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The Iraq War retrospective Thread
06-10-2008, 07:54 PM (This post was last modified: 06-10-2008 08:08 PM by kandrathe.)
Post: #1
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Rather than branch an already tortured thread, I thought I would reply to eppie here.
Quote:Like I have done before I ask you to check the Iraq war posts of 2003, and then come back with the 'own opinion and who is right' things.
Hindsight is 20/20. From before the war began up to this second, most of the people who were against it will believe, and will always believe the war to be a failure. What they never acknowledge is what the future would have brought had the war not been fought. In the bag of tricks of national interactions, negotiation is one and war is another. We have carrots and sticks, that's it. After a decade of carrot parades, the US decided to use the stick. We are not yet at that point in societal evolution where peace is always the answer. Wars are seldom justified, and are usually fought for resources. All the other frosting is to make the war palatable for the masses.

In hindsight,
  • there were things that were done that should not have been done, <>
  • there were things that should have been done that were not done, <>
  • and things that might have been done better.<>
    [st] I would agree that the US pulled the trigger before the world/UN was convinced it was the right thing to do. I would agree that no WMD's were found, although I reserve that they were perhaps moved, buried, or destroyed. I would agree that the worlds intelligence communities totally muffed it. I would agree that the "Project for the New American Century" folks were keen on going to war with Iraq well before even their founding. With Bush Jr in power and him appointing many of those folks into key administration positions, they had the power to make the war happen. Unfortunately, full disclosure and the truth were also war casualties here. Had I known then, what I know now, would I still want an Iraq war? That depends on what the future would have been with a Mr. Hussein and sons still in power there. I think that picture is also bleak. Had the worlds nations have been willing to economically isolate Hussein then it might have worked. Had the UN not been complicit in smuggling then it might have worked. I think the net we had Hussein in was full of holes, and the US knew that in time he would be free. That is why I think we rushed to war. Now, having broke the thing, it was ours to fix. It would have been a legacy worse to have deposed and executed Hussein and company then left the field to civil war and decades of strife and death.

    My position now is that the US and some of our allies have so far spent 500 billion and thousands of precious lives securing and building a new Iraq, and that damn well better be an investment we are willing to follow through to its conclusion. I don't like spending my money on Iraq, but it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. At least with their oil reserves, and the prices the way they are, Iraq may pay us back within the decade. We should not fully leave Iraq until at least the bulk of the debt has been paid. The Balkans were just a write off, and thankfully we exited in 2004 after a decade of costs and reconstruction.

    Like Occhi, I'm a little bitter about GW's failure to walk his talk. "If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem." — George W. Bush, Jan. 2001.

    For comparison, here is a link to the costs of WWII (link). Of course, those costs are in 1945 dollars. For casualty comparison, consider the entire Iraq war casualties to the battle of Iwo Jima (link). How important is Iwo Jima today? Was it worth killing 20000 Japanese defenders? I'd still say it's too soon to know if the Iraq war is a success or not. Will Iraq emerge as a peace loving and prosperous thriving nation who resolves its grievances through the UN? I hope so. Now, if only the other security council members would also do the same. :)

    Consider Vietnam and Afghanistan, not as the struggles fought and lost over 20 years, but as the proxy wars between the USSR and the US. This outlet of steam in an otherwise tense period gave time for Communism as expressed in the totalitarian dictatorship, and Stalinesque way a chance to prove its shortcomings. Was Vietnam worth it, not for the Vietnamese. But, the free world nations maybe benefited from the halt of the spread of totalitarianism. Having shown your love for Castro, and Cuba's system, you might not believe that capitalism, democracy, and my quaint notions of freedom are things worth preserving. But, however quaint or bourgeoisie, I believe I prefer the outcome of the Cold War as it is now.

    So, was the Iraq war worth it? Time will tell. I don't think leaving it a mess is a proper strategy for a successful conclusion.

    One thing is certain, our politicians have not yet learned their lessons from 9/11, or the Iraq war. One lesson being, to focus and never relent from focusing on securing domestic tranquility. The linkage here is not that Iraq was involved in 9/11, rather that Iraq and 9/11 have forced the US to change. The story you never hear about is how the US military has transformed itself from the anti-Soviet cold war army into the small unit special forces focused organization better designed to deal with our current threats. Or, how military intelligence, CIA and FBI are coordinating forces to bring a unified approach to investigating threats both foreign and domestic. Unfortunately, my view of the Department of Homeland Security is that it will be a humongous money vacuum rife with waste, aimless and excessive spending for little or no gain. But, perhaps they will become the nimble reactive defenders of our borders. And, monkeys might also fly from my nether orifice.

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06-10-2008, 09:16 PM
Post: #2
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Could someone link a pertinent 2003 thread on the subject? It would be interesting, at least, to see what arguments went around back then.

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06-10-2008, 09:39 PM
Post: #3
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Hi,

Quote:We have carrots and sticks, that's it. After a decade of carrot parades, the US decided to use the stick.
Please, get it right. The story is about a carrot tied to a stick so that it is always out of reach. It's about promises made in bad faith. It has damned all to do with reward and punishment. Don't join the ignorant masses in misusing this bit of our heritage.

Quote:Had I known then, what I know now, would I still want an Iraq war? That depends on what the future would have been with a Mr. Hussein and sons still in power there.
If you want to know the future, look at the past. Hussein was a bastard, but he did keep the country stabilized throughout his tenure. All we've accomplished is destabilization. And given our actions in Gitmo and elsewhere, I don't think we can even claim much of a moral superiority.

Quote:I think the net we had Hussein in was full of holes, and the US knew that in time he would be free. That is why I think we rushed to war.
What made it our concern apart from our commitment to the UN? No. Shrub wanted to show his was bigger than his father's, and the Texas Oil Gang wanted to get richer. And Powell was either a fool and a dupe or he sold out.

Quote:Now, having broke the thing, it was ours to fix. It would have been a legacy worse to have deposed and executed Hussein and company then left the field to civil war and decades of strife and death.
Since it is our continued presence that is largely to blame for the strife and death, staying is worse than leaving.

Quote:My position now is that the US and some of our allies have so far spent 500 billion and thousands of precious lives securing and building a new Iraq, and that damn well better be an investment we are willing to follow through to its conclusion.
Ever heard of throwing good money after bad? Since the people of Iraq don't seem to be interested in cleaning their own outhouse, why should we give a damn. Yeah, we overthrew a working government. But that government came out of a period of chaos. So, let them do it again. Except for supplying large quantities of funds to fuel the endemic corruption of that region, we're really not contributing squat.

Quote:At least with their oil reserves, and the prices the way they are, Iraq may pay us back within the decade. We should not fully leave Iraq until at least the bulk of the debt has been paid.
Yeah. And pigs will fly. The US citizens will foot the bills (and not just this generation) and Exxon will reap the profits.

