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jeffolie

GK

Kudos on your excellent thread.

brokerdavelhr

GK,

Good article, and well researched. I just have two question.

The British did the same thing back in 1912. What will make a difference in the historical wheel over the next ten years? So I will ask again - exactly what was it we won? The violence has stopped for (and I believe will continue to stay stopped for the next upcoming 5-10 years following the nations history), but what then?

2- Also, a good amount of their economy boom has come from the US occupation and financial aid. No permanent bases will be enplaced there like we have in so many other countries. Currently in the scheme of things anyway. So when the troops pull out, what then? Also how long will we offer financial support to Iraq? How can we do so in good conscience when own country needs to be bailed out (in theory)? What happens to the new Iraq govt when these controls are retracted, and the financial support plug is pulled?

I mean, sure we won the 4 yr battle, but in the last century that country has been known to the world as a giant problem in one way shape or form, including the Clinton era? I am not trying to be a pessimist, but I am now fully confused as to the definition of winning?

GK

brokerdavelhr,

A stable democracy, with a low level of violence, constitutes winning. It is the first step towards getting the people in other countries in the region to move towards greater freedom. This also leads to greater economic growth.

Iraq's oil revenues are more than enough to offset the removal of US financial aid. This is not a poor country, if it uses its oil resources well.

The Snake Oil Baron

Just think, in the short time that B.O. has been elected he has brought peace, security, liberty and five years worth of reconstruction activity to Iraq and he hasn't even taken office yet. Maybe he really is the Messiah.

Dave

Heh, yeah Snake Oil, that will really piss me off if B.O. takes credit for Iraq. It's already pissing me off that the media has dropped Iraq coverage now that things are going well. And let's give GWB credit for sticking to his guns during the dark years despite all the opposition from partisans, naysayers and the nonthinking fashion sheep.

GK, did you make that video?

GK

Dave,

No, that video is from elsewhere.

brokerdavelhr

GK,

I understand that democracy exist there now. As it has 3 times in the last century. Please address the points though.

I think to much in the long term to say a ten year govt as any real victory. As for the oil, I agree for the most part. Historically and demographically speaking though, the majority of the populace will never see the full benefits of the oil. How would that change now from any other time point in history?

Zyndryl

In my view, how the oil is handled is key to how Iraq turns out. Most nations rich in oil suffer from the curse of kleptocracies that come to power to loot it. Nigeria, Mexico, Russia and Venezuela are perfect examples.

Norway and Alaska are two examples of alternative means of handling the oil that 'democratizes' the benefits. People still have to support the goverments of those lands through taxes for the most part, too. As a consequence, citizen participation and 'watchdogging' are higher there, as well.

Iraq is hopelessly corrupt in many ways. But if they can at least clean up the worse corruption in the national oil company and force it to disperse dividends to a fund that pays out to all citizens like Alaska does, they might have a shot at breaking the cycle of kleptocracy and tyranny.

Better yet, break up the national oil company and have private firms compete for extraction licenses for the oil fields that are up for renewel say, every 5-7 years, depending upon investment they put into it. The license awarding process can be structured so that the only 'bribe' of any significance is how much money the firms put into the aforementioned 'permanent' fund that pays out to the citizenry -- either as up front 'points' or share of the output or both.

But, it is up to the Iraqis. It will be a tough decision that will require a lot of compromise.

GK

brokerdavelhr,

To answer your questions, go read the Winds of War, Sands of Time article.

Zyndryl,

It is a bit harsh to lump Mexico in with the petrotyrannies (I notice you omitted the three worst ones, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Iran).

The big factor is whether a country is already rich/democratic BEFORE it exports a lot of oil (Norway, Canada).

The best case is for Iraq to use its oil wealth in the way that Dubai did. The King of Dubai is very creative, and thinks big.

Zyndryl

GK,

Mexico uses its wealth to buy off voters. It also keeps competition out (foreign and domestic).

I left off Saudi Arabia because it is TOO perfect of an example. It has so much oil it is in a class by itself, in my opinion. Sudan just didn't come to mind. Iran...that's somewhere in between Saudi Arabia and Sudan. :)

I agree with your premise that 'already rich & democratic' states like Norway and Canada before it finds the mother load. But isn't Iraq now democratic (and getting stronger)? I am just saying that the Iraqis can become as rich as Canadians in that sense if they had but the will.

The King of Dubai, creative or not, is a single point of failure. What if the next king is not so competent and is corrupt as the Saudi royals? I thus don't put much truck into a single 'wise man'. Not for a democracy, that's for sure.

I mean, we are a 'democracy' and the wise man we chose for dispensing some major krill is one Hank Paulson. 'Nuff said.

brokerdavelhr

GK,

Read it, no questions answered. I referred earlier to to this current situation as only a 'battle' because in the grand scheme of things, that's all it was. Your earlier post confirms this.

My point was that Iraq has had a democratic govt' (or least a facsimile thereof), 3 times in the last 100 years. Each one coming to an end the same way. The most violent disruptions of such a govt in Iraq, was most notably in the early 1900's when Britain tried the exact same thing. It is a historical fact that such a govt cannot exist there.

So once again - what did we win? A resource? A friend? A grateful countries lasting loyalty? No, no, and no. Yes there are undoubtably many in Iraq who are indeed grateful, and quite pleased. But give it 10 years. Personally, I give it 5 years from when the last base closes in Iraq, to when chaos envelops them again.

Well, that is all I have to say. The events in the next decade over will either confirm this, or label me a very poor interpreter of things lol.

GK

brokerdavelhr,

You didn't understand the Winds of War article. Once a certain threshold of prosperity and freedom is achieved, two such countries do not go to war with each other. As more countries cross this level, warfare has been dropping worldwide.

100 years ago, the whole world had only 6-7 democracies (the Protestant countries, and that's it). It is hardly fair to say that if Iraq failed then, at a time when Germany, Japan, Spain, and Italy were nowhere near democracy, then Iraq cannot succeed today. A big part of my case includes the importance of cellphones and Internet access.

Also read the 'Age of Democracy' article. These trends are solid, and there is no basis to compare 1900, or even 1970, with 2008.

brokerdavelhr


GK,

Thank you for the response.

Here are a few holes though-

1- Two Countries being the key phrase. In such an example, the two countries themselves would have be internally sound to accept an external form of anything from the other. Without a unified will to change, such a change is shaky the early stages, and even a single event or incident can overturn said change. In Iraq, such internal mechanics simply have never existed without being forcefully imposed. To be honest, we never went to war with Iraq herself, but rather used her as a battleground. Establishing a democracy there was never the original intent, and was only done as desperate solution to a huge problem. So to compare Iraq to these other examples, is equally unfair and akin to comparing an elephant with a tiger.

2- The difference between a European mindset, and the middle-eastern one. Europe for the most part has had very little revolutions etc compared to the middle east.

3- The political parties there do not see democracy, or understand it the way we do. It took the US over 230 years since the Revolution to get to where we are now. We even had a civil war ourselves (and a few minor skirmishes along the way). But we do not have, nor have we ever started by a forcefully kept facsimile of peace, or a drawn out 300+ year civil war.

4- Iraq didn't exist until Britain made it so. In less then 100 years, the country was formed and shaped by outside forces, from Iran to England. Since then (even up to today), the country has never been its own. You say that it will be happy and work out. Let me point out the following:

5- You say that the trends are solid. On the chart you posted - the 'not free' has a definite downward trend. You yourself also noted how the much faster the western countries have embraced democracy. The fact is ( both in ancient and modern history) that said 'not free countries' have an inclination to not be of democratic mindset.

