T Nation

Iraq: Winning Hearts and Minds

It’s been a long time since Iraq yet its still a hot topic, especially with the constant deaths happening right now. I just want to some opinions out, whether you agree, or not, it would be interesting to have some replies.

  1. The was begun under the premise that Husein was an ‘imminent threat’. Blair reported he could launch WMD in 40 minutes. Well as we all know that turned out to be false. Husein did not launch one unconventional weapon at western troops. In the aftermath the weapons have not been found and it looks like they won’t ever be found. The closest inspectors have come is finding some aluminium tubes which every nuclear authority in the world said wouldn’t be useable for refining uranium. Blair now admits he was wrong on his claim. Why hasn’t the White House admitted its error?

  2. Was I the only one to notice that when the weapons didn’t turn up the whole thing became a ‘humanitarian’ mission? Now in all honesty I am glad husein is not in power any more. Dictators don’t sit well with me (I’m going to resist saying anything about Bush at this point) but the war was launched under the premise of finding weapons. You can’t then make out you secretly just wanted to get rid of the leader you just didn’t say anything. As a humanitarian mission it is also suspect. Iraq was a predominantly middle class society before the war. There were issues with food availablity, due to sanctions from the west. Aid agencies declared the food distribution network set up by Husein as ‘miraculous’. Baghdad also contained one of the leading universities in the Middle East. Now the citizens live under constant threat of being killed. They are also subject to martial law (again) and there are no jobs as they have all been taken by Western contractors. Power and water are intermittant. Bush recently declared he was diverting $3.5 billion away from re-building funds toward security. I have a feeling that security won’t be protecting the average Iraqi in the street so much as building bigger, beefier checkpoints and putting thicker armour on Hummers. Still the people won’t have power or water.

  3. “Removing Husein has helped the war on terror”. What the fuck? The Financial Times estimated Al-Queda recruiting had gone up 80% since January. I personally wonder how they came up with that figure but being just about the most reputable paper you can find I’m going to assume some truth to the matter. After all there are reports constantly of new organisations setting off bombs. Its not rocket science that if you kill a man then his sons, daughters, brothers etc will want to avenge him. America has killed a lot of men. It has created a whole new genaration of ‘anti-Americans’. Nice one. Lets seriously hope some ambitious Iraqis don’t decide to begin hi-jacking and blowing things up internationally, because that’s all we can do now, hope. We’ve already broken their hearts and insulted their minds.

  4. Why is oil still not acknowledged as an enourmous motivational factor? Iraq sits on the 3rd largest oil reserve on earth and the pumps were going within 2 days of the end of the war, yet the power and water aren’t fully operative yet. Good humanitarian prioritising there.

  5. “A possible future nuclear disaster has been eliminated”. Christ, if America wants to lessen the chances of nuclear disaster then she should stop building WMD and should give up the idea of putting computer controlled nukes in space! Removing Husein has only worsoned the level of safety because it immedietly made Iran scramble to construct WMD. In addition Husein’s nuclear power plants were raided and looted in the post-war confusion. Who knows where that nuclear equipment is now. If it makes you feel safer Hans Blix said that they didn’t posess weapon making things in the power plants though. Of course 2 governments still called Husein a threat despite that but hell, I’ve covered that ‘issue’ already.

  6. Now how can anyone look at the President in the light of Iraq and support him? I really don’t understand. Sure you can say ‘hey he made a mistake’ but to then vote him back in to make another ‘mistake’? that’s just playing Russian roulette with the whole world. And the whole ‘mistake’ concept seems slightly dubious to me also. People predicted that if there was a war things would go tits up, that’s why millions accross the world marched in protest because once again, its not fuckin rocket science. Surely if you’re the most powerful man on earth you can see (or have people to see for you) the things the rest of the planet envisaged. Hence I think Bush did know things wouldn’t turn out too well for Iraqis, and pretty much everyone else who isn’t in that 10% controlling 90% of America’s wealth, but he just didn’t care, because he smelt the oil and had Dick Cheney humping his leg at the prospect of Haliburton’s financial year. So if you want to vote for somebody who puts $$$$$$ vastly above human life vote for Bush. The man with a vision (of a pick up truck with hogs in the back) who’ll spread democracy (using 18 yr old soldiers holding machine guns) and create stability (by toppling governments and then not restoring the country afterward).

  1. “Why hasn’t the White House admitted its error?”

