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A view from the middle

The other day, the most worthy LT SMASH had a truly insightful encounter with the loathsome Code Pink protesters who have set up camp near Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It's the sort of thing that really portrays Code Pink as they truly are, and shows us all just how fortunate we all are to have someone of SMASH's caliber not only among us bloggers, but wearing our nation's uniform.

But something struck me as I was reading his piece, and (with absolutely no disrespect to SMASH -- this is just the odd way my mind works) I wanted to toss it out for discussion:

Anti-war activists: "support the troops, oppose the mission."
Anti-gay fundamentalists: "love the sinner, hate the sin."

Compare and contrast in the comments, please.


Comments (62)

I don't see how you can com... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

I don't see how you can compare the two concepts. To demonstrably support the troops means to equip them for their mission, send care packages, have money allocated by congress, et cetera. All of that is an implicit support for their mission. To demonstrably love a sinner, one does not have to participate in or enable the sinful act. All one has to do is listen to them, feed them when they are hungry, clothe them when they are cold.

kbiel:that's a lot... (Below threshold)
epador:

kbiel:

that's a lot different from beating them up in a bar parking lot or dragging them by a chain behind your pickup truck.

or simply shunning them in daily life while "privately" making horrible comments about them to all their neighbors

I'm talking about same-sex couples in the US, here, not soldiers, but if you go to certain middle Eastern countries, you'll find they approach westerners eerily similar if not more likely to end up on videos.

Excellent point JT.

Oops, "their approach" not ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Oops, "their approach" not "they approach."

All Christians believe that... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

All Christians believe that we should hate the sin while loving the sinner. Not only that, we believe that God hates sin in all of us while he simultaneously loves us.

So i'm not sure I understand why you use the line, "Anti-Gay Fundamentalist" as if it was started by them or is unique to them.

Mainstream Christianity believes homosexuality is sinful and believes that we should love homosexuals.

Having said that, i'm not sure how to relate that to your dichotomy.

More things to consider are... (Below threshold)
Gary:

More things to consider are the related concepts of authority and responsibility. A soldier (in general) has little authority to determine his actions as far as a mission. The military in the US are tools to implement policy, not make policy. (I say that with no disrespect, as I am prior enlisted.) In the matter of action, a "sinner" generally has a choice as to whether or not to commit a particular act. You can argue all day as to whether or not homosexual tendencies are genetic or natural, but that does not change their character. Most people I associate with (and this includes Christians and other "good" people) commit sinful acts based on natural tendencies. Generally, the acts are related to advancing self interest, and what could be more natural than that?

Another interesting point of comparison: I genuinely believe that a lot of the liberal furor about the mission is anger directed at the responsible authority - in this case the President. Is it possible that a lot of the resentment against Christians for the "love the sinner, hate the sin" attitude is not directed against the Christians, but rather against the authority of God?

I recall when Republicans b... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

I recall when Republicans busted Clinton's balls on Kosovo. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay called the allied operation "the Clinton war" (Houston Chronicle, 4/20/99). Other Republicans were calling it "the Democratic war," spoke of the stupidity and futility of nation building -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert identified American troops in the NATO operation as "his (Clinton's) forces"...

I would have to conclude, based on your model and the arguments posted above, that Republicans are gay.


"I remember when Clinton... (Below threshold)
cmd:

"I remember when Clinton. . ."

(blah, blah, blah, more lefty thread jacking).

Hey, astigafa, speaking of the Syphilitic Hillbilly - those troops in Kosovo back yet? You know, the ones we were told were going to be home for Christmas? Where's Bubba's exit strategy?

Oh, and BTW - where are those mass Serbian graves he assured us were there? Faulty intelligence or flat-out lies?

And where was the imminent threat that forced us to invade Haiti? And Bosnia? Certainly such a good man like Clinton wouldn't just send troops willy-nilly anywhere without the UN's blessing without a good and just cause, would he?

Asshat.

Jay, honestly - "anti-gay fundamentalists" to describe people who adhere to the teaching of the Catholic Church? Is this going to turn into another thread about how we evil, Jeebus-freak homobashers are the greatest threat to Western society? Because I can just turn on "The View" for that.

