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'surfin the 'stans - the past and future of the region and america's interests


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In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 7:06:00 PM PDT
The problem with incurring a self-inflicted credibility hit is that, should it ultimately be decided that it is necessary to take a hardline stance on Iran or North Korea,

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The difference is that saddam open his own door. He was operating under ceasefire agreements. If he wasn't so paranoid he could have fulfilled his agreements, waited, laid low, and rearmed today.

The justification for attacking iraq was easy. It is far from that with Iran.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2012 3:12:22 AM PDT
patrick says:
exactly...it was an easy matter for Saddam to simply deny them the base, or if you want to call it denying them the excuse, to renew military action against him.
all that nonsense chasing the weapons inspectors around carparks harassing them, dribbling about Iraqs sovereignty (ie, his loss of face)
Painting aircraft in the no-fly zones on Iraqi air-defence radar..
all of that could have been kicked to the kerb..
Instead of renegging on the deal he was most happy to accept when that was paying off for him....until he thought it was simply no longer convenient or likely that they would come back and take up where they left off.
Remember the ridiculous runarounds that went on with him, Clinton, and a useless UN white elephant by the name of Kofi Annan brokering last-minute deals which didnt hold up for a month before everyone was back where they started?
How many cycles of that nonsense did everyone go through?
Eventually Clinton ordered off a few salvos of Tomahawk or Pershing missiles and broke a few Iraqi rocks into smaller rocks...and Saddam got his way , flipped off the cease-fire agreement on inspections, and would up with only the no-fly zone and sanctions still restraining him at all..and if there had been no showdown in 2003, the sanctions and NFZ would have melted away as well presently.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2012 3:52:31 AM PDT
patrick says:Eventually Clinton ordered off a few salvos of Tomahawk or Pershing missiles and broke a few Iraqi rocks into smaller rocks...and Saddam got his way , flipped off the cease-fire agreement on inspections, and would up with only the no-fly zone and sanctions still restraining him at all..and if there had been no showdown in 2003, the sanctions and NFZ would have melted away as well presently.

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saddam had lost the battle, but he was winning the war. until...

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2012 7:13:27 AM PDT
Smallchief says:
Tell me, would anybody in their right mind knowing that Iraq would cost 4,500 American lives, 30,000 seriously wounded Americans, and at least one trillion dollars have invaded the place?

You can talk all you want about Saddam being a pain in the ass. So are lots of people and lots of countries. But if you invade a country for any reason other than because it is a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States, you have made a lousy decision.

Posted on May 17, 2012 9:08:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2012 8:39:08 PM PDT
IGS says:
Small

"You can talk all you want about Saddam being a pain in the ass. So are lots of people and lots of countries. But if you invade a country for any reason other than because it is a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States, you have made a lousy decision. "

I wish that was so, strong preemptive action against German in the 30's (Sudetenland) likely would have stopped some 50 million deaths. Countless other attacks have prevented more serious outcomes. The problem with your assertion is that it is just that, an assertion. Nothing more. We cannot ever know the answer. Some choices are good, some are bad.

Afghanistan should have been over on May 2, 2011. That has been a further waste with no possible good outcome. Even in the dream scenario where we get everything we desire, we win nothing. Long past time to go home.

As for Iraq, long term, who can say. But at the cost of 6 months US budget, we have may have created the rock slide that becomes the avalanche that topples many Arab dictatorships in the region and shows the Arabs that there is a way of governing themselves in a way not consistent with violence. Have you looked at Arab defense budgets over the last three years. In places like, Bahrain, Quatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. Through the roof. Why is that? To defend against the US? They can not possibly stop the US, regardless of what they spend. So why the defense spending? To suppress their own people. What has this become such a pressing problem for them? The rise of a half way functioning democracy in Iraq. Democracy spreads like a cancer. This has the potential to destroy every dictatorship in the region, including Iran. Every last tin pot dictator in the region knows it. That is what those dollars and coalition blood bought in Iraq. Given that one Arab nut case arranged for 3,000 deaths in a day. That will be pennies on the dollar.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 2:15:50 PM PDT
Smallchief,
The problem is that the Defense Department was so enamored with "shock and awe" that they thought they could fight and win a war on the cheap. They never realized that the Iraqis wouldn't feel defeated, just betrayed. Disbanding the Army and putting all those soldiers on the street with no way to make a living and chips on their shoulders just made the guerrilla war inevitiable.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 8:36:58 PM PDT
IGS says:
Richard

