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chucK

Bush lied, people died...

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PP - ChucK thought we might talk about this topic without going back to the earlier debate over whether they lied in the first place, but you apparently cannot.

 

Mattp – Are you being serious? Read this excerpt from one of my posts earlier in the thread:

 

"Oh Iain I am not arguing against Bush and Co. telling falsehoods. I am saying that the imminent canard is a lie and I am asking a serious question about falsehoods in political debates. Since Bush and Co were telling untruths why don’t we expose directly the untruths? Why rely on new untruths? Wouldn’t that help to purify the whole political process? I say let honesty prevail! Let hypocrisy if it exists die! Let's all lift the debate!"

 

I added the emphasis so that you can see I am not disagreeing with the claim of lies. My first words here were “Good post ChucK!” My next sentence started with “I would throw into the mix…” A hint I was adding new yet related questions.

 

As suggested above Chuck's post inspired a related question in my mind. In reading Chuck’s post it is clear he is associating “imminent threat” with the Bush lies. The continued repetition of what I call the “imminent threat canard” is itself a lie. (Sidebar: Bush clearly stated in his SOTU address that the nation needed to act before the threat was imminent - this is to my mind is a far more over reaching position than simply responding to an imminent threat) My first questions were simple and inspired by Chuck - Is it ok to disregard facts or is that itself a lie and is it ok to lie in spray. Of course these are really part of a broader question than his because what I am really asking is: is it ok to lie in everyday political discourse. I was not and am not denying that Bush and Co. lied over WMDs and Iraq. Since you seem to be finding me defending Bush and Co. against the lie claim, I ask you to show me any such defense in this thread so that I can correct it.

 

Why do I think this is an interesting question? My answer goes beyond simply wanting to correct a lie. Checkout the link I posted showing linkages between political book sales on Amazon.com. In many ways we are possibly becoming a bifurcated society. In the past when the only source of information was gossip or the local paper we all had the same facts/distortions. Now we have the appearance of choice but our actions seem to indicate that we are splitting into two separate camps based on our ideological predisposition. Membership in each side is shown by the repetition of codewords and phrases which have replaced the coats of arms of the middle ages. Facts are no longer merely “facts.”

 

PP bigdrink.gif

 

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PP-

 

Now it's my turn to say "are you serious?"

Bush and co verly clearly said that the Iraqi's had wmd's and missiles and all this scary stuff; they told us Saddam had an active nuclear and biological weapons program, and links with al queda, and etc. They clearly presented a picture intended to suggest that if we did not attack when we did, we would be instead be responding to the use of a nuclear device in Washington DC or something equally horrific. All of this was offered as our justification for going to war at a time when our European friends were asking us to give more time for sanctions and inspections, and many in Congress were asking why we couldn't even wait another 6 months but instead had to go to war right away. They made it sound very ominous and imminent, and they certainly did not say anything like "we've got him surrounded and we have little hard evidence that he is actually preparing to or equipped to attack anybody at this point -- we just think he's a bad guy and he would hurt us if he could."

 

Your rebuttal of chucK's point was largely a red herring in that you were arguing how they didn't lie about the imminency blah blah blah while Chuck specifically said that the nature or extent of Bush's lying was not his point. (Unlike a canard, a red herring is a true or at least arguably true statement, but one that serves mostly to distract rather than clarify or contribute to the discussion.)

 

You have very successfully turned the conversation away from the question of "when it is OK to lie to the American public about why we are going to war?"

Edited by mattp

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if they lied about going to Iraq what is the real truth about going to Mars and the Moon? Does Haliburton hope to achieve a green cheese monopoly? Is the red planet going to be repainted red, white and blue? confused.gif

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PP-

 

Now it's my turn to say "are you serious?"

