The ugly truth about everyday life in Baghdad

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mourningstar
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The ugly truth about everyday life in Baghdad

Post by mourningstar » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:50 am

CONFIDENTIAL MEMO
FROM: US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Baghdad
TO: Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State
SUBJECT: SNAPSHOTS FROM THE OFFICE
SENSITIVE



1. Iraqi staff in the Public Affairs sector have complained that Islamist and Militia groups have been negatively affecting daily routine. Harassment over proper dress and habits is increasingly persuasive. They also report power cuts and fuel prices have diminished their quality of life.

Women's Rights

2. Two of our three female employees report stepped up harassment beginning in mid-May. One, a Shia who favors Western clothing, was advised by an unknown woman in her Baghdad neighbourhood to wear a veil and not to drive her own car. She said some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative.

3. Another, a Sunni, said people in her neighbourhood are harassing women and telling them to cover up and stop using cell phones. She said the taxi driver who brings her every day to the green zone has told her he cannot let her ride unless she wears a headcover. A female in the PAS cultural section is now wearing a full abaya after receiving direct threats.

4. The women say they cannot identify the groups pressuring them. The cautions come from other women, sometimes from men who could be Sunni or Shia, but appear conservative. Some ministries, notably the Sadrist controlled Ministry of Transportation, have been forcing females to wear the hijab at work.

Dress Code For All?

5. Staff members have reported it is now dangerous for men to wear shorts in public; they no longer allow their children to play outside in shorts. People who wear jeans in public have come under attack.

Evictions

6. One colleague beseeched us to help a neighbor who was uprooted in May from her home of 30 years, on the pretense of application of some long-disused law. The woman, who is a Fayli Kurd, says she has nowhere to go, but the courts give them no recourse to this new assertion of power. Such uprootings may be response by new Shia government authorities to similar actions against Arabs by Kurds in other parts of Iraq. (NOTE: An Arab newspaper editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province, as political parties and their militias are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq.)

Power Cuts and Fuel Shortages a Drain on Society

7. Temperatures in Baghdad have already reached 115 degrees. Employees all confirm that, by the last week of May, they were getting one hour of power for every six hours without. By early June, the situation had improved slightly. In Hal al-Shaab, power has recently improved from one in six to one in three hours. Other staff report similar variances. Central Baghdad neighborhood Bab al-Nu'atham has had no city power for over a month. Areas near hospitals, political party headquarters and the green zone have the best supply. One staff member reported a friend lives in a building that houses the new minister; within 24 hours of his appointment, her building had city power 24 hours a day.

8. All employees supplement city power with service contracted with neighborhood generator hookups that they pay for monthly. One employee pays 7500 Iraqi dinars (ID) per ampere to get 10 amperes per month (75,000 ID = $50/month). For this, her family gets eight hours of power per day, with service ending at 2am.

9. Fuel queues. One employee told us that he had spent 12 hours on his day off waiting to get gas. Another staff member confirmed that shortages were so dire, prices on the black market in much of Baghdad were now above 1,000 ID per liter (the official, subsidized price is 250 ID)

Kidnappings, and Threats of Worse

10. One employee informed us that his brother-in-law had been kidnapped. The man was eventually released but this caused enormous emotional distress to his family. One employee, a Sunni Kurd, received an indirect threat on her life in April. She took extended leave, and by May, relocated abroad with her family.

Security Forces Mistrusted

11. In April, employees began reporting a change in demeanor of guards at the green zone checkpoints. They seemed to be militia-like in some cases seemingly taunting. One employee asked us to get her some press credentials because the guards held her embassy badge up and proclaimed loudly to passers-by "Embassy" as she entered. Such information is a death sentence if heard by the wrong people.

Supervising Staff At High Risk

12. Employees all share a common tale: of nine employees in March, only four had family members who knew they worked at the embassy. Iraqi colleagues who are called after hours often speak in Arabic as an indication they cannot speak openly in English.

