Blogs > HNN > Iraq Was Lost Before We Started

Jun 4, 2006 9:42 pm

Iraq Was Lost Before We Started

Mr. LeVine is professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture, and Islamic studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of the forthcoming books: Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil; and Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948. He is also a contributor, with Viggo Mortensen and Pilar Perez, to Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation. Click here to access his homepage.

Casablanca, June 2

The new allegations that US marines killed at least fifteen Iraqi civilians is increasing the fear among Americans that we have “lost” Iraq. If the video of blood soaked bedrooms and screaming children continue to headline al-Jazeera, it's hard to imagine how much longer the United States can “stay the course,” as President bush continually urges his fellow Americans to do, whether in Iraq or the larger war on terror.

But as I sit in my hotel bar in Casablanca watching a melange of Arab vacationers fume at this latest, profoundly disturbing event, I can't help shaking my head at the debates about “whether” the killings will be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back. The Iraqi Prime Minister might have finally awakened to the fact that US soldiers “daily kill Iraqi civilians,” but this is not news to his countrymen and women. In fact, it was clear to me during my visit to Iraq over two years ago, at the first anniversary of the invasion, that we had already lost Iraq--in fact, gave it away--almost as soon as we arrived, precisely because of the systematic and brutal violence we had unleashed in the country, and the utter lack of concern for the people of the country and their property it reflected.

This was not what I had hoped to see when I decided to visit the country. While I opposed the invasion, I went to Baghdad hoping to hear stories of rebirth mixed with anger at the atrocities committed by the former regime. But instead of hearing Iraqis recount Hussein's horrors, seemingly every Iraqi I met had a story to tell about a relative injured, jailed, or killed by US forces, almost all for no legitimate reason.

Some bordered on the comical, as when soldiers broke into several houses searching for a teenager whose cell phone conversations with a friend about taking a video game they were playing “to the next level” were intercepted and mistaken insurgents planning a new offensive. Others were much more tragic, such as the elderly Iraqi lawyer whose son, an engineer fluent in English and several other languages, was shot dead by US Soldiers at a check point for supposedly not responding to an order to stop.

And Iraqis were already talking about Abu Ghraib; not because of Saddam's atrocities, but rather because of what everyone knew US personnel were routinely doing to Iraqis, there and in a dozen other detention facilities around the country. As for Falluja, as a cowered in the back of my friend's car during a trip through the city's infamous main street, he reminded me that the town was not always an insurgent strong-hold. In fact, it had resisted attempts by the insurgents to make it a base until US forces fired on unarmed protesters, killing over a dozen for no other reason than exercising the freedom of assembly that the US ostensibly invaded Iraq to bring them.

As for the economic and political “rebirth” President Bush promised Americans and Iraqis alike, the corruption at the core of the occupation administration made economic recovery, let alone political development, impossible to imagine by the invasion's first anniversary. As one senior Iraqi official confided to me, “this has become just like in Saddam's time, only with different faces.”

If the situation I am describing was already clear to me in early 2004, it was surely clear to American officials. Perhaps if they'd paid closer attention--or more likely, if they actually thought they represented a problem (many Iraqis saw the chaos as at least partially sponsored by the US to ensure our continued presence in and power over the country), our involvement in Iraq could have been turned around. But they didn't, and the situation become worse by the day.

The disaster of Iraq can teach Americans, if not the Bush Administration, two things if we're willing to listen: First, with few historical exceptions (and Iraq isn't one of them), there is no such thing as a benign occupation. The violence, money and corruption that lurk behind every act of war and occupation make any such outcome impossible. Second, and perhaps more troubling, is that as long as American foreign policy is based upon strategic interests that are seen to conflict with the majority of the world's other inhabitants, more Iraqs and a long and bloody war on terror are inevitable.

Indeed, I write these lines in the safe house of a Moroccan acquaintance, a religious democracy activist currently under threat of arrest from the secret police, who've just begun another round of arrests of young people who criticize the government. This in a country that is continuously lauded by the US as a model of moderation and even movement towards democracy. As one of the country's foremost musicians explained to me, this is perhaps the greatest legacy of President Bush's push for a so-called New Middle East. “Bush stole the word demcoracy, and now the right wing and Islamists say to us, 'Look at what democracy means, is that what you want?' What can we say, especially when the monarchy is so close to your government?”

Americans better take control of our foreign policy soon, because if the situation across the Middle East continues to deteriorate, Osama bin Laden will be the least of our problems. And it won't just be President Bush's fault, it will be all of ours.

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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Ebbitt

Although I am not really certain about the real meaning(s) of the title of your latest post "I'm Tired Of Playing Cowboys and Arabs.." it is always a pleasure, and a stimulant, to read you.
However something does intrigue me: the criteria you apply to dwell on or ignore a point made in response to your thought provoking posts.
What I have in mind for now are two of what I consider to be important points:
1-Your failure to comment on the real mission of the USA in Iraq( I can not put that in more neutral words)and its importance in deciding the future of American anti war endeavors.
The question is of paramount importance to the US and the world.
2-That not all anti US occupation forces are part of the Islamic lunatic fringe and the role played by intelligence services in the wanton bombing of civilians.
Of equal importance in deciding whether to support Iraqi Resistance to occupation or to ignore it.

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Extremely right, correct and well said!

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Out of a long thoughtful and thought provoking post I choose to dwell, for now only, on a specific clause:

"2.) Grant amnesty to all native Iraqi fighters"

Amnesty to Iraqi natives ONLY reflects, once again, the defective general Western and particularly US perception of the whole issue; namely that the essence of the fight in Iraq is against the naked neocon-Zionist imperialist US invasion and conquest of Iraq.

Non Iraqi fighters against this US onslaught are, if anything, the worthier and more heroic of the combatants engaging American occupation forces.

They are the La Fayette’s of the 21st century, the present day International Brigade that fought Spanish fascism and General Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

They are the principles guided Fighters for an ideal of universal significance against an evolving US imperialism that had its first naked endeavor in Iraq and will soon engulf the whole third world if not checked and frustrated.

Unless and until the real significance and true meaning of the American colonialist, neo imperialist invasion of Iraq is perceived and recognized for what it truly is, anti war efforts in the USA will be submerged by local , immediate and shortsighted electioneering considerations that will make its recurrence in the future a distinct possibility !

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"At any event, the Iraqi perception of our success can be seen in their clear desire that we leave."

Easy said and ,with VietNam in mind, not so difficult to do:destroy the place and leave it; hanging from the skids of departing helicopters!

The question remains: who is responsible for the incalculable damage done and who will pay for it???

