General discussion


Will Iraq elections be held?

By Aldanatech ·
A day after an explosion killed eight of its soldiers, the government of Ukraine just announced that it would withdraw its 1,650-member force by the middle of 2005. This decision was made after a meeting between President Leonid Kuchma and his defense and foreign ministers. Ukraine's contingent is the fourth largest in the U.S.-led military coalition and operates under Polish command in southern Iraq. Other troubling news are the fact that Baghdad?s deputy police chief, Brig. Amer Nayef, and his son, were assassinated by gunmen on Monday, Baghdad's governor was killed last week; and in Baiji, 142 Iraqi National Guardsmen have resigned in the face of insurgent attacks before the elections.

Speaking of the January 30 election in Iraq, Iraq's Kurdish parties (15% to 20% of the population) now favor pushing elections back. Even Iyad Allawi, Iraq's Shiite prime minister who has previously been a staunch supporter of the January 30 vote, has begrudgingly provided a window for postponing the vote. Iraq's Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan and elder Sunni statesman Adnan Pachachi also support a postponement of the election. Now that Ukraine made its decision, do you think other countries will follow? What about the election? Do you think it can be held among all this violence?

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by Cactus Pete In reply to Yes...

Thanks. I have read them all. They all seem to point towards the same thing. As quoted from Bush:

"There are five steps in our plan to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom."

However, there is no timetable for withdrawing the troops. In fact, while explaining the plan, the president states that we'll have to be there all along. He gives no end in sight.

So, what good is it?

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dpetrak - Choose to accept the answer or not

by maxwell edison In reply to Yes...

The answer to your question has indeed been given time and time again. However, whether or not you choose to accept it as a reasonable and valid answer is entirely up to you.

How long will the troops remain in Iraq, you ask? As long as it takes, is the answer. If you see that answer with blinders on, without delving into the rest of the answer or the reasoning behind it, you'll probably not like it, and you'll come up with objections such as the one you stated. However, it's also been said time and time again that if a precise time-table were to be laid-out, that the enemy (the insurgents) would just "lay-low" until that time comes, and only then proceed with their dirty deeds after the troops were gone.

In the long term, as long as the enemy (the insurgents) continues to kill innocent Iraqis, as long as the enemy (the insurgents) continues to destroy Iraq's infrastructure, as long as the enemy (the insurgents) continues to kill the duly elected or duly appointed Iraqi government officials, as long as the enemy (the insurgents) continues to kill those Iraqis who are supporting the cause for a free Iraq, the U.S forces will remain. What's so difficult about understanding and accepting that? Can you imagine the same question being asked of President Roosevelt in 1944 in the days following the allied invasion of Europe at Normandy? Well, how long will those troops remain in Europe, Mr. Roosevelt? As long as it takes, would be his answer. (And they are still there today, by the way.)

In the short term, it's been said that the U.S, troops are needed, and that they will remain in order to ensure the completion of free elections. The enemy (the insurgents) is trying to prevent that from happening. They don't want a free and democratic Iraq, while the majority of Iraqis do. It's been said that if, after such elections take place, the duly elected government of Iraq were to ask the US to remove all troops from its soil, that the US would comply with that request. But a lot depends on how things progress after the elections. If some semblance of order is restored to the various hot-spots, and the new and duly elected government begins to take over various security rolls, and the insurgent attempts to undermine the new Iraqi government subsides, then you'll certainly see a gradual withdraw of US troops. If the enemy (the insurgents), continues the attempts to destroy and undermine the success of the new and duly elected government, the U.S. troops will probably remain until they can be contained.

What's so hard about understanding that? There were people against taking these actions in Iraq from the very beginning, one of whom was you. And many of those people have been looking for reasons to support their opposition, and discredit the efforts every step of the way. I believe the most reasonable "opposition" position is not coming from the United Nations, nor from the opposition party (or opposition people) in the U.S., but from the Vatican. They were against the action from the beginning, at least the way it was taken, but now the Vatican seems to be the lone "opposition" voice of reason.

The following was cut and pasted from a recent news story:

The U.S. ambassador to the Vatican said Tuesday that officials in the Holy See want the United States to remain in Iraq and pacify the country despite Pope John Paul II's opposition to the war.

