Iraqis want US forces to leave


by Sunny
28th September, 2006 at 10:04 am    

A strong majority of Iraqis want U.S.-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying their swift departure would make Iraq more secure and decrease sectarian violence, according to new polls by the State Department and independent researchers. [Washington Post]

For supporters of the Iraq war who have argued the troops were there with their approval, this will no doubt come as a big blow. But given the American administration’s breathtaking incompetence is this surprising?

In Baghdad, for example, nearly three-quarters of residents polled said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq, with 65 percent of those asked favoring an immediate pullout, according to State Department polling results obtained by The Washington Post.

“The very fact that there is such a low support for American forces has to do with the American failure to do basically anything for Iraqis,” said Mansoor Moaddel, a professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University, who commissioned a poll earlier this year that also found widespread support for a withdrawal. “It’s part of human nature. People respect authority and power. But the U.S. so far has been unable to establish any real authority.”

Well there’s a surprise. The situation in Iraq is now widely out of control. The violence shows no sign of abating and neither do the Americans show any sign of getting it under control. They need to leave.

The problem is of course that most of those anxious to keep troops in the country do so because they think it will be akin to admitting failure. It will be the USA’s second Vietnam and sweet music to Osama Bin Laden.

True, but this analysis neither cares for the well-being of the Iraqis and neither does it accept the inevitable. Bin Laden should have been hunted and shot like a dog years ago. Instead we are in a quagmire because Bush wanted to avenge his daddy.

The incompetence of the US administration is partly the fault of Democrats not pushing Bush enough on the practical issues, instead taking the occasional snipe at the thinking behind the war. But if Bush had been forced to think more about the logistics so many lives would not have been lost.

Will the Democrats find their balls? It remains to be seen. This week former President Clinton got angry during a Fox News interview insinuating he didn’t do enough to curtail Al-Qaida. His angry comeback has got tongues wagging all over Washington with the implication that maybe the Democrats could take their cue from Clinton.

You can watch Jon Stewart’s amusing take on the Bill Clinton interview, or catch more serious commentary on what this means for the Democrats here. And even more support for Clinton here.


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  1. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:21 am  

    Neo Con reply: NO, you’re reading it all wrong? Where did you conduct these polls? We have Major support all over the country, come with me and I’ll show you the flowers children have thrown at me when I liberated them from their devil-child killing dictator that we now hold in a cage and humiliate daily.

    Give us a few weeks, we can get these charts back in our control from that liberal minority group!
    It’ll be magic…honest.

  2. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:23 am  

    I love all this “breathtaking US incompetence” stuff. Bear in mind after Hitler carked it and Germany surrendered they waited over two years for the Marshall plan to be put into effect and rebuilding to start.

    I’m not saying the US planned well for this scenario, but they haven’t been helped by Iraqis and world opinion expecting everything to be put right in a year. The Iraqis were waited for just a few months before the impatient ones decided the US occupiers had not done enough for them and started trying to kill them. This doesn’t make it easy to get things rebuilt at all.

    For pulling out it is happening, two provinces in Iraq are now fully under Iraqi control and more are planned. However, those are the quieter provinces and it’s hard to see how a withdrawal can be effected without leaving a lot of bloodshed in the livlier ones. Still, I prefer to trust the Iraqi politicians and generals to say when the time is right rather than the man in the street.

    How did Bush want to avenge his daddy? His daddy kicked the Iraqi army all over the desert and only a ranting lunatic a la Saddam could think Saddam was victorious.

    And Clinton didn’t do enough against Al Qaeda, that was why to get his war OBL had to go for a 9/11. US public opinion would not have gone for a fulkl scale attack on AQ until they’d been hit hard themselves, and OBL and Clinton both were aware of that.

  3. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:49 am  

    “I’m not saying the US planned well for this scenario, but they haven’t been helped by Iraqis and world opinion”

    Those idiot Iraqis. They have their homes flattened, families killed, livelihoods wiped out and nothing left to live for. Would it be asking too much to show a teensy weensy support towards the people who did all this? As for the world and its stupid, unhelpful opinions…

  4. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:54 am  

    very interesting – good post.

    kismet – yeah exactly.!..

  5. Bruno — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:58 am  

    Relying on the Iraqi politicians for a cue is pointless, since if the US left most of them would be strung up from the nearest lampost. The US leaving is about the worst thing that could happen to them.

