Friday, August 26, 2005

Iraq Constitution

The standard conservative line is that it took America two tries and much longer than 6 months to put together a document that has lasted for 250 years. I agree and disagree with this point of view.

I agree that Iraq might have to tear something down and rebuild it. If you do something wrong in software or even social engineering, it is sometimes better to just start over instead of patching the system you have built poorly. If the constitution is not perfect then I would be okay with starting over, though I would not be okay with it not being perfect.

The second part of the argument I do not agree with fully. 250 years ago they did not have telephones, Internet, or any other grand constitutions to start from. They had several supporting documents, a couple revolutions, and some basic philosophy. The Iraqis have much more than that. There is a wealth of information on how to build a great and prosperous nation and it is getting better everyday.

The Iraqis are much further along in the constitution development life cycle than we were 250 years ago. They have many examples to choose from. Heck, if they need the help we can write one for them.

They also have the advantage of modern communications, although that advantage might be limited in a war zone like Iraq.

Thirdly, they are not riding in by horses, but by armored convoys that probably cover much more ground than the early horse and buggy covered.

Basically, since logistics and constitutional practices are much further along than they were 250 years ago, the Iraqis only have their selves to blame if they screw this thing up and have to redo it. I expect a lot more than what they are giving us.

To the Iraq people all I have to say is this: Americans fought and died for your freedom, maybe that does not mean anything to you, but to me it means quite a bit. Get you crap straight or we will let you fight it out amongst yourselves, because Americans really can be heartless bastards when we want. If you screw up the chance that we gave you, I could really careless what happens to you, your people, or you country.

cube

19 comments:

Sandcastle said...

I think that is a really arrogant attitude that is indicative of the average american. No one asked us to "free" the Iraqis. While they may now have a chance for greater personal freedoms, they were much more secure and had better infastructure before the war. Additionally, they are made up of several religious and ethnic groups all trying to get an upper hand in the power vacuum that we created. If I remember correctly, all of the drafters of our Constitutions were white male protestants.

Cubicle said...

"No one asked us to "free" the Iraqis."

It depends if you count the thousands saddam killed as a request for freedom.

"they were much more secure"

Possibly, but America is not the reason they are not secure. The insurgents are the ones causing the insecuirty. If the insurgents would stop fighting, security would be achived.

Though they have much higher level of personal protection. If i remember correctly gun ownership is now leagal, and I doubt that it was that way under saddam unless you worked for him.

"better infastructure before the war"

I doubt this also. Surely we did not blow up everything and destroy everything. Secondly, many of their infastructure problems come from overuse, which was not a problem under saddam, because he controlled everything.

"I think that is a really arrogant attitude that is indicative of the average american. "

Americans are better than everyone one else, once everyone else understands this the world will be a much better place.

Sandcastle said...

You are sure their infastructure is better now? Because you have spent 15 months in Iraq, right? Between the things we blew up, purposefully or inadvertantly, the things Saddam destroyed himself to deny us resources, and the insurgents, most of Iraq's ability to produce clean water and electricity was destroyed. People are not safer now. Every Iraqi that I have talked to knows someone that was either killed by insurgents or American soldiers. Or both. Owning a gun is little defense against a car bomb, a mortar, or an Apache attack helicopter. And do you really think that the fact that thousands of Iraqis dying under Saddam gives us the right to come here and kill thousands more? Do you think it is a coincidence that America only intervenes with "humanitarian" missions when it has something to gain? We started this war because of incorrect intelligence and paranoia. Now that it has become expensive and protracted people are starting to blame the Iraqis.

Cubicle said...

"most of Iraq's ability to produce clean water and electricity was destroyed"

maybe in 2003, but since then how many infastructure imporvements have we made.

If I remember correctly, electric power has stopped being limited to just areas saddam wanted it limited to,which is were the overuse came from.

every single day improvments and rebuilding are occuring. I find it hard to belive that their standard of living has not returned to normal or not close to it.

Also with the econmic growth that has been happening, i find it hard to belive that things are not starting to turn around.

"People are not safer now. Every Iraqi that I have talked to knows someone that was either killed by insurgents or American soldiers. Or both"

how many know people that were killed by saddam? More or less than know people killed by our troops.

"Owning a gun is little defense against a car bomb, a mortar, or an Apache attack helicopter."

No, but it allows you to band together and go find those responsblie for car bombs and mortars. The fact is that if the Iraqis want peace they can get it by stopping the ones who don't want peace.


"And do you really think that the fact that thousands of Iraqis dying under Saddam gives us the right to come here and kill thousands more? "

Yep. It is called moral authority and america has it. Is american perfect, No. Is america working toward the greater good? yep.

Bascially the idea is that currupt goverments that rule by force do not have the right to exist, period.

Secondly Saddam was our creation and our responsbliy to remove.


"Now that it has become expensive and protracted people are starting to blame the Iraqis."

Well when you have a chance to create a consitution and don't it is really nobodies fault but your own, as far as i am concerned.

transientforeigner said...