6- At this point in time, we can both state as a FACT, that true democracy could not exist in the 'not free' nations without outside influence and push. So Iraq is a Democracy now? Yeah, we give them money, and send our troops to protect them. Once again- When our troops pull out, and the funding stops, do you believe that Iraq will go against ALL of its history, and maintain a self-sustaining democracy?

7- How many resources will the US continue to pour into the making and maintaining of free democracy for Iraq? Is it fair that our nation is in debt and uses paper money to get by, while donating our finest military, resources, etc. to a country that in the end will not know how appreciate it?

8- What is happening in Iraq has been done so many times before. You say it is not fair for me to compare those times with 2008. Why? Because of new technology that the country would have no hope of affording on its own (even in the US, many splurge to afford such things), will have heavy impact? Look what said technology is doing to us man. Or maybe it’s because the people themselves have mentally evolved to accept the concept of democracy after several decades of exposure? The latter (in my humble opinion), is the only possible, viable answer. Next point will explain why:

9- If technology is an answer, then why is that only the US (along with only a few select other countries) are allowed nearly full nuclear capabilities? Because we know damn well not everyone can handle that kind of power. So what about for informational purposes? See my next point:

10- Make no mistake, the internet etc are excellent sources of information, and improve with each passing day. The only catch is that it rarely offers full backgrounds but rather clips and synopsis that may or may not be in context. Said summary is taken and mixed with another. Before long, you have millions of people who know a little about a lot. To have reached that point, many have never, and will never reach the rest of the world to experience it to until they reach a point where such a trip would be financially and physically possible. Now we have droves of half-wits (not trying to be insulting but I call it how I see it) who use the same technology to meet others like them. And like a disease it spreads. Now teenagers and younger use it. The library is a thing of the past now (what a shame), and has been replaced by the convenience of the internet by attention lacking youth. Suddenly parents have a hard time keeping up. And so the process goes. I am not faulting the technology by any means, rather the lack of discipline and discernment in its use. What will Iraq do with it?

11- Last thought- I understood the article Winds of War. I just cannot make the jump to its correlation. I also question its interpretation. I also read the Age of Democracy article, and find it quite interesting. Actually, I believe it may be the best article I have seen yet. It points toward a future that for once, goes past the ends of our noses. That point happening to be a historical shift in the wheel of time that may take centuries in the making, but will probably follow an even longer trend. Such a trend is a very scary fine line though. In the older world (pre-democratic I guess we could call it), a society that did not like its leaderships would simply overthrow it via violence or mass threat. Today favors a (what I see anyway) more velvet revolution style, that in the end, has proven to be more beneficial to all involved. What makes it scary is the fine line between quiet submission to a highly destructively evolved system, and a viable working obedience for the best who try. I believe that we are treading that line today, and that people need to start buckling down, and do some real homework and observation.

In finishing, I will say that I may be wrong. Maybe my own issues, studies, and experience are clouding a possible future. Who knows? I didn't write all this to say that it won't happen. I wrote it so that if it does happen, it may not come as a complete shock. Do I want it to fail? Not by any means. In actuality, I would be thrilled if it keeps up this new trend if it would make them happier, and more secure in the world. I have lost many friends over there, and I would hate to think that it was all for nothing. This is why I am frank with you now is because I WANT to be proven wrong. We can sit here and debate til we are blue in the face, but only time will tell.

GK

brokerdavelhr,

I'll address some of your points :

1) Establishing democracy in Iraq WAS the initial intent, going all the way back to the Iraq Resolution of 1998. That was the goal of the US government all along.

2) Not necessarily. Europe of 1900 was just as unsuitable for democracy as the Middle East of today. The history of Europe from 1600 to 1945 is just as warlike and dysfunctional as the ME today.

3) This is exactly why I dispute your point 2). Remember that even the US did not allow women to vote until 1920. That way, Iraq of 2008 is already ahead of the US in 1920, and ahead of Spain in 1981, Germany in 1945, etc.

4) All this is true of India as well.

5) Again, mindsets change. Is Germany the same as in the 1930s? Is Eastern Europe the same as in the 1970s?

6) This is also true of almost every country. One can safely claim that none of the modern world would exist if not for 2 countries, the US and Britain. So 'outside influence' is always the case.

7) It is expensive, yes. But those costs are sunk. Also, the net benefit of planting the seed of democracy in the region may pay dividends for decades to come.

8-10) Technology always causes disruptions, positive and negative. Just one example is video games. It is higher quality entertainment than TV, but is thus more addictive, and is taking a toll on marriages, parenting, schoolwork, and professional work. But net-net, technology moves us forward.

Judy

Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

I am in awe of the bold claims you are making. First, to claim that because the number of deaths of U.S. soldiers is down in no way correlates with victory.

The number of Iraqis dying is still very high. By a conservative estimate, The Iraq Body Count, over 10,000 Iraqis have died this year alone. This is in a country about the size of Texas. I think 10,000 deaths in a year in the state of Texas would be seen as a crisis...not success.

The limited war coverage by the press that you bemoan is largely due to the restrictions put in place by GWB, as well as the high degree of risk of reporting from Iraq. It is the most dangerous place in the world for a reporter right now.

There is no real political stability in Iraq. There is merely a tenuous truce that has no long term prospects for stability.

You tout the improved economy in Iraq....improved from what. The utter disaster we imposed upon them with our invasion and occupation. They have less reliable basic services, they are at risk to go to the market or school, and unemployment is still untenably high.

But I guess if it makes you feel better to say we won...go for it. It doesn't make it real, but I suppose you are looking for a way to justify the enormous blunder that the Bush administration made by invading Iraq.

GK

Judy,

Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

Actually, you are an example of ignorance and bitterness. I see no bliss.

Each of my 'claims' are hard facts, supported with actual data in the article, which you are too lazy to read.

The number of Iraqis dying is still very high.

Wrong. Iraqi deaths are just 300 a month. I see you have no source to support your hope that 10000 Iraqis are dying per year (it actually was over 100,000 a year under your beloved Saddam).

In fact, you are a perfect example of the anti-American fifth-columnist that I describe in the article itself. You actually want innocent Iraqis to die because your own hatred for democracy and America is so high. Your very existence proves that Iraq is a success : the logical critics are all gone, and only your type remain.

It is funny that you are actually siding with an ideology that does not allow women to work, wear pants, or drive cars.

Everything you said is already debunked in the article. Address specific points if you want to rise to the minimum IQ that I require of commenters here.

Neil

GK,

Firstly, Judy did not say that 10,000 people are dying per month. Perhaps it is you who is "too lazy to read".

Secondly, your claim that the Iraq War has been won is frightfully naive. The one "hard fact" you seem to miss is that "winning a war" is a tautological statement.

Wars are very rarely "won", and if so, then not for very long? In other words, "victory" is merely the smoke-screen obscuring the resentment and bitterness being housed by the "losers". Victory's bluff is only called when some opportunistic despot/ charisma-man "rises up" and (mis)leads his people, thus ushering in a new epoch of terror for us all to blog about.

In short, there is always more to any situation than your "hard facts", GK - just as there is more to Goya's 'Third of May' than oil on canvas.