    The real question is, is the US going to spend another four years bringing “security” to people who want them dead? The truth is the fighting has less to do with security than to do with the US imposing itself on the Iraqi people, Ramadi being a particular case in point.

  6. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:59 am  

    Kismet – The damage Iraq sustained was nothing compared to the scale of destruction in Germany. Why were the Germans patient, and the Iraqis not? The Germans felt guilty, the Iraqis didn’t?

  7. soru — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:22 am  

    I have to admit, I give very little credence to any poll where they don’t tell you the questions asked, just give you an interpretation like ‘must leave immediately’.

    If the other options were ‘stay 6 months’/'stay a year’/… that means one thing, if the only other options were ‘stay 5 years’/'stay forever’ that means another.

    Nevertheless, it’s clear there is now about a 2 year window to successfully withdraw. If they can manage to do so, then the Iraq war might go down in history as a strategic success, with the issue of whether it was worth the cost argued over. If you have an elected government with a security guarantee against external invasion, that doesn’t do all that much torture or assasination, sells oil, buys Western weapons and doesn’t actively sponsor terrorism, then pretty much everyone directly involved is better off than pre-war.

    If they fail to withdraw in that time, then it’s a one-way downhill path to a morally shattered army, and helicopters from the embassy roof.

  8. Nindy — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:25 am  

    Of course Iraqis want foreign forces to leave their country… anyone would, and this is merely another incident of history repeating itself. No-onwe wants another country occupying their own. The general sentiment expressed is “who are you to have an authority in our land?!”. Most Iraqis understand that Saddam was an evil dictator and that yes they are relieved that he is no longer in power, but the manner in which he was overthrwon – war – was not the appropriate manner in doing so. In layman’s terms it was a big fuck up and the primary cause of a climate akin to the middle east.

    That said, even though the US occupation of Iraq is a driving force for insurgents to inflict remorseless violence and a primary factor in so-called terrorists gathering more and more supporters, the situation – I hate to say it – in Iraq is one which will persist for a good few years – and I’m talking in terms of an aeon. Once the alien forces leave Iraq, insurgents/rebels/terrorists/revolutionaries or whatever the fuck you wanna call them, will direct their efforts on those paving the way forward for a modern democratic Iraq. That will be their new war.
    We have to start addressing this issue as opposed to batter on about US this, and US that.

    Sadly Iraq is another Kashmir.
    Another Chechyna.
    Another DMZ between S and N Korea.
    Another Middle East.

  9. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:26 am  

    Bert – The damage America has done to Iraq is nothing compared to the scale of destruction in Vietnam. What’s that got to do with the price of fish?

  10. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:38 am  

    Kismet – just that people expected too much from the US too quickly. The media did not call for patience, they just went off bashing the US for not doing enough almost straight off the bat. I don’t deny the US didn’t do enough, but to be fair they and most people were expecting more Iraqis to work with them than against them. As it turned out the Iraqis after 25 years of Saddam were mistrustful of any authority and set about forming militias. The US could and should have done more but bashing them for it after the fact is exacerbating the problems there, not helping.

    When Saddam knew he was going to get his arse handed to him he distributed around a million assault rifles to the Iraqi people, calling on them to throw off the invader. He knew full well they wouldn’t even try, and he was leaving a huge pile of shite for whoever came after him. Now he’s laughing his cock off as everybody blames everyone but him for the insurgency. Oooooh, how I hope they wipe the grin off his face soon.

  11. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:47 am  

    One of the saddest comments I heard about the tragedy of Iraq was from an Iraqi woman in London who supported the war and said:

    “I thought that it would become like Dubai, and everyone would be coming to see the beauty of our country, from all over the world…but now I know it was just a dream”

    many people must have hoped for this kind of change, but I reckon far more could forsee the destruction to ensure soon afterwords…

  12. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:50 am  

    ” just that people expected too much from the US too quickly”

    Since we’re talking about the damage done to Iraqi people…

    We were kinda hoping they’d do a little bit less actually

  13. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:35 pm  

    Kismet – I don’t agree with how the war was run. Bombers, missiles and artillery are used in my mind to justify their own existence to their own high command and politicians who decide the budgets. They don’t do anyone any good, especially against bastards who set up their air defence in the middle of populated areas. They know the way to win a war is to get as many of your own civilians killed as you can, and make sure you have plenty of cameras around to show everyone. I cannot understand why we play into their hands.

