Ret. Gen. William Odom: Want stability in the Middle East? Get out of Iraq!

"I contend Iraq is a catastophic disaster that is preventing and undermining America's and the worlds ability to confront and defeat the real threats to American and the world's security."


Paul Hue said...

OK, Nadir. Some retired generals (and parents of dead soldiers) support the war, and some oppose. Now what? I for one remain quite attracted to many voices that oppose this war as counter-productive. Those voices may very well prove correct. However, I think it is possible that this will be the greatest victory for civilization since the 1960s US civil rights movement.

Paul Hue said...

This general may indeed be right. I'm glad for the sake of humanity that Abe Lincoln didn't opt for "stability" in 1860. I remember a time when liberals used to admonish presidents for accepting (and striving for) "stability" over forcing nations (such as South Africa) to move (and quickly so!) to democracy.

Of course, now we know how hollow those liberal wishes were, as these same voices now support the likes of Robert Mugabe, and treat the word "democracy" as a slur (as if it is not synonymous with such terms as freedom, and "self-determination").

Nadir said...

You can't keep comparing the U.S. Civil War to the invasion of Iraq. They are completely different politcal situations. Your constant references to Lincoln and 1860 in this instance are ludicrous. The same is true for South Africa.

The comparison to Mugabe might be true if the US or Britain chose to invade Zimbabwe, but there is no oil in Zimbabwe, is there?

Paul Hue said...

Re: Zimbabwe: No, Zimbabwe lacks any resource upon which the rest of the world depends, its dictator niether finances terrorists who strike American allies, nor offers safe harbor to such, and its army has not invaded a neibor in recent years leading to cease-fire stipulations that it is violating. Thus its people have no hope of having any outside force impose a democracy there.

Nadir: Please justify my comparassions to the 1860 situation as ludicrous. All situations are different, but some different situations have instructive similarities. One of many instructive similarities for both Bush's invasion and Lincoln's war are:

- Domestic critics insisted that these were "wars of choice and not of neccessity".
- Domestic critics insisted that they fought only for economic reasons, not for moral reasons.
- The various confederate state governments prior to the war sponsored terrorism in the new territories (to frighten settlers into voting for slavery) and in established free states (by sending law officers to kidnap freed slaves).
- The confederate state govts opposed democracy.
- Both presidents constructed justifications for war that emphasized what they felt would maximize popular support, which did not coincide with the factors that most compelled them to decide for war in the first place.
- Both presidents constructed a situation that manipulated the other side into circumstances that favored war.
- As each war progressed, the emphasis of each president shifted heavily to the moral justifications of the war, most especially the establishment of democracy.
- The first few years seemed to go very poorly for the presidents.

There are of course many differences (as there must be; no two situations are ever identical):
- Lincoln's army waged "total war", seeking to maximize destruction and penalize the civilians who supported the confederacy.
- Lincoln's war was charactorized by very high casualty and fatality rates for his troops, as both fraction of troops and fraction of the US population.
- Of course one war involved two countries and the other involved two groups of states within the same country. However, at the time of the Civil War, the concept of "nation-state" was rather young, and the states considered themselves rather autonomous.
- Both involved clashing international ideologies of emerging elightenment versus cruel ancient backwardsness; one involved slavery versus the strange new concept of non-slavery, and the other involves religious tyrany versus the strange new (relitively) concept of free thought and expression and religious toleration.