Bush and co verly clearly said that the Iraqi's had wmd's and missiles and all this scary stuff; they told us Saddam had an active nuclear and biological weapons program, and links with al queda, and etc. They clearly presented a picture intended to suggest that if we did not attack when we did, we would be instead be responding to the use of a nuclear device in Washington DC or something equally horrific. All of this was offered as our justification for going to war at a time when our European friends were asking us to give more time for sanctions and inspections, and many in Congress were asking why we couldn't even wait another 6 months but instead had to go to war right away. They made it sound very ominous and imminent, and they certainly did not say anything like "we've got him surrounded and we have little hard evidence that he is actually preparing to or equipped to attack anybody at this point -- we just think he's a bad guy and he would hurt us if he could."

 

Your rebuttal of chucK's point was largely a red herring in that you were arguing how they didn't lie about the imminency blah blah blah while Chuck specifically said that the nature or extent of Bush's lying was not his point. (Unlike a canard, a red herring is a true or at least arguably true statement, but one that serves mostly to distract rather than clarify or contribute to the discussion.)

 

You have very successfully turned the conversation away from the question of "when it is OK to lie to the American public about why we are going to war?"

 

Nice articulate post, Matt! thumbs_up.gif

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PP-

 

Now it's my turn to say "are you serious?"

Bush and co verly clearly said that the Iraqi's had wmd's and missiles and all this scary stuff; they told us Saddam had an active nuclear and biological weapons program, and links with al queda, and etc. They clearly presented a picture intended to suggest that if we did not attack when we did, we would be instead be responding to the use of a nuclear device in Washington DC or something equally horrific. All of this was offered as our justification for going to war at a time when our European friends were asking us to give more time for sanctions and inspections, and many in Congress were asking why we couldn't even wait another 6 months but instead had to go to war right away. They made it sound very ominous and imminent, and they certainly did not say anything like "we've got him surrounded and we have little hard evidence that he is actually preparing to or equipped to attack anybody at this point -- we just think he's a bad guy and he would hurt us if he could."

 

Your rebuttal of chucK's point was largely a red herring in that you were arguing how they didn't lie about the imminency blah blah blah while Chuck specifically said that the nature or extent of Bush's lying was not his point. (Unlike a canard, a red herring is a true or at least arguably true statement, but one that serves mostly to distract rather than clarify or contribute to the discussion.)

 

You have very successfully turned the conversation away from the question of "when it is OK to lie to the American public about why we are going to war?"

 

Mattp -

 

Egads! I wasn’t rebutting Chucks point. I was asking some new but related questions. Actually after being inspired by him I could care less about his point. I wonder why you did not use yourself as an example of a red herring. (see the excerpt from your post I have highlighted in red!)

 

A Mattp quote:

”PP - ChucK thought we might talk about this topic without going back to the earlier debate over whether they lied in the first place, but you apparently cannot.”

 

I think you are being very clear here. In my response to your post I asked you to point out where you thought I was denying that Bush & Co lied. You did not. I think you did not because you cannot. Could this be one of those red herrings? Oh wait no it is not because by your definition a red herring is a true or arguable true statement.

 

Another Mattp quote: “Your rebuttal of chucK's point was largely a red herring in that you were arguing how they didn't lie about the imminency blah blah blah while Chuck specifically said that the nature or extent of Bush's lying was not his point. (Unlike a canard, a red herring is a true or at least arguably true statement, but one that serves mostly to distract rather than clarify or contribute to the discussion.)”

 

Now there is a red herring! Sadly I was not rebutting Chuck’s point. As I have said several times: Bush and Co lied.

 

Chuck’s choice of words was purposeful. He could have simply asked his question as follows: "when it is OK to lie to the American public about why we are going to war?" I was inspired to wonder why he chose to structure his query as he did especially since the words he chose seemed to increase the chances that the question he was asking would be overshadowed the question of whether Bush & Co. did lie. His choice words struck me as part and parcel of the phenomena I described in my response to your earlier post. Call me guilty of thread drift and I will plead guilty.

 

PP bigdrink.gif

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"Well okay, he did lie, but just this one time and now he is done with it. It's the honest truth!"

 

hahaha.gif

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What are you talking about here, PP? I can't follow you.

 

Didn't you assert that chucK was lying himself when he stated that Bush and co had lied about the imminent threat. Isn't the "canard" a false statement?

