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Old 06-24-2004, 08:29 PM   #1
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Is hindsight 20/20?

This is not a discussion on the legalities of the Iraq war. This is meant to be a discussion as to are we better off, is the world better off since the war started?

Did we distract from the true enemy, being terrorism? No WMDs found, no 9/11 ties found, and since major fighting declared over we've lost more troops and created a breeding ground for terrorists.

Could we have possibly helped Bin Laden? With a pre-imptive strike and occupying Iraq, with no evidence to show for what we told the world we knew, could this have just thrown fuel to Bin Laden's fire. Now he can say look I told you, the US, they want to take over the world. So he gains power of recruitment plus the focus has completely changed. Bin Laden may be one of Bush's biggest supporters.

Have we really reduced the threat of terrorism or have we increased it? Now this we'll never be able to measure. No one can say for certainty that we've stopped anything by going to Iraq and no one can really measure if the attacks are more than if we hadn't gone into Iraq.

After 9/11 the world mourned with us, today it seems we've lost a lot of "friends".

How do we know if we have really made this world safer?
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Old 06-24-2004, 11:17 PM   #2
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#1 This may sound silly, but, I do believe that we have created a front in a war that had no front, which put us as citizens in harms way.

#2 I believe that our governement had no choice but to take action. I believe there may have been a better way to do it, however, knowing what I know now about the food for oil program, we may not EVER have had the support of the UN in the form of a resolution that built a Gulf War coalition.

#3 Short term, I believe we are NOT better off. Long term, IF we are successful in creating a democracy in Iraq, long term we are better off.

#4 The one thing people fail to acknowledge is that the situation since the Gulf War has dominated our foreign policy. It has forced us to keep troops in Saudi Arabia. This led to Al-Qaeda turning itself on us, and is breeding hatred from within Saudi Arabia. We are now on our way towards an exit from the need to keep troops in Saudi Arabia. Long term down the road, this will be important.

#5 I think as we withdraw from the region, it will become clear we are not there as a colonial power and things will get better.

#6 NOTHING will completely make things better as long as we are viewed as the arm of Israel.
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Old 06-25-2004, 08:49 AM   #3
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I have nothing to add about the current situation, but in a historical sense, isn't hindsight always 20/20?

When the US armed Iraq against our then enemy Iran, who would have ever thought this would backfire?

When the US helped arm Afghanistan against then enemy USSR, who would have thought today Russia would be our friends and we'd be fighting Afghanistan ourselves?

When the Treaty of Versailles was drawn up to end WWI, and the map of Europe redrawn, who would have guessed it would cause WWII, and eventually more trouble, like the Balkan problems of the 1990's?

In the 80's when the US was helping the Contras and other central American rebels who were fighting against Communist takeover, worrying about Communism spreading to our continent, who would have thought that within 20 years the Soviet threat would be long gone and we'd be condemned for 'interfering' in that region?

Oh heck, when the US had the Civil War, how could they have known that within 20 years advances in technology and farm machinery would have made slavery a stupid, outmoded, and inefficient form of labor, and it would have dwindled out on its own, with a lot less death, destruction, and hard feelings between black and white, north and south?

You could play if's of history all day and all night. If only we had a crystal ball, or a time machine.
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
I have nothing to add about the current situation, but in a historical sense, isn't hindsight always 20/20?

When the US armed Iraq against our then enemy Iran, who would have ever thought this would backfire?

When the US helped arm Afghanistan against then enemy USSR, who would have thought today Russia would be our friends and we'd be fighting Afghanistan ourselves?

When the Treaty of Versailles was drawn up to end WWI, and the map of Europe redrawn, who would have guessed it would cause WWII, and eventually more trouble, like the Balkan problems of the 1990's?

In the 80's when the US was helping the Contras and other central American rebels who were fighting against Communist takeover, worrying about Communism spreading to our continent, who would have thought that within 20 years the Soviet threat would be long gone and we'd be condemned for 'interfering' in that region?

