View Single Post
Old 01-11-2007, 05:24 PM   #62
Spider AL
@Spider AL
A well-spoken villain...
Spider AL's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Help, help, I'm stapled to my workstation.
Posts: 2,162
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I'll agree with you on that--it would have been more fair, or at least less biased, though I still think the verdict would have been 'guilty'. Whether they would have executed him or not is a different story.
Well I'm glad you agree, it is a very basic moral question, after all.

As for whether the verdict would have been the same or not, that's an utter irrelevance that is constantly thrown around by neo-con apologists. A lynch mob could say the same thing of the man they hang: "Oh, well a jury would have found him guilty anyway". It would be just as irrelevant to the point that their actions were both illegal and immoral. As in this case.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

They've been fighting, to varying degrees, for a long time. It's nothing new.
"To varying degrees"... That is such a non-specific statement that it covers a multitude of sins, and is therefore essentially meaningless.

The fact is that even when Saddam's Baathist regime was severely weakened during the mid-eighties- I think the most extreme example was in '86- the Shia did not rise up against the Sunni minority. And that was despite the fact that Iran was throwing massive Shia propaganda their way at the time, encouraging an uprising. At that time nationalist concerns far outweighed religious rivalries, and there is no significant evidence to suggest that the situation altered at all until we illegally and amorally blundered into their country.

And of course, suffice it to say that the neo-cons have been warning of the danger of a civil war since 2003. Specifically, a civil war if we leave "before the job is done". It wasn't true then, and there's no reason we should take such claims seriously now. Especially when such claims routinely confuse Iraqi people themselves.

I'll worry about a Sunni-Shia civil war when someone OTHER than a neo-con apologist warns me about it, and I suggest you should adopt the same view.

Of course, as stated before, our presence as an occupying force can do nothing to improve sectarian interrelations. And a civil war would have positive aspects, from the point of view of the US/UK. For instance, if Sunni and Shia were at each others' throats, then Sunni would have little time to fight against the occupying forces. They are in a minority, after all. And there are quite a few people in Iraq who believe that we are directly or indirectly trying to foment religious unrest through our Iraqi policies precisely for this reason, and others.

And sadly, looking at our historical record in these matters, they may have good cause to accuse us. Such a thing would hardly be out of character for us.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Under Saddam's regime, the Shi'a didn't dare fight the Sunnis/Baathists, or they ended up in mass graves or as targets/amusements for Saddam & Sons. Saddam quelled the violence temporarily, but the underlying differences remained. If he'd been entirely successful at getting the 2 groups to get along like brothers and sisters and resolve all their problems, there wouldn't be major unrest and fighting right now. There wouldn't have been a hornet's nest for the US/UK to stir up in the first place.
Too black-and-white, Jae. It seems you think of the tension between Sunni and Shia as either "On the verge of civil war!" or "getting along like brothers and sisters".

Of course there is religious tension between those of different denominations. But the question is, is the neoconservative propagandist assessment of the LEVEL of that tension- both now and in the past- accurate? There isn't really much evidence to suggest that it is accurate. If you have some non-neocon surveys or reports, I'd be very interested to see them.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

It was rather an exercise in "How to Fix Iraq if Politics and Finances Were Not an Issue". Well, we can always hope that some of those things will happen, at least. I never said it would happen, but it'd be nice if it did. Unfortunately, what we should do and what we are able to do (and what we choose to do) are entirely different things. Americans aren't too excited about paying more in taxes for anything Iraq-related, regardless of our responsibility.
As stated before, the only moral thing to do is to clear the troops out. This is because an occupying force has no rights, only responsibilities. And the very first moral responsibility is to abide by the will of the victims- in this case the Iraqi people. And they don't want us there as an occupying force. So we should clear out, and then attempt to do those nice things you suggested from afar.

Of course, we're not going to do the moral thing, because our governments are amoral.

So if we aren't going to do the moral thing, what are we going to do? Well sadly, I think we're going to continue spending taxpayers money and soldiers' lives in an attempt to stabilise our puppet regime in office in Iraq. We will do this by oppressing the Iraqi people and slaughtering a fair few insurgents (and civilians) along the way. And of course, as an illegally occupying force we have no moral right to kill Iraqis, and we can never claim "self-defence".

