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January 11, 2006

If Thine Eye Offend Thee

Here we go again:

In Strong Words, Bush Tries to Redirect Debate on Iraq

Just ... just shut up already. Whatever type of debate people want to have about Iraq, why the U.S. invaded Iraq, why we're still there, whether or not we should draw down the troop levels - LET THEM HAVE IT.

People aren't debating whether or not to support the troops who are over there; I think most people realize that the soldiers/airmen don't have a choice in the matter. But one of the hallmarks of democracy is the freedom - really, the RIGHT and the OBLIGATION - to question the choices made by the government.

Isn't that one of the things we're over there trying to instill? How can we hold ourselves up as an example of the kind of society that Iraqis should aspire to when we're hypocritically not walking the walk?

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 - President Bush issued a stark warning to Democrats on Tuesday about how to conduct the debate on Iraq as midterm elections approach, declaring that Americans know the difference between "honest critics" and those "who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people."

But we DID act in Iraq in part because of oil. The Bush administration believed that Iraq and Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States and our way of life, and not just because there were Iraqi-funded terrorists (ostensibly) who were out to kill Americans. Oil fuels - literally - our way of life. When the price of oil goes up, it impacts the U.S. economy in ways that most Americans are not willing to accept long term. We're simply not willing to pay $5 for a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk for any length of time.

When the price of oil goes up, the prices of consumer goods follow because the trucking/distribution companies have to pass along their cost increases for fuel to the consumer.

In some of his most combative language yet directed at his critics, Mr. Bush said Americans should insist on a debate "that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries." That follows a theme that Vice President Dick Cheney set last week, when he said critics of the administration's conduct of the war risked undercutting the effort to defeat the insurgency.

Well first - Dick Cheney is in league with Satan. I used to think that Bill Frist was the worst of the lot, but I'm back to thinking that honor goes to Dick. I'll bet if you examine his scalp you'll find a "666" somewhere near the back of the head.

Second, I have no concept, really, of what's going through the minds of the insurgents over there. I can make guesses as to what motivates them - hatred of the American way of life, religious zealotry, etc. - but at the end of the day I don't really know.

However, I'm not seeing the correlation between debate over the war and inciting the insurgents to further violence. I'm not sure they're tracking the polls, you know? I don't see how it might comfort the insurgents if people debate the war, insofar as it changing their modus operandi. Sure, they're probably delighted to know that their acts are frustrating American citizens and, in part, causing us to reassess just what the hell we're doing over there.

But so what? We should periodically reassess the situation, if only because members of our military are still dying and being injured (physically and mentally) by our continued presence in Iraq. Isn't that something worth discussing? Are we really going to hold our tongues because, oooh, Mr. Insurgent might be happy about that and continue planting his IEDs and strapping bombs to himself and blowing up soldiers and civilians?

That sounds like fear to me. In that case, I guess the terrorists really have won.

"We have a responsibility to our men and women in uniform, who deserve to know that once our politicians vote to send them into harm's way, our support will be with them in good days and in bad days," Mr. Bush said.

Perhaps we could start by giving them the option of better body armor. A secret Department of Defense study has shown that a more extensive type of armor, available since 2003, could have saved the lives of around 80% of the Marines killed by upper body wounds in Iraq between 2003 and 2005. That's just Marine deaths; think of the number of Army deaths that 80% would represent.

The ceramic armor plates in question cost about $260 a set.

"I think that the new initiative of the president to reach out to Democrats and former officials is positive," Representative Adam Schiff said in an interview after the speech was over. "I agree that we need to conduct a debate on Iraq in constructive terms." But, he said, "some of the culprits in coarsening the dialogue on the war have been Republicans, including the vice president at times."

Any effort at finding what the White House calls a "common ground" on Iraq strategy, he said, "has to be coupled with a cessation of calling people who disagree with the strategy 'unpatriotic.' "

I'm a little distracted by the fact that the representative has the same name as the beloved (former) district attorney on Law & Order, but I agree with his last statement wholeheartedly.

We'll end with a crockpot full of irony:

In discussing Iraqi politics, Mr. Bush directly addressed Sunni Arabs, a minority in the new government, saying, "Compromise and consensus and power-sharing are the only path to national unity and lasting democracy."

He added, "A country that divides into factions and dwells on old grievances cannot move forward and risks sliding back into tyranny."


Sound like any country/government you're aware of? Maybe one a little closer to home than Iraq?

Posted by Highwaygirl on January 11, 2006 09:42 AM to the category Political Rants
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