Friday, October 08, 2004

“The President and the Vice President may well be the last two people on the planet who won’t face the truth about Iraq.”


Chief U.S. weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer confirms that Administration claims on Iraqi WMDs a falsehood

This marks the first of what will likely be several blogs addressing the current situation in Iraq, the dire importance of the upcoming election and other political discourse as I find the time to post them here…


Yesterday, Chief U.S. weapons hunter Charles Duelfer told the President what the rest of us have known for over a year—that Saddam not only had no weapons of mass destruction and had not made any for well over a decade, but that he didn’t even have the capability of making any either. This evening, the President remained unapologetic and unrepentant despite conceding in the clearest terms yet that Mr. Duelfer’s report was indeed correct.

Why is this huge news?

Because, when the President laid out his case over a year ago for going to war this was his principal reason. Secondary was the case that these very weapons were pointed at America and her allies, and poised mere minutes from launch.

Only months after the fall of Baghdad, when it was becoming increasingly clear that America’s detractors, both at home and in Europe, had validation for their insistence on greater time, diplomacy and scrutiny in Iraq, the Administration was already spinning misinformation. Suddenly, those who cheerleaded the war changed their rallying cry to say that Saddam was a very bad man who did very bad things and it was very good that he was toppled. Yes, yes, and yes. But at the end of the day it’s still spin. At the end of the day, we, the American people were still told that we had to go to war to defeat a terrorist regime in bed in with Al Qaeda and it simply, plainly, and now officially WAS NOT TRUE.

Say what you will about the outcome of the war and the supposed birth of freedom in the Middle East—our reasoning was wrong, our resolution flawed, and our execution half-ass. Let’s be honest for a moment here—little Iraqi children back in school for the first time in decades isn’t the point. Elections aren’t the point. New hospitals aren’t the point. Female equality isn’t the point. A more stable Middle East isn’t the point. Even a liberated and free people aren’t the point. None of it’s the point—it’s the spin. You cannot judge a thing on its outcome when the byproduct was incidental, tangential even to your intended purpose. I was raised to believe that the end does not justify the means. Obviously some of us missed that lesson.

Bush still insists that Saddam Hussein would have built weapons of mass destruction given the opportunity. Well, of course he would have. But it's now clear that the international sanctions worked—he was denied that desire—all without shedding a drop of blood. Touted as a deeply ethical and moral leader, President Bush has still not been brave enough—honest enough—to look the American people in the eye and say, “I was wrong and I take full responsibility for my actions.” Instead, he gets on TV today, claiming the Duelfer report actually supported his actions and again tried to muddy the waters by justifying the invasion because Saddam was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program. And this is why over a thousand U.S. servicemen and somewhere between 13,000 and 15,000 Iraqis have lost their lives!? This is why a massive number of our lifelong allies distrust and revile us!? This is why the true butchers of 911 are allowed to slip away while the U.S. war hammer is brought down horrendously off target!? This is why nearly the entire Arab world has been brought to the brink of jihad and the threat of cataclysmic terrorism not decreased as the President would like us to believe, but actually phenomenally amplified!?

Several times a week I spent numerous hours counseling middle school children in my city who have been deemed “at risk” by their teachers and are already on the slippery slopes to a wasted life of crime and heartache. One of the things I try to get them to understand is that when they do something wrong, they must be man enough to step up, own up to their actions, and take whatever heat comes of their actions.

Mr. President, I’ll save you a seat at my next session.


P.S.—Don’t bother responding about John Kerry’s voting record on the Iraqi war and other such diversions. I didn’t allude to him once (though I concede that it is his quote that leads the blog) and for good reason. This isn’t about him. It’s about our current Commander in Chief.

8 Comments:

Blogger Krista said...

"One of the things I try to get them to understand is that when they do something wrong, they must be man enough to step up, own up to their actions, and take whatever heat comes of their actions."

Very admirable. My hat is off to you!

Beautiful pics (Congrats!), interesting news, well-written... I've linked you on my blog. :)

Keep it coming! I'll be back.

1:55 AM  
Blogger E.J. Desormeaux said...

Yup, Bush was wrong. All of Washington was wrong. The whole world was wrong. The following lists everyone and their quotes claiming without a doubt that S.H. had WBDs. http://glommingtheskinny.blogspot.com/2004/10/bush-wrong-on-wmdsso-was-rest-of-world.html

12:54 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Brandon,
I had intended to write this much sooner, but out of respect for your blog page I decided to wait until the subject was brought up by you before addressing this series of topics. That being said, I make no promises to keep my comments strictly what you have written about above. If I feel John Kerry's voting record or stance on Iraq is of relevence I will bring it up. You have opened the gates, I hope you are ready for the flood. I will address these and other issues as they come to mind, in no particular order.
First off, let us just get one thing straight right off the bat: If you are against the war in Iraq, then nothing I write here will probably make a lick of difference to any of you, I hope none the less that you all can be honest with yourselves as you read this.

Brandon writes:

"This is why nearly the entire Arab world has been brought to the brink of jihad and the threat of cataclysmic terrorism not decreased as the President would like us to believe, but actually phenomenally amplified!?"

