"Would You Sacrifice Your Son for Fallujah?"

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Jeff Bergner, writing in The Washington Post, on "Michael Moore's non-question."

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  1. I think it’s a good thing that sometimes we don’t treat soldiers as if they were our own children:

    Commanding officer: Men, charge up that hill and take out that machine gun nest!

    Soldier: But sir! Would you send your own son on such a risky mission?

    Commanding officer: Well, no, I guess I couldn’t bring myself to do that. Okay, men, let’s go home.

  2. Its interesting that Reagan was also quite good at asking non-questions.

  3. Its interesting that Reagan was also quite good at asking non-questions.

    No it isn’t.

  4. Gary,

    You seem to like non-sequitors. What does Reagan have to do with Michael Moore? Did you know that Dan Kellog likes pasta?

  5. as much as i’d like to watch people punch moore in the face (or better yet, a documentary where i take him under my wing and teach him self defense, but really badly, and *then* they punch him) i think it’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask. pretending like overly emotional what ifs are somehow off limits in politics is absolutely fucking insane.

    (well, blinded by partisan stupidity)

    of all the combat veterans in my family, i don’t think any of them would punch moore in the face for asking that, though most of them think very little of him. they might even ask the same question.

  6. the post’s article is yet another exercize (so common here on this board, in fact) of reducing the point of the quesiton by abstracting and analyzing so that the question needn’t be answered.

    is moore asking the wrong guy? yes. does he phrase it confronatationally? yes. is the objective too narrow? yes. does it ignore the consequences? yes.

    but the point of the question remains. american soldiers are dying in foreign lands. american sons and daughters are dying. for what? wmd? oil? saddam? mahdi? empire? idealism? all of the above? it’s a legitimate question — and it goes to the heart of what in the fuck we’re doing there — to ask if our interests are still served by dying there.

  7. dhex,

    You have a point. The real pity is everyone’s complete apoplexy when it comes to answering these questions.

  8. Yes, because a punch in the eye will surely solve things.

    Much of Bergner’s piece makes good sense, but this li’l tidbit is off-kilter:

    “If Saddam Hussein’s tyranny is replaced by a decent government; if that new government becomes a working partner in changing the Middle East; and if this helps to prevent another major act of terrorism against the United States, are these not purposes that justify not blind “sacrifice” but at least a measure of personal risk?”

    Bergner, for all his principled criticism of Moore’s bad argumentative tactics, has, with this statement, devolved into the same game of basing justifications for actions (or lack thereof) on whether it’s “worth the risk”. Here, Bergner is not much better than Moore.

    A “measure of personal risk”? Why should that have anything to do with this? Should we really base our decisions to go to war on whether it’s worth the risk? If it was feasable to take over the globe with little to no risk, should we do it? As with most every other argument surrounding the war, it is devoid of principle, especially that embodied in the doctrine of the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America. Where, oh where, is the PRINCIPLE? If this truly was in self-defense, then where is that argument now? Where did it go? No, instead, the argumentative justification, in the absence of WMD’s, has devolved into some mishmash of “installing democracy” and “changing the middle east” and “freeing the poor Iraqi’s”. But the point remains, principally, that the only real justification for war against another sovereign nation is self-defense. Not saving poor foreigners from their self-inflicted fate. Not changing the entire civil structure of a massive portion of the world. Not removing a despot because he was mean.

    And that is why I was disappointed in Moore’s switcheroo during that interview. He made many good points, such as, if our justification was to remove an evil tyrant, then what about the 30 other evil tyrants? Also, if removing evil tyrants and saving foreigners from his wrath was the purpose, then what was all this about self-defense and WMD’s? Why not just lay it out to begin with? And finally, peoples all over the globe have risen up to defeat their despotic leader. If Iraqi’s turly wanted to get him out, they could have done it. One man cannot oppress an entire nation. The people must be complicit.

    But then he devolved into this value judgement nonsense regarding “sacrifice”. This isn’t about how much we’re willing to pay. The “sacrifices of inaction”, as Bergner puts it, is as much of a non-argument as Moore’s silly strawman.

    This risk judgement nonsense is all subjective, but there is one OBJECTIVE anchor, and that is the PRINCIPLES upon which this great republic was built. Friendly commercial relations with many, entangling alliances with none. Non-interventionism without being isolationist. It was our interventionist policies that put the target on our collective forehead to begin with…and our unprincipled actions only begat more unprincipled actions.

