Democrats & Liberals Archives

Defending 'Our Way of Life'

After the horrendous events of September 11, 2001, George Bush claimed that the “terrorists” attacked us because of “our way of life.” In justifying the Gulf War I, George W. Bush also claimed we were defending “our way of life.” Launching the “war of terrorism” (which embraces both Afghanistan and Iraq) was to protect “our way of life.” In Donald Rumsfeld’s exit speech, he warns the world that the U.S. is not reluctant “to defend our way of life.” I would really appreciate hearing their idea of “our way of life.”

What way of life are we killing for? What way of life are our troops dying and being maimed for? What way of life are we hocking our nation for?

It does not seem that it is for truth, justice, and liberty. After all, our legislators have signed away our protections. They have allowed the Bush administration to lie, keep secret critical information, and operate without oversight. They have enacted laws that allow both torture, and the holding of prisoners without access to courts indefinitely. Likewise with "freedom." Freedom to do what, or freedom from what? Freedom of (and from) religion - increasingly not true. Freedom to our private lives - hardly what with massive surveillance and databases to track all of our life activities.

In November, the public clearly voted for change. The polls show overwhelming lack of support for the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq. So what change are we looking at? Well, the main plan seems to be the "double down" strategy. In other words, a significant increase of U.S. troops in Iraq. This is despite Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker's prediction that Iraq will "break" the Army.

So back to the question of "our way of life." Does this refer to our right to consume beyond the resources of the planet? Perhaps it is the right to shop. Maybe it refers to remaining blissfully blind to the exploitation of people around the planet. Maybe it refers to the "right to empire." Or perhaps it refers to the right of unfettered wealth accumulation by the few.

Does it refer to the freedom of corporations to create their own empires - which the people of the United States protect and enhance - support through funding a massive war machine? Or does it refer to the profits that flow to some from both creating the weapons of death and destruction, and the no-bid contracts to "rebuild" what has been destroyed?

True Majority recently sent around their somewhat outdated Cookie Campaign which shows the Pentagon budget at $35 billion (a figure we have since left in the dust - $468.9 billion for the 2008 request) compared to the budgets for education, Head Start, and other programs (most of which have shrunk). It also depicts the U.S. Pentagon budget compared to other nations. Of course, our budget trumps that of any other military budget in the world, and virtually all of them combined.

On the horizon is another huge supplemental request for an $127 to $150 billion for operations in Iraq - according to Army Times (12/15/06). Virtually all of the costs of both Afghanistan and Iraq have been funded through supplemental appropriations. Why? Because supplemental appropriations have less oversight and are harder to track. This huge request is on top of an approximately $70 billion supplemental that was recently passed.

Iraq is in the midst of civil war, or looming genocide, depending on who you are reading. The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has gone over 3000, and the estimates on Iraq civilians who have died numbers as high as 656,000. Iraq is in tatters; Afghanistan is in tatters. The U.S. military is in tatters, and the U.S. economy is swamped with debt. The Taliban is retaking control of Afghanistan - a conflict that is becoming increasingly bloody. The Middle East is teetering on the brink of region-wide conflict.

In spite of it all, the rallying call is "our way of life" - backed by fear mongering.

Since the cost is so high all around, I would really appreciate an elaboration on exactly what is meant as this patriotic call to arms is continually repeated. It is given as both justification for death and destruction on one hand, and the elimination of our social and fiscal security on the other. Just what cost are we paying, and what are we getting in return.

I think it is past time for a national dialog on "our way of life." What do we think it is ... and what do we want it to be? Once we have a consensus on that, perhaps we can rationally decide how much, and in what currencies (environment, social, economic, democracy, lives ...) we are willing to pay for it.

Posted by Rowan Wolf at December 17, 2006 11:31 AM
Comments
Comment #199588

Very thoughtful and insightful post Rowan. If only there were more people to question sacred cows.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 17, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #199591

To break it down to a single term, I’d say our “way of life” is freedom. What our “way of life should be is freedom to do anything we want so long as it doesn’t interfere with the rights of others. Is this enough to start your debate?

Posted by: tomd at December 17, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #199593

Rowan,
Good article! Good catch, very perceptive, picking up on the repetition of the phrase “our way of life.” At first blush, it sounds like a typical rhetorical flourish, but upon examination, it reveals something of the Bush administration mind set.

This is a fossil fuel administration. Bush, Cheney, Rice, and others worked in this industry, and their perceptions are colored by this background. They are not cackling tycoons rubbing their hands in miserly glee. They are true conservatives. They truly believe that “our way of life” means conserving the status quo, keeping it the same, and that means ensuring access to foreign oil. This is part and parcel of the preconceptions and tenancity mentioned in the previous thread.

It is obvious to anyone who spends even a few minutes pondering the events of the past few years that dependency upon foreign oil is the crux of the problem. We do NOT need to “preserve our way of life.” We need to change our way of life, and that means ridding ourselves of a dependence upon oil. There are any number of good reasons to do so.

We desperately need change, not preservation. We need progress, and that will only come through the progressives, through the assumption of power by liberals.

If there is one man in this country capable of leading us in making those changes, it is Al Gore.

Posted by: phx8 at December 17, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #199595

We have been brainwashed in to living a hedonistic consumptive lifestyle that we like to claim is freedom or freedom of choice. In order to maintain this lifestyle, we are increasingly dependent on the resources of other nations. Because of increased competion for those resources, it is becoming harder to payoff the governments of other nations with tax payer dollars so that our corporations can extract their natural resources and sell them to us.

Unless we are willing to recognize that our way of life is not appropriate in a World of dwindling natural resources and act to change our way of life, we will continue to lie to ourselves and we will fight even more wars against thoses who supposedly want to destroy our way of life.

Tomd: I don’t think you can have it both ways. We are either a nation of free men who are capable of making individual and collective decisions that affect our way of life or we are pawns in a great game of control perpetrated on us and the World by the Illuminati. If we are just pawns of the Illuminati, are we free men capable of recognizing that and doing something about it.

Posted by: jlw at December 17, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #199602

Rowan,
Quick correction on the death toll estimate in Iraq. It is not “as high” as 656,000. That number represents the mid-point of the confidence interval, with 601,000 attributable to violent causes. There is a 10% the number could be as low as 500,000, and less that a 2.5% chance that it is as low as 390,000. By the same token, there is a 10% chance the number is as high as over 700,000, and @ 2.5% chance that it is as high as 800,000.

The Lancet survey uses the same scientific methodology that has been used in other countries for other estimates.

