Ron Levin (eclectic2) Sat 15 Nov 03 11:52
<It's interesting that just last week, former U.S. represenetative to the UN Madeleine Albright publicly apologized to Iran for America's undemocratic CIA-imposition of the Shah 50 years ago. That's a good first step.> Actually, I just posted that article last week. She apologized in 2000, while serving as SOS.
Jacques Delaguerre http://www.delaguerre.com/delaguerre/ (jax) Sat 15 Nov 03 12:20
Ms Albright is hardly creamed chipped beef on toast!
Berliner (captward) Sat 15 Nov 03 12:25
And I'm not positive of this, but I think I saw a tiny wire feed in the IHT a couple of weeks ago saying Congress was moving on lifting certain of the trade embargoes against Iran. Sorry I can't be more specific.
David Kline (dkline) Sat 15 Nov 03 12:29
Well, I've developed a bit of a crush on Albright because of that apology.
John Zuill (klauposius) Sat 15 Nov 03 12:41
>Well, I've developed a bit of a crush on Albright because of that apology. I think she's kind of saucy. Mr. Kline, you were in Afganistan. Do you think Karzai has a chance? Do you think he's any good?
David Kline (dkline) Sat 15 Nov 03 12:44
Seriously, in what state will Iraq be by June of 2004, when Bush washes his hands of the mess he created and turns nominal power over to Iraqis? Does anyone else (besides me) think that it's possible that the only force capable of maintaining order and confronting the Saddamist insurgents may turn out to be the Shiite militias?
David Kline (dkline) Sat 15 Nov 03 12:55
To paraphrase Dude Crush in Finding Nemo, "Mr. Kline" was my father's name. I think that Karzai is genuinely interested in creating a democratic, tolerant, modern Islamic state in Afghanistan. I also think he provides important political leadership and vision at a time when there's little of either in the country. Beyond that, Karzai couldn't buy a bag of pistachios outside of Kabul without a platoon of U.S. soldiers by his side. He would be well advised to quit waiting quietly for Washington to realize the stakes in Afghanistan, and force the critical issues of security and reconstruction onto the world stage. It will not take much, I don't believe, to disarm or crush the worst of the warlords in the countryside. These people breathe political vacumn like we breathe air. As for those with genuine legitimacy and political followings, such as Ishmael Khan in Herat (who should not rightly be called a "warlord"), they need to be brought into the government. If we can just kickstart the economy and support the disarmament of all the warlords, Afghanistan will find its own way to the future. But we'll still have to deal with Al Queda and the Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the ISI over in Pakistan.
Ron Levin (eclectic2) Sat 15 Nov 03 14:13
<Does anyone else (besides me) think that it's possible that the only force capable of maintaining order and confronting the Saddamist insurgents may turn out to be the Shiite militias?> Maybe, but that could lead to civil war. I'm hoping that if the interim government is widely recognized as legitimate, they ask NATO or the UN to provide some kind of security, perhaps in conjunction with a core of American troops, while they build up their own army. Ultimately, if Iraq is to survive as a state (which is still questionable), I think they'll have to have a military & police force consisting of all three major Iraqi groups.
John Zuill (klauposius) Sat 15 Nov 03 14:22
<Does anyone else (besides me) think that it's possible that the only force capable of maintaining order and confronting the Saddamist insurgents may turn out to be the Shiite militias?e How about this. We divide the whole of Iraq into three separate countries; shiite in the south, sunni in the north west and central, and Kurdistan where it should be. Have Turkey in on the creation of Kurdistan, maybe a water-rights or something. Crazy?
tambourine verde (barb-albq) Sat 15 Nov 03 14:30
slip. That sounds like a fairy tale to me. It's nice to think the 3 main groups (and the groups within them) will be able to cobble together something that works, but it seems highly unlikely. I think the Shia see this as their chance to rule, and that they have just been sitting back while the US forces deal with the Shia's long-time Sunni enemies. But they may well be ready to pounce. And if Iraqis get to vote, the Shia are the clear majority. Think about it. And as we very minimally train and recruit Iraqi security and military forces, isn't there a real danger that entities will use this process to get their people trained and equipped, and then use them for their own missions rather than those the US would prefer? I think civil war may be a real possibility if the "democracy" is rushed into being without building up any institutions of democracy, or even any real security, first.
