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Direct from the front: "Severely Blogged"

What if I told you that, after thousands of years of violence, Iraq is now a peace-loving nation? A great contributor to the world in terms of quality products and a strident ally in wars against dictators and terrorism. Its government and people refined and so ardent about improving that they stabilize the Middle-East. Their people are beautiful and enlightened, educated and productive. They agree that America will not remove its remaining bases from their land ... [continued at Ernest Goes to Iraq]

Question: Do we?

Q: "Do we really turn age-old, murderous countries into useful free citizens of the world?"

A:-->Yes we do.

God bless the United States of America and its march over tyranny.

Democratizing Iraq

It will indeed be a wonderful thing if our invasion of Iraq someday turns out well for the Iraqis. We all hope it turns out that way.

However, the historical precedent is not at all as clear as Ernest makes it out to be. Stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: Has any country ever successfully democratized another by overthrowing the latter's government by force of arms? In other words - country A invades country B, then country B becomes a full-fledged, successful democracy. Has this actually ever happened? I can't think of a single case.

It should go without saying that Germany and Japan are not comparable in any way to our endeavor in Iraq. Both Germany and Japan had declared war on the United States when we engaged them. Japan had already attacked us. Both of them were agressive military regimes that were busy gobbling up large parts of Europe of Asia. Saddam's Iraq, meanwhile, was a nasty place to live, but not a threat to the U.S., and not in the process of invading its neighbors. Not at all the same case as Germany and Japan.

The attempt to Democratize Iraq is more akin to our Monroe Doctine initiatives like the invasion of Panama by Bush Sr., or the occupations of the Dominican Republic in the 1930's and 1960's. These were advertised at the time as Democratization efforts. Well, how have they turned out?

Once again, I want to emphasize that I certainly hope this effort succeeds. I'm just not to optimistic.

The comparison is a bust

The comparison between Iraq and Japan or Germany is hardly worth making. Our war against Japan was in self defense after being attacked. Iraq never attacked us. Japan totally submitted to occupation authority after the war. Iraq has an insurgency that has totally confounded the US military planners. We didn't go to war to democratize Japan. We went to war to democratize Iraq (since all other stated reasons have been debunked). We have completely destroyed entire cities after the war was over in Iraq. We continue to kill innocent civillians in Iraq along with the insurgents who actually have every right to oppose an occupying force. We have employed torture in Iraqi prisons with images that have shocked the world. All of these things were avoided with Japan.
We are breeding hatred in Iraq and there is a slim chance they will become our allies in our fight against terrorism in the future or whatever other fights we want help in. Already they are forming alliances with Iran, one of two countries left unattacked in our "axis of evil." Doesn't look to promising for the USA and our brand of democracy.

Reality Check

I admit, I feel very strange responding to fiction, but because it seems somebody has been getting his "facts" straight from Baghdad Bob (didn’t know he was still around!) I will clarify…

“Iraq never attacked us” Neither did Germany; the parallels are most striking with Saddam’s plans to take Kuwait and move out from there, just like Hitler did with Europe. But it doesn’t matter which purpose brought us here; we will again create a free, prosperous nation out of a former dictatorship.

“Iraq has an insurgency that has confounded the US military planners.” The “insurgency” [they are actually anti-Iraq terrorists] loses every battle they engage in. How is a 100:1 kill ratio "confounded?"

“We have completely destroyed entire cities” Name one! You can’t, they are all still there. Damage is done to buildings anti-Iraq forces use, but not on a city-wide scale. But hey, welcome to war. (duh?)

“Insurgents actually have every right to fight an opposing force” 95%+ of the terrorist's victims are Iraqis and are intended to be Iraqis. If you think they have “every right” to kill innocents, women, and children, tests indicate IRAN should be your home country.

“We employ torture in Iraqi prisons” Reading your remarkds is torture. The locals are surprised that the media was so enthralled with the photos. We laugh together. They are familiar with real torture.

“We are breeding hatred in Iraq” Yeah, like the police breed hate during a drug bust. Polls show that the majority are glad for what we did, but we are breeding something indeed--trust. For example, we get ever more, and more accurate tips from the Iraqis on where their enemies are hiding.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Rants based on what political icons say is very risky. Better to get your “facts” from those on the ground here. Right now, things are coming along so well that some predict the beginning of pull-outs next Spring. If it really happens, very cool! That should make even a liberal happy. But it won’t. They oppose things that work.

In my fledgling wanderings

In my fledgling wanderings through the world of blogs I have found many that support these principles that have brought us to Iraq, but there are also many that try to harp on every flailing in it, while presenting no alternative to the necessities that regrettably and irrefutably brought war to us at this time.

I wouldn't call the war in Iraq a "necessity that regrettably and irrefutably brought war to us at this time." Invasion of Afghanistan, yes, but Iraq, no. Are you going to feel the same way if we go into North Korea next?