Citing 600,000 Iraqi deaths as a result of violence is a safe statement, made with the best information available. You might hear people attempt to deny it, but they cannot back their denials with data. Other estimates are based upon media reports, for example, which might establish a rock-bottom baseline for violent deaths, but fail to account for violent deaths which go unreported in the media. Entire cities are completely outside the ability of any media to evaluate; therefore the Lancet survey, taken in-country, remains the best & most accurate estimate of violent deaths in Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at December 17, 2006 4:50 PM
Comment #199614

“our way of life”is to export jobs in the name of “cheaper labor”, while importing laborers who will work for less in the jobs that have not been exported. But that is balanced out by raising taxes, ( not Federal—-The government is shifting the tax burden back to the States, where local, state, property taxes, etc. are on the rise) on the class of people who lost the most jobs—-the middle class. Maybe I’m too cynical. Maybe those businesses that moved out of the country are paying their fair share of taxes AND are paying the government the amount of taxes that American workers WOULD have paid if they still had their jobs. “Our Way of Life” is NOT what we want it to be, but what the POWERS THAT BE want it to be for them

Posted by: smittiguy at December 17, 2006 8:45 PM
Comment #199617

Our way of life is based upon oil, as we all know, We have no choice but to acquire oil by any means necessary or to change our way of life. This past election was, hopefully, a small step towards changing our way of life to a more substainable economy and way of life. The continuing decline of what most Americans really want as our “way of life” in lieu of what we are told we want by the dark overlords of the corporate world has become much more apperent in the past few years. Much more momentum is needed in the substainable lifestyle direction or we will continue to get mired down in this and other phony wars on terrorism that this administration and its enablers seek in an attempt to keep the status quo.

One small but significant bright spot is the recent election in Iran where the conservatives of that country appear to have lost some support. Perhaps people everywhere are starting to realize the foolishness of our leaders and their lackey politicians that perpetuate the false promises of the crusades mentatlity and some good can come from this.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 17, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #199628

Rowan,

As usual you’ve written a very good article but I must break my relpy into two parts as I feel you’re asking two questions:

Question #1: “I would really appreciate hearing their idea of “our way of life.” “

My Answer: While it’s rude to answer a question with a question I must:

Where’s the mass outrage over the neglect of rebuliding New Orleans? Or the mismanagement of funds, both public and private, for the same?

How is it that we find it so easy to denigrate our fellow human beings to the level of “aliens” because they choose to escape poverty and starvation?

It seems to me that we simply don’t care about the pain of others as much as we do our own. (This can, and does apply both domestically and internationally) I’m as guilty as anyone. I hate to think of the day I’d be forced to endure the loss of cable TV or Broadband.

Question #2: “exactly what is meant as this patriotic call to arms is continually repeated”

My answer: Rowan, I want to change your question! It makes me insane! The question should be, “why is the burden shared by so few”?

Our Army, National Guard and Marines are stressed to the limit. We can’t ask these guys and gals to redeploy 3 and 4 times. We can’t endlessly extend deployments from 12 months to 15 months but that’s what we’re doing!

My answer is: there is no good answer!

We’ll continue being the first hogs at the trough and we”ll bitch like hell when the last hogs at the trough leave a mess.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 17, 2006 11:23 PM
Comment #199630

This blog has very interesting subjects. Congratulates!

Posted by: adviser at December 18, 2006 12:07 AM
Comment #199635

KansasDem,
Exactly!

“Our way of life” should not have been able to passively accept the debacle of a response to Hurricane Katrina. But then, idealistically, I would want our way of life to not allow the disparity in this country that exists. The fact that it does, shows a disconnection that deeply saddens me. The fact that the outrages that have occurred over the last six years - the lies, the decimation of our democracy, the massive level of destruction - does not give me much hope about our country.

So yes, there is a concern that too many people in the US are able to disconnect from others and from the earth. However, the people’s response to Hurricane Katrina (for example) showed much more passion and desire to help than did our government.

Regarding the burden of the Bush & Company grab for empire … It has been deliberately structured that way. The volunteer force is hardly representative of the demographics of our nation. The economic costs are to be born after Bush leaves the White House, and will be laid at the feet of the next president. Those costs will also be passed on to the next generation and the one after that. Meanwhile, many people are afraid to cross the threshold to the reality of what has happened to our government. For to take that step challenges too many things, and too many beliefs.

Posted by: Rowan Wolf at December 18, 2006 1:01 AM
Comment #199642

Finally, questions that beg us to look at some of the real issues underlying our behavior as a nation. What a great post, and thread.

At first glance, the basic question posed is deceptively simple. What is our way of life? I thought TomD summed it up nicely; “freedom to do anything we want as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rights of others”.

Well, that’s great……I love it. But how did we get there, and just as important, if not more so; how do we remain “there”?

The founders of our country understood that the government exists to serve the people, and not the other way around. They knew that inevitably, those who govern would overreach for power, and would need to be slapped down. Numerous checks and balances have been built in to our system of governance attempting to ensure that the overreachers WOULD be slapped down.

Look what’s been happening to some of those checks and balances. Most recently we’ve had one- party rule of the congress and White House. The Exucutive branch has been relatively unimpeded by any notion of checcks and balances. Before that, we had Bill Clinton flexing his Executive muscles with “Executive Authority” claims. Now, we have “signing statements” that work even better! For ignoring the principles written into the Constituion, that is.

Add in Gerymandering to overrepresent a political persuasion in a given state, keeping the minority party out of the process of writing most of the new legislation, and a population that’s more worried about how to pay for health insurance (and maybe a new plasma tv), and you start to find a somewhat disturbing pattern.

I would stay at the computer and write a whole bunch more right now if I could, but I’ve got to run off to work to pay for my giant truck and all the diesel fuel it burns. And my boat. And my motorcycle. And my two mortgages. And my federal and state taxes. And my…..You get the picture.

Posted by: Steve Miller at December 18, 2006 7:40 AM
Comment #199644

I think huge deficit funded budgets and mismanagement of troops resulting in broken armies are a threat to our way of life, which will leave our nation broken and vulnerable. We will not win the war on terror or any other war for that matter by leaving ourselves unready to defend ourselves, and unable to pay for our own defense.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2006 8:04 AM
Comment #199645

On the matter of “surging” the army, here’s the thing: one can spike the number of troops in theatre, but only at the cost of quickly reducing them later. That’s how it could be done without breaking our army.

Unfortunately, the strategical limitations of that are obvious.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2006 8:06 AM
Comment #199660

The different views on just what “Our way of life” really is, is what stems the current division our country now faces.
Some believe “Our way of life” must now be defined in a way which adapts and merges with the “Worlds way of life” and some believe it is the world who must respect our country and “Our way of life.”

“Our way of life” used to mean freedom.
“Our way of life” used to mean it was ok to be proud to be an American.
“Our way of life” used to mean it was ok to love your country more than other countries.
“Our way of life” used to mean it was ok to place America first, the world second.

