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January 17, 2008

Comments

Other Tom

I have this abiding question: WHY do they want to bring the troops home? Why home from Iraq, and not from the Bosnia, Okinawa, Germany, Japan, etc.?

Jane

I have the exact same question OT.

RichatUF

push for legislation to prevent President Bush from entering into a long-term agreement with the Iraqi government

Interesting, the exact thing that the Red Witch called on Obama to support. However, isn't it a bit dangerous. What if it comes for a vote, before the convention, and then fails? It would be difficult to square the leading dems to duck out on the vote and an embarrasment if the so strong dems can't get a "popular" piece of legistlation about an "unpopular" war against an unpopular, lameduck president. But that is just me

Other Tom-

Why home from Iraq, and not from the Bosnia, Okinawa, Germany, Japan, etc.?

Curious indeed-wonder how Hussein or the Red Witch would weasel out of sending troops into Darfur, or Chad, or whatever other international social work project that runs counter to US national interests. Maybe they could send Maddy Albright to the UN to "show the will of the international community" like they did before in Rawanda or Sierra Leone.

Bill in AZ

TM, just in case you didn't get the 2nd page of that fax (I think you did, you're just not letting on because your "Go McCain" post covered it well), here is what it said:

*************************
Townhouse Page 2

uh, folks, the "Go Huckabee" thing didn't work. Stupid polls, stupid bloggers...
At any rate, DNC says McCain is the next least electable Rep in the race, so from now until further notice, it's "Go McCain". Hopefully the stupid neocon bloggers won't pick up on it so quickly this time.

And for petes sake, this is yet another reminder: He who MUST not be named [ed- that would be Thompson] MUST NOT BE NAMED!

We have counseled that idiot Olberman for trying to make a big deal about his virgins comment. We don't care how big a gaffe he makes, HE MUST NOT BE NAMED anywhere in the press. Even bad press is good for the guy, because stupid neocon Rep voters will want to know who this "Thompson" guy is.
**********************

MayBee

They've found a way around giving discount ad rates to the likes of MoveOn.org.
I bet somewhere on the NYT hard drive is a copy of the discarded Sept 26 editorial, "Gen Petraeus or Gen Betrayus?"

Porchlight

Heh, that's great, Bill. Says it all really.

Lurking Observer

So, Dubya was obligated to abide by Kyoto, a treaty negotiated by Clinton, but which Clinton never submitted to Congress for formal ratification b/c Congress indicated that it would never pass it?

But Dubya is also obligated to not commit the US to anything that the next President might disagree with?

Shorter NYT: Republicans, if they win the White HOuse, have an obligation not to do anything that Democratic successors might disagree with.

anduril

Here's an interesting military story:

Beyond Iran’s ‘Go Fast’ Boats: Critical Military Challenges for the 21st Century

AK

Why home from Iraq, and not from the Bosnia, Okinawa, Germany, Japan, etc.?

That's easy. If we don't have a presence in Okinawa, the left won't be able to use the euphamism "redeploy" when they really mean "retreat."

tamdar

Why home from Iraq, and not from the Bosnia, Okinawa, Germany, Japan, etc.?

Well, for one thing, the troops in those other places, save for Bosnia to a degree, are not there to enforce the government in those countries. I was stationed on Okinawa for over a year and never once patrolled the streets or manned a perimeter with a machine gun.

We have troops staged in forward areas, which happen to be some of the countries you listed (Korea should be in there), but only to get closer to the potential threats such as China or North Korea.

I support staying in Iraq until the government there can maintain its own security, and we shouldn't leave in such a way that we'll have to go back under even worse circumstances a few years down the road (if we can figure out how to do that), but the situations are different.

Ron J

Does anybody really care what the NYT says anymore?

Dann

tamdar,

I think the point being made is that we were in control of Japan and Germany for a while. Over time our role changed from occupation to reconstruction to being advisors to being forward deployed in a friendly country against other threats. The administration has suggested that our role in Iraq will go through a similar shift as the Iraqis take control of their country.

Essentially, if leaving our forces in a forward deployed position following a conflict is a problem, then why are those same folks calling for our forces to be brought home following WWII, et. al.??

