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The MAIN Iraq Thread: Part Deux!

Old 05-03-07, 08:50 PM
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The MAIN Iraq Thread: Part Deux!

Starting the second installment.

Originally Posted by bhk
If the mostly liberal media hated Islamofascist terrorists more than they hate Bush and sought their destruction instead of his, we would have been much further along in the process of the War on Islamofascism
...And if Republicans stopped attacking Liberals for their comments, and focused their energy on fighting the insurgency, we would have come along much further by now as well.

So we could argue extremist statements all day. It's like Sunnis and Shi'ites. A lot of fighting. A lot of getting nowhere.

But since you are against a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, then you must think there is a point of victory in the future. Just when is it? Can you give us an idea? How long are we supposed to stay in Iraq? How many US troop deaths make a case for withdrawal? If you can't answer these questions, then you have no right defending the deaths of Americans. I cannot possibly imagine an entire military not caring about a plan, a goal, and a time period to achieve those goals. If the time is infinite, then this means there is no solution by definition of "infinite".

At some point the hardcore Republicans and Bush supporters will have to finally say, "Hey, we're losing. It's time to get out." It's already starting, and I suspect by the end of this year, we'll hear even Bush announcing a withdrawal. The latest general is not getting what he needs to accomplish his mission, even though he is regarded as the "General who knows terrorism". He's basically been setup to lose from the beginning, as have others.

So, once again, I have to ask, what are your limitations of the war in Iraq. You must have them. What is your definition of a "failure" in Iraq--and I'm not talking about withdrawing, I'm talking about your definition of what Iraq's state is that you will accept as a failure.
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Old 05-03-07, 09:30 PM
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I will read it. Thanks, Vandelay.
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Old 05-03-07, 10:58 PM
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I don't think you can look at Iraq and clearly say we're losing. I also don't think you can look at Iraq and say we're winning. The battle we're fighting now is completely different than what was laid out in 2002-2003. I don't think we could lose this thing militarily. We have enough troops to continue to roam around all over Iraq, but are we really accomplishing the lofty goals that have been thrust upon the soldiers post defeat of Saddam? I don't think so, and I don't think the goals are achievable or fair to our soldiers. We could easily "not lose" forever if we simply keep troops on the ground in Iraq, but I don't believe we can "win" with the bar being set so extremely high for us and the bar being set so low for the insurgency/terrorists/foreign fighters/death squads/militias/whoever we are fighting today over there.
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Old 05-03-07, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
...And if Republicans stopped attacking Liberals for their comments, and focused their energy on fighting the insurgency, we would have come along much further by now as well.
It all depends on who the real enemy is. It's no stretch of the imagination that some righties hate liberals and the media worse than terrorists. After all, terrorists are just doin' what comes naturally, like wild animals or bad weather.
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Old 05-03-07, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I don't think you can look at Iraq and clearly say we're losing. I also don't think you can look at Iraq and say we're winning. The battle we're fighting now is completely different than what was laid out in 2002-2003. I don't think we could lose this thing militarily. We have enough troops to continue to roam around all over Iraq, but are we really accomplishing the lofty goals that have been thrust upon the soldiers post defeat of Saddam? I don't think so, and I don't think the goals are achievable or fair to our soldiers. We could easily "not lose" forever if we simply keep troops on the ground in Iraq, but I don't believe we can "win" with the bar being set so extremely high for us and the bar being set so low for the insurgency/terrorists/foreign fighters/death squads/militias/whoever we are fighting today over there.
I define losing:

1) World perception of the US regarding occupying a country and "making it better"--after 4 years we still can't say to the world, "Here, see, we were right all along..."

2) Creating more terrorism than was there originally

3) US military deaths

4) Failure to demonstrate the US is making a positive difference for the Iraqi people

5) Failure of the Iraqi government to come to a solid solution regarding distribution of oil to the Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Northern Kurds, and failure of the Iraqi government to effectively communicate with the Sunni population, thereby creating a large rift which guarantees continued conflict

6) Behaviors and actions regarding captured terrorists, so that the public is not made aware of the evidence and is supposed to automatically believe the government--an open government would have no fear prosecuting terrorists in the US or abroad and providing evidence enough to convict them.

7) An extremely high amount of turnover in the upper ranks of the US military, giving the perception--whether true or not--the US is desperate to find someone to carry out a tunnel-visioned President, and creating the perception the US military is at odds with its CIC.

These are just off the top of my head. I could add another 10 if I wanted to. But you get the point. Yes, this is a war which is being lost. We are losing.

