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What is going on in Iraq? posted 29 January 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Harrol, Moderator

I am wondering about the importance of Iraq to the rest of the Muslim world. Specifically to the fighting between Shites and Sunnis. It would be great to here the insights that many have on this subject. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 09 February 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by TheDarkness, Peralogue

There is a good special on HBO that is filmed in iraq and documents everyday life among the people and interaction between them and American soldiers. I think the first thing that one must admit is that this war is not about saving the people of Iraq. No matter how you look at it we are not on a mission to improve the daily life of the populous. We are an occupation force, there was a smart young man on the show who had a great deal of intellegent things to say. one of those things was an analogy; the young man had once pictured democracy like an import just the same as apples and oranges. America would come over take control and poof democracy would be here, he comes to realize that democracy is not an import, it is not something that can be brought in from the outside but must be cultivated form within. They realize that America values Iraqs resources not its people. So I believe that if we are going to take responsibility for the country we should take care of its people. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 12 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Eleazaras218, Commoner

Look, I don't clearly unserstand the reasons for going into Iraq, some say oil, some say to stop the Chinese from buying the oil before the US. but the problem going on now is that we clearly are having a hard time placing democracy, which is going to be a while to get the people used to. Another problem is the insurgency, which in part is caused by Iran. which is why we can't leave because, in my opinion, could put Iraq in the position to be controlled by Iran, which the US does not want right now. and also we are being spread way thin militarily, i have read on some reports that China has been preparing for some type of war for a while and Russia has been threatening the US for a long while over missile defense systems that Bush wants in place. I could go on and on about potential threats but long story short, we are in it deep... view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 12 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

as far as the fighting between the shi'ites and the sunnies is concerned, basically one of them (and I can't even remember which one) believes that their religious leader(s) are direct descendents of Mohammed. The other's don't. You can clearly see that if one sect of christianity believed it's leader was a direct descendent of Jesus Christ that many other sects of christianity would basically be at war with them. Mohammed of course was a general of an army, and it seems like the muslim religion is steeped in as much blood as Christianity. Or buddhism for that matter. I think religions tend to go through periods of extreme violence, and seeing as how Islam is one of the youngest religions around I hope that this is just a phase, as the Middle Ages were for christianity.

As for why we are in Iraq, I think that at first the America readily admitted that it was foreign investments we were protecting there. There is no war in history that wasn't based on economy, so why should this be an exception? The Islam religion is also their politic, so many parts of the constitution (separation of church and state for one) is seen as completely impossible from the viewpoint of Islam.

As for our military, I've heard it said that we face the same problems as Rome in that we have a military that is too small to do all the things we have planned for it, and too big to be maintained. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 12 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Eleazaras218, Commoner

ok but what i don't understand is, why us? why does the US have to fight? why can't it be germany or the UK or some of our allies? why can't they sound the call for war instead of us? view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 12 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Zarathinius, Auditor

The US has to fight because we got suckered into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (a false claim, made to call up ghosts from the Cold War between the US and Soviet Russia) and connections to Al Queda (also a false claim, made to take advantage of American ignorance of the Middle East).

Also, the US rejected UN offers of help early on, preferring to throw its big fat American weight around and do things without international strings attached. Now we've failed in Iraq, the Taliban is returning to Afghanistan, and we wonder why the rest of the world sees the USA as a country of ignorant pissants lead by an asshat president. No one else wants to get dragged into the quagmire, and our few remaining friends are mostly interested in making money.

Also also, the Iraq war has put the USA trillions of dollars into debt. Most countries barely have a fraction of that much economic clout. After WWII the USA enjoyed an economic boom because it had been its own war machine with its own wartime economy, but now we rely on international trade partners (and by that I mean "China") for everything from steel to socks.

Also also also, many European countries have a much higher percentage of Muslims in their population, and they tend to be more radical than American Muslims. You remember the riots in France not too long ago? Imagine that happening on a much larger scale throughout Europe. They aren't foolish enough to create that kind of turmoil inside their own borders.

