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Geez guys, I'm inclined to agree with Kahuna here. And my recollection is that McCarthy-ite style "patriotism" is not something to be embraced, assuming of course that we actually value things like free speech, freedom of assembly, right to petition government for redress of grievances, right to privacy, and all those other goodies in the Bill of Rights.

 

But anyway...

 

Brent, there are a lot of differences between Iraq and Japan/Germany, and some of this probably does have to do with the popular opinion on "the street" about the nature of the US occupation. At least at the end of WWII there was no question that it was a military victory and a military occupation, whereas at times we seem to have tried to disguise the current US intervention in Iraq as something entirely different.

 

There's a new report put out today by the Rand Corporation - a well respected group of scholars and experts - regarding how and why things have not seemed to work out particularly well for us in Iraq and Afghanistan, post-conflict. In this report they make some comparisons to Japan and Germany. Among other things they conclude that: there was resentment in both J. and G. as well but that the US (and allies) were in both of those countries for decades and over time, that resentment diminished. We tend to forget that and focus on the strong relationships we've developed with those countries down the road instead.

 

Also, they find that the US did a very good job of providing immediate and tangible benefits to ordinary people in J. and G. early in the occupation and thus capitalized on efforts to "win hearts and minds." One example they give is that the US military introduced powdered milk into the diets of Japanese children through the schools, thus quickly and visibly improving the health of many kids - something their parents understood. The authors of this report find that the US (and allies) have undertaken some very worthy development projects in Iraq (like re-building sewer systems and upgrading communications technology), but that these tended not to have similar immediate, tangible benefits to ordinary people early on, and so attempts to win those "hearts and minds" were not as successful as they could've been.

 

Additionally they point out that as recently as the 1980s the Iraqi medical system was among the best in the Middle East, though it took serious blows in the 1990s. But Iraqis know, by and large, exactly what they used to have and no longer do, and all the rhetoric about how the US invaded in order to free them from Hussein (who, I think we all agree, committed countless atrocities) and improve their lives has raised expectations which we have not met. In fact medical conditions have deteriorated in many respects since the US invasion. That might not be our fault but one can see why and how the ordinary Iraqi might be a bit angry about this.

 

Now...I'm sure some folks will say..."oh Rand is a bunch of [insert opposing ideology here] goofballs", or worse - though they're widely respected in both the scholarly and policy making communities. Of course it is easy to dismiss those who have an unpleasant message, particularly if it challenges one's preferred world view. But I think it is really important to understand what has worked, what hasn't worked, and why, if we expect to "get it right" in the future. I don't think that qualifies as unpatriotic, either - just rational.

 

Or - go back to mud flinging and I'll just go read some other parts of the forum too along with Kahuna.

 

Lisa'bob

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Lisa'bob,

I haven't read the Rand report, but from what you've posted, I would have to say I do agree with parts of their assessment. If they think those (lack of) tangible benefits to the man on the street are the main reasons for the problems, I would disagree.

#1, there wasn't a terrorist group like Al Qaida present in Japan or Germany, set on destroying the US, in the name of their religion.

#2, there weren't 3 different religious groups vying for control of the country.

 

I fully recognize giving democracy to Iraq MAY BE like giving Rodney King $1 million - it ain't going to last. Mu guess is there were plenty who didn't think things would ever work out in Japan, and they were absolutely wrong.

 

Saddam got rid of the Scouting in Iraq. Evil Americans are helping to reestablish both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the country. It ain't powdered milk, but it is a significant achievement in my book.

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Brent,

I can't share your enthusiasm for the invasion of Iraq with you.

I have a stark reminder everyday when I go to my office. I have to pass a very sad reminder of the costs of war. My co-worker, a lady who shares the cubical just three down from me, lost her 20 year old Marine son in the Anbar province during the battle of Fallujah in Dec 2004. He was shot in the head 5 times while on patrol. He had served in the initial invasion of Baghdad with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force just 1 month out of basic training. It was his 2nd tour of Iraq. I had the honor of attending his funeral at the Ft. Logan National Cemetary with full Marine honors.

