Friday, February 8, 2008

Two points of view

" One of the things that I would conclude is that there is obviously strong bias on the part of our media in their reporting of military deaths over any 5, 10 or 20 year period of time. The impressions they have tried to create about the deaths that have occurred under Bush, as it relates to the actual number killed, differs greatly from what they have tried to create under former administrations. The facts dispel the propaganda. I agree with you that any death is a tragedy. But Bush is not responsible for any more of them than any previous President in recent history.

I guess one of the ways you and I differ is that I do not see what is occurring in Iraq in such black and white terms.

Let's take the situation there. One of the reasons we were given to justify an invasion is that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. It is obvious that Saddam did possess WMD's at one point because he used them to gas his own people, the Kurds. Many of those who today claim we had false information and were lied to by the administration are the same people (Hillary for example) who stated just the opposite at the time. Much of the media that reported on the risk we believe we faced because of the WMD's possessed by Saddam are now the very individuals who have twisted the whole thing around and ignore that they played any part at the time in justifying the premise in the first place. Because they can not now take the "heat" they are running for cover and pointing fingers at the administration. But let's suppose Saddam no longer had WMD because he had successfully moved them all into Syria. The question then becomes whether the world is better off or not with him gone. When we look at the situation in Iraq today, one would argue that we are not better off. Iraq is a mess, many have died and the obvious "culprit" according to many, including you, is Bush.

It can be argued, with hindsight, that we should have just left Saddam in power. Even though many of the people living in Iraq were oppressed, tortured, beaten and killed and they did not enjoy democratic rights at least the country was stable and the Christian community was left alone as you point out. But was Saddam a bad person and is the world better off without him? I think even you would agree that he was and we are. So we got rid of him and now we have US forces in Iraq. There is much instability and many suicide bombings. I guess you and I differ because somehow you now see us as the "bad" guys and I don't.

Not to over simplify the situation there but let's suppose Tarrytown, NY was ruled by a tyrant, citizens lived in fear, there were no democratic rights but there was at least "calm" in the streets. Along comes someone who throws the tyrant bum in the Hudson giving people their freedom. Now some real bad characters come on the scene from Scarsdale and elsewhere in the area who have some long seething hostilities towards some of their neighbors. They bomb the public square, kill a lot of people and start fighting with the folks who "liberated" the village. In this scenario, you place blame on the ones who were at least trying to do a good thing. I blame the "trouble makers" from the outside and radicals who live down the street. This is where you and I differ. I believe we were at least trying to do a noble thing. You seem to side with the "bad guys" who behave in vicious ways and blame the "good guys" who I think are trying to do something good. You say we were just after their oil. I say, we could have bought it for a hell of a lot less trouble and expense!! You do not seem to recognize or acknowledge that the ones blowing themselves and everybody else up are the real culprits. I don't think it is the American forces who are doing that. But maybe that is not what the New York Times is reporting out on the East Coast.

Another area where we differ is that, while I would like to live in a world where we can all sit around the campfire and sing "cumbaya", turn swords into plow-shares and make butter instead of guns, I recognize that there is real evil in this world and some real bad characters no matter how good and just we might be. Being nice to them just means you are being nice to them while they still make their plans to kill you. There are bad people in this world and the devil lives in some of them. We either bring the fight to get rid of them, to them, or they will bring it to us. It's just that simple. Going into Iraq was an attempt to bring the fight to the bad guys. Saddam was one of them. It is obvious that Iraq has many crazies in it and some real unsavory characters because not all of what is happening there is being done by outsiders. So we are fighting some bad elements there rather than waiting until they decide to engage us on our own turf. Now maybe we should have decided to take the "fight" elsewhere instead of Iraq. At least Saddam kept a lid on these "bad guys" because he didn't have all of this going on when he was in power. But these radical elements were still there and if we can eradicate some of that, now that we are there, the world will be a better place for it.

Have we made many mistakes over the years? Absolutely! Have we fought some wars that proved to be a waste of precious human blood? Certainly have. But did we enter into those situations with that knowledge and foresight or was it only apparent after the fact? Did we move forward in pursuit and defense of our beliefs around liberty and justice or because we were trying to conquer and claim lands for ourselves? I believe the former while I think you the latter. You suggest we are a conquering force and work to seize the lands we "invade". I do not believe that to be the case and our handling of Europe and Japan after WWII bears that out. We could have conquered and oppressed. Instead we liberated and invested time, money and resources to help them build and become self sufficient and free which they are today.

We can always sit back and play Monday morning quarterback. That's the easy and safe thing to do. But as our President, one who is charged with protecting our country, is it understandable in the face of what we experienced with 9/11, that he made a decision, in the interests of spreading democracy which he believes to be one of the best hopes for lasting world peace, to move to take a known tyrant off the world stage.

Another area where we differ is that you "heap" all the blame on Bush and cite chapter and verse of everything that occurs as if he has a direct hand in all of it. For instance, you cite Abu Graib or Water Boarding and seem to directly blame him. You are suggesting that someone at his level would know if some Private, in some far away prison is going to make a decision to put a leash on a prisoner and parade them around naked. You don't seem to realize that even in the best run, most highly respected organizations in the world, stupid people still do stupid things. Ever hear about some of the things that have occurred in the Catholic Church?? I am in no way justifying these actions. But for me to blame the Pope and call for his dismissal because of what some of his Cardinals or priests did in Boston is ludicrous! Or I could go on and rant and rave about how god awful the Catholic Church was during the Crusades and dredge up all of the sins of the past. But what sense would that make? We would all be better off dealing with the issues at hand.

