Debate:Is the Iraq War a success?

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No

We lose dozens of troops a month, there are bombings every day, over 60,000 Iraqi civilians are dead, a brutal dictator has been replaced by fantatical warring factions, and nothing seems to be changing (we've lost a higher percentace of US troops in 2007 than in any other year since the invasion (www.icasualties.org)). The rebuilding of the infastructure has failed, the US military is stretched to the limits, and it's unpopular at home (www.pollingreport.com). I say bring the boys (and girls) home! Czolgolz 11:45, 30 March 2007 (EDT)

Excuse me? Your facts are utterly skewed.

Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths Details

Period Total May-08 42, Apr-08 744, Mar-08 980, Feb-08 674, Jan-08 554, Dec-07 548, Nov-07 560, Oct-07 679, Sep-07 848, Aug-07 1,674, Jul-07 1,690, Jun-07 1,345, May-07 1,980, Apr-07 1,821, Mar-07 2,977, Feb-07 3,014, Jan-07 1,802, Dec-06 1,752, Nov-06 1,864, Oct-06 1,539, Sep-06 3,539, Aug-06 2,966, Jul-06 1,280, Jun-06 870, May-06 1,119, Apr-06 1,009, Mar-06 1,092, Feb-06 846, Jan-06 779,

This is from your site, and since this year is going to be the 'worst' iraqi year yet, how come it's so much better? just because something isn't popular doesn't mean it's not right. Maybe some of those people should do some research before they start voicing ignorant opinions like yours. --theLeak 16:18, 6 May 2008

It was never going to be a successful war. I doubt even calling it a war. The US is a utter failure when it comes to nation building. Always remember that a government never goes to war for the reasons that they state. "Liberating the people of Iraq" is just a philanthropy. There are more real reasons to go to war with Iraq. A US controlled Iraq provides a stable source of oil for the US and more importantly, can act as a valuable staging point for a bigger war with Iran. Its much easier to keep the supply lines from Iraq to Iran than from the US to Iran.--Elamdri 12:12, 30 March 2007 (EDT)

Rebiu's response has been removed because it was an attack on certian people group. We must remember to exhibit tolerance in all situations. If Rebiu would like to offer logical examples to prove a point, then he should feel welcome to do so. Ruchki

Here it is again Ruchki and with the logical examples. The entire "War on Terror" is a farce meant to advance the conservative agenda and enrich the political leaders who started it.Rebiu 22:24, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Gladly Ruchki Dick Cheney's Halliburton stock rose 3,281 percent last year. That is aproximately $7,750,000.Rebiu 21:49, 2 April 2007 (EDT)Rebiu 21:54, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Oil companies that supported Bush make obscene profits.Rebiu 21:54, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Saidi Arabia has close economic ties to the Bush family has economy saved.Rebiu 21:54, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
"The approved production-sharing agreements (PSAs) favor investing foreign oil companies with 70 percent of oil revenue to recoup their initial outlay, then companies can reap 20 percent of the profit without any tax or other restrictions on their transfers abroad."Iraqi deal unusualy generous to oil companiesRebiu 22:06, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Being conservative does not mean blindly supporting the current administrationRebiu 22:21, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Apparently, some conservatives disagree with you. OBEY. CONSUME. REMAIN SILENT. --BDobbs 23:46, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

No: American troops are dying at a rate of 900 per year. Monthly expeditures have risen from $4.4 billion to $8.4 billion without a corresponding decrease in the overall rate of violence (even if there are temporary local successes following tactical shifts in emphasis). Cities that are pacified to much fanfare must be retaken, sometimes several times. The Bush Administration has resorted to a policy of "kill the messenger", sacking any general who admits we cannot win another country's civil war and putting in place the lone general who thinks we can win this civil war, General Petraeus. One by one, our allies in the "Coalition of the Willing" have dropped out, and we are even witnessing the gradual departure of the United Kingdom from the southern theater. Bush got congressional authority to wage war on Iraq by certifying that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction and posed an existential threat to the United States, yet the WMDs were revealed to be a chimera and the only existential threat is to the Republican Party itself, as more and more Americans grow weary of the war. Teresita 09:32, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

