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August 21, 2005

Iraqi "freedom"

Another great post from Digby:

I got an e-mail from someone I respect asking me why I made such a big deal out of women's rights being denied when there are so many other freedoms at stake. It's a legitimate question I suppose, but I think the question answers itself. The fact is that under Saddam, in their everyday lives, one half of the population had more real, tangible freedom than they have now and that they will have under some form of Shar'ia. The sheer numbers of people whose freedom are affected make it the most glaring and tragic symbol of our failed "noble cause."

Iraqi women have enjoyed secular, western-style equality for more than 40 years. Most females have no memory of living any other way. In order to meet an arbitrary deadline for domestic political reasons, we have capitulated to theocrats on the single most important constitutional issue facing the average Iraqi woman --- which means that we have now officially failed more than half of the Iraqis we supposedly came to help. We have "liberated" millions of people from rights they have had all their lives. [Read it all, now!]

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We've seen the reasons for the Iraqi war change repeatedly over time, as WMD's, terrorist flypaper and violent extremism all took center stage for a time. Now the Iraqi's are about to approve a constitution that includes the recognition [Read More]

Comments

Well Cooldown…

“hey Americans including Lindsay
i see you hate your own president more than such dictators like Saddam - congratulations!
greetings from Europe”

Actually cooldown lately when ever Bush falls on his ass and suffers a policy debacle as in Iraqis setting up an Islamic state based on Sharia and denying women equal rights… the repug trolls like you and the other 101st keyboardist come out to hijack the threads.

The latest tactic is to claim that you’re not from this country and how shocked you are by our hatred. So I thought I’d just skip the amenities and get to the nitty gritty asshole and you haven’t disappointed me one bit.

I make no apologies for the fact that I despise the Bush and his Neocon rat filth because of what they are doing to this country. I have worked and lived for the last twenty years outside of the US and have seen the dictatorships that you have spoken about first hand. Countries where people are afraid to look up and everyone avoids direct eye contact.

The people in those countries when you get them in private will tell you that thing that we have that they don’t is constitutional protections of their liberties and a Bill of Rights. Yet Bush is working extremely hard to erode exactly that with his push for the Patriot Act.

Under the Patriot Act a person could be declared a “person of interest” and picked up without being charged with a crime, held indefinitely, denied legal representation, denied a hearing, and in violation of the Geneva Convention denied a hearing to even determine his status.

In his majority opinion in “Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld”, even the most conservative justice on our Supreme Court, Justice Scalia, quoted Blackthorne who calls this “the very definition of tyranny.”

In its current expanded form that just passed in the House, the fourth amendment rights protection of Judicial oversight and the necessity to establish “due cause” for search and seizure has been abandoned. For your point of reference you might try reading “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” and you will see that these were the same maneuvers used by… you know who! Right down to the war on the judiciary and suspension of Germany’s Supreme Court.

Bush and his band of “evil doers” have legitimized torture as treatment for prisoners of war and have pretended to have their hands clean by outsourcing these duties to foreign countries like Egypt, Uzbekistan, and Jordan. They have disgraced our nation and surrendered the moral high ground that we once had.

“If you used such words (like "sycophant") about the ruler in totalitarian society, you would go to jail at best; i won't tell you what would happen to you at worst.”

You’re right in this… but Bush and the Neocons have not been able to pull off a complete coup here yet and the American people are turning against him in increasing numbers. For the moment we still have free speech, but it is in dire jeopardy. So while I can still say it…

Main Entry: sy•co•phant
Pronunciation: -f&nt also -"fant
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin sycophanta slanderer, swindler, from Greek sykophantEs slanderer, from sykon fig + phainein to show -- more at FANCY
: a servile self-seeking flatterer
synonym see PARASITE

I think that fits that SOB quite well.


"If there is anyone that Bush has murdered, it's the Arabs, and I generally don't have a problem with that."
Well, I suppose at least you're honest. Completely lacking in any kind of compassion, but honest.
By the way, Arab does not equal Islamic militant. Over 50% of the population of Iraq is under 18. Do you think that it's OK that the war has killed many children too?


Actually its not we who have capitulated... its the Iraqis. It is their country and while it is tragic that they have decided to deny women their rights that they had under Saddam... that is their choice.

So when you say "Iraqis" you mean Iraqi men - you seem completely comfortable with the mindset that says that 50% of Iraqis are not actual citizens of Iraq.

Unless you are suggesting that it is Iraqi women's choice to have their own pre-war rights taken away. Which is it?

"So when you say "Iraqis" you mean Iraqi men - you seem completely comfortable with the mindset that says that 50% of Iraqis are not actual citizens of Iraq."

No Nancy... I didn't say that at all. Lindsay implied that it was the US who did this. It was the Iraqi men and possibly some Iraqi women, even the US has its Phyllis Schaffly's after all, who have chosen to use Sharia as the basis for their new government. The US did not impose that on the Iraqis, they chose it.

And as I said it is tragic, which in no way says I'm comfortable with it at all.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice had a completely distorted view of reality. They never gave one iota of thought about the aftermath to the war and the power vacuum that would be created by their actions.

The Sunni/Baathist party was the back bone of the army and the ones who supported the secularist point of view that granted women those rights. Bush and company threw them out of the army, disenfranchised them from being in the government. They now comprise a substantial part of the insurgency.

It’s the Sunni’s who have just warned the Shiia and the Kurds that to ratify the new constitution without their consent will mean civil war and it sure looks like that bomb is about to go off. The US doesn’t have enough troops to control the insurgency as it is and if the Shiia decide that its time to start shooting again the US is going to be right smack in the middle with everyone shooting at them.

The Iraqis have signed a military cooperation pact with Iran to train and modernize their army, they have announced their intent to use Sharia as the backbone of their government in a form of Islamic state, and they have asked the US to begin withdrawal of its troops.

So Nancy, the question of the hour is what do you do about this situation? Do you want to send another couple of hundred thousand US troops into Iraq and force them to have the government that you want?


thanks Flint for your comment, well, i'd like to say a lot of things :)but i'm very busy at the moment, so i just would like to stress the most important points:

first, when a despot (including Saddam) bites the dust, i am happy. But things are getting more complicated when one starts thinking about the relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq. Perhaps only global geopolitical thinking might help, which is not easy to do (especially when one is mad at domestic political figures).

second, i know the history of the Third Reich quite well. I don't think you are on the way to a fascist state. But of course everybody should be careful - as one smart guy has said "It is seldom that any freedom is lost all at once."

and third perhaps most important, all this stuff of comparisons between Bush, etc. and totalitarian rulers is VERY misleading, in particular for the people who live under totalitarian rulers. They say smth like 'eh Americans themselves say that they live under a brutal despotic murderer, that they are not free, blah blah etc etc'. Even in my own not-totalitarian :) country I can hear a lot of nonsense about America. Ok, I know domestic political debates can run very hot but I beg you to be careful when explaining things especially to the rest of the world e.g. how you use the word "free" and the like.

PS. I started thinking that all this mess might be related to the fact belonging to political psychology, namely that domestic political figures are much hated or adored etc, what's going overseas doesn't excite so much feelings...

cooldown--

It seems that I wasn't entirely clear in my post. I didn't mean to imply that I think Bush is a murderer. I thought it was quite clear that I was saying that Americans hate bin Laden more than Bush, because BIN LADEN is a murderer. Before you pounce, let me remind you that my position is that most American's don't HATE Bush, but a lot of us are angry with him.

I typed a little too quickly when I referenced environmental and civil rights protections. I meant that neither Hussein nor Kim Jong-il weakened these protections IN THE U.S. I know that you understand about the problems involved in typing hastily, as you've done quite a bit of it in this forum.

Again, the point is that we tend to be most upset with those whose actions AFFECT US DIRECTLY. If your neighbor were to harm one of your relatives, you'd probably be more upset with that neighbor than you are with Dennis Rader (the BTK killer). Rader is, no doubt, a much worse human being than anyone you'll ever come into contact with. Nevertheless, there are probably a lot of people who will make you more angry.

So, that's my explanation as to why you don't find endless screeds on this blog about how angry we are with Assad, Hussein, and any number of dictators around the globe. I'm glad to see that you're beginning to see this point.

A couple of other points are worth making. First, I want to go back to the point I made in my original post--you're saying that the only reason many of us are critical of Bush is that we don't live in a totalitarian state, but the fact is that many of the "liberated" people of Iraq wish that Bush had never been born. This perspective is by no means limited to those few who mourn the passing of the Baathist regime. Who can blame the Iraqi Bush-haters? If you were brought up by an abusive stepfather, and someone broke in, killed your stepfather and two of your siblings, tortured your mother, and burned your house down, how would you feel about your "liberator?"

Second, you seem to think that the reason the United States isn't a totalitarian state is that there is some fundamental difference between Bush and Hussein. The evidence seems to point in a different direction--the reason is that 200 year old American institutions have prevented Bush from doing whatever he wants. As Flint points out, Bush has attempted to undermine the rights that Hussein denied his people. He instituted torture, and when his atrocities were discovered he offered the same defense that is used by every dictator: "Oh, there was TORTURE going on? I had no idea--I'll put a stop to it right now. Oh, we're STILL torturing people? Those darn overeager interrogators, I'll get them! Oh, MORE torture..."

stork--

Bush is responsible for the actions of his own administration. At the 2004 convention, Zell Miller gave a fully vetted keynote speech that included these lines:

"While young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief.

