Sunday, November 04, 2007

Poland out of Iraq by autumn next year


Prime minister-in-waiting, Donald Tusk, has said that Polish troops - a thousand or so have been part of the what the hell-are-we-doing-there-anyway-coalition of the increasingly no- so-willing – will be out of the war-torn carnage in around nine months time.

A Polish Humvee ran into a landmine in Iraq, Friday morning, killing 31 year old Andrzej Filipek. He is the 28th Pole to die there. In a poll taken by CBOS this week, 81 percent are against the nation’s involvement.

It was interesting to see how the Iraq war crept its way into the election campaign last month. For much of the time since the war began, anti-Iraq war sentiment was left to the political extremes of the Roman Giertych, Andrzej Lepper, Radio Maryja and the New Left (dogs on pieces of string optional) alliance.

Tusk supported the war back when it started. It’s only recently he has taken up the peace mantle. In the election debate just before polling day with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, he questioned the purpose of continuing Poland’s presence in Iraq.

So will the Americans be upset by Tusk’s announcement? I doubt it. The Kaczynski government has put off getting the troops out a couple of times, now, and was leaving its options open to get out as soon as he could. So he might well have tried for a withdrawal next year, too.

And anyway – getting out of Iraq means they have all the more troops to get bogged down in the latest mess in Afghanistan.

Pro-US, or anti-Russian?

But Tusk is being a little more cautious on sounding too enthusiastic about being too subservient to United States defense policy. While the Kaczynski government seemed quite eager to accept the anti-missile shield on Polish soil, Tusk – in line with public opinion – says that he must be sure that Poland’s receives greater security from the base, and not less.

Kaczynski has also being saying that Europe is generally pro-European now, pointing to the new German and French governments as proof.

But he knows that the general public in France, Germany and Poland are a little more wary and distrusting of US policy. So why is he so enthusiastic for the ‘war of terror’ project?

Maybe it’s to do with Russia. The more a Pole fears Russia, the more enthusiastic he will how the protective arm of Washington. For Kaczynski, with Russia growing ever more economically powerful, the world is becoming bi-polar again, pro-Atlanticism is the only answer.

The rest of us aren’t so sure about the Good vs. Evil worldview.

What the new Polish government should be doing is asking itself some basic questions: as Pakistan looks set to become the latest state to be destabilized by the consequences of the reaction to 9/11 – the ‘war on terror’ – was a there a better way? Is the US’s defense policy part of the problem, not the solution? And is it worth getting involved in?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Pakistan destabilized by the reaction to 9/11"??????

Really, Bush Derangement Syndrome seems to cause its sufferers to be able to ascribe any ill, any time, anywhere, to George W. Bush. It even affects beetroots.

With the undeniable progress currently underway in Iraq, it is an odd reaction indeed to turn tail and run, just as success seems within reach.

geez said...

Success was achieved when Georgie proclaimed it on that aircraft carrier how many years ago? Mission accomplished! There's Bush Derangement Syndrome for you!

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Beatroot,
I must admit, given the historical imperialism of Russai and its attitude toward Poland as part of its empire, it strikes me as dead stoopid that some Poles wouldn't want the closest possible strategic aliance with America.

As for Pakistan being `destabilized' by the reaction to 9/11,please lets be honest..Pakistan has been an unstable country for years beforehand. Islamism and democracy don't mix well.

Sylwia said...

I must admit, given the historical imperialism of Russai and its attitude toward Poland as part of its empire, it strikes me as dead stoopid that some Poles wouldn't want the closest possible strategic aliance with America.

Perhaps it's not that stupid, but simply Poles are learning that wars aren't for freedom only for benefits.

We already were a most faithful ally that the US sold out without a wink, so now we know that they'll never help us out of loyalty. If they do it'll be because it'll be beneficial for the US at the particular moment, and it'll have nothing to do with our being in Iraq or not.

beatroot said...

Bush Derangement Syndrome

The whole region has been destabilized by the ‘war on terror’. You won’t find many commentators that think that it has no effect whatsoever on domestic Pakistani politics. The dictatorship has gone from supporting Taliban - (as they were against historical enemies among some of the ‘northern alliance’ which Islamabad didn’t like because of the chaos they caused after the Soviets pulled out – to supporting Washington. This has led to increased instability in the border region, with more and more tribes supporting Islamo nutters there. Some of the army is now going over to them.

