Monday, September 24, 2007

"Ending the war"

I heard an interview with Hillary on Sunday. She was in representative form—which means reciting prepared answers to duck tough questions. What struck me was her choice of verbs in describing her Iraq war policy. It was always the same verb: we must “end” the war in Iraq. What made this striking was the verb she avoided: she never talked about “winning” the war, only “ending the war.

Now, there are two ways to end a war: by winning or losing. And it’s pretty easy to end a war by losing. You simply surrender and retreat.

Perhaps the war in Iraq is a lost cause, although I think we should give Petraeus a chance to turn the situation around.

But the far left would like to see American suffer a resounding defeat. From its twisted perspective, America is the enemy, not militant Islam.

I’d add that there are a few folks on the far right who take the same position. Consider the tinfoil punditry of Peter Craig Roberts, which is frequently indistinguishable from the subversive, delusional ranting of Gore Vidal, Ramsey Clark, and Noam Chomsky.

I’ve never been a big fan of the Iraq war. I’m mainly been opposed to opponents of the war because I think their arguments—especially in the ramp up to war—were generally flawed arguments that misdiagnose the nature of the enemy, and therefore present a misguided strategy for dealing with the threat of global jihad.

34 comments:

  1. There needs to be a distinction made between individuals, groups and nations fighting for a cause and that of where one sits along the political spectrum.

    We need to get past the low-schooled nonsequiter of determining one's patriotism based on where they are politically in this country. The Ann Coulter delusion sydrome taken up so quickly by some on the right which insists that liberals aren't patriotic and don't fight for their country is the easiest lie to dispell. People need to think of a different reason if they want to hate liberals.

    Today, and finally, even ultra-cons are smelling the coffee and realizing that a certain conflict, which shouldn't have occurred in the first place, needs to come to an end.

    My generation (and yeah, I was in uniform in Asia) left Vietnam because we were getting nowhere. The country was absorbed into the communist movement. Now 40 years later nobody cares if we won or lost. The war is over--that's the important part.

    There are conflicts this country has gotten into which are justified and there are conflicts this country has gotten into which are not justified. Going to war so that some Americans might become enriched is not a conflict that is justifiable.

    You'll need to think of another reason for hating Hillary and four-fifths of the country who are opposed to the Bush administration and the Iraq war.

    Barry

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  2. If you think Hillary was ducking details on that question because she wants to "lose" the war then you're not paying attention. Hillary is not anti-war.

    She is using some anti-war noises to try to hold on to that portion of her base. She has no intention whatsoever to end the war in Iraq. In fact, she would like to start a few more. If you think back for a moment, I'll think you'll recall that not only was Clinton's presidency marked by constant military conflicts, she was behind most if not all of them.

    Also, those are not the only ways to end a war. That's a false dichotomy. Retreating is not the same thing as surrendering. And surrender is not required to retreat if you are the aggressor.

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  3. shamgar writes:

    "Also, those are not the only ways to end a war. That's a false dichotomy. Retreating is not the same thing as surrendering. And surrender is not required to retreat if you are the aggressor."

    Could you produce examples that might elucidate your response?

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  4. anonymous said...

    “There needs to be a distinction made between individuals, groups and nations fighting for a cause and that of where one sits along the political spectrum. We need to get past the low-schooled nonsequiter of determining one's patriotism based on where they are politically in this country.”

    To the contrary, some political positions are explicitly anti-American. Yes, Gore Vidal, Ramsey Clark, and Noam Chomsky are unpatriotic. You can quote me on that.

    And if you happen to think that your country is in the wrong, why would you rankle at the charge of being unpatriotic? Why wouldn’t you regard that charge as a badge of honor?

    “The Ann Coulter delusion sydrome taken up so quickly by some on the right which insists that liberals aren't patriotic and don't fight for their country is the easiest lie to dispell.”

    What does Ann Coulter have to do with my post? Nothing.

    Apparently you have a stock set of grievances which you copy/paste regardless of what was actually said.

    As for liberals who fight for their country, which war are we talking about? During Viet Nam, which you’ve made your frame of reference, liberals weren’t “fighting for their country.” Rather, they were fighting because they were drafted to fight. And, of course, many evaded the draft by various means—although liberals were not the only draft dodgers.

    “People need to think of a different reason if they want to hate liberals.”

    “Hate” is your word, not mine. But I agree with you that there are plenty of other reasons to “hate” liberals—if you choose to put it that way.

    “Today, and finally, even ultra-cons are smelling the coffee and realizing that a certain conflict, which shouldn't have occurred in the first place, needs to come to an end.”

    If you’re so opposed to the Iraq war, why do you rush to the defense of a candidate who used a lot of hawkish rhetoric to explain her original vote to authorize the Iraq war?

    “My generation (and yeah, I was in uniform in Asia) left Vietnam because we were getting nowhere.”

    Yes, you do seem to suffer from an acute and chronic case of Vietnam syndrome.

    “The country was absorbed into the communist movement.”

    Which was an unmitigated disaster for the S. Vietnamese, not to mention the Cambodians.

    “Now 40 years later nobody cares if we won or lost.”

    The Vietnamese care. The Cambodians care. And folks like you care, since that was a defining event in American liberalism. Deathless nostalgia for the Sixties’ antiwar movement.

    “The war is over--that's the important part.”

    No, that is not the only important part. How a war ends is at least equally important. For example, I happen to think it’s better that the Allies won WWII rather than the Axis—but maybe you disagree.

    “Going to war so that some Americans might become enriched is not a conflict that is justifiable.”

    Do you have any hard evidence that Bush and his war cabinet are receiving kickbacks for the Iraq war? Any offshore bank accounts you’d like to tell us about? Or are you attempting to confirm my point about delusional antiwar rhetoric?

    “You'll need to think of another reason for hating Hillary and four-fifths of the country who are opposed to the Bush administration and the Iraq war.”

    Actually, there’s been some shift in public opinion.

    And, for some reason, you keep casting the issue in terms of “hating” people. I guess you suffer from a guilt complex.

    But, once again, I agree with you that there’s no dearth of good reasons for “hating” Hillary, if you wish to put it that way.

    shamgar said...

    “If you think Hillary was ducking details on that question because she wants to ‘lose’ the war then you're not paying attention.”

    Did I limit the scope of my remark to the war? No. Hillary never gives straight answers, regardless of the question.

    “Retreating is not the same thing as surrendering.”

    Why not?

    “And surrender is not required to retreat if you are the aggressor.”

    So you’re saying that America was the aggressor? Given that Iraq was a war-mongering military dictatorship and state sponsor of terrorism, you need to clarify your standard of comparison.

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  5. Anonymous said:
    ---
    There needs to be a distinction made between individuals, groups and nations fighting for a cause and that of where one sits along the political spectrum.
    ---

    Wouldn't it be nice if anonymous did this then, instead of saying "The Ann Coulter delusion sydrome taken up so quickly by some on the right which insists that liberals aren't patriotic and don't fight for their country is the easiest lie to dispell"?

    Anonymous said:
    ---
    Today, and finally, even ultra-cons are smelling the coffee and realizing that a certain conflict, which shouldn't have occurred in the first place, needs to come to an end.
    ---

    Aside from the non-distinction made between individuals, groups and nations fighting for a cause and that of where on sits along the political spectrum that anonymous has here, this simply begs the question that Steve brought forth in the first place.

    It's not a question of ending the war. It's a question of HOW the war is ended.

    No one wants perpetual war. Not even if you swallow all the anti-Bush cyanide about the war for oil junk can you possibly think that anyone wants the war to continue. Suppose that Bush waged the war to grab oil; he can only use it after the war is over when the pipelines are stable and there are no threats to the production, etc. How can Bush steal a country's oil when its infrastructure is completely destroyed?

    But let's not think about that. Better to blame America first, as all good patriots must do....

    In any case, I had another thought in a similar vein. Before the war, I heard many people (mostly libertarians) say that the people in Iraq should rise up and overthrow Hussein themselves, just as American overthrew the evil British who dared tax our tea. If the people want freedom, surely they can deliver it themselves, was the claim.

    Surely if the people of Iraq wanted America out, they could rid the country of American troops, right? Surely if Iraqis were able to overthrow Hussein, should they have chosen to do so, they can easily overthrow the American oppressors, should they choose to do so.... Right?

    Since they don't overthrow Americans, they must (by the same logic employed before the war) want us there. Ergo, there is no "aggression" on the part of America, as Shamgar has suggested (which is not to imply that Shamgar used the above argument about Hussein; I'm merely using his words as an illustration now).

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  6. Did I limit the scope of my remark to the war? No. Hillary never gives straight answers, regardless of the question.

    Er...I agree...but that wasn't my point. My point is you mis-interpreted why she was ducking the question to be some desire to see America lose.


    “Retreating is not the same thing as surrendering.”

    Why not?


    Because words have meanings. I wouldn't even call for retreat, just exit. However, to stick to the terms in use now, retreat only necessarily implies withdrawal. It could be due to being in a dangerous position (and that would surely apply here) and seeking a safer vantage, but in this case we're talking a full scale exit, not re-positioning.

    Surrender specifically implies submission and giving over of control. That's a very different thing. Nobody to date has stated or implied that we should surrender to them.


    “And surrender is not required to retreat if you are the aggressor.”

    So you’re saying that America was the aggressor? Given that Iraq was a war-mongering military dictatorship and state sponsor of terrorism, you need to clarify your standard of comparison.


    Yes. We were the aggressor. There is no evidence that Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism. That was claimed, but isn't anymore. Kinda like the WMDs that weren't there. As far as I know, being a military dictatorship is not sufficient foundation for a just war.

    There are a lot of those. Are you going to advocate toppling every single one? Are you going to now advocate going to war with every nation whose political structure doesn't agree with your preferences?

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  7. No one wants perpetual war.

    Sorry, you're wrong there. Hillary in particular would like nothing better. War is the health of the state.

    If you want to make a strawman about Bush going after oil sure, you can knock that down. But that's not the reason the state loves war. They love it because war is how power is accumulated.

    And the more they have, the more it corrupts.

    But let's not think about that. Better to blame America first, as all good patriots must do....

    Yes, heaven knows dissenters are never patriots.

    In any case, I had another thought in a similar vein. Before the war, I heard many people (mostly libertarians) say that the people in Iraq should rise up and overthrow Hussein themselves,

    Absolutely. I'm sure you're right anyway though. I mean look how well democracy worked for them right? I mean, there's already talk here in the US of setting aside their elected government.

    just as American overthrew the evil British who dared tax our tea.

    Yeah...that was why. I'm hoping your being facetious here.

    Surely if the people of Iraq wanted America out, they could rid the country of American troops, right?

    Gee - of course, that couldn't be what they're doing every day could it? It couldn't be that people angry about that are swelling the ranks of insurgent groups that are killing our troops.

    ...right?

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  8. Matthew -


    Could you produce examples that might elucidate your response?


    Sure. We currently control Alaska. If Canada were to attack (I know, stay with me here) and we were to defend, and then decide to retreat, surrender would be involved because we would be ceding control of Alaska to the enemy.

    However, if we opted to repel Canada, and they gave up their attack and opted to retreat, there would be no surrender. They would have gained nothing, and ceded nothing. All ownership and rights remain the same, and of course they can always attack again should they find it necessary or desirable.

    Their decision that the cost outweighed the benefit and the resulting decision to exit the field of battle in no way implies surrender, nor does it necessary imply winning or losing. It was simply the end. In fact, they might even still be able to say they won. If their reason for attacking was to destroy something in particular, and they accomplished that objective, then they did what they set out to do and they "won".

