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Old 10-10-2006, 01:46 PM   #151
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Hidden victims of a brutal conflict: Iraq's women

Abduction, rape and murder are the punishments for any woman who dares to hold a professional job. A month-long investigation by The Observer reveals the terrible reality of life after Saddam



http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world...890260,00.html

Iraq's women are living with a fear that is increasing in line with the numbers dying violently every month. They die for being a member of the wrong sect and for helping their fellow women. They die for doing jobs that the militants have decreed that they cannot do: for working in hospitals and ministries and universities. They are murdered, too, because they are the softest targets for Iraq's criminal gangs.

Iraq's women live in terror of speaking their opinions; of going out to work; or defying the strict new prohibitions on dress and behaviour applied across Iraq by Islamist militants, both Sunni and Shia. They live in fear of their husbands, too, as women's rights have been undermined by the country's postwar constitution that has taken power from the family courts and given it to clerics.

'Women are being targeted more and more,' said Umm Salam last week. Her husband was a university professor who was executed in 1991 under Saddam Hussein after the Shia uprising. She survived by running her family farm. When the Americans arrived she got involved in civic action, teaching illiterate women how to read and vote, independent from the influence of their husbands. She helped them fill in forms for benefits and set up a sewing workshop.

In doing so she put herself at mortal risk. And since the assassination attempt, like many women in Najaf, she has found it hard to work. Which is what the men in the white Opel wanted. To silence the women like Umm Salam, who is 42.

'It is very difficult for women here. There is a lot of pressure on our personal freedoms. None of us feels that we can have an opinion on anything any more. If she does, she risks being killed.'

It is a story familiar to women across Iraq, betrayed by the country's new constitution that guaranteed them a 25 per cent share of membership of the Council of Representatives. That guarantee has turned instead into a fig leaf hiding what women activists now call a 'human rights catastrophe for Iraqi women'.

After a month-long investigation, The Observer has established that in almost every major area of human rights, women are being seriously discriminated against, in some cases seeing their conditions return to those of females in the Middle Ages. In areas such as the Shia militia stronghold of Sadr City in east Baghdad, women have been beaten for not wearing socks. Even the headscarf and juba - the ankle-length, flared coat that buttons to the collar - are not enough for the zealots. Some women have been threatened with death unless they wear the full abbaya, the black, all-encompassing veil.
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Old 10-10-2006, 01:51 PM   #152
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Originally posted by STING2


How many more people will declare "failure" in Iraq because they think nation building is a process that is easy and should not take any longer than ordering a hamburger at McDonalds?
Dammit! I was going to say you can't just order democracy from a drive in at Mcdonalds!

I think it's sad that these same people that are declaring failure in Iraq have been saying so all along, declaring:

1. US wouldn't be able to oust Saddam without a stronger coalition

2. Saddam would be a fugitive forever just like Bin Laden

3. A new government would never be formed

4. Al Qaida insurgents couldn't be stopped

etc.

Yes there's still violence. Yes, there is a danger of a civil war. Yes, the situation could possibly have been handled better. But progress is still rising out of the morass.

And for all of you complaining that there's not enough troops there, maybe you should be complaining about those cowards in Germany, Russia, and Spain who aren't helping.

Everyone's so eager to see Bush fail, that they're willing to let the Iraqi people suffer for it.

Perhaps the critics are right, perhaps there isn't enough money being spent, there aren't enough troops there to keep security. Perhaps Bush underestimated the resistance.

But that doesn't mean Germany and Russia couldn't send troops now by the boatload to help the iraqi's being slaughtered. If we're doing everything so wrong, how about some of those others come in and fix this mess if they're so smart?
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:11 PM   #153
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Originally posted by STING2


Yeah, just like it was more important for the United States to go after Japan and defeat it before it did anything about Germany, right?



The United States does not have the luxury of going about its security like a student does their homework, one at a time. The United States has to deal with a multitude of threats at the same time. Most of the troops on the ground in Iraq would not be used in Afghanistan anyways, in addition, the United States never stopped its operations in Afghanistan going after the Taliban and Al Quada, its only increased them since the start of the Iraq war as well as the number of troops inside the country.

Al Quada is a problem that the United States and the rest of the world will probably be dealing with for decades. Iraq was something that probably was done 4 years late if anything regarding the timing was incorrect. The United States can't afford to wait decades to deal with several other security issues.
Please. Your constant comparison of Iraq and WWII is laughable. We certainly weren't the only ones involved in WWII, and I know what you're going to say - that we have allies with this war, but I wouldn't call that the same thing, considering that we made up the bulk of the so-called "Allied" forces in Iraq.

And you can give me the same old story about the use of certain troops in one area in comparison to another. Our military is to be commended for how they have performed, but the fact of the matter is, Iraq has been a major distraction with the leaders who are running things, and there's not one thing you can tell me that will make me think that we wouldn't have taken care of bin Laden by now if we had not dealt with Iraq so hastily.

And note that I am talking about bin Laden, not Al-Quaida as a whole. I am certainly not naive to think that there would be no more Al-Quaida by now either way, but if it wasn't for Iraq, I am certain that their current leadership would have taken a major hit.
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:29 PM   #154
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Originally posted by Snowlock

Everyone's so eager to see Bush fail, that they're willing to let the Iraqi people suffer for it.


no.

the Iraqi people are suffering, unnecessarily, because of Bush's many, many failures. that's why so many of us are horrified at Bush, because his ineptitude, and especially Rumsfeld's ineptitude, have contributed to so much unnecessary death.

i agree with you on the rest of the world, in theory, but don't forget that the rest of the world was told, in essence, to go fuck itself by this administration in 2002/3.

i have a suggestion for improvement: fire Rumsfeld. also, don't make torture (!!!) official US policy.

i also think you're first comment was astute -- you can't order democracy like you can a hamburger at a McDonald's. likewise, you can't simply wish a democracy into existence. you can't bomb a people into Democracy. you can't overthrow a tyrant who has kept a fractious people together and suddenly expect them to all get along and thank you for it because they got to vote once.
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:52 PM   #155
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no.

the Iraqi people are suffering, unnecessarily, because of Bush's many, many failures. that's why so many of us are horrified at Bush, because his ineptitude, and especially Rumsfeld's ineptitude, have contributed to so much unnecessary death.

i agree with you on the rest of the world, in theory, but don't forget that the rest of the world was told, in essence, to go fuck itself by this administration in 2002/3.

i have a suggestion for improvement: fire Rumsfeld. also, don't make torture (!!!) official US policy.
I disagree there. We were told to go fuck ourselves by the rest of the world so we went on our own. The gulf war II was going to happen, 911 or not. And it should have happened in 1996 but Clinton didn't have the balls.

Whether Bush is inept or not; Terrorists and Insurgents are the ones contributing to the unnecessary deaths. Al Qadai is contributing to the unnecessary deaths. Europe and Asia are contributing to the unnecessary deaths through inaction. Saddam contributed to the unnecessary deaths by not abiding by the rules put in place. Bush isn't out there pulling the trigger on civilians.

As to torture, I agree in principle, but when their guys are out there cutting our guy's heads off and posting it on the internet I have a hard time not wanting to pull their fingernails off with a pair of pliers.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:12 PM   #156
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And you can't win a war (build a new Iraq) that the majority of you don't support with leaders the majority of you don't trust.

To gain support to keep moving forward, people need to believe the invasion was absolutely necessary from the beginning even though the reasons presented were, at best, misleading and false.

That will never happen sooooo

"Stay the course" means little coming from an administration that has arrogantly dismissed world opinion and continues to actively deceive their own constituents.

Time to oust the Republican congress...not to stop the rebuilding of Iraq, but to move the US forward in gaining global support in finishing the job.

