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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-14-06 11:51 PM
Original message
“Six Brutal Truths about Iraq,” By Gen. Odom (READ THIS, dammit!)
Six Brutal Truths about Iraq

General William Odom, one of the earliest advocates of an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, attacks some of the mythologies that are interfering with an honest debate about how to proceed in the Middle East and says the media have failed to recognize dramatic changes in the region.

By William E. Odom

Mythologies about the war in Iraq are endangering our republic, our rights, and our responsibilities before the world. The longer we fail to dispel them, the higher price we will pay. The following six truths, while perhaps not self-evident to the American public, are nevertheless conspicuously obvious to much the rest of the world.

Truth No. 1: No "deal" of any kind can be made among the warring parties in Iraq that will bring stability and order, even temporarily.

Ever since the war began to go badly in the summer of 2003, a mythology has arisen that a deal among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds could bring peace and stability to Iraq. First, the parliamentary elections were expected to be such a breakthrough. When peace and stability did not follow, the referendum on a constitution was proclaimed the panacea. When that failed, it was asserted that we just had not yet found the proper prime minister. Even today, the Iraq Study Group is searching for this holy grail. It doesn't exist.

Truth No. 2: There was no way to have "done it right" in Iraq so that U.S. war aims could have been achieved.

Virtually every new book published on the war, especially Cobra II, Fiasco, and State of Denial, reinforce the myth – the illusion – that we could have won the war; we just did not plan properly and fight the war the right way. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and most other major newspapers have consistently filled their opinion pages with arguments and testimonials to support that myth. (Professor Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins University offers the most recent conspicuous reinforcement of this myth in the Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2006.)

The fragmentation of the country, civil war, and the rise of outside influence from Iran, Syria, and other countries – all of these things might have been postponed for a time by different war plans and occupation polices. But failure would have eventually raised its ugly head. Possibly, some of the variables would be a bit different. For example, if the Iraqi military had not been dissolved and if most of the Baathist Party cadres not been disenfranchised, the Sunni factions, instead of the Shiites, probably would have owned the ministry of interior, the police, and several unofficial militias. The Shiites, in that event, would have been the insurgents, abundantly supplied by Iran, indiscriminately killing Sunni civilians, fighting the U.S. military forces, blowing up the power grid, and so on.

A different U.S. occupation plan might have changed the course Iraq has taken to civil war and fragmentation, but it could have not prevented that outcome.



Now go read Truths nos. 3 through 6, dammit!

sw
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-14-06 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. "We broke it; we've got to fix it" seems to be the conventional wisdom, even
among people who oppose the war.

It has never made sense to me, since the U.S. invasion IS the major problem.
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barb162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. We can possibly fix some infrastructure we bombed to hell
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al bupp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Under the current conditions, no
Odom's right, we have to get the hell out and let them have their civil war, resolve the power disputes among the Shiite, Sunnis and Kurds. Neither the Saudis nor the Turks will like this much since the likely outcome will involve, as he says much increased influence for Iran, not to mention the establishment of a rump Kurdish nation.
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GreenZoneLT Donating Member (805 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:46 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. This seems to contradict conventional progressive wisdom
So, we should let the Iraqi Sunnis and Shia slaughter each other, but we shouldn't have let the Rwandan Hutus and Tutsis "sort things out?" Should we have applied the same hands off policy to Bosnia, Kosovo and Darfur?

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barb162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:02 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Excellent point.
I think simply by numbers of Shiites, the Sunnis will get slaughtered and they know it. At what point do other nations step in and stop the slaughter? The world let the Hutu slaughtering go on for a long time but not the Bosnia one. Clinton didn't intervene with the Hutus but he did with Bosnia. Europe wanted the Bosnia problen solved or quieted fast.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:14 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Did you read the article? General Odom spells out quite clearly why there is nothing we can do
about it, and that we are probably making things worse:

Truth No. 6: It is simply not possible to prevent more tragic Iraqi deaths in Iraq.

