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Spartacus
July 15th, 2004, 06:47 AM
Dr. Haim Harai is a theoretical physicist whose family has lived in the Middle East for 200 years.

He delivered a talk at the meeting of the International Advisory board of a multi-national corporation in APril 2004 that described the current situation in the Middle East as well as anyone could.

I am posting a few excerpts here and will be editing this threadstarter over the next 24 hours to include more. Can't post the whole thing. Don't have permission and it is very long...

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
"The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have have been so even if Israel would have joined the Arab League and an independant Palestine would have existed for 100 years. The 22 member countries of the Arab League, from Mauritania to the Gulf States, have a total population of 300 million, larger than the U.S. and almost as large as the EU before its expansion. These 22 countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP smaller than that of the Netherlands plus Belgium and equal to half the GDP of California alone. Within this meager GDP, the gaps between rich and poor are beyond belief and too many of the rich made their money not by succeeding in business, but by being corrupt rulers. The social status of women is far below what it was in the Western world 150 years ago. Human rights are below any reasonable standard, in spite of the grotesque fact that Libya was elected Chair of the UN HUman Rights Commission. According to a report prepared by a committe of Arab intellectuals and published under the auspices of the UN, the number of books translated by the entire Arab world is much smaller than what little Greece alone translates. The total number of scientific publications for 300 million Arabs is less than that of 6 milliion Israelis. Birth rates in the region are very high, increasing poverty, the social gaps and the cultural decline. And all of this happening in a region, which only 30 years ago, was believed to be the next wealthy part of the world, and in a Moslem area which developed, at some point in history, one of the most advanced cultures in the world.

It is fair to say this creates an unprecedented breeding ground for cruel dictators, terror networks, fanaticism, incitement, suicide murders and general decline. It is also a fact that almost everybody in the region blames this situation on the United States, Israel, on Western civilization, on Judaism and Christianity, on anyone and anything except themselves......."

More will be added throughout the next 24 hours but feel free to respond now.....

3rdPersonPlural
July 15th, 2004, 07:12 AM
Spart, these issues point to the fact that 'fixing' the Middle East in general and the Muslim world in particular is a project beyond our nation's most strenuous efforts and certainly not well addressed by applying military force.

Killing, humiliating, and occupying these proud but disfunctional societies merely fuels the resentment that engenders terrorism.

Nonetheless, as long as we have an unquenchable appetite for fossil fuels, we are obliged to engage with this world, and engagement with such a prickly society is bound to be counterproductive at least on the fringes.

HappyLady
July 15th, 2004, 07:17 AM
Nonetheless, as long as we have an unquenchable appetite for fossil fuels, we are obliged to engage with this world, and engagement with such a prickly society is bound to be counterproductive at least on the fringes.

Yes, take our financial gain interests out of the equation, and we wouldn't be meddling in their society at all.

3rdPersonPlural
July 15th, 2004, 07:40 AM
Yes, take our financial gain interests out of the equation, and we wouldn't be meddling in their society at all.

If we REALLY wanted to wax righteous by sending our armies to topple abusive regimes, most of africa and big parts of asia, as well as pockets of central and south america, have really, really bad and wicked tyrants in place.


But they have no oil.


Does that explain why we never hear about Robert Mugabe on Fox news?

Spartacus
July 15th, 2004, 08:42 AM
Spart, these issues point to the fact that 'fixing' the Middle East in general and the Muslim world in particular is a project beyond our nation's most strenuous efforts and certainly not well addressed by applying military force.

Killing, humiliating, and occupying these proud but disfunctional societies merely fuels the resentment that engenders terrorism.



It is not recognized as such yet, but this conflict will come to be known as the Third World War.


There are many millions of moslems in this region who are double victims -- victims of their own dysfunctional society and victims of the circumstances we are in today.

More than half of all Moslems in this region are below the age of 20. SImply pulling out, or ignoringthe situation won't make it any better.

Education is the long term fix...but in the short term, we must first fight the segment of their society that sends outcast women, children and young men out to blow up innocents while people who send them out to do this keep their own children at home or send them off to bording school in Europe.

To fight this cancer we must firts cut out the most agressive parts while also working to insure it does not grow.

Diplomacy, Disengagement or merely burrying them with kindness in the form foreign aid will not work. That would be like sending a ballerina to play hockey in the NHL.

