Iraq - what would YOU do...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by blackfox, Apr 24, 2004.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #1
    OK, after repeatedly reading about the continuing quagmire that is Iraq and the various rationale for support or disgust of the US policies/tactics in that area...I ask this question:

    What would you do with Iraq if you were in a position to effect change? Please try and be somewhat specific with your answers and rationale...

    I bring this up because although I find the Iraq situation to be a horrible mess, I cannot see a clear-cut alternative. Here are a few, and my problems w/them:
    1) Pull out of Iraq, hand over government to Iraqis...
    I would love this one, but I do not see the US government willing to lose face after such an expenditure of time and money (and lives)...in addition, although the Iraqis are an educated people, I believe that if we ubruptly pulled out, there would be chaos, and perhaps an Iran-style theocracy...
    2) US forces should refrain from direct military strikes of suspected terrorists and concentrate on rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure...
    This is the easiest way to re-win the Iraqis good-will, by providing them gas,electricity and water in a regular and timely fashion...I do believe most Iraqis would not support attacks against the US, if we were actually improving their quality of life. The problem here is, if I were aligned against the US occupation, if I was to target the oil, electric or water utilities, I could easily undermine the USs best efforts and gain support...
    3) US should gain international support by whatever means necessary, work w/ the newly sovereign Iraqi government...
    Frankly, I do not think any country wants to touch Iraq with a ten-foot-pole, and I don't blame them...as far as working with the Iraqi government, the US military would have to cede some/much of the control over its' forces and tactics, which from a tactical standpoint might prove fractous or inefficient...also any success shared by this arrangement might work against the new Iraqi government as them not being independent...(in perception)...
    4) Pull-out slowly and allow for the fact that Iraq might not be ready for a democratic government. There are alot of conditions a society must meet for democracy to work as a system, I am not sure that Iraq can meet them all...there are plenty of examples of where just holding free-elections were a disaster (Haiti) as the rest of the country was in too much of a mess. So, in effect we would support a type of Autocratic governance to emerge and create order and try and make sure that they were pro-american. This might be acheived in part by economic and military assistance...which is something the US has done many times before...Risky proposition, however.
    5) Any of the above combined with a high-profile abandonment of Israeli appeasement policy and a strong push for a Palestinian state...I think we would win alot of points in the MIddle East this way, and I think it is somewhat smart policy, as blindly supporting the Isrealis has gotten us in alot of hot-water we perhaps didn't deserve...with the power of the pro-Isreal lobby in the US, this could be very hard...
    6) NUKE Iraq and build a Disneyworld/ Waterpark/ Really big Mall over the rubble...just kidding...

    Anyway, my answers were not meant to be comprehensive, just to get the ball rolling, I know there are a great many thoughtful personalities in these forums (you know who you are)...so lets see what you think...thanks

    *edit* Try and look at this as if we were in an alternate universe where anything is possible...even if you have ideas that obviously might not be implemented by Bush or anyone in the "real" world. I am talking theory...I am just interested if there are any decent alternatives to be had. Try and check your cynicism at the door, although any thoughtful/plausible argument must include some realism/context. Just try and strike a balance...Clear?
     
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #2
    Strong support for a Palestinian state would probably help a great deal. But George Bush isn't going to change decades of US policy towards the middle east...wait. Hold that. He did change decades of US policy towards the middle east, just in the wrong direction.
     
  3. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #4
    Not that I am aware of. Considering the fact that I posited this question because it seems so difficult to imagine a positive and satisfactory resolution to Iraq, I think it is best that he stay silent for now. I would prefer an answer of course, but Bush and perhaps the press would eat him alive...which I find ironic as neither of them seem to have any idea either...
    Also, as to my first post, I am also keenly interested in hearing ideas and opinions from our members not living in the US, as the perspective and attitudes might be illuminating as to possibilities I/we as US denizens might not see...thanks again for any opinions...
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Not sure if I really have a solution. It seems to me that we've made several political mistakes since the end of the combat phase. Among them is the notion of a Central Command with little autonomy for sub-units around the country. Another seems to be in the use of propaganda via newspaper/radio/TV to persuade the Iraqis to cooperate. Another seems to be in the arena of basic understanding of the culture. I'm not rabid about these ideas; it just seems to me this is where we've gone off course.

    The uprising is coming from people who either don't realize or don't care that if they don't jump into violence against us or our supporters, we'll leave sooner. I'm not sure how you deal with that mindset. I doubt their leaders are stupid, but they're acting as though they have an endless supply of cannon fodder.

    I've always had doubts about the efficacy of "We need to install a Democracy!" The history of the entire area lacks example--or successful example; Isreal is an anomaly--and the culture certainly doesn't support the idea. I'm affected by the African example of "One man, one vote, one time." as a President For Life emerges.

