Hyperbole Is The New Fact
Bush is Hitler. Gitmo is a gulag. As the fashion world would say: "Hyperbole is the new fact". With that in mind, I'm looking at the news of the day in a different way:
- Here in Madison, the Nazis have tired of exterminating Jews, gypsies, gays and other "undesirables" and are turning their fury on an even more incidious group: smokers
- In the sports world, we can only thank God that all the golfers escaped the US Open which was "like a slow water torture" because the course at Pinehurst #2 was so difficult. Who knew golfers were so tough?
- Also from the sports weekend, auto racing fans are still reeling from what sounds like the latest terrorist attack in Iraq: "the repercussions of the explosion of disgust at a debacle" after only six cars competed in the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis
- Today we learned about how Afghani forces foiled an attempt to assassinate the American ambassador to Afghanistan. Tomorrow, we'll learn about another "life and death" situation, Jennifer Wilbanks' decision to runaway from her wedding.
- Finally, apparently countries like Australia, Poland the Phillippines, Italy, Japan and many more have ceased to exist, if you take this quote from Paul Rogat Loeb at face value:
It’s bad enough that the Bush administration had so little international support for the Iraqi war that their “coalition of the willing” meant the U.S., Britain, and the equivalent of a child’s imaginary friends.
What in the world are we all going to do when something truly big happens? We're going to be stunned into a silence such as the world has never known. Our gasps of disbelief will literally turn the world into a vacuum. It will be the most shocking
rose ceremony Philimination vote event EVER.
Posted by at June 20, 2005 10:54 PM
The trackback entry for this page is : http://www.inthehat.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/961
|tribe.net: www.dummocrats.com linked with Hyperbole is the New Fact|
|# June 21st, 2005 9:59 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
|OK, let's see about the countries you list:
Australia: 850 troops.
Poland: 1700 troops.
The Phillipines: Oops, they aren't part of the Coalition anymore. They withdrew 7/2004.
Italy: 3085 troops, began withdrawal 3/2005
Japan: 550 non-combat troops
And of course we can't forget all those other countries, like:
Albania: 71 troops
Macedonia: 33 troops
Kazakhstan: 25 troops
Norway: 10 staff officers
Singapore, in case you were wondering, pulled out its entire contribution -- one amphibious dock -- in March.
The US, on the other hand, has 130,000 troops in-theater.
I hope the Kazakh delegation brought their own interpreters, because otherwise they're going to cost us more than they help.
17 of the 48 coalition countries we started with have withdrawn or are withdrawing as we speak. 31 countries -- of whom 12 have deployed no troops at all. A total of four countries will have deployed even 1000 troops once Italy and the Ukraine withdraw, which they have announced plans to finish doing this year.
Yes, these other countries are powerful and significant contributors!!! Silly of us to think otherwise.
|# June 21st, 2005 10:15 AM BVBigBro|
|Exactly who else, with the exception of France, could contribute? France maintains a capable mercenary force, but in any event France's diplomats have already stated that there were no circumstances under which France would have contributed. One thing that gets tossed around casually is the idea that "Europe" is capable of deploying a modern military force anywhere outside of Europe. None of other countries in Europe maintain the means to transport or maintain a modern force in the field outside of the continent. |
|# June 21st, 2005 10:20 AM kris|
|Do you feel this way about ALL contributions? For example, after the tsunami, did you mock some child for only donating $5 (which was an entire week's allowance)?
Our allies contribute what they can. Other countries don't have America's military might, but that doesn't mean they are "imaginary friends".
|# June 21st, 2005 2:19 PM The_Bohemoth|
|ThatWouldBeMe seems to be convinced that our efforts in Iraq are only worthwhile if we have "X" amount of troops contributed from our allies...if we have LESS than "X" troops in the coalition, we're an immoral, imperialistic nation bent on world domination through unilateral military action. But! If we have "X" number of troops, all is good in the hood! So my question is, what is "X"? If Albania had sent 72 troops instead of 71, does that put us over? |
|# June 21st, 2005 4:19 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
|So you're saying Mr. Ahmet Iraqi is just as respectful of a body of 10 troops as he is of 130K, and treats them as equally dangerous when he goes to blow them up?
There are some finite realities involved here, people. Ten guns is no substitute for a thousand, nor will all the best wishes in the world from countries thousands of miles away stop a bullet flying at a US Marine.
But let's put that aside for a moment.
OK, what's X? Who else could contribute more significantly than they do?
Just about everybody.
As Kris quite validly points out, any hard number X is a boogeyman. But let's look at the relative importance of this conflict to some specific countries.
(Figures from http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/mil_arm_per)
US: 130,000 / 479,000 = 27% of our military strength, measured in pairs of boots. I suspect this would be a larger percentage if it were not for the fact that Iraq is not a coastal country, i.e. we cannot bring much naval power to bear. And of course there's the debate about how General Franks and SoS Colin Powell initially drew up plans for 200K+ troops and Rummy overruled them. But go with 27% for now.