Quote:How important is Iwo Jima today?
Apples to cowpies. Iwo was a step in the process. A process that was forced onto this nation. Iraq is the goal, although I'm damned if I can figure just why.

Quote:I'd still say it's too soon to know if the Iraq war is a success or not.
We went in under the lie of WMD. Since there weren't any, we failed to secure them. Everything since has been lies to cover lies. As each reason to enter and continue the war is exposed as another Shrub and Gang falsehood, a new, equally bogus reason is raised. And a sufficient portion of the nation is sucked in.

Quote:Will Iraq emerge as a peace loving and prosperous thriving nation who resolves its grievances through the UN? I hope so.
Those too stupid to look at history are doomed to repeat it. Show me when, at least from the assassination of Genghis Kahn's ambassadors till now, Baghdad has ever been rational. Perhaps ffifer has developed a pill that turns barbarians into civilized people. If so, news hasn't reached here yet.

Quote:Consider Vietnam and Afghanistan, . . . {blah, blah, blah}
Have you noticed that Russia is now a mobocracy verging on becoming a dictatorship? That *Communist* China is the biggest investor in our economy? Both those countries are a bigger threat to our existence than they were during the Cold War -- not least because we at least perceived them to be a threat then. So, yeah, right, it all worked out so well.

Quote:So, was the Iraq war worth it? Time will tell. I don't think leaving it a mess is a proper strategy for a successful conclusion.
THERE IS NO SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION!!!!!!! You have a culture (using the word in its loosest possible way) that only understands strong-man rule. Sure, they'll agree to elections. And terrorism is their preferred method of campaigning. When the election is over, the losing sides revert to the rule of the AK-47.

Sometimes the only rational thing to do is admit your mistakes and walk away. Lacking any plan better than a one hundred occupation (and, no, it will not be like that of DEFEATED Japan nor of CIVILIZED Europe), then pulling out is the only rational option.

People get the government they deserve. Iraq got Hussein because that's all that works there.

--Pete


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06-11-2008, 12:57 AM
Post: #4
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
For a subject like this, I'll break my silence.

"Iraq is the goal, although I'm damned if I can figure just why."

Well, the reason you find yourself in so many wars, is that wars are good for your economy. But the most important reason for the invasion in Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s decision to accept the Euro as valid currency to buy oil, on November 6, 2000. See http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/features/fex71374.htm

"So, was the Iraq war worth it?"

Assuming you mean the so-called cost in dollars, yes ofcourse. In fact, you should praise and thank Mr.Bush for saving your precious economy.
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06-11-2008, 01:33 AM
Post: #5
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Quote:And Powell was either a fool and a dupe or he sold out.

There is a third option you leave out Pete, that Powell was trying to be loyal to Bush Sr and was trying to do the right thing, yet he was walked upon for his loyalty because Bush Jr and the Texas Oil Gang knew they could exploit his loyalty. Powell was in a lose-lose and he really didn't have a good way out.

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06-11-2008, 02:06 AM (This post was last modified: 06-11-2008 02:08 AM by --Pete.)
Post: #6
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Hi,

I had a vast respect for Powell, to the point that I'd have voted for him in a presidential election. I admired him for his hands on leadership, his knowledge, his ability to work with all people. I actually thought (and I hardly need tell the Lounge that I'm a cynic) that he was that extreme rarity, an honest man in the public service. When I was totally in opposition to our proposed invasion of Iraq, he was the only person in the administration who could have won my (extremely reluctant) support, which he did with his presentation to the UN. A presentation which, in retrospect, was almost entirely false.

Quote:There is a third option you leave out Pete, that Powell was trying to be loyal to Bush Sr and was trying to do the right thing, yet he was walked upon for his loyalty because Bush Jr and the Texas Oil Gang knew they could exploit his loyalty.
If he didn't know the 'data' he was working with were lies, then he was duped. If he did, then he sold out and the reason he did so does not matter, though in small part it might mitigate.

Quote:Powell was in a lose-lose and he really didn't have a good way out.
True, but for a man of principle, resignation would have been preferable, and that was an option he did have. Hell, an astute political animal would have realized that when the truth came out he would have been, in all probability, better off maintaining his image of integrity. As it is, Powell's political career seems to be yet another casualty of the Iraqi war.

--Pete


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06-11-2008, 02:27 AM
Post: #7
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Hi,

Quote:For a subject like this, I'll break my silence.
Welcome to the blender :lol:

Quote:Well, the reason you find yourself in so many wars, is that wars are good for your economy.
Not really. Deficit spending is good, in the short term, for any economy. Thus the TVA, the interstate highway system, BPA, the space program, etc. Wars are often run on a deficit and thus often fill the bill. But wars typically end up doing more damage to the party supporting them than the improvement in the economy helps.

Quote:But the most important reason for the invasion in Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s decision to accept the Euro as valid currency to buy oil, on November 6, 2000.
Bah, you left out the part with the crystal ball. There is enough evidence that Shrub and Gang were looking for an excuse to invade Iraq from the start of his administration and especially from September 12th. All of which predate the Iraqi acceptance of the Euro as payment.

Quote:See http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/features/fex71374.htm
Saw. Tried to flush, couldn't find the lever. Contemplated how the lack of filters in a medium turns the medium into a cesspool -- full of crap.

Quote:Assuming you mean the so-called cost in dollars, yes ofcourse. In fact, you should praise and thank Mr.Bush for saving your precious economy.
Really? Considering the state of the US economy, considering that that state will be a determining factor in the very likely Republican defeat in November, considering that the deferred cost of the war is a major contributor to the consumer lack of confidence that is helping to drive the economy into recession, I'd say your take on the war, the economy, and on the situation in general is worthy of the Internet. And again, I'm looking for the lever to flush and coming up empty.

--Pete


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06-11-2008, 03:43 AM
Post: #8
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Quote:If he didn't know the 'data' he was working with were lies, then he was duped. If he did, then he sold out and the reason he did so does not matter, though in small part it might mitigate.

There was the alleged "bullsh*t" comment, which would seem to indicate he knew the weakness of what he was given. Perhaps he thought he'd weaned it down to something resembling the truth, when what he actually all he had was slightly more humble lies.

