Jejudo, South Korea
Okay, I can accept that. I guess I just don't take these groups as seriously as you do. Like I said, I know those guys. I used to piss them off a lot, "You know, Brad, the first on the firing line . . ." will be the heretical believers, not the enemy.
And that meant me.
They are marginal and I thought you were trying to marginalize the whole peace movement by focusing on these groups and seeing the rest as dupes. It's a legitimate position, not mine personally, but I can understand why they feel the way they do.
What I was trying to get at in asking what is meant by an immediate threat is that after 911, the perspective of most Americans has changed, and if someone like Saddam has the capability and the desire to export his tyranny here, then we see him as an immediate threat, whether we actually have some recent concrete action to point to. After all, terrorists do not send out advance notice that they are coming. Given the fact that we know he has chemical and biological weapons, hosts terrorists in his country and has expressed a desire to destroy America, well, to many of us that does constitute an immediate threat, in light of our new perspective as to our vulnerability.
But this kind of thing, to me, just rings hollow. No rational assessment of the Iraqi regime can conclude that they are or ever were a threat to America as a whole. I know what you mean though, you mean that he may support terrorist incursions, but that's just not the same thing as "the capability and the desire to export his tyranny here".
If the extremes of the Peace demonstrators can blow the whole thing up, so can saying things like that. We lose a lot of credibility when we say things like that with a straight face. Um, if you don't know how this stuff is used, take a look at the "The Onion." While it's probably not your cup of tea, it might give you some perspective on how a lot of us see this stuff.
I personally believe that America had been complacent prior to 911 regarding its vulnerability, which is what I was referring to.
Yes, but the way you say it, it sounds to me like an innocent complacency. It wasn't at least in terms of the government, perhaps an arrogant complacency. I define the difference here by what was the first question you asked when you heard or saw 911. If you asked, "Why would they do this?", you just haven't been paying attention. If you asked, "How could they do this," then your stuck with the realization that we, um, misunderestimated them.
I also know that many people believe that we are overly involved in the affairs of other countries. Maybe we are in some areas, but when it comes to human rights issues and national security issues, I personally believe we should become even more involved than we have been.
I don't know if you remember but I said after 911 that I had changed my mind about some things and that's exactly how I changed my mind. It's time to export the things we believe in. Now, what I hadn't figured out yet and what took me a long time to figure out, was that that was the same conclusion as Dubya. It's a good strategy, but I'm still appalled at the execution. Part of the problem is the confusion, I think, between the intuitive need to see ourselves as defenders or protectors rather than as exporters. It's a dangerous path we're moving in, but it is, I think, correct.
No one in the world should have to live cowering under the threat of fanatical terrorist threats and attacks, under a policy of appeasement, effectually rewarding the terrorists for their criminal activities. People should not have to live under tyranny, torture and repression and if there are countries that can alleviate their suffering then it should be alleviated, without hesitation by those countries.
But we have several models to follow, we need not do with war all the time. But, yes, I agree with this.
Doing the right thing, the humane thing, the moral thing, should always take precedence over what others may think. Of course, I'm not suggesting that diplomacy should not first be tried. Without a doubt, it should always be tried. But diplomacy having failed, the countries that can do something to help the oppressed, must do something to help the oppressed, or we will all be oppressed eventually.
Again, I don't think we need to point out this 'we' as much as you think. It is in our self-interest to free oppressed people, not because we will become oppressed (unless we do it to ourselves), but because human rights is not a Western idea, it merely started in the West. We have been too willing in the past to accept that perhaps people don't want our idea of freedom.
Or at least I have.
Recently, Bush said, "We will not stop until you are free," to the Iraqi people. I initially laughed at this, but seen through Bush's eyes, it makes perfect sense. He makes the distinction between the Iraqi people and the regime where I saw a singular entity. He was right, I was wrong. Now, I don't mind being wrong here, it's a nice thing to feel. But each country is going to have to be treated differently and we have not reached our goals in Afganistan nor in Iraq yet.
Take an hour, feel good, feel vindicated, and then get back to work.
The only people who need to fear the U.S. are the tyrants, dictators and terrorists. I think that is the message that needs to come across to those who may be afraid of us or distrust us. We need to find a way to communicate that clearly.
But the only way we can do that is to give other countries a voice. To practice what we preach in international relations as well as in our domestic politics. The Bush administration seems to be very bad at doing this. I'm not saying he's insincere, I don't think he is, but while he may be very good at speaking American (as is Rumsfeldt), that's just not what the rest of the world speaks.
But admittedly, it's sometimes because they just can't speak American.