Past and present: a correspondent in Iraq

October 9, 2009

Tim Cocks-Tim Cocks is a Reuters correspondent in Iraq.-

This month we reported that the number of civilians dying violent deaths in Iraq had hit a fresh low since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion — about 125 for September.

Sounds like a lot, but for a country that only two years ago was seeing dozens of bodies pile up in the streets each day from tit-for-tat sectarian killing, it was definitely progress.

And as I prepare to end my assignment in Iraq this week, I need no argument from numbers to convince me that things are better here than when I arrived in Feb. 2008.

During my first few months, militants loyal to to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were raising hell in Baghdad, firing mortars and rockets at the Green Zone almost every hour. We could hear or feel them thud on impact, especially when they fell short, on our side of the Tigris.

A rocket hit the BBC building opposite us, causing a blast loud enough to shake our windows, although thankfully no one at the BBC was hurt by the strike.

U.S. airstrikes on Baghdad’s Sadr City slum were killing many civilians. Roadside and car bombs were erupting all over the place and the streets were largely deserted after dark.

Eighteen months on and things are hardly back to normal but, as any Iraqi will tell you, Iraq feels safer than it was.

Security forces have been purged of Shi’ite militiamen and are doing a better job of stopping suicide bombings, enabling U.S. combat forces to largely pull out of Iraq’s cities in June.

We rarely hear explosions in Baghdad. A semblance of law and order seems to be taking shape.
Reporting from Iraq, as a Westerner or an Iraqi, has been a tough business for some time. For Westerners, apart from the fact that few foreign correspondents here speak passable Arabic, the big headache remains security.

Ever since insurgents started kidnapping Westerners and beheading them in 2004, the foreign press corps here have been living in a kind of semi-incarceration, behind rows of concrete blast walls that make you feel a bit like a lab rat in a maze.

It varies from media organisation to the next, but all of us are pretty restricted in our movements.
We generally keep a low profile, moving around Baghdad in low key armoured cars. We don’t wander the streets for long periods of time or frequent bars and nightclubs after work.

The assumption is that any Westerner is a prime target for kidnappers — for political reasons or for a juicy ransom.

And this is not to say there are no dangers to Iraqi media workers. More than 130 have died in violence since the beginning of the war.

Seven of our colleagues from Reuters have been killed in that time, most of them Iraqis.

Security restrictions have left us heavily dependent on dedicated local journalists who can visit places we cannot and help us cobble together stories we send to the wire.

That’s perhaps as it should be in a global news agency with strong local talent, but it’s hard not to miss roaming the streets as I would in almost any other country.

As a military correspondent, embedding with U.S. troops has been an experience, though it can hard to get the full picture that way — for instance, persuading a nervous bystander in the street to talk to you when you’re surrounded by heavily-armed American soldiers has proved a real challenge.

As security improves, our leash has been lengthened. I’ve been able to travel to places with that were once off-limits, like many parts of northern Iraq.

Will it continue getting better? No one can claim to know the answer to that question. Many Iraqis are pessimistic, as well they might be after decades of war, dictatorship, brutal sanctions and sectarian bloodshed. But since Iraq was pulled back from the brink in 2007, it has defied gloomy predictions.

But I’m reminded of comments by the head of the Red Cross Iraq delegation Juan-Pedro Schaerer about avoiding the temptation to write off Iraq’s persistent violence as “normal”.

This week, one of our journalists, Ahmed, was awoken in the middle of the night by loud gunshots.

Gunmen had stormed the house of his neighbour and family doctor, and shot him in the head. Ahmed took him to hospital, where he remains in critical condition. He may never walk or talk again.
Clearly, that feeling of nearly normality is fragile.

Related blog: A voice in the wilderness?

88 comments

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Even if everything you say is true, its now very hard to take you seriously after your abysmal failure in Iraq. You’ve all lost the last of what credibility you might have had..I think it’s pretty obvious that the number of killings have dropped (for reasons unstated), what I don’t understand is the media’s obsession with trying to show “progress” by the criminals at the scene of a crime.The focus should be in line with reality, the crime being committed, and embedding journalists with the criminals should also be a crime.Where are the stories demanding the prosecution of Bush administration officials for crimes against humanity? Where are the stories on the absolute proven failure of the UN as a democracy, and an effective defensive collective, about the hypocrisy of the security council. We all jumped up to protect Kuwait from invaders in 1991, why wont we protect Iraq from invaders now??I’ll tell you something about Iraq and media, Al Jazeera and Al Arabia are by far the two largest and most trusted middle-eastern networks, they are both banned in Iraq. What is not banned in Iraq is Al Hurra, a US government funded propaganda network created by a Jewish scholar for the middle east that is banned in the US itself because it is actually classified as propaganda..The daily cost of blood in Iraq may have lessened of late but one thing that has not changed is the crime itself and the ongoing support of the western media.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Five years from today, Iraq will be a strong independent minded country that may or may not resemble Western democracies. One thing is certain, five years from now, ask the Iraqi’s whether they would go back to the way things were and I guarantee that they would shudder at the thought.

Posted by Guy Thompto | Report as abusive

brian speaks of crimes against humanity. I hope people realize the downfall of the Ba’ath party regime in Iraq brought about an end to decades of torture and murder by a ruling party. I have been there, done that and the Iraqi people, for the most part, are very happy with removal of the dictatorship and fear that gripped the once proud country for decades. We have accomplished great things for the people of Iraq and the Iraqi’s have accomplished great things for themselves since 2004. The majority of the violence is now committed by Syrian and Irani extremists invading Iraq. I take personal exception to the idea that we as Americans are invaders. We are not trying to take land, oil or anything else. We are trying to free a people from oppression. I wonder if Brian was being murdered by the government over a soccer game, would he want the most powerful nation in the world to help?

Posted by Duncan | Report as abusive

I fought in this war and I can tell you from first hand experience that those people are greatful that th US is there. And the Iraqi army, that I fought side by side with, is thankful for the decision President Bush made. They were opressed for worshiping their god for the way they wanted to. That is wrong. Whether this war was politicaly driven or not, I’m glad I went and helped the opressed taste a bit of freedom again.If you haven’t been there or, haven’t been outside of the green zone, you shouldn’t be running your mouth (not the author). All you’ve done is listened to other propoganda that tells you how to think. I didn’t listen to either side of it, I went there.

Posted by Nate | Report as abusive

Growing up in South America I was raised hearing the great stories of an American people who fought and sacrificed to stop the onslaught of barbarism: whether it surfaced from Nazi Europe or the gulags of the Soviet Union. Confronting these plagues was, for America, a moral duty. The same context applies when America acted to confront the evils of extremist fundamentalism in the guise of religious movements such as Al-Sadr’s in Baghdad, the brutality of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or the savagery we have witnessed in Somalia, Darfur and a myriad of others in Africa and Asia.The challenge to America has always been to continue to show a strong, though sometimes unappreciated, stomach to the criticism and doubt hurled by empty moral codes, shallow consciences and weaker hearts. Thank God!

Posted by Tsao Tsu G. | Report as abusive

Well maybe just ask the ones that are still alive and who haven’t had their families murdered and they might agree, IF and only IF you are right.. and I seriously doubt you will be, seeing as your prediction is based on nothing but hope.Tell me the last country the US invaded that ended up better off for it?

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Easy.1. Korea (only reason South Korea is free today)2. Kuwait (in order to repel Saddam’s invasion)3. Former Yugoslavia (to prevent genocide)Iraq and Afganistan are the battles of this decade.Iran will be probably be bombed to bits, but no invasion likely.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

The embedded version of Iraq’s history leaves much unsaid. Its omissions, lack of candid insight and substitution of anecdote for fact also tend to leave generations of American foreign policy to be based on derivative opinions of generally pig-ignorant hecklers with no concept of what has been destroyed there, how vastly and at what cost.If you had seen Iraq in the 1970s, you would understand the differences brought about there by American intervention as universally deleterious.And, frankly, unforgivable.

Posted by The Bell | Report as abusive

The idea that Iraq is better off now and that Iraqi’s are happy with US invaders and mercenaries is absolute BS, and usually perpetrated by the same people that have supported the crime or actually killed over there.The point is, even if you don’t like Saddam (for good reason) he was still a creation of the US to promote instability in the region after the people’s revolution in Iran toppled the horrific US backed dictator the Shah.America still sold chemical weapons to their ally Saddam while he was engaged in using them during the Iran-Iraq war which the US was provoking. That’s why the US had to steal the 10 000 page Iraqi weapons declaration from the UN headquarters and black out half the information in there before giving it back to the UN.Anon, haha it’s hard not to find that funny..1. Korea – 60 years ago.. anti-communist war which produced the most dangerous and fanatical regime on earth.. Well done!!2. Kuwait – Ended in the massacre of traitors to Iraq as the US betrayed their promise of help.. created permenant instability in the region and illegal bombing of Iraq for over a decade, sanctions which killed an estimated 500 000+ people, mostly children.. The use of Radiological weapons and an unexplainably high number of cancer cases since, and the preservation of the old US backed dictatorship in isolation for the next war 10 years later and untold hundreds of thousands killed. US occopation of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia has also been one of the primary reasons for anti-american terrorism. Well done!!3. Kosovo, not much of a war.. highly controversial again, NATO war against the UN, against the NATO charter by there not being a NATO member under threat. Exadurated claims of genocide, depleted uranium radiological weapons use, cluster bomb use, heavy civilian casualties and the destruction of the countries infrastructure including, ports, bridges, electricity and water supplies and even war crimes in the illegal bombing of television stations as well as environmental terrorism by the bombing of oil refineries and chemical plants.. Well done!!And these are the BEST examples you can find in the last 50 years. Many of the countries they have invaded are now the poorest in their entire region. Look at Nicaragua, Haiti and Panama for a start.Why don’t the US ever help out a country where there’s nothing to gain but helping them?? Like Burma, Sudan, or the Congo.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Yeah that makes a lot of sense “The Bell”. You must be confusing the U.S. with Iran if you have to call upon the 1970′s as Iraq’s golden age. Before you start blaming the U.S. for involvement in the true “First Persian Gulf War”, you better study the entire Middle East and every first world country’s influence there too.When are people going to stop blaming the U.S. for the Middle East being the Middle East? Better yet, what are your solutions for the instability of the entire region?Or should we all just close our eyes and pretend this problem hasn’t been around for thousands of years?

Posted by T | Report as abusive

Brian,You seem very well informed and must care very deeply for the world slinging such criticisms at the only country that has taken any action to make it bearable, I wonder which country you’re from? It would help me put your claims in perspective. I am American and have fought in the current conflict and can understand the criticism the US has received from the international community. It’s true that we always act in our best interest first, and we’re strong enough to do it, what country doesn’t. In that context, I can’t think of any nation that has given so much of her treasure and blood to bring human dignity to the far reaches of this world. I can’t recall any other empire, kingdom or nation state in our history that has been more benevolent or calculated with its power. You made many claims and insinuations in your posts; can you cite please? Were you there when the US Spies stole records from the UN.1. Is it any coincidence that South Korea is a prosperous country? That you can blame on the US, the North you can blame on China and USSR (acting in their own best interest)and their Maoist/Leninist experiment.2. Let’s call it right, the US liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi aggression was not the instigating event that set into motion a nascent era of instability in the Middle East; it’s been like that for a long time. Again, we acted in our best interest but We acted…3. Highly exaggerated claims of genocide… Sir, are you going to tell me next that the Holocaust never occurred? War is hell. Wicked problems require unsavory solutions that are unpalatable. Again, the situation in the Balkans was terrible (before NATO was involved) but no one else seemed to care. We acted.The US is not perfect by any standard, but it’s the best we have… the best we’ve ever had. I don’t foresee China taking any legitimate steps to make this world a better place just for the sake of helping… They are heavily invested in Sudan, Panama, et al. and they continue with their funding of these regimes with no conditions placed on the funding. As long as they get what they want they’re OK with the status quo. At least we put some conditions on our US tax payer benevolence to try to help blank country, you fill it in.As to your last comment, we have several benevolent organizations who receive a portion of their funding from the US Government (my tax dollars) helping through out the world, trying to make it a better place, without asking anything in return. I can’t substantiate this claim but I would bet the farm that per capita, the US gives more of their time and money to benevolent organizations without asking anything in return… kind of.Brian, one last thing, do you really think that any country or person does anything for nothing? Does yours? Do you? Whether you aspire for that wonderful feeling that one gets for doing something nice, it’s still something. When a nation state sends a hospital ship (USS MERCY) to the Southern Philippines to give much needed care to the inhabitants of the Archipelago, there are still strings attached. Brian, get off your philosophical high horse and start doing some good in this world…

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Right, Brian.-So you blame the Korean War for creating North Korea. Even though North Korea invaded the South in the first place. And even though North Korea only continues because of Chinese financial and diplomatic support.-You blame Desert Storm for causing tension in the Middle East. Even though it was caused by Iraq invading and attempting to annex Kuwait over loan debts.-You think the US has “occopuied” Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.-You believe that NATO was acting on “Exadurated (sic) claims of genocide”. That explains all the recent trials and confessions concerning genocide in the UN international courts, eh? And all the mass graves?-You believe the Iraq war is a crime. But the International Court has not found this. And you are certainly not an International Court Judge to say otherwise.Now put yourself in my shoes. Does your post really deserve the effort of a response?