John Paul strongly opposed what the United States called a "preventive war" in Iraq, urging instead that U.N. weapons inspections be allowed to continue.

"We had an honest disagreement between two great leaders and what happened, happened," Ambassador Jim Nicholson said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Since then, most Vatican officials have been "forward looking," he said.

"I will say that virtually everyone I talk to at the Vatican do not want the United States to pull out of Iraq. They want us to stay in there, solidify and pacify Iraq and help it become a free, stable and democratic country," Nicholson said.

- End of copied news story.

And like I asked, what's so unreasonable about that?

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I choose to refuse a half-assed answer

by Cactus Pete In reply to Yes...

And I don't mean that what you stated, from your perspective, is half-assed. I mean that simply stating that we're "there as long as it takes" doesn't address the entire question. When do we leave, what does it take to leave, specifically? I am sorry, but I don't buy the fact that the insurgents will just "lay low" until we leave. That's what they want, us to leave, and we just say "No." How about, "This is our plan to leave"?

Let me backtrack a bit.

I was against the invasion from the start. I, too, wanted the inspectors to do their job. Looks like that would have saved billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

We invaded. My thoughts are that since it was done, it must be done right. Too few troops were sent to do the job. Yes, the resounding success of such a fast overthrow was great, but we didn't have the peace-keeping forces there to backfill the areas that were "liberated" as that happened. Thus, no security was maintained.

Now, many of the arguments used by those Iraqis opposed to us have to do with the fact that we're there with no end in sight. I say, and it's getting late in the game for it by now, that we explain just what it would take to get us to leave under good circumstances.

For instance: put out a withdrawal timetable that sets realistic, non-arbitrary goals. Something like, "If Iraq has no more than X instances of 'insurgent activities' by the month of Y, then we will remove Z numbers of troops." This scale can shift, and can be graduated.

What's so hard about seeing this point of view? I know it's not as simple as saying we'll just do whatever it takes - but this isn't a simple world.

If this administration doesn't tell the world that it has plans to eventually leave, who believes they ever will? I expect that many of the insurgents are recruited with claims of national pride - who wants a "liberating occupation"?

Yes, we're giving them Democracy. But that word is hollow if there is not supporting evidence of self-governing. The US has stepped on its own feet a few times with their handling of this whole process - it could have been done better. And I'm not talking about hindsight, I'm talking about an honest belief that the US has done better before, and that there were good suggestions that this administration ignored. Had those suggestions been followed, or even debated, I think we'd have a better prospect now.

So you see, I'm not "with you or against you". By definition, I'm with my country, but I believe it can do better. I believe it should do better.

I don't believe in half-assed solutions. It's not an easy thing, sending kids to possibly die, or to be maimed, or to spend the collective money of kids not yet born. But if you're going to do that, I believe you should explain the entire process, and have it thought out, backwards and inside out, before you deal those cards.

So, what's so unreasonable about that?

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Yours is just your opinion - Doesn't mean it's right

by maxwell edison In reply to Yes...

You presume to know what the insurgents would do under different circumstances. What "inside information" do you have?

You presume to suggest that too few U.S troops were sent. General Tommy Franks disagrees with you. Why is your military analysis correct, while you suggest his is incorrect?

Your examples of a "timetable" presume that you understand the logistics, the political, and the reality of doing that. Don't you think that the military "experts" have the president's ear? Don't you think that those things -- and more -- have been considered? Again I have to ask, what makes your opinion more effective and more worthy of consideration than the military leaders who are running the show?

You asked, "If this administration doesn't tell the world that it has plans to eventually leave, who believes they ever will?" To which I will point out that they HAVE done that very thing. Moreover, as I mentioned (but you didn't comment on), it has been said that if the new and duly elected government of Iraq asked that the U.S. troops to be withdrawn, then they would indeed be withdrawn immediately. Apparently, you don't believe it.

Sure, you certainly have a right to your opinion, but it doesn't make it right. And your "arm-chair" quarterbacking should be taken for just that. We all know what "should be done" for the Bears or the Broncos to win the Super Bowl. But we "know" without really having the expertise to "really know".