    I'm curious what the standard is for "winning" for Peter and Steve. What is the objective? The subjugation of the Iraqi people? The death of everyone who opposes us? National conversion to Christianity? 2 weeks without a car bomb? A declaration from Washington?

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  9. Shamgar said:
    ---
    Sorry, you're wrong there. Hillary in particular would like nothing better [than perpetual war]. War is the health of the state.
    ---

    I totally disagree with your views of Hillary.

    Yes, Hell just froze. I actually defended Hillary.

    I don't think I can live with myself anymore.

    Seriously, though, don't you think you should put in a little bit of rationality here? Methinks you're reading too many conspiracy theories for your own good.

    Shamgar said:
    ---
    But that's not the reason the state loves war. They love it because war is how power is accumulated.
    ---

    This is a sweeping (and hasty) generalization. War is by no means the only (or even best) means of accumulating power. Just ask Hitler how much power it got him.

    But even WINNING wars isn't the best way to accumulate power. Compare US history to that of, say, Canada or Australia. All of these countries were former colonies of England. Only America rebelled. Only America then went through a bloody civil war for five years. Canadians and Aussies are both democratic countries today...without the bloodshed.

    They got independent power without war.

    Tell me again how this war = power thing works???

    Shamgar said:
    ---
    Yes, heaven knows dissenters are never patriots.
    ---

    It depends on what is being dissented, wouldn't it? But I, for one, cannot view someone who sides with a countries ENEMIES as being Patriots of that country.

    Note: I'm not saying patriotism = correct. There are moral times to be nonpatriotic (e.g. Germans who disagreed with Nazism in 1940).

    Thus, morality trumps blind patriotism. However, the fact remains that Germans who disagreed with the Nazis in the 1940s were not patriotic to the Nazi state. This should be fairly obvious.

    It's only people who knee-jerkingly link patriotism with moral good who would think that questioning someone's patriotism is "not allowed." Further, it is only someone who knee-jerkingly links patriotism with moral good who would think that it's a good argument to question someone's patriotism in the first place. My own use of it was sarcastic, as you seemed to pick up on already, so hopefully I need not explain further.

    Shamgar said:
    ---
    Absolutely. I'm sure you're right anyway though. I mean look how well democracy worked for them right? I mean, there's already talk here in the US of setting aside their elected government.
    ---

    A) There's always "talk" about everything in America.

    B) I agree that Bush was a bit (read: a lot) naive when it came to his idea that everyone would love democracy. But...

    C) You're missing the point of my comment completely. I was only pointing out the double standard employed by those on the left and by libertarians.

    Shamgar said:
    ---
    It couldn't be that people angry about that are swelling the ranks of insurgent groups that are killing our troops.
    ---

    You mean the Iranians, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Saudis who are fighting a proxy war in Iraq?

    Seriously, Bush said that we would leave if the Iraqis asked us to leave. If the Iraqis were so interested in removing us then they'd ask us to leave. If we didn't leave, it would be irrefutable proof that Bush is lying. So why haven't they done that yet?

    Obviously it's because they hate us so much they want Bush to remain in power. Yeah, that must be it.

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  10. Shamgar asked:
    ---
    I'm curious what the standard is for "winning" for Peter and Steve. What is the objective?
    ---

    Parallels have been drawn to Germany after WWII. These parallels seem apt here. I think part of your problem, Shamgar, is that you don't view Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror whereas I do. IMO, Iraq was never about Iraq. It's about the only country that happens to be between Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Be that as it may....

    The main point for victory in Iraq is two-fold:

    1) The inability of Iraq to serve as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against America or American assets in the world (see also American allies, such as Israel);

    2) The ability of Iraq to serve as a launching pad for American assaults against other terrorist states.

    The completion of these two goals would bring victory, in my mind. This will not happen without the support of the majority of the Iraqi people, nor will it happen without the continual fighting against the terrorists the continue to pour into that country today. Just as lancing a boil causes a flood of puss, so the war in Iraq will bring a flood of terrorists that our troops will need to kill. Because this is an armed conflict, a certain number of terrorists must die before the terrorists will give up; however, their surrender can be expedited by other means than violence too. Thus, the continual improvement of the Iraqi infrastructure, the humanitarian aid Americans offer, and the missionary work of Christians are all vital to making sure this works. Unfortunately, America cannot sanction the last point; but the Church certainly can and should.

    Thus, there are many tactics to fighting the war in Iraq to make it a success...and guess what? Our troops are doing it all.

    They are building schools, roads, and other infrastructure even as they are killing the largely foreign "insurgents" who would seek to destroy the Iraqi people (who, mind you, are bearing the brunt of the attacks by the terrorists). There are missionaries at work in Iraq too--I know some of them personally, although none of them are there "officially."

    So, we are doing what we need to do to complete the goal. But it's not going to happen overnight. No matter what the Ritalyn generation thinks, life doesn't occur in a soundbyte on TV.

    But Bush never said this would be over soon. In fact, he has always maintained it would be a long fight. So he's actually been very straightforward and honest with the American people. But even had he lied, the fact of the matter is that the world exists as it does now; and pulling out of Iraq will certainly not accomplish either of the above goals.

    Rather, it would actually cause an increase in the threat of Iraqi terrorist activities, and it would definitely deny the United State the ability to launch further attacks against terrorists from Iraq itself.

    Terrorists hate the United States. They have demonstrated for over thirty years their willingness to go to any measure to kill Americans. They do not think rationally either (how do you reason with someone who would blow himself up?). If we do not wish to have more 9/11 attacks, we have no option but to try to rid the world of terrorists.

    Thus, Iraq being part of the war on terror, it is necessary and vital for the safety of all Americans everywhere that we succeed there. And since succeess is not the draconian measures you bring up, but instead would result in measure that by-and-large would be acceptable to the Iraqi people, I'm waiting to hear from you what the downside to success in Iraq would be.

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  11. Mr. Hays,

    You quote three names as people who are unpatriotic. That's quite a ground swell isn't it?

    You make the statement that if one thinks their country is wrong why would one rankle at being called unpatriotic. What does one's love for their country (even to the point of serving it in uniform) have to do with pointing out things one believes are wrong with those who are leading the country? Would you have people say nothing? Perhaps if we were all like lemmings and said nothing then eventually the war might drag on so long that it would get to someone like you to serve overseas.

    You said liberals who fought in Vietnam were all drafted. Please provide us with the data that liberals did not enlist.

    While you're doing that you might want to develop another list of those chickenhawks on the right who didn't serve their country. Let me help you get started. Rush Limbaugh, Tom DeLay, Mike Savage, Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, George Will, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Bill Frist, Trent Lott, John Ashcroft, Phil Gram, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Sean Hanity, Tony Snow, Brit Hume, Chris Mathews, Jerry Falwell, Ted Nugent...

    Just let me know, I'll help you with many more names that can be added to the list. And, just let me know if you'd like a comparable list of prominent liberals who did walk the talk and serve.

    By the way Mr. Hays, did you serve?

    Barry

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  12. Yes, Hell just froze. I actually defended Hillary.

    I doubt it. Your ideology and Hillary's are a lot closer than you probably realize.

    Seriously, though, don't you think you should put in a little bit of rationality here?

    I fail to see where I'm being irrational. Perhaps you'd like to be specific about which part you feel is irrational? Perhaps if she doesn't like perpetual war, you can explain her never-ending list of other countries that should be policed? (Both in her prior administration, and her statements regarding her upcoming one. And lets not forget her essentially unflagging support for the Iraq war.)

    Methinks you're reading too many conspiracy theories for your own good.

    Sorry, that's not going to fly. You can try to lump me in and dismiss me like that if you wish, but I haven't said one thing about conspiracies. Nor have I read any within recent memory.

    This is a sweeping (and hasty) generalization. War is by no means the only (or even best) means of accumulating power. Just ask Hitler how much power it got him.

    That's absurd. Yes, because the testimony of not only the last 200 years of american history, let alone the entirety of WORLD history are insufficient evidence.

    You are making the mistake of conflating the state and the individuals over it. You also make the mistake of including the ending of war in evaluating its benefits to the state.

    Surely even you cannot argue that Hitler had not amassed power up until the end of the war. Sure, once defeated and his kingdom dismantled he had nothing left, but until that time his power is unquestionable.

    He had the loyalty of nearly all of his citizens, whether they agreed with everything he did or not -- often by means of patriotic language and loyalty to the land of Germany. To the point where he was able to openly round up the friends and neighbors of people in his own country to be murdered.

    Stalin accomplished the same.

    In our own history, during times of war we have suspended habeus corpus. We have passed laws allowing for the imprisonment of those who criticize the government. We have rounded up people into internment camps on the basis of their nationality. We have shut down newspapers that question the actions of its government. Things that would never be countenanced in peacetime.

    Further, government expands. New agencies are created. Spending skyrockets.

    When the war ends, some of those things are let up on. Some of the most onerous laws are repealed. Most of it, however, stays. And so the state grows, and so its power grows.

    But I, for one, cannot view someone who sides with a countries ENEMIES as being Patriots of that country.

    It's country's. Maybe you can't. Perhaps you value loyalty to the state above all else. I value truth, even when that truth is not easy. Even when it might suggest that I and/or my country might not be as pure as the driven snow. That it might have been wrong. Some people lack the courage to face those possibilities. They need their government to be the good guys, to always be in the right. They'll believe, say, and do anything it takes to maintain that illusion.

    (e.g. Germans who disagreed with Nazism in 1940).

    In what way? Just in opposing his murder of Jews and others? In opposing his expansionist war? In opposing his national socialism? Because you just said you can't see how siding with a countries enemies == Patriotism, and then you turn around and say this. How do you make those two statements fit together?

    Thus, morality trumps blind patriotism. However, the fact remains that Germans who disagreed with the Nazis in the 1940s were not patriotic to the Nazi state. This should be fairly obvious.

    Patriotism is defined by loyalty to and love of country. Not loyalty to and love of its government. Those germans who disagreed with the Nazis could still be said to be patriotic to the German nation in spite of (or maybe even because of) their opposition to the Nazi's national socialism.


    A) There's always "talk" about everything in America.

    When I said 'talk here' I didn't mean around the watercooler. You can hardly use that as a valid argument in this kind of discussion. I mean there has been murmuring in our government. This is relevant because it is a real precursor to possible action.

    You're missing the point of my comment completely. I was only pointing out the double standard employed by those on the left and by libertarians.

    No, I'm not. I'm pointing out that there IS no double standard. That in fact what you said PROVES our point. If they don't want something they're capable of rising up. They have been and ARE doing exactly that.

    The problem, I think, is a lack of understanding the political landscape of that area of the world. Those people are not a nation because they are a people formed of free association. Artificial lines were drawn. As a result you have, essentially, multiple nations in one nation, with only one of them in power at any one time. So simply saying "this group in power likes us, so therefore nobody is resisting" is foolishness.

    Imagine if tomorrow the UN marshalled forces, landed in Virginia, and overpowered the whitehouse. Following this, various leftist leaders like Gore and co, and some of the blue states pulled the classic "I for one welcome our new globalist overlords" line.

    Would you say then that America as a nation likes being ruled by the UN? Because if we didn't, this group here would ask us to leave? All the while ignoring the mass of armed individuals marching on Virginia?

    No, because they're fighting against us, they must be evil. They can't have any valid reasons for it. The only people whose opinions and actions can be trusted to tell us anything are the ones who agree with us.

    You mean the Iranians, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Saudis who are fighting a proxy war in Iraq?

    No, I mean the Iraqis that are joining. However, they are also noteworthy. I know you find this objectionable, and probably actionable. I'm sure as a result you endorse going to war with their respective countries as well.

    However, I wonder how you would feel if Iran were to invade Canada tomorrow and topple its government? Would you oppose people who found this to be threatening and chose to operate as part of a resistance force in Canada to help repel them?

