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OfflinePhred
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"What would you say..."
    #4402782 - 07/14/05 10:53 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

I found this on an Iraqi blog yesterday and copied it to my notepad. I can't find now just which blog I copied it from so there is no link of attribution. This morning I tried Googling some phrases to find the source, with no success. I just want to make clear that I'm not the one who came up with the question -- I don't want to take credit for it. If I do come across the quote again I'll edit this post to give the author his due.

Anyway, the question asked is directed to any of you who believe it was wrong for the coalition to have toppled Hussein's Ba'athist regime a little over two years ago. I'm very curious to see what answers will be posted.








Quote:

"A question that I ask of my colleagues on the left who opposed the war is, What would you say to the Iraqi person who asked you one year later why you stood against our liberation? I have not yet been able to get a meaningful answer to that question because all of the possible answers--pertaining, for example, to resisting American empire, obeying international law, preventing the death of civilians, taking moral stands against war itself as a crime--would mean that the average Iraqi would still be subject to his terror, enslaved to tyranny, and denied the basic human rights that liberals purportedly cherish as central to their own existences."




*bold text in original quote*



The floor is open. What would you say to an Iraqi who asked you that question?





Phred


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InvisibleKrishna
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Phred]
    #4402797 - 07/14/05 11:00 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

well, i guess something along the lines of - 'the ends do not justify the means - esp when the ends result in a change of the people who hold power over you, but not a change in your overall situation (or actual self-autonomy). as well, saddam was a weakening older man - what do you think the chance of having actual iraqi autonomy (i'm sorry, but i won't accept the puppets placed by the us as an iraqi govt) are now, when you are shadow ruled by the strongest empire, as opposed to when you were ruled by a horrible dictator whom the entire world (for the most part) scorned and would have fully supported you in an upheaveal against?'


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InvisibleGijith
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Phred]
    #4402810 - 07/14/05 11:05 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Predictably, my response is very simple and would be in the form of a question: Why is it the job of America to help Iraq?


You've mentioned many times that you're tired of the same old Iraq debates (kind of a strange thread, yeah?), so I'll leave my involvement with this.


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what's with neocons and the word 'ilk'?


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InvisibleKrishna
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Gijith]
    #4402838 - 07/14/05 11:15 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Gijith said:
Predictably, my response is very simple and would be in the form of a question: Why is it the job of America to help Iraq?





while i'm 100% against the current American involvement in Iraq, for the sake of debate...

because we have meddled very much in recent iraqi affairs, thus leading to the situation that they found themselves in in 2002.

ie, we help saddam come to power, as well as supporting sanctions that hurt the iraqi people while doing little-to-nothing against saddam, and thus should realize the error of our actions and the harm they caused, and look to rectify it.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Gijith]
    #4402839 - 07/14/05 11:15 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Okay, so far we have two variants of the same answer -- "It's no one's problem but your own."




Phred


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OfflinePhred
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Krishna]
    #4402845 - 07/14/05 11:18 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Krishna writes:

Quote:

ie, we help saddam come to power...




Incorrect. Hussein clawed his way to the top on his own.

Quote:

...as well as supporting sanctions that hurt the iraqi people while doing little-to-nothing against saddam, and thus should realize the error of our actions and the harm they caused, and look to rectify it.




Rectify it how?


Phred


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InvisibleKrishna
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Phred]
    #4402867 - 07/14/05 11:25 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

no that's not what i meant at all. i meant more "it is a problem that can only be solved by the iraqi people taking control of their own resources/land/markets/etc and redistributing/reutilizing these on a participatory level so that the local communities not only benefit from the change, but have control/autonomy over their own destiny."

in my mind, anywhere in the world where there is a lack of community autonomy, this is a problem for all society - i believe national borders to be imaginary at best, and outright evil (not in a moral sense, but in the sense that they thwart attempts at community-based autonomy/participatory-based control of economic markets) at worst. however, to have another nation come in externally and impose it's own definitions of how the society should be established won't solve the problems that the iraqi people were facing - it would only change the face of those in power. the role of the US (and the intl community at large) in such a situation should be to facilitate (through direct funding, changes in the intl economic market, and military support - in a defensive capacity (ie having tanks and troops to protect iraqi communities that seized community control of community-based resources), etc) the strengthening of 'grassroots'/participatorilly-structured movements in iraq, which would eventually pull the power/resource-base out from underneath Saddam/whoeverwouldbeinpower and return it to its rightful owners - the community from whence it came.

see the difference?