If there is a comparison be... (Below threshold)
Diane:

If there is a comparison between the anti-war and anti-gay statements, it is that they are seen as hypocritical by people on the other idiological side. The anti-war side isn't seen demonstrating any support for the troops. And the anti-gay side isn't seen showing love for the homesexual it deems a sinner. But I don't think those statements need be hypocritical. There is love shown to sinners, quietly and without fanfare, albeit not frequently enough. But it is the the violence of the hypocrits that gets the attention and, rightly so, the scorn. I think it would also be theoretically possible to support the troops while opposing the mission: sending letters and care packages, praying for a soon and safe return, yet seriously and somberly engaging in a debate to end the mission.

The problem with the anti-war and anti-gay statements is not in the logic of them. It is in the poor implementation of the sentiment by people who deem an issue more important than a person. And that flaw of humanity is just as red as it is blue.

JT, do you believe it's log... (Below threshold)
Battsman:

JT, do you believe it's logically and practically impossible to love someone and hate the sin which is wrecking their, and others', lives?

I still love both my parents, even though both are now gone. Well, my father was an abusive alcoholic, and my mother suffered from manic depression.

When my father was sober, he was a great, fun guy, but when he drank, he was a terror. Now, if you're actually implying that one can't hate the sin and love the sinner then, either
(a) I can't love my father, because I sure hated his alcoholism; or
(b) I must not really hate the alcoholism, since I love my father.

You would be wrong, of course, just as you're wrong in your implication about those of us who recognize that homosexuality is a horrible sin which wrecks lives.

BTW, I have a second-removed relative who is gay. I'd never try to take away any of his inherent rights, but I would fight his efforts if he tried to go into public schools to profess how it's a wonderful lifestyle (just as I'd resist the actions of an adulterer).

If a parent were to, say, commit adultery, would you actually say that the child is then forced to choose between hating adultery and loving the parent, but cannot do both? I doubt you would say that, and yet some seem to pick homosexuality as some holy grail.

Ultimately, the real proble... (Below threshold)
Battsman:

Ultimately, the real problem some have with the issue is that we disagree on whether Sin actually exists, and whether homosexuality is one.

If you think about it, that mirrors the huge chasm in broader views of Good and Evil today. Some of us believe that Good and Evil are concrete realities, and that we (including our nation) choose Good, even though we're not perfect. Furthermore, we believe that Islamofascists choose Evil (yes, we believe that raising children to become suicide bombers and target innocents is Evil).

I'll go one further. I think it's tragic that anyone would choose Evil. I despise Bin Ladin and his ilk, but I truly wish they hadn't forfeited their very souls by choosing Evil, and I see such a tragic loss in the numbers within Islam who do so.

Similarly, I see it as tragic how proudly we now flaunt adulterous lifestyles or homosexual choices.

Well, real life beckons.

Sheesh, it's early. I left... (Below threshold)
Battsman:

Sheesh, it's early. I left out the completion of the analogy. I meant to say -

There are others who refuse to see Evil and Good as concrete realities, but see merely degrees in differences. Their moral equivalence allows them to see President Bush as more dangerous than Bin Ladin, and to hate Christianity more than Islamofascism.

Anti-war activists: "suppor... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Anti-war activists: "support the troops, oppose the mission."
Anti-gay fundamentalists: "love the sinner, hate the sin."

1. The logical form is identical. They are independent statements. That is, one can hold both parts as true without any logical contradiction, therefore
2. Logical disagreements must be based on the accuracy of the premisis. For example, some people believe that homosexuality is not a sin.

Conservatives disbelieve that liberals "support the troops" and liberals disbelieve that conservatives "love the sinner."

Of course, there's some ambiguity about what it means to support the troops and to love the sinner. This makes it easy for people to mischaracterize each others positions.

Another aspect of these statements is an attempt to win immunity against certain charges. To say one "loves the sinner" is an attempt to defend oneself against charges of promoting hatred. To say one "supports the troops" is to defend oneself against charges that he wishes bad things to happen to those serving in the military.

I presume there are people who are sincere and people who are not with respect to both of the slogans. It reminds me discussions about "states rights" in the 1960s. Some people in the South were concerned that their power to deal with local issues was being taken away by Washington. And others just wanted an excuse to lynch black people.

Where's Bubba's exit str... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Where's Bubba's exit strategy?

Where's W's?

Of more pressing concern, w... (Below threshold)

Of more pressing concern, where is astigafa's head's exit strategy from his ass? Sooner or later he's going to suffocate...

And Bush's exit strategy has been clearly defined for some time now: "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."

Now leave poor astigafa alone; it's not nice to pick on the poor idiot. He can't help himself. Just don't play his little game and get sidetracked...

