A Journal on Freedom, Faith, and Fishing
Shame on anyone for making light of this situation. Just as the conservatives say this woman is being "used", isn't just as much an abuse to use this dissolution of a marriage as the butt of a joke. Even if you don't like this woman, a broken marriage is not a joke. For the Cons to say they believe in the institution of marriage and yet to make light of this shows there true, cruel heart. Then again, Newt left told his wife that he was divorcing her while she was in the hospital. Now there is family valuesI find it interesting that as far as I know, none of the Neo Con Hawks have any children fighting this battle. In addition, I think that only two or three members of Congress have children serving. Of the Hawks in the Neo Con camp, how many served there country? How can they believe so deeply in the defense of this country, but not have served it. I find it intersting that those who often urged the most caution in the prusuit of this war were men who knew what fighting a war was about. Do we have to stay and clean up the mess, yes, but the questions of how we got to this point in nation building must be asked. Will it change the current situation, no, but it may prevent further follies. The Neo Cons would have done well to spend a lot more time watching the Battle of Algiers. This war has really been two wars. The first was the war to depose Saddam, which went well. But it doesn't take a genius to have know the outcome of that war. The second war that is now being fought is truly a civil one. The foolish notion that this is about those who want to prevent democracy is wrong. This is a battle between the Shia and Sunni groups. The insurgency uses the US involvement as a rallying point, but the honest truth is that we are now in a very Viet Nam-style struggle. If we left tomorrow, there would still be fighting among the Shia and Sunni factions, and probably the Kurds. The reason there is no good solution to this now civil war, is due to a poor understanding pre-war of the real sentiment of the Iraqis.Just as JFK was wrong to listen to the Cuban exiles, so was the Bush administration in listening to the sycophantic ramblings of Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. Real, accurate on the ground assessments, and listening to those who urged caution (not necessarily not going to war, but a longer time line before hand). Those who urged that caution often were the men that would have to fight that war, people in the Pentagon and the Generals in the field. But the Neo-cons live in an insular world where very little outside information filters in that goes against the party line.We now have left ourselves open on too many fronts. Too late now, but the Iraqi War was the wrong war at the wrong time. Iran, as I knew then, was a much greater threat. Afganistan is still only a moderate success, and that could change because we have relied on all the wrong people there.What was forgotten from Viet Nam is that building a nation is heavy lifting. You can't force your ethnocentric ways on to others, no matter how big the bombs. It is their country, and their sphere of the world. They can wait us out. Right or wrong, not everyone wants American Brand Democracy.
Ms. Sheehan has wrecked her marriage. Clearly Mr. Sheehan is fleeing to regain his sanity. Ms. Sheehan, sadly, is a lost cause. She has used other people, namely the names of fallen soldiers of families - with a completely different opinion about the war - for her own political purposes. She has been completely shameless about this. She's left the remains of her family totally estranged to participate in a pointless, embarassing circus. Shame on her.Your point regarding the lack of Iraq service by "neocon children", whatever that denotes, is completely ridiculous. We all know what this discussion is all about - the Bush Twins, as if W needs to offer them up as sacrifice in order to earn the moral authority to lead the war. I think W feels very deeply about the losses incurred in the war. Unless you drink the pink Kool-Aid.Your analysis of the Iraq situation is just wrong. Talk to the company commanders coming back, who've reupped for a another tour. Why is it the Left squawks about democracy and human rights, but when it really comes down to doing the hard work - stopping the bad guys that would who would deny this to an oppressed people - the Left turns tail? Sometimes the choices are crappy and really crappy. I think we chose crappy for now, better later. Yes, the politics is going to get nasty from our point of view, with lots of gunplay, but I doubt we they will go through as bloody a conflict as we did in the Civil War in order just to begin to secure real freedom for all Americans. You gave some great examples:Afghanistan - ah yes, the formation of an Afghan style democracy don't mean squat - why?Because of the opium warlords? Heck, by that reasoning, let's give Detroit to the Taliban. I think it's the Left that has the hard time coping with cultural idiosyncracies and flaws in democracy building. Not every country can be as enlightened as San Fransisco. Perhaps the Left feels that certain peoples (Afghans, Chinese, Cubans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Koreans, etc) aren't up to the challenge of self-determination and the basic dignity of individual rights. That they need a Vanguard of Elites to guide them?Cuba: one of the truly great tragedies of the 20th century. The real Gulag of the Carribean. And the Left could not care less, indeed they celebrate Cuban literacy, health care (as long as your not a political prisoner and can avoid the Party's blackball list). Don't you think that Cuba has paid one helluva big price for the luxury of the Commies having complete power? Wouldn't the Left be screaming its lungs out if this was, say, Rhodesia? (By the way, where is the Left is condemning that nightmare Zimbabwe?)Vietnam: the Left totally ignores the terror that was inflicted on our deserted friends: prison, reprisals, "reeducation". Or did the refugees risk their lives going to sea on flimsy rafts on a whim? Once again, the enlightened Left self-righteously turned their back on these people - and they suffered.Is it asking for "American style" democracy when you seek basic human rights, say, as expressed in Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms", or the original UN Charter? If so, then let's give it to the world.
