Live Live Live
We're now off air, you can read all the comments below.
As David wrote earlier, today we're live from Cleveland, Ohio. We are discussing about Zimbabwe and what the US should do about Mugabe. And we are also discussing about the Iraq war. Only 35 per cent of Iraqis want America troops to leave now. Shouldn't they now listen to how Iraqis would like them to finish the job? Post your comment now.
Laura will add your emails and text messages here. You can post your own comments as well.
I was in iraq from 2003 to 2004. Its time to go. thats it. we went into a country without cause. our presence is causing more death military and civillian. i dont want to see any more of my brothers and sisters in arms coming home in body bags. and the civillian casualties are sky rocketing. no one thinks about the people on the other side of the bombs and bullets.
The conduct of the war in Iraq is undoubtedly one of the lowest point in American history.
The President is one of the only Presidents in our history who looked us in the face and told us to be scared - that earned him the 2004 election.
Now, we're in a quagmire and the casualties are compounding. Remaining there is a grave difficulty and pulling out is equally fatal.
We went in arrogantly without regard for the differences in culture and political temperament.
Until we put in place something that would hold the country together like it was under Sadam, we may have set the stage for untold catastrophes to come.
Leland in Indiana writes:
What is the difference between Shiite and Sunni opinion on whether coalition forces should stay in Iraq or not?
Rory in Portland writes:
Can anyone tell us what we might accomplish by staying?
What does a hoped for "success" or "victory" actually look like, specifically? Is there an expectation that the combatants might just change their minds, say ok enough, and just decide to get along?
Is there any chance of anything other than partition, and if we are not working towards that, what are are we working for?
We here a lot about how bad Iraq might get if the US leaves precipitously, but what do the advocates of "staying the course" believe they will accomplish?
John in Cleveland writes:
The US should get out of Iraq asap. We can support our allies from our regional presence. Explore Rep.
Kucinich's plan to withdraw.
Do americans feel guilt for the huge amount of human loss and suffereing that this supposed "liberation" was supposed to bring? So much so that people in iraq wish for saddam's days?
J.P. in Cleveland writes:
Perhaps it's time that the world take a page out of some of the greatest political philosophers in the past. We seem to have an idealistic view point that democracy in Iraq is possible in the near future, and perhaps even relative peace. However, thinkers as early as Plato has mentioned that going from a dictatorship to democracy is a long, arduous, and a necessarily combative process. Staying to clean up our mess is a process that will take far longer than a generation of war.
Callers are missing the point. Americans will stay in Iraq until the oil runs out, whether its best for the Iraqis or not. Secondly, those who think the US invaded Iraq solely to oust a dictator should take their heads out of the sand.
"Democracy" seems to have become a code word for American style market-driven globalization. The U.S. Will only Iraqis to be self-determining if Iraq makes decisions the U.S. Likes.
Jason in Portland writes:
Millions of us tried to prevent this war from starting. We were right about what would happen. We knew we were being lied to by our government. I told you so is not so sweet in this situation. Even still the war protest get scant attention from the mainstream media. Those who take to the streets are cast as fringe element of the society, when in fact, nothing could be more American. Will they listen next time the imperialists beat the drums of war?
Josiah from Portland writes:
There is a valid argument for the spreading of democracy which is the fact that any moral and social achievements made by a society (civil rights, etc.) are only passed on to future generations in a free environment. However, the big question remains what the true motives for the invasion of Iraq are. The motives become even more questionable when a full-scale genocide takes place and receives little or no attention (Darfur.)
Tom from Detroit, Michigan, US writes:
As you frame it, the question is disingenuous --unfortunately, no one has EVER listened to the wishes of the Iraqi people. Under Saddam, opinions simply couldn't be expressed. Before and since, decisions have been made "for" Iraq by more powerful states. I see no reason to expect that to change in the near future, and suggest we reserve our greatest skepticism for those who claim to act "in the Iraqi people's interest," whatever positions they may advocate.
