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Author Topic:   Iraq needed Saddam?
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 4261 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 31 of 133 (387102)
02-26-2007 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Chiroptera
02-26-2007 9:32 AM


Re: Bad, but not Very Bad
I guess my point is that maybe we aren't the ones that should be coming up with the ideas. This should be something determined by the Iraqis themselves.

And I completely agree. As those of us here on EvC are not in a policy-making position anyway, I would say that we are certainly free to speculate. Which is all we've been doing. Iraq MUST solve its own problems. We're merely mind-gaming what that solution might be.

I could be wrong, but I am under the impression that both Sunnis and Shiites oppose even a federated nation; the Kurds being the only ones that might support that idea. I could be wrong about this; if the Iraqis themselves are in favor of federation or partition, then by all means it is a viable idea that should be considered.

Last I heard, that was the case. Nobody likes the idea of a federation - which under other circumstances wouldn't be a half-bad idea. That or a commonwealth kind of thing. From the rhetoric of all sides, it sounds like the one thing they all agree on is that they don't want to be under one roof.

I just doubt that imposing a solution that is opposed by the majority of people that would be affected by it is a recipe for peace or stability.

And if you'll go back to my previous posts, you'll note that I stated that imposition of a solution from outside was a sure-fire way of guaranteeing failure.


This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 32 of 133 (387108)
02-26-2007 10:14 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Quetzal
02-26-2007 9:40 AM


Well, if you merely suggesting possible solutions that should be considered, then I have no objections. Certainly, to me some kind of federated republic sounds like a good idea -- but I am inherently biased against centralized authority (even if "democratic"). I'm also partial to the idea of self-determination -- if the Kurds don't want to be part of any kind of Iraq, I find it hard to come up with an argument to force them to remain part of Iraq.

My main concern is that whatever solution comes about will be one that will mainly be in the interests of the West. I hate to sound like a neo-Marxist, anti-imperialist conspiracy theory nutcase (but I am, so what can I do?), but I fear that too much decentralization or partition will result in mini-states so weak that they can't really be considered autonomous.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine

This message is a reply to:
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Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 33 of 133 (387148)
02-26-2007 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Chiroptera
02-26-2007 9:24 AM


Re: 80% is pretty homogenous
Chiroptera writes:

clearly any example I can come up with of a non-homogenous democracy will end up being "homogenous" after all.

Precisely, because the preponderance of commonality is crucial to a viable state, democratic or otherwise, whether that commonality is a product of ethnic homogeneity, economic necessity, or an organic process of accommodation such as what once existed in Lebanon (and the Indian subcontinent) prior to colonization.

BTW, it is a distortion of my comments to aim refutations at "democracy=homogenity" or "some folk wisdom that homogeneity is a prerequisite for democracy." I never asserted either.

{re the past/present possibility of India v. Pakistan war}The friction being between two nations that were formed in order to ensure "homogeneity"

No, the friction being between two nations that were formed because the original notion of a single nation was dissolving into endless bloodletting. The ethnic/religious/regional strife determined first the partition and, later, pitched warfare between the two parts.

Clearly, any nation state, nascent or not, experiences both centripetal and centrifugal forces, among them ethnicity, religion, economic interests, etc. The 19th and 20th colonial powers drew lines on the map for Iraq without regard to any of these, mindful of little more than the broad strokes of "those Middle Eastern people."

A Sunni majority had for decades oppressed and exploited a Shiite majority; the Kurds were subjected to genocidal campaigns of regional ethnic cleansing. To suppose that the removal of Saddam would result in a well-spring of overarching Iraqi nationalism was as insane and ignorant as the original partitioning of the former Ottoman Empire.

What the Sunnis apparently desire is a return to the minority supremacy enjoyed under Saddam; the Shiites are looking for an absolute majority rule that includes vengeance; the Kurds favor a solution that comes as close as possible to a complete "a pox on both your houses" independence.

If the partition were made along these ethnic regional lines, the least viable would be the formerly ruling Sunni minority which would have little more than desert. The one glimmer of acceptable solution I have registered is a federal system of semi-autonomous regions with proportional sharing of oil revenues.

We removed the iron hand that bound Iraq together: I cannot see that in isolation as a bad thing, but it is easy to see that the occupying forces are, one way or another--through active engagement or inaction--going to determine the shape of Iraq for years to come. Shall we preside over the institution of a tyrannical Shiite majority? Shall we attempt to impose a republic with strong minority safeguards more likely to be honored in the breech than the observance?

