View Poll Results: A democratic Iraq means..........

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  • More people standing up against tyranny, like we're seeing in Iran

    8 33.33%
  • Democracy will not last, dictatorship will inevitably return

    9 37.50%
  • Democracy will take hold, but the results will not be favorable for the US

    3 12.50%
  • I'm a malodorous hippie who believes Dick Cheney and George Bush eat arab babies for fuel

    4 16.67%
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Thread: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

  1. #61
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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    I agree with you, a dictatorship is more stable. It often preserves that stability through the subjugation of its people, a violation of human rights. Stability is not a desired feature. Smoothly changing instability is what is desired, so that the society can change over time. Ergo, democracy.
    OK. That's something I can agree with.

    But what I'm not sold on is if it is our job to overthrow dictatorships in order to implement these preferable forms of government. I'm not sold on what benefit it provides for the American people, specifically, to the point that we should take a militaristic stance on doing this.
    Tucker Case - Tard magnet.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    First I should apologize for conflating two sets of things in my list of strategically important considerations. The real list defining the strategic importance of Iraq is:

    • oil reserves - the world relies on stable oil prices and the ME has the most proven reserves. This makes the region strategically important.
    • soft war between autocrats and islamists. The autocrats are restricting the populations. The populations are responding with radical Islamism. In some cases the autocrats are encouraging this - KSA. The way out of this is democratization.
    • Iraq is centrally located along fault lines: Kurdistan, Sunni v Shiite, Arab v Persian.


    The others are considerations that made Iraq a prime target of regime change...not strategically important to the region.

    Now to go point by point:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    OK, let's look at each listed example:

    oil reserves - the world relies on stable oil prices and the ME has the most proven reserves. This makes the region strategically important.
    How has the war in Iraq stabilized oil prices, though? Recent data suggests the opposite. Prices have been pretty unstable over the last 7 years.

    Are you saying that the ultimate outcome in Iraq will re-stabilize the oil prices somehow? If so, how?

    Plus, this goal seems very short-sighted to me considering that a better long-term goal is to decrease, if not totally eliminate, our dependence on foreign energy commodities altogether.
    I would suggest that we are still in the short-term vis-a-vis the stable oil prices I was discussing. We are now getting into territory where Iraq, as an OPEC founder, is expanding exports and may well be causing OPEC limits to be exceeded. There was even talk that Iraq would leave OPEC.

    Other than the one summer spike, oil prices have been stable.

    A long-term goal of the US should be eliminating our dependence, I agree. CNG sounds promising. All electric transportation does not sound promising and shifts energy dependence to power plant production - i.e. nuclear.



    soft war between autocrats and islamists. The autocrats are restricting the populations. The populations are responding with radical Islamism. In some cases the autocrats are encouraging this - KSA. The way out of this is democratization.
    How does democratization offer a way out of radical Islamism, exactly?

    Also, was there a larger proportion of radical Islamism in Iraq before or after our intervention?

    I ask because all the data I've ever found on the matter suggests that Islamism has increased since the invasion, not decreased. Not just in Iraq either.
    Regionally, trend lines were going from autocracies to islamists, as a solution to the inequities of autocracy. Democratization provides an alternative. This is a regional argument.

    Iraq is trending toward secular nationalism.

    Iraq is centrally located along fault lines: Kurdistan, Sunni v Shiite, Arab v Persian.
    OK, and what is the strategic importance of this exactly?

    What was the strategic benefit of invasion compared to the status quo?

    Where are the US gains, exactly?
    In order for democracy to work, minorities must get a voice and not be threatened by violence or oppression. Iraq is the perfect location to work that out.


    Iraq's people are educated and capable of democracy.
    Are you saying they were educated before the invasion, and thus were capable of democracy, or that we've made them educated and capable of democracy?

    If it was a pre-existing condition, are they still as educated as they were after 7 years of war-torn strife?

    If it's an after the invasion development, can you show evidence of increased education directly resulting from the invasion?

    Also, this comes back to the same ultimate question, what specific benefit is for the US does this provide?
    I am saying they had a high literacy rate before the invasion. Compare to Afghanistan.


    But the ultimate strategy must be clearly defined prior to designating something as "strategically important".
    I disagree. A region can be strategically important and we could have no strategy for dealing with it. Or we could have a losing strategy, like the no-fly zones and sanctions prior to the OIF. The sanctions were slipping away.

