Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Inauspicious

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  • Simon Grigg,

    Michael,
    this is worth a read:

    It was Always About Oil

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Cheers Simon,

    I have to admit that I find it astounding that anyone seriously believed that it was ever anything but about the oil and geopolitical strategy. If it was about tyrants then the US would be fighting on many many fronts.

    Which is why I get so frustrated and go off at the likes of James B. His ilk refuses the Occam's rational and buys into the often shabby propaganda that has been substituted for sound reasoning.

    Grrrrr!

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    It was Always About Oil

    ...and for good reason too...

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 634 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    People do not always act strictly as rational economic units, so while I’ll admit it may have all been about the oil, there are many other reasons as to why the Iraq war was supported by many people. Maybe the prime mover (Cheney?) was all about the oil, but if you think that is the reason why every person supported the war then you are wrong.

    In my case, I supported the war in Iraq because it promised to remove Saddam, a man who had started the Iran-Iraq War, who invaded Kuwait, and committed many atrocities against his own people. The US/UK coalition then spent the inter-war period persecuting Iraq because of Saddam, causing untold misery to its people, and creating instability in the region. Pre – War, I thought the act of invading and replacing Saddam would therefore fix these two issues, as well as punishing an unarguable tyrant. I never thought there was a clear link between Saddam and Al-Queda, nor did I think there were WMD in Iraq.

    Of course I didn’t understand quite how bitter the divides were between the various factions/groups/doctrines in Iraq (with the obvious exception of the Kurds), nor did I know the US/UK etc would do such a rubbish job of occupying or whatever you want to call their presence in Iraq. I thought it would be possible to create a stable, federal and preferably democratic Iraq over a period of years in this environment.

    So there you have it, one (admittedly unimportant) person who supported the invasion without reference to oil. Call me naïve, but there are other reasons for doing stuff outside of economic necessity.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • mark p baker,

    Simon, you da MAN!

    Thanks for that.

    I especially enjoyed the quoted piece:

    "The Iraqi government is working on a new hydrocarbons law that will set the course for the country's oil sector and determine where its vast revenues will flow. The consequences for such a law in such a state are huge. Not only could it determine the future shape of the Iraqi federation -- as regional governments battle with Baghdad's central authority over rights to the riches -- but it could put much of Iraqi oil into the hands of foreign oil companies.


    The draft law lays the ground work for private oil companies to take large stakes in Iraq's oil.

    It would allow controversial partnerships known as 'production sharing agreements' (PSA). Oil companies favor PSAs, because they limit the risk of cost overruns while giving greater potential for profit. PSAs tend to be massive legal agreements, designed to replace a weak or missing legal framework -- which is helpful for a country like Iraq that lacks the laws needed to attract investment.
    It's also dangerous. It means governments are legally committing themselves to oil deals that they've negotiated from a position of weakness. And, the contracts typically span decades. Companies argue they need long-term legal security to justify huge investments in risky countries; the current draft recommends 15 to 20 years.

    Nevertheless, Iraq carries little exploratory risk -- OPEC estimates Iraq sits atop some 115 billion barrels of reserves and only a small fraction of its oil fields are in use. By signing oil deals with Iraq, oil companies could account for those reserves in their books without setting foot in the country -- that alone is enough to boost the company's stock. And, by negotiating deals while Iraq is unstable, companies could lock in a risk premium that may be much lower five or ten years from now."

    ...now, does any of that sound like the US has had some influence, and maybe the oil companies helping themselves to production volume under the PSA might have SOME ties to the good ol US of A?

    Last time I saw any of this going on was when Aussie helped themselves to "agreements" with the new nation of East Timor once it became apparent their buddies the Indons weren't going to be in a position to "agree" any more.

    Simon, WHERE in Indonesia are you, and what was the buzz on the street when all that went on? I bet Aussie was slightly unpopular with the man (and mullah) on the street...

    ParpyKoura • Since Dec 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Hi Mark,
    I'm in Bali, which is not quite the "mullah" on the street, being mostly Hindu, but I've both spent a fair amount of time in Java, and quite immersed myself in learning the political and social history of this fascinating and largely unknown (to most of us from the antipodes) nation, which absolutely intrigues me.

