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What if Bush is right?

GW Bush Iraq policy 2004

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#1 Drew

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 05:31 PM

This is This is an amazing opinion piece, coming from a harsh critic of George Bush.It should be read in its entirety, and it's not for the short-attention-spanned.

Excerpt:

Quote

He not only has led us into war, he seems to get off on war, and it's the greedy pleasure he so clearly gets from flexing his biceps or from squaring his shoulders and setting his jaw or from landing a plane on an aircraft carrier—the greedy pleasure the war president finds in playacting his own attitudes of belligerence—that permitted me the greedy pleasure of hating him.

Then I read the text of the speech he gave and was thrown from one kind of certainty—the comfortable kind—into another. He was speaking, as he always does, of the moral underpinnings of our mission in Iraq. He was comparing, as he always does, the challenge that we face, in the evil of global terrorism, to the challenge our fathers and grandfathers faced, in the evil of fascism. He was insisting, as he always does, that the evil of global terrorism is exactly that, an evil—one of almost transcendent dimension that quite simply must be met, lest we be remembered for not meeting it . . . lest we allow it to be our judge. I agreed with most of what he said, as I often do when he's defining matters of principle. No, more than that, I thought that he was defining principles that desperately needed defining, with a clarity that those of my own political stripe demonstrate only when they're decrying either his policies or his character. He was making a moral proposition upon which he was basing his entire presidency—or said he was basing his entire presidency—and I found myself in the strange position of buying into the proposition without buying into the presidency, of buying into the words while rejecting, utterly, the man who spoke them. There is, of course, an easy answer for this seeming moral schizophrenia: the distance between the principles and the policy, between the mission and "Mission Accomplished," between the war on terror and the war in Iraq. Still, I have to admit to feeling a little uncertain of my disdain for this president when forced to contemplate the principle that might animate his determination to stay the course in a war that very well may be the end of him politically. I have to admit that when I listen to him speak, with his unbending certainty, I sometimes hear an echo of the same nagging question I ask myself after I hear a preacher declaim the agonies of hellfire or an insurance agent enumerate the cold odds of the actuarial tables. Namely: What if he's right?

As easy as it is to say that we can't abide the president because of the gulf between what he espouses and what he actually does , what haunts me is the possibility that we can't abide him because of us—because of the gulf between his will and our willingness. What haunts me is the possibility that we have become so accustomed to ambiguity and inaction in the face of evil that we find his call for decisive action an insult to our sense of nuance and proportion.

The people who dislike George W. Bush have convinced themselves that opposition to his presidency is the most compelling moral issue of the day. Well, it's not. The most compelling moral issue of the day is exactly what he says it is, when he's not saying it's gay marriage. The reason he will be difficult to unseat in November—no matter what his approval ratings are in the summer—is that his opponents operate out of the moral certainty that he is the bad guy and needs to be replaced, while he operates out of the moral certainty that terrorists are the bad guys and need to be defeated. The first will always sound merely convenient when compared with the second. Worse, the gulf between the two kinds of certainty lends credence to the conservative notion that liberals have settled for the conviction that Bush is distasteful as a substitute for conviction—because it's easier than conviction.

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#2 HubcapDave

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 05:51 PM

Damn.


That was good.

#3 shambalayogi

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 06:13 PM

It's VERY GOOD!  

No matter what your opinion of the situation in Iraq it's thought provoking on all sides.
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#4 Kimmer

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 06:50 PM

I'm glad you posted some of this article. I find it very difficult to read (the font on the site is GREY!!!!!! Who thought that up anyhow?) :glare:  :suspect:

Anway, in order to read this, I've dropped it in a doc and changed the color to a nice readable BLACK! So far, I find it very interesting.

Thanks for the link.

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Edited by Pickles, 29 July 2004 - 06:51 PM.


#5 schoolpsycho

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 07:14 PM

Hello.

Seeing as how I do have that short attention span, I'll just focus on the question.

What if Bush is right?

What if he is?

See, I was the warmonger.

I said, we gotta get Al-Qaeda.

I said, we gotta get Saddam.

We can't take any chances.

Oh, and Iran is next.

