Monday, April 25, 2005

The news from Iraq just keeps getting better and better.

The number one thing to keep in mind is that if this liberation is a success, - and the evidence seems to point to that - it can and should be repeated in other countries, as well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puntti, you certainly have lotsa 'fertile' ground to grid on your funds and manpower, like, say, in Africa.

Youre almost too late for Sudan (1,5 mill. dead in 20 years) and in Somalia you were kicked out (or rather, there was nuthin' to to be exploited). But luckily, some new or re-invented hellholes turn up on the continent at brisk pace.

I doubt you will be welcomed with open arms so widely. And mostly you've found easier to fund the local Crakerjack and let him do the dirty work, rather than get messy. You know the drill.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Yes, Sudan is pretty much a lost cause, thanks to the UN. And Somalia won't be revisited, even though a light bulb finally went on over there, and they're actually wooing Americans to come back, given the investments they're seeing going into Iraq.

But the marvellous payoff is exactly that the change in Iraq is encouraging local pro-democracy movements in neighboring countries. And these are nations that are being transformed without any expenditure of funds and manpower. All it took was one example to set the change in motion.

You see, there are advantages in being the most hated nation in the world: it really doesn't matter what you do, since the world will condemn you for it anyway. That translates into great freedom of action.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puntti, you know we love the America - and especially the Americans. As a matter of fact, so much that we want to save it from itself (and not having themselves getting killed for causes not truly worth it).

You still haven't got it?

6:04 AM  
Anonymous TA said...

I like the idea of a collection of the good news from Iraq as, without someone doing it for you, you have to wade through so much bad news to find it. But in week where the mutilated bodies of 50+ people including women and children were pulled out of the Tigris I find it quite hard to be that optimistic. Some one should have been there to look after those kids - perhaps that was to have been the job of the 20+ brave police recruits who were herded into a football stadium and executed against a wall?

6:58 AM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

The good thing is that Arabs blame themselves for the violence, and are beginning to take responsibility for their own security. You can't wish for the American troops to leave and at the same time expect them to provide for ongoing security.

As to the tragic deaths, well, that's happening in Nepal, too. But that area's strangely underreported, - obviously, because Americans aren't involved, and because MSM the world over gives leftist terrorist a pass.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Antti said...

Another excellent development in the Middle East: Lebanon is now 100% Syrian-free (Austin Bay).


2:46 PM  
Anonymous TA said...

Interesting that you mention Nepal. I chaired a seminar on the insurgency a few weeks ago and two of the people who turned up knew as much as our expert from Brussels. One was a Finnish army colonel who is also a mountaineer, and the other was an YLE journalist. Neither had a good word for the maoists. You're just looking for a conspiracy theory if you think the media ignore Nepal because they are maoists, and not because its a small, poor geopolitically insignificant country. I searched, a lot less hits on that than on the BBC for Nepal!

And BTW, the US is involved, Congressional approval or denial of a weapons shipment to the Nepalese army this summer will possibly be the turning point of the insurgency. Different parties are lobbying for or against.

Besides my original point was there is plenty of bad news from Iraq, much of it the result not of the invasion but the terrible weakness of the US administration's planning for the post-war situation. I mildly supported the invasion, but their performance since has been abysmal and they have unnecessary blood on their hands as a result.

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puntti has high hopes about Iraq, and yes, peace would wishful. But US military leadership sees no delicline in insurgency, and neither do loss statistics indicate that.

US is tied to very uneasy low intensity war of attrition with adversary that avoids major confrontation. Far from home.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Antti said...

Anonymous, I think that the Europeans aren't really in a position to critize America, considering that we do preciously little to help the Iraqi people.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

TA: Googling Fox and BBC purports a trend? There simply isn't any interest in MSM for Nepal. In fact, there is a dearth of photographs coming from there, - we can't even get a good idea of what it looks like out there, yet images from anywhere there is a US military presence are ever present.

Left wing insurgencies still get a pass from MSM. You could see it in the coverage of the Shining Path, and the Mexican insurgency in Chiapas.

And yes, I was aware of the US congressional debate, and that a variety of nations are debating how to structure their aid. You seem to take a glee in reporting news that is easily accessed by others.

And you wind up taking refuge in a very Finnish past-time when it comes to criticizing the US post-liberation strategies: always imagining Finns could have organized things better. That is just so cowardly and contemptible.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous TA said...

"And you wind up taking refuge in a very Finnish past-time when it comes to criticizing the US post-liberation strategies: always imagining Finns could have organized things better. That is just so cowardly and contemptible."

If I understand this properly, and I'm not clear that I do, don't be silly. Whoever mentioned Finland? It was quite clear that Pentagon disregarded all the advice that State attempted to give them and US soldiers and Iraqi civilians have paid for Rumsfeld's arrogance. You have serving US officers speaking publically because of the unrealistic demands being placed on the Army/USMC.

Anyway, my dear chap, I'm British. The British Army have and are running their zone more successfully.

1:22 AM  
Anonymous TA said...

BTW Mr Pundit, we both seem to have missed this story on Nepal:

5:18 AM  
Anonymous Antti said...

TA, wasn't the situation in Basra and environs a wee bit easier for the British. Anyhow, at the rate at which the Zanu Labour party is destroying the British Armed forces, there won't be any left to send to future Basras and Falklands.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antti said:

Anonymous, I think that the Europeans aren't really in a position to critize America, considering that we do preciously little to help the Iraqi people.

Antti, don't buy so easily that crap. Don't be so gullible.

US has helped Saddam Hussein to wage war with Iran, which had disastrous consequences to both lands (old friends, yep). And when Saddam finally figured out that he was used, he got mad and claimed "mother of all the wars" to USA. And don't try to claim that 9/11 was done by iraqis, it wasn't. All know that.

The US has cooked itself much of it's own troubles, or has pushed local Kooks to advance US intrests, as long as it has fit them.

I think Puntti can't talk about cowardice until he has provided his personal track record of military field service.

6:35 AM  
Anonymous TA said...

Antti: "wasn't the situation in Basra and environs a wee bit easier for the British". I had thought that as well (Shia dominance, memories of the oppression after the 1991 War etc.) but I read some reports that at least for the first year or so after the war that proportional to force size, the UK forces (and presumably which ever other nations were helping in that zone) were attacked as much as the US forces. Now the situation is better than further north but the British military will tell you that is because they made it better, and the locals are more cooperative.

I'm pretty uncommitted either way on the current funding levels for the UK mil. Its not something I've followed in any great detail, but Labour's Strategic Defence Review from 97 is reckoned by many experts to have been very important in keeping the UK military as one of the few in the world that can offer more than political cover to the US. The french would be the other I guess if they were so inclined. The new aircraft carriers planned show a continued committment to force projection capability.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Antti said...

TA, thanks of your insights on British military. I'm not very "militarily inclined", and therefore comments on this subject are much appereciated.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

TA: Well I'm glad Brits take an interest in Finnish points-of-view, disparate as they may be.

I'm mildly skeptical about whether the British should be patting themselves on the back for successes in the Shia south. To me, it's quite obvious that the British were handed the easier zone to administer, as it was clear that the Sunni triangle would be the most troublesome. Americans simply decided that they should have the harder zone, - and take the political heat accompanying that - as they were the driving force behind the campaign.

If the British enjoyed the support of the Shias in the south, keep in mind that those Shias were the main power base for Sistani, who quite clearly saw the incredible opportunity Shias had in the new Iraq (as opposed to the radical Sadr, who mostly operated in the central, American sector).

We can only look at the successes of Petraeus in the northern, Kurdish sector to see that Americans had successes relative to that of the British.

As to critics within the Pentagon; by all means, latch on to them, if you wish. What is remarkable about the American army is that it does condone internal debate.

Yet it is interesting that the British reports on their successes use the American experience as a measuring stick. Why? What relevance could there be?... unless, of course, it is just convenient to tap into innate anti-American feelings in Britain to justify British policies right before an election.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Antti said...

No, anonymous, you got your facts wrong there. Actually I'm over eighteen.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Antti said...

Finnpundit, based what I've read, your analysis is correct. Let's say that both areas were (extremely) difficult, but the northern even more so. And in the end both the British and Americans deserve praise for their extraordinary achievement.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous TA said...

Yet it is interesting that the British reports on their successes use the American experience as a measuring stick. Why? What relevance could there be?...

What would you prefer them to measure their success against? The Syrians in Lebanon!? The Russians in Chechnya!? The Chinese in Tibet!? Two countries invade another side by side and then administer different zones - and you don't think it is natural for one zone to be compared to another?!? Regardless of your poltical position or belief on what the outcome of the comparison is, I can't understand how you can possibly say it isn't relevant?

unless, of course, it is just convenient to tap into innate anti-American feelings in Britain to justify British policies right before an election.

Your ability to find anti-Americanism everywhere reaches new McCarthy-esque heights! Are you actually aware of what issues are being debate in the UK election?!

1:59 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Why not issue a report assessing your own performance without reference to others? Is that so hard to do?

I don't think Americans issue reports in, say, how some US forces are under-equipped but, heck, it's still better than what the Brits have. No, the idea is to present a study for a home audience. Except in this case, the British seem to throw in a gratuitous swipe at Americans, for all too obvious, election-time reasons.

And if you can't see the inherent anti-Americanism pervading all of Europe, you've simply internalized the "facts and realities" about America produced by anti-American bigotry.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous TA said...

This is getting very very silly. To dismiss anyone who doesn't agree with you as having internalised anti-American bigotry is just ridiculous. If you want to close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and shout "nuh, nuh, nuh, not listening" please feel free. Alternatively from nuanced understanding of the current UK election, could you tell me what either of the two major parties have to gain from "gratuitous swipes" at an American policy they both supported?

And I feel I should helpfully add that if you can't see the inherent anti-Europeanism pervading all of America, you've simply internalized the "facts and realities" about Europe produced by anti-European bigotry.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

It is clear that Blair needs to distance himself from the charge of poodleism vis-a-vis the US. Thus the report reinforces the British conceit that they can provide a civilized example to the American armed forces, with the hope that the wild Americans will temper their conduct towards the Iraqis accordingly.

In other words, an attempt to justify a difficult policy position. Luckily Americans are so used to being painted the bogeyman in European politics that the report didn't even elicit any kind of a backlash.

Whatever. In the end, I do hope Blair will win, since he has proven himself a worthy ally, and having a Labourite as an ally is a plus. However, the significance of the timing of the report cannot be denied.

And how can I be anti-European when I am European, myself?

4:41 PM  
Anonymous TA said...

You keep going on about a "report" as if we are talking about some official govt. report. In my original post I said "reports" as in news reports, and this was weeks ago I can't remember where exactly I read it - indeed I listen to a lot of radio so I might have heard it on BBC World or NPR and not read it at all - but anyway there is no one mythical Report that you are turning into evidence of some dastardly British anti-American plot. A national poll in the UK recently suggested that Iraq was 14th place in a list of voters priorities. Blair can't distance himself from Bush and isn't trying to - he's just not discussing foreign policy because very few people who count are going to be voting on that.

"And how can I be anti-European when I am European, myself?"

Don't worry - your summons to appear before the House Committee on Un-European activities will be arriving soon, where you will be expected to implicate all your Un-European friends if you don't want to face the ultimate penalty - being made to memorise the entire EU aquis communitaire!!! HA Ha ha ha (evil laugh...)

5:00 PM  

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