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Southpaw2012
07-13-2015, 08:15 AM
Again, Obama attempts to paint a pretty picture on the war against "jobless" ISIS by claiming that we are making advancements. Yet, according to the military and actual experts, we arent just not winning, but actually losing a very dangerous conflict with huge ramifications. I understand his desire to want us to believe we aren't losing, but to say we're making advancements is a bold faced lie. Doesn't help that Europe doesn't do squat.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/dominoes-fall-isis-takes-damascus-100000382.html

Southpaw2012
07-13-2015, 08:37 AM
Weak minded, butt hurt Americans nowadays are feeding right into what ISIS wants: political correctness. Donald Trump was absolutely right with his comments, though how he said it was wrong. Many many many illegals who cross over the border aren't here to live normal lives; many are here to take part in the drug trade, which is increasingly violent along the border, and to commit crimes where they know no one knows who they are. Mexico is okay with it because then they won't have to deal with it. Groups like ISIS can thrive, and they have we already know, because they can cross the border with ease and then build up areas around the country waiting for a time to strike. They know that if people speak up with the truth, like Trump, the nut job progressives, who get butt hurt over every single thing they disagree with, will shut them up. Of course, many people cross the border to live better lives, but many don't. Living in America isn't a right, though liberals like to make it seem like it is because it helps their voting attendance. It'd be tough to win if the illegals and the dead don't show up every 4 years. Trump isn't wrong, he's just saying what people are afraid to say because they know the politically correct machine, aka media, will slaughter them. Stuff like this is a huge victory for terrorist groups and crooks around the world, and it's terrifying.

GonzoTheGreat
07-13-2015, 08:42 AM
ISIS is precisely why the USA invaded Iraq. ISIS is what thousands of American soldiers died to achieve.

Don't like it?
Then do not vote for GWB in the 2000 election. And if you can't undo that stupid mistake, then at least put the blame where it belongs: on those American soldiers who were too spineless to desert when they were ordered to attack.

Ozymandias
07-13-2015, 10:45 AM
ISIS is precisely why the USA invaded Iraq. ISIS is what thousands of American soldiers died to achieve.

Don't like it?
Then do not vote for GWB in the 2000 election. And if you can't undo that stupid mistake, then at least put the blame where it belongs: on those American soldiers who were too spineless to desert when they were ordered to attack.

While Southpaw is an idiot, this just is not true, and its incredibly disingenuous (not to mention as dumb as everything Southpaw is posting) to even make the case.

You might reasonably say that our poorly-planned (but well-justified) intervention in Iraq has given ISIS the political and social turmoil needed to exist. I would contest that as well, but its a valid argument. What you said is.... well, it is not that. Its such a baseless and wrong argument on its face that I assume I don't even have to dispute it. We didn't invade Iraq so that ISIS could form.

GonzoTheGreat
07-13-2015, 11:23 AM
First of all: the invasion was not justified, let alone well-justified. So on that basis alone the soldiers should have followed US law and should have refused to carry out the illegal order to invade. A few brave ones did and were persecuted for that.

Second of all: the poor planning was deliberate. And it was known from thousands of years of history that such chaos then is a good breeding ground for fanatics. There were basically three classes of such fanatics which could be expected to act:
1. Communists. But they were very marginal, and could have been 'disarmed' by the simple expedient of letting them run candidates in the elections. Not even that was done (as far as I know, Commies are still banned by all sides in the conflict), but we haven't heard from them since anyway.
2. Religious fanatics. These come in different (mutually exclusive) flavours, but they tend to make up for that by their fervour.
3. Former members of the Baath Party. To make sure that there would be enough armed opposition to warrant further military expenditure, the Iraqi army was dismissed without pay and without disarming the troops first. As expected, this brought violence.
When groups 2 and 3 combined, ISIS was born.

Pretending it was not intended can work, but only if one deliberately ignores a lot of very recent history. Or if one assumes that all US decision makers were stupid and that this could not be figured out by the voters despite the ample evidence showing what was going on.

Kimon
07-13-2015, 12:17 PM
First of all: the invasion was not justified, let alone well-justified. So on that basis alone the soldiers should have followed US law and should have refused to carry out the illegal order to invade. A few brave ones did and were persecuted for that.


That might have been intentional, but regardless, the proper word here is prosecuted. Desertion is a crime. This wasn't Vietnam. These men weren't drafted, they were already in the army. If they didn't want to face the possibility of serving in pointless and stupid wars, they shouldn't have joined the military.