Regards,
Dann

garrett

Troops stationed in Japan patrolled, supervised government and sought recidivist Nazis (in Germany) and Japanese imperilists for years after the peace treaties were signed. Their presence slowly morphed into protection for the nacent governments/emerging democracies and then into forward bases to contain Chinese and Russian communism. Expect a similar transition in Iraq.

It is Bosnia that the left shouold be crying for us to abandon. and it is well time for us to leave France and Italy and move to forward bases in Poland and Hungary where they have an appreciation for hard-won freedoms.

bgates

So much for the importance of diplomacy and multilateral security arrangements.

I wonder if people read this stuff, consider it, and decide, "yes, that makes sense to me," or if they just swallow what the Times feeds them because it's the Times.

Topsecretk9

From The Politico comes word of a new strategy for anti-war groups...And the NY Times editors cover this by reprinting the newly agreed talking points; here is their lead editorial:

TOWNHOUSE baby!

Topsecretk9

Townhouse Page 2

BillAz.

Darn, I'm getting slow.

tamdar

Essentially, if leaving our forces in a forward deployed position following a conflict is a problem, then why are those same folks calling for our forces to be brought home following WWII, et. al.??

The troops in Japan and Germany are there to be in forward positions for US strategic and logistical reasons, not to enforce the Japanese and German governments.

After the Japanese surrendered, their emperor and MacArthur formed a government that the people accepted. They didn't form into an insurgency. I think the situation in Germany was more hostile but there weren't organizations like Al Qaeda fomenting instability. The Japanese resistance crumbled with the signing of the surrender documents on the Missouri. Accounts of duty in post-war Japan that I've read make it sound like pretty good duty. They didn't go on combat patrols in Tokyo or Osaka.

The situation in Iraq is different than Japan. Japanese mainland was never invaded. Bombed, but not invaded on the ground. It wasn't a battlefield the way Iraq is. There were no outside agitators nor the remnants of an army nor sectarian jealousies and grievances. Japan was a consolidated nation for centuries, with a cohesive society, not an artifact of European constructs. There was no equivalent of Iran waiting for the US to leave a power vacuum to exploit.

It's different.

boris

not to enforce the Japanese and German governments

Absurdly overstated. For a long period after the war that actually was the case. The situation with East Germany was hardly comfy.

Had East Germany been as agressive as North Korea the US would have toughed it out just like NK.

Doug Santo

I have to say I think Tamdar is wrong with respect to post-war conditions in Japan. My recollection is that there was indeed internal strife within Japanese society and the strife surfaced as terrorist acts agianst train stations and the like. Also, Tamdar is wrong in implying the US has a strategic interest in Japan and Germany, but not in Iraq. The Middle East is today's point of ignition the same way Japan and Germany were yesterday's. The US has definite short and long term tactical and strategic interests in the Middle East. Iraq is the right place (along with our other gulf bases) for forward deployed US assets to try to exert some control in the region.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

megrez80

For all the sacrifice this country has made in Iraq, we'd better get a permanent forward deployment out of this. The better to deal with Iran when we need to (and we will).

Steve-o

Not that I agree with the left, but..

Why must we leave Iraq and not those other places? No blood for oil! And, and...Halliburton! Plus, if we get out of Iraq, it will be more difficult for BushHitler-CheneyMcHalliburton to attack Iran!

Sheesh, you people are slow learners.

megrez80

For all the sacrifice this country has made in Iraq, we'd better get a permanent forward deployment out of this. The better to deal with Iran when we need to (and we will).

Europan Sea Creature

Well, for one thing, the troops in those other places, save for Bosnia to a degree, are not there to enforce the government in those countries.

That's precisely why they're in S Korea today.

It is also precisely why they were in Germany and Japan for 50 years.

Anyways, if they're NOT needed in those countries, why are we only removing troops from somewhere they clearly ARE needed?

After the Japanese surrendered, their emperor and MacArthur formed a government that the people accepted. They didn't form into an insurgency. I think the situation in Germany was more hostile but there weren't organizations like Al Qaeda fomenting instability.

In both cases, that was only true because of two very unpleasant realities: one, they had already suffered millions of deaths and the destruction of vital infrsastructure, and would have experienced mass starvation without our help; two, they knew would have suffered a far crueler occupation by Russia had we not occupied them.

kim

We are in Iraq at Sistani's invitation and will leave when he asks.
======================================

Mike G in Corvallis

U.S. out of Germany! No blood for sauerkraut!

