Friday, April 5, 2013

WAR: What Is It Good For

Dan Burns over at MPP published a post with regard to the USA's military intervention in Iraq.   MPP Why do the vile thrive?  As you can tell by the title, he is not a big supporter of the action.  He included the following quote that got me thinking...
"As I reflect on the 10 years of the Iraq War, what is most striking with respect to the war’s enormous human toll — nearly one million dead, five million displaced, hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans, untold misery — is the sheer callousness of the pro-war clique when confronted with these facts. " Alternet

If the numbers are correct, is it really appropriate to blame America's intervention for this disaster and all of these negative consequences?  I guess I would agree if we had intervened, in say Australia, where things are stable and peaceful.  Then we would be the "cause", but let's get real and accept that this is the Middle East where folks have been fighting and killing each other for millenia.

My perception of reality is that Saddam Hussein and Iraq attacked an American ally (Kuwait) and threatened another (Saudi Arabia).  America came to their defense and put Saddam and Iraq in "jail". (Iraq No fly zones)

Though Saddam's hands were tied, he was able to continue torturing and killing people that opposed his rule.  And lord knows the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds were still in fighting in their "jail cell". So whether it was right or wrong, Bush chose to try and bring an end to this stand off. 

The biggest mistake I think he made was thinking too highly of the Iraqi people.  He assumed that if Saddam was gone, the rational caring people of Iraq would embrace democracy and live in peace and tranquility.  Unfortunately that was not the case...

I agree that people were killed when the USA invaded Iraq, but remember how fast that occurred. (Time History) I have to believe that very few of the casualty totals stated above occurred during this period.

Then the American soldiers had to hunker down for almost 10 yrs and try to play policemen in the middle of a bunch of crazy people who want to kill each other due to past grudges, religious ideology, power struggles, etc.  It seems to be really irresponsible to blame the "policeman" for what all the criminals are doing...

At some point I am guessing these same critics of US foreign policy will find someway to blame us for all the deaths that are occurring in Syria, Somalia, etc.  At that time they will probably say we should have been more involved...

Thoughts?  Also, are the people of the Middle East capable of self rule?  Or do they simply need a dictator like Hussien, Assad, Kadafi, Mubarak, Saudi Royals, etc to keep them from killing each other?

G2A Peace Lovers Confuse Me
G2A Peace Activists Confuse Me


Laurie said...

My opinion on the wars, especially Iraq war, is that is was a colossal waste of money. The $6 trillion could have been spent much more wisely (or not spent.)

Study Says Iraq & Afghanistan Wars Could Cost $6 Trillion: ‘There Will Be No Peace Dividend’

John said...

That may be... So what would you have done differently?

Let Sadam Hussein take over Kuwait and possibly Saudi Arabia?

Maintained the "No Fly Zones" forever? While Sadam continued to rule?

Left the Taliban in charge of Afganistan? Allow them to continue training terrorists? Allow them to continue keeping girls and women bare foot and pregnant?

What would have been the cost of these decisions to our economy and people?

Are you really okay watching all those Syrians, Somalis, etc die so we can save some money?

Should we have stayed out the Balkans and let the ethnic cleansings continue to save some money?

These are interesting problems...

Laurie said...

The gulf war lasted about a month and cost the US about $10 billion, which makes it worthwhile to me in terms of costs benefits.

The Afghanistan war should have lasted only a few months and we shouldn't have invaded Iraq.

We are not responsible for every problem in the world and if we wanted to spend $6 trillion for humanitarian purposes it could have done much more good spent in other ways.

Does this seem like money well spent to you?

John said...

Humanitarian aid is not viable when a dictatorship is in power.They keep it from the needy. Ask the starving in North Korea and Somalia.

Now you think it would be okay to destroy their infrastructure, destabilize their government and just walk away. Leaving the country in shambles and likely civil war?

As for well spent? What is it worth that girls can go to school now in Afganistan? Or that Saddam is not mass killing Kurds? Or that al queada lost a training location, and that no sane country will offer them asylum?

It could have been spent in worse ways... Like providing dead beat Americans with cell phones, housing, etc. And teaching their children to be dependent...

John said...

One more note... I assume the vast majority of that money did or will go to American companies or citizens. The keynsians should be thrilled.

Laurie said...


I am not an economist but I am pretty sure keynesians oppose stupid spending.

As a long time reader of your blog I have been thinking of providing you the service of pointing out when your arguments are really dumb, like on this topic for instance. Would you be offended? You could do the same for me.

John said...

No I won't be offend. It will make me feel right at home. Remember, I am a Father and Husband... I'll just answer with "yes dear".

Keynsians believe that most government expenditures are good for the economy and country. Especially when times are tough.

Just think... The government had / has an excuse to pump ~$5 Trillion into our economy. This has led to new developments in military equipment. (ie Oshkosk Trucks It has payed the salaries of multiple hundreds of thousands of military, supplier, logistics, manufacturing, maintenance and transportation personnel. It has funded the development of new advanced artificial limb technologies. And it is going to pay veterans and VA personnel for decades.

All of these funds are going to hard working people who earned their compensation or benefit.

So you would really have just bombed them and ran away? Likely leaving them with a civil war... That seems very cold and irresponsible to me.

You know, the last person that told me "WE CAN'T SAVE EVERYONE!!!" was a hard core Conservative who freaked when I said the best way to stop illegal immigration is to help Mexico develop as a country... Ironic.

Laurie said...

How much did it cost the US for the people of Egypt and Libya to depose their dictators? It seems this was accomplished more much quickly and with a lot less blood shed as well.

By my rough calculation your share of the $6 trillion is $20,000 or $100,000 on behalf of your family. Do you feel getting rid of Saddam was worth this to you? It seems like the type of raid that killed Bin Laden could have been carried out without a 10 year war in Afghanistan.

In hind sight, do you seriously think the war in Iraq was the right decision when you look at the cost in dollars and lives? Maybe you support it because you voted for Bush. I knew it was a mistake at the time and joined several anti war demonstrations

John said...

I wish everyone in the world would choose to live in peace and respect their fellow human beings. However that does not seem to be the case. And a lot of people suffer because of it...

Now who will protect them if not us... I will happily spend money to save lives and enable freedom rather than spend it on those that choose dependency over hard work.

We will have to agree to disagree. More in my next post,.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should stop thinking that political stability is the rule rather than the exception. In America we make assumptions about the future, that the rules we follow today will continue to apply in the future. That the agreements made by Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan in1983 will continue in effect in 2013. Through most of history and in most of the world, such thinking would be regarded as absurd nonsense. No one would think of relying on the government, allegiances are tribal. People rely on families, or clans, or feudal relationships. We make a mistake in thinking that governments like those in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere, are like our own, just because they take on external similarities. In reality, they are gangs, very often criminal gangs, and viewed from that perspective, what they do is a lot less surprising, and makes a lot more sense.