuous to know what we should be doing in Iraq, but we didn't leave Europe or the Pacific with no presence or capability to follow up.  Decisions based on polling and elections at home instead of events on the ground are very likely to be wrong.

The answer is do the right thing whatever that is and bring the American people with you great leadership with great communications.  Following polls is the opposite of leadership.
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ccp
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« Reply #770 on: December 24, 2011, 02:23:56 PM »

I tend to disagree.

I am glad we have left.

We lost 3+K, 30+K with lifelong injuries, spent I have heard one trillion.

It is enough.

We have done the noble thing in ridding Iraq and the world of the monster and his family.

The Iraqis told us it is time to leave.  Yes 100K of them reportedly died.  Was it worth it?

The fact no one can really answer is in itself very telling.  Do Iraqis think it was worth it?

I dunno.  Some do and some don't I think.   The US did do a noble thing.  And we sacrificed our people's lives, blood, limbs, money to try and minimize collateral damage.  There is NO other country in history that was this noble.

Are we loved for it?   I dunno.

I for one bravely post on this board - I am glad we left.

If Iraq falls apart now - screw em.
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JDN
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« Reply #771 on: December 24, 2011, 02:26:49 PM »

THANK YOU!!!
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ccp
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« Reply #772 on: December 24, 2011, 02:43:00 PM »

JDN,
I have been reading the posts on this thread for a while.  I actually do agree with you for the most part!  Surely most Americans do as well.  That doesn't make us right.

For those who are libertarian or freedom tea party types (I mostly fall into the latter myself) to take a position that we know best with free markets, less government to tell us what to do at home but then say we don't know enough what we are talking about in an overseas war is a bit of a contradiction. 

I as most Americans are not expert in economics, government, domestic, or foreign policy, war, etc.  If our opinions are therefore not worth listening to on those issues (because we are not expert) then we may as well get rid of *voting*.   Certainly there is an argument to be made most of us who vote are generally partly or wholly ignorant of what we are voting about.  So if we say polls don't matter with regard to what we do in Iraq why do we all vote on our opinions about anything.

I am not sure what "stay the course" means when we still don't have any idea exactly what we are doing, what we need to do, where we are going, still are not sure if anything we do or have done  is/was the right thing .

It is like holding a speculative stock down near the bottom.  Does one still hold and hope things improve or bail and cut any potential losses and take what we get?

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Cranewings
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« Reply #773 on: December 25, 2011, 11:44:21 AM »

I was for staying in Iraq just to keep the military tied up. I think they are happy to return to a position of "tactical flexibility." The longer we were tied up in Iraq, the less likely we were to go destroy some other part of the world. Now its just a matter of time. You can already hear the war drums beating.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #774 on: December 25, 2011, 09:12:05 PM »

Thoughtful commentary across the spectrum is welcome.  This OTOH, doesn't quite measure up.

"The longer we were tied up in Iraq, the less likely we were to go destroy some other part of the world. Now its just a matter of time. You can already hear the war drums beating."

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bigdog
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« Reply #775 on: December 25, 2011, 09:25:53 PM »

The cost of an action should not absolve a nation, of its responsibility.  I doubt seriously that anyone on this board would be as forgiving of a father who failed to pay child support because the cost to him undermined his standard of living.

The arguement that the voters play a role in pulling out of Iraq ignores the votes cast by American citizens in prior elections.  George W. Bush was elected in 2000.  He was also REELECTED in 2004, in large becasue of his willingness to invade and fight in Iraq.  Those elections cannot be ignored any more than current claims that Obama's election was a vote for change.  Again, whether or not you intended to make baby does not absolve you of the responsibilites that accompany your actions (and lack of quality decision making, if you feel that a mistake was made).  

The people of Iraq have been fighting for hundreds of years.  Iraq is hardly a mature democracy at this point.  Continuing on with my methaphorical comparison to parenthood, you wouldn't leave your seven year old triplets at home by themselves, even they asked you to do so.  And, yes, I am aware that this is unfair, in many ways, to the Iraqi people.  The comparison is just meant to simplify and explain.  Actions that some of you would never excuse under some circumstances you seem to be lining up to do so now.  

Here is the heart of my concern.  Electoral politics should not be the reason why we, as a nation, choose to engage or disengage internationally.  The U.S. has a moral imperative that few, if any, other nations have or have ever had historically.  It kills me when politics undermines the actions we take.  If we are to have a moral purpose in the world, we need to have a credible committment to act responsibly.  Period.  Regardless of party.  Regardless of election cycle.  And for anti-war folks to use an argument for reasons not to go to war, and then change arguments once we do really concerns me as citizen who wants my country to be the illustration of a responsible world power AND democracy.  
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G M
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« Reply #776 on: December 25, 2011, 09:34:48 PM »

The cost of an action should not absolve a nation, of its responsibility.  I doubt seriously that anyone on this board would be as forgiving of a father who failed to pay child support because the cost to him undermined his standard of living.