With the undeniable progress currently underway in Iraq,

I imagine you are talking about ‘the surge’. Well, it certainly has led to less American casualties...but how much progress for Iraqis remains to be seen. In fact, the growth in forces opposed to the American hegemony has grown vastly since the invasion, and I honestly think that objectively the whole thing was against US interests, let alone Iraqi or the regions interests. Again, it has destablized the whole region. Iran’s power has grown, Syria is having to cope with hundreds of thousands of refugees, Saudis are in a panic etc etc ...

geez said...

BR: Iran’s power has grown, Syria is having to cope with hundreds of thousands of refugees, Saudis are in a panic etc etc ...

But we got our oil so mission accomplished!

Anonymous said...

We already were a most faithful ally that the US sold out without a wink, so now we know that they'll never help us out of loyalty.

Not quite sure what you're referring to here. Yalta? Control of Poland by the Red Army was a fait accompli, and nobody in their right mind would have started World War Three in order to eject the Russians in 1945. But without Ronald Reagan's and John Paul II's "warmongering" and destabiliztion of the Soviet empire in the 1980s, Poland would have been left in Communist stasis even today.

"Stability," that desirable condition described by the Beetroot, was the goal of the oh-so-sophisticated chattering classes in the 1980s, and is the goal of the same group in the 2000s. Only visionaries - like Reagan and yes, like George W. Bush - are willing to "destabilize" a bad situation in order to create a more free, more civil, and ultimately more peaceful world.

opamp said...

Yalta? Control of Poland by the Red Army was a fait accompli, and nobody in their right mind would have started World War Three in order to eject the Russians in 1945.

The Yalta order was in fact agreed at the Tehran conference back in 1943. Sort of changes the perspective, eh?

But without Ronald Reagan's and John Paul II's "warmongering" and destabiliztion of the Soviet empire in the 1980s,

The fun part is that Reagan did not care about Poland. He would have nuked us if he got the chance.

Only visionaries - like Reagan and yes, like George W. Bush - are willing to "destabilize" a bad situation in order to create a more free, more civil, and ultimately more peaceful world.

Bush has so far managed to destroy the only secular dictatorship in the region and replace it with a power void, which has been filled by radical islamist elements. I doubt if the resulting world is more free, civil, or peaceful.

beatroot said...

Geez, I think you are missing the point. The US invasion was not in its interests before the war and is not after the war. It really isn;t as simple as 'we got the oil'. This was a disasterous mistake, not a masterplan.

George W. Bush...'visionary'??!!. wait a minute while I go get the dictionary...

Anonymous said...

Yes, visionary. Whether you agree with the vision or not, the purpose of the invasion of Iraq was to be an aysymetrical response to the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East. To plant a democratic, free society right in the middle of the ocean of dictatorships in order to serve as an example of a third way beyond theocracy and dictatorship. No, it hasn't worked out as intended, not yet. But to ignore the fundamental purpose behind the exercise is to misunderstand how it is envisioned to end. To call it a failure would be like calling Solidarity as failure in 1984. The game was only half-way over.

By the way, opamp, for somebody who wants to look so knowledgeable about world affairs, there are plenty of secular dictatorships and strongarm regimes in the Muslim world other than Iraq under Saddam - Syria, Oman, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc... (And your stupidity in saying Reagan wanted to nuke Poland is an absurdity born of your prejudice, not an accurate statement or even an semi-accurate one.)

This democraticizing American response to the current crisis has been to encourage reform in all those countries as well. Again, whether it is working or not, the intent is there. If one foolishly claims that it was all about oil, Saddam showed he was quite willing to sell it quite cheaply to anybody who would buy from him.

beatroot said...

To plant a democratic, free society right in the middle of the ocean of dictatorships

Look, if he had any ‘vision’ he would have checked with history first. You cannot ‘plant’ democracy anywhere. It has to be won, not given.

Anonymous said...

Look, if he had any ‘vision’ he would have checked with history first. You cannot ‘plant’ democracy anywhere. It has to be won, not given.

Really? You might want to tell the Germans, the Japanese, and the Italians about this fact. And tell them to quickly get back to the "stable" model of dictatorship, pronto! ;-)

beatroot said...

Is that the model that you think Bush had when he had his 'vision'? Maybe it was, but as I don;t need to tell you, the European examples were ex-democracies in the first place. japanese example I will have to think about.

Freedom Fighter said...

Slwia, I'm not sure what you mean by the US selling out Poland.

In fact America liberated Poland twice...once by providing military aid to the Soviets and invading Normandy to open a second front,without which the Russians would not have won, ( ALTHOUGH I'll concede we didn't do it solely for the sake of the Poles..but then neither did the Russians, and attleast the US didn't enslave Poland) and secondly during the Cold War.

