War In Iraq

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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:24 am

bodidley wrote:One of the reasons the Bush administration went to war with Saddam Hussein is that several key leaders at the White House were followers of Samuel Huntington's clash of civilizations theory (which greatly over-simplifies the whole world) and believed that the middle-eastern nations needed to be transformed into democratic societies in order to ensure lasting peace. I believe this was the primary reason for the invasionn not WMD or oil. The Bush administration believed that there would be an "Arab spring," if you will, following the fall of Saddam, but it didn't work because the invasion was perceived as imperialist islamophobia in the middle east.


That is interesting. I'd support that as well. Humorously there was a Arab Spring...just a lot later.


Saddam also created an elaborate facade to convince his generals and officials there was a WMD program and the Bush administration was certain that meant there must have been one.


When reading of the invasion of Iraq I always found this to be a hilarious point. The anti-war liberals were crying about the WMDs being a hoax, and coalition forces were naturally told to expect WMD attacks. While they're on the ground many of the Iraqi Republican Guard deserters are fleeing towns strapped with gas masks because they fear Hussein would use chemical weapons (WMDs) against the coalition and they'd be caught in the middle. While some say the Iraqi soldiers and citizens were told to say this to trick the coalition forces into towns, I find it funny there was so much confusion in the theatre, but at home all the anti-war folks just knew there were none.
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:06 pm

From a British perspective (did we pull out earlier or we still in there? Think the former), Iraq was a disaster. Unless Iraq becomes a democratic power who some day rescues the UK against an invading force as a thank you for our efforts, I can't see that changing.

We aren't a country that can afford to fight two major camapigns yet we did so, further stretching our resources and increasing the black hole in the MOD's budget. We threw away a lot of international goodwill that we might have had and created unnecessary enemies, we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and we are paying for it. At home, it did damage to the credibility of the intelligence services, provoked ill-feeling all round and destroyed Blair. His popular peak was already past but his popularity plummeted and Iraq seemed to drag into everything as Blair kept having to defend himself. Who knows what he might have been able to do if he hadn't thrown it all away on helping Bush
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:11 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:From a British perspective (did we pull out earlier or we still in there? Think the former), Iraq was a disaster. Unless Iraq becomes a democratic power who some day rescues the UK against an invading force as a thank you for our efforts, I can't see that changing.


The UK pulled out in April 2009, and lost 179 soldiers. While corruption and security remains serious issues, at least they are somewhat a democracy and as are asking for US (and I assume other Western) investments.


We aren't a country that can afford to fight two major camapigns yet we did so, further stretching our resources and increasing the black hole in the MOD's budget. We threw away a lot of international goodwill that we might have had and created unnecessary enemies, we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and we are paying for it. At home, it did damage to the credibility of the intelligence services, provoked ill-feeling all round and destroyed Blair. His popular peak was already past but his popularity plummeted and Iraq seemed to drag into everything as Blair kept having to defend himself. Who knows what he might have been able to do if he hadn't thrown it all away on helping Bush


What country could afford it? We did it anyway. I fully agree our focus should have been on Afghanistan though. What enemies did you gain that you didnt' really have anyway?
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:19 pm

The UK pulled out in April 2009, and lost 179 soldiers. While corruption and security remains serious issues, at least they are somewhat a democracy and as are asking for US (and I assume other Western) investments.


I want to give Iraq (and any new democracy) ten or so years before I judge turning it into a democracy a success.

What country could afford it? We did it anyway. I fully agree our focus should have been on Afghanistan though. What enemies did you gain that you didnt' really have anyway?


We shouldn't have gone for a second camapign without dire need or unless we were richer. We also shouldn't try to fund such a high defence budget when we don't have the cash anyway but that's another matter.

Most of the Western world? Don't know enough about the Middle East and Arab countries to know which ones were rather less inclined to be friendly with us over Iraq.
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:23 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
I want to give Iraq (and any new democracy) ten or so years before I judge turning it into a democracy a success.


Fair enough. I'd wager it'd be fair then to say its too soon to call it failure either.