    You need to look at stuff like the Anglo-French expedition to force the Chinese emperor to sign our smack treaties. A small force of very professional men and light and fast moving. Drive up to the captial and kill the bloke you’re after. If you can’t find him just burn his palaces and bugger off again. Having rather unheroically gone into hiding at your arrival he’s unlikely to get back into power when you’ve gone. If somehow he does, then just do it all again.

    The bombers and artillery can have their fun on the border or with anything outside the populated areas. There’s no need for them to go to Baghdad.

  14. Amir — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    Sunny,

    #1 ‘Instead we are in a quagmire because Bush wanted to avenge his daddy.’

    WHaT! wHAt? George Bush Snr opposed his son’s decision to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

    #2 ‘A strong majority of Iraqis want U.S.-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country’

    A strong majority of Iraqis wanted the U.S-led-coalition to invade the country in the first place.

    A strong majority of Iraqis prefer President Bush and Tony Blair to Kofi Annan, Jacques Chriac, and the United Nations.

    Read it in full.

  15. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    That website you linked Amir is so right wing it’s fallen flat sideways and now dragging itself by spinning on its right ankle…

  16. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

    Amir – looking at that poll it seems the sunnis are not going to fit in with the shia and Kurds, and have no intention of doing so. From the responses to the other questions it’s easy to conclude that when asked if “all groups should participate in the political process” they were blatently lying or thought all groups should participate, but only as long as the sunnis get to win.

    The sunnis are a significant minority but seem to have been big fans of Saddam. Do you think they can be bought into the fold, or will they never trust a shia controlled state with Iran next door? Can Iraq work, or should a two or three state solution be looked at?

  17. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/jan06/Iraq_Jan06_rpt.pdf

    There are the full results, and it seems they did cherry pick for the more optimistic ones on the site. It surprises me so many Iraqis are convinced the US want a permenent military presence there, and that they will not leave when asked to by the Iraqi government. The disapproval rating for attacks on Iraqi government and police etc. is heartening though.

  18. Col.Mustafa — on 28th September, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    Well its not as if The U.S led coalition is doing anything anyway.
    The only way a country can stand up again is when it stands up by itself.

    Iraq is like a bunch of kids that can’t stop arguing over whatever it maybe.
    The U.S at this present time is the adopted father that can’t seem to control the kids properly and gives in to certain demands just to shut them up every now and again.

    The problem here is that they are not kids and they need to sort it out for themselves.
    You might say they can’t, look at history; all they will do is fight until one side is victorious.
    So be it, its not thier problem.

  19. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    interesting analogy col. mustafa

  20. Nindy — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:44 pm  

    mustafa you’re missing the point. Iraq isn’t “arguing over whatever it may be”; Iraq is trying desperately to form a democratic government to serve in the interests of its people whilst tackling the incessant attacks by a minority of insurgents who view the government as puppets to US ideology.

    “Sort it out for themselves”? I disagree. The new Iraqi governemnt doesn’t have the resources to put up a decent army to combat rebels. Perhaps this is an area that should be developed so that there will be a time where US armed forces are no longer needed.

    I was against the war, but I find it morally wrong for the invading countries to simply leave after fucking it up. They have a duty as human beings to build a solid infrastructure for Iraq to blossom into its own post Saddam and it’s going to take time. US presence in Iraq as it is will persist till the end of Bush’s tenure as president. Lets hope the Americans vote in someone who more a philanthropic set of ideas in tackling dictators and so-called rogue states.

  21. Francis Sedgemore — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

    The poll is a useful barometer of public opinion in Iraq, and, given the methodology as described in a Radio 4 interview by a polling official (I can’t recall the name), I do not doubt its accuracy. But an opinion poll cannot be given the same weight as a plebiscite, and it is the elected Iraqi government that will have to make the decision on whether the multinational force should leave the country.

  22. soru — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:23 pm  

    The new Iraqi governemnt doesn’t have the resources to put up a decent army to combat rebels.

    I think that’s wrong.

    I suspect the reason for the change in opinion poll data is not that Iraqis have suddenly decided that the US are brutal imperialists out to steal their oil: they always thought that. The change is that now they do have a confidence in the Iraqi army that they didn’t have a year ago.

    It’s ~150,000 strong, probably 15 times the combat strength of the insurgents, and has much higher morale and training than the forces that won comparable wars (e.g. Algerian and Syrian armies). Militarily, there is very little question that it would defeat the insurgents, and anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something.