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Maxwell, your opinion is also just "your opinion"

by jardinier In reply to Yes...

which probably means it is entirely incorrect, as you are totally unable to back up your fanciful speculations with any hard data.

Sooner or later you will have to face the reality that your "Messiah" has feet of clay (better make that mud).

I suggest you start a debriefing program on yourself, lest the shock of the final revelation of Bush's incompetence and lies causes you to have a stroke or heart attack.

Since Garion has quietened down, you are now the sole member of TR who has faith and trust in Bush.

As you are so fond of quoting speculative ratios, perhaps you would care to make a guesstimate as to what proportion of TR members, or of American citizens, share your viewpoint.

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Julian - my reply

by maxwell edison In reply to Yes...

Since you continue to post messages with such condescending tones, clearly illustrated by the disingenuous suggestion that I consider GWB a "Messiah", it just shows that you don't get it. You stretch things so far out of proportion that it leaves reality light-years in its wake. You either try to be cute, or try to be insulting, or whatever it is you're doing, and I can just hear the cute little giggle that usually accompanies such kind of talk. So it's very difficult to carry on a rational conversation with you. But that's your choice, not mine. And it's your problem, not mine. And if I could tie this into another thread, I'm resisting being dragged into the turkey coop with you.

As far as how many people at TechRepublic agree with me, I would say this. Out of the bunch of non-Americans, I would guess zero. Out of the bunch of Americans, I would guess 51 percent.

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Two and two no longer make four, but six . . .

by In reply to Yes...

Okay guys, can you just listen up a moment, please? I'd like to correct one or two misconceptions if I may?

1) Insurgents (mainly Sunnis) = Iraqis, not enemy.

2) US (and the coalition) = enemy of Iraqis.

3) "Free" in the sense of election does not necessarily equate with "democratic".

4) Sunnis = one fifth of Iraqi population. The interim President is one. They are (mostly) the influential and/or wealthy. They threaten to boycott the election on January 30th.

5) Shi'ia = four-fifths of Iraqi population. They'd like the election to go ahead (most of them).

6) Kurds = underdog minority group in Northern Iraq. They have their own agenda insofar as oil is concerned (Iraq's biggest asset).

Now, given the above, I'll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions. The answer's staring you in the face.


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Max, a reply

by Cactus Pete In reply to Yes...

Max, I presume only as much as you do. You know this. We have different opinoins, I'm just expressing mine in contradiction to yours.

At least as many "experts" on this topic have contradicted the policy in use as have supported it. Since they oppose the status quo, they have been sent out, or left on their own. It's hard to work for this administration unless you agree with what it's trying to do, it appears.

Do I not think that all aspects have been considered? No, not all the way up the chain. I strongly suspect that those arguments never got much higher than those who would dare to think them.

To be honest, I didn't recall seeing that you posted about the troops leaving if the newly elected government asks them to. Perhaps I didn't see that as pertinent, as it doens't really deal with the issue. But no, I don't believe this administration is supporting those who are running for office in Iraq who would boot out the troops, so...

As for the Bears, they're a fun team for which to root, but I have been slinging the Terrible Towel my whole life, and I have a good feeling this year - I'm just a little worried about those Colts.

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dpetrak - a reply to your reply

by maxwell edison In reply to Yes...

If you look back among my various messages, you'll not really find any suggestion on my part that I'm literally strategizing the particulars of our current fight against terrorism. My support for the war is more general in nature, while I see so much opposition against it voiced by people who presume to know better than the ones actually in the arena. I can reduce my support for the war in Iraq down to one very succinct sentence. The United States is engaged in a global war against terrorism, and the actions in Iraq are only but one phase in that war. End of story. The opponents of the war in Iraq, don't believe, at least from my estimation, that Iraq is even related to global war against terrorism. But in fact, at least from my perspective, not only is it one component, but it's a vital component.

I think this is huge -- the "war on terrorism", I mean. I think it's bigger than the government can reveal without compromising national security even more than it's already been, and without turning global political stability on its ear. I think that there are so many things this president isn't saying, not to be maliciously secretive, but because it would likely ignite even more global tension and/or animosity towards the USA. For example, the United Nations got caught with its hand in the preverbal cookie jar. For example, Western European powers, France and Germany specifically, have their sights set on knocking the USA down a few notches, and they have a desire to make the new European Union the next world superpower. And anything they can do to harm or discredit the USA is good for them in the long run.