I'm sure I forgot a few, but those should be enough to depress you for a while. Would our friends from countries other than America please provide more depressing information? view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 12 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Randal, Auditor

Germany and France were against the war. Iraq was not their enemy, they said. (and rightly so. Saddam was a despicable dictator, but not intent on world conquest.) They didn't fight because they had no business attacking Iraq. Plus, it would have been political suicide for them to try and attack Iraq, their populace was dead set against. It's called democracy.

Also, Germany or France or both couldn't have conquered Iraq on their own anyway. At least, not without a lengthy and difficult war. They don't have the resources and their armies are mostly designed to fight together with the rest of NATO or to defend their own soil. They don't have fleets of super aircraft carriers, they don't have military bases all over the world, and they have a fraction of the US's military budget.

As for why Bush attacked... I never did understand. At the time, I believed they had WMDs, but I thought that wasn't a sensible reason to attack either. Of course, I never bought the Al-Queda connection, and neither did anybody else in Europe that I know. Now, I just don't know. Pride? A belief they could easily reform the Middle East and avert a long-term threat to the US? Those seem most likely to me.

Oh, and regarding US debt: don't Bush's tax-cuts have something to do with that too? Increase spending whilst decreasing revenue has always sounded like bad economics to me, unless it's done for very specific reasons. (Keynes isn't all that hot anymore) view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 13 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Zarathinius, Auditor

Quote: "Randal":1jhrrftx
As for why Bush attacked... I never did understand. At the time, I believed they had WMDs, but I thought that wasn't a sensible reason to attack either. Of course, I never bought the Al-Queda connection, and neither did anybody else in Europe that I know. Now, I just don't know. Pride? A belief they could easily reform the Middle East and avert a long-term threat to the US? Those seem most likely to me. [/quote:1jhrrftx]

Pride, certainly. Mixed with equal parts ignorance and a belief in "magical" solutions (topple Saddam, Iraqis greet us as liberators, Middle East becomes stable, yay! Oops). Add in some Islamophobia and political lobbyists, and you've got a nice recipe for something truly dreadful. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 13 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Sokar, Auditor

I don't know much about religious conflicts and the reasons for them, since religion for me has been only a tool of the ones in power. What I do know about the difference about Sunni's and Shi'ites is that the latter confirm to yet another prophet, Ali, which the Sunni's deny. Of course, this is not the base for the conflict in any way, it is, as I have mentioned a mere tool for the populous..short version: indoctrination.

There are some comments however on the other topics raised here.

TheDarkness -> democracy is not an import product indeed, I pretty much agree with what you say, except for the fact, which I think you support but simply don't mention, the US is not in Iraq for democracy reasons.

Eleazaras218, if you are still active -&gt; There is much you point out, most of it true. Except some minor details, China is not preparing for war, all states have an army for a purpose of war, they do not, however, go to war because they have an army (I can argue the opposite just as well <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D -->). And Russian threats are against Europe, they can't deal with the US directly as it would mean the destruction of both (I am really interested in seeing how people can still believe that the Cold War is over, it simply can't end, maybe the actors change, but the war is ever present, Herz calls this 'security dilemma').
There is something interesting you point out, the need to stay in Iraq in fear of losing it to Iran. This is not really true, it is even wrong. Iran has little interests in Iraq, except for spreading its own strength. By which I mean to show that Iran is an actor in politics (and thus defend itself from similar threats), rather than posses Iraq, annex it or whatever other use it can have for the country. The religious hype, yes hype!, has been for no other reason than to involve Iran into the conflict for the future 'demonisation' purposes. It is, after all, recognised, by the West, as a rogue state.
As it goes for why the US fights, the reasons are obvious..it can! The US needs this war also more than the others (allies), although the allies are profitting from it just as well, though less. I don't want to go into this for too long..it is a completely different topic on wars in general, so I'll summarise von Calusewitz in his own words: &quot;war is . . . a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means&quot; and &quot;war is part of policy&quot;.

avatar_of_existence -&gt; I like your posts in other fields, wide knowledge there, but here you make a huge mistake. Iraq was not a religious state. There was a clear seperation of religion and state, that was one of the excuses for the Iran-Iraq war in the 80's as Iran has a religous state. Saddam was in clear opposition for this (and of course economics was the reason, I am just pointing out this important factor, maybe not that important after all).

