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InvisibleEdame
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Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1,270
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US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible"
    #1814433 - 08/14/03 07:03 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

It appears the the US government had been warned by various intelligence agencies that Democracy in Iraq might be nigh-on impossible. From Boston.com:

Quote:

Democracy might be impossible, US was told

By Bryan Bender, Globe Correspondent, 8/14/2003

WASHINGTON -- US intelligence officials cautioned the National Security Council before the Iraq war that the American plan to build democracy on the ashes of Saddam Hussein's regime -- as a model for the rest of the region -- was so audacious that, in the words of one CIA report in March, it could ultimately prove "impossible."

That assessment ran counter to what the Bush administration was saying at the time as it sought to build support for the war. President Bush said a democratic Iraq would lead to more liberalized, representative governments, where terrorists would find less popular support, and the Muslim world would be friendlier to the United States. "A new regime in Iraq would serve as an inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region," he said on Feb. 26.

The question of how quickly, and easily, the United States could establish democracy in Iraq was the key to a larger concern about how long US troops would be required to stay there, and how many would be needed to maintain security. The administration offered few assessments of its own but dismissed predictions by the army chief of staff of a lengthy occupation by hundreds of thousands of troops.

Now, frustration among Iraqis about a lack of stability and the slow pace of reconstruction -- and new evidence that Islamic militants are slipping into Iraq to take up arms against the Americans -- are leading the administration to lengthen its plans to keep troops in Iraq for up to four years. And the Pentagon is moving to lower expectations for a shift to democracy, suggesting that a liberal democracy is an ideal worth fighting for, but acknowledging the difficulty of creating one.

"The question isn't whether it is feasible, but is it worth a try," Lieutenant Colonel James Cassella, a Pentagon spokesman, said yesterday.

The intelligence community's doubts were fully aired to top Bush administration officials in the months before the war in multiple classified reports. The National Intelligence Council, which represents the consensus view of American spy agencies, reported to top policy makers at the start of the year that "what the administration was saying was a rosy picture," said a senior intelligence official who read the report and asked not to be named. "The report's conclusions were totally opposite."

The vision the Bush administration has for the Middle East has been honed at least since 1996, with the writing of a paper entitled "A Clean Break." The paper was written by Douglas Feith, now the Pentagon's policy director; Richard Perle, a senior Pentagon adviser; and others for then-incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It provides an early window into some of the current administration's thinking. For one, it predicted that toppling the Hussein regime could be the beginning of a larger rollback of autocratic, terrorist-supporting states such as Syria and Iran, blamed for supporting Hezbollah guerrillas operating in southern Lebanon and accused of terrorism against Israel and the United States.

It said a new Iraqi regime, coupled with pressure on the Syrian government, would also open up the opportunity for Lebanese Shi'ite Muslims to reconnect with Shi'ite religious leaders in the southern Iraqi holy city of Najaf, "to wean the south Lebanese [Shi'ites] away from Hezbollah, Iran and Syria." The document noted that the Lebanese Shi'ite community has historically identified with their Iraqi brethren, who during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s fought against the Iranians who share their faith.

A senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the administration's view of a postwar Middle East begins by breaking current governments down into three categories. First are countries like Saudi Arabia, where the ruling class is relatively pro-Western but its people are increasingly anti-American; second are countries like Iran, whose governments are opposed to the United States but whose people are increasingly open to stronger ties with Washington; and third are those like Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, in which the government and the people are largely pro-American as a result of broader political freedom. He said a Middle East in which all Muslim countries fit the third category is the long-term goal.

But intelligence officials and specialists have long been uncertain whether reform-minded Arab intellectuals who embrace the US approach can overcome those who have shown little regard for it so far. Their suspicion has only grown in recent months as the postwar situation in Iraq raises serious questions about whether democracy can flourish there, let alone elsewhere in the region. Many leading clerics are calling for a religious-led government, frustrating the efforts of US allies to establish the foundations for democracy.

The intelligence community's cautious view of the administration's broader vision for the region was highlighted in a series of reports and briefings to top policy makers.

The CIA's March report concluded that Iraqi society and history showed little evidence to support the creation of democratic institutions, going so far as to say its prospects for democracy could be "impossible," according to intelligence officials who have seen it. The assessment was based on Iraq's history of repression and war; clan, tribal and religious conflict; and its lack of experience as a viable country prior to its arbitrary creation as a monarchy by British colonialists after World War I.

The State Department came to the same conclusion.

"Liberal democracy would be difficult to achieve in Iraq," said a March State Department report, first reported by the Los Angeles Times. "Electoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements."

A June risk assessment of the situation in Iraq by Kroll and Associates, an international consulting firm, raised anew doubts that representative democracy can take root there. It said a leading possibility would be that "Iraq experiences frequent lurches into serious disorder and instability, with changes of leadership, religious, and regional clashes and interventions by neighboring states. It seeks order in a military-led regime that provides a minimal level of stability in areas crucial to the economy and high levels of disorder elsewhere."

