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poll: do you believe the war in Iraq is worth fighting?

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posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 09:15 AM
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We are attempting to impose an American-style democracy in Iraq, but their culture is such that our system is unworkable and unstable when applied to them. I recently returned from nearly a year in Iraq (stationed in Sadr City), where I was part of the civil affairs effort to restore government and rebuild infrastructure. Part of my job was to train, mentor, and oversee the neighborhood and district councils. The councils are the legislative branch of the fledgling government, but they are basically inept and ineffective.

Why is the system failing?

Iraqi values are different than ours. The Arab value system in Iraq draws strongly from the tribal influences of the past. Their tribal culture serves to bind a group of loosely-related people together for safety, and against those not of the tribe. Their value system treasures immediate family, self, tribe members, friends, and other Muslims (to some extent). They do not feel allegiance to others outside of those groups, and many view outsiders as enemies and competitors for scarce resources. Because the leaders’ values are focused on their special groups, their decisions favor those groups to the detriment of the country as a whole.

Iraqis have no national identity, and they do not feel a connection to a person simply because he is from the same country. For example, a typical man in Baghdad might identify himself as a Muslim and a member of the Al Ka’abi tribe, but not as an Iraqi. On the other hand, Americans feel patriotic pride and believe that all living within our borders are connected and deserving of respect. Many of us are willing to volunteer for national service and cherish what binds us all together. Iraqis do not believe in “Iraq”. When citizens do not care about the country as a whole, their decisions and actions will be inconsistent with democracy.

Many Iraqis are strongly religious, which is not wrong in and of itself. But, their religious fervor often leads to a lack of tolerance and even hate for opposing religions and views. It also causes harsh resistance to female participation in government. I personally witnessed serious intimidation and threats aimed at women that wished to be involved in the fledgling government. Some had the courage to stay involved, but most withdrew in fear for their safety. When leaders mock and revile those different from themselves, the democracy is unstable and devolves into violence. The solution to disputes is killing. Several counsel members were kidnapped, executed, and strung from light poles. Two of our translators were tortured, burned, and murdered, and another was simply executed.

Corruption is rampant in the fledgling government. We train the leaders in ethics and their responsibilities to the people, and they understand the abstract notions. Yet, they do not see their illegal actions as “wrong”. Taking kickbacks for awarding a government contract is expected, not unethical. They grasp the idea of democracy, but most of them are looking to increase their own personal power and advance their own agendas.

The situation on the ground has degenerated since Day 1. The media will hype the small-scale failures, and the perfumed princes in the Green Zone will ignore the large-scale trends because they never get out of their safety bubble to see the true situation. Ask any soldier that has returned from Iraq. Dimes to dollars he will give you the same answer: it ain't working.

This not a failure of the individual grunt, who is trying to do the best he can with insufficient assets, protect himself and his buddies, and not abandon all the good parts of his soul in the desert. It is not even a misdirection of the overall effort at this point. Our mere presence there breeds violence and gives the enemy a target. Civil war is in the future, and there will be a bloodbath whether we are stuck in the middle or not. So, is it worth American lives to referee the battle? There are simply not enough soldiers in the military to keep the sides from fighting or disarm them, so all we can do is watch the fighting and protect ourselves.

How do we solve the problem? We can continue to use a heavy hand and make decisions for Iraqis, but that is not democracy. Self-rule is inherent in democracy. The more America attempts to force a square peg into a round hole, the more we will alienate Iraqis against our nation and our ideals, and violence against us will escalate.

My personal belief, which is shared by many of the Iraqis I met, is to adopt a constitutional monarchy with a benevolent leader that will use the oil revenues for the good of the people. One plan many of them support is to bring back the cousin and heir to the throne of the deposed king, Faisal II. He has a legitimate claim as leader, and he has wide-ranging support from the populace. Or, we could suggest another system which includes and respects that Iraqi culture is different from American culture. But, we are arrogant to believe that American-style democracy is the solution for Iraq.

Sorry, this is a bit of a rant. I feel quite strongly about the situation and have seen too many good Americans bleed and die just for an Iraqi to ask, "What have you done for me lately?"




posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 09:24 AM
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IMO (I'm British), the war helped remove a dictatorship. That was good.

