“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Big Media Poll finds Iraqis pessimistic. Construction Industry did not get memo.

Pessimism 'growing among Iraqis'

Iraqis have become less optimistic about their future, the poll suggests
A new survey paints a pessimistic picture of Iraqis' confidence in their own government and in coalition forces.
Only 18% of Iraqis have confidence in US and coalition troops, while opinion is almost evenly split on whether to have confidence in Iraq's government.

About 86% of those questioned expressed concern about someone in their household being a victim of violence.

More than 2,000 people were polled, which was commissioned by the BBC, ABC News, ARD German TV and USA Today.

The survey was conducted by D3 Systems.

The latest findings contrast strongly with the outlook among Iraqis in 2005, when respondents to a similar survey were generally hopeful about the future.

Asked whether they thought reconstruction efforts in Iraq had been effective, some 67% said they felt they had not.

Religious divide

The poll paints a picture of an increasingly polarised Iraq, with acutely diverging views between Sunnis and Shias - Sunnis appearing more pessimistic.

Pessimism is most keenly felt across central Iraq, including Baghdad, where Sunnis are most numerous.

Religious differences are particularly displayed in attitudes towards the execution of Saddam Hussein.

Sunnis questioned largely regarded the manner of the former Iraqi leader's death as inappropriate and unlikely to help the cause of reconciliation; Shias predominantly took the opposite view.

No one however wanted Iraq divided along sectarian lines.

But look at this. Some private capitalists see something different.

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  1. Geeze,
    I used to think I was taking a risk when the Union Guys were shootin the windows out of our (non-union) houses.
    But then...
    I'm OLD.

  2. Are any of you AWARE,
    of how SENSITIVE,
    The nerves are in Your Neck?

  3. (then you bleed alot,
    but what the hey.)

    I was raised on Nitrocellulose Fumes,...
    (Model Airplanes)
    Must be a habit.
    ...then we added Nitro to Rufus's PURE ethanol.
    Smelled Great.


  6. I do think we are addicted to Hydrocarbons...

  7. Casualty of the War
    By Ayub Nuri
    Monday, March 19, 2007; Page A15 WaPo

    "A few weeks before the war in Iraq began in 2003, I was overtaken by fear. I did not fear the war but that George W. Bush might change his mind about overthrowing the Iraqi regime. I was sad to see antiwar protesters in the streets of Washington and London. "What do they know of our sufferings?" I said.

    As an Iraqi, I had lived my life under bombardment. Conflict cost me my family and my childhood: I lost my grandmother and my right knee to rocket shrapnel when I was 4. But I saw salvation in this war.

    Bush's 48-hour deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave the country ended my fears. It meant war was imminent. I was staying at a house just two miles from one of the front lines when I woke one morning to find that the trigger had been pulled during the night.

    During previous wars, I had hidden in basements with my family, but I would witness this conflict as a journalist. I entered cities as they fell. I saw hungry and barefooted Iraqi soldiers walking on roadsides. They had thrown away their weapons and uniforms. In Kirkuk, people were dancing in the streets, waving banners that read "Thanks, Mr. Bush." I saw tears of joy in their eyes.

    In Tikrit, Hussein's hometown, the emotions were different. I saw several young men at the city gates. They were angry and resentful of the Americans. "Saddam is still our leader," they said. They vowed to take up arms quickly and fight the Americans.

    When I first saw American troops in Tikrit, I was amazed at how well equipped they were. Their guns, their tidy uniforms and their tanks spoke of a powerful army. Only a few days earlier, I had given a pair of sandals to a barefoot Iraqi soldier who had deserted his camp under heavy bombardment. When I saw the American soldiers, I realized that there was no comparison between these two forces.

    I walked to the palaces by the side of the Tigris River, and I was stunned by the expensive marble and furniture. It was hard to say if this was a dream or reality. I could never have imagined that I would see the inside of one of Hussein's palaces. In one room, I picked up two of his ashtrays as souvenirs, but a young American soldier at the gate wouldn't let me pass through with them. Then he used an expression I had never heard before: "See no evil, speak no evil." He pointed to another gate a few feet behind him, through which I got away with my ashtrays.

    I arrived in Baghdad late one evening. It was dark, and the streets were empty. None of the street lamps were working, and there were no signs of life. It was depressing to set foot in Baghdad for the first time and find it a ghost town.

    From there I went to Hilla, a city south of Baghdad. I saw hundreds of men and women digging up the mass graves where their loved ones had for years been buried by Hussein's regime. It was a sorrowful reunion with all the bones. But the people smiled because the regime that dug the graves was no more.

