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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 24,948,350  

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Question of the Week: 104 - 3/24/2003

Have You Changed Your Mind About the War in Iraq?

Many people were initially for or against the possibility of a war in Iraq. Now that it is a reality and troops are on the ground, have you changed your mind or your position on the war?

Do you think that anti-war protests should cease? Do you think that an even greater divide has opened up between those who hold differing ideologies?

Do you think that the suspension of certain civil liberties for security reasons is appropriate during war time? Do YOU feel safer? Will the world be more secure because of this action?

What – if anything – concerns you the most about the war in Iraq?

 Reponses:   There are 258 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

One More Point Skeggi Mar 25th. at 3:57:40 pm EST

Rick (Wisconsin) Age: 31 - Email

in answer to your last question. 2 points.

#1, Bush isn't a murderous thug who gasses his own people, sends them to torture chambers, and allows his sons to rape and murder their way through life.

#2, You say that as if it could actually happen, fortunately, we are strong enough that no one could successfully invade us, we are strong enough that we have strength left over, enough to protect other nations like Germany, France, and yes, like New Zealand.

Rick Mar 25th. at 4:19:11 pm EST

Katun (Germany) Age: 36 - Email

in response to your last posting #2:

So the US have enough strength to protect my country, too - mmmmh...

But who would you protect us from? As far as I see it, I am surrounded by friends. You might argue, that some of them were once enemies. True, but that has changed. Not because of any war fought, but in spite of wars fought, in spite of mistrust and suspicion, by means of diplomacy and peaceful change which took a long way.

From terrorism, maybe? No army can protect you from terrorism. No military action whatsoever could have prevented 9-11. Terrorism grows out of frustration, envy, hatred. The only way to prevent terrorism is to bring more balance and justice into the world.

I know I sound unthankful - I'm not. I'm quite aware of all the good things America has done in the past century. But I'm afraid the Bush administration doesn't follow that tradition.

On The Uprising In Basra Mar 25th. at 4:21:32 pm EST

Night Wind (USA) Age: 2500 - Email

The uprising in Basra is indeed bad news for Saddam, but it is anything but good news for the Anglo-American forces. The people leading the uprising style themselves a "Committee for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq". They are Iranian-supported Shiites. You can bet they have all kinds of connections to groups like Hezbollah, and probably Al Qaeda.

The uprising leaves the city of Basra divided into three zones, the Anlgo-American Zone, on the outskirts, the Shiite Zone, though we don't know where or how large it is, and the Iraqi Zone, presumably in the cneter of the city. In the best case scenario, the Anglo-Americans can link up with the Shiites, and take part of the city more easily. Unfortunately, when they do, the Shiites will almost certainly take revenge of various kinds on the Sunni Iraqis, and this bloody vengance will appear live on CNN. More likely, is that the fighting in Basra will be confused, with pockets of Iraqis being defeated by the Shiites, others being taken by the Anglo-Americans, and still others continuing to hold out. Conditions inside Basra will grow desperate, in such a scenario, with a high death toll due to dehydration. The worst case scenario is that the Shiite revolt is contained by the Iraqis, and most of the city's population dies of thirst, while the Anglo-Americans take the city house by house, eventually "liberating" a town full of corpses.

The uprising underscores the kinds of problems which will become important after the war, during the occupation. Essentially, the Anglo-Americans are damned if they do and damned if they don't. They will have defeated the Iraqi miltary and taken the country, but will now have to deal with factions, each of which is allied to someone hostile to the West, and each of which makes impossible demands.

The Shiites will want to create an Iranian-style theocracy, and inflict bloody massacres on the Sunni population. If the Americans refuse them, they will feel betrayed, and will turn to terrorism. The Sunnis will want to restore their own rule, essentially a successor-regime to Saddam's Iraq. They will be the most "reasonable" from a Western point of view, but will be totally unacceptable to the other factions. If the Anglo-Americans even so much as try to limit thei power of the Sunnis, they will respond with Baath-inspired terrorism. The Kurds want complete autonomy, including the right to massacre Arabs in places like Mosul and Kirkuk. If the Anglo-Americans give them that autonomy, then northern Iraq may well be invaded by the Turkish army. If they refuse, then they face a guerrilla war in the North, with people who are very good at guerrilla war, and have Al Qaeda connections.

