Mossadegh appears to have been in bed with the Communists. The notion that he was not seems to be a historical rewrite. In any event, the Americans had good reason to be concerned. Of course this is not to justify all American actions. Sometimes like the actions of anyone they can be wrong. If the British or the Americans stole Iranian oil, the Iranians should be compensated. Again, take it before the world court or the UN General Assembly. If the Americans or the British did something improper, it would have a profound symbolic efrect. World opinion would force the Americans to do what ever the Iranians wanted.
If you are supported by the Communists, you are called a nationalists or something to this effect. If you are supported by the Americans, you a stooge or something to this effect.
According to some reports the American role in overthrowing the Mossadegh regime is greatly exaggerated. At the time, to over state the CIA's role served the propaganda purposes of the Americans and those opposed to the Shah. The same torture techniques you described as being done by the Shah are being done by the current Iranian government. They are very careful about controlling the flow of information from their country. As we did not control Iran, we would not be able to control what the Shah did or did not do within his country. It was a relationship of convenience. We both needed each other. This is much the way Iran uses Hezbollah and Syria. A nation always has interests but alliances seem to change from time to time. It should not be this way but it is. Perhaps we should not have looked the other way. That said, it is doubful the Americans or the Isarelis could have done much about it. It is always convenient for the Iranians to blame the Americans or the Israelis for their failings.
Had we not fought the Soviet Union in the Cold War, the Soviet Union would still be in business and it is very likely that the US would have been absorbed into the Soviet empire. War does not work when it is not fought to completion. For example, Germany and Japan were obliterated in WWII. We have not heard from the Nazis or imperial Japan since then. The first Gulf War was not fought to completion. This made it inevitable that we would have to go back sooner or later. Also, the recent Israeli/Hezbollah war was not fought to completeion. This makes it inevitable that it will be fought again. In this case, Israel should have been allowed to complete the job rather than restrain Israel. Finally, the Communists are still in charge of Russia. This made it inevitable that they would be back and they are with a vengence.
When the Iranians want peace their is a viable and strong peace movement within the US that is ready to address the issues at hand. Right now, there exists no peace movement that has any power within Iran that has any strength. The so called "doves" are either dead or marginalized. For any type of resolution to work, the Iranians will have to make some compromises. From the rhetoric of the leaders of Iran, they don't seem willing. They are unwilling to bring formal charges before the UN for the issues you mention above becuase this might lead to a resolution. They don't want a resolution. Their goals are to destroy "Great Satan" and "little Satan." Any peace agreement with the current Iranian government would only be used to rearm and prepare for the next round.
I see three options going forward. 1.) Commit more troops to Iraq. Commit enough force to secure the country and give the Democratic proces a chance to work. 2.) Redeploy to Kurdish areas and only intervene in Iraq's Civil War to halt the advances of Iran and Al Qaeda. 3.)Many people in Iran seem unhappy with the rule of the Mullahs. There are a number of groups we could work with to remove that government. I prefer option 1 or 3 but they cannot be implmented right now. We will ultimately go with option 2 or somehting simillar.
Islamic extremism is similar in many ways to Nazism. Both need an external enemy that they can demonize. In the case of the Nazis, it was the Jews. In the case of Islamic extremists, it is the Israelis and the Americans. They generally do not allow dissenting views within their countries.
Finally, a little over fifty years ago Britian dominated Iran's oil industry. Today Iran is a much more influential player on the world stage than Britian is. Iran has had over twenty five years to reach an acceptable agreement with the US, Britian, and the West. They have chosen not to do so.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 28.11.2006 @ 23:05
According to some commentators the US role in the overthrow of the Mossadegh regime has been exagerated. According to others the US single handedly did this. It seems many of the original records don't exist. In any event, Mossadegh appears to have broken his agreements with the British. At least this is their side. A fair accounting of this would be nice, however, given the sentiments within much of the world right now I seriously don't think the US or Britian could get a fair trial.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 28.11.2006 @ 02:32
Sorry for the multiple posts. I did some more reading on the Mossadegh regime. It may not have been as simple as I originally thought. Based on what I know so far it seems the action was justified. The regime clearly seems to have been hostile to Britian and the US. It seems to have set out to steal British developed oil wells and it may have been consorting with Communists. The British and the Americans had some jusitification for their actions but perhaps the dispute could have been resolved some other way. Unfortunately Iranians and Arabs in general are not presented both sides to the story.
