A NEW LONG WAR?

I’ve been mulling over a recent encounter with Phillip Bobbitt, now regarded as the Free World’s greatest anti-terrorist guru and author of his latest work “Terror and Consent The Wars for the Twenty-First Century. 672 pages. £25, Allen Lane.”
WW2, the Cold War, dealing with the IRA are all yesterday’s wars and give us few clues for dealing with present and future wars (and “wars” is what they are, he insists). The internet, a global world and science generally give terrorists access to the same WMD as nation states, which have become “market states”. National borders and existing international law are now anachronisms and obstacles to dealing with terror. Worrying overmuch about the causes of terrorism and bogeys such as al- Qaeda, Islam and Islamism is beside the point; when one group disappears, there will be others and we are in for a long war. ( where have we heard that before?)

Yet Bobbitt is no neo-con. He scorns Bush’s blundering into Iraq and Guantanamo as the wrong war and an evasion of law. We need a new strategy of pre-emption and new international laws – which would include in extremis the use of force to compel a terrorist to reveal the location of ” the ticking time bomb”. Wooly liberalism and George Bush are damned equally. Yet when with 42 days in mind I asked him : ” What would you have us do specifically?” Bobbitt ducked and replied shortly: “Read the book. I just want everyone to think.” Chairing the Royal Society of Arts meeting was columnist Simon Jenkins, who aimiably disagreed with every word Bobbitt said. Certainly Bobbitt deserves more than a knee-jerk reaction. Here are two of the best reviews of Bobbitt’s latest, on either side of the debate. Take your pick or think afresh!

Niall Ferguson New York Times
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/11/arts/IDLEDE12.php

Simon Jenkins Sunday Times
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/simon_jenkins/article4040227.ece

  • DC

    “Old doctrines like deterrence and containment are obsolete and must give way to new strategies of “preclusion” (a word that distinguishes it from the term “pre-emption” in the National Security Strategy of 2002, though the sense seems to be the same). Unilateralism must certainly be abandoned. The United States and its allies must recognize their common fate.”

    I think the superficialness of the going to war in Iraq was easily understood among the public as very shallow, almost like striking out at the wrong ‘enemy’ for want of another more subtle reaction. It is this vote winning attitude mentioned in the article in the IHT that Bush used to react to 9/11 as a means to flex muscle, which can only further upset the balance of opinion among the more volatile Islamic nations, rather than co-ordinate together on the issue of Islamic-led terrorism.

    The article also proves to a point that states are in support of the market economy and therefore a better functioning EU would be the natural follow on from the recommendations made in the IHT article.

    The only problem in my opinion is it lacks a touch of perspectivism, which if we are to belive is a world-wide terror threat to market-states should have us looking at the different ‘climatic’ approaches. Therefore the nuances of motivating factors behind attacks would need to be considered unless everyone agrees on a generic template being followed by each unit or cell. Such disparate groupings will have their own particular expertise and perhaps axe to grind, not just against the USA but more local power-struggles and cover gotten from the pre-text of war to secure a localised power-base.

  • Harry Flashman

    “I think the superficialness of the going to war in Iraq was easily understood among the public as very shallow, almost like striking out at the wrong ‘enemy’ for want of another more subtle reaction.”

    I posted this piece earlier at the fag end of a dying thread about the war in Iraq but if I may I’d like to repost it as a counter-balance to the widely misconstrued idea that the Iraq war was blunder:-

    ‘In September 12 2001 the world looked on aghast at the sheer scale of the terrorist outrage inflicted in the heart of the western world. The huge nature of the problem of Islamic militancy seemed incredibly difficult to manage much less defeat.

    In the eight years of the Bush presidency what has been achieved? Al Queda has been rolled up into a lonely mountain fastness in the Pakistan Afghanistan borders, the scale of atrocities against western targets has gone into precipitate decline from Bali/Madrid style outrages to sending mental defectives into Exeter cafes with internet bombs. The massive financial network they once controlled has been liquidated, the government in Saudi Arabia is now no longer bankrolling the fanatics in the way they once did, governments from Indonesia to Morocco who once either turned a blind eye to Islamic terrorism or simply appeased it are now actively co-operating with the US government to extirpate it, the populations of these countries are also rejecting the militancy in greater numbers as they recognise it for the dead end it is.

    How was this achieved? Well at the end of the day the United States has one big massive hammer it can take to its enemies; its military forces. But it would hardly be possible to deploy the 101st Airborne to the Finchley Park mosque or the Marines to the madrassas of Lahore, so instead in classical military fashion the US decided to force the Holy Warriors to fight on American terms, Iraq would be the anvil upon which the Jihad would be hammered, as Bush himself said when told Al Queda was flooding into Iraq, “Bring ‘em on”, he was as usual derided by the western chattering classes but as is so often the case it was a brilliant strategic move.

