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Iraq Election Countdown

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One week to the Iraqi election, and boy are we excited here at Craigorian Chant. Only a few lingering questions remain:

Who are the candidates? Their names have not been disclosed because they are afraid for their lives.

Where will the polling locations be? In order to avoid preemptive attacks by insurgents, the citizens have not yet been notified where they can vote.

How will the US ensure that people are safe when voting? We’ve done a bang up job so far with protecting those Iraqis who have enough civic pride to volunteer for the police force, so no worries.

What plans do we have to counter the inevitable sectarian violence that arises when the Shiite majority wins, and the Sunnis minority loses? The Sunnis had their turn under Saddam and it is time for them to graciously step aside.

How will we respond if the elected government asks for a total withdrawal of troops and a closure of all US military bases? Self determination is crucial to any fledgling democracy.

Bonus pithy answers to non-election questions:

Will the US continue to pursue its unilateralist approach to foreign policy, and its preemptive strike doctrine? Yes!

Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Iran.

Where does the buck stop for the torture prisoners in Iraq and Gitmo? Private First Class Lindy England and Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr.

Is there a terrorist threat for the inauguration as there has been with every other significant event in the US for the past 3 years? No! Terrorist chatter is down 62%!

Where is Osama bin Laden? A: He is a nebulous evil can arise at anytime, including your backyard around the time of the next election!

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About Craigorian

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    For a more balanced assessment of the very positive situation in Iraq going into the election check out http://www.iraqthemodel.com and http://www.chrenkoff.com

    IMO any election where scads of people have been quoted saying that if they are killed while trying to vote it will have been worth it, is cool with me. We could use some of that attitude here in the US.

    Oh, and..

    >>Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Iran.<<

    Well, not the original ones. The Iranians have their own. Saddam’s are apparently in Syria.

    Dave

  • Shark

    For an even MORE balanced assessment of the very positive situation in Iraq going into the election than Dave Nalle’s rose-colored fantasy wish parade, check out Shark’s copy of the official Iraqi Election Instructions

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Cross referencing these two posts confused me. It was also frustrating because I thought you were posting something serious and it was just the same silly sarcastic rant.

    Your lack of respect for the Iraqi people in their struggle for freedom at any price is dismaying. Maybe if you go and actually READ some of the posts from actual Iraqis on Iraq the Model it will cure you of your arrogance.

    Dave

  • Shark

    And Dave, your lack of respect for the reality of the Iraqi blunder and its costs now and in the future is dismaying.

    Shall we talk after the civil war?

    Or would you rather meet up on the Shiite Theocracy Inauguration Day?

  • Shark

    Gotta run, Dave.

    I hear dramatic music on CNN and I believe they’re showing LIVE shots of a gigantic explosion in Baghdad.

    Be back soon to hear more of your rosy projections….

  • Eric Olsen

    no, the dramatic music means it’s time for commercials

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You know Shark, one would think that if you had any kind of conscience, you’d want the Iraqis to at least have a chance at freedom and democracy. Yet you deride their efforts at every opportunity. What is it about people in the world struggling and hoping for freedom that you find so undesirable and threatening?

    Is it that you hate Bush so much that you’d rather see Iraqis enslaved to a murdering dictator or enmired in the chaos of a civil war than free and living independently with Bush getitng some of the credit?

    Methinks your priorities are screwed up to the point of being just plain evil.

    Dave

  • http://craigorianchant.blogspot.com/ Chris

    Dave,

    I don’t lack respect for the Iraqi people. I lack respect for their inept occupier. When you say “struggle for freedom” who do you think they are struggling against? “Terrorists”? If you think about it, the insurgents are in fact the ones doing most of the struggling. Time to face facts, people: we fucked this one up and employing rhetoric with a lot of abstract nouns like “freedom” and “terrorism” is not going to make the situation better.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Denigrating the genuine desire of the vast majority of Iraqis to participate in this election and establish a real, autonomous government is a hell of a lot worse than supporting and encouraging them. Whether we’ve screwed up along the way or not, we’ve helped them get to the point where there will be an election and they have a chance at getting a functional government out of it. Please tell me why that’s a bad thing for them?

    No matter how inept the US may have been in this situation, we’re not the ones trying to stop them from voting or trying to create chaos and a civil war or hoping to subject them to a theocracy by force.

    We have given them an opportunity which they would never have had without our intervention, and it’s reprehensible to suggest that the desire of the Iraqi people to be free should be discounted because you don’t like the administration which sent our troops into Iraq.

