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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
 
Kerckhoff quiz
Who said this?

“Early this month, I had lunch in Plains with a family from Panama City, and a high school girl asked me why she should be a Democrat. I asked her a series of questions that all bloggers should use in discussions: Do you prefer peace or war? Do favor tax breaks for the richest Americans or working families? Would you rather destroy the environment or protect it? Do you approve the torture of prisoners? Do you think our government should secretly spy on your family? Do you think we should abandon every nuclear arms control agreement negotiated since Dwight Eisenhower was president? Do you approve of your part of the national debt now being $28,000 and increasing by $300 each month? Do you think we should meld religion and government? She gave me the Democratic answer to all the questions, and I believe that most Americans will agree, no matter if their state is red or blue."

a-an earnest, sensitive 12-year-old.
b-an earnest, sensitive high school student.
c-Michael Moore
d-a former president of the United States.
e-a lobotomized monkey

The answer is (drumroll)……D, Jimmy Carter, former President of the free world. There are many elements of this quote that are troubling, starting with the fact that I found it on Daily Kos an outlet for hate-spewing unhinged leftists. Most troubling, however, is that a former president of the United States, who was presumably briefed about international affairs on a regular basis, who presumably comprehended the bills that were placed on his desk, has this blinkered, simple-minded view of the world. I knew I did not agree with him. I knew I didn’t respect him. I didn’t know that I should be frightened by him. No wonder he didn’t know what to do about the Iran hostage crisis. We are so lucky the Reagan saved us from four more years of this.

Let me reframe the questions.
Do you prefer cowering before our enemies or fighting for our values? Do you approve of the government confiscating legally earned money from law-abiding citizens or do you think that people should keep the money they earn? Would you sacrifice your standard of living for unproven environmental restrictions? Do you think the government should do everything it can to protect its citizens from terrorists? Do you think the government should be monitoring the phone calls of people it suspects of being terrorirst plotting to hurt Americans? Do you think we should have separate standards for democracies and dictatorships when it comes to the acquisition of nuclear weapons? Do you think it is reasonable to increase deficit spending to protect the country from another major terrorist attack? Do you think it is OK to acknowledge the fact that this is a majority Christian country founded on Christian principles?

So, are you a leftist or are you a good guy?
Comments:
B&C -- I LOVE your alternative questions! But that's because I'm in favor of war, and nukes, and torturing prisoners, and Bush spying on my family.....
 
To President Carter & Ball & Chain:

Are the only "good guys" people who respond to those questions with answers with which you agree? Is there NO room for respectful disagreement, or people who are in the middle of those two extremes? This is what I want to know. The "lefty" sites and the "righty" sites are all pretty extreme. Where are the moderates? Are they also "bad guys"? OBVIOUSLY showing my colors here, but hey, why not? I am lucky enough to live in a country where we can all express our ideas (and shoot each other's down) in relative freedom.
 
What I find most disturbing was that you were trolling the Kos site. Man, that's worse for your brain than a crack pipe a day!

(*)>
 
EK: The end line was a facetious swipe at Carter and his ilk. I do not actually believe that people who disagree with me are the bad guys. There is a little room in the middle for respectful disagreemnt. However, on the issue of fighting terrorists you will find that I don't respect much that is to the left of me. You can let me know where you think we disagree and I can let you know if I can respect those positions or not. If you want.

Birdwoman: I avoid the site assiduously. I heard about the Carter BS somewhere and had to check it out for myself. Typically, (pay attention EK) when a right wing blog or radio show lambasts the left I check it out and find that it isn't really as bad as the right is making it out to be. In this case I was literally stunned to find that it was every bit as bad. And worse.
 
EK:

Everyone is free to express their opinion. Remember, freedom of speech is not freedom from the conseqences of your speech. And an opinion is not a fact. When someone looks at the world and sees only what they want to see, those opinions are by default flawed. Someone who can look at both sides of an issue in an unbiased manner and see the truth, and not just what the party line tells them to believe, that's a mensch. Believe guns are bad because someone told you? Believe war is never necesary? Believe the rich should be taxed heavily just because? that's willful ignorance. Ignorance with malice aforethought.
 
