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January Elections in Iraq?

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the the-debate-rages dept.

Politics 141

bettiwettiwoo writes "Last week Kofi Annan claimed, in a BBC interview, that: 'You cannot have credible elections [in Iraq] if the security conditions continue as they are now.' Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi disagreed ('pointedly disagreed', according to the International Herald Tribune):'We definitely are going to stick to the timetable of elections in January ... Democracy is going to prevail and is going to win in Iraq.' According to Tony Blair: 'The people who are trying to stop that Iraq coming about, who are engaged in killing, maiming and acts of terrorism, are people who are opposed... to every single one of the values that we in countries like this hold dear.' Iraq the Model points to an IRI poll which states: 'In a stunning display of support for democracy and a strong rebuttal to critics of efforts to bring democratic reform to Iraq, 87% of Iraqis indicated that they plan to vote in January elections. Expanding on the theme, 77% said that "regular, fair elections" were the most important political right for the Iraqi people and 58% felt that Iraqi-style democracy was likely to succeed.' It would appear that the poll was undertaken sometime in July/August this year, but if such a large majority of the Iraqi population continues to favour elections, would it really be fair to the Iraqis to postpone the January elections whatever the security situation and whomever might be against them?"

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87% of whom? (3, Insightful)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296141)

How many of the Iraqis polled were working as armed insurgents in hostile cities not under the control of the interim government?

I took at a poll on job satisfaction at a Bush rally and it was around 95%. I guess America thinks Bush is doing a bang-up job!

Re:87% of whom? (2)

presearch (214913) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296308)

And did you hear that the are increasing our chocolate rations from 10 grams to 15 grams?
Glorious!

Re:87% of whom? (2, Insightful)

drakaan (688386) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296865)

That's a good question...how many insurgents were polled? Evidently you know, or else you wouldn't mention it.

Then, again, this *is* slashdot...

Seriously, though...assuming (as you appear to) that people in hostile locations weren't polled, how do you accomplish that?

Side-note: I'm not a W supporter, but I'm employed...don't vote Kerry out of stupidity, please. Plenty of presidential alternatives to the awful two big ones at www.vote-smart.org [vote-smart.org]

Re:87% of whom? (0, Flamebait)

squarefish (561836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297034)

you're right, there are many other options then kerry or bush, but none of them have a chance in hell and we definitely need to displace bush no matter what. the only way I could and will support endorsing third party candidates is if you're in one of the 30 or so states that are solid red or blue.

http://johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanywa y.com/ [johnkerryi...anyway.com]

Re:87% of whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10297500)

http://johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanywa y.com/

Speaking of douchebags. Why must certain web designers scrunch an entire website into a thin little strip that leaves over half the page empty on the right hand side? Its just like those idiots on IRC that type 2 words per line rather than just come out and say something then hit enter. Its a shame that isn't an election issue.

End bad website layouts NOW! Vote for Kodos!

Re:87% of whom? (1)

ambisinistral (594774) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297979)

Find out how many pixels wide a piece of paper is and you'll have your answer Grasshopper.

Re:87% of whom? (0, Flamebait)

jtev (133871) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299401)

Well, my printer prints 300 dots per inch, I keep it in draft mode to save toner. A dot is the print equivilent of a pixel. Paper is 8.5 inches wide. Folowing me so far? good, ok, now when you mulitply 300 by 8 you get 2550 Dots, however you have to take margin into consideration. Puting a half inch margin on each side that means we're down to 2250 dots. Now explain to me again why fucktards can't let their audience's web browser do it's job and figgure out where lines should end?

Re:87% of whom? (3, Insightful)

bladernr (683269) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297833)

we definitely need to displace bush no matter what

That is the thinking that puts true radicals in power. Putin is reinstating the USSR because "we must defeat Chechens no matter what." The US Electoral system is based on voting for candidates, not against them. If we don't remember that, we risk the continued race to the bottom the two parties have us on.

What about the nonsense "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush?" I know of several people that are so ticked that Nader may not be allowed on their state ballot, that they are going to march to the polls and vote Bush if Nader isn't a choice. I hope Democrats doing the most un-democratic thing imaginable (trying to deny ballot access) backfires.

And, if Kerry wins because people voted against Bush, would he really have a mandate?

No. In our system, you march to the polls and vote in support of someone. I plan to march to the poll on election day and pull the leaver in support of the candidate I favor the most.

Re:87% of whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10298396)

Uhm, you are assuming there is a real substantial difference between Bush and Kerry.

Both will increase the size of government (sorry Bush, I really want to believe you will do better, but you won't)

Both will increase government surveillance of citizens (sorry Kerry, you don't have the guts)

Both will be slaves to corporations (actually this is the fault of Congress and the uninterested american populace)

And no third-party candidate will win. So voting for them might be a fun excercise in "theoretical democracy" but the reality is you will get Bush or Kerry.

Since I disagree strongly with the war and I believe Bush and Kerry are otherwise basically the same, I find your USSR/totalitarian example a little outlandish.

I don't think Bush deserves a second term, and if Kerry screws up, he'll be out in 4 years. So I'm voting against Bush.

Re: 87% of whom? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298928)


> And, if Kerry wins because people voted against Bush, would he really have a mandate?

Yes: don't do what Bush was doing.

Re: 87% of whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10299224)

Yes: don't do what Bush was doing.

Or what Dan Rather was doing, which was Lying [cbsnews.com]
Admits memos were fake, they were decieved, and should not have gone with story. Doesn't admit he has been going after Bush Jr. since Bush Senior embarrased him on the air, a long time ago. Poor Dan, you used to be respected.

Re:87% of whom? (1)

squarefish (561836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10304780)

I agree with you 100% on all of your points, except that you may not hold the same view of bush as I do.

If we don't remember that, we risk the continued race to the bottom the two parties have us on.

you're right- I voted for nader last time and I'll probably vote for Badnarik this time. but, and it's a big but this year, I live in IL and we have no risk of electing bush in this state- which is where my vote ends.
unlike gore, I actually like kerry a lot more then bush and want to see him as president. also, seeing as I never felt 'a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush' was anything more then a bunch of bullshit. people try to tell me that my vote in IL, which gore won hands down, was wasted and that I helped bush get elected. rather, I feel that I'm giving a voice that needs to be heard via the third parties of this country.

I always felt that the majority of the third party voters would not vote at all if they didn't agree with the candidate they were voting for in the first place. Hince, a lot of nader voters, including myself, were not inclined to vote at all if not for nader and I would think it's stupid that they vote for bush due to bitterness.