Moot point. Lets entertain a theory here shall we? Lets all travel ot the land of make-believe and pretend for just a moment that Iraq had never been invaded. Saddam is still in power and the U.N. is still in control of enforcing 17 ignorred resolutions. Do any of you, ANY OF YOU, actually think that this situation would not still be taking place in Afganistan? All I ever here is from Liberals is, "Afganistan: Good, Iraq: Bad!", in reference to this. As if Zarqui and ilk would somehow have just said, "oh, its just Afganistan, our perfect little Islamic Utopia that was leveled by the Americans, its not worth fighting for." Are you kidding me!? We would be facing the exact same situation there as we are in Iraq, as indeed we are and have been since before the war in Iraq started, just to a lesser degree because the new front is now Iraq (stange that so many terrorist could choose Iraq as their rallying point when Saddam clearly never had anything to do with terrorists. It's not even a true Arab country!). They would still be cutting off 'infidels' heads with butter knives while crying "ALLAH ACKBAR!", and insurgents who hate America and everything it stands for would still be pouring into Afganistan from around the Arab world and else where to answer the call to a holy jihad. But everybody says the invasion of Afganistan was a great thing and needed to be done. What did you think?! This was going to be a three month war and nobody would have to get dirty or killed over it? Do you think that if Iraq wasn't next on the hit list that we would finish installing a new democratic government within Afganistan by the end of the year, all the terriorists would go home and find decent respectable jobs and that would be the end of it? That there would be no more operations against Arab nations that support terrorists. Are you so diluted?
Wake Up America! We are at war! These people hate us, they hate our country, they hate are way of life, they blame us for all the ills that have befallen them (rather than their despot leaders that have all the power to change their peoples circumstances, but choose themselves instead). They want us dead. They want YOU dead, they want your KIDS dead, they want your SPOUSE dead, they want you entire family DEAD! They want to burn America to the ground just as they would burn our flag. They hate us because their leaders (both 'governmental' and 'religous' leaders have used the west and America in particualr, as Hitler used the Jews before WWII to rally the 'troops' against a common enemy so that they could push their fundamentalist agendas without anybody noticing). They hate us because we dare to think that Israel has a right to EXIST and support them to that end! Did you think that we could return to our normal lives as if Sept 11 never happened? Thus ends the terrorist threat to America? Please. The Arab world hated us long before we invaded Iraq and will continue to hate us long afterwards. To this I say: So what? The Arabs don't like us you say? Oh no! Lets send Mad Madaline Halfbright over there so that she can negotiate a contract stipulating that we are friends with the Arab world. Oh wait! We aren't! And why not!? Because aside from Turkey there isn't a single democratic nation in all the rat infested sand pit known as the middle east! Incidentally, isn't it odd that nobody in Turkey has ever declared a jihad against us depite a large muslim population? I wonder why? Maybe has to do with the relative prosperity of their people since they all get to have a say in their democratic government and capitalistic economy? The only other Middle Eastern Arab country to enjoy some level of "the good life" is Jordan, and that is only because King Hussein is an ultimately good and nobel man, but what happens after he is gone? Have you all forgotten that the U.S. opposes such governments and such thugs clocked in a ruler's clothing? Why don't we just lament that the North Koreans don't like us, or the Cubans for that matter. Did any of you honestly believe that we would be safer in the post Sept 11 world than we were in the pre Sept 11 world? When the President says that we are safer today than we were prior to the invasion of Iraq he is right. How long was it between UBL's attacks pre Sept 11. 2 years on average? 1 year, sometimes even less. And what was our respons to those embassy bombings?: cruise missles and platitudes. Don't we all feel safe. And then there was the response to the USS Cole bombing: NOTHING!!!! Boy justice was sure served there. Those terrorites sure had the fires of hell rained down on them, huh? We are safer today for the invasion of Iraq and Afganistan than we would otherwise have been had we not invaded those countries. Nobody has ever suggested that we are safter today than we were pre Sept 11. The world has just got a whole lot more dangerous if you are an American or any westerner for that matter. But we ARE safer because we have taken the fight to their doorstep and met them on their ground rather than waiting to be hit here. I and my fellow collegues all agree that we would rather die in Iraq fighting insurgents there than allow them access to the U.S. again and God forbid...you.
What is John Edwards' point when he lamented the empty seat at the kitchen table at the houses of U.S. service members. That's what war is!! War is good men and women going to far off places they'ed rather not go to fight a war they'ed rather not fight, but in most cases understand the nesseccity of it and believe in it (if you doubt that statement, then I would direct your attention to a recent poll in the Army Times Newspaper that said if the elections were held today amoung only U.S. Service members Bush would win by 80 to 85 percent). And so they go. There are empty seats at the kitchen table because of the conflict in Afganistan. There are emty seats at the kitchen table because of the war in Iraq. There are empty seats at the kitchen table because brave young men and women signed a contract and made an oath to do their nation's bidding and defend it against all enemies, and to follow the orders of the POTUS/C&C. And every now and then they are called apon to fulfill those oaths and make good and their promises. If there are Islamic fundamentalists anywhere in the world then I would invite them to come on down to Iraq and or Afganistan and by all means take up arms against U.S. soldiers and the American infidels. We will be far more welcoming than you will find Allah to be after we have dispatched you to what you believe to be his presence. One less terrorist to worry about in America. That's what soldiers do. They put their lives in harms way to ensure that harm never comes your way.

Brandon writes:

"At the end of the day, we, the American people were still told that we had to go to war to defeat a terrorist regime in bed in with Al Qaeda and it simply, plainly, and now officially WAS NOT TRUE."

False. Not true. Inacurate statement. Lie! At the end of the day the American people were told we had to go to war to defeat a brutal dictatorship that had weapons of mass destruction. Shall I run down the list of people and countries that said Iraq had WMDs and was a threat to international security (As late as last year)? Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Tom Dashel, Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, John Kerry-France, Germany, Russia, England Austrailia, Switzerland, shall I keep going...?. Shall I remined you who appointed George Tenet? Bill Clinton. How many times did Billy meat with George Tenet throughout Tenet's appointment under Clinton: 4 times. How many times did Bush meet with Tenet pre and post 9/11: almost every day. Picture this: Two of the largest buildings in America representing the econimic heart of the country were just dropped by islamic fundamentalists. Your CIA Director says that Saddam has WMD, its a "Slam Dunk" case he says. You're the President. All these people and countries agree with the assessment of your CIA Director. Your primary job is to protect your country. What do YOU do?

