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What Is Our Goal in Iraq?


DjTj

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So the debate in Congress and the Sarge/chomerics/BlueTalon/WallyVon 24-hour marathon thread got me thinking...

What are we really trying to do in Iraq?

I can understand that we needed to topple Saddam Hussein. I can understand that we need to fight the terrorists. But we also seem to be caught up in some sort of amorphous nation building in Iraq, and it's not at all clear to me what our goals are.

The talking point seems to be that we want to establish a democracy there, which will spread throughout the Middle East, eventually ending terrorism and bringing freedom to all ... but how do we actually accomplish that goal? Has this ever been accomplished in any country? Is there reason to believe it is possible in Iraq? How long should we expect it to take?

Consider Korea. We intervened in a war there, and we won ... or we fought to a draw ... well, whatever happenned, we got to try to establish a democracy in South Korea. However, the government established in South Korea after the Korean War was an autocratic one, soon replaced by a democracy, but then in 1961, a military coup put the nation under a dictatorship for another 18 years. The dictator was assassinated, another dictator came to power, and it wasn't really until 1987 that South Korea had true multi-party democratic elections. During that entire time, the American military was stationed in Korea. After 50+ years, we're still there. Only recently have we begun to talk seriously about withdrawing.

Consider Japan. They surrendered at the end of WWII and submitted to American occupation for 7 years. Democracy in Japan has been relatively successful, although our military also continues to operate bases in that country. It's also important to note that Japan was a democracy between World War I and World War II, and much of the parliamentary structure was already in place, even under Hirohito.

Consider the Phillippines. After being a U.S. Commonwealth for a decade, the Phillippines were granted independence after WWII, when we liberated them from the Japanese. Although ostensibly a democratic government, the Phillippines were marked by civil unrest leading to a declaration of martial law in 1972. Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Phillippines as a dictator for nearly two decades, and although the government is now a democracy, they are still dealing with many problems with both Islamist and communist insurgencies. The Filipino economy is growing at at a reasonable pace, although the government is saddled with serious debt.

Consider Vietnam. After the U.S. "cut and ran" in 1973, the country quickly fell to the Viet Cong. The Communist regime drove the country into abject poverty until the mid-80's, when economic reforms began to encourage growth. Vietnam reestablished relations with the United States in 1995, and the U.S. is now the largest exporter of goods to Vietnam. Vietnam is now close to becoming a member of the WTO.

I'll stop there, but that's 4 countries where the U.S. was heavily involved in different ways, and the results have been mixed. In the most successful case, Japan, our occupation lasted 7 years. In the next best case of Korea, we have been there for 50+ years, and the transition to democracy was by no means easy. Even though we "lost" Vietnam, they seemed to have recognized their mistake by the 1980's, and are now on their way to recovery. The Phillippines have been continually troubled even though we left them as a democracy in 1946.

I guess what I wonder is that, twenty years from now, what do we want to see in Iraq? Do we want to see a semi-permanent American occupation like the one in Korea? Do we want to establish a democracy and leave them on their own like we did the Phillippines? Do we want to cut and run and leave them to make their own mistakes like Vietnam? Is there any chance that Iraq will turn out like Japan?

When we are told to "stay the course," what course are we staying? When will we be done? Are we going to be stuck babysitting for the next 50 years?

What is our goal in Iraq?

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What is our goal in Iraq?

Our goal is to establish democracy. . . but that has already failed IMO. Their "version" of democracy is just like Iran's version of democracy. In otherwords, the only democratic part is that they vote, but religion is part of their government.

With that being said, what MORE can we accomplish? In the latest poll, 80% of the Iraqis said they want us to leave, and 45% said that attacks on American soldiers were justified. I do think that that is a horrible sign, and "staying the course" is only creating more distruction. We need to allow Iraq to try to stabalize themselves, but no matter what, when we leave, it will get worse. They hate each other too much over there, and it will create civil unrest in a matter of no time. There was not a single leader to come forward and stand up in Iraq, maybe if there is one, we can leave it up to him, but I think it is going to be an uphill fight no matter how long we stay.

