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Thread: Worldly Talk 2.0

  1. #71

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    On an individual level, Sober, that's wonderful and I'm sure you made some important, personal connections with your empathy and actions there.

    Unfortunately, those same kids have grown up only knowing Iraq to be a blown-up shambles instead of what it looked like prior to 2003 because the very same country whose uniform you wear blew up most of the infrastructure there between 2003-2008.

    In short: I'm sure some of the kids in Iraq are deeply grateful to specific, kind American soldiers like yourself, Sober, but I find it hard to believe that they are, in general, deeply grateful for the United States of America. If I were in their position, I certainly wouldn't be.



  2. #72
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    Wow, there is a lot to address there. I'm going to try and break it down and address it all clearly. Please bear with me and don't take it the wrong way if I miss some points.

    First, have you seen how the country was prior to 2003? I have some photos from 2004-2005. You know what, that's not even the proper point. Sadam was a monster. I hope we can agree on this point. He, and this isn't a matter of debate, used chemical weapons against his own people. We can ague about whether or not the US had any business getting involved in these matters, but I would like to set that aside for the moment. We did invade their country, yes. But the majority of the fighting during the invasion took place outside cities and away from infrastructure. We didn't blow up their country and leave it in ruins. This is a fact, and I have personal photo evidence to support it. The destruction came in the aftermath at the hands of the insurgents. The terrorists that fought against the US presence there were the ones who "blew up most of the infrastructure there". Our weapon systems are rather precise. I have photos of one of Sadam's palaces that was hit by US weapons. Not only is nothing around the palace damaged, but the building is still intact and was in fact being used by the military at the time. The only part of the building that was damaged was a specific portion that they wanted to take out. This is the complete opposite of how the terrorists worked. For example they figured out that firing artillery at our positions lead to return fire from our artillery. Now that is not some place you want to be. I have watched footage from a camera they set up to capture the return fire on film. So they learned to go into other people's land or buildings and set up motors to launch from timers. That way they have plenty of time to leave to somewhere safe, and innocent civilians are at risk of getting hit by the return fire. They knew what they were doing, and what they were trying to bring down on the heads of those local people.

    Second, what we were doing there was trying to build things. Aside from the fact that we (the US military) were not the ones destroying things in the first place, we were trying to make things better. One of the largest groups of troops on the base i was stationed at was the Navy SeaBees. Now in case you aren't familiar, they are engineers. Their primary job is building things, such as the schools we kept trying to build, only to have people blow them up. So we would go back and try to build the schools again. We would try and explain to people what we were building and why. We would give crayons, coloring books, and toys to children to encourage them to like the school and America. Their parents would at times then take these things and throw them out for fear of the terrorists finding their children with them. I also personally saw a group of boys knock down a little girl to take the doll she had just been given, but that's another matter.

    So this line that you are speaking about us bombing that country and leaving it a wasteland is not only incorrect, but it's the same lie that the terrorists use to convince people to blow themselves up. That reminds me of another story but it's not really relevant to the discussion of whether we blew up Iraq or not so I will digress there.
    "Behold I have become Death, Destroyer of worlds."
    Quote Originally Posted by D&D Basic Rules, Altered by me
    Disclaimer: [Your DM, TTW and] Wizards of the Coast [are] not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the party, opening hidden coffins, shaking up or mixing unfinished alchemical potions, throwing a stick past a werewolf and yelling "Fetch!", angering a dragon of any variety, or saying yes when the DM asks, “Are you really sure?”
    "To most men, asking hideous old women for sex advice is like asking the tarrasque for a breath mint."

  3. #73

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    Yes, Saddam was a monster. He was, after all, the Butcher of Baghdad. No argument there.

    That said: he was a monster that kept the power on and the water running. Iraq was a dangerous place with a dangerous leader prior to 2003, but it was a place with a functioning government, businesses and infrastructure. After the US invasion, the nation's pipelines, sewer systems and electrical grid largely ended up as casualties of the war.

    And that, of course, doesn't begin to get into the loss of life. Yes, Saddam killed his own people...but his numbers never reached anything near the heights of what the US invasion caused as far as a body count goes. He killed, yes, but never numbers ranging from the hundreds of thousands to a million.

    For instance, straight from Wikipedia and sourced from multiple studies, comes this opening paragraph from the "Casualties of the Iraq War" topic:

    "Population-based studies produce estimates of the number of Iraq War casualties ranging from 151,000 violent deaths as of June 2006 (per the Iraq Family Health Survey) to 1,033,000 (per the 2007 Opinion Research Business (ORB) survey). Other survey-based studies covering different time-spans find 461,000 total deaths (over 60% of them violent) as of June 2011 (per PLOS Medicine 2013), and 655,000 total deaths (over 90% of them violent) as of June 2006 (per the 2006 Lancet study). Body counts counted at least 110,600 violent deaths as of April 2009 (Associated Press). The Iraq Body Count project documents 185,000 - 208,000 violent civilian deaths through Feb 2020 in their table."