Originally Posted by vinvega
The battle we're fighting now is completely different than what was laid out in 2002-2003
And that's exactly what I'm trying to say here. Come 2008-2009, we may have an entirely new and even more dangerous mix of terrorism because of our occupation in Iraq and our refusal to do it properly as I and many have stated. Not to mention Iran's involvement growing. You can't "win" a war with minimal resources. And that's exactly what we are doing.

To satisfy the Nazi Theorists, just think if Bush was President during WWII and he dedicated the same minimal resources to fight the enemy then. We would have lost that one too. We can't even get the balls to initiate a draft because politicians are afraid it would make them lose their terms of office. I mean really, we're not even fighting terrorism. We're just fighting a political war with REAL people dying.

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Old 05-03-07, 11:38 PM
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I was referring to losing on the military front.

I agree that we are losing the image and perception battle, both at home and abroad and without both of those, our cause is pretty well shot in Iraq.

Two points wrt your points:

1) Soldiers dying in and of itself is not a sign of losing. It's all the other factors in the equation that matter. This is immaterial as far as whether we are losing a war unless you're fighting a war of attrition where your ability to conduct operations is hampered by such a great loss in numbers. That's not happening in Iraq. 3000 deaths is not that many when you consider the overall size of the military. Soldiers dying is part of war, so I don't see that as a major indicator that we're losing.

2) If this were WWII, GWB would have the entire might of the US both physically and emotionally behind him. He would have no need to half-ass it with troop or equipment levels. It's comparing apples to oranges.

I think if you look at the whole equation, you make good points and I think on the perception front, we lost this war a long time ago.
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Old 05-03-07, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
To me, it is perfectly clear we're losing. This war has been a terrible tragedy.
That's a pretty vague statement. Can you go into more detail?

Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
The Iraq Project was an execptionally coherent and lucid piece of foreign policy.
I couldn't disagree more. It was one of the most foolhearty ideas we've ever cooked up as a nation. It's even worse than the domino theory in my opinion.
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Old 05-04-07, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
I define losing:

1) World perception of the US regarding occupying a country and "making it better"--after 4 years we still can't say to the world, "Here, see, we were right all along..."

2) Creating more terrorism than was there originally

3) US military deaths

4) Failure to demonstrate the US is making a positive difference for the Iraqi people

5) Failure of the Iraqi government to come to a solid solution regarding distribution of oil to the Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Northern Kurds, and failure of the Iraqi government to effectively communicate with the Sunni population, thereby creating a large rift which guarantees continued conflict

6) Behaviors and actions regarding captured terrorists, so that the public is not made aware of the evidence and is supposed to automatically believe the government--an open government would have no fear prosecuting terrorists in the US or abroad and providing evidence enough to convict them.

7) An extremely high amount of turnover in the upper ranks of the US military, giving the perception--whether true or not--the US is desperate to find someone to carry out a tunnel-visioned President, and creating the perception the US military is at odds with its CIC.

These are just off the top of my head. I could add another 10 if I wanted to. But you get the point. Yes, this is a war which is being lost. We are losing.
Most of the things you listed have barely anything or nothing at all to do with winning a war. You win or lose a war because of perception? especially world perception??? WE win or lose a war because of the Iraqi government decisions on oil?? The war is won or lost because of how we treat captured terrorists? If anything that is positive because we have captured them. Frankly, I don't care if they are in a military trial or a civilian trial as long as they are on trial and not on the battlefield. We win or lose because of turnover, and the perception of turnover? Perception again???? These aren't reasons to say we are winning or losing a war.

Even the other things that make more sense about winning or losing a war you cant say we are winning or losing from. You mention US deaths. So how do you look at 3K dead and say we are losing?? What number would have been ok? If we lost 3K and everything else was better is 3K still a bad number...would we be winning, or if we lost 1K but other things were even worse than they are now would the war be less lost? People die in war, its bound to happen.

I'm sure we are going to disagree. If you had a scale of win/lose from total loss to total victory I would say we are closer to win than to lose, but you would probably disagree. Thats up in the air, but I definitely disagree with the things you are using to make your judgement.
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Old 05-04-07, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by IMRICKJAMES
Most of the things you listed have barely anything or nothing at all to do with winning a war. You win or lose a war because of perception? especially world perception??? WE win or lose a war because of the Iraqi government decisions on oil?? The war is won or lost because of how we treat captured terrorists? If anything that is positive because we have captured them. Frankly, I don't care if they are in a military trial or a civilian trial as long as they are on trial and not on the battlefield. We win or lose because of turnover, and the perception of turnover? Perception again???? These aren't reasons to say we are winning or losing a war.