Yes, it's a great achievment by the forces to subdue the carnage from what we all have seen it rise to in past years. Unlike you, however, I refuse to be overcome by smug patriotism-bordering-on-jingoism and delude myself into seeing double rainbow sunsets in Baghdad.

GK

Neil,

The 'month' is corrected to 'year' in regards to the 10,000, but the claim is still totally wrong.

Secondly, your claim that the Iraq War has been won is frightfully naive.

How so? You have not provided any evidence that you actually have acquired knowledge or datapoints about Iraq.

In short, there is always more to any situation than your "hard facts",

Hard facts still supercede a clinging hope for failure, and aversion to actual data, that many like Judy harbor.

I refuse to be overcome by smug patriotism-bordering-on-jingoism and delude myself into seeing double rainbow sunsets in Baghdad.

Ah yes..the other tactic of those who want to minimize the progress - compare Iraq to a utopia, better than any country that exists in the world. Until Iraq is wealther than Norway and with a lower murder rate than Iceland and with 100% employment, it is a failure.

Until you discuss and debate actual data, you will not have provided anything of merit.

brokerdavelhr

GK,

I would have to say that although I disagree with Neil about a lot, I must say that he is right about one thing - Wars are very rarely "won", and if so, then not for very long? . The rest of it can be argued, but that one statement is true.

As to the rest-
I was still in the service when they found Saddam etc. I watched the news, read every report I could get my hands on, etc. But where and when did they say that the point of going there was to re-build the govt? This brings up a side issue that may have been briefly addressed when they found Saddam as a 'what now?' scenario, but other then that, I would need proof of this one.

2- Europe from 1600-1900 was hardly the same kind of govt as the Middle east. The middle east is more tribal (or faction) based govt. Europe was for the most part composed of Monarchies, etc. Yes it was dysfunctional, but they do not have thousands of years of civil wars anywhere in their history as the ME did. I have read many books on this, and can suggest some if you would like.

3- As for the woman voting, I will repeat - it took over 140 years for the US to grow into that, which was my point. America grew into it, and therefore accepted it as it came. My point was not that they were slow in adopting it, but rather the fact that it was a foreign concept that completely went against all previous systems, and that they didn't grow into it so much as it was used as a tool to expedite the building of the system. Also keep in mind the possible hazards the country might face from such a decision as few other countries in the immediate area around them still frown against it.

4- Sorry, I really need to study the history of India. Being that you are more familiar with that angle then I, I would greatly appreciate any reliable link you could send me were I can get a good list of reference material from : -)

5- Mindsets change I will give you that one. But talk to anyone from east Germany, and ask them what they think about the 'Swabbish' or 'Southern to eastern' Germans - much of the hate is still buried there. On the surface you will get the usual 'alles klar' or 'everything is okay there', but if you actually talk one on one in a casual setting, the mood will drastically change as most east Germans see the western Germans as being more leeches then anything else. I can only speak for the middle class and low class there, as I did not mingle much with the upper class while I was there. Met Rommel though (his descendant) - nice guy BTW. Bought us all beers : - )

6- Outside influence. When the US leave Iraq (most of the withdrawals etc), who will be Iraqi's influence then?

7- May pay dividends. I cannot argue this one. I just hope that you are right. Historically speaking, we are not, but who knows...maybe this time around something may just help. As oil is plentiful there, I could imagine that they will be given a chance to give us discounted oil from all that we have given them. But I think about this, and have a hard time believing it. Not because I doubt the current setup, but rather, but a historical pattern.

8-10- Yes, but once again, we grew into it, and collaborated with many other countries to make it work. My question here was - is it wise to introduce such technologies into a country that has not had the chance to grow into them as unstable as it is?

brokerdavelhr

Judy,

I am in awe of the bold claims you are making. First, to claim that because the number of deaths of U.S. soldiers is down in no way correlates with victory.

Yes it does. Our soldier are doing more checkpoint, sweeps, patrols, etc. then the Iraqi people themselves. So if our deaths are down, then it correlates directly with 'victory'.

The number of Iraqis dying is still very high. By a conservative estimate, The Iraq Body Count, over 10,000 Iraqis have died this year alone. This is in a country about the size of Texas. I think 10,000 deaths in a year in the state of Texas would be seen as a crisis...not success.

10,000. In an entire year. How many in the last few months? Also note that that not all these deaths are direct affects of outside attacks. Yes it is still a high number, but hardly a niche in the grand scheme of things.

The limited war coverage by the press that you bemoan is largely due to the restrictions put in place by GWB, as well as the high degree of risk of reporting from Iraq. It is the most dangerous place in the world for a reporter right now.

What restrictions are these? Where can they be found? What reporter said this? Also, the restrictions that do exist, are for the protection of our boys operations, not because it is 'the most dangerous place in the world a reporter could be right now'. That is a load of crap, you and I both know it. Afghanistan, Serbia, Dar-fur, etc, are all much more dangerous, and we have reporters there. Any ban on reporter operations in Iraq, are there due to idiots like Geraldo that like to give away our boys positions claiming that the 'world needs to know'. If you believe the same, then you are every bit as stupid as he is.

There is no real political stability in Iraq. There is merely a tenuous truce that has no long term prospects for stability.

Part true - it is a tenuous truce. But it does have long term prospects. I do not have much faith in it, but it is a possibility. In a country that was under rule by fear for a reason, any political new system will be tenuous. However the outcome now is in the hands of the Iraqi's. If it fails, it is because they aloud it to happen. What it all comes down to in the end, is how worth it is it to them to try to maintain it.

You tout the improved economy in Iraq....improved from what. The utter disaster we imposed upon them with our invasion and occupation. They have less reliable basic services, they are at risk to go to the market or school, and unemployment is still untenably high.

There is absolutely no truth to this at all. The damage done by the initial invasion and occupation was incredibly low. If you knew anything about our weapon systems and tactics, or talked with anyone who is actually there (I know my fair share I will put it that way), you would know this. The common transportation etc. is better now then it has been in decades. On top of it all, the people no longer have to fear saying the wrong thing and getting executed for it so much as they did before. Where is your proof to your statement?

But I guess if it makes you feel better to say we won...go for it. It doesn't make it real, but I suppose you are looking for a way to justify the enormous blunder that the Bush administration made by invading Iraq.

You just hate bush. Did you know he gave you a tax cut and a few other goodies while he was in office? Sure he messed up a lot, but name me one president that hasn't. Invading Iraq was not the mistake - having no backup plan was. I would agree that this current system in Iraq will probably not last over 10-15 years, but given that nations history that in and of itself is a major victory.

Neil

GK,


Your reply was, at best, comical and truly reveals just how similar you are to the "leftists" you so detest.

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit was how I am supposedly trying to "minimize the progress" made by The US. If you actually read my post, you'll notice that I actually COMMENDED the troops in their effort - which I articulated in my comment "it's a great achievement by the force".

The crux of my post was merely an observation that I see Iraq's current situation as being far from something to celebrate. This I decipher from REAL accounts and views from many friends I have in the war and actually living there - people of rank who deal in the "hard facts" daily and are immersed within the actual place. Sorry - but that particular ace will trump your joker any day.

How you summarize from my initial post that I somehow must not want to see Iraq prosper only demonstrates the far-reaching capacity of your reactionary tendencies. Why on Earth would I not want to see Iraq get out of the hell-hole its been for the last few years.

Lastly, however, it is your utter hypocrisy that now has me running for the close window and making sure I never visit this blog again. You pompously exclaim in a previous response to Judy that there is a "minimum IQ that I require of commenters here." Yet you seem to sanction the caveman on here who is posting words like "democratic faggots."

