Thursday, February 10, 2005

What does Marcellus Wallace look like?

This was too much for comments so I moved it to a post. It is a bickering of political values I recommend skipping unless you care. This argument is the primary reason I took down the original post, but I was too slow.

countjrg said...
I think it’s a stretch to call him the Michael More of the right (that would be someone more like Michael Savage). I took one of his main points as saying that the democratic party is turning more elitist and academic (unless it’s the limousine uneducated liberal mass in Hollywood). I can’t tell you how may times I’ve heard that at least the Blue States are the most educated per capita, than those inbred Southern and Midwestern Red States. It’s an attitude! The blue-collar union workers that the Democrats traditionally represented are being replaced by cuff link wearing Harvard elites.

I have my issues with Bush (mainly that he’s not conservative enough in a fiscal manner of speaking-just look at the newly proposed budget). That said, I’m not sure I’d describe what’s happening in Iraq as a civil war. The election at least appears to be a success, and even if the most cynical person describing the outcome as a “puppet government” was correct, it’s still a hell of a lot better than Saddam.

Gas prices? John Stossel has an interesting piece on his website that discusses this: “…But the reality is that the "record high gas prices" are a myth. The U.S. Department of Energy records show that when you adjust for inflation the price of gas is now lower than it's been for most of the twentieth century. Prices are lower now than they were 25 years ago. Yes, they price is up from the 1998 all time low of $1.19, but they are a dollar lower than they were in the early 1980s….”(Check out the whole thing here).

You also noted that we (as America) have committed numerous crimes against humanity with regards to the War on Terror. Abu Ghraib aside, women are voting in Afghanistan and Iraq! I think we have a fundamental difference of philosophy about the core of human nature itself. I’ll just say that I don’t subscribe to a view of moral equivalency. The U.S. with all of its faults and corruption remains the bright light on the hill. Isolated occurrences like Abu Ghraib are a sick travesty, but you should take a look at one of the beheading videos if you haven’t. I’m sure that Nicholas Berg or Paul Johnson would have preferred a nude dog pile with women’s underwear around their heads, to having their heads sawed off with a dull blade.

I do not consider it a credible argument to compare the beheadings as equivalency to the lesser of two evils with respect to torture for several reasons. The primary reason is that the beheaders are not agents of a governments that claims to be taking the moral high road to the extend that it has completely translated the pre-war rhetoric of WMDs to the occupational language of liberty for Iraq. The soldiers were ordered to utilize torture to obtain info, they were not disciplined for committing the heinous acts when they occurred, and a cover-up has continued because the authorization for the torture extends to the President in violation of US and international law. The panty pyramid is the weakest of the "torture" scenarios which is why you used it. I lean towards murder, rape, and sodomy of men women and children as report by the Red Crescent over a year ago as a true measure of our deviation to torture. These are war crimes as bad a beheading, and worse because we are liars.

The Jihadist (or whatever the fuck they think they are) openly admit to being murderers. When you compare torture to beheadings you take away the moral high ground you are crowing.

Secondly we took our torture and casualties of war to the Iraqi people. Those contractors went to Iraq of their own free will. Many of the people imprisoned at Abu Ghraib were consequently released because there was no reason for them to be there if the first place. I sure as shit don't condone beheading in any form. As a bleeding heart liberal of the sort Mr. Hanson thinks are scum, I feel all deaths in violence are deplorable. We however volunteered for this war and took it to their homes. Don't pretend that I am blaming the average soldier either. They have an impossible job of trying to defend a people that don't want them. Occupation of a people with a foreign language and culture faced with guerilla warfare is an impossible situation for any army. That is why so many have failed.

The author of that article argues that it takes a thug to beat a thug. That is almost the same argument you are using and I believe this viewpoint leads to war crimes like those at Abu-Ghraib. We don't practice an eye for an eye in America because it is not the humane course. It is tough for you to argue that the loss of life of the poor few that have been beheaded are anymore pitiable than the hundreds and probably thousands of innocent men, women, children, and elderly that have been killed in this conflict. If that is your thesis then I will rest because it does not hold water for a pussy bleeding heart like me.

The elections in Iraq, and Afghanistan can't yet be called a success. People voted and that is all. The results aren't even in yet and they are already throwing out several percent based upon suspect corruption. A minority portion of the population boycotted and most of the candidates were nameless and held no platform. How is that a democracy? It is a sham. Is it better than Saddam? Time will tell. If the Shiite round up and kill all the Sunni al'a Rwanda then I will guess the answer is no. Do I think the prospect for democracy in Iraq is wonderful? Yes. Do I think invasion of the country at a potential expense of trillions of dollars is justifiable? No. There were other means that could have been explored for that kind of dough.