Brandon writes:

"Because, when the President laid out his case over a year ago for going to war this was his principal reason. Secondary was the case that these very weapons were pointed at America and her allies, and poised mere minutes from launch."

Complete fabrication! Are you just making this up as you go? Seriously!? Are you? In his address to the country during his state of the union address President Bush clearly stated that Iraq was not yet a imminent danger, yet she was a grave and growing danger and he would not wait for a mushroom cloud over an American city before he decided to act. Nowhere in there does he say Saddam is carrying around a remote launcher with him at all times so that he can launch WMD's at America at a moments notice! "poised mere minutes from launch" Seriously, do you even hear yourself? You made that up man!

Brandon writes:

"Only months after the fall of Baghdad, when it was becoming increasingly clear that America’s detractors, both at home and in Europe, had validation for their insistence on greater time, diplomacy and scrutiny in Iraq"

Oh yeah, detractors in Europe, don't make me laugh man. Did you read the newspaper today? Did you happen to see the artical stuffed all the way at the back of the paper that mentions how U.N. officials and French officials (government and business) were paid 1.6 BILLION (ONE POINT SIX BILLION -$1,600,000,000.00) dollars to look the other way in regard to the oil for food program scandal? Do you know that the U.N.'s own Head of Anti-Corruption is one of the members being implicated in this scandal? The head of Anti-Corruption!
Then there's the fact that of the weapons found in Iraq, they were almost all from three countries, Surface to Air Missiles from France, 2002 make; Silkworm anti-ship missiles from China, 2001 make, and just about ever kind of small arms and explosive know to man of Russian origin. Yeah, I'm sure that they were ever gonna play along with us. The French government was assuring the Iraqi government right up until the day before that they had nothing to worry about, that America was not going to invade Iraq, they would make sure of that. Oops, they didn't, and we did! After supplying false AND incomplete destruction reports and activaly impeading the UNSCOM Inspectors the U.S. under the leadership of George W. Bush said enough is enough! We have given you 12 years to comply with U.N. resolutions, and if the U.N. is to ineffective to enforce its own words, we will. Serious consequences to include use of military force-anybody remeber that passing both the House and the Senate after every single member that had the ability (i.e. clearance) to see the intelligence concered with President Bush's essessment that Saddam still maintianed WMD. Where are your cries of anger to every single Senator and House Rep that voted to authorize war powers (to include democrats, among which you will find both Kerry and Edwards). This "crime against humanity" would not have been possible were it not for their abdication of authority to the President.
"They were scared into doing it!", you say. Your right! But not by Bush! Some of them were scared into doing it out of a justified fear of the nation's enimies and their capabilities. Some of them probably didn't want to vote the way the did, but if so, Moral COWARDOUS took them and they once again, as so often is the case, thought about their own selves and their own careers before that of the safety and well being or best intrests of the very constituents that put them there. Fortunately the POTUS did not suffer from any such moral uncertainty. He knew his job and would follow through on it regardless how big the protests got or how low his approval ratings dropped. Why? Because his job to the American people was to protect them, not make decisions that made all them or even a majority of them happy. I thank God that he was willing to put his own future on the line for the good of every member of this nation.

Brandon writes:

"...little Iraqi children back in school for the first time in decades isn’t the point. Elections aren’t the point. New hospitals aren’t the point. Female equality isn’t the point. A more stable Middle East isn’t the point. Even a liberated and free people aren’t the point. None of it’s the point—it’s the spin."

Well then perhaps you would like to fill all us dumb cretins in on what the 'point' is, in your opinion. If Bush is such a messed up evil President, what was his ultimate objective it Iraq? Hmm? If he was so devious as to knowingly take this country to war on false pretenses, then why don't you explain to us what were his real intentions! You obviously know it all and seem to be devoloping a rather 'Ratheresque' abiltity to contrive what you can't prove or don't know. Was it for the Oil (please say it was for the oil, please say it was for the oil, I will shred your argument limb from limb if you say it was for the oil)? Was it to finish what his daddy never did? Or maybe just revenge for the time Saddam tried to kill his pops (for which I might add, Clinton's response was to lob a cruise missle into a Iraqi intelligence building in the middle of the night so as to minimise loss of life. So thats the going rate for a former President's life these days huh? If you mess with us we will take out your concrete structures and kill innocent jannitors trying to make a buck and leave unscathed the perpatrators of this conspiriousy. Don't push us, we'll do it man! It'll take you one whole year to rebuild your Intelligence building after you reroute oil for food money to the project!). Or was it to distract the American public from a scandalous intern secret about to brea-...no wait, wrong President (that was the President who could go to war WITHOUT getting congressional approval or prior approval from the U.N. Hmm. Strange. What exactly was the threat to America's national security in that situation? What threats had been lobbed at us by the evil Milosovich? I would assume you know since you actually spent time there dear borther. So, just to be absolutly clear on this: America's national security not threatened whatsoever, its okay to go to war unilatteraly (initially) and without asking permission from either your own congress or the international U.N. America's national security believed to be very much threatened by a mad man who has already used cemical weapons in the past (on his own people), invaided coutries you are allied to, and attempted to assassinate a former U.S. President, all while paying $25,000 dollars to ever family who's family members will strap a bomb to their cheast walk into a resturaunt or onto a public bus and blow to pieces innocent Jewish civilians; ensure you get congressional approval and allies set up in advance and then take action when those who are supposed to enforce international law are instead subverting it for their own profit and gain: BAD!!! Worst thing anyone could do. Evil, evil war mongering criminal! The real international terrorist! Is that about it? Did I get it right? Just let me know. I just wanna make sure I got it straight).

Brandon writes:

"I was raised to believe that the end does not justify the means. Obviously some of us missed that lesson."

