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Thread: How the Iraq War Got off on the Wrong Foot

  1. #31
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Read or heard somewhere that if Cheney got a do over he'd do- it-over. again. Doubt Wolfowitz thinks differently.

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    What do you expect him to say?
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  2. #32
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    The question for me is more whether their ideas were wrong as opposed to the execution/implementation of those ideas.

    Too early to say, will become more clear in a decade or two.

  3. #33
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    I think maybe I'm a bit like Wolfowitz: way to simplistic to have any influence at a strategic level. To me Saddam Husain was a madman who gained enough power for his insanity to endanger the world.
    I am completely relaxed with his deposing and death. As I said earlier I just wish the post invasion period had been handled differently. To this I blame Powell. The obvious choice for post-invasion control was State, the obvious plan to get all those idle hands back to work as soon as possible. Instead Powell allowed himself to become marginalised and for Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz to remove Garner and replace him with Bremer.
    The rest as they say its history. Whether a 'business as usual approach' would have worked I can't know and there would have always been the detractors, insurgents, resistance fighters and terrorists to contend with. I just believe that their impact would have been far less.
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  4. #34
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    DE,they were wrong in both.If you want to be perceived as an empire,you better act like one.
    The problem is whatever institutions we have,they're way behind events and realities on the ground.It's was absolutely enough to walk a street in anay Arab city to grasp the real situation.They had respect when the image of strength was matched with said power being exercised.But there is always a limit of exercising power.Beyond that,cultural norms put the folks with the backs to the wall,so they start fighting back,no matter the odds.You either kill enough of them to change culture,or you don't cross the line in the first place.Live with the folks a few weeks and you know not to do.
    And this is valid for the national security advisors(who are supposed to advise,but have no bloody idea) ,4 stars and down to the ''strategic corporal''.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  5. #35
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    DE,they were wrong in both.If you want to be perceived as an empire,you better act like one.
    Right or wrong for better or worse, this is the path we are on. Where it will lead remains to be seen. You can spin this one either way but i think it would be premature. All i'm doing is try and see whether future actions fit in the current mould.

    We should not need boots on the ground in other countries. Iraq & Afghanistan were extreme cases.

    Empires isn't the right word here, its about self-determination and mid-wife-ing the process where required. Now that there is no cold war to worry about. Putting people in charge of their own countries rather than being dictated to.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 22 Jun 13, at 11:18.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Right or wrong for better or worse, this is the path we are on. Where it will lead remains to be seen. You can spin this one either way but i think it would be premature. All i'm doing is try and see whether future actions fit in the current mould.

    We should not need boots on the ground in other countries. Iraq & Afghanistan were extreme cases.

    Empires isn't the right word here, its about self-determination and mid-wife-ing the process where required. Now that there is no cold war to worry about. Putting people in charge of their own countries rather than being dictated to.
    I would argue that people are frequently not in charge of their countries for a reason. While our nation should encourage democracy as the world superpower, sacrificing thousands of soldiers to give power to people that will misuse it or haven't earned it is not a recipe for success. In both times in Iraq, the only competent members of the ISF that I worked with were Sunni's that were former soldiers in Saddam's army. The Shia's (who incidentally comprised most of the Iraqi Army) did not have the institutional or cultural knowledge to be proficient at a lot of governing tasks. Since most Arab Sunni's were arrayed against us because simple majority rule worked directly against their interests.... pretty easy to work out why we had such a hard time establishing effective governance. If the majority being oppressed is unable (due to ability) or unwilling (due to values and interests) to fight for their own freedom, is it really our place to try and impose that artificial solution on them? And how successful can we possibly be at trying to impose that solution on a culture that is fundamentally different from ours in terms of both values and beliefs in so many respects?

  7. #37
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwarmonger View Post
    I would argue that people are frequently not in charge of their countries for a reason. While our nation should encourage democracy as the world superpower, sacrificing thousands of soldiers to give power to people that will misuse it or haven't earned it is not a recipe for success.
    They're not in charge because as happened often in a number of countries somebody ambitious hijacked them. Nothing was done because it was the cold war and the only thing that mattered was fighting communism.

    Sacrificing thousands of soldiers was during the occupation phase. This is what most people here are upset about.

    Quote Originally Posted by lwarmonger View Post
    In both times in Iraq, the only competent members of the ISF that I worked with were Sunni's that were former soldiers in Saddam's army. The Shia's (who incidentally comprised most of the Iraqi Army) did not have the institutional or cultural knowledge to be proficient at a lot of governing tasks. Since most Arab Sunni's were arrayed against us because simple majority rule worked directly against their interests.... pretty easy to work out why we had such a hard time establishing effective governance.
    Put that down to lessons learnt for the future.

    The Shia did fight back in Basra after GW1. What was the result ? they got slaughtered by Saddam and the figures are north of 100k.

    Quote Originally Posted by lwarmonger View Post
    If the majority being oppressed is unable (due to ability) or unwilling (due to values and interests) to fight for their own freedom, is it really our place to try and impose that artificial solution on them? And how successful can we possibly be at trying to impose that solution on a culture that is fundamentally different from ours in terms of both values and beliefs in so many respects?
    How successful is for the future to judge.

    Iraq & Afghanistan were the first round

    Egypt, Tunisia & Yemen were the second round. Not a peep out of the west about these. Change was in the air and they let it happen and did not oppose. Why not ? its not like the Soviets are still around to exploit it.

