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Will the temptation to blame Iraqis for what is happening become irresistible?

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  • Will the temptation to blame Iraqis for what is happening become irresistible?

    I ask this simply because as James Dobbin (Assistant Sec of State under Clinton and Bush) has said in the September edition of ‘Foreign Affairs’:
    “in truth there is more than enough blame to go around. The US went into Iraq with a higher level of domestic support for war than at almost anytime in its history. Congress authorized the invasion by an overwhelming bipartisan majority…………………Precisely because responsibility for this misguided enterprise is so widely shared, the temptation to make the Iraqis the scapegoat for U.S. failure may ultimately prove irresistible.”
    He points out that prior to Nov ’06 the tendency was for the Democrats to blame the Republicans for mounting difficulties in Iraq, the Republicans blamed the Iraqis.
    Since gaining control of Congress the Democrats have insisted on conditioning further U.S. assistance to Iraq on Baghdad meeting benchmarks. If they cut back funding this will allow the Republicans to blame the Democrats for defeat or failure while the Dems will blame guess who??? Yep, you got it: the Iraqis!! Neato hey?

    This leads me to what I was originally going to ask when I started this post which was:
    Is even the idea that ‘we’ can or should ‘handle’ Iraq the height of arrogance?

    Yes, I know that legend has it that Bush was told ‘if you break it you own it’. And I am aware that many honest (naive?) American supporters of the Iraqi intervention regard what the US is doing now in that country as taking responsibility for its’ action after invading/liberating.

    I’ve also heard all the arguments about the consequences of leaving ‘prematurely’. They essentially run like this,
    We can’t leave (yet) because:

    . It will further embolden terrorists and encourage Iranian adventurism.
    But remember, according to some neo-con theorists, the invasion had been intended, amongst other aims (in the future there will be library shelves and entire web sites filled with volumes and posts trying to define what those aims actually were), to suppress terrorism and cow Iran.

    . We will be humiliated and the Islamists will regard Bin Laden as having been right in his believe that even if a direct military defeat of the infidels is not possible at present, a drawn out fight on Arab home-ground will break US morale (shades of the Communist approach in VN: just stay put and keep pluggin’, the Americans want to go home eventually, we ARE home).

    . We can’t ‘cut and run’ because we have to stand by our troops and if we did we would have betrayed the troops who have sacrificed so much, while we may not all agree about the correctness of going to Iraq, now we’re there we need to support our boys (and gals) in uniform.
    Supporting the troops for the sake of it is of course the oldest interventionist argument in the book and sounds fine as long as you don’t particularly care how many ‘natives’ are KIA’s , WIA’s, MIA’s dispossessed, displaced , traumatised, made to feel like pawns in our game, humiliated. (by simple, now everyday acts, like having to answer to armed, foreign, Christian invaders at checkpoints on their roads for example) and generally discombobulated as a direct or indirect result of our intervention.
    Of course some supporters occasionally make an effort to sound like they care about what is happening to people other than Americans but this usually amounts to little more than platitudes along the lines of:
    ‘we know the Iraqis are bleeding but hey deaths were down to 988 in Sept so what are they complaining about? These are the people we are doing this for’.

    War supporters will probably get tired of ‘native’ bleating after a while and tell them to……wait for it…. Yep, you guessed it “get over it!” (makes ya feel a whole lot better when someone does it to you doesn’t?). I suspect that the many supporters of intervention will, or have already, come to regard Iraqis as ungrateful, untrustworthy and just a little crazy, kinda like those other great bleaters of the region the Palestinians!

    . It’s not ‘us’ doing this. They’re doing it to themselves we’re just in the middle, this is what happens when we try and help, why don’t they like us and just follow our script ??!!
    This argument usually goes down the track of the following (and I’ve actually heard some people in Australia say things along these lines):
    “We may not be allowed to say so in polite company but these people simply can’t govern themselves surely they can see it is in their interests to follow our lead”

    Of course we need to remind ourselves that it was the West, in particular ‘the Anglosphere’, (the US did not act alone remember the UK and Aust went along with the Invasion) who unleashed the hounds of hell which you know who kept such a firm lid on.

    So all up I see the main difficulty is that we are assuming that Iraqis are somehow obliged to work with us, that they linked to us from now on, owe us big time etc.

    Nobody likes it when things don’t work out and when a script that sounded so good (a free and democratic, stable and prosperous pro-West, pro-Israel Iraq) goes so pear-shaped, . And the U.S. may I respectfully suggest is probably especially vulnerable (if that’s the word I’m looking for) in this respect with its winner mind-set, belief its essential goodness and American exceptionalism etc etc.

    I fear James Dobbin’s assertion of blaming the natives may well come to pass.
    He also makes the point that: “ Whether one concludes the war itself was a mistake or merely that its execution was badly managed, Americans need to consider wherein their leaders, institutions, and policies have been at fault.”
    What do our posters think?

