Iraq – whose war is it, anyway?

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  1. Pingback: etee's Blog
  2. Whatever the initial justifications, “our” war ultimately was to remove Saddam Hussein from power and help Iraq set up a new government.
    No. It. Wasn’t.
    I said in my first comment to you that you would probably piss me off sometimes, and you have, but not often. Now you have in the largest way possible. It is difficult for me to get past his point, to not feel anger about this. That is my problem, and I’ll look into it. For now, I’ll say, and hopefully without anger: You are wrong.
    We were told, in no uncertain terms, that we were going to war to stop an imminent threat to our nation by Iraq. We were told that in tandem with continued lies about Iraq’s connection to the attacks of 9/11/01. That was how our government justified to the people in this country a war that has now killed more than 2,500 Americans and more than 50,000 Iraqis.
    it was a lie. We were lied to.
    For you to now wax philosophical about the honorable need to stay in a war built on lies, touting the after-the-fact lie that we went to help the Iraqi people, is deeply irresponsible and in my mind shames the good dead who died for those bad lies. Deeply irresponsible.

  3. Thom, you’re reading beyond what I said.
    I said that was what we ultimately were doing — not what we said we were doing.
    For someone to think I’m saying more than that, they’d have had to never read anything I’ve ever written on the subject… but you have, Thom. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you take things out of context.
    I’ve been completely consistent on my position about Iraq. I was ticked as hell that we went in there. They weren’t a threat, and the “war on terrorism” wasn’t there. And that’s utterly irrelevant to the current situation.
    I’m stunned, actually, that I’m accused of being irresponsible. It’s irresponsible, frankly, to use their country for our country’s internal politics. The neocons did it on the front end, and everybody’s doing it now — to Iraq’s detriment. It’s irresponsible to think we can pick up our marbles and go home, especially since we were misled into the situation.
    Being ticked off at the administration is one thing. Putting on blinders about Iraq because of that is another thing altogether.

  4. Well I don’t have a long history of reading here, Polimom, but responding to your words shouldn’t require that, should it? It can inform it, and consider me informed, but I responded to this post.
    I don’t understand. You’re saying that telling the American people that a country had WMDs and were planning on using them on us is ultimately the same as helping the Iraqi people? That is so far beyond understanding that I can hardly hold it in my head. Did we enter WWII to help the Japanese and German people? No. We entered to make them dead and to help ourselves and those attacked by the bastards and thank god we did. Did we fight the first Gulf War to help the Iraqi people? Of course not. And “We” went to war, we the United States, we the citizens, based on information that said we were in danger.
    We went there to protect ourselves. Not to help anybody else. We went there to help the U.S. of A. That’s why soldiers stood in front of bullets on the first day of this war. To stop a dangerous man bent on killing us and equipped to do it–that’s what we were told. the “helping the Iraqi people” reason was after the fact. To use it at all as a base for discussion is impossible for me. And it should be for anybody.
    And while I agree that the neocons did it on the front end and did it with lies and did it shamelessly and heartlessly and lethally, I strongly disagree with your contention that “the other end” are inappropriately using Iraq for “internal politics.” Wanting to stop Americans from dying in what someone sees as an illegal and immoral war is not *using* anybody. It is the only responsible position for someone who sees it that way. It is frankly insulting–you are, whether you mean to or not, saying that to me. Or, if it’s simply linguistics: if that is “using Iraqis for internal politics,” then it is proper and honorable to do so. We are Americans. We have a say in this country’s government. We dont have a say in the Iraqis’ and we must work with what tools we have. I am not an Iraqi citizen.
    And what of Darfur? What of Nigeria? What of half the planet? Should we ultimately start a war with every country on Earth, if that’s what wars are, expressions of care for attacked country’s people? 50,000 Iraqis have died in this war. Think of that. Killed by Americans–ultimatley to help them?
    I agree that putting blinders of anger on is wrong. Today must be viewed as today. Today Americans are dying in an immoral war being run by inept and immoral people. It must be stopped by American people. Then we can look at the world and see what we can do.