But that won't happen either, if Dems take the house they will spend all their energy trying to impeach Bush...and then they'll need to do the same lying and deceiving to justify a show-down with Iran...hmmm...now what...lol
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:25 PM   #157
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Hidden victims of a brutal conflict: Iraq's women

Abduction, rape and murder are the punishments for any woman who dares to hold a professional job. A month-long investigation by The Observer reveals the terrible reality of life after Saddam



http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world...890260,00.html

Iraq's women are living with a fear that is increasing in line with the numbers dying violently every month. They die for being a member of the wrong sect and for helping their fellow women. They die for doing jobs that the militants have decreed that they cannot do: for working in hospitals and ministries and universities. They are murdered, too, because they are the softest targets for Iraq's criminal gangs.

Iraq's women live in terror of speaking their opinions; of going out to work; or defying the strict new prohibitions on dress and behaviour applied across Iraq by Islamist militants, both Sunni and Shia. They live in fear of their husbands, too, as women's rights have been undermined by the country's postwar constitution that has taken power from the family courts and given it to clerics.

'Women are being targeted more and more,' said Umm Salam last week. Her husband was a university professor who was executed in 1991 under Saddam Hussein after the Shia uprising. She survived by running her family farm. When the Americans arrived she got involved in civic action, teaching illiterate women how to read and vote, independent from the influence of their husbands. She helped them fill in forms for benefits and set up a sewing workshop.

In doing so she put herself at mortal risk. And since the assassination attempt, like many women in Najaf, she has found it hard to work. Which is what the men in the white Opel wanted. To silence the women like Umm Salam, who is 42.

'It is very difficult for women here. There is a lot of pressure on our personal freedoms. None of us feels that we can have an opinion on anything any more. If she does, she risks being killed.'

It is a story familiar to women across Iraq, betrayed by the country's new constitution that guaranteed them a 25 per cent share of membership of the Council of Representatives. That guarantee has turned instead into a fig leaf hiding what women activists now call a 'human rights catastrophe for Iraqi women'.

After a month-long investigation, The Observer has established that in almost every major area of human rights, women are being seriously discriminated against, in some cases seeing their conditions return to those of females in the Middle Ages. In areas such as the Shia militia stronghold of Sadr City in east Baghdad, women have been beaten for not wearing socks. Even the headscarf and juba - the ankle-length, flared coat that buttons to the collar - are not enough for the zealots. Some women have been threatened with death unless they wear the full abbaya, the black, all-encompassing veil.

Life is definitely worse for women in Iraq, and that's not going to change because their constitution gives too much power to clerics, who are against women having any rights. This scenario isn't acceptable to me.
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:36 PM   #158
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I thought this thread was about what has gone wrong with the situation over there.....

We are back to the UN resolutions again? The flipping resolutions have nothing to do with anything at this point.
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:45 PM   #159
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We are back to the UN resolutions again? The flipping resolutions have nothing to do with anything at this point.


yes they do. they retroactively justify anything and everything that has happened over their.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolstoy_syndrome
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:45 PM   #160
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I disagree there. We were told to go fuck ourselves by the rest of the world so we went on our own. The gulf war II was going to happen, 911 or not. And it should have happened in 1996 but Clinton didn't have the balls.

Or we could say, if it wasn't for Bush Sr not having the balls to finish we wouldn't need Gulf War II.
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:49 PM   #161
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Or we could say, if it wasn't for Bush Sr not having the balls to finish we wouldn't need Gulf War II.


or, that Bush Sr. and his cabinet knew that ousting Saddam would unleash something every bit as terrible.
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Old 10-10-2006, 05:15 PM   #162
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http://www.cdi.org/program/document....e=../index.cfm

OCuncil on Foreign Relations.
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Old 10-10-2006, 05:16 PM   #163
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September 29, 2006
The Boston Globe

As the midterm elections approach, Iraq dominates the headlines. In a remarkable misappropriation of history, President Bush is conjuring the ghost of Hitler and outlandish World War II analogies to justify his policies. In the Bush administration’s distorted lexicon, calls for withdrawal are appeasement, and dissent is yet another form of disloyalty.

