Sunday, September 17, 2006

Got an email from a friend.

Sent a friend a funny cartoon making fun of the liberal concern over gitmo. I got it from the UAW guy. Yea, I stole it. What? Anyway, he's a gun show, movie and camping buddy of mine. He's a moderate to liberal guy in many things, so he responded with an email laying out his concerns about the situation and then another sending me a few links that laid out the way the administration basically manipulated us all into the war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003. It's not new information, but it does pose interesting and maybe troubling questions about the use of executive power and how we got where we are today. If you want to read them, and if you think you have an open mind, I think you should, they are here and here.

You'll excuse, but I'm typing this while I watch the Cowboys hand a wuppin to the 'skins, which should be grounds for a Monday off, I think. Ok, not.

Anyway, I wrote him back, and since I spent some time on it and think I did a decent job, I figured I'd follow the last jingoistic rant with this one. So here it is...

Hey, I DO have an open mind, usually, and if friends can't argue about politics, what can they argue about? Seriously, I don't want a friend who thinks they have to kiss my ass and shit. Students yes, friends no. Our political discourse has gone to shit because everyone is so filled with bile. No one wants to hear the other side and no one can take a joke anymore. The Clinton haters from the 90s and the current Bush haters are the two sides of the same foolishness. Personally, I think every president I ever voted for eventually disappointed me in some way, usually profoundly. Doesn't mean I'd change my vote though. That goes for the votes for Bush AND the votes for Clinton.

Thanks for the links. I've seen or heard about that memo before, and it looks very bad, but it doesn't really shock me. History is full of situations where leaders, executives, drove us into a policy or a war because they felt compelled to do so, felt the powerful need to get us there and had to drag the nation along and feed the public and the media foolishness to get public support. FDR was in the process of doing the very same thing in 1940 and 41 when the Japanese did him a favor by bombing Pearl Harbor. Other cases abound: Jefferson and his attempt to intervene against the slaves in Haiti, Speaker of the House Henry Clay and the War of 1812, Madison and Florida in 1817, Polk and the Mexican war in 1846, Lincoln and Sumter in 1861(do you think maybe trying to keep a union flag flying on a fort in the middle of Charleston harbor was NOT a provocation to get the south to fire the first shot?). In a sense, that's the very reason our Founders were ambivalent about the idea of having a president at all. It's why they separated the power to run the military from the power to go to war, giving one to the executive and the other to congress. History though erased that distinction, partly due to the actions of many presidents, partly due to the instinct of many congresses to roll over when the issues get ahead of them and the president is popular (like in 2002-3).

I've never bought into the idea that Iraq was about a direct connection between Saddam and 9/11. I didn't support the idea of the invasion in 2003 because of that. I don't even remember hearing that stuff in the media at the time. Maybe (I'm sure) it was a subliminal message put out by the administration to try to build support, or maybe we all freely associated the one with the other. We'd been overflying and periodically bombing Iraq for a decade by 9/11, and about 500,000 to a million Iraqi kids had died in that decade because of the UN sanctions. Saddam was supposed to be buying meds and food with the oil money (remember the cheap gas we bought from Iraq back in the 90s that fueled the economic boom and encouraged all those folks to buy SUVs?) but in stead he was bribing UN officials, paying off his Sunni supporters, building palaces and trying to rebuild his arsenal, pathetic though it was at the time. Because of all the civilian deaths, there were increasing calls by people all over the world at the time to lift those sanctions. The charge was that we didn't care how many Muslim kids died. Meanwhile Saddam was sending $20,000 to the families of every suicide bomber who blew up old people on busses in Israel. The son-of-a-bitch needed to be taken out. My criticism would be that we didn't do it right.

Given the situation, and the history, I think the notion that Shrub came into office bent on finishing off Iraq if given the opportunity is not that shocking, and that he'd use 9/11 to go after Iraq seems a no-brainer. It's not pretty, or honest to dupe people into thinking one thing while you're doing another, but that's politics. FDR played on the pacifist, isolationist feelings of people to get a 3rd term in November 1940, saying "I won't send American boys to die in Europe", meanwhile he was doing everything he could to see to it that more American sailors died at the hands of U-boats, knowing how the press would spin it. He was playing out a scenario that had drawn America into WW1, and anyone with a brain could see it all happening again (he knew how it worked because he'd been undersecretary of the navy in WW1 and had helped push the US into that war along with Winston Churchill, who was the head of the British Admiralty at the time). The Republicans said so at the time, but were shouted down by those who said that we needed to see to it that Britain survived. What would FDR have done to get us into the war in Europe if Hitler hadn't declared war on us 3 days after Pearl? We universally believe now that going into that war was a good thing, so we don't criticize the administration for lying to us at the time. So, is it the lying that's bad, or is it the war that's bad?

I think the lesson of the Korean war was clear to many of the people in the administration: we didn't finish off the North Koreans 60 years ago, and now, years later, we have a much more unstable, threatening nuclear power to deal with. That's the ugly little lesson of fighting a limited war. The idea that the world community might force the UN to lift the failed sanctions, giving Saddam and his crazy sons all the time and oil money in the world to play with had to be on the administrations mind. I'm AMAZED at how that fact never gets remembered now. It's as if the opponents of the war are unwilling to remember that unfortunate factor. I think the administration felt they were working against a time table and had to grasp at whatever incident they could use to their purpose. Should they wait for him to become a problem again, or finish him now? Saddam was weak in 2002-3, but given a decade to rebuild might be much more dangerous. There's allot of "ifs" there, and it's hard to balance the "ifs" and "might have beens" against the casualty list and the growing complexities of the world situation.

