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View Full Version : Bush was told Iraqi democracy may be impossible


Pinto
Aug 15, 2003, 12:17 AM
link (http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2003/08/14/democracy_might_be_impossible_us_was_told)

US intelligence officials cautioned the National Security Council before the Iraq war that the American plan to build democracy on the ashes of Saddam Hussein's regime -- as a model for the rest of the region -- was so audacious that, in the words of one CIA report in March, it could ultimately prove "impossible."

That assessment ran counter to what the Bush administration was saying at the time as it sought to build support for the war.

The intelligence community's doubts were fully aired to top Bush administration officials in the months before the war in multiple classified reports.


Once again Bush gets told one thing, and says the opposite to the public.

Lets face it, the real reason was always the oil.

mactastic
Aug 15, 2003, 10:10 AM
Ahh, who cares if it's possible, we'll do it anyway...

"The question isn't whether it is feasible, but is it worth a try," Lieutenant Colonel James Cassella, a Pentagon spokesman, said yesterday.

IJ Reilly
Aug 15, 2003, 12:53 PM
Originally posted by Pinto
Lets face it, the real reason was always the oil.

I've never accepted that explanation, at least not entirely. The real reason is control. I have a strong suspicion that in the end the Bush administration will be perfectly happy with an autocratic government in Iraq, so long as that government is pro-American. In fact it may well turn out that the only hope of installing a stable, friendly government in Iraq is to have it be authoritarian. Remember, before it was anything else, the clearly stated Bush policy was "regime change," not democracy.

Pinto
Aug 18, 2003, 07:14 PM
Originally posted by IJ Reilly
I've never accepted that explanation, at least not entirely. The real reason is control.

But the underlying reason to want control is because the Mid East has all that easy to get oil.

Desertrat
Aug 18, 2003, 09:30 PM
Is "easy to get" a permanent condition?

'Rat

Ugg
Aug 19, 2003, 12:41 AM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Is "easy to get" a permanent condition?

'Rat


Define easy to get.

1. Sweltering heat
2. Broken down oil infrastructure, estimates run from $30 to $100 billion to bring it up to snuff.
3. Religious fundamentalists who want to control the Iraq's people and will use every means possible to do so.
4. Neighbors, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria that support anti-american terrorism.
5. Opec does not want the additional oil on the market.


Hmmm, doesn't look too easy to me. It does sound sort of similar to Texas ;) at least 1 and 3. Nigeria would have been easier, hell, even Libya would be. Oh well, too late now.

IJ Reilly
Aug 19, 2003, 12:56 AM
Originally posted by Pinto
But the underlying reason to want control is because the Mid East has all that easy to get oil.

It's certainly arguable that the only reason the US cares about the Middle East is oil, but I don't think it's quite that simple. We don't seem to care much about Latin America these days, and they've got plenty of the stuff. Geopolitics are more complicated then that.

Desertrat
Aug 19, 2003, 07:35 AM
Politically unstable: Colombia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Colombia is already low in total production of oil. Venezuela hasn't exported much oil since Chavez came into power and screwed up their system. Iran is becoming ever more polarized between the mullahs and the secular folks. Al Qaida is entrenched in Saudi Arabia and there is the problem of succession near at hand in the House of Saud.

Citgo is a Venezuelan-owned company.

Some 9% of our oil comes from Saudi Arabia.

The physical quality of American daily living depends on oil. The average American city has a three-day supply of food in the stores.

The success of the economy depends in large part on the cost of transportation of goods, services and people. It depends even more on availability of fuel for this transportation.

Now, our efforts around the mideast might or might not be "all about oil". It's entirely possible that they damned well oughta be.

'Rat

mactastic
Aug 19, 2003, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Politically unstable: Colombia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Colombia is already low in total production of oil. Venezuela hasn't exported much oil since Chavez came into power and screwed up their system. Iran is becoming ever more polarized between the mullahs and the secular folks. Al Qaida is entrenched in Saudi Arabia and there is the problem of succession near at hand in the House of Saud.

Citgo is a Venezuelan-owned company.

Some 9% of our oil comes from Saudi Arabia.

The physical quality of American daily living depends on oil. The average American city has a three-day supply of food in the stores.

The success of the economy depends in large part on the cost of transportation of goods, services and people. It depends even more on availability of fuel for this transportation.

