This is what we're fighting (against?) (for?)

It’s hardly pointless. Putting a screw up like Bush in a position of power over something means it’ll get screwed up. As well, given that he and his friends are the impetus behind the Iraq disaster, any discussion of Iraq that fails to point the blame at him ( and them ) is dishonest.

uh huh. That would be your opinion, in addition to being a rant.

Yeah, because Bush ordering an attack has no connection with the military’s invasion of Iraq; they just spontaneously and simultaneously decided to invade without authorization.

It’s Bush’s decision; the results are his fault. Pretending otherwise so you can pretend your “Great Leader” is something other than an utter incompetent won’t make things better.

Yes but not mutally exclusive from a proportional representative political system, unless you’re saying religious parties in Europe (Christian Democrats)

No, insurgents want rule of the gun, enforing religious edicts by massacre or by death threats, that’s not rule of law, that’s somewhat survival of the fittest. As for democracy within in the parameters of the Koran, then that’s fine, as long as amendments can be made within the Constitution, just like in the US, then there’s nothing to worry about too much, since society will be able to reflect the law to the wishes of the people in the future. Like another poster mentioned, the ‘undisputed laws of Islam’ are flanked on both sides by the respect of Human rights and an independent judiciary, not to mention a free press. That’s a good base to start on.
You’re making it out that the Iraqi constitution isn’t flexible and can’t be altered, but it can, just like Western constitutions.

When security is strengthened, the same will apply to the Iraqis, who’ll have one important difference, the ability to change their government through elections and not through the ‘blessing’ of the Clerical establishment.

Rubbish, if that was the case, there wouldn’t even be an attempt to bring in large amounts of former Sunni officers and Generals in from the old Iraqi army into the new one. Shia and Kurds would effectively close ranks and shut out Sunnis from the political and economic process of the country as in to isolate them from the new power structure. The overtures we’re seeing to them though proves that not to be the situation.

Yet I don’t see Islamist political parties showing their incompetence in governance as something as ‘improbable’ it will only help people to be less inclined to vote for religious parties in the future, and explore different political options.

Oh yeah the remark about how Iraq would look if it were the Taliban, well if Sistani really wanted to go down that route, I suppose he’d begin by executing large amounts of Sunni brethren heretics and stone to death large amounts of heathens who don’t like his clerical dictatorship. Yet that’s not what we’re seeing are we?

You’re assuming that because he has an influencial role in society (which was influencial even before the US step foot on Iraqi soil) that we should disregard him as a backward religious fanatic only intent on causing everyone around him misery. Sistani is the best result of a bad situation. He may not be ‘westernised’ or educated in Secularism, but he’s not stupid enough to be blindly bigoted to different sections of the population, unlike Sadrist thugs.

I can only assume that due to the raging Sunni insurgency futher north of the country, that they’re leaving handling the Shia militias for a later date, knowing that the response they’re giving to the Sunni militants isn’t the same as the Sadrist thugs and their cohorts. Securing their flank in the south whilst they deal with the terrorism from Anbar and Nivenah provinces, and Baghdad is their immediate concern giving the fact most of Iraqs population lives their.

I’m not saying that there are places where people can do that, what I’m saying is that the the majority of Shia (who were pretty much the working class of Iraq anyway) are religious and it’s not common for people to walk around in Western dress, but this doesn’t equate all of them = anti democratic. Remember, in Europe and the US, we had codes of dress and we still had democratic governance.

Yeah, Sadrist forces which tries to use the Najaf shrine to blackmail the Iraqi government, which with help of MNF forces, kicked out his militia and then forbade the Mahdi army from ever going back to Najaf.

I’m saying that any Islamic fundie trying to implent an Islamic state will be hard pressed to do so when they have a government which is profoundly more democratic and more reliant on consensus politics than the one before.

In the beginning we might have, but as time progressed we’ve sided with no one in this conflict and have put in measures for them to come together for the common good and to defeat the insurgents. Because in the end, it all boils down to those different factions working together for common principles.

No, Saudi Arabia has that too:

Had company for the weekend - my apologies for my absence.