Any way you slice it, this war is going to give way to a long and horrid occupation. The United States will find itself unable to pacify the country, and unable to leave without either a hostile regime taking over, or the country disintigrating into bloody chaos. Meanwhile, the need to keep so many troops tied down in Iraq will leave the United States military dangerously weak for years to come. This will encourage adventurism by people like Kim Jong Il, and may lead to successes by Al Qaeda, which was losing the war on terrorism until March 19, 2003.

That day, which marked the American invasion of Iraq, was also the turning point in the War on Terror. That day, the terrorists started winning.

All Good Talking Points..But. Mar 25th. at 5:56:52 pm EST

Maleciah (Oregon) Age: 25 - Email

Katun, Let's not get ahead of ourselves. you are now surrounded in friends and that they were once enemies and that you have made changes to ensure friendship between allies. But to say it was not due to anywar fought is a disgrace to every person who died in the holocaust! every person who lost their lives in the last World War! shouldn't you be saying that "understanding" didn't come till after you REFLECTED BACK at ALL of the people who died to save Europe and the world from a HORRIBLE regime? You truly don't see it.. only cause they don't have a gun currently pointed at your head! You choose not to see it cause they haven't had much of a chance to build weapons for ages before they striked like the Nazi regime. You don't see it cause you are now surrounded by friends and don't pay attention to Iraq like you should simply because it aint in germany now and that makes it OK somehow. NO It was only AFTER those people died for a good cause in WW2. And unlike many I am not willing to wait and let Saddams regime get to Hitlers level before we take him out. No I will not allow that and if it means showing the UN to be impotent in the reason it was formed (to stop things like WW2 from happening again, before they get that bad) then so be it!

Night wind, You made some very good points.. it is going to be a long road but it needs to be done. And the factions have been talking too and the kurds in the north are going to be an active member of the new democracy there, as are the Shiites, they will all be represented in this new democracy. and they will have some hard times at first but they will get through it. I remember hearing similar arguements before we tackled Afghanistan.

The fact of the matter is that we do not yet have a eutopian society. far from it, but it is busting away the old shell of the earth and its people to new ways of thinking. and to strive for peace is fine but you also must accept that time doesn't move as quickly as you like to get it. and that governments make mistakes cause they are run by people. And that sometimes it is still necessary to fight to make sure that eutopia continues to come, just cause it aint on your soil doesn't make the fight any less valid. That there are many places in the world who have populations that are not free and do not have a voice like you and I. Until that day comes, that all of them (in the world, not just at your back door) are free to say what they feel without persecution then we will continue to fight the fight. And the rest can sit on the sidelines and watch and bicker all they want knowing what they did to help. They marched from one place to another and walked in front of speeding cars, walked in front of tractors, layed down in front of cars, and sang songs to proove their point. But met some cool people while doing it! And history will remember it too. They will realize that BOTH SIDES of the debate were equally important. But we also don't see that now.. we just see our own point.

Lossing Grasp... Mar 25th. at 6:01:26 pm EST

NX (Canada) Age: 21 - Email

This is one of those posts I would love to start with the line, "What I think everyone is trying to say..." But I cant, of course. In these troubled times it is difficult to sort out my own personal opinion, let alone try and piece together what the rest of the world is trying to say. Voices scream over one another the globe over, but not a one is heard.
So, I will speak for myself, but lightly touch on a few repeating trends I have seen from the pro-war folk. Not to say that I am anti-war, mind.