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I have three children who depend on the fact that America win the war on terrorism. Our country must be able to defeat any country that would have the present or future ability to kill millions of people in our own country. We clearly acted in a preemptive manner against a country known to terrorise their own people and a known enemy of America. Terrorists are the only "group" of people who do not have the conscience of country. The rules they play by are not unlike the cougar in the jungle. Survival of the fittest. America must be the cougar, not the terrorists.

For me, the goal in Iraq has already been accomplished. We have demonstrated our country's ability to devestate what was once considered a formidable force in the middle east. We have also positioned ourselves in a way that keep us VERY near Iran and Syria. While you may disagree with the manner in which we arrived in Iraq, you can not ignor the political leverage we wield in that part of the world right now. Any action that would be traced back to a middle east country would result in a swift and determined response.

Like it or not, we are in our generations "cold war". I love my country and ultimately defend our countrymen, our warriors, and our commander in chief. Politics aside for a minute. This country is not about who is in charge. It is about the good people of this country who live in freedom unlike any organized civilization in history. We may not be perfect, and our leaders may not be perfect.

For once I would just like people in this country to collectively come to an understanding of just how good we have it here. I am proud of my country and the missions that we have endeavored. The post war Iraq debate will continue, just like our post war involvement in Germany. Only history will judge our position in Iraq.

God Bless America.

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For me, the goal in Iraq has already been accomplished. We have demonstrated our country's ability to devestate what was once considered a formidable force in the middle east. We have also positioned ourselves in a way that keep us VERY near Iran and Syria. While you may disagree with the manner in which we arrived in Iraq, you can not ignor the political leverage we wield in that part of the world right now. Any action that would be traced back to a middle east country would result in a swift and determined response.

You say the goal is accomplished, but then you name another goal...

Would you say that our most important goal now is to establish a military foothold in the middle east where we can easily act against other potential terrorists?

It seems to me that this is a much more plausible goal than establishing democracy, and it is more in line with what we did in Korea. It didn't seem to matter to us whether South Korea was ruled by dictators or by a democracy, but it was very important to us to be able to keep troops near China, on the Pacific Rim, and within missile range on the USSR.

...does it really matter whether Iraq is a democracy? All we really need is a regime that is friendly towards us and allows our military to continue to occupy the country, like Saudi Arabia. In general, authoritarian regimes are much easier to negotiate with than democracies. Once Korea became a true democracy, the populous stating grumbling about kicking the Americans out ... I mean, just look at us - we're a democracy and we can't stop complaining about the war. Will creating a democracy in Iraq help or hurt our security interests?

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You say the goal is accomplished, but then you name another goal...

Would you say that our most important goal now is to establish a military foothold in the middle east where we can easily act against other potential terrorists?

It seems to me that this is a much more plausible goal than establishing democracy, and it is more in line with what we did in Korea. It didn't seem to matter to us whether South Korea was ruled by dictators or by a democracy, but it was very important to us to be able to keep troops near China, on the Pacific Rim, and within missile range on the USSR.

...does it really matter whether Iraq is a democracy? All we really need is a regime that is friendly towards us and allows our military to continue to occupy the country, like Saudi Arabia. In general, authoritarian regimes are much easier to negotiate with than democracies. Once Korea became a true democracy, the populous stating grumbling about kicking the Americans out ... I mean, just look at us - we're a democracy and we can't stop complaining about the war. Will creating a democracy in Iraq help or hurt our security interests?

Lets face it, Russia is still trying to figure our "democracy" after nearly two decades. For people to look at Iraq and expect Thomas Jefferson to show up and turn the country into America overnight is very narrow minded. The process that lead to America fighting to gain its independence took longer than 24 months, right?

My point above was to say that all along this was about setting a path of enlightenment for the oppressed people in the middle east. I am also on record by saying that ANY president regardless of political affiliation would have taken the same action as did we. The opportunity to legitimatly engage the forces in the middle east were too great not to do what we did. If over a generation we can win over the young and impressionable in that part of the world, we will have struck a major blow to the dictators and terrorists.

It is all about a process.