In any event, the US would not sanction such an event today even if it had cause. It amikes little sense to beat up today's America over this act. If the Iranians were primarily concerned about this, they can simply say so and ask for compensation. This would be more productive than "death to America", "we shall burn the roots of Anglo Saxon civilization," and "Israel shall be wiped from the map."
The Iranians could take their complaint before the UN general assembly or the world court. The Americans might insist on a fair trial. This could be a problem for Iran's propaganda machine. Iran does not want to resolve the problems. Their leadership has plainly stated that their goals are world domination. They need open grievences so they can have an excuse to continue with the war.
Finally, Iran has had completely free of any American or Western influence since 1979. It is time for them to take responsibilty for themselves and stop blaming America or Israel. As long as Iran wants to continue with its naked agression, it is imperative that they be stopped or at least contained.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 28.11.2006 @ 02:11
I never said I was neo con. Now to address a few of your points, from what I know the Mossadegh regime was a proxy of the Communist Soviet Union. If so, this would have been a major threat to us. Allowing the Shah to be overthrown was a huge mistake.
When the US and its Coalition allies invaded Iraq we did so to remove the Baathist regime and eliminae its WMD capabilies. The Baathists and Saddam Hussein have been removed and they are not coming back. The Baathists have largely withdrawn from the battle field. As such, we won the Iraq war. We are now fighting Iran.
If I might impose upon your patience, when we fought WWII we obliterated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Prior to WWII Germany and Japan served as a check on the Soviet Union. When we obliterated Germany and Japan we removed this check on the Soviet Union. After we won WWII, we fought the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Had we simply stopped after defeating Germany and Japan and simply gone home the Soviet Union would have probably over run Europe and eventually crossed the ocean and come to the US and probably over run it as well because we would have had to fight them without the alliances that we forged after WWII.
The same principle applies to the current situation. Having largely defeated the Iraqi Baathists we must now focus on Iran. To say that we should have left Saddam in power is to downplay his active support for Islamic terrorists against America, his frozen WMD programs that were waiting to be activated when the sanctions collapsed, and the sanctions that were close to collapsing. I agree with you that the US and its coalition partners should have been more prepared for the post war situation. In any event, whether we should have removed the Iraqi government or not we did it. We must find a way to move forward.
I think the optimal solution would be to contribute more troops. This would enable us to get the Iraq security situation under control and they could act as a check against Iran and Syria. With more troops in Iraq this would give the Shia dominated government more lattitude to deal with the militias. Also, with this approach we could find out if theya re really serious about representative democracy. If we can provide security, we probably get an ally in the GWOT and representative Democracy might have a chance to work.
For better or worse, we will never know if representative democracy could have worked or not. It never got the commitment it needed to give it a reasonable chance of succeeding and it is not going to get the commitment.
Iran and Syria get most of their support from Russia and China. If we can get them to stop using Iran and Syria as proxies against us the Islamic extremist threat becomes fairly easy to contain. A more robust military force in the middle east region would likely give us more leverage in negotiations.
As I discuss in the previosu post, more troops for Iraq is simply not feasible right now. As such, we need policies that we can actually implement.
Iran is a greater threat today than Nazi Germany ever was or ever could have been. What's more, if it is not dealt with now, it will only grow more dangerous. For better or worse, we are not going to make any effort to overthrow the Iranian government. Since we are not going to over throw it, we are going to try and contain it and contain Iran we MUST. We will be withdrawing from Iraq soon. Sicne we will no longer be there in masse, we will help with Iran and lots of it.
You are correct that alliances between nations are not permanent. Alliances are ever changing. The only thing that is permanent is a nations's national interests. I'm sure that the Gulf states in the region will be willing to work with us to contain Iran. After all, they are frantically working to upgrade their military capabilities. Iran is more of a threat to them than to us. Also, the Iraqi Sunni may be helpful here. In addtion to this, we should stop restraining Israel. Israel is the most important buffer between us and the Islamic terrorists.
Given the geo political realities, it looks to me like we will be employing some sort of redeploy and contain option. I would have preferred something better, but having given up on the goal of reforming the middle east this seems to be the best option we have. Iran must be contained or the regime must be changed. The survival of Western civillizaiton depends on it. We could make the job easier, if we could get Russia and China to stop supporting Iran. I hope and pray the redeploy and contain optionn works, as it is the one we will be employing.
