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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:54 AM
Original message
Poll question: Would cutting off funds and withdrawing troops end the war?
Do you believe that cutting off funds for the war in Iraq, and withdrawing all troops immediately, would "end the war?"

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. yes and no
it would end it for our troops, but not for the people of the ME. or for the US. We broke it, it's our responsibility to fix it. somehow. :(
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. Nope
Not our responsibility to fix it. Yes, we meddled there, but when Saddam died, a power struggle would have happened eventually. Look at Yugoslavia, when Tito died, civil war erupted. Partitioning was the answer to that problem, and it might well be in this case. But I think the parties want to fight it all out first. We need to get out of their way, we don't need to be playing referee to another country's internal struggles.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. So that's a "no."
You say the war would continue.

(I don't agree that a power vaccum would necessarily have ensured upon Saddam's death, btw.)
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #12
92. Yes, that's a no.
While a power vacuum might not have existed upon the death of Saddam (it would depend on what mechanism he had for a successor to his regime) clearly, there will be Shia vs. Sunni conflict in Iraq for years to come. Even without the latest invasion, the steps Saddam took to crush the Shia rebellion in the 1990's would have probably insured that. Of course, that was because we meddled at the end of the first Gulf War, encouraging the Shia to overthrow Saddam.



What we have done is destabilize that country faster than it would have happened on its own, but I think that the Shia-Sunni fight has been centuries in the making, it was just a matter of time before it played out. It might have had a better outcome if that conflict happened a couple more centuries from now, but there's no way of knowing that.

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AZBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
57. I agree - we created this hell for the Iraqis, we can't just leave them to die in it.
I don't want another US soldier to die or be harmed either - we need a third solution.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #57
93. so we should continue killing them...?
Who do you think we're killing in Iraq if not Iraqis?
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #93
99. We should not continue on BushCo's track, no. nt
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KKKarl is an idiot Donating Member (662 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
2. Yes it will
But no it won't end the problems we created over there. There is a major shift in power we created by taking out Saddam. The war was wrong on so many levels.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Trying to understand your position...
Do you mean you think the political problems will persist, but the civil war will end?
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. it will end our illegal participation in it-- that is the crux, for me....
The war against Iraq is a crime against humanity-- a war of aggression. Our FIRST responsibility to the victims of that crime is to stop committing the crime. Restitution and justice cannot follow until the criminals stop committing the crime.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Do you think the militias will disarm if we leave now?
If so, why?
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
58. I doubt it-- but again, that is not the relevant issue as far as I'm concerned....
We are committing a war crime by occupying Iraq. Excusing that on the basis of crimes that others might commit is like saying it's OK to rob banks because it prevents white collar embezzlement. America has no moral standing to criticize anyone's actions in Iraq as long as we are the primary criminals.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #58
63. So it's either "commit crimes" or "let the militias overpower the weak"?
Do you really think THAT is being "responsible to the victims?"

Do you honestly believe those are the only two options?
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #63
66. I'm afraid so-- I don't believe there is any way to salvage this mess...
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 01:33 PM by mike_c
...and so the question becomes "How long do we keep making it, and how bad do we make it before we stop?"

Remember, the militias are IRAQIS-- it is ultimately their right to determine how to resolve their sectarian issues. I do not believe that they will choose to slaughter each other until no one is left standing. Once the occupation is over, and probably after a change of government or two, their interests will be best served by reducing or ending the violence. It is largely the absence of effective leadership that has produced the present situation. The occupation has NEVER produced even a smidgeon of leadership in Iraq-- most of the occupiers don't even speak the language, let alone understand the culture. The occupation has ZERO chance of doing anything constructive-- it can only prolong the violence and social displacement.

Your question about militias preying on the weak-- remember that WE have created the context for what is happening. It is our presence that is causing even the sectarian violence-- its ultimate roots might be in deep ethic divisions, but its proximate cause was in the separate Sunni and Shi'ite struggles against the occupation.

Yes, I think violence will likely increase in the short term if America leaves Iraq. That is a consequence of the damage we have already done. But we cannot undo the damage, and staying does more damage. We must face the truth that we have utterly destroyed Iraq for the short term, maybe forever. But I honestly believe that no healing can begin as long as we are still creating the problem.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #66
87. We did indeed create the problem.
But right now, I don't think we're "still creating the problem." We're damned sure NOT HELPING any, but the problem is there now, entrenched, intense and complicated. In my opinion, simple withdrawal won't help, and simple "stay the course" won't help.
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #6
90. The militias will be an Iraqi problem, as it should be!
This war must end now. The longer we wait, the more names we will see on a future Iraq memorial monument. Nothing we do can change the fact that we lost this war, as all aggressor nations before us have.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #90
97. So do you think withdrawing will end the war? nt
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #97
103. It will end the American portion of the war
The only hope Iraqis have of resolving their differences is by the withdrawal of the foreign crusaders. We are the ones that destroyed their society and institutions. The sooner we are gone, the better off they and us will be.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #103
109. What makes you think they will be better off?
What's your prediction for Iraq, and the region? (Including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Israel.)
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #6
130. Is the Iraq civil war now "the war"? What's the US military doing about it?
Aren't they busy digging in to protect themselves against whoever it is that's attacking them?

How is US military presence in Iraq going to end the civil war that its very presence created in the first place?
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
4. How could it not? Also, criminalize war profiteering. That'll do it.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. "How could it not"...
Because it's possible that without a political resolution, the civil war will continue, and perhaps escalate.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #9
53. Political resolution, keeping the troops there - two opposite things.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #53
104. Not necessarily.
Troop presence can be used for leverage both ways. Some areas might negotiate for militias to disarm if we provide security for them instead; others might agree to keep peace if we leave their area. The military can help seal borders and hold some things in check while political solutions are being worked; what they CAN'T do is what they've been tasked with doing: solving a political problem through force.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
81. It isn't a civil war
Its a war against an occupying army. I think the media repeats the idea that its a civil war in order to keep us there.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #81
105. You don't think Iraqis are fighting Iraqis?
Do you read the daily accounts of what's going on there?
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #105
132. Iraqis are fighting the Iraqis who cooperate with the US.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #132
133. It's much more than just that n/t
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
7. It would end the war for the U.S....
but the war between Iraqis would likely drag on for years.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. So that's a "no." nt
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 10:07 AM by Sparkly
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #10
19. Well, one caveat, though...
a civil war in Iraq is a done deal, whether we stay or go. The only difference is whether or not that war will include American casualties.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
11. Yes, but it would only be the beginning of the end.
Better to start the process now rather than drag it on until 58,000 American troops are dead, like the the US did in our Vietnam fiasco. The longer we stay, the longer the conflict will continue without hope of resolution. The Iraqis will keep fighting us until we are gone.

It is hard to say how long the conflict will last after the US leaves, but at least there will be an end in sight when the occupying nation bent on conquest is gone.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. "hope of resolution"
What do you think will, in the end, create resolution?
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #14
20. I suspect that after a relatively brief struggle for control, the Iraqis
will opt for a semi-unified coalition among the various sects and tribes in order to prevent another invading force from occupying their land. IMO, they will, almost unanimously, be so glad to get rid of the US occupiers that they will agree to put their differences on hold for the sake of their sovereign survival.

The Iraqis are not stupid; they know that the US is there for imperialistic economic purposes - control and privatization of Iraq's oil and the establishment of a puppet government being the foremost of these economic purposes. Many also realize that continued infighting will lead to national weakness and leave them highly susceptible to further occupation by foreign interests.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #20
25. I think you over estimate the degree of Iraqi nationalist "brotherhood"
(I know that's a sexist term - I couldn't think of another that would fit in the subject line).

The death squads are rarely kidnapping and mutilating Americans inside Iraq. The bodies getting dumped in the rivers and lots around the capital are rarely Americans. IED's target Americans for the most part, but suicide bombers in market places are blowing up common Iraqi citizens. Attacks on mosques are not attacks on symbols of American imperialism.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #25
37. Very possible. One problem here is that it is hard to get an accurate
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 11:49 AM by Zorra
picture of which Iraqis are killing other Iraqis, and why, from the media.

I suspect that many of the Iraqi people being kidnapped and murdered are being targeted because they are seen as collaborating with the occupying forces. The fact that many Iraqi police and security forces, coalition translators, and others cooperating with the Iraqi "government" are targeted leads me to suspect this. Historically, resistance movements often target collaborators in an effort to dissuade others from cooperating with an occupying force.

In this case, removing the occupying forces might go a long way toward eventual resolution of conflict.

Then again, I'm sure there is sectarian/ethnic hatred causing/adding to some of the violence also. Sectarian hatred was apparently there before the US occupied Iraq, and that is something the Iraqis will have to resolve on their own, hopefully by someday agreeing to disagree while living peacefully side by side with each other.

But one question is, if this sectarian gap is so wide, what prevented sectarian arguments from erupting into civil war prior to the occupation of Iraq? Was it Saddam, or were these factions able to coexist on their own, relatively peacefully, prior to the occupation?