Honest Americans should start addressing these two questions if the USA is to retain the very little that is left of its international standing as any thing other than a self centered, selfish and "to hell with all of you" power drunk, shamelessly and stupidly arrogant nation!

Americans should start considering how to atone for and pay for the huge mistake they made by empowering the most sick and least humane of the myriad dubious faces that seek their representation once every four years!

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Ebbitt
I am fine and it is always a pleasure to read and consider, that is the key word "consider", what you have to say being well meant, intelligent and truth seeking unlike the likes of Mr Kobachev's who has one and only one motive force " hate and more hate of everything Arab and/or Moslem"!

For one thing I did not expect you ,of all people, to fall for the cheap PR generated and US maintained myth that all anti US imperialism fighters in Iraq are "... to install a brutal/ repressive theocracy that beheads brethren who are not fully on board with the program or subjugate women to an invisible class status."
"that many youngsters are heading to Iraq to meet their bride in paradise by blowing themselves up in and around Baghdad."

You do read too intelligent, well intentioned and knowledgeable to fall for that cheap PR trick...that is for the Kobachevs of this world not for the likes of you!

An aside; the information that Zionist dominated US , and international,news media have consistently suppressed three facets of the conflict:
1- The random bombing of civilians is the work of US and Israeli intelligence services , the CIA and the Mossad!
An elementary analysis of "who is profiting from these brutal
acts" leaves little doubt as to who is behind them.
The USA , aided and abetted by the Wolfowitz cabal, went into Iraq to DESTROY Iraq and that is what these nakedly sectarian acts are doing by the progressive sectarian character of the internal battle and the increasing alienation between Sunni and Shiite .
2- A tiny minority of Islamist fighters, the most suspect and least known are driven by the desire to " meet their brides in heaven." by fighting US occupation.
Had they been a majority, or the majority of anti US imperialism fighters , that would mean that the Arab/Moslem world , whose unwavering total support they enjoy, is a world of perverted lunatics !
Do you believe that the Arab/Moslem world is a mass of perverted lunatics??
That is something meant for and effective with the Kobachevs of this world!

3- A considerable number freedom fighters in Iraq, obviously it is impossible to be more specific than that, are driven by their nationalist and/or socialist principles and anti US imperialism beliefs.

Serious reporting as in the Economist and Le Monde( sorry I do have the exact reference) have indicated that anti US imperialism fighters are roughly divided between Islamist and Baathist forces.

For obvious reasons it is is the Islamist lunatic fringe, sadly it does exist, that is always highlighted and portrayed as the dominant, if not the only, anti US force fighting US imperialism in Iraq.

However all of the above , in spite of its length is an "aside"!

The real point of my post was, still is:

"Unless and until the real significance and true meaning of the American colonialist, neo imperialist invasion of Iraq is perceived and recognized for what it truly is, anti war efforts in the USA will be submerged by local , immediate and shortsighted electioneering considerations that will make its recurrence in the future a distinct possibility !"

I was hoping that people of your calibre will dwell on that and forgo the presumed cheap sex driven motives
of resistance so dear to hearts, and effective on the minds, of the Kobachevs.

Sincere regards

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"At any event, the Iraqi perception of our success can be seen in their clear desire that we leave."

Easy said and ,with VietNam in mind, not so difficult to do:destroy the place and leave it; hanging from the skids of departing helicopters if need be !

The question remains: who is responsible for the incalculable damage done to IRAQ and who will pay for it; in dollars and otherwise???

Honest Americans should start addressing these two questions if the USA is to retain the very little that is left of its international standing as any thing other than a self centered, selfish and "to hell with all of you" power drunk, shamelessly and stupidly arrogant nation!

Americans should start considering how to atone for and pay for the huge mistake they made by empowering the most sick and least humane of the myriad dubious faces that seek their representation once every four years!

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"What would I do without your ever-helpful hints?"

Well that is not hard to guess; you would have been doing what you have been doing all along: parroting the same old cliches about how awful Arabs and Moslems are !

If that makes you feel important and knowledgeable go on doing it.

If we were to worry about the Kobachevs of this world then things would be as bad as you hope, and pray?, for them to be.

Being the prototype for this inane fanatically racist cum ignorant specimen should make you feel good and important.

Go on Kobashaving to your heart's contents; it is a good comic interlude to read you!

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Baker, There has been no real "mission of the US" in Iraq, since Cheney &Co took command, only a series of propaganda sound bites punctuated failed leadership by colossal incompetent chickenhawk hypocrites. THAT has been America's main problem all along. Whatever the ultimately wisest answer of Arabs to this outrage, more suicide mass murder of civilians is surely not part of it.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Cheney & Co have screwed us over royally with their blunder-infested Iraqi escapade, and LeVine hasn't an inkling of a credible strategy for how to cope with, let alone reverse, this outrageous and unAmerican disaster.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

What WAS Bush's plan?

To get legitimately elected president for the first time in 2004. Iraq was the deceit that, thanks to voter ignorance, Republican hypocrisy and Democratic spinelessness produced that otherwise improbable result.

The "plan" now is damage limitation: trying to avoid making it too obvious to the lower life forms which elected that president how badly their ignorance has weakened the country.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The arrogant contempt with which the Bush Administration in 2003 callously disregarded the advice of friends, allies, advisors, and knowledgeable experts from across the spectrum, and ignored the repeated requests of Iraqis to pressure Saddam but NOT invade their country, is perhaps equalled only by the contempt which Bush himself displayed then towards his own positions in 2000 (in favor of a "humble foreign policy" which would not involve "nation-building"). Doing nothing about Saddam was not a good policy, but would have been less disastrous than what Bush and his inept cronies have done to gravely weaken America's military power, international reputation, and global credibility.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Thanks for the cogent post with very appropriate link.

I do disagree with your conclusion that

"the issue is that the plan has not gone off as designed/intended"

The Cheney Admin's "plan", as I read it, was to throw the Dems off in the November 2004 elections by having a "war" ("on terror", on "Saddam's stockpile," on "evildoers" or whatever) which the spineless Dems could not successfully oppose or refute the hypocrisies and deceit within.

The Democrats indeed choked pitifully in 2004, e.g. that plan "went off" quite well as "designed and expected/intended." What we have seen since, from the ruling chickenhawks, has been a series of efforts at political ass-covering in order that W might perhaps eke out a position in the history books (or on the history web pages) as something better than the worst U.S. president of all time. Thanks to the 2004 election, he will NOT however be the 20th and 21st centuries' only unelected U.S. president other than Gerald Ford. In order to accomplish that purely selfish goal, this president, and his minders, have disastrously wounded America's national security, and international power, in Iraq.

