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Old 01-02-2008, 07:50 PM   #1
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Why Should I Care About Iraq?

I should point out that I, increasingly, find myself not caring about Iraq, one way or another. Perhaps that is a rather unconventional, but when I read articles like below, I ask myself why I should?

Quote:
Iraq Prisoner Amnesty To Exclude Gays
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 2, 2008 - 11:00 am ET

(Baghdad) The Iraq government is considering the release of some 5,000 prisoners but a spokesperson said it would not include terrorists or homosexuals.

The Iraqi government has about 20,000 people in custody, while the U.S. military holds about 25,000.

Homosexuality itself is not illegal in Iraq, but police regularly arrest gays on other charges often trumped up.

The amnesty bill drafted by the Shiite-dominated government falls far short of Sunni demands. About the only thing on which the two sides agree is that imprisoned gays not be freed.

The amnesty would cover less than a quarter of the total number of people held in Iraqi prisons, and none of those held by the American military.

Sunni parliamentarians have criticized the bill for its limited scope. They have argued that most prisoners are charged with terrorist crimes, rendering it ineffective. Some also fear referring the bill to Iraq's gridlocked parliament will actually delay prisoner releases.

The total number of gays being held is not known. And, they may be the lucky ones, according to some LGBT activists.

Death squads imposing strict Islamic law are reportedly responsible for the murders of hundreds of gay men across Iraq.

Last year the leader of an exiled Iraqi LGBT rights group told a London conference on homophobia that that militias blamed for the murders of hundreds of gay men and women are sanctioned by the government and the US-led coalition is doing little to stop the killings.

Ali Hili said that the Badr and Sadr militias - the armed wings of the two main Shia parties that control the government of Iraq - are routinely rounding up men and women, primarily in Baghdad, suspected of being gay. The men and women are never heard from again.

Five members of Hili's own group were taken away in November of 2006. About a dozen members of Rainbow For Life, another Iraqi LGBT group also have been seized and are presumed dead.

Another 70 have been threatened with kidnapping Rainbow For Life has said.

In 2006 the Iraq government strongly criticized a U.N. report on human rights that put its civilian death toll in 2006 at 34,452, saying it is "superficial" because it included people such as homosexuals.
Increasingly, I find myself understanding why Israel looks at the Muslim world with a mixture of suspicion and hostility. When an entire sphere of influence hates you and refuses to recognize your existence (applicable to the Muslim world's homophobia and anti-Semitism), how can you possibly engage in meaningful diplomatic negotiations, for instance?

I would be interested in many of your opinions here.
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Old 01-02-2008, 07:53 PM   #2
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I've said here (and I think joyfulgirl has as well) that a large segment of the population no longer cares about Iraq or the war there like they used to.

Ultimately it's hard to sustain interest in nation building of this sort.
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Old 01-02-2008, 07:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


Ultimately it's hard to sustain interest in nation building of this sort.
True.
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Old 01-02-2008, 07:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
I've said here (and I think joyfulgirl has as well) that a large segment of the population no longer cares about Iraq or the war there like they used to.

Ultimately it's hard to sustain interest in nation building of this sort.
I'm with you on this.

Why should we care though? Because it involves the liives of our fellow humans and the deceit and resources of our own nation.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:20 PM   #5
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I think Iraq would go down as the forgotten war, just like Korea. In high school textbooks, there would be a few short paragraphs about it, and that would be all. Those paragraphs would mention the elections of 2004 and 2006, maybe the protests around the world, and that's it.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:21 PM   #6
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I care about the soldiers.

I don't care about the war.

I think a lot of people agree with this viewpoint, too.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pearl
I think Iraq would go down as the forgotten war, just like Korea. In high school textbooks, there would be a few short paragraphs about it, and that would be all. Those paragraphs would mention the elections of 2004 and 2006, maybe the protests around the world, and that's it.
I think this is true for the actual war itself, for I don't think we'll see any significant outcome from this war, but the political division it made not only in this nation but all over will definately make the textbooks.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:25 PM   #8
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Re: Why Should I Care About Iraq?

Quote:
Originally posted by melon
I should point out that I, increasingly, find myself not caring about Iraq, one way or another. Perhaps that is a rather unconventional, but when I read articles like below, I ask myself why I should?
If you are asking from a point of view of only wanting to support nations that have proper human rights

than I can understand you "not caring"


But I think you should care, as a tax paying American, about our involvement with a country that is making very little progress

it costs way too much!

Iraqis will or will work things out for themselves, they have different customs, and value systems than we have

we can not export "democracy" with payola bribes to warlords
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Old 01-02-2008, 09:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
I've said here (and I think joyfulgirl has as well) that a large segment of the population no longer cares about Iraq or the war there like they used to.
Do you draw a distinction between Iraq and U.S. foreign policy in general....or can they not be separated?

