Kerry's speech

Apparently not only did Kerry go to Vietnam but Edwards is the son of a mill worker. Who knew?

I'm sure Bush will do it to some degree but I hate the wish list mentality of politicians. The Department of the Treasury is not a candy store.

Doesn't matter, the only issue is Iraq. Kerry wouldn't have gone, Bush did. Kerry would have avoided the Middle East altogether which is no longer acceptable.

Comments

We knew...

and hey, Greg, we can laugh at ourselves too. Check this out: mark fiore .

Re:We knew...

I liked the 'hard-hitting statements' part best. Thanks!

Greg, We Agree

"Doesn't matter, the only issue is Iraq. Kerry wouldn't have gone, Bush did."I couldn't agree more. I plan to vote accordingly.Both would have gone to Afghanistan, which I find appropriate. Perhaps (I don't know) Kerry would have been less trusting of our Northern Alliance "allies" and sent enough forces to actually trap and destroy the al-Qaeda leadership, as opposed to letting them find safe haven in Pakistan and other areas.I would hope that Kerry would launch no further invasions of the Middle East until at bare minimum our troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan are fixed OR until we are actually attacked by a state actor. God help us all if North Korea and China decide to make trouble simultaneously in the next few months.

Re:Greg, We Agree

Those are the risks. The fact is Al Queda is a symptom of an ongoing problem in the Middle East and it needs to be dealt with.

If China gets uppity, well then I guess that's what the U.N. is for right?

Not a big UN Fan

"If China gets uppity, well then I guess that's what the U.N. is for right?"Where did you get the idea I was a big fan of the UN? I've criticized it here before. It's failing us once again -- this time at the hands of Russia and China who are running interference for the Sudan gov't so they can have more time to kill in peace.Sadly, we went along. In part, I'm sure because we can't afford to start more military operations until we can consolidate more of our forces. Keeping troops in 120+ countries is hard work.If China does invade Taiwan, we may find ourselves stuck with some ugly choices, but I hope we don't turn our backs on a free democracy.

Re:Not a big UN Fan

So much of the Left's arguements are dependent on 'getting other countries involved' which basically means the security council of the UN which means France, Russia, and China. We've gotten help from many other countries, not much, but then most countries don't have much to offer.

The fact is we are always faced with ugly choices but from your original arguement my impression is you don't want to make any choice until the only choice is action. To me thats too risky. What we did in Iraq sent a message to the Middle East that we have serious firepower. It sent a message to China and North Korea too.

As for the troops in +120 countries, at least we're starting to pull out of Germany.

Our message in Iraq

"What we did in Iraq sent a message to the Middle East that we have serious firepower. It sent a message to China and North Korea too."First, we have to remember that to send this particular message we had to:
  Sacrifice the lives of a 1,000 plus US soldiers
  Sacrifice the well-being of the over 5,000 American wounded.
  Sacrifice the lives of thousands of Iraqis dead and wounded.
  Spend $120 Billion dollars and counting.That is one EXPENSIVE message.Given that Iraq was an UNPROVEN threat to the United States, that turned out to be an empty threat and that not a single Iraq border country, not even Kuwait encouraged us to invade, it seems like a mighty pointless message.Then, there is the matter of what message we sent. Yes we have mighty firepower.But, didn't it also send the message that a relatively small number of insurgents can keep our hands full and prevent us from bringing security to the country despite a year of occupation?Has the right message been received in light of North Korea's continued refusal to abandon its nuclear program, and China's statement over the weekend that Taiwan will NEVER have independence and was willing to go to war to prevent that? These are not reactions of countries in awe of American power.You're right that I wouldn't take military action in the abscence of a direct attack on the United States. I don't care if that's risky. As far as I'm concerned, preventive war is a direct denial of trust in God. It's a negation of faith that directly contradicts the instructions we Christians are given in the Gospels and through the Old Testament prophets.

