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  • OT: I HOPE HE’S WRONG

    Filed at 6:37 am under by dcobranchi

    I (mostly) try to avoid presidential politics here. But today’s Bob Herbert column is so good and so sad, that I thought I’d pass it along. It’s in the NYT and compares Iraq to Vietnam, just so you’re warned.

    14 Responses to “OT: I HOPE HE’S WRONG”


    Comment by
    J Aron
    September 17th, 2004
    at 8:42 am

    Well, I don’t take much stock in the NYT anymore.. but the difference between this and the Vietnam war is that Islamic fascism is far more of a threat globally than the North Vietnamese ever were.. the fact that this war’s battlefront has been set in Iraq is a moot point.. it could just as well be anywhere.. and it would have been somewhere because the weapons of mass destruction are the people who are brainwashed into thinking that blowing themselves up in a crowded cafe, or flying planes into high rise buildings is a noble thing to do for the Islamic struggle.. and as far as I am concerned Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Queda, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (etc. etc. etc ad nauseum) is all one and the same.. it is a symptom of a much larger disease.. and that is the suppression of human freedom via religion and totalitarian government such that it drives it’s followers to despair and poverty, making them willing candidates to self destruct in order to further their cause, even though what they are doing goes counter any real religious belief that Islam holds for them.. I mean really …what cause is worth shooting innocent school children in the back as they run for safety?
    No sir.. this is not like Vietnam at all.. but it is still a war and wars are ugly and unpopular and only in that respect can we compare Vietnam to Iraq.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 17th, 2004
    at 10:52 am

    Perhaps. Though, as far as I can tell, Iraq was a pretty secular society prior to last year. It’s radicalized now, of course.


    Comment by
    Roy W. Wright
    September 17th, 2004
    at 1:25 pm

    …but the difference between this and the Vietnam war is that Islamic fascism is far more of a threat globally than the North Vietnamese ever were…

    Another huge difference is the fact that this war is being fought by willing American soldiers.


    Comment by
    J Aron
    September 17th, 2004
    at 1:39 pm

    Roy… not for long if the Democrats have their way..there is a bill for the draft in congress supported by the likes of Charles Rangel (D/NY)

    and yes.. Daryl.. Iraq was a “secular society” run by a ruthless dictator who helped train terrorists and funded insurgents who wanted to wear sucide bomb belts..we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that he supported terrorism.. I have to laugh at people who think there were no terrorists in Iraq while Saddam was in charge.. tell me again how his country had not one Al Queda (or any other for that matter) in his country..


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 17th, 2004
    at 2:07 pm

    Judy,
    Do you really want to label a nation a supporter of terrorism based on the presence of Al Qaida operatives? If so, what are we today?

    The thing that most drives me crazy about the war in Iraq is that Bush et al. continually conflate terrorists with insurgents. There are estimates that there are now upwards of 20,000 insurgents in Iraq. Are you telling me they’re all Al Qaida? If so, the War on Terror is going much worse than we’ve been led to believe.

    Yeah, Saddam was a very bad person and yes, he supported the families of suicide bombers in the occupied territories. What did that have to do with us or September 11th? If Israel didn’t see fit to take him out over it, why should we?


