Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Terrorism and Iraq


Iraq has been occupied/liberated(choose your prefered verb) by the US led coalition forces for a little over 2 years now, and thus we have gotten used to the atrocious news from there on a daily basis to the point where unfortunately they hardly register anymore. IMO it has turned like Palestine and Lebanon during the civil war, no matter how many horrible acts of violence are committed it is there in the background for most of us. Yes we care, but we don't know what to do anymore to show how much we care. It is evident, that without a miracle , Iraq will continue to be the hell on earth it is now. With the current world state of affair and my own nightmares this will not be anytime soon ( may God prove me wrong).

In my humble opinion , and I'm not lecturing to anyone here, just brainstorming for my pleasure, the problems in Iraq are multilayered.

First you have a foreign western occupation ( call it what you wish, for me it is still occupation, because it is still people who are not your own who are running the show in your country), the presence of these troops is exacerbating and humiliating, no matter what you think, and no matter what our wonderful Iraqi bloggers say ( no offense to anyone as I respect and enjoy reading them all). Absolutely no-one likes foreign armies on their land : a good example is Lebanon, the Syrians were begged to come and bring the peace 30 years ago during the civil war, the two countries are practically indistiguishable in language, food, ethnicity, etc yet after their job is the done the Syrian army is felt like a thorn in the side, because it has become a foreign army regardless of historical ties. We all know what happened this year !

But I' m digressing, so we have established that foreign armies are unwelcome, even when they come as saviours ( I am not comparing with the great job the US army did in Europe in WWI and WWII thanks Michael). The coalition forces on the other hand did not come as saviours , but now they are portrayed to be , I am not going to go again into the whole WMD, Saddam scenarios, it's been covered too much , feels like a broken record, what's done is done , this is reality now and we have to deal with it. So if many want to think of them as 'saviour' so be it, it will maybe get them out of Iraq faster? And if indeed they wish to be the saviours then they have to work on that image.

The problem is that we have to deal with the following issues:
(a) coalition forces -mostly US-: killing/torturing Iraqis
(b) insurgents/terrorists: killing/kidnapping Iraqis/foreigners
(c) insurgents/terrorists/freedom fighters : killing US /coalition soldiers
(d) it's a free for all mass killing spree , with shia, sunni, kurds, and foreign arab fighters, civilians, ex-baathists, thugs, heros, warlords and mercenaries .
(e) the arab /muslim foreign fighters are subdivided into basically 2 groups, those who are of the terrorists mindset and those that have genuinely listened to their heart and naively come to fight -not the 'infidel or the heathen' - from Iraq , but an invading occupying army (in their opinion)...only to discover to their dismay how things are messed up there and not quite like they thought.
(f) you also have new Iraqi police and security:killing/torturing Iraqis .

In my opinion, everyone in Iraq has the right to kill/destroy the coalition forces by any means necessary if they want, that is not terrorim and not murder, that is legitimate self-defense and freedom even though it is stupid and suicidal. (just in case someone thinks this is a message of hatred, no it it not, it is directed at those in Iraq who profess that they are killing to free Iraqis) . The point is if one wants it then to get it done by not sacrificing your fellow Iraqis, otherwise it's murder. So if someone blows himself up in a US base that's legitimate struggle, and I believe all the people will help. But blowing a market full of Iraqis, or a queue of Iraqi job seekers, sorry that's terrorism.

What is going on in Iraq is terrible, it is a civil and regional war with onlookers, cheerleaders, entities and people settling scores.It's just that nobody wants to utter the horrible looming sentence Civil War, because that would even demonstrate more that this latest meddlesome adventure in the ME is not a 100% success.

I wish the US would leave and let the players settle their scores no matter what the toll, they have been wanting to do that for 30 years anyway. At least the toll would be less, in time, deaths and money then a prolonged war stiffled beneath the surface by the US forces. Iraq needs to burst its abscess and westerners are cramping its style. You cannot democratize by force but you can point in the right direction, educate and eventually create a correct civil society. The society will not decide of it's own to stop and start behaving in a controlled manner. It has to fight it out first.

The fact is no matter how much I sympathise with the plight of Iraqis, I can't really say anything, only my personal opinion, since I don't live there nor have been through what they have, this goes as well for those Iraqis who have not been to Iraq for years ( or to any Arab country for that matter).