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06-11-2008, 06:05 PM
Post: #9
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Quote:Please, get it right. The story is about a carrot tied to a stick so that it is always out of reach. It's about promises made in bad faith. It has damned all to do with reward and punishment. Don't join the ignorant masses in misusing this bit of our heritage.
If you want to know the future, look at the past.
There are two usages according to Oxford English Dictionary, “carrot, sb. Add: 1. a. fig. [With allusion to the proverbial method of tempting a donkey to move by dangling a carrot before it.] 2. An enticement, a promised or expected reward; freq. contrasted with “stick” (=punishment) as the alternative.” I'm using the later.
Quote:Hussein was a bastard, but he did keep the country stabilized throughout his tenure. All we've accomplished is destabilization.
That is debatable. With his propensity to actually use his army for conquest, and his desire and willingness to use proscribed weapons, and his use of vast wealth to employ covert forces to attack western powers he was at that point of being more unstable than stable. His rape of Kuwait was his undoing, it just took a decade of trying to negotiate the bastard into reasonableness that failed.
Quote: And given our actions in Gitmo and elsewhere, I don't think we can even claim much of a moral superiority.
Some of it is over blown, but given the choice of torturer, I'd still prefer Gitmo over the dungeons of Saddam. This is the age old question of how you can beat an opponent without stooping to their level. For the US at least, we try to walk that fine line between legal and war crime. It's a dastardly place to be. The war on terror is no battle for boy scouts, and so we will be tainted by the things we are doing.
Quote:What made it our concern apart from our commitment to the UN? No. Shrub wanted to show his was bigger than his father's, and the Texas Oil Gang wanted to get richer.
Perhaps. I think there is more to the political connections of Iraq, Syria, Yemen than you might think.
Quote:And Powell was either a fool and a dupe or he sold out.
I believe Powell presented the CIA supplied information in good faith, and knowing that it was all slanted against Iraq. The US was committed to the war far before the UN was involved, and as I said, far before Bush became President.
Quote:Since it is our continued presence that is largely to blame for the strife and death, staying is worse than leaving.
That is hard to say. You believe it to be so, but I'm afraid of another Mogadishu/Beirut civil war in Baghdad for a decade. Meanwhile, the camps and trained guerrillas would be seeded around the globe for more acts of terror.
Quote:Ever heard of throwing good money after bad?
I considered that. I'm optimistic that we've passed the midway mark. It will be 3x as expensive as we first predicted. But, that is the nature of optimism.
Quote:Since the people of Iraq don't seem to be interested in cleaning their own outhouse, why should we give a damn. Yeah, we overthrew a working government. But that government came out of a period of chaos. So, let them do it again. Except for supplying large quantities of funds to fuel the endemic corruption of that region, we're really not contributing squat.
That would be one strategy. The killing fields of Cambodia come to mind, as well as many other aftermaths of "cut your losses and leave a mess" actions of previous conquests.
Quote:Yeah. And pigs will fly. The US citizens will foot the bills (and not just this generation) and Exxon will reap the profits.
Maybe. Again, I suffer that ailment of optimism.
Quote:Apples to cowpies. Iwo was a step in the process. A process that was forced onto this nation. Iraq is the goal, although I'm damned if I can figure just why.
I realized the discrepancy in making the comparison. Yet, I was considering the human costs of the WWII tactic of sending 10,000 men straight into 20,000 defenders, suffering 95% casualties. And, then consider what was gained; an airstrip to project your force further toward Japan, versus one of the richest oil producing regions in the world. I'm not suggesting that US acquired Iraq, but that with a pacified Iraq it would perhaps be "on our side" as we consider the Saud's "on our side".
Quote:We went in under the lie of WMD. Since there weren't any, we failed to secure them.
The term "lie" is used overly by one political faction that seeks political gain. I'm not certain it was a lie, versus exaggerated inaccuracies propagated and amplified by every intelligence service in the world. Although, part of the blame lies with Saddam and his games with the UN weapons inspectors who were seeking the truth.
Quote:Everything since has been lies to cover lies. As each reason to enter and continue the war is exposed as another Shrub and Gang falsehood, a new, equally bogus reason is raised. And a sufficient portion of the nation is sucked in.
A pretty broad, and sweeping generality and you give no disputable facts. I'll take it as your opinion.
Quote:Those too stupid to look at history are doomed to repeat it. Show me when, at least from the assassination of Genghis Kahn's ambassadors till now, Baghdad has ever been rational. Perhaps ffifer has developed a pill that turns barbarians into civilized people. If so, news hasn't reached here yet.
My prom date was an Iranian. A very nice girl until she got swept up into the Khomeini revolution. I'm not willing to be bigoted against them as people with brains and hearts like you and I. I am against the barbaric 12th century philosophies being preached by the Imams. I'm against the tyrants, the cruelty and the murder.
Quote:Have you noticed that Russia is now a mobocracy verging on becoming a dictatorship?
Although, their need to shatter the world with a volley of nuclear warheads has diminished. New day, new problems. I could diverge here into a discussion of the need for a moral compass, but let's not.
Quote: That *Communist* China is the biggest investor in our economy?
Power is power. In this case, China has found it has economic power and is wielding it.
Quote:Both those countries are a bigger threat to our existence than they were during the Cold War -- not least because we at least perceived them to be a threat then. So, yeah, right, it all worked out so well.
I'm uncertain what the outcome of China will be, but I fear as you do that as China asserts itself as the dominant economy, the rest of the world will suffer greatly. Tibet may merely be the beginning of the next global conflict.
Quote:THERE IS NO SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION!!!!!!! You have a culture (using the word in its loosest possible way) that only understands strong-man rule. Sure, they'll agree to elections. And terrorism is their preferred method of campaigning. When the election is over, the losing sides revert to the rule of the AK-47.
You might be right. Again, I suffer from an excess of optimism in humanity. Contrast "the HUN" from WWII to modern Germany. Contrast the savage Japanese officer beheading American prisoners versus a modern Japan. Cultures can change, and I'm hopeful that in time the barbarity will subside.
Quote:Sometimes the only rational thing to do is admit your mistakes and walk away. Lacking any plan better than a one hundred occupation (and, no, it will not be like that of DEFEATED Japan nor of CIVILIZED Europe), then pulling out is the only rational option.
"Aside from the demoralizing effect on the world at large and the possibilities of disturbances arising as a result of the desperation of the people concerned, the consequences to the economy of the United States should be apparent to all. It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist." -- George C. Marshall, June 5, 1947 (link)
Quote:People get the government they deserve. Iraq got Hussein because that's all that works there.
I disagree.

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06-11-2008, 07:47 PM
Post: #10
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Hi,

Well said. Yes, much of both our arguments are opinions. The truth may be out there, but I fear that it is too buried to be found by 'outsiders' like you and me.

Quote:The war on terror is no battle for boy scouts, . . .
If we don't embrace Boy Scout ethics, then we've lost. If we descend into barbarity to protect ourselves from the barbarian, then we have become the enemy.

More later (probably).

--Pete


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06-11-2008, 10:15 PM
Post: #11
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Quote:If we don't embrace Boy Scout ethics, then we've lost. If we descend into barbarity to protect ourselves from the barbarian, then we have become the enemy.

Also in the all time top of lurkerlounge comments.(according to me of course).
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06-12-2008, 12:58 AM
Post: #12
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Ok, I'll bite, but I dare say I'll regret it...