    Comment by
    J Aron
    September 17th, 2004
    at 11:04 pm

    It isn’t just the presence of Al Quaida – it is the support of their activities. We do not support Al Quaida’s activities in this country, but they are here living among us.. but Saddam supported them in his and therefore I believe that we had to do the job that the UN was not willing to do, after how many years and how many resolutions?
    Not all insurgents in Iraq are Iraqi, nor are they all Al Quaida..but they are all Islamic radicals.. most of them come from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia (etc). I would wager if the mullahs really wanted peace and they told the folks to work for peace then we wouldn’t have this insurgency. But they choose not to speak out against those who behead people. Where is the voice of the religious leaders saying that this is wrong? Where is the voice of the religious leaders saying that peace, negotiation and the laying down of arms is better than beheading the Infidels? There has been no voice! The problem is the mullahs want an uprising because they want to grab control. Just like Al Sadr. It is all about ego and power, and has very little to do with making life better for the average Iraqi. The ordinary Iraqi just wants to live a life in peace.. they want those folks to get the heck out of their country .. and yes they want us out of there too.. they want their country back.. and that is really a difficult road since it was hi-jacked some 30 odd years ago by Saddam. We have given them a chance at democracy and self-rule but the insurgents are not making it easy for that to happen, because the insurgents don’t want it to happen. They don’t want it to happen because it doesn’t promote the Islamic extremist agenda. A democratic Iraq is not what they want to see. We are trying to help Iraq rebuild their infrastructures, and what do the insurgents do? blow them up! oh, like that really helps the Iraqi people. The truth is that the insurgents don’t give a whit about Iraq or the people. It is all about creating unstability and mayhem in the Middle East and blaming it on the Americans.
    What does Iraq have to do with September 11?? Iraq was the training ground for the Al Quaida terrorists ..and we all know that Saddam supported them financially. Iraq was one of many places in the Middle East that we could start to root out the cancer that has spread all over the world, as far as Indonesia. And yes Daryl, this war on terror is a big thing and will continue to be a big thing until people in Europe and elsewhere stop being too afraid to step up to the plate to fight it. We can no longer afford to appease and coddle the Muslims who hi-jack their religion to extreme, and force others to play their game. Europe needs to take some serious action against the Muslims who are blackmailing and coercing the French and Germans and everyone else… Just look at what is happening to the Jewish population in France.. the level of anti-semitism there is horrendous and frightening. I don’t see France doing anything about it though .. do you?
    Oh yeah, like Israel would have taken it upon herself to eliminate Saddam.. hah! Israel couldn’t act unilaterally like that because she is already villified for defending herself and her own borders. I could just see what the headlines would have been if she invaded Iraq to prevent scud missles from being flung into her midst. She has all that she can do to protect her borders. The war on terrorism is real, and we have found the WMD: it is Islamic extremism and fanaticism and their justification for shooting children in the back because of their own twisted interpretation of Islamic religious belief.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 18th, 2004
    at 3:30 am

    Saddam supported them in his

    Evidence???

    Not all insurgents in Iraq are Iraqi, nor are they all Al Quaida..but they are all Islamic radicals

    Evidence???

    You get the point, I think. Judy, you make a lot of assertions there without a shred of proof. I could easily argue that these insurgents in another context would be labeled “freedom fighters” or “patriots.” We invaded their country. We’re going to be there for a VERY long time (10 years is likely). We’ve installed a puppet government. If the situation were reversed, what would you do? Would you take up arms? Blow up a few Bradley fighting vehicles if given the chance? They’re fighting a guerrilla war and winning.

    What does Iraq have to do with September 11?? Iraq was the training ground for the Al Quaida terrorists ..and we all know that Saddam supported them financially.

    I can’t let this one by. This is just flat out WRONG. No one has EVER found a connection between Iraq and Sept. 11th. Even Colin Powell has admitted as much.

    The war in Iraq was a mistake- plain and simple. It was unnecessary and distracted us from the real War on Terror in Afghanistan. Osama is still loose. Iraq is a nightmare (and is NOW a training ground for Islamic radicals). Al Qaida is bigger and more dispersed than ever. We’ve managed to piss off the entire Islamic world. In short- we are less safe than we were on Sept 10, 2001 because Bush et al. bought Chalabi’s line.


    Comment by
    J Aron
    September 18th, 2004
    at 3:08 pm

    Oh gee Daryl, guess you are right – there were no terrorist ties between Al Quaida and Iraq or Saddam.. must have been the only country they hadn’t been working or training in, in the Middle East.. Bin Laden and Abu Musab Al-Zarkawi never had any ties with Saddam…except when they were getting money from him. probably the Oil for food money too… oh but I don’t have any evidence.. (see Fox news Sunday night)
    The real war on terror? I guess according to you the war on terror can only be tied to one person.. Bin Laden..
    you see that is where you and I differ in opinion.. to me it is all the same.. Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Quaida etc.. different names for the same evil.. Islamic extremism
    You suppose it never existed in Iraq prior to 9/11.. but by the way, in case you hadn’t noticed.. the entire Islamic world was pissed off at us long before 9/11.. the news is they abhor democracy..
    Freedom fighters?? oh yeah they are a real bunch of freedom loving revolutionaries much like Jefferson and Madison..
    You really couldn’t be more wrong.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 18th, 2004
    at 9:41 pm

