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Whoopee, We Executed Saddam!
The problem is, as Gary Brecher wrote in a Moscow alt weekly in April of 03, Saddam (who was a murderous motherfucker, yes) isn't the real problem:

The real threat is the hundred million Islamic kids who will never forget what they're seeing on al-Jazeera and Abu Dabai. We've just done Al-Qaeda the biggest favor it could get. Osama bin Laden is relaxing with his big-screen Sony somewhere in Paktia, smiling while he watches the news from Iraq. He was praying to Allah that we'd invade, and we didn't let the big fella down.We had him on the run till last week. We were picking off his people one by one, all over the world. We were winning. Now he wins, no matter what happens. It doesn't matter if we catch him and kill him, because every time another Arab woman shows up on TV holding her dead kid and screaming, we make another bin Laden.

Oops. Remember when we used to be the good guys?

The LA Times' Paul Richter talked to Juan Cole about it:

Juan R. Cole, a Mideast specialist at the University of Michigan, said the nature of the trial would also tend to further divide Iraqis, rather than heal past wounds.

Because the charges concerned Saddam's reprisals against members of a revolutionary Shiite party, Dawa — which happens to be the party of the current and last Iraqi prime ministers — the execution would look to many Sunnis as simple score-settling.

"This can be read as the Dawa party and a Kurdish judge taking revenge on Saddam," Cole said. "To the Sunnis it will look like just one more slap in the face.... This is the opposite of national healing and will just deepen the divisions."

Cole said he expected adverse Sunni reaction to the execution, noting that about 20 demonstrators were killed in Sunni-dominated Baqubah after Saddam's verdict was announced.

Even so, he agreed that the verdict's political significance will be limited.

"It won't change anything on the ground," he said.

Posted by aalkon at December 30, 2006 11:19 AM

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Amy I only had to read a few lines to see what a fool you are. We are the good guys, not used to be. Only a fool would think the fight was not worth fighting. Win or lose you don't just throw up your hands and say give it to me up the ass. And as for making another Bin Laden, the only to stop that is through education and that doesn’t happen over night. As long as these types of people live education will never happen. Right now all they know is die infidel, it doesn't matter what we do. Get it through your head they want to kill all of us. First you have to wipe out the leadership they have come to trust (the ones that are well practiced at this deceit) then educate them.

Posted by: H Howard at December 30, 2006 2:38 AM

Like H Howard, I too think we are the good guys.

Also, it seems like the Iraqis tried, convicted, and executed Saddam, not us.

Posted by: doombuggy at December 30, 2006 6:38 AM

Howard, we've lost our credibility worldwide, we invaded a sovereign nation based on bullshit and unleashed a civil war (based on the whims of leaders who didn't understand the difference betweeen Sunni and Shiite, we've divided our military forces and pretty much forgotten about Bin Laden...the reason we supposedly went in there in the first place, and for what? As Bill Clinton said when I heard him speak in Little Rock this summer, we created huge amounts of goodwill with our efforts in the aftermath of the Tsunami. Where do I begin with what's wrong in Iraq? The dead and maimed American soldiers, there based on a lie? This isn't about Saddam -- he'll surely just be used as another excuse: the Americans have been behind the execution of another Muslim. If Iraq isn't the biggest mistake made by a president in the past 100 years, let's have nominations for what is.

Win or lose you don't just throw up your hands and say give it to me up the ass.

Excuse me, but Saddam wasn't giving it to us up the ass, just to his people. And if that was what we really cared about, well, our troops would be in Sudan.

I post something every day about how "they" want to kill every one of us. Only, the Iraqis used to be under control, under the hand of a murderous dictator. Now, we've got a civil war to manage. Not our civil war, but we broke it, it's up to us now to fix it.

Read my blog a little before you take me for some bleeding heart lefty. I thought we should have flattened the mountains of Afghanistan after 9-11. Going after Saddam because Bin Laden attacked the WTC (in my old neighborhood in NYC, thanks very much)...well, it's like jailing somebody, anybody, because you robbed a bank, and somebody should pay for it. It's the height of idiocy.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 30, 2006 7:05 AM

> isn't the real problem:
> The real threat

This bad reasoning appears often in arguments from the young and the liberal: "Yeah, but it doesn't make everything PERFECT!" A vegetarian diet after your first heart attack doesn't make you young and horny again, either... It's too little too late. But as futile moves go, it's one of the better ones.