    I was against the war, but I find it morally wrong for the invading countries to simply leave after fucking it up.

    That’s entirely the wrong frame. The USA did Iraq a favour by removing saddam, that’s not something they should be apologising or compensating for. Especially not by working through the following script:

    1. we want to build a well in that village

    2. we need a civilian contractor to build that well.

    3. as civilians, they need a safe environment in which to work

    4. we need to disarm anyone who might pose a danger to them.

    5. where did all those al qaeda types come from?

    6. didn’t there used to be a village here?

  23. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:30 pm  

    I think the Iraqi government has plenty of resources for an army. The problem is the people, if you look at Operation Sinbad the last thing before handover is to purge the police and military of militia members. Whether it can be done or not is the open to question.

  24. Col.Mustafa — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:00 pm  

    “mustafa you’re missing the point. Iraq isn’t “arguing over whatever it may be”; Iraq is trying desperately to form a democratic government to serve in the interests of its people whilst tackling the incessant attacks by a minority of insurgents who view the government as puppets to US ideology.”

    Yeh yeh, been down that road of well the U.S are there now, so they should sort it out.
    But after a while you kinda realise that they can’t sort it out cos its not thier problem.
    Iraq has its own problems and always has.
    The problems Iraq have now with the whole sunni/shia/kurd thing is nothing new.
    All Saddam did was oppress a certain side; he was like the hateful father that only gave a shit about his son and not the daughter.
    The Kurds were just some adopted son that was from the ex wife he hated so he did whatever it took to keep them out of his life.

    Now whats happened is there all free from the crazed lunatic of a dad they had, and this new dude is there that doesn’t really get them.

    Coming back to reality however; Iraq is capable of sorting itself out, if its ever given the chance.
    That doesn’t mean things are gonna be all hunky dory as soon as the U.S leave.
    But whatever does happen the Iraqi people will be responsible for themselves and there will be no scapegoat. Ok, i take that back, people always find a scapegoat.
    But just not an outside influence for them to be able to blame on.

    The longer the US stay there the more babyfied the people of that country will become.
    Maybe the US want that, i don’t know.

  25. Kulvinder — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:39 pm  

    I’m not saying the US planned well for this scenario, but they haven’t been helped by Iraqis and world opinion expecting everything to be put right in a year.

    Much of that criticism is from within the US itself, its hardly a matter of only ‘world opinion’. Blaming the Iraqis for expecting better is more than a little shit, id feel the same as them in a similar situation. Its been 31/2 years since the invasion.

    How did Bush want to avenge his daddy? His daddy kicked the Iraqi army all over the desert and only a ranting lunatic a la Saddam could think Saddam was victorious.

    Saddam Hussien tried to have bush snr assassinated

    WHaT! wHAt? George Bush Snr opposed his son’s decision to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

    The ‘what what’ is so cute, stereotyping ahoy but are you by any chance jewish? Id appreciate any links regarding bush snr/iraq

  26. bananabrain — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

    i assume, kulvinder, you are referencing sheila broflowsky from “south park” – in which case you surely mean: “what-WHAT-WHAAAAAT????”

    we worship you oh moses….

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  27. Chris Stiles — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:46 pm  


    I’m not saying the US planned well for this scenario, but they haven’t been helped by Iraqis and world opinion expecting everything to be put right in a year.

    Bert – Amongst the things that they can’t blame the Iraqis or World Opinion for, is going in with insufficient numbers to police the place once they had taken it over.

    If they are going to stay, then I’d like to see that change. I suspect it won’t, because the numbers would dictate some form draft – at least in limited form – to keep the army together.

    Whatever the Iraqi’s and world opinion might have done, they were and are responsible as the occupying power.

  28. Col.Mustafa — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:54 pm  

    Thats hilarious.
    A strong majority of shias are in favour of the US backed forces.
    But the majority of Sunnis who are no longer in power are however not in favour.

    What a surprise……

    So what does that mean exactly? well i believe it means that until the Sunnis/Shias sort out the little problem they have of trying to get along without blowing each others civilians up theres nothing the US can do about it.

  29. Kulvinder — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:55 pm  

    i assume, kulvinder, you are referencing sheila broflowsky from “south park” – in which case you surely mean: “what-WHAT-WHAAAAAT????”

