Hi again! Most interesting! Lets keep up the good work!
Well, I only have so much time lately, but I'll make a stab.
Saddam, like many other murdering dictators around the globe was both a puppet of US and Russian interests. Whether that be arms sales or strategic money deals.
He was smarter than you might think. He managed to use others as his puppets.
Therefore my deliberations are not a defence of Soviet foreign policy. Communism or it's real name, Stalinism (the Soviet Union was never communist) was a monstrous beauracracy which played world power politics with as much despicable self interest as did the US the UK or any other profit driven countries.
It's easy to be dismissive, but the simple truth is that they were trying to apply Marxist principles. It's useless to pretend that they weren't. What you are engaging in here is the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. If another country tries those principles and fails, you will then merely say they weren't really
communist, Marxist, etc. Perhaps you should consider that nobody can actually perform the correct political movement to your personal satisfaction.
The imperialists were quite happy to have Saddam Hussein where he was, so long as the oil kept flowing and his people kept quiet. When he became too independent, having realised the depth and extent of his personal power, he then became a problem, not only for the US but for the US backed and Soviet backed regimes in the whole of the Middle East and consequently had to be dealt with. This is not about right or wrong! This is about money and oil and political power!
No, we pandered to him because Iran's revolution was scary and we thought it might spread. Look at the Shiite masses in Iraq. But if you ask me, the US policies are still kind of ignorant about Middle Eastern thinking.
Keeping oil flowing is about more than money and political power. It's about keeping the trucks rolling. If they stop, much of the industrialized world is about three days away from running low on food, and rioting. Keep a little perspective about its importance. We are working on other forms of energy, but none are as cheap yet.
The UN in this respect is a joke! (...)
It's only as good as its member states. And the problem is that in general, the Security Council tells the UN to do something, and then the SecGen has to look for the resources to get it done. Which it usually doesn't have, and the member states don't want to hand over very much. So the UN will be supposed to do things like manage sanctions or screen everything coming in and out of Iraq, and it has almost no means to do it.
Resolution 1483 was adopted after the war which gave the US and the UK virtual ownership of Iraq under the guise of a UN monitoring interest. Check this article: http://www.marxist.com/MiddleEast/iraq_UN_rubber_stamp0503.html
Here's the text: Resolution 1483
. Exactly where is the "virtual ownership" handed over? Your article is really quite wrong about the Geneva Conventions, by the way. 1483 cites them directly, for one thing, and for another, everything done after WWII by the Allies is legal under the Conventions. You might recall how Germany was managed after WWII, by the Allies...?
Sérgio Vieira de Mello and some of the other UN staff were killed in that hotel bombing, of course. That was a sad loss, actually. He would have made a good Secretary General. And also the UN backed out of Iraq, and Iraq really needed their expertise.
If you have any more doubts about why the invasion took place then check out this other article from the UK Guardian on the question of the $8.8 bn which has gone missing in Iraq! http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1522804,00.html
Corruption proves that we wanted a colony? What? What are you getting at? Have you got any better sources than the Grauniad?
Corruption and looting sucks, but even that article only shows it was a mess, not an institutionalized, systematic plundering. US soldiers stole some German silverware and so on back in the 1940s; does that prove we joined WWII so we could set up a colony in Germany?
The Security Council? Do I know who's on it? Why sure! But so much for veto's though! It didn't help the people of Iraq it just let the other world players off the moral hook temporarily. Check out that 1483 resolution again. After it was a foregone conclusion they all wanted to get stuck in!
I see you didn't name 'em. Three of them had those big cheap oil deals, and thus a reason to oppose regime change. Thus, a break between Gulf War I and Gulf War II, where Gulf War II should really have been Gulf War I Part II on the strength of the treaties involved. However, Bush Senior did word the treaties so that any one of the signatories could resume hostilities, so in a technical way, that's what this war still has been.
I don't let France, China, and Russia off the moral hook, anyway. It's kind of amusing to me how everyone keeps saying how American and the UK want to own Iraqi oil fields, while these three countries' somewhat-nationalized oil companies had these rights sewn up because of their governments selling arms to Saddam. Yet we're the only ones with dirty hands, somehow.