Last night around 7pm, there was a spring in my step as I puttered around the house before going out. The setting of the execution and the other personalities could only be imagined, but obviously it was a wretched circumstance. The killing last night spoke to the stupidity of our whole planet, not just that particularly primitive corner of it. But I'm still OK with it! We've lost thousands of dear children over there, and Iraqis have lost hundreds of thousands since he came on the scene, and it's hard to be precious about one more life when it's Saddam's.

Juan Cole is not a good man, and he's not very bright, either.

> Now he wins, no matter
> what happens.

Does anyone else hear an echo of a 7th graders' lonely cleverness in that? A need to be right about something special in a hurry, through magical insight, about mechanisms that haven't actually been thought through yet?

> we make another bin Laden.

I'll never understand this thinking. It's as if the middle east, and the violent, lawless, brutal trends within it, never existed before George Bush was elected. It's as if 9/11 never happened and that there was no evidence anything was wrong. As if Katrina wouldn't have washed those cities away if that one guy hadn't acknowleged that it was raining.

Don't kid yourself. Al Qaeda has been enjoined, and very largely contained. People tempted to do business with them are picking a team, and won't be able to feign naivete when we call them on it. There's a war on.

There's too much violent death in Iraq, but there's always been too much violent death in Iraq. Life was not good under Saddam, either, and I wish Americans who long for the bogus peace of his reign would acknowledge that while he was in power, time had essentially stopped. Murderous tensions are in motion now, but they were never going to be relieved before this invasion. This is not pretty, but history has been given a chance to move forward. If your favorite Beatles tune is "Yesterday," you haven't heard the whole catalog.

> "It won't change anything
> on the ground," he said.

Even if that's true, and it very probably is, I don't feel too bad about it. I'd kinda like to see a snapshot, as with Uday and Qusay.

Posted by: Crid at December 30, 2006 7:11 AM

Last night, before the execution, CNN was interviewing Sunnis and Shiites about their feelings on the execution. The Shiites were happy about for it obvious reasons. The Sunni's were all right with it also, since Saddam Hussein was the guy who was in charge when they lost their power.

Posted by: eric at December 30, 2006 9:20 AM

“And as for making another Bin Laden, the only to stop that is through education and that doesn’t happen over night. As long as these types of people live education will never happen. Right now all they know is die infidel, it doesn't matter what we do. Get it through your head they want to kill all of us..”
Howard, you display the keen insight into Middle East geopolitics as well as grasping the various points of view in the region that got us into the current situation, that is, slightly less than jack shit. The average Iraqi cares a lot more about the fact that his water must now come off a truck, not out of a faucet, that his electricity only works part of the day, that he’s confined to either a Sunni or Shiite ghetto for fear of being killed, that medical care is almost non-existent, and that there is no clear end in sight to this civil war.