We shouldn't have gone for a second camapign without dire need or unless we were richer. We also shouldn't try to fund such a high defence budget when we don't have the cash anyway but that's another matter.


Your country did it and managed. It paid a price, sure. Both our nations did.

Most of the Western world? Don't know enough about the Middle East and Arab countries to know which ones were rather less inclined to be friendly with us over Iraq.


Most of the Western world? Like who? I'm not British nor do I really interact with Europeans very much so you know better than I. But did Iraq really matter in the long-run to relations with other countries? Did it not affect US the same? Does it really matter?
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:03 pm

Your country did it and managed. It paid a price, sure. Both our nations did.


It quite probably screwed up a war we were already on and we haven't managed it. We might not have gone bankrupt by the time we pulled out of Iraq but we have a hole that we can't seem to fix and may not fix for a long long time. This is making the difficult job of getting the deficit under control even harder, let alone such long term dreams as paying off our debts. Iif Hammond manages to stop the black hole from losing more money, let alone getting it repaid then we will have discovered he is the Second Coming.

Most of the Western world? Like who? I'm not British nor do I really interact with Europeans very much so you know better than I. But did Iraq really matter in the long-run to relations with other countries? Did it not affect US the same? Does it really matter?


It put a wedge between us, the sort that festered for awhile and leads to press insults about cheese eating surrender monkeys. It's gone now, this time we have Cameron to replace Iraq, and don't recall there being a massive thing where we needed help and Iraq thing screwed us over but it probably didn't help in Eu diplomacy.
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:57 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:It quite probably screwed up a war we were already on and we haven't managed it. We might not have gone bankrupt by the time we pulled out of Iraq but we have a hole that we can't seem to fix and may not fix for a long long time. This is making the difficult job of getting the deficit under control even harder, let alone such long term dreams as paying off our debts. Iif Hammond manages to stop the black hole from losing more money, let alone getting it repaid then we will have discovered he is the Second Coming.


I'm certainly no economist, but I don't the Iraq War did you guys you..just like it didn't do us in. There would have been, and are, significant economic problems without the war at all.

It put a wedge between us, the sort that festered for awhile and leads to press insults about cheese eating surrender monkeys. It's gone now, this time we have Cameron to replace Iraq, and don't recall there being a massive thing where we needed help and Iraq thing screwed us over but it probably didn't help in Eu diplomacy.
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That is a pretty vague statement. To me it sounds like 'the French got upset and it didn't last long'.
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby bodidley » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:34 am

Dong Zhou wrote:From a British perspective (did we pull out earlier or we still in there? Think the former), Iraq was a disaster. Unless Iraq becomes a democratic power who some day rescues the UK against an invading force as a thank you for our efforts, I can't see that changing.


I would have to argue that from a historical perspective the American Revolution was a disaster for the British Empire but nonetheless led to a democratic power rescuing it on two occasions :lol:

You wouldn't rescue someone from a burning car wreck with the expectation that particular person is obligated to rescue you later on, would you?

I totally agree that the concept of the invasion was quixotic and was a serious diversion of resources away from the fight against Al-Qaeda and I was against the invasion. However once you've got yourself into the present you can't go back into the past, you have to make the right decisions based on the present, and once we were in Iraq withdrawing without stabilizing the situation would have been a catastrophe.

I have often scoffed at the simple-mindedness of the "fight them over there" theory when it comes to terrorism, but I feel like in many ways I was proven wrong. Iraq was a terrorist magnet. In three days of fighting in Fallujah more international terrorists from around the world were killed than could have been arrested after decades of police work by dozens of nations and after several devastating terrorist attacks.

I was influenced at that time by the concept of "insurgent arithmetic," that is to say that if you kill one man that five of his pissed off cousins will replace him. While that certainly can and does happen it's a serious over-simplification. Just because cousin Ahmed hates America and wants to go fight the Americans doesn't mean that when he doesn't come back all his cousins are going to go join him. If anything it made it no longer "cool" to go get killed in Iraq.