    I dunno maybe the alternating uppercase-lowecase spelling was meant to indicate a voice quiver, do european jews ‘what’ differently? :)

  30. soru — on 28th September, 2006 at 6:13 pm  

    ‘Whatever the Iraqi’s and world opinion might have done, they were and are responsible as the occupying power.’

    I think there is a tendency amongst some people to treat international law as if it was a personal power fantasy where they are the international judge and a quivering President Bush is in the dock.

    ‘Crime: invading Iraq’
    ‘Punishment: 5 years military service in Anbar province’

    Unfortunately, I really don’t think that is a particularly productive way of looking at the actual military and political situation.

  31. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 6:22 pm  

    Kulvinder – I include US domestic opinion in world opinion. The Marshall Plan to rebuild Germany after WW2 took over two years to be agreed upon let alone for reconstruction to start. In Iraq the media and the Iraqis seemed to expect it to start straight away and be booming along in a couple of months. It’s not that easy. Though I fully agree that we did not plan with enough options and that more resources should have been on hand for rebuilding right from the start.

    I know Saddam tried to assasinate Bush, and I’ve no doubt Bush was on the same tip with Saddam. So why would Bush’s son feel the need to avenge his daddy?

  32. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

    Chris Stiles – The numbers are insufficient because too many countries aren’t playing their part. Al Qaeda has already seen off the Spanish and most other countries that have had people kidnapped etc. have quietly pulled out their token commitments.

  33. Don — on 28th September, 2006 at 6:39 pm  

    This may be slightly off-topic, but I just read an interesting passage in the new Dawkins; an article in the Tripoli Treaty of 1797, signed by George Washington;

    Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

  34. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 6:52 pm  

    Don – interesting indeed. From a bygone age when clear language was used. The harmony bit was a tad optimistic, mind.

  35. Kulvinder — on 28th September, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

    Kulvinder – I include US domestic opinion in world opinion. The Marshall Plan to rebuild Germany after WW2 took over two years to be agreed upon let alone for reconstruction to start. In Iraq the media and the Iraqis seemed to expect it to start straight away and be booming along in a couple of months. It’s not that easy.

    In a war ravaged europe and exhausted world with far worse lines of communication and far fewer resources to hand. Im not really sure what to say if your argument is we should compare the success or lack thereof in iraq with 60 years ago.

    So why would Bush’s son feel the need to avenge his daddy?

    hes texan?

  36. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 7:31 pm  

    I know it’s a dodgy comparison, but I can’t think of a better one. Not many other countires go in for rebuilding after a war, do they? Europe was war ravaged, but the USA wasn’t and there were far, far more transports available to get resources into theatre than there are nowadays. Far more people, too. And nobody was wondering if it had been the right thing to do, or if we shouldn’t just leave Jerry to it and hope the nazis didn’t get back in.

    Can’t fault you on the Texan thing, mind.

  37. Chris Stiles — on 28th September, 2006 at 7:36 pm  


    Chris Stiles – The numbers are insufficient because too many countries aren’t playing their part.

    Bert – in times of war the plans you make have to be able to survive changes, the US went into it with it’s eyes wide open and an understanding of just how shaky some of the support it was drawing on was – a majority of the public in all it’s allies were against the action.

    In any case, I can’t see the EU providing an additional 250-300K soldiers.

  38. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 8:03 pm  

    Neither can I.

    Plans for war are notorious for not covering all angles, but that’s because it’s an art and a science like no other and you never have the time or knowledge to cover all angles. The generals do try, but as we have seen intelligence is not reliable. In the case of Iraq it’s unforgiveable though – we didn’t win hearts and minds across Afghanistan so how did they get the idea we would in Iraq? I’m not defending the US on this one, rather attacking the media who have done all in their power to make the situation worse.

    How many serious journos think this really is an attempt by the US to control Iraqi oil fields permanently? Why did the BBC devote the bulk of it’s article on the handover from Britiash to Iraqi forces the other day to casualties elsewhere in Iraq, despite having run those as seperate stories? The BBC is well respected and widely read, and if they want to report bad news as bad news they should also report good news as good news. Failure to do so is resulting in everyday people being killed.

    I can’t see why shaky support among the Spanish for example should give the US pause in their planning though. Those forces were only ever token and at least that was planned for. They were mostly engineers with just a few infantry to protect them, and only posted to the quiet areas.