Nader has just let himself become part of the repulican machine this election season and it's pretty frightening.

I hope the best man wins- but we both know that rarely happens....

Re:87% of whom? (1, Interesting)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297367)

Some ass compares the interim government, which is going to do their level best to hold democratic elections in January with Saddam junior Al Sadr who institutes Sharia law and goes around executing people after holding secret trials, and he gets modded as a plus 5 insightful?

Absolutely unreal, and yet further evidence that programming requires no intelligence.

Re:87% of whom? (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298691)

"the interim government, which is going to do their level best to hold democratic elections in January"

Sorry, the interim government has one job today and one job only: to do it's level best to get it's master, G.W., elected (for the first time).

"after holding secret trials"
You mean like the ones G.W. wants to hold at Gitmo? Illegal under international law, with no appeal and little in the way of representation?

I think the lack of intelligence is demonstrated nicely by your post.

Re: 87% of whom? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298901)


> and goes around executing people after holding secret trials

That one cuts a bit close to the knuckle.

Re:87% of whom? (1)

Dr. Sigmund Freud (759331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301003)

...Al Sadr who institutes Sharia law and goes around executing people after holding secret trials...
Interestingly enough, it is alleged that [abc.net.au] Iyad Allawi did the same without even the benefit of "secret trials". [smh.com.au] Not even a word about it in the US media.

Of course, back in the 90s, Allawi was setting off car bombs in Bhagdad. Those days. it was considered a *good thing* to set off car bombs in downtown Bhagdad. (Allawi was even caught on tape by the British media complaining that he had not been compensated properly by his overlords [MI5? CIA??] for his last bang.) Now the shoe is on the other foot re car bombs.

Allawi, Sadr,...they are all bird of the same feather. When Saddam bumped off Sadr (Sr.), that was a *really bad thing*. We of couse have the *best of intentions* in trying to blow up Sadr (Jr.)

Re:87% of whom? (2, Interesting)

Timex (11710) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298095)

This sort of thing is exactly why I (generally) don't trust polls. I learned in school that poll results can be influenced by several factors, including (but not limited to:
  • Tone of voice, if the question and/or choices are read to the participant (pollee, if you will).
  • Phrasing of the question and/or choices.
  • Number of people asked. I forget the way it's figured, but one has to ask a certain number of people at a minimum, to make a poll statistically accurate.
  • Bias of those asked. As you pointed out, one is going to get a decisive result in a particular direction, if the only people asked are those biased to support the desired outcome of the poll.
  • The honesty of the person answering the question(s).
I've seen a few polls that, based on the question and the way the choices were phrased, seemed biased, and the group asking the question in one particular "exit poll" (a local ABC affiliate, if I remember correctly) seemed to be fishing for a particular result. I didn't like it at all, and promptly put the questionaire down.

you can't have a full election.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296148)

if there's parts that are not under the control of those arranging the election...

maybe the information minister had a face/off operation.

No... (4, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296149)

In a stunning display of support for democracy and a strong rebuttal to critics of efforts to bring democratic reform to Iraq, 87% of Iraqis indicated that they plan to vote in January elections.

You mean, 87% of Iraqi RESPONDENTS indicated that they plan to vote in January elections. This is a self-selecting question: people likely to respond to a poll are more likely to go to the polls than people who don't respond to a poll. At any rate, everyone outside Iraq believes that Iraqis should have the right to self-determination. We believe the same thing of the people of China. But it wouldn't be a smart thing to invade China to effect that.

IRI (4, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296176)

PS: Did anyone happen to look at who IRI is [iri.org] ?

RI's board of directors is chaired by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and includes former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, current members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and individuals from the private sector with backgrounds in international relations, business and government.

Yeah, this is ENTIRELY independent. Mind you, at least one member of the board has some independent ideas [pbs.org] .

Q - I thought President Bush said in his speech that, "Either you're for us or against us....anyone who harbors terrorists, or fosters their activity," and he meant terrorists in general. Doesn't Saddam qualify?

A - We've got to be looking at priorities here. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have one thing in common, and that is they both hate the United States. Otherwise, they have very little in common.

As a matter of fact, my guess is, if it weren't for the United States, Osama bin Laden would turn on Saddam Hussein. Why? Because Saddam Hussein is the head of a Ba'athist party -- a secular, socialist party. He is anathema to the kind of world that Osama bin Laden wants to reinstall So he's part of the problem; he's not part of the solution. That doesn't mean they can't cooperate, and might not cooperate. But what I'm saying is we need to get our priorities straight, and we've got them straight right now. We're going after number one target.

Iraq could turn out to be number two, but there are a lot of other candidates. Hezbollah, for example, is a global terrorist network, which has attacked the United States and U.S. interests before. How about that? ...We need to be skillful about this. We need to use scalpels, not sledgehammers.

Re:IRI (0)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296286)

As a matter of fact, my guess is, if it weren't for the United States, Osama bin Laden would turn on Saddam Hussein. Why? Because Saddam Hussein is the head of a Ba'athist party -- a secular, socialist party. He is anathema to the kind of world that Osama bin Laden wants to reinstall So he's part of the problem; he's not part of the solution. That doesn't mean they can't cooperate, and might not cooperate. But what I'm saying is we need to get our priorities straight, and we've got them straight right now. We're going after number one target.


Indeed, Saddam was pretty much a seperate threat, though he wasn't above using non-Osama Islamic fundamentalists to further his cause (mainly to boost his image in the Arab world. There's a reason the Palestinians (et al) were cheering him on in the recent war.

Perhaps Saddam was a less pressing issue than intelligence led us to believe, but our confrontation with him was quite inevitable -- ever since the terms of his cease-fire were laid out in 1991. It was quite obvious to all observers that he was never going to fully comply with the terms, so at what point do we put our foot down?

Heck, there has already been ample evidence found that Saddam's Iraq tried to acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction. Thankfully they didn't get far, but the intent alone was a violation.

For further reading, it seems that a portion of UNSCAM money may have gone to Osama after all [foxnews.com] . (Thanks U.N., you're doing a bang-up job!)

Re:IRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10296625)

Ample evidence? What is it and how credible is it? We [US/UK public, U.N., etc.] have been there before. I definitely believe that Saddam would have loved to get more WMDs (since he was apparently out of stock), but how active was he really? And couldn't we [US] have waited until after Afghanistan was stable before destabilizing another country in the area? The threat from Saddam was not imminent and could have waited for another year or two. We could have gotten more international support and focus on one country at a time, while pissing off the Muslim world a little less.