    I wonder how you feel about our own past history as a country of supporting exactly those kinds of fighters ourselves when they were opposing governments we didn't like. Including providing arms to them.

    Seriously, Bush said that we would leave if the Iraqis asked us to leave.

    Hahaha. Yeah. That's hilarious. Kinda like how when the Iraqi government just recently wanted one of our private contractors to leave and tried to revoke their license to operate in Iraq they were told they had no authority to do that?

    I'm sure Saddam said the same thing. "Hey, if they wanted to be free, they'd tell me." Riiight.

    If we didn't leave, it would be irrefutable proof that Bush is lying.

    No it wouldn't. There's been regular irrefutable proof that Bush was lying, and people still don't believe it. You can put two videos side by side of Bush completely contradicting himself, obviously revealing lies, and people will still make excuses.

    They don't want to know the truth. They want to believe. They'd rather have the lie, and keep the moral high ground than have to face the truth.

    Obviously it's because they hate us so much they want Bush to remain in power. Yeah, that must be it.

    Yeah, cause you know, those are the only possibilities. It can't be fear. It can't be that they learned anything from the noises made about replacing the government the last time they dared even hint about defying the US. It can't be that they know we possess the ability to do considerably more harm to their nation. It can't be that the current government is afraid of losing power if we aren't there to prop it up. It can't be that they, like most people once they're on our government's dole, find the prospect of going off cold turkey frightening.

    No, lets not even begin to consider other possibilities, lets just jump on the first false dichotomy that comes along.

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  13. I think part of your problem, Shamgar, is that you don't view Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror whereas I do.

    Actually, I think that is YOUR problem. I do see it as part of that absurd concept, or at least being performed under the auspices of it. Iraq had nothing to do with what happened on 9/11. We started out going after the perpetrators, then when we couldn't get ahold of them, we began making tenuous ties between it and Iraq. Ties which have since been proven false.

    IMO, Iraq was never about Iraq. It's about the only country that happens to be between Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Huh? Iraq is between Iraq and Afghanistan? I'm not even sure what you were trying to say here, or what its relevance is to the discussion.

    1) The inability of Iraq to serve as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against America or American assets in the world (see also American allies, such as Israel);

    Israel is our Ally? You'd never know from the way we treat them. Further, they don't need us as an Ally. They are more than capable of defending themselves if we'll just leave them alone. In some ways even more so than we are. There is frankly no way we can prevent any nation from being a launching pad for Terrorism. Hell, our OWN nation was a launching pad for terrorism in the event that started all this. How exactly are you going to achieve this through this war?

    2) The ability of Iraq to serve as a launching pad for American assaults against other terrorist states.

    This just makes me shudder. I am literally horrified by this statement. I wonder if you pay attention at all to what is going on in the international stage. We have a habit of doing this you know. I wonder, how comfortable would you be if I intimidated your neighbor next to you, into allowing me to setup a rifle pointed into your bedroom window and controlled remotely. Now, I have no intention of firing it as long as you behave.

    This is what we do to other nations, and they are (quite rightly) sick of it. We are already reaping what we've sown in a small degree right now. Just from some small, largely ineffective, terrorist cells. It doesn't get reported very much, but the leaders in Russia and other similar nations are more and more unsettled by the number of bases and missile installations we are putting in aimed at their countries in neighboring countries we have intimidated into allowing it. Eventually there is going to be serious blowback, and our children are going to be the ones to reap the death and destruction that will come of it.

    It comes from exactly this sort of attitude. That we can simply bend other nations to our will, and force them to allow us to use them to expand our ability to threaten other countries into submission. We call it defense, but that is not what it is. Anymore than that rifle aimed into your window is defense.

    Because this is an armed conflict, a certain number of terrorists must die before the terrorists will give up

    I hate to break it to you, but we are not going to end terrorism anymore than we're going to "end" crime. The terrorists will not "give up". It's possible that if we kill enough people that they'll go to ground for awhile and hope we leave -- but extremely unlikely. It's far more likely that if we continue in that course that we'll face open opposition from other nations in the region. Especially if we make it clear we intend to setup a base there as a launching pad for possible future invasions of their nations.

    But Bush never said this would be over soon. In fact, he has always maintained it would be a long fight.

    Debatable. Depends on how much authority you give his spokespeople, who predicted 3-4 months from the toppling of Baghdad to leaving. Tommy Franks, in 4/2003 stated that the vision of the Bush administration was that all but one division of the US forces would be out of Iraq by 9/03. Same month, Condoleeza Rice told the NYT that we didn't want to be there for "years". She compared it to the Balkans which she called "unhealthy", and noted that the purpose of the American military was not peacekeeping or stability operations. (She was right, but that's been forgotten)

    In May of 2003, Bush himself declared an end to "major combat operations", including a nice big sign reading "Mission Accomplished"

    So he's actually been very straightforward and honest with the American people.

    Really? About the WMDs? About Lynch? About Nuclear Capability? About mobile weapons labs? Iraq's (and particularly Saddam's) ties to terrorism? About whats-his-name, the football player I think from Arizona? About Al-Anbar province?

    But even had he lied, the fact of the matter is that the world exists as it does now; and pulling out of Iraq will certainly not accomplish either of the above goals.

    Ah, so it really doesn't matter if he lied, if our being there is wrong, we are there now, so we might as well make it worse? Further, you assume the goals above are valid worthy goals, a fact that has not been established. Your statement here is basically shrugging your shoulders at any potential wrongdoing as "oh well". I find that reprehensible.

    Rather, it would actually cause an increase in the threat of Iraqi terrorist activities, and it would definitely deny the United State the ability to launch further attacks against terrorists from Iraq itself.

    Are we actually going to go after terrorists now? I think you mean "against nations we don't like, to whom we can make any sort of ties to terrorism valid or not." And you obviously don't care if they're valid or not, because being lied to by your government apparently doesn't matter to you.

    Further, the one thing that has consistently and most obviously increased acts of terrorism has been our presence in Iraq. Even if you only consider the period since 2003 and don't even begin to get into the consequences of our prior activities in the region.

    Terrorists hate the United States.

    Terrorists hate lots of people. And lots of people hate the United States. Michael Moore LIVES here and hates the US. (bad example, I'm sure we'd both probably look the other way on that one.)

    They have demonstrated for over thirty years their willingness to go to any measure to kill Americans. They do not think rationally either (how do you reason with someone who would blow himself up?). If we do not wish to have more 9/11 attacks, we have no option but to try to rid the world of terrorists.

    I would say you are assuming irrationality as a universal for them. There is definitely a lot of that. We should recognize that and realize that anyone willing to kill themselves in such a manner is not likely to be intimidated by being killed. Why do they hate America? I know it's popular to say it's because of our freedom, but the people who actually have been embedded in their civilization, who know how to read these things, have consistently pointed to our actions in the region as a primary (though not sole) cause.

    I don't want more 9/11 attacks. However, I disagree that the only way to accomplish this is by wreaking death and destruction on other nations. 9/11 could have been prevented. Not without any loss of life, but it could've been a lot less. And the method for that is tied to liberty, abandoning a dependence on government for our safety and security, and a sense of personal responsibility. All of that was demonstrated on flight 93 on 9/11. If we want to defend ourselves from attack, then we do it here, not on the other side of the world.

    it is necessary and vital for the safety of all Americans everywhere that we succeed there.

    No, it's not. I am not safer today than I was on 9/10/01, 9/11/01, or 9/12/01. If anything I'm less safe. Our actions since have not learned anything from flight 93, or the flights full of people that quailed and waited on government to save them. We have only increased our reliance on the same government and same government agencies that utterly failed us on that day. We have agitated the enemy, and become their greatest recruiting tool.

    Lastly, they simply aren't that dangerous. These people are largely not that bright. There's no reason they shouldn't have been caught in their attempts to pull off the 9/11 attack. Most every other plan we've "caught" since then has been utterly unworkable. The baloney about mixing chemicals on a plane. The sheer idiocy of trying to attack a military base in the US.

    These people cannot destroy our civilization. They are not even close to capable of that. They can cause death, sometimes even significant amounts of death. So far however, only through the lack of vigilance of American citizens....which brings us right back to our government.

    And since succeess[sic] is not the draconian measures you bring up

    Heh. No, it's far worse than what I imagined.

    but instead would result in measure that by-and-large would be acceptable to the Iraqi people

    Wow, that's some serious hubris there. I love the way we just assume everyone else loves us, and would have no conceivable reason to not want us to be occupying their country, and/or using it as a launching pad for potential attacks against other nations. Heaven knows we'd be ok with that right? It wouldn't bother us to drive past a chines military base on our way to work.

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  14. Shamgar,

    I'm impressed at your ability to ignore the context of everything I've said, to assume the absolute worst possible interpretation of everything, and your amazing ability to see Hillary in every shadow.

    You should seek medical help. That's only barely a joke.

    If I feel like responding later I might, but since you're obvioulsy not really interested in dialogue I doubt I'll waste the effort on it. You go live in your own universe while those of us in the real one will keep the real world safe for you to dream.

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  15. I'm impressed at your ability to ignore the context of everything I've said, to assume the absolute worst possible interpretation of everything, and your amazing ability to see Hillary in every shadow.

    Given that this is not the first time we interacted, I don't believe that. I interpreted your words in light of our prior discussions and the stream of thought you follow in terms of the role of government.

    I really don't get the Hillary comment - I mentioned her what...once in that post? I'm not afraid of Hillary, or at least not any more so than I am Rudy McRomney. She's pretty much not even on my radar right now.

    You should seek medical help. That's only barely a joke.

    Nice. I am here representing a stream of thought that goes back hundreds of years. I stand in a strong historic tradition in terms of the Christian definition of a just war, and in terms of how a free society should look and operate - and what it should expect from its government. And for that you believe I need medical help.

    If I feel like responding later I might, but since you're obvioulsy not really interested in dialogue I doubt I'll waste the effort on it.

    Well, don't strain yourself on my account.

    You go live in your own universe while those of us in the real one will keep the real world safe for you to dream.

    Again, nice. Well, I'm not surprised you resorted to ad-hom attacks, it's not like it's the first time. However I am a little surprised you ran out of other responses so quickly.

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  16. I have read this thread of responses with interest since yesterday and had a few responses formulated in my head that I did not submit. This time, however, I think I will.

    This war is not going to be won, unless we fudge the definition of the word "win." It simply must be ended. And the sooner, the better. The fact is, this country, and the country of Iraq, is worse off because of this war. The fact is, we, and the people of Iraq, are less safe now than we were before we went there. The fact is, just war is a Christian cause to which many conservatives, even Christians, swear their allegiance and then back away from when the questions about the Iraq war begin to reveal their consistencies. The fact is, love of country (patriotism) is completely different from submission to tyranny. Murder, rape, and destruction are wrong even if you dress them in the flag and call it patriotism. If it is wrong for a man to murder, to steal, to destroy, then it is equally wrong to send our military to do it, or to excuse our military for doing so. God has set the parameters for morality, and they do not apply only in certain instances, nor do they exist in shades of gray.

    If you are a Christian, then you will understand the need to be the same person in the dark as you are in the light. This is the definition of integrity. Consistently obeying the Word of God is not always an easy road, especially in the field of politics when much temporary gain or loss is at stake. We see otherwise good men condone military actions that they would never employ personally. However, if we would not personally descend upon another man's home and kill his children, rape his wife, destroy his fields, and leave him desolate, then it is equally wrong for us to condone our military doing so. To consider speaking out against an unjust war that has taken innocent lives and added greatly to the numbers of fatherless and widows as "unpatriotic" is simple ignorance.