13. We cannot call employees in on weekends or holidays without blowing their "cover". A Sunni Arab female employee tells us family pressures and the inability to share details of her employment is very tough; she told her family she was in Jordon when we sent her on training to the US. Mounting criticism of the US at home among family members also makes her life difficult. She told us in mid-June that most of her family believes the US - which is widely perceived as fully controlling the country and tolerating the malaise - is punishing the population as Saddam did (but with Sunnis and very poor Shia now at the bottom of the list). Otherwise, she says, the allocation of power and security would not be so arbitrary.

14. Some of our staff do not take home their American cell phones, as it makes them a target. They use code names for friends and colleagues and contacts entered into Iraq cell phones. For at least six months, we have not been able to use any local staff for translation at on-camera press events.

15. We have begun shredding documents that show local staff surnames. In March, a few members approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate.

Sectarian Tensions Within Families

16. Ethnic and sectarian faultlines are becoming part of the daily media fare in the country. One Shia employee told us in late May that she can no longer watch TV news with her mother, who is Sunni, because her mother blamed all the government failings on the fact that Shia are in charge. Many of the employee's family left Iraq years ago. This month, another sister is departing for Egypt, as she imagines the future here is too bleak.

Frayed Nerves and Mistrust

17. Against this backdrop of frayed social networks, tension and moodiness have risen. A Sunni Arab female apparently insulted a Shia female by criticizing her overly liberal dress. One colleague told us he feels " defeated" by circumstances, citing the example of being unable to help his two-year-old son who has asthma and cannot sleep in the stifling heat.

18. Another employee tells us life outside the Green Zone has become " emotionally draining". He claims to attend a funeral "every evening ". He, like other local employees, is financially responsible for his immediate and extended families. He revealed that "the burden of responsibility; new stress coming from social circles who increasingly disapprove of the coalition presence, and everyday threats weigh very heavily ".

Staying Straight with Neighborhood Governments and the 'Alama'

19. Staff say they daily assess how to move safely in public. Often, if they must travel outside their neighborhoods, they adopt the clothing, language, and traits of the area. Moving inconspicuously in Sadr City requires Shia dress and a particular lingo.

20 Since Samarra, Baghdadis have honed survival skills. Vocabulary has shifted. Our staff - and our contacts - have become adept in modifying behaviour to avoid "Alasas", informants who keep an eye out for " outsiders" in neighborhoods. The Alasa mentality is becoming entrenched as Iraqi security forces fail to gain public confidence.

21. Staff report security and services are being rerouted through " local providers" whose affiliations are vague. Those who are admonishing citizens on their dress are not well known either. Personal safety depends on good relations with "neighborhood" governments, who barricade streets and ward off outsiders. People no longer trust most neighbours.

22. A resident of Shia/Christian Karrada district told us "outsiders" have moved in and control the mukhtars.

Comment

23. Although our staff retain a professional demeanor, strains are apparent. We see their personal fears are reinforcing divisive sectarian or ethnic channels. Employees are apprehensive enough that we fear they may exaggerate developments or steer us towards news that comports with their own world view. Objectivity, civility, and logic that make for a functional workplace may falter if social pressures outside the Green Zone don't abate.

(This is an edited version of the memo)
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

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Post by RebLem » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:44 am

On 17 SEP 2005, an Iraqi member of my MSN Group named Murad Ghazi, a Kurdish medical student living in Baghdad from a definitely upper middle class if not more family (his father owns a Mercedes dealership) posted the following in my Group under the title Iraq will be lost soon and forever

