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post #121 of 152 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 07:38 AM
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RE: Iraq: Meltdown

well said mark... i think we'd all agree but more would be supportive if it was actually about the bill of rights... zeitgeist said it well: the armed services are really there to defend this nation not to look for trouble around the world.. unicef and the like are there to help the downtrodden... personally i think it's a waste of life being in Irq etc.. of course that's my op. only.



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post #122 of 152 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Iraq: Meltdown

Well, espirit d'corps is impressive, but the fact of the matter is that soldiers of countries, like say Iraq, are in the end faced with a choice - should they give their lives for a personality cult - should they give their lives for some failed economic system - should they give their lives for some king - and many answer that by surrendering or running away, simply because in the end what they are being asked to give their lives for is not worth dying for. American soldiers, throughout our history, have given the last full measure of true devotion whenever called upon to do so.

Again, I say look at the enlistment numbers. In those wars where actual threats to America existed, where our way of life was on the line or America had been directly attacked, young Americans have always stood up to fight, while in those wars that were not about defending this country, enlistments fall, draft riots occur and defeat follows. That is what is happening now in Iraq.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #123 of 152 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 09:00 PM
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RE: Iraq: Meltdown

As I have mentioned before, don't assume what is happening here. The news media types are secluded in the Sheraton/Palestine Hotels across the river from me. They are only allowed in the IZ when the General Assembly is meeting. They don't leave their rooms because the threat of kidnapping is so great. Their "live" reports are done from the porch or the roof with a telephoto lens with a good depth of field making it look as if they were really involved.
The 3rd ID, who rotated back into country in March/April is highly motivated. These are truly professional soldiers doing what their country has asked of them. Failure is not an option. And their mission here is being accomplished.
I, too, didn't agree with the invasion of Iraq. This all should have been handled in '91. But once we were committed, we shouldn't turn our backs on them like we have done before. Saddam sits out at Camp Cooper in his undies (by the way there was no outrage over the pics of that, they sold every paper for days and the locals had a big laugh, probably PO'd the Baathists, though), and every day people continue to risk their lives to join the ING and IP to make their own country safe.
One question: if you knew you would be a target would you have the quevos to stand in that line for your country? Maybe a better question is, there are so many opinions out there about the U.S. military, how many veterans are posting here? From what I gather, not many...
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post #124 of 152 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Iraq: Meltdown

Hey, any taxpayers out there? You know, the people who write the checks for you guys? Who do you think actually runs a fucking war, the soldiers? Without our money, you wouldn't even get there, and plenty of us are pissed off its going down a stinking, blood choked rathole.


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #125 of 152 (permalink) Old 06-05-2005, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Iraq: Meltdown


Bush’s optimism on Iraq tested
Rosy view in time of rising violence revives criticism



By Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker
msnbc.com

Updated: 1:45 a.m. ET June 5, 2005

President Bush's portrayal of a wilting insurgency in Iraq at a time of escalating violence and insecurity throughout the country is reviving the debate over the administration's Iraq strategy and the accuracy of its upbeat claims.

While Bush and Vice President Cheney offer optimistic assessments of the situation, a fresh wave of car bombings and other attacks killed 80 U.S. soldiers and more than 700 Iraqis last month alone and prompted Iraqi leaders to appeal to the administration for greater help. Privately, some administration officials have concluded the violence will not subside through 2005.

Mixed signals
The disconnect between Rose Garden optimism and Baghdad pessimism, according to government officials and independent analysts, stems not only from Bush's focus on tentative signs of long-term progress but also from the shrinking range of policy options available to him if he is wrong. Having set out on a course of trying to stand up a new constitutional, elected government with the security firepower to defend itself, Bush finds himself locked into a strategy that, even if it proves successful, forecasts many more deadly months to come first, analysts said.

Military commanders in Iraq privately told a visiting congressional delegation last week that the United States is at least two years away from adequately training a viable Iraqi military but that it is no longer reasonable to consider boosting U.S. troops already strained by the two-year operation, said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.).

"The idea that the insurgents are on the run and we are about to turn the corner, I did not hear that from anybody," Biden said in an interview.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who joined Biden for part of the trip, said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others are misleading Americans about the number of functional Iraqi troops and cautioned the president to pay more attention to shutting off Syrian and Iranian assistance to the insurgency. "We don't want to raise the expectations of the American people prematurely," he said.