    If we do not wish to have more 9/11 attacks, we have no option but to try to rid the world of terrorists.

    You can no more do this than you can rid the world of sin. Evil will continue to be at work on this earth until the end of time. The idea of having some sort of militaristic assault on an idea is simply laughable. You cannot climb into the brains of evil men and change the way they think. Even if you could, and you rid the world entirely of modern-day terrorists, the thought is still thinkable tomorrow and into the next generations and terrorism will rise again in some form. All you can hope to do is respond to it when it occurs. You cannot wage war on a notion. And even if you could, what price are you willing to pay? How many families need to be devastated before we can say, It is enough? And when, as it surely would, terrorism rears its ugly head again in later years, do we do it all again? Sacrifice another generation of families in another unwinnable war?

    Now, Peter, for your last post...

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am Shamgar's wife. Because of that, I got a good amount of amusement out of the "Hillary in every corner" comment. My husband and I are very political. We talk politics almost as much as we talk theology. ;-) I can assure you that there is not a "Hillary in every corner" mindset going on here, nor do I see in any of the above posts what in the world would have given you that impression. Hillary, at least, is predictable. We know where she stands because she's a straight out liberal. No jacking around with Hillary. We expect her to want war (excuse me, "military action") because that's her MO and war means power, which the liberal agenda seeks at every turn. She is no surprise and therefore not worthy of much conversation or recognition. We do, however, have lively discussions, forehead slapping, and sometimes even jaw-dropping bewilderment over some of the things so-called "conservatives" say. Things like, oh, I don't know... "No options should be taken off the table" when Republican candidates that market their Christianity like they do their government tenure are asked if they would start a nuclear war with Iran. Yeah, we're far too busy trying to take back the definition of "Conservative" to worry about seeing Hillary in any corner, much less every one.

    You should seek medical help. That's only barely a joke.

    That would explain why it isn't funny in the least.
    Sir, I will tell you only what I tell my children here at home. The words you speak can never be erased. They have already been heard, acknowledged, and you will be judged by them. Your character is revealed partly by the words you speak.

    Perhaps you're just a spit it out and see what happens sort of guy (which isn't a good thing). I know a few of them. But from where I'm sitting, it seems you just told a fellow believer that he should "get medical help," in other words, that there might be something wrong with his cognitive function, because his political opinions differ from yours. And I thought non-Christian women on message boards were caustic and catty.

    Psalm 19:14

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  17. I think it's safe to say that peter pike has been pummelled by Shamgar. Notice the weak excuses from Peter... Peter wants to take his ball and go home. ;)

    Oh, Peter, a book to look into is Robert Higg's Leviathan. It shows the growth of gov in times of 'crises'.

    Vote RonPaul2008

    regards,
    a different anonymous

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  18. A few quick notes.

    A) When someone treats Hillary as if she's larger than life, maybe the Antichrist him/herself, with superheroic powers to destroy the entire world and

    B) When that same someone insists that people who believe as I do are nothing better than warmongerers who don't understand political history and yet

    C) Same person does not deal with anything I actually write or any of the responses I give, I feel no need to waste my time responding to that person.

    Shamgar's arguments do go back centuries. They go back through the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for instance (just replace "the Jews" with "Hillary" and see for yourself); they go back before that to the Rosicrucian texts (replace "the Templars" from the Roscicrucian texts with "Hillary"); yadda yadda yadda. As the song goes: "It's all been done."

    The same washed-up conspiracy. Machiavelli behind every rock. Our "rights" are being trampled all the time despite our not being able to demonstrate it. The NSA satellite is overhead even now.

    They're reading my e-mails because Bush has nothing better to do with his time.

    They're bugging my phone because I'm so darn important the establishment has to be worried about me.

    Therefore, they invent hockey so I'll be stupid enough to not pay attention when they declare war on a country that had nothing to do with the suspects they pretend had something to do with blowing up a few buildings that we really had everything to do with destroying. The spaghetti thickens...it must be true, else why the lump in my throat?

    I don't buy the conspiracy theories. I don't buy that Hillary is Satan. I don't buy that the people who run our country are more evil than the innocent terrorists in Muslim countries who cheered on 9/11. I don't buy that Iraq is worse off now than it was before we got there. I don't buy that our response should be to live in a bunker with a giant gun to protect ourselves from the ATF.

    Sorry if I can't believe that our government is simultaneously too incompetant to do anything right and yet so freaking genius as to hide the agenda in ways that only Libertarians are bright enough to grasp.

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  19. Peter,

    well that wasn't exactly an intelligent response to shamgar..

    I've read through these comments and I'd have to say that you have been answered by Shamgar. and you answer him by asserting that you just don't believe it and refer to his objections as conspiracy theories. simply amazing how neo-cons and others dismiss people as 'conspiracy theorists' and offer nothing substantive.

    You should really expand your reading list to include the likes of Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, George Reismann, John C. Calhoun, John Taylor of Caroline, Abel Upshur, and others. Or you could read the former head of the CIA's Osama Bin Laden Unit, Michael Scheuer. Or you could read the foremost expert on suicide terrorism, Robert Pape. Or you could even read James Bovards well documented books, esp with regard to lost rights.

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  20. When someone treats Hillary as if she's larger than life, maybe the Antichrist him/herself, with superheroic powers to destroy the entire world

    Huh? When did I do this?

    Same person does not deal with anything I actually write or any of the responses I give, I feel no need to waste my time responding to that person.

    I interacted with EVERYTHING you said.

    Shamgar's arguments do go back centuries. They go back through the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for instance (just replace "the Jews" with "Hillary" and see for yourself); they go back before that to the Rosicrucian texts (replace "the Templars" from the Roscicrucian texts with "Hillary"); yadda yadda yadda. As the song goes: "It's all been done."

    Whoa - put the crack pipe down man. What in the world is THAT all about?

    The same washed-up conspiracy. Machiavelli behind every rock. Our "rights" are being trampled all the time despite our not being able to demonstrate it. The NSA satellite is overhead even now.

    Hrm. I said nothing about him, never mentioned our "rights" and said nothing about NSA satellites. However, yes, our liberty is being infringed. And yes, it can be demonstrated. In fact, I'm not sure how you could possibly not see it. Are you living under a rock? What you mean is, it hasn't happened to you so therefore it isn't happening to anyone, nor could it.


    They're reading my e-mails because Bush has nothing better to do with his time.

    Something else I never mentioned, and once again you fail to really understand the concerns people who deal with this are making. Nobody who has issues with the government sniffing email content thinks Bush is sitting at his desk reading their emails. Even businesses don't do that for email they have to monitor. We have sophisticated search software that is able to trigger based on content. Not just keywords, but also their proximity to each other and their order, to provide good matches.

    Further, our own government in their investigations have found repeatedly that the powers granted for these types of searches, not to mention warrantless secret searches have been repeatedly abused. That shouldn't surprise anyone with a true understanding of man's total depravity. Power is a core temptation. Satan wasn't being facetious when he attempted to tempt Christ to by offering him power and glory in exchange for worship.

    There was just a report the other day about the database of content the government is keeping on travelers. People requested their files and found books they were reading on flights listed in their file, as potentially subversive content. There is a man quoted in that article whose writings were printed in papers and other periodicals and were critical of the administration. He is regularly stopped at airports and questioned about his articles.

    But hey, who cares right? I mean, we're at war. We don't get free speech in wartime right? I mean, our government has argued that before. That's why we've had the Espionage act, and the various alien and sedition acts. We "regret" them afterwards, but it hasn't stopped us from doing it again.

    You're not worried. Fine. But those of us who have concerns, and see that our government is clearly not above targeting those who publicly disagree with them are just a little bit bothered by these trends, and I think have some rightful concerns about this kind of behavior. Especially when they have passed laws already which would be sufficient to allow them to come and cart me off to gitmo with no right to appeal, no right of habeas corpus, citizen or not. But that doesn't happen right? You've never heard of it happening, and it hasn't happened to anyone you know, so who cares?

    Therefore, they invent hockey so I'll be stupid enough to not pay attention when they declare war on a country that had nothing to do with the suspects they pretend had something to do with blowing up a few buildings that we really had everything to do with destroying. The spaghetti thickens

    Good grief. Are you now trying to lump me in with the 911truthers? Where in the world do you get THAT? Talk about a straw man. I never said we blew up our own buildings. We had every right to go after the terrorist group responsible, and we started out that way. Recognizing that we had no just reason to decimate Iraq following that action is completely different.

    I don't buy the conspiracy theories. I don't buy that Hillary is Satan.

    Great! I don't either. On either count.

    I don't buy that the people who run our country are more evil than the innocent terrorists in Muslim countries who cheered on 9/11.

    Great! I don't either.

    I don't buy that Iraq is worse off now than it was before we got there.

    Well you're just being purposely dense then. We've rained death and destruction on them. Their economy was destroyed because we failed to protect their central bank after Baghdad fell. They lost a majority of their national treasures as their museums were ransacked. They lost priceless and irreplaceable documents when their library went up in flames. Their own people have been killed and maimed by the insurgents fighting against us. We have private contractors regularly involved in killings whose justification is questionable at best. Our own efforts have been hampered by regular mismanagement of the war itself. Things got so bad that they had to start forming up militias, sometimes even across Sunni/Shia boundaries just to keep their own families safe from harm. (Which we then did our best to squash, despite their success in the Al-Anbar province ... and then we tried to take credit for it.)

    These are not conspiracy theories either. I am sure you'd like to believe that, but our own high-ranking military officials are saying this. Our own guys coming up from Iraq are saying this. The militia issue was even recommended by a soldier as a better means of dealing with the problem to his superiors. That man is now dead another brave man killed unnecessarily.

    Even men I know or have otherwise spoken to personally who have served over there have quite a different view than the one we are fed by our administration, or than they are allowed to present officially. This ought not to surprise us. We know quite well that our government did much the same thing during the Vietnam war. Information management is important for public support.

    I don't buy that our response should be to live in a bunker with a giant gun to protect ourselves from the ATF.

    Oh good grief. Whatever.


    Sorry if I can't believe that our government is simultaneously too incompetant[sic] to do anything right and yet so freaking genius as to hide the agenda in ways that only Libertarians are bright enough to grasp.

    Incompetence is embodied in what government is, not who it is. It doesn't matter how smart they are, it is just a truism of government that it is ill-suited to nearly every task. That is why our founders limited it to certain very specific ones.

    Nobody said they hid anything. Nothing I've discussed is some inside information unavailable to the general public. Much of it is openly admitted by at least part, if not all, of the government. You don't have to be particularly intelligent, you just have to be willing.

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  21. SHAMGAR SAID:

    “Er...I agree...but that wasn't my point. My point is you mis-interpreted why she was ducking the question to be some desire to see America lose.”

    I didn’t say she wanted America to lose. The problem is that she isn’t even framing the issue in terms of winning or losing, but simply “ending” the war. And if we were to end it the way she proposes, we would lose.

    “Because words have meanings. I wouldn't even call for retreat, just exit.”

    Our enemies aren’t reading the Oxford English Dictionary. The question is how they would interpret our “exit.”

    If we “exit” before the mission has been accomplished, then that would rightly be viewed as a defeat for America. We gave up. We cut and ran.

    “There is no evidence that Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism. That was claimed, but isn't anymore.”

    Stephen F. Hayes, my namesake over at the Weekly Standard, would beg to differ.

    “Kinda like the WMDs that weren't there.”

    Several issues.

    i) The fact that they weren’t there by the time we got there doesn’t mean that weren’t there at the time Bush made his case for war. Saddam had plenty of lead-time to whisk them out of the country.

    ii) But let’s assume, with the benefit of hindsight, that Saddam was bluffing. Even prewar opponents of the war, like the Cato Institute, were citing WMD as a reason not to go to war, on the grounds that, with his back to the wall, Saddam would use his WMD against our troops.