No: It's not a question that the stated objective of the invasion was to find and destroy WMD's, which we were positive existed. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the number of WMD's found in Iraq is exactly...0. IN that sense, we failed miserably. --Hojimachongtalk 18:46, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

That is twisted liberal thought. The fact that no WMD was found is irrelevent. The only reason it is relevent is because it was used as final justification for invasion. Like icing on the cake. All we ended up with is cake, no icing. Saddam has a long history of playing games with inspectors. If Saddam had never used WMD in the past, then it was all a mistake. To wait until he acquired again, then use it, then decide to invade is just backwards logic. --jp 01:33, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Saddam would have never used WMD's, even if he had them. He was too smart to do that.--Elamdri 02:43, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Iran Iraq war, Saddam gassed (poison WMD) thousands of innocent Kurdish men women and children. Saddam was a dumb ass, a tyrant, a miscalculating butcher.--jp 10:56, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Sorry, Saddam would have never been dumb enough to use WMD's against powerful Western Nations. To put it frankly, Saddam's actions in Iraq helps to keep Iran in check by destabilizing the region. Now that he's gone, we see possibilities of Arab coalitions and the like, which bodes bad for us.--Elamdri 12:09, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Every time we put together a "coalition" against someone else, it's just us and some other nations as window dressing. By the same token, no coalition of pure window dressing is a threat. But we are learning that America could take all her military technology and prowess, drop back in time to the bronze age even, and still lose every single conflict if the President lacks the willpower to fight. Teresita 21:07, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
"Willpower" isn't the problem here. President Bush wanted this war, and has been its single biggest booster since day one. Lack of SMARTS is the problem. --BobD 00:30, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

HAHAHAHAHA The iraq war! a success!! wow, that's sad. Why would you have to ask that. Here are the statistics: over 3000 American soldiers dead. over 300,000 iraq civilians dead. NO weapons of mass destruction. NO ties to Osama bin ladin. NO ties to Al Quaeda. And a country in a civil war in complete ruin. Figure it out yourself. My source, CIA 9,11/iraq comission report, UN iraq overview. a success? not in a million years.--FDRismyhero 7:10, 31 Juner 2007 (EDT)

The importance of diplomacy is rooted in Iraq's sectarian civil war. The war in Iraq is not the United States against a single enemy but the United States interjecting itself among many enemies fighting each other. That war cannot be solved by military means. Even if the United States were to quell the violence in the short term, fighting would erupt again with an American withdrawal. Until there is a political compact among Iraqi parties, endorsed by neighbors and the international community, there will be no prospect for peace in Iraq. The U.N.'s Role In Iraq By Carlos Pascual and Brian Cullin.


Having failed in that worthy purpose, it has inadvertendly achieved something else that can serve US interests quite well: without wishing too, the US has activated rival forces inside Iraq and across the region -- the Sunni states viz the "Shia crescent" of Iran, Shia-Iraq, Syria and the Hezbollah of Lebanon. Because the Shia inside Iraq need US support, as do the Sunni states outside Iraq to contain the "Shia crescent", the US could now control both Iraq and much of the region with very little force and some competent diplomacy.

"Divide and rule" is the hostile depiction of such statecraft , and historically its goal was empire on the cheap.

Nobody wanted this, but US policy should recognize the new realities. Just by acting very naturally to safeguard our interests we will be balancing hostile forces against each other, achieving stability at a much lower cost in US blood and treasure. What past imperial statesmen strove for with much cunning and cynicism, the Bush Administration has engendered inadvertently. But the result is exactly he same, and it does make large US forces in place redundant, and even counter-productive.
The Remaining Options, pg. 4 Edward Luttwak.

