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10/24/2008 05:58:41 PM · #151
Originally posted by Azrifel:


I think it is very sad for a "democracy" to have judges who have a political agenda. It breaks with the idea of trias politica, but I suppose that will be labeled to liberal as well. Let's face it, the US is not a democracy it is a bordering to elected dictatorship oligargic semi-theocratic state.


It's a representative republic based on democratic principles. Your confusion is that you think we Americans should use our democracy to serve your interests and values instead of ours. Your language is not only offensive, but it is uninformed.

Message edited by author 2008-10-24 18:09:33.
10/24/2008 06:18:07 PM · #152
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Originally posted by Azrifel:


I think it is very sad for a "democracy" to have judges who have a political agenda. It breaks with the idea of trias politica, but I suppose that will be labeled to liberal as well. Let's face it, the US is not a democracy it is a bordering to elected dictatorship oligargic semi-theocratic state.


It's a representative republic based on democratic principles. Your confusion is that you think we Americans should use our democracy to serve your interests and values instead of ours. Your language is not only offensive, but it is the most assinine I've seen in this thread.


A two party system can never be representative when it comes to ruling on a 50,1% takes all principle. It is an extremely polarized system and I can hardly call it democratic. Certainly not when judges are not independent. To see this as an example of democracy just doesnt work for me. But hey, that's just my view with 10 parties in our Congress and three different parties in the ruling coalition who had to make a lot of deals to suit everyone's needs. And where the juris is completely seperated from the law makers and rulers of the nation.
It is also a fact that despite whatever the majority wants, that lobby groups and minority groups with religious intentions have an unrepresensative large influence on policy. IMO they should start their own political party.

So that covers about all that I said, hardly assinine and offensive, just giving it some names.
10/24/2008 06:57:12 PM · #153
Originally posted by Azrifel:

Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Originally posted by Azrifel:


I think it is very sad for a "democracy" to have judges who have a political agenda. It breaks with the idea of trias politica, but I suppose that will be labeled to liberal as well. Let's face it, the US is not a democracy it is a bordering to elected dictatorship oligargic semi-theocratic state.


It's a representative republic based on democratic principles. Your confusion is that you think we Americans should use our democracy to serve your interests and values instead of ours. Your language is not only offensive, but it is the most assinine I've seen in this thread.


A two party system can never be representative when it comes to ruling on a 50,1% takes all principle. It is an extremely polarized system and I can hardly call it democratic. Certainly not when judges are not independent. To see this as an example of democracy just doesnt work for me. But hey, that's just my view with 10 parties in our Congress and three different parties in the ruling coalition who had to make a lot of deals to suit everyone's needs. And where the juris is completely seperated from the law makers and rulers of the nation.
It is also a fact that despite whatever the majority wants, that lobby groups and minority groups with religious intentions have an unrepresensative large influence on policy. IMO they should start their own political party.

So that covers about all that I said, hardly assinine and offensive, just giving it some names.


We have many more than two parties; it's just that only two parties are particularly popular - and therefore powerful. And it's not winner take all, either. If you're speaking of the Presidency, yes, only one man can win - obviously. But each state has two Senators, and they can come from any combination of parties. And each state has a number of representatives in the House of Representatives that varies according to the population of the state. Again, as with the Senate, they can come from any combination of parties - or be independents as well - or switch parties. In this way we achieve a balance of powers with small states and large states having equal numbers of Senators but large (i.e., more populous) states having more representatives. It's hardly winner take all because we frequently have a President of one party while the other party controls the Congress (as is the current situation). Moreover, while the President sets policy, he does not make laws. Only Congress can make law. And, if they do not have a sufficiently large majority, then they also need the President's concurrence. And even then, the Judicial Branch can invalidate the law if it finds that the law controvenes a higher law - the Constitution being the highest. And if the President or Congress wants to change or amend the Constitution, it can be done only with the concurrence of 2/3 of the States. In this way, the powers of the President are checked and balanced by the powers of the Legislature which are in turn checked and balanced by the powers of the President and both of them are checked and balanced by the powers of the Judiciary which also checks and balances each of the others. It's really an incredible system. All judges are independent; but that does not mean that they do not have points of view that correspond more closely to one party or another. As a way of encouraging that independence, Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life - guaranteeing that they will not be beholden to anyone for job security. The President appoints the Supreme Court Justices, but only if a vacancy occurs during his term or terms in office. Presidents do tend to select Justices who have shown an inclination to make rulings that the President agrees with - this is normal, wouldn't you think? I mean, what person would select a person to be a Supreme Court Justice if he disagreed with his rulings. It can get political, because a Democrat President will likely agree with a Judge who interprets the law as guaranteeing certain rights that a Republican would not agree with. So the number of conservative versus liberal Justices on the Supreme Court is crucial. And you also get justices who are moderates. This is all human nature. And if you are going to tell me that your system is so much superior to this, and that this represents inadequate democratic protections, then you're simply being dishonest.