Maybe you should change that to "minimum IQ that I require of commenters here not sharing my opinions."

brokerdavelhr

GK,

Your reply was, at best, comical and truly reveals just how similar you are to the "leftists" you so detest.

I may not agree with everything GK says, but how is it comical, and also, how is it in any way related to the leftists?

The crux of my post was merely an observation that I see Iraq's current situation as being far from something to celebrate. This I decipher from REAL accounts and views from many friends I have in the war and actually living there - people of rank who deal in the "hard facts" daily and are immersed within the actual place. Sorry - but that particular ace will trump your joker any day.

I hate to disagree with you man. Far from something to celebrate? Please explain the details of that sentence alone. Break it down so that I can see where your dim outlook arises from. Post links etc to any info source, and we can continue this point from there. As to the rest of your statement, I know many over there myself. True none of which are generals or politicians, but rather sergeants, captains, you know, the grunts who do the REAL work, and get off their ass and see things first hand. Not some report turned in by a Col to please his 2-star in hopes that his brown nose will earn him one of his own. Also keep in mind that in many card games, a joker tops an ace : - ) So you play your ‘aces’, and I my jokers. Good luck pal.

Lastly, however, it is your utter hypocrisy that now has me running for the close window and making sure I never visit this blog again. You pompously exclaim in a previous response to Judy that there is a "minimum IQ that I require of commenters here." Yet you seem to sanction the caveman on here who is posting words like "democratic faggots."Maybe you should change that to "minimum IQ that I require of commenters here not sharing my opinions."

You missed the point. On this website you will notice that many of the posted comments are posted more with proofs or real examples, not points of view or opinion. If people like me are the reason you are going after GK, then go after me, not him (or her). When Judy posted, she started out in an aggressive tone with no proofs of any kind, but rather easily disproven platitudes. This is what GK met. As for the other post that offended you, GK does not ban anyone from this BLOG, which is quite interesting as most blogs are carefully edited. This is to encourage free opinions of those who will reasonably state their arguments and or reposts. Keyword being reasonable. This does not include jumping into a discussion halfway, and aggressively posting an opinion. This is called flame bait and is usually used by those who are not trying to learn or discuss anything, but rather trying to fight or vent. Worse yet you defended Judy with your words which only proof lay in 1 factual statement, and a reference to knowing some ‘people of rank’. When I was in the service we didn’t call them ‘people of rank’. We called them out of touch pencil pushers. Last of all, I am curious as to your relationship with Judy.

Olives and Arrows

brokerdave,

I'll go out on a limb and speculate that Neil and Judy are actually one and the same. What's known in the blogosphere as "sock puppets". The puppeteer should have used the nic "Punch" the second comment. Punch and Judy.....hehe

brokerdavelhr

Olives and arrows,

I'll go out on a limb and speculate that Neil and Judy are actually one and the same. What's known in the blogosphere as "sock puppets". The puppeteer should have used the nic "Punch" the second comment. Punch and Judy.....hehe

I don't know. This would be a logical assumption except for the difference in wording and writing style. The both get upset easy. They both seem to really not like GK. They both hate GWB and the Iraq war. The similarities end there as far as I can tell. One posts with a broader vocabulary then the other (even if some of the words were not correctly used), and one addresses a different angle on the war then the other. This is why I believe they are diff people and asked the relationship between the two.
My assumption is that they would def know each other in the 'real world'. Given that both are prone to jump into things and do so in an unreasonable manner makes me fairly sure that they have no long term prospects together though. They both express opinion rather then fact and obviously do not read things in their entirety before commenting. Though I am occasionally guilty of the same, I see that they will not back down from their stubborn views (even when proven wrong), therefore are probably young, perhaps college age (which would also explain the expressed viewpoints and the herd ideal).
I will admit that I use this blog as a study on behavior and social interactions as much as I do for science and economics. This is why I will sometimes egg someone one, or express an unpopular viewpoint (even though I usually disagree with the herd anyway, so it usually comes natural). I sincerely apologize to GK for using so much of his space for my little projects, but it is the best symposium I have run into yet. It often reminds me that no matter how smart a person may be, it is the ability to convey the idea or concept in such a way as to make it understandable to a broad audience. So far I have found that miscommunication and lack of reading an entire post is what causes the most conflict here. But that is neither here nor there. I am waiting to hear back from Neil and Judy.

Olives and Arrows

You seem to be a very observant person, BrokerDave.
Given all the similarities that you noted -- excepting some minor differences --it still remains possible that Punch and Judy (if not the same person) are related in some fashion. Another possibility is that the two are studying alternate viewpoint, as you are also doing. However, if that's the case, they're probably searching for some efficient method of losing an argument by careful ignorance of any facts that might apply. That could be it.....

brokerdavelhr

Olives and Arrows,

One thing I have to add, is that the flaws that plagues every survey, pie chart, etc. is in the following: They are limited to the parameters of said ‘litmus’ tests. Another would be who is conducting the test. For instance, a reporter may get opinions and quotes all day, but because of a lack of knowledge, most end up being nothing more then precisely that. With their own spin of course. Take Freud for instance. Being that his test subjects for the most part had issues before hand, his conclusions would not apply to the rest of us. Yet somehow he is featured in many books, and is often hailed as the father of modern day psychology.

Such is the problem with most people like Neil and Judy. They go off of things like surveys, charts, reports, etc. without having any real knowledge of the material in discussion upon which to base a solid opinion of their own. Though I disagree with GK about a great many things, I have little hard fact upon which to base my arguments, so I try my best to leave it alone as he or she has obviously delved quite deep into it. Though I must admit that I admire the detail he or she uses, and how well they hold their own against said people who just shoot their mouths off. Not to mention, since reading this BLOG, I have been forced to study quite a bit to keep up, and hope that GK keeps up the thought provoking writing. So I read and weigh. If you are in the mood for a bit of a lengthy summary, it is best summed up by my little brother. I disagree with him a lot to, but I think he hit the nail on the head when it comes to gathering ‘hard facts’:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=33812998&blogID=400161628 (please do not email him without properly introducing yourself first – he is a very busy guy who has enough on his plate as it is). I think that if everyone applied this outlook as often as possible, then we as Americans would not be so quick to speak so often with such ignorance, and made a fool of later.

Which leads me to my last point. I had an epiphany this weekend. When it first hit me, I started laughing like a little child. It came to me while I was watching Gettysburg, and remembering how I had heat stroke after walking the battlefield when I was 15. The irony struck me that many lost their lives on that soil in a fight that would determine our countries future, and how my dumb ass drank so much water that hot summer day, and nearly died from that. It got me thinking about life and death. Funny thing that topic is. A person could die a terrible villain, and be painted a savior in legends and history (take King Richard for instance in Robin Hood). And here we are, worried about what people will think of us years down the road. Why do we care? After all it is no secret that no matter what one does, good or bad, society will never see the real truth when given a angelic painting of ones life. People trust the news, and rarely care for the truth. For some odd reason, they actually care about which guy died in a state they have never been in, or will never visit. They actually care about events that will never affect them. So much so, that they ignore studies and hard work that would make all those other things irrelevant. I know what you’re thinking. Some epiphany, nothing profound about that at all. Yeah, I thought so to until I realized how much impact that attitude has on the modern world.