Zarathunius -&gt; The US public got indeed suckered into much senseless belief, then again, the US government is good at this, it has been doing for a long while as you mention.
Nonetheless, you have not failed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the agenda has been reached, this continuation is a mere appeasement of the American public (we are a good state, honestly <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D -->).
Also, EU does have a greater Muslim population (percentatively?). But the riots in France were of a completely different nature, unless you simply want to show what the public is capable of if it disagrees with government action. I am not sure if they are more radical, but I wouldn't know, except for that they aren't in my experience.

Randal -&gt; Germany alone would have not succeeded probably, at least not easily, but France defenately would, and it wouldn't have been that lengthy, though defenately longer in conquest alone, I am not talking of 'peacekeeping'. The main reason is that they can't start such large scale wars withough consulting the other EU states, and that would have been too lengthy a process, and probably without success. As you say, they are too tied to others in their politics. Just to point out that France at least is not as powerless as it might seem. (personally, I think the reason lay in too much public awareness of the situation, political suicide as you say).

A continuation of the current -&gt; I don't think pride has anything to do with this political situation. Probably the estimates were not to continue the war to the present, at least not with the media still focusing on the events in Iraq, but it has never been simple pride (pride for what actually?). And it wasn't ignorace either, these have been deliberate actions (I can't stress enough on this!). There is plenty of theories for the war, by which I mean academically credible ones. Economy and politics combined, plus Israel's need for water supply (&quot;hydropolitics&quot;, I still have to look into this one). But in all these, there is a recurrent theme of security..the preservation of state supremacy.

Oh..and sorry for the lengthy post..there is little going on on the board... view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 13 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Randal, Auditor

France is plenty powerful, sure. Many times more powerful than the Iraqi army at its heighday, certainly much stronger than the one Bush Junior fought. But does France have the logistical capability of actually getting hundreds of thousands of men to Iraq with sufficient supplies, lodging, etc?

Britain found it almost impossible to retake the Falklands. Now, those of course were much farther away, but they also were very small and had a non-hostile population.

If France couldn't use all the American airbases around, and wasn't given passage through Turkey or other surrounding countries, how the hell would they get their superior army to Iraq? view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 13 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Zarathinius, Auditor

Carrying on with what Randal said, the French public probably wouldn't approve of military action in Iraq. To them, it might look suspiciously like their government was fighting a war for the United States and justifying it by twisting anti-terrorism ideals out of shape.

Everyone agrees that terrorism is a bad thing. But when our governments use terrorism to frighten (terrorize) us into accepting foolish policies, we're playing right into their hands. Imagine that: Western civilization destroyed, just the way they wanted it, but from the inside through fear and confusion (literally, terror) rather than from the outside with bombs.

Sorry, I've gone rambling off onto a tangent. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 13 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Randal, Auditor

&quot;America should really stop declaring war on verbs.&quot; I forget who said it, but I do agree with this quote. It's so much more sensible to wage wars on tangible things. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 14 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Zarathinius, Auditor

Ha! A guest on The Colbert Report was saying almost the exact same thing.