Way, way, way, way, back, before we invaded, the given objectives of the Iraq War was to 'find and make safe all WMD in Iraq', which would enforce a variety of UN Resolutions against Iraq making or possessing WMD. That was what was told to the UN, the people of the US, and the people of the UK. How many have we actually 'found and made safe'? ZERO. It's an unmitigated failure. The changing of the reason to 'removing dictators' only came about AFTER it became so clear that Iraq had no WMD to 'find and make safe' that even Bush and Blair could see it. Zmidponk 20:59, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Everyone here is kidding themselves. The Iraq war was a complete success because it was a mission to earn cash for the corporations in bed with the Bush Administration. The idea is to inhale billions for the powers that be while the economy goes into a second depression. Everytime the 'terrorists' destroy something filled with oil some rich white man makes a bundle off of fixing it up. Besides that, it's never going to end, as they've successfully created police forces out of two conflicting religions who are now killing each other and our solders. Now if you take nothing else from this paragraph, please just look at the lives you're leading. Due to your fear, paranoia, and anger you've killed millions worldwide, including every single soul lost on 9-11. Everyone knows the connections our contry has to Bin Ladan, even you guys. It's just so sad that you can be so deliberately blinded by propaganda and lies... if not for you those buildings would still be standing, those levys would never have collapsed, and Iraqi children would be free to play outside their homes. I'm almost speachless, really. Mayhaps you should take something from the fact that Wikipedia has such a liberal bias, and that every really intellegant person in politics or entertainment hates your values. By the way, that picture put up in the yes section is racist and should be taken down. --YoungConservative 18:44, 7 February 2008 (EST)YoungConservative

Yes

War-muslims.jpg

All Iraqi's are much happier under US rule. This is for the better. They are 200x better off now then ever before. Anyone who denies me is a communist Albobsman 12:29, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

Reponse to above: Iraqi's are happier under US rule?? Are you kidding? This is according to the poll of you, some American who probably can't find Iraq on the map. Look at the actual polls. Truth be told, Iraqis now have less electricity and less access to water. In addition, they now have to worry about being shot by insurgents AND American troops when they leave their homes. And why is it our duty to take them out of Saddam's tyranny anyway? Why don't we go after Cuba, Venezuela, Malaysia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Russia? Don't they have the same oppressive dictators? And basically you are a fascist if you think that going around invading other countries is fine. I do think Saddam had to be stopped, but why are we still there? He is dead, the US just wants to feel powerful!
Well, it's not going to be easy - but we've got rid of a dictator.--bill m 12:07, 29 March 2007 (EDT) 14:28, 30 March 2007 (EDT)
There are worse things than a dictator as this war has shownRebiu 15:11, 30 March 2007 (EDT)

One dictator down...and...what? two or three dozen to go? Czolgolz 23:05, 30 March 2007 (EDT)