Quote:Rather than branch an already tortured thread, I thought I would reply to eppie here.Hindsight is 20/20. From before the war began up to this second, most of the people who were against it will believe, and will always believe the war to be a failure.

I've heard of 0/20 foresight, but your rather wistful hope that Iraq will ultimately prove to be a success may be the first example I've seen of 0/20 hindsight.;)

In this case, anyway, foresight was 20/20. The potential for disaster, and the dishonesty of the Bush administration, was obvious at the time. Perhaps what couldn't have been predicted in advance was the criminal incompetence of the Bush administration in managing post-invasion Iraq.

The story is no different than it was before. After 9/11, and -- who knows -- maybe before, the Bush administration was determined to go to war with Iraq. We can speculate about the reasons (and I certainly have my own ideas) but given the secrecy and dishonesty of the administration, we may never know for certain exactly how they made that decision or who really made it. What is clear, though, is that 9/11 gave them the opportunity to use exaggerated intelligence to sell the war to a frightened and angry american public, who was as uninformed as ever (not referring to anyone on the LL, of course:)). The post 9/11 climate of fear, stoked in part by right-wing media, drowned out the political and public opposition to the war to a degree that is frightening in itself. (It was way too late when Powell resigned, or now when McClellan writes his kiss and tell, long after the damage has been done: I have no sympathy for those people.) One would like to think that things like the internment of Japanese-Americans or McCarthyism were things of past, but the current "war on terror", of which the Iraq war (a real war) is one sideproduct, shows that fearmongering is a political evergreen.

I guess, for most americans, invading Iraq was pretty much the equivalent of getting into a fight with their wife, going to a bar, and punching the guy sitting on the stool next to them. The same irrefutable logic that apparently convinced much of the US public that Iraq had something to do with 9/11 ("We were attacked on 9/11, and we're attacking Iraq, so Iraq must have attacked us") probably would also convince them that it was the guy on the stool who was having an affair with their wife. And even if it wasn't, they sure felt a lot better after punching the guy out.

Any suggestion that the Bush administration was "misled" by false intelligence into going to war has it completely backward. It was perfectly clear during the build-up to the war that they did not care about the truth (in this as in many other things) and only wanted the intelligence that would support their case, whether or not it was reliable

Also wrong is any suggestion that the Iraq war was the right thing to do, it was just managed badly. The fundamental mistake was invading Iraq in the first place. When you invade and it turns out to be a disaster, you cannot argue with a straight face that hindsight shows the invasion could've been a good thing if it had been done differently. I don't know how gung-ho chearleaders for the war, like William Kristol or Douglas Feith, or Paul Wolfowitz, can continue to appear in public and pontificate on their views. If I'd said or done what they did, I'd crawl into a cave and never utter another word in public again.

The Iraq war is a disaster created by the Bush administration, and it's all the worse because it should never have happened. It was an unnecessary war planned by people with no conception of the possible human costs of war. As a result hundreds of billions of US dollars (probably trillions, but there's no need to inflate any estimates when it comes to the costs of the Iraq war), thousands of American lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives have been flushed down the toilet. Add to that tens of thousands of severely injured Americans, who knows how many injured Iraqis, millions of Iraqi refugees, the destruction of the educated Iraqi middle class, and probably a lost generation of Iraqi children.

And none of this is over yet. Bush will go back to his Texas ranch and clear scrub under the watchfull eye of the secret service, no doubt as certain as ever that he did the right thing for the country under God's watchful eye, leaving this train wreck behind him.
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06-12-2008, 05:54 AM
Post: #13
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
A very interesting article. That would explain quite a bit, but I question a great deal of things about the article, such as the author and where exactly he is getting his information from.

Quote:Dollar contributions, oil, wars and collapse

by Rudo de Ruijter

01-03-07 Those who use dollars outside the US continuously pay a contribution to the US. It comes in the form of an inflation of $ 1.25 mm per minute. This is the result of the fast increase of the US foreign debt. Half of all US’ imports are simply added to the foreign debt and paid for by the foreign dollar holders through inflation.
Moreover these dollar holders do not seem to realize, that the dollar rate they are looking at, is nothing more than a dangerous façade. If they don’t understand what is still keeping it upright, the façade may hit them by surprise. Meanwhile, well camouflaged, the dollar is at the centre of several US’ conflicts.

Contents:
1. World wide demand for dollars
2. Free shopping for the US
3. Bankrupt and still continuing
4. Dollar reserves Japan and China
5. Camouflaged conflicts
6. How do you steal oil reserves?
7. Euro versus dollar
8. Green cancer cells

1. World wide demand for dollars
Up to 1971, each dollar represented a fixed amount of gold. The US disposed of enormous gold reserves, which covered the total value of all issued dollars. When foreign banks had more dollars than they wanted, they could exchange it into gold. That was the main reason why the dollar was accepted world wide.
In 1971 the gold guarantee for the dollar was lifted. In fact, this was an emergency move of President Nixon: the Vietnam war had cost more than the US could afford and more dollars had been printed than the gold reserves allowed. Since then, the value of the dollar is established by the law of offer and demand on the exchange markets.

In the early seventies the US still produced enough oil for its own consumption. To protect its own oil enterprises against foreign competition, oil imports were limited. In exchange for the lift of limitations, the OPEC countries promised they would only accept dollars for their oil. The dollar was the most used currency in the world trade. So nothing special?
Since 1971 everyone who wants to import oil, has to buy dollars first. [1] That is where the fun starts for the US. Almost everybody needs oil, so everybody wants dollars.

Oil buyers from all over the world hand over their yens, crowns, francs and other currencies. They receive greenbacks in return. With those dollars they go and buy oil in the OPEC-countries. The OPEC-countries will spend the money again. Of course, they can do that in the US, but also in all other countries in the world.
Everybody wants dollars, for everybody will need oil again.

2. Free shopping
In this oil trade a huge amount of dollars is needed. Many dollars will stay in the permanent money cycle outside the US, that is to say between the OPEC-countries and other countries. The US consumes 25 % of the world oil production. In 2004 it produced about half of its needs itself. (Tendency quickly deteriorating: in 2006 it needed to import 60 %.)
At the start there were not enough dollars for this. They had to be printed. [2] It cost the US paper and ink. But then the enormous benefit arrives: there is only one way to get those nice new greenbacks out of the country: the US goes shopping abroad. And as these greenbacks remain abroad permanently, the US never delivers something in return. So, these shoppings are for free!

This free shopping did not only occur at the start. As soon as more dollars are needed in the oil trade, by increase in price or volume, that means free shopping for the US.
The same thing happens when the number of dollars in the rest of world trade increases. Globalization, free world trade, world wide privatisations of public services, like gas, water and electricity supply, phone and transportation companies, swallow enormous amounts of dollars. Each minute more dollars disappear in every little corner of the globe. And, in the first place, each time this means free shopping for the US!