    Dave

  • Shark

    Nalle: “…one would think that if you had any kind of conscience…”

    Wait, wait! Dave, I think I know what’s next: you’re gonna trot out how I don’t have any sympathy for those who died on 9/11.

    Nalle: “…you’d want the Iraqis to at least have a chance at freedom and democracy.”

    Okay, I was wrong on that one, but hey, the debate is young.

    So now the accusation is that I DON’T WANT THE IRAQIS to “at least” have freedom and democracy.

    1) F. you.

    2) I wish the Iraqis all the luck in the world.

    3) This war was sold to us based on “weapons of mass destruction.” Remember that “they can hit us within 45 minutes!” bullshit?! Don’t call me chicken-little, dude. It was your GOP boys who scared Joe Sixpack into putting boots on the ground and a yellow magnet on the back of his gas-guzzling SUV. I DOUBT that the American public and her political leaders would have BOUGHT THE WAR if it were pitched as “spreading democracy” among Arabs who basically hate our ass.

    4) Freedom and Democracy: great stuff, but they’ve got to come spontaneously from within a culture; they can’t be ‘imposed’ from without. We’re learning that the hard way. As my ol’ pop used to say, “If you don’t earn it yourself, you don’t appreciate its value.”

    5) It ain’t our job to be building democracies around the friggin’ world, Dave. We can lend folks a hand, even arm them to the teeth to fight off their tyrants, but it’s not our job to send American soldiers to DIE FOR some strangers’ fucking democracy. If that were the ‘criteria’, we’d invade half the fucking planet, Dave, and we ain’t got the guns, the numbers, or the patience.

    6) And why aren’t we invading, say… SAUDI ARABIA, Dave?

    7) We’ll likely to end up trading one Saddam for another. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Or at the very least, setting off a civil war.

    Nalle: “…you deride their efforts at every opportunity. What is it about people in the world struggling and hoping for freedom that you find so undesirable and threatening?”

    Dave, let’s be clear about this: what I find undesirable and threatening is our President lying to us, distorting the facts, hiding the truth, encouraging the torturing of prisoners, isolating the US from our allies, and taking the nation to “war” based on bullshit — and then when the bullshit is uncovered, changing the reasons by tossing out big fat emotionally loaded abstractions like “Freedom” and “Democracy” for mindless Christian soldier motard-toadies like you to chant as if they have some sort of meaning in reality.

    BTW: Here’s the REALITY: Iraq is a shithouse hellhole, and IT AIN’T GONNA GET BETTER because you wish upon a star.

    So what’s the point, Dave?

    HINT: You can’t solve a problem until you identify it.

    Iraq. Vietnam. Denial.

    Etc.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Ah, so you’re completely beyond the reach of reason. That’s okay. I realize that emotion is all the disciples of hate and oppression have to fall back on when confronted with the fact that their selfish pursuit of a political agenda enables tyrrany around the world.

    It must be hard to claim to believe in a philosophy like liberalism which is based on the idea of doing good for mankind, and yet being forced by the herd mentality of your fellow travellers unreasoning hatred of ‘The Man’ to support murderous thugs and dictators just because they are the enemy of your enemy.

    >>BTW: Here’s the REALITY: Iraq is a shithouse hellhole, and IT AIN’T GONNA GET BETTER because you wish upon a star.< <

    You might want to consider familiarizing yourself with just a FEW of the facts of how things are going in Iraq before you spout off in utter emotion-driven ignorance. Don't bother to post any more comments directed at me until you've spent some time reading Arthur Chrenkoff’s summaries of real news and data from Iraq.

    >>4) Freedom and Democracy: great stuff, but they’ve got to come spontaneously from within a culture; they can’t be ‘imposed’ from without. We’re learning that the hard way. As my ol’ pop used to say, “If you don’t earn it yourself, you don’t appreciate its value.” < <

    So, I guess that it was a mistake to invade at Normandy since the people of Europe would have been better off overthrowing Hitler all by themselves? Your statement makes no sense. People can't win freedom and democracy for themselves when they are so oppressed they lack the opportunity to overthrow a tyrranical government. In that sort of situation only external force can remove their oppressors, and when that's how it happens, the fact that their opportunity for freedom was made possible by someone else does NOT diminish their right and desire to be free and self-governing.

    >>5) It ain’t our job to be building democracies around the friggin’ world, Dave. We can lend folks a hand, even arm them to the teeth to fight off their tyrants, but it’s not our job to send American soldiers to DIE FOR some strangers’ fucking democracy. If that were the ‘criteria’, we’d invade half the fucking planet, Dave, and we ain’t got the guns, the numbers, or the patience.< <

    As a general rule I agree that it's not our obligation to get involved in freeing people around the world. I would probably never have ordered troops to Iraq were I in that position. But I wasn't, and president Bush did it, and while it has been costly, once you've committed to a course like this the results of abandonning it would be worse than following it through. If it works then it will have been worth it in this one instance, but we should always consider very carefully before engaging in wars of liberation and it should not become our standard mode of foreign policy.

    >>6) And why aren’t we invading, say… SAUDI ARABIA, Dave?<<

    Because although they have a lot of bad people in their government and harbored within their borders, they are at least willing to try to work with us – hell, they let us station troops in their country. Plus although they do some fairly barbaric things, the level of governmental oppression there is only moderate – certainly not in the same league as Iraq. There are at least some people in Saudi Arabia who are moderate, sensible and willing to work with the west. That was not the case in Saddam’s Iraq.

    Dave

  • Shark

    Nalle: “…so you’re completely beyond the reach of reason… I realize that emotion is all the disciples of hate and oppression have to fall back on when confronted with the fact that their selfish pursuit of a political agenda enables tyrrany around the world.”

    Guess I shoulda stuck with my first impulse… which was:

    FUCK YOU.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Um, you already included that in your previous posting. I’ll add you to the ignore list right under Jim Carruthers.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Shark can be quite funny. And Shark can give wonderful posthumous tributes.

    But Shark can also be an unhinged assclown.

    So, I tend to give him a pass in these instances. His “side” always seems to lose, and it is clearly frustrating for him. So he vents via wild-eyed and offensive posts and comments on BlogCritics.

    Live and let live, I say. Also: He’s too much fun to ignore! ;-)

  • SFC SKI

    I did forget to mention that Shark’s other column was funny, too.

  • http://craigorianchant.blogspot.com/ Chris
  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    I can’t speak for Joe Sixpakc, I don’t know the guy, but Andy 12-pack would have bought off on a war like you describe Shark.

  • Shark

    re. me being an “unhinged assclown” —

    Strange.

    DaveNalle might operate under the delusion that he is a polite, well-mannered, rational pedant, but in reality, he entered the conversation thus:

    “…Your lack of respect for the Iraqi people in their struggle for freedom at any price is dismaying…”

    — which is about as explicit a personal insult as one can express.

    Then he followed up with:

    “…one would think that if you had any kind of conscience…”

    and

    “…your priorities are screwed up to the point of being just plain evil…”

    Which are just chickenshit ways of saying “fuck you”.

    Also note that I wasn’t the first to issue a personal insult. I pointed out Nalle’s ‘rose colored’ glasses — and he points out I have no conscience and happen to be Evil Incarnate.

    Just because some pedantic asshole hides his personal insults underneath a seemingly fact-based rational ‘discourse’ doesn’t mean he’s not an insulting asshole.

    Some of you need to learn to parse language a bit better.

  • Shark

    Chris: “As I see it the Iraqis are currently worse off under our rule then they were under Saddam. At least with Saddam they had a stable infrastructure and security…”

    Good points, and confirmed by many in Iraq.

    From an article in the New Yorker Magazine by Jon Lee Anderson:

    “…Some Iraqis say that Allawi’s toughness is what Iraq needs. “Iyad’s [Allawi] a thug, but a thug when he needs to be one,” one friend of Allawi’s with close ties to Jordan says. “The Americans who set this up call him Saddam Lite.”

    It seems that part of the Iraqi lesson lies in the old Yugoslavia.

    Meanwhile, our boy is “Saddam Lite” — A guy who executed seven prisoners at a police station by shooting them in the head with a pistol.

    And back at the ranch, Americans like Dave toss around “freedom” and “democracy” — while ignoring words like “civil war”, “ethnic cleansing”, “Iranian-friendly theocracy”, and “Yankee Go Home”.

  • Eric Olsen

    this thread about encapsulates the enormous divide between opponents and proponents of the war, and it is clearly an ideological divide – no one can even agree on language usage. By the way, there is a fundamental difference between insults that have to be parsed and insults that rather leap off the page, so to speak. AND, if the number of “civilian” casualties is 40,000 with 90% certainty then why do I hear the figure 100,000 tossed out as if it were gospel pregnant with meaning? Perhaps because 100,000 is a nice round impressive figure yanked from the collective anti-war ass.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Can you tell us concretely how you think ordinary Iraqis will benefit from democracy? Please refrain from using the words “freedom”, “hate”, “terrorists” and “tyranny”.< <

    I can't tell you that they absolutely WILL benefit from it, but I can tell you for certain that they at least deserve a chance to try it and see if they can get a better government for themselves. Remember, the alternatives to democracy are dictatorship or anarchy, and any small improvement over those would be progress. I like progress.

    >>As I see it the Iraqis are currently worse off under our rule then they were under Saddam. At least with Saddam they had a stable infrastructure and security (albeit by a gestapo police force). < <

    Absolutely untrue. See other recent posts on this topic. Under Saddam thousands of people were murdered every month, the infrastructure was failing, the economy was a disaster and you could be seized in your home, taken out, raped and tortured for virtually no reason at all. While some incidents like that are still happening, they are far fewer in number and are not organized and systematized as they were under Saddam.

    >>Since we invaded an estimated 100,000 Iraqis have died< <

    This is just not true. Even the people who originated this number admit that it's almost entirely guesswork and if you look at the original research it's abundantly clear that their methodology is so inexact as to make the research worthless.

    >> (40,000 with a 90% certainty)< <

    This number is also completely bogus. This is higher than the highest estimate made by even the most outspoken anti-war groups which have done legitimate research on the subject. Even counting every death of a civilian since the invasion - including those caused by terrorists (about 2/3 of the total - iragbodycount.com was only able to come up with a number about half of that, and of those fewer than 4000 are documented and those include 2/3 from terrorist or insurgent attacks.

    >> we have continued the torture that we decried in the former dictator; and we have failed to provide basic needs like electricity.< <

    Also not true. Torture was the general rule under Saddam and it was followed by murder. We have a couple of anomalous incidents which the victims survived. As for electricity, it was rationed in many areas under Saddam and availability has been increasing in many areas in the last few months. Is the occupation perfect? No. But ask ANY Iraqi if he's better off than he was under Saddam and you'll get a 'yes'. In fact, polls have been done and the answer to that question was a resounding 87% yes.

    >>So, I repeat: How are the lives of ordinary Iraqis better now that they have democracy?< <

    They don't actually have democracy yet and won't have a real full representative government until much later this year. You should read up on exactly what this election is and how it works.

    Don't just listen to what the media is telling you about the situation in Iraq. I think it's quite telling that people in Iraq have access to the internet and are blogging daily and telling the truth about the situation there.

    Try reading some of these pages:
    http://www.alsabaah.com/English.html?
    iraqthemodel.blogspot.com
    iraqilibe.blogspot.com/
    http://www.irc-co.com/elections/en/faq.asp#5

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    And back at the ranch, Americans like Dave toss around “freedom” and “democracy” — while ignoring words like

    “civil war”
    what we would have in Iraq if we pulled out.

    “ethnic cleansing”
    what saddam did to the kurds

    “Iranian-friendly theocracy”
    what the terrorists in iraq are trying to get by intimidating voters

    “Yankee Go Home”
    just what the murderers and thugs would like so that they can resume all three of the above.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Shark. Why bother? All anyone has to do is scroll back through the sequence of posts to see who started the insults and who escalated them. Once again, facts are your undoing.

    Dave

  • JR

    By the way, there is a fundamental difference between insults that have to be parsed and insults that rather leap off the page, so to speak.

    Yeah, the ones that leap off the page are at least honest.

  • http://craigorianchant.blogspot.com/ Chris

    Dave,

    It’s clear that you are a patriot and that you love your country right or wrong. However, your need to justify the war in vague terms like “freedom” and “elimination of tyrrany” makes it clear that the original motivation for war — an actual and immediate threat to America — no longer convinces you. Furthermore, your constant need to diminish the blunders caused by poor planning on the part of the Bush administration, and to diminish the significance of the fact that our troops committed the atrocities of torture and rape, makes you seem like an unthinking individual. I know you’re not, so I think that it’s time for you to pause and perform a moment of calculus. At what cost is the cause of “democracy for the Iraqi people” no longer worthwhile? How many American troops are you willing to sacrifice? How many Iraqi civilian deaths are justifiable? How big a mortgage on our country’s future budget are you willing to take out?