Message edited by author 2008-10-24 19:05:03.
10/24/2008 06:59:56 PM · #154
Oh, and one more thing Azrifel. As far as religion goes, Americans happen to be religious people. We are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more. The overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves people of faith. I realize that much of Europe has given that up. But if our government seems very religious to you, then that is because Americans are religious and value that trait in our leaders. What do they call that? Oh yes, DEMOCRACY! Check mate.
10/24/2008 07:02:26 PM · #155
The letter?.....BS, BS, and more BS. Sorry he died. Too bad it was for such BS.
10/24/2008 07:22:02 PM · #156
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Oh, and one more thing Azrifel. As far as religion goes, Americans happen to be religious people. We are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more. The overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves people of faith. I realize that much of Europe has given that up. But if our government seems very religious to you, then that is because Americans are religious and value that trait in our leaders. What do they call that? Oh yes, DEMOCRACY! Check mate.

Too bad the majority of these "people of faith" think that all those Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more are going on an express rocket straight to hell immediately on death. We call that way of thinking "lunacy", and when mixed with government, all manner of apocalyptic (pardon the pun) scenarios are possible. Sure, this anti-intellectual, flight-to-unreason state of affairs has come about because of "democracy", but hey, so did the Third Reich. It doesn't make it right, best, or sane.

Continental European multi-party coalition parliamentary democracy is the planet's only true form of representative government. America had it's chance and blew it on the two-party system. Europe's turn, and the best societies thrive without religion.
10/24/2008 07:31:01 PM · #157
Originally posted by Louis:

Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Oh, and one more thing Azrifel. As far as religion goes, Americans happen to be religious people. We are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more. The overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves people of faith. I realize that much of Europe has given that up. But if our government seems very religious to you, then that is because Americans are religious and value that trait in our leaders. What do they call that? Oh yes, DEMOCRACY! Check mate.

Too bad the majority of these "people of faith" think that all those Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more are going on an express rocket straight to hell immediately on death. We call that way of thinking "lunacy", and when mixed with government, all manner of apocalyptic (pardon the pun) scenarios are possible. Sure, this anti-intellectual, flight-to-unreason state of affairs has come about because of "democracy", but hey, so did the Third Reich. It doesn't make it right, best, or sane.

Continental European multi-party coalition parliamentary democracy is the planet's only true form of representative government. America had it's chance and blew it on the two-party system. Europe's turn, and the best societies thrive without religion.


Who the heck do you think you are to rule on what is a "true" form of representative government? Damn you're an arrogant self-important S.O.B. (and ignorant as well).
10/24/2008 07:37:54 PM · #158
The Irony of Democracy is that the masses aren't democratic. What we have is Elitism as the elite protect the ideals of democracy. I have my differences with some of the US policies but I live in a country where I can express my disagreements and not dissappear in the night. It's still the best country in the world(IMO)_ and I thank the soldier who wrote his blog and his sense of duty.

Funny how no one seems to blame the terrorists and the environment that produces them.

And by the way... If your religious doctrine says to kill all infidels and I'm judged to be one of those infidels, my personal doctrine becomes, not if I get you first. All the ideology expressed in this thread didn't stop the 9-11 attacks and it makes me sick to see some trying to blame the US for these acts of aggression. God bless America.


Message edited by author 2008-10-24 20:09:34.
10/24/2008 08:05:35 PM · #159
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Oh, and one more thing Azrifel. As far as religion goes, Americans happen to be religious people. We are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more. The overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves people of faith. I realize that much of Europe has given that up. But if our government seems very religious to you, then that is because Americans are religious and value that trait in our leaders. What do they call that? Oh yes, DEMOCRACY! Check mate.


I'm an American.

I'm not religious.

For me, that trait in our leaders is a cause for concern.
10/24/2008 08:13:00 PM · #160
Originally posted by neophyte:

The Irony of Democracy is that the masses aren't democratic. What we have is Elitism as the elite protect the ideals of democracy. I have my differences with some of the US policies but I live in a country where I can express my disagreements and not dissappear in the night. It's still the best country in the world(IMO)_ and I thank the soldier who wrote his blog and his sense of duty.


I agree with the elitism bit as in the masses get to choose who will serve which elites best through a democratic process.
10/24/2008 08:14:44 PM · #161
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

And if the President or Congress wants to change or amend the Constitution, it can be done only with the concurrence of 2/3 of the States.


