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Wednesday, October 08, 2003
 
DEBATE CONTINUED

TODD: Point one- there seems to be a difference between the message on your website and the one you sent me.

MACK: Only difference would be (1) I changed a mistaken reference to “Afghanistan” when I meant “Iraq” and (2) I didn’t add every single link that you put in, not because they weren’t relevant, but because it was time consuming and I was really tired.


TOPIC: Iraq Oil

TODD: If the Iraqis build there own country and use their oil, why would They think we are trying to steal it? Isn't it weird that all contracts given in Iraq go through Haliburton and Bechtel. 2 US companies? Now if we go there and rebuild Iraq ourselves whatever we do is suspect. I would love some examples of the US rebuilding countries by themselves.

The marshall plan was not only the US. We funded them and europe rebuilt europe. A great example is Afghanistan where the UN, nato and the world community are coming together.

MACK: Think about what you are saying - - if we rebuild Iraq ourselves, whatever we do is suspect. In other words, if we take on that responsibility by ourselves, we shouldn’t be trusted, but if we hand over that responsibility to someone else (the French, the UN, whoever), we are to be trusted. That makes no sense to me.

If you mean that we are doing it without the help of Iraqis, that is demonstrably false. The Iraqis are participating very actively (maybe you haven’t seen the stories about the governing council meeting with Bremmer). The idea that Iraqis are not playing a role in this just doesn’t reflect the truth on the ground.

As for the Marshall plan, I am no expert. According to this guy: http://www.dgap.org/texte/marshallplan.html most of the essential services that were provided came from the good old US of A. We didn't just hand them cash, we handed them goods and services. That means government contracts, buddy. Specifically, the Marshall plan also provided: "technical assistance, financing visits by American experts to Europe and European delegations to the United States. Delegations of managers, technicians, and labor leaders visited U.S. farms and factories covering almost every type of manufacturing, as U.S. firms opened their doors even to potential competitors. Europeans thus learned about U.S. production methods."

What exactly do you think that Haliburton and other is doing in Iraq? We are sending engineers to help them rebuild their infrastructure, which they will then use to support their country (on their own and everything). I know you would prefer a cash welfare payment to Iraq, but I think a hand up is better than a hand out. (Small aside: why do you keep mentioning Haliburton anyway? Kind of funny that you would be bothered that a legitimate US company is contributing to the rebuilding effort. Hope it isn’t just some sort of partisan tick, I know you aren’t a partisan).

Surely you would have to admit that the need for technical assistance is even greater in a place like Iraq than, say, Germany in 1945. The economy of Iraq has been essentially frozen in place for thirty years. Everything needs to be rebuilt. They don't have the kind of hard core expertise to make all that stuff happen. Furthermore, they don't have the manufacturing ability to just take our cash and invest it into productive industry.

Quick, name a single product manufactured in an Arab country. You can't. Name an Arab auto manufacturer. Oops. None of those either.

Nonetheless, the Iraqis are relatively well educated, if unprepared to rebuild their country “on their own”. They are literate, and many of them have spent time in Western schools. They have the ability (and the god given right) to
govern themselves - - if the right environment is provided.

By the way, we aren't doing this buy ourselves in Iraq any more than we did it by ourselves in Europe. In all those cases, Marshall plan, Afghanistan, Iraq, the vast vast majority of the funding came from us. The vast amount of expertise came from us. Ultimately, you need the local population to work with you and eventually run things by themselves - - but the idea that the multi-national coalition is a necessary condition for success just doesn't have any evidence to support it.

Keep in mind one other very key point: even with the Marshall plan, it took what, 9-10 years to transfer power back over to the Germans? Of course, we were able to get our army out of there right away and leave the job to “international” peacekeepers. What? We didn’t do that? The US military is still there even today? That is just crazy talk.

Then there is Japan. There you might have a point. We turned things completely over to the international community - - if, by the international community, you mean US General Douglas McArthur.

I am not opposed to getting assistance from other countries, but not at the price of giving “allies” like France, Germany, and the dictatorships that rule the UN general assembly the power to prevent democracy from taking root in Iraq. Take a quick look at who is in the UN general assembly, brother. There are not many democracies. Do you think those tyrants and kleptocrats want democracy to spread?

TODD: George Bush recently said this to The UN--- "The United Nations has been a friend of the Afghan people --distributing food and medicine, helping refugees return home, advising on a new constitution, and helping to prepare the way for nationwide elections. NATO has taken over the UN-mandated security force in Kabul. American and coalition forces continue to track and defeat al Qaeda terrorists and remnants of the Taliban. Our efforts to rebuild that country go on. I have recently proposed to spend an additional 1.2 billion dollars for the Afghan reconstruction effort -- and I urge other nations to continue contributing to this important cause. "

Germany handles most of the peacekeeping. But the real point which you try to your hardest to get away from (Classic misdirection) is why would we want to do it alone? Why should we bear the cost of the world's safety? It's not the money. It's the point of doing it alone. I just don't understand this isolationist attitude. The only possible reason is that we want to control everything. Like the kid who has the ball in the playground and if everybody doesn't like his rules, he takes the ball and goes home. Doesn't everybody hate that kid? I am all for rebuilding Iraq. We broke it so I guess that means we bought it. Wouldn't it be nice though if others chipped in to help out. Or god
forbid the Iraqis with their newfound freedom rebuilt their own country.

MACK: How did I misdirect you when it came to the idea of working with others? I have no problems working with other countries, when it is consistent with our security interests. That means, we don’t give other countries or international organizations a veto over decisions related to our national security.

Speaking of misdirection, please please please explain to me how we were isolated in the war on Iraq. Yes, France and Germany threatened a veto on the security council. But other countries did go along. Did you see the list of countries that participated in the coalition of the willing? I won’t list them again. Just explain to me – and you will have to go slow because I am not used to your big fancy metropolitan ideas - how is that “isolationist”? Last time I checked, isolationist had as its root, “Isolated”. If we are isolated, we are isolated with dozens of other countries. That is a weird kind of isolation. If you say it “unilateral” and “isolationist” enough times, it doesn’t make it true.

Why is the “only possible” explanation the mistaken one you concoct in your imagination? Isn’t it possible that the administration concluded that, given the high stakes in a post-september 11th world, we could no longer tolerate the unwillingness of Iraq to abide by the agreements they signed after the first Gulf War? Namely, to account for the weapons of mass destruction (chemical/biological, etc…) that were identified by the international community you love and the previous administration?

And please remember it is our action (and the action of our coalition partners) - - not the wishes and hopes of the international community -- that gave Iraqis the "god forbid" ability to run their own country. If others chip in to help that happen, great. If not, we should do it ourselves. In the long run, changing the climate of the middle east is worth the investment.

PART 3 later.


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