Jaded

I will tell you why they want the troops out of Iraq...they committed themselves for 3 straight years to undermining this War and damn it they will have their way.....however they get it.

Hillary had the talking points on this as well in the debate the other night...this idiots have become so obvious.

kim

U.S. out of Korea! No plasma for Hyundais.

Slip the juice to me, Bruce.
================

MarkJ

This, for me, was the best part of the Politico article:

“There was a consensus that last year was not productive,” John Isaacs, executive director of Council for a Livable World, said of a meeting attended by a coalition of anti-war groups last week. “Our expectations were dashed.”

Now compare the above with Emperor Hirohito's August 1945 speech accepting the Allied terms of surrender:

"But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone...the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest."

Shucks, I'd say Isaacs and the rest of anti-war buds have just experienced a "Hirohito Moment." Looks like the Iraq War has "developed not necessarily to their advantage" and they're now desperately trying to save face.

If this were the Battle of the Alamo, Isaacs & Co. would now be at the point where they were either "strategically redeploying" into the chapel for their last stand or shimmying over the walls and high-tailing for the river.

tamdar

Essentially, if leaving our forces in a forward deployed position following a conflict is a problem, then why are those same folks calling for our forces to be brought home following WWII, et. al.??

The troops in Japan and Germany are there to be in forward positions for US strategic and logistical reasons, not to enforce the Japanese and German governments.

After the Japanese surrendered, their emperor and MacArthur formed a government that the people accepted. They didn't form into an insurgency. I think the situation in Germany was more hostile but there weren't organizations like Al Qaeda fomenting instability. The Japanese resistance crumbled with the signing of the surrender documents on the Missouri. Accounts of duty in post-war Japan that I've read make it sound like pretty good duty. They didn't go on combat patrols in Tokyo or Osaka.

The situation in Iraq is different than Japan. Japanese mainland was never invaded. Bombed, but not invaded on the ground. It wasn't a battlefield the way Iraq is. There were no outside agitators nor the remnants of an army nor sectarian jealousies and grievances. Japan was a consolidated nation for centuries, with a cohesive society, not an artifact of European constructs. There was no equivalent of Iran waiting for the US to leave a power vacuum to exploit.

It's different.

Just Some Poor Schmuck

The Democrats have painted themselves into a corner,

If we win in Iraq, we win in spite of them, if we lose, we lose because of them,

if the former, they get no credit, if the latter they own whatever comes next.

Steve

They want to bring the troops home because having a long term presence in Iraq is in the national interest. They must oppose anything that is good for the country and in our interest, particularly if it can be interpreted as politically bad for them which of course is their foremost consideration..

Yes, they are that sick.

Bill in AZ

TS9: "Darn, I'm getting slow"

naw... you're prolly just working - like I'm *supposed* to be doing...

tamdar

Why home from Iraq, and not from the Bosnia, Okinawa, Germany, Japan, etc.?

Well, for one thing, the troops in those other places, save for Bosnia to a degree, are not there to enforce the government in those countries. I was stationed on Okinawa for over a year and never once patrolled the streets or manned a perimeter with a machine gun.

We have troops staged in forward areas, which happen to be some of the countries you listed (Korea should be in there), but only to get closer to the potential threats such as China or North Korea.

I support staying in Iraq until the government there can maintain its own security, and we shouldn't leave in such a way that we'll have to go back under even worse circumstances a few years down the road (if we can figure out how to do that), but the situations are different.

submandave

"The troops in Japan and Germany are there to be in forward positions for US strategic and logistical reasons."

And, of course, with a hostile Iran seeking nuclear capabilities, unrest in nuclear power Pakistan, continued efforts by al Queda and others to undermine the KSA government, Syria actively seeking to thwart democratic efforts in Lebanon, continues terrorist support against our ally Israel and continuing combat againat Taliban forces in Afghanistan there are no "strategic and logistical reasons" whatsoever to have a forward presence in Iraq or to actively work to strenthen them as a regional ally.

Gary

Easy. A strong alliance with Iraq is good for the United States. Otherwise, it's good for the enemy, so knowing which side the NY Times, or the Dems are on, is easy.

boris

the troops in those other places, save for Bosnia to a degree, are not there to enforce the government

Broken record.

Military in Iraq is protecting the government not "enforcing" it. Like Germany like South Korea. Providing stability and infrastructure to support economic growth, like Japan. We stay we win and so does Iraq. Close enough.

