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September 19, 2003

Forgive, Ignore, or Punish America?!
Arash Bateni  [info|posts]

iraqwar.jpeg The Gulf War II started with "shock and awe" on March 20, 2003. Within a few weeks the US military forces crushed the Iraqi's resistance, toppled Saddam's statue and declared an initial victory on May 2, 2003.

The result of the military campaign wasn't a main issue in this war, as there was little doubt that the multibillion-dollar US military would crush any defense swiftly. The outcome of the battle was even more predictable when Iraq was forced to reveal its military intelligence and let the US spy-planes fly freely over the country. Considering the real targets and challenges of this war, however, it was a complete defeat for America.

From the international standpoint, the main concerns of the war have been (1) the justification of the war according to the international principles, and (2) whether or not military action could deliver stability and democracy to Iraq as promised by the US. On the other hand, according to Americans the main targets of the war were (1) to prevent the imminent threat of Iraq weapons of mass destruction, and (2) regime change (possibly to substitute a puppet government in Iraq and hence having more influence in the middle east and the OPEC).

The US failed at the first point in convincing the world, particularly the United Nations, to endorse or support the war. Americans started the war unilaterally (with symbolic support of some allies), claiming that it would deliver the American and international demands by little cost and time. But the second failure happened shortly after the occupation. There were no weapons of mass destruction, thus no imminent threat!

Still some hope remained for the Bush administration: to complete the regime change. By quickly stabilizing the occupied country the US could demonstrate the efficiency of its approach to replace corrupt governments using military power. However six months have passed from then, many more have been killed, and the occupied country is less stable than ever. Apparently, the US approach was unsuccessful on this aspect too.

In brief, the US has failed to deliver any of the American or international demands through this war. Return of Collin Powell to the (once called obsolete and redundant) United Nation to request international aid, was the declaration of this defeat. So far the position of the Security Council suggests that any international participation requires international management of Iraq situation. That means the US will have less influence in Iraq's future, in spite of investing many lives and billions of dollars.

Condoleeza Rice, the National Security Advisor of the United States, assured that the US policy would be to "forgive Russia, ignore Germany and punish France" for their antiwar stances. Now having the US in trap, it is up to the world to choose whether to forgive, ignore or punish America.

Comments
Hooman at September 19, 2003 06:56 PM [permalink]:

I was against war for the practical reasons: There are no examples where starting a war has brought about democracy. I am still practical that's why I think Iraq is different tha failed examples like Haiti. Iraq is situated in the mid east, it is oil producing and else that we know.

So there are good reasons to believe Americans are after creating a window democracy in the mid east which is not a bad idea after all. With that vision their failure in Iraq a failure for Iraqis, for the region, for the whole world community. They should finish what they started, and a divided UN cannot be a replacement.

Saeed at September 20, 2003 05:11 AM [permalink]:

I think at the end this war will benefit the people of Iraq especially the shiites. I rather see disorder in Iran if I was sure that it would end up in freedom.
I also love to see US in quagmire, which has made me a supporter of this war.

A digression: I think the current structure of the UN was for the needs after World War II and it will be changed sooner or later for good or bad. For example, it is not fair that Russia and US both have the same veto vote at least in the UN chart. US power is not even comparable to the Russiaís. So blaming the US, JUST because they didnít pay attention much to the UN is not fair in my opinion. I am pretty sure if France had the same power as US has, they would have not considered the willing of the world opinion.

I agree though that undermining UN so PUBLICLY and with the diplomacy level as high as Khamenei's! was just stupid and will have more harm than good to US itself.

Senior Grad at September 20, 2003 10:05 AM [permalink]:

Hooman:

What is a exactly a "window democracy"? An explanation would be appreciated.

Hooman at September 20, 2003 10:22 AM [permalink]:

Senior grad:
Vendors put their best merchandise in the window of their shop.
OK. An example of window democarcy was West Germany which was in the direct sight of the communist bloc. High-rises with their big billboards in the Western part of Berlin served as inviting beacons for the easterners.

Senior Grad at September 20, 2003 11:47 AM [permalink]:

Thanks for the clarifying note, Hooman. Is that term --window democracy-- actually used among, you know, political scientists?! Geez, these guys make up a term for something they see only one instance of. Anyway, I thought "window democracy" must be some sort of (fake?) democracy, or something. But I guess you meant the US wanted to make a democracy in the heart of the Middle East to encourage neighboring nations to aspire to democratic causes. But isn't it wishful thinking?