    So how is your objection an objection to the war? A commander-in-chief can only act on the best info he has at the time. The intel may be flawed, but he only knows that after the fact.

    It’s a fact of life that we must frequently make momentous decisions on the basis of inadequate information. So it comes down to a question of risk assessment. Since both action and inaction have consequences, which potential mistake is costlier? Our risk assessment may turn out to be wrong, but that’s the best we can do.

    I don’t require a commander-in-chief to be right all the time; I only require him to be reasonable.

    “As far as I know, being a military dictatorship is not sufficient foundation for a just war.”

    I’m not framing the issue in terms of just war doctrine, you are. Just war doctrine is not a Biblical doctrine. Rather, it’s Catholic doctrine.

    I agree with Yoder that just-war theorists always fudge in practice. It’s too idealized to be feasible.

    I would start with something like the rules for conventional warfare in Deut 20 and adapt them to the circumstances of modern warfare.

    “There are a lot of those. Are you going to advocate toppling every single one?”

    You have a problem following your own argument. I’m not the one who cast the issue in terms of the “aggressor.” I was simply answering you on your own grounds. Try to keep track of your own argument for a change.

    “Are you going to now advocate going to war with every nation whose political structure doesn't agree with your preferences?”

    Now you’re degenerating into moral frivolity, as if this is just a question of different “political structures.” People like you deserve to rot in a Soviet gulag for a few years to cure you of these trivializing comparisons.

    “I'm curious what the standard is for ‘winning’ for Peter and Steve. What is the objective? The subjugation of the Iraqi people? The death of everyone who opposes us? National conversion to Christianity? 2 weeks without a car bomb? A declaration from Washington?”

    Shamgar continues his moral frivolity.

    i) I’m not supporting or opposing the Iraq war in this post.

    ii) The standard, for better or worse, was set by Bush. We went there to disarm the country, topple the regime, and install a working democracy.

    If we succeed in that objective, we win—if we fail, we lose.

    It would be nice if Bush had been more rhetorically flexible, but that is how he defined the terms of success and failure.

    iii) Speaking for myself, I define success in the “war on terror” (not limited to the Iraq war) in terms of risk management. We cut our enemies down to size as best we can.

    “Patriotism is defined by loyalty to and love of country. Not loyalty to and love of its government.”

    Liberal critics of the war effort don’t limit their criticisms to the Republican administration. They attack Jewish “Neocons.” They attack Evangelicals, fundamentalists, and Catholic conservatives. They attack any remnant of Christian values in traditional American culture.

    So, yes, they hate America. They hate the military. They hate the Church. They hate traditional family values.

    They want to turn America into Sweden. So, yes, they are anti-American to the core. And they have been for decades. It’s a continuation of liberals who used to defend Stalinism.

    For liberal critics of the war, the war is merely emblematic of everything they hate about America.

    Not all critics of the war are liberals, and it’s possible to be a rational critic of the war (e.g. George Will, Robert Novak, William F. Buckley).

    In the ramp up to war, the Cato Institute offered some reasonable objections to the war, although its predictions were very hit-and-miss.

    However, many of the opponents of the war aren’t limiting themselves to tactical criticisms. Rather, they oppose the whole strategy of treating the threat of global jihad in martial terms rather than legal or diplomatic terms. They don’t believe in fighting back.

    “I mean there has been murmuring in our government. This is relevant because it is a real precursor to possible action.”

    Against Iran? And what’s the problem with that, exactly?

    If a bombing Iran’s WMD facilities can set back their WMD program by several years, why shouldn’t we take such action?

    “No, because they're fighting against us, they must be evil. They can't have any valid reasons for it. The only people whose opinions and actions can be trusted to tell us anything are the ones who agree with us.”

    A straw man argument.

    “I'm sure as a result you endorse going to war with their respective countries as well.”

    Cutting Syria down to size would be a good thing.

    However, Shamgar is using a stupid, all-or-nothing argument: if you can’t do everything, you shouldn’t do anything.

    “I wonder how you feel about our own past history as a country of supporting exactly those kinds of fighters ourselves when they were opposing governments we didn't like. Including providing arms to them.”

    We have shifting alliances depending on the threat. During the Cold War, Russia was more of a threat than Iran and Iraq.

    “Iraq had nothing to do with what happened on 9/11.”

    That was never a premise of the Iraq war. The rationale for the war was explicitly preemptive, remember?

    “We started out going after the perpetrators.”

    Global jihad is bigger than Bin Laden. Islamic terrorism is an international phenomenon. It’s not confined to the badlands of Afghanistan or Pakistan.

    “Then when we couldn't get ahold of them, we began making tenuous ties between it and Iraq.”

    So, unlike some critics of the war, you’re admitting that the war in Iraq was an afterthought—not a fait accompli.

    “There is frankly no way we can prevent any nation from being a launching pad for Terrorism.”

    There’s no guarantee, but you can lessen the risk.

    “Hell, our OWN nation was a launching pad for terrorism in the event that started all this.”

    Now he shows his true colors. Tokyo Rose for the 21C.

    “This is what we do to other nations, and they are (quite rightly) sick of it.”

    Yes, I know. First we saved the world from global fascism. Then we saved the world from global communism. As I say, folks like Shamgar deserve to rot in a Soviet gulag for a few years. Why doesn’t he buy a one-way ticket to N. Korea?

    “It doesn't get reported very much, but the leaders in Russia and other similar nations are more and more unsettled by the number of bases and missile installations we are putting in aimed at their countries in neighboring countries we have intimidated into allowing it.”

    Given that Putin wants to revive the Cold War, why shouldn’t we take certain precautions?

    “Eventually there is going to be serious blowback.”

    Yes, “blowback.” You must never defend yourself since that would make the enemy mad at you. You should just kneel down and let him put a bullet in the back of your head. You first, Shamgar.

    “It comes from exactly this sort of attitude. That we can simply bend other nations to our will, and force them to allow us to use them to expand our ability to threaten other countries into submission.”

    Shamgar is just another self-loathing American. Why don’t you apply for N. Korean citizenship—where you would feel more at home?

    He acts like America is the Roman Empire. To the contrary, we’ve been extremely restrained in our use of force. If we’ve been at fault, it’s from excessive restraint rather than excessive force.

    “Really? About the WMDs? About Lynch? About Nuclear Capability? About mobile weapons labs? Iraq's (and particularly Saddam's) ties to terrorism?”

    Bush is the commander-in-chief, not the DCI. For better or worse, he relies on what his intel agencies tell him.

    “Ah, so it really doesn't matter if he lied, if our being there is wrong, we are there now, so we might as well make it worse?”

    Of course, this is a distortion of what Peter said. Peter’s point, I think, is that even if the Iraq war was a miscalculation, the question is whether you make the best of the situation.

    “I find that reprehensible.”

    I find your distortion reprehensible. I find your ingratitude reprehensible.

    “And you obviously don't care if they're valid or not, because being lied to by your government apparently doesn't matter to you.”

    Shamgar is rewriting history. During the ramp up to war, there were a lot of “experts” who supported the case for war. They were not gov’t employees. It’s not as if we were getting all of our information funneled through the White House press secretary.

    Even a turncoat like Scott Ritter originally opposed the containment policy in Iraq and accused Saddam of playing cat-and-mouse with his WMD program.

    People like you are very forgetful of who said what. Many spokemen, inside and outside gov’t, for and against the war, misspoke in the ramp up to war.

    “We should recognize that and realize that anyone willing to kill themselves in such a manner is not likely to be intimidated by being killed.”

    But most Muslims aren’t suicide-bombers, even if they support suicide bombers.

    “And the method for that is tied to liberty, abandoning a dependence on government for our safety and security, and a sense of personal responsibility.”

    Are you saying that we should disband the CIA and Pentagon, move to log cabins in Idaho, and organize local militias to defend ourselves against ICBMs, suitcase bombs, and biochem weapons?

    “If we want to defend ourselves from attack, then we do it here, not on the other side of the world.”

    We wait for our enemies to launch a first strike, then counterattack with our muskets and slingshots.

    “Murder, rape, and destruction are wrong even if you dress them in the flag and call it patriotism. If it is wrong for a man to murder, to steal, to destroy, then it is equally wrong to send our military to do it, or to excuse our military for doing so…We see otherwise good men condone military actions that they would never employ personally. However, if we would not personally descend upon another man's home and kill his children, rape his wife, destroy his fields, and leave him desolate, then it is equally wrong for us to condone our military doing so.”

    This is the Al-Jazeera version of the American war effort.

    The vast majority of our soldiers have served with great honor, despite extreme provocation, under alm0st unbearable conditions.

    Only a tiny fraction of a fraction is guilty of misconduct. And they are prosecuted.

    Slanderous, ungrateful ankle-biters like Tamara don’t deserve to be protected by our brave and noble soldiers. They spit in their face and parrot the libelous lies of our mortal enemies.

    “All you can hope to do is respond to it when it occurs.”

    No, you can do more than “respond.” You can take proactive measures.

    “You quote three names as people who are unpatriotic. That's quite a ground swell isn't it?”

    Irrelevant, since I didn’t cite them to illustrate a “groundswell.”

    “You said liberals who fought in Vietnam were all drafted. Please provide us with the data that liberals did not enlist.”

    Since they opposed the war, why would they voluntarily serve in a war they opposed? Are you accusing your fellow vets of hypocrisy?

    “While you're doing that you might want to develop another list of those chickenhawks on the right who didn't serve their country.”

    In my original reply to you, I already granted that some conservatives also evaded the draft.

    “Let me help you get started. Rush Limbaugh, Tom DeLay, Mike Savage, Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, George Will, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Bill Frist, Trent Lott, John Ashcroft, Phil Gram, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Sean Hanity, Tony Snow, Brit Hume, Chris Mathews, Jerry Falwell, Ted Nugent...”

    Since, to my knowledge, Pat Buchanan, George Will, and Chris Matthews oppose the Iraq war, why are they on the list?

    You point is what—some hawks are hypocritical? So what?

    That’s an emotional objection to the war. It’s irrelevant to the question of whether a particular war serves the interests of our national security.

    “And, just let me know if you'd like a comparable list of prominent liberals who did walk the talk and serve.”

    What walk and talk would that be? If you think the Vietnam war was a dishonorable cause, then it would be dishonorable to voluntarily serve in the battlefields of SE Asia.

    “By the way Mr. Hays, did you serve?”

    I wasn’t draft age.

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  22. This is the Al-Jazeera version of the American war effort.

    No, I'm sorry, it is not. Is Al-Jazeera the only news source reporting the deaths of innocent women and children? Are they the only ones showing pictures of women standing near piles of rubble that were once their homes? Is Al-Jazeera the only news source reporting the deaths brought about by an America contractor? Is Al-Jazeera the only news source that shows children missing limbs and lying dead in the street? Hardly so. These are the facts that are strewn across all the news networks, facts which even our own government does not deny. Do they get their news from Al-Jazeera too?

    The difference between them and me is that they can shrug it off as a simple cost of the war. I, instead, see the lives destroyed and the desolation these families will be left to recover from, and I find it deplorable.


    Slanderous, ungrateful ankle-biters like Tamara don’t deserve to be protected by our brave and noble soldiers. They spit in their face and parrot the libelous lies of our mortal enemies.

    OK, the ankle-biter comment has me confused, so I'll just move past that one.

    Slanderous? Who in the world did I slander?

    Ungrateful? Hardly, sir. I love my country and for that reason I pray that God grants us mercy, undeserved but needed still. I am the daughter and granddaughter of military veterans, a fact of which I am proud and by which I feel honored. My father is an old-school Republican who hates this war and hates the policies which brought it about, an honorable servant to his country and a Christian to boot.