India has twice our military (again in terms of raw troopers.) Much closer to the Middle East, meaning easier transport and supply, or I'm sure we could help get feet on the ground if we were asked. Contribution: zero.
Turkey, our supposed ally in the region, actually bordering on Iraq, and with significant political concerns about the activities there: from a force of 525,000, contribution: zero.
The UK, our most stalwart friend and supposedly our equal partner (who, by the way, is quite capable of moving and supplying a large force): 8000 / 114,000 = 7% of their military, one quarter of our rate.
Italy, the fourth largest troop contributor (before they announced their pullout): 3100 / 165,000 = 1.8%.
Are you seeing a pattern here yet? These are mostly token forces. Nice to have. Not worthless. But NOT ENOUGH BOOTS TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE. And not at all what they would be providing if the WTC that was hit was in *their* country.
|# June 21st, 2005 4:22 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
|P.S. I would also point out that, for countries with little or no military, it's easy to sign a piece of paper knowing that
(a) signing will have no negative consequences, since nobody will expect you to provide anything anyway, and
(b) not signing will be bad for your relations with a Goliath twenty or a hundred times your size.
Remember "Rice Christians"?
|# June 21st, 2005 4:25 PM kris|
|So, you say, if these countries had had a WTC hit in their homeland they might contribute more troops? So, hmmm, might it make sense that America, who was hit, is providing far and away the most troops in the War on Terror?
Also, your pure percentage numbers are really meaningless. So what if India has X number of troops. How many of those troops are capable of standing next to the US on the battlefield? They may not have the weapons, communications, training, etc. to necessarily be more of an asset than a liability to our overall forces. Nevermind the fact that India is hardly going to divert troops when they've had a decades-long standown with Pakistan.
Likewise, Turkish troops do their job on their side of the border. We hear a lot of terrorists and weapons coming through Syria. Ever wonder why we don't hear the same about the Turkish border?
|# June 21st, 2005 4:29 PM BVBigBro|
|Sorry, thatwouldbeme, but look at the transport and supply capabilities of everybody else. You will find virtually nothing. The US maintains several times more transport and refueling capability than the rest of the world combined. The militaries you quote are designed to fight defensive battles close to home. |
|# June 21st, 2005 4:35 PM BVBigBro|
|It's a serious question without an easy answer. Serious UN action throughout the world means US action because we are the only ones really capable of it. Lots of countries want a voice in determining how UN military force, and by default US military force, is used. They then, however, have little or nothing to contribute to any such use of force. On the other hand, does anyone really want to see a bunch more countries with large offensive capabilities? It's a problem that somewhere down the road we will have to settle. |
|# June 21st, 2005 4:55 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
There's a perfectly good reason why the border with Syria is a more commonly-used route:
Syria, as a state, supports terrorism. And Syria, as a state, doesn't like us very much. That makes the Syrian side of the border, shall we say, rather porous.
On the other hand, the border with Turkey isn't controlled solely by Turkey; especially on the Iraqi side, and even in the time of Saddam Hussein, that part of the world was controlled by the Kurds who in no way want to help any Baathist.
You also excuse India based on other commitments but somehow South Korea manages, right? Yet South Korea (whose capital is within artillery range of its worst enemy) still managed to spare us 3600 troops. India, with a much larger pool, gives us nothing, not even lip service: they're not Coalition members.
I agree that the percentage figures aren't a perfect measure. But nothing is. And they do indicate a trend.
Go ahead and tell the people in the Falklands Islands that the Brits can't transport their troops. I think they might offer a different opinion.
Even were that not the case: is there some reason our vast transport and supply capabilities can only transport and supply American troops??
As for your worry about multiple large offensive capabilities, I agree that that's a troubling problem, and one without a visible solution.
|# June 21st, 2005 5:10 PM BVBigBro|
|You keep mentioning the Brits, they are in Iraq you know, so they don't really support the argument. They also have transport and refueling capabilities well above the rest of europe. Also, we are supplying fuel and transport to other nations.
Finally, as our level of military spending is well above the rest of the world, and has been for decades, there are now lots of countries that can't really operate with the US military because they are so far behind. That will quickly apply, if it already doesn't, to several NATO countries.
|# June 21st, 2005 6:31 PM Walleye|
You seem to be relying heavily on India to make your point. While numerically and (to a point) geographically your argument would seem to have a glimmer of merit, you are failing to take into account India's role in local politics. Specifically, their on-going dispute with Pakistan regarding rule of the Kashmir region. That conflict of itself has come about because you have Indian control of a former state that is 80% Muslim and that Muslim population is pushing to be either a)independent again or b) at the very least, part of Pakistan (a Muslim state).
