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The Democratic Candidates On Iraq [Part 2]

[ Posted Thursday, August 30th, 2007 – 13:16 PDT ]

We continue today looking at the Democratic candidates for President, and what they would do about Iraq. Part 1 of this article ran yesterday, and covered Richardson, Obama, Kucinich, and Gravel. Continuing in reverse alphabetical order, today we examine Edwards, Dodd, Clinton, and Biden.

The excerpted text comes directly from their campaign websites, and the link above the excerpt takes you directly to their "Issues / Iraq" pages.

 

John Edwards

John Edwards has a well-thought out plan for Iraq. Since he is no longer in the Senate, he can afford to be bolder than most on what Congress should do right now to force President Bush to end the war. Some of the things he suggests are probably not politically possible at this point, but that should not be seen as a negative -- since many other candidates are also proposing things which could never make it through Congress next month. I mention this only because the other three candidates reviewed today all still are in Congress, which influences their Iraq ideas to some extent.

Edwards instead goes for a vision of how to move from where we are to where we want to be. This is a good thing to do when you're running for President. But he also breaks his plan down into a level of detail which answers (most) questions about what he would do, without getting too technical.

Some of Edwards' plan seems a bit dated (as if he came up with it in January), but it is carefully worded to still be mostly applicable today. Edwards would cap funding for troops, require Bush to ask Congress re-authorize the war, and pull troops out in 12 to 18 months. He would also renew efforts on the diplomatic front with Iraq's neighbors.

For those that go over the candidates' statements with a fine-toothed comb, it must be pointed out that Edwards has (by careful wording) left open the option of whether any troops would stay in Iraq after the 12-18 month period. He would withdraw all "combat troops" and swears there would be "no permanent military bases" left in Iraq, but does not explicitly commit to "all troops out," as Richardson and others have called for.

From Edwards' website:

Edwards' plan for Iraq calls for Congress to:

*  Cap Funds: Cap funding for the troops in Iraq at 100,000 troops to stop the surge and implement an immediate drawdown of 40-50,000 combat troops. Any troops beyond that level should be redeployed immediately.

*  Support the Troops: Prohibit funding to deploy any new troops to Iraq that do not meet real readiness standards and that have not been properly trained and equipped, so American tax dollars are used to train and equip our troops, instead of escalating the war.

*  Require Authorization: Make it clear that President Bush is conducting this war without authorization. The 2002 authorization did not give President Bush the power to use U.S. troops to police a civil war. President Bush exceeded his authority long ago, and now needs to end the war and ask Congress for new authority to manage the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence and to help Iraq achieve stability.

*  End the War: Require a complete withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq in 12 to 18 months without leaving behind any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.

In addition, Edwards believes stabilizing Iraq requires a major diplomatic effort to:

*  Engage in direct talks with all the nations in the region, including Iran and Syria

*  Support a political solution to the sectarian violence inside Iraq, including through convening a multi-party peace conference.

Edwards also believes the United States must intensify its efforts to train the Iraqi security forces.

 

Chris Dodd

Chris Dodd has a wealth of foreign policy experience, and he tries to spotlight this on his Issues pages. He addresses not only Iraq, but other problems in the world and his foreign policy vision for restoring America in the eyes of the world.

Unfortunately, by putting all of this on one page (other candidates have general "foreign policy" language on separate pages from their "Iraq" page, for the most part), he seems kind of sparse on what he would do in Iraq. He kind of punts on the issue, merely referencing "the Feingold-Reid proposal" without linking to anything that explains what that might be.

This is the problem with Senators running for President in a nutshell -- they expect average Americans to speak the same language spoken inside the Beltway. Now, Chris Dodd may be the best man to get us out of Iraq (and I personally would love to have a "President Chris" in office for obvious personal and selfish reasons), but nothing on his webpage convinces me that this is true.

Here is the text of everything on his Issues page that references Iraq. As you can see, it doesn't even come close to answering all questions about what to do in Iraq.

From Dodd's website:

The Dodd Plan To Restore America's Moral Authority

*  Strengthen our Alliances. As President, Chris Dodd will work to restore our alliances, rebuild international institutions to better fight the war against terrorism, and enhance America's security while upholding our common values.

*  Diplomacy, Not More Troops in Iraq. Chris Dodd is strongly opposed to the Bush-Cheney troop surge strategy. As President, he will advance a surge of diplomacy in the region, not a surge of more troops.

*  End the War in Iraq Decisively. Chris Dodd understands that ending the war in Iraq makes America safer. He strongly supports the Feingold-Reid proposal – the only responsible measure in Congress that sets a timetable to end the war in Iraq by March 31, 2008 – and he has urged all the candidates in the presidential race to join him. It is time to stand up to the President's misguided Iraq policy.

*  Hold America's Allies Accountable. As President, Chris Dodd would engage key strategic countries, nations like Saudi Arabia and Russia, and call on them to support freedom and democracy in their own countries and to eliminate the conditions that export terrorism and allow our enemies to thrive.

 

Hillary Clinton

Hillary's site is more detailed than I would have thought, meaning either that the mainstream media is stifling her message or that she's just not effectively getting it out there. But it was a pleasant surprise. Her text on Iraq is not overly long, but it does answer almost all the key questions.

Now, much like some other candidates, she applies a masterful use of vague language to leave herself some options (otherwise known as "wiggle room") on what to do in Iraq. For instance, she would give the Iraqi government "real benchmarks with real consequences," while demurring on stating what those consequences should be. Or even what the benchmarks should be, for that matter.

To her credit, while others wiggle around the issue, she actually admits that she would leave some residual troops in Iraq to continue training the Iraqis and for counterterrorism. This is not exactly a popular idea with the anti-war base, which shows that she really has begun to run her general election campaign already. She is appealing to independents and centrists by saying, in essence, "I would deal with Iraq responsibly, rather than pulling out no matter what the consequences." This is a tight rope indeed to walk in this election season.

Hillary does get points for attempting to present herself as a leader on Iraq, though, and I must say that impressed me -- solely because it is so conspicuous in its absence from many other candidates' websites. She talks of legislation that she either proposed or co-sponsored herself, as opposed to just supporting someone else's plan. Some may call this opportunistic, but I disagree -- I think it shows some sorely-needed leadership from within Congress on the issue.

She does make the same mistake Dodd makes, though, in referencing legislation without providing a link to the legislation itself -- a mark that she's spent too much time in Washington.

From Clinton's website:

Ending the War in Iraq

Hillary opposes President Bush's plan to escalate the war and proposed, along with Senator Robert Byrd, legislation to end authority for the war in Iraq. The legislation will propose October 11, 2007 -- the five year anniversary of the original resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq -- as the expiration date for that resolution.