I did not hear E.K. saying that. I did not hear her say that war is never necessary. Or that anything was always carved in stone one way or the other. There seems to be an interesting phenomenon going around the blogoshpere lately, that if you do not agree with the conservative, right side...you are no good. I'm sure I will be creamed for saying that, but that's okay...I know how to shoot a gun.(as taught to me by a conservative right-winger)
 
OG: I am going to hope that you were not making assumptions about my beliefs since you don't know me; you were just using those statements as examples of people who don't actually think. I am hoping that thinking, intelligent people rarely uses words like "never" and "always" in relation to issues that transcend their personal experiences and knowledge. Opinion is certainly not fact; but that does not make it personally invalid. But, IMHO, "truth" is often not easy to measure in an unbiased way. "Truth", IMHO, is often not black and white. And I think if one makes an honest attempt to, as you say

"look at both sides of an issue in an unbiased manner and see the truth, and not just what the party line tells them to believe"

then whichever side one comes down on is that person's personal truth. I don't actually think it is possible to be completely unbiased on most issues, but I think most thinking, intelligent, menschlich people do a pretty decent job. Whichever side of the line their answers may fall.

*IMHO* :-)
 
1) I believe in fighting for our values, but will not compromise them in doing so (i.e. Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, torture, lying and violating the Constitution and the separation of powers).

2) I think people should keep the money they earn, but also pay a reasonable amount of taxes for the benefits we all enjoy (police, armed forces, clean and intact streets, healthcare for the poor, etc.)

3) Yes, I would sacrifice my standard of living to help save our environment.

4) Yes, the government should do everything it can to protect its citizens from terrorists, within reason (see answer #1).

5) With appropriate court orders, as legislated by Congress and within the limits of the Constitution, the government should be monitoring the phone calls of terrorists. But not because King George Bush the Second said so.

6) The same standards should apply to democracies and dictatorships - no more countries of any kind should be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period.

7) It is not reasonable to increase deficit spending for any reason. That's why King George Bush the First was voted out of office. It failed then, and will fail again.

8) It is a fact that this country is a majority Christian country that was founded based on some Christian principles but not others (slavery?).

There. I'm a leftist AND a good guy.
 
Check this out for some more perspective:

http://www.youtube.com/v/o762HKxYMeA
 
Wanderer: I'm confused...are you left or right? I thought you were a lefty then I thought you were a righty. Now it seems you're a lefty...woah, i'm confused.
(But... and I know I risk my life saying this here...I like what you have to say)
 
People, I think you're all losing sight of the ball here. It was JIMMY CARTER -- a liberal, I'd like to remind you -- who posed these questions:

"Do you prefer peace or war? Would you rather destroy the environment or protect it?"

EK should remember that when she says

"intelligent people rarely use words like "never" and "always" ...."Truth", IMHO, is often not black and white."

It wasn't the conservatives who posed these alternatives in that all-or-nothing way.


It was Carter who posed these choices: Do you want to live in peace with other people? You're a Democrat. Do you want to kill and shoot people? You're a Republican.

Where is the recognition that a person who desperately longs for peace might nevertheless consider war the only honorable option when faced with a man like Hitler? (Yes, Saddam most definitely is like Hitler, in all the important ways.)

Carter again: Do you want a clean environment? You are a Democrat. Do you want to breathe foul air and drink filthy water? You're a Republican.

Again, where is any connection to the real range of choices and trade-offs, the risks and benefits, in the real world? This kind of all-or-nothing thinking, "you're liberal or you're evil" -- that is typical liberal thinking. I see it in the press every single day.

I see issues discussed in a serious way, taking opponents' views into account, ONLY in the conservative media. In liberal media I see no discussion of issues. I see only name-calling and demonizing the other side.

When was the last time you saw an article by a liberal that dispassionately made the case against Bush's handling of the war? I haven't seen one! All I see is "he lied, he's evil, he's stupid" etc.

Please keep in mind that it is people like Carter who see the world in black and white, no shades of gray.

Intelligent people tend to head towards the right side of the political spectrum because that is where genuine thinking is going on, not just platitudes and slogans.
 