Re:IRI (1)

Glidedon2 (783790) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299308)

Just ask Bill Clinton. He bombed the "asprin factory" in Sudan because.. Precursers to VX gas were found on site, Osama was financing, Iraq was supplying expertice. There you have it, WMD's, Iraq Al Qeada connection. Dispute that !

Re:IRI (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302307)

New Doubts Surface Over Claims That Plant Produced Nerve Gas - By DANIEL PEARL [geocities.com] . Yup, that Daniel Pearl.

The evidence is just as "good" as that for the existence of WMD in Iraq. So where are they (and I don't mean small amounts of ammunition made before the invasion of Kuwait). The evidence probably even comes from the same source, a source that produced (and I don't mean "to bring forth") evidence for the US - Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. And that evidence was always convenient, mostly for the INC's claim to power in Iraq.

Re:IRI (2, Informative)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297157)

For further reading, it seems that a portion of UNSCAM money may have gone to Osama after all. (Thanks U.N., you're doing a bang-up job!)

Uh-oh, a FOXLies link. And it doesn't take long:

And the Sept. 11 Commission has shown a tracery of contacts between Saddam and Al Qaeda
Together with
Investigations have shown that the former Iraqi dictator grafted and smuggled more than $10 billion from the [United Nations Oil-for-Food] program
this "proves" that the UN financed Al Qaeda.

Re:IRI (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298048)

Maybe you should read the article before you dismiss it. The article doesn't claim proof of anything, but shows enough evidence to claim the possibility of a link. From the bottom of the page:


According to U.S. officials and the United Nations itself, MIGA is less an "empty box" than a container of Al Qaeda-related mysteries. One of those mysteries appears to be Abdul Rahman Hayel Saeed, with his charter MIGA membership and his prominent part in a Yemen conglomerate doing hundreds of millions worth of business with Saddam.


Proof positive? Certainly not. But the article didn't claim proof. It claimed a possibility.

Re:IRI (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298150)

No, the article claims a number of thing as true and then claims there could be a link. Now, the whole base of this claim is already false. That's why they are called FOXLies.

Re:IRI (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10300920)

Okay, so you lie about the article in your post, then when I call you on it, you repeat that the article is a lie, using your own derogatory name for Fox News.

If I didn't believe you the first time, what makes you think I'll believe you the second? Repeating things doesn't make them true, nor is it a very good way to carry on a discussion. If you can point out something specific in the article which is a lie, that'd be much more helpful than just repeating your own apparently dogmatic belief.

Re:IRI (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302333)

That article coming from a news service known for their lies, is based on a long disproven lie and uses a lot of inuendo to come to a conclusion that the lie must be true. And of course is not claiming as truth that conclusion. It just points a finger - in one of those brightly colored foam hands - at the obviously guilty part in the matter.

The best part is that the guy posting the original story in his own post admits that the lie was a lie.

Re:IRI (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302801)

I still don't know wtf you're talking about. Maybe you're confusing Fox News with some other news network [cbsnews.com] .

Re:IRI (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302938)

Yeah, that is exactly the problem with you guys. You just don't know the fuck what everybody - esp. not you yourself - is talking about.

Re:IRI (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10304396)

Hey, I just asked for specific examples of Fox News lying. You're either unable, or unwilling to provide them. Considering that you're so belligerent on the issue, I'll assume the first. If you keep repeating your dogma, I'll keep asking for proof. If you continue to not give proof, I'll assume you're lying, just as you did in your initial post about the article.

What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (4, Insightful)

davecl (233127) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296260)

I'm sure there will be some kind of election in Iraq in January - there's too much at stake politically for Blair and Bush for it not to happen.

However, what happens if they don't like the result? I see one of two outcomes being more likely than the interim government being re-elcted and legitimised:

(1) They are re-elected, but international monitors (the UN etc.) do not agree that the election was free and fair. To some extent this is what Kofi Anan is already worrying about.

(2) Ignoring whether (1) is the case or not, what happens if the result of the elections is not what Bush/Blair want? What if an Iran-style shia religious party is elected? This is the problem with democracy - it doesn't always give you the answer you want. The US was quite happy with democracy in South American until socialists like Allende started being elected in Chile and elsewhere. Then they sent in the CIA and regimes like Pinochet's were the result. Is this the future that the middle east has to look forward to?

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (2, Insightful)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296581)

I'm sure there will be some kind of election in Iraq in January - there's too much at stake politically for Blair and Bush for it not to happen.

Actually events in January have no political effect on Bush whatsoever. If he loses the election, those events will reflect poorly on Kerry. If he wins, those events will lower his approval rating but since he can't run for a third term what does he care? If anything it hurts cheney politically as he will be tied to the bush administration and any attempts by him to run for president would be affected. It would probably affect McCain as he will probably be the next republican to run for president and since he supports bush if bush messes up its his ass too.

But no, I don't think Bush really worries about whats happening in January, it won't affect the election so what does it matter?

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296705)

Seeing as how the presidential inauguration [senate.gov] is on January 20, 2005, if John Kerry were to be elected President, how could he possibly be held accountable for actions taken by Bush as he finished his term? Even if the elections were held on January 31, would you [reasonably*] blame Kerry for his first 2 weeks when everything would have already been set in motion with an enormous political inertia?

*I understand that there are people on both sides of the aisle who have proven themselves to be unreasonable about the current political situation in the US.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297740)

Well, Ronald Reagan was widely credited with freeing the embassy hostages because they were released the day of his inaguration (bumping him almost below the fold, which was pretty funny -- "HOSTAGES FREE!! in other news, Ronald Reagan takes office...")

As a people, we're quite capable of putting blame or credit pretty much anywhere we please, so if Kerry wins and the election goes badly, we could always say, "Well, with a weak President taking office, of course the radical Iraqis took advantage of the situation," or "With a reasonable man entering the White House, of course the Iraqi people responded reasonably"

See? It's not hard.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297889)

Hmmm. I must admit that this was before my time. It appears that Carter's loss of the precedency contributed to the release as much or more than Reagan's win. Were the terms that we agreed to signed off by Pres. Carter or Pres. Reagan?

While agree that some people will be arguing one or the other (if they have a chance), that doesn't make it reasonable. First we would be presuming to know the meaning behind terrorists' actions, and secondly we would be blaming the Republican spin machine on Kerry! If such a perception were to cause the election to go badly, wouldn't the RNC have quite a lot of blame to share? This is turning into such a negative campaign on both sides that it is hard to see how either will be respected afterwards.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298271)

The terms were negotiated by the Reagan transition team, but the whole thing probably pivoted largely on the fact that the Iranians were just tired of all the racket.

