Pennsylvania Democrat

The results of applying rational thinking to political problems



Cost of the War in Iraq
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War on Drugs: Wasted Resources




Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The past is over

A few things I've learned in my brief experience with political commentary are:

1. There is no right or wrong opinion. Only facts and morals can have those qualities.

2. When proven wrong, apologizing and finding something better to talk about is the best and most respectable solution.

3. Assuming that every man's views are consistent throughout history is ludicrous. We are all human, prone to fall for bad ideas and equally able to recover a sense of reality.

I confirmed #3 upon reading the following article:
Mr. Abbas said he and Mr. Sharon "have jointly agreed to cease all acts of violence against Israelis and Palestinians everywhere," while Mr. Sharon said they "agreed that all Palestinians will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere, and in parallel, Israel will cease all its military activity against all Palestinians everywhere."
I am no longer upset, but cautiously optimistic. One thing Bush has right is that these talks need to continue.

Political Compass, part II

Out of curiosity, I thought I'd see if my move toward more moderate politics affected my core beliefs.

The Results of test #1:

(-2.88, -4.26)

After test #2:

(-3, -3.9)




Apparently, my core values remain intact. That's what counts.

Liberalism and Iraq

The previous post concerning Bush's mistakes in foreign policy will be the last unless a serious problem, rather than a political disagreement from several years ago, arises. Anyone concered with remaining within the confines of reality should seriously consider supporting the success of a democratic Iraq. The only other alternatives that I can see right now are leaving a chaotic hole in the Middle East or killing every single Islamic radical, neither of which are desirable actions.

Supporting Iraqi freedom while being opposed to the Iraq war is not hypocritical but a paradox. It's about living within reality, not creating a new one. Creating a new reality would be denying that the war ever happened or assuming that it has been a failure, as Wizbang notes. I'd like to know where the antiwar congressmen were when the authority to act in Iraq was passed unanimously.

Unlike these people, I've decided to put my opposition to the war aside and do some good with the peace we have left. I'm a true humanitarian, not one who will fight even success in the name of political gain. Take something bad and make it good. It's time for true liberals to help the Iraqi people, who have been innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire, people involved in neither Saddam's nor Bush's actions.

My issues were with how Bush handled the war, mainly his ignorance of other crises and the decision to prematurely end weapons inspectors' tour of Iraq. If we had a president who let the inspectors finish, created and discussed a comprehensive plan, and did not promise a swift war where one could not happen, all would be well.

Where do we go from here? Let the military take on a humanitarian role and provide aid to suffering Iraqis, withdraw troops within the next few months, and respond to the genocide in Darfur. This is where my opposition lies, not in a free Iraq.

Was he right on the war? Some rejoice, others are threatening. It is now our duty to cut the right/wrong crap and fight the return of a government reminiscient of the Taliban.

Regardless, I understand President Bush's place in history as a hero to some. He responded to the 9/11 attacks with the right mix of compassion and vengeance to capture the hearts of a great deal of Americans. He faced the opposition head-on and realized his visions anyway. Does that make him a pushover or a winner? Clinton was a winner for doing the same thing -- fighting a Republican-dominated Congress and still achieving his goals.

Let people idolize whomever they want. I will do no such thing for any man.

Hypocrisy in the left? I concur, but you won't find it here. Maybe liberating Iraq was a sloppy process, but the end result of Iraqis becoming an important ally in Middle Eastern terrorism control must be honored.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Fight pollution, not flawed theory

The Teleologic Blog links to this intriguing letter. I'll admit that although I've denied that global warming is a problem before, I didn't know these three things myself:

Before I'll listen to anyone even express an opinion on anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, I've been asking them to take a simple, 3-question quiz for the past five years or so:

1. What gas is responsible for approximately 95% of the "greenhouse effect" on planet Earth?

2. Are the United States a net A) Emitter, or B) Absorber of carbon dioxide?

3. Is the global climate now A) Warmer, or B) Cooler than it was approximately 1,000 to 1,100 years ago?

Answers:

1. Water vapor is responsible for about 95% of the Earth's greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide is less than 2% of the total effect, with methane taking up most of the balance, and other gasses responsible for the remainder. But all we EVER hear about is CO2.