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AZBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #37
64. Unfortunately Iraqis are killing other Iraqis because of their religion, not because of the US.
It was the dictatorship of Saddam that prevented this from happening for years. I'm not praising him in any way of course, but that was the one "benefit" of his rule. But this so-called "benefit" had a flip-side - hatred and resentment between the three groups increased under the Ba'athist rule, they just weren't able to do anything about it at the time. Now, they have that freedom. Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds would each like to see the other two sects completely eliminated and are simply acting now toward those goals. The most recent example I can think of is a story from NPR about the internal check-points that have been set up in cities. People have to pass through these check-points twice a day, to and from work. If the check-point was set up by the Sunnis, for example, and you are a Shiite, you're literally risking your life twice daily just to go to work. It's insane.

That's not to say that there aren't some Iraqis who are targeted because of their connection with the US occupation, but the majority of the Iraqi-Iraqi causalities are a result of religious conflicts, not American connections.

To me, the only answer is to separate Iraq into three different countries. I don't see how to resolve the differences between these three groups, so why waste more lives, Iraqi, American or other?
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #64
71. If some foreigners invaded my country and arbitrarily tried to
separate my country into 3 different countries, I'd be fighting them off until they left, or until I was dead.

Why would the Iraqis feel any differently?

Now, it may be true that the majority of Iraqi-Iraqi casualties are the result of religious conflicts; that's what I'm told anyway...but I'm not sure if I believe it, because someone may be telling me that because it is expedient and profitable for them to do so.

I guess Bu*hworld has taught me to believe none of what I hear and less of what I see from media and government sources.
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paulk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #71
76. why do you assume the Iraqi's would react the same way
you would?

In my experiences traveling abroad, it has often been the case that people from other cultures, and especially in cultures where a dominant religion holds sway, don't react in the way that Americans would. Or at least in the way that Americans assume they would. In fact, it seems a particularly American conceit to assume that the rest of the world shares their values and belief systems and will react accordingly. A case could be made, in fact, that this has been the major failing of the Bush administration foreign policy.

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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:03 AM
Response to Reply #76
134. Yeah, I guess some folks don't mind being driven from their
homes and having their land taken away by foreign invaders.
:eyes:

BTW, I've lived and traveled outside the US for most of the past 6 years, and have a fair grasp of how the rest of the world does not share American value systems.

But let's get real here...the majority of people and cultures will do whatever they can to keep their land from being taken over by invaders.
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AZBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #71
101. I trust the stories on the Iraqi-Iraqi killings since Bush & Co. deny them.
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 08:49 PM by AZBlue
As for dividing the country in three, of course it shouldn't be done unless it has the support of the Iraqi people. As far as that point is concerned, the obvious response would be "Duh." But, since they don't want to live near or associate with each other, it's not that unbelievable to think they would be in favor of it.
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Sirveri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #37
115. What if the civil war is part of something larger.
What if this isn't a civil war but a religious schismatic war? What if this is Shi'ite vs. Sunni for the whole of the Muslim world? Iran vs. Saud fighting a proxy religious war in another country all to see which sect would become dominant? What if the chain of events we unleashed today led to a more unified vision of Islam and ultimately if this war plays out victoriously for one side or the other it will lead to the creation of the next super power, or possibly another EU style nation? Iran and Russia versus USA and Saudia Arabia in a cold war rematch. What will China and Europe do in the mix? What will the large muslim populations in SE Asia and Africa do in response?

Ultimately it all boils down to one question for US (The USA), what is in our best interests and how do we best go about accomplishing it and do we still have the stomach and capacity to do it?

Right now I would answer, pull back, get more isolationist, fix our own major internal problems (rich poor divide, rampant political corruption on all levels, major looming environmental problems, looming budget deficits, and potential peak oil/gas issues), rebuild our external alliances and commitments to our long term strategic allies, reformulate the military to be more flexible to fight the battles of the future at substantially lower costs (do we really need 4 Billion dollar stealth bombers to fly missions that can be run with 1M dollar cruise missles launched from internation waters?), and then we can look around and see how this mess is playing out in our abscence and hopefully make the right choices.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
13. It depends.
Either these actions will contribute to an eventual military then political resolution of the controversies between the religious and ethnic factions, or it could be seemingly perpetual like the Israelis and the Arab and Persian nations along with the Palestinians.
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Larry Allen Donating Member (130 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
15. yes
Fixing things may be our responsibility but is beyond our capacity. Anything WE might try would just highten the disaster. Iraqis of all stripes might be happier if we just withdrew, paid reparations, and left the fixing to them.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. "Anything we might try would just heighten the disaster"
Do you mean anything militarily, or diplomatically, or both?
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Larry Allen Donating Member (130 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #16
23. Both.
The parties in Iraq do not need US to urge them to negotiate. Neighbors in the region do not need US to convince them they need to act to calm things down. EU, China, Russia and the UN do not need US to see that it is in everone's interest to prevent further deterioration and genocide. Any one we tried to help would be hurt by working with us. We have been discredited. We need to withdraw, and by all means get out of the way diplomatically. When we change our leadership at home, we can start to rebuild our influence in the region.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #23
28. So do you think the "parties" and the world are on the right track?
Are you saying militias within Iraq are motivated, right now, to disarm and negotiate with each other? Similarly, are you saying that all of Iraq's neighbors believe it's in their interest to "prevent further deterioration and genocide?" What do you see that leads you to that belief, and how would US withdrawal further negotiations within Iraq and in the region?
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Larry Allen Donating Member (130 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #28
73. Iraqis on all sides are being slaughtered
The presence of the coalition forces is preventing the groups within Iraq as well as neighboring countries from being on any constructive track. All they can do now is take sides and jockey for position. Some groups want to punish their rivals for collaborating with the U.S. This will end when we leave. Other groups hope to get the U.S. to come to their defense, and attack their rivals. This also will end when we leave. There is little point in negotiating with the U.S. playing the role of elephant in the living room. Once we are gone, the fact that Iraqis on all sides are being slaughtered is sufficient motivation, in fact need, for negotiations. All neighbors want to shore up and arm certain groups within the country, to prevent their anihilation. Once we are gone, Iran has to be careful not to draw Saudia Arabia into the country, and visa versa. The U.S., ruled by the neocons has one goal only in Iraq. That is to stay. Footprint. Permanent bases. Presence. They don't really care this group or that. Civil war, disintegration and chaos provide them with justification for staying. Once that is given up, any black-ops, funding and tactical support for various militias, would be pointless. This sectarian cleansing of neighborhoods, will not work. The reason is that not only do you have mixed neighborhoods, you also have mixed families. Sunnis married to Shias, with children, aunts and uncles. Which way is a family to go? Sectarian strife was a brainchild of the U.S. There was not a lot, compared to now, before 1993. Neighborhood cleansing is being done, in part, out of the anticipation that the Democrats will come in and chop up the country into three. Iraqis, neighbors, the world can see these problems. They just can't do anything about them as long as the occupation continues. Americans can't see what everyone else can, that the U.S. is the cause and biggest part of the problem, and responsible for all the violence. Its the Iraqis fault. It's their violent nature. Hence the call to disarm the militias. Given the circumstance and lack of any real government, every group in Iraq right now has a right, and a need to defend itself. Gun control for Iraq! That is an absurd and uniquely American "fix" for the problem. We are the problem. p.s. I am not an expert. Bringing in the experts would be another absurd and uniquely American "fix" for the problem.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #73
84. You really believe the fighting will stop if our troops leave?
I think three years ago, even two years ago, much of what you say was true: our presence was basically the entire problem. We did, definitely, spark the violence.

But the fighting now is NOT just about the US presence. I don't think we even know who's fighting who and why much of the time. It is about power, territory, old rivalries, retaliation, religion, family feuds, resources, and who knows what else.

I agree about BushCo -- nothing will be resolved as long as they're at the helm.
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Larry Allen Donating Member (130 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #84
108. Yes I do.
Of course, the longer the occupation continues, the longer the fighting is likely to continue. But the various sides are positioning themselves for when the Americans do leave. Retaliation and family feuds, yes. These are forms of violence that are likely to continue until an actual government is established. But power, territory, rivalries, resources, these are essentially political contests taking place in an environment (occupation) where political accomodation is not possible. Hence the bombing, kidnappings, beheadings, etc. Once the Americans leave, and the puppet government collapses or reconfigures, political accomodation will become the order of the day. Because the arguments are essentially political, because they can't afford to continue slaughtering one another, and because with Iran, Saudia Arabia, and Turkey looking over their shoulder, no group can afford to win outright, and because tons of intenational aid dependends on presenting at least a token government to the international community.

But remember this entire discussion is hypothetical. It assuming the U.S. leaves and just lays off for awhile. There is not the remotest chance that the democrats will do that, especially a democratic executive branch. We broke it, it is our responibility to fix it, one point the democrats and republicans agree on is that Iraq is ours to do with as we see fit. We just pretend to disagree on the best way forward. A democratic White House will concoct a solution which sounds good, maintains a permanent presence, and guarantees perpetual warfare for the Iraqis. A kurdish woman from Kirkuk that I recently met said "The democrats are actually worse than Bush. Bush at least SHOWS his sword."

But if we did just leave, the American people would forget about Iraq as fast as they did about southeast asia, Iraqs neigbors would out of necessity form a group and agree to stabilization and non interference. Meaning no-one wants to invade, they just want to make sure the others don't. And then they would pledge to work with their respective groups within Iraq with the general aim of toning things down, and making sure that no-one can win the civil war. The international community would invade with aid, observers, human rights mandates, and time lines. The violence would continue on a diminishing scale as civil war blurs (there are MANY groups in Iraq). Sadr or someone takes over as a "strong man" but softens his stance considerably for domestic purposes as necessary political accomodations are made.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #108
110. Wow.
Your vision of that wonderful resolution doesn't mesh with my understanding of the middle east and its history.