I have heard a lot of people say that we are actually damaging our position in the middle east. Well, if you have world media spinning the good that has come from Iraq process into some design of controlling oil then we will have a much more difficult time getting this done. The media needs to stop trying to sell airtime and paper advertising. Our political parties need to step back and understand the term STEWARDSHIP, and take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime in the middle east.

The average American is such the "I want now and I want it delivered" mentality that they can not see 10 to 20 years down the road. If we win the war on terror, I will not happen because we "killed" the terrorists. We will win the war on terrorism if we can "kill" the spirit that drives a terrorist to do his acts.

I am told that Japanese companies plan 10, 20, 30 years in advance. Plotting a strategy that understands victory is not won overnight, but instead is won by understanding the environment they live and will live in the future. Then putting their company in place so that when that future comes the company will already be there waiting.

My argument is that we are taking those planning steps. Just do not expect the population in America split by politics and lack of capacity to understand long term planning to "get it". It is likely that this war, much like the cold war, will be won by many of our President's. The only thing Bush will be remembered for was deciding to take the pivotal step of taking the fight to the enemies in their own country.

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Only our President has any clue as to what our goal is. At present moment we seem to be doing a pretty good job of providing targets of opportunity for the insurgents. Yes, I'm saying that we have outlasted whatever purpose we originally had. And no, I'm not falling into that "you're not supporting the military" trap. We are presently involved in a "conflict" that we can no longer "win". In an attempt to bring democracy to to a culture that is firmly grounded in its own fundamental religious teachings we have fallen head long into the image that most third world countries have of us. That is the image of the Global bully saying that "your way of life does not work, you need to do it this way". A suggestion backed up by the firepower of the worlds greatest military; real subtle hint that is.

Sure we won the war, or maybe that was just the opening battle. We've all heard that saying win the battle, lose the war. This thing has turned into this generations Vietnam. Do I believe that Saddam needed to be removed? Yes, because he was a terror to not only his own people, but the rest of the Middle East. We have accomplished that goal; its time to bring our troops home.

I'm a military vet, so I understand what it means to complete your mission. And like most in the military, when given a clear mission goal; its a matter of lock and load and we'll make it happen. At this moment our mission is supposed to be ensuring that a government has a chance to establish itself and to protect the innocent. How do you protect the innocent when the very people that you seek to protect strap on explosives, smile in your face, and attempt to provide you with a first class ticket to the end of your life?

If you want to support the military that I so proudly served its time to start bringing our troops home. :2cents:

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We need to allow Iraq to try to stabalize themselves, but no matter what, when we leave, it will get worse. They hate each other too much over there, and it will create civil unrest in a matter of no time. There was not a single leader to come forward and stand up in Iraq, maybe if there is one, we can leave it up to him, but I think it is going to be an uphill fight no matter how long we stay.

Thank God someone brought this up...no matter when we leave their will be still violence, not mention possibly a civil war. Another area, I want to touch on is whether it will enbolden the ememy/ let them wait us out if we set a time table....How does anyone know that?, Have they been watching TV with all the Suicide and car bombings? The terrorist are already their blowing things up...so no matter what, it will be a nightmare...another thing is this whole thing about pull out/ setting a timeable is clear politcal posturing on both sides of the Isle....bottom line is I wish we were never in this mess so we can get back to the issues facing this country (we all know what they are).

-Grant

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I think the goal is to establish Democracy in Iraq. I dont think we will be able to judge if this goal has been accomplished until atleast 15-20 years from now. Hey, it worked in Japan somehow so maybe itll work in Iraq afterall.

It worked in Japan, but Japan knew it had been defeated. The terrorists on the other hand are constantly working towards their overall goal of a true holy war. No matter what we do in Iraq the larger conflict will still remain.

Saudi Arabia continues to spread extremism. Iran moves towards nuclear power. Osama remains out of our grasp. Extremism continues to spread out from the source and into the modern world.

The conflict has only begun IMO.

This is why the war in Iraq seemed odd to me from the start. Saddam did not appear to be one of the sources of muslim extremism. One could argue that there is more extremist muslim activity in Iraq now then there was before the war.

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Are you saying this war was about oil?