India getting involved in the War on Terror would give the Pakistanis a reason to up the ante on their conflict with India and the world as a whole does not need that right now.
BV brings up separate important point you oght to consider. The majority of the world's militaries are designed around a defense concept. While Sun Tzu makes clear a good defense is a great offense, the key component missing from most of those militaries is a large transport capability.
Even the UK has fallen behind in that area. Yes, they managed to prosecute an operation in the Falklands. However, that was a MUCH smaller scal and closer to home than what is being done in Iraq.
India (for example) has no significant (none period that I can find so far) maritime transport and it is out of the question that Pakistan would let the Indian military cross their country to get into Afghanistan (good luck there too) and then into Iraq. So would you prefer the US funnel its logistics assets to India (or any other country) so they can help out. Then once we get them there, we have to train them without giving away all of our tactics. A tall order at best.
I'd like to continue, but this is a good start, and duty calls...
|# June 22nd, 2005 12:17 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
I'm not sure what you're saying when you say "they [England] don't really support the argument." Whose? They seem to support mine -- that our next-largest Coalition member and supposedly co-equal partner isn't as deeply into this as we are, and has additional unused capabilities. And if we are supplying fuel and transport to other countries, then that logistical issue is no longer a hindrance to their suppying more troops, correct? (Certainly if we can transport and supply 25, we can do the same for 50? Over the course of the time even since "major military operations are over", that airplane could turn around and make another trip, no?) And therefore that entire discussion is a red herring, or at best a convenient excuse?
I do agree that there are lots of countries whose armies are so far behind the ours that their training and familiarization with US doctrine, technology, etc. are limiting factors. But are you then telling me that Khazakhstan managed to find a 25-troop unit that was up to speed? One unit in their entire army? I find that hard to believe. Zero or many, but not one.
The realpolitik of India is also reasonable. You are certainly right that there's no need for two declared nuclear powers to hate each other more than they do now. But again, the same tension exists in South Korea vs. the north, other than that I don't think South Korea has nukes -- and South Korea has supplied lots of troops.
Factual disagreement: Falklands are "closer to home" for the Brits than Iraq?? Maybe in a psychological sense, but not in any transport-and-supply sense. According to indo.com: London to Buenos Aires, Argentina: 6886 miles. London to Baghdad: 2549 miles. (The Falklands are actually hundreds of miles farther than BA, but the site doesn't know either "falklands" or "malvinas", and it wasn't worth looking up their L&L. But the total is certainly over 7000 and may be 7500, triple the distance to Baghdad.) And actually I would suggest that more transport, proportionally to the number of troops, was required there because of the relative isolation; there was no convenient Kuwait next door to base in.
We are getting away from the main point I was trying to make: that the sheer number of troops being supplied by these other countries, regardless of their situations or entanglements, is not sufficient to make a significant difference, militarily, to the outcome.
|# June 22nd, 2005 3:02 AM Walleye|
1) The key difference you are missing between S. Korea and India is that S. Korea does not have to go through N. Korea to put its army into play. I am pretty sure that were this China we are all talking about, S. Korea would have nothing to do with moving its troops through N. Korea into China to help us out and I'm pretty sure N. Korea would probably not go for the idea either. We're back to logistics (as well as politics) with India and it is still no go.
2) The distance comparison I was actually calling to bear was US to Iraq vs UK to Falklands. I needed to make that more clear. And the presence of Kuwait does not diminish the transport requirement. Everything in either Ku8 or Iraq still had to come from the US. Logistically speaking, the requirements for the Iraq campaign are significantly higher than those of the Falklands primarily becuase a larger force is involved for a much longer time. It is not just the initial move of people and equipment but also the constant resupply requirement.
Finally, the number of troops you reference in your above post adds up to 6,314 troops. I'll need someone to check my math but I am fairly confident that equals roughly seven battalions. I believe there are usually three battalions to one regiment. This gives two plus regiments of US troops available to conduct other operations. I am pretty sure the folks in the other parts of the world where we are serving, appreciate that we are still there to help/protect them while we are capable of continuing operations in Iraq and have the ability to respond to a new theatre should the need arise.
Even though the numbers are small (and getting smaller) they have a positive and tangible contribution to the cause. You may not be able to readily see it, but it is there and it will continue to be an important part of the operations there both militarily and politically.
|# June 22nd, 2005 9:55 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
Let's see: how does South Korea get its troops to Iraq? Over land? It seems unlikely. Then how is the question of the logistics of moving troops to Iraq have anything to do with your example of a conflict in China?
Similarly, please explain for me the reason that India's troops are forced to take a land route. Doesn't India have a little bit of coastline, and a fair-sized navy? Maybe an airport or two?
Distance, Washington, DC to Baghdad: 6211 miles. Still doesn't hold water -- the distance, at that range, is roughly equal, especially considering that most of our troops came from places significantly farther west than DC: the 1300 miles to equate the distance with that from GB to the Falklands puts you right about at the Mississippi River.