I agree: the fighting occurs because there is no political process that's working. (Because BushCo thought, or pretended to think, that we could simply fight "the enemy" and "win.")

I don't agree that our withdrawal would make political accomodation the "order of the day." Why would it? The warring factions in Iraq each believe they have something to gain by fighting, and something to lose by disarming.

I don't agree at ALL that neighboring countries would cooperate to stabilize Iraq, "tone things down" and stop a civil war! They are already exerting influence to fuel it, providing weapons etc. They are in conflict themselves, and in conflict with various segments of Iraq.

I don't agree that a Democrat in the White House would establish a permanent presence and perpetual warfare. Most now see it as a regional conflict and emphasize the importance of engaging Iran and Syria, and bringing together factions within Iraq as well for dialogue. (That is the ONLY feasible way to go, imho.)
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
17. I think Bush would keep it up, anyway
They told Raygun to stop funding the contras. He did it, anyway. I think he'd find a way to keep it going, anyhow, but the troops would be even less equiped. I think defunding the war would just hurt our soldiers and wouldn't get us out of Iraq.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
18. No, our withdrawal won't end the war, but our staying
won't help matters, and will probably in the long run make them worse.

We created the war (I have no idea whether it might have happened anyway), but I think it has become a self-sustaining reaction that will continue to some sort of eventual conclusion whether we are there or not. Our continued involvement is more likely to prolong it than to shorten it, and we cannot control the outcome.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
21. a little OT but ...
we often see questions on DU about whether a given policy could "succeed" or whether a certain candidate is viable ... we always see the issue raised when third parties are discussed as in "what's the point - they can't win anyway" ...

there can be some degree of truth in this "pragmatic" black and white thinking ...

however, i think thinking in these terms can also squash incentive ... it can squash visionary leadership ... it can squash the possibility of change ... it can lock us into a narrow status quo ...

it's certainly valid to ask whether cutting off funds and/or withdrawing troops will "end" the war ... my view is that bush will not be able to continue this madness too much longer ... he's increasingly isolated in his refusal to deal with the realities in Iraq ... i think it's all about how he'll be remembered ... it's the bottom of the ninth and he's way, way behind ... his "resoluteness" is nothing more than wanting to change the rules and extend the game to buy himself more time ... if he leaves office and we're still there, he can say he didn't "lose the war" ... he doesn't give a damn about Iraq or anything else at this point ...

so, to answer your question, NO, the war will NOT end if the US leaves ... but i do think we are very much causing it to be worse and not letting it "resolve" by remaining in occupation ... i think the resolution for the Iraqis will come more quickly if we get out ... and i'm 100% for cutting off funding for ALL OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS ... we should fund only troops safety and get our troops out of there as quickly as their safety allows ... btw, i do not support Clark or Kerry or any of the others who are calling for diplomacy WHILE WE REMAIN IN OCCUPATION ... we need to get out ... AND THEN we can see what's possible in negotiating with Iran and Syria and the others ... Iran is loving what's happening to the US in Iraq ... they have no reason to negotiate while we're there ... my program is: 1. get out 2. start a real reconstruction effort 3. regional negotiations ... those who are pushing negotiations without withdrawal are out to lunch imo ...

anyway, for me, we need to look at the process of educating Americans about our values and beliefs ... it's not about short-term wins and losses ... it might take a whole generation or more to achieve something new ... to not even try to push new or unpopular ideas because they can't win today seems just plain wrong ... we need to focus a little less on what's popular and a whole lot more on what's right for the country ... these things take time ... job one for political parties should be about educating the public ... if it's always about winning, i'm afraid we become followers and marketing wizards searching for the fattest part of the bell curve rather than leading the country to a better place for us all ...
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
22. No, it will make it worse, and the longer the US waits before doing so the more so.
When the US withdraws, the situation in Iraq will get massively wore for the Iraqis, I predict.

The longer the US waits before withdrawing, and the more the pressure builds, the worse that effect will be.

It's like having your finger in the leak in a water butt while the water pressure slowly builds - you're getting wet due to the water spraying out round it; when you take the finger out you're going to get *drenched*, the longer you leave it in the more spray and the bigger the final burst, and if you hold it too long the whole thing will explode.

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
24. First, it would not end the civil war. Second, it's not a yes or no question
because defunding the war is not an all or nothing proposition. Cutting funding for certain activities is a possibility. Withdrawal of combat troops is imperative since their presence is fueling significant violence, which is worsening every day.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. The question I asked is a "yes or no" question.
Cutting off funds for the war and withdrawing troops immediately -- those are the specific terms I'm asking about. Obviously there are many other options. (Some funds, some withdrawal, withdrawal on a timetable, redeployment but not withdrawal, etc...)

If our presence is "fueling significant violence" as it is now, will removing the troops immediately cause the violence to end? To diminish? Could it get worse? Could it spread further? What are the possibilities, how can we be sure of the outcome, and what should happen if the outcome isn't what we predict?
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #26
30. No it isn't!
The illegal war the U.S. started would end, the civil war would continue.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. Please explain what you see as the difference. nt
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Clarkie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #30
100. The civil war the U.S. ignited would continue. nt
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #26
32. A comment from Juan Cole
I found it interesting. Keep in mind, for what it's worth in either direction, that the Saudis oppose an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and their comments reflect their stated concerns about what might potentially develop (obviously with them being more than mere observers) should the U.S. withdraw without regional stability first being reenforced. This was blogged by Cole on Wednesday:

"...Now the Saudis are openly saying that this new Cold War in the region could turn hot. If you don't own a bicycle, I'd buy one, because a regional war of the sort Saudi Arabia said it feared would potentially cut off 20 percent of the world's petroleum."

Scroll down to find this, it's the last paragragh prior to this date stamp:
posted by Juan @ 12/13/2006 06:31:00 AM 32

http://www.juancole.com/2006_12_01_juanricole_archive.h...
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #32
34. That's interesting in terms of BushCo's insistance on not engaging Iran and Syria
I asked in another thread what people thought the REAL reason for their refusal is. (The excuses are just too lame to believe, unless you believe they're TOTAL blithering idiots, which is certainly one viable explanation, I suppose.) Several people mentioned their reluctance to go against the Saudis' interests. Not exactly the point Cole was making, but I think it relates.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #34
36. The situation is so bleeping complex, the Saudis seem to be split also
Some more tidbits from Cole about the regional picture, from the same blog:

"Jordan and Iraq may sign a protocol on security cooperation. Something like 15% of Jordan's population is now made up of expatriate Iraqis, and its own security is wrought up with that of Iraq (which is to say that that little kingdom is in big danger as we speak).

Some say there are as many as a million Iraqis in Syria, or around 5% of the some 19 million population. The UN High Commission on Refugees has run out of money to help them.

A kind reader sent along a link to this article from the SF Chronicle on Prince Turki al-Faisal, who recently resigned as Saudi Ambassador to the US. Excerpt:


' On the future of Iraq, Turki is encouraging direct negotiations with Iran and Syria, and is cautioning Washington not to consider partitioning Iraq into separate states of Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. '


That doesn't sound very much like Riyadh's foreign policy, and may be among the reasons Prince Turki is outgoing. If so, a shame."

Here's the link to the December 10th SF story Cole is quoting from:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/1...
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #32
35. regional negotiations
how long has the US been promoting and aiding and directly participating in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians? one can certainly make a case that broader war in the region is very different than that single, exclusive conflict ... no argument there ... but, what faith can anyone reasonably have in a near-term regional peace pact actively negotiated by the US?

the disturbing and yet simple answer has to be NONE ...

what's the program being sold here? keep US occupation forces in Iraq for the next bizillion years while we sit down at the conference table to "work things out with Iraq's neighbors" ?????

no thanks ... i'll take a pass on that one ... we withdraw and THEN we talk; not the other way around ...
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #35
38. "we withdraw and THEN we talk."
If you have no faith that the US can make a difference through discussions, why do you think talks are worth pursuing after withdrawal?
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #38
43. that's an excellent question
i see no harm in making a diplomatic effort ...

i think the chances for success are very slim ... and i think they are less than slim while we're occupying Iraq ...

the Iranians are thrilled to have us floundering in Iraq ... US prestige diminishes every single day we remain ... our Treasury gets weaker and weaker ... our military capabilities get weaker and weaker ... our "national resolve" to fight these conflicts gets weaker and weaker ... while we remain in Iraq, the Iranians, and others, have ZERO incentive to reach any kind of accord ...

if we are to have any bargaining position whatsoever, and i am skeptical we can really do much in the ME, we have to get the hell out of Iraq FIRST ... i'm all for regional talks and trying to find a path to peace; talking as a precursor to ending the occupation just doesn't make any sense at all ... we'll never leave Iraq if that's a pre-condition ...
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #43
47. Incentive
You just gave one incentive. To the extent Iran wants us there, we use leaving as a bargaining chip; to the extent they want us out, we use staying as a bargaining chip. No doubt we have other, finer "carrots and sticks" to put on the table (contrary to BushCo's claims that it'd automatically involve approving Iran having nukes). Assuring Iran that we're not intent on permanent bases or attacking them for "regime change" is an important factor. Iran doesn't want a long drawn-out war. They do want dominance in the region, and engaging and "consulting" them in some ways could be a carrot. They do have economic power, and military power they're exercising in Iraq, however indirectly. Unfortunately, taking our military out of the picture and off the table removes significant leverage for establishing peace. I know that seems ironic and distasteful, but it can't be ignored.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #47
51. "significant leverage for establishing peace"
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 12:30 PM by welshTerrier2
my good friend Sparkly, these words scare the hell out of me: "significant leverage for establishing peace" ... they are especially frightening when they are linked to remaining in Iraq ... because if they are linked to remaining in Iraq, we will be there still a generation from now ...

