FW: FW: Deeply Distressing



From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 1:49 PM
To: ‘Alecea Standlee’
Subject: RE: FW: Deeply Distressing


Yeah, I could tell you were so leftist that you fly around in clockwise circles, but I still love you. Leftists are necessary to make the moderates seem sane! J

The “real” reason for going to Iraq was a bit complex. You had a tyrant in the region who was looking for ways to tweak the West—and his neighbors. That wasn’t a good situation when the world truly needed stability in the region. The reason why the other Arab nations didn’t want him overthrown wasn’t because they really liked him. They simply knew something so basic that 1990’s cable TV networks could understand it. There was  a “high concept” network series called La Femme Nikita about a very secretive anti-terrorist organization. The leader flat-out said that he didn’t want to topple Saddam because of the chaos that would ensue. No duh!


However, as I said, we are there, and prematurely withdrawal will do what it always does, create a vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum, and will fill it with something—probably not what you want. If we don’t want to be facing multiple 9/11s, we have to stay. As you point out, the problem is knowing what to do next. I absolutely don’t have the answers, but I do have a few ideas. I think the very next step is to establish a proven record of reconstruction in Iraq. If that means dispatching the Army Corps of Engineers, do it, now. Start getting the basics done, and then you can go to the neighbors with a little credibility. You go with an air of honesty, and say something like: “Look, if you don’t want to see Iraq become a secular or—worse—Christian enclave, please come help us. We really don’t want Iraq to become our 51st state. We just want what you do, stability.”


From: Alecea Standlee [mailto:stan0504@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 10:40 AM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: Re: FW: Deeply Distressing


I confess I haven’t had a chance to listen to the broadcast yet but I plan on doing so this weekend. As you have probably guessed by now, I am so politically left of center I make NPR sound GOP…I could call my self a democrat I suppose but I view politics in general and politicians in particular with a suspicion that borders on paranoia. However, I find myself in the interesting position of wanting to thump both sides of the isle with regard to this war. The problem is, I didn’t support the initial invasion of the country, and while I don’t support the US continued involvement in Iraq I totally see your point. Complete troop withdrawl seems likely to plunge the whole region into civil war while continuing poverty and desperation for individuals. So what to do?


 I found your comments really interesting because I am presenting a paper on nation building propaganda in the US during WWII in the end of April at a Historical Sociology conference. The problem I see with trying to model policy after WWII policies is that the wars are extremely dissimilar. Tyrants aside, the Allies during WWII were a international organization. Support in Europe, for troop deployment against the Axis was huge. With Iraq the US had little or no support by most of the EU. The resulting culture of combat makes reconstruction damned difficult. At home support is different as well, with US support creeping closer to Vietnam that WWII. So again what to do?

If we stay we face who knows how long acting a buffer between political factions, increasing dissatisfaction with our allies globally and continued loss of life. If we leave, the are is likely to be plunged into a bloody civil war. This is going to continue to result in extremism and violence. And of course we can’t forget the oil….This is a nasty situation, talk about a rock and a hard place. At this point, there is no good solution.


 I would like to comment on one other issue though. I think you make a really good point about poverty leading to violence and terrorism. I found myself as horrified as the next person at 9/11 but at the same time, I can’t say I was totally surprised. Work on the US and its support of Structural Adjustment Policies in the 3rd world has given me a pretty good idea of how the US is viewed by the poor and disenfranchised in other nations. Development "debt" and policies that cut funding for social services, education, and health care are not going to be popular among the people who are most dependent on such services. The reality is, even if you believe the Structural Adjustment will eventually result in improved social conditions due to free market adjustment, the current impacts are devastating for individuals. Being homeless and hungry or forced into a low paying/low status/physically demanding job almost inevitable leads to being pissed off at those in charge. Its the same as crime rates inside the US. Poverty=desperation=violence. Its not a hard thing to see. Why do we expect individuals in  so-called "developing" nations, like Afghanistan to act any different….Just some thoughts.


Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com> wrote:

I’m dying to “hear” your reaction. J


From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2007 8:19 PM
To: ‘Blog’
Cc: ‘sami.tawfiq@shell.com’; Alecea Standlee; ‘Blaise’; ‘bradgsmith@mdanderson.org’; ‘Brandon Milligan’; ‘Carol McKinney’; ‘Dianne’; ‘DSloan’; ‘DVM Marsha Anderson’; ‘Jack Davidson (jack_davidson681@yahoo.com)’; ‘janis.nicol@nau.edu’; ‘John Royall’; ‘Jon’; ‘Michelle Luster’; ‘Ming Zu (mzu@cs.uh.edu)’; ‘Mom (lourez_bullock@sbcglobal.net)’; ‘Richard Becton (flight@flash.net)’; Royall, Donald R; ‘Sakina Lanig (sakinalanig@hotmail.com)’; ‘Tao Ju’
Subject: Deeply Distressing


Make no bones about it, I fall on the Republican side of the aisle. I have no patience with Democrats who promise the voters anything and everything just to gain power. Their initiatives have gone a long way toward bleeding the national economy dry.


Not that Republicans are a bunch of gods and saints, ha! But, at least their form of cynicism tends to favor business, replacing some of the economic life so willingly bled off by Democrats. However, both parties have gone stump stupid over the Iraq War. Never mind the dumb reasons given for going there, there were much clearer reasons that the “handlers” didn’t trust the voters to understand. The simple fact now is that we’re there, and we need to finish what we started. Why was the aftermath of WWII so much better for the losers than WWI? Exactly. We stuck around and essentially rebuilt their economies. I have to give the Democrats of that era credit for recognizing that a man who is able to go outside and earn a decent living for his family is far less likely to be hiding in shadows plotting violence. Unfortunately, the average Iraqi is still unable to work four years after Saddam’s regime fell. Guess what that’s breeding.


I rarely encourage my blog readers to download and listen to audio files, but these deserve to be heard. They are the first and second halves of a BBC documentary called Eyewitness Iraq. Though the title sounds like some of our god-awful news shows, the correspondent and his interviewees do a succinct job of describing the Iraqi nightmare four years on. The program is about 45 minutes long, and I’ve deemed it important enough to offer from my beleaguered little server machine. If I had my way, this documentary would be required listening for every US citizen, with those demanding a time-table for troop withdrawals required to memorize every word!


It amazes me how this Bush administration has continually tried to “dumb down” the entire War on Terror concept over  the years. Right after 9/11, Bush acknowledged that it could last decades. Who in hell has been telling him to back away from that unhappy likelihood ever since then? Do they think the American public is too stupid to understand the cold truth? We are selfish, true. If we aren’t reminded often, most of us go back to thinking everything is quick and easy. Of course it isn’t.


The documentary reminds us that most of Iraq still has electricity and water for only a few hours each day. How are they supposed to live modern lives like that? Naturally, that breeds discontent, though most Iraqis still only want a return to some semblance of normalcy. Without that, all of the “security sweeps” in the world won’t prevent Iraq from becoming a terrorist nursery. The Bush administration—and Americans in general—must remember that truly winning any war requires far more than military action.


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