Debt
Of course those free shoppings create a debt for the US.
For, some day, the foreign countries could use those dollars to purchase things in the US. Then, finally, the US has to deliver “something” in return.

Trade balance
So, to avoid problems, the US should take care, that their purchases and sales stay balanced. After 1971, when more dollars were put into circulation, only in 1973 the US sold more then it bought. Afterwards the situation declined, and each year the US bought more foreign goods they never paid for. [3]
In the year 2004 alone, the shortage on the trade balance was $ 650 bn! [4] On a population of 300 mm people this means, that on average, each US-citizen purchased for $ 2,167 of foreign goods they did not pay for!

In the same period, there were no improvements on the balance of payments. So the foreign debt of the US rose with $ 650.929.500.000 in one year. This is one and a quarter million dollar per minute!
US’ trade deficits are the biggest with China ($ 162 bn), Japan ($ 76 bn), Canada ($ 66 bn), Germany ($ 46 bn), Mexico ($ 45 bn), Venezuela ($ 20 bn), South-Korea ($ 20 bn), Ireland ($ 19 bn), Italy ($ 17 bn) and Malaysia ($ 17 bn) [5].

The exchange rate of the dollar
Each country which purchases more than it sells, will see the value of its money diminish. If you cannot do a lot with a currency, demand decreases and its exchange value goes down. But what is true for all other currencies, is not true for the dollar. As long as the whole world needs dollars to purchase oil, there will always be demand.
The US consumes 1/4 of world oil production. When the dollar rate climbs, only the price for the other 3/4 of oil consumers will get higher. For the US the price stays the same.

When the oil-price climbs, more dollars are needed in the cycle. If oil consumption remains the same, those extra dollars can be printed and added to the cycle without decline of the exchange rate. Since the US imports 1/8 of world oil consumption, 7/8 of the extra dollars are needed outside the US.
This means that at each increase of the oil-price, theUS finances the increase with new greenbacks and sells 7 times as many new dollars abroad. Free shopping and making debts!

The US disposes of a wide range of tricks to influence the exchange rate. Put more dollars in circulation when the rate goes higher than wanted. Buy back dollars themselves when demand decreases, for instance by issuing bonds.
However, this solution costs money: the interest. All those interests together have reached such high levels, that new loans have to be contracted each time to pay for them. US debts increase faster each time!

3. Bankrupt and still continuing
On http://www.babylontoday.com/national_debt_clock.htm you can see the current debt and you can see how much it grows each second… 45 % of it is to be paid back to foreign borrowers. The foreign debt is that high, that the US cannot pay back her debt anymore. The US is bankrupt.
Nevertheless dollars are still traded normally. For the purchase of oil and gas they are still needed. And, misled by an apparently healthy exchange rate, the world trade continues to do its transactions in dollars. Business as usual?

According to the usual logic of economics, a lower rate of the dollar should lead to more exports from the US and less imports by the US, as foreign importers can buy cheaper in the US then. However, as long as foreigners are mad enough to accept dollars, the US doesn’t find it a problem to issue some more of these green debt bills.
Pay a bit more for Chinese socks and electronics from Japan? No problem. The US just increases the imports and foreign debt a bit harder. Paying more dollars for a product means inflation. And 1 % of inflation means that at the same time the value of the tremendous foreign debt decreases with 1 %. So the US has no interest at all in putting a break on its imports!

In the oil trade, generally, a lowering dollar rate does have a logical consequence. Oil exporters will not accept a lower return. When the dollar falls with 10 %, they will raise the oil price 10 %, so the value remains the same. If you don’t need dollars for oil anymore…
If US-dollars are no longer necessary to purchase oil, there is no advantage for the rest of the world trade to use the dollar -- only disadvantages. The dollar does not represent any weight in gold anymore and the enormous debt will lead to the logical disastrous consequences. The dollar would collapse.
And when foreigners don’t accept dollars anymore, the US cannot print dollars to shop on the expense of the rest of the world. US could not pay its expensive army. It would loose its influence.

Vanishing of the debt
The collapse of the dollar will have a miraculous side effect for the US. When dollars are worth nothing, the foreign debt will have disappeared too. This debt is composed by dollars abroad.
In the extreme case they will become as worthy as old paper. Unfortunately, the collapse will also be accompanied by the collapse of banks, enterprises and international organizations, which have coupled their destiny to the dollar.

4. Dollar reserves Japan and China
An important group of dollar purchasers is formed by the central bankers in various countries. Central banks keep strategic reserves. These are reserves with which they can buy back their own currency, if large quantities of it are offered on the exchange markets. This way, they prevent that the rate of their own currency would drop.
These reserves are preferably held in the best accepted currency in the world, so up to now in dollars. However, in China and Japan, but also in Taiwan, South-Korea and other countries, these dollar reserves have grown way above the necessary strategic quantity. [6]

This is not because central banks like to hoard US-dollars that much. On the contrary. Those countries export a lot and that is why dollars flow in massively. They have to be exchanged into local money to pay the workers and raw materials.
The strong demand for local money would normally raise its rate, and then the products would become more expensive for foreigners. So, in order not to endanger the country’s export position, the local central banks try to keep the rate of their money stable. They do so by buying the inflowing dollars.

For these countries this is a big problem, because for all these hoarded dollars the central banks issue local money. So, in fact, the workers receive inflation of local money as payment for their exported products. [7]
Over time they have exported many months of work and material for nothing. At the central banks these dollars do not make much profit. They can be exchanged into obligations and US-bonds and offer a bit of interest. But even this interest cannot really be called an earning. The US simply pays the interest out of a spiralling increase of the foreign debt, so, from the inflation of the dollar.

Meanwhile the value of the hoarded dollars is subject to the variations in the dollar rate. On top of that, the risk of a dollar collapse is never far away. The Asian central banks are trapped between the necessity to lower their dollar reserves, the need to buy dollars to keep their local currency stable and eventually to buy dollars when its rate is in danger to fall on the global currency markets.
Meanwhile the US lets its foreign debt increase faster and faster. How long can this go on?

At the same time experts of the Asian Development Bank think, that the rate of the dollar should decrease by 30 to 40 %! [8] With such a decrease there is a big risk, that banks and enterprises want to get rid of their dollars as quick as possible and central banks will no longer be willing, or able, to avoid the total collapse.
Who sells his dollars first is lucky, who waits has just bad luck.

5. Camouflaged conflicts
To keep the permanent demand for dollars going, oil sales must remain in dollars. That is why the US tries to keep as much influence as possible, as well on the US owned IPE and NYMEX world oil markets, as with the locals in power. By doing so the US secures its oil supply at the same time.
Beyond that, lucrative contracts can be obtained from the local power, with which a maximum of benefits can be seized from the oil production.