A number of reasons - Bush’s absolute stubbornness is a big one, but never underestimate what is and is not said due to it being an election year.

  1. “Was I the only one to notice that when the weapons didn’t turn up the whole thing became a ‘humanitarian’ mission?”

It was a mission that included many objectives, including humanitarian concerns. I think Bush made a mistake in privileging the hunt for WMDs over other reasons, but it was always about a broad range of reasons. Read UN Resolution 1441 for a good description of all the great reasons to end Saddam - and in that list is ‘support for terrorists’, just FYI.

“Iraq was a predominantly middle class society before the war.”

This is sick revisionism at its most dangerous. This is flatly irresponsible. You willfully ignore one of the most harsh tyrannies of modern times by referring to a certain section of preferred civilians that enjoyed Saddam’s tolerance and beneficence. Their middle-class leisure was purchased with the lives of those Saddam tortured, extorted, murdered, intimidated, and mayhem. You should be ashamed.

Moreover, Iraqi infrastructure was in disrepair. Never forget, the Baathists were socialists, and their state-run plan was unsustainable.

Your main gripe is that utopia didn’t sprout out of the ground like crabgrass when Saddam fell. Only in the classroom will you find such illusions.

  1. “Removing Husein has helped the war on terror”. What the fuck? The Financial Times estimated Al-Queda recruiting had gone up 80% since January."

The recruits were there before - and they are there after. What kind of plan is ‘make them happy so they won’t send more guys after us’? That’s pure cowardice.

“We’ve already broken their hearts and insulted their minds.”

Nonsense. Opinions are mixed, not absolute.

  1. “Why is oil still not acknowledged as an enourmous motivational factor? Iraq sits on the 3rd largest oil reserve on earth and the pumps were going within 2 days of the end of the war, yet the power and water aren’t fully operative yet. Good humanitarian prioritising there.”

Oil is the only thing the Iraqis have that can create wealth in the context of the international community. Moreover, which is worse: power problems or an oil field afire? Trust me, a sabotaged oil field is an environmental disaster, an incredibly expensive and time-consuming catastrophe to fix, and is a destruction of natural resources. Now, the Iraqi power grid needed an overhaul. Guarding the oil was not an extraordinary decision. In war, natural resources are always given priority.

  1. “Now how can anyone look at the President in the light of Iraq and support him? I really don’t understand.”

Presidential leadership in a time of war requires moral clarity, not nihilism, pacifism, or defeatism. What’s at stake is the future of Western civilization, or hadn’t you heard? The jihadists want to turn Western democracies into a 9th century pan-caliphate.

“Surely if you’re the most powerful man on earth you can see (or have people to see for you) the things the rest of the planet envisaged.”

Was Bush elected President of the rest of the planet? Surely not.

“Hence I think Bush did know things wouldn’t turn out too well for Iraqis, and pretty much everyone else who isn’t in that 10% controlling 90% of America’s wealth, but he just didn’t care, because he smelt the oil and had Dick Cheney humping his leg at the prospect of Haliburton’s financial year.”

Pure silly-ass conspiracy that just does’t withstand the scrutiny of the facts we have.

“So if you want to vote for somebody who puts $$$$$$ vastly above human life vote for Bush.”

Bush has actually saved quite a few human lives by risking American blood and treasure. How many lives has your rhetoric saved?

“The man with a vision (of a pick up truck with hogs in the back)”

Amazing that Leftists that claim to be interested in the ‘working-class regular people’ have nothing but disdain for the life and times of the ‘working-class regular people’? Can anyone explain why Leftists can shift from salt-of-the-earth populists to cold-blooded elitists in the blink of an eye? Anyone?

“…who’ll spread democracy (using 18 yr old soldiers holding machine guns) and create stability (by toppling governments and then not restoring the country afterward).”

You should read up on the Marshall Plan. Also, there are still troops in Bosnia - still. Nation building is tough work - utopian fops need not apply.

There’s probably a good reason this hasn’t been brought up in the context you just did, Mr. Gullick - critics like yourself have nothing but the same old regurgitated, half-educated opinions you had the first time you started a thread on this subject.

JOHN GULLICK GOT OWNED!!! You just got worked.

I will also say there is no proof that WMD’s werent there at the time of invasion, while there is some evidence it was and was shuttled over the border to syria. Clearly it wasnt to the extent that everyone in the international community though it was, but it was there.