    The relationship with Australia is a strange one. The Australian role in East Timor is not a pretty one historically and is fairly well documented, as you imply. And the rush to guarantee ET's freedom is less than benign...as you say it was driven more by the fact that RI was no longer in a position to agree. To maintain control of those reserves....

    There is a clear arrogance, almost (well actually there is no almost about it) racial arrogance, an implied belief by successive Australian governments that they are dealing with a lesser people, a less sophisticated, primitive and ultimately dangerous swathe of untamed brown humanity who want nothing more than to swarm south to gods own land. Australia's post WW2 defense stance has been largely based upon the assumption that one day Indonesia will invade. That there are 200 million of "them" looking south with envy. Check out the military bases the ADF has spent billions on in the northern desert with that in mind.

    Ten minutes here teaches one the absurdity of that assumption. And that we are in a country with a social structure and a history that dwarfs both Australia and NZ.

    With that in mind, the informed attitude is still largely ambivalence , tempered by the way they the Aussies talk down to and offer a military posture against RI. The Indonesian government, like most Asian governments, are well aware that Australia is far less important than it believes itself to be. When Australia roars, they largely nod, smile and ignore...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Jeffs,

    Simon ... well said. Couldn't agree with you more.
    I have a cousin at University in Australia. She has quoted one of her lecturer's who has also been quoted in the Aussie media in the past. He says 'there will be a major land war between Indonesia and Australia within the next 20 years'. I of course thought she was joking. But alas alot of Australians seem to be deluded enough, and full of their country's own self importance, to believe that the Indonesian military are sitting and waiting to plan an attack to nab Australia's uranium supplies.................... I'm sure this is news to most Indonesians let alone their military.

    Also it is incredibly niave to believe that the US, British & Aus invasion of Iraq is in anyway justified. Yes Saddam Hussein was a tyrant of unbelievable magnitude however his capture and subsequent trial and execution was a farce of comical proportions. There are several reasons why people think GW Bush went to war in the first place:
    1) Dynastic reasons for example he was finishing off daddies work from 1991.
    2) Oil! Tenders were being handed out to American companies to repair pipelines and other asorted bits of Iraqi infrastructure 1 year prior to invasion.
    3) WMD's.... don't make me laugh.
    4) Like alot of American politicians he is an ignorant git who suspened all rational thought post 9/11 and based his foreign policy on Star Wars:Attack of the Clones.

    Sorry about the rant but I get sick of people who still blindly try to justify the whole mess that is Iraq.

    UK - ex Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Jeffs,

    *PS speaking about how much war costs.... Britain has just paid off its outstanding loan to the USA for its financial assistance post WW2. The final bill stodd at £144 billion not sure how much that is in NZ$'s. But it goes to show someone is still making money out of war and misery.

    UK - ex Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Hopelessly naïve? Sure, if you forget that between 1991-2003 the residual members of the Coalition that liberated Kuwait were engaged in a terribly destructive containment exercise of Iraq. How many people died in that exercise without need (denied the necessities of life due to sanctions for one)? How much aggravation did this inject into an already volatile region? How much aggravation did this cause at the UN (US/UK vs. Russia vs. France etc) From memory this was one of the most important issues in the Middle East in the late 1990s, given that it seemed the Palestinians looked like they were getting some sort of mutually agreed peaceful resolution.
    The invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam offered, in theory, a simple solution to this problem. Perhaps there are no simple solutions to such problems.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Ben,
    firstly such a rational was never offered by the invading nations...it was about WMDs...remember Powell's speach to the UN in Fen 03...all those trailers, despite the fact that they knew they were lying in making a case for war

    Secondly....the sanction regime was largely vindictive in its nature. Large swathes of it were applied with the clear knowledge that they would hurt the people of Iraq least able to help themselves. Things like medical supplies and texts, food basics and feeding bottles were restricted..things without any conceivable military application.

    And after 1991 the Iraqi Military was a largely spent force. The "coalition' knew that and the sanctions had already achieved their purpose. As long as they limited access to military parts and the like, it was never necessary to maintain the sanction regime so punitively. The only thing Saddam did militarily after GW1 were the Shi'ite massacres of 1991 and he did that with the compliance of the Western Powers.