Try reading the actual text
of 1483, by the way. I linked to it above. Always go to the source. It quite frankly asks other member states to participate. Nobody wanted to. Everyone was content to let us pay for the no-fly zones and so on; why lift a finger now?
I don’t support the insurgents either! Not because I don’t think the Iraqi's have the right to fight back but because it is based on a sectarian/religious divide which can only mean civil war and more suffering. (...) In Iraq the majority of both Sunni and Shea communities want to see the back of the armies.
It makes the fighting dirtier. But now we're using the techniques we should have been using all along. Brits kind of told us that, years ago. You all have way more experience with that kind of terrorism. This door-to-door stuff sounds awful but it's apparently starting to make a different in some districts.
Now that we're where we are, though, leaving abruptly would surely be a mistake. We can see from Afghanistan the price of leaving too early. It comes back to bite you again, later.
Many people bemoan the state of Iraq, but very few put forward a real alternative to how the last four years have been conducted. Has anyone you know, other than the US or the UK, proposed any real solution to any of this?
Not a bit of it! That’s why the US got away with it because no-one else had a clue.
Again, do you realize how easy and fast it would have been to have the sanctions dropped? That option was always there. It would have been instant. We could have stopped spending $billions every year on the no-fly zone, global oil prices would have dropped, France/China/Russia would have cheerily drilled and pumped and started getting their money back.
Sounds great, but there were also some problems with doing that. Problems that the international community can't be expected to tolerate. Saddam had, of course, invaded Kuwait, launched missiles into Israel, and so on. We're not supposed to let people get away with that sort of thing.
Well I had a solution but nobody will listen to lil ol' me!
The first question for the people of Iraq was how to get rid of a dictator. We have to remember that Hussein had support among the middle layers of Iraq. Like any clever politician he knew how to play off the different sections of society and various interest groups. He paid his beauracracy well and his top regiments and many of his oil workers too. Again it was the down trodden poor who took the brunt, not only of the general poverty of day-to-day living but also of the sanctions imposed by the west with 500,000 women and children dead!
Saddam had direct tribal ties to a certain section of the population. That's who supported him. That, and other Sunnis. The class system isn't quite the same there.
Please. Oil kept being smuggled out and $millions smuggled in. Not that I'm in favor of sanctions, but there was no lack of funding or supplies necessitated at any point.
The Iraqi workers were never allowed to organise for instance. This is a necessary precursor to any dictatorship. It is imperative that the workers be neutered to render them ineffectual as an opposition force.
Huh? Iraq had trade unions since the 1920s. Yes, Saddam ground them down, but they were there
, they just went underground.
The British Trade Union movement, pre and post invasion, has been attempting to build solidarity links with the Iraqi working class. The reason? It is well understood that it takes a movement of the working people of any country to overthrow dictators. Only the workers have the economic clout through the general strike to oust these people.
You have GOT to be kidding. For one thing, nearly everyone worked for the state anyway. Plus, Iraq is not Europe, and Saddam would have lightheartedly machine-gunned the striking workers and brought in cheap labor (from Palestine, maybe Pakistan). I mean, the whole UAE is being built by cheap imported labor, it's very effective.
The problem with this tactic for the capitalists is that they would rather deal with a dictator or remove them via military means than face an aroused and militant working class. Workers will (and there are countless examples of this) move immediately from successful protest struggles over to factory occupations and begin the task of reinventing society along more co-operative lines; i.e., they move straight over to socialist methods of organisation.
Please give me examples of this happening. Thanks in advance.
This, of course, cannot be tolerated as it awakens the masses of neighbouring countries and alerts them to the possibilities in the own workplaces. So what does America and the UK do? INVADE! Establish a regime they can control, use the oil money to rebuild with American companies, get a stronger foothold in the middle east, thousands die and there is no unnecessary talk about socialism! All the boxes ticked, or so it would seem!