The sad is the situation will not improve for anyone until enough of a militant segment of this society is killed....then we might stand a chance of educating the rest.

Swedish
July 15th, 2004, 08:48 AM
The sad is the situation will not improve for anyone until enough of a militant segment of this society is killed....then we might stand a chance of educating the rest.
Even still, the unarmed segment of the population may not take too lightly having foreign infidels trying to re-educate them. They've grown up all their lives believing that Westerners are evil as much as 1+1=2. It will take generations to finally "re-educate" them.

What a sad world they live in. :(

Spartacus
July 15th, 2004, 08:58 AM
Even still, the unarmed segment of the population may not take too lightly having foreign infidels trying to re-educate them. They've grown up all their lives believing that Westerners are evil as much as 1+1=2. It will take generations to finally "re-educate" them.

What a sad world they live in. :(


Ignoring them won't make them or the problem go away. Noone says we need to "re-educate" them...just educate them! That means in things other than just the Koran. This involves having their societies open to the rest of the world, translating more schoalrly texts into their langauge. We don't need to make them Westerners, but if we just leave them to their own devices the situation will only get worse.

CC
July 15th, 2004, 09:16 AM
We don't need to make them Westerners

No, we just need to make their society open to us..........not to mention that Iraq is simply the camel's nose under the tent.....................:O)

Spartacus
July 15th, 2004, 09:27 AM
No, we just need to make their society open to us..........not to mention that Iraq is simply the camel's nose under the tent.....................:O)

Iraq is perfectly positioned geographicly. Syria and Iran are the two Arab states that still support and sponsor terrorist groups. Iran is making no bones about the fact it is developing nuclear capabilities and also makes no bones about wanting to export its brand of revolution to other egions. (Anyone ever wonder why the country with the third largest oil reserves needs a nuclear power plant?)

Yes, folks that is right...after Iraq we need to start focusing militarily on Syria and Iran while continuion to hold Saudi feet to the fire, and having a contigency plan for Egypt.

This is WWIII folks...people might not recognize it yet but in a few years you will, and just like WWII with Chamberlin it is impossible to "negotiate" it away. Force is and will be required.

Fyshhed
July 15th, 2004, 09:47 AM
Iraq is perfectly positioned geographicly. Syria and Iran are the two Arab states that still support and sponsor terrorist groups. Iran is making no bones about the fact it is developing nuclear capabilities and also makes no bones about wanting to export its brand of revolution to other egions. (Anyone ever wonder why the country with the third largest oil reserves needs a nuclear power plant?)

Yes, folks that is right...after Iraq we need to start focusing militarily on Syria and Iran while continuion to hold Saudi feet to the fire, and having a contigency plan for Egypt.

This is WWIII folks...people might not recognize it yet but in a few years you will, and just like WWI with Chamberlin it is impossible to "negotiate" it away. Force is and will be required.

Then what are we fighting to do? Keep these people subdued so they can't get the materials and soldiers needed to fight us? Because that's exactly what terrorists are good at.

Spartacus
July 15th, 2004, 10:13 AM
Then what are we fighting to do? Keep these people subdued so they can't get the materials and soldiers needed to fight us? Because that's exactly what terrorists are good at.

We are fighting the militant terrorist wackos there so we don't need to be fighting them here. 9/11 finally showed most Americans that our oceans no longer protect us.

3rdPersonPlural
July 15th, 2004, 10:55 AM
We are fighting the militant terrorist wackos there so we don't need to be fighting them here. 9/11 finally showed most Americans that our oceans no longer protect us.

Unfortunately, there is no militant terrorist wacko uniform. Our enemy is disenfranchised youth with a religious indoctrination in a society largely comprised of disenfranchised youth studying the Koran. 100 million of 'em.

By attacking this problem with arms we've committed ourselves to an enduring occupation. Every occupation is doomed. The only way you "win" a war of occupation is the old-fashioned way, the way Rome finally defeated the Carthaginians: kill all the fighters, enslave everyone else, raze the cities and sow the fields with salt.

Otherwise the occupied people will fight you to the last peasant, and why
shouldn't they? If, say, the Chinese came in to rescue us--Operation American Freedom--how long would any of us, left-wing or right, put up with an occupying army teaching us Chinese-style democracy? This venture is making radicals out of Arab moderates, and extremists out of the already full ranks of arab radicals.