Fear always wins of reason
But when the locals in power do not want to sell their oil in dollars anymore, the US has a problem. Then, the US-president will not explain how dependent the US is on the dollar demand. The conflict is always camouflaged. And to do so, always an emotional theme is chosen. In times gone by this was the danger for communists, today it is the danger for terrorists, fundamentalists and other popular bogies, like “the enemy has weapons of mass destruction” or “the enemy tries to make nukes.”
The fact that there is, rationally, not a single proof, does not matter. The emotions always win. Even the fact, that these accusations can be turned around and then can be proved, is noticed by hardly anyone. The US has weapons of mass destruction and has used them; the US has nukes and has used them, and even threatened withthem still in 2000.

But once again, at the moment accusations are loaded with emotions humans switch off their intelligence. Reason is no argument for peace anymore. The theatre is only about the launched accusations.
And because, as a result, only specialists of weapons of mass destruction or nukes are called upon to give their opinion, nearly nobody finds out what the conflict is really about.

Venezuela
In Venezuela, since many years, the US tries to pull down President Chavez, pre-texting he is a dangerous communist. Chavez has nationalized the oil industry and has set up barter deals to export Venezuelan oil in exchange for medical care from Cuba and others.
In barter deals there is no necessity for dollars and the US has no profit from the oil trade.

Iraq
Until 1990 the US maintained lucrative commercial contacts with Saddam Hussein. He was a good ally. For instance, in 1980 he had tried to free the hostages at the US-embassy in Teheran.
But in 1989 Saddam accused Kuwait of flooding the oil market and making the oil price go down. The following year Saddam tried to annexe Kuwait. It led to an immediate turn around of the attitude of the US. With the annexation Saddam would dispose of 20 % of world oil reserves. The Iraqi were chased out of Kuwait by the US, with an alliance of 134 countries, and condemned to water and bread by a UN-embargo that lasted ten years.

Although the US sought a way to re-establish its influence in Iraq, Saddam’s switch to the Euro on November 6, 2000 [9], would lead to the US invasion. The dollar sank away and in July 2002 the situation got that serious, that the IMF warned that the dollar might collapse. [10] A few days later the plans for an attack were discussed at Downing Street. [11]
One month later Cheney proclaimed it was sure now, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. [12] With this pretext the US invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003. The US switched back the oil trade into dollars on June 5, 2003. [13]

There is a hugedifference between trading Iraqi oil in euros and trading it in dollars. This will be explained below. (See: “How do you steal oil reserves?”)

Iran
The US is in conflict with Iran, since it was thrown out of the country in 1979. According to the US, Iran is a dangerous country of fundamentalists.
The geographical position of Iran, between the Caspian Sea and the Indian Ocean, complicates US ambitions to control the rich reserves of oil and gas on the East side of the Caspian Sea. To transport this oil and gas to world markets -- without crossing neither Russia nor Iran -- pipelines had to be built through Afghanistan. Plans were made in the early nineties, but the pipelines are still not there.

Meanwhile the US tries to frustrate all competing projects of other countries. Of course, this led to multiple conflicts of interest with Iran. George W. Bush would pretext the presence of Osama bin Laden to start a war against Afghanistan. [14]
In 1999 Iran publicly stated it wanted to accept euros for its oil as well. Iran sells 30 % of its oil production to Europe, the rest mainly to India and China and not a drip to the US, as a result of an embargo established by the US itself. In spite of Bush’ threatening tale, mentioning the country in his famous “axis of evil”, Iran started to sell its oil in euros from spring 2003.

After that, Iran wanted to establish its own oil-bourse, independent from the IPE and NYMEX. It would start on 20 March 2006. Considering the very weak health of the dollar at that time, a success of this bourse could have led to a catastrophe for the dollar and thus for he US. That is why tensions were very high at the beginning of 2006. [15]
Finally the opening of the oil-bourse was postponed. After that Putin established an oil bourse in Russia as quickly as possible, which took away the interest of the Iranian oil bourse. [16] [17] [18]

The US accuses Iran of wanting to make nukes. Because the US has not sufficient influence to switch back the oil trade into dollars, it probably hopes that the Iranian nuclear sites will be bombed once again [19], so Iran would have to consume its oil in stead of selling it in euros.
Moreover, a masterly plan has been conceived to take possession of the world market for nuclear fuel, in concert with a few other countries and using Iran as the pretext and the test case. With this plan the demand for dollars would be secured for a long time, even after the oil age. [20]

Russia
Since 8 June 2006 Russia too has turned its back to the dollar. [18] By selling the dollar surpluses to central banks, Putin took care that it had no influence on the dollar rate.
However, the basis for the world wide dollar demand has decreased a lot. The US needs Russia for its plans to take possession of the world market for nuclear fuel, so a revenge by the US is unlikely.

6. How do you steal oil reserves?
There is still another aspect to the abuse of the dollar. During the demonstrations against the US-invasion of Iraq,a lot of demonstrators understood it was not about weapons of mass destruction. Iraq has world’s second largest oil reserves. Some demonstrators thought, the US was after the oil. And that is also true.
But how can you steal oil reserves, which are in the ground and so huge you cannot take them with you?

You do it with currencies. By imposing, that this oil can only be traded in dollars, in one move the US becomes owner of this oil. The US is the only country, which has the right to print dollars and thus can dispose of the oil any time. Other countries that want to buy this oil, have to buy dollars first. In fact they pay their oil to the US at that moment.
The dollars they receive are rights to collect a quantity of oil. (Just like when you go to Ikea to buy furniture, you pay first and you receive a note, with which you can collect your furniture at the shop’s back door.) So, basically, dollars are rights to collect oil. And because everybody needs oil, everybody wants these green notes.

So, Saddam’s switch to the euro at the start of November 2000 was not just an attack on the rate of the dollar. The switch implied at the same time the US could not dispose freely of the oil anymore. The US would have to buy euros to dispose of it.
Since switching back the dollar on 5 June 2003 [21], the US has, financially, free disposal of the Iraqi oil again. Now it is a matter of installing a straw man-government and to prevent the Iraqi oil trade from switching away from the dollar once again. That is easy to say, but turns out to be more difficult than expected.

Dollar economy
The dollar economy is not limited to the US. Oil reserves traded in dollars belong to it too. Also enterprises, banks and investments, anywhere in the world, belong to it when paid with dollars. They are like small islands of the dollar economy. Benefits and dividends are flowing back to the owners.
The value of the investments is influenced by the rate of the dollar. Oil sellers, receiving their proceeds in dollars, are actors in the dollar-economy and usually behave like perfect representatives of the US’ interests. They consider this as their own interest.

