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Old 03-24-2003, 01:49 PM   #1
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I've tried to keep my mouth shut during this whole affair but I simply can't any longer. If I hadn't had this particular forum and it's current discussions burning a hole in the back of my mind all day as I tried to work I could, but it's getting to the point where I can no longer adequately concentrate for any length of time without these issues popping back up and driving me mad. I can only assume that the reason anyone is against this war is because they are ill informed. Certainly it makes sense not to trust everything that comes from western media, so I can see how you may be lacking in sufficient information. Here is where this post comes in. I believe, and if I'm wrong, chime in please, that I am the only Arabic linguist amongst our crew here. To lend a little credibility to what I'm about to present I'll have to give a little background. First and foremost I'm a United States Marine. Don't write this post off because of that, I'll only be presenting cold hard facts until the end, then I'll give my opinion. Secondly, I've spent the last 3 years learning how to speak read and understand Arabic and the associated cultures. 3 out of 4 members of my teaching team were Iraqi. The other was Egyptian. 3 years may not sound long, but I assure you that the program the Department of Defense has is far superior to any college in the world at present. I've worked with Iraqis, Egyptians, Syrians, Palestinians, Lebanese and Jordanians, to name a few. Whatever conclusions you may draw as to why the military would train linguists of any sort, keep them to yourself please, I won't comment on it. Back to the point. America and her allies are fighting a war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. So I'm going to give a few well known and some not-so well known pieces of information about this regime and its actions over the past few years. My intent is not to change anyones opinion on the war, merely to better inform you about why it is being fought. I read and listen to more arabic news than I do english. I have the luxury of understanding what AlJazeera and others broadcast without it being translated or edited by CNN or the BBC. Everything I'm about to say is confirmed not only by AlJazeera but CNN and the BBC, so you can trust that the facts are not distorted by bias in any way shape or form. If ultimately necessary I can furnish documents for everything here, but some of it will be in arabic so it wouldn't do much good.

During the first Gulf War Saddam Hussein set up torture and rape camps in Kuwait.

Since Saddam came to power elections have been held. The ballot has two options. You may vote For Saddam or Against Saddam. On the back of the ballot is where you fill out your name and address. If you do not fill out that portion the vote is invalid. If you vote against Saddam, you and your family are killed.

Shortly after the war ended two uprisings occurred in Iraq. First, the Shiite Muslims in the south held protests against the government. Second, the Kurds in the north began to launch a campaign with the goal of ending Saddam's reign. The Kurds managed to gain control of all of northern Iraq short of Baghdad itself. They called upon America to assist them in the final upset, but as popular opinion of the war had diminished we did nothing. Because of this Iraq broke the cease fire and used its Air Force to slaughter the Kurds, most of whom were forced to flee north across the mountains, where they were killed by the Turkish. The Shiites demonstrations were also similarly suppressed, which is why the UN enacted the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq, which have been violated on a weekly basis since they were put in place.

To aid the people of Iraq after the first war we implemented a 'Food for Oil' exchange program. What was documented in BBC Arabic as well as AlJazeera but unfortunately never on western news stations was that several Iraqi generals were convicted of hoarding the food and selling it on the black market, as well as the fact that Iraq has on numerous occasions been caught trying to smuggle oil out of the country to sell on the free market. This means that not only were the Iraqi people being deprived of food, but also the potential revenue that legal oil trade might have brought in.

Saddam has two sons. As teenagers they were invited to the basement of one of his palaces and allowed to execute political prisoners. Udai has been exiled twice. Once for beating a man to death at a party for the First Lady of Egypt, and again for attempting to kill his brother by using an attack helicopter. The other is the head of Iraq's security forces. If Saddam were to die naturally the power would no doubt fall to one of them.

During the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings Saddam used crop dusters to attack them with chemical agents. This brought about the first round of UN inspections, which, contrary to popular belief, have been a continuous effort since 1991.

Iraq has been on the track of developing nuclear weapons for over a decade. When weapons inspectors first went in they found that they were within 3 years of having 'the bomb.' Subsequently they attempted to destroy all the labs, and the scientists for the most part defected to America.

Before the war the Iraqi dinar was worth 3 American dollars. After the war the dollar is worth 3000 dinars. In the face of this horrendous economy Saddam has ordered the burning of trenches filled with oil and the fields themselves, effectively wasting the only resource that could fund the country after the end of the war.

Today a member of the Fedayeen was interviewed on AlJazeera. The Fedayeen are a militia organized by Saddam who are not considered regular army. This enables them to fight but if killed in a conflict they can be claimed as "innocent civilians" I don't know if this has been broadcast here but this is what he said: "We will kill the American Invaders and we will kill all those who do not kill Americans."

Finally, there exists a document that anyone in the Armed Forces is familiar with. This is the Law of War. Put simply, it outlines what can and cannot be considered a target in wartime and what constitutes a 'fair fight.' It is accepted and followed by most every civilized country on earth. In the past week of fighting the Iraqis have violated the Law of War 4 times. They have placed military targets in the hearts of cities next to hospitals and Mosques, they have shot at parachuting troops while still in the air, they have launched ambush attacks while waving a flag of truce, and they have executed prisoners of war.