You have to start somewhere. If you don't begin you can never finish.--bill m 12:07, 29 March 2007 (EDT) 05:52, 31 March 2007 (EDT)
At this rate America and with this leadership I doubt America could survive to the finishRebiu 09:53, 31 March 2007 (EDT)
Its not a matter of surviving so much as it is finishing. America's attitude breeds dictators in the periphery, and then we have to go in and remove them, and it all starts over again.--Elamdri 08:34, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
Eternal War for Eternal Peace! (Thank you, George Orwell.) --BDobbs 18:12, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
To truly stop war in the Middle East and in other Third World nations, requires a twofold solution. You basically need to solve the 2 parts of the problems. First, and foremost, the advanced industrialized nations of the world need to move away from an economic strategy that exploits the resources, labor, and markets of the Third World nations. Current economics relies on conditions in the lesser developed countries staying the same. If the Third World is allowed to develop, we will see a decrease in the standards of living in the US and other First World countries. Secondly, we need to see development in the Third World. Part of what makes the dictator's life so easy is that the nations are politically and economically in their infancy. The economic conditions breed discontent and instability. The weak governments are unable to control the populous, so dictators rise to power and force stability through marshal law. By improving the political structure and economic system, the need for dictators lessens. Finally, we need to actually find a way to physically remove the current dictators from power. This can be accomplished by either a coup by the people or a military action by another country. However, military action by another country has to be careful to not make the same mistakes the US has made in nation building.--Elamdri 18:47, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
You have completely lost me on the finishing not surviving notion. Do you know what not surviving means?Rebiu 15:41, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
That is a good analysis, but it stops two step short of naming the human problem. An unamed human problem is the core of the difficulty and people are refusing to look at it. We are all human beings, we are all motivated by the same urges and (broadly) feelings. The West has exploited the Mideast. The West grew strong and remains strong because, in general, people earn their own way. In the west, people contribute to other people, through daily work, through creation, through new inventions, and so forth. This isn't what goes on in the Mideast where the population is supported by the mineral wealth pooled beneath their feet. There, people don't have the need to earn their daily bread as in the West. People of the Mideast can, therefore, hang on to those historical ways that worked in the past because there is a vast pool of mineral wealth beneath their feet. Given nothing to do, people don't develop pride. And that is the human value the West's exploitation has undermined in the Mideast. Terryeo 23:40, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
What I mean is that the survivability of the US is not at question here. In the modern states period, nations do not "Die." They may loose power, but "Wiping a nation off the planet" just doesn't happen that often anymore. What is a problem, is that the US has officially declared itself in a fight with an enemy that is formless and diverse. Normal wars are fought between states, with flags, and rules, and uniforms, and borders and a clear notion of goals. This war has none of those. We have no state to fight, no rules of conduct, no uniform to identify the enemy, and no clear idea of when victory will be achieved, outside of total destruction of the enemy. But the enemy is an ideal, not a state or person. You cannot "kill" an idea. Does that help?--Elamdri 15:45, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
I must disagree with the above statement. First, a state does not fight a war by itself. The inhabitants of a state fight a war. Iraq has inhabitants, does it not? So we do, in fact, have a state to fight. Rules of conduct also exist in modern warfare. The military of the United States adheres to human rights policies in accordance with the United Nations Human Rights protocol. So now that we know there is most definitely a state to fight, and there are rules of conduct, let's address the issue of enemy uniforms. Hussein's military were required to wear uniforms. However, now that Hussein is out of power we are not fighting a dictator and his military. While the US armed forces are stabilizing Iraq, they are being confronted by various islamic terrorist groups. In past wars and conflicts soldiers have been trained to treat everybody that is not an allied soldier or citizen as a possible enemy. The military is doing a wonderful job at this, and will continue to do so. The majority of allied deaths in Iraq are not caused by direct contact with enemy personnel anyway. The victory will be achieved when Iraq is stable enough for US troops to leave. Who determines that? How about President Bush, the Commander in Chief. And by the way, Iraq does have a flag. =P Ruchki
Your argument is propped up on one big fallacy. "Iraq is NOT the enemy." The enemy is any insurgent who would try to harm the US or it's allies. Yes, a state does not fight a war by itself, it uses a regular army. But we are NOT fighting the Iraqi regular army. We are fighting insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. The inhabitants of a state do not fight the war, the army does, there is a difference. To suggest that the inhabitants of a state fight a war is to suggest I, sitting in my dorm room or my political science classes, am fighting in the Iraqi war. That is not true, my STATE is fighting the war, but not ME. I am a non-combatant in this war, as are Iraqi citizens. Yes, the United States military, for the most part, adheres to the United Nations Human Rights protocol and the Geneva Convention on Warfare, but do insurgents? Of course not, they do not fight under colors, and they do not openly display arms in combat zones; they don't even follows the rules set down under the Geneva Convention concerning guerrilla warfare. As for the uniforms, yes Hussein's army fought under color, but now a US soldier walking down a street in Baghdad has no clue whether the man who is approaching him is going to pull a gun from under his clothes or is going to pass him and buy fruit at the market. Insurgents, at the very least, to obtain lawful combatant status, have to bear their arms at all times, even if they do not wear colors, under the rules of the Geneva Convention. Thus, they are in violation of their combatant status every time they draw arms on US soldiers. As for victory, I was under the impression, as I believe most of the nation is, that is a war against teror, terrorist, and those who would threaten the peace. Now, even if Iraq is "Stabilized," we will still have a terrorist presence in the Middle East and around the world. And yes, Iraq has a flag, but as I stated, we are not fighting Iraq, we are fighting IN Iraq. Iraq is the field of battle and the spoils, not the enemy.--Elamdri 16:45, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Is the Iraq War a success? The perception presented to us is biased. Mission accompished? YES YES YES. Saddam was defeated, his military defeated. End of combat operations? Ah, not quite. If you listen to the lamestream media, the bias is incredible toward declaring defeat. Much of this perception is not to give Bush credit. I heard Rupert Murdoch say that history will show that this was just a blip on the radar. While every soldiers death is a tragedy, 3,000 plus killed is nothing in the scheme of things. America lost 3,000 soldiers in one week in Imo Jima during WWII. It's how it is perceived. The left wants to compare Iraq to Vietnam. There is no comparison. Disagree? I'll compare it then- Ho Chi Mihn has been captured and executed for crimes against humanity. The communist Vietnam government has been replaced by a democratic government. The war we fight now, the Iraq war, has become an insurgent campaign against Democracy. There is no way America and Iraq can lose to 25,000 bandits. If we stick it out, eventually the Iraqi army will be powerful enough to take over. How long have we been in Korea? Do you think if we left there after 4 years they would still be a Democracy? America, 9/11 was a warning which our President understood, which many Americans do not want to believe or have been misled. We can debate the past like Democrats want or we can stand and fight FOR Democracy.--jp 21:32, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