Bush wanted this war more then anything. More then *anything.* 9/11 was just a lucky coincidence for him. I would bet good money that after his initial shock wore off (which is to say about 30seconds after the first plane hit) he was dancing for joy. Well, maybe not literally, but surely figuratively. Since the day he came into power (note that I did not say "was elected") he could be seen rallying the banners, so to speak, for a war. Bombs were built and put into storage, the ammunitions plants suddenly lurched into full swing, various government agencies began to play watchdog over media coverage, negotiations and promises of "financial aid" were made with key 3rd world countries who bordered "enemy" nations. Don’t delude yourself into thinking he is a man of peace, or acting for the best interests of the nation. He can not even hold his own family together (no wonder his poor kids drink and smoke crack- I would too, if he were my dad) , how can you expect him to lead a country? The man is a walking textbook example of a monomaniac plagued with serious control issues and a bad inferiority complex. I would wager he was beaten regularly as a child and has a 2" penis. Oh, and wet the bed 'till he was... well, now.
But I digress.
Bush embodies the worst of America. He personifies every negative stereotype about Americans believed the world over. He has elected to live by the gun, and die by the gun- and has thus elected that dark path for America as well.
HIS war with Iraq is illegal. Of that there can be no doubt. But let's take a look at some points the American media often overlook...

1) The US accuses Saddam of holding weapons of Mass Destruction and refusing to disarm. UN weapons inspectors were sent in- were hampered by Saddam, true- but still were managing to do their job. Did anyone hear them rising complains about being impeded? Not too much. It was mostly America who constantly bemoaned the global community about Saddam’s treatment of the inspectors- listing unfounded "proof" to back up their claims.
2) The US accuses Saddam of being guilty of murdering thousands of his own people. Is this true? Yup, it sure is. He is a nasty little &@$^#. We have established that fact. So, why then did the US make proposals to attack Iraq instead of going to the World Court and having Saddam charged with Crimes Against Humanity, like they did for Malocivich? At no point was this made a clear. From day one, Bush's only goal was to attack Saddam. Every "proposal" the US drafted, every argument they made, it all centered on attacking Saddam as soon as possible.
3) The UN *is* a talk house. It rarely lifts a finger. But consider, if you will, what happens while counties spend months, even years talking to one another as opposed to tossing bombs about. People don't die! Oh my gods! They TALK as opposed to running out with their big gun and shooting each other. And if, during that time, the UN weapons inspectors are allowed to do their job without being constantly harassed by war-hungry countries... well, maybe they will actually be able to bring about peaceful resolutions. Which is the whole point of the UN, right?
4) The US went into the UN's talks like a kid with his hand already in the cookie jar, asking his mom at the last minute if he can have one. The kid already has a fistful of the yummy lil’cookies, no matter what mom says he is still going to take them. So why does he ask? Simple: if mom says "okay" then he can stuff them in his face with a smug little grin. But the problem, of course, is that in this case mom said "not yet..." and the kid took’em anyway.
5) The US accuses Saddam of neglecting his people and squandering their resources. But right now, today, this very minute, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who can not afford basic health care. But right now, today, this very minute, America has billions- if not trillions- of dollars to spend on bombs, tanks and artillery for fighting a fictitious (don’t you just love that word?) war.
6) The US condemns Saddam for funding Terrorism (paying the families of Palestinian suicide-bombers, funding military training for Palestinian fighters, arming the Palestinians, etc) , BUT the US gives Israel over $5000, 000 dollars annually for the same thing (well, minus the suicide-bombers... so far) . The US condemns Saddam for possessing weapons of mass destruction, and for having the *potential* to give a weapon to their enemies. BUT the US gave Israel a Nuclear Bomb. The US gives Israel its Tanks, Firearms and most of its Ammunition. So... in my book Saddam and the US are equally guilty of funding terrorism. Wouldn’t you agree? And this, of course, is just one example of America’s general attitude towards the rest of the world; "Shut up and take it, *@&#%, I have the bigger gun." On a totally unrelated topic, what are the statistics of people who accidentally kill themselves with their own firearm? I seem to have misplaced it...
7) It has been said that "Bush isn't a murderous thug who gasses his own people... blah blah blah." No, of course not. The only difference between him and Saddam is that Bush doesn’t piss in his own pool, so to speak. He sends his soldiers to other countries to commit atrocities under the name of "self defense" for him. The point I try to make is this: Before, "self defense" generally meant "when I’m being attacked I have a right to defend myself." "Terrorism" meant "I did nothing to this person but he just started attacking me." Bush, however, says "self defense" is "If I think someone *might* grow to have the *possibility* to attack me in the future, I should destroy him now." Do you see where he crossed the line there? I hope so. The vast majority of the world does.