I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Sat 15 Nov 03 14:36
"Have Turkey in on the creation of Kurdistan, maybe a water-rights or something. Crazy?" Yup. Turkey, Iraq, and Iran all own pieces of what the Kurds consider kurdistan, and neither Turkey nor Iran will allow a Kurdistan to happen for fear of losing territory of their own. And we will not let Iraq fragment for fear of losing a counterbalance to Iran, which is actually a threat to us, unlike Iraq.
John Zuill (klauposius) Sat 15 Nov 03 15:05
>And we will not let Iraq fragment for fear of losing a counterbalance to Iran, which is actually a threat to us, unlike Iraq. All this may be true, except the part about Iran. i think we cooked that enemy in our own kitchen. I really don't see a workable larger Iraq. Bets on when the full scale civil war begins.
tambourine verde (barb-albq) Sat 15 Nov 03 15:10
Ron Levin (eclectic2) Sat 15 Nov 03 15:58
I think such predictions are pointless & offensive. This isn't a game. A civil war would be incredibly bloody & destructive, it could have dramatic ramifications beyond the borders, and I certainly don't see it as inevitable. It depends on how willing the US - and the world - is in living up to its responsibility to prevent it.
I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Sat 15 Nov 03 16:22
The world has NO responsibility, although it may have interests. We broke it, and it's OUR responsibility. But don't look for BushCo to either take responsibilty, or live up to it. They are going to cut and run the instant it's politically feasible. Halliburton's already gotten their money's worth. Forgive me if my prediction offends you.
John Zuill (klauposius) Sat 15 Nov 03 16:49
Yes Civil War is serious. But one has to see the absurdity of it as well. The world is George's mini-golf course. Did you see the cover of newsweek? If the fourth branch of Government is the press, George's manuvering room is shrinking. A George with total freedom may be scarey; A George who doesn't know how to use what little he has is worse. In the next six months he has to be clever and he may not be.
Ron Levin (eclectic2) Sat 15 Nov 03 17:48
<The world has NO responsibility, although it may have interests.> I believe the world always has a responsibility to prevent wars & genocide wherever possible. <They are going to cut and run the instant it's politically feasible.> And when will that be? <Halliburton's already gotten their money's worth. Forgive me if my prediction offends you.> With true believers on the one hand & hopeless cynics on the other, it's no wonder US foreign policy is in the shape it's in.
I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Sat 15 Nov 03 17:59
"I believe the world always has a responsibility to prevent wars & genocide wherever possible." Based on what? Its track record? "<They are going to cut and run the instant it's politically feasible.> And when will that be?" I believe that answer is in the sentence you pulled to nitpick. "With true believers on the one hand & hopeless cynics on the other, it's no wonder US foreign policy is in the shape it's in." You left yourself out of the equation, Pollyanna.
Ron Levin (eclectic2) Sat 15 Nov 03 18:08
<Based on what?> Ever hear of morality? <Its track record?> Since when does a "track record" dictate responsibility? <I believe that answer is in the sentence you pulled to nitpick.> What sentence did I supposedly "pull to nitpick?" <You left yourself out of the equation, Pollyanna.> Yes, it's "Pollyanish" to expect the world to behave responsibly. What a world you must live in.
David Kline (dkline) Sat 15 Nov 03 18:32
Human beings are imperfect. So is politics. But since the days when our species lived in caves, we have followed a solid trend line towards greater individual freedom and a more humanistic world order. The world will probably not stand by for genocide, nor for the breakup into chaos of Iraq. Bush broke it, it is true -- an unwarranted and illegal invasion. But too many lives, and too many national interests are at stake for the world to willfully turn a blind eye to anarchy in Iraq. Ron is right. The world may not be able to stop an inevitable slide from Bush's invasion of Iraq into utter disaster. But without a doubt, the world will at least try to intervene to stop it. Because the truth is, we no longer live in caves. And the sentiments of everyone in this discussion is the proof of that.