The arguement that the voters play a role in pulling out of Iraq ignores the votes cast by American citizens in prior elections.  George W. Bush was elected in 2000.  He was also REELECTED in 2004, in large becasue of his willingness to invade and fight in Iraq.  Those elections cannot be ignored any more than current claims that Obama's election was a vote for change.  Again, whether or not you intended to make baby does not absolve you of the responsibilites that accompany your actions (and lack of quality decision making, if you feel that a mistake was made).  

The people of Iraq have been fighting for hundreds of years.  Iraq is hardly a mature democracy at this point.  Continuing on with my methaphorical comparison to parenthood, you wouldn't leave your seven year old triplets at home by themselves, even they asked you to do so.  And, yes, I am aware that this is unfair, in many ways, to the Iraqi people.  The comparison is just meant to simplify and explain.  Actions that some of you would never excuse under some circumstances you seem to be lining up to do so now.  

Here is the heart of my concern.  Electoral politics should not be the reason why we, as a nation, choose to engage or disengage internationally.  The U.S. has a moral imperative that few, if any, other nations have or have ever had historically.  It kills me when politics undermines the actions we take.  If we are to have a moral purpose in the world, we need to have a credible committment to act responsibly.  Period.  Regardless of party.  Regardless of election cycle.  And for anti-war folks to use an argument for reasons not to go to war, and then change arguments once we do really concerns me as citizen who wants my country to be the illustration of a responsible world power AND democracy.  

Well said.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #777 on: December 25, 2011, 09:44:30 PM »

Amen.
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G M
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« Reply #778 on: December 25, 2011, 09:59:08 PM »

Don't think this doesn't get factored into the strategic thinking of current and future opponents.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #779 on: December 25, 2011, 10:24:45 PM »

Thoughtful commentary across the spectrum is welcome.  This OTOH, doesn't quite measure up.

"The longer we were tied up in Iraq, the less likely we were to go destroy some other part of the world. Now its just a matter of time. You can already hear the war drums beating."



Sorry if you don't like what I said but I mean ever word of it. Also, sorry for not linking to a pundit that half way agrees with me. I know linking to political commentary makes a post much more valid.

Rachel Maddow puts it together pretty well: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#45691998
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 10:45:54 PM by Cranewings » Logged
Cranewings
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« Reply #780 on: December 25, 2011, 10:53:01 PM »

The cost of an action should not absolve a nation, of its responsibility.  I doubt seriously that anyone on this board would be as forgiving of a father who failed to pay child support because the cost to him undermined his standard of living.

The arguement that the voters play a role in pulling out of Iraq ignores the votes cast by American citizens in prior elections.  George W. Bush was elected in 2000.  He was also REELECTED in 2004, in large becasue of his willingness to invade and fight in Iraq.  Those elections cannot be ignored any more than current claims that Obama's election was a vote for change.  Again, whether or not you intended to make baby does not absolve you of the responsibilites that accompany your actions (and lack of quality decision making, if you feel that a mistake was made).  

The people of Iraq have been fighting for hundreds of years.  Iraq is hardly a mature democracy at this point.  Continuing on with my methaphorical comparison to parenthood, you wouldn't leave your seven year old triplets at home by themselves, even they asked you to do so.  And, yes, I am aware that this is unfair, in many ways, to the Iraqi people.  The comparison is just meant to simplify and explain.  Actions that some of you would never excuse under some circumstances you seem to be lining up to do so now.  

Here is the heart of my concern.  Electoral politics should not be the reason why we, as a nation, choose to engage or disengage internationally.  The U.S. has a moral imperative that few, if any, other nations have or have ever had historically.  It kills me when politics undermines the actions we take.  If we are to have a moral purpose in the world, we need to have a credible committment to act responsibly.  Period.  Regardless of party.  Regardless of election cycle.  And for anti-war folks to use an argument for reasons not to go to war, and then change arguments once we do really concerns me as citizen who wants my country to be the illustration of a responsible world power AND democracy.  