I could go on, but there is really no point. Bush took the cookies too soon, and for that the world is pissed. He has set an extremely dangerous trend for the nations to follow: "If I *think* you will pose a problem to me in the future, I have the *right* to destroy you now." Wonderful. Truly, truly great. What kind of world will we live in now, do you think? Before, at least countries would come to the UN table to talk before killing one another. How many do you think will even bother anymore, knowing that they can just flip the UN off and do what ever-the-hell-they-want-anyway? And let's not forget that this trend is like a tide: right now it is flowing in America’s favor, but sooner or latter that tide is going to turn... HARD. And will the world weep for Bush? Nope. He wanted war? He wanted to change the rules? Well baby, He got it. Sadly, however, so did the rest of America. And the World.
Consider, if you will, all the countries Bush has already listed as future Targets: North Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria... and the list goes on and on. Now, what happens when all these countries say "Wait a minute. The US has said point blank that it plans to attack us. Better pull a Bush and get them first!"
Welcome to Armageddon.

I agree that Saddam had to be taken out, that goes without saying. No one can deny that. But the manner in which the US has pissed on the UN, destroyed the fragile sense of balance the world enjoyed, and turned the rules of engagement on their head... that is inexcusable. Bush and any who support his criminal actions should die of shame and come back as dung beetles. Our world was an uncertain place before he came to power, it was an uncertain place before 9/11, and it was an uncertain place before Afghanistan. But now... now that we live in a world where the United Nations has been bitch-slapped so publicly, and had its power undermined so completely- we have toppled from the edge of uncertainty and just begun our long decent into the void of Chaos.
Maybe I should thank Mr.Bush.
Its not every lifetime one gets to witness the beginning of the end.

In Blessings and Light (as they were) ,

PS: I love Americans; I have friends and family from American. I fear the current American Government.
PPS: For those of you who think you will be smart and sound off about how America protects Canada, etc etc etc. Please don’t bother. My country has never been attacked by terrorists. My countries Embassies are not bombed on a regular basis. I can walk into any nation (third-world or other) proudly waving my countries flag, and –not- worry about being beaten to death in the streets. So please, don’t bother. Canada is nothing to the US but a natural-resource deposit; that, and only that, is the reason the US would ever defend us.

You All Have Very Good Points... Mar 25th. at 6:05:21 pm EST

Sarah (Massachusetts) Age: 14 - Email

As a 14 year old girl from a small town in Massachusetts it's understandable that not all of you will agree with the points I say. But think of it this way, listen to a mere child's point of view of all this. The only other war I've ever been through was when I was two. Two year olds do what they want to do, war doesn't effect them as much as it does to people who understand what's going on. For this reason right now I wish I were an infant again.

Truthfully I'm scared to death. Knowing people in my own family and people who's ages aren't far from mine could be out in Iraq right now being shot, bombed, or tortured. I know Saddam is an evil man. This has been made clear through school, parents, and the news. Part of me wants to agree with this war because I know hes torturing and hurting his own people. NO ONE should be hated like that. Saddam should be caught now so we can attempt to rid this world of the evil it holds.

There's another part of me that completely disagrees with the war. A classmate of mine mad a good point today: If Saddam and the Iraqi government does have these nuclear and biological weapons, why are we sending our troops out there where they can be exicuted? It makes absolutely no sense to me why we are killing perhaps hundreds of lives to capture one man. Let's hope this nonsense will end fast. Of course i want to find Saddam, I don't want someone in the world capable of killing these innocent people.

