Blog by reformed leftist "Paul Hue", and his friends, including some UnReformed Leftists; the headlines reflect these competing views.
Difficult, but unfortunately, not impossible.
If the repos lose, they desearve it:1. Bush made a case for his war that makes it harder now to justify that things haven't gone as he planned. If a critical mass of Iraqis had reacted sensibly, the war would be over and rebuilding would be well under way. But that didn't happen, and combined with his unclear case, the lack of WMDs (did he wait to long to invade?) has compounded the underlying problem, and made for an easy club for his political foes. 2. He's made the good guy Americans advocate torture. What example does this set for the nations, and opponents, who want to torture even more? What does "water boarding" do to the GIs and CIA agents who perform it? 3. He's introduced anti-democratic measures such as adding "interpretation" clauses to the bills that he signs, and survaillance techniques that avoid congressional and judicial oversight, rather than embracing them.4. He's overseen and supported congressional spending worse than any previous democrat.5. He's chickened out on fiscally righteous proposals such as flat, simple taxes and privatized social security.6. He's championed anti-republican, anti-liberty, social engineering legislation like banning internet gambling.7. He's linked republicanism -- and, worse, American governance -- with christianity, while simultaneously combatting the most ugly extreme of church-linked governance. So, what is it he advocates, simply much less religion in government than in Iran and Saudi Arabia... but how must less? And what about a religion that is even less intolerant of non-believers than christianity? And one that presents its own code of government? How do you let such a religion in "just a little bit"?8. He smiles -- or seems to -- at all the wrong times. Don't they have people to train public speakers not to do that?
9. One think repo voters mostly agree on is a perception that repos are much more efficient and less currupt than the demos. Bush's Katrina response demonstrated that his FEMA is no better than Clinton's FEMA... and he didn't even have enough sense to spot a touchy-feely opportunity.10. The 911 speach at ground zero was a disgrace. When a KKK-type outfit attacks the US and kills 3,000 people, I can think of nothing worse than the speach he gave. Consider Lincoln's words in response to the firing at Sumpter: I forget, but they were somber, not "we're gonna get you bastards!" And Lincoln didn't smirk.11. The "Mission Accomplished" speach was also a disgrace, but mostly for reasons other than the slogan. The slogan itself was fine, had he given an appropriate speach, and not used the opportunity to fly that stupid stunt landing. The US troops had accomplished a mission: destroying Iraq's baathist army and taking control of the nation. But in war, even victories for righteous people are somber. Recall Lincoln's Gettysburgh Address. Bush is a draft dodger, and of the worse sort: a privilidged one who got a dodge handed to him that he could turn into a tin medal every bit as phoney as LBJ's. All the archetects of this war are draft dodgers. Which doesn't mean that their plan is wrong. But having him fly that plane and strut accross the stage reminded me of this fact, and embarrassed me as a war supporter. And of course he smirked. I'm certain Lincoln didn't smirk at Gettysburgh.
12. He's married the repo party to issues of personal choice, such as homosexuality.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061006/ap_on_el_ge/pelosi_time_1But then again, if Nancy Polosi and the demos win, up goes taxes "on the rich" and a national minimum wage. Perhaps the nation needs a drastic economics lesson; it will get it.
"If a critical mass of Iraqis had reacted sensibly, the war would be over and rebuilding would be well under way."Funny! Leave it to you, Paul, to make the failure of a poorly conceived war the fault of the people who are being attacked.Paul, are you joining the "anti-George Bush" crowd? You're finally admitting that Bush isn't even a good Republican!
Nadir: The US military didn't "attack" the Iraqi people. Just look at the Kurdistan area, and its relationship with the same US military. The difference between that area and the other two regions of Iraq is clear: the overal attitude and behavior of the people. Reconstruction there is magnificent, and the people there are taking advantage of US intervention, as the archetects of that intervention intented. No "stealing" of oil by US companies, as you and Tom imagine, and no other problems either. Listening to my friends in Iraq has greatly influenced my view on the situation there. Unlike you, Nadir, I did not leave my info session with them holding the same views as when I entered. Their opinions actually affected my own. Granted, I had communicated with Vassar over many months, so our session at my house involved no movement on my part, though the complete concurrence between Vassar's view and Emmitt's solidified the influence that Vassar's input had on me. Vassar's influence modified my position in the following ways:1. The war is unwinnable. I used to think that it was.2. The people in the Sunni and Shia areas overall lack the requisite desire for civilization. I believed Bush when he claimed that the people there would embrace and fight for civilization if only the US military would come in and rid them of the Baathist tyrany. I do not doubt that the Bushies believed their own claims, but I reject their claims now. 3. The inefficiency and curruption of US contractors is insignificant compared with that of the Sunni and Shia locals. The successes in the Kurdish areas -- with the same US contractors -- supports this assessment by Vassar and Emmitt. When Vassar blamed the problems in Iraq on the Iraqis, your wife labled that a "eurocentric" view, or something like that (I forget her exact dissmissive label). Are Europeans the only people capable of blame in a terrible situation? Is it possible that in some terrible situations involving Iraqis and Americans that Iraqis can qualify for blame? Are you and your wife's view "paternalistic", protecting the poor, defenseless, blameless Iraqis from culpability? Vassar and Emmitt and I assign the success in the Kurdish area to the Kurdish people. Same US military and contractors operating there as in the Sunni and Shia areas, but starkley different result: prosperity and security. Difference: the people, their behavior and attitude. When Vassar and Emmitt assigned the curruption prevailant in Iraq to the Iraqis, your wife, again, instantly dismissed the assessment: "I work for a big company, too, but I don't pretend that they do a good job", or something like that, she said. How does she know, going into this discussion with Halliburton employees, the absolutely correct assessment, independant of fresh input from Haliburton employees speaking casually in a social situation? How does she know that Vassar and Emmitt are incapable, or unwilling, to make and articulate an accurate and unbiased assessment? I have known Vassar intimately and constantly since childhood. I have full confidence that he is as critical, courageous, and genuine as you and your wife with regards to his employers. Vassar and Emmitt's views (I also spoke with them both at length the night before) do not represent complete concurrence with Bush's. They insist that Bush will not, and cannot, get a market democracy (what I call, "civilization") in the Sunni and Shia areas. And they both say that the worst mistak that Bush made was permitting any toruture; they oppose him 100% on that. Input from Vassar about Abu Graib influenced my view enormously on that point. As does his frequent reminder about the Kurdish area, where such mistakes don't matter. That's why and Emmitt constantly return to assessment: The Iraqi people account for both the success (Kurish area) and failures (Sunni and Shia) in Iraq.Unlike you, they did not approach this topic with any opinions. You 100% opposed the invasion, and declared 100% certainty that it would fail. I can't even put myself in that catagory of 100% certain predictions. I recall discussing all this with Vassar before he left. He had zero opinion or interest, and no support for Bush. He voted against Bush in 2000. But his experiances there forced an opinion on him, including respect for what Bush is trying to accomlish there, respect of the Kurdish Iraqis, and great disappointment for the Iraqis who have power amongst the Sunnis and Shia. He wen there with not only an open mind, but an empty one. It remains open, but no longer empty, and I think his assessments desearve open-minded consideration and respect. That's what I've afforded them.
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