It was an error to just disband them and say take a hike. This was realized and that is the story behind the Petraeus appointment. Two excellent books that address this issue are Ricks "Fiasco" and its bookend "The Strongest Tribe" by West. Two very well written, unflinching looks a Iraq. They are biased but really quite honest in their analysis. They describe much of what went wrong, what was done to fix it, how well it worked, and why. Really well done, both of them.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 11:11:53 PM PDT
Surfin,
When they kept talking about shock and awe, I knew it was going to be a fiasco. You can use all the fancy weapons you want, but until the enemy knows deep down in his gut that he was defeated, you can't win a war.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 11:24:49 PM PDT
I'm goin' surfin' says:
=========
off topic

hey surfin'

I went with a provisional patent to start. thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 3:25:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2012 3:30:40 AM PDT
Smallchief says:
You can do "ifs" for everything. If we had done this, if we had done that, etc. If a time traveler in 10,000,000 BC had stepped on a butterfly, the world would be a different place today.

You can project that about any country in the world could be a serious enemy tomorrow. But for every potential threat, only about one in ten ever becomes a real threat. Are you willing to fight ten preventive wars to squash one possible, future threat?

Here's a scenario for you. Let's suppose there's a brilliant student of nuclear physics at MIT from the small country of Obscuria. We know that Obscuria is an obnoxious little place. Their leader would like to be a regional power and gain some respect -- and, we know that he has personally financed this student's study at MIT. Therefore, you could justify that we assassinate the student now -- because in 20 years he may be the brains behind an nuclear bomb for Obscuria. Or perhaps we should invade and occupy Obscuria now?

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 3:39:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2012 4:43:12 AM PDT
Smallchief says:
Richard says: When they kept talking about shock and awe, I knew it was going to be a fiasco

Smallchief replies: Likewise. And I was certain it was going to be a fiasco when I talked to a well-plugged in ex-Marine Colonel about two months before the war started. He said, "We'll blow through Iraq to take Baghdad with no sweat. But there's nothing behind the front-line troops, no military police to keep order, no occupation force, no plan, no nothing. We'll lose control..." And we did.

I blame the media for part of the problem. They were there by the hundreds in the Middle East before the war started. CNN rented a 5-story luxury hotel in Kuwait for its staff. Few ever asked any hard questions. And the few who expressed doubts about the war were fired. Peter Arnett and Ashley Banfield are two I can recall who got a pink slip for being unpatriotic and actually opining that the war might be a mess. The others were cheerleading. It was bad for business, opposing the war. Patriotic gore (to borrow a phrase) was the order of the day.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 12:50:57 PM PDT
L. King says:
I'd pick Sadaam as a first-rate dictator, or possibly a 2nd rate dictator.

Emomali Rahmon of Tajikstan would probably go into the 3rd or 4th tier. So would Niyazov of Turkmenistan. Never heard of them? That's part of what makes them 3rd rate.

How do you come up with your ranking?