In her cubical, is a shrine for him. The effect of this has been to say the least, dramatic on her family and even myself even though I never met him.

 

If you remember, the battle for Fallujah was retaliation for 3 American contractors who were kidnapped, killed and dismembered on that bridge. An ugly scene to be sure. The net result of that battle was the destruction of that entire town.

 

So if you ask me was this elective war worthwhile, I just can't say it was. I just don't think this fallen Marine was protecting our freedoms from a mad man who was capable of attacking our nation. I think it was a needless waste of human life.

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Ed,

Your post really, I mean really amazed me. If Bush legalized full term abortion tomorrow you'd move to Canada without a peep right, I DOUBT IT!

 

BrentAllen,

You repeat yourself so often by now I think you really believe the tripe. "We were attacked by Al Qaeda so we invaded Iraq who had absolutely nothing to do with it! The UEA who did have a whole lot to do with it are our bosom buddies. Of course the UAE also helps VP Chaneys old bodies make lot and lots of money so I guess that makes it ok that they actually did and do support Bin Laden. Rent the movie and actually watch it, supporting the President and wanting to get the guys who harmed us does NOT make you a MaCarthyite. Its the belief that anyone and everyone who disagrees with you is ANTI-AMERICAN that does. You have no idea why we were attacked and you dont care. You wont care until Al Qaeda brings the war to Dunwoody GA. Then just maybe you might ask why but I doubt it. You believe that America can do no wrong and thats not only wrong its dangerous. As Americans we have more to fear from people like you starting wars than from people like Saddam. Why is it you never mention the fact that AMERICA started the Al Qaeda and put Bin Laden in power in the first place? Selective amnesia?

LongHaul

 

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LongHaul,

No I wouldn't move to Canada. I would work to get it repealed!

 

We the Americans are not the evil ones! We didn't fly planes into buildings killing thousands for no reason! That was the terrorists. And yeah I know we trained those guys as freedom fighters in Afghanistan decades ago. They are no longer freedom fighters. They are now terrorists. Freedom fighters don't bite the hand that fed them! Did we know they would turn on us? At the time, no.

 

I posted it once & I'll post it again!

 

I'm proud the be an American

Where at least I know I'm free.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Heh, heh, heh...coming from the likes of my type, I hesitate to ask but..heh, heh,...who was it now that was wondering what we were going to do without Rooster7? ;)Heh, heh.

 

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LH,

Thank you for straightening me out - I'm starting to see your point.

By understanding Hitler, it makes things all better. It wasn't his fault, right? If all those Jews had just left Germany and Poland and every where else Hitler wanted to "liberate" from the Jews, he wouldn't have had to kill them! I like this little mind game! I feel so enlightened!

And if all Americans weren't decadent infidels, then Osama wouldn't have attacked us! All we need to do is have everyone convert to Islam, take away all the rights of women and force them to wear burkas all the time. Destroy Hollywood and do away with the 1st Amendment. Maybe then they will like us, and won't attack us. Yes, your thinking makes a lot of sense!

You are right again, we created Osama the monster. Even though Russia was spreading into the middle east and we needed allies to help stop that threat, we never should have armed Osama. Anyone with a brain could see that 20 years later, he was going to turn on us. How could we not see that coming?

It wasn't Osama's fault that he attacked us - it was ours. We infidels had troops in Saudi Arabia - how cruel of us! Putting infidel soldiers in their holy land - of course we deserved it!

Please let me know the next time you are going to see Ward Churchill speak - I would like to come along. I'm still not ready to call all of the victims of 9/11 "little Eichmans who deserved to die" but I'm sure if I spend a couple of hours with you and Ward getting brainwashed, I mean enlightened, I will be able to fully understand the "truth".

I don't have any of Michael Moore's movies or books - I know, how stupid of me. Could I borrow yours? It will only be for a couple of days, and I will get them right back to you. I know you want to watch F. 911 each night before you go to bed, but maybe you could skip a couple of nights so I can be enlightened. Please?

 

I think I'm going to puke...