That is almost all gone now now, it left when people started altering the US Constitution to suit their own personal beliefs.

“Our way of life” is now about conforming to the worlds view, their laws and their form of government.

It’s over folks, the USSA is here to stay and its time us stubborn old “Proud Americans” who believe in the US Constitution acknowledge that fact.

Nothing left to do now but sit back and shed a tear every now and then while we watch our country complete its collapse.

Posted by: kctim at December 18, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #199670

Illuminati? What about the Bohemian Grove, or is that just the place where they meet?

the POWERS THAT BE
Thank you William Tyndale.

we are told we want by the dark overlords
And the dark overlord wannabees too!

My hedonistic consumptive lifestyle is doing just fine. Thank goodness they have medication for tuberculosis now.

The way of life that is unsustainable is based on excess petroleum consumption. We knock down 6 story parking garages, to build 12 story parking structures and cover vast areas with pavement that is unused most of the time. The most unsustainable part of the petroleum nexus is jet fuel, which we need to have a ready supply, so we can go anywhere on earth and bomb the communists/terrorists/insert your own favorite bete noire here. That is the reason that serious conservation will never become government policy.

I went to the ice skating rink at Millenium Park last night. There were people there whose ancestors came from every continent and subcotinent on earth. Some people see this and find that it is a hopeful omen of more good things to come from a country that can attract all these people, and are happy.

Other people complain about someone speaking a foreign language in their presence, or complain that the person who mows their lawn was allowed into the country.

Posted by: ohrealy at December 18, 2006 1:25 PM
Comment #199675

To All,

The Bush administration means that the terrorists want to be overweight, complacent, short attention, T.V. watching Dallas Cowboy fans.
They want SUVs and All You Can Eat Buffets. They want to play golf, go to strip bars and have a sticker of the kid peeing on a Chevy symbol.
God Bless America’s way of life.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at December 18, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #199753

A basic principal of the left wing cultural war is that our culture, flag, and nation are not worth defending. We are evil. We are the source of the world ills. We need to be more socialist. We must not use military powers against others. We must pay more for less. We must watch our economic competitors power their societies with nuclear power while we burn fossil fuel and go backwards.

Radical Islam declares war on the west and the US…that’s ok because we are evil and they are doing the cause of the left wing, tearing down the America the left opposes.

Tell me when the Democatic controlled congress will submit a balanced budget. Tell me when the democratic controlled congress will fix our very real social security problems they refused to fix just over a year ago. Tell me when the democratic controlled congress will fix medicare. Tell me when the democratic controlled congress will end ear marks. Tell me when the demcratic controlled congress will close the boarder to illegal alliens.

Nope, I don’t see much hope there…but I honestly hope I’m wrong.

Posted by: Stephen at December 19, 2006 12:08 AM
Comment #199757

Stephen:

That kind of mindless vitriol is what is dividing this country. If you really feel that the left wing feels the country/culture/flag are not worth defending, that gives me cause for concern. It’s an attitude that shuts out any opportunity for compromise and working together, the only way we may get the problems solved.

As far as Democrats “fixing” all the “socialist” programs that Republicans are so against? I don’t follow. Keep in mind that the “fix” offered for social security is not the only option, so the refusal you refer to was just to the one option that was offered.

And it is all of Congres that must tackle these things, and then the President must sign and approve any bills. Partisonship will not get these things done, no matter who has the majority. And we have seen what was “accomplished” with the Republicans in the majority.

I just don’t see how a post like that helps. I will take a wait and see attitude until they have the opportunity to show what they will attempt to do. If they fail to make an honest attempt, as a Democrat I will hold them as responsible as I hold the Republicans.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 19, 2006 12:47 AM
Comment #199758

Rowan:
“After the horrendous events of September 11, 2001, George Bush claimed that the “terrorists” attacked us because of “our way of life.” In justifying the Gulf War I, George W. Bush also claimed we were defending “our way of life.” Launching the “war of terrorism” (which embraces both Afghanistan and Iraq) was to protect “our way of life.” In Donald Rumsfeld’s exit speech, he warns the world that the U.S. is not reluctant “to defend our way of life.” I would really appreciate hearing their idea of “our way of life.””

I think many of us here in the blue column might be able to agree that their “way of life” is clearly not our “way of life.” In fact, they aren’t actually talking about America or We the People at all here — what they are referring to is themselves and the policies of the U.S. government in general.
Speaking of Generals, from time to time we should try to remind ourselves of what some very famous ones once told us:

General Smedley Butler:

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.

General Douglas MacArthur:

Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificually induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower:

We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.

This is what THEY mean by “our way of life.” Their power. Their imperialist dreams. Their greed. Their shortsightedness. Their lack of morality or conscience when it comes to sending OUR sons and daughters off to die or be wounded, or in harming or killing other people in other lands.

Quite unlike this definition, our American way of life could be summed up by many of us as a belief in protecting and defending the Constitution and Bill of Rights, because it is the lifeblood of American freedom and democracy.
Beyond our patriotism to America, many of us may also proudly share the sentiment that Thomas Paine once expressed:

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.

In their writings and letters, many of America’s other founders expressed very similar notions to this one. People like Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Washington. They were the kind of men someone like myself could call “uniters not dividers” — and without wearing a smirk on my face. They may have lived long ago, and in an age completely unlike my own, but I know from reading what they had to say that I share more in common with the minds of these men, than I do with our present “leadership.”
So, despite the distance of years, and our increasing enlightenment when it comes to the expansion of civil rights and liberties, and the many revolutions in science and technology that have utterly transformed our country since that era, the American “way of life” that the founders fought for and believed in, is not all that different than my own current notion of what that entails and means.

“What way of life are we killing for? What way of life are our troops dying and being maimed for? What way of life are we hocking our nation for?”

That’s easy. The military industrial complex and the people who profit in it’s investment, and Big Oil and those who profit in those investments. It really has nothing whatsoever to do with us, despite the fact that it is the blood of our sons and daughters that is shed, or their lives that are being forfeit.

Btw, great article Rowan. Five stars — highest rating!

kctim, Boo Hoo. So sorry your American exceptionalist bubble is being burst.

Andre, I’m heartily sick of the phrase “God Bless America.” It implies that we think we’re the only ones that really matter.
Personally I’m with Dicken’s Tiny Tim: “God bless us. Every one.”
And how’s that for a seasonal reference? ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at December 19, 2006 12:54 AM
Comment #199760


A basic principle of the right wing culture war is to wrap themselves in God, the flag and patriotism while they let the corportations and their communist Chinese partners shaft the American workers. Why should we pay more for less when we have been paying less for more? Why should we use energy from the sun when we can use fossil fuels and then nuclear power?

