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November 24, 2003

Comments

Del

Hi Luke - below is cut and paste sections from comments I posted. Please read through because the second part goes deeper into the specifics on how it drives our enemies.

This ties directly into your points 4 & 5 and hopefully explains the danger posed when openly protesting especially in a foreign land at this critical time in history. Remember I am not against protesting - it's that one must be aware and cognizant of all of the ramifications before heading out. Hopefully it explains my personal concern on how it emboldens our enemies.

Your heading to this section uses the word ‘hateful’… I don’t think the response below is hateful.

I’m interested in your response. I do believe it will clarify a lot of misunderstanding.

Greetings All,

I would like all – both pro and con – to try for a moment to set aside passion and emotion and attempt to look at what you are doing strictly from a logical - humane perspective.

Set aside the feelings of wanting to get Bush out of office and ask…

If I knew that by my actions (your recent protest) that there may be the possibility that one – just one - ‘mad supposedly Islamic extremist’ would be fueled to cause the death of innocents would I still go on with my protest?

Now does anyone associated with this movement believe that this may in fact be a faint possibility? If you have any doubt – then I ask you – think deep down inside – how can you openly protest in a foreign country with that on your conscious. How do you sleep at night if there could have been the chance that because of your actions you drove a madman to kill innocent women and children?

I am NOT against protesting! But there are other ways of protesting! When logical thinking people from either side look at your Newsweek article you can’t help but question your methods to achieve your means. It directly endangers not only our brave men and women in Iraq but also the entire peace loving people of the world!

Your protest was most certainly a bit more solemn considering the bombing that occurred in Turkey just before you set out on your mission. How much more evidence do you need to realize that the timing and the target selected by the terrorist who were responsible had your protest in mind? It was intentional and they knew exactly what they were doing, at whom it was directed and the timing. Even if you don’t believe – you still have to ask yourselves – What if there was the slimmest of possibility? If I had the faintest doubt – I would not be feeling too good if I were marching that day. I know that if I were in your shoes – I would not have slept too well that evening. Of course this is if you are a logical, humane thinking individual.

No one wants to deny your right to get Bush out of office. In fact personally if someone else came along that I thought had a better plan, a better vision – I would join up in a heartbeat.

Second cut... Kris was kind enough to respond to my comment. She stated that your protesting should be taken as the same thing regarding buying gasoline to help the terrorists. I included this section because it gets very specific on how it works.

I want to respond to all of your points if I may…

Your initial analogy concerning gasoline and your protest is a facile one. Let me tell you why. You see the terrorist sitting in a cave somewhere cowering yet planning understand that from a power perspective they are extremely limited. They understand the power of instilling fear and getting the masses stirred up – this is where their real power comes from. The more protests they see on CNN – the more they feel that their position is strengthening.

Now for example sake – let’s say there is no protests. No CNN showing the crowds tearing down an effigy of Bush. The same group of terrorists in that cave are now not as emboldened.

This is where your gasoline example does not work. Same terrorists – more gasoline getting pumped… no difference. Hence the reason Kris, your analogy holds no logic.

Luke I would like to hear your response with the example I gave above concerning emboldening the terrorists…

Chrish

Luke,

First off I'm not going to touch the arguments that "Dell" posted as I don't really know if it's really him/her or not so why bother.

Regarding your response to question #3 "Why didn't you march against terrorism / Osama Bin Laden?" and your response as being "a bit obvious and pointless" I do take issue with.

It could be argued that marching against terrorism or terrorists like Bin Laden might not accomplish anything as they don't answer to anybody might be true however, has anyone considered this possiblity? Why not march against the known countries that DO harbor, provide support both with monetary and physical means training or otherwise? Don't many of those very same countries have embassys in England, France, Germany, the USA, and other places? Whether or not they would take notice is a question but, one has to think if the embassy's of those countries in various countries around the world suddenly found protestors, demonstrators, condemnation, and denunciations sitting outside of their embassy walls might, just might, make an impact. You think?

It seems to me that many of those same countries where terrorists come from or are given safe harbor like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Egypt and many others do have an embassy in various European countries, do they not?

Perhaps if they are called to task for their indirect involvement with terrorist groups maybe, just maybe, they'll start doing something about those groups in their midst?

What would happen if ALL of those countries known to harbor terrorist groups suddenly started throwing them out, expulsing them, or better yet detaining and arresting them?

Regarding the other issues that occurred at the protest I have to say it's something that will occur and there's nothing you can really do about it. There are and always will be brain-dead individual(s) who come out only for the sole purpose of causing trouble. That's not your's nor your groups fault. Sad to say those trouble makers make your group and others look bad.

That still doesn't mean I agree with your position.... :o)

bobo

Chrish,

Your theories are interesting and I _heartily_ thank you for making them in a respectful manner as it makes this board a real place for people to discuss and debate intelligently, which is what I'm trying to get from this. So, thanks for that. It takes some maturity and discipline not to get too hot-headed about some of these topics.

Some thoughts:

I think we can agree that there are other causes of terrorism besides seeing protestors on TV. How important do you think these causes of terrorism are, compared to seeing protestors on TV? And do you believe enough is being done to address those causes, or even discuss them?