It isn't right or fair to keep placing this burden on the shoulders of the same one percent. I have some mixed feelings about the war in Iraq and I'm sorry to see it fall apart just like so many people predicted. That said, I know people that have been deployed over and over again. What's worse, those that come back aren't taken care of correctly and it isn't like there is really even that many of them. We are stingy with our support of vets. In my mind, our moral imperative to stay there is tied to the need for a large portion of the population to participate and for them to be taken care of when they come home. If we can't do that, we shouldn't be there. They have been there long enough. The sad fact that a bunch of them will probably get rotated to Afghanistan sucks.
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G M
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« Reply #781 on: December 25, 2011, 11:15:33 PM »


Maddow goes with the"No weapons of mass destruction" lie. Saddam killed Kurds, Iraqi Shiites and Iranians with WMD. Intelligence agencies, including those in europe and the middle east believed Saddam never ended his well known and well documented WMD programs.

What is the cost of inaction regarding Iran? Think they can't reach us here? That the geopolitical effects of a sunni-shia arms race or a hot war between Israel and Iran won't mean anything for America?
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Cranewings
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« Reply #782 on: December 25, 2011, 11:27:07 PM »


Maddow goes with the"No weapons of mass destruction" lie. Saddam killed Kurds, Iraqi Shiites and Iranians with WMD. Intelligence agencies, including those in europe and the middle east believed Saddam never ended his well known and well documented WMD programs.

What is the cost of inaction regarding Iran? Think they can't reach us here? That the geopolitical effects of a sunni-shia arms race or a hot war between Israel and Iran won't mean anything for America?

I don't want to see a draft and I don't want to see the same volunteers being asked to fight another war.I don't see how we are going to fight a preemptive war without one of those, unless some horrible tragedy happens to generate a bunch of volunteers. The moral imperative to treat young men like meat leads to some pretty good sounding speeches, but I'm not for war with someone just because they are building up a defense against us.  If Iran's neighbors want to stop them, maybe we can help support them.
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JDN
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« Reply #783 on: December 25, 2011, 11:36:44 PM »

Bigdog said, "The people of Iraq have been fighting for hundreds of years.  Iraq is hardly a mature democracy at this point.  Continuing on with my methaphorical comparison to parenthood, you wouldn't leave your seven year old triplets at home by themselves, even they asked you to do so.  And, yes, I am aware that this is unfair, in many ways, to the Iraqi people.  The comparison is just meant to simplify and explain.  Actions that some of you would never excuse under some circumstances you seem to be lining up to do so now."

With no offense, I usually agree with you Bigdog, but I'm not sure your analogy is applicable.  A better comparison would be if you now had 21 year old triplets at home.  Yes, you could tell them what to do (as my father always said, my house, my rules) but they are adults and are responsible for themselves.  As is Iraq.  We have been there eight LONG years.  Maybe they were mere children, but after eight years, they claim to be adults.  Thousands of Americans have died, THOUSANDS upon thousands more have been wounded.  And we have spent nearly a trillion dollars.  Enough is enough.  As you point out, Iraq is hardly a mature democracy at this point, NOR will it be in my lifetime.  Time for us move on. 

Further, with all due respect to the Iraqis, they are not Americans.  Again, using your analogy, Family is family; I would die for my seven year old triplets if they were threatened, but I'm not sure why Americans are dying in Iraq.  Why should Americans keep dying for someone who seems to hate us?  Because WE think the cause right?  Even though their freely elected government is clearly kicking us out?  I think after EIGHT LONG YEARS with little to show for it except thousands of American lives lost or injured and a trillion dollars gone, Americans have a right to wise up and change their mind and say enough....  What the heck are we doing in Iraq?  And that is just what happened.  America wised up.

At this time of year especially, one wants to do good.  But the world if full of places that need help.  We can't be everywhere, we can't help everyone. Let's take care of family first and those that appreciate us.
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G M
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« Reply #784 on: December 26, 2011, 12:27:41 AM »

I don't want to see a draft

**The military doesn't want a draft. Our military doesn't want or need unhappy clock watchers and a 2 year enlistment is a waste of time and money.

and I don't want to see the same volunteers being asked to fight another war.I don't see how we are going to fight a preemptive war without one of those

**There are multiple ways to fight a war, one need not invest in a large number of boots on the ground to seek out and destroy Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

, unless some horrible tragedy happens to generate a bunch of volunteers. The moral imperative to treat young men like meat

**I'm glad to see you memorized well the bogus claims of your leftist indoctrinators. The US military does not treat it's troops "like meat". We invest a huge amount of money in trainingand equipping our troops to survive and win.

leads to some pretty good sounding speeches, but I'm not for war with someone just because they are building up a defense against us. 

**I'm not sure how promising to wipe Israel off the map translates to wanting to defend themselves from the US. If either the US or Israel were of a mind to, we could turn all of Iran into radioactive glass without them getting off a shot. Their nuclear program makes this more likely, not less.

If Iran's neighbors want to stop them, maybe we can help support them.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #785 on: December 26, 2011, 12:57:32 AM »

CW:

It is not your opinion I am having trouble with.  It is your way of expressing it in you last couple of posts.

