Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Iraqi military

Jackie Spinner, writing in the Washington Post, gives the reader a little bit of the right flavor of what change of regime means from the ground up. Creating a new Iraqi military is hard work. What is persuasive to an Iraqi is not exactly duty, honor, country stuff, but rather, money, privilege, authority. The American grunts trying to teach the Iraqis some measure of responsibility are very impressive. For much more on such themes see Robert Kaplan.

Discussions - 20 Comments

Very true. The hardest part is convincing well-meaning officers that the way Saddam did things (graft, nepotism, etc) is not the right way to do it. It’s tough - because that way of thinking is ingrained in them - it’s part of the culture of authority in that country.

Gee LT Baum, you must REALLY have had good luck when you were in Iraq- this poll suggests you’d be hard pressed to find many Iraqis who were delighted by the presence of the Americans, yet that’s all you seem to have encountered.

"Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province."

That is seriously messed up. It’s time to get the hell out of there.

Once again, it’s "NAUM." Not "BAUM." The big letter with three straight lines is an "N". The one with two curves - well, that’s a "B". My name has the straight-lined letter, not the fancy curvy one.

So, who were these Iraqis polled? From what demographic were they? How many were polled? What ages? Was this a reliable poll, or a reliable, independent group that conducted it? Precisely what questions were asked? Did they conduct it over the phone to a wide range of people (no.)? Is this the same as US election exit polls (which must have really crushed your spirit from inaccuracy)?

It must really irk you that I know more about the war than you do; That I have real experience, and not poll numbers, to rely on.

Yes, LT Baum, it really irks me. I wish I could have gone to Iraq, but they just wouldn’t take me! "Sorry," they said, "this club’s EXCLUSIVE!"

I knew you’d just discount the poll as nonsense, since it refutes your tales of the Iraqis adoring American troops. "Who were these Iraqis," you ask. Since when does a poll identify its respondents? You dismiss the results of an entire poll as worthless, but your personal experiences- the experiences of just you, one guy- are apparently to be taken as the absolute truth as to what the situation is like in Iraq.

I can’t believe I’m actually going to respond to you, Thompson, but here goes:

First: I never, anywhere, at any time, claimed that the entire poll was worthless. If you can show me a statement by me to the contrary, by all means, Thompson, do so. I only question the reliability of it - which isn’t such an iconoclastic technique.

Second: Reliable polls always give "polling data". I didn’t make up the term - or the concept. I understand that "Iraqis" were polled. Were they Arabs? Kurds? Sunnis? Shi’as? Turkmen? For that matter, what ethnicity or race were the pollsters? Was the poll conducted in one suburb of Baghdad? Ahmadiya? Tall Afar? Was any "Iraqi" in Kirkuk polled? Sulaymaniyah? Tuz? Irbil? Daquq? Mosul? Fallujah? An Najaf? Etc, etc, etc.? Were only men polled? Women? Teenage boys? I guarantee that your poll results will be different based upon who conducted it and the pool accessed. I’m not asking for names here, Thompson, just some reliable information. Again, this isn’t such a strange concept. A poorly conducted poll can show anything that you want it to. Based on the logistics of doing such a thing in that country, I will also guarantee that the poll was limited to a small geographic area and ethnic composition. It is therefore, unreliable as a poll of what "Iraqis" believe. It is probably a very accurate poll of what the small area and ethnic composition believe as a community. It also isn’t difficult to believe - contrary to my supposed claims (again, show me where I made such a claim to the contrary) that there are people in Iraq that hate us.

Third: This poll does nothing to refute my "tales of Iraqis adoring Americans." Unless you can prove (which, you obviously cannot) that the same individuals that I have claimed welcomed us as liberators - which really happened, regardless of the point of view that you have gained with your head in the sand - are the same individuals that answered the poll, it refutes absolutely nothing that I have claimed. Ever. Anywhere.

Fourth: Again, I have never claimed a monopoly on absolute truth as to what has occurred or is occurring in Iraq. I willfully, and readily, admit that there are very bad places, very bad people, and very bad days in Iraq. I’ve been to some, fought some, and experienced more than my share of them, respectively. It is a "war", after all. I only claim to have more knowledge than you and everyone else who hasn’t been there. There is absolutely nothing that you can say, present, or link to that can refute that. You, Mr. Thompson (if that really is your name - and notice I have granted you the simple courtesy of spelling your posted name correctly), are simply inadequate to this task of debating me on what I witnessed and experienced. You are an incompetent, and provide incompetent commentary on the matter. I maintain that my point of view of Iraq is more accurate, more true, (though not "absolute truth") and more reliable than yours. Again, there is nothing you can do to prove otherwise or to refute this. I’m fascinated that you berate me for dismissing a poll as worthless or nonsense while simultaneously disregarding an eyewitness account because it doesn’t comport with your ill-informed worldview. For me, this proves that - as I have long suspected - people like you have no interest in the truth, absolute or otherwise. Therefore, I have no interest in casting any more pearls into your pen. This issue wasn’t the subject of Mr. Schramm’s posting, anyway.

Finally, as an entire aside since I’m done discussing anything with you, I’m dismayed that you share (or at least allegedly share) the namesake of a great American with whom I served in Iraq. You make him look bad.

Watch out LT. Naum, all Phil has to do now is pull out some Descartes to discredit your eye-witness account. It seems people can (and do) use anything (beyond polls) to confirm their shaky foundation if they do not want to confront the responsibility truth brings with it.

I’ve enjoyed your posting, keep it up.

I can’t blame you one bit LT Naum for not talking to little Phil Thompson. Why talk to someone who hates AMerica and probably hates you for the good work you did over there? That "poll’ was likely made up by Al Qeada anyway. Personaly I thank you - along with America’s founding fathers - for your good work to pay the price for freedom.

Never forget! (You can rest assured that I will not!)

Since this argument seems to be over (LT Baum having declared it so), there’s not much point in my responding. But I feel compelled to at least say this: LT, your experience is just that- YOURS. You may have been welcomed as a liberator, but that just doesn’t seem to be the case for many, many others. But I guess I have no idea what I’m talking about since I haven’t been to Iraq and all the reporters who don’t work for FOX are lying.

And yes, Mack, you’re right. Because I am opposed to this war and its rabid supporters, that must mean that I hate America and all the soldiers who fight for it. It’s true that I don’t like LT Baum, but that’s not because he’s a soldier. It’s because he’s a right-wing tool.

A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury ...

The true intellectual always resorts to childish name-calling. Well done. We’ll let the casual observer declare who the "tool" is.

Was I supposed to be insulted?

LT Naum is the tool, without a doubt. (And no, this isn’t Phil Thompson - I’ve no idea who he is)

I’m sorry, I should have said, "intelligent observer."

Hmmm....after thorough analysis and serious cogitation, I hereby declare...LT Naum to be the tool.

No wait ... I’m the tool.

Yes. I am.

No I’m not.

Yes, I am.

Phil Thompson’s a tool, too. Not a very bright one, either.

He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.

First of let me say that I definately agree with the posistion of LT Naum. I think he is a brave man who has served his country honourably and should be considered a hero to his country-men. I think he is right in this debate and that Phil Thompson is wrong. Having said those words let me now say this. The name calling and juvanile behavior that has been seen of late on this thread is just gotten out of hand. Lets agree that the we can debate like adults and not children. So please stop with all the name calling and childish behavoior and get back to the original subject that MR. Peter Schram had posted or don’t post at all on here.

Thanks, Fat Mike.

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