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Baghdad Burning

Iraq Baghdad War

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#41 the 'Hawk

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 08:09 PM

^ Suppose I'm just lucky this is one of them.

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#42 G1223

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 08:11 PM

Well speaking as sometimes the victim of them  trust me never be the one they turn on.
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#43 Jid

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 08:31 PM

Kevin Street, on Nov 20 2003, 05:26 PM, said:

The war in Iraq is supposed to be over, and the Americans won.
Kevin, I hope you don't feel I'm trying to pick on you.  You just make some interesting points...

I feel I must disagree with you.  Er, mostly.

I have no qualms with the statement "The war in Iraq is *supposed* to be over"

It's supposed to be.  But I find the rest of this to be wishful thinking.  To you or I, perhaps the "war" is over.

In reality, the second war has just begun, and the US is faced with two battlefields.

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Saddam is still out there, apparently, and there are an awful lot of guerilla fighters/terrorists attacking the US and other "coalition" troops, Iraqis, and international aid workers every chance they get - but they're not an army. They don't fight battles.

Again, we're being hung up by terminology here.  I would very much call this band of resistance fighters/terrorists/whatever you want to call them an army.  And they fight battles the way the Western world has fought their battles in the past.

They used shoulder launched RPGs on helicopters.  We used cruise missiles in precision strikes in several recent conflicts.

They kill both soldiers and civilians.  

Does anyone recall the passenger train that a cruise missle destroyed in the former Yugoslavia because of a piece of bad intel.

In our own defense, we do care when we hit civilians instead of combatants.

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They hide among ordinary people and strike from the shadows, killing civilians and troops without discrimination, following none of the conventions of war. So when they kill its murder, imo, and not death on the battlefield. There are no battlefields left in Iraq.

Hence why they call it "Guerilla Warfare".  And yes, there are no more 'battlefields.'

Save Iraq itself, and the hearts of its people.  (This is what I alluded to before about the US fighting on two fronts.  The soldiers are tasked with rounding up resistance cells while simultaneously trying to convince the civilians that they aren't here as a conquering army.)

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but at least they're doing something.

The age old catch 22.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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By destroying the homes of known guerillas, the Americans are trying to stop terrorists. They aren't committing acts of terror themselves, but are instead responding to them. If this method is ineffective and overly brutal, then I hope they'll have the wisdom to stop doing it. But if it succeeds the Americans will save lives, not end them like the terrorists do.

I'll grant it's not an act of terrorism.  But how many lives does this strategy have to ruin in the process?  How many more hearts does the US have to break, how many homes and shelters does it have to destroy, to accomplish this goal?

How many more enemies will the US create for itself in Iraq trying to oust their current ones?
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#44 Uncle Sid

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 08:53 PM

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Again, we're being hung up by terminology here. I would very much call this band of resistance fighters/terrorists/whatever you want to call them an army.

An army is an organization and it's generally got a unified command structure.  There can be guerrilla armies, but being a guerrilla doesn't make you part of an army by default.  I'm not saying that they are or are not an army, but chances are that at the moment, they aren't really what you'd call an organized group.  Bombing things and hit and fades don't take much coordination or organization.  Only when it becomes obvious that the plan is an integrated whole that you might be facing anything like an army.

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In our own defense, we do care when we hit civilians instead of combatants.

Uhh, a little more than that.  We don't just hit civilians and feel bad about it later, we consciously try not to target civilians and then feel bad when we were unable to prevent civilian deaths.  There's a big difference.  In fact, it's a huge difference between US tactics and what these so-called "freedom fighters" are trying to do.  

I find that people take the US to task for having good intentions and not living up to them, which is fair, but at the same time I have to admit some frustration when people look at the terrorists and give them a free pass because they never espoused any principles to begin with, so therefore they aren't worthy of criticism since they haven't failed at being terrorists.

This isn't a matter of both sides killing "some civilians and some soldiers" and therefore being equivalent.  In the short term, the cost is the same, but in the long term if they win, the bloodbath is only getting started (again).  If the US gets it's way, Iraq gets to be a free democratic state that deals with it's problems though the rule of law and the support of the people.  I'm not saying that I'd put a price on any of these things, but if people are going to have to die, I'd at least want the better future to win out.  

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I'll grant it's not an act of terrorism. But how many lives does this strategy have to ruin in the process? How many more hearts does the US have to break, how many homes and shelters does it have to destroy, to accomplish this goal?

