Thursday, June 28, 2007

Do you believe in Santa Clause? Response to Confero

Made a new post because this is long, but pertains to your response to my last post.

Well, Confero, I like the spiritedness of your reply. I have to say this is stimulating.

Do you believe in Santa Clause? What if I said to someone that in deed Santa Clause is a jolly fellow; he just doesn't exist?

RE question of whether we want stability, see my discussion previously regarding our disbanding of the Iraqi army. This is too stupid to be a mistake. Even in his “March to the Sea” in which he intended to “make Georgia howl” Sherman kept the Confederate leadership in place; see also quote from Michael Ledeen/Jonah Goldberg above. Would you like further support? Let me know. It’s a question of how much time I need to spend to find the proper references, before you believe me. This is not, by the way, a moral argument. It is a suggestion that people are asking the wrong questions. I told you the answer to your moral question is “yes.”

If you doubt point three, you don’t understand the Middle East, but I’ll find support. I will admit also that Israel wants us there, obviously, and that people we put in power will want to keep the power if they can, obviously.

As for point two, it has everything to do with us leaving the region. If you believe, and apparently you do (I have my doubts), that we are trying to set up an independent government, what kind of government are we supposedly setting up? If you run over someone out in the middle of nowhere, what good does it do to give them a bicycle if they don’t know how to ride and have a broken leg?

Trust me, my sympathies lie with Iraq on this. My point, and this is a moral point, I think we have done enough damage over there. Its an old joke, but you know what the most dreaded words in the English language are? “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” I think this whole bit about how we are doing this for the good of the Iraqi people is a sham and an insult. If anybody thinks the Bush Administration gives one hoot in hell about the people of Iraq going in or now, I’m got some solar powered flashlights to sell them.

We have an obligation to see to it that the Iraqis don’t slaughter each other? Have you been watching the news? What do you think they have been doing? We have to stay there to prevent something that we can’t prevent right now?

I’m telling you, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. You didn’t comment on my exit strategy. Do you think we need to stay for the rest of time? At some point the Iraqi people have to decide what they want to do.

Really, I’m not sure I made any moral arguments in my previous post. What I’m saying is you are defending a hypothetical situation; I think we should solve the problems of the real situation. You are defending King Arthur. I don’t doubt that what you have in mind is good and right and just. I’m trying to tell you that Camelot doesn’t exist.

You have asked me to establish a few things. As a matter of fact, I don’t think there is much of anything that I haven’t backed up with hard data. Thus far I have not asked you to support anything you have said. I think there are a lot of contingencies and assumptions in what you have been saying, a bunch of “ifs” if you will. To convince me, change each “if” to an “is it true that”:

If our presence in Iraq is helping us win the war on terror.......; or
If our departure from Iraq will help Al Queda.......
If we are physically capable of carrying out he task that you suggest.....
If other middle eastern countries will be destabilized....
If we are helping the Iraqi people (long and short term).....
If we are not merely setting up puppet regime........
If democracy can take root in Iraq.....
If other countries in the middle east will accept a government we set up........; or
If a democracy that takes root can defend itself against the Arab nations.......

Why are my arguments on shaky grounds?


Pedro Morgado said...

Bush sucks???
"We are making progress in Iraq war...”
LOL :)

Civis said...

Thank you for the cartoon, Pedro.

No question about it.

Yesterday's paper informed us that American Commanders on the ground have submitted a report: Iraqi army still not capable of keeping order. Forget about being able to defend the country from outsiders.

The cartoon, is yet a reminder that Bush has followed the lead of Hitler: "I you say something loud enough, often enough and long enough....". Thankfully, Americans are starting to say, "Thou dost protest too much." For an excellent expose, see the following clip:

Civis said...


Thanks for visiting. I looked at your blog, but, unfortunately I can't read Portugese. I'm close though: I love Bossa Nova!

I would welcome your input as to how people in your country view Americans and our President. As I'm sure you are aware, Americans tend to be pretty clueless about how anyone in the rest of the world thinks. One of my favorite authors is famous for saying that it is a good exercise to stop and consider how other people view us (he was speaking of individuals, but I think it applies no less to nations).


confero said...


You argument that we want to keep instability in the Middle East is on shaky ground. You only quoted an advisor to an advisor to the president, and the quote is from his opniion in a book he wrote on the Middle East. Dimantling an army may not have been a good move, but it doesn't provide solid proof for maintaining instability in the Middle East.

I agree that Iraq may not be ready for a democracy, but this does not give us grounds for leaving. Many political systems may work in that region (i.e. setting up different states along religious lines with profit sharing from oil revenues could possibly work as a socialist state) At any rate, the search for justice and truth, as King Authur sought, is indeed what we need. Not the removal of justice and truth for what is easy or economical. Is that what you are proposing from that statement? Please clarify.

Regarding your statement about Al-Queda, the reports do state that their are recruiting more people. Not sure what to do about that. Not sure is leaving Iraq will help. Let's remember that they will not stop once we leave Iraq. How do we stop them?