    So, with that as background: We need to stop the violence insofar as possible, and right now that means killing a bunch of people--they're choosing to initiate violence. At the same time, the leaderships of all groups need to have it pounded in that all groups will have some say in the governing of the country--whether Kurd or Sunni or Shiite. The concept of group-equality appears to be the major arena for propaganda via radio/TV/press to try to get popular support for what is to them a new idea. Me, I just hope that might work; I don't know that it will. Selling the idea that an end to violence would mean self-rule and a better economic condition for "Joe Iraqi" strikes me as important.

    Could this lead to success? I dunno. The overarching problem is the agitation of a relatively few activists who in essence are stealing air from 25 million Iraqis.

    Rat
     
  5. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Many people asked the same question about Vietnam. If we stay we will be bogged down in a long conflict, many Americans and Vietnamese will die and there will be no guarantee of victory. So what do we do? Many on the right said "we can't leave". As a result, it was six and a half years from the election of Nixon to the final withdrawal from Vietnam.

    Even today there are those who say we shouldn't have withdrawn from Vietnam (which I find absolutely crazy). The lesson to be learned is that if you make the mistake in the first place of committing troops to a no-win situation, you can not find an easy solution at the end of the conflict.

    Therefore, don't look for an easy solution now. But my recommendation would be pretty much the same as before: adhere to the dates set -- June 30 for turnover of sovereignty, and January for elections. Whoever is unlucky enough to get the reigns of power on July 1 will have to be told that U.S. troops will be essentially gone from Iraq by the end of January.

    What will be result? A possibly divided Iraq -- possible civil war -- possibly a theocracy. But if you want to stay in Iraq to prevent this you are falling into the same trap Johnson and Nixon did in Vietnam. After staying a while longer you begin to realize that you have only delayed making the same decision you rejected before. And the cost will be more lives, more national division, and more international isolation.
     
  6. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #8
    Of course this is hopelessly naive...but...what if:
    There was a time (in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) where americans, british and french were received warmly and affectionately by the arab populace...oftentimes they are referred to as "arabists"...they included Lawrence(of Arabia fame), Burton and a number of missionaries, who while originally intending to convert the Arab populace, quickly found out the implausability of that tact, and instead decided to build hospitals and schools...they found alot to love about Arab culture, and they, in turn, were loved for theirs (at least their contributions). As geopolitics crept in as the 20th century advanced, many of these expatriates (and their host cultures) were faced with the confusing spectacle of a National Government doing one thing(usually bad), and having people from those countries(expatriates) doing or supporting another (usually good, or at least practical). With the creation of Isreal, the party ended...but is a policy of building schools and hospitals w/o political machinations a possible tact? There would be alot of good will to recreate, but comparatively it could be done on the cheap...and build a culture that may be able to deal with democracy responsibly...(on an aside, I guess we could do that in the US too..)
    Just a rambling thought,
    and nice posts Desertrat and Numedia...
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    If I was the President of the USA, I'd resign.
     
  8. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #10
    It is a job that I fail to understand why *anyone* would want.
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #11
    First, we need to immediately stop talking this baloney about handing over sovereignty to a fictitious government with no real power and no functional governmental institutions, to a people with no experience with democratic forms of government. This is a recipe for disaster.

    I think we need to begin creating now what will almost certainly be required eventually: an Iraqi ward state stabilized by some combination of UN and NATO troops. Once calm is restored (this will probably take a half million soldiers and 2-5 years), this ward state can be further aided by international NGOs who can help Iraq rebuild a framework of a workable society. Local elections can probably be started during this time-frame, at least in the places where bombs aren't going off daily, so some Iraqis can begin to feel they exert some control over their fates. This will also go a long way towards side-stepping the ethnic issues which are threatening to fracture Iraq into states within a state.

    With a bit of luck, after 10-15 years of steady nurturing by the international community, Iraq might be ready to toddle off on its own, more or less.

    And of course before any of this can occur, we need a President who can admit that the current approach isn't working.
     
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    Which is the quality that SHOULD qualify you for the job. The people who desire it the most are the ones we least want in there!
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #13
    Neserk for President! :D
     
  12. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    IJ, you're doing as good as anybody else...

    (And I'm not trying to damn with faint praise, either.) :D

    'Rat
     
  13. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #15
    I think you hit the nail on the head. The UN needs to take over the whole mess and we need a president willing to give control to them!
     
  14. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #16
    LOL *runs in the other direction*
     
  15. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Wow! Neserk has gone from being banned to being president in one day!! Good going Neserk! :D
     
  16. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #18
    Well thanks -- but it's kind of scary, isn't it? I mean, here I am, just a regular news-junkie type, and my off-the-cuff ideas probably aren't any less fully formed than the ones our current "best and brightest" can muster. All of which raises the question: How smart does a person have to be to develop a talent for evading the obvious?
     