The Iraqi ship of state was rickety, damages and taking on water. George Bush took it on himself to sink the ship and help the Iraqis build a new one. Now that building a new ship has proven too costly we are just going to steam off and let every one be ravaged by uncontrolled, unspeakable savagery
i think it hard for the people to see the fact that a mistake was made and mature people you supposed to clean up your mess. and also as a mature person you should work with everybody who can help. so the US shoudl work iran and syria to restore order into iraq Georgre Bush should refusing to work with iran and get iraq's best interest at heart that when things will work out.
It seems the black economy is growing. I have personal evidence of an employer being involved in a social security "scam". Multiply this by the many thousand of cases going untraced and it amounts to a massive burden in extra taxation on honest people. The government promised to tackle the hidden economy, but despite three reports regarding the case I have mentioned over the past year it is still going on.
James in Seattle, Washington, US writes:
The only way to deal with dictator Mugabe is to depose him. He should not be allowed to ride roghshod on the back of ordinary innocent Zimbabweans. The U.S. should invade Zimbabwe, bring Mugabe to justice, for the sake of 2 million Zimbwean refugees who're suffering because of this man's mediocrity. This tinpot dictator in Harare should be brought to justice.
Paul in Windsor, Ontario, Canada writes:
We will never know what would have happened if Saddam would not have been overthrown. What we do know is that tens of thousands have been killed and injured and their is no end in sight.
I'm a US citizen in favor of ending our military operations in Iraq. Let's be clear about one thing:
Getting our troops out of Iraq does not mean abandoning the Iraqi people. Due to our choices, we are obligated to help Iraqis rebuild what this war destroyed, and this debt will probably carry over into my little daughter's generation.
I would assert that a) "disent _IS_ patriotic". So, protests against the war being interpreted as antiAmerican breaks my heart since I love the US - hence my great concern for us. There is a related question: is the US willing to sacrifice itself financially and politically and at a cost of safety for the protection of Israel?
Mark in Vancouver, Canada writes:
to my neighbors in cleveland...
the show is called World Have Your Say- its interesting that we have heard more american voices againstthe war in the last half hour than we would hear during any week of news and opinion in the media- I hope you can make it plain that this is 'THE' issue for the 2008 election... and when that vote is over, I hope you'll demand that the scoundrels who perpetrated this war are made to face justice.
Guilherme in Brazil writes:
Iraq is "Bush war" and he is wrong with this war, but when the USA was about to invade Iraq around 80% of americans wanted that. They even reelected George W Bush. And now they are jumping of the boat. It´s very convenient for them.
Stanly in Cleveland, Ohio writes:
I am absolutely disgusted with the War in Iraq and George Bush. Everyone in power seems to ignore the possibility of impeachment of this truly disgraced leader. He and his administration lied to get us into the war, lied throughout the war, and now, after hearing the chorus of Americans speaking against the war and wanting troops sent home, has sent more troops to Iraq. This blatant disregard for reality and prudence has damaged both this country and the world in ways that will only become apparent in the turbulent years to come. Very few things have come out of this administration, and what has come out of it has been horrendous. Hopefully in the near-term future we Americans can unite against all the failed policies of the last 6 years.
We have great fun focusing on American "injustice" in Iraq. Democracy is not governance. It is governance that is the challenge for us all, including friends in the Muslim world. Where is the Muslim outrage? It is not American's who are driving car bombs into innocent civilians in marketplaces or at places where people line of up for jobs? If we pull out, will we watch from the sidelines as Shiites and Sunnis conduct genocide on each other similarly to the way we deal with Darfur?
Why the our friends in the Muslim world spend so much time railing against the US and Western World, then Iraq and the Saudi people provide arms to help Muslims kill Muslims?
Of course the anti-war protests are not just about the war-wars do not happen in a vaccuum - they happen partially as a result of political choices and preferences that are present in other decisions & policies as well - this does not diminish the validity of the protests, however.
GB in Oyster Bay, New York, US writes:
Can you please thank the audience for putting Boy George over the top in the last election? I think we can all agree that had they put some effort in as did many from outside the state we would not be in this mess. Even though John Kerry was Viet Nam vet I still think he might have made a difference.