The President would be required to come to Congress to seek new authority. Following deauthorization, Senator Clinton would not support any new legislation that did not start to remove our troops from the middle of this sectarian civil war.

She has also proposed a cap on troop levels to January 1, 2007 levels and put forth a comprehensive roadmap for ending the war. If it is followed, Hillary's bill, the Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act of 2007, will end the war before the next president takes the oath of office. But she has also been clear: if George Bush refuses to end the war, when she is president, she will.

Hillary opposes permanent bases in Iraq. She believes we may need a vastly reduced residual force to train Iraqi troops, provide logistical support, and conduct counterterrorism operations. But that is not a permanent force, and she has been clear that she does not plan a permanent occupation.

Ready to Lead

In addition to capping troop levels, Hillary's Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act of 2007 would:

*  Require President Bush to begin removing the troops from Iraq within 90 days of passage, or Congress will revoke authorization for the war.

*  Put an end to the blank check to the Iraqi government and give them real benchmarks with real consequences if they fail to meet them.

*  Require the Secretary of Defense to certify that all troops sent to Iraq have the training and equipment they need.

 

Joe Biden

I did this list in reverse alphabetical order, which meant that Biden came up last on the list. This wasn't planned (in other words), but I have to say this had the result of "saving the best for last."

If we were electing the President next year only on what to do in Iraq, Joe Biden would win the contest hands down.

Of course, that's not how we elect Presidents, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Joe Biden has A Plan For Iraq. And his is the only plan out there that answers a crucial question which nobody else is even asking (because they're scared of talking about it with voters): What happens after we leave? He even ends the following excerpt by tossing this gauntlet down at the feet of all who would question or criticize his plan: You got a better idea?

Since the last time I visited his website, he appears to have become a little defensive -- almost testy -- about his plan. I guess he's gotten some criticism, especially on the "partition" idea. Anyway, due to space restrictions, I can only excerpt a small part of his Issues page on Iraq, but I strongly suggest you visit his site to see for yourself what a well-thought out plan for Iraq looks like. He talks about his plan, summarizes the specifics, and defends it against criticism. If that's not enough for you, he has a prominent link to the actual plan, which you can read for yourself to decide.

I won't go into all the specifics of his plan here, but suffice it to say that if Iraq were the only issue to vote on, Biden would get my vote without hesitation. Even if he does not win the nomination, he would make an excellent Secretary of State (or even Defense) in someone else's Cabinet.

From Biden's website:

There is no purely military solution to the sectarian civil war. The only way to break the vicious cycle of violence -- and to create the conditions for our armed forces to responsibly withdraw -- is to give Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds incentives to pursue their interests peacefully. That requires an equitable and viable power sharing arrangement. That's where Joe Biden's plan comes in. This plan is not partition -- in fact, it may be the only way to prevent violent partition and preserve a unified Iraq. This plan is consistent with Iraq's constitution, which provides for Iraq's 18 provinces to join together in regions, with their own security forces, and control over most day-to-day issues. This plan is the only idea on the table for dealing with the militia, which are likely to retreat to their respective regions. This plan is consistent with a strong central government, with clearly defined responsibilities. Indeed, it provides an agenda for that government, whose mere existence will not end sectarian violence.

The example of Bosnia is illustrative. Ten years ago, Bosnia was being torn apart by ethnic cleansing. The United States stepped in decisively with the Dayton Accords to keep the country whole by, paradoxically, dividing it into ethnic federations. We even allowed Muslims, Croats and Serbs to retain separate armies. With the help of U.S. troops and others, Bosnians have lived a decade in peace. Now, they are strengthening their central government, and disbanding their separate armies.

The course we're on leads to a terrible civil war and possibly a regional war. Joe Biden's plan is designed to head that off. He believe it is the best way to bring our troops home, protect our fundamental security interests, and preserve Iraq as a unified country.

The question for those who reject this plan is simple: what is your alternative?

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

46 Comments on “The Democratic Candidates On Iraq [Part 2]”

  1. [1] 
    fstanley wrote:

    Thanks for the excellent run-down Chris. If only being President was a one-issue job but since that is not the case it is important to know how the candidates are thinking on a number of issues. Will you be doing simular comparisons on other topics such as health and the economy?

    Thanks again
    ...Stan

  2. [2] 
    mutex wrote:

    All these 'Iraq plans' and no mention of oil. Huh!

    Also, which candidate (Democrat or Republican) is openly advocating permanent occupation of Iraq? In this context what does 'permanent' even mean? Do you think maybe if the military bases are still in Iraq after the candidates have died we can dig them all up and call them liars?

    As for an alternative plan how about we acknowledge that this is an unjust, immoral and illegal war and that winning such a war is not a laudable goal.

    As for the Iraqi people, I don't see how they could suffer much more than they are suffering right now. Yes, it will probably not be pretty for the collaborators once we leave but we can only delay their punishment. There isn't much we can do to mitigate it. For those who are bothered by this reality perhaps it will cause them to think twice before they go along with another 'preemptive' invasion of a sovereign country.

    On a final note, if you think the backlash from the United States being defeated in Iraq will be bad wait until you see the result of our losing the entire sham of a 'war on terror'. We may be lucky enough to finally see our greed, gluttony and outright, evil foreign policy justly rewarded.

    Which of the candidates has a plan for that?

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    >how about we acknowledge that
    >this is an unjust, immoral and illegal war

    Why should we? It isn't.. Any conflict that took down a ruthless and psychotic madman such as Saddam Hussein could not be called unjust or immoral. Wouldn't you agree??

    As for being illegal.. Again, this is not true. The conflict was legal by all US Laws. It was fully and duly authorized by the Congress of the United States.

    >As for the Iraqi people, I don't
    >see how they could suffer much
    >more than they are suffering right now.

    You obviously never saw the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein..

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    mutex wrote:

    Please tell me you are kidding!

    The United States purposefully supports corrupt, illegitimate dictators for two reasons. One they are willing to do our bidding as long as we continue to supply them with money and weapons. And two, because if they ever stop doing our bidding we have a built in excuse to depose them...they are (to our shock and amazement) corrupt, illegtimate dictators!

    We support Mubarak, Musharraf and the Saudi royal family (among many other disgusting tyrants) to the tune of billions of dollars every year and they are every bit as bad as Saddam Hussein (who we once supported) in the way they treat their people.

    As for illegal, any corrupt empire can trump up laws (or excuses) to 'preemptively' invade whoever they want. Bush vowed to force the UN to vote on the invasion but when he realized he would lose he called off the vote. I suppose when you have a corrupt system you can call just about anything 'legal'!

