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Ken Stevens

"America is a flawed superpower"

Isn't any nation or institution run by humans flawed in some way or another at some time or another?

The nation that gives the world Dubbya also gave the world Eisenhower, just as the nation that gave the world Blair, has now given the world...errm. Yeah well!

Point is that the USA may be going through a bad patch in some international aspects but this is just part of the cycle of fortune. Things will get better in due course - as long as America doesn't get fed up in the meantime with being slagged off by those who unwittingly or ungratefully owe it their freedom to speak so ungraciously or whose own national administrations are hardly role models.

Steevo

I knew you would read the Telegraph's article Tim. Do you know how I feel about it? :-)

I think we both know how a number of people feel about it.

"America needs to learn the lessons of recent years but it must not submit to multilateralism. America is currently hated because it has combined interventionism with incompetence. If it becomes beholden to multilateral institutions and agreements it will be enfeebled. Such an America will probably be less hated but few will regard it highly."

You've hit realities on the head here but just one correction if you will. With minor exception I don't believe America is hated because of interventionism with incompetence. We were hated for not heeding Russia, China, Germany and France within the UN's illustrious Security Council. America was hated because America decided on using her power according to... America. We were hated for not accomplishing specific significant results once there; we were hated after accomplishing these results; we have been hated by many, even, to this day and told we have no right to be there even tho... those who sit in judgment do not speak for the Iraqi people who want peace, who honor us, and who need us.

This is the kind of article a lot of people do not like because it goes right to the heart, with judgment. Trying to blame America and strip away power is a very personal thing with resentment, scapegoatism, weak and/or perverse self-esteem. The realities of freedom, where fairness and accountability come into play establishing true human rights are usually not part of the equation with the American-haters these days.

Thankyou for posting it.

Steevo

"I knew you would read the Telegraph's article Tim."

I meant the Times. I read it yesterday via a link. A number of conservative blogs have posted it.

Simon

I'm sorry Steevo, but in brief, if you think the only reason people are angry at America and Britain's catastrophic intervention in Iraq is because they are suffering from some form of national penis envy, you really are deluding yourself. Quite apart from the dubious (that being the nicer term) reason for invading in the first place, there was a complete lack of any form of long term strategy for keeping the peace, let alone rebuilding a nation. All America has done in Iraq is replace authoritarianism with anarchy. America will not be respected in its role as international policeman until it realises that simply blowing shit up is not a universal remedy, and ought to be considered only when all other means have failed.

Steevo

Simon... I've offended you. "National penis envy"? Something is really on the line with this one huh.

"Catastrophic"? The farthest thing from the ongoing reality. You in particular have used such adjectives with a rather desperate determination, really making it a point how utterly horrible we've been in the face of every legitimate fact coming out of there. You do seem to fit the mold of so many. Michael Moore and his delusions would be right with you on this one

I'm deluding myself. LOL

"All America has done in Iraq is replace authoritarianism with anarchy." BULLCRAP you liar. You're not ignorant. You are a blatant liar. You have serious problems.

The rest of your degrading disgust should show anyone in here for now on what you as a very very little man are about.

Steevo

BTW since Youtube is easier (as long as its accurate) for those further interested here are a couple of quick links:

Many Iraqis make a point to explain how Shia and Sunni don't automatically explode. Many neighborhoods and families are mixed, as are military units. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd-Whl-sJLY

CNN has done a darn job of it to try and discredit Bush, Republicans, Conservatives... anyone to the right of their liberal bent. This includes trying to discredit the war. But these days for any analysis pretending to be objective that's not so easy when flying in the face of what actually is happening. They finally got in touch with Michael Yon (surprise).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl6t9G979js

Denise

We are criticized for not rebuilding Iraq in the amount of time it takes to pop a dinner in the microwave. Because in today's world people are impatient and want things done yesterday. It takes TIME to rebuild a nation. And no, not just a year or two. It's only been four and you would think it's been 20 with the way people are moaning. Look how long it took to rebuild Germany after WWII for Heaven's sake.