J.

In the matter of acti... (Below threshold)
Kristian:

In the matter of action, a "sinner" generally has a choice as to whether or not to commit a particular act.

No, it is far, far stronger than that: A sinner ALWAYS CHOOSES to sin. There is no 'The Devil made me do it', no 'I had no other option'. If what you did is a sin, then there was a conscious, deliberate choice to make the action. God always provides an way of escape from sin, but we rarely look for it.

Anti-war activists: "sup... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Anti-war activists: "support the troops, oppose the mission."
Anti-gay fundamentalists: "love the sinner, hate the sin."

The statements are similiar but the end results are totally different. But part of supporting the troops is supporting the war. Nobody says you have to like war but people's lives are on the line and maybe even civilizations. The same can not be said of anti-gay fundalmentalists. The consequences are not the same so a comparision can't be made.

You could say also "Love to smell cut grass, Hate to cut it" or "Love the ice cream, Hate the weight gain", but again those can not be compared to anti-war or anti-gay beliefs because the results are different.

Jay has a valid point, but ... (Below threshold)

Jay has a valid point, but I don't think it applies here.

Loving the sinner and hating the sin includes everyone. The concept is meant to be applied universally. It includes the terrorists and makes no moral distinction between them and our troops when professing love for the sinner.

I think the question is, Do they want the troops to win this? If the answer is yes then my suggestion is to quit tearing them down emotionally and psychologically.

Would you love, clothe and feed a homosexual and then announce to others in a mosque in, say, Saudi Arabia, that he's gay thereby putting him in mortal danger? It's counter productive. And that's sort of what is happening here.

What they're saying is, "I love you and support you, so here's some equipment and food to sustain you. But now I must be off to the protest denouncing everything you're doing even if your enemy is listening, taking comfort from my actions and is further emboldened in their efforts to kill you."

Vagabond is unable to disti... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Vagabond is unable to distinguish between supporting the troops and supporting the war.

Let's try out Vagabonds logicl.

If, for example, the federal government declared war and set the troops out to kill all blue eyed people, we couldn't oppose this policy without being against the troops. In a sense, this is true. We might want the troops to NOT carry out the policy. And we might want the federal government to change it's policy.

But, what this also points out is that the phrase "support the troops" can be used to mean different things. And by Vagabond's logic, we couldn't oppose ANY war without also failing to support the troops.

The logic is similiar. The... (Below threshold)
Mike:

The logic is similiar. The distinction comes in when you consider the action on "hate the sin" / "oppose the mission".

What does it mean to "oppose the mission" ?

Zarqawi also opposed the mission and was working to expedite the exit of U.S. troops from the region before the Iraqi's can stand on their own. His methods were violent.

The "anti-war" oppose the mission and are working to expidite the exit of U.S. troops from the region before the Iraqi's can stand on their own. Their methods are, IMO, to undermine the effort on the home front. One of the tactis is purporting that the premise for the initiation of the war was based upon a lie. Somehow this is supposed to negate the need for continuing the mission ?

Afganistan was invaded because it was deemed to be harboring terrorist. If the U.S. was to pull out before the Iraqi's could stand on their own, it would create the same vaccuum that allowed the Taliban to exist. But rather than having Pakistani militants running the Afganistan, we would have a much more dangerous Iranian control of Iraq. The end result would be to reinforce the 'paper tiger' image of the U.S. and a boost to the Iranian credibility.

To not support the initiation of the mission is understandable. To not support the mission now that it's underway is suicidal given the stakes.

Mike -For many peo... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mike -

For many people, the Iraq situation forces us to pick between 2 bad options: 1) leaving the troops in to get shot at in a situation where they are unlikely to win even though the federal government (in Republican hands) has the full-force of the military at its disposal or 2) taking the troops out and letting the now inevitable chaos ensue.

You, and many others, believe the war is going well and that we can win it. Under that premise, of course, your opinion makes perfect sense.

The difference between my e... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

The difference between my examples and Publicus is that mine are realistic and his are not. How can you effectively argue a point using unrealistic examples?

Re: Oysters comments:... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Re: Oysters comments:

[ What they're saying is, "I love you and support you, so here's some equipment and food to sustain you. But now I must be off to the protest denouncing everything you're doing even if your enemy is listening, taking comfort from my actions and is further emboldened in their efforts to kill you." ]

Some observations:

1. The troops mission is not their choice, but orders from Washington. So, when someone denounces what they are doing, they are criticizing decisions made by the Commander in Chief, not the troops.
2. It's absurd to think that criticizing the war in any way increases the effectiveness of the enemy. It's almost as absurd as believing criticizing the war makes demoralizes the troops. Really, if they broke down into tears whenever the war was criticized, they'd be a pretty pathetic bunch. I think that most of the troops are intelligent, mature people who can understand that people have different opinions.