There never was a realistic plan for nation-building in Iraq, and under this (as of the 2000 race) president who does "not do nation-building," it is extremely unlikely that there ever will be such a plan for Iraq.

Any viable plan that that rest of us might "create," will however need to involve some at least token efforts at putting as many as possible of the crooks and traitors in the rogues gallery on your linked page behind bars. I personally would favor 10 years in Guantanamo for the whole corrupt gang of bureaucratic bunglers.
Bush, Cheney, and Rummy, however, after their sorely-needed impeachment and conviction, should be given one-way tickets to Baghdad and allowed back in the U.S. no sooner than six months after the last U.S. soldier returns home.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Oh no! Spinner, you make me dizzy. Let's break out the instant replay and go to s l o w m o t i o n analysis

"Further, it bears witness to the success of activist indoctrination of the victim mentality within the female condition."


"About the feminist "victim mentality", it is you that is wrong"


"What do you think feminists base their gender equality argument on? Why would they need to be equal if they are not oppressed?"


"Women are physically weaker. They use this fact to get laws passed and public funds allocated to give them preference. Your inability to see the agenda is exactly what the feminists strive for."

and the coup de grace of male chauvinism/ insecurity/ sexual repression...

"To you apparently there is no feigning so their aggression is justified, not to me. This is nothing new they've done it for thousands of years."

Yet, the argument you made is neatly pigeonholed/ confined to "victimization" to get tax dollars and legal preference. How convenient/white male dominant/ Republican of you.

All these issues I presented victimize women. This isn't a cafeteria where you pick the flavor of jello you're attempting to nail to the wall. This is real life and the decisions made by dominate/ religious cracker white male legislators impact women in ways you and I will never understand or comprehend.

Your look the other way argument is one of convenience not reality. As your daughter, God Bless her, grows older/ stronger/ healthier she'll bring you issues that will spin your head off.

We'll see then if your tune's the same and if you'll be the one who's tripping... hopefully, over your own two feet and not your tongue.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Professor LeVine,

One thing Horowitz didn't mention about you in his poorly written/fish wrapper tome but, I will is that you are a first rate bitcher/complainer and should be slapped senseless for failing to offer not only any reasonable solutions but, absolutely nada/zip/zero ideas whatsoever, for ending this debacle.

You are allegedly a brilliant man and have an excellent forum to present solutions to this current dilemma. Instead every few weeks you offer up/write the same useless/crybaby shit without a hint/trace or hair of any suggestions/problem solving skills/ viable alternatives to the current mess in Iraq. You're nothing more than a trained parrot for the left. A pot smokers Ann Coulter.

It's no wonder the anti-war movement can't gain any traction as it is void of ideas as you prove here at HNN, like clockwork, once a month.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Peter K.,

If you happen to bump into my good friend Emanuel Goldstein on your trails be sure to send him all my best.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Sorry about the sick humor/ confusing title/ poor analogy but, like most American children when growing up we played some variation of war. Cowboys and Indians was one of the popular fantasy games however, no child or, the weaker ones only after being forced, cared to play the role of Indians. Even as youngsters we were well aware of how poorly the Native Americans fared. Forced across/off a continent, genocidal massacre, land/resources stolen, brutalized, degraded, rounded up/ imprisoned on reservations, social stigmatism. Eerily similar to the current condition/ plan in the works for Arabs across the Middle East today.

Truthfully, I cannot answer your first question. I have no idea what the US intentions are for/toward the Arab peoples which, is really scary to say the least. That an average citizen (me) who is somewhat literate has no clue what these monsters have in store/ up their sleeve for not only Arabs but, for us Americans who are resistant/ not with the program of their fascist designs.

As to your second question I fully believe that you are correct. A vast majority of Iraqi's fighting against the occupation are not fringe and certainly not lunatics. They are normal human being defending themselves and their homes from outsiders/ invaders. The same as I would do should a foreign army occupy Pennsylvania and camp out in my town. I am taking the dirty son's of a bitches out or die trying.

Here is an article that you may find interesting. Check out the rebuttal comment that adds some balance to a piece that I found fascinating.

Talk to you again tomorrow. Good night.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Lorraine and Andy,

Thinking back none of the kids I grew up with had any objections to playing the role of WWII German's. In fact, it was the desired/preferred side to be on.

Also, the fact that the most popular Revell plastic models constructed by us were German Tiger/Panzer tanks, warships Bismarck/Tirpitz and Messerschmitt aircraft it isn't any wonder as to why the US is such a nazi like state. Some of us never outgrew our childhood playtime. This can be proved out at your local bookstore by checking out any of a vast selection of professional modeler's magazines... it's a virtual German nazi surplus of plastic fantasy.

Although, I never played the part of Indian I am fascinated by the culture, collect/trade native jewelry, attend ceremonial pow-wows and have many Native American friends. Lorraine's eagerness to fill this role has nothing to do with the acceptance/ feelings of the victim condition of females. Which, by the way, is a total myth put forth by inadequate/ viagra enhanced impotent/scared men. It only proves that the individual is enlightened and light years ahead of us others... sorry, Andy... in mental, emotional and spiritual development.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

As a continuation to the post above this is some of what led to the murder of Theo van Gogh...

Submission Part 1.



Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Hope this lights up...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

That was a stupid/idiotic thing for me to write/say in frustration against someone (Mr. LeVIne) who one would only hope to be leading the charge/generating ideas for bringing this mess to successful fruition.

My apologies for the ill mannered/ barbaric comment. I will be more civil in future.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


As always you are the most aware/astute of all of us however, in this case the Bush's are not very far off the mark in gathering the fruits of their extensive labors.

How frightening, indeed...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You act as though only the US is benevolent/ good/ kind and that everyone else is evil/ hates us/ wants to take advantage of us. This is no where near being true and would be less so if we weren't killing our way across the globe, raping resources from defenseless third world outposts or forcefully subjecting these weaker peoples to our iron will and corporate hegemony.

What did our government do for the victims of Hurricane Katrina other than short shift/ brush them off? The loss of a whole American city on Bush's watch. Think about it !!!

What did the hateful foreigners do...

Just like 9/11... ON BUSH'S WATCH... only to squander the good will of the global community.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


It has nothing to do with feminists love for the enlighten few or those of us who strive for it's impossible attainment. There are feminists as Adam cited like Andrea Dworkin who are quite loathsome and others like Gloria Steinem who make some good/ some bad points however, they in no way represent the nearly 4B women who inhabit this planet. There will always be hucksters men/women on any issue where a buck can be turned. To be so rigid/ cookie cutter like is only short changing yourself.