BTW, Roosevelt's primary aide and negotiator at Teheran and Yalta wqs Alger Hiss, a Soviet mole and agent.

Beetroot, as far as Iraq goes, you're correct..they weren't an imminent threat to us an dthere was no need to invade. The much demonized Donald Rumsfeld, in fact,
wanted a punitive strike to cripple Iraq's military capabilities rather than an invasion,( as Jed Babbin, among others have revealed) but Bush bought the Colin Powell/George Tenat vision of `Iraq the model'and then put Rumsfeld in charge of implementing it..with, toparaphrase Rumsfeld, the army we had at the time.

Anyone interested in finding out why we really invaded Iraq might enjoy the following,written before Petraeus :

J O S H U A P U N D I T: Between Iraq and a hard place - Why we went, how it got so screwed up and where it's going , Part 1

Regards,
ff

geez said...

Depends how you define the US, BR.

What's right for Texas oil (and defense) interests is good for the US. That's Bush's thinking. And that is how US foreign policy proceeds.

And hey, Anon, just coz some talkin' flunkies said the purpose of the invasion was to create an independent democratic state don't make it so. You wanna buy a bridge over Rozpuda?

And it ain't about buying oil cheap. It's about controlling it.

beatroot said...

In fact America liberated Poland twice...

Sorry, it isn’t a fact, at all (and your reason for believing there was a liberation by an invasion a thousand miles way is quite funny. So is the belief that the Soviets 'liberated' anyone. Funny.

Poles liberated themselves, obviously. So calm down. America simply isn’t responsible for everything, you know. But it is interesting that you look at oppressed people as victims, just waiting to be released by them brave boys. It’s that kind of mind set that contributed to Bush’s belief that Iraqis would be waving little stars and stripes in Baghdad high street as the tanks rolled passed. Any knowledge of Arabs would have told them that was never going to happen.

But the way a country is liberated is vital to what follows. A study of Solidarnosc will teach you that. And a study of Iraq will also be informative.

geez said...

The revelations of Jed Babbin?

This guy?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jed_Babbin

WTF would I believe anything he says about anything?

Rumsfeld was against the invasion, in favor of just a "punitive strike"? What nonsense!

Anonymous said...

geez, the fact that you would point to Wikipedia as a reputable source for information tells me everything I need to know about you.

Just keep getting your daily talking points from the Daily Kos, and blaming George W. Bush for causing everything you hate. Such one-track-mindedness is a comforting thing for fanatics.

geez said...

Wikipedia is useful enough if one uses it with discernment. The fact remains that you think Jed Babbin is a reliable source. The guy is looney bin material. And you dare label me a fanatic? BTW, what in the Wikipedia entry do you take issue with? Not that I care. I just like to keep nits like you off the street. Get a life, hey sneakerskin? And piss off.

Anonymous said...

The question is wrongly asked. Poland should not ask whether US policy is good or bad. We couldn't care less, because we cannot do much to change it or even influence it in slightest way. We can only ask whether this policy is good or bad for us. Sad but true.

peter said...

Yeah, I agree with Geez here about Wiki. It is just not good enough - as many do - to say'Ooo, wiki, so it must be shit..' without specifying WHICH part of the text is incorrect.

And Anon is right that foreign policy should be based on national interests. Question is: has the Iraq war and 'war on terrorism' in general, been in anyone's interest? I suspect not.

geez said...

, because the power elites maintain an effective political hegemony (the REAL political correctness coz it's all about whose in control). Yea, and that's old hat Gramsci, too.

The trick, I guess, is to find a way to challenge and overturn that hegemony. Not so easy.

geez said...

Now,blogger is cutting off the top of my commentary... I started out saying something to the effect:

BR, are you suggesting that the war in Iraq is not in the interests of the oil industry, the defense (sic) industry, the mercenary army industry? We all know the Bushes' and Cheney's and et. al.'s bizness connections.

The question should be who and what determines *national interest*. Is it the electorate? I don't think so because the ...

Sylwia said...

Slwia, I'm not sure what you mean by the US selling out Poland.

Something like this: Hey, uncle Joe, how about you win the war for us and we give you Poland instead?