Now, our efforts around the mideast might or might not be "all about oil". It's entirely possible that they damned well oughta be.

'Rat

The massive levels of oil needed could be lowered by responsible use of it. The government, however, sees no value in conservation. The only solution they see is to get more oil. That's a one-sided solution to a multi-faceted problem.

Desertrat
Aug 19, 2003, 11:14 AM
Why, then, mac, is there so much effort on the part of both government and industry for such things as fuel cells? These would reduce the demand for oil in transportation by at least 20% if not more.

I note that a Ballard-cell car was recently driven across the U.S. Cell hp 100; net available, 60 hp. That's better than an IC engine at some 35% net. (Based upon BTU/lb of fuel.)

FoMoCo sez that the IC engine will be a thing of the past by 2010. They've already "bet" over a billion dollars on fuel cells.

'Rat

IJ Reilly
Aug 19, 2003, 11:44 AM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Why, then, mac, is there so much effort on the part of both government and industry for such things as fuel cells? These would reduce the demand for oil in transportation by at least 20% if not more.

The level of effort is minimal in the US and the first fuel cell cars sold here will probably be made by Japanese, not US, manufacturers. The US car makers haven't even put a single hybrid car on the market. The government investment in fuel cell technology is a token intended to inoculate the Republicans against charges that their energy plans rely entirely on oilfield production.

mactastic
Aug 19, 2003, 11:54 AM
Why then 'Rat did our Vice President say that conservation is nothing more than a "personal virtue" not a method of reducing demand? When we had our energy crisis here, we basically conserved our way out of it that summer. All the dire predictions of 30 days of rolling blackouts became less than a half dozen once people realized they could make a difference themselves. The government could be doing far more to encourage conservation, and if they did I would be much more willing to support new oil drilling in places like ANWR.

Desertrat
Aug 19, 2003, 01:17 PM
:D You sound like my wife: "Why did he say that?" :D

Usually, it's cause the silly dipstick didn't know any better.

If conservation were the only virtue, we'd sure have us a country full of sinners.

Hybrid cars so obviously violate the KISS principle that (IMO) they will never be cost-effective in the marketplace. The Ballard fuel cells are now in production and they can't meet the demand. Daimler-Benz, for instance, is using them in city buses.

I imagine that Toyota, GM and Ford are going nuts trying to figure out a fuel-cell package that they can sell at a profit. But if they're not close to profitable, they just won't do it and I can't blame them. If it won't sell in the tens of thousands, what the hell good is it? The great hope is that very-large-scale production of the cells will allow costs lower than today.

From what I have read, the present cost of a cell which could supply the "average" house (3/2/2?) with electricity is about twice that of Solar. Solar with that size rectifier would cost around $16,000 plus maintenance, if built with the house. I'm sorta guessing that right now, a fuel cell that would power an econocar would run some $30,000 if not more--plus the rest of the car.

When you look at some of this R&D, and the problems regarding cost effectiveness, you can be glad that cost-effectiveness wasn't involved in that first moon landing.

Anyway, R&D money is deductible, which strikes me as a good thing. Funny. Folks talk about the "military-industrial complex" without realizing that "military" = "government". And they ignore the government/military-university-industry complex that's so involved in cars and environment and medicine and even the Internet...

Be that as it may, we're dependent on foreign oil for another goodly number of years.

'Rat

IJ Reilly
Aug 19, 2003, 02:25 PM
Internal combustion engines also violate the KISS principle, we simply fail to notice anymore because we're used to them. In fact modern car engines are so exquisitely complex, even the manufacturers often don't know how to find and fix problems. And forget your basic shade-tree mechanic -- they can hardly make head or tail out of the tangle of stuff under the hood of a contemporary car. No KISS at work there. So, have you ever looked -- closely -- at the guts of a VCR or camcorder? Tell me that technological monstrosity doesn't violate the KISS principle in spades! Yet they are made by the millions, and very cheaply besides.

If we were committed -- and I mean really committed to alternate fuel sources, we'd be there in a hurry. The reason we've made so little progress is due to the massive economic and political inertia built up around the way things are done now. It's more expedient to move some elk around in Alaska then to figure out a way to avoid having to move the elk around.

mactastic
Aug 19, 2003, 03:02 PM
And I'm not even talking about things that cost more money. At least not over say a max 5 year payback period. Energy req's on all new construction needs to be tightened up overall. Many of our buildings built in the 50's and 60's were built on the idea that it was cheaper to heat/cool than to insulate. Any attention paid to building orientation up front would save on energy costs. New buildings in California are required to meet strict energy guidlines designed to reduce dependance on electricity.

