Tuesday, December 13, 2005

# Posted 11:15 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

INCREDIBLE. JUST INCREDIBLE. On Monday, Oxford Research International (ORI) published the results of a major survey of Iraqi public opinion commissioned by the BBC, ABC News, Time, Der Spiegel and others. The results were so striking that an analyst for the BBC made the unthinkable observation that
The findings are in line with the kind of arguments currently being deployed by President George W Bush.
For the moment, all I will say is that you have to look at the results for yourself. Even better, compare the results of each question to the results of last year's survey, also conducted by ORI. Tomorrow, I will try to provide some more in-depth analysis of the results. But for the moment consider the respondents' answer to the question of
How much confidence do you have in the New Iraqi Army: is it a great deal of confidence, quite a lot of confidence, not very much confidence or none at all? [Question 14 in the old survey, Question 19 in the new --ed.]
The answers were: A great deal -- Quite a lot -- Not very much -- None at all:
2004.......................17.8...................38.2.............. 24.9..................... 9.7

(12) opinions -- Add your opinion

You can tell Iraq has "tipped" our way because of the enormous local interest in this week's election. They know now the elections are not a farce, that we did not come to steal their oil, that we are leaving some day, etc. They can see that the Iraqi government has power and will get more soon. They know the elections matter.
"The findings are in line with the kind of arguments *currently* being deployed by President George W Bush."

The proviso *currently* is necessary since his arguments change so frequently.

"However critics will claim that the survey proves little beyond showing how resilient Iraqis are at a local level."

"They will argue that it reveals enough important exceptions to the rosy assessment, especially in the centre of the country, to indicate serious dissatisfaction."

"We are beginning to lose the centre - it has a siege mentality."

"Occupation troops are unpopular with those surveyed."

Not wow. Why.

And I am glad that "You can tell Iraq has "tipped" our way" since I thought we would be greeted as liberators.
The proviso *currently* is necessary since his arguments change so frequently.

Not so. Admittedly, the New York Times editorial board and others with no patience for nuance insisted that the President and the Administration settle on just one rationale for overthrowing Saddam rather than making a complex argument, but the President's arguments have been extremely consistent, going back to the State of the Union addresses before invading and even before then. Admittedly he could do a better job with presentation, but it is hardly completely his fault when the media choose to report only one point from each speech, the one that they choose to emphasize. Certainly to someone who does not watch or read the speeches, that can make it seem like the arguments change frequently, when it is really a different part of the complex argument being cited or headlined.

It does seem as though the plans for an interim government and the multiple elections, along with the timetable, have succeeded in their goal of getting the holdouts to participate by showing them what would happen if they didn't and yet not rewarding violence.

So much is up to the Iraqis themselves, of course. A pessimist could worry, rightly, about a situation where the army has more respect than any politician; at the same time Turkey has managed for years with a similar situation.

Here is a PoliSci Honors thesis showing 27 rationales Bush used between September 12, 2001 to October 11, 2002. It is now 2005 and I'll posit that Bush has used several more since:


Nuance?! Bush himself even said in an interview with Tim Russert, "I don't do nuance."

"So much is up to the Iraqis themselves, of course." There we completely agree. Would that they had the chance.
What's your point CS? By what right (and what rationale) do you require Bush to pick one reason and exclude all the others?

BTW: they do have a chance and it is entirely because of GWB. Despite your claim that you wish they had the chance, if you had your way, they never would.
"By what right (and what rationale) do you require Bush to pick one reason and exclude all the others?"

Left wingers are simply not intelligent enough to understand that there can be multiple reasons for taking an action. What they apparently ask is that Bush 'dumb it down' for them to one single reason, so that they can understand.
"What's your point?"

That Bush is a flip-flopper. That he vacillates with the convenient, with whatever his base wants to hear.

"Left wingers are simply not intelligent enough ..."

Yep. Us LW's are so dumb that we ask questions. And GWB is known the world over for his brilliance.

Are 'elections' worth 500B, 2100 American lives, 20000 wounded, 30000 Iraqi lives, xxx Iraqi wounded?

Compare and contrast Iraq with Libya.
Lots of good debate here. But I don't think that friendly discussion gets moved forward by generalizing about the intelligence of an entire half of the body politic.
"Are 'elections' worth 500B, 2100 American lives, 20000 wounded, 30000 Iraqi lives, xxx Iraqi wounded?"

Not elections by themselves. But if thousands of jihadists are killed and captured while the first sustained Arab democracy is formed, which begins to change the culture of the region that spawned the jihadists in the first place, then yes it is worth it. After 9/11, I don't think that 1-1.5% of GDP per year and fewer combat deaths than Civil War and WWII battles most people have never heard of is too much to ask.

And your inclusion of the Iraqi casualties does not add weight to any point you're trying to make. That's not anymore that would have died if Saddam's fanatical police state was still in power.

"Compare and contrast Iraq with Libya."

What about Libya?
Let's say 5000 jihadists at 500B that comes out to 100M per jihadist. It seems a bit expensive especially since they come from Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, ....

Libya. Qaddafi was a lot like Saddam. He wasn't as brutal to his own people (that would be difficult) but he did attack the US directly when his operatives put a bomb on Pan Am flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie, killing 259. Qaddafi was a sponsor of terrorism.

Reagan bombed Tripoli and instituted sanctions. GHWB and Clinton continued these. It was a cold war. Eventually, the Qaddafi handed over those involved, came to a settlement with the families of the victims, and stopped supporting terrorism. Libya is now an American ally. Qaddafi is still in power.

At this point, you have to ask, was this successful?
Libya is now an American ally.

Great. Didn't think to mention Ghaddafi's response to seeing SH dragged out of his hole, did you?

Didn't think it was important?

Of course not.
Moammar Qaddafi, only a few short days after the capture of Saddam Hussein, announced his intention to give up all weapons programs his government has pursued over the past three decades.

Was that what you were looking for?

The question remains, has our handling of Libya over the 17 years since Lockerbie been successful?
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