Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Solipsistic Left

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  • WH,

    I'm still trying to finish his first book: To Live in Infamy: How Beatkniks, Loose Women and Uppity Nigra were Responsible for Pearl Harbour

    lol - the occassional bout of lefty introspection is a good thing, but it definitely has its limits.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    "an email campaign in support of union rights in Zimbabwe."

    Er.....

    As for James and his "ANSWER actually sent money to Zarqawi" well you just have to laugh.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    ANSWER et al get their knickers all in a bunch about a few meatheads on the night shift at Abu Graib doing some stupid stuff to some prisoners, during which no one was injured for which the soldiers were punished ...

    Oh, sure. Apart from the prisoners who, according to the testimony of a serving officer, were beaten, then tortured to death by being hung by their arms. There was also testimony alleging sexual abuse of a 16 year-old girl, summary shootings of prisoners and "stupid stuff" like this:

    * Urinating on detainees
    * Jumping on detainee's leg (a limb already wounded by gunfire) with such force that it could not thereafter heal properly
    * Continuing by pounding detainee's wounded leg with collapsible metal baton
    * Pouring phosphoric acid on detainees
    * Sodomization of detainees with a baton
    * Tying ropes to the detainees' legs or penises and dragging them across the floor.

    And no, I do not think the hicks who took the rap thought it all up themselves.

    The worst thing was that a great many of the Iraqis there (some of them no more than children) were imprisoned on the most flimsy evidence, and subsequently released after being tortured and found to be of no use.

    No one here is defending the atrocities of the insurgents. You've achieved the dubious distinction of defending the above.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The oil for food money was going straight into Saddam's pockets, not to feeding the people as it was supposed.

    Actually, the money was held in trust for the Iraqi people. And then it was handed out in large, unaccounted wads of cash, lost, embezzled and otherwise taken from the Iraqi people by the CPA. Billions of dollars of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Russell, I agee that under the CPA a lot of money went missing but I don't see how that deals with my point that under the sanctions Saddam benefited and the people suffered. That was one of the problems with the pre-invasion situation.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    James:

    People and groups that protested for woman's rights, gay rights social justice etc. find themselves working with or effectively supporting Islamists who have no concept of woman's rights that we would recognize, stone to death woman accused of adultery who are actually victims of rape and think gays should be killed. I have to say that it all looks all very strange, from the outside looking in, kind of like a bad Monty Python sketch.

    Uh-huh ...

    Hardline Islamic insurgent groups in Iraq are targeting a new type of victim with the full protection of Iraqi law, The Observer can reveal. The country is seeing a sudden escalation of brutal attacks on what are being called the 'immorals' - homosexual men and children as young as 11 who have been forced into same-sex prostitution.

    There is growing evidence that Shia militias have been killing men suspected of being gay and children who have been sold to criminal gangs to be sexually abused. The threat has led to a rapid increase in the numbers of Iraqi homosexuals now seeking asylum in the UK because it has become impossible for them to live safely in their own country.

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1838222,00.html

    Campaign groups have warned of a surge in homophobic killings by state security services and religious militias following an anti-gay and anti-lesbian fatwa issued by Iraq's most prominent Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0505-06.htm

    They say that since the US-led invasion, gay people are being killed because of their sexual orientation.

    They blame the increase in violence on the growing influence of religious figures and militia groups in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was ousted.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4915172.stm

    Without defending Saddam's regime, it was secular. Women and gays were safer and had more rights than they do now. Fact.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    "Without defending Saddam's regime, it was secular. Women and gays were safer and had more rights than they do now. Fact."

    I'm sorry, but I have to take issue with that statement. It seems a stretch to say that women and gays were safer and enjoyed more rights than they do now, just because the Islamists are freed from their shackles.

    Wouldn't it be more correct to say that the oppression was spread out more evenly under Saddam, rather than making him into some sort of gay and women's right champion?

    Here's an Iraqi woman's view of life under Saddam, for what it's worth.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    I agree with Russel here - the situation for women and gays has become far worse since the invasion than it was before.

    Saddam wasn't a champion of anyone's rights but his own. But the society he ran was a more open and tolerant one than that which has taken its place, even if the difference is one of small degrees.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    !

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    Sorry, was Cohen just proven right there? Or did I misunderstand?

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    It is one of the most stunning achievments in history that the US and Britian have managed to create a situation in Iraq that is worse than that under Saddam.

    Of course in Cohen's book pointing that out probably makes me a Saddam loving islamobaathistnazimulimofascist, but them's the breaks.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    I think you misunderstood. What we had here was some people pointing out that the homophobic, misogynist fundamentalists in Iraq are a bad thing. That's not the same as supporting and allying with them, which is what Cohen's thesis would seem to predict and what James suggested was happening.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Wouldn't it be more correct to say that the oppression was spread out more evenly under Saddam, rather than making him into some sort of gay and women's right champion?

    No, he was a murderous bastard, but read James' statement again, then read this:

    The United States' four-year-old occupation of
    Iraq has considerably worsened the lives of the country's women, charges a new report from an international human rights group.

    The New York-based group MADRE says Iraqi women are enduring unprecedented levels of assault, abductions, public beatings, death threats, sexual assaults, honor killings, domestic abuse, torture in detention, beheadings, shootings, and public hangings.

    MADRE's 40-page report, titled "Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the U.S. War on Iraq," also argues that the rise of theocratic militias in Iraq is the result of deliberate plans by U.S. officials, not an accidental byproduct of a bungled occupation.

    "Rather than support progressive and democratically minded Iraqis, including members of the women's movement," the report reads, "the U.S. threw its weight behind Iraq's Shiite Islamists, calculating that these forces, long suppressed by Saddam Hussein, would cooperate with the occupation and deliver the stability needed for the U.S. to implement its policies in Iraq."

    The 1970 Iraqi constitution gave women the most explicit rights of any in the region. As Human Rights Watch and other pointed out, these were largely removed in the post-invasion constitution that now applies.

    I'd love Cohen to venture on this, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    For me, didn't Bush inherit a huge surplus and well, hasn't it all gone, and then some, on teh war?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    For me, didn't Bush inherit a huge surplus and well, hasn't it all gone, and then some, on teh war?

    The surplus disappeared largely because taxes were cut and spending wasn't, but they'll be paying for this war for a very long time.

    I've seen several estimates that the eventual cost wost will exceed a trillion dollars. I think it's reasonable to speculate on what more constructive things could have been done in the region with that much money.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    The invasion isn't responsible for the conservative religious elements. They would have gained prominance whatever the manner of Saddam's demise. The Shi'ite religious leadership is powerful and conservative, had they overthrown Saddam on their own we would be seeing the same threat from conservative religion. To blame this on the US is absurd.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    The surplus disappeared largely because taxes were cut and spending wasn't

    Arg, surplus, tax cuts! Run's screaming from room...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    I think Iraq is a shocking mess and one that the US should be ashamed of forever - it's not the first such overseas catastrophe it has created either. Wasn't the Philippines the first?

    Saddam and sons seemed to me as misogynist as the clerics, so I'm struggling to say anything further than things aren't getting better for women in Iraq. Saying it was better during Saddam is borderline offensive surely?

    Measuring the degree of awfulness like MADRE does is also fraught with difficulty because who knows what went on in Iraq during Saddam's regime? The violence against women that MADRE describes is sadly a grand old tradition in that part of the world so where's the evidence that Saddam gave a damn about it, bogus constitution notwithstanding?

    Having said all the above, I can well imagine that women and gays are not anywhere near the neo-Con list of priorities. If they could be used to fill up large SUVs they would be, perhaps.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The invasion isn't responsible for the conservative religious elements. They would have gained prominance whatever the manner of Saddam's demise. The Shi'ite religious leadership is powerful and conservative, had they overthrown Saddam on their own we would be seeing the same threat from conservative religion. To blame this on the US is absurd.

    If you say so Neil. Is there anything, in your opinion, for which the US should take some responsibility?

    And I feel bound to say, I don't recall you predicting all these apparently inevitable events in discussion before the war.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Wasn't the Philippines the first?

    Here's something I had prepared earlier..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_military_history_events

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    To blame this on the US is absurd.

    neil, seriously man... this blinkered allegiance to the colossal start-to-finish screw-up that is the invasion of iraq is admirable, but... really.

    no-one in this forum is going to beat you down for admitting you were wrong.

    well... maybe james. but we already know he's some kind of neo-con acolyte.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    well is the invasion reposonsible for the religious conservativeness in the Shiite community or not? Do you really think that had Sistani overthrown Saddam that there would not be an increase in the influence of conservative clerics? The main opposition to Saddam was based in the Shiite religious community.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    well is the invasion reposonsible for the religious conservativeness in the Shiite community or not? Do you really think that had Sistani overthrown Saddam that there would not be an increase in the influence of conservative clerics? The main opposition to Saddam was based in the Shiite religious community.

    But, to bring things back to the original topic, this makes a mockery of what Cohen et al like to sermonise about. Are you saying the US invaded Iraq to enable sharia law?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    "Are you saying the US invaded Iraq to enable sharia law?"

    That's less far-fetched than it sounds, actually. The US has no objections to such things in Saudi Arabia for instance. It's not like they US is actively supporting a democratic movement there or anything.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    Neil, if you brutalise a nation, killing (at a minimum tens of thousands of people) you have to take a degree of responsibilty for the outcome.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

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