There are viable sources of clean solar energy on a large scale that can be built now. In fact in Austrailia they are going to build a solar tower that will be able to light 200,000 homes.
Link (http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2003/01/01072003/reu_49293.asp)

And in southern California there is a slightly different experimental plant on a different principle.
Link (http://www.solarpaces.org/solartres.htm)

And that is only on the more commercial scale. There are many other options, I can point you to many of them if you require links etc., but the point is that it's more than just fuel cells and hybrid cars.

There are options out there, and if we would subsidize them to even a quarter of the level we subsidize fossil fuels we could make them viable very fast.

zimv20
Aug 19, 2003, 04:31 PM
imo, the moon landing was possible because everyone wanted it. very few in power today seem to want alternative energy.

i maintain the way to fix a whole ton of problems is to steadily raise the price of gas until it hits $5+/gallon. then we'll see:

1. consumers demanding better performing vehicles
2. a serious R&D effort in alternative energy
3. immediate implementation of technologies working today (wind power, that cool heat tower, wave farms, etc.)
4. more investment in and use of public transportation

maybe we'd even stop urban sprawl...

Desertrat
Aug 19, 2003, 06:28 PM
Not to argue, but to offer some perspective: IC engines evolved over time--many decades, just to get to fuel injection for street use, for instance. Anti-smog equipment and computerized controls took around ten years, each, before they became really reliable.

There is the same sort of evolution for video cameras and digital cameras. Much of the impetus came from the space effort and the miniaturization needed in that endeavor. The guts of a VCR appear complex, but they're assembled by minimum-wage labor (or its equivalent) who do it step by step.

The solar panel--as a useful item--has also followed this same path.

Comparatively speaking, the IC engine is rather sloppy insofar as internal tolerances when you look at something like a fuel cell. I'd rather doubt you could do the equivalent of using 90-weight and STP when things get out of kilter.

All the above is merely a background as to why I'm not disappointed that we don't have all these wondrous inventions in place right now. And the idea of a lot more money for more research to some extent falls in with the idea that nine women can have a baby in one month.

Doesn't mean we can't do better in many areas, right now, of course. You just gotta pick and choose which areas upon which to focus.

'Rat

Pinto
Aug 19, 2003, 10:25 PM
Originally posted by Ugg
Define easy to get.

1. Sweltering heat
2. Broken down oil infrastructure, estimates run from $30 to $100 billion to bring it up to snuff.
3. Religious fundamentalists who want to control the Iraq's people and will use every means possible to do so.
4. Neighbors, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria that support anti-american terrorism.
5. Opec does not want the additional oil on the market.


Hmmm, doesn't look too easy to me. It does sound sort of similar to Texas ;) at least 1 and 3. Nigeria would have been easier, hell, even Libya would be. Oh well, too late now.

I meant easy to get from a engineering standpoint. Flat desert is a lot easier and safer to drill than the ocean. All the other problems arise from political problems.

This thread was originally about more lies from Bush. Things seem to have been sidetracked (as usual).

Regarding alternative fuels, the industry is putting bugger-all money into research because it's not wanted as a viable alternative until the oil really does start to run out.

So I'll guess we'll be waiting say another 15-20 years before there is no more money to be made from oil.

IJ Reilly
Aug 19, 2003, 10:27 PM
I grew up as the child of the space era, and to believe that anything was possible where the will existed (at least where technology was concerned). It was in 1962 I think when JFK made the pledge to put an American on the moon -- only a couple of years after we'd just figured out how to get one into orbit and back safely -- and it happened less than a decade later. That was a stupendous achievement. The Manhattan Project brought atomic energy from the realm of purely theoretical science to the very real in just a few years.

These things can be done. Maybe we've just forgotten what it means to have a will to achieve.

pseudobrit
Aug 19, 2003, 11:27 PM
Originally posted by IJ Reilly
Internal combustion engines also violate the KISS principle, we simply fail to notice anymore because we're used to them.

Try finding a simpler way to locomote four or more people safely, every day at speeds in excess of 60mph.

Often, complex tasks require complex solutions. It may violate KISS, but it got us to the moon, and it gives us the computers we're using right now.

