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Americans Weary of Nation Building
IBD ^ | March 9, 2012 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 03/12/2012 1:20:37 PM PDT by trappedincanuckistan

Americans — left, right, Democrats and Republicans — are all sick of thankless nation-building in the Middle East. Yet democratization was not our first choice, but rather a last resort after prior failures.

The U.S. had long ago supplied Afghan insurgents, who expelled the Soviets after a decade of fighting. Then we left. The country descended into even worse medievalism under the Taliban. So after removing the Taliban, who had hosted the perpetrators of 9/11, we promised in 2001 to stay on.

We won the first Gulf War in 1991. Then most of our forces left the region. The result was the mass murder of the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites, 12 years of no-fly zones, and a failed oil-for-food embargo of Saddam's Iraq. So after removing Saddam in 2003, we tried to leave behind something better.

In the last 10 years the U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion and has lost thousands of American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both places seem far better off than when ruled by the Taliban and Saddam Hussein — at least for a while.

Yet the Iraqis now bear Americans little good will. They seem friendlier to Iran and Syria than to their liberators. In Afghanistan, riots continue over the mistaken burning of defaced Qurans, despite serial U.S. apologies.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; iran; iraq; middleeast; nationbuilding; syria; victordavishanson
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To: trappedincanuckistan

Glad to see a lot of Freepers are against needless interventionism. I hope it stays the norm when we have a Republican President.

21 posted on 03/12/2012 1:57:58 PM PDT by GunRunner (***Not associated with any criminal actions by the ATF***)
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To: Tublecane

Nope. In fact the occupation of Germany was pretty brutal. (Dunno as much about Japan...)
For example, after WWII, there was a coal shortage. With winter approaching available coal was routed to France, the UK, etc. Germany was slighted because it was felt that the US occupation force would have fewer problems shooting German civilians if they rioted... There were no “kid gloves” for the losers back then.

IMHO, the current issue derives from the treaties on the laws of land warfare that were signed AFTER WWII. Roughly translated, they seem to read “The US is not allowed to use its full might to bring a war to an absolute and satisfactory conclusion.”

22 posted on 03/12/2012 1:59:11 PM PDT by Little Ray (FOR the best Conservative in the Primary; AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: trappedincanuckistan
Do you like irony?

In his 1999 campaign against Al Gore, George Bush spoke out strongly against the military being used for "Nation Building".

After the 9/11 attack he spent the next 7 1/2 years doing exactly that. Even worse it has proved to be a very expensiove total failure by just about any measurable standard.

George W. Bush in 2000 at a debate with Vice President Al Gore:

“Somalia started off as a humanitarian mission and then changed into a nation-building mission, and that’s where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed, and as a result, our nation paid a price. And so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win wars.”

23 posted on 03/12/2012 1:59:24 PM PDT by Iron Munro ("Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight he'll just kill you." John Steinbeck)
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To: Little Ray

I still favor my own idea. Basically if the people of the country wish to live in medieval times, you make it so. You just destroy every technical vestige of civilization until they are living in that era. All machinery, electronics, generators, etc. Pulverize it all and let them live with the fruits of how they choose to act.

I would try to avoid unnecessary casualties when doing this, so use precision strikes, but the end result is the most important thing.

This has the handy side effect of also preventing them from being a useful harbor or future source of terrorists. Nobody will base themselves in a country with no communications or transport.

24 posted on 03/12/2012 2:02:45 PM PDT by drbuzzard (different league)
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To: trappedincanuckistan
Wonder if anyone is wondering, or mad like me...about this:

25 posted on 03/12/2012 2:07:42 PM PDT by Osage Orange (Why do we eat Soylindra Green?)
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To: Tublecane
I believe Germany and Japan did most of their rebuilding themselves, unlike Afghanistan & Iraq where we gave them most of it.
It's an example of how welfare does not work on the international level either.
A & I have nothing to be proud of. G & J have plenty.