Radical Islam declares war on the West and the US and George Bush does everything humanly possible to swell the ranks of radical Islam. Evidence suggests that had George Bush been president during WWII, the whole World would be goose stepping to a Nazi military tune now. Evidence suggests that had George Bush been president during the Cold War, he would have preemptively struck the Soviet Union with an all out nuclear attack and worried about the consequences to our nation later.

What did the Republicans do to their so called balanced budget after George Bush became president? Tell me when the Republican controlled Congress resubmitted a balanced budget since Bush became president. Tell me how the Republican controlled Congress wanted to fix Social Security by destroying it. Tell me how the Republican controlled Congress fixed Medicare with a multi-billion dollar boondoggle give away to the pharmaceutical industry. Tell me how the Republican Controlled Congress ended ear mark spending. Tell me how the Republican controlled Congress closed our border to illegal alliens.

We all expect results from the Democrats even though the Republican controlled Congress left this country in a terrible mess.

Posted by: jlw at December 19, 2006 1:02 AM
Comment #199782

No need to boo-hoo Adrienne. I know our country’s are different but I’d be willing to bet that there are still quite a few Americans in both who believe America is quite exceptional.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2006 10:33 AM
Comment #199787

kctim, I think America is exceptional in a great many ways, and that we are no different from other countries in others. I’m not a “my country right or wrong” type of person because I think that mindset is actually the way we diminish our country, rather than make us strive to be more exceptional.
I also refuse to be impressed by the upper classes of America, which includes our political leadership, who don’t send their own sons and daughters off to fight and possibly die in the very wars that always have, and will continue to make them rich.
Indeed, I believe that this needs to be the yardstick by which Americans should measure whether their wars are in fact necessary. If this class of people is demanding and encouraging their kids to go fight a war, then all Americans will know we really do need to support it.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 19, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #199798

I subscribe to this guy’s notion of patriotism|: “Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right.”

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 19, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #199799

Right and wrong no longer matter in American politics today, it is now only about right or left.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2006 2:08 PM
Comment #199804

Damn Adrienne, reading your words reminds me that there are still many true Americans who hold timeless values articulated by your countrys’ great founders. If only there were enough of you, then perhaps there might just be something to this idea of American exceptionalism.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 19, 2006 3:03 PM
Comment #199812

kctim-
Right and wrong still matter. We can only pretend that it’s about right and left; in reality it’s about what does us good and what does us ill.

Partisanship does us no good if it isolates our thinking from the reality it must confront.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 19, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #199813

For me, to give in to pessimism, to lose hope of better things, to talk of decline instead of working for recovery smacks to me of laying down to die. I think this county can survive this current trouble. Other countries have survived worse. America doesn’t need to lose its idealism, but it does need to lose its denial and its tendency to try and get something for nothing.

I’m not one of those people who thinks that a return to the past can save us, but I do believe we need to realize that no matter how big and successful we become, we are still capable of failure, and need to act as if that could occur, taking steps to prevent failures in what we do, and otheres to avoid harmful courses of action.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 19, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #199819

Rowan,

I think our way of life was/is the self-evident truths of:

life - the physical, mental, and spiritual experiences that constitute existence

liberty - freedom from unjust or undue governmental control

the pursuit of happiness - the striving for good luck, fortune, joy

In furtherance of these truths, we have

-pursued our Manifest Destiny
-followed the American Dream
-gone West
-lived Separate but Equal
-had a Dream
-moved to the Suburbs
-wanted a Better Life for the next Generation
-shopped til we Dropped
-consumed Conspicuously

I think the Founding Fathers had a simpler dream(L,L and the P of H). They lived in a smaller world - 13 states, before the rest of this land was our land.

We’ve gorged on resources for almost 200 years since.

I think we need to go back to basics - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Posted by: CPAdams at December 19, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #199832

Stephen
The people spoke and voted out all of the corruption and troubles of the previous administration also. What good did that do? We ended up with more of the same and the cycle will continue.

Well said CP! I, for one, would love to go back to the basics you mention. But in order to do that, we would need to be free again and that ain’t gonna happen in our lifetimes.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #199837

Rowan-

Best article from the blue column in a while.

Adrienne-

Nice to see your name again. Some nice commentary.

Kctim-

Forget it…lost cause.

The rest-

The true American spirit will always be alive so long as we keep asking and refining what it means to be an American. WE are America. Not the other way around.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 19, 2006 6:15 PM
Comment #199877

Paul in Euroland, that has got to be one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me in this blog! Thanks so very much.

“If only there were enough of you, then perhaps there might just be something to this idea of American exceptionalism.”

I really hope this doesn’t sound egotistical, but I wish there were a lot more people like me in America, too. But it’s not like I think I’m special or anything, it’s only that I’ve always liked to read about history — and not just the white-washed, propagandistic, flag-waving kind. I think that when people shut off the TV (or the Xbox) and take the time to read about history in depth, they soon begin to see all kinds of things more clearly.
If Americans choose to read nothing else, they should make an effort to read the history of the founding of this nation, a few of the writings and letters of the founders, The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Just these things will give them something of an education, and will no doubt open their eyes when they stop to consider what this administration has been doing as regards the abridgement of our Rights and Liberties. Really, they owe it to themselves, and to the rest of us to do so.

As to the idea of American Exceptionalism… Well, I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, the way it is expressed can often be embarrassing, wrongheaded, and obnoxious in the extreme. On the other hand, the fact that America has been able to achieve quite a bit makes perfect sense. After all, our population is made up of people who have come from all over the world, many of whom had little or no opportunities previously. So, they came here and gained both freedom and opportunity for themselves and for their kids — and naturally they’ve been making the most of it ever since. This is something that Americans can and should be overwhelmingly proud of. I know I am — and I’m only first-generation American on one side of my family.
Still, our many achievements, both individual and collective should never blind us to our obvious shortcomings, and it is this brand of American exceptionalism, and the propaganda that feeds it, that we should all roundly reject.
It does us no favor to either be duped or act as though duped. We should try to be much smarter and more realistic in the way we view our beloved country.

Kevin23, thanks!
Stephen D. — good points and posts (as usual).
kctim, there is no arguing with you. I was being as honest and straightforward as can be, and you come back with a line like this:
“Right and wrong no longer matter in American politics today, it is now only about right or left.”

What is this? More boo hoo? What does this have to do with anything I said? Either agree with all, some, or none of what I said, or, make a serious rebuttal. To me, your comments in this thread just look like someone who wants nothing more than to pull a long face.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 19, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #199895

Let me give you the progressive, politically correct, “enlightened” agenda. Your post pretty much follows that line so by giving it to you, I’m sure you can see my disgust for this line of reasoning.