Two-plus regiments: OK, great. Let's see, that's two and a third compared to (6300 / 2.33) divided into 130K is about 48 regiments. Two, forty-eight... (makes balancing motions with hands) two, forty-eight...
The math doesn't change whether you call them boots or regiments. Tangible, yes, like a tap on the shoulder might feel to a boxer between rounds. Psychologically (and politically) useful, more so. But militarily? I think I will continue to disagree.
|# June 22nd, 2005 10:38 AM BVBigBro|
|No, India maintains neither a fair sized navy nor a fair sized air transport capability. In addition, their army and air force are almost exclusively soviet equipped rendering them relatively incompatible with our own.
Why all the talk about the Falklands? Great Britain has a large force in Iraq. The discussion began with why others aren't there.
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:10 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
A quick web search found this page:
India's navy is listed as maintaining 57 ships. Other numbers provided suggest the navy is large in comparison with other regional powers (Pakistan is listed with 21 ships and 1/4 the overall combat strength, for example.)
South Korea's navy is not listed meaning it's not in the top 40 navies in the world. I note that elsewhere on the same site there is a discussion of how India's first aircraft carriers were British, and how that has affected the growth of their navy since.
The discussion about the Falklands was to dispute your assertion that transport and supply for offensive warfare was a near-exclusive American capability. But I agree that GB is not as relevant to this discussion as the original quote specifically excluded them from the "imaginary friends" comparison. (But doesn't taking out the one strongest counterargument mean that the others are even more ineffective?)
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:23 AM BVBigBro|
|India's 57 ships are not types capable of transporting and maintaining an army on another continent. That capability pretty much is exclusive to the US.
I always thought the discussion of others contributing to Iraq was irrelevant because it simply wasn't possible. I mean suppose Australia were to be invaded tomorrow and the UN was to unanimously approve military intervention. The intervening force would be about 90% US and 8% British. That may not be what people want, but it is the reality of the situation.
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:57 AM Walleye|
I really wish you would read more closely before replying...
Once again... The comparison regarding South Korea was this...
IF the US were at war with China and South Korea was asked to put its army into play against China, it would be virtually unable to on its own since its navy (as you pointed out) is too small to move them by sea and their enemy (still at war) , North Korea would not likely let them travel across North Korea to be put in play against China.
Similarly, India, which has no sea transport capability that I can find reference to, would have to then get permission to cross its enemy's territory (plus that of yet another country) to be put into play in Iraq.
This was used as a comparison in regard to the question of logistics because logistics movements do not take place in a vaccum. They take place in a politically charged arena (international airspace, soverign airspace, international waters, soverign waters) that greatly affects how we actually move troops and material from place to place.
I am starting to see that since your argument has its greatest strength only in the simplest of terms, you are trying to keep the discussion there as well. Yes, we (the US) are providing more troops than anyone else (by a lot). But that doesn't tell the whole story, and it is not a good way to decide how committed our allies are to helping us out. There's more to it than that.
|# June 22nd, 2005 1:48 PM The_Bohemoth|
|If I might spell out the point you missed, Thatwouldbe me, the fact of the matter is, if the coalition allies suddenly upped their troop contribution to equal the same percentage of troops supplied by the US in this operation, those who oppose the war in Iraq aren't suddenly going to support it, are they?
I remember quite vividly that despite massive world-wide support and large numbers of troops from many, many countries in the first Gulf War in 1991, the same left-wingers opposing this war opposed that war. Troop numbers made no difference.
I guess what I'm saying is that to bring up the amount of troops from other countries when discussing the Iraq war is simply a strawman argument. Either it was moral and just to remove Saddam the way we did, or it wasn't.
|# June 22nd, 2005 4:01 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
|First, I will state for the record that this is the most civil discussion I've ever had on this topic with people with opposing viewpoints and I've enjoyed it -- thank you very much. :)
90% US and 8% British may be close to what this war is, but just 12 years earlier the rest of the world contributed proportionately three times as much in Gulf War I. Non-US forces constituted 24% of the fighters there. (Source: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/gulf.war/facts/gulfwar/)
And the numbers then were more significant: our lesser share of the pie still amounted to four times the current deployments: 500,000 soldiers. Has the world changed so much so quickly? It seems unlikely.
As for the rest, I'm not a naval warfare expert (hell, I'm 4-F so I'll probably never be any kind of military expert) but it sounds like your argument is relooping on territory we've already covered, specifically, whether there's some reason non-U.S. troops can't be transported by U.S. transportation capacity.
OK, I'm listening. Show me what "more to it" there is. I don't deny that politics is a complex game. I just haven't heard any supporting arguments. And I *have* heard about lots of bitterness toward the U.S. from abroad because of this unprovoked attack.
