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brucew
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: North Coast of America
Insane since: Dec 2001

posted posted 04-28-2003 23:45

I've been out of the loop for the past couple of weeks. Please forgive me if I've missed seeing something that addresses this.

Much has been said (both for and against) about the what, why and how when it comes effecting a regime change in Iraq. Good, bad or indifferent, it's a done deal. Now what?

I've heard and read about what needs to be done (install a democracy) and why it should be done (because it's the American way, dammit.) I've come across nothing on how to do it--the actual nuts and bolts, step-by-step of how to install a democracy.

In the absence of other knowledge (again, my fault) I can only assume the Bush administration will try what has been done before in the Carribean and in Central and South America (Vietnam too, now that I think about it). I see this as doomed to failure given the poor US track record of regime change and installing democracies in our own hemisphere.

Whatever lessons were learned in postwar Europe, Japan and Korea have been forgotten, and had been forgotten by the late 1950s.

This article, http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/view255.html#Monday, is the first discussion I've seen (emphasis on the I) on the topic and it reinforces my fears. He hits on all of my thoughts, and given that poli-sci has never been my strong suit, goes well beyond where my thinking has gone to date. The suggested alternate strategy makes a lot of sense to me.

I have two places to start this thread. One, what, if anything, have I missed in the press about *how* the Bush administration is going set about installing a democracy, and two, what are your thoughts on how it should be done?

edit: unsightly residue from sentence rearranging



[This message has been edited by brucew (edited 04-28-2003).]

WebShaman
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 04-29-2003 06:03

Actually, presidence lies before, on how to do this - post WWII Germany and Japan.

But no, I haven't seen any plan...but I hope sincerely that there is one...so far, I haven't made up my mind on how Mr. Jay is handling things there...we will see.

Bugimus
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: New California
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 04-29-2003 19:50

I was hoping we would start a thread like this. Thanks, brucew. It seemed we mostly agreed the war would be won but the most important part is what happens now for the Iraqi people. As has been pointed out, we should view the war and the rebuilding as one action. I think that is a good idea since without a proper attempt at rebuilding Iraq with the best interests of the people in mind, the justification for the war and the honor of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice would be greatly minimized.

Here are a few things I've been looking at regarding the issue you raise, brucew. I hope others will post what they've found so far too.

De novo in Iraq .

quote:
Let's get one thing straight from the outset about Iraq. The Iraqi people need wait upon no one - military general, foreign government or international organization - to govern themselves, engage in commerce domestically and sell their property on world markets. Sovereignty resides in the Iraqi people and cannot be conferred by any outside entity or authority.


.
And for a little light reading and background... Iraq and the Arabs' Future .

quote:
Summary: The driving motivation behind a new U.S. endeavor in Iraq should be modernizing the Arab world. Most Arabs will see such an expedition as an imperial reach into their world. But in this case a reforming foreign power's guidelines offer a better way than the region's age-old prohibitions, defects, and phobias. No apologies ought to be made for America's "unilateralism."

Fouad Ajami is Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.


.
Memo: How to Rebuild Iraq .

quote:
No one needs to be reminded that these are significant challenges. But it is also important to remember that Iraq has a number of critical assets. Its tremendous oil wealth is sufficient to fund a rapid rehabilitation—an advantage no previous nation-building effort has enjoyed. The Iraqi population is among the best educated in the Arab world. Although impoverished during the past decade, Iraq still possesses a large, capable (and mostly secular) middle class. Radical Islam is not a major draw in the country. Removing Saddam is likely to unleash a more positive dynamic: the Iraqi people’s native entrepreneurism.

While it is tempting to equate regime change in Iraq with simply getting rid of Saddam, the reality is more complex. By understanding this, we can avoid substituting one set of problems for another.




. . : slicePuzzle

mobrul
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

posted posted 04-29-2003 21:58

I've read Bug's second link there, Iraq and the Arabs' Future and prepared my response to it. It's long. Sorry.
Anyway, this contains most of my thoughts on how the rule of Iraq must proceed to be successful.
---
"There would be no 'hearts and minds' to be won in the Arab world..."