First of all, I don't think we are going to witness anything like democracy in Iraq for decades to come. In Iran, maybe, but in Iraq? Hmmm. Secondly, I don't exactly see how democracy can be "contagious", so to speak. Okay, suppose Iraq becomes the flag-bearer of democracy in the region. Shiite Iranians then frequent their holy sites in Iran and, having seen Iraq's prosperity, bring back home democratic ideas... Is that how a window democracy works? Or am I missing something?

hajir at September 20, 2003 10:47 PM [permalink]:

I think we shouldn't rush. It's been only seven months that Saddam has gone. I am optimistic about the situation in Iraq and I think we are not in a position to forgive, ignore or punish America.

saoshyant at September 20, 2003 11:14 PM [permalink]:

I absolutely agree with Hajir,

One question though: Did Arash mean just to offer a rhetroical close to open a discussion about the future of Iraq and its domino effect on the region, in particular Iran?

If so, he could be more explicit, unless this is a prelude to another posting.

Hooman at September 21, 2003 12:34 AM [permalink]:

Actually I am not sure if "window democracy" term is used by political scientists. I thought this term was obvious. Sorry for the confusion.

About your other point. As I told before I cannot think of any exmaple where democracy is brought up by starting a war. You have to look back at other libertaion examples like Haiti, Bosina, and else. But now at this point we can only hope that Iraq gets a relative stability. I don't think that a democratic Iraq is going to help democracy propagate throughout the region in the short run. But it's definitely more helping than its alternatives (that could be actually disaster).
One thing that Americans are after is to minimize their dependency on Saudi Arbabia that has been a bastion of terrorists during the past 20 years for some reasons that are not the topic here. They would minimize their presence (militarily) and oil depedence (economically). So it would make them more flexible to treat Saudi Arabia more tough. This is what they hope to cash in in the short run.

saoshyant at September 21, 2003 01:48 AM [permalink]:

There are few examples that show intervention often works, of course to a degree.

What about the British intervention in Sierra Leon? It has brought relative stability and democratic parliamentarian government. Another example is the Australian led intervention in East Timor. It has been so far a relatively successful one.

Also the Bosnian and Croat confederation is working to a limited degree and the Serbs who were not co-operating were forced to co-operate after Milosevic was forced out. So I am not sure how you can so pessimistically substantiate that interventions are always unsuccessful.

It is not a perfect world, but you have to stop at some point the rape of thousands of women, claims go often up to 60,000, and genocide (Bosnia, and later Kosovo).
And I certainly appreciate any response that would include a "whose-fault" clause, and just clarify that: What if a humanitarian intervention is necessary?
After the chaos of Somalia, Americans refused to intervene in Rwanda citing how they were vilified in that adventure (we know that they really did not care because they had no interest, not also forgetting that the French had also threatened to Veto any resolution leading up to intervention).

I think Arash points to the importance multi-lateralist and internationalist mandated intervention, if ever mandated. Not a unilateral bully that does not plan properly and ignores tragic consequences completely and at least in the short term appears to have entrapped itself.


Mehrad at September 21, 2003 06:36 AM [permalink]:

Dear Hazh,

You're right: "we shouldn't rush." But when do you think it would be appropriate time for judging? And when do you think some signs of your optimism would become real? Or if there are any signs visible now, could you please describe them a little?

Grand Vizier at September 21, 2003 10:19 AM [permalink]:

Hajir is not the Hazh you know Mehrad. It is someone else's pseudonym. Beware that the ways of our lord are subtle and his methods diverse.

Senior Grad at September 21, 2003 11:01 AM [permalink]:

Grand Vizier has a sense of humor, indeed. :-)

Hooman at September 21, 2003 11:28 AM [permalink]:

Well all of your examples, Saoshyant, have something to do with intervention where there was a war already fighting by some. I never talked about those cases. I again say that starting a war never ends in democracy.
Plus things that you and I never hear after the conflicts ends when our attention diverted to some other places always suggest something else.

saoshyant at September 21, 2003 01:23 PM [permalink]:

Hooman,

Indeed, I have done academic research about the failed states and it is presently a very hot issue because of Iraq.

I suppose, if you don't mind me saying that, you are now revising your previous point, by limiting and questioning the necessity of intervention into places where there was no war "Now". Because, you did refer to Bosnia as an example that had not worked, so I cited the complexities that were causing it not work in the broader framework of the Balkans and mentioning how it is working today, since it is just almost three years that the Milosevic factor has been dealt with, i.e. allowing the Bosna-Croat federation work its complexities out smoother and since then things are shaping up much faster.

