Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet

Rebuilding Iraq's Internet 876

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the other-side-of-war dept.
Anselm writes "According to this article at Wired.com, "The war has left Iraq's Internet infrastructure in shambles. Now, a British ISP hopes to fund the reconstruction through sales of domain names ending in .iq." While I have no use for an IQ domain, the article does make me wonder: Should geeks around the world take the lead in getting Iraq back online?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Rebuilding Iraq's Internet

Comments Filter:
  • Why don't we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:08PM (#5702974)
    Try and feed them first.
  • The problem is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KDan (90353) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:10PM (#5703003) Homepage
    There's only so many funny domains you can make that end in IQ, cause there's only so many pun sentences with IQ in them... And even if you multiply them all by $15 I doubt that's enough to make a difference to Iraq's internet infrastructure (it's a big country). Probably one single oil well will (literally) drown this tiny contribution - and they have many.

    Daniel
  • by TopShelf (92521) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:10PM (#5703006) Homepage Journal
    I think they could use safe water, power, infrastructure, etc. before www.cnn.iq!
  • Come one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joshuah (82679) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:11PM (#5703011)
    Boo freakady who. Iraq has so many other problems right now. Why dont geeks send MONEY, FOOD to local companies like CARE that help the people of Iraq. By providing food, 100% of the people can use it. how many iraq's have a computer much less have ever been online? Yeah, in a year or two from now, when people are feed and they are dying for disesases, then worry abou rebuilding the internet systems...
  • First things first (Score:5, Insightful)

    by igaborf (69869) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:13PM (#5703032)
    Should geeks around the world take the lead in getting Iraq back online?

    Yes, because, God knows, getting on the 'Net is every Iraqi's first priority at the moment.

  • by cmburns69 (169686) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:13PM (#5703037) Homepage Journal
    How does this help the Iraqi people? All this does is give the rest of the world more domain space, while not giving Iraq the full value of their "property".

    Why couldn't it be an Iraqi company that sells the domains? This would allow the country to keep all of the proceeds, instead of only getting some of the value.

    I'm not against the UK, the US, France or anybody, but I think this might be one area where this company is being opportunistic.

    An online Starcraft RPG? Only at [netnexus.com]
    In soviet Russia, all your us are belong to base!
  • Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LowneWulf (210110) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:16PM (#5703086)
    Doesn't rebuilding the Internet in Iraq require other critical resources first?

    You know.... like ELECTRICITY?

    Seriously, this is pathetic! Basically some company trying to profit off selling country code domain names to sites not in the country, while there's still too much chaos for anyone inside the country to take notice!
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:17PM (#5703102)
    I most especially love how a British firm is looking to auction off Iraqi web addresses to British and American firms. Apparently anything and everything the Iraqi's have is open to being sold off by the US and UK and is now justified as payment for their liberation.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Carbonite (183181) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:18PM (#5703105)
    I find it rather sad that an AC has one of the few serious comments. Buying "somethinginane.iq" isn't going to help Iraq. The coalition ensuring that food shipments reach the people will help Iraq. Much of the food that was sent as part of the "Food for Oil" program ended up spoiling in warehouses guarded by Iraqi goons.
  • Right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:19PM (#5703125) Homepage
    The war has left Iraq's Internet infrastructure in shambles

    Because it was so absolutely fantastic even before the first cruise missile was launched at Baghdad.

    Typical leftie FUD.

    Just like Afghanistan, except that over there at least they managed to dig out their C64's and connect over a 2400 baud modem and email Katz with alacrity.

    In any case, I'm sure Iraq has bigger problems right now, like, oh, food and water.

  • by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:22PM (#5703146) Homepage Journal
    Should geeks around the world take the lead in getting Iraq back online

    Before Gulf war 1 Iraq wasn't that badly off. 2 episodes of having the stuffing knocked out of them by the USA, with a decade of brutal sanctions in-between have reduced them to poverty. I'd say that the USA owes the ordinary people of Iraq big time.

    Is food, water, electricity, abcense of falling bombs and no armed bandits or looters more important? Well duh. But if and when you get past rebuilding those, the Internet is a marvelous communications mechanism. Communications aid free speech and democracy, or so I'm told.
  • knowledge is power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by e2d2 (115622) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:22PM (#5703147)
    No one said they should spend the money they receive for food and health instead on Internet access. They simply want to build the Internet infrastructure in Iraq into something that can be used by the masses. I would say freedom of information coincides quite nicely with the coalitions effort to build Iraq into a land free people. Pulling these people out of the knowldege embargo imposed by Saddam Hussein and his regime will help freedom survive in an area of the world that is known for it's denial of free information to citizens. Knowledge _IS_ power. When Iraqi citizens can get equal acess to information they can see other side of the coin, instead of the state controlled side only. Why do you think so many totalitarian governments want to control the Internet access to their countries (CHINA)? So it does coincide with the freedom initiative quite well.