You talk about the Christians fleeing to Syria or Jordan. Who are they fleeing? The Americans?? I think not! We're not the ones they are afraid of. But you blame "us", the ones who are there trying to institute democratic reforms. I understand this is happening because we are there and Saddam isn't but we are not the ones doing it. I blame the terrorists and extremists. You blame us. Dick, you keep saying you are a Republican but the logic here is that of a left wing liberal.

I could go on and argue a lot of other points Dick but I guess we just have some philosophical differences in how we see issues like these. The previous administration didn't go after these thugs and was viewed in a much different light but where did that get us? We had many attacks on our forces around the world and all the planning leading up to 9/11 occurred on someone else's watch. If we had been more aggressive then in dealing with issues like we now have around the world perhaps we could have avoided what occurred. At least we haven't had another attack on our soil since 9/11.

Thought from the "other side of the fence". Peace and love to all of the Cross household.



Your former student sounds like a Fox News watching die hard Republican, which is about a third of the nation. Their view is that we are the good guys and most others (including the Europeans) are the bad guys. It is important to divide the world along these lines if you have designs on them. The people who can afford the luxury of such views are Imperial Powers who can enforce their point of view through being on the right side of the barrel of a gun.
This has justified the US in becoming the self imposed policeman of the world.

The problem is that this is 20th Century thinking in the 21st Century. The US, defeated in Vietnam and unable to declare victory in Iraq or Afghanistan is fast becoming a former Imperial Power. I do agree with your former student that Bush is not solely to blame for this. Successive Presidents have followed similar Imperial Policies and future Presidents ae likely to follow the same, although increasingly at greater and greater cost to us.

The fact is that the US is not as good or virtuous as we think, nor was Saddam as evil as we make him out to be. In fact as Dictators go, he was not at the top of the pile for vicious dictators. The US has done far more damage to Iraq then Saddam could ever have done if he was born again and tried for another 25 years. So the cost of removing Saddam was not worth destroying Iraq for.

The alternate point of view is that the US went into Iraq because of the Oil and to protect the interests of the State of Israel and this whole business of demonising the enemy is a spin designed to justify this to a gullible public. This is the real point, the public is too easily duped. How can you blame Bush, when the public lives in a cocoon and is the victim of a compliant media which serves the interests of the Corporate structure. The public deserves the leaders it gets.

The current demonising of Islam is the same strategy as employed in Iraq so as to go after Iran, another oil producing country not liked by Israel. Let the American public study Islam to find out for themselves that it is a great religion and that it's demonising is a travesty of good sense and insulting to over a billion Muslims of the world. People choose to live in ignorance at their own peril. Imagine what Muslims and others who know Islam think of the US when it produces stereo types made up in Tel Aviv. The image of the US in the rest of the world is not one of a benefactor as we would like to believe but of a bully who flouts International law, will stop at nothing to achieve it's ends including torture and the killing of women and children by the millions and believes in resolving issues by force rather than talking to people. These are realities that the American public chooses to minimise or ignore.

The destruction of Iraq did not start with Bush. It started with Bush Sr. and continued under 8 years of Clinton. Bush Sr. attacked Iraq not to take it over but to weaken it so that it would not be feared by Israel. That is why Saddam was left alone. Subsequently after destroying the Iraqi Air Force, Iraq was subjected to repeated bombings and economic sanctions which did weaken it and subjected its citizen to poverty and sickness. Millions of Innocent Iraqi's including a very large number of children died from malnutrition or lack of attention when they fell ill. For over 12 years Iraq was humiliated, contained and laid seige to. The UN made sure through Hans Blitz that it never developed any weapons of mass destruction and after it was weakened, depleted and was no threat to any one Bush Jr. gave it a taste of "shock and awe" and this time walked into Iraq with the idea of annexing it for it's oil. There was no exit strategy because there was no intention of leaving.

Killing millions of Iraqis and making Millions more homeless does not seem to bother the American public. While we sit in our luxurious homes and watch the Super Bowl, it is convenient to brand these people as faceless scum of the earth and to say to ourselves, the world is surely better off without them. What sort of people have we become?

No one can explain to me how a great nation like the US allows itself to be dictated by a few million Jews and the Zionist nation of Israel. Hats off to the Jews and Israel but what does this say about the American public? How can we spend trillions of dollars of our money and put our soldiers in harms way and create an economic recession so that the people of Israel can sleep easy at night. It was not that Iraq was a threat to them, it was just a passing whim. They did not like the tone of Saddam's voice. I am not even talking about the terror that Israel spreads amongst helpless, homeless, economically bankrupt Palestinians. That is another story.

If we have become a nation without morals, standards and ethics and the only thing that matters to us is economic well being then let us be honest enough to say it. If the end justifies the means for us and we are prepared to kill maime and torture millions because we feel that in the end our cause is just then let us be honest enough to say it. Or have we also lost our honesty.

Let us not say that we will make this world a better place, let us say that we are in it for ourselves. It is survival of the fittest. Let us call it what it is. It is not a war on terror. It is the war of the strong against the weak. Then let those who want to be on the side of the weak, stand up and be counted. The weak are the victims, let us not call the victims the aggressor.


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