Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An Iraqi point of view.


Leo said...

Interesting...no doubt that America cannot rebuild Iraq as we simply do not have the resources without depleting our own.

I agree with her on the sins of America during the 80's and the shameful withdrawal of support to the Shia's.

Not so sure that America is to blame for the problems in Iraq as related to electricity et.al billions of American dollars and much terrorist action beg to differ .

I think too that it is too easy to say that America is stealing their oil. The little oil that makes it out of Iraq after terrorist actions seems a drop in the bucket but perhaps I'm mistaken.

Yet America is not set up to be an occupier and a nation builder history does beg to differ with Mr. Bush but he is to stubborn to get it.

Anyway it was good to hear her perspective.

dmarks said...

Iraq would have been rebuilt, electricity perfectly reliable, and the country getting rich on exports (not to mention US soldiers long gone) if no Iraqis woke up in the morning and said "Gee, I wonder how many civilians (Shiite/Sunni/friends of Americans/fill in the blank_____) I can kill today?"

Andrew said...

Yup. I do wonder why we did not anticipate the ethnic conflict, as it was predicted by most with knowledge of Iraq.
I believe it was naive of Bush to think that after the Sunnies killed 10,000 Shia under Saddam, that the Shia would not take an opportunity for retribution. There would have been no "opportunity" if we had gone in with enough people to stabalize the situation (300,000,like Shinseki said. To assume that we would be greated as "liberators" and everything would be hunky dory is not just ignorant but negligent.

Bush ran on personal accountability in 2000. He did not even know that there were Shia and Sunnie sects of Islam until after we were already in Iraq. I say he and the Rumsfelds, Pearls, and Cheney's need to be held "personally accountable" for their 1 trillion dollar blunder. Just allowing Bush to retire to the ranch to chop wood will not be acceptable to me. Clinton was held accountable when he made a personal mistake that did not cost me a dime. Now Bush should be held to the same standard.

dmarks said...

Andrew, there have been other situations besides Iraq where totalitarian socialist governments fan flames of ethnic hatred. It might be interesting to see what happens once the jackboot of socialism is lifted and so-called "payback time" happens.

In the former Yugoslavia, all hell broke loose. The former USSR? Well, there is Chechnya. But on the other hand there are a lot of other tensions in places like the Baltic republics (tensions between natives and Russian settlers) and ethnic groups pushed, prodded, shuffled, crushed, and boosted all over the former USSR. Relatively, there has been little violence.

Clinton's mistakes were not personal, especially the one he got a conviction on. The US court system is not someone's personal space.

dmarks said...

@leo "Yet America is not set up to be an occupier and a nation builder history does beg to differ with Mr. Bush but he is to stubborn to get it."

Actually, look at Japan after WW2. About as long as the occupation of Iraq is by now. Another very anti-Western country. Yet, it was successfully rebuilt.

(I do not typically use the term "nation building" for already existing nations like Iraq, Japan, and Afghanistan.).

We were a lot better at it, before. Rummy is no MacArthur.

Leo said...


Interesting comparison but I would ask you to consider these differences between Iraq and Japan.
1. Japan was/is one unified people, Iraq is composed of three peoples at variance with one another. The Bush Administration leaned too heavily on the "neocon" arguments from Cheney and Rumsfeld and essentially ignored the State Department and academics who understood the region and as a result did not do its homework in seeking to understand the dynamics of the culture. Hence the problems we have in holding Iraq together.
2. Japan essentially adopted the western industrial model and adjusted it to its culture. Iraq while an educated people was never on par with the Japanese industrial complex of the 20's through the 1940's and beyond.
3. Japan's was morally and physically defeated by the United States and willingly adopted the occupation of the United States. Iraq was liberated from Saddam Hussein and expected to be allowed complete independence from the United States. Let's accept too that Douglas MacArthur, with all of his foibles, was much superior to most anyone in the Bush Administration including Paul Bremer. I cannot imagine MacArthur allowing the Japanese army to go back to civilian life with its war equipment like Bremer did.

4. You must consider too that every terrorist in the MIddle East has sought to make a name for themselves in Iraq. Syria and Iran have allowed terrorist free flow into Iraq. Japan is an island and its borders secure from such enemies. Besides that all of the neighbors of Japan hated Japan and would not have allowed Japanese resistance fighters to use their nations as a haven. America never had these issues with Japan and its neighbors so it is difficult to determine this key point of comparison.

5. Recall too that Truman and the military knew that the American people had little patience for protracted war and would have grown tired of a war that went into 1946 and 1947. This realization was lost on the Vietnam generation and both paid and are paying a price.

I think that the differences between the two are too profound to allow such a comparison but perhaps I am mistaken.

dmarks said...

1. Cheney is not a neocon, and I don't think Rumsfeld is either. Wolfowitz, a newer convert to conservatism, counts as a neocon. But yes, Iraq is a rather artificial forced-together nation, and I agree in general with the rest of that point.

Our leaders sure did underestimate the depravity of the terrorists, and that people raised under the oppression of a socialist system will not easily embrace a free, open, democratic and pluralistic system overnight. Or ever, to use the most pessimistic view.

2. I don't think the level of industrialization makes a difference in this discussion.

3. Yes, MacArthur was wonderful in that role. Rummy wasn't.

4. One thing the Bush admin did wrong was fail to seal the borders of Iraq. I know that is an overused term: usually applied to keeping out Mexicans. But unlike Mexicans, the people coming into Iraq from Syria and Iranian were truly nasty people bent on slaughter and other violent crimes against Iraq's people and Iraq's allies. Stopping the terrorists from Iran and Syria coming in would have made things a lot better.

5. It all depends on how the media spins it. The entire Iraq death toll of US troops is less than that of many one or two-day battles in WW2.