So the former is what we should do, and in my estimation the latter is what we possibly WILL do. But who knows as to the latter? The machinations of our governments are labyrinthine indeed.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

While I don't disagree that money can/has disappeared into the DoD black hole, what specifically are you refering to?
I believe it was something to the order of nine billion dollars US, unaccounted for according to a US audit published in 2005. I cited several news sources in post #19, in the interests of both space and time I'll have to refer you back to it rather than re-typing the paragraphs/links.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Heh, we've both reached the point of cynicism on this one.
Rationalism Jae, rationalism. Cynicism is about as misleading as optimism... though often less damaging.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

The discussion for several posts prior to mine was about Iranian agents.
Agents in Iraq.

You stated: "'Iranian agents' isn't quite the right way to look at it. It's 'Shi'a agents who happen to be Iranian' because religion drives politics there as much as, if not more than, nationality."

The phrase "drives politics there" refers to a place, not people or agents. Therefore it was reasonable to assume that you were referring to Iraq and the situation specific to Iraq. Therefore my rebuttals were exactly apt, and perfectly pertinent. The fact is that religion does not drive politics in Iraq as much as nationalistic concerns, and never has in recent Iraqi history. There, religion is a tool used to further political aims, just as Christianity is in the US. The driving forces (and senior US intelligence officials have agreed with me on this) are financial gain, and the pursuit of power. Not religion.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

If you read something that you think has more than one possible interpretation, it's appropriate to ask the writer to clarify
Actually it was quite obvious to me what your statement meant, and frankly it still is obvious. The paragraph above this one shows that my initial interpretation was the literal one, and I believe the technically correct one.

And frankly, I didn't ask you for clarification because once again, your statement seemed fairly clear. You stated that religion and nationality were AT LEAST equal in terms of how much they "drive" politics in Iraq. I cited sources to show that this was not the case.

Once again, if you feel that I didn't read your intent, you're absolutely correct, because I cannot know your intent. But I did read your text. If it's not what you meant to type, it is not my problem.

But of course this argument of "reading intent" is an old argument between you and I, and I feel no need to pursue it. I really won't address any further assertions that I misread this particular statement, as I have just comprehensively disproven them.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Are you applying this broadly to the Middle East or more narrowly to just Iraq?
I believe my previous statements clearly answer your question. However, it could be said that even in the most fundamentalist countries, religion is once again merely a handy tool to influence the populous. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.

Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

religion is a factor in that it was responsible for creating at least 2 of the political entities that currently exist there. The problem of dealing with the differences between the groups is likely going to require some kind of a religious component as part of the solution.
The fact that our illegal and immoral invasion has allowed some power-hungry individuals to start using religious rhetoric to further their political aims is beyond question. But as to a solution... from our point of view the solution begins with us removing our occupying forces from Iraq. Whether the solution the Iraqis eventually come up with for themselves contains a "religious component" would be interesting to see, but would be a moot point.

If on the other hand you're suggesting that we should remain in Iraq and pander to groups in religious terms... that would merely be counter-productive. The fact is that we have destroyed one of the most secular of middle-eastern societies and have made every effort to usher in fundamentalism. I don't think adding to the sectarian stew in ANY respect would be at all constructive. Any "assistance" we offer Iraq should be firmly secularist in nature.


Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

The Iraqis tried him, then an appeal was launched that failed. Would it have been any diffirent had it come to the International Courts? Saddam's actions are beyond doubt, his punishment regardless of which court he faced must fit the crime. Execution? I am now against the idea given what it has done, but yes I would say that verdict still would have been given,
First of all, it was a US puppet Iraqi regime that tried Saddam.

Secondly as stated in my first paragraph, any comments like "well he would have been found guilty even if the court were valid" are highly irrelevant to the moral question, and merely compound the immorality of the show-trial and lynching.

As for your declaration that you are now against Saddam's execution "given what it has done", well anyone with a brain could have told you "what it would do" before it was done. And many people accurately predicted the results.

Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

and recieved just the same level of criticism.
You're suggesting here that if the trial and execution had been in line with international law... it would have received the same level of criticism? What utter nonsense. The trial and execution was illegal and immoral. If the trial and execution had been legal and moral, it wouldn't be criticised for being illegal and immoral now, would it.

[FW] Spider AL
Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.
Spider AL is offline   you may: