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WP: American public doesn't need UN's blessing


Henry

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Coming from The Post this is pretty telling.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53997-2003Feb10.html

Most Support Attack On Iraq, With Allies

Poll Finds Renewed Backing for War

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, February 11, 2003; Page A14

A majority of Americans support attacking Iraq even without the approval of the United Nations, provided that the United States has the backing of some key allies, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans said they would endorse military action to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein over the objections of the U.N. Security Council if the United States is supported by close allies such as Britain, Australia and Italy. The governments of those countries have been among the strongest supporters of military strikes against Iraq.

In important ways, the latest survey documents how President Bush has managed in a few weeks to refocus national attention on the crisis with Iraq and renew public support for taking military action in the next few weeks.

Bush's job approval rating, which had spiraled steadily downward through 2002 and into January, has rebounded and now stands at 64 percent. Support for military action is far broader and deeper than opposition to it. A growing majority say negotiating with Iraq won't work. And the proportion of the public that wants the war to begin in a few weeks rather than a few months has never been higher.

The survey also found that a majority of the public remain open to a postwar role for the United States in Iraq. But most Americans are unwilling to commit the United States to the kind of postwar rebuilding effort that many inside and outside the administration say will be essential to bringing economic and political stability to the country.

Fifty-six percent said they oppose the postwar rebuilding efforts in Iraq if the United States would have to keep troops in the country for several years and spend $15 billion a year, the most conservative publicly available estimates of what it would take to stabilize a post-Hussein Iraq.

Opposition is fairly strong even among Republicans (46 percent), who otherwise are strong backers of the president's positions on Iraq.

Taken together, the poll results suggest that Americans are far more willing to wage war than to do what may be necessary to bring a lasting peace to Iraq -- views that could change as the Bush administration moves from winning support for the war to persuading the public to support ambitious plans to rebuild postwar Iraq.

A total of 1,001 randomly selected adults were interviewed Feb. 6 to 9 for this poll. Margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Americans clearly sense these are troubling times at home and abroad. More than 7 in 10 said they are worried about the situations in Iraq and North Korea, and nearly as many expressed concern about the national economy.

The survey shows how the public has rallied around Bush during this time of national crisis. Six in 10 approve of the way Bush is handling the Iraq situation, up 11 points in three weeks. More Americans say Bush is doing a good job dealing with North Korea than disapprove of the president's performance. But fewer than half -- 47 percent -- like the way Bush is managing the economy, a slight improvement in recent weeks.

The survey found support for war has surged since mid-January, a boost that began with Bush's State of the Union address and was sustained by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's address last week to the U.N. Security Council.

Two in 3 Americans support going to war, unchanged from immediately after the State of the Union speech but up 9 percentage points in less than a month. Half the public continues to support U.S. action if the United Nations opposes war -- a proportion that rises to 57 percent if at least some allies join the United States. On the Sunday morning talk shows, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice made repeated references to the "18 European countries" that support disarming Hussein.

Support for war remains far stronger than opposition to it. Two-thirds of those who favor attacking Iraq said there is little chance they will change their minds. But more than half of all opponents -- 53 percent -- acknowledge they are wavering and could switch.

One reason for the broad and deep support for war is that the public's confidence that diplomacy will be successful is diminishing. Fewer than a third -- 30 percent -- said there is at least some chance negotiations with Iraq will work, down from 38 percent in a Post-ABC survey conducted three weeks ago. (In contrast, 2 in 3 believe negotiations will successfully conclude the confrontation with North Korea, though the proportion expressing confidence is also down from last month.)

Another reason is that an overwhelming majority of Americans now believe there is clear, convincing evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and is hiding them from U.N. inspectors. Seven in 10 believe Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, and 6 in 10 believe Hussein is trying to develop nuclear arms.

A majority -- 55 percent -- now believe that Iraq has provided direct support to the al Qaeda terrorist group, up from 49 percent in a survey conducted immediately after Powell addressed the Security Council.

And Americans, 56 percent to 33 percent, said Iraq poses a greater threat to the United States than North Korea, the other "axis of evil" nation in the headlines recently for its apparent renewed efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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Fifty-six percent said they oppose the postwar rebuilding efforts in Iraq if the United States would have to keep troops in the country for several years and spend $15 billion a year, the most conservative publicly available estimates of what it would take to stabilize a post-Hussein Iraq.