The Supreme Court, through its interpretations, changes the constitution every time they convene, although I don't think the founding fathers intended this. (I think they intended that it be done how you've described.)
10/24/2008 08:50:09 PM · #162
Late coming in on this, but here goes:

To the OP message. The idea of "If you don't like it, you can just leave." is not the brightest comment. If we thought that, you could've also said "If you don't like slavery, just leave or don't have slaves." It doesn't work that way. You fight for what you believe in. There are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters at home wishing their loved ones would come back. This war can't be compared to any other war.

Choosing to stay is something I understand. However, it failed to mention the true reason for staying. It's not because there's a mission to be accomplished, it's because there are still fellow soldiers fighting and dieing. You stay for them, not Bush, not the oil, but the person next to you who counts on you.

The people protesting do so not from the comfort of their homes, but in D.C, at rallies, labeled 'anti-American' by the Right. They want you to come home. If such a war were to break out where the U.S was truly at risk, such as was in WWII, then I would imagine a different story being played out. There's a reason why so many joined the U.S in Afghanistan, but not so many in Iraq. And while I value the opinion of any soldier in combat, for every blog posted like this, how many stories to we hear of suicides and soldiers wanting to come home? Do the math.
10/24/2008 09:52:25 PM · #163
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Originally posted by Louis:

Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Oh, and one more thing Azrifel. As far as religion goes, Americans happen to be religious people. We are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more. The overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves people of faith. I realize that much of Europe has given that up. But if our government seems very religious to you, then that is because Americans are religious and value that trait in our leaders. What do they call that? Oh yes, DEMOCRACY! Check mate.

Too bad the majority of these "people of faith" think that all those Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more are going on an express rocket straight to hell immediately on death. We call that way of thinking "lunacy", and when mixed with government, all manner of apocalyptic (pardon the pun) scenarios are possible. Sure, this anti-intellectual, flight-to-unreason state of affairs has come about because of "democracy", but hey, so did the Third Reich. It doesn't make it right, best, or sane.

Continental European multi-party coalition parliamentary democracy is the planet's only true form of representative government. America had it's chance and blew it on the two-party system. Europe's turn, and the best societies thrive without religion.


Who the heck do you think you are to rule on what is a "true" form of representative government? Damn you're an arrogant self-important S.O.B. (and ignorant as well).

Who do I think I am? Why, I think I'm exactly like you, a person with an opinion. The difference between us, though, would seem to be that you are the kind of person that's incapable of having a discussion about those opinions without resorting to name calling, attacks on my character, or calling me "ignorant" without qualification. I was curious to see how you would respond to my post. Your reaction shows you have no real answer to it, and so it doesn't disappoint.
10/24/2008 10:05:24 PM · #164
Originally posted by Louis:

Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Originally posted by Louis:

Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Oh, and one more thing Azrifel. As far as religion goes, Americans happen to be religious people. We are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more. The overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves people of faith. I realize that much of Europe has given that up. But if our government seems very religious to you, then that is because Americans are religious and value that trait in our leaders. What do they call that? Oh yes, DEMOCRACY! Check mate.

Too bad the majority of these "people of faith" think that all those Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more are going on an express rocket straight to hell immediately on death. We call that way of thinking "lunacy", and when mixed with government, all manner of apocalyptic (pardon the pun) scenarios are possible. Sure, this anti-intellectual, flight-to-unreason state of affairs has come about because of "democracy", but hey, so did the Third Reich. It doesn't make it right, best, or sane.

Continental European multi-party coalition parliamentary democracy is the planet's only true form of representative government. America had it's chance and blew it on the two-party system. Europe's turn, and the best societies thrive without religion.


Who the heck do you think you are to rule on what is a "true" form of representative government? Damn you're an arrogant self-important S.O.B. (and ignorant as well).

Who do I think I am? Why, I think I'm exactly like you, a person with an opinion. The difference between us, though, would seem to be that you are the kind of person that's incapable of having a discussion about those opinions without resorting to name calling, attacks on my character, or calling me "ignorant" without qualification. I was curious to see how you would respond to my post. Your reaction shows you have no real answer to it, and so it doesn't disappoint.


Ignorance is showing on the other side of this discussion for sure. Anyone who thinks the USA truly has a representative democracy operating is sort of misinformed. I got a thread on that somewhere, but it isn't drawing any responses, presumably because it flies in the face of long-held beliefs...

R.
10/24/2008 10:58:03 PM · #165
Bear, did you mean the plutocracy thread? (Didn't see anything else recent). Not sure I agree that there is so much ignorance on this thread; I am finding the heat getting in the way of well thought out presentation. At any rate, I recommend the plutocracy thread if only for the nice linky to the stats on how few people have the most money - a lot of money, and how many people have very very little....
10/25/2008 12:09:15 AM · #166
Originally posted by tnun:

Bear, did you mean the plutocracy thread? (Didn't see anything else recent). Not sure I agree that there is so much ignorance on this thread; I am finding the heat getting in the way of well thought out presentation. At any rate, I recommend the plutocracy thread if only for the nice linky to the stats on how few people have the most money - a lot of money, and how many people have very very little....


