Wednesday, October 26, 2005

2,000 Dead U.S. Servicemen Mock Bush's Pro-Life Stance




Yesterday, the Defense Department announced the death of Army Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander, Jr., age 34, who died of wounds suffered from an attack when a bomb exploded near his vehicle in the central Iraqi city of Samara.

Sgt. Alexander has the dubious honor of being the 2,000th U.S. serviceman killed in Iraq.

Sgt. Alexander was no more or no less dear than any of the other 1,999 military personnel killed since the Iraq war began in 2003. But we human beings love to chart the progression of a thing by nice, whole, tidy, even, artificial numbers. And so Sgt. Alexander becomes what one politician described as a “tragic milestone.”

And so he is.

But what about the young 7-year-old boy whose small body was torn to shreds yesterday by a roadside bomb meant for a passing U.S. military convoy? Nearly a dozen others were severely wounded, including a 10-year-old girl.

What about the other 26 Iraqi policemen and woman who were also gunned down or bombed by insurgents yesterday?

While we rightly mourn the lost 2,000, it is an amount absolutely dwarfed by the number of Iraqi civilians killed either in the initial American attacks, during subsequent insurgent activity, or caught in the crossfire. Estimates place Iraqi non-combatants deaths anywhere between 30,051 to 100,000.

Meanwhile, President Bush, his White House and party in shambles and his approval rating the lowest it has ever been and continuing to fall, prattles on about staying the course, despite the fact the vast majority of those he purports to lead now feel that going into Iraq was a phenomenal and mislead mistake.

Does the wonder and majesty of life begin at conception? Yes. And it does not end until death. An obvious statement? Perhaps. But why then, does this President seem to ignore such common moral sense in his so-called Pro-Life stance? Being Pro-Life means more than being anti-abortion. Being Pro-Life means having a consistent ethic of life, something this President fails at woefully.

All life is sacred. The Bible stands against any policy or course of action that diminishes life, dignity or the rights of the human person, such as abortion, capital punishment, war, outrageous poverty, rejection of healthcare, mistreatment of immigrants and racism, to name a few. A consistent ethic of life applies to all of life and strives to advance the common good by protecting the life, dignity, and rights of all human beings, whether or not they are Americans.

To believe in the sanctity of life, one must believe that it is God alone Who takes life away, except in the lawful defense of another’s life. Bush's “creative” attempts to redefine that defense in order to alter the true insidious nature of his actions in Iraq are abominable. In such a war, the dead are not casualties, they are murder victims. Bush, who purports to love life, has proven time and time again that he believes it’s good to kill “bad people,” or send our kids to their deaths in a war with little or no connection to our national security, or accept the deaths and mistreatment of Iraqi non-combatants as necessary collateral damage.

These dead are not numbers. They are precious souls. And there will be a reckoning.

Is Bush really pro-life? Not if you're an American soldier or Iraqi civilian.

62 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "the true insidious nature of his actions in Iraq."?

9:22 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

By now, only the most strident and vitriolic conservatives would deny that America attacked Iraq for reasons which were hasty and gravely mistaken at best and monolithically fabricated at worst.

Most people are now willing to concede that the reasons given to invade Iraq—weapons of mass destruction directly and immediately threatening the United States—were tragically mistaken.

Had the Bush administration not been chomping at the bit to engage Iraq, over the objections of overwhelming amounts of the worldwide populace and many in this country as well, we would not have squandered the global sympathy we'd accrued, strained relationships with friends to the breaking point, and engaged in an occupying war that has killed untold thousands all because this country feels it is above anything other than its own self-serving, arrogant hunger for power and supremacy.

As Comm. Decker said, "That is how I define unwarranted."

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Hey,

I had to respond to this one.

Isn't the issue really whether or not our being in Iraq (A) is good policy for us and (B) is just?

I mean, you wouldn't say FDR was any less "pro-life" because we entered WWII under his watch, would you?--or because he wanted us to enter it pre-Pearl Harbor?--or that Lincoln wasn't sufficiently "pro-life" because under his leadership we fought and won the Civil War, or because his opposition to the westward expansion of slavery riled up the South, right?

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

I believe in Bush and what he is doing. Freedom isn't free.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Jeff, put in that context (is the war in Iraq just?), sure it's the real point, though I don't think it invalidates the original argumentary line.

Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-war in the strictest sense. Though we are called, as redeemed people, to be peacemakers and to absolutely bend over backward to see that peace flourishes both in our individual and corporate lives, there are nonetheless times for just and justifiable war.

Even the most liberal among us wouldn't dare argue the point that WWII wasn't a just war. You could probably say the same for the Civil War, though it was far more about the preservation of the Union than it was about freeing slaves.

Iraq, in my opinion, is anything but just, and as such, those swallowed by its engines of war died not for a just cause, but for the whims and machinations of an inept government. This does not lessen their sacrifice, though it does soil the pretense that they died for a good cause, a pretense this administration continues to spew in order to justify their debacle. That is the real tragedy.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

No Paula, freedom isn't free.