    So, while you are all sitting around twiddling your thumbs and worry about the “sacrifice of inaction” and “personal risk assessments”, take a break for a minute and think about the only objective anchor we have: principle. This has nothing to do with the risk vs. reward (as moore and bergner would have you believe) and everything to do with objective principles of the constitutional republic. Devoid of the bogus WMD’s, Hussein was as much of a “threat” as anyone else. And that is why the warmongors have resorted to bogus arguments like “If Saddam Hussein’s tyranny is replaced by a decent government; if that new government becomes a working partner in changing the Middle East; and if this helps to prevent another major act of terrorism against the United States, are these not purposes that justify not blind “sacrifice” but at least a measure of personal risk?” The funny thing is, outside of self-defense, there is no principled justification for this war.

  9. Maybe parents should be asked if they would sacrifice their sons to the joys of riding fast motorcycles?

    What’s particularly pathetic is that Moore got so much publicity about asking “congressmen” this question in his movie, but they only show him actually putting the question to one rep. Then they show him harrassing two others but they ignore him and try to avoid him so completely that he never even gets to coherently form his question. The film is framed as if they’re ducking the specific question, but unless they were tipped off by the first guy (who may not even have been asked the question first, and either way it’s unlikely), the nature of Moore’s question had no baring on why they were avoiding talking to him.

  10. dhex,

    Thank you for summing up my position. 🙂

    Willfellow,

    Hmm, when the owners of Hit n’ Run make non-sequitors verboten I’ll stop making them; and everyone else will too. Until then, I don’t see how any tangent is unreasonable.

  11. Gaius,

    Fair enough, however, there are plenty of forums where-in some astute observers ask the questions you mentioned to more appropriate people and meaningful debate ensues. Moore consistently fails. He asks poorly worded loaded questions to feeble, or otherwise inappropriate people, with the expectation of apoplexy. Thus, the criticism of Moore is justified. He does more of a disservice to anyone who might genuinely engaged or even curious.

  12. dhex,

    I wouldn’t say Moore’s question is “off-limits,” but I do think it’s silly. Suppose Moore asks you, and you answer “no.” What would his response be? “Well then, how can you ask soldiers in the U.S. military to undertake such a risk? After all, we should never ask soldiers to do anything we wouldn’t ask our own children to do.” If that’s Moore’s point (and I don’t see what else it could be), then it’s absurd. We can’t have an effective military if we’re not prepared to ask soldiers to do things we couldn’t bring ourselves to ask of our own children.

    gaius,

    You raise a good question: is the war in Iraq worth the cost in soldiers’ lives? Personally, I think the answer is no.

    But that’s not what Moore asked. He asked if the war in Iraq would be worth your own child’s life. That’s a different question, and it’s demagogic of him to pretend it’s the same question as the one you asked. I don’t think it’s overanalyzing things to point that out.

  13. Evan Williams,

    You raise good points, but such points were simply never intended to be addressed by the issue at hand.

    gaius marius,

    Ditto, you’re right that Americans are being killed and that this fact should be a part of the debate. But that doesn’t oppose the contention that Moore’s verbal tactics frame the question in an unfair and unhelpful way.

  14. Fyodor,

    What do you mean by that? Never “meant” to be addressed? Moore addressed them himself, just before he devolved into risk vs. reward valuations. Whether or not Moore, Bergner and O’Really? meant for the issues to be addressed is beside the point, and there is nothing implicit in this issue which would exclude “principle vs risk-reward”. Bergner makes the argument that the risk-reward argument is a non-argument. I agree. I just don’t see how this was never meant to be addressed. This is about more than just how Moore’s questions were “framed”.

  15. Should we really base our decisions to go to war on whether it’s worth the risk?

    Dude I think you missed the point. The risk involved is not the reason, it’s what you put up in order to attain a stable secular government between Saudi Arabia and Iran, get rid of a guy who enjoyed tossing his political opponents into threshers, etc. To say nothing of the fact that our war against Saddam never ended in the first place, you simply stopped paying attention. There was no cease-fire anywhere but in the hearts of doves.

