Top Leaderboard, Site wide
October 24, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!








Truthdig Bazaar
Hard Road West

Hard Road West

By Keith Heyer Meldahl
$16.50

more items

 
Report

The Lose-Lose War

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Jun 14, 2007
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi

(Page 2)

Harris: Excuse me for being perhaps myopic, but I have to ask, because I was taught to clean up a mess when I was a kid: You spill the milk, you clean it up.

Wasfi: Uh-huh.

Harris: Would you prefer that we clean up the mess, that the American government work with Iraqis, work with the people, as they are doing perhaps now, to clean up the mess, or would you just like them to just drop their hats and leave? 

Wasfi: Well, there’s a concept of Americans working with people.  The reality is: if we had the capacity to do so.  But we have no credibility in the region.  Iraqis are very well educated.  They know we supplied both sides, both Iraq and Iran, during that eight-year war.  They know that it was primarily the United States and Great Britain that perpetrated the Gulf War, which destroyed their infrastructure.  They know that the sanctions imposed by the U.N. were driven by the United States and Great Britain.  They know that the United States and Great Britain are responsible for the [inaudible] invasion, the subsequent occupation, the Abu Ghraib scandal, the destruction of their country.  So we have no credibility there, any more than the Gestapo had a role in rebuilding Poland.  The reality is, it’s not the you-broke-it-you-fix-it analogy, but it’s like a bull in the china shop.  Is the bull going to stay until all the china is fixed?  Or should we let the owners of the shop take it into their own hands?  Iraq’s future is in the hands of the Iraqi people, and nobody else, and we have got to get out.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
Harris: We’re talking, again, to Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, who’s certainly outspoken on this issue.

Wasfi: Let me tell you how I really feel.

Harris: Which she’s going to do.  But I don’t know that we can sell that one to the American public, that we just leave and let them sort it out.  It’s either that we don’t believe in Iraqis enough that they can do this, or we believe, as you suggested, that there’s other goods to be gotten in Iraq.

Wasfi: There is an element of white man’s burden in that.  “How will these people wander through the desert and survive without us?”  The reality is that Iraq is the cradle of civilization.  The ancestors of the people who live in modern-day Iraq developed the first system of writing, the basis of mathematics, law, science and medicine.  This is 7,000 years of civilization accomplished without the help of Americans.  This country [the United States] has less than 300 years of history.  Iraq has over 7,000.  Who needs whose help?  The reality is that they are more than capable.  Don’t forget that, like, five years ago, we were terrified of what they were capable of doing to us, and now they can’t move forward without our guidance.  That’s a misconception.  If you can tell me how American teenagers with M-16s and hand grenades can improve Iraqi society, I’m willing to listen.  But they’ve had over four years now, and the death and destruction and chaos and misery is increasing every day.  It’s enough.  Seventy-two percent of the American troops serving in Iraq in 2006 said, “Bring us home by the end of the year.”  Eighty-two percent of the Iraqi people want us out, and the majority of the American people are unhappy with how things are going.  Bring the troops home.

Scheer: I think James brings us to, absolutely, the key problem.  We start with Vietnam.  After all, it took us a long time to get out of Vietnam.  One could argue it took a decade to get out of Vietnam after everyone knew we should get out.  And there is what Graham Greene, the great novelist, describes as the “quiet American problem,” the assumption that somehow we are always the good guys, we’re always part of the solution.  So we make mistakes, we stumble, but they are mistakes, and our intentions are always good.  And yet we see that occupation brings about a different personality.  Occupation brings about brutality and terror.  Torture.  It pits you against the population.  You aren’t any longer the good guys.  And I wonder if you saw that happening in Basra, for instance, which, after all, was a place that was very anti-Saddam Hussein.  What happened to our reconstruction efforts?  This is really the model.  You could say, “Well, we should stay.”  But the fact is, we’ve been there for a long time.  We’ve spent at least $400 billion.  That’s a lot of money.  What did you see in terms of rebuilding hospitals, getting the water going ... ?  What will change in the next four months that didn’t change in the previous four years?

Wasfi: Exactly.  Nothing has changed.

Scheer: But what did you see?  Because you had a vantage point that most of us don’t have.  You went to visit your relatives.  You saw the country.  You are a medically trained person who visited hospitals and so forth.  Why don’t you take us there?  The average person in this country, as well-intentioned as they may be, they have a hard time, even today, finding Iraq on the map.  They don’t know anything about the history.  They certainly don’t know anything about the language.  You have some feeling for this country.  Maybe you could tell us something about it.

Wasfi: In comparison, I had two visits.  One for three weeks in 2004 and then one for three months in 2006.  In 2004 I was able to visit Baghdad.  By the time 2006 had come around—again, the April siege of Fallujah, killing 600 to 800 civilians, the Abu Ghraib scandal had come to light, the November siege of Fallujah that killed between 6,000 and 8,000 civilians.  This was the anti-American sentiment skyrocketing, and it continues to be like that to this day.  So I could not even get to that part of the country.  It was too dangerous. 

But in the south, again, the atmosphere. ...  There’s a lack of order.  And what you know is, you might leave the house in the morning and you might get killed during the day, but you don’t know who will be the shooter.  Will it be a militia?  Will it be a member of the “coalition of the willing”?  Will it be a random criminal act?  This is the status of Iraq today, which is why 92 percent—they just did a poll: 92 percent of Iraqis have the mentality that they will die in the violence. 