I think that the dilemma faced is that many educated individuals now believe that Bush's actions are actually increasing, not decreasing, some of the causes behind terrorism. So perhaps they believe that the 10 guys who feel emboldened when they hear about a protest in London are insignificant when compared to the 1,000 who already joined up because they are angry about the U.S. invading Iraq. (Those are not footnoted statistics, but the idea is to express my point in concrete terms. I don't know if any studies have been undertaken to try to gauge how many terrorists are joining up and why.)

After 9/11, muslims all over the world, including influential muslim leaders, condemned the terrorist acts vehemently and showed disgust at the acts of the terrorists against innocent American people. Here in London, on 9/11, british people were crying in the streets -- people of every gender, age, color, and religion. For months, everywhere I went, people I did not know expressed their sorrow to me directly when they found that I was American – at the grocery store, in cabs, on the train, on the bus, in the bank – everywhere.

When America attacked Afghanistan, they understood and approved of our strength. We were doing only what we had the right and obligation to do, and we were applauded for taking decisive steps to dismantle the infrastructure of Al Qaida.

But now, because there has not been enough support for the necessity of the invasion of Iraq, we have muslims confused about whether America is a victim or an aggressor. Wouldn't it have been better to hang onto the moral high ground a little longer, before squandering that? Wouldn't that have had an influence on the recruitment of terrorists?

People who state that the only reason we needed to go into Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s treatment of his people are naive. America supports evil dictators when it is in our interest to do so. We have a long history of this. It follows, that if America is willing to support evil dictators when it is in our advantage to do so, that there must have been some advantage to us to invade Iraq. Since self-defense has not been “sold” effectively to peoples worldwide, it is assumed on a widespread basis amongst many of the world’s people that we invaded Iraq so that we’d have access to its oil.

If Bush had garnered more support, as many world leaders thought he should, he would have had the moral authority of more nations, more people, behind him as he undertook the invasion of Iraq. But he felt that he couldn't take that time, or maybe he thought he didn't need it. If he honestly believed that Saddam Hussein was going to attack us at any moment, he was right to invade Iraq. Many people are not sure about this, because the evidence is just not there.

It's not just protestors in London that think that Bush hurried into this -- it is many nations, many people, including some respectable muslim world leaders. What they think matters in the War against Terrorism too. We can’t fight the War on Terrorism alone, we need as much support from the rest of the world as possible, don’t you agree? As big and well-funded and trained as our military is, it is not nearly big enough to hunt down every terrorist. We’ve got to address the reasons that terrorists _become_ terrorists.

Since terrorists originate from outside America -- doesn’t it seem like a good idea to pay attention to how we look from the outside? What's you opinion?

So, while you are wishing that the protestors in London weren’t decreasing America’s moral authority in the eyes of the world, and thinking that perhaps by protesting they are emboldening terrorism…….the protestors in London believe that it was President Bush’s job to establish America’s moral authority in the eyes of the world by ensuring the credibility and accountability of our government’s actions and by garnering support from the international community before invading Iraq -- and that is precisely what makes him unfit to be leader of the world’s only superpower and the commander in chief of the best-funded, best-trained, most powerful and deadly military in the world.

A separate issue:

I agree that there are other ways to influence politicians besides protesting. Writing letters for instance. But if you disagree with your president, what is the most effective way to voice your dissent? If I write a letter, will anyone read it, including my president/congressman/senator? Or will they throw it away? (What do you think happens to my letter when it is received?)

I may be able to speak for all the expats when I say that what we have been hearing from people we know in America, from conservatives and liberals alike, is that right now it's a difficult time to say publicly (see: Dixie Chicks, see: Sean Penn) that you disagree or question our president's approach to Iraq, and that there seems to be a McCarthy-era paranoia about stating one's opinion. Is it possible, given that climate, that as Americans, we have a right, maybe even an obligation, to show _publicly_that we don't agree with the president's policies? If we feel that the president's policies are bad for the country, and we do not wish to see him re-elected, doesn't it make sense to show solidarity with Americans back at home who feel the same way?

They are difficult questions.

I’d like to know what you think about what I’ve expressed. I’m glad to have a conversation with you – I can tell that we both care about how we can all work towards a safer world for all peace-loving people, and that makes you a good person, regardless of whether or not we agree on the means to the end.

bobo

Correction: Comments were supposed to be to Del, not Chrish. I addressed thoughts in his mail above posted at November 24, 2003 07:32 PM. Sorry for the confusion.

Chrish

Bobo,

I'm confused now, did you wish me to respond to your posting? I did post to your's in one of the other places in this site but, regretfully, I neglected to put my name in the name field. My bad.... Let me know as I am learning much and finding some extremely thought provoking ideas being presented... Love the opportunity this site, thanks to Luke & company, have provided
for me and, I'm sure, many other's...

Del

Bobo... I apologize - I just saw your note and frankly you bring up some valid points that I find intriguing.

I've got to get some things done right now but I will definitely get back to you...

Jim

Luke,

You may not have started the flag burning and statue toppling, but when you have an anti-Bush rally, in a foreign land, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that it will soon become an Anti-American rally. That's like taking an alcoholic to a bar and telling him not to have a drink. You were the enabler Luke. You will have to live with it.
Why didn't I protest against Clinton when he took out Milosovic? Because he was right to take out that evil ethnic cleanser. The bigger question is why didn't you protest? Do your history Luke. Clinton didn't wait for UN permission. That was a NATO action.
Did we need the UN's permission to enforce the UN's own 18 resolutions which were broken by Saddam? The UN is like the parent that says, "Ok next time you do that I'm really really going to ground you." Empty threats and Saddam knew it. Gee, he killed his own sons-in-law 6 years ago for narcing on him about WMD. I guess Saddam was a great guy.
Luke, take responsibility for the flag-burning. You may not have brought the matches, but you sure fanned the flames.

bobo

Jim,

I must respectfully, totally disagree.