 

I attempted to address how, your discussion of the meaning of the word "imminent" aside, that they in fact did try to make it sound like an imminent threat when they made their case that we had to go to war BEFORE the summer came and we couldn't wait for more inspections or negotiation or until our allies or the UN might want to join us. This is where you said they didn't lie, but in this matter I believe they clearly did -- through a complex combination of lies of commission and lies of ommission.

 

?????

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"they in fact did try to make it sound like an imminent threat when they made their case that we had to go to war BEFORE the summer came and we couldn't wait for more inspections or negotiation or until our allies or the UN might want to join us."

 

The not wanting to wait for summer thing had to do with tactical and operational problems with the operation of equipment and the burden on the individual soldier. Desert fighting in winter is easier on soldliers and equipment. This saves lves of the man on the ground.

 

Using the weather and terrain to your benefit and the detriment of youyr eneimies is important. I can se the brass at the Pentagon saying, If we're going, lets go now"

 

Also, the cold and windy weather eleiminates Bio weaposn entirely and pretty much eleminates checmical weapons (though not nearly as mucjh).

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I can se the brass at the Pentagon saying, If we're going, lets go now"

 

That's the point I made above: THAT is the discussion we should have been having. Instead of telling us "we gotta act now before he attacks us with devastating consequences" they should have been presenting a case about how we were going to have to go sooner or later and then was as good of a time as any (or maybe better for tactical or other reasons).

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Please note that the following comments were made prior to troop deployment.

 

The Iraq threat: what the Bush Administration said

BY ROLAND WATSON IN WASHINGTON

 

 

 

George Tenet, the director of the CIA, said today that Iraq posed "no imminent threat" to America in the months leading up to the US-led invasion. This is what senior members of the Bush Administration said about the threat in the build up to war.

 

 

 

"The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency." – President Bush, White House Rose Garden, October 2, 2002

 

"The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq." – President Bush, weekly radio address, November 23, 2002.

 

"What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or willful blindness." – Dick Cheney, Vice-President, national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nashville, Tennessee, August 26, 2002.

 

"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq." – Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary, on Capitol Hill, September 2002.

 

"Well, of course he is." – Dan Bartlett, White House communications director, when asked if Saddam was an imminent threat to US interests, January 26, 2003.

 

"Absolutely." – Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman, when asked to confirm that the US had gone to war "because we said that these weapons were a direct and imminent threat to the United States? Isn't that true?", May 7, 2003.

 

"Another way to look at this is if Saddam Hussein holds a gun to your head even while he denies that he actually owns a gun, how safe should you feel?" – Ari Fleischer, October 9, 2002.

 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1-990726,00.html

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What are you talking about here, PP? I can't follow you.

 

Didn't you assert that chucK was lying himself when he stated that Bush and co had lied about the imminent threat. Isn't the "canard" a false statement?

 

I attempted to address how, your discussion of the meaning of the word "imminent" aside, that they in fact did try to make it sound like an imminent threat when they made their case that we had to go to war BEFORE the summer came and we couldn't wait for more inspections or negotiation or until our allies or the UN might want to join us. This is where you said they didn't lie, but in this matter I believe they clearly did -- through a complex combination of lies of commission and lies of ommission.

 

?????

 

Mattp - I think you made an unsupportable claim when you said I was arguig whether Bush & Co lied. Had this claim been more believable it might have been considered a red herring. In your second post you spent more time discussing red herrings than arguing about the lies Bush & Co made. This I say is was in fact a red herring.

 

Didn't Bush explicitly state in the SOTU address just prior to the war that Iraq was not an imminent threat? He said we could not wait until it was. This clear unequivocal statement made on live TV before the entire Congress trumps any other argument. I could go back an find other quotes but why bother. Whatever your definition of imminent is Bush stated that Iraq was not an iminent threat. Case closed. Of course the & Co. part of Bush & Co. can be exteneded to unreasonable lenghts, so if you look far enough you might be able to find a quote using the "I" word.