  39. Kulvinder — on 28th September, 2006 at 8:55 pm  

    Not many other countires go in for rebuilding after a war, do they?

    Most nations find pre-emptive regime changes followed by national reconstruction an odd concept

    Europe was war ravaged, but the USA wasn’t and there were far, far more transports available to get resources into theatre than there are nowadays. Far more people, too. And nobody was wondering if it had been the right thing to do, or if we shouldn’t just leave Jerry to it and hope the nazis didn’t get back in.

    I meant resources in terms of money and mainly the experience gained in 60 years. I don’t think having more ‘transports’ would be massively benefitial to the military contractors/sub-contractors that work in Iraq. Besides their quote for completing a particular job in a certain amount of time would include logistics. Incidently the largest portion of spending in the marshall plan wasn’t done on west germany but on Britain.

  40. Chris Stiles — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:17 pm  

    Bert – You brought up the Spanish, you can’t have them as a significant and an insignificant example simultaneously. Of course, it wasn’t just in Spain that public support for the US led war was low.

    If you want to blame the 101st Keyboard Corps for the present situation that’s entirely your perogative. I’d say the person who went on record to state that it was ‘hard to believe’ that keeping the peace would take more troops than that required to overthrow Saddam was somewhat more to blame.

  41. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:05 pm  

    Kulvinder – you’re wrong, the largest part of spending in the Marshall Plan was not ont he UK, it was to rebuild those nations who fought alongside the US rather than against the US. Why on earth should it happen any other way? On top of that, the spending on the UK was more investment than aid – we owed them big time and that investment allowed us to pay off the debt. I believe we only finished paying off that debt a couple of years back. I’m proud we paid it, though.

    In WW2 the US had just moved an enormous army to Europe, and on top of supplying them were supplying various European armies. The infrastructure was there to keep the aid flowing, which it wasn’t in Iraq. Don’t underestimate the value of a merchant fleet – you can’t airlift factories to Iraq, and you can’t airlift enough of their products either. The bulk of the kit still goes by sea.

  42. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:09 pm  

    Chris Stiles – I’d say the Spanish are a significant example. My referring to their force as token was not inaccurate, the same kind of force was sent my most coalition members, if that’s what you mean by my saying they were insignificant. They were fairly typical and hence can’t be seen as insignificant.

    I’m not blaming the 101 keyboard corps either. Because I have no idea who they are?

  43. Kulvinder — on 29th September, 2006 at 2:44 am  

    Kulvinder – you’re wrong, the largest part of spending in the Marshall Plan was not ont he UK, it was to rebuild those nations who fought alongside the US rather than against the US. Why on earth should it happen any other way?

    We didn’t fight the americans in wwii…

    on top of that, the spending on the UK was more investment than aid – we owed them big time and that investment allowed us to pay off the debt. I believe we only finished paying off that debt a couple of years back. I’m proud we paid it, though.

    and in the war to end all wars before that we took on another load of debt as well as making incredibly unfair demands on germany at the time

    Still it really doesn’t matter, everything is done on credit these days. The entire iraq war is deficit financed, even the US can’t saddle itself with an additional $5 bn/month requirement. All congress appropriations for iraq (and the rest of the ‘war on terror’) including reconstruction is done on a tab. I suppose some clever quant somewhere is trying to make sure their debt to the US is cancelled by giving money to the US for iraq.

    In WW2 the US had just moved an enormous army to Europe, and on top of supplying them were supplying various European armies. The infrastructure was there to keep the aid flowing, which it wasn’t in Iraq. Don’t underestimate the value of a merchant fleet – you can’t airlift factories to Iraq, and you can’t airlift enough of their products either. The bulk of the kit still goes by sea.

    You’re thinking of aid in terms of ‘things’. The US bureaucracy and their contractors are there to oversee spending not ship things in. This isn’t about tvs or goods its about services. The money is wired over, the american consultants the US hire (halliburton, blackwater etc) either hire out locals to do the manual work or if its sensitive work as with their mega embassy in baghdad they bring in other arabs – mainly kuwaitis.

    The aid revolves around money and expertise.

  44. jamal — on 29th September, 2006 at 3:06 am  

    The military should withdraw as it is no longer having any lasting successes in maintaining a meaningful role in Iraq.

    Aparrantly UK military leaders now believe that Afghanistan is a more worthwile and winnible battlefield.