    Besides you have to start the plans now to rebuild if you want to get it done later. This type of rebuilding is going to last a lifetime and take a tremendous amount of planning and effort.

  • by JoeBuck (7947) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:22PM (#5703148) Homepage

    If people in the US and the UK value their lives, they will resist the impulse to try to turn Iraq into a colony that is run for corporate profit. (And yes, that's what this is, even though these guys are masquerading as a charity: they intend to take a cut from selling the "high.iq" domain). Iraq's domain namespace belongs to the Iraqi people, not to a clever British IT consultancy. Similarly, the decision as to whether to deploy GSM or CDMA belongs to the future Iraqi government, not to a congressman in the pocket of Qualcomm [internetnews.com]. Next, we'll see a bunch of Midwestern farmers clamor to get the government to buy up their grain and dump it on Iraq, thereby setting back efforts to rebuild Iraqi agriculture (which employs far more Iraqis than the oil industry does).

    We're now at a tipping point: we can either insist that Iraq be run in the interest of Iraqis, or we can allow it to be taken over by a bunch of cronies and lobbyists. If the latter happens, we'll generate so much hate that it will be unsafe for Americans and Brits to travel abroad.

  • The .iq TLD.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by molo (94384) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:23PM (#5703170) Journal
    The .iq TLD should belong to the people of Iraq. They should have the final say as to who gets access to it. Selling it off like .tv and .cx today would basicly mean that this ISP is taking advantage of these people because their government is in shambles. Shame on them.

    -molo
  • Let them do it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gclef (96311) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:23PM (#5703171)
    Why should "geeks around the world" take the lead on this? Why shouldn't we let the Iraqis do this? Granted, the present owner is having issues...one of the technical contacts for .iq is presently being held by the feds for contact with Hamas, but I really think that this would be better handled by the Iraqis themselves.
    If they want help, we should absolutely offer it, but I don't like the implied statement of "Let's take this thing of the Iraqis, make something that we think is cool out of it, and then claim we're helping them with it."
  • Re:Come one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xerithane (13482) <[gro.mrafdren] [ta] [enahtirex]> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:26PM (#5703201) Homepage Journal
    Boo freakady who. Iraq has so many other problems right now. Why dont geeks send MONEY, FOOD to local companies like CARE that help the people of Iraq. By providing food, 100% of the people can use it. how many iraq's have a computer much less have ever been online? Yeah, in a year or two from now, when people are feed and they are dying for disesases, then worry abou rebuilding the internet systems...

    I'm sorry, but an ISP is not geared towards providing humanitarian aid. They are geared towards providing internet access. Is it a priority? Not really. Is it something for them to expand their market capital? Yup. Is it still a good thing? Yup.

    They are a business, that is doing business things, in a business world, to enhance their business. This is like getting upset that Microsoft is not going to send all of their resources and money for food and aid.

    Businesses make money. That's what they do. In fact, it's almost the very definition of "business." All the threads saying that it's not a priority, you are right. This isn't about a priority. This is about a business venture.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by renehollan (138013) <rhollan&clearwire,net> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:29PM (#5703230) Homepage Journal
    Yes.

    While I struggled for a while trying to decide whether collateral damage would be offset by the yet-to-materialize "better life", it occured to me that, as bad as death by "oops we missed" is pretty tragic, it is nowhere near as bad as, what I call in a dictatorial regime, "death by status quo".

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by broter (72865) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:29PM (#5703233) Homepage Journal
    We already tried that. It resulted in an attempted invasion of Kuwait, and the eventual (supposed) death of their president/dictator.

    Hmmmm.... Yes, I see the bug right here. If we just pass in the food PCs and cars with out the associated weapons, dual purpose items, and CIA intel, then it should run much better.

    Kinda like upgrading your server from Windows 3.1 to Windows NT 1.0 SP1

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kableh (155146) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:29PM (#5703236) Homepage
    It also wouldnt hurt to FUND THEM, something we've forgotten about in Afghanistan.
  • by aengblom (123492) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:32PM (#5703266) Homepage
    FOOD/ELECTRICITY FIRST!

    Well, duh. But Iraq is no third or fourth world country. This is a fairly rich country with a pretty educated work force. Do they need Internet first? No, but will internet infastructure improve life? YES.