John McCain has risen from the ashes on the Bhutto assasination and probably from perceived progress in Iraq, which he has been beating the drum on for months and months. It seems that folks see him as an experienced hand foreign policy-wise and it's driving him up in the polls.

Maybe folks don't care so much about the war because the headlines haven't been quite so bloody lately (American casualties are down)?
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Old 01-02-2008, 10:05 PM   #10
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I'm not sure quite what range of things you're getting at with the phrase "care about"--perhaps you could elaborate on that a bit.

Feeling at the point of throwing up one's hands in despair as to which forms of political/economic/military engagement from our end would most benefit Iraq's stability at this point, that I can certainly understand--I'd imagine most of us have had our bouts with that many times over by now. Moral ambivalence about whether the likelihood of said benefits materializing justifies the continued cost in American lives, that I can certainly understand too. And yes, more banally, there are also many who are "just plain sick of hearing about it."

That said, I also agree with coemgen--much of the violence and instability Iraq is still experiencing (and likely to continue experiencing) developed in direct response to our own country's actions; therefore we collectively bear considerable moral responsibility for that situation and its effects on Iraqis' lives. Unfortunately, that conviction doesn't point to anything very definitive about what the best way to manage that responsibility is, but I do think it obligates us to make our best effort in good faith to arrive at some plan for doing so (one which also takes the sacrifices of our own soldiers, as well as the positions of our allies, into account).

More broadly, I also couldn't sign on to any sort of general principle that it's acceptable to dismiss all moral responsibility for the widespread sufferings of a nation or people who in the main hold far more hostile sensibilites than ours towards gays, women, Jews, etc., and among whom a minority of the individuals belonging to said groups have paid with their lives as a result. Unfortunately, our government seldom acknowledges the persecution of gay people in many countries as the existential threat to them that it is, and I do recognize the awful contradictions involved in asserting broader moral responsibilities on the one hand, while on the other treating gay people's situation in particular as if it were purely an 'internal', 'cultural' matter. It's a sick kind of triage, and I don't know that I can think of any non-conditional ethical principle that would explain why you should be willing to accept effectively sanctioning it as a 'side effect' of continued engagement. All I can ask, at the risk of sounding stupidly bleeding-heartish, is that setting aside for a moment the question of what scope and duration of continued occupation of Iraq would be best for stability's sake, are you willing to shrug off the prospect of continued suffering of huge numbers of Iraqi men, women and children due to violent civil unrest on those grounds alone? I couldn't. But I do recognize that neither route will do much of anything for gay Iraqis' welfare in particular.
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram

Ultimately it's hard to sustain interest in nation building of this sort.


not to worry.

the groundwork has already been laid for a very effective Dolchstosslegende.

the Republicans will milk this for decades.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:28 AM   #12
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Why should you care about Iraq?


Well, I guess I would say this. I believe Iraq and the possible confrontation with Iran, and combating Al-Qaeda worldwide are the biggest issues facing this country. I don't see what is more important than that. Regardless of your politics, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, or whether you think we should be there or not, you need to pay attention to what goes on. I'll give that Iraq isn't the most fun or interesting thing to discuss. But it must be discussed. I believe that if there is a war going on, or if there is any cause worldwide where people are constantly losing their lives, it is your responsibility to, at the very least, pay attention to what is going on and try to understand why. Though I support this war, I would much, much rather have someone be against the war than to be indifferent and not care what happens there. But I believe what happens in Iraq will have massive results on America. We can either win in Iraq, gradually leave with our heads held high knowing Iraq can sustain itself, and send a strong message to Al-Qaeda demonstrating that the U.S. cannot be beaten, or we can not do those things, and see what the consequences will be...
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by 2861U2
and combating Al-Qaeda worldwide are the biggest issues facing this country. I don't see what is more important than that.
But what does this have to do with Iraq?
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
All I can ask, at the risk of sounding stupidly bleeding-heartish, is that setting aside for a moment the question of what scope and duration of continued occupation of Iraq would be best for stability's sake, are you willing to shrug off the prospect of continued suffering of huge numbers of Iraqi men, women and children due to violent civil unrest on those grounds alone? I couldn't. But I do recognize that neither route will do much of anything for gay Iraqis' welfare in particular.
To paraphrase from the marketing of a particularly bad movie ("Alien vs. Predator"), "whomever wins, we lose."

So who should I root for here? The Alien or the Predator?
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


But what does this have to do with Iraq?
Most Al Quada activity around the world occurs in Iraq and it is vital to stabilize the country in order to prevent Al Quada from gaining a base there like they once had in Afghanistan prior to 2001.
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