August 27, 2004
A Better Debate
In response to a couple of commenters on the "Justice for the Swift" thread below, I'll follow my own advice and propose we discuss something of actual relevance to this election: the Kerry versus Bush plan for Iraq. The official Kerry Plan lists four main ideas:
1. Persuade NATO to Make the Security of Iraq one of its Global Missions and to deploy a significant portion of the force needed to secure and win the peace in Iraq. NATO participation will in turn open the door to greater international involvement from non-NATO countries.
2. Internationalize the Non-Iraqi Reconstruction Personnel in Iraq, to share the costs and burdens, end the continuing perception of a U.S. occupation, and help coordinate reconstruction efforts, draft the constitution and organize elections.
3. Launch a Massive and Accelerated Training Effort to Build Iraqi Security Forces that can provide real security for the Iraqi people, including a major role for NATO. This is not a task for America alone; we must join as a partner with other nations.
4. Plan for Iraq’s Future by working with our allies to forgive Iraq’s multi-billion dollar debts and by supporting the development of a new Iraqi constitution and the political arrangements needed to protect minority rights. We will also convene a regional conference with Iraq's neighbors in order to secure a pledge of respect for Iraq's borders and non-interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.
I would argue that most of these ideas are different from the present (Bush) plan that they constitute a change in policy. Certainly numbers 1 and 2 are a radical departure from our "go it alone" (don't get me started on the "coalition of the willing") approach that we have been using since the beginning. In return for getting (bluntly) money and troops from other (probably NATO) countries we will almost certainly have to give up complete control over what form the reconstruction of Iraq will take. Instead of a single country (the US) determining the direction of Iraq, we will be part of a (real) coalition, and will need to negotiate among other allies for what we want to accomplish. We will not always get what we want, because other countries view the world differently than we do, and have different priorities for their foreign policies and different national security concerns. In return, however, we get resources and troop levels that we plainly cannot put in place alone.
Is it a perfect plan? No, but it is clearly better than the one Bush is using, which, if it is succeeding at all (highly debatable), is doing so very slowly. Do I wish Kerry provided more specifics? Yes, but I'm not sure how he can. As armand noted in the Swift comments, the situation in Iraq will change between now and January, so whatever specifics he provides are likely to be irrelevant or incorrect by the time he actually has the authority to put them in place. Additionally, as I noted in the Swift comments, Kerry has no authority to negotiate anything with anybody, and a large part of the plan consists of those negotiations with allies. Given the constraints on Kerry the candidate, I do not believe he can be more specific.
But hasn't Kerry provided enough of a plan to recognize that it is a better direction for Iraq than the present administration?
Posted by baltar at August 27, 2004 08:57 AM
| Posted to Politics
I'm guessing some people who'll read this will ask, well what can Kerry do to get international support that Bush can't? Basically, he can just show up. A lot of American don't realize how deeplyeven the pre-Iraq war unilateral actions by this administration really set a lot of the rest of the world against us. Now that's not to suggest that we want to let others decided our election. But if what's at issue is their willingness to help us out, lot's of them despise Bush and would love to see him fail. And that's going to affect how the world deals with America while he's in office, whether or not we like it. For a pretty good (if somewhat dated) piece on the administration's bullying, unilateral tactics and the response of others to them, you can read this article by Zakaria - http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3068616/
The issue of international support is important, and not just in the case of Iraq. I know it's early to expect much in terms of specifics, but I would like to have a better idea of a potential Kerry administration's orientation (philosophy?) towards international affairs. I think a lot of the assumptions and assertions have been essentially "more multilateral than the Bush administration," which is a good start. Even one who believes in the desirability of hegemony can recognize there are good reasons to play nice with others, not least to avoid wasting resources that are needed elsewhere. Frances Fukuyama himself has argued that the Bush administration did too little to accomodate (or at least acknowledge the concerns of) our allies, and that there are benefits to cooperating with other countries. I think that a pragmatic approach (from the left or the right) to international affairs over the next several years will have to do more in this direction.
Okay, as promised this is the new thread that's really just a continuation of the foreign policy debate that's been running on the swift boat vets comments.
As far as the Iraq/Al Queada connection goes, it was this link within the link I sent you that really explains all the unlikely coincidences, and the last three paragraphs cover the reasons as to why the Bush Administration would not want this connection well publicized. It's kind of a long article, but compared to what I've heard from other sources it's pretty incredible to believe all 4 of these meetings as well as the one in Iraq were just coincidences, and I wonder how the 9/11 committee can walk away from this in good conscience. As to your contention that this is not sufficient evidence, as the article suggests, "We are talking about national security, which involves protecting American lives; we are not talking about building a criminal indictment." In truth, I think a jury could easily find enough evidence here to reach a guilty verdict for both Shakir and Al-Ani.
I find it interesting that you deride me for suggesting France should do something besides what it thinks is in its best interest, but when it comes to America you ask, "Do we want EVERYBODY to be waging preventative wars?," as though we are held to a different standard, one limited to ways we can accept other nations following. My point here is this is not the case; we will not be in a safer world if everyone develops nuclear weapons programs as we have. You make an interesting use of rhetoric when you talk about us being "tied down" in other countries. I would say we're investing ourselves in a brighter future for all humanity, and of course any investing is going to limit our resources for other projects, unless maybe we should never commit ourselves anywhere, waiting for a golden opportunity.
You keep coming back to N. Korea as though we should be fighting a war there instead. As I'm sure you recall they kicked out the nuclear observers while we were mounting forces forces for a strike against Saddam. Perhaps you'll also recall that it was only a few months between then and when intelligence reported they already had nuclear weapons. Even if you believe any other administration (say Kerry's) would have acted immediately to build up forces for a strike against the North (which sounds like nonsense because of the emphasis he now puts on international cooperation and because the S. Koreans would have not so politely asked us to get the hell away given their recent foreign policy), China would have gone apeshite (no offense, macaque) at the thought of a major U.S. military force on their border, where we would be if we invaded. If you remember U.S. entanglements in that part of the world over the last half century, a lot of our soldiers have killed a lot of their soldiers and vice versa. Don't you remember their response when a single spy plane got too close to them a few years ago. Are you suggesting they'd be nicer if we started unloading M-1 Abrams from Pyongyang harbor? I think the Chinese are the only ones who could have changed the regime in N. Korea without risking a large scale nuclear conflict.
As far as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia go, as much as Bush's "you're either with us or against us" attitude riles you, I think we're now seeing a higher level of opposition from those governments to terrorism than before Iraqi/Afghani freedom, maybe not high enough. But it's not like either of them are too far from Iraq as the A-10 flies. In truth, I would harbor great reservations about seeing U.S. forces around Mecca on Al Jazeera...I don't think that would be good for us in the long run (unless terrorists actually set off WMDs in the U.S. or Israel, or use them against our troops oversees). However, Iran, Pakistan and Syria are fair game. By the way, do you know anything specific as far as a source for the nuclear technology sale by Pakistan being something besides a rogue operative?
