Sunday, July 15, 2007

Iraq War

Question: When do you know the 'war' in Iraq is a shambles and is a lost cause?

Answer: When Republicans start saying so and when the former head of the Bin Laden unit in the CIA says so.

Foreign policy under Bush has made the world a more unstable place. They need to get the foxtrot out of Iraq now.

And no, I'm not drunk or on drugs. I initially thought invading a country to impose your beliefs on them by force is and was wrong, plain and simple. Then when some good things started occurring in Iraq I changed my tune a little. Now I have reverted to my initial position and one I should have stuck with because it is the correct one.

I am no fan of Robert Fisk but he encapsulated the position quite clearly for me when asked what might bring about some semblance of peace in the Middle East. He responded by saying when the West stop telling them how to live their lives. Now it appears Michael Scheuer agrees with that.

If you are truly a liberal you will be against the imposition of compulsion in any form to change behaviour. True liberals acknowledge that the first priority of the State is to protect its citizens, both internally and externally. Yet America is not threatened by Iraq externally. It is threatened by an enemy that cannot be identified: it is threatened by an ideology.

And you cannot fight an ideology by force and expect to win. You will only encourage dissenters. And dissenters are now spreading like a spiders web. London, Brisbane, Sydney...

I believe Helen Clark played the right cards when refusing to become involved in Iraq other than rebuilding etc. And I believe we should thank her for that.

I don't expect to say that again on any other issue.


Pommiekiw said...

I'm moving towards accepting withdrawal for other reasons.
The Americans, the Brits and others went in for the best of intentions- to get rid of a tyrant Sadam hussein and 'impose' democracy.
That is the nub, I guess. How can you 'impose' democracy.
It might have worked with Germany and japan after WW2 but obviously Iraq is different- it is an articial state of sorts that probably should be divided into to 2, 3 or more sections.
If the warring factions that make up Iraq cannot get along, then why should the West stand in the way.
Let the sunnis kills the shias, let the shias kill the sunnis.
The fewer muslims we have the better and the supposedly democratic government in Iraq has been allowing some awful things to happen in the sphere of human rights.
Is that what the west went to Iraq for?
I am worried though about the signal such a withdrawl from Iraq might send to the Mad Mullahs.
That the Great Satan cannot defeat radical Islamists .
But maybe we shoudl see it as a tactical withdrawal.
Let us learn from the bloodbath that will follow.
Let us learn from the inevitable consequences of a nuclear powered Iran as well.
Let us learn from the confidence the Islamists will gain from Americas defeat.
Then, when their are mass scale bombings in the US and the cities of Europe, then only then will we , including the left, truly understand the horrors of Islamofacism.
And only then, might the West be united to defeat it and end the evil we see in Glasgow, in London, Leeds, New York and wherever the Islamofacist filth lies.
I fear that just as Communism was the evil we had to defeat in the 20th century, so Islamofacism the evil we must confront this century.
We have a long battle ahead.

Rick said...

Well writ, quite agree.

Not sure Helen's reasons were mine, but it was the right action. However, we do have the SAS over their kicking ass in secret do we not?

The Americans, the Brits and others went in for the best of intentions- to get rid of a tyrant Sadam hussein and 'impose' democracy.

No they didn't, Darren. It was the 'nucleor wepons.'

Psycho Milt said...

Of course, it was only 'nuclear weapons' for public consumption, cos going in there to get rid of Saddam leaves you open to finding yourself in the dock at the Hague.

The SAS is only in Afghanistan - puclicly at least...

I agree with your post, Gooner. It had become clear to me it was a lost cause well before I quit my job over there. It really is the disaster that was predicted - the more the West fights in Iraq the more we encourage the growth of the loony Muslim fringe, and if we pull out we've handed the loonies a victory that they'll exploit for domestic consumption in their target recruiting countries. There is no good outcome to be had.

Andrei said...


There is nothing new here Gooner.

Both Ron Paul and Micheal Scheuer have been pedling this line for years now.

The question is what happens if the US withdraws?

Will the world be a better place and safer do you think?

Or will a perceived defeat in Iraq be a validation for the tactics of suicide bombings and terror tactics against innocent civilians as a way to impose your vision on the world.

If you read Sun Tzu's art of war you would rapidly appreciate that war only occurs if both combatants believe they win. If only ends when one side realizes it is hopeless to continue.

The steady drumbeat of the defeatists sends a message to the savages who are causing untold human misery in Iraq and elsewhere that they can win.

Already we have seen suicide attacks in Western Europe and giving Iraq away to terrorists will only lead to more of the same.

Surely this is just common sense?

JC said...

The reasons for going into Iraq were reasonably clear at the time:

1. 911 changed everything. No longer could rogue states be ignored and left to fester with their particular brands of terrorism.

