I've already answered most of what you say above, so I won't repeat myself. I do have to laugh at your statement that Islamic extremists are similar to Nazis in that both need an external enemy that they can demonize. The U.S. in the half century after WWII has built its foreign policies and its domestic policies around the need to always have an external enemy to demonize. For over 40 years it was the Communists; then, after the fall of the Soviet Union took that enemy away from us, we seized on Islamic terrorism as the external enemy.
I think in many ways this need for an external enemy is related to America's success in WWII. Fighting Nazism made the U.S. a world superpower, so in some sense we keep on trying to find enemies to battle because we connect that apocalyptic struggle with our dominance in the world.
But here's the thing -- and I really believe this. In the long run, power monopolies never succeed, because they contain the seeds of their own destruction within them. I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
I take comfort in that.Comment Posted By Kathy On 29.11.2006 @ 20:11
Hi, Mark. (Mark is B. Poster, right?)
First off -- my apologies for the neocon jab. Labels are odious. :)
"... 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."
And in your separate post:
"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. ..."
Mossadegh was not a proxy of the Soviet Union. Of course, that was the assumption the U.S. made back then about any country that resisted Western attempts to use its natural and human resources, but it was not the case here. Mossadegh certainly had socialist leanings, but he was not a Soviet Communist. He was a nationalist. He was elected freely and fairly and had enormous popular support because he supported the Iranian people's right to control their own resources, and to benefit economically from their own country's resources.
Of course Mossadegh's regime was hostile to Britain and the U.S. Britain and the U.S. (Britain especially in this case) were removing the oil from Iranian land and taking the lion's share of the profits for themselves. The Iranians who worked for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP) were confined to very menial positions and treated as inferiors. Britain consistently refused to alter these arrangements despite numerous non-violent attempts on Iran's part to get them to do so. The beef against Mossadegh was that he nationalized the oil industry, which meant that Western interests would no longer be able to reap those enormous profits. Of course, no one at the time said that. The excuse for overthrowing Mossadegh was that he was allied with the Soviet Union, but that was simply not true. It was a convenient excuse for Britain and the U.S. to protect their economic interests.
You say that allowing the Shah to be overthrown was a huge mistake. The U.S. did not have that much choice in the matter, really. It's that phenomenon I discussed in my earlier post about it being impossible to rule with fear and terror indefinitely. By 1979, the Iranian people had lived through 25 years of a regime that was among the most brutal of the 20th century. Savak, the Iranian secret police under the Shah whose very name was enough to terrorize, was responsible for over two decades of killings and torture horrific enough to equal anything Saddam Hussein did in Iraq. Savak, by the way, was a CIA creation, and its agents were trained by Israel's secret police agency, Mossad.
The mistake was not "letting" the Shah be overthrown. The mistake was installing the Shah in the first place. That's what led to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, not failure to support the Shah enough. I think that you greatly underestimate the depth of the resentment, anger, and yes, hatred, that Iranians had 25 years to develop against the West, knowing as they did that it was the American CIA that overthrew Mossadegh and put the Shah in power. The 25-year rule of the Shah was a reign of terror. People had their limbs dissolved in acid, and sometimes they were killed that way (their entire bodies dissolved). They had their skin and body parts sliced off by machines designed to cut meat. They were strapped to tables that were then lowered down toward a source of fire, and burned alive, slowly. I'm sorry to be this graphic, but it's important to understand just what it was the U.S. put in place and supported for a quarter of a century.
"The Iranians could take their complaint before the UN general assembly or the world court."
And you think that would be effective? The US refused to sign on to the world court and withdrew from it precisely so that the US would not have to face the possibility of US nationals being tried for such crimes. John F. Kennedy's statement, "Those who make peaceful change impossible make will make violent revolution inevitable," is apt here. Of course, it's a bit hypocritical, coming from JFK, but he was right nonetheless.
"...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."
And the Cold War with the Soviet Union led us to support brutal dictatorships in places like Iran and Iraq, which allowed Islamic terrorism to get stronger and fueled the market for it in the Middle East. The Cold War with the Soviet Union led us to give money and arms to the mujahideen who fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan -- and who later became the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden began his career as a fighter in Afghanistan. Then came 9/11, and we invaded Afghanistan again; then we invaded and occupied Iraq, which led to the empowering of our enemy Iran, not to mention a vastly increased, both in size and power, network of terrorist connections.
My conclusion? War does not work. War may SEEM to work, as a short-term solution to a specific threat or problem, but in the long term it doesn't work, because it leads us inevitable to the next war. All war does is create the conditions that result in the next war. All war does is sow the seeds for the next war.
I guess I've said that in enough different ways now.Comment Posted By Kathy On 28.11.2006 @ 17:14
"Iraq has an elected government."
Sure, but it's only "elected" in the sense that Iraqis voted for the candidates available to them on the ballot. They did not choose those candidates, or play any part, even indirectly, in choosing those candidates. So you can hardly say that Iraq's "elected" government is a sign of democracy.
"I donâ€™t particularly like there elected governmnet, as it is more interested in representing the Shia than the entire country."
Of course it is. The people elected to the government owe their win to the Shia. They are taking care of the segment of the population to whom they owe their power, such as it is. Just as Pres. Bush's administration panders to the religious right and wealthy white men -- they are the ones who put him in the White House. The only difference is that in Iraq, the Shia are actually in the majority.