Steevo

A little bit more here Denise. I mean there's so much but sorry I can't help it.

MICHAEL A. LEDEEN:
http://pajamasmedia.com/xpress/michaelledeen/2007/10/20/maybe_were_winning_in_iraq.php

Should we declare victory over al Qaeda in the battle of Iraq?

The very question would have seemed proof of dementia only a few months ago, yet now some highly respected military officers, including the commander of Special Forces in Iraq, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, reportedly feel it is justified by the facts on the ground.

These people are not suggesting that the battle is over. They all insist that there is a lot of fighting ahead, and even those who believe that al Qaeda is crashing and burning in a death spiral on the Iraqi battlefields say that the surviving terrorists will still be able to kill coalition forces and Iraqis. But there is relative tranquility across vast areas of Iraq, even in places that had been all but given up for lost barely more than a year ago. It may well be that those who confidently declared the war definitively lost will have to reconsider.

In Fallujah, enlisted marines have complained to an officer of my acquaintance: “There’s nobody to shoot here, sir. If it’s just going to be building schools and hospitals, that’s what the Army is for, isn’t it?” Throughout the area, Sunni sheikhs have joined the Marines to drive out al Qaeda, and this template has spread to Diyala Province, and even to many neighborhoods in Baghdad itself, where Shiites are fighting their erstwhile heroes in the Mahdi Army.

British troops are on their way out of Basra, and it was widely expected that Iranian-backed Shiite militias would impose a brutal domination of the city, that hasn’t happened. Lt. Col. Patrick Sanders, stationed near Basra, confirmed that violence in Basra has dropped precipitously in recent weeks. He gives most of the credit to the work of Iraqi soldiers and police.

atheling

Nowadays it seems like a lot of people on the Left think that war should work like their iPod.

If anything is flawed, it's their perception of human nature, politics and reality.

I was watching some Upstairs Downstairs episodes about WWI, and there were references to "pacifists and shirkers".

We're dealing with their heirs now.

Jon Gale

America is not hated for intervention or "scape-goatism" or because of envy.

America is not hated for invading Afganistan because that made sense: Osama was being sheltered by the Taliban, USA demands they hand him over, they refuse, USA invades. No huge anti-war rallies, no international objections. Even Iran supported it because they hated the Sunni Taliban. If Bush had stopped there he could've been a popular president.

America IS hated for invading Iraq, because it made no sense. Iraq had done nothing for 10 years. The status quo had not changed. Bush and Blair suddenly launched an unprovoked (aka "pre-emptive") attack on a sovereign country.

It made so little sense people invented conspiracy theories to try and explain it: Halliburton, Big Oil, anti-Muslim crusade, Zionists, Bush=Hitler, etc.

atheling

Jon Gale:

"If Bush had stopped there he could've been a popular president."

Oh please. The Left and Euros hate Bush no matter what. And you know why? He is a white Christian male with a Southern American accent.

They suffered from Bush derangement syndrome before 9/11 because he beat Gore, and they think he "stole" the election. The Euros hate him because they know that, unlike the Democrats, he had no plans to "remake" America into a mirror of the European socialist state.

From the moronic posters held by self loathing Americans in another post on this site, we can see that they don't distinguish between Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of "good war" or "bad war". To them, ALL war is bad. Period. Pacifists and shirkers with a skewed sense of reality... sort of like a Lennonesque infantile view.

Simon

Denise, no one is criticising America for not rebuilding Iraq in a few minutes; the criticism lies in destroying it's infrastructure root and branch in the first place. It's all very well pulling down statues of Saddam, but dispanding every member of the nation's security service right down to the lowliest traffic cop was a piece of monumental stupidity.

To take this point further, why invade at all? Saddam was not a nice man, but he was essentially a pragmatist. He knew that the Americans could invade if they wanted to, he knew that once they did, staying in hiding would be virtually impossible, and he knew that once he was found, he would be executed. Do you really think that for a nice safe haven in Syria for himself and close family, he wouldn't have let the Americans do whatever they wanted, including install a democratic regime in Iraq? The threat of force had after all already got him to open Iraq completely to UN weapons inspectors. And that would have been without a single drop of blood spilled, civilian or military.