A guerrilla who opposes an invading army on his own soil is not a terrorist, he's a resistance fighter. In Iraq we're not fighting enemies but making enemies. As Richard Clarke and others have observed, every dollar, bullet and American life that we spend in Iraq is one that's not being spent in the war on terrorism. Every Iraqi, every Muslim we kill or torture or humiliate is a precious shot of adrenaline for Osama and al Qaeda.

Apologists strain to dismiss parallels with Vietnam, but the similarities are stunning. In every action our soldiers kill innocent civilians, and in every other action apparent innocents kill our soldiers--and there's never any way to sort them out.

In less than a year, the morale of the occupying forces had sunk so low that murder, suicide, rape and sexual harassment became alarming statistics, and now the warriors of democracy--the emissaries of civilization--stand accused of every crime this side of cannibalism.

Osama bin Laden has always anathematized America's culture, as well as its geopolitical influence. To him these atrocities are a sign of Allah's certain favor, a great moral victory, a vindication of his deepest anger and darkest crimes. Thousands of young Americans are dead, maimed or mutilated, 100 billion has been wasted and all we've gained is a billion new enemies and a mouthful of dust--of sand.

I'm all for good deeds when they're not apocalyptic in nature, unmanagable in scale, and unwinnable by definition. I'm opposed when they're counterproductive in execution, and perhaps even in theory.

Spartacus
July 15th, 2004, 11:06 AM
A guerrilla who opposes an invading army on his own soil is not a terrorist, he's a resistance fighter. In Iraq we're not fighting enemies but making enemies. As Richard Clarke and others have observed, every dollar, bullet and American life that we spend in Iraq is one that's not being spent in the war on terrorism. Every Iraqi, every Muslim we kill or torture or humiliate is a precious shot of adrenaline for Osama and al Qaeda.

A guerilla who targets innocent civilians and rival factions in the country he is supposedly "defending" is a terrorist. And that is what we have in Iraq now.

A large number of the terrorists in Iraq are from countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and Iran. These are the ones blowing up Iraqi civilians. They are now the invading forces. The Iraqis are slowly starting to realize this as their own gvernement begins to develop muscle.

3rdppl....You see darkness and curse...I see darkness and try to find a light.

3rdPersonPlural
July 15th, 2004, 11:16 AM
3rdppl....You see darkness and curse...I see darkness and try to find a light.

Yeah, the Jihadi are not making friends in Iraq, and one would think that Iraqis would spend their days rooting them out and marching them over to Iraqi authorities for justice.

But they're not.

Perhaps 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' is in play here, and until our army end's it's 'indefinate' supporting role, the Jihadi will be the lesser of two evils.

Keep in mind that our troops killed plenty of innocent civilians too, and the Jihadi PR machine is better than ours.

I'm reading your posts because you are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, too, and more confident than I that it's out there. My hope is that we dig OUT, and you betray an inclination to dig IN. I'm not confident that either course will restore our dignity, but I'm open to clear thinking here.

Spartacus
July 15th, 2004, 04:00 PM
Yeah, the Jihadi are not making friends in Iraq, and one would think that Iraqis would spend their days rooting them out and marching them over to Iraqi authorities for justice.

But they're not.



But they are starting to....

Here are two incidents that did not get reported in the media.

A small 3 US Humvee convoy was moving from Baghdad, Iraq to the Iranian Border. Along the way a pre-teen Iraqi boy flagged them down and warned them of a roadside bomb set up ahead. That boy risked his life to warn the Americans.

In Baghdad an Insurgent appeared on a street with an RPG just after a US convoy passed. Before he even had a chance to aim the weapon at the last US vehicle local Iraqis pounced on the insurgent and US soldiers ended up saving the insurgent from getting killed by an angry mob.

The media is doing a crappy job of covering this war. They are too afraid to leave the green zone unless they are escorted with heavy security...they are missing this war and have become an unreliable source...

Want to know what's really going? Want to know where criticism can rightly be leveled...


www.sftt.org

Soldiers for the Truth...you'll find lot's of info from soldier's on the ground. Oh they are complaining about a lot of things...but it is not what gets reported in the media here by the cowardly reporters in Baghdad who are never too far from a bar or brothel.