I noticed when I was in Basra in 2004, we had electricity for almost all the day except for maybe one or two hours.  I went back two years later, and we had maybe two to four hours of electricity, but the rest is a blackout.  I went in the winter.  It is now summer in Iraq.  The temperature will get to be between 120 and 130 degrees.  There are soldiers dying of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  And in Basra you have ... they are on the water, the Shatt al-Arab [river], so the humidity comes in off of there, and my family does not have the electricity to run a ceiling fan, let alone an air conditioner.  These daily aspects of life in the middle of the desert are unbelievable in a [U.S.] society where I take 24 hours of electricity and potable water from the tap—I take that for granted.  But daily life [in Iraq] is a struggle.  It is unbearable.  And when your focus is, “Can I get the water while the electricity is on?  Can we go shower?  Can I take care of the wash while the electricity is on?” this takes your attention away from more academic pursuits.  We saw an intellectual embargo during the sanctions when we would not allow any journals into the country.  We see this.  The destruction of Iraqi society now.  Eight hundred thousand children, it’s estimated, are not in school because of the violence or because of the poverty, that the kids are selling Kleenex or small items on the street to make money for the family.  It is an unmitigated tragedy.  And the real tragedy is that Iraq is sitting on the biggest, perhaps the biggest resources of black gold that there are in the world.  That’s the cash cow right there. 

Scheer: I want to ask you about stereotyping people.  Because, in less flattering circumstances, the Iraqis are referred to by American troops and others—not all of them, but by some—as “sand niggers,” “towel heads,” what have you, the whole characterization. 

Wasfi: I can get that in Colorado.


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By ardee, July 19, 2007 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

I too, regardless of motivation , would pull out if being bombed….wouldnt you?

Most of the corruption involved with UN aid seems to occur at the site of the aid and by the indigenous folks there rather than by UN personnel. But people are people and one doesnt or shouldnt give up on the right course of action because of human frailty.

Report this

By dantinak, July 19, 2007 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Ardee, you make an excellent suggestion if only the UN were able to do this.  They are one of the most scandalous organizations in the world.  Remember oil for food program in Iraq?  Weren’t they the ones who pulled out entirely when they were bombed in 2004 I believe?  They have done nothing with Sudan and are so gripped with corruption that the chances they will be worse for Iraq are very high.  Just like in Lebanon I don’t see a whole lot of multinational forces willing to put their troops in harms way.

You really do make a good point and if the UN was working the way it should they would be the go to folks.

Report this

By ardee, July 18, 2007 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

#87607 by dantinak on 7/17 at 10:22 pm
(14 comments total)

I agree it is a mess.  I only ask you to remember that Viet Nam was a mess also and when we left there was a huge blood letting.  I firmly feel the same will happen when we leave Iraq.  I am not saying America was right or wrong in what has gone on in Iraq, at this point it really doesn’t matter, we are there. 

So we can complain all we want to about what America has or has not done in the past, that is easy. 

The hard part is will you go out on a limb and say what we should do in the future? Should we leave?  And if we do and genocide erupts what then?  Should we stay and continue to be looked at as occupiers, thus fueling the fire?

We made the mess so we must clean it up? OK, but can it be done with military force or must we pay for our destruction with reconstruction?

Ho Chi Minh once appealed to Truman for aide against the French occupiers. Truman responded by helping the French, look where that led…...

Here is my solution. Give the mess over to the UN. They will install a blue helmeted force comprised, for the most part, of muslim troops, both Sunni and Shia. The US gives over to Iraqi firms, money and equipment to be used to restore clean water and electricity to Baghdad, to build and equip hospitals, to undo the damage we have created, all based, by the way, on a proven lie.

Jobs, homes, hospitals and a future will take care of the threat of islamofascism. Iraq is rich in oil, if only we stop stealing it from them.

Report this

By dantinak, July 17, 2007 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

I agree it is a mess.  I only ask you to remember that Viet Nam was a mess also and when we left there was a huge blood letting.  I firmly feel the same will happen when we leave Iraq.  I am not saying America was right or wrong in what has gone on in Iraq, at this point it really doesn’t matter, we are there. 

So we can complain all we want to about what America has or has not done in the past, that is easy. 

The hard part is will you go out on a limb and say what we should do in the future? Should we leave?  And if we do and genocide erupts what then?  Should we stay and continue to be looked at as occupiers, thus fueling the fire?

When we left southeast Asia, the world just ignored it.  The world was tired of war and death.  That is why Pol Pot murdered millions of Cambodians and no one cared.  That is why millions of good South Vietnamese were killed, and no one cared.  After enough killing everything calmed, is that the only answer?  For America to pull out and let the blood bath really begin? 

I sure don’t know, do you?

Report this

By cyrena, July 9, 2007 at 2:19 am Link to this comment

Comment#83768 by dantinak on 7/03 at 8:34 pm
(12 comments total)

I don’t think when we bring the troops home the killing will stop.  When we left Viet Nam another one million Vietnamese were killed after the North took over.  It is easy to blame all the world’s problems on America.  It is harder to look yourself in the face and realize that in Iraq there are some really radical people who don’t give a damn about anything but their view and they will kill for it.  America didn’t create this, it has always been there, in every country.  Some country’s keep them under control and some country’s just go to crap.  The answers you search for go deeper than blame America.  When you owning your own country’s problems maybe you can start fixing them

On this one Danika, I have to respectfully, but passionately disagree. For the conflict -this huge region turned into a raging inferno- is ONLY the fault of America.