Certainly was written in a time before the war, and was clearly talking about leading up to the invasion. That being said, the rules are different now, and if we really want to do some good (and not fall into a British Mandat-esque quagmiere in the process) there are going to be plenty of 'hearts and minds' to win before this is over...and rightfuly so. How can we possibly help build the roots of a democracy (for and by the people...) without taking into account *the people*?

To make sure that resonable Arabs (there are more out there than many Americans are willing to admit) don't see this as "a favor to Israel, or a way for the US to secure control over Iraq's oil" the Bush Administration needs to do a few things.

1) It needs to quickly and definitavely take steps that will not just contain, but 'rollback' Israeli settlements to the pre-1967 lines.
2) It needs to quickly work out a peaceful Palestinian state and Israeli recognition of its soveriegnty. By that I don't mean a 'state' of bantusans, separated by Israeli military outposts and checkpoints, but an actual, continous, soveriegn state.
3) It needs to get Iran AND Turkey the f* out of Iraq's business.
4) It needs to, immediately after finding this 'presidential council' they've been talking about, help rebuild oil infrastructure and simply hand it over to a new and completely non-American affiliated Oil Ministry. No strings attached. Maybe bring in some UN/Arab business advisors and regulators, but get the US out of the oil biz. The more transparent the separation the better.

On the second page, I find sentences with which I could not possibly agree more:

quote:
...American power, either by design or by default, has been built on relationships with military rulers and monarchs without popular mandates. America has not known or trusted the middle classes and the professionals in these lands. Rather, it has settled for relationships of convenience with the autocracies in the saddle, tolerating the cultural and political malignancies of the Arab world. A new American role in the region will have to break with this history.


Though I would argue vehemently (and win =) ) with the notion that the previous US Administrations were simply innocent and naive in their previous meddlings with other nations -- establishing miliatary dictatorships, torture, disappearances and the like -- it is absolutely true that we need to deal with the large and capable middle-class of Iraq if this is going to be a success.

A bit later in the paper, we are presented with this quote

quote:
[Iraq] may have a greater readiness for democracy than Egypt, if only because it is wealthier and is free of the weight of Egypt's demographic pressures and the steady menace of an Islamist movement.


That is only somewhat true, but it echoes what I just said. The middle-class are technically, educationally, culturally very wealth, but they are cash poor. Twelve years of sanctions have destroyed their infrastructure, their jobs and their stability. Infant mortality rates are astronomical. The middle class of Iraq needs to be intimately involved in the governance of their country, but they can only do so when their base needs for food, shelter, safety, regular income, etc. are covered. It is important to our efforts that the US/UN/oil/somebody provide HUGE amounts of money and expertise to rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq, immediately.

Without that, the poor and desperate people will do what poor and desperate people do all over the world (but especially in the Middle East) -- turn to radical religion for their needs, and all the hate, fury, and vengence that goes with it. It is true of the poor white southerners who turn to KKK Christianity; it is true of poor Muslims who can see no other way out.
This point can not be emphasized enough.

The stick beating Iran's wakkos away absolutely must be accompanied by the carrot, luring the good people of Iraq to financial and educational freedom and independance. The stick without the carrot is an invitation for disaster. In fact, I'd argue the carrot luring the people of Iraq away from religious fanatisicm is more important than the stick. If you don't have food or a job, sticks (of wood or dynamite) mean exactly jack.

I totally disagree with the section titled 'Farewell to Pan-Arabism?'
The Palestinians are as much an issue to a stable Iraq as anything else. Included in that list are:
-A stable, liberalized Saudi Arabia
-Destruction of the monarchy in Jordon and transition to full democracy
-A stable, sane and productive Syria
-A stable, continous and soveriegn Palestinian state
-A peace with and recognition of Israel, all around the region
-Obliteration of 'Zionism'
-A stable and safe Kurd people either in their own Kurdistan or within an enlightened Turkey

There are many other issues, but my point is that the region is too small to 'look the other way'. Each state in the region must work with the others to develop a stable, economically viable, thriving region.
So, instead of pushing aside 'pan-arabism', the new Iraq needs to be a shining light, a leader, a beacon of hope and promise of a powerful, thriving Arab people.
Instead of turning themselves, they need to change the meaning of the words to mean what is good and healthy for the entire region.