Iraq the land of civiliaztions,the land of prophets,the land of science from where the writting was invented and from where alot of great scientest that contributed significantly to the development of this world and to reach to what it is now.now this great land having one of the worse times in its history.it seems that the wars that iraq passed through wasnt enough,it seems the dictatorship time that iraq passed through wasnt enough,it seems the power and water problems that iraq have now is not enough,it seems the security problems that we face everyday from bombing and killing isnt enough...the iraqi ppl had passed all this and still passing it and surviving and not complaining..but now we have one new problem which is as i think if we measure it to all these problems i said would be much worse than all of it...it is the assasintaion and kidnapping and threating the iraqi scientest...this is somthing that i think if it continues i think iraq will be lost forever and would be impossible to for iraq to raise again..all other problems could be fixed by the presence of the iraqi scientest..and by the presence of these great minds we can pass anything..
i will give some of the examples about what the iraqi minds facing here everyday that i was in contact with it cause it happened to my friends families...
Dr.Omar he was one of the top heart surgon in the country and he was running the heart hospital in iraq before the last war and after the war untill few monthes when he got a threat from unknow source...he recieved a letter that asking him to leave iraq or he would be killd with his family..with these paper there was a bullet...but he didnt complain to them and stayed and work..after a week one of his sons who is my friend was so close to be killed when some men opened fire on his car while he was driving to his home...but god saved him and he didnt hurt...so after few days they leaved iraq and iraq lost a great doctor..not to mention that Dr.Omar had 4 sons..3 of them r doctors and one is an engineer...
Dr.Ansaf she was a well know doctor in iraq and she was running a hospital for pregnant women and delivery in baghdad...she had a letter too that asking her to leave iraq or she or her family would get hurt...but she also didnt complain to them and continue working..a few days later...she was getting back to home so 4 cars made her stop and about 15 armed men disembrake from the cars and kidnapped her...she had an awefull time when she was kidnapped..and she was released after few days after taking about 80 thousand $ and after she promised them to leave iraq...so she leaved everything here and get out of iraq...her husband was good doctor too and her daughter was a medical student who is my friend..and they all leaved iraq
Dr.Ryiadh he was my prof. in the college of medicine that i am in,and he was a practicing doctor too..he was really a great prof. and doctor one of the best that i meet in the college.he used to get threating letter too..and he dont care..but then he recieved a letter with a grenade in his home but the grenade didnt explode..so he leaved iraq after this..and now his place in college is empty..and we lost a great prof.
and there is alot of examples like this of great iraqi mind that had leaved iraq for such causes and alot of them was assasinated....and not only this...now even the colleges r targeted...the last year a bomb falled on my brother college and killed some students...few weeks ago a bombed car explode near my college...
i am an iraqi citizen and lived my life in iraq..i lived all this bad time here and didnt thought of it as bad,i used to live that and just try to find the happy exit from all this and try to live as normal as i can..as the most of iraqi used to do...even after the war and all the bombing and killing..i believe that everyone in this world is already decieded when he come to this world and when he leave..so from this believe i used to go out and go to college and do what i do..and i think if it is written for me to die in a bombed car...so it is and i cant change it...and with all this i used to have hope that it is a matter of time and we defeat all this and iraq get back on it feet and stand again...but now after seeing all this migration and killing of the iraqi minds...this hope in me died...if this continue for little more time so say farewell to iraq...cause i think if these minds leaved so who would build iraq..the country cant be build unless by the hands of its own ppl...so if u dont have the minds to run these hands so it would be mess like it is now..and u cant import minds from outside....it must be iraqi minds to build iraq..and now we r losing these minds day by day..and we r losing iraq..

Murad Ghazi
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:58 am

Well, that's a pair of reassuring posts. :( :(
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Barry
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Post by Barry » Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:44 am

Now how about some nice posts on what life was like in Shiite and Kurd dominated areas in Iraq under Saddam before the U.S. removed his murderous ass from power?
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
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Post by mourningstar » Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:22 am

Barry Z; Saddam was evil alright. but the amount of deaths have grocely risen to dazzling nummers. I kinda feel like what they feel ; it's almost the same kind of fear (maybe worse) durign the Saddam regime. the fact remains that your life isn't certain anymore. and that's a fucked up feeling.
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Post by paulb » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:03 am

mourningstar wrote:Barry Z; Saddam was evil alright. but the amount of deaths have grocely risen to dazzling nummers. I kinda feel like what they feel ; it's almost the same kind of fear (maybe worse) durign the Saddam regime. the fact remains that your life isn't certain anymore. and that's a fucked up feeling.
maybe saddam was like the lid on a time bomb eventually to happen. That civil war was always creeping underneath, waiting for the opportunity. The insurgents are just making amtters that much worse. Besides Saddam had 2 sons, Uday and Kusay, both were going the way of being worse tyrants than their murderous father.
Also in yrs hence, ask most women on the streets of Iraq is things are not more favorable for them, and that the US invasion did have some good about it.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