Oh, and the following youtube video is for those nostalgic for dictatorships: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1EX--vdxh4 ;-)

Posted on May 19, 2012 12:49:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2012 12:58:08 PM PDT
Smallchief says:
A first-rate dictator has to have some success. Saddam was a disaster. A disastrous war with Iran. A disastrous invasion of Kuwait. He took a relatively prosperous, middle-class country and turned it into a basket case. Literally. At the end, Iraqis were getting a basket of food each month from the government because the currency was worthless.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2012 5:48:59 PM PDT
IGS says:
kb

Good deal with the provisional ... remember, you have a year this includes foreign stuff, but go with it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2012 6:40:23 PM PDT
I'm goin' surfin' says:
kb

Good deal with the provisional ... remember, you have a year this includes foreign stuff, but go with it.
=================
thanks again. i should have funding and be selling before 2013

It's an important product that helps make the world a little safer for children.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2012 7:07:57 PM PDT
L. King says:
Saddam had a really long run and was quite successful in retaining power in large nation, even in spite of being defeated in two major wars. He had the usual accoutrements of a Dear Leader - secret police, his picture everywhere, the ability to say the word and have people tortured and killed. Some people claim that he was a success in providing education and creating universities that churned out a record number of PhDs, though I don't know how much of that was merely credentialism. I can't agree with your assessment of "success" which would also make Pol Pot and Hitler less than "1st rate". So I'm not entirely clear on your metric.

Posted on May 22, 2012 7:16:09 PM PDT
L. King says:
Syrian Kurdish dissident: Break Syria into pieces

Sherkoh Abbas, a veteran Syrian Kurdish dissident, called on Israel this week to support the break-up of Syria into a series of federal structures based on the country's various ethnicities.

Speaking from Washington, Abbas was also critical of US attempts to induce Syrian Kurds to join and work with the main opposition body, the Syrian National Council. Abbas, who heads the Washington- based Kurdistan National Assembly, said that dismantling Syria into ethnic enclaves with a federal administration would serve to "break the link" between Syria and the Iran-led "Shi'a crescent."

Syrian Kurdish, Druse, Alawite and Sunni Arab federal areas, he suggested, would have no interest in aligning with Iran.

Full article: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=270149

Discounting the speaker's belief that Israel's support could have any effect on the outcome in Syria, should Syria reorganize on federal lines that are heavily oriented towards Sunni Arabs, the reestablishment of a Kurdistan may make a great deal of sense - from the POV of the Kurds. The country would be landlocked, which would put it at a disadvantage, but making an issue of this might highlight the problems of other landlocked countries in the region.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2012 8:11:06 PM PDT
\\Saddam had a really long run and was quite successful...\\

He was a creature of the superpower and its allies, until he outlived his utility -- but he was hardly a success.

Unless your metric was the destruction of the strongest country in the region. And of course that IS your metric, Ms October Surprise.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2012 8:13:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 23, 2012 8:15:00 PM PDT
patrick says:
Basically yours is the "I'll act when theyre in my living room" principal.

thing Ive noticed about people with that policy, and the policy itself in action--

no fight ever actually occurs, even later when unwanted guests arrive in that living room.
Needless to say, in the case in point, youre guilty of an immense, counter-productive and deliberate over-simplification of the Iraq/Saddam issue, to a point where you are not discussing the issue itself at all.

Posted on May 23, 2012 8:23:25 PM PDT
patrick says:
He was a creature of the superpower and its allies, until he outlived his utility -- but he was hardly a success.
No he wasnt, he was a creature of the Middle-east and its culture and politics.
He was just one of the basic three types of government that predominates there.

and that can be ok, sort of...we dont want to make war in the middle-east or anywhere because they have forms and styles of government that we hopefully would not tolerate or would not impress us..whether those states are weak or powerful.
but you cant take over other OPEC states....like Kuwait, and whoever was next on the list after Kuwait..we cant have people redrawing the worlds oil supply cake to suit themselves and by virtue of local force...
and you cant have nuclear and/or other WMD weapons programs.
If he played it cool instead of 2-bit Arab Mussolini ...he'd still be in business, probably, unless there was another huge war with Iran by now...even with that he'd have had US support if necessary.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2012 8:29:11 PM PDT
L. King says:
Exactly when was he a creature of "the superpower" -

When he slaughtered the residents of Dujail?
When he fired SCUD missiles at Tel Aviv?
When he blew up the oil fields of Kuwait?
When he gassed his own Kurdish people during the Anfal campaign?