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

In their warped way of thinking, America is the problem, not the solution."

Was Miller accusing the opponents of the war of being unpatriotic (and unfairly lumping congressional Democrats in with the opponents of the war)? Yes. Did Bush say that he disagreed with Miller when he accepted the nomination? No. Too cowardly to make the charge himself, Bush decided instead to simply let Miller's charges stand, and let Miller take the heat for this bit of demagaguery, while Bush reaped the political benefits.

As for stealing elections, I'd like to point out two things:

1) The 1960 election wasn't stolen. Many assume that, because Illinois was close (9,000 votes) and Richard Daly was notoriously corrupt, that state would have been Nixon's if the votes were counted fairly. Many have tried to make this case, but they've been unable to come up with any real evidence. And even if Nixon had won Illinois, Kennedy would have won the election.

2) Bush did steal the 2000 election. Unlike Illinois in 1960, Florida in 2000 was decided by only a few hundred votes. There was massive vote fraud, including scrubbing thousands of eligible voters, most of them African-American, from the voter rolls.

Even so, a full recount would have resulted in a Gore victory (as documented by the Miami Herald, which obtained and counted the ballots), but Bush blocked the recount by filing the lawsuit known as Bush v. Gore. Note that the lawsuit isn't called "A bunch of people with no connection to Bush v. Gore". It's called "Bush v. Gore". That's because it was Bush who filed the lawsuit to make sure the votes didn't get counted. Yes, the election was stolen. And yes, it was Bush who stole it.

ok gordo, i agree with your statement "the reason is that 200 year old American institutions have prevented Bush from doing whatever he wants." though i am not so sure what he wants. Moreover, there is SOME fundamental difference between Bush and Hussein. But this is not so interesting and important - of course the main thing is American political system.
And don't be so sure about the number of "Iraqi Bush-haters".

Cooldown…

“first, when a despot (including Saddam) bites the dust, i am happy. But things are getting more complicated when one starts thinking about the relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq. Perhaps only global geopolitical thinking might help, which is not easy to do (especially when one is mad at domestic political figures).”


If Bush had an ops team go in and blow Saddam and his kids away I wouldn’t have blinked an eye. I have never forgotten the photos of the five thousand men, women and children he murdered in the Kurdish town he lobbed the nerve gas missile into.

The Neocons have an agenda much larger than that though and have used Saddam and WMDs as a pretext for their plan for global hegemony. Again this is fantasy and is right up there with “the happy Iraqi” and “Iraqi oil will pay for the war” scenarios.

Your comment, “But things are getting more complicated when one starts thinking about the relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq” is referencing Cindy Sheehan and the anti-war movement. I wouldn’t want my kid going to fight in Iraq for oil and the war profiteers of Halliburton and KBR. She has a right to be angry and vocal.

“Perhaps only global geopolitical thinking might help”

You want geopolitical thinking? How about this… Osama Bin laden released a communiqué the week before our elections which the administration censored until the day the polls opened so as to bury it. OBL stated that his plan was to bankrupt the US the same way that they did the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

He busted one “superpower” and he knows he can bust another because he has a working model. Huge standing armies responding to insurgencies fail over time because of cost factors! Our costs in this war financially is at 300 Billion dollars at a run rate of a billion dollars a week. Our national debt is now approaching 8 trillion dollars and is threatening global economic structures.OBL proved his point and the war in Iraq is one of the greatest strategic blunders in our history.


“second, i know the history of the Third Reich quite well. I don't think you are on the way to a fascist state. But of course everybody should be careful - as one smart guy has said "It is seldom that any freedom is lost all at once."

You might go to this link and give it a read and then we can talk…

http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0403a.asp

As to smart guys, I prefer Thomas Jefferson…
"... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson

As to your assertion,

“all this stuff of comparisons between Bush, etc. and totalitarian rulers is VERY misleading”

I don’t think its misleading at all… he’s not a Nazi, but a “robber baron capitalist” hell bent on consolidating power for himself and a ruling financial aristocracy. He has systematically attacked all of the checks and balances of our government in an effort to remove the constraints that prevent him from doing that.

If left unchecked I have no doubt that the US would transition into something that looks like Mexico where you have five families that control 90% of the wealth, a tiny middle class and a whole lot of “serfs.” Its a country where in a recent poll 60% of the Mexicans from all economic strata said that they want to migrate into the US. Economic tyranny is still tyranny.