GMax

Man oh man. Shots are fired by both sides on a fairly regular basis in the DMZ ( one of the worst named places on the planet, there is nothing demilitarized about it is where both sides have massed troops with live ammo ).

It is not so long ago that Berlin was a walled off enclave with troops at checkpoints and troops patroling with live ammo. And a bit more distant but not so long ago we had to break a blockade on the nonwalled and free portion of Berlin.

Ask the Hungarians or the Czechs about the troops our men were facing.

Kosovo may not have any shooting today, but how long would that last once we left.

JorgXMcKie

If tamdar would just read his own posts carefully, he'd change his own mind. Most of what he posts supports troops staying in Iraq.

Cecil Turner

. . . there are no "strategic and logistical reasons" whatsoever to have a forward presence in Iraq . . . [/sarcasm]

No kidding. Certainly more so than for countries like China(1) or the DPRK(2), against which the use of ground troops are either (1) not feasible or (2) unnecessary.

kim

We'll be there a long time balancing Sunni and Shia. In Sistani We trust.
================

Cincinnatus

The US out of Kuwait!!! No blood for ...

um...

crap I'm stuck.

Topsecretk9

Via Drudge

NYT THURSDAY: BILL CLINTON FEELING THE HEAT, LOSING TEMPER... DETAILS... DEVELOPING...

Is it me, or does the NYT's seem a little lamely late to the party these days?

I dunno, they just sound a little desperately trying to keep up.

Topsecretk9

Via Drudge

NYT THURSDAY: BILL CLINTON FEELING THE HEAT, LOSING TEMPER... DETAILS... DEVELOPING...

Is it me, or does the NYT's seem a little lamely late to the party these days?

I dunno, they just sound a little desperately trying to keep up.

PeterUK

US out of America!!

No blood for buffalo.

hit and run

US out of Buffalo!!!

No blood for Tim Russert

Paul Zrimsek

US out of Turkey!!!

Someone please send us some more turkey.

Don Meaker

I think Tamdar notes the difference between forward deployment and security assistance. Other have made the point that there is a normal progression between occupation (now over) security assistance (continuing) and forward deployment (perhaps someday).

Forward deployment is useful to the US. The price of being accepted as a forward deployment force is either cash, or a long history of security assistance.

And we are still in Cuba and Puerto Rico, since the Spanish American war. No blood for cigars or suntans!

Crew v1.0

Nobody calls Obama on this shallow, empty pose as post-partisan savior. Say what you will about Mac, he and Lieberman are the authentic post-partisans.

Dave E.

This just in:

"The surrender surrenderers are not there. They're not in the anti-war movement. There are no surrender surrenderers there. Never. They're not at all."

Steve White

Let's carry the argument about occupation --> security assistance --> forward deployment to its logical conclusion. That is, one maintains forward deployment for the period of time in which it is necessary.

To wit: there is no need for forward deployment in Germany any more. We fought it, beat it, occupied it, assisted it, and used it for forward deployment. We have no enemy in Europe any more (Putin's Russia isn't an enemy for purposes of this argument).

We may have a need for forward deployment in Japan, and we certainly do in Korea, to ensure that a democratic, first-world state continues to thrive and evolve.

Likewise, we'll have a need for a forward deployment in Iraq, as the Iraqi government and people start their upward movement towards first-world status and require protection from hegemonistic powers that would otherwise crush it -- i.e., Iran.

So if we accept that argument, and understand Tamdar's flawed argument, then the real solution is this: remove all/most of our forward deployed units in Europe, and start preparing for a transition to a long-term, forward deployment in Iraq.

narciso

In Germany's case, The old line Junker class
(Adenauer, Thyssen, Krupp) was reconstituted
with the addition of Nazi bureacrats like
Hans Globke (the writer of the Nurenberg law, turned Adenauer's secretary)Oberlander
(immigration minister and fmr. Gehlen inteligence man) Kiesinger (fmr. German Foreign Ministry turned prime minister)Hitler's banker, Schacht, was rehabilitated along with the likes of Deutsche Bank's Abs.The Kiesenger nomination was 'supposedly' the final straw that
proved to the '68 generation the 'unreformably Nazi heart of West German society' which would form the Baader Meinhof cohort to direct action. One of their major targets; Hans Schleyer a former SS man turned Siemens executive. These steps which were characteristic of Allied
acceptance of fmr. war criminals after 1950
(Paperclip, Gehlen Org, et al) Those who had survived the Nazi purges; after the ill
conceived Comintern strategy to attack the
Social Democrats) migrated over to East Germany. Which formed the Stasi apparatus along Stalinist lines. Which had the interesting sidelight of becoming involved
in Palestinian and other 'liberation movements' from the '70s onward.