There's too many mixed messages coming out of the white house about what we went over there for. But in the end, they're gonna sell us their oil. What's done is done, right or wrong, but we're getting ours. I'm just gonna ease on out of here before someone busts a blood vessel defending the president. But not a single one of you can deny that we're going to be getting some of Iraq's oil.

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There is no goal. They believed the Iraqi exiles. The IRaqis would bow down to their savior from Saddam and welcome us with open arms. Actually- the real goal was never mentioned! The real reason was for the U.S. to establish a permanent military base. Since Osama used our troops in Saudi Arabia as one of his reasons; the thinking was to move troops out of Arabia. Also, it would give us a permanent base to fight terrorists from. Remember- Bush keeps on saying- we got to keep the fight over there. Of course, while the terrorists haven't hit us yet- they are branching out besides Iraq!

Iraq is the like the former Yugoslavia. Different ethinic groups; forced together into one country. The ****es and Kurds got revenge on their minds. The IRaqi constitution is joke- they ****es and Kurds want their own federation within Iraq. The moment we leave, whether it's 2006 or 2007 or whenever; civil war will occur. I say it's time to stop wasting our time and having more troops die. Arm the Kurds and Shiites and come on home. Let them have their necessary war.

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This country is not about who is in charge. It is about the good people of this country who live in freedom unlike any organized civilization in history.

Any time you ask yourself why the rest of the world hates the USA, refer to your own arrogance.

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It seems to me that this is a much more plausible goal than establishing democracy, and it is more in line with what we did in Korea. It didn't seem to matter to us whether South Korea was ruled by dictators or by a democracy, but it was very important to us to be able to keep troops near China, on the Pacific Rim, and within missile range on the USSR.

...does it really matter whether Iraq is a democracy? All we really need is a regime that is friendly towards us and allows our military to continue to occupy the country, like Saudi Arabia. In general, authoritarian regimes are much easier to negotiate with than democracies. Once Korea became a true democracy, the populous stating grumbling about kicking the Americans out ... I mean, just look at us - we're a democracy and we can't stop complaining about the war. Will creating a democracy in Iraq help or hurt our security interests?

I think the single most important thing we can do is keep Iraq from becoming a base of operations for terrorists. Al Qaeda has poured most of their energies into trying to defeat us in Iraq, and that has largely been what has prevented any further attacks here in the US. Their reason for doing so is that they see their opportunity to establish a secure base of operations. Denying them this is the first and foremost priority.

As for the Iraqi government itself, we did the right thing in providing Iraq the opportunity for democracy. What they make of that opportunity will be up to them, no matter what we have to say about it. Given the fracturous nature of ethnic division there, it is unlikely that any smooth transition to democracy is possible. Unfortunately it took a Saddam Hussein to frighten people into be unified. Our best bet is to shore up the current situation with a government that can provide basic security and who will cooperate with us against terrorists. Then when we start pulling out, we will continue to use diplomacy, but we will have to let them determine their own path from there. Like South Korea, as long as they are helpful in the war on terror, whatever government they end up with will have to be good enough.

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Another area, I want to touch on is whether it will enbolden the ememy/ let them wait us out if we set a time table....How does anyone know that?, Have they been watching TV with all the Suicide and car bombings? The terrorist are already their blowing things up...so no matter what, it will be a nightmare...

Zarqawi started with roadside bombs and beheadings in Iraq. Now he's bombed a hotel in Jordan, and wants to cut off the king of Jordan's head. A US withdrawl will only pacify some of the purely Iraqi Sunni elements of the insurgency. Zarqawi and his bunch are a cancer that will spread if it is not agressively fought. It will continue to be a nightmare in Iraq for the near future. It will become a nightmare elsewhere and finally here if we simply choose to wait and see.

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Any time you ask yourself why the rest of the world hates the USA, refer to your own arrogance.

Jealousy begets hatred.

Shall we instead stoop to depths of socialism to make the "rest of the world" stop hating us? Further, if the rest of the world hates us, why do they take billions of our money? And if you say that we are stupid for giving these countries that hate us money then............you and I can agree to stop sending the mooches of the world cash.

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