Timothy,

Did you mean this thread?

Yes I noticed too that it is very easy for people to blow the heat off with never ending counter arguments. But when it comes to digesting actual facts, not many have the time or energy;-)

Sorry for the digression.
10/25/2008 12:22:51 AM · #167
Yup.
10/25/2008 08:38:15 AM · #168
Originally posted by jjstager2:

Originally posted by citymars:

"The Blame America First crowd" is just another distortion from the same playbook of phrases such as "liberal media" and "activist judges."

Distortion - no, sorry.

The "Liberal Media" is a fitting title because it happens to be true. It has been documented that 80% or more members of the media in America are Democrats. There are several sources you can go to if you wish to see the disparity of positive stories for the Liberals and negative stories for the Conservatives during election time - it is a simple truth of life that exists.

Such "simple truths" rarely are that simple. I suspect what you call liberal stories are those that aren't telling you what you want to hear, for example, those reporting on the offenses of the current administration (too many to list again, and what's the point?). If indeed the majority of legitimate reporters (i.e., those who do their best to be fair and balanced in their reportage, despite their personal feelings) are "democrats", it does not prove that their stories are deceptive. You should also realize that a majority of news sources are owned by corporations, which could hardly be called "liberal" by any stretch.

Originally posted by jjstager2:

As for the "Hate America First" label - I wish you were right in that this too is but a mere distortion. I really doubt that anything I say will change your mind but I stand by the assertion that this label sadly but accurately identifies a pretty vocal group of people who like to hide behind statements and sentiments such as asserting their right to dissent - and yet really actively seize upon occaisions such as this - statements in a dead soldier's blog - to shout out about all that is wrong with America, Bush, Cheney, blah blah blah...

The "Hate America First" crowd reference really reflects nothing more than identifying the polar opposite of Robert's "Kneejerk patriotism" reference which I notice you did not label as a "distortion" and yet one I readily accepted as a valid moniker.
Then call them "kneejerk liberals" -- and try to understand that love of country includes not only the right to dissent but the duty to do what one can to prevent having real American values corrupted.
10/25/2008 08:48:29 AM · #169
Originally posted by neophyte:

... I have my differences with some of the US policies but I live in a country where I can express my disagreements and not dissappear in the night.

I'm thankful for the same thing. However, there is that pesky Patriot Act...

Originally posted by neophyte:

Funny how no one seems to blame the terrorists and the environment that produces them.

I've never heard anyone aver that those forces are not to blame. I think what people are saying is that the world is complicated.

Originally posted by neophyte:

... All the ideology expressed in this thread didn't stop the 9-11 attacks and it makes me sick to see some trying to blame the US for these acts of aggression. God bless America.

As said previously in this thread, the sad and scary fact is that acts of terrorism will happen, regardless. You are right, "ideology" (I assume you mean ideology different that your own) did not stop the 9/11 attacks; neither did jingoism or any thing else you could mention.
10/25/2008 08:55:49 AM · #170
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Originally posted by Louis:

Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Oh, and one more thing Azrifel. As far as religion goes, Americans happen to be religious people. We are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more. The overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves people of faith. I realize that much of Europe has given that up. But if our government seems very religious to you, then that is because Americans are religious and value that trait in our leaders. What do they call that? Oh yes, DEMOCRACY! Check mate.

Too bad the majority of these "people of faith" think that all those Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and more are going on an express rocket straight to hell immediately on death. We call that way of thinking "lunacy", and when mixed with government, all manner of apocalyptic (pardon the pun) scenarios are possible. Sure, this anti-intellectual, flight-to-unreason state of affairs has come about because of "democracy", but hey, so did the Third Reich. It doesn't make it right, best, or sane.

Continental European multi-party coalition parliamentary democracy is the planet's only true form of representative government. America had it's chance and blew it on the two-party system. Europe's turn, and the best societies thrive without religion.


Who the heck do you think you are to rule on what is a "true" form of representative government? Damn you're an arrogant self-important S.O.B. (and ignorant as well).


And I was gaining respect for you OO. You just blew that all away dude.
10/25/2008 10:21:07 AM · #171
Please refrain from personal attacks. Thanks!
10/25/2008 10:52:59 AM · #172
Sorry for the HUGE post, but if you can make it through it, a good read. DON'T read this if you are prone to tears. All works at the end have links except the personal interviews. If you would like to read the personal interview transcripts, PM me. I have copies. Just an example of someone backing up their mouth with actual facts.