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Post by RebLem » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:15 am

Barry Z wrote:Now how about some nice posts on what life was like in Shiite and Kurd dominated areas in Iraq under Saddam before the U.S. removed his murderous ass from power?
In Sadaam's Iraq, you had only one enemy: the state. If you kept your head down, you could survive. Fact is, most did, and without a lot of difficulty. One of the reasons, as stated in the first post, for the violence is that Sadaam enticed Shiites from the south to move north, in and near the Kurdish areas with housing and other subsidies. He wanted to isolate them, and to present an irritant to the Kurds. Now the Kurds want to be rid of them, and this is one of the factors involved in the violence.

They way I see it, Sadaam is in the catbird's seat. He is saying, "You thought I was going to be an easy act to follow, didn't you? Well, what do you think now, you bunch of bozos?"

And please understand, all the complaints in both posts 1 and 2 come from Iraqis themselves. The fact that you don't want to hear them, Barry, is your problem. You ought not to try to make it theirs, or ours.
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Post by paulb » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:19 am

Juan Col's essay on Iraq, Shiites, the US.
http://www.bostonreview.net/BR28.5/cole.html

would be obliged if someone could touch on his last paragraph, " support for US political authoritarianism" etc.
Also notice how the article goes into all the splintered groups that were fighting Saddam and themselves.
What a god forsaken place Iraq was/is.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

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Post by Barry » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:25 am

Typical of those on the left to say things weren't really that bad. "Just keep your head down" and you won't wind up tortured in prison or gassed to death.

Saddam killed thousands and jailed more under conditions that make Guantanimo Bay look like a country club. I could just as easily turn your words around, Reb, and say it's easy for you to ignore the problems faced by the many thousands who suffered and died under Saddam, but that it's your problem if you want to ignore their suffering.

I read an interesting quote from Kaplan recently about how bad things were in much of Iraq under Saddam. He compared Iraq to some other country where people live under a dictatorship (I forget which one) and said something like "as bad as things are in this other place, it's like breathing fresh air in comparison to the terror people are living under in Iraq." People were afraid to so much as whisper anything negative about Saddam, even to family members. It was like living under Stalin.

And if Saddam was permitted to remain in power, who knows how many more years or even decades that condition would have persisted under the monster and his equally barbaric sons. When all is said and done, years from now, we'll have probably saved many more than have been killed as a result of our action in Iraq.

As I've said before, I'm perfectly willing to admit that a legitimate case can be made that from a strategic standpoint, invading Iraq was not a wise move within the context of the larger war against Islamofascists (I also think a very legitimate case can be made that it WAS the right thing to do strategically.......but we won't know who was right about that for many years). But I've NEVER had even an inkling of doubt as to the justness and morality of this action.
Last edited by Barry on Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Barry » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:48 am

"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Werner » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:22 pm

Barry: there is no doubt about your sincerity or the natureof the Saddam regime. And there is no reason to argue with you on that..

But you put your finger on the essence of the argument in questioning the strategic justification of going into Iraq. Our mission, after all, was - and still is - to combat the Taliban/Wahabi/AlQaeda threat to the modern world. And the rescue of Iraqi citizens - sad as their life under Saddam was - has no connection with that basic mission.

We are certainly agreed in our opinion of Saddam - but that original mission tilts us against the evils of religious fanaicism at its worst. Saddam, for all the threat he posed to Israel years ago, -which Isrel disposed of - is a secular thug who lost every war he ever fought, and he certainly represented no threat to us at the time we invaded Iraq. That does not negate your statements concerning the evils of his regime, but, thinking this over, don't you see that these are quite seperate issues?