 

As far a Chuck telling a lie - that is an open question. As a strictly factual matter I say he is not telling the truth. My questions were serious ones. In our culture have facts lost meaning and become merely code words and banners we fly in battle? If our information sources are limited to only "Blue or Red" books (see my link) are we in essence showing a gross disregard for the truth to the point where we become liars? Those are my questions. Gotta run. Bye - HOT DATE!

 

PP bigdrink.gif

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Please note that the following comments were made prior to troop deployment.

 

The Iraq threat: what the Bush Administration said

BY ROLAND WATSON IN WASHINGTON

 

cheers

 

PP

 

 

 

George Tenet, the director of the CIA, said today that Iraq posed "no imminent threat" to America in the months leading up to the US-led invasion. This is what senior members of the Bush Administration said about the threat in the build up to war.

 

 

 

"The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency." – President Bush, White House Rose Garden, October 2, 2002

 

"The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq." – President Bush, weekly radio address, November 23, 2002.

 

"What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or willful blindness." – Dick Cheney, Vice-President, national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nashville, Tennessee, August 26, 2002.

 

"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq." – Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary, on Capitol Hill, September 2002.

 

"Well, of course he is." – Dan Bartlett, White House communications director, when asked if Saddam was an imminent threat to US interests, January 26, 2003.

 

"Absolutely." – Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman, when asked to confirm that the US had gone to war "because we said that these weapons were a direct and imminent threat to the United States? Isn't that true?", May 7, 2003. When did US troops cross into Iraq?

 

"Another way to look at this is if Saddam Hussein holds a gun to your head even while he denies that he actually owns a gun, how safe should you feel?" – Ari Fleischer, October 9, 2002.

 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1-990726,00.html

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Sorry PP, I can only repeat my prior statement. When they told us that the Iraqi's had wmd's and missiles and all this scary stuff, when they told us Saddam had an active nuclear and biological weapons program, and links with al queda, and etc., and when they said he would arm terrorists and that if we waited for a smoking gun it might come in the form of a mushroom cloud, they very clearly wanted us to believe there was an imminent threat. When he said in the SOU speech that there was no imminent threat but a clear and gathering one, he apparently knew there was no "imminent" threat but he certainly wasn't trying to reassure us that we had nothing to worry about in the short term. He did not belabor the point, and he most likely calculated that nobody would change their impression of an imminent danger in response to a half sentence in an hour-long speech - and the statement really did nothing to correct the mis-impression that he and his buddies had worked so hard to promote.

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But why leave things to hazard? When in doubt, don't you crack open the dictionary and thesaurus?

 

Are you suggesting that Bush did not say that a threat was "about to take place", "threatening over our heads","approaching, coming, nearing, upcoming; brewing, gathering; pending; likely, possible, probable; ineluctable, inescapable, inevasible, inevitable, unavoidable, unescap-able", "in prospect, in store, in the cards, in the offing, in the wind", "menacing, overhanging, threatening", "alarming, ominous, sinister; brewing, gathering"?

 

http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=imminent&x=16&y=17

 

http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/thesaurus?book=Thesaurus&va=imminent&x=16&y=16

 

(Darn etymologists, like those bugger scientists they don't quite toe the line when you need it most, don't they?)

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No, it is not all right to lie to the public in order to muster support for a war. If lies are required in order to rally sufficient support, it follows that there is not sufficient public support for the war. The president must then either forgo the invasion due to lack of support, or commit American troops abroad, against the will of the public. However, most politicians don't seem to operate this way. For sure Bush and Co. behave as if they can convince the public of ANYTHING. So far, they have been mostly correct. IMO a significant portion of the American public is responsible for this debacle as well as the Presidential administration. I still don't understand why more citizens do not grasp the huge implications of the United states invading and occupying a foreign nation, going it alone in defiance of international opinion, because the president says that leader X is bad and might pose a threat someday.