Take this current blog for an example. GK gives a rarely expressed point of view that is proof that good things can happen. Even though I myself see no long term effects, that is only my opinion, and only time will tell. Yet when I saw how vehement some were attacking his ideals and facts with nothing but a herds ignorance, I saw no other alternative then to argue it. Being that no future is set in stone, Neil and Judy had absolutely no business saying what they did in the manner in which they did it. It is pathetic to say that Iraq has always been a peaceful country. Not to mention just outright wrong. But it is hardly pathetic to say that there is no hope, when there might just be. Fact vs. opinion. An ideal vs. a realistic standpoint. This is what it comes down to. To expect a miracle is stupid. To hope for a miracle, and be ready for the worst, is a better way of looking at it…..

I am talking too much. Geez, I keep forgetting the class of people I am talking to, sry for the lecture lol.


jeffolie

HAPPY NEW YEAR

MAY 2009 BE GOOD FOR YOU AND YOURS

mac

Nothing is permanent. Iraq may well change back to what it was in Saddam's day at some point in the future. That said, we HAVE won now what we wanted in Iraq: a functioning government, reasonably democratic, a nation that is not a threat to its neighbors (other than as a good example to induce change), and a potentially strong ally.

They're not threatening Israel with WMDs anymore and not committing mass slaughters of women and little children anymore. Anyone who doesn't see that as an advantage is a sad, sick excuse for a human being. And before you tell me "it's all about oil" or "why only here and not Darfur," remember that in the real world it is not usually wise to let the best be the enemy of the good. Bush sacrificed his Presidency to win in Iraq. He did win, but at a tremendous personal and political price. He didn't have the political capital to do anything more.

Mister Snitch

"The one "hard fact" you seem to miss is that "winning a war" is a tautological statement."

So is "losing a war". Yet there was no end to such claims - until they started sounding utterly ridiculous. So now, instead, we're merely hearing that the war is not definitively "won".

I don't engage people who make such arguments, since they're inevitably self-serving, petulant and childish. Really, you should just dump some of these commenters.

Zachriel

"Less than 300 Iraqi civilians are being killed per month, which is remarkable in a country of 26 million people."

Yes, remarkable. The equivalent rate would be 3000 per month in a country the size of the United States. Per month.

GK

Zachriel,

The US murder rate in the 1970s/early 80s was that high. So Iraq is only as dangerous as the US of 1980.

Today, the US murder rate is about half, so Iraq is only twice as deadly as the US today.

Zachriel

GK: The US murder rate in the 1970s/early 80s was that high. So Iraq is only as dangerous as the US of 1980.

So you are saying the terrorist attack of 9-11 is statistical noise compared to the crime rate. Every month.

That's just not supportable. The United States took the 9-11 attack very seriously—as they should have. An attack of that magnitude every month would be considered catastrophic.

GK

Zachriel,

You still don't grasp what terrorism is.

On 9/11/01, the goal was to kill 50,000+. As most people got out of the WTC before it fell, and United 93 crashed in PA without hitting its target, the number was a lower 3000.

If you think the hijacker's goal was "let's kill just 3000 of the 100,000 people in the WTC + Pentagon + more", then your basic understanding is flawed. 9/11 should not be viewed as 'they killed 3000', but rather 'they tried to kill 50,000 and managed to kill 3000'.

If Al-Qaeda got a nuclear of biological weapon, they would use it. Ane they would not use it in some uninhabited county in Wyoming, they would use it in the most densely populated place they could. It is the intent, rather than the actual number.

The London tube attack only killed 50 people. The liquid bomb plot at Heathrow and the NYC subway nerve gas plot were foiled, and thus killed zero. That does not mean the intent should be ignored.

It is about proactive prevention vs. just waiting for things to happen.

Actually, Iraq never had a single attack that killed 3000, like America did.

Are you disputing that Iraq is now reasonably peaceful?

Zachriel

GK: If you think the hijacker's goal was "let's kill just 3000 of the 100,000 people in the WTC + Pentagon + more", then your basic understanding is flawed.

No. They intend to continue to kill as many as possible. That's why a comparison to the crime rate is faulty and misleading.

GK: Are you disputing that Iraq is now reasonably peaceful?

If your country were sustaining three hundred deaths per month due to civil and sectarian violence, including in the capital, would you consider it "peaceful"? Hardly. However, the trend is positive.

GK

Zachriel,

Note that 'sectarian violence' is different from terrorism, which is different from ordinary violent crime.

The number of US and Iraqi troops being killed per month is extremely low, at this point.

Zachriel

Returning to your original statement.

GK: Less than 300 Iraqi civilians are being killed per month, which is remarkable in a country of 26 million people.

If 300 people per month were being killed by attacks in the United States, a country ten times the population of Iraq, this would not be considered a decisive victory. It would rightly be considered a disaster.

Olives and Arrows

this would not be considered a decisive victory. It would rightly be considered a disaster.


Defeatists like Zack always seem to reveal their anti-American agenda in some way. In this case it's Zack is quite polite in his comments but his use of the word rightly gives away his heartfelt wishes for an American coalition failure in Iraq. rightly.
Defeatists always want to deny basic freedom to people everywhere and here Zack exposes his desire to keep the Iraqis under the yoke of oppression.

GK

Zachriel,

I don't agree at all. The death rate in Iraq is lower than at any time in the last 30 years. Note that Saddam was exterminating about 100,000 per year in his torture chambers.

The gang violence in inner city neighborhoods in the US is already high enough to be termed as a 'disaster' by your metrics.

The article already cautions against those who use utopian standards to discredit the progress in Iraq.

Zachriel

Olives and Arrows: Defeatists always want to deny basic freedom to people everywhere and here Zack exposes his desire to keep the Iraqis under the yoke of oppression.

You are misrepresenting my position.

GK The death rate in Iraq is lower than at any time in the last 30 years. Note that Saddam was exterminating about 100,000 per year in his torture chambers.

That is incorrect. The same methodologies used to estimate deaths in Saddam's Iraq indicate that nearly a million have died since the U.S. invasion. Most deaths under Saddam were related to the Iran-Iraq war, a result of U.S. policy when they helped arm Iraq as a counter to the Iran.

GK: The gang violence in inner city neighborhoods in the US is already high enough to be termed as a 'disaster' by your metrics.

As we already discussed, a comparison to the crime rate is faulty and misleading.

GK: The article already cautions against those who use utopian standards to discredit the progress in Iraq.

I didn't say there wasn't progress in Iraq, especially over the last year. But you overstatement when you say the war is "decisively won" and that 300 Iraqi civilians being killed per month is remarkable in a country of 26 million people.

There is simply no way to consider a war won when there continue to be bombs killing dozens in the capital city, hundreds per month. There is little doubt that if your country suffered those loses (even without adjusting for population), you would rightly consider it a continuing disaster.

GK

Olives and Arrows,

Zachriel does note that the trend is positive, so that exonerates him from the crowd that actually *hopes* for bad news. Zachriel is not a fifth-columnist.

He is, however, wrong about many, many other things.

Zachriel,

Saddam routinely exterminated Shias and Kurds, even outside of the 1980-88 Iran/Iraq Qar. It is pathetic to say 'this is America's fault' simply due to America choosing him against Ayatollah Khomeini. Why won't you hold Saddam himself responsible for his actions. Did the US tell Saddam to gas Kurds?

I suspect you think Saddam never hurt a fly until the US made him do bad things. You need to read up on the history of Iraq.