    Instead of plotting in the festering banlieus of Paris or Bradford the jihadis signed up in their tens of thousands to fight the Holy War which the western media convinced them the Great Satan was losing in Iraq. And by the tens of thousands, like French infantry at Verdun they were fed into the meat grinder prepared for them by their enemy. Tens of thousands of Pakistanis, Chechens, Saudis, Egyptians, Britons and Algerians all nicely diced and sliced ready to meet their 72 houris in paradise instead of plotting bombs on the Paris Metro.

    Brilliant.

    The cost? 3000 dead. Vietnam had 55,000, Korea something similar with nothing to show for it, the pointless invasion of Okinawa in July 1945 cost the US Marines and army 13,000 dead in a matter of weeks for no discernible result.

    Now the situation in Iraq is stabilising, the Iraqi government has sent boy wonder Muqtada al Sadr packing, their forces are now in control of Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk, Al Queda has been chased off with its tail between its legs from Anbar by the disgusted people of that province and they have no idea where to turn next. Is it all over? Not by a long chalk, there are extremely dark days ahead but the back is broken.

    Of course when it is all over people like the posters of SO’T who confidently predicted an American defeat will tell us how they knew all along that Al Queda could be beaten and that Bush deserves no credit for his stupendous achievement.

    Some things never change.’

  • When I hear the words ‘anti terrorist’ I reach for my gun.

    Not to mention the Free World – on what planet is Mr Walker living? What’s free about the US with its Patriot Act, and extraordinary rendition to countries where torture can take place legally? And the UK with its 42 day detention, thanks to the DUP the UK is more akin to a police state than ever, and, also, extraordinary rendition and reliance on torture as a means of obtaining evidence? And the EU with its facilities for extraordinary rendition – Shannon Airport etc.

    The Free World is an anachronism….and the use of it as a term by Mr Walker gives a clue to his backwardness and prehistoric perspective…..

  • Prionsa Eoghan
  • Yet Bobbitt is no neo-con. He scorns Bush’s blundering into Iraq and Guantanamo as the wrong war and an evasion of law. We need a new strategy of pre-emption and new international laws – which would include in extremis the use of force to compel a terrorist to reveal the location of “ the ticking time bomb”. Wooly liberalism and George Bush are damned equally.

    “Yet Bobbitt is no neocon”

    Really, because ‘pre-emption’ (i.e. invasion without cause), the ignoring of international law (by the Anglo-American alliance only, of course) and the routine use of torture (what the ‘ticking-bomb’ fallacy is meant to bring about) are all hallmarks of the neocon mindset.

    His line about rejecting the entirely discredited George W. Bush (a man condemned to history as probably the most disastrous US President) is sadly par for the species in these dying days of Dubya’s presidency, the behaviour of rats leaving a sinking ship. Is Bobbitt one of these rats? Let’s turn back the page to 2003:

    “So, as we look to the future, we must stop debating whether invading Iraq will result in our being worse down the line than we are right now. We do not have the option of holding time still which exposes the biggest flaw in the “Why Rush to War?” argument. The urgency lies in the fact that every day Saddam Hussein stays in power he grows richer, the global terrorist network to which he has access plans further atrocities and (international inspections notwithstanding) the chance of his acquiring nuclear, chemical and biological weapons grows. To avoid Parmenides’ Fallacy, the question we must ask is: Will we be better off in the future if we invade Iraq or if we do not invade?

    Those who believe that the status quo can be indefinitely extended through inspections, then, have an obligation to tell us how the inspectors would prevent Saddam Hussein from buying a weapon from, say, North Korea which would be a rather dramatic change in the status quo.

    Supporters of an indefinite inspectors’ presence focus on large weapons like missile launchers that they say we will be able to detect. (Although Secretary of State Colin Powell’s masterful presentation to the Security Council last month, and our experience hunting for Scuds in the Persian Gulf war, lead one to question that assumption.) But are they also considering that in the future we might have to detect and capture weapons no larger than a case of beer?”

    http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/pbobbitt/tomorrow.html

    The fact that Ferguson is gung-ho for this creep says it all.

  • RepublicanStones

    Jenkins article, whilst a bit of a broadsword, is closer to reality I think. The scaremongering western govts are now guilty of, is not put under enough scrutiny. The idea that there is an overarching group (Al Qaeda) operating a terrorist network throughout the world is absurd. Al-Qadaism is though, a different matter. One does not have to be linked, through personnel, financial or otherwise to share aims and beliefs. But for western govts to portray every instance of extremism as being Al-Qaeda, which is routinely described as having Islamo-fascist expanionist tendencies, seeking to expand Shari’a Law the world over is again, absurd. It muddies the waters and coveniently hides the reasons why many muslims feel the need to join extremist groups. Such as Western backing for totalitarian regimes, whilst condemning other similar regimes who won’t play the house Arab. Even attacking a semi-secular Iraq, whilst far from perfect, was also far from the monster the west painted it to be. The Palestine-Israel issue. These realities are ignored by the neo-con elements, who perpetuate the myth that all violence from ‘islamic’ groups has a nefarious ‘world domination’ agenda. Yet, it is the USA, who is making the greatest strides in the direction of world domination, through these illegal wars, client states and repressive polices at home. I wonder if Hitchens has reviewed this book yet?

