.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Question Of The Day

Okay, yesterday I asked who said this:
Never has so much military, economic, and diplomatic power been used as ineffectively as in Iraq.

And if after all of this time and all of this sacrifice and all of this support there is still no end in sight, then I say the time has come for the American people to turn to new leadership — not tied to the policies and mistakes of the past.

I pledge to you: we will have an honorable end to the war in Iraq.
I said it was a bit of a trick question, and it is: nobody actually said that. However, if you replace the word "Iraq" with the word "Vietnam", it suddenly becomes a quote with an author: Richard Nixon said it during his 1968 campaign for the presidency.

I wonder what Tricky Dick would say about the war in Iraq if he were around?

7 Comments:

At 12:52 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Da Man said...

Da man, you should definitely expand your viewpoint. I will answer you here, as you seem to not look at responses to earlier posts too often (see your "Fear" post below about gated neighborhoods).

In my lifetime, I have seen liberals take pessimistic views on Eastern Europe, East Asia and Central America. By pessimistic views, I mean that liberals had stated that western-type democracies could not take root in these regions. The reasons differed by region. Generally speaking, they were as follows:

1. Eastern Europe - For the most part, Communist regimes provide stability (there's that word) and enough material goods to the satisfacton of the people. East Germany's was often cited as a model nation--it was 'industrialized' and 'prosperous'.

2. East Asia (Taiwan, S. Korea, etc.) - The Confucian nature of the Asian people is such that authoritarian heads of state are necessary for the stability (there's that word again) and economic well-being of the people. Do I need to mention Vietnam? Or how about Singapore?

3. Central America - The people of Central America are not ready for a participatory democracy. The people's armed struggles against American imperialism--such as those in El Salvador and Nicaragua---will inevitably lead to the dictatorship of the proletariat. Cuba is usually offered up a role model.

Needless to say, a democratic (small 'd') revolution did take hold in these regions, much to the horror of the liberals. They hadn't believed that these people could ever understand, let alone desire, freedom.

In Central America, the militias (some Marxist, some Right-Wing) disarmed themselves after years of fighting. Here, stability took root AFTER the people were convinced that democracy was the right path for them.

So the moral of the story is that freedom is univeral, even among non-white, non-Western European people. Be an optimist, and have faith in the Iraqi people.

Why don't you step out of your own lily-white neighborhood and ask some of Minnesota's diverse new immigrants? Ask a Laotian or Vietnamese immigrant why they came to the US. Or an Ethiopean. Or even a Bosnian or Albanian. You might be surprised by what you hear.

Full disclosure: I am not white, and my parents fled to the US from a Communist dictatorship.

 
At 6:30 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Da Man said...

What will you say when Iraq becomes the only functioning democracy in the Arab Middle East, and Al Qaeda is defeated?

Answer: Pass the salt, my crow is a bit bland.

Remember Mr, Guru. Don't underestimate the will of people when their newly-won freedom is at stake. The Arabs deserve a shot at democratic rule, just like the Western Europeans. Don't sell them short just because their skin is darker than yours.

 
At 6:54 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger MN Politics Guru said...

Racism? Pessimistic views? I have no idea what you are talking about, nor do I have any idea what you are talking about when you say that "liberals" didn't think democracy would spread in Eastern Europe, Asia, or Central America.

This has nothing to do with the Iraqi people's desire for democracy. Sadly, that's irrelevant. The only thing that matters is how many people in Iraq are willing to kill and die to prevent democracy.

Think of it this way: if 95% of people in Iraq want democracy, and there is no reason to believe that they don't, that means 5% of the population does not. If 5% of the U.S. population, almost 15 million people, didn't want democracy in this country, there would not be democracy in this country.

I would like nothing more than for the entire Mideast and the rest of the world to become democratic. Unfortunately, it takes more than wishing and hope to happen. The problem is not the Iraqis' ability to be democratic.

 
At 7:48 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Da Man said...

Mr. Guru,

I never called you a "racist". That comes only from your keyboard. I will say that you are probably afflicted with "tribalism", which is different from racism.