As I said, "THOUGHTFUL commentary across the spectrum" is fine, trite snarky anti-American crap is not.

"The longer we were tied up in Iraq, the less likely we were to go destroy some other part of the world. , , ,"The moral imperative to treat young men like meat leads to some pretty good sounding speeches."

If you want to talk like that on your own time when you are drinking with like-minded buddies, that's fine.  This forum however is not for that sort of talk.  OTOH this says pretty much the same thing without the trite snarky anti-American crap.

"It isn't right or fair to keep placing this burden on the shoulders of the same one percent. I have some mixed feelings about the war in Iraq and I'm sorry to see it fall apart just like so many people predicted." That said, I know people that have been deployed over and over again. What's worse, those that come back aren't taken care of correctly and it isn't like there is really even that many of them. We are stingy with our support of vets. In my mind, our moral imperative to stay there is tied to the need for a large portion of the population to participate and for them to be taken care of when they come home. If we can't do that, we shouldn't be there. They have been there long enough. The sad fact that a bunch of them will probably get rotated to Afghanistan sucks."


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DougMacG
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« Reply #786 on: December 26, 2011, 01:14:27 AM »

Already answered, but Iran "building up a defense against us" did not strike me as a serious observation either.  Poor defenseless Iran - aren't they the number one sponsor of terror in the world according to both Bush and Obama administrations (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8028064.stm), sponsor of Hezbollah, makers of IED's aimed at Americans, jailed hikers for pawns, threaten to blow Israel off the map, stormed our embassy - what else?  I don't understand regretting the American loss of life in Iraq, a very large part of it directly attributable to actions by Iran, and then feeling ambivalent or sympathetic toward Iran.  If you are sympathetic to Iran then you should be joyous for the American loss of life.  They are.

My reaction earlier today reading: "I was for staying in Iraq just to keep the military tied up" was that my sense of humor does not come through well in the written word either.  Subsequent post said he meant every word of it, whatever that means.  It makes no sense to me but I don't see America as the destroyer.
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Is there any part of JDN's post that he didn't already express.  It's enough because "enough is enough"..."Time for us move on."   - Okay, you got your say and you got it 2, 3, 4 times saying I think the same thing.  None of it IMO, even in repetition, addresses a very compelling moral point made by bigdog.  
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Cranewings
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« Reply #787 on: December 26, 2011, 02:22:11 AM »

I actually think this is the most aggressive of all the forums I've been on and I don't see my way of talking as being any worse than the tone normally used on here. I mean, there is a running thread title "Cognative Disonance of the Left" which is funny, but not very nice. I could start one called, "Short Sight of the Right" with about the same attitude.

In any case, I'll try to sound nicer from now on.
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bigdog
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« Reply #788 on: December 26, 2011, 06:20:08 AM »

JDN: I take no offense, but I appreciate your sentiment.  My analogy might be better with 7 year old adopted triplets.  They aren't blood, but they are your responsibility because you chose to take responsibility for them.  

Eight years is not a long time.  Americans, myself included, have this weird time frame issue that doesn't exist elsewhere.  I once heard a former reporter tell a story about meeting a Chinese diplomat, and asking if China was failing in the wake of WWII, Mao, being overshadowed by the Soviets, etc.  The diplomat replied that China remained strong, and that it had "only been a bad century."  I have a friend who attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  He had a great time.  One of the things that struck him was that the university was divided into two campuses: the old campus and the new campus.  The new campus was something like 300 years old.  Americans have a short time vision.  We treat the Revolution and Civil War like they were ancient history.  (This view is seen in many people, in many different policy arenas, including racial equality, by the way, when it is argued that blacks have had sixty years to work toward equality, and the tone is that of incredulity or disbelief that inequality could remain pervasive, but I digress to make a point.)  Eight years is not long.  

There are things that Americans can change their minds about.  I can decide I don't like a brand of car, a pair of shoes, a way of eating, or a sport.  I cannot simply walk away from my adopted triplets.  We can change our minds about relationships (changes in our view toward Japan and Germany spring to mind), our domestic policy (welfare or health care), but we simply should not forego a responsibility that we chose to bear.  


With no offense, I usually agree with you Bigdog, but I'm not sure your analogy is applicable.  A better comparison would be if you now had 21 year old triplets at home.  Yes, you could tell them what to do (as my father always said, my house, my rules) but they are adults and are responsible for themselves.  As is Iraq.  We have been there eight LONG years.  Maybe they were mere children, but after eight years, they claim to be adults.  Thousands of Americans have died, THOUSANDS upon thousands more have been wounded.  And we have spent nearly a trillion dollars.  Enough is enough.  As you point out, Iraq is hardly a mature democracy at this point, NOR will it be in my lifetime.  Time for us move on.  