I think Ardee pointed out that the U.S. long supported Saddam Hussein, and even PROVIDED the chemical weapons that he used on his own people, while our guys (same ones at the time-rumsfeld, cheney, the iran-contra folks, etc)

This invasion of Iraq, (as well as Iran) was planned long ago, really before they even took power. Unfortunately, they expected it to be an easy takeover, and it just hasn’t gone according to plans, because of the routine incompetence and hubris. The REAL agenda, from the beginning, was to go in and colonize Iraq, and set up an American Kingdom there, similar to the one that the U.S built for Saudi Arabia, back in the 1970’s, and the Families of Saud and Bush have been chummy ever since
Anyway, that has been the reason for the Iraq attack, to permanently occupy the place as as a military force to both dominate the region, as well as to suck that oil out of the ground as fast as they possibly can. This involved setting up a malleable puppet government, (that they could cut in on the deal, under the table of sorts) and figured that it would all work out. They’ve written the oil draft law and the new Constitution for the Iraqis long ago, and have been shoving that draft down their throats (or trying to) for over a year. It’s now been through yet another amendment, and forced again through Maliki’s cabinet, (but then they agreed to the first draft) but it STILL has to get through the Iraqi PEOPLE,(the Parliament) and they aren’t having it, because it is a jacked-up draft that robs them of everything, for the next 30 years at least. And, they would never survive that long.

So, the people have resisted. You can call them “radicals” or you can call them “insurgents” (since that’s how they were commonly referred to in the early years of the occupation) or you can call them just about anything. But, the bottom line is that they are the people of that nation, and it’s their oil, and they know that we have come there to take it, and privatize it on behalf of well….the usual culprits, Halliburton, The Carlyle Group, BP, and any of the other transnationals that the neocons are connected with. So, they’ve been “resisting” all along, and of course the added confusion is what has allowed the “criminal” and “terrorists” elements to come in and thrive.  The Mob should have planned on that, but, of course they didn’t. They never gave a single thought to what the people of that nation might want for themselves, because of course they didn’t care. Cheney didn’t go there to “bargain” or set up arrangements to BUY their stuff at a fair price, but rather to simply TAKE it.

And, that’s why we’re still there. Those “insurgents” have kept us from getting to as much of the oil as we plan to take. AND, the Iraqis still won’t sign it all over to them.

(at least not yet they haven’t.) And, they’ll just keep fighting us, for as long as we’re there.
They’ve been calling for a time-line for our full withdrawal, for over 2 years now. But Maliki won’t do it, because Cheney has the sword at his neck. What a mess.

Report this

By Stan Goff, July 8, 2007 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What Dr. Wasfi is telling us is the most important truth currently being buried by a sycophant media, with the shameless collusion of politicians from both parties.

The United States will leave Iraq.  As the father of two members of the US Army, I hope it will be because the majority party take seriously the message that the last election gave them… and leave… now.  But they won’t, and we know it. The people of the United States are no more sovereign than the Iraqi people.  We both now have the facade of high-dollar managed elections to legitimate US power exercised by a US ruling class.  I hate to say it, but it looks more and more like the Saigon scenario will be the way out.  The moratorium may be the next step; but the surrender of even a scintilla of control of that oil to the (gasp!) Iranians, Syrians, and all those other awful brown people (who would negotiate with us in a hot minute, given a real chance) seems to so terrify our resident capitalists and their political water-carriers that they are willing to bathe in the blood of others to prevent this outcome.

Both the Iraqis and the US will be better off when it is over… no matter how.

The US will end the occupation.  All that remains now is to determine the final cost.

Report this

By ardee, July 6, 2007 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

#83768 by dantinak on 7/03 at 8:34 pm
(12 comments total)

I don’t think when we bring the troops home the killing will stop.  When we left Viet Nam another one million Vietnamese were killed after the North took over.  It is easy to blame all the world’s problems on America.  It is harder to look yourself in the face and realize that in Iraq there are some really radical people who don’t give a damn about anything but their view and they will kill for it.  America didn’t create this, it has always been there, in every country.  Some country’s keep them under control and some country’s just go to crap.  The answers you search for go deeper than blame America.  When you owning your own country’s problems maybe you can start fixing them.

This is an inaccurate view of violence around the world, one that avoids the hard work of research and thought. Prior to the invasion of Iraq the Ba’athist Party ruled that nation. Its ruler was a tyrant who engaged in torture of many and represented a minority of the population there. Yet there was, all in all, a buffer to the ambitions of AlQaeda, there were no islamofascists in Iraq.

Those you characterise as “really radical people” are there only because we removed the one man who kept them out, Sadaam Hussein. That he was an unfit ruler is not debatable, but I would note that we support many such tyrants and torturers as it suits our interests. It is said that the winners writethe history books, and if those “really radical people” win they will call themselves freedom fighters and liberators.

Many such hot spots around the world are in reaction to the Wests involvement in their governments in order to create a stable environment in which to do business, thus bandying about such epithets should be withheld until you study each individual case.

Report this

By aileench, July 5, 2007 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While the U.S. government and media keep focusing on defense policies and the war in Iraq, 1.2 billion people in the world continue surviving on less than $1 dollar a day. We should not forget the committment the U.S. made towards the U.N. Millennium Goals (a pact of ending extreme world hunger by the year 2025) in 2000. According to The Borgen Project, an annual $19 billion dollars is needed to end world hunger by the year 2025. To my sense, it is almost unacceptable to have spent so far more than $340 billion in Iraq only, when we have more than war immunities to change the world and eliminate poverty.