    As for the Iraqi people, Saddam Hussein is GONE! What is our excuse for staying, besides oil I mean? The collaborators, out of their own greed and corruption (or maybe just in their hatred of Saddam Hussein) backed the United States in this misadventure in imperialism and now they will pay the price. It is sad but perhaps it will serve as a lesson to other people around the world that sometimes the evil you know isn't as bad as the evil you are trading for.

    You didn't bring it up but I have a question for you about the 'war on terror' since you appear to be such a humanitarian:

    The United States government, in an attempt to profile future terrorists, stated (I believe in the NIE) that 'the transformation of an individual to
    a terrorist is triggered by oppression, suffering, revenge, or desperation'. My question to you (and anyone else who cares to answer) is why are these oppressed, suffering, desperate people our enemy? Who is opressing them and causing their suffering and desperation? Why do they hold us responsible?

    These are, of course, rhetorical questions to any objective, thinking, caring humanitarian, such as yourself. I only ask them in case any jingoistic trollers stumble across this site.

    I would love to engage in an intellectually honest debate on the entire 'war on terror'. Unfortunately, the politicians (Democrat and Republican) and media have been so effective in their indoctrination of the masses it would be more productive to debate an ant colony.

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    You seem to be of the opinion that terrorists are some kind of "freedom fighters" who'se cause is just and true..

    You are in error..

    Your's is the opinion of the sheltered soul who has yet to experience what life is in the real world.

    I can tell you from personal experience spanning more than 2 decades that a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist..

    A terrorist is a psychopathic lunatic who has nothing in common with human beings.. A terrorist is an insane animal who should be hunted down and killed on sight..

    A terrorist has no more in common with humanity than a rogue animal.

    Tell me.. If you have a hungry lion bearing down on you with the intent of making you his next meal, are you going to try and engage that lion in dialog.. Are you going to ask if he is feeling oppressed and then, if he answers in the affirmative, are you going to lie down and willingly become his next bowel movement??

    I would like to think you wouldn't, but judging from your complete lack of understanding of the terrorist mindset, I am afraid you would willingly submit your demise to the whim of a wild animal or a terrorist..

    >I would love to engage in an
    >intellectually honest debate
    >on the entire 'war on terror'.

    To have such a "intellectually honest debate" you would have to have some real-life experience that would allow you to speak rationally and without any hysterical Anti-American spewage..

    Judging from your post above, you don't have the experience and you are simply a US-Basher and America Hater...

    Ergo, no such "intellectually honest debate" is possible...

    However, you are in luck.. There is a Federal LARK program that is perfectly suited for people like you. Party lemmings who toe the line and swallow party dogma, regardless of how completely inaccurate it is..

    I will detail the LARK program for you in my next post.

    Michale.....

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, D.C. ,20016

    Dear Concerned Citizen:

    Thank you for your recent letter roundly criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Our administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You'll be pleased to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like you, we are creating a new division of the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short. In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care.

    Your personal detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud (you can just call him Ahmed) is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of admonishment. It will likely be necessary for you to hire some assistant caretakers. We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter.

    Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal problem" will help him overcome these character flaws.

    Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. He will bite you, given the chance. We understand that you plan to offer counseling and home schooling. Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We do not suggest that you ask him to demonstrate these skills at your next yoga group. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless (in your opinion) this might offend him.

    Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters (except sexually) since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him, and he has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the new dress code that Ahmed will recommend as more appropriate attire. I'm sure they will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the bhurka - over time. Just remind them that it is all part of "respecting his culture and his religious beliefs" - wasn't that how you put it?

    Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you, who know so much, keep us informed of the proper way to do our job.

    You take good care of Ahmed - and remember...we'll be watching. Good luck!

    Cordially...Your Buddy,

    George Bush

  7. [7] 
    mutex wrote:

    What an egotistical bunch of rubbish!

    You didn't address even one issue I raised.

    Enjoy your delusional state. Reality is on the verge of intruding and it isn't going to be pretty.

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Actually, I addressed the main issue you raised.

    You claim that it's the alleged oppression committed by the US that is at fault and the terrorists are simply freedom fighters who are good and decent people..

    I simply pointed out that such an attitude as that shows a complete and clear ignorance of what a terrorist is and what a terrorist does.

    Get some miles on those boots of yours. Go out and face terrorists on their turf...

    THEN come talk to me about it....

    Michale......

  9. [9] 
    mutex wrote:

    Debating 101: Asserting something doesn't make it so.

    Also, on what basis do you presume to know anything about my experience? Just for the record, I am a 53 year old, former member of the military with an honorable discharge and many commendations. I also have a degree in Political Science from a major university.

    Now, let's hear about your age, education, experience, and most especially, prescience that supposedly allow you to question mine.

    Even if I were to grant your ludicrous proposition that all 'terrorists' are "rogue animals" how do you suggest they got that way? Of course, you never want to travel too far down the path where your logic (or lack thereof) leads because that would just get too silly, even for you.

    The entire philosophy and world view espoused by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. falls apart if you look behind the curtain. Fortunately, for them we have a media, and public, that allow them to get away with not defining what the meaning of the word 'is' is!

    Also, perhaps you could explain how wanting our country to live up to the principles set forth in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence makes me a "US-Basher and America Hater".

    Instead of fear-mongering and name-calling why don't you try to justify how we, Americans, are killing ourselves through gluttony (that results in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease) while huge numbers of people around the world are going hungry. And, more importantly, please justify the fact that because of our enormous greed this still isn't enough. We feel, as 'God's chosen people', the right to prop up dictators and preemptively invade countries if we deem it in our 'national interest'...even though it results in untold misery around the globe.

    Even the self-absorbed, apathetic American masses wouldn't put up with this evil without the dissembling represented by such terms as 'collateral damage', 'advanced interrogation techniques', 'caliphate' and, my favorite,'defending our way of life'.

    You are free to follow Bush into hell if you like (its called free will) but I prefer to think for myself and follow my own conscience and in the process try to wake up the few people that might remain that are capable of critcal thinking.

    Now feel free to return to the mindless denigrations, bigotry and jingoism that only children raised by Fox News could do so well.

  10. [10] 
    CWCunningham wrote:

    mutex wrote:

    Debating 101: Asserting something doesn't make it so.

    Oh yes it does!

    Case closed.

  11. [11] 
    CWCunningham wrote:

    I should have added:

    Karl Rove 101:

    Oh yes it does!

    Case now reopened.

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    @mutex

    >Now, let's hear about your age,
    >education, experience,

    47 yrs old. Served with both the USAF as a police officer and OSI and the US Army as an EllTee (MI) during Desert Storm. I have also worked as an FSO (Federal Security Officer) and a military liason (S2) in many countries throughout Middle and Far East. In short, I have lived and breathed LE, Security and CT for more than two decades...