Vagabond -I can ar... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Vagabond -

I can argue a point using unrealistic examples because I was analyzing the logical structure of your argument. I could have argued the case using simple logical forms, like if x then y...

I thought it might be more interesting to read if I used an example people could picture.

Obviously it's pointless to... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Obviously it's pointless to carry on this conversation with you Publicus. The premise was to discuss the two statements.....logically which I did.

You decided to discuss it illogically therefore we are just annoying the pig.

"You, and many others, beli... (Below threshold)

"You, and many others, believe the war is going well and that we can win it. Under that premise, of course, your opinion makes perfect sense."

You just nailed it. Have you ever attempted anything in life with the opposite attitude? If so, then you definitely failed. You will never succeed in life, war, football, knitting, child-rearing, arguing your point on Wizbang...or anything else if you give up at the 1st, 6th, 24th, or 642nd sign of adversity.

I don't agree with the premise of the original comparison (apples to...donuts, not oranges), nor do I agree with lumping the "love the sinner, hate the sin" crowd in with the "Anti-gay fundamentalists" crowd, IMHO.

I forgot to add this to my ... (Below threshold)

I forgot to add this to my first point. Whether anyone likes it or not, we (not just Republicans, the USA) are at war. Everyone's attitude should be that we are going to win it. We should be together on that, at least.

Tom Blogical -I ap... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Tom Blogical -

I appreciate your points. However, I cannot will myself to believe something which seems false to me.

I have every reason to believe that this government is losing the war in Iraq because they have so frequently gotten things wrong about it. The insurgency was not in its last throes a year ago. We were not greeted as liberators. Except for a few old degraded chemical weapons, there was no viable threat to us from Saddam's alleged WMDs.

I understand that you feel my attitude is defeatist. I think, however, one needs to evaluate each situation. The war in Iraq is, in my opinion, a losing situation. Maybe you are right and I am wrong...but I can only judge and go by the evidence available to me.

Vagabond has decided to sto... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Vagabond has decided to stop his discussion with me. But I'd like to throw this proposition out there:

If one cannot oppose the mission without opposing the troops then a person cannot oppose ANY military mission without opposing the troops. Which means that if you disapprove of ANY war, you are guilty of opposing the troops.

Publicus:On your p... (Below threshold)

Publicus:

On your point #1;
"So, when someone denounces what they are doing, they are criticizing decisions made by the Commander in Chief, not the troops."
I understand that, but it has unintended results. The majority of the troops, whether forced to go to battle or not, agree with the mission. When they don't support the mission, they are also not supporting those troops.

On your point #2;
"It's absurd to think that criticizing the war in any way increases the effectiveness of the enemy."
I disagree. The rhetoric of anti-war activists is also used by the enemy to bolster the morale of their warriors in asserting their view of being in the right. In my opinion, it is absurd to think that morale is not a potent and valuable tool in fighting a war.

There are varying degrees to which some oppose the war. It is the most vocal and viscious in their rhetoric who do damage. And those who won't even engage in cogent debate. Did you read the interview in the link Jay provided? They wouldn't even talk to the soldiers. Is that indicative of support?

Oyster -I just rea... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Oyster -

I just read the interview. I'd never heard of Code Pink and I've been more interested in the two propositions that Jay listed. But I can say that I disagree with Code Pink in that I believe people with different opinions should try to talk to and communicate with each other.

Regarding disagreements about the war hurting the war effort...EVERY war has had disagreements. People have different opinions. However, the federal government has full use of the military and they will either win or lose the war. In my opinion, people who don't like their policies have minimal effect on that.

I don't like excessively harsh rhetoric from either side, but I have to accept that sometimes it will occur.

As for your argument that one can't oppose the mission without opposing the troops...That seems to me to be a case requiring us to support ANY and EVERY war. Tell me where I'm wrong.