I'm not trying to be insulting, but you seem to be leaving the meat out of your arguments while saying that I'm too simplistic. It seems clear to me that you have a lot of knowledge in this area but the argument you make is no more helpful than my 9th-grade Little Brother explaining why he didn't do his homework: "Well, you see, it was complicated..."
Explain for me what political considerations forced Norway to cut its participation 94%. (I am sure Singaporians suddenly found another pressing use for their dock.)
Explain for me the radical decrease in non-US/UK participation between Gulf Wars I and II in terms *other* than commitment.
Also explain for me the difference it makes to people on the ground in Iraq that Tonga's and Uzbekistan's signatures exist on a document somewhere.
You are putting the cart before the horse: "A implies B" does not lead to "B implies A".
Yes there were left-wing voices against Gulf War I. I was not one of them; Saddam Hussein was a bully who had to be put in his place. GW II, however, was based on cherry-picked intelligence and yellow journalism. The inspections worked, and Saddam capitulated in full in the matter of their return days before the ground invasion started.
As discussed in another thread on this site, you and many others heard what you chose to be exposed to. Listen to a wider selection of news sources before lumping all "left-wingers" together.
"Either it was moral or it wasn't." I wish I could see everything as black and white as that. But I can't agree. ("Only a Sith deals in absolutes." :) ) Leaving aside for the moment the fact that everyone has their own set of morals, Saddam's removal came at great (and continually rising!) cost, and so far it has not been shown that the people there are better off, nor that he posed an immediate threat to anyone outside his own country.
One more time, everyone: the main point is *still* not commitment, nor measures thereof, nor any of this other related stuff we've gotten into, interesting though it is. The main point is the sheer number of troops being supplied by these other countries is not sufficient to make a significant difference, militarily, to the outcome.
|# June 22nd, 2005 4:20 PM BVBigBro|
|Yes there were more troops in gulf war 1. Specifically , the excellent French Foreign Legion, who for earlier stated reasons would never have fought in this war, a large contingent of Syrian troops and a large contingent of Egyptians. The Syrians and Egyptians were placed in a position where they would have to fight very little and move not at all. Basically they were used to hold down Iraqi troops. They were also backed up by a US Marine division. There were also several foreign air force contingents, who relied heavily on US units for transport, supply and refueling. Those contingents weren't needed this time around. Finally, you had Saudi and Kuwaiti forces who were fighting on their own soil.
|# June 22nd, 2005 4:27 PM Laura|
|I don't have anything to contribute to the conversation about troop levels, etc, but you said |
Saddam's removal came at great (and continually rising!) cost, and so far it has not been shown that the people there are better offand I'd like to take a crack at that. Outside of the constant bombardment of IED and other negative stories that the MSM harps on, there has been a steady stream of really good reports coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Arthur Chrenkoff is a well known blogger who provides regular round-ups of what's going on there that is not being reported on. I think your view of Iraq will be considerably more optimistic if you spend a few hours reading his site. All is not perfect, but in comparison to the rebuilding time post WWII, we are doing phenomenally well.
|# June 22nd, 2005 4:33 PM BVBigBro|
|As far as the civility, as long you don't start throwing around threats you can pretty much say what you want without being censored. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 6:39 PM Walleye|
All fair questions and I will do my feeble best to offer some meat to the argument. My comment about simplicity was directed more to continuing frustration over getting bogged down further explaining comparisons that I tried to use merely to illustrate some of the logistic challenges as opposed to forming complete arguments.
So, explain Norway... I can't, have no idea what would cause it. I have a few theories, but they hover in the gray and cannot be substantiated by any other than the Norwegian Defense Minister. If I were to guess (please understand this is a guess and nothing more than a guess) I would say there are two elements to consider.
1) This war is far less internationally popular than GW 1. I disagree that Hussein ever complied with the resolutions but that is another argument I wish not to get into, my time is short. Many people point to the fact the the UNSC did not vote unanimously to support this conflict. That (in my opinion) has a LOT to do with the fact that the French military industry was owed a lot of money by Hussein for hardware transferred during the supposed UN sanctions. The Russians were heavily into the squeaky clean oil for food program and they stood to lose a lot as soon as he (Hussein) was ousted. As an aside it looks like Koffi had a stake in the status quo as well. So, when Norway was asked to supply troops to what was being rapidly billed an un-popular war on the world stage (thanks much in part to France, Russia, and Germany) it would have been tough for the Norwegian gov't justify a large-scale financial and troop commitment to this conflict.