If I may sidestep the current secondary debates and comment on the idea of the Iraqi constitution: One significant difference between the writing of the American constitution and the Iraqi constitution is that the American constitution was drafted completey in private and not unveiled until it was prepared to go to ratification. I would argue that the presence of increased communications actually makes this a more difficult process. In America in the 1700s, the likelihood of a new constitution being revised, agreed upon and written within any reasonable time frame was inconceivable. Therefore people were more willing to accept a document that they were unhappy with. In Iraq currently, two primary components of democracy are making the process difficult: rule of the people and minority rights. People, through representatives, telephone, email and other telecommunications are giving their input and they realize that a U.S. set deadline is superficial and that they can rework draft after draft holding out for what they want. The Shiite minority is also exercising the very "democratic" tool of minority rights by claiming that even a majority-ratified Constitution may constitute a tyranny of the majority. If anything, today's society is a worse place to write a constitution for the mere fact that everyone wants to be involved and it's much easier to manage a dozen or two delegates than it is the numerous parties in Iraq and throughout the world.

The Constitutional Convention almost failed but was saved by the "Great Compromise". Proportional representation versus equal representation seems like an easy problem when compared to concerns of land ownership, oil and the right to succeed.

And to a secondary comment cubicle made:

"Bascially the idea is that currupt goverments that rule by force do not have the right to exist, period."

American politics, even at the national level is so rampant with corruption that it is a common joke. How many references are there to Haliburton across blogs? Furthermore, what Iraqi or American is going to say that America does not rule by force? I am afraid that the threshold set for legitimacy is far too high for even the great America.

Cubicle said...

"If anything, today's society is a worse place to write a constitution for the mere fact that everyone wants to be involved and it's much easier to manage a dozen or two delegates than it is the numerous parties in Iraq and throughout the world."

I would disagree, because as easy as it makes it to communicate, technology makes it very easy to ignore that person also. Just because someone calls you does not mean you have to do somthing about it. It is well known that if you want somthing, it is better to ask for it in person.

Secondly, technolgy also makes it eiser to manage large amounts of information, such as emails, and makes helps people to become more productive. So while there is more information and more people involved, technology helps manage that problem.

thridly, you only looked at one aspect of technology, which is personal communcations. What about he inernet which allows delegats to look up how other countires have handled the same problem. Knowledge transfer is the other advantage of technology that you are not taking into account. Which if anything I think the knowlege transfer would speed up the process.

Cubicle said...

"Proportional representation versus equal representation seems like an easy problem when compared to concerns of land ownership, oil and the right to succeed."

I doubt that also. Oil can be handled the same way alaska handles it. Land ownership might be trickly, but really most nations have already solved that problem. And the right to succeed, is a tough one, but that does not have to be handled now. If a area already wants to succeed the Nations is already screwed from the beginning.

BTW- I am for the kurds succeeding and forming their own nation.

Cubicle said...

"American politics, even at the national level is so rampant with corruption that it is a common joke. How many references are there to Haliburton across blogs?"

Yes but are you award Haliburton also had to make payments back to the US goverment for where it screwed up?

Secondly, every place has currption, but limiting the scope and the damage of it is the important thing.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781359.html

I would say that they US has done well in that regard.

Cubicle said...

"Furthermore, what Iraqi or American is going to say that America does not rule by force?"

Here is one right here.

in the the US there exists a rule of law and rule of the people that can change those laws.

Sandcastle said...

I think that you have an incredibly dim perception of what is happening in Iraq. Some Iraqis died under the Saddam regime. However, there were only a few massacres. Daily life was stable. Since the outbreak of the war thousands and thousands of Iraqis have been killed. We (and the terrorists) have killed far more Iraqis than Saddam. Terrorists are, by nature, covert. The people can't simply band together and throw them out any more than you can band together with your neighbor and get rid of all the terrorists in America. And infastructure is improving slowly, but it has still not reached prewar levels. Most construction projects use half of their budget for security. Hundreds of IEDs blow up each day, and that doesn't help road conditions at all. Additionally, contractors are often killed by terrorist for working with the US or accepting funds.

Dave Justus said...

Sandcastle: Conservative estimates place 400,000 Iraqis in mass graves because of Saddam Hussein. This is not counting those who died as a result of the Iran-Iraq war or Gulf War I.

Highly inflated estimates put the number of Iraqis who have died from U.S. or Insurgent action at 100,000.

No one who knows anything about Iraq seriously argues that we have killed as many Iraqi's as Saddam.

Cubicle said...

"Some Iraqis died under the Saddam regime. However, there were only a few massacres. Daily life was stable. Since the outbreak of the war thousands and thousands of Iraqis have been killed. We (and the terrorists) have killed far more Iraqis than Saddam."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein

Saddam begin his regin in 1979 and during his time in Office he killed anywhere from 1 million to two million people, either directly or through his actions (war with Iran, invasion of Kuwait).

At one million for 24 years, that is 41,666.7 deaths per year.(remember the population of Iraq is less that 25 million)

The range of civillians killed by the US is 24495-27705 accorindg to http://www.iraqbodycount.net/ and we have been their nearly 2 years.