What is the point of this post you ask ? hmm let's see. Oh yes , what I wanted to say is that in the middle of all this, no killing of any Iraqi should be undertaken in the name of religion or ideology, as the only fair target in Iraq should be the foreign forces so if the Arab fighter who went there with visions of struggle for freedom cannot kill a foreign soldier then they better go home or else pull up their sleeves and help rebuild Iraq. As for the Iraqis killing each other, that's civil war, however just senseless pointless explosions that is TERRORISM. While Iraqi authorities killing. imprisoning/torturing their own, that's business as usual with tacit approval from coalition forces.

So while the recent London and Sharm El-Sheikh attack may have deflected a little attention from Iraq recent attacks and spate of terrorism. Iraq has not been forgotten and the innocent victims of terrorism are also remembered dearly, may they RIP.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kiss The Invaders Do Not Kill Them

Well Highlander, please let me reply only to the point I disagree
With in this topic. All the rest is Kosher with me …… ;-)

I disagree with your rubber stamp approval to waging Jihad against
The US invaders of Iraq. Why, quite simply because I happened to
Belong to the camp that calls the US invasion an act of Liberation.

I know that the US created the Saddam Hussein (SH) monster in the
First place. They armed him to the teeth. Used him to the limit to
Wage so many wars against his neighbors. Which served US policy
And interests by punishing Iran for its disobedience and by squeezing
Hundreds of billions of petrodollars from the gulf to fat US banks.

Nonetheless. Has it not been for the ¼ million US invasion, SH and
His descendants would rein in Iraq for many centuries to come leaving
The poor country in the dark ages.

Why we should not fight the American invaders? Quite simply
Because I am not afraid of them. Let them come in very very peacefully.
I think that we should throw flowers and roses at them not bombs my friend.

Do you know the fate that awaits them in such a case? It is the same fate
That had befallen the other invaders who came to us throughout history.

The Moguls entered Baghdad. Turned it upside down. But they came in as
Ginkhez Khans and went back as Sultan Ahmed and Ali to build some of the
Most prominent Islamic republics in India and China. Taj Mahal is only one
testimony to that.

Centuries later the Turks came in as Turgots and Uzals. They quite simply
Returned home as some of the most ardent Muslim Caliphs …Abdulhamids &
Suleimans to spread Islam throughout eastern Europe and the Balkans.

When put to the test, and when studied carefully in a state of peace of mind
Without any pressure or fear, Islam always comes out victorious. Because
Quite simply it is the word of God. Its ever lasting miracle, The Holy Quran,
Still remains the same unaltered and will continue to challenge the human
Mind that is given the opportunity to take a look. A serious and peaceful look.

To me that would be the right way of responding to the western invaders of
Today. The violent reaction and its messy suicidal bombers I believe only serves
To alienate Islam from the Christian west and to create the hatred that the real manipulators of this stupid Jihad exactly want.

So, please give these words some thought before writing them off as too rmantic or too naieve.

DM

Highlander said...

on the contrary DM , Islam showed it's endurance, and I won't write you off as naive or romantic ...but to wait for centuries ? life is too short and too fast nowadays , but yeah you may have a point there, and if we kiss the invaders ( as I said at the start of the post) there is a possibility that they may leave sooner ...or maybe they will enjoy too much our kisses and flowers ;) ...

Michael said...

In my opinion, everyone in Iraq has the right to kill/destroy the coalition forces by any means necessary if they want, that is not terrorim and not murder, that is legitimate self-defense and freedom even though it is stupid and suicidal

That's it for me Highlander, no matter how much sympathy I may have felt for you. If you don't retract that awful sentence there's no more sense for me coming here and trying to maintain a western/arab link.

The soil of my country is drenched with the blood of thousands of US soldiers who gave their lives in two world wars so that I - we - could be free.

What has happened in Iraq is exactly the same. It is a LIBERATION. Just ask the majority of Iraqis.

DM, the US did not arm Saddam to the teeth. It was the French and the Russians. Saddams weapon systems were either French or Russian. Look at his missiles, tanks, small infantry weapons, artillery and aircraft.

Highlander, I do not seriously believe you are going to retract that awful message of hatred. So I will already say you goodbye. I do wish however that one day you may understand how unfair and unjust your words were. Bye.

Michael/Belgium

Highlander said...

Michael I'm really sorry you feel that way, because no matter how much hatred you've professed for Islam/Muslims on you blog and elsewhere I always felt (just like you) sympathy as well because I understand the stand where you come from and the things going in your country.

