August 22, 2005

Asking inconvenient questions is essential

Robert Steinback writes an important editorial on the dangers of supressing dissent.

Herewith, my nominations for the Seven Political Blasphemies of contemporary America, starting with the one Sheehan has challenged.

-- Not every deployment of U.S. troops is, by definition, a noble exercise. Premise: Commanders in chief make mistakes (and, sometimes, mislead). "Support the troops" is not, as clever neo-con partisans imply, the equivalent of "don't question the president."

-- It is overly simplistic to dismiss all those who resist the American presence in Iraq as "terrorists." Premise: As long as the militants targeting U.S. troops and allied Iraqis are lumped together as "terrorists" -- a step or two below "roaches" -- there is nothing to debate; they must be crushed. But doing so closes off discussion of their true motivations (which would help us understand what we're up against), as well as the possibility that the U.S. presence in Iraq is provoking the resistance.

-- It can be argued that the world is not better off without Saddam Hussein. Premise: Nobody likes a dictator, but sometimes, there is a short-term geopolitical benefit in the presence of a tyrant who keeps rival factions from colliding -- Tito in the old Yugoslavia, for example. This doesn't have to undermine the long-run goal of eliminating all despots.

-- Not every society is ready for American-style capitalism and democracy. Premise: Such transitions need time, planning and patience to work. Moving too quickly can create a politically volatile mess, such as in the old Soviet Union.

-- The word of God is what one chooses to believe, not a universal truth that unerringly applies to all people. Premise: Your belief in your particular version of God is not sufficient justification for you to impose your will on others.

-- The American social model may not be every reasonable person's idea of a perfect society. Premise: Other cultures are not necessarily inferior to ours simply because they are different. We, as Americans, should proudly promote our values, but our aim should be to persuade, not compel, others to embrace them.

-- Criticizing the U.S. government is not synonymous with criticizing America. Premise: Nonviolent dissent can be both patriotic and healthy for the nation.

I'm only a harmless pundit on the Left. Still, I find myself hoping more Cindy Sheehans will acquire the courage to demand answers to the questions none dare ask.
Read the entire piece posted at the Q.C. Times.

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At 8/22/2005 9:56 PM, Blogger diehard said...

What does it mean to 'support the troops' anyway? It's easy to say that.Does it mean your sending them money? Are you going to mail them a limb if one gets blown off by a car bomb?
Its a backdoor way of getting everybody on board.
You can badmouth your Senator, Govenor,congressman, alderman,the Catholic religion but dont say anything anti-military the press will destroy you if you say it in public.
If you dissent at all[Dick Durbin] both Republicans and gutless Democrats wil tell you to apologize to our troops.
The Hillary's and the Joe Biden's that support the war for political expediancy make me sick!!
I hate to bring up the tired specter of the Germans however in the 20' and 30's were an educated Christian people.
Henry Kissenger himself a Jewish schoolboy once said that every time we saw Hitler on a newsreel we laughed.
Until the day they came to our school and took us away!
Tyrany rules when good men do nothing!

At 8/22/2005 10:18 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Amen Diehard. Well said.

And yes, the recent pronouncements from both Joe Biden and Hillary is very discouraging to anyone who hopes for a sane defense policy and perhaps the end to perpetual war.

I think Russ Finegold is a hero for having the courage to step up and say what everyone knows, namely, that it's time to start planning a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq.

As they said during Viet Nam, it's time to declare victory and get the hell out. Before we sacrifice more blood and treasure to this misguided disaster.

Just thinking of how many more lives will be shattered, how many more families broken and destroyed, how many more minds scarred and damaged for life, how many more desperately needed billions squandered just to prop up this criminal leader's egotistical desire to be seen as a tough guy and his unwillingness to admit to an amazingly destructive blunder, is enough to make me anyone sick.

How many THOUSANDS of men, women, and children have had their lives destroyed or ended simply for the cause of helping George W. Bush politically? How many have died senselessly for purely domestic political motives?

I only hope that somewhere down the line, Bush and others will be judged for the crimes they have committed.

At 8/23/2005 7:28 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Pat Robertson for Secretary of State! He says that it is a lot cheaper to just go in and assassinate a leader you don't like instead of going to war.....


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