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I was referring to the "Mission Accomplished" banner at a Bush photo op, which if I remember right occurred right after, hm, I think they're now calling it "cessation of major combat operations" or something along those lines. The "mission" here would be, I suppose, getting Saddam Hussein out of power in Iraq.
I'm aware that Bush and his supporters regard the regime change in Iraq as a step in an ongoing process of .... I'm not sure how to describe it accurately and without inflammatory terms, but the general idea is that ultimately it would be a good thing if many of the countries in the Middle East made changes in their government -- and part of why it would be a good thing is that ultimately it would mean fewer persons.
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Having observed Senator Kennedy from a distance for as long as anyone else, I would think that what Senator Kennedy thinks is good for America is that Senator Kennedy...
It may play out that way, in the long term. No decent person could hope otherwise, much though it might gall some of us for events to show that Mr. Bush was right. It's just not clear to me (and I obviously am not alone here) that this is really the best way to fight terrorism, which as I understand it is the overall goal.
(Well, maybe not. Maybe the real goal, now, is spreading freedom throughout the world -- and it's interesting how this is being promoted by someone who, campaigning in 2000, seemed to be advocating *less* use of US military power rather than more. But I may be misremembering on that, and again, that's politics rather than mess prevention.)
It's true that you didn't use this phrase -- what you said was "we are at war".
But because you seem to generally think that what the Bush administration is doing is sensible and will help in the long run, however, I buttumed that you meant by "we are at war" what they mean when they say "we are at war" -- that we are engaged in a long-term conflict they call the "war on terror". They seem happy to exploit this to silence any criticism of what they're doing, and to seize power that people would be reluctant to give them without the rationale of "we are at war".
If you meant something else, please say so.
This may be true, but it doesn't really affect my argument, which is about whether circumstances exist that justify giving a US president, whoever he or she might be, more power than would be normally be acceptable.
I suppose if the threat is to Western civilization, rather than to US interests only, that might justify even more bending of the peacetime rules.
Which is kind of a problem, isn't it? Because this means the state of "we are at war" will go on forever, and whoever is President can use this to justify a lot of things that would not otherwise be acceptable. This is obviously a situation that can be exploited for political ends. Bush's critics claim (with some justification, IMO) that this is already happening. I am fairly certain that similar charges would be made by the Republicans if it were President Gore playing fast and loose with the Consbreastution rather than President Bush, and maybe those charges would be justifiable too.
Of course we are -- and currently we are even allowed to express our conclusions in public, though it's not a huge stretch to imagine laws against expressing conclusions that are critical of whoever is running the war-on-terror-or-whatever-you-call-it.
However, I'm buttuming that most of us do not have access to as many sources of information as George W. Bush does; the various US intelligence agencies surely tell him a lot more than they would be willing to tell the rest of us. And I question whether we can be as sure as you are, above, about whether a threat exists, without access to this information.
I could be wrong about this. You clearly have studied the situation in far more detail than I've been willing to. Maybe you can come to definite conclusions even without all that information the various intelligence agencies are presumably collecting. But I'm skeptical.
I am focusing on how "we are at war" is being used for political ends. Probably this is causing me to not pay as much attention to the fact that there really does seem to be an ongoing threat Out There. My point is that the current administration has a record of misrepresenting (perhaps even to themselves) the nature and severity of the threat, and appearing to use this for political ends. I also question whether they are making good choices about how to combat this threat.
(By the way, isn't that "sound bites" and not "sound bytes"? though certainly the latter seems more natural to a techie .... A Google search turns up about three times as mnay hits for "bites" as "bytes". Hm! I'd have thought the ratio would be more skewed toward "bites" .... )
There is some truth here. I might argue that the current US adminstration seems happy to encourage the idea that if we just give them enough leeway in fighting the "war on terror", in fact they will keep us safe without our having to make any unpleasant changes in our lifestyle. But that would be politics rather than a discussion of mess prevention, and we don't want to go there, right?
But .... It *is* the government that has to be responsible for defending us from this kind of threat, isn't it? -- to "provide for the common defense", in the words of the Preamble to the US Consbreastution? One hopes, though, that the populace will be involved, rather than simply saying "you fix it, and don't bother me."
Short attention spans. It's sad, no? I'll agree that too many people don't seem interested in following through in Afghanistan, and that this is likely to have bad consequences in the long term.
It's proof only if they still have the capability to carry out their threats. They had a big success (in their terms) on 9-11. Bush has been fighting his "war on terror" for over four years now, however, and isn't the goal to reduce the bad guys' ability to carry out their threats? Is that not working, or not working yet?
I'm not really arguing that we should ignore Al Qaeda -- I sure wouldn't be willing to bet money on their not having the capability to carry out their threats, in part because I think very few people (and I'm not among them) really know enough to place such a bet.
What I am doing is being a bit contrarian and pointing out -- or trying to -- that public threats in themselves don't imply a real danger, unless accompanied by some evidence that the people making the threats can follow through. The fact that they *did* follow through, and quite appallingly, does count, but has to be weighed against the possibility that our government really *has* been successful in reducing the threat.
Oh for crying out loud. Where did this come from???? Is it that I'm arguing with you here, and you think it has something to do with your being female?? (I'll let you respond before going further with that.)
It's true that I think that there are some males who are probably potentially better informed than you are (and certainly better informed than I am) about whether Al Qaeda is a real threat, mostly because they have access to information that you (and I) don't. But there are also some females in the "potentially better informed" category -- Secretary of State Rice comes to mind. Many of the people in this category also have strong motives for not telling the public the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, however, so I'm apt to be skeptical ....
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Muslim No so. I am not a Muslim, and realized during my time in Syria how...