Ah, here on the last page I get some confirmation. "...the semidemocratic politics of its neighbors. Turkey and Jordan come to mind...." So even Mr. Ajarni agrees with me that Jordon is close to democracy...to bad he doesn't have the balls to push that last step.

quote:
The British Empire's moment in Iraq came when it was exhausted; on the eve of its occupation of Iraq, the United Kingdom's GDP was 8 percent of the world product, when the comparable figure for America today is at least three times as large. America can afford a big role in Iraq, and beyond. Whether the will and the interest are there is an entirely different matter.


Yes, yes, yes. Unlike Afghanistan, we must have staying power to really make this work. It is too simple (and disasterous) to simply install some military dictatorship and walk away. Money will come from nowhere and you'll have another problem on the block. Some would argue that's OK as long as he's 'our bully', but I disagree. He have to have the guts and stamina to see this through to an actual democratic solution. Anything less would be criminal and would mean the whole war, every dead soldier and civilian, every POW would have been in vain. I'm not willing to accept that.

And finally

quote:
There are endless escapes available to that Arab world. It can call up the fury of the Israeli-Palestinian violence and use it as an alibi for yet more self-pity and rage. It can shout down its own would-be reformers, write them off as accomplices of a foreign assault. It can throw up its defenses and wait for the United States to weary of its expedition.



We (the US) can't simply write-off those three 'escapes'. It must actively counter them. To avoid the Israeli-Palestinian 'issue', we must step forward and solve it, equitably and for real, now. Escape gone.
To avoid the 'shout[ing] down its own would-be reformers' we need to make those reforms actually worth-while. The reforms (if they are the right ones) should increase prosperity in the region. Of course our history shows our 'reforms' are often of the malignant type, rather than the benign type. Let's make this time different. If we do, escape is gone. We are now free to score a victory.

Xpirex
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Dammed if I know...
Insane since: Mar 2003

posted posted 05-04-2003 00:04



...and when did ye become gods?...


...xpi...

"nuff said"

mobrul
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

posted posted 05-04-2003 02:20

"nuff said"?
I don't think so.

I realize that is just your tag line, but really, in this case, 'nuff' hasn't been said. Do you care to explain a bit. Maybe I'm being a little thick-headed tonight...I think you're expecting me to read betweent the lines, there's some message you're trying to convey, it's not coming through clearly. I'm not getting it.

Perhaps you're advocating isolationism?
OK, fine. Tell me more.

Perhaps you're so against this war that any discussion of it, by default, reeks with imperialism -- and it makes you sick?
OK, fine. Tell me more.

Perhaps you think the middle east should simply be allowed to rot away in it's own quagmuire of poverty, violence and religious oppression?
OK, fine. Tell me more.

Perhaps you think that the US shouldn't be into 'nation building', and it should simply bomb the hell out of those people it doesn't like and then walk away?
OK, fine. Tell me more.

Coming in here to drop 6 word cryptic nothingness hardly qualifies as productive, by any standard. You got something to say, stand up and say it. Back it up and we've got ourselves conversation.
Otherwise, stay at home and talk to your spoon. You'll accomplish the same thing and it costs less.

DL-44
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: under the bed
Insane since: Feb 2000

posted posted 05-04-2003 05:26

Well, personally, I generally opt to simply ignore someone who enjoys popping in only to criticize and make vague proclamations without ever a shred of fact or insight to offer...

it's easy to sit on the side and yell about what's going wrong...without ever having the burden of figuring out what's *right*.

so it goes...

