Post War America

Discussion in 'Politics' started by OPTIONAL777, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. Unlike other wars in our history, this post war period is unique.


    The war isn't over.

    Sure we kicked some Al Queda butt in Afghanastan, and yes we kicked Saddam's army to hell.

    Yet, is there this sense that followed all other wars, that the job is done?

    Or are we now just waiting for the next war to begin?

    I would like to hear other people's takes on this.

    No, not just cut and paste, but your own reflections on how this feels compared to the end of military action by the USA in Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, etc.

    There seems to be a lack of finality to this one, and I wonder what the long term impact of that will be on our economy, our spirits and life in general.

    Seems to me that in the past, the end of the war meant a new beginning here at home. Now it doesn't feel that way.

    Americans are so damn impatient, how long are we really going to put up with a war on terrorism that seems never ending.....
  2. The war on terrorism is unlike the other wars we have fought in the past as it is a war fought in the shadows and largely without borders to define the areas of conflict.

    We will have to "put up with" the war on terrorism for however long it takes. As our very survival is at stake, we simply have no other alternative.

    Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, lefty or righty,I think we can all agree that the threat of being attacked again was not swept away along with Saddam. We will continue to be a target for as long as we are THE superpower and continue to support Israel. When we are struck again in a major way, and I'm sorry to say that is inevitable, I can only hope that we go after those responsible in the same manner we went after OBL and the Taliban.

    Short of conquering most of the Middle East, unleashing the Israelis, or giving the region a nuclear enema, the likelihood of our country being targeted by Muslim terrorists is IMHO going to last for generations.

    When suicide bombers start targeting our shopping malls, restaurants, nightclubs, theaters, bus stations, etc., not only in NYC and LA but also in Des Moines and Salt Lake City, I suppose we'll have an idea of how the Israelis feel. Maybe that's what it'll take for us to say "enough" and, as Mel Brooks wrote, "go do that voodoo that you do so well."

    So dig in folks. This is just the beginning.
  3. ttrader



    this statement of Yours is very provocatice ... :)

  4. We did a good job, considering not a single act of terrorism was committed on american soil after sept. 11th. Who will vote for bush in '04?
  5. (excerpt)

    After all, on the received liberal-centrist-conservative (both meso- and neo-conservative) theory, the power of government becomes infinite in wartime. Happily, we get back all of our liberties, such as they are on this theory, the very second the "emergency" is over.

    Exposing this theory to the bright light of day, we find that: 1. It is easy to erode and smudge the difference between war and peace. After all, what was the Cold War? 2. Governments have great leeway for finding potential wars in which to be involved. 3. Now we add the axiom that, governments like to wield power and wish like to increase their power. Thus, the conventional theory comes to this:

    An institution that has an incentive to find wars and the capacity to find wars is likely to go around finding wars and expanding its powers. If the "war" could be permanent, the bottomless powers would go on forever and the so-called "rights" would never need to be "returned."

    Hence the "war" on terror, the war on sin, the war on gravity, the war on insensitivity – the possibilities are many.

    The Oberkommando of the Sicherheitsbüro has just announced their need for even more power. Of course they need more power! And they will need more tomorrow, next week, next year, and so on. They will probably get it.

    The pretended interpreters of a defunct Constitution ask us to believe that, the very people who can best increase their own power through war, and who are free to conjure up wars, will refrain from so doing – out of what, a deep concern about the moral hazard?

    At this moment, Terry Gilliam's film Brazil is more and more a useful tool of social analysis and prediction. Between showings of that film, perhaps we can take some time to consider whether or not the whole received theory of our Constitution (as summarized above) is hopelessly flawed and ought to be detained for questioning. Send the theory, and maybe the Constitution, too, to Guantanamo.

  6. I mostly agree with hapaboy, though I'm agnostic about the inevitability of further 9/11-like events, and I have no idea how long we should expect acts of terror to continue.

    Since I'm sitting here waiting for the FOMC announcement, and there's nothing I want to trade, I'll blather on for a while on the subject.

    The reason that the "war" in Iraq hasn't left us with a feeling of finality is that there was nothing final about it: When Bush declared the "end of major combat," he pointedly declined to claim that the "war" was over.

    From another perspective, calling the conflict in Iraq a "war" is already to use a misnomer. Though referring to it as "Gulf War II" has become fashionable, and has a chance of sticking, I think it was more Gulf War "B" or maybe Gulf War 2.0 (though I certainly don't expect either term to catch on) - a major battle in a 13-year operation against Iraq that has itself been subsumed under a larger war with Islamic fascism - a war whose dimensions we didn't recognize until 9/11, and which has taken on the shape of another Post-Modern war akin to the Cold War. As hot points in the Cold War, Neither Korea nor Vietnam was fought independently of political and economic conflicts that were considered more important, and whether they even count as "wars" in their own right, at least from the US perspective, has been a subject of some academic debate. Many of the most important Cold War battles were not fought by conventional units, and, using a broad definition of terms, what was probably the most critical battle of the Cold War that did involve mass numbers of uniformed soldiers - over Europe - never involved direct clashes of arms on a large scale.

    One reason I disagree so notoriously with so many of the war critics here on ET (and elsewhere, of course) is that I don't see the operations in Iraq in isolation. Depending on how events unfold, even defining the conflict as a global war with Islamic fascism may be turn out to be too narrow - the war with Islamic fascism can in turn be enfolded within even larger historical parameters. In any major conflict on such a scale, there will be mistakes, excesses, unnecessary losses, and even outright defeats and disasters. From such a perspective, quibbling about the accuracy of individual items of war propaganda or the precise timing of a given battle - or even the role of war propaganda in facilitating the the timing of a particular battle - seems rather insignificant to me.

    The ambiguity about the Iraq conflict and about Post-Modern warfare altogether also creates much confusion, and makes gaining realistic perspectives on them very difficult. As has been pointed out elsewhere, we lost more soldiers in a few minutes on D-Day than in all of Gulf Wars 1.0 and 2.0 put together. On many, many days during World War II, ten to twenty times as many non-combatants were killed as appear to have been killed this year in Iraq - and not just as the result of major bombing raids, mass atrocities, or indirect effects. Conventional ground operations, especially urban combat, also took huge tolls on cvilian populaces. World War II was a particularly monstrous war, to say the least, but it wasn't unique in these respects by any means.

    By these standards, the losses on 9/11, as horrific as they were, appear almost trivial if taken in isolation, but war isn't about tallying up losses and choosing the winner by highest score. 9/11 mattered most, in this context, for what it seemed to portend - including a possible future of multiple and worse 9/11's, and even the forced retreat of the US from its worldwide role. Another incident on that scale or larger would be very likely to have huge repercussions on our society, on our relations with other nations, and on how we go about prosecuting the war on terror. After a few 9/11 type events, we'd probably get numb to their horror, partly through the normal process of desensitization, but partly also because the casualties might be dwarfed by those mounting up worldwide in the larger war we might find ourselves prosecuting. I think it's also worth adding that even if we attempted to surrender (not that I think that's really in our character), that would be no guarantee, by far, of putting an end to such mass atrocities. I believe that any retreat of the United States from the world stage, at least before much stronger, more capable, and serious international institutions have been established, would open up the possibility of a 21st Century even bloodier than the 20th was.

    One major goal of the war is to avoid such a turn of events. If we succeed, then no one will be able to determine with certainty what losses we avoided, and critics will be happy to complain about the inevitable flaws of even the most brilliantly executed operations - minor battles that seem larger for the lack of bigger ones to compare them against. A second goal would be, if the first goal fails, to settle the matter on terms favorable to our survival and future well-being while bringing about the end of hostilities as soon as practicable. Despite some appearances and panicky headlines, the battle in Iraq went very well in this context, serving both goals admirably, in my opinion, though probably not determinatively.
  7. rules this war (it's definitely not over). The truth is that we've screwed up so many times in the past in this situation that the media won't let our government get away with it again. After the first Iraq war we let thousands get slaughtered. After the Vietnam war, we left behind our allies and they were slaughtered. Korea is still a shithole (N. Korea's current plight overshadows any success that the South has had). The only thing that worked really well was the Marshall plan and that took billions of dollars along with American experts to make it work.