For your clarification on Eastern Europe, I will cite pre-1990 quotes on the Soviet Union by liberals--easily verified on the internet. The other liberal viewpoints on East Asia and Central America, I will leave as your assignment.

During Reagan’s first term, liberal icon John Kenneth Galbraith wrote: "The Soviet system has made great material progress and succeeds, in part because in contrast with Western economies it makes full use of its manpower."

In 1989, liberal economist Lester Thurow wrote of the Soviet Union: "Today it is a country whose economic achievements bear comparison with those of the U.S."

I quoteth thee: "I would like nothing more than for the entire Mideast and the rest of the world to become democratic. Unfortunately, it takes more than wishing and hope to happen. The problem is not the Iraqis' ability to be democratic."

Are you saying that a small minority (say, 5% of the population) bent on violence could bully the majority into submission forever? What about Eastern Europe, or even places like Peru where the Marxist/terrorist Shining Path group was recently defeated?

If you truly desire freedom for the entire Mideast and the rest of the world, then what is stopping you from supporting that effort in Iraq? In your eyes, why are some countries worth helping, and others not worth the effort?

I do agree with your statement:"It takes more than wishing and hope to happen" In today's Iraq, it will take huge commitment of money and American lives, just as it did in France in 1944, and in Korea in 1950.

Again, I am aware that Minnesota is the home of a large population of Hmong refugees who escaped from Laos after the communist takeover. You should ask them why they chose to come here, rather than stay in Laos. Their answers may surprise you.

Remember Mr, Guru. Don't underestimate the will of people when their newly-won freedom is at stake. The Arabs deserve a shot at democratic rule, just like the Western Europeans. Don't sell them short just because they don't come from the same country as your ancestors.

 
At 8:09 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger MN Politics Guru said...

The U.S. military is not the appropriate method to bring democracy to the Middle East. They are there for destroying armies, not bringing democracy. Sadly, the U.S. doesn't have a good way of bringing democracy anywhere; even if we did, the way Republicans are running the country, it would fail. Republicans care more about enriching their buddies than anything else. Where have those billions of dollars allocated to rebuilding Iraq disappeared to?

Once again, you imply that I have something against Iraqis because "they don't come from the same country as your ancestors." And you are telling me that's not implied racism? What is it then?

Also, don't assume that I don't have people within my own family who have come to the U.S. to enjoy freedom. I'm not an idiot.

 
At 10:06 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger MN Politics Guru said...

And yes, 5% could prevent democracy forever. Probably 2 or 3% could. Remember, 5% in this country is almost 15 million people: if 15 million people were willing to kill and die to prevent democracy, don't you think they could do it for as long as they wanted? The president and most members of Congress probably wouldn't survive a week. How would there be elections with constant bombings and kidnappings? How would there be rule of law?

In no country in Eastern Europe were 5% of the population willing to resort to violence to prevent democracy. Nor in South America. Sure, there are always terrorist groups out there, but the number of people in the U.S. who really believe that they would kill to destroy democracy probably number no more than a thousand, or a tiny fraction of 1%.

One of the lessons that stuck with me in my political science classes in college is that democracies don't survive because majorities support them. Democracies only survive when there aren't a lot of people looking to tear them apart, and it doesn't take many.

 
At 3:11 PM, June 20, 2006, Blogger Da Man said...

Ye have little faith in the power of the human spirit, and much faith in your college poly-sci instructor.

Sadly, the U.S. doesn't have a good way of bringing democracy anywhere.A: How about Germany and Japan? Was it the ACLU that brought that about?

And you are telling me that's not implied racism? What is it then?A: For the second time, it's tribalism. Tribalism. Tribalism. Capiche?

In no country in Eastern Europe were 5% of the population willing to resort to violence to prevent democracy. Nor in South America.A: How about the Communist Party during the 1953 East German uprising? Who suppressed the 1956 Hungarian revolution? Who crushed the 1968 Prague Spring? How about Peru and the Shining Path, defeated in the 1990s?

Me thinks you ought to take a few 20th century history courses, and drop your political science classes.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home