Report this

By Abe D, July 4, 2007 at 3:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is darn hard to believe that one who destroys a whole country of 7000 years of history and looks upon wide scale civilian casualty as collateral damage inevitable to achieve specific military goals is after that interested in the welfare of that devastated society. So that someone is not leaving now because of concern that “one who breaks it must fix it?!” It is even harder for left-over traumatized families of that society to believe that either. But we are not even there yet. We have not even admitted that we broke it to claim that we need to fix it. We continue to boast about our success in Iraq by vacuous slogans like “mission accomplished,” and our future plans to widen the conflict in the region by attacking Iran in order to accomplish the “accomplished mission!” and appease our Israeli idols. Someone knows well that our continued overstay in Iraq will not fix what we broke, but someone also has decided that our elite oil interest is worth the trouble, and that an ongoing war is the best market for our elite interest. Let’s grab as much cheap oil as possible, at the same time we continue to buy our gasoline at home for high prices, and let’s give the industrial military complex what it needs in profit for the next fifty years. After all who cares about the serfs whether Iraqis or Americans? Long Live Capitalism and Death to all Serfs Anywhere They Exist!

Report this

By dantinak, July 3, 2007 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think when we bring the troops home the killing will stop.  When we left Viet Nam another one million Vietnamese were killed after the North took over.  It is easy to blame all the world’s problems on America.  It is harder to look yourself in the face and realize that in Iraq there are some really radical people who don’t give a damn about anything but their view and they will kill for it.  America didn’t create this, it has always been there, in every country.  Some country’s keep them under control and some country’s just go to crap.  The answers you search for go deeper than blame America.  When you owning your own country’s problems maybe you can start fixing them.

Report this

By lawlessone, June 29, 2007 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The exact figures are a little hard to confirm, but it certainly looks like the number of US troops killed from the initial invasion of Iraq through Saddam’s toppling was only a few hundred.  Even counting all the deaths back home on 9/11 itself, the combined total is still less than we have lost since the occupation/pacification of Iraq started dragging into infinity. 

  The comparison between our pre and post occupation losses is even more pronounced if we count all casualties including mental problems, not just the deaths.  Once we start looking at dollar figure drains on our treasury and economy from just conquering versus sticking around for “peace keeping” and “nation building,” the adverse cost comparison becoming truly staggering.

  What that suggests is we should pull out immediately and say we will be back if they ever try anything again we don’t like such as looking at us cross-eyed. (After all, since they didn’t really have anything to do with 9/11 or have the nukes we thought, it must have been the Saddam’s sneer that justified invading). 

  It certainly calls into question the thinking of those who insist we must stay to keep them from attacking us later.  Haven’t any of those geniuses who got us into this mess and want to keep us there ever heard of that quaint concept called cost/benefit analysis?

[more irreverence at resistence-is-possible.blogspot.com]

Report this

By Mstessyrue, June 28, 2007 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can’t agree with this article more over the fact that this war is a lose-lose situation.  And American troops must pull out now to prevent more death, violence and poverty.  We must also look beyond our lives as Americans. We—as members of the global community—face common problems and must work together as a world community to fight them. According to the Borgen Project, whose goal is also to eliminate world poverty, it takes $19 billion dollars annually to end world hunger.  The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, which call for cutting world hunger in half by 2015 and eliminating it altogether by 2025, are a good place to start thinking and acting with a global mindset.  The US is one of the nations that pledge to end world povert.  In a time when the United States’ current defense budget is $522 billion, the goal of eradicating world hunger is clearly well within reach if we act together as one world.

Report this

By cyrena, June 27, 2007 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

Well Ardee,

Actually, I’m very familiar with the ethnic and religious breakdown of the Middle East population. I’ve studied under some of the best, I’m proud to say.

And YES, when we first did the invasion and the attack over 4 years ago, it WAS the Sunni minority that did the “insurging”. And yes, it was because Paul Bremer and company had done such an incredibly stupid thing, by dissolving not only the remaining parts of the Iraq Army, but also the Baath Party, because that was most, (not all) of their bureaucratic stucture. (Though we shouldn’t forget that Saddam OBVIOUSLY had many Shia in his parliament as well.)

And yes, the Shia of Iraq had long been oppressed by Saddam, though they were generally free to go about their secular activities without a hassle. Saddam prevented them from participating in their own religious traditions, because this major oppression was the only way for a minority to maintain that kind of power of a majority population. However, I will repeat that Iraq is the cradle of civilization, and that it’s society was NOT fighting between themselves prior to this invasion, and their COMBINED interests at this point, (as they have been for the past few years) is to simply repel the US occupation. So yeah, it started out with just the Sunni “insurgents” targeting our troops, and once Sadr had the space to bring his nationalist agenda to the fore, these groups have since made their mutual priority to kill Americans. The ordinary population of Iraq also feels very strongly that the US is to blame for their internal strife, and the facts on the ground speak for themselves.

My own problem was your insistance on this 1400 year old religious schism being the reason for it all, and that’s not so. It also doesn’t sound like you listened to the entire interview, because she explained the very drastic changes in the situation there, between her visits. (which might not have been included in the transcript, because the transcriptis a partial one).

So, what you refer to as her “rosie view” was not so much “rosie” as it was the truth for that area, and for the time period that we’re talking about.

I have spoken with many professional Iraqi women who have had the courage to leave there to travel to the US, to try to give us the “real story” there. It has been a constant flow of beggings and pleadings from these women, to us here, to PLEASE LEAVE. This has been going on for 2 years now. They just keep saying…PLEASE LEAVE. They were initially glad to see the likes of Saddam out of power, only to quickly find themselves occupied by forces even worse.