CYA Re:Our message in Iraq

It was an expensive message, its nice to know we are not cheap when it comes to freedom and defense.If Israel hadn’t unilaterally bombed Iraq back in the 80’s Saddam would have had nukes when he invaded Kuwait, something we weren’t aware of until well after the dust had settled from the first Gulf War. That and the mass graves filled with victims of chemical WMDs made Saddam a very much proven threat.The only message coming out of Iraq right now is that the Middle East cannot deal with one of their own becoming a democracy. Do you really think any country is willing to take the beating we can dish out because they think they can hold out in the long run?China has been consistent about their spoken view of Taiwan, and yet their actions say they are not willing to risk taking us on. As for North Korea, they still refuse but at least their talking. Both Libya and Pakistan, while not perfect, have shown some serious signs of improvement due to our actions. As long as we finish the job in the Middle East, history will look very kindly on us.�You're right that I wouldn't take military action in the absence of a direct attack on the United States. I don't care if that's risky. As far as I'm concerned, preventive war is a direct denial of trust in God. It's a negation of faith that directly contradicts the instructions we Christians are given in the Gospels and through the Old Testament prophets.�Really? Which prophet said role over and die when threatened? God doesn’t care whether we die now or later because in the end we go to the same place. I’ve never agreed with people who believe in simply ‘putting things in God’s hands’ (including my own parents). In Luke ch 4 v 9-12 Satan tempted Jesus to jump off a cliff saying God would save him. Jesus’ simple reply was “It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God�. My interpretation of this has always been that we don’t put ourselves at risk in the hope that God will intervene. We have free will, we have the ability to heal ourselves and defend ourselves up to a certain point. There comes a time when you have to say that it is in God’s hands and his hands only but you are still responsible for covering your ass.

Messages, etc

By the way, Iran is going ahead with their nuclear program. So I'm not sure they got the right message either.Greg: "It was an expensive message, its nice to know we are not cheap when it comes to freedom and defense."If this war had anything to do with either defense or freedom, I wouldn't be vocal in my opposition. Are you aware that Iraq has passed restrictive new press laws somewhat reminisicent of the old regime? Granted, I don't see editors being fed into woodchippers, so that's a little progress.As for defense of the United States, the burden of proof is still on the Iraq war advocates. As both the 9/11 commission and the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded, Iraq had no working relationship with al-Qaeda. It looks like Iraq had no weapons stockpiles either. This was the conclusion of nearly every country outside the US and Britain prior to the war.Afghanistan WAS defense. I have not publically chanllenged the wisdom of going to war to oust the Taliban, only our decision to send few troops and rely on local forces KNOWN TO BE side-switchers for decades. In retrospect, we may well have been stingy on troops because the President was already set on an Iraq invasion.Greg: "If Israel hadn’t unilaterally bombed Iraq back in the 80’s..."Israel made a good choice. They had good intel and used exactly enough force to deal with the problem. I don't see a comparison between then and now.We knew about Saddam's mass killings back in the 80s, and chose to do nothing then. If they weren't a threat to us then, they weren't a threat in 2002. We SHOULD have done something more back then, when we could have stopped some killing, but nothing we do now will bring back those dead Kurds. If we wanted to do something useful for the Kurds today, we'd let them establish their own state and back it with military force. They won't fit in a united Iraq. They never have.Greg: "Which prophet said role over and die when threatened?"Jeremiah, actually. But that's not my point and not what I'm asking people to do.I believe in self-defense, even though that is hard to square with what is asked of us in the Gospels. But self-defense means responding to specific attacks.There are hard moral priniciples in life. They apply to nations as much as people. There is no magic alchemy that takes an objectively wrong action on the personal level that turns it into a holy action on the national level.On the personal level, if someone attacks me, I can fight back. If they attack someone else, I can help that person fight the attacker off. What I can't do on a personal level is go kill somebody because I'm afraid they might kill someone else some day. Even if I good reason to believe this, if I went and killed my potential attacker, I would go straight to prison. And it would be accounted a premediated murder. So it is with "preventive war", which in this particular case has probably caused at least as much human suffering as waiting for the next war would have been.
 

Re:Messages, etc

Iran is a slow learner. Which is more likely to send a strong reminder message come Nov? President Bush or President Kerry?
  Iraq is far from perfect. Instead of being outraged over liberating their people why not spend the energy being outraged over an obvious slip backwards. Instead of saying “see, we shouldn’t have goneâ€? you should be saying “we saved your hide now shape upâ€?â€?As for defense of the United States, the burden of proof is still on the Iraq war advocates. As both the 9/11 commission and the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded, Iraq had no working relationship with al-Qaeda. It looks like Iraq had no weapons stockpiles either. This was the conclusion of nearly every country outside the US and Britain prior to the war.â€?
    At no time prior to going to war did Bush say there was a link to 9/11. That’s not why we went.
  â€?Israel made a good choice. They had good intel and used exactly enough force to deal with the problem. I don't see a comparison between then and now.â€?
    No no no no no. I said nothing about a comparison. I said Saddam had a very clear trackrecord and we judged him according to that record. Its like the 3-strikes-and-your-out laws in some states.â€?We knew about Saddam's mass killings back in the 80s, and chose to do nothing then. If they weren't a threat to us then, they weren't a threat in 2002. We SHOULD have done something more back then, when we could have stopped some killing, but nothing we do now will bring back those dead Kurds. If we wanted to do something useful for the Kurds today, we'd let them establish their own state and back it with military force. They won't fit in a united Iraq. They never have.â€?
      If California and Texas can coexist then so can the Kurds and Sunnis. You’re right we did let a lot slide in the 80’s and 90’s and 70’s for that matter. 9/11 was a moment of clarity. A point in which it became very clear that the rules of engagement needed to change.â€?Jeremiah [usccb.org], actually. But that's not my point and not what I'm asking people to do.â€?
      I read it, it wasn’t really a prophecy but an actual event yes? If God wants to come down and tell us whats what he’s free to do so but I don’t believe he will. And if he told me to role over and die I’m not sure I would, though I don't believe he would ask it either.â€?I believe in self-defense, even though that is hard to square with what is asked of us [usccb.org] in the Gospels. But self-defense means responding to specific attacks...â€?
    There are however, right actions on a personal level that are wrong on a national level. If a man kills another man’s family, the victim can find it in himself to forgive the murderer but a nation cannot accept that forgivness as part of law. The crime still has to be punished. To me Jesus’ teachings are specfically for the individual and cannot always be translated into government. The Old Testament is more appropriate when you are discussing countries and how they interact. And let’s face it, God’s chosen people did some offensive actions as well as defensive.
      As to the concept of preemption, it’s a tricky position. On an individual level if a man is stalking a woman, following her every move, calling her, threatening her, and her friends decide to jump that guy and beat him severly, I can’t say I have a problem with that. On a national level if a country has a history of aggressiveness and is known to either have WMDs or is trying to create WMDs then there is no reason not to nip things in the bud. We can no longer risk what could, in today’s world, be a very high body count. (Reminder: 50,000 people worked in the Towers, we were lucky)

Questions

1) Is preemption the right of every country that feels threatened?2) Do you see any inconsistency in supporting freedom and democracy in Iraq and our support for repressive and brutal regimes from Egypt to Turkmenistan.?3) If your answer to question 2 was yes, what can we do to make our gov't more responsive?BTW, support for brutal dictators who agree with American policy is a bipartisan practice. I AM NOT saying that we support dictators simply because George Bush is President.

Re:Questions

1) Is preemption the right of every country that feels threatened?

Its the right of every free country.

2) Do you see any inconsistency in supporting freedom and democracy in Iraq and our support for repressive and brutal regimes from Egypt to Turkmenistan.?

Yes, though you'd need to define support. The degree that we have supported Iraq is probably not the same degree we can support Egypt. Egyptians enjoy a much higher level of freedom than the Iraqis did and would not appreciate us bombing the hell out of them.

3) If your answer to question 2 was yes, what can we do to make our gov't more responsive?

There probably is one somewhere, probably several, but there should be a chart listing certain basic freedoms that we enjoy. That basic checklist should be applied to every single country and if too many freedoms are being restricted then that our country should have a policy of 'constant pressure' for that country, meaning every speech, every document, every interaction with that country should list all those freedoms as a constant reminder of their failure.

Keep in mind that in cases like Iraq and now Sudan, freedoms aren't just limited but in fact people were and are being persecuted. That's a different level and calls for physical action not intellectual.

Your question was what can we do to get our country more responsive. What we as individuals can do is be aware of this checklist and everytime one of our politicians talks about a certain country make sure they are aware of that list.

Thanks, Checklist is a good idea.

Hi Greg,You make some very good points and I'll print off your checklist of safekeeping. I also agree that Sudan calls for physical action, and I hope that we can take a lead in making that happen, whether or not we send troops ourselves.I appreciate that unlike some of the President's supporter, you appreciate that we as a country have more work to do. Just as I appreciate that America has done a lot of good for the world and the world is much better off with us as victors in the Cold War.Any other issues I'll leave for another time. Thanks for the good conversation.

Re:Thanks, Checklist is a good idea.

I think you'll find that all Pro-Bush people believe there is room for improvement we just like to keep it in perspective.

Right back at ya.

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