But, a funny thing happened. Just now, I began to look not at why we went, because we made our reasons, good and bad, and we had them, good and bad.

I began to look at what we've done. Killing tens of thousands. Losing hundreds ourselves, soon to be thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands of them, tens of thousands of us. How many more? How much longer? That's the thing about war. Time and death seem neverending. It's been almost 3 years.

We're undermanned in Afghanistan, have too many in Iraq, and yet, it seems we're no better than we were. Al-Qaeda still operates, bin Laden is still running things. Uday and Kusay are dead, but Saddam, while captured, is gardening.

Hostages from different countries, Iraqis now killing other Iraqis, with no end in sight. That's the thing about war. When you get rid of one problem, more problems evolve, all of which may be worse than the one that was there before.

And as the 3 years turn to 5, and then 10, if and when we have to draft, because yet again, we're still undermanned, underfunded, and underestimating the resolve of those who really want us dead, will it still be enough? That's the thing about war. You'll never have enough.

And while we convince ourselves that we're doing the right thing, even if we know it is, while we're under our illusions of safety, as the blood is being spilled, how long will it be before we question whether it really was? That's the thing about war. Even if you know it is right, you don't really know it is, at times.

So, let him be right, if that's all that matters. Over the years, I've found little consolation in being correct.

As this drags on, so will Bush. Whether he's elected or not, when the final toll is in.

Then again, he's right, right?

sp
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#6 Shalamar

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 09:43 PM

School Psycho

No it's not been 3 years...and take a good long look back though history... 100 Years War (1336 thru 1352 ) The War of the Roses 1455 through 1485. Look at the length of time the Civil War (US ) 1861 through 1865...look at WWII...it's generally listed as 39 thru 45 but Hitler and Mussolini started agressive actions as early as 36...


oh and I guess it's right to do nothing than to risk one life, much less lose one?
And as for Iraqi's killing Iraqi's..Saddam and his henchmen started that long before the current war...
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#7 schoolpsycho

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 10:00 PM

Hello, Shalamar.

***No it's not been 3 years...and take a good long look back though history... 100 Years War (1336 thru 1352 ) The War of the Roses 1455 through 1485. Look at the length of time the Civil War (US ) 1861 through 1865...look at WWII...it's generally listed as 39 thru 45 but Hitler and Mussolini started agressive actions as early as 36...***

I was referring to when we first dropped the bombs on Aghanistan, to the current situation in Iraq, and not before then. It has 3 years, more or less.


***oh and I guess it's right to do nothing than to risk one life, much less lose one?***

Since you asked the question, you can answer it. Better yet, ask my brother, because he had to 14 years ago. I've answered one question tonight. And it was more than enough, considering my short attention span.

***And as for Iraqi's killing Iraqi's..Saddam and his henchmen started that long before the current war...***

And of course, we had nothing to with any of that, or did we? Yet another question. In any event, They did kill. They are killing. They will kill. But we're there. And we have killed. We are killing. We will kill. Innocents and Evils. That's the thing about war. It's easy to start.

Hard to stop.

sp

Edited by schoolpsycho, 29 July 2004 - 10:02 PM.

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#8 Josh

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 10:05 PM

^

I don't pretend to be an expert on this war. Actually, I'm not even close to an expert on this war and I have no opinion on whether it's justified or not (because that's not what I want to talk about anyway). The sad part about being human is that sometimes, killing is necessary. It's never pleasant. It's never fun. It's sometimes not even fair... but as long as we have men out there who want to kill blindly and without discrimination, the killing will have to continue.

Besides, now that we're there, there's no turning back. I'm not sure there ever was.
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#9 ZipperInt

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:47 PM

Quote

How many more? How much longer? That's the thing about war. Time and death seem neverending.

It doesn't end, and somehow I think it never will.
If the US pulled out of every foreign country tomorrow, and never sent its troops beyond its borders except to provide coastal defense, or aid to countries that requested it, there would be still be war. Just because one country says "Hey, war is wrong!" and refuses to fight, other countries will start other wars, and more wars between other countries will happen after that, etc. etc. etc..
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#10 QuiGon John

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 12:05 AM

What if Bush is right?

