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Opening Arguments

Uniters, not dividers

Whenever people point out that some war critics in Congress actually seem to want the U.S. to fail, they are accused of exaggeration. But James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal's Web site points to an example of a couple of legislators, and it's hard to interpret their remarks any other way. First, there is Kansas Rep. Nancy Boyda, who stepped out of a hearing room so she wouldn't have to hear testimony about progress in Iraq:

When Boyda returned to the hearing, she ridiculed Keane's description of Iraq "as in some way or another that it's a place that I might take the family for a vacation--things are going so well--those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying, 'Here's the reality of the problem.' "

Then there is this guy:

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war. . . .

Trying to bring up the other side of the issue -- the idea that the U.S. might be making progress, which isn't exactly the same as winning, but is a good thing -- would "divide" the country. A positive report on progress is bad because it would "impede" efforts to end the war. Don't even talk about winning, we're too busy making sure we lose.


Wed, 08/01/2007 - 10:54am

When your country is involved in an immoral enterprise, I think you have to want it to fail. That's why I want the U.S. to "fail" in Iraq -- assuming you define "get out by the end of the week and apologize over your shoulder while leaving" as "failing."

I doubt that the legislators in question actually regard the Iraq war as immoral -- I suspect that they adhere to the official Democratic "it's mismanaged and we could do it so much better" position. But not all "war critics" think the same way.

To say, "My country must prevail in its current wrongdoing" is a kind of gangbanger ethic. I think it was Chesterton who said that the declaration "My country, right or wrong" is logically equivalent to "my mother, drunk or sober." To subordinate one's commitment to right-and-wrong to one's national affiliation is just a form of idolatry. A popular form -- but idolatry nonetheless.

A J Bogle
Wed, 08/01/2007 - 6:14pm

Many many military and foreign policy experts have been saying for some time that this war is unwinnable in the sense of a vanquished foe, and treaties signed on carrier decks. Just not going to happen, our guys are in the middle of a civil war and insurgency with no clear "good guys vs bad guys", just like Vietnam. It is not in our interest to continue this "nation building" excercise when the people there do not want it, nor clear path to a conventional victory

Wed, 08/01/2007 - 8:37pm

Leo ...

The moonbats do not get it. Extreme left-wing Democrats have carved out a strategy of surrender to shut down our war against terrorism.

America wants to win this war, but the libs and the drive-by media are bent on supporting our enemy during wartime.

Our fathers and grandfathers are turning over in their graves.

A J Bogle
Thu, 08/02/2007 - 6:34am

Over 70% of the country disagrees with you gadfly- I am afraid its the wingnuts that don't seem to get it. You can't just keep throwing our good soldiers into this fight that has become a local civil war, there is no military victory in the traditional sense.. many think that the best course is to split the country into 3 regions. Any true conservative should be completely appalled by this nation building exercise. It is only the neo-conservatives that prefer foreign intervention, and they have more in common with old school liberals than anything truly conservative or even Libertarian.

A 70% margin is not an "extreme" postion. The extreme position is the one of the minority that says "stay the course" - the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results

tim zank
Thu, 08/02/2007 - 7:43am

Everybody should keep in mind, when it comes to the 70% figure, it's all in the way the question is asked. For instance:

"Would you rather we keep wasting lives and billions in Iraq's civil war or should we bring our troops home as soon as possible?"


"Would you rather we stay in Iraq and make sure the government there is stable so the middle east is safer, or should we just give up surrender?"

Both asking should we stay or should we go, and both can produce overwhelming percentages for their respective side.

Regardless how we got there, is it the MORAL thing to do, to pack up and watch thousand of people die? How's that work Bartelby?

Thu, 08/02/2007 - 3:40pm

Mr. Zank wrote: "Regardless how we got there, is it the MORAL thing to do, to pack up and watch thousand of people die? How

tim zank
Thu, 08/02/2007 - 4:18pm

Bartelby, I'm not refusing to consider how we got there, I am simply pointing out that it is a moot point. It has NO bearing whatsoever on what should be the next move. It's a very simple question, is it ok with you to leave knowing thousands of people from that day forward are in fact going to die. I assume your answer somewhere in that diatribe is yes, its moral to leave and let them fend for themselves. That's fine, you are entitled to your opinion, no matter how cold and callous it may be.

I have no problem really, becoming an isolationist state, as you suggest. I have no overwhelming need to travel outside our borders, or to do business for goods or services with other nations. I've set aside enough to subsist comfortably should we stop all economic trade with everyone else. I assume you done so as well?

I loved your second paragraph, the old "obfuscation" non answer/questions as an answer. You should be a politician, 3 paragraphs for a one word answer. Good job!

Thu, 08/02/2007 - 9:25pm

Well, Mr. Zank, I guess I should have simplified things much further, to suit the needs of my audience. Here goes.

No, it is not moral that people should be killed because of what the U.S. has done to their country. If the legions are pulled out tomorrow, as they would be if I had my way, we would not suddenly become a Good Country.

It also isn't moral that we should continue to occupy. We're killing innocent people now, and will do so at a greater rate into the future. So that's even less moral.

In short, you and your bunch have made it so there's no moral course of action left open to us. There's only bad and worse.

I regret that you interpreted my words as saying that Americans should not travel and trade. When I say that "we" should stay home, I'm referring to the legions. Washington and Jefferson both advocated honest commerce with all, along with strict neutrality and the avoidance of entangling alliances. But the, what did Washington or Jefferson know, compared to George W. Dimbulb and Dick "I'll shoot your face off" Cheney? Of COURSE they're right -- war, war, perpetual war, for ever and ever.

tim zank
Thu, 08/02/2007 - 10:38pm

Damn Bartelby, you write like a "journalist"! You managed to blame your own country by just the third sentence! And you even managed to squeeze in the obligatory troop slam by line six!
Well done Sir! Johnny, tell him what he's won! Why, it's a John Edwards bumpersticker and a Dennis Kucinich peace medallion.

Now this is important, so let me make sure I have it right. Me and "my bunch" have left you devoid of a conscience. Well I sincerely apologize for that, perhaps we can rent you one.
Pretty typical though, to blame someone else for your lack of conscience. After all, it's always somebody else's fault isn't it?

And I don't know how to break this to you, but your boy Jefferson was sending ships to fight Islamic radicals a long time ago too.

Fri, 08/03/2007 - 11:07am

"And I don

tim zank
Fri, 08/03/2007 - 12:37pm

Bartelby sez: "The balance of what you wrote lacks any sort of substance, and says far more about you than about me. " Yes it does, and I'm extremely comfortable with that.