Karl Gallagher (selenite) wrote,
Karl Gallagher
selenite

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Debating the War


A friend and I discussed the Iraq War and related subjects, shortly after he saw "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Anonymous: my only rant right now is I wish: (a) the democrats had given me someone less pathetic than Kerry, or (b) the real republicans (i.e. McCain) had come back and kicked out the neocons - hell, I even find myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan a lot these days, and that's a frigtening thought!
Anonymous: it's not democrat vs. republican in this election, it's democrat vs. neocon
Anonymous: hell, I'd happily take Ronald Reagan back, warts and all
Anonymous: or even Bush Sr.

Selenite: I was actually hoping for Lieberman or Dean for the Dems. And I still have a McCain sticker on both cars.
Selenite: I've found "neocon" to be a useless term these days. I get put in that category, but a gay-marriage supporter doesn't really fit with the Weekly Standard crowd. I prefer "hawk." We're recycling all the other 60's tropes, might as well use that one.

Anonymous: I can't believe the republicans when for Bush over McCain in the primaries. Everyone's talking about Edward's lack of experience, just 6 years in the senate - hell, Bush himself had just had one full term as governor. Then you have McCain, a true American hero if there ever was one, a man of real principle - and Karl Rove commits character assassination
Anonymous: I define neocon via the Project for a New American Century whitepaper

Selenite: yeah, I was pretty pissed about the mudslinging against McCain. Lost respect for a lot of commentators then. Did motivate me to be out there after dark setting up road signs, but it didn't help, or at least not enough.
Selenite: PNAC--link?

Anonymous: http://www.newamericancentury.org/publicationsreports.htm
Anonymous: Sept 2000

Selenite: I tend to draw the line between offensive strategy--overturn the status quo that's generating suicide bombers--and defensive--tight security to keep them from getting through to us. I prefer offensive.

Anonymous: I don't mind offensive if it's correctly pointed
Anonymous: Invade Afghanistan: YES.

Selenite: true. but when I looked over the target list Iraq still looked like the best one.

Anonymous: Invade Iraq: MAYBE.
Anonymous: Invade Iraq with absolutely NO postwar planning: HELL NO.
Anonymous: I no longer argue whether we should or shouldn't have invaded Iraq
Anonymous: It's just that every decision the administration made after the end of "major operations" was a bad one - to the point that I cringed every day I picked up the newspaper in the Starbucks
Anonymous: and there's a fundamental inability of this administration to admit that they make mistakes, or are capable of making mistakes
Anonymous: If I was Bush I would have fired Donald Rumsfeld long before the prison scandles

Selenite: oh, there were lots of post-war plans. DoD one, State one, CIA one, UN one--all completely incompatible.

Anonymous: Rumsfeld reminds me so much of what I've read about Robert McNamera
Anonymous: I know you've been in the military and know many - why didn't the Joint Cheifs of staff invade that man's office and toss his ass out ages ago?
Anonymous: Tommy Franks wants X troops
Anonymous: Rumseld offers X divided by 4

Selenite: Oh, I think every other option in the decisions would've also worked out badly. Inherent in the problem. Stop looting, everybody mad cause we shot lots of looters. Keep the army, terrorists infiltrate and use it to get weapons and access to sites. Etc.
Selenite: As for the JCS--Rummy fires them, they don't get to fire him. IE, new chief of Army.

Anonymous: I was being facious, of course

Selenite: the option they do have is to resign in protest, they don't think it's bad enough to justify it.

Anonymous: well, they can do more good in their current position

Selenite: Heh--reading paper. Page "v" wants to cancel what I'm working on.
Selenite: skimming--this isn't addressing the big strategic change, replacing dictatorships with democracies to go after root causes of terrorism. That came after 9/11.