If there are grounds to impeach Bush, it's NOT for the lies and half truths that led us into the war. I think if he's gonna be impeached it should be for the stupid way the war was conducted, and the way the Intel was sculpted to clean up all the grey areas. He should be blamed for thinking that he could do in 2003 what should have been done in 1991, and for not recognizing that the time for that had long since passed. But hindsight is always 20/20. I guess that's one thing Bush is cursed with. We all know much more now after the fact, having seen the war play out. I think maybe Bush is being blamed for not winning. If Saddam and his sons had died in one of those bombings and the war had ended in 2003 or early 2004, would we be talking about it now?

Coming up with a fake assed reason to go is one thing, but putting our troops in harms way with fake assed Intel and weak planning that sabotages their ability to win in the long run is another thing completely. Many of us honestly thought it would be relatively easy, and the administration believed that too, but they had Intel that said otherwise and ignored it, and didn't let us know about it. That shit was criminally stupid, and the Founders would be rolling in their graves to see us letting him get away with that. They put impeachment in there so we'd use it. They thought we'd use it a lot to keep the fuckers in line. We've failed them there. Of course, were back to square one. You don't get impeached if you win, or if the folks like what you did, even if it was criminal.

Anyway, this too will pass. I hope we can learn from it, but I doubt it seriously. So far as the torture thing goes, I think the idea of limiting our people to using "civilized" methods with these suicidal fuckers is an infantile legalism. Those notions were worked out over a hundred years ago in the Victorian era by nation-states thinking about fighting other nation-states, everyone wearing uniforms and following rules. The very same people regularly tortured, took out and shot or permanently locked up Anarchist killers who tried to assassinate Czars or Kaisers. There have to be rules that we all abide by, but there needs to be other rules set up for dealing with suicidal terrorists who are determined to destroy all of us. They don't follow the rules, so we have to make sure that we're not letting things get away from us by following them.

There's a wide difference between the laws we all expect the government to follow (the 4th through the 8th amendments) when they are searching for someone who may have knocked over a liquor store, and the rules we hope they follow in looking for Bin Laden. There's got to be a different system for dealing with those fuckers in Gitmo. I think we need to keep those dudes alive and healthy just as long as we think they may be useful to us, and then take each one of those guys to some rocky outcropping and put one in the back of their neck. Feed the fuckin' sharks. When their Taliban comrades capture any of ours they end up beaten, disemboweled and beheaded. I think they set the bar, and I don't think it would say anything bad about us if we went there on occasion. There's something to the idea that we can't become the evil what were fighting, but I think we are WAY away from being there yet. They need to know that if they fight us, they risk EVERYTHING. None of Bin Ladin's kids has ever been a suicide bomber. Maybe he does have something he values? We should see.

So, get back to work. We'll talk again. I'm sure you think I'm wrong about a lot of things, and that's cool. I'm sure I can learn a lot from further discussions. We've got to have the confidence to argue about this stuff without taking in personally and letting it ruin the friendship that we have. I value it too much. I think that may be why Russell doesn't email me very much any more, and it sucks big ones. Politics is a mother fucker! Later, JW.

I haven't heard back from him yet. He's busy writin' a book. I hope the email goes over the way I wanted it to. I value his friendship. People are touchy these days though. Understand why. Good friendships are more important than that stupid shit though.

Postscript: He's finishin' the book. All is well. We're going to Enchanted Rock state park in about three weeks. Big group from Austin and Dallas. Should be fun. Just traded in the Jeep for a Solara. Very sad, but had to happen. After 380,324 miles, it's time for the old dude to amble off to the elephants graveyard. A noble passing. Anyway, it's just a fuckin' car.

8 comments:

Causal said...

Impeach Bush yourself! No Joke.
This is much more than just a petition.

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

That's where we come in. In addition to the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. ImpeachforPeace.org, part of the movement to impeach the president, has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.

STOP WAITING FOR YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO ACT FOR YOU.

You can initiate the impeachment process yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in.

http://ImpeachForPeace.org/ImpeachNow.html

More information on the precedent for submitting an impeachment
memorial, and the House Rules on this procedure, can also be found at
the above address.

If you have any doubts that Bush has committed crimes warranting
impeachment, read this page: http://ImpeachForPeace.org/evidence/

If you're concerned that impeachment might not be the best strategy
at this point, read the bottom of this page: http://ImpeachForPeace.org

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
Bush, June 18, 2002

"War is Peace."
Big Brother in George Orwell's 1984

Fathairybastard said...

Man, I was speaking hypothetically. The last thing this country needs is another useless impeachment drama. Sheeesh.

Dick said...

Give me a fucking break Causal.
Like you or any one of your little Bush hating tards could do any better.
So, you don't like the guy? Get the hell over it already.
This guy has had more crap thrown at him than ANY (including Lincoln) other president in US history.
Take your sour grapes and shove em up your ass.
You're mentally weak and a crybaby loser.

Fathairybastard said...

You know, I like to think I express myself pretty well, and then a real pro comes along.

DirtCrashr said...

I almost went over there to tell him he was an idiot, but decided he didn't need a comment chalked up as a 1, it would go ruin all the rest of the 0's...

Becky said...

Have I said that your historical and political columns are kind of a turn on? I couldn't agree more that we needed to get rid of Saddam, but I don't necessarily agree with Bush's method of doing it.

That being said, it would be interesting to see how any of our supposed "good" presidents would fare with today's media.

bede said...

Just wait out the last two ineffectual years every two-term president goes through and see what washes up in 2008. forget the impeachment thing. waste of time and energy. plus, bush provides great grist for the comedy mills over on my side of the atlantic.

Fathairybastard said...

Bede??? Is that who I think it is?