On another note, have been considering what the chap at the party last night was saying. He believes that the attack in New York on September 11th has fundamentally altered the American mind-set in such a way that for the next 30 years they will be unable to see any logic, and will unalterably elect the Republicans with knee-jerk reactions. In essence (my take) he believes that the moderates in the United States have all gone insane, and are now incapable of seeing reason or making intelligent decisions.
I, generally speaking, believe that people can be reasoned with, that the average person on the street can understand even a complex issue. Its disturbing to me to consider an entire nation moving beyond reason. We were discussing various approaches that the Democratic party might have taken in the last election.
My take is this: stand for something; say it clearly and convincingly; call the other chap's bluff. Even if you lose, you lose as someone who said something.
That way, when the sh*t hits the fan over the next few years (the quagmire in Iraq, the collapse of the dollar), at least the electorate remembers you as the one with the different plan, not the one that was just palely echoing the guy who won because you're too afraid to speak your mind.
In the end, I don't know if the Democrats have the moral will to take a stand. They seem (like the Republicans) so focussed on trying to gain power for themselves that they don't give a damn about the people they are supposed to be serving.
The Bush administration is manipulating the media landscape to focus on trivial details (e.g. Vietnam service records, whether George Bush pretended to search for weapons in the White House). The Democrats, having nothing to say, are simply meeting them on this surreal landscape and doing mock battle.
Some random thoughts:
The invasion of Iraq was a mistake.
American soldiers are dying in Iraq for a mistake based on what would be considered insanity were a single person to espouse the ideas (basically an inflated image of self importance and worth combined with a belief in one's right to impose one's will on others for ideological reasons).
The attack was based on at least poor, and likely trumped-up, evidence which the Bush administration sold as incontrovertible fact. It was a plan waiting for an excuse, which was then cynically manufactured from a tragedy.
Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. None were found. The search was called off because that was becoming embarrassingly obvious. Apparently some huge fraction of Americans don't know this. They think Iraq staged the 9-11 attacks, they think weapons of mass destruction were found because they were told they would be.
The Bush administration is driving America as a whole to the brink of bankruptcy and is hell-bent for the cliff. At the same time, the extremely wealthy are being given tax cuts and kickbacks enough that it would likely qualify as white-collar crime were anyone in business to do it.
The Bush administration has managed to use up the sympathy and good will of other nations generated by the 9-11 attacks without measurably reducing the threat of terror attacks.
The ham-handed and unilateral action in attacking Iraq has probably generated more terrorists than it killed (what with Iraq not having many, if any).
Yes, Saddam was a dictator. Thing is, the United states has no problem with dozens of other dictators around the world. Yes, he would torture and kill people; strangely, so does the United States, with what appears to be strong encouragement from an administration which believes rules (such as the Geneva convention) should not apply to it.
Are the Iraqi people better off today, with an active, armed resistance engaging in terror attacks against them and rule by a foreign power concerned primarily with how to carve up its riches for the business partners of its administration than with helping the people live?
I'd say it's a toss-up. Saddam was bad, and maybe even genocidal. A democracy would likely be good for the people, if it were able to survive the ethnic strife. Of course, it would have been a heck of a lot more intelligent to have gone in with the force of law on one's side if one were really intent on establishing the rule of law within a land.
There was no rush.
There were no weapons of mass destruction.
The Bush administration just wanted to push things through before their deceptions came to light and they lost their excuse.
They lied to the American people.
They lied to the United Nations.
They've done nothing to deal with the root causes of the hatred toward the US.
Which leaves us at this; what if it works? The Bush administration is carrying out a plan (a pre-9-11 plan) the purpose of which is to bring about peace in the Middle East. If it all works out, and instead of becoming a quagmire, Iraq turns out to be a stable, moderate voice, was it worth it?
That age old question; does the end justify the means? What about when the chance of reaching that "desirable" ending is ridiculously low (ethnic tensions alone within Iraq would seem to be a strong argument against any eventual success)? What about when the end is just a band-aid which doesn't deal with the underlying wound? What about when getting there drives your nation into crushing debt, effectively selling it to a foreign power (China).
I've never been willing to buy into the base premise of goal-oriented morality, so I can't do the calculus of just how evil and stupid one can be in the cause of purported good. Anyway, I have work to do, and no-one wants to hear me ranting about this any more.
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