Europeans are typically keen observers of individual American presidents' policies, you'd be surprised how much they know about even the domestic policies that have little to do with their lives.

There is a strong anti-Bush sentiment here, because of Iraq. Period. You would never have seen a protest like this while we were engaged in Afghanistan. We had strong and widespread support abroad at that time, and compassion from the atrocities of 9/11.

For the 300th time on this web site, I will repeat that no one thinks that Saddam Hussein was anything but a murderous lying dictator. Everyone knows what Saddam Hussein did. They simply do not agree unconditionally with the doctrine of the pre-emptive strike. Please read this and absorb it as repeating this is getting tiring.

You would be surprised at how much people over here want to be able to root for America. Good grief, they practically celebrate the 4th of July.

I suppose that if an old lady got her purse stolen at the protest, that would that also be Luke's fault. You're all over the place on this one.

bobo

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3234960.stm

Del

Greetings bobo,

We do agree that there are multiple causes of terrorism. Your first question comparing the severity of the causes – protestors on TV versus others causes - in my view they are all terrible. Understanding that and agreeing on that point the next obvious question is – well then how do we change the causes? Openly protesting by Americans is one that can be easily eliminated immediately. Don’t misunderstand me – I am NOT against protesting – it all depends on the situation and the ramifications. The other causes are not as easy but that doesn’t take away the fact that the causes that can be done away should be – immediately.

I cannot accept the notion of your response concerning the ratio of 10 versus 1000. The common goal should be to eliminate the possible causes as soon as possible. To me one life is too many when it comes to innocent deaths.

As far as influential Muslim leaders condemning the act – not enough spoke up and heard! After 9/11 in a town called Paterson, NJ - Muslims were cheering the act in the streets. This is approximately 20 miles outside of where the towers stood. Now I am not condemning Muslims for this action – I’m condemning their leaders that spew disfigured interpretations of their holy scriptures. I know plenty of Muslims who are law abiding, respectful citizens. It’s sad that a small percentage can cause such havoc.

Changing the mindset is the major cause and sadly the hardest and most time consuming to eliminate. Re-education is a slow and painful process to achieve in this instance. The good news is that it can be done. Turkey is an excellent example. Here we have a democratic, law abiding Muslim country and of course it has been recently targeted.

You mention that we now have Muslims confused about Iraq. Certainly that depends on which Muslim you ask. The Muslims in Turkey are ecstatic and applaud our efforts. Saudi Arabia being a recent causality also is now coming around. I don’t think I need to bring up the Muslims in Iraq – as much as their willing to take over government control next June – they were quick to make sure we’re going to stick around – long term. Even in Iran – due to it’s younger generation who love the ideals of the US – is fighting a battle to keep things under their archaic system. Trust me – keep them on your radar – I predict major upheaval soon enough.

I don’t agree with your description of holding out for more support as taking the high ground. We either go after them on their turf now or continue to be harassed on our soil. The moral ground was meeting them with the same viciousness they handed us – not once but twice. Remember bobo – the first time we allowed the Clinton administration take what you define as the high ground it allowed us to be hit with deadlier force!

As far as Bush not garnering enough support. For the life of me – how much support are you talking about. Has everyone forgotten the resolution that was passed by the ‘pathetic’ UN? Why didn’t they vote down the resolution? Why not protest them for allowing the resolution to pass? Not to mention – everyone agreed and I mean everyone from the Clinton administration, both the Democratic and Republican Party and Blix and the UN – that Saddam had WMD’s. How easy to now ask, – ‘well where are the WMD’s?’ – we don’t believe you… Well to those I ask – we also haven’t found Saddam – do you believe he existed? As far as countries that are with us – I have to double check but last count and don’t hold me to an exact number – it’s beyond 70 countries!!! What do you think we need to include France and Germany in on everything? Trust – money talks and soon they’ll have their tails between their legs and come hustling back. The writing is already on the wall and Bush is smart enough to know that soon they’ll be begging to come back.

You ask about terrorists originating from outside America – you’re right we need to pay attention to how we look from the outside and we’re making a lot of progress. This goes back to the re-education process but it’s not something that can happen overnight. Successes like Turkey and Iraq will continue to help the cause. It cannot be rushed – more and more their better life, the ability to raise your family in a free society will transcend throughout the world. More the reason to stand our ground and support our efforts.

Ah… you’re next comment about the protestors in London believing that Bush is unfit to be a leader is a minority group in England. In England today – the majority of the population supports what is happening in Iraq. This is irrefutable by the polls - the only plausible mechanism to measure the opinion of a population. Not to mention that in the English government there are laws that can unseat Blair if the population cared to do it. Last I heard Blair was still the Prime Minister.

You’re response about influencing our government to influence politicians by writing letters… You feel that it is ineffectual. I tend to disagree and I’ll tell you why. You’re correct – one letter will not get anyone’s attention. Remember in our government it’s all about the majority. Our leaders are politicians – you get enough people agreeing to a change and it will be heard and implemented because of one simple reason – they will not be re-elected and frankly most of them love their job! If you are in the minority thinking – you do not have the power needed to make a change. That was the intention of our founding fathers!