    It's OK that we're making sure Iraq is set on the right course. It's also OK that they haven't found WMD yet (I think they will at some point... I hope). It's OK that everyone berates the administration's handling of everything domestic. As long as we guide Iraq down the path of democracy and prosperity (the two don't just go together... it will take money like the Marshall plan) things will be OK.

    Iran is coming around on it's own (please W, leave it alone... it'll fix itself), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is moving in the right direction, and the Middle East has gotten the message.

    The only problem is that we didn't have a plan for post-war Iraq. It was up in the air even after the "major combat operations" were finished, which is sad and shows a pathetic lack of thought on our administration's part. We should be pouring troops and experts in there to get the schools, police, emergency services, utilities, and security forces working on their own. Then, when the peace is secured, prepare elections, and leave it alone (all political structures are still to be decided, of course).

    Now if we could only get more troops and money into Afghanistan and fix that situation we'd be alright:D
  8. The most significant factor in Iraq seems to be the constant deadly attacks on our troops, even though major hostilities are over. In past wars, we have not had to contend with this, at least not to this degree. What makes Iraq different?

    First, we took extraordinary care to protect civilians. In WW II there was widespread destruction of civilian areas, and indeed deliberate targeting of civilians. The end result was a totally devasted enemy population with no meaningful capacity to mount attacks on our troops during the postwar occupation.

    Second, in other wars we liberated countries from foreign oppressors. Here some fanatical Iraqi's view us not as liberators but as oppressors.

    Third, As Kymar Fye pointed out, Iraq is a battle within a larger war. No doubt much of the current violence is fomented by Iran, which would love to see us leave Iraq in humiliation.

    Fourth, as brilliant as our war plans were, our post-war planning does seem disorganized. The explanation for this no doubt largely lies in the bifurcated responsibility between State and Defense. The State Department's orignal post war plan had to be scrapped and its original administrator, a notoriously pro-Arab careerist, replaced. In other major wars, it is my understanding that the military exercised sole authority over occupied territory. Gen. MacArthur for example, pretty much ran Japan.

    I think we have to accept that we will be in Iraq for good. Not as administrators, but with large bases. The situation in Saudi is growing increasingly intolerable. Revolution is certainly possible there, and our ability to respond could be constrained if the major part of our Gulf assets were there. Qatar is too small, and is itself potentially unstable. So it will have tobe Iraq.

    Our goal now should be to get our troops garrisoned in Iraq and out of the reach of terrorists. Put Iraqi's in charge of urban security, subject to American oversight. Use special op's troops and technology to root out terrorists and Saddam fanatics in the cities. Impose stricter controls over Muslim extremists. shutter mosques if need be. Ban all demonstrations. Impose censorship on radio and TV. Return order to the country and take control from the extremists.
  9. The responses from people are good, but my focus is not necessarily on policy, but oh how America responds from a psychological perspective.

    Will people hold back purchases because of the thought of the next war, will corporate America do the same?

    I don't know if we are built to survive the costs of this long term war, which I don't think can easily be won when it comes to religious fanaticism.

    How do people think Americana is going to deal with this?

    Can we really learn to function like Israel, under the constant threat of war and reprisal and still get on with our lives as productively as before?
  10. Iran is coming around on it's own (please W, leave it alone... it'll fix itself), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is moving in the right direction, and the Middle East has gotten the message.

    What crack pipe are you smoking? the same one the Iranian women are smoking seconds before they set themselves a blaze?????
    Get real....These Middleast countries only understand one thing: A kick in the ass.....Iran would never be making these new and latest strides if we didn't have an airforce bass ( Saddam Hussein international airport) a hundred miles away....Think of it like tonights NBA draft: "Ladies and gentlemen, IRAN is now onthe clock with the next choice...."

    ...of course, I deleted the part right before that where david stern says, " with the 12th pick the NY Knicks have selected Frederic Weiss of France"

    #10     Jun 25, 2003