    Or we could have a losing strategy, like Rumsfeld - advised as he was by military brass - to train security and turn over responsibility, all the while staying locked up on FOBs with no protection of the population offered. It took the switch to COIN (more important than the surge in numbers) to rectify this strategic blunder.

    And the strategy must have a clear benefit for the American people to warrant taxpayer-funding of the venture.
    It should, I agree.




    Anything to break the stasis of the ME is an improvement.
    I flat out disagree with this.

    Would overthrowing Israel and putting in an Islamist regime be an improvement?

    Of course not. But it would certainly "break the stasis".

    I think that anything done to break the stasis absolutely has to consider long-term ramifications, with a primary interest in benefit for the American people.

    I simply don't agree that a change in the status quo in the Middle East always equals a benefit for the American people. I would require undeniable evidence evidence that any change will be a benefit to Americans before I would ever buy that argument.
    I agree overthrowing Israel, the other democracy, would not be wise. However, I view the ME like linked gyroscopes. You push in one direction and it goes spinning off at right angles. Any change in the stasis is good (within reason). Ok, maybe not. Just ignore my comment!


    My belief is that you have described Al Qaeda's long-term goal and that one of the immediate steps necessary to achieving that goal is increasing anti-American sentiment.
    My the increase in anti-Americanism (with the Shia - the Sunnis respect us and the Kurds love us) has not resulted in gains by Al Qaeda. In fact, the Sunnis hate Al Qaeda.


    Iran and Al Qaeda have lost this war.
    Personally, I don't think such claims can be made until the final outcomes are determined, and that those outcomes can't really be determined for at least 20-30 years.

    But my hope of hopes is that you are correct and I'm completely and totally incorrect.
    A lot depends on this election and the peaceful transfer of power.

    No one could predict them with 100% certainty, but many did predict them pretty accurately. Specifically McCain comes to mind, again.
    All McCain said reflected Generals who said we needed more troops. That was not the problem. The problem was the strategy by these same generals, who were hands off the population and exit as fast as we could after handing over power. It wasn't happening, so the insurgency rose up. COIN said get with the population and it works.


    I don't actually disagree with this. I would say Rummy was the primary cause of what I view as the strategic errors in Iraq.

    While Bush is ultimately responsible for listening to him as CinC, he did do the right thing eventually and I would say that this action will help his legacy regardless of what the ultimate outcome in Iraq is.

    But Rumsfeld is a huge factor in my lack of confidence in the long-term planning of the decisions.

    But I don't doubt that the actions were taken by Bush because he felt they were in the best interests of the American people.
    I think the generals advising Rumsfeld had a mental model they pushed as well. It took Jack Keane and Cheney to break this.

    I just don't agree that these actions will ultimately be in the best interests of the American people. This is based on fundamental differences I have regarding an interventionist military strategy, which I feel usually ends up having negative long-term effects in general.
    I hear you. I think we need to be very limited on interventions. I do feel Iraq was an important one, because of the impact it will have on the region (Syria, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, ...)


    That is true. I hope that, as you said, Iran and Al Qaeda and radicalism have lost there.
    My hope as well, but as you point out it isn't over. Frustrating to see our combat troops leave so quickly from such a precarious situation.


    You're welcome and thanks for the response. I think we have at least one fundamental difference in opinion that might not be rectifiable, specifically the view that "Anything to break the stasis of the ME is an improvement."
    I loosely said that and you can ignore it as such.

    I would also appreciate further clarification of the strategic importance arguments. Specifically, how the war in Iraq can and will create the correct environment to achieve the stated goals you have listed, and what, if any, benefit this will have for the US.
    Don't think I actually addressed this question. I think we see the plurality being exhibited in Iraq today. If it remains reasonably non-violent and one of the sects doesn't get screwed over, that is the correct environment. The benefit to the US will be an example of a functioning democracy in the ME that will influence other countries.

    Cheers!

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    So what exactly was causing your frustration that caused you to spew this condescending idiocy:



    I'd love to know what it was, exactly, that caused your devolution there.
    My fault. I didn't mean for it to come across as that condescending. I often forget that tone doesn't translate well through the internet.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    OK. That's something I can agree with.

    But what I'm not sold on is if it is our job to overthrow dictatorships in order to implement these preferable forms of government. I'm not sold on what benefit it provides for the American people, specifically, to the point that we should take a militaristic stance on doing this.
    What other stance do you propose we take?