From a christian point of v... (Below threshold)
ChrstnHsbndFthr:

From a christian point of view, sin is sin. I oppose homosexuality, as I am also opposed to adultery, or drunkeness. The view that christians hate homosexuals is wrong, and not based on scripture or our actions. There is a certain revulsion that most men seem to feel, about man on man sex, akin to watching a dog return to its vomit, but that is not a feeling arrived at from scripture, but from our inherent revulsion. Our biblical directive is to show kindness and love. It is entirely possible for me to feed a drunkard, (not giving him money) without supporting his drunkeness. I watched my own father prepare a sandwich for a vagrant in our store because the man was hungry. But he dared not give him money, as the man's addiction would demand to be fed rather than his stomach. Loving the person is possible without accepting the sin.

Does all this make me an antigay fundamentalist? I suppose a person could describe me that way, but i vew myself as a christian, opposed to ALL sin, and loving all mankind.

In response to Publicas, I can tell you that my son, while serving as a Marine in Iraq, had an imbedded CNN reporter with him. He was seriously hurt by the man's dishonest reporting, spinning what happened there to acheive his own political goals, and it may well have cost American lives. You CANNOT support the troops while giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. Their own leaders have called us paper tigers, and teach that they can turn public opinion against our soldiers.

Pubie:'It's absurd t... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Pubie:
'It's absurd to think that criticizing the war in any way increases the effectiveness of the enemy.'

What a boldly ignorant thing to say.

What you don't get here is that it's not criticizing the mission or speaking against the war. It is the method used to prove a point. If you are against the war, and wish to highlight it's failures, you also highlight the failures of the troops. Hence, not supporting them.

If you just said, I disagree for this reason, and left it at that, you may still possibly be a troop supporter. Yelling quagmire, sensationalizing the bad news, and ignoring the good, and labeling our approach (the troops doing the job, not their Commander in Chief) as incompetent, absolutely does not support them.

As for the gay thing, I fail to see how a volunteer Army has anything at all to do with deviant sexual behavior choices.

Publicus:Fair enou... (Below threshold)

Publicus:

Fair enough. I disagree with your assessment of the situation in Iraq, but that's fine.

Now, (and I say this with no ill will) that's why you're collectively hearing the positive outlook camp effectively saying, "We heard what you have to say. Duly noted. Now join us or get out of the way or so we can get on with the business of winning." You'll hear this on most successful sports teams.

As far as Jay's comparison is concerned, what's the name of the nitwit preacher running around the country saying (his words, not mine!) "God hates f-gs!"...? Isn't he the same moron who's protesting all the military funerals, and is possibly a democrat? If so, I believe he's successfully ticked just about everyone off.

LJD -"If you are a... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

LJD -

"If you are against the war, and wish to highlight it's failures, you also highlight the failures of the troops. Hence, not supporting them."

Here was my criticism of the policy:

"I have every reason to believe that this government is losing the war in Iraq because they have so frequently gotten things wrong about it. The insurgency was not in its last throes a year ago. We were not greeted as liberators. Except for a few old degraded chemical weapons, there was no viable threat to us from Saddam's alleged WMDs."

All of the decisions and comments I cited were made by the Bush Administration, not the troops. Not a single one of those failures was a failure of the troops. I certainly can recognize some successes—the elections in Iraq, for example. But the overall picture in Iraq is, I believe, grim. And I believe I have reasons to doubt the Bush administrations ability to operate effectively—if they cannot accurately evaluate a situation, then they probably cannot manage it well.

As for the CNN reporter, I don't know what he said that hurt your son's feelings, but I can't understand how that could endanger the lives of soldiers. However, like both supporters and opponents of the war, I fervently hope for the safe return of your son and ALL of our soldiers who are overseas in harms way.

Tom Blogical -Din'... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Tom Blogical -

Din't know about the nitwit preacher, but there seems to be a website for them. However, I'd prefer you look it up—I don't want to create post link to them!

LOL!! I saw that and thoug... (Below threshold)

LOL!! I saw that and thought the same thing! No way am I linking that!

"As for your argument th... (Below threshold)

"As for your argument that one can't oppose the mission without opposing the troops...That seems to me to be a case requiring us to support ANY and EVERY war. Tell me where I'm wrong."

That's not what I'm saying at all. One has to determine the morality behind any war. We are trying to stop a faction of people from killing others indiscriminately - not just our own people. In a way, it's a selfless act. We didn't go into Iraq just to smash and control. We're trying to put that country back in the hands of its citizens - not those who would exploit, oppress and terrorize them into submission.

Should all Germans have supported their troops? Of course they would if they truly believed the world should be rid of Jews and an Aryan race created to dominate all. But is that moral? Of course not.

