Sunday, April 09, 2006


Finishing a thought on war in Iraq

By The Erudite Redneck

In a post last November, I explained my rationale for supporting President Bush and his war machine's attacking Iraq thusly:

If I KNEW somebody living in a house on the next block had absolute plans to come to my house, rob me and kill me and my family, and I couldn't get the law to do anything about it, why, then, I would feel utterly justified in going over there, busting his door down and shooting first. That's what happened with Iraq.

(Read the entire post here. Interesting comments, considering subsequent revelations.)

Of course, we didn't actually know what we thought we knew.

Lately, I've been finishing the thought.

IF, I KNEW all of the above about the somebody living on the next block, and I took the actions so described, I still would have to answer to the law. If I killed somebody to prevent him from killing me, if I broke into his house before he broke into mine, whether or not I thought the authorities were being responsive, I, myself, would still have broken the law.

I would deserve to be, and surely would be, charged with breaking and entering and murder. A jury might decide that I should be let go, although I doubt it -- even if I found an arsenal, drawing so fmy house and a plan for attack.

Which is why the president should be impeached. He took the law, and this country, and its reputation, and the goodwill the rest of the civilized world held for us in the wake of 9/11, into his own hands. It's time we take it back.

Impeachment is the equivalent of indictment. The trial in the Senate is a real trial. Impeachment, the two times it's been used, has been used as a political answer to dilemmas that the laws on the books could not deal with.

In this case, the laws on the books -- and the tradition that this country, generally speaking, does not start wars but finishes them (a laudable but, of course, not entirely accurate statement despite being our guiding principal) -- are not being applied because the president has set himself above the law.

Therefore, the only way for this country to deal honorably before the world with this president is to elect a Congress this November with the balls to take the political step of impeaching Bush and trying him in the Senate.

It's the only way I know of for the people of this country to repent before God, and before the eyes of the world. This country has become its own worst enemy. The only fix is impeachment.

And then we should elect a president who will look the American people, and the rest of the world, square in the face, and, while acknowledging the good of having removed a dictator, admit that we were wrong to attack Iraq.

The Prayer of Confession today at this church, which I am growing closer and closer to calling "my" church, by joining:

Lord of Life, we struggle with the tension between a hostile world and the radical demands of the gospel. It is in our nature to strike back, to circle the wagons, to kill others before they kill us. But we are called to something new and wonderful: the end of retaliation. We are called to be peacemakers by breaking the cycle of violence. Help us to do it, because we can't do it alone. In Christ's name we pray, Amen.

The Scripture reading: Matthew 5:38-45.

Either the verses mean what they say, or they don't. Myself, I am striving -- and failing often -- to live peacefully among men. Add that to the values I look for in voting for candidates for office.


heh! i've been banned from several conservative blogs for reciting matthew, most recently from mike's america.

That "do not resist an evildoer" must be especially hard to stomach for those who admire a president whose overuse of the word single-handledly brought it back from 17th-century English into modern usage.

Keep it reasonably clean -- :-)-- and try not to attack people first, and you'll always be welcome here, dude.

But then none of is perfeect. :-)

Hey, go see the battle ensuing at Mark's place in today's almost unintelligible post and the comments. And if yer banned there, bring yer comments over here, to the Brokeback Mountain post.
"Keep it reasonably clean"

on other people's blogs, i always do.

"and try not to attack people first"

i never attack people first. in fact, on every conservative were i've been accused of doing so, i've offered the participants the challenge of posting my most offensive comments, as proof of my attacks. no one ever takes me up on it, though. go figger.

"and you'll always be welcome here, dude."

you dress funny and your breath stinks!

"....if yer banned there"

yep. banned at mark's. he, too, refused my challenge. go figger.

Not only did we not know what we thought we knew, we in fact knew at the time that the intelligence was dodgy. Or we should have done. The folks on the ground were saying that there were no WMDs, and the administration was cooking the books to fake it.

And now we're making plans to use nukes in Iran. That'll be three wars under this president. Supposedly in the name of "self-protection." Anyone who still believes that crap has their head, excuse me, up their fat American ass.
seems mark is no longer moderating the comments. we'll see how long mine stands; i don't pull any punches with mark anymore. he knows why.

I hope to hell you don't lose your vote in 08 so you can get on with your life. I'm so tired of hearing "well if it wasn't against the law, it should have been". It's just insane to go on and on and on because you feel your way is the best way. You're just like so many who have gone before you. You don't like to play by the rules at hand so you keep moving from church to church, group to group, etc to etc trying to change what can't be changed. I'm going to help you out in 08. I'm voting for every democrat so I can watch them muck up the works. As usual taxes will go up, people will lose their jobs, interest rates will sky rocket and probably a whole city will be burned to a crisp while they are trying hard to empty the jails and take all the guns away from law-abiding citizens. CNN will be my new reality TV show starting Jan of 09.
You guys, you can't argue with someone who insists that any evidence that contradicts his theory is a lie.

