Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Great Red and Blue State Divide. Is there life after George W. Bush?

I have been the recepient of an unusual number of visitors of late. They are coming almost exclusively from a link placed on a right wing bloggers site called Tim Blair. Now I have to say that the few comments I have recieved from these individuals have been polite and respectful. This led me to wonder what is it that really causes our ideological differences?

To be brutally honest I usually assume that there is some intellectual disparity that seperates us. I know that seems sort of nasty to assume that those that do not agree with me are ignorant, but there you have it.

So suppose I am incorrect about that. Maybe there are just as many critical thinkers who support the war and George Bush as there are those who find them both wanting.

Then is it geography? Does living in a more southern clime make one more likely to support Republicans? I am having trouble buying that one, mostly because I notice that the posts have come from both northen and southern states.

Is it a deep Christian faith? I don't beleive so because I know that many of the people who agree with me idealogically are still people of faith.

Which just sort of leaves me confused. You see where I can understand that somebody may not agree with my taste in music, or that pizza is the most perfect food on the planet, or that Bruce Lee is the God of Martial Art movies, I find that I cannot wrap my head around how somebody can support this president. I just can't. For me there is just no gray area left.

So in the interest of enlightenment I ask for your comments. Go ahead and tell me how we can see the same information and come to completely different conclusions. I would only ask that you keep it civil. You know, for the kids.

81 comments:

  1.       Well, first off, as one of those right-wingers visiting because of Tim Blair, allow me to say 'Thank you' for your courtesy to those who don't agree with you.

    Now, since you asked:

            "I find that I cannot wrap my head around how somebody can support this president.  I just can't.  For me there is just no gray area left.

            "So in the interest of enlightenment I ask for your comments.  Go ahead and tell me how we can see the same information and come to completely different conclusions."

            First, I try to look at things historically.  In this post, you asked: "what is the big fucking deal about Communism?  I know it is the big Capitalistic bug-a-boo and that it has been scaring the living shit out of our government for over fifty years but I just don't understandhow it threatens our open and free society.  (Look I said that without a hint of irony!)"

            If you look at the history of Communism, it was nowhere till 1917.  Then it conquered one sixth of the world's surface in the form of the late USSR (OOH! It's, been fourteen years, and I still love typing "the late USSR!").

            In the years after the Bolshevik coup d'etat, the world saw: the government of the USSR murdering people by the millions for having the wrong political opinions; Russia suffer the largest famine in its history, with many dying because Lenin's government deliberately withheld food relief from areas where the population was against him; an attempt to invade and conquer all of Europe, with the intent of imposing its system of tyranny; cynical statements by the Soviet government that the component parts of the Czarist empire were free to seceed and become independent states, followed by the invasion, conquest, and reannexation of every one of those seceeded areas Moscow could get away with invading; the build up of the world's largest standing army, iirc (over four million, in peacetime); agreements with foreign countries on diplomatic recognition, with agreements not to interfere in the foreign country's internal politics, with simultaneous orders from Moscow to its agents to continue interfering in internal politics, but more discreetly, and with a pretense of independence from Moscow; the greatest famine in the history of Russia/Ukraine (no, I'm not repeating myself, this was another famine, and entirely manmade), with all the deaths resulting from the actions of the Soviet govt., who starved, shot, and sent to death camps approximately fifteen million of its own citizens because they didn't want to be forced onto collective farms; the great purges, which killed millions more; the cynical maneuvers in which Stalin got almost of Europe to finally more or less oppose Hitler, followed by the Pact that freed the Nazis to start the bloodiest war in world history; invasion of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, because the USSR could get away with it; the forcible imposition of Communism on East-Central Europe; a refusal to make any attempt to control the spread of nuclear weapons that didn't involve leaving the USSR free to build up a stockpile while pretending not to; and more political murder, lies, and broken promises.

            And then, post-World War II, the Truman government found it couldn't cooperate with the Soviet Union, because Stalin was intent on spreading his tyranny. The Truman administration abandoned China to Mao, but everywhere else he drew the line against Communist expansion. The Communists picked up very little territory after 1948, and when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the archives began to be opened, we found that even the coldest of Cold Warriors hadn't realized how bad things had been. None of us suspected, for instance, that Mao had proposed to Kruschev that the Chinese and Soviet Armies invade and conquer the rest of Europe (Mao believedit when he said the H-bomb was a paper tiger).

            Now, to get back to Bush.  We Bush supporters see the nation as at war with fanatics who will kill or enslave us all if they get the chance.  We see them the way history sees Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao — potential causes of the deaths of hundreds of millions.  We saw Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton treat terrorism as not very serious.  We saw the U.S. tolerating tyranny, and states that supported terrorism.  We saw terrorist attacks on us growing throughout the world, culminating in the murder of three thousand in one day.  And we remembered how easy it would have been to knock Lenin's regime off in 1919, and Hitler's in 1936.

            So we decided to act pre-emptively.  Force the governments that support terrorism to stop, force the tyrants to institute democracy, force the terrorists to die.  And so far, it seems to us its working.  We expect a long, difficult struggle.  It was four decades from the Truman doctrine to the Soviet Union's admission of defeat in its attempt to force its system on the rest of the world.  In the course of that struggle, over 90,000 USAmericans were killed in two campaigns of the overall Seventy Years War.  By contrast, about 2000 USAmericans have died on our side since That Day in September, and we've killed tens of thousands of the other side.  We think we're winning the war.

            For much more on this subject, see this chain of nine incredibly longwinded posts on this same subject.

            And remember what I always say:

    The House of Saud Must Be Destroyed!

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  2. One brave soul to carry the mantle for the many.

    I appreciate your response to my query. You certainly fall in the category of the intellectually aware. Good.

    I will not address all of your points except to say that I do not disagree with all of them. I would suggest that it is not ideologies which kill people but rather the evil people who use them for their own selfish gain. Does Communism lend itself to that more the capitalism? I think that jury is still out on that question.

    As for the statement about acting pre-emptively I have to ask was it worth the innocent lives that were lost in Iraq to potentially save lives in America? Do we hold as more precious the life of our neighbor then we do a human being in another country? And then should we?

    You see that is my burden. If I gave you a gun and told you to enter a room full of children and told you that if you killed two of them then your children would be guaranteed safety. Could you do it? Would it help if they were of another ethnicity? Or a little older? Or of a certain religion? What if there was the possibility that your children were not certainly in danger, but just possibly in danger?

    These are the things that concern me.

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  3. Anonymous9:33 PM

    "I would suggest that it is not ideologies which kill people but rather the evil people who use them for their own selfish gain. Does Communism lend itself to that more the capitalism? I think that jury is still out on that question."

    If you are asking this question, then I guess you either don't know much history or you are practising a kind of moral blindness where the bad things that happen in capitalist democracies are given greater weight than the systematic atrocities of communist regimes.

    People who criticised the Soviet regime tended to disappear, not have polite discussions with their intellectual opponents.

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  4. Hi there! I also followed Tim's link here. I am not sure that your analogy of children and guaranteed safety works.

    First, war in foreign soil does not guarantee safety here in the US and only a fool would claim it so. That it increases safety, yes I would say that it does, as witnessed by the fact that terrorists have not had a major operation on US soil.

    You also say:

    Do we hold as more precious the life of our neighbor then we do a human being in another country?

    The government of a nation has a duty to safeguard it's citizens. While it is right and moral to have a care for innocents, whatever thier nationality, it is the obligation of our government to preserve us.

    You seem to be asking two different questions. Are Americans (or Aussies, or Brits or whomever) as fundamentally valuable as an Iraqi or a Lebanese or an Israeli? Is one soul of equal worth to another? The answer is yes. Is it then incumbent on a government at war to value foreigners as equally as a private citizen would? No. The government must first be a good steward of it's own citizens.

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  5. Anonymous10:11 PM

    You might consider reading "Mao- The Unknown Story" by former Red Guard member Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    "In "Mao: The Unknown Story," authors Jung Chang and Jon Halliday portray Mao (1893-1976) as a cynical hedonist who rose to absolute power on Soviet strongman Josef Stalin's muscle and his willingness to crush millions of peasants in famine, war and sadistic repression."

    "The authors, who spent a decade on the project and scoured private and government records in China and Russia, say Mao killed 10 times more innocents than Hitler and was as pitiless as he was incompetent as a revolutionary. The fabled Long March of the 1930s? Bungled. The Cultural Revolution of the '60s and '70s? Nothing more than a murderous fit of pique by a tyrant upset that he'd been crossed by rivals and enamored of public torture."