Oyster -Sorry I mi... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Oyster -

Sorry I misunderstood you. Looks like we largely agree, actually. We primarily disagree about the winnability of the war in Iraq. I certainly believe we can and should finish off the Taliban and bin Laden—if we deploy enough troops. I'd favor moving troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. And those we don't need in Afghanistan I'd like to see come safely home.

"As for the CNN reporter... (Below threshold)
Gary:

"As for the CNN reporter, I don't know what he said that hurt your son's feelings, but I can't understand how that could endanger the lives of soldiers. However, like both supporters and opponents of the war, I fervently hope for the safe return of your son and ALL of our soldiers who are overseas in harms way."
Again, from the perspective of ex-military it is quite easy to understand. Most all of us have had those moments that just seem to ruin your whole day. It can be a fairly trivial event, but it's upsetting and distracting. Most of the time the damage is limited to things like chewing out the spouse or kicking the dog or being distracted. But what if you are distracted on a "routine" patrol? What if you are thinking more about the idiot that called you "pig" before you left home and less about the possible bad guy over the next rise? What if you get distracted while inspecting a rope that will be used for repel training later that day.

Most people tend to underestimate the impact of morale because in their daily lives there isn't much penalty. For the armed forces, and similarly for police, fire department, etc., the impact of bad morale can be much steeper.

None of this is meant to argue that debate should be curtailed. The point is that how a view is expressed can have tangible results, though the precise impact is difficult to measure. Consider this a plea from an ex-serviceman for civil discourse and thought, rather than inflamatory, comment.

Publicus,You are u... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

Publicus,

You are utter unfamilar with what it akes to win a war. Wars are not won when one side manages to score enough points or take territory or do those things that make it look like some video game. (Yay! We killed the boss! Game over!)

War ends when one side says, "Continuing the fight is not in the best interest of the country, religion or my personal livliehood." Code Pink and thier ilk are doing their best to convince the nation that we have lost the war and it is not in the USA's best interests to continue it. This is actively help the enemy, as it goes directly against the ideas of military, who want the other side to give up.

As for the two statements, they are rather disjointed. Religious statements are an article of Faith, based on core beliefs or dogma. One has to trade in the coin of the religion to recognize the validity of the statement. (For example, if you do not beleive in sin, there is no such thing as a sinner.) One could say they do not beleive in war, I suppose, but that is fallacious as death is still occurring. (And the World Wide Jihadists would put that person to the sword just as easily as the Pope for being a keffir, but that is no nevermind for the committed activist.)

Rathter the support that they give to the troops is rather impersonal one, somewhat akin to those Olympus, WA area homeowners and their invading raccoons. They love nature (or the soldier), but dammit! GO back where you belong, you jingoistic myrmidon!

Gary - I'm with you ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Gary -
I'm with you on civil discourse.

BTW, I also have GREAT respect for the competence of the military. Anyone who can, say, land a plane on an aircraft carrier is pretty darn competent. In some ways, I see military people the same way as I see engineers—people who do amazingly difficult things, and who are too easily second-guessed after the fact.

MunDane -War en... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

MunDane -

War ends when one side says, "Continuing the fight is not in the best interest of the country, religion or my personal livliehood."

Possibly true. But what if you believe that it is actually the case that "continuing the fight is not in the best interests of the country"?

Publicus:Please, r... (Below threshold)

Publicus:

Please, read this article completely. Then, please ask yourself how you could justify the conclusion that you could move the troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan and still have a successful outcome in Iraq.

Now, in my opinion, this is great news for Iraq, although it is only a small slice of control. As delicate as the political atmosphere is, I would say baby steps are a great way to go.

Some would say that it's a mess and doomed to fail. That's the pessimistic view. I have, as you could probably guess, a more optimistic one. The US is the model, and they're fortunate to have one to get inspiration from. There were a lot of countries that had a pessimistic view of our country surviving during and after both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Yet, here we are.

And still the pig can't sin... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

And still the pig can't sing...

Publicus:... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Publicus:

Possibly true. But what if you believe that it is actually the case that "continuing the fight is not in the best interests of the country"?

This is where things get a little hazy for me. It seems for many that a personal hatred for our president is directly and unfairly tinting views of what is actually being accomplished and why.

It'd be very interesting to see if the same people that are so against the war (as well as the people that believe 911 was an inside job) would still be against it if this whole thing happened under someone else's presidency.