  4. #74

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    That's so many people... Its easy to think of it being a person here or there (still awful), but that's a lot...

    Currently (as ever) studying for an exam else I'd start digging into the studies myself, but do you know if they cite the causes of death? (It would be interesting to compare the numbers to Sober's personal experience in the field). Anecdotal experience can be highly useful (I think a lot of people tend to just ignore the numbers), but its always good to compare with the numbers. (For a timely example, just because your father/uncle/brother/sister/etc... is a good upstanding police officer doesn't mean they all are, nor does it mean that just because you've had a poor run-in with an officer that they are all jerks).

    The wars over in the Middle East are horrifically confusing for me. Partly because (I believe) the state intentionally covers things up making it hard to piece out the facts. This just makes it worse for me to piece apart because when some of the bad things come to light people use it as ammunition to say everything going on was bad or for ill intent. Unfortunately this makes it into a topic very difficult for me to discuss T.T . (although both the perspective of the number of lives lost and the boots on the ground experience are eye opening).

    So a question for those that know more than I do on the subject: what can we do (generally speaking from the perspective of the American military) to bring Iraq (and other damaged nations) back into a state of repair?

    EDIT: Against my better judgement I put a few minutes of study into the thing... Which didn't really answer many questions (as some sources claim coalition bombings are the primary cause of loss of life and others claim it was the following civil conflicts). The number of deaths is also widely contested from a hundred thousand confirmed to as many as a million speculated with many numbers coming in the 400-600 thousand range over the course of the war. It also reminded me how confusing the issues get over there and brings up another question for discussion: Is it acceptable to unseat dictators even given the large loss of life and instability that may follow? ((Given of course that the dictator is oppressing his people)).
    Last edited by Zeros; 09-14-2020 at 09:43 PM.


  5. #75
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    See I believe that a large part of the U.S.'s problems in let's focus in and say just Afghanistan (though I would say more of the Middle East)comes from how we previously handled things. From 1979 to 1989 the CIA was involved in helping the mujahideen (jihadists) in Afghanistan resist Soviet occupation. Our country helped keep them from becoming part of the USSR. Once the war was over, we pulled out. We could have stayed and help rebuild or just build schools in particular, but we didn't. Roughly 20 years later, that same country and jihadists have created the narrative that we are the bad guys and must be attacked. This leads to September 11th, 2001. So we go back to Afghanistan and into Iraq. Then we try to stay around this time to help rebuild. Instead we become the focus for all of this hate and attacks, only to then be blamed for the deaths caused by the other side.

    Also from Wikipedia on the Iraq war: "The Iraq War caused at least one hundred thousand civilian deaths, as well as tens of thousands of military deaths (see estimates below). The majority of deaths occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between 2004 and 2007. ... Casualty figures, especially Iraqi ones, are highly disputed." I've highlighted the most important part of the message. One that is missing from your quote Ra. Tens of thousands of our military died trying to make things BETTER over there and to keep the peace better people who often hate each other. And then those same military men and women are blamed for all the death and destruction. It's enough to make me sick personally.

    In answer to your question about how to fix things Zero.... there's no easy answer. The problem (from everything I saw) is you can't help people who don't want to help themselves. It was the problem in Iraq in 2004-2005, it's a big part of the problem with the riots today in America. Too many people more interested in being right and getting their way than in making things better.
    "Behold I have become Death, Destroyer of worlds."
    Quote Originally Posted by D&D Basic Rules, Altered by me
    Disclaimer: [Your DM, TTW and] Wizards of the Coast [are] not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the party, opening hidden coffins, shaking up or mixing unfinished alchemical potions, throwing a stick past a werewolf and yelling "Fetch!", angering a dragon of any variety, or saying yes when the DM asks, “Are you really sure?”
    "To most men, asking hideous old women for sex advice is like asking the tarrasque for a breath mint."

  6. #76

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    Sober's entirely right that the US military policies in the '70s and '80s directed against the USSR in the Middle East paved the way for the Middle East wars of the the 21st century. We trained and armed Osama bin Laden with rockets and missiles, only to then ask him for the military equivalent of a goddamn pinkie promise to please, pretty please not turn around and aim them at us some day. Look how that turned out.

    Not so much Desert Storm in the early '90s, as that stands as a rare modern military success for the United States, for which we really need to give President George H. W. Bush more credit for successfully ignoring the advice of his Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, when Cheney said we should press on from Kuwait right into Iraq. Bush's most famous quote, sadly for him, is, "read my lips: no new taxes," which was also his political downfall...but his actual best quote was his response regarding both sides of the conflict to Cheney's demand we invade straight into the heart of Baghdad: "Too much money, too much time and too many lives lost."

    If only we'd listened to him.



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