Tyler Bass: Anyway, yeah. I mean, most of the middle east thinks this is a war on Islam, and as long as they think that, this is basically a dead end. Because obviously the vast majority of Muslims are sensible, peace-loving folk.
Josh Wade: Okay… I can totally see where they have irrational politics based on their religious views, but I never thought that they viewed this, for lack of a better phrase, as a holy war.
TB: Oh, shyeah, man. I mean, that’s not to say most support attacking even american troops as a whole. Not even close to most. However, that statement is true with regards to most iraqis unfortunately, but that has very little to do with Islam per se.
TB: [Here]‘s a damn fine article. Of course, the Kurds do like us, but I’d say the American Presence, despite its intentions, is just serving as a destabilizing factor at this point. It’s like having 2 live crew police a klan rally. [They're] just not trusted.
Josh Wade: (Laughs) So we should pull out and leave them to their own devices and ultimate destruction?
TB: Well, I mean, It’s just time to realize those people are screwed, whether we’re there or not. I don’t think we even could make them stop fighting. However, some of the violence against random folks is the result of protesting our presence. We could at least cut down on that by leaving. I spoke to the Head of Iraq [&] Afghanistan Veterans [Of America] about all of this.
Long interview. I was trying to edge him toward faster pullout, but he says we’ll be in there in 3 years at the same or higher troop levels. This is even if the Democrats take the presidency, by the way.
JW: I totally agree that “freedom” and democracy will never work over there. They would only do us a favor if they would continue to kill each other off instead of our guys, too
TB: Frankly, from a historical perspective, they’d probably be more like us if they just started kicking out the imperialist power. That sounds anti-American, but I’m not, and I’m also not kidding.
JW: But i do not agree with “stop policing the world.” I did my junior thesis research project on that . . . in high school at governor’s school. The ultimate question is: If we don’t do it… who will?
TB: Reikhoff says we’ve taken the place of Saddam, ironically. Now they’re united against us. It’s not helping anyone. Certainly, you couldn’t argue it has helped the iraqis.
JW: i do not think you could, unless uniting them against us can be considered a benefit. Imperialists = America or European powers of bygone years.
TB: Golly, I wish that last statement were true. This continues.
TB: This is hardcore conquest. I don’t consider people without running water a threat to me. Or . . . maybe I hate freedom? (Laughter)
JW: (Laughter) So we are the imperialists?
TB: Got it.
JW: I don’t consider them a threat, either, to be honest.
TB: Exactly. That said, using the Department of “Defense” to do this stuff just seems like a waste of money. Or at least poorly descriptive. And that’s my case for Paul, I guess.
JW: Did you consider my question? Who else would the police the world?
TB: Yes. In this case, we’re ineffective at that. And obviously we’re not the only group in Iraq.
JW: Mid-East, yes.
TB: I think the majority of those nations don’t need it (e.g.-Egypt). As for Iran, it seems absurd to ask them to not build nukes if we are. We already have enough to destroy humanity in general. And I’m not talking hippie bunk. We’re simply overstocked. Gosh, Josh, we could kill EVERYBODY and more. We’re undermanned because of policy, but never understocked. I mean, honestly, isn’t “freedom” kind of synonymous with leisure these days?
JW: Not leisure, but laziness. People forget that freedom is a responsibility and is something that needs to be maintained, I dare say – safeguarded
TB: Exactly. And I certainly don’t think giving up liberty safeguards [it]. You remember that quote from [Benjamin] Franklin, right? If you give it up for temporary security, you don’t deserve it (paraphrasal).
JW: Yes, I do, and I couldn’t agree more. The patriot act is the biggest bunch of funk ever.
TB: And Romney says “double Guantanamo [Bay],” and that freaks me out. That should genuinely frighten everyone that he gets applause for that. McCain agrees with me. He isn’t capable of shrugging anymore for a reason.
JW: But did you honestly not see this coming? It’s been building for years. They just needed a good enough reason to get most of americans on board
TB: And they baited the liberals with a war on religious fundamentalists. Darn!
TB: They totally took it. The anger they had reserved for the Moral Majority the Kennedyites had to take out on third world citizens. Brilliant. (sarcasm)
TB: I’ll even own this one up: I would pay higher prices at the pump and even take a lower standard of living to be able to stop slaughtering children with cluster bombs. If it meant that the Patriot Act would be gone, this pseudo-heightened awareness bunk, and presence in iraq would be done and over with.
JW: I would too.
TB: Exactly. Those troops and contractors are guarding oil. If you don’t see the parallels between the imperialism of old and the modern gig, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
JW: Oh, no. I see it it.
TB: I just don’t think with the body count we can claim a moral high ground any more, and when you lose that, the war’s dead — whatever the valor or intentions of the soldier on the ground. I have had a problem with this whole war: declared on something that isn’t stable, like, I dunno – a country! Oh crap, it’s not a country anymore. This ain’t WW2. There’s no vested international interest: no Marshall Plan to encourage international cleaning efforts. Others will only move in to take the oil, too.
TB: Here’s a decent runthrough about pulling out and oil. This guy is Matt Taibbi . . . he gets down to the policy nuts and bolts.
JW: OK, if we are guarding oil rigs, then why in the world are the prices still rising at the pump. (And if you go into the damaged oil refinery bit, I’ll kick you).
TB: Well, I’m not saying that even on a crude, materialistic basis, the policies are even working out. That’s why barely anybody paying attention is happy. However, the prospect is to get further control.
Upon occupying the country, the United States agreed to forgive some of that debt in exchange for its acceptance of a “standard International Monetary Fund program,” which among other things included an end to consumer price controls on food and fuel — a move that, whatever one’s feelings about government price controls may be, inarguably made it more difficult for a newly-impoverished, war-torn population to afford to eat . . .
The proposed Hydrocarbon Law is a result of pressure from the American government on the Iraqis to draft an oil policy that would adhere to the IMF guidelines. It allows foreign companies to take advantage of Iraqi oil fields by allowing regions to pair up with foreigners using what are known as “production-sharing agreements” or PSAs, which guarantee investing companies large shares of the profits for decades into the future. The law also makes it impossible for the Iraqi state to regulate levels of oil production (seriously undermining OPEC), allows oil companies to repatriate profits, and would also allow companies to hire foreign workers to man facilities. Add all the measures up and the Hydrocarbon law not only takes control of the oil industry away from the Iraqi state, but virtually guarantees that the state will profit very little from future oil exploitation.
JW: Not saying that is okay, but if we are exploiting them, where are the fruits of that unfortunate labor?
TB: Down the road, ostensibly. I doubt the current administration favors getting below 75,000 before 2010, if even that. Cheney was saying this would be “the long war.”
JW: It sounds like decades.
TB: Saddam was contemplating trading oil in Euros. That would have been MAJOR bad.
JW: 75,000 what?
TB: Troops. We’re building an embassy in Baghdad bigger than the Vatican.
JW: Are you serious?
TB: 17 permanent bases.
JW: Basically we are building a small military state within iraq to “protect them and the dumb americans that travel to iraq on vacation.”
TB: (laughter) NO ONE is planning on vacationing there. The [government] would rather you went to cuba in a decade.
JW: Was that a Taibbi quote or somebody else? I can’t place it
TB: The iraqis have fleed their own country in the millions to enter poverty and even prostitution in Jordan and Syria.
JW: I didn’t realize that was an option for an Islamic person.
TB: Muslims don’t drink and whore the way Christians don’t judge.
JW: Not judging: that was my understanding! How do they drink and whore – if it’s like Christians?
TB: I mean, Christians hold as an ideal not judging, but . . . they do. Muslim culture holds as an ideal not whoring, but . . . they do. People are people.
JW: There are the people who hold to ideals and there are those who don’t.
TB: [A friend of mine] was a Sunni Muslim. Man drank pretty frequently, despite what he professed.
JW: So wait… prostitution is acceptable there?
TB: No. No. No.
TB: I mean, not by Sharia law.