Oh heck, when the US had the Civil War, how could they have known that within 20 years advances in technology and farm machinery would have made slavery a stupid, outmoded, and inefficient form of labor, and it would have dwindled out on its own, with a lot less death, destruction, and hard feelings between black and white, north and south?

You could play if's of history all day and all night. If only we had a crystal ball, or a time machine.
To answer all your questions, yes there were many at the time that opposed these movements and brought up these issues. Many brought up concerns about arming Afghanistan and Iraq, many opposed the civil war. This thread was more about right now at this point with no end in sight is it fair to say either way if this war has made this war safer? I hear many who support the war talk about how defense of this country is more important than this or that, but has this war really provided defense for the US? And vice versa...
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
#1 This may sound silly, but, I do believe that we have created a front in a war that had no front, which put us as citizens in harms way.

#2 I believe that our governement had no choice but to take action. I believe there may have been a better way to do it, however, knowing what I know now about the food for oil program, we may not EVER have had the support of the UN in the form of a resolution that built a Gulf War coalition.

#3 Short term, I believe we are NOT better off. Long term, IF we are successful in creating a democracy in Iraq, long term we are better off.

#4 The one thing people fail to acknowledge is that the situation since the Gulf War has dominated our foreign policy. It has forced us to keep troops in Saudi Arabia. This led to Al-Qaeda turning itself on us, and is breeding hatred from within Saudi Arabia. We are now on our way towards an exit from the need to keep troops in Saudi Arabia. Long term down the road, this will be important.

#5 I think as we withdraw from the region, it will become clear we are not there as a colonial power and things will get better.

#6 NOTHING will completely make things better as long as we are viewed as the arm of Israel.
Dread, excellent post! I may not agree with you that this administration had no choice, but I agree that we created a front that was not there and that the long term is a big IF.
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:57 AM   #6
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We must go all out if we wan't to succeed, there is not point in pouring resources and lives into a problem if they are going to be in vain. 20/20 wise we will allways make mistakes, that is the way things happen and you will allways have to live with the concequinces of your actions. To learn from your mistakes but still engage is the best way to behave for to become isolationist and loose yourself for fear of failure will only make your problems larger.

Backing mujahadeen in Afghanistan was an element in the creation of Al Qaeda but even if we had not backed such groups the men would still have went to fight the Soviets and they still would have returned to their homelands only to find the US there fighting against Saddam, we must remember that because of the millitary support to the Mujahadeen millions of people are free from the terror that was the Soviet Union, the risk of outright nuclear annihilation has diminished from public conciousness and things that once were the gravest threats to humanity have drifted into memory. Was it worth it? Backing Afghan Arabs to fight against the Soviet Union thus ending the Cold War by weakening the nations millitary might and facing them down with spending and dirarmament. Those Mujahadeen were backed in the name of freedom and peace in Europe, was that action which helped to end the Soviet Union worth it? Is it today worth fighting against these groups that once fought against our enemy, is it not just as righteous to fight for freedom for an Arab as it is for the freedom of a Pole or Russian?

Al Qaeda is a manifestation of hatred from the Middle East, it is the tangiable threat but it is not the underlying problem, the problem is within Islamic society, our problem is that not enough has been done to encourage peace and understanding within these societies. But understanding a problem and dealing with it are two seperate things, it is one thing to know that in part your actions have created a problem for you today but that should not detract from your cause. We must keep fighting for justice and reform on every front be it political, diplomatic, millitarily, culturally. If we stay true to our principles and values and keep the aim of a peaceful and prosperous world in our sights then I know that we can make it happen and I know that in the end the world will be better off because of it.

The fight for liberty in the 18th and 19th centuries and the fight against fascism and communism that so dominated the 20th century were only the beginning, from humble beginnings liberty and democracy have been preserved and spread around much of the world but there is still much to be done. There is no need for perpetual war when nations are genuinely dedicated to peace and freedom, there is no need for armies or defences in a truly free world. We must bring the catalysts for change into the Middle East and to the rest of the world then and only then will we be able to sit back and say that for all the mistakes and lives lost the peace is worth it. True peace is not based on mutually assured destruction or acceptance of opression it is based on a world where every person is free, where famine, war and poverty do not haunt the majority of the worlds populations.