Second of all: the poor planning was deliberate. And it was known from thousands of years of history that such chaos then is a good breeding ground for fanatics. There were basically three classes of such fanatics which could be expected to act:
1. Communists. But they were very marginal, and could have been 'disarmed' by the simple expedient of letting them run candidates in the elections. Not even that was done (as far as I know, Commies are still banned by all sides in the conflict), but we haven't heard from them since anyway.
2. Religious fanatics. These come in different (mutually exclusive) flavours, but they tend to make up for that by their fervour.
3. Former members of the Baath Party. To make sure that there would be enough armed opposition to warrant further military expenditure, the Iraqi army was dismissed without pay and without disarming the troops first. As expected, this brought violence.
When groups 2 and 3 combined, ISIS was born.

Pretending it was not intended can work, but only if one deliberately ignores a lot of very recent history. Or if one assumes that all US decision makers were stupid and that this could not be figured out by the voters despite the ample evidence showing what was going on.

The evidence was manipulated to sell the war. That was intentional. The botching of the war and its aftermath was likely more the product of incompetence however.

Ozymandias
07-13-2015, 12:23 PM
First of all: the invasion was not justified, let alone well-justified. So on that basis alone the soldiers should have followed US law and should have refused to carry out the illegal order to invade. A few brave ones did and were persecuted for that.

For disobeying orders? For a war authorized by Congress? They were not "illegal" orders. They were in every way legal, and there isn't even a moral or ethical reason to disobey them, as it was one of the few "just" wars fought in the last several decades of American history.

You'll have to cite something that shows how anything done in Iraq (ignoring the few obvious and already-prosecuted examples, e.g. Abu Ghraib).


3. Former members of the Baath Party. To make sure that there would be enough armed opposition to warrant further military expenditure, the Iraqi army was dismissed without pay and without disarming the troops first. As expected, this brought violence.
When groups 2 and 3 combined, ISIS was born.

I'll ignore the rest of it for now because I think this is the most interesting argument and the one on which you are on the most solid ground.

Though as a brief aside, Iraq was already a breeding ground for religious fanatics and Saddam was already explicitly couching his regime in Islamist terms, and no longer the secular Socialist terms of his early reign.

What exactly would you have done? It was obviously ridiculous that the Ba'athists be allowed to continue in power, especially in the military, as this would be no regime-change at all and merely would open the door for another coup once we left. Similarly, huge swathes of the population had nothing but bad memories of an Iraqi army that had been involved in at least one genocide in the last couple decades. So as with the officer corps, it is difficult to see a way out of the problem. Perhaps the armed forces should have been phased out and re-conscripted, but I cannot hold it against those planning the war that they feared that the Iraqi Army would be used as an insurgency force. Hindsight is 20/20.

Pretending it was not intended can work, but only if one deliberately ignores a lot of very recent history. Or if one assumes that all US decision makers were stupid and that this could not be figured out by the voters despite the ample evidence showing what was going on.

I can guarantee you, without any shred of a doubt, that I know a very great deal more about the history of Mesopotamia than you do.

It is you, and the rest of the anti-War crew, which has deliberately ignored a great deal of the data.

Read the resolution authorizing President Bush to declare war. It gives a great many reasons (not a single one of them is "possession of nuclear weapons, by the way - just as Bush never said any such thing, either).

A short list, separated into categories.

Ethical reasons for war:

- Saddam was running a regime which had been actively involved in the committing of genocide, and was only being stopped from re-igniting said genocide by already active American military involvement.

- Saddam was, even at the time, brutally repressing his own people, and stealing the money from the Oil-for-Food Program (more on this later) to such a degree that conservative estimates have pegged the mortality rates associated with conditions attributable solely to Saddam's regime in the six figures. Possibly much, much higher.

- I am not sure if it is technically illegal, but Saddam ended arguably the oldest continuous cultural tradition in recorded human history when he evicted the Marsh Arabs and evicted them from their now dry and barren way of life.

- Not that this is a reason for invasion, but it doesn't help that Saddam was openly celebrating the 9/11 attacks.

Legal reasons for war:

- Saddam was actively involved in shooting at American pilots on a daily basis for the entirety of the sanctions period (so none of this BS about him not being a threat to US interests).

- He was proven to be harboring terrorists who had been known to commit attacks on US soil (the 1993 WTC bombings). Not sure how one supports Afghanistan and not Iraq, on that basis alone.

- He was defying the UN Resolutions concerning weapons inspections, something that was glaringly obvious even before we intervened. Whether or not he had something to hide, he was breaking international law

- He was engaged in the (also then-obvious and since-proven) suborning of international officials and NGOs by use of bribery, using the aforementioned Oil-for-Food program.