Spartacus
July 15th, 2004, 04:13 PM
I'm reading your posts because you are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, too, and more confident than I that it's out there. My hope is that we dig OUT, and you betray an inclination to dig IN. I'm not confident that either course will restore our dignity, but I'm open to clear thinking here.

Perhaps my perspective comes from someon trained in small unit combat tactics.

There is always a time at which a unit becomes "committed". A point of "no-return of you will." Once a fight is started it must be finished. Strategicly if we pull out of Iraq in such a manner so as to allow the Jihadists to think they won then we are only inviting more atcks down the road.

This was the case in Somalia. Initially under President Bush 39 the mission was to feed people and provide security for relief woprkers. However under Clinton, within a few months of taking office, the mission turned into a manhunt that culminated in the infamous Blackhawk Down battle in downtown Mogadishu. This was the most intense firefight any US unit had been in since probably Korea!

We pulled out....letting the bad guys think they had won. 9/11 was the result. Osama preached that the US is a paper tiger and America has no stomach for a tough struggle. Well now we need to counter those perceptions. We need to lket the Jihadists that once we start something -- we don't quit -- no matter what. Anything else will just encourage more attacks.

As far as WMD...It's not unlike theUS Ranger storming Normandy. The Rangers were assigned the job of scaling verticle cliffs to take naval shore guns that were a threat to the fleet and could not have been taken out except with a ground attack.

The Rangers sustained horribgle losses scaling the cliffs. Hundreds of men were killed in a very short time. When they finally breached the gun emplacements -- they discovered the guns had never even been mounted, and were no threat.

Wasted lives? NO. Hindsight is always 20/20. Decisions in wartime are often made with less tha full intelligence. Battle plans fall apart as soon as the first round is fired. It's war. War has alwys been that way and always will be that way. We can not hold our military to standards higher than we hold law enforcement.

3rdPersonPlural
July 15th, 2004, 05:13 PM
There is always a time at which a unit becomes "committed". A point of "no-return of you will." Once a fight is started it must be finished. Strategicly if we pull out of Iraq in such a manner so as to allow the Jihadists to think they won then we are only inviting more atcks down the road.

Small unit combat is purely tactical. We're talking strategy here. You're talking micro strategy because of your tactical experience, I'm talking macrostrategy. That's why we're both correct but in disagreement.


We pulled out....letting the bad guys think they had won. 9/11 was the result.

Perhaps, but I tend to think that 9/11 was inevitable beacuae of a combination of broad, not specific, factors


Osama preached that the US is a paper tiger and America has no stomach for a tough struggle. Well now we need to counter those perceptions. We need to let the Jihadi know that once we start something -- we don't quit -- no matter what. Anything else will just encourage more attacks.

Again, the counter arguement is that they want a fight and are counting on us to blunder in. This is a recruitment bonanza and a moral triumph for them. Our enemy wants to die fighting. This corrupts your 'scare 'em into submission' theory


It's war. War has alwys been that way and always will be that way. We can not hold our military to standards higher than we hold law enforcement.

It's a different kind of war, with the arab perception being more important than body counts or territory conquered. We lose by winning, and are diminished when we withdraw. We got suckered into a conquest of occupation against an opponent who wins simply by perpetuating the fight, which he can do longer than we can slaughter. We can't win as long as we're there. We can't pull out without first winning. It's a catch 22.

KevinBrowning
July 15th, 2004, 10:39 PM
The Japanese had a similar view concerning martyrdom. Except theirs was nationalistic, not religious. Hopefully it will not take two nuclear weapons to stop the Mohammedan terrorists, but not reacting at all would surely spell our destruction.

Spartacus
July 16th, 2004, 02:54 AM
It's a different kind of war, with the arab perception being more important than body counts or territory conquered.


No it is not a "Different kind of War" where intelligence matters.

Yes perception is extremely important. The Arabs respect brute force -- not the rule of law. That is why all the Arab countries are ruled by dictators -- except Iraq now. America needs to continue to demonstrate a willingness to use force and make sacrifices, while at the same time a willingness to held build and create while respecting Arab culture and beliefs.

We are now engaged. We were first engaged since the Gulf War. We need to continue to stay engaged and not back off or show any signs of being deterred from helping establish a democratic Iraq capable of standing on its own. If we can accomplish that...and progress is contually being made there...we will have a struck a tremendous blow against the "root cause" of all this.