  • BfB

    BUSH’S AMERICA: 100 PERCENT AL-QAIDA FREE SINCE 2001
    Make sure to attack the messenger and not the message /sarc…
    The fact that, in spite of overwhelming evidence that Bush/USA’s policies, in the face of braying, squealing, wrong at every turn, pacifist dhimmis, are the most effective today against militant islam Slugger’s America hating, gay rights activist show themselves for what they are. Socialist, communist, hide behind your mother’s skirt cowards. You have no honor, nor do you search for the truth. History has, and will, show your type to be the first to walk away from your phoney misguided rants, when a new cause celeb comes your way. Truly a bunch of wasted food, oxygen and space!!
    But well written, polite, and kind to animals.

  • Garibaldy

    I wonder to what degree the extent of the terrorist network was grossly exaggerated. In other words, after Afghanistan, that Al Qaeda had effectively burned itself out, especially in Britain, where many of these schemes have been crackpot as opposed to serious.

    On the idea that their type of thinking is being rejected, however, I don’t see the evidence for it. Especially on the day when the British press is reporting a police study that finds extremism massively on the rise among young British Muslims. I wonder what might be fuelling that.

  • which would include in extremis the use of force to compel a terrorist to reveal the location of “ the ticking time bomb”.

    The use of force like speaking softly to a terrorist to get secrets?

    The interrogator, Deuce Martinez, a soft-spoken analyst who spoke no Arabic, had turned down a CIA offer to be trained in waterboarding, the brutal technique that makes victims feel like they are drowning.

    He chose to leave the infliction of pain and panic to others, to the gung-ho paramilitary types whom the more cerebral interrogators called “knuckledraggers.”

    Martinez came in after the rough stuff, the ultimate good cop with the classic skills: an unimposing presence, inexhaustible patience and a willingness to listen to the gripes and musings of a pitiless killer in rambling, imperfect English. He achieved a rapport with Mohammed that astonished his fellow CIA officers.

    http://iht.com/articles/2008/06/22/america/terror.php
    There are lots of ways to skin a cat, and the use of force, like the use of fear is only one tatic among many.

    From the reviews in general, and the summation at the end of NYT’s article,(We are at war) Bobbit isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know

    Interesting though.

  • BfB: if you look down your boxer shorts, they are Al Quada and elephant free as well. This thread is aj oke, linking the IRA (= MI5 counter gang as the Stickies always said) and the Second World War together. it is kinda hard to blow up NYC skyscrapers as the locals don’t really like it.
    To really defeat terrorism, the following would do for starters:
    1. vapourize Mecca and Medina.
    2. withdraw all material, moral and other support for Israel.

    That would get people’s attention and show you weren’t to be f-d with. The problem would be how to keep Bechtel, David Rockefeller and Halliburton in clover. The food crises, done by biofuels is a start. We will have widespread famines and the New World Order will gain even more power.

    The Twin Towers was a Pearl Harbor false flag job.

  • BfB

    Daveyoh..

    Stay outta my boxer shorts.;-) I’m an American/Irish citizen…I don’t really gaf about most other countries unless they get in my countries face. The US is a wonderful, free, kind country with bottomless possibilities, for anyone from anywhere. The fools who see only the pitiful opera put on by the msm backed socialists in our country are the sad commentary on where this world is going… They ignore the truth and suspend reality to fit the indoctrinated (not educated since the ’60s) view of their comic book world. The bad guys in this world who they celebrate (Castro, Putin, Chavez, et al) are doing pushups and salivating as these lacy pantsed metrosexuals flit down the street, throwing imaginary petals at the feet of their true socialist masters….a sad state for sure.
    The USA is a country that has the right kind of citizens to defend itself from these truly evil people. That’s what we are doing, defending OURSELVES first. And we don’t mind putting our treasure (men and women) and money where our mouth is to support other countries with a true concept of freedom. A concept lost on much of the rest of the civilized world. Mr. Bush does that very well, and if you don’t like it, tough shit. An honest look back into history will show what happens to pacifist, mollifiers, happier to ‘negotiate’ than to fight for your right to exist as you please. Good effin luck.
    But a great hairdo, snappy slacks, and a boffo ipod.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´When war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded.´´

    From 1984 by George Orwell.

    Orwell really was perceptive and ahead of his time, wasn´t he?

  • Comrade Stalin

    There’s some weird shit being smoked on this thread. The argument is not about whether America has a right to go after those who attack it – of course, it does, and many of us supported the invasion of Afghanistan and the removal of the Taleban. In fact the argument is not even about whether or not pre-emption is a valid policy. I don’t think it is, but the issue isn’t relevant.

    What is relevant is the argument about whether or not the USA has actually been targetting terrorism in it’s recent escapades, and the obvious conclusion has to be that it has not. The 9/11 attackers were linked with the political and security apparatus of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan; there have even been suggestions that the fanatical Pakistani security service, the ISI, actively trained and funded Al Quaida in the run up to 9/11 and possibly afterwards. A pre-emptive strike on either of those two states would at least have been justifiable on the basis of their connection to AQ cells. Instead, the USA chose to attack a nation which had no demonstrable connection to AQ or the 9/11 attacks, and in doing so brought Islamic extremism into a country where it had been, up to then, kept down by a dictator.