Today, the founder of Medcines Sans Frontieres, Bernard Kouchner is capably doing one of the most taxing jobs the as Chief Administrator of Kosovo and is contributing a great deal in a situation that is already a deadlock for all intents and purposes, with respect to the future of Serbia. I suppose you know that Monte Negro and Serbia have already started a separtion process, as per a treaty signed between the two countries, I suppose last spring.

You can also look at Sierra Leon and East Timor cases; they are cases of intervention that have more or less worked, during and post-intervention so far.

I hope my peers on this web site are not offended, but it seems we all "often" have a way of not directly addressing some of the questions that we are asked, either because we find them irrelevant and/or we don't due to the mainly heavy volume of discussions.

My questions remain as: First, Does Arash point to the necessity of a multilateralist and internationally mandated intervention that is sanctioned with a post-intervention mandate? Or can one conclude any such implication from his post?

Secondly, I am wondering if intervention can absolutely be rejected even if there is a humanitarian catastrophe at hand, there might be no war, but there can be indications of civil conflict, for example can intervention be justified in Burma on humanitarian grounds?


Indeed, this is the case about the East Timor. The East Timoris were conducting a largely non-violent resistance and were being attacked by the Indonesian army supported "armed citizen groups". Indonesia was claiming there was no civil war there, but there were clear indications that there was civil strife as per the displacements of people and attacks on pro-Independence East Timoris. The world waited until the situation got worse and when the Timoris started to escape en masse, then, the UN was forced to act and recognize that 'perhaps' we do not need 'an outright war' and 'civil strife' can constitute good grounds for intervention.

Hazhir at September 21, 2003 02:16 PM [permalink]:

Just a clarification, specially for Mehrad:
I (Hazhir Rahmandad) didn't post any comment under this entry before. The comment by "Hajir" is from another visitor of the site. Fortunately we use different names ("Hazhir" vs. "Hajir") and I put my @mit.edu E-mail as well, so I hope this avoids possible confusion.

Mehrad at September 21, 2003 03:17 PM [permalink]:

Hazhir, I'm Really sorry, gonna double check the spelling from now on...

Hooman at September 21, 2003 03:20 PM [permalink]:

saoshyant,

things are getting mixed up here. are we talking about bringing about democracy or just stability? they are two different cases. what i talked about was democracy in that case i haven't revised my point and my examples.

saoshyant at September 21, 2003 04:07 PM [permalink]:

Hooman,

I appreciate the clarification point. I thought of three stages mandated intervention, mandated-nation-building and democratic transition. I equate stability + democracy equal with nation-building. It is upon to Arash to intervene here, I suppose, as we may have different ideas of stability and the ensuing democratic nation-building. I hope you agree with me that achieving stability and/or getting rid of civil strife is a pre-condition for democratic nation-building.

Bosnia does not fit the case of a federal state as a federal democracy and in that case you are right. Siera Leon is making steady steps towards democracy.

I wonder if Arash thinks at all that there can be intervention with an international mandate, both to restore stability and kick off a democratic nation-building project.

nina at September 22, 2003 08:37 AM [permalink]:

As a human point of view I could say that erasing Saddam's dictatorial government was the only favorite result for people of Iraq if you comprise it with the other results of the war: dead, wounded and nomadic people... but we see that the goodness of this result is dimmed in the case that months have gone and yet Iraq has been managed with a US military member. This may create some questions reverberating in our mind about the independence of Iraq and the having authorization of oil for the Iraqis.

As a philosophic discussion about US claiming, is it acceptable that a group of people want to force another group to live according the rules and beliefs of the first group?? It is an important question when some declaim democracy specially and act in the name of it. I ask: Does the name of democracy enough to coerce the others to accept our doctrine? Even our doctrine name is democracy?? Is the soul of democracy prepared by using force?? Isn't there a paradox?!

Senior Grad at September 22, 2003 01:04 PM [permalink]:

Although I find your writing style a little confused and confusing, I would like to address your second paragraph above, nina. :-)

You raise a difficult question. Do some people have the *right* to impose their way of life, be it democracy or else, on other peoples? I put the word "right" in stars to emphasise how your own argument or your question is already affected by democratic thinking! I believe this question is the source of a lot of debate on relativism and if human rights, the way it is declared by UN, is universal, or each culture can have modified versions of it. But in order to answer your question, let me take it to an extreme and raise another question that you may want to ponder.