Obviously some of us no longer remeber a damn thing about how we were raised! How were you raised Brandon!? Where you raised to prefer an pro-choice, pro-gay marraige (?) gold digger(oh wait, I'm sorry, he isn't pro-choice-he's pro-life, he just doesn't think it's his place to force his religous beliefs on the American public! WHAAAAAAAT!? What is that non-sense!? What the hell is to purpose of a President if not to push forward legistation and pass laws in accordance with his values and eithics!? Somebody, tell me please, I'm dying to know here!), to a Godly, humble and steadfast, pro-life, anti-gay marriage (and willing to take a stand on this potentialy divisive issue, unlike his opponent), deeply religious, moral man who knows black from white and never sees gray. At the worst, I've heard you say you biggest complaints are that he 'lied' to the country and ruined international credibility for the U.S. Both are not true. John Kerry says he'll do nothing to stop the sluaghter of the unborn. Yeah, good choice Brandon. "Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Deus", is that just something cool to put at the bottom of your web site to let everybody know how itellectually superior you are to them and that you operate on a plain they could only dream of, or does it actually mean something!? That in all things God may be glorified. Who do you think glorifies God more as a leader of a nation? A man who at worst (in my opinion) put the security of his nation and it's people ahead of the will of the international community (Syria voted against us invading Iraq? Really!? I never would have geussed it. ( They were one of the rotating members of the security counsel when this matter was debated before the U.N. They didn't have veto power, but this just demonstates the ultimate frivolity of the U.N. and why it will ultimately never be usefull as anything other than a halfway decent humanitarian aid provider. Do you really want to give Syria a voice in the security of our nation?)) and went to war with the best of intentions if not the best of intelligence (an intelligence agency gutted of effective power under the Clinton administration by his Attorney General, Janet Reno (and you thought John Ashcroft was a scary guy, huh?)). A man who has re-energized the church in both it's pews and also in their communities and government, and has made more real and effective change and impact to the American landscape than any politician since Reagan. I Challange you to find one significant accomplishment of Kerrys in his almost 30 years of public service (or for that matter the former Presidents) Or you can choose Kerry, and the grinning boy who says:

" In one of Edwards' silver-tongued arguments to the jury on behalf of a girl born with cerebral palsy, he claimed he was channeling the unborn baby girl, Jennifer Campbell, who was speaking to the jurors through him: "She said at 3, 'I'm fine.' She said at 4, 'I'm having a little trouble, but I'm doing OK.' Five, she said, 'I'm having problems.' At 5:30, she said, 'I need out.'"
She's saying, "My lawyer needs a new Jaguar ... "
"She speaks to you through me and I have to tell you right now -- I didn't plan to talk about this -- right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She's inside me, and she's talking to you." Well, tell her to pipe down, would you? I'm trying to hear the evidence in a malpractice lawsuit.
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde on the death of Little Nell, one must have a heart of stone to read this without laughing. What is this guy, a tent-show preacher? An off-the-strip Las Vegas lounge psychic couldn't get away with this routine.
Is Edwards able to channel any children right before an abortionist's fork is plunged into their tiny skulls? Why can't he hear those babies saying, "Let me live! Stop spraying this saline solution all over me!" Edwards must experience interference in channeling the voices of babies about to be aborted. Their liberal mothers' hands seem to muffle those voices.
-excerpted from an article by Ann Coulter that can be found at: http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2004/070704.htm

Yeah, I'm sure Jesus would wait five hours in line just for the opportunity to vote for the Kerry/Edwards ticket. For the good of the Nation Brandon if you feel you must vote, than vote for Naider. Otherwise don't vote at all. I know it goes against your beliefs not to vote, but so does abortion and gay marriage, and thats what you would be voting for. If you have found a way to justify that away in your head then I fear you are already to far gone to be saved from yourself. Where did you go man? Do you forget that I learned all my politcal views from you while I was growing up under you? Just because he's all the rage around the literature society, and fencing grounds doesn't make him right for the job.
I literally have so much more I could and want to say but it is now 2 in the morn and I have a early day ahead of me tomorrow.

-Me

1:00 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Yes, Eric, absolutely. The difference being that none of those people were President of the United States and gave the order to attack Iraq.

GENERAL CHANG: Captain Kirk, are you aware that under Federation law, the Captain of a Starship is considered responsible for the actions of his men?

KIRK: I am.

BONES: Jim! They're setting us up! Your honors, I protest-!

JUDGE: The defendant will be silent! Captain Kirk, you will answer the question.

KIRK: (heavily) As Captain I am responsible for the
conduct of the crew under my command.

GENERAL CHANG: Your honors, the State rests.

--Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country

7:58 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Jonathan,

I love you my brother, but you really must learn to relax. While no one likes a fiery debate more than I do, you ramp it up to such levels where I can sense your cerebral cortex beginning to sizzle. It is fine to get emotionally involved in your argument but it seems to me that you often take it to the level of both personal offence and personal attack. If you can’t argue without insult, if you can’t debate without childish and simpleton skewers, if you can’t parry without adolescent name calling, slander, and intellectual class warfare—if you simply can’t win on the argument alone, I’d recommend you not even engage in the first place. If you believe that two reasonably intelligent people cannot come away from the same issue with differing points of view then perhaps you ought to keep your “flood” to yourself. Otherwise, if you do feel that your argument is strong on its own merits, keep the comments coming! Remember, our relationship is far deeper, far stronger, and far richer than any political squabble.

Rather than try to answer your charges point for point, I am simply going to rebut in a sort of stream-of-consciousness approach, moving on from topic to topic within the paragraphs, hoping I am intelligible enough to mold them into some sort of cohesive whole throughout. I am not going to answer your every accusation as you actually addressed very few of mine. Furthermore, I am not going to validate your hysterics on John Kerry. I didn’t bring him up in the original blog because this topic was never about him to begin with. He himself has a lot to answer for (and has actually brought down much of the fire upon his own head), but that is for another blog, at another time.