The core issue is dignity, respect, freedom, caring, opportunity for all equally without regard to sex/sexual orientation, race, creed, age, nationality or religion. What is so hard to understand about 'live and let live' or 'leave me alone' ? Why do others especially, the same small tiny minority of idiots, always have to dictate to the rest of us. It's un-American. They need to mind their own damn business. Now that's truly the American way.

Take care...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


There is no question that suffrage was driven to bring some balance to the glaring inequalities evident between the sexes especially, in America for over 200 years... property rights/ ownership, voting rights, economic justice, sexual recognition/ respect/ reproductive rights... this playing field still remains grossly uneven but, this is 2006 and you're dealing the weaker sex/ feminazi/ victimization card is passe and/or a sign of personal repression/ sexual hang-ups gone wild.

The right complains vehemently about the Arab mistreatment of women while beating black & blue American women on every issue. Give me a break. The right in the US is just as oppressive as the Arab toward women only we're worse because we are first class hypocrites and liars about our subtle acts of repression.

By the way... I'd put my money on Ann Coulter in an arm wrestling match against you sight unseen.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Mr. Redman,

The shorter/simpler the rebuttal the better. I wouldn't want you to herniate yourself thinking and believe me I know how tough that can be. Having to think, that is.

Being that I am wrong 99.9% of the time and may be the only poster here who willingly admits when he's wrong... quite often unfortunately... that is no consolation for others nor excuse for rude behavior.

However, what is equally inexcusable is a supposedly learned scholar liberally taking cheap shots at my country and soldiers without offering any viable alternatives/ solutions or resolutions of his own to the problems that he willingly highlights for either political style points/ self aggrandizement or to sell an article for some loose pocket change. It's the lazy man's way out sorta, like your post, don't you think?

Seeing as how I despise laziness let me fill in the gaps for you. In my opinion the United States immediately needs to...

1.) Introduce a nationwide cease fire.

2.) Grant amnesty to all native Iraqi fighters.

3.) Establish an open forum/peace conference represented equally by all warring factions. If a three state federal solution is a viable option pursue it. If a theocratic block is democratically implemented leave it.

4.) Increase training/funding of Iraqi Security Forces to only directly target/ engage/ eject/ kill any and all foreign insurgent fighters in country.

5.) Establish and commit to a timetable for full/conditional US withdrawal. Disband/ turnover all semi-permanent US bases. Redeploy US assets to Kuwait/ Qatar/ Afghanistan with the understanding that US troops will re-enter the Iraq theater without hesitation/ notice to enforce the peace.

6.) Pay a greatly increased restitution amount/ formal apology/ institute strict justice in any case where we have proven to have unfortunately/ needlessly killed innocent civilians.

7.) Increase funding/ reconstruction efforts and fully monitor/ audit all government contractors. Eliminate all no bid concessions. Turnover/ support/ provide training for all reconstruction projects to Iraqi owned/ managed contractors. Disband/ revoke/ repatriate all private security firms/ contracts.

8.) Guarantee full control of all natural resources within country to their only rightful owners... the Iraqi people.

I have a few more crazy ideas beyond these eight and don't fear you will not find this proposal anywhere on the net. It is solely my own stupid/idiotic concoction and I am not being paid for it nor am I a highly acclaimed college professor however, I am willing to defend it point by point.

Take care...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

I pray that your uncle remains/returns safely to you and family. He is doing a far greater thing in life than I will ever do in mine.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

And, I'd enjoy it !!!

With leather...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Hello, how are you? It is not necessarily a Western nor US perception that I hold. Unlike most American's (38%) I am fully capable of picking out Iraq on a world map. However, I am totally unable to identify who is friend/ foe in this nonsensical war. That puts me in the heady company the likes of George W. Bush, the Pentagon gang, CIA and our remarkable ground troops who are/have been totally unable to identify same. Although, I wouldn't be willing to place any money on 'W' pointing out Iraq on a map even if he was sober and spotted the Middle East as a mark.

As for the foreign fighters being new age La Fayette's that's quite a stretch even for you. Whereas the Marquis fought his mortal enemy Britain anytime/anyplace his cause was not to install a brutal/ repressive theocracy that beheads brethren who are not fully on board with the program or subjugate women to an invisible class status.

My point (2.) is that Iraq can never be free or at peace as long as foreign fighters and American's remain actively engaged in country. Only by mitigating these two factions can Iraq return to the Iraqi's. Granting amnesty to Iraqi fighters will allow for a cease fire to hold/maintain more readily/ effectively than if a group of Iraqi countrymen was placed/held outside the circle.

The Israeli's have done such an excellent job building moats and caging the Palestinians that many youngsters are heading to Iraq to meet their bride in paradise by blowing themselves up in and around Baghdad.

This war has become so unyielding as being so poorly planned by the aggressors (yes, that's us over on the left side of the pond) and has spurred on Arab fighters from outside Iraq to join the fray that only by ejecting these fighters can the other seven of my eight point theoretical proposal be implemented to stop this carnage.

Look forward with anticipation to your response/thoughts.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You hit the nail dead on. Neither LeVine, the Democrats (Murtha excluded as even the Donkey's have disowned him), the anti-war crowd or a world class griper like me has a any type of plan/clue.

However, the Bush gang does. No matter how cockeyed/ ill conceived/ executed it may be it is still a plan that will carry the day until someone/ anyone can better it or stop it.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You're not helping the cause when you write, "this debate is over 40 years old to my knowledge." Unless of course, you are referring to a subject other than women's issues, what would Sue Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Kate Sheppard or Lucretia Mott say to a history that fails to predate 1960?

Women only earned the right to vote in 1920 (15th Amendment) a mere 86 years ago. There are dozens of cars older than this at the annual Macungie, PA auto show.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Any time that women or, any oppressed group/minority for that matter, open their mouth to question aggression/ abuse/ slights against... the right has a hissy fit and the name calling/ branding flies off their lips like venom. That's because it's the right doing the abusing. Look no further than red states who year in/out lead the nations statistical assays in incest, teen pregnancy and molestation convictions.

So what do we have on today's menu?

Well that Plan B sure looks tasty.

It's really good with a side order of sodomy

We don't want our little princess to get any ideas that premarital sex is safe/ available / unwanted pregnancy controllable especially, when daddy wingnut is in his little girls pants when he's not smacking her up.

I also highly recommend the cervical cancer benedict drizzled in a light cream HPV vaccine hollandaise.