    I agree, how many died in that exercise without need, and Madeline Albright's comment that it was "worth it" are a low point of the Clinton administration. We will never know the true numbers of innocents who died as a result of the sanctions, but all seem tp agree it was in the hundreds of thousands, effectively the first casualties in the GW2. The nation was also effectively bombed non-stop over those years. The only logical intention of the sanctions of the bombing was to somehow destroy the nation as a whole, not simply Saddam. Its no wonder no-one waved flowers at the invading forces in 2003.

    I agree that Saddam had to lanced somehow but when the opportunity perhaps presented itself in 1991 the USA decided to back Saddam, and then proceeded with to undertake a war of attrition against his victims culminating in an invasion that diplomats, academics, Middle Eastern politicians and observers amongst others warned repeatedly had the potential, and likely outcome we are seeing now. The overwhelming odds were that it was always going to end up like this.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    So Mr. Eager Beaver thinks that the Iraq invasion was all about protecting the US dollar was it! That is just too stupid to be true; I mean to say you couldn't make this stuff up!!

    The Euro /US exchange rate moves on interest rate differentials more than anything else, and the strength and prospects (or not) of the US economy will determine the strength (or not) of the US dollar.

    Iraq could trade oil in Euros, pesos, or toilet paper and it would not make a jot of difference to the US$. Iran has said recently that it is going to change from using the US$ to Euros for its oil transactions and a number of countries have recently said they are going to diversify their reserves and has the US$ crashed? That would be “no”, it hasn’t. Mr. Eager Beaver is financial and economically illiterate to believe such patent nonsense. Sadly, he is not alone.

    As for "letting Bin Laden go" so that the military wouldn't be tied down in Afghanistan so they could go invade Iraq, what nutty paranoid conspiracy theory will be next?

    It would take an enormous post to rebut the many erroneous "points" made and all of Mr. Eager Beaver's breathless conspiracy theories and I don't have the time and / or inclination to do so, and frankly dealing with such stupidity is an exercise in frustration. It is like trying to potty train my 16 month old son.

    By all means, let’s take the Occam's razor perspective on OBL.

    After 9/11 the US was just utterly stunned and shocked, and yes, pissed and vengeful. Numero Uno bad guy was Osama, the desire for his blood was overwhelming, and fair enough too, the bastard killed nearly 3000 innocent people.

    The idea that Bin Laden was let go at Tora Bora so the military could continue to get ready for Iraq could only come from someone who is very far removed from reality. There is just no way any less than 95% of the US population, military or not, Dem or Repub or not wanted to do anything else other than see OBL captured or preferably blown to smithereens. The 5% who didn’t were the super nutty far left who were holding “Peace ins” and saying we needed to “reach out” to Osama and ”resolve root causes”. Pardon my French, but “f#@k that”, what a load of insane drivel. Anyone who does anything like 9/11 or Bali or Madrid or London needs and deserves to be removed from the face of the earth.

    It was a mistake to rely on the local Afghan militias to get Bin Laden, and a very bad one. The Occam's razor perspective would lead one to believe in a cock-up, not a conspiracy.

    The US military had originally come up with a plan to invade Afghanistan post 9/11 was a very conventional one that involved something like 50,000 troops that would have taken months to build up with their equipment. Rummy & Bush said, "that's bullshit", come up with something much faster and the CIA came up with their plan to use spooks and special forces with the Northern Alliance guys that was so much faster, and with the exception of missing Bin Laden, very effective. The US took out the Taliban in a few weeks when the Soviets had gotten their asses handed to them over a decade in Afghanistan. Whether the US was relying on Pakistan or Afghan militias to block off the back door from Tora Bora, I don't know. Whatever the strategy was, it was a huge, huge mistake.

    But if you want to look at huge intelligence and tactical failures and cock-ups, just look at WWII, it is full of them. They happen all the time in war, as post April 2003 Iraq shows. My father always used to say that 9 out of 10 things that look like a conspiracy are usually a cock-up, and my knowledge of history and observations of the world around me leads me to agree with this perspective.

