This is orginally a response to Travis Niell in our continuing discussion on Bush and the election. His message follows:
From: Travis Neill
To: Richard Jeong
Subject: RE: Bush has the balls to take out terrorists?
It is absolutely amazing the things that this country will get behind versus what it will not. At one point in recent history we tolerated a much bigger body count in WW1 and 2 to fight against a similar enemy.
True, the enemy is different in many respects but the intentions of the enemy are not any less mallicious.
As heartless as it may seem focusing on body counts as a legitamate opposing viewpoint doesn’t really hold water in terms of our intentions as Americans. What matters is what is right and wrong when deciding on actions of war. EVERY SOLDIER KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS THE RISKS OF BEING SENT TO WAR. Joining the military to fund a college education is not a good enough reason for joining.
On further thought, your driving me nuts thinking that lives don’t matter. Andrea should have her own opinions about how a soldier’s life should not be wasted, but here’s mine. During Vietnam the major thing that brought down the war was the major loss of life of american’s young men. Yes they may know what they signed up for, but are they worth the price? The took and oath to protect and defend the US, but how does invading iraq protect america? Your response is that Iraq and Saddam was a terrorist threat, which is frankly bullshit. If you truthfully believe that, you are mis-informed and seriously need to get into the reality of the situation. IRAQ WAS NOT A THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! (see links at end for some break down of Iraq’s “threat”) To quote the Economist “Mr Bush recently conceded that, contrary to many Americans’ beliefs, there was no evidence to link Mr Hussein to September 11th.”
Saddam could bearly project power in the region after the first gulf war, let alone project a terrorist threat to the U.S. (See the Christan Science Monitor article) He would not harbor terrorist given that the terrorist he would have harbored wanted to kill him (as well as many other Arab governments). He did not spend money on terrorist activities, he spend money on Conventional arms. If you don’t believe me GO LOOK IT UP AND READ!
In order for the death or wounding of someone in the service of our country to be accepted by the public, family and friends it must be considered necessary. The thousands of casualties and deaths are not and cannot be deemed politically or nationally necessary if security is the primary concern. (Which is what Bush and alike are stating) Iraq was not a threat when we invaded.
Something to ponder, “Is andrea’s ankle and bodys problems due to military training necessary for the national security and freedom of the United States of America?” I’ve pondered this for since my knowledge of her as well as during my knowledge of other military people and I have to question whether the answer is a resounding “Yes” given my knowledge of our freedoms and national security. Her pain and problems were caused by training and not by military action, but the same question remains. She was in the cause of the same oath and the same GI bill, and same freedom.
I do find it interesting that you say that Americans accepted body counts when it’s against an common or clear enemy. I would agree that in the past Americans have accepted them (Such as WWI and WWII), but that’s not true in the current day and age. We have technology today which the american people depend upon to make it less necessary to expend our soldiers lives (among other thing). This being the case the political reality is that the majority of Americans factor American lives into any conflict’s price (terrorist incident, hostage taking, auto accident, or war). If you think of the election as a referendum on Bush and his decisions (including iraq) then nearly 50% or more people of the united states question his decisions. The biggest issue on american’s mind during this election is Iraq (as pollsters and surveys have continuously have found out). With those two concepts in mind, then this leads one to the conclusion that this is largely a referendum on Iraq. (If it isn’t then why did it come up in the debate, why is Iraq nearly as well reported as the election, and why is Bush so vehemently defending his position on it?)
All this being said, leads to one major conclusion. Iraq’s body count matters. It matters to those americans who see their friends coming home, it matter to those who see the bodies on television, it matters to those people who might be called up to serve after the election, it matters to the family members of many reservist. In this respect body count does hold lots of water to the political reality of this election and to the perspective of america. That it doesn’t matter to you indicates your own perspective but not the current political reality involved.
Moreover security of the state has not been achieved by the act of invading iraq. If anything it’s worsened our security state given the US intervention in Iraq is creating more anti-american sentiment then it is destroying. People (terrorist) have more reason to attack the united states now then before we went into iraq. Iraq infrastructure is worse now then it was before the invasion, the economy in Iraq is much more volatile and dependant on the oil it produces, and the security within the state of Iraq is far worse the it was. You might say that Saddam kill his own people, but proportionally since the invasion we have drastically more people per month the Saddam could have hoped to (and keep a viable state). We’ve turned a nearly failed state into a failed stated. Failed states breed terrorist.
In addition, the money Bush has spent on iraq has taken away from the money he could have spend improving the US security at home. 200 billion dollars could buy quite a few metal detectors and air marshals. My point that the US is NOT more secure then it was before we entered Iraq. We have not improved the US homeland security. Terrorist attacks still have the capacity to occur in the United States. As I have stated, the bulletproof doors on cockpit doors as well as other security measures since 9/11 have not drastically improved the US security situation. One of the biggest threats still remaining is Cargo Containers. Millions of them enter the country every year and we search on the order of 5% of them. The rest are not xrayed or sniffed, they are unloaded and shipped inland. These cargo containers are often seen being hauled by 18-wheelers, so think about what conventional weapons you could put in there let alone dirty nuclear weapons.
My point is that Kerry would not have gone into iraq. Kerry would not have spent 200 billion dollars (and counting) on a war that does little to deter terrorist from attacking the US. Kerry would not have endangered the lives of our US men and women for a cause that is questionable in it’s return of national security. IT WAS WRONG TO GO TO WAR, WRONG TO WASTE THE THOUSANDS OF LIVES, AND WRONG TO WASTE OUR MONEY.
What else would Kerry have done differently? Kerry would have been more fiscally conservative then Bush has been. Bush has increase the federal spending by 25% from when he started as compared to Clinton’s 14% increase (or even his father’s 13.9% increase. Terrorism requires this you say? First of all, Bush Sr. had to deal with terrorism and did a decent job at it. Clinton was even pro-active about tracking down and eliminating terrorist threats. Bush Jr. has not markedly decreased our threat level as even his own terrorist threat indicator shows. (It’s current “Elevated” from a choice of Severe, High, Elevated, Guarded, and Low). So Bush has increase the amount of our federal spending, lowered our taxes, increasing our deficit to provide the status quo.
As a democrat Kerry is likely to be pro-spending in some areas, but kerry is not going to let our spending go through the roof. (We paid 318 Billion dollars in interest on our national debt last year and it’s only going to get worse. BTW that Is only 80 billion short of the amount we spend on Defense.)
How about this? Kerry would have veto at least one bill from the Congress during his term. Bush is coming close to having never veto’ed a single bill from congress. This means that anything this republican controlled congress has decided to pass (including massive pork barrel bills and corporate welfare in the form of subsidies and tax breaks) has been allowed to pass unmolested and unchallenged by a supposed “fiscal conservative” president. You can’t claim that absolutely everything that bush would have seen come across his desk is worth keeping. (Reagan is rolling over in his grave right now)
Oh and what about human rights? Kerry much like his father would never have kept people locked up on Guantanamo bay or in American federal prisons without the ability to file a writ of habeus corpus. Never would he (or the media) allow kerry to go unmolested for so blatantly disregarding the Geneva Convention (to which we signed a treaty saying we would follow). He would not have tried to placed hundreds of Afgani, British, Pakistani, or other international citizens in an open air prison on an island that he would have claimed is not under US jurisdiction. Nor would he have allowed the arrest and detainment of several US Citizens whom also had to fight for their ability to have a day in court. These were bonified US Citizens whom the Bill of Rights supposedly protected and whom Bush and Ashcroft decided fitted the term of an “enemy combatant” and was therefore to be left in prison until the war was deemed “over” (which is questionable, given we haven’t got a clear start date nor criteria by which a war like this could end).
“Writing is good, thinking is better. Cleverness is good, patience is better.” –Siddhartha