Monday, May 23, 2005

Iraq.... so many miss the point...

Left, right .... what does it mean anyway?

I will say that when I talk about the "left" I don't distinguish between democrat or republican. There are leftist types on both sides of the isle. While I lean more towards the republicans, I don't see them as the white horse ready to save us and in fact I'm very disappointed in them on many fronts. I think freedom is at risk whoever is in office as long as we the people are content to sit back and let them govern us from a distance. I think freedom is at risk when we are so busy bickering and fighting for power (and make no mistake, that is what so much of the current political scene is about) that we lose sight of the real reason we are here on this planet, that being to aide our fellow man. (I'm sure that there are some exceptional people who are really motivated by what's right here)

I have heard those who have stated that Iraq is a bad war. They state this based on their belief that President Bush went to Iraq with intentions that were self-interest motivated. Based on this belief, they say the war is bad. I'm not sure I know one way or the other, who can read a man's mind? There are those who say we went looking for WMD's that were not there. I say, if we thought they were there, then we should have gone, no questions.

Still, I say, so what? The bottom line is that regardless of the reason that we got there, it was a morally correct decision for US to go there, for the same reason it was morally correct for us to be involved in World War Two. Since the reason is ultimately moral and absolutely correct, then we should be there no matter what the motivation of the commander and chief.

What is that reason? To me, the clear reason here is one word, Genocide. That to me is a trump card, don't pass go, don't collect 200 dollars. See:

http://www.hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/
http://www.gendercide.org/case_anfal.html

Look at the pictures of the DEAD, GASSED children. Tell me this isn't a moral war.

Get beyond your political polar ice cap and thaw a bit. It is a moral and right war, if it stops the genocide. Period. How many human beings were killed by Sadam? How many more would need to be killed before we said enough is enough? When will we stop turning our head away? This isn't about freedom (which is a perfectly good reason in and of itself), this is about something even more basic. This is about the right to simply live.

So, is the fallout worth it? If one has vision, if one looks at the future with hope and *resolve*, then sure it does. Are the American deaths worth it? It's hard to say yes, but I think that we have to stand by our ideals, by our words. We proclaim freedom to the world. It's high time we put our money and our might where our mouth is. It's high time we did this with might and vigor and with a united people who say "This is where it stops. This is where the evil stops. This is the line, and none shall cross it and live to return again."

Also, do we refuse to do the right thing because the consequences of doing the right thing might be bad? Do we refuse to do the right thing because it might make us look imperial, or it might offend a particular group of religious people? The right thing is often the most difficult, gut wrenching thing one can ever do. Doing the right thing can and does cost lives, sometimes in the end, it can cost more lives than it saves. Doing the right thing was never easy, but it is right.

I wonder, do you think the survivors of the holocaust camps ever once wondered if the allied forces were doing the right thing? Do you think they sat and debated over the political merits of the Soviets getting East Germany in the end, or if Monty or Dwight should lead the charge into France? Do you think the Jews being paraded into the execution chambers thought much about the changing political landscape as the US came into World War Two? Do you, REALLY? Do you question the rightness of World War Two? Only a truly heartless person could ever question that the mass death of any group is worthy of the title "evil".

So, should we get out of Afghanistan or Iraq now, I think not. Now is not the time. We must stand firm in our resolve, we must show them that we are right, and that we know that we are right. Let our vision be in terms not of days or weeks or months. Let us be selfless and realize that this is about our children and grandchildren, thus our vision must be in terms of decades and centuries. We must teach, educate and show them we love them. We must be good and consistent examples. It takes time. Years of fostered hate can not be undone in a year, or a decade. It's an investment though that pays centuries of dividends. Do we love our children and do we love our fellow man, to invest that kind of time? I certainly hope so.

There are other places to go, and horrors to stop. Do we have the guts to take those on? Probably not unless there is political motivation. And that is a shame.

13 comments:

David Aldridge said...

Interesting thoughts, Robert.

