babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


  
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » archived babble   » the middle east and central asia   » What will it take to stop the war in Iraq?

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: What will it take to stop the war in Iraq?
brebis noire
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7136

posted 05 May 2005 06:56 AM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Bob Herbert is on a roll this week....

[ 05 May 2005: Message edited by: brebis noire ]


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7024

posted 05 May 2005 08:07 AM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Americans' attitude toward war in general and this war in particular would change drastically if the censor's veil were lifted and the public got a sustained, close look at the agonizing bloodshed and other horrors that continue unabated in Iraq. If that happened, support for any war that wasn't an absolute necessity would plummet.

Alas, I think that is a hopelessly naive notion. In the US, there's a huge swath of the public that has absolutely no problem with murderous brutality-- just so long as it's happening to people who don't "look like us." You still hear a good number of people here who seriously wonder why we don't "just nuke Iraq and get it over with."

Support for the war is ebbing in the US, certainly, but it's a long road from a negative answer to a pollster's question about the war to actuallly calling for a real end to the bloodshed.


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3052

posted 05 May 2005 09:30 AM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Unfortunately, the U.S right learned only 2 main lessons from Viet Nam:

(1) Never admit defeat; continue at all costs until you win the war.

(2) Never allow the media the freedom to show the public how appalling the war really is.


From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 05 May 2005 02:28 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Alas, I think that is a hopelessly naive notion.

The history of the Vietnam war suggests that enough appalling images do make a difference. Even if it were only the rows of servicemen's coffins coming back, it would mean something.

If you are old enough, you will remember the Vioetnamese girl running naked toward the camera after having been bombed, or the assassination of a rebel by pistol to the head.

A client of mine who deserter after fighting in Iraq tells me about an incident in which some Iraqis were beheaded by machinegun fire. Then, leaving the scene, the driver of the Humvee veered so he could squash the head, leaving behind a "souvenir". That is the day-to-day reality of the war. And I think seeing it would change a lot of minds.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
chester the prairie shark
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6993

posted 05 May 2005 05:00 PM      Profile for chester the prairie shark     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
in the US, there's a huge swath of the public that has absolutely no problem with murderous brutality-- just so long as it's happening to people who don't "look like us
and since, unlike vietnam where the war went worse and worse and american casualties mounted through the years, iraqis are now just killing themselves and it appears that there are hardly any cooalition casualties to give the people back home reason to rethink the war.

From: Saskatoon | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3308

posted 05 May 2005 06:11 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, actually, the US casualties seem to be continuing at roughly the same levels at the same time the attack on the "government" and "police" and so forth step up.
But "roughly the same levels" doesn't get headlines. I mean, at a steady three a day, that's around a thousand a year--it would take 50 years to reach Vietnam levels.
But I think that, too, is misleading. There are various signs indicating that while the resistance isn't killing more Americans, it is getting more organized; meanwhile, the US occupation is doing less and less actual occupying--just whatever it takes to hold a perimeter around their bases, keep them in supply, and operate the Green Zone in Baghdad. And I guess the oil wells.

The question now is the "government". If it collapses under resistance pressure like Vietnamese puppets tended to, the US will have to put their boys out where they'll get hurt again or else tacitly concede control over much of Iraq to the resistance(s). At which point the US public will see a large, unexplained (to them) increase in casualties.

[ 05 May 2005: Message edited by: Rufus Polson ]


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7136

posted 09 May 2005 09:30 AM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I admire Bob Herbert's persistence, and it has to be done; but it's more than annoying to realize that there's this idea that the only way Americans will eventually react is to focus on American casualties and American safety....Here's the link to today's column. "Stranger than Fiction"
From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3308

posted 09 May 2005 05:36 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That's always been the case before.
Far as I know, there has never, ever been a significant outcry in the US against any US aggression that did not involve large scale US casualties. For that matter, this may be true across more nations than just the US.

From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7136

posted 09 May 2005 07:46 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From Roméo Dallaire's account of the genocide in Rwanda, the home team casualty factor appears to have been a major reason why nations wouldn't commit troops to the UN mission. It was the case as much for countries such as Uruguay and Bangladesh as it was for Belgium, France and the U.S.

But media coverage was a factor in finally getting the world's attention long enough so that public pressure could influence the distribution of troops and resources. But of course it was too little and too late.

I think the way that the war is being portrayed on the major TV networks (the tone, the types of stories they tell, as well as of course what they're not saying) is basically ensuring that it will go on as long as possible, as wrongheaded and awful as it continues to be. Alternative media is doing a good job of keeping issues on the radar, but only for those people who are already aware that it was wrong from the start.