    Internet access is very much like phone lines. It's not just for leisure anymore-it moves information REALLY efficiently.

    Anyone who suggests otherwise should get their heads out of the 90s.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bingo Foo (179380) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:32PM (#5703272)
    Why don't you examine your Maslow's hierarchy for a minute to see that it doesn't jibe with history or human nature.

    People would rather communicate ideas freely than eat three square meals a day. This is true from the streets of Mosul to your Mountain Dew fueled 36-hour LAN parties.

    The food will come, but don't discount the importance of providing channels for truly free (as in libre) communication. Liberty is not a luxury to be had on top of material subsistence, it is the foundation that allows people to make their own subsistence.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cloud 9 (42467) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:33PM (#5703281) Homepage Journal
    Let me give you a scenario. Your village has been bombed, your house is destroyed, you've lost 2 sons and a leg from the war, and your fields have been razed.

    Which would you rather have RIGHT NOW, food or kazaa?

    I don't argue that rebuilding their communications infrastructure is a fantastic idea, LATER. Right now, it's probably more important that people don't starve waiting for it.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ponty (15710) <`awc2' `at' `buyclamsonline.com'> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:33PM (#5703285) Homepage
    It's sickening! How does this help Iraq? It helps a British ISP make money/name on products enjoyed by other Western customers.

    Rebuilding Iraq's Internet? How about exploiting something that nobody else has exploited yet.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iabervon (1971) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:34PM (#5703298) Homepage Journal
    Network infrastructure will help in keeping track of where the people who need food are and where the food they need is. It's not like you can walk up to the Iraqi border and drop the food there. Getting the food together is actually the easy part; the hard part is getting each individual's food to them, which is an huge problem in routing.

    For that matter, the Iraqi food supply is holding up reasonably well, because people stored enough food. The problems are medicine and clean water, and also the safety of aid workers. The water issues have to do with repairing and running the treatment plants. All of these needs require getting the right parts, medicines, and people to the right places, and tracking the changing situations.
  • by Phoenix (2762) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:35PM (#5703303)
    I'm quite sure that people are aware of the fact that damn near all of the Iraqi infrastructure is pretty well hosed.

    We're not that dumb.

    Instead of pissing and moaning about a company that seems to be acting like vultures circling over roadkill, perhaps consider the possibility that they might be looking into the long term?

    Yes the Iraqi people need food and water, that's a given. Yes they need stable power before the 'net can be rebuilt (that qualifies as a "no shit Sherlock"). But these are short term goals. If you want stability in the area you need to build (or in this case help build) a stable government and you need an economic foundation.

    It's a wonderful thing that SoDamn Insane is either dead or so far in hiding that they have to import sunlight. It's the greatest thing in the Iraqi world since sliced bread that the regime is falling down under the "Rolling Victory" of the US/UK troops. It's a blessed thing that food, water and other humanitarian aid is starting to trickle in as areas get cleared out.

    But without some way to build an economy, then it's all for naught. The Iraqi love us now. If we left them as a bombed out huck of a country then the attitude would change, they would hate us and we would probally end up once again with another warlord like Saddam and more terrorist acts against us.

    Frankly I'd like to think that by helping them re-build and to become a player in the global economy (for which the internet is a damn handy tool), then the goodwill for the US/UK will grow and we'll have another ally in the middle east.

    Or did you think that we'd just go over there, blow a whole lot of shit up for fun and oil profits then bugger back home in time for the summer trips to Disney World?

    Phoenix
  • by Joey7F (307495) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:36PM (#5703316) Homepage Journal
    Let's not forget that Iraq is not Afghanistan. It is a "modern" country that had a scumbag for a leader.

    --Joey

    I am using modern in the context of the Middle East, it is not modern by Western European or American standards.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by broter (72865) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:37PM (#5703334) Homepage Journal
    Which would you rather have RIGHT NOW, food or kazaa?

    Ummm...That wasn't my point.

    1) I was joking.

    2) The people who can rebuild the communication infrastructure probably have not experience in food and water distribution (a nont trivial problem).

    3) Neither are going on now dispite the need for both, so your point is moot.
  • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:42PM (#5703370)
    I mean, really.

    First of all, the war is not over. Yet.

    Second, what the hell kind of question is Should geeks around the world take the lead in getting Iraq back online? "Take the lead"? Yeah, let's all go to Home Depot and pick up spools of cat5e cable and get on one of those "human shield" buses that aren't needed [capmag.com] any longer and get to stringing. Not only are there many other priorities as others have pointed out but more likely than not you're calling on people that don't do volunteer work in their own communities to do some unspecified good deeds far far away.

