Spinoffs of US intervention in the Middle East?

Honest consideration of politics is rare. This board is full of partisan numbskullery, of dyed-in-the-wool hacks defending positions based on knee-jerk prejudices instead of attempting honest evaluations of events, regardless of where the chips may fall (in said evaluations).

To those on the left: While I, like you, despise most of what comes out of the reactionary camp on the right, some of what they have to say (accent on the qualifier some, mind) is spot on. Once you get past the patriot-fuelled ideological grandstanding, and stop wincing, an honest look at what is happening reveals a fundamental truth–they have stolen some of your liberal fire. The anti-war protesters have advanced the cause of freedom (yes, loaded term, usually wilfully massaged into cant by the reactionary right) not a whit anywhere, but the U.S. military under the direction of Bush, for all the president’s unforgivable fuckups (for which he should not have been re-elected…big mistake, there, but one works with what one has), has.

The evidence:

Rare Cairo rally against Mubarak

About 100 people have taken part in a rare anti-government demonstration in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, demanding free elections for the presidency.


I find it infuriating that the BBC fails to mention the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the resulting election even once. The bias at work there is utterly contemptible.

To those on the right: Your propensity to caricature when it comes to the left invariably leads to foot-in-mouth. It’s just plain dumb.

The evidence:

As the World Turns

“At least 12,000 American troops and probably more should leave at once, to send a stronger signal about our intentions and to ease the pervasive sense of occupation.” (Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), January 27, 2005).

"America’s willful defeatists

Even Salon agrees with you. :smiling_imp:

salon.com/books/review/2005/ … index.html

Even Salon agrees with you. :smiling_imp:

salon.com/books/review/2005/ … index.html[/quote]

Yeah, I saw that. The writer is Salon’s token right-leaner. She illustrates my point about the comic book right with the following breathtaking inanity:

This spinoff of the U.S. invasion may one day become a tsunami of unintended consequences:

“Americans are in for a shock. One day they will realize we’ve got 150,000 troops here protecting a country that’s extremely friendly to Iran, and training their troops.”
Sharif Ali bin Hussein, head of the Constitutional Monarchy Party

To my everlasting chagrin, I have to agree with Spooks remark. Just get out and let the Iraqi civil war start.

[color=blue]More spinoff: undermined credibility when it counts:[/color]

". . . overheated rhetoric from policymakers and senior administration officials, unsupported by evidence that can stand international scrutiny, undermines the ability of the United State to halt Iran’s nuclear activities. Having gone to the Security Council on the basis of flawed evidence to “prove” Iraq’s WMD activities, it only invites derision to cite unsubstantiated exile reports to “prove” that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. . . .

Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran would be a grave danger to the world. That is not what is in doubt. What is in doubt is the ability to the U.S. government to honestly assess Iran’s nuclear status and to craft a set of measures that will cope with that threat short of military action by the United States or Israel."

David Kay, first leader of the Iraq Survey Group searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar … tml?sub=AR

[quote]Sherif Ali bin Hussein [is] a 48-year-old former banker with a confident smile who spent most of his life in London until Saddam Hussein was toppled last year. [/quote]–Reprint of Khaleej Times article found on Iraqi Constitutional Monarchy website, iraqcmm.org/

But exile prophecies, that’s another matter–I guess. . . .

[quote]The Constitutional Monarchy Movement [is] a moderate Sunni-dominated group. . . . Sharif Ali [is] a cousin of Iraq’s last king. . . .[/quote]–Associated Press, December 12, 2004, adn.com/24hour/iraq/story/19 … 5136c.html

Especially if the prophecy comes from such an unbiased source.

Sharif Ali bin Hussein is a candidate for a seat in Iraq’s national assembly, running as a monarchist and clearly representated as giving his opinion of the nature of his Shia opponents.

He’s not a shadowy, unidentified figure purporting to give evidence of criminal or illegal activities to be used as a basis for war.

It should be emphasized that it is David Kay, the U.S. official anointed by the Bush Administration to search for evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq who wrote in retrospect from his experience chasing phantom leads that: " . . . it only invites derision to cite unsubstantiated exile reports . . . ."

why do you need the us to assess iran’s nuclear status? aren’t france and the eu working to solve the iran situation diplomatically? how’s that going, btw?


[quote]London, Paris and Berlin are trying to persuade Tehran to turn a temporary freeze on its uranium enrichment programme - which could be used to make nucealr weapons - into a permanent halt.

In return, Iran has been promised economic benefits.

However, Iran’s foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi has indicated that Tehran will not comply with the EU’s demands.[/quote]

i take it that all the multilateral talks and agreements are going to go nowhere and the us will be expected to step in and resolve the iran situation somewhere down the line.

it must be nice to never have to resolve any issues yourself and just wait for the us to fix everything. then you get to sit back and criticize the us for anything it decides to do!