I meant to say, elections are not governance
Eric in Detroit writes:
I'm offended at the way the question, "is Iraq better off with Saddam" is chosen. Isn't the proper question :
1. What we think will happen if we leave Iraq, and
2. Whether we as a nation can accept that outcome.
I opposed the idea of invading Iraq in the first place but I am also not interested in turning it into another Belgian Congo, or god forbid another Iran, if and when the coalition government fails from lack of US support.
For all the discussion we're hearing about whether this pullout should happen, there is a dearth of analysis of what each proponent actually thinks will happen when we do so. Our media isn't really discussing it here.
Fiona in Portland writes:
In response to Gary from California's inquiry, Many groups sponsor any event. In reality, it doesn't matter who sponsors the protest just as long as it happens. Most people going to the rally don't even pay attention to who is sponsoring it. these groups are all united in the issue of the Iraq war. They might have other issues but those are not the ones being voiced at the ANTI-WAR protest.
The problem in America is that nothing happens after these protests. We have a president who maybe sees the coverage on the evening news. In any case, the protest happens without results. I have been protesting and organizing protests since I've been voting and I can tell you, it has been a frustrating period. To work so hard to no avail.
Ryan in Portland, US writes:
I think the conversation should include whether the american contractors should leave. Everything that I've heard is that they are corupt and self-serving.
David in Ohio writes:
Freedom is never gifted by people in power. Freedom, where it exists, has only been won by fighting for it. It is worth dieing for.
The Iraqi people need help, as do many others in the world. How can we justify not helping? If the free people of the world do not help...who will?
If you were Iraqi would you want help? Someday they will help us as do other freed nations do now.
Freedom is contagious and the momentum cannot be stopped. What is happening in today's world will continue until the world is free. We should continue to support the effort.
Habeeb from Maiduguri, NIGERIA, writes:
With or without America and its allies, Iraq has already been shattered and is in chaos.
God help Iraq.
For goodness sake why is the UN not involved more? is it not part of their role? Wheather the war was a mistake or not … US is not the world peacekeeper!
There is an error of logic on Gary's part. Just because groups who have explicit agendas outside the anti-war domain sponsored the anti- war march on washington does not mean in itself that they are not supporting the anti-war agenda as well. for example, I am a mother.
If I sponsor an anti-war march the fact that i am a mother in no war detracts from my support of the anti-war movement. People and groups are able to have more than one agenda.
Also, in addressing the issue of should we leave when we made the mess, I would reply...... Is it not at lest possible that the best way to clean up the mess is to step back and release control, surrender and allow the people who live in the land to...... haven't we demonstrated an inability to clean house responsibly?
John in New Jersey, US wirtes:
A large factor in the lack of protest is the intimidation factor. This is such a charged issue that protestors are often stigmatized by outspoken members of their community, neighbours and local law enforcement. The government has created such an association between anti-war and anti-patriotism that it's made it dangerous to be a protestor. As a US permanent resident (but not a citizen), I also find myself afraid to protest because I essentially have no rights anymore under the Homeland Security act.
Phil in Norwalk writes:
Still after 4 years most Americans do not know who & what we are fighting. Our government purposely confused the situation for their convenience between our enemies in the Middle East. The dumbing down on the facts and the use of scare tactics have worked well for this administration. America WAS known for not blinking or cowering to fear (hence the famous Roosevelt quote "there is nothing to fear but fear itself") But this administration like scaring people so we can give up some of our liberties "in the time of war". They linked the secular dictators with the Islamic fundamentalist (who by the way strived for the destruction of those same regimes). They still link Saddam with al Qaeda. Their policies have alienated the moderates of the region who are key to any type of comprehensive regional peace. It amazes me how even today they are sticking to their original game plan : plant a democracy in the Middle East; alienate Syria & Iran; separate the Israeli - Palestinian conflict for the overall picture.
I believe that the Americans should not ask for their troops to pull out. It will be much bigger mess if they try to pull out now. Americans should try to put pressure on their politicians to engage in less foreign adventurism in future.
pulling out of Iraq is not cleaning up our own mess...
