Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dealing With Issues and Evil

Both David Limbaugh ("Iraq: Let's Quit Confusing the Issues") and Dennis Prager ("Just One Question for Opponents of the War") have excellent columns out today concerning those who oppose the war in Iraq.

In his column, Limbaugh writes: . . .

The antiwar Left has finally succeeded in turning public opinion against the war in Iraq with their endless assaults and distortions. The war's supporters, in our defensiveness, have unintentionally taken on a greater burden of proof than, by rights, we should bear.

The truth is that we were morally and strategically justified in attacking Iraq, based on the information we had available at the time of the attack. Conversely, the wisdom and propriety of our decision to remain until our mission is complete -- which we must -- and the president's conduct of the war, depend on facts now in existence. But by all means, let's keep the issues separate.

That is, even if we conclude we were wrong to have attacked Iraq -- which we certainly were not -- our decision is done and can't be retracted, even by withdrawing. Our decision to remain or withdraw must be based on what is going on today and the likely consequences of remaining or withdrawing.

The problem is that the antiwar Left has conflated these issues. They have been so obsessed with establishing (through monomaniacal repetition) their fraudulent case that President Bush lied to get us into this war, they have literally paralyzed themselves from contributing anything constructive to any issues concerning the ongoing war effort.

And in his column, Prager proposes:

All those who support the American war in Iraq should make a deal with anyone opposed to the war. Offer to answer any 20 questions the opponents wish to ask if they will answer just one:

Do you believe we are fighting evil people in Iraq?

That is how supporters of the war regard the Baathists and the Islamic suicide terrorists, the people we are fighting in Iraq.

Because if you cannot answer it, or avoid answering it, or answer "no," we know enough about your moral compass to know that further dialogue is unnecessary. In fact, dialogue is impossible. Our understanding of good and evil is so different from yours, there is simply nothing to discuss. Someone who was asked a hundred years ago "Do you believe that whites who lynch blacks are evil?" and refused to answer in the affirmative was not someone one could dialogue with.

12 Comments:

At Tuesday, August 30, 2005 11:09:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Following Prager's instructions:

"Because if you cannot answer it, or avoid answering it, or answer "no," we know enough about your moral compass to know that further dialogue is unnecessary."

No.

End of dialogue.

 
At Tuesday, August 30, 2005 2:37:00 PM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

The reference to lynching is a beaut, too, as if trying to understand the complexity of the situation in terms more complex than "good" and "evil" is the equivalent of being an apologist for racist violence.

Limbaugh says quite accurately that we can't uninvade, we are there and the question is what we do about it. But he seems to advocate a recipe for disaster: pretend everything is working fine and it's just that darn "antiwar Left" fooling people into thinking otherwise that's the problem.

I'm sorry, but this is not a serious conversation about the war.

This is a serious conversation about the war:
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20050901faessay84508/andrew-f-krepinevich-jr/how-to-win-in-iraq.html

 
At Tuesday, August 30, 2005 9:15:00 PM, Anonymous BGH said...

I keep landing on the fact that an evil ruling regime has been dethroned and that the Iraqi people, by in large, are now free. People, just like you and me, are now free. We cannot comprehend this as we've never suffered under the likes of Saddam Hussein, etc. We must stay the course, like it or not.

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 8:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and my Savior.

Muslim Jihadist's believe that their mission in life is to convert all non-believers of Islam or murder them. Their own lives mean nothing and yours much less.

Will I ever forsake my Lord and follow mohammed and his allah?

No.

End of dialogue.

the Heckler

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 10:43:00 AM, Anonymous ed cone said...

So we can all agree that an evil regime has fallen in Iraq, and that none of us are interested in being forcibly converted to Islam. Who says there is no dialog?

But evil exists the world around, we don't go to war every time it's encountered. Sometimes we even ally ourselves with it in pursuit of a larger goal.

Since we did go to war, we must assess our progress and options with clarity. Prager and Limbaugh ignore the questions in favor of attacking the questioners as being immoral people.

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Ed, Limbaugh and Prager are not calling those who question the war immoral. (Prager's "moral compass" point was directed at those who do not believe that the people we are doing battle with are evil.) What they are attacking are the opponents' motives, not their morals.

And Limbaugh is not advocating that we "pretend everything is working fine." He's advocating we deal with the here and now, which includes the good and the bad, and not the moot point of why we went there in the first place.

Limbaugh's main point is that the left is so intent on discrediting President Bush that nothing constructive is coming out of the dialogue. It's hard to move forward when one side is doing nothing but attacking the president over why we went to war in the first place (conveniently ignoring the fact that they agreed with him then) and criticizing our efforts without offering much of anything in the way of solutions.

Therefore, Prager and Limbaugh are not ignoring the questions; they're appealing to the Left to focus on what's important so we can deal with the questions.

We need to pull together as a country, especially in these times of war and natural disaster. And you can be against the war all you want, but criticism for sake of criticism isn't getting us anywhere.