    I understand the human and financial cost of war. I've experienced it first hand. I just personally believe it to be naive to think that we can affect change in any other way. We have tried diplomacy until we're blue in the face, and we're doing the same in Iran now. No tyrannical regime has ever or will ever voluntarily relinquish it's own totalitarian power in order to bring a peaceful stability to it's region. It's just reality.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Libs_Luv_Weakness View Post
    My fault. I didn't mean for it to come across as that condescending. I often forget that tone doesn't translate well through the internet.
    And I offer my apologies for responding with the same perceived tone.
    Tucker Case - Tard magnet.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    OK. That's something I can agree with.

    But what I'm not sold on is if it is our job to overthrow dictatorships in order to implement these preferable forms of government. I'm not sold on what benefit it provides for the American people, specifically, to the point that we should take a militaristic stance on doing this.
    Only when it is in our strategic interest.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    Anything to break the stasis of the ME is an improvement.
    I view the ME like linked gyroscopes. You push in one direction and it goes spinning off at right angles. Any change in the stasis is good (within reason). Ok, maybe not. Just ignore my comment!
    I thought of something else to say about this. I am a firm believer in the benevolence of creative destruction. So just breaking the stasis is a good thing in this respect.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    My assessment is based on my own logic and the facts as they exist. ALL of the facts. Not just the one's I choose to acknowledge. This includes historical facts regarding who implemented the strategies.

    Shouldn't yours?
    No, it shouldn't. I don't care if Donald Duck devised the strategy. If I agree with Donald Duck that empowering the Iraqi population with a say in their own governance is an important step toward creating a lasting peace in the ME, then my hat goes off to him, regardless of what other past decisions I disagree with him on.

    It does a grave injustice to the facts on the ground to judge the merits of OIF as a whole based on the poor initial implementation. Mind you, this doesn't mean I'm giving Rumsfeld credit for our success. I'm merely saying that his incompetence is irrelevant to the merits of the general mission.

    To quote John McCain, "I'm afraid my opponent doesn't know the difference between a tactic and a strategy".



    He was one of the major reasons we went in with fewer troops than necessary. Original outlines for the invasion had far more in the way of boots on the ground. He was vocally critical of this plan on the basis that it had far too many troop in his estimation.
    Yeah, he effed up, along with several Generals who supported his position. Troops levels were actually the least costly mistake of the initial invasion, though. The decision to completely disband the Iraqi Army was absolutely disastrous. Many observers believe that our troop levels would have been plenty sufficient had Paul Bremer not made that tragic error in judgement.

    Of course this is all theoretical, and hindsight is 20/20.



    First: Most of the mistakes were due to incompetent planning and bad intelligence. That's pretty clear by now. Rumsfeld was a big factor in the incompetent planning. All enemies adapt to the tactics employed. The mistake is not altering your tactics in response. That's incompetent leadership right there. Nothing more.
    This is simply false. We constantly adjusted our fighting tactics from day 1. We had no choice, really. You must remember that this is America's first venture into a large scale, urban guerrilla war of this type. We had to learn many hard lessons along the way, but have been able to adapt our tactics effectively, as is evidenced by Gen. Petraeus' counterinsurgency manual, which is now required reading.

    Second: What did we win, exactly? Our military did an impressive job fulfilling their mission, especially in light of the incompetence displayed by leadership early on, and my hat is off to them.

    But what did we, the American People, win? I'm looking in my mailbox right now and I don't see an "Iraq prize". It's one thing to say we achieved" victory" when you are talking about the military fulfilling it';s mission, but it's another thing when you have to explain what benefits this ill-conceived venture has bestowed upon the American people. That won't be determined for decades.

    Like I've said, I might be wrong. This could somehow have a benefit for the American People. I'm just not sure how it will or if it can. Nor has anyone actually tried to give a legitimate explanation of how and why it will. Only guesses about untested hypotheses.

    It remains to be seen if this venture will ultimately strengthen or weaken our terrorist enemies in the long run, so declaring victory is absurd, IMO.[/
    What are you expecting to find in your mailbox? I mean, come on. Let's take a step back and take a look at what we've accomplished in the last 7 years. We completely removed a tyrannical regime, helped the Iraqi people to create an infant democracy in the heart of the ME while constantly fending off attacks from outside forces such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and created an ally that turned out in droves a couple months ago, risking life and limb to elect their own leaders. Qadaffi has completely disassembled his nuclear program based on our agreement that we will not do the same to him. We've done all this while losing a little over 4,000 brave men and women. Of course, any loss of life is tragic, but to achieve what we have in this amount of time while losing what we lost in a few months in Vietnam is nothing short of amazing.