Toby, I wasn't assigning a label to those who see the world in black and white. Once again, it is being assumed that I think one way or another because I didn't jump right in on the ___________fill in the blank bandwagon. I never said it was the conservatives or the liberals who see things in black and white. I just said I think intelligent, thinking people understand that there is more to it than "Do you prefer peace or war" OR "Do you prefer cowering before our enemies or fighting for our vaues". I actually believe that there are intelligent, thining people all over the spectrum of beliefs. I am sorry you haven't met any of the other ones. I know many people who I respect greatly whose opinions and beliefs differ radically from mine, and some of them even have coffee here at Kerckhoff. And some of them reside way to the left of me. But they DO exist.
 
EK -- OK, I accept what you wrote. Except for one thing you wrote:

--I just said I think intelligent, thinking people understand that there is more to it than "Do you prefer peace or war" OR "Do you prefer cowering before our enemies or fighting for our vaues".--

You seemed to think that B&C was posing a serious question "Do you prefer cowering before our enemies or fighting for our values?" and did not grasp that she was parodying Carter's all-or-nothing style.

Parody and humor are things I see much more on the right than on the left, too. More evidence that the intelligent people tend to cluster more on the right.

But I will grant that there are some intelligent people, capable of complex thought, on the left as well.

I will even grant that a person of the left can be genuinely witty, though that is rare -- the only example I can think of right now is Eugene Borowitz, who makes me laugh despite myself.

Most leftist humorists -- Al Franken, for example -- seem to think that a line like "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot" is witty.

If you want a link to Borowitz I'll try and find one.
 
Thanks Toby. That was exactly what I was going to say. As for wanderer, I'll respond to you later.
 
Looking forward to it B & C. I actually decided to take on your questions for two reasons. The first is because I was sick of the name-calling and the discussions about name-calling. (It's interesting that Mrs. Katz rails against black and white questions, and yet she only sees the world in black and white, i.e everything that is good in the world, intelligence, humor etc. is on the right- nothing good comes from the left, except maybe Eugene Borowitz. Og does that too, but I digress).

The important thing here is not Jimmy Carter's questions, or B&C's parody of those questions. The important things are the issues that Carter and B&C raise. At a time when our President's approval ratings hover in the 30's and his Vice President's are in the teens, it's time to take a step back (conservatives and liberals alike) and see if we can get this country back on track. Something is terribly rotten in the District of Columbia (Tom Delay, Abramoff, the domestic spying scandal, bungling Iraq), and its the man in charge who is responsible for it. The buck really does stop with him. Let's talk about that, and not about ridiculing former Presidents who have long been scorned by their own party. It would be loads of fun to come up with a similar set of questions as posted by Dan Quayle (no spell check here), but is that really relevant?

Oh, and the second reason I decided to take on the questions was because its always fun to debate with B&C (helps sharpen my thoughts!), and I haven't done it in a while. ;)
 
Cruisin' Mom - I've always been to the left, just not as left as I've been labeled (especially here) in the past. Maybe that's why you're confused
 
TOBY & Ball & Chain:

I do understand that B&C was posing those questions as a parody; However I have personally been asked the same questions, almost verbatim, by a frequenter of this coffee house who emailed me yesterday and was serious; that is why I used it as an example. I should have been more clear that I understood what B&C was doing. Sorry Ball and Chain if it came across that I was slamming you. Wasn't. Salach li.

I find that people who are truly witty are also truly intelligent - irregardless of their political/religious beliefs. Don't really know Al Franken, I only remember him from Saturday Night Live, so I can't comment on his humor. Although I think we all tend to laugh more at the people who create humor that falls in line with our own worldview.

I know Borowitz quite well - no need to link. A Great Thinker. More 'old school' than I am, but interesting stuff. I also wish his covenant theology was applied to a greater level of committment to observance and the place of mitzvot in that theology and in the Reform movement, but hey, that is another discussion!

Wanderer:

Interesting; food for thought. Where do you get those statistics? I have seen statistics that are all over the place depending on the website I visit. Who do you trust? Where do you go for accurate UNBIASED info?
 
I have taken the liberty of responding to the quiz:

1.Do you prefer peace or war?

War. Particularly against bad guys (Nazis, Islamist fanatics, Slobedon Milosevic, Noriega, Hussein, Bin Ladin etc, etc).

2.Do favor tax breaks for the richest Americans or working families?

