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Bush has created a comprehensive catastrophe

Bush Administration 2006 Middle East Policy Foreign Policy Disaster

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#21 Bad Wolf

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 04:40 PM

View PostMark, on Dec 18 2006, 01:15 PM, said:

View PostSpectacles, on Dec 18 2006, 01:21 PM, said:

From the article's conclusion:

Quote

Many a time, in these pages and elsewhere, I have warned against reflex Bush-bashing and kneejerk anti-Americanism. The United States is by no means the only culprit. Changing the Middle East for the better is one of the most difficult challenges in world politics. The people of the region bear much responsibility for their own plight. So do we Europeans, for past sins of commission and current sins of omission. But Bush must take the lion's share of the blame. There are few examples in recent history of such a comprehensive failure. Congratulations, Mr President; you have made one hell of a disaster.

He could have shortened the article by a few words since any non-American who criticizes Bush must be anti-American, regardless of what he says. And for that matter, so is any American who criticizes Bush.

Mark: Posted Image Alright...where is Spectacles? What have you done with her?  :sly:
I assume with your last statement, you were being sarcastic?  :suspect:


Specs was being sarcastic I expect.  

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#22 G1223

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 04:45 PM

View PostenTranced, on Dec 18 2006, 02:18 PM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on Dec 18 2006, 03:20 PM, said:

If his policies have been failures, it is hard to see where any other policy has been a success.

Well....we could have tried NOT invading Iraq for those now legendary Weapons of Mass Destruction.

enTranced

We could have gone ahead and stood around and said Saddam please be nice and let the inspectors do their job. Then hold our breath till he allowed them to do their jobs.

Or the get down on our knees and beg the taliban to give us Bin Ladin. And never speak out loud about any sort of threat.

Yet your man Kerry never thought they were legendary when he supported Clinton's spin up to a war with Saddam. Back in 98. Hell he sent a letter supporting the actions of the President. Odd how three years and his party not being in power changes a man's outlook.
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#23 Drew

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 04:51 PM

View PostCait, on Dec 18 2006, 03:37 PM, said:

We carelessly went to war without a plan, an exist strategy, or even a clear purpose, beyond ousting Saddam.  That is reckless in my opinion, and for that, Bush is wholly responsible.

I think we can demand more from our President.  I think we have to demand more.  It's not good enough to say, "Opps!   Oh well, the region was a powder keg anyway.  My bad!"  It's just not good enough.

I'm not saying that. We did have a plan going in, and I think we expected the people of the region to respond in a particular way -- perhaps based on cultural differences. Also, when a people have been under the thumb of oppression for as long as Iraq was under Saddam, they don't immediately start fighting for themselves when their dictator is deposed. They're not used to it. They still have a shadow of fear over them, and even more given that threats from their former dictator were just replaced by threats from terrorist cells.

America is a very different sort of creature, birthed in rebellion. I think we expect other peoples to react the same way our founders did. And given that, this bit of hindsight occurs to me: perhaps the best solution would have been to get the Iraqi people to get rid of Saddam themselves, even if in a violent overthrow. This would have emboldened the citizenry and given them the confidence they need to take charge of the situation now. It also probably wouldn't have resulted in the influx of foreign terrorists who came to Iraq to defeat the Great Satan of the U.S.

But two things: First, I suspect the administration didn't want a repeat of the Reagan administration policy of attempting to meddle in foreign affairs secretly (and unpopularly). And I think they realized that it would have been next to impossible to raise up a citizen militia to take out Saddam given his control over the country.

And second, I'm sure they wanted a little more control over the direction that a new Iraq goverment would take, and if they'd tried to do it from the inside, . . . well, you see how well that worked for us when we bolstered the Taliban against Russia.  :sarcasm:

So basically, good intentions + unpredictable situation - comprehensive planning = chaos.
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#24 Kosh

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 04:53 PM

View PostDrew, on Dec 18 2006, 11:34 AM, said:

View PostThemis, on Dec 17 2006, 05:29 PM, said:

G, do you have anything constructive to say refuting the article?  Or is it just "da*mn anyone who says anything bad about my great god bush?" as usual....