2) They have a much smaller military budget. They have struggled to keep thier military well funded since the end of the Cold War. They are reducing in size overall and are slowing their investment in new technology. They also have a certain (and I don't know how big) level of troop commitment to other UN operations. I know you hate this argument, but it has to play a part. It costs a lot more to have your military other than at home. The basing and other logistics costs (that other term you must be tired of seeing me type) add up quickly. If as a nation it is hard to justify a home-guard military (ahich is what the Norwegian military is) already, it would be very difficult to justifyt additional expenditure to send troops over-seas to a conflict already black-balled (for not publicized and self-serving reasons) but the body of Europe.
I've kind of already addressed the non-US/UK involvement drop when looking at the probable (in my feeble mind) political quandry Norway found itself in. I find it frustrating that people are so willing to assume that France, Germany, and Russia had altruistic and morally superior reasons to coming out against the war. Nope, cashola plain and simple. If in fact they were truly interested in the moral high ground wouldn't they have wanted to force Hussein to fully comply with the inspections (a little embarassing to find a French made radar attached to a Russian missile system defending a now defunct WMD facility isn't it?) and maybe stop killing (gassing in at least two known occasions since GW1) the Kurds and Shias? No, I'm not trying to re-open the French hating, but I think it is important the people understand where they (and the Russians and the Germans) are really coming from.
OK Tonga and Uzbeckistan. No idea. Certainly to the troops on the ground their signatures may mean little. But are those countries giving any money to the cause? I have no idea who is or is not giving money to the rebuilding efforts or training efforts. I am sure there is an outlet out there somewhere that has information regarding whether signatories have offered financial help or not. And if they did, it needs to be compared to their military budget to get a feel for how much of the pain they are sharing...
I am guessing this isn't quite the meat you were asking for. When it comes to politics and political goals of other soverign (sp?) nations (even this one for that matter) I must fall back on conjecture like everyone else. My expertise falls a little closer to the tanks and ships side of the spectrum (both ours and theirs).
A numbers question for ya... How big is the IDF now? how many of them are actively patrolling their own country as a step toward their own self-sufficency? I don't know that it is very many, but I also don't have the hard numbers in front of me...
|# June 22nd, 2005 8:23 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
Crack away! Thanks for the pointer and I will check it out. "...in comparison to post WWII" -- were we being guerrilla'd and bombed a lot then? (It may sound it but that's not a rhetorical question, I genuinely don't know.)
Initial background research on Chrenkoff shows the following:
AK is a blogger who has never been to Iraq. He culls media reports that match his preferred spin. (That would seem to contradict the idea that these things "aren't being reported", but I understand what you mean -- they aren't getting the play you and he think they deserve.)
From an email from Media Watch producer Peter McEvoy:
Arthur clearly does a lot of hard work to compile his blog - I’m amazed that he finds the time on top of his job. I think it’s a useful collation although of course it’s only one side of the story. Arthur makes no bones about that. As he told me:
"In no writing of my own do I ever deny that those negative things are going on. I guess the problem that I see is that wherever there’s bad news it gets more prominence. In reporting there’s a natural bias to violence and controversy rather than boring things like ‘another sewerage station was opened today’ which in the long run may be more important. I’m trying to redress the balance."
Arthur’s blog expresses his politics and his personal passion, which is great, but that’s not a substitute for reporting the full story, good and bad, from Iraq.
I will be interested to see what "good news" can offset daily bombings, lack of reliable power and sanitation in the capital, and a constitution being written largely by one side of a religious schism. :) But we shall see.
But one significant point in advance: I don't see bias in the reporting just because such positive news exists. Doesn't everybody always complain that all we see on the local news is bad stuff too? Murders and robberies and rapes get top billing no matter the venue.
That's great. At FreeRepublic I've been banned under three different addresses, each time after one single post, each post not unlike anything I've posted here. They like their viewpoint unadulterated by discussion, I guess. :) Other conservative sites have exhibited similar limitations or simple abuse.
Sorry if I seemed to misunderstand you or miss your point at times. It is definitely harder to communicate with someone who doesn't share your map of the world. :)
Your Norway point 1 has a great many allegations of chicanery. I can agree with France's and Russia's fiduciary interests in maintaining the Baghdad government for a bit longer, but your casual inclusion of Kofi Annan smells a little conspiracy-theory-ish to me; leave that one aside, 'cause anyway he has little power in the Security Council. I also disagree with the characterization that the war was unpopular "thanks in part to France Russia and Germany" -- the popularity of the war was always rock-bottom with just about everybody outside the U.S.
(A June 2003 article on the subject:
Norway's other commitments: (from link)
Total: 764 in NATO operations and 155 in other international military operations. (That is as of 4/1/04, so it includes 139 troops no longer in theater.)
(The web is a wonderful thing. :) )
Your statement that F,G,R are motivated by "cashola plain and simple" -- is it not possible that financial and ethical impulses were aligned (o rarity of rarities :) ) for once? But nations do tend toward pragmatism, I agree.