    "The husband-and-wife team of Chang and Halliday supported their archival research with interviews with 150 former Mao lieutenants, concluding that Mao was not only bloodier than Hitler or Stalin but worse in his destruction of culture."

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/11/25/BAG13FTR9A1.DTL&hw=Mao+the+unknown+story&sn=001&sc=1000

    The response from a member of the Maoist left? "I think it's part of a continuing attempt to discredit communism and Maoism and any alternative to the current world order."

    Discredit communism? Gryphen, I hope you are not one of those nutjobs who believes true communism has "not really had a fair chance to succeed" or, "bad people did bad things, but that's not true communism," or "we need another chance to get it right."

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  6. Anonymous10:16 PM

    Thanks for the opportunity to post...

    To make a broad sweeping generalisation I believe it boils down to whether you believe individuals should be free to make their own decisions or that that groups of experts should make these decisions for them.

    In both systems the people who do best are those who are willing and able to 'work the system', adaptable to changing circumstances and a bit of luck helps too. It was once said that economic growth is really the 'increase in opportunities open to individuals'.

    The old politics of right and left is pretty well dead now. The economic experiments of Communism and it's sister National Socialism killed about 100 million people last century. The battlefield is now between Totalitarian and Libertarian ideologies.

    Once education vouchers are introduced, and parents can choose the school of their choice, without the indoctrinating influence of old left wing teachers, I believe a more libertarian model will prevail.

    Regards

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  7. Go ahead and tell me how we can see the same information and come to completely different conclusions.

    It's very simple. We start out with different assumptions and/or premises (e.g., Bush is not necessarily evil), and processing the information with a different set of values (e.g., morality is the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct; said standards have existed for a long time, with respect to secular law and religion dogma).

    That you have to ask the question in the first place speaks volumes for your lack of information.

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  8. Anonymous10:48 PM

    Welcome to the wonderful world that we all live in.
    Next time you start to feel intellectually superior because you lean left politically, go view the signs that your side carry at any anti-Bush rally. That should be enough to make you question the basic tenet you propose above.

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  9. Anonymous11:01 PM

    Stephen pretty much nails it for me. Goddess knows I'm not a big fan of George Bush. More than once I've dearly wanted to slap him into next weekend. But the fact is he's right on the big issue -- Islamic terrorism. He recognizes the threat it poses to us, that we've let it fester for far too long, and that it's time to lance that boil. (Note: with his sheltering of terrorist Abu Nidal and payments for Palestinian terrorist attacks, Saddam falls into that category.)

    I have a question for you, since I find those who are completely unable to recognize, let alone acknowledge, anything good about George Bush as baffling as you do those who support him. Who do you support? Howard "I hate Republicans and Everything They Stand For" Dean? "I'm Just About Winning" Kos? John "Winter Soldier" Kerry? If you could have anybody in the Oval Office, who would it be and why?

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  10. Greetings from Aussie. The below seems to say all I would want to:
    President's Radio Address
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051224.html
    "The times we live in have brought many challenges to our country. And at such times, the story of Christmas brings special comfort and confidence. Christmas reminds us that we can trust in God's promise of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. On a night more than 2,000 years ago, an angel of the Lord brought good tidings of great joy: the God of Heaven had come to Earth, and He would be with us always.
    Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas."

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  11. Anonymous12:19 AM

    Hi Gryph, your blog title poses the question 'What is morality?'.
    Morality is me NOT tracking you down and killing you because I disagree with what you believe in.

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  12. Gryphen, Thankyou for trying to understand the other side. Most people that I know personally on the Right, including myself used to be on the Left. What made us switch sides? For me it was seeing the total moral bankruptcy of the left where they were so binded by Bush hatred that they sided with the worst of the worst - the Far left and the Islamic extremists both of whom want to bring down Western Democracy. But this is not something new. You rarely get someone on the left ever acknowleging the horrors and mass-killings perpetrated by Communist Regimes - or they try to excuse them as merely something done by a corrupt leader.
    You know just to destroy Bush, the left is trying to make the US loose the war in Iraq. Is that a side you are proud of?

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  13. Gryphen, you said ..was it worth the innocent lives that were lost in Iraq to potentially save lives in America? Do we hold as more precious the life of our neighbor then we do a human being in another country?
    I ask: Is is right for the world to sit back and do nothing, knowing that a tyrannt like Saddam Hussein is killing tens of thousands of his own citizens each year? Is it immoral to turn a blind eye? or immoral to want Regime change?

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  14. Most people, left or right, seem to just get stuck into "group think" and it would seem they cannot evaluate each issue on its own merits. Tim Blair - though frequently pithy, and more often than not, spot on in what he says - is an example of this, as indeed are you (cat out of bag with the following):

    I find that I cannot wrap my head around how somebody can support this president. I just can't. For me there is just no gray [sic] area left.

    If you simply withhold your support for what Bush stands for - what he has to say - out of hand, clearly you are not thinking about the issue at hand.

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  15. I hope you won't mind if I point to a post of mine from a few years ago which is apropos:

    Ethical Selfishness

    An explanation of why it is not only acceptable, but in fact an ethical obligation, for us to prefer our own people over strangers -- within certain limits.

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  16. Anonymous3:14 AM

    I come from a "northern clime", Gryphen, and I'm an atheist. And, in general, I support the war in Iraq, the war on Islamism, and George Bush. You say that, in wondering what causes our ideological differences, you "usually assume that there is some intellectual disparity that seperates us" -- and so, alas, do I. When you ask "how we can see the same information and come to completely different conclusions", the answer has to do with the degree to which critical analysis is brought to bear on underlying assumptions. So, for example, when you make a statement that tries to apologize for left wing ideologies ("I would suggest that it is not ideologies which kill people but rather the evil people who use them for their own selfish gain"), that seems superficial and one-sided -- would you make that statement in the context of fascism? Nazism? rascism? And if you really think that "the jury is still out" on the the comparison of communism to capitalism, then it suggests a shallow and ideologically distorted grasp of history, to say the least.

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  17. What's the big deal about communism?

    Communist countries killed a hundred million of their own citizens during the twentieth century. All communist countries, without exception, are totalitarian dictatorships with no civil liberties to speak of, and are also, without exception, economic disasters. (China is moving from being a communist dictatorship to being a totalitarian state with a partly free market. Who knows how that will work out.)

    My advice? Go to Steven Den Beste's site and read everything there. Okay, not the anime reviews, but everything else. He's not blogging much any more, at least not on the serious side, but his rigorous and detailed analysis of historical and political trends should answer your questions on where "we" (the center/right/libertarian mob) are coming from. It will challenge your assumptions, but we all have to deal with that.

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  18. P.S. Socially liberal, economically conservative, politically centrist, libertarian-leaning Australian atheist and strong supporter of George Bush. Just as a data point. :)

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  19. And I'll answer the question you asked of Stephen, if I may:

    As for the statement about acting pre-emptively I have to ask was it worth the innocent lives that were lost in Iraq to potentially save lives in America?

    If that was the only reason we did it; if that was the only possible benefit, then it would be doubtful.

    But Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant who killed at least 300,000 of his own people and killed another 1,000,000 in his failed wars of conquest.

    Now he's on trial for his crimes, and Iraq has a new constitution and a new democratically-elected government.

    Isn't that worth something?


    Do we hold as more precious the life of our neighbor then we do a human being in another country? And then should we?

    American and allied soldiers are risking their lives to save Iraqi civilians they have never even met. Does that answer your question?

    You see that is my burden. If I gave you a gun and told you to enter a room full of children and told you that if you killed two of them then your children would be guaranteed safety.

    The problem is, this situation has no bearing on what we have done in Iraq.

    Rather:

    You have a gun, and are told to enter a room full of children who are being held captive by a madman who tortures and executes them at a whim, and kill the madman and free the children. But the madman has guards, who may try to kill the children to prevent you freeing them.

    Could you do it? Would it help if they were of another ethnicity? Or a little older? Or of a certain religion? What if there was the possibility that your children were not certainly in danger, but just possibly in danger?

    Look at how I have reformulated the question, and ask yourself if these latter questions apply at all.

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  20. Anonymous5:40 AM

    .was it worth the innocent lives that were lost in Iraq to potentially save lives in America?As most people responding from Tim Blair's site will be Australians, you might want to broaden your assumptions as to why we are in Iraq (Tim is an Aussie).

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  21. I absolutely qapologize for not reading enough of Tim Blairs site to realize he was Australian. That is bad on me.

    I also would like to commend those who posted and hope that you will visit in the future and feel free to ask a question or post a comment.

    I also would like to go on record to say that I, myself, am not really a communist or even a socialist per say. I have found within all political ideologies inconsistencies which allow them to be perverted by individuals with more money and power then their neighbors and that has caused terrible hardships to those with more limited resources. I find fault with all.