    You don't need to ask slashdot if there are things to be done. If you want to help, then help, but you're asking the wrong people. You need to ask the Iraqis what they want and need (see above link on human shields). Perhaps you can contact the Iraqi Forum for Democracy [iraqifd.org] or take a look at iraqipages.com [iraqipages.com] for other contacts. If you are of a mind to do good works, help in your local community [pointsoflight.org], which probably needs it since international attention is not focused on it and there are no lucrative contracts to be had.

    I'm not knocking your willingness to help. I think it's great. I think posting here is barking up the wrong tree though. Perhaps you can find out what really needs to be done and make a page for others to visit and contribute what they can.
  • Obviously... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:42PM (#5703378)
    The true needs of the Iraqi people, like food and water, are what's most important right now. But things like Internet cafes seems like something we should be pushing for. The more that anybody knows about how the rest of the world works, the less likely it is that they will want to destroy it.

    If Iraqi's knew, for example, how peaceful life is in America, even for people like them, perhaps the few who hate us would be more likely to want to bring the same peace to Iraq, rather than deprive us of it.
  • by Skreech (131543) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:43PM (#5703387)
    While your statement is dramatic, it's also illogical. Of course there are people working on these important utilities. But in order to get things done as quickly as possible, many people are working on as many things as possible. Food, water, and electricity are not going to be "forgotten." I'm sure that the work going into getting the internet infrastructure back up in Iraq isn't work that has been taken away from getting other necessary utilities running. Those engineers would probably be twiddling their thumbs otherwise.

    Besides, the Internet is very useful in this case. Consider it the information utility. Very important for a (re)developing country.
  • by forgetmenot (467513) <atsjewell@NospAm.onebox.com> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:43PM (#5703391) Homepage
    I don't understand the sentiment of posters who complain that this is a dumb idea because they need help with food/water first, etc... blah.

    The best way to help the Iraqi's is to contribute whatever you can the best you can. If you're a skilled IT professional who can donate time to help rebuild their IT infrastructure.. GREAT! Why should anybody be complaining about that?

    Sure they need food. But there are PLENTY of agencies that can help with that and if you can donate some money to that cause, wonderful. It shouldn't stop you from contributing your niche knowledge too.

    When it comes to hands on skill I'll bet the vast majority of the /. readers wouldn't be able to physically help deliver meal packets or dig wells (ay least not as ably as the Red Cross or United Way could), so why not do something else that you CAN do?

    As a community the readership does have a skill in a particular industry and to suggest that the Iraqis won't need that kind of help because of other problems is nonsense. The sooner everyone does what they can according to their abilities the sooner we'll all be better off.

  • damn people! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ender Ryan (79406) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:44PM (#5703400) Journal
    Why is it that every other post is some self-righteous tirade about how Iraq has so many other problems right now that people shouldn't be concerned about things like this.

    Sure, they need food and safe water first, but there is a future in Iraq that people can think and talk about. There's already huge aid packages being put together.

    Iraq needs an economy in order to become self-sufficient. Things like this ARE going to be important. Let's try to make Iraq into a prosperous country.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai.gmail@com> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:54PM (#5703494) Homepage
    Agreed on A and B. If you're trying to say that Internet is more likely to put food on Iraqis tables than lack of Internet, I'm really not so sure. It would certainly feed the people who work for Internet companies.

    D depends on how much control the future government will have over Internet. It could be free like Canada or highly restricted like China.

    Go ahead and post my root password. :)
  • Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by harriet nyborg (656409) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:56PM (#5703510)
    and then let them build it themselves.

    the iraqis are intelligent, educated, and there are 4 million expatriates living in the UK, US, and throughout europe.

    and they're sitting on the world's second largest reserves of oil.

    all they've been lacking is a little good government and that seems about to change.

    if they can govern themselves, they can feed themselves, and build their own infrastructure.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:59PM (#5703539)
    Let me give you a scenerio. Your sons have been murdered, you have been tortured and you're missing a leg for speaking against your dictator, your wive's life has been threatened, your country's food, medicine, economy and everything else has been ransacked and obliterated by a violent dictator. You have no freedom. You have no savings. You have no future. You're forced to vote for someone under penalty of death. You're a hostage in your own country.

    Which would you rather have right now. That under Hussein? Or a shot at freedom and self-rule with a little assistance from America, Australia, Spain and Britain?

    As far as the internet infrastructure... I think that's a little premature. That's like kicking the mob-rule out of Afghanistan and then debating what fashion designers to bring in to help the women with their new look (ie, they don't need it - they still wear burkas).
  • by Gray (5042) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:03PM (#5703591)
    Just last night I was listening to the shopping list of problems at Baghdad hospitals right now and thought to myself "well, I'm no help with that, but if they've got IT problems, I'd go help."