In Japan, similar pressures led to more agregious policies. The zaibatsu busting
policies of SCAP under MacArthur(the closest parallels to the CPA under Bremer) were reversed leading to the MITIindustrial state and the keiretsu coalition. Class A
war criminals like Kodama & Sasagawa were
released in order to form the LDP. Other
figures like Kishi rose as high as Prime
Minister in the mid 50s. Other figures like
the Japanese prince complicit in Nanking and other massacres were left untouched. The pressures exerted by events in Korea and later Vietnam, were the driving motivation. Much like The rise of the Warsaw Pact, headed by East Germany led to the confrontation along the Fulda Gap.
Unlike Germany, the nature of the political system did not allow for a powerful violent
expression of political dissent (the RAF's
counterpart, the Japanese Red Army mostly
focused on foreign actions against Israel

Italy and France, showed lesser symptoms of the same social crisis. After the post war
purge (depuration) Vichy elements were reconstituted into major institutions of
French politics and industry. ReneBousquet, Barbie's Vichy counterpart, ended up on the
board of the Le Banque de Indochine. Another figure, went from Vichy prefect in Paris, to Colonial minister, Police Chief and Budget Minister in the D'Estaing cabinet. The highest triumph of this of course was Mitterand, fmr jun. Vichy figure
and associate of Bousquet, who rose to Colonial, Defense and ultimately Prime Minister under the Socialist banner. According to Bar Zohar, not a few figures in the Vichy mid level ended up in of all places the L'Oreal corporation (Which gives
a whole different spin to the 'If you don't good, we don't look good' slogan

kim

Revien La Cagoule.
===========

Jack Okie

Terrific post, narciso! Do you by any chance teach?

kim

Answer, yes, for those who listen.
=====================

smoothjim

GMax:"Kosovo may not have any shooting today, but how long would that last once we left."

Note that MA gov and Obama clone Deval Patrick has been lobbying Washington to expand and extend bonus hazard pay for MA personnel stationed in the Balkans for some months now.

(otherwise, in complete agreement with your post)

ajacksonian

The post-war occupation of Japan lasted for a decade, and did, indeed, ensure that the old and entrenched ruling elite would not make a grab for power while the Japanese recovered from the aerial bombardment suffered by the US which includes, if one may recall, two nuclear devices dropped on the country as well as the firebombing of Tokyo. Getting things working in Japan *without* oversight was a non-starter: not only had this Nation pulled off a sneak attack to bring the US into WWII, but the US wanted to ensure that military class did not rise to power *again*. After that, getting industrial capacity re-started and helping the Japanese people adjust to a non-Imperial ruler who was *not* mandated by heaven was seen as critical: getting the concepts of democracy firmly in-place to establish a parliament and rule of law via constitution could not be done, as US experience showed after the Revolution, quickly. Further the form of the Japanese constitution limiting them to home defense forces meant that they needed some help in keeping the USSR and Maoist China at bay, lest they be seen as incapable of defending themselves against such large powers. That is 'supporting a government' in a nutshell. Only by the 1990's would Japan have finally deployed a fully professional set of armed forces along with highly capable and high tech naval capability, to look towards the final withdrawal of US bases there. And with that is coming the recognition by the Japanese people that as a maritime power they really *do* need to protect their lines of supply and overseas assets, which is why they are looking to amend their constitution or otherwise shift out of its pacifist stance and start to deploy a real navy and army. That, no doubt, will take some time to decide.

Germany, if anything, was worse off infrastructurally than Japan, as was the rest of Europe from the battlefields of France all the way to the USSR. Ensuring that the Nazi recidivists did not get a chance to form required a short and harsh COIN campaign that makes what we are doing in Iraq, today, tame. The 'Werewolves' and other proto-insurgencies were ruthlessly crushed, even while they had been able to assassinate some few mayors and governors. That was not a joke in the eyes of the US, and was not treated as one. The US also needed a central point to try and stem Soviet attempts to not only solidify but expand post-war gains, and to do so the Marshall plan would take nearly 20 years of oversight to help cement the old final conflict lines. Germans, coming from a democratic background from before the war and earlier would understand the form of government necessary, but the damage from the war left them little space to get an assured recovery going. Also, as a continental power facing the gains of an old enemy (Russia in Soviet guise) the Germans would see a palpable threat as that enemy had gained direct borders with them and their southern neighbors and even occupied half of the Nation. As with Japan a pacifist constitution was put in place to limit Germany (on the West) to self-defense forces against a large force of Soviet and allied forces that also had nuclear capability within years after WWII. Western Germans could also witness the continued brutal occupation and transformation of East Germany under the Soviet occupation and realize that having alliances to ensure that this did not happen to *them* were necessary. The Marshall plan would take two decades to work its way out via loans (to be repaid) and grants (not to be repaid) and ensuring the industrial capacity of Germany was restored in the West was vital to that. East German capacity was stripped out to hand such things as iron mills to Poland - literally dismantled and transported out of East Germany. The 1949 Berlin airlift demonstrated the continued wish of the Soviets to solidify their gains and expand them and that was not lost on the Western Germans. That, too, is 'supporting a government' overseas with US military and economic power to ensure that it stays in power under peaceful means.

Iraq is in the unfortunate circumstances of having *no* allied power surrounding it and its only sea port being geographically delimited. They have a multi-part insurgency being stoked by Iran (Badr, Sadr and Qods forces seeking allies in Iraq), Syria (still stoking their Kurdish population to attack Turkey and have that lead back to Iraq; funding and provisioning Ba'athist holdouts and al Qaeda terrorists), and KSA funding and sending foreign fighters into Iraq under al Qaeda auspices. Jordan just wants to stay alive and separate and have their own problems with Palestinians becoming radicalized. Turkey vents frustration and anger at insurgent Kurds and is seeing religious extremist parties funded by Iran and supported by Syria gaining a foothold in Turkey, plus the lovely idea of multiple internal insurgencies stoked by these Nations as well as some units of Hezbollah finding their way there. This is, indeed, not Japan or Germany as the Iraqi industrial capacity never matched that of these WWII foes, nor did the industriousness and inventiveness of their people match that of Japan and Germany. Corrupt politics and militaries is the *norm* in the Middle East, which was also not present in Germany or Japan. Getting a stable and accountable military force stood up in Iraq utilizing modern training techniques and having a strong Inspectors General system is vital to that Nation. Creating such armed forces has never been accomplished outside of Israel in the Middle East. The US, shifting from a draft based military to all volunteer, with decades of having war colleges, was ready for robust deployment by 1991, some 17 years after that switch-over, but had seen only limited force deployment pointing out that by 5 years (Iranian rescue mission) the armed forces were not ready for small missions and by the 1980's could do a number of small missions successfully. Iraq has the benefit of a veteran combat force, but no war college or onging historical experience of its armed forces to form esprit de corps. The De Atkine view of Why Arab Armies Lose Wars is critical to understand, as well as our own tradition and that of Western democracies fielding armed forces: we devolve power and decision authority downwards in the West, while Arabs (and the Middle East in general excepting Israel) shift it up in the command structure. And, unless it has missed anyone's notice, the Iraqi armed forces are *volunteer* not conscript.

These sociological and societal changes are far, far deeper than mere National government in Iraq: they are movements to understand the basic freedoms and responsibilities of individuals in a Nation to control the Nation via democratic institutions. This is sorely lacking in the Middle East and nothing has ever been attempted on such a wide and deep scale before in history. The ethos of corruption and acceptance of same is the largest, single enemy in this fight: Iraq will revert to dictatorship or tyrannical rule without it due to the influx of money and fighters from outside areas. I fully expect a major revamp of the National government there as, like most wartime governments, it was made in a hasty manner and not broad enough to cover the entirety of the Nation. The US had that problem with the Articles of Confederation and nearly collapsed due to it. Germany, and to a lesser extent Japan, having traditions more in line with constitutional rule (while the Japanese parliament was moved by the military pre-WWII, it was elected, just not reflecting a democratic tradition reaching down below the military elite) were far, far easier cases than Iraq can be. The saving grace of secular dictatorship putting all sectarian differences into the melting pot of repression, and seeing a few years of virulent Islam in the form of AQI and Iran may have cured Iraqis of seeking that as a way forward.