But if the United States wants to achieve its strategic objectives in the Middle East—after three and half years of inconclusive warfare—it is time to transcend the prevailing myths and consider the ramifications of an American departure from Iraq.

The first argument is that the American presence is the only way to avoid civil war. The reality is that Iraq is engulfed by a low-level civil war. Much of the violence now dominating television screens is sectarian strife. As Shi’ite militias and Sunni militants confront one another—and as Iraq’s democratically elected politicians increasingly demonstrate their impotence to lead their constituencies—the notion that American troops are defending a democratic Iraq against Saddam Hussein loyalists and foreign fighters is at best anachronistic. The longer US forces attempt to impose coercive stability, the more America will become entangled in Iraq’s sectarian conflicts. Whether Iraq can hold itself together is a question that Americans can no longer answer on behalf of Iraqis.

The second argument is that even if Americans can’t hold Iraq together, the US presence at least prevents a larger regional conflict. This myth holds that, in the vacuum created by an American withdrawal, all of Iraq’s neighbors will find themselves sucked into the conflict. But for decades, conflicts in the Middle East have been successfully compartmentalized; civil wars and strife in countries as different as Algeria, Yemen, and Lebanon did not provoke larger regional conflicts.

Should America leave Iraq, the involvement of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and perhaps even Israel in Iraq’s civil war certainly will be more intense. However, all these countries have experience in pursuing their interests through proxies as opposed to direct involvement. Iraq may become a battlefield where Iraqi factions are supported by outside patrons eager to advance their geopolitical interests. But such conflict is likely to be waged within well-delineated lines, preventing a regional war.

What about the argument that Iraq will turn into a haven for terrorists? To a large extent, this has already happened. Under our watch, Iraq has become a magnet for jihadists eager to hone their skills in battle against US forces. The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi this year has done little to stem the growth of terrorist cells in the country. The US invasion has achieved one thing: the transformation of a tyrannical state into one that will attract a large number of transnational terrorists. And that reality is unlikely to be disturbed by the size and strength of American forces.

“Staying the course” isn’t working. A US departure can’t make things much worse. If direct confrontation is not succeeding, then a more realistic solution is to quarantine the country to minimize negative consequences.

The final argument marshaled in defense of an open-ended American commitment is the notion that a withdrawal would damage America’s credibility. But the damage has been done. By defining victory not as the removal of Hussein but the creation of a Jeffersonian democracy on the banks of the Tigris, at any point the United States leaves, global opinion will conclude that America “was defeated.” Simply punching time on the clock won’t change that perception. Israel stayed in South Lebanon for 18 years; when it withdrew in 2000, Hezbollah claimed victory.

Whenever America withdraws, it will have empowered a Sunni narrative that brave warriors of the faith brought low the mighty power of the West. The challenge facing Washington is how to secure America’s interests in the Middle East in light of such perceptions.

Nearly four years after the American invasion, it is time to acknowledge that the mission will likely remain unaccomplished. The problems that the American invasion was to avert have only grown worse. Instead of embracing distorted myths that only perpetuate an errant war, it is time to appreciate that the consequences of failure may not be calamitous.

http://www.cfr.org/publication/11559...s_of_iraq.html
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Old 10-10-2006, 05:18 PM   #164
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The Stubbornly Hopeful President
Author: Max Boot, Senior Fellow for National Security Studies


September 20, 2006
Los Angeles Times

The body count continues to mount in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the military situation continues to deteriorate. On the home front, Democrats appear resurgent, and Republicans are bracing themselves for losses in November.