&quot;War on Drugs&quot;, &quot;War on Poverty&quot;, &quot;War on Terror&quot;, what do they all have in common? That's right, they all fail. People forget that wars almost never end up the way either side intended. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 15 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Sokar, Auditor

Randal and Zarathunius..as I said, France is !indeed! too tied up..this doesn't take away that it could, completely on its own, win the war... Don't forget that the US just as well used its bases in Europe during the attacks..exactly the same logistics you say France does not have, the US didn't either (though US probably can have them through a much easier way)... Which is actually really funny, as although Germany opposed the war, they did provide all the necessary support, as in training snipers and indeed having the troops fly through Germany, quite hypocrite... Then again, which government isn't..? view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 23 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Enkidu, Commoner

There are a lot of reasons for this war. Sticking to the historical basis for it however, and going back to the original posters questions of the Sunnis and Shiites, I'll give you a brief overview that I hope does some justice to the various sources, old and modern, that I have accumulated in my brain over the years...
For the Sunnis and Shiites specifically...After the death of Mohammed, the founder of Islam(actually, the guy who grafted an amalgated Judeo-Christian belief system onto Middle Eastern area tradtions dating back to hundreds of years B.C.), at about 900 A.D., there was a question of succession. The people that would become the Sunnis accepted his legitimate son. The Shiites went with another, not so legitimate son, named Ali. As with many other religions, a conflict for the hearts of Believers, which we can translate as temporal and political power, began. The Sunnis were always far more numerous, and most of the Caliphates thereafter, mostly based in Baghdad, were Sunni, including the famous Abbusids, that Saladin was a member of. The Shiites were less numerous, but had welded themselves into several older esoteric systems of the region, resulting in some very ritualistic, hard-core followers. Foremost among these were the Ismaili, a very fundamentalist and &quot;mystic&quot; sect. Probably the best example of the dedication and fervor of the Shiites and Ismaili is the birth of the Assassins, an Ismaili off shoot. The Sunni Caliphates ruled pretty much all of the important areas of the Middle East. The Shiiites then had to resort to guerilla warfare. The Assassins would insinuate themsleves into a Sunni city, or the entourage of an important Sunni figure, lie in wait, sometimes for months, and then strike, usually assassinating the target with a dagger, and at the expense of their own life. They were proto-suicide bombers. The effect of course was to give the illusion of a far larger and more shadowy organization than they actually were. The word &quot;Assassin&quot; that we use today actually derives from this group, and the legend they created about them. There are a lot of outlandish stories about them, and their original founder, Hassan-i-Sabbah, but this is only testament to the effectiveness of their mountain-based(mountains have always been a good place to hide) terror campaigns.
As the initial power of the Shiites was waning, in came a new factor. Crusades of European Christians that decided that they were going to take back the Holy Land(Ironically, as white Europeans only inherited the Middle Eastern Christianity through the hegemony of Rome, the majority of Europe was not really taking anything back, but stealing in reality what they had already stolen in metaphor and belief). Thus we get the Crusades, a centuries long struggle too complex to get fully into, that involved European powers, Sunni powers, and the small, but still there Shiites playing both sides in an effort to claim, what else, resources(although the religious fervor should not be discounted either.
Since I'm running a bit long, it turned out that it wasn't such an easy go for the Europeans, especially when Western Roman Catholics began also crusading against Eastern Byzantine Christians. Eventually, Europe lost interest, and failed to get the Holy Land &quot;back&quot;, although they did succeed in taking practically all of Spain from the far more advanced and civilized Muslim Moors, who ruled in relative peace for a long time beforehand. Fast forward to the time of Imperialism, and we find that every attempt by European powers to get into the Middle East, either for resource or religious purposes were not exactly sterling victories. Usually, they were either disasters or temporary holding postures(For a fun read sometime, check out the story of the first Marines in America, and what Thomas Jefferson sent them to do...&quot;the shores of Tripoli&quot;...even though that's technically Africa).
Here we are now, and the major change of the last couple of centuries is not only the emergence of America as the dominant &quot;European&quot; power(sorry for those folks that have a problem with that assertion-we can talk about it more at another time-or you can go visit a Native American reservation), but also the discovery of the wonderful usages of the resource of oil, obviously existing in great quantity in the Middle East. Our friends the Sunnis are still there. Our friends the Shiites are still kicking. Our friends the Europeans still want to take it all &quot;back&quot;. There are a gaggle of other factors that go into this war, and the current socio-political-economic struggles in the region, but surprisingly, if anyone wants to read some on the period of the Crusades, you're going to get a boatload of very pointed parallels and questions to which the current war is the answer. The Middle East used to be far advanced compared to the brutal Europeans. After a couple of centuries of warfare fought on their home-turf, however, they fell behind, while their advances brought back to Europe, especially in technology, medical science and astronomy, fueled by banks full of looted money, put Europe ahead.(The Knights Templar were probably not mystic code-breakers, but they were the progenitors of branch banking---Which is why at the end of the war, Philip the Fair of France leveled the charges against them that stick in myth and people's minds even today, all because he was a little short on cash, and the Templars were relatively loaded.) Okay, I've gotten off on some tangents, but here's the point. Bush and company represent big business. They want oil, and power, and by all accounts, don't really like that wierd Muslim religion. A lot of folks nowadays also don't proclaim to be Christians, but goddamned if they don't idealogically think and act like one. Iraq is a country full of people whose home just got invaded, and who have experienced their families and friends killed, and their way of life not only shattered, but worse told that that's because it wasn't up to someone else's standards. They find the Christian mind-set alittle weird. Add to that the fact that Iraq is one of the most ancient seats of civilization, and also experienced the brunt of the last time the &quot;West&quot; came knocking at the door. Add to that the fact that the Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting now for over a thousand years, and just as it did in the Crusades, when the West throws an instability into the mix born of warfare, both sides see a chance to get dominion over the other and then make more conflict. This is real simplified for space, but I hope it comes through that in addition to some of the other matters related by other posters, you also have all of this going on. Basically, this is a mess that is a hell of a lot older than just the events since 2001, which is its own can of worms, although you're going to find some of the same worms in both cans. We, as Americans have forgotten or just plain ignored too much history, both what others have done and endured, and what we have done and endured, and as a result, we keep fighting the same conflicts for slightly different, and very temporal reasons. The Big Reasons, I would argue, haven't changed much. Okay, I have this urge to keep going, because I feel like I haven't really explained myself or gotten fully into this, but I have a feeling, with an inexperience to forum posts, that I've run on too long. Okay, y'all take care of each other. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 23 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;Sokar&quot;:1aj1g8wz