But I think that the moral correctness of any war is lost when the instigating government steps off its own human rights platform in the process. The use of torture, directly or through third parties, and of indefinite detention with trial does not in my opinion allow the administration to proclaim its moral credentials to the world.

It also does not encourage others to believe that the administration's motives are based on its moral values, whether derived from religious or secular beliefs. I'm afraid that the Unitied States has discarded the right to invoke morality as a motive.

Thoughts?

Robert G. Freeman said...

David,

Thanks for the comments!

There is an old saying, War is hell. If we were fighting an enemy that played by the same rules we do, then I would agree, but we are not. These are people who think nothing of bombing their own people. I believe strongly that some are so fanatical that if they had a nuke, and could transport it and use it, they would.

Our morality here in the US is shaped, in part, by the fact that we have had few attacks on our own soil. So few of us have really been significantly impacted by any type of war related activities. We see things through rose colored glasses.

Granted, many were impacted by loss during 9/11 or OKC (in my case). How many have really *seen* the horror though. How many have seen their children murdered, have carried their lifeless bodies?

Note that during 9/11 we didn't see the bodies hurling off of the WTC, because the press decided not to show it. Have you seen any of this footage? Have you seen a body slam into the ground after falling 100 stories? I've seen one clip, it was terrible. That sight, in part, shapes my feelings. Wading through the mess of OKC as I did, smelling the bodies still in the rubble 5 days later, shapes my feelings and my reaction.

If I didn't have 5 kids to raise and if I wasn't too old, I'd say give me a gun and let me go. Show me where they are and let me go take care of business. I don't *want* to kill, but I do *want* a safe world for my childern and their childern. Send me to deal with the problem and end it, don't send them.

When they stand up and say they are ready to talk peace, and live by it, I'm there brother!

If it was your child kidnapped, and you knew fairly sure that one of the guys who had that child was secured in front of you, what would you do. Talk nice? Would you try to persuade him? Or at some point, would you start breaking fingers and tell him that the pain stops when he tells you where your child is. I'd break fingers, and as soon as he told me where my child was, and I'd found my child, I'd hospitalize him and then he would stand trial. Heck, I might stand trail in our weird legal environment. In the end, I might have the wrong guy... Thats always the risk with things like this, but I'm willing to take that chance if the likelihood is strong that this is the right guy.... Same thing in war and in very specific cases (such as, where are the WMDs?). Not all cases call for torture, but I believe some do.

The difference is, the enemy would not care about certainty or about life. If they even thought for a second that it was possible, they would torture him. Then, once they got what they wanted they would kill him. No trial, no mercy.

Do you see the difference?

I grant you, there is a fine line, and that line is hard to define. In this case:

1. Torture might well be warranted in some cases. If I *honestly* suspect that someone has information on a nuclear weapon in downtown DC, torture is justified. We might be wrong, but in the end it may save lives.

So, what is the moral difference? Difference number one is you don't torture for political reasons or without major justification. Do you think that those who have kidnapped and killed our citizens in Iraq really a seconds thought about the moral implication of torture. That's the difference, we do. We may not be perfect, and there are bad people, no doubt. But we hold those bad people accountable and we hold our OWN people accountable. Where is the accountability in Iraq for those who have killed our citizens? Where is the Iraqi press blow out story about the dubu-gab Iraqi American torture prison scandal? When did the world say enough is enough, you have killed to many Americans! They never will.

2. Indefinite detention ... Study WWII my friend, how many trials went well for POW's of Germany or Japan? In WWII did POW's have an option for a trial? No...

Why do we hold people indefinitely? Because they are a risk. Is there some risk of this being abused, sure there is. Again though, the chief difference is that people get held accountable. Now, once in a while, someone it going to fall through the cracks, but certainly, more often than not, they get caught.

Again.... let someone on their side sue for peace, let them surrender and give up terror and war. I suspect that we will soon follow once it can be estalished that the risk has truly evaporated.

Do people suffer at our hands? Sure. Do they get abused? Sure. Are they held indefinitely? Sure. The bottom line though is that this is war. How would you feel if we released someone from Cuba and two years later they were the one who detonated a nuclear weapon in Chicago? This type of thing has happened before, and it can happen again.