I would love to debate whether the Iraq campaign can claim any kind of 'success', but frankly I don't have the time to argue with willful ignorance. Take a look at even the conservative estimates of the death toll. You don't have to be buying into any kind of liberal agenda to see that those people dying in a completely unnecessary conflict is just plain wrong.

Steevo

Actually Simon again, you're not giving the true truth. We didn't tear down the entire infrastructure. It was laser guided munitions and cruise missiles doing the majority of destruction on pinpoint, largely strategic targets. Everything about your take is intended to be callous, stupid and inhumane on our part! And I say everything to make you as a man feel good.

"Dispanding every member of the nation's security service right down to the lowliest traffic cop was a piece of monumental stupidity."

Again, that's a complete lie, Simon. I'm not even gonna bother to explain. You are full of know-it-all judgments about our efforts there and you have shown utter ignorance... right down to having no clue al-Queda was even there.

You owe it to this forum to back up your demeaning judgments on our motivations and actions implying callous disregard for humanity. It is incumbent upon you, more so, than anyone in here. You, who have stated total falsehoods, to give solid, credible evidence and facts.

"There was a complete lack of any form of long term strategy for keeping the peace, let alone rebuilding a nation. All America has done in Iraq is replace authoritarianism with anarchy."

"I would love to debate whether the Iraq campaign can claim any kind of 'success', but frankly I don't have the time to argue with willful ignorance. Take a look at even the conservative estimates of the death toll. You don't have to be buying into any kind of liberal agenda to see that those people dying in a completely unnecessary conflict is just plain wrong."

Who do you think you are.

Saddam's "authoritarianism". What an easy word for you to pervert regarding those freed from his hell. You could never explain yourself with the slightest composure to anyone with an ounce of self-respect living there.

The upper one third of the country with the Kurds - America's best allies and friends - have no more genocide and tyranny. Your "anarchy"?... Your lie.

The bottom third with largely Shia well, the last time there was a fatality with one of the Brit soldiers stationed there was over 7 weeks ago from what Michael Yon has reported. He was there for weeks until just recently. No more mass graves and tyrannical subjigation either in case you haven't noticed. No great upheaval in Basra. No love by the overwhelming majority of Iraqis for Iranian intrusion.

In and around Bagdahd, deaths are way down by EVERY legitimate indicator. American, Coalition and Iraqi forces are continuing to eradicate the bad guys, clean up, and rebuild with a multitude of every day citizens involved.

Factual reality doesn't matter. Not to you. Your ego is on the line with this one. But... you'll never get truly strong, even if some day America does become weak.

Your 'resentments' accomplish nothing. Be a part of the rebuilding or forever a bitter, frustrated man denying its reality having no regard for the humanity involved.

mamapajamas

Well stated, Steevo :)

Simon

Steevo, I really have nothing against you personally; you seem to believe what you are saying. I write in very unequivocal terms because I feel it stimulates the debate more. You obviously do too -hence calling me a liar etc.

But you havent really answered any of my points. Firstly, on the possible impact of THREAT of force as opposed to force itself. I speculated that most or all of the aims of the coalition could have been acheived without bloodshed using this method. You've provided no evidence or argument to the contrary.

You speak about deaths being 'way down'. Way down on what? Presumably what they were in the past few years since 2003. Conservative estimates suggest that Iraqi civilian deaths from the conflict and the ensuing chaos now stand at around 75,000. http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ It has been speculated in some quarters that the actual figure may be upwards of 655,000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4525412.stm How is this in any way acceptable? Just what omlette has been created to justify breaking this many eggs?