the war and occupation of Iraq is destroying the US ... we might wish it were otherwise but it is NOT ... we cannot prevail there ... we should never have gone in and we should not remain there ... all arguments about possible massive instabilities in the region are all very valid ... but sticking hated US occupation forces in the middle of things aggravates the situation further ...

in the end, i do NOT believe we will have "significant leverage for establishing peace" whether we leave or stay ... the US future lies in a sane energy policy not in one underwritten by big oil and their slimy, greedy proponents ... the focus on how best to leverage US power in the ME is, i'm afraid, a pipe dream ...

our real focus should be directed towards an immediate national conservation strategy, a reengineering of American society towards a less energy intensive culture, and the overthrowing of the power elite in the US who have strangled our energy policies for their own greedy gain ... frankly, i believe that all other paths, including "regional negotiations", will ultimately prove to be little more than a distraction that perpetuates the current myths ... i'm never opposed to diplomacy but our primary focus needs a major redirection ...
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #51
54. It IS scary, no doubt about it.
And where will we/they be a generation from now if we withdraw tomorrow, or next year, or the year after that -- without any effort at talks?

It's scary either way -- and if you think it's scary to us, imagine what it's like for people THERE who are at risk of being killed while they wait in line for employment, or who fear "ethnic cleansing" if the government collapses. Yes, this could easily go on a long, long, long time -- especially if it's left to "resolve itself" via violence.

I don't believe it's a pipe dream to TRY to leverage the situation politically; and yes, troops are a part of that. I think people easily confuse and oversimplify the role of the military because it's been so BADLY misused these past three years; it's too easily assumed that the only thing they can do is continue to be misused in the BushCo neocon manner, or be withdrawn -- no other options.

I agree about a national conservation strategy, alternative energy, a focus on shifting from oil. No question. But that's not going to help the people we've put at risk in Iraq in the meantime. Do we not have SOME moral obligation to TRY talks, for their sake if not our own?
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #35
41. Checkered history
The camp David Accords under Carter seem by almost all accounts by those who have as a goal peaceful coexistence between Israel and it's Arab neighbors to have been a very significant contribution. Mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO by each party was brokered by the U.S. The original road map to Peace that came out of the Oslo accords, which though not the sole product of U.S. diplomacy was materially assisted by U.S. diplomacy, might well have achieved it's goal had Rabin not been assasinated (Likud won the election to replace Rabin). The Peace treaty between Israel and Jordan was brokered by the U.S. and has held. Clinton got very close to pulling off a breakthrough agreement between Israel and the Palestinian administration at the end of his term in office.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #41
45. "might well have achieved its goal"
yup, it might well have ... but it didn't ...

i'm all for diplomacy but not as a pre-cursor or pre-condition for the US leaving Iraq ... US engagement in Israeli-Palestinian talks has NOT resulted in peace ... Carter and friends were talking almost 30 years ago ...

should we remain in Iraq that long if "regional negotiations" take that long to bring about an accord ???

the real problem i see, btw, is that our institutions have blocked our migration away from an obviously catastrophic energy policy ... that's we're the real solution for the US lies ... regardless of what happens in the ME, we are going to be in for a very, very painful transition and we are going to make a very, very painful transition whether we choose to or not ...

the oil days must and will end ... the sooner we stop "pretending", the better off we'll all be ...
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #45
56. I couldn't agree with you more about Oil
Nuff said about that part.

I know this stuff seems like splitting hairs or the fine print on a document, but that fine print on documents is often exactly what diplomacy involves, that and the shape of tables. No one, not even Wes Clark, has emphatically said that diplomacy MUST be a pre-cursor or pre-condition for the U.S. leaving Iraq. Clark says that attempting to initiate that type of regional diplomacy prior to announcing any timeline for U.S. withdrawal makes the most sense under the circumstances. Essentially that's because he believes for detailed reasons involving motivations and incentives, sticks and carrots, and all of the asundry building blocks of statecraft and diplomacy, that witholding information about future U.S. plans in that regard prior to opening negotiations increases the liklihood that sucessful diplomacy will result.

Yes that leaves unanswered questions on the table so to speak, but what it doesn't do is provide the answers that you have used to "fill in the blank". For example, it doesn't say that the U.S. should attempt to pursue meaningful diplomacy for an indefinate or even extended period of time if in fact an attempt to do so is not favorably received by the other intended parties to be involved. And it certainly doesn't say we should put all troop withdrawals on hold indefinately until we achieve sucessful negotiations. Clark gives an informed opinion which others may and can disagree with, but unlike most of us, Clark's opinion IS at least informed by his prior relevent experiences involving diplomacy, military options, and negotiating peace treaties.

Clark's stated opinion is that there are powerful reasons why it is in the interest of the U.S. as well as other middle eastern nations, to initiate serious regional diplomacy now. He thinks U.S. troop withdrawals have to be on the table for discussion if that diplomacy moves forward, and that U.S. troop withdrawals are in fact a stated U.S. goal for that diplomacy, but preannouncing our specific intentions and timeline would undercut the diplomacy No where has Clark said that pursuing this plan means that the U.S. is locked into staying in Iraq forever if the results of that diplomacy is not promising, or if serious diplomacy is prevented from happening by any number of the parties involved. Clark is advising on the next step to take here, the one with the best chance, in his opinion, of avoiding further regional warfare.

But if you accept the logic of Clark's position, which of course not all do, then you can't go into that diplomatic process which would have as one goal establishing the timeline and mechanics for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, by first establishing that timeline and those mechanics unilaterally and making that known in public before the diplomacy began.

So in summary. The proposal is to not unilaterally announce a U.S. withdrawal timeline, but to initiate diplomacy that will hopefully arrive at that timeline along with addressing other significant regional issues. Hopefully is an important word here, granted, but all Clark has said in effect is don't tip your hand prior to sitting down at the table. If no one will sit down with you at the table, if the U.S. refuses to sit down at the table, if people are cheating at the table or stalling at the table or falling asleep at the table, then one can conclude that the approach is not fruiful and the second best option should be taken instead. That could even be total immediate withdrawal, you can not assume it is indefinite prolonged occupation.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #56
62. a bargaining chip of questionable value ...
let me make two points in response ...

first, it seems to me Clark's position and the overall position of most if not all Senate Dems encompasses some aspect of not leaving immediately so that we can take a shot at some form of diplomacy ... put any label on this you wish but i see that as a pre-cursor or pre-condition for withdrawal ... the argument being made, as i understand it, is that we should not withdraw until blah, blah, blah ... underlying that argument is that we could still achieve some form of positive, or at least more positive, outcome by REMAINING IN OCCUPATION UNTIL blah, blah, blah ...

i prefer to see such strategies as setting pre-conditions ... i agree that there is nothing cast in concrete that would eventually preclude a US withdrawal but the substance of the argument is that WE SHOULD STAY in Iraq for now ... as you know, i see that as utter insanity ... i won't belabor the point here ...

more interesting is the "bargaining chip" argument ... all skilled negotiators certainly can appreciate your argument that unilateral "submissions" are ill advised prior to negotiations ... no argument with that view from a generic perspective ...

the question that must be addressed, however, is whether removing US troops from Iraq would be viewed by our adversaries in the region as a submission that they would prefer ... i don't think that would be the case at all when it comes to US withdrawal from Iraq ... bush has been threatening the Iranians with military action for several years now ... do you think they'd be pleased as punch to have the US withdraw from Iraq freeing up US military resources? i don't think so ... do you think they are suffering as US power and influence in the world ebbs away as each day passes? i don't think so ... do you think the Iranians are concerned as the US weakens its Treasury and its national resolve to fight as the death counts mount with no visible progress on the ground in Iraq? i don't think so ...

surely you are correct that the US should not unilaterally sacrifice a bargaining chip before beginning negotiations ... but to truly be a "bargaining chip", the chip must have value to our adversaries ... my view is that the "withdrawal chip" not only doesn't have any value, it has negative value ... maybe if we promised the Iranians we will stay in Iraq forever we'd have something to negotiate with ... they might go for that ...
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #62
68. I appreciate the intelligent discussion WT2
Your questions I believe approach the crux of the matter. What if anything of value is there to negotiate that could give incentive for an involved player in this drama, in this case Iran, to cooperate in arriving at a mutually agreeable resolution which includes U.S. participation while the U.S. has troops inside Iraq?

First I just have to say, that while both of us have pretty good logical skills, there are people with better sources of information and more hands on experience regarding the matter at hand than either of us. Wes Clark is one of those people, and there are others, and those who have that increased information and experience are frequently in disagreement about the conclusions to draw from it. Obviously Clark disagrees with your assessment about the potential for diplomacy in this case, under the circumstances he advises.