avatar_of_existence -&gt; I like your posts in other fields, wide knowledge there, but here you make a huge mistake. Iraq was not a religious state. There was a clear seperation of religion and state, that was one of the excuses for the Iran-Iraq war in the 80's as Iran has a religous state. Saddam was in clear opposition for this (and of course economics was the reason, I am just pointing out this important factor, maybe not that important after all).
[/quote:1aj1g8wz]
So, at no point did I say Saddams regime was religious. It was a dictatorship, and as an autocrat saddam was able to ignore the entire religious aspect of his country, almost. He was still putting himself out there as a practicing muslim. But as a democracy Iraq will have a very difficult time seperating church and state, in fact I don't see it ever really happening which brings us to the question of whether any country has a true seperation of church and state, when the morals of the masses are dictated by their religions, and the morals of course dictate the laws. I will readily admit that I know very little about the conflict in Iraq, but I do know that the muslim religion is a political one. Their religion is their politics.
view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 25 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Randal, Auditor

Enkidu: if you're suggesting the Crusades caused the decline of the various Muslim states, I would have to disagree. They were a disruption, but a fairly minor one at that. They didn't fail because Europe lost interest, but because everything they gained was reconquered and it simply proved unfeasable to campaign so far away from home. (The first crusade was the least organised and probably military least impressive crusade, but had by far the greatest success. Later crusades, including actual royal armies, frequently returned without accomplishing much.)