WHAT? Ho Chi Minh died of heart failure, not an American GI. --Hojimachongtalk 18:52, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
You mean fight FOR Democracy right? ;) --Elamdri 21:39, 2 April 2007 (EDT) Thank you, corrected!
Jpatt--Said democratic government in Iraq will probably be demoted to "lamp-post ornaments" about 48 hours after the US troops leave, and then Turkey will invade the north and slaughter the Kurds (making the SECOND time an American named Bush has left them twisting in the wind) while the Sunnis and Shi'ites blow each other to Heaven on clouds of Semtex smoke. As other people here have pointed out, declaring war on an abstract noun like "terrorism" does not work too well (unless you have Abhorrent Weaponry and the will to use it). Or we can stay there forever. After all, there's a fixed number of Terrorists, and everyone we defeat means one less forever, since no more people will ever sign up, right? --BDobbs 23:52, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Actually, Bush Senior's decision to not invade Iraq after expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait was a good decision on his part. Bush Sr. was, unlike his son, a master statesman and knew that by entering into Iraq would go beyond the scope of the UN mission (Sound familiar Georgie?) and would make the US into an international pariah (Again, George, next time listen to Daddy). He also knew that taking the fight from the desert of Kuwait to the streets of Baghdad would result in the death of US troops and unpopularity for the war. After all, the US is fantastic at open ground combat as we have the most advanced weapons on the planet. However, those weapons can't help our soldiers trying to purge buildings of insurgents. Take the US's destruction of the Hammurabi Division on Highway 80 during the end of the Gulf War. It was literally an absolute turkey shoot. You have old Russian tanks and convoy trucks retreating while being pounded from miles away by Apaches and Abrams. However, now, you take the soldier out of the safe tank or assault chopper, and put him in front of a door, and he doesn't know when he opens that door, if there will be no one on the other side, or 12 armed men. And people wonder why the war is unpopular.--Elamdri 02:29, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Also, Saddam Hussein acted as a buffer between the US, and the regions bigger threat, Iran. Now that buffer is gone...--Elamdri 02:29, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Well LDobbs, you can make the case for falure if we leave and you can make the case if we stay. All hell to break when we leave, maybe. If we don't stand up wherever they are, then its 1996 all over again. The USA too busy and too enept to confront terror. You sound like you favor the Democrats in the House that want to change the wording of 'war on terror'. Let's put aside the fact that the USA is still in Korea after 50 years. Let's talk Iraq and Afghanistan as a launching point against Iran. If there are war moves by Iran, would you rather be launching attacks from America or from the region? 25,000 bandits in Iraq is not a fixed number or one less per each jihadist death. If Iraq is tranformed into the image of South Korea, the region will be a stronger ally of the USA.
Elamdri, Bush Sr. failed America by working through the corrupt UN. The main reason he did not finish the job, besides the mandate, they knew that we couldn't hope for a better leader to emerge that would replace Saddam, Democracy would be hard to establish, formerly occupied by the British, would not welcome English aligned armies. Bush 41 hoped the Iraqis themselves would take control of their leadership. After 9/11, Bush 43 realized that Saddam was part of the problem America had to confront. That Saddam was the last straw of credibility the UN blew away. That Saddam would not be replaced by his people. Bush 43 sought to increase nation states to democracy in the fight against extreme rogue states and their supporters- jihadists. Will it work? Time will tell.--jp 17:38, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
I doubt that. Honestly, the Grand Coalition was probably the greatest success the UN has every had. In reality, Saddam wasn't a threat to anyone but his own people. He helps keep Iran in check, and then people started to blow his power out of proportion after 9/11.--Elamdri 18:42, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
I doubt your view as well. Saddam wasn't a threat to anyone but his own people??? How about the Iranians, how about the Israelis, how about the Kuwaitis? Invasion of Iran, Invasion of Kuwait, 25,000 dollars to suicide bombers families who kill Israelis. I am no expert, can you admitt it?--jp 18:59, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Let me rephrase, Saddam wasn't a threat to the western world as the Bush Administration tried to make us believe. Should he have been removed? Probably, but right now? Probably not.--Elamdri 22:52, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
So when do we removed him - when he becomes a threat? When he has already blown up a tower or two? Why do we have to wait for these things to happen? Secondly, he was a threat to his own people as you have stated. Do you believe it was an unjust cause to go in and liberate the Iraqis, or should America just focus on pleasing its own free people who have never known oppression? That was a long string of questions - forgive me please - but I would like to hear your opinion. As for me, I believe strongly that overthrowing Saddam was the best thing for America and the rest of the free world. --<<-David R->> 23:00, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Its not so much removing him as it is using him to stage proxy wars.--Elamdri 02:42, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
So when do we removed him - when he becomes a threat? When he has already blown up a tower or two? Why do we have to wait for these things to happen? - DavidR See, that's the difference between Hussein and bin Laden--we KNEW where Hussein was, and he had an actual country we could bomb. That made a powerful disincentive to mess with the US. You will note that he didn't actually DO anything to inspire the US invasion besides sit there 'looking at us funny'. --BobD 18:01, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