I do not feel that Bush is evil on the order of Hitler. But if you reduce this country's actions in Iraq to their essence-- how they will be read 50, 100 years from now-- they appear on the surface not too different from certain activities of...Nazi Germany. Or, to use a different analogy, the USA in Iraq has behaved like the Southern sheriffs in the 1960s, arresting and beating up civil rights activists who had committed no crimes, justifying this brutal behavior because "You could tell they was goin' to commit a crime". (Check out RFK interviewing these hayseeds in Federal court. It's part of history.)

This is thread drift, I know. But my big question to the public, come November, is: Is it all right for the USA to behave like Nazi Germany, because Bush and Cheney are good and Hitler and Goebbels were bad?

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Here is a somewhat new link of the continued imminent lie

 

link

 

Peter,

Your link discusses an out-of-context quote made by one party. Scroll down a few inches and read that your link provides some information leading to validity of the Bush administration labelling the threat as "imminent".

 

This quote found by clicking on a link at Peter's link:

 

October 16, 2002

 

QUESTION: Ari, the President has been saying that the threat from Iraq is imminent, that we have to act now to disarm the country of its weapons of mass destruction, and that it has to allow the U.N. inspectors in, unfettered, no conditions, so forth.

 

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes.

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The soldiers, marines, and civilians in Iraq are doing a great job to insure that whatever mess the administration may have created has a happy ending for the people of Iraq. Despite what the news media portays there are so many success stories, and a lot of Iraqi's pleased to be staring a happier future in the making. Actually a very fine people with a proud history.

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Given this premise, is it justified to lie to the public in order to promote something as serious as a war?

 

Roseevelt lying to congress for lend lease appropriations by almost all accounts helped saved Britan and prepare the US militarily for what was coming down the road. It is the reason you are not speaking German today.

 

The short answer is yes.

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The soldiers, marines, and civilians in Iraq are doing a great job to insure that whatever mess the administration may have created has a happy ending for the people of Iraq.

 

I bet you're right that many many of them are trying to do just that, and I hope we are giving them sufficient support. I sincerely hope that niether Iraq or Afghanistan end up worse off than they were before.

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Since Bush and Co were telling untruths why don’t we expose directly the untruths?

 

Of course these are really part of a broader question than his because what I am really asking is: is it ok to lie in everyday political discourse. I was not and am not denying that Bush and Co. lied over WMDs and Iraq.

 

In many ways we are possibly becoming a bifurcated society. In the past when the only source of information was gossip or the local paper we all had the same facts/distortions. Now we have the appearance of choice but our actions seem to indicate that we are splitting into two separate camps based on our ideological predisposition. Membership in each side is shown by the repetition of codewords and phrases which have replaced the coats of arms of the middle ages. Facts are no longer merely “facts.”

 

So your last statement reminds me of what Nietzsche said, "There are not facts, but only interpretation." Now, one's interpretation usually shows identity with a larger political body, an action that I find interesting in a psychological sense when you take a stand as an article of faith to a political authority as if it were a political religion.

 

In a sense we are dealing with a political religion because there is a sizable amount of influence on the Bush administration from a neoconservative philosophy informed largely by the ideas of the late Leo Strauss. Strauss understood the necessity of the lie as a political tool. So a policy of deception evolves where the masses would be deceived for their own good and to protect the ruling elite.

 

Strauss categoried people into three groups so the question of whether it is all right to deceive the people depends to whom you ask the question. Strauss used the term, noble lie, to refer to the perpetration of deception for a higher cause or what Straussian neoconservatives see as the higher cause. Their ideas show a contempt for the 'vulgar' masses (the "great unwashed") who are not fit to govern themselves.

 

"For Strauss, the rule of the wise is not about classic conservative values like order, stability, justice, or respect for authority. The rule of the wise is intended as an antidote to modernity. Modernity is the age in which the vulgar many have triumphed. It is the age in which they have come closest to having exactly what their hearts desire – wealth, pleasure, and endless entertainment. But in getting just what they desire, they have unwittingly been reduced to beasts." --- Source

 

As a side note, another major part of Strauss' philosophy is the need for secrecy. The secrecy exhibited by the Bush administration may be countered by calls from Democratic candidates Clark and Kerry for more transparency in the governmental process of decision-making.