    As long as the USA continues to act in this manner, it will create the circumstances within which another terrorist attack can happen. The security lockdown has made it incredibly difficult for anyone to perpetrate another 9/11 (and even then, the crashed plane in Pennsylvania demonstrated that plane passengers familiar with the “hijack and crash” technique won’t sit by and allow the attackers to complete their attempt) so it seems somewhat fanciful to claim that the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have eliminated the threat.

    Bob, keep right on posting. The world needs to see the kind of vitriolic hate some people are capable of. The USA is a great country and I have many American friends, and I can tell you that they would all be disgusted, and embarassed, to hear of someone like you defending the merits of their country.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Here is some footage of Michael Reagan (son of the former President) suggesting that people who name their children “Hezbollah” should have a “grenade stuffed up their butts”, and he says that there will be peace in the Middle East when everyone there is dead.

    This position is right out of the Bolshevik lexicon where death is a simple solution to all problems. And people on this thread claim that the cold war was won ?

  • Robbie

    ‘Now the situation in Iraq is stabilising, the Iraqi government has sent boy wonder Muqtada al Sadr packing, their forces are now in control of Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk, Al Queda has been chased off with its tail between its legs from Anbar by the disgusted people of that province and they have no idea where to turn next.’

    …in lala land, a parallel universe…

  • Robbie

    …and that’s before you move on to the fact the miniscule coalition,aka the US army had to pay the very people they were fighting only a year ago to take on the fundamentalists: they’re fundamentalists too, as politically conservative and Islamic as the Jihhadists. A hugely successful opperation, a stroke of genius by Bush. Ludicrous – keep it coming.

  • BfB

    The world needs to see the kind of vitriolic hate

    Also known as calling a spade a spade, by adults.

    The facts spit in your face, Read this for some perspective, not a concept many of you are familiar with.

    ‘As he leaves the White House at the end of his second term, the President has a poll rating of only 23 per cent, and is widely disliked and even despised. His foreign policy has been judged a failure, especially in view of the long, painful, costly war that he declared, which is still not over.
    He doesn’t get on with his own party’s presidential candidate, who is clearly distancing himself, and had lost many of his closest friends and staff to scandals and forced resignations. The New Republic, a hugely influential political magazine, writes that his historical reputation will be as bad as that of President Harding, the disastrous president of the Great Depression.’

    Bush? Naw…Harry S Truman.
    Wankers

  • kensei

    BfB

    Harry S Truman:

    Supported Greece against Communist Takeover and instituted the Truman Doctrine
    Instituted the Berlin Airlift and the Marshall Plan
    Reorganised the military, including creating the Air force, the CIA and the NSA
    Was instrumental in the founding of the UN, NATO
    Recognised Israel and Pakistan
    Ordered integration of the military

    He was a Wilsonian internationalist. Korea did for him, and sacking MacArthur (what President these days would have the balls for that?) but he regained his reputation because he has a fairly impressive list of achievements, and crucially he was much more right than wrong. Oh, and he had a decent Senate career too.

    Bush hasn’t got anything on that record, even if by some miracle that his one big judgment on preemption was proven right.

  • Harry Flashman

    To Eoghan and Robbie and others, I have stuck my neck out before and I’m doing so again, the war in Iraq has been to all intents and purposes won, there will be terrorist atrocities in the future but the “insurgency” has been largely defeated.

    If I am wrong I will look like a fool but come on, put your necks on the line, let’s hear how you think the future in Iraq will pan out and we can come back in a year or two and we can see who got it right.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bob, please keep posting and avoiding confronting the debating points. It’s helpful to be continuously reminded that you are an intellectual black hole.

    kensei, that was a great post. Truman consolidated the prestige of the USA internationally and helped create the circumstances for the USA’s economic dominance and role as a world power. The interventions in Korea and Berlin took real courage; if you want to talk about standing up to the USSR and making them back down, the Berlin airlift is a prime example. Truman, and also Eisenhower, were both great presidents.

    Harry, that is a fair position to take, with the small problem that you’re not specifying a time period. How long before there will be stability – five years ? Ten years ?

    In Northern Ireland it took us the best part of 30 years to put a sectarian tribal war to bed, and our one was nothing like the fanatical bloodbath in Iraq. British army commanders and politicians used to say in the 1970s that the IRA would be eliminated within three months. The religious and tribal problems in Iraq go back centuries, and the idea that you’re going to fix it by removing the latest dictator and by shooting a bunch of insurgents strikes me as extremely naive. What precedent is there ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry, sorry, I didn’t read your post properly. 1-2 years ? I’m game. On what basis is stability being determined ?

  • Harry Flashman

    Comrade, you miss Bob’s point, he was quoting an article about a deeply unpopular president, Truman, in the middle of an unpopular war who was derided by all at the time but who is now judged very differently by history. Kinda the point I’m making.