    In the meantime here is UNSC 1441, it is necessary to go back to that time and see what people were thinking and agreeing about Iraq. Remember it passed 15 - 0.

    http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/682/26/PDF/N0268226.pdf?OpenElement

    It focuses on Iraqi non-compliance with previous UN sanctions and at the time I recall it was generally understood that it constituted legal authority for military action.

    It was a huge, huge mistake to submit to Blair's request to try to get a second resolution that focused on the supposed active WMD programs. It led everyone to forget 1441 and allowed the critics to say "liar, liar pants on fire!!" when the intelligence that the US, the UK, France, Russia, Egypt, Israel and Jordon had on active WMD programs turned out to be inaccurate. Everyone seems to forget that every intelligence service in the world that had any interest in Iraq believed that Hussein had WMDs and or WMD programs

    I read a number of military blogs and late last year I read a post from an US Army EOD guy in Anbar province (Explosives & Ordinance Destruction) who said that in late 2006 he was still coming across WMD precursor material in Iraq.

    For 12 years Hussein sure as hell behaved like someone with something to hide and Blix looks more like Inspector Clouseau than someone to trust on an issue like this one. Post 9/11 who the hell would trust either of them? Al Qaeda / Taliban / Afghanistan sure blew out of the water the idea that bad guys could be "contained in their boxes" and that the presumption of safety and security was the right attitude for the US to take.

    The only way to find out for sure whether Hussein had WMDs was to take the bastard out, which was also the humanitarian thing to do, bearing in mind the nature of his regime.

    Here is the Duelfer report on Iraq's WMDs. Scroll down and read the key findings. In a post 9/11 world, what Duelfer says about Hussein's activities and intent is more than enough reason to justify taking the bastard out.

    https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/index.html

    More on Iraq and oil later. I need to do some work for a change.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours.

    President Bush
    Speech to the Nation
    January 12, 2007

    "I’ve already got it all figured out. During the test I’m going to hide under a pile of coats and hope that somehow everything works out."

    Homer Simpson
    Homer Goes to College
    Aired October 14, 1993

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    From today's editorial in the Times of London.

    "In reality, there is no credible alternative. The Iraq Study Group proved rather better at setting out the many problems that exist in Iraq than in offering precise solutions. Its recommendation that the White House co-opt Iran and Syria as its allies in Iraq does not look remotely plausible. The idea that suddenly withdrawing American soldiers from the country would convince Shia and Sunni hardliners to be more charitable to one another is equally improbable. Mr Bush’s domestic foes, notably Nancy Pelosi, the new Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives (who has a minimal record in foreign policy) and the increasingly surreal Edward Kennedy, would simply abandon Iraq and be done with it."

    "This is not a course that the United States can afford to take. Mr Bush’s decision involves serious risks and it is inevitable that more American soldiers will die as a result of being sent to dangerous sections of Baghdad. Nor is this destined to be a wildly popular announcement at home. It is right, nevertheless, to make one more effort to create the sort of Iraq that its people deserve and the vast majority of its citizens aspire to. These are the appropriate means to what is a noble end."

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    It's no surprise to see the Times buying into the Bush strategy in Iraq, which essentially boils down to arguing that you need to bet the company pension fund in order to win back the payroll. Clearly if you stop gambling now the company is in real trouble - but if you win big with the pension fund then everything will be alright.

    Nancy Pelosi: 'But what if we loose the pension fund?'
    The Times: 'Ha! What do girls know about corporate finance?'

    More interesting will be to see how the recent US offensive against Iranian targets in Iraq will play out. Is the US trying to construct a narrative in which Iranian agents (wreckers and saboteurs) are responsible for much of the violence? It's certainly easier than admitting that Iraqs democratically elected government is carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing against it's Shia foes, but doesn't suggest that those extra 20,000 troops are going to make much difference.

    In the first weeks of the occupation the US army ran around the country trying to secure non-existent WMDs while members of Baarth Party military and intelligence cheerfully walked away with enough of Saddams unsecured conventional weapons to wage an insurgency for decades. Are US troops likely to spend the next-year hunting for cadres of imaginary Iranian agents, while the Sunni governments police and militia cheerfully carry on liquidating their Shia foes?