As many or as few as it takes.  There can be no withdrawal and no surrender or the future is just as grim as the past.

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How many more enemies will the US create for itself in Iraq trying to oust their current ones?

No more so than would have been enemies in the long run anyhow for their own reasons.  You don't just pick up enemies overnight, you know.  Make no mistake, the people who are or are going to be enemies of the US over this were simply waiting for the opportunity.  As soon as alliances wavered a bit, they attack.  I don't think anyone was stunned about that development.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey

#45 Jid

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:11 PM

Uncle Sid, on Nov 20 2003, 07:53 PM, said:

As many or as few as it takes.  There can be no withdrawal and no surrender or the future is just as grim as the past.
But there *is* more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.

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No more so than would have been enemies in the long run anyhow for their own reasons.  You don't just pick up enemies overnight, you know. 

True, but there's no faster way to gain an enemy than to rob a supporter of a huge part of what life they had left.

You take a person's home away, you begin to severly limit their options.  It boils down to suffering that's possibly unnecessary, that could easily lead to resentment.

It's not just going to affect those families.  It's going to affect those neighbours too.  Sure, it might scare some of them into not letting guerillas use their homes for a place to plan.

At the same time, how many are going to say "My friends down the street were good people, and the US came in and destroyed their home with only enough warning to not murder them, only rob them of their home and all the earthly posessions they couldn't carry."?

I just can't help but wonder if this will become Palestine the second.
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#46 Uncle Sid

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:31 PM

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But there *is* more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.

Yeah, but I'm told that the cats don't like any of the methods tried on them so far.  

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I just can't help but wonder if this will become Palestine the second.

Could the issue become difficult?  Perhaps.  I'm more afraid of us pulling out too soon than I am about us staying too long.  

As far as Palestine goes, this so empthatically not Palestine in so many ways that I hesitate to even begin listing them.  It's like calling any war that might get difficult Vietnam.  It's not proper unless the circumstances are similar.  The only thing that's the same about this and Palestine is that there are Arabs involved.  The motivations, the actions and the goals are quite different on both sides.  

The Coalition is not there to create a homeland for itself after the Diaspora and Holocaust.

There are no holy sites being disputed.

There are no settlements being placed in occupied territory.

Baghdad is not being claimed as the natural capital of the United States

There is no attempt to run the Occupied zone as anything but a temporary administration leading up to an indigenous government.

There is no part of the US government that wants to stay in Iraq forever.

The previous leader of Iraq is a discredited and brutal dictator who would have trouble getting back into power even if the US is forced to leave

etc.

These and other points are important factors about why Palestine is Palestine and why it's a really bad idea to mix it up.  To solve the problem you have to deal with the motivations.  If people get the idea that the motivations and goals are the same in Iraq as in Palestine, they're going to get it 135% wrong.  Iraq isn't Palestine, nor could it be.  

This is not to say that it cannot be it's own problem, but comparisons are only useful where they apply.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey

#47 Jid

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:40 PM

Uncle Sid, on Nov 20 2003, 08:31 PM, said:

This is not to say that it cannot be it's own problem, but comparisons are only useful where they apply.
Obviously I was not clear enough in where I intended the comparison to apply, which is simply:

A smaller group of more poorly equipped people, trading blows with a much more organized and militarily strong enemy, repeatedly killing each other in a seemingly endless struggle to find resolution to a long standing conflict.

It's not that yet, assuredly.  I, perhaps overly pessimistically, can see that potential.

#48 Uncle Sid

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:57 PM

Well Palestine is a situation that's so charged and hopeless looking that comparisons with it need to be used carefully.  Of course, the actual "endless" timeframe of the Palestinian situation is indeed only at most about 80 years, starting with a fatwa or two by the Mufti of Jerusalem in the 20's in response to Zionism.  That's really nothing when you consider that the Serbs have been disliking those Muslims for the last seven hundred years or so, and indeed the Shiites and the Sunnis have been at odds for well over a thousand years.  Before about the 1920's the Jews were relatively comfortable inside of Muslim holdings.  Probably relatively better off than they were in the West if you consider the anti-Semitism that made things like the Dreyfuss case and the Holocaust possible.  