Exactly what neighboring countries would have seen that glorious, shining light? Syria? Hahahahaha!
Most oil production in the Middle East is actually performed by foreigners. There is little other heavy industry.
WMD's? Double standards is a language all these people speak. "The right to bare arms!" so long as it's not your enemies!
Not sure what you mean here. I actually have
the right to bear arms, and you don't. So far my right is extended only to firearms, and not even all of those. I'm not sure about Iraq civilians.
No-one should own these hideous and disgusting weapons! There can be absolutely no justification for the possession of weapons that can wipe us off the face of the earth and any idea that they have kept the peace since Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a complete falsehood from start to finish! There have been approximately 17-20 days of actual, global peace since WWII. And is doesn't look like we will get any more in the coming years.
That's exactly my point. Peace is not the human condition. Your opposition to nuclear weapons is natural, but that doesn't mean people will merely give them up.
People once said similar things about crossbows, by the way. They thought they would be the end of humanity.
To get rid of these weapons we have to get rid of the system which created them and that is capitalism. Plain and simple!
Sorry, but outright stating that is bollocks. Prove how capitalism led to nuclear weapons.
Real internationalism, an end to nation states, an end to private property, (a real big hot potato in the US I know) an end to poverty on a global scale, which is do-able within a generation if we can plan our resources rationally, only then will be able to rid the world of conflict and war! That’s why you need to "hold hands and drop the nuclear thing", to save the planet! Hold hands with the rest of the human race in peace!
Pretty, but lacking basis in reality. It's kind of hard to be reasonable with some people.
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D the Environmental Geographer once said "Is War the Only Way that Americans Learn Geography?" Of course this is not true but is this how people see America?
It's certainly a stereotype. I'm a regular American, but when I lived in Europe people seemed surprised at my knowledge. They all said "But you're not a typical
American." Um...yes, I am. Why wouldn't I be?
I think you need to be doing something about this don’t you? Not you personally but your people!
About human nature? Good luck.
And of course our political system stinks! I can smell it from here and I live three hundred miles from Westminster. We have that fight every day. Sure you get to hear about the corrupt nature of your voting system al-la the Bush Coup d'etat in 2000 but has anything been done? I know there has but do you?
We had another election in 2004, were you aware? Coup d'etat usually means "no more elections."
Have I been following the voting issues? Yes, I certainly have. We have a lot of local ones as well.
My reading regarding all things American has been quite rich over the years and at times I get a bit behind! I have read a few books on the political history of the US and I like to keep up with economic indicators. I read an American workers journal called Socialist Appeal which has some excellent articles. You can check this out at: http://www.socialistappeal.org/
Never been to the US though! Love to come! Is this an invite?
Not really, I hardly know you well enough, although I would certainly buy you a meal. I'm just curious about how much you really know about the States.
I recommend Reason.com. Libertarian magazine.
Shopping Malls? I'm sure you had nothing to do with them finding there way to the UK!
My region does. Seattle invented the covered shopping mall.
On this question merely I allude to the influence of powerful economies in the world. Look to your own language and culture, to your political institutions and democratic forms, look to you architecture your education system. Look to your music and your literature and your food and your technologies and your.......the list could go on. These are all products of the imposition of foreign cultures in your country.
Well, yes. We are a nation of immigrants, after all. Of course we take from cultures everywhere. It is incredibly key, this idea that anyone can become an American. However, we do retain a very notable English core, such as our Puritanism. Of course, in a lot of cases, these were people kind of unwanted back home.
For the last several decades the influence of the USA permeates most things that we experience. You movies, your music, your mall's your glossy democracy, your food, your economic models, your inventions etc! It's the cross pollination of these things which are the physical expression of global economic power.
Not in the slightest. We have not forced anyone to buy our movies, to build American-style malls, to watch our TV, etc. Our culture is contagious, but not because we force it on people.
At one time the British Empire exerted it's influence, now it's the USA. Your country is the single most powerful nation on the planet and you need to be aware of how this mechanism works and impacts upon people’s lives coz not all of it is good!