I'm not an expert on history of the area, but I always thought the Mongol invasions were rather more damaging than the crusades ever were. (the crusaders at their height held... what. A dozen cities? They never came even near threatening Egypt or Baghdad.) view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 25 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Enkidu, Commoner

Actually, yes, you're right, the Mongolshad a great deal to do with the decline of the Muslim civilization during the tim period as well. The Crusades though I tried to illustrate as one of the reasons that we now have a war in Iraq, and why itis playing out the way that it is. Sorry if it wasn;t that clear. The Crusaders indeed only controlled a handful of cities at the height of their holdings, but unfortunately, territory controlled is not always the measure of damage, both socially and politically, caused. In keeping with the original context, that is the case with the current conflict. As I stated, there are many reasons why we have ended up where we are now, I only focused on one, as the original post included a question about the Shiites and Sunnis, which I also tried to deal with as briefly as I could to reduce space. The Crusades did have a big effect though. Not only to societies and cultures in the region of the Middle East, and the way in which some religions became doomed in many ways to continue dealing with each other.
The other egion I mentioned where it was perhaps most felt was in modern day Spain, where the Muslim Moors were driven out by Crusading armies. The Crusades in the Middle East were pretty much broken early on, afterthe Battle of Hattin in 1187, but as I said, the damage kept growing. Again just briefly, (if anyone is interested in doing their own reading, there is a great book out now on the period called God's War), just one example of the complex web of circumstances involved is that under the Muslims previous to the Crusades, Jews were in fact largely tolerated in Islamic Jerusalem. Not so while it was later held by the Christians. It is complex, but eventually you will find that even the modern enmity between Judeaism and Islam had some of its many branching roots in the Crusade period. Also don't forget the learning and knowledge that was brought back to Europe and flourished because of a relative lack of conflict(notice I said &quot;relative&quot;, while in the place it came from, not only were concerns more military in the Middle East for a couple of hundred years of Crusading, retarding perhaps a lot of advancement in other realms besides military concerns, but then following this conflict, along came the Mongols into an already militarily, politically and socially weakened area. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 26 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Randal, Auditor

I'd argue with placing the Reconquista as part of the Crusades. I mean, sure, the label was used, but it was a very different beast. The crusades to the holy land were fought for mainly religious reasons and were strategically and tactically rather unsound due to the vast distances involved and lack of long-term commitment. (from a western p.o.v.)

The reconquista was very simply a part of the ongoing struggle between the Muslim invaders and the remnants of the prior visigothic occupiers. It was a plain old normal war, where religion was used by the christian kingdoms to give their troops' morale a good boost.

(far more relevant than the reconquest itself, in my opinion, was the later religiously inspired intolerance shown... spanish inquisition, anyone? Still, I don't think that can be blamed on the crusades either. There were plenty of christian crackdowns.) view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 26 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Jamara, Auditor

I will say this, I am totatally!!!! for seperation of church and state. But what that really means is that the state cannot interfere with the &quot;church&quot;. However, the &quot;church&quot; is always going to have and effect on the people, and the people are the government. Democracy rules by popular oppinion. If your religion is in the far minority, you shouldn't cry about the christian influence on politics. They're the majority and you just have to deal with that. I'm a pagan and I realize that my &quot;religious&quot; morals aren't going to be represented in congress, but that's just something I'll have to deal with since I want to be a part of this democracy and not just some whiny PC b.tch. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 26 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Jamara, Auditor

Also, the Crusades were based on financial reasons, not religious. Religion was just the propaganda tool used on the people. Just like slavery was the propaganda used on the North during the American Civil War. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 26 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by anor277, Didact

Quote: &quot;Jamara&quot;:2arifkod
Also, the Crusades were based on financial reasons, not religious. Religion was just the propaganda tool used on the people. Just like slavery was the propaganda used on the North during the American Civil War.[/quote:2arifkod]