At the heart of this I believe, in the case of Iran at least, is whether or not they have sufficient confidence that the net result of not engaging in serious diplomacy, which includes the U.S., will on net be more advantageous to them than not. By the way I do believe that humans are hard wired with some basic instincts, and one that I think is relevent here is that you are much less likely to be taken seriously, to use a poker term, when you don't have something invested in the pot, than when you do. That's a part of it. We have troops in the Iraq pot right now.

Nation states don't only worry about realistic threats, they worry about unpredictable ones also. As long as there are inflamed passions loose in the Middle East, there can always be some unpredictable turn of events that each and every one of the players involved would prefer not have happen. Iran, like any nation, has perceived self interests and strategic goals. To use your own debate points, it is obvious to Iran and everyone else with a brain (which leaves Bush out) that the U.S. can't and won't stay inside Iraq indefinately. If there were ANY doubt about that (and I don't think there was), the 2006 elections dispelled that. So Iran knows they can't keep us pinned down in Iraq indefinately under any circumstances. The only question is what we will leave behind when we leave. And I don't just mean physically. I also mean what regional relationships will and will not exist in the wake of Americas withdrawal.

If Iran can, through diplomany, secure sufficient progress toward it's perceived self interests while reducing the risk of unintended consequences inherent in any confrontational relationship, they might be motivated to negotiate in good faith.

To pick one possible example, part of what Iran's strategic goals might be could involve seeking some new kind of accomadation with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia might be motivated to arrive at a new accomadation with Iran if they believe in so doing they can prevent genocide against Sunnis living inside Iraq. Thus Saudi Arabia might be willing to pursue a diplomatic track involving their relationship with Iran as long as there are American troops inside Iraq delaying the blood bath that Saudi Arabia believes will follow our withdrawal. They may hope an agreement would result in Iran altering it's stance toward it's client Shiite militias inside Iraq, which would then restrain them from attacking Sunnis there. If the U.S. withdraw all forces prior to regional diplomacy, Saudi Arabia may conclude that it is already too late for diplomacy, and would instead fully throw in it's lot with the Sunni insurgency as a check against Iran.

I'm just winging it here WT2, because I am not one of those people in the know. The above example might have logical flaws in this particular instance, that's not the point. I am just trying to illustrate a potential dynamic with it. A better example might involve the strands of the web that touch Israel and Palestine. I am not an expert.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #68
72. always an insightful discussion, Tom ...
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 03:33 PM by welshTerrier2
or is it inciteful?

you raised all sorts of things to discuss ...

first, let me respond to this point: "First I just have to say, that while both of us have pretty good logical skills, there are people with better sources of information and more hands on experience regarding the matter at hand than either of us." ... i'm not really sure how to address this with any humility or even the pretense of humility but let me try ... i'm an "intp" which leaves me mired in having no special appreciation of so called experts ... perhaps it's a form of personality defect ... it's not that i don't deeply respect their knowledge and even their experience ... as you quite fairly point out, our skills reside in logic ... but, it goes way beyond that to our role as informed voters and citizens and such ... we bring more than mere logic; we bring our values ... no expertise can be claimed as a substitute for values ... and, perhaps in our ignorance, we bring a new perspective not always available to those in the front lines ... we are a step or two removed ... while some are scripted to engage in the daily realities of conflict resolution, we are afforded our comfy chairs to sit in quiet reflection and ask why we're doing all this in the first place ... so, i do yield and certainly appreciate the "facts" that experts can provide but i couldn't be more wary than i am about yielding my equality as a citizen to them ... as Howard Dean frequently says: "you have the power" ... in the end, our role is to learn from the experts but NOT to defer to them in the decision making process ... there, we must all be equals ... is it our job to learn; it is their job to teach ... it is NOT their job to co-opt our power nor is it our job to yield our responsibility as citizens ... i'm, of course, not suggesting that you have or would argue otherwise ...

also, from an earlier post in this thread, you voiced your agreement with my comments on energy policy with a "nuff said" ... the bottom line here is, from my point of view, that every single discussion that tip toes into the ME policy arena should yield its top billing to a discussion about US energy policy and the state of our institutions that absolutely preclude progress in this area ... everything we do, every objective we set, every action and every policy is being strangled undemocratically for greedy pursuits ... it seems to me almost pointless to talk about our ME policy (Iraq, Iran, Saudis, Israel etc) without making a major push for broad-sweeping reforms of our institutions and our energy policies ... when you couple our junky-like desperation for oil with the life-threatening onslaught of global warming, i continue to see all other ME issues as distractions ... my point is NOT that we should ignore the ME but rather that every single discussion on the subject should be headlined under the energy policy umbrella ... if we pretend that building regional stability in the ME (which i couldn't be more skeptical will ever happen btw) is somehow important to the US to help safeguard "our energy future", i think we're badly and dangerously deceiving ourselves ... yes, of course we should make every possible effort to bring peace and stability through diplomacy ... i would never argue against making the effort ... the danger i see lies in "misdirecting" our attention from the "real solution" ... so "yes" on diplomacy as long as it's viewed as a "not too likely but what the heck" effort towards supporting our current energy dependency ... the bottom line is that we have to make serious political and institutional reforms and overthrow the power structure that keeps us hooked on our oil dealers ...

and finally, you made numerous excellent points analyzing Iran's motivations and speculating on how they might engage in negotiations ... i would be the first to tell you i have very little expertise in this policy area ... my belief, however, is that Iran and other adversaries in the region seek instability rather than stability ... the status quo is a massive US military and economic presence throughout the ME ... we buy power; we occupy; we corrupt ... we prop up anyone who is friendly to big oil ... we're in bed with the Saudis and do their military bidding ... i'm just so skeptical that the Iranians "can be bought" with negotiated incentives ... could i be dead wrong? absolutely ... but i see an opposition to US imperialism that is thriving on our quagmire in Iraq ... i see a ME that is loving watching the US "get theirs" ...

and as a bottom line, what's the prescription for negotiation anyway? let's say we do have viable negotiating chips ... let's say there is a "market" there for whatever goodies we might offer ... let me return to my unyielding "out now" posture ... just how patient would Clark, or you, ask me to be? six months? a year? no deadlines at all? wait til bush leaves office? i can't sign up for any of that ... i think we've lost over 30 troops this month and it's only mid-month ... and for what? what the hell are we doing over there, maintaining our "negotiating position" with the Iranians??? the day the last US citizen leaves Iraq, come talk to me about negotiations ... you'll find me very supportive of pursuing a diplomatic approach ... i'm all for it ... what i just can't get past, with Clark or most of the big name Democrats regardless of how some of their supporters spin the whole thing, is that people are still selling a "we can still fix this thing" continuity of the occupation ... nope, i just can't get there from here no matter how much expertise and experience i might lack ...
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #72
78. First, on the role of lay people and experts
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 04:48 PM by Tom Rinaldo
There is an important role for each, there's kind of a needed dialectic there. I want experts to provide me with data and food for thought, but the perspective of the citizenry is best represented by the citizenry. We all deal with this in our daily life. We go to a doctor or a dentist or a mechanic or all three. It is best to be somewhat informed, ourselves, first, and ultimeately it is our body our teeth our car, but none of us have time to accumulate expertise in every field.

When I said Nuff said about energy, I was just saying that I fully agreed with your position with nothing I needed to add to a debate, but I agree that there is nowhere near enough being said about energy issues as it relates to world tensions, as it relates to global warming, as it relates to economics, etc. That comment I posted from Juan Cole however points to the very short term vulnerability the world faces, while it is dependent on oil, even if every effort were made starting now to break that dependency.

As to being non experts ourselves, for better or worse yep, but what I was thinking of with Clark in specific was his contacts more than anything else. He has dialog with well placed Iranians and Saudis etc. so he might have more of a clue than I about what is and is not possible now if the right effort were made.

As to your bottom line, I respect it. We all have to throw all of our considerations into the hopper and see what comes out the other end. I'll tell you what simplifies it for me, though I sense this wuold not work for you. I don't expect Congress to muster the votes to cut off funding for this war over a Bush veto before the 2008 elections. I don't expect Bush to decide on his own to pull all the troops out before the 2008 elections. I don't see Bush agreeing to a tight fixed timeline for withdrawal either, nor do I think he would feel bound by a congressional resolution that set one. I do think that we are at risk of either drifting or driving into a war with Iran. Given all of the above, I am on board for pushing for diplomacy now while troops are still inside Iraq, with or without a timeline for withdrawal.