The Guardian is one of the most respected UK papers, as I recall, and NOT being a US paper, has no Republican/Democratic agenda.

Even so, G has a point. The Middle East has never been a model of stability. So it's hard to say whether the U.S.'s actions have made things worse (as the writer insists) or only brought the instability into greater focus.

And of course the writer has an agenda. Objectivity is a myth.



We had interviews with people who were never inclined to fight, till the USA invaded.

Edited by Kosh, 18 December 2006 - 04:55 PM.

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#25 Mark

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:10 PM

View PostKosh, on Dec 18 2006, 03:53 PM, said:

View PostDrew, on Dec 18 2006, 11:34 AM, said:

View PostThemis, on Dec 17 2006, 05:29 PM, said:

G, do you have anything constructive to say refuting the article?  Or is it just "da*mn anyone who says anything bad about my great god bush?" as usual....

The Guardian is one of the most respected UK papers, as I recall, and NOT being a US paper, has no Republican/Democratic agenda.

Even so, G has a point. The Middle East has never been a model of stability. So it's hard to say whether the U.S.'s actions have made things worse (as the writer insists) or only brought the instability into greater focus.

And of course the writer has an agenda. Objectivity is a myth.



We had interviews with people who were never inclined to fight, till the USA invaded.

Mark:
I suppose that's the reason they all have AK-47's, and grenade launchers?...cause they really were never inclinded to fight? :sarcasm:
Also, I guess there was never any tension between religious factions in the region, either?
Iraq has been a powder keg, along with the rest of the middle east since well before I was born. Saddam mearly sat atop the powder keg, killing anyone who even tried for it. He had his people whipped down physically, but especially, mentally.
I suppose it's somewhat like post traumatic stress syndrome with the Iraqi people, and they are really stressed! It doesn't help that every terrorists and his mama came, or is coming to Baghdad.

I think right now, it probably wouldn't make too much of  a difference if our forces completely backed out right now...it would just get down to the end-game a lot quicker, and the Iraqis themselves would have to earn their freedom, and build their government on their own.

Watching the Voyager marathon today, Janeway said something to the affect of people (Ocampa) having to earn their own freedoms. It made sense to me.

Edited by Mark, 18 December 2006 - 05:40 PM.

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#26 Drew

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:20 PM

View PostMark, on Dec 18 2006, 04:10 PM, said:

I think right now, it probably wouldn't make too much of  a difference if our forces completely backed out right now...it would just get down to the end-game a lot quicker, and the Iraqis themselves would have to earn their freedom, and build their government on their own.

Watching the Voyager marathon today, Janeway said something to the affect of people (the O'kahmpa...sp?) having to earn their own freedoms. It made sense to me.

Unfortunately, we put them in this position, and I think it's up to us to help them reach the independence they are grasping for. The question is how to best do it. It seems kind of jerky to take out Saddam and then run off and say "you have to earn your freedom now." (But then, Janeway could be a huge jerk sometimes.)
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#27 Lin731

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:22 PM

The Middle East is a mess, it's always been a mess and I've seen nothing to indicate that will change anytime soon. However our policies have made a bad situation a Hellish one and threatens to further destablize the area. The middle east is a hornets nest and Bush has made a hobby of whacking it repeatedly with a big stick.
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#28 Mark

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:25 PM

View PostDrew, on Dec 18 2006, 04:20 PM, said:

View PostMark, on Dec 18 2006, 04:10 PM, said:

I think right now, it probably wouldn't make too much of  a difference if our forces completely backed out right now...it would just get down to the end-game a lot quicker, and the Iraqis themselves would have to earn their freedom, and build their government on their own.

Watching the Voyager marathon today, Janeway said something to the affect of people (the O'kahmpa...sp?) having to earn their own freedoms. It made sense to me.

Unfortunately, we put them in this position, and I think it's up to us to help them reach the independence they are grasping for. The question is how to best do it. It seems kind of jerky to take out Saddam and then run off and say "you have to earn your freedom now." (But then, Janeway could be a huge jerk sometimes.)