I served my country in the military for five years defending that freedom and would do so again in a heartbeat.

However, unprovoked and unjustifiable acts of aggression (I'm talking about America here) do not disseminate our freedom or strengthen our security--they gestate hatred and actually foster and feed the very philosophies and enemies we claim to be battling.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Gabi said...

I could not agree with you more Brandon. I am sickened on a daily basis when I watch the news or read the newspaper. My heart mourns overs our lost men and women who have fallen for the greed of this countries leader. All I can hope is that people will realize that Bush, even though he is the leader of the free world, is NOT representative of its people.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I encourage people to watch Bochco's series "Over There" on FX.

Yes, it's melodramatic at times, and the unit it follows in Iraq sees more firefights than any actual unit.

But it reminds us of the complications and absurdities involved in "nation building." I wonder what other viewers think about it.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

"Freedom isn't free."

Generally speaking, I can't tell you how much I loathe bumper sticker slogan arguments parroted by people in defense of poorly conceived or poorly executed policies. I count "No blood for oil" among these, so the wingnuts on either side can back off.

In the case of THIS particular slogan, I know of no single case where an Iraqi curtailed my abilities of free speech, free assembly, freedom of press, or freedom of religion.
Three guesses at which entity HAS at least made passing attempts at all of these things in recent years.

So please, whatever justification you have for the war - and yes, I do believe there is at least a viable discussion about some justification of this war: liberating a tyrannized people from a despotic regime being one of them - "Freedom isn't free" is not one of them. Didn't Team America pretty much mock this sentiment into the ground already? Let's have a discussion about America's role in the 21st century, or the dangers of imperialism, but I am so tired of people throwing things like Billy Ray F'in Cyrus around or a ribbon magnet on the back of their SUV to prop up 2,000 deaths so far.

Weapons of mass destruction didn't quite pan out either, in case anyone brings it up.

"Gunner Palace" is also a good pick, and has the higher ground of being a documentary, which would negate the argument that Stephen Boccho also made "Cop Rock", a point that I don't doubt will be made.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

Have any of you counted the number of woman that have voted for the first time in Iraq or the number of Iraqi's who are free from Saddam Hussein. The number who aren't afraid any more. I know a number of Iraqi's who thank us everyday that we are there fighting for them.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Paula, do you remember those speeches our mothers used to give us when we were kids--wash behind your ears, looks both ways before crossing the street, two wrongs never make a right?

I doubt anyone here, certainly myself included, would argue with your comment. There have indeed been some wonderful changes wrought in Iraq, not the least of which is the toppling of a tyrant and the institution of a fledgling, precarious democracy. These are wonderful, if tenuous, gains. And as to our presence there, we opened this can of worms and now, like it or not, we must stay there until we get it all cleaned up.

But what I and others are saying, Paula, is that, while "right" may have come of it, "wrong" got us into it. We are not now in Iraq for the reasons we were told we had to be there. We were told it was because Americans were threatened and that Iraq had ties to those who brought about 9/11. American blood must be spilled in the desert, we were told, because we have to keep our people at home safe. And who would have a problem with that rational? I certainly wouldn't...if it had been true.

But Bush's reasons were erroneous. The 2,000 dead Americans and possibly 100,000 dead Iraqis lost their lives because of little more than false advertising.

That good came out of all this is undeniable. It is also beside the point. Bush is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people whose lives hinged on his lies.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Really? You know them personally? Or you know OF them?

No, seriously, I am aware that there are many in Iraq that are happy about Saddam's downfall, either outwardly or at least secretly, and are proud of whatever subsequent stumbling steps towards democracy they have taken with our assistance.

At the least, I want acknowledgment that this is a thorny issue that merits serious consideration, and not brushed aside with sentimental platitudes like

I suppose some say "Freedom isn't Free" in reference to Iraqi women voting or whatever, but, really, come on, mostly it is red state code for some kind of vengeance for 9/11, a perception that persists to this day; God. Knows. Why.
(It is almost Orwellian how this administration has made that message stick in the public mind.)
It is really meant as a defense of OUR way of life, complete with mega-churches, dorm room furniture from Target, and jet flyovers of baseball games (with a few seconds of silence to remember the dead, of course, before we go on with our lives.)

If that's not you, and you genuinely cared about Iraqi women's suffrage, and didn't just adopt it as an 11th hour cause, then never mind. I bet you are in the minority.

A notch above the bumper sticker, - but still an entire bed post's worth of notches below intelligent discussion - are facile analogies to nation building in post war Japan, or the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, or, for that matter, Vietnam Quagmire talk. This is deliberate misuse of those 3 credit hours of PLS 101.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

I for one believe don't believe it was wrong and that Americans were threatened. I believe that Bush is doing what he feel is right and is still correct.

And how about the people who are responsible for all the people who died on 9/11? I never hear about that.