That's why I think it's important when a newspaper like the Times prints very critical information such as what Herbert writes.


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
gunnar gunnarson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8547

posted 09 May 2005 11:15 PM      Profile for gunnar gunnarson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Check out Doonesbury from a few days ago. U.S. casualty figures are continuing to climb, but not at such an exponential rate that the MSM actually take notice. Thus the conflict falls off the radar, except for the people getting killed and their families.

GBT's take: "Iraq is the new Afghanistan." Oy.


From: audra's corner | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
scooter
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5548

posted 09 May 2005 11:55 PM      Profile for scooter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What will it take to stop the war in Iraq?

That's an easy one. Have ALL the foreigners leave.

That means every Sudanese, Syrian, Iranian, Pakistani, American, European, etc. mercenary.


From: High River | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 10 May 2005 08:54 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But then, I mean, telling Syrians to leave is kind of like telling the English that they can't fight wars in Yorkshire. All the more since the Sunni (Syrian) Arab grouping around Baghdad is essentially the same national group as those around Damascus, and that is the way it has been since 800 AD and that is consistent. The same linkage can be made to a large segment of Jordan's population and Palestinians and some groups of Lebanese.

In this case the 'foreigners out' slogan seems fine until tested against the demographic reality, which challenges the borders imposed by the British and the French. As well the US army has repeatedly admitted that 'foreign' participation in the insurgency is low (was it 3% of attacks, I read?) so is it really relevant to the issue at all from the POV of the insurgency, which seems to be more or less indiginous, anway.

And then, really, can't it also be argued from tn ethnogrpahic standpoint that really Kurds are foreigners too, at least as far as the Tigris/Euphrates river system is concerned? So what of that.

The problems and solution are never simple.

[ 10 May 2005: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7136

posted 10 May 2005 09:17 AM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's not easy to distinguish foreigners from non-foreigners, for one thing. Was Margaret Hassan a foreigner, for example?

And if you can distinguish 'foreigners' - then there's a big, insoluble problem that comes from the fact that once they've set foot in there, they've changed things forever...things can't go back to the way they were, however desirable or undesirable that might be.

Just take the small example of evangelical tourist groups that have been visiting countries such as Egypt, Israel and Jordan for the past 30 years. They've only visited and toured, but I'd bet that their very presence has changed things significantly on both sides, in terms of the how each 'side' perceives the other, how it influences everyone's opinions and how subsequent events are played out in political and personal arenas.


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 11 May 2005 03:15 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Meanwhile, in Iraq, suicide bombs have today killed more than sixty people and injured more than one hundred, in the bloodiest single day since February.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 11 May 2005 05:58 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Pretty amazing how the facts on the ground seem to contradict the US propoganda stream:

quote:
Laith Kubba, an Iraqi government spokesman, told the BBC that rebels were lashing out wildly, knowing their "days are numbered".



From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Left Turn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8662

posted 11 May 2005 08:42 PM      Profile for Left Turn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's pretty clear that the US government isn't going to pull US troops out of Iraq anytime soon of it's own volition. The only way to get the US troops out is to convince the American government that it is no longer in their interest to continue occupying Iraq.

The question becomes this. Is it be the Iraqis, or the American public, who can best convince the American government to pull the US out of Iraq?

It's probably a combination of both. A major increase in the Iraq resistance is possible, but I doubt that this on it's own would be enough to kick the US out. What it could do is raise the US casualty level to the point where the media could not keep burying it anymore. Maybe not in the US, but in other countries where the report might be a bit less biased. If this could get the global antiwar movement going again with major antiwar marches, it might convince the US antiwar movement to abandon their strategy of putting their hopes in the Democratic Party, and to strive to create a broad based anti-impreialist war movement on a scale not seen since the beginning of the war. If this could then be sustained, then just maybe the US could be forced to pull out of Iraq.

It's still a long shot, but nothing less appears to have any chance of success.


From: Burnaby, BC | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 11 May 2005 08:54 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the impact of US pulbic opinion on the US withdrawal from Vietnam is overstated. The idea that the US army was betrayed by a hostile media that destoryed public support for the war, is an ideological arguement that suits the Bush agenda in Iraq.

What won the war for the Vietnamese as much as anything else was that the War was beginging to have severe impact on the US economy. This is not to say that public opinion did not count, but as you say it is a combination of things that will drive the US out in the end, but I don't think US poublic opinion is as pivotal as many would like.