A horribly flawed comparison. The cultural marks left by the British Empire are due to actual physical occupations of colonies for dozens if not hundreds of years, actual attempts to overlay British ways on other cultures. Although if you are merely suggesting that we learn from British Empire mistakes, you'd think we'd know that, right?
Naturally I'm aware of the USA's position as global power. You will find we're much nicer than most other global powers have been. That does not imply we're perfect by any means, of course.
[quote]What is good though are your comics! Bill Hicks is a fave of mine. Chris Rock, Emo Phillips and many others.[quote]
Well, at least you named comedians who aren't actually Canadian. Really, we attract so many Candian comics and actors that...it's probably getting way less funny in Canada.
Your history of satire is well documented and continues to have relevance through shows such as Curb your enthusiasm, South Park, Married with Children and The Simpson’s of course. Saturday night live, brilliant, and many others. All wonderful stuff and in some respects reflects a desire on the part of the population as a whole to protest, if only verbally, against the order of things. But satire and progressive comedy alone is not enough and the press barons and TV conglomerates are fully aware of this. They know that the comics are just terriers snapping at their ankles.
It's not really barons when it comes to American media. Especially lately. It's just a business, and it changes all the time. Currently, TV has to compete so hard with internet sources that they are being more experimental - in the US we are having a "golden age of television."
Real political clout is represented through the organised classes in society. The capitalists through their state machine and cartels and monopolies resting on the market, and the workers through their trade unions (who incidentally have never been allowed to get their own political party off the ground).
The only cartel I know of around here is the alpaca business; importation is just about impossible if you aren't in with the right people, and as a result the market is weirdly inflated. Which I think is a shame.
Trade unions are out of place these days.
I'm afraid you are suffering from a delusion that we, in general, have a good standard of living! I really don’t have time to go into the detail of the record stress levels, increased child poverty, low wage long hours culture, high utility prices, two parents working, kids roaming the streets doing drugs and knifing each other (which has massively increased in recent times) poor educational attainment, higher suicide rates, highest divorce record in Europe, deteriorating health care, record personal debt, worst personal health in Europe, I could go on......
I suppose we would have to agree on standards, but it is generally held that the UK has quite a high standard of living, so it was a reasonable thing to say. My personal experience of the UK is pretty minimal.
Lack of political interest is a reflection of a lack of influence! "Why bother?" I hear it every day! People aren't lazy! They just cant be bothered because they feel powerless to get anything done. (...)
So snap out of it.
We have more than those two, and so do you. And there's more to politics than the national governmental ones. People's local governments have more direct effect on their daily lives, and that's where power starts. The way the Republicans got back into power was because they started off focusing on smaller races and getting into position for the bigger races. The Grand Old Party knows how to play the game.
Do not underestimate the power of the media, even in your own back yard! The ruling class well understand how to change opinion and feed us with limited information. I'm not paranoid here! This is real stuff! Read any work on the psychology of the mass media. The Nazis were experts at this!
The point I keep on making is this: the media is fracturing into smaller pieces - blogs, independent magazines and filmmakers. Small producers can find their audience. Part of why we're having a 'golden age,' as I said.
Choice is fine, but if your choice is limited to a preset amount of information you receive that’s not real choice! If I own a box of mixed sweets/candy and show you three of ten types then you think "great! Such choice!", but I have seven more. Are we both happy?
What is your point? Who is supposedly limiting the choice?
In a real-life example, I would already know there were 10 types, and would leave your shop if you didn't have the one I was seeking. Or maybe I'd go online and order the five Japanese flavors not for sale in my area, like those green-tea Kit Kats.
The human race has the potential to unleash the forces locked up by the limitations of capitalism. We can plan poverty and war away within a couple of decades. This is possible! What stops us is private property and the nation state. Get rid of these historical monsters and we, as a species, can progress!
You offer no proof of your assertions. I will offer a counterexample. Before Europeans came, many native tribes had no sense of private property as applying to land, nor did they have nation states. But they had plenty
I do enjoy these little exchanges!
Well, they take an awfully long time, though.