Also, if the Bush admin had done the barest amount of research, or bothered to learn anything about the political alliances in the region, they would have known that Iran would be the biggest winner in any regime change that put the Shia in power. Historically, the Shia have been aligned with Iran for decades. This is not something that should have come as a surprise or a shock to Bush, Cheney, et al. -- but they were too blinded by their arrogant belief that Iraqis would come running, arms outstretched, to smother U.S. troops with hugs.
"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."
Well, first of all, I don't accept your premise. I think it's the U.S. that wants to achieve dominance over the Middle East, and every other part of the world we deem to be geopolitically and economically valuable to us -- and not the other way around.
That said, your statement truly makes no sense. It's completely counter to logic and historical experience. The only way for one set of people to convince another set of people that their wishes and desires are impossible and will never come to pass, is to conquer them completely. Meaning, you have to crush them, by killing huge numbers of them, by intimidating and terrorizing them, by breaking their spirit. That is how a people is made to believe that their dreams are impossible.
BUT: That doesn't mean they stop hating us. It only means they fear us. In fact, in that scenario they hate us even more. And eventually the hatred and resentment wins out. All of human history teaches us that. NO people will submit to living in fear forever. Eventually, every people on earth who feel dominated and subjugated will rise up and fight to get their freedom. It's just the way human beings are made.
But all of the above is predicated on the assumption that the people living in the Middle East have wishes and aspirations that are legitimate. If one believes that they have no legitimate wishes or aspirations other than wanting to convert every white Westerner to Islam at the point of a sword (which obviously is NOT a legitimate aspiration), then the idea that overpowering them militarily is the way to end their hatred might make sense.
"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."
B., we have been using proxies to serve our perceived interests in the Middle East for close to 60 years now -- beginning with the CIA-sponsored overthrow of Mossadegh and installation of the Shah in 1953 in Iran, and continuing with using the Taliban and Osama bin Laden as proxies to serve our interests by fighting the Russians in Afghanistan, and giving Iraq money and weapons and targeting information to fight their war against Iran, and on and on.
This is exactly the sort of thing that the Bush administration said America would no longer do -- support dictatorial leaders and brutal foreign elements to serve our interests.
And we will NEVER have a reliable ally in the Middle East or anywhere else, if by reliable you mean trustworthy to do as we tell them indefinitely, with no end. Political alliances shift, for goodness sake, B. Alliances never last forever. Countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria, et al. WILL do what is in their own perceived self-interest, just as we will do what is in ours. And like it or not, *their* self-interest will not always or necessarily be the same as what we think their self-interest should be, or what we perceive our self-interest to be.
I thought you neocons were the ones who prided yourself on tough-minded realism. I don't think your ideas are realistic. I think they are right-wing fantasies that fail to acknowledge the way the world actually works.
I am too tired at this moment to address your further ideas on achieving energy independence by drilling for oil in Alaskan wilderness areas, building new refineries, and loosening environmental protections. After all, I just bought a Toyota Yaris, which has an mpg of 34 city/40 highway. And if I could have afforded it, I would have bought a Prius. I think that probably says all that needs to be said about our differing approaches to energy independence. :)Comment Posted By Kathy On 27.11.2006 @ 23:03
First, I want to thank you for the civility and thoughtfulness of your answer to my comment. It's refreshing.
I agree with your statement that we went into Iraq not really knowing what we wanted to accomplish. It's downhill from there, and the disagreement is too profound for me to even know where to begin. So I'll content myself with responding to this one thing you wrote:
--Finally, Abraham Linclon once said, to roughly paraphrase, â€œif I can win the Civil War without freeing a single slave I would do it.â€ The same applies to the Global War on Islamic Terrorism. If we can win it without â€œliberatingâ€ a single Arab, then this is what we should do.--
The idea that the United States ever was going to "liberate" Arabs by invading and occupying Iraq was and is profoundly wrong-headed. 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. THAT is what lies underneath global terrorism. And like it or not, the reality is that the U.S. invasion and occupation made the threat of global terrorism even worse.
You say if the GWOT can be won without liberating a single Arab, that is what we should do. We don't have to liberate them. We just have to stop feeding their hatred of us. We're not going to do that by putting half a million U.S. troops in Iraq (even if we could), or by supporting pro-U.S. proxies in their country. We've *already* done that. We supported Saddam Hussein for over 20 years because he was pro-U.S. And the harvest for that support was anti-American hatred.
Doing the same thing over and over again when it doesn't work is pointless.Comment Posted By Kathy On 26.11.2006 @ 15:04
"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."
Are an Iraq "that is a democratic country" and an Iraq that is allied with the US in GWOT" the same thing? 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 U.S. direction, leadership, and control?Comment Posted By Kathy On 25.11.2006 @ 21:05
I agree with you on this one, Rick. That's probably no comfort to you, given that I'm a liberal, but I do admire and respect you for taking a principled position that is consistent with your belief in freedom.
Well done.Comment Posted By Kathy On 27.06.2006 @ 19:16
Da Coyote should call himself Da Stupid. You want to have a beauty contest between liberal and conservative women? And she-man Coulter and Ingraham are the best you got? What a loser!!!!! What do Scarlett Johansen, Angelina Jolie, Gweneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Susan Sarandon all have in common? They're Domocrats! Let's face it---Democratic women are drop dead gorgeous. Rethuglican she-males are coyote ugly.Comment Posted By Kathy On 14.06.2006 @ 16:39