    The same empty What-Are-We-Doing-Here questions were asked about NATO’s war in Yugoslavia. What were our boys dying for? It was an internal Yugoslavian manner; they just didn’t want any more Muslims. No reason for us to violate its sovreignty, right? It’s not like a bunch of Croats whose foreheads are just now losing their slope are going to bum rush our shores and take us out. But we were there anyway. Why?

    He asks poorly worded loaded questions to feeble, or otherwise inappropriate people, with the expectation of apoplexy.

    He injects this into his films, with the expectation that people will call them ground-breaking “documentaries”. He then sees that these dumbasses actually do call them “documentaries”. It encourages him.

  16. “We can’t have an effective military if we’re not prepared to ask soldiers to do things we couldn’t bring ourselves to ask of our own children.”

    you’re absolutely right in this sense. an effective military relies on many things people wouldn’t and obviously couldn’t do themselves. and it involves an ugliness that most people, at least when feeling somewhat rational and compassionate, would never want to wish on others.

    however, i do think the question takes on an interesting turn when directed towards someone who supported the war, or better yet, towards lawmakers who supported the war. that, in particular, seems not only fair but telling about the principles of power.

    much like stories about leaders of various palestinian organizations who have little trouble getting some poor kid to blow himself up on a bus yet balk at sending their own children to die. i’m sure mr. o’reilly sees the obvious double standard of power in that example, yet misses it in this one.

  17. RST:

    Well, Dude, I never said that the risk was the reason. My point was simply that it really should have no bearing on whether something is right or wrong. Principled tenets of the constitutional republic will do just fine.

    “it’s what you put up in order to attain a stable secular government between Saudi Arabia and Iran, get rid of a guy who enjoyed tossing his political opponents into threshers, etc.”

    That’s all well and good, dude, but, um, what ever happened to the principle of non-interventionism? Self-defense? Is it our duty/right to use our military might to, say, install a new government between Iran and SA? Is it any of our business whether Hussein enjoyed “tossing his political opponents into threshers”? We are not the world’s police force.

    To say nothing of the fact that our war against Saddam never ended in the first place, you simply stopped paying attention. There was no cease-fire anywhere but in the hearts of doves”

    Is that why Bush went through all the trouble to give him 48 hours, and then wage operation iraqi slaughter, then wave the “mission accomplished” banner above his head?

    “The same empty What-Are-We-Doing-Here questions were asked about NATO’s war in Yugoslavia. What were our boys dying for? It was an internal Yugoslavian manner; they just didn’t want any more Muslims. No reason for us to violate its sovreignty, right? It’s not like a bunch of Croats whose foreheads are just now losing their slope are going to bum rush our shores and take us out. But we were there anyway. Why?”

    “What are we doing here” is anything but an EMPTY QUESTION. It is the ultimate question, above all others. We should not have been involved in any of the interventionist blunders perpetrated by clin-ton. I’m sorry, but bad shit happens all the time. If only our government(s) would step back and allow voluntary free-market mercenaries to do the work on their own accord, perhaps things would be a little more balanced, and the true desires of the people would be expressed. Yes, it sucks that Genocide happens, but it is not the role of the United States of America to bail everyone out of their messes.

  18. I’d sacrifice Michael Moore

  19. to feeble, or otherwise inappropriate people, with the expectation of apoplexy.

    wellfellow (et al) — i’m no defender of moore and i concur with your general description of him.

    and this, intentionally or inadvertently, describes bill o’reilly to a tee. 🙂

  20. This is a complete crock. The idea of sacrificing sons (and later daughters) in the service of a national cause has been an accepted rhetorical device going back at least to the Greeks. It was rampant in the Civil War, and the topic of Lincoln’s (or somebody else’s) “Mrs. Bixby” letter. During both world wars the troops were widely refered to as “our boys.” Countless movies, from The Fighting Sullivans to Saving Private Ryan, have mined the idea of soldiers as sons. Every time the troops are deployed, talking heads marvel at the reminder of how young they are. Pro- and anti-war types throughout the ages have used “sacrificing our sons” as a forensic trope for their own side and against the other, and it’s always been accepted.

    Now Moore uses the phrase, and we’re suddenly supposed to take it as literally as the instructions for operating heavy machinery? Give me a fucking break!