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Dear Writer,As a journalist,you have covered the latest events from Iraq.Whether the casualties or incidence of violence has been reduced or not increased is other point of discussion.After U.S.A.!s interference in Iraq affairs,daily,we are reading and witnessing some daily bomb blasts,street demonstrations and peoples agony in larger extents.Why is it so?The main purpose of concluding of mass nuclear weapons are not established by any foreign agencies.As a humanist, i advise all American and other foreign troops to be withdrawn and try establish a real democratic rule by Iraq people.Let them choose their own way of governance.All developed nations can help to Iraqis on so many vital ways than staying at this country.After reading it from you, some rays of hope and confidence were found from Iraqi soil.

Anon, no these are your claims not mine.. and despite how you would rather hear what I said:- NO, YOU think the US has helped the region, but it has never been as bad as it is now as a result of their imperial cold war against communism. Now the entire region is under threat by a fanatic with the fourth largest army in the world and advanced technology including Nuclear Weapons as a result of its isolation and aggression by the US.- NO, YOU think the invasions and support of dictators by the US has helped the region, I say they have been the single biggest cause of death and suffering and instability in the region since WW2. Kuwait was annexed FROM Iraq, they invaded to reclaim it and in retaliation for Kuwait drilling into Iraqi oil fields, for reasons you probably didn’t hear. It was handed back to the royal family dictators by the US, in exchange for…- NO, I think they ARE occupying these countries, the only reason they are permitted to occupy the most sacred place in Islam is because they support the brutally oppressive Saudi regime, hated by the people, they allied with the US to end the anti-US oil embargo in exchange for protection of their rule and untold riches for both sides in developing the country’s oilfields.- How many people were killed? I can tell you that not 1 US serviceman was killed because the war was just a bombing campaign for the US. If you look at the official figures the US was very ineffective at attacking the enemy and very effective at destroying the infrastructure and killing civilians. They killed over 1500 civilians (their own conservative estimate) and only a few hundred of the enemy. They too have been accused of war crimes but as usual will not let their citizens be subject to international laws.- If the international court does not bother with this it is because the US has repeatedly stated its contempt for the organization and unwillingness to recognize its authority. The USA is still the only country in history to be charged with international terrorism by the world court, and ordered by the UN to adhere to the ruling, to which it replied with a big F-off to both..The law is extremely clear when it comes to Iraq, the invasion was not in self-defense, or for the protection of anyone. It was a clear and blatant attack on a sovereign country (with devastating consequences), of which the bombing of for the last 10 years has also been illegal.Robert, site your claims first buddy if you’re goingto have the audacity to ask the same of me. The examples I gave are freely and easily available for you to look into from a variety of sources in print and online.Was I there when the US stole the weapons declaration from the UN?? NO, it was front page news all over the world from impeccable sources, it was taken at gunpoint from their hands, and later admitted to by your government.. are you serious?Look you guys can be as patriotic as you like but you have to realize the world doesn’t share your patriotism, quite the opposite..You don’t realize that you actually have the worst criminal record in modern history, a fact accumulated by a plethora of easy to find information.The death toll of the US is incalculable.. and of course you’re not going to be taught this in high school! But remember that most of the world has no need to sugarcoat history for you.Your very nation’s beginnings and ideals were forged in history from a root of treason, civil war, genocide, slavery and imperialism.Ideals like freedom and democracy have NEVER got in the way of getting what you want and accumulating profound riches while standing in contempt of international democracy, multilateral relations and the freedom of self-determination.One only needs to take a glance at your society to measure, by any common standard of decency, how hypocritical and shallow your values appear.The US is regarded by many to be the greatest threat to peace in the world at present. And the only reason that isn’t common knowledge is because many are afraid to stand against the enormous might of American power, only recently the world has been warned “You’re either with us or your against us”, words of a dictator, echo across the world..Indeed the only way you can get people to go to war with you these days is to threaten or bribe them, look at the Iraq war lineup! My country went to war with you despite almost the entire public being against it.. I wonder why?Tell me who you think your real allies are, because I’m picturing a map of the world and cant seem to think of many, even your own neighbors..I think you need to go back to the history books.For the lives lost and ruined in:Philippines, Puerto Rico, Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Guatemala, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Panama, Cuba, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Oman, Palestine, Chile, Japan, Angola, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Honduras, Haiti, Bolivia, Columbia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Albania, Sudan, Zaire, Afghanistan, Macedonia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Russia and Liberia and more..

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Brian.I find that anti-war blogs tend to be somewhat biased, and tend to focus less on research and more on opinions.A case in point being the war on Iraq being illegal. You can say that it is illegal. As many times as you please. But it will not change the fact that the International Court has not made a ruling on it.Another example being the invasion of Kuwait. The international community does not care about territory boundaries from forty years ago. And while you probably believe that Kuwait was drilling into Iraq with all your heart, you have no evidence to prove it is true.The problem with anti-war blogs is that they repeat opinion, over and over. And eventually, these opinions become accepted as fact. And then people who believe these opinions no longer feel the need to prove them true. Because the truth of these opinions is reinforced by the simple fact that everyone believes they are fact.I have long since stopped using them for research on world events and history. I suggest you do the same.As for your post, I will chalk it down to “opinion”. And give it all the proper weight and relevence that it is due.Cheers,

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Brian,I was on your side until the end. This country was formed with good intentions, there’s a price to pay for real democracy and we had that for the first 50-100 years. The only issue I have with the originals is when they “said all men are created equal” they were saying that then going home and giving orders to men they owned as property.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

That’s terrible Brian.

Posted by Gaspard | Report as abusive

Who are America’s allies?-Most of the security council nations.-All of Europe (both NATO and EU).-Egypt and Israel.-Various nations in the Gulf, including but not limited to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.-South Korea and Japan.-Australia and Indonesia.-Friendly nations in South America.-Pakistan and now India.-New friendly regimes in Afganistan and Iraq.Face facts Brian. Who is left after all that?Petty small dictatorships in Africa and South America? Small tinpot nations like Iran and North Korea? Little men like Mugabe and Chavez who try to look important?Nations, Brian, who are only unified by their status as pariahs. They only associate with each other, because nobody else in the world will.China and Russia might sell them cheap weapons, and prevent embargos. But even then they try to keep their relationships on the low. After all, they rely on the West for most of their economic trade.You feel that America is the source of all evil and death in this world.But the same time, you seem to believe that dictators and genocide are things to be tolerated or ignored. You curse the Americans when they liberate or punish, but you are ready to let Iraq invade Kuwait without caring.You seem to be under the impression that the US are alone, and universally hated.The reality is that America is the head of the Western Nations. The largest, most powerful bloc of economies and military on this planet. Nations who share and assist in the furthering of both American and Western interests.Soon, Iran will have to decide if it is going to capitulate or be bombed. Yet another soon to be friendly regime (or at least one which is eliminated as a threat).Face facts Brian, you’re backing the wrong side. Expect nothing but more disappointment and bitterness.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Brian,Russia??? You’re kidding right. I have agonizingly read your asinine posts and while everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions, your’s tend to be inflammatory, uneducated and poorly strung together. I won’t argue with you point by point because quite frankly, if someone of your intelligence level ever ended up agreeing with me, I would change my opinions based on principle alone. I have yet to see which country or ideal you do stand behind. You consistently cite “international opinions” as some sort of absolute truth, but aside from attacking the U.S., I don’t see what you do stand for. Kind of easy to criticize without offering any ideas, solutions or beliefs to replace the object of your frustration. If you were say… Russian, British, Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Egyptian, Greek, Korean, Vietnamese and more, or Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Taoist, Zoroastrian, Wiccan and more, or Communist, Capitalist, Facist, Anarchist and more, or white, black, brown, yellow and more, or romantic, pragmatic, paranoid (think this one is a hit)and more, we could all point a finger or two at you for atrocities committed by your (country, religion, race, philosophy) people.I have yet to see a perfect society, belief or being in my life, but you certainly don’t offer me any hope.

Posted by T | Report as abusive

Michael, fair call.. its easy to compare the US to much worse regimes in ideal, like North Korea and see the clear difference in leadership.However there is also a pressing importance to focus a lot more attention on a nation that occupies the position of the United States.Its easy to say that other regimes are worse but they are not the worlds only superpower, they do not hold a position of empire more powerful than any international cooperative like the UN or World Court. With this position comes an enormous responsibility to not abuse the privilege the world has allowed you.I’m sure many well intentioned Americans have often been as frustrated as I with their nations apparent schizophrenia, but there is a general perception of your nations identity that has been damaged, maybe beyond repair, by the inconsistencies between American ideals like freedom and democracy and their actions in the last 60 odd years. Sadly it’s reached the point where now many only follow the US through fear or tradition.Anon, I don’t understand the references to anti-war blogs.. you used to use them for research? Is there a point of contention there.I suggest you read a little international law and decide for yourself what is and isn’t illegal, the case of Iraq should be an easy first example. I’ve already explained why the international court might not bother indicting a country that holds it in contempt.The hugely unpopular British installed Sheik dictator in Kuwait was overthrown by Saddam for economic aggression against a devastated Iraq after its war against Islamic fundamentalism in Iran. After supporting Iraq in its defense of the region the ruler of Kuwait sabotaged Iraq’s postwar efforts to rebuild the country by strategically increasing their oil production by 40%. That was the main reason for regime change in the kingdom of then around 2 million people, less than a third of which are citizens. I know no one cares about the reasons for the annexation because no one seems to know the details. Lets not forget that the US seemingly gave the green light for the invasion as Iraqi forces were massing on the border.People are always saying let the middle-east sort out their own problems but as soon as a dictator is overthrown in a 40 year old British created oil nation there’s outrage! Hang on didn’t we just go to war based on ousting a dictator? Or was it WMD’s, I forget..Did you, or the international community, care about the 400 000 Palestinians who were ejected from Kuwait after the war? That’s almost a quarter of the country’s population..Or is this all just my opinion? At least there we have no disagreement. How can you possibly say something that isn’t your opinion? What is that anyway the Jedi mind trick??To say “that’s just your opinion” doesn’t say anything at all, if only to imply that you don’t share my opinion. And in that case that’s your opinion!Glad we cleared that one up I was starting to think I stole my opinion from your book of gospel that now wants it back..Gaspard, I think imperialism is a little more terrible than those who point it out. I’m a beneficiary too, but I’d rather not have to sugarcoat history to improve the future, it seems to only damage your credibility.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

“I’ve already explained why the international court might not bother indicting a country that holds it in contempt.”The International Court is free to do as it pleases, when it pleases. Your second guessing as to their motives is uninformed.”After supporting Iraq in its defense of the region the ruler of Kuwait sabotaged Iraq’s postwar efforts to rebuild the country by strategically increasing their oil production by 40%.”So you think Kuwait selling more oil on the open market was a legal reason for Iraq to invade them?”Lets not forget that the US seemingly gave the green light for the invasion as Iraqi forces were massing on the border.”Well the fact that America immediately began military operations against Iraq would indicate that “green light” was a misperception on Iraq’s part.”but as soon as a dictator is overthrown in a 40 year old British created oil nation there’s outrage! Hang on didn’t we just go to war based on ousting a dictator?”You seem to confuse the terms “annexation” with “regime change”. Look them up. They are legal terms.”I suggest you read a little international law and decide for yourself what is and isn’t illegal,”I have done quite a lot of reading on international law. Perhaps that is why I have learnt that international law is a lot more shades of grey then you give it credit for.The fact was that the invasion of Iraq was based on the breach of UN resolutions. Even though it is argued these resolutions didn’t give a right to invade, there is equal argument in the other direction.And if the International Court or the Security Council do not reach resolution on those arguments, then the reality is that the legality of the war is still up for debate. Regardless of your belief that the issue is settled.You should also take the opportunity to read up concepts such as “military proportionality” and “collateral damage”, which are also legal terms in international law. Try applying them to military conflicts.Your issue is that you focus on international law from only one perspective. And as a result, you come to a conclusion which you believe speaks for itself, but is actually far from given.Learn to consider other people’s points of view. And then perhaps when you provide your learned opinion on something, people will give you the same courtesy.Otherwise, don’t count on it.Cheers,

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Brian, you obviously know your history, have unique insights and have a solid line of debate. I am shocked at what I am hearing from both sides, both in fact and in opinion. Everything seems to be escalating and going out of control by the day. Can’t we just move on to rebuttals and debate something pleasant like holes in doughnuts ?