  17. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #19
    ROFL... I saw that ;)
     
  18. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #20
    Well said...I assume you advocate something loosely analgous to how the Balkans/former Yugoslavia was dealt with (as a real-world example)...although I have problems with that approach (as would most people who remember how that played out...) I agree that it is definitely preferable to current policy...I think there is a chance Kerry might do this if elected, Bush - no way...
     
  19. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #21
    IJ, "fully formed" is not a requisite. What's often most important is that the idea consider some new view or variant. I keep thinking of the ancient bit, "Insanity is repeating the same action in the hope of a different result."

    Anytime there are problems with the results of a set of ideas, a halfway-smart fella looks at options.

    So, Iraq: What's being tried MIGHT work. It MIGHT be too early to holler, "Failure!" But it sure doesn't hurt to look at other ways to achieve a reasonable result. It's nothing more than playing that old game of "What if...?"

    (It just sorta hit me that playing "What if..." could also be called "common sense" or "horse sense". That calls up the time I was sarcastically asked what is "horse sense"? "Well," I sez, "Horse sense is what a jackass ain't got."

    I look at a lot of our foreign policy decisions over the last forty years or so and I sometimes think both parties need to adopt the same mascot: The jackass.

    'Rat
     
  20. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #22
    I believe you have a point 'rat, that it might be too early to write off our current policy, but it is also time to look at other alternatives...it is all fine to be steadfast in the face of problems, as that is part of being courageous...but at the same time, being steadfast and inflexible with bad policy is just idiotic (and perhaps prideful)...
    On an aside, why is it so inconceivable for leaders to admit they are wrong, when it is perfectly obvious to everyone? I know in this day and age you can get away with stonewalling and spin, but I would respect a leader (of any party) who just admitted a mistake was made, took responsibility and corrective action...I think alot of reasonable voters would respect and identify with that...I mean most people can remember being caught in a lie over who broke the cookie jar(or whatever) when they were children, lying about it in the face of nearly irrefutable evidence, and then feeling somewhat ashamed (whether let off the hook or not) afterwards...It is human to make mistakes, to avoid responsibility at times, especially when we are seven...I think it pisses alot of people off to see our leaders basically act like these seven-year-olds as full grown adults...as if admitting you are wrong is a sign of weakness...it is a sign of maturity in my book.
    End of Rant...
     
  21. toontra macrumors 6502

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    #23
    I agree wholeheartedly that leaders should have the guts to admit to mistakes.

    But, in the case of Iraq, I would have preferred if if Bush hadn't made the mistake of invading in the first place! There were plenty of well-informed people who were telling him that this action was inappropriate and would likely have dire consequences - he chose to ignore that advice.

    That being so, I think it highly unlikely that we will see anything even remotely approaching an apology from this man - in his eyes it would be an admission of bad judgment, and he ain't going to do anything which gives that impression.

    Which leads me to think we will continue down the worst-possible-scenario route for some time yet, if only in an effort to save face for Bush & co. Your child & the cookie jar analogy is a good one - Bush will continue screaming he didn't do it till he's red in the face!
     
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #24
    I don't think it's at all too soon to label the current policy failed. In fact I think it's well past time. The entire concept of a sovereign Iraqi at this point is an obvious charade, a fabrication designed to minimize the political damage created by a botched policy. What's worse, this bit of paper-hanging is really only meant hold up until November, after which (assuming Bush wins), so many other shoes will drop, it'll make Imelda Marcos look like a coal miner's daughter.

    What happens after June 30, when Iraqis are going to discover (assuming they don't already know) that they've got no more control over their lives and the people who rule them then before? What will they conclude when this so-called "sovereignty" is really American rule thinly wrapped with a few individuals hand-selected by the CPA? I don't think I need to belabor this point any further.

    Bosnia is a fair model, though one hopes that the world has learned some lessons from this experience, and could implement it more effectively. At least Bosnia gives us some realistic idea how lengthy, how difficult, and how costly such an effort will be. These are lessons we ignore at our peril, and ignoring them is exactly what I see happening now.
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #25
    And ignoring the warnings that this kind of stuff can and would happen is the reason we stuck our hands into this tar baby in the first place. This war was predicated on a population that would be overjoyed to see us. We were assured that it was only because Saddam was still on the loose that people were afraid to open their arms to us. Now Saddam's been captured and did anything change? Yeah, it got worse. How many Americans have been killed since Saddam's capture?

    Now we're told that this is just a handful of 'dead enders' and 'regime holdouts' resisting us, and if we could just get them that the arms of the people will open to us. I don't see it. I see the US making a fateful error in judgement and attacking either Falluja or Najaf or both, and managing to turn the entire population against us.
     

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