I never hear about the good,it's always the bad.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

I crossed wires with Brandon, there.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Exactly, Paula.

Countless insider officials and policy wonks, including those in the FBI and CIA, have come forward to testify that the war in Iraq has distracted from the real "war on terror," in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Spain. Bali. It goes on and on.

What do you mean never hear about those who were responsible for 9/11? Myself and half the country never shut up about it.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Oh, and they were Saudi Arabians on those planes. I should just make that point and shut up.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

And Paula, you are free to believe that. I want to continue to live in a country that allows both (and more) of our views. That is what makes us strong, not our views enforced at the tip of an M-16.

But you don't have the burden of responsibility the Commander in Chief does. Thank goodness neither of us have to wrestle with that. The burden and the glory rests with Bush.

"And how about the people who are responsible for all the people who died on 9/11? I never hear about that."

Yeah, I agree with you! The whole Al Qaeda thing is pretty lost among the rubbish of Iraq, isn't it? Nice distraction, isn't it!?

"I never hear about the good,it's always the bad."

You have a point and while I will admit that the media is far more interested in reporting on the bad than the good, it may very well be because there is more of it on which to report. I know men who have spent time in Iraq. Good men, who went over there with high ideals and blazing patriotism. They have returned shells of their former ideological selves, disillusioned and cynical.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

And one last thing--freedom for Iraqi women is fantastic, but is it worth the price of losing so very many of our own freedoms here at home in the name of national security?

I just don't get how Conservatives, who are supposed to abhor government infringement and involvement into their private lives, can so gleefully support the Patriot Act and other trashers of our Constitution and civil liberties. It makes absolutely no sense.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

Dear Mr.Nate,
Yes I have actually met and worked with many Iraqi woman and men. And here is just a sampling of what one of my many friends has said. She thanks the United States for having the "leadership, dedication and commitment" both to free her people from Saddam's regime and also to support Iraq as it moves towards being a stable and free country.

Other's have stated, and proudly noted the present of Iraqi women in the Army, the National Guard and the police forces now -- other women willing to risk their lives to help defend their country.

They also speak of seeing many Iraqis break into tears when they heard President Bush speak of democracy and freedom as a "gift from the Creator" meant for all people - a message that resonated deeply with many of the countrymen. They are very optimistic that Iraq can and will become a major force for change in the Middle East. The current mission is to defeat the insurgency, secure the borders and hold elections.

They say Saddam needs to be killed, that he was a terrorist and a sponsor of terror, and that he is by no means the only one who needs confronting and stopping. They are very clear that Islamacist terror is a threat to all democracies and to all the people in the Middle East.

To those who say there was no link between Saddam and Islamacist terror I say this: "When 9/11 happened, Saddam ordered a 3 day celebration with feasts and parades. Some people did not want to celebrate those attacks. He had those who did not participate brutally executed in public."

I have more if you'd like to read, but I think i have made my point.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

Sorry that post above was from me Paula not Anonymous.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Oy. That's your link?



A celebration?


...


I...really am at a loss for words. This is why I have so little hope.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You people have alot of time on your hands, dont ya.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

Actually my link is from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. I work very close with them and have 100's of stories. Maybe 1000's more, would you like to hear them?

Unlike the original blogger of this post,you sound like a very under educated and distubed person.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Paula, I can't speak for Nate, but as far as I'm concerned, I can't say I take issue with anything you said. Well, sorta.

If I was an Iraqi under a totalitarian regime, I would care only that that regime was obliterate, not what process led it there.

Still, I am a bit bothered by that last line, "To those who say there was no link between Saddam and Islamic terror I say this: 'When 9/11 happened, Saddam ordered a 3 day celebration with feasts and parades...'" Careful--those who celebrate with your enemy may be your enemy in ideology, but it does not make them your enemy in practice.

We don't go bombing the hell outta people just because we don't like them. Well, we didn't used to, anyway...

4:34 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Now, now Paula. No personal attacks or insults at my blog. Tisk, tisk.

It just so happens that Nate is an extremely intelligent person and also happens to be a military veteran.

At heart, I think we all agree more than disagree--at least in terms of the final product if not the way in which we took to get there.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

I won't deny being disturbed, but probably not in the sense you intended.

And I admit to being under-educated, since I am never satisfied with the amount I know, and am always hungry for more. I know that I share this, at least, with Brandon. I wish could say the same for the people in charge. I take less issue with their ideaology - which, when practiced honestly, has many defensible positions - than I do with their tendency to dismiss things like, oh, I dunno...thinking...or inquiry, and saying things like "I know her heart" when discussing a Supreme Court nominee!
They often rely on emotional appeal, something that turns my stomach more the older I get. Emotional appeals like anecdotes of liberated Iraqis - which NO ONE DENIES - or stories about how evil Saddam was - which NO ONE DENIES - and the fact that, surprise surprise, he celebrated after 9/11 and committed a few more atrocities.