  45. Bert Preast — on 29th September, 2006 at 9:42 am  

    Kulvinder – What I meant was that while the Marshall Plan did a lot to rebuild Germany, the main purpose of it was to help the US allies in Europe. It had to be – how could you justify spending shitloads on a nation culpable for it’s own and everyone else’s destruction, while leaving the nations Germany destroyed with nothing? If you want to know what the UK government squandered the money on, I disagree with what your link says – the welfare state didn’t come for free and I reckon that’s where the bulk of the money was squandered (or wisely spent, depending on your POV of course).

    The demands on Germany post WW1 may have been unfair, but as Germany never met them – in total they only ever paid an eighth of the reparations due – that can’t be blamed for Hitler. Also, where did facism in Italy, Spain, Hungary etc. come from? It’s one of my pet beefs, this, the UK and France desperately blaming everyone for the rise of facism except the facists. Stop it, and think a bit.

    For the resources I’m sure Iraq can make plenty of bricks. But not much else – if you want clean water and electricity safely into every home, if you want to rebuild factories and ports, if you want to open hospitals and schools you’re going to need an awful lot of kit, kit that can’t be found in Iraq. So it has to be shipped in. And TVs are needed too. People who don’t know what’s going on get frightened then dangerous, and a whole new government has to get it’s ideas and plans across to everyone.

  46. Chris Stiles — on 29th September, 2006 at 9:58 am  

    Bert -

    The US entered a conflict which was unpopular with the majority of the public in all it’s ‘major’ allies. Given the run up to the conflict, the standard stalwarts of blue helmet forces weren’t too likely to be keen on helping with reconstruction. One didn’t have to be particularly presient to realise that reliance on outside help might end up in over stretch at some point.

    Then you have a general estimating that ‘several hundred thousand’ troops would be required to keep the peace. No, this clusterfuck was entirely of the US’ own making, and you can’t blame the nasty bully boys in the media for that.

    Now that is not to say that there isn’t a certain attitude in parts of the media. However – discounting the usual suspects – this is in large part an effect of the early part of the war, where heavy handed news management was attempted alongside mismanagement of the occupation (the looting of Baghdad being a prime example).

  47. Bert Preast — on 29th September, 2006 at 10:11 am  

    Chris -

    I didn’t blame the media for causing the problem – just for making it worse than it need be.

    The conflict was unpopular with many US major allies, but I blame the UN over the US for that. Saddam spent a fun 12 years crowing about his victory over the rest of the world and none of his neighbours were under any illusion he’d learned his lesson. He was good at getting people on his side, too – firstly his support for Palestinian attacks on Israel and his reborn islamism, secondly in promising the French etc. plenty of cheap oil as soon as the dastardly US and UK had stopped hassling him.

    So we had the UN dithering with a dangerous expansionist dictator they’d already slapped down once and couldn’t find the will to do it again, even though he was ignoring treaties, resolutions and flipping them the bird. See the Mighty Moustachioed Ming defy the whole world! Man, what a champion!

  48. Kulvinder — on 30th September, 2006 at 1:38 am  

    Kulvinder – What I meant was that while the Marshall Plan did a lot to rebuild Germany, the main purpose of it was to help the US allies in Europe. It had to be – how could you justify spending shitloads on a nation culpable for it’s own and everyone else’s destruction, while leaving the nations Germany destroyed with nothing?

    broadly yes i know which is why i questioned this

    Kulvinder – you’re wrong, the largest part of spending in the Marshall Plan was not ont he UK, it was to rebuild those nations who fought alongside the US rather than against the US. Why on earth should it happen any other way?

    the per capita assessment was made of the contributions, it wasn’t wholly winners take all

    If you want to know what the UK government squandered the money on, I disagree with what your link says – the welfare state didn’t come for free and I reckon that’s where the bulk of the money was squandered (or wisely spent, depending on your POV of course).

    You’re free to disagree, i go with his analysis.

    The demands on Germany post WW1 may have been unfair, but as Germany never met them – in total they only ever paid an eighth of the reparations due – that can’t be blamed for Hitler.

    Yes, the great depression occured and noone could have met those payments, hitlers rise and the irritation with the tov and the young plan in particular came before the repayments ceased. Im not sure what to say if you’re going to ignore the opinions of german industrialists at the time as well as the boost the young plan gave to nationalist politicians like hitler and hugenberg. No credible source claims britian and france in particular were the only causal factor in the rise of hitler, but without ignoring a great chunk of history they can’t be set aside as being part of the landscape that led to his rise.