If that rescue mission was justified on its own merit, should we not have done the same in Darfur? or Africa between the Tutsis and their combatants? Do we have the forces to do all that? and where dioes that leave us in the truly essential struggle against the theocratic Muslim onslaught?
Werner Isler

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Post by Barry » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:42 pm

Werner,
As I said, there are legitimate arguments both for and against the war in Iraq and we won't know whether it was the right thing to do from a strategic standpoint for a long time.

But I get sick of those on the left who only see evil in what we do. The removal of Saddam may or may not have been smart, but it most certainly was not evil or immoral IMO. And the point of this thread wasn't to discuss how wise it was to go to Iraq strategically speaking. It was the usual left wing "the U.S. and all it does is evil" crap. It simply doesn't stand up to objective analysis.

As to whether we should step in militarily in ALL cases where people are being brutalized (you gave Darfur as an example), obviously we don't have the capability to do that, so we only do it when we can do so without without putting our own security at risk AND when we have a national interest at stake. Things like Darfur should be handled by the UN, but unfortunately, they're pretty close to worthless, as is Europe, which couldn't get off it's butt to stop genocide in the Balkans before we finally stepped in.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Werner » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:49 pm

I think you're so dug in to your position by now that partisanship beclouds objectivity.

I hear much too much mention of such pat vocabulary as "the left" and "the MSM," and not enough concentration on the essential mission and our various and inglorious detours.
Werner Isler

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Post by Barry » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:01 pm

Werner wrote:I think you're so dug in to your position by now that partisanship beclouds objectivity.
Oh really? Well why don't you tell me who on here is saying the outcome of the mission is in doubt and that we won't know whether it was the right thing to do for years and which people on here are convinced that history's verdict has already been cast? So who is being objective and who is really dug in in their positions?

As far as the MSM, I just came across another doozey. The headline: "Israeli strike in Gaza kills two children."
There is no mention of the fact that the Israeli air strike was aimed at terrorists who purposely hide among civillians to score propoganda points when some are inadvertantly killed and that it was also in response to a virtual non-stop barrage of homemade rockets that have been fired from Gaza into Israel with the purposeful goal of killing civillians since Israel pulled out of that area and handed it back to the Palestinians.

That's the same sort of mentality that started this thread. If civillians are hurt, there is an automatic assumption on the left that the U.S. and Israel are to blame, without any regard to the real reason behind what happened.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:49 pm

Pardon me for thinking this is a hoax straight from the DNC. Nobody is verifying it's authenticity, not even WaPo where it first appeared, as near as I can tell. It's not in Snopes . . . yet.
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Post by mourningstar » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:21 pm

That's the same sort of mentality that started this thread. If civillians are hurt, there is an automatic assumption on the left that the U.S. and Israel are to blame, without any regard to the real reason behind what happened.
Offcourse. Wouldn't you? I for one don't want to be an offer nor an sacrifice for any political heroiesms. Nobody wants to know the real reason... You just want to know if it was right or wrong. it's a plain ideology but a fair one. Hence, the reason why we are so obliged to the system.
Pardon me for thinking this is a hoax straight from the DNC. Nobody is verifying it's authenticity, not even WaPo where it first appeared, as near as I can tell. It's not in Snopes . . . yet.
But the drama that is going on there is much more likely reality. those terrorist having a time of their lives, no doubt.
Last edited by mourningstar on Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:30 pm

People running around attacking and even killing people just because they have found an arbitrary reason to find it fun and then getting off because they feel they belong to some kind of world movement. What kind of society is that? Germany, Russia, Taiwan, Cuba, all those countries and more have been the most severe dictatorships and even totalitarian regimes in modern times. Let's include even China and North Korea. Tell me that if let loose anyone there would go around killing falafel vendors, men wearing shorts, and women talking on cell phones or without a veil. What kind of blasted society is that?

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Post by Barry » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:03 pm

jbuck919 wrote: Tell me that if let loose anyone there would go around killing falafel vendors, men wearing shorts, and women talking on cell phones or without a veil. What kind of blasted society is that?
It's the one that is likely to last many more years in Iraq if we pull out too soon than if we don't.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Barry
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Post by Barry » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:24 pm

mourningstar wrote:
That's the same sort of mentality that started this thread. If civillians are hurt, there is an automatic assumption on the left that the U.S. and Israel are to blame, without any regard to the real reason behind what happened.

