Location: South of the North Pole, north of the South Pole...
I think that even Michael Jackson would have to agree that there are many areas of life today that are neither black or white, especially given the benefit of hindsight.
It's always somewhat of a thrill to dredge up the old stuff in an endeavour to ensure that we don't repeat the same mistakes I guess. But that would ignore mankind's propensity, nay, obligation, to repeat their errors. We've since moved on. It's not about Iraq, or the Neverland ranch.
What we ought to be talking about today are the propensities of both ordinary Americans and Britons to use credit irresponsibly with the complete support of their elected governments, by buying stuff on the never never, somehow believing that the intellectual, financial and war-mongering (peace-making if you insist) capital developed over the past century will always allow us the 'upper-hand' when it comes to dealing with the rest of the world ...
If the real Michael Jackson would simply step up to the podium and proclaim what is "black or white" then we should all be able to sleep better at night finally...
Location: South of the North Pole, north of the South Pole...
"I think this is a minor hiccup."
I tend to concur. Noone asked for the Iraqi government's acquiescence when our forces went in, why should we need their permission to stay or when even to move out...?! What UN mandate? Hop, skip and jump...?!
Since you've chosen to start a political thread, I'll bite, but let's see how long the mods leave this one open.
The "de-baathification" of post-Sadaam Iraq is a controversial subject, and Sir Jackson is not the first to have brought it up. There was a heated debate at the time, and it remains heated in many quarters. I suggest history will have a way of sorting out the pro's and con's. But totalitarian, facsist regimes are generally a bad thing, and remnants have a way of reconstituting themselves.
why should we need their permission to stay or when even to move out...?!
The recently signed "Status of Forces Agreement" between the US and the sovereign, democratically elected government of Iraq (the only such government in the Arab world) clearly defines US force presence in Iraq.
The UK is currently in the middle of negotiating a similar agreement. To mix metaphors, the "minor hiccups" are just bumps in the road which will be navigated. I'm sure the two governments will come to an understanding.
Well I spent some two weeks in Baghdad with my Iraqi colleagues. The place was relatively peaceful, relatively!! This was in June and July 2003, the June visit to Basra for a short informal visit, getting back over the border into Kuwait was another story, after dark and across the tank bunds.
Our stay in Baghdad was OK, we went around in an old beaten up Toyota, staying with friends outside the green zone. BUT, even then it was obvious that without electricity and water, the locals were becoming fed up, remember the temperature was up around 45 degrees. We met plenty of the local people including ex Iraqi Airways staff etc. It was obvious that the whole thing was a USA business fest. I met the senior directors who were opening up Baghdad airport, they were to open it up first although Basra airport was ready to go before this. They had to be first I asked whether they knew the range of a shoulder held missile, No they replied, Well it is 3 km or 10,000 feet and it is not a friendly thing for aeroplanes to meet. Shrug of shoulders, but a few months later a cargo aircraft lost an engine due to that.
General Jackson is only stating what many thought obvious - I won't mention the other comments from various people out there, suffice it to say, the operation was really a total missed opportunity for the Iraqi people to regain some peace early on.
He was right then, as was General Sir Mike Jackson, and they're both right now.
Possibly, but of course we'll never know. Hard to rewind the tape and see what would have happened with a resurgent Baathist government.
Would Kurdistan be as prosperous and safe today under a Baathist government? Would a Sunni/Baathist dominated government have allowed the formation of a constitutional government which allowed, for the first time in Iraq's history, the full participation of the Shia? Would the retention of the legacy armed forces helped or hurt the formation of an independent national police force?
I certainly don't have the answers to these questions, but it is hard after the fact to argue hypotheticals.
el, I'm very sure I'm on your "mental list" and I'm quite proud to be on it.
That aside, I'd be one you'd be surprised to agree with much of the first article.
1. The US State Department is pretty worthless. Lots of noise, not much substance.
2. The DoD is too much involved in matters, but as a matter of circumstance in most cases. If the State Department can't get it's act together, someone has too. By and large, the US military is the one that the world listens to.
3. It's really, really easy to second-guess/criticise decisions made then as compared to the results now. Not so easy to actually make those decisions.
De-Ba'athification probably a good idea. Imagine the howls of outrage if all those responsible for carrying Saddam's orders remained in place. For the average Iraqi, it'd be same old game just a new head man.
The obvious analogy is de-Nazifying Germany. Remember the howls at Patton's common-sense quip to keep 'em in place?
Disbanding the Iraqi military totally was a huge error. It could have provided an in-place, existing structure to maintain some level of stability - average guys getting paid, having an interest in not having the infrastructure destroyed, etc, etc.
And the shocker, coming from me, I'm sure, was the invasion to start with. I was against it then, I regret that it happened now. But you can't unring the bell. What is the best way forward now?
The appropriate American response is to totally ignore them and move on to more serious matters. That devastates them and they can't abide it.
Coincidentally, I am just finishing up a reread of Cornelius Ryan's "A Bridge Too Far."
"Whilst it's not fair to say no planning was done, the planning that was done in the United States was done by the state department. And at the eleventh hour for some reason, that responsibility was put to the Pentagon and the then defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld"
I was interested it the above section from Mike Jacksons piece.
Was it originally a political operation and only fell to the military at the last moment.
It kind of plays into the hands of those who claim US. ulterior motives, ie security of oil supplies and the like.