If the US does *not* support democracies, then we are left with situations like Pakistan, where our Cold War view of *not* making friends with India led us to support dictatorship and terrorism in Pakistan for decades. That is a highly stringent counter-example of what happens when democracy is not supported and a Nation is left to allow multiple ethnic (with the Baluchs and Pashtuns being the foremost examples) groups and religious groups (the persecution of the Addimiya sect from the 1950's onwards) getting control of tribal policy and using it to coerce National government to fund terrorism (starting with Kashmir in the 1960's, long before the PLO showed up in Palestinian areas). By not supporting democracy in the 1970's during the Bangladesh crisis, we are left with two nuclear armed governments, two geographically separated areas that sponsor (or allow by neglect in the case of cash-strapped Bangladesh) terrorism, an ongoing simmering war in the mountainous regions between Pakistan and India, continued terrorism across Kashmir, and now radical Islamic groups across the lower 'stans after the break-up of the USSR who have also seen fit to go into Western China in the near past. The Baluchs continue to be a source of instability in Iran and one of the most cohesive insurgent groups there, even moreso than the Kurds and Azeris.

The sad thing is that both Iraq and Afghanistan are strategically defensive conflicts to uphold Nations and the rule of law, not just counter a virulent form of Western ideology, like communism, but to counter one seeking to destroy Nations and form an Empire. The next President has been given the choice of supporting the rule of law and Nation states, or allowing these concepts to die via neglect and non-support. Considering that Nations were invented to ensure the safety of ethnic groups, or to allow multiple groups to settle differences and come together in commonality of government, running *from* that in Iraq and letting things decay to pre-Nation state means would start the liquidation process of Nations not just locally, but along ethnic lines that spread in to Africa, Asia and Southern Europe... with Western and Northern Europe facing their own influx of unassimilated ethnic groups also seeking to do the same as is already seen in France, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark...

Iraq was never going to be cheap nor easy. And far more rests on it than *just* American lives and treasury. Helping Iraqis build a better life for themselves with accountable government and in the holding of religion to be something done by their people, may just have found us that large group of folks that no one has found, heretofore: Moderate Muslims.

There appears to be a Nation full of them. And in Afghanistan, too.

But then, I do think strange thoughts.

kim

In Sistani We Trust.
===========

narciso

Hindsight, is of course, 20/20. by 1945, it would have seemed to many that Germany had had a brief experience withdemocracy ;which failed disastrously (Weimar)followed by a genocidal totalitarian state. Before that, the semiparlia-mentary autocracy of the Kaiser Wilhelm/Bismarck period; which was characterized by a series of brushfire wars with nation states (France). The socio-economic characteristics were little to brag about; as Marx, the Michael Moore of the period, seemed to see it as the likely
model of a regime to undergo Marxist revolution. A period of autonomous nation state (Bavaria,Prussia,Saxony, each characterized by sectarian identities)A long preceding period of being part of an Imperial greater entity. In short, not much that would suggest that liberal democracy could prevail for more than 60 years.

Japan's history was equally murky with
reason to doubt any democratic progression. A military autocracy along Shinto militarist
lines, which arose out a briefly curtailed
parliamentary period; where the leading figures(ie; Inukai) were murdered by the junta. Preceded by a long interlude of feudal autocracy, with alternating reformist
and oligarchic regimes. The immediate post war era was characterized by an old line statesman like Yoshida. But more often the
former Class A war criminal like Kishi and
traditional ward healer politicos like Tanaka (who was toppled by the Lockheed scandal)The regime was dominated by the aforementioned LDP,but more typically the MITI 'managed trade' network and the new
Keiretsu/Zaibatsu network. Always lurking in the background was the old feudal throwback, the Yakuza. I know the parallels
are imperfect; Japan doesn't provide the lion's share of the world's oil, the militant Shinto nationalism wasn't nearly as prevalent. But suicidal almost nihilistic
militarism is common in both instances

kim

There's one for the ages: "Marx, the Michael Moore of the period". Wish there were more of you, n.

The warrior ethic is for battle, not for governing.
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sophy

Please do not hesitate to have flyff penya . It is funny.

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