You say that I wouldn't explain my opinions to someone living in Iraq. On the contrary, I would love you to go to Baghdad and congratulate the people living there on their newfound freedom and democracy. That's if you can find anyone who isn't too scared to leave home because of fear of being kidnapped or bombed.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6215005.stm

This quote sums things up quite well: "I used to think democracy came first," one Iraqi told me. "I've learnt that's not true - it's security."

I'm not defending Saddam's regime. I'm merely stating that the fear of a tyrannical dictator has been replaced by fear of mass sectarian bloodshed; all the more dangerous because it is indiscriminate. I suggest you stop burying your head in the sand.

Steevo

Unequivocal terms? Yes Simon, like "anarchy". Liar, yes, like realities clearly stated from the Kurds in the north to the Shia in the south, in complete contradiction.

"Dispanding every member of the nation's security service right down to the lowliest traffic cop was a piece of monumental stupidity."

We had just established occupation shattering Saddam's army. Up to that point the security and police apparatus were those men appointed by Saddam and, even, fighting for him. After fighting Saddam's leftover followers (insurgents) the next three and a half years I completely disagree with your above-it-all hindsite.

We set up the Coalition Provisional Authority with troops from several coalition countries under the command of our CENTCOM. This was in place soon after cessation of major military conflict and a successor to the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. It was funded by our department of defense and established to act as a caretaker administration in Iraq until the creation of a democratically elected civilian government.

The CPA initially housed in Saddam Hussein's palaces (built from corrupt UN Oil for Food money, intended for his people).

The eventual transition of power has gone back to the Iraqi people. The primary center for the CPA has been centered in a district of Baghdad, for years known as the Green Zone.

Total "destruction root and branch"? Again another lie because of your warped intent to portray our policy, then, in the most demeaning light possible. (Its worth noting how you will not talk about policy now. Anything now, in fact.)

"I just gave a thumbs up, the bird launched, and within seconds we were over the wire and 100 feet above the rooftops of Baghdad." http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/009552.html

You won't get a closer overview. And it would be hard to beat such a convincing refutation or your American-hate "simply blowing shit up" and the above "destroying it's infrastructure root and branch".

Its also worth noting how you have to portray yourself so above such "stupid destruction" like, you would have brought much more intelligence had you been forced into such ill-will, like your hindsite THREAT of force as opposed to force itself speculation. Fancy yourself, its not worth my time.

"This quote sums things up quite well: 'I used to think democracy came first,' one Iraqi told me. 'I've learnt that's not true - it's security.'"

And that is exactly true. Security does come first. You trust the BBC, always looking for the bad at that. But you still don't know how to judge your Google game here tho as that was dated Jan 1 this year. The surge didn't begin until March.

Lower deaths in Baghdad? From Reuters, one small example and reflection of nationwide experience:

"A row of beds lies empty in the emergency ward of Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital. The morgue, which once overflowed with corpses, is barely a quarter full.

"Doctors at the hospital, a barometer of bloodshed in the Iraqi capital, say there has been a sharp fall in victims of violence admitted during a seven-month security campaign.

"Last month the fall was particularly dramatic, with 70 percent fewer bodies and half the number of wounded brought in compared to July, hospital director Haqi Ismail said.

"'The major incidents, like explosions and car bombs, sometimes reached six or seven a day. Now it's more like one or two a week,' he told Reuters."

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1772558920070917?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

Like I said this is a deeply personal obsession for you determined to cast American power in a most dishonorable light. Its going on 5 years since we went in. We made our move on the opposite side of the world. One cannot reasonably conclude your attempts to demean and discredit with exaggerated falsehoods, portraying ugly intent and action, have been out of concern for the Iraqis. You don't even want to acknowledge the current situation, its progression and hope. You've never wanted to talk about it. When have you shown empathy for the people of Iraq? Those glad to see Saddam gone, with aspirations just like anyone else. And you can be assured... most in their country who would give you a nod are not the ones you would want for neighbors.

GET OVER IT. GET OVER YOURSELF. MOVE INTO THE PRESENT. LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF WITHOUT THE NEED TO FEEL ABOVE A POWERFUL NATION.