Since I see the logic in Clark's position, and since I don't see a timeline with teeth as politically viable with Bush in the White House, I can support his plan for now. I would have to look harder at my position if we had 2/3rds majorities in both houses that we could count on, or a Democrat in the White House.

edited to add: However if we had those majorities and/or a Democratic president that would mean we were in a very different political reality, which might open up some better options, it's hard to see there from here. Our diplomacy might be more credible among other things.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #78
79. the bloody cloak of imperialism
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 05:19 PM by welshTerrier2
what is the character and purpose of these negotiators ... ostensibly, wouldn't we all like to believe they possess wisdom and vision and that they are tenaciously dedicated to furthering American interests and working for peace ... and perhaps Clark, and others, are truly people of character ... perhaps ...

but i must tell you that, overall, i fear that those that step forward to do our bidding do not truly represent our best interests at all ... put simply and succinctly, i don't trust them one little bit ... i fear that sitting somewhere just a little too close to the negotiating table, perhaps hidden just beyond our view, lies some very powerful interests with an agenda all their own ... lurking there, behind "our" representatives, is the sinister greedy voice of big oil ...

curious the symbiosis they suggest exists between their well-being and the well-being of the American people ... "we're out here bringing home the oil you so desperately need" ... what they're bringing home is record profits ... hundreds of billions of dollars earned through the life and death struggles of the exploited American military ... around my house, we call those profits windfall profits ... around my house, we advocate stripping those bastards of their ill gotten gains ... it's a delicate tightrope when we send our negotiators into the trenches ... if you believe that big oil and other multi-nationals wield disproportionate and illegitimate influence in the halls of our government in Washington, is it conceivable such influence and perversion of democracy does not exist as we engage other countries internationally?

of course, there's no real answer to this, is there? i mean, i suppose you either go about your business (e.g. calling for negotiations) or you don't ... unfortunately, because of institutional failure in the US and our desperate need for genuine reform, the BIG STUFF has to be quitely brushed aside so that we can "take care of business" ... i'm offered things like: "well, i agree but we can't just stop the world while fix all these other things" ... the problem is, we just keep merrily marching along and never seem to stop the parade ... viewed in the context of ME negotiations, i again ask the question: "who will really be served"?????

i asked Wes Clark about this when he did one of those public blogs some time ago ... i pushed very hard in my quesiton to him to ask him to discuss US imperialism ... shoddy though my memory is, i believe his response was that "we should BUY the oil" ... but the clear and present danger of US military in the region coupled with the exploitive financing arrangements of the US dominated World Bank coupled with our long history of toppling foreign leaders who get in our way coupled with the power of Halliburton, Bechtel, BP and others coupled with a thousand other factors that corrupt the freedom of a real "arm's length" purchase of oil make "buying the oil" a bit of a Shell (pun intended) game ...

and finally, there's this business about dealing with the political realities with bush in the WH and Dems not having the votes to cut-off funding for the war and such ... i tried to express my thoughts about leadership and vision in this post upthread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

i couldn't agree with you more that what i'm pushing for is NOT going to happen ... so be it ... if i accepted the argument that some make that "what's the point in fighting for something if you can't win", surely i would not continue posting on DU and promoting the things i believe in ... i certainly agree that we can't ignore the practicalities and realities of the situation ... but surely there is some less tangible benefit to "calling it right" ... surely it is our role to educate others based on our values ... surely a political party that puts too much emphasis on winning and fails to move the nation in the right direction cannot have much of a future ... none of this makes my view the right view or the best view for the country ... nevertheless, even absent any possibility of prevailing (i.e. ending the war and occupation in the near-term), it seems wrong to me to avoid calling for an immediate end to the war if no real hope for progress remains ... my real fear is that too many "leading" Democrats are just plain afraid of the domestic political fallout if they go there ... i think that's tragic ... the truth is, i think they would be rewarded (politically) for their boldness ... i'm not holding my breath ...
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #79
82. Of course we have to contend with Imperialism
Not to be sarcastic, but what else is new? I kind of write about this in the extended introduction to my new blog (link is in my signature line). When have we NOT had to deal with Imperialism? It will I suspect be a struggle that will minimally last for generations. Meanwhile though Imperialism has been a relative constant in our world for centuries if not millennium, wars have come and gone, and come and gone, and come....

In other words while the struggle against imperialism is a true marathon, the attempt to avert a specific war can be a relative desperate sprint, and since millions do die in wars, it is always worth that effort. Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union had imperialist ambitions, but it was to our mutual benefit that diplomacy between the two super powers helped avert a nuclear war. I in the short term fear a widening war in the Middle East. I also fear a military conflict between the U.S. and Iran over their nuclear program.

I still hear you about Oil WT2, but I have to say I am proud that Clark made a very explicit point in his USA Op-Ed that Iraq's Oil IS Iraq's Oil.

And there's nothing wrong with advocating for what you really believe even if it isn't realistic or whatever. In Clark's case he is talking about what he knows how to do, and I think he is trying to prevent the next war as well as deal with the current one.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #82
91. congratulations on your new blog
you've been added to my list of very distinguished company ... don't screw it up now!!! i'll be watching you ... hey, that would make a good song ...

USA OP ED? got a link?

on marathons and sprints, my only comment, perhaps hinted at in your post, is that all too often the marathon never screams out with the urgency of the sprint ... somehow, because it's so "always there", it gets taken for granted ... and on and on it goes ...

the wars come and go and come and go and come and go because the larger "framework" is wrong ... we're so busy patching up the holes in the ship that we never ask why the captain keeps steering it into the rocks ... my view is that if you get the architecture right, the carpentry will be much easier to manage ...

best of luck with the new blog ... i'm glad i can always say i knew him when he was "just a DU'er" ...
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #91
94. Thanks WT2
But there's no such thing as "just a DUer". Most of what I put there I wrote here first anyway, lol.

The USA Op-Ed link is here:
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20061121/ople...

But in addition I urge you to visit this kos Diary which was prepared by several Clark supporters who researched (and linked) numerous statements from Clark about Iraq including several that followed up on that Op-Ed and gave much more context and detail to the brief comments in USA Today. Some of those links is where you will find Clark speak at more length about the pros and cons of timelines. There is also a story in the New York Observer that is even more recent still where Clark describes how a military presence gets leveraged in a political diplomatic process among other things. I think you can find a link to that at CCN in the blogs area. Numerous hours went into preparing this kos Diary:

"Wes Clark and Iraq"
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/7/18592/1665

On your last comment, yes that is true, but you need the people to insist on getting exactly the new architecture they want, or you know the architecture we will be saddled with will continue to be terrible. We have to develop a strong enough and broad enough national consensus to demand it, or our voices will stay marginalized. And you are right about my hint in my earlier post. I do agree with you, but we are not always on the absoulte near brink of a new war, during those very specific times I think the priority has to be preventing the war if possible.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #32
40. Cole's position is withdraw yesterday!
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #40
42. I don't think anyone's arguing that "US troops can deliver a solution"
except BushCo.

Nearly all Democrats are now onboard saying it requires a POLITICAL solution. Whether or not the US military has any role to play, or what that role might be, is in debate, though.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #42
44. The U.S. military remaining in a combat role supports the notion of a military solution.
Combat troops must be withdrawn! The debate began on the Senate floor in June.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #44
48. That's quite simplistic.
The presence of troops does NOT automatically equal "military solution." Nor does the withdrawal of troops = peace.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #48
50. Not simplistic: the presence of combat troops in a combat role is just that! n/t
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #50
55. Does not equal "military solution."
The military can play a role in negotiating agreements through TALKS. Is that what they're doing now? NO, obviously not. They've been expected to provide a "military solution" on their own, to solve a political problem through force, to create peace through violence. Clearly, that's never going to work.

But the way BushCo has misused the military is NOT the only way the military can be used. They CAN be one part of a larger political solution established through talks.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #55
59. Reiterating: combat troops in combat role is not a solution. n/t
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #59
60. Reiterating: Nobody said it was. nt
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #59
75. It's not just not a solution: the US occupation of Iraq is THE PROBLEM.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #75
85. Three years ago, that was the case entirely.
But it's devolved into a more complicated situation since then.

Do you think that if our troops left immediately, the fighting would stop? How long would it take, and what would stop it?
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #85
88. I'm just glad the majority of Americans agree we need to withdraw ASAP
And an even greater majority of Democrats agree... which means your candidate's chances of winning the nomination are pretty much zero.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #88
95. Do you have a link to some polls for that? nt
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:07 AM
Response to Reply #95
116. Yes, cuz I can use google. Just enter "poll iraq withdrawal" you'll find plenty
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #116
120. I see wanting a plan for withdrawal, not "withdraw ASAP"
I also see 8 in 10 would like some modicum of "success" there.

Even if 99.9% equated immediate withdrawal with "ending the war," I'd be in the .01% saying "that won't end the war."

If a poll asked whether BushCo's policies are working, or ever will work, or should be continued, of course I'd say NO. And with the current debate stalled at "stay the course" vs. "out now," it's no wonder people choose "out now." But I don't think it helps the debate to pretend those are the only two options, or that "out now" will create peace.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #120
122. yes, but consider this MORE IMPORTANT poll
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 08:52 AM by welshTerrier2
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

The following is a poll of the Iraqi people which, it seems to me, should carry far more weight than polls of Americans ...

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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #122
123. I don't blame them!
They don't see the US doing anything for them; more and more, basic services and protection are being provided by militias.

They also believe, as the article points out, that the US is fueling the civil war, and is not trying to end it.

The most common theory heard on the streets of Baghdad is that the American military is creating a civil war to create an excuse to keep its forces here.

"Do you really think it's possible that America -- the greatest country in the world -- cannot manage a small country like this?" Mohammad Ali, 42, an unemployed construction worker, said as he sat in his friend's electronics shop on a recent afternoon. "No! They have not made any mistakes. They brought people here to destroy Iraq, not to build Iraq."

(snip)

"They could fix everything in one hour if they wanted!" he said, jabbing his finger in the air for emphasis.


Do you think the person who said that is correct?

Consider this:

Particularly in mixed neighborhoods here in the capital, some Sunnis say the departure of U.S. forces could trigger a genocide. Hameed al-Kassi, 24, a recent college graduate who lives in the Yarmouk district of Baghdad, worried that rampages by Shiite militias could cause "maybe 60 to 70 percent of the Sunnis to be killed, even the women, old and the young."