    Maybe this time next year, all of Iraqs Shia will either be dead or refugees, the killing will stop and the President will announce that they've defeated the Iranian enemies and brought peace to the region.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Wait, what?

    I didn't realise Shia Iraqis were losing this conflict (is anyone really winnin?). Is it really possible to defeat a group of people that make up 60% of the population? Who dominate the central government (so far as there is one?). Do you have some sources to verify your position Danyl?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's no surprise to see the Times buying into the Bush strategy in Iraq, which essentially boils down to arguing that you need to bet the company pension fund in order to win back the payroll. Clearly if you stop gambling now the company is in real trouble - but if you win big with the pension fund then everything will be alright.

    Nancy Pelosi: 'But what if we loose the pension fund?'
    The Times: 'Ha! What do girls know about corporate finance?'

    Dude! Metaphor of the year so far!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    **Maybe this time next year, all of Iraqs Shia will either be dead or refugees, the killing will stop and the President will announce that they've defeated the Iranian enemies and brought peace to the region.**

    I didn't realise Shia Iraqis were losing this conflict (is anyone really winnin?). Is it really possible to defeat a group of people that make up 60% of the population? Who dominate the central government (so far as there is one?). Do you have some sources to verify your position Danyl?

    Replace the word Shia with the word Sunni and it makes a lot more sense.

    How that edit function coming along Russell?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    James,
    try reading State of War, or A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies, or a swag of other documents and reports including your own Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq. Your assertion:

    he intelligence that the US, the UK, France, Russia, Egypt, Israel and Jordon had on active WMD programs turned out to be inaccurate. Everyone seems to forget that every intelligence service in the world that had any interest in Iraq believed that Hussein had WMDs and or WMD programs

    is simply not true, despite the number of times its repeated like a liturgy by the warbloggers. The European (including the UK) intel was largely based on the half baked nonsense being feed from the CIA, which we now know they knew to be untrue. Jordan repeatedly warned there was no evidence to support WMDs, as did Russia and the Germans warned the CIA and the State Dept that the asset they had could not be relied on...and indeed was mad...before he was quoted not only by Powell by by Bush.

    Blix was Cousteau? No, actually he was right.... 1441 was an attempt by the UN to try to manouver a US Government determined come hell or high water to invade regardless, and touted as such at the time. Sadly, half a million lives later, it didn't work...

    As Darryl says, its no surprise that Rupert Murdoch supports Bush's blowup...of course he would...what's Fox's position? NY Post? surprise, surprise

    I have to admit James, you and your ilk do a surprising good job attempting to justify the unjustifiable, the chaos, mayhem and death that you ultimately have to take full responsibility for...its just not good enough. Every time a bomb goes off in Baghdad you need to understand that you did that. The blood is on your hands.

    The opening of Pandora's box is now justified by the likes of reporting by a "guy in Anbar province" who blogs. Not the same guy who was on Fox just after the invasion taking the reporters on the tour of the 1 Sq Mile WMD factory that the CIA satellites had missed, was he? Like that report, your spinning is nonsense.

    Outside the hard right the acceptance is that there were no WMDS, there was no evidence for such, and any evidence touted was either manufactured or twisted. And the leaders that sent to troops over the border did so in that full knowledge. Repeating otherwise over and over, does not make it so.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Simon,
    Who made the following statement and when?

    "Again in Wichita, November 17, XXXX said that what happens in Iraq "matters to you, to your children and to the future, because this is a challenge we must face not just in Iraq but throughout the world. We must not allow the 21st century to go forward under a cloud of fear that terrorists, organized criminals, drug traffickers will terrorize people with chemical and biological weapons the way the nuclear threat hung over the heads of the whole world through the last half of this century. That is what is at issue."

    ChimpyBushHitler or Dr. Evil Dick Cheney, or maybe Mad Dog Rummy in 2002 or 2003, right?

    Maybe someome from the Likud party because of course "we all know" that the US is a mere puppet of Israel don't we?

    How about someone from the US and UK oil companies, because they needed to build up the pretext for getting their hands on Iraqs oil, because "everybody knows" that Iraq was all about oil don't we?

    No, try Bubba Billy Clinton in 1997. So Billy Boy was in on the conspiracy cooked up in Texas too? Hot diggedy dog, what do you know!!