In 20/20 hindsight I still think the war was worth it

- We have suffered much fewer casualties than I expected on both sides, more Iraqi lives would have been taken if Saddam was kept in power than if he wasn't removed as well as the subsequent failure of the 2nd intafada in Israel due in part to the removal of a major terrorist supporter.

- There has been some genuine progress for internal reform in neighbouring countries (these rumblings can only grow if Iraq succeeds as an Arab Democracy, a term I would love to use more often),

- The true malice and barbarity of the Baathis regime has been revealed to the world in all of its depraved glory (although many still are unwilling to look at what the price of peace truly was and would have been).

- The payoffs and obfuscation of the UN through its corrupt food for oil program is showing how the US was not responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children as it was Saddam in his sick quest for international pity, the blood is on the hands of many individuals whose anti-war message was motivated by greed and corruption.

- Weapons programs have been uncovered as have banned weapons and WMD's hidden among the normal ordanance some 12 binary sarin and mustard gas shells have been positively identified by the ISG, Saddam was definitely in violation of the UN resolutions and he had definitely not verifiable disarmed all illegal weapons or weapons programs (the lack of stockpiles within Iraq is not as disheartening as it is terrifying, especially when coupled with some recent information about weapons that Syria mysteriously obtained in mid 2003).

- Iraq's economy has been restructing after 20 years of arab nationalism followed by 30 years of quasi-socialist dictatorship complete with a massive debt burden and it beginning to recover.

- Electricity is now being evenly distributed around the country and Iraq's very fragile and aging power grid is being repaired,

- the South and North of the county have been relatively stable and genuine positive engagements from all major tribal and religious groups will surely aid whatever form of fledgling democracy takes hold over the next 5 years,

- the international community is waking up to the fact that Iraq cannot fail unless they all expect to face blowback from a catastrophic collapse (if 9/11 was because of Afghanistan imagine what would be recieved care of failure in Iraq).

A neutral point

There has not been a major terrorist strike against the US, yet, By taking the fight right into the middle east we have setup a terrorist magnet that is attracting a lot of Al Qaeda resources and expertise as well as the covert interference by hostile governments. The cost of men, arms and money for terrorist organizations is large and their backers have deep pockets, this has still has not changed the fact that Al Qaeda is less likely to mount a major attack now that its leadership is pinned down in Afghanistan/Pakistan and many of its operatives are focused on Iraq. This is a neutral point because while it is buying us time in the short term and in the long term should Iraq suceed as an arab democracy the intermediate term when Iraq has a strong transitional government and there are a bunch of al Qaeda recruits who have experience fighting in Iraq turn their eyes to the west we wll have trouble.

The negatives of the War in Iraq would be an increase in low level terrorist activity especially in Iraq. The risk that some weapons have now fallen into the hands of terrorists is regrettable however not alltogether as big a threat as the continued existence of Saddams regime for another 5 or 10 years. The cost in lives of US and coalition soldiers has been low when compared to similar sized conflicts and operations, A loss in political capital for Bush is an obvious cost and the fact that we will now have to sit through another Michael Moore movie is a downside. There is a lot of shit going on in Iraq right now that looks very, very bad but we must not loose sight of the progression, the country has changed dramatically over the last year and in terms of general security we have not seen the brutal bombings we saw last year (UN mission for instance?), the insurgents are going for soft targets such as schools, mosques and police stations, this does not win them friends and when the eventual Iraqification of security gets underway we will see how much time the brother of a murdered Iraqi who joins the police or army has for Insurgents.

Things will get better after any major war, especially in the Middle East after something like Saddam Hussiens Iraq, Iraq is going through a period of transition with at least 3 major hostile governments interfering with its stability (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria). It can succeed we just have to put in the effort and stay strong (but not pigheaded, tactics and deployments can be altered to avoid problems).

The only thing that will ever make the world safe for diversity and make the sacrifices worth it is success.
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