Women in Iraq

Iraq seemed, to many nations, to be a country that was calm, cool, and collected. When that mask of docility was ripped from the country’s face, what was left was nothing short of horrifying. Irrefutably, the most revealing of these findings was the treatment of women. Women in Iraq have been brutalized in the past, but somehow they find the strength to stand, with their heads held high, and march into an unknown future with nothing but hope.

Iraqi women are among the most educated women in the Middle East. Their numbers boast doctors, lawyers, judges, and even a member of parliament (WFI). Three very educated women were appointed to the recently established Iraqi governing council. These three women entered these positions at great risk to their lives. Tragically, one was shot and killed in September (Iraqi Governing Council Member Shot).

Risk, however, sharpens resolve for these women. They desperately want an Iraq where women do not need to fear anything. Despite failure, tyranny, and threats, they continue to push forward. Failure was defined for them in 1991 when the U.S. attacked and failed to remove Saddam from power. From that point, women were removed from their high position jobs. Iraqi women were also forced to halt their education. Prior to 1991, a working mother would be the recipient of five years of maternity leave (Katz). In the United States, women only dream of such wonderful employers.

Iraqi women have the numbers to make a difference if they are allowed. Out of twenty-four million people living in Iraq, over sixteen million of them are women and only about eight million of them are men. Women outnumber men almost two to one (U.S. Department of State Interview). This was caused by the unbelievable amount of war Iraq has seen (Knickmeyer).

Even with this astounding number, women had little political and social power, unless they were members of the Ba’ath party, and endured severe torture at the hands of the former dictator. Tortures like chemical baths, rape, electric shock and human meat grinders were used inside the prisons (A Worthy Cause). These types of torture were not limited to women but were extended to anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in the predicament of angering the former dictator.

Reasons to perform torture were dictated by the whim of the regime. If a man needed to be silenced or coerced, his wife, daughter, or sister was raped while he watched (U.S. Interview). Sometimes the act was videotaped and mailed to relatives for further humiliation (U.S. Department of State Report). One sixteen year old girl who had written something anti-government on her school notebook was arrested, beaten, and tortured with electric shock (A Worthy Cause).

Women also feared murder, not just from Saddam, but from the very men that were supposed to protect them. Saddam passed a law in 1990 that allowed men to perform “honor” killings if the integrity of the family was threatened (U.S.Report). Infidelity accusations against women were extremely serious charges. From the year 2001 to the year 2003, U-Day Hussein and a troop of his men have beheaded over two-hundred women and hung their heads on the doors or walls of their family’s homes. These men actually beheaded a seventy-two year-old nun. These actions took place because of a claim that these women were prostitutes and therefore unfaithful to their husbands. These women were not even allowed a fair trial to ascertain their innocence. One woman tells of the actual reason for these murders: “In reality they were killed because they were related to opponents of Saddam.” (Al-Souhail).

Saddam also murdered to commit genocide. He was well known for using nerve gas and other, more deadly gasses, against his own people. Ethnic cleansing was one reason for this. Assyrians, Kurds, and Turkoman bore the brunt of his displeasure. He would gas entire villages, killing women, children, and men. One woman recalls her experience with the lethal gas: “Children, women, men … vomiting, screaming, crying with swollen eyes. Everybody was … screaming, ‘We are blind. We cannot see.’” (Dr. Katrin Michael interview with ABC news March 21).

These murders took place in the home and in the street. Saddam believed that witnessing these murders would teach a lesson in obedience to all onlookers. After seeing this type of thing happen, the Iraqi people were fearful of removing Saddam. These people had lived with the threat of torture and murder for thirty-five years and did not know how to rid themselves of the tyrant dictator Saddam. President Bush has consigned the United States to undertake this responsibility and the U.S. is working with the Iraqi people to form a democratic government in Iraq.
United States officials are stepping in because Saddam made his people suffer needlessly. He sold supplies from the U.N. that contained medications and foods to neighboring countries while his own people died of starvation and simple ailments. Sanctions placed on Iraq forbade any imports other than these. According to Ms. Al-Souhail, an Iraqi woman, “Saddam played on this.” He used these sanctions to make his people believe that the U.N. harbored the enemy. Sanctions were placed to stop Saddam from gaining money and power. Weapons of mass destruction were supposed to be abolished in Iraq. Weapons inspectors were kicked out by Saddam and that is what caused the sanctions to be placed on the country. Ms. Al-Souhail also simplified things when she said, “Saddam himself is a weapon of mass destruction.” (Al-Souhail pa 2).

With all of the destruction, women in Iraq cringe when they give birth because of the child death rate. Their children under the age of five are dying from diarrhea, typhoid, pneumonia, and malnutrition. It is happening in astounding numbers. UNICEF reported in 1998 that there were 40,000 such deaths from these minor afflictions due to lack of water sanitation. Saddam sold all of the chemicals to treat the water (Al-Souhail).