    I realize there are far bigger issues in the conflict, and the world; but as another poster said, I'm a lot better at fixing technology then at fixing people or giving away food.

    I'm not sure if there really is a requirement for an IT Peace Corp, but it's a nice idea. Post-war nerd squad to setup communications infrastructure. Internet, TV, radio, cell phones, we can do all that stuff.

    Geeks Without Borders. Attractive idea.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:05PM (#5703616)
    "Why don't we...Try and feed them first."

    There's a massive effort underway to get them fed already. The problem is that food and water are not the only things they need. They also need access to information. They've spent the last several years watching Iraqi gov't controlled TV. Wouldn't it be a nice break for them to have access to Al Jazeera, CNN, and other views of the news world?

    I guess my point is that you can't just focus on one detail. The rebuilding of Iraq needs work on multiple fronts. One of them is to make sure the people don't fall under an opporesive regime again. It's a lot harder to do that if the information they recieve cannot be controlled.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iguanaphobic (31670) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:07PM (#5703641)
    As far as the internet infrastructure... I think that's a little premature. That's like kicking the mob-rule out of Afghanistan and then debating what fashion designers to bring in to help the women with their new look

    Even [bbc.co.uk] the Afghani's have stopped hoping for U.S. assistance in rebuilding. Read the entire article and tell me how many references to the U.S. reconstruction efforts there are. Not like the promises [state.gov] weren't made. It may be different in Iraq though. They have oil.

  • by jefu (53450) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:07PM (#5703643) Homepage Journal
    Clearly things like food, water, medical support, electricity need to be the top priority.

    But I'd say that access to information and freedom of speech/press are also essential parts of a healthy democratic society - and I'd even suggest that the lack of such is usually a major factor in the survival of totalitarian regimes. It is not coincidence that early symptoms of a government in the process of becoming fascist include restrictions on what people can say and to whom, the construction of an information monitoring infrastructure to spy on what people are thinking, and increasing numbers of things (rules, groups and the like) which are maintained as secrets.

    Selling ".iq" domain names though is just a transparent way for some company with no other products worth selling to make a quick buck or three.

    Somehow though, seeing things like the Patriot Act and Patriot II, I doubt that the current administration has any more interest in supporting free speech in Iraq than they do in the US.

    <personal-odd-note>
    I suggested rather a while back that it might be an interesting alternative to war to find an effective way to increase free speech in Iraq (and Afghanistan) by building and distributing simple/cheap internet access devices along with a robust network and sufficient encryption to foil attempts by the totalitarian governments to block/intercept communications. Undoubtedly a completely crazy notion. But I look at what must be done to produce and maintain a stable democratic government and believe that education and freedom of speech are surely essentials. So I wonder if its probably not more effective to try to make a totalitarian regime difficult to maintain (or to build) than to need to destroy it afterwards. (Isn't it generally cheaper to provide vaccinations than to have to cure a disease?)
    </personal-odd-note>

  • by minaguib (591953) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:07PM (#5703644) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure if you were being sarcastic or not. But, YES. The US acted on the will of its people through their represented officials. It is the people who drilled themselves into this dillema; they financed an unneeded war out of their own pockets causing an astounding debt to accumulate. Surely they would have anticipated that Iraq will need money once the war is over and have taken that into account! The responsibility for re-building Iraq to a state equal to, or better than it's previous state is the sole responsibility of the United States and it's allies that joined the war. Everyone who had nothing-to-do-with it has already absolved themselves of both the guilt associated with the unneeded deaths, the financial requirements of war, and responsibility of the betterment of that country's future. It's simple common sense and fairness.
  • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:09PM (#5703656) Homepage
    ... in an area where children die from drinking water from the local river. Get the "life support" infrastructure back to "up and running" state, then think about getting the internet up.

    Because, you know, the most efficient way for water engineers, doctors, and all the other people who make "life support" infrastructure work involves communication via messengers in jeeps. Get real! There are massive challenges facing the people trying to rebuild that infrastructure, and they're going to need access to information and expertise from outside of their local area. Setting up an improved telecommunications infrastructure could help get those water treatment plants, hospitals, etc up and running again faster than would otherwise be possible.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iguanaphobic (31670) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:12PM (#5703690)
    Let me give you a scenario:

    You wake up in hospital with no arms, your entire family is dead and the guys who did it are playing Pinochle at an air base in Britain.

    You think you might be a wee bit pissed off?