    As far as "what you get", you get what the entire rest of the world gets; a chance at creating a lasting peace in the ME. We have accomplished in helping to create an atmosphere in Iraq that is less conducive to the terrorist mindset that plagues the world as we speak. You get the peace of mind of knowing that we actually have a shot at seeing real, tangible change in the ME, rather than chasing our tails for the next 100 years with the perpetual state of war that comes with a reactionary defensive stance.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by Libs_Luv_Weakness View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case
    [Rumsfeld] was one of the major reasons we went in with fewer troops than necessary. Original outlines for the invasion had far more in the way of boots on the ground. He was vocally critical of this plan on the basis that it had far too many troop in his estimation.
    Yeah, he effed up, along with several Generals who supported his position. Troops levels were actually the least costly mistake of the initial invasion, though. The decision to completely disband the Iraqi Army was absolutely disastrous. Many observers believe that our troop levels would have been plenty sufficient had Paul Bremer not made that tragic error in judgement.

    Of course this is all theoretical, and hindsight is 20/20.
    Now hold on. Some estimates were 600,000 troops, which we did not have. Initial troop levels were fine for the first year and change. The problem was strategy, not troop levels. We weren't protecting the population. That it only took an additional 30,000 troops, at the height of the civil war, in the surge is proof that we went in with the right troop level.

    Now about this issue of disbanding the army. It had to be done. The Iraqi Army was an institution of Sunni power. It had to be disbanded to allow the Shiites to gain power that could be exercised freely. It predictably resulted in an insurgency. We weren't COIN at the time so it spiraled out of control.

    Quote Originally Posted by Libs_Luv_Weakness View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case
    First: Most of the mistakes were due to incompetent planning and bad intelligence. That's pretty clear by now. Rumsfeld was a big factor in the incompetent planning. All enemies adapt to the tactics employed. The mistake is not altering your tactics in response. That's incompetent leadership right there. Nothing more.
    This is simply false. We constantly adjusted our fighting tactics from day 1. We had no choice, really. You must remember that this is America's first venture into a large scale, urban guerrilla war of this type. We had to learn many hard lessons along the way, but have been able to adapt our tactics effectively, as is evidenced by Gen. Petraeus' counterinsurgency manual, which is now required reading.
    It doesn't matter that we were adjusting our tactics. We had the wrong strategy until Keane, Odierno and Petraeus came along in 2006/2007. That's 4 years of the wrong strategy.

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    Re: The Implications of a Democratic Iraq on the Middle East

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    Now hold on. Some estimates were 600,000 troops, which we did not have. Initial troop levels were fine for the first year and change. The problem was strategy, not troop levels. We weren't protecting the population. That it only took an additional 30,000 troops, at the height of the civil war, in the surge is proof that we went in with the right troop level.
    This is false. First off, how do you arrive at the conclusion that troops levels were "fine" in the first year? You say that the problem lied in our inability to protect the population, but these two variables are intertwined. We were under constant attack. The ability to defeat the opposing forces would inherently allow for the protection of the citizenry. We simply did not have the forces available to effectively quell violence and in turn secure the population.
    Now about this issue of disbanding the army. It had to be done. The Iraqi Army was an institution of Sunni power. It had to be disbanded to allow the Shiites to gain power that could be exercised freely. It predictably resulted in an insurgency. We weren't COIN at the time so it spiraled out of control.
    The overwhelming majority of those in the Iraqi Army were more concerned with employment than the preservation of Sunni power. Large numbers of unemployed soldiers were thrown out into the population. Sure, there would have been some in the ranks that could not be trusted, as there are now, but the cost/benefit ratio of allowing them to serve in the new Iraq from the outset would have been much more favorable to us, IMO. Who do you think comprises the Iraqi Army now? It's not only Shiites and Kurds.



    It doesn't matter that we were adjusting our tactics. We had the wrong strategy until Keane, Odierno and Petraeus came along in 2006/2007. That's 4 years of the wrong strategy.
    Yes, what's your point?
    Last edited by Libs_Luv_Weakness; 03-31-10 at 04:35 PM.

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