I must admit, I find it interesting (though perhaps not surprising given your black and white view of the world that just because one attacks Bush he must naturally be on the side of Kerry. You show better than I ever could why one of the things this country needs most desperately are viable, strong, competitive third parties to break the backs of this “my-way-or-the-highway-he-said-she-said-it’s-all-or-nothing” approach to American politics.

I’m sorry if I’m not the same person from whom you once gleaned your current political views. My stances altered, fluxed, coalesced, and reshaped themselves as I’ve gotten older and studied these topics for myself instead of relying only on cable news outlets, AM radio, and internet fear-mongers for my ideology (that last bit probably flies in the face of the above paragraph calling for civility and gentlemanly conduct—my apologies). In my mind having a different opinion from my neighbor is actually a healthy thing. A plurality of voices, while not the same thing as a plurality of Truth, is a desirable thing—an imperative thing—in a free democracy. Or do you think it should be one way for the Iraqis and another way for her liberators?

On that note, perhaps now would be a good time to address something you mentioned at the end of your comments, specifically the rights of our leaders to publicize and statutize their personal beliefs. I bring it up to challenge not so much its own fallibility, but the greater danger in its larger, more muscular self.

Whether you believe it or not—whether you agree with it or not—it’s true that our public leaders do not have the right to force their religious beliefs on those they govern. You claim to wish for a system in which our leaders impose their ethics and beliefs but what I think you mean is that you want a system in which our leaders do not compromise their ethics and beliefs. If this is the case I applaud you. However, if you mean it as it came across on my initial reading, then I think that, like so many that yearn for such a arrangement, you are restrictive yourself to a dangerously myopic vision. You want such a government so long as those in power share the same values you hold dear. Put another in office who is diametrically opposed to your beliefs and we’ll see how long you support such a government. The separation of Church and State may not have been a part of the Constitution, but it is a good idea none-the-less. Christians are so good at cheerleading other Christians in office who will promote good and godly values, but go ballistic when another with beliefs that are different than their own tries to push through legislation with which they disagree. They cry fowl, decry the person for forcing their religion down others’ throats, and say that is not his or her place or why he or she was elected. It is not why the Christian was elected either. The Christian community can’t have it both ways.

One should use one’s beliefs to inform one’s opinions and decisions and do nothing in office that conflicts with those beliefs but one should not dare push something through that is specific or explicit to one’s religious dictates. Christians are not on earth to legislate morality. They do not win the cause of Christ by their laws but by their lives. Christ did not use the Great Commission to tell us to go into all the world and control and enforce its morality—He sent us to change their hearts toward him through salvation for all who call upon His name. The morality then takes care of itself. Modern Christianity has this completely backwards and we wonder why we are so ineffective at making a dent in our secular society. To return closer to topic, we say that the worst thing in the world that Iraq could fall into is a theocratic government and then we turn around, doing our best to create one in America! A Christian theocracy in America is nearly as frightening to me as an Islamic one in Iraq. Unless God returns to Earth in a pillar of fire and speaks commands with an audible voice, a human government ruled by those who claim to speak for God, know the will of God, and act with the arm of God is historically calamitous and too terrifying to imagine. There has been enough damage done by those around us who claim to have a direct and singular link to God’s will, let alone the leader of the free world (a misnomer in and of itself) with a messiah complex, a hydrogen bomb, and a list of uncircumcised Philistines.

That’s enough of that topic. Now on to bigger and worse things…

I don’t know you have to ask me what the point of Iraq was, my brother, when the President has made it so abundantly clear—or more to the point, at least it was his story before he discovered Saddam Hussein was not nearly the threat he had led us to believe he was. The point of attacking Iraq was not to liberate the Iraqis or to topple an evil dictator who violently murdered thousands of his own people (which he did and this nation didn’t raise of finger to stop), it was, according to our President, to overthrown an evil regime in order to secure the safety of the American people who were under a clear and present danger of mass destruction devices. That was the point.
That said, when it turned out the reasons for which we invaded were invalidated, the administration tried to legalize its cause, its loss of resources, manpower and currency, and its sullying of America’s reputation on the fact that Saddam was a vile man who committed atrocities and claimed that the Iraqis now have an opportunity for freedom and democracy. All true.

It is true that Saddam was despicable man and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law for his most heinous and severe crimes against humanity and his own people. And it is true that the Iraqi people are now free (if you consider marshal law and the constant fear of getting caught in a crossfire between US troops and dissident insurgents freedom—it’s temporary, I know, truly) and have the opportunity for democracy (though again, while I consider democracy to be the purest, most perfect form of government available to fallible, selfish, megalomaniac humanity, it is not necessarily something Americans have the right of installing in other countries. It is far better that we provide a shining example of a democracy that lives up to its highest ideals rather than show the world how much of an arrogant bully we are by trying to force our way of life on a radically different culture at a time when they are not yet ready for it. Better that we give them an example to aspire to and let the natural, historical progression of dissatisfaction, revolution, democratic installation and regularization take place in its own chronological timeline.).

However, at the end of the day, the reasons we went into Iraq are still wrong ones and someone has to take the responsibility for the billions of dollars and thousands of lives that needn’t have been spent. That person is the President. Blame it on bad intelligence if you wish. Bring up the fact that the President was but one in a multiplicity of voices saying Saddam was an imminent threat. Fine. In the finale, he was still wrong no matter how many others were wrong with him and he deserves the greatest burden of responsibility because he leads the most powerful nation on Earth and it was his army that defied world opinion, decimated the Iraqi defenses, and now uneasily occupies foreign soil.

That’s the point.