As we already discussed, a comparison to the crime rate is faulty and misleading.

No, it is a fair comparison. Why is violence between Shias and Sunnis any different than between the Crips and the Bloods? Or between the Crips and MS-13?

And yes, we have decisively won. More US troops die to non-hostile causes than hostile ones. The death rate in Iraq is less than in the sum of all African-American concentrated districts in America. When an Iraqi has a lower chance of meeting a violent death than an African American (including middle-class Afr-Ams), Iraq is pretty safe. Iraq is also safer than Mexico.

you would rightly consider it a continuing disaster.

Yawn... more utopian nonsense. Violence in Iraq is at a 30-year low (and maybe is at an all-time low). That is good, period. That is why Iraqi refugees are returning to Iraq, some of them after 28 years.

Olives and Arrows

GK,

You may well be correct that Zack doesn't hope for or that he doesn't actively work for American defeat. (your definition of a fifth-columnist, IIRC?)
However, I still remain firm in my belief that Zack is anti-American by nature. He exhibits this unfortunate trait with his uninformed commentary regarding the Iraq-Iran war. In reality the US only provided Iraq with less than 1% of arms sales during the period whereas China, Russia and France transferred many times the arms to the Iraqi regime during this period (not so coincidentally the very same countries that opposed the US led coalition at the UN in 2003) According to SIPRI notorious weapons dealing Brazil provided more than 4 times the arms to Saddam as the US did. Brazil !!!

Yet for anti-Americans like Zack the US is ALWAYS and always will be the baddie, all of the inconvenient facts be damned.

If Iraq is actually statistically safer than Mexico, I'm wondering if we should consider altering our winter getaway plans? We're off to Riviera Maya on the Yucatan in 3 weeks time. Any word on what those beaches south of Basra are actually like?

GK

Olives and Arrows,

Iraq has many ancient historical sites to see. It was ancient Babylon, after all. The Kurdish regions even have Vegas-style casinos.

Depending on your budget, a trip could constitute Egypt, Greece, Turkey, and Iraq.

Or otherwise, Dubai + Iraq.

Olives and Arrows

GK,
While I've always been interested travel to the ancient world middle east I think we'll hold off for another generation or so. Given the prevailing attitude towards women that stubbornly hangs on it's just plain too risky for my wife and daughters. Once this mindset changes significantly then we'll consider it, perhaps once we see a large sign of shift (such as once the first cornerstone of a Christain church is laid in Mecca within sight of the Grand Mosque.) Maybe then.

There's no doubt that reform has already begun, but change will be slow and a times painful with some backward steps like Russia is now experiencing. But I think it's at least a generation before we see large ideological reforms. As you say, the internet and other technologies will speed this along faster than many people think.

Greece would be OK for travel, though. But unfortunately, for now, the others you named remain strictly on the outs.

Zachriel

GK: Saddam routinely exterminated Shias and Kurds, even outside of the 1980-88 Iran/Iraq Qar.

Yes, he did. That doesn't salvage your overstatement.

GK: It is pathetic to say 'this is America's fault' simply due to America choosing him against Ayatollah Khomeini.

I didn't say what you have in quotes.

GK: Why won't you hold Saddam himself responsible for his actions.

Each party bears responsibility for their own actions.

GK

Olives and Arrows,

Yes, with multiple females, things could be tough.

But Iraq is not Saudi Arabia. Veils are not mandatory, and Iraq even has women in parliament. Iraq has always had Christian churches, and still does.

Turkey is OK too. Egypt gets millions of European tourists a year.

Dubai is quite modern, with many Westerners, Indians, and Chinese living there. You should see Dubai.

GK

Zachriel,

You are dancing around the points, not addressing rebuttals to your own statements.

That doesn't salvage your overstatement.

I have not overstated anything. You have not made a compelling case.

You did say :

Most deaths under Saddam were related to the Iran-Iraq war, a result of U.S. policy

So, effectively, Saddam would not have killed so many of his own people if not for 'US policy' during the Cold War. That is a boilerplate 'blame America first' answer, and is grossly inaccurate, as Olives has pointed out.

Each party bears responsibility for their own actions.

Just like the left bears reponsibility for encouraging and seditiously defending terrorists in Iraq, even if that would result in genocide against Iraqis.

Olives and Arrows

GK,

Zachriel is more than just 'grossly inaccurate' or dancing around points. He's an anti-American bigot pure and simple. Based on the manner with which he writes it's evident that Zachriel is at least slightly above average intelligence. Zack ignores all facts that destroy his basic premise of America as the root cause of all that's wrong in the world. He simply moves on to the next leftist falsehood-- 'blood for oil' or whatever -- holds that closely to his breast for warmth until that is proven inaccurate as well. Zack's goalposts are on wheels. This is a trait common to leftism that was shown for what it is during the 20th century. He's a gray fading dinosaur of 20th century leftist failure.

Just like the left bears reponsibility for encouraging and seditiously defending terrorists in Iraq, even if that would result in genocide against Iraqis.

The Western left ultimately bears a large portion of the responsibility for the genocide and democide of over 100 million people in the 20th century.


brokerdavelhr

I guess Zach believes that Saddam killed more people due to US policy. This is simply not true. Go to any Kurdish, Iraq, or Iranian website, and you will find out otherwise. Better yet, go to the library and read some books on Middle Eastern history. I will re-iterate for Zach, what I have countless of times in past articles on the Iraq situation, posted on this site.

1- The Kurds are not now, nor have they ever been a truly peaceful people. When they were forcibly placed under the power of the Iraqi govt back in the early 1910's by Britain, they began their resistance. It is a well known FACT that since then (up until the late 90's) that Iran provided them weapons and money. Saddam was tired of endless skirmishes with the Kurds in the North East, so he cut a deal with Iran to stop the arms exchange, and then chem'ed the Kurds to drive his point home. This proves two things. 1- That a peace that is forcefully imposed cannot last without a tyrant to enforce it. 2- That all those deaths had nothing to do with US policy that actually helped the entire Middle Eastern region since it was enacted. Fact, not fiction. Well, if you believe fact and proof over the news anyway.

2- (Zach) There is simply no way to consider a war won when there continue to be bombs killing dozens in the capital city, hundreds per month. There is little doubt that if your country suffered those loses (even without adjusting for population), you would rightly consider it a continuing disaster.

Where did you get the 300 civilian Iraqi deaths a month as a result of the war? Also think about how small that number is comparatively speaking when you think about the percentage of Americans who died during the civil war in our country. 1- More cops, firefighters, soldiers etc die each week by comparison. Just because you do not see it on the news, does mean that it does not happen. 2- If only a million Iraq's died to gain her freedom, then they are lucky. Look how many it took for the US to gain hers. Also, note that only about 20 or so die to monthly bombing. Get your facts straight.

brokerdavelhr

Now this goes to everyone. War is brutal. War is stupid. War is a result of what happens when a problem goes unchecked for so long, and could have been prevented if the peoples involved were not complacent in the events that led up to it. This is a historical and ideological fact. What scares me, is how closely the US mirrors other countries in history who have fallen prey to ignorance, complacency, and a sheer lack of discretion and knowledge. Oh, and lack nuts to enforce the original laws that would have prevented the situation to have gotten this far instead of making up newer ones to gloss over the sheer lack of common sense that ravages our society. Want to see something scary? Read - How to Lose a Battle: France 1940 and gawk at what led up to those events and how close the US is approaching to making the same mistakes.

