Thursday, February 02, 2006

Open Debate

I wanted to link to this post over at the Pseudonymous Flog. He was the anonymous poster on this post and said he'd had some trouble responding further, so I wanted to post his response to make sure he knew we weren't trying to squelch his opinion, however much or little we might disagree with it.

I just want to give a bit of a response myself: The central thesis of my original post was that War is antithetical to Christ and that to be supportive of war isn't a Christian position. My point was that morals are relative. A lot of people in this area that I know are more offended by coffee and R-rated movies than the actual human cost of war. That is offensive to me.

Then came Pseudonymous Flog's response that said that because I was against the methods we used to topple Saddam I was pro-Genocide:
That is what Saddam did. That's right. His regime murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. If Saddam's actions were ever allowed to be cited in American debates for what they truly were - genocide - there would be no debate at all. The truth is that an American who does not support the war does not give a damn for the persisting threat of genocide that Saddam represented against peasants in another country.

Many Republicans have a broader compassion, which sees the value in risking our lives to truly defent the lives of other nations. To decry the US invasion is to tolerate or side with genocide.
So, I responded by saying that by the most conservative estimates that we've also killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's in this conflict. I begged the question:
Well, then does that mean we're also guilty of the genocide of the Iraq people? As of the 2000 election we'd been responsible for the deaths of 100,000 Iraqi civilians at the most conservative estimate based on sound methodology.
To which Pseudonymous replied with this:
Not any more than we are responsible for the death of millions of Jews in World War II. You make the call.
And I just want to make sure he knows that he's taken me completely out of context. When we liberated the jews, we didn't kill 6 million of them while we were doing it. My point is that we, the United States, have personally slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. That is blood on the hands of everyone who voted Bush in the last election.

And then, I compared the sanctions to a very simple allegory:
Besides, Sadamm was being punished. Sanctions are punishment.
Think about it in terms like this: A child of yours breaks a window. Do you break his bedroom window and tear the heads off his action figures in retaliation? No you take priveleges away and force him to pay back the cost of the window. Otherwise you have to pay for the cost of the window he broke and the window you broke.
My point was the same as the major criticism of Hammurabi's Law: "An eye for an eye makes the world blind." But this allegory, which I thought was apt and well thought out, was rebuked thusly:
Punishing a child for breaking a window is no comparison to punishing a tyrant for murdering civilians. To really even compare the two you have gone far off the deep end. Honestly. Comparing murdered civilians to a broken window? Poor allegory at best. A window is dead. A civilian is alive. Or these ones were. You don't care.
In the immortal words of Luke Skywalker: "I care."

My greater point about the entire war is that we didn't imrove the status quo. We made things worse. We've destroyed the infrastructure of the country, we've bombed most of it to hell, we've killed more civilians than people would like to admit and we've created a breeding ground for terrorists and anti-American sentiment. Saddam was a bad guy but I think the cost to remove him like this was too high (and not just the trillion dollars the war is estimated to cost us, but the human cost as well.) There are people in Iraq who have gone without power and running water since the beginning of this conflict. I care about those people every bit as much as I care about the soldiers we forced to bomb the place.

I might be anti-war but I'm also anti-genocide. If genocide is actually happening on an active and consistent basis (as it is in Darfur) then we need to react swiftly to fix the problem. But, as in the case of Darfur, we ignore the problem. Why? Because those in power in the United States don't care about the Darfur region because it's not sitting on a bed of oil. Those in power in the United States don't care about the Darfur region because they can't connect it to the terrorists they constantly invoke to make people unsafe and keep them voting Republican.

If you think the Republicans in power (not all Republicans, I know some very good people that are Republicans) care about people then you need only to look at their hypocrisy in Darfur and their abusive cuts to domestic programs to realize that they would rather take a flying fuck at the mooooooon than care about people.

I want everyone to take a stab at commenting here about what they think about all this. Do it.


Pseudonymous Flog said...

How's it going mates. Here's my reply.

Nea said...

If you think worrying about running water and power is uppermost in those people's minds, you are showing your ignorance of their suffering at the hands of Saddam. They are in danger of losing their very lives if they so much as speak out. People in countries that have freedom of speech, freedom of dress, freedom of travel have no idea what oppression is really all about. You think that just because you aren't affected by that lack of freedom it can't happen....SCAREY......the cost of freedom has been paid for by the lives of those that have fought before, and those who will fight again. Freedom is never free.

Bryan said...

you are right on the money. Thanks for your comments.

Bryan said...

That wasn't me who responded. just there.

My contention is that we aren't improving their situation. They're speaking out now, but their doing it with IEDs.

Pseudonymous Flog said...

Not only do you either not know or totally ignore what the Iraqi people have been through, you now slander them. You just said "They" are speaking out with IED (Improvised Explosive Devices - (see here) - but who are "They?" The comment you respond to with this remark speaks of the Iraqi people as a whole, and you say "They" are enacting terror. Not so. The extremists, the terrorists among them, are doing so, because the terrorists among them do not want democracy to win out (as it slowly is, I think) - terrorists, not Iraqis, want Iraq to be controlled by extremist, brutal, terrorist measures. Your comment passingly links terrorists with all Iraqi citizens. So to begin with, one of you there implied that if the Iraqis wanted democracy they should fight for it themselves (a comment which also severely lacks comprehension of the reality of the brutal oppression they were under - never mind that very many of them have joined ranks with and are being trained by the American army to defend themselves), but now you say "They" are only speaking with explosive devices. To the contrary, the Iraqi people spoke when the majority of them turned out in droves to vote for officers in their fledgling government at elections.

You manifestly have no comments to offer on this subject that do not severely twist or throw reality out the window. My reply strongly refutiated the fallacy of your claims. Genocide happened in Iraq, sanctions and negotiations aren't enough when you deal with a true tyrant/terrorist (Saddam violated 13 UN resolutions in the midst of such), your comparison to Sudan doesn't hold because Sudan is a large oilbed region (you apparently didn't know this), war does not have to initially change the status quo to be worth it, to cry against military intervention in Iraq is to be relative on the value of Iraqi vs. American life, the Iraqi people (and all people) are worthy of U.S. sacrifice, and the cause is worth United States suffering to allow the democracy to emerge which the Iraqis have now proven they support by coming out in the far majority in elections.

You have been listening to the wrong arguments. All your arguments either focus too much on U.S. pains or too little on Iraqi pains (or intelligence or humanity). Contending that the situation is not improving is like fixating on labor pains as the only effect of birth, or that if/when the supposed baby is born, you'll only just lose sleep, never mind the value of caring for a new baby. I agree that nea's comment nailed it. Freedom is never free. And as far as democracy is concerned, Iraq is in it's infancy, but democracy is emerging in Iraq and we should support it by sticking with them against the terrorists in their land who have no place there!

Nothing you have argued holds. Jump the fence and change sides on the war issue. I dare you. I double dog dare you.

Bryan said...

Psuedonymous Flog, I may not like what you have to say, but goddamn it if I don't respect you.

I think the thing, at the end of the day, that pisses me off most about the war (we'll set aside the fact that I don't think we should be there because our "mission" isn't going to work, you can't impose democracy from the top down. We'll just have to agree to disagree) is the level of incompetence that our "leaders" have approached this war with. "Greeted as liberators" my ass.

The current regime didn't plan on a long, protracted conflict aimed almost exclusively at our boys. They didn't prepare properly for body armor or vehicular armor for the troops. They didn't hire reliable contractors to take care of business, but instead embarked on a plan of no-bid, over estimated contracts to Halliburton. Their level of incompetence at battle strategy is second-to-none.