    We could continue this back and forth indefitely and never come to a place of agreement. But the fact that you actually responded to my question is a hopeful sign to me. I actually will follow up some of your suggestions for gaining further information on your point of view. I valued our exchange and hope that I have helped to humanize my side of the fence for some of you as you have done for me.

    It is a wide wonderful world isn't it?

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  22. Anonymous6:40 AM

    While Tim is an Aussie, in the blogosphere his site very high profile - especially the pro-Western Democracy sites - possibly why the you hadn't heard of him.

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  23. Anonymous6:48 AM

    Oops. Sorry about above post - so many errors in so few words - hopefully you will still get what I meant.

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  24. Here's the problem. You're under the misapprehension that we can see the same information.

    The information you see in the mainstream media (msm) isn't the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It's mainly a bunch of lies, distortions and spin. I'll give you credit that you would be able to be convinced should you have access to the truth.

    Some lefties aren't completely doctrinaire and can recognize that they've been jazzed from pre-school to graduate school. It takes a lot of work, but it can done.

    If you do decide to tour non-leftwing blogs, you'll notice that the level of discourse is courteous and polite. No expletives deleted and no ad hominem attacks. It'll be quite eye-opening for someone used to the dark side of the blogosphere.

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  25. I am having a Luke Skywalker moment here.

    Tefta makes the assertion that I am ignorant because I have been indoctrined by the left leaning media. (The bastards!)

    But isn't this the same media that all but rode Bill Clinton out of town on a rail?

    Your the idea that the MSM is a leftist propaganda tool is akin to being told that Jews eat babies, and Negroes want to rape your white women, it is just a method of villifying the opposition.

    I occasionally watch FOX News. Not all of the time, but enough to see news stories presented on that network that I also see on other networks. Often it seems that FOX accentuates the part that benefits the administration. I assume that you would say that the other networks omit that part, and that might be true to some degree. But the coverage, overall, seems much more fair on CNN then what is presented by FOX.

    I am sure your response is that I am so effectively brain washed that I just can't see the truth. But that argument assumes that everything that we are told is conspiracy driven and that my friends is a place much too dark for this conversation.

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  26. Anonymous8:18 AM

    "To be brutally honest I usually assume that there is some intellectual disparity that seperates us."

    As Tim Blair points out, why do you assume that you're the intelligent one?

    There's always someone more intelligent, more clever, more well-read than you out there... and they may very well be of a different belief system than yourself.

    If you're forced to believe that the only difference is one of intelligence, you can pretty much assume that you're the stupid one, for that's a really weak arguement. Like the movie said, "If you can't spot the mark in the first 15 minutes, YOU'RE the mark."

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  27. Gryphen -- A major part of the disconnect you note, which I am sure you as a real smart innalekshul person have noted by now, is that we do not have the same information.

    It's been my experience that leftists do not go to primary sources when defending their positions. They tend to accept the opinions of things of which they have no knowledge proferred to them by "experts" such as Chomsky, Juan Cole and Philip Adams, who have no first hand knowledge of that upon which they bloviate, which puts their own opinions at two or three heavily filtered removes from the actual facts. Not only does this dilute the value of their opinions, it leaves them vulnerable to the distortions of demagogues such as Galloway, Moore, Sheehan, Massey and McGeough.

    Conservative bloggers, on the other hand, tend to go far more directly to first sources. If they want facts about what is going on in Iraq, they go to a Michael Yon, or any of the many, many "milbloggers" actually posting from the scene. If this does not give them an encyclopedic knowledge of the situation, it gives them enough extra data to realize when they are being offered selectively-edited, agenda-driven misinformation by mainstream media sources. It seems to me laziness, of a sort, if a person seeking to offer an honest opinion, does not avail himself of these resources.

    And frankly, I think the moral equivalence you are trying to practice represents another side of the same failing. You have to ignore so much about Islam, at least the fundamentalist/Wahabist flavor if you don't wish to tar with a wider brush, to draw any sort of equivalence between a culture or movement that routinely butchers innocents of all races and creeds, even its own, and a culture that seeks to liberate those innocents from that same oppression.

    To do so, leftists are required to believe and espouse pure fictions as fact, such as the nonextistent flushed Korans and the evil "Homeland Security Agents" oppressing defenseless college students with the help of the public library system, or to draw equalities of outrage between a few buffoons sticking plastic bags on prisoners heads (buffoons who were heavily punished for same) and butchers who behead reliefe workers on live streaming video... and the degenerates who watched.

    Since you found Tim Blair's site, I invite you to follow some of his links and look for these primary sources, and use them in future to guide your own opinions with hard facts.

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  28. Anonymous8:41 AM

    I am a conservative and a great supporter of President Bush, and all that entails, Iraq etc.
    Last night I was watching a segment of West Wing, enjoyed it,
    laughted at the usual bits of liberal fantasy that props up it's plotting, said a little prayer for us all and went to bed.

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  29. Anonymous9:39 AM

    But isn't this the same media that all but rode Bill Clinton out of town on a rail?

    I don't recall the media being especially hard on Clinton. I certainly don't recall them running any major hit pieces based on forged documents right before either election. I don't recall them making up plastic turkey stories about Clinton. I don't recall them giving endless hours of credulously fawning coverage to a deranged woman throwing a months-long tantrum in Clinton's driveway. While I'm not of the view that 'all leftists are brainwashed media zombies,' the fact remains that most of the major media outlets do lean to the left and do skew their coverage that way.

    Which brings me to this business of saying 'well, every ideology has been used to justify some bad acts, so they're all equally bad.' This is, to be blunt, sheer intellectual laziness. It's a cop-out for people who don't want to take a cold, hard look at the things they like believing. That's an uncomfortable thing to do, after all. You might discover you've been supporting some damned ugly things lurking behind pretty little slogans like 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need' or 'no justice no peace.'

    I don't agree with Tefta that you're going to invariably find tolerant, open-minded people willing to engage in civil discourse on non leftwing blogs. I wouldn't care to be a leftista on LGF, for instance (on the other hand, better that than being rightwing on Daily Kos). While neither side has a lock on determined ideological blindness, my travels all over the political blog spectrum indicate it's far more prevalent on the left than the right.

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  30. Here's something that I posted a couple of years ago on another blog, still true today:

    "The other day I amazed a 20-something acquaintance by saying I was all for evil Bush's evil war of freedom, and when he finished making hex signs and stringing garlic around his neck, I explained why. I was six when the Islamicists in the Middle East got their asses kicked by Israel once, 12 when they did it again. 11 when they killed a bunch of Olympic athletes, 19 when they kept American hostages for a year, 22 when they blew up a bunch of Marines in their barracks, 23 when the Achille Lauro was hijacked, 27 when Lockerbie happened, 28 when they announced a new literary prize and Salman Rushdie was the first winner, 32 when the WTC was blown up once, 39 when it was blown up a second time for good. And I couldn't even begin to tell you how many presidential peace processes and promises of a new day in the Middle East I've seen. And in all that time the sinkhole that is the Islamic Middle East has just gotten worse and worse, and NOTHING has ever worked."

    Bush is the first American president, indeed the first western leader, not to simply encourage the pathologies of the middle east for cynical American business reasons (like his own father) but to tackle them head on and to finally give people in the middle east a chance to get out from under their own history and help build a decent world that includes themselves. Do I support that because I'm a rightwinger? No, I support it because I'm a liberal, a humanist, someone who doesn't believe in letting fascist dictatorships victimize peoples, who believes in confronting the cancer of anti-semitism wherever it appears, who believes that societies that oppress women, gays and whatever isn't like them need to be shaken up, who believes that we don't have time to let nuts like Ahmadinejad in Iran build nukes and threaten us all with them unless we toe their line, who believes that the idea that war is sometimes the best choice of a bad lot is not only an idea that must be considered, but one that's amply proven by all of human history, and thinking otherwise is simply giving a free pass to the worst.

    And I believe that George W. Bush, far from being another Hitler, will leave office on January 20, 2009, as scheduled, and that he will live, like Ronald Reagan, to see a lot of people who thought he was the enemy of freedom realize that he was in fact one of its major champions in our time.

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  31. Anonymous10:31 AM

    I might note that Gryphen didn't find Tim Blair's site, Tim found Gryphen's.

    And Gryphen it really shows how insular the left is that you find us wingnuts aren't automatically raving lunatics. I'm not going to disparage your intelligence, but your "room full of children" scenario is one of the most pollyannish attempts at an analogy I've seen in a while.