You chose to imply things that I did not say. That is inaccurate and unfair. I have often given you the benefit of being more thoughtful and kind than your rhetoric. I guess I was wrong. You painted me with the childish brush of "Lefty". That, and your analysis is just as smug as the "elite" of the left you carp about. Just because you have the Ann Coulter liberal decoder ring, doesn't mean you know me. You know a stereotype and that is all. You are as arrogant in your opinion as those you accuse on the left. You choose to say "your wrong", and expect me accept your opinion as gospel. Remember, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and everyone thinks theirs smells better. Who is playing at elitism.It is sad because I thought you to be more thoughtful. I thought you might seek facts as opposed to preconceptions. You presupposed my beliefs, my opinions and that is intellectually dishonest and shame on you.MATTHEW 7:1-5:"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother's eye."
"Physician, heal thyself."Yes, you have correctly concluded I am thoughtless and cruel.I think is was you who disparaged the "Neo Con Hawks" as hypocrites. I think it was you who claimed that Neocons live an insular world, and are essentially detatched from reality. I think it was you who assumed that defending Vietnam from Communism is forcing our enthnocentric ways on others, and clearly, clearly by inference - suggesting the same in Iraq? Did you perhaps consider that your comments might over the line? Did you consider that your comments may have a heapin' helpin' of presuppositions? It is not elitist to read an analysis of an issue, measure it against facts and history, and reject it as baloney.
Again, I see that you are still misrepresenting my statements. That is fine. I did not go over the line. At no time did I try to use Neo con or conservative as a pejorative, which is what you did with "Lefty". That is not a discussion or analysis, that is name calling based in bias. I hope that you will do me the service of allowing a refuting of some statements.First, prove me wrong on the Neo-cons, how many served in the military? Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or any of the others, did they serve? If they believe that our country is best served by sacrifice (not necessarily death, death is not the only sacrifice of the military), why didn't they join the military. If they believed that the anti-democracy forces must be met and dealt with, why didn't they serve in Viet Nam or just in the military in general?Why, if they have these beliefs in their home aren't their kids signing up like mad? Many kids grow up to have many of the beliefs of their parents, so where is the realization of that belief in action? Why aren't the children of those in congress (with some exceptions) serving on the battlefield (and that is both sides of the aisle, because I can see without being blindly loyal to the left as opposed to apparently those on the right). They were of age, why didn't the neo-cons serve. Sure, some people talk about exemptions, but lets look at War II. How many cases of men too young who lied to GET IN to the war effort. Men who lied or tried to get around their physical status to go off to fight. Many of these men had all the exemptions under which the many hawks opted out of Viet Nam, and yet went because of belief. My God, Bush Senior, Dole, Hagel, Mc Cain, they all saw their civic duty to serve because not only of their beliefs, but the way they were raised to believe. Mc Cain could have gone anywhere safe because of his father, but he went and served in the hardest of ways.At no point, none did I say the Bush twins. You brought that up because you have heard some leftys say it, so of course you had to stick that one in my mouth. If I had meant the twins, I would have said so, as opposed to your not so subtle implication that if I thought Bush didn't "feel for the families" that I must be "drinking pinko kool-aid" (Hi Joe, didn't know they dug you up). What is that nonsense, where did I say that I thought Bush didn't care about the families. Opps, there you went again, putting words in my mouth. Because I'm a lefty, I must think that he wants soliders to die, and could care less because that is how you hear the anti-war movement. I know of very few people don't care about people dying, including those on the left. I find that those among the conservatives who weren't exactly in a rush to war are those who served in Viet Nam or to some other extent. Why did they express caution, because they realize what really happens. Their notion of war was formed by service, not by too many movies. And when these men questioned the timing and manner of the war, as I did, they were called on their patriotism, their conviction by the neo-cons. This included several generals who were concerned about how we were going about things. They were mocked by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, men with vast military experience.Look what they did to Max Cleland, John Mc Cain or what they are saying now about Hagel. If you don't goose-step to the party line (to use an analogy you like to toss at the left carelessly) and obey without question, you don't know what you are talking about, you have the facts wrong. The problem is that there just aren't neo-con facts, and reality is not a press release (especially if it came from Armstrong Williams). Blind faith is required, don't look at the man behind the curtain, accept what we say, we are right. I choose to look outside of the