So I think the reasons for someone to believe it's not in the country's best interest to continue the fight are supremely important.
Is it because you disagree at heart with the cause, or you have the desire sabotage someone you don't like?

Is this a fair assessment and question?


VagaBond:Ooops...w... (Below threshold)

VagaBond:

Ooops...was that directed at me? Sorry, I got off the topic of the main thread...

Tom -I'd heard abo... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Tom -

I'd heard about that, but it was interesting to read the details. There ARE some good things happening which DO bolster your case. This is one of them. I, like you, don't mind that there's messy disagreements between factions in Iraq's fledgling government.

On balance, I remain pessimistic, however. I not only think that putting Iraq back together is either exceedingly difficult or maybe impossible, but that the Bush administration has not demonstrated the competency to do the job. It takes deep insights and understanding—like really fully gripping the nature of the disputes between factions and, somehow, bringing them together—and not just military force to do this job. Maybe, if it IS possible, another administration that's more insightful (could be a Republican one!) could do it.

I'm thinking: these factions have a LONG history of violence and hatred for each other; there's valuable resources in Iraq that everyone wants to control; U.S. soldiers are easily portrayed to Iraqis as foreign invaders (we weren't greeted as liberators).

This is too iffy a situation with too small a potential payoff for me to be comfortable to ask young Americans to die for.

At the same time, I fully understand your point of view. And, evaluating the situation accurately is difficult. Your more optimistic view may be right. (I hope it is!)

Really, all I want is whatever is the best possible outcome under very difficult circumstances.

Heralder -At the r... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Heralder -

At the risk of being slightly ironic, I'd have to say I like the president but hate the policy.

I can't see wishing for anything bad to happen to our soldiers, the President, supporters of the war or opponents of the Iraq war. Ultimately, we are all in this together. I just feel the policy is wrong and that's why I speak out against it.

As for my reasons: I don't think that Iraq either did or does pose the greatest threat to the U.S. For example, North Korea HAS nuclear weapons. Iran is ACTUALLY trying to get nuclear weapons. Iraq was just one of many lousy horrible dictatorships in the world...bad, but not a top priority.

Now that we're there, my reasons for opposing the current policy is that, as far as I can tell, the Administration did not and does not even accurately understand what's going on there. They have told us that we would be welcomed as liberators, that Saddam had WMDs, that the insurgency was in its last throes, etc. I don't believe I can trust people who have gotten so much wrong to fix up the mess they created.

I certainly don't hate the troops or the country or the president. I'm just looking for the best outcome among a series of bad choices.

Publicus:Fair enou... (Below threshold)

Publicus:

Fair enough. (Didn't I say that before?)

If you believe that continu... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

If you believe that continuing the fight is not in the best interests of the contry then you surrender to nominal enemy and you begin to work for them. Not work for them in the Galloway like sense that you are paid by them, but in the sense that their objectives are now your objectives. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, if it truly your belief and not some transitory madness brought on by the messenger of such news, but those around you also are entitled to their belief that what you are doing and believe is wrong.

I know that those that take, in their public personna, some sort of prinicipled (in their mind) stand of opposing the WoT will take umbrage that they are NOT supporting those decapitating, Qu'ran thumping jihadists. Why they love America and all she stands for! But the fact reamins, if one can not see that publicly echoing statements that if not written and promulgated by the notional enemy, are wholeheartedly supported by them, does harm to one side and give help to the other, then one is, at best, a fool.

One cannot say "I wish something harm because I love it so much" without being thought insane or abusive. The antiwar crowd is quickly closing in on the statement "We had to destroy America to save it." One does not show respect for an idea, person or a group of people by beating those who are physical suppoting the idea about the head and ears for their failings and highlighting their opponents successes.

Just to be clear, I have no respect for those working to undermine the mission of the soldiers, sailors, Marines or flyboys.

Publicus, if you think aban... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Publicus, if you think abandoning Iraq to the terrorists is in the best interest of this country, you might wish to rethink that. Ask the South Viet Namese. Back on topic. To compare the two statements is to say that all human action is equal. Sin, as such, and homosexual acts, serve self. Those in the military serve others. There is no biological need for homosexuality. Nature will handle that. The military serves the nation through the government. This government, both the legislative and excecutive decided to remove a perceived potential threat in the person of Saddam Hussein. There is a faction that stands against whatever this government does. They stand against America. There is a name for that.