It didn't really matter, though, that Carter ws stubborn and held to various sanctions that Reagan gave away -- the perception was that Carter was weak and Reagan strong, so that the Iranians caved in the moment Reagan ascended. I'm not sure it's even right to blame Reagan for that perception.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298686)

So if Kerry were to win, what kind of powers/responsibilities would his transition team have? If we was actually able to call some of the shots, maybe there would be joint culpability?

Re: What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299125)


> It didn't really matter, though, that Carter ws stubborn and held to various sanctions that Reagan gave away -- the perception was that Carter was weak and Reagan strong [...]

That's... odd. The guy that played hardball was weak?

Maybe it was just an October Surprise [wikipedia.org] kind of thing.

Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299539)

The hostages were kept by the Iranians (still in power, building nukes these days) in exchange [consortiumnews.com] for promises of support by the Reagan campaign, negotiated by campaign director William Casey, who took over as CIA director after the election. The Iranians needed that support, as Carter cut off their American banking, necessary to resupply the American technology military they siezed. Once Reagan was in charge, the CIA started secretly, illegally, treasonously supplying the Iranians with parts, in exchange for money to fund their secret, illegal, gunrunning to massacre thousands of Central American people. That's why it was called "Iran/Contra", and it's documented all over the place, perhaps most compellingly as part of Veil, Bob Woodward's story of Casey's career.

Re:Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299670)

I was discussing the public perception, not the reality. Oliver North wasn't yet on the front page, or even really on the radar, when Reagan put his hand on the Bible.

Re:Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299880)

As was I - the reality of Reagan's treason would hardly have helped him win the election. While the reality was besides your point, I don't countenance the dissemination of that particular perception without the essential footnote of the reality. We're a team.

Re:Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10300218)

Well, I think I voted for Browne that year, but I'm not sure that I would describe Iran/Contra as "treason". We were not at war with Iran, nor is defiance of Congress in of itself treason (although it may be, and was, illegal.)

In fact, the more I think about it, the more sure I am that I would NOT use the term -- it's simply innapropriate. Congress passed laws regarding aid to the Contras, and those laws were violated, but that isn't treason anymore than speeding is treason.

Re:Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10300725)

I'd describe the Iran part as treason: both the military assistance to their government, an active enemy of the US, and the deals with that foreign government to influence the election, counter to the policies of the president (Carter). That includes the "October Surprise" sabotage in the Iranian desert of Carter's helicopter rescue attempt, with Oliver North in attendance.

I'd also call it treason when our national security is undermined by covert action compromising our intelligence agencies with secret, illegal wars contrary to the foreign policy sanctioned by Congress, as well as creating a drug dealing empire which exported violence across America through the Reagan/Bush term. Even though my original post did not. When people who work for the government break the law to destroy American security, that's treason. A secret government working against the interests and policies of the real government is a serious crime against the state, whether or not the secret government is a wholly owned subsidiary.

Re:Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301896)

If you are seriously charging Oliver North with involvement with sabotage in the rescue attempt, then I think you'd best back that up. Certainly he was never charged with any such thing. Most "October Surprise" theories revolve around negotiations in June & July of 1980, not Desert One.

As for the Contra part, "illegal wars contrary to the foreign policy sanctioned by Congress" is a crime, but not treason. The US defines that word pretty carefully, which is why neither Robert Hanssen nor Aldrich Ames was so charged.

Actually, to be pedantic, here's the official scoop: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. " That's generally been taken to mean, "enemies in time of war."

Iran bore us some hostility, but we were not at war, and "War on Drugs" rhetoric aside that wasn't a war either.

Re:Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302137)

I'm not the first to "charge" North with involvement with sabotaging Desert Claw [valleyadvocate.com] . Who denies that North and Hakim were running the support operation that failed, killing 8 marines and kicking Carter in the crisis?

Let's say that VP Dick Cheney showed Saudi Ambassador Bandar our plans for war with Iraq (marked "NOFOR", no foreigners allowed access) before the invasion, before even Sect'y of State Powell was shown the plans. Let's say that Bandar approved the plans, assuring Cheney that he'd get the Saudis to lower gas prices in the US in Fall 2004 to help ensure Bush's reelection. We weren't at war yet - would you call that treason?

Most wars prosecuted by the United States have been covert, and undeclared, for generations. If we're going to lower the bar and merely enforce "national security" with troops and intelligence, we've got to include crimes by Americans against national security as treason. Or come up with another word, and control it as severely.

Re:Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302366)

That loyalty may have carried over to sabotage of Operation Eagle Claw. For the man who served as chief mission planner was none other than Richard Secord, who later surfaced as a major kingpin in the shady arms dealings between the Reagan White House and the contras of Nicaragua. A top staffer at a key base in Eagle Claw's catastrophic helicopter support operation was none other than the legendary Colonel Oliver North. Working closely with him as a logistical planner was Albert Hakkim, who later sat by Secord's side at the Congressional Iran-contra hearings and wept of his love for Oliver North.

That's it? They were there? Hey, Kerry was in Viet Nam, and that went badly. Must have been sabotage!

As for your Cheney charge,no, I wouldn't call that "treason."

Look, showing stuff to foreigners is not treason. Showing stuff to foreigners when we are at war with them, that's treason. We aren't at war with the Saudis, so even if what you're saying is true, Cheney did not commit treason. A security violation, sure, sounds like it, maybe even espionage, but not treason, not under US law.

Re:Reagan bought the hostages several more months. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302585)

Come on - Vietnam was a lot bigger than Eagle Claw. I don't blame the 8 dead Marines in Iran, but I do blame the people running Vietnam - who included Powell, covering up My Lai. "Chief mission planner" of Eagle Claw is certainly more responsible for that disaster than gunboat captain Kerry of Vietnam.

While you're saying that we're not at war with the Saudis, I've got two towers near Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Vice Presidential collaboration with them, in full knowledge of their role as documented in the 21 suppressed pages of the Congressional Intelligence report (and much more personal complicity), isn't treason? How can you be so blase about this?

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297805)

No I wouldn't reasonably blame Kerry but 4 years later(2008) on election day all that people will remember is how elections in Iraq got all fucked up as Kerry took office. Maybe if Kerry had been stronger as he came into office it would have went more smoothly as Bush had intended. That is the reasoning his opponenets would use come time for that next election. Now you could start talking political inertia to the cattle(US Voters) but the deafening "MOO" would drown out any logic you have to offer.