Death of children is not only a common factor in Iraq. Prostitution has also become trite. Women are forced to sell their bodies just to afford food for their families. All of the recent prostitution in Iraq has been caused by lack of work. Women cannot get jobs yet because the government is not established. So, these women are fighting for survival using the oldest known profession (Dallas News).

Now these women have new fears mixed in with a few of the old. Gangs, along with the Pro-Saddam Iraqi remnants, are kidnapping women, young girls, and even young boys for ransom. Sometimes, the females are simply raped. Women are afraid to leave the house without an escort. Children are forced to remain indoors. These gangs are running unchecked through the cities because of a lack of police officers (CNN transcript).

Even with the major problems in Iraq right now, these women still have hope. Saddam is no longer in control so they do have good reason for this hope. They want liberation so they can hold positions of power both politically and socially (Foreign Press pa 27). They believe they can truly make a difference for the better.
Freedom in Iraq will help the women’s cause. They hope for the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom from persecution, and personal freedom. These freedoms will allow them to lobby high officials for changes inside the country (Foreign Press).

Equality is a big concern as well. Women desire to hold jobs equal to men and be paid comparable wages for the work they do. These women also wish to be able to say what they want and petition to change things without the worry or fear of reprisal (Foreign Press pa 27).

In the quest for change, Iraqi women have formed groups that join them together and include powerful and educated members. Women for a Free Iraq (WFI) has over fifty members from many different ethnic groups like Arab, Kurd, Sunni, Shi’a, Assyrian, and Christian. They have repeatedly lobbied the U.S. for help and even aided the U.S. in the uprisings of 1991 and 2003. Women of the WFI have, since May 2003, liberated fifteen out of eighteen Iraqi provinces. They opened the prisons in these provinces and set men, women, children free. Some of the prisoners were young women that had three, four, or five children due to the daily rapes (Foreign Press). That means if they were young women when released, they were even younger (14-15) when imprisoned, and it takes at least eight months to have a baby if it is to live. WFI has met with the Vice-President and many other powerful members of the U.S. Government on July 24, 2003 to discuss the re-building of Iraq and express their gratitude for the help the U.S. has extended to Iraq (WFI.org). These women (shown on left) have also helped to set up women and children centers in post-war Iraq.

Even before the uprising of the Iraqi people, another group of women was formed. Kurdistan Women Union (KWU) was formed in 1952. An amazing number of women were part of this group. One hundred seventy-seven members strong, they did things like build playgrounds and hospitals for the poor. They also had an internal government. Having an internal government meant they could elect a fellow KWU member to be the head of the group. They also elected club officials like treasurers and public relations people. No information was found to support their existence today but all the evidence says that they were a powerful group of their time (Altroushi).

Another group, recently formed, call themselves the Iraqi Women Foundation. Based in the U.K., these women are also highly educated and out to make a difference. A very good friend of the aforementioned murdered member of the governing council is a member of this group. She is also the co-founder of this organization (Makiya). Her name is Hind Makiya and she has done many things to better the future of Iraq. Her activities include working to help establish a post-war education system, helping to create employment systems, and speaking at meetings world wide. She also worked as an adviser for the Ministry of Education, as a teacher at all grade levels, and is an author of many books on teaching and learning (Makiya bio).

Ms. Makiya also supports the Baghdad Women’s Foundation. They are a recently formed group of activists that are working to establish learning centers for women in Baghdad. Surely they have more projects outlined for the future. Information is difficult to find on this organization at present (Makiya).

A recently re-established Group called the Iraqi Women’s League (IWL) was powerful in the 1970’s (Mueller pa 5). Ba’ath members banned all groups with political views and the members of the IWL began to disappear. Many of the remaining party members simply went underground. These women have recently combined forces once again and elected a new president for the group. They are hoping to salvage women’s rights to become professionals in Iraq. IWL’s President continues to recruit members but says it is not easy because of all the violence on the streets (Starr).
These groups of Iraqi Women are trying to convey a very specific message to people in the U.S. They are working to establish community centers for women and children inside Iraq. Training personnel is one of the major operations being undertaken by these women. Not only are they educating people in the U.S. about the Iraqi people’s past, but they are also helping to re-build the country as a democracy. Women are now able to hold powerful positions in Iraq and, to many people, that is a comforting thought (Allatar).

Iraqi women are concerned now because the media worldwide is only showing the negative aspects of the war. Media companies in the U.S. are showing the American public only the negatives about the war. Dr. Maha Allatar, an Iraqi exile, spoke of this in an interview. She said, “Ninety-nine percent of what is going on inside of Iraq is positive,” (Allatar).