Mark: That's exactly what the Caretaker told Janeway about being responsible for the Ocampa's current situation. The Caretaker took care of the Ocampa for a 1,000 years, and the people lost their natural talents, and abilities to fend for themselves. It makes me wonder even more how long we'll be paying back our debt to Iraq!  :crazy:

I'm not for leaving them stone cold, and in a hurry, but I am for making them poop or get off the pot.  ;)

Edited by Mark, 18 December 2006 - 05:41 PM.

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#29 Drew

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:35 PM

"Ocampa," actually. Not every "alien" word on Star Trek got messed up with apostrophes.  :cool:
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#30 Mark

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:39 PM

View PostDrew, on Dec 18 2006, 04:35 PM, said:

"Ocampa," actually. Not every "alien" word on Star Trek got messed up with apostrophes.  :cool:

Mark: I had just looked it up, and was about to edit my posts...thanks for the help, though.
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#31 Spectacles

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:55 PM

In April, 2003, just after the statue of Saddam fell, I was in the library and ran into one of my former students, a woman from Morocco. I knew about as much about Iraqi society as the average American, and I recall how my hair stood on end as she predicted that in short time the Sunnis and Shiites would be at each others' throats, possibly setting off a regional conflict. Being a Muslim, she knew all too well the tensions between the sects. "They HATE each other. The U.S. has no idea what it's done."

This knowledge was perhaps a major reason why, unlike the during the Gulf War, we had no Arab allies in this war. As my student explained, they were mostly watching events unfold with dread--not because they feared that "democracy was on the march" but because they knew the likelihood of what was to follow.

But whether you think this war was a good idea or not, it's almost impossible to argue that it has been conducted well. Here's a Frontline documentary on the first year of the occupation, and if you haven't seen it, it's a real eye-opener:

http://www.pbs.org/w...eariniraq/view/

Talk about ineptitude....When we look back on this war, which we will not "win," much of the blame for losing it will be placed on the decisions made during that first year.
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#32 Godeskian

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 07:25 PM

View PostDigital Man, on Dec 18 2006, 04:06 PM, said:

View PostGodeskian, on Dec 17 2006, 07:13 PM, said:

One can hate American foreign policy without hating America. I think that the foreign policy enacted by Bush has destabilised the entire region. I think it has created whole crops of new radicals, and I think it has made the world more dangerous. If, following his presidency he is arrested and tried, I'll be the first to break out the champagne.

But I don't hate Americans, don't even hate the country really.


Hey Gode  :cool:

I feel that one of the big problems with many Americans is that they tend to be a little too focused on what's happening here within their own borders, paying little if any attention to what's happening in the bigger world beyond. You're not going to learn anything if you only stick to what you're familiar with. I love to listen to/read international news. I enjoy the BBC, and I read their websites as well as listen to audio files.

And as a writer, this is particularly important to me. Trying to understand other perspectives is essential.


Absolutely. My sky subscription started carrying an english language subtitled Al Jazeera news channel, and i'll admit I find it fascinating to view the news from their biases instead of ours.

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#33 Cait

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 07:39 PM

View PostDrew, on Dec 18 2006, 01:51 PM, said:

I'm not saying that. We did have a plan going in, and I think we expected the people of the region to respond in a particular way -- perhaps based on cultural differences. Also, when a people have been under the thumb of oppression for as long as Iraq was under Saddam, they don't immediately start fighting for themselves when their dictator is deposed. They're not used to it. They still have a shadow of fear over them, and even more given that threats from their former dictator were just replaced by threats from terrorist cells.

America is a very different sort of creature, birthed in rebellion. I think we expect other peoples to react the same way our founders did. And given that, this bit of hindsight occurs to me: perhaps the best solution would have been to get the Iraqi people to get rid of Saddam themselves, even if in a violent overthrow. This would have emboldened the citizenry and given them the confidence they need to take charge of the situation now. It also probably wouldn't have resulted in the influx of foreign terrorists who came to Iraq to defeat the Great Satan of the U.S.

