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Monday, June 26, 2006

Stay the Course

Posted by on June 26 at 14:51 PM

Iraq is all my fault, I realize, but I feel obligated to post this: Despite the Bush visit, despite killing Zarqawi, despite an offer of amnesty/reconciliation, the violence in Iraq just keeps getting worse.

At least 57 people were killed in attacks and 10 students were kidnapped from their hostel in Baghdad, one day after the prime minister unveiled a peace plan aimed at easing the violence….

The first attack happened near Baquba in the village of Khairnabat, northeast of Baghdad, when a booby-trapped motorbike exploded in a marketplace killing at least 18 and wounding 20, a defense ministry source said. Baquba’s main hospital confirmed the toll and said most of the dead were children.

Shortly after a home-made bomb exploded in the main market of the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, at least killing seven and wounding 13, according to the main hospital.

And in the fourth incident of mass abductions this month, gunmen arriving in five sports utility vehicles with tinted windows stormed into a hostel on Oqba bin Nafaa square in the capital’s Karradah district and abducted 10 students, who were singled out for being Sunnis, security officials said.

The broad daylight abduction occurred despite the fact that Karradah, like many of the capital’s principal districts, is filled with checkpoints manned by Iraqi soldiers as part of a massive operation launched on June 14 involving more than 50,000 troops.

Never enough troops on the ground, blah blah blah. Here’s what I had to say about the mess last August.

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The Republican party's plan for Iraq:


Pass it on.

Unfortunately the media and both parties won't even entertain the possibility that our very presence in the region is the cause of most of the violence. That's what almost everyone else in the world believes. The reason they do is becuase it's the theory most likely to be true. Any casual student of the history of empires knows that most of the time sectarian violence in an occupied country is a direct result of the polarization of the political sphere caused by the presence of the imperial power brokers. As long as you have kingmakers, you will have people fighting to be king. Remove the lucre of political reward going to those who the imperial power favors, and you remove most of the motivation behind sectarian violence.

Many people were for the war at first and have become discourage. Remember it's good for Israel to have more U.S. airbases nearby, so don't despair too much. Many believe we'll have to take out Iran and Syria, but after some years there'll be a stronger Israel, pro-America governments in the region, and an oil pipeline from Iraq to Israel. Then those who believed in this war from the beginning will be praised for their courage.

You supported an illegal pre-emptive war, Dan. No one should give a rat's ass about what you have to say about Iraq. Your opinion here is worthless.

I agree, Curveball. But I felt compelled to post nonetheless.

Shoshana, you're an unilluminated, vacuous cunt and a terrible satirist. Take your deep space act elsewhere, why don't you? That's a good little girl.

Kinaidos, if you think the US military presence is what's making Sunni slaughter Shi'ite and vice versa, you're deluded. These are deep and historical divisions we've unleashed, not mere power plays. The only thing keeping them from slaughtering each other before was Saddam. Since no more Saddams appear to be on the horizon -- and no one would welcome one more than former Saddam antagonist Bush -- we're seeing uncivil war. If we leave now, all hell will break loose, and Iran will be a part of it. If you think that's OK, I suggest you read up on the Iraq-Iran War, and think about nukes while you're doing it.

That's the whole thing about foreign policy catastrophes like this one: they can't just be stopped once it becomes apparent even to their proponents that they were a bad idea. No do-overs. IRAQ HAS NO SOLUTION. There ARE NO GOOD IDEAS. The real tragedy of the Bush Presidency hasn't even really hit home yet. I'm just afraid that it's going to hit after the Dems take over, and they'll get blamed for it.

But I think history will know who to blame, after it becomes apparent that Iraq is actually much, much WORSE than Vietnam was, because Islamofascism, unlike Soviet Communism, is not a paper tiger.

People who care about Israel's security are not "cunts". One bright spot in a difficult situation is getting more U.S. military bases in the area, thus making Israel more secure, which in turn strengthens the United States.

No one has all the answers. At one time everyone was pro-war, including The Stranger. Things change, and in time today's doubters may decide once again that this war is the quickest path to peace in the Middle East. Shoshana has a right to care about Israel and state her positions without being called names.

More US bases makes Israel safer? Whatever. Even if that's true (which I really doubt), since when was US policy necessarily and completely dictated by Israel's needs? Huh? Is that healthy? I really doubt it.

And, yes. I'm Jewish.

And Shoshana and Josh should just say it straight out: Their religious and ethnic chauvinism makes them willing to sacrifice American lives and US policy interests for what they perceive to be Israeli interests (mind you, probably deeply conservative, religiously bigoted, right-wing, loony Israeli interests, too).

And yes: I'm a god-damned liberal who appreciates completely the fact that Israel is the only thing in the Middle East that approaches a functional democratic republic.

Josh said:

"At one time everyone was pro-war, including The Stranger."

What planet are you from, Josh?

You may be late to the party, Josh. Shoshana doesn't give a flying fuck about Israel or anything else. She posts the same two or three failed attempts at sarcasm over and over and over. See? She failed yet again, because you couldn't tell she was being sarcastic.

Josh appears to be from planet Zarg.

Josh, I was the only one at the Stranger who wrote anything in favor of the war. It's not fair to all the cringing liberal pussies—all of them 100% right, while I was 100% wrong—to describe the entire paper as being for the war.

That violence would exist in our absence in no way undermines the position that the situation would be less violent with us gone.

I can understand why people like Dan would like to have gotten rid of Hussein. I felt he was a bit deluded when there are so many _other_ countries that have despotic autocrats that are just as batshit, (Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Sudan) and yet no one gives a damn. Dan has never been on the front lines about removing Mugabe, or Charles Taylor when he was in power. Dan points out other people's blindness every day in his sex article, so you'd expect him to be a little more discerning... but what they hey.

No, the thing that Dan _really_ missed the boat on, where he firmly had his head between his cheeks, is the idea that Bush/Cheney & Co. would excute the war with any kind of competency. He had surrounded himself w/ cronies in the WH, what made anyone think he would appoint anyone different in Iraq? In fact, Bush _deliberately_ removed the first General to arrive in Baghdad, whose priority was to secure the infrastructure (hospitals, power plants, transport systems, educational facilities, etc) to make sure the Iraqis would still have a country, and replaced by Bremer, whose priority was in the oil, and (seemingly) make Iraq as chaotic & horrible as possible. So, the question I have for Dan is, what was it about Mr. Bush that filled you with such confidence? I'd really like to hear it.

Shoshanna is right in that this situation is actually beneficial: It benefits only one country, which is Israel. The only threat Iraq posed _at all_ was to Israel. Not only is that threat removed, but they don't even have to pay for it! In either guns or blood. They get it, gratis, on the house, while America faces economic despair for the next decade, decades, half-century, who knows.

I'd like to finish this post with an article, which reveals why I not only don't support our president, I don't support the troops, either, who are just as resposible for this mess as anyone else (including Dan Savage.)

I don't understand people who lash out at Dan Savage for changing his mind about the war. I don't recall the exact numbers, but a large majority of Americans bought Bush's bullshit, and supported the idea of the war initially, including most of the Democrats (Jim McDermott being one of the few exceptions).

Now, something like 70 percent of the public is opposed to the war (again, I don't have exact figures in front of me). That is a HUGE number of people who have changed their mind about this war, including most Democrats (DINO Lieberman being a rare exception).

Dan has a right to his opinion. I read his initial argument favoring the war when he first wrote it. While I disagreed with it, it was a rational argument at the time. Flawed, as it turns out (and he himself admits), but it was a rational viewpoint to hold, and was in fact held by a significant majority of Americans at the time.

Now, in perfect hindsight, we see it was all based on lies, and it has turned into a quagmire that may end up even worse than Vietnam. The Bushies have been revealed as complete incompetents.

So, what, is Dan not allowed to change his mind? Millions of Americans have changed their minds, but Dan can't? Or if he does, his credibility is forever ruined? WTF? His initial support of the war was well reasoned (if wrong in hindsight). His reasons for changing his mind are perfectly valid. All of us, including Dan, know a lot more now than we did before the war started. All thinking people SHOULD reevaluate their opinions when new information is presented.

I think it takes a lot more integrity to admit you were wrong about something as huge as war, than to blindly stick to your initial viewpoint in the face of ever mounting evidence that we were deceived into starting it, that it was mishandled almost from the start, and that it is rapidly descending into a no win situation.

And finally, really, did you honestly take seriously the opinion on war from a SEX ADVICE COLUMNIST? I mean c'mon! Savage Love is one of my favorite columns ever. I never miss it. It is one of the main reasons I pick up the Stranger (or read it online). But I would hardly turn to Dan Savage for foreign policy advice.

"I don't understand people who lash out at Dan Savage for changing his mind about the war."

Well, I do. He's a self-righteous, snide, elitist, abusive prick who doesn't merely disagree with those who question his views, he attacks them with the full offices of his paper. In this case, on a matter of life and death that lots of people saw coming plain as day.

I'm glad he changed his mind in the face of 1000+ inconvenient facts, but let's don't hand him a medal for it.

All I want to know is since when did the vast majority of my tax dollars start belonging to Iraq?

Last time I checked, they weren't a state.

So cut them off - I'd rather the money be spent in the US.

Yes, many people have changed their minds about the Iraq war. But not all of those people, pre-conversion, called anti-Iraq-war leftists "stupid," "squish-brains," "completely irrelevant," "lost [their] moral compass," and "content to see an Iraqi dictator terrorizing the Iraqi people" (and that's just from the one article). That sort of thing does rankle, you know.

It hurts my heart to be called names simply for speaking my mind. To say this war is not all bad and celebrate Israel's progress is to honor the suffering of her people. In spite of some current hardships, in the long run Israel benefits from this war, so the war is not a total loss. No one person has all the answers, and nothing is all good or all bad. Life flows and changes as history progresses.

WILL HAS THE SOLUTION! Annexation, then taxation!

SRSLY, though, nothing's changing until at least 2007, if the Dems manage to win back Congress... not an easy task even with all the R-related problems.

and nothing is all good or all bad

Unless, of course, you're talking about Israel, which we all know from reading Shoshanna's posts, is the only important entity in the world today. Who cares about the death, horror, torture, destruction, ruined lives, ruined dreams, ruined countries, as long as Israel is doing great?

All sarcasm aside, I agree with Shoshanna that nothing is all bad or all good. Take Hitler, for example. Would the state of Israel even exist if it hadn't been for him? Of course not. Israel should make Hitler's birthday a national holiday. No one has ever done more to reveal the deep-seated anti-Semitism that existed in Europe & America than Hitler. In the 30's (& before), it was an accepted attitude that "Jewish Bankers" ran the world. I don't think most people thought about killing all the Jews as a viable solution, but the basic attitudes that Hitler espoused weren't that radical for the times. To many Americans (esp. Henry Ford & other industrialists), Hitler was basically one of the "Good Guys."

After WWII, the world got to see first-hand what the logical conclusion of such bigoted thinking. What bothers me about Israel is how they've continued to use the European Holocaust as an excuse to do what they damn well please, including pogroms & state-sponsored terrorism of their neighbors. What truly disgusts me about Israel is how the political leadership of that country see Jews as the only people who have ever or could ever be the victims of genocide. They don't stand against genocide, they only care if Jews are involved, which to me is more of the same racism. That whole "Never Again" schtick is just empty rhetoric. They were absent from Cambodia, Rwanda, and they even sold weapons (and 'interrogation' i.e. torture devices) to pre-Apartheid South Africa.

So fuck Israel. They're not the only problem in the Middle East, but they sure as hell aren't the solution.

Dan, I for one am glad to read this post and the one on Andrew Sullivan's blog, along with your comments here.

As a long time fan, I struggled with your support of a war that seemed like an obvious political ploy to ensure Bush's election in 2004, which it did.

People have a right to be angry with you. I for one am ready to move on.

The Stranger has been pro-Israel. Dan published a good article highlighting the excellence of the Isralei military and suggesting the United States might benefit from a similar draft. Eli Sanders wrote about Rachel Corrie's connections to terriorist groups.

The United States has no better friend in the region than Israel. The many Jews on The Stranger staff must continue to report the positive things Israel is doing, and Shoshana is right - many things about the war are not going well just now, but it has made Israel stronger, and that's good for everyone.

"The United States has no better friend in the region than Israel."

Supporting Israel has been enormously costly for the US, both in dollars and good will among the Arab world. One might argue that most of our woes in the region are a *direct result* of our support for Israel.

What exactly are we getting in return for our investment?

"All thinking people SHOULD reevaluate their opinions when new information is presented.

I think it takes a lot more integrity to admit you were wrong about something as huge as war, than to blindly stick to your initial viewpoint in the face of ever mounting evidence that we were deceived into starting it, that it was mishandled almost from the start, and that it is rapidly descending into a no win situation."

And anyway, considering Dan actually has very little power regarding policy decisions (if he did, don't you think someone would have, you know, ITMFA?), don't you people have something better to do? Just because someone wasn't always of your mind doesn't mean that you should spend all your time scorning him, or saying he has no right to change his mind. That's just stupid. A lot of you don't seem so much anti-war as you do just seem anti-Dan. Seriously, get over it. There are a lot more problems facing this nation than one sex columnist's opinions and words from 4 years ago.

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