What to you Hawks think about your war now hahahahahaahahahahhaahahahahRebiu 23:11, 10 May 2007 (EDT)

Rebiu, Ho- and BobD, If Bush had NOT liberated Iraq, WHAT?

Serendipity! If alQaeda had not been busy there, it stated intent to be HERE - using Saddam's sarin (Christian Gen. Georges Sada) or gathering A-bomb knowlege and materials (Duelfer Commission ). Nothing other than the Iraq invasion could have better accomplished the President's first responsibility - protecting us. [User:HowardLong]

Yes. We have won the war in Iraq. Everything has worked out exactly as President Bush has expected. There have been no flaws in his War Plan, and the Democrats should be imprissoned for treason for saying otherwise. [Above paragraph not from HL]

GOOD NEWS! Here is the best evidence yet that the Islamofascists threatening hundreds of thousands of USA deaths from a base in Democrat-abandoned Iraq are being defeated by Iraqi religious leaders, with our support. [user Howard Long]

"A Fatwa Against Violence By ROBERT MCFARLANE, WSJ August 25, 2007 Cairo

"Last week, I participated in a three day meeting here that included six of the most senior Iraqi Sunni and Shia religious leaders. At the meeting, held at a Marriott hotel in a Cairo suburb, they formally agreed to "end terrorist violence, and to disband militia activity in order to build a civilized country and work within the framework of law."