    And to explain to you what the problem with communism is, the problem is simple, you can not have communism without coercion. With communism ones labor belongs to the state not to ones self, that is an inherently coercive situation, which precludes democracy. Sure Capitalism is not problem free but it is the only system that can co-exist with democracy.

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  32. Anonymous10:42 AM

    The Jews don't eat babies?

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  33. Bush as the savior of the world? Man I thought too much turkey was going to be hard to digest!

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  34. Anonymous11:23 AM

    Gryphon,

    I am not an Alaskan, nor even an American. I was born in Peace River (aka. Piss Crick), and raised in numerous Canadian provinces. I have also "enjoyed" several years in pre-1994 South Africa. You would undoubtably consider me an ideological opponent, because I strongly support the USA's removal of Saddam Hussein and many/most (though not all) of Bush's actions in the ME and elsewhere.

    Do I support them because of religion? Well, I'm an atheist, so it's certainly not because of my religious beliefs.

    Do I support them because I consider Bush to be an uberkind? Not really. I put him in the same class as FDR: he's dealing with the realities of a job where the ground rules changed during his watch. FDR didn't choose Pearl Harbour, and Bush didn't choose 9/11, but they both had to play the cards they were dealt.

    My complaint with the the political Left is not that they demonize the president, it's that by doing so, they are completely cutting themselves off from any attempt to actually address the issues at hand. It's one thing to say that the current administration is botching the job. The Republicans said the same thing in 1944 when FDR was in power. The difference was that then, the opposition presented an alternative plan. Today, the opposition instead merely repeats that the current course of action is wrong, without offering any alternatives. That is why the Democrats are not taken seriously by a lot of Republicans; they simply refuse to address the issue at hand.

    Now, why do I support what Bush is doing? Because I've lived in Africa, and seen what happens there. I've dealt with the people there, face to face, for years. I know, from experience, that their beliefs are not ours, and that we are not working on the same page. They don't believe what we believe, they don't accept what we accept, and (this is the important part) one of their overriding beliefs is that conquering/superceding us is a cultural imperative.

    The clash between ME society (read: Wahhabist Islam) and the west is inevitable. It will happen (and is happening) whether we choose to admit it or not. We can either accept that now, and deal with it, or we can end up in a knock down, drag out battle in the future. The Jews in Germany didn't choose to go to war with the Nazi regime, the regime came to them.

    Given a choice between attempting to reform the ME by introducing the concepts of parliamentary democracy in 2003 and a nuclear exchange in 2017, I choose the former. And if you think that it's paranoid to believe that a nuclear ME means confrontation, look at the views toward Germany in 1936/1937, when concerns of the Nazi regime were considered equally paranoid.

    We paid the price in WWII. I don't want to pay it again. It has nothing to do with Bush, or Cheney, or Halliburton, or "blood for oil", or any of the other catch phrases so popular with the critics. It has to do with accepting a culture clash currently in progress, and containing it before it becomes a cultural war.

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  35. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Hi You Alaskan Lefty Loon from another Tim Blair follower. Hope you had a great Xmas. It was 39 degress (104 to you guys) in Sydney. I hear yours was minus 10 but I bet it felt fine cause I kow you guys love to get naked and hug trees and stuff.

    :-)

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  36. Anonymous12:38 PM

    What is the difference between the reactions of the Left and the Right in observing the same thing? The Left tends to live in a theoretical world while the Right tends toward realism and learning from experiment/experience. In other words, while the Left is naïve and stagnant, the right learns from their life experiences and moves forward.
    The Left acts in spite of the data; the Right adjusts to the data.

    For example, Communism may on the surface appear to be a reasonable -- nay, fair -- model for civilized man. But it has time again -- WITHOUT EXCEPTION -- proven to be an unmitigated disaster with no civil liberties, no economic growth, no viable currency, no production of tradable goods, and a whole lot of dead people. Ironically (if you’re on the left) the best thing that they produce is a military. Yet still, the Left believes the theory is a good one, “All we need is one good leader. Let’s just keep trying, no matter how many millions are killed!” On the contrary, the right (being smarter, if not necessarily more “intellectual”) says, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!”

    When dealing with world dictators the Left believes, ad infinitum, “One more round of talks; one more set of concessions, and they’ll come around.” The Right understands when we are “getting played.” The Left believes that Qadaffi’s finally relenting on his WMD program was the result of twelve (as opposed to a measly ten or eleven) years of negotiations. The Right correctly understands that Qadaffi was fearful of being Saddamized, having 150,000 US troops nearby, and only thus finally gave up his programs.

    Taxes? The Left feels a right to take as much in taxes from anyone as they feel is necessary to keep their savior, the government, running. The Right looks at the data and sees that, in all instances, lower taxes lead to greater revenue.

    The Left believes that Tookie Williams repented his sins as evidenced by his authoring “children’s” books and receiving Nobel Peace Prize nominations. The Right sees a scamming thug, writing books that no one has ever read and trying to do the things necessary for staying alive. The Right observes the “low bar” set for NPP nominations, and that another murderous thug, Yasser Arafat, won the NPP and so winning that prize is really no matter of distinction.

    While on that subject, Jimmy Carter is lionized by the Left for his own NPP and his work for fair worldwide elections. But the Right correctly observes that he has certified some of the most fraudulent “elections” in recent history (e.g., Hugo Chavez) while calling the US elections a cesspool of irregularities. His views are mostly based on the 2000 Florida recount where, in point of fact, all studies regarding Florida recounts showed conclusively that Bush won.

    How about unions? There was a day when an uneducated, immobile population needed the power of organization to get fair wages, healthy working conditions, etc. That was then, this is now. Everyone has access to education. Society is mobile. Hell, if you don’t like your job, MOVE. Instead, unions have ruined public education. Government employee unions literally prohibit the efficient accomplishment of public services. Toyota is getting set to bypass GM as the world’s largest manufacturer of automobiles (which already would have happened were government agencies not generally required to “buy American). Yet, in spite of this, the Left is anti-management and unabashedly pro-union.

    Then there is the United Nations. The Left sees a theoretical world governing body solving the world’s problems, responding to disasters, promoting world peace. The Right sees the facts on the ground, including officials on the “take” from criminal regimes, peacekeepers raping children, and slow and inefficient disaster relief spending more funds on overhead than on the actual relief.

    I could go on, but I hope this helps.

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  37. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Yeah, I have come from Tim as well.

    Difference between left and right? What left and right believe in changes over the decades. I do not believe the differences are as much doctrinaire as attitudinal.

    This difference in attitude can be summed up as - the right believe their political opponents are wrong, or misguided. The left believe their opponents are evil.

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  38. Gryphon:

    Happy to join your non condescending approach to this most important discussion. Wish more lefties would stop the hysteria and rationally debate.

    It is really easy for me to support Bush. I've been frustrated with our government's response to ME terrorism since Jimmah Carter caved to the Iranians. It culminated on 9-11 as I watched those jumpers and thought of the horror they and their families were facing.

    It made me sick that up to that point our leadership had only a realpolitik metric to guage events. Can't piss off the Sauds, got to play nice with the Palestinians, don't worry about some Jihadis in tents in Afganistan, so what if Saddam ignores the UN, etc. etc.

    George Bush drew a line in the sand and pronounced that the old way hasn't worked, we're going to try a new way. Thank God I said to myself. I looked around and my friends and neighbors were saying Thank God as well.

    He recognized that Afghanistan was only the beginning and OBL was just a target but not the end all. The swamp had to be drained and looking at a map, the logical place to start draining was Iraq. His path was a logical choice to enforce the 12 years of UN resolutions shrugged off by Saddam. He gave the tyrant plenty of opportunity to come clean. If Saddam had opened his bunkers and books and proven he didn't have the weapons, there could have been no war. Since Saddam decided to bluff, or keep his WMD and bluff, Bush had no responsible option except to go in. The choice of war or not was Saddam's to make, he chose the typical ME response to US Presidents by thumbing his nose at Bush and the rest is history. My family and I will forever be in his debt.

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  39. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Hi Gryphen,
    I also came over from Tim Blair's site where I am a longtime lurker. One thing that interests me in this is that over the last week or so both Blair and Glenn Reynolds (instapundit for those just coming down from the hills after the Y2K scare) have linked to lefty sites and, in both instances, brought about a good discussion about the attitudes of lefties and righties regarding blogging in general and the degree to which either is receptive to paying attention to the other's message in particular. In my experience, lefites who post to RW blogs or message boards prefer to play troll (your mileage may vary). Anyway, very jealous that you live in Alaska-paradise as far as I'm concerned (although maybe not right now).