3rdPersonPlural
July 16th, 2004, 07:36 AM
Kevin, the Japanese nationalism was rooted in worship for their emperor. When the Emperor asked them to stop fighting, they did, almost as one. Islam has no living central authority whio carries that kind of clout. It is by definition decentralized.

Spart, you state that the arabs respect brute force but the evidence and intelligence is conclusive that they hate America more. By way of example, Spartacus has an Army indefinately better than mine, and he sweeps in, through fierce but feeble resistence, routs my army and secures my land. Spart won right? He showed me a thing or two about resisting the might of Sparts troops!

Before you pop that champagne cork and strut around your aircraft carrier, let me point out that 1/4 of the world like me one whole hell of a lot more than they like you. These people regard my valient but underequipped and now dead soldiers as martyrs to the cause, not casualties of futile resistance. 1/3 of that 1/4 that loathe Spart are disenfranchised youth, who believe that there is no greater goal than to die fighting the mighty Spart, and they're fuming mad. Your conquest is regarded as unwanted aggression, despite the fact that you're busy installing people that look like me but think like you as rulers in the conquered land. The government system you're installing is unfamiliar to my supporters and perceived as a sham, not a rescue. Land is nothing, but the swell of indignation that your victory causes among my supporters furthers my goal, which is an enduring and bloody conflict between my people and yours. We will gladly die for the cause, and you going after this beehive of suicidal maniacs who love me means that everything you hold precious is now a target.

Go ahead. Make my day. Try to beat us by killing us. For every martyr you kill, two more will step up angrier than the one you just got. Every military triumph of yours is a PR coup for me. Keep shootin'!

3rdPersonPlural
July 16th, 2004, 08:10 AM
We are now engaged. We were first engaged since the Gulf War. We need to continue to stay engaged and not back off or show any signs of being deterred from helping establish a democratic Iraq capable of standing on its own. If we can accomplish that...and progress is contually being made there...we will have a struck a tremendous blow against the "root cause" of all this.

I would agree with you that throwing up our hands and withdrawing at this point, without anything but the overthrow of Saddam (and the destabilization of Iraq) to our credit would be eqq on our face.

We can't win, we can't withdraw, we can't buy our way out OR in. We're stuck killing a truckful of proud arab resistance fighters every day and hoping that they'll run out of zealots or give up. But they never will.

Why is it that every nation in the world saw this coming 'cept Bush's neocons and Blair?

CC
July 16th, 2004, 08:24 AM
The PNAC plan is in full swing, even when we get caught up in the oil sludge we will continue to discredit those who do not think that our great plan to democracize toe Arab world with bombs, missles and soldiers. Great plan. As I've said when we hold our officials accountable for their mistakes only then will we even begin to undo the damage to our image (and any support) and regain our place in the world as a powerful but wise and benevolent nation..............:O)

F1Fan
July 16th, 2004, 08:24 AM
The Japanese had a similar view concerning martyrdom. Except theirs was nationalistic, not religious. Hopefully it will not take two nuclear weapons to stop the Mohammedan terrorists, but not reacting at all would surely spell our destruction.
Really, you think so? How is that?

Swedish
July 16th, 2004, 08:33 AM
Ignoring them won't make them or the problem go away. Noone says we need to "re-educate" them...just educate them! That means in things other than just the Koran. This involves having their societies open to the rest of the world, translating more schoalrly texts into their langauge. We don't need to make them Westerners, but if we just leave them to their own devices the situation will only get worse.
I never said to ignore them. :)

3rdPersonPlural
July 16th, 2004, 08:45 AM
I think I see why I find value in every one of your posts, Spart, but disagree with your conclusions.

You are a trained soldier. You are good at what you do because you firmly believe what military training, at least small unit combat training, teaches, and that is the belief that if you keep killing more of them than they kill of you, you will eventually prevail. I confess that I oversimplify a deep doctrine, but I trust that you'll agree that it's a fair summary.

This approach to combat colors your world view. If you push long and hard enough, the opponent will eventually stop pushing back.

My worldview comes from commerce, where the strategic retreat and the calculated loss are marks of wisdom, not cowardice. "I threw $700k and 280 man-hours at that project before backing out" is a statement that makes a combat infantry officer uncomfortable, because it smacks of giving up once committed, but a businessman loathes throwing good money after bad. Over time, 64.7% of my trades are closed out at a loss, However, the gains from the rest more, sometimes way more, than offset those setbacks. It's all part of program trading.