The short sightedness of the american public never ceases to amaze me. Leaving Iraq before rebuilding and stabalizing the country would be a grave mistake. We have the opportunity to show the muslim world that we are not the evil monsters they think we are if we improve the quality of life, educate, and guide the Iraqi people in their first steps towards some form of democracy. We have before us a huge opportunity to not only blunt the criticism of the US, but to gain a foothold in the minds and hearts of the muslim world. Let's hope we have the good sense to follow through.

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Mike,

Your thoughts here are that the Muslims will be overjoyed with how tender and caring we are after we destroy one of the countries they live in, and then we show our kindness and concern by occupation while installing pro-West leaderships and importing a little of who we are to the region?

That's nuts.

We have already shown and proven to the Muslim world that we aren't the monsters they think we are. We've done this simply by allowing them to breathe under their own leadership instead of ours as we are the first global power not to actively colonialize as much of the rest of the world as possible.

Being in Iraq is going to make them hate us more. They hate us because we do what we want unchecked. Parking military bases, as we'll do, in Iraq, will just p!ss them off more at the sheer audacity of what power allows us to do. We're going to have a military base in Iraq similar to how we have one in Cuba for all time I think when this is over.

That might make them like us more for not being in the holy area of Saudi Arabia so that could be good. We will be in Iraq helping to rebuild whether the "public" wants to or not. Further, we will be receiving credits in the form of Iraqi oil to help assist in this matter so the cost will largely be nominal in the end. But, while I know and support what we are going to probably have to do in the region, it's not going to make them love us as you think.

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No Art. Once again you have shown your supreme ability to misconstrue my words. :doh:

"Nuts" would be to bomb the country, go in and take out Sadam and leave. We would leave a huge power vacume that would surely be filled by an extremist government.

Note that I never said we would make them love us. What is it with you? Is your only means of argument to "enhance" what others say untill you can find something to swipe at?

And what makes you think that the muslim world who have been taught to hate us have any understanding of America's history of not actively colonializing as much of the rest of the world as possible? Are you so nieve as to think they are taught this?

We CAN gain a foothold in the hearts and minds of the muslim world. It will not happen over night but it CAN happen. It HAS to happen. If not, we may as well become the monsters they think we are and start a 21st century crusade to wipe them out. All I am saying is that we will have an opportunity to try. Unless you think we should not even do that, why the hell are you attacking my views?

Art, you are a smart guy with a gift for words, but you are not nearly as smart as you think you are. Your ego and your tendancy to twist, then attack other peoples thoughts are your weakness. For once, try to grasp the big picture, understand that what I am saying is fundimentaly correct and leave well enough alone.

:doh:

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I am going to go with mad mike here.

A western friendly democracy in Iraq would be a major boon to the US.

An argument can be made that the lashing out against the US in the middle east has little to do with the US at all. How does the US affect the average citizen of Saudi Arabia? Aside from our oil purchases, we are about as cut off from them as any country in the world.

IF we can get an islamic democracy established in the region, that will disrupt the monopolies on the flow of information into the region. Mike is right, the process will not end overnight. ARt is right that the muslim world will lash out against us. They will lash out because the leadership will fear the encroachment of democracy on thier informational monopoly.

We need a counterexample. If we get a democracy that works, then people will see that democracy is not about exploitation, they will see that the opposite is true. If we build it, we can pull some of the moderate's support out from under the extremeists. The moderates have turned to the extremeists out of desperation. The governments throughout the middle east are a joke, and they are hurting the people who live in them. When people see that it is not the US that is doing the damage tot hemselves, but thier own governments, they will be much more likely to overturn thier governments. (I'm talking on the span of like 50 years here, but it could be sooner)

The importance of rebuilding iraq is in it's ability to show the moderates inhabitiing the middle east that there is another option. A better option in fact. If we relieve the desparation, we will ameliorate the terror. It's really the only way.

-DB

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Guys, this is a decades-long, or longer struggle that we're beginning to fight here. It's the struggle to appeal to moderate Muslims and Arabs to take posession of their religion and their politics and to defuse anti-Western aggression.