    My uncle is a Vietnam vet who was sent home a broken man. Over the years we have watched him live in pain and observed as a proud man had to sacrifice his personal dignity due to wounds caused him by his military service. I am honored to count these men among my relatives. Ungrateful? Hardly, sir.


    As I say, folks like Shamgar deserve to rot in a Soviet gulag for a few years. Why doesn’t he buy a one-way ticket to N. Korea?

    You should just kneel down and let him put a bullet in the back of your head. You first, Shamgar.


    You know, reading these comments of yours (among others), I am rather troubled. At what point do you believe it is OK to set aside the principles of Christian charity and denigrate a fellow believer? Where, in your estimation, is the line that Christians should not cross?

    Good men can disagree, but good Christian men should do so charitably and with their testimony intact. To be honest I'm appalled by your approach as it reeks of careless contempt and vitriol.

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  23. *~Tamara~* said:

    "Slanderous? Who in the world did I slander?"

    Our servicemen.

    "You know, reading these comments of yours (among others), I am rather troubled. At what point do you believe it is OK to set aside the principles of Christian charity and denigrate a fellow believer? Where, in your estimation, is the line that Christians should not cross?"

    Like a lot of critics, you lack any capacity for self-criticism.

    You show no charity towards our soldiers. Rather, you denigrate them.

    You need to use some windex on your bathroom mirror and take a good look at yourself. Try following your own advice for a change.

    "Good men can disagree, but good Christian men should do so charitably and with their testimony intact. To be honest I'm appalled by your approach as it reeks of careless contempt and vitriol."

    No one would know better than you, since you're a master of careless contempt and vitriol:

    "“Murder, rape, and destruction are wrong even if you dress them in the flag and call it patriotism. If it is wrong for a man to murder, to steal, to destroy, then it is equally wrong to send our military to do it, or to excuse our military for doing so…We see otherwise good men condone military actions that they would never employ personally. However, if we would not personally descend upon another man's home and kill his children, rape his wife, destroy his fields, and leave him desolate, then it is equally wrong for us to condone our military doing so.”

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  24. Steve, you are correct you didn't say outright that she wanted us to lose, however you did tie her to the far left (and rightfully so) and said that's what the far left wants. I figured the implication was on purpose and fairly obvious and just connected the dots.

    Our enemies might not be using the OED, but there is no evidence they would view our exit in that fashion. We have ended wars in this fashion before without that being the result (despite people like yourself making much the same claims at the time.)

    I couldn't care less what the weekly standard thinks about Iraq's ties to terrorism, since he has no credibility verses the people in our own military and intelligence community who have clearly said otherwise.

    Thielman himself has confirmed there was no sign of cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The information circulated on this was largely based on anecdotal evidence.

    There is no indication there were EVER WMDs in Iraq in that time frame. I'm not saying he's never had them, only that he had at the very least complied with the UN resolutions we went there to enforce.

    In fact, statements from Wolfowitz, Thielman, and others suggest that the government was well aware of the fact this was the case. They opted to ignore their own intelligence reports, and rather went about finding people willing to tell them what they wanted to hear - reasons to invade Iraq.

    I am well aware that there were credible people calling for war with Iraq based on the information we were getting. Personally, I think it was inconsistent of them to take that position given their positions on related issues, but this isn't about whether they thought clearly.

    Personally, I think there are reasons we never should've gone to war with Iraq even if they DID have WMDs, but that is not the argument I'm making. The argument I'm making is that regardless of what we did or did not know then, but rather our lack of acting on what we know now.

    I disagree that just war doctrine is not biblical. Further I find your trying to label it as a catholic (presumably Roman Catholic) doctrine and thus poison the well absolutely laughable. Both Luther and Calvin held to the Just War doctrine. Perhaps sometime soon I'll do a review of the writings of the early particular baptists. I know at least some of Spurgeon's writings suggested the support of a similar theory, if not one more strongly pacifist. I would expect to find widespread support for the theory among those men, given LBCF 24:2, "so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament wage war upon just and necessary occasions."

    You say that you want Bush's goal's achieved, and then state those goals as "disarm the country, topple the regime, and install a working democracy".

    That, of course, is not what this administration said were the goals...

    "American forces are still in the Balkans. We're still stuck there. The people in those societies have become dependent on us and on NATO for everything. This is an unhealthy sort of a relationship. The purpose of the American military is not peacekeeping or stability operations. ... We don't want to be stuck in these places for years and years to come. This is not really our responsibility." -- Rice, in a PBS interview

    "The goal would not be to impose an American style template on Iraq, but rather to create conditions where Iraqis can form a government in their own unique way just as the Afghans did with the Loya Jurga which produced a representative government that is uniquely Afghan." -- Rumsfeld

    Further, I deny that they even want a democracy there. Given our otherwise stated goals, a democracy would be a nightmare. Even assuming (as I am) that you don't mean a true democracy, but rather a republic or a representative (or indirect) democracy, it's still the case. A democracy in Iraq would be unpredictable. We would have no way of guaranteeing they would be friendly to us, that they would allow what we want, or prevent what we don't want. No, they have an "elected" government that they are allowed to keep as long as they behave. A government of our own making.

    What I find really interesting is that if you were consistent, you'd say the war is already lost. Because, after all, the original purpose of the war was to get rid of Saddam and to find his WMDs. Since we didn't accomplish, and from all appearances cannot accomplish, the second part of that goal we have already lost -- according to your definition of how wars are ended.

    Then in response to my rejecting Peter's apparent definition of Patriotism as loyalty to one's government, you went off about some unnamed group of Liberals. Given your change in language, I assume you (rightly) don't lump me into that group so I'm going to skip over that. You then commented on how "many opponents of the war" don't believe in fighting back. I'm not sure if that's supposed to include me or not, so I'll just say if it is - you're incorrect, I do believe in fighting back. But fighting back means someone took action in the first place, which we (at least now) know Iraq did not do.

    “I mean there has been murmuring in our government. This is relevant because it is a real precursor to possible action.”

    Against Iran? And what’s the problem with that, exactly?

    If a bombing Iran’s WMD facilities can set back their WMD program by several years, why shouldn’t we take such action?


    If you look back again I think you'll find I said that there was murmuring regarding action against Iraq's new government. Specifically to the end of replacing them because they were doing things we didn't like. It had nothing to do with Iran.

    However, since you brought it up, we shouldn't take such an action because we have no just cause to do so. We have no right to just decide we don't like what some other country is doing and go bomb it pre-emptively.

    Then you accuse me of a straw man argument, which I'm going to ignore, because you had no real comment on anything surrounding it. So I can't even be sure you understood what the argument was sufficiently enough to make any such assertions.

    And no, I wasn't using an all or nothing argument. I'm questioning the wisdom of biting off more than we can chew. Of pursuing a course of action that we can see right now is doomed not only to fail, but to make things worse.

    Then this amazing claim:
    That was never a premise of the Iraq war. The rationale for the war was explicitly preemptive, remember?

    How exactly do you defend that? Bush was all over the place trying to draw ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda!

    Global jihad is bigger than Bin Laden. Islamic terrorism is an international phenomenon. It’s not confined to the badlands of Afghanistan or Pakistan.

    I never said it wasn't. I said it should be targeting him and folks like him actually responsible for terrorism.

    So, unlike some critics of the war, you’re admitting that the war in Iraq was an afterthought—not a fait accompli.

    I'm not sure what you're asking here. If by this you mean, do I think Bush has always dreamed of invading Iraq, no, I don't think so. I'm not aware of any evidence of such things. However, he was already decided on the course of action even while still saying otherwise to the public. That much has been confirmed by other members of the administration.

    “Hell, our OWN nation was a launching pad for terrorism in the event that started all this.”

    Now he shows his true colors. Tokyo Rose for the 21C.


    Ok, I'm not sure what you're implying, because I don't know if you are aware she never actually committed treason against the United States. It makes even less sense if you do know, so I guess I'll assume you don't.

    So, are you denying that the terrorists who flew the planes on 9/11 learned to fly in our own flight schools? That they used our own resources against us?

    Then we have this amazing statement:
    As I say, folks like Shamgar deserve to rot in a Soviet gulag for a few years. Why doesn’t he buy a one-way ticket to N. Korea?

    So, let me get this straight. I take the time to educate myself in world and american history. In economics and political theory. I take the time to actually pay attention to what is going on in our country and around the world. I then exercise my liberty (in the form of speech) to speak out about concerns I have about what our government is doing and where we are headed.

    In response to this, you suggest I should be sent to the Gulag.

    Given that Putin wants to revive the Cold War, why shouldn’t we take certain precautions?

    Putin doesn't want another cold war. What he wants is for us stop aiming missiles at his country. But why would he want that right? I mean, none of our leaders fall prey to the corrupt nature of man and never will be. There's no need to be afraid Mr Putin. Trust us.

    Yes, “blowback.” You must never defend yourself since that would make the enemy mad at you. You should just kneel down and let him put a bullet in the back of your head. You first, Shamgar.

    What an absurd mischaracterization. Blowback is not what you get for self-defense. Blowback is what we are getting for the constant bombing of the middle east and our constant meddling in affairs that are none of our business. Once again, I reiterate, I have never said we should not defend ourselves.

    Shamgar is just another self-loathing American. Why don’t you apply for N. Korean citizenship—where you would feel more at home?

    Good grief. That is just pathetic. I have no self-loathing in regards to my being an American. I certainly have no affection for NK. That's not even GOOD ad-hominem. Weak. Just weak.

    He acts like America is the Roman Empire. To the contrary, we’ve been extremely restrained in our use of force. If we’ve been at fault, it’s from excessive restraint rather than excessive force.

    Well, we do have some similarities, but probably not the ones you are trying to attribute to my position. If you mean I think we're expanding our borders and trying to conquer other nations, then no, you're wrong again.

    And if you call what we've been over the last 10-20 years "restrained" then you must have an absolutely remarkable definition for that word. Or (and this is more likely) you really haven't been paying attention to our military operations.

    Bush is the commander-in-chief, not the DCI. For better or worse, he relies on what his intel agencies tell him.

    Ah, if only he did. Since according to the former head he generally prefers to ignore his intelligence community in favor of what he wants to be true.

    I find your ingratitude reprehensible.

    If I had any, I probably would too. But see, I am grateful. I'm grateful for the country that we have been and can be again. I'm grateful for the men who bled and died to give it to us. I'm even grateful for the men who are sent to bleed and die for far less. Frankly, I'm so grateful that I'm willing to stand up and say that's wrong, even when it's unpopular to do so.

    People like you are very forgetful of who said what. Many spokemen, inside and outside gov’t, for and against the war, misspoke in the ramp up to war.

    You've got that one backwards. In fact, i spent considerable time researching old news articles from 2003-present looking to make sure I had my facts, timeframes and orders of events correct.

    Are you saying that we should disband the CIA and Pentagon, move to log cabins in Idaho, and organize local militias to defend ourselves against ICBMs, suitcase bombs, and biochem weapons?

    That's a blatant mischaracterization. Disband the CIA? Maybe. I am not sufficiently informed to make that call. The Pentagon? No, I don't think so. No idea where moving to log cabins in Idaho comes into any of this. Militias are good, but generally pointless for dealing with individual acts of terrorism. After all it's not like they're parachuting troops in.

    I doubt very much we're going to see a day anytime soon that a terrorist cell has an ICBM. However, that is what what national govt is for. It is to provide for a national defense, and that would include being prepared for that eventuality wherever it comes form.