However you have perhaps taken my sentence out of context and shown it as a message of hatred. You know very well it is not. My point was terrorism and the example was Iraq, so in Iraq those people who are killing their own in the name of freedom have no excuse because logically they should be killing the foreign army if they consider it an occupation. That's what the cartesian thinking makes of it , but killing each other ( i.e. the Iraqis of all types)just amounts to terrorism. That's what logic would say, if you are someone who has been invaded without asking for it and if you think that's not fair.

With regards to Belgium, in WWII , the bad guys were the German Nazis who had enslaved a large part of Europe and the Belgians were delighted to have the Americans come and liberate them as partners not as occupiers that's the difference. And I salute the heroism of those brave American soldiers.
Maybe if the Americans projected an image of liberators in Iraq they would not need to hide behind such high walls, I've seen and heard of many of the good things that some soldiers were doing there and getting rid of Saddam was fantastic. However, the image projected is still very very bad because they have the higher firepower. If I was in Iraq and ran into a US soldier I most probably would chat with him and become friends . On the other hand those Iraqis who profess that they are doing the bombings, ambushing and roadside mines to liberate Iraq from the yoke of foreign power then their logic to me seems flawed as it should be directed at was is evidently foreign in their midst.

You have to read the whole text in context , not pick and choose Michael ...never pick and choose that is what makes you loose your Western/Arab link as you say it ...To maintain that link Michael you have to have a big heart, and an understanding mind, not a short temper.
Look at me despite the message of hatred I constantly read on your blog or some comments for example here

I don't want to listen to the Hussains and the Shehzads.
I just want to K-I-L-L them.
)

- or at least I perceive it to be hatred I may be wrong- and what I as an Arab Muslim you may think may find offensive in your word of support towards Israel or further invasion of ME countries, you never heard me once threaten you with the withdrawal of my friendship/sympathy.
You fight for a friendship Michael, you make it work and reach accross the lines, the borders, the propaganda and all the walls erected in its face to reach the human at the other side. You don't turn your back and say goodbye because then you are stifling the freedom of speech of the other person which you have granted yourself and in the process stifle his own growth process of searching and identifying the truth. There are so many sentences you used that I could have told you that's hatred , yet I chose to restrain myself and reach out to you and understand the fear of the unknown puzzling thing about this whole situation for you and basically see the ordinary human Michael-in-Belgium , who only wants to live a safe prosperous healthy life and wishes the same on everyone in the world and is trying to make sense of why this is not happening. Am I right ? I hope one day you will realize how unfair and unjust your words are too.

Highlander

aliandra said...

the petro-wealth to improve the lives of their subjects.

“Without any pressure or fear, Islam always comes out victorious”

Islam doesn’t have an unblemished past, DM. The pagans of Arabia at the time of Mohammad were given the choice of Islam or death. The Zoroastrians of Persia were brutally persecuted because they would not convert and had to flee to India. In India, the Moghuls also persecuted those who did not convert.

“The violent reaction and its messy suicidal bombers I believe only serves
To alienate Islam from the Christian west and to create the hatred that the real manipulators of this stupid Jihad exactly want.”

And who would that be? The Zionists?

aliandra said...

DM,

“I know that the US created the Saddam Hussein (SH) monster in the
First place”

Like so much common wisdom in the middle-east, it’s incorrect. Saddam lied, thieved, and murdered his own way to the top. The US did not arm Saddam. The French fed him planes and the Russians fed him tanks. The US used Saddam against Iran in an attempt to weaken two evil dictatorships and fed intelligence to both sides

“squeezing Hundreds of billions of petrodollars from the gulf to fat US banks”

If anyone is getting fat on petro-dollars, it’s the Gulf Arabs themselves. A royal family of 7000+ Saudis lives in sumptious palaces while the rest of the population scrabbles for a living. In the rest of the Gulf a small population ofrich and oily elites takes lavish vacations, lives high on the hog, and doesn’t use any of the petro-wealth to improve the lives of their subjects.

“Without any pressure or fear, Islam always comes out victorious”

Islam doesn’t have an unblemished past, DM. The pagans of Arabia at the time of Mohammad were given the choice of Islam or death. The Zoroastrians of Persia were brutally persecuted because they would not convert and had to flee to India. In India, the Moghuls also persecuted those who did not convert.

“The violent reaction and its messy suicidal bombers I believe only serves
To alienate Islam from the Christian west and to create the hatred that the real manipulators of this stupid Jihad exactly want.”

And who would that be? The Zionists?

aliandra said...

Highlander.

You said “The point is if one wants it then to get it done by not sacrificing your fellow Iraqis, otherwise it's murder. So if someone blows himself up in a US base that's legitimate struggle, and I believe all the people will help. But blowing a market full of Iraqis, or a queue of Iraqi job seekers, sorry that's terrorism.”

The terrorists aren’t attacking their fellow Iraqis because they want the coalition troops out. They are attacking to destroy the cohesion of society. Throwing bombs at churches, at funeral processions, at crowds of children, killing foreign diplomats – none of this has to do with the occupation. Keep in mind that the surrounding governments do not want a democracy in Iraq because that would mean their people will want one too. 60% of the suicide bombers are Saudis. A high percentage of captured terrorists are coming from Syria. It’s the surrounding countries that don’t like the occupation of Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Dear Highlander,

It is my first time to comment, even though I read your blog and find it quite interesting. Terrorism against civillians is an evil thing and nobody condones it. As for resistance ''against occupation'', I believe that the best thing the Iraqis should do is to put their house in order and not engage in political squabbling or trying to score a point in killing US soldiers. The Iraqis have a chance to be regional leaders in a multi-sectarian democracy. If they take the necessary steps, then this US presence would have no justification and they would be glad to get out.

Highlander said...

Dear anonymous 5:31 PM , you have just made my point in a more precise prose and so much shorter than my huge long post ... I almost feel like making your comment as a stand-alone post ..Thank you :) and I'm glad you commented.

Aliandra I've said it many times we do agree on many points. Thank you for your explanation re. Saddam and the suicide bombers, if you have a link with the statistics of them being 60% Saudis and from Syria I would genuinely appreciate it.

Karim Elsahy said...

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aliandra said...

Highlander,

There are numerous sources on the Internet concerning the identity of the insurgents. I’ve listed just a few. As you can see, the surrounding countries are playing an enormous role in the terrorism by sending their militants to Iraq. You can visit the Iraq bloggers and you’ll see numerous references to Syrian involvement.

From: http://wizbangblog.com/archives/006107.php

Quote: “less than 10% of all the suicide bombers in Iraq are actually Iraqi. Over 90% of them have come from other nations, half of them from Saudi Arabia. At least by this yardstick, there is a very small native element to the insurgency.”

From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/14/AR2005051401270.html.

Quote: “Who are the suicide bombers of Iraq? By the radicals' account, they are an internationalist brigade of Arabs, with the largest share in the online lists from Saudi Arabia and a significant minority from other countries on Iraq's borders, such as Syria and Kuwait”


From: http://www.command-post.org/2_archives/013522.html
Quote: “ …. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying his government had gathered information from intelligence services showing support by some neighbouring countries for the insurgents. Mr Zebari did not name the foreign powers, but the Sunday Telegraph quoted "senior Iraqi officials" as indicating "that Iran and Syria were the worst offenders".
Quote: “Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Saleh, says there is agreement on "the necessity to cooperate to prevent [insurgents] from crossingthe border”


Aliandra

Anonymous said...

Michael
In order to help clarify Highlander’s point of view, imagine
Yourself in her shoes. Replace Iraq by your country
Belgium, the Americans by the Nazi Germans and
Set the clock back to WWII Europe.

Would you then have any difficulty promoting your
Anti-Nazi resistance movement with the statement Highlander
Made in this post. I don’t think so.

While whole heartedly committed to your stand about the US
Liberation of Iraq, I am beginning to question whether it is
wise to destroy the country in order to save it?

The US has terribly mismanaged the war. It first appointed
The freaky Paul Bremer to run the country. That guy is only
Suitable to the job of mayor of Daytona Beach Florida or San Diego
California where people smoke marijuana and consider surfing a way
Of life. Not Iraq where political savagery and million casualty wars
is the order of the day.

The number of Iraqi casualties has reached astronomical
figures. Its new government is reverting to torture and
Repressive tactics not very different from those of the deposed regime.
The Iraqi people are once again fleeing their country to live in misery
and humiliation in exile.

Highlander, you must also admit that it is the Iraqis and arab anarchists
With their stupid suicidal bombs “resistance” that is mostly to blame
For this mess not the American forces.

Paul Bremer made a tragic mistake by completely dissolving the
Previous state and its army thus throwing the country into chaos.
But should the coalition forces leave Iraq now, the mostly under civilized
Iraqis (courtesy of SH of course) will only continue to tear their country
Apart in a most vicious civil war that we have not seen anything of it yet.

So let’s hope that they succeed in building their constitution and
Trying to stand on their own feet. The potential of a prosperous
And peaceful Iraq are enormous. It is the land of a Seven Thousand
years old civilization. That is the land of Abraham. The place were
the written word was first invented to say the least.