You mentioned Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks – last I checked nothing illegal was done to them. Nor did the government do anything to them. It was the majority of the American public. The same thing happened to CBS with the Reagan movie – as much as liberals love to shout that it was a government conspiracy – it was nothing more than money – period. Their convictions were only worth so much – ‘kinda make one wonder – huh’…

In closing I want to say thanks bobo – the Expats and the site should be proud to have you on their side. You gave me things to think about.

Just remember – if I have offended anyone on this site – it was not personal. You see I have all my ‘chips’ on the table – I live in NY – saw the towers go down – my eldest son served and was honorably discharged recently from the Air Force and my 17 year old son has aspirations of joining the Air Force. I can be kind and reasonable to a point but when death and destruction of innocents is involved I can get pretty testy.

When it comes to death and just plain ornery intentions you will see the bad side of me.

Thanks bobo…

Stan

Just a comment on the posting by Del above,
which importantly underscored half of the problem here: the ongoing misperception of iraq vis a vis 9-11.

Del wrote: "We either go after them on their turf now or continue to be harassed on our soil. The moral ground was meeting them with the same viciousness they handed us – not once but twice."

I'm not sure we were continually harassed on our soil by any iraqis, so who is the "them" we're conducting this war against? The "them" who "handed us viciousness not once but twice", by all accounts were not necessarily the several thousand men, women and children we've just killed or any of the 25 million people living in the country we just took over. The "them" exist in many other places where we are not attacking, and that is the point of the failed leadership in this necessary war on terror.

American support for the iraq enterprise I think was based primarily on the misconceived connection to 9-11, and the noise several months ago about WMD, especially the nuclear "in 45 minutes" argument that few insiders actually believed, all sold by the administration. We should rather have actually attacked terror as we did in Afghanistan.

In any case, it's great that Saddam is gone.

I just wish the American people could be more unified by not talking apples and oranges on these very serious matters. Appreciate seeing comments on all sides here. It is not patriotic to quietly sit back and watch massive errors in judgment damage our great country rather than strengthen it. Speaking your mind is not incompatible with democracy, liberty, freedom and such. Or is it?

Glenn in Portland, OR

EAB, I salute you. It takes courage to stand up and voice your opposition to Bush at home or abroad these days. While our troops are supposedly fighting in Iraq to secure our freedom in the U.S., the Bush administration is attacking the very freedoms that our soldiers signed up to defend.

Our troops have been misused and abused by a president that has so little respect for our armed forces that he went AWOL during his tenure in the Air National Guard while thousands of Americans were getting killed in Vietnam. Not to mention, Bush lacks the common decency to honor our fallen soldiers as they return to Dover. Bush Sr. did it. Even Clinton did it. Is Bush too busy to pay tribute to Americans who have sacrificed everything?

Yes. Bush has been busy all right. He has been busy shredding our constitutional right to be judged by a jury of our peers. In addition, he has taken away the right to be charged or even tried by an Article III court before indefinitely striping Americans of their freedoms.

How has he done this you ask? This is the best part, all the Bush administration must do is claim you are an enemy combatant. No right to defend yourself. No right to a lawyer. No right to see your family. Your very detention can be kept a secret.

Let us hope at least one government institution will do the right thing here and restore our constitutional rights. Of course, the Supreme Court put Bush in power in the first place, so I won't hold my breath. Remember, Bush lost the popular vote. Good thing were not too democratic. Otherwise, Gore would be President . . . but let us stay on track here.

If you criticize Bush over Iraq, you become a traitor. Worse yet, you may be responsible for inciting a religious fanatic to strap a bomb to himself and commit murder. Or, you might encourage a terrorist to plan an attack years in advance. So, I wonder what protests prompted the September 11 attacks?

As recent news reports have revealed, Bush has unleashed the FBI on protesters here in the United States. The FBI is now tracking and infiltrating disident groups in the United States. If you're an expatriate, you had better keep your mouth shut or Bush will probably send the CIA after you. After all, the war on terror has no boarders. You could be protesting in London or Istanbul one day and end up at Bush’s torture prison, Camp X-Ray, with absolutely no legal recourse.

Bush has made it clear, if you oppose his policies, you are aiding the terrorists. By extension, you may be an enemy combatant.

The battle for freedom is not being fought in Iraq, it's being fought right here in the United States. The battlefield is the hearts and minds of Americans—and, as the saying goes, the first casualty of war is the truth.

bobo

Del,

Again, we go back to the core theme here. I _think_ that we're interested in the same results, but disagree on how those can best be achieved.

Since neither you nor I have supplied any _evidence_ about the causes of terrorism, and can therefore not very convincingly posit effective strategies for confronting terrorism, I propose that we take a break here and each go purchase an read a few well-qualified books on the subject, instead of bringing down the level of dialogue here with our opinions, which quickly become unhelpful for anyone seeking real debate or real information on these subjects. If you have read anything on the subject, I welcome your references.

Cheers.

Luke

I'd like to chime back in now and say, firstly, that it's good to see a measured debate going on in here - not the usual rabid knee-jerk polemics. I'm a happy camper. I guess the Newsweek clamor has died down a bit and the signal to noise ratio has swung back to something manageable.

I'd just like to respond to the several instances of folks equating protesting Bush in a foreign country with supporting terrorism in a roundabout way.

I cannot disagree with that more.