    As for the others, assuming you mean as terrorist acts, yes - I expect individual citizens to deal with that. If private citizens were more alert and self-reliant rather than wholly expecting government to provide them with security and safety then we would be better off. If the government had not told Americans to never resist terrorists, then many of the people who died on 9/11 would be alive today. If they had not already been doing their best to disarm americans on these planes, again many more people would be alive today.

    We wait for our enemies to launch a first strike, then counterattack with our muskets and slingshots.

    More absurdity. Yeah, you got me, that's exactly what I'm saying. We should all turn off our electricity, give away our semi-automatic weapons, and return to slingshots and bows and arrows. Even muskets are too advanced! We should also stop using running water and other indoor plumbing, that'll really show em.

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  25. Don't Ask Don't Tell9/27/2007 2:25 PM

    [1] Does Shamgar think we ought to have a police force in the United States? If so, when is it appropriate for the police to act? Is it okay for the police to patrol problem areas, or must they be reactive only? Is the onus on the individual people to defend themselves without the need of a police force at all? That is, should we disband the police and arm all the citizens so that if someone mugs you it's your responsibility to shoot the mugger rather than calling 911? If we cannot rid the world of terrorism for the same reason we cannot rid the world of crime, does this mean the idea of a police force in the first place is wrong headed?

    [2] This can also be applied to the fire dept. Is it Shamgar's position that it is the citizen's responsibility to ensure he never sets himself or his home on fire? Would Shamgar agree that we do not need governmental agencies to do this for us? Should the responsibility be on individuals without state intervention?

    [3] What constitutes proper self-defense for Shamgar? Where does Shamgar draw the line between just and unjust use of force against someone?

    [4] What role does government have in defending her citizens in light of Romans 13, etc.? Does it play any role, or is it all upon the individuals to defend themselves?

    [5] What does Shamgar propose we do to protect ourselves from future terrorist attacks? What does Shamgar propose our government should do to protect our country from future terrorist attacks?

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  26. [1] Does Shamgar think we ought to have a police force in the United States? If so, when is it appropriate for the police to act? Is it okay for the police to patrol problem areas, or must they be reactive only?

    Police are reactive only. Even in patrolling they do not just randomly arrest people they think might one day commit a crime.

    Is the onus on the individual people to defend themselves without the need of a police force at all? That is, should we disband the police and arm all the citizens so that if someone mugs you it's your responsibility to shoot the mugger rather than calling 911?

    yes, it is on the onus of the individual to defend himself. The police force comes into play AFTER the crime most of the time. There are rare exceptions for things like bank robberies where they sometimes get there in time to cause a hostage situation.

    However, yes, I do believe it is your responsibility to shoot the mugger (if such force is warranted). Are you seriously telling me that if some guy tried to mug you you'd pick up your phone and call 911? I'm sure he'll be happy to wait A) for you to finish your call and B) for the police to show up.

    Ask the police. They will tell you this is not their role. Their role is to follow up on the crime after the fact and find the guy. If you want protection, you have to provide it.

    If they by chance find out about a crime about to take place, that is already planned, then they can be in place to stop it when they begin it. But until the crime actually happens there is nothing for them to do. Even these are relatively rare however.

    You can't arrest someone for thinking about stealing a car in a free society. You arrest them for the actual violation of the law, not the intent.

    If we cannot rid the world of terrorism for the same reason we cannot rid the world of crime, does this mean the idea of a police force in the first place is wrong headed?

    No. It means that the police force is the right way to handle it, domestically. When a crime is in progress, you depend on those around the event to act. After the fact, if the guy escapes, you depend on police forces (or military forces) to respond, investigate, prosecute, and punish.

    [2] This can also be applied to the fire dept. Is it Shamgar's position that it is the citizen's responsibility to ensure he never sets himself or his home on fire?

    Uh...yes. Is that really such a radical idea? That you might have a responsibility to avoid setting fire to things you'd rather not have burn?

    Would Shamgar agree that we do not need governmental agencies to do this for us? Should the responsibility be on individuals without state intervention?

    I would say that no, firefighting could probably be done better by the private sector. But its a local government thing. If a community would like to employ firefighters with its tax dollars I have no objection to that. Local governments, and local firefighting units, tend to be very effective. They're very good at what they do, and I see no correlation between that and my point.

    After all, nobody is talking about seeing reckless canadians near the border possible setting fire to their homes, which could then spread into the united states, and therefore we should just go blow up all their homes.

    [3] What constitutes proper self-defense for Shamgar? Where does Shamgar draw the line between just and unjust use of force against someone?

    At an individual level, when they initiate force against you, you are authorized to initiate force in response, to equal or lesser measure. If some guy walks up and shoves me, I am not justified in responding with lethal force. If he attacks me with a knife, then I am.

    At the national level it is very similar, just on a grander scale.

    [4] What role does government have in defending her citizens in light of Romans 13, etc.? Does it play any role, or is it all upon the individuals to defend themselves?

    Exactly the role Romans 13 says, for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

    He is an avenger. He punishes those who practice evil. Past tense. You do not "avenge" things that haven't happened. There is nothing there about government existing to protect you.

    [5] What does Shamgar propose we do to protect ourselves from future terrorist attacks? What does Shamgar propose our government should do to protect our country from future terrorist attacks?

    I propose we be alert, and that we be aware of our surroundings. That when some terrorist decides to take over a bomb, we don't sit on our rear ends in fear and wait on the government to save us while the terrorist flies the plane into a building and kills thousands.

    I propose that our government bring our troops home and put them along our borders where they belong. I propose they keep them fresh and rested for responding to real attacks against our soil, rather than depleting them in Iraq, or keeping them deployed in countries all around the world where we have no business being.

    And of course, I propose our government LISTEN to its intelligence community.

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  27. SHAMGAR SAID:

    “Our enemies might not be using the OED, but there is no evidence they would view our exit in that fashion.”

    No evidence? Why is Al-Qaida trying to defeat us in Iraq if our enemies wouldn’t interpret our forced exit as a sign of surrender and retreat?

    If we exit on their terms rather than ours, of course that’s how our exit will be interpreted.

    “We have ended wars in this fashion before without that being the result (despite people like yourself making much the same claims at the time.)”

    Really? That’s how they viewed our pullout from Lebanon and Mogadishu.

    “I couldn't care less what the weekly standard thinks about Iraq's ties to terrorism, since he has no credibility verses the people in our own military and intelligence community who have clearly said otherwise.”

    This is a backdoor admission that you won’t look at—because you can’t deal with—any evidence contrary to your crackpot conspiracy theories.

    “Thielman [sic.] himself has confirmed there was no sign of cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda.”

    And his boss, Colin Powell, thought otherwise.

    “In fact, statements from Wolfowitz, Thielman [sic.], and others suggest that the government was well aware of the fact this was the case. They opted to ignore their own intelligence reports, and rather went about finding people willing to tell them what they wanted to hear - reasons to invade Iraq.”

    Where did Wolfowitz ever say that? The statements I’ve read of his are just the opposite:

    http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/EXTRESEARCH/EXTPROGRAMS/EXTTRADERESEARCH/0,,contentMDK:20747792~menuPK:64001871~pagePK:210083~piPK:152538~theSitePK:544849,00.html

    http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=43931

    http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2594

    As for Thielmann, in the statements I’ve read of his, he claims that an “imminent threat” was the official casus belli. But Bush, in his State of the Union Speech, in the ramp up to war, explicitly denied that criterion. So Thiemann is demonstrably misrepresenting the administration.

    “I disagree that just war doctrine is not biblical. Further I find your trying to label it as a catholic (presumably Roman Catholic) doctrine and thus poison the well absolutely laughable.”

    Laughing at yourself, you mean? Augustine and Aquinas were the architects of just war theory.

    “Both Luther and Calvin held to the Just War doctrine.”

    Which they inherited from the medieval church. And you’re not offering an exegetical argument.

    Also, Calvin’s criteria are broader since he was an early architect of the theology of revolution—which goes well beyond just war theory.

    “Perhaps sometime soon I'll do a review of the writings of the early particular baptists. I know at least some of Spurgeon's writings suggested the support of a similar theory, if not one more strongly pacifist. I would expect to find widespread support for the theory among those men, given LBCF 24:2.”

    This is all ex post facto. None of it changes the fact that just war theory has its origin in Catholic moral theology. And I’d add that historical theology is not the same thing as exegetical theology. You’re grasping at straws.

    “That, of course, is not what this administration said were the goals...”

    Your snippets from Rummy and Condi do nothing to contradict my statement. Try again—if you can.

    “Further, I deny that they even want a democracy there.”

    Even if true, that’s wholly irrelevant to what I said. I’m merely stating the administration position, not defending it.

    You, however, prefer to misrepresent the administration position. If you were honest, you’d be able to distinguish between their position and whether or not you agree with it. Those are two different issues.

    “What I find really interesting is that if you were consistent, you'd say the war is already lost. Because, after all, the original purpose of the war was to get rid of Saddam and to find his WMDs. Since we didn't accomplish, and from all appearances cannot accomplish, the second part of that goal we have already lost -- according to your definition of how wars are ended.”

    Now you’re misrepresenting my statement as well. What I actually said was:

    “We went there to disarm the country, topple the regime, and install a working democracy.”

    So I mentioned three things, not two. By the time we got there, there was nothing to disarm, so we didn’t either succeed or fail in that objective. It was moot.

    We succeeded in toppling his regime. Whether or not we’ll succeed in the third objective remains an open question.

    “But fighting back means someone took action in the first place, which we (at least now) know Iraq did not do.”

    I was never under any illusion to the contrary. Bush always framed the Iraq war in *preemptive* terms. How did you manage to miss that?

    “However, since you brought it up, we shouldn't take such an action because we have no just cause to do so. We have no right to just decide we don't like what some other country is doing and go bomb it pre-emptively.”

    You keep using this trivial strawman argument about not *liking* another country. No, the question is one of risk assessment and risk management. What potential threat does such a country pose?

    This is not a change in US policy. We did that throughout the Cold War.

    To say we have “no just cause to do so” simply begs the question.

    “And no, I wasn't using an all or nothing argument. I'm questioning the wisdom of biting off more than we can chew. Of pursuing a course of action that we can see right now is doomed not only to fail, but to make things worse.”

    It may be doomed to fail, but Petraeus is having some success on the ground. So your dire prediction is premature.

    “How exactly do you defend that? Bush was all over the place trying to draw ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda!”

    Now you’re changing the subject from an (alleged) Iraq-9/11 connection to an Iraq/Al-Qaida connection.

    No wonder you’re so easily bamboozled by the antiwar smear machine. You’re very sloppy with the sources you cite.

    “I said it should be targeting him and folks like him actually responsible for terrorism.”

    Including state sponsors of terrorism.

    “However, he was already decided on the course of action even while still saying otherwise to the public. That much has been confirmed by other members of the administration.”

    Are you alluding to Wolfowitz and Thielmann again? Been there, done that.

    “So, let me get this straight. I take the time to educate myself in world and american history. In economics and political theory. I take the time to actually pay attention to what is going on in our country and around the world.”

    To judge by how you mishandle sources, you’re attempt to educate yourself leaves much to be desired.

    “Putin doesn't want another cold war. What he wants is for us stop aiming missiles at his country.”

    You’re welcome to vouch for the credibility of a former KGB agent who assassinates investigative reporters and political opponents. Maybe you should move to Russia instead of N. Korea.

    “Blowback is what we are getting for the constant bombing of the middle east and our constant meddling in affairs that are none of our business.”

    As in what—the Cold War?

    “And if you call what we've been over the last 10-20 years "restrained" then you must have an absolutely remarkable definition for that word. Or (and this is more likely) you really haven't been paying attention to our military operations.”

    In context, my reference was to the Iraq war. You’re the one whose attention strayed, not me.