As the saying goes, "the proof is in the pudding". I don't expect, however much good we do in Iraq, that it will be publicly acknowledged within the Arab and Islamic before at least 20 to 30 years pass. This is true for a number of reasons.

However, what's important here is that short term reaction, even short term reaction that is violently (literally) opposed to our actions, means nothing in the context of our struggle. What we simply need to focus on is doing the right thing, and removing Saddam and his regime from power is the right thing.

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Arguments over the proposed war aside ...

Theoretically yes, supporting a democratic state in Iraq could theoretically

1) Be powerful positive example for the region,

2) provide a strong check to the power of Iran and Saudia Arabia in the region, and

3) might even inspire "bloodless" democratic revolutions in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

However, the devil is in the details.

I'm concerned that the majority of the "Iraqi opposition" that is currently supporting a US invasion are simply Kurdish or Shiite radicals. Like the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, these people are no champions of human rights, women's rights or democracy: They simply want power.

In fact, even though Hussein is a monster, not all aspects of his Baath regime are evil. Iraqi women typically enjoy far more freedoms than their counterparts elsewhere in the middle east: They hold office, they don't have to wear shawls, etc. This isn't the case in the Kurdish held areas.

So, if we depose the Baaths, will we really spend the time, money and other resources to do things right? Will we ensure that the future is no worse than the present for the majority of people?

Our track record so far in Afghanistan doesn't bode well for Iraq: put a few troops in the capital, build next to nothing, and give the rest of the country to warlords who rob and rape with impunity.

And, even if we truly are sincere about rebuilding, do we really believe that the US will build a successful democracy where oil profits are diverted to social needs (a la Norway?) .... or will we simply recoup our war costs?

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It's hard to get info on afghanistan right now, does anyone know how things are going there? I know things are difficult, but is there a police force yet?

I know we are pouring money into the region and I wonder if we have gotten to the point where we are providing infrastructure or simply basic rations?

-DB

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Mike, to you....

"No Art. Once again you have shown your supreme ability to misconstrue my words. :doh: "Nuts" would be to bomb the country, go in and take out Sadam and leave. We would leave a huge power vacume that would surely be filled by an extremist government."

That's all fine Mike. As I said in my post, I agreed with the necessity of being in Iraq after we do what it is we may have to do. I said that. I also said it's nuts to think the necessity of what we have to do is going to help our relationship with people in the region, so, since I agree with and agreed with this statement I hardly misconstrued much yet.

"Note that I never said we would make them love us. What is it with you? Is your only means of argument to "enhance" what others say untill you can find something to swipe at?"

Mike, to put it simply, I never said you used the word love. You did write that we could start going about winning the hearts and minds of the people of the region and, forgive me for extrapolating, but, winning the hearts and minds would mean the people would love us. You think going in and occupying a nation filled with Muslims is going to create a situatino in which the people will begin to show solicitude toward us, arising from the recognition of our attractive qualities or of underlying oneness. That's what we'd do winning the hearts and minds. The English love us. We love the English. We've won their hearts and minds. They've won ours. Please, don't start getting all niggling on me here. You said we'd go about winning over their hearts and minds and I said it won't help them to love us (substitute win over their hearts and minds if you wish). Are you going to feign some outrage at this simple conjunction of thoughts and meanings? If so, stop.

"And what makes you think that the muslim world who have been taught to hate us have any understanding of America's history of not actively colonializing as much of the rest of the world as possible? Are you so nieve as to think they are taught this?"

Muslims are taught, right in the very book they find holy, that there are three worlds on Earth. There is the Muslim world. There is the world that Muslims do business with. And there is the world Muslims are at war with. Are you really asking me if I'M naive when I question the effectiveness of occupation of a Muslim nation as a manner for getting them won over? If I were you I'd examine what you've stated here if you're looking for a person who may not be completely in touch with the possibilities :).

"We CAN gain a foothold in the hearts and minds of the muslim world. It will not happen over night but it CAN happen. It HAS to happen. If not, we may as well become the monsters they think we are and start a 21st century crusade to wipe them out. All I am saying is that we will have an opportunity to try. Unless you think we should not even do that, why the hell are you attacking my views?"

