Saturday, February 24, 2007

Algonquin Round Table

I'm lazy and I haven't posted about politics in over a week. However, the last few days I have been engaged in a debate with a charming enough seeming, but unfortunately misguided right-winger, Andy D. I think it's the lack of vitriol in his disagreement with me that encourages me to think I can change his mind, even though it is most likely a lost cause. But it's like seeing a rafter clinging to the branches in rushing rapids, you know? He obviously needs saving, and I can't ignore his pleas for help. Anyway, for your enjoyment, I will post here the debate that's going on over there at his blog, Political Friends.

To begin, here is the post he wrote with the Fox News inspired title, Congress Helping Our Enemies?

As the Democrats continue to push the definition of “treason”, al-Zawahiri released a video tape message proving what critics of the Democrat Party have been saying. Republicans, General Petraeus, and many others, have said that passing a resolution condemning the Presidents new way forward would do nothing to change our Presidents policy but would give hope to our enemies. I wrote a few weeks ago about the dangers of this discussion. Now we are starting to see the results of just the discussion.

Under questing by the Senate, General Petraeus said that a move to condemn the President would give hope and support to our enemies. Just the continue talk of this debate is giving Al-Queda more ammunition, and is hurting our allies. Quoting CNN: “Calling the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, allied with the United States, ‘traitors,’ al-Zawahiri warned that the United States ‘is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam.”

Giving our enemies “aid and comfort” is treason. Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to realize that their words are being reported in the Middle East. Our enemies our praying to Allah for an end to the Iraqi War similar to the end of the Vietnam War. We didn’t loose in Vietnam, we beat ourselves. Iran, Syria, Al-Queda, Hezbollah and many others are eager to see an American Helicopter pulling off a crowded embassy in Baghdad. Our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan are wondering if that will be the last images they see as the armies of our enemies sweep in and take control.

The Democrats in Congress and the Republicans helping them are acting like children. Congress is rushing to condemn a plan that hasn’t fully been implemented yet. Some would argue we are already seeing some results of this plan. Muqtada Al-Sadr has reportedly fled the country. Today, US troops went house to house in Baghdad grapping insurgents and weapons as they went. The Statesman of both parties must come forward and end this debate before it provides more help to our enemies. We are in a war for the existence of America. Those who would vote for a “non-binding resolution” need to take a step back and realize the damage they have already caused.
To which I responded:

Democrat is a noun. Democratic is an adjective. A party is Democratic. A person is a Democrat. Get it straight if you are purporting to be a writer.

One cannot commit treason with mere words. If you have any interest in learning about the civil rights of United States citizens, such as the right of free speech, please feel free to consult a convenient list of them in a little something the Founding Fathers referred to as the Bill of Rights.

And I shall leave you with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
Thanks for the critique Michael.

The Bill of Rights applies to any individual so long as they don’t interfere on the rights of another individual. You sound like a smart man, so I won’t insult you by explaining that.

There is a long list of crimes that an individual can commit simply by using words. If someone were to go on National Television and spill top secret information, I believe that could be considered treason.

In the United States, we have the freedom to criticize the President. I can do it on this blog, you are free to criticize him however you want. However, my words don’t carry the weight that the words of a US Senator or a US Congressman carry. If I criticize the President, our enemies don’t care. If Ted Kennedy does it, then it is something they can use. If an elected official in Congress (Democrat or Republican) votes to pass a nonbinding resolution condemning the President and telling him that he doesn’t have the support of the American people, that gives aid and comfort to our enemies in a time of war. While I don’t think anyone will try them for treason, I think it fits the literal definition of treason as spelled out by the Constitution.

If anyone from the Democratic Party truly believes we have no chance of winning in Iraq, then they have a duty to let the President know that. But a non-binding resolution is a cowardly way of accomplishing that. The representative can contact the President, or could vote to withhold funding, or could even vote against conformation of the General who is going to Iraq to implement that policy. A nonbinding resolution doesn’t help our troops, but does help our enemy.
I do certainly agree that a nonbinding resolution is a cowardly way of trying to end the war. I’m only marginally more in favor of the Democrats than the Republicans, which is to say I think they’re all cowardly pandering idiots interested in little more than further enriching their pocketbooks and accumulating power.

However, I disagree with you that any resolutions embolden, frighten, excite, tickle, arouse, or in any way affect our enemies. Nor do I think they affect the troops. The single thing that has both emboldened our enemies and endangered our troops is Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld completely botching every single decision and strategy in the run-up to and execution of this war, up to and including (and especially) the final decision to pre-emptively invade a country that had neither attacked us nor posed any threat. Those three (and their enablers in the media) are why our kids are dying over there. Not a pointless non-binding resolution or any of us godless traitorous liberal heathens with our big mouths and dangerous “no blood for oil” placards.
I am sorry Michael, you are simply way off base here. Our enemies have shown they follow politics here very closely. During the 1990’s bin Laden quoted Clinton and Clinton’s staff when he issued his jihad’s against the West. Our troops also pay very close attention. When they hear talk of Congress expressing the belief that our troops will fail, that doesn’t help them.

Your comments regarding the lead up to the war in Iraq are a bit simplistic. The war and removal of Saddam was one of the best run wars on the face of this planet. Our government (including Bush et al) made mistakes in the following occupation. Bush has acknowledged that those mistakes lay at his feet. Saddam has represented a threat to this country since the first Gulf War. The United States was enforcing a UN resolution when we invaded. If Saddam didn’t have WMD’s, he wanted them. We know he had them at some point because he used them on his own people. Either way, the UN gave Saddam over a dozen chances to comply, and Saddam did the same thing Iran is doing today. If the UN is going to be a real global body, someone had to enforce the UN’s resolution, and that job fell to us.
Plenty of people want WMD. Plenty of countries slaughter their own people. (Darfur, anyone?) The question is a matter of whether someone who wants WMD is a threat to the United States. The fact is quite simply that he was not a threat. Read this article about Hans Blix, the head weapons inspector. Saddam had allowed the inspectors in and they were finding nothing. It was becoming increasingly clear even at the time that there were no weapons there. And when Bush saw that his reason for starting a war was falling apart, he pulled the inspectors out. They were not kicked out by Saddam.

What would you rather have? An increasingly bloody war, costing us billions of dollars and over 3000 American lives to date or a feckless strongman with no weapons, large areas of no-fly zones, boxed in by his neighbors and the international community?

As far as bin Laden quoting the president for propaganda, the single greatest recruiting tool al Qaeda has ever had is Bush's invasion of Iraq. The threat of terrorism has greatly increased since Bush took office.

Incidentally, why is it that conservatives rail against the UN until it comes to the issue of the resolutions against Iraq? Then, all of a sudden, they are the international authority to whom we must bow down? Are you aware of the long list of UN resolutions Israel is currently ignoring? Shall we invade?

And that's where it stands right now. If there's more, you'll be the first to know. And please feel free to contribute in the comments section here, or there.


Matthew said...

I feel kind of bad for offhandedly referring this guy to you. Then again, I enjoyed the back-and-forth, so I can only assume you did as well. In that case - you're welcome.

michael the tubthumper said...

i have had a few debates like this over at my blog but i like the way you have handled this one.

i linked to you as well

Michael Grant said...

Like a moth to a flame, I can’t resist a good debate with a conservative. Until I get bored of the willful ignorance and disregard of facts that always happens at the end of these things. But I’m sure something else will grab my ire and I’ll be all over it again.

Thanks for stopping by!