Sunday, October 03, 2004

Okay, okay, politics

It's a pity there's not HTML code for a deep, frustrated sigh, because I need it. I've never voted for a Republican presidential candidate in my life. (Except for Gerald Ford, and I have no explanation for that.) But while I keep waiting for the Kerry folks to give me a good reason to vote against Dubya, they keep fumbling the ball.

  • They keep describing the Iraq war as a "unilateral" act by the US. "Uni" means "one," which means they're saying we decided to go it alone. So take a look at the Emperor's site, and look at all those flags in the right column. Each one represents a country that has thrown in on our side. Excuse me, but I count thirty-two of them. Thirty-two is more than one. True, some of them, like the Dominican Republic, are not the heaviest hitters around. But some of them are major players, like England and Australia. And shouldn't we be encouraging the smaller countries of the world to help out in the defense of freedom, rather than sneering at them as being bribed or coerced? Oh, but wait. I don't see France. I don't see Germany. Well, didn't France effectively sell out the United Nations, where it has a permanent seat on the Security Council, by declaring it would never under any circumstances go to war against Iraq to enforce the sanctions it had been voting for for ten years? And as for desperately needing German might beside us, for the last sixty-odd years, hasn't the bulk of Germany's military defense been provided by us?? With allies like these, well, you finish it.
  • Then there's the "rush to war" idea, that the Bush White House charged off to war like Teddy Roosevelt going up San Juan Hill. Excuse me again, but did I dream 2002? After declaring an intent to go after Saddam, didn't we spend nearly an entire year practically begging the UN and the Security Council (read France) to join us in an official international coalition? Only after all this time did we finally give up, form our own coalition, and act. If anything, we might have been better off if we had given up on the UN sooner. It would have been a lot easier on our troops if they could have gone in during winter, rather than waiting till the hot weather was just getting geared up.
  • Finally, the trump card. There was, after all, Colin Powell on television, making his pitch to the Security Council about all the prohibited weapons of mass destruction we would find in Iraq. And we go in, and where are they? BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED!! NO WMDs!! Oh, please. For one thing, it was always about WMDs or WMD programs, and we certainly found evidence of those. And sarin gas is a WMD, and we found some of that, too. Anyway, go back and read point #2. I repeat, one fucking year between saying we were going after him because of WMDs and when we actually did so, all because of delays at the UN. And Saddam did what during this time? Nothing? Anybody got any figures on military truck traffic between Iraq and, oh, say, Syria during this period? I can't help picturing a police chief deciding to take out the most notorious drug dealer in his city, then staging a fucking press conference six days before to announce his intentions. Then his cops show up on schedule to find a spotlessly clean house with the dealer sitting at his kitchen table, placidly drinking tea, not a shred of evidence to be found. Gosh, what a surprise.

Come on, Team Kerry. Can't you do better than this?


Don said...

I am shocked. SHOCKED, I tell you. I had no idea you too voted for Ford.

Your screed makes total sense to me, but whadaya speck, I'm one of those Liberal Republicans that aren't supposed to exist. There's a lot to dislike about Bush, but there's a lot more to dislike about a world ruled by Security Council infighting and a signal lack of decisiveness in the face of general nuclear proliferation and/or threat of same.

Dr Zen said...

It was about WMDS *until* it was about WMD programs *until* it was about maybe he'd have programs if there were no sanctions.

Hang on! There were sanctions though. And they were working. The ISG reported that he totally wanted them gone. He bribed everyone going to get them gone but they were still in place.

While they were in place, he had no WMDs, and there was no threat. Not that he actually ever did pose a threat to the USA. It's Al Qaida who did and does that, remember.

There is absolutely no evidence that any weapons were shipped to Syria. That's another lie.

Dude, people like you cannot have this thing proved to you. You'll vote Bush and allow your nation to become ever more hated in the world *because* he and you are people that will ignore the inconvenient truth and act on the lie.

But what's the use of talking to fucking idiots like you? You couldn't spot the nose in front of your face. All it takes is an appeal to your cravenness and your mindless patriotism and you'll support any evil done in your name.

Steve T. said...

Oh, goody! My first flame!