This war is perhaps one of the scariest times in my life. I don't want to live in fear for my life when I'm barely 14.

I don't think protestors should stop doing what they do. They're stating how they feel and having the corrage to be able to do that shows great things about people. As such a young person it amazes me as even my classmates do things as small as drawing peace signs on the blackboard with slogans like "Give peace a chance" and "War is only putting more evil into this world." After a class-long discussion my English teacher said never before has she seen a group of teenagers act so mature.

What I'm getting at is I don't think ANYONE can agree or disagree with what's going on. there are both positive and negetive points. I don't know if what I said means anything to any of you but hopefully now you can see the war in a childs eye. Never before have I litterally been afraid to watch the news. I'd rather not hear about the war, I think hate of all kind should just end.


Sarah!! *claps* From The Mouths Of The Next Generation. Mar 25th. at 6:25:29 pm EST

Maleciah (Oregon) Age: 25 - Email

Sarah, I am so proud of you to stand up for what you think and make such well put points! It is very hard to comprehend what is going on and even on a massive scale such as this. But There is positive and negative sides to this. That is why we try to talk them through. When you wrote that post and you sent it. did it not fill you with joy to know that it would be read by others? that is the way alot of us feel. And we want our voices to be heard so loud sometimes that we scream over others. But all of us are capable of listening while speaking and to hear your view was refreshing.


It's Just All So Incredibly Sad Mar 25th. at 6:33:53 pm EST

Barbara Hynes (Ventura, California) Age: 47 - Email

I guess I have changed my mind. I have had mixed, ambivalent feelings all along. I am a long-time peacenik/liberal person, having demonstrated on many occasions over the decades (Vietnam, nuclear power, Central America, etc.) . No one in their right mind wants a war. I have an 18-year-old son, and my heart just aches for the young people who are willingly serving our country overseas. I am praying daily for their safe return. No, I did not want to see the U.S. go to war with Iraq, but I have not protested. I guess I am getting old and jaded, but I have never seen any U.S. policy changes because I went out there and protested. The politicians are going to do what they want to do, protesters be damned. As I saw Bush building up the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, even without the backing of the United Nations, I knew war was inevitable. It's such a male, macho pride thing...this no backing out or backing down. Saddam Hussein and his regime must go, no doubt. The Iraqi people have been suffering under his terror for 24 years now. If you have heard the firsthand accounts of the things that have gone on, it's enough to make anyone horrified. There are no human rights at all in Iraq. However, I have reservations about the U.S. being the world's police force. Where does it end? Yes, I think part of Bush's rationale is "Operation Iraqi Freedom", but let's get real, it's also about the OIL, so we Americans can have cheap gasoline in order to drive our big frickin' SUVs to soccer practice. (Hey, I drive a union-built Saturn!) However, now that the so-called Coalition is there, I am supporting the troops whole-heartedly, and I hope we can get this war over soon. The U.S. government has had plans in place for a long time regarding occupation of Iraq, so our presence will be there a very long time. It will be interesting to see what eventually happens, and what kind of government is put into place (which will be a puppet to the U.S.) . What is really pissing me off today is the news that France wants to be a business presence in postwar Iraq, but those goddamn ***ing cowards didn't have the balls to go over there and fight. They are happy to let the Americans, British, and Australians shed blood so they can eventually have their business deals and make a bunch of money. Screw the French! So, I do think the peace protests should continue, but they should be peaceful and nonconfrontational. It reminds me so much of 30 years ago. (Hey, the fashions I wore back then in high school are back in style,, deja vu...) I think it is great to see so many young people awakening to their political awareness. Right on. In the meantime, I will continue to pray and ritual for a peaceful world. Blessed Be.