"This gathering was a truly historic event, given the authority of the participants -- including Sheikh Ahmed al Kubaisi, acknowledged by all Iraqis as the senior Sunni religious authority (the weekly audience for his Friday sermons, broadcast from Dubai, number 20 million), and Ayatollah Sayyid Ammar Abu Ragheef, chief of staff for Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, the acknowledged leader of the Shia community in Iraq and beyond. One has only to consider the power of these specific religious leaders, and the instruments at their disposal for getting results, to grasp the gathering's enormous potential importance.

"Going well beyond traditional rhetoric in their closing statement late last week, they stated their intention to work for the early issuance of a joint Sunni-Shia fatwa to the Iraqi people. A fatwa such as this will carry the force of law for all followers. Think about that. After more than four years of brutal warfare and untold suffering, the leading religious authorities in Iraq have joined hands and said "Enough," and have committed to use their authority to bring peace to their country.

"How does this relate to the Iraqi government and coalition forces? Can these clerics achieve anything concrete? If so how soon? And will it be enforceable?

"Simply stated, these men -- all self-interested stewards of their separate Sunni and Shia constituencies -- have seen that their government's failure to act could lead Iraq into an irretrievable situation. They feel a moral imperative to fill the power vacuum. As for whether their actions will be taken seriously and be enforceable, the affirmative answer lies in the acknowledged role of the mosque, and of the grand ayatollahs and imams of the seniority represented here in Arab societies.

"As additional evidence that Iraq's most senior religious leaders see the potential for catastrophe in prolonged violence unabated by government action, Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani has reached out to the most senior Sunni Imams and asked that they meet with him as soon as possible in Najaf, Iraq, to focus on peacemaking. Such an invitation by the most senior Shia for a meeting with the most senior Sunni is unprecedented in Iraq's history.

"It was also noteworthy that these leaders included Sheikh Abdul Lateef Humayeem, the former personal iman to Saddam Hussein. Welcoming Mr. Humayeem to this very elite circle -- a religious board of directors in Iraq -- is a clear signal to former Baath civil servants and military officers that they will be welcome in the new Iraq.

"Here in the West we tend to discount the role of religion in resolving disputes. Indeed our diplomatic tradition eschews involving religion -- or even mentioning it -- in diplomatic discourse. Clearly, however, its role is central in underpinning the sectarian violence in Iraq. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, understands that, as well as the powerful role that religious leaders could play if they chose to do so. He has been a strong supporter -- as has the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus -- of the painstaking process that preceded this meeting in Cairo. Nothing like this has ever occurred in Iraq's history -- and yet it is happening.

"Going forward, the key leaders have agreed to a calendar of concrete actions starting with the unprecedented meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani in Najaf within two weeks. If that meeting goes well, it could lend momentum to the early development of the planned joint Sunni-Shia fatwa. Such a fatwa would stand as a historic milestone with profound meaning and effect on the Iraqi people.

"To be fair, it was clear that one of the factors which motivated these very senior leaders to come together was their common goal of getting the U.S. out of Iraq -- obviously a goal we share, assuming we can achieve an acceptable degree of security before leaving. Just as important, however, was their alarm over growing Iranian influence in southern Iraq and the common sentiment among them that they do not want to be dominated by Iran.

"This process of nurturing reconciliation by bringing Iraq's religious leaders together -- gradually in small groups leading to a conference this past June involving over 70 leaders, and devolving now here in Cairo to the six most senior clerics in all Iraq -- has been led by Canon Andrew White, an Anglican priest who has established his contacts and credibility with Iraqi leaders during more than nine years of service in Baghdad. Mr. White is a commanding presence and a man who deserves our prayers and support. The process he has organized and set in motion could mark a turning point in the wretched history of Iraq.