    As to time scale in Iraq within five to ten years Iraq will be no different from many another new democracy in a developing country emerging from a dictatorship or civil war, with all the social and economic problems that entails, think of South Africa or Indonesia today. In other words it will be a hell of a lot better than it was under Saddam and far and away an improvement on its neighbours (should they not also reform in the mean time).

    But if that’s too long let’s come back in twelve months time and see if we’re all still convinced that Iraq is a hopeless basket case and a never ending quagmire for America.

    I enter the caveat of course that should Obama win the presidency and do something imbecillic like grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory then all bets are off.

    Glad you’re game for a wager CS, so how do you see it playing out?

  • Robbie

    ‘Glad you’re game for a wager CS, so how do you see it playing out?’

    Excellent. I too agree to participate. Agree to touch base again this time two years from now? Prediction for Iraq? (I’m afraid I couldn’t possibly entertain the thunderingly stupid idea that Bush somehow emanates Truman, though I have always observed the most obnoxious tendency practised by a minority of people in the US to liken this current Iraq War to the Second World War – highly insulting to the Jewish race, 20 million Russians, half a million British, and all those who perished 1939-45, and demeaning to that sacrifice. More accurate as a historical comparison would be former middling in Iran with the ousting of Mossadeq – not for resembling the Great Satan, but for the consequences of colonial interference – and, from a British perspective alone, Suez…)

    But Harry, a prediction then – Iraq to no longer exist as we understand it! Partition along three lines?: Kurd, Shi’ite, Sunni, three separate, new states. The continuing deaths – which some appear to think have halted, despite bodies pulled out of the Tigris on a daily basis and Sadamn-esque mass graves – humming along merrily, and continued instability, as well as an Al Quaeda presence which DID NOT EXIST in Iraq prior to 2003. Bright future.

  • Harry Flashman

    Fair enough Robbie, you’re in too, a clear and succinct summary of how you see the present situation shaping up, I think you’re way off the mark but no problem we’ll see in two years time with a preliminary check in every six months, insha’llah.

    Anyone else?

  • BfB

    “If I were to watch the news that you hear here in the United States, I would just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts,” Ms. Logan said.
    Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News

    Well, bhoys You keep reading the MSM and come to your ‘conclusions’….
    I’ll postpone any predictions until Osama wins or the riots quiet down when McCain is ordained…

    Both results will be bad for the USA in one way or the other….. BUT
    ‘ 조선반도와의 관계에서 본다면 부쉬정권의 잘못을 엄하게 비판하고 조선의 지도자와 조건없이 만나겠다고 공언해온 오바마가 《부쉬의 아류》이자 네오콘의 허수아비나 다름없는 매케인보다 낫기는 낫다. [Chosun Shinbo]

    I’m sure someone can improve on this translation:

    We will see a better relationship between the U.S. and the Korean Peninsula with Obama, who sternly criticizes Bush and who would meet the leader of Chosun without pre-conditions, than with the “Bush clone” and scarecrow of the neocons McCain.’

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • Robbie

    You have no brain – my conclusion.

  • BfB

    Watch where you’re going there Robbo….don’t want to fall into one of those ‘mass graves’ ..

  • Steve

    Bush should always remembered as the man who killed the empire.

    He exported all the jobs and then he exported all the profits and he has left a sturdy outer shell that will trundle on for awhile but will ultimately collapse unless someone else finds a way to fill in the gaps again.

    the only real manufacuting jobs left in the good ol us of a are in the military industrial complex and even those are being eyed for export.

    As for Iraq

    10 years from now, as I think 2 years is too short a time for resolution, the kurds will win independance for their little corner. Part will fall under the control of Iran and part under the control of either Syria or Saudia Arabia. There will be as much democracy in Iraq after the bush years as there was before them, that is to say none. And Iran will be resurgent, flush with success at seeing off the great satan and won’t be content to stay with in their own borders. You simply can’t have that many young men standing around with nothing to do.

    And just for the record look out for China post olympics, they are the real super power in the new world order. They have all the people, all the jobs and all of the usa’s money. To put it simply the yanks have no way to curtail China’s expansionist ideas. China could bankrupt them in a week, throw up an army 3 times as big as theirs and have more international support then Iraq had. They are already flexing their muscles in Africa.

  • Robbie

    Bob – the mass graves were all dug and murdered bodies thrown in by an alliance of the damn socialists, communists, trade unionists with their natural allies in Al Quaeda and the Russians and Obama’s their too with the North Koreans and every other ‘Evil’ person in history acting together…

  • BfB

    Of course they were Robbo……….

    Bring it on Steve, China, bring it on…

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Harry………. or as you might as well be known as, the looky looky man, peddling the biggest load of garbage to the gullible. Though I really do not believe anyone is avtually that gullible any more.