Firstly: The protests against Bush would have happened with or without the addition of our group. However, we communicated early on with the Stop the War Coalition saying we intended to join in, and they immediately saw the value of having us aboard, and said that they were going to put us at the head of the march and talk us up when the press came calling. We kept in very regular contact about our plans and I was quite firm in saying that my group would not participate in any anti-American activities, nor would I appreciate it if any such activities were taking place around us - and I would be saying as much in any press interviews. I think they took this on board, and I began to notice more and more statements coming from the STW folks using lines like "we're not against the American people, we just think they have a bad President" and the like. I believe that the Stop the War Coalition and the others involved in the protest realized that they would have a lot more credibility if they tried whereever possible to hammer home that point. In fact I heard it a number of times afterwards, even from the mouth of London's Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who I heard at a cocktail reception saying "I'm certainly not anti-American, for god's sake I employ more Americans than any other firm in the City".

I don't want to overstate things, but I believe that our early involvement in the planning for the protests may have caused a slight shift away from outward displays of anti-Americanism amongst the groups planning the protests. If that's the case (and I believe it is) then haven't we actually harmed the wider cause of terrorism by lessening the influence of the anti-American factions within the protesters?

Secondly: The minute someone tells me I should not speak out because some bad thing will happen, especially in the political realm, I am immediately suspicious. Not of the person telling me, but of the thought processes that led them to say it.

I will get to the supporting terrorism argument shortly, but what I noticed far more when I was starting this organization not long ago was the number of people who came out with lines like "Oooh, I hope you're not being followed" or "I hope your taxes are in order" or "Look out for red dots on your forehead". The frequency of those comments from otherwise reasonable people astounded me. It spoke of a widespread belief that speaking out = being punished. The more people that warned me about the consequences of speaking out, the more I became convinced I was doing the right thing. The minute you start accepting that you will be punished if you speak out, that's when you begin to lose your freedom. I've actually become convinced that this pervading fear of speaking out amongst everyday people is something that also must be tackled as we move forward. America's slide into police state vis a vis the Patriot Act and other restraints on our civil libterties must be combatted, not only at the governmental level, but on the public stage as well. As long as people believe that it is better to remain silent than speak out, the fight is already lost.

I have been doing this since October and as of yet I have not been arrested nor threatened with arrest, nor have I been detained or hassled in any way. I've no doubt a file has been opened somewhere, but to be honest I'm a pretty boring subject.

Now. Regarding the supposition that protesting abroad gives aid to the terrorists. I do not have the faintest belief that my protesting against Bush would give one Islamic militant the motivation to commit terrorist acts. In fact, I don't believe we had enough of a press impact on Thursday to have made it round to the "Arab street" (whatever that is). Only 1.5% of the Arab (not Muslim) world has internet access. Do you think they are reading this site and saying "Well, that clinches it, off I go?" Absolutely not. People that strap on explosive vests to go off to die are usually ignorant, desperate kids fed a diet of hateful rhetoric by militant imams and convinced they will spend eternity in the company of a choir of virgins. They are not reading Expats Against Bush and deciding they now have the support of the American people.

If anything, the only thing that potential aspiring martyrs will see is the fleeting television image of someone burning an American flag, which will reinforce their idea that everyone else in the world is on their wavelength. He certainly would have paid little notice to our small band of protesters.

Our protest was aimed at getting the attention primarily of Americans at home and abroad. We succeeded by any measure, considering I only started this a month ago. We now have enough regular readership and traffic to kickstart the next phase of operations.

So, in short, I don't think this site, our protests, or our organization had the slightest hint of influence on the decision making processes of any aspiring terrorists.

Even if there was the possibility that we might possibly irritate someone on the other side, though, I would still speak out if I felt that something needed to be said. I would do so in a measured, careful way, but I would still do it. One cannot go through life trying not to piss anyone off. You have to take a stand at some point, and people will disagree with you. That's life - nothing comes without a price. Least of all the freedom to speak your mind.

"To speak his thoughts is every freeman's right, in peace and war, in council and in fight."
HOMER
The Iliad


bobo

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1092487,00.html

Exerpt:

It is no use telling the hawks that bombing a country in which al-Qaida was not operating was unlikely to rid the world of al-Qaida. It is no use arguing that had the billions spent on the war with Iraq been used instead for intelligence and security, atrocities such as last week's attacks in Istanbul may have been prevented. As soon as one argument for the invasion and occupation of Iraq collapses, they switch to another. Over the past month, almost all the warriors - Bush, Blair and the belligerents in both the conservative and the liberal press - have fallen back on the last line of defence, the argument we know as "the moral case for war".....

bobo

Tony Blair and George Bush made the moral case for war – but back a dictator in Uzbekistan who boils prisoners to death:

http://www.monbiot.com/dsp_article.cfm?article_id=617


http://www.nramadness.com/nra.html

Del

Wow!

To me - it's amazing how the liberal mind works!

Quickly and I do understand that many of you believe it's not a big deal...

The good news...The majority of the populations of the countries involved back the continuing actions that we have taken against our enemies. That cannot be refuted - period. This especially includes the US and UK. Undeniable.

Both these countries are ruled by majority vote. Undeniable.

If things are to change it will take a majority. Undeniable.

In the US - more and more it is clearly evident that the American public is leaning more to the right – continually in our present time. A clear indication happened just yesterday - the Senate approval of the prescription pill benefit that was vehemently fought by the Democrats. The recent passage of the law against late term abortions – this is an extremely important indicator of what I’m speaking about. I know this doesn't speak to the war issue but it is a testament that today the country continues to realize that the Democrats, the left - the liberals are NOT the values or ideals that the MAJORITY of America wants in power. Thank God you guys are and will continue to be the minority and indications you are shrinking more & more by the examples I have just given.

Your recent actions - however much you believe you're right about your actions and yes I believe it is your right to protest though I believe it does help our enemy - hardens the majority's resolve in our country. So from my perspective though I wish you folks didn’t march – it did help our cause to point and say ‘you see that’s what you get if you are a liberal’. More on the left and a few liberals jumped to our side!

Now in my opinion and this is just my opinion - if I were in your shoes I would get a bit more clever on how you can really unseat Bush.

The left and the liberals need just plain common sense if you are going to overcome the obvious challenge before you.

You folks really need to get down to basics and I mean way back to the roots of basics - this is not political, this is not earth shattering - it's just plain common sense...

I recommend you read a book called…

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Because though you may think you have all the answers on how things should be won – you certainly don’t have a clue on how to engender the masses to join your crusade. Sadly for you folks – your biggest challenge!

Heck maybe you should get a copy of this book out to the Democratic Party because they need the advice.

Bush will be re-elected. The Republicans will be in control again after the next election. Bills and issues backed by the right continue to pass through with flying colors. The only way Democrats are able to make an impact is through filibustering and even that is going to be dying down because more and more Americans are influencing their decisions and the Democrats are quietly submitting to the will of the majority!

Other clear indicators – the wrath being taken by the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Sean Penn and yes most recently CBS on the Reagan movie… I know you folks like to say it’s the government, it’s a freedom of speech issue but the truth is… the majority of the American people said – fine we will give you no business (MONEY) and ALL acquiesced – one way or another. You may ask why – because their conviction was only worth so much. The true side of a liberal elite! Remember – if it were truly a freedom of speech issue – lawsuits would be flying from the ACLU and other liberal organizations – Can anyone direct me to one suit concerning the three examples I have stated?

So continue on your crusade but I’m trying to give you friendly advice – you’ve got to win over the majority and like my mom says “You’ll catch more bees with honey than with vinegar”.

Just common sense boys and girls – just common sense…

PS – After the war the next biggest issue with voters will definitely be the economy…

http://money.cnn.com/2003/11/25/news/economy/gdp/index.htm?cnn=yes

Del

Greetings bobo,

Though I am an advocate for one's continuous education through reading - in the one case that I stated concerning emboldening our enemy through the protestor’s action my belief stands firm. Yes that is my opinion and please allow me to state further why I believe this...

You see I grew up in a rough neighborhood as a minority and I have seen, I have experienced the craziest and most insane actions by lunatics. The interpretations of a sick mind, the logic and the twisted thinking of criminals are not far from the actions of terrorists. Trust me I can get into details if you care to hear about them.

Imagine a mother that applauds when her child straps a bomb to his or her chest and kills people. I'm sure you have to agree this is a bit out of the ordinary. Imagine a whole group being taught this from childhood.

Webster's dictionary defines terrorism as:

The systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

Now let's keep in mind as a terrorist ‘power’ comes in different flavors. Weapons - money for the cause and the main ingredient of the definition - coercion.

Remember we're dealing with an unbalanced mind - even you and the Expats cannot deny that so...

How does the terrorist measure his power...

Counts his bombs
Counts his money
Monitors the wrath he or she inflicts which includes world reaction against his enemy

I do not need to read a book that will inform me that if maybe by prancing in front of a camera shouting against my President or country (I know you guys are not against America) – the enemy – the terrorists are keeping a scorecard. Yep it’s as simple as that.

I’m not sure if you saw a tape shown not long after the towers went down showing Osama laughing and mimicking with his hands how the towers went down while viewing it on a monitor/TV. Did you see that tape?

Maybe I need to read up on other causes such as their mindset, their upbringing – the fact that their mommies didn’t wean them long enough but I don’t need an education on logically figuring out that these are sick minds with sick interpretations.

Hence if there is ANY and I mean ANY chance that any action that I do will drive one madman to go forward… I will not do it. This is my own opinion and feeling.

Putting myself in your shoes (Expats) with the above mindset – I say to myself – there are so many other things we can do to get Bush out of office – let’s do things that will really make it happen but let’s make sure we are cognizant of the possible dangerous ramifications from our actions.

You are all entitled to your own opinions and thoughts.

This is an education for me because it gives me an idea to how liberals think and frankly – it is definitely an education though I still don’t get it!

Chrish

Del,

I have to say well stated however, I don't really believe that their protests helped the terrorists cause. Quite frankly, I don't believe they really care one way or the other. Their whole thing seems to be based on pure hatred towards anything, anybody, or any country that disagrees with their religious views that have been impressed upon them by Imam's who, most probably, have their own agenda. a world wide conversion to Islam and if violence is needed to cause that conversion then so be it.

Bobo, Luke regarding the question of Iraq while I'm sure we can debate this point by point, for or against it seems to me that the reality is we are now there and what should be done? Some would say we need to get out and other's would say the opposite. I don't believe that pulling out of Iraq now would be a wise thing to do and, most probably, would result in an absolute nightmare for the Iraqi people which could have far reaching consequences to that whole region.
Whether we like it or not the U.S. cannot, at this time, just pull out. I understand yours and others frustration with that proposition but, surely you can see the potential if the U.S. were to pull out now?