Drew, if you know these things, and I know these things, and you and I are just regular citizens, don't you think that with all the advisors and military men at the pentagon, and the CIA, that Bush knew all these things?  I'm serious now, how could anyone believe that what we're seeing now couldn't be predicted.

It's like generals during Viet Nam saying they didn't count on the organization of the Viet Cong and that they [The VC] weren't fighting a conventional war, but a guerilla war.  Well, all they had to do was take a look at how the VC fought [and beat] the French [and the Japanese].  It didn't take a genius to see that they would fight any way they could, and that they would not stop until they were free--yes even if they were free under Ho.

I saw an episode of La Femme Nikita years ago, that had this very scenario in a scene.  They [in the scene] predicted that if Saddam were overthrown, that the region would destabilize and [in the scene in the show] that there would be a nuclear incident within 7 years of the regional conflict taking the conflict to Asia and into Europe.  

I remember beginning to research the middle east because of that episode, because the scene unfolded very dramatically and seemed so real.  It seemed that way because the writers on that show apparently understood the region better than our own leaders.  

Hell if writers on a cable show can predict it accurately, you'd think the CIA and all the military minds could have, you know, figured it out.  

I guess what I'm really saying here, is that if our leaders never had a Plan "B" in case this did happen, then they are incompetent.  Hell, they should have at least had a Plan "B".  I want the President of the United States to have a damn Plan "B".  You should want the leader of the Free World to at least be smart enough to not drag un into a war without a contingency plan.

You know that, "What if?" plan.  The one that great leaders and military minds are known for.. You know.. just in case  

I'm just sayin....   :angel:

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#34 Hibblette

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 08:02 PM

The mess up happened because we have a bunch of people in charge that said "This will be a piece of cake."

The problem is that there's a lot of planning that goes into a cake and they just thought cake was something you bought at Albertson's or Krogers or Safeway or ...
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#35 JamesValEson

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 08:39 PM

I haven't read the article yet, but have my own opinions anywho.

First, We should've finished in Afghanastin (SP?), there was so much left there to take care of before tranfering out for another fight elsewhere (The Poppy problem for one). There were still Taliban holdouts, along with the corrupt warlords around the place, they shold've been taken care of. We got out too early.

Second, Iraq was Not Done Right. The whole WMD thingwas the wrong way to go about it. We shold've just finally stood up and said "He has Violated 17 of the terms that were part of the original Cease-Fire, and it's time we Take him to task for it". That was the Truth, and the good ol' UN wasn't going to do ANYTHING about it. Most inportantly, We Should Have WAITED! Bush and crew jumped in there too fast, and with too much blinding gusto for their own good. Bad planning, Bad Execution. 'Nuff said. Of course, we should have taken care of this all the way back in '91 when we had Rebels wating to help us. Then this would be a non issue, no 'Oil for Food', none of that.

My biggest fear out of all of this is that peeps are too busy comparing this to Viet Nam, and forgetting the bigger pisture of whats going on in the region and how it's eerily parallel to the lead up to WWII. We need to focus on whats coming on the horizon, while trying to learn from what has happened in the recent past, as well as the past when we were sitting back while the Nazi rise spread across Europe. The peeps who need watching are no doubt estatic that all this crap is going on to distract from what really need watching.

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#36 Spectacles

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 08:47 PM

The Frontline link I posted up there has some really fascinating interviews with people who were involved or witness to the first year of the occupation. Essentially, the entire decision-making process was flawed, mainly because the administration chose to listen to neoconservative ideologues who really were convinced that this would be a cakewalk. So dissenting views were shut out. There was no Plan B, as Cait says. There was hardly a Plan A.

The whole damned thing was more of a pipe dream than anything else. Truly scary reading. And it matches up with the critique of decision-making in the White House offered by former insiders, including former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.

http://www.pbs.org/w...raq/interviews/

Here's an excerpt from the interview with career diplomat James Dobbins:

Quote

[Why do you think they didn't hear the criticisms?]