IDF -- Israel? I'm afraid I have no idea, and I haven't been able to find out. They are not signatories of the Coalition.
|# June 22nd, 2005 9:12 PM Laura|
|I'm perplexed why you bothered to put in all that info on Chrenkoff - if you paid attention to what I wrote you'd have seen I said "round up" which certainly implies that it's a collection of reports from somewhere else. As far as the negative trend not necessarily proving bias, that's true... but o rarity of rarities, isn't there room for the possibility of both? Do you agree, having read at least some of what Chrenkoff has assembled, that Iraq is not a total failure, doomed to quagmire, and that our troops are doing good work? You don't have to stipulate that you agree they should be there to begin with, just that since they are there, they are doing a good job.
My reference to WWII was intended to show that we were there for *years* aftwards rebuilding Japan and Germany almost from the ground up. People griped about it then too, but they don't seem to mind it now. Plus la change, plus c'est la meme chose.
|# June 22nd, 2005 9:28 PM BVBigBro|
|Thatwouldbeme: I've never been to Free Republic so I don't really know. I suspect it's like the democratic underground. The owners of this site like alternative opinions (wink wink, nudge nudge), so they would probably accept an alternative submission written for the site should you desire to do so. Note that I am not one of the owners and can't speak for them. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 9:52 PM Walleye|
Bottom to Top:
IDF was meant to be Iraq's army. For some reason IDF popped into mind and I didn't look back. My bad
Sure it is possible that F,G,R are motivated by an alignment of Financial and ethical impulses. I would submit that it is also possible that the WMD had been moved from Iraq to Syria before the invasion. Fair enough?
A good lesson for me on Norway's recent commitmens. That number is lower than I was last exposed to but I must make it clear that the last number I had recollection of was from the early 1990's reported in the late 1990's and not since researched. I gotta get better (and faster) at finding this stuff on the net.
Regarding my allegations against F,G,&R; If the glove fits... No, not fair. But at the same time, why is it so hard to believe they are not motivated by greed and power but it is so easy to believe the US is? So the US went into Iraq for oil, but F,G, & R didn't want to go in because they just felt we were being bullies and not playing nice with the murderous tyrant? They didn't care about losing all that money, they just want world peace. (the above section is intended to be humerous sarcasm with a feeble attempt at making a small point).
Also, I must be mis-reading, but this section of the article you recommend:
"After a difficult dispute over whether the United Nations should authorize the Iraq war, the follow-up poll showed that positive views of the United States had dwindled to 45 percent in Germany, 43 percent in France and even 38 percent in Spain, where the government supported the war."
Seems to indicate that the positive view of the US died after the disupte in the UN. If France, Germany, and Russia had been on-board (or at least completely honest with their motives) would the same drop have happened? Nobody knows.
Finally (I will only touch on this to separate the ideas), my issue with Koffi is separate from F,G,& R. No conspiricy is implied (yet). They are one problem and he is another. I rooted for him at first. That he and his son are part of the investigation of the mis-use of the oil for food program money is disappointing and that along with F,G,&R's conduct have made me a bit more pessimistic of the UN.
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:44 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
Sorry, that bit about "round-up" went by me; somehow I originally got the impression he was on-site.
Ready? :) I do agree that Iraq is not a total failure. That would be next to impossible -- completely so, given that Saddam was indeed deposed and that we have a preponderance of honorable men and women in the services. From that you may correctly infer that I agree those same men and women are (attempting to be) doing good work there.
I am not, I'm afraid, willing to come down on either side about the "quagmire" question. I have to say that I'm pessimistic; historically speaking, the odds are against us, and the time may well come when the only way to avoid quagmire-ity will be to declare victory and exit hastily, stage left. I think there's a chance of a stable government there within the next two or three years -- but it's a small chance, maybe 1 in 3, and if you include the requirement that the government remains in power over the next (say) 5-15 years, even lower. That area has never, ever seen a democracy; tribal loyalties run deep, and passions high; there are three major ethnic and religious divisions; and oh yes, there's oil.
I tried to maintain a blog in the past. It never got any traffic and I always felt like I was rehashing stuff other people said anyway. I do better when I have somebody to argue with. :)
Iraq's police force is growing but still not meeting the promises made by Bush in his campaign. The man has this amazing ability to get away with whoppers... but I digress. (I could dig up cites on those promises but it's late and I'm wiped. :) If you want 'em let me know.) Last I heard (two months ago?) it was approaching 50K; Bush promised that by the end of the year (2004) it would be 125K. Many of them are under-trained and most are undersupplied. But they're doing most of the dying these days.
Alignment of ethical and financial impulses = WMDs to Syria: lol :) OK, OK. I do agree with you on which factor was probably more significant, and let's leave it at that. :)
Positive view of US died after dispute in UN: not necessarily. You are making the assumption that the poll results were positive before the UN fight. While this may (or may not -- I have no data handy, see excuse above) may have been true of Germany and France, I feel it's unlikely to have had enough pull to swing Spain 12+ percentage points. That kind of swing takes weeks or months.