  5. Polimom,
    Thom seems a bit upset . . . not entirely sure why your post had such a terrible effect on his blood pressure, but there it is. Thom just doesn’t seem to be able to get past what he (and you, I believe) consider a bad/immoral/deceitful reason given for invading Iraq. He seems totally hung in March of 2003, unable to consider a course of action (in 2006) without the mandatory diatribe against Bush/the neocons/PNAC/whoever. Failure to agree with the diatribe on all points requires him to argue until you do agree, and nothing else related to Iraq can be considered or discussed until that happens. That attitude is unfortunately common in the blogosphere. In fact, it is not unknown in Congress.
    As I understand your post, you are saying that however the US went in to Iraq, we are there now, and have some moral obligation to the Iraqi people to neither “cut and run” nor dictate to the new Iraqi government what its policies should be. The Iraqi people will have to live with each other in Iraq long after the US troops are gone, and as I understand your post, you are saying that we owe it to them to help them to pull together into a functioning country before we leave–even if we don’t like some of the decisions their government makes.
    Surely that is a completely rational position to have? Whether we went in as part of a conspiracy of lies, a festival of arrogance and ignorance, or a well thought out strategy that has been badly botched in the implementation (thanks, Rummy) should not matter. Surely having come in to Iraq and “broken all the china” we have a moral duty to help the Iraqis put some of it back together? Or if not a moral duty, how about a pragmatic, self interested desire to not leave behind a worse mess, and a greater danger to US security, than existed before we went in?
    I don’t think Thom is using internal politics to make his argument; I expect it’s genuine outrage. However, outrage is not a strategy, and it is certainly not an objective. If the objective is extraction of US military from Iraq while doing the least new additional harm, then it is reasonable to debate how to do that. If the objective is extraction of US military from Iraq ASAP without consideration of any additional harm that might cause the Iraqis, then that is a different objective. If one accepts the former objective, and if whatever strategy is chosen accomplishes that objective, but requires additional US servicemen to die to implement it, that is the price that must be paid.
    Of course, if the disagreement is over the appropriate objective, then it is pointless to debate strategy or moral obligations to support the Iraqi people. Might as well just spell out the conflict in objectives and argue it out in the open.

  6. It is interesting that someone is using the deaths of Iraqis and our soldiers as the reason to leave right now. To me, the loss of so many of our soldiers is a reason to stay and do our best to leave the country where it has hope of standing on its own. To simply leave and act as though whatever happens was all on their shoulders to have made it turn out better is a waste of those soldier’s lives, who have died whether you like the reason we are there or not.

  7. Thom said,

    You’re saying that telling the American people that a country had WMDs and were planning on using them on us is ultimately the same as helping the Iraqi people?

    No, I’m not saying that, nor did I anywhere say we went in there to “help the Iraqi people”. We were trying to replace a government.
    In fact, I’m not talking about what was said to the American people at all — or I wasn’t in the post. I’m talking about Iraq. Now. Today.
    Is it hubris that keeps us from focusing on the needs of that country, rather than the guilt and/or politics of our own?

  8. The Master
    Thanks for the response. I have to say I’m confused and disappointed by mine and others’ desire for justice being construed as a “mandatory diatibe” and an unworthy position or even, apparently, ingredient, in this discussion. You seem to agree that we were led through deceit ino this war, but, really amazingly to me, a discussion about the people who did that deceiving seems to you undeserving of mention. You want to deal with *today*? Well, *today *the people leading our country are the ones that we accuse of lying.
    Are we just supposed to trust them now? How about if they raped our sisters? Yesterday’s business? Just get on with it and tell your sister to “deal with today”?
    Hyperbole admitted, but I honestly can not understand not wanting to hold liars–liars who’s lies led to war–accountable. It breaks the limits of logic.
    Something else occurs to me: I will lightly accuse you and Polimom of simply shoveling anyone, like myself, who believes we should get out of Iraq with simply being too full of anger at Bush to address our arguments as they stand. My decision is not based on my anger, as much as you seem to want to believe it. I laid out in my last response largely what it was about. You did not respond to those points.

  9. Polimom
    you said: Whatever the initial justifications, “our” war ultimately was to remove Saddam Hussein from power and help Iraq set up a new government.
    I read that as helping the Iraqi people. Is there some other reason for helping to set up a government?

  10. Jack
    By your logic, we could never say we’ve done wrong. We’re there, so we have to finish it. In your mind, is there a possibility that we could err in enering a war? Could we ever, I mean ever, err in that way?

  11. Polimom
    if it’s hubris that keeps us “from focusing on the needs of that country,’ then we’d better ask ourselves the same question about more than 100 countries.

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