Strategically, I see your point, but it would appear fairly obvious at this point that strategically this war has failed. Rather than causing countries in the region to fall over their feet in their eagerness to get in on democracy, this “liberation” of Iraq seems to be the best recruiting too that Al Qaeda, Iran, and Muqtada Al Sadr ever had (the latter, btw, I think will in a few years replace Saddam Hussein as the new dicator in Iraq, even though he is merely a fat, fairly ignorant, self-indulgent boy whose only claim to fame is that he is the son of a late highly respected power in the Shi’a community). I certainly see not the remotest sign of any domino effect. And bear in mind, any country except Israel in that region that goes democratic is likely to vote in a fairly extreme Islamic government that will be harder to get rid of than it was to vote in, as we’ve seen in Iran and with the Palestinians. These people are highly unlikely to be terribly well-disposed to the US. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage democratic aspirations, but it does suggest that going to war to achieve them for a country there is probably not a great strategy.
So that leaves the war’s effectiveness at a tactical level. In this arena, I would trust a fairly low level soldier far more than an REMF or someone who spends the vast majority of his/her time in the Green Zone. Those soldiers can tell us whether or not what they are doing is working and whether the people of Iraq want us there to continue. The higher-ups usually only talk to the higher-ups on the other side, and if we didn’t know it before, we sure as heck know now that the higher-ups don’t always represent the true will of the people.
There’s a bit of a difference between WWII and Iraq. There are a bunch of clips on youtube and interviews with Donahue. Yes the movie is about the terrible cost of war but it’s also about how we were manipulated into it and how discussion and dissent were squelched and painted as unpatriotic. While Americans are dieing and killing others our media and our government are sanitizing the war so we don’t really see the horrible cost. This movie shows it. It makes the point that we should be aware of the high cost of war while decisions are being made about American lives. The clips showing our elected leaders , including McCain and Clinton, speaking about how dangerous Saddam was and how it was imperative to remove him infuriated me.
US citizens didn’t want to get into WWII and it took years to convince them that it wasn’t just a European war that had nothing to do with us. We were manipulated into Iraq in a few months and Congress didn’t have the guts to stop it.
Go to Youtube and watch the PBS interview with Donahhue, the filmmaker and the young man in the film. That wasn’t it.
Donahue was let go from MSNBC basically because of his antiwar stance. He personally funded this film because he thought it was a story that needed to be told. I see no reason at all why he should take his name off it or why that would be best. Do you think the film will hurt his reputation?
According to him in one of the interviews on YT he got hold of a memo that said his antiwar stance would not be popular. I think if his ratings were stronger they wouldn’t have let him go so quickly. I should have qualified it by adding, “in part” It wasn’t the only reason.
He had the best ratings on the network at the time. Now, those ratings were still low, in an absolute sense, but that’s more the fault of the network at the time than of Donahue. The rest of their show’s ratings were even WORSE!
It should be noted that since that time, Keith Olbermann has increased their ratings share overall immensely, so someone over there made an executive decision to replace their freaking testicles and allow someone to be liberal.
And now they’re giving Rachel Maddow her own show, too. Pendulum swinging…
Donahue’s rating sank after his debut because MSNBC wouldn’t let him be Donahue. Phil Donahue is a liberal. His shows are usually touting liberal values and people. But MSNBC insisted that he have three or four episodes featuring conservative political figures to every one that had his preferred liberal figures. His rating began an uptick once the network loosened up on this and Phil began to be Donahue again instead of “generic talkshow host”.
There was actually an internal memo at MSNBC specifically saying that Donahue’s anti-war stance was going to be a difficult thing for MSNBC to deal with because the war seemed so popular at the time.
Well, I agree with just about everything you’ve said here. The difference in our perspectives, I think, is that you focus on what we know now, whereas I look at it as what we knew at the time. That’s not to say that there weren’t dissenting voices back them, even prophetically so, but that there was no more reason to give those views credence than to assume that we would, in fact be welcomed with open arms. After all, we removed a truly murderous thug, and his sick sons, from power. and we gave millions an opportunity to embrace democracy. I don’t think that was pure fantasy. The elections they helped were quite amazing, people risking their lives to vote.
What you say about democracy in that region is true. We’re learning. But I don’t think it unreasonable for us to assume that a democratic Iraq would be better, and more desirous, than what Saddam offered (from an Iraqi standpoint). I think the basic problem really was our misunderstanding of fundamentalist Islam. pretty much every conflict we’ve ever been in—Germany, Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan—the unspoken underlying premise was: we hate you and want to kill you all, but we would like to live in the process. Due to that, negotiation was possible. Lines could be drawn as to what was off limits. Once that common premise is removed, we’re in new territory. I think we see this now. I think we—well, some of us—now understand that we can not deal with fundamentalist Islam as we would another enemy. This is part of the reason that I prefer the Republicans at this point in time. I think they understand the nature of the beast better than the Dems, and are willing to deal with it accordingly.
As far as the soldiers viewpoint on the ground, I do give it credence. And aside from the apparent fact that this particular young man only spent five days there (which, if true, means Donahue really is an idiot), I’ve seen many interviews with soldiers that have spent much, much, more time there and have come to the opposite conclusion.
As far as the film hurting Donahue’s reputation, my point was the opposite: that his name on the film will prevent it from being taken seriously. People know he’s vehemently anti-Iraq War, so there’s no news component. It’s the same old self-righteous Bill Donahue being indignant that everyone doesn’t cotton to his leftist view of the world. Just before he was kicked off the air, he had Chris Matthews on a few times. And surprisingly and much to his credit, Matthews, a liberal, cleaned his clock for his view of America. It was something to behold.
On edit, I see that it was Cosmosdan who asked about the relationship about Donahue’s reputation and the film.
Phil apparently had the lowest ratings against the competition (Connie Chung on CNN and Fox’s O’Reilly) BUT higher ratings than any other MSNBC show, and apparently Phil’s anti-war stance was part of MSNBC’s reasoning to ax him, so I’ll concede.
Oh, magellan, that’s truly disingenuous. Anyone who bothered to find out a darned thing about the country could see what was going to happen when you eliminated a strong man who had kept a minority religious party in charge of a country for over twenty years in a region of the world where religion is the primary qualifier for governance. It took hard to work to make sure that no one who knew anything about the area was involved in the pre-war decision making or the post-war planning; it was a dirty job, but Cheney et. al managed to do it. To say that there was no more reason to expect what we got than to expect we would be welcomed with open arms is to say that we have no reason to expect that when something is thrown up, it will come down.
Yes, the elections were a wonderful thing, and it was marvelous that everyone came out to vote. But where has it gotten the Iraqis? In the long run, I believe that they will end up in one of two ways - either split into three pieces, or ruled by Muqtada Al Sadr, who improves on Saddam Hussein by throwing both stupidity and religion into the mix on top of the tyranny and brutality. The first case wouldn’t be too bad, except that Turkey may well invade Kurdistan, Iran may well absorb the Shi’a portion (if not, Muqtada Al Sadr will certainly run it), and the Kurds and Shi’a may go to war over Kirkuk. I don’t know what the Sunnis will do, except keep their heads down and their eyes on the main chance.
But this is all their fault, because they’d rather die than be rational? You’re a little younger than me, but don’t you remember hearing about the kamikazes? There have always been warriors willing to give their lives to fight for a cause they viewed as greater than their own lives.
Your ‘Republican view’ is one that “these people” are somehow savages who are qualitatively different from the people we’ve dealt with before. It is true that they are different, as is every other people we have ever dealt with. But to assume they lack a fundamental rationality and deal with them accordingly is not the way to go. Arabs are the world’s greatest horse traders; they’ve been doing it for millenia. They have their share of fanatics, as do all cultures. But don’t make the mistake of believing the lunatics are in charge of the asylum. Al Qaeda is a terrorist group, not a government.
First of all, you can take your “disingenuous” and shove it. Secondly, you mischaracterize the mindset of those in power over the last 16 years (and not just Presidents). Bush & Co. were not the first to entertain the idea of removing Saddam. Thirdly, the intitial stages of the war went extremely well. The problem is that we grossly misunderstood and underestimated the religious component in what was one of the more secular countries in the area. We also had too little experience understanding Islamic fundamentalists. And this is the part that I think divides the left and the right on this issue. The right sees Islamic fundamentalism for the barbaric, stone-age religion it is, and the misogynistic, hateful, principles it was built upon. They see it as simply unacceptable and refuse to give it the respect of the religion it hijacked. You, evidently, and others, see it as just one more of the many cultures in the wonderful beautiful mosaic that makes up the world. Fuck that.
Finally, I suggest you look further into the kamikazis. Their tactics were a last-ditch effort to keep the war going, especially as they had so few experienced pilots left. And many of them we’re “encouraged” to become part of “the divine wind” in order to have their families looked after—or not. But the important distinction is that even kamikazi pilots were attacking MILITARY TARGETS—you know, battleships and the like. The fact that some people in history held a particular cause above their own life, often speaks well of them. Strapping a bomb on yourself and walking or driving into a school doesn’t. It says the opposite: that you are the lowest form of life possible and that is incumbent upon the rest of us to not tolerate it in any measure.
So, fuck islamic fundamentalists. Fuck any of part of Islam that does not fully and vigorously condemn it and aid in ending it. And fuck anyone who seeks to apologize for it or explain away this true scum of the earth. The world should collectively send all people and future generations this message: we are tolerant and embracing of many of our differences. But there are limits. If you believe in stoning women for adultery, mutilating 12-year-old girls, beheading civilians, blowing up mothers and children and otherwise terrorizing the civilized among us. we will not stand for it. We will hunt you down and unceremoniously put a bullet dipped in pigs blood in your fetid brain.
That is all.
Oops. Thought this was in The Pit. Edited accordingly. My apologies.