    Fox News. Why am I not surprised? They still serving Kool Aid over there? An interesting factoid- over 50% of Fox News viewers believe that Saddam was tied to 9/11 (even though everyone else in the world knows he wasn’t). Zarqawi is Jordanian and is not Al Qaida. Hamas and Hezbollah are no threat to the US. Nor is Zarqawi (outside of Iraq, that is). The only group that has attacked the US is headed by bin Laden. If we get him is the war over. No. I never said it would. But, Al Qaida is the main enemy (right now- things could always change).

    Judy- I do know a little bit about the region. There’s a reason my kids are studying Arabic. The war in Iraq was a mistake. It’s getting worse every day. Elections in January are almost an impossibility at this point. And if they’re delayed al Sistani will go over to the other side. We are screwed 100% and it was totally unnecessary.

    Can you provide one shred of evidence that Hussein was a threat to the US? Not a potential threat if he was able to convert his civilian chemical plants to manufacture CWAs (they’re really not WMD, BTW- that is a common misconception). But a genuine threat before the invasion. Of course not. Because he just wasn’t.

    This entire misadventure was based on the premise (read “prayer”) that democracy would take hold in the Middle East and we’d have a domino effect throughout the region. It was all going to be a cakewalk. Remember the Iraqis were supposed to meet our soldiers with flowers and candy. Right. Well we can all pray now that the dominos don’t fall in the wrong direction. Another Lebanon is not what the world needs right now.

    And civil war is not out of the question. The CIA has predicted that over the next 18 months one of three scenaios is likely to play out. The current situation is the best case. All out civil war is the worst.

    Sorry to break the bad news, Judy, but you’ve been had.


    Comment by
    Eric Holcombe
    September 19th, 2004
    at 12:56 am

    This is where Judy has it right: “Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Quaida etc.. different names for the same evil.. Islamic extremism”

    I’ve been studying the terrorist attacks of the last 20-25 years a lot lately – the mainstream media doesn’t help with renaming these groups. Their common thread is Islam. I’m not so sure their elimination of the “pagans and the “people of the Book” is really extreme, but rather a prime directive of the Quran.

    I can’t see that a “religion of peace” muslim is being intellectually honest about the teachings of the Quran, the abrogations within, etc.

    The war on terror is Islam vs. everyone else. I’m not sure America will have the guts to “profile” or “discriminate” until a few Beslan’s occur here.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 19th, 2004
    at 3:52 am

    Correlation/causation.

    I’ve got to disagree with you Eric. There’s a big difference between Hizbollah, Hamas, etc. and Al Qaida: Politics.

    With very few exceptions, terrorism is a tool employed by a relatively powerless group with a political agenda. Typically, it is employed against a much more powerful “enemy” in order to attempt to force some change. So, who is the “enemy” and what is the goal for major terror-employing groups?

    Hizbollah- Wants Israel out of the Holy Land

    Hamas- Wanted Israel out of the Lebanon and now out of the Occupied Territories (and probably all of Palestine)

    Timothy McVeigh et al.- hates the US gov’t. I have no idea what they really want. Their own separate nation?

    Going back a few years-
    The PLO- Palestine again

    Going back even more years-
    Sharon et al.- Palestine (but in reverse). Everyone seems to forget that the Israelis engaged in a vicious (for the time) terrorism campaign against both the Arabs and the British in Palestine.

    Yeah- Islam is a (mostly) common thread, but it is not the cause. That’s the correlation. These folks are almost always fighting about land. The fact that the lands they’re fighting for are small and steeped in religious history and symbolism just makes the fighting more intense.