After dialing down criticism of Bush's policy following the successful January elections in Iraq, congressional Democrats are increasingly challenging the president's decisions and public assessments, and developing alternative policy ideas. "The administration has failed to level with the American people," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "It's terrible because they refuse to provide a full picture of what is really happening there."

Reid traveled to Iraq in April and was confined to heavily fortified zones in and around Baghdad and prohibited from visiting some of the most troubled areas where the insurgency is particularly strong. "The place is in turmoil," he said. Since then, Reid said, he has been meeting with former Clinton administration officials in an effort to devise a new Iraq plan, including the possibility of calling for more U.S. troops and requesting additional international assistance.

Focus on the long term
The White House says the focus on recent killings overshadows substantial long-term progress in Iraq, where the January elections allowed the United States to turn over more control for security to the Iraqis and set the stage for a new constitution to be written and approved this fall. Once that happens, White House officials say, a democratically elected Iraqi government protected by a better trained and equipped Iraqi military will hold off what remains of the insurgency and gradually allow U.S. forces to withdraw. Iraq's recent decision to put out 40,000 troops around Baghdad, the most ambitious military move yet by the two-month-old government, proves the U.S. plan to eventually turn over peacekeeping duties is not only viable, but working, White House officials maintain. Bush and Cheney, however, continue to decline to set deadlines for how long U.S. troops will remain.

"I am pleased that in less than a year's time, there's a democratically elected government in Iraq, there are thousands of Iraq soldiers trained and better equipped to fight for their own country [and] that our strategy is very clear," Bush said during a Rose Garden news conference Tuesday. Overall, he said, "I'm pleased with the progress." Cheney offered an even more hopeful assessment during a CNN interview aired the night before, saying the insurgency was in its "last throes."

Several Republicans questioned that evaluation. "I cannot say with any confidence that that is accurate," said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), a member of the House International Relations Committee. "I think it's impossible to know how close we are to the insurgency being overcome."

Risk in rosy claims
It is not unusual for a president to put the most positive spin possible on U.S. policy, especially during a time of armed conflict when public support is crucial. But the administration's assertions about Iraq have been a source of controversy since the earliest days of the operation, from the insistence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction to Cheney's claim of links between Iraq and al Qaeda to the rosy forecasts about how welcome U.S. troops would be.


A poll conducted last month by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that only 37 percent of those surveyed approved of Bush's Iraq policy, while the number of people telling pollsters the war was not worth the cost has been rising in recent months.

"We are just paying a heavy price for mistakes made before," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

"It's dangerous when U.S. officials start to believe their own propaganda," said David L. Phillips, a former State Department consultant who worked on Iraq planning but quit in frustration in 2003 and has written a book called "Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco." "I have no doubt that they genuinely think that Iraq is a smashing success and a milestone in their forward freedom strategy. But if you ask Iraqis, they have a different opinion."

Phillips added that U.S. officials keep pointing to landmarks such as the January elections as turning points but "at no point have any of these milestones proven to be breakthroughs."

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari last week lobbied Cheney and others for a more assertive U.S. military approach in Iraq, as well as for more help meeting the fall deadline for writing and approving a constitution. But even that carries risks. "Heavy-handed meddling by the Bush administration only undermines Iraq's new political leaders," Phillips said.

‘Cause for optimism’
Peter Khalil, a former national security policy adviser for the Coalition Provisional Authority that ruled Iraq after Hussein's fall, said the rosy views expressed by Bush and Cheney reflect tentative hopes for progress down the road rather than a focus on day-to-day events at the moment. "They're thinking more long term when they make such optimistic remarks," said Khalil, now a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. "There's some cause for optimism; however, things could turn badly very quickly."

Major Sunni leaders recently agreed to abandon their boycott of the political process; if they can be brought into the drafting of a new constitution and subsequent elections, Khalil and others say, it would undercut the elements of the insurgency that are powered by disaffection among the once-ruling Sunni minority. To do that, Khalil said, the new Shiite-led Iraqi government has to find the right balance in terms of including former members of Hussein's Sunni-dominated Baath Party.

"If you address these issues, it's very, very difficult to see them continue on in the use of violence because they become part of that [governing] structure," Khalil said.

A Western diplomat in Baghdad said victory would have to be won in a drawn-out struggle that will have peaks and valleys. "We should not expect some big-bang breakthrough so that one day the insurgency ends," he said on the condition of anonymity. "We should expect a long grind-it-out." After all, he said, "this is the hardest thing we've done to try to rebuild a state almost from zero."