By "link" I meant your link from 9/11 to Iraq, not

Is that why we invaded, Paula? He celebrated after 9/11? That's all I'm asking. You keep relying on emotional pleas.

First, Iraq harbored Al Quaeda. When that was debunked, they had weapons of mass destruction.
When that was debunked, they were BUILDING weapons of mass destruction.
When that was debunked, they INTENDED to build weapons of mass destruction.
Now we went there because he was a bad man. And we say things like "Freedom Isn't Free," which was what got me off on this whole frickin' thing in the first place.


I AM GLAD HE IS GONE. A fully functioning, democratic Iraq in the heart of a troubled Middle East is an exciting prospect and I SINCERELY HOPE that it succeeds.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Forgive the ALL CAPS. I am not shouting. It is the only way I know to show emphasis, at least until I remember that HTML tags let you italicize and bold.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

Ok Amen to that. Now let's turn a page.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brandon,
I recall that "one good man" kept God from destroying all of mankind. And He used "His People" to wipe out whole civilizations--men, women, children, and animals.
One shouldn't offer a mad dog a bone. If our enemies bring the war to us, we should take it right back to them.
I find it hard to equate defense of the unborn with defense of our homeland. No unborn child ever purposed to eradicate us.
CW

5:39 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Yes Carl, He did. But Bush ain't that "one good man," that's for sure!

For every "one good man" in Scripture, I can show you a dozen leaders who brazenly walked outside the will of God (even those who enjoyed the popularity of the people) and drove Israel into desolation.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

"If our enemies bring the war to us, we should take it right back to them."


????



When did Iraq bring war to us??
Where does this idea come from?

Seriously, point me in the right direction and I will be happy to educate myself.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When did Iraq bring war to us?"
Have we forgotten 9/11 so soon? Wake up people!
CW

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, the last paragraph in Ecclesiates chap. 10 in the "Message" translation says: "Don't bad-mouth your leaders, not even under your breath". Solomon's wisdom still applies today.
CW

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Does half of this country REALLY believe that Iraq was behind 9/11?
REALLY?

Call me naïve, but I think I didn’t realize how entrenched this belief is.

In this modern age of instantly accessible information that is, literally, EVERYWHERE, clinging to this belief seems like a medieval superstition.

I instantly tune out of any meaningful back-and-forth debate when someone says something like "we attacked them because they attacked us."
We should be open to all ideas, but just because everyone is entitled to their own opinions does not mean everyone is entitled to their own facts.

If someone can't be bothered to have picked up a newspaper, I can't be bothered with explaining to them that the world is round and not flat.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

This is incredible! It defies logic! It is enough to make me believe in wild conspiracy theories because they hold more credibility that these utterly absurd convictions that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11. I'll give Bush and his spinmeisters this much of a compliment--their lies sure have fooled a whole lot of people.

Can it really be that in this age of instant information there are still people who believe 9/11 was a plot by Saddam Hussein!? Is it possible?

Are people so blinded by Bush's messiah-complex that they refuse to acknowledge what any rational person accepted years ago--THERE WERE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. NONE. NADA. ZIP. IRAQ POSED NO THREAT TO AMERICA. NONE. NADA. ZIP. THE BUSH APPOINTED COMMISSION INVESTIGATING THE 9/11 ATTACKS FOUND "NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE" THAT IRAQ HELPED AL QAEDA IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM. NONE. NADA. ZIP. I can go on...

No, none of us have forgotten 9/11! We simply prefer to remember it in a universe of rationality and logic, not emotionally driven double-talk and spin.

We prefer to honor the dead by pursuing the true villains and not strawmen foisted on us through a veil of lies so obvious it falls apart the moment you turn off FOX News and allow time for an independant thought.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Yeah, where was that Ecclesiastes verse during the Clinton administration? Kinda screws that charge up, eh? That book also talks of wild partying and drinking. Don't see most Evangelical churches endorsing that one! Funny how we pick and choose what we like from the Bible depending on how if fits our political and cultural beliefs.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

Brandon, I am sorry I know this your blogg. And I still don't know how I was sent your blogg yesterday. But you seem to me someone that is very angry with the world and God. You are extremely upset especially with the USA. Maybe you should consider moving to another country. And I know form your other post's that you have served this country and have traveled the world. But you young man need some help. You must of had a very strict religious up bringing to have such powerful anger towards our country leaders and GOD. You sound intelligent at times but your inner self is read between the lines. WHy are you so sad?

8:14 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Oh Paula, I don't know who sent you my blog either, but I regret that you sent that final comment, truly I do. Because, while you and I certainly don't see eye to eye on these issues, your arguments were always on-topic, and didn't fall to the level of personal attacks. Until now.

It is the sign of a flaccid argument when the switch is made from the topic at hand to insults the sorts of which you leveled...especially when my comments weren't even directed to you!