The former. In California, $1 million bucks buys a modest 3 bedroom home. So, on paper, Yes, I am a rich American.


3. Would you rather destroy the environment or protect it?

Protect it (Ok, I'm going soft)

4. Do you approve the torture of prisoners?

Yes

5. Do you think our government should secretly spy on your family?

My family? Hell Yes -- they are subversives.

6.Do you think we should abandon every nuclear arms control agreement negotiated since Dwight Eisenhower was president?

Emphatically, Yes.

7.Do you approve of your part of the national debt now being $28,000 and increasing by $300 each month?

No, I would substantially cut federal spending across the board.

8. Do you think we should meld religion and government?

Yes. I think we should make Hannukkah a national holiday.

So, I'm 2 for 9 -- which makes me a 22% Democrat, I reckon.

Say, those questions weren't a bit loaded, were they?:)
 
Legal: Bwahahahaha teeeheee haaaa haaa, oooohoooheee! Thanks. I needed that. (Especially funny because I know your family. They are subversives!)
 
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OK, I’m back from the Easter egg hunt (don’t ask) and ready to rumble. However, I must make a couple things clear.

First, my whole post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek and was written very quickly. It is neither a comprehensive nor completely accurate reflection of my beliefs. For example, when I ask if you would be willing to change your lifestyle to improve the environment, what I really mean is would any of us be willing to live in a grass shack with one pot to !@$ in and one pot to cook in order to preserve the environment? I did not mean would you be willing to buy fluorescent bulbs for your two story home, with heating and air conditioning and hot and cold running water.

That being said, I do believe most of what I have written and will take the time to analyze and respond to your comments.

1-Regarding fighting for our values. Wanderer, I used to feel as you do until I realized that we could “civil-right” ourselves out of existence. If we maintain all the freedoms we had before September 11th, the terrorists win. They can meet and organize in Mosques and the government can do nothing about it. They can find out that their phone calls are being tapped and move the meetings to the aforementioned Mosque. Without any kind of ethnic-profiling our attempts at security become a joke. We can let the world know that we have absolutely ruled out torture and our prisoners will laugh in our faces. Remember that we interred Japanese-Americans during the Second World War, quite a violation of civil liberties. We can argue if we were justified but we cannot argue that the rights of Japanese-Americans (and all ethnic minorities) have grown tremendously since WWII. Therefore, the bottom line is that I do think we can compromise our core values to some extent in the short term to be sure that our daughters don’t have to be veiled to appear in public or that our future doesn’t consist of worrying when the next bomb will go off.

2-You know I am not a Libertarian so you should know that I favor some taxation for the common good. I do believe however, that the current tax rates that take approximately 50% from people like us (State and Federal) are criminal and unfair.

3-I have already addressed this in my opening comments but none of us, even those who ride around with Ralph Nader bumper stickers on their cars would be willing to live without heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, hot and cold running water, a variety of food that is well about what is required for human survival (and that we don’t grow ourselves) and a car (or two). We live soooo far above subsistence level that we can’t even imagine another way. We can sit at our computers in our comfortable homes and quibble about solar energy and hybrid cars but our lifestyle will continue to have an impact on the environment. We wouldn’t really want it any other way.

4-I have sort of addressed this too. You and I differ on what “within reason” is, probably based on how imminent we feel is the threat of Islamofascism to our lives. Maybe I am more sensitive because I am female. Pick up a book about what it is like for woman and girls to live in Arab countries and then follow the MEMRI tapes about what these fanatics want to do to the West (not to mention Israel). Imagine what happens if the whole world abandons the US and then we elect a Democrat who gets us out of Iraq and Afghanistan and decides to focus her administration on the uninsured. How long do you think it will take before the all-out assaults begin?

5-You know as well as I do that certain Congressmen, both Democrats and Republicans were briefed on the wiretapping. I won’t insult your intelligence by reminding you that George Bush isn’t a dictator and has to go through proper channels for these activities. The hubbub will die down soon.

6-Really? Let’s look at an analogy. You know that Bean and I have a gun. Would you really care if we bought another? Or a dozen? Probably not. How about your (fictitious) neighbor, the one who drinks too much, occasionally loses his temper in public and hits his wife. Would you care if he bought a gun? I don’t care if the United States doubled her stockpile of nuclear weapons, she would never use them injudiciously. However, if Iran has a single atom bomb, the whole world is in jeopardy.