The report, "Iraq Risk Scenarios," described a pro-western, liberal, capitalist democracy as "very unlikely, although it appears to be the general goal of the US."

Critics of the administration's approach have said that pushing too hard for democracy could spark an anti-American backlash, increasing the risk of terrorism against the United States.

"US efforts to impose a US vision on the area could lead to instability in countries like Jordan and Pakistan, and could result in further strengthening the hand of fundamentalism and terrorism," Edward Walker, former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in the Clinton administration, warned in a prewar speech.

If the US presence is seen not as liberating, but rather as hostile to Islam and Arab culture, insensitive to the suffering of Iraqi people, and arrogant in its lack of consultation with other countries, "pressure will build on Arab governments to distance themselves from us; anti-Americanism will grow; new recruits will flow to fundamentalist causes and some will wind up in terrorist operations against us, against Israel and against moderate governments in the region; and the war on terrorism will suffer reversals," Walker said.

Top US officials have tempered their optimism, with the president saying last month that he never expected a Thomas Jefferson-type figure to emerge in Iraq overnight.

But the Bush administration remains committed to its vision. Last week, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said that "much as a democratic Germany became a linchpin for a new Europe . . . so a transformed Iraq can become a key element of a very different Middle East in which the ideologies of hate will not flourish."




--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


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InvisibleEdame
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Edame]
    #1814450 - 08/14/03 07:07 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Also, another article but this time from an Iraqi perspective (from Salam Pax, the 'Baghdad Blogger'):

Quote:

Baghdad Blogger

The temperature is rising. And Baghdad, Basra and Nasiriyah have all erupted on the same day

Salam Pax
Wednesday August 13, 2003
The Guardian

As you go into Baghdad from the west there is graffiti on the walls that says "Welcome to the Republic of Darkness and Unemployment".

Baghdad had no electricity for a whole day. Call me the master of all whiners but do you have any idea what it feels like to sleep in 50C? I guess with the current heat wave you have a taste. Today's office stories: Muhammad, one of the drivers, decided the best place for his family to sleep was in the car with the engine running and the air-conditioning on. Shihab was up every couple of hours getting water for his kids because he was afraid they would totally dehydrate. Everyone who got into the office today had bags under their eyes and a bad headache. Haifa, the nice lady who makes sure we have coffee in the morning, was ranting about having to watch "this Paul something" give us lies on TV everyday. She actually described Paul Bremer as another Saddam; we see him every day on TV, and the news is all about what he says and what he does. Next we'll have statues of him in the streets. Somehow you feel like he lives in a bubble and has absolutely no idea what the people are saying.

Listen to Bremer talk about improvements in the electrical situation while Basra is rioting. I just didn't believe my eyes when I saw the images from Basra. I am guessing that the reason we didn't have electricity for a whole day in Baghdad is because they wanted to patch things up in Basra. Two days of riots and about eight Iraqis injured. At least the Coalition forces didn't call the rioters "Saddam loyalists", at least there is some acknowledgment that these are people who are upset with the way the occupation forces are mismanaging the country. And it is getting out of hand. Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriyah all going up in one day and Baqubah being added to the list of cities not really under control.

I went to a press conference where our new one-month-president [the coalition provisional authority has a rotating chairman] was telling us about what they were up to. The press guy, at the request of the conference, was telling journalists that the instantaneous translation thingy has two channels; channel one for Arabic, channel two for English. I would like to add another channel: channel three for the truth. It keeps repeating one phrase: "We have no power, we have to get it approved by the Americans, we are puppets and the strings are too tight." I feel sorry for the guys on the council, some of them are actually very good and honest people and they have been put in a very difficult situation.

As usual, getting into these press bashes is an event in itself. You have to be there an hour early, you get searched a thousand times and, of course, as an Iraqi I get treated like shit. I have no idea why the American soldiers at the entrance to the convention centre [where the CPA press operation is] are so offensive towards Iraqis while they can be so nice to anyone with a foreign passport. I have to be the Zen master when the soldier at the gate gets condescending. The reporters of Iraq Today were not allowed to get to the press conference and they went ballistic. "This is my friggin' government, what do you mean I can't get in?" My sentiments exactly. Keep this image in your head: an American officer stopping you, an Iraqi, from attending the press conference your government is holding.

Earlier in the day I got frisked and the car I was in searched because the colonel or something who has just passed by thought that he didn't like the people who are standing by the car (me) and that I was giving him dirty looks. Habibi, you have no idea how dirty my looks can get, you didn't get one. What you saw was the I-have-been-standing-for-a-whole-hour-in-the-sun. But because you have the power to decide what a look means I got searched. You really should have looked more carefully before you shot the nine-year-old kid in Ramadi only to find out later that it was a water gun he had in his hands. Dirty looks - yeah, totally justified frisking me.