"If you pull back far enough," he added, "you see a positive trend. . . . The negative is we've had some really spectacular car bombs, really gruesome car bombs and we've had a terrible civilian death toll. . . . The overall trend lines for the last six to seven months are better, but not so much better that we can say it's over or we won."

McCain said Bush needs to carefully balance his reassuring statements to a troubled nation with frank talk about the arduous and unpredictable future. "It's a long, hard struggle and very gradually maybe we are making progress," McCain said. "There are tough times ahead."


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #126 of 152 (permalink) Old 06-06-2005, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Iraq: Meltdown


Progress in Iraqi freedom stained by growing hardship

By David Cortright
Christian Science Monitor

NOTRE DAME, IND. – The Bush administration continues to insist that progress is being made in Iraq, but the last two years have brought deepening misery for Iraqis. That is the inescapable conclusion of a report released in May by the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation.
The "Living Conditions in Iraq" study is based on a 2004 survey of more than 21,000 households. It shows the Iraqi people are suffering widespread death and war-related injury, high rates of infant and child mortality, chronic malnutrition and illness among children, low rates of life expectancy, and significant setbacks for women.

The Iraqi people were already suffering serious hardships when the war began - the result of Saddam Hussein's policies and 13 years of UN sanctions. Since the US invasion, the report notes an "alarming deterioration" in living conditions.

The innocent and vulnerable populations of Iraq are suffering the most. Malnutrition among small children is widespread. Nearly one quarter of Iraqi children suffer chronic malnutrition, and 8 percent suffer acute malnutrition.

Illness levels among Iraqi children are also high - due in part to a growing lack of safe drinking water and sanitation. Forty percent of urban households report sewage in the streets of their neighborhoods.

Infant and child mortality rates remain abnormally high in Iraq, though there is much uncertainty about the exact numbers.

The overall trend, however, is unmistakable: a rise in infant and child mortality rates over the past 15 years.

This contrasts with the global trend - reflected by Iraq's neighbors - of steadily falling infant and child mortality rates over the past few decades.

Iraq's alarmingly high child mortality rate translates into thousands of 'excess' deaths every year. These are the quiet, unseen victims of the continuing tragedy in Iraq.

The new report also sheds light on the number of Iraqi deaths directly attributable to the US-led invasion and occupation. As of mid-2004 the war had caused 24,000 Iraqi deaths, the study estimated. This is the number for all deaths, civilian and military, in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 invasion.

The death toll in Iraq has continued to climb, of course, especially in recent weeks, so these numbers are larger now than when the survey was conducted last year.

War has caused widespread injury and disability in Iraq. Most of those injured in earlier wars were soldiers, but the victims of the current war are more likely to be women, children, and the elderly. Among Iraqis, the number of children injured since the US invasion is higher than the number of military-aged men.

There's striking evidence of the insecurity of daily life in Iraq.

Gun shots and weapons fire are common - 37 percent of respondents said such activity occurred daily in their neighborhoods; 23 percent said it occurred several times a week.

Public insecurity has especially serious consequences for Iraqi women - the survey found that nearly half "think the security in their area has worsened" compared with one year ago.This causes an increasing number of women to stay at home, thus reinforcing a decade-long trend of declining levels of education and literacy among women.

"The security situation is a major obstacle to individual freedom in women's everyday life," states the report.

Years of war and sanctions have devastated Iraqi society and caused widespread malnutrition, illness, and premature death.

The resulting public-health crisis has lowered life opportunities for the entire population. "The probability of dying before the age of 40 for Iraqi children born between 2000 and 2005 is estimated at 18 percent; approximately three times the level in neighboring Jordan and Syria," states the new report.

During the 1990s a worldwide humanitarian outcry rose in response to reports of Iraqi babies dying because of sanctions. It is time for a new public outcry now, to demand urgently needed humanitarian relief for the Iraqi people.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #127 of 152 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Read some of these old posts. Read this new post. See how wrong The Right can be.


Violence could force up to 1 million Iraqis to flee
U.N. refugee agency says humanitarian situation is ‘grave and deteriorating’

Updated: 13 minutes ago
GENEVA - Unrelenting violence and insecurity in Iraq could cause as many as 1 million Iraqis to flee their homes this year, the world’s migration body said Friday.

“The numbers of people that are being displaced are increasing every day,” said Jemini Pandaya, spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration. “The security situation is not improving. It’s not changing.”