Also there is one thing I think Zach is trying to say that I do agree with, and that is there is no proof of a long term victory. Russia, I am sorry to say, is not proof. Nor is China. Sure they have gotten better (in my opinion Russia more so then China) since the induction of democracy, but those instances are slowly being greatly overstated as the only real proof we have is their news (which I am sorry to say suffers from the same problem as ours does). Their govt is even less accountable to their people then ours is, so do not believe for 1 second that the stated GDP tells the whole story of the countries. Deep down, it is up to the people themselves of any country to make a democracy work. This is why most democracies are doomed to failure from the start. This is also why the US needs to wake up, stop playing global games in which they have no business, and fix herself. I say that not only as a proud American, but a former soldier who swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. Yes it is good that freedom is spreading, but at what cost and toward what end? Furthermore, do the ends justify the means? Both of these questions are rhetorical in nature from a historic stand point which in the end, changes nothing.

brokerdavelhr

I am actually caught wondering now if we actually did lose. Not the war itself. Not the conflict that we engaged in. But we ourselves. In 20-20 hindsight, there was a better way to accomplish what needed to be done instead of doing what we did.

GK,

1-You stated that a main reason for us going to Iraq was to instill a democracy. I have still yet to find proof of this before our invasion.
2- Nation building and creating global allies and governments was warned about by our forefathers. Yes, they come from a less advanced time, yet they understood that the more you get yourself involved with, the harder it would be to maintain it. They also fought long and hard for the creation of this country, which gives them more of an understanding of what America is then you or I could ever hope to have- proof of this lies in the twisting of words and reason which create far more problems then it solves in modern times.
3- The fighting for the chance to create a foreign govt over the one already in place, is by virtue un-American. Not only does it debase almost everything our forefathers recognized as fact, but it makes us hypocrites the world over. Also, it has a long-term failure rate of over 90% (historically speaking – give me one example where it has worked long term, and not created an even bigger problem). The only exceptions to this would be like WWII where there was indeed a clear threat to not only the rest of the world, but us as well.
4- The US has proved that if a country wants freedom enough, they will fight for it themselves. If you look at the Revolutionary war, the only advantage we had was familiarity of the land for the common soldiers. Outside of that, the British outmanned us, outgunned us, had more logistical support, and was better organized. Yet we won. Vietnam- we had tanks, planes, etc. All they had were AK’s and RPG’s. Yet no one could honestly say we won that one. So if the reason we went to Iraq was to free her and build a new govt, then we have forgotten what our fore-fathers labored so hard to teach us.
5- The only thing I can say was a temporary win in Iraq, was the halting of terrorist activity on our shores. If the problem is WMD’s and terrorist threats, then the answer is to obliterate them, and show the rest of the world what we do to those who attack us on our own soil. Besides if terrorism is the real reason we went to Iraq, why is Usama not held responsible for the 9-11 attacks despite the fact that he is the leader of Al-Qaida?

brokerdavelhr

6-In respect to point 5- Saddam himself had less ties to the terrorists then some members in his cabinet. In all actuality, he was indirectly involved at best with Al-Qaida.
7- If we were really interested in giving Iraq a long-term fighting a chance, we would have pulled out as soon as Saddam was removed from power, and let the country sort out it’s own future. However by not only removing Saddam, but setting up a new govt (that history has proved futile) in Iraq, we denied Iraq the chance to stand up for themselves and determine their own future. Think about it, if the US was to suddenly be taken over by our govt, and some country came to free us, how would we feel if our freedom fighters who wanted the old America back fought against a new govt emplaced by a foreign govt were called ‘terrorists’? That is EXACTLY what is happening in Iraq.
8- In respect to point 7- The oppressed weak who either could not, or would not stand for themselves, would be greatful for the new force freeing us, and help the new force fight off old patriots who are labled as ‘terrorists’. Because the majority is not fighters, but rather regular people who never even think to utilize the 2nd amendment, the old petriots would be seen by the rest of the world as ‘terrorists’. Scary huh?

brokerdavelhr

BTW- only half of my posts are being posted...getting old- sorry I am long winded, but the points must be made for any of this to make sense. You need to talk to your blog service and ask them why this is happening.

brokerdavelhr

And for now I will end with this- You cannot fight a monster by being anything less yourself. Unless of course you are nothing short of a knight in shining armor who has no baggage that may be used against them. Because this is hardly the case, the former applies, and we have ourselves to blame.

Lastly, we must remember that we asked for it. Somalia- a young starving child is posted on the front cover of TIME and many other publications. Inside the article are pictures of war atrocities. The US is outraged. They do not know anyone there, nor will those events ever effect them. However they call upon our govt and military to do something about it anyway. Keep in mind that the national debt is climbing in a system based off of fiat currency, and we have failing people in our own country. Keep in mind that we cannot afford the best for our troops despite the fact that they give their best for us. Keep in mind that such involvements affect trade agreements etc., making our economy that much worse. Yet here we are, having the arrogance to take on other countries who will (as history has proven many times over-not in the great world wars, but the stupid little ones) never pay us back, and would never understand what is being given to them.

Iraq could pay us back with oil in the long run, so it may not be a total loss. But Kuwait never did. Saudi never did. Prices were higher after they were ‘free'. So no, Bush did not ‘go for the oil’ as some like to claim. Terrorist yes- with Al-Qaida- 60% maybe. The American thing to do, would have been to keep their noses out of it. But instead we went to crush Saddam. We should have just dismantled his remaining military (from .50 cal on up), and let the citizens have their turn. This would have led to a major civil war in Iraq though, just as it always has before in the past. So we set up a democracy of our approval. However just like the Fed lowering the rate and increasing the national debt to give the appearance of a better economy, this only prolongs the inevitable, and leads to a much more dreadful conclusion. Iraq is famous for coups and even though that seems bad, it isn’t half as bad what happens when little ‘democracies’ are overthrown in a pitched battle, and given to a new dictator. Yes Saddam chem’d the Kurds. But they were in point of fact, keeping him from full control of Iraq. To give the US equivalent, imagine over a million people armed and experienced, fighting against the govt. Most would die a traitors a death, the rest would end up in prison. So the Saddam did the same thing as we would have- he just used different means of accomplishing this. Oh yeah, the UN refused him support many times for not being able to control his own country.

So yes, we won the fight. Yes we destroyed their military and dictator. This has been done many time since that nations creation though. Each time we get involved, we sink even more in debt, make more dangerous enemies in the long run, and cause a divide in our own nation. All the while turning our backs to our forefathers teaching, and losing the very heart of America. So I will ask you again- what are we winning?

GK

It looks like Zachriel ran away once he was probed a bit.

brokerdavelhr,

I maintain that what we have won is summarized within the 'Winds of War' and 'Age of Democracy' articles, in the context of the historical trends described there. More and more of the world is getting on the right side of the fence of both freedom and stability-granting prosperity, and the only 2 major concentrations of failed states remaining are in the Middle East and Africa. Busting open and reforming the keystone state of the Middle East will have a domino effect over the next several years.

I have nothing further to add to that.

brokerdavelhr

GK,

Fair enough

brokerdavelhr

Seriously, I still need a source that says we went to Iraq to spread democracy. Such an action is a direct violation of this countries principles and as much as I would like to say the end justifies the means, the way we did it was unconstitutional. Not my opinion, but a fact.