    So, let me ask you again..

    What is your experience in LE, Security and/or CT that allows you to speak with authority regarding terrorists and terrorism??

    >Even if I were to grant your ludicrous
    >proposition that all 'terrorists' are
    >"rogue animals" how do you suggest they
    >got that way?
    >Of course, you never want to travel too
    >far down the path

    Of course I wouldn't want to travel down that path.. Because it is completely and 100% irrelevant to the discussion..

    NOTHING JUSTIFIES TERRORISM..

    Any terrorism committed in the name of a cause immediatly negates any moral, legal or ethical value said cause originally had...

    NOTHING JUSTIFIES TERRORISM...

    And, since nothing justifies terrorism, how terrorists became terrorists is completely irrelevant to the discussion..

    If you learn nothing else today, please learn these two things...

    A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist...

    and

    NOTHING justifies terrorism...

    >why don't you try to justify how we,
    >Americans, are killing ourselves
    >through gluttony

    Oh jeezus H christ!! You feel that terrorists are just misunderstood freedom fighters, but you want to save the world from Big Macs!!!????? :^/

    >We feel, as 'God's chosen people',

    Sorry, when you bring god into a discussion, my eyes simply glaze over and I ignore you as a religious fanatic...

    There is no god.. Get rid of your crutch..

    'Nuff said about THAT...

    It's amazing how your diatribe is a page right out of MoveOn.org..

    I see you are completely enamored with Party Dogma and cannot even begin to think for yourself..

    You're new here, so you have seen my "I am more liberal than most here" post..

    Suffice it to say that, with one exception (National Security/Self Defense) I would be willing to wager that I am more liberal than you are..

    I have the decided advantage as I am not enslaved to party dogma. I have a brain and I think for myself. Just because one or two of my attitudes coincide with Bush and the Right, doesn't make me a Republican. Because most of my attitudes coincide with Liberals and the Left, doesn't make me a Democrat... I am a registered NPA and, if there were more people like me and less people like you, this country would not be in the sad terrible mess it is in right now..

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    As far as the "legality" of the Iraq war...

    As I said, it was fully and completely authorized by the Congress of the United States..

    It was reaffirmed by said Congress, under Democratic Party control, quite recently..

    There is NOTHING illegal about the Iraq war, except in the feeble imaginations of those who are ignorant of the facts...

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    mutex wrote:

    I would give up on mind reading if I were you...you're not very good at it.

    I am far from liberal. I am against both abortion and the death penalty. I am a fiscal conservative and believe the less government intrusion in our lives the better. If Bush is the devil then Hillary is the anti-christ. The only cadidates for President that have made any sense to me are Kucinich, Gravel and Paul but I'm not endorsing any of them. I have been fooled by political rhetoric too many times. I am an 'actions speak louder than words' guy.

    I personally am agnostic. This doesn't mean I'm an atheist though. I HOPE there is a God...I just haven't seen much evidence.

    The Iraq war is illegal under international law because the UN didn't vote to authorize this preemptive invasion of a soveraign country. This is why Bush wanted the UN to vote on it initially. Even as corrupt as the Security Council is he still couldn't get a majority of votes for this misguided incursion.

    As for military experience...I sat in a waiting room at what was then called Bellevue Hospital at Fort lewis Washington with about 20 other soldiers returning from Vietnam in 1973.

    I was the only one that still had all my body parts.

    58,209 American soldiers lost their lives in this war. 153,303 were wounded (not counting ptsd). 1948 are still MIA. Millions of Vietnamese were killed or injured.

    FOR WHAT????

    Without a credible answer to this question how could anyone in good conscience support the current war?

    My best friend died in the military in 1972. His name was Rick Carlson and he was only 18.

    I enlisted voluntarily even though my draft lottery number was 267. I bought all the lies that we were fighting for 'freedom and democracy'.

    I wised up. I read about things like the My Lai massacre and Operation Phoenix and vowed I wouldn't fall for this kind of propaganda again. I mean the United States assasinated the only democratically elected President South Vietnam ever had!

    Now, here we are doing the same thing again...IN ONE LIFETIME!!!

    We had a great country once. It was based on honor and principles and a work ethic. Now everyone is trying to get something for nothing. We live off the labor of people in third world countries who live under corrupt regimes that we support with money and weapons. What do you propose these 'terrorists' do? When they rise up to overthrow these despicable governments they are put down with the help of weapons and tanks and planes that say USA on the side. Arabs didn't hate us back in the 40s and 50s and even the 60s. What happened? I'll tell you what happened we got addicted to oil and sold out our principles to support dictators and ensure a steady supply of our drug of choice. Even Condoleezza Rice has complained about having to deal with these tryants to maintain the flow of oil. Its not the poor, suffering people of these countries that are our enemies. It is the thugs in charge who we support...and thus, to a large degree, the enemy is us.

    These are facts. Wake up and become part of the solution.

    Please do me a favor and read this poem:
    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07202007/girmay1.html

    If it doesn't cause you to question who the real enemy is then I am done. There is nothing more for me to say to you.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    The UN!!!???

    The UN wouldn't "AUTHORIZE" the war!!???

    OF COURSE THEY WOULDN'T!!! They were making **NINE BILLION DOLLARS a year off the status quo...

    Who the frack died and made the UN god???

    Those first couple paragraphs made me think that you are a guy I can relate to.. A guy I can understand...

    But then you bring up the UN and that all went to hell... Remember, the UN is the same orgainization who went down to a small African nation to disarm the rebels down there, but ended up supplying them with arms because it was more profitable..

    You start looking to the UN as the measuring stick and you lose ALL credibility...

    You speak of the lessons of Vietnam, yet you are hell-bent on REPEATING THE SAME MISTAKES in Iraq..

    What, are you hoping for another Saigon???

    >What do you propose these 'terrorists' do?

    Simple...

    VERY simple...

    They don't become terrorists...

    Once ANYONE resorts to terrorism, they lose ALL credibility and all morality. They become nothing more than animals and should be treated as such...

    NOTHING JUSTIFIES TERRORISM...

    If you cannot understand that one simple concept, then you are beyond all hope...

    Michale.....

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me clue you in on something here, turbo...

    Forget all your romantic notions about freedom fighters or Robin Hood or what have you...

    A terrorist has only ONE motivation..

    A terrorist is not motivated by virtue.. The terrorist does want to right a wrong or free an oppressed people or resolve an injustice..

    While those things may have been the catalyst, they are not the motivation..

    A terrorist is motivated by one thing and one THING ONLY....

