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In the Name of God بسم الله

Fresh Perspective

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About Fresh Perspective

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    Making You More Knowledgeable Whether You Like It Or Not
  • Birthday 08/23/1970

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  1. There are recent estimates that the cost of the war in Iraq for the average American family of four is roughly $20,000 USD. I daresay that many of us Americans have not chosen to forget what this military action has cost. Instead, many of us choose to think that 15 or 20 years from now Iraq could be a bright spot of modernity and rational influence through out the region. A sane buffer state between Iran and Syria...that would be money well spent.
  2. I had forgotten how hateful and disrespectful this blog is but I am quickly remembering that polite, considerate discussion is uncommon towards Americans here. I had hoped that I could exchange differing opinions without being personally attacked. But alas, that is exactly the problem isn’t it? Where to begin? Yes, a year ago I believed that the elections would make a difference in Iraq but that was too optimistic. I will concede that the U.S. made enormous blunders in the planning and execution of this war, but if you really want my opinion as to the principle underlying problem facing Iraq I will share it with you. Please do not take this criticism as a personal attack because I don't mean it that way; it is merely an observation. 1. Iraq has endemic corruption due to the ancient tribal hierarchy system, and years of nepotism and cronyism, which has lead to an acceptance of crime as a way of life. The French sociologist/ philosopher Emile Durkheim wrote extensively on his observations on crime in Western societies: "Crime brings together honest men and concentrates them."(Giddens, 1972, p. 127 [excerpt from The Division of Labor in Society]) This quote exemplifies the stance Durkheim took toward crime. He recognized deviance as important to the well being of society and proposed that challenges to established moral and legal laws (deviance and crime, respectively) acted to unify the law-abiding. Recognition and punishment of crimes is, in effect, the very reaffirmation of the laws and moral boundaries of a society. The existence of laws and the strength thereof are upheld by members of a society when violations are recognized, discussed, and dealt with either by legal punishment (jail, fines, execution) or by social punishment (shame, exile). Crime actually produces social solidarity, rather than weakens it. Durkheim also proposed that crime and deviance brought people in a society together. When a law is violated, especially within small communities, everyone talks about it. Meetings are sometimes held, articles are written for local news publications, and in general, a social community bristles with activity when a norm is broken. As is most often the case, a violation incites the non-violators (society as a whole) to cling together in opposition to the violation, reaffirming that society's bond and its adherence to certain norms. But this is not the case in Iraq( and most of the ME)…in fact in the ME this paradigm is completely backward. Why is it that this paradigm is usually true to form in the West, but not in Iraq? Ask yourselves what are the major reasons for the rampant troop/ police desertions, kidnappings, theft ,looting etc.?
  3. Good, I'm glad that we are all in agreement. The U.S. should immediately withdrawal from Iraq. For whatever reason it should be clear that peace and stability within Iraq is not in the cards for a long, long time. I hope that the U.S. will then turn its focus on developing a viable, economical, alternative to fossil fuels. That way we can be independent of the trifling sectarian/ tribal violence of the Middle East. We can then start focusing on developing Sub-Saharan Africa and establishing further business with India. Iran, China and Russia will immediately move in to Iraq to deplete whatever natural resources are left (without any regard to the health and well being of Iraqi citizens), and gradually the attention of the world media will shift to another geographic location. 3 yrs after the departure of U.S. troops, the majority of people who live in the west will only remember Iraq for its savagery and cavemanesqe brutality. The average westerner will go about their daily routine without giving one thought to the Iraqi situation because the opposite of love is not hate...it is indifference.
  4. The U.S. will not "get away scot free" from our involvement in Iraq. No doubt the terrorist will be emboldened in their cause ( see Beruit 1982, Somalia 1994) I am not advocating U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq because I think that it will make America safer, to the contrary, I think the terrorists will continue to kill and maim, as that is their only capability. I support troop withdrawal because it will force the majority of Iraqis to begin to see that providing security, seeking diplomatic means to conflicts, building a stable economy, etc. is not as easy as they think. Let them try their hand at managing the problems they are so willing to criticize America for failing at. Perhaps then they will see fit to report the guy that just planted a bomb on the side of the street, or refuse to shelter people they know are up to no good. Only when the average Iraqi becomes fully invested in the concept that it is Their country can real progress be made. They have got to want it first.
  5. Oh Lester...how nice to hear from you again, What was such a bad idea about getting rid of Saddam? I agree with you that the war has been horribly mis managed, but don't the Iraqis share some blame for the rampant corruption, massive troop desertion, lack of willingness to cooperate with the current government? Back in 2004 you were saying, "Oh well, the government is nothing but a U.S. installed puppet. Basically a Sunni dominated rubber stamp commitee. The Sunni's will never do anything to fix Iraq because they hate Shias. But now that Al-Maliki ( a Shia) has been popularly elected what do you have to say now? That's exactly why we need to get out and let Iraqis figure it out for themselves...because nothing is ever good enough for them, everything is a conspiracy, and everyone is to blame but themselves!
  6. Rethinking Iraq In May 2003, I was convinced that Saddam Hussein already possessed some weapons of mass destruction and that he was actively seeking more. Like most Americans after 9/11, I was convinced by, then Secretary of State, Colin Powell’s address to the United Nations detailing the extensive “network” of Iraqi WMD capabilities. I felt that the invasion of Iraq was a scary, yet necessary, course of action needed to preserve our national security and to liberate a nation from a tyrannical despot. Three years later I feel that the war in Iraq is now unwinable, and more importantly, that our military presence in Iraq is only compounding the problem. Apparently I am not alone in my assessment of the current situation. A recent poll of Iraqis in Baghdad found that 65% of the local inhabitants favored an immediate troop withdrawal. I am skeptical of most polling data because I know how polls can be manipulated to skew public perceptions. So I took a long, hard look at just how the poll was conducted. Using complex sampling methods based on information from the Iraqi Planning Ministry, the pollsters selected streets on which to conduct the interviews, they then went to every third house on the left side of that street and interviewed the person in the residence with the most recent birthday. I don’t believe it is possible to obtain a more random sampling than that. Another poll conducted by our own State Department shortly after the first one also showed similar data. The results were startling; not only did the majority of Iraqis want the United States out of their country, most blame the U.S. for causing the sectarian violence as an excuse to keep American troops in Iraq! How can America prevail in an environment with such an entrenched conspiracy theory? The short answer is that they cannot. According to the polls the U.S. has already lost the local support for the war inside of Baghdad and if we continue to stay the course, as it is now, the entire mission in all of Iraq could fail miserably. It is time that we start holding the current political administration as well as our military leaders responsible for losing the battle for Iraqi “ hearts and minds”. Without the support of the average man on the street, what difference does it really make how many insurgents we kill? After 300 billion dollars, and almost 3,000 Americans dead, we have not yet convinced the average Iraqi that democracy is worth fighting for. Perhaps a full out civil war is exactly what is required to persuade the militias to lay down their arms and finally come to the bargaining table. Without the presence of American troops violence within Iraq will undoubtedly increase. Civil war between Shia and Sunni, Sunni versus Kurd will only escalate. Maybe that will provide the 65% of Baghdad residents the proof they need that America is not conspiring against them. I, personally, am tired of trying to force feed the notion of a peaceful distribution of political power (democracy in a nutshell) to a people who are not yet hungry enough to relish it. Perhaps civil war will whet their appetite for peace and stability. It is even conceivable that ten years from now the average “Iraqi on the street” will be clamoring for our return, happy at the prospect of U.S. aid and development projects. At this time, however, not one more American life should be lost, nor one more U.S. dollar be spent trying to fix a situation in which the majority of people obviously don’t believe in enough to fight for it themselves.
  7. I agree: SayedMuhammed: The works of the great Indian Mohatmas Gandhi and the African-American Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Should be followed; non-violent protest creates the most lasting social change. Besides, only those who strive to preserve peace and diplomacy now, without causing bloodshed, will live long enogh to see those changes.
  8. Oh my Brothers....why would anyone commit such a horrendous act of violence!!!? As an American I sympathis with you. 9/11 felt similar to me. But please be cautious and gentle 9n ur actions and remember; This time will surely pass and the Mosque can possibly even be restored to an even more beautiful spectacle of faith and devotion than it was before.
  9. So the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed in the Iraq-Iran war is attributable to the U.S. ? as well as Saddam's 1991 invasion of Kuwait? How about the gassing of the Kurds in Halabja March 1988? that also a U.S. inspired attack? For the record...did you know that the Soviet Union, China, and Brazil, among other nations also supplied arms and ammunition to Saddam's regime during the Iran- Iraq war? The Soviets even went so far as suppling both sides...at the same time! Why do you not rail against the foriegn policies of those nations? At least the U.S. is now commited to helping rebuild Iraq...none of the previously mentioned nations are. So remind me please...what is your point? Do you really believe that there would not be any Iraqi casualties if Saddam were still in power? Are you really trying to defend the ethics and human rights record of the Ba'athist regime? Photo: some of the instuments of torture uncovered at a residence belonging to Uday Hussein. The instruments were used against members of the Iraqi olympic team who performed poorly. Photo courtesy of EPA/EMPICS
  10. @ Ansaar... Very poor taste in posting such graphic pics...are you not aware that many impressionable young children are looking at these posts? Perhaps that is part of your objective anyway. Next time, at the very least...just add a hyperlink. At any rate...at least two of the photos that you posted have absolutely nothing to do with the U.S. military presence in Iraq. Those photos (Getty) were taken at a mass grave site near Hatra where Saddam Hussein had murdered Kurds who had taken part in a short lived uprising back in 1987-88. In fact, the only reason those corpses were dug up and set out like that was because the DoD mortuary services, forensic anthroplogists, etc. were tasked with the mission to help locate and examine the remains after reports of the deceased relatives were investigated. Bulldozers were sent in and the suspected grave site was unearthed. Like I said before...darned if we do...darned if we don't. Anything that went wrong for the previous ten years and anything that goes wrong for the next ten years will be attributed to America. Why don't you post some pics that show the hundreds killed and wounded by insurgent attacks deliberately targeting Iraqi civilians? Or are you too busy trying to pass those casualites off as victims of U.S. forces? Photo: U.S. forensic team discovers mass graves near Hatra Feb 04 hatra.bmp
  11. Great post CI, don't be discouraged by the negative comments. I think it's a great thing that this was started at the operational level. Unfortunately, I think that it demonstrates that the soldiers "get it" more than the upper echelon. The fact that U.S. civilians are donating some of the gifts is even more encouraging. No matter what we do we will be blamed for everything that goes wrong in that country for the next ten years...hopefully that will be around the same time that those children grow into young adults...maybe some will remember the good as well as the bad, and realize that not all Americans are bad people. Photo: measles, polio vaccinations outside of Erbil 07 May 05
  12. This poll is designed to gauge the reaction of women from all Islamic nations; the goal of the poll is to collect the prevailing sentiment of Muslim women everywhere, anonymously.
  13. @ Babak Thank you for the well-written and considered post...although I disagree with most of your statements...I appreciate your's the most. I feel as though I am learning positive things about your culture, and here that is rare indeed. @ Hajar It is clear that you believe the existence of battered women's shelters in the west is an indictment of our society...so I will leave it at that, there is nothing I can write that will persuade you, so keep on believing that you are right...my belief is that time and life experience will do more to support my point than my posts here. I was following the elections in Iran two weeks ago, and I found it interesting that former Tehran mayor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was very popular. The hard-line has a huge support base there...that did not escape my attention. My belief is that many have become dissatisfied with Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's newly aquired wealth. My guess is that there is soon going to be a huge social conflict within Iran within the next few years as the newly elected impose stricter requirements on women. Mark my word...there will be fights over this issue like 1979 all over again.
  14. What a stupid thing to do...are the insurgents afraid that Egypt will become a major trading partner with the new Iraq? Isn't that better than trading with non-Muslims? I hope Egypt is not dissuaded by such a cowardly act. They could help Iraq immensely in the future.
  15. Oh, I almost forgot..."the sale of burquas increased after the fall of the Taliban". How can one prove that? Is al-Jezeera or al-Arabiya now conducting Gallup polls? How scientific is that? Why would you even repeat something that is not verifyible in defence of your main point? What, did they go from bazzar to bazzar asking the man on the street if he thinks he sold more burquas today than three years ago? Maybe his business is larger today( more name recognition, better location etc. etc.) Come on...does that even make sense? Please show me a credible source for that statistic. Photo: does this marketplace look like they maintain accurate inventory and transaction records? Could they even produce reciepts showing burqua sales from three years ago, from three months ago?
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