If you recommend going into the Sudan, I wonder what your exit strategy is. We saw in Mogadishu that U.S. citizens have no stomach for losing American soldiers unless there is an actual threat to them. If we got intel about terrorists being harbored there (like Abu Nidal was in Iraq) or their financing attacks against U.S. interests, why not?
And on this point I'll respond to Joshua who seems to think Iraq posed no threat to us. I think there are a lot of U.S. pilots who were threatened by Iraqi missile systems in the no fly zone, and they would disagree with you. Independent of Abu Nidal and Al Quaeda, Saddam rewarded the families of suicide bombers with thousands of dollars. How long would it be before one of them blew him/herself up in Times Square or the Washington metro if Saddam continued to lionize their depravity? We're not protecting the Iraqis from themselves: we're protecting Iraqis that value human rights from Iraqis who don't. As to other nations not having humanitarian impulses, you make my point here that even Kerry will not be able to motivate other nations to join us in our fight because they do lack popular support. If you want to give up your own sense of righteousness and values to the whims of the masses, feel free. It's been my experience that nobility of soul is a rare gift and cynicism is widespread. Maybe the disgruntled snow monkey can correct me if he isn't busy washing sweet potatoes; I think the line from Henry V was "We lucky few."
Armand, perhaps the Kurds were doing fine, but I wonder about the Air force pilots protecting them. I'm amused by your idea that suddenly the prez would be undermined when Iran's been saying for the last week how they already want to negotiate with Kerry instead of Bush. They're eager to make promises to Kerry because they know Bush will demand more than that.
I think we see a tendency towards pacifism in countries that are democratic (Japan hasn't started many wars lately), and I think in the long term by investing in a peaceful world now, we'll save many more lives and even more money. We can spend money to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq or spend money replacing the next terrorist target, the next, the next.... I know at this point the investment seems costly, but it doesn't take a historian to realize that because of technology weapons are becoming more available and more powerful. There's also some overlap in what you're talking about; because of preparations against a terrorist biological threat, this country is better prepared to deal with outbreaks of non-terrorist organisms (like ebola), and since most medical progress actually happens accidentally (giving a drug good at treating one thing to someone with someone else and seeing that it works) in an organized fashion, research to defeat bioweapons may yield treatments for other illness. I'd like to see the senator who gets on C-SPAN 2 and says we need to take money from fighting terrorism and spend it on highways; after the next terrorist attack, I'll be able to see him...working the grill at Arby's. As far as education, I guess it depends whether it's more important to move up half a point in math when compared to the Japanese, or opening up Iraq so their children might learn hope for a peaceful future instead of hatred...of us. As far as defense, I would argue this is exactly what we are spending money on. We've certainly been involved "spurring reform" economically with the Saudis for many years...considering 9/11, I don't think it's worked. I'm not sure it's worked in China or N. Korea either, unless you count them being stronger militarily as it working. The kind of incentives you're talking about work with many people in society and many nations in the world; but there are people and nations that behave in sociopathic (Saddam), impulsive (Kim Jong-il), and paranoid (China) ways based on their historical and cultural traditions, and these methods will not succeed with them. This is not a way of finding moral high ground...their experience is often consistent with developing these perspectives, but it's foolish to let down our guard and treat them as we wish they were instead of accepting the values they actually hold and expecting them to behave accordingly. But by bringing freedom to closed nations we bring hope, the opportunity to identify with and pursue values which respect the value of all human life.
As to your comments on Fallujah, I might remind you that ten million people are registered to vote in Afghanistan so democracy has made great leaps with Bush in office. As for Iraq itself, if the Fallujans want to behave like barbarians, hopefully the new Iraqi government will ask for our help to hunt down those f-ing muderers.
Morris - I don't have time to respond to all this this morning, and I might not have time to respond later today. But I think you should think about what you wrote re: North Korea. I'm not necessarily advocating an attack. But I'd like a policy. And to the degree that we have a policy (beyond threatening them and then just gazing at our shoes while they get freaked out and build NUCLEAR weapons, not that terrifying WWI WMD technology that occasionally got CNN and Fox News all hot and bothered) it was very long coming. And the policy we eventually adopted (such as it is) stands in stark contrast to what the Bush team was advocating for the first couple of years. Plus, OK, so China wouldn't like us attacking. Why does international opinion matter there but not in Iraq? Yes, there are consequences to Bush not being able to control his id. Can Iraq hit us like China could? Of course not, but we've lost a lot of soft power. As far as our intel, we knew about what was going on before we released the news. In fact one of the big slimy acts of the administration is them releasing that news just AFTER the Congress voted on Iraq, though they'd known about it before the debate.
To me the basic thing here is that 1) North Korea is a much bigger problem than Iraq, yet it's gotten scant attention from this White House and 2) this White House seems to have little interest in bothering with foreign policy if they can't go bomb somebody. The thing is - we can only bomb weak countries like Iraq without it coming back and biting us in the ass. When it comes to the more consequential countries of the world this administration tends to be stumped b/c they don't know how to deal with those countries.
And I think you are being WAY to optimistic about the support we're getting from Saudi and Pakistan on this. Oh, look, on a scale of 1 to 10 it's gone up to 1 2. Maybe even a 2.5! Big whoop. Those are the problem areas. That's where the ideology and the money and potentially the nukes come from, but we're doing very little about it.
And why do you think there's no threat from Sudan? It harbors terrorists just as much (or more) than Iraq did (and geez, find someone more threatening than Abu Nidal - a killer sure, and a very bad man, but basically a retired killer - I don't think that should be the standard for invading a country and killing a thousand Americans). But if the standard, is going to be we should invade who harbors terrorists, Sudan is as much of a threat as Iraq was. And if you're so concerned about an exit strategy, what is ours in Iraq? That was one of the top reasons I was against this from the start. We've never had one (or not a realistic one).
And people registered to vote is your standard for democracy? Good freakin grief Morris. There are loads of countries that have elections all the time (think of Saddam's Iraq as an obvious example) that aren't anything approaching democracies. Yeah, things are relatively better in Afghanistan than they were in 2001, but that's not saying much. Karzai rules in Kabul and that's about it. And if NATO every decides to leave ... he could be in for a mess of trouble even there.
And we haven't spent any money spurring economic reform in Saudi. What I'm talking about is giving aid that requires changes in the ways their economies work. We need to change the economic system in ways that will spread power in these societies and implant ideas in them that are more in line with the traditions of our societies and politics - that's what I'm talking about. You missed my point.
I'll try and rant about the rest later, but I've got to get to work.
Armand, I'll look forward to the rest of your rant later, but let me hit a couple of points here. It seems we have taken this economic incentive approach in China, encouraging trade with them, but they haven't taken much in the way of steps to be an open society that values human rights. Instead, they just take the money they make from trading with us and put most of it towards building their military.
If a country that threatens us with terrorism and WMDs poses little threat to us militarily, I think that is an opportunity for us to protect ourselves without jeopardizing ourselves more in the long run. I think Baltar suggested most countries use cost benefit analysis in their foreign policy, and I think that's appropriate here. I don't think we should feel guilty because we're a stronger military power, but rather use it as an opportunity to encourage human rights throughout the world. China has such a history of being invaded by its neighbors (fighting with Japan, Korea, and who can forget that great South Park episode where Mongols kept tearing down the wall built by the Chinese restaurant owner...the real thing wasn't that funny for them) that the Chinese are paranoid about being invaded, and I do think a major nuclear power with that kind of history is something we should consider. If you're talking about something like a single air strike, I think the administration would have done that already if the risks didn't outweigh the rewards...I'm not sure how environmentally sound it would be to drop bombs on a nuclear reactor. I might remind you we are pursuing a diplomatic solution with Korea's neighbors, and it's N. Korea who isn't showing up. I am curious as to what policy you would advocate in this situation; I just don't think we can invade without China's outright support.
It really bothers me the way you dismiss the threat of Abu Nidal; all terrorists are retired until the next time they kill a bunch of people. If you want to go into Sudan too, fine, let's do it. I haven't seen the intelligence connecting them to 9/11, but if they become a serious threat of course I support it. I think what's become clear in the world is that there never really is an exit strategy, that it takes many years for a regime change and new political structure to form. I'm tired of hearing all this criticism of Bush over this issue. What was our exit strategy in Mogadishu, may I remind you? We either stick it out until we figure it out (do you remember how many peace plans there were in Bosnia?) or we surrender.
Certainly Karzai needs our help, and here again you diminish the accomplishments of the Bush administration; instead of a government that protects the terrorists, we have a hopeful society heading towards elections, a society where the government no longer persecutes women by beating them on the street and teaches them instead. This brings us to another point about the media coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyone I see whether they're a congressman or a thoughtful journalist (like the ones on booknotes in C-SPAN) talks about how much better life is there than it's portrayed on TV here. Our media know people don't want to see stories about people learning and living well, that's why even on the local news in our country murders and car crashes come about fifteen minutes before stories about excellence in sports and education. In countries as big as Texas of course there are going to be angry people who take this out on those around them, but this is often a political expression of personal depravity, and bringing hope to these nations may alleviate some of the suffering they bring against us and themselves. Yes, there are people there who think it's more acceptable that they act out on their anger against women or against us, but that doesn't mean that women or we are to blame for their hatred. To say it means nothing that we've brought the benefits of freedom to Kabul is like saying it wouldn't matter if suddenly Miami regressed to martial (thankyou for the spelling, macaque) law.
I think if we have election monitors in our own country this fall, they will be in Afghanistan for their election; I wonder if you'll concede the point that things are better there at that point.
By the way, where's Kerry's policy on N. Korea? I know the democratic party line is anyone but Bush, but is that really wise? Maybe he'll use "soft power", like Iran wants him to use against them. That worked really well with the Taliban before.
It's nice of you to admit that things are better in Saudi and Pakistan. I did list Pakistan as a subsequent target if they don't come around. I think sending the Green Berets to storm Mecca should be a last resort.
I remember you chiding me a few days ago for making these debates personal, yet you go all ad hominem on my boy Bush talking about him not being able to control his id. Why don't we keep this debate civil and talk about the policies? Personally, I don't see how you lay this criticism on any president who followed Clinton. But then, maybe I'm ignoring your nuance, assuming what the definition of id is.
regarding bush's id, to paraphrase a popular slogan/bumper sticker: "when [clinton manifest poor impulse control], nobody died."
Joshua, is the best policy critique you can offer found on a bumper sticker? Perhaps you forget Mogadishu...if it was important for us to be there, we would have stayed, but Clinton chose to risk our troops' lives for a cause he deemed unimportant once they died. How does that honor their memories, what they died for?
Perhaps he was unthoughtful, unprepared for that eventuality. I guess you'd say he was caught with his pants down...again. You might read the above linked article if you think Iraq and 9/11 are not connected.
levity, morris, levity.
if you prefer, however, how about this: president clinton's dishonesty had to do with protecting his private life (and it was that) from public scrutiny. moreover, he didn't lie about mogadishu to my knowledge, and "losing interest" as the sole explanation for resource withdrawal and focus shifting is not an equivalence a bush fan wants to draw -- since if that's the equation, then it's pretty clear that bush has lost considerable interest in liberating afghanistan (women and otherwise), or ensuring that it will remain liberated. it's also clear on your logic that his interest in apprehending bin-laden has waned. so much for the high-minded egalitarianism the administration so ludicrously ascribes to itself.
i don't think 9/11 and iraq are connected, and i'll trust the report of a bipartisan commission as well as the literally dozens of corroborating sources from in and out of the government (including the president himself) over the tendentious national review anyday. the fact remains, bush _himself_ has been forced to retreat from his claims regarding iraq and 9/11, even where it has forced him to implicitly chide his own beloved vice president to do so, and this is especially suggestive given that retreat is a word absent from this administration's vocabulary.
that said, cheney and others continue to insinuate the imminently refutable connection when it serves them, only to retreat behind bush's signature aw shucks shrug when tested on it. that's close enough to lying for me, and we are swiftly approaching the 1,000-fatality mark. lying and dying are directly connected here; sometimes the pithy is also the true.
finally, and to change directions, since you've spent so much time excoriating the absence of specifics of kerry's policy proposals, perhaps you'd direct me to one specific prescription in bush's entire speech last night. best i could tell, he paraphrased his speech of four years ago, as though to promise, "hey, all those things i was going to do that i have either ignored or contravened in the past four years, well i'm _still_ going to do them. Honest!"
if it isn't obvious, the "levity" post is mine.
I'll echo that last post (at 11:42). What are the next four years supposed to look like under Bush? I'm honestly not sure after this week. The specifics (that you seem to want from Kerry) were few and far between. There really weren't any aside from a concern about spreading freedom (that apparently doesn't extend to gay Americans or American women's choices about what to do with their bodies) and a reliance on Bush's personal resolve. Well THAT sure clarifies things. What exacly is Bush's plan for North Korea or Iraq or Saudi or Pakistan or spreading democracy or lowering trade barriers ... I guess maybe I should go to the website and see if I can find any details.
And Morris I was chiding you about asking questions that I think you knew the answers to (like that veiled slur about whether I supported the Taliban). I'm not insulting Bush by saying that his policy is to rely upon an uncontrolabled id - that seems to basically be reality (and judging from last night, lots of Republicans love that). We know he has little interest in talking to area experts or reading intelligence briefs or running a coherent advisory system. He does though talk a lot about how his character and visceral responses lead him to do what he does. Oh, and let's not forget his support from the almighty.
Clinton? What does Clinton have to do with anything? Though if you are in the mood to Clinton bash, I'll Reagan bash and note how he cowered and ran from the Middle East after hundreds more Americans had been killed by terrorists than were killed in Mogadishu. But neither Clinton nor Reagan have anything to do with this campaign.
Re-election campaigns are always referendums on the incumbent and the previous four years. I think Bush as loused things up and hasn't the vaguest clue about how to get what he wants if he can't bomb a place. I don't see him making America safer or richer or expanding our influence in the world. Lots of people agree with me and are willing to give Kerry a try b/c they believe Bush has failed. Kerry (or any non-incumbent) is judged in ways that differ from how you look at an incumbent.