    “Ah, if only he did. Since according to the former head he generally prefers to ignore his intelligence community in favor of what he wants to be true.”

    Is this an allusion to Tenet? For all his finger-pointing, Tenet has confirmed the fact that he did brief Bush on the presence of WMD in Iraq—and made a case for that. Even a partisan war critic like Michael F. Scheuer corroborates that account:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/27/AR2007042702052.html

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  28. *~Tamara~* said:
    This is the Al-Jazeera version of the American war effort.

    No, I'm sorry, it is not. Is Al-Jazeera the only news source reporting the deaths of innocent women and children? Are they the only ones showing pictures of women standing near piles of rubble that were once their homes? Is Al-Jazeera the only news source reporting the deaths brought about by an America contractor? Is Al-Jazeera the only news source that shows children missing limbs and lying dead in the street? Hardly so. These are the facts that are strewn across all the news networks, facts which even our own government does not deny. Do they get their news from Al-Jazeera too?

    ***************

    This fails to draw any factual or moral distinction in terms of who is killing whom (e.g. Iraqi on Iraqi violence; Al-Qaida on Iraqi violence), and simply blames everything on our servicemen.

    That is both grossly inaccurate and highly defamatory. Are you sure you aren't Cindy Sheehan writing under a pseudonym?

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  29. Are you sure you aren't Cindy Sheehan writing under a pseudonym?

    Hee! No, sorry. I'm a little too busy teaching children, serving my church, and trying (and sometimes failing) to be a Godly wife and mother to be much of globe-traveling liberal, much less one that throws her arms around the likes of Jesse Jackson for photo ops.

    And btw, I also have a good sense of humor. So this comment merely made me chuckle. If you were looking to insult me, you'll have to try harder. ;-)

    This fails to draw any factual or moral distinction in terms of who is killing whom (e.g. Iraqi on Iraqi violence; Al-Qaida on Iraqi violence), and simply blames everything on our servicemen.

    No, you misread me. I don't "blame our servicemen" as though the deaths of innocents are all their fault. I'm suggesting that an unnecessary war is the cause of loss, destruction, and death. The war is the cause of these deaths, no matter whose hand it was by. It might have been a suicide bomber, an Al-Queda operative, or whomever, but I don't think anyone denies that this war has brought about death.

    I do believe that God appoints the time when each person dies. Therefore it makes sense to me that these souls' time has come, whether it be on the battlefield or at home in the bathtub. However, we are responsible for the hand we had it it, and I wish with all my heart that I could say my country had nothing to do with the loss of innocent life in a foreign land. I believe as a Christian I should honor life, all life. This runs the gamut from the unborn, to the elderly and infirm, to our fallen soldiers, to the people of foreign nations who have done nothing to deserve our wrath.

    You and I disagree on this war, Mr. Hays. It's just that simple. We are not going to agree, and I don't think that comes as any surprise to either of us. There are many people whom I disagree with on this war, some of them my closest friends. I am accustomed to disagreement, and I shoulder it well. Consequently, your views on this war have not even caused me a raised eyebrow, much less a strong reaction.

    What does bother me, though, is your willingness to drop all pretense of Christian love and brotherhood to attack fellow Christians with contempt and loathing. I wonder how you justify such an approach, in the light of your Christian testimony? I have read this blog on many occasions, and am somewhat familiar with your writings. I understand and quite often agree with your theology. For that reason I consider you a Christian brother. And thus I wonder if you understand the harm you do your Christian testimony with the vitriol and disrespect you use toward people with whom you disagree.

    Mr. Hays, you are in no way obligated to respond to me. I am, as of this moment, finished with this thread unless you (which I doubt) would want to continue a discourse on this topic with me personally. But I think you should know that my impression of you (and for that matter, of Peter) has been tremendously marred due to this thread. I don't know how you can speak eloquently of our sovereign Lord in one post, and in another denigrate those whom He calls His own.

    I do not know if you have a teachable spirit, but I suspect my words here will fall on deaf ears. You seem bent on proving yourself right at all costs, even if that cost is to shame the name of Jesus Christ which you claim to wear.

    You suggested I take a good long look in the mirror. I ask nothing more than that of you.

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  30. *~Tamara~* said:

    "What does bother me, though, is your willingness to drop all pretense of Christian love and brotherhood to attack fellow Christians with contempt and loathing. I wonder how you justify such an approach, in the light of your Christian testimony? I have read this blog on many occasions, and am somewhat familiar with your writings. I understand and quite often agree with your theology. For that reason I consider you a Christian brother. And thus I wonder if you understand the harm you do your Christian testimony with the vitriol and disrespect you use toward people with whom you disagree."

    Once again, you don't live by your own advice. Many of our soldiers in the field are Christians. Yet you level blanket charges of rape and murder.

    You suffer from a serious case of moral blindness in your treatment of others.

    You are also using the name of Christ to shield you from moral scrutiny for your unethical conduct—when you slander our servicemen en masse.

    You don't have a right to use your Christian profession as a shield to exempt you from accountability for your slanderous speech.

    Don't misuse the name of Christ to hide behind when you misbehave in word or deed.

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  31. Once again, you don't live by your own advice.

    I can't find any advice I have given, perhaps you can help me out there. I have asked some questions, rather pointed ones, in fact, which you have not answered. I would still like to hear your answers.

    You don't have a right to use your Christian profession as a shield to exempt you from accountability for your slanderous speech.


    Of course not, nor would I claim to. However, I have not been slanderous. You wish to consider my dislike of this war as "slanderous to our servicemen" and then attempt to compare my speaking out against the war (adding that some of our servicemen are Christians) to you publicly denigrating and mistreating fellow Christians. I have not suggested that anyone, including our servicemen, spend time in a Soviet gulag, be sent to North Korea, or be shot in the head. That was you. I have not called anyone anything but their own name, nor taken pot shots at them. That, also, was you. And in turn I asked how you justify such an approach. You have failed to answer. Perhaps you are without excuse.


    Don't misuse the name of Christ to hide behind when you misbehave in word or deed.

    I don't believe I have done that, and by His grace, will not. I am more than willing to listen to another point of view, and have even been known to *gasp* see the error of my ways and change my opinion, my approach, or both. It's called having a teachable spirit. When my ways, compared with the teachings of scripture, are shown to be wrong, it is my utmost desire to change my ways. If you can, with a humble and loving spirit, correct an erring fellow Christian, then I am all ears.

    What I see from you, however, is anything but a humble and loving spirit. Rather than being ready to give an answer, you are ready to give an insult. Rather than answering my sincere question, you instead attempt to twist my words and throw them back at me.

    It's not going to work, Steve. Read back through my posts and you will not find one time where I denigrated or slandered anyone. You may wish it were so, so you would have some ammunition, but you don't. I have been careful to make sure that my conduct has been, and I pray will continue to be, above reproach. There is nothing in my posts that you can rationally use against me from a scriptural perspective. And so you accuse, insult, and degrade.

    Again I will say, good people can disagree. But Christians should do so with a loving spirit and with their Christian testimony in tact. In John 15, Jesus commanded us, in a simple and straightforward manner, to love.

    If you do not agree with Him, then perhaps you could put a disclaimer on all your new blog posts, alerting us to whether this is a part of your testimony and conduct where God's authority does not apply.

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  32. You stand convicted by your own words. So I will continue to quote your own words back to you and against you. You tarred our troops, many of whom are Christian, with a broad-brush charge of war crimes and atrocities:

    “Murder, rape, and destruction are wrong even if you dress them in the flag and call it patriotism. If it is wrong for a man to murder, to steal, to destroy, then it is equally wrong to send our military to do it, or to excuse our military for doing so…We see otherwise good men condone military actions that they would never employ personally. However, if we would not personally descend upon another man's home and kill his children, rape his wife, destroy his fields, and leave him desolate, then it is equally wrong for us to condone our military doing so.”

    You then have the shamelessness to whine about how I’ve spoken ill of poor little you, a professing believer. How long does it take for your duplicity to sink in?

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  33. You stand convicted by your own words. So I will continue to quote your own words back to you and against you. You tarred our troops, many of whom are Christian, with a broad-brush charge of war crimes and atrocities:

    I'm not at home right now, but somehow I doubt she's even going to bother trying to get through to you on this anymore. I will give it one more shot tho. She spoke in generalities about right and wrong when it comes to war. She spoke about harsh realities regarding what goes on during wartime.

    Yes, our troops in large part have historically acquitted themselves with honor. There are also many Christian men in the military who have never engaged in any of these things. None of these were denied by the broad terms in which she was speaking. You are trying to take her broad terms and apply them specifically to every individual.

    However, many men who have long been a part of the military have expressed their concerns about a change in our military overall. Their new role raises news stresses, and brings out different aspects of their personality. It also attracts a different sort of person. So there is more trouble with this kind of thing now than there used to be. Just one more reason not to be sending them on "peacekeeping" or "police action" type missions. Our troops are highly skilled and very good at what they do, and they have adapted in an amazing fashion to these new jobs that they have been sent to. Their ability to endure under this to this point is no excuse for our bad behavior in sending them to do it.

    That being said, ultimately, the point here is not our troops. You are simply doing your best to keep banging on that point because you recognize the emotional value of it. If you can keep making it about the troops, and not allow it to be about the people who send them and the recognition of what they are committing these troops to do, then perhaps you can keep the people reading this exchange from thinking about the real issues. Just keep that emotional level high.

    The responsibility for directing such a devastating weapon as our military lies with our leaders, and with those of us who do nothing to speak out against it -- and even more so those who choose to stick their heads in the sand. Granted there have been some killings of women and children that were the part of some our military acting on their own, people who got out of hand. Most however fall under what we call "acceptable collateral damage". This is not new, we did the same thing to Germany, and to Japan. We justified it then, and I'm guessing you just assume it's justified now too. As a result, you read the wrong things into Tamara's statements.

    Our government knows that no matter what there are going to be at least some bad apples in our military. They know that when they are unleashed against another country there are going to be some atrocities. Particularly the longer they are employed, and particularly when they are employed in such a dangerous situation as doing peacekeeping in a hostile nation. They have accepted this, we have not.

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  34. SHAMGAR SAID:

    “She spoke in generalities about right and wrong when it comes to war.”

    She besmeared our servicemen en masse as a bunch of rapists and murders—all the while wrapping herself in the mantle of Christian charity.

    “None of these were denied by the broad terms in which she was speaking. You are trying to take her broad terms and apply them specifically to every individual.”

    To the contrary, you are the one who is interpolating distinctions she never drew. You’re trying to improve on her original aspersions.

    And the logic of her original argument does make every foot soldier complicit in the alleged atrocities.

    “That being said, ultimately, the point here is not our troops.”

    She made it her point. You’re now trying to deflect attention from her point because it’s indefensible.

    “You are simply doing your best to keep banging on that point because you recognize the emotional value of it.”

    “Banging” on *her* point. And the emotional appeal began with *her*. With her emotive rhetoric.

    “If you can keep making it about the troops, and not allow it to be about the people who send them and the recognition of what they are committing these troops to do, then perhaps you can keep the people reading this exchange from thinking about the real issues.”

    *She* made it about the troops, not me. You are now trying to salvage her disreputable argument by doing a patch-up job after the fact.

    And in your typically dishonest way, you are attempting to reverse the actual history of this exchange, imputing to me what she did wrong.

    “As a result, you read the wrong things into Tamara's statements.”

    I read nothing “into” her statements. This is your ex post facto spin—as you try to fix what she said after she said it.

    “Our government knows that no matter what there are going to be at least some bad apples in our military. They know that when they are unleashed against another country there are going to be some atrocities.”

    Which will also occur in a just war scenario.

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