Further, with all due respect to the Iraqis, they are not Americans.  Again, using your analogy, Family is family; I would die for my seven year old triplets if they were threatened, but I'm not sure why Americans are dying in Iraq.  Why should Americans keep dying for someone who seems to hate us?  Because WE think the cause right?  Even though their freely elected government is clearly kicking us out?  I think after EIGHT LONG YEARS with little to show for it except thousands of American lives lost or injured and a trillion dollars gone, Americans have a right to wise up and change their mind and say enough....  What the heck are we doing in Iraq?  And that is just what happened.  America wised up.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 07:15:45 AM by bigdog » Logged
prentice crawford
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« Reply #789 on: December 26, 2011, 08:15:43 AM »

Woof,
 Regardless of what has passed in Iraq, the cost in lives, money and time, the mistakes made, any moral obligation and so on, the troops are no longer there now. However, that doesn't mean that Iraq just dropped off the face of the planet. There are still going to be consequences to be paid for those troops not being there and it's going to continue to cost us lives, money and time, the difference being that we are going to have much less control of a continuing situation and there is no telling what the future cost's will be. People are acting like we can just wash our hands of it and walk away, that is simply not the case.
                                                                 P.C.
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JDN
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« Reply #790 on: December 26, 2011, 09:08:12 AM »

Bigdog, thank you for your response.  On the analogy, let's try to compromise.  I'm glad you agree "they aren't blood".  I would go further and say Iraq is not "adopted".  We adopted Hawaii and Alaska.  They have
become part of our "blood" family and if attacked, we will respond with the full fury of our ability stopping at nothing to defeat our immediate blood family's enemy.

Rather, I look upon Iraq as at most a 7 year old foster care child.  "Foster care is temporary care provided to children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. Foster parents are responsible for the day-to-day care of a child, ..."  "Foster care is a temporary situation, and is dependent on this child's family circumstances. This can range from days to months, or even years. The main goal is to safely reunite a child with his or her family."

Iraq will never be our "blood family" nor does any American intend to "adopt" Iraq.  Out of the goodness of our heart, like to a foster child, we will provide short to immediate term care.  But they are not our long term responsibility.  Our goal is to make them independent.  After eight years, like from a foster child we can with honor walk away after all that we have done for Iraq.  And while I hope for their best, like a foster child, I bare no future responsibility for Iraq other than to say I tried my best; the same I would say if I  was a foster parent.

As to time, I appreciate your point, however for America, the Revolution and even the Civil War are ancient history.  Further, I would ague that "time" seems to have accelerated.  Changes are happening more frequently.  I am not criticizing Edinburgh's concept of time (I spent a lovely month in Edinburgh), but the world is changing much faster than that small town.  Eight years is a long time for a mere foster child relationship.  It was too long in Iraq.


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DougMacG
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« Reply #791 on: December 26, 2011, 10:26:45 AM »

What I don't understand about this story is the delay.  I suppose Iran didn't want it to look like the US leaving and them coming in were related events.

12/25 http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-12-25/news/30556663_1_iraq-coalition-casualty-count-status-of-forces-agreement-1st-cavalry-division  FORT HOOD, Texas: Last US troops out of Iraq make it home for Christmas

12/26 http://www.businessinsider.com/iran-declares-its-ready-to-expand-military-ties-with-iraq-2011-12

Iran Declares It Is Ready To Expand Military Ties With Iraq

A week after U.S. forces pulled out of Iraq, Iran has announced its willingness to expand its military and security links with Baghdad.

The AFP reports Iranian General Hassan Firouzabadi praised the "forced departure" of U.S. troops, saying it ""was due to the resistance and determination of the Iraqi people and the government."

Firouzabadi: "Iran was now ready to expand its military and security ties with Iraq."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #792 on: December 26, 2011, 10:35:47 AM »

CW:

Thank you.  Yes it gets rough and tumble around here (indeed to the point where sometimes guidance needs to be given) but in our search for Truth, cheap shot comments at America are not in play.  BTW, I would point out this thread.  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2184.0

Again, thank you.
Marc
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bigdog
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« Reply #793 on: December 26, 2011, 12:14:49 PM »

I did compromise, JDN.  You aren't going to get me to make a claim that the US lacks a responsibility to Iraq.  Short term outlooks come back to bite countries in the ass in the long term.  See: the end of WWI; the end of US support in post-Soviet Afghanistan; and arguably the lack of invasion of Iraq under GHW Bush.  Countries that lack long term vision make mistake after mistake after mistake. 