Ron Levin (eclectic2) Sat 15 Nov 03 20:31
U.N. Diplomats Are Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop By KIRK SEMPLE UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 15 - When United Nations officials speak of Iraq these days, any impulse to gloat is quickly supplanted by frustration over the harsh realities of the situation in Iraq and sadness over the loss of 19 colleagues who died in a bombing in August. ``There may be a temptation to rub one's hands together and say, `Ha, ha! It's not working out the way Bush thought - we told you so!''' a senior United Nations administrator said this week. ``But, frankly, it's not good for anyone if the U.S. is defeated in Iraq.'' The Bush administration's decision this week to speed up the transfer of power to the Iraqis won evenhanded, public praise from Secretary General Kofi Annan, who had long championed a quicker restoration of Iraqi sovereignty. But officials and diplomats here, while welcoming the policy change, warned privately against a rapid reduction of American military forces and said they feared that the United States would dump Iraq into the hands of the United Nations. ``We in the international community are waiting for the tablets to come down from Washington,'' a foreign diplomat said nervously. ``Who knows what sort of face-saving formula they're going to come up with.'' More: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/16/international/middleeast/16WEB-NATI.html?hp
John Zuill (klauposius) Sat 15 Nov 03 21:08
Hm. I don't know if they will be able to stick to a dead line. I think the UN is giving George a way out. >But since the days when our species lived in caves, we have followed a solid trend line towards greater individual freedom and a more humanistic world order. I just don't buy that. People have always felt that they were the best (the best of times the worst of times) . I know there are lengthy arguements for and against, some of them beautiful to listen, others boring. We probably shouldn't get in to it. I just see history as far more treacherous and not even handed. Rome was a better place to be than 800s France. And China is much harder to track that way than the west. I'm the grouch and I won't let such blatant optimism pass.
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Sat 15 Nov 03 23:47
David, re: "the very concept of even living next to people who think or believe differently is utterly alien. The idea of *civil* or *secular* society is unknown in many Muslim countries.:" Could you explain what you mean by this? Don't people watch television just about everywhere?
Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Sun 16 Nov 03 00:56
Hi, I'm Christian. Just so you all know, I was invited to this topic primarily for my technical knowledge of the situation in Iraq. I have been in the Army for the past nine years, and I currently serve as an intelligence officer. Having said that, I also have a personal stake in what's happening in Iraq right now--friends of mine are already there, and I may be there myself in a few months. For the record, let me state that what we are seeing in Iraq is a textbook example of asymmetric warfare. The anti-US forces are finding ways to negate the technologic advantage of US and other coalition forces. Anti-US forces have a lot of advantages right now. They are on home turf. Even if some of the anti-US forces come from outside Iraq's borders, those fighters most certainly have a better understanding of the language and culture than almost all US soldiers. The anti-US forces are carrying out their operations on what the US Army calls "complex terrain"--those areas which are not easily suited to maneuver warfare, and which allow insurgents plenty of terrain to carry out ambushes and other hit-and-run tactics. The anti-US forces are certainly not short of weapons. Small arms such as automatic rifles and RPGs are quite common there, and explosives from various sources are also easy to come by. The Iraqis also may have access to more advanced man-portable rockets, such as the SA-7 missile. (A missile of this type may have been used to shoot down a Chinook helicopter.) Anti-US forces do not have tanks, aircraft, and night-vision devices--but then, they don't need them. They are doing pretty well with rifles, RPGS, IEDs, and mortars. The US Army is not new to this type of warfare. There is in fact a well- developed doctrine on asymmetric warfare, which all intelligence offcers study and which the Army is increasingly attempting to train for at major training centers. One factor which must be present in order for US forces to win this war is intelligence. US forces must be able to clearly target those who are carrying out attacks without causing collateral damage to innocent Iraqis. More firepower simply isn't going to do it, unless it's directed in the right place at the right time. The specific type of intelligence that is most required is human intelligence, or HUMINT--tips, rumors, and hard evidence brought in by the Iraqi people themselves. This is a challenge for US forces, due to the language and cultural barriers, and also due to the fact that many Iraqis are somewhat ambivalent (or even hostile) to US forces. Convincing the Iraqis to help us out means convincing them we are doing what is in their own best interest, and that can be a tough sell. Winning, for the anti-US forces, is much easier by contrast. All they really need to do is survive until US forces leave.
John Zuill (klauposius) Sun 16 Nov 03 07:13
Thankyou Christian De Leon-Horton. This is not the first time the US has been frustrated by this kind of warfare. Intellegence is crucial. What chances do we have when we have few arab speakers and little ability to pass for Iraqi?
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