- He was suspected (and evidence gathered since then has shown this to be true in intent at the very least) to be attempting to acquire fissile nuclear material.

In sum - there is an airtight case for the ethical intervention in Iraq. There can be some debate about whether or not the US could have acted unilaterally to remove him from power without an accompanying Security Council resolution under international law. However, given the also-proven complicity and corruption of the domestic French government at the time, its also worth noting that whether or not it was legal, the UN's "official opinion" was already rendered null and void because the entire process was riddled with corruption. If the US government declined to fine a major US bank for fraud, just because said bank paid off a couple members of Congress, there would be outrage. This is no different.

And as far as recent history goes, I have a better example than any you do. Its called the KRG. Not only have they built a functioning secular democracy within their corner of Iraq, they've managed to uncover new petroleum deposits, build up a burgeoning industrial base, and most importantly, they've been extremely successful in not only resisting ISIS/ISIL but recapturing cities and towns from them.

You know how the Kurds got to that point? Because the American government decided that we needed to intervene to protect a set of people (who we shamefully abandoned to genocide in the first place) by intervening in a "sovereign" nation and installing an occupation force, for as long as it took, so that the people there could be liberated from under the thumb of a psychotic dictator.

So there is a great deal of evidence, from just the last couple decades, that a concerted effort from extra-national peacekeepers (since the No Fly Zones were hardly maintained "internationally", mainly Americans and Brits) can stabilize a foreign nation in the region to an extent that democratic institutions can not only take root, but thrive.

The Unreasoner
07-13-2015, 01:13 PM
How would you prosecute the war on ISIS, Southpaw?

From where I sit, things are actually not looking that bad. Far better than I would have expected even a few weeks ago. The Kurds are doing an excellent job in their offensive (and are keeping some radical Islamist allies in check), and the FSA has been making real gains too. Assad will either die when his city falls or flee west, so we might kill two wars with one battle. American airstrikes, no American boots. Even Al-Nusra seems to have become more moderate (though they are still protecting Khorosan, who are way more dangerous than ISIS to the average American, and that needs to be dealt with. And Turkey needs to cut out the bullshit).

But really: Raqqa will fall in a few months. ISIS will have a hard time getting new recruits after that.

Kimon
07-13-2015, 01:32 PM
How would you prosecute the war on ISIS, Southpaw?

From where I sit, things are actually not looking that bad. Far better than I would have expected even a few weeks ago. The Kurds are doing an excellent job in their offensive (and are keeping some radical Islamist allies in check), and the FSA has been making real gains too. Assad will either die when his city falls or flee west, so we might kill two wars with one battle. American airstrikes, no American boots. Even Al-Nusra seems to have become more moderate (though they are still protecting Khorosan, who are way more dangerous than ISIS to the average American, and that needs to be dealt with. And Turkey needs to cut out the bullshit).

But really: Raqqa will fall in a few months. ISIS will have a hard time getting new recruits after that.

The problem is still the lack of ground forces. The Kurds are a bit of a mixed bag here, and their presence helps explain Turkey's actions. They still are the only trustworthy force, but trustworthy for us, and for other Kurds, but not for any of the other locals. And they really antagonize the Turks. They are at least Sunni, but neither the Iraqi, Turk, or Syrian Sunni really like their presence any more than Shia forces.

That's why all the Sunni powers have been looking the other way vis-a-vis ISIS. They all want Assad to fall, because he's Shia. They want the Iraqi govt to fall, because it's Shia. Only Iran (the Shia power) and Hezbollah (also Shia) support Assad. Had ISIS not made the mistake of burning that Jordanian pilot, all of the Sunni powers would still be quietly rooting for ISIS so long as they just killed Shia and Kurds.

Even after that mistake none of the Sunni countries really want to get involved. Turkey still prefers to look the other way. Jordan just wants to keep the problem from growing from a refugee crisis to an existential crisis. Same with Lebanon. The Saudis are too busy in Yemen to care much about Syria and Iraq. And us? We can't be the ground force, as our presence, while it would help in dealing with ISIS in the short-term would do nothing to solve the underlying Sunni-Shia divide, except perhaps in giving them a momentary mutual enemy, us, to hate instead of each other.

Sometimes you just have to step back and consider that if every time we get involved we just make the situation worse, that perhaps we need to stop getting involved.

Ozymandias
07-13-2015, 05:30 PM
Sometimes you just have to step back and consider that if every time we get involved we just make the situation worse, that perhaps we need to stop getting involved.

