Wednesday, November 28, 2007

# Posted 6:21 AM by Taylor Owen  

FOUR MORNING U.S. FP QUESTIONS: 1) Should/must Hamas be part of any Mideast peace talks? 2) Should the US keep permanent bases in Iraq, and should US companies get 'first rights' to Iraqi oil contracts? 3) Is decreasing violence in Baghdad because a) the surge is kicking ass, b) forced religious segregation/killing is almost complete, c) they just are waiting until the surge is over to start fighting again, or d) all of the above? 4) What does the answer to 3 mean for a continued US presence in Iraq?
(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

Good questions.

1) Of course. But this is just a photo op to keep Rice from leaving so it doesn't really matter anyways.

2) No and NO. Even the Saudis didn't/don't want us there. And the 'first rights' rhetoric strikes me as crass even from the comfort of American soil. Imagine how it would strike Iraqis. But we already do it for contractors so we'll probably do it for oil.

3) Dunno. 4ish.

4) Nothing. Bush never listened to facts before. So if this is a fact, he won't listen to it now.
1) No way. They are a terrorist group and we ought to be looking to eradicate them, not legitimize them.

2a) we ought to maintain some military presence in the area to facilitate the attack on Iran's nuclear program that needs to happen sometime. Iraq is as good a place as any.

2b) no, it's the Iraqis oil.

3) more (c) than anything else. while the surge has kicked the ass of those in country, replacements are logically waiting until troop levels go back down. Likewise for the shiites and sunnis who won't in our lifetime ever agree to live together in peace and who have logically concluded it is better to wait until things calm down before they go back to killing one another.

4) it means that so long as Bush thinks it is our obligation to protect the iraqis from one another and from outside threats they can't defend themselves against, our troops ain't coming home.


They should be able to compete ( I just read that the State Department was actively pushing the Afghans not to award contracts to the US companies).

a. plus the people will fight back against the ratbags.
I thought the war WAS NOT about oil. Now I'm confused. So if that is so, why should we create any more reasons for the middle east to hate us by allowing US companies first rights to Iraqi oil? Does it strike anyone in our government that this may be a foreign policy mistep?
1) Yes, so long as they hold an elected position, they have a right to participate.

2) Yes, if Iraq asks us to / Absolutely not. jonathan's a little over the top, but his point is valid.

3) d, but the longer the relative peace holds and the more stable civil society becomes, the more c will become a pipe dream of the jihadists and sectarians.

4) Nothing. It all boils down, as it always has, to preparing the Iraqi government to manage this problem on its own.
Ah yes, "peace." Or should that be "Mideast peace"?

About which one might want to consider several additional questions (which basically ask, "What are we really talking about here?"):

a. Does "peace" mean the same for Hamas as it does for FP (or you, or me...)?
b. For that matter, does "peace" mean the same for the Palestinian Authority as it does for FP (or you, or me...)?
c. Might one even begin to be able to answer such a question? And if so, on what basis?
d. Should Hamas try to make some kind of peace (or entente, let's say) with the Palestinian Authority before it embarks on "peace talks" (see question 'a') with the Zionist Entity?
e. Does question 'a' (or 'b') even matter?
Just on the third question, so what if that's the case? So let's see. The various factions teethered on the edge of civil war, realized going into the abyss was not a great idea, and decided to come back from the brink. How does that make things any less of an improvement? I think the Sunni factions in particular learned two lessns: (1) that if a true civil war occurred they would lose very. badly. This was contrary to the initial assumption of the Sunni insurgency that just comparatively little violence would get them back in power; (2) that making common cause with an Islamist death cult was not a good idea, particularly if they "won", which would leave them at the Islamists' mercy. Funny how despite what people may think about the US, we start to look pretty damn good when al-Qaeda is the alternative. In the end the so-called surge is a part of an overall picture. If that picture includes the various combatants making strategic choices, so be it. It doesn't change the bottom line issue; whether Iraq can be "won" (if the term has any meaning left seeing that getting rid of Saddam and the Baathists and routing al-Qaeda isn't enough to satisfy the war's critics, who believe that a nothing short of establishing a Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq is just "another Vietnam"). Let's stipulate that the surge accomplished nothing and that all the progress had roots outside US efforts. Again, so what? If Iraq has become tenable on a fluke, isn't the whole point that regardless of how, it is a tenable situation? So the question fundamentally misses the point.
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