Many pundits and politicians – particularly those who howled for the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and 2003 — posture about human rights abuses that will occur if U.S. troops are withdrawn rapidly. The way to have avoided moral responsibility for these abuses was not to invade in the first place. At present, U. S. military forces in Iraq merely facilitate arrests and executions by Shiite officials in the police and some army units. These, of course, are mainly in reaction to the Baathist-led insurgency. This struggle will continue, with or without U.S. forces present, although the forms and tactics of the struggle will change after U.S. forces withdraw. An earlier withdrawal, one or two years ago, would probably have allowed this struggle to be fought to a conclusion by now. Our well-meaning efforts to prevent blood baths are more likely causing them to be bigger, not smaller. (my emphasis)



sw
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NV1962 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. That's a point where I think his GON clouds his judgement
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 01:48 AM by NV1962
"Get Out Now" (GON for short) is alluring to the hands-offish toward foreign policy of course, and if you mix in the suggestive statement that troops staying there won't "prevent more tragic Iraqi deaths", it might be enough to root for a fast pull-out.

Thing is this, though: the killing won't stop either way. Whether troops stay or leave, there'll be killings. A naked and stubborn fact, that.

So, the question rephrased more properly, or the crux of the matter here, is this: can the extent and duration of the killings be lessened?

I think it can. General Odom suggests it can't. There's our difference.

Now, General Odom is very right that the US can't go alone in "fixing" Iraq, more or less mirroring the prosecution of the invasion and occupation itself. He's suspiciously silent, however, on the necessity of involving other countries (say, Russia, France, Germany and a nominal EU representative together with regional players like for example Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey) in order to make a multilateral accord actually stick.

But if you pull together diplomatic resources, by another (trustworthy!) team in the White House, with a more realistic and outcome-oriented plan toward an eventual disengagement in mind, which respects and actively seeks involvement of international partners -- and neither photo-ops or token "allies", although we really never should forget Poland, haha -- you get an awful lot more close to that goal I mentioned, of limiting the extent and duration of the carnage there.

Elsewhere I've sketched why a multilateral accord is not only necessary but strategically inevitable (given that the current ongoing escalation of the crisis is intolerable to forces I've mentioned, like also China) if that more fine-tuned definition of "success" is to be realized.

But more important than anything else, I think that, no matter how much on point General Odom is in his commentary on the other myths, he set himself up for failure to bolster a GON case with his "Myth #2", which doesn't admit the possibility of setting different goals - like "simple" regime change. There are several possible scenarios for that; all are worthless at this point, given the utter state of devastation in Iraq. The "new" goal therefore is, in its minimalist expression, one of "damage control" but, with a pinch of ambition and humility (i.e. and among others, an admission of failure by the next administration) "creating a stabilized region in the Middle East, that is hostile to al Q'aida" (speaking of utter failure by the Bush administration!) is quite possible. General Odom is wrong when he limits his assertive answer to Myth #3 (in that the US can't "fix" it alone) to a simple negation, instead of pointing to the logical alternative of teamwork. With reliable allies, and not necessarily all "loyal" ones - which is the particular Bush fetish that created this mess.

Washing your hands from ongoing carnage without the gumption or stomach to intervene and cap the bleeding is what John Major did in the UK (aided by the GOP in Congress) with regard to Rwanda. It's a damn good thing the Clinton Administration pushed ahead with Bosnia (perhaps in shameful recognition of the magnitude of the disaster in Rwanda); had it been up to the ineffective Europeans, there'd perhaps still be a genocidal conflict going on in the Balkans.

Staying away from massive bloodshed is never wise counsel; sooner or later, the massive bloodshed will extend to your doorstep.

Sadly, plenty of historic proof of that abounds.

I acknowledge and agree with a fundamental tenet behind General Odom's reluctance toward an ongoing military engagement, but I firmly believe that GON is a goner that no person with a conscience can live with in the longer term.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:35 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Your solutions come from an alternate universe.
...the necessity of involving other countries (say, Russia, France, Germany and a nominal EU representative together with regional players like for example Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey) in order to make a multilateral accord actually stick.

But if you pull together diplomatic resources, by another (trustworthy!) team in the White House, with a more realistic and outcome-oriented plan toward an eventual disengagement in mind, which respects and actively seeks involvement of international partners...


Who is going to put together this "multilateral accord"? Condi?

And if we're waiting for "another team in the White House", then what you're really offering as a "plan" is basically just staying the course until a hypothetically better administration takes charge in 2009.

No thanks. I'm with Odom and Joe Galloway ( Leave Iraq now; don't wait until 2008 election day )

sw
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NV1962 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. "another (trustworthy!) team in the White House" (n/t)
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Yeah. I got that part. Stay the course until 2009 & HOPE for a better "team".
Meanwhile the NOT "trustworthy" team we have NOW continues to flail about, wasting more of our blood and treasure on their misbegotten adventure.