Even the other things that make more sense about winning or losing a war you cant say we are winning or losing from. You mention US deaths. So how do you look at 3K dead and say we are losing?? What number would have been ok? If we lost 3K and everything else was better is 3K still a bad number...would we be winning, or if we lost 1K but other things were even worse than they are now would the war be less lost? People die in war, its bound to happen.

I'm sure we are going to disagree. If you had a scale of win/lose from total loss to total victory I would say we are closer to win than to lose, but you would probably disagree. Thats up in the air, but I definitely disagree with the things you are using to make your judgement.
One thing to consider. When you're talking about "limited wars" and wars of choice, perception does matter. These types of wars are much more political than an all out winner take all conflict like the two World Wars. When you set up artificial rules and other things in a conflict, perception and politics are bound to play more of a role. That's why in a limited war, you need an easily achievable goal, or at least an achievable one. I would also add that in pre-emptive war, the politics are even higher because it is against the general tradition of America's foreign policy to do something like that. If we were in a winner take all struggle with our opponent, where our very existence depends on the outcome of this war, then the political nature of the conflict would be substantially less. Obviously there's a debate amongst those who support this conflict and those who don't as to the threat to our very existence Iraq in particular posed or now poses.
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Old 05-04-07, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
One thing to consider. When you're talking about "limited wars" and wars of choice, perception does matter. These types of wars are much more political than an all out winner take all conflict like the two World Wars. When you set up artificial rules and other things in a conflict, perception and politics are bound to play more of a role. That's why in a limited war, you need an easily achievable goal, or at least an achievable one. I would also add that in pre-emptive war, the politics are even higher because it is against the general tradition of America's foreign policy to do something like that. If we were in a winner take all struggle with our opponent, where our very existence depends on the outcome of this war, then the political nature of the conflict would be substantially less. Obviously there's a debate amongst those who support this conflict and those who don't as to the threat to our very existence Iraq in particular posed or now poses.
I agree with you on that in terms of the whole 'winning the hearts and minds' portion of conflicts, but in simply terms of winning or losing the war I don't believe perception matters much. Put it this way, I highly doubt that the Germans and Japanese lost WWII because countries not involved in the war had a bad perception of them. Likewise, if you believe we are losing in Iraq I would argue we are not losing because say France likes us less than they did before, or because Germany is against the war.
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Old 05-04-07, 08:25 AM
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Well, then prove we are winning. If people think you're winning, they will support your cause. America wants to win. We don't hang around losers and celebrate lost causes.

Yes, it's about perception. And you're past comments (and many others as well) about the "Liberal Media" prove my point.
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Old 05-04-07, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I was referring to losing on the military front.

I agree that we are losing the image and perception battle, both at home and abroad and without both of those, our cause is pretty well shot in Iraq.

Two points wrt your points:

1) Soldiers dying in and of itself is not a sign of losing. It's all the other factors in the equation that matter. This is immaterial as far as whether we are losing a war unless you're fighting a war of attrition where your ability to conduct operations is hampered by such a great loss in numbers. That's not happening in Iraq. 3000 deaths is not that many when you consider the overall size of the military. Soldiers dying is part of war, so I don't see that as a major indicator that we're losing.

2) If this were WWII, GWB would have the entire might of the US both physically and emotionally behind him. He would have no need to half-ass it with troop or equipment levels. It's comparing apples to oranges.

I think if you look at the whole equation, you make good points and I think on the perception front, we lost this war a long time ago.
1) True to some degree. All the factors I mentioned have to be taken into consideration as a whole instead of just one factor. Many factors contribute to a war, but remember, when you have nothing of substance to give the public, deaths do create a negative stigma. The Bush Administration simply cannot give Americans a substantial or believable reason why US deaths are necessary, which is why many Conservatives are avoiding discussing the deaths altogether (i.e., last night's Republican debate).

2) I disagree. Since Bush isn't taking terrorism seriously, what makes you think he would take a bunch of Nazis killing Jews seriously. If you think about it more, you'll discover Bush would have fucked up WWII as well. And just imagine if we had George Tenet covering the intel...need I say more?

Bush is innately a man who has a cause, but doesn't give it the full devotion it deserves in order to win. This may be because he is too political, and/or it may be he has doubts himself on the outcome.