By the way, on the oil-for-food thing, have you seen this, that it was masterminded by a Texas oil company?
Seems nobody's hands are clean.
|# June 23rd, 2005 12:47 AM Walleye|
|Whopper is such an ugly term. He simply underestimated the power of daily car bombings on recruiting numbers.
The only numbers I have looked at regarding the the world view of the US are the numbers in the article you sent me to. I'll look for more info. next time I get a chance.
I did know OFF had US connections. I need to do a little hunting before commenting on the article you pointed to. Sure doesn't look good though does it?
|# June 23rd, 2005 11:25 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
"Whopper is such an ugly term. He simply underestimated the power of daily car bombings on recruiting numbers."
Uh huh. And the blockage of only ten judges out of two hundred is "unprecedented obstructionism" despite R's having denied up-or-down votes on 65 of Clinton's judicial nominees. Fair enough? :)
|# June 23rd, 2005 11:26 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
That, of course, was meant in fun. :) I'll be busy today so no hurry.
|# June 23rd, 2005 11:03 PM Walleye|
I was unable to find anything tying the US gov't to the OFF problems. The article you reference above and the article below:
which references Marc Rich's potential involvement; certainly indicate that there may have been some US citizens with their had in the cookie jar. While I can be accused of picking knits here, I see a big difference between a few citizens (and their corporations) not playing by the rules and the Russian Gov't. (a veto member of the security council) not playing by rules they helped write. Granted, the US companies, if involved, absolutely should be hel accountable for their actions.
Regarding the world view of the US, the only numbers I can find are the ones from the article you pointed too above. Their article seems to conclude that the fallout in the UN causes the drop in opinion, but they also point out that their samples are a full year apart. I can't find anything that addresses the movement in the numbers during that year.
The issue regarding the justices is WAY out of my league. I'll stick to what I have a basic grasp on and leave the rest to others.
I do have to ask...
You were kidding when you implied that the Boy Scouts and VFWs properly disposing of the Colors is the same as a protestor burning them during a protest right?
|# June 23rd, 2005 11:44 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
I was not trying to suggest any different outcome to the discussion by pointing to the article. I just thought it was interesting.
Regarding the flag-burning, in case others are wondering, I put up a post in the topic on flag-burning here to quote the US Flag Code, which states that burning is the desirable and honorable end for a flag which is no longer in a displayable condition. (http://www.dummocrats.com/archives/000996.php#23) The post was ignored in the midst of a flame war on a peripheral topic.
However, I think the question is valid. How do you make a law to distinguish honorable burning and dishonorable burning? The proposed text of the amendment "authorizes the Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag" (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:1:./temp/~c10906uy8g::) but sweeps the definition of "desecration" under the rug by apparently permitting that definition to be put off until the law is actually made. They're going to have to be very careful to define that... very careful, or those two in the picture will be inadvertent criminals.
Actually the problem I have with this amendment (aside from its obvious conflict with free speech) is that it's too general. It doesn't say "burning", it says "desecration." If I drag my flag in the mud by accident, I'm a criminal? If I print the flag on a pair of underwear and sit on it, does that count? (How about a swimsuit? A beach towel? A patch sewed onto pants?) If I need to escape from a burning building, I can't tear it into strips and make a rope or a face mask?
Physical desecration of a symbol is a pretty low bar.
|# June 24th, 2005 12:30 AM Walleye|
I had been debating whether to jump into the Flag thread but found that I would have needed to, immediately after your post referenced above.
I think the key element needed to write that law (bad idea anyway) is the term "Dignified Manor". In a Flag Destruction Ceremony (found the term but no description on a VFW website), all of the rules regarding the proper handleing of the Colors are observed up to the point it is put into the fire (as opposed to setting fire to it) and the total destruction of the flag is carefully ensured (leaving bits and pieces behind is a no, no by my experience). This as opposed to lighting a flag with a bic and waving it around for all to see as it burns (usually incompletely). So, I do see a big difference between the two methods. one is used as part of a political statement and one is a way to honorably dispose of damaged and unfit national emblems.
That being said, I am against any kind of anti-desecration law regardless of the language used. As you pointed out, to burn the Colors is low bar in the first place.
Regarding what counts as "desecration", strictly speaking, most of the examples you provide are already considered "inappropriate displays" of the national emblem as referenced to the first of the sites you pointed to on the other thread. Though using the Colors as a means of escape would certainly not be frowned upon as long as you properly and honorably destroyed the rope/face mask after you were done with it.
I admit a strong bias here. I have brought friends home underneath the flag, I wear it every day (on my left arm, not my pants), and render proper honors to it in the morning, evening and when otherwise called upon. While it sickens me to see people treat the flag so poorly, I value and defend their right to do it.