This ends the factual part of this post. Now its opinion time. If, in the light of this evidence you can still state firmly that you think what the Alliance is doing is wrong, you possess a depth of conviction inconceivable to me. If you think that this could have been avoided by diplomacy you are quite simply wrong. Diplomacy works against rational men and women. Even if the unlikely were to happen and we were able to disarm Saddam fully and leave, his regime would still be intact and not only would the Iraqis still be oppressed but he could simply begin developing his weapons again. If you oppose the war because you just plain don't like America I can accept that. If you think that America should not assume the role of Global Police I can understand where you are coming from, but I'm telling you that it would be a greater sin to allow things like this to happen in the world and sit idly by than it is to get militarily involved and tick a few people off. Its as simple as this. We all saw Spiderman. With great power comes great responsibility. The USA is the most powerful nation to ever walk the face of earth since the dawn of known existence. We are willing to commit our young men and women's lives to bring the freedoms we enjoy and take for granted to other nations. And if you're concerned about those men and women fighting over there, don't worry about them. America's military is 100% voluntary. There is not a single fighting man out there who did not swear his life in an oath to God and Country. We know that our line of work may someday require us to lay down our lives and we accept it. Self preservation is something in the far corner of your mind, everything else is committed to the greater good, or at least to securing the lives or your comrades in arms. If you don't like the war because you think Bush is a jackass I don't know what to say. I commend Bush and Blair for standing their ground in front of opposition and implementing what must be done on their own. Since it began as just our two countries now over 54 nations have given their support either on the field or off.

Thats about all I have. I needed to get this off my chest. Just remember, while you enjoy the freedom of protesting an 'unjust' war and insulting world leaders, that if you were an Iraqi and you even muttered disagreement with Saddam and his regime, you and your family would be taken in the night and never heard from again.

Variable out.
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Old 03-24-2003, 03:35 PM   #2
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Iraq has been on the track of developing nuclear weapons for over a decade. When weapons inspectors first went in they found that they were within 3 years of having 'the bomb.' Subsequently they attempted to destroy all the labs, and the scientists for the most part defected to America.
Actually it's over two decades. The program was slowed when Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear power plant in 1981.
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Old 03-24-2003, 03:37 PM   #3
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Thank you for posting that, Var.
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Old 03-24-2003, 03:41 PM   #4
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Asha: I make it a point not to attempt to knowledgebly talk on a subject that happened before I was alive. Thanks for the input, old man

Funny how things never come out quite as well as you compose them in your head all day. For instance, I forgot that fact that he had both his sons-in-law executed. But whatever. I think enough is there as it is.
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Old 03-24-2003, 03:49 PM   #5
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Yes, thank you. I'm sorry that I'm so critical of American influence in world politics, but I firmly believe, just as firmly as I believe in God, that war is never the answer, no matter how depraved or out of control a leader may be. This war will destroy more lives than Saddam ever could on his own, and as long as it drags on more people will die.
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Old 03-24-2003, 03:56 PM   #6
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...I firmly believe, just as firmly as I believe in God, that war is never the answer, no matter how depraved or out of control a leader may be.
Huh? How about Hitler? Anyone here think it would have been a good idea to lie down and let him conquer Europe? Anyone here think we should have just brushed aside Pearl Harbor, and let the Japanese eventually invade California?

If you believe in God, how about those times that God told the Israelites to go fight for possession of the land, or defend themselves, or slaughter idolaters or whatever?
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Old 03-24-2003, 04:21 PM   #7
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Defense. Not fighting a war for someone else, not invading another territory because of suspected wrongs, but defense against a force out of control.

The God I believe in is one of infinite love, not a God of vengeance. There is only one commandment according to my God, to love one another as one loves himself.
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Old 03-24-2003, 05:13 PM   #8
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Hey, Variable, did you know someone named Casey Helmer when you were in Monterey? (I presume that's where you were, correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that's the only language school for the services.)
Oh and Casey is one of my best friends. He learned Vietnamese, and then got stationed in Hawaii. Heh. He is also Navy, and just re-enlisted. He'll be going back to Monterey to learn another language.
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Old 03-24-2003, 05:21 PM   #9
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...that war is never the answer, no matter how depraved or out of control a leader may be.
Quote:
Defense. Not fighting a war for someone else, not invading another territory because of suspected wrongs, but defense against a force out of control.
Firstly, aren't you contradicting yourself?

Secondly, If you permit war as a defense, do you permit war in defense of an ally? (Such as Germany takes France, friends of France attack Germany)

If war is only fought for defense, how many times may an aggressor invade a neighbor, to be fought back to its own borders and told not to do it again? How long will it take for the aggressor to try a different kind of aggression?