    Everyone had a story to tell. Some were happy, others angry. But most had this in common: They all had hope for a better life in post-Saddam Iraq. Like me, they thought it would be the last of all wars.

    But slowly that hope disappeared. Militia groups roamed the streets, kidnapping became prevalent, and safety was lost.

    Three-and-a-half years later, I took the same trip I took at the start of the war.

    I found the people who danced in the streets of Kirkuk disappointed and skeptical about the future of their city. Near Hussein's hometown, angry people had kept their vows and become insurgents. In Baghdad, the streets were as lifeless as they were those first days. In Hilla, the smiles disappeared as car bombs created new mass graves.

    The war has united Iraqis in their disappointment. I ask myself if our expectations were too high. It is hard to answer. But I look back and realize that the fears that I had four years ago were misplaced: If Bush had changed his mind about the war, things might be better now."

    -The writer is a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

  8. "But the people smiled because the regime that dug the graves was no more.

    Everyone had a story to tell. Some were happy, others angry. But most had this in common: They all had hope for a better life in post-Saddam Iraq. Like me, they thought it would be the last of all wars.
    And all we had to do was rubble Tikrit, finish the job in Falujah, and get on with the program.
    But bush had to kiss Powell's ass, let Bremmer waste a year while the insurgency grew, then throw away his balls.
    ...and Trish says it all HAD TO BE THIS WAY.
    With no MEN in charge,
    she's right.

  9. ...and Condi is worse than Powell!

  10. (but she plays a mean piano)

  11. Who would be "behind the curve" concerning the future of Iraq, the man on the Iraqi street or the foreign businessman from the US or Europe?

    How many foreigners have been "taken" on expatriot investment schemes around the World? Investments made for which there never were returns.

    Many New Yorkers were heavily invested in Havana, in 1960, the financial returns dried up. But not the optimism for the quick return of their expropriated property. Seems that some 45 years later, many are atill waiting.

  12. Iraqi MPs that live outside the country, that is not a healthy sign. Nor are refugees, both internal and external.

    People are reported heading back to their homes in Basra, but the report was quite thin on facts, while thick on perception. Are the returnees back from foreign lands, or just their cousins compound in the next village? No one says. It would make a difference.

    In Anbar and Diyala there are no reports of refugees returning. Just more on the run.
    More bombs, less reconciliation.

  13. Doug: ...and Trish says it all HAD TO BE THIS WAY. With no MEN in charge, she's right.

    Top 5 things that would happen if Xena was in charge:

    5. The Democratic Party would have a hard time digging up dirty laundry on her because she only has one change of clothes.

    4. Pledge of Allegience would be shortened to simply "Hail Xena!"

    3. Unacceptable bills would be returned to Congress with Chakram-shaped gashes in them.

    2. She would cause accidents while jogging on Pennsylvania Ave. in shorts.

    1. Bill Clinton would be caught trying to sneak *IN* to the White House at night.

  14. Slightly more than half of Iraqis — 51 percent — now say that violence against U.S. forces is acceptable — up from 17 percent who felt that way in early 2004. More than nine in 10 Sunni Arabs in Iraq now feel this way.

    _While 63 percent said they felt very safe in their neighborhoods in late 2005, only 26 percent feel that way now.

    The major cause for this sharp reversal in Iraqi attitudes is the continuing violence — bombings, attacks by roving gunmen and kidnappings — that has overwhelmed the country since the U.S. invasion four years ago this week.

    No Security for the "little people", it's come back to bite US in the ass.

    Saddam ran the country with a 1:40 ratio of Security to people in Basra, the Brits ran 1:370.
    The US is operating at 1:166 in Iraq, today. In Kosovo, NATO runs 1:50, no wonder Iraq is in anarchy.

  15. If Xena was clothed and no one else was, I'd have little interest in her, especially if she was running away, but Gabriel, she'd be bent over the table.

  16. rufus: Fuck the Iraqis. This Never Was about Them, anyway.

    Oh really, so when they sold you the war what did you buy it for? Getting rid of the WMDs? Taking control of their oil fields? More US bases in yet another country?

  17. Rufus: The sanctions were breaking down, and Saddam, and his killer spawn, were going to be incredibly rich and dangerous

    There you go. I supported the war as simply the wrapping up of Gulf War I. I didn't see them as two different conflicts. After Desert Storm we resorted to "no fly zones" and as long as Saddam sat there, it was only a matter of time before he shot down a US or UK plane and had a hostage to torture on television. So now Saddam and his two spermazoid sons are gone, so let's pack it in and go home.