I'd like to suggest to everyone who has read this far, please go to the above link (unless you have Firefox, the pics don't show). Especially fellow Brits who are not up on what's going on. You won't see a destroyed city or even anything close to a Berlin after WWII. You may be quite surprised. Its no paradise, tho it was never pretty under Saddam. A lot of work remains. But it is NOT the ugly devastation stated in this discussion.

Andy

Simon

"Saddam was not a nice man, but he was essentially a pragmatist. He knew that the Americans could invade if they wanted to, he knew that once they did, staying in hiding would be virtually impossible, and he knew that once he was found, he would be executed. Do you really think that for a nice safe haven in Syria for himself and close family, he wouldn't have let the Americans do whatever they wanted, including install a democratic regime in Iraq?"

Its easy to come up with these conclusions after the movie has ended. Hindsight is not foresight. Saddam would not have chosen a safe haven in Syria, he often said "I was born in Iraq and I will die in Iraq".

That "Saddam was not a nice man" does not do him justice. Do you have the faintest clue about the atrocities committed by his Mukhabarat under his orders?

You state that Saddam knew that "staying in hiding would be virtually impossible". If that was the case why did he bother with his network of rat-holes and hideouts?

"The threat of force had after all already got him to open Iraq completely to UN weapons inspectors. And that would have been without a single drop of blood spilled, civilian or military."

And everyone would have lived happily ever after. That don't quite sit right somehow.
I notice you refer quite heavily from BBC middle east sources. Nuff said.

mamapajamas

Simon, going back a few messages, re: "Quite apart from the dubious (that being the nicer term) reason for invading in the first place, there was a complete lack of any form of long term strategy for keeping the peace, let alone rebuilding a nation"

Uh... this is the second time in the last few days I've had to trounce a psychic on this board. Was the other one you as well?

"...complete lack of any for of long term strategy..."

And you know this because you were sitting in on the planning sessions in the Pentagon? Or is it because you are psychic and just know that there was no long-term strategy?

Simon, the Pentagon big wigs don't take a leak without a plan. Sometimes plans work. Sometimes plans don't work, and you have to go to Plan B, which can make it LOOK as if there was no plan in the first place.

But to just come on a public board like this and make a sweeping statement about "no plan" or whatever is ludicrous. The Pentagon is NOT in the habit of sharing its plans with the public.

So unless you are psychic, don't make preposterous statements like this. And if you ARE psychic, prove it by giving me tonight's winning Lottery numbers in the Florida Lottery's Fantasy Five game.

Until then, I will make the presumption that anything you say about what was or was not planned is complete BS.

Steevo

Did you hear about the new $3,000,000 Washington State Lottery approved by our lib governor to help the poor?

The winner gets $3 a year for a million years. :-D

Simon

Andy, it is easy to see with hindsight. It is also easy to see some things with a little foresight. What was patently obvious before the conflict started was that Saddam was desperate to do everything he could to prevent the invasion of his country and his own neck being on the line, hence him giving the inspectors free rein, and producing those pathetic rockets, which were clearly all that remained of his wmd arsenal. Instead of being allowed to do their work, the inspectors had to get out of Iraq before the invasion was mounted.

I can't quite believe you are asking me why Saddam bothered with hiding out once he had been toppled. Not wanting to be executed maybe? Just a guess..

Saddam may have postured about dying in Iraq, but his complex efforts to evade capture go to show that even to a 75 year old former dictator, dignity comes second to remaining alive. Even if Saddam did want to fight it out, the diplomatic approach was never even tried. I don't think those in control of the invasion would have been able to countenance the idea of Saddam living on into his dotage in comfort even if it meant saving thousands of innocent lives. That is the unpalatable truth. There is surely no other conclusion to be drawn.

And yes, most sources available are slanted in some way, but I trust the content of those BBC reports as accurate. If you have more detailed objections as to the content rather than the origin of the sources, I'm listening.

mamapajamas, I am not a psychic, or an insider in the Pentagon. You are quite right that I don't know what was originally planned. Would a total lack of a 'workable/sensible/feasible/intelligable' long term strategy suit you better?