First off, I wasn't attacking your views. I think it's naive in the extreme to think conquering a nation filled with Muslims and then occupying it is a method to winning over hearts and minds of people who already think we are uncontained in the power we exercise. I AGREE with you on the need to be active in Iraq after a war there. I think you need to be honest with yourself though that such actions will not cause them to love us. It won't open the door to winning their hearts and minds. It will likely make them further resent us. Make them wonder why we are so arrogant to think we can appoint a ruler for them -- as if they were determing their previous ruler. If it happens to make them start to like us, that'd be a huge, wonderful, great bonus. But, thinking occupation of a foreign land is the manner to bring that about just shows no worldly awareness of the history of such things.

You usually hate the occupying force more than you've ever hated them. Only when the lives of the individuals in that country improve may they reflect that we were a key reason they have a better lot and then, years from now, the seeds we plant in what we must do after we end the current Iraqi regime won't be sown until after we are no longer in the country. If it is otherwise, that'd be a huge bonus. Expecting it as a likely possibility just shows you haven't accepted the reality of what is likely going to occur. I prefer to be surprised by good news rather than disappointed by bad news. But that's just me.

"Art, you are a smart guy with a gift for words, but you are not nearly as smart as you think you are. Your ego and your tendancy to twist, then attack other peoples thoughts are your weakness. For once, try to grasp the big picture, understand that what I am saying is fundimentaly correct and leave well enough alone."

Mike, I suppose I'd have to say to you that you weren't terribly attacked. In fact, you were agreed with on the necessity of what we must do after we attack Iraq. What you are saying, though, fundamentally is inane and childlike. Stating that occupation is a means to creating GOOD WILL is just laughably unaware. It's wishful. Innocent. And totally misplaced here. We have to do what we must. But, if you are going in thinking it is going to create pillow fights and sleep overs you are going to be in for a disappointment.

Expect the resentment and anger that will accompany any occupying force in any country. Expect suicide bombers against our troops, and our people. Expect a surge in terrorism against us if we occupy those lands for long. Expect a raised level of threat against us for years. And if it turns out that we are able to win the people over while we are there, then that's one great side effect we couldn't possibly have been considering was likely going in. Other than that, I'd recommend you be less sensitive or talk less. You're on a message board. Often you will not find your thoughts completely embraced. Often you will. In fact, you and I have often completely found ourselves in line on some things. That's kind of how it works.

So, stop the crybaby sh!t :).

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Other than that, I'd recommend you be less sensitive or talk less. You're on a message board. Often you will not find your thoughts completely embraced. Often you will. In fact, you and I have often completely found ourselves in line on some things. That's kind of how it works.

So, stop the crybaby sh!t .

And your Looooooong response would be the result of your ability to take critisism? :laugh:

Let me just say that "winning the hearts and minds DOS NOT by definition mean make them love us. In the context in which I wrote it, it means make them hate us less. A concept that was considered imposible in Afghanistan and is working out quite well thank you.

But that's OK, you keep quibbling over comas. :high:

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if we do attack and prevail, occupation will be tricky. tehre have been hints that Iraqis would prefer a more democratic society. key questions:

1) are there parties/leaders who can assume the role of democratic leaders?

2) if the US withdraws after a short occupation will tribal warfare ensue?

3) can this be done comparatively quickly?

there is a long memory of British occupation and imperialism during the last century. Point 3 will heavily influence how the US is perceived in Iraq. outstay the welcome and we invite all the negative historical associations with the British Empire.

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The U.S. will need to maintain a presence in Iraq but for how long is anybody's guess. No doubt we will be there long enough to tear the country apart looking to hidden caches of WMD. We must also build a democratic government out of opposition parties such as the Iraqi National Congress (INC), Iraqi Kurdish groups the KDP and the PUK, along with other secular, Islamic and ethnic-based factions. This is going to take a long time.

The INC is the most prominent of the opposition groups, having received the most US funding under a 1998 act of Congress authorizing nearly 100 million dollars for anti-Saddam forces. Any new government will also need to address the historical internal tensions particularly between its long ruling Sunni minority and its long frustrated Shiite majority. Revenge killings will be rampant as the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites will vent long held hostilities upon each other.

Any way you slice it this is going to be a long and drawn out bit of nation building. The U.S. will of course control it all including the redistribution of the oil wealth. As the country transitions to democracy the U.S. presence will gradually diminish but I still see us in a supporting role for many years to come.

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