"So when you say "Iraqis" you mean Iraqi men - you seem completely comfortable with the mindset that says that 50% of Iraqis are not actual citizens of Iraq."

No Nancy... I didn't say that at all. Lindsay implied that it was the US who did this. It was the Iraqi men and possibly some Iraqi women, even the US has its Phyllis Schaffly's after all, who have chosen to use Sharia as the basis for their new government. The US did not impose that on the Iraqis, they chose it.

So unless you're saying that a few pro-Sharia women represent all Iraqi women, then you DO mean Iraqi men when you say "they chose it."

So are you saying that, for example, if a majority of whites (plus a few blacks) in a country want to deny civil rights to blacks, that would be OK with you?

The US didn't impose religious laws on Iraqis, but the US created a situation where this would happen. And anybody who has paid attention could have predicted a civil war, and the denial of equal rights to women.

And after all, Saudi Arabian leaders impose religion-based restrictions on women, and they're pals of the Bush family. So why should this administration be the least little bit concerned about the denial of women's rights in Iraq?

As others have noted, they only bring up women's rights as a convenient excuse.

But that doesn't mean WE should shrug and say what you're saying, which is in effect that we should allow the Iraqis to treat "their" women however they wish.

Nancy...

What definition of the word tragic do you think means approval?

"But that doesn't mean WE should shrug and say what you're saying, which is in effect that we should allow the Iraqis to treat "their" women however they wish."

I never said that either... so you want to add 200,000 troops into Iraq now eh Nancy? You never answered my question... what do you think we should do?

second, i know the history of the Third Reich quite well. I don't think you are on the way to a fascist state. But of course everybody should be careful - as one smart guy has said "It is seldom that any freedom is lost all at once."

The biggest danger to freedom in the United States is from the current political arms race between which political party wants to make America the "most safe" from terrorism. So both parties are rushing to fill in ever more police state laws, ever more searches, ever more cameras, in order to not be the one that dropped the ball on a terrorist act.

It's stupid.

In the very least, someone should at least call Bush on, if we are fighting a war in Afghanistan and Iraq to stop terrorism, we shouldn't need the USA PATRIOT Act at home.

And we should admit that this is a holy war, that it has been going on ever since the muslims first invaded egypt and then shortly therafter France, and, that, it's going to go on for a long time and will continue to do so. The Islam is the enemy of Christians and always has been, and always will be, and by virtue of being a predominantly christian country, and a powerful one, the USA is a target.

Bush was remarkably clever in how he communicated this and I'm still shocked that the left never caught it.

I never said that either... so you want to add 200,000 troops into Iraq now eh Nancy? You never answered my question... what do you think we should do?

There's nothing we can do. When the US invaded Iraq, this was the most likely result. Anyone could see it. That's why I opposed the invasion of Iraq since day one - Saddam was evil - but the alternative was no less evil, and thousands of Americans had to die for it.

But you talk about the situation as if this is not a case of one half of all Iraqis' rights being denied in order to broker this constitution - a constitution that the Bush people are going to proclaim represents a success for them, and for "freedom."

And you seem content to let the Bushies get away with it, by insisting that the "Iraqis" want things that way. You're perfectly happy to sweep half of all Iraqis under the rug, as if that will have any bearing on when we cut and run.

The Islam is the enemy of Christians and always has been, and always will be, and by virtue of being a predominantly christian country, and a powerful one, the USA is a target.

All religions are enemies of all other religions, because they all maintain that only their belief system is correct, and other systems are not only incorrect but, in most cases, doom adherents to damnation or some other horrors.

But like any international conflict, the real cause of the middle Eastern strife is economic. But you, and most Americans, and most people of the world will happily pledge to destroy other people if it is explained to them in those simple terms - Christianity vs. Islam.

And since most Americans know nothing about the middle East, they didn't care that Iraq was a secular state, and bin Laden is a religious zealot who hated Saddam - to them, all Muslims/Arabs are the same. Which is why it was so easy for Bush to divert their attention from Afghanistan to Iraq - Americans couldn't tell the difference, didn't care about the differences, and didn't want to know the difference. By attacking Saddam, we were attacking all of "them."


But like any international conflict, the real cause of the middle Eastern strife is economic. But you, and most Americans, and most people of the world will happily pledge to destroy other people if it is explained to them in those simple terms - Christianity vs. Islam.

Sorry, careless editing on my part. I didn't mean to include you there.

I do think that Islam vs. Christianity is simplistic - but I agree that Bush used it. Just as middle Eastern leaders use it to deflect attention away from their own crimes.