Posted by Gaspard | Report as abusive

Brian,On a separate note I’ll give you the core issues of what leads us to these problems.1.) Education in this country is awful.2.) People put religion over science, which leads to putting faith based logic over fact based rational. (related to #1)3.) The illusion that the Democratic and Republican parties are polar opposites or even significantly different.So the first problem makes people unaware of what terrible things the US does around the world. The 2nd problem puts a cheap price on non-Christian blood, if Iraq was full of bible-toting blondes the people of this country would be rioting every city. Since they’re brown-skinned muslims, eh, only a mid-level concern. The 3rd problem gives people this false hope that electing, let’s say, a Barack Obama will make the world a safer place.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

T, I site “international opinion” (don’t know where your “citing” that from?) as you put it as a reference to the US from outside the country that some within the US may not be aware of. “Kind of easy to criticize without offering any ideas, solutions or beliefs” you think? Well maybe you should look at the start of the conversation where I’m saying the criminals should be brought to justice for the crime committed. There’s a solution! And the reason for me posting in the first place, to offer the obvious one.I’m sorry to not offer a stereotype I belong to for you to “point the finger at” you must be so disappointed at the limitations that I’ve so selfishly placed on your mudslinging..It’s a classic cop out to say something worthy of criticism isn’t perfect, like anything, but it doesn’t get us anywhere does it. Why don’t you instead say something constructive on the topic or address a particular point of my argument that you have a problem with. I didn’t say the things I said unprepared to defend them, I have all the time and data in the world to explain my point of view.Hmmm, “- most of the security council nations” You mean China, Russia, France and the UK? Are you serious? Should I stop right there…?”- All of Europe” are you kidding seriously?”- Egypt” You think Egypt is a real US ally?”-Australia and Indonesia.” Indonesia where you supported a leader that killed around a million people? Australia who thinks of you as a great joke I can tell you from personal experience and only supports you in wars (against the will of the people) because our government is politically bound to yours.”-Friendly nations in South America.” Which Nations, Columbia, Costa Rica?”-Pakistan” ???!! Is this a joke?”-New friendly regimes in Afganistan and Iraq.” US installed regimes..From this last one and the use of the word regimes I can see that you thought I meant “real allies” as in fake allies, or political allies. I wasn’t talking about countries who’s governments will ally with you, I was talking about allies as in COUNTRIES (people) that support the US.So far we have Britain (who’s citizens generally laugh at you), Israel (who need you for survival), Japan who you conquered and occupied under unconditional surrender and terms of restructure, Kuwait (dictatorship), Saudi Arabia (dictatorship), South Korea (depends on US for survival), US installed Regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and “some friendly governments in South America”…You even quoted NATO, a treaty organization as an ally.That’s pretty impressive, almost as good as your case for war in Iraq!Who is left?- The continent of Africa- The continent of Asia/Russia- Europe (except for the UK)- Australasia & New-Zealand- Most of South and Central America and Canada”You feel that America is the source of all evil and death in this world.”What an absolute load of crap, if that’s what you have to tell yourself because you can’t handle criticism this is a lost cause.”But the same time, you seem to believe that dictators and genocide are things to be tolerated or ignored.”No I’m clearly stating that support for dictators and genocide by the US needs to be recognized and punished by the world community.”You curse the Americans when they liberate or punish, but you are ready to let Iraq invade Kuwait without caring.”No I simply equivelate the invasion of Iraq for illegal regime change exactly to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait for illegal regime change of a dictator. YOU seem to not care if the US supports brutal dictators all over the world.”You seem to be under the impression that the US are alone, and universally hated.”I don’t know why you can’t just quote me instead of making up a list of things I “seem” to be thinking. The US are not alone, I said I can’t think of many real allies you have left including your neighbors.”The reality is that America is the head of the Western Nations. The largest, most powerful bloc of economies and military on this planet. Nations who share and assist in the furthering of both American and Western interests.”See that’s what scares me, the military / economic empire of the US, unfortunately we all felt the pain of US economic failure in this recession due to our links to the US economy and as citizens of countries who were obligated under threat or bribery to go to war with the US we all felt the pain of shame at being associated with such a crime despite the will of our people being against the war.”Soon, Iran will have to decide if it is going to capitulate or be bombed. Yet another soon to be friendly regime (or at least one which is eliminated as a threat).”See when you say things like this it kinda destroys your whole argument.. “capitulate or be bombed” is not a way of thinking the rest of the world shares with you.”Face facts Brian, you’re backing the wrong side.”See normal people don’t see it as US vs them, the only side I’m backing is democracy, freedom, disarmament and peace, legitimately, and not just throwing those words around and then doing whatever you want with impunity because no one would dare stop you anyway, not after so many examples and countries destroyed.You can rely on the US to get their way, no matter what gets IN their way be it Freedom, Democracy or Justice.Now have you got the guts to actually stay on point and address the crimes being leveled at your country.Lets start with 4 categories:DemocracyDictatorshipFreedomT errorismFor a start pick any one you think the US has any credibility in now.Here’s a hint:- You can’t be pro democracy (or anti-dictatorship, or pro freedom) if you support brutal dictatorships.- You can’t be pro-freedom if you invade sovereign countries, attack the media or support dictators.- You can’t be anti-terrorism if you have been convicted of terrorism yourselves, or if you support terrorists.This is going to be tricky…

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Michael, couldn’t agree more though I’d ad one to the list myself.4) The lack of democracy in news media gives away the peoples most constructive tool for solving these problems to the highest bidder.Often billionaires with a sense of entitlement and a disdain for the tedium of democracy.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Wow, Brian. Talk about a long post. Permit me to educate you on reality.-Yes, most of the security council are strongly on America’s side on many political issues. And even nations like China and Russia are working with America on certain issues.-Most of the EU can be counted as friendly towards American interests. And many are actual military allies of America.-America has positive relations with Argentina, Brazil, Chile and other smaller South American nations.-America has had a long term relationship with Pakistan. It is providing support to Pakistan as we speak, and Pakistan is providing support with recent action against Taliban border provinces.-America is also increasing ties with India, both as a counterpoint to China and an emerging economic power.-Egypt has positive relationships both with Israel and America. And it no longer involves itself with the Arab conflicts (and actually assists in border control).-Japan is a strong trade and mutual defence partner. Though you probably think it is an occupied dictatorship or something.-Australia is a mutual trade and defence partner.-Afganistan and Iraq are now democracies. Which you seem to have an issue with. Probably why you support the Taliban and Saddam.-Other nations in the Middle East are likewise friendly towards America. And yes, some of them are dictatorships. But friends they remain.Now these things are fairly clear to anyone with even a basic knowledge in international affairs. I was surprised you couldn’t see it.But then I hit upon a vital point in your post. Right after when you mistakenly thought I called NATO a nation (which was your misreading).”From this last one and the use of the word regimes I can see that you thought I meant “real allies” as in fake allies, or political allies. I wasn’t talking about countries who’s governments will ally with you, I was talking about allies as in COUNTRIES (people) that support the US”And it all became clear. You work on the assumption that it is the protesting vocal minority who make up the mainstream view of a population.By your posts it is obvious you have negative feelings towards America. And you see people with likeminded views protesting in the streets. And likeminded people spouting opinions on the forums.And you come to the false perception that almost everyone agrees with you. And that anyone who disagrees is in the small minority. Most anti-war protestors tend to think that way.The reality? There is an equal amount of people who support the wars. And an even larger majority who simply don’t give a crap either way.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

@ Brian.The Taliban oppress, murder and kill. They will punish anyone who refuses to obey their theocratic rules. They will commit atrocities on innocent people.And Saddam was a brutal dictator who used chemical weapons, tortured his political opponents and invaded Kuwait in order to annex it.[BTW- look up the term annexation. It is a legal term which I don’t think you quite understand.]Anyway. Neither of these regimes could be considered democratic in any sense of the word. Or granting any freedom to their people. And yes, America did support them once. But only against (at the time) far worse dictators namely the Soviet Union and Iran.You claim to be on the side of “democracy, freedom, disarmament and peace”.But you resist the idea that oppressive regimes should be overcome with force. Nor do you provide any alternative as to how the people of these nations could be liberated from their repression.Consider the following analogy:-Imagine it is World War Two.-The Axis has been invading other countries, oppressing its own civilians and killing innocent people.-Diplomacy and mediation has been proven to be a dead end.-And here you are, walking out on the street protesting about the fact that the Allies are invading Germany.Pacifism is a wonderful ideology to have. But like all idealist concepts, it just doesn’t work in real life. So you shouldn’t be so surprised when people disagree with your posts.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Hmmmmm,He’s talking about the people of the country, who clearly beyond any shadow of a doubt don’t support the wars. It’s not a protesting minority, check the polls.One mistake foreigners make though is they seem to lump the American gov’t in with the American people because they believe we “choose” them. Fact is look at voter turnout in this country, it’s about 50%, of that typically a little more than half vote for whoever he president ends up being. Often times they vote for that person because they view them as the lessor of 2 evils.So in reality, maybe what, 15-20% of Americans support our leadership enough to vote for them and do so happily? So I think people who hate America should narrow their hate down for the American gov’t, as many Americans including myself share their feelings.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

And are those polls voluntary?It is well known that people who go out of their way to respond to polls do so because they feel strongly enough about the issue to do so.If the American people wanted out of the wars tomorrow, they could do it. Popular strikes and protests would quickly do this.And by popular I mean “everyone out on the street, government changes decision in days”.But this hasn’t happened. Which leads me to conclude that of the 50% who vote, and the 20% who actually vote based on preferred leadership, I doubt that even 5% of the country have actively opposed the war in any meaningful manner. Even if that action were merely responding to an opinion poll in the negative.My opinion, of course. Data would certainly change my mind, if it existed.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Michael, well said but personally just because I don’t agree with them doesn’t mean I hate the American people or the American government. I just want a greater degree of democracy and integrity in US society, as you said.All Americans should be campaigning for democratic news media, and if your country truly believes in democracy how could they fight you, it’s an undeniable, blatant improvement.Unfortunately many western nations suffer from media dictatorship as the weak point in their democracies including my own. This needs to change before we can claim real democracy.Hmmm, it’s clear you work on the assumption that because a foreign government, politically bound to the United States, has defense treaties, trade and political ties to your country you automatically assume that their people are friendly and support US actions..The massive protests all over the world have the smallest part to do with my opinion actually. Look it’s a different world out there guys, if you are not American and you travel and talk to people from different nationalities every day in the REAL world, you very rarely hear any praise for the US, to put it very lightly. Do you think Canadian travelers plaster themselves with the red maple leaf because they’re patriotic? No unfortunately it’s so people can tell them apart..Anon, quite a fanciful post there I honestly don’t know where you pull this stuff from, my alternatives are clearly to not support the dictators in the first place, to stop now and pay reparations, allow self determination.. see the thing about this wonderful democracy, that you so clearly have fully functioning in the United States, is that you can’t force it on people, that’s something a dictator does.. I’m not going to repeat myself anymore guys, except to say lets get back on topic.I was speaking of the abysmal failure of the media in pre-Iraq and post-Iraq to protect the integrity of journalism and not ‘embed’ with the criminal let alone dismiss the crime. The media situation in and around Iraq is the worst I have ever seen and amounts to an expose on media impartiality, where are the real stories?? The failure of the UN as a democracy, analysis of the war and conclusions of legality and cases for prosecution, including no bid contracting, torture, war crimes, electoral fraud and the theft of billions of dollars in reconstruction funds.I understand the scale of the assault mounted on the media by the US government, even to the point of targeting journalists and bombing TV stations, but I had just hoped there was enough integrity left in the profession to put truth before business.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Hmmmmm,I think we’ve found a bit of a point of agreement. Most people aren’t hardcore against the war, just lightly. I addressed that in an earlier post and it’s because they’re dark skinned muslims. If they were white bible toting blondes we would have those massive protests like they have in other parts of the world.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Brian.You refer to journalists as being embedded with the “criminal”. And that the stories about the crime are not being told.The legal basis for the invasion is still up for debate. Arguments exist for both sides and neither the Security Council or the international court have settled the issue. Meaning that according to international standards, the invasion must be considered legal until proven otherwise.So you then argue that the problem with this invasion is the civilian deaths which have occured. But if you check the media reports, the majority of civilian deaths in this war have not been because of the American invasion, or even the American military.These deaths are a result of kidnappings, mass murder, carbombs. By violent insurgent groups who focus on killing innocent civilians, and are supported by nations outside of Iraq and Afganistan. Groups who should be condemned for what they do, and should be confronted and prevented from doing it.So you then argue that America should not have invaded in the first place. You state that democracy is not something that can be forced on people. You approach the issue from the wrong way around.Dictators will arise and repress a population. And they can most certainly force their will on the population. America has not forced democracy on anyone; rather they have released people from dictatorship. They have removed the dictator from control, so that the dictator can no longer impose their will.What is the point of respecting the sovereignty of a nation that represses its own people? Are the people going to complain that their sovereignty is breached by American invasion? When the dictator controls everything, what sovereignty do the people have to be broken?So you argue that America is at fault for supporting Saddam and the Taliban in the first place. But these entities were once allies in America’s fight against the Soviet Union.The USSR was a dictatorship superpower which arose under it’s own power, enforced it’s will on countless people, and only collapsed due to four decades of military and economic confrontation with the Western World.So essentially we come back to the point I made in a previous post. America took action to release people from oppression.But rather then condemn the violent groups who will kill or murder civilians in order to control them, you instead condemn America and the West for having the audacity to go and do something about it.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Hmmmmm,If i could interject, what about the dictatorships we currently support who force their will on people? Saudi Arabia, Egypt (which is a dictatorship, don’t believe the sham elections), and as brian mentioned Kuwait. Why are some oppressive dictatorships ok and some aren’t?I already know the answer to that question, but i want your take on that please.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

The technical definition of hypocrisy is when one believes to have values they do not in fact have.For example, a thief who says “I do not steal” is a hypocrite if they actually believe what they say. Because they are essentially lying to themselves.A thief who says “I do not steal” and doesn’t believe what they say, is simply a liar.But a thief who says “Stealing is wrong” is not a hypocrite. Just because they steal, doesn’t actually affect their belief that stealing is wrong. Nor does it effect the validity of their assertion that stealing is wrong.This example can be applied to foreign politics.America believes that dictatorships are wrong and reprehensible. And that when possible, dictators who repress their people should be removed and punished. And that repressed people should be liberated.Were it capable to overthrow all dictators tomorrow, America would do it. But it can’t. Especially when America needs allies, some of whom fit the definition of dictator themselves.But just because America can’t overthrow all dictators, or supports other dictators, doesn’t preclude it from deciding to take out a dictator and liberating it’s population from oppression. Otherwise by that logic, no dictator should ever be overthrown no matter what they do.I suppose you could call it double standards. Or simply foreign politics. But from an objective point of view, neither have any real gravity on the rightness or wrongness of America’s actions.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Hmmmm,Fair point, “neither the Security Council or the international court have settled the issue”.But you have to realize the futility of the task.1. The US has Veto power in the security council and is guaranteed to block and condemn any resolution.2. The US has a known contempt for the international court and has a policy of ignoring their findings, as they did with both organizations when the US was charged with international terrorism.The fact that no ruling has been made does not prove them innocent, as further no ruling was made for the case to invade Iraq.You can close your eyes if you want but international law is very clear: Invasion of a sovereign nation is only considered legal to prevent an atrocity, or in self-defense.Now seeing as the US has now admitted the goal was regime change, which is not a legal reason for preemptive invasion under international law, this becomes a crime.When you invade a country, you are not innocent until proven guilty.. the onus is on you to prove the legality of the invasion before you invade.You seem to be having trouble understanding this..The majority of the deaths there are from US bombing, the civil war and all the terrorism created by the US invasion.You say “America has not forced democracy on anyone”.I know they haven’t, they’ve created 2 more client states, where they have actively interfered in the politics and actually played a role in sculpting the constitution. We’ve already seen electoral fraud in Afghanistan..Forcing democracy on people is their STATED goal, I personally don’t believe it because real democracy in these countries would result in a nationalist and less pliable government. It has even been bluntly stated by some of America’s most celebrated geopolitical strategists like Zbigniew Brzezinski, that US “primacy” as the worlds first and last true superpower is completely dependent on control of the region and manipulation of pliable governments to satisfy its reliance on fossil fuels. This man was personally involved in the training of mujaheddin terrorists (later Al Queda) to destabilize the democratic Afghan government prompting the Soviet invasion and has held high positions of office. His book ‘The Grand Chessboard’ says it all and is one of the most blatant admissions of imperialism imaginable by a US strategist.You then say “So you argue that America is at fault for supporting Saddam and the Taliban in the first place. But these entities were once allies in America’s fight against the Soviet Union.”You obviously don’t know your history very well because they had nothing to do with the soviet union..The dictator Saddam was supported by the US including his chemical weapons program (even as he was using them) to fight the Iranian revolution (which deposed the horrific US backed dictator The Shah), in the Iran-Iraq war.The Taliban came to power when they defeated the drug and war-lords, ‘The Northern Alliance’ (US allies), with the support of the Afghanis who enjoyed a much better life under the Taliban who also eliminated some 60-70% of the worlds heroin supply. The year they came to power was the same year Al Qaeda issued a Fatwa declaring war on the United States in 1996.The USSR collapsed because of the US’s military and more importantly economic cold war against them, yes, but it had nothing to do with Saddam or the Taliban..You repeatedly (I think intentionally) misquote my accusations. I am making the point that the US has a massive documented history of supporting brutal dictatorships in geo-strategic areas to exploit, militarize, destabilize and denationalize regions for strategic reasons that continues to the present.From the Khmer Rouge, to Al Qaeda, Saddam, Pinochet, Suharto, the Shah to the Saudi and Kuwaiti royal families and many many more. So don’t tell me that the US is in the business of liberation and democracy because they’ve crushed as many liberation movements as they’ve supported terrorists, collective punishment and mass murderers.You simply need to go back to your history books. And the media needs to start using their freedom of speech to highlight the crimes and stop them from happening!People are dying.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

“If you had seen Iraq in the 1970s, you would understand the differences brought about there by American intervention as universally deleterious. And, frankly, unforgivable.”I wonder what this commenter would’ve said regarding: (1) Honolulu after the Pearl Harbor attack;(2) any major city in Japan after the fire-bombings of 1944; or(3) Dresden after the British-Allied bombings of 1943?War NORMALLY subjects battlefields to deleterious conditions; that is the nature of war. It is very seldom a great way to beautify the landscape anywhere.But, unfortunately, war has been waged destructively throughout history, because throughout history, the world has been subjected to the kinds of events we see unfolding in Iran and Korea today, or those that we witnessed in the run-up to Iraq throughout the ’90s.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

“The fact that no ruling has been made does not prove them innocent, as further no ruling was made for the case to invade Iraq.”Nor does it prove them guilty. The cases have been made. The Security Council and international courts have not ruled. Hence, they have decided the issue is not worth settling.”When you invade a country, you are not innocent until proven guilty. the onus is on you to prove the legality of the invasion before you invade. You seem to be having trouble understanding this.”America made their case before, during and after the invasion. If this case is not dismissed as incorrect by the relevant legal bodies, then their case stands as valid. You seem to have trouble understanding this.”You can close your eyes if you want but international law is very clear: Invasion of a sovereign nation is only considered legal to prevent an atrocity, or in self-defence.”Or when UN provisions are breached. Or when allies are attacked. Or most importantly, when the Security Council allows it.Was the Chinese involvement in Korea legal? Have Pakistan’s attacks on India through history been legal? Is Israel not allowed to give any response to Hamas or Hezbulla, regardless of how many rockets are launched at civilian areas? Was Russia’s attack on Georgia justified, even though no evidence has yet been provided of any actual ethnic cleansing (except for the Georgians driven from their homes)?International law is never as clear as you seem to think.And when a dictator controls everything, HE is the one in that country with sovereignty. Not the people. Why do you consider that sovereignty worthy of respect, I have no idea.”The majority of the deaths there are from US bombing, the civil war and all the terrorism created by the US invasion.”Now out of those three, which is the one which causes the most deaths? Terrorism. Caused by people who seek to repress, torture and murder innocent civilians. People you should be opposing.”The USSR collapsed because of the US’s military and more importantly economic cold war against them, yes, but it had nothing to do with Saddam or the Taliban”The Taliban were instrumental in the creation of a decade long conflict which demoralized and drained the coffers of the USSR.And since the revolution against the brutal yet secular reformist shah (who was then replaced by an even more brutal, repressive, non-democratic theocracy) the nation of Iran was the subject of a struggle between Russia and the USA for influence.To quote your own words “You obviously don’t know your history very well”.The tale of history is a long snaking chain of events. Even if America had chosen an existence of isolation, as you seem to advocate, history has proven time and time again that dictators rarely fall of their own volition.And even if previous administrations have been responsible for supporting the dictators of yesterday, it does not mean those dictators would never have arisen. Nor does this prevent America from choosing to liberate the people of today.Unless you happen to have a time machine, it is the only practical way those people will ever have freedom or democracy.I don’t suppose I will respond after this. I have said my piece. Further responses would simply be repetition.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Proviso.In my paragraph dealing with Iran, I intended to mention that both Iran *and* Iraq were the subjects of influence struggles between the US and the USSR.Unfortunately, the end of the paragraph didn’t make the transition from Word. Mistake corrected.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Brian,It seems we have an agreement and and understanding on what’s going on. If dictatorships were a big deal to the US the bottomline is we wouldn’t support so many of them. Hmmmm can see it was we can’t overthrow them all, that’s fine, but we have no reason to support them and ally ourselves with such types.It’s all about puppet governments, that’s what the US wants. Puppet “democracies” like Karzai in Afghanistan, puppet dicatators like King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, as long as they’re willing to do our bidding in exchange for money and power we like them.I mean we don’t say it outwardly but we’re great friends with China. Hence why Prez Bush sent Hank Paulson over to beg for money and why Obama has done the same thing with Hillary.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