I think that the main reason that the administration didn't address the doubts, the potential difficulties, was they short-circuited the interagency process. The way a president and his senior staff gain knowledge and consider all the alternatives is through a process, a structured process of adversarial debate, in which you bring all of the people who have opinions and a stake in the outcome to the table and let them argue through the different alternatives.

The administration chose not to do that. The president made his mind up early, before he had fully heard all of the arguments. Responsibility for preparations for the post-conflict phases were transferred from State and the [U.S.] Agency for International Development [USAID] to the Defense Department. So the National Security Council [NSC] staff did not prepare and then guide a process of adversarial debate between advocates and critics of the policy, between those who thought it would be easy and those who thought it would be hard. They didn't question the assumptions. They didn't look at the underlying assumptions and red-team them, in effect. The failure to do that meant the president and his senior advisers were less informed than they should have been.

Now, one can understand why they chose not to do that. I think they chose not to do that, in part at least, because they felt that a spirited debate within the administration wouldn't stay within the administration; that it would slop over into the international and domestic debate and make it more difficult to secure international and domestic support. That's probably true. It might have made it more difficult. But I think that had there been such a debate, had State and Defense and CIA been asked to critique the plans, to question the assumptions, and had there been a greater scrutiny of particularly the resource implications of the post-conflict phase, if you will, or the post-conventional conflict phase, one would have come to a much more realistic appreciation of what was likely to happen.

[Who's responsible?]

I think responsibility ultimately has to lie with the president. He made two critical decisions as we understand it, both of which tended to short-circuit a more structured, formal and intense debate. One was the basic decision to prepare for a military intervention and set and train the deployments and the diplomacy, which would make an intervention virtually irreversible. ...

The second decision was a decision made somewhat closer to the intervention, I think about three months before it, when the president decided to take ... all of the nonmilitary responsibilities for the reconstruction phase -- that is, a responsibility for holding elections, creating a central bank, rebuilding the economy, creating political parties, building a civil society -- to take all of those responsibilities away from the agencies of government that had been doing them, perhaps never well, but increasingly better for the last 50 years, and give them to the Department of Defense, a department that had no expertise, no experience in these complex and difficult areas. ...

If you give all responsibility to a single Cabinet officer, then you as president only get two kinds of messages back: Message A is "Everything's OK; don't worry, Mr. President," and message B is "I need more money." Those are the only messages you'll ever get. That Cabinet officer is never going to come to you as president and say: "Mr. President, I've got a real problem here. I don't know how to solve it. Could you give me some advice?" He's not going to do that. He's going to solve it ... based on the intellectual resources of his single department. He's not going to go to another agency head and ask him for advice either.

So you've narrowed the circle of people upon whom the decisions rested, and in doing that, you narrowed the amount of expertise and the amount of enlightenment that you are likely to receive as a result. ...

Washington Post correspondent Thomas Ricks, who's investigated the run-up to the war:

Quote

... Was there robust debate in this administration about this war? ...

There was a robust debate about Iraq before the invasion, but it had a perverse effect, which is there are so many experts inside the U.S. government who thought this was crazy to invade Iraq, [that] it was the wrong thing to do at that point on the war on terror, that the Bush administration began to feel kind of beleaguered. Every time they asked an expert for advice, they said, "Don't do it; this is crazy."

You had the opposite of what you historically have had in this country in wartime, which is a narrowing of support, a narrowing of the base and a narrowing of expertise. Every time somebody said in a meeting, "That's kind of wrong," or, "That's not really what the experts think," that person was not invited back to the next meeting. ...

And from the interview with Anthony Cordesman, an expert in the Middle East and national security:

Quote

Now, out of that decision came perhaps the most serious problem that emerged: Neither at the political level in the Department of Defense nor at the military [level] did anybody want to be involved in stability operations. This was not the mission, and indeed, at that point in time, the Department of Defense was trying its best to avoid nation-building and this kind of political involvement.