"There will be lakes of blood," Kassi said. "Of course we want the Americans to leave, but if they do, it will be a great disaster for us."


Same question: Do you think the person who said that is correct?
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #123
124. if the Iraqis want us to leave, we MUST leave
what i think will happen, which i'll explain below, is not the point ... if the Iraqi people want us to leave their country, under what doctrine do we have a right to remain there?

Iraq is not our country; it's theirs ... so before we digress into a discussion about what the likely consequences of a rapid US departure might be, we need to acknowledge the overriding principle which is that we have no right to remain where we are not welcome ... when the Iraqi people say "out now", that should be the US policy ... period!!

now, as to what i believe will happen, i, of course, have very deep fears about genocide ... the good news, such as it is, is that more than a million Iraqis have already left the country ... hopefully, more will be able to join them ... for most, that is not a solution or a possibility ...

i think we will eventually see a government dominated by Shiites with very close ties to Iran ... once a legitimate government is installed, i.e. a government that represents the majority, i have hope (that's the best i can offer) that the situation will become less violent ... my belief is that much of the slaughtering we are seeing now is a fight for control of the government ... with the US in occupation and its support for a puppet regime, no resolution of the situation is possible ... the current untenable situation will continue as long as the US remains in occupation ...

are there any guarantees being offered with this speculation? no, sorry ... i wish there were ...
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #124
125. Understood
But again: Do you think the person who said we could fix it if we wanted to is correct? Also, the one who believes the US is intentionally fueling the civil war: correct, or not?

There already IS "a government dominated by Shiites with very close ties to Iran."

The question is how all sides can be brought to the table for dialogue.

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer 5 minutes ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's army has "opened its doors" to all former members of Saddam Hussein's army, the prime minister said Saturday at a national reconciliation conference boycotted by one of his main Shiite allies, a major Sunni group and Iraq's exiled opposition.

Despite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's effort to reach out to Iraq's Sunni Arabs and some former members of Saddam's outlawed Baath Party, the gathering was overshadowed by rising sectarian tensions and political divisions.

The radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, one of al-Maliki's key political backers refused to attend the meeting, as did a major Sunni group and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061216/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #125
127. you ask hard questions
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 10:06 AM by welshTerrier2
i'll take the easy one first: is the US intentionally fueling the civil war.

i do NOT believe it is an "intended objective" of current US policy to fuel the civil war in Iraq ... i do think the civil war, however, is badly aggravated by current US policy ...

Do I think "we could fix Iraq if we wanted to"???

truthfully, i'm not sure how to answer this question ... i guess i would have to start with the clear statement that i don't think we really want to "fix" things in Iraq ... when i say "we", i mean the adminstration and those who pull its strings ... US involvement has always been about oil ... we went into Iraq to establish a pro-US puppet government that would be "friendly" to big oil ... check out Tom Hayden's article on the ISG ... the ISG is just one last push for big oil to still get a "win" ... here's a link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/troops-out-oil...

by what reasoning can i accept discussions of "regional negotiations" or training Iraqi troops or remaining in Iraq to prevent genocide? the truth is that i don't think any of those things is the real objective of US policy ... we are there for oil ... we are certainly not there to do anything positive for the Iraqi people ... does anyone really see bush as "well meaning" even if they see him as inept? does anyone believe bush wants to "do right by the Iraqis"?? does anyone believe the "big oil boys" are not whispering in his ear everyday???

the bottom line, i'm sorry to say, is that i do not trust the US government to do the right thing ...

now, if i did trust our government, do i think it's possible that we could somehow effect an acceptable outcome in Iraq? i'm struggling with this a bit but i would have to say "no" ... it brings me back to the phrase we discussed upthread: "significant leverage for establishing peace" ... i think most Americans overestimate the power and influence we have in being able to shape the destinies of other countries and other cultures ... in our Western naivete, we venture into areas unknown as if we can just wave our magic wands around and change what often is thousands of years of ingrained history ... i don't know who the hell we think we are ... military might and even diplomacy gives us no special abilities to engineer deep changes in old cultures ...

so, i guess i'm left saying "no"; we could not have succeeded in Iraq even if we had wanted to ...

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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #127
128. A word that means different things to different people: Succeed
I strongly believe that it was impossible from the get go for the United States to sincerely "succeed" in making life better for virtually anyone other than selected Corporations through our invasion of Iraq. We theoretically were capable of not botching it as bad as we did I suppose.

As for now, even assuming the best intentions, we can not "succeed" in putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. However, if we were to (again assuming for the sake of discussion good intentions) recalibrate our objectives in light of the true reality of the current situation, and set as a goal something not yet totally beyond reach, such as preventing the outbreak of a Region wide war, and/or massive unchecked genocide inside Iraq, perhaps we could succeed in that objective, working more or less cooperatively with other nations.
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #128
129. No matter what you mean by the word, we won't achieve it by continuing the occupation.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #40
46. Misleading Post
For one thing, the page you link to is a record of testimony made on December 11th, which is two days before the comment I posted from Cole, so clearly an earlier comment can't be a withdrawal of a later one, but what you are quoting is not what you claimed it was anyway. Cole doesn't withdraw anything here. First of all he quoted a view from the Saudis which is their view whether or not Cole agrees with it, though he gives it some credence by suggesting we all buy bikes.

Even these comments you quote from him though are nuanced: "the U.S. military appears unable" and "is probably impeding", though I agree there is a clear opinion being stated here it is not emphatic. However there are major variables left unspoken of in this statement also.
The presence of so many U.S. troops is pointed to as a problem, and the way in which they are being used, but that leaves open a possiblility that less U.S. troops and/or U.S. troops deployed for a different assignment might not be counter constructive.

While Cole's comment clearly implies that at least some U.S. troops should leave Iraq, at least what you have quoted doesn't argue either way whether that should happen immediately. He might believe that (though I thought I saw some reference that he might not) but it is not clear from context. An analogy: If someone gets impaled in some way on a sharp object, that object must be removed from that person's body before healing can hopefully occur. But is some cases correct medical procedure is not to remove that object immediately, but instead to stabalize the patient with the object still inserted until a sophisticated team of Doctors can extract it safely without causing further potentially lethal damage that might happen if that object were quickly yanked out.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #46
49. It's not a misleading post -- "Why we Have to get the Troops Out of Iraq"
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #46
52. Partitioning Iraq
Partitioning Iraq

Reading Juan Cole is recommended to cut through a lot of the spin.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #52
61. I explained why I called it misleading
A prior statement cited simply can't retract a later statement This statement here is from September. It makes a good case for pulling U.S. combat troops out, no doubt about it. I agree with you about Juan Cole by the way, his is one of the few voices I trust to provide me with real information and perspective on what is happening in that region. Does anyone have his current thinking about an immediate total U.S. pullout from Iraq?

A starting point for concensus among most people on the Democratic side of the spectrum is that the U.S. has to leave Iraq, for numerous compelling reasons. The next point is that the sooner we can do that, without making the situation much worse than it already is or will be anyway, the better. Believe it or not, almost all of us agree on that point too. Some people think that time is yesterday; that there is nothing potentially constructive about the U.S. remaining a single day longer, and/or that nothing bad that is potentially even partially preventable will happen by us pulling out of Iraq immediately with no precondidions, than possibly could have been mitigated under some other strategy for the U.S. exiting Iraq. Others, to differing degrees, are less certain of that.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #61
65. Here, from June:
My hero, Russ Feingold, and other heroes Barbara Boxer and John Kerry, are pushing a more specific withdrawal plan with a July 1, 2007 deadline for withdrawal of most US forces. AP says:

' It would require the administration to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by July 1, 2007, leaving in place only U.S. troops essential to training Iraqi security forces, conducting counterterrorism operations and protecting U.S. personnel and facilities. "A deadline gives Iraqis the best chance for stability and self-government, and most importantly, it allows us to begin refocusing on the true threats that face our country," Kerry and Feingold, two Democrats eying potential presidential candidacies in 2008, said in a joint statement. '

The old traitor Karl Rove, who revealed the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame to the Iranians (and everyone else), castigated the Democrats' proposals as "cut and run." Rove wants us to go on spending $5 billion a month in Iraq, and to go on losing thousands of maimed young people.

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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #65
69. Thanks for that
It is a six month old statement but a very clear statement about what he was thinking then at least. At that point it seems he favored removing all combat troops within a 12 month period.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
27. According to the signs evidenced thus far, our withdrawing "ASAP"
and cutting off funding would end our invasion of Iraq and could just as quickly start a regional war, in my opinion.

I would suggest however, that it is too easy to think one is correct in their assessement when reality is not allowed to do a follow-up on the easy assertions of "If, then what" scenarios available to bolster one's own personal theories. Since Bush is the one in charge, the answer to this poll is NOT one that truly matters, as there will be no way to verify the validity of our various speculations.

The bottomline line for me is the old cliche, if you think something could go wrong, it will.

For those who have determined that it couldn't get any worse, I very much disagree. The possible cliche for that one is--we ain't seen nothing yet!
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #27
31. Right, but the belief that cutting funds/withdrawal = "ending the war"
has implications for Democrats in Congress (and their campaigns for 2008) as well as evaluating our presidential candidates. I agree -- what we think on DU has no real impact on BushCo.