We certainly did have a chance at winning this thing. We missed that opportunity, and we will now face the consequences.
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Old 05-04-07, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I don't think you can look at Iraq and clearly say we're losing. I also don't think you can look at Iraq and say we're winning. The battle we're fighting now is completely different than what was laid out in 2002-2003. I don't think we could lose this thing militarily. We have enough troops to continue to roam around all over Iraq, but are we really accomplishing the lofty goals that have been thrust upon the soldiers post defeat of Saddam? I don't think so, and I don't think the goals are achievable or fair to our soldiers. We could easily "not lose" forever if we simply keep troops on the ground in Iraq, but I don't believe we can "win" with the bar being set so extremely high for us and the bar being set so low for the insurgency/terrorists/foreign fighters/death squads/militias/whoever we are fighting today over there.
Exactly. We are fighting an occupier's war not a liberator. We have no army to defeat. We are simply fighting citizens that want us out of their country at this point. How do we defeat the enemy when they appear no different than the friendlies? Its insanity.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
To me, it is perfectly clear we're losing. This war has been a terrible tragedy.

Now, what why is it so and what does it mean? The answer to that is complex. The Iraq Project was an exceptionally coherent and lucid piece of foreign policy. That it has so miserably failed is a reflection of many things, and is not the result of specific decisions or mistakes.
Of course its a result of decisions and mistakes - namely the decision to use a small force and the disbandment of the Iraqi police and army. This led to chaos and looting and started the whole thing off on a negative footing. After that, its just been a series of bad decisions. The worst decision was deciding to preemptively invade a nation who posed no threat to the USA. That decision will live with us for all of our lifetimes.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
I define losing:

1) World perception of the US regarding occupying a country and "making it better"--after 4 years we still can't say to the world, "Here, see, we were right all along..."

2) Creating more terrorism than was there originally

3) US military deaths

4) Failure to demonstrate the US is making a positive difference for the Iraqi people

5) Failure of the Iraqi government to come to a solid solution regarding distribution of oil to the Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Northern Kurds, and failure of the Iraqi government to effectively communicate with the Sunni population, thereby creating a large rift which guarantees continued conflict

6) Behaviors and actions regarding captured terrorists, so that the public is not made aware of the evidence and is supposed to automatically believe the government--an open government would have no fear prosecuting terrorists in the US or abroad and providing evidence enough to convict them.

7) An extremely high amount of turnover in the upper ranks of the US military, giving the perception--whether true or not--the US is desperate to find someone to carry out a tunnel-visioned President, and creating the perception the US military is at odds with its CIC.

1. Perception is in the mind of the media, with the world grabbing at their coat-tails for information. Unfortunately, they really don't paint the whole picture. Mostly because the mooshy do-gooder stuff doesn't sell as well as the EFP that just killed X amount of people. While I wouldn't say we have brought in infrastructure of this nation back to a pre-war state, I do think that the people themselves have felt a burden lifted. Granted, a new one of terrorism is now present, but people are actually starting to comprehend the definition of freedom, something that was, and for the most part still is, foreign as we are.

2. Unfortunately, some of our actions here have generated more ACF, (Anti-Coalition Forces) but a lot of the quasi-terrorists here are in it strictly for the money. They have nothing against the US per-se, but the fact that if the could kill a Coalition soldier, they get X amount of dollars. That is why they video tape everything here. there is no religious rationale, just greed that drives most of these people.

3. I agree with you, any death or injury is a loss. But one can not define a war by the simple fact that a soldier died. Now, one could go into numbers, firepower, etc... but that isn't the kind of war we are fighting.

4. Who should demonstrate this? From the Iraqi people I have 'talked' to (interpreter helping, of course) they are overjoyed that we are here. Unfortunately, most Iraqi people seen on TV or after a bombing.

5. Couldn't agree with you more that this is a huge problem, and is being reflected by the continuation of the ACF's activities.

6. Yes, I have heard the stories about the wrong guy getting picked up, but believe me, if he had a mission geared around picking him up, he is a bad guy. Also, the evidence we have can not be exposed because it would compromise our ability to collect and use evidence. I know this is not what people want to hear, but it is no less true.

7. This is sooo far above my pay-grade, I can't even comprehend the reasons for this. I can guess and assume all I want, but you know what they say about assuming....
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Old 05-04-07, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by GIjon213
1. Perception is in the mind of the media, with the world grabbing at their coat-tails for information. Unfortunately, they really don't paint the whole picture. Mostly because the mooshy do-gooder stuff doesn't sell as well as the EFP that just killed X amount of people.
Enough already. The media also doesn't show NEARLY how horrible the conditions are either. We don't see the bodies and the carnage on American TV. Ever. You have to wait for a PBS or HBO special to see the real war. The media has sugar coated this war.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Enough already. The media also doesn't show NEARLY how horrible the conditions are either. We don't see the bodies and the carnage on American TV. Ever. You have to wait for a PBS or HBO special to see the real war. The media has sugar coated this war.
Or you could just come over and see what is really happening here. Once again, you see the worst, and rarely the best. True, there is carnage and bodies here, and that won't be over for a while. But, it isn't as bad as you make it sound. I may not see it all, but I do get a good idea what it is like over here. I do go outside the wire, though, and deal with Iraqi's often. We do actually try to improve their way of life, not just take it.