In fact America liberated Poland twice...once by providing military aid to the Soviets

How one liberates a country by providing military aid to its enemy?

and invading Normandy to open a second front,

Poles fought in Normandy too, but how many Americans fought in Poland?

without which the Russians would not have won, ( ALTHOUGH I'll concede we didn't do it solely for the sake of the Poles.. but then neither did the Russians,

You didn’t do it for the sake of the Poles at all. What interest Poland had in being won over by the Russians?

and attleast the US didn't enslave Poland)

OK, so there’s a man that isn’t your property, but you still sell him to a planter. How do you call it? Slave trade?

and secondly during the Cold War.

So again, how many American soldiers came here during the Cold War?

But don’t worry, if some other country attacks you we’ll still come. :-)

However it’s one interesting point to stop at. Why the US fought against communism with money on printing press and radio, and now fights against terrorism with military aggression? Is it about freedom of the countries or about the Americans being there in person? If we had oil would we have the honour of making an American soldier’s acquaintance in 1945?

BTW, Roosevelt's primary aide and negotiator at Teheran and Yalta wqs Alger Hiss, a Soviet mole and agent.

Now, that’s rich. I wish sometimes we had a king. We could blame his valet for our mistakes.

So whose agent is Bush’s primary aide?

But I think the funnies thing is that the US believe that they alone liberated anyone. How about an alternative POV? How we didn't win the war . . . but the Russians did

You might esp. enjoy this paragraph:

After talking at Cambridge recently about the preponderance of the eastern front and the scale of the Red Army’s triumph, I was accosted by an angry young British historian. “Don’t you realise that we were pinning down 56 German divisions in France alone,” he said. “Without that the Red Army would have been heavily defeated.” What is less acknowledged is that without the Red Army pulverising 150 divisions, the allies would never have landed.

Cheers!

Sylwia

P.S. To add to the main theme. If I remember well at the beginning of the war about 60% of Poles were against, now it’s over 80%. I think the difference comes from disillusionment. That is there were some Poles who thought that the US needed help and so we should go. But the primary 60% (it’s quite a lot so likely many of them had no idea what the conflict was about) simply knew that wars mean killing civilians in thousands or even millions (and what about all the misplaced people?), and didn’t really want to see Poland as an aggressor. Because it’s rather clear, even to someone who doesn’t care about politics at all, that it’s not the US that are invaded but Iraq, and not the American civilians that need protection but the Iraqis that are being killed. So how many lives one pays for the American democracy?

Oh, and BTW Tusk’s anti-war-in-Iraq campaign is not so recent. The view was promoted by both PiS and PO two years ago.

beatroot said...

BR, are you suggesting that the war in Iraq is not in the interests of the oil industry,

I remember thinking, before the war started, with all the 'unknown, unknowns', to use Rumsfeldology, what kind of business plan the war would involved. If you took the invasion to oil companies and said, "Hey guys, got a great new way for you to make billions...all we have to do is invade and occupy a highly volotile nation, not knowing what would happen next..' Sheell, BP, etc would be interested, but sceptical. Many of them, if they had any brains, would ask: "But how do you know that this will increase our ability to access deposits, refinaries, etc? maybe it might act in reverse...war is not good for business, etc"

So, no, the war per se, was not in oil companies interests. Too many 'unknowns' and business does not like the unpredictable.

Sylwia - is that right about PO PiS...I do not remember anyone saying that they would be withdrawing two years ago. They made concerned noises about Iraq, but were not planning getting out. And when PiS got in power, of course, they were desperate not to upset washington. Tusk can say about withdrawel now because UK is getting out, and even Bush is planning cuts in troops numbers next year.

Not so brave Tusk.

Anonymous said...

The nonsense here about Iraq being because of business interests, the oil industry, the Army pressure, etc...

This crap sounds like something out of Trybuna Ludu, circa 1983.

geez said...

Anon, I assume you ain't writing from Iraq. If they're freedom is so important to you, get your ass over there right now boy!

geez said...

So, I'm so glad the oil companies just walked away from the opportunity because of the high risk involved. They're not in Iraq anymore, right?

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

No, of course not. But the invasion and war are not necessarily in their interests. The belief that it is 'all about oil' comes from a modern day conspiracy type mind set, which sees dark, all powerful controling everything. My point is that they DON"T control everything, and the war has weakened the US's interests in the region - and that includes, potentially BiG Oil.

geez said...

So you just see Bush, Cheney, and their oil companies, et. al. as being incapable of recognizing their own interests?

I don't see it as a big dark secretive conspiracy. I see it as businessmen openly protecting their immediate interests as they see them and then they get together with the politicos and PR us with blather about freedom and all that.

I don't think that businessmen look all that far into the future and I don't think they are all that smart. Are they shooting their companies in the foot in the long run? Yea but so what? The guys on top got theirs now.