No thanks. Get out of Iraq NOW.

sw
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NV1962 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #16
48. So you prefer a short-term escalation into a regional catastrophe just to please your impatience?
You're that eager to create an enormous disaster that will inevitably be pinned on the US as a whole, inflicting practically irreparable damage to the US' vital foreign relations just because you don't trust this team of incompetent "administrators", and gladly pawn off the inevitable spike in dead bodies to comfort your tantrum?

Wow.

And wow again.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #9
25. the fact of the matter is
bush/cheney have zero intentions of ever pulling out and have made abundantly clear they do not give a rat's ass about casualites, US or Iraqi. I can not believe some people actually believe bushco is looking for an end to the slaughter. All they have in mind are the oil contracts and our soldiers to protect the profits. Welcome to american imperialism.

I am with Odom as well and wish to hell the Democrats would start talking reality in the new year and get our people home!

Thank you for this SW, it is excellent and would make a great house floor speech!

:)
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Thanks for showing up here! And you're absolutely correct. They have no intention of leaving Iraq.
Great post!

sw
:hi:
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:40 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. In those other places we were not the ones responsible for the
destruction of the country and its infrastructure and the murder and torture of its people. Therefore, we are not hated there the same way we are hated in Iraq, where merely talking with soemone from the US will get an Iraqi and probably his family killed. The hatred Iraqis feel for US troops mean that there is no way we can be anything other than a problem there.
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buddysmellgood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
45. We cannot stop them from killing each other. That should be obvious by now. We should
not hang out and die while they do it.
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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
24. Are you a carpenter?
Enlist and I'll cover you from here.
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buddysmellgood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #1
46. What's with the "We" part. As I recall, Powell said "you" to Bush. It's a Bush
family problem as I see it.
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pansypoo53219 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:18 AM
Response to Original message
7. he is very right.
there is no answer for us to 'fix it'. just as the british had to leave america, we have to leave.

i am reading old encyclopedia britannicas. 1 1903(F). so good, wanted a whole set, but settled on a 1891 set. finishe A-AN, and 1/2 way through 2nd A of THREE.

in all the history i have read, OCCUPATIONS DO NOT WORK. this is not liberation. this is occupation. and israel better learn that lesson too. and i read a LOT of history.
i also just read the history of ARABIA.
back then the ottomans ruled arabis and the brits hoped the wahhabis(yep, he started about 900 ad-was a man named wahhab) would overthrow them and while there were certainly fundamentalists, the brits were quite sure they would become more moderate in time.
has that happened yet?
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:03 AM
Response to Original message
10. My Chief Problem with the Article
is that he simply assets his points. There's very little to bolster them or explain why an intelligent person might differ.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:09 AM
Response to Original message
11. thanks was worth readying
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:14 AM
Response to Original message
12. K&R!
:kick:
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:11 AM
Response to Original message
14. k&r
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
17. I think he's full of shit, and a racist
"those a-rab people can't get along like we civilized westerners can; they can't be dealt with, you just have to let them kill each other till they are thru killin'. "

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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #17
22. But it's not racist at all for Westerners to invade, bomb, occupy and tell them they need to change?
Now THAT'S bullshit.

sw
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Did I say that?
nope, couldn't get that from anything I've ever said.

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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. No you didn't say that. But what you DID says implies the same thing.
You seem to be of the opinion that advocating getting out of Iraq is somehow "racist" because we would be leaving behind people engaged in internicine warfare. If I follow the "logic" of your post, we are racist because we must not care that they will be killing each other after we leave.

Odom and Galloway and others are simply recognizing the fact that the U.S. has no power to put at end to the current chaos, and that we are most likely exacerbating it by our presence. To me it is racist to assume that the people of Iraq can't be allowed to chart their own course and find their own solutions.

Yes, it will no doubt continue to be bloody. But it is bloody now, and we are the ones who brought this chaos down on them. At some point, they will reach their own rapprochement. They do not require us to babysit them through it.

sw
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. Yes, "at some point, they will reach their own rapprochement."
quite likely in the way the people of Rwanda reached their own rapprochement.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. So, how do you propose we prevent that? We can't prevent what's happening now.
Does our current presence in any way discourage the sectarian slaughter that's been ongoing for some time now? Any honest analysis would answer "no". And we're still slaughtering plenty of Iraqis ourselves.