Terrorists are, by nature, covert. The people can't simply band together and throw them out any more than you can band together with your neighbor and get rid of all the terrorists in America. And infastructure is improving slowly, but it has still not reached prewar levels. Most construction projects use half of their budget for security. Hundreds of IEDs blow up each day, and that doesn't help road conditions at all. Additionally, contractors are often killed by terrorist for working with the US or accepting funds. "

Cubicle said...

"Terrorists are, by nature, covert. The people can't simply band together and throw them out any more than you can band together with your neighbor and get rid of all the terrorists in America"

As to this, it is hard to hide a car bomb making factory or thousands of pounds of expolisves. While terrorist might be nearly invisible, their tools are not. People either agree with the terrorists or they are afriad to speak up. I would bet on the latter, because they have lived under fear for so long.

transientforeigner said...

"I would disagree, because as easy as it makes it to communicate, technology makes it very easy to ignore that person also. Just because someone calls you does not mean you have to do somthing about it. It is well known that if you want somthing, it is better to ask for it in person."

Exactly. Your sentiments on state-building and constitution-building mirror the majority of Americans I suspect, but here is the problem. By ignoring the requests and inputs of people seeking involvement in building a new nation you are denying one of the fundamental aspects of democracy. And you have furthermore noted that technology makes this all the more feasible and likely.

Japan is the example Americans and most others who extol democracy put forth as their model of accomplishment. However, look at the way Japan achieved democracy. They didn't meet together and invite all minority groups and build their country. The United States forced democracy on them, and it worked. I will not say (here at least) whether it was good or bad but it worked. America was able to get their constitution workable by similar means, by limiting input. The irony is that democracy is best achieved by nondemocratic means. It is the same irony as pursuing peace by war. Peace by war worked in most of Europe (eventually). Ask anyone from Germany or France what the likelihood of those two nations going to war is.

Iraq is going about building their new government more democratically and with more participation than most countries in history have. For this reason, and many others, it will fail. Iraq is not ready for democracy, it is not ready for a constitution. Whether or not the infrastructure was in place with Saddam is really irrelevant because the infrastructure is not there now.

"Yes but are you award Haliburton also had to make payments back to the US goverment for where it screwed up?"

That does not even begin to address the fact that Haliburton should never have had those contracts in the first place. Of course they're going to pay back what the public knows they stole. It is still profitable for them.

"Secondly, every place has currption, but limiting the scope and the damage of it is the important thing."..."I would say that they US has done well in that regard."

In measures of perceived corruption of political parties (which is important to the constitution-drafting phase) Afghanistan has less corruption than America.
http://www.transparency.org/surveys/barometer/dnld/barometer_report_8_12_2004.pdf
(Page 19)

"in the the US there exists a rule of law and rule of the people that can change those laws."

Polls show that a majority of Americans are against the war in Iraq. Bush has made it clear that he has no intention of withdrawing from Iraq, regardless of public opinion. The truth is America is ruling by force, and the people, despite wanting that to change, are finding themselves unable to do anything about it. Bush has taken advantage of a huge loophole in the American democratic process: that change is slow. Whatever one's sentiments toward that loophole it does not change the fact that we do indeed rule by force - one of the criteria (from you) that the government is illegitimate.

"No one who knows anything about Iraq seriously argues that we have killed as many Iraqi's as Saddam."

I would not argue that, however, one does need to look at the changes to society. Murders from third party elements of society were much much lower during Saddam. When Saddam was there he and his underlings did the killing. Now that has changed, whatever twisted logic did apply to the mass murders-orderly society of Saddam no longer does. I do not make the argument that the number of deaths during the U.S. invasion nears the number of deaths during the Saddam regime but one does need to look at the total number of deaths (per year if you like) during the two time periods and then factor in the havoc that the U.S. invasion ushered in.

"it is hard to hide a car bomb making factory or thousands of pounds of expolisves"

They don't have car bomb factories or thousands of pounds of explosives. Suicide bombers often have homemade devices that you could make in your own home without drawing attention to yourself. I have little doubt there are people from all over the spectrum. People who are afraid, people who are sympathizers and people who try to stop them and either can't find them or are killed in the process. Terrorism is not going to be stopped by armed minutemen out to rid the world of such people.

Crimes are never stopped completely by armed force; they are just pushed to the fringes of society where they generally affect less people. Look at drugs, theft, prohibition, prostitution, murder or anything that people consider undesirable and have enacted laws and hired armed people to protect them against. Terrorism works the same way except it is more visible on the fringes of society. It is more visible because although it doesn't affect as many people directly as say drugs or theft does, it is a "terror" that affects most everyone, regardless of whether or not they are directly involved.

"BTW- I am for the kurds succeeding and forming their own nation."

Power to the Kurds.

Cubicle said...

"Iraq is going about building their new government more democratically and with more participation than most countries in history have. For this reason, and many others, it will fail. Iraq is not ready for democracy, it is not ready for a constitution. Whether or not the infrastructure was in place with Saddam is really irrelevant because the infrastructure is not there now."

Want to take a bet on that?

Secondly, just because you ignore the requests of people, that does not mean that people do not feel like they had input. Sometimes just allowing people to have their say is all that is neccesary for people to get along. And that is my point. Greater technology, weather it is used to tap into the will of the people, still makes people happier.

"Polls show that a majority of Americans are against the war in Iraq."

Yet polls also show that a majority of people were for the war, in the frist place. If you asked me if i agreed with the way bush was handleing the war, i would say NO also. Of course, i would want more bombs dropped and more people killed but that is beside the point. The pollsters got their answer, even if it is the wrong one.

"That does not even begin to address the fact that Haliburton should never have had those contracts in the first place. Of course they're going to pay back what the public knows they stole. It is still profitable for them."

Actually you are wrong on that also. You have to bid to get no bid contracts. check it out yourself. There are only two compaines in the world that can do what Haliburton does, and the other one is french.

"They don't have car bomb factories or thousands of pounds of explosives. "

Wrong there also.
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/special_packages/iraq/12332243.htm


"Terrorism is not going to be stopped by armed minutemen out to rid the world of such people. "

I disagree with that also, you will be surpised what a well armed and well informed group of people can do the keep the peace.

"Crimes are never stopped completely by armed force; they are just pushed to the fringes of society where they generally affect less people."

You can look at the barrel of my gun when you try to rob my place and tell me that. In america a good percentage of criminals (over 50) worry about a house being armed. I think they took a poll on that once.

You seem to be lacking certian key facts, which you seem to assume that since you do not have the facts that what you belive is fact when that is not so. For example, "they do not have car bomb factories", when in fact they do.

transientforeigner said...

Saying "Want to take a bet on that?" is not really an impressive counter argument. It brings to mind another comment: "You seem to be lacking certian key facts, which you seem to assume that since you do not have the facts that what you belive is fact when that is not so."

Facts my friends, facts or even a theory. Mine were orderly laid out.

"Secondly, just because you ignore the requests of people, that does not mean that people do not feel like they had input. Sometimes just allowing people to have their say is all that is neccesary for people to get along. And that is my point. Greater technology, weather it is used to tap into the will of the people, still makes people happier."

I would expect this argument from a high level politician with whom power has corrupted. I don't know that I have read a more condescending entry on the blog, though I must admit there is much I haven't read. Perhaps this is where our fundamental differences are: I think the people of Iraq are looking for and are deserving of long term security and a nation and constitution that protects their values and interests. You seem to think that a token placation will address these concerns.

"Yet polls also show that a majority of people were for the war, in the frist place"

Are people not allowed to change their minds then? It is important for the public to be able to admit that they were wrong, or at least to admit that the government is taking license or failing in their duties. And even more importantly they need to be able to rectify their decisions politically if they wish. The reasoning matters little in this case but people want troops home for numerous and often competing reasons: to help with Katrina, because they're pacifists, because they only supported a war to fight off biological weapons, because American casualties are too high, because they think it is taking too long etc. I may not agree with all or any of these, but the fact is, polls are showing that people want the troops home and the Bush administration has made it clear that regardless of public sentiment, those troops will not be coming home until "the job is finished".

It would not matter if only 10 percent of people in America were asking for troops to come home. The Bush administration has reiterated many times that they have plans that are not going to be thwarted regardless of public opinion. The logic is what is so very dangerous. If you have noticed Bush has recently changed his terminology from "the people support this war" or "my constituents" to "we owe it to the fallen troops". Bush will not be remembered as a president of the people but is already known as a President who goes through with his plans regardless of opposition and that is a serious problem when it is supposed to be a democratic country.

"There are only two compaines in the world that can do what Haliburton does, and the other one is french."

Haliburton does a lot. You will have to be more specific than a generalized reference to a statistic that is only partially relevant. Again, facts.

It makes little difference if a contract has to be bidded on if only one company is allowed to bid on it. The controversy (lest I make the same mistake as cited above)at least with SOME bids is that there was no competition. But we need not to digress into the level of corruption within Haliburton. American society has plenty of shining examples of corruption if one needs more.

This all goes back to the assertion that a corrupt government and a government who uses force is illigitimate. That sounds nice but you offer only general variables in which the United States scores poorly in both. Furthermore, there is a slippery slope problem that you hinted to. What level of corruption and what level of force makes a regime illigetimate? The United States is not going to score well on corruption indices and they're only going to score well if you reconceptualize force to be "force on one's own citizens" which would be seen for what it was: an obvious attempt to admit the U.S. into the list of states as not forceful.

What would be more fruitful than attempting to argue that the U.S. government is not corrupt and that the U.S. does not use force would be to change the criteria or to simply admit the the United States does not always represent the people of the U.S.A. with a government exemplifying democracy, morality or legitimacy.

"Wrong there also.
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/special_packages/iraq/12332243.htm"

Forgive me, the imagery that comes to mind to the words "Car bomb factory" is of a place that is in the business of routinely manufactoring bombs exclusively for the use of blowing up cars. "Six vehicles rigged with explosives were found in the hideout..." sounds a bit more like a garage with six cars that have six bombs in them waiting to be used. I didn't find any news articles that cited the soldiers using those terms but rather it seems to be a creative journalist with a knack for grabbing reader's attention with colorful headlines. The article you cited certainly gives no evidence nor even hints that it was something that the common people were aware of or had the capacity to get to. Actually it points out that it was in "stronghold of Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters" thereby undermining your claim even further.

Anyone can cite facts they find on the internet but lets use them intelligently and without distorting them to support our arguments.

"You can look at the barrel of my gun when you try to rob my place and tell me that. In america a good percentage of criminals (over 50) worry about a house being armed. I think they took a poll on that once."

Waving a literary gun in the air does not address this argument either. The point is that despite your having your gun there are still thefts, murders and rapes. You held the Iraqi people accountable for not stopping the terrorist that originate in their country but that is as rediculous as holding the American people responsible for not preventing drugs from coming into the country. I believe that the Iraqi government and people within society have taken strides toward discouraging terrorism just as (according to your cite on criminals concerned with armed homeowners)gun-toting Americans have discouraged thievery. But neither terrorism in Iraq or theft in American has stopped.

Let us not forget why we debate this. In most of these points you have held the Iraqi people to standards that the American people have failed to meet. Your arguments have failed to defend the American people. This is not an attack on America but an attack on your criteria. Writing a constitution and building a country in Iraq is going to be a mess for many of the reasons discussed in this thread. But any American who is looking for an excuse to lay the blame for American mishandling of the Iraqi constitution writing and state-building on the Iraqi people by giving them a all or nothing attempt at a constitution and then washing his or her hands of it with a glad "well we gave them their chance and they failed" misunderstands the failings of American democracy promotion and the incompatability of the promoted model in Iraq at this current time.

Cubicle said...

"Saying "Want to take a bet on that?" is not really an impressive counter argument."

I would have to agree. Though what we were talking about in that specific instance was somthing that was outside the scope of discussion. Wheather Iraq will fail or not? Which since that cannot be arugured with success, i would rather just make perdictions so i one of us could say to eacher other later one that "I told u so" with out having to actually spend time arguing about it.


"I think the people of Iraq are looking for and are deserving of long term security and a nation and constitution that protects their values and interests. You seem to think that a token placation will address these concerns."

Actually, I want the same thing also, though i care less about the methods. And i still think technology will speed up the proccess for various reasons which i have outlined. And just because a Iraq consitution maker skips a few emails in his inbox, i doubt that effect will harm the process at all.


"Are people not allowed to change their minds then?"

Sure they are, but that is not the point. The polls are structured in such a way that you can disagree with the way bush is handeling the war, but still agree with the war and want ou efforts to continue there.

I pointed this out by my earlier example. I also contend that the polls are wrong because of the false postive issue I pointed out. Which negates your poll point entirely.


"Bush will not be remembered as a president of the people but is already known as a President who goes through with his plans regardless of opposition and that is a serious problem when it is supposed to be a democratic country."

If i remember correct he won the election twice in a roll. Which, when he leaves office Iraq will still be there and still be an issue, and the voters will make their choice once again.

"It makes little difference if a contract has to be bidded on if only one company is allowed to bid on it."

True, but it also makes the point of aruging about the bidding proccess mute also.

"The controversy (lest I make the same mistake as cited above)at least with SOME bids is that there was no competition."

I will repeat again with more info. The no bid contracts are awarded though bids. The US gov does this so that it will not have to go through the bidding proccess when it needs contracts. I suspect the army and dhs both had the availablity to bid on no bid contracts. Haliburton was awarded contracts fairly, and then was caught screwing the federal goveremnt and had to pay money.


"That sounds nice but you offer only general variables in which the United States scores poorly in both."

Actually we score well in the currption area. I have already shown you international stats on currption, and how america is ranked with lower levels of currptions than most countires on earth. We are not perfect, just better than most.


"Furthermore, there is a slippery slope problem that you hinted to. "

Actually it is not a slippery slope problem. you can get hard numbers and facts to support the fact america is not corrupt and has large amounts of freedom (absense of force). I have given you the corruption numbers, but you will have to look up the freedom indexes yourself.

"The United States is not going to score well on corruption indices"

Did you read the link i posted above? America is less corrput than most countires on earth. We are not perfect, but we are better than most. And even if we have a little bit of corruption, we still are not corrupt in a broad general sense like some other countires are.
"......to change the criteria or to simply admit the the United States does not always represent the people of the U.S.A. with a government exemplifying democracy, morality or legitimacy."


Ok, you are right, but of those problems American sill repersents the people of america with more, democracy, more morality, and more legitimacy than any other country in the entire world.

There are some americans who are willing to die for the freedom of Iraq - you do not get any more moral, democratic, or legit than that.

"Wrong there also.
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/special_packages/iraq/12332243.htm"

"Forgive me, the imagery that comes to mind to the words "Car bomb factory" is of a place that is in the business of routinely manufactoring bombs exclusively for the use of blowing up cars. .....The article you cited certainly gives no evidence nor even hints that it was something that the common people were aware of or had the capacity to get to."

The article does not say so, but commen sense would tell you that.

I also belive in that case a brave iraqi also stepped forward and told the US where the factory was, and that is why we were able to find it. Iraq needs more live that brave soul.

Secondly, you are lying to yourself and to me when you try to back out of a blantant statement wrong statement you made.


"Actually it points out that it was in "stronghold of Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters" thereby undermining your claim even further."

No that does not undermine my claim at all. It proves my point. Certian iraqies are aiding and abiding the enemy. Which that line also proves that people must have known about it, but choose not to to help.

My point was and i qoute"The fact is that if the Iraqis want peace they can get it by stopping the ones who don't want peace."

I still stand by that statment.




"You can look at the barrel of my gun when you try to rob my place and tell me that. In america a good percentage of criminals (over 50) worry about a house being armed. I think they took a poll on that once."

"You held the Iraqi people accountable for not stopping the terrorist that originate in their country but that is as rediculous as holding the American people responsible for not preventing drugs from coming into the country."

No those are two different things. I hold the Iraqies resonsible for not stopping terror in their country and I hold drug infested neighborhoods responsible for not cleaning out the drugs from their own streets.

I do not hold the Iraqies responsible for preventing terrorist from coming into their country and i do not hold everyday americans responsible for stopping drugs from coming across the borders, though once those respective ills are on the streets of those respective countirs it is partly the people's responsibly for not stopping the ills.

"I believe that the Iraqi government and people within society have taken strides toward discouraging terrorism just as (according to your cite on criminals concerned with armed homeowners)gun-toting Americans have discouraged thievery. But neither terrorism in Iraq or theft in American has stopped."

But the crime rate has dropped steadly in America to the point that it is lower than many other comparable countires (ie Britian for sure and Austrila maybe). Hopefully Iraq can reduce their terror and crime by taking responseblity for their own neighborhoods.

"In most of these points you have held the Iraqi people to standards that the American people have failed to meet."

Actually i disagree with that statment, as detailed in reasons above.

"Your arguments have failed to defend the American people."

Only to you, because your mind would have not changed no matter how much i typed or how good my arguments are.

"Writing a constitution and building a country in Iraq is going to be a mess for many of the reasons discussed in this thread. "
Sure i agree with that.

"But any American who is looking for an excuse to lay the blame for American mishandling of the Iraqi constitution writing and state-building on the Iraqi people by giving them a all or nothing attempt at a constitution and then washing his or her hands of it with a glad "well we gave them their chance and they failed" misunderstands the failings of American democracy promotion and the incompatability of the promoted model in Iraq at this current time. "


I disagree with that also. The Iraqis have many advantages that a counstution country has never had before. They have greater historical knowlege of consusitional problems, methods of reseaching those problems, advanced ways to communicating those problems, and also have the time to solve those problems.

The question is do they have the will? if they do not have that then it is their fault for failing to see the grand opptunity of freedome that awaits them. And I could care less if they fail

transientforeigner said...

And thus the retort begins, again...

Originally you wrote: "Basically, since logistics and constitutional practices are much further along than they were 250 years ago, the Iraqis only have their selves to blame if they screw this thing up and have to redo it. I expect a lot more than what they are giving us."

I brought up the counter arguments on technology and the examples of the United States and Japan to show you one of the ramifications of technology. Yes technology favors them because they have other constitutions to look at and yes, they do not have to ride on horses to meet together. However, a political analyst named Samuel Huntington has argued persuasively that there is a danger to a country's populace engaging in the democratic process before the infrastructure and institutions are ready. Technology increases the potential for every day people and especially organized groups to pressure their governments. And yes, as you correctly noted, constitution writers can use technology to filter that input but if that goes to an extreme, then the democratic process itself is being thwarted. The examples of the United States and Japan give support to the theory that democratic governments are best formed by non democratic or at least less-than-democratic processes. That paradox puts everyone in an awkward position. Is it better to use nondemocratic means to promote a more democratic state? Or would nondemocratic means set the precedent for a nondemocratic state? I suspect you will believe the former and I the latter.

"I pointed this out by my earlier example. I also contend that the polls are wrong because of the false postive issue I pointed out. Which negates your poll point entirely."

I am afraid I didn't note clearly that there are more polls than ones that ask about support for the war. You indeed did demonstrate how the question of "do you support the war in Iraq" can be misleading as people who are pro-war do not support the way the war is going in Iraq. Here is a poll that is more clear:

-"From what you have seen or heard about the situation in Iraq, what should the United States do now? Should the U.S. increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, keep the same number of U.S. troops in Iraq as there are now, or decrease the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, or remove all its troops from Iraq?"

Keep the
Same Decrease Remove
All Unsure
% % % % %
ALL adults 14 25 26 29 6
Republicans 19 41 21 13 6
Democrats 10 11 27 48 4
Independents 15 25 28 24 8

http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

A worthwhile though pointed, read commenting on the discrepencies between polls is at:
http://www.counterpunch.org/walsh06162005.html

"If i remember correct he won the election twice in a roll. Which, when he leaves office Iraq will still be there and still be an issue, and the voters will make their choice once again."

I would hope people would be able to change their minds more than once every four years. I also hope that people really don't think that Bush's winning the last presidential election was a show of support for more involvement in Iraq (I believe very strongly that the major issue on which Bush was elected was the expected Supreme Court vacancy). A two party system is really terrible for figuring out what issues people were elected for. Still, failing to get 48.27% of the vote (the portion Kerry got at least), winning by the closest percentage in the history of presidential elections, and having only 42.45% of the population vote are not good indicators of a "man of the people."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election,_2004

"I will repeat again with more info. The no bid contracts are awarded though bids."

Yes yes, you are correct again. However, having to bid matters little if the military is going to accept that bid regardless of what it is. That is why bidding has to be competitive. "A no-bid contract is a military or government contract that is made directly with a corporation, bypassing the standard process of bidding. These contracts can be made much more quickly than a typical contract, however they are often fraught with suspicion when the company issued the contract has any ties to the administration in power at the time."
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&oi=defmore&q=define:No-bid+contract

The below excerpts is one of the more matter-of-fact unbiased comments that I have found regarding how a bid was awarded to Haliburton. In the end, the army and Haliburton claim expediency and watchdog groups or democratic accountability measures scream corruption.

"The company had already won the exclusive contract to support the U.S. troops, which was competitively bid, and so the Pentagon reasoned that they might as well extend the oil-well-fire contract to Halliburton, too. This decision, however, sidestepped the usual procurement process, since there was no competition. It also was odd in that there turned out to be very few oil-well fires, and so the original task was allowed to morph into a much larger one of restoring the oil industry to its prewar levels. As a result, the amount of business that was awarded to Halliburton under the no-bid contract ballooned to as much as seven billion dollars’ worth."

http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/articles/040216on_onlineonly02

The army's justification was:
"Corps spokesmen justified the lack of competition on the grounds that the operation was part of a classified war plan and the Army did not have time to secure competitive bids for the work."
http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/082903B.shtml

"you can get hard numbers and facts to support the fact america is not corrupt and has large amounts of freedom (absense of force). I have given you the corruption numbers, but you will have to look up the freedom indexes yourself."

I referred to the site and gave you the original source. The infoplease link you gave out miscited the definition of corruption when it wrote "The index defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain, and measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among a country's public officials and politicians" because the corruption within the measure includes NGOs, religious bodies, business and private sector and more. The measure was a measure of society as a whole.

Our interest was on government corruption and I gave the link to the original site so you could either recalculate the measures with only national governmental variables or just look across them. I looked at political parties in my original response since we were talking about constitution drafting and politics. The United States falls considerably lower when only national government variables are calculated.

"Secondly, you are lying to yourself and to me when you try to back out of a blantant statement wrong statement you made."

I fully admit that I should not have succombed to the temptation to provide a quip, all-denying answer. Obviously I do not know everything about Iraq but they are not something commonly found. I still stand by my response that the article undermined your argument though. You were using existence of the "car bomb factory" as evidence that people could/should/and were not arming together and stopping terrorism. The article made it clear that it was an unusual find and that it was in an insurgent stronghold. You are obviously very proud of your gun and personally ridding your streets with your armed vanguard but you (at least I doubt, if I am wrong I will admit my error here) have not walked into Harlem, the gang areas of Miami, or the ghettos of Los Angeles and rid the United States of crime.

"But the crime rate has dropped steadly in America to the point that it is lower than many other comparable countires"

I know that up to around year 2000 the United States had a crime index 3x higher for EVERY violent crime variable compared to EVERY other industrialized country in the world. The Interpol data is no longer available to the public so I couldn't check more recent statistics. A 1997 national crime comparison from the United Nations, measuring over 100 countries in the world, had the United States 5th from the bottom (the bottom being those nations with the worst overall percentage incidence of crime).
http://www.unodc.org/pdf/crime/sixthsurvey/TotalRecordedCrime.pdf

I didn't find anything more recent, though if you do and we have indeed passed over a hundred countries or so in the last 8 years, let me know and I will clap for America along with you.

"The question is do they have the will? if they do not have that then it is their fault for failing to see the grand opptunity of freedome that awaits them. And I could care less if they fail"

There is nothing wrong with excitedly proclaiming the merits of technology as long as one understand that nothing comes without creating new problems and that everything has limits. Furthermore every country has a set of unique circumstances that are obstacles to democracy. Whatever USAID may say, not every country is ready for democracy. The failure of democracy to take hold and make any substantive positive change in scores of countries may possibly be attributable to the failures of those people, but I suspect its a failure of the democratic model and evidence of the danger of rushing the writing of a new constitution and the formation of democratic political parties. The U.S. has simply messed up the potential for democracy in Iraq. I am not one to claim that things were better under Saddam but I will claim that they are very messed up now. I will also say that there was more potential for democracy before Saddam was deposed than there is now. Countries don't usually get second chances at doing democracy right, they get stuck doing it very wrong for very long. Look at countries that hold elections from Mexico to Turkey to Egypt to Cambodia.

Cubicle said...

"The examples of the United States and Japan give support to the theory that democratic governments are best formed by non democratic or at least less-than-democratic processes."

This is a classic example of putting the cart before the horse. The examples of the US and Japan could not have a happened any OTHER way, because the technology was not there in the frist place. Now we are in the 21st centrury and the rules of the game have changed. Communications technology fundamentaly alters the fabric of soceity, more so than any other technology ever concivced by man. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

"Or would nondemocratic means set the precedent for a nondemocratic state? I suspect you will believe the former and I the latter."

Of course I have already offered a bet that, and you did not take it.

"I would hope people would be able to change their minds more than once every four years."

They can change their minds, but they cannot change their leaders. They made a choice, and now they have to live with it.

"A two party system is really terrible for figuring out what issues people were elected for."

I disagree with that also. It just moves the colition forming to the front end of the political process instead of the back end. Which from what I have seen, works fairly well, because there are less surprises.


"Still, failing to get 48.27% of the vote (the portion Kerry got at least), winning by the closest percentage in the history of presidential elections, and having only 42.45% of the population vote are not good indicators of a "man of the people.""

Actually, Bush was the frist president that I remember getting over 50 percent of the vote. Clinton did not do that I know. I do not know about Bush One though.


"The index defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain, and measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among a country's public officials and politicians" because the corruption within the measure includes NGOs, religious bodies, business and private sector and more. The measure was a measure of society as a whole."

Oh I am sorry, I must have misunderstood you defination of corruption. Lets rework the defineation, so that it would be favorable to you. I am sticking with the defination of corruption that I linked to.

"Our interest was on government corruption"

Actually yours was, i was talking about corrption as a whole.

"The United States falls considerably lower when only national government variables are calculated."

I bet we are still better than most other countires. I also serioulsy doubt that the .gov subsection of corruption is any worse in america than many other developed countires, though it is probably precived as more so, because we have a freer press than a few other countries (partically the socilist countries where the press is ran by the state).

"I still stand by my response that the article undermined your argument though."

I would too if i were you, heh

"You were using existence of the "car bomb factory" as evidence that people could/should/and were not arming together and stopping terrorism."

I still stand by that.

"The article made it clear that it was an unusual find and that it was in an insurgent stronghold."

The fact that it was in an insurgent stronghold changes nothing. I would agree that it was an unusual find, but just because the find is unususal, does not mean the incedences of car bomb factories are unusual. If you found one car bomb factory, how many more do you think are out there?

"But the crime rate has dropped steadly in America to the point that it is lower than many other comparable countires"

I know that up to around year 2000 the United States had a crime index 3x higher for EVERY violent crime variable compared to EVERY other industrialized country in the world. The Interpol data is no longer available to the public so I couldn't check more recent statistics. A 1997 national crime comparison from the United Nations, measuring over 100 countries in the world, had the United States 5th from the bottom (the bottom being those nations with the worst overall percentage incidence of crime).
http://www.unodc.org/pdf/crime/sixthsurvey/TotalRecordedCrime.pdf

"I didn't find anything more recent, though if you do and we have indeed passed over a hundred countries or so in the last 8 years, let me know and I will clap for America along with you."

Nation master is a great source.
http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph-T/cri_bur_cap&id=OECD

number 12 Burglaries (per capita)
number 1 in assults per capita
number 5 in total crimes per capita.
number 14 in faruds per captia

Start clapping.

"There is nothing wrong with excitedly proclaiming the merits of technology as long as one understand that nothing comes without creating new problems and that everything has limits."

Technology brings its own problems, but the problems it brings are much smaller than the problems it solves, which balances out to it doing more good than harm.


"The failure of democracy to take hold and make any substantive positive change in scores of countries may possibly be attributable to the failures of those people, but

"I suspect its a failure of the democratic model and evidence of the danger of rushing the writing of a new constitution and the formation of democratic political parties."

I disagree, it is nor a failure of a "model" or anything like that. You have to be a mature people in order to produce demorcacy. You cannot get lost in the battles of the tribal, ethinc, or political past. If a country fails at demoarcy, it is because the people failed, not because the "model" did not work. People are untimatly responsible and that blame cannotbe shifted.


"The U.S. has simply messed up the potential for democracy in Iraq."

I disagree. Of course,i offered to put my money where my mouth is.

"Countries don't usually get second chances at doing democracy right, they get stuck doing it very wrong for very long."

I would agree with that,and that is why Iraq must get this right, no matter how long it takes, but if it fails, they only have theirsevles to blame for not being able to think about somthing greater than theirselves.