To answer your charges (humor me...your silly comment hardly warrants a response, but I'm going to do one anyway)--no, I am not angry at God. In fact, while I have certainly been on a unique journey the past few years, I have never felt closer to the Lord, never enjoyed my Christian walk more, and never been more excited about my Christian faith than this very moment.

As to if I am enraged at America and have thought of moving to another country--hell, yes! As any American should be when they see the very things that make their country great, shredded and defecated upon. I used to be a conservative Republican and even worked in Congress in D.C. It took this one administration and its abominable actions to break me of that bad habit.

Feel free to leave any sort of comments you like--I don't censor unless your comments so cross the line as to be offensive to my other readers. But you, I, and everyone who reads this blog will enjoy it a whole lot more if you actually debate the issues and not your emotions.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Why would you move, Brandon? Maybe because you love this country and where it came from?

Speaking for myself, I am not happy with the direction we are taking, the government in charge, the laziness of the media, or even the callousness of our own citizens. To simply leave and move away (a childish demand almost always exclaimed by those who have little to offer in the way of reason and principle) would be like divorcing your wife and leaving a lifetime of marriage because of a bad week.

No, I prefer to stay if that’s alright with you. And think. And speak. Just as the Founding Fathers intended.

Speaking of those fathers, I’m sure there was some Loyalist in Philadelphia telling Ben Franklin that if he so hates the royal crown, then he can leave the colonies. Lucky for us Ben treated that as the kind of idiocy that it was.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Wait, did I just make a facile historical analogy?

10:34 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

When did this country cease being about free speech and the strengthening of our national identity through vigorous debate and open discourse in the arenas of civil and public life? Oh yeah, that was after we looked horror in the face and decided to let it win by decimating the very things that make us good and free and ignoring our own measure of culpability in our enemys' monstrous crimes.

Damn, now I've done it. Opened a whole new can of worms.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

First of all this is Paula, not whoever wrote that other post using my name.
I am sure you all know before some of us were born, Americans Died in the Veitnam War, 58,000 did. My Dad was included in that. Over 300,000 were wounded and it was the longest American War to date.
A lot of you do however sound very sad on here. I wish some of you would do something positive with your energy. How about interveiw some fo these people from Iraq or the Middle East and get their views instead of yours. And yes we live in this WONDERFUL country because of all those Beautiful people who died in Veitnam, Iraq, or wherever. WAR is always ugly, always going to be here and no one not even you two are going to stop it.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

From Iraq or the Middle East?

3:03 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

I wonder that you should comment on how this administration has so cured you of your republican sickness. To be replaced by what I wonder? Liberalism? Don’t forget that it was the Kennedy administration that got us involved in the last great nation building exercise. I guess the lesson here is help take the nation to a new frontier and take a bullet to the brain and you’ll be forgiven of your sins and remembered as a national hero, instead of a national blemish. Maybe that’s why Bush is taking us back to the moon…

You know, at least in Iraq there was a perceived threat to the American people. In Vietnam there was no such threat unless you buy that the threat was international communism gaining a world foothold. You see, the lies change somewhat from administration to administration, party to party, but the results are always the same. We are told that we are threatened by outside forces (communism, terrorism, wmd’s) and because of this we must spill the blood of not only the youth of our land, but the blood of every age and walk from another land. We-the majority of Americans-agree and off we go to make a fortune for the weapons and defense industry, and any politician allied with that industry. Nate, I’m not trying to draw undo correlations from history that aren’t supportable, instead I’m talking about the broad underlying strokes that compel a nation to war and keep it at war long after its apparent that we never should have been there in the first place.

The public has to feel threatened you see. In America though, we are bordered to the north by Canada (our ally) at to the south by Mexico (our ally). Never has America been invaded in the last 200 years, unlike most other countries that know what a real threat to one’s true security looks like; that can tell the difference between an aggressor and an annoyance. So the threats have had to take some pretty creative forms within the last hundred years to convince the public they’re lives are jeopardized by this threat.

The atomic age heralded the beginning of the cold war. It ushered in an age of unprecedented fear in the minds of the American people. Endless bomb drills helped reinforce the mortal danger that communism posed to us. All of this of course peaked during the Cuban missile crisis. That was enough to sell the American public on a war with a country halfway around the world that many had never heard of. Stop the dangerous spread of communism before it reaches our shores, we were told, it was the only true way to be safe of it. Listen closely to the message now, because it hasn’t changed a bit, its just put on a new outfit to be in style with a new generation: take the fight to them before it hits us here at home. How is that any different from today? We must stay the course, they tell us. Do any of you see the connection?