What a difference the noble citizens of America have made when answering the fearful call of war. Critics ne‘er contribute.

I'm a critic. I'm set to join the Air Force in June (as soon as I graduate).

The article is very patriotic, which is good for the soldiers and everything, but maybe a little more optimistic than realistic.

Kudos

"Critics ne'er contribute" is an old saying and probably hyperbole; there are many exceptions. I mean, even Laman and Lemuel contributed to the trip. But perhaps it would have gone better without their foot-dragging and murmuring?

HOWEVER, I'm not sure you qualify as a critic. You sound more like you are unsure of the effort's merits. Can be expected. I absolutely salute your bonafide service, as I do all who are over here whether they agree or not with our purposes. Best to you.

You know, many were pessimistic about whether we gained anything in Germany and Japan for more than a decade after World War II. But now there is no doubt.(History was a large part of my "higher" degree) That's why history is so valuable, remembering it gives hope where it is hard to find. Hence, I quote greatness:

In this world, the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are positive. Even when they are wrong they are positive, and that is the way of achievement, correction, improvement, and success. B. C. Forbes

I've never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.--Paul Harvey

An optimist is a person who sees only the lights in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadows, but in addition sees something else: the possibility of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows.--Felix Adler

Stick with the optimists. It's going to be tough enough even if they're right.--James Reston

what?

you say--""However, the historical precedent is not at all as clear as Ernest makes it out to be. Stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: Has any country ever successfully democratized another by overthrowing the latter's government by force of arms? In other words - country A invades country B, then country B becomes a full-fledged, successful democracy. Has this actually ever happened? I can't think of a single case.""

Then you go on to explain that in fact Germany and Japan are fine examples of this (and they are).

i am just a little confused...are there or aren't there any examples of a "country ever successfully democratized another by overthrowing the latter's government by force of arms"

"Saddam's Iraq, meanwhile,

"Saddam's Iraq, meanwhile, was a nasty place to live..."

This was true if you're a Kurd or part of an opposition party but for the most part, Iraq was a lot safer for Westerners than it is now. If you don't believe me, read about how safe it was from firsthand accounts of people who visited Iraq during Sadaam's tenure in a book that just plain rules: "The World's Most Dangerous Places."

Regarding your comments about Japan, I see a lot of similarities between the kamakazis in WWII and the radical terrorists that live in Iraq today. I think the major reason why Japan had a 360 degree turn around from after the war was because we absolutely scared the shiz out of them by dropping 2 a-bombs on them. Do you have any idea what that would do to your country if you had NO MILITARY left and if Milwaukee or some other city had just been leveled by an a-bomb???? We would pee our pants and beg for mercy.

I'm not saying we should do this to Iraq, but I think that Iraqis (and especially radical Iraqis) have NO FEAR of coalition forces. The only thing these people respond to is fear. They cannot be controlled any other way. If I was the head of coalition forces in Iraq, instead of creating a civilian police force, I would replace them with a secret, government strike force that could tap into any phone conversation, monitor all internet connections, and arrest you for no reason or any reason at all. Random interrogations and torture wouldn't hurt either. Facism cannot be removed overnight in some places. Martial law works, even in post-revolutionary and post-Civil War AMERICA.

All I'm saying is that modern society is pussy-footing its way around the issue of terrorism. We need to burn the idiots in open pits and video tape it to show Osama and his buds. We need to publicly torture terrorists in the worst possible way so it hurts your eyes to watch. The Geneva Convention has no reign over terrorists, and for a good reason. You cannot treat these people reasonably. They need to die. We need to indoctrinate little children not to be terrorists, to value life and to contribute to society. Radical clerics should be publically executed. In short, grow some balls and DO SOMETHING about terrorism other than "occupying" Iraq and training a police force that could be overcome in 5 seconds by Zambia's tribal militia.

Historical precedent

gr8e,

The question is simple:

Do you know of any case where country A has invaded country B and successfully established a Democracy? I can't think of one.

In the case of Germany in WWII, country B (Germany) invaded several European countries, who allied together to defend themselves, and country A (U.S.) joined that coalition after country B (Germany) declared war on us. This is not the same thing as the war in Iraq. No one at the time of WWII would have ever suggested that our main goal was to establish a Democracy in Germany, as it simply was not. The war in Iraq is obviously a different case.

So... Given that Germany in WWII is a poor example of the sort of Democratization we are attempting in Iraq, and given that you believe we will be successful in that endeavor, do you have a different historical example of the sort of success you envision? This seems to me to be a fair question.

gr8e

Awesome comment. Very well said.

Operation Who's-Your-Baghdaddy

I agree; awesome comment. It's good to hear these things from someone who's actually there.