All our options now are determining ones, like it or not. I agree that the "Iraqi people" should determine their own destiny, but that is a "shoulda" no longer available. There is no such thing as an Iraqi people or an isolated testtube in which they can become a diverse but united people without regard to the historical and contemporary interference of Western powers.

Due to past and present errors, whatever we do now will largely dictate the outcome. We (the West) broke it, again and again: the question now is what form of disengagement is least pernicious. As Sartre said, "You must choose." Doing nothing--once already engaged--is also choosing.

Similar conundrums faced withdrawing colonial powers decades ago, and their careless work constituted recipes for disaster. Any better solution requires a careful calculus of both centripetal and centrifugal forces in the region.


Real things always push back.
-William James

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Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC!
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Chiroptera, posted 02-26-2007 9:24 AM Chiroptera has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Chiroptera, posted 02-26-2007 3:28 PM Omnivorous has responded

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 34 of 133 (387153)
02-26-2007 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Omnivorous
02-26-2007 2:57 PM


Re: 80% is pretty homogenous
quote:
Precisely, because the preponderance of commonality is crucial to a viable state, democratic or otherwise, whether that commonality is a product of ethnic homogeneity, economic necessity, or an organic process of accommodation such as what once existed in Lebanon (and the Indian subcontinent) prior to colonization.

Sure. But all populations are inhomegenous to some degree. Show some sort of instability, and if someone tries they will be able to find some sort of difference and be able to say that this is the cause of the instability. Saying that differences are the cause of instability and strife is like saying that oxygen is the cause of fires. It may very well be true, but becomes such a trivial observation that it doesn't really explain why some places are stable and others are not.

I mean, really! India is composed of hundreds of different ethnic groups speaking many different languages. Yet India is a relatively stable democracy. So somehow it must be homogenous. I know! They're all Hindu! Hey! Homogeneity! Our theory is saved! Bleh. If someone would come up with a metric for homogeneity, another metric for stability, and show a correlation through a linear regression analysis then maybe we'd have something sensible to talk about.

-

quote:
Doing nothing--once already engaged--is also choosing.

And may even be the right choice in some cases.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by Omnivorous, posted 02-27-2007 8:40 AM Chiroptera has responded

  
kuresu
Member (Idle past 902 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 35 of 133 (387196)
02-26-2007 9:34 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Omnivorous
02-25-2007 5:36 PM


I've seen doubles, but triples!?
wow. this is the first triple post i've ever seen. holy cow.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Omnivorous, posted 02-25-2007 5:36 PM Omnivorous has responded

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Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 36 of 133 (387225)
02-27-2007 8:14 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by kuresu
02-26-2007 9:34 PM


Re: I've seen doubles, but triples!?
kuresu writes:

wow. this is the first triple post i've ever seen. holy cow.

I was lonely.


Real things always push back.
-William James

Save lives! Click here!
Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC!
---------------------------------------


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Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 37 of 133 (387228)
02-27-2007 8:40 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Chiroptera
02-26-2007 3:28 PM


Re: 80% is pretty homogenous
chiroptera writes:

I mean, really! India is composed of hundreds of different ethnic groups speaking many different languages. Yet India is a relatively stable democracy. So somehow it must be homogenous. I know! They're all Hindu! Hey! Homogeneity! Our theory is saved! Bleh.

And had the population been one third Muslim, one third Hindu, and one third evangelical Christian, in addition to that diverse ethnic mix, it would have cohered politically just as well as with the 80% Hindu population? I doubt it.

Saying that differences are the cause of instability and strife is like saying that oxygen is the cause of fires. It may very well be true, but becomes such a trivial observation that it doesn't really explain why some places are stable and others are not.

That oxygen needs fire is not a trivial observation to a burning man.

If someone would come up with a metric for homogeneity, another metric for stability, and show a correlation through a linear regression analysis then maybe we'd have something sensible to talk about.

I look forward to seeing that rigor in your future political comments.

quote:
Doing nothing--once already engaged--is also choosing.

And may even be the right choice in some cases.

Is that another example of trivial truth? Could you offer the metrics and regression analysis to support it? Perhaps Asimov's Foundation could help.

Please show your work.


Real things always push back.
-William James

Save lives! Click here!
Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC!
---------------------------------------


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Chiroptera, posted 02-26-2007 3:28 PM Chiroptera has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by Chiroptera, posted 02-27-2007 10:04 AM Omnivorous has not yet responded

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 38 of 133 (387235)
02-27-2007 10:04 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by Omnivorous
02-27-2007 8:40 AM


Re: 80% is pretty homogenous
quote:
And had the population been one third Muslim, one third Hindu, and one third evangelical Christian, in addition to that diverse ethnic mix, it would have cohered politically just as well as with the 80% Hindu population? I doubt it.

What if India had been 100% Hindu but was riven with ethnic violence and in the throes of civil war? My bet is that people would be pointing to India and saying that such a diverse ethnic mix makes a viable democratic state impossible.

That is my problem with this sort of "analysis". The ethnic mix is not important in terms of homogeneity when India has a measure of stability. Ethnic mix would be important if India were like Afghanistan.

I have no doubt that in any stable democracy one can find some sort of "commonality", and I have no doubt that in countries undergoing civil strife one can find "differences". However, one can also find "differences" in stable democracies and "commonalities" in counties in the midst of civil war. You dismiss my "differences" in the case of India and play up the "commonality". But why does "commonality" win out over "differences" in some cases, and "differences" win out over "commonality" in others?

In the case of Iraq, is there a reason to think that the main groups of people cannot live together in a single country? Sure, namely the fact that they are currently fighting one another is as good a reason as any. But is there any reason to think that Shiite and Sunnis are fundamentally, inherently incapable of living together? I don't know. Are these particular Sunnis and these particular Shiites incapable of living together? I don't know. But if they are not capable of living together, then I suspect the reason has more to do with recent history and maybe the particular cultures in this case than simply because Shiites and Sunnis are "too different" to live together in the same country.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine

This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Omnivorous, posted 02-27-2007 8:40 AM Omnivorous has not yet responded

  
macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2316 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 39 of 133 (387247)
02-27-2007 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Minnemooseus
02-24-2007 11:13 PM


saddam was a nasty. but he was a stabilizing force in the region. people seem to confuse stabilizing with good. they have nothing to do with each other.

saddam was stabilizing because he had such tight control of the people and because he was not interested in the crap the other countries in the area had to dish out. he kept iran in check. he helped keep their actions in syria down and by that their actions in lebanon.

i'm the first to denounce his actions within his borders... but he did help keep the region controlled.

and that's why pliny the elder left him there. because he had sound theory behind his foreign policy. sometimes it's not expedient to do the right thing. of course. how pliny the younger did it wasn't right or expedient and is resulting in as much ethnic cleansing as he ended. not to mention the fact that turkey is now attacking the kurds. iran is all up in iraq's shit, and everywhere else at that. see what i mean? stabilizing.

if we had worked with these various countries diplomatically to help ensure that the action in iraq went smoothly on the edges, we'd be having fewer problems. but they know we're weak.


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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3797
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 40 of 133 (460313)
03-14-2008 1:07 AM


Bump
I thought this topic deserved a revival and a re-read. Much has been said upthread, and I have little to add.

I will ask the question "What if Saddam had voluntarily abdicated and gone into exile"?

I think there would have been a civil war, much like what the U.S. is currently trying to contain.

Moose

Added by edit (bare Washington Post link not directly related to topic (or is it?)):

A Crude Case For War? (Iraq war is for oil?)

Edited by Minnemooseus, : See above.


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obvious Child
Member (Idle past 2504 days)
Posts: 661
Joined: 08-17-2006


Message 41 of 133 (460438)
03-15-2008 1:22 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by Minnemooseus
03-14-2008 1:07 AM


Re: Bump
I disagree. Saddam would have likely just installed a puppet dictator who he could control or have a planned successor. Essentially Saddam would have put in place procedures to ensure that the Shiites and Kurds stayed repressed. However, if we mandated a democracy, it is likely that civil war would have broken out.

In many ways the civil war is over. The passage of time has fixed what the mess the Europeans left. The Shiites now live primarily in Shiite areas, the Sunnis in their own, the Kurds in their own. The Europeans SHOULD have made countries based on homogeneous groups, but what is done is done and we have seen in the past 5 years groups taking it upon themselves to homogenize their enviroments, often through violence. Now the Shiites are just largely fighting for power between themselves.