The point is that I am uncomfortable without rethinking everything every minute and I never let my pride or ego get in the way of a decision. The combat mindset is inclined to say 'damn the torpedos, I've got my orders and I'm going to find a way to see them through'. Second thoughts are an anathema.

KevinBrowning
July 16th, 2004, 10:32 AM
My worldview comes from commerce, where the strategic retreat and the calculated loss are marks of wisdom, not cowardice. "I threw $700k and 280 man-hours at that project before backing out" is a statement that makes a combat infantry officer uncomfortable, because it smacks of giving up once committed, but a businessman loathes throwing good money after bad. Over time, 64.7% of my trades are closed out at a loss, However, the gains from the rest more, sometimes way more, than offset those setbacks. It's all part of program trading.

The point is that I am uncomfortable without rethinking everything every minute and I never let my pride or ego get in the way of a decision. The combat mindset is inclined to say 'damn the torpedos, I've got my orders and I'm going to find a way to see them through'. Second thoughts are an anathema.

Very interesting, but we are in fact discussing warfare, not program trading.

3rdPersonPlural
July 16th, 2004, 11:15 AM
Actually, Kev, if you read the opening post again, you'll see that the topic is the arab mind and the arab society. Warfare is a rather hamfisted way to stir it into recognition that we are now a 21st century world run by science and commerce, not theology and tribal hatred. The question is whether or not it is best to shoot them until they acquiesce.

The reason that I brought up program trading is that, as my current avocation, it reflects as well as molds my worldview. Spart is a bright guy, constructively engaged with the issues at hand, so the fact that his opinions differ from mine caused me to consider what might be influencing his worldveiw. He's a combat soldier by training. I'm an opportunist by inclination. Can you see how we can look at the same data and draw opposite conclusions?

CC
July 16th, 2004, 11:44 AM
and I am an army vet and patriot .(which is also why I can see the same things that Spart does but with a pessimistic eye on our leaders).......that believes that we should hold our officials to a higher standard than we do other countries.......which is why I still say before we go globe trotting, spending ALL our money to rebuild a country, we make sure are backyard is in the best shape we can make it first .....:O)

Spartacus
July 16th, 2004, 02:19 PM
My worldview comes from commerce, where the strategic retreat and the calculated loss are marks of wisdom, not cowardice.


Ever done business in the Middle East where Bakshees is the rule and everyone's palms must be greased? One time our company was looking at a supplier in Pakistan....(perhaps another time)

If there were a major international stock market in the Middle East then perhaps one could apply business strategy. But there are none that I am aware of. As stated in the opening thread....The nations of the Arab League have a GDP about half that of California's while also having 300 million people with most of those under the age of 20. The divide between the wealthy and the poor is unbelieveable and the wealthy usually got that way by being corrupt rulers -- not businessmen.

Miliatry action does not solve all problems. I never supported our getting involved in Bosnia or Kosovo. However once ground forces are committed it is like going "all-in" in the highest stakes poker game in the world. You can't fold. If you do, you lose.

It will take a few years but eventually people will wake up and realize we are in WWIII, and the enemy of the West is radical jihadists spawned from a multi-national dysfunctional and tribal society.

Spartacus
July 16th, 2004, 02:25 PM
which is why I still say before we go globe trotting, spending ALL our money to rebuild a country, we make sure are backyard is in the best shape we can make it first .....:O)


SO we never should gone after the Taliban?

I think your expectations are unrealistic. We have been under attack for more than ten years. Our oceans no longer protect us. Isolationaism is no longer a valid strategy.

Spartacus
July 16th, 2004, 02:45 PM
The question is whether or not it is best to shoot them until they acquiesce.



I disagree very strongly. We do not need to shoot all of them. Only a very small percentage of Arabs are actively engaging our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. A great number of the enemy there are foreigners just like us. They come from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, etc.

Our presence there is drawing out all the whackos like flies to honey. The Iraqis are turning on these foreigners who want to prolong the fighting and have turned to targetting to Iraqi civilians --- after looking into the eyes and gun barrels of our soldiers and re-thinking their willingness to martyr themelves.