There's no abuse of women here. Nothing to see. Move along.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Good evening. Empathy is not sympathy. Although, I feel your pain welcome to the white man's world. What makes you or the Arab people any different from the rest of us to be held by the neck under the boot heel of the monied and their interests? You're just like/no better than the rest of us peons. The only difference is that it's your turn to stand in front of the cross hairs of the rulers of mankind's rifles. When your bank account reaches the point where you can join their exclusive club albeit, on a guest membership, we'll see if you hold open the door for us rabble or slam it in our faces.

My PR indoctrination to the Arab plight is the product of the fruits of the corporate controlled/highly successful media barrage that floods America 24/7/365. Look closely at some of the other posts here and you could cut and paste them onto the front page of the Washington Times, Newsmax, Drudge, Powerline or read them on air dressed as Bill 'Malmedy' O'Reilly or Ann "911 Wives Suck" Coulter or Rush "Hillbilly Heroin" Limbaugh. Brainwashed parrot's all.

Unfortunately, all your spinning cannot explain away the suicide bombers tale as told by the American antagonist Robert Fisk or the detailed reports of abductions/beheadings from Riverbend.

Atrocities are the staple and disgrace of all parties involved in this horrendous episode in one of the very worst in world history tragedies. Unfortunately, a man of your superior intellect and genteel personality is playing your role to the hilt for these drunken parrots.

If you and I can come together to drive this thread, create a few ideas, lift the dialogue from name calling/ stereotypes/ SOS to one of enlightenment we can change this small piece of the world. Let's you and I out of any of the posters here not stoop to the level of debasement. We two are brighter/better than that and we can carry the others with us in a quest for real solutions to this complex/troublesome problem.

All the best my friend.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Of all the regulars why do you always ask the toughest/smartest questions?

Although, I was not privy to the neocons blueprints nor Bush/Cheney's fetish desires for global dominance or personal retirement portfolio growth management there was most certainly a plan and it has been in the works for years.

The question is not that a plan did/ didn't exist, for it certainly does, the issue is that the plan has not gone off as designed/intended. The human factor/resistance coupled with gross incompetence/ negligence/ infighting caused a series of setbacks that has been glossed over by the most unbelievable/lamest of excuses. In addition to us initial realists a small minority within the American public has awakened to the poorly explained/executed tweaking of missteps by the Administration to keep the plan on track but, cracks are evident everywhere although it may be too late to prevent the neocons from fulfilling their dreams or our ultimate demise.

From the end of a Cold War that crippled the US defense industry to the premature ejaculation of Gulf War I through the rightists unforgivable Klinton era think tanks have been busy developing/ designing/ testing and sensitizing the public for the next big thing... US global hegemony. To this point there can be little debate. Nothing was overlooked. No contingency forgotten. Thousands of scenarios played out and an equal number of beta tests run.

All that was needed was a tool to front the plan designs. Bush Jr., the amicable/complaint son of nobility although, not particularly bright/inquisitive and blessed with the right amount of laziness was the ideal stooge. Coupled with Cheney the evil minded insider who selected himself as vice president from the blue ribbon search panel he headed to ID the best VP candidate to mind over the idiot bastards son were rgen selected to office by the SCOTUS folowing a rigged election and it's been off to the races ever since.

Here is an interesting article as to where some of the plan founders are currently...

This portion of the thread should get quite lively with Peter, N. and yourself hanging out let's see where it goes...

Talk to you here soon. Take care.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Don’t be any more confused than you already are. BOTH Republicans and Democrats have pandered to feminists, not just Democrats.

I enjoyed that sheeplike regurgitation “white male legislators impact women in ways you and I will never understand or comprehend.” Baa! BAA! Feminists LOVE “enlightened” folk like you. Their motivation might be beyond your understanding, but I understand them fully, and they are full o crap.

If you think my “argument is one of convenience not reality”, investigate the shooting of the family court judge in Reno, it doesn’t get any more real than that. Don't just blindly swallow the victim crap, learn what informed people say about it, you will find that the frustration level of gender bias in family courts bears out exactly my point.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006


Haven't you learned? One of the chief failures with humanism is that you can't rely on your instincts alone, they will fail you, and they will fail.

The old tired relativist argument that all people are different so behavior is only relative to the individual is weak, and false.

Equal pay based on gender is communist, (a social arrangement that you still fanaticize as possible). Pay is based on value, always has been, always will be. Contribute, you'll be paid your worth or go where you will.

I suspect that you really don't care about the pay issue, just that you can do your "monkey wrench" impression. That aside, East Timor is far less dangerous than the middle-east (there's that communism thing again). Just guessing now, could the difference be "combat pay"?

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Your honesty is refreshing. Further, it bears witness to the success of activist indoctrination of the victim mentality within the female condition. You go sista!

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

I suppose that Americans are the exception in humanism, they CAN be judged as being all the are so easy.

Better that you play with the children Lorraine. Logical discussion might bruise your ego.

Again, sorry if you "felt" victimized.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006


Exactly my point! I accept your acquiesce that radical feminists are "loathsome" and "hucksters". Have a good day.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006


I concur with the whole Nazi soldier thing when playing. There stuff was just cooler.

About the feminist "victim mentality", it is you that is wrong Patrick. You have apparently not been paying attention.

What do you think feminists base their gender equality argument on? Why would they need to be equal if they are not oppressed? What do you think VAWA is?

Women are physically weaker. They use this fact to get laws passed and public funds allocated to give them preference. Your inability to see the agenda is exactly what the feminists strive for.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Thanks for the "sexual hang-ups diagnosis Doc.

I'm not talking voting rights, they have that right...and the property stuff too. I'm talking about gaining advantage by feigning the victim. To you apparently there is no feigning so their aggression is justified, not to me. This is nothing new they've done it for thousands of years. It is practically part of their genetic make-up. It's just that the pendulum has swung too far to the left. They now want to be protected from imagined adversaries.

It is almost silly for you to make a comparison of Arab and American women, I thought you were more realistic.

In 2006 America, women are not only equal to men they have legal and social preference.

"sexual recognition/ respect/ reproductive rights"? What is that? Can you be more ambiguous? You throw out the buzzwords like you're on NOW's payroll. "beating black & blue American women" LOL.