That's an interesting question, one I have asked myself many times, and I admit I myself am not comfortable with the answer, because as far as I can see, the answer is this:

If Bush is right, he is the second coming of Abraham Lincoln.  One of the politicians I admire least in the world is suddenly taking actions that very much resemble the man I admire most in (secular) history.

But the problem with that is: I honestly believe Bush is wrong.  I believe his course of action is arrogant and dangerous, that he's acting on his incorrect assumptions and reacting unwisely to his correct assumptions.  And I am bound to act on my beliefs, just as he is bound to act on his... so, although I can respect and even admire him in a way, I have to vote against him... because, you know, what if I'm right?  (There's always that slight chance... ;))

When Bush announced we were going into Iraq, I said that if we found compelling evidence of the imminent threat he claimed existed, then I would change my tune and admit he was right.  A year and a half later, I'm still waiting for that compelling evidence.  If it should ever appear, I am still willing to change my tune.  But with each passing day, I become less convinced that will happen.

Still, that was a useful article.  "What if the other side is right?" is probably the most valuable question in human history, and something we should all ask ourselves more often...

Edited by Skyler, 30 July 2004 - 12:06 AM.


#11 G1223

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 12:08 AM

Yet this compelling evidence was just as it was compelling in 98.
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#12 Mr.Calgary

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 02:07 AM

A very interesting read.

Too bad for the folks with short attention spans.
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#13 Ilphi

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 03:45 AM

Phew, great article. Although to make it easier on the eyes I did copy and paste it into word and beef up the font.
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#14 schoolpsycho

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 07:34 AM

Hello, Mr. Calgary.

***Too bad for the folks with short attention spans. ***

Yes, it is. Guilty as charged. I have a short attention span.

Ironic now that I'm channel surfing my way through adulthood, which was the way I spent my childhood. Miracle how I got through school.

I could spend hours reading, thinking, and discussing long, intricate, complicated, and intellegentiatic topics ad nauseam, seeing as how I was on the college reading level in high school.

I could.

But, somehow the idea doesn't appeal to me. And even if it did, I wouldn't be able to. Because I look at pages, and I say, "All this, for that?" Too much information.

So, rather than do that, I try to focus. And if it means omitting 99 pages out of 100, after I see what's on page 1, I do so. As in the article here. The point to me was the question. And everything else I could do without, because it was the question that was most important to me at the time.

What if Bush is right?

That was the point to me.

After all that, that's what was asked. The title of the article itself.

But, as with all questions, this one is loaded. And my point is, the answers are not that simple, as in this case, Bush being right. He could be right. But then, that's not all there is.

I may have a short attention span. 15 minutes and a cloud of dust. But in those 15, I do have attention. Which, in a lot of ways, suits me fine. Because I'm finding life could be too short to have anything else but.

sp

Edited by schoolpsycho, 30 July 2004 - 07:38 AM.

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#15 aphrael

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 08:08 AM

No matter how good the article, its gonna take more to convince me he was/is right.

:elf:

#16 Nonny

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 12:43 PM

If by "right" you mean "right-wing" then I'm all over it.  "Correct" OTOH ....

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#17 Drew

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 12:46 PM

Those last two were very substantive replies. Thank you.  :cool:
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#18 Griffin

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 01:10 PM

I think that it is terrible that we have lost nearly 1000 soldiers in Iraq.

But you have to ask yourself, how many did we lose in a single battle in the Civil War? WW I, WWII, Vietnam?

1000 is an EXCESSIVELY low count.

And another question. If we had attacked Germany in '36 before they had built up their military and bred their troops for genocide, would there have been a WWII? I doubt it. So steamrolling a country before they have the chance to build up is a good thing. It is one of the soundest military tactics in the world.

And as for WMD in Iraq...has anyone bothered looking next door in Syria? THey have so many already it wouldn't be that hard to hide them...

#19 Drew

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 01:31 PM

^ Well, the coalition troops have found lots of chemical weapons in Iraq, too. That news has been a bit inconvenient for the Dems, so they're still pretending we haven't found anything.
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#20 aphrael

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 03:35 PM

Correct is what I meant.
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