This will be a very long process. I expect we will maintain some kind of military presence In Iraq for decades to come....if only to help assure a civil war does not break out between the Kurds and the Sunnis who prospered under Saddam. It is not repoprted in the media but there are many fights between these ethinc groups within the new Iraqi Army.

If we look at the alternatives available we see we would be no better off:

1.) if we would have "isolated ourselves" closed our borders, concetrated on internal security, etc -- our own economy would still be in a great funk and we would have civil unrest as the result of our Constituional Rights being infringed while at the same time having a recession/depression economy.....NOt a pretty picture....and again not really going after the root cause of the problem just treating the symptoms.

2.) The other option would have been to have allowed the UN to do as it wanted us to do. In that event we would still have to have more than 100,000 soldiers in the Middle East today (sitting targets for terrorist no doubt)--, Saddam would still be in power and grooming Uday and Qusay...Coaching them no doubt..."Pay attention sons we can wait this one out...they can't stay in the desert forever and they are too afraid to come after me." At the same time thousands of Iraqis would die as victims of torture and brutal repression every month.

Both of these scenarios do not solve any problems. I am not saying we have "solved the root cause of the problem" yet...we are far from it. But there is one less corrupt dictator getting wealthy while torturing Arabs. For the first time in 30 years about 10% of the Arab population has a chance to become a modern country...it is a start.

If all goes well, and we remain engaged and committed, Iraq will become a model in ten years for young Arabs in countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and elsewhere, to point to and ask "Why can't we be like that?" That is what we are fighting for -- to help the Iraqis build an Arab country free of despotic rule and filled with hope and opportunity.

For those too young to remember Lebanon used to be a thriving Arab country on the Mediterranian. Westerners would actually go to Beirut for vacations. It can be like that again in Lebanon and it can be that way in other Arab countries. A vibrant economy is what is needed and that will never happen so long as brutal dictators rule, education consists exclusively of studying the Koran, and baksheesh is needed for anything to be accomplished.

Fyshhed
July 16th, 2004, 07:37 PM
If all goes well, and we remain engaged and committed, Iraq will become a model in ten years for young Arabs in countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and elsewhere, to point to and ask "Why can't we be like that?" That is what we are fighting for -- to help the Iraqis build an Arab country free of despotic rule and filled with hope and opportunity.

For those too young to remember Lebanon used to be a thriving Arab country on the Mediterranian. Westerners would actually go to Beirut for vacations. It can be like that again in Lebanon and it can be that way in other Arab countries. A vibrant economy is what is needed and that will never happen so long as brutal dictators rule, education consists exclusively of studying the Koran, and baksheesh is needed for anything to be accomplished.

This is a bold theory, and quite the "poker hand" as you have put previously. However, the excessive military force does not make the people very appreciative, as a lot of them get killed unintentionally. But they don't know our intentions like we do. And we don't know them at all, only the government does. As far as changing governments goes, we've done it countless times before, assisting in getting Saddam in power, the Saudis, various coups in South America and Africa... And none of those required massive military invasion.

And why did we not deal with North Korea? If danger to America was the theme of this escapade, I would have thought the one with nukes was higher than the one with a second-rate biological/chemical weapons program. But that's just me. I question what I'm told.

F1Fan
July 16th, 2004, 09:28 PM
If there were a major international stock market in the Middle East then perhaps one could apply business strategy. But there are none that I am aware of. As stated in the opening thread....The nations of the Arab League have a GDP about half that of California's while also having 300 million people with most of those under the age of 20. The divide between the wealthy and the poor is unbelieveable and the wealthy usually got that way by being corrupt rulers -- not businessmen.
3rd's analogy and example was about assessing risk, examining the data and making the best choices, which intend to gain the most with the least cost. There's nothing wrong with patience, prudence, and assurance. That this war was rushed into a reality, with lousy data, too much risk, not enough planning for the next step, can't be dismissed or covered up by new excuses as to why the war was a good choice.