Americans don't like hearing about hard to understand concepts such as "political inertia" we like hearing things like patriot, axis of evil, terrorist, nukular, security, etc etc.. You gots to break it down Michael Moore style, "As Kerry took office the election process in Iraq faltered, little did we know that Kerry's second cousin once purchased a cheese dog from a street vendor in new york, that street vendor was osama bin ladin's fathers brothers nephews cousins former roomate."

In order to be effective in the American political process your logic has to be ineptly simple or such a stretch as to defy reason. Only in those two cases do you interest Americans, you can't [reasonably*] expect Americans to think about "political inertia".

*I understand that there are people who have proven themselves to be unreasonable by expecting Americans to make informed decisions.

Re: What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299148)


> No I wouldn't reasonably blame Kerry [...] Americans don't like hearing about hard to understand concepts such as "political inertia" we like hearing things like patriot, axis of evil, terrorist, nukular, security, etc etc.

Curiously, a Republican Fundamentalist I used to work with once exclaimed with dismay, "See what Clinton got us in to in Somalia!"

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

davecl (233127) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298143)

Seeing as how I'm British, and Blair will not be holding an election before January, and how I said 'Bush/Blair', then the Blair part of that should be obvious.

As to the Bush side, things would be much more difficult for him internationally (if that was possible!) if he's seen to be behind an electoral disaster in Iraq. Politics is not just an issue of being able to win re-election, its also about being able to do what you want once you've been elected.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (2, Insightful)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298376)

There is much more to being President than winning the election.

If Bush wins and the public turn against him, his clout with Congress plummets. Regardless of statuatory authority (or really, I suppose, because of the limits of that authority,) a President who lacks popular support doesn't get much done. Whether or not the President is up for re-election, Congresscritters are always campaigning, and one-third of the Senate is up every two years, so if there is advantage to defiance of the White House then defiance will be the rule.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298829)

I would be inclined to agree with you if it wasn't for the strict party line association we have in America currently. A republican house will not go against a republican president no matter how unpopular he/she is. Besides much of the presidents power has little/nothing to do with congress. We tend to focus on the presidents role in lawmaking even though that is NOT his primary job. Our presidents have gotten too invovled in lawmaking instead of making sure that those laws are carried out which is what the president is supposed to be doing. The president is there to manage the agencies that keep the system running smoothly the system is designed however by congress and not the president.

A good president is one who enacts the laws congress passes faithfully. This president would Veto laws he/she believes cannot be carried out properly under our current system or laws that he believes would be detrimental to the current system/economy. This presidents opinion should be considered by congress, but should they decide he/she is acting in an improper manner or abusing the Veto power they can override him.

With that in mind, there is still lots a president can do if congress doesn't feel like passing the laws he wants. He could for instance do the job that he is supposed to do. Bush has especially turned the Presidents position into chiefly a lobbying position for the interest groups he agrees with. Not that clinton didn't do the same thing, or that kerry wont do it himself if he was to be elected. I just think we have focused too much on a minor part of the presidents job which is assisting with legislation. He should have enough on his hands with managing goverment agencies and the military.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299250)

There are party loyalties, of course, but "what have you done for me lately?" is still the crucial question -- just ask Newt Gingrich. Pols will toe the Party line if and only if the Party can enforce that line, and an unpopular President has only a little stick with which to beat them.

Assisting with legislation is part of it, of course, but budgets and appointments are also an important part of the job and involve Congress. There's a balance to the whole thing that makes it more of a dance than the Constitution spells out.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296582)

I think this is the intent of the early creation of a constitution that is hard to change. This way the current government only has to last x years then people can elect different leaders. With enough checks and balances and seperated local and federal control. This is possible.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297060)

It took Hitler less than 6 months to totaly corrupt the German constitution.

Re:What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10297575)

It took Hitler less than 6 months to totaly corrupt the German constitution.

It didn't take Bush very long either.

Re: What if Bush/Blair don't like the result? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299033)


> I'm sure there will be some kind of election in Iraq in January - there's too much at stake politically for Blair and Bush for it not to happen.

Bush only has to insist "stay the course!" for another six weeks. If he's re-elected, he can do whatever the heck he wants after that.

Learn to say it. quagmire (5, Insightful)

cL0h (624108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296282)

Since we are talking of democracy, the democratically appointed Kofi Annans opinion surely weighs more than that of the US installed Iyad Allawi.
Also at the risk of being modded off topic I'd like to make a genaral statement on international terrorism.
Recently a proBush stance by a columnist in my local free rag (Galway, Ireland) attracted a letters page full of rebukes. The columnist in question retaliated by saying that global terrorism is the biggest threat to "the world" today (it's not, poverty is) and that George Bush is the only solution. Well I agree that terrorism is a huge problem but ya know if the British government had listened to the plight of the Catholics in Northern Ireland in the sixties, there would be no IRA today. With aid reconciliation and understanding. Attempts to understand the root causes of support for radicalism ie. war, alienation and poverty are often met with more success then hate.
Hate breeds hate. Radical action breeds radical reaction. Stop bombing people into the ground and it just might not happen to you.
If you think I'm talking waffle then google 'canary wharf IRA' and compare that with last weekends round of talks where sworn enemies are now sitting around a table to talk.
There is a way out and it is not about increased defence spending, unethical imprisonment and unilateral invasion.
It is about putting peace before closing your eyes to world suffering.
Get informed [fpif.org]

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (2, Insightful)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296549)

democratically appointed Kofi Annan

democratically appointed? What the hell is that supposed to mean? An official is either elected, or appointed. And I sure as hell don't remember voting for (or against) Kofi.

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (1)

cL0h (624108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297119)

1. The UN is an institution based on democratic principles.
2. Kofi Annan is an appointed representative in this institution.
That's what the hell it's supposed to mean.

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10297969)

"The UN is an institution based on democratic principles"

Which explains why most of the countries in the UN are dictatorships and tyrants.

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299584)

The UN is an institution based on democratic principles.

No, it's not. It is, in fact, completely indifferent toward democratic principles. none of the representatives to the UN are elected by the people they represent. They are appointed, many by governments that we would not consider to be legitimate much less wholly democratic.

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297184)

Just like you don't for for the President of the USA, but for the members of the Electoral College.

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298846)

Just like you don't for for the President of the USA, but for the members of the Electoral College.