GK

brokerdavelhr,

Bill CLinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 This authorized regime change in Iraq as part of US policy and the 'liberation' term implies replacing it with a democracy, rather than simply another dictatorship.

How is it unconstitutional when it passed 100-0 in the Senate, and the President signed it?

brokerdavelhr

Just because congress or the senate pass a bill into law, does not make it within our constitutional boundaries - especially not when it is not in the US best interest.
NAFTA - I am sure we agree that this was a huge blunder.

Clinton was a democrat-
Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
John Adams, letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814

Federal Reserve Board - I already said my piece on this.
But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.
John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 17, 1775

Social Security which places an American in debt to the last generation as soon as they are born.
He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.
Benjamin Franklin, from his writings, 1758
But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years.
Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789

The IRS- which required an amendment to the constitution which violated one of the main reasons the US became independent from Britain to begin with.
Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; and to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.
John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

Somalia, Kosovo, Treaty with Israel, etc., etc.
Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.
Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Frivolous government spending:
A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Lafayette, 1823
The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816

On our electoral Process handled by mass media-
We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.
John Adams, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1797

Welfare -
Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.
Benjamin Franklin, letter to Collinson, May 9, 1753

The Patriot Act:
They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

GK

brokerdavelhr,

If the President and all 100 Senators approved of the Iraq Liberation Act, who are you going to complain to about it being 'unconstitutional', if indeed it even is?

It is not practical to fantasize about the America of the late 18th century. Back then, women could not vote, slavery was the norm, and life expectancy was 40, so it was hardly a good time.

brokerdavelhr


GK,

You mis-understand me. I was not meaning to complain, but more stating a point. Sorry. I will put it this way. The crusades, the inquisition, etc etc all in the name of religion. Twisting the words of the Bible, the said powers gained enough support of entire nations to destroy another, and in turn, bankrupt their own. And it took many centuries to get that far. We have the constitution. The federalist papers. Even the Bill of Rights. Yet without an understanding of its original meaning, it is meaningless now. I placed the above quotes to point that out. Obviously the point was lost. With whom do I talk to change it? Just those around me who bother to lend an ear. I cannot, and will not, force a belief or ideal down someone else’s throat. Unlike the powers that be we have now. Who do I talk to to change it? Good question man. You may not agree, and maybe your readers do not either, but I at least got it out there didn't I? In truth, people like me are a minority. I know that. Every great writer in many societies, some still in existence, some not, have all written about things that caused either their downfall, or corruption. To ignore these, you become one of three things- 1- A 'leader of flock', who is nothing more in reality then a sheep themselves. 2- An outright sheep who always follows the herd because it is perceived as safe, despite the wolves who pick out one or two on the side. 3- A wolf who owes allegiance to none. Such a one asks for no forgiveness or favors, and nor do they expect them. Then you have the other animals, like me. Lions, eagles, or an old oak who lives centuries longer then his pine cousins. We tolerate the rest as necessary evils, and only show throat when it is absolutely necessary to accomplish a better end. But a lion can only be pushed so far before turning. An eagle only tolerates the annoying starlings buzz bombing him for so long before he soars up high, and dives- ripping their very life from them in a puff of feathers. The old oak sees more then any other. Used for shade, a nest, or his fruit for food, he see's generation after generation come and go. His rings will tell his story when he is cut down centuries later.
I do not speak to the sheep, or the 'leader'. Only occasionally to the wolf or his pack who walk by themselves just for the heck of it.
No, I am talking to the lions and calling to their courage and strength. A lion by himself can be brought down by a pack of hyenas. But a pride is a fearful thing indeed.
I am speaking to the eagles who know how to re-group, rise above it all, and then sweep in fast with pinpoint accuracy. To the victor will go the spoils.
I talk to the oak whose wisdom remains my guide. His word giving caution when it is appropriate, and the 'all clear' when the storms pass.
So if you, or any other reader have any more questions in this apsect, and are of the former, I have this to say- Either go back to square one and learn first, or wallow in your pathetic lives. Keep dreaming about a thing or event that will save you from this complacent, rather fake world. I am sorry to say that it will proabably never come to pass in your lifetime. Maybe inadvertently in the next, but not here and now. A pauper can sit on a throne, but in the end, is no more then a pauper.
If you hear wisdom or understanding and ignore it, then these words are not for you. But even if you take 1, just 1 premise, and learn something, then I am talking to you. All else is a waste of time.

It is not practical to fantasize about the America of the late 18th century. Back then, women could not vote, slavery was the norm, and life expectancy was 40, so it was hardly a good time.

And you believe that this is what I fantasize about? Slavery? Oppression of women? Short lives? What sick-o do you take me for GK?
How about- the discoveries made toward electricity?
How about the bifocals?
How about the philosophical forums that have been replaced by Oprah?
How about the people who actually had the backbone to stand up for themselves and forge their own fate vs. the handout lovers, or those who allow it to be set for them who seem to make up the majority now (witness the elections)?
How about a society where children were taught the value of knowledge and the pursuit thereof vs. the TV Ritalin soaked ones we have today who seem to know by the age of 5 that they are gay?

brokerdavelhr

How about when people started out as being simple, and were treated as such until they proved otherwise vs. the idolized idiots we have today adored by millions?
THAT GK, is what I fantasize about.
Women are allowed to vote BECAUSE they stood up for themselves, and made an INTELLIGABLE case for themselves.
Now the slavery as you know is a lot more complex. I do not condone this and never have. I am only saying this again because you seem to think that I fantasize about it. Well listen up. Slavery is a system that never lasts in any nation, anywhere in history. Did you honestly believe that the civil war was fought with slavery for the basis? No, it merely gave Lincoln firmer grounds to start the war that was fought to provide greater power to the federal system, an idea that at that time was iffy at best. Yes it was good that slavery was OFFICIALLY abolished as a result, and through many years of struggle following the war, ended itself. General Longstreet (A confederate general in the war) even stated 'Had it not been for slavery, we could have won the war.'. BTW, not all the southern plantations had slaves. Both sides were playing two sides of the same coin that only had 1 good result, and that is the abolition of slavery.

1- If someone came to your doorstep GK, and told you to surrender your gun, would you do it?
2- If the dollar was one day worthless or hyper-inflated, what would you do having no other means to get by?
3- You tax money goes to a perpetually disproven system that is self-feeding, and your okay with this?
4- Your taxes got to feed a woman who pops out a kid every so years to keep the check coming. Are you okay with that?
5- Your taxes go to force our children to learn what they a- have no interest in, or b-is a load of crap and we both know it. And God forbid you try to fight it. None of the half-educated teachers or faculty listen to you on sole grounds that you are not a professor. Ditto for the school board of Education who determines if a school is ‘accredited’ or not. And you okay with that?
6- The US is so far in debt with no where near enough assets to back it, and increases it monthly to bad practices. Money that one day will have to be redeemed; probably by your children or their children. Your okay with that?
7- Your debt (after all, it is our responsibility to pay for all debts the country racks up right? ) is continuously being raised by sponsoring nation building (like Iraq) with no realized benefit. Will that lower your mortgage? Will your energy cost go down? Will your money grow in value? Do you know the implications of allowing this to happen? No, no, no, and no.
8- Just because the GDP has increased, and the monetary system is still intact, do we as Americans really have any more to show for it? No.
9- So what is so horrible about fantasizing about strong, proven ideals and concepts taught by those who proceeded us, who have as we say 'been there, done that?' If that is your only real argument against mine, best come with a sword next time and not a toothpick.

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