This is topic War is hell in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Kasie H (Member # 2120) on :
...and no one is spared.

Goes well with your Sunday coffee, neh?

No wonder they hate us.

Edit: The picture this refers to was hosted on my site temporarily, but I have since removed it. If anyone wants to see it, please e-mail the address in my profile or IM me -- J3rownEyedGirl .

[ April 25, 2004, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: Kasie H ]
Posted by Sugar+Spice (Member # 5874) on :
This is the reason why, whichever way I try to look at it (and believe me, I’ve tried) I just can't countenance this war. I just wish so much that I could believe that there really was no other way of getting rid of Saddam, if they had really wanted to.

But this is and always has been the way of the world, and small people far away don‘t matter to us.
We always seem to forget that they are our neighbours.
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
They don't hate us. If you oppose the war, you should remember what has happened to Iraqis for the last 30 years-partially due to USA complicity.

Of course, he didn't permit pictures of what he did to his people, now did he?

What other way would Saddam have been gotten rid of, S&S?
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
Oh, and the idea that since there will be civilian casualties-which the 'insurgents' largely cause-we shouldn't go to war is absurd in any case, particularly when you examine who we go to war WITH
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
Rakeesh, I'm pretty certain we were the cause of by far most of the civilian casualties in the invasion, at least.
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
Well, I define cause differently, I suppose. When an attacker makes an ambush on a military target in an urban area and the attacked fires back and civilian casualties occur, I blame the attacker-the one who, by choice, deliberately fights and hides in urban areas. I also think this way because one can safely assume that many of the 'insurgents' are, in fact, Baathists who obviously have little difficulty inflicting civilian death.

You'll just have to take my word for it that I would think the same if the roles are reversed.
Posted by John L (Member # 6005) on :
You know, what's even more sad and jarring is that people were made to look like that in Iraq before the war. Torture, hunger, 'police' brutality, etc. were all commonplace beforehand. That's why photos like this have the opposite effect that the people trying to make a "statement" were trying to make—putting horrors out of context, no matter what your political ideology, is neither artistic nor respectful of the people who suffer.

In fact, it's pretty damn sickening. Let's get a grip, people. I drew a picture from a similar photograph, but it not only shows the effects of warfare in a populated area, but shows how being part of this warfare affects the soldiers taking part. I wish I still had the photo (it's probably available on the web somewhere), but here is the drawing. Oppose the steps our government is taking toward Iraq all you like, but cut out the ignorant hyperbole, please.

[ April 25, 2004, 12:35 PM: Message edited by: John L ]
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
Wow, John-- I didn't know you were that talented.

Just a single critiscism-- and it may not be worth anything, if you've finished the work up-- with the boy's armed raised up, it looks like he's still alive.

From the title, 'Collateral,' I'm assuming you wanted to show him dead.

Still, I like the style very much.

Do you have anything else posted on the internet?

Kasie-- it is good to question war. But the emotional manipulation that the website's author tries to wring his viewers into-- I can do without that.

[ April 25, 2004, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Scott R ]
Posted by John L (Member # 6005) on :
It's a little girl, and it's supposed to be alive, but wounded. The soldier is a medic. Obviously, the photo displays it much more efficiently, I just began doodling it while sitting around, and decided to ink it after finishing the main soldier.

Believe me, if you saw the original photo, you'd know I'm not that talented. I rank up with very mediocre comic book artists, at my very best.
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
Don't sell yourself short.
Posted by John L (Member # 6005) on :
I'm not. I didn't say I was bad (I'm not), I just said that I'm not that good.
Posted by Sopwith (Member # 4640) on :
No matter how I feel about this war, I can't count us as the bad guys. Some folks who are still neophytes on politics and the ways of the world find it easy, so easy, to lay the label on us. Some find it easy after years and years of a self loathing that makes their country, in their eyes, the cause of all the suffering in the world.

There are even some, that secretly cheer when our soldiers are killed as they try their best to give the former slaves and victims of a dictator at least a shot at a self determined life. And they find it easy to ignore that the ones setting off the bombs that kill busloads of children really, really just might be the bad guys.

Do you really think our soldiers are babykillers and rapists? That we choose to indiscriminately shoot civilians? That we use starvation as a weapon? That we use torture as a matter of course?