And of course you still are awfully kind to the Karzai regime and a would-be (certainly doesn't exist yet) democratic Iraq in which people wouldn't have nearly the freedoms that Americans do (it's a culture and norm thing - they like the idea of responsive government, but they don't want to be just like us).
And as to the future - either Kerry or Bush will back Karzai. That's not an issue in the election. But as to who will back him more, I'm thinking it might well be Kerry. Bush has done extremely little since the invasion, and the ever-out-of-her-depth Condi Rice has stated that warlords have always ruled in Afghanistan, so why should it be different now?
And you are sooooo letting Bush off easy on North Korea. He's had 4 years. He seems to have finally realized (is that a flip-flop I see!) that his initial policy wasn't accomplishing anything aside from the creation of more nukes in the hands of a guy Bush thinks is off his rocker. Kerry has yet to have one month. I'm willing to take a risk on Kerry re: North Korea because Bush has failed utterly and endangered American lives. There's no other way to see that issue. And no I'm not arguing for an invasion (typically you can only get away with that with the powerless countries). I'd just like a coherent, working plan.
As to Iraq and 9/11 - cling to your fantasties if they make you feel good. There's no reliable proof. No one has found any. Nada. None. Zip. Raw intelligence data is meaningless - I could go talk to a government official and say GW is a cross-dressing Satanist. It doesn't make it so. But it would be filed away somewhere.
Finally, I'm really puzzled about all this "I won't trust a madman who's tried to build WMD and backed terrorism against Americans" business last night. Point one - who DOES trust a madman? I'm thinking Kerry also doesn't. And two, how does Bush explain the recent embrace of the Libyan government then? They did all those things. Yet they are now are friends, whereas Saddam had to be taken out at a very high cost to this country. What's that discrepancy all about?
Joshua, I don't think calling someone, especially the president of the U.S., a killer, is particularly funny. I don't think there's been any substantiation that Bush led the nation to believe anything other than what he believed to be true, anything other than what other Middle East nations' leaders believed to be true (according to Gen. Franks), anything other than what Hans Bliks believed to be true. Clinton knew exactly what he led the nation and his wife to believe was false. I'm not sure how you draw your conclusions about Afghanistan or Bin Laden because we still have our troops there; when someone tried to kill Karzai a couple months ago it was a U.S. special forces soldier who got shot...maybe you equate that with losing interest. Our soldiers still die from mortar or rocket attacks there every month. You don't want to read the National Review. I watch PBS and fox news because I want to hear all the stories and make my own decisions, not to be limited by one side's spin or the other; you choose not to look at a source with a political perspective besides the one with which you identify, so I guess you're more interested in protecting your identification with that party than you are in the truth. Or maybe you're just as intellectually lazy as you accuse the president of being. You want specifics from Bush's speech, they're on his website, georgewbush.com. As Bush said, "you know where I stand." The unemployment rate is lower than it was in 1996 when Clinton talked about the strongest economy in history. It's the economy, isn't that what democrats used to say? I'm sure you don't want it to be foreign policy. http://www.suntimes.com/output/elect/cst-nws-lips27.html is a good source for more problems with Kerry's war decorations. I heard him say he wasn't going to let someone who hadn't served when they had the chance like he had, two tours in Vietnam, to question his patriotism; he doesn't mention that he requested an early out from his second tour or that he requested a deferment just like Cheney did. He keeps making it an issue.
I don't agree with the president's stand on gay marriage, I don't think Cheney does either; but most people in the country do, and the ammendment process allows for representation of views held sacred by most of the country. I do think it's inconsistent to value a woman's right to choose over the right to life of a child. I wonder if you believe the use of heroine or crack by a pregnant mother should be illegal, and if you do because of harm to the child, I'm not sure after learning so much about development there's the distinction I once believed (when I would have called myself pro-choice) there was. A child can be harmed by exposure to terratogens or deficiency of nutrition within two weeks of conception. Why is it any better to kill a fetus outright than to poison it and let it live? Yes, a fetus looks different than a child; but a child looks different from an adult, yet we value them at least equally. Our society values children more than adults except for this issue. Because I have concern for the social problems clustered around this issue (back alley abortions, children parents resent), I am torn; but as a matter of law, there's no fundamental difference between a fetus or a zygote and a newborn child, only arbitrary distinctions drawn along a developmental process that is in fact continuous.
As for foreign policy, I think you can expect Bush to be consistent with the last four years. John Edwards in his response criticized Bush for not talking about the last four years when in fact that was what he talked about, responses to 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. To use your own logic, he doesn't know what the situation will be in November so it would be pointless to distribute a policy at this point that could be completely different in response to changing circumstances on the ground.
Yes, that's a bad habit of mine from debating days, the veiled slur, I apologize for that, I'll endeavor to be more mindful, but besides the advantages already elucidated a few days ago, it is a way to check in about your perceptions and to make a point.
You're trying to meld together a Jungian personality critique and Freudian psychoanalysis; you may recall that though they were once close, bitter divisions erupted between Freud and Jung. A freudian id suggests the lack of a balancing superego, conscience, and I think you know that. Jung's personality theory (which was a lot of the basis for the Meyers Briggs type indicator) was based on archetypes, constant ideals throughout history (like the mother figure, the wise old man, etc) but there was not the moral critique found within Freud's theory, in short because Jung was a well adjusted person who wasn't always doing things to prove his own adequacy. Freud needed to see weakness in the world to feel good about himself, throwing out of his circle any colleague who didn't completely agree with him. Where Freud sees weakness in human nature, Jung saw ideals and differences, in short because he had a happier childhood. I don't know of any modern personality instrument that uses Freud's id/ego/superego construct because all the MBTI types have advantages because of their style; Freud's insecurity that he projected onto others is finally (and thankfully) leaving the building. Even within this archaic construct, I don't see how people who base their lives on moral values are lacking in conscience, in a sense of right and wrong (superego). You mention Bush's invoking this when you criticize him for talking about the Almighty. It's strange to me that American presidents are supposed to go to church every week but never talk about God, especially since the greatest presidents (like Abraham Lincoln) did talk about God. This seems like a very French rather than American perspective.
I'll continue this later. Does anybody have a Zanex?
Morris. Yup, I know that Psych 101 stuff, and it still strikes me that Bush's behavior matches a lot of stuff Freud said about the id. And yeah I know Freud's reputation has faded, but it still strikes me that the similarities are there.
So you're pro-life and I'm pro-choice. Big whoop. I still find it ironic that Bush is espouse "freedom" all the time when a lot of his preferences don't match that at all. And yeah, that includes forcing women to bear (and possibly rear) children. He THAT's not an assault on freedom is beyond me - and I don't think the fundamental rights of a zygote have much to do with the matter.
I don't have any problem with a president talking about God. I do have a problem when the president sees himself, and thereby the country, as an instrument of God. If you're going to make me choose (it's a false dichotomy of course) between the governmental systems of Iran and France, I choose France. If you like Iran - bully for you.
And you see the thing is Bush's foreign policy doesn't have to wait until November or January - he's president NOW. So it doesn't seem too much to ask for some more specifics. And as to looking at the last four years, ok, so we should follow his flip-flopped foreign policy then, right? And ignore the one he campaigned on before. Is that at all problematic to you.
And how is Bush not a killer? Of course he's a killer. And a willingness to be a killer is pretty much required if you're supposed to be fit to run a hegemon.
And if he was being completely straightforward on Iraq last year - I hardly think that's a reason to reelect him. I made a huge misjudgement, vote for me! Or, I wasn't the only one who was wrong! Yeah, that inspires confidence.
As to the economy - the job numbers are atrocious. Other numbers aren't so bad. But they definitely aren't so good. And his promise of deficits into the next decade and his failure to propose serious entitlement reform do point to him not being remotely interested in economic fundamentals.
And I'm still interested in how you square his actions re: Libya and Iraq.
And by the way, you're still doing the veiled slurs. It's not like a get my news off the Barbra Streisand newsletter. I read a variety of perspectives myself. And that business about heroin babies ... I mean c'mon.
The point was that a zygote and a child are the same thing, development is a continual process and I'd like you to scientifically explain the difference in kind between them based on more than arbitrary measures of time. And how do you say the President is harming freedom by standing up for the rights of children?
You didn't respond to my argument that you seem to fault Bush for having too much of a sense of right and wrong, that he makes decisions based on values (reflected in his references to the Almighty), and this is exactly what a superego is, not an id.
The problem with Iran is not their belief in an Almighty (Allah) but that they use their choice to restrict human rights. Do you really want to restrict the right of the President to worship as he chooses or speak about it? I thought you supported freedom of speech and religion. Bush was very clear about his faith in 2000 and today. I don't think the American people share your skepticism.
Killers have an intent to do harm. Bush is protecting America. I hope someday you can understand the difference.
As far the lying issue goes, it goes to integrity and ethics. Personally, I like a President who can be honest with the country. Considering the problems Kerry's had with memories etched in his mind and the medals on his website, this concerns me. Perhaps we simply differ in that you would prefer the leader of the U.S. to be a machiavellian prince rather than a genuine president.
If the job numbers are so attrocious, how did Clinton get reelected with worse numbers in 1996?
A far as the multiple perspectives, I was referring to Joshua's unwillingness to even read the National review article detailing the four meetings between Iraq and Al Quaeda before 9/11. I think part of being intellectaully honest is being able to accept other points of view when evidence exists to prove them, and this article makes an awfully good case. I think about the Waco massacre, a situation in which I believed the ATF and FBI until I watched a documentary on TLC showing the video taken from a plane circling overhead, experts explaining the heat flashes indicating automatic weapons fire coming from outside the compound and the use of pyrotechnic devices, though the FBI denied it and the commision investigating it supported their conclusion, just as the 9/11 commision found no substantial link to Iraq. The abortion issue is another issue where I accepted evidence of developmental progression even though before I was staunchly pro choice; I still have my reservations, but I think it's inconsistent to value life at one stage but not at another when the stages are not different in kind.
Tell me more what you mean in your question about Iraq and Libya so I can answer it for you.
I don't see how you can say it's okay to kill an unborn child outright than, but it's not okay just to poison it with heroin.
In response to the rest of your previous post, I would say the referendum you speak of seems to be in Bush's favor at this point, I guess a lot of people now agree with me about Bush's success in foreign policy.
Could you let me know your source for soon-to-be first female president, Dr. Rice. I have the feeling there's a context to it that you're not discussing. Just let me know where on the internet I can find a transcript of the whole interview from which it was taken.
It's interesting to me how you expect someone you characterize as a madman to be responsive to a coherent plan. Does that make any sense to you? Maybe on your next visit to D.C. you can find a paranoid schizophrenic streetperson(he'll be the one having a conversation with himself about CIA and aliens) and reason with him. Let me know how that goes for you, if you make it back alive.
As far as the National Review article goes detailing the connection between 9/11 and Iraq, you may remember that if raw intelligence data about Middle Eastern pilots learning how to fly planes but not land them had been attended to, we might have averted a tragedy...but instead it was "analyzed". If you read the article you might remember this quote,
"The Atta connection has been downplayed for months by the mainstream media, which has used a simple tactic, found on page one of the defense-lawyer playbook, that has repeatedly served the Iraq/Qaeda naysayers: viz., cull from an entire subject of investigation one isolated piece of equivocal evidence, suggest that this piece is representative of the entire subject, and thus debunk the subject just because the piece is not a 100-percent lock. Of course, if this facile method of determining truth were followed in law enforcement or intelligence circles, most crime would never be solved and most threats would never be identified. Happily, that is not the case, but the approach, regrettably, plays effectively in the bumper-sticker-talking-points worlds of television news and ideology-driven 'reporting.'"
In most times when a person (or nation) is confronted with pain, we have the choice to do the same thing that led to that pain before, to do nothing, or to do something else. Adaptive creatures do something else, and Bush chose to do something else on behalf of our nation, to save us from having to again endure the pain of another terrorist attack. Previous policies on Iraq had not been implemented, and the country suddenly had the will to support enacting the regime change Clinton supported. I don't think we've given a pass to Pakistan, Iran or Libya as you suggest, but the President is aware of the limitations of our military and responsive to them. I feel quite certain that if Bush finds out any of these nations is an imminent threat that can be handled by our available forces, he will act to protect us. That Kerry voted against the first Gulf War makes me question whether he would use this blunt, last but sometimes effective option even when nearly every country in the world believes it is necessary, as was the case then.
Just a clarification: by definition, I know a zygote is a single cell and a fetus is a human with rudimentary organs, but my point here is that we don't tend to value some people over others based on the number of cells in their bodies, they are all humans at different levels of development.
Gee Morris - I value the freedom of women over a tiny group of cells and that's surprising to you? I don't have a scientific explanation for it, nor am I particularly interested in coming up with one. It's simply a matter of my values. I value the freedom of grown women more than cell formations. Others disagree, I realize. But Bush is hardly generally pro-freedom if he expects women to carry children for nine months, and in some cases risk their lives (and in some cases kill them). He's pro-freedom for some, against freedom for others. Much like his Iraq/Saudi foreign policy beliefs.
And I don't particularly care about what 50%+1 people think of a president's foreign policy. I spend my career studying such things. Most people pay more attention to Paula Abdul vs. Simon on American Idol. Pardon me if I don't think public servants should always yield to the masses (hardly a shocking point in political philosophy; if you want to read an oldie but still goodie on this, see Edmund Burke).
Right and wrong comes into it - but I still think a lot of Bush's foreign policy is marked by the pleasure principle. Lots of the 1-on-1 coverage and commentary on him notes his rather deep emotional responses to things and how these affect at least the nature of his behavior, if not always its type (fun things - taking out Saddam; unpleasant things - negotiation, or talking to the French and the Germans).
"Do you really want to restrict the right of the President to worship as he chooses or speak about it? I thought you supported freedom of speech and religion." Uh, Morris - where in the world do you get that idea? He can worship however he pleases. However, using the instruments of states to carry out the callings of his faith is an entirely different matter.