    A terrorist is motivated by hatred.. Pure, unadulterated, unwavering and illogical hatred. The unyielding, irrational and overwhelming desire to inflict pain on someone else..

    And NOTHING stands in the way of that hatred. The more innocent people that a terrorist can kill and maim and cripple the more pain it will cause the object of it's hatred..

    These are the "virtues" that you are admiring... This is the person that you say has been "wronged"...

    Like I indicated above, you haven't clue one as to what you are talking about...

    ANYONE who could even FATHOM that "well maybe Osama Bin Laden has a point.." is completely and utterly clueless about the reality of things...

    Repeat this to yourself until it begins to sink in..

    NOTHING..... JUSTIFIES...... TERRORISM......

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ironically enough, as we are discussing this, my son is watching Season 2 of "24"... In this particular episode, Jack Bauer is questioning Salem Ali (a terrorist) with regards to the location of a nuclear device in Los Angeles..

    During the course of the episode, Jack has foreign forces capture and threaten to kill Ali's children in an effort to force Ali to disclose the location of the bomb...

    Guess what??

    If Bauer were to actually follow thru and kill Ali's children, that would be terrorism...

    Even threatening to do so is too close to terrorism for my comfort level.. However, if one does so without even a hint of a capability of following thru, I can understand such a bluff being done..

    Granted, that is all TV fiction, etc etc...

    I simply use it to illustrate to you how NOTHING, not even the noblest of intentions, NOTHING justifies terrorism....

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    mutex wrote:

    You just refuse to acknowledge where the hatred comes from let alone whether it is justified.

    You say "NOTHING JUSTIFIES TERRORISM" but refuse to tell me what their alternative is. After generations of suffering and subjugation what would you do? Many people can handle the suffering themselves but when you see your parents and grandparents and children and grandchildren suffer and realize there is no end in sight honorable men can and will decide to sacrifice themselves to say enough. If you can't understand that, if you can't put yourself in their place then I question whether you have any concept of honor.

    As for the UN, I agree it is pretty much a shell of what it was intended to be but again, what is the alternative? I'm sure the German government (controlled by the Nazi Party) authorized Hitler to invade Poland too. Did that make it legal? You can't honestly believe that invading countries should be the judge of whether their own incursions are legal!

    The 'war on terror' is wrong on every level. The idea that we can bomb, torture and kill these people into accepting their lot in life is simply naive. Even Rumsfeld had the sense to ask whether we are "creating more terrorists than we are killing and capturing". Even George Bush talks about how the 'war on terror' can't be won militarily and that all people deserve freedom but then he goes out and gives billions to Mubarak, Musharraf and other tyrants. Please answer that simple question...how does supporting dictators spread 'freedom and democracy'?

    As for true terorism, what would you call it when our special operations and CIA forces, who don't wear uniforms enter countries covertly and kill civilians? It happens almost everyday somewhere in the world. Right now, these forces are killing hundreds of civilians in Africa and the media doesn't even report anything about it.

    Read the book 'Through Our Enemies Eyes' written by Michael Scheuer, a former employee of the CIA if you want to know what Osama bin Laden wants. Here is a guy who gave up every worldly comfort to fight for freedom, justice and self-determination for his people. We loved him when he was fighting the Soviet Union for us in Afghanistan.

    Look around you. Open your eyes and really look around. You will see a nation that has lost its way. Pornography, gluttony, greed and materialism are rampant. Concepts such as 'an honest day's work for an honest day's pay' are considered quaint. It is so much better to get a subprime loan and 'flip' a house or call in sick and go golfing. CEOs now make 324 times what their average employees make. Jobs like picking fruits and vegetables or working in hotels used to be entry level jobs done by high school students to get work experience and spending money. Now mommy and daddy buy them cars and cell phones and give them credit cards and most of them would never dream of getting their hands dirty. So now we have illegal immigrants (aka slaves) do our dirty work for us while the majority of the country condemns them for the audacity of trying to feed their families.

    This country is rotting from the inside out. The 'war on terror' is just one of the symptoms.

    These people you call 'terrorists' would love to have uniforms and armies and high-tech missiles, planes and tanks. They would love to fight us honorably on the field of battle. The people in our government are the ones who are the cowards. Do you honestly believe they like watching their children strap bombs to their bodies? In the entire history of mankind I don't think there has ever been a more nonsensical phrase uttered than "they blow themselves up because they hate freedom". How much kool-aid do you have to drink to believe that line?

    I am not naive. I know I have zero chance to change your mind. Your identity is too wrapped up in the concept that this country is good. There are still many good people in this country...maybe even the majority. They just need to wake up from the materialistic induced stuper they are in and take the country back from the media and our supposed representatives.

  19. [19] 
    mutex wrote:

    PS: You never did read the poem, did you?

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    The alternative to Terrorism is ANYTHING....

    So, let's lay it all out..

    Do you believe that, in some instances, terrorism is justified??

    Do you believe that, in some instances, it is all right to kill hundreds or thousands of innocent men women and children??

    A simple yes or no will suffice...

    Personally, I don't give a rat's ass if people want to blow themselves up. One less loser in the world and good riddance..

    My beef is with those who kill and maim innocent men, women and children..

    Why is such a concept so foreign to you??

    I can't even BEGIN to comprehend how ANYONE in their right mind would think it's perfectly OK to kill completely innocent men, women and children whose ONLY CRIME is to be in a certain place at a certain time...

    NOTHING JUSTIFIES TERRORISM....

    It's THAT simple...

    Michale.....

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    And yes, I did read the poem...

    Do you know what my response is to that poem?

    Over 3000 innocent men women and children killed on 11 Sep 2001..

    If they would get their own house in order and quit encouraging this kind of senseless slaughter, then maybe we would not have to be over there to do it for them..

    NOTHING.... JUSTIFIES.... TERRORISM.....

    NOTHING

    And, if you are the soldier that you claim to be, you would know this...

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    mutex wrote:

    So now you're reduced to questioning my honesty?

    I am against all killing except in self defense. If some army invaded my town I would hide out in churches, plant roadside bomba and IEDs, and do everything in my power to repel this force. I would hope you would be there to help me. What happened on 9/11 wasn't an invasion. It was desperate people resorting to desperate measures in response to what amounts to our invasion and control of their countries through political, economic and, if need be, military (covert and otherwise) means.

    Let me ask you this, what would the world look like if the United Staes decided to support the 'terrorists' instead of the dictators?

    You seem hung up on this term 'terrorism'. Just because we (mostly) have uniforms and armies and high-tech weapons doesn't make our attacks on people around the world any less terrorizing!