You might have been worth debating point by point if you hadn't lost control in the last paragraph. But I will say this. "Craven, mindless patriotism"? Oh, that's rich. I grew up in Berkeley, California, and in junior high I was marching through the streets protesting the Vietnam war. (Were you even born then?) Most of my life I believed as you would have me believe; strongly anti-Reagan, pro-Clinton, voted for Gore, etc.

Then something happened. (Hint: New York, Washington, Pennsylvania.) What happened was not a lie, it was the most inconvenient of truths. It made me rethink and re-prioritize a lot of things that I had thought were settled and certain. And I just cannot understand anyone who didn't rethink as a result of those events.

Look, there's a lot I don't like about Bush, and a lot I simply despise. His pandering to the religious right on the gay marriage issue disgusts me, and it's by no means a given that I will vote for him. But I know one thing about him. He's living in the 21st century, not the 20th. And if you remember those silly debates about whether the 21st century "really" started on New Year's Day of 2000 or 2001, I say neither. It started in 2001 on Tuesday, the 11th day of September.

To re-fight the last war, as Kerry seems determined to do, is to lose the present one. This has always been true. Wake up and smell the ashes.

Dr Zen said...

9/11 has absolutely nothing to do with Iraq.

Nothing will convince those who simply don't want to know the truth.

Like I say, there's no point in talking to people like that.

But *this* nonsense, I will answer:
"And I just cannot understand anyone who didn't rethink as a result of those events"

Can you not understand that there are plenty of people who did not need to "rethink" the world because of those events because we already knew what kind of place it is?

Besides, Bush hasn't "rethought". He has invaded a nation with a strategic resource. That's nothing new. He's used a convenient but false rationale. Nothing new there either.

It's the same old game with new tools. The difference is, they've roped in a new set of rubes to fly the flag for them.

Steve T. said...

You said: "9/11 has absolutely nothing to do with Iraq." Really? Have you never heard of Salman Pak? This is the Iraqi military base with an old Soviet airliner parked on it. This is where several of the 9/11 hijackers were actually trained in how to hijack passenger jets. And that has no connection?

BTW, I spoke of "rethinking" after 9/11, and said that I'm no way convinced that Bush is the right guy for the next four years. And you said that Bush had not "rethought" anything. Please. He campaigned, and came into office, on a policy bordering on isolationism, proclaiming that we were not in the business of nation building. After 9/11, he reversed that course entirely. Whether he was wise to do that or not, you can't accuse him of being incapable of changing his mind.

Dr Zen said...

Are you crazy? Salman Pak was a beat-up. There is absolutely no evidence connecting Saddam with 9/11. He talked to AQ but he found them distasteful because he didn't like Islamists (no wonder, they posed a direct threat to his secular regime, as they do to others in Egypt and Algeria, for instance, and would in Libya if Gaddafi didn't pander to Islamist sentiment).

None of the 9/11 hijackers ever went to Iraq. None of them had the least connection to Baghdad. Only the true fucking crazies are still claiming it. Even Bush doesn't claim it.

Bush lied his way into office. His boys planned to take Iraq out at first opportunity. The opportunity arose and they went for it.

I said he didn't *rethink*. Well, he didn't. His agenda remains the same. The reason I take you for a fool is that you truly believe the world changed on 9/11 and that whereas before then, you might have engaged these events with a more critical approach, now you've allowed fear and misguided jingoism to drive your car. The world didn't change. It was a fucking nasty place before then. The difference is you got a taste of what you usually dish out. It reached in and touched you. Your first response was to dish out a bit more.

People like you still have no idea why it happened and not much more idea why you invaded Iraq in response. You could know, of course. You're not actually dumber than the rest of the world, despite appearances.

BTW, you are still isolationists. We find it odd that your leader is so *proud* that your nation is so heartily disliked, even in Europe, in which you have in previous times found a lot of sympathy. Most of the world knows that what the problem is is not that you are not "popular" but that you are bewilderingly belligerent, will not cooperate with *anyone* on *anything*, do not seek consensus, and use force rather than persuasion to get your way. But the reason we find it odd is that most of us don't understand what rubes you are. We think you are like us and it takes a lot to disabuse us of the notion.

Steve T. said...