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  40. OMG, this was worse than all my Repug Family Thanksgiving Dinners combined ( and yes I was the lonely little black sheep)- geez where is the Maalox or the Humanity....You were indeed a Brave soul to ask this Question ( and yes, indeedy you did bite off more than anyone would want to chew..).....I guess some of these Folks live down under ( Acoustic Dad might be able to help you sort out some of the Cultural Aspects of this)...Anyways I didn't see too many Texas Cowboy responses so I think you will survive....good job...Good discussion and not even too real nasty trolls plugged in...
    keep us thinking...

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  41. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Hi there,

    Happy Christmas.

    One thing I find really annoying about opponents of the war is a refusal to acknowledge that there were no good choices or happy stories for Iraq. There was a choice of evils, and I think that the invasion was the lesser of those evils.

    Opposing the invasion means that you are in favour of Saddam still being in charge. There was no scenario where Saddam disappears in a puff of smoke due to international pressure.

    You say is it worth the lives of innocent Iraqis? Many innocent Iraqis would have died anyway with Saddam still in charge. In the long run I hope it will be less from the invasion. I could wish that the occupation was better run and so many mistakes hadn't been made, but still, things seem to be looking up. The insurgency is losing political support because it has no better alternatives to offer.

    All the best

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  42. Yes, Alaska is a paradise and I would gladly invite you to visit my beautiful state, spend all of your money, and then go home. Do not, repeat do not, move here! We are full.

    Hey Enigma I don't know how brave I was, more curious really. For the most part the Righties behaved themselves. No blood, no low blows, and I enjoyed the discussion. (I don't think the Aussies are called "righties" though)

    I will have to take some offense at the comment that if I don't support the war that I support Saddam Hussein staying in power. No way is that issue so black and white!

    I hope that these new visitors will continue to stop by and take a look at my political musings. I would not take offense at an opposing viewpoint now and then. If you do find something you agree with please feel free to let me know that as well. I am not made of iron you know.(Though I do have buns of steel.)

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  43. I will have to take some offense at the comment that if I don't support the war that I support Saddam Hussein staying in power. No way is that issue so black and white!

    Yes it is.

    Murderous dictator.

    We have it in our power to remove him and liberate 25 million people.

    Do we do it, or do we leave him in place?

    12 years of economic sanctions did nothing. Do we just sit and watch?

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  44. Anonymous7:19 PM

    Pixy, that seems to be precisely what separates the Modern Left (such as Gryphen) from "right wingers" (such as we Blairites) – the Modern Left doesn't believe in hard choices like that. There's always some loophole, some clever plan, that could achieve untarnished success, if only people cared deeply enough to find it.

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  45. Anonymous12:51 AM

    Annoying Old Guy,

    "Right wingers" (such as we Blairites)?

    Are you talking about Tony Blair? Prime Minister of the United Kingdom?

    RIGHT WINGER?

    HIM?

    The man is a left wing statist. As a right wing and liberal Brit (and Australian) I hate that man with every fibre of my being for the manner in which he is dismembering both British society and its constitution.

    The ONLY thing TB has done which I can applaud was his steadfast support for George Bush and the War on Terror; and even there he used those tools of lies and deceit which are central reasons for my loathing of him.

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  46. Anonymous1:52 AM

    There are those of us out there who are truly unimpressed with the record of command economy principles enacted as a matter of policy in the 20th and 21st century. The current socialist government in a place like Sweden would certainly be much preferrable to me and most others to Pinochet's capitalist Chile. But I think that highlights that thoughts on public policy are more complex than a simple "left-right" dichotomy, than it does weaknesses in capitalism.

    Indeed most of my tending to vote more for Republicans than Democrats is based on a compromise between their admittedly skecthy record on individual liberties (bad records on religion, homosexuality and the criminal justice system) with their off and on decent record on economic issues. The Democrats are really only a moderate improvement on individual liberties (favoring Kelo type land grabs, firearms and speech limiting provisions) and I find their economic _proposals_ (to be fair their actual economic policies often tend to be better than what they actually proposed) to be really contrary to what I believe I know about how economies work. Bush's recent record on this is almost equally as bad, but it looked better back in 2004 than it does now. The 2005 spendfest is kind of a stab in the back really...

    And so the Republicans tend to get a 5 out of 10 and the Democrats tend to get a 3 out of 10, and I hold my nose and vote. Individual politicians vary around those numbers (a Jeff Flake might get an 8 from me and a Rick Santorum might get a 1), but I generally can't get behind the economic beliefs of large stretches of the Democratic party.

    Unlike some Randians I'm not immune to the suffering of the poor, or the disenchantment of large stretches of the working population with wages in the post-labor union boom era. It's not like I'm all that well off myself. I just feel that government's record in addressing these problems effectively is at best woefully ineffective and at worst counter-productive. From the disastrous FHA housing intiatives of the 60s, to aid to dependent children incentivizing the removal of males from low-income homes (because an of age male resident often made mothers ineligible for the benefits), many certainly well intentioned programs caused great harm to the people they were genuinely trying to help.

    If we can limit governmental corruption, improve the economic policies of our government and protect the rights of _all_ of its citizens, I think we'd find lower income people accounted for to a much greater extent than we do now. To me, it's the poor who are actually most sensitive to market inefficiencies. While not in raw dollars, what each dollar means to low-income people is so much more. And so to see any of the money they make poured into one government rathole or another generally makes me very unhappy.

    A "Capitalist Democrat" movement which emphasized personal liberty with a more hands off government would have little trouble adding me to their voting bloc. It seems so unlikely a combination at the moment though...

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  47. Anonymous5:57 AM

    Chris Harper: Annoying Old Guy,"Are you talking about Tony Blair?"..Maybe he meant Tim Blair- world renoun Aussie Blogger???

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  48. Anonymous8:11 AM

    Chris Harper: Annoying Old Guy,"Are you talking about Tony Blair?"..Maybe he meant Tim Blair- world renoun Aussie Blogger???

    Dunno if Tim Blair's that renowned, but considering he's referenced -- with a link no less -- in the second flamin' sentence of Gryphen's post, confusing him with Tony Blair would tend to indicate AOG is not reading especially closely.

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  49. Anonymous8:20 AM

    My apologies, that last comment was aimed at Chris Harper, not AOG.i

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  50. Anonymous8:52 AM

    I will have to take some offense at the comment that if I don't support the war that I support Saddam Hussein staying in power. No way is that issue so black and white!

    Unless you can present alternatives, it actually is. Either we let him alone, or we took him out. If you have a third option, feel free to mention it. Unfortunately, "we should have found a way" and "international consensus" aren't options, they are goals.

    Think there's a better way? Feel free to name it.

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  51. Anonymous12:48 PM

    Achillea,

    Quite right,

    I tend to read the term "Blairite" as a reference to Tony Blair, and the mere mention of his name fills me with rage. In this case the term sent me right down the wrong track.

    I should certainly have thought a little more before indulging in kneejerk posting. Gad, what a left wing thing to do.

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  52. Anonymous12:52 PM

    "Think there's a better way? Feel free to name it."

    Well I think what the argument is (and feel free to disagree with it but recognize that it's an argument):

    That even though we recognize that a particular evil exists, that doesn't necessarily mean we are in the proper position at the proper time to be able to deal with it effectively at an acceptable cost (of life, money, world opinion, etc.).

    There are differences between the disgusting (in my opinion) Realpolitik of someone like a Kissinger where you colaborate with an evil because doing so is in your greater foreign policy interests, and a policy where you understand that an evil exists but believe any action at the particular time would be ineffective and very costly. Indeed you could argue that the latter is exactly our current policy when it comes to the awful things happening in the Sudan.

    I'm not sure that such an argument is a winner with regards to Iraq, lots of people who know a whole lot more about foreign policy than I do would argue otherwise. Other than a massive distaste for Realpolitik, my knowledge on foreign policy is limited to the point that I'm willing to entertain arguments on either side of the issue.

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  53. Hey I think a moderate snuck in here!

    Wow it so rare to find somebody who is not firmly entrenched on one side or the other!

    Thanks for your input.

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  54. Anonymous5:07 PM

    I think you will find people all over the mental spectrum on both sides of aisle - I am a conservative and a nuclear engineer, I have met PHD liberals and liberals who were deeply stupid.

    I think that it is mistake to assume too much about a persons principals from their voting patterns - significant correlation to certain concepts but hardly monolithic binary beliefs. many vote out of partisan identity, some out of pragmatism. My votes for president have always considered the effect of the whole apparatus they would bring.