  21. would you sacrifice your son for Fallujah?

    would you let me take your money and give it to someone else?

    would you want your teenage daughter to be knocked up by someone?

    would you ‘abort’ your beatiful children?

    The answer is ‘no’ (from any parent). So, what is the point of asking these questions? I am sure there are people who will defend me for asking them.

    Have read somewhere (WSJ online?) that there are disproportionately higher number of “children of the Congressmen/women” in the military. That should answer Moore.

    Two other points – the “children” are adults who volunteer for the profession. We don’t ask their parents’ preference everytime the military is deployed.

    Most of the soldiers who are fighting tend to think they are taking the risk, so their children can live in a better world. So asking someone if they would sacrifice their children is asinine.

  22. The odd thing is that question is often asked, but only in reference to the military.

    I would not want my son to become a policeman in Detroit, but I also think that Detroit needs policing. I would not want my son to be a garbageman, but I am not opposed to garbage collection in general.

    Why are these opinions not considered incongruent, but it is considered “hypocritical” to support a war without wanting your child to serve?

  23. dhex, I think the problem with the Palestinians in your example is that they support sacrificing children for the sake of murder, not that they value their own children more than other people’s children. What parent doesn’t?

    Other questions for Moore to ask:

    Would you fire your own child if he wasn’t making money for your company?

    Would you evict your own child if he fell behind in the rent?

    Would you deny your own child’s request for a kidney transplant?

    Would you report your own child to the police if you saw him shoplifting?

    Anyone who answers no to these questions forfeits his right to fire people, evict tenants, turn down requests for kidneys, or report thieves to the police.

  24. Tim C.,

    You do need a fucking break! Moore was not talking about the metaphorincal ‘our sons’ when he was asking the congressmen. He was saying ‘your son’ and was waving enlistment forms or some such shit for added effect – as if a parent could fill out the form and dispatch his son to Fallujah!

  25. He made many good points, such as, if our justification was to remove an evil tyrant, then what about the 30 other evil tyrants?

    Not to defend the war in Iraq particularly here, but “If you can’t do everything, you shouldn’t do anything” is just about the dumb-fuckiest of dumbfuck arguments.

    If Iraqi’s turly wanted to get him out, they could have done it. One man cannot oppress an entire nation. The people must be complicit.

    Six million Jews can’t be wrong!

  26. well noted, mr cavanaugh! i would continue to asset that the post’s analysis and abstraction is designed almost solely to avoid the question by obfuscation, not to elucidate.

    There was no cease-fire anywhere but in the hearts of doves.

    rst, i think part of mr moore’s point might be that perhaps there should have been/be.

    Yugoslavia. What were our boys dying for?

    i wasn’t in favor of this either, rst, but to say these are the same is reductive beyond being useful. there was an active civil war and ongoing genocide in the balkans. iraq was in stable shape — not the shape you probably wanted ideologically (at least once the war propaganda machine got going) but stable nonetheless — and well if brutally contained by any reasonable measure.

    but then i find reason often has little to do with global power games. as so it was here.

  27. Tim Cavanaugh wrote, “Pro- and anti-war types throughout the ages have used ‘sacrificing our sons’ as a forensic trope for their own side and against the other, and it’s always been accepted. Now Moore uses the phrase, and we’re suddenly supposed to take it as literally as the instructions for operating heavy machinery?”

    Well, yes, because Moore meant “son” in a literal sense. He wasn’t speaking metaphorically, as you suggest. If he meant “son” as simply an emotionally-loaded term for “U.S. soldier,” the whole question loses its rhetorical point.

  28. Now Moore uses the phrase, and we’re suddenly supposed to take it as literally as the instructions for operating heavy machinery?

    When the man is walking around trying to hit Congresspeople up with enlistment forms and a recruiter, I think we can take it for granted that he means it literally. And it’s exactly stuff like that that led Hitchens to call it “a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness.”