    Or a shot at freedom and self-rule with a little assistance from America, Australia, Spain and Britain?

    Why would you care. You have no arms and everyone you loved is dead. I guess you could thank your lucky stars that they didn't use a GBU-31 to do it. Then you'd just be pink mist. Or maybe that would have been a blessing.

  • Re:yes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by N3WBI3 (595976) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:19PM (#5703750) Homepage
    Dont forget the civilian clothing patch..
  • by Iguanaphobic (31670) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:24PM (#5703798)
    If it wasn't for your low UID#, I'd say: Are you new here?

    Never criticize the moderators. They have, well, mod points.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by broter (72865) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:32PM (#5703868) Homepage Journal
    But those aren't the people who need the help.

    I disagree. From what I've heard (not much different from what many others have), every Iraqi will need aid. The restructuring of the government will likely disrupt much of the basic services that are required to live. In the short term, water and food delivery, medical supplies (that were taxed before hostilities broke out), and electricity. In the long term, local food production, a reliable law enforcement and judiciary, and (yes) a communication system.

    But it's rather silly to ignore work on the long term necessities while securing the short term goals. Many of the short term goals need the long term goals to work. Without law enforcement, distribution to the needy of food and water is difficult. And, yes, a communication infrastructure (not what the article is talking about at all) to coordinate local departments is essential.

    Some of these can be bandaided by the USUK forces in the region, but movement to a permanent system in important.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Usquebaugh (230216) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:38PM (#5703934)
    What currency was Iraq asking to be paid in for it's oil? ECUs. _If_ OPEC asks to be paid in ECUs what happens to the dollars ability to buy oil? It goes down, now if the dollar is not the currency to buy oil what is it good for? Nothing except buying US goods, so why should other countries want the dollar? The dollars value crashes, the trade deficit escelates, the US goes bankrupt.

    So why did Bush et al want to go to war with Iraq? To retain the dollars value in the world currency markets. The US has already threatend other oil countries with the same treatment, the guise of terrorisim was used.

    Your statement that oil will be sold at market rates is laughable. The UK & US will need to be paid for waging this war. Just like the Axis powers in WWII. Iraq will have to foot most of the bill. Guess who gets to decide how much Iraq pays?

    Personally, I think the current administrations mistake was not to be open about the reasons for war. The US public would have got behind the war far more vocally if it had been laid out the war was about protecting their lifestyle.

    Please post the list of economists you're read, I'm interested on getting another perspective. In particular any examples that counter my understanding as to why the war was fought.
  • by Dagmar d'Surreal (5939) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @02:08PM (#5704257) Journal
    This is absolutely disgusting. These people are clearly taking advantage of someone else's (Iraq's) misfortune to try and make a buck. This group does not already control the .iq domain, but they know that if they can steal it, it'll be like having a licence to print money. Absolutely nothing is being said on their website about how much of this money they're collecting would actually be going to Iraq, and frankly, I suspect that "paying big salaries at Citri" will somehow also be considered to be an important part of the general welfare of Iraq's IT infrastructure.

    Let's see, there's also the small matter of it's not necessarily the desire of the Iraqi people that their domain space be sold off to people outside Iraq. For all we know, they could want a more conservative approach to be taken with it, and have it only be allowed for use by companies and organizations that reside within Iraq.

    From their web page:

    "The auction is set to continue over an intense two month period, after which funds will be called upon from the winners of each bid, and registrations formalised."

    Translation:
    s/auction/looting/;

    "In the case that a registration is not successful, no funds will be charged, unless the individual wishes to make a donation to the fund."

    Translation:
    "If the piles of money offered for domains doesn't change the minds of the people in the IANA and get us Iraq's domain, then you won't be out a penny."
  • by xaoslaad (590527) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @02:39PM (#5704535)
    is that the Iraqi people need a lot of other things before they need the internet. Why don't we start from the ground up. CLEAN WATER, FOOD, WORKING HOSPITALS, HOMES, FUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT, AN ECONOMY, POWER, EDUCATION.... and then when we get everything they need to live and take care of themselves, let the Iraqi's, with the help of the rest of the world if they want, build THEIR corner of the internet.

  • by siskbc (598067) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @02:40PM (#5704546) Homepage
    Exactly. So all the money stays in America

    Money that was ours originally...dunno where you took econ, but if you paid yourself to do something, it doesn't qualify as a profit. Them's Enron-style balancesheets. You could say "America is losing less money by contracting its own companies than if it contracted foreign companies," but there is no net influx of money. And I reiterate, I don't see any nation spending their rebuilding money on foreign contractors.

    and the network that is build is owned by Americans...

    Got a source there? Because when we leave Iraq, we give them the stuff. We don't keep it. See "Marshall Plan," 1945. We bomb their stuff, we rebuild it, they keep it. So we have paid money and gotten nothing material (at least directly, but that's what you're claiming).

    At least try to understand what people are saying before you call it nonsense FUD.

    I understand what you're saying, that doesn't mean it actually makes sense. Your math isn't clicking.

    P.S. "FUD" is "Today's Terror Level is Orange", not "We're profiting from the destruction we are causing".

    Yeah, but "FUD" is shorter to type than "mindless propaganda," and you still get what I mean.

  • by pi radians (170660) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @02:50PM (#5704638)

    I don't suppose that ridding them of the dictator that caused the armed conflicts in the first place, along with the "brutal sanctions" counts for anything

    From BigEye [bigeye.com]:

    In the 1980s the United States supported Saddam's totalitarian regime and showed little concern for its victims. American exports helped launch Iraq's biological weapons program. Saddam's horrific violations of international law, such as his use of poison gas on the battlefield, had minimal effect on US-Iraqi cooperation. And while the tilt toward Saddam began with Jimmy Carter ("We see no fundamental incompatibility of interests between the US and Iraq" -- National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, April 1980), it was the Reagan and Bush I administrations that brought it to full flower.

    All of this has long been a matter of public record. US shipments of deadly biological agents to Iraq, for example, were detailed in a 1994 Senate Banking Committee report and a follow-up letter from the Centers for Disease Control in 1995. They showed that Iraq was allowed to purchase batch after batch of lethal pathogens -- anthrax, botulism, E. coli, West Nile fever, gas gangrene, dengue fever. At a time when Washington knew that Iraq was using chemical weapons to kill thousands of Iranian troops, the CDC was shipping germ cultures directly to the Iraqi unconventional weapons facility in al-Muthanna.

    Ignoring reality is something American's do best. Toppling Saddam's reign wasn't an act of kindness to the Iraqi people, it was making up for a 25 year old mistake.

    USA owes everyone in Iraq more than you could ever imagine. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. On to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, etc...

  • Re:damn people! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Ape With No Name (213531) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @02:53PM (#5704670) Homepage
    Sure, they need food and safe water first, but there is a future in Iraq that people can think and talk about. There's already huge aid packages being put together.

    Sort of like driving your SUV to the WalMart to buy cheap shit made by sweated labor while talking on a cell phone to your therapist about the American Dream? Don't impose your cultural values on them. That is the worst kind of imperialism. But wait, we kicked their ass so they better buy in to the plan....
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buffy (8100) <buffy@parapet. n e t> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:01PM (#5704735) Homepage
    Actually, the humanitarian problem right now is very, very bad. Water is in short supply everywhere, hospitals don't have sufficient power, there are no medical supplies to speak of (they're giving headache pills to surgical patients instead of anaesthetic), and there's no government to maintain any kind of law and order. The Coalition's going to have to pull something together quick.

    Ok, dude...give them a chance. They regime fell, what...yesterday? Geez.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:08PM (#5704794) Homepage
    Well, we really don't know what they want. Democracy enables us to ask them.

    Democracy is a way to enable them to select what they want through their evaluation of competing proposals. It is theoretically compatible with anything from libertarian capitalism to an Islamist freakshow or the worst forms of ossified socialism.

    I suspect they will choose capitalism, since Islamism has been tried unsuccessfully in both Afghanistan and Iran, both times with very poor results, and ossified socialism is remarkably similar to what the Baath party advocates. But that's not saying that we will force them to make that decision; they will make up their own minds.

    And that's the beauty of Democracy. We aren't imposing anything on them; we are giving them the tools to select what pleases them.

    D
  • by Wraithlyn (133796) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:21PM (#5704920)
    "Why don't you examine your Maslow's hierarchy for a minute to see that it doesn't jibe with history or human nature.

    People would rather communicate ideas freely than eat three square meals a day."

    OK, Maslow's is all about NEEDS, and you're using the phrase "WOULD RATHER". It has nothing to do with preference.

    You're missing the whole point of Maslow's Hierarchy. You don't need the higher levels until you satisfy the needs beneath it.
    1. The lowest level is physiological needs. This means oxygen, food, water, and a survivable climate.
    2. The second level is safety.
    3. The third level is acceptance, feeling like you belong.
    4. The fourth level is self-esteem, achieving competancy at your tasks in life.
    5. Finally, at level five, we get to the need to understand, know, and explore. I think this is where the need for something like the Internet would come into play.
    6. Level six is aesthetics, the need for beauty, symmetry, and order.
    7. Level seven is self-actualization, realizing your full potential.
    8. Level eight is transcendance, which basically means helping OTHERS achieve level seven.
    Someone who is still struggling to meet the basic needs of the first couple levels is not worried about the higher levels.