    The first five of a planned fifteen volume set covering the life of lodestar are now available from this publisher:
    Vol.1 The Stars Beget a Son
    Vol. 2 Anvil of Destiny.
    Vol. 3 The Hammer of Power
    Vol 4. Road to Greatness
    Vol 5. The High School Years

    keep reading the good read
    lodestar

  • #2
    What "Iraqis"?

    Of the various peoples within the boundaries of the state of Iraq, those who identify primarily with Iraq as a nation clearly remain one of the smallest minorities in the country. After four years of fighting the Shiites should have been able to suppress the Sunni factions of the insurgency by themselves through shear weight of numbers. Instead the Shia have spent the bulk of their energy on internal power struggles.

    Blaming "Iraqis" for not achieving peace misses the point. There are very few natives in Iraq doing the sort of trust-building work that would lead to a stable self-governing nation-state. The bulk remain engaged in fighting for land, power, and a greater share of the oil-wealth. Peace is not that high on anyone's agenda unless they happen to work for the UN or a western foreign ministry.

    Certainly the average guy in the market would like not to be picking bomb fragments out of his fruit every day. But the opinions of the 'average guy' doesn't seem to matter to anyone except the TV interview crews [especially if the guys is distraught or even better has a lot of blood on his clothes]. The sheiks and imams have their own agenda and peace is not presently at the top of the list.

    Iraq does not exist in a vacuum. The precondition for a US drawdown is the establishment of a general balance of power in the Persian Gulf. At this point the Turks, Iranians, Saudis and even the Syrians, all have significant interests in the future shape of the Iraqi state. US departure from Iraq will depend more on how well it can balance their competing interests than on the solidity of the Iraqi nation. The number of bombs going off in Baghdad will be reduced to secondary importance and at some point the various petty sheiks and imams will be left to settle whatever scores they feel need a little more blood to satisfy.

    A question you should ask is, “who is most interested in laying blame?” Well if you are a congressman and don't have a plan for balancing the US budget but you want to get some TV air-time, holding "hearings" where the politicians either a) do all the talking or b) bring in safe "witnesses" from their parties pet think-tank is a good way to get your sound-bite-of-the-day. Thundering about who gets the ‘blame’ [according to your version of events] will always be a popular pastime on Capitol Hill.

    As to the original author's comments - Consider it part of his resume' for getting a job in the next administration.
    Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

    Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by GCoyote View Post
      Of the various peoples within the boundaries of the state of Iraq, those who identify primarily with Iraq as a nation clearly remain one of the smallest minorities in the country.
      Primarily the intelligentsia, foreign educated secular muslims.

      Originally posted by GCoyote View Post
      After four years of fighting the Shiites should have been able to suppress the Sunni factions of the insurgency by themselves through shear weight of numbers. Instead the Shia have spent the bulk of their energy on internal power struggles.
      Why would they do anything but?

      There are no Shi'a, only Shi'a clans and tribes. The Shi'a clans did just fine until some Big Brain foisted a Sunni member of the Saud tribe on them as king. Then many clans lost their land, property, wealth and prestige to Sunni clans and tribes, plus some Shi'a clans turned traitor and sold out other Shi'a clans to gain an advantage.

      And then the scene repeats itself when the post-monarchial interim government comes to power, and repeats itself again when the Baathists come to power. Now, for the first time in the history of "Iraq" there is no Sunni government, and the Shi'a clans are seizing the opportunity to settle old scores and recover lost land, property, wealth and prestige. They aren't going to stop until they are satisfied.

      Overall, the Sunni clans/tribes fared better, mainly at the expense of Shi'a clans/tribes, but those Sunni clans that did not support the monarchy or later governments suffered at the hands of rival Sunni clans. Likewise, they have old scores to settle.

      It just astounds me that Americans cannot grasp that very simple concept. It isn't like the US has no experience dealing with clans or tribes, the whole of the 19th century and beyond was spent chasing the indigenous population around, and many native American tribes sold out and turned traitor on other tribes and clans to gain an advantage, resulting in conflicts between tribes and clans.

      Originally posted by GCoyote View Post
      Iraq does not exist in a vacuum. The precondition for a US drawdown is the establishment of a general balance of power in the Persian Gulf.
      Balance of Power is elusive at best. It didn't stop conflicts in Europe and was a contributing cause to WWI. The neo-liberal institutionalist, conservative and neo-conservative doctrines all fail. Only the liberal, radical or constructivist doctrines will achieve any resemblance of stability.

      Originally posted by GCoyote View Post
      At this point the Turks, Iranians, Saudis and even the Syrians, all have significant interests in the future shape of the Iraqi state. US departure from Iraq will depend more on how well it can balance their competing interests than on the solidity of the Iraqi nation.
      Then the US will never be able to depart from Iraq. Self-determination will ultimately prevail. The best course of action for the US is to accept that as a reality, then use that as a basis to protect its own interests.