Of course, oil is just part of the equation but it's still the biggest factor. If the oil was somewhere else, we'd be invading somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you also believe the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 because of the oil pipeline that Unocal wanted to build between Turkmenistan and Pakistan?

beatroot said...

So you just see Bush, Cheney, and their oil companies, et. al. as being incapable of recognizing their own interests?

Yup. That is exactly what I am saying. Gone are the days when the 'ruling classes' had a clear workdview. They are a very confused bunch who cannot and have not adapted to the new reality. Hence...a right bleedin mess.

geez said...

Sorry anon, no I don't believe that was the major reason. You're wrong because of your constant stereotyping, as usual. Hey why do you believe the US invaded Afghanistan? And if it was to get binny in the hills, why did W start with the bit about how he ain't that important?

BR, yea I spoze they are dumber than sin but they still define their own interests however wrongly. They are in the game for what they can get out of it for themselves in the here and now, not the hereafter. The new reality? Same as the old reality.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that was the major reason.

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

Ooops, sorry for the interruption, geez. That's the tin-foil hat magnetron detector going off. You know, it tells me when I need to put on my protection against the mind-control rays being broadcast from Halliburton corporate heaquarters.

Perhaps you'd like to next tell us about the "controlled demolition" of the World Trade Center by the Mossad and their neo-con lackeys in Washington? We're all waiting with baited breath for your erudite analysis.

beatroot said...

It's not about being 'dumber' than before. It's about a complete ideological disorientation, which tends to confuse what there interests are. So when they are presented with a situation like 9/11, instead of having a clear 'mission' - like they did in the old days of the Cold War, they start panicing and flapping around like a ....flappy thing.

michael farris said...

For your consideration:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n20/holt01_.html

I always hoped the Iraqi invasion was about oil because that at least that would be rational (if cynical and realpolitik taken to an inhuman extreme). None of the other reasons given by Bush or his supporters made any sense whatsoever.

For the record, the only other real reason I could imagine was pure, incoherent lingering rage at 911 and a desire to see brown muslims suffer. But those feelings, while still there seem to have been channelled into Guantanamo and various kinds of prisoner abuse (i.e. waterboarding).

geez said...

sneakerskin: Since you're incapable of making a coherent comment or even making the attempt to answer directly posed questions, adieu. Hopefully, you're on your way to Iraq. At least then you'll show me you have the courage of your convictions.

BR: Ruling class *flappy* consciousness? You've taken Lukacs to a new level,I guess, or stood him on his head.

geez said...

Good article Michael and it's conclusion seems to hit the nail squarely on the head. So maybe it's not a matter of flappy consciousness after all:

"The costs – a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) – are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success."

beatroot said...

No, sorry, that figure of revenue is based on all sorts of projections – about things that can not possibly be predicted. Nobody knows what will happen in Iraq in the next few years (or even months).

Take any number of scenarios. Just one. Shia – who have their hands now on most of the oil wealth (the other main area is Kurdish) feel emboldened by Iran sponsorship – which is happening already. Continued sanctions by US/UN make Iraq oil and general trade and revenue more important to Iran. US gets pissed off. Sunni – who have no access to oil at all – start civil war with Basra shia. All hell breaks loose. US Big Oil cannot gain real access to southern or northern Kurdish (look at what is happening in Turkey). Iran gets stronger still.

It all could happen, or not. But that is not a good situation for Big Oil, or the US (which already has been badly weakened).

Etc. There are too many unknowables.

Geez
You have name dropped, shamelessly, both Lukasc and Gransci in the last two posts!!!!

And yes, when I was a deep lefty these guys were two of my heroes (although from very different sides of the barricades). Lukasc, in a strange way, probably comes out best. Or not.

geez said...

Not shamelessly -- but I should have thrown a fervent mea culpa in there. And why didn't your Marxist spell check correct their names in your post? Don't tell me you completely disabled it?

michael farris said...

beat,

so you're saying that the most powerful country in the world is not acting out of venal self interest but simply behaving irrationally? (a less charitable version of flapping around).
Somehow I don't find that reassuring.

I take no view on what the 'real' reasons for the Iraq clusterfuck were. I honestly admit I haven't got the slighest idea.

I just somehow hope it's not motivated by ... insanity. As I wrote, invading a country to take over its natural resources makes sense in a nasty way, invading a country to remake it in your image or create a 'model' for a region is just ... bonkers. And thinking that the invasion could have benn motivated by a free floating sense of frustration and rage is ... terrifying, I really hope that wasn't the reason.