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Political Point and Counterpoint


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#1
Amentep

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start of old thread

end of old thread[

 


I'm gonna disagree with that to a point. I know you mean intervening militarily, but what about intervening in other ways? Take WWII, what would have happened if we didn't intervene militarily (and I'm invoking WWII as a whole, not just the European theatre)? 200 or even 100 years ago, 'leaving it alone' would be easier, but in todays globalized world, it's not so easy or simple an answer to 'just ignore it'. Don't get me wrong, I agree that there are things that we could have avoided doing militarily, like Iraq, but there are other situations where things could be made worse by ignoring diplomatically or otherwise non-militarily.
 
Anyhow, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee joins the race: https://www.cnn.com/...aign/index.html I don't know much about him, but he seems to be pretty clearly a career politician, was in the state legislature, then US Rep., then Governor.

 
 


I'd say there is a big difference between intervening in an invasion and being the invaders. We intervened in Kuwait during the Gulf War, and it has been fairly stable since. We invaded Iraq and it is a mess. In WWII you can make the same argument. Japan and Germany were the invaders.

 
 


I'd say there is a big difference between intervening in an invasion and being the invaders. We intervened in Kuwait during the Gulf War, and it has been fairly stable since. We invaded Iraq and it is a mess. In WWII you can make the same argument. Japan and Germany were the invaders.


 
am thinking invade v. intervene is largely a semantic differentiation and it ignores actual reasons for perceived success v. failure.  sadly, success in these kinda post-invasion operations comes down to a willingness to allocate sufficient resources to adequate maintain peace in newly occupied territories.  
 
https://www.rand.org...003/burden.html
 
https://www.rand.org.../MR1753.ch9.pdf
 
us peacekeeping force in iraq were too small.  woulda needed 3x as many troops 'ccording to estimates, and a whole lot more money invested into infrastructure if true lasting peace were the goal. coulda' sold iraq invasion to public if actual costs were known? doubtful.
 
bush administration mistaken thought once "liberated," the iraqi people would take care o' self policing and infrastructure development.  wrong.
 
obama made same stoopid mistake during arab spring, believing regime change, but w/o costly invasion, would lead to development o' stable democratic governments throughout the region. so obama helps spark the regime changes but then watched impotent as middle east burned.
 
is an ugly reality to face.  ain't morality which determines success o' peacekeeping and nation building efforts.  is simple a matter o' having will to commit necessary troop numbers and intelligent allocate rebuilding dollars.
 
gd suggests the investment is never worthwhile.  am not certain we agree, but we do recognize how the costs is typical far greater than politicians claim, and actual costs, if truthful communicated to public, would almost always be considered untenable. if all the US wants is to maintain influence with bad actors 'round the globe, is much cheaper ways to bring 'bout positive results compared to any sorta serious military campaign. blix, for example, noted just how effective were sanctions in limiting iraq's wmd programs.  'course sanctions hasn't been as effective insofar as north korea and iran.
 
stay complete uninvolved is a bit 19th century and a little naive, but am recognizing any sorta state-sponsored regime change is likely to be far too costly to sell to American populace in all but most extreme situations.
 
HA! Good Fun!

 

And so it continues...


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#2
Guard Dog

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Just to follow up on the last point.  The "Gulf War" was IMO the textbook example of how a military intervention should be conducted. If one must be conducted at all. A mandate. A clear objective. A plan to achieve the objective. Overwhelming force. And an exit plan once the objective was achieved. The intervention in Afghanistan did not have all of those. Iraq had none of them. 



#3
smjjames

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I thought the second Iraq war had a goal, topple Saddam? Still, the big problem was that it did lack an endgame* (or exit plan, if you will) and so, mission creep took over. Course though, both had the same problem that Vietnam ran into, that of politics getting in the way.

 

*Or rather the 'endgame' was 'VICTORY! BOOM! Lets go home!', then Iraqis: 'Oh no you don't!', to paraphrase.



