Friday, October 22, 2004

A week of politics on baynonim: Part 4 of 4
THE WAR

Go to: Part 1. Go to Part 2. Go to Part 3
Go to: Other things to read if politics bore you to tears.

This swing voter has thrown down the gauntlet. I've asked the blogosphere to tell me why either candidate for president deserves my vote. I'll write about an issue where the president has disapointed me. His supporters are invited to tell me why I am wrong; his detractors are welcome to add to the discussion. Make your arguments in the comment section. At the end of the week, the author of the most impressive comment will have his or her name added to the sidebar, where it will belong to the ages.
----

I voted for Bush in 2000, and I was among his loudest supporters immediately after 9/11. Now, I'm flirting with Kerry. When my friends ask me why I've become disillusioned with Bush, I have a two-word answer: The War. There were no weapons of mass destruction, no connection between Iraq and Osama, no happy, liberated villagers greeting us with flowers, no oil revenues to pay for it all. It was all a mistake, a mistake the president steadfastly refuses to admit, which reflects poorly on his character.

A year after the president declared "mission accomplished", our magnificently trained, equipped and motivated young soldiers are pinned down in a hostile environment, stalked by mujihadeen from other Islamic countries sneaking into the chaos of Iraq. It was not bad enough that terrorists were able to find ways to get into the United States and harm us greatly; we have now set ourselves up on their territory -- as targets.

A year later our nation's credibility and treasure - billions of dollars per month! -has been squandered on removing a petty thug who, we've discovered, never had the capacity to do us any real harm, while Osama bin Ladin was allowed to escape into the hills of eastern Afghanstan, where he is surly planning new mayhem. North Korea inches closer to a nuclear weapon, but our capacity for responding to a new threat has been greatly reduced. Our resources were wasted on the wrong enemy. We're cops who went after the pick-pocket, while the mob-boss gathered strength. We no longer have the troops, the money or credibility to face-down North Korea should it beecome necessary, as it almost certainly will.

A year later, the insurgents are not defeated, conditions are not more peaceful, the blanket of fear is spreading, cooperation is fraying, and attacks on U.S. personnel are growing bolder. Doesn't this prove Bush is failing?

Which brings me to Kerry.

The very best line uttered in three debates came from the president when he said,

"And what is he going to say to those people that show up at the summit? Join me in the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place? Risk your troops in a war you've called a mistake? Nobody is going to follow somebody who doesn't believe we can succeed and with somebody who says that war where we are is a mistake."

That's an excellent question. Really superb. Mr. Kerry, how do you propose to end the war, and to restore our credibility? In three debates, you offered no plan. Nothing in your woefully undistinguished record suggests that you have the ability to solve this problem, and your comments, as the president suggested, may have made it impossible for you to succeed.

So, what to do? Do I vote to fire the incompetent, unethical war manager, the man who, on the war-front continues to embarrass us, to impoverish us, to deny reality, and to enrich his cronies via shady no-bid contracts? Or should I stay with the president, reasoning that a vote for Kerry, the cipher, tells troops and terrrorists that the United States lacks resolve and can be intimidated?

What to do?


Comments:

What to do? What to do?
YE GODS MAN. Vote for Bush. He's the only one willing to fight those terrorist sychopahnts. You're worried about money? Your're worried about international prestige? The words drip off my tounge with absolute scorn!

Pull yourself together man. The only thing that matters is FIGHTING terrorism and DESTROYING the ARAB nation!! Read LGF! It is all RIGHT THERE in PALIN ENGLISH!!!!!!

Charles #1 FAN  

To the excited reader,

I agree. We should fight terrorism. But the way to fight terrorism is by fighting the terrorists. Bush hasn't. Iraq was like a bird in a cage. Why was an invasion necessary? What about Sadaam justified diverting the forces diverted from Adghanstan and Osama? Bush has not answered these questions.  

I am puzzled as to why you keep on labeling Kerry as undistinguished. in his years in the Senate, he was one of the first Senators to understand and to speak out against the use of international banking to fund terrorists. In fact, as a member of the Senate committee investigating the BCCI scandal, he was very clear about the link. Richard Clarke, one of our nations formeostr experts on fighting terrorism, said that Kerry "got it" in 1993, and realized the different ways terror can be fought behind the scenes.  

I am just disappointed. All of the things that I have read regarding both candidates reminds me that I still do not like either.

There is something wrong with feeling like you have to vote for the lesser of two evils  

"There were no weapons of mass destruction, no connection between Iraq and Osama, no happy, liberated villagers greeting us with flowers, no oil revenues to pay for it all."

You need to read the 9-11 Commission Report and the Iraq Survey Group reports, both of which detail numerous connections between Saddam and Al Queda. Saddam harbored and supported many other terrorist groups as well. according to both the Kay Report and the Duelfer Report, Saddam was actively bribing key international players to advocate for lifting sanctions, at which time he would resume building WMDs. All reports conclude Saddam was dangerous.

In all the polls done after the war (by the UN, various NGOs, BBC, Gallup, and others), a majority of Iraqis have stated they want a democracy and are glad we deposed Saddam, and also bitch about how the reconstruction isn't going peachy all the time. They are lining up to join their new army and police. They do not approve of the jihadis and Baathists renegades trying to destabilize their nation-building, and want to defeat them.

Once the country is stabile, there will be plenty of oil revenues, and the additional oil not under Saudi control will benefit the whole world. Iraq now has a modern banking system, an independent judiciary, a provisional constitution, and plenty of peaceful local elections in which both genders participated.

Americans have short attention spans and think that if Iraq doesn't look like California after 2 years, it must have been mismanaged. We didn't have a Constitution for 4 years. The German and Japanese occupations didn't produce democracies after only 2 years.

