All 7 entries tagged Iraq
March 03, 2007
Writing about web page http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/iraq/2007/03/its_completely_.html
I was sitting in my room when I hear my aunt talking to my mother and telling her that one of our neighbors had died. My mother showed her sorrow by saying “poor man he was very young. May Allah gives his family patience” and then she asked my aunt the usual question that Iraqis nowadays ask about dead people, she said “who killed him” my aunt said “no one, he just died naturally, act of God”. Then my mother said “oh! Act of God, thanks Allah for that”. My mother words shocked me because the way she changed after she knew that the guy had died naturally expressed a kind of satisfying with the death case. She used to cry when she watches the news about the explosions and when she sees all these women and men crying and shouting because they lost members of their families. This time she was very calm although the result is the same…
- by an Iraqi journalist
January 17, 2007
George Bush has been regularly poking the Iraqi government with a knife.
Well now he’s stuck it in their back and is giving it a good twist.
He’s said the hanging of Saddam Hussein “looked like a revenge killing” and the Iraqi government still had “some maturation to do”. It’s as if he’s deliberately making Iraq look weak.
You almost wonder if he has two separate objectives:
- Bring peace to Iraq
- Get a friendlier government in
He doesn’t seem to realise that pursuing (2) makes (1) far less likely.
January 08, 2007
America looks set to go it alone in its widely-anticipated “troop surge” in Iraq. An extra 20,000 U.S. soldiers will be sent to the country to ‘finish the job’ and build a longer-lasting peace.
But Britain and other (notably miniscule) members of the coalition don’t intend to follow suit. It’s widely agreed that British forces have been having more success than the Americans, using a cautious, softer approach in trying to win over ‘hearts and minds’. President Bush’s advisors seem to believe they can achieve the same ends through very different means.
Perhaps this is the only option open to the United States. Its forces are hardly renowned for their peacekeeping skills, so a surgical strike may be their own possible plan.
And with Britain looking to reduce its commitment during 2007, it appears few people have faith in the ‘surge’ as an effective method of bringing peace to Iraq.
January 07, 2007
While Downing Street might appear terraced to the untrained eye, houses 10 and 11 are definitely semi-detached.
The relationship between Blair and Brown is now so petty that when Brown jumps, Blair has to rush straight in, desperate not to be left behind.
This morning, Brown told Andrew Marr that the manner of Saddam Hussein’s execution was “deplorable and unacceptable”. It’s taken him a week to realise this, but never mind.
Up to now, Tony Blair has kept a bizarre silence on the execution. He’s left public statements to Margaret Beckett and avoided the issue. But now Brown’s offered some thoughts on the issue, Blair has – in his eyes – had to do the same.
What a kerfuffle.
It’s possible that Blair’s been keeping quiet because he doesn’t want to weaken the extremely-shaky Iraqi government. But everyone in Britain’s going to be thinking he’s trying to keep his hands clean.
Yet again, Blair looks weak and Brown’s forced his hand. It’s obvious Brown is getting the best political advice, even if he’s the dullest interviewee on the planet.
P.S. Iain Dale says the BBC’s topline from the interview (Brown and Blair split) shows how dull the interview was. I reckon Brown’s a bit cleverer than Iain is suggesting. Brown knew he could talk rubbish for 15 minutes, drop in the words “deplorable” and “unacceptable” and write the headlines himself.
Brown decided what he wanted the Beeb’s topline to be before he began the interview. And he knew that ‘Brown gives dull interview’ wouldn’t be a major story in the Mainstream Media. Any Blair/Brown split is coming straight from No 11.
December 05, 2006
On past form, you have to wonder whether President Bush condones this sort of outspoken truthiness.
His new Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, said today that ‘no’, we’re not winning the War in Iraq, which anyone who watches the news has known for about two years.
Don’t worry though. Rumsfeld may be gone, but some of the nonsensical vocabulary remains. Because while we’re not winning, we’re also not losing either.
Now I know this is a complex civil war but surely we can agree that winning and losing is, in this case, an either/or kind of thing? There’s not really a middle ground, as Mr Gates suggests.
Another Republican senator, John Warner, said that we are “drifting sideways” in the war, a dangerous concept which, according to my map, can only lead to war in Iran or Syria. And we don’t want that… do we?
October 31, 2006
The big news story of the day didn’t live up to its billing.
The government eventually won a vote in the House of Commons – which if they hadn’t – would have resulted in an inquiry being set up into the conduct of the Iraq War. The story was only interesting while the government were under pressure, and now they’re not. They won by a relatively comfortable 298 to 273 votes.