I would strongly disagree with this statement. While no doubt they were victims of propaganda (religious and otherwise), what possible financial motivation had the children's crusades of the early 13th century; it was surely a manifestation of faith. Granted, there were financial winners from any particular crusade, but to mount a expedition to invade a foreign land must have been enormously costly and an argument against financial motives. Certainly, one of the things that we, as educated, secular modern citizens, can learn from the study of ancient and medieval histroy is the centrality of faith in the ancient world, and how decisive it was in shaping world views. It's something that is worth relearning now in the West's relations with the Middle East. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 27 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by anor277, Didact

Quote: &quot;Randal&quot;:27ssh2wf
I'd argue with placing the Reconquista as part of the Crusades. I mean, sure, the label was used, but it was a very different beast. The crusades to the holy land were fought for mainly religious reasons and were strategically and tactically rather unsound due to the vast distances involved and lack of long-term commitment. (from a western p.o.v.)

The reconquista was very simply a part of the ongoing struggle between the Muslim invaders and the remnants of the prior visigothic occupiers. It was a plain old normal war, where religion was used by the christian kingdoms to give their troops' morale a good boost.

(far more relevant than the reconquest itself, in my opinion, was the later religiously inspired intolerance shown... spanish inquisition, anyone? Still, I don't think that can be blamed on the crusades either. There were plenty of christian crackdowns.)[/quote:27ssh2wf]

Just as an aside regarding the Reconquista, one of the sites to visit in Spain in Santiago de Compostela, which has the reputation of the 3rd most holy city in christendom, based the fact that is was here that Moors were finally stopped (Saint James &quot;Iago&quot; appeared to repel the invaders). view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 27 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Randal, Auditor

Modern historians no longer regard economical reasons as driving the crusades. This was popular in the Seventies when they wanted to explain everything from large socio-economical movements and disregard emotional and political reasons, but in the case of the crusades it is no longer tenable.

Current consensus is that whilst the Crusades had their fair share of adventurers, the vast majority were pious men who wanted to do good for their soul and religion and then return home.

Remember, most crusaders did return home. They didn't go to conquer tracts of land for themselves... they travelled thousands of miles through extreme hazards, fought against terrible unknown foes in unfamiliar terrain with unfamiliar weapons, then perhaps stayed at a holy place for a while, and then returned home. Perhaps they brought some souvenirs, looted a few coins, yes. But do you really think that was motivation enough to brave all that hazard and accept casual ratings which must have been immense through attrition alone?

If it had been money they wanted, they could have become a mercenary in the war next door. No, the motivation was mostly religious. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 28 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;Jamara&quot;:g9ip2zaf
If your religion is in the far minority, you shouldn't cry about the christian influence on politics. They're the majority and you just have to deal with that. [/quote:g9ip2zaf]

Good observation on democracy: there is always a minority that doesn't get what it wants/needs. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 29 June 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Mahajanga Mordecai, Auditor

I agree that we should be mindful of the fact that we are the minority but that doesn't mean I'm going to be silent when I see blatant religiosity being used as the grounds of logic in laws and court cases.

As with all things, there is a balance to be struck in addressing the majority as a minority; you don't want to be a self-made martyr but you can't let your basic rights get tread on either; the fact that Billy-Bob and Mary Sue Allen don't believe in abortion, drinking alcohol or Scientology shouldn't hold any power over your ability to do so.

Sorry, I know that's off topic but I had to say it. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 01 July 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Harrol, Moderator

If you want to have a debate on law and religious influence please start another thread. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 02 July 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Jamara, Auditor

Randal - - As far as the financial aspect. I was taught that it wasn't so much plundering and gold and stuff on the soldier level, it was the securing of trade routes to China and southeast asia. i.e. silks an ivory. They didn't want to crontol the lands and occupy them, they wanted to secure trade routes. view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 03 July 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Randal, Auditor

Secure trade routes? That's the first I've heard of that.

How does invading Jerusalem and trying to hold onto it despite it being thousands of miles away from your heartland and nobody being willing to put enough resources into defending it improve trade? Especially as the trade is going through Constantinople or the Italian cities anyway?

How exactly is being the middleman here worth sending tens of thousands of soldiers and fighting endless wars of attrition when there's no real realistic prospect of holding the land for long?