Offcourse. Wouldn't you? I for one don't want to be an offer nor an sacrifice for any political heroiesms. Nobody wants to know the real reason... You just want to know if it was right or wrong. it's a plain ideology but a fair one. Hence, the reason why we are so obliged to the system.
No, I wouldn't. And speak for yourself. You may not be interested in why we're there and how many people will benefit or not benefit in the long run as a result of Saddam no longer making the lives of millions miserable, but I am.
You may say you don't want to be a sacrafice for ideology, but if you or your loved ones were rotting in Saddam's prisons, or worse, you'd be whistiling a different tune. And again, we don't know yet whether the net result of removing Saddam will be positive or negative. What if Saddam and then his sons would have stayed in power another 20 years if no outside force toppled them? How many hundreds of thousands do you think they would have killed or tortured during that period?

I know most people on your side of the pond don't think any type of tyranny or genocide is cause to actually take action, but I'd like to think that we haven't yet sunk that level of moral depravity in the U.S.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Donald Isler » Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:02 pm

Like Corlyss, I would also like to know if the memo that heads this thread is authentic or not. If it's not, it is really a disgusting trick. If it is, things look pretty bleak.
Donald Isler

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Post by RebLem » Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:19 pm

Donald Isler wrote:Like Corlyss, I would also like to know if the memo that heads this thread is authentic or not. If it's not, it is really a disgusting trick. If it is, things look pretty bleak.
I don't know if the memo is authentic or not. I do know that the things spoken of in the memo are daily occurrences in Iraq. If you doubt it, I suggest you read the State Department's own report on political conditions in Iraq, and of the casual death meted out not only by insurgents and terrorists, but by the so-called legitimate authorities.

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61689.htm

Now, I suppose I will be accused of setting up that whole site all by myself as part of some nefarious DNC plot.

I have a great deal of sympathy for the oppressed under Saddam. The point is that in Saddam's Iraq, you had to worry about Saddam and his minions, but nothing else, in terms of personal safety. Now, any conceivable behavior will make some group or other angry enough to want to kill you. Cooperate with the government, or work for it, or for the Americans, and the insurgents will be angry. Wear the veil, and the secularists will be mad. Fail to do so and the insurgents will put you on their list. There is simply no escaping making somebody angry enough to want to kill you, and, meantime, you have to do something to make a living.

If George Bush wanted to be the man on the white horse and go in someplace and free people, the ideal place to do it would have been Burma. There, they already have an elected leader ready to take over as soon as the junta goes bye bye. But they don't have much oil. Some, but not enough for Halliburton to be interested. So, of course, nobody is interested in freeing them.

I think history shows that people only value freedom if they win it for themselves. We did that, with a little help from the French @ Yorktown. The Albanian state of Enver Hoxha was as oppressive as any in the world with the possible exceptions of N Korea and Cambodia under Pol Pot, but the Albanian people rose up and overthrew it. Freeing Iraqis is an Iraqi responsibility, not an American one.
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Post by Werner » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:54 pm

At the risk of repeating myself, Barry, I must point out that we were attacked by the religious fanatics of the Taliban and AlQaeda, and not by the secular thug Saddam.

And I maintain that, as you seemed to concede (not definitely but as a possibility) it was a strategic mistake to diluite our battle with Osama by taking on Saddam. In that sense, it is the parallel of going after the Sudan or the Tutsis and stretching our forces too far. The enemy who originally attacked us is still out there. (The insurgency following the botched strategy in Iraq is something we could and should have precluded by evaluating what was facing us.)

THAT, and not the predigested trashing of the "Left," the "MSM' or, heaven help us, of the "Liberals," will help us get back to the mission.

And, no, Barry or Pizza or Corlyss, I don't like Saddam any better than you do - but we need to be focused on what needs to be done first.
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