    Do you need as many as 2,000 troops to die before you admit your position is untenable? Would the death of 150,000 Iraqis convince you that maybe we made a mistake? Would $250,000,000,000 be too much to spend to free a country with a population of 25,000,000?

  • Shark

    Eric: “This thread about encapsulates the enormous divide between opponents and proponents of the war, and it is clearly an ideological divide…”

    Yep.

    I’m right – You’re wrong.

    We should have waited for the inspectors to do their jobs — Let’s go to war.

    Iraq will be a gigantic disaster — Everything is beautiful.

    =========

    EO: “…there is a fundamental difference between insults that have to be parsed and insults that rather leap off the page…”

    What JR said.

    =========

    Nalle, you deluded weasel; I thought I was on “ignore”—

    RE:

    “civil war”
    …what happens in Iraq when a brutal dictator isn’t running the show

    “ethnic cleansing”
    …what George Bush The First stood back and watched

    “Iranian-friendly theocracy”
    …what the voters in Iraq want

    “Yankee Go Home”
    …what Bush and Co will be secretly telling the “new” Iraqi “government” TO TELL US about 15 minutes after their “election”

    A request for another $80 Billion —
    …more US taxpayer handouts to the Bush family and friends, oops, I mean “the Military-Industrial” complex

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>It’s clear that you are a patriot and that you love your country right or wrong< <

    LOL. Hoover had a file on me down at the FBI office for anti-American activities. I'm sure he'd be happy to hear I'm now an unreasoning patriot.

    >>However, your need to justify the war in vague terms like “freedom” and “elimination of tyrrany” makes it clear that the original motivation for war — an actual and immediate threat to America — no longer convinces you.< <

    It actually never convinced me. I've wanted us to do something about Iraq since the gassing of the Kurds, and while I did believe in the WMDs like everyone else, I wasn't all that concerned about them as a threat to America. The issue with any terrorist weapon is delivery, not what's being delivered.

    >>Furthermore, your constant need to diminish the blunders caused by poor planning on the part of the Bush administration, and to diminish the significance of the fact that our troops committed the atrocities of torture and rape, makes you seem like an unthinking individual.< <

    It would, had I ever once made a post on the topic. You're just assuming that because I support our current mission in Iraq I'm excusing the problems that have gone with it, but you have no basis for coming to that conclusion from anything I've actually posted.

    >> I know you’re not, so I think that it’s time for you to pause and perform a moment of calculus. At what cost is the cause of “democracy for the Iraqi people” no longer worthwhile? How many American troops are you willing to sacrifice? How many Iraqi civilian deaths are justifiable? How big a mortgage on our country’s future budget are you willing to take out? < <

    I actually have no firm answer to this. On a purely philosophical level there is NO price which is too high to pay for freedom in Iraq. On a practical level all I can say is that we're nowhere near the price that I'd be willing to pay.

    You have to understand that I grew up in the Middle East and surrounded by Islamic culture because of my parents jobs and interestes. As a result I have a great deal of sympathy for the increasingly horrible situation which has developed in the Middle East and the responsibility which the US bears through innaction for the mess in that part of the world. This war in Iraq is one of the first times the US has tried a truly pro-active foreign policy in the area and I'd like to see how it plays out.

    >>Do you need as many as 2,000 troops to die before you admit your position is untenable? Would the death of 150,000 Iraqis convince you that maybe we made a mistake? Would $250,000,000,000 be too much to spend to free a country with a population of 25,000,000?<<

    From the perspective of a happy American sitting on his couch I guess 2000 dead troops and a few hundred thousand dead Iraqis seems like a high price to pay. Unfortunately having lived in other countries for so long and as a historian I guess I have a much more jaded view of human life. In a single battle in the Russo Japanese war in 1904 more soldiers died fighting over a frozen swamp than all the casualties, including civilians, in all the wars fought in the Middle East in the last 100 years.
    I also have a realistic view of money. $250 billion is less than our military budget here in the US for one year.

    That said, let me comment that ANY price is too much to have paid for failure or if we lose will and pull out before we’ve solved the Iraq problem.

    Dave

  • Shark

    ElitistPig: “This war in Iraq is one of the first times the US has tried a truly pro-active foreign policy in the area…”

    You’re joking, right?

    Please tell me yer joking.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Shark, Boondocks today is right up your alley

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    oops, wrong thread