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InvisibleKrishna
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Phred]
    #4402880 - 07/14/05 11:27 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Phred said:
Krishna writes:

Quote:

ie, we help saddam come to power...




Incorrect. Hussein clawed his way to the top on his own.





true enough. change 'we help saddam come to power' to 'we supported his position of power when it seemed beneficial to our vision of the intl economic market, with little-to-no-regard for the effects it would have upon the iraqi people'.

as to rectify it how, see my post one above this one.


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InvisibleGijith
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Phred]
    #4402909 - 07/14/05 11:35 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Phred, you do such an amazing job of twisting my words. Truly.

'It's not my problem' is the NOT a variant of 'It's no one's problem but your own'

Two very different things. One relinquishes specific responsibility. One assigns specific responsibility.

:heart:


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what's with neocons and the word 'ilk'?


Edited by Gijith (07/14/05 12:31 PM)


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Phred]
    #4403123 - 07/14/05 12:37 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Turn the question around. What would you say to the Iraqis who don't want us there, and see us as occupiers, not liberators? Clearly not all Iraqis see us in the heroic light which we see ourselves in.


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OfflineRedstorm
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Silversoul]
    #4403129 - 07/14/05 12:39 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

I'd hand them a copy of the Genocide Convention.

Quote:

The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.




We're not a signing member, but we still have a responsibility to take into custody any leaders who participate in this behavior.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Redstorm]
    #4403149 - 07/14/05 12:44 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Redstorm said:
I'd hand them a copy of the Genocide Convention.

Quote:

The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.




We're not a signing member, but we still have a responsibility to take into custody any leaders who participate in this behavior.



Would selling weapons to such a genocidal dictator during the time of such genocide constitute "participation"?


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OfflineRedstorm
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Silversoul]
    #4403157 - 07/14/05 12:47 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

I may be mistaken, but I don't believe our government sent him the chemical weapons he used. I was under the impression that he bought the precursors from private companies and then synthesized them in-country.

If I am incorrect, I would say it is somewhat of a level of participation. That's why we didn't sign the convention in the first place. :wink:


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Redstorm]
    #4403170 - 07/14/05 12:53 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

I'd also like to ask why the fact that Saddam was a tyrant requires us to occupy the country afterwards. Even if we do take it upon ourselves to take out the bad guy, why is it our responsibility to make sure they have a democracy afterwards? Let 'em figure it out themselves. The French didn't stay behind in America to help us set up our government after our revolution(thank God).


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OfflinePhred
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Gijith]
    #4403233 - 07/14/05 01:10 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

It's not my problem' is the NOT a variant of 'It's no one's problem but your own'

Two very different things. One relinquishes specific responsibility. One assigns specific responsibility.




So your first preference is not to answer the question at all. Your second preference would be to answer "It's not my problem".

Would you give the same answer (or ask the same counter-question) if you were French rather than American? German? Swiss, Canadian, Japanese, Polish, Venezuelan, Dutch, Kenyan? Forgive me for presuming you would.

If it is not an American problem or French German Dutch etc. problem, then clearly it cannot be anything but an Iraqi problem. After all, Hussein is a homegrown Iraqi. Iraqis didn't prevent his coming to power -- though they could have.

Those on the Left claim Hussein was no threat to anyone other than Iraqis. Assuming they are correct it is indeed correct to say to the Iraqi asking that question -- "It's no one's problem but your own".


Phred


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OfflinePhred
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Krishna]
    #4403248 - 07/14/05 01:19 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Krishna writes:

Quote:

i meant more "it is a problem that can only be solved by the iraqi people taking control of their own resources/land/markets/etc and redistributing/reutilizing these on a participatory level so that the local communities not only benefit from the change, but have control/autonomy over their own destiny."




