Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Leave it to me to start a new blog just as a lot of family issues command my attention, preventing me from updating for a week. Oh, well, timing was never my long suite. On the other hand, the long chats with family and church members (who run the entire political spectrum from Marx all the way to Engels) have provided plenty of food for thought. The first course was led by noticing a new bumper sticker in the church parking lot “Think, it irritates conservatives”, and hearing someone say a near exact repeat of a comment posted a couple weeks back on Chaliceblog- that conservatives may be capable of memorizing facts, but were incapable of rational thought. Now, this cannot be argued, because those who say it will not listen- so I thought instead I would examine the rationality of some liberal thoughts.

I thought I’d start with the issue that occasioned the comment above, one that is near and dear to the liberal heart: that George Bush lied about the evidence and the reasons for going to war with Iraq. The accusation is not that he was wrong, or misguided, but that he knowingly and deliberately manufactured the evidence. The chairman of the Democratic party has said this as often as Rev Sinkford has said “On behalf of the more than 1,000 congregations...”. Senator Kennedy said that the president went to war for partisan political advantage; Vice President Gore agreed, saying in a speech “He betrayed this country! He played on our fears!” So let’s look into the rationality of this belief.

To begin with, any statement carries with it many underlying assumptions. If you say “I accept Jesus as my savior”, you have also said that there is a God, that Jesus is divine, that humans have souls, that those souls are in need of saving, etc. So what underlying assumptions come with the statement “Bush lied; people died”?

Taking the least of them first, one must assume that Mr. Bush has been living a lie most of his adult life, and that his evangelical faith is merely a pose to win votes- after all, his church does not condone treason and mass murder. Fair enough, we know all Republicans are evil, so that isn’t much of a stretch. Of course, we must also assume that Laura Bush is living a lie, too; were she really a fundamental Christian, she’d not have stayed with such a man. Again, fair enough; any good Democrat could look at the last two first ladies and see that if one of them would be willing to endure abuse and gross immorality to remain close to power, it would have to be Laura.

From there, it gets more problematical. We’d have to assume that Colin Powell was either complicit in the conspiracy, or so stupid he could easily be misled by President Bush. We’ll assume that he resigned because he found out, and didn’t have the moral courage to denounce Bush. Then there’s the CIA- they couldn’t be fooled by Bush because they were the ones with the information in the first place, so we’ll assume they were mesmerized by Bush’s intense personal charm, and so were willing to throw away their careers and sacred honor to assist in the fabrication. We’ll assume the same thing with Tony Blair, and that MI 5 was mesmerized in turn by Tony. The joint chiefs of staff must have been caught in the spell of Bush’s charms as well, to be willing to go to war without evidence. The days when the military would blindly obey a presidential order without checking it out themselves went out with Nuremberg and My Lai; the academies have required ethics courses and no longer accept “Ve vere chust followink orders”.

I guess the liberals were right. If “Bush lied; people died” is rational, I’m incapable of rational thought.


Jamie Goodwin said...

That's the best argument I have heard yet in defense of Bush.

You got to realize though, had things went the same (or a simular) way with a Democrat in office that conservatives would be saying Gore Lied as well.. right?

It is all a political game.. one that is rather tireing if you ask me.

Lib or Con either way, way to many people are towing the party line these days for my comfort.

Chalicechick said...

1. That you assume that religious people wouldn’t lie or make war shows an alarming innocence about religious people and the way they have behaved throughout all of human history, and I say this as a religious person.
2. Colin Powell has as much as said he was mislead. (Check out his September 13, 2004 testimony in front of Congress where he pretty much begs for more CIA oversight and asks for a National Intelligence Director position to be created to keep future Secretaries of State from screwing the pooch so severely.) If you’d prefer something more paranoid, consider that Colin Powell claimed to not remember some 30 things during the Iran Contra investigation, which lends credence to the possibility that perhaps he’s an administration monkey boy after all. Either explanation could work, could be a combination of both. I tend to believe the first.
3. Now that we know that some of the information was bull, I don’t recall that anyone has been fired. So why would you assume anyone who helped with the war was “throwing away” his or her career? Do you have any news articles about people being fired from the CIA due to the screwups that Powell was delighted to detail in the above testimony?


Joel Monka said...

1. In general terms, religious people are capable of appalling acts- but only within the zeitgeist of their sect's worldview. To the religious right, America is "the shining city on the hill", favored by God- treason against America would be blasphemy against God.

2.The difference here is the the difference between incompetence and criminal conspiracy. Screw the pooch? They could have impregnated the whole kennel! But that is NOT what Kennedy, Boxer, Rangell, Pelosi, Dean, and many others are accusing the administration of. The accusation is that Bush knowingly and deliberately, with malice of forethought, invented evidence so that he could go to war for the sole purpose of winning reelection. Colin Powell could not have tolerated that. Nor could Tony Blair.

3. People are rarely fired for incompetence, even when people die as a result- ask Janet Reno. But anyone caught manufacturing evidence from scratch has committed a criminal act, stepped beyond the bounds.

Chalicechick said...

1. I don't think Bush would do something he saw as treasonous. But I'm not convinced he wouldn't go to war for less than wonderful reasons. And it all depends on exactly how one defines "treasonous."

2. For the record, I don't think that Bush went to war just to get reelected. That said, his lack of interest in North Korea indicates that countries with oil are more interesting. And Colin Powell was easy enough to fool that Bush could easily have manuevered around him. As for the people who are saying other wise, asshat though he is, I don't judge the entire right by Rick Santorum.

3. Seems to me that the CIA could probably handle covering it up if one person were directly implicated. More realistically, the CIA being in the business of secrets, they would just spread the blame around enough that no individual took the heat.

Seems to have worked fine.


Bill Baar said...

Bush is interested in North Korea and the whole access of evil. Don't doubt that.

What's insightful is how silent the whole Bush lied crowd has gone over Iran.

I think Bush is not doing enough to foment Democratic revolution there. Are best ally in Iran is the Iranian people.

I fear a "Kerry war of last resort" option for Iran. We'll exhaust diplomacy and not foster revolution leaving the only option a devastating first strike and the systematic destruction of Iran's cities.

It will be the ultimate example of Orwell's cruel pacifist. Do nothing in the name of peace until the only think we can still do is utterely anniliate the place before the launch a strike against us.

Bill Baar said...

It's interesting too how silent groups like UUA are on herioc dissidents in Iran like Ganja Akbar. It's really moral abdication.