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Old 05-04-07, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by GIjon213
Or you could just come over and see what is really happening here. Once again, you see the worst, and rarely the best. True, there is carnage and bodies here, and that won't be over for a while. But, it isn't as bad as you make it sound.
Why in the hell would I go to Iraq? I want all Americans the hell out of Iraq.

My point is to please stop saying the media is purposely showing a negative face of Iraq when they aren't showing the carnage or nary a dead soldier.

Case in point
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Old 05-04-07, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Why in the hell would I go to Iraq? I want all Americans the hell out of Iraq.

My point is to please stop saying the media is purposely showing a negative face of Iraq when they aren't showing the carnage or nary a dead soldier.

Case in point
So the only way to put a negative face on the war is to show the carnage? Seems to me if you show that stuff people would start tuning out more than anything else so then the media couldn't get their message out at all. It's more subtle to keep the negative there w/o balancing it w/ the positive that we here from some of the troops over there than to go full on w/ the carnage.

Then again I don't really believe in the grand media conspiracies. I think reporters for the most part are more liberal than conservative so they are going to report things from that POV. So in this case they'll continue using the "it bleeds it leads" approach and finding a balanced report of what's really going on is nearly impossible.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:34 AM
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The government learned from Vietnam that showing the actual war on TV was bad for public opinion. Thus the whole embedded reporter nonsense. You'll see what we want you to see. And the reason we don't see it is because its too dangerous for new crews.

Are you saying the media does not show pictures like this because they don't want people tuning out or their anti-war message?
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Old 05-04-07, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Why in the hell would I go to Iraq? I want all Americans the hell out of Iraq.

My point is to please stop saying the media is purposely showing a negative face of Iraq when they aren't showing the carnage or nary a dead soldier.

Case in point
Fair enough, but when was the last time you saw a news report on some of the good things that are happening here? Ok, when were the last five times. Now, when was the last time you saw a story about something tragic, bomb-involved, or gruesome in Iraq? 5 minutes ago, 1 hour ago, yesterday, the day before, etc... Plus, most (read: 95%) news agencies are in Baghdad. Why? That is where all the excitement is.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by GIjon213
Fair enough, but when was the last time you saw a news report on some of the good things that are happening here? Ok, when were the last five times. Now, when was the last time you saw a story about something tragic, bomb-involved, or gruesome in Iraq? 5 minutes ago, 1 hour ago, yesterday, the day before, etc... Plus, most (read: 95%) news agencies are in Baghdad. Why? That is where all the excitement is.
Good things? Like what? Rebuilding the shit we destroyed in the first place?

I'm not really sure where you are going with this but the nation did not sign on to this war to be nation-builders.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:47 AM
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Are you saying the media does not show pictures like this because they don't want people tuning out or their anti-war message?
I'm saying they don't show pictures like that because people would stop buying their newspapers/magazines or watching their stories. Despite all the "violence" on TV Americans are usually pretty squimish. Would it be a more realistic view of the war, certainly, but so would reporting on some of the good things that are going over there.

https://www.rebuilding-iraq.net/pls/...ION_UPDATE.PDF
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Old 05-04-07, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Good things? Like what? Rebuilding the shit we destroyed in the first place?

I'm not really sure where you are going with this but the nation did not sign on to this war to be nation-builders.
Off the top of my head:

Establishing and understanding of actual freedom.

Initiating quality controls with the various projects we build.

Overseeing the work getting done.

Lowering the unemployed numbers with 'self-help' projects.

Empowering the local and national governments to complete projects.

Give me more time and I could come up with a whole bunch more.

Besides, most of the things we blew up were of military significance, not Haji's house.

We may not have gone into this war as nation-builders, but we have realized that this is a responsibility that we now have to take on if this nation is ever going to actually function.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by GIjon213
We may not have gone into this war as nation-builders, but we have realized that this is a responsibility that we now have to take on if this nation is ever going to actually function.
At least function enough that American and European oil companies can contract Iraq oil safely. If it weren't for the oil and the American interests in the region, we'd be long gone.
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