I think Americans have been influenced by the idea that Islam is a radical religion and don't understan that the vast majority of muslims are regular people with regular ambitions in life. The Iraq War may have pissed off a lot of people in the Arab world but it didn't turn everybody into radical advocates of terrorism, that's not to say that there aren't a lot of people who may approve of terrorism or attacks against perceived western enemies.

It's also not so simple to gauge "was it worth it?" How much is the liberty of tens of millions of people worth? Are thousands of lives too high of a cost or are they a small price to pay?
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:24 am

I'm certainly no economist, but I don't the Iraq War did you guys you..just like it didn't do us in. There would have been, and are, significant economic problems without the war at all.


I'm not blaming it for our economic problems, more the furthering of the MOD black-hole from Hell.

That is a pretty vague statement. To me it sounds like 'the French got upset and it didn't last long'.


In fairness, if you asked me in ten or so years whether Cameron complaining about China's human right record (not saying he was wrong, just an example) ever effected us I would probably be unable to remember the trade deals that suggested it had. I'm more aware now then I was then but I really doubt I would remember Germany's tact got it a better trade deal.

I would have to argue that from a historical perspective the American Revolution was a disaster for the British Empire but nonetheless led to a democratic power rescuing it on two occasions


Not like we took a conscious decision for you guys to throw a hissy fit. We forgive you, come back and surrender to the Queen :wink:

You wouldn't rescue someone from a burning car wreck with the expectation that particular person is obligated to rescue you later on, would you?


No. Going to war and invading a country is a tad different from a burning car wreck though.

I totally agree that the concept of the invasion was quixotic and was a serious diversion of resources away from the fight against Al-Qaeda and I was against the invasion. However once you've got yourself into the present you can't go back into the past, you have to make the right decisions based on the present, and once we were in Iraq withdrawing without stabilizing the situation would have been a catastrophe.


I never said we shouldn't have stayed in there once we had committed ourselves, just we should have told Bush we wouldn't help on this one.

It's also not so simple to gauge "was it worth it?" How much is the liberty of tens of millions of people worth? Are thousands of lives too high of a cost or are they a small price to pay?


Did we sacrifice the woman and people of Afghanistan for the people of Iraq though?
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Re: War In Iraq

Unread postby bodidley » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:56 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Did we sacrifice the woman and people of Afghanistan for the people of Iraq though?


I'm not sure I understand this statement. Iraq and Afghanistan had some things in common but really they are two totally different wars in two totally different countries.

A lot of "human life arithmatic" has been done since the fall of Saddam. I don't think it's so easy to justify war based on "saving lives." War means killing people, plain and simple. War isn't humanitarian. You can't just say X number of people would have been killed by Saddam and Y number of people were killed by the invasion so X-Y= Justified. On the other side of the coin, you can't just say that everybody in Iraq was just dandy before we invaded, and the level of violence the government was inflicting on the population to maintain control brings into question whether you could define the situation before the invasion as peace. I don't think that is peace, so a humanitarian argument against the invasion is equally wrong.

The real question is whether or not it was in the interest of the United States to invade and whether or not the American people trully understood the human cost of war and were willing to accept those costs. In the short term I would say that in many ways it was not in our interest, especially when we had to divide our attention between two campaigns. However just as the U.S. could have stayed out of WWII it was in our long-term interest to intervene, and in the long term a stable and democratic government in Iraq with peaceful trade relations to the U.S. and Europe is in our best interest. I don't think that the American people really understood what war was (they still don't) and were never really prepared for the human cost.

Another consideration is that the death and capture of so many foreign terrorists in Iraq has demoralized those who might have thought they could attack the U.S. and Europe with impunity to the point where there are only a tiny number of foreign terrorists in Iraq today and almost no Arab terrorists at all in Afghanistan. Most of the foreign fighters in Afghanistan are Pashtuns from Pakistan or Afghans who grew up in Pakistani refugee camps. There are also a small but skilled number of Chechens.

As far as the monetary cost goes, I don't know about the UK but in the US the wars have only been a tiny part of our enormous budget.
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