2. Saddam was unstable. The wars against Iran and Kuwait make that clear. An unstable centre in the ME would have lead to another war after the sanctions came off, anyway.

3. The evidence (not impossible proof) of WMD was strong and there was a solid consensus among all nations involved in the region that he had them. Couple them with an unstable tyrant in an explosive part of the world (after 911) and it would have been irresponsible to not act.

4. Saddam received something like 14 UN Sec. Resolutions that he ignored. After 911 the West didn't have the same latitude to ignore Saddam and what it thought he was doing.

5. UNICEF put out a report that sanctions had killed over a million children. The ongoing fallout from this meant that sanctions would have to come off sooner rather than later, and Saddam would have been left in place to re-develop a real WMD programme.

6. Saddam's Iraq was not some backward Muslim hell hole but one of the most advanced countries in the Muslim world dominated by an unstable dictator, a ruthless Communist/Nazi ideology (Baathism) will millions of loyal Party followers dominating the whole country and with a proven record in WMD development.. this all screams a problem out of the ordinary.

I could go on, but suffice to say that the reasons for going in were not unserious. The only thing thing that's really changed is the reality on the ground.. it really will take years to settle the place down.

However, all this presupposes that we have moved on from the Enlightenment and accept that now a nation does not have unlimited sovereignty.. that some nations and leaders are so far out of the ordinary as to pose a threat either to their own people or to other nations. It mightn't have been usual for the West to attack a sovereign country, but in this case it was not unreasonable. Perhaps more importantly, the relationship between terrorism and many governments has been seriously damaged; there are now few regimes prepared to tolerate an al Qaeda type presence.


Mark said...

It's interesting to see al Qeada now trying to attack other Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon and Pakistan at the moment and to bring unrest to those countries.

Al Qeada are just using Iraq as an excuse for their campaign which started long before Iraq.

There goal is still the same of a massive Islamic state under one ruler.

Of course that's a bit of a problem for other countries in the Middle East which they are just waking up to the threat.

Also looks like Bin Laden is dead but Al Qeada don't want to admit it.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Exactly when would you have capitulated to the Nazis?

Gooner said...

The Nazis could be defeated by defeating Germany. You won't defeat the Islam radicals by killing Iraqi's.

JC said...

"The Nazis could be defeated by defeating Germany. You won't defeat the Islam radicals by killing Iraqi's."

Nor by ignoring them for 30 years, as we did. In Iraq and Afghanistan we've finally confronted the results of decades of the buildup of Radical Islam. It will take at least another 30 years to defeat it.

You could argue that Iraq and Afghanistan are largely symbolic places where we have chosen to fight.. fortunately, the jihadists have chosen the very same countries to oppose us.


Psycho Milt said...

We didn't ignore them for 30 years, JC - in some cases we armed them. For instance, in the case of Bin Laden and his mujahideen in Afghanistan, as I recall our allies in the USA sent them the latest hand-held ground-to-air missiles, because their enemy was our enemy. A lot of Russian ex-servicemen must be distinctly amused at how things worked out with that.

If you think Iraq under Saddam represented "radical Islam," you're seriously deluded. As to how much of a threat it was, like all Middle East countries it was only ever a threat to us on paper - witness the performance of its military against Western armies in 1991 and 2003. Iran was much more Iraq's speed.

Anonymous said...

i see adolf is reduced to desperate nazi analogies/spluttered imprecations..(heh-heh..!)

(c'mon..!..buck up your ideas..!'ll just look 'silly' if you continue on in this vein..)

jc..where to start with you..?

(ah..!..can't be to say everything you say/assert is easily provable to be a total crock..p.m. just scratched the surface..)

this morning i linked to an observation from t.e. lawrence made when the turks were trying to subdue iraq..

(lawrence wrote the 'guerilla warfare' entry for the encyclopedia brittanica..didn'tyaknow..?..)

where he noted the turks would need 600,000+ troops to force any sort of ongoing order on iraq..

with troop saturation/'guard-posts everywhere'..(think 'surge'..)

and at that time the turkish army in iraq numbered 150,000.. many do the americans have there..?

and they can't even keep the green zone secure..


Falafulu Fisi said...

Gooner said...
...when the West stop telling them how to live their lives.

The day that the West stop telling them how to live their lives, is the day that they will start telling the West to abandon their way of life and adopt theirs.

I agree that the US should bring their troops home, not because I am against of what they did in the first place, but because it is useless to try and help someone (Iraqis) that he/she doesn't want to help him/herself.

The failure in Iraq is one of military planning for occupation rather than that of principle. It was a right thing to remove Saddam.

Rick said...
No they didn't, Darren. It was the 'nuclear weapons.'