Question now is what should be done or what can be done? Not being privy to information that the higher ups have perhaps the best thing to do is to provide some level of support for the military, for the President and Congress with the understanding that the U.S. IS NOT going to remain there forever. As I've posted previously I would think that one way to help would be to have rallies, protest, and demonstrations in front of embassys there in England, France, Germany, etc. of those countries that are known to be supporters, backers, safe harbors for terrorist groups. It seems to me that part of the holdup there in Iraq are the terrorist attacks committed by people who aren't even Iraqi nor do they originate from Iraq. I can understand the attacks from die hard Saddam loyalists but, the attacks from outside meddlers is not acceptable. Wouldn't it be fair to tell those various countries that their, those various countries, conduct and behavior and support for the terrorist groups in Iraq is not acceptable and to pull them out or put a stop to it?
Is it just possible that left alone the U.S. military, the coalition, and the Iraqi people can begin to rebuild and restore their country and elect their own government, one that is independent of any other country including the U.S.? To, at least, have the opportunity to their own self determination whatever they choose?

Regarding the economy it would seem that things are starting to turn for the better:
http://www.msnbc.com/news/997861.asp?0cv=CB10

Naturally I fully expect there to be a counter point to this economic news and do look forward to reading about it. Until then it appears that Bushs' tax cuts are beginning to work, investors are investing, companies are buying new hardware and new software which, I hope, indicates more future growth on the horizon. In short the economy is starting to rebound.

abdul

Hi Del,

I can't help but chime in on the interesting debate you and Bobo are having. Let me start out by saying that your last posting was a bit of a surprise to me - your tone changed from a very agreeable and pleasant debater to an "angry right-winger." I don't understand, I really found the earlier one much more agreeable. I suppose constantly arguing your point and finding that it falls on deaf ears can be frustrating - believe me, I know the feeling.
Del, let me continue by agreeing with you on a number of things. I do fear that Bush will be re-elected, I do believe that the Republican party will maintain its majority, that they will continue to successfully push their agenda through government (and onto the rest of America/world) and that the number of people in the States becoming Republican is on the increase at the expense of the left. Finally, as a centrist/independent, it has become clear to me in recent months why I have never been and never will be a Democrat. With a few notable exceptions, the Democratic Party is composed mostly of spineless cowards. I don't care if Kerry fought in 50 Vietnam wars, as politicians the likes of him and Gephardt tucked their tails and ran in the months before the Iraq war. Is it any wonder that Dean is leading the primaries? Never the less, I do hope for a miracle next November.
But just like Johnson tried to silence his critics during Vietnam by the same line of argument, commercials on TV back home show Team Bush trying to silence the current dissidents. Sorry Del, it will take a lot more than that to convince me that I should not voice my displeasure.
Cheers,

Abdul

abdul

ps: i am referring to the one posted on November 25, 2003 04:55 PM...

Del, I would like to make a point regarding what inspires terrorism (it will be long, but I hope it will provide you with insight.)

Rather than arguing that the war was wrong (that time is over, events have already progessed well past that stage), I want to make you aware of some consequences of it. You may gather from my name that I am muslim. In fact, I am an atheist. But having been brought up as a muslim, I think I do understand Islamic mentality and qualify to present to you how most muslims feel. I will not be speaking for all of Islam, but I can tell you that, with the exception of my brother, I cannot think of a single american muslim who disagrees with me on this.

No matter how hard you or President Bush try to convince them otherwise, muslims will not accept that this war was fought "for" Iraqis or that a continuing US presence is acceptable in Iraq. Period. Sure, many Iraqis now accept us there because they know the alternative was a ruthless bastard and because they are know that they have a $20B check coming their way. But believe me, this tolerance will not remain long. I had predicted before the war that we would continue in a guerilla fight, though I must admit that I am surprised at how quickly it has degraded to current levels.
But the fact remains that muslims the world over feel passionately that Bush wanted strategic control of the 2nd largest oil-reserves in the world. Here are some more reasons why arabs and muslims are so skeptical: why does the US continue to prop up the Sauds, etc. Why did Bush speak so nobly for Afghan democracy only to largely abandon them to a bunch of ruthless warlords as soon as the trans-Afghanistan oil pipeline was built? Why did the US "free" oil-rich Kuwait within months but has tacitly allowed Israel to occupy the West Bank for 35 years?

I personally don't necessarily agree with all of these. Unlike most muslims, I am able to see and understand the anxieties of many Israelies who want nothing to do with the settlements. I also curse the likes of Hamas for the way they fight back. And if I ever run into an american muslim who celebrates 911, I will remind him that what happened that day is counter to the Quran (after I kick the crap out of him.)

But let me be clear about this, no other issue in antagonizes the muslim world more than the Israel-Palestian issue! Nothing. Saddam could butcher a 1000 people every weekend and it would not weigh as much on the conscience of the arabs as that issue does. It is messed up and not fair, I know. It is very difficult to understand and I find it exceedingly hypocritical, especially considering how much injustice occurs at the hands of muslims themselves. But it is a fact! That anger binds the muslim world from Nigeria to Malaysia. Now add to that "Operation Iraqi Freedom." If freedom comes on the wings of missiles, do those missiles HAVE to be uranium-tipped? Muslims just don't buy it.