box. They haven't been right about much regarding this war. No weapons of mass destruction, no 45 minutes to launch, limited troop numbers at the outset of war, the over-belief in how the building process would go, all very flawed. If you don't take my word, take that of Colin Powell (or several other retired generals of all political takes), whom I have always respected (and look at how the neo-cons treated him and the State Dept, shamefully) Hence my statement about relying on the wrong people for intelligence. Didn't ever say we shouldn't have helped the Iraqis. Just didn't agree with how we went about conducting the war.I never said that Viet Nam shouldn't have been defended against an outside influence, communist or other, you are the one who said that. What I did say is that maybe the Viet Namese did want more say in what happened to them, not more puppet governments like Bao Dai, Diem, Khanh, Ky and others. They didn't want the structures imposed on them. Try the Fire in the Lake, try Viet Nam: The Television History Companion, try Everything We Had, or how about A Rumor of War. Or for fun, The Rise to Globalism. Should we have helped the Viet Namese, was it horrible what happened during and afterwards to the people (including those in Cambodia and Laos), Damn right it was. Again I quibble with how, not if we should have. So you have implied my argument from your biased belief about us softy liberals never believing in war or heavy lifting, a false assumption made about my opinions.My statement about ethnocentrism and democracy is due to the understanding I gained from friends who are Viet Namese, and lived or who's parents lived through that experience. It is also gained through extensive reading about Viet Nam to try and form an opinion about its meaning for myself, not just accept a party line. You might do well to look at the work of Abraham Maslow. If you look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it say until you can satisfy basic needs, food, shelter, physical safety, you can't think about higher ideals. This is because you spend much of your energy and thought on getting those essential things. When you are poor or hungry there tends to be a lot less time for philosophy and ideals, and more time just surviving. Well that is what the Viet Namese and now the Iraqis (as well as many other groups in the world) spent (spend) their time doing. The Viet Namese were less concerned with what democracy was, than with getting food for their families. People in that situation are less worried about democratic ideals than with what ever ideals help to keep them and their families alive. We didn't understand that, why, because we are a well-feed, sheltered nation. You and I have plenty of time to wax philosophical, they just wanted to survive. And if democracy does that, fine, but what ever gets it done is what they will cleave to. What they saw, through people like Diem, is that maybe the American way wasn't so swell. The communists tortured and killed, but so did the the puppet governments. Hungry or beaten minds don't care too much about democracy or communism, just what will feed and protect them. The error of ethnocentrism was to not trying to understand who we were dealing with, and what mattered to them. We have been better with the Iraqis in this process, but we forget what is important. The average person in the street in Iraqi wants electricity, wants a job, wants food. Until you can provide these, they could careless aobut the ideal of democracy. When the cities are 100 or more degree and there is no electricity, democracy doesn't mean much. Look at New Orleans, how much do you think they care about the democratic process, as opposed to getting drinking water or food or shelter.Had we been able to put more troops in early to control the country initially, had we kept more people employed (you might want to check what the unemployment rate is in Iraq), we might not be in this mess. We spent so much time thinking about democracy we forgot the basics, and that is ethnocentrism. Why, because only a country that has the basics can afford to forget about them. As I said though, right now in the South a sad reminder of how important the basics are is occuring.I never said that Afghanistan was a failure, I did say they were a moderate success. Even Hamid Karai has complained about the influence and power of the warlords. I will consider Afghanistan to be a complete success when there isn't a need for a warlord in the process (drugs or no drugs). Warlords are never a part of democracy. To imply that they are is ludacris, and as specious as your Detroit analogy.My reference to Cuba was made to highlight the error of bad, sycophantic intelligence for military ops. What has happened in Cuba is a sad story. Am I glad they have a high literacy rate, sure as I would be for any country including our own. But to imply that I don't think Castro should be gone, or that the way literacy occured is also assumption not grounded in fact. I also care about Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, North and South Korea, China and a long list of countries suffering poverty and oppression in one form or another. I believe that intervention should occur if necessary, but not pre-emption if there isn't going to be better intelligence. You and other conservatives are practicing political PC. If anyone disagrees or fails to follow accept the conservative beliefs, sanction, attrition, pejoratives, not discussion occur.
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