Steevo, you really seem quite upset. I have met quite a few Americans who are ultra self-critical to the point of being ashamed of their nationality, and still more who are so nationalistic that they take any criticism of their political leaders or foreign policy as a personal affront. It becomes obvious that you belong to the latter group when you refer to American actions in Iraq as 'we'. You seem quite young, and I hope when you get a little older you'll acquire enough independence of thought to realise that whilst America is a great beacon of freedom and democracy (which I would never deny), it is capable of getting it wrong. And killing 75,000 people in an unnecessary war is just about as wrong as it gets. And this isn't a personal reflection on you.

You talk about incidences of sectarian violence going down after the troop surge. That is certainly something to welcome. The only problems with this line of argument are a)the success or otherwise of any current U.S. campaign is no justification either for the invasion or for the four years of carnage which followed it. And b) more importantly, what will happen when the surge, and after it the occupation, comes to an end? A troop surge does what it says on the tin, and we should be thankful that it is improving security now. But short of killing every man and woman physically able to strap a bomb to themselves, I fail to see what impact it can have long after the operation wraps up.

I mean, just take a proper look at this quote you used: 'The major incidents, like explosions and car bombs, sometimes reached six or seven a day. Now it's more like one or two a week,'
As a sick joke it would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. JUST one or two car bombs a week is a state of affairs that Baghdad's citizens should somehow be grateful for?

I said that Iraq's 'infrastructure' had been destroyed root and branch, specifically with reference to security. I never suggested that Baghdad or anywhere else had been razed to the ground.

You are quite right, I'm not arguing here to show empathy to the Iraqi's, as if it would do them any good if I were. I'm arguing because I want to engage in a debate and put my point of view. That said, this will be my last post in this thread. I'm afraid my replies are only going to get longer and more time-consuming from here on in. You can call it a capitulation if it pleases you. It's been fun.

Simon

Oh sorry, PS. I do realise that Britain is every bit as culpable for the Iraq war as America, and it's leaders at the time (one of whom is the incumbent Prime Minister God help us) deserve their full share of the condemnation. Maybe it's a feature of our constitution with a non-political figure as Head of State (HMQ) that we can mock and deride our political leaders without feeling it reflects too much on our worth as a nation.

mamapajamas

Simon, re: "mamapajamas, I am not a psychic, or an insider in the Pentagon. You are quite right that I don't know what was originally planned. Would a total lack of a 'workable/sensible/feasible/intelligable' long term strategy suit you better?"

Given that the war in Iraq has NEVER EVER been anywhere near as bad as it has been portrayed in the news media, how does, "We needed to tweak the original plan and add in some more troops" grab you?

Since you admit that you have no inside knowledge of Pentagon plans, and also admit that you are not psychic, please refrain from second-guessing the Plan or lack thereof. You don't know what the plan is any more than I do. And I will repeat: Those generals in the Pentagon don't do anything without a plan. They have entire departments that do NOTHING but wargame, every conceivable scenario that could come up in a war anywhere in the world. They even have plans to invade the UK and Canada if the situation warrants (such as complete civil breakdown in those countries). This I DO know from personal exposure while in the military. They plan for events that are never likely to happen. So stop pontificating about a lack of plans. If they've got a problem, it's probably too many plans to choose from.

mamapajamas

Simon, let me try one more time.

A part of the early problems in the war in Iraq is that no one... and I mean NO ONE... was counting on post-traumatic stress syndrome on a national scale.

The Iraqi people had been brutalized for more than 30 years. When we pulled in there, they had absolutely NO REASON to trust ANYONE in authority. Yet millions of them nevertheless found joy in deliverance. Now give them a chance to prove that they can pull it off. I don't know about you, but I have complete faith in the Childern of Hammurabi. If anyone in the Middle East can bring peace there, they are the ones who can do it.

The news media never has and never will cover the story the way it should be. They are SO embued with Bush Derangement Syndrome that they will have us lose the war to tar Bush no matter what is going on in Iraq.

