War is good for Iraqis

First thread starter…:wink:

Anyway, here’s an issue I wouldn’t mind seeing some comment on.

It is (hopefully) a known fact that millions of Iraqis are suffering under UN sanctions. Surely I don’t really need to bring up emotive news items on the issue?

Peace protesters are against the war in Iraq on the grounds that Iraqi civlians would suffer.

Yet…the magnitude of suffering is far greater than any considered civilian casualities from any ensuring military action.

At the end of the day there is a moral dilemma - being against war means to be for the continued long-term suffering of Iraqi civilians, and their civlians.

Any comments?

Well Brian, I for one would whole-heartedly support a war if it had the backing of the Iraqi people, but even compensating for Saddam’s propaganda machine, the vast majority of Iraqis in Iraq simply do not support the war. The reason for this is simply that they are the ones who are going to suffer as a result of a war. Also the US’s intentions are less than honourable and looking at the characters they have lined up to replace Saddam after he is ousted, it’s very much a case of “here comes the new boss, same as the old boss”.

I would dearly like to see Saddam ousted, and the best chance was stupidly thrown away straight after the Gulf War. Encouraged by the words of George P. Bush, Iraqi resistance to Saddam mobilized all around the country only to find that any chance of the help, that they were expecting, was signed away in the post-war negoitations.

First, I’d like to say the word choice in your title is a bit unfortunate. To me it reads like you’re asserting that Iraqis are such that by their nature, they thrive on war. I realize you don’t mean this, but there it is.

Second, I think that whether the results of a war would be on balance better for the Iraqis than no war is very much up in the air. Those in favour of war seem convinced that the Saddam’s army will fold as quickly as it did in Gulf War I, and that the aftermath will quickly result in a government which will be good for Iraqis. Those opposed to the war seem convinced that both of these assumptions are hopelessly optimistic. They will point out that Saddam is unlikely to repeat the mistake of attempting large-scale engagements in the open desert, in favour of close in defense of the cities, where the landscape will largely eliminate most of the technological advantages of the US Army. Urban warfare conjures up images of Stalingrad, not the Falaise Pocket. They will point out that Saddam may in desperation launch biological or nerve agents against the Israelis (if, in fact, he has any), in a last ditch attempt to turn things into a larger Arab vs. non-Arab conflict after provoking Sharon into using his nuclear capabilities. And they will point out that in the absence of an iron fist military dictatorship, there’s a fair to good chance Iraq might erupt in a multi-sided civil war between Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds leading to widespread devastation, possibly inviting a visit from the Iranians, who would probably like to exact a little revenge for the Iran-Iraq War.

Now, since war seems inevitable, I fervently hope that those on the pro-war side are right, and that the war will be quick and Iraq can be stabilized under a decent government. However, I’m far from convinced that it is likely, and I think that launching this expedition thinking only about the best-case outcomes and ignoring the worst-case outcomes is horribly short-sighted, and, quite frankly, criminal.

If it turns out I am wrong about the likelihood of the worst case coming about, you will be free to say “Nyah nyah! You were wrong!” and I will respond “Praise be to Allah that I was.” But in any event, I trust that you can see why I think that a prolonged battle in Baghdad, wider war in the Middle East, a bitter civil war, etc, might not be an improvement over the status quo for Iraqi civilians.

There is no way to know what the Iraqis really believe. Saddam doesn’t have a ‘propaganda’ machine. He has a TERROR machine. He doesn’t need propaganda to convince the people of anything, because he just kills the people who publically disagree with him.

The wishes of people living in a totalitarian nation are unknown to us, because they can’t express them. We can, however, draw from history. And history tells us that the U.S. will be seen as a liberating force.

Sam get used to this one


Sam Stone we do have ways to assess the wishes of the ordinary Iraqi people (though anything more than what would amount to a series of straw polls is beyond us) and the mood in Iraq is very much against war (I base this on the opinions of foreign journalists in Iraq).
The US would ceratainly not be seen as a liberating force as it’s drive to war has nothing to do with the conditions of the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein is not needed in anyway for the general resentment that is felt towards the US due to it’s history of morally dubious foreign policy in that region (which includes aiding Saddam when it suited them).

Well, geeze, Brian, if we kill them in a rash of carpet bombing, we’ve put an end to their suffering! :smash:

Seriously, you do raise a moral dilemma. Personally I feel that less harm comes from the status quo than from an armed invasion and the consequent and inevitable destruction – you cannot win a war without damaging or destroying places that the enemy is holding out, many of which places will be the property of innocent civilians. And I am concerned for how relatively little we’ve done to restore and build up the fortunes of the Afghans – not deniying that some good has been done, but nothing like what happened in Germany and the rest of Europe, and Japan, after WWII.

Am I really understanding you to question this? Um, OK.

The Kurds, who we are so outraged that Saddam gassed, are not with us.


…“Conquerors always call themselves liberators,” said Sami Abdul-Rahman, deputy prime minister of the Kurdish administration,…

…Kurdish leaders are deeply alarmed by US intentions, which only became clear at a meeting in Ankara earlier in the month and from recent public declarations by US officials. Hoshyar Zebari, a veteran Kurdish leader, said: “If the US wants to impose its own government, regardless of the ethnic and religious composition of Iraq, there is going to be a backlash.”…

who are we liberating now?

I took Lear’s_fool to be requesting a cite on the claim that Saddam doesn’t have a propaganda machine that has effectively influenced the opinions of Iraqis. I can’t imagine that anyone would doubt that he also terrorizes them.

Iraqis living in Iraq cannot safely give honest opinions. This article does better by interviewing Iraqis in Jordan who have fled Iraq.They very much want Saddam overthrown, but they don’t trust the US.

If that’s the case, my bad.

“Sam Stone we do have ways to assess the wishes of the ordinary Iraqi people (though anything more than what would amount to a series of straw polls is beyond us) and the mood in Iraq is very much against war (I base this on the opinions of foreign journalists in Iraq).”

Now there is an unbiased source if I ever heard of one.

Thanks for the comments - and for opening up unmentioned elements.

For example, there is a lot of emphasis on the notion of a quick easy war. The idea of Saddam Hussein turning a war into an urban guerilla conflict would be a disastrous yet intelligent option.

And those Kurds - another issue is that if we’re talking about whipping up the Jurds, we also need top bear in mind the potential disturbance to other countries where the Kurds are spread out - notably Turkey. Perhaps that’s a clause in the issue that was being debated and vetoed at NATO.

I guess what really shows is that those who are most enthusiastic about war have thought least about the real issues and practicalities involved of a post-Saddam Iraq.

Oh, yes - sorry for the typos in the original post…


OK - I know several Iraqis outside Iraq. They are under no fear of speaking out - indeed they happily and strongly condemn Saddam - and they also do NOT want war. They may or may not represent mainstream Iraqi opinion. But I have yet to meet an Iraqi - among the dozen or so of my acquaintance - that has any trust or respect for Bush, or any desire for any kind of war whatever.

I can’t prove this to you guys with a load of cites, you can speculate all you like about what Iraqis want or do not want war, but unless you ask them, you really cannot say.

(Amazingly!) I have to agree with december on this - his quote is pretty accurate in terms of most of the Iraqi opinion I have heard, as well as general Arab opinion, and western opinion in this region.

No one wants Saddam, no one wants Bush.