The exact categorization of that election as "democratic" is debatable. It may be argued that you've democratically elected an aristocracy who then makes decisions on your behalf, the same as an imposed aristocracy would.

Besides, we don't have elections to vote for our electors to vote for the head of the UN. Or did I miss that election?

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (1, Insightful)

browncs (447083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296604)

You do not understand the controlling dynamic here. It is all about who has power.

Kofi Annan believes that no wars should be fought by the United States without explicit UN approval and control, and therefore the US action in Iraq is "illegal". He said exactly that a few days ago, in a statement timed to cause maximum damage and embarassment to George Bush, shortly before he speaks at the UN, and in the midst of the election.

Of course he's going to assert that elections should not be held. If they are held, and successfully show that the Iraqi people support democracy, and can have a fair election, his premise that the USA's action was illegal becomes less supportable. So he will do everything he can to undermine the elections.

Kofi Annan would be happiest if the USA did a Vietnam-style humiliating withdrawal, and Iraq was plunged back into a cruel, totalitarian regime. Because that would prove that he, and his buddies in France, Germany, and Russia (although they are recanting now that they've had their 9/11), were right all along when they opposed the US action in Iraq.

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (2, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298835)

"the democratically appointed Kofi Annan"

"Democratically?"

Let's see... the People's Republic of China gets as many votes as the Federated States of Micronesia (namely, one), so it's not democratic in the popular sense (double entendre!)

"Democratic" can be more broadly defined as being selected by a mechanism through which the people at large have ultimate control. The US ambassador to the UN is selected by a democratically-elected president and approved by a democratically-elected Senate, so it can be said that the American people have ultimate (though indirect) control of the US vote in the UN, and from what I gather the situation in Ireland and the rest of the "Western" world is fairly similar. However, the people in many UN member states in Asia and Africa (to name a few) have no influence in their government or their government's choice of UN ambassadors short of armed rebellion, so Annan's position cannot be easily called "democratic" even in that broader definition.

The UN is not a democracy, it is an oligarchy. Just because a slim minority in that oligarchy are chosen by a democratic process doesn't make the body as a whole democratic. In that sense, Annan and Allawi came into their jobs in exactly the same way, they were just chosen by different people (some of whom you apparently don't agree with).

Require member states to have a verifiably democratic government (much like what is required of US member states), and maybe toss in a "lower house" to the General Assembly that are elected by direct popular vote, and then we can start talking about "UN democracy."

"If you think I'm talking waffle then google 'canary wharf IRA' and compare that with last weekends round of talks where sworn enemies are now sitting around a table to talk."

Diplomacy only works when both sides are rational and the parties at the table actually care about what happens to the people they claim to represent.

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301115)

Let's see... the People's Republic of China gets as many votes as the Federated States of Micronesia (namely, one), so it's not democratic in the popular sense (double entendre!)

Ahh yes, but if UN votes were based on the number of voters in each nation (i.e. 1 UN vote per N voters in the member nation), then Micronesia and China would be equal, or maybe even Micronesia is under represented. After all only then elite Communist members have any real authority in China.

Ans speaking of China... At what point does China cease being "communist" and become merely another totalitarian regime?

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (1, Offtopic)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298907)

The columnist in question retaliated by saying that global terrorism is the biggest threat to "the world" today (it's not, poverty is)...

You say that very authoritatively, that poverty is the "biggest threat to 'the world'." I'm not sure how you can be so sure about it. Sounds like propaganda.

I mean, what does it mean to be a threat to 'the world'? Can you threaten the world?

It seems like poverty is maybe the biggest threat to poor people, if to anyone, and you might argue that angry poor people are the biggest threat to rich people. I'm not even sure those two statements are true or make sense, but they seem clearer to me than "poverty is the biggest threat to the world".

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (1)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298988)

Well I agree that terrorism is a huge problem but ya know if the British government had listened to the plight of the Catholics in Northern Ireland in the sixties, there would be no IRA today.

Essentially what you're saying here is that whenever a minority group has a grievance, if the government does not accommodate them, then blowing up civilians in downtown London is an understandable recourse. I understand that Catholics in Northern Ireland were terribly oppressed by the Protestants, and that the government was more willing to send troops to keep things the way they were, rather than to enforce civility between the two groups. But terrorism is still not a legitimate response to oppression.

I'm not exactly sure how people are defining "the biggest threat to the world." It seems rather ludicrous to me to define it either as terrorism or poverty. Both have been around forever, and neither is likely to go away in the forseeable future. Clearly neither can therefore be the factor that is increasing the threat "to the world," whatever that means.

P.S. I spent New Years 2003/2004 in Galway. Wonderful town. On New Years Day my mom and I drove around County Joyce (I believe) which was jaw-droppingly stunning, and up to Cong Abbey. I must say you live in a beautiful area of the world. All the best.

Re:Learn to say it. quagmire (0, Flamebait)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299646)

it's not, poverty is

That's the most ignorant statement I've heard all day. That's like saying that darkness is a threat.

Poverty is nothing more or less than the relative condition caused by the absence of wealth. We draw an arbitrary line and say that people with less than X wealth are living in poverty while people with more than X wealth are not.

What you really mean here, what you're really talking about, is not poverty but rather inequity. You're one of those "let's make everyone equal" nutcases who thinks that communism is actually a pretty good idea that was never implemented correctly.

Attempts to understand the root causes of support for radicalism

Attempting to understand the root causes of terrorism does one thing and one thing only: it guarantees, with absolute certainty, that the next guy who has a beef is going to blow up a building to get attention.

Stop bombing people into the ground and it just might not happen to you.

"Just might not" isn't good enough. If we continue bombing everybody who supports terrorism back into the stone age, eventually folks will get the message that terrorism is a bad idea all around.

It is about putting peace before closing your eyes to world suffering.

La la, sunshine, lollypops and rainbows. What a fucking tool.

Annan no neutral observer (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301919)

Since we are talking of democracy, the democratically appointed Kofi Annans opinion surely weighs more than that of the US installed Iyad Allawi.

You're trying to paint Annan as a neutral observer.

It just doesn't pass the laugh test. Annan's office directed hush letters [opinionjournal.com] to administrators in the Iraq Oil-For-Food program, from which billions of dollars have gone missing. Supervising the import/export of the goods in question was Cotecna, who employeed Annan's son first as an employee then as a consultant during the period immediately prior to their being awarded the UN contracts.

Annan has alot to lose if Bush is reelected. Bush is known to be displeased with the state of the UN while Kerry holds it up as a model of international cooperation and is likely not to press these issues in a new administration.