7-Again, really? Reagan increased the deficit and won the Cold War and moved many countries from dictatorships to democracies. That wasn’t worth it? Remember the “peace dividend?” It was all the surplus money we thought we would have when the Cold War was over. Too bad the Arab radicals ruined it for us.

8-I heard on the radio today that the US military is no longer allowed to fund the Boy Scouts because it is a quasi-religious organization. I think that is anti-religious bigotry. This kind of government sponsoring of religious organizations was, of course, what Jimmy Carter was talking about. I don’t think many people are really worried that George Bush is planning on setting up a fundamentalist Christian state and appointing himself Emperor. Actually, I take that back. Maybe THAT was what Jimmy Carter was talking about. Also, as an aside, slavery ended over one hundred years ago. Thousands of Christian men died to abolish it.
 
B&C: That was brilliant, every word. Have you noticed how quiet the feminists have been about what goes on in Moslem countries?

All they talk about is their hysterical fear that the Supreme Court might throw the abortion issue back into the fifty state legislatures, where it properly belongs.

Why aren't they thanking George Bush that girls are allowed to go to school in Afghanistan? Not a peep, down the memory hole.

When I speak of feminists, I use the word "hysterical" advisedly, in its most pejorative etymological sense.
 
Toby:

I am not going to comment on what you wrote, except to say that your use of the word "hysterical" in that context made me LOL - very few people (that I know of) know the etymology of that word; nice touch.

B&C:

I think you're right about many women being more sensitive to Islamic fascism; can't fathom a world where I wasn't allowed to drive/vote/be seen in public.

Ralphie, Bean, B&C,:

I am impressed at your abilities to have discussions that for the most part remain respectful and productive; no mean feat given your strong views and those of your commentors (not all of whom share your diplomatic abilities). Since I started having coffee here, my day has gotten much more entertaining; this is far more interesting than chasing my youngest (2) who has decided that she is a nudist. Wherever she might be. Like, say, Target.
 
Toby and EK: We must meet someday. It is really, really hard to find women like you. Hysterical (in its literal sense) is exactly the right word. It absolutely boggles my mind that women are more worried about their right to abort than the fundamental civil rights of women all over the world. I also know the feeling of trying to get out an intelligent thought while toddlers clamor for more milk or swat their older sisters. If it weren't for this blog, I would have to resort to standing on streetcorners with placards to have my voice heard.
 
I think the civil rights of all women - American or otherwise are fundemental; I think we can be rather sanguine about our rights here in the USA because we have them. We are used to having them. Should some of them be taken away, perhaps we would be less so. Not to start THIS thread, but I do worry that "values" will override common sense in this department.

It would be fun to meet, if we're still speaking to each other at that point - I'll wear my Kevlar ;-) hee hee!
 
B & C:

I appreciate your response, both in content and tone. A few points:

I agree that you and I have a different "civil rights violation thermostat" - mine simply ends where the Constitution ends, and I'm not willing to tolerate violations beyond that setpoint. The fact that other people in DC knew about the wiretapping doesn't make it anymore legal for the Executive Branch (or any Branch for that matter) to ignore the Constitution and the law. Just because we treat Japanese-Americans as equal citizens now doesn't excuse what was done to them during World War II (and its debatable whether it even helped the war effort). I'm not sure the hubbub will die down so soon in any case, but I disagree with what Russ Feingold is doing as it is politically motivated and excessive, in the same way that the Clinton impeachment effort shouldn't have happened (and hope you would agree). You're right that George Bush isn't a dictator or a monarch, but his recent behavior would indicate that he thinks he might be. If its that important and right to violate our civil rights in the short term for long term benefits, lets get those laws passed in the legislature, and then there will be no question of legality. But then there's that pesky Constitution again...

I agree that there is a lot of hypocrisy about being an environmentalist these days, but do think we can do more.

I'm not sure you understood what I was saying about nukes. I don't believe anyone else should acquire nukes whether they are my drunken wife-beating neighbour or the reform Rabbi who lives on the other side. I believe strongly in non-proliferation period, and hope some of the current nuclear powers would also take steps to disarm.