hmmm, geez you really have a stunningly superficial understanding of whats going on, both in this conversation and in world history.. it’s almost embarrassing to watch.You think that the US supporting Saddam against the Iranian ISLAMIC revolution was a fight against the USSR?You think that the Taliban was a US ally, and further that they were fighting the Soviets. The Taliban came to power in 1996.. after defeating the drug/war lords (northern alliance). The mujaheddin was the US ally back in the 80s (later forming Al Qaeda) and were used, by admission, to destabilize the democratic Afghan government and provoke a Soviet reaction.I don’t know how you came to the conclusion that they were both US allies in fighting the USSR other than you simply created the idea to suit your stance and back your team..On Iraq you say: “America made their case before, during and after the invasion. If this case is not dismissed as incorrect by the relevant legal bodies, then their case stands as valid. You seem to have trouble understanding this.”I don’t have trouble understanding it because it simply isn’t true. The relevant bodies that were used to investigate these claims DID dismiss the evidence and the invasion went ahead anyway. Where were you?!You say by international law it is legal to invade a sovereign nation, “when UN provisions are breached. Or when allies are attacked. Or most importantly, when the Security Council allows it”. But none of these things happened..The security council didn’t allow it because there was no legal basis to allow it. There is no such thing as a breached UN provision, if you meant resolution that contains a clause for war if breached then that did not happen either. Neither were any countries invaded (except Iraq). For once the UN actually worked and was undermined by the US. Not to mention evidence was stolen and tampered with by the US, the 10 000 odd page weapons program declaration detailing US support for their weapons program.I don’t think I have any faith left in this debate, your reasoning process is not constructive, and serves only to defend the US to the point of changing known facts in history to alter the image of these events. I’ve listened long enough..Michael indeed, a country like the United States should have impeccable integrity, especially when you are spouting morals like freedom, peace and democracy to the world. It’s not just the supporting of dictators that damages your credibility, more so it’s supporting the overthrow of peaceful democratic countries that lead to these murderous tyrants that is more worrying.Supporting the autocratic leader of a country can at least be explained away as having relations for the benefit of the people of that country. But when you are overthrowing democracies in the process because they are too nationalist (socialist), there is no other way to perceive this other than imperialism. And don’t forget we’re hearing these things from your people, in the CIA, in Government and in the Military. Some are regretful and some just got caught red-handed and say these crimes need to be committed to preserve the interests of the united states.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Brian. Try to be a little more civil.”You think that the US supporting Saddam against the Iranian ISLAMIC revolution was a fight against the USSR?”Both Iraq and Iran were countries that the USSR and USA struggled for political influence over during the cold war. It was not a simple case of “client state against client state”.Both were trying to get Iraq as a client state. Russia’s goal was to gain a friendly Iraq to go with an already friendly Iran. America’s goal was to get a friendly Iraq as a balancing force against an unfriendly Iran.But as I seem to have ‘stunningly superficial understanding’ on cold war history, perhaps you should read it up yourself?”The Taliban came to power in 1996.. after defeating the drug/war lords (northern alliance). The mujaheddin was the US ally back in the 80s”Yes. And it was the initial forming of the mujaheddin and various militant groups who eventually became organised into Al Qaeda and the Taliban later.”I don’t have trouble understanding it because it simply isn’t true. The relevant bodies that were used to investigate these claims DID dismiss the evidence and the invasion went ahead anyway. Where were you?!”Really? The international court or security council made a ruling on the invasion? I must have been sleeping at the time. Was it in the news?”The security council didn’t allow it because there was no legal basis to allow it.”They allowed it through inaction. Just like they allowed Israel’s Cast Lead. And Russia’s invasion of Georgia. And allowed Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE.”For once the UN actually worked and was undermined by the US.”That explains the history of breached UN resolutions and economic sanctions then. And the fact that the matter had pretty much reached a stalemate.”Not to mention evidence was stolen and tampered with by the US, the 10 000 odd page weapons program declaration detailing US support for their weapons program.”Technical information was removed from the report. Quite true. But only from the reports given to the non-veto powers. The veto powers received the full report. But you probably knew that, right?”your reasoning process is not constructive, and serves only to defend the US to the point of changing known facts in history”Pot calling the kettle, I’m afraid to say.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Yes, you do unfortunately… you need to learn your history!Straight from WIKIPEDIA: POST 1979 RUSSIA-IRAN RELATIONSDuring the Iran–Iraq War, the USSR supplied Saddam Hussein with large amounts of conventional arms. Ayatollah Khomeini deemed Islam principally incompatible with the communist ideals of the Soviet Union, leaving the secular Saddam as an ally of Moscow.After the war, especially with the fall of the USSR, Tehran-Moscow relations witnessed a sudden increase in diplomatic and commercial relations, and Iran soon even began purchasing weapons from Russia.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Wonderful. Thanks for proving my point, Brian.I repeated several times that Iraq and Iran were part of an influence struggle between the USSR and the USA. You refuse to believe me. And then you go confirm it with your own reference.Iran had shifted hostile towards the US after the revolution. As a result, Iran was warming ties with the soviet union. At the same time, the USSR provided military supplies to Iraq intending to increase ties with them as well.But America provided large amounts of military support to Iraq as well. And eventually Iraq began the Iraq-Iran war, in which America provided further military support.The result was that the USSR was forced to choose between Iran and Iraq. It choose to continue to give military supplies to Iraq, while trying to keep friendly relations with Iran.But the result was that Saddam become a stronger US ally due to their greater support (an alliance that continued until desert storm), while Iran almost completely severed relationships with Russia due to their continued support of Iraq.Game, set, match.-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit ed_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Ir an%E2%80%93Iraq_war-http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War#Foreign_s upport_to_Iraq_and_Iran-http://en.wikipe dia.org/wiki/Soviet_support_for_Iraq_dur ing_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war-http://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_support_for_Ir an_during_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

You are unbelievable… Iran was not warming ties with the USSR, as I just quoted it found the communist ideals principally incompatible with Islam. Leaving the secular Saddam an ally of Moscow.You seem to be the only one who thinks the US wasn’t fighting the Islamic revolution through the dictator Saddam, they were really fighting the USSR (which was being dismantled under Gorbechoff at the time..).Now why isn’t there a single piece of literature written on the subject you speak of, and a plethora written on my explanation?

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Your reference page, first sentence- “The Soviet Union did not provide extensive support to Iran during the Iran–Iraq War, not surprisingly given its massive assistance to Iraq, the mutual antagonism between Marxist-Leninist ideology and the Islamist government of Iran, and Muslim antagonism to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.”The US and USSR for once were on the same side… and No-where in wikipedia’s extensive page titled- “United States support for Iraq” does it make a single reference about the soviets.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uni ted_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_I ran%E2%80%93Iraq_war

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

“Now why isn’t there a single piece of literature written on the subject you speak of, and a plethora written on my explanation?”Because you don’t read my posts properly, nor do you read your own references properly.Until you do, there is no reason for me to continue this discussion.Cheers

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

“Game, set, match.”

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

1. Iran controled by Shah (pro-US/Anti-Soviet).2. Iran revolution (Anti-US/Shift to Soviet friendly)”See Wikipedia- Iranian Revolution”3. Russia attempts to foster positive relations with Iran.4. Russia also attempts to provide support to Saddam, to gain friendly relations with Iraq.5. America provides even more support to Saddam. America seeks to gain Iraq support, as counter balance to Iran.6. Iraq begins Iran-Iraq war, with American military support.7. Russia forced to pick between Iraq and Iran. Chooses to continue supporting Iraq, but attempts to keep positive relations with Iran.”see Wikipedia- The Soviet Union and the Iran-Iraq War”"see Wikipedia- Soviet support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war”8. Iran-Iraq war ends.9. Iraq ends up as Pro-US ally, due to US providing more support then USSR did. Alliance continues until desert storm.”see Wikipedia- Saddam Hussein-United States Relations”"see Wikipedia- United States support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war”10. Iran cuts off relations to russia. Official reason is because Islam and communism ‘incompatible’. Additional reason was fact Russia supported Iraq with military arms during Iran-Iraq war.”see Wikipedia- Iran-Russia Relations”"see Wikipedia- Soviet support for Iran during the Iran-Iraq war”I repeat. Game, Set, Match.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

1. US support dictator Shah2. 1979 Islamic nationalist revolution Anti Us AND Anti communist.3 / 4. Russia does not attempt to foster positive relations with Iran but remains neutral to both countries.5. US supports Saddam the entire time (except for the illegal sale of weapons in the Iran-Contra affair), encourages him to invade Iran.6. Saddam invades Iran in September 1980 encouraged by America. USSR unhappy about the invasion.7. Russia not forced to pick between Iraq and Iran. (please quote??) but decides to massively support Saddam when Iran begins winning the war because Iran is NOT a friend of communism. USA and USSR are supporting the same side.8. Ceasefire August 20 – 19889. Saddam ends up a US ally because the dictator is more compatible with capitalism, even though it was the Soviet support that helped repel the counter invasion by Iran.10. Iran does not cut off relations with the USSR but relations surprisingly increased dramatically. These two quotes are from your own two reference pages, one of which I’ve actually quoted in this conversation before.-Iran-Russia relations:”During the Iran–Iraq War, the USSR supplied Saddam Hussein with large amounts of conventional arms. Ayatollah Khomeini deemed Islam principally incompatible with the communist ideals of the Soviet Union, leaving the secular Saddam as an ally of Moscow.After the war, especially with the fall of the USSR, Tehran-Moscow relations witnessed a sudden increase in diplomatic and commercial relations, and Iran soon even began purchasing weapons from Russia.”-Soviet support for Iran during the Iran-Iraq war:”After Mikhail Gorbachev took power in 1985, relations (with Iran) improved somewhat. “Support” began to include some diplomatic exchanges and economic cooperation, preparing the way for much better relations after the war ended in 1988.”Game Set Match???? I don’t really see it as a game to be won. Seeing as everything I just said is supported and can easily be found in the same pages you reference, I don’t think this is about truth at all is it…Are you done embarrassing yourself?Or do you want to actually try and provide quotes from your reference pages that support your statements?

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

You said:Russia does not attempt to foster positive relations with Iran but remains neutral to both countries.You said:Russia not forced to pick between Iraq and Iran. (please quote??)Wikipedia- The Soviet Union and the Iraq War”The policy of the Soviet Union towards the Iran–Iraq War of 1980 to 1988 varied, beginning with a stance of “strict neutrality” and moving towards massive military support for Iraq in the final phase of the war. The war was inconvenient for the USSR, which had aimed to ally itself with both Iran and Iraq.”"The outbreak of the Iran–Iraq War in September, 1980 provided the Soviets with a quandary since they aimed to be friends with both sides. The 1979 Iranian revolution had overthrown the Shah, the USA’s key ally in the Middle East.”"Iran’s new anti-American stance presented the USSR with a golden opportunity to win the country over to the Soviet camp. But the war between Iraq and Iran complicated matters”"In 1986-7, the Soviet Union definitely turned to supporting Iraq. The war had been bogged down in a stalemate until the Iranians had taken the Faw Peninsula. This and other military gains offered the prospect of an Iraqi collapse.”"This worrying development pushed the conservative Arab rulers closer to the USA, which they saw as their protector. The USSR did not relish the idea of increased American military presence in the area.”"At the same time, the USSR continued to press for a ceasefire and offer itself as a mediator. To this end, the Soviets made several economic concessions to Iran and opposed the US reflagging of ships in the Persian Gulf.”"However, Iran showed little interest in friendship with the USSR, rejecting the Communist world along with the West.”And that was only ONE page. All the other wiki pages likewise support my view. If you bothered to read references properly, I wouldn’t need to point this stuff out.All the references I have already listed in previous posts should make things clear.If you bother to go back and read my other posts properly, and my references properly, you will see that you are the only one embarassing yourself here.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

I repeat Russia was not FORCED to pick between the two. It chose to support Iraq because it did not like the idea of an anti-communist Islamic revolution spreading to the majority Shiite country Iraq and beyond, once Iran started winning the war.”In 1982, the war turned in Iran’s favor and the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini pledged not to stop the conflict until he had overthrown the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Such a prospect was unacceptable to the Soviet Union (and the US) which now resumed arms sales to Iraq while still maintaining an official policy of neutrality. The Soviets also feared losing Saddam’s friendship to the West. After further Iranian gains in 1986, the Soviet Union massively increased its military aid to Iraq. The Soviets were now afraid of the Iranians encouraging Islamic revolution in Central Asia. Soviet aid allowed the Iraqis to mount a counteroffensive which brought the war to an end in August, 1988.”USA and USSR SUPPORTING THE SAME SIDE!!!So even after all this, you think that it was right for the US to support the dictator the Shah, and when overthrown by the people to support the murderous dictator Saddam Hussein to invade a country that was under absolutely no threat from the Soviet Union??US support for the dictator Saddam and the invasion of Iran was to RE-gain a client state, NOT to fight the Soviets.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Your problem is that you take single paragraphs which support your view, take them out of context and miss the information the entire article presents.All of the wikipedia entrys clearly shows how Iran and Iraq were the subject of a cold war influence conflict. That both the US and Russia had different goals and were seeking to secure Iraq and Iran as allies against the other.So you go through that article, take a single paragraph that can be (mis)interpreted to fit your point of view, and think it makes you a master of cold war history.If you are going to misread references or my posts, the debate is effectively over.Anyone who is so inclined can read the references themselves, even the ones you quote from. I am sure they will understand them better then you do.Adios. Responding to your insults and shoddy grip on history has been a bad habit.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

blah.. Don’t get upset because there is evidence that destroys your claims, which were that the US supported the dictator Saddam and the Taliban because they were fighting the USSR. I can’t believe you’ve carried on this long as well…I repeat- The Taliban was formed in 1996 and were not US allies nor were they fighting the USSR.- Iran was heavily anti-US and just as heavily anti-USSR, so when the US supported the murderous dictator Saddam to invade Iran they did not do so because they were fighting the Soviets over Iran, they did it because they had just lost their other murderous dictator the shah, in Iran less than 2 years prior and wanted their client state back, historically this is hardly disputed..And not a single thing you’ve said or tried to quote about Moscow’s involvement in the area says otherwise..What is most interesting is that the one page on wikipedia that speaks precisely on the subject of argument here:- United States support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq warat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Stat es_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran%E2%8 0%93Iraq_warsays absolutely nothing of your claims they were fighting the soviets.. in fact the opening line on the page reads:”The United States supported Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War as a counterbalance to post-revolutionary Iran.”Which is exactly what I’ve been trying to tell you except I wouldn’t use the word ‘counterbalance’, I’d use the word counterrevolutionary dictator.But I suppose I’m just taking a single paragraph that supports my view. Funnily enough that’s all I need to do because you can’t seem to quote anything that supports your view or represent anything that is being said in the article.So thank you for feeling the need to grace me with your explanation for why you’ve had your last word, but I think its obvious why your backing off, you’ve now actually read something on the subject and realize what you’ve got yourself into.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Just thought I’d post your original comment, wouldn’t want someone to think I was quoting ‘out of context’…”So you argue that America is at fault for supporting Saddam and the Taliban in the first place. But these entities were once allies in America’s fight against the Soviet Union.”A mere fraction of your sensational claims and insults, the USSR didn’t even exist after 1991 when the Taliban came to power. Also I had never mentioned the Taliban in the first place..

