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How on earth are we going to get out of Iraq ? Another 4 serviceman killed today. The American mid term elections show the American people are keen to leave Iraq and there are mutterings in the press that we(the UK) could get stuck there.........so how do we withdraw without leaving a bigger mess than there was when we went in ?
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I really don't want to sound negative, Gay, but we aren't going to get out and leave a better place, and anyway the USA has no intention of getting out as such, if it did have that intention it wouldn't be spending so much time and money building the huge bases which it would like to live in, apparently they are the size of self contained cities.

All that's happening at present is an attempt at more window dressing.


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Chis, thanks but it's a 50 minute movie and I'll have to watch it tomorrow.

Gay, thanks for starting a serious thread like this. My own feeling is that we will never know if what we leave behind is a bigger mess than before.

It's all hypothetical now.

I felt then when 'we' invaded, that we, and our children would somehow be 'paying' for our actions for a long time. In a way, that was a selfish way of looking at it, but perhaps an understandable one at the time. What I didn't realise was that 'we' would all but destroy whatever chance there was for the people of Iraq to come to their own conclusions about the best way forward.

I'll watch the film tomorrow Chris.  John Pilger. One of the good guys for how many years?

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I guess that I'm old enough to remember clearly following the war in Vietnam, it wasn't public opinion that ended that occupation, it was being kicked out, and the casualty rate was far, far greater than in Iraq.

The population in the UK was never in favour of the invasion of Iraq, did that make a difference, NO.

Manipulation by the powers that be, and basically a passive population who are 99% too busy with their day to day lives, that and the fact that it's a bit late now, the situation has been created and it's a mess.

Please do watch the video.


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Unfortunately, what has happened in Iraq was only too predictable.  In fact, many commentators said as much just before the invasion.  It seems that there was a foolish belief that the troops would be greeted with flowers and smiling people joyful at being liberated.  But think about the early days - all the looting (except the oil ministry which was guarded - what does that tell us?),  the destruction of the infrastructure etc.

What happened to all the money for reconstruction?  Remember all those US firms who got the lucrative contracts (mainly linked to the neo-cons like Cheney) and the fact that UK firms could only be sub-contractors.  Why are there so many people without a proper water, sewage and electricty supply still?

There may have been a plan for the invasion, but it doesen't seem there was a plan for afterwards. 

Now all of a sudden there is a move to withdraw.  Is there a plan for that?  Based on past decisions/actions, it would seem not.  Now we have the wonderful spectacle of  Bush, Blair and the rest of the gung-ho brigade desperately searching for a form of words to disguise the fact that the whole policy has failed.

And for those who say well, at least we got rid of Saddam - remember he had been contained by the UN policy - which seemed to have been working.  Perhaps we should look at the number of Iraquis killed by Saddam between the end of the first gulf war and the start of the second gulf war and compare that figure with the number of Iraquis killed since the invasion.  Oh, I forgot, the US doesn't keep count of the Iraqui dead [:@]

There are scores of murderous tyrants in power all over the world.  If regime change and the bringing of democracy was a legitimate reason to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, then we would all be at war non-stop.  Or does it only apply where there are natural resources that we need?

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Thibault has said it all. If you want to upset the population, first destroy the infrastructure,that secures plenty of work for the struggling U.S, economy. The smart bombs weren't smart enough to get rid of one tribal family. Turn a blind eye to Mugabe and what goes on in many,many countries of the world. The main thing seems to be that they don't understand the culture of the people/country that they want to put right.Half the tribes/races and religions of the world seem to hate the other half and seem to have done so before Blair and Bush decided to play God. The main purpose seems to be financial and the Armanents Industry obviously have loud voices and deep pockets.

Regards getting out, the easy way would be to pack-up today and leave.They seemed to have a better life before.

Regards. 5mins St.Malo.    www.ourinns.com

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Am I imagining it, or did I read in the French press, recently, that the civilian dead in Iraq since the invasion is estimated at THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION?

And Saddam has been sentenced to death for ordering the deaths of 147 people?

Something not quite right with those figures if they are correct[:(]

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The US Department of  Defense (and can you trust any government

organisation that cannot spell properly?) defines terrorism as being

"the unlawful use of, or threatened use of violence to inculcate fear,

intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies as to the

pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or

ideological." Presumably they don't view what they are doing in Iraq as

being unlawful, because the campaign of "fear and awe" seems to meet

every other criterion.

I have no idea how they are going to extract themselves from this mess,

but I suspect an awful lot of people (but most of them Iraqi and

therefore not actually real people) will get killed when it happens.

So, so sad.

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<<<So, so sad.>>>

More than that Jon, criminal charges could easily be justified against the politicians.

It's just catch22, there are no answers at the moment, nobody is right and nobody is wrong. For the civilians and troops on the ground, on both sides, some will live and some won't. I do believe the West has a moral responsibility to do their best for the innocent civilians it has put in perilous danger.

The 'insurgents' will never be beaten, at best it's a good training ground for our proffessional soldiers.

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MOH heard a debate on the radio the other day about Iraq.  Apparently, sad as it is, under Saddam's rule, as long as the civilians didn't speak out against him they could go about their daily lives.  Different religions etc. rubbed along together.  Now it appears they are fighting amongst themselves and are in more danger than before.  It's a high price to pay for 'freedom.'
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I think that Thibault is right when he mentions the need for natural resources as the motivation behind the invasion. France already had an understanding on this so didn't need to be involved in the war. Most if not all wars are driven by economic motives ie greed. Pat.

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It doesn't appear to be as easy as was first thought though Chris.  Does the requisition of oil balance out the huge amounts of money being spent on manpower, weaponry and, most important of all, the enormous loss of life ?
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[quote user="Pip"]It doesn't appear to be as easy as was first thought

though Chris.  Does the requisition of oil balance out

the huge amounts of money being spent on manpower, weaponry and,

most important of all, the enormous loss of life ?[/quote]

Geopolitically? Oh yes.

The logic runs like this:

  • Despite appearances, the US is not as dependent on the ME for oil

    supplies as it once was. It is seen as very likely, for example, that they will be

    the first nation to crack the technical nut of non-oil based personal

    transport. The right to drive is sacred.
  • The US needs China. China supplies the low cost tat that keeps

    the US economy flowing and a market for high tech goods that the US

    makes - aircraft, for example, which is why they get so p****d every

    time Airbus sells a plane.
  • China doesn't actually need the US as much as the US would like.

    There are plenty of markets for the products of this cheap-labour

  • China does need oil. As long as the US could influence the major

    suppliers (ie Saudi and Iraq under UN "control") and the price could be

    denominated in dollars, the US would be happy: each US dollar that

    leaves the US never to return is worth about 98 cents to the US


Two things happened:

  • The major one was that after 11th September 2001, the extent of

    fundamentalist feeling in Saudi became obvious. The US realised that

    they could no longer depend on Saudi to stay on side. Ditto Kuwait.
  • The minor one was that Iran suddenly popped up and said that they

    might just want paying for their (considerable) supplies of oil in

    Euros. Now, if they went it seemed likely that an awful lot of ME and

    North African produces would follow suite, and perhaps even some South

    American: Venezuala is always looking for ways to jibe the US, for

    example. This would not be good news for the US dollar.

To counter this, the US had little choice but to invade Iraq. It would

gain de facto control over how the second largest oil reserves in the

world were marketed, with China likely to be the biggest customer, and

these sales would be made in dollars. In addition, the "legitimate"

presence of substantial US  forces in the region would (hopefully)

bolster friendly elements in Saudi and keep the pesky Iranians in their


The EU economy is not as vulnerable to these factors as the US (though

it is to other factors - the relationship with Russia, for example), so

there was no economic imperative to join in. In fact, for the EU it was

better to be seen to be opposing US actions as they stood to profit

considerably from what they saw as the inevitable balls up that would

result: there is still a good chance that the US will withdraw their

forces in the face of the insurrection, that EU forces will move in as

an interim peace keeping measure and that they will get to wear the mantle of liberator.

That the UK went along with the US says a great deal about the

perception of the EU in the higher reaches of governement. The UK stood

to gain very little - some crumbs from the master's table perhaps - but

still prefered that course of action rather than jepordising the

"special relationship."

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Ignoring the oil related political reasons for invading Iraq, the basic question now is how best to get out.

I believe that one of the basic problems for the majority of people in the 'west' is the assumption that the Iraqi people want 'democracy' in our western mould. The Arab people throughout the Middle East are tribal by culture, tradition and desire. Their overwhelming allegience is to their religion (whatever sect) and their tribal leaders. The concept of western style democracy is anathema. They also respect a 'strong' leader who rules by his own will or that of the tribe, not by the power of voters.

The US and UK leaders also seriously underestimated the power that Islam has over the every day lives of Muslims. This is evidenced by the fact that the Imams and Mullahs can wind up their flock at the drop of a hat by claiming that the invasion is a war against Islam.

The Arabic press and Arabic language websites push this version of reality constantly and believe me, it is seriously believed even by the more educated Arabs.

The Koran clearly states that killing enemies of Islam is not wrong, in fact its to be desired. Therein lies the justification for violence.

There is no easy exit method. Pulling out all western troops will definitely lead to an escalation of factional violence until some one or other emerges as the winning strong man ( much as Saddam did). This situation cannot be stopped, only slowed down by giving the factions another target - our troops.

It should also be realised that Iraq is, in its present form, an 'artificial' country. It was created by the UK in the 1920s ( I think). The natural borders do not include the Kurds in the North.

In conclusion, I believe that we should 'bite the bullet' and pull out, leaving the Iraqi people to sort them selves out, yes there will be an orgy of bloodshed but could it, realistically, be any worse than the ongoing daily death toll with no end in sight. Those who say we should stay and sort out the problems that we created are living in cloud cuckoo land. The problems will remain as long as we remain as Aunt Sally's in the shooting gallery, I have no desire to see any more British children left fatherless, particularly my own grandchildren.

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