I am grateful for the correction you made Michael about SH’s
Weapon sources .You are right. It was mostly Russian and French.
But that is a minor technical point. The US did not spare an effort giving
SH the political guidance, encouragement and even satellite data
in his wars with Iran.

I still remember the words of colonel Oliver North in his
Congressional interrogations: We sold arms to Iran but we
Told Iraq where to bomb them.

You must admit Michael that the politically more advanced
West has not been very helpful to us here in the Islamic East.
Whether it was the US, France, the UK or Russia. They are all the
Same as far as we are concerned. It was this Christian west that
installed these bloody dictators on us and made sure that we stay
underdeveloped and suffering for most of the twentieth century Just
to insure their secure supply of energy.

I have read in the confessions of a disinfected SH Baath party
Operative how they were brought to power in Baghdad by the
US embassy. The first assignment given to Saddam by the US
Embassy was a list of 800 Iraqi communist party members.
Once in control he quite delightfully liquidated all of them as a
Thank you gesture to his American masterminds.

Would you tolerate the execution of 800 of your countrymen
Under the guidance of the US government? I don’t think so.

DM

aliandra said...

DM,

You say “It was this Christian west that installed these bloody dictators on us and made sure that we stay underdeveloped and suffering for most of the twentieth century Just to insure their secure supply of energy.”

DM, your part of the world will progress as soon as it stops blaming the West for it’s failures. Even your reformists have acknowledged that. The West didn’t install any of your governments. Except for Iraq, there are no Western troops keeping your governments in power. Your governments will fall when you decide you’ve had more than enough misery, just like the old Soviet client states.

Even Africa has stopped blaming Daddy Britain and Mommy France for not giving the them the cookies when they were little. It’s long past time for the middle-east to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Michael
I can not think of a more reconciliatory and peaceful response
To the war in Iraq than the one I put forward in my initial post
In this topic. Namely to throw roses at the invaders instead of
Bombs and to accept them peacefully to give discussion and
Dialogue a chance.

I was surprised to receive a negative response from you on that.
(I need your reason Programmer_Craig where are you man).

After viewing your blog, I can see that you are deeply entangled
In day to day war events like sniper shootings. What else did you
Expect my friend it is a war not a picnic. I can also refer you to
TV footings of a US soldier shooting a wounded unarmed Iraqi
Man laying in a mosque in the head in cold blood. The Abu-Ghraib
Prison five star treatment is not too far away as well.

My suggestion is to try to keep a more global perspective and to
Try to see where things are and should be going. What should
Be our objectives in dealing with this sad conflict that should not
Have taken place in the first place. We should be friends and partners
in building a better future for all of humanity not enemies trying to
devour each other’s flesh like animals.

As for the US war against the Serbs to save the Albanians. Yes
Michael it is a highly noble and heroic act. For that I have been
Hailing president Clinton as the greatest statesman of the century.

America’s humanitarian war in the Balkans also put to shame your
Antiquated European countries and societies. You were watching
Those Serbian atrocities take place without raising a finger. Except
Of course for the opportunist and hypocritical Jack Chirak who
Made his famous announcement that frightened the Serbs and made
Them halt their madness when he said: “We shall not allow for the
Creation of a Muslim state in Europe”…………… The idiot did not
Acknowledge that if not for Islam that brought him the Greek civilization
And sparked Europe’s renaissance from Andalusia of Islamic Spain he
would probably still be in the dark ages.

Aliandra
Thank you my friend for enforcing my claim that the more advanced
West is conducting an evil policy of destroying us politically.
Your statement:

The French fed him planes and the Russians fed him tanks. The US used Saddam against Iran in an attempt to weaken two evil dictatorships and fed intelligence to both sides

Can not be more to the point. You hit it right on the nail my friend.
Do you know that the Iraq-Iran war that the west has fueled to “weaken” The two dictators had cost the two nations one Million casualties each in an 8 years devastating war with conventional chemical and nerve gas killing fields. Thanks a lot for that our western friends.

DM

aliandra said...

DM,

You said “America’s humanitarian war in the Balkans also put to shame your
Antiquated European countries and societies. You were watching
Those Serbian atrocities take place without raising a finger”

NATO actually put an end to the war. What did the middle-east do to help their Muslim brethren? Nothing. Just like what you’re doing for Darfur.

You say “And sparked Europe’s renaissance from Andalusia of Islamic Spain he
would probably still be in the dark ages.”

The Renassiance came from Italy, not Islamic Spain.