I have witnessed with my own eyes how american muslims went from strongly supporting Bush in Afghanistan to watching in disgust as he invaded Iraq. Del, you claim that you know "plenty of muslims" but I wonder if you really do. The, literally, thousands of american muslims that I know don't approve of what Bush did in Iraq. Of course, for the most part, they are happy that Hussein is gone, but none expect peace in Iraq as long as american GI's are in the streets. Now, they will not fight there, but you can be sure that almost all of them will vote against Bush! That, I think, says a lot. They are exceedingly distrustful of him.
The muslims in America are there because they love democracy and the States. But Bush has stoked a fierce anger among them. Now imagine what it is like for the one's who do not live in the States, those who dislike us to begin with. We just gave them every reason to fight! In their minds, Bush proved Osama right.
Osama says America wants oil and Bush invades Iraq. Osama says America wants to control you and Bush insists on installing "puppets" in Iraq and Afghanistan (it is debatable whether Karzai or GC really are.) Osama says Bush wants to start a crusade and Bush claims that he has been chosen by God (and worse yet, that foolish General Boykin goes 5 steps further.)

The Soviet Union professed to "free" Afghanistan and help it economically as well, but that never led Afghans to accept them on their land.

Del, you must understand. Much as I detest Saddam, Iraq was not the threat to us, Osama is. Where there were no terrorists before, it is teeming with them now. Anti-Americanism in the muslim world has hit fever pitch and we are not safer because of Iraq. We are goíng to feel the consequnces of this for many years. Just as men from H. Mubarak to T. Kennedy warned, we have spawned thousands of new terrorists itching to kill Americans.

So I ask you to genuinely put yourself into the muslim perspective - I realize it is very difficult to jump into different cultures - and then ask yourself: "What is more likely to spawn a terrorist: A protestor or an invasion of muslim land?"

(btw, if you spent years advocating freedom, democracy and self-determination for the Arab people, including the Palestinians - at least the non-terrorist one's - I will accept your argument in advocating the removal of of Saddam. Otherwise, I wish I could be spared the Iraq-freedom bit; I have spent decades in the states and never once heard anyone as much as care about the suffering of the Iraqi people until it was used as an after-thought by Bush in the run-up to war.)


Jim

Bobo,

You're all over the place. Now you're bringing up Uzbekistan? Take some advice (yours) and stay on subject.

Jim

Greetings Abdul,

My, my what a refreshing response - must be because you're not a liberal (I'm only kidding you bleeding heart liberals - C'mon give us a smile)!

Your comments about one of my posts sounding like an “angry right wringer” – I take umbrage sir!

Arrogant – condescending and riff with facts sir is a much better description!

All kidding aside (did I say that) – your concern that Team Bush is trying to silence the current dissents is right on the money!

That was the point of the response I sent to those associated with this site!

Isn’t the whole point of running for office to win?

Team Bush is very good at what they do. They understand that they cannot have the whole pie so they play the game of winning the majority.

As I tried to convey to the folks associated with this site – though to you it sounded like an “angry right winger” – is if they would read between the lines they would realize what Team Bush already knows.

Now the beauty is – the majority does not have to comprise of people that are single minded thinking lemmings but a combination of folks from all different beliefs and values.

How does one accomplish that? Well again let’s take Bush for example – as soon as he got into office he smooched with Ted Kennedy, sided with him and Kennedy thinking he was the ‘cat that ate the bird’ turned out to be the bird in Bush’s mouth! Now why did Bush do this – he did it because he won a lot of Democratic hearts with this one gesture! He paid a small price for the move but in the end – he added to his majority base! I’m referring to the education bill in which he pissed off a lot of Republicans including me but you know what I still love him because it cost me very little. He knows what he is doing.

Now I can’t help you with your displeasure but the fact of the matter is when it comes time to vote one must weigh who is on the ballot – which most closely comes in line with most of your beliefs and pull the lever.

That is what I’m trying to let those on this site understand. The liberals and those leaning closer to the middle are so dead set in their beliefs that they don’t know how to compromise. They don’t understand the concept of give and take.

Now some may say – that’s disingenuous – others will say that’s not honest. I say – hey guys this is like anything else – the point is to win and get up to the plate so that you can take a few swings!

As a member of the Republican Party – I don’t stand for everything they do. For one I’m Pro-Choice to a point (don’t agree with late-term abortions). Like anything else – life is negotiation. You give a little – you take a little.

You mention Dean – last night at the Iowa debates – he got hammered by the rest of the Democrats – they all ganged up on the poor bastard. Why? Because they know he is the leading contender. The truth is the Democratic elite does not want him to win. That includes Terry McAuliffe and the Clintons. Here you have a candidate that just announced he doesn’t want matching funds from the government because he is flooded with donations. An indication that a lot of folks are behind him (the majority being very small individual amounts). Yet his own party will skew him because they just don’t like him! Pathetic.

So honestly – I don’t have a problem with Bush squashing his dissidents – more power to him and I applaud that he knows how to play the game very well. As for you – when you step into the ballot box – you’ll have to pick the candidate most aligned with your beliefs and the same for the folks on this site…

Well… I tried to convey to them that instead of concentrating on the ‘hate Bush’ agenda – they’ve got to get a bit more clever on how to change the mindset of the majority and get them behind whomever they will be backing. And the fact that they are still confused as to whom to back – speaks volumes.

Well you can always prepare for 2008 boys & girls…

He-he-he…

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