    Al Qaida does appear to be different, although I’m not sure how different it really is. OBL started out as a “freedom fighter” (Ronald Reagan’s label, not mine) in Afghanistan. The mujahedeen (both native and Arab) were fighting a jihad against an invader of Moslem lands. IIRC, they really didn’t employ terroristic tactics. After that war (and Gulf I), OBL decided to take on the Saudis and their American sponsors. But, we’re a much bigger target and more powerful than the Soviets. There was never a chance of another Afghan-style jihad against the US. We’re too spread out. So, they hit the US military when the can- attack on the Cole, Kobar towers, etc. They also decided to target civilians (and global business interests). This is where they really differ from the other groups. They don’t really seem to have much of a political agenda. If the US pulled out of the Middle East completely and let the House of Saud fall, would that satisfy OBL? I’m not sure. Somehow, I don’t think so.

    So to combine all of these into some permanent “War on Terror” is foolish at best and disingenuous at the worst. They’re all different. For the most part, they pose no danger to the US or US interests. The big exception is Al Qaida. That’s the enemy we should be fighting. It’s not Islam. It wasn’t Saddam.

    The war in Iraq did absolutely nothing to make us any safer. In fact, it accomplished the exact opposite. It pulled our soldiers out of Afghanistan just as Al Qaida was being mopped up. Now OBL has escaped, the Taliban are making a resurgence, Al Qaida is bigger than ever, and our military is stuck in Iraq with no easy way out.


    Comment by
    Eric Holcombe
    September 19th, 2004
    at 9:05 pm

    “They don’t really seem to have much of a political agenda.”

    That’s because it’s an Islamist agenda. If it ain’t Islam, it ain’t a jihad.

    Most of your battles listed are islam vs. Jews – (the people of the book along with Christians). The descendants of Ishmael will always be at war. For some reason, the US thinks we can all get along. It will not happen and like the Crusades (and today) the jihadists will strike just as you say, where and when they can. Preventing them access to nuclear weapons seems a worthy cause. If the Saudis and Sadaam fund (or continue to fund) them, or are willing to sell nuclear capability, they are part of the problem. And yes, the US has brought some of this on themselves for the same reasons.

    Have you noticed the Saudi Arabia pop-up ad on ABC News’ web page? It takes you to a web page that quotes all the 911 commission stuff about how innocent Saudi Arabia is in relation to Al Qaeda, as in …please don’t make us next. Yet there are previous reports that show they were involved in funding the Chechyn (islamist) rebels that formed the attack on Beslan.

    What about Bosnia?, the USS Cole?, WTC attack 1? Munich 1972? I mean, these are stories we have been hearing for years now, skirmishes here and there, but the ‘rebels’ or ‘gangs’ or ‘hostage takers’ all have islam – the religion of peace – in common.

    It’s like trying to tell me there are ‘nice’ KKK grand wizards out there that do charity work down at the shriner’s hospital and aren’t really white supremicists…

    Check out faithfreedom.org. It’s quite interesting and presented from an ex-muslim point of view. I’m not in agreement with Sina as I don’t think he believes in much of anything now, but an interesting place to learn.


    Comment by
    J Aron
    September 20th, 2004
    at 1:04 am

    Well Daryl – it’s your blog.. you can have the last word.. but IMHO you are definitely wrong about the true agenda of hamas, hezbollah, Al Quadia etc it is all the same – it is Islamic extremism (and fascism) and their common hatred of Israel and anyone who supports her. That is one of the reasons why we were attacked.. Glad your kids are learning Arabic.. it looks like if we don’t curb these “freedom fighters” someday we may all need to speak it.. personally I don’t look very good in a burqa.. and I don’t intend on being forced to wear one anytime soon..
    Thanks for your spirited debate.. I respect your opinion of course – but you couldn’t be more wrong on this.. the global threat of this brand of terrorism is real and very dangerous to all of our freedoms, if not our lives. We can choose to cower and appease as the Europeans have (as their country is overrun by Islamic extremist thugs), or we can fight back. Your big mistake is thinking it is only OSBL that we have to be worried about. Oh – and lest you think I only get my news from Fox.. please know that I don’t.


    Comment by
    Stephanie
    September 20th, 2004
    at 10:13 am

    Thanks, Judy 🙂