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3336

posted 11 May 2005 09:31 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't think that the Americans will pull out of Iraq until the oil runs out of the entire Middle East. They need those air bases to control the area and the issue is oil.
From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Left Turn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8662

posted 13 May 2005 02:34 AM      Profile for Left Turn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Cueball, the point I was making is that only a combination of high, sustained US casualties, a large vocla antiwar movement both in and out of the US,and a crumbling of support for the war in the US, will be able to force the US out. The Iraqis can't get the US out without support from the US people, and the US people won't massively oppose this war unless they see high levels of sustained US casulaties.
From: Burnaby, BC | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 13 May 2005 03:28 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Right I see that. And I am saying that I don't think the antiwar movement is that reelvant, in comparison to the general geopolitical situation. That all.

And I am not at all sure that the Iraqis can't do it themselves. It is not necessary to be able to defeat an army in the field in order to beat it. There are numerous examples of wars that have been won by severly outgunned contestants. It is enough to make the cost outweigh the value of the political onjective.

Examples:

  • The Vietnamese Vs USA -- 1960
  • United States Vs. England -- War of Independence
  • Prussia (Fredrick the Great) Vs. Austria --Seven Years War
  • Visigoths Vs Rome
  • Greece Vs Persia -- Persian Wars

If the ratio of politcal value is inferior to cost outlay, armies usually withdraw from the contest.

Surely, public opinion will factor in, but I am not sure that it is as pivotal as many think.

As I said, the right has been one of the biggest proponents of the theory that it was the media that sapped the public will for the war in Vietnam, and lost it, not the military. This leads into the whole, if only we had enough willpower argument.

To bring it full circle. It is often said that the US army was never defeated in the field, in Vietnam.

Then it is asked: well if the army is not defeated in the field, then why did we lose. The arguement then goes: the army must have betrayed by the media, which sapped the will to fight

Similar kinds of arguments were made in Germany after the First World War. This because the Germans, Austrians and Turks pretty much won the military conflict, they made the Russians surrender, kicked the Autrailians out of Galipoli and had their armies burried deeply in France. But the cost outweighed the possible politcal gain, and they surrendered.

Needless to say, the arguement ignores the reality that time and time again inferior forces have defeated very powerful enemies, even if they do not have the ability to, say, bring the war home to their enemy. But they can wear down an overextended imperial army down, until the struggle is not longer worth it financially and militarily when measured against the political gain.

There was no mass media or public demonstrators telling Xerxes to leave Greece -- it just wasn't worth the bother keeping an occupying army in Athens.

[ 13 May 2005: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Left Turn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8662

posted 14 May 2005 01:34 AM      Profile for Left Turn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The US were incapable of defeating the Viet Cong in Vietnam. They could have kept fighting the Viet Cong for another 50 years and not won. Had the US public not turned against the Vietnam War, I think the US would have stayed in Vietnam until the golbal geopolitical situation required the US to withdraw and redeploy its troops elsewhere. It was the turning of US sentiment against the Vietnam War, that caused the republicans to decide to disengage from Vietnam in order to win political favour at home.

Though the US could not win in Vietnam, I am not convinced that the US army and government would have admited to themselves how dire the situation actually was.


From: Burnaby, BC | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 14 May 2005 02:40 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think that is counter-factual history. It also plays too much to Eurocentric view that the colonized have no power with which to defend themselves and can not effect their own history. In this view the future of the Vietnamese is determined by the US, either through the victory of its army or the good will of its cvilian population. It is one, which even from a left wing perspective, assigns all power to the the US.

I find it a little chauvanist actually.

Time and time again small but committed home armies have shown themselves capable of defeating large imperial armies fighting over extended supply lines. Just think of the huge expnse of this kind of modern operation supplied by sea and by air over a space of 5000 miles, and you can see how just the pure economics would hamper the ability of the US to win an extended war in Vietnam or Iraq today.

When the US entered Vietnam they had a clear military objective, which was to destroy the fighting power of the NVA and the VC through direct confrontation and pitched battles. In Clauzewitzian terms they focused maximum power on two of the three primary objects designed to bend the enemy to their will. These are are:

1) The enemy capitol
2) The enemy army
3) The army of an enemy ally.

Hanoi was out as an objective given the problem of possible escalation into a world wide conflict so, it might be considerd that the objective 2 was the NVA and objective 3 would be VC.

In traditional startegic military parlance, they had a Positive Object. The attainment of this Positive Object (destruction of enemy forces) were the acceptable victory condition which they strove for.