With all of the positive things that are happening, Dr. Allatar is optimistic about the future of Iraqi women. Illiteracy among women was beginning a rapid climb in Iraq since 1991. None of the women worry about it because they believe in their hearts that it will be reversed. It is not just a profound belief that keeps them going. Iraqi women that were exiles are planning to return to the country to help with the re-building and education of women (WFI.org).

Allatar is not concerned about men being the majority of the governing council, even though quite a few other women are, because she sees a lot of different ethnic groups represented and knows that, even though Saddam tried to de-sensitize the population, the groups having many representatives on the council is an excellent thing (Knickmeyer). Ms. Allatar did express her concern about the Iraqi people trying to push the U.S. out. She knows Iraq needs the help and extra security the U.S. can provide until the democracy is well established and running smoothly (Allatar).

Iraqi women are highly skilled and have hope for the future. Fifty-five percent of the doctors in Iraq are women (Allatar). They are determined not to let the country of Iraq fall apart. Democracy is something that Iraqi exiles have been fighting for, under direct threats, for a very long time and now that it is within reach, these women are holding on with both hands, and are determined not to let go (Al-Souhail).

In conclusion, the women of Iraq have endured years upon years of suffering; but it has not dampened their spirit one iota. They continue to push forward with the hope of a new and better life. With support from outside, that hope has help to grow. Hope will continue for these women until, one day, it will become certainty. These women are amazing and should be allowed freedom to do as they please without the fear of a ruthless, avenging, heartless dictator waiting to pounce on those who do not do exactly as they are ordered.

Works Cited

A Worthy Cause.” ABC news interview. ABCNews.com 21 March 2003. 28 Aug. 2003 <//abcnews.com>.

Allatar, Maha. Telephone Interview. 28 Oct. 2003.

Al-Souhail, Safia Taleb. “Re: I thought you would want to see this.” E-mail to the author. 30 Oct. 2003.

Al-Souhail, Safia. “Saddam’s War against the Iraqi People.” WFI.org. 4 Nov. 2003 <//www.womenforiraq.org/safiaalsouhail.php>.

Atroushi, Alex. “Kurdistan Women Union.” KWU website. 28 Aug. 2003 <//home1swipnet.se/~w-11534/women.html>.
U.S. Department of State Report. “Country Reports on Human Right Practices-2001.” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor 4 Mar. 2002. 26 Sept. 2003 <//www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/nea/8257pf.htm>.

Dallas Morning News. “Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation.” 29 Sept. 1997. 4 Nov. 2003 <//www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/iraq.html>.

Iraq Governing Council Member Shot.” CNN.com. 20 Sept. 2003. 21 Oct. 2003 <//www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/09/20/sprj.irq.main/index.html>.

Katz, Nikki. “Women’s Issues.” about.com 1998. 30 Sept. 2003 <//womensissues.about.com/cs/iraq/a/iraqi_women_p.htm>.

Knickmeyer, Ellen. “Iraqi Women, Among Mid-East’s most Educated, Fear for Future.” Associated Press. 6 May 2003.

LexisNexis Academic. LexisNexis. Kolwyck Library, Chattanooga. 16 Oct. 2003 <//web.lexis-nexis.com/universe>.

Makiya, Hind. “Re: I thought you would want to see this.” E-mail to the author. 28 Oct. 2003.

Makiya, Hind. Personal Bio. 28 Oct. 2003.

Mueller, Mark. “Women who would Help Lead Iraq Held Back by Fear of the Streets.” Newhouse News Service 27 May 2003. LexisNexis Academic. LexisNexis. Kolwyck Library, Chattanooga. 16 Oct. 2003 <//web.lexis-nexis.com/universe>.

Starr, Barbara, Rym Brahimi, Elaine Quijano, Gerri Willis, Elizabeth Cohen, and Liz Neisloss. On the Story. Interview Transcript. 19 July 2003. LexisNexis Academic. LexisNexis. Kolwyck Library, Chattanooga. 16 Oct. 2003 <//web.lexis-nexis.com/universe>.

U.S. Department of State Interview. “Human Rights and Women in Iraq: Voices of Iraqi Women." U.S. Department of State. 6 Mar. 2003. 28 Aug. 2003 <//fpc.state.gov/18461pf.htm>.

UNICEF. “Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Iraq.” iacenter.org. 30 Apr. 1998. 30 Sept. 2003. <//www.iacenter.org/unsit.htm>.

WFI.org. “Women for a Free Iraq.” 28 Aug 2003 <//www.womenforiraq.org>.
10/25/2008 10:57:33 AM · #173
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

But if our government seems very religious to you, then that is because Americans are religious and value that trait in our leaders. What do they call that? Oh yes, DEMOCRACY! Check mate.