With regard to Reagan and deficit spending - you know I disagree with your take on why "we won the Cold War." The only reason we recovered from deficit spending was because of 8 years of Bill Clinton and the dot-com boom. All the gains made during those years have of course since been squandered by Bush the Second's ill-advised tax cuts and the cost of the war in Iraq (which at the moment at least I'm not too sure is money well spent). Its ok though, the next Democratic (and democratically-elected) President will get that deficit down again.

Finally, in keeping with the "hysterical" tone, while it is often suggested that the situation of women in Afghanistan has improved since we invaded (and it has), the situation in Iraq is much murkier. There are many sources suggesting that the situation of women in Iraq has actually worsened significantly since we "brought democracy there." I'd be interesting in hearing your take on that.
 
1. I would be honored and delighted to have coffee with B&C and EK any time, and am too shy in person to argue with any heat! So no matter how strongly I might disagree with EK on some issues (I don't think B&C and I have any disagreements), we would have a perfectly friendly and sunny conversation if we ever met.

2. Bush believed on very good authority that he was acting within -- not againt -- the Constitution, and the law.

I don't know how men can be hysterical but on the subject of our imminent descent into tyranny and fascism -- many liberal men do seem to be hysterical.

3. From what I hear, Saddam Hussein's sons no longer operate a rape room where they have their way with 14-yer-old girls who happen to catch their eye. But I could be wrong. Maybe the rape room is still in operation, only now it's American G.I.s having their way with the local women, could be.

4. Before I had children I had a good friend whose two-year-old was a nudist. I was shocked and horrified at her cavalier attitude to raising a pervert in her own home. Cute? How could she think that was cute?

Then into my life came my own nudist, and oy, was he adorable! He's 17 now and no longer even remembers his nudist stage... Tempus Fugit.
 
Wanderer: Well, we have calmly stated our positions and we don't agree. I realize that a lot of the disagreement with people like you stems from two bases
1-How imminent we believe is the threat of Islamofascism.
2-How much we believe in goverment conspiracy. I don't mean conspiracy in its most pejorative form such as those who believe there is a secret Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, rather I mean those who believe that George Bush knew there were no WMDs in Iraq and that he and higher-ups in the government secretly spread false information. I generally believe that large organizations can't harbor conspiracy and that most Americans are people of good will who attempt to do the right thing. In my mind, this includes our elected representative, Jimmy Carter also. He may be wrong, as Bush may be wrong but I don't believe that either had malevolent intent. If you believe that the threat of Islamic fanaticism is nigh and that George Bush is a decent man who mostly wants to protect the US, you can believe that his actions are wrong but can't get hysterical and think that he is trying to appoint himself ruler over the free world. Also, you give him more latitude to make mistakes. hope we can debate again.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
TK- of course the fact that the rape rooms are gone is a good thing, but doesn't it bother you when Iraqi women say:

"You sit on the bus and have abuse heaped on you by the fanatics because you are not wearing the hijab [Islamic head covering]. These things never used to happen." Or, "The Americans came into Afghanistan and the women were able to take off their burkas and taste freedom. Here, the Americans come in and we are forced to cover ourselves and become chattels. Democracy will crush the spirit of the Iraqi woman." Women have been killed for wearing pants. Maybe that doesn't bother you and you think its a good trade off (I don't know if you where a burqa and a veil or not), but an entire society taken back to medieval dress codes and attitudes towards women doesn't work for me as a citizen of the country that "liberated" Iraq.

Despite our best intentions, it appears we are in the process of creating the Islamic (read it as Islamofascist, if you like) Republic of Iraq. Unless, of course, the ongoing civil war breaks it apart first.

B & C: I don't think there is a conspiracy, and Bush is for the most part a decent human being who it would be fun to watch the Super Bowl with. He shouldn't be running a country though. I think the Bush Administration has engaged in groupspeak and self-fulfilling prophecies. They have talked themselves and us into believing what they want to believe, whether based in fact or not. Bush is actually the de facto leader of the free world and doesn't need to appoint himself that. The problem is that he doesn't realize that the role does not give him carte blanche to act above the law. Bush may have believed (on very good albeit wrong) authority that he was acting within the law and Constitution, but he wasn't. Its inexcusable that didn't know that it was wrong and illegal, unless he doesn't care because, after all, he is the leader of the free world. He needs to fess up that he messed up, and move along. I would give him more latitude to make mistakes if he would realize that he was making them and admit it.