Miliatry action does not solve all problems. I never supported our getting involved in Bosnia or Kosovo. However once ground forces are committed it is like going "all-in" in the highest stakes poker game in the world. You can't fold. If you do, you lose.
If you understand military history as well as I do you will know it is not uncommon for troops to be used as a means to a political end, and not considered too highly even if casualties exceed comfort levels for folks back home. Bottom line is that Bush & Co. committed troops before well thought plans were in place beyond the military action (chess players understand this flaw) and did not consider the reaction of the Iraq people to being occupied. Oddly, I predicted it based on history. Why these "experts" glossed over this pure fly in the ointment of a plan that had dubious intel, and a complete lack of critical doubt, is beyond my reasoning. What was the hurry? What threat? This invasion wasn't the "good will" of GW#1. This was brash, unabashed certainty that failed, with no sense of reality of possible outcomes, and no contingencies for foreable problems. This is complete incompetence for those committing troops and we as a people in "in the highest stakes poker game in the world". I don't want my life being used as "pot" for these players. And if what analysis says is true, we are all at a greater risk today than before the war. You may be a warrior who likes to play war. Well, I like to play peace, because sometimes that is the winning move. Gandhi, Buddah and Jesus knew.


It will take a few years but eventually people will wake up and realize we are in WWIII, and the enemy of the West is radical jihadists spawned from a multi-national dysfunctional and tribal society.
This reminds me of the solution hundreds of years ago when security for groups of people were only as good as the walls that held them into the forts and castles. This isn't a WWIII, this is a clash of cultures. And I see no way out expect for the West to stop the exploitation of the Middle East, and other lands that can produce thousands of young willing to die to keep the West from feeling any security. In many ways, the technology we have produced to make our progressive lives easier have come back to make it worse. We expect ease too much, we expect others to accept our world view. But even we Westerners cannot agree, what confidence is there to hope, or coerce, or kill into submission a people who want to be left alone?

FruitandNut
July 17th, 2004, 12:29 AM
I whole thing is a bloody mess borne of historic and current narrow tactical and selfish strategic agendas. The leaders of all the factions (that includes Bush jnr. and Blair and any of the influential barrackroom and armchair lawers), need to be locked in a room and forced to too listen to eachother. If any show signs of not listening, then electrodes should be attached to their sensitive erogenous zones until they relent. Anyone that throws a 'wobbly' should be introduced to a cold shower. If at the end of each day, there is no progress, then its off to bed on the meal of bread and water.

The truth is that until the extremist elements in Israel and Palestine can be forced to come to an accomodation, or their supporters be convinced into side-lining them, we will always have trouble in that area.

Spart, you and the lads, when all is said and done, are just a big fire bucket against a raging forest fire. Try as you might, it will just spring up some place else. Until people are pulled or dug out of their twisted and partial observation bunkers there is little long term hope for peace. The biggest problem is that there seems to be more stupid people, (not just white men), than there are people endowed with far-sight and wisdom.

Spartacus
July 24th, 2004, 05:08 PM
Spart, you and the lads, when all is said and done, are just a big fire bucket against a raging forest fire. Try as you might, it will just spring up some place else. Until people are pulled or dug out of their twisted and partial observation bunkers there is little long term hope for peace. The biggest problem is that there seems to be more stupid people, (not just white men), than there are people endowed with far-sight and wisdom.


Here here old chum...lot's of stupid people. Stupid people are alright though until they have power. In the nations and cultures of the Arab League power is in the Kalishnakov and the ability to incite people to horrible acts of violence through religious garbagespeak and even blasphemy. In the modern world...the power is in the ballot and the television media the stupid people most often rely on for the bulk of their information.

WHich are more dangerous? I dare say the stupid people in the modern world. I am sure my detractors would agree on this point but disagree on excatly who the stupid ones are.

FruitandNut
July 31st, 2004, 12:07 AM
Here here old chum...lot's of stupid people. Stupid people are alright though until they have power. In the nations and cultures of the Arab League power is in the Kalishnakov and the ability to incite people to horrible acts of violence through religious garbagespeak and even blasphemy. In the modern world...the power is in the ballot and the television media the stupid people most often rely on for the bulk of their information.

WHich are more dangerous? I dare say the stupid people in the modern world. I am sure my detractors would agree on this point but disagree on excatly who the stupid ones are.


Ah ha, that that is the knub, crux, matrix, pivotal point of the matter. We are reduced to that well worn cliche, 'The human condition'. Presumably, 'the human condition' is subjectivity, little thought or understanding of others' perspectives, and insufficient wisdom even if they had. C'est la vie, c'est la guerre, c'est la mort.