I think I can see where you are going with energy independence. It seems you wnat to conserve and be more efficient. I agree. Better efficientcy, better conservation, and more production. Perhpaps the new Congress will pass tax credits for more fuel efficient vehicles. This could make them more affordable. I'm 100% for better conservation efforts.
As I recall, the Iraqi elections were fair and square. In any event, if someone has a problem, I'm sure they can take it up with the UN general assembly, the World Court, or something like that. A ruling might not have any legal weight but it would send quite a message.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 28.11.2006 @ 01:28
Other changes in strategy that I think are needed that I did not address earlier are we need to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to achieve energy independence. Part of this plan will be opening up our domestic oil fields that are unavailable right now for drilling. Also, the process for building new refineries will need to be relaxed. In addition to this, we need more nuclear power plants. In other words, some of the ridiculous environmental regulations will need to be removed. Complete energy independence may be unrealistic, however, with more domestic sources available this will give us greater leverage when dealing with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Right now we have virtually none.
We need to secure our borders and enforce our existing immigration laws. Its unbelievable that over five years after 911 we have seen no real improvement here.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 26.11.2006 @ 18:04
Thanks for the reply to my post. I always try to be civil. Sometimes things can get heated:)
You write: "The idea that the United States ever was going to "liberate" Arabs by invading and occupying Iraq was and is profoundly wrong headed." The occupation ended in June 2004 or sometime there about when the US turned over soverignty to the Iraqis. Iraq has an elected government. I don't particularly like there elected governmnet, as it is more interested in representing the Shia than the entire country. Also, it is probably more likely to ally itself with Iran, should we be forced to invade Iran. The invasion was poorly executed. We did not bring in enough troops to secure the country or its borders. Then we made matters worse by allowing Islamic extremist parties to enter the political process. Had this been better exectued it may have worked. For better or worse, we will never know. James Baker has recently said we should not expect "Jeffersonian democracy" or something to this effect. The effort to reform the Islamic extremist culture and its supporters by bringing liberty seems to have been abandoned. Islamic extremist culture represents an existential threat to the US and the West. It will either need to be reformed or contained. It appears we will be opting for a "withdraw and contain" option or something to this effect.
You write: "Iraq is a political fiction to begin with, created by the West and dominated either directly or by proxy by the West from the start." My knowledge of how Iraq came to be is a bit limited. As I recall, the British originally drew its boundaries. The irony of that is by 2002 when the call to remove Saddam Hussein reached a fever pitch Iraq had achieved greater world influence than Great Britian. Iraq has been completely independent of the West, at least since Saddam took over in 1979 and probably since the Baathists took over. Iraq was a client state of the former Soviet Union and later of Russia. Compared with Russia and China US assistance to Iraq was very limited. The US did supply some assistance to Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war. This was because we viewed Iran as a greater threat. Iraq was completely independent of the West for decades prior to the removal of the Baathist government. They had a golden opportunity to make for themselves a better country. Instead they chose to throw in their lot with Aemrica's enemies.
"THAT is what lies underneath global terrorism." American actions in the middle east may be a contributing factor. The biggest example of this is how America applies pressure on Israel to transfer land to its enemies. This sends the message to our enemies that we are weak. We should be encouraging Israel to expand its land holdings. This would increase the buffer between them and their enemies. What lies underneath global terrorism is Islamic extremism and its desire to rule the world. Policy makers have never, at least publically, correctly identified the enemy. For example, we assume that Islam is a peaceful religon that has been hijacked by extremists. There is a wealth of evidence to indicate that the enemy may be Islam itself. Also, countries such as the former Iraqi government, the Russians, and the Chinese will often times ally themsleves with Islamic extremists when it suits their goals.
"And like it or not, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has made the threat of global terrorism even worse." This may be correct. Some reports would disagree, however, what does seem certain is it has inflamed passions. I think the problem lies in the execution. By sending in to few troops and scaling down the shock and awe phase of the invasion we sent the message to an enemy who poses and existential threat to America that we are weak and indecisive. As stated previously, I think the problem with the execution arose because policy makers were never quite sure what they wanted to accomplish. I think General Franks and former Sec of Defense Don Rumsfeld wanted to remove the government and leave allowing the Iraqis to fight it out perhaps with us providing proxy support to one or more groups. Other policy makers wanted to bring "democracy." With all of this said, there has not been another major terrorist attack on the scale of 911 since the attacks of htat day. The invasion of Iraq has likely diverted terrorist resources that would have been used elsewhere, however, I would tend to agree with you that the invasion of Iraq has made things worse. Again, the primary flaw has been the execution.