Getting the facts straight about Iraq

Yes, we probably do kill 100 for every one of us that gets killed but they are still confounding us. Rumsfeld recently said it could take 12 years to defeat the insurgency.
Our military leaders themselves have said that most of the insurgency are Iraqis. The most devastating car/suicide bombings have been attributed to foreign fighters but the fact remains that most opposition to US military presence are Iraqis. They do have the right to fight the occupation just the same as if a military came here to free us from the Bush administration we'd have a right to fight that military even if they were doing us a favor.
Torture is torture my friend and that is what happened in Abu Graib. In fact, the pentagon is refusing a court order to turn over additional images that are apparently more damning than the first.
I'm not sure what polls you are reading but the last poll I checked, performed by the coalition provisional authority, showed most Iraqis want the occupation forces out yesterday.

Fallujah

"“We have completely destroyed entire cities” Name one! You can’t, they are all still there. Damage is done to buildings anti-Iraq forces use, but not on a city-wide scale. But hey, welcome to war. (duh?)"

Fallujah is a good example. Completely decimated.

I'll stick with the

I'll stick with the idealists.

Awesome comment?

I think in this exchange both Curtis and Ernest have seriously overplayed their hand - to their own detriment.

1. Curtis claims we have decimated cities. This is true, but that's what happens in a war. No one would seriously argue that our troops have not tried their hardest to avoid unnecessary destruction.

2. Ernest laughs at torture. This is an extreme and repugnant position. I would find him more believable if he argued that torture is wrong but it's a "few bad apples" and it will be corrected. Although I disagree with that argument, at least I don't discount it out-of-hand, or lose respect for the person who makes it. He does a disservice to his own credibility when he suggests that torture is somehow funny. It's not.

3. Curtis claims that the insurgents have confounded our forces. This is questionable at best. Ernest claims things in Iraq are rosy. Nope. The truth lies somewhere in between. Ernest should admit that things are not going nearly as well as we wanted or as we expected. But Curtis should know that terrorist bombings do not defeat armies. If we lose in Iraq, it won't be because our army was confounded.

Finally, I just want to be clear that I don't mean this to be a personal attack on Curtis or Ernest. I'm just critiquing this particular exchange. I enjoy their comments quite a bit (as I've said in the past) and I don't mean to offend. Please don't take this personally.

Everyone

FYI --The best source that I have found for accurate reporting in Iraq is:

Michael Yon

He rides along with the soldiers and gives amazing reports and pics from battle scenes and honest overall assessment of the effort. Check it out!

Sober up veterans

Here is a sobering collection of words from Veterans who's eyes are now open.

http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000271.php

Jr- Just out of curiosity

Jr-
Just out of curiosity (honest- this is not a pointed question), do you have any intentions of a future with the military and/or politics?

Explanation

van zep,

It appears I was not as clear as I should have been. My point was that Japan and Germany are not true examples of a country invading another one and successfully installing a Democracy. They are not, because we didn't invade Germany and Japan. In WWII Germany and Japan were the agressors, not the other way around. Whereas in Iraq, we are the invaders.

There is no case that I know of where one country has invaded another for the purpose of installing a Democracy, and has been successful.

I'm sorry I wrote this so badly the first time. I hope this clears it up.

oh yeah?

"The war in Iraq is obviously a different case."

ya think? of course it is a different case...the similarities to japan/nazi germany are still pretty amazing

"So... Given that Germany in WWII is a poor example of the sort of Democratization we are attempting in Iraq,"

it's not though--forget the reason we INVADED germany--just look at the process/outcome and it is strikingly similar to iraq

here's another example of the US invading and establishing democracy:
the United States invaded Korea--stopped the Communists--AND LOOK AT SOUTH KOREA TODAY!!!

yippee

"Yes, we probably do kill 100 for every one of us that gets killed but they are still confounding us."

if this is the case--i hope that every enemy the US ever faces 'confounds' us

"Our military leaders themselves have said that most of the insurgency are Iraqis."

what an epiphany--you know, saddam hussein was an iraqi too

"They do have the right to fight the occupation just the same as if a military came here to free us from the Bush administration we'd have a right to fight that military even if they were doing us a favor."

you see...for the most part though...they aren't fighting the "occupation" but are rather hiding bombs in bags full of candy to kill kurds and shiites (and btw your USA/invasion/Bush analogy was the worst i have ever encountered "even if they were doing us a favor")

"Torture is torture my friend and that is what happened in Abu Graib."

torture is torture--true--what happened at abu graib wasn't torture. forcing some prisoners to pose for pictures is nothing like what REAL torture is--(peeling skin off faces, thumbscrews, vices, electric things, chemicals, sacrament meeting on a sunny day, castration, etc)

give me a break

fallujah

"Fallujah is a good example. Completely decimated."

no its not

had we intensely bombed fallujah to rid it of the anti-iraq terrorists--it would be as you say "completely decimated"--
but, in fact, at great personal cost of both life and money, the US sent its soldiers into fallujah to kill the terrorists and save as much as the infrastructure as possible--

bad example

Torture as Policy

I don't think using torture as a deterrent is a particularly good idea. I doubt it would be effective, first of all. And it would be illegal of course. Oh, and it would be wrong - I almost forgot that part.

