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Author Topic: Why and how the US must leave Iraq...
Zatamon
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posted 02 November 2003 03:23 PM      Profile for Zatamon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is a brilliant article by Yaroslav Trofimov on the topic, using historical perspective so rarely seen in the media. One of the best I have read for a long while. Definitely not for simpletons who have five minutes attention spans and can not think ahead more than two moves in chess. Tomgram: The time of withdrawal
quote:
Empires invariably think that it's they who are bringing civilization and progress in their train and that only the barbarians, the terrorists, the bitter-enders resist for fear of being thrown onto that dust heap of history. But history is, as it turns out, filled to the brim with barbarians, terrorists, and bitter-enders, not to speak of enraged ordinary people who have seen their friends and relatives die, who feel the discomfort – which has only grown more psychologically unbearable over the last century -- of watching well-armed, well-paid foreigners walk with impunity across their lands. They do resist, exactly as Texans would. Afterwards perhaps they fall on each other's throats. Such things are unpredictable.

But in recent centuries, if empire – the Great Powers, the Great Game, Global Domination, the Great Rivalry, the Great Arms Race – has been the Great Theme of history, the less publicized but perhaps more powerful one has been resistance. Resistance everywhere to occupation of any sort. Resistance by forgotten millions (not all of them wonderful human beings).



From: "The right crowd" | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 02 November 2003 04:02 PM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow. Great analysis. Thanks, Francis.
From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 02 November 2003 04:32 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Military generals always underestimate the mosquito effect. A mosquito is tiny. One good swat and it's life is over. But, the mosquito's power comes from numbers and persistance. Mosquitos can ruin your life; particularly if carrying disease.

When an enemy behaves like mosquitos, that enemy will drive out invaders.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
banquosghost
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posted 02 November 2003 05:30 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Puts me in mind, slightly, of Lewis Lapham's piece "Road to Babylon" in Harper's last month. If you missed it it's here. http://www.harpers.org/online/the_road_to_babylon/the_road_to_babylon.php3?pg=1
From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 04 November 2003 10:30 AM      Profile for Zatamon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is another very smart piece by Richard Gwyn: Downsizing American imperialism
quote:
An ever-growing number of people around the world are giving up on America itself. They remain fascinated by and drawn to the American dream of affluence, freedom, and democracy. But the U.S. itself now disgusts them or frightens them — more so, in quite a few instances, than the suicide bombers.

As one measure of this rejectionism, a blue-chip panel of experts assembled by President George W. Bush to advise on ways to improve the U.S. image in the Muslim world has just reported back: "Hostility towards America has reached shocking levels."
....................
The root problem is all that power. So get rid of some of it. The U.S. should hand over Iraq to the United Nations as soon as possible and pull its troops out of South Korea and Japan, and scale back elsewhere.



From: "The right crowd" | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
drgoodword
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posted 07 November 2003 01:28 AM      Profile for drgoodword   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From the Trofimov article:

quote:
"It was a mistake to discount the Iraqi resistance," Col. Keslung said, adding, "If someone invaded Texas, we'd do the same thing."

A no-baloney army surgeon explains it in plain and simple language for Rumsfeld, Friedman, Wente and everyone else who just can't seem to get it.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 08 November 2003 11:56 AM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Originally posted by Cougyr:
quote:
Military generals always underestimate the mosquito effect. A mosquito is tiny. One good swat and it's life is over. But, the mosquito's power comes from numbers and persistance. Mosquitos can ruin your life; particularly if carrying disease.

When an enemy behaves like mosquitos, that enemy will drive out invaders.


Great analogy, Cougyr! I love being a mosquito myself, but in a less violent manner. Pricking, needling, heckling anyone who promotes injustice. The only weapon I use is language: letter, posters, protest, word of mouth etc. Sometimes it's slower, but ultimately, usually no one gets killed or injured.


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 08 November 2003 03:40 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Iraq itself was to be the lynchpin of an American empire of bases that was to extend from the former Yugoslavia to Uzbekistan, right across the "arc of instability" which just happened to coincide with the major oil lands of this Earth. Occupying Iraq would also...tame Syria and Iran, settle the Palestinian question on grounds favorable to the Sharon government, and solve the awkward problem of basing our troops in Saudi Arabia about which Osama bin Laden had so long been bitter. This is what "liberation" truly meant.
Assuming the above scheme is in fact what Washington intends, it seems to ignore "the lesson of Vietnam", which, to U.S. foreign policy planners at the time, meant that subterfuge, rather than occupation, would be more effective in pursuing hegemony. It was better to train and fund the Contras, for example, than to order U.S. troops to invade Nicaragua. (Unless it was a sure win, like Grenada.) Military bases could then be installed at the invitation of the paid host (like Noriega), but not for the purpose of maintaining an occupation. The reasons for this had to do with the frustratingly effective resistance encountered in Vietnam, which could only have been defeated by virtually blowing up the whole country, at a time when domestic dissent was threatening the status quo. (As I recall, big business also began to grumble that the war, once profitable, was beginning to have a negative effect on the economy. A groundswell of influential business leaders began to advocate withdrawal--though not on moral grounds.)

So what are the assumptions of advisors to the Bush administration? That domestic dissent has been marginalized enough, particularly since 9/11, that it won't pose a threat in the foreseeable future? That the Middle East is now an exception to the rule of covert action, the formerly successful habit of installing (and deposing, when necessary) friendly dictatorial lackeys by supporting "freedom fighters"? That resistance to wholesale occupation has somehow dwindled everywhere since Vietnam?