 

Regarding deception, here's what Irving Kristol, a student of Strauss', says about the noble lie: "There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."

 

And, listen to what Kristol says about religion: "If God does not exist, and if religion is an illusion that the majority of men cannot live without...let men believe in the lies of religion since they cannot do without them, and let then a handful of sages, who know the truth and can live with it, keep it among themselves. Men are then divided into the wise and the foolish, the philosophers and the common men, and atheism becomes a guarded, esoteric doctrine - for if the illusions of religion were to be discredited, there is no telling with what madness men would be seized, with what uncontrollable anguish." -- Source

 

I suspect the Bush administration will never admit to lying or to an executed plan of deception whether they actually lied or not. It'll probably come down to an explanation how communications broke down, a series of misunderstandings revolving around such words as 'imminent' threat, Saddam's intent, etc., all of those justifications for war. And, all of those justifications for war will turn out to be nebulous after careful examination distanced from the heat of 911.

 

What name do we give to this? Plausible deniability.

 

Anyways, as far as political philosophy as justification for action, I came across something said by the conservative historian, Eric Voegelin. Voegelin talked about a phrase--'immanentize the eschaton'--which "refers, in technical theological language, to the heresy of the Gnostics, who wished to produce heaven on --this earth instead of postponing it until after death. Vogelin says this heresy underlies all forms of radicalism and rebellion, and he is probably right. Modern history is a war between Authority and Desire, and if Authority must demand submission, Desire will settle for nothing less than the attainment of its gratification." --- Source

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"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

~John Stuart Mill

 

 

My guess is that most of the political debaters on this thread have never been in a fight, never had the threat of danger (other than the real fight or flight kind associated with climbing) hanging over their head. The kind where someone is stalking you, and you have to figure them out before they get to you first or find you in a vulnerable position.

 

If you distill this debate down to it's simplist form it amounts to would you would fight for something you believe in no matter what the reason, or you would refuse to fight for something no matter what the cost. If the causes of the war were indeed fabricated (which is unlikely, and since I am the only poster on this board posting from Iraq I guess I have all of you on trumps for being here to begin with) then might the ends ultimately justify the means?

 

It seems like you are debating a dead horse created in an election year by those intent on building a case for their OWN AGENDA's. Namely a weakened democratic party. Looking backwards at this point serves nothing to bring this war to rapid fruition. We are in it. It is going on right now, even as you read this. I know. Not more than 2 hours ago I was flying over Baghdad watching the beginnings of a sizeable firefight and rocket attack. Another one of those nameless, faceless events that matter little to you, because to you the big picture is endlessly debating far from the actual events that in many many many ways do not REALLY effect you whatsoever.

 

Despite your angry grumblings and regal sounding edification you all end up right back where you began. The whole title of this thread seems to be misinformed because there is no way to prove that GWB lied.

 

True, people have died. I have seen some of them since I've been here with my own eyes. Good men and women. Young and filled with hopes and I am sure every one of them believed that they would not be the ones to be killed. I know I think about it everyday. It comes close, but close seems far away.

 

I hate to see you all arguing over something that seems to be nothing more than trivial bickering. What would seem better would be to contribute something to the people of Iraq who have suffered, but do not suffer anymore. This is by far the most beautiful of all the Muslim countries I have seen so far. There are riches here, and history, culture, rivers, forests of date palms. Beautiful women and strong able minded men. They have been freed from a dictator that has driven them to the brink of utter poverty with cruel policies and self centered ambitions. Many Americans, British and coalition troops have died to give these people something that you take for granted. Yet, you argue and bicker and divide amongst yourselves over the name of a party or an idea. There is no hope in this. There is no peace in this. Sometimes we have to do the right thing no matter what road we take to get there. We have done the right thing in this case, and in Afghanistan, and in many countries in the past. All of these news items are just words written by people who get paid to make words. The real Iraq is here. The real reasons for the war are here. I guess I really don't know exactly what I am trying to say other than you all should stop arguing over right and wrong and just try to be in this moment instead of outside of it.

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