Now I love Ann Coulter, she is refreshingly honest. But your gullibility is again showing to think that Ann is physically stronger than practically any man of her same weight much less me. Now you on the other hand, she would probably slap black and blue.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006


Your first post was suscinct and accurate. The article is at least as inflammatory as your response. After all, if Levine were to be honest, the response you gave him was exactly what he was solicting. Sad but true.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

I appoligize for the potential that Lorraine might have "felt" victimized by being forced to endure the discussion of a subject that might/might not make her uncomfortable. LOL

I would prefer whole body wrestling to arm, with Ann...con el aceite de Wesson

andy mahan - 9/18/2006


You are a real trip...or really tripping, I can't decide which. The argument I made was not about the right's disgust with abortion...birth control. It is that feminists have presented themselves as "victims" to get tax dollars and legal preference when in fact they are not victims generally.

I don't want to get to far afield but I don't want my tax dollars used to discriminate against my son. Nor do I want my tax dollars used to promote casual sex, abortion or some dangerous drug like plan B to my daughter.

Do I have a right to not want that trash for my children? I do. This right is one of those God given rights that supercede constitutional rights.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006


I think what is says about me is that I will stick to the substance of a topic and not drag in unrelated diversions.

Nonetheless, what I DID indirectly say was that I want my son to be equal to my daughter, had you read closer you might have extrapolated that. Think that says something about you?

Philip Tuley - 6/23/2006

Respectfully, you are wrong in asserting that things were not better, as far as the infrastructure went, under Saddam. Prior to our invasion electricity was available all day long, every day. Now electricity is available, outside the green zone, roughly 4 hours a day on average.
As to the damage done to the infrastructure, the damage was done during the invasion. We have failed to significantly repair any of the basic infrastructure, thanks to the corruption of the contractors we hired, such as Parsons, who were fired this week by the government after repairing only 20 of the 150 hospital clinics that they had been paid to fix.
I suggest you read the following article -

and that you visit Riverbend's blog at
to get a clearer view of what is really happening in Iraq.

The simple truth is that, outside the green zone, all we have given the Iraqis, with regards to helping them recover from our invasion, are empty promises.

Jason B Keuter - 6/17/2006

the incalculable damage you describe is terrorist attacks on American built infrastructure, schools best you can only argue that the American invasion opened a Pandora's box of seething psychotic religious and ethnic hatreds but you still can't argue that Sadaam's Iraq was better or had any hope for getting better.

adam richard schrepfer - 6/17/2006


Lorraine Paul - 6/14/2006

Well, Andy as Charles Dickens said - Americans know the value of everything and the worth of nothing. Or at least words to that affect.

Andy, every time I read what you have to say I shudder. You certainly have swallowed whole all that the 'system' has fed you. We call people like you 'mushrooms' in Australia. Kept in the dark and fed bullshit. Feed me more you cry!

Well, I'm off to improve my bridge game, I'm almost up to 'beginners' LOL

Lorraine Paul - 6/14/2006

Thank you, Omar. A compliment from you is an honour.

Lorraine Paul - 6/14/2006

Andy has made me realise that against all my humanist instincts - there really are stereotypes! LOL I have encountered 'him' in so many places over so many years.

My favourite story was when the equal pay for equal work campaign started in earnest. This was back in the 70s when I was living in New Zealand and the campaign was still in its 'infancy' there. (NZ still hasn't truly got it, but then neither have most women throughout the world). Immediately, Mr Stereotype avowed that if women wanted equal pay he was NOT going to stand up for them on the bus!

At the moment I'm concerned with another 'equal pay' issue. Soldiers in the Australian Army serving in East Timor are getting $AU150.00 a day less than Australian soldiers 'serving' in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now that would be an issue close to Andy's heart!

Lorraine Paul - 6/12/2006

Patrick, As you know, all women are weak. Furthermore, to back up this assertion, we obligingly have the same body weight, muscularity, height, IQ (low), hair length (no Samson's here), breast size, shoe size, skin colour, eye colour, bone density. If you are wanting diversity don't look to us, we were designed, obviously by a helpful male god, to be the epitome of generalisation.

Of course, men haven't been left out of this you well know "men are all the same they only want ONE thing!".

Andy in your 'wants' you didn't state that you wanted your daughter to have equal opportunity with your son. Is that saying something about you?

adam richard schrepfer - 6/12/2006

Lorraine, If this debate is so old would you please tell (or remind) Catharine MaKinnon and all Andrea Dworkin fans. They are primary agitators on our campuses.

Also I think that it would be great if Andy were to have a match with Ann Coulter

Lorraine Paul - 6/11/2006

Alert the media, especially Ann whatshername! Andy could be on to something! However, this debate is over 40 years old to my knowledge. Find something new, please.

Lorraine Paul - 6/9/2006

One thing that has not come up in this thread is the fact that Cheney/Rumsfeld found so many willing to follow in their wake. Not only in the US but worldwide. Therefore, when apportioning blame also think, lickspittle John Howard of Australia and poodle Tony Blair of the UK. Plus all those former Soviet Bloc leaders currying favour. Not to mention the myriad 'contractors' jumping on the 'reconstruction' gravy train!

Forget 'evil will flourish when good men (sic) do nothing". What about "evil will flourish when it gets a helping hand"?

Lorraine Paul - 6/9/2006


Growing up in a street where I was the only girl I "wanted" to play the "Indian". Even then I identified with the "oppressed" rofl! Besides, everyone wanted to be on 'my' team!

Peter Kovachev - 6/9/2006

Well, that does it. I'm outa here. Heading for them hills.

With you and Omar chumying-up and putting together your formidable intellects, no one stands a chance on this forum. Better to live and fight another day, as they say.

I salute thee, o gladiators.

Rob Willis - 6/9/2006

When was the last time another nation approached the U.S. with the goal of helping us? Invariably it is for a handout or favor. Does the world rush to send aide when we lose entire regions to hurricanes? No. But when it is time to pony-up billions for international aide, you bet they knock on our door.

The interests of much of the world are not congruous with ours. We are not perfect as a nation or a people, but we at least have some principles left toward which many of us strive, and few of these principles are shared by the "world".

And one more thing: the United States of America has done more to benefit humankind than any group of human beings in the history of the world, regardless of our occasional failures. Prove me wrong.

Amin Ali Golmohamad - 6/8/2006

Suppose the only reason a person ever spoke or dealt to you was for his own benefit, what would you think of him? This would be someone who would only help you if there was something in it for himself. It does not merit respect. The good actions of this person will lack value and appear hollow.

As a major world power, were the foreign policy of the USA to be more aimed at the benefit of the humankind rather than exclusively its own interests, one would find far less criticism of it. Surely the interests of the world as a whole are congruous with those of the USA. The present situation appears to be aimed at short-term gains. Long term gain can be achieved through sustainable policies that do not sacrifice humanity for $$$.

N. Friedman - 6/8/2006


That is a good question.

Peter Kovachev - 6/8/2006

Dear me, Mr. Baker, you sure can be quite the explosive chap, if you'll excuse the loaded term. So, when you get mad at me you go nuts on my name?KOBASHAVING? How utterly devastating...I won't be able to show my face for days. But how did you confuse my contempt for rationized pedophilia with racism?

Please do remember that you opened that can of worms out of the blue, and that if you don't believe me, you can easily read the pornographically lurid sermons to the pedophiliac "shaheeds" ... a.k.a. your heroic "freedom-fighters" ... by the imams in the original language. I understand that they get into the subject with rich detail and with no small amount of shouting and heavy breathing. Egyptian and Palestinian Authority tv are also good sources for such "delights," I've read. Nothing like mixing pedo-eroticism with clips of blown-up people and head-chopping, all to be watched by the whole family over dinner, is there?

Oscar Chamberlain - 6/8/2006


In all seriousness, what is the Bush plan? I have heard many words from his administration over Iraq, but the words and the actual actions differ in significant ways. The best known example is putting in too few troops to provide the security needed for nation building along the lines Bush & Co. first proposed.

So again, what is Bush's plan?

Peter Kovachev - 6/8/2006

Actually, Mr. Baker, it wasn't I who brought up what you call the "presumed cheap sex driven motives." But thanks for bring up an important point up.

Plenty has been written up on the effects of what happens when a society severely limits access to its women. As any first year anthropology student will tell you, one way to turn males to violence in a culture is to take control of women and use them as reward goodies for the warriors and the wealthy; a key feature in most Arab societies. The other thing that happens is that when you sequester or wrap-up women of child-bearing age, the males' attention will turn to juveniles, i.e., pedophilia. Both are evident in the 72-virgin promise. The female child becomes a metaphysical reward for the most vicious of thugs.

So yes, in a way you're right; the "great" religious and political movements such as the jihad and its offshoots like the "intifada" are driven by the cheapest and basest drive, rampant pedophilia.

What would I do without your ever-helpful hints?

Peter Kovachev - 6/7/2006

Thus spoke the jihadnik wanna-be. And I thought yours was the "religion of peace."

Acually, Omar, most humans consider those who massacre students, destroy schools, blow-up civilians and whip women for showing their eyebrows to be dangerous scum who need to be hunted down like the rabid canines they most resemble. Fortunately, the Coalition and the emerging Iraqi forces are making quite a mince-meal out of them.

I'm going to let my American friends deal with your obscene comparison with LaFayette, but having had three family members in the International Brigade, I resent your slanderous comparison between them and the retarded Islamo-fascist offal you're drumming for.

adam richard schrepfer - 6/6/2006

He apologized for it so maybe you should shut up.. Most people usually don't admit when they've made a mistake.

S J - 6/6/2006

"Stupid/idiotic" doesn't even begin to cover it.

adam richard schrepfer - 6/6/2006

I think that it is fair to say that Mr. LeVine does seek solutions and to bring people together for dialogue. On this website however he has shown mostly criticism. In this article he's terrible. I have an uncle over in Iraq and I know that he is working hard with the Seabees to build a better country. (Not kill innocent civillians!) Mr. LeVine should take this into account when writing his complaint about how bad things are. Really pisses me off.

Oscar Chamberlain - 6/6/2006

"If American foreign policy is what Mr. Levine says it is, then it is seriously divergent from American domestic policy"

Actually, it often is divergent. To some extent that is inevitable. Whatever one things about international law (or even if one does not think of it at all) the rules are different out there.

To some extent the divergence is unfortunate as what we are admired most for is the way we treat our own citizens--something you describe quite eloquently. But when we don't show the same respect to people abroad, and in the occupation that has evolved we often have not done so, we are judged by the difference between what we have at home and what we deliver.

It would be logical for a defender of our actions there to bring up the new government, and legitimately so. But as our founders understood well, democracy without security fails. That failure is of tremendous importance to many Iraqis because of how it impinges on their daily lives. At any event, the Iraqi perception of our success can be seen in their clear desire that we leave.

Lorraine Paul - 6/6/2006

'...slapped senseless...'! Ah yes, the heady days of Abu Graib! Just the sort of civilised discourse being imposed on the Iraqi people. Good onya, Paddy, you know how to deal with those who don't follow your line!

Jason B Keuter - 6/6/2006

Mr. Levine lacks the fortitude to come out and say that he feels US foreign policy is uniformly bent in a malevolent direction, but one is left wondering - where's the monolithic NSA? Look through this article and he's got quite the itenerary - a serious of free range discussion with enemies of America's allies. Yet, he is able to print, without fear of incarceration, beheading, etc, his version of his hobnobbing with all sorts of foreign opponents of the US in a time of war. If American foreign policy is what Mr. Levine says it is, then it is seriously divergent from American domestic policy. Further, it sounds like if everybody would "be like us" Mr. Levine would be visiting dissidents in safe houses but fellow professors in endowed chairs.

His concluding remarks "it will be all of ours" sounds to me like the words of a jihadist rationalize indiscriminate, nihilistic slaughter of Americans. Perhaps he's been hanging out in too many safe houses. He's certainly been hanging out in too many bars.

Jason B Keuter - 6/6/2006


the majority of the world's inhabitants do not have a single strategic interest...their opposition to America belongs more to the realm of religion than strategy and is not really subject to influence from America.

Levine needs to specify what those "strategic interests" are. Oil? Well, other people use it too! In this case, America's military is guarding the shipping lanes that supply the world. It isn't just the American economy that runs on oil: it's the middle east in general. The non-oil producers - mired in poverty more from overpopulation than anything America does - are largely dependent on remittances from foreign workers in the Gulf states. To allow Al Qadea to blow up Saudi Arabia would send the middle eastern economies into a tailspin as much as deporting Mexicans from the states would hurt Mexico. In this case, America's interest in oil is the same as Europe, Japan and China's interest in oil which coincides with the whole middle east's interest in oil. And since America gives so much foreign aid to Egypt, it's in Egypt's interest that the economy keep humming along so that AMerican tax payers feel they can afford to give as much as they do. As a matter of fact, it is in the interest of radical Islamists that America's economy do well - where else, for example, will Hamas go for operating expenses? Russia? Venezuel....oh, I forgot..that's exactly where they're going....

How about safety? Well, that goes back to the reality of visceral and irrational anti-Americanism which is the glue that binds disparate and hostile camps together. America must "go it alone" because so few really want to go with America, but don't forget that it "goes it alone" as the protector of a system from which its most vociferous critics draw their life blood.

Jason B Keuter - 6/6/2006


Thanks. The more of this type of discussion, the better.


that's what I'm talking about.


could you do the same thing?

Oscar Chamberlain - 6/5/2006

I do not claim genius here. Simply propositions from which to continue discussion along your lines.

1. Recognize that our capacity to influence the middle east is far less than the Bush administration thought in 2002. As an example, despite having removed an enemy from the leadership of Iraq and despite our military presence, we are no more able to influence Iran than we were three years ago. If anything, our influence has declined.

2. Recognize that one reason for the expansion of Islamic fundamentalist groups is that these organizations have provided both essential social services (for example, medical care) and an outlet for legitimate dissatisfaction with middle eastern governments.

Concerning the services we need to find ways to help fund and deliver such services through channels that are less radical and we must be committed to this for years.

Concerning the legitimate dissent: It's hard to avoid working with authoritarian governments. But we need to recognize that in an ideological war, our association with oppression damages us.

3. Concerning the war on Terror. Many Bush supporters note that we have not been attacked since 9/11.
They have a point. We need to take stock of what we and our allies have done well in counter intelligence and build upon it.

4. Concerning Afghanistan. If we can start removing troops from Iraq soon, some should probably go there. The renewed strength of the Taliban is highly disconcerting, and failure there would hurt us badly.

5. Concerning Iraq: We have removed Saddam. The new government will probably have greater legitimacy if we begin withdrawal soon. It's a risk--that government could fail and chaos and partition could follow--but we have never had the troop numbers there to shape a secular democratic Iraq, and I am not sure that our continued presence would make an Islamic democratic Iraq anymore likely.

We haven't even had the numbers to build more than a handful of clinics. In short, I cannot see how we can do much more unless we actually increase our forces, and not even supporters of our presence advocate that any more.

A carefully designed withdrawal might strengthen the new government and give it a bit of a chance.

Rob Willis - 6/5/2006

"Second, and perhaps more troubling, is that as long as American foreign policy is based upon strategic interests that are seen to conflict with the majority of the world's other inhabitants, more Iraqs and a long and bloody war on terror are inevitable. "

Uh, our strategic interests are just that, ours, collectively. To whom should we assign the responsability for them? That they may conflict with the world's interets says much more about the world than it does about us.

And the war on terror was promised from day one to be long and difficult. Why is it such a surprise than it has proven to be so?

Jason B Keuter - 6/5/2006

Ultimately, you need to do something. The request for proposals is a perfectly legitimate starting point.

John Chapman - 6/5/2006

Foreign policy proposals based on what? Preserving and spreading America’s inherent values for all nations whether they like it or not? Who determines what is a just international order? Only America (even though they want others to help them fight wars)? In reality, you cannot trust any group of men in the name of law, justice, democracy or freedom. There are a lot of questions like these that have to be determined before you decide what is a flawed or unflawed foreign policy and what audience and ideology you represent, as in the Ostrich-like denials of our new rightwing which is full out against any form of egalitarianism in our society because it equates this to socialism. These people are out to control the basic thought processes of a people through fundamentalist (oddly socialist) religion combined with the religion of neoconservatism that tells you strictly, like a handbook, when, why, and how to act on the international stage. They complain about the traditional theorists of American foreign policy as outdated yet now we are being duped by these new theorists. Any other so-called leaning toward a "Fabian" policy is swiftboated and labeled as Socialist bent. They say their foreign policy works because it invites a terrible old testament retribution on anyone who messes with the US when in reality denies historical causes or flawed occupation methodologies and so are only messing themselves up.

The question you ask of Mr. Levine is not as simple as listing five proposals. You’d probably have to categorize the proposals in relationship to flaws into the hundreds. And no one here has the time. One category might be Democracy. Does the US really represent it?

US world image here does matter. How can our foreign policy be trusted with our current image? Looking at how the US has been involved in so many anti-democratic actions is one way to look at the foreign policy flaws that cut across both political party lines.

- the world’s perception of the war in Vietnam, where Americans took over from the French and fought to free people who didn’t want to be freed, much less killed, and against a country which had little chance of threatening us.
- the dubious reasons for the Bay of Pigs invasion in 62

- the Nixon/Kissinger government that supported a brutal dictator who overthrew a democratically-elected socialist leader, Salvador Allende

- US support of the Shah of Iran long after he was overthrown by popular revolt

- the outright overthrew a democratically-elected government in Guatemala (Jacobo Arbenz) in 1954 that was replaced with a dictatorship

- our continued aid to the torturous regime in Colombia (likes it’s really stopping the flow of drugs in the US)

- even though Cuba has jails its critics it has no bloody record of suppression as like China and other governments that receive U.S. aid.

- the School of Americas in Panama created to guard, brutally, against internal subversion of dictatorships in the region

- supporting oppressive regimes in Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan in the 80’s and then US economic self-interest shifted out of their favor we attacked and tried to overthrow them

- continued support of brutal warlords in Afghanistan - final political consequences still unknown

- in 1962 Lyndon Johnson taking sides with the dictatorship to overthrow Juan Bosch who was elected president in the Dominican Republic's first democratic election of the 20th century - this done under the flimsy pretense of fighting communism and protecting Americans abroad (though almost all Americans had been evacuated)

- tacitly supported the coup of democratically-elected Hugo Chavez, worker’s party president of Venezuela, embarrassing ourselves days later when Chavez put down the revolutionaries

- in 2002 Rumsfeld making a trip to Azerbaijan to congratulate new leader, Ilham Aliyev, brought to power in an election generally viewed as a sham by the international community and after this election, street protests were brutally suppressed, opposition figures tossed in prison and the opposition press muzzled - economics again - the enormous oil and gas reserves and proximity to Iran

- 20 years ago, Rumsfeld traveling to Baghdad to say hello to Saddam Hussein. - only weeks before Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iran - Rumsfeld ignored this - economics

- we hurt the Iranian people by providing battle-planning assistance to Iraq while we knew Saddam was using chemical weapons against them - screwing with the lives of poor and oppressed just to get a slight edge against our competitors and enemies

Keeping this in mind, I’d say our foreign policy was flawed and that it is subsequently based on flawed economic assumptions shared by economists like Milton Friedman and Karl Marx, that capital has no country, where politics is controlled by profits, where money moves where profits go, and borders having no meaning except in the US where a regime subordinates itself to profit. The proposals by the new theorists are no better. Perhaps you will address the flaws in another way.

Jason B Keuter - 6/5/2006

Give us five concrete policy proposals that address the myriad flaws you see in American Foreign Policy: