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"Apartheid Cops" Instead of Winning Hearts and Minds in Iraq

Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, said that U.S. combat forces must leave Iraq by 2008 in order to make it clear to the Iraqis that the U.S. won't stick around as "apartheid cops." The remarks were made in the Q&A section after a speech at the Brookings Institution. Blake Hounshell writes about it in FP Passport.

Perhaps Senator Biden has seen the video on the left, which was featured by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC and is now on YouTube.
Nicole Belle explains at Crooks and Liars that "the Humvee driver is driving this way is because they are afraid of an attack if they slow down" and expresses concern for post-traumatic stress disorder among US troops after several tours to Iraq.
She also asks: "Can you imagine having your country occupied by another nation and be subjected to this kind of bullying behavior every day?"
Read her entire post including the quote from a reader: "Is there a clearer indication that our presence in Iraq is hurting us?" (You might need to click twice on play to watch the video.)

Related: Why We Worry posts another military video about "the joys of occuption" and asks: "It could be that soldier’s like those in this video are the exception rather than the norm, but how many exceptions does it take to alienate an entire population?"

Endnote: Israel and Apartheid: In Defense of Jimmy Carter by Tony Karon, a senior editor at TIME.com, who grew up as a Jewish liberal in South Africa. He wrote a whole series of thoughtful posts concerning the criticism of Jimmy Carter's new book with the provocative title
"Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." His latest is How Jimmy Became a Holocaust Denier.

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Zyme on :

looool ahaha my goodness, these Iraqis have some nerves :D I pity them, poor people.

2020 on :

Since the invasion 3,8 million Iraqis have been displaced, thousands of christian families have been forced to flee to Syria. Since the invasion more than 3,000 Iraqis are killed by terrorists each month who only got a chance to recruit insurgents and kill people because the U.S. invaded the country. But one thing is sure: Bringing back sharia to a secular country and drive away christians is really not a crusade.

Pat Patterson on :

Obviously Nicole Bell hasn't been either to Papeete, Belfast or Grozny?

Wintermute on :

But the question remains: Now that the Allied forces have disposed of Saddam's regime, what good will it do to Iraq if they leave prematurely? Once the US forces have left Iraq there is nothing that might prevent radically Islamic groups (possibly sponsored by Iran's government) from overthrowing the current government and establishing another fundamentalist state there. In that case neither the US, nor the citizens of Iraq, nor the Europeans would profit from the entire endavour. That would be the worst case scenario and I believe, we should consider this as well when we talk about pulling the troops from Iraq. The entire invasion has become one large charlie foxtrott, but withdrawing might actually make things even worse...

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thanks for your comment, Wintermute. I agree. A withdrawal could make everything much worse for Iraqis, the region, for Europe, and for the US. An India like partition-massacre is likely to occur when the US leaves. Jordan could disintegrate due to even more refugees. Even Sweden is already calling for EU help with Iraqi refugees: [url]http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2352881,00.html[/url] I sincerely hope that the US will stay and stabilize Iraq. The videos and a whole of of other stuff, however, suggests that the US led coaltion will not be able to do so. The only question now seems to be how much longer to try in vain: Until 2008, 2009 or 2010? The US might leave in 2008 without having stabilized Iraq. Then all hell breaks lose. Or the US will stay until 2009, but will not succeed in stabilizing Iraq, then leave and all hell breaks lose. Or the US leaves in 2010, but still will not have stabilized Iraq and all hell breaks lose after the withdrawal. This suggests that staying longer does not make sense and a quick withdrawal is the best option to minimize US casualties. But then, the US might have to return to Iraqagain: [url]http://americanfuture.net/?p=2487[/url] Well, what do I know? I might be too pessimistic. Until recently I thought that a premature withdrawal is the worst option. I was more optimistic than now and thought that the US could turn things around and stabilize Iraq in a few years, without thousands of US casualties and without destroying the readiness of the US military due to having too many troops in Iraq, too many tours of duty, tens of thousands of severly injured and traumatized troops etc. What is the best case scenario, Wintermute? What could realistically be achieved in Iraq in the next few years?

Wintermute on :

What is the best case scenario, Wintermute? What could realistically be achieved in Iraq in the next few years? Jörg, I wish I knew. Honestly. Or better yet, and I mean this without any cynicism: I wish the people in command knew. I supported this war, because I believed that Saddam was an imminent threat... but with every passing year things look worse. Right now we (the western world) are stuck with a failed state in which - as you said - it seems like the allied forces are the only thing in the way of an ethnic cleansing of Serbian proportions. And that's just messed up. But then again: It's also crying about spilled milk. The best case situation? Other countries - Germany, France - realize that its in their best interest as well to see Iraq grow towards democracy and start to fight the insurgency, give humanitarian aid, whatever. But seeing the current "we are there, but we don't want to fight" attitude about Afghanistan (a war that was officially supported by the German government) this is not going to happen. Possibly a way must be found to separate Iraq into two countries in order to prevent an all out sectarian war. This, likewise, is actually not a good solution, but perhaps its the best that can be reached. You know, I respect the men and women that fight in Iraq. I understand that the US does not wish to waste its young soldiers there. But - apart from the WMD -there was always the rationale that this war was fought to liberate the people in Iraq, to offer them a brighter future. This is why I am worried about what may happen once the troops leave. The US might suffer another trauma like they did after Vietnam or after Somalia... but the people in Iraq actually have to live with the results of this badly planned operation. So, from an emotional point of view, the best case situation is whatever is necessary to prevent more civilian bloodshed. But, and this is why I actually start to detest politics, this might be the worst situation for the US military and thus embolden states like Syria or Iran to see how far they can go. *sigh* This entire thing looks like one prolonged nightmare... and as I said: I honestly do not know what the best case scenario (realistic scenario, that is) might be. And I'm really afraid that the democratic and republican decision makers don't know either.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

[i]"Other countries - Germany, France - realize that its in their best interest as well to see Iraq grow towards democracy and start to fight the insurgency, give humanitarian aid, whatever. But seeing the current "we are there, but we don't want to fight" attitude about Afghanistan (a war that was officially supported by the German government) this is not going to happen."[/i] To convince Germany to fight an insurgency in Southern Afghanistan and/or Iraq, we need to have a convincing strategy to win against the insurgency. That's why I was asking for a "best case scenario." I have the impression that civilian and military experts don't have a best case scenario anymore, let alone a strategy to win. They also see it as a prolonged nightmare, just like you and me. Right now, the wars in Iraq and Southern Afghanistan look unwinnable. Germany will not send soldiers in harms way, if we are unlikely to prevail and/or the threat is not existential. The British lost in Afghanistan and in Iraq some hundred years ago. The Soviets lost in Afghanistan more recently, which contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union. The lesson we have learned from US experiences in Vietnam, Somalia and right now in Iraq is that winning against an insurgency may not be possible. So why should we try? If the US would be more successful in Iraq, then we would contribute more to the fight in Southern Afghanistan. But as things stand right now, it looks like sending troops to fight in Southern Afghanistan is a waste of resources. The US is likely to withdraw from Iraq in the next few years and it will look to much of the world as if the US has been cutting and running. If Germany gets involved in Southern Afghanistan and then withdraws after a few years of fighting the insurgency, then this would look like cutting and running as well. Giving the impression of cutting and running is not good, therefore we have to think twice before making a committment. The US has been fighting in Afghanistan for more than five years. Why would a few thousand German troops make a different in Afghanistan or Iraq? Asking for solidarity and burden sharing and giving it a try are important arguments. Germany does feel the pressure from NATO allies. It is of concern. This is not a comfortable position, but sending soldiers in harms way if you are not convinced that it makes sense, does not seem to be right. What are we going to tell the parents of soldiers killed in Southern Afghanistan and Iraq? [b]What are the UK, the US and others telling the parents of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan?[/b] Anything convincing why their loss and sacrifice was worth it? [b]If [i]anyone [/i]is presenting some convincing arguments why German troops in Iraq or Southern Afghanistan would contribute to the success of those missions, then I will supporting sending our troops in harms way.[/b] So far, I have not read any convincing strategy for stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan. I only hear complains about lack of burden sharing. Germany would send soldiers to fight, if there is an existential threat to its allies, i.e. if the [b]survival [/b]of the United States would depend on this defeating this insurgency. That does not seem to be the case in Iraq. If the Hispanics start an insurgency in the US, then we will come and help. Or if the Canadians are about to invade you, we will come and help. Similar discussion concerning Germany's lack of combat forces in Southern Afghanistan with Don: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/589-A-Little-Bit-Pregnant-Germany-About-to-Send-Hi-Tech-Jets-to-Afghanistan.html#c6702[/url]

Zyme on :

Things could get back under control, but I guess the political climate for this has passed in the USA. The country would have to admit that it does not liberate but occupy Iraq. Then a number of serious measurements would help to regain public security, which is the fundament of control. It would require an iron will and a strong heart. Too much iron and strength for americans I fear, as it would not allow them to keep up their self-image of spreading human rights or something.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

You mentioned once that the US should support a form of ethnic cleansing, i.e. distancing Sunnis from Shiites. Putting walls around Shiite neighborhoods and around Sunni neighborhoods. Do I remember that correctly? Can that be done physically? What else to be done? How long shall the US occupy Iraq? Which occupation in history was successful?

Anonymous on :

"You mentioned once that the US should support a form of ethnic cleansing, i.e. distancing Sunnis from Shiites. Putting walls around Shiite neighborhoods and around Sunni neighborhoods. Can that be done physically?" Of course it can be done. See what happened in the former Yugoslavia, which is much less of an ethnic polyglot than it was 20 decades ago. Another example of a (more or less) successful separation was India in 1947. Or what happened in most of the Middle East from 1900 to today. There once were many Greeks, Jews, and god knows what else in Alexandira - but no more. A bit bloody of course - but it can be done. And probably will be. What happed to the Jews of Bagdhad can also happen to the Sunnis.

Zyme on :

I never proposed building walls or distancing the various religious fractions from themselves permanently. Instead I proposed the installation of a secret police hiring native Iraqis from all factions as informants. The money needed for this would be clearly worth the expense as it would bring back the advantage of being informed to the occupying forces. What I also proposed was to temporarily move the entire population out of hot spot areas (like Bagdad) and take care of the remaining resistance. Keeping people in movement does shatter its dark structures and enables the forces to regain control. "Which occupation in history was successful?" The occupation of Germany after WW2 was successful I would argue, as it bound the two parts of Germany very efficiently as vassals for decades.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

There was no insurgency in Germany. Do you have any better example? "Keeping people in movement does shatter its dark structures and enables the forces to regain control." Like that humvee driver in the video is doing? "What I also proposed was to temporarily move the entire population out of hot spot areas (like Bagdad)" How do you want to move millions of Iraqis? Move them to where? It would make the Iraqis even more angry. What is to be gained from that? Do you really think that this would break the will of the insurgency?

Zyme on :

One of the main reasons for insurgencies is the disillusionment of the iraqies. The americans keep telling them they are there to spread human rights and democracy and to better their lives, while the opposite is happening. So when americans would admit what every Iraqis suspects already, there might be a serious reduction. "Like that humvee driver in the video is doing?" Of course not. A bigger plan is needed and the proceeding must be done in an organized way. The arabians are rebellious people by nature. These insurgencies maybe can be compared to those in Iraq when the Osmanian Empire or later the British Empire governed this region. They managed to calm them down by bribing the religious leaders or using sticks and guns. You don´t have many other alternatives as a foreign power, as tough people only understand tough punishments. "Do you really think that this would break the will of the insurgency?" Of course, luxuries can make elites pretty accommodating. When an elite is controlled in such a backward region, most people are, too. And where this doesn´t help - well nobody likes being executed. The plan to move millions from one point to another an a temporary basis would of course be very difficult for the population in Bagdad. But these difficulties exist only for a limited time, while the current ones seems to be endless. The plan works for sure, Stalin has proved this several times for example. Harsh situations require harsh procedures. "There was no insurgency in Germany. Do you have any better example?" Well the entire roman empire was built on military occupation. There was quite a number of insurgencies in the provinces as you surely know, but in the end most provinces became more and more roman over the decades and centuries. Modern examples would be the european colonial powers. They had to deal with many insurgencies as well, and in most cases they knew how to deal with them. Jorg, I´m no illusionist. Of course I know this is all pretty theoretical and VERY unlikely to become reality. The american forces are already too weakened in Iraq, as is their leadership at home. The time frame for a realization of tough measurements is gone I believe, and Iran seems to be the main winner in this power struggle. But I expect the americans to learn from this lesson. In case they invade other countries in the close future, they can be expected to behave more honestly and less forgiving towards the occupied population from the beginning. They will be more realistic: No population likes being occupied. Next time they should be better prepared to deal with this. And in case their lesson is that they can´t do this - well then the international competition got rid of a main source of american power in this century. Which is something we europeans should find very handy :)

Markus on :

Sorry but whatever the US is doing in Iraq it is wrong. All options are bad. Nothing will change that. Iraq is worse than Britney's desperation.

PP on :

The Emory Wheel "What's Jimmy Carter Afraid Of? Once again, Jimmy Carter has shrunk from debate. Despite having written a book whose purpose he claims was to promote dialogue and discussion, he has consistently dodged appearing with anyone who could challenge him on the numerous factual errors that fill the pages of his slim book." Full text: [url]http://www.emorywheel.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticle&uStory_id=338906c2-f47e-4265-8649-131fdbed1a22[/url]

Don S on :

Joe Biden is using extreme language in an effort to attact attention in a Democratic presidential race which is racing to the bottom to attact the DailyKos crowd. Biden has no chance - Biden is the Joe Lieberman of the 2008 race - the only adult in a field of panderers. Notice how all the candidates stiffed the DLC this week - they are abadoning the Democratic centre which Bill Clinton led. They may well lose the next election because of that....

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Biden might that comment in Feb 2007. If the presidential race started already back then, when Bush still had two full years to go, then we could also say that there are always election campaigns in the US.

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