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Brent,

I'm glad to see you recognize the primary reason Osama attacked us, military bases in Saudi Arabia. We quietly closed those bases after the attack. So I guess Bush capitulated to Osama after the attack. Since 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudis, I would have supported not only keeping those bases open, but stamping out a few more just to stick it in their faces. We would have brought the fight to them. Instead, we invaded a nation that had nothing to do with the attack. What amazes me is that in a recent poll, 80% of the military forces deployed in Iraq believe they are there to retaliate for the attacks on 9-11.

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packsaddle said:

"Brent, I too supported the vote to authorize. I too supported the decision to invade. I too swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. I plead guilty."

 

Let me give another perspective. I was against the first Iraq war. There was nothing in Kuwait that was worth risking one American life. We should have let them all settle their business themselves.

 

I was against the second Iraq war. I did not support the vote to authorize force. I was not satisfied that there was sufficient cause and saw no reason to rush into conflict.

 

But in both cases once we put soldiers into harms way I resolved to shut my cakehole and support the troops. Anything less gives aid and comfort to the enemy. Anything that motivates the enemy to continue their effort means more Americans dead.

 

You may not agree with the war or the reasons for it but once our country decided to go to war using the democratic process then the time for debate was finished. Now it is time to win the war THEN get our soldiers home so that we can show them how proud we are of them. Anything less is a disservice to our servicemembers and our nation.

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YellowHammer,

I can't disagree with you more. I think it is a disservice to those who put their lives on the line not to call to attention the failures of our policies, especially when decided on faulty or misleading information.

What you are advocating is a dictatorship.

Blindly following a bad foriegn policy is not patriotic, its nationalistic.

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GernBlanston,

 

dictatorship - Absolute or despotic control or power.

 

Your assertion is not just wrong it is silly. We have a democratic republic, by the rules Bush will be done as President in about three years. If he were a dictator he would stay on and we would not be having this conversation in public.

 

Did you miss the part where I was not following the Bush (I and II) foreign policy, blindly or otherwise, BEFORE we went to war? Did you miss the part where I pointed out that dissent during the conflict encourages the enemy to kill more Americans in an effort to further weaken our resolve? I invite you to ask some who have served in Iraq whether they appreciate dissent while they are in harms way. When I was in the Army I would not have appreciated it.

 

Call my support nationalistic if you like, it is still the right thing to do. If we pullled out of conflicts because we found out that we entered them based on faulty or misleading information then we would have pulled out of EVERY conflict that we have ever been involved in. We have never been involved in a completely just war.

 

 

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Gern,

So, according to you, we deserved to be attacked because we had troops in Saudi - where we were invited to set up bases? Is that your contention? Osama had every right to attack and kill all those civilians on 9/11, because we had bases in a country he had been kicked out of? Just want to make sure I understand your point.

 

FYI, we pulled the troops out of Saudi Arabia because the Saudis asked us to. They invited us in, they asked us to leave. Like good neighbors, we agreed to their request.

 

Again, who do you think we are fighting in Iraq? Simple question - why can't I get an answer from those on the left?

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Ok, Let me address YH first.

The argument that dissent emboldens the enemy is just silly. The enemy hates us because we invaded their country. I doubt seriously that they care one iota about what Americans back home think about the war. Even if it did, don't you think their leaders would be filling them with propoganda no matter what we did here? As for our soldiers feelings about it? Well thats part of the job. I expect them to fight just as hard no matter what the public opinion is. That's part of being a soldier.

 

I support our troops, I think they are the best trained and equipped fighting force in the world. I send them care packages and pay my taxes. But supporting our troops and supporting our foreign policy are two different issues. Dissent now, might keep us from wasting them in Iran tomorrow. Blindly following their commander in chief will surely embolden him to do this again and again.

 

Brent,

Boy you sure know how to read me mind don't you? You took my comment about Bush bowing to the Saudi's and made it something I didn't even think about. Do you have one of those Johnny Carson Carnac turbans too?

Tell me this Brent, if 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, why would we care to appease the Saudis after 911? Seems like a weak response. Good neighbors don't support a terrorist attack. I never said we deserved to be attacked (you must have your Carnac turban too tight). I said that's why we were attacked. Do you disagree?