Imagine there is a newly discovered island in the middle of some ocean, in which the couples, as a matter of custom, kill their infants from the 3rd one on. (Just a made-up example.) It is in their *culture* and they have developed, over ages, a ritual of killing the 3rd baby by stoning her or him to death, or by throwing her/him in the ocean or hanging it from a coconot tree, or choose your horrible method of killing a newborn.

Now this island is discovered by the "civilized" world and we, the civilized, dispprove of their repugnant practices, done in the name of local culture. What should we do? Should we impose our own culture and thus save the lives of those innocent infants or let them do whatever they want to do according to their customs? Okay I now see my example is flawed, because with today's medical knowledge of our age you can introduce vasectomy or condums, but you get my point; don't you?

SG at September 22, 2003 01:09 PM [permalink]:

Sorry. Let "coconut" and "condom" each have their correct share of O's and U's in the above comment. :-)

saoshyant at September 22, 2003 01:10 PM [permalink]:

Well, it appears people cannot decide if there can be an internationally mandated intervention.

This is at least very good. Because, I suppose amongst other things:

the Kurdish people are wrong to be happy about it,

Sierra Leonians are wrong to be happy about it,

the Kosovars are wrong to be happy about it,

the East Timoris are wrong to be happy about it,

the Bangeladeshis, who were beign slaughtered by the Pakistani army in the early 1970s when the Indian Army intervened and stopped the Pakistani massacre are wrong to be happy about it,

Well, it seems no intervention for many is better than intervention: Rwanda, Kongo, Bosnia (well it took three years), let people get killed and don't do anything because we don't know what happens afterwards, and let's blame the super powers for all that violence while sitting idly and watching people getting killed en masse.

The picture of any human actions and its consequences is not just black and white, this is unfortunately an argument that cuts both ways.

I wish humans were civilized enough to arrive at an intermediary solution to intervene when necessary and to save lives before it is too late, and of course do not forget that people can still die and get killed if there is no 'mandated' post intervention plan.

Shiraz at September 22, 2003 03:15 PM [permalink]:

I see the point in "military intervention" when people are being killed because of a genocide or an unbalanced war. But I can not see why out of the blue US remembered that people are being killed in Iraq! After all, Sadam was their man when he was fighting Iran and nobody tried to intervene when he used chemical bombs against Kurds. I guess it is quite naive to think that US attacked Iraq from the goodness of its heart.

hajir at September 22, 2003 04:37 PM [permalink]:

Shiraz wrote:
"I guess it is quite naive to think that US attacked Iraq from the goodness of its heart."

No doubt about it. 'Cats don't catch mice for the sake of god'. It's best to forget the past and be hopeful that americans do good to Iraqis alongside doing good to themselves.

Mavreen at September 22, 2003 04:57 PM [permalink]:

I believe the cause of these problems can be related back to US foreign policy and how every president changes it to suit his own agenda. It's not that the government forgets, but rather the emphasis is shifted to other "hot spots" around the world.

Nevertheless, nothing will reflect more poorly on the US if the foundation we give the Iraqi people crumbles miserably. Giving a new country a good base to set up a future government should supercede any desire to force a new country towards democracy, yet a democracy allows the people to choose the direction of the country. Which one will work best in Iraq? Only time will tell.


Babak S at September 22, 2003 05:51 PM [permalink]:

On the last few comments, I have this to add:

The US, as hajir rightly said, does not act to the benefit of any country but itself, as it should, nor would any other country ever. But one should not hesitate to highlight the rights just because there are many wrongs in the world.

And just to complete Saoshyant's comment, in my opinion:

`The picture of any human actions and its consequences is not just black and white, this is unfortunately an argument that cuts both ways ...' unless we understand that a colourful spectrum of human actions does not mean at all, that there are no white or black actions any more. They are still there. Beware!

Hooman at September 22, 2003 05:59 PM [permalink]:

Saoshyant,

I still have hard time understanding the relationaship between your examples, where in most cases there has been an infighting, or war (between two neighbours) on one side and Iraq on the other. US and UK had their boots on Saddam's throat. There was no recent massacre (except 10 years ago when it all triggered mistakenly by the US)! The justofication for war was poorly done (unlike many of your examples), and when it was done, it had nothing to do with humanaterian causes.


So what's exactly the link?

saoshyant at September 22, 2003 08:55 PM [permalink]:

Hooman and Babak

Allow me to reiterate,

I never tried to cite an example for the Iraqi intervention of the most recent past.