This is an astute political move by Annan, but let's not play games about his motivations.

Don't misunderestimate Kofi! (4, Insightful)

bolix (201977) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296379)

The quote is taken out of its relevant context. Another way to rephrase the quote could be:

"In the present violent clime, democratic elections would not lead to a representational government"

Military gangwar is part and parcel of the current conflict. The feudal ganglords will not cede authority easily. Those with support (military and political) will bargain for power in the same manner as the Afghani process. Suspicious one-candidate boundaries will be drawn up and ad-hoc ministerial privileges doled out to unelected strongmen.

Bottom line: Its not democracy.

Re:Don't misunderestimate Kofi! (1)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297488)

And thank goodness it isn't. Democracy is a horrible form of government. It's nothing more than mob rule backed up by power of government.

Representative republics and parliamentary systems with checks and balances are a much more effective form of government at preserving individual liberties.

Of course, civics education in the various "democracies" around the world sucks so badly, that hardly anyone realizes this.

Two choices in the near future (4, Insightful)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296383)

We have two choices in the near future.
1.) Escalate.
2.) Pull out.
Either way we lose. Thanks Mr. Bush for giving us two great choices.

Re:Two choices in the near future (1)

xagon7 (530399) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297800)

Sounds like 2 options during sex. Although, there is a third...sustain.

Re:Two choices in the near future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10297893)

1.) Escalate.
2.) Pull out.
Either way we lose.


Select case (choices)
Case 1
Do While (War = Escalated)
US_Death_Count += 1
Iraqi_Death_Count += 100
Loop
Case 2
Iraq_Gvmnt_Type = "Islamic Theocracy"
Halliburton_Iraq_Contracts = 0
End Select

The "we lose either way" arguement only works if you're not concerned with the bodies piling up. Personally I'd rather see Iraq end up with an Iranian-style government than see one of my friends or relatives come home in a body bag (not a general statement, I've got friends and family over there, and more in line to ship out).

Either way we lose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10299598)

Seriously. You hit the nail on the head, amigo. That's why hearing the "don't switch horses in midstream" and related rhetoric coming from the right wing sends me right up the wall...
don't mod this up (me too! me too!) I'm just venting.

Re:Two choices in the near future (1)

superyooser (100462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10301942)

3) Success

Its up to the Iraqis (4, Insightful)

solman (121604) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296393)

> Would it really be fair to the Iraqis to postpone
> the January elections?

There is no chance that the US or anyone else is going to tell the Iraqis not to hold elections. Allawi knows that his continued power is absolutely dependent on his ability to hold elections on time.

He also knows that most Iraqis live in areas where the security situation permits voting. If a security disaster ensues and precincts containing 20% of population have to be repolled due to security incidents, then 80% of the Iraqi people will have had the chance to choose their own government and Allawi can rightly claim an historic achievement.

I also disagree with the posts that claim the polling data is out of touch with the Iraqi people. The same polls that show that Iraqis overwhelmingly want to choose their own government also show that over 80% do not believe that Americans will allow the Iraqis to choose their own government. Their views are entirely self consistent, they just don't take our goernment at its word. By enabling the Iraqis to choose their own leaders, the United States will go a tremendous distance towards easing their fears.

Re:Its up to the Iraqis (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296745)

I think many people are missing the point of your last sentence. If we hope to salvage any semblence of a positive relationship in the Middle East, we need to start by letting the Iraqi people start governing themselves. Granted that is the first step down a long, dusty road.

Re: Its up to the Iraqis (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299231)


> Allawi knows that his continued power is absolutely dependent on his ability to hold elections on time.

He may also benefit if certain provinces aren't able to vote.

Absolutely unrealistic (4, Insightful)

Korpo (558173) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296401)

Remember Germany, after WWII? An utterly undemocratic country, downbeaten, occupied and with a legacy of a failed democraty (the so-called Republic of Weimar). It took four years to allow for German half-independent states again, with their own constitution, and free elections. And 45 years till occupation was formally ended!

Now let's compare with Iraq: Unlike the Germans, the Iraqis have no cultural ties or common traditions with the Americans/British occupying them. They have absolutely no democratic legacy, not even a failed one, that anyone can remember there. There is a strong resentment against the occupying forces, and any ideas stemming from them.

Unlike occupied Germany there is absolutely no safety guaranteed by the occcupying forces. The land has spun out of control, several cities are out of control, and military action is still taking place. No economic recovery is taking place, and doing business is now again nearly impossible for foreign investors, abductions of foreigners is commonplace.

There are no well-known political movements beyond ties to ethnic group and maybe clan. The interim government is resented by many Iraqis as a puppet of the occupying forces, and the only media trusted or at least respected by most Iraqis are American-critic Al-Dschasira. Media installed by the USA like Al-Hurra are perceived as propaganda instruments, and this is most likely a correct assumption.

So there are no political movements to have enough confidence in that they worth casting a vote for, a big problem about independent media and therefore freedom of speech, a population resenting the US and Western ideas, sometimes including democracy, and an unstable situation in general.

In a country where it is even problematic to get one's children into a school, and safely home and fed, is there really that much a chance for democracy? I guess not.

This is just an illusion made up to content American voters for this fall, not really help the Iraqis with anything.

Re:Absolutely unrealistic (1)

epcraig (102626) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297676)

Should (of all traditions) Americans be surprised that Shii'a rebelled when ttheir newspaper was shut down?

Re:Absolutely unrealistic (3, Interesting)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297847)

An interesting conclusion, considering nearly all your facts used to reach it are false.

Iraq's economy is actually stronger now than under Saddam.

More cities have electricity now than under Saddam.

There are several thousand foreign workers in Iraq. Less than 20 have been abducted. That's not terribly commonplace.

Out of hundreds of Iraqi cities, three are causing problems, and only one, Fallujah, which was a Saddam stronghold is the site of continued on-going military action.

The interim government is not resented by the general populace as evidenced by large numbers of iraqis signing up to be police in the new government and by the fact that the insurgents are targeting the interim government infrastructure more and more frequently. They would not do this unless they saw the interim government as effective and a threat to their goals of de-stablilzing the country.

There are something like thirty different newspapers all through Iraq publishing widely different political viewpoints. As long as they don't call for riots and assassinations, they are allowed to operate (calling for riots and assassinations will get your paper shut down in any European democracy as well. Heck, calling a Muslim a scarf-wearing terrorist will get you hauled to court in France).

Schools are opening all over Iraq where they were once closed.

