Thursday, June 07, 2007

Here I Go Again

Read at your own risk...

I have carefully mulled over each of Darko's points and wish to defend a few of them. See, this is the beauty of having your own blog. Darko's comments are relegated to the depths of Davy Jones' locker (down in the comments section of the last post), while I get to put my responses on the front page. ;-)

Let’s take this in bullet sized bites…from the top (if, by taking any of your points...yours are in italics...out of context, I have misconstrued your meaning, please correct me):

Let me launch my sloop and hope that I can carefully navigate through the waters.

Mission accomplished…I appreciate that you held back on the mud slinging. ;-)

As role models I have a strict self-imposed edict to choose only people that I know fairly well, so neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Clinton (nor, as a continuation any politician) would be folks I’d have up there as people to admire and follow.

I guess I view the role of the President a little differently. I believe that one of the primary roles of the President, as a statesman, is to lead the country. Part of any leadership position is to model acceptable behavior. When I vote, I base my vote as much on character as I do on issues. In fact, more so, because I know that while the President helps set the policy agenda, he (or she) does not set policy in a vacuum. However, in setting the tone of our government, which trickles down through the ranks and impacts policy, character is of utmost importance. So, while you may not choose any politician to serve as your role model, it is human nature to look to our leaders for example. Not everyone is wise enough to know better. ;-)

Did that (Clinton's) behavior, as you stated, precipitate terrorist acts against us “at least in part directed at the sort of morally reprehensible behavior by our former leader”?

I was a bit vague in my statement, for brevity’s sake. What I meant was that these terrorists are Islamic extremists whose religion finds American materialism and immorality repulsive. According to Islamic law, it is lawful to wage war against infidels and apostates. I don’t believe the terrorists flew those planes into our buildings to show Clinton a thing or two; I’m saying the terrorists hate us (in part) because we are infidels in their eyes (and Clinton’s behavior epitomized that).

I am not excusing Mr. Clinton for his behavior. Neither am I excusing our fine Congress of wasting our time and dollars sifting through Ms. Lewinsky’s blue dress.

Agreed. And agreed! The whole situation was an embarrassment and a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. Although his actions were inexcusable, the impeachment and all that followed only made matters worse by making a mockery of our entire government. I guess we should be thankful for the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan to keep the tabloid media where they belong…in Hollywood.

At the time of the 1st Gulf War, I didn’t understand why #41 halted our advance onto Baghdad when we had a chance to “clean up the mess”.

My understanding here is that we pulled out of Iraq only because Saddam agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction programs (presumably because, like you said, #41 knew it was better to give Saddam a chance to clean up his own house before we cleaned it up for him).

I supported and still support the military action against the Taliban government in Afghanistan. It was and still is a justifiable course of action.


Iraq, on the other hand, was a country I thought should not have been attacked.

There was never any clear proof of a tie-in with al-Qaeda nor with the terrorists of 9/11. Egypt and Saudi Arabia had a stronger tie-in to the self-immolating idiots commandeering the planes than Iraq did.

Hmm, the invasion of Iraq caught me off guard also, and for awhile I wondered why, since Iraq did not appear to be involved in the 9/11 attack. But when you consider that we already had troops in the Middle East, that we would really like to have a Democratic ally in the Middle East (most terrorists arise out of non-democratic countries, have you noticed? I know there are the freaks like Timothy McVay, but most of them act alone, not attending terrorist training schools together), that Saddam had a long history of tyrannical rule and violence (executing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, endorsing rape, torture, and murder as standard government fare, entering war with Iran in which over another million people died…need I go on?!), that Saddam had not complied with the agreements he made when #41 pulled out of the Persian Gulf War (even Clinton suggested that Saddam’s actions could not be allowed to go unchecked lest he gain further control and terror of the region with his WMDs), do you really think that going to war for the wrong reasons (i.e. WMDs that did not materialize, or terrorist activities that were not directly connected to the 9/11 attacks) makes the war unjust? I don’t think so. Millions of Iraqis have been freed from Saddam’s tyranny. The Americans who have died serving our country and the lives of those freed have died for a most honorable cause.

And yet, we as a nation were coldly and deliberately lied to by the administration and by #42 himself.

This is the one I hear over and over and over again, and frankly, I don’t see it. I really don’t. A lie is deliberate by definition and I don’t believe that Bush or anyone in the administration knew there were no WMDs when they claimed that there were. In fact, they had every reason to believe their Clinton-appointed CIA director, George Tenet, who said that it was a slam-dunk case that Saddam had WMDs (in fact, Bush took quite a bit of heat following 9/11 for NOT heeding Tenet's warning re: a general memo about Osama wanting to destroy America, so it probably seemed wise to respect Tenet’s judgment this time around). Add Iraq's history of WMDs, missile programs, clandestine nuclear activity, and the know-how to help other countries and terrorist organizations build WMDs, and I think we were justified in believing they existed. So really, I don't feel that the Administration lied to us about this.

I truly believe that Mr. Clinton still has quite a lot of the 6 ½ billion people out there in the world around us who admire him.

Sad, but true. That is the danger of charm and charisma.

Darn, I wish life was as easy to get into order as a sock drawer.

Me too!



At 6:30 AM, June 07, 2007, Blogger Rach said...

Well thought out and presented!

