Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:news for nerds? (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47847751) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

You've missed my point. Even if 50%+1 of the voting-age population (we'll leave out those not eligible to vote due to lack of citizenship, felony conviction, dishonorable discharge, etc.) voted for him, it still wouldn't be a majority of all Americans. There were about 313 million people in the US in 2012; half of that would be more people than voted, and would require 77% of the voting-age population. No president is known to have gotten that vote level, let alone overall preference. Washington might have, but no popular vote totals are available before 1824, and women were blocked from voting, as were most blacks, so rendering a majority support virtually impossible anyway even if every person legally allowed to vote did so.

Comment: Re:Stop making sense. (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845755) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

I find that it's not so much ideology as a desire to boil down the situation to the simplest form in an effort to win the argument. Sometimes this works when certain nuances aren't significant, but it's easy to go too far. The most common one I see is treating all Syrian rebels as if they're part of the IS, when it's a patchwork of groups with many goals.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845743) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

I'm not talking about those supporting US military action. That's a separate list. I'm talking about those who have participated in some form of engagement. The only one that is perhaps in doubt is Russia, but they are providing intelligence support, if only relaying information between the US and Syria since neither of those countries wants to admit cooperating with each other.

Those entities above known to be actively fighting the IS:
- Iraq
- Syria
- Hezbollah
- Free Syria Army
- United States
- Iran
- al-Qaeda (via al-Nusra Front)

Those entities providing military and/or financial aid to those fighting the IS:
- United States
- Britain
- Iran
- Saudi Arabia

Those entities providing intelligence support:
- Syria
- Jordan
- Free Syria Army
- United States
- Britain
- Iran
- Saudi Arabia
- Russia

Comment: Re:Send Them Back To Hell (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845453) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

That's why there is a significant effort to bring the Sunni emirs back to Baghdad's side, starting with the new Prime Minister. The IS itself doesn't have much in the way of forces (ranging somewhere around 10,000, maybe a bit more), but instead relies on allied emirs to provide fighters.

And the army has stepped up. While Shi'ite militias have certainly helped, the Iraqi Army has retaken most of Tikrit and broken the siege at Amerli. It's slow progress, but it is weeding out many of those who just joined for a paycheck. Some Sunni militias have also turned against the IS and are creating problems for it within its controlled territory.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845405) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

Saddam Hussein funded terrorists where he found it appropriate (mostly in other countries) and fought terrorists where he found it appropriate (mostly in Iraq).

Corruption in the government isn't the problem, at least not as we usually think of it. The attempt by previous Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to sideline the Sunnis and Kurds as second-class citizens is the problem. The man basically tried to become a dictator, and it wasn't until the rise of the Islamic State that Iran finally stopped backing him. Maybe the new PM, Haider al-Abadi, a man who Sunni politicians found acceptable, can repair some of the damage. Already, some of the Sunni emirs have switched sides and ordered their militias to fight the IS.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 2) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845373) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

I've got a better match for you. Here are just some of the entities that the Islamic State has made enemies of:
- Iraq
- Syria
- Jordan
- Hezbollah
- Free Syria Army
- United States
- Britain
- Iran
- Saudi Arabia
- Russia (maybe)
- al-Qaeda

They're not exactly all on the same side, but they do all oppose the IS. I can't think of a time when a group was more universally opposed.

Comment: Re:Terrorists, not Fighters (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845357) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

There are dozens of rebel factions in Syria. The weapons were sent largely to those a part of or allied with the Free Syrian Army, a group with secular aims. It's not surprising that they ended up in other hands, given the chaos.

But the US isn't the most prolific supplier of weapons. That goes to a group of countries led by Saudi Arabia. They're sending weapons to try to overthrow al-Assad to weaken the regional influence of Iran.

Comment: Re:US policy: first arm them then bomb (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845329) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

While you and others are mostly correct, portions of Iraq's army folded, mostly those who joined for a paycheck (which was a lot of them). Those in the field now are from a more dedicated core and are fighting much more effectively. When they face up against Islamic State forces, they tend to hold the upper hand, especially when air power is available.

One of the things that needs to happen--and is a key demand of certain Sunni tribes--is the reinstatement of a number of former officers who were purged from the military in the de-Ba'athification. Many of them were at least competent and some even very good, far better than the current crop of officers largely hand-picked because they kissed the boots of Nouri al-Maliki.

Comment: Re:Get used to it (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845313) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

Be careful who you chide for missing key parts when you're missing key parts, too.

ISIS formed in Iraq in 1999 as the group that would become al-Qaeda in Iraq. (They change names every so often, probably for media and PR reasons and because their goals change.) They were driven into Syria where they were able to regroup, rearm, and pull in the support of foreign fighters. Once they amassed enough power and made enough deals with Iraqi Sunni emirs, they crossed back and, using the support of various Sunni militias, drove the Iraqi military out of the region.

This isn't the complete story, either. It's very much worth understanding the socioeconomic and political pictures that have allowed the current situation to arise.

Comment: Re:news for nerds? (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845297) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

Technically, no American president has been voted for by "most Americans" since large swaths of the people have been excluded from voting for various reasons (age, gender, race, or ethnicity, depending on the time period). But your attempts to reference the current president fall short since he got the overall majority of the vote in both elections (52% in 2008 and 51% in 2012).

Comment: Re:news for nerds? (Score 1, Troll) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845291) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

Not quite. It started as a group local to Iraq and led by al-Zarqawi that allied with al-Qaeda in 2004 and was then generally known as al-Qaeda in Iraq. Last year, it announced the merger of itself and the Syrian group al-Nusra; the leader of al-Nusra publicly denied this and asked al-Zawahiri to intercede. He did so and also directed that ISIS tone things down because it was making al-Qaeda and its affiliates look bad, and the head of ISIS told al-Zawahiri to get bent. Since then, al-Qaeda has disavowed the group.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

Working...