Now Iraq deserves independance. I consider the images of US troops torturing Iraqi's disgusting. There is NO DEFENCE for that kind of treatment. We entered Iraq to liberate the country.

Generating lasting independance for Iraqi citizens is the only task left for troops now, and should be done using as little foriegn military as possible. UN involvement is vital and business incentives important also to re-establish the economy. The war is still worth fighting. Freedom must prevail. But freedom should never be forced upon someone.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 09:38 AM
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Nygdan,

The plan in Iraq sucked, plain and simple. They simply did not think it through. Do I think Saddam needed to go? Yes. Do I think what’s going on in Iraq right now makes getting rid of him worth it? No way.

Rummy and Dubya acted too hastily and planned very poorly using bad intel (or was it?). Not enough troops, not the right equipment, and a bad plan equals disaster.

We should have had TRIPLE the troops on the ground, at least!! Massive presence on the ground would have bought the US enough time to do some reconstruction and actually EARN the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. Instead we had a very thin, light presence which allowed people to disrupt the rebuilding resulting in disheartened Iraqis.

The US dropped the ball here BIG TIME. It could have happened, but Rummy and company ruined it with poor planning and execution. Plain and simple.

As far as pulling out? You cant now. I think we need to dump a MASSIVE amount of troops in the country right now. Lock down the borders and all transportation in and out of the country. And after that, keep peace as best as possible while totally rebuilding Baghdad. Make the capitol a clean, safe place to live with plenty of food, water and services. Win the Iraqis back with actions. Then methodically go from city to city doing the same. Rinse and repeat.

If we cant do this, then we may as well pull out because what we are doing right now isn’t working, and will never work. The US will fail at this pace. I just hope that Dubya doesn’t bankrupt the country while losing this war. The “insurgents” cannot win a direct face to face fight and have won ZERO battles, but they are absolutely winning this war…All they need to do is create doubt and insecurity they are doing that wonderfully.


[edit on 21-12-2004 by skippytjc]



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by Possum Sandwich
We are attempting to impose an American-style democracy in Iraq

Its not an american style democracy, its simply a democracy. All the US has done is accept the leadership for the interim government and influenced the decision to have a national election, rather than district by district, for people to vote for representatives into the consitutional asembly. What is so 'american' about it? THey haven't said 'break up into states with a fed' or anything liek that. THey haven't said 'instead of a prime minister nominated by the party with biggest representation in the parliament, have a president voted for outside of senatorial elections' or anything like that either. All thats been imposed is free and open elections for a consitutional assembly, and that group will draft the constiution.


The councils are the legislative branch of the fledgling government, but they are basically inept and ineffective.

But this is in the interim governement, the one thats really just there to make sure that complete anarchy isn't in place. The constitution they make can have, say, representatives from tribes, rather than states, or it can have a sunni cleric who has veto power over moral issues. It can have ethinic legislative councils for the different ethnicities, or whatever it is that they want.




Their value system treasures immediate family, self, tribe members, friends, and other Muslims (to some extent). They do not feel allegiance to others outside of those groups

By this reasoning then the baathist nationalists wouldn't have ever come to power. There apparently is an identity as 'iraqis', distinct from other muslims.

. Because the leaders’ values are focused on their special groups, their decisions favor those groups to the detriment of the country as a whole.

Thats the same problem the british lords had to deal with in their democracy or the american states had to deal with in their federal republic. Its not unworkable for any group of people.


Iraqis have no national identity, and they do not feel a connection to a person simply because he is from the same country. For example, a typical man in Baghdad might identify himself as a Muslim and a member of the Al Ka’abi tribe, but not as an Iraqi.

Its there is truly no one that is interested in being an iraqi then the country will just break up, or, they'll creat a confederation of sub-national groups with a very weak central governement. But I am not convinced that there is no iraqi national identity. Nationalism is strong in the arab world and the rest of the middle east, they don't only identify as members of a tribe.


On the other hand, Americans feel patriotic pride and believe that all living within our borders are connected and deserving of respect.

Since when? And there was no national pride in the early years.


Many of us are willing to volunteer for national service and cherish what binds us all together. Iraqis do not believe in “Iraq”.

If they really don't then they don't need to do anythign for iraq. The tribes can be the sovereign poltical units, and they can just meet at an 'over tribal' council to settle disputes between tribes or work at national currencies or whatever they feel is appropriate to whatever central government they create. The Marsh Arabs in the south don't need to join a Federal Army and patrol the kurds in the north in order for the country to be stable and viable. Lots of countries are decentralized and regionalized.


When citizens do not care about the country as a whole, their decisions and actions will be inconsistent with democracy.

Their decisions and actions will be inconsistent with a national central governement, not democracy itself.


Many Iraqis are strongly religious, which is not wrong in and of itself. But, their religious fervor often leads to a lack of tolerance and even hate for opposing religions and views.

It didn't seem to be much of a problem for the hundreds of years that they've been muslim in the past. If its a problem now then its because of individuals who are intolerant and violent and who need to be eliminated before the elections.



It also causes harsh resistance to female participation in government.

The same could've been said for afghanistan and yet there are women in government there.


When leaders mock and revile those different from themselves, the democracy is unstable and devolves into violence.

The US was able to be a democracy while not even giving women the vote and holding an entire population as slaves.


Taking kickbacks for awarding a government contract is expected, not unethical.

If the iraqis want to legalize bribery and make it a part of contract negotiations then they are thoroughly entitled to. There's nothing about it that is unworkable in a democracy.

it ain't working.

But democracy hasn't even been tried there yet. The january elections will be choosing a group of people to hold a meeting to draft a consitution. In the US, it took several tries and even resulted in the first national government being attempted and then rejected midstream. They haven't even gotten to the first stage of drafting a governement yet.




My personal belief, which is shared by many of the Iraqis I met, is to adopt a constitutional monarchy with a benevolent leader that will use the oil revenues for the good of the people.

And what is preventing the iraqis from doing just this? Also, I don't understand, you just said that the iraqis have no natioanl identity, but now all of a sudden they do?



One plan many of them support is to bring back the cousin and heir to the throne of the deposed king, Faisal II.

Ironically, he is part of the line that was brought in by the brits after the world war.


Sorry, this is a bit of a rant. I feel quite strongly about the situation and have seen too many good Americans bleed and die just for an Iraqi to ask, "What have you done for me lately?"

And when it works, when the democracy sets in and the iraqis, motivated out of personal interest and safety, form a peaceful and safe country, and other countries in the rest of the middle east become peaceful democracies, where the people protest about tax rates rather than instiutionalized rape and genocide, the world will be a better place, and american security will be ensured for decades to follow, and those heros who died in the sands of iraq will be remembered like the men who died on the sandy beaches of normandy. Iraq was -once- a relatively peaceful country, it hasn't allways been ruled by hussein and anarchy.

[edit on 21-12-2004 by Nygdan]



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
We should have had TRIPLE the troops on the ground, at least!! Massive presence on the ground would have bought the US enough time to do some reconstruction and actually EARN the hearts and minds of the Iraqis.

Why would having their country filled with the same soldiers, who are now torturing them, as a'massive' presence, result in winning their hearts and minds? The admin figured that doing it with the smallest military possible would resutl in the least feeling of being oppressed and invaded. I agree, not really a good idea (to say the least). But whats done is done.

Then methodically go from city to city doing the same. Rinse and repeat.

You do realize however that this will not make the insurgency disappear. Massive amounts of troops didn't work agains the irregular army in vietnam, why would it work here? The military destroyed husseins power structure, and is now fighting an underground insurgency, firepower and manpower aren't simple remedies for it. Adding more troops is just going to result in more deaths on both sides, and not fix the problems.


then we may as well pull out because what we are doing right now isn’t working, and will never work. The US will fail at this pace.