Tell that to the Kurds. We stepped in there, and as result there is a functioning secular democracy in the region.

It is nearly impossible, by almost any humanitarian or economic measure, to make the case that Iraq is worse off now than it was 15 years ago.

Furthermore, the Bush Administration was right in hoping that Iraq would provide an example for other uprisings. Most of the "Arab Spring" can be laid at the feet of the Bush Administration.

Kimon
07-13-2015, 06:18 PM
Tell that to the Kurds. We stepped in there, and as result there is a functioning secular democracy in the region.


The Kurds were protected by the no-fly zone prior to the war. They have benefited since the war, but we still have been unwilling to extend them full autonomy from the corrupt regime in Baghdad. We have done even less for the Kurds in Turkey and Syria.

It is nearly impossible, by almost any humanitarian or economic measure, to make the case that Iraq is worse off now than it was 15 years ago.

ISIS and civil war is not an improvement on Saddam.

Furthermore, the Bush Administration was right in hoping that Iraq would provide an example for other uprisings. Most of the "Arab Spring" can be laid at the feet of the Bush Administration.

The Arab Spring has been a disaster. A failed state in Egypt that fell to a military junta that arrested the president, Morsi, that was elected after Mubarak's ouster. Libya has descended into civil war. So has Yemen. Likewise Syria. Turkey under Erdogan has continued to become less democratic. So, where exactly is the success? Tunisia? That's the one the right tries to point to. Is it really? In March of this year there was the terror attack on the Bardo Museum in which 21 tourists were murdered. Then just a few weeks ago another massacre of tourists at Sousse (38 killed, mostly Brits) in Tunisia. The Middle East was a far safer and stabler place prior to our intervention in Iraq. We have left chaos in our wake.

ShadowbaneX
07-13-2015, 07:04 PM
While Southpaw is an idiot, this just is not true, and its incredibly disingenuous (not to mention as dumb as everything Southpaw is posting) to even make the case.

Gonzo's post is a mirror of Southpaw's. Yes, it's stupid, but then so is Southpaw's. Not that he'll ever read it and as such have no chance to realize how utterly brain dead his own argument is, but, meh, Conservatives don't like to change their underwear, let alone changing their minds.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-14-2015, 02:09 AM
Gonzo's post is a mirror of Southpaw's. Yes, it's stupid, but then so is Southpaw's. Not that he'll ever read it and as such have no chance to realize how utterly brain dead his own argument is, but, meh, Conservatives don't like to change their underwear, let alone changing their minds.

Not just conservatives. see my sig.

Ozymandias
07-14-2015, 12:02 PM
The Kurds were protected by the no-fly zone prior to the war. They have benefited since the war, but we still have been unwilling to extend them full autonomy from the corrupt regime in Baghdad. We have done even less for the Kurds in Turkey and Syria.

This is exactly my point. We made a long term, unbreakable commitment to the Kurds that we would not let Saddam continue the Al Anfal campaign. Because of this very basic level of commitment and protection, the Kurds managed to create a civil democratic society (especially by the standards of the region) that now, even as the entire Middle East collapses into fanaticism and chaos, is perfectly capable of holding its own against even well-organized terrorist forces like ISIS. In other words, with better planning and commitment, the Iraq War and its aftermath could have been a success, because we were already successful doing the same thing in Kurdish Iraq.

And we've refused the "grant" them autonomy for a number of reasons. Most of which are well outside our control and were done for excellent reasons (e.g. a desire to avoid impoverishing Sunni Iraq, which has no oil, at the expense of the Shi'a and Kurdish regions, which do). The blame for this goes squarely on the Brits and French, not the Americans (or Iraqis).

ISIS and civil war is not an improvement on Saddam.

I could not disagree more. Mind you, its still terrible... but ISIS is doing no more and no less than Saddam did. The difference is that now the Iraq government is at least nominally representative of its population and has at least a nominal armed forces that are attempting to protect the citizens. As supposed to before 2003, when, you know... Saddam controlled the army and used it to imprison, torture, and more or less enslave the entirety of the Iraqi population (and attempt to do the same to Iran and Kuwait).

The Arab Spring has been a disaster. A failed state in Egypt that fell to a military junta that arrested the president, Morsi, that was elected after Mubarak's ouster. Libya has descended into civil war. So has Yemen. Likewise Syria. Turkey under Erdogan has continued to become less democratic. So, where exactly is the success? Tunisia? That's the one the right tries to point to. Is it really? In March of this year there was the terror attack on the Bardo Museum in which 21 tourists were murdered. Then just a few weeks ago another massacre of tourists at Sousse (38 killed, mostly Brits) in Tunisia. The Middle East was a far safer and stabler place prior to our intervention in Iraq. We have left chaos in our wake

It took France, what? 75 to 100 years of continuous revolt, upheaval, autocracy, and war to achieve a stable representative democracy. My point is that we should not assume that people without any history of self-representation can achieve this without some social and political disruption (and FYI, I don't see how a terrorist attack is a sign of democracy not working).

The Kissinger model of politics, which has failed us so bitterly over the last five or six decades, and led to so many of the world's problems (like, literally, almost all of the anti-American sentiment in the world) stems from this idea that it is better that we have a brutal, repressive government that is nominally pro-American and can keep a temporary lid on social forces we don't like, than to have a representative democracy that responds to the will of native populations. Never mind that this never works (even Pinochet sponsored terrorism in the US), is it not better to let foreign nations have some level of self-determination without the US artificially constraining them and consigning them to be under the thumb of invariably brutal and often evil dictatorships?

While I could wish we had done more, at the very least, our actions in Iraq, and our decision to not intervene to prop up dictators we formerly supported, have given native populations the ability to at least try and forge their own destiny. Maybe Libya's citizens deserve the opportunity to decide what is best for their country, even if it must be resolved through violence? Would the USA be a better place if the British had decided they wanted to maintain a sure supply of cotton and intervened on behalf of the Confederacy? And even if you think the US should sponsor a military coup to "keep the peace" (which in the long term never turns out all that peaceful), isn't it better that a terrorist supporting, WMD producing dictator is gone? In Qaddafi's case at least, there can be no doubt that the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the show that we would use force to disarm rogue states, paid dividends. How else do you explain the timing of his giving up his chemical and nerve agent weapon stockpiles, in early 2004?

Have some faith in people to decide what they want. They are not obligated to serve American interests or desires. But if you let them choose their own course, then the reactionary forces of Islamic fascism and dictatorship will not be able to make the West the enemy, and will have to face the consequences of their own failed and repressive policies.

GonzoTheGreat
07-14-2015, 12:13 PM
But if you let them choose their own course, then the reactionary forces of Islamic fascism and dictatorship will not be able to make the West the enemy, and will have to face the consequences of their own failed and repressive policies.
Nitpick: they can still lie about it and probably manage to deceive quite a lot of people for quite some time. However, if they don't have an external enemy actually bombing them, then they will most likely find internal enemies and thereby reduce the threat they pose to us.

The domino theory didn't make sense when Kissinger et al. (or did Joseph McCarthy begin this?) first started selling it, and it is no more believable now.

Ozymandias
07-14-2015, 02:58 PM
Nitpick: they can still lie about it and probably manage to deceive quite a lot of people for quite some time. However, if they don't have an external enemy actually bombing them, then they will most likely find internal enemies and thereby reduce the threat they pose to us.

The domino theory didn't make sense when Kissinger et al. (or did Joseph McCarthy begin this?) first started selling it, and it is no more believable now.

I am not so sure that holds true any more. Look at the protests in Iran in 2009. The internet has fundamentally changed how people gain access to information. I am not saying it is impossible, or that its easy for, say, the Saudi's to gain access to current, reasonably unbiased news, but it is certainly possible. Again going back to Iran, it became pretty clear that the urban population is fairly well educated on what the evil Americans are actually attempting; its the poor, uneducated, rural population which is providing the backbone of popular support for the reactionary mullahs.

ShadowbaneX
07-14-2015, 05:25 PM
Not just conservatives. see my sig.

The vocal Conservative is a fanatic.

GonzoTheGreat
07-15-2015, 04:38 AM
I am not so sure that holds true any more. Look at the protests in Iran in 2009. The internet has fundamentally changed how people gain access to information. I am not saying it is impossible, or that its easy for, say, the Saudi's to gain access to current, reasonably unbiased news, but it is certainly possible. Again going back to Iran, it became pretty clear that the urban population is fairly well educated on what the evil Americans are actually attempting; its the poor, uneducated, rural population which is providing the backbone of popular support for the reactionary mullahs.Easy solution to that, which is already put into practice in North Korea (and to a somewhat lesser extend also in many other places): do not let the people have access to the Internet.

I'm not saying that is what ISIS should do, but it is probably what they will do, as far as possible. And with enough sanctions put in place the outside world will even help them arrange it, by making "Internet ready" gadgets hard to come by for ordinary folks.