In fact modern car engines are so exquisitely complex, even the manufacturers often don't know how to find and fix problems. And forget your basic shade-tree mechanic -- they can hardly make head or tail out of the tangle of stuff under the hood of a contemporary car.

The problems there are really:

there are very few shade tree mechanics due to the reliability of modern automobiles

...ergo, auto manufacturers have stopped building cars for easy mechanical adjustment. The "tangle of stuff" you speak of is all basically the same as it was 50 years ago (plus and minus a few components) if you know what you're looking at.

So, have you ever looked -- closely -- at the guts of a VCR or camcorder? Tell me that technological monstrosity doesn't violate the KISS principle in spades! Yet they are made by the millions, and very cheaply besides.

How it could possibly be done any simpler? How could you shoot digital video with a lens, five transistors and no moving parts?

(I think) we're in agreeance here that conservation with new technologies is possible if people can get past the overwhelming (new!) technological complexities of them.

****, I'd love to take my turbodiesel VW back 80 years or so. I can imagine the sentiment...

"What a piece of junk the car of the future is!" Where are the points? How the hell can you pull over and adjust the points if you can't see them? Hell, they don't even give you a toolkit! And only one spare tire!?! I've changed three flats this week alone, how the heck could you make it with only one spare tire? These cars of the future are impossible to work on, you can keep them!"

mactastic
Aug 20, 2003, 09:36 AM
Who needs democracy in Iraq? We can just install our own dictator, maybe he'll oppress his people enough that they will start pretending to like us. Hey, we could give hin the title of Shah!

Backtothemac
Aug 20, 2003, 09:51 AM
Originally posted by Pinto
But the underlying reason to want control is because the Mid East has all that easy to get oil.

Look, if we really wanted it, we could go in and lay absolute waste to the middle east, and kill without cause. However, that isn't it.

zimv20
Aug 20, 2003, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by Backtothemac
Look, if we really wanted it, we could go in and lay absolute waste to the middle east, and kill without cause. However, that isn't it.

maybe that was too hard a sell to the american public.

mactastic
Aug 20, 2003, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by Backtothemac
Look, if we really wanted it, we could go in and lay absolute waste to the middle east, and kill without cause. However, that isn't it.

Wha wha what??? Sure it's technically possible what with our nu-cu-lar weapons, but what do you think the rest of the world would do if we nuked Iraq? Couldn't and wouldn't happen. So GW and company are employing as much force as the international community will allow. I have no doubt that if there were no cameras in Iraq there would be far more abuses of the population in the name of military expediency. We already face international criticism every time we kill an innocent civilian, what would we face if we killed a couple million? And wouldn't that be exactly what you say we went in to stop Saddam from doing? I mean, it's all about those mass graves right?

Inu
Aug 20, 2003, 10:30 AM
"and kill without cause"

well... Sure you could kill everyone left and right, but then you would see the cause of it all soon enough. There are practical Moslemic people all over the place we call earth. If you do such a thing, the gloves would be off. Civil war. Baghdad shootings all over europe, maybe the US. You might have to cage them all up in guatanamo bay'ish compounds. Lets call them Concentration Camps then. And kill them off, for the crimes they wanted to do anyways.

Way to destabilize the world and lead to genocide on a global scale.

IJ Reilly
Aug 20, 2003, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by pseudobrit
Try finding a simpler way to locomote four or more people safely, every day at speeds in excess of 60mph.

Often, complex tasks require complex solutions. It may violate KISS, but it got us to the moon, and it gives us the computers we're using right now.

The problems there are really:

there are very few shade tree mechanics due to the reliability of modern automobiles

...ergo, auto manufacturers have stopped building cars for easy mechanical adjustment. The "tangle of stuff" you speak of is all basically the same as it was 50 years ago (plus and minus a few components) if you know what you're looking at.

How it could possibly be done any simpler? How could you shoot digital video with a lens, five transistors and no moving parts?

(I think) we're in agreeance here that conservation with new technologies is possible if people can get past the overwhelming (new!) technological complexities of them.

I think you may be missing my point here. D-rat was suggesting that technologies to replace the ICE are too complex for the problems to be resolved in the near term, and I was suggesting in rebuttal that the ICE is also complex, we just don't think of it that way because we've become accustomed to this particular set of complexities. Sure, the modern car engine has been made far more reliable (and efficient), but this occurred at the cost added complexity. If you don't believe me, try to get your service department to explain why an engine fault light comes on. I've been though this exercise enough times to know that more often then not, they haven't got a clue. The shade-tree mechanic is aced out because they don't even have access the diagnostic equipment required to read codes stored in the car's computer.

