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Who are the Terrorists Now? - UK & World Politics
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tom_berney
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tom_berney
Who are the Terrorists Now?
Did you see Rumsfeld saying he was too busy to spend his time dealing with
torture concerns? After all he was busy making a speech at a rock concert at the time ....

There are some suggestions that the famous American 30 second attention span is about to kick in and remove further revelations from their news media. However I read one American commentator pointing out that as USA's 'War on Terror' has now killed (not to mention tortured) FAR MORE innocent people than Al-Quaeda ever has then is the US Army now the terrorists?
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Comments
peterharvey From: peterharvey Date: May 22nd, 2004 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tom,

I have never in my life seen anything as stupid or scandalous as this misguided Iraq adventure. It was not possible to foresee how bad things would actually get, but many people predicted big problems for the Americans. However, apart from the current torture scandal they are in serious danger of total strategic failure. They left their bases in Saudi with the intention of establishing themselves more securely in Iraq and Afghanistan as a base for control of the Middle East. If they lose out in Iraq and fail to maintain a solid presence in Afghanistan, they will be way up the creek without a paddle and with no hope of remaining the dominant power, even just in military terms, for as long as they had expected.

If Bush is elected (not *re*-elected) President in November, I am not sure what the reaction worldwide will be.

Peter
tom_berney From: tom_berney Date: May 24th, 2004 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Peter,

[It was not possible to foresee how bad things would actually get, but many people predicted big problems for the Americans.]

Millions of us!

[They left their bases in Saudi with the intention of establishing themselves more securely in Iraq and Afghanistan as a base for control of the Middle East. ]

I understand they are well advanced in building their permanent miltary bases in Iraq. I expect they could maintain them even in a hostile climate provided their troops don't expect to leave the base for R&R.

[... with no hope of remaining the dominant power, even just in military terms, for as long as they had expected.]

I'll post a copy of an interesting article Martin (spit) Jacques ahas written on that.

[If Bush is elected (not *re*-elected) President in November, I am not sure what the reaction worldwide will be.]

It would depend on whether he can find more Blairs and Aznars. That's why I'm so keen for Blair to go quickly.

regards,
Tom
peterharvey From: peterharvey Date: May 27th, 2004 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tom,

[I understand they are well advanced in building their permanent miltary bases in Iraq. I expect they could maintain them even in a hostile climate provided their troops don't expect to leave the base for R&R.]

I hadn't heard about that, but there are precedents for large bases having to be abandoned with a change of regime. There are American/British bases in Libya that have not been used since Gaddafi came to power.

Peter
tom_berney From: tom_berney Date: May 28th, 2004 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Bases in Iraq

Peter,

[I hadn't heard about that, but there are precedents for large bases having to be abandoned with a change of regime.]

Yes but Iraq would be such a prime site for them. They would take a great deal shifting.

regards,
Tom
From: tonyhatfield Date: May 26th, 2004 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
[I have never in my life seen anything as stupid or scandalous as this misguided Iraq adventure. It was not possible to foresee how bad things would actually get, but many people predicted big problems for the Americans.]

Peter,

Those of us who warned that the adventure was likely to fall apart must now begin to face up to answering the question the Prime Minister batted back to Charlie Kennedy at PMQ’s today. Are the Iraqis minus Saddam better off now than they would have been had the UK/US followed the UN route, which may have allowed the dictator to remain in power? It’s about time we examined a cost/benefit analysis of the decision.

According to Iraq body count, http://www.iraqbodycount.net/, civilian deaths, since the war started, now exceed 11,000. There is no record of Iraqi military deaths and no record of Iraqi civilian injuries. Coalition fatalities have reached 910, with, according to the US Department of Defense, 4327 recorded as “wounded in action”. I can find no record of other coalition wounded.

Iraq’s infrastructure has been flattened. Even today, over a year after Bush declared the war won, most of the Iraqi people still do not have regular supplies of clean water and electricity. And although we are told that schools are open, many of the parents are too frightened that their children will be kidnapped to let them attend those schools.
Oil production, which was to finance the rebuilding, has hardly recovered to pre-war levels. Western firms engaged in large rebuilding projects are leaving the country. BP has just pulled out their staff. Even with 150, 000 troops and an unknown number of mercenaries, Iraq is a state that resembles a failed state. The streets are not safe. That is unlikely to change on the 1st July.