On the gas front you are right and wrong. Yes gas is cheaper than it was. Wrong it is more expensive than it was recently. Americans will only tolerate prices at a certain level and they are maintaining that level through price manipulation. This is a not a free market product, but a manipulation of emergencies and shortages much like the Enron fiasco. Every time gas prices go up approval ratings drop, so they play a balancing act. Is it a conspiracy theory? Yes. Does that make it less true?

I am all for higher gas prices if it helps to develop greener alternatives that support our own economy. I love agrifuels because they can be produced at home and support the blue collar people I am apparently too elite to associate with. Unfortunately much more pressure has been applied to opening arctic drilling and dumping money into corporations to develop the "hydrogen economy" pipe dream. This is pork at it's finest and it is driven by the Cheney energy policy and the manipulation of fuel prices. We could require 5% biodiesel today at every pump in the nation using existing infrastructure with no modifications required to existing diesel vehicles and reduce our petro consumption considerably, but there is no will to do so because it does not achieve the administrations goals.

Finally, I must state that I do make fun of rednecks and that makes me elitist. But on the same front I and most blue voters support many of the programs that benefit the poor and undereducated in ways most of the righties that pander to the those people do not. It is not the poor or disenfranchised that I feel I am better than. It is the beer swilling, nascar watching, violence promoting, stereo type that I hate, which unfortunately has been developed as a badge of courage by people like the author. This hypothetical person is more jeff foxworthy and advertising than reality.

Class has nothing to do with education or income and everything to do with being informed and acting with dignity and respect. This whole elitist thing is as much advertising as the redneck image. You can see the wealth and elitism in both parties if you point at it enough times. I consider the elitist argument to be a media creation and nothing more. It is an us versus them statement designed to divide.

True elitism is people like O'reilly who claims he was ostracized at his fancy prep school because he didn't speak Thai, or Bush pretending he has any fucking clue of what it is really like to be a single mom that is underemployed with a child that has health problems. These rich spoiled fucks don't have a clue. I believe in blue collar America. I believe in buying American and maintaining our own economy. I believe corporate welfare must end and corporations must be held to the deals they made with their employees. If that makes me elitist then I truly don't have a clue what America is about.


countjrg said...

Okay-where do I begin?

Yes, the terrorist beheaders are not agents of a government. But who do you think will be in control of Iraq if all of this goes sour?

Abu Ghraib? From what I’ve read, I’m not sure that it’s accurate to say “many” of the prisoners were released because they were imprisoned falsely in the first place.

Torture? International Law? The Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war doesn't apply to terrorists, who are considered to be illegal combatants (e.g.. The Abu Graib prisoners). This was the point that Alberto Gonzalez was making in his advice to the President (which neither he nor the administration has rejected).

Those who are trying to subvert the Geneva Convention are those who demand that it should apply to ALL combatants: soldiers (who openly carry weapons, wear uniforms, operate under a military command structure that accepts international norms of warfare); and terrorists (seen by their defenders as freedom or national liberation fighters) such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda, who have not and would not sign any such agreement.

So there can be a discussion about what kind of harsh interrogation methods, if any, should be used against illegal combatants, but this would require acknowledging the existence of such a category in the first place.

The legitimacy of the war and the Iraqi election can be debated forever. Is it our place to intervene in conflicts? Eject dictators? It depends. The world would be a lot different if we (the U.S.) stayed out of WWII. I think it’s our place ONLY when in our national interest. I find this line of hypocrisy with a lot of Democrats fascinating, because Bill Clinton had the right to go into Kosovo and eject an evil dictator (on the eve of Monica Lewinsky’s grand jury testimony), but Bush doesn’t have the same just cause in Iraq (that is if the merits of the invasion were purely on liberation).

I agree with you more than you might think on Iraq. I was all for it when it was about WMDs, but we broke an egg that we can’t get back into its shell. I support our national interest. Bottom line! There are no WMDs that have been found, but stabilizing Iraq is now in our national inertest. I just hope we don’t keep spending our children’s inheritance into the black hole of nation building (something Bush campaigned against in 2000).

I gotta work. Maybe I’ll think of more to say later (not that it matters). It’s interesting that having blogs has resulted in us having frequent political banter. I’m sure we’ll continue to agree to disagree. We should just get a beer and go bowling.

Bodie said...

There is such a fundemental difference in perception on this war between the camps that it is like we are having two different conversations. My major point was that articles like that one by old Victor whatever are insulting. The worst part of the essay was not so much any of his "arguments" (I apply that loosely because an actual argument was not made but reference), but the lack of quality in the writing style. It demeans us all when tripe like that serves as a political viewpoint. I feel our exchange has been much better developed and based upon common values and a desire to agree than the devisive rhetoric applied by a supposed professional.

Fuck it dude. Lets go bowl.