Xpirex
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Dammed if I know...
Insane since: Mar 2003

posted posted 05-04-2003 08:46

Certain peoples attitude of superiority is boring. Oh did I hit a nerve? GOOD. Well I hope you feel a little better now. Sorry you can't read between the lines, so let me spell a couple of things out. I stopped getting into details as it never results in any satisfactory response. I have seen so many points simply by-passed or completely ignored that I don't waste my time and life saying a lot in here now, although I still read you all with great interest. I have even delved back into the older threads too to get a wider perspective on certain individuals mind maps...

...and I think that there is such a stinking arrogance and egoplosion going on in some that it does make me bloody puke. I did post something extensive once and was scolded for it's size... and Iv'e seen far bigger posts than mine pass with out comment. Well I can't talk on weighty matters in nugget size sentences as some oviously can. I have some difficulty with some whose opinions are so narrow and solidified like dried clay.. People all claim to quote from facts but it's just tons of bounce around links and references to here and there.. mostly speculation, conjecture and opinion, and round and round in circles you go..but to nowhere. Hardly what I would call truth.. But some seem to enjoy the intelectual masterbation and tickling each others minds with their 'truth'. All fucking heads and no hearts. Sorry but I can't play that game... cos I am not calm and diplomatic about any of it. I don't even think like you. You would not even understand. Same names, same faces same old same old. Now you can get pissed if you want...I don't really care that much, because I have done no wrong. There is no love lost.. for you already have none in you. I am not here to please you or entertain. Your critique is petty and shallow. You shall be pulled down off that tower you have placed yourselvs in... Now this is not intended for everyone, if the hat fits wear it and if you can't read between the lines then its not meant for you.

The burdon of putting things right you say, is that what you think you are doing??? you are making a goddam stinking mess of things that is what you are doing... take the beam out of your own eye before you presume to take the splinter out of your brothers eye. Delusional Nation is what you are. In god you do NOT trust.

...xpi...

[This message has been edited by Xpirex (edited 05-04-2003).]

DL-44
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: under the bed
Insane since: Feb 2000

posted posted 05-04-2003 14:46

Did you hit a nerve? uh.....no

you never do anything but bitch randomly, and you've never gotten into these details you talk about.

Yes, you did post a long explanation once, but it wasn't your words...you copied and pasted an article...how does that equate to you having anything to say?

quote:
Certain peoples attitude of superiority is boring


whew, you got that right, man...

quote:
I don't even think like you. You would not even understand



ah, I see

Hmm. Nope, I never said anything about me "putting things right".

'Speculation, conjecture, and opinion' - yup. That's what discussion is often all about.

Speaking of mental masturbation...you seem to be a pro.


mobrul
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

posted posted 05-05-2003 00:57

OK, Mr. Xpirex.
The question that prompted this thread was, "what are your thoughts on how [rebuilding Iraq] should be done?"
One can usually assume that if an inmate posts in a thread it is to participate in that thread. So, I ask of you, if you were given the power of President Bush -- Commander-in-Chief of the US armed forces, foreign policy decider for the US, head of the executive branch of the US government, and all other associated powers -- and you were given that power tommorrow morning what would you do?

You said in your post, "I have seen so many points simply by-passed or completely ignored..."
Great! Bring 'em up. You have a responsibility to do that. How in the world can one possibly sit and bitch without doing your best to educate. If someone doesn't have access to the truth, one can hardly place fault. It is only after the facts have been presented and that individual IGNORES the facts that one can place blame. You got facts? Give 'em up. I, for one, am all ears. I'm not saying I'll agree with everything you'll say (or maybe I will, who knows?) but I can tell you I'll read whatever you write with an open mind.

You said, "Your critique is petty and shallow." I don't know if you were talking about mine or not...I think it's safe to assume so. Even if you weren't, you are right. It was a critique written 'off-the-cuff', as they say. It was written quite literally as I was reading the article. I took no time to formulate language nor ideas. I could have written that much more thoughfully. Ah, so be it. That was what I had time for so that is what I contributed.
If you disagree with my points, come here and share. I'll be the first one to back down in the face of logic.