Finally, we are mistaken if we think that people in the middle-east really care about our "morality". That's just our press blowing hot air at us and feeding us a story. Also the enemy plays up the morality question because they know that a certain number of Americans don't have the stomach for a hard, long, drawn-out fight. The bottom line is that it's much more complex than that.

It's about politics over there (not that it's not over here!), it's about religion, it's about power.

For those that we fight, they could care less about the morality... they simply use it to try to weaken our resolve. The US entered this conflict on strong moral grounds (controlling WMD's, right or wrong, is moral justification in my eyes).

Once *any* conflict starts, morality goes gray and you can ask questions until the cows come home.

If we can not understand that, if we can not learn to deal with that, then we will, eventually, fail to survive as a country because THEY DO NOT CARE. One nuke in DC is all it will take and this country will no longer exist as it does not. Remember that my friend, fear that.
Do not allow this to happen.

I do not say that morality is dead during war, I say that it is morality of a different color. It has to be.

Remember, even in heaven there was a war, and God himself cast out a 1/3 of the hosts....

Robert

David Aldridge said...

Well I think that "differences" are where the problem lies here, and you may be in danger of not acknowledging some, and of downplaying others.

SH by his own standards didn't gas and kill his own people, they were different to him -- different tribes, different religious sects, different political beliefs. He killed them because they were different. It is always the case, no?

I see a difference between the planners and perpetrators of 9/11 and the majority of those who have been held at Guantanamo Bay. I believe that it suits the purpose of the government to downplay this difference, because as you say what matters to politicians is political power. If you have to tell a few lies, make a few innuendos, imply the existence of a few connections between some people far away, then that's part of their game. Hatred is an easy emotion to provoke.

I see little difference between the victims of 9/11 and the more numerous civilian victims of the Iraq war. They were both as helpless, although the latter set was probably more heavily wieghted towards the women/children side of the balance sheet. Empathy for victims and their families ought to be universal, not denied to those who are different to ourselves.

I agree that Americans' morality is shaped by their history of domestic safety, but what I see in reaction to 9/11 is not the danger of more-of-the-same complacency, I see a frightened stampede away from their values and into a new society willing to condone any brutality (as long as it's kept off of TV) that will keep their shopping malls safe from foreign brown people. They're urged on by the government and by particular mass media outlets -- a government interested in power and media interested in lowest-common-denominator hatred (oh, and money of course -- let's not forget the ratings "war").

I regret that in searching for favourable comparisons for the treatment of prisoners of war by America we need to invoke the memory of the German and Japanese states in the 1940's. I find "At least we're not as bad as the fascist Axis Powers" to be a hollow boast. The differences appear to be narrowing.

My more practical objection to these barbaric practices is not a moral one, it is that they are the best possible recruitment tool for the enemies of America, just as internment of IRA suspects was for their cause. The enemy plays up the morality question because it makes their support larger and the hatred stronger -- I don't think that they could care less about what the US press says, nor about opposition to the war.

Short-termism, expediency and pseudo-macho posturing has ruled the political landscape since 9/11, and I am sure that folks will rue the day that they didn't take a more long term view of their actions.

I suppose that God did have his own war, but I'm not sure that it was meant to be interpreted as an endorsment of the practice, surely!

Dave

Robert G. Freeman said...

David,

The basic underlying morality of a war is never lost after the war is started as long as the basic moral premise for the war is intact, which it is and was. That is why I think using a nuke in WWII was justifiable. War by it's very nature changes you and changes the rules. Morality is still important, but there comes a time when hard decisions have to be made for the greater good. Lots of examples of this in WWII.

Point in fact, I notice you did not answer my question, and it's an important one. If it was YOUR child that was kidnapped, and YOU knew the guy you had captured KNEW where your child was, would you torture him to discover this information?

* Sadam gladly killed off his own people, just not in mass genocide. I've seen the numbers before, but don't recall them. It was not a small number. How many politically based American murders can you pin on President Bush? We simply don't kill people to further our political gains...

* Well Over 200 folks have been released from Guantanamo. Some have been jailed by their own countries, and others actually released. Of those released, many (I find different numbers from different sources, but well over 10 to 20 percent seems safe) have been once again captured in the act of plotting or fighting against the United States.

* With regards to the civilian victims of the war....
Currently there are 7,350 civilian casualties recorded as a result of initial heavy duty coalition action (http://www.iraqbodycount.net/database/). This does not include casualties during the occupation. This is not all that far off of the 9/11 death mark. Any civilian casulty is, of course, unfortunate and sad.

I tried to find a reliable total number of Sadams genocide related murders but have not been able to yet. Certainly it is 100k+ (I saw one site that said it was in the 7 figures, but I find that hard to believe). There is no way of telling how many more would have died under his rule.

Assuming a WMD is set off in Washington DC by a terrorist or anywhere, the civilian casualty count would be on the order of several hundred thousand if not more. Also, the cost to the people of the United States would be without measure. I acknowledge that no WMD's were found in Iraq, however I find no proof that Pres. Bush knew that the WMD information was false. Thus, he was morally obligated to proceed.

I recall on CNN a picture of this woman, running around shouting and sticking her tongue in and out, celebrating the great victory of 9/11.... I recall celebrations and burning of the US flag.... Do you recall seeing that from the US after we invaded Iraq or anywhere for that mater? Were were the people who were burning the flags of Afghanistan or Iraq or Iran? Where were those jumping up and down calling Sadam an evil man, burning him in effigy. It didn't happen (certainly not in mass and not that I ever saw). It will never happen because, in general, we are a people understand that war is a terrible thing. It is the event of last recourse and never to be celebrated, except when it's over. Our enemy only understands blood and death.

What about the cost to our liberty?
I have grave concerns about the patriot act, grave concerns.
I have grave concerns that the threat of terrorism or WMD's can be used to justify giving our liberties away. It is so possible that those grabbing for power can take advantage of our collective fears, our collective apathy and laziness.

I do not see Pres. Bush in this light. He is simply a leader, trying to do his best... I disagree with him on a number of policies from immigration to stem cell research. I do think President Bush is a man doing his best.

Are there others in the government that might have ulterior motives and take advantage of this situation? Perhaps and we must guard against that.

I am also concerned by the influence of the mass media on our people, but thats not governments fault, thats our fault. It's to easy to blame government, but in this free society, in the United States of America, we are responsible for our acts. If we simply choose to rely on Saturday Night Live as our only source of news, then shame on us and we deserve to loose our liberty. We as a society have become mind numbed in large part, and worse yet we are polarized politically, which is a huge danger.

I would agree that there is a hint of machismo in our response to 9/11. But I'd rather have that than a wimpy reaction. We must not show fear or any lack of resolve.

Any intelligent enemy (make no mistake, the leadership here is intelligent) has always cared about the press. The press is a powerful tool, and if used effectively can be a powerful weapon.

I would suggest to you that many of the people on the other side have been duped by their leaders. I do not think they are bad in general, just misguided. We need to deal with the leadership, and the others will follow.

David, the bottom line is that if we unilaterally disengage, then we will loose. It will take time, but we will loose. These people are after power, they do not respect anyone not of their faith or political point of view and they will not stop. They will simply find another excuse, as did Hitler. Hitler would have gone through Europe unchecked if Britain had not said, this is the line, it will not stand if you cross it. That line was Poland, the rest is history.

The best tool we have to combat the terrorists is a heavy presence in the area, with lots of positive experiences. That means education, that means security, that means stopping the teachings of "Kill America", "Kill Israel", "Suicide will get you 7 wives in heaven" and replacing them with Freedom, equality, liberty and justice. Tell me, which of these two do you think is more moral?

I'm curious, what do you think our response should be? Certainly this is a hard problem to deal with, and there is no perfect solution.

Thanks!

Robert G. Freeman said...