Iraq is not as safe as, say, downtown Singapore, but it's a whole lot safer than downtown Washington D.C. or Mexico City.

Re:Absolutely unrealistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10299520)

Iraq is not as safe as, say, downtown Singapore, but it's a whole lot safer than downtown Washington D.C. or Mexico City.

When was the last time you heard of a car bomb going off outside a police station? Idiot.

Re: Absolutely unrealistic (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298974)


> They have absolutely no democratic legacy, not even a failed one, that anyone can remember there.

Actually, someone did set them up the democracy once before. Of course, it fell to a military coup, which somehow led to control by the Baath Party, which then led to personal control by the party's security chief, Saddam.

Admittedly, not the sort of history that inspires confidence in gunpoint democracy.

42 % doubtful? (1)

Frantactical Fruke (226841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296618)

If only 58% of respondents believe that democracy will work out in Iraq, that is not exactly wonderful.

No need to doubt the veracity of the poll. It's gloomy enough in itself.

And of course ALL of the Shi'ites will favor free and fair elections, since they will put them on top - which may cause the Kurds to secede and the Sunni to rebel, to simplify it horribly.

Re:42 % doubtful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10296770)

Your math assumes 2 opposing choices. However, there may have been an unsure choice as well.
Yes/No/Maybe

Re:42 % doubtful? (1)

Frantactical Fruke (226841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10299084)

Huh? You mean someone answering 'maybe' is not doubtful? Strange.

Besides, there is the alternative of a 'working democracy' where all viable choices are American puppets, you know, like in Afghanistan, where only the former CIA collaborator Hamid Karzai has a realistic chance of getting elected.

Iyad Allawi used to work for the CIA, too. Would you like a former KGB agent as president? That alone should ensure a steady supply of insurgents, unless Allawi gets as tough as Saddam. The bombings of 'insurgent headquarters' are a nice start on that road to hell.

Suppose that there was a free and fair election... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10296696)

...this is no guarantee that the new representative govt. wouldn't go out and aquire WMD - indeed there
will be a strong incentive for them to do so as Israel, Pakistan and Iran either have or will have
nukes soon.
When that happens what will all the bloodshed
have been for? What will the GOP say to all the mothers of sons that died? In fact they probably won't have to say much at all - by that time the
'04 election will be old news.....Question, have
we bombed Baghdad, and lost the Gulf?

Re:Suppose that there was a free and fair election (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10296818)

I think that Iraq will be more concerned with rebuilding their country and creating conventional forces to prevent a possible ongoing insurgency, coups, or even civil war. WMDs do not figure into this in any short-term window.

Of course, I am assuming that democracy will take root in Iraq. If Iraq falls into a dictatorship again, then power can be quickly consolidated, unreset quelled, the problems of the people ignored. Then Iraq could pursue WMDs, but so could a lot of other countries that want them.

Re:Suppose that there was a free and fair election (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10298119)

Well I disagree - theocracy or democracy the only way to avoid diplomacy by nuclear pressure (i.e. state 1:"do what we say - we have nukes" state 2:"Uh ok then") is to get 'em yourself....of course it is easy to do it on the cheap [bbc.co.uk] now-a-days.....

It doesn't say "democratic" elections... (2, Informative)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10297707)

"THIS IDEA OF A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY HERE IS CRAZY" [tnr.com] (quoting a senior U.S. diplomat in Baghdad), which also points back to this piece [tnr.com] about the IRI poll.
The second and more immediate problem is that Iraqis know they want immediate elections, but they have no idea what they'll be voting for. Only 35 percent were able to say that the elections are supposed to be held in January. Nearly as many didn't know; about 30 percent gave the wrong answer. [...]Nor do they know what's at stake at the election. The overwhelming majority, 74.6 percent, incorrectly believe they'll be voting for "President of Iraq." Not even nine percent correctly responded that they'll be voting for a Transitional National Assembly.

Allawi on disenfranchising insurgent collaborators (1)

jrpascucci (550709) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298424)

Allawi has proposed a perfectly reasonable plan by going forward with elections before complete stability is achieved.

Those places where stability is the worst have one thing in common - the local populace is not doing anything significant to actively combat, passively deny, rat the insurgents out to the Iraqi gov't, or otherwise discourage the behavior of the insurgents. So, they, rightly I think, should have less of a voice.

It's only when insurgent behavior is exported that you get an unfair situation - and judging from the fact that there are just a short list of 'hotspots', with thin tendrils snaking out from them, it's not exported that effectively.

The whelming majority of the country is perfectly suited to holding something resembling elections. Kurds are definitely all ready, much of the Southern Shia areas (anti-Iran parts) are quiet, Iraq's 'flyover' country probably doesn't have all that much invested in either way. So the only losers are really going to end up being a percentage of the Sunni areas, which is political karma.

Re:Allawi on disenfranchising insurgent collaborat (1)

joss (1346) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298614)

> the local populace is not doing anything significant to actively combat, passively deny, rat the insurgents out to the Iraqi gov't, or otherwise discourage the behavior of the insurgents. So, they, rightly I think, should have less of a voice.

Suppose the US was invaded and occupied [by, er, martians] and a puppet government was installed. However, due to a resistence movement, they could not control the whole country. I suppose you would consider it fair for people in the resisting areas to have "less of a voice".

Re:Allawi on disenfranchising insurgent collaborat (1)

jrpascucci (550709) | more than 9 years ago | (#10302199)

Um...okay, I'll bite: if the US was invaded by someone (call it the Martians) who were trying to re-establish our lost Democratic Republic (for instance, as would happen, if, as the left would desire, they took away the 2nd amendment, made illegal aliens eligible to vote, and then China, Mexico, Canada and France had quietly invaded and outpopulated us in the red states so they vote the neocommunist party (aka Democrats) into unchecked power), then, um...yes. Absolutely.

I, for one, would welcome our Martian Liberators.

Why's that so hard to fathom?

US should take a lesson from Disney... (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 9 years ago | (#10298440)

This is exactly the situation between Pixar and Disney! Regardless or how much Disney throws ideas, resources, dedication, and cash, if Pixar had/has true self-determination, it's decisions will upset Disney no matter what. (Well, that's until Jobs takes over as CEO...)

Give the Iraqis true self-determination, and the US will definitely be disappointed on the outcome. It's a "can't please everyone" scenario.

Re:US should take a lesson from Disney... (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10303768)

Well, that's until Jobs takes over as CEO...

Oh please. That's just as bad as the continual "Disney to buy Apple" rumors.
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