    Let me ask you, who has killed more "innocent men women and children" in the last 65 years, the United States government or al-Qaeda and the so-called 'terrorists'. We can debate their innocence, or whether it is better to die from the result of 'collateral damage', or the price of tea in China for that matter...they are still dead! Get this one fact in your head WHEREVER the United States goes, death and suffering follows. As of 2005, the United States occupied over 700 military bases in over 36 countries worldwide. How many foreign military bases do we have here in the United States? Why is this?

    How many countries have we invaded in the last 50 years? How many foreign leaders have we deposed? In the immortal words of Katie Couric's daughter, "who made us the boss of them"?

    You seem to be under a common misconception that the United States is a 'good' country and goes around the world trying to do 'good' things. To paraphrase the movie 'Cool Hand Luke' most of the people in these countries 'wish we would stop being so good to them'!

    The 'terrorists' of tomorrow are just young children today...maybe the same age as your son or perhaps even younger. I wish you could look into their eyes and explain how they should just endure their suffering because otherwise us 'good' Americans will have to bomb them until they stop whining.

    The 'terrorists' are Human Beings with families and emotions and some of them might still even have hopes and dreams...if not for themselves perhaps for their children or grandchildren. You claiming over and over again that they are just monsters DOESN'T MAKE IT SO!

    The bottom line is you won't touch the question of what their alternative is with a ten foot pole. You say "anything". Give me an example of "anything". Give me an example that would make sense to you if by accident of birth you had been born in one of these God-forsaken countries and knew what the future had in store for your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren ad infinitum! None of us really knows what we might be capable of driven to these levels of desperation.

    BTW, have you ever wondered why the media and politicians would have us believe it is the poor, suffering people of the world that are our enemies and not the people living in the castles and palaces and 40,000 sq. ft. 'houses'? This was really the point of the poem. Whether we call them illegal immigrants or 'terrorists' (or in an earlier time indians and slaves) the battle is always between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.

    It may be a losing battle but I will always side with the 'have nots'.

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sorry, but terrorists are not human beings with families.

    They are psychotic madmen who are closer to animals than anything else..

    >Let me ask you, who has killed more
    >"innocent men women and children"
    >in the last 65 years, the United
    >States government or al-Qaeda and
    >the so-called 'terrorists'.

    Who has TARGET'ed more "innocent men women and children" ???

    Therein lies the difference that you simply will not see..

    In your efforts to demonize your own country and worship the animals who kill your own countrymen, this is the distinction that you simply fail to acknowledge..

    And, for that, I pity you..

    >You claiming over and over again
    >that they are just monsters
    >DOESN'T MAKE IT SO!

    You are absolutely correct..

    My claiming it over and over again does not make it so..

    IT IS THEIR ACTIONS THAT MAKE IT SO....

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since you believe that the cold blooded murderers of innocent men, women and children are simply mis-understood, it obviously stands to reason that you forgive people like Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahlmer.. They are obviously the result of persecution and oppression and they deserve our help and sympathy, right??

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, yer given a bad lot in life.. You got the short stick and you have to struggle while people like John Edwards and Al Gore live in multi million dollar mansions..

    So, because you got the short shaft, that automatically entitles you to go out and kill as many innocent men, women and children as you possibly can...

    Is THAT what you are trying to justify???

    I won't even bother asking what kind of American are you, because you have readily proved that..

    What I WILL ask you is....What kind of human being are you???

    What kind of human being would say that, just because you may have a rough life, that entitles you to cause pain, grief and suffering to untold hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children...

    No one is claiming that the US is perfect.. No one is claiming that the US has not made mistakes..

    What I **AM** claiming is that the US, with all it's faults, has the best system going....

    If you don't agree with that, then I have to kindly ask you to leave and give you a "don't let the door hit yer ass on the way out" send off...

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    mutex wrote:

    When you were in the military you might have heard a saying, 'it isn't my job to die for my country...it is my job to make the other poor, bastard die for his'. I like this saying because it admits that we really aren't that much different than the people we are fighting.

    In Vietnam the enemy were called slopes and gooks. Now I hear they are referred to as ragheads and haji (and worse) in an effort to demonize and dehumanize them.

    Years ago I thought soldiers suffered PTSD or had 'flashbacks' because of the things they saw done by the enemy. I now know that most of these psychological problems (up to and including suicide) are caused by things the soldiers themselves did. See they know the enenmy is human. They know they had friends and families just like them before they were killed.

    In reality, all soldiers, on both sides of a conflict, have much more in common with each other than they ever will with the rich and powerful that send them into battle.

    You make an interesting point about criminals like Bundy and Dahmer. Perhaps, because of their mental illness they had no choice. I agree that a society has to defend itself by locking these people up but I take no joy from it. The difference between these criminals and 'terrorists' is that we can stop creating 'terrorists'. We can even turn existing 'terrorists' into peaceful citizens. That is why I asked you what the world would look like if the United States decided to support the 'terrorists' instead of the dictators.

    You act like the entire Middle East was suddenly hit by some rampant mental illness that turned millions of people into "psychotic madmen". If this were actually the case don't you think we should put the Center for Disease Control in charge instead of sending in the military?

    I'm not giving up on this country. Heck, I'm not even giving up on you Michale. I will continue to fight the good fight. These things seem to go in cycles. Hopefully, the American people are starting to come to their senses and we can at least stop our contribution to the suffering in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hear an ever louder drumbeat here to bring home all our forces from around the world. If we can get off our addiction to oil and over-consumption and stop propping up the dictators of the Middle East the people of these countries will finally be able to achieve the self-determination they so desperately want and deserve and there will no longer be the need for us to defend against the 'terrorists'.

    And then I only hope I die before the next, inevitable cycle of violence, injustice and inhumanity.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Your isolationist scenario would work quite well if we were Switzerland or Poland or any other country..

    But we are the United States.. They only remaining superpower...

    And, as Spiderman will tell you, with great power comes great responsibility.

    Like it or not, for better or for worse, the US *IS* the world's policeman.. Idealistically it would be nice if this were not the case, but that is the reality of today's world..

    As I indicated above, this country isn't perfect, by any means... But we do have the best system going..

    As you indicate above, the Middle East just did not suddenly erupt in an orgasm of violence and terrorism overnight.. Terrorism was a problem long before Bush came into the scene and long before Iraq was invaded and Saddam was neutralized.. That being the case don't you think it is unfair to lay the problem at the feet of Bush and the Republicans... The only reason it has flared up so intensely now is that previous leaders would bend over backwards to appease the terrorists, rather than fighting them..

    I guess we will simply have to agree to disagree with regards to whether or not terrorists are just people with a legitimate gripe (as you claim) or they are sick psychotic animals that should be hunted down and slaughtered with extreme prejudice (as I claim)..