Well, I've done a little fact checking (I presume you approve), and found that the Salman Pak connection is weaker than I thought but cannot be dismissed. Shortly after 9/11 an Iraqi defector, Sabah Khodada, told the NY times he had worked as an administrator at Salman Pak, and was aware that both Iraqis and non-Iraqis were trained there in terrorism techniques. These techniques included hijacking airliners using small hand-held knives, a technique never used before 9/11. As of last June, it's been noted that he had closer ties with some anti-Saddam factions than was previously noted, making his testimony a little more questionable, but not overturning it. So that question remains highly suspicious, but not confirmed.

If you would do a little fact checking, such as reading his speeches, you would find that Bush never said that WMDs were the only reason to act against Saddam. In a classic straw man argument, you keep implying that he did say that, and that therefore the difficulty in finding them invalidates the war. You oversimplify outrageously, and then call me a rube?

BTW, what I really don't understand is why you insist on describing me as a mindless, jingoistic Bush supporter. From the start of this post, I've said I wasn't. I voted for Gore in 2000, and I started this out asking for help finding reasons to vote for Kerry this year. My words are right in front of you. Why can't you read them?

Dr Zen said...

Man, Khodada is completely discredited. He's INC. They fed you all sorts of shit in the run-up to it. Please. Next you'll be claiming we had to invade Iraq to stop Saddam from shredding people. This is why I call you a rube.

Bush has over the months given all sorts of reasons for invading Iraq. The justification has shifted over time. You won't find me suggesting that "WMDs are the only reason" he invaded Iraq, or that he said so. Instead of lecturing me that I should read what you write, perhaps you should practise what you preach. Perhaps you could also learn that *what you infer* is to do with you, not to do with me. Do you see?

Finally, I did say you were jingoist. You call it "patriotic", I dare say, but there's a strong streak of my country right or wrong in what you say. I'm familiar with it, because I hear it an awful lot from Americans and most usually from no one else. You *did* say you were planning to vote Bush, which I have referred to (I haven't suggested you support him as such, but giving him your vote is quite enough).

I have read your words. I understand what you're saying. I think you're misguided entirely and I've said so. You didn't bother actually addressing the ways I suggested you were misguided, but that's how you people justify supporting very bad guys. You simply ignore the negative. You don't even feel you need to meet it head on. I don't believe you've actually bothered reading mine. You're just angry because I called you a rube.

By the way, I don't come "from" Australia. I live here at the moment.

As for being self-important, I believe everyone is important. I also don't think I need to have gone to America to know what the issues are. We live in a global village, dude.

You want a reason to vote Kerry? I'll give you it in terms even a rube can grasp.

He won't substantially change your foreign policy. He can't. He might work a bit harder at not pissing off all and sundry. You might actually welcome that. You probably aren't aware how much anti-American sentiment there is, even in places, such as western Europe, which are generally reasonably pro-American.

He might actually make you more secure by helping to lessen some of the resentment Bush has caused. In particular, we can hope he will reverse Bush's policy on the West Bank settlements. That alone would be a huge stride towards it.

He's not surrounded by evil cunts like Rumsfeld and Cheney, and worse, Perle and Wolfowitz. Yes, all pollies are nasty shits, but they truly are lowlives.

Most of all, Bush encourages people who would hurt you. He nurtures them. He nurtures the gayhaters, the womanhaters, the destroyers. He winks and nods to them. Sometimes he talks directly to them. Kerry doesn't.

You don't address what I say, man, and I find that irritating, so I'm not going to bother reading any reply. But do indulge yourself. A bit of fury does a rube's heart good.

Steve T. said...

Okay, I'll directly address one thing you have said:

"You *did* say you were planning to vote Bush, which I have referred to (I haven't suggested you support him as such, but giving him your vote is quite enough)."

Where? Where did I say that? I know every word I've written here, and I don't recall saying that at all. And what exactly is the distinction between "supporting" and "voting for"?

BTW, even back when I was a hippy liberal growing up in Berkeley, I never understood what was so wrong with the slogan, "my country, right or wrong." Doesn't this imply that your country can be wrong, in contrast to what most people assume it means? I've always thought the follow-up phrase should be, "when right, keep it right; when wrong, set it right."

And yes, I know that "liberal" in Australian politics does not mean what it does in American politics. I was using the American definition. I'm sure you'll have no trouble. After all, you're now correcting me on what the exact meaning of "from" is.