“Now he wins, no matter
> what happens.
“Does anyone else hear an echo of a 7th graders' lonely cleverness in that? A need to be right about something special in a hurry, through magical insight, about mechanisms that haven't actually been thought through yet?”
Yeah, but it seems to be coming through your posts. Brechter’s article was written 3 years ago, and he was totally right, both about the devolving of the situation there into civil war and how we played perfectly into Bin Laden’s hands by making Iraq worse than it was before the invasion. Where is the need for magical insight? Or more to the point, where were your prognostications right and his wrong?
Bin Laden has said that his goal was to unite the Muslim world against us. WE have done that work for him
“Juan Cole is not a good man, and he's not very bright, either.”
Please parse his writings at juancole.com, and point out where he’s been wrong. And just because it’ll be funny, please tell us why he’s ‘not a good man.’
“Al Qaeda has been enjoined, and very largely contained. People tempted to do business with them are picking a team, and won't be able to feign naivete when we call them on it. There's a war on.”
Al Qaeda was never a player in Iraq. Zarquawi’s death has had no impact whatsoever on the level of violence, and when alive, Sadaam’s Baath intelligence put out a hit on him when they heard he was entering the country.
“…we make another bin Laden.”
“I'll never understand this thinking”
I can help you with that. We’ve killed 600,000 Iraqis in a war based on false evidence, and the world knows it.
Hey, remember when you were going to disprove the Lancet study? Got those figures yet? (Sorry, that was mean…)
We kill more Iraqis every day. In 2003, 14 percent of Sunni Arabs thought it legitimate to attack US personnel and facilities. In August, 2006, over 70 percent did. This figure gives no indication of going downwards. Thus, we have thousands of Iraqis, many of them young men, who have a very personal hatred for the United States that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
“ It's as if 9/11 never happened and that there was no evidence anything was wrong.”
You still putting Saddam and 9/11 together? Shit, even W admitted there was no connection. If you’ve got evidence, please rush it to Tony Snow, maybe Bush can salvage something.
“Murderous tensions are in motion now, but they were never going to be relieved before this invasion. This is not pretty, but history has been given a chance to move forward.”
Yeah, that’s convincing. The area’s not in chaos, it’s in Condi’s ‘birthing pangs.’ A few Iraq threads back, Crid, I asked you to provide
1. A plan for the US troops in Iraq that would result in ‘victory.’ Hell, you could even just define what ‘victory’ would be.
2. Your estimation of what the area would be like at 3, 5, and 10 years.
Your only reply was ‘You are so shitty!” Now, yes, I was a bit rough on you in that post, but think of it as birthing pains that allowed you the chance to move forward. So, to simplify –
1. How long should we stay there, in years?
2. What will constitute victory, and how will we achieve it?
Have at it.

Posted by: Cat brother at December 30, 2006 9:35 AM

> we played perfectly into
> Bin Laden’s hands

He's happy with the outcome? Do you really think so? Why doesn't he hold a press conference and gloat a little?

> where were your prognostications
> right and his wrong?

It ain't about prognostication, it's about what you wanted to have happen. I wanted regime change (as did Clinton, Gore, Hillary, et al). Did you have something else in mind? Did you offer an option before the invasion? Before 9/11? Before November 2000? Or is it your simple belief that Dubya is root of all evil?

> WE have done that work for him

Well, no, but if it's true, then it was coming anyway, and there's no time like the present: Bring it.

> Please parse his writings

I haven't the heart; He's playing you for a fool. Be sure and let us know how it works out. (Do you suppose he wishes he'd taken Goldberg up on the $1000 wager about civil war two years ago?)

> We’ve killed 600,000

Oh, please. If I mock you again, will it be an even million next time?

> Al Qaeda was never a player in Iraq.

Don't recall saying they were.

> in a war based on false evidence

And yet the next year, 62,040,610 Americans re-elcted Bush. Is the electorate foolish? I think it's more likely that they'd disagree that the "war was based on false evidence," though most would concede that truth was badly stretched. This will not stop you from rethinking the presumption, because it's fun to look down on the rubes. You'll sit in the middle of the living room and pound your fist on your knee and say "He lied! He lied!" and be amazed that so many Americans resist your blue-faced, eye-popping resentment.

> Hey, remember when you were going to
> disprove the Lancet study?

I remember not caring enough to bother. Wikipedia describes the study as counting "excess Iraqi deaths." I love that. Some people seem to know who's supposed to be dying over there. This morning I had my first breakfast without Saddam on the planet. It was pretty tasty!

> The area’s not in chaos,

"Chaos"? So you admired Saddam's 'order'?

> You still putting Saddam and
> 9/11 together?

Without 9/11, the invasion wouldn't have happened. Our mismanagement of the region was made evident. The Saudis, whose oil still flows, have lost the backhanded buffer between themselves and the wobbly Iranians. I'm cool with that.

> I asked you...

You're always asking me to fulfill assignments; I'm always asking you to list principles.

> just define what ‘victory’ would be.