    And it was to prevent the US$ from crashing aswell, another thing that we "all know" don't we?

    In 1998, Clinton signed into law a law that made regime change in Iraq official US government policy, but didn't act on it. All Bush did was act on it

    It was the consensus of US intelligence in the 1990s and early 2000 that Saddam still had WMDs and his goal was to shake off the sanctions so he could go back to a full WMD program (see the Duefler report I linked to in a previous post). Over 2/3rds of the US House and Senate voted in favour of invading Iraq because they believed this too. Are they all in on the conspiracy as well?

    It turned out that the US intelligence services were wrong in their estimates, but since when is intelligence to a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. It can never be to that standard because the other guys don't want you to know the true situation, so they do everything they can to hide the true situation from you. You have to get the best info you can and make the best decision you can. What else is a country supposed to do?

    In the previous two decades, the CIA was famous not for over estmating, but for under estimating and missing key events altogether. The CIA had no clue that the Berlin Wall was about to fall down. The CIA had no clue that Iraq had an advanced nuke program when the first Gulf war happened. The CIA missed Pakistan and India's nuke weapons programs altogether.

    So if you were a politician or leader and the CIA told you that a country had WMDs, what would you believe? Based on the past performance of the CIA, I would believe that the country probably had a lot more bad stuff than the CIA knew of.

    And post 9/11, the level of what was considered a risk that needed to be addressed was, for obvious reasons, dramatically lowered. Nobody wanted to not address potential threats again, as had been the case with Al Qaeda, with disasterous consequences.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Simon,
    As an outspoken supporter of deposing Hussein and trying to build a decent country in Iraq, yes, I do feel responsibility for the chaos and carnage in Iraq. I am very disappointed and frustrated with the way things have turned out to date, I am mad as hell at the Bush Administration for the mistakes they have made. War is always a messy and uncertain business full of difficult decisions, but that is no excuse for some of the dumb-ass mistakes that have been made.

    Allowing the Iraqi Army to disband (however it happened or whoever made the decision) was insane, and obviously so at the time, not just with hindsight.

    The Iraqi Army and more US troops should have been used to bring law and order, or to not let it get out of hand to start with. Looters should have been shot, not ignored.

    Why is Moctada Al Sadr still breathing? He was obviously a trouble maker and should have been taken out a long time ago.

    Why did the US back off Fallujah the first time, and why did they wait for 6 or 9 months before going back in to clean it out?

    Why did the most recently announced change in tactics and focus in and around Baghdad not happen a long time ago?

    All these mistakes are inexcusable and maddening and piss me off more than I can say (or politely express in a post!!)

    However, I also feel some responsibility for the fact that Hussein and his sick motherf@#ker sons are not terrorizing Iraqis anymore. No more gang raping women in front of their families, no more feeding people feet first into industrial plastic shredding machines in front of their families. No more putting people in baths of concentrated acid in front of their families.

    No more mass graves. No more persecution of the Kurds. No more Halabjahs. No more invasions of Iraq’s' neighbors. No more likelihood of Saddam reconstituting his WMD programs. No more active cooperation with and funding of a multitude of Middle Eastern terrorist organizations.

    I feel good that according to Newsweek, Iraq’s' economy is booming. I feel good that Iraq's free floating currency the Dinar, is appreciating in value, a real show of confidence in the future of Iraq by the millions of people who buy and sell the currency.

    I feel good about the constitution, the elections, and the political process (however flawed and halting it is at the moment).

    I feel good that soon Iraq will have a tonne of oil money to use for its reconstruction

    I feel good that, despite the far too many missteps and problems and the deaths of far too many civilians, that Iraq has hope, it has a future. Iraq had no hope and no future under Hussein.

    I have to say, Simon, that I feel responsible in part and pretty damn good about all of those things.

    I also feel pretty good that 25 million people in Afghanistan are no longer subjected to the backward primitive medieval Islamism of the Taliban.

    I am happy that women are not beaten in the street if they accidentally show a wrist or ankle (oh, the horror and perversion!!). I feel good that Afghan girls can go to school

    I feel good that Hamid Karzi is probably the most popular politician in the world; with a recent approval rating of 91% and that the multi national forces in Afghanistan had an approval rating by Afghans of 75%.

    Like Iraq, Afghanistan has hope; it has a future that it didn't have before, however difficult the path.

    I will also tell you what I don't like and don't feel good about.

    I don’t like the nauseating selective morality and hypocrisy of so many on the left who seek to hold the US to an impossibly high standard of perfection in everything it does, while almost completely ignoring horrendous acts by many other people and countries. This I find truly sickening.

    So many seem to be more concerned with seeing the US and Bush fail in Iraq and Afghanistan so they can say "I told you so" than with the welfare and future of Iraqis and Afghanis.

    Where is the hairy armpit brigade (feminists) in praising and supporting the new found freedom of Afghani women and girls? Sure, Afghanistan is not perfect for women and girls by any means, but it is so much better. While Islamists treat women as no better than chattels that can be beaten at will and shouldn't be educated, Afghani women can now vote and go to school.

    Where are all those who devote so much energy and anger to Iraq on the issue of Dafur? Just about no where to be found. China is blocking any UN action on Dafur so its supply oil from Sudan is not disrupted. China truly is trading blood for oil and where are the protests against China?

    Where are those on the left on the issue of North Korean refugees? Hundreds of thousands of North Korean refugees have made it across the border from the Stalinist left wing pure hell of North Korea to China, but if China finds them, it simply hands them back to North Korean authorities, which is a death sentence. This is in contravention of its obligations under a UN treaty on refugees that China signed. Where are the human rights organizations on this issue? I mean to say, two and a half million North Koreans starved to death in the mid to late 1990s and where was the noisy left on this? Where are the protests? Where is the UN? No where, that’s where.

    A hell of a lot more people are suffering a hell of a lot worse in Sudan and North Korea than in Iraq, and where are all the left wing blowhards who know so much and care so much and like to think of themselves as the moral conscience of the world? No where, that is where. It is not just hypocritical, it is absolutely bloody pitiful, it really is.

    If those of us who supported the removal of Taliban and Hussein regimes are responsible for the deaths and chaos in Iraq (fair enough), then the left wing hypocrites who don’t lift a finger about Sudan and North Korea are responsible for the many, many more deaths and much greater suffering in those countries.

    Simon, I hope you understand that, too.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    A mischievous or cynical person might propose that very little of what has taken place in Iraq can be deemed a mistake. They might suggest that part of the "plan" is to drag out the conflict, involve more and more parties, encourage chaos and mayhem and the like....

    That is crazy, some would say, who on earth benefits from such a situation?

    Who indeed?

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Michael,
    Mischievous and cynical, and slightly batty as well. Your last post really goes a bit far in the conspiratorial direction; you are getting into tin foil hat country with that one!!

    Putting aside the cost and the lives lost (both Iraqi, US and other MNF), do you really think it was part of Bush's plan for the war in Iraq to drag on and cost his party both Houses of Congress?

    Put the tin foil hat down. Back in the real world ....

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    James,

    Since when has the loss of life been of particular concern to war-mongers? History shows us that, if necessray, those in charge will expend lives in the millions to achieve desired outcomes.

    And let's not forget that the cost of war borne by tax-payers, not Generals and Presidents. Why if you look closely you might even see that those types usually make a healthy profit from conflict.

    My beliefs (and they are generally formulated while hatless) are formed and informed when I look at the larger, structural aspects of our societies. The will to power (and human greed) has brought us to this point in history. Therefore it is apolitical. The "left" and the "right" might just be two peas from the same pod.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    However, I also feel some responsibility for the fact that Hussein and his sick motherf@#ker sons are not terrorizing Iraqis anymore. No more gang raping women in front of their families, no more feeding people feet first into industrial plastic shredding machines in front of their families. No more putting people in baths of concentrated acid in front of their families.
    No more mass graves. No more persecution of the Kurds. No more Halabjahs. No more invasions of Iraq’s' neighbors. No more likelihood of Saddam reconstituting his WMD programs. No more active cooperation with and funding of a multitude of Middle Eastern terrorist organizations.

    James, while there is much wrong with your post, I thought I would highlight the above piece to serve as an example.

    Most of what you wrote above is of course true, but it is dishonest to use examples of particular people and events that are no longer alive or happening as a case that tyranny and abuse are no longer prevalent in Iraq.

    Hussein and his sons are no longer terrorisng Iraq, yet Iraq is still being terrorised.

    People are no longer being fed into shredders, or bathed in acid. Instead around 50 corpses of tortured murder victims are turning up on the streets of Bahgdad every couple of days. The government's interior ministry and police are still in the torture business.

    There are no more mass graves, but corpses are left on the roadside or thrown in the river, with the families of the victims left none the wiser, knowing only for certain that their son has not yet returned.

    The Kurds were not being persecuted in the lead up to the war, but I take your point. Now the Sunni are being persecuted and cleansed into ghettos.

    What little support Saddam was providing to international terrorists has been replaced by turning Iraq into a vast geurrilla training zone and propaganda rallying cry for Wahhibist terrorists who are using it as example number one of the wests supposed hatred for Islam.

    You say that the war in Iraq is like the curates egg, that you are proud of it in parts and are angry about it in parts. This is of course an intellectually responsible position to take in any real life situation, as reality is never without it's faults. However the parts you are proud of seem to be about intentions, and hopes that have not yet come to pass, while the bits you are angry about are the parts that are existing now, and the way the war has unfolded. At some point it becomes necessary to evaluate whether the hopes and intentions are enough to justify the reality. For me that time has long past, (I initially supported the war) your mileage may vary, but I can remember a time when conservatives used to mock the left as being utopian.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    James,
    little do I care what Clinton said or thought. I don't and didn't agree with the man on Iraq and made that clear when I quoted Albright. Your wild swings of logic, fulminating against Clinton and making the assumption that he's my boy, do you no favours. Neither do silly phrases like the "hairy armpit brigade"

    That the CIA twisted the intelligence to suit is not really open to argument anymore, The CIA had no idea what was going on in Iraq after 1991, they had no agents or anyone else on the ground, but made it up to suit or took the word of the likes of Chalabi, often in the face of evidence that went against it...such as dismissing the information from series of connected Iraqi defectors in the mid nineties. After GWB was appointed Tenet made in very clear to his senior operatives, in a series of meetings, that the evidence was to be twisted to suit the policy, and Cheney said he wasn't interested in any intelligence that didn't fit the policy. This, to quote Tenet is now a slam dunk, and history has already recorded it as such.

    They had no idea, they made things up, they twisted to suit...and US administrations both knew and encouraged such, the evidence to back that is both present and voluminous...end of story.

    Incidentally, that the CIA twisted the intelligence to suit during the cold war is also not really open to question. They continually, over some 40 years overstated Soviet military strength. We know that now both from Soviet records and reports of those supplying the evidence. They do not and never have "understated"...twisting the evidence to suit policy is quite a tradition.

    Dafour / Sudan... I could've sworn that both NGOs and UN agencies have raised any almighty noise over both in recent years, as have famous lefties like Geldof, Sarendon and others, and there has been quite a public noise in Europe. Certainly, and demonstrably, the "lefty" media like The Guardian have been pushing it for years, usually to deaf governmental ears. Your argument there is a non starter.

    James, i have to be honest, I do admire your ability to rant in the face of overwhelmingly contrary evidence, to blame all the woes on your beloved leftist global conspiracy, to ignore and half state when it suits. I admire your ability to feel good about many of the things you've posted, even if the evidence for them is often weak.....my understanding from a friend who has just returned after a six month contract doing electrical work in Afghanistan, is that things are little better for women and there are few schools for them. I guess I'd rather believe him that looped Newsmax themes.

    And I even admire admire your ability to trust without asking questions.

    Perhaps you need to take a step back from your lefty / righty obsessions though. Your need to compartmentalise and attack your despised left clouds pretty much all your arguments and assumptions.

    That said, being neither a Democrat or a Republican, I don't think there are many left any more yourself excluded of course, who would be, to use a word introduced by yourself, batty enough to argue that GWB has not left the word in a far worse state than it was in 2000. It feels that way to me and I hate the fact that future generations will have to deal with worse because of this man and blind supporters like yourself.

    I have to go now, my North Korean flag needs ironing......

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

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