      Kurdistan is a fact. The only control the US has is whether Kurdistan will be a US ally, or a Russian ally. If the US is smart, it will lean on the EU to admit Turkey, if Turkey cedes Kurdish areas and recognizes Kurdistan.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mircea View Post
        Kurdistan is a fact. The only control the US has is whether Kurdistan will be a US ally, or a Russian ally. If the US is smart, it will lean on the EU to admit Turkey, if Turkey cedes Kurdish areas and recognizes Kurdistan.
        Why would Russia support Kurdistan? Russia is improving relations with Turkey and would like to use Kurdistan to further split Turkey from the US. And the best way to do that is not to support the Kurds while the US does.

        In regard to the US leaning on the EU to admit Turkey. Turkey would not cede territory in order to get into the EU. It would be suicidal for the EU to allow Turkey. Anyway the mere idea of the US facilitating the entry of millions of mahommedans into Europe in order to help the... Kurds, is very bad.

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        • #5
          Will the temptation to blame Iraqis for what is happening become irresistible?

          Originally posted by lodestar View Post
          “in truth there is more than enough blame to go around. The US went into Iraq with a higher level of domestic support for war than at almost anytime in its history. Congress authorized the invasion by an overwhelming bipartisan majority…………………Precisely because responsibility for this misguided enterprise is so widely shared, the temptation to make the Iraqis the scapegoat for U.S. failure may ultimately prove irresistible.”
          Hey this lodestar guy really was onto something back then!
          I wonder what happened to him?

          (sometimes I just crack myself up!)

          One must cross the threshold of greatness. Then and only then can one comprehend the true nature of the one called lodestar - for many the quest to cross that threshold becomes their life’s work.
          Regards lodestar

          Comment


          • #6
            Damn - I keep wanting to give GCoyote and the Purist reps and I keep getting the message to spread the treacle around -sorry guys you should be in nirvana by now.

            Comment


            • #7
              WHAT THE HECK IS A 'REP'?

              Originally posted by Scupio View Post
              Damn - I keep wanting to give GCoyote and the Purist reps and I keep getting the message to spread the treacle around -sorry guys you should be in nirvana by now.
              Look people on the Forum sometimes use this term 'rep'.
              What the heck does it mean?
              What in cyberworld terms is a 'rep'?
              Serious question

              Regards
              lodestar

              Comment


              • #8
                You can give and receive reputation points by clicking on the Yin/Yang symbol on the top right of messages. In this fashion you can privately let the poster know whether you approve (positive reputation) or disapprove (negative reputation) with what they have posted. We encourage posting positive reputation where possible!
                You can see your reputation by clicking on the USER CP on the Navigation Bar near the top of your screen. You can also see a representation of your reputation on each of your posts in the form of small green dots (or red ones for negative reputation).
                Reputation has no bearing on anything else on the forums, and its primary function should be seen as recreational more than anything else.


                Faq/ Forum rules... Good Lord how long have you been here???
                Credo quia absurdum.


                Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                  Hey this lodestar guy really was onto something back then!
                  I wonder what happened to him? ...
                  Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                  Look people on the Forum sometimes use this term 'rep'.
                  What the heck does it mean?
                  What in cyberworld terms is a 'rep'?
                  Serious question

                  Regards
                  lodestar
                  The little yin/yang symbol in the upper right corner of each post opens the 'reputation' window as Bwaha explained.

                  To see the answer to your first question, follow his instructions by clicking on User CP at the upper left.
                  Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

                  Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    lodestar groovin' to the Net

                    [QUOTE]
                    Originally posted by Bwaha View Post
                    You can give and receive reputation points by clicking on the Yin/Yang symbol on the top right of messages. In this fashion you can privately let the poster know whether you approve (positive reputation) or disapprove (negative reputation) with what they have posted. We encourage posting positive reputation where possible!
                    Thanks, evry little bit helps.


                    Faq/ Forum rules... Good Lord how long have you been here???
                    Bloody years! It's just that I never pay the slightest attention unless It's all about me! me! me!

                    No seriously, thanks, I really am about three full decades out of my time-era (fine up to late 1977 - all downhill from then).

                    How on earth do people keep track of all this internet stuff? Seems like a full-time job.

                    lodestar was called a man with no honour, no courage, no integrity and no honesty. To which he replied: "Hey, you forgot to add no moral compass!! How could you miss that one?"

                    Regards lodestar

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The little yin/yang symbol in the upper right corner of each post opens the 'reputation' window as Bwaha explained.
                      I do that but am told by the mighty God of the Website "spread your reps around (ie before you give another rep to this individual")

                      Sorry for the sidetrack Lodestar.

                      Comment

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