If you think this war, as we have fought it, is inhumane, then you've never looked at war through anything but the eyes of a tenured professor.

Edit to add: John, that was a powerful piece of art you crafted. You can sell your talents short if you choose, but the message is just as strong.

[ April 25, 2004, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: Sopwith ]
Posted by Xaposert (Member # 1612) on :
You don't have to be a bad guy to be wrong.
Posted by Sopwith (Member # 4640) on :
Xap, whether the start of the war is right or wrong, is a bit of a moot point now, right? Unless you've got the Treso 2000 Time Machine ready to fire up and go back to fix things...
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
It would be utterly evil of the US to pull out now, with the expectation (because of the amount of insurgents and their apparent dedication) that the Baathist regime or the fanatical Muslim right would fill the roles of governmental authority.
Posted by Xaposert (Member # 1612) on :
Not at all, unless you don't believe in learning lessons for the future. If we don't learn this lesson now, we'll likely be doomed to make other unilateral preemptive strikes in the future, and relive our mistake over and over.

Besides, it's difficult to understand the resistance unless you first recognize what you did that may be making them resist. And if you can't understand them, it will be difficult to pacify them.

[ April 25, 2004, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: Xaposert ]
Posted by John L (Member # 6005) on :
Tres, what do you think is causing groups in Iraq to resist? I'm seriously curious about that. A lot of people claim to 'understand,' but the reasons go a lot deeper than arguments about whether democracy is the best or whether Bush was justified in wanting to topple Hussein. What is your reasononing for the resistance?

I'll give you a hint: look back to World War I, then again to when Hussein took Iraq.
Posted by The Silverblue Sun (Member # 1630) on :
It's occupation.
Posted by John L (Member # 6005) on :
Close, but no cee-gar.
Posted by Xaposert (Member # 1612) on :
I presume the largest number resist because we took over their country, because they want to rule themselves rather than be ruled by us in the way we think they should be ruled. I base this on the fact that this is what they complain about.

But other groups resist because some liked the old regime (which we outsiders came in and took away from them), or others because they are sympathetic to Al Qaeda's cause.

[ April 25, 2004, 01:35 PM: Message edited by: Xaposert ]
Posted by Sopwith (Member # 4640) on :
Rather than argue with Xap, I'll just ask this...

What would you have done about Iraq? How would you have prevented the war and slept well at night knowing that the Iraqi people were safe from any threat foreign or domestic.

Please, enlighten me Xap. Peace is the goal of all civilized men and women, tell me how you would have achieved it.

All I've heard is the sound of black paint thrown at the US flag. How would you have done it?
Posted by John L (Member # 6005) on :
Nope and nope, Tres. While there may be some small groups who have some ties with militants from other regions, most of the general overall resistance stems from being completely and utterly sick and tired of Western colonialism and what it's meant to the treatment of Arabs since the early 1900's.

Iraq as a state was formed by Western colonialism after the first World War, with all of the modern boundaries drawn up by France and Britain. The numerous leaders of the Arab states were promised much, especially from Britain (this is including the unfortunate promises to both the Palestinians and Jews, causing todays long-standing conflict), though very little was followed through. This led to much absolutist governments in the nations taking hold. Add to that continual shoddy dealing with the now suffering nation-states (for oil, the only sellable natural resource in the region), and the constant upswelling of promises during regime changes (that were either broken or "altered" later), and you have a pretty bitter general attitude toward the West in general. So what if it was Britain and France who were the leaders when it began? All of Western Europe and America have so many cultural ties that they may as well all be part of the same expansionist government (as far as the Mid-East is concerned).

Then there's the economic deals: Western states have continually made economic deals with nations of the Mid-East that have been fairly one-sided. No, they haven't been totally screwed on every deal, but the terms have rarely been on their own terms (some of that has changed with OPEC, but not much). In Iraq, things were even worse in that the internal struggles with the coup and the subsequent Baathist regime were practically strangling an otherwise intelligent and industrious population. For years (decades), this went largely unchallenged by the self-righteous UN.