So? My original statement about our having been told that the Iraqis were educated and secular was about the Iraqi people. We were told, in effect, that it was unthinkable that religion would play a big role in the governance of a post-Saddam state. Oops.

You’re making a distinction without a difference. In most transitions from one person’s rule to another, the transition is all about power. But then afterwards, the winners write laws. We used guns to get rid of Saddam, then the CPA wrote a bunch of laws. If the Sunni insurgency should become the de facto long-term government of a portion of Iraq, they will write laws, backed by their monopoly on power. We will not like those laws; we will rightly consider those laws barbaric. But laws they will be.

I doubt that any significant faction of Iraqis will regard the Koran as being open to amendment.

Sorry, what did you say? I can’t see that through the spray of saliva on my monitor screen. You’ve got to warn me when you’re about to say something like this.

The lack of regard for human rights by both sides is, unfortunately, all too well documented. Here’s a little tidbit about what happens to people who pick up bodies of relatives from the Baghdad morgue. (Hint: many of them get killed or disappeared.) And the recent WaPo article, Iraq’s Attorneys Practicing in a State of Fear, should put to rest any claims about the rule of law.

No, I’m not. What I’m saying is that the damned thing’s meaningless, because it’s the Constitution of a government that has no control over its own capital.

And when pigs fly, we’ll all get bacon by airmail.

Unlike Iran, Iraq right now isn’t threatened from without in any meaningful way. (That’s the one thing 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq does accomplish, AFAICT.) So all this good stuff should already be happening there.

See previous link. Baghdad’s out of their control; they can do whatever they like in their Green Zone negotiations.

Again, who cares? I can put together a club, and they can vote me King of America. But America won’t notice. The U.S. Embassy is saying Baghdad’s being run by a bunch of groups that are exercising their control outside the political process.

Damned if I know what point of mine this rebuts, or how.

You’re rebutting my basic point with an assumption.

I can win lots of arguments if any assumptions I care to make are considered to be facts.

When did we last have dress codes that were analogous to those being enforced in much of Iraq today? Where’s the time that we enforced anything like “you can’t wear blue jeans” with the threat of violence?

By ‘their ways’, I meant the strict religious laws. You said, “it’s not official government policy to execute those who see a different viewpoint on how their religion should be expressed. In Afghanistan it was, but in Iraq you have a government at least trying to stop it.” We now have Shi’ites in Basra, and assorted groups in Baghdad, enforcing a rather hard-ass orthodoxy. Where’s the Iraqi government fighting against this, protecting the rights of people to live their lives free of this theocratic oppression?

‘When’ ? I guess you can see into the future now? Sheesh.

Who stated this? President Bush himself remarked if the Iraqis desired religious parties in government it was their choice not his.

Educated, Secular (which implies they’d like to see seperation of Mosque and state) doesn’t imply said people to be not highly religious or conservative.

Laws not recognised by the people in which they rule it under, no forms of democratic vote and imposition by consensus, just the rule of the gun, which you’re trying to validate as something along the lines of the rule of law. Apples and Oranges.

Oh of course, however you’ve overlooked the fact the Koran being open to interpretation, and flanked by the human rights law and freedom of the press and freedom of association. You’ve also overlooked that laws of Islam is only one of the primary laws in Iraq, not the sole one.

I know this situation happens, however you’re looking at it through the eyes of Iraqi government being the main culprit of ignoring it’s own written constitutional laws when it’s in fact the threat of death from insurgent groups who are preventing the implication of justice through courts from being effective.

Even ignoring this, the Iraqi constitution has been implemented only 1 1/2 ago, so it will take time for a uniform order of laws and sufficient training for the legal system to return to normal again.

It has control of it’s capital, it just doesn’t have the ability to exert sufficient strength to counter most of the insurgent operations due to an inefficient logistics supply network to supply it’s armed forces. However, I would not argue that the Government has no control over the Capital, I would argue that the Capital is being used as the focal point of both groups in vying for control, as this would equal propaganda of who controls Iraq.