Sure, you’ll hear of all the wonderful things that we are doing for the people of country X (in between indiscriminately killing them en mass), it’s always necessary to reassure the American public that we are the good guys on a crusade of love against the incomparable evil of the Japanese, the Communists, the Taliban, Osama Bin Ladin, Saddam Hussien and his thugs, Islamic extreemists, insurgents, etc... That’s because Mr. and Mrs. Public might object to the use of their son as a tool for wealth accumulation for the elite if they realized that that’s what it’s really all about. You can eat the cheeseburgers you want without a guilty conscience because your country represents the forces of good and light; their country is under attack by the forces of evil and darkness. It is said that in order for propaganda to be affective, it must be unnoticed. That the people of our nation have no idea that they are being propagandized is propaganda’s most impressive achievement. So don’t get too excited when you hear about women voting, running water, new schools, and working electricity. According to the government we are there to bring them freedom, not modern amenities. Do you think our 2,000 dead soldiers would be happy to know that their death brought about the ability for the Iraqi people to watch satellite TV or talk on a cell phone?

Admitted rabbit trail, skip this paragraph if you like: why do American’s always associate freedom with the ability to purchase what we want? Even the Soviets of old could do that. The Chinese of today can also. Just what is freedom anyway? We’ve been told what it is for so long in indirect ways that I wonder how many of us can actually remember what it really is anymore. Did our founding fathers go to war because over our right to buy and own really neat stuff? It is often told to us that the American dream consists of one house, two cars, a yard with a white picket fence, and 2.3 future consumers. But that’s not it at all, the American dream, at least as far as our founding fathers saw it, was FREEDOM. Nothing more, nothing less. Freedom was not a guarantee of commercial success or happy times; it was a promise that you and you alone had control over your life. Whether or not you are prosperous is mute, and completely aside from the point. Do you want your kids to have it better than you financially (another lie foisted onto the public in the name of the American dream), sure, but I would much rather they be free men and women, in charge of their own destiny without government intrusion. Back to the subject matter at hand though.

All that I’m really trying to get at is that this is the same old tried and true script that has always been foisted on an unaware public. That the principle players have changed is irrelevant. That the stated objectives have changed somewhat is mute. Like Jane Austin fans that just cant get enough, we keep rushing back, all to eager to bite into the newest release, all the while know that the underlying theme hasn’t changed and neither will the outcome. The rich will get richer, the powerful will become more powerful-it’s the average people that will loose, regardless of whether they are Iraqi, Vietnamese,…or American. The poor will become destitute, the weak will be destroyed. It has always been so. It will always be so. For as long as life on this planet continues, man will always oppress his fellow man for his own personal gain. And there will always be unknowing bystanders (that ought to know) who permit the oppression because the oppressor claims to do so in their name; claims to do it for their benefit and protection. They allow it because they want to believe his claims; they allow it because in making the oppressor happy they hope to keep his attention off of themselves. When, oh when will we wake up…? Oceania has always been at war with Iraq.

“It’s not a matter of whether the war is not real, or if it is. Victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.” George Orwell.

Jon

5:53 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

“To personalize the war, describing it as not against the Iraqi people but against Saddam, is morally equivalent to bombing a prison because one has a grievance against its sadistic warden.”

- Robert Higgs

9:25 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

Nate, I must disagree with your analogy. I myself live in a foreign country with little intention of every returning (so long as things remain as they are). It makes me very sad to say that precisely because I love my country so much. I will still work as best I can towards bettering my country and waking up her citizenry, just not from within her borders. To say that that makes me childish is unfair and inaccurate. It simply means I put the safety of my family before the safety of your family. I’m still concerned for your family, just not to the point that I’m willing to jeopardize mine (if I can at all help it). I wish I could have stopped the holocaust from happening in Europe, but I would not have stuck around Germany if I were Jewish. I wish China wasn’t a communist country, but if I had lived in Hong Kong, I would have been out of there long before England gave it back.

You see, your analogy is wholly inaccurate, to even attempt to make it slightly more applicable you would have to say: You’re a woman with children and your husband is the strongest person on the planet. He hits you a couple of times and then promises he’ll never do it again, but also tells you why he had to hit you. At issue isn’t feelings of one for another, or even the past actions of a single person, let alone an organization as large as the Federal Government, rather the issue is the mentality that enables an individual or government to take such actions in the first place, then later trying to justify them. Please understand that how two people interact towards each other within a marriage is ENTIRELY different than how individual citizens interact with the largest most power organization this world has ever know. I believe you made the statement about silly analogies in the past…physician, heal thyself.

I consider myself to be very reasoned and highly principled. I am bothered by your suggesting otherwise simply because I have chosen a different path than have you. I cannot, for the life of me determine where you even got such an impression. Say what you will about high profile people like Johnny Depp and other such characters (lord knows not all my opinions on them are flattering), but you must concede this: Sean Penn actually spent is own money to fly over to Iraq, unlike our President. Nor is Mr. Penn and company responsible for the reopening of Saddam’s torture chambers under new management.

You have a right to your opinion Nate, but if nothing else, I hope that I have argued my position well enough so that you can at least see my side of it. I will not mock you for staying in America if you will not mock me for staying outside her. I love my country no less than you sir, I guess I just fear my government a little more than you.

Jon

10:39 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

And the hits just keep on coming…

Paula,
I want to be very careful here because I know that you have personally suffered loss in a war. I have lost from friends during the war in Iraq, but that can hardly be compared to the loss of a father. Please know that what I write is in no way meant to denigrate your father or his actions. Obviously I did not know him, but I will agree with you that he was an honorable man who lived to help others, and died for a cause he believed to be right and larger than one man. I will call him a hero.

But Paula, I do believe that your father was lied to. As I and others were lied to. We believed that we would be used in the defense of our nation and only then as a last resort; when all other reasonable avenues had been exhausted. I did not join the military to be used for the personal profit and gain of a select few powerful people within the halls of government, and boardrooms of some of America’s largest corporations.

I do not mean to denigrate those who died, in fact I feel I am fighting in part for them-but you must know this: we do not live in this country because of those brave men and women who gave up their lives during the Vietnam, or Iraqi conflicts. Neither country ever posed a threat to the freedoms or American way of life you cherish today. If they had posed such a threat, than the outcome of the Vietnam war would have had disastrous affects on our liberties. These wars were for profit or folly. Or both.

Daniel Webster once asked of his fellow Congressmen on the occasion of our nation’s entry into the war of 1812, “Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you can take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly or wickedness of the government may engage it? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest rights of personal liberty? Who will show me any constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life and even life itself, not when the safety to the country and its liberties may demand the sacrifice, but whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it?” Why is it that way back in 1812, not long after the founding of our nation, Mr. Webster was able to recognize the inherit dangers of government and its “mischievous” nature, while today (when this very same government has grown in so much in size and corruption that were the founding fathers alive today, they may very well have written a declaration of independence from their own creation), we willingly write off such atrocious activities as stupid politicians with ill-conceived plans. When will we recognize the real and present danger our government poses to its citizenry.

The number of deaths that this country sustained during the war in Vietnam and Iraq (both times) may be tragic (as any death in an unjust war is), but it doesn’t even come close to the number of lives lost on the Vietnamese side, or the Afghani side, or the Iraqi side. This war might just give Vietnam a run for its money before its all said and done in both its length and its brutality.

Yes Paula, war is always ugly. And no, nothing I write or say will likely stop a single war from taking place. But those facts don’t justify our nation’s war of aggression, anymore than the “but everybody’s doing it!” argument will excuse a child from chastisement or the repercussions of inappropriate behavior

“War is the dirtiest, most despicable conduct men have devised. It should never, ever, be considered unless the barbarians are literally at the gates.” - Michael Peirce

“Why do we tell our children to not solve their differences with violence, then turn around and commit the ultimate in violence against people in another country who have nothing to do with the political attitudes of their leaders?” - Kevin Benderman

11:47 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Now see Jonathan, these are the kinds of posts I can get into and agree with…mostly. While I am nowhere near as pessimistic as you, these are the sorts of fears that I can understand and toy with myself.

I liked that rabbit trail and the Robert Higgs and Kevin Benderman quotes. (though I think you thought Nate was personally attacking you when that was not the case…especially since you had yet to enter the fray at that point.)

I always go back to that Jefferson quote: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" and his stated beliefs that periodic revolution is good for democracy, and that there needs to be one every so often to keep us on our toes. Interesting point.

I’d write more, but I am walking out the door…

1:44 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Oh yeah, and whoever used Paula's name for thier false post is a piss-ant coward.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

Well to both of the Fibbs, not sure if you related or not.

But point taken and understood. Now let's hope that Bronco's Win tomorrow and if you two or Nate are Eagle fans you all will see a fight on your hands, LOL...

11:18 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Nate, for the record, I realize your comments were not dirceted at me. But even when taken as a general statement, those were some pretty harsh words man. I don't want you to think that I was attacking you though, just as I understand you were not attacking me.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Shew! We narrowly avoided the biggest fight of all--politics has no fury compared to a Bronco's fan scorned! Lucky for you Paula, I'm a Colorado resident and while I can't speak for Jon or Nate, I was quite pleased to see Denver win yesterday.

And yes, the two Fibbs' are indeed brothers--which speaks to their absurd verbosity!

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Wow! I leave for the weekend...

Where to start? Jon, I was nodding my head right along with most of what you had to say. I have to get to work this Monday, though, so I'll just clarify something about moving out of the country. The "childish" comment was directed at Paula (or pissant-coward Not-Paula) or anyone who says something along the lines of "If you don't like it here, then move away," as if, by living here, you give up your right to free speech and the free exchange of ideas. That's all.
If, on the other hand, you actually HAVE moved away, then by all means send me a postcard and photos. No hard feelings. Is a mentally stunted ape in charge of your country-of-residence too?

As far as we negative-Nancy's being "sad," well, yes, but it's not MY fault that "Cop Rock" sucked.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Reacher said...

I'm really sorry I don't have time to read all these responses and jump in the mix. You know how much I love mix-jumping. Let me just say this: Yesterday, President Bush was talking with Rumsfeld and found out that 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq. He freaked out. Everyone was a little surprised by his reaction, until he said, "Rummy, remind me how many a brazillion is."

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody believes Iraq itself was behind 9/11, but it surely supported the effort and helped spawn the ideology. If one has cancer, it's the doctor's job to cut out the source.
In this case, Iraq may not be the sourse, but it certainly has infected tissue and should be dealt with accordingly.
CW

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Well CW, to your credit, at least that is a point where I have to stop and think a bit before answering, instead of slapping my forehead reflexively because people still insist on arguing factual points that have long since been put to bed.

So I think I'll leave it at that, pretty much. Maybe you have something there. Maybe you don't. I'm sure Brandon may want to argue the point. I don't particularly feel like it.

The war, and all the complicated history and social machinery that leads up to such things, is bigger than me. It's bigger than you. My little mind can't begin to comprehend all the factors or historical perspectives in play. Who's to say what the world will look like in 50 years? There may be real, substantive good to come out of our attempts to democratize Iraq. There seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence to support that view now. It could also be a death spiral. Plenty of evidence there, too.

I don't pretend to be that prescient, unlike many, many people. I am not afraid to draw a bright line around my limitations. So many blowhard pundits, in the media and in my daily encounters, take this as a sort of fence-sitting weakness. God knows why.

So I leave that particular argument to people smarter than myself.

This makes me all the MORE passionate in my arguments about things which can or cannot be, or have or have not been, proven. That is within my range. It is within yours. It should be within most people's range if they bother to stay informed. It's why I get so annoyed with that kind of contentiousness, and why I fixated on the simple, and simple-minded, "Iraq was behind 9/11" original comment.

And that is why it is so refreshing to see you lay it out ("Iraq is part of the overall cancer") as how you really believe. Few people seem to do that. Just a few comments prior, you yourself did not do that. You implied that Iraq attacked us. That's fine, but why does it take so long, at 55 comments in, to reach that point, a simple factual admission?

Not just you, though. Other people kept ducking the point as well, and making non-replies about how Beautiful people are when they die for a flawed cause.

I take issue when you say that no one really believes Iraq was behind 9/11. The most recent polls say that many Americans in fact believe this as a literal truth. "Paula" believes this. If she does not believe this, she has not admitted so.
Why is this? The administration's spin? The loud, outrage stoking entertainment of the right wing side of the media? The people themselves who just want easy, Hollywood-style answers?

Either way, I believe we can't have an intelligent discussion until we stop arguing about the stupidest things. And yes, since you bring it up, there is an intelligent discussion to be had about Iraq's role in today's anti-Americanism, and whether toppling Saddam's regime was the best way to combat that role. You may have some intelligent views to offer on that. I am certain that there are historical analogies people can dredge up for both sides.
I for one feel like I have nothing more to say on it that hasn't already been said by pundits far smarter than me. So have at it.

Just stop forcing me, an engineer-in-training, to point out, again and again, that the world is not flat and that the sky is, in fact, blue. It's tiresome.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Samer said...

Just saw this and was interested and thought I'd put my $2.00 in, I have a lot more then 2 cents to offer this blog. I know Saddam personally or Amo as we called him. He was a evil man and took our souls with him. IF it wasn't for the US and your President we would ALL still be suffering by the hands of him and his evil robot's.
Imagine living in a world where your home must be open to a evil man 24/7. He would rule your mind body and soul. I had a beautiful home in Baghdad that sat on the Tigris River. That was taken from me and forced to live somewhere else. My family was a close relation to him. So can you imagine how he treated people who were at no concern at all. You had to look at him and look interested in what he was saying and agree with his every breathe. It wouldn't matter what time of day or night, sleeping or not. My voice speaks for many of us weapons or no weapons, Thank you President Bush. He would kill you if you didn't celebrate his birthday and light candles out side your house. He is was evil beyond words.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

And Samer, no one at this blog disagrees with you. We're also overjoyed for you. Good riddance.

All some of us are questioning is the means by which our country was impelled into the war. There is a right way and a wrong way to do something, even if the end result is favorable. You kill something of yourself when you use evil--whatever degree of evil--to achieve righteous results.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous SAMER said...

The only way to get rid of him is to kill him. And if that means that lives have to be scarificed on both sides, thats the way it has to be.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

But was that our (the U.S.'s) choice to make Samer?

8:11 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Exactly.

However valid your argument might be, you (the royal "you") have no right to then turn others into puppets to enact your will.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous SAMER said...

Yes because they are the only people who have the gut's. Thank goodness. Hilter had to be stopped the same way, US saved them as well. You are lucky to be able to speak ill of your leader and be alive the next day. I hope your childrens child never have to go through what my family went through for a minute, and have a country as the one you want your USA to be and do nothing.

10:49 PM  

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