No, I disagree here. WMD was used as an execuse. It would be naive for anyone to suggest that they went in there in the first place to look for WMD. It was already approved during the Clinton administration to fund opposition groups to Saddam for possible removal of the tyrant from power. So, 9/11 was the trigger, and they wanted to sell the invasion plan to the public by stating that Saddam might have stockpiled WMDs.

Some anti-US nutters such as greenies, had argued about why the US didn't intervene during the massacre of the Kurds in the late 1980s, but we all know that had the US did so back then, it would have been the same people (Greenies & Pacifists) that protested for such military action. You're Damned if You Do and you're Damned if You Don’t.

JC said...

"We didn't ignore them for 30 years, JC - in some cases we armed them."

Yes we did. And back then it was considered one of the most dreadful things imaginable. This was "real politic" as practiced by the major European countries and the US where you supported the dictators for stability and the radicals to have a go at the the USSR. The reputation of the US in particular took a hammering for such cynical power plays that deprived the people of their liberty, saw them imprisoned and tortured and their hopes dashed. Opponents of such cynicism warned that there lay the seeds of radicalism, fanaticism and terrorism.

George Bush proposed a different route of freedom and democracy and started to implement it in Afghanistan and Iraq.. and when he made hard work of it his opponents warned that there lay the seeds of radicalism, fanaticism and terrorism.

And I didn't say Iraq was radical Islam, almost the reverse in fact.

What the Coalition knows, and al Qaeda has confirmed, is that Iraq is at the centre of their new Caliphate. Radical Islam can hardly succeed in their dreams if Iraq the "Cradle of Civilization" is stable, free and progressive.


Kent Parker said...

It will have cost the US half a billion dollars, 3,000 lives and 30,000 injured GIs to get rid of the "evil" dictator Saddamm Hussein and have him replaced by an equally "evil" dictator, Muqtad al Sadr, when he finally wins the civil war that will inevitably follow US withdrawal.

It may be that Sadr and his Maadhi army (who far outnumber al Qaeda), unlike Saddamm, might form some uncomfortable alliance and use this little terrorist group to wield extra power for himself. Or it might be that Sadr will exterminate al Qaeda and accumulate wealth and power around himself. We don't know for sure yet. It all depends on whether or not he has intentions outside of Iraq.

Certainly the Iraqis would want to reinforce themselves against being invaded again and if enough people in the world, like pommiekiwi believe that al Qaeda is a force to be feared, and Islamism is a real threat to western civilization, then it might be in their interests to at least make out that they have exterminated al Qaeda, when in actual fact they are secretly harbouring them. Alternately, given the flop that this invasion has been, they might openly flaunt the presence of al Qaeda knowing that the US will not attempt a re-invasion.

Certainly there is no point in Sadr making his move while the US are there doing some of his work for him, mopping up Sunni and al Qaeda insurgents. He will do so when the US have mostly left. We will see what happens when it does.

Anonymous said...

There's no need to panic, Gooner. It's all going really well in Iraq, haven't you heard?

You don't wanna listen to all that doomy bullshit in the mainstream media... as well as 99% of the subsidiary stream media. It's all bollocks.

Instead, you need to start paying attention to what trusting souls like Adolf Fiinkensein and Bill ('i'm absofuckinglutely insane') Kristol are saying on this matter:

So there you have it. Really well, y'hear?

Nigel Kearney said...

>If you are truly a liberal you will be
>against the imposition of compulsion in
>any form to change behaviour.

How does this help when the choice is between invading Iraq and allowing Saddam Hussein to continue running it?

The proper comparison is not between the situation in Iraq and an ideal liberal democracy. The correct comparison is with what would likely have happened had the US not invaded.

The war has arguably been bad for the US because of all the lives and money it has cost them. But the Iraqi people and their neighbours and the rest of the world are allbetter off. There were 40,000 unnecessary deaths a year due to Saddam if you count the wars he started, and living standards were much lower than today.

It is a larger scale version of the invasion of Kosovo - also illegal under international law and also a place that is a mess today but not as bad as it was.

The difference in perception of Iraq compared to Kosovo is due to media coverage. The difference in media coverage is because one was a response by a democratic president to atrocities committed by white people in Europe and the other was by a republican and the bad guy was brown and middle eastern.

Anonymous said...

This is a stunning turn-around, gooner. It is the exact opposite of the opinions of people such as adolf and antarctic lemur, who have been going on since the invasion about how good an idea it was, how successful it will be, and how things in Iraq are not as bad as the nasty, left-wing, media are making it out to be.

If anyone else had of made this post, or had commented in such a manner on this or your previous blog, they would have been labelled left-wing and anti-american in about five seconds.

Truely amazing. And yes, it was the right call by Helen Clark, and we should be grateful that she had the guts to stand up to the Americans and not get on board with such an ill-concieved adventure.

Anonymous said...

"Exactly when would you have capitulated to the Nazis?"

That's a pretty redundant question from someone who has no involvement at all in the fight.