All that ‘good stuff’ takes more than 3 years. Iraq will become a 12 year effort to become a country with a military/security forces able to regain the initiative against the insurgents/militias, with MNF forces completely withdrawn or used as a reserve in a neighbouring country (Kuwait, Jordan) incase of flare ups. And even if we do withdraw before then, it doesn’t mean the stopping of supplying the Iraqi government with arms/aid to defeat the insurgency.

If Baghdad was out of their control there wouldn’t be much sight of military checkpoints, military bases, patrols, constant intelligence gathering, recruitment drives to the security forces or the stationing of various political factions in the Government within Baghdad.

Which is all the more reason to strengthen the Iraqi government and it’s forces so that in the future, this doesn’t become a problem for MNF forces and their governments to try and work out, but for the Iraqi government to solve.

No I’m not, it’s basically what happened in April 2004, Sunni and Shia militias were both actively fighting the MNF/Iraqi Government forces until Sadrs defeat at Najaf forced him to enable a ceasefire, which effectively allowed MNF forces to put greater emphasis on pacifying the Sunni Anbar region and regions of central Iraq.

Different culture, different rules, you’ve got to remember these societies are not on a par with some liberalist values such as freedom to wear what one wants. There are large societal pressures to conform, much like what Western society was like 150 years ago.

Who are they fighting everyday? When insurgents bomb markets, mosques bakeries, countless other places, and in that situation, where you have follow ups on people being bombed shot and dumped for being a different sect let alone dress, and you had a lead, which one would you find more pressing?

Iraqis do not desire to remake their country in the image of neighboring Iran, however. Three-in-five (59%) favor a system where citizens are allowed to practice their own religion, while one-in-three (34%) would prefer an Islamic government.

I can’t see into the future but I do know alot have a stake in this government actually working.

So far, I’ve been able to dig out Chalabi, Makiya, Pollack, though no Administration reps.

He said this before the war? Cite, please.

It does mean that they’d be opposed to the sort of compulsory adherence to Islamic mores now prevalent in Iraq. Which is kinda the point, remember.

So? Laws are laws. Do you think people vote on the laws in Saudi Arabia? Are they a nation without the rule of law? No one would say that. The insurgents want the rule of law; they just want to write the laws.

And so’s the Bible, but try telling that to Pat Robertson. And these guys are a bit more hardass about their religion than Pat is about his.

And again, my point is none of that matters. Other entities control Baghdad, and much of if not most of Iraq.

Well yeah, that too. It’s hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins, things being what they are.

And you keep implicitly assuming it will. That’s not the direction things are moving in.

IOW, the government doesn’t control Baghdad.

Who says it will ever happen?

Maybe you didn’t read the Khalilzad cable I linked to. They don’t control Baghdad. Controlling the Green Zone isn’t controlling Baghdad, nor is having checkpoints outside the Green Zone or operating patrols. The patrols come, then they go, and the people who live there are still there. A checkpoint is set up today, tomorrow it’s somewhere else. That’s not control; that’s force and the illusion of control.

What more can we do to srengthen the Iraqi government and its forces than we’ve done? Yet the security situation has steadily gotten worse.

MNF - that’s us, not the Iraqis. And it has nothing to do with the issue under discussion - the fact that our Shiite allies are banning music, denying rights to women, etc., and the Iraqi government forces are doing nothing about it, contrary to your seeming claim. (If that’s not what you were claiming, then it’s not germane.)

Please, some for-instances. I’m dying to see what Western rules about clothing you consider comparable to contemporary Iraq.

Well, yeah. But you were the one who said, “it’s not official government policy to execute those who see a different viewpoint on how their religion should be expressed. In Afghanistan it was, but in Iraq you have a government at least trying to stop it.” So you’re now saying that was a pile of bullshit. No prob, I accept your retraction.

You referred to a future time “when they have a government which is profoundly more democratic and more reliant on consensus politics than the one before.” (Bolding mine.) I accept your retraction of those remarks, too.

But, weren’t we fighting to protect democracy from weapons of mass destruction?

As soon as we find them, we can leave.