"Mr. McFarlane was a national security advisor for President Ronald Reagan." [user Howard Long]

When approaching a matter of international relations, you must have an open mind, and drop everything that is moral, or left up to conscience. That way you are left with the nature of how states act. International relations are not at all powered by moral, but powered by nature. It is the nature of the state to act in a certain way. That nature is determined by several factors including the make up of the governmental entity, the type of government it is, and the power of the government. People usually do not factor into how a state behaves with other states. That being said, the state that is most powerful has the control. They can, and do, act not as a police force per se, but more like the dictator. Does this mean that the post powerful state is going to go raveging through the other states raping the women, and stealing the gold. Not necesarily. Although this is entirely possible those of you familiar with world war II, which was to put it basically, a state carrying out it's job according to international relations. All it means is that the most powerful state is free to take uncontested liberties that other states cannot. Such is the case in the IRaq war. We had a mission to overthrow Suddam and impose capitalism and democracy on the nation of Iraq, also they have oil. Not that we don't have oil, it's just that we can force it out of them easier than we can get it from ourselves. This is not cruel or wrong by any means when talking about international relations. It is the right of the powering state to do these things. And America is the powering state. Believe it or not, America is not the stand-alone good samaritan, superman, hero everyone makes it out to be. As a state, we have needs. Also, we have wants. And we fulfil these wants and needs by going to other nations and putting military bases in them, and getting involved with conflicts that don't endanger American freedom. We always have something to gain out of the deal. the Vietnam war is a perfcet example of this. Russia was trying to take over the world, and they wer trying to take control of vietnam. Well America came it and over took South Vietnam in order to combat the Russians. We didn't give a damn as to what happened to the villagers of Vietnam. That's not why we were there. That's also why there are so many horrible stories of rape and mass murder committed by american soldiers. Our mission was to stop Russia through the Vietnamese. This is called realism. Realism states that there is one state in control and all of the other states want to be in control. It turns into the survival of the fittest and who can out military the other. Wars are going to happen, and that's the nature of the beast. Getting back to the part of the state having something to gain from being in certain places, allies will form also as another way for a state to get what it wants or needs. To stop Hitler, America had to join forces with England and France, and Russia(Although France had it's own problems with the Maginot line.) We had something to gain from allying with them, obviously. But what happened immediatley after the war ended? the Cold War began with Russia and America and 2 wars resulted form it: Korea and Vietnam. We broke our alliance with Russia so fast, it made everyone's head swim. But why do we remain "close" with places like Australia, and England. Mostly because we have something to gain by being allies with them and allowing them to conduct their business as they wish, rather than conrtolling them and forcing what we want out of them. In Australia's case they absolutely love us because if it wasn't for us coming to their rescue, they would all be speaking Japanese right now, and they are pretty much eternally greatful to us. But what did we have to gain from saiving some Ausies, dingos, and roos? A stepping stone to the stopping of Japanese island hoppers from taking over the West. So what does this have to do with present times? We have something to gain from being in Iraq. It gives us a shoe in to being a controlling state over a large resource. As for Afghanistan, I see no need to be in there. In fact. We will lose if we continue this pursuit. No nation has ever in the the history of ever and forever won in the land that is currently known as Afghanistan. Russia lost and they were just about as powerful as us. We are in there now and we are gettingn our asses handed to us. Obama doesn't want to put forth the effort needed to actually make and impact on the war and we are losing because of it. Not that we would win anyway, but this is sort of speeding up the process. Now will we be left in ruins like Russia is? Probably not. We are smart enough to keep our nukes at home and I don't think it'll make to big of an impact on our armed forced. But that being said it is a fruitless adventure. One that should be stopped immediatley. The reason for being in there given by the government is that we are getting back at the terrorists. One steadfast rule in international relations is that you don't acknowledge a terrorist attack. You sort of turn the other cheek. It's like the bully on the school yard. If you ignore him he'll go away. Notice how after 9/11 we didn't run right over to afghanistan where Bin Laden was adn drop a nuke on the whole nation? Instead we went into Iraq to do what Bush's mission was, even before 9/11 which was to pick up where Senior left off. Had 9/11 not happened, we would still be in Iraq. We didn't go after the terrorists at all. But it make for great media coverage to go along with our sterling save the day hero reputation. Now that that is all said and done, was there anything wrong with going into Afghanistan in the first place. No. We were mearly acting as the controlling power and doing exactly what we were supposed to do according to international relations. mattfelton 9:20 11/116/09

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