    >>the war in Iraq has been to all intents and purposes won< >there will be terrorist atrocities in the future but the “insurgency” has been largely defeated.< >put your necks on the line, let’s hear how you think the future in Iraq will pan out and we can come back in a year or two and we can see who got it right.< >in Iraq within five to ten years Iraq will be no different from many another new democracy< >the kurds will win independance for their little corner<

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah yes China, the new superpower, seeing as we’re on predictions here’s mine for China;

    At the start of every century with unerring regularity for the previous six thousand years someone has predicted that this would be China’s century and in the middle of every century with unerring regularity for the previous six thousand years China has descended into horrific chaos, mass slaughter, tyrannical rule and civil war.

    This time it will be different I’m sure, I mean just watch their performance at the upcoming Olympics. I’m sure it will be just as magnificent as the Soviet Union’s at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

    Whaddya mean who? The Soviet Union, you must have heard of them, they were very popular a while back, going to take over the world they were, they’d show the Yanks a thing or two, the sort of people predicting a new Chinese century and the imminent demise of the Americans were very impressed by them.

    Yes, the Soviet Union, you never hear so much from them these days.

  • Steve

    Prionsa

    Turkey is definately the wild, but do you really believe that whatever Sunni or Shia strong man ever takes over as “president for life” will not readily shed them purely as a way to cut the 3 way civil war into a 2 way civil war

  • Harry Flashman

    No bother Eoghan, another member of the “let’s prove Harry wrong club”, I’m sure you’ll all have a good laugh at me next year when I’m proven wrong but at least you will concede that I’m not afraid of putting my (metaphorical) money where my mouth is.

    What will be your forfeit however if I’m right? A mere statement to the effect that Harry Flashman is indeed the finest political analyst this side of Strabane will suffice I think.

  • Steve

    Harry

    The cold war was won entirely on economic matters, China has won their cold war by importing the entire economy of the USA. Say what you want I didnt call it China’s century I said they were going to exert the forces gifted to them by the topiary king.

    China’s main weakness is rescources and thats why they will expand likely into Africa where there economic might will pay better dividends then military might.

    I say the 21st Century will belong to Canada because we have the rescources the world needs. So far its looking pretty good but you know I might be wrong there might be some fantastic scientific break through that makes oil, steel and lumber unnecesary….. after all Captain Kirk didnt seem to need any

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    If we are talking of a nations century. My money is on Russia. It has the people, the resources and is now catching up with infrastructure. Mixed with a perchance for hard-man type rulers who are refusing to let foreigners piss all the profits up against the wall. Barring disaster, they just can’t lose. Once China has all of our production lines she will inevitably raise prices, then we simply return to producing our own I suspect.

    >>A mere statement to the effect that Harry Flashman is indeed the finest political analyst this side of Strabane will suffice I think.<

  • Steve

    Prionsa

    interesting you may well be right but to make it happen Russia needs to find a hard man more interested in building a wealthy nation and less interested in consolodating personal power.

    Unless or until Putin makes safe the economic interests of investors they won’t have the kind of inward investment of Capitol needed to develop the rescources or infrastructure.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Steve

    There is so much oil in Kurdistan it actually bubbles up on the hillsides. No Iraqui Shia or Sunni in their right mind would shed this part of their nation willingly. Not unless they wish a much closer Turkish border near their heartlands. The Turks would happily become the pariah’s of the world to prevent any kind of state in Kurdistan. A sovereign nation of Kurdistan means the breakup of Turkey sooner or later.

    Ironically there is actually a viable administration operating in Kurdistan, a nation in all but name, even signing lucrative oil deals with US companies(The biggest a 500 million dollar donor to Bush’s Republican party) Covering almost all of what was formerly the Kurdistan region, although places like Mosul and Kirkuk will always be fractious considering the large Turkmen and Arab minorities.

    Turkey has recently launched punitive raids into northern Kurdistan, ostensibly to punish terrorists, in reality to try and destabilise a pretty settled pseudo national administration. the Iraqui government made noises about defending their territory, even though I don’t even think their armed forces have much of a presence in Kurdistan. It is a modern day attempt at gunboat diplomacy.

    Unbelievably two of the Uncle Sam’s closest allies in the region are summarily doing their utmost to undo perhaps the only success story so far. The Saudi’s in funding extremism, and the Turks for invading an area supposedly under US protection. What a palava! With friends like that indeed.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    True about Putin Steve. Russia has become an autocracy paying lip service to democracy. Again I point to my larger point about how we and the rest of the world view democracy. Most Russians are happy as long as Russia is strong, remember this in a country where it is not unusual to revere Stalin.

    Anyways here is a useful ethnic map of Iraq.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Iraq_demography.jpg

  • Steve

    Prionsa

    I was under the impression that Kurdistan was the more oil poor part of Iraq, So if it is as you say about the oil then yes your analasys would seem to stand up

  • BfB

    I’m stunned this isn’t splashed all over the MSM billboards…must have been an honest mistake..
    Wait, honest, MSM…naw. We’ll have to wait for some babies to be bayoneted by some ‘disaffected youth’ before we hear from those ‘journalists’….

    More BAD NEWS for you whining socialists bitches. Not the female dog, but the communist, liberal, malicious, spiteful, domineering, intrusive, and unpleasant, anti-USA people.
    But with a great sense of humor, and fine taste in shoes.
    Imho, that is.