If it had gone the other way, it would have been embarrassing for everyone involved – especially Tony Blair.
But if you believed the government spinners, it would also have been difficult for the British armed forces operating in Iraq, harming morale and giving the insurgents greater resolve to break our army down.
But would our armed forces really have been put in danger by this inquiry?
Surely the most definitive answer comes from the armed forces themselves, on the forums of the British ARmy Rumour SErvice or ARRSE.
if you think soldiers will be in more danger becasue of an inquiry then we may as well all start smoking wacky backy (posted by “Ord_Sgt”)
No consequences. Bliar being a coward again and failing to face upto his responsibilities and the death of 120+ service pesonnel. (posted by “DodgerDog”)
If you honestly believe the terrorists in Iraq will receive succour from an inquiry in Iraq, you have a poor grasp of reality. Do you honestly think an inquiry makes it more obvious to them than it is already that many Brits have misgivings about Iraq? (posted by “Northern Monkey”)
It’s true that some of the comments say the inquiry should be held once our troops are mostly home.
But an underlying theme running throughout many of the posts is: We don’t know why we’re in Iraq, and have particularly good reason for wanting to find out!
It sounds to me like the government is playing a dangerous game – using the armed forces as a shield to protect them from political embarrassment.
October 08, 2006
We have 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of the population. In this situation, our real job in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which permit us to maintain this position of disparity. To do so, we have to dispense with all sentimentality… we should cease thinking about human rights, the raising of living standards and democratisation. – George Kennan, US Foreign Policy advisor, 1948
I would characterize current U.S. nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, and dreadfully dangerous – Robert McNamara, former US Foreign Policy advisor, 2005
It doesn’t sound like much has changed, then. Foreign policy seems to be the most influential, potentially dangerous and ideologically-divided type of politics, yet it is also the area of politics in which there is the least debate and where elites have the greatest say over our lives. In 2003, the Parliamentary debate on war in Iraq was an unprecedented exercise in debate before destruction. Only because of the incredible pressure put upon the government was there any debate in the Commons. They won because the Conservative opposition wished to play up the divisions in the Labour Party.
The effect of poor foreign policy has been clear to see from the headlines this week. The Muslim population of Britain and other Western countries have been angered not only by the closed world of foreign affairs, but also by the blinkered reporting of it by newspapers, television and radio. Jack Straw’s remarks this week tackled one of those issues denied a hearing because different communities are afraid of stepping on each other’s toes. Henry Porter in the Observer and Martin Kettle in the Guardian both defended some of Straw’s words, while warning of the likely reaction from those who hadn’t read what he actually said in his newspaper article and radio interviews. But the – fairly predictable – reaction to Straw’s comments wasn’t the fault of a nervous Muslim population (in fact most moderate Muslims have shrugged it off), but was the fault of a British population not used to such open discussion of delicate issues. The media doesn’t prepare us for the identification of acceptable difference that is needed in a modern, diverse society where things aren’t only in shades of grey, but in full-blown technicolour. And the media isn’t helped when the government restricts debate of things like the replacement of Trident, nuclear power and our foreign policy generally.
When Tony Blair talks of a ‘roadmap’ for the Middle East, only he and his transatlantic allies seem to know what this roadmap is, and only they helped define it in the first place. There was little discussion here in the UK and in America of what would be required, just as there was little involvement of citizens in Israel and Palestine, and that’s been reflected in the fragility of the process. Similarly, no-one seriously thought to ask what should replace Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and only a few hours was given over to Parliamentary debate about the inevitable invasion.
To refer back to George Kennan’s remarks in 1948, is it the case that military planning is done without reference to human rights and democracy? Events since 2001 suggest that it could well be. 2,973 people died on 11th September of that year, and the reaction to it has – at least in terms of casualties – been seriously overblown. Iraq Body Count – an independent body – suspects that between 43,799 and 48,639 civilians have been killed in Iraq since 2003, far more than in New York and Washington, and far more than were murdered by Saddam Hussein. Where is morality in this situation? Yes, one can blame the ‘insurgents’, ‘terrorists’ or ‘freedom fighters’ for many of these deaths, but it is clear that the British and American invasion triggered them.
George Bush does not seem a sentimental man, and Tony Blair does only when he’s performing for the cameras. But has sentimentality gone the same way as informed debate amongst ordinary people and our governments? The past five years and the closed-door world of Western foreign policy suggest that it has.