Who exactly wants this? The pope? He calls the crusades. But if so, why are all kinds of minor nobles answering? How the hell do they benefit?

How does trade with the east help the King of England if securing it means he has to leave his kingdom for years on end and causes no end of trouble at home? Same for all other kings?

If it's about trade, why all the effort to take Jeruzalem which isn't even a port? Why not focus on Antioch?

Why can't you just trade with the muslims?

I'm sorry. But as a motivation, that makes no sense whatsoever to me. Who says it was about the silk route? view post


What is going on in Iraq? posted 07 August 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat is going on in Iraq? by Enkidu, Commoner

Sorry to pick up on something that seems to have ended on July 3, but there were some good questions in the last July 3rd post. I've been working on a local political assignment so haven't been here in awhile, and please excuse the huge amount of typos in my last post, it was written in a five minute rush before a plane ride...As for the questions on Crusade era trade...Constantinople was not a major trade route for the Roman Catholic countries, because the Byzantines and Romans were enemies, to put it briefly, and the later Crusades were actually not launched against the Holy Land, but against Constantinople. The &quot;Reconquista&quot; is of course the verbiage of a people who won what they felt was their land back from Muslims which had been there for a few hundred years. It is in fact, in academic historical circles, part of the Crusades, as was the war between Roman and Byzantine Christians...Back to trade routes, there was a tremendous amount of trading, and indeed Antioch was a major city in this trade, as was Acre, the port somewhat north of Jerusalem. There was also a tension with the Muslims during the early part of the conflicts because European governors in power in parts of the Holy Land were taxing Saracen caravans and shipments. The reason Jerusalem makes no sense in this context is because I feel that many viewpoints here, however valid, are looking for one reason for the Crusades' socio/political/economic structure, when in fact there are aspects of all of them present. Religous reasons, trade and economic reasons, and political reasons. Kings from England would indeed travel all of the way South, because sometimes it meant higher placement within a social structure dominated by the Holy Roman Church, sometimes it was religious belief itself, sometimes it was for reasons of being less well placed in the social structure, and being pretty much at the whim of the Pope's religious and economic sanctions. At the time, if the Church power structure made you an outcast, for whatever reason, you were pretty much screwed. Another good example of the patchworked whole cloth is the Knights Templars. Holy Men, the world's first branch bankers(you could say, deposit gold in a Temple in England, then they would give you a note...then you could travel wihout fear of theft or robbery to Italy, go to another Temple, and turn the note in for the same amount of money from that Temple), power-mongers in Outremer(as the Holy Land was called), who could influence who might be granted nobility there, and so on. Nobility is another example. A low-born person who would have no chance at power or money in Europe could go to the Holy Land, and if he played his cards right, could end up with a title and prestige he never could have achieved otherwise. A direct example of this is Guy de Lusignan, a French nobody noble, who through various alliances in Outremer, and a tryst ending in marriage to the sister of a former King of Jerusalem, took the title of King for himself.
Without getting too far into it, and bringing it back to a common ground, the reasons for the Crusades, religious, economic and otherwise have a good fictional parallel in the books that these forums are about. In the history of the Crusades, you have figures like Proyas, Holy Men, you have figures like Xerius and Conphas, using the situation to their own benefit, you have figures like Maithanet in real personages such as the various Popes, etc., and you have the common people, the soldiers, the monks, various factions like the Scarlet Spires, the Knights Shrial, etc., all with their own parallel or completely different agendas. As in any world event like this, it is the best proof of how tangled and important this period of time was, and to get back to the original question, in many important ways, (not in ALL ways, let me make that clear), this is what's going on today with the War in Iraq. History is never dead in some ways, and it will always be how we got where we are now, whether it's recent, or what we sometimes mistakenly call ancient. Okay, so sorry for the late reply, but there it is. Take Care, everyone, this posting stuff is certainly a lot of fun, and there are some sharp people here. view post


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