Our military - including those in Iraq and their families - are surveyed as 4 to 1 Bush over Kerry. Maybe they know something about Iraq that you don't. I suggest reading the milblogs and Iraqi blogs for different POV.  

"while Osama bin Ladin was allowed to escape into the hills of eastern Afghanstan, where he is surly planning new mayhem. North Korea inches closer to a nuclear weapon, but our capacity for responding to a new threat has been greatly reduced."

Osama is either dead, dying of kidney disease, or so bottled up in Pakistan or wherever he is that he can't lead his movement. The leader of the hour is Zarquawi and he's in iraq, and we'll render him just as ineffective as OBL.

Al Queda is a decentralized global movement. Whether Osama was captured is irrelevant as long as he can't communicate with his followers. Kerry constantly harping on OBL shows that he doesn't get the bigger picture. Does he really think if we captured OBL all the terrorists would lay down their bombs?

We are drawing down troops from S Korea because they have a large conventional army that can handle an attack from N Korea just fine. A nuclear attack can only be averted by deposing KJI or convincing him to disarm. BTW, KJI didn't acquire nuclear capability under Bush. We deposed Saddam before he could become as dangerous as KJI.

Also, why does Kerry think bilateral talks are better than multilateral ones Bush is pursuing? The Japanese PM just slapped Kerry on the wrist for that last week. One more ally Kerry has alienated.

We are also drawing down troops from W Europe because no more Soviet threat. All those troops will be available for Iran if necessary, the next nation which needs to be kept from nuclear weapons. Our military has more qualified applicants than they can handle. Also, the troops in Iraq will become available as the Iraq army gets trained. We are not pinned down. We have several hundred thousand troops right next door to Syria and Iraq and they know it.

BTW no draft. Our military is too technically sophisticated and teamwork too essential for unwilling soldiers to function adequately. Once we expand training facilities we can take all the new volunteers, and with the shutting of no longer needed bases we have all the troops we need.  

"In three debates, you offered no plan. Nothing in your woefully undistinguished record suggests that you have the ability to solve this problem, and your comments, as the president suggested, may have made it impossible for you to succeed."

I agree completely.

In response to another comment: Kerry's record is very undistinguished. It was funny watching him pad his resume during the debate on how many bills have his name on them. He is not a leader. He is a kept man with a part-time hobby of being a Senator, just has other kept men ride to hounds or collect art. Kerry was in Vietnam for 4 months and collected 3 Purple Hearts without spending one day in hospital. He went to Nam because he couldn't get a student deferment. Our military respects him even less than they did Clinton.  

Adam,

I, too, have been very torn. I'm not particularly enamoured of either candidate. But I'm leaning heavily in favor of Kerry for the following reasons:

1) Israel: I think that Bush's actions in the name of "defense" and "security" have actually endangered America even more. When so much of the world is so willing to attribute American actions to Jewish and pro-Israel interests, anti-Americanism becomes extremely dangerous for Jews and for Israel. Now, I have no idea what Kerry would do as president. I'm scared of the unknown. Will he "sell out" Israel? It's possible. It's also possible that other events, such as a no-confidence vote in the Knesset or the natural death of Yassir Arafat, change the political climate in such a way that today's arguments and issues become irrelevent.

The current Intifada began in September 2000, only a few months before Bush was elected. We have no way of knowing how Al Gore would have altered the current situation. But we do know that none of Bush's promises have panned out. The road map was never particularly feasible to begin with, yet Bush constantly talks about "his" road map. It is his Mideast legacy. A second-term president, unable to run for re-election, has all the more reason to push his own agenda. Bush was the first president to call for a two-state solution. What's to stop him from pressuring Israel more in his second term than he did in his first?

Bush speaks in favor of Israel. He likes Sharon and distrusts Arafat. (Btw, Judith, I find the op-ed you linked to to be very misleading. The anti-Israel Muslims do not favor Kerry because they think he'll be on their side. They prefer him because they hate Bush. The PA called Kerry the "lesser of two evils". It's an important distinction) But what has Bush actually done for Israel? Any increase in Israel's security has come from the IDF and Mossad, not from Bush.

2) Domestic Policy: I can make this very easy. I think Bush's economic policies are insane. I think his ideas regarding national security and defense are dangerous. As a woman, I am frightened of a president who thinks the government gets to decide whether or not I have a baby (besides the fact that anti-abortion policies that do not provide an exception to save the mother's life are completely non-halachic). I see no reason whatsoever to vote for Bush based on his domestic policies.

In short, Adam, for me the debate revolves around Israel. And while I understand why many Jews are in favor of Bush, not a single one of them has yet managed to convince me to favor Bush as well. For those who truly think that Bush has been good for Israel, I find myself coming back to one argument: When your gambles are paying off, cash in your chips before you lose it all. I think it's time to cash in our Bush chips now, while we can.  

Hey Adam, excellent conundrum. I vote for Kerry, my fingers are too tired to type it again, please see my H of H post dated today.  

Check this out:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/833ifcua.asp  

sorry i was busy the past week - VOTE KERRY!!!  

Anonymous says "destroy the Arab nation." Fortunately or unfortunately, that's not Bush's policy.

Bush's policy is to overthrow the occasional Arab government, in the hope that this will cause the masses to be less likely to support terrorism. I don't see any evidence that the masses in supposedly "friendly" Arab states are any less pro-terrorism than the masses of Iraq or Iran. So this strategy is doomed.

Is Kerry better? No. Kerry's position seems to be: I'm for all the wars Bush starts, except I want France and Germany on board.

So forget Iraq and vote on domestic issues.  

Regarding your JIB Awards nomination in the 'Best series' category:

Due to a technical limitation, I can't include this series since the URL of the post is too large. Can you please shorten the URL significantly, and send it to me, if you want to be included in the voting.  

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