Personally, I think it's naive to assume anything, which is what I think you're saying too; and particularly naive to assume that immediate withdrawal equates to "ending the war." That's just mho! :hi:
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Kelly Rupert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
29. It would end American involvement, obviously, but not the war.
This is a civil war, not a war of resistance.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #29
39. I agree with that. nt
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #29
117. It is both a civil war and a war of resistance. Withdrawing would end one of the two.
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
67. It would end US troop involvement in the ongoing civil war
precipitated by our illegal invasion and occupation.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #67
70. Thereby meaning that you making a statement about the smaller picture
that includes our exclusive actions only. In some corners that is called tunnel vision which can cause accidents that could have been prevented had one worn his/her glasses in order to see the outer periphery that was there all along.
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #70
74. Thereby meaning that I reject Clark's plan for endless war.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #74
77. Therefore meaning that you
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 04:34 PM by FrenchieCat
reject anything that you don't understand.
http://securingamerica.com/node/1998

But I have a novel solution for you....if Wes Clark runs, don't vote for him.

Vote for one of the politicians that says what you want to hear! They'll be more than happy to accomodate you with platitudes and promises and proposed plans that go nowhere. Clark understands that he may not gain votes from some on the left cause he's not signing the national anthem of "out.now" or "out.in 4-6 months" which ain't gonna happen anyways. He's not saying what he is saying to get elected which is why he's willing to offer up a realistic thoughtful solution that ain't packaged into a palatable soundbyte for your digestion. While politicians continue to do what they are good at doing, Clark will continue on looking at the big picture based on his experiences of strategic planning, winning modern wars without American casualties, working with various multiple countries in achieving one goal and negotiating peace treaties that still hold a decade later.

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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #74
86. You linked to a plan for peace through diplomacy.
:shrug:
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #86
89. I just hope people read it and form their own judgements.
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20061121/ople...

Anyone not blinded by partisan loyalty will be able to understand it without your help or mine.

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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #89
96. I agree. nt
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
80. Which war?
Is "the war" the perpetual war that has been going on in the middle east for longer than my lifetime, or the most recent war that the U.S. started?

It won't matter whether we stay or go; the perpetual war will go on. Should we pull out now, the more specific war will not end immediately, but I believe it will end sooner. Our presence gives some a reason to keep fighting, and prevents the real consolidation of power under some form of their own government. In my opinion.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #80
83. The war in Iraq, as I said.
Do you think our presence, which undoubtedly caused the violence in the first place, is now the only "reason to keep fighting?"

How do you envision a "real consolidation of power" coming about?
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #83
131. I guess I meant
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 12:40 PM by LWolf
"which war in Iraq?" That particular piece of real estate has been at war with one group or another since the beginning of history. Early in the 20th century, it was the British meddling in the area's wars. The U.S. involvement in perpetual conflict could be said to have begun in the 50s, when U.S. intelligence first became involved with Saddam. I don't really see the '03 "war" as "the war," something new and disconnected, but a continuation of U.S. meddling, politically and militarily, that has gone on for decades.

I don't think our presence is the only reason to fight; I think that Iraqis will fight whether we are there or not. When we are there, they can fight against our interference. When we are not there, the different factions will fight until one emerges to "consolidate power." For awhile.

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Clarkie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
98. No, it would leader to a larger, bloodier war. nt
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dpbrown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
102. Yes. Duh.

The only money we should be spending there is paying Iraq for the damage we caused.

The argument that we should stay because we "broke it" is flawed. That's like saying if Canada invaded Minnesota and began slaughtering people that we would want them to "stick around" until they came up with a fix.

Can anyone imagine wanting a foreign power to occupy our country under the justification that they had invaded under false pretenses but that they had to stick around until they could fix the problem?

I can't, either.

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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #102
106. Again, this line of argument made sense three years ago.
And I think the notion of "stay" is oversimplified to mean "stay the course," keep doing what BushCo has been doing, which is clearly not working. There are options besides "stay the course" and "get out now."

My question is whether getting out now will end the war. Your post didn't address that, but pointed out that BushCo's misuse of the military has been a disaster.

(The analogy of Canada invading Minnesota doesn't work -- it fails to address all the issues in Iraq and in the region, and again, presumes that the only thing the military can do is stay and "slaughter people," or leave.)
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dpbrown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #106
114. An invading and occupying army from another continent and culture can NOT fix things
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 10:15 PM by dpbrown

The line of argument is the same today. Both Britain and the United States knew that invading Iraq would spawn terrorists and destabilize the region. They wanted destabilization.

The occupying force has to leave Iraq. Then the local region has to step in to ameliorate the civil conflict. If that means the breakup of Iraq or the installation of another strongman, then that's what it will take.

The United States can do no good in Iraq. The analogy of Canada invading Minnesota continues to be apt, since the allusion to "all the issues" carries with it an unsupportable prejudice toward Europeans and Americans knowing better what is for Iraq than Iraqis. That kind of Crusader thinking is part of the problem, not part of the solution, to the Iraqi civil war.

Edit: typo
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #114
118. I agree
I agree the army can't "fix things."

I don't agree that Britain and the US predicted and wanted destablization. The political costs to the reigning players has been too high.

I think your argument falls apart at "Then the local region has to step in to ameliorate the civil conflict." Why would they? They are integral to the conflict itself at this point. Iran has ambitions to dominate the region; the Saudis and Sunnis don't want that; the Kurds are vulnerable within Iraq and from Turkey, and the Kurdish population of Turkey is in conflict with their government; it could easily become a huge mess.

I have no prejudices about Europeans and Americans "knowing better." I agree that "Crusader thinking" led to the problem, but I do NOT believe that withdrawing without at least TRYing for talks will end the civil war, or stem a wider one. And I do think we have a moral responsibility to do everything we can toward peace. Our country has greater influence and persuasive powers than the Iraqi people who are the victims of the ongoing violence.

It's not about the military, and certainly not about aggression. The military can be one part of a broader dialogue, as carrot and stick. (For example, if a group in one area won't disarm because they fear assault from another group, we can offer to deploy troops there to protect them; if al Sadr vows to keep peace in another area on the contingency that we leave that area, we leave and verify.) The way the military is being misused right now is obviously NOT effective; but withdrawing with the belief it'd end the war is just as wrong.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:19 PM
Response to Original message
107. Tough question.
but I trust Dennis, and funding this travesty leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
111. Our troops are accomplishing nothing in Iraq.
It's a dynamic situation. If the Wahabi begin, as they may already have begun, to support the Shiites, then we're up against a never ending supply of resistance. Even if Iraq were to remain as it is, all we're accomplishing is death. When do we leave? When everyone is dead?

I see no alternative to leaving now or later. That's trivial. But to leave later means more death. Vietnam ended with the severing of war funds. But we know what happened after we left.

And so it makes sense to leave as soon as possible, and to do it with a plan for stability in Iraq. I think that plan should have as broad a partnership as possible. And it should be at the request of the Iraqis. We are at their service now.

But even in the best of scenarios, Iraq is a valuable asset (why else are we there?), and as such has great interest. I'm sure it will not be left alone once our forces leave. And that is why a broad international group of uninterested forces should be engaged to keep stability in the country.

I don't know of any other way to do it. Do what the people want us to do. And keep those who want to take for themselve from being able to do so.

So cutting funding may not be the method for turning this around. It may be as simple as forcing an evil administration to stop doing what they're doing. Basically put handcuffs on Bush and Cheney.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #111
112. I agree -- they're expected to accomplish something no military could.
But Vietnam isn't comparable with this situation in terms of "stay or go" -- it involves many more countries. It's not about a fear of BushCo's phantom "evil extremist ideology" spreading around, in the same way fear of communism spreading kept Vietnam going.

The solution has to come from dialogue. The military can play a role, but it can't "win." Nor will simply withdrawing the troops "end the war," in my view.

And I agree: nothing is likely to change while Bush and Cheney are in office.
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zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
113. I fear that watching genocide on a monumental scale would be unacceptable
We need to spend money on Iraq to bring it back since we've destroyed its infrastructure for over 15 years, if you include the Gulf War and the sanctions. We have screwed that country up.

We should spend money...only in a different way. Redeploy the troops and set up a Marshall Plan to help Iraq get back on its feet. Hire Iraqis, not private multinational companies...

Leaving Iraq after destroying it is not acceptable. We need to help bring the country back with other countries participating. If we stand back and watch the Shiites purge the Sunnis (and whatever else happens), we are just as evil as when we attacked the country unilaterally.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:34 AM
Response to Original message
119. It would end our involvement in the civil war in Iraq.
That conflict would continue until it resolved itself, prehaps through a more general regional conflict. The point is that there will be no resolution as long as we remain in Iraq.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #119
121. "no resolution as long as we remain in Iraq"
Definitely true if we remain a la BushCo; possibly also true no matter what we try there. But I think the assumption that the conflict would "resolve itself" is too easy to make. How long do you think that would take? How would it affect other countries?

That's my point. Immediate withdrawal and ending the war are two separate things. That's all.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
126. Sparkly, I just want to thank you
You have "sparked" the most thoughtful wide ranging discussion of all of the aspects of what is happening inside Iraq and the Middle East that I have yet seen on Democratic Underground, and you have done so in a way that welcomes all views and contributions. By asking probing questions, you are making all of us really think. Once again, Thank You.

K&R, Big time!
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
135. There is, & will be, a civil war there, regardless of our presence.
Get out now.
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