At least if we were out of there, we'd be one less group killing Iraqis. Read this:
Tears of Rage, Tears of Grief: Mass Death Returns to Ishaqi

I. Rashomon in Iraq
Mass death came again to the Iraqi town of Ishaqi last Friday. Nine months after an American raid that killed 11 civilians, including five children under the age of five, another ground and air assault on suspected insurgents in the area left behind a pile of corpses, including at least two children. As with the earlier incident, Friday's attack has produced conflicting stories of what really happened, but the end result is clear: a multitude of grieving, angry Iraqis further embittered against the American occupation.

The latest Ishaqi attack – with "only" 20 fatalities – is of course a mere sideshow in the garish carnival of death that is Iraq today. But in many respects it is a microcosm of the largely unseen reality of the war that grinds on day after day behind the obscuring fog of political rhetoric enshrouding both Washington and Baghdad. In this return to Ishaqi, we find many of the elements that have kept Iraq an open, gaping wound with little chance for healing: constant airstrikes on populated civilian areas, iron-fisted house raids, propaganda ploys, dubious intelligence, disdain for the locals – and the employment of mysterious units that may be blended with government-run (even American-run) death squads.

So what happened on December 9 in the village of Taima in the Ishaqi district, on the shores of Lake Tharthar? The official U.S. military version states that unidentified "Coalition Forces" entered the village shortly after midnight and targeted a location "based on intelligence reports that indicated associates with links to multiple al-Qaeda in Iraq networks were operating in the area." During a search, they took heavy fire from a nearby building. Returning fire, they killed "two armed terrorists" but couldn't quell the attack, so they called in an airstrike that killed "18 more armed terrorists," including two women. Of the latter, the military press release said that "al-Qaeda in Iraq has both men and women supporting and facilitating their operations unfortunately." The unspecified raiders then uncovered a cache of terrorist arms which they photographed and subsequently destroyed.

The identification of the victims as terrorists was made through a "battle damage assessment," said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver. "If there is a weapon with or next to the person or they are holding it, they are a terrorist," he said.

Yet as Bloomberg News points out, almost every Iraqi keeps a gun – or several guns – in their homes. Indeed, the whole nation has long been armed to the teeth, with even heavy weaponry in private hands throughout the reign of Saddam Hussein. In fact, as Patrick Cockburn notes in his excellent new book, The Occupation, Saddam once had to resort to a national buy-back scheme to try to reduce the level of heavy weapons on the streets. One tribe even showed up with three tanks – "which they were prepared to turn over for a sizeable amount of money." This doesn't mean that the official report of the Ishaqi incident is necessarily wrong, of course. But neither is it a fact that every dead Iraqi found near a weapon in a bombed-out private house is a terrorist.

<snip>

But local officials from the U.S.-backed Iraqi government had a different view: they said the raid was a bloodbath of innocent civilians. Ishaqi Mayor Amir Fayadh said that 19 civilians were killed by the airstrikes that destroyed two private homes. Fayadh said that the victims included seven women and eight children. An official in the regional government of Salahuddin said six children had been killed. All Iraqi officials agreed that the victims were mostly members of the extended families of two brothers in the town, Muhammad Hussein al-Jalmood and Mahmood Hussein al-Jalmood, the NYT reports. Both Fayadh and Abdullah Hussein Jabbara, deputy governor Salahuddin, insisted that the families had nothing to do with al Qaeda. Locals claimed that the terrorist paraphernalia at the site, such as the "suicide belts," had been planted. American officials denied the charge.

(read more at link)


On NPR this afternoon I heard part of an interview ( Worst-Case Scenarios in Iraq, and Possible Solutions -- no audio or transcript available yet) wherein there was a rather sensible suggestion made by Leslie Gelb (President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations) that we should be assisting targeted groups to relocate to safe areas.

That may be the best use of our forces at this point, providing safe escort and relocation assistance for those who are currently trapped in areas that are under assault by sectarian militias.

Then we should leave and get out of the way.

The Rwanda analogy doesn't work. In Rwanda, it was just one group being the aggressor. In Iraq, the aggression is a two-way street. Which side do you propose we take? Should we assist in the slaughter of Sunnis so that the Shia can triumph? The Saudis have already made it clear that they will supply money and arms to their co-religionists (the Sunnis).

Should we take the side of the Sunnis and return Iraq to the previous status of oppressing the majority of its population?

There is really nothing we can do that won't make things worse for one group or another. That's the reality. Our "business" in the Middle East has nothing to do with the peace and prosperity of the people there, it has only to do with our determination to control the oil resources.