Yes, I am annoyed because if the occupation forces fail, my country will fall apart. And for some reason the CPA does not look like it has a sense of how serious the situation is.

Spot what is wrong in this sentence: "I am sitting in a car going to Fallujah with the Pretenders blasting from the speakers and air-conditioning on super-freeze."

What is wrong with it is that it can't last forever. I will get to Fallujah and will have to step out of the car and get smacked by Madam Reality for wanting to escape her grip on me.




--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


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Offlinewingnutx
Registered: 09/25/00
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Edame]
    #1814462 - 08/14/03 07:11 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Yeah, it's impossible for those silly brown people to adopt democracy.

Let's throw in the towel.


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Offlineshakta
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: wingnutx]
    #1816299 - 08/15/03 09:51 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Exactly.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Edame]
    #1816502 - 08/15/03 11:30 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

I guess democracy is the last thing the US wants in Iraq. Another bunch of compliant thugs will do fine.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Offlineshakta
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Xlea321]
    #1816514 - 08/15/03 11:37 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

ETF are you babbling about? Democracy is already being set up in Iraq.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: shakta]
    #1816528 - 08/15/03 11:43 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Correction: George Bush has TOLD you democracy is being set up in Iraq.

There is a difference.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Offlineshakta
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Xlea321]
    #1816530 - 08/15/03 11:44 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Whatever. I am in to good of a mood to deal with you today. I guess the Iraqi council that was formed is really a bunch of dudes in Hollywood or something, and the Constitution they are working on drafting is BS as well.


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Offlineshakta
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: shakta]
    #1816532 - 08/15/03 11:45 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

BTW, people said the same thing when our government was built on democratic principles.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: shakta]
    #1816547 - 08/15/03 11:57 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

I am in to good of a mood to deal with you today

Wondered why you'd gone so quiet in the smuggling arms thread.





--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Xlea321]
    #1816845 - 08/15/03 02:10 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Democracy must be earned, not given!

/Me sighs at americas self-righteous, we know best, attitude.


--------------------
"Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Lest we forget. "


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OfflineCornholio
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Registered: 01/13/03
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Azmodeus]
    #1816916 - 08/15/03 02:31 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Democracy by definition is Government chosen by the people.  If we choose Iraq's Government for them, how can it possibly be a democracy?  :confused: 


--------------------


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Offlineshakta
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Cornholio]
    #1816919 - 08/15/03 02:34 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

We aren't going to choose their government for them. They have a council of people from every sector of Iraqi culture. Yes we approved these people, but they will be drafting their own Constitution. We are just going to make sure we don't end up with another Taliban or Saddam in the country.


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Offlineshakta
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Cornholio]
    #1816921 - 08/15/03 02:34 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

We aren't going to choose their government for them. They have a council of people from every sector of Iraqi culture. Yes we approved these people, but they will be drafting their own Constitution. We are just going to make sure we don't end up with another Taliban or Saddam in the country. That will be the extent of our involvement. I don't see how that is a bad thing.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: shakta]
    #1816939 - 08/15/03 02:38 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

What if they want another Taliban or Saddam in the country? If the will of the people is not followed, how can that be democracy?


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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InvisibleEdame
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: shakta]
    #1816954 - 08/15/03 02:44 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

The point is, those people wouldn't be on the council without US approval, so how exactly does that make it a Democracy if the people aren't free to choose who to elect? How would a draft constitution be really valid unless it's written by people the Iraqis have chosen?

Surely the whole point of a democracy is for the Iraqi people to choose, not for them to choose, and then have their choices 'approved' by another power.


--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


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OfflineCornholio
A liberal guy(on hiatus)

Registered: 01/13/03
Posts: 845
Loc: Austin, TX
Last seen: 13 years, 22 days
Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: silversoul7]
    #1816959 - 08/15/03 02:47 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Exactly. If they want a Taliban or another Saddam, it's up to them in a Democracy. I'm not saying that's what they want, but I am saying in a true democracy, they have that choice.


--------------------


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Offlineshakta
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Edame]
    #1816963 - 08/15/03 02:48 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

I am not saying it is perfect, but if you really think that the Iraqis are capable of holding an election right now you are crazy.


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InvisibleEdame
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Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: shakta]
    #1817009 - 08/15/03 03:01 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Obviously I must be crazy to think that the Iraqis are capable of doing things for themselves. It's best that we let our occupying forces point guns at them some more so we can show them how the world really works.


--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


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Offlineshakta
Infidel
Registered: 06/03/03
Posts: 2,633
Last seen: 12 years, 6 months
Re: US was warned Democracy in Iraq may be "Impossible" [Re: Edame]
    #1817018 - 08/15/03 03:04 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

The problem with just leaving them on their own right now, is they are not yet able to come to an agreement. You have three different major portions of the population that generally dislike each other. They also tend not to understand the concept of the future all that much. If we left right now the country would turn into a nightmare of chaos.


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