We went in for regime change, and have had to settle for regime annihilation. Perhaps a more competent US president could have lead a better effort. But maybe not.

> what the area would be like

It's shitty now, it'll be shitty later. I'm not sorry for having bet on the better side of human nature. You shouldn't be proud of having bet against it, though many antiwar types are very proud of their cynicism today.

> How long should we stay there

We could be there for decades, or at least as long as it has globally precious oil.

> What will constitute victory

In war with stateless enemies, you don't get a V-E Day with sailors kissing nurses in Times Square. The worst Husseins are all dead, the marshes are under repair, several million Iraqis if not an outright majority live in a peace much less likely to be attacked by forces within and without, Qaddafy gave up his weapons, the Saudis are compelled to get real. It's not victory, and a lot of horrible stuff is happening. Bad stuff was going to happen anyway.

Or did you have something else in mind? I've always been interested in what that might be. The lefty argument has always seemed to go like this: 'The little brown people don't even want freedom! They're primitives who want to be ruled by a firm hand and a tanned whip... And then they'll stay out of our hair!' I'm proud of my country for finally resisting this line of thought.

Posted by: Crid at December 30, 2006 3:28 PM

I'm not anti-war, I'm anti-stupidity. Were we clever to invade Iraq? Why aren't we freeing the even browner people in Sudan?

I don't have the time to participate fully right now, as my assistant has one week of reshooting next week, so I'm on double deadline (I'd rather hang myself than have the sub back).

But, all in all, it seems we should have been more worried about Iran and getting Bin Laden. Again, it's like a bank has been robbed and we caught a perp, only it isn't the guy who robbed the bank.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 30, 2006 3:53 PM

As I type, this is your first sunset that won't rise on Saddam. Enjoy it, OK? Why is every move we make supposed to make the world perfect?

The invasion of Iraq may not have been 'clever,' but it had other things to recommend it. If the Sudan has globally precious resources underfoot, I haven't heard. If you've ever recommended a course of action on Iran, I've missed it.

Posted by: Crid at December 30, 2006 4:41 PM

Why did we make that move at all? Make no mistake, I'm no fan of Saddam, who was the perpetrator of much evil and horror upon his people.

That said, there are many perpetrators of evil and horror around the world, and we had Bin Laden to find and fry. What is it somebody said the other day, something like, "We haven't failed at that, we're just late in succeeding?"

My course of action in Iraq was not to invade a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with 9/11, and certainly not underequipped and with little thought as to how we'd keep all the nutbags in line once Saddam was no longer there to do it.

And here's a post on Iran, "Oops! We Attacked And Decimated The Wrong Middle Eastern Country!":

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2006/02/oops_we_attacke.html

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 30, 2006 5:02 PM

And here's George Bush on why we went into Iraq. (I think he forgot the precious natural resources underneath!)

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051214-1.html

We removed Saddam Hussein from power because he was a threat to our security. He had pursued and used weapons of mass destruction. He sponsored terrorists. He ordered his military to shoot at American and British pilots patrolling the no-fly zones. He invaded his neighbors. He fought a war against the United States and a broad coalition. He had declared that the United States of America was his enemy.

Over the course of a decade, Saddam Hussein refused to comply with more than a dozen United Nations resolutions -- including demands that he respect the rights of the Iraqi people, disclose his weapons, and abide by the terms of a 1991 cease-fire. He deceived international inspectors, and he denied them the unconditional access they needed to do their jobs. When a unanimous Security Council gave him one final chance to disclose and disarm, or face serious consequences, he refused to comply with that final opportunity. At any point along the way, Saddam Hussein could have avoided war by complying with the just demands of the international community. The United States did not choose war -- the choice was Saddam Hussein's.

When we made the decision to go into Iraq, many intelligence agencies around the world judged that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. This judgment was shared by the intelligence agencies of governments who did not support my decision to remove Saddam. And it is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq -- and I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that. At the same time, we must remember that an investigation after the war by chief weapons inspector Charles Duelfer found that Saddam was using the U.N. oil-for-food program to influence countries and companies in an effort to undermine sanctions, with the intent of restarting his weapons programs once the sanctions collapsed and the world looked the other way. Given Saddam's history and the lessons of September the 11th, my decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision. Saddam was a threat -- and the American people and the world is better off because he is no longer in power. (Applause.) We are in Iraq today because our goal has always been more than the removal of a brutal dictator; it is to leave a free and democratic Iraq in its place.