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

I have said repeatedly that Iraq and Iran were both involved in a struggle for influence between America and the USA.I have said many times that America sought to secure Iraq as an ally, and prevent Iran from leaning towards the soviet block. Thus denying Russian influence in both Iran and Iraq.I have never said that Iran was a soviet client state. I have never said that Iraq was involved in fighting the Soviet union.Remember all the times I mentioned your inability to read or understand my posts? That is what I refer to.I will sign off with some references, which according to you probably don’t exist, or probably mean something different to what they actually say once you put them through your reality filter.”wikipedia- United States Support for Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War”The United States supported Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War as a counterbalance to post-revolutionary Iran.Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter, “began to look more favorably toward Saddam Hussein as a potential counterweight to the Ayatollah Khomeini and as a force to contain Soviet expansionism in the region.”—According to Kenneth Timmerman, “Saddam did foresee one immediate consequence of his invasion of Iran: the suspension of arms supplies from the USSR.”"When he launched his attack, the Soviets were busy playing games in Iran. They were not amused that the Iraqis upset their plans. For generations the KGB had been working to penetrate Iran’s Shiite clergy. In February 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini took power and threw the Americans out of Iran, the Soviets stood to gain more than they had ever believed possible.”"Wikipedia- Soviet support for Iran during the Iraq-Iran War”The Soviet Union did not provide extensive support to Iran during the Iran–Iraq War, not surprisingly given its massive assistance to Iraq, the mutual antagonism between Marxist-Leninist ideology and the Islamist government of Iran, and Muslim antagonism to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.Nevertheless, the Soviets hoped not to lose all influence. As a 1980 CIA document put it, “The Soviets see Iran as a greater geopolitical prize than Iraq…while hoping to prevent an Iranian turn to the West and to improve their own relations with Tehran, the Soviets also value their ties with Iraq.”"Wikipedia- The Soviet Union and the Iraq War”The policy of the Soviet Union towards the Iran–Iraq War of 1980 to 1988 varied, beginning with a stance of “strict neutrality” and moving towards massive military support for Iraq in the final phase of the war. The war was inconvenient for the USSR, which had aimed to ally itself with both Iran and Iraq.The outbreak of the Iran–Iraq War in September, 1980 provided the Soviets with a quandary since they aimed to be friends with both sides. The 1979 Iranian revolution had overthrown the Shah, the USA’s key ally in the Middle East.Iran’s new anti-American stance presented the USSR with a golden opportunity to win the country over to the Soviet camp. But the war between Iraq and Iran complicated mattersIn 1986-7, the Soviet Union definitely turned to supporting Iraq. The war had been bogged down in a stalemate until the Iranians had taken the Faw Peninsula. This and other military gains offered the prospect of an Iraqi collapse.This worrying development pushed the conservative Arab rulers closer to the USA, which they saw as their protector. The USSR did not relish the idea of increased American military presence in the area.”At the same time, the USSR continued to press for a ceasefire and offer itself as a mediator. To this end, the Soviets made several economic concessions to Iran and opposed the US reflagging of ships in the Persian Gulf.”However, Iran showed little interest in friendship with the USSR, rejecting the Communist world along with the West.””wikipedia- Iran-Russia Relations”During the Iran–Iraq War, the USSR supplied Saddam Hussein with large amounts of conventional arms.Ayatollah Khomeini deemed Islam principally incompatible with the communist ideals of the Soviet Union, leaving the secular Saddam as an ally of Moscow.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

“So you argue that America is at fault for supporting Saddam and the Taliban in the first place. But these entities were once allies in America’s fight against the Soviet Union”Supporting Saddam was a means of gaining US influence in the gulf area, as a counterbalance to Iran, and to counteract Soviet attempts to gain influence in both Iraq and Iran.Supporting the Afgani militants was a means of actually opposing the Soviet invasion of Afganistan. And these militant groups eventually became the Taliban and Al Qaida later on.I have tried to repeat myself, tried to explain further, and literally flicked the history books in front of you, there is little more I can do.If you want to argue about your alternative interpretations of those references (and indeed, history), you should do it on the Wikipedia discussion forums. I certainly won’t waste my time.Face facts, history is not your strong point. You should stick to tangential arguments and personal insults. And of course, selective reading of references, peddling your opinions as facts and misinterpreting what people are trying to explain to you.I await your inevitable last word. But will not answer further.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

Wooh he’s back!Why didn’t you just go to the cold war page that details the history of the cold war in that period, and funnily enough says nothing of the Iran-Iraq war…Why are you now trying to change your tune? The point of argument is and has always been your assertion that- “So you argue that America is at fault for supporting Saddam and the Taliban in the first place. But these entities were once allies in America’s fight against the Soviet Union.”I don’t know where you got the idea that I thought the soviets weren’t involved in the area, of course they were, being the other world superpower, and of course had relations with these two massive oil producing nations.My issue is with what you’ve been trying to imply with your strange quotes, that US support for these dictators was necessary to combat a soviet threat. Which wasn’t there.. The US were making the moves.The Soviets were against the war in the first place.The US simply wanted to secure these two states as dictator client states for itself and in doing so deny the USSR access in its world war against communism.You still have provided no evidence of a threat from the soviets. Hilarious that you would try to quote Brezinski, possibly the most blatantly imperialist US strategist of all time.If you think it’s OK to support and empower brutal dictators and terrorists the world over because you’re paranoid about communism there’s something wrong with you. But as I believe you said before, Iran will now “capitulate or be bombed”, which pretty much sums up your rational when it comes to empire building.You actually think:”Supporting the Afgani militants was a means of actually opposing the Soviet invasion of Afganistan. And these militant groups eventually became the Taliban and Al Qaida later on.”The Soviets never invaded, they were asked to help defend democracy by the Afghan government, against the US trained, armed and funded terrorists that were attacking the state.Again I’ll cite the opening description:”The Soviet War in Afghanistan, also known as the Soviet–Afghan War, was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan at their own request, against the (US Backed) Islamist Mujahideen Resistance.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki  /Soviet_war_in_AfghanistanLook I don’t need to get personal with you, even though you’ve been trying your hardest to insult me from your very first post, which I can also cite..This is all very basic stuff, so I’m not losing any hair over it.Oh by the way this quote of yours:”According to Kenneth Timmerman, “Saddam did foresee one immediate consequence of his invasion of Iran: the suspension of arms supplies from the USSR.”“When he launched his attack, the Soviets were busy playing games in Iran. They were not amused that the Iraqis upset their plans. For generations the KGB had been working to penetrate Iran’s Shiite clergy. In February 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini took power and threw the Americans out of Iran, the Soviets stood to gain more than they had ever believed possible.””Yea by the way, not world opinion – like Brezinski he was also a conservative democrat and a single journalist, who funnily enough has also written a book on the US arming Iraq after the first gulf war..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennet h_Timmerman#Criticism“He has also been accused of excessive partisanship in relation to Iran and his work on the Foundation for Democracy in Iran. As the American founder of an organization that claims to represent the interests of Iranian democrats, his opinions have little influence in the Iranian diaspora.”So after all that you managed to come up with the opinion of Brezinski (famed imperialist and author of possibly the most offensive book in modern history: The grand chessboard), the opinion of failed journalist Kenneth Timmerman, and a 1980′s CIA ‘document’.Amazing!! Don’t you think the lack of information on your theory and the absolute plethora on mine kind of solves this one..??

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Allow me to quote some more Brezinski from his book, ‘The Grand Chessboard’ :”It is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.” (p. xiv)”For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia… Now a non-Eurasian power is preeminent in Eurasia – and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.” (p.30)“The momentum of Asia’s economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea.” (p.125)”In the long run, global politics are bound to become increasingly uncongenial to the concentration of hegemonic power in the hands of a single state. Hence, America is not only the first, as well as the only, truly global superpower, but it is also likely to be the very last.” (p.209)”Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to FASHION A CONSENSUS on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.” (Communism? Terrorism?) (p. 211)”To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.” (p.40)Hmmmm…

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Last but not least:“I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. I encouraged the Thai to help the Khmer Rouge. The question was how to help the Cambodian people. Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him. But China could.”

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Brian,The issue you’ve run into on this blog is you’re debating with people who have to give their part of the story while defending their political party and it’s bureaucrats.If Hmmmmm and Anon were to tell you that we were supporting the monsters in Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan in the 1980′s they’d be making their hero Ronald Reagan look bad. That’s why they never bring up his socialist bail out of social security, they never bring up his dozens of tax increases to corporate and gas taxes, there’s just things you can’t talk to a “Reagan conservative” about and I think you’ve found one of those issues.Getting people to admit fault within their party is impossible in this country. All of a sudden in 2009 admitting faults and taking responsibility is viewed as something for the weak.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Mr Ham.Please do not presume to speak for others, when they don’t share your point of view.If one make personal attributations as to the motives of others, it is usually based on their own preconvieved notions or bias towards those they disagree with.For my part, I completely accept that America supported the dictators of Iran, Iraq and the militants of Afganistan. I have certainly never denied it, and wonder why you believe this is the case. Feel free to quote me.But this were all part of the Cold War. Something I think we can both agree was an actual historic event.In Brian’s case, it is something he denies. He claims that the Iraq-Iran war was not part of the cold war struggle for influence. He is free to think that, but it is not the view of historians or historic references.If you believe his claim has merit, then look up the references yourself. The soviet and american involvements and intentions regarding Iraq, Iran and Afganistan are well documented.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

PS. I am aware of the spelling errors in my previous post.Alas, my spellchecker ain’t been quite right lately.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Afghanistan was a historical episode defined as being part of the cold war, yes.The Iran Iraq war and the support of dictator Saddam to overthrow the Islamic revolution in Iran was not.I challenge you to find a single credible source that supports the assertion it was a fight against the soviets, or even a documented episode in the context of The Cold War.Even encyclopedias omit this theory, indeed the only references to Iran and the cold war are the CIA coup in 1953, the Iran hostage crisis, and the Iran-contra affair.Even in the case of the 1953 CIA coup -”In the view of American mainstream public opinion, the crisis in Iran was perceived as a part of a Cold War conflict rather than as a nationalist struggle against Western colonialism.[41″Secretary of State Dean Acheson admitted the “’Communist threat’ was a smokescreen”http://en.wikipedia.org/wi ki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat#Cold_ War_originsBy the way Anon, please don’t presume to speak for others when they don’t share your strange opinions, especially me. Show me where I made this claim you speak of?