Political Correctness Teaches us all that: Our way of life is wrong. We are all Racists and must pay a price for that. We dare not defend our culture, our religion, or our flag because we are not worthy. True enlightenment will teach us we are not worthy to stand tall and to defend our way of life. Our way of life is to be spit upon and is a shame. The US is the greatest threat to world peace on the planet and must be humbled. All nations and organizations who oppose the US are a welcome allie in the global war to remake America into a more socialist nation. The US must be made to be weaker economically and militarially. Christianity must be errased and replaced with anything else. Open the boarders wide we dare not deny entry to the hundreds of millions of improverished illegals that would flood our streets, drive down our wages, and suck up our resources. We are only evil if we control our boarders. The environment is a political weapon to be used to bring about the far left agenda. Capitaliism is evil and Amoral Socialism is the true path.

Such is the politically correct left wing religion and your little “I hate my nation” speech follows this line of thinking very closely.

Posted by: Stephen at December 20, 2006 3:58 AM
Comment #199900

And I thought that Christianity was about being your brothers keeper. Instead, in the minds of at least many Americans, its about every man for himself (or woman for that matter) and the devil take the hindmost. As Gordon Gekko said, greed is good, greed is noble, greed is pure…….

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 20, 2006 6:27 AM
Comment #199916

Hmm. Should I assume that little Rush Limbaugh diatribe was directed at me?
Nah, it can’t be. It didn’t comment on anything that I said, nor do “I hate my nation”.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 20, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #199918

Adrienne
I felt that your post was open and warranted some thought so I skipped to Stephen’s post until I had time to think about my reply to you.

Maybe it’s the season, but arguing is not on my mind. You gave your feelings on the matter, they are not right or wrong, nor do they require a serious rebuttal. They are your views and our views are different.

You see, I believe our country was exceptional in every way.
“My country, right or wrong” does not mean that I ignore the misdeeds of our country. It means that I stand behind our country at all times and when its wrong, I prefer to still support it and to fix those wrongs internally.
Our “blind patriotism,” that the left so often talks about, isn’t about blindly following the President, it is about love of country and standing behind her no matter who is President.
I do not fear my fellow countrymen more than I fear those who have declared war on us and are killing us.

I also am not impressed by the upper classes, but striving to join that class is not wrong and should not be punished.
I hold no contempt for the rich and I do not blame them for all of the worlds problems either. In fact, I hardly ever give them any thought at all.

Suggesting they send their own sons and daughters to war doesn’t bother me either. But our military is a voluntary one and perhaps them not serving says more about the offsprings patriotism than it does about the parents.
Using a little common sense points out the real reason though doesn’t it. Its much easier to give up nothing and join the military for a better way of life than it is to give up everything and join the military for a harder life isn’t it.

Defining “Our way of life” used to be simple and could easily be summed up with one word: freedom.
It is no longer that way though.
People now only care if they lose “freedoms” they care about and don’t give a damn about the freedoms their party takes away.
Its about right and left, not right and wrong. Its about ideology, not country.

Now, you can call it boo-hooing, having a long face or whatever, but one thing is for sure: the cycle will continue.
The defending, excusing and ignoring of the things they just complained about will not end.

Our country is divided and only one thing will change that.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2006 10:52 AM
Comment #199937

“Our country is divided and only one thing will change that.”

You mean conformity? Isn’t that contrary to freedom.

I prefer the honest dialogue personally.

And who is striving to change the nation externally?

I had a really difficult time understanding your post kctim. And who are you accusing of not standing behind their country? I hope you are not pointing to any and all critics of Bush. I honestly have no idea where you are coming from despite reading the last post several times. Are you claiming to be more patriotic due to some particular stance? Or are you saying that there are acceptable and unnacceptable forms of dissent? If so, what are they?

What person holds these views you admonish? I can’t think of any respected public political figure, liberal or otherwise, in the last 10 years who advocated some of the things you rail against most. Who advocates blaming the “rich” for all our problems? Who is not standing behind their country? The “freedom” argument is a slippery slope. Obviously any society must take SOME freedoms away, otherwise it would be anarchy. It is all about the formula.

Anyway, since you are feeling so festive this morning, I hope this wont warrant an adversarial and generic response. I am just honestly unable to work with what you gave. And I am assuming others will be equally perplexed.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 20, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #199939

Kevin
Adrienne gave me her personal views about her feelings towards the US, the upper class, rich kids and war (#199787). I gave mine.
I apologize for taking so long, but I wanted to think about her views and provide a response which would maybe give her an idea of mine, without the petty arguments.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2006 1:21 PM
Comment #199952

kctim-

No worries about the length of your post. Use all the words you need to use. But I’m left with a million question and no answers after reading it. I wote some of them down for you previously.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 20, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #199965

“You mean conformity? Isn’t that contrary to freedom.”

No, I do not mean conformity. I was talking about a civil war based on political ideology.

“And who is striving to change the nation externally?”

While I think its obvious the radical muslims are, I never mentioned somebody was trying to change our nation externally.

“And who are you accusing of not standing behind their country?”

I accussed no one. I simply gave my view.

“I hope you are not pointing to any and all critics of Bush.”

“Are you claiming to be more patriotic due to some particular stance?”

No. People have different views on what patriotism is.

“Or are you saying that there are acceptable and unnacceptable forms of dissent? If so, what are they?”

I never mentioned dissent.

“The “freedom” argument is a slippery slope. Obviously any society must take SOME freedoms away, otherwise it would be anarchy. It is all about the formula.”

And that formula is called the US Constitution. It is not a slippery slope at all and is really quite simple: Follow it and succeed or keep altering it and continue to fail.

“I hope this wont warrant an adversarial and generic response”

Not everybody who disagree’s with your views is an idiot or being adversarial. You would do good to remember that.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2006 3:50 PM
Comment #199979

kctim-

ok…you really just don’t get it, do you? You’d rather play semantics with me than answer some honest questions to clarify your point? Fair enough. I’m all done here.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 20, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #199980

“Not everybody who disagree’s with your views is an idiot or being adversarial. You would do good to remember that.”

Does anyone else find this statement hilariously “ironical” in and of itself?

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 20, 2006 6:38 PM
Comment #200050

kctim:
“You gave your feelings on the matter, they are not right or wrong, nor do they require a serious rebuttal. They are your views and our views are different.”

Yes, our views are very different, but have you ever asked yourself why they are so different?

“You see, I believe our country was exceptional in every way.”