"Killers have intent to do harm." I totally agree. The president launched a war knowing perfectly well that some Americans and many innocent Iraqis would die in the process. To me, approving such policies is clearly killing. But once again, I think anyone who wants to be president needs to be ready to kill.
If you don't think the president is a liar, you've been listening to waaaay too much Limbaugh. You don't count constantly skewing Kerry's record? You don't count firing people who gave accurate estimates of the cost of Iraq? You don't count lying to Congress about the cost of the prescription drug bill? And good freakin grief, if you insist on bringing everything constantly back to the 1970's, you don't count him lying about his service record in his 1978 House race? He's a big fat liar. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Good politicians typically have to be. What bothers me is the nature and the extent of the lies. He's a HUGE liar.
I don't care about Bill Clinton, he's not on the ballot. Bush's failures are on the ballot. And you're right in the sense that if Bush is reelected it does show some evidence that the public is willing to elect a president who's put people out of work.
Iraq/Libya? Both were/are led by "bad" guys. You know, people who worked with terrorists (Libya did more of that actually), both pursued weapons programs (Libya much more recently was pursuing nukes), both fought agressive wars and sought to destabilize the region. So why do with have to invade one, spend billions and kill thousands to punish this "bad" guy, yet Bush is willing to take the word of the other murderous dictator that he promises not to be naughty again? You don't see any discrepancy there?
I'm not saying anyone is a madman - typically such individuals have a tough time staying in office. Bush refers to people that way.
[And I'm still waiting for you to tell me why it was more important to prioritize Iraq over North Korea which had nukes and now has more, and Iran which has more ties to international terrorists. How are those situations less threatening to the US than Iraq was? And that's not even getting into Pakistan - where a nuclear bomb could easily fall into the hands of terrorists (see Graham Allison's piece in the October Atlantic for the latest on that) and of course likely the current home of Osama bin Laden - or the Gulf principalities that fund terrorists across the globe and are technically favored allies. And do you really think Iraq posed more of a threat that UBL? Why didn't we concentrate on him if we were most concerned with an IMMINENT threat? Clearly we were planning for Iraq before Tora Bora, and those plans limited our effectiveness against him (see the Fallows piece in the October Atlantic or the Woodward books)].
How was Iraq in 2003 an imminent threat? And yes, I realize they were occasionally taking shots at our pilots, but we'd been bombing them for ten years and had pulverized their military during that time. That does not measure up to the standard of an imminent threat.
And how was Saddam an imminent threat to us in 1991 for that matter?
And why do you think Kerry wouldn't invade a country if the US faced an imminent threat? 1991? You think throwing out a corrupt regime on the other side of the planet was an imminent threat to us? Saddam actually asked our ambassador if it was OK with us before he invaded.
And Mo, don't be stupid. Obviously ALL data is raw data. Some of it is accurate, some not The thing is, it goes through a process. And some is judged to be on target, some not. Actually the flight school stuff WAS judged to be serious.
We haven't given a pass on Pakistan? Morris - there have top ally status now. How is THAT not giving them a pass.
As to Condi Rice there's a raft of articles on her cluelessness, though I still find her own quote in "Bush at War" perhaps the most startling sign example of it - the "well, we suddenly realized we needed to think about what Afghanistan would look like after our attack" - a thought that apparently didn't enter her head for the 1st 2 months of planning. But really, if you've regularly kept up on the literature on the NSC process over the last 4 years you'll find a multitude of sources slamming her abilities - including some from Republicans. Then there's her whole truth-telling problem whether it's "people would never have envisaged flying planes into buildings" (when Bush himself had been alerted to the possibility that summer at the G8 summit), or the I read the Intelligence Estimate on Iraq/oh no, I didn't read the footnotes/oh yes, I did, to her vapid testimony before the 9/11 Commission (see http://slate.msn.com/id/2098499/). My low opinion of her knows no bounds.
Finally - I think the comments threads might be more useful if we did one or two points at a time! Responding to things this length takes away the focus from half of the points - plus it takes forever.
Well, it's tough for me to argue with you when you don't seek an explanation...this is something you'd berate Bush for, you realize. Essentially there is no fundamental difference between the life of a one-celled woman and the life of a woman with billions of cells, except for the number of cells. I'd be careful being so intellectually disinterested in this because arbitrary differences regarding the value of life based on perception rather than reality historically tend to lead toward genocide. And yes, I think it would go without saying that liberties have limits to ensure the liberties of others...that's why our society doesn't allow murder. You might argue that such a law takes away the freedom of would-be murderers, but I would suggest it guarantees the right to life of all involved.
I am familiar with the writings of Edmund Burke (and Pablo Neruda too, for that matter). You had suggested in a previous post that Kerry having popular support was a reason to believe Bush's foreign policy had failed. I don't think there's much of an argument there either.
If you read Carl Rogers (one of the first psychotherapists to use research rather than purely theory), having and being aware of emotional responses in the moment one is confronted with them characterizes the upper end of the mental health continuum.
The point regarding freedom of speech and religion is that you think it's okay for Bush to have his beliefs but not to act on them, and I think that's silly. Refer back to your Edmund Burke response as to what that means here; he should do what he feels is right, and I don't see how a person can leave their own values out of a decision and still do that.
I think killers intend to do harm, and good men intend to protect. We don't call people murderers when they take a life in self defense or in defense of our nation.
Be careful here, Armand. If skewing Kerry's record is lying, then Kerry is more of a liar than Bush, or do you not remember Christmas in Cambodia? He added the combat V to his silver star on his web site, exxagerating his record; do you remember that Admiral Borda committed suicide when it came out he'd done the same thing?
Right, Armand, I'm sure the dot com burst had nothing to do with lost jobs, nor did 9/11. I'm sure as Kerry suggests it's the 100,000 phone bank jobs that have gone to India rather than technology replacing defunct textile and manufacturing jobs. And I'm sure Kerry's plan that will get back 25,000 of those jobs (at the same time costing us those international allies he's always talking about) will change everything. Riiiiggggghhhht.
I don't see Bush as taking Qaddafi's word, just being aware that we don't have the available military forces to fight there at this point. By your logic, we should let all murderers go free rather than unjustly get one at a time, or maybe you think we should declare war on five or ten countries at once? Tell me what you're advocating here.
I feel we're getting redundant here. I'll spare you a reiteration of the whole China argument as far as North Korea goes. We had intelligence about Iraq trying to acquire nuclear weapons, here's the CIA web site address: http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd/Iraq_Oct_2002.htm#04
You don't have to be an avid student of Sun Tzu to understand that it's in the national interest to attack the weaker target.
The imminent threat of Iraq comes from the missing buildings in New York. In 1991, Saddam decided to invade Kuwait and torture its citizens, just as Saddam had done to his own citizens. That's why we went to war, because if we hadn't acted then he could grow stronger, stealing the resources of Kuwait to become strong enough to conquer Iran, he could have been the next Hitler (although thousands of Kurds, Kuwaitis and Iraqis would insist he already is). You seem very interested in the rights for gay marriage and women's "choice" here, but you have no concern for others because they're on the other side of the world? I think so many times in history we've been reminded that we can't allow these threats to grow stronger overseas, then find their way onto friendly shores.