A helical scan (analog) VCR or camcorder is a very complex and delicate machine, which is why they break so often. Digital is far less complex mechanically.

zimv20
Aug 20, 2003, 11:01 AM
the problem is the will isn't there. check out the electric car made by TWO GUYS --

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2003/0727/cover.html

it is clear to me that the gov't and the US auto-manufacturers just don't care to invest time/money. there must either be a large grass-roots movement to demand it, or it must be legislated. 'cuz the technology is not only possible, it's here today.

IJ Reilly
Aug 20, 2003, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by zimv20
it is clear to me that the gov't and the US auto-manufacturers just don't care to invest time/money. there must either be a large grass-roots movement to demand it, or it must be legislated. 'cuz the technology is not only possible, it's here today.

Exactly, if these new technologies were a national priority, we'd have them with a matter of a few years, of that I'm quite certain. The issues are technical, and technical issues are the kind we know how to solve. Unfortunately, the barriers are political, and those seem to be the most difficult kind to resolve. Space and atomic energy were made matters of national pride and security. Energy independence could be too.

zimv20
Aug 20, 2003, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by IJ Reilly
Energy independence could be too.

it's a noble goal. which is why i think it doesn't stand a chance.

cynically, it seems anymore that the only things that are "worth" doing involve beating up on someone. i get the sense americans can feel that they've won only if someone else loses.

mactastic
Aug 20, 2003, 12:07 PM
It seems like a perfectly acceptable goal. Complete energy independance with no additional emissions increase or dangerous waste product, within 20 years. A president could say that being held hostage to foreign energy producers is a national security issue, and that the full cababilities and resources of the U.S. government will be focused on the effort.

Additionally, the more our public infrastructure items are distributed and localized, the harder it is for a terrorist to exploit critical flaws.

Ugg
Aug 20, 2003, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
the problem is the will isn't there. check out the electric car made by TWO GUYS --

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2003/0727/cover.html

it is clear to me that the gov't and the US auto-manufacturers just don't care to invest time/money. there must either be a large grass-roots movement to demand it, or it must be legislated. 'cuz the technology is not only possible, it's here today.

Excellent article! The guy has led a pretty interesting life and has developed an impressive auto with what seems to be very little money.

Too bad that GM pulled out of the deal. Goes to show that without a push by the Govt., such cars are unlikely to see the light of day.

Just as nuclear power costs are understated, they don't take into account what it costs to store the waste, so are fuel costs. I propose that the cost of the Iraq war or at least a substantial portion of it should be added to the cost of fuel.

Where I live the cost of gas is now around $2.20 gallon. I cringe everytime I fill up but my driving habits have changed substantially.

Now if those nifty little Ferrari Red Tangos only had a 250 mile range....

Pinto
Aug 20, 2003, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by Backtothemac
Look, if we really wanted it, we could go in and lay absolute waste to the middle east, and kill without cause. However, that isn't it.

That would be difficult. I think to many Americans may still actually believe in the founding principles of your country (politicians & ex-intelligence personal excluded).

And if the US behaved in such a manner, you could kiss all your overseas friends and more importantly, markets, goodbye.

visor
Aug 24, 2003, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by Pinto


And if the US behaved in such a manner, you could kiss all your overseas friends and more importantly, markets, goodbye.

There! finally a good point. Where would you sell things to if everyone was dead. Who would finance the US dept? Just imagine every Alien selling his dollars - where would the dollar end up? It would just loose 95% of it's value within a matter of days - Inflation would follow, ending up in civil war and most certainly be the end of the regime...
Now that would be all to counter productive I'd think.

mactastic
Aug 24, 2003, 10:14 AM
Originally posted by visor
There! finally a good point. Where would you sell things to if everyone was dead. Who would finance the US dept? Just imagine every Alien selling his dollars - where would the dollar end up? It would just loose 95% of it's value within a matter of days - Inflation would follow, ending up in civil war and most certainly be the end of the regime...
Now that would be all to counter productive I'd think.

Yeah, killing everyone else in the entire world might come back to bite us in the ass. I doubt we'll do that.