    Libya, Mali & Syria are the third round

    Ten (!) countries in just over ten years. You see a general outline here ?

    Not saying Cheney & Wolfowitz saw all of this back in 2001, saying the actions the great powers have taken have not been inconsistent since. Those two showed that the arab order could be changed and i see no reason for this momentum to remain constrained to the middle east alone. I can see these ideas working their way through Africa too. That next region with huge growth potential if only it were more open.

    The best long term antidote for extremism is democracy which has to be sustainable. Once the political is workable the economic follows.

    Two out of ten required boots on the ground because you don't want to put boots on the ground to save somebody else's neck. In Syria's case irregulars were sent.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 25 Jun 13, at 10:44.

  8. #38
    Senior Contributor Agnostic Muslim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Ten (!) countries in just over ten years. You see a general outline here ?

    Not saying Cheney & Wolfowitz saw all of this back in 2001, saying the actions the great powers have taken have not been inconsistent since. Those two showed that the arab order could be changed and i see no reason for this momentum to remain constrained to the middle east alone. I can see these ideas working their way through Africa too.
    Are you suggesting that the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions played a role in the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya?
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  9. #39
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Hmm, in two of the above cases a dictator, who turns his army's against the people in his own country and one known to use chemical weapons and the other crazy enough to do it. Both bought severe sanctions from the UNSC one having to trade oil for food and medicine and the other crushed its banking ability in many ways. Both were sanctioned for attacks against their own people. Both were toppled, both had their campaigns fueled by weapons whores.

    The rest of those countries maybe realizing that things can change for the better. It may not seem that way at first but given time and the right people leading the way (their own people) they stand a much better chance then what they did before.

    Oh, and both were done in by their own people in the end.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 25 Jun 13, at 16:22.
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  10. #40
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    Yet, it all started in Tunisia
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  11. #41
    Senior Contributor Agnostic Muslim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought View Post

    The rest of those countries maybe realizing that things can change for the better. It may not seem that way at first but given time and the right people leading the way (their own people) they stand a much better chance then what they did before.

    Oh, and both were done in by their own people in the end.
    None of which suggests that the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were the catalyst for those changes.
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  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    None of which suggests that the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were the catalyst for those changes.
    And judging by the ripple effects still being seen today presently there is nothing to suggest they were not. Both being heavily religious in their choices of either backing a newly elected government or rejecting it. Same simularities and in both cases major change including but not limited to law making. Both having fairly good relations with the US and the Allies that brought them to that point as well.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 25 Jun 13, at 17:57.
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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought View Post
    Hmm, in two of the above cases a dictator, who turns his army's against the people in his own country and one known to use chemical weapons and the other crazy enough to do it. Both bought severe sanctions from the UNSC one having to trade oil for food and medicine and the other crushed its banking ability in many ways. Both were sanctioned for attacks against their own people. Both were toppled, both had their campaigns fueled by weapons whores.

    The rest of those countries maybe realizing that things can change for the better. It may not seem that way at first but given time and the right people leading the way (their own people) they stand a much better chance then what they did before.

    Oh, and both were done in by their own people in the end.
    So why didn't all of the stuff in bold happen in Bahrain? The situation wasn't too different from Syria in the early stages. The king belongs to the ethnic minority and there were demonstrations by the majority calling for an end to his rule. The king ordered his own troops against the protesters and even openly obtained the services of foreign (GCC) troops against the protesters. Human rights organizations have documented numerous cases of torture and brutality by the police and the foreign troops.

    Why didn't the Bahraini king come in for the same treatment as Gaddafi or Assad?

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    How did ego affect/change the REASONS to go to war ?

    Nothing i've read in that interview refutes what you've said over the years.
    Because it WASTED lives. For the longest time, the explaination that was given to me why the US went without 4ID and 2CMBG was that summer was coming and that would created havoc with the equipment. Now, we learned that it was mere impatience that we went in that early. It was damned irresponsible to expose that few people to a very predictable insurgency.

    Nothing was ready.

    In fact, here's one of the observations I made during the beginning of the occupation. It started with this

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/sma...ng-ak-47s.html

    Read my reaction at post #13

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  15. #45
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    Are you suggesting that the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions played a role in the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya?
    The activists in the Arab spring do not agree one bit.

    But see..

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/ara...te-system.html

    Let me point out that Makiya along with Chalabi got vilified after the invasion did not result in Iraqis embracing the Americans (Chalabi) or democracy breaking out (Makiya).

    Makiya got a lot of abuse from Arabs for 'encouraging the US to go to Iraq'.

    The one point i cannot counter in that essay is Makiya talking about the change in the arab order.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    So why didn't all of the stuff in bold happen in Bahrain?
    Was thinking about this one and am not sure whether its an exception or not. Maybe an outlier in its own category.

    Yes, its an exception if you consider what happened in Libya and Syria.
    No, if its acceptable now to allow the Saudis to intervene as opposed to others. An intervention still occurred by an external entity. Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE & Oman owe their independent existence to the Brits. They would have been swallowed up by regional powers otherwise.

    What i want to say is that the space where one should not intervene has shrunk in the last ten years.

    What happened in those ten countries is inescapable for the others in the region. They have to transition or at least make a serious effort to do so. This is the indirect result.

    The gulf countries will have it more gentle but they cannot escape. So it does not require explicit intervention but allowing fires to catch in the region still has an effect.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 25 Jun 13, at 22:38.

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