To assume that they wouldn’t be adopting a more and more nationalist outlook, just to join forces to repel the common enemy, is overlooking the obvious.

Report this

By ardee, June 27, 2007 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

#81807 by cyrena on 6/27 at 11:22 am
(148 comments total)

81708 by ardee on 6/27 at 5:02 am

cyrena

My comments were directed, not at Dahlia, though I question her rosy view of relations between the two factions granting that such peaceful interaction was her experience and wish it were more universal. My response was to a comment I felt was disengenous, one by Paolo, which related experiences that I thought fanciful.

I would offer that the Baathist government of Iraq, comprised of the minority faction and ruling with dictatorial ruthlessness, kept an artificial peace until overthrown by the USA.. Most of the violence in Iraq (over 90% of attacks on American troops) is coming from the Sunni faction there.  What we see now is a revenge of the majority against the minority that held all the power. I would also note that it may very well be this divisiveness within the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia being chiefly Sunni, Iraq chiefly Shia, which keeps the nations from interceding in the Palestinian/Israeli problem.
Below please find links to the escalating and spreading violence between Sunni and Shia:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7332087
Speaks to an escalation of violence between the two parties.

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1462&fuseaction=topics.event_summary&event_id=231933
The violence between the two sects spreads to Pakistan

http://www.dogpile.com/info.dogpl/search/web/a+history+of+sunni+shia+violence/1/-/1/-/-/-/1/-/-/-/1/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/417/top/-/-/-/1

A raft more links to the subject.

Report this

By cyrena, June 27, 2007 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

81708 by ardee on 6/27 at 5:02 am

you wrote this:
•  “The above is such utter nonsense and trivialises a very real schism in the Islamic world, one that has been ongoing for over a thousand years. Real solutions require real information, not made up nonsense. The difference between the Shia and Sunni sects has to do with the succession to Mohammed and is a very important issue in that world.”

I have to take issue with you on this one Ardee, because in reality, Dahlia’s real time assessment is much better than yours. The “differences” between Sunni and Shia are being exaggerated by this conflict, because in reality, they were NOT fighting with each other before. Besides that, while they may have ALWAYS had a difference in dogma as to the succession of Mohammad, it has created no greater a “schism” between the two groups than any “schism” between Catholics and Protestants, or followers of Luther or the Mormons of the Latter-Day-Saints, or Evangelists, or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any number of Christianity’s off-shoots. While there are certainly far more “splinters” and subsets in Christianity than there are in the Muslim traditions of Islam, it too has its subsets or “sects” which includes the extremists (crazies) represented in each.

For example, the more or less “wing-nuts” of Islam (and generally most feared by the MAJORITY of Muslims), are the Wahabbis. They are generally Sunni’s, but they subscribe to an insane interpretation of Islam, and for the most part, they are the types that make up the original leadership of al-Qaeda. These crazies are NOT representative of all Sunni Muslims, and they don’t like them any better than the Shi’ite do.

So, what I’m saying is that the differences in main-steam and moderate Sunni and Shia aren’t any bigger than the differences between Catholics and Protestants. They have Sunni Mosques and they have Shi’ite Mosques, just like we have Catholic and Protestant Churches, and we have Jewish Synagogues, and Buddhist Temples, and whatever else. They do have different religious holidays and some different customs that are slightly different from tribe to tribe or sect to sect. But, the bottom line is that they’ve pretty much worked out those centuries old quarrels about the succession, in the modern world and Iraq in particular, was the most secular among those Muslim nations.

So, nobody is trivializing it, because it doesn’t matter what we think about their relationships with each other. Or, it shouldn’t be our business to judge that. In real time, this sectarian violence has been prompted by the introduction of the al-Qaeda element, that was never allowed space to operate in the reign of Saddam. So, I believe the opposite is true in this case, when it’s been US, outsiders, the West, who are making a bigger catastrophe out of their doctrinal differences than what they really are. And, I think that’s been very intentional. I think there has been a concerted effort on the part of the Cheney propaganda machine, to place all the blame for the destruction of Iraq - - ON the IRAQIS, and they can just say that those crazy people don’t have any better sense than to fight each other over some gigantic religious rift that has gone on for 1400 years, and so they’re just always gonna do that.

And, I’m suggesting that would be wrong. That was not the case in Iraq prior to the invasion, occupation, and destruction of their human and social infrastructure. And, as Dahlia points out in this interview, the sectarian violence didn’t break out in Iraq until 3 years into the occupation and destruction. They had been under siege for a long time, and the bombing of that Mosque in Samarra was the match that fired it up.

Prior to that, they managed well enough at the mainsteam level, frequently marrying each other and certainly occupying the same neighborhoods in many regions all over Iraq.

Report this

By ardee, June 27, 2007 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

In the interest of factuality:

“I have spoken to many salt-of-the-earth Muslims (not political leaders—just regular people). They say the same thing. I have asked them what are the differences between Shia and Sunni Islam. They point out some differences in prayer ritual and interpretation of Islamic law, but are quick to point out that these are minor differences. They often say, “so long as they are Muslim, I don’t care if they are Shi’ite or Sunni.”

American and Israeli efforts to “divide and conquer,” however, have been successful so far. If the Iraqi people ever wake up and realize they’re fighting over some pretty minor stuff, and focus their anger on the occupying imperial army of the US—look out.”

The above is such utter nonsense and trivialises a very real schism in the Islamic world, one that has been ongoing for over a thousand years. Real solutions require real information, not made up nonsense. The difference between the Shia and Sunni sects has to do with the succession to Mohammed and is a very important issue in that world.