As I said before, to toss around cryptic posts, full of condemnation without substance, accomplishes nothing. You say that you don't want to write because it accomplished nothing.
Before this massacre that is being called the Second Iraq War, I wrote a long post condeming President Bush's foreign policy ideas, his insistance on bloodshed, his failure to act as a citizen of the world. I wrote it out of frustration and anger and sadness that this was about to be done in my name.
Three days later I got an e-mail from somebody who, as far as I know, is not a member of this board. He wrote simply "i wasn't sure whether i backed up Bush in his views but you have made my mind up. If only more people could see your post, i'm sure that the number of people backing war would decrease greatly. Thankyou."

I had no intention of changing anybody's mind with that post...it was a vent of frustration. The fact is, though, that at least one person read it and got to thinking. That's enough for me to know that my time was not wasted. You can not possibly affect others without sharing your own ideas.

If you truly do have your own ideas here, share them. It can't hurt.

Xpirex
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Dammed if I know...
Insane since: Mar 2003

posted posted 05-05-2003 09:27

Mobrul: You have made me think... in fact you stopped me dead in my tracks. I have accumulated a lot of anger, frustration, rage and sadness for the things that are happening in the world and the seemingly flippant casualness with which these things are discussed in here not to mention the pro-stances of some of the contributors... but I'm going to take heed from you and slow down a bit and chill for a moment... thankyou for that.

DL4.5: why do you think I am talking to or about you when I am not, self flattery is not very becoming. You don't know what I'm talking about because I have not intended you to and you don't have the capacity, and now your behaving like a b****. [edit]


...xpi...

[This message has been edited by Xpirex (edited 05-05-2003).]

WebShaman
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 05-05-2003 11:22

Very nice post, Mobrul...the only thing I can add, is that everyone has a voice, and should let it be heard, loud and clear.

A democracy only remains a democracy when it is actively used, defended, and nurtured.

I have been a constant critic of Mr. Bush and his administration, from the getgo. It is not so much that I was against taking down Saddam, but more how it was done. IMHO, Mr. Bush has taken a hand full of aces, and turned it into a losing hand. Diplomatically, he is perhaps the worst President the US has ever had. The amount of damage Mr. Bush has done to Americas international affairs, is IMHO huge, and will take literally years, if ever, to repair. On the domestic homefront, the disaster is even greater.

Militarily, though the US 'won' every battle with fairly low casualties in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the declared main objectives have yet to be reached in both cases...a clear 'loss' here, not for the military, but for Mr. Bush, and America. Bin Laden and Al Qaida remain free, able to threaten the US and the world at any time, and the WMD and Saddam as well.

Regime change in Iraq? Well, though it's a 'nice' gesture, Mr. Bush is really not fooling anyone (or shouldn't be) that he was truly interested in doing just that. So, what do we have, then? On one side, huge costs for both wars...a moslem world that is very angry and upset with the US (more than before), and an instable international forum (and some pretty angry 'allies'). On the other hand, nice, fat contracts for American businesses, and one of the biggest oil areas that exist...and easily reached.

One can see that Mr. Bush really does want to be re-elected...and is courting big-business and the oil companies, for those huge, fat campaign contributions...I expect the coming elections will show Mr. Bush spending more money to be re-elected, as anytime before in US history. If he doesn't win, despite all this, then I would more than declare that a victory for democracy, and the voice of the people. So we will see. If he does manage to win, I expect the face of the US to be changed, irrepairably. It would be a disaster, IMHO. And should one more terroristic act take place within the US during Mr. Bushs presidency, I fear for the worst.

I also understand the feelings of helplessness, when faced with situations like these. The democratic process often works slowly, sometimes too slowly. And many of the Democrats were strangely silent before (and after) the conflicts. I find that...strange. However, one place where Americans can let their voice be heard, loud and clear, is at the polls. Of course, bombarding ones congressman and senator with letters, email, etc is also a good idea...and I have already done so.