[quote=“spook”]Sharif Ali bin Hussein is a candidate for a seat in Iraq’s national assembly, running as a monarchist and clearly representated as giving his opinion of the nature of his Shia opponents.

a sunni politician casting doubt on his shiite opponents by associating them with iran. no bias there, of course.

instead of the doom-mongering, why not point out that all the shiite lists went out of their way to appeal to more secular iraqis by distancing themselves from the idea of an iran-style theorcracy?

it seems that it’s the liberals who don’t want democracy in iraq because they’re afraid of who the iraqis would vote into power. that doesn’t strike me as very progressive.

[quote]SADDAM HUSSEIN has ordered his scientists to resume work on a programme aimed at making a nuclear bomb, a defector warned yesterday.
. . .
According to Salman Yassin Zweir, a design engineer who was employed by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission for 13 years . . .
. . .
Zweir was arrested and tortured after refusing to go back to the programme. He escaped to Jordan. . . .[/quote]
“Saddam builds new atom bomb,” London Sunday Times, December 24, 2000.

In the first place, the man cited above, Salman Yassin Zweir, seems pretty well identified, and not shadowy at all. In the second place, he seems to be knowledgeable and experienced in the area about which he speaks. In the third place, he seems to have first-hand, concrete, detailed knowledge of the specific situation in question, unlike Sharif Ali bin Hussein, who is making predictions about people, based on . . . what? His years in London?

But all that having been said, had he chosen to remain “shadowy and unidentified,” who could blame him, considering that he had been arrested and tortured by Saddam’s people?

[Deleted personal anecdote.]

Biased against his opponents? No doubt.

A more useful case to make would be that he’s engaged in outright exaggeration. I’d be interested to see that case made.

Another interesting bit of fallout from the invasion of Iraq is the alliance of Republican neo-conservatives with political liberals.

[color=blue]The neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC) has signaled its intention to continue shaping the government

Great post, spook!

why is that surprising at all? two of the biggest supporters of the war in iraq were the weekly standard and the new republic. using force to depose dictators and spread democracy has always been liberal. what’s sad is that outside of liberal hawks like chris hitchens and lieberman, the left has become the party of the status quo and stability in lieu of democracy. how weird is it when bush is talking about spreading democracy around the world and kerry says that having a stable iraq is more important than having a democratic iraq?

wasn’t stability the reason we supported some unsavory third world dictators last century?

the left is so busy trying to be the anti-bush that they have become the reactionaries fighting a rear-guard action against change.

the “neo-conservatives” have completely marginalized the isolationists in the republican party. what’s the last thing you remember pat buchanan whining about? now we have liberal isolationists. is that an oxymoron?

I can’t say he’s exaggerating; I don’t know what’s going on there. It’s possible he’s extremely knowledgeable about the situation, as that’s quite possible in the case of any person about whom I know next to nothing, speaking on a subject about which I know next to nothing. From where I am, there’s no way of knowing. But my lack of knowledge doesn’t require me to take his word on what’s going on there, and it certainly doesn’t require me to believe his predictions.

In any case, it’s entirely possible for a person to have inadequate knowledge, or even no knowledge, of a situation or thing but be nonetheless correct, as illustrated by Plato’s analogy of the blind man who happens to take the right path–not that I agree with Plato/Socrates (Plato claims/pretends to be quoting Socrates) about everything he says on that subject.

“Opinions divorced from knowledge are ugly things.”

Socrates also said in Phaedo that a philosopher is already virtually dead to the world (he was in the world enough, though, to rub the sore area on his leg caused by his chains). Intellectually and spiritually speaking, I’m not that far along. Don’t know 'bout you, but I’m not so knowledgeable as to be out of danger, so from time to time, I gotta have opinions, me.

Back to the topic. I don’t know if any of this counts as spinoff, but I think it’s interesting:

In Egypt, there’s reportedly been a crackdown on dissidents, but there’s supposed to be a “national dialogue” on political reform later this month.

An Iranian student group has called for pro-democracy demonstrations replete with “blue fingers,” on Feb. 10, the 26th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. Don’t know what became of that. In the first place, I think there’s a blizzard in Tehran right now, and in the second place, I’m not sure the kids (or others) worked up the courage to carry it out. It’s good they’re even talking about it, though.

Edit: Oh, well, so much for pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran. :laughing: :

Apparently, Saudi Arabia is having some modest elections soon, the first in its history (women still aren’t enfranchised, though).

For a number of years now, I’ve held to the notion that democracy probably wasn’t for everyone, and I’m still inclined to think that. I think there’s a pretty powerful impulse in humans to prefer servitude to freedom, if freedom is frightening or harsh. But I’d certainly like for events to prove me wrong in the case of Iraq, or any other case, for that matter.

Good post, PorcelainPrincess, :bravo:
I agree with you. I opposed the war but now I’m glad that it happened. It could set a dangerous precedent, but I believe Napoleon’s army worked no fewer miracles in helping restructuring a reactionary Europe. We all have to be politically flexible - demonizing the other party(s) is a useless exercise. To support one’s preferred party uncritically is a dangerous sentiment that has often led to totalitarianism. Bush’s policies demand better scrutiny; he certainly has a variety of failings, but every leader does.