The way to stop feeding their hatred of us is for them to be made to realize that their goals of world domination and dominion over us cannot be achieved. In the middle east, having removed the former Iraq government we are primarily fighting Iran and Syria now. There seem to be a large number of Iraqis who are also opposed to Iran and Syria. We should work with them because we have mutual interests. Our enemies use proxies against us. It may be time for us to do the same thing. We have not had a reliable ally in the Arab world for more than thirty years, if ever.
"Doing the same thing over and over again when it doesn't work is pointless." I agree. The current strategy for Iraq is to use about 140,000 troops and "stay the course." The biggest problem with this force structure is it is not enough troops to actually secure the country and it is to few troops to avoid the responsibility of securing the country. With this situation the Army is being worn down. To continue this strategy is slow motion defeat. The strategy will need to be changed. I see two options. 1.) We sign an agreement with the Iraqi government whereby we contribute 500,000 troops or more. We would agree to keep these troops there for a minimu of fifteen years. We can raise them, if we had the will to do it. This gives us enough troops to actually secure the country and to secure its borders. In return for this American commitment, the Iraqi government agrees to assist us in disbanding the militias. If they refuse to help us, then we will know they are an enemy. If they are established as an enemy, then they should be treated the same way the former Iraq government was treated. I think this is the optimal solution, however, the political realities are such that it probably cannot be implemented right now. 2.) Withdraw our troops from Shia and Sunni areas into Kurdish areas and allow the factions to tear one another apart. We will only intervene to prevent the formation of terrorist bases or to prevent Iran from gaining control of the country. We may support some of the militias that are hostile to Iran. The adavantage to this approach is it can be done with fewer troops.
We are going to go with option 2 or some variation of it. By mid 2007 there will be 10,000 or fewer troops in the Iraq region. They will be primarily special ops who will be based in Kurdish areas. They will be backed up by air support and they will intervene in the Iraqi Civil War to prevent the formation of terrorist bases and to prevent Iran from gaining control of the country. If we can halt the spread of Islamic extremism and its Communist alliance with this method, then I would consider this a success. If the threat is contained, I would consider Iraq a success. It has not been lost yet. I hope and pray the new strategy works out, as it is the one we will be using.
With our current strategy the biggest winners in the GWOT to date have been Russia and Iran. These are America's most dangerous enemies. We have not lost Iraq yet. Hopefully the new strategy will work better.
Btw, if my prediction that the US will be out of Shia and Sunni areas of Iraq by mid 2007 turns out to be wrong, I will come here and admit it:)Comment Posted By B.Poster On 26.11.2006 @ 16:51
Thank you for the reply to my post. You ask: "Are an 'Iraq that is a democratic country' and an 'Iraq that is allied with the US in the GWOT' the same thing? I say no. It would be possible to have an Iraq that is democratic that aligns itself closely with the same Islamic extremists who pose an existential threat to us. It would also be possible to have an unelected dictator who aligns themsleves with us because of mutual interests. Obviously the latter scenario is preferable to the former. A democratic, allied, and stable Iraq is the optimal situation but if it cannot be achieved a stable and dictatorial Iraq that allies itself with the US in the GWOT is acceptable.
You write: "This is the essential contradiction in the entire invasion and occupation of Iraq. Do we truly want Iraq to be a democracy, if the will of the Iraqi people leads them to reject US direction, leadership, and control." This is an excellent point. I think this contradiction arose because many policy makers were never quite sure what it was they hoped to accomplish. The bottom line is if an Iraqi democracy will align itself with our Islamic terrorist enemies the way the former regime did we should not want an Iraqi democracy. We do not want to lead, control, or direct Iraq. We want or at least the president wants Iraq to be a democratic and allied nation that will assist in GWOT.
The problem with the occupation is at least two fold. First, we no longer occupy the country. We turned soverignty over to the Iraqis. They have their own government now. The American and allied troops who are there now are there at the pleasure of the Iraqi government. It may be that they simply want us there to help them crush their Sunni enemy, as unfortunately the Shia majority seems more interested in their sect than they seem to be in the country as a whole. The elected Iraqi government appears to be hopelessly corrupt. Second, the 140,000 troops or so we have there now are too many to avoid the responsibilies of an occupation but they are not enough to actually administer the country effectively. To effectively administer the country, we would need enough troops to crush the Shia militias, to crush the Sunni insurgency, to disarm all other militias, and to secure the borders with Iran and Syria. Estimates vary on how many troops this would take. I think the best estimate is about 500,000 troops. We could rais the troops but unfortunatley political realities will not allow this right now.