Civis said...


As to the basis for my “shakey” argument, as you will recall, I said “more to follow” and also said that I would have to provide you with backup over time. I’ll take this to mean, you need more support before you will believe me. I don’t think you appreciate the significance of dismantling the Iraqi army. I guess I need to drive that further home as well.

I have my homework assignment; don’t forget the one I gave you yesterday. This is good stuff—it’s what we intended: to force us to learn about the issues. I look forward to hearing what support you will come up with you change the “if” statements to “it is true that” statements.

Explanation of the King Arthur thing: Same point as Santa Clause: you are defending a fiction. Maybe they are both poor analogies. Let me put it another way: Your argument is not so much illogical or out of step with ethical thinking as that you are beginning your reasoning with incorrect assumptions. You are arguing that the square root of 25 is 2 because two times two is 25. I’m saying, 2 times two is not 25, it’s 4. If we were in a logic class, then saying “if 2 times 2 were 25 then 2 would be the square root of 25” would be meaningful, but it is not much use for practical application in mathematics is it? In the same way, I am saying that although your arguments are by no means silly or illogical, they simply aren’t based on reality. It all looks good on paper.

Regarding your last paragraph: leaving Iraq will help, leaving the Middle East will help, and here is why: They hate us because we are over there. Sit down and talk with a few Muslims from the middle east and ask them if Osama or anybody else would continue to attack us if we would quit being the body guard of Isreali rambos and left the middle east. If the Chinese Government were here we’d do the same. It’s a corny old movie, but you probably remember the movie RED DAWN from the 1980’s. In the movie the Soviets invaded us, blew stuff up, shot things up etc. What did everybody in the movie do? They grabbed a gun fought with every resourse they could. When you watched that movie, did you ask yourself “Why do these people hate the Soviets?” Did you wonder “If the Soviets left, do you think that these people would chill out?”

I am in no way saying that Muslims are dogs. By no means. But follow me for a moment.

Why did the dog bite?
You kicked him.
Why does he keep biting?
You keep kicking him?
What can I do to make him stop biting me?
Quit kicking him.
Have I hurt the dog?
I want to help the dog.
I think the dog would prefer you just get out of his yard.

If the Soviets came here and either destroyed our government or started a civil war, would to accept any peace that was on their terms? No, pushing them out of your country would be your one and only focus. You would say, I hope, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Are Americans the only ones who are allowed to feel this way? We could have stayed with Great Britain and had peace. We could have stayed with Great Britain and had security. We could have stayed with Great Britain and had protection. We didn’t want it.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Aquila said...

The U.S. does not want instability in Iraq. I do think the difficulty of securing Iraq was perhaps underestimated. As for the mistake of disbanding the Iraqi Army, the military often does things that make absolutely no sense. Isn't there a saying, there's a right way a wrong way and the Army way?

Part of our interest in Iraq is oil. We depend on oil, and we need stability in the Middle East so that oil is cheap and we have access to it. If there is stability in the Middle East it is a win-win situation: we buy their oil, they have economic prosperity, we have oil, everybody is happy. If they get a taste of economic prosperity, they will want to be allies rather than enemies and they will form more democratic governments. The present situation in Iraq is not in line with what the Bush administration wants.

The problem is that President Bush is caught between the need to send sufficient troops to Iraq, and the fact that Americans are tired of the war because we haven’t been attacked recently. The invasion of Iraq was too successful in that it drew Al qaeda’s fire away from the continental United States. Now that Bush has made America safe, nobody is interested in finishing the job in Iraq.

The reason that support of Al qaeda has risen and we are being attacked in Iraq is that the attackers are being paid. These people are extremely poor and Al quaeda is willing to pay them handsomely. Once we are successful in Iraq, it will be a major watershed as people in the other Arab countries see what the Iraqis have.

Civis said...


Thanks for posting. You bring up some interesting arguments. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to take a little hiatus, but I'd like to come come back to your points. Hope you can stick around. Everybody else feel free to comment.


Civis said...


Sorry it took so long to reply.

While I think your arguments are pulled from thin air and not from fact, I must congradulate you for offering an plausible argument in favor of the war and some of our current policy.

RE the Army doing stupid things, you have a very good point. I can't deny that. However, although I will grant that in itself it does not prove my point RE instability (i.e. it could be explained as plain dumb thinking), it is suspicious.

But if we want stability in Iraq for oil, as you say, how do you explain that we have shifted loyalties to always back the underdog in middle east disputes.

I think it is too soon to say that the Iraq war drew the fire away from the continental U.S. Also, the flip of your argument is that we have given Bib Ladin what he wants: easy targets, nearby where he is in his element and we are not.

As for the attackers being paid and poor. In actual fact, the majority of terrorists are middle to upper class. Look at the people who carried out the 911 events, look at the doctor who was recently arrested.