You said “Do you know that the Iraq-Iran war that the west has fueled to “weaken” The two dictators had had cost the two nations one Million casualties”

DM, my friend. Saddam started the war, not the US. As soon as the US broke off diplomatic relations with Iran, Iraq attacked. Both sides could have ended the war anytime they wanted and there would have been nothing the US, France, or Russia could have done about it.

You said “Thank you my friend for enforcing my claim that the more advanced
West is conducting an evil policy of destroying us politically.”

Nonsense. You do not need the West for your self-destruction. Arabs are prefectly capable of screwing up their own countries and do so with relentless determination.

Here’s a run-down of the past 25 years.

Algerian civil war – about 500,000 dead.
Lebanese Civil war: 100,000 dead, about a million people displaced.
Darfur: 400,000 dead.
Syria: 20,000 – 40,000 civilians slaughtered by the Syrian government in Hama
Saddam Hussain: Over a million people dead between assorted gennocides, war with Irana dn war with Kuwait.
Iraq: Hundreds of civilians being killed by bombs and suicide bombers (most of whom are Saudi and other foreign Arabs)

Ethnic hated, oil, religion, territorial disputes, or internal politics prompted all these atrocities, not the West.

Anonymous said...

I must admit that you have some very good points Aliandra, even though I do not agree with all of them.

Looking forward to sparring with you on many other topics. Thanks a lot for your time my friend.

DM

Louise said...

DM, you just equated the WWII allies, which included Canada - and my father - with Nazis. You need another letter in your handle, sweetheart. It should be DIM. What a load of crap.

programmer craig said...

Hmmm... well, I don't really want to comment on this but I guess I will anyway :0

I agree with Highlander that the US troops in Iraq are legitimate military targets. The only problem I have with the terrorists attacking US forces is that the terrorists are unlawful war fighters by their very nature. Like spies and saboteurs, terrorists are subject to summary execution in the field. The "unarmed" man you saw shot dead, DM, was a presumed terrorist - he'd been in that mosque with his fellow terrorists attacking US Marines from inside, for two days. As I recall from the news reports, that same unit of marines had lost a man to a terrorist who pretended to surrender and then blew himself up, a few days prior. I honestly don't know what I'd have done if I was there (I'm a former Marine) but I may have done the same thing. I certainly don't condemn that Marine for doing what he did.

I do, however, condemn what happened at Abu Ghraib. And, in my opinion, those charges should have been War Crimes charges, not abuse charges. Rape, Murder and Torture are war crimes. Always. At the least, rape and torture were alleged at Abu Ghraib.

Hmmm... what else... you guys covered so much ground!

Iran and Iraq. I don't really buy that story about Saddam rising to power with the aid of the US. The only times the US has engaged in that sort of thing was to topple a communist government, or to prevent communists from rising to power. So, it may be true I guess, but I'm suspicious. The US supported the Shah of Iran because there was a lot of worry at the end of WW II that the Soviets would take Iran by force or subversion. The British supported the Shah for the same reason. After the 1979 revolution and the hostage crisis, Iran was an enemy of the United States. That, pure and simple, is the reason that the US switched it's support to Iraq and encouraged Saddam to wage war on Iran. It was war by proxy, the same as it was in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and half a dozen other places. Indirect war by proxy was the standard opearating procedure for conflict between the Warsaw pact and NATO during the Cold War. The only thing that made Iran/Iraq different is that America had a legitimate reason to go to war with Iran. Capturing an embassy and holding the diplomatic staff hostage is an act of war, and a state of war existed between Iran and the United States the day they captured our embassy. And, I'd argue, it still does. In my opinion, Iran provoked that war, not the United States. Saddam was not an unwilling partner, which was convenient for America. A direct US invasion of Iran would have almost certainly pulled the Soviets in, and that would have probably started World War III.

By the way, I'm not trying to support one side or the other in this debate. I'm just describing things from my personal perspective. I never much liked the Cold War policy of supporting fascist dictators to oppose communist dictators. And now, we find ourselves supporting dictators who oppose terrorists. It seems like there has to be a better way. I hope that the Neocons are right that dictators can be replaced with democracies, but I'm not so sure about that. There seems to be a lot of support in the middle east for theocracy, and for terrorism, both. Things may get a LOT worse if dictators start being toppled. But, on the other hand, things have gotten pretty bad with these dictators in charge.

Bah. I've wandered all over with this post and all I originally wanted to say, is I don't blame Highlander for saying military personnel in a war zone are legitimate targets.