Actually, the US is not strictly a democracy. It is a republic that has a constitution. If 55% of US citizens (or any local governments) vote today for a law making atheism a crime it would be overturned later today by the courts since the constitution of the US strictly prohibits such laws. Majority does NOT rule in the US because there have been enough people, from the founders right up to today, that recognize that individual freedom is more important than majority rule and some freedoms have needed protection from majority rule.

It may be true that many US leaders are religious and that is a reflection of the democratic process used to elect the representatives of the US republic. However, it is not true that the US government itself is religious. It is more secular than many European governments that indeed have state religions (ever heard of the Church of England?).
10/25/2008 11:15:18 AM · #174
Originally posted by TCGuru:

Sorry for the HUGE post, but if you can make it through it, a good read. DON'T read this if you are prone to tears. All works at the end have links except the personal interviews. If you would like to read the personal interview transcripts, PM me. I have copies. Just an example of someone backing up their mouth with actual facts.

So, are you arguing that the US should be intervening in every country in the world where such atrocities are occurring? Where was the US when the Hutu Militia killed nearly a million Tutsis in Rwanda?

I doubt the US citizens would have been so eager to invade Iraq if the goal were to just get rid of a cruel dictator. The US was duped into the war by being bludgeoned with the idea that if Saddam wasn't removed there could soon be mushroom clouds popping up over US cities. So what is the point? Is it just to say, "hey, it was all worth it because this horror was corrected..."? Well, good, I'm glad something good has come out of the Iraq war, but it does not follow that some good ends justify the means and the overall human and economic costs of the Iraq war.
10/25/2008 12:13:14 PM · #175
Originally posted by JMart:

Originally posted by TCGuru:

Sorry for the HUGE post, but if you can make it through it, a good read. DON'T read this if you are prone to tears. All works at the end have links except the personal interviews. If you would like to read the personal interview transcripts, PM me. I have copies. Just an example of someone backing up their mouth with actual facts.

So, are you arguing that the US should be intervening in every country in the world where such atrocities are occurring? Where was the US when the Hutu Militia killed nearly a million Tutsis in Rwanda?

I doubt the US citizens would have been so eager to invade Iraq if the goal were to just get rid of a cruel dictator. The US was duped into the war by being bludgeoned with the idea that if Saddam wasn't removed there could soon be mushroom clouds popping up over US cities. So what is the point? Is it just to say, "hey, it was all worth it because this horror was corrected..."? Well, good, I'm glad something good has come out of the Iraq war, but it does not follow that some good ends justify the means and the overall human and economic costs of the Iraq war.


No. Not arguing anything. Just offering up information... :)

For the general public (aimed at no one in particular):

For the record, I am married to one of those soldiers. He has served 2 tours in Iraq and one in Bosnia and will probably be returning to the former in a few months. I have to say, I feel a LOT safer with those guys over there doing what they are doing. Training the Iraqi police to govern their own country and teaching them the necessary skills (like reading) so they may educate themselves instead of believing whatever nonsense is thrown at them.

Begin personal account from a soldier: I was teaching a class of Iraqi men to read. They were reading the Koran for the first time. One looked up at the end of his reading and said to me, "But, where in here does it say you are the devil? We were told the Koran said Americans were evil. I didn't read that anywhere." /end personal account.

I have met many people that understand what these guys are doing and I have had to listen to people rant that this war is ridiculous. Ahhhh freedom for a people is ridiculous... ?

I have noticed a recurring trend in those folks.

The thankful ones are usually veterans or those who could not serve but wanted to.

The rant givers are typically those who never served and never wanted to. Instead, they choose to leave the fighting to others so they have the freedom to stay home and complain about it.

I mean truly, if you didn't want to fight, you shouldn't have signed up for the military in the first place. That is what you are trained for. No fluffy bunnies. Those who signed up to make an easy buck have the option to GET OUT when their contract is up.

I hear too many people complaining that their boys/girls are over there. Hey, your boy signed a contract to join the MILITARY. What did he think he was signing up for? Did someone misinform him? Did you ever think to ask if he WANTED to be there or do you just take it upon yourself to complain for him?

Enjoy freedom, my friends.

How terrible would it be if your door were busted down right now because of what you posted on the internet about your government that sucks? How about taken and electrocuted until you admitted you did it and that you were sorry? Lucky we have that Freedom of speech thing huh?

Someone had to fight for that. People died. It happens. At least they were brave enough to stand up and die to give us that little(sp?) thing.

Maybe all of those that fight should pack up and move somewhere else... leave all the peaceful folks and others here to take care of themselves with their "peaceful" options. When another country comes to take you over because all of your "power" is gone, what will you do? Talk to them? Good idea! I just hope they stop shooting long enough to listen.

I am sure we would all love world peace. It's just not reality.

Unfortunately, reality bites.
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