Steve in Virginia writes:
Though I agree that the views of Americans should matter more, the Iraqis didn't ask us to invade, so we created the situation that allowed them to fight amongst each other, and now we have a duty to minimize the damage we have caused. It would have been better had we never invaded, but that's impossible to undo now. If we leave, the bloodbath will only get worse. We have a responsibility to try to minimize the damage we caused.
While I agree with the fact that the downfall of Hussein was a desirable event, let's not forget which country it was that supported him as the head of a client state for so many years, i.e. the USA!
In a similar fashion, the performance of the USA is mirrored in Latin America where only with the rise of populists in Venezuela, Colombia and Bolivia, has the current administration recognized the existence of its southern neighbours.
The answer, we shouldn't be there in the first place. The presumption of WMD was a construct to support gaining control of the oil fields for US companies. However, we are and it's up to us to fix what we broke.
I'm originally English (check the spelling) and both at the end of WWII. It was only at the end of 2006 that Britain made its last payment owing to the US under the lend-lease programme. That was a war in which all citizens paid a price in terms of rationing, a compulsory draft and serious restrictions in daily living. If the population of the US were to actually pay for their own war in this generation by such means, rather than mortgaging the next three generations, the strength of feeling would be even greater.
Dawn in Cleveland, Ohio writes:
To those who say stay in Iraq to clean up our mess: Are you willing to admit the possibility that the U.S. cleaning up is not possible- we've been trying it for years now unsuccessfully. It may be that only those who live in the region have the ability and credibility with fighting sects to achieve peace.
The US has occupied Native Americans' lands for centuries. Only through overwhelming popular demand will we leave any place our imperialist armed forces capture.
According to the U.N. resolution regarding occupation, it is the responsibility of the occupying power to provide safety and security to the occupied, and that's what hasn't happened for the past 4 years.
The government in the occupied country has neither power nor any legitimacy. So how can one expect them to do anything for the greater good of their own people?
Only enemies of peace, freedom, and the precious US Contitution want the US to spend any more time in Iraq... George Washington wisely warned us all against foreign entanglements; and therefore, he would not approve of the US continual servitude to Israel...
Zach in Houston, Texas writes:
Everytime the program is in Ohio, it seems to have a very left leaning crowd. I know many people who are, if not for the war, are not in favor of pulling out because they see it would cause more damage if we pool out and let the country fall further into chaos. Why don't you hold the program in someplace that will result in having a balanced audience? And why do you let a person who can't read very well read the e-mails and texts?
Njeru from Nairobi says:
America acted irresponsibly by invading Iraq but it would be more irresponsible to leave before clearing up the mess they'll created.
Amute from Kampala, Uganda, writes:
America should pay for the damage in Iraq and withdraw quickly
Delber in Pakistan says:
Zeal without prudence is frenzy, America has taken the leap in the dark, the need of hour to stay & restor the life of iraq
I WOULD ASK THIS QUESTION OF EVERY ONE WHO TAKES PART IN YOUR PROGRAM. " HOW MANY OF YOU WHO VOICE YOUR OPINIONS ON AIR, EVER CONTACT YOUR CONGRESS PERSON, YOUR SENATOR OR THOSE PEOPLE IN AUTHRORITY AS TO YOUR FEELING AND CONCERNS, NOT ONLY AS FAR AS THE WAR IN IRAQ BUT AS FAR AS OTHER CONDITIONS IN YOUR COUNTRY. MY QUESTION IS ALSO APPLICABLE THOSE PEOPLE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD WHO ARE PARTICIPANTS IN YOUR PROGRAM.
you are not tackling the question of why this war took place in the first place, and it is impossible to think of this war without knowing US was protecting its crude oil supply and needed the greatest reserves in the world under its control, now the question is the north and the oil rich regions are secured, what do we do with the rest of Irak?
My heart breaks and bleeds to see the death of our precious troops in Iraq almost everyday. The power-hungry Democrats took over the House and the Senate promising to end the war; but it was only a false promise. Now, having conquered both the chambers, they have become content, complacent and stale. Now they are changing their attention to other matters.