BTW, somebody was talking about looking at things from another perspective. I made a statement of what I considered to be the obvious on Mindbleed and got royally chewed out for it. I mean, all I said that is if the United States lost a city to a terrorist nuke, the response would be a massive nuclear pre-emptive strike. That's US doctrine, and not only that, I don't think I could find anybody in my neighborhood who'd say otherwise if I went out right now and took a poll. Common sense says this is the US response, official US doctrine says this is the US response. It's obvious, no?

Well, no, I guess it's not, based on the comments people have been making! Shocking, really, but I guess people have different ways of dealing with realities they don't want to accept. Some deny, some ignore. I'm trying to ignore, right now. Like, if I'm oblivious to the bad things happening, they aren't happening...

But, what would India's response be if a pakistani terrorist detonated a nuclear weapon in New Delhi?

Is there *any* doubt, in *anyones* mind, what India would do?

There's none in mine. Furthermore, I don't think any nuclear armed country would see it's capital or any other major city destroyed and not respond with a nuclear strike. Not any. The US is different only in that the US has a nuclear capabilty of destroying all life on earth, many times over. So do the Russians, and probably the Ukrainians.

One thing I noticed about that topic is that nobody made an argument that terrorists wouldn't nuke a US city if they could. They only argued about what the US response would be. It seems to me that the one is just as obvious as the other. The current war on terror is, at it's heart, an attempt to prevent this scenario from playing itself out. That's why Iran and it's nuclear program is center stage, right now. If Iran egts nukes, terrorists get nukes. And, nobody argues that terrorists won't use nukes once they get them.

Honesty, wahtever people think of the War on Terror, as it's being fought, it *is* the humane and rational attempt at dealing with terrorsist. New York being nuked means that humane and rational methods have failed, and the US will be in survival mode. I really don't have a clue what will happen then, but it's going to involve nuclear weapons and it's going to be really, really bad.

programmer craig said...

Er... after that unintentionally long and rambling post, I realized I forgot something!

It's Iran that was armed by the US, not Iraq. Iran's air force, today, consists of some 60 odd Cobra attack helicopters, a few dozen CH-46 Chinook heavy lift helicopters, and about 50 1970s era fixed wing fighters, such as the F-4 Phantom.

As far as armor, they have several hundred M-60 Patton main battle tanks, several hundred US and British made medium tanks, 240 Soviet made T-72 main battle tanks, and miscellaneous armored personnel carriers.

1300 armored vehicles in all.

They have 1600 pieces of artillery/mortars, mostly US made.

Some 600,000 men under arms, including their Revolutionary Guards units.

The Soviets didn't do a very good job of arming Iran after the revolution, providing virtually no aircraft a very small number of tanks. Iran's artillery is impressive, though, and in static defenses would be devastating.

The lack of air power is a major weakness in Iran's military, just as it was in Saddam's.

Saddam's stuff was almost exclusively Soviet. He bought some Mirage fighters from France, though, along with their Exocet anti-ship missiles. He hit a US frigate in the persian gulf with an Exocet in the 80s, by mistake. That's a good plane, and a good anti-ship missile. And the French have sold them to anybody who had money :\

Anonymous said...

Louise

Well my friend, you gave me an I …. (DIM), but after reading your message I could only give you an A to make you MAD ………. Not a human MAD but a MAD Cow Disease case. Because only a mad cow could fail to understand what I said the way you did.

Programmer_Craig

That was an impressive list of the military fire power of Iran. I am not qualified to question or dispute it. BUT I strongly protest and indicate my dismay at your approval of the cold blood killing of that Iraqi man laying wounded in the middle of a mosque. Your words are far worse than Highlander’s posting, approving the attacks on the invading forces, that started this topic in the first place.

I am not a lawyer or an expert on the Geneva Convention on the regard. But common sense and decent human conduct at the time of war tells that if your enemy facing you at the other side of a trench drops his gun and raises his hands in surrender then you no longer have the right to shoot and kill him but to take him as a prisoner of war. Even if he had just killed you comrades. That is what decent civilized behavior should be like. Not shooting a wounded man lying on the ground in the head. That is quite simply a barbaric, under civilized war crime by a soldier with the morality of the dark ages of Europe not the 21’st century.

DM

programmer craig said...

DM, I am sorry, but you are completely wrong. The man was a combatant, not a non-combatant. Yes, it's true, prisoners are non-combatants, but that man was not a prisoner. Even if he *was* attempting to surrender, that does not make one a prisoner. A combatant becomes a prisoner at the time his attempt to surrender has been accepted and he had been placed in custody.

Making a false offer of surrender in order to gain an advantage over your enemy is the oldest trick in the book, and as I've pointed out, this trick claimed the life of a marine in this unit just prior to the incident we are discussing.

And it's not in anyway unlawful to kill an unarmed enemy combatant, or one whose back is turned. It's perfectly lawful to kill an enemy a he flees battle, as he sleeps, as he takes a shit, as he's having sex, as he's eating dinner or in any other manner or at any other time that you can kill him.

This is not an opinion, DM. It's been a fact as long as war has existed, and these facts are contained in the Laws of War. You canot force soldiers to accept an offer of surrender that they may feel jeopardizes their own safety. That's an absurd proposition.

I can quote the relevant international laws if you'd like, but I'd rather you just took my word for it, or looked it up for yourself :)

Anonymous said...

Programmer_Craig

You could argue for days and nights about the legal technicalities of taking someone a prisoner of war or shooting him at point blank or in the back. But I insist on my point of view that the subject video of the US marine shooting the Iraqi man laying on the mosque floor as one of the darkest scenes of this war. And possible of all modern time wars.

I will not rest until I give this crime the proper treatment I think it deserves in this and any other debate.

Legal technicalities aside, you said that the US marine was AFRAID for his life and hence was justified when he killed that wounded Iraqi man.

I would like you to compare that frightened marine who was armed to the teeth and wrapped in protective shields like a crocodile shooting an unarmed man laying mortally wounded in civilian cloths on a mosque floor.

Compare him to a brave and altruistic man on the other side who straps his body with explosives or drives a car loaded with dynamite to slam it on an enemy vehicle or compound.

The contrast can not be any sharper my friend. Forget about the subjective decisions as to who is right and who is wrong. Which one is the terrorist and which one is the freedom fighter. I personally think that both fighters are wrong. They are both victims not villains in the hands of the war mongers who are way above their and our heads.

But, I would like to ask you to decide which one of the two men is the hero and which one is the coward . ……...

Unless you adopt the same MAD COW mentality the answer is crystal clear.

DM

programmer craig said...

DM, the "mortally wounded man" might have been also the "brave and altrusitic man strapped with explosives" that you mentioned, no?

I think the point you are trying to make is one of honorable behavior versus dishonorable behavior. It's not unusual for people to find themselves in circumstances where they can behave honorably and unlawfully at the same time. Or, the opposite, which is the case you are trying to make. One can behave dishonorably while being in compliance with the letter of the law. This is very common with troops in war, but I think most people find themselves making these kinds of decisions at some point in their lives, on much smaller matters than human life.

If that Marine didn't actually *believe* his safety and the safety of his comrades was threatened, then his was a dishonarble act, and he will have to live with it.

The US Marine Corps heavily stresses the importance of personal honor and integrity just so that Marines can find their way through such circumstances. I know from personal experience that the USMC will overlook minor illegalities if the Marine in question is thought to have behaved honorably, and if he's disgraced the uniform, they will find a way to make him pay the price for it, whether they can charge him with a crime or not.

It's not perfect, but it's as good as things get on a battlefield. What few internationally agreed upon laws of war there are, are very imprecise and generally lean towards giving the troops on the scene the benefit of the doubt, if there isn't a clear violation.

As I said before, I don't know what I would have done, because I wasn't there, and all I know of the story is what I saw on the news. It's very possible that it wa a deliberate murder, but I don't know that anybody but the marine who pulled the trigger can ever know for sure.

I'm disagreeing with you only from a legal standpoint here, not a moral one. You might be right, in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Programmer_Craig

I am satisfied with your closing remark my friend. That has calmed my anger at that act. Now please allow me to post this little story that has moved me and my family a few hours ago as we watched Discovery make its spectacular touch down:


Eileen Collins

Congratulations lady for a fantastic landing at a dazzling speed of a huge space ship in the dark of the night.

The kids at my home were cheering and my wife also felt very proud to know that the ship was piloted by a woman. Congratulations our American audience friends, foes and debaters in this wonderful club of Highlander's Rock ……. ;-)

That is the example America should set to the world, not the behavior of its foot-soldiers in Iraq.

DM

Mactek said...

Yeah, let the various groups in Iraq fight it out and let the chips fall where they may.

I mean, that IS the essence of your post isn't it? Let them have a good civil war to settle the score?

You're a young fool now aren't you? Why don't you grow up and get some wisdom. A civil war on that scale would not limit itself to just Iraq, you dummy. Iraq is NOT Lebanon.