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 2:10:00 PM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

Criticism for the sake of criticism? If you haven't done so already, please read the article I linked about successful counter-insurgency strategies. More like criticism for the sake of creating a succesful outcome.

Limbaugh wants to talk about the "antiwar left," but the article I cite is by a respected military man who clearly wants us to win but says we are going about it the wrong way. Reps Jones and Coble and Senator Hagel are not from the anti-war left, and they have serious questions about the conduct of this war.

Prager wants to talk about the moral compass of people with whom he disagrees on policy. It's just cable news caliber name-calling us-and-them politics, and it isn't any more valuable than what the war-for-Halliburton crowd is peddling.

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 2:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mickey, read Prager again: "Because if you cannot answer it, or avoid answering it, or answer 'no,' we know enough about your moral compass to know that further dialogue is unnecessary."

That statement implies nothing about opponents' motives, and everything about their morality.

If Limbaugh and Prager are truly trying to appeal (your word) to the Left, they might begin by admitting that there is legitimate criticism of the administration's rationale for and conduct of the war. Honest dialogue over this issue doesn't begin and end with any side claiming to hold the moral or intellectual high ground. Limbaugh and Prager both fail on this count.

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 2:37:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Krepinevich may be offering constructive criticism (I haven't read it all, but plan to), but he's not representative of the anti-war left that's getting all the coverage in the mainstream media. And it's the anti-war left and its unconstructive criticism for the sake of criticism that's swaying public opinion. Its goal, after all, is to discredit President Bush. I'm all for reasoned debate on how we prosecute the war. I just wished we heard more about that rather than the constant "Bush lied to get us into this war," which is not only untrue, it doesn't do anything to help us succeed over there. (And thanks for adding "the" in front of sake; I hate it when I, an editor, leave out a word!)

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 3:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed,

"Limbaugh says quite accurately that we can't uninvade, we are there and the question is what we do about it. But he seems to advocate a recipe for disaster: pretend everything is working fine and it's just that darn "antiwar Left" fooling people into thinking otherwise that's the problem."

This is a question of competing strategy - which can really only be assessed after the battle is over with. The only thing that is constantly being played over and over is this idiotic 'Bush Lied, War for Oil, Haliburton, etc' which does in fact sound like criticism for the sake of criticism...

"Since we did go to war, we must assess our progress and options with clarity. Prager and Limbaugh ignore the questions in favor of attacking the questioners as being immoral people."

Exactly which questions are being ignored?

"If Limbaugh and Prager are truly trying to appeal (your word) to the Left, they might begin by admitting that there is legitimate criticism of the administration's rationale for and conduct of the war. Honest dialogue over this issue doesn't begin and end with any side claiming to hold the moral or intellectual high ground. Limbaugh and Prager both fail on this count."

Seems to me that both sides are failing on 'claiming to hold the moral or intellectual high ground'. But your insistance on arguing the administrations rationale and conduct of the war is like closing the barn door after the animals are our - useless!!!! It is time to argue strategy, it is time put for ideas to win the war... leave the petty finger pointing at home where it belongs.... look at the vote for the Iraq War resolution in Congress... this is nothing more than political point scoring CRAP and I'm pretty sick of it.

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 5:01:00 PM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

I didn't post the last part to which anon responded.

Mickey, I think the argument that the "anti war left" is swaying public opinion is pretty weak. They are saying the same things they've been saying for year. What's changed? The situation in Iraq has changed. Why not address the reality and ignore the noise?

 
At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 5:52:00 PM, Anonymous Alexander Samuels said...

I would like to comment on Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.’s How to Win in Iraq. First of all, I would like to agree with Mickey that there is too much useless political criticism about the war, the president, etc. from the Democratic side and too much useless defensiveness from the Republican side.

Krepinevich, on the other hand, has written a good article with useful tactical suggestions. I think his “oil spot” strategy would work better than what the U.S. is doing now. Historically, this strategy has worked before. In today’s world, a strike force would also have to be maintained in order to prevent massing of opposing forces, supplies, and arms, as well as for initiating new “spots.” You don’t want your “oil spots” to become purely defensive. The purpose of the “spot” is to expand.

Now, I am in no way criticizing our armed forces. Since WWII, our politicians (on both sides) have seen too many westerns. We start with what is an “oil spot” and it becomes Fort Apache. That is, instead of expanding the wall and sphere of influence, we maintain a defensive position behind the walls and allow the enemy to attack us – maintaining the political status quo. Because of politicians on both sides of the isle, this is what I think would happen to a perfectly logical strategy such as this. Both parties spreading their political manure is why Bush pulled too many troops out of Iraq too soon which is one of the reasons we are having so many problems there now.

I am a Republican, but if we win this war it will be in spite of all the political “spinning” of both Republicans and Democrats. America’s government has forgotten how to win a war. We can, at least, thank Krepinevich for offering an idea.

 

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