Before I go any further, I must address some of your descriptors and choice of words in your comments. There is a vast difference between a proper, healthy respect for our enemy’s motives and actions and quite another to push they and their actions into the realm of fear and hate mongering. Do you really think that calling our Arabic foes “ragheads” who live in “rat infested sand pits” (the same rat infested sand pits from which Christianity and the cradle of civilization emerged) helps the political discourse? Do we really want to resurrect World War II style bigoted propaganda? I would think that you of all people, living overseas, married to a woman who, if she were alive 50 years ago would have been called a “dirty Jap,” would see how disgusting this sort of treatment is. This is nothing short of bordering on xenophobia and outright racism. Nor do you impress by your use of histrionics in describing how those we are clashing with want me, my wife and any other living creature in America dead. You do no service either to yourself or your cause when you so radically caricaturize those whom you are fighting.

Yes, we are at war, and those who perpetuated 9/11 and who continue to shoot U.S. servicemen and savagely behead innocent civilians are evil and should be eradicated from the face of the Earth. But it is also time for America to wake up and realize that she herself is encouraging these attacks in one way or another through her own immorality and decadence. While the assassins are ultimately responsible for their own actions, America too must realize that so long as she continues to export putrid filth overseas—both through her media and her government programs—just so that she can line her purse, then sooner or later there will be a reckoning. We cannot continue to coddle Israel while ignoring the equally valid and compelling demands of Palestine. The outside world, especially the Arab world, does not have to look out across the ocean to see the real America—they need look no further than their own blighted countries. Again, I am not saying that they do not owe responsibility—even the majority of responsibility to their own leaders and backward ideology—but this hatred of Western civilization, while existing for millennia, has been exacerbated to the point of jihad by our own actions. The day of Americans thinking they are outside criticism for the world’s ills and somehow above the rest of the planet because of their advanced civilization and supposed God-given manifest destiny is over.

The world is now too small for the U.S. to simply think it can act with total independence and self-determination. While I am not arguing for this nation getting world approval for acting, especially when she is imperiled, I am insisting that what occurs on one side of the globe will have a ripple affect the other side—especially when the nation tossing rocks into the global sea is as large and powerful as is the United States. We cannot act as though we live in a vacuum and ignore and placate the desires and concerns of the rest of the world because we self-importantly think we know better or that our interests come at the expense of the rest of the planet. Recall the words of President George W. Bush himself during his last presidential campaign, “If we are an arrogant nation, they will resent us. If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us…It’s important to be friends with people when you don’t need each other so that when you do, there’s a strong bond of friendship. And that’s going to be particularly important in dealing not only with situations such as are now occurring in Israel, but with Saddam Hussein.” Apparently these were only words composed of rhetorical smoke.

I am sorry, brother, but it takes only a cursory glance back through recent history to determine that I am, in fact, correct in relation to my claims that the allies purported that Saddam’s WMDs were poised to launch and destroy Western cities. Tony Blair himself issued the dire warning—Saddam’s weapons can strike Western targets in under 50 minutes—which, when proved to be untrue, nearly cost him his Prime Minstership and left another British intelligence official dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Your own statement indicates its presence—one doesn’t attack someone with a really big gun unless you’re afraid of their big gun. I am not saying the intelligence community didn’t screw up. But if Iraq was “not yet an imminent danger” as you claim the administration claimed all along, then why not wait and let sanctions/inspections have more time? What harm was there in waiting?

You see, it is a very dangerous branch to walk out on when insisting on absolute and unchecked preemptive strike rights. These branches have a way of being sawn off beneath one or collapsing under their own weight. The strategy of attacking others before they attack you—years or decades before in this case—is a very dangerous and problematic stratagem. While preemptive action is certainly valid, it cannot be used as a whitewash for rushed, ill-planning. It carries with it the most rigorous and harsh standard of veracity—for if one is wrong, the consequences are nothing short of murder, regicide, and imperialism. And though, like the world courts which Bush refuses to let Americans be judged by yet is more than willing to use himself to judge the crimes of others, America is not too big or too strong to be called up and chastised for her indiscretions. Who are we to think we are above the sins of other nations or their consequences?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do question our intent to militarily confront other Islamic nations who may or may not threaten us. I’ll gladly and publicly eat my words if Bush starts rattling the military saber at Iran or Syria with any sort of weight behind it. I am also extremely confident that no such thing is going to happen. The reason Bush chose Iraq is because he saw it as the weakest link and decided to make an example of them for the world. The problem with that is that arbitrarily choosing weak nations to make examples of specifically because they cannot defend themselves and they have spit in your face in the past is hardly the noble or virtuous behavior for which he laud our own way. We cannot call ourselves the bigger, more righteous nation and then go around acting like the world’s biggest bully and hypocrite.

No, I never thought that Iraq would be a short fight. I said so in my blog touching on these issues well over a year and a half ago. In fact, I predicted exactly the enmeshed quandary our nation finds itself in now. I said then, “Evil has a way of spilling out of its pre-conceived box and swallowing the very souls it formerly imperiled. In destroying evil, we must be prepared for the evil consequences that result. Which outweighs the other? Are we prepared for the after-action that must necessarily take place after the war is won? Are we prepared to deal with the retaliation, possibly from multiple fronts, because in our haste we set out on the next crusade to obliterate an ‘evil one?’ And whom do we blame when it sulks to our doorstep, rapid and hungry? Where does it stop? How cyclical are we willing to let this be?”

When the President says that we are safer today than we were prior to the invasion of Iraq he is right only in the sense that our national security has been strengthened and that America’s citizens have a greater sensitivity to the threat around them. However, we are not safer in so far as we have awakened the angry giant or cracked the hornet’s nest depending on your preferred metaphor. Yes, we were hated in the past by Arab fundamentalist extremists. But now, instead of a minority conspiring against us, the Arab world is rising as one unified body (a massive tectonic shift given their history) and the minority is finding their ranks swollen from a flood of the common Arab world, intent not on fighting for Allah but fighting for, what they see, as their very lives and people’s survival.