It's immoral and unconscionable from the get-go. We need to stop with messing with these people, period.

sw
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #32
38. An analogy needn't be 1:1 to be relevant
Rwanda needed our help, and Iraq needs our help. The potential for slaughter (one sided or two) is even greater in Iraq than it was in Rwanda. That we shouldn't have destroyed the glue that held them together in the first place is not in dispute by any intelligent person, but it's also not an excuse to say "fuck it, have at each other" either.

"There is really nothing we can do that won't make things worse for one group or another. That's the reality."


That's your opinion. I don't believe it is reality. I believe that implementing many of the recommendations of the ISG could help. These people are not simply fighting out of hatred, they have goals, they have interest, they have legitimate fears.

Immoral and unconscionable would be to leave with a "you guys behave, or don't, bye now".


Btw, you said "The Saudis have already made it clear that they will supply money and arms to their co-religionists (the Sunnis)". This is not an accurate depiction of what the Saudis stated. The Saudis have said that they would support the Sunnis in Iraq if America bails.

If the country is going to split ethnically into geographic regions, then yes, assisting innocent Iraqis relocate safely would be a minimum requirement for the US. That's a far cry from just leaving. It would be a monumental task. Do you force them to leave their homes? Do you set time lines and only help those who will leave now (not giving them a choice and speeding up the ethnic cleansing)?
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. "...they have goals, they have interest, they have legitimate fears." They also have their own
GOVERNMENT (theoretically). Or, at least they might feel like it's "their" government if it ceased to appear that it was a U.S. puppet.

If Iraq is NOT the "sovereign nation" that it supposedly is, according to all the fine rhetoric, then let's just take over all the way and drop the pretense. Fire Maliki, dissolve the Iraqi Parliament and re-institute the CPA.

If Iraq IS a sovereign nation, then perhaps actually treating it as such -- as in, "we're packing up and leaving by such and such a date, you're in charge" -- instead of playing with it like a geostrategic pawn, would be the best "help" we could give them.

sw
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Morgana LaFey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #17
29. Well, there's a nice rightwing talking point.
Neo-con in origin, if I'm not mistaken.

How's a nice boy like you cuddling up to talk like that? Hmmm?

It's also a mischaracterization of what the good General actually said, but I'm betting you don't really care about that, do you?
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
18. The people of the region are making their own "plan" without our "help".
BushCorp still deludes itself into believing that we wield some sort of power and leverage in the Middle East. He will probably succumb to the advice of his lackey generals and send more troops in an attempt to perpetrate a miracle that will end up with joyful Iraqis flinging flowers and their neighbors embracing "democracy".

The United States has become irrelevant in the Middle East except as the common enemy.

Any attempt to achieve "victory" or "success" there is a recipe for even more bloodshed.

K&R
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
19. this is absolutely correct and what many of us have been saying...
...for the last three years. If that advice had been heeded earlier we would be out of Iraq today and the Iraqis would be in control of their country-- in whatever form that takes.

Opponents of immediate withdrawal: we have tried that now-- we've been trying it for three years, and our occupation has made the problem steadily worse, not better. How many must be murdered before you're willing to admit the mistake? We must get out of Iraq as soon as possible!
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RedEarth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
20. KR .. Dr. Landis blog( Syriacomment.com ) is worth checking from time to time
I usually visit his site every few weeks. He's extremely bright and has a good understanding of the middle east. The links provided on his blog are also very good.

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog /

Here is some of his bio.....

Joshua M. Landis is Co-Director of the Center for Peace Studies at the International Programs Center and Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies in the School of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Education:
Princeton University (Ph.D., 1997: Near East Studies)
Harvard University (M.A., 1984: Center for Mid East St.)
Swarthmore College (B.A., 1979: Eur. Hist. and French Lit.)

Experience:
University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma (1999-
Princeton University, New Jersey (1997-99)
Wake Forest University, North Carolina (1994-97)
Sarah Lawrence College, New York (1991-94)
International College, Beirut (1989-91)
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. Yes, he's one of my regular stops when I'm reading up on the Middle East.
Along with Juan Cole and Pat Lang.

If you're not familiar with Pat Lang's site, "Sic Semper Tyrannis" -- http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis / -- I highly recommend it. Some of the most thought-provoking writing ever, and some truly outstanding regular commenters posting some outstanding links.

sw
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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
28. My proposal.
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 02:12 PM by screembloodymurder
Phase I (protect the innocent): We engage in talks with all surrounding powers and negotiate a refugee plan. All Iraqis who wish to leave are given safe passage to the country of their choice. After the Exodus, we withdraw to our bases and demand the unconditional surrender of all remaining Iraqis with the understanding that those who do not comply will be destroyed. Iraq as a country is no more.