Anonymous: I would reconsider voting for Bush (since I really do dislike Kerry) if he came out and said: "look, we f***ed up. We made a judgement call, best we could make at the time. It turned out to have been the wrong decision. Yes, I know we told every country on earth to f*** off and die, but we need your help now, and we're sorry. I was surrounded by some bad advisors. I've now replaced those advisors with a more competent staff. I now have appointed a new secretary of defense that values the lives of our troops. I have appointed a cabinet that is not afraid to tell me when I'm wrong about something. I have learned from this experience, will avoid making the mistakes I've made in the past, but more important, will use that experience to make better decisions in the future."

Selenite: As for Rumsfeld in particular, I've been pretty happy with his performance, much happier than I am with Bush (whose domestic policy I hate across the board).

Anonymous: we can agree to disagree on Rumsfeld
Anonymous: I'd be much happier with John McCain in that spot

Selenite: among other issues I'm sure
Selenite: McCain might do a good job, don't know how he is at bureaucracy-wrangling.
Selenite: Problem I have with that speech is I think he made the right decision.

Anonymous: we'll just have to agree to disagree on that
Anonymous: I'm quite convinced that in 50 years, the historians will look back on it as having been one of the most drastic mistakes ever made by any President, something that our country will take decades to recover from.
Anonymous: AND I HOPE I'M WRONG!
Anonymous: thanks for the debating, this is fun
Anonymous: X asks "why do you debate politics?"
Anonymous: and I say "cause it's fun"
Anonymous: and she doesn't get it.
Anonymous: anyway, I'd strongly recommend seeing Fahrenheit 9/11 - you may disagree with Moore's politics, but I think you will find many points you agree with

Selenite: well, 50 years from now the MidEast will be A. a thriving free land B. current cesspool C. a nuclear-armed Caliphate D. radioactive ruins. Bush is trying for A, if he gets it history likes him, if not he's a failure.

Anonymous: do you know how long the current oil supply is supposed to last?
Anonymous: I actually don't and was just wondering that

Selenite: no problem, thanks for sticking with it, other debates I've had the other guy had run off long since.

Anonymous: well, most people when I get into this will list the 100 things wrong with Kerry, and then they don't know what to do when I agree with them
Anonymous: Anti-Bush does not necessarily imply Pro-Kerry.

Selenite: I think the oil supply has been projected out for 40 years for the last 60 years. if it runs short they look for more, and find it.
Selenite: I don't see much pro-Kerry. I'm not sure if anybody except Kerry is pro-Kerry.

Anonymous: If/when it seriously drains up over there, the MidEast will quickly become irrelevant

Selenite: the reason I support Bush going for A is I think it's the best option for avoiding D.

Anonymous: X knows someone who actively likes John Kerry

Selenite: Islamofascism is going to be a problem even without oil money. A smaller one, definitely, but as technology improves they'll have more leverage for the money they do have.
Selenite: Oooh, she must know a *LOT* of Dems then
Selenite: as for seeing the movie . . . my doctor gave me the "cut back on salt" lecture. I suspect avoiding that movie will be better for my blood pressure than a month w/o salt. I've already picked up a lot of the key points from the various discussions of it.

Anonymous: I have trouble buying the "thriving free land" argument when our closest ally there is Saudi Arabia

Selenite: the question is where to start. Saudi has 30,000 americans and our economy hostage. Not a good first target. Iraq we were already bombing regularly.

Anonymous: oh! in which case you should definitely see it. I think most people who've seen it - press, reviewers, viewers, on both sides - have COMPLETELY missed the main points of the movie (this is the discussion I got into L with which upset her, alas).
Anonymous: X sums it well up in her LJ entry on it I think
Anonymous: ok, let's suppose Iraq becomes a real American-style democracy.
Anonymous: question: do you think the resulting government will be pro- or anti-U.S.?

Selenite: L pasted a few of your comments to me. Having served the "poor and powerless" schtick is VERY annoying to me.
Selenite: I think Iraq getting to American-style is a bit much to hope for, I'm hoping for Turkey, Mexico, or South Korea. Given that it may still be "anti-US" to a degree, much like my examples there--but Mexicans and Koreans don't become suicide bombers. If they're living a free life seeking their own goals they can despise the US as much as they want. If they encourage their neighbors to become suicide bombers, then we need to work on "root causes" some more.
Selenite: rereading X's entry--has she ever met somebody who enlisted? That's not how I'd describe them. As for the "war is bad" message--I studied a lot more military history than the average officer, that's something I already knew, in considerable detail.