But why do you discard a compelling case for a connection between 9/11 and Iraq on the grounds that it's been analyzed, giving away your own power to find what's true in this world? Tell me what's not compelling about the connections.
And if we found Pakistan to be supporting terrorist plots AND had available military, we would act against them.
Just as I suspected, you're not providing me with a transcript of these Dr. Rice interviews. I want to know context, not a bumper sticker quote. I watched her 9/11 testimony, and I didn't draw your conclusions.
I've been called to attention for dropping arguments here before, that's why I'm being so thorough.
"But why do you discard a compelling case for a connection between 9/11 and Iraq on the grounds that it's been analyzed, giving away your own power to find what's true in this world? Tell me what's not compelling about the connections."
Fine bro, drink your trippy Kool-Aid and enjoy it. Basically here you're admitting to having no interest in the views of thousands upon thousands of experts and analysts (many of them conservatives and Republicans) who have access to much more secret information on this than you or I do. And you are asking for proof of a negative. If those are your views of the world probably can't have a rational discussion.
Rice? Google! I have a job you know, I don't have time to find all the transcripts myself. Like I said, there are a raft of books and articles out there, and I'd be hard pressed to think of one that portrays her favorably. And you can CERTAINLY find the transcript before the 9/11 commission on your own (short as it is - you know there's only so much time she can take away from her sing-a-longs with Bush -- read Bush at War if you want a reference for that).
"And if we found Pakistan to be supporting terrorist plots AND had available military, we would act against them." What does that mean? In what universe does that combination not hold more for Pakistan than it did for Iraq.
"I don't see Bush as taking Qaddafi's word, just being aware that we don't have the available military forces to fight there at this point." It looks to me like he's taking Qaddafi's word.
"You don't have to be an avid student of Sun Tzu to understand that it's in the national interest to attack the weaker target."
So you're agreeing with me that we attacked a weak state? Pray tell me what Bush is doing to defend us against the more fearsome ones out there.
So Iraq wanted nukes, big whoop. Several countries do. He wasn't anywhere close to having them, and no one who wasn't trying to sell a case for war believed that he was.
What evidence do you have that links Saddam and 9/11? IT DOES NOT EXIST! Or if it does, the president needs to call you up and get your sources.
Why should Americans go die for the right to hold an election in another country? If you are that noble, volunteer. But that's not what our military exists for.
And as to liars - Well, what about Bush lying about his service record? He did. And I have yet to see anything definitive that says he wasn't in Cambodia. He was certainly near it.
As to calling people killers - Bush intended to do harm, I don't see anyway around that. But that's not something I plan on regularly calling him myself.
Remember that statistics is always about failure to disprove, it's not about proving. I think I can refer your Edmund Burke comment here about buying into the views of the masses; just because thousands of republicans dismiss 9/11-Iraq is not a persuasive argument. Thousands of republicans also see this connection. And do not mock the Sharkleberry Fin.
You talk about how a leader needs to be a little Machiavellian, but then believe if Bush says things are wine and roses with Libya that it must be true? I think you underestimate him. Weakness in defensive capability does not equate to level of threat to us. We're supposed to attack the weaker states that are the greater threats. Missile defense and further wars (if necessary) are how Bush will protect us.
As far as why we went to war in Iraq, try this article by Bill Kristol with a Bill Clinton quote. The article refers to German intelligence that Iraq was trying to obtain nukes within three years, yet you say that only hawks supported this connection. I don't remember seeing German troops on TV when Baghdad was liberated.
How many times do I have to post the article link explaining Iraq-9/11 before you read it? Well, if you won't link Dr. Rice, you can find it yourself.
And I haven't ruled out joining up to support Bush's noble causes, but I'm going to wait until I complete my advanced degree so I'll have a better gift to bring to them. Can you imagine living in Baghdad now, as history unfolds every day? I'd like to bring my strength to a "noble effort" there.
You believe his Christmas in Cambodia? Even if you're right, what about his exxagerated medals. This is exactly what John Kerry decried in Admiral Borda as absence of leadership.
Morris writes: "The problem with Iran is not their belief in an Almighty (Allah) but that they use their choice to restrict human rights."
Q.v., Bush's determination to make sure gay people can't enjoy the same right to marry as straights (not to mention that the Solicitor General wasn't exactly jumping up in down in favor of Lawrence in Lawrence v. Texas).
"I think killers intend to do harm, and good men intend to protect. We don't call people murderers when they take a life in self defense or in defense of our nation."
Right -- we call them _killers_. You're the one jumping to load a simple noun; I would agree with you if you objected to someone calling Bush a murderer, but no one that I know of has done that here. I agree with Armand that all presidents (of hegemons) are, and must be, killers.
As for Iraq-9/11, seven seconds on Google netted me this, which is just one account of a story I know we all remember. So I don't know which thousands you're referring to; the only Republican who matters has conceded the point.
And if your 9/11-Iraq connection is based on the whole Saddam-al-Qaeda, thing, what have we got? A couple of dubious meetings? No tangible connection. No harboring of top al-Qaeda operatives (which is, in almost every other country in the Middle East, like collecting pogs)?
And in response to your comments (here or elsewhere) re Afghanistan -- you are correct that we still have troops there. About as many as it takes to protect Kabul, and Karzai. Best I can tell, that's it (not the most controversial or partisan site in the world; the interesting stuff starts halfway down).
oops -- did it again. last one's mine.
A couple of quick notes, and references to come later yes, I am going to cite that "job thing" too:
First, the science on the crack baby thing does not bear out the assumptions made. I had always accepted the common wisdom on it, and then was accidentally exposed to a colleague's research that showed the clearly circuitous reasoning that fouled up the crack baby legislation. This was a case of policy leading medical recommendations without a foundation in actual research.
Second, I have to disagree with Morris' statement "but my point here is that we don't tend to value some people over others based on the number of cells in their bodies, they are all humans at different levels of development." I don't believe that statement is borne out in fact for the majority of people in the U.S., on any grounds much less those of cells vs. adult humans. I do believe that some people think this, and I do believe that some people not only think this but also support it with their actions, but I think that in practice, as a society, we generally do value some humans more than others.
to follow up on the abortion thing, which to be honest i'm not even sure how it came up --
morris, you seem to suggest that where line-drawing will require an arbitrary judgment, that's precisely what legislatures and courts do -- it's what they must do.
and for the time being, the supreme court has, approximately, drawn the line at fetus viability, with exceptions and caveats. this seems to me a sensible line, even if a bit of a moving target as medical technology continues to improve.
it is sometimes said in the field that bad facts make for bad law. and abortion is an issue on which the facts are always bad. but i've always thought this aphorism is circular: in the presence of certain problematic sets of fact, whatever law comes out, whether your preferred rule or mine, is going to look bad to many people -- in some cases even those who like the result. (for example, there's a long history of criticism of the Court's reasoning in Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board by parties who nevertheless advocate for the outcome those decisions reached.)
as it turns out, and as i'm sure we would all have it, bad facts do not exonerate courts from having to rule. it is from cases such as these that "balancing tests" emerge, including the "undue burden" standard elucidated in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case authored for a plurality by a conservative justice, with an outcome commanding a majority of a conservative Court. like i said -- i think the test sensible in the face of an intractably difficult, fundamentally philosophical and spiritual issue.
an incomplete sentence -- what i meant so say at the beginning of the prior post was:
"morris, you seem to suggest that where line-drawing will require an arbitrary judgment, the law should either butt out or adopt a position at one extreme end or the other of an issue. but that's precisely what legislatures and courts do -- it's what they must do."