The terrorists don’t care that Saddam wasn’t a true Muslim or that Iraq was a secular nation. They care only that the Americans are there and are vulnerable. We would find them wherever we find ourselves. For this reason, we did (and are) facing them in Afghanistan. However, there was a span of many months following the fall of the Taliban in which insurgent violence paled by comparison to Iraq. Why? Several reasons, one of which is that even within the Arab world there was sympathy to America’s bloodied nose on 9/11 and her need to retaliate. Justice made sense, even to bitter antagonists. No such feeling existed with Iraq. Additionally, insurgents in Afghanistan are not capable of striking with the gruesome precision that they possess in Iraq. The mountains of Afghanistan, while superb to hide in, offer little in the way of offensive capability. Iraq on the other hand, with its grisly urban warfare, inspires and cultivates its own resistance. It was never necessary for Iraq to be the front lines. Along those lines, if you don’t like Afghanistan: good, Iraq: bad model as you’ve said, try Afghanistan: proof, Iraq: no proof.

You assumed that because I feel as I do about Bush’s actions that I find him repugnant and wicked as a man or as a President. Not so. I do not think that he is evil. I do not think he was out to satisfy his own agenda for oil or to avenge his father’s mistakes. I do not think he was a particularly bad President (I voted for him) up the point at which Iraq dominated his every foreign policy interest. I do not even think he lied. I do think that he is a moral and ethical man who allows his decision-making process to be guided by his Christianity and as such I would be honored to worship beside him in the house of God. However, I also do think that he was gargantuanly incorrect and regardless of his reasons or his intent, he was wrong and must take responsibility for his actions. I do think that he made a terrible miscalculation and was horribly unwise at the speed at which he moved and the friends which he simply brushed aside without any foresight for the bigger, future history picture. I do think he let the post-9/11 paranoia pendulum swing too far and drastically over-reacted. I do think he acted irresponsibly and now that his plans are coming down around his ears is trying to convince the world and himself that his reasons were still noble and just and because they were, he should not be held accountable for his miscalculations. And that, frankly, is enough for me to want him to leave the oval office for good.

It is just as easy to do evil in the name of good.

Brandon

7:23 PM  
Blogger liberalNOT said...

I think Brandon it sounds like the Pot calling the Kettle BLACK here. You are just as bad as the writer before you if not worse. It's your blog so I guess you can say whatever you wish. However, I think he had a point. I also feel safer knowing our leader has our satey first. He sticks to what he believes in. Kerry sounds to wishey washey for me. I don't want a baby killer gay rights person defending me. Any Christian who knows the truth and believes the truth and votes for Kerry is a non believer and only uses the the Word Christian to try to Impress his friends. I myself always have a red flag up when someone starts the conversation with I am a Christian, SO WHAT!!! Prove to me you are Christian then live it. Don't go around prarading your fish on your cars, or promoting your Christian business if you are going to back stab, cut us off in traffic or gossip about your friends.

And why is it ok for the Liberals to go around and protest in such anger and cause an up roar and it be OK, but for a Conservative to stand up for what they believe they are told to calm down and given a snide remark. I am sick and tierd of the Liberals always getting their way. Why not try to save our 10 Commandments instead of getting Kerry voted in.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:14 PM  
Blogger liberalNOT said...