26 posted on 03/12/2012 2:08:45 PM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: Tublecane

Are you saying that we won in Iraq and Afghanistan?

27 posted on 03/12/2012 2:20:24 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: PetroniusMaximus

“You can’t build modern states out of savages.”

And you can’t bomb them back to the stone age when they never left it.

28 posted on 03/12/2012 2:26:20 PM PDT by februus
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To: februus

“You can’t polish a turd.”

29 posted on 03/12/2012 2:40:23 PM PDT by Max in Utah (A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.)
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To: trappedincanuckistan


Here’s what I wrote on the subject of Iran, Iraq & Afghanistan a while back.

To: NormsRevenge
We SHOULD withdraw from Iraq — via Tehran.

Here’s how I think we should “pull out of Iraq.” Add one more front to the scenario below, which would be a classic amphibious beach landing from the south in Iran, and it becomes a “strategic withdrawal” from Iraq. And I think the guy who would pull it off is Duncan Hunter.

How to Stand Up to Iran
Posted by Kevmo to TomasUSMC
On News/Activism 03/28/2007 7:11:08 PM PDT • 36 of 36

Split Iraq up and get out
***The bold military move would be to mobilize FROM Iraq into Iran through Kurdistan and then sweep downward, meeting up with the forces that we pull FROM Afghanistan in a 2-pronged offensive. We would be destroying nuke facilities and building concrete fences along geo-political lines, separating warring tribes physically. At the end, we take our boys into Kurdistan, set up a couple of big military bases and stay awhile. We could invite the French, Swiss, Italians, Mozambiqans, Argentinians, Koreans, whoever is willing to be the police forces for the regions that we move through, and if the area gets too hot for these peacekeeper weenies we send in military units. Basically, it would be learning the lesson of Iraq and applying it.

15 rules for understanding the Middle East

Rule 8: Civil wars in the Arab world are rarely about ideas — like liberalism vs. communism. They are about which tribe gets to rule. So, yes, Iraq is having a civil war as we once did. But there is no Abe Lincoln in this war. It’s the South vs. the South.

Rule 10: Mideast civil wars end in one of three ways: a) like the U.S. civil war, with one side vanquishing the other; like the Cyprus civil war, with a hard partition and a wall dividing the parties; or c) like the Lebanon civil war, with a soft partition under an iron fist (Syria) that keeps everyone in line. Saddam used to be the iron fist in Iraq. Now it is us. If we don’t want to play that role, Iraq’s civil war will end with A or B.

Let’s say my scenario above is what happens. Would that military mobilization qualify as a “withdrawal” from Iraq as well as Afghanistan? Then, when we’re all done and we set up bases in Kurdistan, it wouldn’t really be Iraq, would it? It would be Kurdistan.


I have posted in the past that I think the key to the strategy in the middle east is to start with an independent Kurdistan. If we engaged Iran in such a manner we might earn back the support of these windvane politicians and wussie voters who don’t mind seeing a quick & victorious fight but hate seeing endless police action battles that don’t secure a country.

I thought it would be cool for us to set up security for the Kurds on their southern border with Iraq, rewarding them for their bravery in defying Saddam Hussein. We put in some military bases there for, say, 20 years as part of the occupation of Iraq in their transition to democracy. We guarantee the autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan as long as they don’t engage with Turkey. But that doesn’t say anything about engaging with Iranian Kurdistan. Within those 20 years the Kurds could have a secure and independent nation with expanding borders into Iran. After we close down the US bases, Kurdistan is on her own. But at least Kurdistan would be an independent nation with about half its territory carved out of Persia. If Turkey doesn’t relinquish her claim on Turkish Kurdistan after that, it isn’t our problem, it’s 2 of our allies fighting each other, one for independence and the other for regional primacy. I support democratic independence over a bullying arrogant minority.

The kurds are the closest thing we have to friends in that area. They fought against Saddam (got nerve-gassed), they’re fighting against Iran, they squabble with our so-called ally Turkey (who didn’t allow Americans to operate in the north of Iraq this time around).

It’s time for them to have their own country. They deserve it. They carve Kurdistan out of northern Iraq, northern Iran, and try to achieve some kind of autonomy in eastern Turkey. If Turkey gets angry, we let them know that there are consequences to turning your back on your “friend” when they need you. If the Turks want trouble, they can invade the Iraqi or Persian state of Kurdistan and kill americans to make their point. It wouldn’t be a wise move for them, they’d get their backsides handed to them and have eastern Turkey carved out of their country as a result.

If such an act of betrayal to an ally means they get a thorn in their side, I would be happy with it. It’s time for people who call themselves our allies to put up or shut up. The Kurds have been putting up and deserve to be rewarded with an autonomous and sovereign Kurdistan, borne out of the blood of their own patriots.

Should Turkey decide to make trouble with their Kurdish population, we would stay out of it, other than to guarantee sovereignty in the formerly Iranian and Iraqi portions of Kurdistan. When one of our allies wants to fight another of our allies, it’s a messy situation. If Turkey goes “into the war on Iran’s side” then they ain’t really our allies and that’s the end of that.

I agree that it’s hard on troops and their families. We won the war 4 years ago. This aftermath is the nation builders and peacekeeper weenies realizing that they need to understand things like the “15 rules for understanding the Middle East”

This was the strategic error that GWB committed. It was another brilliant military campaign but the followup should have been 4X as big. All those countries that don’t agree with sending troups to fight a war should have been willing to send in policemen and nurses to set up infrastructure and repair the country.

What do you think we should do with Iraq?

Posted by Kevmo to Blue Scourge
On News/Activism 12/12/2006 9:17:33 AM PST • 23 of 105

My original contention was that we should have approached the reluctant “allies” like the French to send in Police forces for the occupation after battle, since they were so unwilling to engage in the fighting. It was easy to see that we’d need as many folks in police and nurse’s uniforms as we would in US Army unitorms in order to establish a democracy in the middle east. But, since we didn’t follow that line of approach, we now have a civil war on our hands. If we were to set our sights again on the police/nurse approach, we might still be able to pull this one off. I think we won the war in Iraq; we just haven’t won the peace.

I also think we should simply divide the country. The Kurds deserve their own country, they’ve proven to be good allies. We could work with them to carve out a section of Iraq, set their sights on carving some territory out of Iran, and then when they’re done with that, we can help “negotiate” with our other “allies”, the Turks, to secure Kurdish autonomy in what presently eastern Turkey.

That leaves the Sunnis and Shiites to divide up what’s left. We would occupy the areas between the two warring factions. Also, the UN/US should occupy the oil-producing regions and parcel out the revenue according to whatever plan they come up with. That gives all the sides something to argue about rather than shooting at us.

38 posted on Thursday, July 12, 2007 3:55:19 PM by Kevmo (We need to get away from the Kennedy Wing of the Republican Party ~Duncan Hunter)

30 posted on 03/12/2012 4:02:31 PM PDT by Kevmo (If you can define a man by the depravity of his enemies, Rick Santorum must be a noble soul indeed.)
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31 posted on 03/12/2012 4:38:15 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: BroJoeK; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; ...

Thanks trappedincanuckistan.

32 posted on 03/12/2012 4:39:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: SuzyQue
But, I know we are sick of spending blood on treasure on losing.

So when a soldier who would understand this more than anyone goes for a walk you would understand and support him 1000%?

And no, I'm not stalking you, I was pinged to this thread and here you was.

33 posted on 03/12/2012 5:37:06 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: Liz
The neos are licking their lips over the dream of Mittens beating Barry. That's where all his inside the beltway support has to be coming from as policy wise he's just like them, Liberal on social (FINANCIAL) issues.

It's impossible to be a Fiscal hawk if you're for liberal social issue as those cost money to run. And we know how good Mittens is at 'running things'. Like health Romneycare in Tax-a-chusetts. And he's said over and over he doesn't want to downsize the FedGov Beast, just make it 'more efficient'.

I bet all the old Neo players from Dubya's days are polishing up their resumes right now. (while dollar signs dance in their heads)

34 posted on 03/13/2012 6:02:13 AM PDT by Condor51 (Yo Hoffa, so you want to 'take out conservatives'. Well okay Jr - I'm your Huckleberry)
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To: Tublecane
-"Oh, we pummeled Iraqis and Afghanis, too. Remember Shock and Awe?"

Sure, Shock and Awe was a lot of firepower, but it was strictly a 'military perimeter' engagement. They keeled over backwards not to even scratch a 'civilian' brick or mortar.

I don't recall any cities or towns in Iraq or Afghanistan looking like this...




35 posted on 03/13/2012 6:04:04 AM PDT by LibFreeUSA (Pick Your Poison)
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To: Condor51
I bet all the old Neo players from Dubya's days are polishing up their resumes (as billions of US tax dollars dance in their money-grubbing heads).....

Oh joy, another Office of Special Ops in the WH (/snix).

Let's see--eeny, meeny, mino mo--which countries do the neos want us to invade after the election?


On second thought, bite your tongue. We have to be very careful what we say about these "innocents"....the sad, sad history is that they've been thrown out of every country that's accepted them b/c of schemes like this (sob).

36 posted on 03/13/2012 6:28:14 AM PDT by Liz
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To: Tublecane
“Americans Weary of Nation Building” Republicans were, too, when Clinton did it.

That's a joke, right? Clinton had no bigger cheerleader for Kosovo than John "I never saw a war I didn't like" McLame.

37 posted on 03/13/2012 6:35:21 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: drbuzzard

Yes and no.
They want modern weapons - RPGs, MGs, ARs, etc. They especially like loot.
But they have no use for the trappings of civilization and civil society: Literacy, law, indoor plumbing, etc.

We went about nation building in the wrong fashion. Afghanis are not suited for any sort of representative government. Basically, we should have found a competent sociopath with a good following, trained and armed his followers, and put him in charge. We make sure that he knows that he will survive and the goodies will keep coming only as long as he enjoys our favor. If he forfeits it, or start courting the favor of others, we destroy him AND his family. (Collective punishment WORKS!)
Then we use our pet sociopath for the ugly tasks we don’t want our soldiers to have do, like exterminating entire villages or even entire tribes for supporting Al Qaeda or the Taliban. We crush the resistance, his thugs kill off the old, the women, and the children (the ones the don’t grab for slaves and concubines).
IMHO, that would have brought the Afghanistan campaign to successful conclusion sooner rather than later.

38 posted on 03/13/2012 7:12:15 AM PDT by Little Ray (FOR the best Conservative in the Primary; AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: Little Ray

That would certainly be effective, but I don’t think Americans are coldly calculating enough for that anymore. In the Cold War prime, surely, as we did it all the time then. Nowadays, we get all touchy feely and toss our self interest out the window.

Then again, nobody would entertain my solution either so there’s little difference. I just like mine because of the ‘just deserts’ angle.

39 posted on 03/13/2012 11:10:07 AM PDT by drbuzzard (different league)
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To: Liz
*** On second thought, bite your tongue. We have to be very careful what we say about these "innocents"....the sad, sad history is that they've been thrown out of every country that's accepted them b/c of schemes like this (sob). ***

Yeah, you're right.

Maybe we should have a Tag Day for the Chief Neo, Billy Kristol. 'The word on the street ' is that he's down to his last $25 million dollars. :-)

ps: sorry for these day late replies but I've been busy on a 'project' so my time here has been limited. Should be back to normal later today or definitely tomorrow)

40 posted on 03/14/2012 4:40:20 AM PDT by Condor51 (Yo Hoffa, so you want to 'take out conservatives'. Well okay Jr - I'm your Huckleberry)
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