  29. what is the point of asking these questions?

    i think there is a point, and the point is that people have stopped believing that this question needs to be asked in this way.

    most americans — nowadays well propagandized and slaves to Big Ideas they once were so critical of when they were less emancipated, personally responsible and locally-minded — have stopped thinking of the american kids in the army as kids. they think of The Army, like they think of Democracy and Freedom. it’s an abstraction, a nebulous tool, a concept. and that enables folks to quit feeling guilty about ordering the dogs of war to be loosed and yes, the sons of american parents to their deaths. free from difficult guilt — another step for Emancipation!

    it cannot be denied — moore’s quesiton is hard for most to answer because most of us deny that The Army really is a bunch of kids from des moines and tulsa and such places. to be reminded of that makes us all very uncomfortable, imo, because none of us would sacrifice our kids or anyone’s kids to put a half-assed democracy in baghdad — we don’t give a fuck about iraqis or baghdad (as we show by our indifference to their ongoing insurgency and wholesale slaughter). japanese armies invading hawaii or california — we would have for that, i think. but that is a far cry indeed from upending a tin-pot dictator without an army.

    but the war was sold romantically on abstractions to lessen the discomfort. we heard about Saddam and Dictatorship — again, more abstractions — and how they are antithetical to Democracy and Freedom and Human Rights. we heard about The Army and how powerful and precise they are. we heard about Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism. the *entire debate* was about abstractions — all conveniently masking the painful truth (underlying moore’s useless personal hubris) of the basic question.

    he, whatever his faults, understands that, if americans asked themselves this simple question about their kids and the kids of their friends and neighbors — instead of rambling on about Democracy and Weapons — we would never have gone.

  30. Why are these opinions not considered incongruent, but it is considered “hypocritical” to support a war without wanting your child to serve?

    well said, alton, but in this case there is a difference — the cops and garbagemen act locally. they do things that we need/want done here at home. i would have no problem with my son serving if i knew that the execution of his duty against foreign armies would be similarly limited — if it came to that, i’d join myself.

  31. To give Mr. Cavanaugh some credit, his general thrust is correct. This “son” trope has been used, both literally and metaphorically, through the ages. And while demanding a yes or no answer to Moore’s question isn’t exactly fair (in an “are you still beating your wife” manner) it -isn’t- a ridiculous question. I can easily imagine a war scenario where I wouldn’t want to send anyones son, and one in which I would want to send my own son. With a bit of a mental stretch, I could even imagine a war scenario where I would want to send -your- son, but not my own. Of course, ‘fessing up to that last is not something any sane politician would do.

  32. Just to toss some gasoline on the fire….

    Michael Moore’s I Am Not An Asshole

  33. It seems like the only people who have a problem with this “non-question” are people who are in favor of Bush’s war in Iraq.

    I say fuck Fallujah… prove to me that anyone from that dusty shithole ever harmed a hair on an American’s head before the war… maybe then I’ll give it a second thought.

    Pro-Bush-pro-war assholes like to hide themselves in the cracks of “non-question” reasoning all the while fumbling blindly over Moore’s point: Are we, or are we not better off for having added the word Fallujah to both our vocabulary and the death certificates of American soldiers?

    And if you’re keeping score for who asks the most “non questions” the O’Reily should be shouted off the airwaves… he’s the biggest fucking war hag of them all… screw him.

  34. “It seems like the only people who have a problem with this “non-question” are people who are in favor of Bush’s war in Iraq.”

    Yeah, that’s what it is, will…

    Well, except for those who have a problem with the question and don’t support the war.

  35. Gaius,

    Don’t assume that all pro-war people have the same xenophobic attitued that you do. In fact, I do give a fuck about Iraqis. I’ve always (well, since Gulf War I, and I was 14 years old then, so I wasn’t really paying attention before that) thought that we should free them from Saddam’s rule.

    The hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people murdered by Saddam are not an abstraction. Do I think it’s worth American lives to stop these tragedies? Yes. Was this war worth it? Too early to tell.

    Just saying, “Saddam was bad” doesn’t in itself justify the war. On the other hand, you can’t just brush off the fact that we removed a murderous dictator. It’s something that I think any intellectually honest war opponent has to address.

    Unless you’re a pacifist or a pure isolationist. Those are intellectually consistent ways to oppose the war, but their moral underpinnings are so different from mine that I find it argue to argue with them. I mean, I think Iraqi lives to matter. Some people think they don’t. How are we going to debate that?

  36. Maybe that question as worded is too glib, but the basic point remains: Bush and his supporters keep declaring that removing Saddam Hussein was “woth it”. By what moral authority did Bush have the right to sacrifice 1000 American soldiers, not to mention who knows how many thousands of Iraqis, to achieve a geopolitical startegic objective?