#4
Gromnir

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there was an exit plan for iraq, but the plan were based on fundamental flawed presumptions.  the idea that once liberated, the iraqi people would, with little US help, police self, create efficient democrat institutions and begin repairing/improving infrastructure, were wishful thinking and not the basis for an exit plan.  exit plan were designed for fantasyland and not iraq. 

 

the mind boggling arrogance which were essential to rationalizing the exit plan were the real tragedy.  folks get their shorts in a twist over so-called lies 'bout wmds, but same post-invasion problems woulda' existed regardless o' presence o' wmds.  is far more reasonable to be angry 'bout how upper echelon pentagon and executive branch ignored the intelligence which made clear stabilizing iraq post invasion were not gonna be simple and that far more troops would be necessary for a much longer period o' time than were being advertised by the bush administration and by bipartisan elements o' Congress.  bush didn't actual know 'bout the absence o' wmds.  as noted, even blix were believing as late as December 2002 that iraq had wmds.  however, bush did get a whole lotta intelligence which indicated his exit plan were undermanned, underfunded and the time frame for complete withdrawal were unreasonable optimistic.   be angry at bush is legit, but am thinking most Americans is angry for wrong reasons.

 

HA! Good Fun!



#5
smjjames

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'VICTORY! BOOM! Lets go home!' would still be an accurate summary of the so called plan.



#6
Gromnir

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'VICTORY! BOOM! Lets go home!' would still be an accurate summary of the so called plan.

 

 

disagree.  US and allies committed enormous amounts o' personnel and resources to rebuilding Iraq. 150,000 peacekeeping forces in 2003 were hardly paltry and those folks were not meant to disappear overnight and return home to a tickertape parade.  the commitment by US were enormous.  the problem is, in spite o' the enormity o' the commitment, it were still woeful inadequate. based on intelligence and similar past peacekeeping efforts, bush shoulda' known the US commitment were insufficient. 

 

weren't "victory! boom! let's go home!"  kinda doing a disservice to the vast number o' committed military and diplomatic personnel who were fully committed to bringing peace to Iraq.  

 

 

 

US were running a kobayashi maru simulation... just didn't tell folks on the ground what were situation.  

 

HA! God Fun!



#7
Zoraptor

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I thought the second Iraq war had a goal, topple Saddam?

 

Kind of, but the goal was a lot more complicated than that and that brought the problems.

 

The lack of mandate for that simple goal in isolation meant that bits kept on getting tacked onto it by the civilian side to try and backfill the hole in the mandate, and in the end the military would have to have the goals of making sure those happen as well no matter how unattainable. So the goal of the war was in the simple and initial military case to topple Saddam, but it also had a bunch of hand waving mutually exclusive feel good, 'national security' and neocon dogma goals tacked onto it to sell that to the public. For a military campaign- or any other task really- you need maintenance of the objective and a realistic objective in your goal setting. Gulf War 2 had neither, the objective went from topple Saddam to that and 'nation building', but the nation building objectives didn't take reality into account and were predicated on wishful thinking.

 

Not really the military's fault though as they did the bit they're designed for well, it was the civil admin and political leadership that failed.

 

End of the day it doesn't matter what the military goals were if you have one administrator being fired for being too realistic and his replacement being an abject moron who decides that dropping 100ks of trained Iraqi soldiers into destitution to fulfil ideological whims is a good idea. That's the sort of stupidity that makes goals irrelevant.


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#8
Gorth

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Post war mistake #1 (second Iraq war) was a complete ignorance of how much Shia and Sunni hate each other. I know people love hating on Iran these days, happily ignoring the very same shortcomings in Saudi Arabia, because one has been labeled an enemy and one a friend. How does the saying go? With friends like these....