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    CDub wrote:

    Is torture terrorism?

    Is it a terrorist act to blow up a restaurant full of innocent people with a suicide vest?

    Is it a terrorist act to blow up a restaurant full of innocent people with a truck bomb?

    Is it a terrorist act to blow up a restaurant full of innocent people with a laser guided bomb?

    Is it a terrorist act to kick down an innocent families door in the middle of the night and kill all the men women and children you find inside?

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    @CDub

    >Is torture terrorism?

    No

    >Is it a terrorist act to blow up
    >a restaurant full of innocent people
    >with a suicide vest?

    All things being equal, Yes...

    >Is it a terrorist act to blow up a
    >restaurant full of innocent people
    >with a truck bomb?

    All things being equal, Yes.....

    >Is it a terrorist act to blow up a
    >restaurant full of innocent people
    >with a laser guided bomb?

    If the restaurant was the specific target with no military value whatsoever, where the sole design was to kill said innocent people then yes, it would be terrorism..

    >Is it a terrorist act to kick
    >down an innocent families door
    >in the middle of the night and
    >kill all the men women and
    >children you find inside?

    If one kicks down the door in the middle of the night with the sole intention of killing the innocent family then, yes, it would be terrorism.


    Any more ball busters...

    -Adam Sandler, BILLY MADISON

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    mutex wrote:

    I have never claimed that Bush and the Republicans are solely responsible for the 'war on terror'. The Democrats, corporations and, particularly, the media are equally to blame. These other entities aren't arguing about whether to fight this 'war' they just disagree over the methods. I do find what Bush and the Republicans are doing with regard to the Constitution and human rights especially egregious.

    I did want to take up the issue of 'targeting' you raised in an earlier post. In the final analysis do you really believe it matters to a dead person whether they were 'targeted' or killed 'by accident'? BTW, we must be the most 'accident' prone nation in the history of the world. One could make a pretty good case that people that 'accident' prone shouldn't be allowed to carry weapons. Personally, if I were to be killed by someone, I would much prefer they did it on purpose, because they hated me, than to be killed as 'collateral damage' because my life wasn't important enough to matter.

    This 'targeting' issue is pretty nebulous. When you drop a bomb, and you know innocent people are going to die, is it somehow morally justified if you believe you might kill some supposed 'guilty' people too? Not to digress but who were we 'targeting' in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the overwhelming majority of deaths were innocent civilians?

    People often make the mistake of believing that I am anti-American. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mankind has been doing vile things to each other since the dawn of time. It still doesn't make it right and when my country loses its way I am going to speak up. There was a bumper sticker during the Vietnam war that read 'My Country --- Right or Wrong!'. I couldn't disagree with this sentiment more strongly. A true patriot does what he can to ensure we live in a country of which we can be proud. The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are such magnificent documents I can hardly believe they were written by men. My goal is to uphold the principles enshrined in these documents for ALL people of the world. My only agenda is the truth.

    You are right that we are the "only remaining superpower" but this won't always be the case. The precedents we are setting now and the environment of fear and resentment we are creating will have grave consequences for future generations if we don't come to our collective senses soon. The widening gap between us lucky citizens of the United States and the majority of the rest of the planet is morally indefensible. It is my belief that we need to lower our standard of living so that we can increase our quality of life.

    The key to happiness isn't consumption. The sooner we learn this the better for us and the rest of mankind.

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me caveat the above answers by saying that they would be "terroristic" acts...

    Whether or not they could be defined as "terrorism" would depend on the ultimate goal..

    In the case of your "guided missile" example, that would most likely be classified as a terrorist act, based on the weaponry employed..

    In your "innocent family" example, there would be many factors that would have to be considered before one could accurately label it as "terrorism"..

    Michale.....

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Mutex

    >In the final analysis do you really
    >believe it matters to a dead person
    >whether they were 'targeted' or
    >killed 'by accident'?

    No, of course it doesn't matter to the persons killed. But it certainly matters a great deal to those who are left to press on..

    >Not to digress but who were we
    >'targeting' in the bombings of
    >Hiroshima and Nagasaki where
    >the overwhelming majority of
    >deaths were innocent civilians?

    A whole nother war and a whole nother set of circumstances.. We could also mention the firebombing of Dresden in the same vein..

    Ignoring for the moment that the infra-structure that supports the war effort is a legitimate military target, I believe that our leaders were employing a rather lopsided application of the MAD doctrine, even though the Doctrine did not exist at the time.

    Hell, one could even make a rational argument that the MAD Doctrine itself is a form of terrorism.

    >There was a bumper sticker during
    >the Vietnam war that read 'My Country
    >— Right or Wrong!'. I couldn't disagree
    >with this sentiment more strongly.

    There is a difference between rational and logical dissent and virulent and hysterical Anti-Americanism that gives aide and comfort to the enemy..

    Unfortunately, what we seem to see these days from the Left is way TOO MUCH of the latter and very little of the former...

    >The key to happiness isn't consumption.
    >The sooner we learn this the better for
    >us and the rest of mankind


    A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

    -Kay, MEN IN BLACK

    That is to say that you may know that the key to happyness isn't consumption. I may know that the key to happyness isn't consumption.. But society as a whole has yet to learn that lesson...

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    mutex wrote:

    "Ignoring for the moment that the infra-structure that supports the war effort is a legitimate military target"

    I don't want to ignore this. In fact it is the crux of my argument and, believe it or not, Osama bin Laden's.

    Osama bin Laden believes that there is no way Muslims can overthrow the corrupt regimes that hold them in bondage as long as they have the aid and support of the United States. He believes that if they can make it uncomfortable enough we will withdraw this support and they will then be able to rise up and establish the Islamic states which the vast majority of their populations want. He has no intention of invading the United States or conquering the world. He is an educated, devout Muslim who has never wanted any power or fame for himself. In fact, he has said that victory will only come for their sons' sons' sons.

    You said "NOTHING JUSTIFIES TERRORISM" which you further state means intentionally killing "innocent men, women and children". Either we were justified in killing 100s of thousands of "innocent men, women and children" in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (because of the "the infra-structure that supports the war" argument) or we were 'terrorists'. If we were justified then why isn't Osama bin Laden justified under the same argument? If both sides are 'terrorists' doesn't it render the term useless...meaning we can just fall back on the tried and true 'war is hell' doctrine?

    Every single life lost in this 'war' is a waste and travesty. My over-riding point is that we have the power to end it if we can just overcome our seemingly insatiable greed and stop supporting regimes we all acknowledge are corrupt and illegitimate. The only way the 'terrorists' can end it is if they agree to go back to suffering quietly...the human spirit won't allow this.

