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The Lose-Lose War

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Posted on Jun 14, 2007
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi

(Page 3)

Scheer: I understand quite well.  And in American movies—I remember Schwarzenegger was in a movie, I think it was “True Lies,” or something, where they said it wasn’t a violent movie because only Arabs died by the thousands. ...  I was going to ask you.  You bring a unique perspective to this because you are a child of two groups that have been viciously stereotyped on your maternal side.  You’re Jewish? 

Wasfi: Uh-huh. 

Scheer: Born in the United States . . . 

Wasfi: Uh-huh.

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Scheer: ... And yet on the other side you’re Arab.  And you’ve lived with these two stereotypes.  I wonder if you could describe how it plays out in terms of the media in the world, and so forth. 

Wasfi: It’s interesting because I actually—because of my coloring you cannot see my Ashkenazi roots.  I look more like my dad, and so I’ve tended to feel the struggle of the anti-Arab stereotypes.  In addition, while anti-Semitism can refer to either a stereotype against Jews or a stereotype against Arabs, the anti-immigrant sentiment is very high in this country.  Since 400 years of slavery the anti-black sentiment in this country is very high.  So any minority group is targeted for discrimination.  But the reality is, if we look in the media, is there a balance of positive images and negative images?  In my lifetime, growing up, the images of Arabs are wealthy oil sheiks, camel jockeys, or terrorists.  This is what I’ve grown up with when the reality is that the Arab world has been subjected to imperialism by the Western world since the beginning of the last century.  And by repeated denials of respect for their humanity by the Western world in, for example, the British carving up Palestine.  Who are you to come in and divide land that does not belong to you?  My dad says, “If you see two fish fighting in the sea, look around for the British guy because somewhere he was involved in dividing and conquering and building an empire.”  The reality is that until we respect everyone else’s humanity—and with every generation there’s new hope that we won’t pass on the errant teachings of the one before.  For thousands of years in that part of the world, people lived side by side together.  Jew, Christian, Muslim, what have you.  It was when ethnic cleansing became the means to control the land that there was injustice done and there was a battle.  Anywhere in the world today.  There’s no justice, there is no peace.  And there has to be one implementation, one standard for international law around the world.  Not one for Americans and one for everyone else.  Until we effect that, until we stop our bloodthirsty, imperial crusade, we will not see homeland security.  As long as we’re denying it for other peoples in other countries and even within our country in New Orleans, until we provide for people based on their humanity rather than the color of their skin or their religion, then we will continue to see unrest.

Harris: It’s always sad to see the byproduct of media and perhaps media in this case is just the war.  When I did a straw poll and you say, “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see someone wearing a head wrap?” or “What the first thought that comes to your mind?”  And it’s always negative.  When people are honest with me, they never have a positive image of Islam, of Muslims in general.  Given that sentiment—and it seems to be at least the American sentiment—do you get a sense, being there, being who you are ... do you sense a loss of hope among Iraqis, among Arabs in general?

Wasfi: It’s been a difficult century.  No doubt about it.

[Chuckling.]

Wasfi: But the reality is that there is continued injustice, and in my talks I argue that the occupation of Iraq is an extension of the occupation of Palestine. ... The Arabs have been promised things by the West, imperial Western powers, and then they never came to pass.  I pray that my family keeps hope because without that there’s really nothing left.  But I know it’s waning for them.  They want to have their lives back.  My one cousin who has an economics degree can’t get a job in his field.  He does oil changes for cars.  It’s honest work, but it’s a waste of his intellect and the young, well-trained minds of Iraq who can move their country forward.  He’s struggling.  His life cannot move forward until he gets a good job so then he’ll have a good reputation, he can get married and move on with his life.  Every day could be your last.  The entire society is traumatized.  But one thing that Americans, British, anybody, will never take away from them is their dignity.  And they look at how the Americans treat them and they don’t fall for it.  It’s very racist over there the way it’s racist over here.

Harris: How so, racist?

Wasfi: In the same way that the treatment of American blacks historically, and to quote Chris Rock, it’s like black people had no rights from when they were brought over here chained to the bottom of slave ships in the 1500s and 1600s all the way to about 1964, or depending on when your part of the country decided to do things right.  This is our recent history.  Women got the right to vote in 1920 but we consider ourselves progressive.  In Iraq, it’s the skin color.  We are trained in this country, in the United States.  My experience growing up—I speak from my experience—the darker your skin color, the more you are subjugated with stereotypes of a lack of intelligence, ineptitude, even to the level of being barbaric, like these people are not as human as someone else.  This is the mentality.  I know this is the mentality that the troops go in with because that’s how they’re trained.  Basic training is really basic dehumanization.  First the recruits are themselves dehumanized.  They take their clothes away from them.  They put them in a uniform.  They take their hair away from them, give them all the same haircut.  Then they start insulting their parents.  And they break them down until they acknowledge that they are part of a unit.  They are no longer the individual.  Once their humanity is taken away from them, it is easier to deny the humanity of the so-called enemy.  And that’s the only way you can kill someone, is if you don’t see them as equal to yourself.  And that’s why, in Vietnam, they were not the Vietnamese people; they were gooks.  And that’s why, as Bob said, today in Iraq they are not the Iraqi people; they are rag heads and [inaudible]. 

Harris: Or insurgents.

Wasfi: Or insurgents.  And this is another mischaracterization.  I think, technically, the legal term insurgency means a rising up against a legitimate government.  There is no legitimate government in Iraq.  The old state is the only established state.  But what’s happening in Iraq is an uprising of the people.  Sixty percent of Iraqis support attacks against American and British forces, which means that the resistance, the legitimate resistance to an illegal occupation, has the popular support.  Only the group with the popular support, either the resistance or the government, is going to survive, and the resistance is surviving and growing every day.  And we can keep sending more troops.  And they will keep sending them back home in body bags.  It’s just a question of when the congresspeople stop feeding into their corporate interests and maybe send their own kids over to Fallujah and let them sit in Fallujah until Congress decides it’s time to bring them home.  This is a rich man’s war reaping unbelievable profits for the corporations while poor people are dying in Iraq, poor people are dying here at home, whether it’s because they don’t have access to healthcare or because the levies burst and New Orleans was under water.  Another point to make is that Iraqis know about Hurricane Katrina and they know that New Orleans is still a disaster.  Iraqis know about September 11th.  And they know that the spot where the World Trade Center stood is, six years later, still a hole in the ground.  Do you really think Iraqis want us to be in charge of their reconstruction?  That’s the reality.  We are not taking care of Americans, and if we’re not taking care of Americans, how are we going to take care of Iraqis?


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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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. ”

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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