At 10:41 AM, June 07, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Thanks, Rach. I think it's time to move on to a lighter subject! ;-)

At 12:13 PM, June 07, 2007, Blogger DarkoV said...

Hey Gwynne,
This is almost verging on fun!? Personally, I think the best way to have one of these discussions is at a cozy spot where there’s a choice of 6-7 drafts and Chinese fare served as Wontons of Minor Distraction. You make a point. I flip a wonton in your general direction to get you off of your game. Laughs ensue. Brews are coiffed. Discussions are resumed. Since neither brews nor foods are available, dryness will follow. A general warning of things.

I’m glad to see we are in agreement on most points. The ones we don’t agree on, with one exception, I’m fine with. I base a lot of that disagreement with growing up differently and being affected by major life changes differently. Let’s agree to disagreeing on those points; who the heck wants to agree all of the time anyway?

Let me take one point at a comment’s time.

Role of the Presidency:
I commend you on your high opinion of the office. While I used to feel that way a while back, like in my 20’s, I’ve had a hard time matching up the height of that pedestal with the short stature of our recent leaders. I’d say my opinion of a president started going downhill with Johnson, took a very sharp drop with Nixon, and has remained at the bottom of the hill since. No pushing that stone of respectability back up the hill for me; I know it’s going to be coming back down. Plus, it’s easier on the soul when the inevitable comes out, namely that these guys are all so very, very human. The president is the head cook and bottle-washer of the Administration branch of the government, so I’m more than happy if he is a competent administrator. A leader (as in Leader of the Free World)? Perhaps on occasion, but as a continual occupation…nah, I don’t put any creedence or belief in that one. Especially these days (that being the last 3 decades or so), when one seriously has to question why a sane person wants to become the president of this country.

A recent study discussed the estimated 49 percent of former U.S. presidents afflicted by mental illness while this fellow postulates that all of our presidents since WWI have had/have bouts of mentally related illnesses! It is also noted that the 49% of the general public have had or have mentally related illnesses. Now, Gwynne, I know your attention to numbers will lead you to the conclusion that that 49% corresponds to the 49% that didn’t vote for Dubya the second time around. Carrying this further, this means that 2% of the 51% percent who didn’t vote for him the first time around got better (enough) the second time around to cast their vote for the Decider. Now, Gwynne, you’re not going down that road are you? I may need to be calling the local office of the AICPA, if you do.

An excerpt from the latter, "Remember, crazy does not equal stupid. Nor does it equal evil. I am not asserting that all modern Presidents have been stupid and/or evil, just crazy. Some have been benevolently loony (Reagan), some have completely masked their insanity (Carter), and some have dazzled us with misdirection so we don’t notice that they’ve got crazy hidden up their sleeve (Clinton). I sometimes hesitate when I think of George Bush Sr. as President, because he seemed to have done such a good job, and he and Barbara seem happy, and he didn’t even seem a little bit crazy. But then I remember that he spent years as the Director of the CIA. And then I remembered that a lot of his family’s money came about as a result of collaborating with Nazis until well after the start of WWII. This would be tantamount to collaborating with Osama bin Laden today. So, George Bush Sr. comes from a family who made their wealth, in part, by working with Nazi front companies until those company’s assets were seized by the US Government after the start of WWII, and while his family was collaborating with the Nazis, George Bush was training as a Naval Aviator in order to fight the Nazis…with whom his family had strong business ties. Well, that just sounds like the heart-warming story of a young man born to be President, doesn’t it? Nope. It sounds crazy. Search your favorite web sources for keywords George Bush Nazi Union Bank for more information."

But I (seriously) digress here. I think we’ll just have to agree to not agree.

So, Me.
Our President is not a Role Model, and I’m not referring to the current White House resident only.
Our President is an Administrator first, a leader on minor occasions.

At 2:17 PM, June 07, 2007, Blogger DarkoV said...

Back to less serious things. You name the watering hole and I'll bring this and we'll celebrate the start of a new Cold War. There should be a juke box in the facility to provide us the necessary instrument of cd conversion.

At 2:33 PM, June 07, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Heh. Now we're talking the same language. I'd even be willing to sing back-up vocals if that would bring peace. ;-)

And thanks for the humorous look at Presidential mental illness as well. I've always said you'd have to be crazy to want to be President, but little did I know how true that may be.

But seriously? If your take on the role of president is to be first and foremost an Administrator(?!), no wonder you take such a dim view of Bush!

Now I'm willing to raise the white flag if you are. I think I'll shut down the "Politics" category. It is now officially closed for another year. ;-)

At 4:00 PM, June 07, 2007, Blogger DarkoV said...

I wouldn't call it a white flag necessarily. It's not a question of surrendering; there must be an appropriate's this one?

But, before we hoist that flag, one more counter-comment.

You said:"If your take on the role of president is to be first and foremost an Administrator(?!), no wonder you take such a dim view of Bush!"

Whether you measure Prez #42 using the Administrator ruler or under the Leader ruler, I just feel he comes up short in either case. Seems like a nice enough guy (as long as you agree with him), but I haven't read anywhere that either Yale or Harvard have ever asked him to give a commencement speech.

Oh, hold on... he did give a speech at Yale. Find me standing corrected.

O.K. Wave that flag!

At 8:57 PM, June 07, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

The flag, she is a waving. :-)


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