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

“By the way Anon, please don’t presume to speak for others when they don’t share your strange opinions, especially me. Show me where I made this claim you speak of?”Ok. I claimed that you believed that the Iran-Iraq war was not part of the cold war struggle for influence between Russia and America.Then you say in the same post:”Afghanistan was a historical episode defined as being part of the cold war, yes. The Iran Iraq war and the support of dictator Saddam to overthrow the Islamic revolution in Iran was not.”QED.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Anon,I believe both your claims have merit, however you cannot disagree that having a political party will bring at least some bias into the equation with just about everyone.You’re going to be less likely to point out Reagan’s flaws, democrats are going to be less likely to point out Obama’s flaws. I don’t think I’m giving any low blows or anything with that statement that seems pretty matter of fact to me.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

“I challenge you to find a single credible source that supports the assertion it was a fight against the soviets, or even a documented episode in the context of The Cold War.”Challenge accepted.As my reference, I quote you.”The US simply wanted to secure these two states as dictator client states for itself and in doing so deny the USSR access in its world war against communism.”You have admitted:-The US wanted to secure Iran and Iraq.-As dictator client states.-To deny the USSR access to those states.-In the US war against communism (ie. the cold war).Hence, the American support of Saddam can be seen as part of the wider cold war conflict.Challenge met.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

[...] The Great Debate (UK) » Debate Archive » Past and present: a … [...]

haha, you have such a way with words anon!I believe you said: “He claims that the Iraq-Iran war was not part of the cold war struggle for influence.”You then quote me: “Afghanistan was a historical episode defined as being part of the cold war, yes. The Iran Iraq war and the support of dictator Saddam to overthrow the Islamic revolution in Iran was not.”Note the difference.. don’t you think it would have been easier to just quote me in the first place?I repeat- The Iran Iraq war and the support of the dictator Saddam to overthrow the Islamic revolution in Iran was not a historical episode defined as being part of the cold war.I repeat, please don’t presume to speak for others when they don’t share your strange opinions.Again I repeat: “I challenge you to find a single credible source that supports the assertion it wasA) a fight against the soviets,B) or even a documented episode in the context of The Cold War.”You seem to be having trouble understanding the sentence so I thought I’d break it down for you..And maybe I need to supply you with the rest of your other quote:”My issue is with what you’ve (hmmmm has) been trying to imply with your strange quotes, that US support for these dictators was necessary to combat a soviet threat. Which wasn’t there.. The US were making the moves.The Soviets were against the war in the first place.The US simply wanted to secure these two states as dictator client states for itself and in doing so deny the USSR access in its world war against communism.”Although I can see how the last sentence could be misconstrued I don’t see how this is an admission.Maybe instead of saying “and in doing so” I should have said “and in doing so it would also conveniently deny the USSR access (to the resources controlled by a US dictator client) in it’s world war against communism.”Laziness but I think it was clear from the sentence immediately preceding that I do not agree it was part of the defined “cold war”.Again I repeat: I challenge you to find a single credible source that supports the assertion it wasA) a fight against the soviets,B) or even a documented episode in the context of The Cold War.You’re the one who thinks it was part of the ‘cold war’ so it should be easy to find the evidence that led a person of your stature to that conclusion. It should only be a few clicks away right? or have you already looked…

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

“and in doing so it would also conveniently deny the USSR access (to the resources controlled by a US dictator client) in it’s world war against communism.”Once again, this comment indicates that supporting Saddam could be viewed as part of the greater cold war conflict.I would have thought that you would consider yourself to be a credible source. So naturally, I quoted you.Most of the wikipedia sites I have viewed clearly indicate that the soviets had a interest in Iraq and Iran. And that the Iran-Iraq war (supported by the US as it was) hence represented an serious inconvenience for soviet plans for the region.Those sites have been quoted repeatedly already. I really don’t see where the issue is here.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Nice try anon, you CHOOSE to see it that way, as I have just explained what I meant. Don’t shirk away from providing your own evidence.Just because the USSR wants relations with a country and the US wants to overthrow that country and install a dictator client doesn’t mean it’s part of the cold war.It means the US is corrupt and aggressive..This was a period where the US was training terrorists, overthrowing popular democratic governments with violence and supporting brutal dictators all over the world.Wikipedia does not support your claims on either page dealing directly with the question.-United_States_support for Iraq during the Iran Iraq war-Cold warhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_S tates_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran%E 2%80%93Iraq_warhttp://en.wikipedia.org/w iki/Cold_war#Second_Cold_War_.281979.E2. 80.9385.29Nor does any encyclopedia or credible source, its simply something you two made up to support your own conclusions.Again I repeat: I challenge you to find a single credible source that supports the assertion it wasA) a fight against the soviets,B) or even a documented episode in the context of The Cold War.No I bet you’ve already tried to find proof and came up with nothing.I searched for over an hour online for your so called proof and found not a trace..

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

The point is that the US has a terrible criminal history especially in the mid-east and it’s the responsibility of the media to maintain their journalistic integrity by staying on point, not embedding with the criminal and reporting on events like the invasion of Iraq and consequent collapse of the society in the context of: the consequence of criminal action.An action consistent with previous crimes perpetrated by the US in the region and around the world, with motives consistent with a systemic policy of aggression, neo-imperialism, deception and anti-democratic behavior throughout their history.While the US was supplying weapons of mass destruction to Saddam (while he was using them) they were also supporting terrorists in Afghanistan, and terrorists in Nicaragua with the proceeds from illegal weapons trafficking to their enemies in Iran.The cold war was not so much about a communist threat to people, but about a communist threat to US imperialism and global hegemony.Because whether communism, socialism or nationalism was the people’s democratic choice or not, the US attacked them equally. More often than not it was democracy that was overthrown by the US in it’s war against communism, by any means.The rich and powerful had everything to lose, and the poor and powerless everything to gain from socialism.. Thus it needed to be evil.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

I think the problem is that you are not reading your references, or choose to ignore what they say.______________________-From your own reference: United States support for Iraq during the Iran Iraq war-”The United States supported Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War as a counterbalance to post-revolutionary Iran. This support included several billion dollars worth of economic aid, the sale of dual-use technology, non-U.S. origin weaponry, military intelligence, Special Operations training, and direct involvement in warfare against Iran as well”—During the crisis, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein attempted to take advantage of the disorder of the Revolution, the weakness of the Iranian military and the revolution’s antagonism with Western governments. The once-strong Iranian military had been disbanded during the revolt and with the Shah ousted, Hussein had ambitions to position himself as the new strong man of the Middle East. “He condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and signed an alliance with Saudi Arabia to block the Soviet-backed attempt to take over North Yemen. In 1979 he also allowed the CIA, which he had once so virulently attacked, to open an office in Baghdad.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter, “began to look more favorably toward Saddam Hussein as a potential counterweight to the Ayatollah Khomeini and as a force to contain Soviet expansionism in the region.”—With the UN-imposed embargo on warring parties, and with the Soviet Union opposing the conflict, Hussein found it increasingly difficult to repair and replace hardware damaged in battle. According to Kenneth Timmerman, “Saddam did foresee one immediate consequence of his invasion of Iran: the suspension of arms supplies from the USSR.”When he launched his attack, the Soviets were busy playing games in Iran. They were not amused that the Iraqis upset their plans. For generations the KGB had been working to penetrate Iran’s Shiite clergy. In February 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini took power and threw the Americans out of Iran, the Soviets stood to gain more than they had ever believed possible. … KGB boss Yuri Andropov [had] little difficulty in convincing Brezhnev and Kosygin to agree to an embargo on arms to Iraq… p. 83-84″The United States assisted Iraq through a military aid program known as “Bear Spares”, whereby the U.S. military “made sure that spare parts and ammunition for Soviet or Soviet-style weaponry were available to countries which sought to reduce their dependence on the Soviets for defense needs.”-From Wikipedia: Soviet support for Iran during the Iran Iraq war-Iran, after the Western embargo of 1979, was motivated to expand its own manufacturing capability and to seek short-term, clandestine procurement of spares and replacements compatible with its Western equipment base. To the extent the Soviet Union could satisfy these needs, it had incentive to do so. Some equipment was shipped from satellite states such as Bulgaria,Poland and Romania. North Korea (see North Korean support for Iran during the Iran–Iraq war both shipped Soviet-designed weapons it made, as well as acting as a conduit for shipments directly from the Soviet Union and the China,-From Wikipedia: The Soviet Union and the Iraq War’The policy of the Soviet Union towards the Iran–Iraq War of 1980 to 1988 varied, beginning with a stance of “strict neutrality” and moving towards massive military support for Iraq in the final phase of the war. The war was inconvenient for the USSR, which had aimed to ally itself with both Iran and Iraq.The outbreak of the Iran–Iraq War in September, 1980 provided the Soviets with a quandary since they aimed to be friends with both sides. The 1979 Iranian revolution had overthrown the Shah, the USA’s key ally in the Middle East.Iran’s new anti-American stance presented the USSR with a golden opportunity to win the country over to the Soviet camp. But the war between Iraq and Iran complicated mattersIn 1986-7, the Soviet Union definitely turned to supporting Iraq. The war had been bogged down in a stalemate until the Iranians had taken the Faw Peninsula. This and other military gains offered the prospect of an Iraqi collapse.This worrying development pushed the conservative Arab rulers closer to the USA, which they saw as their protector. The USSR did not relish the idea of increased American military presence in the area.”At the same time, the USSR continued to press for a ceasefire and offer itself as a mediator. To this end, the Soviets made several economic concessions to Iran and opposed the US reflagging of ships in the Persian Gulf.”However, Iran showed little interest in friendship with the USSR, rejecting the Communist world along with the West.”________________________Now these are all indicators that America was trying to trump soviet influence in the region and increase it’s own as part of the cold war struggle. Ergo, it was part of the cold war.Quite frankly, when you make comments like “no reference supports your strange views” or “I’ll bet you were looking for references and found none”, I can only wonder whether you even know what you are talking about.Even your own quotes support my view that it was part of the cold war. And you get defensive when I point it out. Is it my fault your posts don’t make sense?I am certainly not going to argue it further. If you can read the above and still conclude no reference supports my view, there is no point wasting my time trying to convince you.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

“Just because the USSR wants relations with a country and the US wants to overthrow that country and install a dictator client doesn’t mean it’s part of the cold war.”You’re kidding right? Taking control of a nation to prevent it becoming friendly with the USSR doesn’t count as part of the cold war?”This was a period where the US was training terrorists, overthrowing popular democratic governments with violence and supporting brutal dictators all over the world.”What period are you referring to? Would you be referring to the cold war? Is that the period you claim the Iran-Iraq war happened?”Even encyclopedias omit this theory, indeed the only references to Iran and the cold war are the CIA coup in 1953, the Iran hostage crisis, and the Iran-contra affair.”Whoops. The CIA coup had nothing *directly* to do with the Soviets. Nor did the Iran hostage crisis. Or the Iran-Contra affair. But they are counted as part of the cold war. Why is that, you think?And look here.http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.c fm?fuseaction=topics.item&news_id=90411& topic_id=1409But hold the phone. According to you, the Iran-Iraq war was not part of the cold war conflict.You’d better tell those in the Cold War International History Project that they are wasting their time. I am sure they will appreciate the opinions of a learned historian such as yourself.Seriously, it has been a blast poking holes in your arguments and pointing out the inconsistencies in your own comments. But all things must come to an end, and quite frankly debating with you on this issue is ridiculous.Go to any person and ask them if the Iraq-Iran war was part of the cold war. Educated or not, they will probably say yes.But not you. And your opinion is the only correct one, right?

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

The point of my first comment was that the US has a terrible criminal history especially in the mid-east and it’s the responsibility of the media to maintain their journalistic integrity by staying on point, being independent – not embedding with one side of the war, especially when a criminal invasion is being waged, and reporting on the invasion of Iraq and consequent collapse of the society in the context of the consequence of a criminal action.An action consistent with an extensive documented history of similar acts perpetrated by the US in the region and around the world as part of a systemic policy of aggression, imperialistic intervention and deception over the last 50 years.While the US was supplying weapons of mass destruction to Saddam (while he was using them) they were also supporting terrorists in Afghanistan, and terrorists in Nicaragua with the proceeds from illegal weapons trafficking to their enemies in Iran. I have used these few examples only because they are uncontroversial..The cold war was not so much about a communist threat to people, but about it’s threat to US expansionist capitalism and global hegemony.Because whether communism, or socialism, was the people’s democratic choice or not, the US has attacked them equally. More often than not it was democracy that was overthrown by the US in it’s war against communism, by any means. Again there are many examples of this.Communism and Socialism needed to be evil not to protect the average man, but to protect the rich and powerful minority who are directly threatened by political ideals of equality and democracy.Why else would nations claiming to be democratic outlaw a political party at home who’s only power came directly from the democratic process, the people.They were afraid it would be popular, and for good reason.Reporting on the invasion of Iraq and events of the so called ‘cold war’ (descriptively – the war on communism) provide tremendous insight, as microcosms, into the nature of private (corporate) media, their anti-democratic nature and their alliances with the systems and power-circles that provide the basis for their survival.True, damaging criticism is reserved for enemies of these allies as they sell the selected personal opinions of paid private employees as unbiased facts.If we really respect democracy, why is our media, our societies most crucial democratic tool, itself not democratic??

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Brian. You essentially focus on all the things done by the USA, and act as if it were a single source of strife and evil during the cold war.You have mitigated or swept under the rug everything which was done by the soviet union during the cold war. You simply ignore it or treat it as irrelevent.Even if you ignore the majority of the cold war, and treat it as a matter of US expansionism, the reality is that American expansionism was simply the alternative to soviet expansionism. As they say, it takes two to tango.You are ignorant if you believed people in the USSR had freedom. And you are deluded if you think that people in those communist nations had the option to choose whether they were communist or not.The moment Eastern Europe was given the opportunity, the people rebelled from soviet rule. Even in the face of military forces killing unarmed civilians.And then there is the one truth you (and many anti-americans) can never accept.You think the hippies broke down the berlin wall? You think the wall fell on it’s own? That the soviet union simply dropped dead for no reason at all?There is only one reason the berlin wall fell. Fifty years of confrontation, coups, US-led dictatorships and proxy wars. Economic and political warfare that whittled the USSR down, until it finally collapsed.That is the sad truth. All that stuff that gets you bitter, all the things you decry about what America during the cold war, the things you call crimes and horrible actions by the US?It won the cold war.It. Was. All. Justified.And that is the thing you just can’t accept. But history will always be there, an insult to your very world-view.