Bigdog, thank you for your response.  On the analogy, let's try to compromise.  I'm glad you agree "they aren't blood".  I would go further and say Iraq is not "adopted".  We adopted Hawaii and Alaska.  They have
become part of our "blood" family and if attacked, we will respond with the full fury of our ability stopping at nothing to defeat our immediate blood family's enemy.

Rather, I look upon Iraq as at most a 7 year old foster care child.  "Foster care is temporary care provided to children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. Foster parents are responsible for the day-to-day care of a child, ..."  "Foster care is a temporary situation, and is dependent on this child's family circumstances. This can range from days to months, or even years. The main goal is to safely reunite a child with his or her family."

Iraq will never be our "blood family" nor does any American intend to "adopt" Iraq.  Out of the goodness of our heart, like to a foster child, we will provide short to immediate term care.  But they are not our long term responsibility.  Our goal is to make them independent.  After eight years, like from a foster child we can with honor walk away after all that we have done for Iraq.  And while I hope for their best, like a foster child, I bare no future responsibility for Iraq other than to say I tried my best; the same I would say if I  was a foster parent.

As to time, I appreciate your point, however for America, the Revolution and even the Civil War are ancient history.  Further, I would ague that "time" seems to have accelerated.  Changes are happening more frequently.  I am not criticizing Edinburgh's concept of time (I spent a lovely month in Edinburgh), but the world is changing much faster than that small town.  Eight years is a long time for a mere foster child relationship.  It was too long in Iraq.



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ccp
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« Reply #794 on: December 27, 2011, 10:02:54 AM »

"The U.S. has a moral imperative that few, if any, other nations have or have ever had historically.  It kills me when politics undermines the actions we take.  If we are to have a moral purpose in the world, we need to have a credible committment to act responsibly."

First, I don't agree that few if any other nations have ever had.  Many nations have had over thousands of years. 

Second, politics has actually forced us to be extemely poltically correct in foreign policy.  WE ahve already gone to extraordianry lengths to protect the life and limb of non citizens at much cost to us.

"and arguably the lack of invasion of Iraq under GHW Bush"

Wow.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #795 on: December 27, 2011, 10:17:03 AM »

IIRC the invasion of Iraq in Gulf War was forestalled by our promises to the UN made in return for putting the huge coalition together.

Returning to the subject of the moment, moral obligations, here's this from today's Pravda on the Beach  http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq-interpreters-20111227,0,2012248.story
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ccp
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« Reply #796 on: December 27, 2011, 10:31:24 AM »

"Progressive" politics in foreign policy.

We are never good enough we never do enough it is our moral obligation to fix everything and protect everyone overseas.

Smart war smart power.  Smart assination.  Advancing freedom.

Does anyone else see the endless creeping game this is; very akin to progressivism in domestic policy.  That every wrong, every unequality, has government action as it's answer?   Lest we be morally berift.

No individual responsibility to those overseas.  They need out help.  They need their nanny. etc.
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bigdog
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« Reply #797 on: December 27, 2011, 11:03:31 AM »

Give me a list of nations, historically, with a moral imperative similar to the US.

And I am not making the argument that the US should have invaded Iraq at the end of the Gulf War (and Guro you do recall correctly).  But don't pretend you've never heard the argument, ccp.  The argument HAS BEEN MADE.  

"The U.S. has a moral imperative that few, if any, other nations have or have ever had historically.  It kills me when politics undermines the actions we take.  If we are to have a moral purpose in the world, we need to have a credible committment to act responsibly."

First, I don't agree that few if any other nations have ever had.  Many nations have had over thousands of years.  

Second, politics has actually forced us to be extemely poltically correct in foreign policy.  WE ahve already gone to extraordianry lengths to protect the life and limb of non citizens at much cost to us.

"and arguably the lack of invasion of Iraq under GHW Bush"

Wow.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 08:55:02 AM by bigdog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #798 on: December 28, 2011, 08:40:58 AM »


By AYAD ALLAWI, OSAMA AL-NUJAIFI and RAFE AL-ESSAWI
Published: December 27, 2011

IRAQ today stands on the brink of disaster. President Obama kept his campaign pledge to end the war here, but it has not ended the way anyone in Washington wanted. The prize, for which so many American soldiers believed they were fighting, was a functioning democratic and nonsectarian state. But Iraq is now moving in the opposite direction — toward a sectarian autocracy that carries with it the threat of devastating civil war.