As I recall, in the early sixties The Kennedy administration shifted Central American policy away from protecting the region from external threats to a focus on using those countries' militaries to control their domestic populations. And then...he escalated the occupation of Vietnam. It must be that the relative perceived importance of certain regions is the cause of Washington's selective memory. But resistance is resistance, wherever they may roam. Why would they think that basing troops in Iraq would be any more palatable to Arabs than putting them in Saudi Arabia? Is "taming" Syria and Iran any more likely than "taming" North Vietnam was? I'm not sure how stirring up Arab resentment and resistance would help Sharon's cause. Many Bush administration advisors are the same brain trust who recognized in the Reagan administration that outright occupation was no longer an effective option. Now, I've only the most rudimentary education in world history, but does it not seem like it's about to repeat itself?

[ 08 November 2003: Message edited by: bittersweet ]


From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 09 November 2003 01:57 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Many Bush administration advisors are the same brain trust who recognized in the Reagan administration that outright occupation was no longer an effective option.

Actually, I'm not so sure about that. My understanding is that the PNAC boys (Perle, et al.) who are currently coccooned around Bush were considered to be on the loony extreme even by the Reagan/Bush I administrations. These guys really do believe the US can rule the world directly, thru sheer brute force. Sometime back in the early 90s, during the Daddy Bush regime, an early version of the "pre-emptive strike" doctrine, authored by those future PNAC boys, was leaked to the public -- and immediately caused such a furore that the government had to withdraw and disown it.

Then, after licking their wounds during the Clinton years, the nutbar neocons used September 11th as their means to worm their way into the heart of the Baby Bush administration, much to the horror of traditional conservatives like Colin Powell. It was pretty hard not to notice that a large chunk of the foreign-policy establishment was completely opposed to the Iraq adventure, and warned the Shrubniks of the possible "blowback" it might generate for US interests in the region. And were completely ignored.

I can only image the furious infighting and backstabbing that must be going on within the US government right now as the situation in Iraq degenerates. Predicting the outcome is of course impossible, but I would speculate (hopefully) that the demented "let's-occupy-the-whole-of-the-Middle-East" faction are going to end up disgraced and out of favour. As long as things on the ground in Iraq remain as they are, any further "pre-emptive strikes" are just out of the question. And if Iraq really spirals out of control in the next year or two, then the PNAC guys, and their entire ideology, will be toast.

I imagine we'll eventually see a return to the old rule-thru-local-proxies approach the US previously used, especially if the Repubs lose the '04 election.

Of course, it's always possible that Osama might save Bush's ass by carrying out another major terrorist atrocity at just the opportune moment. Stay tuned.


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 09 November 2003 02:09 PM      Profile for Zatamon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by beluga2:Of course, it's always possible that Osama might save Bush's ass by carrying out another major terrorist atrocity at just the opportune moment. Stay tuned.
Since Osama and Bush are on the same side (they both want the US to behave very badly) we will never know who did what if and when it happens. I am almost taking it for granted that it will happen, just at the right moment. However, I may be wrong (I hope I am).

From: "The right crowd" | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 11 November 2003 11:03 AM      Profile for Zatamon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Someone has dug out and put on the Internet a fascinating passage from the first President Bush's memoir, "A World Transformed." The senior Bush is explaining why he didn't pursue and kill Saddam Hussein at the end of the Gulf War (the elisions are for space only and in no way change the meaning of the passage):

"Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream . . . and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. . . . We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect rule Iraq. . . . There was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see. . . . Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different -- and perhaps barren -- outcome."

One wonders if the present executive ever bothered to read his father's book.


Click

From: "The right crowd" | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 11 November 2003 11:49 AM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
One wonders if the present executive ever bothered to read his father's book.


He never learned to read.

From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 11 November 2003 02:33 PM      Profile for Zatamon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Maybe Bush never learned to read, but he certainly knows how to manipulate and intimidate American politicians.
quote:
When the president’s $87 billion appropriations bill to fund the continued occupation of Iraq recently came up for vote in the U.S. Senate, 94 U.S. Senators — including those who were leading the charge to blindly and unconstitutionally support the president one year ago — were again overcome by a paralyzing fear of the electorate, causing them to run away from the battlefield, cowering in fear somewhere in their offices or homes.

How were only six U.S. Senators able to approve such an important bill?


"U.S. Senators Are the Real Cowards"

From: "The right crowd" | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 11 November 2003 08:28 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Maybe Bush never learned to read, but he certainly knows how to manipulate and intimidate American politicians.

As the saying goes Francis; 'Bullshit Baffles Big Brains'.


From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 12 November 2003 05:25 PM      Profile for Zatamon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You got it, clersal.
quote:
A TOP-secret CIA report warns that growing numbers of Iraqis believe the US-led coalition can be defeated and are supporting the resistance.

The report paints a bleak picture of the political and security situation and cautions that the US-led drive to rebuild the country as a democracy could collapse.
...........
The CIA analysis suggests US policy in Iraq has reached a turning point, as the Bush administration moves to escalate the war against the guerillas and accelerate the transfer of power.
......................
Such a campaign, however, could cause more civilian casualties and drive more Iraqis to the side of the insurgents.


Click

From: "The right crowd" | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged

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