    As an aside, I have disagreements on a number of issues with republican party policies (sometimes too "conservative" sometimes too "liberal") but I do fnd in general much more intellectual diversity on the right than on the left. I really feel that we value intellectual diversity much more (that is not to say we wont have knock down drag out fights, but rather we RELY on those fights to provide better , more fleshed out ideas.) I often feel like many liberal policy preferences sound like settled and beyond discussion.
    (as read in your own house organs)

    I think we differ in our valuation schemes, but while the bromides of "republicans hate the environment, minorities, the poor, etc" and "democrats hate america, success,are soft on crime, etc" may be true in specific cases
    (and maybe even on the other side of the aisle in some cases), I think we all generally agree that defending america, helping the poor, educating our kids, etc are positive goods, we just disagree on how much the govt is resposnible for, who exactly should do it, how to prioritize them given finite resources and how best to accomplish it.

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  55. Hi Gryphen,

    I am a conservative who spends a bit of time reading liberal blogs. A surprising number seem to consist of little more than vitriolic comment directed at conservatives.

    I almost think we need a new word to describe ignorant, provincial, bigoted liberals. How about "blueneck"?

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  56. Anonymous12:29 AM

    "Hey I think a moderate snuck in here!"

    Well I'm not sure about that. I'm decidedly unmoderate on economic issues. I truly believe that a rollback of government interference in the economy is in order. Not the biggest fan of welfare whether it's the traditional type or the corporate type. It's not that the goals of helping lower income families isn't laudable, I'm just generally underwhelmed at the effectiveness of government programs at accomplishing those goals. Giving kickbacks to corporations because you think it may "help" the economy is at least as silly and probably more so.

    So I'm pretty right-wing there. The fiscally conserative, socially liberal movement in the GOP has really taken a beating during the Bush presidency. But as often as social conservatives bum us out, we really don't see much in the way of alternatives in the other party. The end result is the movement becoming more and more marginalized. If the Democratic party could take a more rightward shift economically, such a movement might get re-invigorated in the other party. I'm not holding my breath though.

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  57. Anonymous6:58 AM

    That even though we recognize that a particular evil exists, that doesn't necessarily mean we are in the proper position at the proper time to be able to deal with it effectively at an acceptable cost (of life, money, world opinion, etc.).

    That's true enough. We are not, for example, able to go into North Korea now, because doing so would trigger a nuclear response, taking out South Korea, parts of Japan, and quite possibly parts of China. However, we can, and have, been able to go into Iraq, because Iraq did not have nuclear capability. One of the major reasons to go in was to prevent Iraq from becoming a nuclear threat.

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  58. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Your prejudice is very, very common. I would make the generalization that many liberals are exceedingly immature in believing that right-wingers are right-wing only because the are too stupid to know better. I think that kind of prejudice is more typical of the left (but I could be wrong).

    I've been largely surrounded by liberals for several years, and they live among an echo chamber of like-minded friends (think Europe, on a smaller scale). Their biases are never challenged and they are shocked to discover that, say, *I* like to listen to Rush Limbaugh. Yet these same people seldom can speak of political or economic issues without showing appalling ignorance and stupidity. (Literally, none of them have any grasp of even basic mainstream economic theory, which makes them stuck-on-stupid on any issue of economics and taxes). But those people aren't dumb. None of them, say, equal my GMAT score, but they're smart and competent in many ways.

    As for Bush: Look, he is actually often a disappointment from the right's point of view; he's not perfect. But Afghanistan and Iraq now are creating democracies, utterly unthinkable just 5 years ago -- I believe this is the most important and auspicious era in the history of the Arab/Islamic people, the time when they finally struggle to abandon their stone age pathologies and join the modern world.

    NOW they have a chance to build the economic, political, and cultural freedoms, that lack of which has mutated into decades of barbaric terrorism. I think 1000 years hence, this will clearly be seen as a defining moment in their history (and if not, the alternative for them is prettty ugly, becuase we will defend ourselves -- at ANY cost. W's doing them a big favor here.)

    NO Democrat would have pulled that off, or even wanted to. His very moral clarity, which so incenses you liberals, is absolutely essentially to his steadfastness in sticking to a dramatic course of action. Bill Clinton (as an example) could never have made the tough choices and stuck to them in the face of criticism.

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  59. So the ends justify the means?

    I know this thread is lasting forever but I do have another question for my friends on the right. If the evidence proves unequivocally that the intelligence that led to the war was manufactured or cherry picked and that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, knew that they were making it up is it still morally correct? Would you still support the war?

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  60. I can't add to what many of my colleagues on the Right have said. They have said it better and in greater depth than what I am capable of. But let me add that ideologies do, indeed, kill people. As has been argued re: Naziism for starters. On a smaller scale, the Ba'ath Party in Iraq was a National Socialist Party and Saddam, a Stalin worshipper, practiced ethnic cleansing to a degree far greater than Milosevic. There are 275,000 "disappeareds" in Iraq according to Amnesty International. That is only the people murdered by Saddam whom we have not found. The mass graves have yielded and will continue to yield tens if not hundreds of thousands more (a German working in Iraq in the 80s has testified to knowing of, first-hand, 30,000 Iraqis machine-gunned to death and thrown into a roadbed then paved over, some while still alive. How many roads and highways will the new Iraqi government have to dig up?).

    As to the idea that Communism is just a bugaboo of the Right: The Left must, eventually, come to the conclusion that some of the things which it either ignorantly or willfully refuses to acknowledge are in fact true, among these the horrors committed in the name of Communism. But beyond that, it also needs to be understood that it is in the very nature of Communism as a belief to be authoritarian and totalitarian from the get-go, and that it has indeed been tried and found a failure in every instance. Then I suggest that the Left look hard at who the reactionary Wahhabi Islamists are, these intolerant religious ideologues whose understanding of Islam forms the ideological and religious bases which guide al-Qaeda and its terrorist cells today, and make an intelligent decision based upon those data instead of simply detesting Geo. Bush. Bush may not be the greatest spokesman for the position he takes, but that doesn't make him wrong.

    I also need to ask a question which has nagged at me a long time now: How is it that the Left supports ultra-Rightist Islamists over liberal democracy? How can anyone who claims to be liberal stand side-by-side with the hard Left who seem to think that the most violent and dangerous religious reactionaries on the planet are really just freedom fighters of some kind and that we should not "demonize" them? What if these fundamentalists were Pat Robertson's followers? Would you feel the same? Or would you back Geo. Bush if he decided to go after them?

    Nonetheless, I thank you, Gryphen, for allowing us to speak our piece on your blog. The "reasonable people may disagree" concept still holds. As has been said here, many of us were at one time or another on the Left. I certainly was though I moved right years ago.


    ekw

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  61. Anonymous12:55 PM

    So the ends justify the means? ... Would you still support the war?

    I think the situation is much more complex than such a superficial question suggests. First, I certainly do NOT think the Bush Admin lied about any of that. Second, US Adminstrations (including Clinton's) offered many justifications for regime change -- it wasn't just WMDs (a fact the press aggressively avoids). Which is why Iraq regime change had been offical US policy since 1998 under Clinton.

    Third, when I was in theater in GW1 in 1990, I was certain Saddam needed to be removed because of his behavior (imagine leaving Hitler firmly in control of Germany after 1945...) And I was grossly disappointed when we let him survive. Big mistake. *I* for one would have supported any effort from 1991 onwards to remove Saddam.

    Fourth, even if the libs' greatest fantasies are true and Cheney fabricated everthing in 2002-03, it's not like Saddam was innocent of being a brutal, mass murdering, chemical weapons-against-children using dictator for 25 years. It's not like the "real dictator" got away with it and is living next door to O.J. in Florida. It is to the profound shame of the civilized world that we permitted that atrocity to persist for so long.

    Fifth, I agree with what Bush was saying in speeches prior to the war: fighting a serious war vs. terrorism requires that we somehow stimulate democracy in the Arab world. This is based on a theory: there are unhappy people the world over, so why is it Arab Moslems that have a virtual monopoly on international terrorism? The kindest assumption is that, if they had more political and economic freedom, they could vent frustrations and pursue happiness, and not behave thus.

    (Note: after 9-11 I used to hear liberals say we needed to address the "root causes" of terrorism. They shut up saying that when Bush began doing exactly that, with military power.)

    All of that said ... if Bush/Cheney lied about evidence, then that act of lying was wrong (and unnecessary in my view). But I'd still support the war on its other merits -- just as, if we learned that FDR had lied about some propaganda to help drag congress into WWII, that act would've been wrong, but nevertheless, history makes it clear that stopping Axis fascism was clearly the right thing to do back then.

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  62. Anonymous1:08 PM

    If the evidence proves unequivocally that the intelligence that led to the war was manufactured or cherry picked and that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, knew that they were making it up is it still morally correct? Would you still support the war?