Since Iraq’s 2010 election, we have witnessed the subordination of the state to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s Dawa party, the erosion of judicial independence, the intimidation of opponents and the dismantling of independent institutions intended to promote clean elections and combat corruption. All of this happened during the Arab Spring, while other countries were ousting dictators in favor of democracy. Iraq had a chance to demonstrate, for the first time in the modern Middle East, that political power could peacefully pass between political rivals following proper elections. Instead, it has become a battleground of sects, in which identity politics have crippled democratic development.

We are leaders of Iraqiya, the political coalition that won the most seats in the 2010 election and represents more than a quarter of all Iraqis. We do not think of ourselves as Sunni or Shiite, but as Iraqis, with a constituency spanning the entire country. We are now being hounded and threatened by Mr. Maliki, who is attempting to drive us out of Iraqi political life and create an authoritarian one-party state.

In the past few weeks, as the American military presence ended, another military force moved in to fill the void. Our homes and offices in Baghdad’s Green Zone were surrounded by Mr. Maliki’s security forces. He has laid siege to our party, and has done so with the blessing of a politicized judiciary and law enforcement system that have become virtual extensions of his personal office. He has accused Iraq’s vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, of terrorism; moved to fire Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq; and sought to investigate one of us, Rafe al-Essawi, for specious links to insurgents — all immediately after Mr. Maliki returned to Iraq from Washington, wrongly giving Iraqis the impression that he’d been given carte blanche by the United States to do so.

After Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. urged all parties to maintain a unity government on Dec. 16, Mr. Maliki threatened to form a government that completely excluded Iraqiya and other opposition voices. Meanwhile, Mr. Maliki is welcoming into the political process the Iranian-sponsored Shiite militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, whose leaders kidnapped and killed five American soldiers and murdered four British hostages in 2007.

It did not have to happen this way. The Iraqi people emerged from the bloody and painful transition after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime hoping for a brighter future. After the 2010 election, we felt there was a real opportunity to create a new Iraq that could be a model for the region. We needed the United States to protect the political process, to prevent violations of the Constitution and to help develop democratic institutions.

For the sake of stability, Iraqiya agreed to join the national unity government following a landmark power-sharing agreement reached a year ago in Erbil. However, for more than a year now Mr. Maliki has refused to implement this agreement, instead concentrating greater power in his own hands. As part of the Erbil agreement, one of us, Ayad Allawi, was designated to head a proposed policy council but declined this powerless appointment because Mr. Maliki refused to share any decision-making authority.

After the 2010 election, Mr. Maliki assumed the roles of minister of the interior, minister of defense and minister for national security. (He has since delegated the defense and national security portfolios to loyalists without parliamentary approval.) Unfortunately, the United States continued to support Mr. Maliki after he reneged on the Erbil agreement and strengthened security forces that operate without democratic oversight.

Now America is working with Iraqis to convene another national conference to resolve the crisis. We welcome this step and are ready to resolve our problems peacefully, using the Erbil agreement as a starting point. But first, Mr. Maliki’s office must stop issuing directives to military units, making unilateral military appointments and seeking to influence the judiciary; his national security adviser must give up complete control over the Iraqi intelligence and national security agencies, which are supposed to be independent institutions but have become a virtual extension of Mr. Maliki’s Dawa party; and his Dawa loyalists must give up control of the security units that oversee the Green Zone and intimidate political opponents.

The United States must make clear that a power-sharing government is the only viable option for Iraq and that American support for Mr. Maliki is conditional on his fulfilling the Erbil agreement and dissolving the unconstitutional entities through which he now rules. Likewise, American assistance to Iraq’s army, police and intelligence services must be conditioned on those institutions being representative of the nation rather than one sect or party.

For years, we have sought a strategic partnership with America to help us build the Iraq of our dreams: a nationalist, liberal, secular country, with democratic institutions and a democratic culture. But the American withdrawal may leave us with the Iraq of our nightmares: a country in which a partisan military protects a sectarian, self-serving regime rather than the people or the Constitution; the judiciary kowtows to those in power; and the nation’s wealth is captured by a corrupt elite rather than invested in the development of the nation.

We are glad that your brave soldiers have made it home for the holidays and we wish them peace and happiness. But as Iraq once again teeters on the brink, we respectfully ask America’s leaders to understand that unconditional support for Mr. Maliki is pushing Iraq down the path to civil war.

Unless America acts rapidly to help create a successful unity government, Iraq is doomed.

Ayad Allawi, leader of the Iraqiya coalition, was Iraq’s prime minister from 2004-5. Osama al-Nujaifi is the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament. Rafe al-Essawi is Iraq’s finance minister.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #799 on: December 28, 2011, 09:09:01 AM »

Second post of the morning

For the record, IIRC it was Bremer who made the decision to disband the Iraqi Army.  That noted, I think it worth the time to read his current take on things.