Now it is upto the Republican members (the citizens, not the Republican members of the House and Senate) to bring this war to an end. It does not seem to me that President Bush is concerned about the death of our troops. What is he doing to bring the troops home? Iraqi government wants our troops there, because, it wants the Americans to lose blood for their country. All the (citizen) members of the Republican Party (again, not the elected members of the chambers, as they too are not concerned about the dismal plight of our troops) must urge the President to quit Iraq. Let Iraq take care of itself. When we left Vietnam, it took care of itself.
I cannot live to see another Vietnam in Iraq. Casuality in Iraq has surpassed that of 9/11. My heart breaks to see the death of innocent civilians in Iraq--so many childless mothers, parentless children, etc. How long this will go on Mr. President? How many more Americans have to give their life? With all due repect to you and the highest office you hold, I plead with you; please bring this war to an end.
Thank you, Mr. President for giving a listening ear to the people who elected you twice!
Ursula from Cleveland writes:
We want the troops home and safe. Do we know the real agenda of the Bush administration? We can not abandon Iraq completely but we can downsize the U.S. troops and let the United Nations take this over.
All of the lives lost and the years wasted. The issues for the people of this region are very deep seeded.
BJ in Cleveland writes:
This decision to invade Irag goes back to the 1980's which was a idea of Wolfowitz and other neo-cons. The current Iragi constitution is actually a creation by the US govt. And all content in the constitution had to be approved by the US. We need to get out of Iraq NOW! What difference will it make if we leave now or later, there will still be an escalatiion of violence. What's happening affects us all, we are all World citizens!
I'm personally very dubious about how any "survey" could be reliably conducted of Iraqi's opinion of the United States occupation of Iraq in such a chaotic environment. Previous surveys all pointed to the majority of Iraqi's wanting the USA out which sounds a lot more likely to be true.
For the average person in Iraq danger is now considerably higher than it was before the invasion in 2003. Electricity is still not available in the big cities as much as before the war started. It's clear to me that the already occurring civil war will not be any different when the USA leaves.
Every time we kill "insurgents" the families of those killed and the survivors of groups attacked are fueled toward violence against the USA and the current Iraqi government. Incidents such as what's happened in Haditha seem to be a lot more common than our media has been able to find out due to the great levels of violence in nearly all of Iraq. Any place that isn't safe for our military is far more unsafe for media to cover.
As hideous as Sadam Hussein was he was probably the best deterrent to terrorism and extremist Islam that the world had in Iraq. When he was there the terrorists were terrified of him and they stayed well away. The UN screwed up here. The terrorists are and were housed and aided by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
We are there now and we have to find a palatable way to get the best out of a very, very bad situation for both the Iraqis and the US. I would say that we shouldn't be asking such a question in such a way. Unfortunately at this point in time the question itself is irrelevant. One question ??? Who is going to protect any western reconstructionists while they are there? Just to send them in without security would be a massacre!!! If we do pull out we can not send any other type of aid without dooming those people sent to an almost certain death.
JOHNSON in Nigeria writes:
The fact that it was wrong to invade Iraq four years ago does not mean it is right to quit now.
Shivesh in Nepal says:
US should stay in iraq, otherwise it will become breeding ground of terrorism.US was correct in removing saddam but was myopic and created a mess
Dennis in Botswana says:
Problem in Zimbabwe is all about land issue be honest.
Kafui in Accra, Ghana, writes:
What are we advocating here? Regime change? Mugabe's assassination?
Maybe the united states should do the world a favor and just stay home for a while. Spend some of these hundreds of billions on dealing with your own problems.
Obadiah in Buenos Aires, Argentina writes:
I am listenning to your program live. I just want to add that after listenning to the Iranian Ambassador on the BBC few days ago where a man with scientific knowledge as his could threating sucide warfare in case Iran is attaceked, I have full suport that the Americans must finish the work in Iraq before leaving.
The Ambassador's statement proved that the is an axis of evil that threaten the security of the whole world and in fact, they must go now and blow up the nuclear facilities of Iran before it is too late.
The daily sucide bombing in Iraq shows the plan of Saddam Hussein,.He may have distributed weapons to his associate allowing the enemy easy entrance into Iraq and later engage it in sucide warfare. I begin to suspect that chemical weapons may be used by the insurgents in the appropiate time.