Posted by JohnisGood | Report as abusive

John is good,Something you guys will never understand is that being anti-US gov’t is not anti US and does not make you an America hater.You know who else was anti their own gov’t? All the heroes and patriots that founded this country.How many tens of millions of people needed to die in order for us to “win” the cold war? What number do you reach before it’s no longer a win?Imagine how well our economy would be and how many more freedoms we’d have as a nation if we weren’t having our brains taxed out in order to keep up with our gov’ts idea of empire building. About 2/5 of every dollar earned in this country goes right back to the gov’t, I doubt that’s the idea of freedom our forefathers had when they were writing the Constitution.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Were it not for the cold war, the soviet union would be alive and well today. And still shooting people who tried to leave it.You can complain about the deaths and events that happened during the cold war, but the results speak for itself.Likewise, you can complain about what happens now. But the goals of the American government towards preventing the spread of militant islam are quite clear. So willing or not, you should expect another couple of decades of wars yet.The founding fathers took action against tyranny. But it seems you only care about tyranny when it involves you. And tough luck for the rest of the world. Would that be a fair statement?The founding fathers also believed in taxation for representation. So pay your taxes and vote accordingly. Unfortunately, democracy means majority rule.

Posted by JohnisGood | Report as abusive

johnisgood, whoa that’s a hell of an extrapolation, I doubt you’ve read all of my posts, or my mind for that matter.To set the record straight I have never been a fan of the Soviet Union either. They were a corrupt and flawed implementation of the ideologies of socialism, evident in their fall from within. The US didn’t defeat them, they got socialism wrong and defeated themselves.The reason I focus on the US in this case is because it is in relation to the thread topic and corporate media.In terms of US expansionism and Soviet expansionism we will never know how the world may have ended up if the US didn’t wage it’s anti-democratic war against communism and socialism… but even if they were in hindsight, as YOU claim, the lesser of two evils that still doesn’t mean they are beyond criticism.Just because I choose to criticize the US (in conversational context) and not someone else doesn’t mean I support them.Though in my opinion the US was the worse of two evils because I agree with more social and democratic ideologies and the US is more anti-democratic by nature of capitalism. The ideal (at least) of socialism must strive for the highest form of democracy by definition. Capitalism must not, it is anti-democratic by definition and favors a rich and powerful minority.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Johnisgood,You’re right, how the Soviet Union acts towards it’s citizens isn’t the concern of the American gov’t, at least it shouldn’t be.You’re right, the results of the war speak for itself. We now have an unquestionaed American empire that can kill whoever it wants and destroy whatever country it wants without any threat from any nation. Welcome to the NWO.So when are we going to take a stand against the militant islamic nations of Egypt and Saudi Arabia? The US is perfectly ok with militant islam as long as it’s leaders are puppets to our gov’t.The founding fathers wouldn’t even back the french in their revolution because it was a war we couldn’t afford, even though without the french we wouldn’t even have a country now. You fight wars you can afford, contrary to today’s neoconservative approach we’ve taken.Who’s being represented? The 25% of the country that voted for Obama? Or the 25% of the country that voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004? People aren’t being represented by either party, which is why our voting turnout is so horrible.That’s what’s happened to the majority. You’ve been duped into believing (contrary to the facts) that Republicans are small gov’t, small welfare, well defended border, anti-abortion type of people. All of those points aren’t the case. Democrats believe their politicians care about the lower class, that they’re a more diplomatic group, that their bureaucrats help the environment, again, all lies.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

That’s nice.So one of you is a closet socialist who believes that the Soviet Union was the lesser of two evils, and that it simply collapsed on its own.And the other is a chamberlain-esq isolationist who only cares about how much tax he pays, and thinks America is part of the New World Order.I was going to respond with my own argument, but I really don’t feel it is needed. You two have a blast.

Posted by JohnisGood | Report as abusive

John,I thought taxes were supposed to be a big deal to Republicans? Or is that just another way of modifying what it means to be a conservative to better suit your favorite political party?I didn’t know my wording was being watched like a hawk. I care about how much EVERYONE is being taxed. You included sir.We were taxed less and represented better in the 1700′s prior to the revolution.I am glad though that you didn’t argue how every stereotype gov’t and media propogates is a lie though, not many people do.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Every stereotype of the political party that is.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Closet socialist?? Because I prefer democracy and socialism is democratic..How am I in the closet? I just explained my exact views.That’s good though you can save your idiotic fox-news opinions and leave the debate to the grown ups.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Finally back to the topic..I think ‘The Bell’s comment is a great choice for best comment, really wraps it up quite nicely.There are an ever increasing number of people out there who are crossing the threshold between suspecting something is systemically wrong with the news and knowing it.The news is much like the bible, you need to have faith in it or go to great lengths to discover the truth for yourself, it’s controlled by a small group of powerful men, it’s organization is centralized and news is copied from centers of journalism to satellites (reuters, AP..), opinion is presented as fact, so the ideas are often not represented by the person who came up with them.We talk a lot about winning in Iraq. How to win in Iraq? But if “we” win, the Iraqis still lose right. They have lost already.The only way it is possible to ‘win’ a criminal invasion under the guise of a humanitarian (illegal) regime change you supported, for fabricated, fraudulent reasons of imminent threat of WMD’s you sold them in the first place.. is to cut the crap and say Yeah we went in there to control the oil, award trillions in no-bid reconstruction contracts to ourselves – in cash, control the government, install permanent military bases from which to attack Iran, and crush all opposition.That is the only way to ‘win’ in Iraq because the damage done to the country by the US is almost impossible to reconcile.You’re either with us or you’re against us!!!

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Brian.I think the main issue you have is not the bias of media, but that they are not reporting the bias you prefer to hear.Reading your post, I see a lot of personal opinion. Little more.First of all, doing as you recommend would not actually affect or win the wars. All you want is for someone to officially confirm that your biased opinion is correct. You can just go to a left-wing hate blog for that.Second, do you have any evidence the war was about oil or military bases? Just thought I’d ask.Third, you mentioned that America sold WMDs to Iraq. Are you referring to the fabricated weapons, or just the fraudulent ones?Finally, I am somewhat amused by your use of the term ‘idiotic fox-news couch potato opinions’.Particularly since your general quality of posts not only show your terrible grip on history, but also draw indications as to your general level of education.

Posted by JohnisGood | Report as abusive

A boring and well known pathetic strategy of the desperate to attack the messenger with conjecture and speculation rather than the more difficult job of attacking the message.. laced with a few classic fallacies of argument such as the opinion observation (despite the impossibility what we say not being our opinions), which just as lamely implies that your opinion falls into the same category as the one you’re criticizing, and the assumption and conspiracy theory that I fall into some sort of boogey man group of stereotypes.I’ll avoid the arrogant hate speech and deal with the snippets of relevant content in your post:Firstly – just what esactly do you think I’m suggesting? Have you even read my posts?The only solutions I have hinted at in relevance to this thread are for the criminals to be brought to justice now that the crime has been revealed, and now that the boogey man is dead leave Iraq to govern itself. And for the media to stop embedding with the criminals and report US actions within the war in the context of the crime being committed. If they can’t do this I have suggested that corporate media needs to become democratic media to prevent systemic abuses of power.I’m not sure what ‘suggestion’ you’re referring to but your statement makes no sense in light of the ones I’ve actually made.Secondly – Sure.. I have ABSOLUTE motive, I have a proven historical track record of similar crimes, I have testament of many professionals, intellectuals, defectors and insiders, I have statements made by US officials and advisers on the imperative of US primacy and domination of the region, I have them lying on record, I have the nature of the crime itself, the nature of the US installed government, I have the oil contract divisions, no-bid reconstruction contracts, front companies, the threats on Iran and the now altered oil proviso. If this were a criminal case the evidence hearing would go on for years, case closed.It’s like asking me what proof I have that a drug addict, hanging for a fix, with a needle in his hand, the deal being witnessed by the community, caught stoned out of his mind, with a history of drug felonies, inside a crack-house, is going to use drugs again.What do you have? Weapons of mass destruction..?Thirdly – I have no idea what you’re talking about…Encase that was actually a serious question I’ll answer it by saying the weapons and technologies purchased during and after the Iran Iraq war and detailed in the 12000 page Iraqi weapons declaration stolen from the UN and blacked out for non-security council members. The information is public. Try a little research if you are afraid of MY opinions, here’s a good starting point:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unite d_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Ira n%E2%80%93Iraq_warFinally- I’m so glad you’re somewhat amused your highness but in all honesty I don’t think I can take much credit for that, you seem to know how to amuse yourself quite well..Can you provide any evidence the wars in the mid-east are not imperialistic?

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

I just noted that it seems a little odd that you call the motives for the war ‘fabricated’ and ‘fraudulent’…….and then you go on to not only assert that the WMD’s did exist, but then go on to provide references supporting that this was the case.Let alone the fact that you have openly admitted to being socialist, left-wing and hate-filled. Meaning my ‘opinions’ as to your bias is well founded and evidenced by your own posts.And while you have evidence of oil contracts, reconstruction contracts and military bases, these are all circumstantial.They only mean something sinister to you because of your opinion and are no actual proof of anything. Something any court of law would tell you, if you bothered to ask.That same court of law would also tell you that I don’t have to prove that America’s wars are not imperialist. Because you have failed to prove that they were imperialist in the first place.Once again leading me to conclude that your posts are completely incoherent.

Posted by JohnisGood | Report as abusive

Evidently no one knows what deleterious means. Grievous, destructive, callous disregard and inhumane all come to my mind. Iraq has seen it’s standard of living tumble into depraved conditions since the first gulf war and the subsequent trade embargo. The occupation of Iraq has increased her woes exponentially.Children regularly die of disease because of a lack of potable water and health care. Malnutrition has taken it’s toll on all Iraqi citizens not aligned with some criminal element of the existing or former governments. People die in the street regularly from sectarian violence still. All of this courtesy of the U.S. occupation.After working in a prison for over a decade, I assure you one cannot make another do good by doing bad to them. The death and destruction we have left will one day produce a harvest we cannot avoid reaping. Not all who watch their parents die violently become a slum dog millionaire.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Johnisgood, regarding your last posted comment:”I just noted that it seems a little odd that you call the motives for the war ‘fabricated’ and ‘fraudulent’….…and then you go on to not only assert that the WMD’s did exist, but then go on to provide references supporting that this was the case.”Given the fact that there was no credible evidence to support the claim that Iraq had WMD’s in 2003, Iraq had always stated they did not have a current WMD program prior to the invasion and the fact that they were indeed found to posses no WMD’s. How is it contradictory for me to say that the US sold them the weapons when they were using them back in the 80′s and then fraudulently accuse them of possessing them in 2003?Why do you think that’s odd?”Let alone the fact that you have openly admitted to being socialist, left-wing and hate-filled. Meaning my ‘opinions’ as to your bias is well founded and evidenced by your own posts.”I have neither openly admitted to being socialist, left-wing or hate filled?Please show one quote where I have openly admitted to any of these 3 things. They are untrue and fabricated claims.”And while you have evidence of oil contracts, reconstruction contracts and military bases, these are all circumstantial.”You provide only a small excerpt of the evidence I quoted, and these 3 are not circumstantial, but in the context of the rest of the evidence are direct evidence themselves. Why did you only quote a small part of the evidence I provided?”They only mean something sinister to you because of your opinion and are no actual proof of anything. Something any court of law would tell you, if you bothered to ask.That same court of law would also tell you that I don’t have to prove that America’s wars are not imperialist. Because you have failed to prove that they were imperialist in the first place.Once again leading me to conclude that your posts are completely incoherent”"Bothering to ask” a court of law these things is an incoherent concept, so is assuming that a court of law would demand the defense be granted the right to not have to defend itself in the face of a wealth of evidence, as you state.You’ll find the evidence is profound and conclusive. If you are going to deal with it seriously you should bring it all up and try to disprove it, piece by piece, witness by witness, not by making up some strange hypothetical courtroom scenario.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive