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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I remember just after 9/11 GWB made that famous "You're either with us - or with the terrorists" statement when the US response to the WTC/Pentagon attacks was being formulated. The problem is that there is a tendancy to confuse the War on those who were behind the attacks that day and the war on Iraq. A war on terrorism - in the context of Al Quaida etc - is a war on the combatants, finacinciers, and planners of events that most would agree are completely beyond any comprehension in their devastation and trauma. The war on Iraq though was a war sold to us on a different premise - that of whether Saddam had WMDs - and it's very palpable - even now - that all the governments involved in the subsequent coalition had, to a greater or lesser extent, real problems in convincing their electorates about the virtues of such a conflict. Something that wasn't happening when governments around the world seemed united in their condemnation of the 9/11 attack and that something should be done about it. So there needs to be a destinction between attempts to decommission a terror organisation, and a conventional war on a Soveriegn state (regardless of whether you like or dislike that state and the people who run it).
I was against the war on Iraq because I found myself agreeing with Clintons statement that a conflict in the gulf would be a distraction from the initial task of neutralising Al Quaida, over burdoning resources that - as recent events have shown - could be better deployed on tackling the organisation that poses a bigger threat to all of us in our home countries than Saddam ever has been. I also questioned the war in Iraq because of the Washington/Londoncentric nature of it - favouring a UN led approach to the problem, (if any) and wanting to see the UNs position in the world bolstered so it could carry out its role more effectively with ALL governments/regimes that transgress UN resolutions and human rights codes.
I'm not a Politician or a soldier, but as living in a democracy entitles me to ask the occasional awkward question, here's a small observation on events of the last couple of days................
How can we expect to win the hearts and minds of anyone if we indefinately close the main highway(s) to Syria and Jordan, let alone the gratitude of a countries business community whose role is imperrative in the reconstruction and democratisation of a former dictatorship? For example: If someone runs a haulage company out of Baghdad, with connections in Amman and Damascus, not only is their capacity to do business hampered - so is that of the companies whose goods they transport, and what of the Syrian and Jordanians whose business is also affected?. It might seem trivial on the surface, but it's something that could escalate beyond the immediate theatre of operations. Syrias relationship with the west has always been fractious but the Jordanians have always been friendly to us in the UK - mainly thanks to the late King Hussain who was always the most westernised of all the Arab leaders. As I said, it's only a small observation but a valid one no less!

One thing we do need to remember is that we are in a country whose language and culture are very different to ours, so we can't bombastically assume that we can expect a big thankyou for foisting Britney, McDonalds and Coca cola on them. Its a society with a very ancient history, music, and literature, so its one that we need to approach with a lot of respect. Yeah they have satellite tv etc - but that's to watch their own TV stations - and we can't just think that what's OK for us is equally OK for them. As the last few days has seen an escalation in hostilities, I sometimes wonder what goes on in the thoughts of someone who may have served in a country that does have common language and culture, one that has also known deadly violence - Northern Ireland!!!
 

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In derperation, the Republican convention has turned back to beating the drums of the already discredited concepts of Iraqi WMD and ties of Saddam to 911. Interestingly enough, the Bush administration has acknowledged these concepts as being false. But it's election time......:rolleyes:

Reuters

Republicans Again Link Iraq War to War on Terror

By Alan Elsner
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Speakers at the Republican National Convention are addressing President Bush's weakest points by arguing the war in Iraq is an integral part of the "war on terror" and Saddam Hussein posed a deadly threat to the United States.

Reviving an argument that seemed settled by last month's final report by the bipartisan commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani made a direct connection in his convention speech on Monday between the attacks and former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, in his convention speech, defended earlier administration arguments, now thoroughly discredited, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Steven Walt at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government said Republicans had to justify the Iraq war because the conflict is still raging, costing U.S. casualties and billions of tax dollars.

"They can't ignore Iraq because it's happening every day. So they have to convince Americans that the Iraq war is connected to the war on terror, which Americans do support, and keep repeating that point again and again and again," he said.

"It's an aggressive campaign to kick up dust from Ground Zero into the eyes of voters," Walt said.