Nancy…
“But you talk about the situation as if this is not a case of one half of all Iraqis' rights being denied in order to broker this constitution - a constitution that the Bush people are going to proclaim represents a success for them, and for "freedom."

And you seem content to let the Bushies get away with it, by insisting that the "Iraqis" want things that way. You're perfectly happy to sweep half of all Iraqis under the rug, as if that will have any bearing on when we cut and run.”


Once again, I never said that or implied it, what I did say in response to cooldown was…

“Actually cooldown lately whenever Bush falls on his ass and suffers a policy debacle as in Iraqis setting up an Islamic state based on Sharia and denying women equal rights… the repug trolls like you and the other 101st keyboardist come out to hijack the threads.

The latest tactic is to claim that you’re not from this country and how shocked you are by our hatred. So I thought I’d just skip the amenities and get to the nitty gritty asshole and you haven’t disappointed me one bit.

I make no apologies for the fact that I despise the Bush and his Neocon rat filth because of what they are doing to this country.”


That is hardly letting the Bushies off the hook or saying that women’s rights don’t matter. Like you, I came to the same conclusion before the invasion…

“There's nothing we can do. When the US invaded Iraq, this was the most likely result. Anyone could see it. That's why I opposed the invasion of Iraq since day one - Saddam was evil - but the alternative was no less evil, and thousands of Americans had to die for it.”


Bush’s line of bullshit is smacking him in the face and we should continue to drive it home. The neocons have been wrong about everything and this will be viewed as one of the biggest debacles in American history.

The costs in human lives and suffering is staggering, the financial impacts are overwhelming, and the long term repercussions of this blunder will take many decades to overcome.

The past repeats itself and as T. E. Lawrence pointed out in his report on Mesopotamia:

“The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.”

http://www.antiwar.com/orig/lawrence.php

You know everybody, political views don't matter. Religion doesn't matter. None of this matters one bit. Men have always killed each other. They always will. You all argue as if one side is right and one side is wrong, and you have taken your respective sides. That is all beside the point.
Men are warlike creatures. Those of you men that are anti-war are even using war like rhetoric and tactics. You wear military gear at protests and call yourselves protest warriors. You use anti-Bush propaganda, then cry about the propaganda you think you see in the main stream media. You can't even understand the hatred in yourselves is a mirror image of the hatred Muslims have towards Jews and Hindus towards Muslims. You hate the right vehemently and run around with signs saying Stop the Hate. Get a clue.
Humans like to have an enemy, it makes them feel superior. There is no difference between you Libs and the KKK. You feel superior to rednecks and Repubs, and the KKK feel superior to Blacks. Oh, you are saying to yourselves, but I am superior to Republicans. Everything that they believe is wrong and everything that I believe is right!
If you really think that Bush is evil and that everything would be hunky dory if only he and the US military would disappear overnight you need to think again. You lefties think that the US and it's corporations are evil. Bush thinks that North Korea and Iran are evil. What makes you any more right than Bush? This is just another chapter in history and the expansion of values and empires. Besides there are almost 23 million Iraqis and 150 thousand US troops. If the Iraqis really wanted us out of there, we'd be toast. There is nothing wrong with Americans dieing either. Why should we be insulated from the violence that countries experience daily. More young men are killed on inner city streets across America than have died in the Iraq war. They didn't volunteer to go and be killed. Why don't you go to Baltimore and take over the mean streets there and stop the killing?
The pacifist view that you are espousing is just a blip in history. A toothless leftover from the 60's. You leftists need an enemy to survive and you have picked Bush. You guys are so full of self hatred and guilt for your cushy little lives that you envy the truly oppressed people and love to act as if you are at the threshhold of fascism. It turns you on to think it so even though no one in the third world would believe for one minute that you are in the least oppressed. They know how lucky you are. You fly to protests when most people in this country are putting in a 10 hour shift to pay the bills. You block citizens from exercising their constitutionally protected rights. Then you complain about the Minutemen. You are just like the Minutemen except that the Minutemen are trying to prevent people from entering the country illegally and you are trying to prevent people legally going about their business. You leftists pass laws in San Francisco against Pit Bulls having testicles, against gun ownership and smoking. Then you run around yelling that leftists should violate the laws when they don't suit their agenda. I think that gun shops should destroy all records of people that buy guns in San Francisco to protect their rights. After all gun ownership is constitutionally protected.
Since the Library I work at destroys patron records regularly so as not to comply with the Patriot Act, I think gun shops should do the same.
If you want to talk about women's rights, Bush may want to control the world's oil but the Islamofascists want to control the women. Although I don't even drive I still know what side my bread's buttered on.

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