Probably "guilty as charged" here.
Nice to have that on record. Duly noted. (You've probably said it before, but it gets overshadowed by all the negative comments about others .... )
Or at least that's how it's supposed to work. It doesn't always, as far as I can tell, and that applies to past conflicts as well as the present one.
Another difference is that the enemy is difficult to find and identify -- no geographical enbreasty with known leaders, no armies with uniforms, etc. That is what I mean when I say they are "ill-defined". Are we arguing about what "ill-defined" means, or do you not agree that they're difficult to find and identify?
Maybe part of the problem is that we don't (yet?) know how to fight such a war in a way that's consistent with how we think our own government should operate.
Maybe it's true that keeping one's own party in power is part of the job of a member of any party. But our elected leaders also take an oath of office, and that (IMO) should trump responsibilities to one's party, if they conflict.
What the Democrats could legitimately be arguing, IMO, is that Bush is exaggerating the threat in order to keep his party in power, and in doing so is doing real (if subtle) harm to the country. I don't know if it's true or not, but I think it's something that could be, and should be, discussed.
If instead they argue that the threat is 100% made up, then yes, that's going too far.
If it seems that I've been saying "no threat exists", then I haven't been clear. Let me try again, and admit to one error:
I'm not saying one way or another whether there is a threat.
What I *have* been saying is that I'm not willing to take Bush's word for it, nor am I willing to believe without question what Al Qaeda says. I think there are plenty of people who are willing to say there is a threat, based only on these two sources, plus a recollection of 9-11. That, IMO, is sloppy thinking, and to be discouraged.
Where I've been in error is to not also agree that there are other sources of information -- all those books you've been reading, for example -- that would allow a person to buttess the credibility of the threat based on something other than the public pronouncements of people who have something to gain from distorting the truth.
Overall what *I* think I've been doing here is asking pointed questions, more than taking one side or another. I guess that's not how it appears, though, and maybe I'm more biased than I'd like to admit.
Now *you're* nitpicking. Are you getting paid to do all this reading and thinking? are you motivated by anything external, or only by your own sense of what would be the best use of your time? My point is that you seem to be doing something most people find difficult and unappealing, for motives that don't seem to have anything to do with personal gain as most people would define it, and that in my opinion is admirable. For what that's worth. Can I say "take a compliment, will you?" or would that come across wrong ....
And I'm not saying you *are* talking politics. I'm just saying that to me you seem biased. (I started to add "notice that 'to me' -- but then I remembered that apparently I'm not the only one in this newsgroup who reacts this way. Maybe it's imperfect
Not necessarily. It might also imply that you are *able* to think for yourselves, but about some things choose not to do so, or to be swayed by emotion rather than fact. I think almost everyone does this, at least in some areas, and I don't think of "you're not being objective" as much of a put-down, since it's so difficult (IMO) to be objective about everything all the time.
If you want to claim that you're being objective, okay; I'm not convinced, but will try to keep an open mind about what you're saying anyway.
You know, now that you mention it, I believe I did at some point read the paper describing the poll and the results. Unfortunately I don't remember where I found it, or exactly what it said, and I don't seem to know how to find it again.
One thing about this poll was that they also tried to categorize people based on where they got their news. There were definite differences among the groups. One of the categories was "people who get most of their information from The Daily Show (parody news show with Jon Stewart)". That got a lot of press attention.
All of your questions are important ones to ask, and I'm fairly sure that at the time I asked them, and still what I remember concluding is that there was reason to believe that in fact a very substantial percentage of people in the US thought there was a lot more of a connection than the evidence supported.
Interesting to consider. I hadn't thought about this aspect.
Just comparing what was actually said or written (e.g., the poll questions) to the media's quoting paraphrasing interpreting is sufficiently interesting, or appalling, or something. I'm frequently outraged by the blatant misrepresentations -- and while some news sources seem to be worse than others, as far as I can tell they all do it. It's discouraging, in that it makes me question whether it's even worthwhile to try to keep up, given that one can't believe .... Oops, straying from the point again. Maybe.
The poll results, and whether they say anything valid about what people believe.
I guess I already know the answer to the latter, though -- you say above that you'd guess 1%, and you think that's an overestimate.
This is pretty interesting, though. As I say, now that I think about it, I thought I did a reasonable job at the time of tracking down the original poll rather than simply going by whatever was said by some news source that generally shares my biases, and yet I remember a credible double-digit number, and you remember -- something else.
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snip I would not claim to have any knowledge of the real reasons the US is in Iraq, or the reasons why that is good, if it is...
(If anyone else is following this and can easily provide some clues as to how to track down this poll again .... ? )
I don't buttume that. But .... Here are some ways I can think of to interpret "there's a connection between 9-11 and Iraq":
(1) "Iraq is directly and solely responsible for the 9-11 attacks."
(2) "Iraq was involved in the planning or end of the 9-11 attacks, but is not solely and directly responsible."
(3) "There is some connection between the 9-11 attacks and something in Iraq, but Iraq was not directly involved in their planning or end." (Or, "but this doesn't necessarily mean Iraq was directly involved.")
I think most people would choose (2) -- I know I would, unless I were trying particularly hard to think of all possible ways one could interpret the phrase.
Choosing (1) suggests to me that the person is predisposed to believe that interpretation.
It's possible that (3) is what Bush and his people really mean, and it's certainly a legitimate interpretation, but I think they know perfectly well that most people will choose (2), and that this serves their purposes.
But I'm probably not able to be completely objective here.
Had we addressed this point previously? I'd have said not. Well, whatever. Maybe I've got it now!
-- B. L. Mbuttingill ObDisclaimer: I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.