So, as I said, it's no one's problem but the Iraqis.

Quote:

however, to have another nation come in externally and impose it's own definitions of how the society should be established won't solve the problems that the iraqi people were facing - it would only change the face of those in power.




The Iraqis elected their provisional representatives in January. Those representatives are charged with writing a constitution, presenting it to the Iraqi people in a referendum for their approval, then holding another election under the rules of the new constitution to choose the next government. What is your objection to this process?

Quote:

the role of the US (and the intl community at large) in such a situation should be to facilitate (through direct funding, changes in the intl economic market, and military support - in a defensive capacity (ie having tanks and troops to protect iraqi communities that seized community control of community-based resources), etc) the strengthening of 'grassroots'/participatorilly-structured movements in iraq, which would eventually pull the power/resource-base out from underneath Saddam/whoeverwouldbeinpower and return it to its rightful owners - the community from whence it came.




Ummm.... so the role of the international community is to drive tanks into Iraq to protect the rebel strongholds until they (the rebels, not the international tank drivers) can topple Hussein?

What makes you think Hussein would have sat by while these tanks positioned themselves?



Phred


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OfflinePhred
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Silversoul]
    #4403250 - 07/14/05 01:22 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Paradigm writes:

Quote:

Turn the question around. What would you say to the Iraqis who don't want us there, and see us as occupiers, not liberators? Clearly not all Iraqis see us in the heroic light which we see ourselves in.




So you (like Gijith) would prefer not to answer the question? That is your right of course. Just as it is my right not to answer yours until you answer mine.


Phred


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Phred]
    #4403254 - 07/14/05 01:23 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

My point is that the question presumes a unified Iraqi sentiment. Clearly that is not the case(see: our troops being killed every day).


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OfflinePhred
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Silversoul]
    #4403262 - 07/14/05 01:26 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

My point is that the question presumes a unified Iraqi sentiment.




No it doesn't. It presumes an Iraqi who asked a question. The fact that a different Iraqi might not ask the same question is irrelevant.



Phred


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InvisibleKrishna
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Re: "What would you say..." [Re: Phred]
    #4403281 - 07/14/05 01:32 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

1st point - i wouldn't quite see it as so black and white as "So, as I said, it's no one's problem but the Iraqis." definitely the resources should be "owned" by the iraqi communities, but this is only feasible if the international economic market allows for it. as an example (sorry i don't really know jack-shit about the economic markets in the middle-east, so have to venture a bit away to make my point) - if the intl economic market will only allow the sale of GM modified rice, then farmers who want to collectively own their fields and crops don't have that choice. thus in order for those farmers to be empowered, it takes both their actions to empower themselves, as well as international action to make for a system where they would be allowed to do so. additionally, the actions that they would take to empower themselves could be, and taking into account the historical responsibility i believe the 1st world has to the 3rd world, should be, facilitated and helped by support from outside communities.

2nd point - with the new iraqi govt, i guess we'll have to wait and see. i want to stay hopeful about this government, but i'm worried/afraid that they will play very much into the neo-liberal globalisation agenda. what do you think would happen if there came a faction in the new iraqi govt who said "we won't sell any more oil, except to our direct neighbors - we've got more than enough here to sustain our own energy needs for the long-term future, and will build an internal infrastructure as opposed to opening ourselves to the intl economic market"? do you think the us would sit idely by and watch the millions we spent to get this new govt there go to creating a state like that?

3rd point - ok, well i didn't mean that quite so literally as i wrote it. in my ideology, i don't see a role for violence in 'revolution'. however, in the real-world, there are a lot of rich and powerful people who will use violence in order to protect/maintain their interests. so if the us or another 1st world nation was going to help (outside of the previous things i stated - working to change the intl economic market, intellectual patents, etc), then i think they would best be used in a defensive position - protecting, for example, schools, collectives, and communities who had chosen to break away from "Saddam's Iraq" until the time came that they were a large enough portion of the society that they could stand on their own.


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