Exceptional in EVERY WAY? Tell me, do you think that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was exceptional? Something to be proud of? I don’t. But that’s only because I know that when someone reads about what preceded us slaughtering all those Japanese civilians, they’ll quickly grasp that it wasn’t actually necessary. That it was an insanely brutal and horrible act.
Tell me, what do you think of our occupation and war on the Phillipines from 1899-1913? Was it exceptional of America to kill 250,000 to 1,000,000 Filipinos civilians through war, famine, and disease? Are you proud of the fact American soldiers burned and destroyed entire villages? That we herded the people into concentration camps? That we rounded up Filipinos soldiers and then simply shot them, or sometimes tortured them? I’m not.
The writer Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, was an anti-imperialist who didn’t think this was exceptional thing either. He famously wrote a newspaper editorial that said:

“There is the case of the Philippines. I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess. Perhaps we could not have avoided it — perhaps it was inevitable that we should come to be fighting the natives of those islands — but I cannot understand it, and have never been able to get at the bottom of the origin of our antagonism to the natives. I thought we should act as their protector — not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial. It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas. That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. But now — why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I’m sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation.”

Substitute the word Filipinos with the word Iraqis and that quote might as well have been written about our current situation.

Reading history in depth is the only difference I can see between people like you and I, Tim. We both love our country, and we’re both proud of it, the only difference is that people like me aren’t afraid to understand and admit that in some ways our country has acted no different than others we criticize.

“I do not fear my fellow countrymen more than I fear those who have declared war on us and are killing us.”

Nor do I. But I do understand that those who have declared war on us are not all Muslims in general. They are terrorists, and the way to fight terrorists is not through conventional warfare.

“I also am not impressed by the upper classes, but striving to join that class is not wrong and should not be punished.
I hold no contempt for the rich and I do not blame them for all of the worlds problems either.”

I agree that they don’t cause all the worlds problems, but I do think they cause plenty of them. And the worst part is, they really don’t seem to care that they do.

“In fact, I hardly ever give them any thought at all.”

Well, when I read about things like this, I’m afraid I can’t help but be violently disgusted. Maybe because I can’t help but think about our troops in Iraq, and the people on the Gulf Coast who are still suffering from losing everything to Katrina this holiday season.

“Its much easier to give up nothing and join the military for a better way of life than it is to give up everything and join the military for a harder life isn’t it.”

Of course. So, if the wealthy aren’t willing to sacrifice anything for a war (that will make them rich), then why the hell should we? Right? If a cause is worth fighting for, then let the wealthy and priviledged be the first to stand up and fight for it, then we’ll all know it’s of vital importance.

“Its about right and left, not right and wrong. Its about ideology, not country.”

Maybe for some of us that’s true, but certainly not all of us feel that way. And if you think I won’t criticize my own party when I think they’re dead wrong about something, then you need to take a look at my replies in the center column “Defense Spending” article.

“Our country is divided and only one thing will change that.”
“I was talking about a civil war based on political ideology.”

Why do you automatically jump to WAR? Are you convinced that this is the only way any problem can ever be resolved? I don’t buy that scorched-earth crap for a minute. I believe in negotiation. In trying to understand anothers view, and finding a way to reach consensus, and then some solutions that all of us can live with. But for this to happen respect for other peoples views is needed.
Yet, take a look at “Stephen’s” post above — no respect at all, just a lot of stupid and hateful stereotyping. It’s seems to me that there are some folks on the Right who may wish to start another civil war in America based on ideology (and through demonization of liberal views), but the rest of us would really rather avoid such a horrible thing.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 21, 2006 12:33 PM
Comment #200079

Well, I guess no one but me found the above Kctim comment funny. Just so he knows, it is pretty idiotic to excpect anyone to do “good”. And your comments are nothing but adversarial. Nothing educational or original in them whatsoever. Thus, the irony.

Then again, I’m easily entertained.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 21, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #200081

Adrienne

“Yes, our views are very different, but have you ever asked yourself why they are so different?”

Heck yes, I ask myself that all the time.

“Exceptional in EVERY WAY?”

Yes. While I read alot of history and understand that some of our actions questionable, I do not negate all of the good we do.

“Tell me, do you think that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was exceptional? Something to be proud of? I don’t. But that’s only because I know that when someone reads about what preceded us slaughtering all those Japanese civilians, they’ll quickly grasp that it wasn’t actually necessary. That it was an insanely brutal and horrible act.”

Yes, I do think dropping the bombs was right. It brought our enemy, Japan, to its knees and ended that theater of war and saved American lives.
War is hell and supporting the death of the enemy over that of ones fellow countrymen is not wrong.

The Phillipine situation was a mess almost from the very beginning and I don’t excuse the actions of SOME of our troops. But why is it that in all three cases, you are only concerned with our negatives?
What other country rebuilds another nation after it has defeated it in war?

You see Adrienne, nobody likes war but sometimes it is the only option. And when people would rather see the enemy as victims and their fellow countrymen as murderers, it creates a rift.

“Reading history in depth is the only difference I can see between people like you and I, Tim.”

No Adrienne. How we interpret history is the difference.
Take Iraq for instance. We both agree that we should not have gone in but we see things totally different.
An every day occurrance is how American troops get in a firefight with the enemy.
Your first reaction may be to question if any civilians were harmed or if the enemy was really the enemy.
My first reaction is did any Americans die.

“We both love our country, and we’re both proud of it, the only difference is that people like me aren’t afraid to understand and admit that in some ways our country has acted no different than others we criticize.”

People like me aren’t afraid to understand or admit bad things our country has done either. We just don’t believe in putting the enemy ahead of our fellow countrymen. We are at war with Iraq, that is a fact. When you are at war with someone, their defeat is the goal. And like it or not, right or wrong, the one who wins a war is the one who kills more of their enemy.

“Nor do I. But I do understand that those who have declared war on us are not all Muslims in general.”

While some people may believe it is all muslims who have declared war on us, that is mostly a talking point Adrienne. Most people know we are at war with Iraq and not Islam.

“They are terrorists, and the way to fight terrorists is not through conventional warfare.”

Yes, terrorists. People who do not wish to negotiate and who have killed and can’t wait to kill again.
Conventional warfare may not be the answer, nobody knows for sure. Ignoring the problem didn’t work either. Neither did giving them money or coddling them or trying to understand them.
Just because we are the most successful nation does not mean that we cannot deal with our problems in any way we need to in order to protect our future.

“I agree that they don’t cause all the worlds problems, but I do think they cause plenty of them. And the worst part is, they really don’t seem to care that they do.”

Other social classes cause plenty of those problems to and they don’t care either.

“Of course. So, if the wealthy aren’t willing to sacrifice anything for a war (that will make them rich), then why the hell should we? Right? If a cause is worth fighting for, then let the wealthy and priviledged be the first to stand up and fight for it, then we’ll all know it’s of vital importance.”

Who gets to decide what is worth fighting for?
Isn’t that why we elect people to represent us and if they don’t, vote against them? Why is supporting ones own country, even when you disagree with the acting administrations actions, a bad thing?

“And if you think I won’t criticize my own party when I think they’re dead wrong about something, then you need to take a look at my replies in the center column “Defense Spending” article.”