The point being, one is only as helpless as one feels. Decide not to be helpless. Turn that anger and rage, and despair into positive energy, and do something about it! Even if it's only as little as doing that here...as Mobrul pointed out, it may change someones mind...and though that might not be a lot, one does have to consider, that with enough 'small' victories, one can reach a bigger victory. The difference, of course, is in the trying.

DL-44
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: under the bed
Insane since: Feb 2000

posted posted 05-05-2003 20:09

yes x...you're just so deep and mysterious

anyway, sorry to interupt guys, I'll butt out now...

WebShaman
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 05-06-2003 09:58

Xpirex
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Dammed if I know...
Insane since: Mar 2003

posted posted 05-07-2003 22:46

Ok Mr. WebShamen, I withdraw... to a point. My comments and frustrations are directed to the 'kind' of American that is obviously not you, but maybe you are being tarred with the same brush. Teach me something good then... show me something truely beautiful... I am willing to learn...

...and someone also tell me why no expense was spared in making the Iraqi oil fields so secure but the people can hardly get a clean glass of water to drink? Or is it that the essential services infrastructure was deliberately destroyed so that the Amercans can then take Iraqi oil as payment for rebuilding contracts? (and I might add 'only' US companies) and so on and so forth). This is the acme of 21st century US wisdom and thinking in action. Can anyone really support any of that? Yes... (where is my brush...)

...xpi...

[This message has been edited by Xpirex (edited 05-07-2003).]

Kevin G
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Insane since: Dec 2002

posted posted 05-07-2003 23:58

i was talking with my dad about things the other day...he said that a democracy in iraq (or other arab nations)cannot exist. the iraqo people are super gung ho about their religion - islam. they believe that there should be no separation of church and state. they want the government to do what their religion says. their whole lives are based on their religion. democracy contradicts this. the freedom of religion would make them go crazy. theres a bunch more stuff he said but i cant remember.

Kevin G
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Insane since: Dec 2002

posted posted 05-07-2003 23:59

whoa hey im a maniac. i used to be neurotic. whoo hoo!

brucew
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: North Coast of America
Insane since: Dec 2001

posted posted 05-08-2003 04:57

Kevin G: Lunacy for you is just around the corner!

I'm not so sure I agree with your dad on the separation of religion and government in the Middle East. I may be wrong but isn't Iran the only country in the neighborhood run by clerics? It can't be argued, however, that most of the leaders in that neck of the woods are *very* devout, but that's not the same as the country being run by the religion.

When Jack Kennedy took office in 1961, there was considerable concern that the Catholic church would run the US through Kennedy as proxy. More recently, the rise of the "Religious Right" has many worried, here and abroad, about Christian fundementalists running the country.

This issue isn't so black-and-white as it first appears.

The best news I've heard on the subject was posted on Tuesday on the BBC News site:

quote:
The United States has accused Iran of sending agents into Iraq to promote an Iranian-style theocracy, but most Iraqi Shia clerics are advocating a separation of religion and state.

Like other Shia followers around the world, Iraqi Shia clerics returning home from Iran are divided on the crucial question of how far Islam should enter politics.

Some of them who have been closer to the conservative faction in the Iranian leadership support an Iranian-style theocracy led by clerics.

But sources close to the Iraqi community in the Iranian holy city of Qom say that the majority of Iraqi clerics in the city object to the interference of clerics in politics.

Living in Iran has given them a chance to see at first hand the shortcomings of political Islam.

There is now a general belief among many Shia scholars that the challenge faced by Islam in Iran to solve political and economic problems has undermined the faith.

Iraqi clerics are also returning to Shia centres in their country like Najaf where the dominant thinking has been to keep religion separate from the state.

Iraq's most prominent Shia cleric, Ayatollah Sistani, believes that religious leaders should not enter politics.

-- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3004551.stm

I darned near wore an entire cup of coffee when I read that. Ayatollahs think politics have undermined Islam. <shakes head> What a world...

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