One more thing:

>> I suppose that God did have his
>> own war, but I'm not sure that it
>> was meant to be interpreted as an
>> endorsment of the practice,
>> surely!

I think it is an testement that there are times, even in Heaven, that you have to take a stand for light and right no mater the cost (and I would assume a war in Heaven had some cost), because the long term ramifications of *not* taking a stand is so horrific.

I have my own religious beliefs about the cause of this heavenly war, and it clearly is based on good vs. evil.

I'm sure God wept openly during this war, but it had to be. We too should mourn war and do our best to avoid it... but we need to realize that even when you are on the side of light, war may well become inevitable. Also it demonstrates something just as important, that you stand up for what is right, you take a stand and do not back down from evil. Period.

David Aldridge said...

Robert,

Yes there is a dichotomy between the concepts of war and morals, and one of them has to give ground -- I guess it's morals. But surely the moral foundation for a conflict is built on the reasons for which it was started. When Reasons 1 and 2 turn out to have no foundation (WMD, and links to Al-Qaeda) then is it not disingenuous to maintain that the war was a moral one by searching for Reason 3 (lifting oppression)? It's convenient to have that third reason, but surely the moral grounds are shifting dangerously under us.

Yes, I didn't address the kidnapped child analogy. I thought it wasn't a good one because it involves some unstated issues that do not apply to this situation. A kidnapped child is stationary, and once you have the child's location then you just go and get him. Not the case if what you're wanting is information on the location of a terrorist leader -- I don't think that they would hang around waiting for the beans to be spilled by a captured bodyguard or lieutenant. If torture did reveal a location then checking it is not a matter of sendiong round police cars -- it's something that takes time, and it only takes a couple of misleading reveals of information to buy the required time.

And that kind of brings me to another point -- is torture effective? How many terrorist plans have been disrupted through information revealed by it? I submit my own estimate based on the lack of information directly or indirectly passed on by the administration: zero.

You see if torture was such a great method for gathering reliable information then it would never have gone "out of fashion" -- but it simply isn't. You accuse someone of something and they deny it, so you torture them and they confess! That's the only purpose of torture -- getting confessions to stuff -- anything at all. So aside from moral grounds I just don't think it works, and the administration has produced no evidence that it works. If they had such evidence then I would bet big money that it would have been either openly revealed, or leaked.

Yes I guess that a lot of people have been released from Guantanamo. But again this cannot be held up as a positive reflection on the moral values of our leadership. The releases were practically forced by the courts, and you can bet that without such intervention the people would still be there.

Now put yourself in the shoes of one of those people. Captured, blindfolded, "robustly" interrogated for two years, denied representation or even acknowledgment of their capture, and then grudgingly released. How do you then feel towards your captors? I would say that to point later to such people and say "look, they're fighting against us after their release" as proof of their guilt two years before is again disingenuous. Of course they are! And if it's only 10 to 20 percent then I'd be surprised. The other 80-90% are probably on the local equivalent of book tours telling people about how Americans are a brutal people with no respect for their religion. Thu8s we reap what we sow, right?

There may be no proof that the president knew that there were no WMD's (and I can't think what would constitute such proof), but there is ample evidence that within days of moving into the White House, and within hours of the 9/11 attacks, he wanted to know what could be done about Iraq. WMD's were a handy convenience, and if you want to believe something then I'm sure that it makes it a lot easier to find the evidence for it, and if you're the president then it makes people a lot more willing to help you.

I'm not sure what your point is about Saddam's effigy or flags not being burned. If you're saying that there wasn't hatred and villification of him, and that Americans went into the war in a spirit of noble resignation then I guess you're not a Rush Limbaugh listener ;) There's plenty of mindless hatred out there, but that whole effigy burning thing is just not the American way, I guess. Cultural differences -- or maybe Americans are more safety minded :)

"Amen" on the mass media and peoples' responsibilities. But I would like to see more strict caps on media ownership by a single person. Under the circumstances though, I'm not optimistic. Money rules in politics just as it does in business.

Well, there's a lot of small issues, but the big issue is whether policies are working. Following 9/11 have the administrations efforts made the Unitied States more or less likely to be a terrorist target? The borders are probably superficially safer, but they will never be 100% safe. America is surely less well respected by it's friends (who have grown fewer), more hated by it's enemies (who have grown more munerous), and has fewer civil liberties, and this is because of adminstration policies and administration words and deeds. They've fumbled the issue and made it worse almost from day 1.


Now I have to be honest and say that I've got no easy solutions to offer though. Disengagement is obviously neither feasible nor desirable. Where to go from here is a mystery to me.

I'm also honestly mystified by the confluence of pro-war "whatever it takes to get results" beliefs with American christianity -- I'm a long way from being anything like an expert in the field, but it seems that American christianity is rather more pro-fighting and anti-human rights than I would have expected. Well I guess that's a different issue though.

Robert G. Freeman said...

David,

This has been a fascinating discussion, and I guess in some respects we will have to agree to disagree. At this point I think I will disengage from the topic, I just don't have the time to do it justice.

I will address one issue:

>> I'm also honestly mystified
>> by the confluence of pro-war
>> "whatever it takes to get
>> results" beliefs with American
>> Christianity

I will say this:

1. Recall that Bush I stopped his war. Granted, there were political pressures to do so but the US easily could have marched on in (and I suspect some of the allies would have followed). We didn't.

2. Sadam had 10 years to address the UN requirements. We sat, and waited. People died. We were WRONG (in my opinion)

3. Finally, we went to war.

I think that there is a mistaken belief that there is the cowboy society in the United States. That there is this shoot first and negotiate later attitude. This is not the case in my opinion.

Rather, I believe that we perhaps have more resolve than other countries. Also, in the case of Iraq, there were certainly economic reasons on the part of certain countries (France and Germany for example) that motivated a negative response to action.

Give my country a billion dollars in sales, and then they will look away seems to be the theme in some parts. I find that particularly distasteful.

While there are those on the fringe that would jump at war in a second (and no, I'm not one of them!), this is no where near the majority. In fact, I'd say a Majority of folks here abhor war, and do not make such choices lightly.... many lack resolve to fight, some short term, more long term. That is the danger that faces the US right now in fact.

Again, and to close, we have to draw the line. We have to say, look, this is the line of acceptable behavior. Step beyond it and we act. Maybe that is being pro-war, but I rather see it as pro-life, pro-humanity, pro-morality. I don't want US to be the police, but as Paul Harvey says, "Self government without self-discipline can not stand" (something like that).

If a people can not be self-disciplined, and if they present a moral threat to humanity, then we must act, and we should all be acting in concert, but that just doesn't happen.

Thanks again!

Robert

David Aldridge said...

Our areas of agreement/disagreement are probably around 50/50, I'd say, which seems like a fair place to leave it.

Thanks for the stimulation on a quiet week, Robert!

Dave.

Anonymous said...

Robert you seem to have taken a deep draught of the koolaid that the current administration is passing out. How many innocent civilians have our military forces killed in iraq now? How many people have we tortured? We send untrained young people over with little supervision and are surprised by their behavior? Decades or now ages ago leadership used to take responsibility and have accountability. It's a moral outrage that actions that have been performed with no such concept. Perhaps if you had relatives living in that country you might have a more tolerant or understanding viewpoing. For people that are in such circumstances your words could sound much more like a hollow shield around some kind of pretentious image of morality rather than the real deal.

Robert G. Freeman said...

>> Robert you seem to have taken
>> a deep draught of the Kool-Aid
>> that the current administration
>> is passing out.

Well, I do love Kool-Aid... Hey, if I saw this big 9 foot thing of liquid breaking through my wall, I'd be running fast!

>> How many innocent civilians have
>> our military forces killed in
>> Iraq now?

Hmmmm.... how many civilians were killed in WWII... should we have just told the Jews over there... sorry, we won't be coming over to stop your mass genocide because we will have to kill a few innocents along the way.