Is the world outside any safer? According to the Institute of Strategic Studies more terrorists have been recruited. Iraq, a state without Al Qaida, is now becoming a training ground for those terrorists who left Afghanistan. Moderate Islamic states- Egypt and Jordan- see their own extreme Islamists become more threatening. Saudi Arabia with the majority of its population under 25 and unemployed must look towards the future with real concern.
t

peterharvey From: peterharvey Date: May 28th, 2004 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tony,

[Those of us who warned that the adventure was likely to fall apart must now begin to face up to answering the question the Prime Minister batted back to Charlie Kennedy at PMQ’s today. Are the Iraqis minus Saddam better off now than they would have been had the UK/US followed the UN route, which may have allowed the dictator to remain in power? ]

I agree that that is a fair question to ask, and I agree with your comments on it, but it must not be forgotten that even if Iraq were much better off now, the war would still have been illegal and fought on the basis of a lie. There were many opinions at the time as the existence of WMD and the threat that they posed if they existed but the fact remains that the official reason why the UK went to war was a matter of pre-emptive self-defence. It was *not* to bring peace, harmony and democracy to a people living under the jackboot of an evil dictatorship -- that was the post facto rationale when things went wrong.

The Spanish people lived under a dictatorship for 36 years but they wouldn't have thanked anyone for invading their country on the excuse of getting rid of Franco for them.

Peter
peterharvey From: peterharvey Date: May 22nd, 2004 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I meant to say in my previous message that while nobody could have foreseen what would happen in Iraq, the present dreadful mess shows in retrospect the danger of a power acting outside the law. The abandonment of moral respect for the law has led the USA to a situation where its own forces have no constraint on their actions. The absolute power of the United States has corrupted its government absolutely.
tom_berney From: tom_berney Date: May 24th, 2004 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Peter,

[the present dreadful mess shows in retrospect the danger of a power acting outside the law. The abandonment of moral respect for the law has led the USA to a situation where its own forces have no constraint on their actions. The absolute power of the United States has corrupted its government absolutely.]

That's right, as soon as they said the Geneva Convention (or any other kind of law) did not apply to their captives they were sending the signal to their troops that anything was admissable. Their talk of "light torture" etc sets their insistence on immunity from the ICC in a very revealing context. Any moral authority they might have professed has been blown out of the water.

regards,
Tom
Tom
peterharvey From: peterharvey Date: May 27th, 2004 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tom,

[That's right, as soon as they said the Geneva Convention (or any other kind of law) did not apply to their captives they were sending the signal to their troops that anything was admissable.]

Maybe not intentionally, but yes.

[Their talk of "light torture" etc sets their insistence on immunity from the ICC in a very revealing context.]

It is tempting and easy to take a cynical line on that, but I am not sure. A case can only go to the ICC when the State whose troops are accused cannot or will not handle the matter through its own legal system; that is not the case of the USA. I think that they just wanted to oppose anything that smelt of other countries getting together to act in common at world level.

[Any moral authority they might have professed has been blown out of the water.]

That is true regardless of the ICC question.

Peter
tom_berney From: tom_berney Date: May 28th, 2004 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Peter,

[Maybe not intentionally,]

Intentionally! It is becoming increasingly clear that such practices were deliberate and endemic. I went to a talk by Rageh Omaar this week (BBC Iraq correspondent). He said the thing that horrified him and his Iraqi friends was that it was obvious that Abu Ghraib etc was not just a case of some hotheads beating prisoners up. Someone had deliberately sat down and thought out a strategy that would be particularly degrading for Arabs - the nakedness, sex, womenn's underwear and dogs etc. Then implemented it.

[It is tempting and easy to take a cynical line on that, but I am not sure. ]

I do not think it is possible to be too cynical about the neo-cons motives or intentions

[can only go to the ICC when the State whose troops are accused cannot or will not handle the matter through its own legal system;]


You are assuming that onlty the 'troops were responsible. What if Rumsfeld et al gave the orders? egards,
Tom
peterharvey From: peterharvey Date: May 28th, 2004 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tom,

[Someone had deliberately sat down and thought out a strategy that would be particularly degrading for Arabs - the nakedness, sex, womenn's underwear and dogs etc. Then implemented it.]

Arabs are far from unique in being degraded by such treatment.

I doubt very much if Rumsfeld or anyone high up set out such a plan in detail. What is far more probable is that ambiguous orders were given at the top and blind eyes were turned lower down.

Have a look at http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1226638,00.html

[You are assuming that onlty the 'troops were responsible. What if Rumsfeld et al gave the orders?]

I don't think that the ICC deals with political responsibility (though I may be wrong -- Tony?). However, the military situation is perfectly clear
amd has been since Nuremberg: illegal orders must not be obeyed, and those who do obey them are as guilty as those who give them.

Peter
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