At a higher level, people simply believed what exiles and others were telling them: that once you got rid of Saddam, everything would be all right. Iraq was an oil-rich country, had large reserves of oil-for-food [program] money. It was really very well-educated, and the problem was simply Saddam. They ignored the Iran-Iraq War; they ignored Iraq's political history; they ignored the economic impact of war and sanctions. They wanted to believe, and that created a climate where nobody was prepared to take any kind of mission seriously.

In fairness to [Lt.] Gen. [Jay] Garner and to Ambassador [L. Paul "Jerry"] Bremer, one of the most important things to understand here is, the United States government never made a serious, integrated effort to anticipate what would happen after Saddam fell. It simply assumed everything would be all right.

A kind of overarching optimism?

Or overarching ignorance. One of the things to remember: This is a country of 27 million people. It's the size of California. It has radically different sectarian and ethnic groups with totally different cultural values and expectations from the United States. The fact that there's a Western-educated elite at the top, particularly in the exile community, which must be something on the order of one-tenth of 1 percent of the population, may sometimes give the impression that there's an identity. It doesn't exist, and we don't know what to do. The truth is, no one knows what to do. ...

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#37 tennyson

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:39 PM

Quote

. well, you see how well that worked for us when we bolstered the Taliban against Russia.

There was no such organization as the Taliban when the Soviet Union withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in 1989. Or in 1992 when the communist government fell and the country descended into factional infighting. The Taliban was founded in 1995-1996 in the religous schools of Pakistan by students, hence thier name for themselves which means a certain kind of student. They formed an armed militia and then became the dominant force in Pakistan through years of hard fighting. But no such organization existed when the United States was suppporting the Afghans and anyone else willing to fight the Soviets there.
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#38 Vapor Trails

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:49 PM

View PostGodeskian, on Dec 18 2006, 07:25 PM, said:

View PostDigital Man, on Dec 18 2006, 04:06 PM, said:

View PostGodeskian, on Dec 17 2006, 07:13 PM, said:

One can hate American foreign policy without hating America. I think that the foreign policy enacted by Bush has destabilised the entire region. I think it has created whole crops of new radicals, and I think it has made the world more dangerous. If, following his presidency he is arrested and tried, I'll be the first to break out the champagne.

But I don't hate Americans, don't even hate the country really.


Hey Gode  :cool:

I feel that one of the big problems with many Americans is that they tend to be a little too focused on what's happening here within their own borders, paying little if any attention to what's happening in the bigger world beyond. You're not going to learn anything if you only stick to what you're familiar with. I love to listen to/read international news. I enjoy the BBC, and I read their websites as well as listen to audio files.

And as a writer, this is particularly important to me. Trying to understand other perspectives is essential.


Absolutely. My sky subscription started carrying an english language subtitled Al Jazeera news channel, and i'll admit I find it fascinating to view the news from their biases instead of ours.


I heard on NPR (National Public Radio) that Al Jazeera is supposed to be coming out with a fully-English-language channel.  :eh:

Hmmm...Al Jazeera...I should find their English site and bookmark it.
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#39 Cait

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:57 PM

View PostJamesValEson, on Dec 18 2006, 05:39 PM, said:

My biggest fear out of all of this is that peeps are too busy comparing this to Viet Nam, and forgetting the bigger pisture of whats going on in the region and how it's eerily parallel to the lead up to WWII. We need to focus on whats coming on the horizon, while trying to learn from what has happened in the recent past, as well as the past when we were sitting back while the Nazi rise spread across Europe. The peeps who need watching are no doubt estatic that all this crap is going on to distract from what really need watching.

OMG, what an excellent point.  :(

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#40 Hibblette

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 12:13 AM

Of course.

That's whats disturbing about all of this with the Russian poisoining in England.  Man did that ring an ol' bell from the 60's.

And our media (the network news) has been so hung up on the Terrorism and the dismalness of Iraq (which it is dismal) that they are not completely covering other things that are going on.

Yea-in a lot of ways Iraq is like Vietnam and actually even worse, we (USA) actually turned this into the mess that it is.  I know, yea-it's always been a convuluted mess but we made it worse.
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