British Historian
The great issue in the 2004 election — it seems to me as an Englishman —
is,
How seriously does the United States take its role as a world leader, and
how far will it make sacrifices, and risk unpopularity, to discharge this
duty with success and honor? In short, this is an election of the greatest
significance, for Americans and all the rest of us. It will redefine what
kind of a country the United States is, and how far the rest of the world
can rely upon her to preserve the general safety and protect our
civilization.
When George W. Bush was first elected, he stirred none of these feelings, at
home or abroad. He seems to have sought the presidency more for dynastic
than for any other reasons. September 11 changed all that dramatically. It
gave his presidency a purpose and a theme, and imposed on him a mission.
Now, we can all criticize the way he has pursued that mission. He has
certainly made mistakes in detail, notably in underestimating the problems
that have inevitably followed the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in
Iraq, and overestimating the ability of U.S. forces to tackle them.
On the other hand, he has been absolutely right in estimating the
seriousness of the threat international terrorism poses to the entire world
and on the need for the United States to meet this threat with all the means
at its disposal and for as long as may be necessary. Equally, he has placed
these considerations right at the center of his policies and continued to do
so with total consistency, adamantine determination, and remarkable courage,
despite sneers and jeers, ridicule and venomous opposition, and much
unpopularity.
There is something grimly admirable about his stoicism in the face of
reverses, which reminds me of other moments in history: the dark winter
Washington faced in 1777-78, a time to "try men's souls," as Thomas Paine
put it, and the long succession of military failures Lincoln had to bear and
explain before he found a commander who could take the cause to victory.
There is nothing glamorous about the Bush presidency and nothing
exhilarating. It is all hard pounding, as Wellington said of Waterloo,
adding: "Let us see who can pound the hardest." Mastering terrorism fired by
a religious fanaticism straight from the Dark Ages requires hard pounding of
the dullest, most repetitious kind, in which spectacular victories are not
to be looked for, and all we can expect are "blood, toil, tears, and sweat."
However, something persuades me that Bush — with his grimness and
doggedness, his lack of sparkle but his enviable concentration on the
central issue — is the president America needs at this difficult time. He
has, it seems to me, the moral right to ask American voters to give him the
mandate to finish the job he has started.
This impression is abundantly confirmed, indeed made overwhelming, when we
look at the alternative. Senator Kerry has not made much of an impression in
Europe, or indeed, I gather, in America. Many on the Continent support him,
because they hate Bush, not because of any positive qualities Kerry
possesses. Indeed we know of none, and there are six good reasons that he
should be mistrusted. First, and perhaps most important, he seems to have no
strong convictions about what he would do if given office and power. The
content and emphasis of his campaign on terrorism, Iraq, and related issues
have varied from week to week. But they seem always to be determined by what
his advisers, analyzing the polls and other evidence, recommend, rather than
by his own judgment and convictions. In other words, he is saying, in
effect: "I do not know what to do but I will do what you, the voters, want."
This may be an acceptable strategy, on some issues and at certain times. It
is one way you can interpret democracy. But in a time of crisis, and on an
issue involving the security of the world, what is needed is leadership.
Kerry is abdicating that duty and proposing, instead, that the voters should
lead and he will follow.
Second, Kerry's personal character has, so far, appeared in a bad light. He
has always presented himself, for the purpose of Massachusetts vote-getting,
as a Boston Catholic of presumably Irish origins. This side of Kerry is
fundamentally dishonest. He does not follow Catholic teachings, certainly in
his views on such issues as abortion —— especially when he feels
additional
votes are to be won by rejecting Catholic doctrine. This is bad enough. But
since the campaign began it has emerged that Kerry's origins are not in the
Boston-Irish community but in Germanic Judaism. Kerry knew this all along,
and deliberately concealed it for political purposes. If a man will mislead
about such matters, he will mislead about anything.
There is, thirdly, Kerry's long record of contradictions and uncertainties
as a senator and his apparent inability to pursue a consistent policy on
major issues. Fourth is his posturing over his military record, highlighted
by his embarrassing pseudo-military salute when accepting the nomination.
Fifth is his disturbing lifestyle, combining liberal — even radical —
politics with being the husband, in succession, of two heiresses, one worth
$300 million and the other $1 billion. The Kerrys have five palatial homes
and a personal jet, wealth buttressed by the usual team of lawyers and
financial advisers to provide the best methods of tax-avoidance. Sixth and
last is the Kerry team: who seem to combine considerable skills in
electioneering with a variety of opinions on all key issues.
Indeed, it is when one looks at Kerry's closest associates that one's doubts
about his suitability become certainties. Kerry may dislike his
running-mate, and those feelings may be reciprocated — but that does not
mean a great deal. More important is that the man Kerry would have as his
vice president is an ambulance-chasing lawyer of precisely the kind the
American system has spawned in recent decades, to its great loss and peril,
and that is already establishing a foothold in Britain and other European
countries. This aggressive legalism — what in England we call "vexatious
litigation" — is surely a characteristic America does not want at the top
of
its constitutional system.
Of Kerry's backers, maybe the most prominent is George Soros, a man who made
his billions through the kind of unscrupulous manipulations that (in Marxist
folklore) characterize "finance capitalism." This is the man who did
everything in his power to wreck the currency of Britain, America's
principal ally, during the EU exchange-rate crisis — not out of conviction
but simply to make vast sums of money. He has also used his immense
resources to interfere in the domestic affairs of half a dozen other
countries, some of them small enough for serious meddling to be hard to
resist. One has to ask: Why is a man like Soros so eager to see Kerry in the
White House? The question is especially pertinent since he is not alone
among the super-rich wishing to see Bush beaten. There are several other
huge fortunes backing Kerry.
Among the wide spectrum of prominent Bush-haters there is the normal clutter
of Hollywood performers and showbiz self-advertisers. That is to be
expected. More noticeable, this time, are the large numbers of novelists,
playwrights, and moviemakers who have lined up to discharge venomous salvos
at the incumbent. I don't recall any occasion, certainly not since the age
of FDR, when so much partisan election material has been produced by
intellectuals of the Left, not only in the United States but in Europe,
especially in Britain, France, and Germany. These intellectuals — many of
them with long and lugubrious records of supporting lost left-wing causes,
from the Soviet empire to Castro's aggressive adventures in Africa, and who
have in their time backed Mengistu in Ethiopia, Qaddafi in Libya, Pol Pot in
Cambodia, and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua — seem to have a personal hatred
of Bush that defies rational analysis.
Behind this front line of articulate Bushicides (one left-wing columnist in
Britain actually offered a large sum of money to anyone who would
assassinate the president) there is the usual cast of Continental suspects,
led by Chirac in France and the superbureaucrats of Brussels. As one who
regularly reads Le Monde, I find it hard to convey the intensity of the
desire of official France to replace Bush with Kerry. Anti-Americanism has
seldom been stronger in Continental Europe, and Bush seems to personify in
his simple, uncomplicated self all the things these people most hate about
America — precisely because he is so American. Anti-Americanism, like
anti-Semitism, is not, of course, a rational reflex. It is, rather, a mental
disease, and the Continentals are currently suffering from a virulent spasm
of the infection, as always happens when America exerts strong and unbending
leadership.
Behind this second line of adversaries there is a far more sinister third.
All the elements of anarchy and unrest in the Middle East and Muslim Asia
and Africa are clamoring and praying for a Kerry victory. The mullahs and
the imams, the gunmen and their arms suppliers and paymasters, all those who
stand to profit — politically, financially, and emotionally — from the
total
breakdown of order, the eclipse of democracy, and the defeat of the rule of
law, want to see Bush replaced. His defeat on November 2 will be greeted, in
Arab capitals, by shouts of triumph from fundamentalist mobs of exactly the
kind that greeted the news that the Twin Towers had collapsed and their
occupants been exterminated.
I cannot recall any election when the enemies of America all over the world
have been so unanimous in hoping for the victory of one candidate. That is
the overwhelming reason that John Kerry must be defeated, heavily and
comprehensively.

11:03 AM  

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