If I were George W. Bush, I would have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. But if he is plagued by despair or doubt, he gave no sign of it in an Oval Office meeting last week with seven conservative columnists. Leaning forward in an armchair, clad in a pearl gray suit with a blue shirt, crimson tie and an ornate silver belt buckle from Texas, Bush began by declaring: “I’ve never been more convinced that the decisions I made are the right decisions.”

He expressed faith that “over time, the inevitable truth will win”—the truth being that “freedom is universal.” He professed no alarm about bad news from Iraq, saying that recent trends (such as a spike in killings) were just a “nanosecond” in historical terms. “I think the politics of Iraq are going to just take a while to settle out.” He refused to even speculate about what would happen if Democrats were to gain control of the House. “I don’t think they’re going to win,” he said flatly.

Hearing such talk, critics are apt to say that Bush is out of touch with reality. He’s aware of the knock. He knows that people say he’s stubborn and starry-eyed. But his confidence isn’t rooted in ignorance of the difficulties he faces. “I can understand,” he said, referring to the invasion of Iraq, “why people who agreed that we should have done this wonder whether or not we can succeed.” He just refuses to be swayed from his grand strategy because of tactical setbacks. ”If you don’t have a set of principles to fall back on, you flounder and...it creates waves, and the waves rock the decision-making process.“

His steadfastness in the face of adversity is admirable. So is his contempt for the conventional wisdom of the day. But there is a certain fatalism that can come from focusing so much on the long term. (Bush spoke repeatedly of how the world would look 50 years from now.) There is a danger that you will not make the necessary short-term adjustments to achieve results here and now.

In the case of Iraq, in particular, even those of us who support the war effort question whether Bush has done enough to win. A strong case can be made that there have never been enough troops to enforce even a modicum of law and order. The U.S. contingent has surged recently to more than 140,000, and more troops have been moved to Baghdad, but only at the cost of denuding other areas of Iraq.

A Marine intelligence report leaked to the Washington Post last week suggested that at least another division is needed in restive Anbar province. The top Marine general in Iraq was rushed out to rebut those findings, but even he acknowledged that he didn’t have enough troops to defeat the insurgency.

I asked Bush about the Marine report. He dismissed it as just a “data point.” He won’t send more troops to Iraq unless asked to do so by Gen. George W. Casey, the U.S. commander on the spot, and Casey has not made any such request. “I’m certainly not a military expert, nor am I in Baghdad,” he said, so he will leave those decisions to the “experts.”

He cited the Vietnam War on the dangers of “tactical decisions being made out of the White House,” even though the real problem was not Lyndon Johnson’s micromanagement but Gen. William Westmoreland’s flawed strategy. In fact, as Eliot Cohen argued in “Supreme Command,” successful war leaders such as Lincoln and Churchill (whose busts adorn the Oval Office) sometimes overruled their generals or fired them altogether.

Not Bush. “If he’s wrong,” he said of Casey, “I’m wrong.” Yet Casey’s options are severely circumscribed by the inadequate size of the Army, which declined 30% in the 1990s. I pressed Bush on why he hasn’t increased end-strength. He talked of making the existing force “quicker and lighter” and better “able to strike,” but recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that there is no substitute for having an adequate number of boots on the ground. And we’ve never had enough.

I left the meeting unconvinced by Bush’s arguments on troop numbers but impressed by his resiliency and imperturbability.

“Keep punching,” he urged the assembled scribes. He is obviously taking his own advice.

http://www.cfr.org/publication/11505...dcrumb=default
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Old 10-10-2006, 05:34 PM   #165
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Israel stayed in South Lebanon for 18 years; when it withdrew in 2000, Hezbollah claimed victory.

Whenever America withdraws, it will have empowered a Sunni narrative that brave warriors of the faith brought low the mighty power of the West. The challenge facing Washington is how to secure America’s interests in the Middle East in light of such perceptions.


i found this part particularly perceptive.
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