News flash to anti-war people: All three of the major Democratic presidential nominees have flatly stated that THEY won't pull out of Iraq, either.


Steevo

Simon, my anger has been in response to your anger and determinations to twist intent and actions, yet you wanna respond claiming I'm deluded and now, immature. It is exactly the other way around.

Your basic angle has been to portray our efforts as dishonorable. Stupid, callous and inhumane. "Anarchy", "monumental stupidity" and "simply blowing shit up". And the lying: "all America has done in Iraq is replace authoritarianism with anarchy." And you claim I want to believe the hate-America crowd suffer from "penis envy" as I make my points about deep-seeded hangups with people who hate without justification, obviously like you.

"It becomes obvious that you belong to the latter group when you refer to American actions in Iraq as 'we'."

Cherry picking nonsense.

Insofar as taking personal what WE are doing in Iraq, and the consequences... you bet. Insofar as you taking another country on the other side of the world overthrowing a bloody tyrant and working to establish a form of democracy, personal... you bet.

"You seem quite young, and I hope when you get a little older you'll acquire enough independence of thought to realise that whilst America is a great beacon of freedom and democracy (which I would never deny), it is capable of getting it wrong. And killing 75,000 people in an unnecessary war is just about as wrong as it gets. And this isn't a personal reflection on you."

Thanks. But... the majority of popular numbers estimates are not very specific. Fatalities are caused by terrorists and, that number may include the killed terrorists. And the amount of deaths under Saddam in the previous years...

"I said that Iraq's 'infrastructure' had been destroyed root and branch, specifically with reference to security."

Interesting, thanks for clearing up that non-specific statement after I soundly exposed its fallacy.

"But dispanding every member of the nation's security service right down to the lowliest traffic cop was a piece of monumental stupidity."

Again soundly refuted but, there's no more comment?

"You are quite right, I'm not arguing here to show empathy to the Iraqi's, as if it would do them any good if I were."

That's just lame. This has been all about you from the beginning and the outrage of your initial response.

"You talk about incidences of sectarian violence going down after the troop surge. That is certainly something to welcome. The only problems with this line of argument are a)the success or otherwise of any current U.S. campaign is no justification either for the invasion or for the four years of carnage which followed it."

Totally disagree.

"And b) more importantly, what will happen when the surge, and after it the occupation, comes to an end? A troop surge does what it says on the tin, and we should be thankful that it is improving security now. But short of killing every man and woman physically able to strap a bomb to themselves, I fail to see what impact it can have long after the operation wraps up."

Your own defeatist speculations. You fail to see a lot. And you've shown time and again you have no clue. But, since your BBC said al-Qaeda is there you did learn something fairly recently in this conflict of almost 5 years.

Remember... as you've chosen to portray a reality of failure and ill-will in spite of the ongoing progression to the contrary, you've also shown no desire for a solution to this devastation you preach. The only ones obsessed with this depth of negativity, falsehoods and hate have had one alternative: withdrawal, and an answer to the terrorists' desperate prayers: the eventual genocide of a nation of 24 million working to build with hope and encouragement every single day... and establishing fascist-like rule of terror and utter subjugation.

Furthermore, the disruption and potential for major war drawing in many players including Israel, and the establishment of terror bases that would make the Talaban look like kindergardeners.

All this, will not be faced; will not be discussed by anti-Americans given the alternative of American/Coalition success.

Like I said, you could not get away with preaching the dishonor, stupidity and hatred to a majority of Iraqis. Yes Iraqis... thankful to be free from Saddam and increasingly thankful, honoring their American liberators. They have hope with reason and I won't turn my face and neither will our troops if they have it their way.

Unlike you Simon I'm not gonna say "its been fun". I don't like people despising the most honorable in my country. I would never do it to another's. This has meaning far beyond any pretense of cool.


S Baker

Good God, I share a last name with him! I guess the only solace I get from this is my name is Anglicized Dutch!

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