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#9
Zoraptor

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Shia and Sunni didn't hate each other in Iraq until Zarqawi very effectively stoked the flames. There was some score settling due to Sunnis being more privileged under Saddam, but nothing major. The concern was more about the total break down in law and order/ finance/ supplies and the other stuff that makes a country function.

 

As with multiple other middle eastern situations the problems come from the US largely outsourcing intelligence to interested 3rd parties including Saudi; and Saudi's religious philosophy is barely different from Al Qaeda's or ISIS' (though the political one differs significantly) which means they tend to label salafi groups as 'moderate' and thus not a threat. It's a very short step from Saudi's religious rhetoric to declaring takfir ('not real muslims') on Shia or Alawites, and once you've gone that far you can religiously justify doing pretty much anything to them including randomly blowing them up etc.

 

That's also why the vast majority of groups that joined ISIS in Syria were initially 'freedom fighters' supported by US allies and why you got pictures of John McCain et al with future ISIS leaders; outsourcing intelligence.

 

Technically of course takfirism is frowned upon even by Saudi; technically. OTOH there's no real dispute in minority sects that Sunnis are real muslims.



#10
smjjames

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It's also not the first time we made that mistake, the Taliban have their roots in the muhajeen (sp?) that we supported during the Cold War. While that one has a longer timespan between the roots and the group and thus the connection isn't as direct, the parallels are there.


Edited by smjjames, 02 March 2019 - 08:37 AM.


#11
Malcador

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Post war mistake #1 (second Iraq war) was a complete ignorance of how much Shia and Sunni hate each other. I know people love hating on Iran these days, happily ignoring the very same shortcomings in Saudi Arabia, because one has been labeled an enemy and one a friend. How does the saying go? With friends like these....


Thought it was picking Bremer

Edited by Malcador, 02 March 2019 - 08:43 AM.


#12
Zoraptor

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It's also not the first time we made that mistake, the Taliban have their roots in the muhajeen (sp?) that we supported during the Cold War. While that one has a longer timespan between the roots and the group and thus the connection isn't as direct, the parallels are there.

 

Afghanistan was a bit more complicated even than Iraq (!) since the US explicitly backed almost anyone anti soviet* and it was right at the start of Saudi actively exporting Wahhabi/ Salafi philosophy for political aims. So those getting US backing included loons like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, what became the nucleus of Al Qaeda, plus some of the future Taleban leadership like Mullah Omar- but it also included most of the Northern Alliance who made up the bulk of on the ground anti Taleban forces. I'd tend to excuse the US mostly for the Taleban itself, not Al Qaeda though, since at the time of its rise the US was disengaged almost entirely from Afghanistan. The Taleban was a Pakistani Intelligence project using refugee Afghans from Pakistani madrassas. Also Afghanistan was somewhat different as their outsourcing there was to Pakistan, and Pakistan was practical rather than ideological in their support for radical Islamists; Saudi tends to be both.

 

Syria though illustrates outsourcing problems very well; Turkey, Qatar and Saudi tended to support radical groups and recommend them to the US. Saudis recommended Salafi groups, Qatar recommended Ikwhan (Brotherhood) groups and any radicals not supported by Saudi, and Turkey supported pretty much anyone who would serve their purposes including, practically, supporting ISIS vs the Kurds. They also tended to recommend very strongly whacky Turkish Nationalist groups, which had the US publicly supplying literal child beheaders at one point. That was a lot more effective in destroying any genuine moderate opposition than Assad and the Syrian government was as the only way to get good supplies was to be in a radical group. In contrast the southern areas where Jordanian influence was stronger had far better vetting and a lot fewer questionable actions by US sponsored groups, but Jordan also pulled support a lot earlier due to not having an ideological stake.

 

In the end the US more or less learnt to ignore the recommendations after so many groups defected to ISIS, joined Al Qaeda umbrella organisations, ethnically cleansed, filmed themselves cannabalising dead alawites etc etc and went with everyone's last choice in the YPG/ SDF. Even then a lot of the arab militia in the SDF are the exact same groups that Saudi recommended in 2012/3 and who defected to ISIS in 2014 but defected back last year.