Its ok to be a conservative and not be an apologist for Bush's follies.
 
Bush has done a lot wrong. But tapping phone calls - that's international phone calls only, when the non-American party is linked to a known terrorist organization - is not wrong. It is not wrong in theory, and it is not wrong according to the Constitution of the United States. Also, and I admit this doesn't speak to its constitutionality, it might very well have stopped 9/11 if it had already been in practice.

Also, despite the overall genteel tone of this debate, it is an insulting tactic to imply that those who believe other than you have been talked into what they believe, either by others or by themselves.
 
Good point Ralphie, and I apologize if you or anyone was insulted. But then I guess I need to apologize to myself as well, because I believed it too, until the truth came out...
 
Let me state for the record that I do not feel insulted. Also for the record, this is the kind of debate that I can engage in. I simply cannot discuss anything with the "Bush lied, people died" crowd. Surprisingly, this includes many of our dear friends. I have been able to discuss whether Iraq was the appropriate second target of our war agains terrorism, or whether or not the Iraqis people are even capable of democracy. Also, I agree with Ralphie. Furthermore, the Iraq war might prove to have been a bad idea. I am willing to concede that point. But, we didn't know that beforehand and we had to do something. Did you wanderer, did any of us have a better plan? If the Iraq war fails, the Democrats will gloat, but will they have even a shred of an idea how to stop another major terrorist attack?
 
Sorry, now I am starting to lose clarity. The prospect of the Iraq war failing and the next Democratic president deciding to ignore our battle against Muslim fanatics terrifies me. if we can't agree on what to do after September 11th, what kind of hideous attack will it take before we come together and act decisively. I thought 9/11 was our Pearl Harbor, now I see that our actual "Pearl Harbor" will have to be much worse.
 
I don't think a Democratic President would abandon our battle with Muslim fanatics, though its tone might change, for better or for worse. The problem with the War on Terror in general is that it is not a conventional war, and therefore conventional tactics (i.e. invading Iraq) may not work. I don't agree with the approach of we had to something - we did, we invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban, which I believe did more to weaken Al Qaeda and the Islamofascists than toppling Saddam. Initially we all thought (me too) that invading Iraq was a good second move, but that was based on a certain set of "facts" that were presented to us. Without assigning blame or accusing anyone of lying, those facts turned out not to be the case, and now things aren't going so well.

I don't have any better answers and wish I did, but the arrogance and certainty that Bush has exuded as we have waged the war on terror thus far is troubling, particularly as events have not unfolded the way we might have hoped. It worries me too that we don't have a "shred of an idea how to stop another major terrorist attack." That's the same realization Sharon and the Kadima party came to in Israel, which is why the wall is going up. Maybe something like that is the best approach.
 
a-A wall is fine by me.
b-Do you want the President to exude an aura of defeatism and fatalism instead of certainty of our mission? He's also talking to the troops, you know.
 
Naw - you're right, I actually regretted saying that after I posted it. He needs to put on a good strong face for the troops, and for our enemies. I guess he just bugs me...

I can't decide whether or not to include the Brits on our side of the wall or not. I like London alot, but there are alot of Islamofascists there. Europe is pretty much out, except for Denmark...
 
Now you're talking my language! I know, we can make an enemies list!
 
Wanderer asked: " doesn't it bother you when Iraqi women say:

"You sit on the bus and have abuse heaped on you by the fanatics because you are not wearing the hijab [Islamic head covering]. These things never used to happen." Or, "The Americans came into Afghanistan and the women were able to take off their burkas and taste freedom. Here, the Americans come in and we are forced to cover ourselves and become chattels"

Yes, it bothers me, but the war isn't over. There is a huge battle going on Iraq over what kind of government and society it will end up with. The people who are forcing women into burkas in Iraq are not agents of the new Iraqi government but so-called insurgents who are opposed to the elected govt and to the US. Naturally I hope they will be defeated but I know it will be a long struggle.
 
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