(I can't believe I'm seriously discussing this.)

My point was...

We have wreaked destruction after the end of declared hostilities. An occupying force has a strict responsibility to protect the population but instead we have been destroying cities. Not cool. We will not be loved in Iraq for our destructive tendencies.

I also stand by my confounded statement. We wipe them out right and left but, as was stated by an Army General over there, for every one we kill, three more pop up. I don't think we will ever suppress the violence over there with our own violence. I think we will end up being chased out, just like in Vietnam. Of course only time will tell if I am way off base or not. Thanks for your comments LawrenceB.

Not bad

Very fair-minded, Mr. B Laurence. It's not a rosy picture over here, I guarantee it! But there is no shortage of reporting the false and the negative. It would be redundant and a waste for me to detail lies and bad news--heck, this comment strand is full of it! (pun intended)

What is unfair is painting this war a failure or that it would have been fine to let these people continue to suffer the insane inhumanities once all too common here. Or that errors and destruction in war are somehow unexpected or tantamount when the opposite is true. In general, the progress here is nothing short of astounding. And hardly reported.

I wish you could see the happiness of the people freed here. I wish you could see the soldiers describe the bond they share with the locals, their admiration of their characters, and the ability of the soldiers to restrain from unleashing rage on innocents when a buddy is blown in half. And the next day hand out teddy bears to children. By far the majority of the soldier's time here is spent building, not fighting. Ever see that in the news?

It's not a rosy picture here, but there is goodness and Godliness and miracles and success stacked on top of each other. And because of the "trash the war" mind-set, the "balanced" picture is darkly blurred. Mine is a small attempt at clarification--some light in the middle of the tunnel. Sorry if the one-sidedness bothers you. Too many are willing to wield the knife; I just want to shed some light.

And don't worry, I don't take things personally. If we all did, the soldiers and I would go home. And I'm sorry, stacking naked prisoners on top of each other is not torture, it is degrading humiliation and unacceptable. But the COMPARRISON to torture that these people know is laughable.

You know, they do that stuff in Hollywood. I wish the critics would turn their wilting gaze away from soldiers under the duress of war and on an whole industry of smut instead. But that's another rant all together!

My brother went to Italy on his mission. The Italians received him warmly because their parents and grandparents told them of the kindness and generosity of American soldiers during and after WWII. I think they will remember that here for generations too. C'mon, let me float some hope...

question

i plan to be king of both norway and monaco

These don't count because

These don't count because they don't.
What a great reason.

Confounded

"if this is the case--i hope that every enemy the US ever faces 'confounds' us"

Perhaps a better comparison would be with Vietnam. We killed upwards of 3 million Vietnamese while only losing 58,000 of our own. We still lost the war but we bombed them back into the stone ages. In Iraq we will probably lose too, but we will probably kill a lot more than we get killed.

Fallujah decimated?

This sounds pretty bad to me. This is from a journalist in Iraq:
"I was in Falluja during the April siege last year for a couple of days, and then I went back in May several times to report on what happened. But I didn’t go in November, because the military cordoned off the city and maintains that cordon to this day. They’re not letting any journalists in there. I’ve been getting information by interviewing refugees, or through some of my colleagues who have been in and out of the city several times.
Life there is horrendous. At least 65 percent of the buildings have been bombed to the ground, and what’s left has been severely damaged. There’s no water, no electricity and, of course, no jobs. And when people go back into the city, they have to get a retina scan and get fingerprinted, and then they’re issued an ID card.
Then they go inside to find what’s left of their homes, and in a really horrible situation in which the military remains in total control of the town. There are snipers everywhere, and the ambulances aren’t able really to run--they’re still being targeted by the military. The one remaining hospital--Falluja General Hospital--is barely functioning, because people have to go through checkpoints to get there.
Life in Falluja is really a horror story. Most of the city’s residents are refugees and will continue to be refugees for quite some time. They’re scattered in small towns on the outskirts of Falluja, as well as Baghdad and other cities. The last estimate I heard was about 25,000--maybe a little bit more than that--had returned back to a city that once had a population of 350,000."

Good example.

Torture

I think torture ought to be okay under extreme circumstances, and that only a few select people (pres, general, etc) are allowed to authorize it.

There are times (ticking bomb terrorist) when extreme situations call for extreme means, but the person who gives the go ahead ought to be responsible for the consequences.

Generally, I am totally against torture and other "cruel and unusual punishment," but there are always exceptions.