Then, over the last two decades, the West has become increasingly involved in the politics of the Mid-East, often with unanticipated consequences—the product of trying to influence politics according to Western modes of diplomacy. Each time it backfired, the West blamed the Mid-East, and the Mid-East blamed the West. Of course, the blame game is about as far as it got, aside from a few instances of shooting and some individual hijackings (which only served to help the West demonize the Mid-East more). The brutal fighting between Iran and Iraq was handled poorly by the US, the UN, and the participants of the actual fighting, and no genuine resolution has been made to date (yeah, they stopped shooting, but the anger never really ceased). George Bush finally took some action against Hussein's growing brutality in the early 90's, but since it wasn't politically efficient for him to follow through (too costly), yet another chance to show the Mid-East that America and the West were not just self-serving was lost. Would Iraq have welcomed chasing out Hussein's regime back then? It's hard to say, but counting defections and the quick surrenders, it's easy to postulate a less-costly campaign than the current liberation scheme.

At the very least, three generations of Arabs have witnessed nothing but self-serving political manipulation by the West. I'm not saying that it's been only that, but at the general populace level, that's what the effects of the "diplomacy" have left as the general consesus. These people aren't resistant because they see the current occupation as some kind of threat, they see it as yet another in a long line of "on-again-off-again" attempts of friendship that will end as soon as the people really need it. Will that happen? It remains to be seen. However, very little has been done by the US and coalition troops to disarm this mentality instead of doing things that just make them look like they're doing the same-old-same-old.

Every step the US is taking isn't bad, but aside from just getting the UN to back the forces, the US needs to get some genuine support from non-combatant Arab nations (yes, they actually exist). This "they need democracy" rhetoric is currently bouncing off of many Iraqi people as "they need Americanized government." That needs to be rectified with a little more than the "trust me" explanations given (hell, that's all I see given on most US media, there's no telling what the Iraqis are hearing). And whatever happens, America better make damn sure that they don't allow another another 'ibn Saud' to get political influence in that nation (al-Sadr is seriously trying).

As for particulars, though, Sopwith, I'd have to say that it's too difficult to make accurate guesses with the crappy and horribly incomplete data the media has supplied. Despite the assurances of disclosure, the reality is that information is not comprehensive enough to get an accurate picture of how things are there.
Posted by Xaposert (Member # 1612) on :
What would you have done about Iraq? How would you have prevented the war and slept well at night knowing that the Iraqi people were safe from any threat foreign or domestic.

Please, enlighten me Xap. Peace is the goal of all civilized men and women, tell me how you would have achieved it.

If you expect there is anything we can do to make the Iraqi people safe from any threat foreign or domestic, I'm afraid you are quite mistaken. We can't even keep OURSELVES safe from any threat foreign or domestic. No nation ever has, to the best of my knowledge.

I would have treated Iraq the way we normally treat repressive regimes that we wish to oppose. I would have used legal means to support reform within the nation, placed pressure on the leadership to obey human rights, and I would have only invaded if they attacked someone else, as international law demands. There's nothing radical about this strategy - we use it all the time, in cases ranging from Libya to Cuba to North Korea, and it is about as effective as you can get. It would not make life perfect for the Iraqi people, but to expect that is unrealistic - all you can expect is to do what you can within the restrictions you face as an outside power.

So, there you have it. That's what I would have done. Incidently, that's what the U.S. would have done too, had 9/11 not driven us into a WMD-fearing frenzy. So, you certainly can't call this anything along the lines of a war of necessity. We had at the very least this commonly used alternative option.

[ April 25, 2004, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: Xaposert ]
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
We did that, to the best of my knowledge, for 12 years without success.

We've done that for a great many more to North Korea.

Economic sanctions against brutal regimes don't work because the regimes typically control the 'voice' of the people. The regime tells the people what to think of their suffering, who's to blame for it, and so forth.

Can you think of a political climate that HAS changed from despotism to popular government due to international economic sanctions?
Posted by Xaposert (Member # 1612) on :
Well, sometimes success is impossible without causing more evil than that success is worth, even with the best strategy. And other times success takes much longer than 12 years - decades or centuries. It took half a century to do it with the Soviet Union, but in the end it was none of our invasions that achieved what we desired.

As for economics sanctions, I don't think that works well if your goal is bringing democracy to a country. There are much better (or at least less costly) ways of supporting democratic reform in nations - publically calling for it, supporting reform movements, supporting rebellions, political pressure, etc. In the case of Iraq, we didn't use the best tactics in the 12 years we were seeking reform.

[ April 25, 2004, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: Xaposert ]

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