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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 42 of 133 (460486)
03-15-2008 4:21 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Minnemooseus
02-24-2007 11:20 PM


Moose's Important Point
Moose writes:

I'm not denying that Saddam was a very bad person. The question is, does Iraq need a "bad" (but not "very bad") person in order to function? Is Iraq now looking at decades of civil war, perhaps until a neo-Saddam finally takes charge?

Moose, your point is well taken. Until our ousting of Saddam, the presence of Saddam was indeed a stabilizing factor in the Middle East in that the Shehites and the Sunni Islamists (both violent ideologies) worked to hold one another at bay.

Now that the US of A is bolstering the Sheahites so as to establish a Sheahite Jehadist terroristic fundamentalist ideology as the prime entity in the entire Middle East, Islam will now predominate the agenda for the entire region and the agenda of Islam for the anihilation of Israel as a nation will be advanced by the forces of the US of A.

Edited by Buzsaw, : Failure to preview. Had to fix quotation.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.

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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3797
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 43 of 133 (728114)
05-23-2014 10:36 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Quetzal
02-25-2007 10:55 AM


Bump (again) and a Quetzal Ukraine related quote
Well, 7 years have passed since I started this topic, and Iraq seems to still be a mess.

But really what caused the bump is my recollection of Quetzal having commented on the Ukraine in this topic.

Quetzal writes:

I would say that all that is required to show the fallacious nature of this premise is to discover whether there are any countries which, having thrown off a tradition of strongman-type central authority have managed, somehow, to “make it” in its absence. In that vein, I’d like to present one example: Ukraine.

Ukraine is an interesting case. Since around 988 (Vladimir I, King of Kiev and the Rus), it has been variously under one monarch, dictator, or foreign domination or the other. More recently it was one of the main republics under the Soviet Union. Unlike many other East European countries, it did not have the Soviet system imposed on it. It was, rather, one of the countries that invented it. For the last five hundred years or so, it had no tradition of nationhood as such (parts of modern Ukraine belonged variously to Poland, Russia, Romania, etc). It would seem, under the circumstances, to be an unlikely candidate for democracy. And yet, after a somewhat rocky start, democracy has taken hold there. In spite of serious ethnic/cultural differences (the western half of the country – much of it formerly Polish and speaking Ukrainian – wishes to become westernized, whereas the eastern half of the country – much of it formerly Russian and speaking Russian – wishes to rejoin the Russian Federation). One of the first post-independence presidents, Leonid Kuchma, made the mistake of thinking his countrymen would tolerate a new dictator, and attempted to emulate Vladimir Putin of Russia (or possibly, in his heart of hearts, Alexander Lukashenko, the absolute dictator of Belarus). The people, with absolutely NO tradition of democracy, rose up against him in the Orange Revolution. He and his corrupt cronies were ousted – peacefully, no less – and democracy restored. Whether it will last is another story.

Now the obvious counter to this is that the nation had no tradition of violence and thus an analogy to the Middle East is invalid. This is untrue. Ukraine was one of the hearts of the anti-Bolshevik counter revolution (used to be known as White Russia). The Kosacki constantly fought either against or for the central authorities. Stalin, because of widespread anti-Soviet sentiment, conducted a virtual campaign of genocide against ethnic Ukrainians in an effort to retain control. Even today, the amount of distrust and even occasional naked hatred between western Ukrainians and eastern Ukrainians is palpable. And yet…

Quetzal does not have his reply notification turned on, so he'll probably never see this.

Moose


Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"Yesterday on Fox News, commentator Glenn Beck said that he believes President Obama is a racist. To be fair, every time you watch Glenn Beck, it does get a little easier to hate white people." - Conan O'Brien

"I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things, but I'm highly ignorant about everything." - Moose


This message is a reply to:
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1.61803
Member
Posts: 2927
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 44 of 133 (729451)
06-11-2014 4:45 PM


So mosul has been taken over by al Qaeda.

wtf?

http://www.reuters.com/...raq-security-idUSKBN0EL1H520140610

How can we build democracy and maintain stability if they keep shooting at us?


"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 45 of 133 (729455)
06-11-2014 5:40 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by 1.61803
06-11-2014 4:45 PM


How can we build democracy and maintain stability if they keep shooting at us?

You have to win their hearts and minds.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by 1.61803, posted 06-11-2014 4:45 PM 1.61803 has acknowledged this reply

  
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