Pandaya said the organization’s estimate was made “on the assumption that security conditions will continue much as they are.”

The possibility of neighboring countries, such as Syria, closing their borders would mean even more of the displaced would only be able to get as far as other parts of Iraq.

Appeal to states to accept more asylum seekers
On Thursday, the U.N. refugee agency appealed to the European Union to do more to protect refugees fleeing Iraq, saying the war was the cause of the biggest displacement of people in the Middle East in recent history.

“The humanitarian situation is grave and deteriorating. States should respond to the protection needs of Iraqi asylum seekers on their territory,” said Madeline Garlick, a spokeswoman for the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Brussels.

That appeal came a day after Washington announced it will allow about 7,000 Iraqis into the United States this year — up from 202 in 2006 — and will pay more to help Iraq’s neighbors cope with the surge of refugees.

As the bloodshed in Iraq has increased, European governments have come under increasing pressure to open their doors to asylum-seekers. Many are worried that an escalation in violence in 2007 could generate a fresh wave of refugees.

The U.N. appeal came as the EU announced it would contribute $13 million more for Iraqi refugees. About 60 percent will go to help those who have fled to Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #128 of 152 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kvining
I'm sure to all you Fox News fans that everything is coming up roses. In truth, what we are seeing is the results of founding a "democracy" using techniques of mass murder and political repression that were no different than the techniques of the bastard we replaced. Here are the results: We have created our own Palestine, and the blood will flow forever in ever more copious quantities until the day comes when we walk out and let these people setle their own affairs, instead of imposing a sham "democracy" that is designed to benefit only us.
jeezus, was this guy on the money or what?

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #129 of 152 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kvining
A few things are starting to become obvious here - the winner of the Iraq elections is a party called The Party For Islamic Revolution in Iraq. They are a Shiite party, and they won a resounding victory. If Iraq was a democracy, this party should have filled all these posts with their people, and governed. But they can't, because if they did, the Kurds would secceed and the Sunnis would be in even greater insurrection. We can reach a pretty simple conclusion here - if this is the future of Iraq, that each change of government requires an election followed by a behind-the-scenes power-brokering that essentially negates the election or results in stalemates and log jams, then it is a future of civil war and political murder, in other words, the same as it has always been. Why wasn't the question of Iraq splitting into three states not put to the people of Iraq in an election? Shouldn't this have been the first thing to be decided democratically, so it would not have to be decided in streets running with the blood of innocents? It is obvious how it would have turned out - the Shiites and the Kurds would have voted for their own states. But the one party that objects to this - US oil companies - doesn't need an election on this matter, so there was none.
And so right here as well. Too bad this guy doesn't post here any more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #130 of 152 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kvining
The point I am trying to make is that a government that must be formed to meet ethnic quotas is not a democracy - it is a disaster, especially given the Iraqi penchant for blood feuds and vendettas, as they piss each other off while they pass out the spoils. What would America be like if following each election, the pols had to retire to the back rooms and then emerge with a government with 70% white, 10% black, 10% hispanic, etc ? Is this a democracy? If the Shiites had won less than 50% of the vote, perhaps then they would be forced to form coalitions with other groups, but they did not - they won 60% of the vote and as the winner should be forming a majority government made up of Muslim religous fascists who kiss Iranian ass. Instead, they prove the election was a sham, and the various ministers are appointed based on our approval and demands for ethnic balance. The end result is a government that is damned if it does, and damned if it don't.It is a distortion of the will of the people. This will be the end result of our Iraq adventure: the discovery that Iraq as we wish it to be does not work as a democracy. If we allow democracy to work as intended - majority rule - the majority will be car-bombed by the minorities who lost, and the majority will be forced to use totalitarian methods to control the minorities, in other words, Iraq as usual. On the other hand,if we allow democracy to be subverted into this horseshit sham government they are currently producing, we will have a government that is hamstrung by internal discord and unable to defend itself. Damned if it does, damned if it doesn't. Under these circumstances, we will never leave Iraq, meaning the US taxpayer gets screwed for $200 billion a year forever, along with the yearly dead and wounded who flow forever homeward. An utterly, utterly stupid war. To me, this shows what utter war criminals Bush and his neo-con fascist pals are - instead of holding an election on the question of whether Iraq should continue as a single nation (an election they will never hold because they know the majority of Iraqis would vote to partition Iraq), they would rather just see if they can make this clusterfuck work, to hell with how many American boys and girl die. Osama must be busting a gut laughing.
Hmm...

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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