USA Examine Your History Please! Mar 25th. at 6:48:10 pm EST

Todd (Ontario, Canada) Age: 27 - Email

Ok first off let me just say that I do not endorse Saddam Hussein and his Baath party in any way. However one thing that I have noticed in the psyche of the typical American is their penchant for assimilating any and all propaganda by their own government. The people of the USA were told that their was a connection between the Iraqi "intellegence" community and the 9 11 suicide bomber Mohamad Atta. This was found out to be misleading at best. The Iraqi intellegence official and Atta were both in Prague at the same time but that was it, they did not meet. The US government took the information that Atta and the Iraqi official were in the same city and stretched the truth of that info into a "meeting" taking place. Another interesting lie told to the American people was during the Gulf war part one where the US claimed that most or all Scud missiles launched at Israel were intercepted by patriot missiles. Ten years later the Pentagon admitted that they had "mislead" the American public on that score and that none of the Scuds were intercepted by Patriots. The report that Colin Powell submitted to the UN recently was found out to be the work of a graduate student and not the work of any accreditted intellegence agency on Earth.

What you folks in the US have to realise is that your government has no qualms about lying to you! They take a piece of information and twist it in such a fashion that it no longer resembles the original fact. You have a country based on the cornerstones of "checks and balances" and free speech yet your current government is doing everything it can to undermine basic civil liberties in the cause of "homeland security". Protestors are being labelled as "traitors" for excercising free speech! Traitors no less! But in the same breath these militant conservatives talk about forcing "democracy" in Iraq. I'd love to see their version of democracy, It would be laughable!

People in your country are always talking about how Saddam Hussien used chemical weapons on "his own citizens" well what you have to understand is that Iraq is a country of many potentially warring factions, his regime had been fighting this faction (the Kurds) for years. So, as despicable as this act was, they weren't really "Iraqi" citizens, they were different groups in conflict.

Further, talk about civilian targets and weapons of mass destruction! The USA was the first and only country to unlease the power of the Atom on humanity. Hiroshima and Nakasaki (sp?) were not military targets, they were cities! FULL OF PEOPLE WHO WERE VAPORIZED! These were clearly a "civilian targets" and the largest civilian loss of life by far in any military action in human history. This, in case you Americans don't know, was perpetrated by your own country in the name of "peace" and "freedom". Again, what a joke!! So please, after Hiroshima and Nakasaki (sp?) your country really can't talk about other regimes targetting "civilians" etc. In that one Nuclear attack which killed hundreds of thousands and more after the fallout more were killed than the entire "evil empire" of Saddam Hussien. I merely point this fact out to give you some perspective, something you sorely lack in your, "rah rah!" one sided media country.

Additionally, that Talking Monkey, George (Dubya) Bush Jr. wants to back out of the "non proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty", ya know that one that helped end the Cold War. He wants to back out so he can innovate some more "tactical battlefield nuclear weapons" that are banned in the current incarnation of the treaty. Saddam an aggressive power hunger dictator? Compare to your own leader, the first to back out of the treaty helping to keep us out of the flames of nuclear holocaust.

One thing I think you all know down South is that the idea of stopping terrorism by invading Iraq. If you think that is going to happen you are dreaming in technocolour! The ranks of terrorist organizations are going to swell in a manner never before seen. Pretty smart defensive strategy by your leader eh? When only one of those terrorists gets their hands on an illicit soviet nuclear weapon or some such ordinance and a speed boat one or more of your cities will be history. A speed boat to get into your country along the tens of thousands of miles of coastline that mark its border. Your only defense to this treat is making friends in the Arab world in order to get good INTELLENCE. But that is a word foreign to your leader, who indeed has the IQ of a legume.

Citizens of the United States harken unto me! You have a talking head for a president with the IQ of broccoli! He has plunged your country into its worst state of foreign relations potentially ever. He has the majority of the world hating your country or at least questioning their ties. The "colition of the willing" like Chile are token nations that were bought and controlled by the US long ago so it's not helpful to count them. You have a president and administration who have been itching to use their new "toy", the mighty US military, given virtually any oportunity. Why not attack North Korea who has a missile capable of hitting the US, has nuclear weapons in contravention of UN and US treaties, threatens to use them against the US and Japan and test fires missiles over Japan on a regular basis? He won't attack them because he knows he'd be in for a REAL fight with a technologically advanced enemy with the support of the great communist China. In short, the talking monkey Bush only enjoys picking on the weak and lying to the American people to support his ultra right wing, bordering on neo-facist, policies.