7. Euro versus dollar
Since January 1993 the euro is quoted. In July 2005 the rate is identical as at its introduction: $ 1.22. The new currency has experienced quite some fluctuations during its short life. From the end of 1998 the euro slides away, until the moment Saddam Hussein switches to the euro in November 2000. Although the US switched the oil trade back into dollars in June 2003, the euro continued its rise. Since spring 2003 Iran had started to sell oil in euros.
The euro has become a small world currency. Between July 2004 and July 2005 the part of the dollar in world trade went down from 70 % to 64 %. A bit less then half of these 64 % is related to US foreign trade. If the euro wants to become as mighty as the dollar, it has still a long way to go.

In principle, the euro contains the same risks as the dollar. As long as there would be a motor for a permanent demand for euros like, for instance, oil sales in euros, the euro zone could make debts and let it increase indefinitely.
To avoid such debts, the euro zone would have to export the equivalent of all euros needed outside its borders and keep the same amount in foreign currencies in their central bank. Why would they? The credit trick worked fine for the US during more than 30 years!

When oil producing countries would sell oil in two or three different currencies, like it has been considered in the past, this simply means that the three involved countries can do the same trick as the US does now. In the long run it would multiply the problem by three.
The only solution for this problem would be that oil selling countries accept all currencies on the market. Tehran has already taken into consideration to accept more than one currency and not just the euro. Step by step.

8. Green cancer cells
Because the US let its “foreign debt” increase indefinitely and even uses military power to keep the related advantages going, we cannot speak of a normal foreign debt, like we know it in trade relations among other countries of the world. What the US does is robbery. You can also call it swindle or an imperial tax imposed on the users of dollars. But there is more.
Each dollar bill is an IOU of the US, a promise to give something in return. Due to the gigantic quantities the US has put into circulation, the country is not able to redeem these debts. It is bankrupt. Only the rate of the dollar keeps up the appearance, that nothing is afoot. The obligation to pay gas and oil in dollars keeps a permanent demand going.

However, the rate is held in shape artificially, like by the hoarding of the central banks in China, Japan, Taiwan and other countries. Because these hoardings mean an impoverishment of these countries and because the US speeds up the debt building indefinitely, there will be a moment that these central banks have to stop hoarding dollars. So the question is not IF the dollar collapses, but WHEN.
Because traders are misled by the apparently healthy dollar rate, many still accept these IOU’s, which nestle like green cancer cells in all economies of the world. The result is ineluctable. All infected banks, enterprises and economies will be dragged along the day the demand for dollars sags and the US empire collapses.

[1] Except oil imports from Iraq between November 6th, 2000 and June 5th, 2003, from Iran since spring 2003 and from Russia since June 8, 2006.
[2] “Printing dollars” is a way of speaking. Most dollars only exist as numbers on bank accounts.
[3] Trade balances 1960- 2002 http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statis...rical/gands.txt
[4] Trade deficit 2004: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/t...7s1283.xls
[5] Countries 2004: http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-...ons/04final.pdf
NOTE: huge differences between US' and Chinese data for US' imports! http://www.bis.org/publ/work217.pdf (page 9)
[6] Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/conten...5111802635.html
[7] Epoch Times: http://en.epochtimes.com/news/6-11-7/47852.html
[8] Int. Herald Tribune: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/07/business/adb.php
[9] Iraqi oil in euros: http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/oilexports.html
[10] IMF warning over dollar collapse: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2097064.stm
[11] Downing Street Memo: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk...387374.ece
[12] Cheney: http://english.aljazeera.net/News/archive/...?ArchiveId=2480
[13] How can the dollar collapse in Iran? http://www.moneyfiles.org/deruiter01.html (See Iraq)
[14] Pipelines to 9/11: http://www.countercurrents.org/us-ruijter170806.htm & http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?id=359
[15] How can the dollar collapse in Iran? http://www.moneyfiles.org/deruiter01.html
[16] RTS announcement: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20060510/47915635.html
[17] RTS speeding up: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/20...6/041.html
[18] RTS opening: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20060522/48434383.html
[19] ElBaradei: http://www.tv5.org/TV5Site/info/afp_articl...45.f39qywzj.xml
[20] Raid on Nuclear Fuel Market: http://www.courtfool.info/en_Raid %20on %20Nuclear %20Fuel %20Market.htm
[21] Financial Times, 5 June 2003

Rudo de Ruijter is an independent analyst based in The Netherlands. His website is http://www.courtfool.info

Source: http://www.raisethehammer.org

"What good fortune it is for governments that the people they govern do not think." - Adolf Hitler
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06-12-2008, 06:17 AM
Post: #14
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
I sense we are moving towards the realm of conspiracy theories. Someone bring us back from the brink! =)

Jormuttar is Soo Fat...
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06-12-2008, 06:49 AM
Post: #15
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Quote:Well said. Yes, much of both our arguments are opinions. The truth may be out there, but I fear that it is too buried to be found by 'outsiders' like you and me.
I think we focus so much on the Israel issue in the Middle East. We lose the nuance of relationship, or hatreds between the various factions. Or, even the impact of the failing health of King Fahd on our relationship with the Saudis.
Quote:If we don't embrace Boy Scout ethics, then we've lost. If we descend into barbarity to protect ourselves from the barbarian, then we have become the enemy.
I watched "Apocalypse Now" about 20 times on HBO when it first was shown there when I was in college. I was struck by Kurtz's philosophy and justification for why he needed to fight the war on the same footing at those he was against. His understanding was that "the horror" of war was needed to be used to end the war. The same might be said for the battle of Thermopylae and naval battle of Salamis that it so horrified the Persians, and emboldened the Greeks leading them to victory in the battle of Plataea. I of course agree with you that we must remain civilized, but I fear that we cannot be boy scouts either. In reference to Jefferson again, and his frustration with the Barbary pirates. They only understood force as the medium of barter, and anything else was seen to be weakness. When we lose the ability to make war horrible, then I too think we have lost something. It seems to me the two sides fight by different rule books as well. So, again, there is a fine line where we don't hobble our ability to win, but still retain the dignity of humanity.

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06-12-2008, 07:28 AM
Post: #16
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Since enemy in Iraq that you would terrify by your savagery is drawn almost entirely from the population you are hoping to uplift, how do you inflict horror without simultaneously doing the enemy's recruiting for them?

-Jester
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06-12-2008, 09:24 AM
Post: #17
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
"... crystal ball ..."

There was no need for a crystal ball 5 years ago, and there is none now.

Some sensible things are being said here, but I don't think Bush deserves all that blame. It's the big industries that support(ed) the war, and made it possible. And that support wasn't hard to get, after Saddam Hussein 'attacked' the petrodollar.
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06-12-2008, 01:43 PM
Post: #18
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Hi,

Quote:I sense we are moving towards the realm of conspiracy theories. Someone bring us back from the brink! =)
On the other hand, if there *was* a conspiracy, then it's not a theory. :whistling:

--Pete


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06-12-2008, 01:57 PM
Post: #19
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Hi,

Quote:"... crystal ball ..."