    Yes, I would. (This is the leftist fixation that probably provokes the greatest amount of head-thumping for me, so I may become a bit heated here). WMDs were never the only reason. They were never the only stated reason and they were never the only actual reason. Saddam's violations of the Gulf War I ceasefire alone were casus belli. His possible possession of WMDs was emphasized because the oh-so-enlightened left made it plain they didn't give a rat's ass about his support of terrorism, his genocide of the Kurds, or his oppression of 25 million people. But it was never the only reason.

    That said, were it to be proved unequivocally that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, SecDef Rumsfeld, etc. deliberately used evidence they knew to be false (or, at best, extremely questionable) and/or excluded reliable exculpatory evidence, I would support legal proceedings, up to and including impeachment, against any or all who had done so. I will note, however, that under even these limiting terms Mary Mapes should now be behind bars.

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  63. Unfucking believable!

    Let me clear something up. WMD's were the reason! Without that there is no way in hell that they could have convinced congress and the senate to go along with him. No fucking way!

    And another thing. If, and when, those lies get exposed you will see the desruction of a presidency that will make the fall of Richard Nixon look like a simple congressional slap on the ass.

    Bush and his gang will be villified like you cannot believe! Nobody named Bush will be able to run for dog catcher much less be president, or governor, or even school board member. Even people with the surname Bush who are not related to George will be unable to hold public office. He may actually supplant Hitler in the lexicon of hateful last names.

    Nixon was much loved by a majority of Americans until after Watergate. This thing makes Watergate look like TPing somebody's house in comparison.

    And if you don't think things are headed this direction then maybe it is you who had better start getting your news someplace less ideological, cause baby the times they are a changin!

    And when they are gone you can bet that our policy in Iraq is going to change drastically. And by the way, what do you think the message to the Iraqi's will be when they watch this unfold over here? Do you think they are going to believe anything we say? Do you think they will still want to grow up to be just like us? Not a chance. And if Iran has any brains at all they will jump on this opportunity and we will see a real "coalition of the willing".

    To be honest I am torn as to what to hope for here. I would love to see Bush go down in flames. But I know he will take much of America's reputation with him. There are going to be no winners here. Neither you nor I are going to be able to gloat. And that is why we don't allow ourselves to be lied to. Ever!

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  64. Gryphen, you're ignoring something called the Iraqi Freedom Act of 1998. That act allows the US to act militarily, intially by funding the Iraqi Opposition, to destabilize the regime and to overthrow it. By force if necessary. I do not have all the details of that Act in my head, but this country has never, ever said that it would only act in accordance with the wishes of the UN. Ever. That would be a disaster. So whatever you want to think about WMD - which he had at one time, you do know that, I hope - don't be misled by the fantasy that we were ever going to just let him get away with mass murder forever. When you say things like "unfucking believable," it indicates that all that which has been said here by people with whom you disagree is bullshit. Now that bespeaks a closed mind, and I'm sorry that some of us have wasted your and our time.

    Another problem I see is that you seem to have no inkling as to the feelings of the people of Iraq. You must have missed the BBC-ABC Poll taken two weeks ago wherein an overwhelming number of Iraqis expressed satisfaction with the direction their country is going and that they are happy with the overthrow of Hussein. They know democracy is a messy business. They understand that it's possible that a president could be impeached and driven from office, etc., and they think that's a great thing. Otherwise, do you think that they pin all their hopes on what we do, or rather on what they can do as a democracy on their own? Like many on the Left I think you give too little credit to people from the Middle East. They are not children. They are much more sophisticated and much better educated than you give them credit for. You insult their intelligence when you say that they will suddenly "not believe anything we say." As it is, they believe only some things we say, and they know that other things we say are crap. I think that they probably believe us more than they believe many other countries, like Syria and Iran, and France and Germany. Many of them probably believe that WMD was a pretext and still they are glad we did it. They're smarter than you think, and they desire democracy, though it will take a very different form from our own. For one thing, the Shi'ite majority have Shi'ite Islam installed as the state religion, and the religious leaders can veto anything the government puts up. Nonetheless, it's what they apparently want.

    They have never had this opportunity in the past. It's a new world for them, and if the BBC Poll is any indication at all, they're damn glad we did what we did (btw, the BBC was not thrilled with this outcome, needless to say. They were shocked by its revelations. I know this because they asked me to participate as a caller on a radio talk show interview last week from London). Now they want us out, but not until we can assure them enough stability so that their own forces can take over. Now I'll leave you alone, ridding you of your last RWDB; and thanks again, it was fun.

    Cheers,

    ekw

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  65. Anonymous3:32 PM

    It's amusing, and not unexpected, that the only intemperate and illogical comment to this point was Gryphen's last.

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  66. Anonymous3:35 PM

    G: WMD's were the reason! Without that there is no way in hell that they could have convinced congress and the senate to go along with him.

    A) You don't even know the Senate is part of Congress and you have the gall to label other people politically ignorant?

    B) Your question was whether, if Saddam was shown to have been framed on the WMD issue, the war would still have been morally justified -- not how it might have fared in a Senate vote.

    C) Thank you for rather graphically proving my point that the left didn't give a rat's ass about his support of terrorism, his genocide of the Kurds, or his oppression of 25 million people.

    D) Interesting how you strap on 'if' wings and promptly hurl yourself from the cliffs of reason, flapping madly and screeching hysterical 'Bush Lied!' diatribes as you plummet into the sea of apocalyptic rhetorical excess. Most leftists go straight to the falling part, skipping over even a pretense of rational argument.

    E) Anybody who quotes from NPR to try to shore up his positions is living in a glass house when it comes to lobbing stones about ideological blinkers.

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  67. Anonymous3:42 PM

    "To be honest I am torn as to what to hope for here. I would love to see Bush go down in flames. But I know he will take much of America's reputation with him."

    Well, to his credit, it took a while before he cracked. He was probably under some social pressure from his friends reading his blog for acting so civily, maybe not, I don't know. But really. Does being torn here suggest that you are hoping for an outcome that severely damages the US, just because you disagree with a couple of, ok, three, election results?

    God forbid that anyone label you "unpatriotic", though.

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  68. Anonymous3:52 PM

    And here is an intersting take on the whole Bush Lied meme. An actual summary of official investigations into the matter.

    Of course, this is something we conservatives call "evidence", and so is likely of little interest to intellectuals like yourself.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0512280311dec28,0,7879020.story?coll=chi-newsopinion-hed

    I would be a lot more disposed to accept the "intellectual disparity" argument if the side who purportedly holds the upper hand in this area could cogently summarize the arguments of us plebe know-nothings, before demolishing them with facts and logic, but alas, nothing but a flury of f-bombs.

    I would love to see Gryphen summarize the arguments on the right that Bush didn't lie, before demolishing them with factual statements, and statements attributable to Bush and his administration. I am not expecting it though. You see, they don't owe us an explanation because we are just not worth it. Lefties have told me this many times.

    Maybe I am just too stoopid to understand how calling somebody a name, or swearing at them proves anything. It is almost as if you were raising your voice instead of re-enforcing your arguments.

    Naah!

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  69. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Not to get too far afield, but it seems to me that everything else excepted, when it came to light that Hussein had plotted to assassinate the President of the United States, that would seem to me to be sufficient justification for his removal from power. That really shouldn't have been tolerated.

    Surprising it was not acted upon then, but my understanding was that Colin Powell had sufficiently scared Bush I off of the mess that invading would have created.

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  70. Okay having gone and worked out I am feeling a tad cooler. I re-read my post and would agree that I allowed myself to get a little worked up. I find nothing in the post that I would retract but the tone was not appropriate. As for the "F" bomb I simply typed exactly as I was thinking without benefit of editing. I will show more restraint.

    Moptop I am not suggesting any sense of glee in the prospect of America suffering any damage in the event of an impeachment or trial. The point I falied to make is that I cannot have my wish (George Bush run out of office) without having my country suffer for it.
    Therefore no happily ever after for myself and my liberal brethren.

    Oh and by the way, I received not a bit of pressure to turn up the heat on this site and to go after the righties. I have had a few suggest that I am asking for trouble, but mostly I have received support from people on my side of the fence.

    For those who feel that I have finally revealed my true colors I would argue that I never hid my colors from you. My point of view is expressed multiple times, I became upset because of the importance I place on honesty. And if anybody thinks I am being disingenuous I invite them to look at my site when it first began and see what I wrote about Bill Clinton and my eternal shame at his behavior.

    The 1998 Iraq act was a non-starter. It was not going to be acted upon. Without the WMD's we were not going to Iraq. And without 9-11 the issue would never even have made it past committee.