    It would be one thing if the war was aimed at repelling a direct threat (so that the cost of inaction was clear) which was not the case, or if the war was aimed at averting ongoing mass-murder, which again was not the case (and before everyone starts shrieking about mass-graves, please produce some evidence that goes back less than 10 years-it was already too late to stop the gassing of the Kurds in the 80s or the slaughter of the Shiites in the early 90s).

    All that’s left is a general assertion that the world is “safer” and “more peaceful” because of the war, and that in the long run lives will be saved. Leaving aside the fact that that assertion is very dubious (I think it’s actually ridiculous), what right did Bush have to cause bloodshed now on the theory that the world would hopefully end up better?

  37. Will wrote, “It seems like the only people who have a problem with this ‘non-question’ are people who are in favor of Bush’s war in Iraq.”

    That’s not true. I have a problem with Moore’s question (see my comments above), and I am opposed to the war in Iraq.

    Will continued, “And if you’re keeping score for who asks the most ‘non questions’ the O’Reily should be shouted off the airwaves.”

    Is that your defense of Moore? That he’s no worse than Bill O’Reilly?

    Silly rhetoric debases the level of discourse, no matter who’s engaging in it. And I don’t think Moore helps things by advancing bad arguments for a good cause.

  38. Micheal Moore is a disgusting liar, America basher and limosine liberal.

    Why anyone would take his question seriously is beyond me. Since we have a professional military and their job is to take risks supporting the interests of the US all over the world.

    I spent two tours in viet nam and did not volunteer for them. I was a Marine and that was where I was sent. It was my job. If my son joins the military I would expect him to take the same risks.

  39. If you take Michael Moore seriously, then you must perforce take Stuttering John literally — and you’re in real trouble.

  40. Russel:

    “I think the problem with the Palestinians in your example is that they support sacrificing children for the sake of murder”

    What a load of crap. The Palestinians were not sacrificing their children before the establishment of Israel and the subsequent Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

  41. “anon:”

    If you say so, but I don’t see how that makes what I wrote “a load of crap.”

  42. Russell Hanneken,

    “a load of crap” is a little (a lot) heavy handed for my tastes.
    I just didn’t like how you generalized ALL Palestinians to being Murderers.

    you facist pig…

    heh heh…

    Mel make more God Movies!!!!! Please!!!!

  43. Domini wrote, “I just didn’t like how you generalized ALL Palestinians to being Murderers.”

    I didn’t. I wrote, “the Palestinians in your [i.e., dhex’s] example,” not “all Palestinians.” dhex’s example referred to Palestinians who encourage children to blow themselves up.

  44. Russell,

    You are right. My bad…

    “roger that tower, flight path-return to handle, roger…”

    beep…

  45. Hadayn,

    Your larger point notwithstanding…

    “and before everyone starts shrieking about mass-graves, please produce some evidence that goes back less than 10 years-it was already too late to stop the gassing of the Kurds in the 80s or the slaughter of the Shiites in the early 90s”

    …has to be the worst arguement I’ve heard to date. If a criminal commits murder after murder, could one say, then,

    “it is already too late to stop those murders, show me something more recent.”

    What difference does the date make? We could argue all day about whether or not it was the US’s responsibilty to stop Saddam, but the date of the crimes should make no difference.

  46. I wouldn’t want my daughters to join in the fight in Iraq, but… I would be more than happy to send Michael Moore (The Democratic propagandaist) into combat. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine that Moore would be capable of little more than crying like a coward (girlie-boy) in front of any warrior. Maybe my girls should just kick his fat traitor ass and get it over with?

  47. Serious question: for those of you who think the Iraq war was a good thing for various reasons (i.e. getting rid of a murderous dictator who could possibly pose a threat to the US), is there a single justification for war with Iraq that doesn’t apply even more strongly to North Korea?

    Even if one accepts that we have the right and the manpower to rid the world of all dangerous evils, shouldn’t Kim Jong-Il have been given priority over Saddam Hussein? Millions of people starving to death or being otherwise murdered by their government, nuclear weapons which we know for a fact exist, same level of responsibility for 9-11. . . .