2. The U.S., with it's vast forests (more now than in pre-Columbian times) and farmlands is a net ABSORBER of CO2...as opposed to Europe and Japan, which are net emitters.

3. Let's see...they were raising crops of oats in Greenland, and the Icelandic/Viking explorers were calling what is now the chilly area of Newfoundland "Vinland" because of the grapes which grew there. It's an era referred to as the "Medieval Climate Optimum" in old climate textbooks, and was followed by the spread of Black Plague (the fleas of the rats taking advantage of the warmer climate to spread to northern Europe). That period was followed by what used to be referred to as the "Little Ice Age", in which England saw snow in areas never before seen, and the River Thames froze quite solidly on a regular basis. That period ended in the early/middle 1700's, and we've been in a warming trend ever since.

Teleologic also mentions a new book I haven't seen yet (thank 18 credits of engineering classes for that), called State of Fear, which is supposed to rip climatologists as politically motivated. This would not surprise me one bit.

I've been onto these paranoia-inducing creeps since my freshman year of high school. I still have a research paper and an accompanying pamphlet that I wrote five years ago, amid Al Gore's aggressive environmentalism. If I can find it and revise it, I'll post it here to supplement my argument.

For now...
  • A hole in the ozone layer is headed for Europe. That's where we need the Kyoto Protocol, not here.

  • The U.N. has been found to have faulty records on global temperatures.

  • Naturally occurring volcanoes do more "damage" to the environment than mankind.

  • Now scientists are telling us that record-breaking COLD temperatures are causing the ozone problem. How the f**k is that related to global WARMING?!?!
I'm still a Democrat, and I still give a damn about the environment. I'm angry because people need to start working on what matters, like conservation or discovering how to contain radioactive waste or controlling air pollution, not some half-baked theory that wormed its way into our minds just because a few important people said that it's true. Although I wish we'd recognize the U.N. and try to solve problems rather than ignoring them, the one good thing W. has done is acknowledged that we can in fact operate without them, finally sending the message to America that we can think for ourselves.

Unfortunately, thinking for ourselves has come at the price of our well-being.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

War and piece

I wanted badly to support the U.S. crusade for democracy. I wanted to say I played a part in helping to free millions. Not only did I forsee a mission in Afghanistan following 9/11, but I also supported it 100%. Even as I saw some of the problems with war, I figured that if we're going into Iraq, we might as well do some good.

After the Bush administration stated in no uncertain terms that we'd be in Iraq for the long haul, I could no longer support its mission. War is an ugly thing. Unplanned war is even uglier. But to drag out an unplanned war over a period of four or more years? I didn't even want to imagine it.

I cannot ignore how this war was conducted without respect for our soldiers.

Now everyone who supported the war is further demonizing a legitimate portion of the populace with "we were right" taunts. So much for supporting freedom. We can't even have freedom here without someone trying to crush dissent.

What is the point of the gloating over Iraq's first election? It carries little or no consequence if the leaders elected do not serve faithfully. Also note that the U.S. is expected to need about 2 more years of military committment. Why are people declaring victory now?

If you want to use the Iraqi elections as a declaration of victory, then the war is over, right? Iraq now has a military force, voters, and a democratic government. What is left for us to do besides monitor the government and make sure it does Bush's bidding?

Great, we liberated Iraq. Now bring the troops home, where they can be congratulated for a job well done. Then send them to Libya and Darfur on truly humaitarian missions.

Besides, Iraq needs to function on its own, now, or the U.S. will officially become an occupier and another oppressor. The time has come for the president to be straight with us that he has no plan instead of spinning practically everything as a part of his strategery.

Furthermore, the "fight the terrorists on their home turf" idea has placed us at risk, and the federal government has taken no action besides creating a Department of Paranoia and passing the USA Dictatorship Act. Our borders remain wide open. If you think al-Qaeda has not attacked because we've dealt them a severe blow, think again. These terrorists are more than petty criminals. They are strategic geniuses, planning moves years in advance. God help us when they strike again; our safety has taken a back seat (source) to W.'s popularity.

Reality Check:
  • When did violent war become a humanitarian action?
  • When did tearing a country nearly in half (literally) give the president a clear mandate?
  • When did being fiscally irresponsible qualify someone to run the country's economy?
Unfortunately, Bush is just as adept at creating an alternative reality as the radical left.