    In one of Osama bin Laden's speeches he asks "I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom. If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example – Sweden?"

    This is not "sick psychotic" behavior...this is the desperation of men longing to be free.

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Mutex

    >which you further state means
    >intentionally killing "innocent
    >men, women and children".

    Actually, I never said exactly that..

    What I have stated is that terrorism is the intentional targeting of innocent people for the purposes of advancing some sort of agenda, either political, religious, ideological or economical..

    You seem to equate terrorism with people dying. While that certainly is the norm, it is by no means required..

    Blowing up an empty building to advance a cause is as much terrorism as flying planes into full buildings to cause as many deaths as possible..

    >The only way the 'terrorists' can end
    >it is if they agree to go back to
    >suffering quietly

    No, they can "end it" by using acceptable means to address their issue..

    Using your line of reasoning, you would find it perfectly acceptable if a group of American Indians forced their way into your home and butchered you and your family because your house happens to sit on land that belonged to their long ancestors 500 years ago....

    You would find that completely acceptable??

    Michale.....

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Atrocity and terror are not political weapons. And to those who would use them, your day is over.
    -Harrison Ford, AIR FORCE ONE

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    mutex wrote:

    "No, they can "end it" by using acceptable means to address their issue.."

    You keep saying this but never elaborate.

    Ayman Nour is currently rotting in jail because he had the audacity to run against Mubarak in the last Egyptian Presidential 'election' and this country is our ally! Throw me a bone here and at least tell me you know how evil these supposed 'leaders' and allies are! Why would we associate with scum like this?

    What was done to the American Indians was shameful and, actually, the land I live on did belong to Indians as little as 100 years ago. I have no idea whether they got just compensation for it but I doubt it. This is another example of the vile things we have been doing to each other since humans first learned to walk upright. I'm sure if you go back far enough someone probably unjustly acquired property from my ancestors. I guess my answer is that there is no practical way to go back through history and address all the wrongs but that we can start today to fight our inner natures and do our best to live honorably. I know that is a pretty self-serving answer but its all I have.

    It is not so much that the United States pursues its 'national interests' or even that we defend 'our way of life' that bothers me so much...that has happened with every civilization throughout history. What bothers me the most I guess is that we sit here in the most prosperous country in the history of mankind and it isn't enough. We still feel the need to extend the empire...even at the cost of our supposed morals and principles. I have struggled with this issue. Apparently it is the nature of humans, especially under capitalism, to continue to seek new sources of cheap labor and cheap raw materials. Its like a giant pyramid scheme that is coming to an end. Unless we find an inferior lifeform on another planet pretty soon we will need to have a world war to destroy everything so we can start over...that is if we don't annihilate the species in the process.

    In the end, all we can do as individuals is follow our conscience and muddle our way through.

    I, personally, will never believe that 'might makes right'...even if it is the way to bet.

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    When I went thru OCS, we were given a military problem to solve...

    Enemy forces have secreted the launch control mechanism in the basement of a school house. This control mechanism is controlling the flight of a nuclear missile that is enroute to New York City.

    As the OSC, you have only one of two options and only seconds to decide..

    1. Order an immediate air strike on the school, destroying the control center that, in turn, destroys the missile in flight. In doing so, you would be killing hundreds of innocent children who are in school at the time.

    Your second option is to NOT order an immediate air strike, thereby allowing millions of people in New York City to be annihilated in a nuclear blast..

    Ostensibly, there is no real "correct" answer.. It's a test of character. Much like the Kobyashi Maru...

    But, in my not so humble opinion, there IS a right answer and a wrong answer... And the right answer should be obvious...

    Michale.....

  38. [38] 
    mutex wrote:

    Let's take it one step further Michale...

    Your child, to whom you swore an oath to protect with your life, when he was born, is in the school.

    And...

    the missile is headed for Baghdad instead of New York.

    Now that is a test of character!

  39. [39] 
    CDub wrote:

    The only advantage to 'black and white', 'us and them', 'true or false' thinking is that it frees you from having to understand an issue.

    That freedom turns out to be rather illusory when you realize that the few who agree with you are extremists with narrow minds; yes men without contribution; people with nothing of value to teach.

    But hey, you're free from having to understand things. Look at the time that saves. Ignorance is bliss.

  40. [40] 
    CDub wrote:

    Not to mention that 'black and white' thinking leads you to describe others as animals who need to be hunted down and killed for their actions, but when your side is acting the same way, you have to rationalize and justify those same actions.

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    @mutex

    >Your child, to whom you swore an
    >oath to protect with your life,
    >when he was born, is in the school.

    Boy, do YOU have some reading ahead of you.. :D

    "So Is Torturing A Daughter OK?"
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-weigant/so-is-torturing-a-daughte_b_29538.html

    Have at it...

    @CDub

    >the few who agree with you

    That "few" who agree with me seem to be the millions of Americans who voted for George Bush as President, not once, but TWICE...

    And, as we have already established, it is not I who is the ignorant one regarding terrorism and the threats of the real world...

    Michale.....

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Postulate that it is 19 Feb 1942 and FDR (A Democrat) just signed Executive Order 9066. 120,000 American Citizens who have committed NO CRIME WHATSOEVER are rounded up and jailed...

    What say you??

    Michale.....

  43. [43] 
    CDub wrote:

    Michale wrote:
    @CDub

    >the few who agree with you

    That "few" who agree with me seem to be the millions of Americans who voted for George Bush as President, not once, but TWICE…

    =====

    So you identify yourself amongst those (to complete the quote), "... [who] are extremists with narrow minds; yes men without contribution; people with nothing of value to teach.

    Bush will always go down in my memory as a president, twice elected, who never won a single election. And the minority who support him today are either corrupt, or are extremists with narrow minds; yes men without contribution; people with nothing of value to teach.

    But hey, ignorance is bliss. I encourage you to enjoy the America which you've bought. It won't last long in it's current state, enjoy it while it lasts.

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    >Bush will always go down in my memory
    >as a president, twice elected, who
    >never won a single election.

    Fortunately, for the civilized world, your memory does not an accurate assessment of history make..

    >It won't last long in it's current state,
    >enjoy it while it lasts.

    Yea, and after the ratification of the MCA, we were going to see mass arrests of American citizens and midnight knocks at the door for millions of Americans..

    That never happened either, now did it... :^/

    What is it with the radical Left and all their Fear-Mongering???

    Michale.....

  45. [45] 
    CDub wrote:

    I'm fairly certain that "Unfortunately" has at least one more 'n' and another 'u' or so.

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    @CDub

    I always knew you were a "see the world as you want it to be, not as it is" kinda guy.. :D

    Michale....

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