 

*the only real exceptions were pro Iranian factions.



#13
Gorth

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the other stuff that makes a country function.

Mistake #2.... assuming that "Iraqis" had a sense of national identity. I do think that one goes on the account of countries like England and France though, when they divided the old Ottoman Empire according to their own interests. If not of any interest, then the proverbial "lines in the sand", drawn straight with a pen and a ruler on a paper map, disregarding local history, religion and ethnicity. I'm not a fan of nation states and much less of nationalism, but the assumption that everyone else would think the same way was just old world arrogance (I think Gromnir explained the shortcomings of such assumptions better in one of his posts a bit further up).



#14
Zoraptor

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I don't think the lack of classic western style 'nationalism' was insurmountable though, if the CPA had been able to maintain some semblance of normality in services and the like they could have fostered it or at least got around the lack of it to keep Iraq stable- and once stable the democratic etc institutions they wanted would have been more likely to succeed.

 

The really fundamental problem was that the US civil administration personified in Bremer lacked the slightest grasp of reality in almost any respect. Which is much the same thing as old world arrogance I guess.

 

(From the national building standpoint I'd say that firing the bureaucracy was more damaging even than firing the army, as that crippled state functions utterly even where the security situation was relatively calm and even amongst those who might have been persuaded to give the occupation forces a chance to deliver. Months of no state functions would cripple 'goodwill' even somewhere 'advanced' like the UK, let alone in Iraq. And to be honest, if the US had invaded France I'd expect them to have most of the problems they had in Iraq as well if they tried the same tactics)



#15
smjjames

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It's not so much a lack of western style nationalism than a cultural misunderstanding. The thing is that we aren't a nation-state like, say, France is, so, we could be forgiven if we thought it was easy to have a national identity without being a nation-state.

 

Still, it's a mistake that could have been avoided and zoraptor has a point in that doing it the way we did it in Iraq would cause the same kind of problems in places where it was stable.



#16
ktchong

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#17
Guard Dog

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Kudos to Rand Paul: https://thehill.com/...ncy-declaration



#18
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Irony is my favorite form of humor. But hypocrisy is a close second: https://nypost.com/2...ew-deal-pledge/



#19
Guard Dog

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Cuomo is looking at running: https://www.theatlan...t-trump/583642/

 

Inslee jumped in last week. He just can't wait to have the ATF kick down our doors take everyone's guns away. Maybe kill a few while they are at it. After all if they resist they obviously don't vote Democrat so who needs them.  



#20
smjjames

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As I said elsewhere: With all the hyperventilating and misinterpreting over the Green New Deal, IMO, I don't think they are slippery sloping themselves enough or whipping themselves into a frenzy enough over precedence, what if a Democrat decides to sieze all guns! COMMENCE HYPERVENTILATING! heh.

 

 



Irony is my favorite form of humor. But hypocrisy is a close second: https://nypost.com/2...ew-deal-pledge/

 

And Al Gore using private jets. Theres plenty of hypocrisy to go around with politicians.

 

 



Cuomo is looking at running: https://www.theatlan...t-trump/583642/

 

Inslee jumped in last week. He just can't wait to have the ATF kick down our doors take everyone's guns away. Maybe kill a few while they are at it. After all if they resist they obviously don't vote Democrat so who needs them.  

 

Not sure if that comment is at Inslee or Cuomo? I don't know how extreme either guys gun policies are though, and only crazies and hyperventilators think that kind of thing is an actual serious thing that would happen (meaning I'm taking your comment as tongue-in-cheek rather than serious). Anyways, I thought Cuomo ruled himself out months ago, like, over six months ago. There was also something about former Gov. Hickenlooper possibly jumping in later this week, so, that one remains to be seen.


Edited by smjjames, 03 March 2019 - 04:59 PM.





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