And anon, thanks for voting Democrat in the next election!
Anon, Easy solution for the following: "I'm so tired of hearing ... "

Quit tuning in to sources that you don't like or that make you feel uncomfortable. You have plenty of examples to folow: Virtually every right-winger I know or am acquainted with.

B, long time no see. Thanks for the reminder that things were not only as they seemed, they were that way on purpose.
BTW, Anon:

I've been fighting this fight since I voted for Mondale-Ferraro in 1984. The ONLY time I've faltered was when George W. Bush and his damned sycophants looked me and you in the eye and lied to our face -- and we swallowed it whole. I did, anyway. Never again.

Don't expect me to "go on" with my life, no matter what happens in the elections. The figth for justice never ends. Seeking peace first never ends. Speaking truth to power never ends.
It's just going to kill you 30 years from now when George W. Bush is hailed as a great president. The one president who steped up and put the world back on course.
whatever helps you sleep at night, anonymouse....

For the American people to demand a squaring of accounts with their President over Iraq would be their usual contemptible scapegoating for their own cowardice, self-interest, and consistently documented ignorance of the world. Nothing the Administrtation presented at the time of the invasion let alone during the 2004 election remotely resenbled a clear and present danger to the United States. From the dishonest and misleading term "Weapon of Mass Destructiion" to a doctrine of preemption that since the United States has an overwhelming military, that it can decide who constitutes a threat, while remaining immune to any such threat. What's ironic, of course, is that by this doctrine Saddam's Iraq would have had every right to aid in the 9/11 attack against the Pentagon and one source of the financial power that allows the U.S. to be the menace it was to them. Further, the later rationale, that it was a good thing to do even despite the lack of any significant "WMD's" means that Saddam had not only a right but a duty to develop a nuclear arsenal to aid in the legitimate defense of his country. I note that -- at least in the short term -- that the total damage of the U.S. invasion and occupation to the lives of Iraqis has been far greater than what it was like to live in occupied France during WWII. I don't suppose the Golden Rule applies to corporate entities like states, do you?

Yes, ER - tell yourself you and the rest of the Red States were lied to and that someone ought to pay. That the Democratic Party couldn't cough up a true antiwar candidate to run against the President doesn't matter. That the antiwar movement remains feeble because there is no draft and the defense of the country falls upon the subcultures who are passive enough to let themselves be talked into it. That American people, profligate and bankrupt in their personal and public finances, can't even recognize the cost to them. That the relative indifference with which they surrender their civil liberties - and take into account that anything that happens to the Iraqis themselves only matters to the extent it "produces the breeding of the next generation of terrorists." I'm supposed to support the impeachment of the President? I not only have a hard time figuring out how this situation isn't an exact demonstration of people getting the government they (YOU) deserve, but I can't even refute OBL's contention that every civilian who endorsed the invasion by voting for GBW isn't a legitimate combatant. Including you.
Anon, you may be right. It galls me today that people venerate Reagan.
TStock, I think, as Dr. ER says whenever she sees two men hugging, "They're hugging each other but they're hitting each other!" (Because there always *is* the har-har backslapping element when two guys hug).

Not sure what you're ragging on me about. I didn't vote for Dubya -- I said I was duped by him -- and I AM a combatant by the definition of the day.

Ol' Osama ben Laden himself has a better grasp on the responsibility Americans, to a man, and woman, have for this war, because he actually understands that when a nation's sovereignty comes from its people, then all the people are responsible for the actions of their leaders.

I argue that impeachment is the only way in our system of government and politics for this country to redeem itself. You disagree. Then how else can this country repudiate Bush & Co. and redeem itself? I'm all ears.
Anyway, TStock, what I meant with the men hugging remark was that you seem to be agreeing with me but beating on me at the same time. And that's OK. I'm just sayin' ...
"Anon, you may be right. It galls me today that people venerate Reagan."

but then, reagan never scored in the thirties. and he didn't plunge us into an ill-defined, interminable war (although his admin did build the foundation for it).

If the United States has such trouble with "turn the other cheek", consider then Israel.

Turning the other cheek is a variation on the Phariseeic teachings at the time of Jesus.
Jesus was a Rabbi, and to be a Rabbi then, ment you were a Pharisee, one of the elected leader-sages of the synagogues.
There are specific direct parallels between the sermon on the mount (or on the plain according to Luke)and Rabinical teachings:

"He who is merciful to others shall receive mercy from Heaven" (Shabbat 151b; cf. Matthew 5:7); Let your yes be yes and your no be no (Baba Metzia 49a; Matthew 5:37); "Do they say, 'Take the splinter out of your eye?' He will retort, 'Remove the beam out of your own eye'" (Baba Bathra 15b; Matthew 7:3

Even So, can you see Israel in the 21st century following these comandments as a nation?
Never said it was supposed to be easy. Never said I do it all of the time -- or even most of the time, or even part of the time.

But it IS the stated philosophy of the one Christians say they try to emulate.

Therefore, the answers are either 1., try harder or 2., shut up acting like you're a Christian.

I'm thinking more and more that the Quakers and Anabaptists, and others, have it right:

Maybe it *is* impossible to be part of the secular government, or even an active citizen, of any nation and follow the example and teachings of Jesus.

But following that to its logical conclusion, then, the only people left participating in civic life would be selfish selves out for personal gain and power, which, come to think of it, is about all that's left now ...

As for Israel, I can't speak for 'em, but maybe in the greater -- the greatest -- scheme of things, it doesn't matter whether the state of Israel exists, as long as the Jewish people do; and, as far as *this* country, maybe in the greatest scheme of things, it doesn't matter whether it exists -- or continues to exist as we know it -- as long as the ideals behind its founding do.

You can't serve God and mammon. Maybe you can't serve Jesus and Uncle Sam. Not really.

I do not actually believe that. When Uncle Sam isn't acting like the biggest drunk in the bar, it often acts honorably despite its excesses and the sloppiness that naturally occurs in a democratic-republic with such a willfully prideful and stubbornly ignorant electorate.
"It's just going to kill you 30 years from now when George W. Bush is hailed as a great president. The one president who steped up and put the world back on course.
# posted by Anonymous : 4:58 PM"

Back on course to what, the Rapture, Armagedon, the total destruction of the middle class?
"History" will have much more to look at than we do now. They will have the G.W. Bush Library....uh, collection...of...well...
They will have the Dick Cheney Library and the Carl Rove and Condelezzaa memoirs to refer to.
The ghost of Rhichard Nixon will be dancing a jig when "History" gets round to Bush.
BTW, for the record, I've never been a church hopper. I have regularly attended exactly three churches in my life:

The Southern Baptist church in the little town I grew up in. Became a member of that church when I walked the aisle at age 7, or 8, and was baptized not long after.

A big "establishment" United Methodist church in the city I worked in in Texas. Never joined it.

The Congregationalist UCC church I attend now. Might join soon.

So, re: "You don't like to play by the rules at hand so you keep moving from church to church, group to group ..." Wrong.
Sorry for the misreading. I see "support" "war" and "November" and not much else sometimes.

And I suppose I'd like to see Administration officials tried by the International Criminal Court on the charge of waging an aggressive, unprovoked war, not the U.S. Senate. Congress - like Americans in general - were accomplices, not victims. Just as criminal decisions in military court have tended to be whatever was most convenient for the military, so would political decisions in that enormously dishonest and self-serving forum.
The things that TSS are alluding to, are the reasons I have said and will say, we need to dump the whole friggin lot of both parties and elect only people under 55 to anything. The younger the better.
Not that they are wiser or better, but just because the aren't as polluted yet as all the rest of us.
I don't think "Americans" in general are responsible for the war, although there is plenty of responsibility to go around. Americans did not elect G.W. Bush the first time. The States did, via the electorial college, or maybe the S.C.O.T.U.S. did. Some Americans, including my wife and children, marched in protest against the war months before it was initiated. It wasn't that hard to recognize what was going on.

You are right about the draft. Especially a lottery draft that wouldn't spare any segment of society. So long as we can buy our army and don't have to populate it with our own children, then we really won't spend the effort we need to as a people to stop these things.

If my own children were at stake, I would be doing unreasonable things to prevent their sacrifice.
But it is just the other guy's children, and they volunteered after all, so, what the heck.
That is really why we don't feel like we are at war today. And that is why this will be very very difficult war to stop.

I don't want G.W. Bush censured, impeached, martyred, or nothin, I just want him GONE.
Oh, yes, and I don't want any of those Quissling Democrats or those dumb f..k Republicans that voted for this war of choice left anywhere in the government after 2006.

But I probably won't get my way.
Iraq today, Iran tomarrow, and there is not a damn thing anyone can do to stop it. Get ready for the ride of your lives boys and girls.
Then North Korea, then Syria -- and then Connecticut and every other blue state and big city in the country.

Here's the deal: IF what they say is true about Iran President Muffaletta Oom-Papa-Mou-Mou -- or whatever the hell his name is -- we've pissed away our legitimacy in Iraq!

I haven't been following this, and I am fixing to lose myself in 1870s Indian Territory for several hours: What's the UN saying-doing?
Dr.L -

It was the second GWB election that was a referendum on making war - America cast a verdict on that - and, in my view, on itself.
Americans voted based on hype and spin. Even, a professional skeptic and part-time cynic, in the emotional wake of 9/11, found it hard to believe the president would lie. And the elitest snob that the Dems put up against Bush said nothing rank-and-file Dems.

So, if Americans in general are to be held accountable for the war in Iraq, it's because of the nature of sovereignty that rests with the people -- not because we voted "for making war."

Also, when it comes to bringing American officials to trial in a so-called "International Court" -- I'll be like the Virginians who abhorred slavery, and owned none, and would have voted it away if they could've, but fought for their state against the Union.

There *is* no "international law." There is no international system of justice. There is only cooperation among nations. More like the shifting alliances among the peoples on a lawless frontier.
And I prefer to keep it that way -- even witht he likes of thre yahoos in control of the federal government right now.
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