It’s the Pluralism, Stupid

It’s no secret or suprise that I disagree with much of what the current presidential administration puts forward as policy. My family, on the other hand, is “Bush/Cheney” all the way. So I frequently get email missives forwarded to me as part of a large forwarding group, and they’re uniformly pro-Bush, pro-war. It’s not that my family has these opinions that bugs me — it’s the tone of the messages in that they don’t allow for discussion or debate. They don’t allow that people may have valid, differing opinions and still want what’s best for the country. In short, they don’t get that pluralism is a good and necessary thing in a modern society. I’m not saying that Democrats or liberals get it any more than they do — there’s plenty of blame to play the game.

So here’s this morning’s message from my Father, whom I love more each yeah, but with whom I don’t see eye to eye with on many, many things. My comments are inline:

Things that make you think a little: There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq in January. In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January. That’s just one American city, about as deadly as the entire war-torn country of Iraq.

Interesting. Now does that figure of 39 include Iraqi civilian and military casualties? No? Huh, why not? I know the administration has made noises about not being able to accurately assess the damage, but I call bull shit. Iraq Body Count estimates the current number as falling between 26,982 and 30,380. Wow, that’s a lot Mr. President. How many deaths in Detroit again? So you may dismiss IBC was a “left-wing media outlet” and maybe you’re right. But with no official numbers to compare to, how can we have an informed discussion? In other words, if the IBC is a left-wing outfit, why doesn’t the administration publish it’s own figures as a counterpoint?

Additionally, I think this figure, if it were accurate, would simply call into question our crime prevention efforts in the city of Detroit. Just because the death toll in two places is the same doesn’t make it OK — it just means you have two places that need attention.

When some claim that President Bush shouldn’t have started this war, state the following: a. FDR led us into World War II. b. Germany never attacked us; Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year. c. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,334 per year.

I think that any thinking person will acknowledge that comparing FDR’s entry to World War II and GWB’s invasion of Iraq is a farce. In the case of WW2, we had been attacked by a foreign power allied with Germany, who had also invaded several other sovereign nations. In the case of Iraq, both tests fail. Despite Vice President Cheney’s statements to the contrary, there has been no credible evidence — ever — that Saddam and bin Laden were allied.

d. John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us.. e. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.

Yes.

If you expect those who are against the war to view JFK’s entry into Vietnam as an argument in favor of going into Iraq, then more discussion needs to take place than I previously realized. I haven’t heard anyone suggest that Vietnam was a just war as opposed to Iraq which is unjust. I have heard many people suggest that both were and are unjust.

f. Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden’s head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.

I don’t have any knowledge about the second half of this statement, but let me address the first. Clinton entered Bosnia without UN consent because there was evidence of ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing, something the US has signed a treaty against. That treaty, incidentally, requires all signatories to actively combat genocide, which has had the unintended effect of simply making “genocide” a dirty word in world politics — if you don’t call it that, you don’t have to attack it. If you wanted to make an accurate comparison (or at least more accurate), perhaps Bush should have taken a look at the ongoing tragedy in Darfur.

g. In the years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran, and North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people. The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking.

So I’ll give you liberating Afghanistan and “crushing” the Taliban (although given some of the people currently in power in Afghanistan, I have to wonder just how crushed it is). And I’ll even give you inspectors in Libya and their subsequent dismantling of their nuclear program. What I won’t give you is Iran and North Korea. Sure, inspectors have been in and out over the past 5 years. But by refusing to even speak one on one with the North Koreans, the Bush administration has essentially raised it to an all or nothing, “my way or the highway” game. Frankly I think that’s more effective for bar fights than international diplomacy, but then I don’t have much experience with either. Oh wait, Bush didn’t have any experience with the latter. Never mind.

But .. It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation. We’ve been looking for evidence for chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records. It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick. It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!

So first I’d like to point out that the last sentence is somewhat misleading — Bush v. Gore settled the election and appointed Bush to the presidency in 2000 before the vote count was complete. I would also point out that after Reno was done with the Davidian compound there were no Davidians using IEDs against our ATF forces, but that would probably just be in bad taste. So I’ll just say this: daily attacks against our troops and Iraqi civilians alike hardly speaks to a “taken” country in my mind.

Oh, and just how long did it take Ted Kennedy to call the police? I’d like to know.

Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB! The Military morale is high!

I can’t speak to the second sentence, but maybe you could convince me of the first if Bush landed on an aircraft carrier in front of a banner reading “I’M DOING A GREAT JOB!” Oh wait…

The biased media hopes we are too ignorant to realize the facts.

I’m not saying the media is unbiased, but how is it that the discussion always centers around how biased CNN, NPR, etc are, and never FOX “News”? I think people just need to realize that we always see truth in opinions that are in line with our own. And sometimes it’s easier to call something “biased” as opposed to really trying to parse what they’re saying and examine it objectively. Do I watch FOX News? No. But I do read the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal with some regularlity, and while I rarely agree with everything I read there, I think that being informed and considering other view points is an important job of the citizenry.

But Wait. There’s more!

JOHN GLENN (ON THE SENATE FLOOR) Mon, 26 Jan 2004 11:13

Some people still don’t understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu speech, but it’s also a good example of one man’s explanation of why men and women in the armed services do what they do for a living.

This IS a typical, though sad, example of what some who have never served think of the military.

Senator Metzenbaum (speaking to Senator Glenn): “How can you run for Senate when you’ve never held a real job?”

Senator Glenn (D-Ohio): “I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook, Howard, it was my life on the line. It was not a nine-to-five job, where I took my tie off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.”

“I ask you to go with me … as I went the other day… to a veterans’ hospital and look those men … with their mangled bodies in the eye, and tell THEM they didn’t hold a job! You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee… and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their DADS didn’t hold a job. You go with me on Memorial Day, and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I’d like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell ME that those people didn’t have a job? What about you?”

You’re right, Metznebaum was out of line to say that of Glenn. But again, just because people are serving honorably doesn’t mean it’s for a just cause. Oh, and about people who never served in the military… ahem, Mr. President.

For those who don’t remember… During W.W.II, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney representing the Communist Party in the USA. Now he’s a Senator! If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran. It might not be a bad idea to keep this circulating.

I don’t know lots about Metzenbaum’s history, but I do know one thing: saying someone was an attorney representing the Communist Party is a McCarthy-esque smear tactic. Notice that they don’t actually say he was a Communist, only that he represented the party. Now he may have been a Communist (it’s really irrelevant), but everyone — everyone — deserves representation, even Communists. Those who set themselves up as defenders of strict interpretation of the Constitution would do well to remember that.

What really pisses me off is that people want to set this up as “us against them”. It’s not. This isn’t about what any one political party did that’s worse than what a sitting president did. This is about the current administration’s refusal to take responsibility for their actions. When Cheney blasts Democrats for voting for the war, and now railing against it, he’s right.

But that just means that more people are wrong, not that going to war was the right thing.

If people want to move the country forward, they’ll engage in serious discussion and debate, and not throw done ultimatums and “us v. them” missives. To paraphrase Carville, it’s the pluralism, stupid.

date:2005-11-18 09:24:32
wordpress_id:351
layout:post
slug:its-the-pluralism-stupid
comments:
category:politics