In his address to the convention, Giuliani linked Saddam to the al Qaeda members who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and said the former Iraqi leader was himself a weapon of mass destruction.

"It was here in 2001 in Lower Manhattan that President Bush stood amid the fallen towers of the World Trade Center and said to the barbaric terrorists who attacked us, 'They will hear from us,"' he declared.

"They have heard from us. They heard from us in Afghanistan, and we removed the Taliban. They heard from us in Iraq, and we ended (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein's reign of terror."

Arizona Sen. John McCain returned to earlier administration assertions about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction.

Whether or not he had them was irrelevant, McCain said. "Whether or not Saddam possessed the terrible weapons he once had and used, freed from international pressure and the threat of military action, he would have acquired them again."

Polls show support for the Iraq war has declined sharply this year. One NBC/Wall Street Journal survey last week asked whether removing Saddam from power was worth the number of U.S. military casualties and the financial cost of the war. Forty three percent said yes, 49 percent said no.

Faced with such figures, Republicans appear to have decided that the best defense is a good offense, analysts said.

"Bush supporters are not giving an inch. They have hardly changed their arguments at all, despite the overwhelming evidence that has emerged since the war began. They continue to claim what they originally claimed," said John Steinbruner, who directs the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland.

Bush launched the war ostensibly to find and destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. It has since emerged that Iraq no longer possessed such weapons.

Before launching the Iraq invasion last year, Bush administration officials also said there were deep links between Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization and Saddam.

The 9/11 commission found there had been some limited contacts in the 1990s but "no collaborative relationship." In fact, the commission said al Qaeda probably had deeper relations with Iran.

"Bush has to defend the Iraq war. It's central to his presidency. It would be political suicide to admit he made a mistake," said Robert Art, an international relations professor at Brandeis University.
 

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As I have posted several times, this is not about reality--This is about pure propoganda---manipulating emotions in order to insure the Shrubs re-election. Hate to say it but it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So on the subject of emotions - Here's a constructive criticism of the Anti-war movement/coalition.......and a question really for the 21st century socially conscious movement as a whole. In these days of spin being all, and word gamery etc, do these people have any notion of the concept of Morale? I found myself putting stuff in in the arguement about the war etc, both here and elsewhere, but after a while it began to seem more like a stodgy game of semantics than anything else. RESULT? A depressing spiral of isolation - and probably exasperation - and wondering whether some of these campaigns are about people at all. In 89 I did a vigil for the Hostages and throughout it spent the time making a conscious effort to talk to and cajole the public in the city for a night out. RESULT? A lot of fun being had, a vitality in the event, positive feedback, and a rather hefty petition at the end of it. Job done!.................................................... BRILLIANT!!! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!

Morale is very important in any awareness campaign - whether you're promoting an idea, opposition to an idea, or even a product. Without it people lose interest and abandon whatever you're trying to achieve. RESULT? Loss of momentum and support.
 

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I tend to equate the war on terror as the beginning steps to what you read in 1984 and the like. They all used fear as a way to supplant the governments power onto the people and keep the people in their place, according to what the government wants.

There are lots of types of morale, fear being one of the most interesting. You might ask how fear is a type of morale (Hey, look at that Sadam led by fear..and ... bush is using fear in part to win a reelection) When you are able to instill a good percentage of fear in people they will basically be even more able and likely to be led down the path you want. "A opportunity wasted..is a election lost." I can't think of who said that but it equates especially well to 9/11. I remember that day and the feeling of helplessness that I couldn't do anything to help the people there...at the time. I did go donate my Ab- blood but still didn't feel like enough. However, instead of continuing to be afraid..what was the lesson learned from the entire thing. People do truly care still. There was a mass outpouring of support for New York from all over the country. Strangers helping strangers. Bush's slant on it was to up-play the fear and use it as a tool for reelection. In one of his commercials he prominently shows images of 9/11, September 11th whichever you prefer. To me that belittles the lost lives of that day. He's using a tragedy to a means to a ends. Also there was no massive speech that will live on in infamy like others...after Pearl harbor.

You know what I just though of...Herman Goering. For those who have never read anything by him, the one I most remember is that Fear and patriotism will lead to war. We had both after 9/11 and we did go to war, not right after but within a reasonable ammount of time.
 

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hmm? Orwellian Double Speak...I assume you are talking about 1984. Orwell was quite famous for it..after all everyone knows It was the best of times it was the worst of times...a classic example.(I find it quite annoying actually when people berate a book because it uses doublespeak or any other form of grammer that although proper isn't commonly used, especially classics...)Course that doesn't have anything to do with the point of what I was trying to get across. You could have also assumed I meant 1984, animal farm and Brave New World, or even We. Take your pick, it really doesn't matter....The concept was the point i was trying to get across. Something people should be able to associate with. I'd assume that sometime in most peoples lives, high school or college they had to read one of those books. Its probably one of the most glaring analogies I can give. It was exactly that which bush it succeeding at.
 

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Actually, this Bush adminsitration is very Orwellian---First of all, if you recall, in 1984, the populace was controled by making them think that they were constantly at war with someone when in fact they were not. That is akin to making us think that Iraq posed a huge threat to the American way, when in fact it did not. (YOu know the whole thing War is peace etc.
 

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Ahh, that clarifies things :) I was trying to figure out what you meant by the orwellian thing. Thank you for the clarification.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
......................and that fear leads to fragmentation. A populace that steadilly loses independant social interaction, and compartmentalises itself in mortgaged boxes, dependant on another hire-purchase box in the corner of the living room for its information. In come the agents of propaganda and all of a sudden you find yourself at enmity with all sorts of people. Over-dependence on the media centralises the info process and a lot of power is enjoyed by fewer unaccountable people..........Ooer, you don't suppose all boys will end up being christened Winston Smith do you? :eek:

Is it truth - or something you can convince enough people to be 'fact' that it almost does become truth - or a derivation thereof? Or does the actual truth whither in the shadow of the 'factional' - so something is lost forever?
 

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Two years in Afghanistan, 18 months in Iraq with 'Mission Accomplished', and outside of our military bases in Afghanistan/Iraq and the 'Green Zone' in Baghdad, what do we have control over that is of any real importance in either country? nada, zilch, zero, nothing! It seems we give cities back to the insurgents in Iraq and Warlords in Afghanistan faster than you can say "We're winning the war on terrorism". Anyone, besides me, feeling these 'wars' are being run by election year politics (hues of Vietnam), that the military has been ordered to back off in an attempt to reduce casualties to prevent headlines? or that OBL/UBL is never mentioned by this administration as a lost cause? or Bush has 'lost' his moral compass and determination until after the election he hopes to win? Me thinks the rot is starting to surface. :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just remember how the news coverage at the time told how the Afghanis were either surrendering (Taliban) or going over to the Northern Alliance - and that the 'remnants' of Al Qaida were 'surrounded' and being bombed in the Tora-Bora mountains. The general impression was that the Western forces and their Afghan allies were just about to finish off OBL permanantly - but he still manages to evade capture and has since been reportedly seen in Pakistan. I also remember reports that since the 'hostilities' in Afghanistan 5 border bases (Afghan-Pakistan) had been abandoned by Western military because of protracted insurgent activity against them. Another thing I remember was how the newly appointed Afghani foriegn office representation or ambassador was lobbying for financial assistance from the west to rehabilitate his country - which suggests that the place is being slowly allowed to fall back to the way it was in the early 90s. You could ask whether the novelty has somewhat worn off - along with all the gung-hoism that goes with war, and that a similar attitude towards Afghanistan prevails now as it did at the time of the Soviet withdrawal.

Doesn't the real work begin when you try to win the peace?
 

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Things are getting pretty dicey in Sadr city--4 Americans killed and over 100 Iraqis killed in the last 24 hours. Also, several assasinations of Iraqi interm government leaders--including police and army reps. Also, two French and two Italian hostages remain in a state of limbo--hope they dont get Salomed (you know what I mean--the head thing). Things are going well and we are gaining the upper hand even though insurgents control several areas of Iraq and we are losing men at a prodigious rate.
 

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UP

Thirteen die in US attack on Baghdad crowd

Allawi says Saddam trial will go ahead despite rising violence

Rory McCarthy and Luke Harding in Baghdad
Monday September 13, 2004
The Guardian

The heaviest fighting for months erupted in the centre of Baghdad yesterday, only a brief stroll from the office of the prime minister, Ayad Allawi. Witnesses said at least 13 Iraqis were killed and 55 wounded after US helicopters attacked a crowd of unarmed demonstrators dancing round a burning Bradley armoured vehicle.

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, a Guardian journalist who writes a fortnightly column for G2 and contributes to the main paper, had stitches to his head after being injured in the violence.

One of those killed was the correspondent for the Arabic channel Al Arabiya, Mazen al-Tumeizi. Al Arabiya yesterday broadcast videotape of the correspondent doing his report for the camera. Suddenly, an explosion occurred behind him and he doubled over.

A Reuters cameraman, Seif Fouad, recording the scene, was also wounded in the blast. "I looked at the sky and saw a helicopter at very low altitude," he told Reuters. "Just moments later I saw a flash of light from the Apache, then a strong explosion. Mazen's blood was on my camera and face," Mr Fouad said from his hospital bed. He added that his friend screamed: "Seif, Seif! I'm going to die. I'm going to die."

Yesterday's violence in the capital appeared to be a coordinated assault: resistance fighters lobbed dozens of mortars into the Green Zone, the fortified compound housing Mr Allawi's interim government and the US embassy. The crackle of gunfire echoed for several hours in central Baghdad. Insurgents then used a car bomb to attack an American patrol that went to investigate, and the US helicopters fired into the crowd.
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Witnesses said the fighting in Haifa Street - a notoriously volatile area hostile to the US occupation - started at 3am.

"We don't know whether it was the Americans or the Iraqis who started it," Abu Adil said. "Several mortars were fired at 7am and then a car bomb blew up the tank. After the tank exploded a helicopter started shooting at us. We all ran."

In a statement last night, the US military said: "As the helicopters flew over the burning Bradley they received small-arms fire from the insurgents in vicinity of the vehicle."

Earlier, the US military had said a helicopter destroyed the vehicle "to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people", after four US soldiers were wounded in the attack on the Bradley. ...
 

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Update on story.
BBC NEWS
Media spotlight on Baghdad deaths
By Martin Asser
BBC News Online

The bloody events on Baghdad's Haifa Street came amid some of the fiercest fighting for months in the centre of the Iraqi capital. Though they were captured for the television cameras, two very different accounts have emerged about what happened on Sunday.

At least 13 people were killed and about 60 others we wound by US helicopter fire as they milled around the burning wreckage of an American armoured vehicle that had been ambushed by insurgents early in the morning.

News footage shows a few dozen curious Iraqis standing around the Bradley Fighting Vehicle just before the missile strike.

In the foreground, Mazen Tumeisi, a Palestinian working for two Saudi-own TV networks, al-Arabiya and al-Ikhbariya, is preparing to be recorded on camera as he describes the scene.

After evacuating the wounded, air support destroyed the Bradley fighting vehicle to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people
First US military statement
Suddenly a big explosion engulfs the street in smoke. Tumeisi collapses. The lens is spattered with his blood.

As the camera swings around wildly, the fatally wounded journalist can be heard groaning his last words: "I'm going to die. I'm going to die. Seif [his cameraman]. Seif. I'm going to die."

As well as Tumeisi, two children - very possibly the ones smiling at the camera moments earlier - were among the dead.

Fierce fighting

According to media reports, the fighting started at about 0440 (0040 GMT) in Haifa Street, a notorious snipers' ally on the west bank of the Tigris that is out of US military control.

The Bradley was hit by a roadside bomb after it had raced to the scene following mortar bombs being launched at the nearby Green Zone, seat of the Iraqi government and US forces.

Gun battles reportedly raged around the wreck for about an hour. The attackers fired on the American rescue crew as they evacuated the stricken vehicle.

The fighting had clearly died down by the time the journalists arrived before 0800.

Press photographers took pictures of the wreck and the Iraqis around it, including young men waving the flag of Abu Musab Zarqawi's al-Qaeda-linked group Tawhid and Jihad. One youth climbed onto the Bradley and thrust the flag pole down the narrow barrel of its 25mm gun.

Most of the onlookers did not appear to be celebrating the "kill", just standing around curiously staring at the burning wreck.

I went back to the scene to help the wounded people when the helicopter fired again and I was hit in the chest
Alaa Hassan
The first reports of the helicopter attack came at 0756. As well as two missiles, the aircraft directed machine-gun fire at the crowd, reports say.

As the smoke cleared, people carried away the injured, leaving scattered shoes, pools of fresh blood and debris littering the street.

"We were standing near the destroyed vehicle when the helicopter started firing, so we rushed to safety in a nearby building," said 24-year-old Alaa Hassan from his hospital bed.

"I went back to the scene to help the wounded people when the helicopter fired again and I was hit in the chest."

'To prevent looting'

The official US military statement significantly shortens the timescale of events as reported by separate international news agencies.

Instead of three hours after the ambush, when the people on the scene were mainly curious locals and journalist, the US says the helicopter strike was at 0730, 40 minutes after the Bradley was attacked at 0650.

In the first explanation of events offered by the US military early on Sunday evening, the helicopter was said to have blown up the wrecked Bradley "to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people".

A second explanation came a few hours later suggesting that air support had been called in by the Bradley crew to prevent looting, but the helicopters were fired on from the ground.

"Clearly within the rules of engagement, the helicopters returned fire destroying some anti-Iraqi forces in the vicinity of the Bradley," the US statement said.

In a phone call from Baghdad on Monday, the US military was unable to clarify why none of the TV footage or press pictures showed armed people at the scene or recorded any gunfire.

As for the discrepancies in the times of events - the military spokesman told BBC News Online that the US timings were "approximate".

Media toll

It is not the first time al-Arabiya has lost journalists through US fire in Iraq. Correspondent Ali al-Khatib and cameraman Ali Abdelaziz were shot at a US checkpoint in March.

But the attack on Haifa Street could be significant, as it took place in the full glare of the media spotlight and it seems likely to further increase Iraqi anger at the effects on the civilian population of US military action.

There was no warning not to be there, and definitely civilians and journalists will go to a place like this to see what has happened
Arabiya editor Nabil Khatib
Tumeisi is the fourth Palestinian to be killed since the US invasion. Mazen Dana, a Reuters cameraman from Hebron, was also shot and died while his camera was running.

Arabiya's main rival station, al-Jazeera has lost staff in Iraq as well. In each case the dead men's employers have lodged complaints about the circumstances of the deaths with the US military, but no action has been taken.

"The American explanation raises more questions than it answers," Arabiya executive editor Nabil Khatib told BBC News Online.

Mr Khatib, who has asked for a more information from the US military, is particularly concerned that Mazen Tumeisi seemed to have been standing more than 50 metres from the wrecked Bradley.

"We can't call it a mistake, but we cannot say that Mazen Tumeisi was deliberately targeted," he said.

"What we can say is that it was irresponsible to attack this place.

"There was no warning not to be there, and definitely civilians and journalists will go to a place like this to see what has happened."
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/3652174.stm

Published: 2004/09/13 14:42:56 GMT

© BBC MMIV
 

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This is the photograph of an innocent garbage man who was killed as a result of our "surgical" bombing of a suspected terrorist meeting. THis is not the way to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.
 

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A quote from Mr. Alawai about the so-called elections in January:

If for any reason 300,000 people cannot vote because terrorists decide so -- and this is imposing a very big if -- then frankly 300,000 people is not going to alter 24 million people voting," he told Britain's Times and Guardian newspapers.

Obviously Mr. Alawai doesn't remember what happened in the US Presidential Election in 2000 and really doesn't see democracy the way we see it. He is ready to disenfranchise people pretty quickly.
 

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Financial Times

Time to consider Iraq withdrawal
Published: September 10 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 10 2004 03:00

This week a macabre milestone was passed in Iraq. More than 1,000 American soldiers have now been killed since the US-led invasion of the country began nearly 18 months ago. The overwhelming majority lost their lives after President George W. Bush declared major combat operations over in his now infamous "Mission Accomplished" photo-opportunity in May last year.

In that time, an unknown number of mostly civilian Iraqis, certainly not less than 10,000 and possibly three times that number, have perished, and hundreds more are dying each week. After an invasion and occupation that promised them freedom, Iraqis have seen their security evaporate, their state smashed and their country fragment into a lawless archipelago ruled by militias, bandits and kidnappers.

The transitional political process, designed to lead to constituent assembly and general elections next year, has been undermined because the nervous US-dominated occupation authority has insisted on hand-picking various permutations of interim Iraqi governors, mostly exiles or expatriates with no standing among their people. Whatever Iraqis thought about the Americans on their way in - and it was never what these emigré politicians told Washington they would be thinking - an overwhelming majority now views US forces as occupiers rather than liberators and wants them out.

The aftermath of a war won so quickly has been so utterly bungled, moreover, that the US is down to the last vestiges of its always exiguous allied support, at the time when Iraq needs every bit of help it can get. The occupation has lost control of big swathes of the country. Having decided that all those who lived and worked in Iraq under Saddam Hussein bore some degree of collective guilt, Washington's viceroys purged the country's armed forces, civil service and institutions to a degree that broke the back of the state, marginalised internal political forces, sidelined many with the skills to rebuild Iraq's services and utilities and, of course, fuelled an insurgency US forces have yet to identify accurately, let alone get to grips with.

There are signs that US officials are beginning to "get it" - in the phrase Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, patronisingly used this week to characterise Iraqis' grasp of the security situation. But if they are increasingly aware that what they have created in Iraq is a disaster, they seem at a loss to know what to do about it.

The core question to be addressed is this: is the continuing presence of US military forces in Iraq part of the solution or part of the problem?

As occupying power, the US bears responsibility for Iraq under international law, and is duty-bound to try to leave it in better shape than it found it. But there is no sign of that happening.

The time has therefore come to consider whether a structured withdrawal of US and remaining allied troops, in tandem with a workable handover of security to Iraqi forces and a legitimate and inclusive political process, can chart a path out of the current chaos.

Faced with a withdrawal timetable, Iraqis who currently feel helpless will know that the opportunity to craft a better future lies in their hands.

Take security. Iraqi forces are being rebuilt to take over front-line tasks. This is slow work, but that is not the real problem. It is that those forces already trained cannot stand alongside a US military that daily rains thousands of tonnes of projectiles and high explosives on their compatriots. Each time there is a siege of Fallujah or Najaf, with the US using firepower that kills civilians by the hundred, these Iraqi forces melt away. Until eventual withdrawal, there would have to be a policy of military restraint, imposed above all on those US commanders who have operated without reference to their own superiors, let alone the notionally sovereign Iraqi government.

Politically, if next year's elections are to have any chance of reflecting the will of the Iraqi people, the process must be opened up. Last month's national conference or proto-assembly was monopolised by expatriate politicians aligned with the interim government of Iyad Allawi. The only way national coalitions can be woven from Iraq's religious and ethnic patchwork is by including the opposition to the occupation. That means negotiating with the insurgents, probably through religious leaders of the stature of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. It also means an amnesty, which should help Iraqi authorities acquire the legitimacy to crush jihadist and other hold-outs.

Ideally, the US would accompany withdrawal by stating it has no intention of establishing bases in Iraq, and instead wishes to facilitate regional security agreements. That would be more stabilising than the current policy of bullying neighbours such as Iran and Syria, whose borders with Iraq the US in any case cannot control.

None of this will be less than messy. But whether Mr Bush or John Kerry wins the upcoming election, the US will eventually have to do something like this. Chaos is a great risk, and occupiers through the ages have pointed to that risk as their reason for staying put. But chaos is already here, and the power that is in large part responsible for it must start preparing now to step aside and let the Iraqis try to emerge from it.
http://fairuse.1accesshost.com/news2/ft6.htm
 

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Just a heard an MP just returned from Iraq, now a reservist who paints a very ugly picture indeed. A country totally out of control with little hope for real elections in January. By then, BUsh will have another four years to manipulate the American people.
 
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