In fact, the proper intervention in Iraq took place through the establishment of the Northern No-Fly zone that ensured stopping the massacre and displacement of the Kurds as sanctioned by the UN Security Council. Ever since, the massacre of the Kurds stopped and that is what I meant by whether the Kurds should be considered to be wrong for having that intervention in the early 1990s happen that saved. Many Kurds found and find their newly autonomous territory democratic and stable enough for themselves.

Hooman said that stability and democracy cannot be equated. I offered my multi-stage understanding of what is tantamount to a mulitlateralist, internationally sanctioned intervention and have been keeping citing cases that in which either intervention has been relatively successful or a few cases in which it has also led to the establishment of the stability needed to make a transition towards democracy.

To this end, as the US's intervention was not justifiable from any conceivable aspect, one can not disregard the necessity of clarifying and/or taking a position about the substantive issues of humanitarian intervention.

Hooman in his first posting said "There are no examples where starting a war has brought about democracy", well if by war you mean any war, the US and UK brought Democracy to Italy, Japan, and Germany.

If that is a very old or not a very convincing example, I cited more recent examples. What about the progress of Sierra Leon towards a multi-party democracy, the UK handled the situation there with 2000 troops and the Royal Navy and everybody seems to be content with that. The Australians have done the same thing in East Timor and East Timor is transiting towards democracy.


Then, in order to make sure that I am aware that what exactly your positions are over the question of intervention, I posed my question in a very simple way: Do you agree with an internationally mandated, multilateralist, intervention when there is civil strife or mass loss of life?

Now it is your turn..

Hooman at September 22, 2003 09:19 PM [permalink]:

saoshyant,

Back to sqaure one. In all of your examples there was already a war in place when intervention took place. Actually I know next to nothing about Sierra Leon and East Timor's situation, and how viable and sustainable a democracy is in those places. It is still to soon to judge the situation in those countries, (you might say) as is too soon the situation in Iraq to judge.

The same logic applies to Italy, Japan, and Germany. A war didn't break out to impose democracy on those countries. A war had already started by them, they were defeated, and there you go.

You may ask what difference starting a war makes (a war is war no matter who started it). That would be a different topic that if you like, I can put my 2-cents on too.

P.S. I don't have anything against international intervention to stop ongong bloodsheds.

saoshyant at September 22, 2003 09:36 PM [permalink]:

Hooman

Perfect response, now I will be waiting for you to put your posting on the difference that you are trying to point to. But I never thought that the US's intervention was mainly to establish democracy in Iraq. I always thought, from the US administration itself, that they were intervening to protect the US security and interest, and then on the side they were saying Iraq would democratize as well. But I never thought that they started this war as a crusade for democracy.

Yes, well, I now remember that they said it would have an impact, but on the region, but I never thought for all other countries in the region they would be going to wage war to achieve any such goal such as democatizing.

As per Sierra Leon and East Timor, I agree. Democratization is a long process and we are all participants in this waiting game.

Thanks for clarification regarding humanitarian intervention, by the way!

nina at September 23, 2003 10:41 AM [permalink]:

Senior grad

I do not prefer to write confused or confusing, just there is a matter I'd like better to write as laconic as I could in order to read and understand simply. It seems I expunge some of my explanations when I write this way. I acknowledge that my last paragraph has not enough clear, so I try to clarify it.

I see that Americans has a feeling that, in some phrase, they are a bulwark to the democracy especially in the other countries. While writing the 2nd paragraph, I wanted to cast doubt on this kind of thinking which could be one of the popular cause of Iraq war for fans of democracy, while we see that some of them use this excuse to justify this attack.

As a reply to your question, I could see if the discoverers of that island are democratic, and if democracy in their mind accepts any kind of thought or life, so they will do not impede them. I say "if democracy in their mind accept ..." because the word of democracy has different meaning for persons, unfortunately many of them used this multi-meaning word for their selfish purposes like trying to erase the indian of lands .for example I could mention the red-skins' life and culture been destroyed in spite of claiming democracy. This is the point: to claim democracy brings a huge responsibility.

Saoshyant

I am agree that the picture of any decision and its complex consequences does not pre planned and in any time we decide according to our knowledge of that time, but it does not mean that we should not question about our past acts and analyze them though this time we see them in a different view point with our updated knowledge.
We have no way except trying to decide with our incomplete knowing in time and after analyzing it , use our deductions for the coming problems.


saoshyant at September 23, 2003 11:57 AM [permalink]:

Nina:

I do not know how you concluded that I am against self-reflection and criticism of the past!