    I do not mourn the lost reign of Hussein, but even apart from the administration’s lies I feel it’s a luxury we can’t currently afford until AFTER we handle more pressing issues.

  48. “What difference does the date make? We could argue all day about whether or not it was the US’s responsibilty to stop Saddam, but the date of the crimes should make no difference.”

    Certainly it should make no difference to a court of law or to anyone evaluating the overall evil and devastation of Saddam’s regime, but for those who argue that Iraq was a humanitarian intervention (a concept toward which I’m very sympathetic although skeptical about its application) it is a huge difference: the urgency of intervening is diminished if the crime is not ongoing.

    I can understand the argument that saving thousands of Kurdish lives would have been worth some American blood, but I cannot understand the argment that putting Saddam Hussein on trial for crimes already committed is worth American blood.

  49. This whole “would you sign your child up” bit is quite possibily one of the stupidest things Michael Moore has ever said, and Michael Moore is a man who cannot open his mouth without something stupid coming out.

    I would pay good money to see anyone who’s freely enlisted in the military, without Mommy or Daddy “signing them up,” punch Moore in the eye for saying that.

  50. I feel it’s a luxury we can’t currently afford until AFTER we handle more pressing issues.

    I feel that elective wars like Iraq that are not necessary for our security are tragedies that we can never afford.

    I am also not discouraged because Michael Moore, someone who has little appreciation for liberty and has mastered the art of deceiving without actually lying, happens to be on my side on this issue.

    There are better movies about the Iraq war:

    http://www.mef.tv/index.php?agent=E1001M100904

    and more principled opponents of the Iraq war:

    http://www.antiwar.com/

  51. If Saddam and al Qaeda and/or its affiliates were in cahoots, then Hussein’s regime deserved the ass-kicking it got. The evidence for that “if” does not stretch to active participation in the 9/11 attacks, but to the extent the Ba’athists and the Islamofascists were enabling subsequent or previous harm to the USA, I would back the attack. If that evidence was too sketchy, I would have waited. The WMD was, essentially, a side issue that was more important in regards to threats to Iraq’s neighbors. Stupidly, various American presidents have made defense guarantees to states in the region that made threats to them “our business.” It is the classic problem of defending an unnaturally extended perimeter.

    The nation-building wasn’t necessary to defend the U.S., either. “Destroy the enemy’s war-making ability, hang a few war criminals, and get out of Dodge” would have been smarter, but, again, our web of official and unofficial alliances made that sort of approach problematic.

    Kevin

  52. MM: “Would you sir send your child to Iraq?”

    Me: “Well, that would be their fucking choice, wouldn’t it?”

  53. Jennifer, when the USA unleashes an all-out strategic attack against NK, you’ll be the very first to bemoan it (“How did they threaten us? Why didn’t we attack [some other dictatorship] first?” etc.)

    I’m sure that one consideration that’s stayed our sword so far is that when we hit NK, South Korea is going to have a very bad day. Another problem is China’s reaction.

    I’m looking forward to reading your outrage when Israel takes care of our Iran problem for us.

  54. The Palestinians were not sacrificing their children before the establishment of Israel and the subsequent Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians

    “Ethnic cleansing”? After fifty-plus years of “ethnic cleansing” the Palestinian population has dramatically increased. So much for the theory that Jews are smart and talented, I guess; they appear to be the most incompetent perpetrators of genocide in the history of the human race.

    Tell me, genius: the Jews lost 6,000,000 people during the five years of the Holocaust, while the Palestinians have lost 13,000 since 1948. Jews died at approximately five thousand times the rate that Palestinians have died during the Israeli “ethnic cleansing”. Yet the Jews didn’t train their children to be suicide bombers. They didn’t embrace the mass-murder of German children. So how can “ethnic cleansing” be the explanation for the Palestinian love of mass murder?

    Also, how do you reconcile your theory with the fact that Haj Amin al-Husseini, the leader of the Palestinians during the 1930s and 1940s, encouraged the Germans to come to Palestine and exterminate the Jews there? The Nazis even gave him funding. Are we to believe that it’s just a coincidence that Palestinian leaders have been advocating the genocide of Israeli Jews since before Israel was even founded? That there’s some *other* explanation for pre-1948 genocidal urges, while the *post*-1948 genocidal urges are the fault of the Israelis?

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