    Go find someone who is starving to death, and in constant personal danger, and ask him how concerned he is RIGHT NOW about his need for the free exchange of ideas.
  • Re:Rebuild what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Malcontent (40834) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @04:10PM (#5705397)
    " The Taliban didn't cultivate Afghanistan either."

    Wow fantastic. We are not worse then the taliban. Man am I proud to be an American after reading that!.
  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Malcontent (40834) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @04:13PM (#5705421)
    That's all great but who did it? Are you taking credit?

    How much of the above was done by the UN? How much by the EU? How much by individual countries other then the US? And finally how much by private and other non governmental organizations.

    Give me the breakdown then talk. I bet the US spent more money in bombing them then reconstructing them.
  • by algebraist (9797) <jtgalkowski@alum.mit.edu> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @04:55PM (#5705760) Homepage Journal

    In his weekly spiel [pbs.org], Bob Cringely commented on the Compaq computers that were being removed from government buildings, wondering in comment where they came from since apparently Iraq had none in 1991 and they were supposed to be under an embargo.

    I don't know if those facts are right, but Cringely usually checks things out.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Iguanaphobic (31670) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @05:43PM (#5706110)
    OK, I read the article again.

    Japan and the United Nations have pledged $125m to fund the programme while international peacekeepers say they will also play a role.

    Considering the U.S. position on paying its U.N. dues, are you saying that Japan's contribution is from the U.S.?

    Bush is requesting a little more than $28.5 billion for international affairs programs, an 11 percent increase over his request for 2003. The increase will fund a combination of military and nonmilitary projects, with about $4.25 billion going toward international development and humanitarian aid and the other 24.25 billion going to: you guessed it, military projects.

    Sure, our intentions are selfish

    Undoubtedly.

    (we want to improve security at home)

    OK, so you have 19 Saudi nationals who get on aircraft, hijack them and use them as weapons of terror against building and people. The U.S. government responds by bombing and invading... wait for it... Saudi^H^H^H^H^H Afghanistan.

    North Korea threatens other countries around it with nuclear death, "We have nukes and we're not afraid to use them" and the U.S. government bombs and invades... here it comes... Iraq.

    Am I missing anyone? The logic is astounding.

    what's so wrong with that?

    Ask the kids with no hands from picking up cluster bombs.

  • by Iguanaphobic (31670) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @07:19PM (#5706716)
    Who ever said I support Syria or Iran. Or is your narrow worldview such that anyone with an opposing view is the enemy? Why? What are you afraid of? The truth?

    Besides, Syria and Iran are far from fascist. Dictatorships maybe. Better go back to polysci 101 and bone up on your definitions.

  • Re:Why don't we... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Friday April 11, 2003 @12:18AM (#5708285) Homepage Journal
    Billions of dollars to beat them down, then a couple million to help them? What is this, you beat some kid up on the playground, then throw them a quarter?

    They are STILL dirt poor and need food. Are you going to leave it to Pat Robertson to raise money for them? Hey, they're too busy preparing to send Christians into Iraq to convert the masses.

  • by Des Herriott (6508) on Friday April 11, 2003 @04:35AM (#5709014)
    But WHERE ARE THEY, if Saddam had all this stuff at his disposal, why wasn't it used

    This question was put to Labour minister Mike O'Brien on BBC's Question Time on Wednesday; his answer was that Saddam probably didn't use his WMD because he'd been warned not to, or he'd be treated like a war criminal.

    The sheer absurdity of that statement was pointed out by another panelist, Mark Steel, who asked O'Brien if he really thought Saddam was sitting there thinking "I'd better use my WMDs, or I'll be in real trouble!"

    Seems to me there are quite a few reasons why they haven't been used:

    1. Iraq doesn't have any WMD any more. Would be highly embarassing for the US/UK.
    2. Iraq stocks of WMD are past their "sell by" date - no longer usable or effective due to lack of maintenance. Still embarassing, but less so.
    3. Saddam excercised restraint. Seems unlikely, given his record.
    4. The Iraqi military command structure was damaged to the extent that co-ordinating the use of WMD was no longer possible.
    5. Saddam didn't want to alienate his Arab neighbours or legitimise US/UK claims.

    Any of the above seem plausible reasons, but the UK line that they weren't used because Saddam was told not to is utter nonsense, IMHO.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

Working...