In any event, Palestine does feel like it is endless, but that endless feeling is due to the fact that there is no way that either side can disengage.  The US has planned from the start to leave Iraq, it's only a matter of when, so disengagement is simply a matter of time.  The Israelis, though, have nowhere to go, literally, and the Occupied Territories were most definitely used before as a staging ground to attack them.  Further, the West Bank in unfriendly hands returns Israel to a state that has only thin sections of land that connect one part of it to another.  Even with terrorist attacks, there is a substantial  segment of the Israeli population that does not want to have to go back to continuously worrying about having to be cut apart by an attack from the unfriendly states around it.  

Obviously, at the same time, Palestine is the home of the Palestinians, and with the Israeli security measures, even a peaceful Palestinian is going to have a really hard time making any sort of living.  But the real implacable group of the Palestinians is the terrorists themselves who essentially create their own popularity by pissing off the Israelis who then crack down on the Palestinians, who in turn support the militant groups.

Edited by Uncle Sid, 20 November 2003 - 10:02 PM.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey

#49 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 11:23 PM

Kevin Street, on Nov 20 2003, 08:36 PM, said:

Which sounds very much like you're saying the Iraq war is part of the War On Terror.
Isn't it?

The war in Iraq might've originally been for different reasons...However, currently, the US troops find themselves fighting terrorists in Iraq, who hide in civilian homes after attacking.
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#50 Consubstantial

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 11:55 AM

A part of me wants to agree with Kevin that moving is a viable option for the civilians.  Yet another part knows that moving isn't necessarily as easy as it sounds.  One's home is often a large part of one's equity.  If the individual can't sell it, how does that individual afford to move?  Do we expect these people to simply abandon their homes?  Do they have the funds to live elsewhere or will moving force them to live in the streets?  Will they recieve warning that the US is targeting their house so they can gather their belongings and leave?  Somehow I doubt it.  When and how do they decide that today is the day they need to abandon their homes?  

The entire situation is complex and distressing.  No truly simple or easy answers exist for this problem.  We don't really know enough to determine whether the actions were justified.  Maybe we can't or we shouldn't because of national security.  Still, I know that individuals working with the saction of the government have committed immoral and unethical acts in the past.  And I know that the government has attempted to hide those acts from public scrutiny.  Both the acts and the hiding may be natural and/or emotianlly driven human reactions.  Still, those very reactions mean we need to pay particular attention to the acts and motivations and means of those individuals in positions of power and knowledge to make the kind of decisions that result in harm.  Power can corrupt.  The ability to use power without facing censure or scrutiny encourages abuse of power.  One of the best ways to ensure that our government pays real attention to the wide range of ethical implications of its acts is to question it.  

The question of national security is a thorny one.  I think I'll start a thread about it.
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#51 GiGi

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 12:59 PM

^ Very well said Connie.  I agree completely.
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#52 prolog

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 03:04 PM

Jid, on Nov 20 2003, 05:38 AM, said:

-Jid, who takes everything he sees with a grain of salt.  Especially News Reports.
I think it was Chomsky who said that in times of war, you can't trust the media.  Now, I may disagree with ol' Noam on a lot of things, but that's one of the things I believe he has bang-on. (the rest is his work on formal language theory)

#53 prolog

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 03:05 PM

Kevin Street, on Nov 20 2003, 06:50 AM, said:

(But it should probably be taken with a large grain of salt. Even if the blogger is really an Iraqi, he's probably too close to the situation to be objective.)
Same thing could be said (on objectivity) about a lot of the people who posted above...

#54 prolog

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 03:12 PM

Kevin Street, on Nov 20 2003, 11:26 PM, said:

Wow, I thought I was the only liberal left in OT. ;)
No worries about that.  I don't post much anymore (bloody school!), but I'm definitely a liberal.

That's "liberal" as J.S. Mill meant it, rather than the southern slur "liberal". :)

#55 Kevin Street

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 08:23 PM

LORD of the SWORD, on Nov 20 2003, 10:23 PM, said:

Kevin Street, on Nov 20 2003, 08:36 PM, said:



Which sounds very much like you're saying the Iraq war is part of the War On Terror.
Isn't it?

The war in Iraq might've originally been for different reasons...However, currently, the US troops find themselves fighting terrorists in Iraq, who hide in civilian homes after attacking.
But terrorism in Iraq and terrorism directed against the US are two different things. Specifically, you can fight the terrorists who endanger America without fighting in Iraq.



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