Please do note (attention JDN wink) his echoing of my point that Baraq telegraphed to the Iraqis a complete lack of intention to stay-- which underlines the plea of the Iraqis in my previous post.

==============

By L. PAUL BREMER
Geography is forever and Iraq lives in a rough neighborhood. For millennia, leaders in Mesopotamia have survived by making fine calculations about power. And in the wake of the U.S. decision to withdraw all troops from their country, Iraq's leaders have drawn their own conclusions about what comes next. Events so far seriously impair the security and economic gains of the last four years, and endangers the slow but steady progress toward a sustainable political settlement.

The year after the American-led coalition overthrew Saddam's dictatorship in 2003, al Qaeda in Iraq revealed a cynical plan to kill and maim Shiites to spark a sectarian war. It almost worked. Only President George W. Bush's courageous decision to surge additional troops in early 2007 saved the country.

Iraqi civilian casualties this year have been less than 5% what they were in 2007. In the wake of better security, the Iraqi economy has blossomed. According to the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, per capita income today is six times what it was under Saddam. Three times as many Iraqis have access to drinkable water. Thirty times as many have telephones.

A residual American military presence in Iraq would have helped us achieve three security goals: striking al Qaeda and Iranian terrorists still active in Iraq; helping train Iraqi security forces; and dampening tensions along the "green line," the contested demarcation between the Kurdish north and Arab south. Our withdrawal makes all three objectives more difficult to sustain.

EnBut the most important reasons for a continued American military presence were always political. Such a presence would demonstrate to Iraq's neighbors—and especially to Iran—that America had a lasting interest in containing the Iranian quest for regional hegemony. It would also be a clear sign of American intent to stick with the Iraqis as they work to develop durable political institutions.

The benefits of a continued military presence were illustrated by the political conflagration that flared within 24 hours of our departure. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, issued an arrest warrant for the country's vice president, a Sunni, who then fled to the northern Kurdish area.

It did not have to be this way. Last year, American military commanders recommended retaining a minimum of 20,000 troops after 2011 to maintain stability. Quiet diplomacy had secured the agreement of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani not to oppose a continued American presence. That gave Mr. Maliki maneuvering room with his Islamist followers.

But this summer, extensive leaks in Washington made clear that the administration was prepared to consider a residual force of only 3,000. Such a force would be barely sufficient to provide for its own protection, let alone carry out the three necessary security tasks. This was understood in Baghdad—but how could an Iraqi leader ask for more troops than the U.S. government was offering? They could only conclude that the American government was not serious about staying on.

The administration compounded the problem with its approach to the question of immunities for our troops if they were to stay on. Naturally the U.S. had to insist on those immunities, which have been an essential feature of all Status of Forces Agreements we have signed over the past half century—including the one with Iraq. This issue was sensitive for Iraqi politicians but the American approach made it impossible by insisting that the Iraqi Parliament, not just the government, had to approve any immunities.

Iraqi leaders decided that these two hurdles made the game not worth the candle. One resists with difficulty the conclusion that some in the U.S. government intended this outcome, which allowed them to argue that the U.S. wanted to keep troops in Iraq but the Iraqis refused to provide the necessary immunities. In any event, a post-American crisis was not long in coming.

Where does this leave us? The stakes could not be higher. Much depends on how the current crisis is resolved. Further collapse would be a disaster for Iraqis, leading to more terrorism there and elsewhere and possibly threatening Iraq's young democratic institutions. It would do serious damage to American interests, too, leaving Iran in a position to assert more influence in Iraq and the region.

A better outcome could strengthen Iraqi's young political institutions. To encourage that path, the U.S. needs to move vigorously on the political and diplomatic fronts in Iraq and with its neighbors. We should mount a full-court effort to broaden economic, commercial and cultural relations between the U.S. and Iraq while we encourage a peaceful resolution of today's political impasse.

This past week's bombings in Baghdad also underscore the need for better intelligence about the terrorist threat. Regrettably, the most useful intelligence can be collected only on the ground, and we have lost a significant capability through our withdrawal. Still, we should work to expand intelligence cooperation with the Iraqis.

We should also seek ways to extend our contacts with the Iraqi military, with the eventual goal of returning at least a cadre of U.S. forces to Iraq. Training Iraqi forces outside Iraq, in the U.S. or elsewhere, could be a useful step. Finally, we should recognize that most Iraqis don't want to become pawns of Iran and would welcome robust American diplomatic engagement in the region to balance Iranian influence.

President Obama made a serious mistake in withdrawing all American forces. He has a chance to begin to remedy the results, but there's no time to lose.

Mr. Bremer was U.S. presidential envoy to Iraq in 2003-04.

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