There is reason for me to think one way or another, I did not talk with you during the last administrations corruption, illegal war and rights violations.
If what you say is true, I can only say it will be refreshing to have the far lefts support when it comes to the 2nd Amendment, low taxes and personal rights for a change.

“Why do you automatically jump to WAR? Are you convinced that this is the only way any problem can ever be resolved?”

Contrary to the lefts talking points, not everybody who supports their country in a time of war, is a warhawk.
It is not just “any problem” that we are talking about Adrienne. It is a Constitutional problem. The left and right want the Constitution to say what they want it to say and want to take away the parts they disagree with. The people will get sick of it sooner or later.

“I don’t buy that scorched-earth crap for a minute. I believe in negotiation.”

What do you do when the other side does not want to negotiate with you?

“In trying to understand anothers view, and finding a way to reach consensus, and then some solutions that all of us can live with. But for this to happen respect for other peoples views is needed.”

I totally agree, but life does not always work like that. Our country has almost reached the point where all the compromising and understanding is about gone.
Each belief has had its compromises and now people are wanting them to compromise more. Sooner or later, they will hit that last straw.

“Yet, take a look at “Stephen’s” post above — no respect at all, just a lot of stupid and hateful stereotyping.”

Oh, I know where you are coming from, I’ve been having a funny back and forth with Kev23 for a few weeks.

“It’s seems to me that there are some folks on the Right who may wish to start another civil war in America based on ideology (and through demonization of liberal views), but the rest of us would really rather avoid such a horrible thing.”

I agree, there are those on the far right who would be up for that. Just take a look at how much the militias grew during clintons reign.

But if the left would understand just one thing, then the “demonization” of liberal views would probably cease considerably: Most people on the right want to be left alone and not be forced to accept the views of others. Leave our rights alone and leave our money alone. Live your life as you wish and let us live our life as we, not you, wish.

The Constitution was created in order to keep the people from fighting amongst themselves so that we could keep our govt under check.
When we surrendered our Constitutional rights, we surrendered “Our way of life.”

Thank you very much for such an in-depth post Adrienne. I really apreciate it.

Posted by: kctim at December 21, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #200084

Kevin23
“Just so he knows, it is pretty idiotic to excpect anyone to do “good””

I understood where you were coming from Kevin. I’m not sure how old you are, 10?, but some of us old farts still use sayings from when we were younger. While its not proper grammer, it is how we communicate.

“And your comments are nothing but adversarial. Nothing educational or original in them whatsoever. Thus, the irony.”

Ok, no problem.
Please have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Be safe and enjoy the season.

Posted by: kctim at December 21, 2006 2:33 PM
Comment #200087

Adrienne-

On my first day in Property Law, I was to read Pierson v. Post, a NY case from 1805. The case involved one party who had, using dogs, tracked a fox for miles through the wilderness of what is now Queens, and finally cornered it. However, another hunter came and shot it and carted off the carcass. Who owns the fox?

The decision went to the second hunter because he had possession, and it is an easier rule to administer if we simply go by who has possession. However, the case was taught to us for an entirely different reason altogether. It was to show us that often times a case is much less about what is written, and more about the human need to “win”. These two hunters spent thousands of dollars in litigation costs over a dead fox. People are not entirely logical beings. In fact, they often miss the point in favor of something that makes them feel better.

To make a connection, I remember watching the towers fall. I agreed with every person I spoke to that the US should do “something” to serve the interests of justice. With no information, I couldn’t get more specific than “something”. Some folks are still trapped in this feeling.

The pride in being the most powerful nation on earth combined with blatent confrontation made for a mob mentality. The thing about mobs is that the most extreme folks are allowed to lead them as it is not a time for rational thought. But eventually most of the mob will come back to earth. Who is to blame for unintended hardships that result? The mob? The leaders of the mob? Those that used the mob mentality to personally gain? Everyone?

This is where many of us differ. Some are still trapped in the false pride promised via military victory. So have let this evolve in their minds into the kind of ideological war wherein the US is fighting against “evil”. Most of us just want to get the most out of the mess. When people say you don’t love your country because you criticize one aspect of it, they are merely trying to protect their idea of what makes us great. To them, military might and the ability to successfully intimidate to get what we want is what makes us great. Others will look more carefully at the results of policies, and point to our leadership role in the world as what makes us great. Etc.

One thing is certain: united we stand, divided we fall. Some advocate unnatural unification (threats, fear, etc.) to achieve a “victory” when their is genuine division on an issue. Sometimes history proves them right, but often this approach backfires. The funny thing is that when the house of cards does fall, rather than blame the real cause of failure (the fact that they were trying to build a structure out of nothing but thin cards), they will blame the cards themselves for not being thick enough to provide an adequate foundation.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 21, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #200089

“I’m not sure how old you are, 10?”

Nice. Real classy. It just shows that age and experience can sometimes count for absolutely nothing of value. What a waste.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 21, 2006 3:10 PM
Comment #200094

kctim, you are making excuses and justifications for actions that were horribly wrong in the past, and for actions that are currently wrong now. I am never impressed when people do this, because I don’t consider it a reasonable or wise mindset to have. Instead, I know that this is how peoples and countries completely forget, or try to bury their history, and how they will then risk repeating the same kinds of wrong actions and mistakes over and over again.
I’m a progressive thinker. I believe we should look honestly at what went so wrong, what exactly lead us there, and then try to learn lessons from those negative things so that we’ll never repeat them again.

Kevin23, well said, sir. I agree completely.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 21, 2006 3:52 PM
Comment #200097

Yes Adrienne, my views are nothing but excuses for my evil and terrible country.
Forgive me, I thought you were serious about how people of different beliefs should respect and try to better understand each other.
Sorry to have wasted your time.

Have a safe and very Merry Christmas.

Posted by: kctim at December 21, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #200100

Adrienne-

I agree. I would just caution that sometimes all the information in the world won’t mean anything without the will of the people to keep it that way. If there was no one ready to meet the enemy’s passion to destroy us with passion of our own, then we are doomed from the start. The trick is informing the masses as to what the common enemy is. At the moment, its a hot topic and no one really agrees on anything except Al Qaeda. That’s a tricky one that requires more help from governments like Pakistan than it does physical occupation or conventional military force.

So here comes poor Iraq in its sad yet defiant state. We trump up charges and run in. It was the wrong move done in the right spirit. I’m sure people like Cheney, if they took honesty pills, would argue that America and especially America’s military industry needed a war. And Iraq was the best one available at the time.

And so do you foster secrecy or transparency? They both have good attributes. One clearly has more bad attributes. Or at least we Americans believe so. Transparency naturally leads to dissent and disagreement, which are also fostered by a democratic style of government. Here is all begins to get complicated.