Wreak the environmentment! Wreak the current world peace! Wreak domestic civil liberties! Wreak the American dream of racial equality!

That should be the stated rallying cry of George (Dubya) Bush Jr. with the IQ of broccoli! It is certainly his tacit mission statement.

And, Oh Yeah, I am against the war in Iraq and American Jingoism and Ethnocentrism.

Maleciah Mar 25th. at 7:02:06 pm EST

Night Wind (USA) Age: 2500 - Email

I believe that you don't understand my point.

I am not just saying it is hard, but that it probably impossible, for anyone, America, or any other nation. You cannot force democracy on people who don't want it. If the various Iraqi factions are talking with one another, which I doubt is anything but propaganda, by the way, then you can bet they are just trying to make the Yanks happy, and get them to support their side. None of the Iraqi factions either understands or has the slightest sympathy for Western-style democracy. For that matter, neither does anyone in the Middle East, except maybe the Israelis and the Turks, and I have severe doubts about both of them.

When the United States occupied Germany after the Second World War, it was trying to rebuild a country that had been Western since the Middle Ages, had been a stable constitutional monarchy between 1871 and 1914, had been a ramshackle but democratic republic from 1919 to 1933, and had only been under the rule of totalitarian regime from 1933 to 1945. The civic institutions on which democracy can be built were still present in Germany, although in a badly damaged form. The Allied powers had to overcome the legacy of Hitler, but they had something to work with.

And, this process took hundreds of millions of 1945 dollars in aid, five years of complete military occupation, seven years of terrorism by Nazi "werewolf" guerrillas, another forty of disguised military occupation, and the economic, military, and political integration of Western Europe to achieve. That it did work, very well, with the result that modern germany is a nation that can be proud of its democratic and humane institutions, was owed as much to the German people and their institutions as to the Allies themselves.

In the case of Iraq, there are centuries of tradition of tyranny, a religion that encourages hatred of the West, essentially none of the civic institutions needed to build democracy, and a population of factions, each trying to dominate the others. It is my view, and the view of most real Middle East experts, that little or nothing can be made of such a country, no matter how well intentioned the new rulers may be.

And, this assumes that the proper resources are devoted to the task. The Bush government has shown absolutely no inclination to do this, nor would the American people stand for it. In order to make Iraq into a Western-style democracy, and to avoid being fatally weakened in the process, here is some of what is needed:

1. AT LEAST one hundred billion dollars in aid, all of it to be under the absolute control of the American authorities, so as to prevent it from being stolen by Iraqi officials. Probably, more aid will be needed over the decades.

2. AT LEAST ten to twenty years of occupation, with a fair and impartial law-code enforced with a ferocity that most Western peoples, and particularly a humane people like the Americans, would find utterly repulsive. In order to truly rule Iraq well enough to change its institutions, the occupiers will have to do things like take civilian hostages, as guarantees of good behavior. Are you willing to do this? Over and over? For twenty years?

3. A military draft, to build Army and Marine divisions tied down occupying Iraq. An increase of military spending to AT LEAST 5% of GNP, in order to pay for those new divisions, and the shipping and other transport needed to get them where they need to go. That is double the current defense budget. Where will this money come from?

4. A degree of social and psychological knowledge currently beyond the capability of any government or nation. You will need to somehow persuade the Iraqi people to give up their various communal identities -- as Sunnis, Shiahs or Kurds -- and to care about building democratic institutions that their own traditions regard as snares of Satan. How will you do this? How will you pay for it?

5. Tha national will to endure the hatred of the whole rest of the world for decades at a time. Are the American people really willing to endure decades of being hated, of their culture being rejected, of boycott and trade sanctions, of being unable to travel abroad, of being, in short, a threat and world pariah comaprable to the Soviet Union at the deepest depth of the Cold War? Is the United States going to able to keep other countries from delivering supplies to Iraqi guerrillas? How much money are you willing to spend to do this? How many hospitals, schools and libraries for Americans are you willing to give up? How many student loans?

And, even if America starts preparing to do this tomorrow, it could still all come crashing down if Kim Jong Il invades the South, or if one of America's allies in the War on Terror collapses. As things stand, if Pakistan votes to go Taliban, and it might, or if Indonesia falls apart, or if any number of other things go wrong, there won't be anything the United States can do about it. And, once that happens the first time, the secret will be out, and America's enemies will swarm her like wolves on a moose in the northern forests. A moose can crush any single wolf. But, a large enough pack can bring down even the largest moose.

The wolves are gathering in the darkness. And the American moose has turned to them its flank.

Thank You Todd.. Mar 25th. at 7:14:01 pm EST

Maleciah (Oregon) Age: 25 - Email

That was the biggest line of BS I have seen flow out of someones mouth in a long time!
Why do you feel so compelled before you even state your opinion that you don't support Saddam or the Ba'ath party? Your opinion should state where you stand. What you need to understand todd is that EVERY government lies. If you believe that yours doesn't either. I have a bridge to sell you.
Protesters are not considered traitors in ALL instances (nice blanket statement b.t.w.) However, protesters who are irresponsible and intentionally get indignant towards police officers by asking them why they have to get off the street to protest and they respond that it is your right as an american or a free citizen. I beg to differ, but the only right that gives you is to be hit by a mack truck. Some of these protesters are just outright careless. and that underlies their true message. Another thing:

"People in your country are always talking about how Saddam Hussien used chemical weapons on "his own citizens" well what you have to understand is that Iraq is a country of many potentially warring factions, his regime had been fighting this faction (the Kurds) for years. So, as despicable as this act was, they weren't really "Iraqi" citizens, they were different groups in conflict."

You dare try to use this as a defence for him using chemical weapons? that invalidated your whole point right there. That is like saying that gays and pagans aren't really a part of the US. they are just a faction that disagrees with the government so that means it is OK to round them up and use chemical weapons on us. and you insinuate Dubya as Hitler? He maybe a dry drunk texan that has no tact for foreign matters (there is a reason why texas' ads say it's like a whole other country) But that is an internal matter for us here in America to deal with. No one here admits he was elected. cause he wasn't and that is an internal matter that we as americans are fighting on a separate front. and as far as using nuclear weapons. there was little option left when you are fighting Japan and Germany (BOTH significant forces) and it showed the world what it could do and it hasn't been done by ANYONE since. YOU get your facts straight and fix your own government before you dare to critisize ours.

Nightwind.. Mar 25th. at 7:27:19 pm EST

Maleciah (Oregon) Age: 25 - Email

Thanks for clarifying but I have already posted what I am doing with ex-iraqis and the UN and the US to work out the democratic part of it. I am not saying it will be easy and am aware of what it entails for the troops but we do have contingency plans and economic outlooks for these people and offered up alot of ways to suppliment their main export to rebuild Iraq. These things and we really do want them to have the ability to at least say what they want from their country. It is if they insist on putting in another saddam we will not allow it. agreed germany was a western country and that the islamic world is quite a different world. But they know what death is over there all too well and all sides are tired of it but don't know how to get it to stop and get on the right track. getting rid of Saddam is just the first step. I think it is something that is worth a chance. and those who are saved from saddam will remember it. I can't really give much as far as details at this point but the thanks for the help I have gotten from Iraqi citizens and their familes already propel me in this cause. not oil. not president bush.. no one but to one day see peace in the middle east. and that will not arrive till the "silent" holy war going on between christians and muslims is done and we can live in that eutopian society we all dream of.

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