 

Now to your question. Why are we in Iraq? I think it is because an influential group of neo-conservatives think that establishing an permanent American presence in the center of the middle east will stabilize our supply of oil. I don't think they care at all about democracy, freedom, Saddam, WMD, or terrorists. They used 9-11 as an excuse to execute this policy. Their intentions are to ensure a ready supply of a strategic resource (oil), and if their friends make a little money while doing it, all the better. But now reality is setting in. The region is destabilized, oil is all but shut off, the US is hemorrhaging borrowed money into the quagmire. The plan might have looked good on paper, but in practice it is a failed policy. And now you call me a Hate America First-er. Go figure.

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Yes, the terrorists were born in Saudi Arabia. Were they supported by the Saudi government? No. Were they acting under orders from the Saudi government? No. Timothy McVeigh was trained in the US Army, but he was not acting on behalf of the government when he blew up the building in OK. Osama had already been kicked out of the country, and these terrorists chose to follow him. How does that relate to our interaction with the Saudi government and Saudi military?

 

The military bases were part of the reason given for the attack. I believe the main reason is because they see us as a bunch of decadent infidels. They hate our Western lifestyle. They hate that our culture is invading their land. They hate our freedom. If it was just the bases in Saudi that provoked them, why didn't they attack the bases? Why didn't they attack the Saudi government for asking us in and allowing us on their land? Any answers??

 

I didn't ask why we are in Iraq. I asked who are we fighting in Iraq? Simple question - who, right now, today, are we fighting in Iraq?

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BrentAllen, I dont know what your background is but I would think that from reading and participating in these forums you would have developed some skill in presenting your arguments. All you can do is spout your party line and attack the character of the people who disagree with you. You very seldom attack their argument or position. You start with By understanding Hitler, it makes things all better Better wouldnt be my choice of word, Id say clearer. You follow with It wasn't his fault, right? Where does that come from? Who said anything about blame? The opening statement was about understanding. I can seek to understand why you see things as you do without agreeing with you or disagreeing with you. You switch your focus then and say And if all Americans weren't decadent infidels does the mantra you subscribe to believe that the attacks were religiously motivated? Yes religion was used to manipulate the people actually doing the fighting but the motivation I'm speaking of is why those in power started the process in the first place. Is the current Pentagon thinking that this is a war about religion? I know what gets in the paper but you speak as though you have an inside track so Im asking. Personally I think Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are about as religious as Hitler was, which you probably know little about. I dont believe for one minute that Bin Laden cares a tinkers damn about our religious beliefs, he wants power and control. Why the Trade Center what religious significance did it have? The Pentagon what religious significance there? Why is not important to you as long as you have the ability to kill those who would stand against you. Its when they have the ability to kill you back that you become frightened. You talk about doing away with the 1st Amendment like its a bad thing, what about the Patriot Act you so wish to defend? What about the tactics used by our side against the alleged terrorists? Your next switch is a classic, again I d dont know your age or background. Were you alive during the Cold War? Do you know anything about the Russia which was spreading into the Middle East? I think not because if you did you would know that 1. They were our allies fighting another war we needed help winning. 2. We helped create the threat they posed us later. 3. We sought to fight them only when we feared them. 4. We used their alleged threat to justify our actions when our genuine motivations would have been rejected by the American public. You accept that Russia posed a threat to us and that they had to be stopped, or I should say your statement leads me to believe that you accept that Russia was a threat. That being the case is the reverse true? Do you think Russia saw us as a threat? A force which had to be stopped from spreading globally? If we are justified attempting to stop them are they justified in trying to stop us? Can you make those distinctions? You end with a valiant attempt at guilt by association, I must admit I had to Google "Ward Churchill" to get your jibe. Youd have a lot more credibility if you could allow you arguments to stand on their own merit. Try continuing this thread without personally attacking those who disagree with you. Try not using the inflammatory rhetoric and sarcasms and debate ideology and opinion.

LongHaul

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