President Bush acknowledges applause during his remarks on the War on Terror Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. Speaking of this week's elections in Iraq, President Bush told the audience, "We are living through a watershed moment in the story of freedom." White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt As I stated in a speech in the lead-up to the war, a liberated Iraq could show the power of freedom to transform the Middle East by bringing hope and progress to the lives of millions. So we're helping the Iraqi -- Iraqi people build a lasting democracy that is peaceful and prosperous and an example for the broader Middle East. The terrorists understand this, and that is why they have now made Iraq the central front in the war on terror.

A "lasting democracy" between two primitive religious factions? Right. (I thought he'd sworn off the drink and drugs.)

Let me know when the Sunnis and Shiites start holding hands and parading through the center of Baghdad.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 30, 2006 5:07 PM

> Let me know when the Sunnis
> and Shiites start holding hands
> and parading through the center
> of Baghdad.

Sarcasm's one the best things in the world. But that was never the goal in Iraq. If it had happened would you complain that it didn't solve teh problems of inner-city education too?

Posted by: Crid at December 30, 2006 5:43 PM

"Win or lose you don't just throw up your hands and say give it to me up the ass."

I don't know about you, Howard, but I usually throw my legs up in the air (not my hands), before I say something like that. And it's always a win-win.

Posted by: Lena at December 30, 2006 7:43 PM

And not only that...

The title of the blog entry is wrong. We didn't kill Saddam, Iraqis did. Even if they were disproportionate empowered through some political alliance that history will judge as inorganic, he was killed by other Iraqis. Our patience with this killing is based on an assumption that they have a different way of doing things over there, one based on face. Which is why the faces of the executioners were masked. This bugs me, because masks are about shame as much as privacy. In a broadly just nation like America, I'd have found 50 guys walking down the street who would have been happy to execute Saddam in their Sunday school clothes under Klieg lights in Staples Center. Over there, the masks are almost forgiveable. I ramble now. Thank you for your attention to these issues.

Posted by: Crid at December 30, 2006 10:01 PM

We didn't kill Saddam, Iraqis did.

I'm aware of that, but we'll be blamed. Credited by some, but blamed by those looking to use it as an excuse for more violence against Americans. As the guy from the Russian paper wrote.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 31, 2006 7:17 AM

Sorry Amy--you're dead wrong on this and your logic proves too much. No one act--be it of war, of punishment, of love, of generosity, of whatever--will in itself end all the world's problems. Hitler's death didn't end evil in the world, obviously. Geoffry Dahlmer's imprisonment didn't end canibalism--and indeed probably pissed off some people. Your $20 per month sponsorship of a poor starving child in whereever didn't end world poverty. The Union's victory in the civil war didn't end racism or lead to Utopia--and led to other forms of evil like the KKK and the Jim Crow laws. BY your logic, then (and by extension those of the NYT too-sophisticated-and-smart-to-be-capable-of-thinking-logically set) these events were all at best a complete waste, and at worst a postive evil. Hey come to think of it, why even go to the gym today? After all, if you can't lose all 30 lbs and gain brad pitt-like visability of all six individual ab muscles with one act, what's the point of even trying? Right?

Posted by: TheManTheMyth at December 31, 2006 1:04 PM

Um, once again, but making sense?

FYI I don't go to the gym (I find it increasingly uncivilized to work out in close public quarters), you could use my stomach as a carpenter's level, and as far as losing weight goes...well, except for the sugartits, if you turn me sideways, you might find me hard to spot.

And, finally, sorry, but what, exactly, am I dead wrong on? I got lost somewhere in there between serial killers and civil war reenactments.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 31, 2006 4:51 PM

Ah---put down the bong and back slowly away---in a few hours it will all start to make sense, I promise. Oh, put those cookies down too!!!

Posted by: TheManTheMyth at December 31, 2006 5:42 PM

At the moment, I'm reading some rather complex stuff about sexual dimorphism and the effects of testosterone dependent secondary sex characteristics on male sexual attractiveness -- and understanding it all perfectly.

I don't smoke pot as it makes me feel like somebody clubbed me over the head with a frying pan -- or like I just read your post above. Hint: If they don't understand something you wrote, it might not be because they're high or stupid.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 31, 2006 7:09 PM

Amy, the quote was, finding Osama was “a success that hasn’t happened yet.” TheManTheMyth, the subject of Amy’s post (if I may, A.) was not that killing Saddam was bad, it was that it had nothing to do with those who perpetrated 9/11, or resolving the quagmire that is now Iraq. It may have been satisfying, but it didn’t change a thing over there.
Amy, in TMTM’s defense, I didn’t read his post as implying that you had 30 lbs to lose.
Oh, Criddy-Crid-Crid. Real quick now –
Yes, Juan Cole wishes he’d taken Goldberg up on his bet, he would have WON it, you nincompoop. And you can’t parse his writings because you haven’t the heart, it’s because you can’t point to predictions he made, or is making, and say, “…and here, he was wrong!”
You have another study contradicting the Lancet, with references? No? Didn’t think so. And I’m not on the Lancet staff, so mocking me will hardly make the number go up. Your indifference to Iraqi civilian death is totally in character with your manly desire to ‘take the fucker out,’ from your basement apartment.
Yes, the electorate is foolish, and yes, they were lied to. How about those Bush numbers now? Did you hear about this little election in November? Really, just last month? And maybe you heard which issue really brought the Republicans down? Want me to wait while you check the news? Now that they know (more) about what went on, and they see the results of Bush and Co’s monstrous incompetence, the American public are mad as hell, along with me. The only ones popping blood vessels and sputtering are those like yourself trying to find a silver lining in what’s going on over there.
Or for some real blue-facedness, everyone imagine a Marine recruiter showing up at Crid’s door…”You think this war was a good idea?” “Oh, yes, take the fucker out, show our principles, and, uh, we needed the oil. We may have to be there for decades, though…” (stares manfully out in the distance, hands on paunch) “Fine, we need more troops. You have 15 minutes to pack your shit and get on the bus.” Oh, the sputtering we’d hear….
"Chaos"? So you admired Saddam's 'order'?
No more than you admire death by drilling to the neck. Or no utilities, or medical care, or more than half a million civilian deaths.
“several million Iraqis if not an outright majority live in a peace much less likely to be attacked by forces within and without”
Are you off your head? The country is at civil war, and will most likely become either a client state of Iran’s or a rigid theocracy. The country is much more vulnerable to invasion, as there’s no longer a standing army, and we aren’t going to stay there ten more years to fight off invaders; we can’t even defeat the current residents.
Now, if anyone else is still reading this, Crid’s kind of a lost cause, but go on over to Brechter’s archives at www.exile.ru/archive/by_author/gary_brecher.html
He’s kind of the grown-up version of Crid – a self-described miserable fat fuck, and rather cheerfully amoral, but he does indeed know war, and he called this one in ’03.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 1, 2007 8:32 AM

I didn’t read his post as implying that you had 30 lbs to lose.

I didn't either. I just ran with it, because so little of he wrote was on point or made any sense.

Suggestion: In the future, make a carriage return between paragraphs so your post isn't a big block of text.

And you're correct about the subject of my post, as you put it: Killing Saddam had nothing to do with those who perpetrated 9/11 and is likely to get us even deeper into the mess that we're already in, wasting resources that could've been used elsewhere.

If we are there for oil, well, imagine if we'd put the resources we put into the Iraq war into coming up with technology to make us independent of or less dependent on oil. If we ran our cars on turnip pressings, would we be in Iraq right now?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 1, 2007 8:58 AM

> the quagmire that is now Iraq.

Again, an implication that things were going swimmingly over there until Bush got involved. Else you had a plan to make them good.

> he would have WON it

Right. So why didn't he take it?

> you nincompoop.

Hurtful.

> Yes, the electorate is foolish,

We should trust you to watch out for us?

> and yes, they were lied to.

The Democrat's fantasy is that those lies were pivotal in making the war happen. I don't think so. Most voters, having been hardened to the task by things like Clinton's Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, were ready to get on with it. They don't like now being told that they were not paying attention. I've never met anyone who quivered in fear of WMDs. And the next election gave evidence that the "lies" had been forgiven.

> really brought the Republicans down?

I'm a lifelong registered Democrat, and thanks for asking. Will Democrats make this go better now?

> Your indifference to
> Iraqi civilian death

The vast majority of dying Iraqis are being killed by other Iraqis, or irritant forces from outside their borders; the army has been disbanded, so of course all deaths are civilian. Your rhetoric nurtures the illusion that every afternoon, our Army pulls twenty extended families out of their homes and shoots them. Why do you do that?

> American public are mad as
> hell, along with me

Sure. Steel yourself. You have numbers now! Unity! Be bold! With your clear majority in the Senate, you c... Never mind.

Does anyone else feel a broad, rumbling, unstoppable shift in the public temperment towards liberalism? Me neither. Conservatives were never that fond of Bush anyway. The times just aren't that dynamic.

At 47, I've never seen a pulse toward liberalism in this country. But I've seen at least three towards conservatism ('68, '80, '94). If Obama or any other Dem gets into the White House in '08, I can imagine another one in '12. It might be due.

> everyone imagine a Marine
> recruiter showing up

This is the TV commercial from the 60's that won't die. It's the one where the old white politicians 'who don't believe in peace' roll up the road in limos, step out of their pinstripe jackets, and have a fistfight in the afternoon sun, because after all, everyone else is too evolved for the use of force.

The world doesn't work that way. Also, the anti-litterbug Indian with the single tear was an Italian.

> The country is at civil war

Much of it is, though I assume you're happy about the Kurds and the marshes. (You should be compelled to say so.)

> will most likely become either a client
> state of Iran’s

I don't think the surrounding nations would let Tehran rule a historically Arab area like Iraq. It's nice to see them grapple with their future in a direct way. Also, again, Iran is wobbling.

> or a rigid theocracy.

Life under Saddam was not exactly a freethinker's coffee break.

> we aren’t going to stay there ten more
> years to fight off invaders;

You sure?

Can I ask: What did you want for Iraq? Before the invasion, I mean?

Posted by: Crid at January 1, 2007 10:34 AM

Not to have a lot of Americans die there, and without much to show for it.

Again, an implication that things were going swimmingly over there until Bush got involved.

Are things better now? Or is it really just "a success that hasn't happened yet"?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 1, 2007 10:43 AM

> Killing Saddam had nothing
> to do with those who
> perpetrated 9/11.

Ok! OK! We get it! You're saying 9/11 wasn't Saddam's fault. Understood! Cool.

Set aside your western, contested-parking-ticket sense of justice for a moment. Would the invasion have happened without 9/11?

Keep going. Are the Saudis --who've funded so much mischief in recent years-- looking forward to the next decade? Or are they having to think clearly about who their friends are? Always remember: The USA gets only 15% of its oil from the Middle East. And their European customers are not inclined to send over supporting troops.

Posted by: Crid at January 1, 2007 10:50 AM

Listen, nobody's happy with things. But we're fighting largely stateless enemies now, and a clear-cut victory was never in the cards. Good things have come from this war, and it's wrong to say they haven't, as if it's the source of the misery there.

Posted by: Crid at January 1, 2007 10:52 AM

"Stateless enemies" sounds better than miserable ragtag social rejects. Can you spell Amateur Hour ?
There is nothing to compare to the Cold War for danger in any degree of severity.
16 American Intelligence agencies briefed the Prez that the U.S. was causing net growth in terrorism in Iraq by its activities there.
I've heard the old joke about banging one's head against the wall because it feels so good when you stop. Why wait ?
I hear the chorus of how scary this nation and that is. Uh-huh. Compared to the nation which outspends the rest of the word combined on "defense" - not so much. Been invaded lately ?
Who sits on ICBMs capable of depopulating the planet several times over ?
Terrorists. Just the ones in Washington. Protecting freedom. ( Tell me another one)

Posted by: opit at January 1, 2007 8:19 PM

What did you have in mind?

When did the idea come to you?

Posted by: Crid at January 1, 2007 10:29 PM

I was against the war before I was against the war.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 2, 2007 12:42 AM

Understood! But before the war, what you wante was...

?

Posted by: Crid at January 2, 2007 4:08 AM

"No nation building."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 2, 2007 5:28 AM

Ie, no plan. Iraq was circling the drain anyway.

Besides, last I heard, you were OK with Afghanistan, and strickly speaking, they didn't have so much to do with 9/11 either. It's just where OBL had a mail drop.

Posted by: Crid at January 2, 2007 5:40 AM

I can't presume to speak for Juan Cole, but I expect he did not take the bet because he would be making money on the deaths of American servicemen. Now, Brechter would have taken that bet in a second, AND bet on the body count, and collected, cackling.

Re condescending attitudes towards the brown peoples, it's kind of hard to top your own. If the Iraqis had true voting democracy, the US would be out of that country later today. They don't want us there. You're the one saying, "No, Iraqis, really, this civil war is for your own good, and though it may take 10+ years, you'll be better for it. What is lack of food, water, electricity, and 600K dead next to that?"

The vast majority of Iraqis killed during Saddam's reign were also killed by other Iraqis. You think he ran through the country with a machete and killed 'em himself? We're currently killing Iraqis at a much faster clip than he managed.

Yes, I'm sure we won't be there another 10 years, because we don't have the resources to do so. The army's at the breaking point now, and the American public, a majority, wants a clear timetable for us leaving the country. A draft would be universally resisted. And who said anything about a rising tide of liberalism? Seeing that Iraq is a disaster isn't 'liberal' or 'conservative,' it's simple observation. I don't expect sales of either Birkenstocks or patchouli oil to rise.

Posted by: Cat brother at January 2, 2007 7:13 AM

Let's check some Iraqi demographics with the 600,000 dead Iraqi report in mind:

Let's say the deaths were spread over a population of 20 million, and the deaths (from the Lancet report) are largely in the 15-40 year old male age group. This is about 1/4 of the population, or roughly 5 million persons. So the deaths represent 12% of the cohort.

Now a pretty good rule of thumb is that 20% of the people do 80% of the work, so if the deaths are largely Iraqis killing each other, and if a significant portion of the dead are committed jihahists, in a morbid way we are exhausting the effectiveness of the Iraqi "civil war", if we stay and slug it out at the current pace for a couple more years.

Posted by: doombuggy at January 2, 2007 7:28 AM

> You're the one saying, "No, Iraqis,
> really, this civil war is for your
> own good

That's silly. Of course we'd be happy if there were no civil war. Of course we would. We don't want them to kill each other. The people killing and dying are the ones needed to rebuild the country.

That's just a stupid thing to say. The United States didn't set these people at each other's throats. We just opened the pressure cooker, we didn't put in the heat.

> We're currently killing Iraqis at
> a much faster clip than he
> managed.

These are just stupidities. Even if by some drug-addled, fat-margined statistical cheat you found that more were dying on some particular weekend, we aren't the ones killing them. Let me run that past you yet again: They're killing each other. I can't imagine anything more condescending than thinking people were built for nothing but mutual murder. And many of these tensions, I contend, would not be so bloody today if the west (and the States specifically) had made a more humane exchange there for the past 80 years or so. It's said that Saddam first appeared on the CIA payroll in the year of my birth. This was ours to fix.

> we don't have the resources

Seven decades on, we still have a hunnert grand in Europe.

> Seeing that Iraq is a disaster

It been one for a long while. Perhaps I forgot to ask: What did you want for Iraq?

> in a morbid way we are exhausting

Doombuggy indeed. If anyone has ideas for another approach, please speak up.

Posted by: Crid at January 2, 2007 3:54 PM

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