Anonymous: so, you can, without any worries about your blood pressure, go see the movie (without L, of course), and THEN we can discuss it further, and you can post to her livejournal, etc.
Anonymous: I'd be very interested to know what you think
Anonymous: X would too
Anonymous: she - probably X and I - are both oversimplifying

Selenite: I'm pretty sure it would be bad for my blood pressure.
Selenite: I'd be happy to discuss any specific points, though I may answer with a link to someone who's dug into it more than I have.

Anonymous: anyway, my main worry with Iraq is either (a) in 10 years, we won't be paying attention, and there will be some Iranian style revolution, or a Pakinstani style southamerican military coup, or (b) the Iraqis were glad to be rid of Saddam, but we've outstayed our welcome, killed their friends and family - accidentally yes, but they're dead nonetheless, and totally upended their lives, and that will just breed a whole new generation of terrorists.
Anonymous: we do have a chance to avoid the end result of (b), but I think the window of opportunity is closing
Anonymous: well, I think we have a chance to avoid (b), but I'm not sure how
Anonymous: or maybe both (a) and (b)

Selenite: for (a)--if we have an armored division there that won't be happening, and I suspect we'll be keeping troops there as long as we have in Germany. For (b), young men who have a choice of starting a business, going into politics, or spending their lives in academia don't become terrorists. It's the ones who wind up trapped in a useless life because their society doesn't let them do anything, especially get married, that strap the bombs on.

Anonymous: I wonder about (b) - I agree with that re: Palestinian suicide bombers - but, the 9/11 hijackers all seemed highly educated and relatively high class. Of course, that's just 19 examples, so I don't want to overgeneralize
Anonymous: my thought is though for all this to happen - all goodness in Iraq - our troops need to be replaced by troops from muslim countries - preferably Iraq of course, but they're not ready yet
Anonymous: 80% of Iraqis feel (with usual caveats of polling B.S. and biased measurements) that they'd be safer if we just left - that's probably not true, but the fact that they feel that way is really disturbing

Selenite: well, they were educated, but what could they do with it? Saudi politics are only for princes. The engineering work gets done by Americans. The system's too corrupt to let them start a business of their own. They went to Germany and didn't have work permits. So they wound up as frustrated as the Palestinians living on UNRWA handouts.

Anonymous: good point - it's not just that poverty -> terrorism, any more than poverty -> crime, but it's a question of opportunities
Anonymous: interesting

Selenite: mmm--I suspect most other muslim countries would do their best to trash any chance of democracy. Including Turkey, which wants to keep the Kurds down. The Iraqi troops seem to be slowly getting their act together.

Anonymous: the trouble with Iraqi democracy is that the if you really let the Iraqis voted "Americans in or out," they'd vote us OUT.

Selenite: not giving a man anything important to do is like keeping a working dog on your lap--he'll go nuts.

Anonymous: I'm wondering if Saudi Arabia will go the way of Iran
Anonymous: that would be very very very unpleasant
Anonymous: anyway, it's been enjoyable debating someone on the pro-Bush side who is educated on the issues - it's exceedingly rare

Selenite: eh, I've seen polls that say they want the US to stick around for at least 6-18 months. Between Iran, Turkey, and Syria they're not going to want the US to leave completely until they have a good army of their own. They'll probably be a lot happier when the US is just hanging out on bases.
Selenite: yeah, Saudi is a scary situation.
Selenite: me, too, conversely.

Anonymous: I generally just find knee-jerk reactions from people who think it's horrible that one could ever question the President
Anonymous: drives me batshit
Anonymous: what good is democracy if you can't exercise it?

Tags: iraq, politics, war
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