    My point was that if Bush is proven to have lied then whatever progress might have been hoped for in Iraq will be come to a screeching halt. Politicians will scurry away so as not to be damaged by the fallout. It will prove very difficult to continue the experiment in Iraq because there will be no more support at home. None! Which means no more money and our troops will be called home. The war is already becoming very unpopular here.

    If the Iraqi's can stand alone by then we might see something that appears to be democratic but I doubt that it will look upon America with favor. We will be blocked from interacting with them for many years to come. We are already seeing a lack of trust from other parts of the world toward us and that will grow.

    To summarize I think that the cost to America may be so great as to not allow any feeling of success about Iraq even if by some miracle it should end up being exactly the type of democracy that all of you hope for.

    So to return to my point will it have been worth it?

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  71. Anonymous5:37 PM

    "Of course, this is something we conservatives call "evidence", and so is likely of little interest to intellectuals like yourself.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0512280311dec28,0,7879020.story?coll=chi-newsopinion-hed
    "

    I posted the above to point out that the "lies" have been investigated. Turns out that they really don't support the "Bush Lied" meme.

    I guess as a lefty, you are allowed to dismiss these investigations without comment. Bully for you, just don't expect to win a lot of converts with your fingers in your ears, shouting LA LA LA!

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  72. Anonymous7:13 PM

    To be honest I am torn as to what to hope for here.

    Oh, Gryph, come on -- BE honest! Here's what you're really hoping for: And if Iran has any brains at all they will jump on this opportunity and we will see a real "coalition of the willing".

    But I think you're gonna have to save that stuff for your nighttime fantasies -- cause baby the times ARE a-changin! Bu$hitler's approval rating is up, and a large majority approve of NSA warrantless monitoring -- because they actually think that fighting Islamists is a serious and important business, and will continue to be so long after Bu$hitler has peacefully retired and another Republican, with bigger Congressional majorities, is running things.

    But hey! Maybe if you threatened to leave the country that would help.

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  73. Anonymous11:22 PM

    Saddam had plenty of chances to avoid war.

    The onus wasn't actually on the West to prove Iraq had WMD, Saddam had to allow inspections to prove he didn't. He had consistently breached all his undertakings after GW1 and subsequently. The UN inspectors weren't happy that Iraq had fully co-operated. They never convincingly showed what happened to all the weapons that Iraq as known to have.

    The point about lying about WMD is completely moot in my view.

    Saddam's political and military judgement were appalling. This is a guy who triggered three (Iran, GW1 and GW2) disatrous wars for his country. Given the chance He probably would have started number 4.

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  74. You are right that Saddam certainly had a hard on for starting wars.

    We are so much more careful in our military excursions (Korean War, Vietnam, Grenada, and then Iraq.)

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  75. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Gryph,
    Try to wrap your head around this. A president, let's say Bill Clinton, is trying to force a brutal dictator, who has started multiple wars, killing millions, to step down without a fight.

    Sanctions are enacted to apply pressure. Pres is hoping that the pressure applied by the sanctions force this evil dictator to step down or capitulate. The dictator soon bribes your purported allies into undermining the sanctions and buys their political support in the process. (google Oil for Food)

    The sanctions aren't working. So you threaten war. This dictator believes you are bluffing because the same people he has bought off with the corrupt sanctions program oppose the war completely.

    This dictator then judges that the threat is empty, and so stands his ground.

    Had those countries backed the threat of war, is it not possible that Saddam would have read the writing on the wall and absconded?

    No, of course not. The war is all Bush's fault.

    It was probably unfair of Tim Blair to drag you onto the stage. I know your mommy probably told you that you were pretty smart, but really, what other "intellectual discourse" do you enjoy besides telling yourself that Bush, who has bestrode the world for six years now as a collossus, is some combination of village idiot and evil genius, whom only stupid people support?

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  76. You are right that my Mom thinks I am the shit!

    You are wrong that I see Bush as "some combination of village idiot and evil genius". I usually stop with the village idiot label.

    You are also right that I assumed that the people who voted for Bush were stupid. Guilty as charged!

    But that is why I invited the Tim Blair folks to prove me wrong. Which you did!

    So now I just am trying to understand why we see things differently and what common ground we occupy.

    And moptop if you think that I am too stupid to waste your time with, then don't! I never described myself as a political savant. And in case you have not noticed I am here pretty much on my own. Besides Enigma there are very few liberals wading in to buoy up my side.

    I could have ignored your belittling comments and chosen to only listen to the people who like what I write. It would have been more pleasant. I am not a masochist. I just want to grow a little here.

    If you are waiting for my mind to change then that is as likely as your mind changing. How likely is that?

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  77. Enigma here, Yeah, I will back up the gryphen anytime because:
    (1) He was trying to create dialogue and
    (2) listen to new points of view ( brave soul), and
    (3) he was trying to find common ground (again an admirable goal, which is why I was supporting his noble efforts here)
    (4) He even has been a patient hospitable host to some rather rude people....but I think he did it because he was trying to learn more and be tolerant..more than most of you could put to your credit...he is quite simply a Better Man than most....

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  78. Anonymous2:16 PM

    The inspectors were in Iraq, inspecting because S Hussein did indeed back down. Bush then raised the bar and ordered him to leave the country. Please, more facts, less talking points.

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  79. Oh, yeah, and back to the Truth, there were Lies told about the WMD's, and that is why there are troops there earting sand and coming home in body bags, or as damaged goods with PTSD- 74,000 to date...and the "Intel" was sexed up (DSM)...You are right it is hard to find facts when the WH has Lied about So many Important issues...And Bush didn't want the Imspections to finish, becuase ????
    yeah, because that would have verified that the WMD issue was full of large Holes....would have exposed the Lie...

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  80. Gryphen:

            Thanks for your polite, thoughtful, relevant comment.  It's far too rare in the blogospere.

            "I would suggest that it is not ideologies which kill people but rather the evil people who use them for their own selfish gain.  Does Communism lend itself to that more the capitalism? I think that jury is still out on that question."

            I disagree.  The Soviet Union, China, N.  Korea, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Cuba, the formerly "Captive Nations," Nicaragua under the Sandanistas .  .  .  every time a Communist regime has taken over a country, mass murder has started.  I know of absolutely no exceptions.  See R.  J.  Rummel's website for extensive documentation.

            The Communist movement has always proclaimed that its leaders know what is best for the general populace, and if the general populace doesn't want to live the way the Communist leaders want them to, they'll be killed till they change their minds.  Revolutionary movements that have the "truth," and will impose it no matter what, are inherently murderous.  "Militant Islam" is one such ideology, and it instantly created a regime of mass murder when it took over Afghanistan.  Saddam's "secular" Ba'athist state, modeled on Stalin's USSR, was another.

            "As for the statement about acting pre-emptively I have to ask was it worth the innocent lives that were lost in Iraq to potentially save lives in America? Do we hold as more precious the life of our neighbor then we do a human being in another country? And then should we?"

            I certainly hold my neighbors' lives more precious than that of foreigners -- especially when the foreigners and their countrymen are attacking the U.S.

            And as for innocent lives lost, Saddam killed an estimated 300,000 of his countrymen during his rule.  He also invaded other countries and killed people there.  And the "peaceful" attempt to stop him with sanctions was estimated to kill 60,000 Iraqis per year.  Even allowing for a huge overestimate on that last figure, when you consider whom the sanctions were killing (children, mostly, in groups the government didn't like, such as the Shia), and add in the fact that Saddam looked to outlast the sanctions, then on net, it seems overwhelmingly probable that our invasion has saved innocent lives.

            "If I gave you a gun and told you to enter a room full of children and told you that if you killed two of them then your children would be guaranteed safety.  Could you do it?" I probably could, but I wouldn't.  Just because you said something was going to happen doesn't mean I'd believe you.

            But Saddam was a mass murderer who was, in my arrogant opinion, a proven threat to the U.S.  and the world.

            This illustrates one of the differences between your side and mine.  You worry about what will happen if the U.S.  acts, and the certainty that some things will happen that we agree are evil paralyzes you.  My side worries what will happen if we act, and if we don't, and tries to choose the lesser evil.  Your side seems to think that if one innocent person is murdered by the U.S., or even killed accidently by the U.S., and the murder of ten innocents is by the other side is thereby prevented, it shouldn't be done.  My side thinks saving ten at the price of one is worth it if that's really the choice we face.

    The House of Saud Must Be Destroyed!

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  81. Hey I like Stephen! He seems almost rational.

    Welcome Rose! Are there any more of you? Go, tell your friends. I would appreciate the support.

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