There was no need for a crystal ball 5 years ago, and there is none now.
I think you missed my point. You claim that Iraq's acceptance of the Euro was an issue that caused the invasion. I pointed out that there is a lot of evidence that this administration wanted to invade Iraq long before Iraq decided to accepted payment in Euros. Thus, for that issue to have had an influence, the administration would have had to know about it a (probably long) time before it happened. Possibly even before whoever eventually made that decision did so. Thus "crystal ball".

--Pete


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06-12-2008, 02:15 PM (This post was last modified: 06-12-2008 02:35 PM by kandrathe.)
Post: #20
The Iraq War retrospective Thread
Quote:Ok, I'll bite, but I dare say I'll regret it...
I've heard of 0/20 foresight, but your rather wistful hope that Iraq will ultimately prove to be a success may be the first example I've seen of 0/20 hindsight.;)
I promise it will be a friendly discussion... for my part of the discussion at least. :) I see your opinions are very strong here. Zero? Really?
Quote:In this case, anyway, foresight was 20/20. The potential for disaster, and the dishonesty of the Bush administration, was obvious at the time. Perhaps what couldn't have been predicted in advance was the criminal incompetence of the Bush administration in managing post-invasion Iraq.
Obvious? I dare say not. The UN Security council was not certain, and the most of the worlds intelligence services were not certain. The only people who were certain, were those who chose not to believe the evidence. It was clear that the confidence in the intelligence was over blown, and politicized to justify the war. You use the phrase "criminal incompetence", but I'm not exactly sure what you are talking about. There were "crimes" committed by soldiers that have occurred, and have been prosecuted. Is there a global standard on how competently war is to be conducted? I think it's easier for us to be an arm chair five star general, than to actually do the job.
Quote:The story is no different than it was before. After 9/11, and -- who knows -- maybe before, the Bush administration was determined to go to war with Iraq. We can speculate about the reasons (and I certainly have my own ideas) but given the secrecy and dishonesty of the administration, we may never know for certain exactly how they made that decision or who really made it.
Yes, we agree that the "New American Century" folks were hawkish on Iraq. But, also, many people including Saddam, had the opportunity to steer events away from the war. War was not inevitable. It was a choice, and not just a Bush choice.
Quote:What is clear, though, is that 9/11 gave them the opportunity to use exaggerated intelligence to sell the war to a frightened and angry American public, who was as uninformed as ever (not referring to anyone on the LL, of course:)).
Actually, the American public was about 60/40 on the war early on. It became higher after the tanks rolled into Baghdad, and then quickly dropped to about 30% support once it started looking like securing the peace would be hard. It was the US Congress who was mostly unanimous in authorizing the use of force against Iraq. It is also false to think of this as a "right-wing" affair. Consider The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, signed into law by Mr. Clinton.
Quote:The post 9/11 climate of fear, stoked in part by right-wing media, drowned out the political and public opposition to the war to a degree that is frightening in itself.
I wouldn't characterize it as fear. It was a mood of anger seeking retribution against anyone who was threatening, and Iraq was a handy fixed target. I'm sorry I don't see the "right-wing media"? The only place that right-wing media has any foot hold is talk radio. All the other media venues (newspapers, TV, magazines) are dominated by "left-wing media". What happened is that the "left-wing media" either got swept up in the momentum of the moment, or kept their mouths shut lest public opinion turn on them. But, they were there to publish the daily death count and bring video of every single struggle and tragic event that happened in the entire country of Iraq. They were certainly there to show the American public every day how horrible the aftermath of war can be.
Quote:One would like to think that things like the internment of Japanese-Americans or McCarthyism were things of past, but the current "war on terror", of which the Iraq war (a real war) is one side product, shows that fear mongering is a political evergreen.
I'm not sure how you connect the internment of Japanese-Americans here. As for politics being 90% "fear mongering", well hell yeah I agree! How about the war on global warming?
Quote:I guess, for most Americans, invading Iraq was pretty much the equivalent of getting into a fight with their wife, going to a bar, and punching the guy sitting on the stool next to them.
Actually, no. For most Americans, war is the contemplation of having your wives, husbands, sons, or daughters killed and the contemplation of higher taxes to pay for the war. It is a little insulting to think that Americans make decisions like drunkards. As for Americans being confused about Iraqi ties to terrorism... Consider this speech delivered by Sen. Clinton the day before the authorization of force. "And finally, on another personal note, I come to this decision from the perspective of a Senator from New York who has seen all too closely the consequences of last year's terrible attacks on our nation. In balancing the risks of action versus inaction, I think New Yorkers who have gone through the fires of hell may be more attuned to the risk of not acting. I know that I am." -- Sen. Clinton
Quote:Any suggestion that the Bush administration was "misled" by false intelligence into going to war has it completely backward. It was perfectly clear during the build-up to the war that they did not care about the truth (in this as in many other things) and only wanted the intelligence that would support their case, whether or not it was reliable.
I agree. I stated this back in 2003. The reasons for war with Iraq were more complex, and other than the window dressing presented (publicly) to the UN Security council and the American public.
Quote:Also wrong is any suggestion that the Iraq war was the right thing to do, it was just managed badly. The fundamental mistake was invading Iraq in the first place. When you invade and it turns out to be a disaster, you cannot argue with a straight face that hindsight shows the invasion could've been a good thing if it had been done differently. I don't know how gung-ho cheerleaders for the war, like William Kristol or Douglas Feith, or Paul Wolfowitz, can continue to appear in public and pontificate on their views. If I'd said or done what they did, I'd crawl into a cave and never utter another word in public again.
I'll take this as your opinion. It's easy to lambaste the actions that are taken, but harder to offer the alternative.
Quote:The Iraq war is a disaster created by the Bush administration, and it's all the worse because it should never have happened. It was an unnecessary war planned by people with no conception of the possible human costs of war.
Again, this is your opinion. You are wrong on the last part regarding the "no conception".
Quote:As a result hundreds of billions of US dollars (probably trillions, but there's no need to inflate any estimates when it comes to the costs of the Iraq war)...
About 500 billion so far.
Quote:thousands of American lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives...
The "war" was actually very swift and with the lowest cost of life in world history. The aftermath of fighting the insurgency and securing the peace is where foreign and domestic terrorists decided to blow away soldiers, and civilians. Who built the IEDs and planted the bombs that killed all those people?
Quote:...the destruction of the educated Iraqi middle class, and probably a lost generation of Iraqi children.
And, it was different in Iraq the decade before the war under the Clinton plan?
Quote:And none of this is over yet. Bush will go back to his Texas ranch and clear scrub under the watchful eye of the secret service, no doubt as certain as ever that he did the right thing for the country under God's watchful eye, leaving this train wreck behind him.
It will be interesting to see what the next administration does.

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. - P.J. O’Rourke

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