    But, here is some good news for all you dhimmis….

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    BfB

    You ran away muttering something about fancy talk the last time I asked your opinion of the mishandling of the aftermath of the Iraq war. You know the bad decisions that cost the lives of thousands of US service people. The corruption, nepotism, waste and overall mismanagement.

    Or is it only people who wish well of the US who care about such things?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry,

    I have a hard time going along with this. Not because I think you’re dishonourable, but because we quite clearly have different perspectives on the same thing. Your perspective right now is that AQ are on the run and that Islamic fundamentalist inspired terrorism has been dealt a crushing blow; I cannot see any specific facts to suggest they are any worse than the Taleban were in 2002 – seriously wounded and inconvenienced by the US presence, but capable of regrouping and returning in bigger numbers.

    Secondly, I think you are right in that Obama will likely significantly reduce the US military involvement out there within a short time of coming into office, and the country will collapse into civil war, and something like what Robbie says will take place with the country fragmenting into a series of smaller states, each with different alliances with the surrounding countries. The US troop presence right now is not defeating the insurgents; it’s keeping a lid on them and disrupting their activity, but it’ll never wipe them out to the point where they can’t return. You can’t militarily destroy an idea. If you stamp them out in one place, they’ll pop up somewhere else.

    Regarding the point about wars and popularity, I don’t think it’ll work out for Bush in the way that it did for Truman. The circumstances were completely different, and in the post-war world with communism violently toppling governments and suppressing popular democracies everywhere, the threat posed by the USSR was serious; it wasn’t necessary to invent one. A more succinct comparison would be with Vietnam, except that unlike Vietnam, many people including former military commanders were against the Iraq invasion. Dick Cheney was against it at one point, and I’m sure Bush Snr probably counselled his son against the idea. The invasion of Vietnam was at least based upon an analysis of the situation, albeit a flawed one; the Iraq invasion was based mostly on lies, fabricated intelligence and scaremongering from the very start, and lies are still being used in it’s defence. It turned out exactly the way those of us who opposed it predicted that it would.

    As for North Korea, that problem – namely a serious nuclear threat to our friends in South Korea and Japan – is being tackled with good old diplomacy, sanctions, and bargaining. The effects will take a while to make themselves seen, but I believe they will ultimately result in democracy and regime change. I still cannot get my head around why these techniques were not deployed in Iraq ?

    On the subject of China, all I can do is repeat my bank manager and say that past events can in no way predict the future. China is building an empire, one with substantial military strength. I am not against outsourcing, competition on a level playing field is what makes the world go round, but the Chinese are ripping off our innovation and technology and then selling it back to us at one-tenth of the price. As we cut our university and tuition funding, they’re increasing theirs and providing state backing for R&D;. The knowledge that funds and runs our economies in the West is being slowly bled eastwards. As with North Korea, though, I believe China will soon get it’s Gorbachev, and we will see the slow introduction of democracy.

    Pionsa, trying to get anything sensible out of Bob is like trying to get luxury caviar from a garbage disposal unit.

  • earnan

    To ignore the vast improvements in Iraq over the past two years is not helpful in any debate. Was it a mistake to go in? Yes, it sure looks that way, but the key is how do we leave Iraq in the bestpossible position to give its citizens a future.

    Iraqi’s hate Al Queda more than Westerners, because they have had dealings with them much more than 9-11 or 7-7 type attacks. I read a story about a recent suicide bomb in a market and one maimed man was cursing Al Queda and the security forces for not protecting them. I just feel sorry for common Iraqi’s.

  • Steve

    Earnan

    I am sure it has improved in the last 2 years which only leave it 10 times worse the place it was 7 years ago

    sure they had a brutal dictator but they didnt have nearly the problems then as they do now. Just a couple million less mouths to feed now

  • Concerned Loyalist

    WW2, the Cold War, dealing with the IRA are all yesterday’s wars and give us few clues for dealing with present and future wars (and “wars” is what they are, he insists)………………………………………………………………………………..

    You cannot compare the Provies’ 30+ year sectarian pogrom with the Allies’ moral and ethical struggle against the cancer of Hitler Nazism. You can certainly contrast the two, but never in a million years can you compare them. To say that the conflict in Ulster was a “war”, in the traditional sense of the word, legitimises an illegal private army of murderers, rapists, pimps, bank robbers, gun-runners and money launderers – just a few of the activities that became synonomous with the Provisional Irish Reprobate Army.

    The Allies’ War against Germany, Italy and Japan was a moral one. Our cause was just and by defeating these fascists the Allies ensured our civil and religious liberties. On the other hand, the Provies attempted to remove the civil and religious liberties of the Protestant, British people native to Ulster, as well as attempting to airbrush their culture and heritage from the history books.

    Phillip Bobbitt obviously isn’t all he’s being cracked up to be if he can’t acknowledge this fact…

  • Harry Flashman

    Russia? Russia! Ah dear Eoghan, ya know I loves ya buddy but now you’ve completely lost your marbles.

    Here’s a few facts to ponder about Russia, the sick man of Europe who makes many African states look like Switzerland.

    It has the fastest growing rate of HIV in the world, in the first five years of the twenty first century more people tested HIV positive than in the previous twenty in the US, approximately one percent of the population is infected the WHO’s tipping point for a sub-Saharan epidemic. Russian men’s life expectancy doesn’t reach beyond middle age and is dropping precipitately as alcoholism, drug fueled hepatitis C, heart disease and TB fells them in ever greater numbers. Hard to build an army if your menfolk are all wasting away in some sanatorium.

    The population of Russia is in terminal decline as its vast mineral rich hinterlands rapidly depopulate with an overall fertility rate of 1.14 live births per woman, (most Russian births end in abortion) you need a fertility rate of 2.1 just to maintain population stability. Tiny Yemen will have a larger population than Russia by mid-century. There is of course one bright spot to Russia’s declining birth rate, there are areas where the people are actually having babies and living beyond middle age, guess what religion the people of those regions follow?

    I agree with one point about Chinese expansion, it will happen but it will be Russia not the west who suffers most as the Chinese simply move back into the areas of eastern Russia that the Tsar took from China in the 19th century, I mean who’s going to stop them?

    Here’s a very accurate summation of the situation in Russia from an author much derided among the bien pensants in SO’T;

    “Most of the big international problems operate within certain geographic constraints: Africa has AIDS, the Middle East has Islamists, North Korea has nukes. But Russia’s got the lot: a potentially African level AIDS crisis and an Islamist separatist movement sitting atop the biggest pile of nukes on the planet. Of course the nuclear materials are all in “secure” facilities. Probably”

    Russia is going out of business, the only question is how messy the death throes will be, Putin can take out his forty year old toys and dust them off for a display of “military might” at the May day parade but the writing’s on the wall for Russia I’m afraid. China will soon gobble the useful bits up.

    All hail China the New Soviet Union!

  • Harry Flashman

    CS

    All the points you make have been made about Iraq for the past five years and I’ll admit that around 2005 it did look like the place was falling apart. That has now changed, if the Shia south or the Kurds were going to split away from Iraq they would have done so three years ago as the place descended into chaos. They didn’t and aren’t likely to now as Al Qaeda is defeated (and they have been defeated) and the Iraqi army takes control over the last remaining areas controlled formerly by the much vaunted militias who in fact were rolled up like an old rug.

    As regards the tiresome “Vietnam” analogy, let me remind you that the Americans left Vietnam in 1973, they promised to support the Southern government against the aggression from the North but for purely domestic political reasons the Democrat Congress betrayed that promise and refused to supply much needed weapons to let the South Vietnamese defend themselves. Not US soldiers, just the weapons to allow them to fight for themselves, they cut it off and left them high and dry while the Soviet Union pumped tanks, guns, planes and money into their Northen puppet like billy-oh. The result was inevitable; gulags, killing fields, re-education camps and boat people.

    If Obama chose to do the same thing to the Iraqi democracy he would be indulging in one of the most dreadful betrayals in human history. America has a moral debt to those people and to pull out and leave them to be massacred by the jihadis would be the act of a truly repulsive man. I know there are many posters on SO’T who couldn’t give a flying feck about the welfare of the Iraqi people but to wish to see such an outcome just because you don’t like Americans would be truly shameful and dishonourable.

  • BfB

    The corruption, nepotism, waste and overall mismanagement.

    That horse is well beaten to death….try blaming the militant, islam, female, suicide bombers (who are killing mostly Iraqi Muslims!!) on that misogynist Mr. Bush…..
    That’ll work.
    You’re a global warming nut as well, aren’t you?
    That SCAM is right up your tin-foiled hatted alley…eh?
    Read some non-fiction.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>You’re a global warming nut as well, aren’t you?< >The corruption, nepotism, waste and overall mismanagement.

    That horse is well beaten to death….try blaming the militant, islam, female, suicide bombers (who are killing mostly Iraqi Muslims!!) on that misogynist Mr. Bush…..
    That’ll work.< >the Provies’ 30+ year sectarian pogrom< >the Allies’ moral and ethical struggle against the cancer of Hitler Nazism.< >an illegal private army of murderers, rapists, pimps, bank robbers, gun-runners and money launderers – just a few of the activities that became synonomous with the Provisional Irish Reprobate Army.< >the Provies attempted to remove the civil and religious liberties of the Protestant, British people native to Ulster, as well as attempting to airbrush their culture and heritage from the history books.<

  • Concerned Loyalist

    You spouted off plenty of Provie-apologist bullshit and made it clear that your sense of “right and wrong” is clearly different to mine, yet you didn’t address my original point; that you cannot compare the Provisional IRA’s “Long War”/sectarian pogrom, depending on your viewpoint, with World War 2 where the Allies successfully stopped Hitler and the spread of vile National Socialism…do you agree or disagree that the two are not comparable?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>do you agree or disagree that the two are not comparable?<