Since you brought up the question of deduction and other issues, I am obliged to make a friendly reminder:

We all have different narratives of the past. We have to arrive at what we tend to agree as constituting the common demoninators of our understanding of a set of events or stories. After achieving that through lots of debate and discussion and clarfication, perhaps we can start debating our values and the way we would think action could be taken one way or another.

The most important thing in any intelligent debate, if not an intellectual one, is stating "uncertainty". Issuing prophetic statements is just a cause to fall prey of totalist views that are in nature absolutist, in form totalitarian, and in practice intolerant.

Stating uncertainty about the truthfulness of some of our propositions is a way of respecting the possibility that other people's belief is equally true and at the same time we are willing to share the path of verifying truth with them for the sake of learning.

Now, if you look at the exchange between me and Hooman, you can see that he has taken a position that is not clear to me. The lack of clarity on my side immediately concerns me over a range of issues, mainly the importance of humanitarian intervention.

In the course of the debate, I clarified what I meant by humanitarian intervention and how realistically and practically it has to be internationally mandated, multilateralist, and concerned with civil strife and conflict. Furthermore, I clarified that humanitarian intervention must be supported by a proper post intervention plan.

In the exchange with Hooman we were successful in achieving clarity: First, understanding that he equally shared my concern that intervention cannot be totally rejected when lives are at stake; Second, that he was against waging wars with the objective of overthrowing the regimes that are deemed to be undemcoratic.

In the end, my concern was addressed, that he would agree that intervention is necessary in the case of civil strife.

I have had similar exchanges with Hazir (with Z) and Senior Grad.

I also have to add that sensitivity of the person in the debate may skyrocket depending on the issues. For example, if pluralism of the debate is compromised and divine statements start to come down, I am the first to react. I generally try to do it by asking general questions, or appealing to universal humanity.


Other times, from the way someone has already argued, I know that that person advocates a generally less than pluralist approach (for whatever reason) and I deal with that person by using less than serious statements that are supposed to function as a medium of moderation. I take the risk making the person uncomfortable but I would not insult anybody.

This is my general haphazard way of engaging in debate, and I am more than happy to revise that every now and again, depending on other participants' input and the surronding circumstances (time, place,...).

Senior Grad at September 23, 2003 12:40 PM [permalink]:

Let me first make it clear that I too find it hard to believe that the US invaded Iraq *solely* because they wanted to give them democracy "out of the goodness of their heart". That may have been a (small?) part of their rationale for toppling Saddam. One can speculate about the percentages of other concerns: terrorism, oil, etc. because American policy-makers do not constitute a monolithic body, as it was manifest by the exisiting schism between Pentagon and State Department.

But in response to nina:

I still find your writing hard to follow. In fact, it reminds me of writings of some French intellectuals! (Pick one randomly and you'll see how much they go out of their way just to avoid calrity, although they are usually grammatically correct.)

What I said was not only applicable to democracy, nina. I was trying to address your "philosophic" question about when a nation can impose their values on another nation. By bringing up the imaginary example of the island, I was merely trying to show that the answer is not always clear, and even in real life scenarios, one may still wonder where one should draw the line.

More specifically, is stoning to death, for example, an "acceptable" form of punishment?

M.R.Shekarchi,IRAN at September 27, 2003 01:45 PM [permalink]:


Dear Arash Bateni
It is a sad event that America attacked Iraq.It is also obvious that Americans did so not in the interest of Iraqis but in their own interest.But look at the other side of the coin.Would you not be unhappy tovitness regimes such as Saddam's continue to add to their mass graves.If they are to be removed,who but America can do it?

Jewels (aka Saul) at September 30, 2003 04:51 AM [permalink]:

While I find the attack on Iraq regretable (as all war is), the world will not miss Saddam Hussein, who was a veritable monster by any measure.
It has been noted America did not attack Iraq out of anything our interests. This is true, but when our interests dovetail with larger world interests, such as ridding the world of brutal thuggery sponsored by Saddam.
If it helps out the local people (in this case it did), America is most likely to respond with force of arms, because frankly, we see the U.N. as little more than a clearing house for dictators and having little legitimacy at this point.

It is my hope that Iraqi society be allowed to flow freely and become a creative force in the area as it once had been. The return to a fascist or theocratic regime would be a nightmare for the region, and as such, is to be avoided.

just my two cents

*tips his hat to all posters in the room*