    Also, where did facism in Italy, Spain, Hungary etc. come from? It’s one of my pet beefs, this, the UK and France desperately blaming everyone for the rise of facism except the facists. Stop it, and think a bit.

    They had their own reasons, im not sure whats so controversial about saying certain factors were more prominent in particular cases.

    For the resources I’m sure Iraq can make plenty of bricks. But not much else – if you want clean water and electricity safely into every home, if you want to rebuild factories and ports, if you want to open hospitals and schools you’re going to need an awful lot of kit, kit that can’t be found in Iraq. So it has to be shipped in. And TVs are needed too. People who don’t know what’s going on get frightened then dangerous, and a whole new government has to get it’s ideas and plans across to everyone.

    The aid revolves around money and expertise, the contractors are obliged to sort out logistics on their end and factor in such payments when making the bid. Unless you’re suggesting the private sector is more ineffecient than the public i really can’t understand your reasoning. The contracts have to be completed in a specified time scale, having more ‘transports’ would have no impact on the timescale. The comparison with post wwii germany is bizzare.

  49. DAtley — on 30th September, 2006 at 6:50 am  

    Take all polls with a shipload of salt,
    as it was mentioned of mr stewarts show that
    the only poll that counts is the election.
    With that said, no iraqi would want US to leave
    it releaves them to battle saudi, syrian and iranian backed fighters….
    w the US effort focused on saudi and iranian and israeli on syrian it is not in their axis of rumbuctiones’s interest.
    Iraqis dont want a iraq…
    so they will live with any one who can provide that gaurentee, especialy if its not iranian, turkish, or syrianns.
    Sunnis do have an affinity WRT Saudi Arabia, and frankly tis the brits and turks who were responsible…
    Enjoy
    You can never get away from your lineage, nor from your soil, its just earth’s way….

  50. Kulvinder — on 30th September, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    as it was mentioned of mr stewarts show that
    the only poll that counts is the election.
    With that said, no iraqi would want US to leave

    Or maybe, just like us, the iraqis have a complex voting background. The war in iraq isn’t widely supported and tony blairs opinion rating is shit, as is new labours. We voted in the lesser of 3 evils. Picking up one area of concern and mapping it to an entire manifesto is odd. The reason elections aren’t polls is they deal with more than one issue.

  51. DAtley — on 4th October, 2006 at 12:49 am  

    Or maybe, just like us, the iraqis have a complex voting background. The war in iraq isn’t widely supported and tony blairs opinion rating is shit, as is new labours. We voted in the lesser of 3 evils. Picking up one area of concern and mapping it to an entire manifesto is odd. The reason elections aren’t polls is they deal with more than one issue.

    Yep….
    This site is quite accurate representation of smug british attitude wrt its attitude towards anything
    american, but for the most part US did get this war right. Their is a silly comparison to vietnam that is brought out, then the comparisons to colonization of india is brought on and on.
    But Iraqis know that US will leave, and do want them to clean iraq up and get the oil flowing before leaving
    and also perhaps issue some student visas so that their children can attend graduate school in US

  52. Kulvinder — on 5th October, 2006 at 3:34 am  

    Yep….
    This site is quite accurate representation of smug british attitude wrt its attitude towards anything
    american,

    Its only because we’re so much better.

    but for the most part US did get this war right

    What does that mean? Im unsure how you’re defining ‘for the most part’ let alone measuring it. The premise for war has been shown to be demonstrably false; the actions post occupation criticised by republicans themselves. Without ignoring the present state of iraq and the rationale given for war how on earth can you say for the most part they got it right?

    Their is a silly comparison to vietnam that is brought out, then the comparisons to colonization of india is brought on and on.

    Silly in what sense? Detailed comparisons are obviously nonsensical; but taking in the overall picture why is it silly to ask whether there is a military solution to the present problem, or even if there was a military solution to saddam hussien? You probably disagree with Clinton but as he said the only insurgency that has been put down since WWII was by the british in malay; it took 15 years and the insurgents were from a different ethnicity.

    Besides most american make the comparison

    But Iraqis know that US will leave, and do want them to clean iraq up and get the oil flowing before leaving
    and also perhaps issue some student visas so that their children can attend graduate school in US

    If they have the money to choose id always suggest Europe; but each to their own.

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