It was a very sensible plan, given the huge logisitcs problem they faced. They wanted a quick war fought in a series of pitched battles inflicting maximum damage to the Vietnamese war fighting machine. This war object was pursued by the US from 1964 to 1968 and ended with the Tet Offensive.

The VC and the NVA war staregy had no Positive Object their object was a Negative Object determined simply by denying the US satisfaction on the terms that defined the US war effort that was, as I said, destruction of enemy forces. The Vietnamese achieved their war aim by denying the US victory on the terms the US required.

Even though the VC lost Tet, it was clear that the US could not break the combined Vietnamese forces arrayed against them, and as a result the US then retreated into static positional warfare, where they defended a series of key strategic points, and began a program Vietnamization of the struggle, which meant that they had the South vietnamese pursue offensive operations with US support.*

In military terms it became clear that the war could not be won by the US (given that the Vietnamese had successfully achieved their Negative Object, denial of the US Positive Object of victory (destruction of enemy forces) and as a result the US realized, as you say "They could have kept fighting the Viet Cong for another 50 years and not won." Once this fact was determined it was not a great big leap for the US to come to the realization that if we can't win the war (on the terms as defined in our original war objective -- destruction of enemy forces) then why not leave at the first available opportunity?

Without a potential victory at hand continuance would have been expensive and pointless.

quote:
* If Tet wasn't a full-scale shock to the American public, it was at the very least, an awakening. The enemy that Johnson and the generals had described as moribund had shown itself to be very alive and, as yet, unbeaten. America and its ARVN ally had suffered over 4,300 killed in action, some 16,000 wounded and over 1,000 missing in action. The fact that the enemy suffered far more and had lost a major gamble mattered little because the war looked like a never ending conflict without any definite, realistic objective. The scenes of desolation in Saigon, Hue, and other cities looked to be war without purpose or end. Perhaps the most quoted US officer of the time was the one who explained the destruction of about one-third of the provincial capital of Ben Tre with unintended black humor: "It became necessary to destroy it," he said, "in order to save it". For many, this oft-quoted statement was not just a classic example of Pentagon double-think but also a symbol of the war's futility. Westmoreland became the parody "General Wastemorland" of the anti-war movement.

Vets with Mission

[ 14 May 2005: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Reynald de Chatillon
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9184

posted 14 May 2005 04:24 AM      Profile for Reynald de Chatillon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The war in Syria, maybe? I imagine that it would involve at least a substantial number of the troops being moved between the two countries.
From: Yellowknife | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7136

posted 14 May 2005 07:08 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Meanwhile, if it doesn't actually cost average Americans anything - right now - to keep on waging war...

"The Republican Guide to War-Time Tax Cuts"

[ 14 May 2005: Message edited by: brebis noire ]


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Left Turn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8662

posted 15 May 2005 02:12 AM      Profile for Left Turn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Cueball, I see your point, and I won't debate it further.
From: Burnaby, BC | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 15 May 2005 02:20 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

I've studied the war in depth and have some pretty firm ideas about it. Thanks for the discussion. I'm think that doemstic dissent has a role to play, I am just not sure that it has as big an impact as it would be nice to believe.

quote:
Originally posted by brebis noire:
Meanwhile, if it doesn't actually cost average Americans anything - right now - to keep on waging war...

"The Republican Guide to War-Time Tax Cuts"

[ 14 May 2005: Message edited by: brebis noire ]


The big risk, in my view, is that if the huge cost of the war is transferred to the people of the United States, without a balancing financial reward from the military venture, the US home economy and social fabric could severly degenerate, and the society might become unstable.

You see the thing is that all the previous large scale military adventures were substantially paid for by those who recieved the most collateral benefit -- corporations. This meant that the basic infrastructure of US civilian life remained relatively untouched by the costs of the various adventures. However, the neo-liberal and neo-conservative drive to deregulate and reduce capital gains taxes, may mean that the only source of money to cover the costs of the war will be what is left of the social safety net created in the 50's and 60's, or through increased direct taxes on individuals.

This may have the unintended effect of destablizing the domestic political structure, which in turn will result in increased repression of dissent, and the eventual elimination what remains of the liberties that Americans enjoy. The idea of a facist super power on the scale of the US is a daunting prospect.

On the other hand a domestic economic collapse and the resulting political crisis might just end the war, and/or in an optimistic frame might spur much needed reform.

quote:
In 1992, General Colin Powell, chairman of the joint chiefs, awarded the prize for his strategy essay competition at the National Defence University to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Dunlap for The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012

[ 15 May 2005: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

   Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca