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Old 03-13-2007, 09:38 AM   #1
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Here Goes Nothing ...

Given the recent discussions on religion, global warming, etc. that seemed to be carried out in a civil manner recently, I thought I try one more touchy topic in hopes of getting some actual analysis and insight. I bring it up here mainly b/c I have a respect for the thoughtfulness of most of the regular posters here.

My question is: How do we get out of Iraq (and to a lesser extent Afghanistan). So much American blood and treasure is being poured into the war. I simply do not see an end in sight nor do I see an exit strategy that
does not leave the situation more dangerous to us than when we began the war.

I would like to set a couple of parameters to the discussion, if possible.

- This is not meant to be a thread on "We should never have gotten involved in the first place". Regardless of the correctness of the original decision, we are there now and need to solve the current problem which is, IMO, getting us out of Iraq and leaving it in a way that allows it to survive as a stable democracy.

- This is not meant to be a "Bush is an idiot" thread. Regardless of your support for or opposition to Bush or general regard (or lack thereof) for his intelligence, the question that needs be solved is, again, how do we get out of Iraq.

Just so we are clear. I originally supported the war believing it to be an appropriate pre-emptive strike on a destabilizing force (Saddam) in an important region of the world (not just to America). I believed that a pre-emptive strike was legitimate in much the same way a pre-emptive strike on Hitler in 1938 (when he broke the Versaille treaty and marched an army into the Rhineland) would likely have overthrown the Nazis and pre-empted WWII. I still believe that there was sufficient justification for the strike though am less convinced, in hindsight, as to the need for it.

At this point, however, and as I stated above, the real question in my mind is how we get out w/out leaving a destabalized Iraq that will descend into civil war and, IMO, result in an autocratic regime that harbors considerable ill-will to the US and that will encourage terrorist activities.

Again, it is my hope that we can have real, civil discussion on this matter. I am truly perplexed by the quagmire we have descended into.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:52 AM   #2
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

It's funny because this really comes down to the, "Well you can't get work without experience and you can't get experience without work." argument. We cannot have the people still view us as liberators (if they ever did) while we're still there and we can't leave without having the country descend into chaos.

Sadly, I think the two warring factions are going to keep the country unstable for many years to come and there's no amount of military power to force it to be otherwise.

Religion is one of the strongest motivators throughout history and even though the difference between Shiites and Sunnis seems negligible, it appears to be enough to take the lives of countless innocents to be the ones "in power". The only way I could see if even being possible is to find a stable Iraqi force and while Iraqi forces stabilize each area of the country, continue to saturate the areas that are unstable.

Basically move American forces into areas with Iraqi forces, continue to help them build infrastructure and pull out at the best opportunity.

I'm just answering what I think could help, but really my opinion is that we'll never really be "out" unless we just cut and run. Regardless of whether we succeed or not in Iraq, we've already changed the minds of Muslims and EVERYONE in the world. The Middle East will never be stable, thousands of years have proven that, and I'm of the opinion that we do what we can for another year and call it a day (unfortunately).
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:34 AM   #3
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

the middle class an wealthy have mainly already fled iraq, the baath party was completely disolved (which was a terrible mistake, since that killed ALL the operational knowledge of the country), the afgan poppy farmers present a challenge to manage, since they can't make money or build the economy of afghanistan without, you know, making poppy (and they're a sizable chunk of the population).

america has only had two extremely successful nation building efforts in many many attempts. we oversaw the infrastructure construction in the phillipines a long time ago, and slightly more recently, the reuilding of japan after WWII.
both countries had very supportive populations that accepted the help.

in iraq, it's closer to some african nations in that there's no real national unity, only ethnic unity (kurd/shite/sunni), and even within that there are divisions in religion extremism, various anarchists groups, iranian involvement, etc.

the only real quick way to solve it is to divide the country and let them self rule and HOPE beyond hope that doesn't devolve into a territorial pissing match between those factions and neighboring countries... which it will.

there's no real good answer beside turning it into a really restrictive police state, which, in and of itself, it's a pretty bad solution.

the local population has to support the effort, but they've been taught their whole lives that america is bad and have a massive influx of negative views from middle eastern TV stations. there's also no real national unifying figure to help either.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:40 AM   #4
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