What pace? The US doesn't need to win any hearts nor minds. If the iraqis hate americans for a hundred years, who cares? They don't need to love the americans to not kill each other. The US needs to train a native force that can respond when insurgents attack and gather in large numbers. They need to build a police force that can make the place relatively stable, so that public services can be re-established, and not much else. WIth an army to fight insurgents in the field and police to prevent riots nad destruction of food and water supplies and allow business and daily life to operate, the US has completed its mission and can leave the country. It can not leave before then.THe iraqis are not sub-human animals. They aren't inferior types of humans. THey are people, and people in general have to be driven to an extreme to spend their lives living like insurgents or to become a suicide bomber. With elections in january and a national force to fight insurgents, the US can leave. How long are iraqis going to want to spend their lives fighting like insurgents against, not americans, but independant iraqis?

All they need to do is create doubt and insecurity they are doing that wonderfully.

They need to prevent the upcomming election, and prevent the police from createing peace in the cities.

[edit on 21-12-2004 by Nygdan]



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 11:45 AM
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My response is yes, i agree with the war, but only on the basis that Saddam was ousted , therefore making the Iraqi way of life more bearable.(eventually)

The war has never been about terrorism. Its always been about the amount of oil Iraq has.

Getting terrorists out , i suppose can only be a good thing, but they will be replaced as soon as they hit the floor. Never ending story????

To leave Iraq to their own devices would be suicidal. We would only end up going back to sort out another dictator in the future. We are there for the long term. How long have the British been in Northern Ireland? They are still there albeit in a small way now, but still very prominent.
Iraq will be the same. It will never be a free standing country while ever they have the coalition there running things.

Having said all that ,I cant wait for it to end, for reasons more than most. My son and his friends have just got back for Christmas. They are going back in January for another six months.
The sights they have seen make me believe we did the right thing in ousting a sick minded dictator.
I'm just glad it wasn't me that has had to deal with the sad sights that these young lads have had to deal with.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 12:15 PM
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Nygdan


You don’t get it. The bad stuff started to happen after we started to drop the ball. On BOTH sides. We invaded, took over easily. Then we just f'd up all over the place after that. THEN the insurgency started and to gain momentum. Its cause and effect. The day that statue fell down, things were great and moral was high. No atrocities or misbehaving was going on yet. Then due to Rummy's horrible or non-existent occupation plan, the Iraqis started to rebel, US soldiers started to die in roles they weren’t trained to do, then things started to get ugly.

It all started well, but a bad plan caused it all to go south fast. Now look at the mess!!! Rummy should be jailed, let alone get to stay on in his position.


Rummy is there because he does what Dubya wants, without question. His puppet.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 12:35 PM
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NO!

We never should have went in in the first place. And then to send our guys in so unprepared is a major screw up. What is the objective now? Saddam is gone, now what? Iran?

Unfortunaltely, we have created such a mess over there that it has become a training camp and playground for terrorists. The Bushes, hence, the USA, now has an obligation to the Iraqi people to restore order.

As a result of this poorly planned war, we have lost face with other countries. Sadly, I do not think that the USA can accomplish order without the help of other countries. Too bad Bush didn't wait to find out that there were not WMD's like he thought there was. Too bad so many ppl have died. What a disgrace!



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 12:50 PM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
Nygdan


You don’t get it. The bad stuff started to happen after we started to drop the ball.

You've been saying that the US 'dropped the ball' at the begining. The resistance was there from the begining.


THEN the insurgency started and to gain momentum. Its cause and effect.

This is not true, the insurgency was active from the begining. Its not like the iraqis were hanging around saying 'well, if the american's make some mistakes, then we're going to riot'. THey didn't say 'if crime gets out of control, we are going to form criminal gangs and kidnap and murder people'. There were probably people planning the insurgency before the war even started.


The day that statue fell down, things were great and moral was high. No atrocities or misbehaving was going on yet.

Er? There was widespread lawlessness from shortly after saddams regime was knocked out. They were saying it was the fedayeen. Then after that Sadrs 'madhi army' was very active, and all along al-zarqawi was builing up. He didn't say 'gosh, the americans are mismanaging the water supply over there, and the former army members, when they line up for their paychecks, the americans forgot to use velvet rope! I'm going to leave jordan and fight a rebellion there'.