If we are to effect peaceful solutions we need to deal with real facts and understand the importance of other peoples issues.

Report this

By aileench, June 26, 2007 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While the U.S. government and media keep focusing on defense policies and the war in Iraq, 1.2 billion people in the world continue surviving on less than $1 dollar a day. We should not forget the commitment the U.S. made towards the U.N. Millennium Goals (a pact of ending extreme world hunger by the year 2025) in 2000. According to The Borgen Project, an annual $19 billion dollars is needed to end world hunger by the year 2025. To my sense, it is almost unacceptable to have spent so far more than $340 billion in Iraq only, when we have more than war immunities to change the world and eliminate poverty.

Report this

By cyrena, June 23, 2007 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

Oh Humble servant….that you are. Do they pay you to post stuff from the White House news room? Stuff that nobody with any wires connected can believe?

The lie about Saddam and weapons was proven before we even invaded. George still claims that Saddam refused inspections, and refused all else, when in fact we KNOW that Saddam had abandoned any and all nuclear ambitions back in the mid 90’s. We also KNOW that he DID allow inspections, and that his paperwork was in order with the U.N. We also KNOW that the war on Iraq is totally illegal because Colin Powell failed to get an approval, KNEW that he wouldn’t get an approval, (because both France and China were ready to veto it) and so…Colin Powell eventually withdrew his request, and the bush Mob went to war and on to occupation without it.

I have a paper that I’ve recently put together that will line up the sources for you, with all of the appropriate documentation, dates, etc, etc. I’d be more than happy to send you a link. But, somehow, I don’t think you’d be interested.

Report this

By Mark in NY, June 22, 2007 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Please note I am totally against us being in Iraq, and agree we should be out of there, like, yesterday.  I just find it hard to credit the assertion there’d be no reason for Shia/Sunni strife without our being there.

Amen to the debunking of the lies in the resolution to invade.  None of those points were close to being true, as has been decisively proven numerous times.  Anyone who continues to quote that nonsense is either ignorant or disingenuous.

Report this

By Rollphil, June 21, 2007 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Excuse my date errors again.  The Stuart News paper I was referring to was dated Jun.21st and the soldiers killed were on Jun. 20th.  Nothing in their paper about it but as I pointed out, the front page was devoted to a wealthy home being built.  Sorry for the date errors.

Report this

By Rollphil, June 21, 2007 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please correct my recent post to read 8 deaths in Iraq on Wed. not 15.

Report this

By Rollphil, June 21, 2007 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do you know what’s wrong in this country about dealing with the war?  Today (June 20th) the Stuart News in Stuart, Fl.(a republican county) printed a story and pics of Celine Dion’s new home being built in Jupiter,Fl.  It took up a big part of the first page and yet this paper did not print ANYTHING about the 15 soldiers killed the day before.  No wonder the public is ignorant about whats going on.

Report this

By GW=MCHammered, June 21, 2007 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now there’s a passionate, veracious, good looking human I could vote for (most political hominian are brackish clones).

Dr. Dahlia Wasfi for president!

Report this

By Tess, June 20, 2007 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I absolutely agrees with Dr. Dahlia Wasfi who recognizes there is a need to put a stop to the funding and continuation of the war in Iraq.  All $350 billion dollars that has so far has been poured in this meaningless war can be used in other national and global issues that can ultimately eliminate violence and the “necessity of war.” 

According to the Borgen Project, which aims at reducing global poverty, an annual spending of $19 billion dollars can prevent a year of world hunger.  Hunger and poverty cause rise in several problems in this world such as disease, violence and poor education.  By reducing a fundamental problem such as poverty, we can prevent the use of violence as well as increase the economy of a country in poverty and our own.

It is time to bring our troops home and end this war.  It is time to give our attention to something that desperately needs it, world poverty.

Report this

By Rik, June 18, 2007 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The truth of the matter is that the US has for the past century been involved in many clandestine operations strictly for regional control,wealth or both….the citizens of this country need to educate themselves as to our true history and only then will we be able to view ourselves as what we are…opportunistic bullies

Report this

By Mudwollow, June 18, 2007 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

#78115 by Crimson Ghost on 6/14 at 5:21 pm

“The totality of what the US has done to Iraq—helping Saddam come to power in the 1970s, encouraging him to attack Iran in 1980 at a huge cost in blood for both sides, the Gulf War, genocidal sanctions, and finally the Bush invasion— constitutes one of the greatest war crimes in human history.”

Well yes… But it’s all been for a good cause. OIL.

Report this

By ardee, June 16, 2007 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

Can you possibly be this dumb? Humble servant of whom exactly, it certainly serves our nation ill to be so abysmally ignorant of fact:

Not allowing weapons’ inspections. LIE
A threat to National Security WHOSE and HOW?
Hostility towards America NOT A CRIME JACKOFF
Support of al Qaida A BLATANT LIE LONG AGO DISPROVEN BEYOND DOUBT
Oppression of the Iraqi people YOU MEAN LIKE NOW BY US? Besides not a single one of the above legally entitles this nation to invade them…...but whats the rule of law to such a cretin as you.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, June 16, 2007 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Dr. Wasfi says:

So the reality is, if you ask my cousins, they will tell you ...  if you ask them, “Are you Sunni or Shia?” they will tell you, “I am Iraqi.”

I have spoken to many salt-of-the-earth Muslims (not political leaders—just regular people). They say the same thing. I have asked them what are the differences between Shia and Sunni Islam. They point out some differences in prayer ritual and interpretation of Islamic law, but are quick to point out that these are minor differences. They often say, “so long as they are Muslim, I don’t care if they are Shi’ite or Sunni.”

American and Israeli efforts to “divide and conquer,” however, have been successful so far. If the Iraqi people ever wake up and realize they’re fighting over some pretty minor stuff, and focus their anger on the occupying imperial army of the US—look out.

Report this

By Humble Servant, June 16, 2007 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

When will liberals stop lying about why we went to war.  Here is a link to the Joint Resolution that Democrats voted for.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html

Please note, there are other reasons for the war.

Not allowing weapons’ inspections.
A threat to National Security
Hostility towards America
Support of al Qaida
Oppression of the Iraqi people

I know, I know. I should not confuse you with the facts, since you already have made up your mind.

Thank you for allowing me to interrupt your America-bashing, terrorist-supporting discussions.

As always,
Your Humble Servant

Report this

By THOMAS BILLIS, June 16, 2007 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a maxim"do not expect a man to believe something when his paycheck depends on him not believing it.“Cheneys paycheck, oil ,depended on him not believing anything that would have precluded an attack on Iraq.Cheney did not care whether Iraq had WMDs or not it was whether they could convince the American people or not.Point how far did they go to investigate the claim that Niger was selling yellowcake to Iraq?They never looked at the message Joe Wilson delivered they went to kill the messenger because it stood in the way of the narrative they were trying to sell.Forget all the bullshit it is OIL OIL OIL.

Report this

By Secular, June 15, 2007 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

Suppose everybody in the USA started flying more and more kites, with a tail banner spelling out just one word:

I M P E A C H

Report this

By Secular, June 15, 2007 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

What if everybody in the USA started flying more and more kites, with a tail banner spelling out just one word:

I M P E A C H

Report this

By Enemy of State, June 15, 2007 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Whatever Cheney’s motives may have been, I personally detest the man. He was clearly motivated by a long term obsession with regime change. Allowing decision making to be so affected is a sufficient crime in my book for the most severe penalities. Any reasonable look at the evidence would have caused any reasonable leader to wait until the inspection process could be properly evaluated. Had that happened, we wouldn’t have invaded. That would have been politically very damaging to the
administration, moving a vast invasion fleet into place, then not going through with it is not an easy thing to do.

  Just because its not an easy thing to do is no excuse, these guys wanted the job, that includes taking serious responsibility, as well as the power to carry out agendas.

Report this

By ardee, June 15, 2007 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

The evidence is Cheney actually believed there were WMD. I think these folks largely convinced themselves, as well as the majority of the country. Fearmongering doesn’t often lead to clear thinking.

Clear thinking is not promoted by unsupportable assumption either. Yours, that Cheney sincerely believed that the mythic WMD’s existed is weakened by the fact that he and the Vulcan Group planned this invasion in the eighties and by his refusal to heed the advice of those on the ground who knew there were no such weaponry, the UN folks who had searched and found naught.

That, prior to the invasion Cheney and the oil folks had already divided up Iraq’s oil fields, sends a much clearer message of intent than does your “heartfelt” belief in his sincerity.

Report this

By Enemy of State, June 14, 2007 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

Billy;
  The statement was some sensible, some crazy. So you quote the crazy ones. Even the seemingly sensible ones were unrealistic, which makes them dangerous.

  The evidence is Cheney actually believed there were WMD. I think these folks largely convinced themselves, as well as the majority of the country. Fearmongering doesn’t often lead to clear thinking.

Report this

By eileen.padberg@cox.net, June 14, 2007 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Dr. Dahlia Wasfi.  I have been saying the same thing for two years.  Scheer seems surprised. The media is partly to fault for not providing an honest assessment of what is happening - then of course, our own government - ugh.  Americans don’t have a chance!

Report this

By Enemy of State, June 14, 2007 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

We need to be careful to not get carried away by our (very real, and very bruised) emotions. The war had multiple causes, some sensible, some batshit crazy, some more important than others. I’ll list a few that come to mind:

-> WMD: Despite the fact there weren’t any, quite a few people actually believed they were.

-> Sanctions/WMD: The sanctions were preventing Saddam from rebuilding the WMD, but were unsustainable. The fear was that once the sanctions ended, he would quickly rebuild.  The sanctions were also causing severe problems for the Iraqi people.

-> Oil:  If Iraq would become a normal country, its oil exports would dramatically increase, easing the worldwide supply problem. This has obviously completely backfired!

-> Oil: It was promised that the members of the “coalition of the willing” would get first (only?) dibs on the business of
rebuilding/maintaining the oil infrastructure. Not stealing the oil, but lucrative contracts for companies from the participating countries. Similarly for the countries non-oil infrastructure, promises of profitable contracts.

-> Promote democracy: A lot of neo-cons thought this could be accomplished, and as a result the middle-east could follow the shining example of a way forward. Again this has worked in reverse.

-> Create a base for US power projection in this strategic region. The Korean model talk, makes me think they haven’t yet given up on this yet. It never made sense, as large US bases already exist in Kuwai, and Qatar. But I remember conservatives salivating over the prospects.

-> Stabilize a dangerous region.  This one really-really went in reverse.

-> War on terror: The conflation of bad guys from similar cultures, who hated us. It was easy to convince many Americans that Saddam was planning to help Al Qaeda give is a nasty surprise.

-> About once a decade knockover a small power, so others will be cowed into doing things your way. Yet another reason gone bad, with the US army in serious decline, other potential enemies know we are both weak, and tied down.

-> Frighten other members of the “axis of evil” into cooperating.  It did apparantly work woth Libya, but otherwise no.

-> Create a contracting bonaza for Halliburton, KBR, and Blachwater-Security, all of whom contribute heavily towards right-wing political causes.  This would seem to be about the only war aim that has been accomplished.

-> Relive Vietnam, but this time avoid the presumed mistakes, and actually win.  We are reliving it, but clearly haven’t learned anything.


  Now some reasons for why it went so horribly wrong.

-> No planning was allowed for other than the best case scenario. Apparently it was believed that the political damage from admitting things might not go swimingly was considered more important than prudent planning. In the military this would be a court-marshallable offense!

-> Political selection of leadership jobs: Only candidates who passed a rightwing litmus test were considered. A great many of them were fundamentalist wackos. Not the sort of people that have proved capable of managing well.

-> Allowing a culture of harsh interrogation to grow. Worse, the sort of statements coming from the top, actually abbeted this process. Once Abu Graib happened it was too late to regain the trust of the people.

-> Having allowed a mixture of some good, but many bad motivations to prevail in the first place.

-> Continuing to consider short term partisan political considerations to take precedence over doing the right thing.

-> Having virtually no understanding of the culture/language of the people we claimed to be trying to help. It was presumed that because we meant well (true for 99% of the soldiers) that was all that was required. Remember that saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

  So all of these things, and more have caused the terrible situation that Wasfi finds her countrymen in. Something like eight parts hubris, and two parts greed.

Report this

By Crimson Ghost, June 14, 2007 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

The totality of what the US has done to Iraq—helping Saddam come to power in the 1970s, encouraging him to attack Iran in 1980 at a huge cost in blood for both sides, the Gulf War, genocidal sanctions, and finally the Bush invasion— constitutes one of the greatest war crimes in human history.

Report this

By felicity, June 14, 2007 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

That article brought tears to my eyes:  From the untold suffering the Iraqi people are experiencing;  From the utter frustration and ultimate shame the American people are experiencing helpless to do anything to alleviate it.

Millions of people, Americans and Iraqis, are the victims of a few whose lust after power, whose greed, whose utter disregard for the suffering they are inflicting on other human beings are able to satisfy their lusts unstopped and unstoppable will mark the 21st century as one of the darkest periods in human history.

Report this

By QuyTran, June 14, 2007 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Just bring all troops home immediately everything will be ok. But Bush/Cheney and all their servants are blind, deaf, ambitious…They wanted to buy phantom glory with bloods.

Report this

By Mudwollow, June 14, 2007 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

The “liberation” of Iraq has been a catastrophic loss to all but the American military industrial complex. The military-industrial complex, those on Wall Street who benefit from it and the politicians who prostitute themselves for the crumbs tossed their way, all see this undeclared war in dollar signs.

“All the money you made will never buy back your soul” Bob Dylan

Report this

By ShockandAwe, June 14, 2007 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Our whole purpose in Iraq is to “Support the Troops!”

Now lets all keep our mouths shut and continue to Support the Troops.

Report this

By Jose Matthew, June 14, 2007 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Every thing said and done, why don’t you impeach your President, the cretin?

Report this

By ardee, June 14, 2007 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Some might call the comments of the Doctor “agendised” or even slanted. I do not but I prepare for the inevitability of the neocon attacks on individuals rather than discussing ideas and truths.

This is, in a nutshell, all that needs saying:

“Because the real reason for sending American kids in the military to kill and be killed was to control the oil, the resources of western Asia and in support of Israeli national security.  And from these angles, those are not selling points to the American people, but homeland security and the fear that was invoked in this nation following Sept. 11, that brought us to war. ”

Report this

By Hammo, June 14, 2007 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

But the invasion and occupation of Iraq is not totally “lose-lose.”

It is a “win” for Halliburton, war profiteers, mercenaries, Iran, terrorist recruiting, and those psuedo-patriots and chicken hawks who wave the flag while our troops and innocent civilians are killed and terribly injured.

More on this in the article . . .

“Iraq War Psychology: Exploring hearts and minds of U.S. officials, press, profiteers”

PopulistAmerica.com
Populist Party of America

http://www.populistamerica.com/iraq_war_psychology

Report this

By mediamouse.org, June 14, 2007 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Yet another testimonial that should encourage further protest and organizing from the progressive/left/democrat communities in the United States. While we debate ineffective “timetables,” Iraqis are repeatedly making it clear that they want the US out. So, let’s get organizing!

Report this

By Sang Ze, June 14, 2007 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What would it take to submit a petition to the congress and the president demanding that the U.S. troops leave Iraq? If enough U.S. voters signed, would the government be forced to act on it? There must be something tangible people can do about this sorry business. Since the voting booth is obviously not where one goes to bring about significant change, other measures must be taken.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 14, 2007 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

What is going on in Iraq is a the mad master plan of the Washington elite, some would call them neo-cons, I would call them much worse. These are compassionless beings, creatures motivated by greed and power, the two go together like death and destruction.  To these creatures the deaths of others are deaths of no concern. There is money to made and power to be had.

Report this

By Expat, June 14, 2007 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

What can any of us add to what Dr. Dahlia Wasfi has said?

The only thing I can think of is, “Get the hell out…NOW!

Report this

By namvet67, June 14, 2007 at 5:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is absolutely no way to justify our invasion of Iraq. Just as there is no way we should escape accountability for our actions. But sadly there will be no accountability for what we have done and are doing all over the world. Our imperialistic quests started with the Native American Indians and the Muslim world is now the current scapegoat.
Hoa binh

Report this
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.