Anyway, there's probably more going on behind-the-scenes than out in the open for all to see. And I give President Bush an enormous amount of credit for being the first president in over forty years to finally take the terrorism bull by the horns and go on the offensive against this threat, instead of simply maintaining the standard defensive posture that's been the status quo for decades. And the fact that he was willing to put his political life on the line makes it even more admirable. This president didn't waffle and capitulate to political pressure. This president didn't back-down to global opposition. And I still don't buy into the notion that there were no weapons of mass destruction. It's entirely possible, for example, that there were indeed such weapons, maybe they've been found, maybe they haven't, and that there were people in the United Nations who were turning a blind eye because of the bribes they were receiving in the oil-for-food scandal, and that the French were actually complicit in providing such weapons.

I saw the Barbara Walters interview with President Bush last night, and she asked him about those weapons. He didn't say there were weapons, he didn't say there weren't. I was watching that, thinking to myself, there's something he's not saying -- perhaps there's something he CAN'T say. You should read what Lt. General Michael DeLong has to say about that issue. In his book, Inside CentCom: The Unvarnished Truth About the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he makes some startling suggestions about those "missing" weapons. And then I get into a debate with someone like you, and I have to wonder. who has more credibility and actual knowledge about this, dpetrak (or anyone else, for that matter) or Lt. General DeLong? I think that falls into the DUH! category. If you don't want to read Lt. General DeLong's book, at least do a Web search and find some of the various interviews he's given over the past few months. (And isn't it interesting that he's not been invited to do interviews with CBS's 60 Minutes, or NBC's Today Show, or any of the other presumably "non-biased" media sources.) Here's a link to one such interview:

Some excerpts:

".....about 85 percent plus of the people in Iraq, according to the people I talk to, like Americans. What they don't like is being occupied. What they would like is free and open elections."

".....None of the countries around Iraq wants that country to be democratic. Why is that? If Iraq was a successful democratic country, the rest of the countries around them are not. That could cause internal failing in their countries and they don't want that. There's a lot going against Iraq trying to be a democratic country."

"I can state, unequivocally, there was WMD in Iraq before and during the war. You have multiple-source intelligence. Also, from other Arab leaders ? as Tommy Franks says in his book ? King Abdullah said Saddam has WMD. President Mubarek of Egypt said you have to be very careful going in, because Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. Other leaders who have chosen not to be named said the same thing. We had technical intelligence that saw the same thing. Two days before March 19, 2003, we saw quite a number of vehicles going into Syria. We could not go after them because we said we'd give Saddam 48 hours. A lot of (Iraqi) leaders went into Syria, and a lot of WMD went into Syria. We've gotten indications some went into Lebanon, and probably some went into Iran."

(End of excerpts.)

Why is it that so many people suspect those in the U.S. government of acting for personal or political gain, but these same people won't consider the possibility that the United Nations and/or the French and/or others are not capable of similar selfish and self-serving motives? Why is it that so many people "trust" the United Nations and/or the French more than they trust their own U.S. government? I just don't get it. And it's obvious to me that these people don't understand their history very well either.

Another book you might want to read is, America's Secret War by George Friedman. (Only a little research will reveal who he is.) Among other things, Mr. Friedman suggests that in the days following 9-11, one of the actions taken was to cut-off all funding to various terrorist organizations, and much of that funding flowed through Saudi Arabia. When the Bush administration asked for Saudi cooperation in cutting off such funding, the Saudis refused. Interestingly enough, the Saudis had a "change of heart" when faced with the dilemma of having several armored U.S. divisions and a couple hundred thousands U.S. soldiers parked on their northern border.

There's a lot more going on here than we will ever know. But I do know that not a day has gone by since 9-11 that either U. S. forces and/or U.S. intelligence agents haven't thwarted another terrorist attack and/or apprehended or killed another potential terrorist threat. And if people think they know everything that's going on, they're more naive than I thought. And in the end, knowing how much I don't know, I have to ask myself, who do I trust? President Bush or the United Nations? General DeLong or the French? To me, the answer is a no-brainer.

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