I'm obviously bein ga bit sarcastic here, but the rebellion was going on very soon after the 'war' was over. Its gained members since then, and thats in large part been because the US and everyone else couldn't control the situation, but it didn't start up because of those first series of complaints.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 01:09 PM
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I dont feel we should have invaded or at least not when we did. If we had successfully cleaned up afghanistan first then maybe I would have supported an invasion maybe...but definitely not for the reasons given (because Saddamn might have Nukes someday) but for the whole Iraqi freedom thing. The way we did things just came off like we have ADD and cant finish a job before losing interest.

Now that we are there though I feel like we have no choice but to fight if we cut and run now we'll only have wind up having to face the propblem again sooner or later.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 01:10 PM
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Thank you everybody who answered my poll, I'm glad to see different opinions about Iraq war, but please, people - don't argue !
I know this is sensitive topic and it is very difficult to post here without emotions - but the purpose of this thread is to hear an opinion from both sides. If we started to convince each other that "we are right and you are wrong" the original idea of the poll would be gone, and many will not post here, simply because they don't want to engage themselves into overheated discussion.
thank you,
peace

I hope I can see more voices...



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 01:37 PM
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We need to win the Iraq War. 'Nuff. Said.

Otherwise, save up a lot of money. You'll need it in about five years.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 01:39 PM
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Originally posted by edsinger
Yes-

Because we either fight it now whilst we have the upper hand or fight it in 10 years when we dont.....


Now is the time - Osama asked for it, now he has got it. He just didnt plan of Afghanistan going quite so well and in the big picture, Iraq could have been much worse.....


You are right about Osama asking for it, edsinger. ; however, there is one small problem. Osama wasn't in Iraq...oops! Now we have created a nightmare in a country that had nothing to do with the bombings of the towers and killed far more innocent people in the process. We now must make things right with the Iraqi people. We are the ones responsible for the mess in Iraq, not Osama. Now the terrorists are running rampant in Iraq because we opened the door for them. We did it, it is our fault. Now it is impossible to go after Osama with all of our great might, energy, money and power concentrated on getting the one responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Sadly, now we must put energy and money into fixing the mess that We have made and are responsible to make right. But then, we will never be able to make it right. Never be able to bring back the innocent children and others that have been killed by our bombs. We will never be the same to the eyes of the world, now. We have lost honor in this war. Now it will be harder than ever to get Osama. He should have been the focus, not Iraq and Saddam. Sad, sad, sad.



posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 07:22 PM
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Oh, I hoped for more responses....


to give this thread some air:


NEW YORK An E & P report on USA Today founder Al Neuharth’s Thursday column for that newspaper has quickly drawn hundreds of emails. After an early surge against Neuharth, the response became equally divided.

In the column, Neuharth, noting the many soldiers far from home and in harm’s way at Christmas, called for a U.S. pullout from Iraq “sooner rather than later.” Neuharth served in World War II in France, Germany and the Philippines, but suggested that avoiding service in Iraq was proper today. He observed that WW II was "highly moral" and troops were “properly equipped.”

Here is a sampling of the responses:

A.P. Oliver, commander USN (ret.): “To withdraw troops from Iraq would qualify as the greatest surrender in history and invite direct attacks here in this country and ultimately drastically change the way we live. No respectful American could agree with your illogical conclusion.”

J. Boke, Titusville, FL: “Al Neuharth's war experience crippled his brain, or he's just too old to have much left. War experience doesn't necessarily make one wise. It CAN have a negative effect on one's judgement. It sounds like Mr. Neuharth, as well John McCain, both suffered mentally via their strong emotional suffering.”

Douglas Wickenheiser: "My son served one tour at the time of the Iraq invasion and is slated to return for a 2nd tour in May after only 13 months back in the U.S. This war should never have happened. My son has a deep distrust of all in the goverment. As part of the 101st airborne he will have to serve up to 1 yr longer than he enlisted for due to the stop-loss program. A full and quick withdrawal is the only answer to this gross misuse of presidential power."


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posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 07:25 PM
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I think yes, it's worth fighting. That primitive nation could be the worst enemy of the World, if evolved to a certain level. Full of fanatics, suicide bombers.




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