You are way off base when you say silly things like "Decades or now ages ago leadership used to take
responsibility and have accountability.". People are being held accountable now, read the papers. Also, check your history and ask yourself about moral choices and war.

WWII is a classic example of serious moral challenges (like, do we intercept a bombing raid and give away that we have cracked the German code).

Do I want innocent people killed, DUH, of course not. But, exactly how concerned is the enemy about innocents? Let's ask the occupants of the WTC buildings.... wait, we can't .... they were KILLED. These were living human beings that got in an airplane, said "I'm going to kill civilians today", and slammed into the side of the buildings. There is concern for you. Yeah.

Sadam had every opportunity to avoid the war he lost. 10 years. He chose instead to bet on the come and he lost. The result is square on his shoulders, no where else.

>> How many people have we tortured?

As I'm not privy to such information I don't know. Lemmie see... we could ask that reporter Daniel Perl, to look into that question... NO WE CAN'T... darn.

Tell me Anonymous, how many have we tortured, do you have the numbers? Are they vast numbers... did we derive any benefits from this torture? How are you defining torture, what was the purpose and gain?

I know there are a few isolated incidents (which are unfortunate to be sure)....but you can't point to isolated problems are justification for calling our actions immoral.

Bottom line is unless you are privy to classified information, then you don't know bunk on this topic. You can't. So, you can ask the question, because it gets people upset, but there is no debating it really.

Did we cut anyone's head off while they were alive, and display it on public TV for all to see? Now that IS torture.

I wonder.... Assume your whole family just got wiped out by a terrorist who was funded by some guy in Iraq, would you feel differently about the war, or are you just a natural pacifist? That an important question.... would you gladly give over the keys to your house to some guy, even if you had the ability to kill him? If so, well, at least I know where you are coming from even if I can't understand it.

>> We send untrained young people
>> over with little supervision and
>> are surprised by their behavior?

You are right on there, I'll tell you. Who is to blame for the poor training and ability of our US forces? Is this something we can blame President Bush for? I think not. The blame for this is square on the lap of Mr. Clinton, and even *more* so on a congress that bickers and fights instead of taking care of this countries defensive needs. *We* are also to blame, thinking that with the end of the cold war that somehow this was a safer world. People like *you* are to blame, if all you do is stand up and shout peace at ANY cost. Again, WWII is a classic example of the fallacy of that argument.

Read my previous comments, I am NOT a big Bush fan. I voted for the man but I disagree with many policies of his administration. Funny thing, I can say that and not fear political recriminations. What if I'd said that about Sadam while living over there...? I'd dissapear I'll bet... find myself in a torture chameber and wish like heck that someone would come save me. How quickly we forget EVIL, true EVIL.

>> Decades or now ages ago
>> leadership used to take
>> responsibility and have
>> accountability. It's a moral
>> outrage that actions that have
>> been performed with no such
>> concept.

I think your sense of history is a bit warped. Study up on WWII, on some of the very difficult, potentially immoral actions there.

War is war my friend, it has a totally different set of rules, it *has* to. As I said before, a war must be started on moral grounds, plain and simple. Fighting it changes morality by it's own nature. War is for killing people and breaking things (to quote Rush Limbaugh).

What makes us different from anyone else is how war ends. Think for a moment about a United Kingdom or a United States under Hitler, how would that end have been different?

>> Perhaps if you had relatives
>> living in that country you might
>> have a more tolerant or
>> understanding viewpoing.
I'll grant you that if I had relatives in that country that I'd be worried sick about them, and be trying to get them out.

It's the greater good that we are talking about here. Short term blindness vs long term vision. Until we are prepared to take losses in support or morality, then we are not the moral nation we ought to be. The same is true for any other country.

If the tables were turned, I hope that they would come here to free me from oppression.... and then I'd run for the hills to hide (or somewhere else) until the fighting was over. That would be the smart thing to do, would it not?

Ask the relatives of the gassed Kurds how they feel, do they welcome us? Look at the pictures of the gassed children again.... if that doesn't move you to action, you are heartless.

What is the civilian casualty count.... it was around 7,000 during initial operations (see my earlier post). A lot of people, I grant you, and it's sad.... but what do you do when a rouge state will not comply with a worldwide demand to disarm? How does 7,000 compare to the mass executions...?

At some point, you draw that line, you say "comply" (as, fairly, you must admit we did. 10 years is a long time) and if they do not, you have to act. Fortunately, today we have weapons that hit specific targets, so collateral damage is light relatively speaking.

Again, no death is to be celebrated, and loss of life needs to be mitigated as much as possible.

It is a HARD decision to go to war. Let's assume that North Korea has Nukes now and has the ability to launch them at my family, or will have soon. What do we do? Do we invade and kill maybe 10,000 or 20,000 civilians, or run the risk of them someday launching a nuke that might kill millions? What do you do then? Shall we sit back, sing songs, and plead for peace? Hey, daisy's look very nice sticking out of gun muzzles. Cumbiah my friend, cumbiah my *BOOOOOOM*.... eeeshhhhh, not pretty.

How much do we give for peace, how much of your freedom is peace worth.

If N. Korea demanded we give up Alaska or they would nuke LA, should we just do that to avoid war? Where is the line, where is the end? What will they demand next?

It's a truth that when I went to school, the wimps always got beat up by the bullies. Then there were the good guys who interceded and took out the bullies. It was a nasty fight, it was dirty, it was bloody... on occasion, someone got caught in the middle... In the end though, more often than not, the bully learned a lesson. More often than not, the bully stopped being a bully, and in time became a better person. Not always, but often.

>> For people that are in such
>> circumstances your words could
>> sound much more like a hollow
>> shield around some kind of
>> pretentious image of morality
>> rather than the real deal.
There is no pleasing some people. Wake up!!!! There is no magic. What would you do, talk, talk, talk.... we did that with N. Korea... we made an agreement with them, recall. Look what it got us. A new country with nukes.

That was a silly mistake on our part. Do you see the cost of inaction and delaying? It's much worse now. Same with Iraq... same now with N. Korea.... we wait because of the do-gooders who do not want to draw that line in the sand and demand justice. I don't want war, for crying out loud.... Few do (granted there are a few who do). If the bad guys KNOW we will act, I suspect they will be less willing to do bad things. So there is a trickle down effect here to consider as well.

Yet I'm willing to put my name on a Blog and say, enough is enough. Mark the line, and stand by it.

The difference between you and me...? Anonymity. You can say whatever you want, nobody knows who you are or cares. Thats taking a real stand. Stand up, show backbone and use your real name. Be prepared to debate such an important issue properly. Alderage had the guts to speak his mind, disagree and put his name where his mouth is. I respect that, a great deal.

Robert G. Freeman said...

Just thought I'd share these details on Abu, Grab...

68,000 people detained, 325 complaints of mistreatment, 100 of those corroborated and the perpetrators punished.

Anyone want to dissagree with these numbers? They don't seem to out of line and certainly don't paint a picture of "evil" america.

Where is the press on these numbers?

Anonymous said...

Personally I think you do better covering oracle. Who exactly is reporting those numbers? Do you believe in the tooth fairy also?

Robert G. Freeman said...

I knew I should have posted the source; I do try to do that and try to do better next time.

I'll have to look again for the source I used. However, if, rather than making a huge assumption based on facts of conjecture, you can provide differing numbers, please do. This is not an unimportant topic.

Facts just seem to stand in the way for most on the left. It's all about feeling, emotion and in the end base selfishness. I'm not saying you are that way, I'm just saying that the left is that way.

You can politicize the war all day long, but in the end it's all about facts. Give me numbers, pictures, and so on. Did you look at the picture of the gassed child...? Did it move you? Did you care? If not, you are heartless and selfish. Would you just have us do nothing in the face of this?

Are we really so heartless and selfish to think that we don't need to act?

Are we really so foolish to think that inaction will guarantee liberty, or does anyone really care about liberty and freedom anymore?

Thanks for your comment though.

 
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