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Originally Posted by paulskinsfan View Post
Democracy is not the answer for every country, Iraq is a good example. I had no problem with getting Saddam out, he was a murdering bastard and needed to go. However, Saddam knew how to effectively rule that country, with force and fear. IMO, Iraq needs to be broken up into 3 regions. The Kurds clearly derserve to rule themselves. The Sunnis and the Shiites each need there own regions, ruled by strong military dictators who get their power from the U.S. This is going to sound horrible, but I think we need to look the other way while these military dictators get their citizens under control. We have become hypersensitive in the U.S. to what we perceive as universal civil rights, and in a perfect world we would be right. But in order to get Iraq in line, there are many in the radical Islam world who need to be imprisoned or just plain killed. Radical Islam is the greatest threat our country and world has faced since the Nazis. You cannot negotiate with them or appease them, they must be wiped out. After the radicals are disposed of, the educational system needs to be redone to eliminate the teachings of radical islam. These people grow up hearing the Jews are literally pigs and dogs, and that the U.S. is the great evil. We must stop this misinformation, outlaw the teachings of radical islam. So, in a nutshell. Develop 3 regions, Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites. Install military dictators, and back them while overlooking what are sure to be civil rights atrocities for the first couple of years. Then, eliminate the teachings of radical Islam to the kids. Its not a popular view, but I think its more realistic then trying to install a true democracy.
outlawing radical islam is impossible. who gets to decide, what happens to offenders? do you martyr them? that'd be a great way to lose even more popular support instanly :/.

dividing regions would probably result is border issues and much weaker individual militaries to enforce those borders.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:45 AM   #5
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

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Originally Posted by paulskinsfan View Post
Democracy is not the answer for every country, Iraq is a good example. I had no problem with getting Saddam out, he was a murdering bastard and needed to go. However, Saddam knew how to effectively rule that country, with force and fear. IMO, Iraq needs to be broken up into 3 regions. The Kurds clearly derserve to rule themselves. The Sunnis and the Shiites each need there own regions, ruled by strong military dictators who get their power from the U.S. This is going to sound horrible, but I think we need to look the other way while these military dictators get their citizens under control. We have become hypersensitive in the U.S. to what we perceive as universal civil rights, and in a perfect world we would be right. But in order to get Iraq in line, there are many in the radical Islam world who need to be imprisoned or just plain killed. Radical Islam is the greatest threat our country and world has faced since the Nazis. You cannot negotiate with them or appease them, they must be wiped out. After the radicals are disposed of, the educational system needs to be redone to eliminate the teachings of radical islam. These people grow up hearing the Jews are literally pigs and dogs, and that the U.S. is the great evil. We must stop this misinformation, outlaw the teachings of radical islam. So, in a nutshell. Develop 3 regions, Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites. Install military dictators, and back them while overlooking what are sure to be civil rights atrocities for the first couple of years. Then, eliminate the teachings of radical Islam to the kids. Its not a popular view, but I think its more realistic then trying to install a true democracy.
Suppressing the teachings of any religion kind of flies in the face of one of the building blocks our country was built on. It's kind of unAmerican, even if the religion is completely bonkers.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:54 AM   #6
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

The biggest problem: Iraqi citizens who don't support the insurgency are afraid to cooperate with American troops because if they're seen doing so in public, the Insurgents target them and kill them to discourage others from helping us. That's a dilly of a pickle, I don't know how you solve that issue.

Another major problem: fighters from Iran and Syria entering Iraq. We have to secure the borders along those countries much better. Ideally, we'd have help from the Iranian and Syrian governments. But we shouldn't count on that. We have to boost troop levels along the borders, and be much tougher about who is allowed into the country.

Another problem: Some Iraqi groups feel like they're left out of the political process in Iraq. Especially some of the militias. We have to find a role for them in the operations of the government, and they need an incentive to participate. Al-Sadr for one is willing to be a part of the diplomatic process, but he feels like he's been excluded from the table.

As far as us being able to leave, ultimately the country has to be stable enough for the current Iraqi military to feel comfortable that it can control the country. Either that, or the Iraqi military has to get strong enough to deal with the current situation in Iraq. We have to be involved in the recruiting of more Iraqi soldiers and their training. The problem is, these people are discouraged from doing so by the threat of vengeance from the insurgents.

Very tough problem. I think we'll be there for years (as we should be).
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:57 AM   #7
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
the middle class an wealthy have mainly already fled iraq, the baath party was completely disolved (which was a terrible mistake, since that killed ALL the operational knowledge of the country), the afgan poppy farmers present a challenge to manage, since they can't make money or build the economy of afghanistan without, you know, making poppy (and they're a sizable chunk of the population).

america has only had two extremely successful nation building efforts in many many attempts. we oversaw the infrastructure construction in the phillipines a long time ago, and slightly more recently, the reuilding of japan after WWII.
both countries had very supportive populations that accepted the help.

in iraq, it's closer to some african nations in that there's no real national unity, only ethnic unity (kurd/shite/sunni), and even within that there are divisions in religion extremism, various anarchists groups, iranian involvement, etc.

the only real quick way to solve it is to divide the country and let them self rule and HOPE beyond hope that doesn't devolve into a territorial pissing match between those factions and neighboring countries... which it will.

there's no real good answer beside turning it into a really restrictive police state, which, in and of itself, it's a pretty bad solution.

the local population has to support the effort, but they've been taught their whole lives that america is bad and have a massive influx of negative views from middle eastern TV stations. there's also no real national unifying figure to help either.
EXCELLENT post, That Guy. Nice historical perspective, there were some things in there I was unaware of. Learn something new every day.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:17 AM   #8
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

Right now I say pull back, but not out. Maintain a permament force presence in Iraq at some removed military compound. Education and employment are the two critical needs for this country. Education to help control radical Islam teachings which make little to no sense to anyone except the ones in power. Employment to make it hard for bored, hungry civilians to want to strap bombs to their bodies and vehicles.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:20 AM   #9
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

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america has only had two extremely successful nation building efforts in many many attempts. we oversaw the infrastructure construction in the phillipines a long time ago, and slightly more recently, the reuilding of japan after WWII.
both countries had very supportive populations that accepted the help. .
I think you could add West Germany to the list.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:24 AM   #10
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

Although the status quo is unacceptable, I do not think that we can simply walk away from Iraq.

If Somalia or Afghanistan looked like terrorist havens, what do you think Iraq will look like post-withdrawal? Iran, and other states, will use Iraq as a staging ground to launch terrorist attacks elsewhere. However, unlike Somalia or Afghanistan, Iraq is not located in some desolate area without any significant infrastructure and far away from large cities.

Although Al Qaeda was not in Iraq before the invasion, they are there now and we cannot simply retreat without emboldening those who think that America is a paper tiger that will run at the sight of blood. I believe that our enemies' resolve to fight is, in part, dependent on whether they believe that we can be defeated. Most think that we will run and lack the determination that they do. The war in Iraq not only affects our present, it affects our future ability to wage wars successfully and our credibility in general.

If people were/are concerned about humanitarian crises like Somalia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc., what do people think will happen in Iraq if we leave? The Iraqi civil war is not going to end, it is going to get worse. I've never understood why some opposed the war in Iraq and supported intervening in Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc. (BTW, I opposed both Iraq and all other humanitarian interventions).

What do we do about those hundreds of thousands who have cooperated with the U.S., its allies, or the Iraqi government? They, and their families, are almost certain to be killed in a horrible way if we leave and I do not think it would be honorable to simply leave them to their fates.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:25 AM   #11
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

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I think you could add West Germany to the list.
And Kosovo.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:26 AM   #12
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

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And Kosovo.
And the Brits built a democracy in India (granted it was upon the shell of colonialism).
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:36 AM   #13
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

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What do we do about those hundreds of thousands who have cooperated with the U.S., its allies, or the Iraqi government? They, and their families, are almost certain to be killed in a horrible way if we leave and I do not think it would be honorable to simply leave them to their fates.
Agreed. When we went in there, we created a power vaccuum that led to all this violence we're seeing now. We owe it to those people to stick it out.
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:35 PM   #14
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

Not to hijack ... but did someone say, "iRack"?

Mad TV - The iRack
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:48 PM   #15
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Re: Here Goes Nothing ...

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Agreed. When we went in there, we created a power vaccuum that led to all this violence we're seeing now. We owe it to those people to stick it out.
I am shocked at the current civility of this thread. many good posts.

Yes, we do owe it to them, and the rest of the world, like N. Korea, Iran, etc are watching closely. I am deeply concerned with every drop of American blood that is spilled. However, combat losses for this war are a fraction of what many others have been.
That having been said, we need to get in this war or get out. Commit the necessary manpower to winning it now, and forever, or blow it off. Install a workable from of gov't and ........."have a nice day". For the record, I do not recommend premature withdrawl as an option here...............or, hmmmm.......anywhere else for that matter.
Unfortunately, Bush has to deal with unfavorable political factions unwilling to commit to this option. It obviously is not luck that the last terrorist attack on American soil was before the war. If anything you read is true, the problems lie (as is usually the case) predomanantly with a small portion of the radical populace. They will have to be controlled, or killed. It's not just a problem in Iraq. Check out the probs with radical Islam in France, and England. It's a world wide problem that most of the rest of the world fears to address. If left unchecked, we will pay for it many times over, later.
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