And finally, what would YOU have done if you were the President of the United States on September 11?
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Old 03-24-2003, 05:47 PM   #10
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I don't think I've ever met him, and my wife doesn't recall the name either. I really only knew the folks in the so called Big 5 of languages: Arabic, Russian, Korean, Chinese and Spanish. i knew a few Persian Farsi and a few Hebrew lings. Sorry bud, havn't had the pleasure.
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Old 03-24-2003, 06:44 PM   #11
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A - The problem with looking at World War II as an example is that it is largely (if not solely) a product of World War I imperialism. Hitler wouldn't have existed if the Treaty of Versailles (a document all about greed and removal of sovereignty) hadn't been written. I guess what I'm trying to say is that WWII was almost inevitable, because England and France allowed Germany to be punished for all the accumulated sins of the war. This isn't the case this time. The US is attacking a soverign state because it believes that its leader doesn't have the right to rule. They are dictating instead that the nation should be thrown into turmoil in hopes of having some living people left to inherit the land and begin a "democracy," according to US influence. So, by and large, comparing WWII to this war is like comparing Watermelons to Cherries.

B - How about disarming the nation and encouraging them to peace by giving them international support? You can only take so much away before you kill any hopes of kindness or fairness. It's obvious that embargos only hurt the poor. How is this war going to be any different? If a nation doesn't have any need to conquer, then war can be avoided altogether, can't it? It's just a matter of removing the need to conquer. Yes, Saddam needs to be cast down. Yes, he should have been removed after the last war. However, this war is going to hurt everyone else in that nation before hurting Saddam. He'll make sure of it.

C - (Although unrelated, as I support the global anti-terrorism work) If I were the President of the United States after September 11th, I would have done the same thing with Al-Qaida that has been done. I would have worked at beefing up my own country's defense, and I would have worked on sweetening my international rapport, and worked on building more bridges with the Islamic community to avoid the kind of sentimentality that lead up to the attack. If it were known that the US was an ally to Islamic people around the world, then it would be difficult for extremist groups to operate because the fringes would be at least partially fond of them.

As I have stated since Bush was elected, his international policies have made enemies of a lot of people. While there's no way to tell what could have been avoided if he were even half the international man Clinton was (and the amount of peace that we've lived through since the Gulf war is a testament to that), I do know that nothing that has happened in Bush's reign has been helped by his lack of worldliness.

I'm sorry that I don't support a war. I'm sorry that it's easier to defend a war when your nation has the most powerful army in the world. I refuse, however, to be swayed by American jingoism, especially relating to this war, when I believe in peace and love, in the working out of problems by talking and compromising, as opposed to demanding and conquering. I bow out of this forum now. I'm tired of being the only one who doesn't support this war, or any for that matter.
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Old 03-24-2003, 08:54 PM   #12
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Comes back to arguing politics among friends, doesn't it?

I would like you (and others whom I argue with online) that no matter how much I may attack the issues or your arguments, that's all it is - not an attack or dimunation of you personally. I thank you for keeping your statements free of flame and the like.

Rogue often tells me I'd argue with a brick.

Having said all that, I'll still pick this up with anyone willing.
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Old 03-25-2003, 03:15 AM   #13
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I'd be willing however I don't think you and I have much to argue on.

Lets shift the topic slightly. When all is said and done, what do you think we should do with Iraq? Personally the high minded goals of freeing the nation are all well and good, but I still say to the victors go the spoils. If we are able to conquer a country I say make it the 51st state. The economic and tactical value of having a landmass of that size in that part of the world cannot be underestimated.
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:05 AM   #14
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OOohhh... I'll have to disagree with you on that one. About as far as I'd be willing to go would be to have Iraq pay back the cost of the war, and that'd most likely be stretching realistic expectations.

I think we need to show that we mean what we say. To invade and set up shop would not only inflame ALL the muslim countries, it would also unite most of the western world against us. We'd truly become the "American aggressors" in that case, and no matter how good we were to its citizens.

Yes, we're the most powerful country on the planet. But enough mice can bring down the cat. It'd be a bad move from an honorable standpoint, a diplomatic standpoint, and even a Machiavellan standpoint. Militarily, the value would be mixed. Yes, it'd be useful to have permanent bases and facilities in the region. But the long term cost (dollars and lives) in increased deployments in other areas as well as that region might not be worth it.
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:31 AM   #15
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This thread...
and many like it (Bush's need for wwIII for instance)
Should *NOT* be in this forum.

Either put it in the bitch pit or forget it all together. It's never worth arguing something that you cannot win. No matter what *WE* say here, nothing in the war is going to change.

Politics can kill friendships, and it's doing so. I suggest we find other things to post about, even in the face of wars... and if you really feel the need to post controversial topics, put it in the forum that was created for that purpose and make sure to state that it is controversy.

I request that Gryphon move these threads to their appropriate location, if not get rid of them.

I refuse to get into the debate because I'm a depressed homocidal trans-gendered individual... and obviously it will be bad to get me involved in such a debate. Now being that I have the resolve to NOT comment on this thread (or others like it) Doesn't mean that everyone does. Keep in mind that although debates may be fun for some... it can (more commonly) be destructive if not completely defeating to others. I personally know of a few people who are becoming deperessed over this war... and coming here to talk about it is not helping.

Anyways... discuss what you want to, I can't moderate that.
I'm only requesting.
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