Phase II (reward the cooperative): The land is partitioned off and distributed according to a predetermined formula. The participants in this peace process are rewarded for accepting the refugees, they get the land and oil revenues. The former Iraqis have a new home and an opportunity to start a new life. Each country will be responsible for its own police force and the clean up of any malcontents.

Phase III (develop and rebuild): The US maintains its bases and is responsible for securing, developing and distributing all oil resources. Prices are negotiated in US dollars, on a (5- year) competitive bid basis. A predetermined portion of the oil revenue goes directly to rebuilding infrastructure within the newly annexed portions of Iraq. The rest goes to the country under which the oil rests.

This proposal assumes that the military /industrial power that controls the US will not leave Iraq. I know it's crazy, but think of the alternatives.
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Buck Rabbit Donating Member (999 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Joking I hope?
25 Million people given the choice of leaving THEIR country or being slaughtered? Were you channeling Hitler, Pol Pot or Stalin when you came up with this?

Really, I respect that you want to fix things but you are kind of proving the General's point about trying to fix things when you have no capacity or moral standing to do it. (Not you, the USA).
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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. Withdraw is my first option, but if the military wouldn't accept withdraw
what would you do as president? Those that can leave Iraq are doing it now. Why not give everyone that wants out a safe passage? The longer this lasts the more innocent people (including our own) will die. I see no good options. I do not believe a partitioned Iraq will work and I'm not sure the Iraqis first allegiance is to their country. Training a police force isn't working and seems to be both the target and source of violence. Maybe the best solution is the one nobody has suggested; the end of Iraq as a nation. Most people in the DU (including me) advocate withdraw, but that may not be an option. I started this proposal in jest, but if you take withdraw off the table, are there any other options?
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. I actually don't think it's such a bad proposal -- given the reality of things.
See my post #32 above for some similar thoughts.

sw
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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #35
39. Interesting - I hadn't read your post.
The way I see things, the US went into Iraq to insure that we remain a world power in an energy driven world. When Bush says there can be no withdraw, it's because his backers see this war as a must win situation. It may not matter who the next president is or which party he or she is from. If losing this war is not an option and we're going to stay, how do we inflict the least damage to
Iraq and its people? The longer we're there the worse it will be.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. Well, the intention is to stay, of course. However, for the well-being of the planet,
and the survival of our Republic, we really must fight against that as hard as we can.

sw
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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #41
47. Agreed.
We need to stand up and be counted.
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Kelly Rupert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #28
42. A fair plan. I rather like it.
Better than the "sow a century of civil war" plan advocated by many here.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
33. KICK!
:argh:
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. Thanks for the kick. I'll do likewise! (nt)
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Porcupine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
37. I'm sick of the media telling us we have to stay....
for even one more day. They pretend that pulling out is an option that isn't even discussed.

Liars all....even NPR.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
43. There's always a way....
...is how Jeeves put it.

First, it is a very important article.
Second, the truths it spells out are absolutely true.
Third, that doesn't mean we don't do something about the war.

What we need to do first, in order to get to the rest of the problems, is put a stop to the violence.

That may require sequestering groups.
That may require the disarming of the militias.
That may require the establishment of negotiations between groups.
That may require brining in Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia.

The thing is, to achieve peace requires the cessasation of war.
Understanding that is the first thing.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. The question is, does it require the U.S. military?
Your list of what may be required does not specify how these requirements might be implemented, or by whom.

That's really the central question, isn't it? Is our military presence necessary for these things to happen, or does it forestall these things from happening?

As it is now, our military presence is NOT helping these things to happen. Therefore, it would seem to be time to try something else.

So far, I find myself far more persuaded by the arguments to withdraw than by the arguments to stay. That is not to say that I would dismiss all other options out of hand. I DO stand in firm opposition to continuing the status quo in regard to the military mission. However, if there are some positive uses of our military forces -- such as escorting refugees to safe areas -- I would be open to reconsidering my present opinion.

The thing is, the powers that will decide whether our troops stay in Iraq or not, do not have benevolent intentions, no matter what.

What WE may see as an obvious crucial need, may not concern the Masters of War one whit. Whatever they decide to do with our blood and treasure will not be for OUR benefit, and most assuredly won't be for the benefit of the common people of Iraq.

Is it really wise to argue for keeping the tool of our military at their ready use? Think about it...

sw
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