At the very least you have to let Saddam take credit for his own initiatives.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2012 8:35:57 PM PDT
L. King says:
There's a tendency by some, let's call them apologists, to not grant agency to the leadership of other countries, as if they are incapable of making decisions and acting in their own interests. You don't get to be a dictator if you are dumb and aren't charismatic, and you certainly don't get to stay in power without those qualities - you'd be cut down in an instant if you did. A good example would be Syria which went through some 17 different autocrats from the end of WW II until Assad Sr. took power.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2012 2:24:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 24, 2012 4:59:34 AM PDT
Smallchief says:
Patrick says: Basically yours is the "I'll act when theyre in my living room" principal.

Smallchief replies: I plead guilty. That would be my principle. Preventive war is, in the vast majority of instances, illegal, immoral, impoverishing, and idiotic. There are always calls for war against an enemy or potential enemy. Patton, as I recall, wanted to march to Moscow in 1945. MacArthur wanted to bomb China in the early 50s.

Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed in those instances. I can't think of any "preventive" wars the US has ever engaged in until the murky, dishonest, mess that was Iraq. The advocates of preventive war thought it would be a cake walk and that we could follow up our enormous success in Iraq with a preventive strike against Iran.

I'll ask the question again. If, in 2003, GWB had proposed to invade Iraq at a cost of a trillion dollars, 4,000 American dead, and 30,000 wounded, would anybody have supported the war? And yet now, using the same doomsday rhetoric and pollyanna optimism, the proponents of the war with Iraq are telling us to do a "preventive" strike against Iran. Isn't madness doing the same thing over and over again and expecting it to succeed the next time?

Iran may someday be a threat. So may a host of other countries. But nine chances out of ten the "threat" of Iran will be resolved without war and to, at least, our partial satisfaction -- if we don't make any colossal blunders. The Cheney argument that we have to squash any potential threat anywhere is silly. We can't. We haven't got a clue who and what will be a threat to us in 10 years. Most likely it won't be Iran.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2012 7:01:43 AM PDT
John M. Lane says:
With all due respect, Smallchief, you're overlooking Saddam's role in dragging the US into war in Iraq. His ongoing violations of the cease fire, including routinely firing on Coalition aircraft patroling the "No Fly Zone" and his obstruction of UN inspections were the causes of that war.

Saddam held the initiative, not Bush.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2012 8:09:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 24, 2012 8:15:46 AM PDT
Smallchief says:
Horsefeathers, John. (I'm trying hard to match you in politeness, and that seems a mild expletive.)

Saddam was occasionally uncooperative. we enforced a no fly zone for twelve years (1991-2003) and he occasionally shot at our airplanes -- who frequently bombed military installations in southern Iraq. I don't recall that he ever hit one our airplanes. And he shut the UN inspectors out on occasion -- but the right wing and cheerleaders for the war (that's you) said the UN inspectors were worthless, anti-American, wimps because they couldn't find any WMD. There wasn't any to find....and, if there had been, calling the primitive gas he might have had "WMD" would be an exaggeration.

Given the Right wingers disdain for the UN, you actually believe that we went to war to enforce a UN resolution? Come on, man! Shall we enforce all UN resolutions by invading countries (including our own) which may not be in fall compliance with a UN resolution?

There were several motivations behind the war in Iraq. The most important one was for the United States to secure a base for meddling in the Middle East by making Iraq a US colony or satellite. It's like the 19th century when the Brits fought wars to secure coaling stations for their ships. And the thinking behind the Iraq War was right out of the 19th century. But we're in the 21st century now and colonialism is dead.
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  224
Initial post:  Feb 8, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 7, 2013

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