The Iraqi government is reluctant to take on the Shia militias. On one hand, I can't blame them. They know that many Americans are clamoring for a withdrawl. In the event that we withdraw, they will need the militias to fight the Sunnis. On the other hand, having Shia and Sunni militias operating as they are is wholly unacceptable. I think the optimal solution would be for the US and its allies to sign an agreement with Iraq's government to contrbute about 500,000 troops or more. This would be enough force to secure the country. In return, the Iraqi government would agree to actively work to disband the militias. The duration of this agreement would be for a minimum of at least fifteen years. The willingness or lack thereof of the Iraqi government to agree to this would go a long toward proving if they are serious about fighting Islamic extremist terrroism. If the Iraq government will not work with us to defeat the existential threat of Islamic extremism that we face, then this government needs to be removed.
The domestic American political situation will not allow a contribution of this many troops right now. Not having enough troops to secure the country we will be withdrawing from Shia and Sunni areas very soon. The next step will be to decide which proxies we wish to support in the Iraqi sectarian fighting. Iran and Syria will also have proxies they will support. We will need to make sure that our porxiy is successful. We have not lost in Iraq yet. The final history on this has not been written yet, however, as I pointed earlier it looks bleak right now and strategic changes will need to be made.
Finally, Abraham Linclon once said, to roughly paraphrase, "if I can win the Civil War without freeing a single slave I would do it." The same applies to the Global War on Islamic Terrorism. If we can win it without "liberating" a single Arab, then this is what we should do. In any event, no matter what strategy policy makers ultimately decide on they should treat the Islamic terrorist threat as the survival threat to America that it is. Right now I sense a fundamental lack of seriousness in all branches of government.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 25.11.2006 @ 22:02
"For every generation of American school children in the future, Iraq will be taught as a defeat, a loss, a drubbing, a licking, a whipping, a non success."
Not necessarily. We have not lost yet, however, I agree with you that things do look grim and changes will need to be made. Even if we are unable to achieve an Iraq that is a democratic country that is allied with the US in GWOT, this would not necessarily be a failure. If we can find proxies within Iraq to support, we can defeat the Islamic extremists enemy.
As you point out, for better or worse we will be withdrawing from Shia and Sunni areas of Iraq soon. I'm sure we will support proxies wihtin Iraq that we believe most likely to reprsent our interests and the Iranians and the Syrians will support their porxies. If we can prevent Islamic extremists from gaining control of Iraq, then this will be acceptable. The trick will be to make sure that the US and its proxies win this front in the GWOT. Of course some people will spin the withdrawl as a defeat no matter what. What we will need to do is to make sure that the US and its proxies defeat the Iranian and Syrian proxies so badly that that America's foreign and deomestic enemies will be unable to spin it as a victory for America's enemies.
We have not lost yet. The history of this has not yet been written but right now it does look grim. We can still win.
If we fail in Iraq, the GWOT becomes much harder to win. If we fail to win the GWOT, America will be taken over by Islamic extremists. Islamic extremism is a survival threat to the America and needs to be treated as such.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 25.11.2006 @ 20:10
This is all very complicated to figure out, however, what is not difficult to figure out is Hezbollah could have been completely destroyed or at least significantly harmed by now. Last summer Israel was only allowed about one month to dismantle Hezbollah. To defeat a force as powerful and dug in as Hezbollah would have required at least three months. In other words, had Israel been allowed to complete the mission Hezbollah would either be destroyed or significantly hurt by now and the Lebanese democracy would have a better chance to survive. Signing on to the UN cease fire resolution was one of the worst foreign policy decisions that the Bush administration has made. The US should have vetoed this resolution. Had Israel been allowed to complete the mission against Hezbollah the US, Israel, and the forces of liberty would be in a much better position now.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 14.11.2006 @ 22:33
Magellan & Johnny
I agree whole heartedly. We need many more troops in Iraq. It should have been obvious from early on that more troops were needed. Perhaps Don Rumsfeld would have preferred to lose the war rather than admit more troops were needed. It seems he was either overly arrogant or deranged.
Perhaps the Iraq Study Group will suggest more troops, howeever, it would surprise me, if they did so. If it should be decided that we shold send more troops, then we will need to figure out where we will get them. I think we can do it but it would be very costly.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 13.11.2006 @ 21:34