CW in Poland writes:
At this point in time I think the possibility that America would get involved in Zimbabwe militarily is so remote as to render discussion of such an eventuality completely absurd.
Ruth in Amsterdam, The Netherlands writes:
One request: at some point, could you frame the leave or stay in Iraq issue by opening it up to the idea of non-combatant help? Why is leaving or staying only predicated on military resources? Just because the current U.S. Presidency considers military force to be the only solution doesn't mean the BBC or its listeners have to.
Matthew in Nairobi writes:
The only person in Africa who could help Zimbabwe is Desmond Tutu and ONLY him, none else.
Ian in Michigan, US writes:
I am somewhat frustrated with the attitudes that always seem to arise with the prospect of intervening militarily in different conflicts around the world. When it comes to Iraq we (as a nation) are damned for going in and changing it but we are also damned when we do not intervene, such as Sudan or Rwanda in the past. What is a balance?
Kristi in Cleveland, Ohio writes:
Should we listen to Iraqis or Americans in the polls?:
We need to listen to the Americans. If the Iraqis want the world to listen to them, then they need to go out and fight the insurgents and terrorists (who are Iraqis by the way).
By Invading Iraq we invaded a fellow AlQaeda enemy:
Can you imagine invading Iraq during the Iran vs Iraq war?
The is what we did because we invaded Iraq while AlQaeda was at war not only with the US but also with Iraq because AlQaeda has always hated Sadam Hussein just like they hate the US.
Iraqis can fight, they are fighting but see us as the enemy:
Iraqis fought Iran for 8 years, now they are fighting Americans and putting together extremely sophisticated bombs that our specially trained anti-bomb squads cannot defuse and have killed several American soldiers. Iraqis don't need training, they are trained and had arguably the best army in the Islamic Middle East. The only problem is that they ALL (Shite & Sunni) see Americans as the problem for different reasons.
What do you guys think?
Alex in Nairobi, Kenya writes:
Dictators like mugabe fear only one thing - a clean election which sweeps them from power.
Surprisingly, for some reason, the west and the international community also fear the same thing -
2006/08 I invented a tamper-proof system for voting in the 3rd world (and in the west possibly).
I expected to be loathed by 3rd world sitting governments and dictators, and to be loved and embraced by western governments and organisations; in fact the opposition and active sabotage from the west and the international community has been strong and concerted, whereas the 3rd world has hardly reacted (certainly every man and women in the street in or from the 3rd world to whom I have explained the system has been uniformly enthusiastically for the system).
Not surprisingly, the strongest opposition has come from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The open question is - does Mr Blair know of the machinations of his Ministry or are FCO acting on their own steam?
Abdelilah in Morocco writes:
The US has little interests in taking action against the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe as it is not the focus of its international policy. Robert Mugabe has just sticks to beat up his political opponents. He hasn't yet or about to develop nuclear weapons. For the US, a condemnation is the best action to take. Doing otherwise, like sending troops to topple Mugabe, will too disproportionate.
Curiously, does the world think that Americans were put on this earth just for use by the rest of the peoples of the world? 50 years of this is why we don't have universal health care were many of the countries that we support directly or indirectly (eg, Western Europe, Israel) _do_ have universal health care. It's nice to budget when you only have to spend a couple percent of your GDP for defense since you know that if push comes to shove, the US will come to your rescue.
We had the same attitude about keeping out of the conflict in Nazi Gemany. Why not try to hault the holocaust in Darfur b4 more die?
Izmail in Brussels, Belgium writes:
Will George W. Bush and his administration be prosecuted for having lied about the reasons for invading Iraq.(Weapons of Mass Destruction!)
Will this attitude be condemned once-&-for all, or will this attitude & policy of unilateralism and lies continue without sanctions!
By the way before Resolution 1441 would have become legal a last vote or round should have taken place in the U.N. Security Council. As this didn't occur Resolution 1441 has no legal Basis for the Attck!!
Resolution 1441 was not an authorization for militarily striking Iraq.
Will the US Citizens hold their Leadership responsible??