Thursday, March 03, 2005

More on War Path

Jeff raised some good questions in his comments about my post "War Path." I would like to address them here in the main blog.

I would like to take his points in turn:

1. Is the US forcibly spreading democracy?

I think it is important to look at the historical context of the current actions; why is the US in Iraq? It seems clear to me that the main reasons for the US invasion, occupation, and "liberation" have all turned out to have no more value than hogwash. WMDs? None. Suddam’s links to Al Qaeda? Fictional. If this is the historical context then doesn’t the heart swelling thought of spreading democracy seem a little bit like marketing, white wash, rose-colored glasses, or blinders?

2. Spreading democracy requires the use of force.

Obviously changing a form of government requires the use of force, or violence; I can’t think of an example where that change was not violent. I think however, there is an equally obvious difference between the peoples of a government revolting, like the French against Louis or the British (now American) against George, and an alien power invading, conquering, and deposing the current leadership and installing not only new leadership but a whole new form of government. Let’s face it the people of Iraq didn’t even ask for help (maybe that is a little simplistic, but I think true).

I’d like to make another point here: I believe that a democratic government in Iraq makes it better for some, maybe even many people. But I also believe it makes it worse for others. If we can remove attempts at judgment, I will stand up and say I am not wise enough to say which case is better. I believe most people could not truly say (outside of opinion) which case is better. "Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

3. The severity and surety of an impending act could convince you that it is acceptable to punish someone for a crime they have not yet committed.

My heart goes out to your feelings of propriety and desire to keep people safe and feeling safe, but I think it is important not to be so moved by these noble feelings that we are willing to do things that will ultimately give up our freedoms and consequently our safety. Our safety is directly tied to our freedoms. My family came from a communist country. Want to talk about no freedoms, try school children taught that they should "turn in" their own parents for being against the state. People living with that level of fear do not feel safe. I would rather be afraid of a terrorist act than my children, friends, or family. This is what happens without freedoms. Most Americans joyfully take their freedoms for granted, I do not.

This is the slipperiest of slippery slopes, and we’re sliding here. It is deathly important to protect the rights and freedoms of your most hated enemy. If we can take his freedoms or allow them be taken, then so can yours be taken, and mine. It reminds me of the old adage, "First they came for Saddam, but we did not stop them. Next they came for Iran, but we did not stop them. When they came for me there was no one left to stop them."

Not that I expect this government to behave in this most justly and constitutional way, let’s be frank: This government (not just the current leadership) had long ago released us from the bondage of unalienable rights. I don’t have to go to Guantanamo or "Enemy Combatants" for this point, the US government actually allows (requires) one to sign away these "unalienable" rights when they join the US military. Please take this opportunity to read the definition of the word unalienable. This is the word that this great country of ours was founded upon and this is the slope we are flying down.

4. There were plenty of non-weapons-program-related crimes that Saddam did and was committing.

What crimes justified our actions? Not the actions of one individual against another, but the actions of one nation against another.

5. Churchill’s quote "…democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

I can think of at least one form of government I like better than democracy: theocracy. Not as practiced by the pre-1900 Vatican, but as practiced in Tibet (when there was a Tibet). This leads me to the main point here: The form of government is not nearly as important as the quality of the people who run that government. I will maintain that the last political leader who I truly liked (or trusted) was the Dali Lama; Representative Ron Paul (or) from Texas is not far behind though.

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