...and, if we are going to discuss abortion, might I suggest that we not derail this thread to do it.
I don't remember the founding fathers including the right to enjoy a tax break courtesy of a civilly recognized marriage "Bill of Rights." I suppose you'd also say all presidential administrations are denying the descendants of slaves their due reparations, their rights, right? Personally, I support your position, but I wouldn't call it a "right."
I think you're attemptint to use killer denotatively without considering its obvious connotations. A President ordering the elimination of threats to this country is not a killer, he's a good President. It would be different if he were killing people to protect his own administration; but you'd have to ask Vince Foster and Ron Brown about that.
If you read the previously cited N.R. article, the last paragraphs describe reasons Bush would continue to say there is no connection, though IF YOU READ THE ARTICLE it makes a great case. Thomas Kean, the republican co-chair of the 9/11 commision supports this connection. You need to check this out.
I'm looking at your Afghan site and I don't know what your argument is here. Let me know.
I found an article representative of your crack baby argument, thankyou for bringing my attention to that. However, what the article explains is not just that crack doesn't lead to developmental problems blamed on it but that these problems are more likely due to malnutrition and poor prenatal care (see David C. Lewis in DATA: The Brown University Digest of Addiction Theory & Application, August 2004, Vol. 23, Issue 8, page 8...sorry, I can't link it because it's on my university server). This suggests not that development is not a continuous process (sorry, I know that's awkward wording), but that it is lack of folic acid within the first weeks instead of crack concaine use that affects the child; development is still a continuous process. I agree as humans we do value some people over others, but as a society we've decided that human life is an inaliable right; even if you suggest that most people don't accept the continuity of human life as borne out by science, it seems like the Edmund Burke argument applies here. We should do the right thing, whether or not most people support it. I think Armand might disagree with you about it being okay to let the majority decide what rights to give what groups, and while I disagree with him about the extent of what constitutes human rights, I do agree that all humans in our society have a right to life.
Joshua, I don't see why legislatures "must" draw an arbitrary line. Maybe Armand or Macaque can help me with the source (or you, since you're a lawyer), but the line I think of here is "Tough cases make bad law." I don't see why they have to draw an arbitrary line when we can simply decide as a society to value all life, that's what I think would be consistent. Yes, there will always be limits on personal freedoms even in so-called "free" societies, or else the societies won't last long. Bear in mind that I'm still not comfortable with this being the ultimate solution, but it certainly would provide a consistency that IS rarely seen in law, so I understand its advocates.
Fetus viability seemed like a good place to draw the line until technology advance to the point that we can medically support a baby's life sooner and sooner after conception. I suppose you could argue that viability means without medical/nutritional support, but most babies would die even after birth without this. What I mean here is, a baby has its basic organs at eight weeks, but that's not where we draw the line. It's heart's beating at four weeks, but that's not where we draw the line. Even if we took the age of the youngest neonate that survived, can we really say this is viability when we know technology will soon advance so that we can support even younger babies?
Right, I agree with your summary of Brown v. Board of Education (I remember it vaguely from Con Law), but my point here is that a lot of people don't agree with Roe v. Wade even after so many years. It's a tough issue, because people have very poignant arguments, to suggest the right of a person to take their own life, or the good to society that might balance out saving one life at the cost of millions of dollars in health care costs. But I've known a child that cost millions to save, and he was worth it, so I believe in that.
tough cases = bad facts. you say tomato . . .
i provided the afghanistan link only to illustrate that even the most vanilla of information sites appear to concur that any semblance of elections and central government in afghanistan is a sham; voter registration is low and prospects for legitimate elections are dim; warlords run almost everything except kabul. ousting the taliban in name is hardly victory. i'm sure armand could provide a more robust source, but this one was enough for me for now.
as for line drawing, if you think no lines must be drawn, then, for example, you can take your neighbor's property through adverse possession simply by establishing your open, notorious, hostile, exclusive possession for a microsecond. in pennsylvania, as in most states, the law requires you establish your possession for 21 years; i don't think there's any metaphysical basis for it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense that some line be drawn. of course, the microsecond alternative, at one end of a continuum, is absurd; so is the other end, where no amount of time of such possession would lead to transference of title to the adverse possessor.
you'll perhaps argue that property law and reproductive law are not appropriate for comparison, and in some sense you're right. but the proposition that law needn't draw lines is absurd on its face; law, by definition, is the drawing of lines. or would you prefer to see no pollution regulations, no speed limit or ban on any weapon possession by individuals, the triumphant return of debtor's prison, and so on?
i'd be happy to elucidate my personal views on abortion, which are not properly characterized as pro-choice but rather pro-abortion, but i will hold off until a more appropriate post comes along, minding binky's understandable request that we stay on-topic in a given thread.
Thank you for bringing a bit of reason to this thread and others on Bloodless Coup... You're not the only pro-Bush reader of these posts!!
I encourage you to continue your arguments with such eloquence -- you do it much better than I could.
Thankyou to my anonymous supporter.
Your site lists Afghanistans' population as 28 million, and if ten million are registered, that sounds good as compared to American voter registration rates. It suggests at least more than a third of the country wants to participate in a democratic Afghanistan. We've made inroads, controlling Kabul and a few other areas outright, and if we get intelligence of a terrorist base there we can liquidate it now, something we couldn't do four years ago. You might compare the evolution of human rights there to American civil rights; it took many, many years before if was safe for certain races (African Americans here, women or any Americans in Afghanistan) to travel safely in rural areas (the South here) because of traditions that marginalized the importance of certain types of human life. Just because we can't change everything in four years doesn't mean its unimportant to do what we can to put Afghanistan on the right road.
morris, i'm not looking for instant success. and, like many lefties, i've never strongly obkected to our action against, or presence within, afghanistan, whose substantial culpability for 9/11 is beyond cavil.
but the fact remains that military experts on islamic culture, who are in short supply to begin with, were removed from afghanistan at the outset of the iraq war, troops have been in short supply since the beginning of that conflict, and such success as we've enjoyed in afghanistan is nothing compared to what we might have if we'd sent more troops and enacted a more focused effort.
the country is tiny, impoverished, and desperate, and not nearly as intrinsically hostile toward us as iraq, and yet we truly control a very small percentage of the country, and are knowingly leaving a great deal of power to the warlords from whom ultimately spring insurgencies, terrorism, and the like.
that we could have screwed it up worse, that we could spend even less time doing the job right, means neither that we haven't screwed it up or that we've done the job right.