I think liberals need to understand that the best way to keep America safe is to give the people what they crave in the way of a common foreign enemy. The current president has failed at this. He failed to convince his critics and the people that his mission was coherent or achievable, let alone had likelihood for success in the context of its goals. But the need is still there.

How we handle this is, I believe, going to be more circumstantial than anything else. Unfortunately, the post 9/11 reaction by our citizens and government has mostly convinced me that the demilitarization of America is squarely in the hands of everyone except Americans. Everyone from the top down has an itchy trigger finger. How politicians cope with this reality is the real question, and how liberals in particular reconcile this with their tendency to focus on the usually noble policy goals of restraint, understanding and setting a good example for the world.

The ideal situation would be a sovereign nation supporting every terrorist in the world. Not reality. Instead, we have the choice of political pressure and reliance v. threat of force by occupation. Both options sort of stink.

The post cold war era reminds me of basketball after Jordan, Magic and Larry were gone. Everything is wide open again. Mainly because we are very passive in our global superiority. But being on top means having many enemies by default. Now that there is a vacuum, its a tough time to be a uniter and not a divider.

So do you like Obama? I know you like Feingold, but I don’t think he’s running.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 21, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #200110

“Yes Adrienne, my views are nothing but excuses for my evil and terrible country.”

Where did I say that America was an evil and terrible country? Nowhere.
Have we done some evil and terrible things?
Yes sir, we have. The events that took place in the Phillipine-American War comprise one. And another is the killing over 140,000 civilians in Hiroshima and 74,000 in Nagasaki with nuclear bombs. These were evil and terrible acts that Americans should not be proud of, or wish to make excuses for. Especially since they were entirely unnecessary.

To quote from General Dwight Eisenhower again:

In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet:

The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan.

Admiral William Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman:

The use of the bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.

Other U.S. military members who disagreed with our dropping the atomic bombs: General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Ernest King, (U.S. Chief of Naval Operations), Ralph A. Bard (Undersecretary of the Navy), General Carl Spaatz (commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific), Brigadier General Carter Clarke (military intelligence officer who intercepted and translated Japanese cables for U.S. officials).

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey (which conducted interviews with hundreds of Japanese military leaders after Japan surrendered) also later reported:

Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

“Forgive me, I thought you were serious about how people of different beliefs should respect and try to better understand each other.”

Yeah well, I’m afraid some things are non-negotiable with me. Ignoring the facts and making excuses for atrocities doesn’t deserve respect, when it’s clearly better to face up to a few hard and ugly truths so that they are never repeated again.

“Sorry to have wasted your time.”

It’s not a waste of my time. Even if you can’t and won’t see the truth in my arguments, there are plenty of others out there who read this blog, and who may benefit from the facts and info I’ve presented.

“Have a safe and very Merry Christmas.”

Yes, safe and Merry Christmas to you too, Tim.
I mean that sincerely, despite this argument.

Kevin, I’d love to reply to your post as well, but I’m afraid it’ll have to wait until later tonight!

Posted by: Adrienne at December 21, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #200113

“I mean that sincerely, despite this argument”

That was the whole point Adrienne: I wasn’t trying to argue anything.
I don’t ignore our past and I don’t try to make excuses for it either, but I will not ignore the facts which show the US in a good light either. You can if you wish, but its not how I am.

Not seeing “THE truth in your arguments” and not seeing “YOUR truth in your arguments” are different with every issue. I choose to try and seperate the two, compare them and try to understand where the other person is coming from.
You believe your truth is THE truth and there is no room any other view.
If those of us who do not agree with your views of the truth do not deserve your respect, then you do not seek to try and understand other views.

We see things differently, was just trying to understand your views and give you an insight to mine without getting personal or insulting.

Posted by: kctim at December 21, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #200119

kctim-

“I don’t ignore our past and I don’t try to make excuses for it either, but I will not ignore the facts which show the US in a good light either. You can if you wish, but its not how I am.”

Are you saying that in order to say something bad about US policies, one must also say something good so as not to incur your criticism? Isn’t that a bit, well, immature?

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 21, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #200120

I just assume that we are all patriotic until expressly, not implicitly, proven otherwise. Otherwise, we wouldn’t care enough to post here.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 21, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #200124

And like it or not, right or wrong, the one who wins a war is the one who kills more of their enemy.

Posted by: kctim at December 21, 2006 02:24 PM

So by that logic then kctim, the US won the war in Vietnam?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 21, 2006 7:05 PM
Comment #200162

Kevin

“Are you saying that in order to say something bad about US policies, one must also say something good so as not to incur your criticism? Isn’t that a bit, well, immature?”

Not at all. I am stating MY view on the subject. I am not criticizing anybody or looking for an argument.
Again, Adrienne was nice enough to give me some of her personal views and I returned in kind.
You can call it immature or whatever you wish, but I just wanted to maybe learn something, rather than debate, argue or criticize.

Paul in Euro
I think Vietnam, Korea and Iraq are wars run by politics and they will continue to be run in an ineffective way as long as that is true.

Posted by: kctim at December 22, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #200178

kctim, have you ever heard von Clausewitz’s description of war as being diplomacy by other means? And surely diplomacy is politics? Unless you envisage war being left totally in the hands of the warriors? As Clemenceau said, war is too important to be left to the Generals……

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 22, 2006 11:21 AM
Comment #200183

Thats one of the reason’s why I believe war should be the absolute last option a country should resort to.

But I think I see where I was unclear, my bad.
It is not that I believe diplomacy should not be used during a time of war so as to achieve an end, that I was meaning to say. It is that I believe those wars ended up being run with the politicians doing what they thought was best for them and not what was best for the country or soldiers.

Posted by: kctim at December 22, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #200215

kctim, I think if history teaches us anything, it is that war rarely turns out how it was expected to by it’s end. The British were severely weakened by the end of WW I, with their class system seriously damaged. By the end of WW II, their Empire was crumbling. Hitler was dead by the end of WW II, with his 1,000 year reich reduced to ashes and dust. Japan too was destroyed militarily and economically. For all of the resources the US put into fighting the war in Vietnam, for all of the US dead and maimed, physically and mentally, you achieved nothing except perhaps a little realism as to the limits of military power. Unfortunately, you forgot that, with your easy victories in Grenada and in Gulf I. You thought that because these little skirmishes were so successful, that your new way of warmaking was unbeatable. Except that in the first, your adversary was tiny, so that the campaign was a walkover. And the second did not require the US to hold territory, i.e., boots on the ground. For much of the past century some military men have fantasised about winning wars from the air. The realists know that to truly win, you have to have boots on the ground. And in that situation, where you are in hostile territory, the real problems only begin when you have taken the territory.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 22, 2006 5:39 PM
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