MunDane -Actually,... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

MunDane -

Actually, I favor the WoT. I think we can and should win in Afghanistan (though that conflict, too, is unfortunatley being run badly.)

I oppose the war on Iraq as a dangerous diversion that wastes resources and, much worse, needlessly sacrificees the lives of our soldiers.

No..not at you, Tom. More t... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

No..not at you, Tom. More the situation. You can't teach a pig to sing. It frustrates you and annoys the pig.

War ends when one... (Below threshold)
Mike:
War ends when one side says, "Continuing the fight is not in the best interest of the country, religion or my personal livliehood.".

IMO, war ends when once side defeats the other so utterly that they no longer have the will nor ability to fight. War is not civilized and to try to place the restraints of civilization on it is to choose to loose... which is what our politicians are attempting to do (i.e. The Unlawful Combatants Bill of Rights). I believe that showing 'restraint' often prolongs the fight and results in a greater suffering and greater total loss of life.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft III —... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Zelsdorf Ragshaft III —

I don't "favor" abandoning Iraq to the terrorists. I thnk, however, that is the least bad option among all the (bad) options available to us. If it is a civil war that the U.S. cannot win, we gain nothing by letting our soldiers die in the chaos.

I can't make head or tail of what you're saying about homosexuals...or what they have to do with our soldiers.

I know I shouldn't ask this... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

I know I shouldn't ask this BUT:

Pub, should we stay in Irag or go? If you say stay then shut up about it. If you say go, the government there will fall and the bad guys move back in and set up shop again. You know the stories of Saddam's reign there. The bad guys will start killing civilians who 1. the Leaders of the new democracy and 2. their families and 3. any civilian sympathsizers who supported freedom.

Is this what you want?

Mike -I believe... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mike -

I believe that showing 'restraint' often prolongs the fight and results in a greater suffering and greater total loss of life.

Could be. But the Republicans are in control of all 3 branches of government. For better or worse, the war in Iraq is for them to win or lose. If they are exercising too much restraint, your complaint should be directed at them.

Could be. But the... (Below threshold)
Mike:
Could be. But the Republicans are in control of all 3 branches of government. For better or worse, the war in Iraq is for them to win or lose. If they are exercising too much restraint, your complaint should be directed at them.

Two points: (1)'Republican' means that they share the same political party not necessarily the same principles. (2) The alternative to a Republican party that lacks political will is a Democratic Party that has gone off the deep end (i.e. there are no viable alternatives).

Mike -Then, either... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mike -

Then, either the Republican party IS carrying out the policies you want or the Republicans are too divided to carry out those policies. Either way, your solution involves working with people in power who are in a position to control policy.

I'm not buying the part about the Democratic Party going off the deep end, but I'll let that slide... ; - )

Publicus:... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Publicus:

I certainly don't hate the troops or the country or the president. I'm just looking for the best outcome among a series of bad choices.

I never got the impression that you hated the country or the troops. Although I disagree with some of your conclusions, you've presented them in a sensical manner that promotes thought.

As to why we went to Iraq next instead of North Korea or Iran, I'm not sure I could adequately answer that. I do believe there was solid reasoning when we went, though it may not be as solid now.

Regardless, we part ways on what to do next. I believe we are acting as a stop-gap, preventing rather than catalyzing a civil war.

Leaving too soon will only ensure that we will be going back to Iraq in a few years fight a worse and more bloody war with absolutely zero support from the Iraqi populace...the populace who's trust and lives we would have squandered by throwing them to the dogs; half-assing the job we came to do.

Someone else touched also on another extremely important reason to finish this: How we would look to our enemies. Hate is hate, but if we look weak, we're due for extermination.

Those are some of the reasons why I disagree that we should leave.

Thanks to all, especially T... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Thanks to all, especially Tom, Heralder, Mike, Gary and MunDane. It's been a pleasure blogging with you!

Publicus:That's is... (Below threshold)

Publicus:

That's is the question. Can we win it? I think we can if we put forth a unified front; technically and psychologically. That's not happening.

I'm not so worried about out troops being demoralized. They're largely unified in their effort. What I am complaining about (and I sure can complain :)) is the psychological fodder handed to our enemy. They believe we are weak, we aren't unified, and if they hold out long enough public pressure will bring the troops home and they'll win. History has shown them that. They're counting on it and we're proving to them it will happen again. They're looking to the next elections in '06 and '08 because if the Democrats get in control they have clearly stated what their goal is. If that isn't comfort and encouragement to them, then I don't what is.




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