While all the lines are not as clear cut as presented, given what actually happened in history, this should give people a good idea of why they shouldn’t feel guilty about poking a needle in the Left’s eye on this subject matter.
Archive for the ‘Arguments’ category
“We defined thinking as integrating data and arriving at correct answers. Look around you. Most people do that stunt just well enough to get to the corner store and back without breaking a leg. If the average man thinks at all, he does silly things like generalizing from a single datum. He uses one-valued logics. If he is exceptionally bright, he may use two- valued, ‘either-or’ logic to arrive at his wrong answers. If he is hungry, hurt, or personally interested in the answer, he can’t use any sort of logic and will discard an observed fact as blithely as he will stake his life on a piece of wishful thinking. He uses the technical miracles created by superior men without wonder nor surprise, as a kitten accepts a bowl of milk. Far from aspiring to higher reasoning, he is not even aware that higher reasoning exists. He classes his own mental process as being of the same sort as the genius of an Einstein. Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal. “For explanations of a universe that confuses him he seizes onto numerology, astrology, hysterical religions, and other fancy ways to go crazy. Having accepted such glorified nonsense, facts make no impression on him, even if at the cost of his own life. Joe, one of the hardest things to believe is the abysmal depth of human stupidity. “That is why there is always room at the top, why a man with just a leetle more on the ball can so easily become governor, millionaire, or college president- and why homo sap is sure to be displaced by New Man, because there is so much room for improvement and evolution never stops.
“Here and there among ordinary men is a rare individual who really thinks, can and does use logic in at least one field-he’s often as stupid as the rest outside his study or laboratory-but he can think, if he’s not disturbed or sick or frightened. This rare individual is responsible for all the progress made by the race; the others reluctantly adopt his results. Much as the ordinary man dislikes and distrusts and persecutes the process of thinking he is forced to accept the results occasionally, because thinking is efficient compared with his own maunderings. He may still plant his corn in the dark of the Moon but he will plant better corn developed by better men than he. “Still rarer is the man who thinks habitually, who applies reason, rather than habit pattern, to aU his activity. Unless he masques himself, his is a dangerous life; he is regarded as queer, untrustworthy, subversive of public morals; he is a pink monkey among brown monkeys-a fatal mistake. Unless the pink monkey can dye himself brown before he is caught. “The brown monkey’s instinct to kill is correct; such men are dangerous to all monkey customs. “Rarest of all is the man who can and does reason at all times, quickly, accurately, inclusively, despite hope or fear or bodily distress, without egocentric bias or thalmic disturbance, with correct memory, with clear distinction between fact, assumption, and non-fact. Such men exist, Joe; they are ‘New Manf-human in all respects, indistinguishable in appearance or under the scalpel from homo sap, yet as unlike him in action as the Sun is unlike a single candle.”
DaWade. ASSIGNMENT IN ETERNITY (Kindle Location 1206).
This miniature essay on human thinking was something I thought quite applicable to the modern day status quo. The number one advantage humans have over any other species is our ability to think. We cannot outmatch the physical or body power of other animals nor the persistence and numbers of insects. This has formed a key part of my education in H2H training.
Many people, even with the tools provided to them by the internet, do not make effective use of such tools. Things are tl;dr, meaning it was too long for them to read. They want something summarized in 2 or 3 sentences, usually at your expense. They want to hear the interesting and fascinating thoughts of the creative author, but don’t want to deal with the process and work required to produce that product. It’s as if they are parasites and they get angry if you refuse them or call into question their vice-full lack.
In the current environment of welfare, redistribution of wealth, nationalization of American companies, and socialism writ economically, politically, and spiritually, this is just as, if not more, important to understand than ever before.
As a greet for the coming spring, here’s a list of links Book posted when she got back.
I highly recommend the article on what questions to ask LibProgs.
Here’s an example of an average person and my response to them.
Such things should be properly explained and dealt with, after all. The light must be shined upon the darkness for truth to prevail.
Okay, people should know by now that there’s a certain popular issue on Yon. Not just over the horizon but actually here or even behind us.
So in the interest of finding out the truth, we have an audio recording of Michael Yon on the G Gordon Liddy show with James Hanson, Jimbo at Blackfive 5.
If you believe yourself a great analyzer of voice tones and judgment based upon that, you can certainly try your hand at an assessment.
More details at TC
First it was the Two Americas. Then it was race warfare. Then it was class warfare between the poor and the rich. Now we get to see gender conflict. Of course, it all started with one thing: Leftist Ideology.
Neutral in Bias more or less
Advocate for Men’s Rights and some have resentments against Women.
On a related note, there’s book’s narration of the abortion history.
There’s a lot to read, so skim the longer posts. You’ll get the tone right off.
Now that’s interesting. But for now, we’ll go with a link I made on the previous post, Modern Morality.
Here’s the start of the narrative. Just listen and observe.
I’m sick of people pulling the Chappaquiddick card whenever Kennedy receives praise for his enormous contributions to this country. Not only because great heroes needn’t be flawless, and Kennedy seemed genuinely remorseful for what he did, but because there is something else on Kennedy’s record I consider far more damning.
That’s by a SarahMC, presumably a feminist of the Leftist mold, although of a peculiar kind in that she wishes to pin something on Edward Kennedy. Of course, NOW and what not, love Kennedy, if not for his personal behavior than certainly for the power, prestige, and MONEY he brings to the cause of NOW and other feminist Left wing revolutionary lite organizations. It’s funny how that works. After all, it was conservatives that were supposed to be ideologically in favor of making whores out of women, whether in matrimony through material bribes or more illicit deals for cold hard cash. I suppose the feminists dislike women making such choices for themselves, given that they are whoring out other women to benefit themselves. Which, I suppose, may be seen as morally superior to conservatives… somehow.
But, the key thing to keep in mind is this general position by SarahMC. And now we go on.
In 1991, Ted Kennedy took part in a smear campaign against a woman who accused his nephew, William Kennedy Smith, of rape. The men had been partying together in Palm Beach, Florida, when they met her at a bar. They all retreated to the Kennedy family home, where Smith allegedly raped her. She filed a police report and underwent an exam at a hospital. Meanwhile, the Kennedy clan was uncooperative and even dishonest with investigators. The case went to trial, and the prosecution brought forth three other women who claimed that Smith had assaulted them. However, the judge didn’t allow the prosecution to enter their testimony.
The police, prosecutors, rape counselors and the doctors who examined her all believed the victim’s account of rape. But William’s defense depicted the woman as a neer-do-well, and Ted Kennedy swore to his nephew’s innocence and the alleged victim’s dishonesty. Smith was cleared of all charges. In the years since, other alleged assault victims have emerged, naming Smith as their attacker. Several of his colleagues accused him of sexual harassment in 2004. The man is, by all accounts, a chauvinist sleazebag at the very least and a serial rapist at worst. And he was allowed to go free, in part, because of his uncle Ted’s influence.
This segment would sensibly be something conservatives would agree about. Certainly Kennedy Partisans (as in anti-Kennedy partisans) would find nothing wrong or unfair with this characterization, as it certainly tries somewhat to portray things in a less sinister light than it could have been. But, you may have forgotten, we’re dealing with the Left, fake liberals, pseudo liberals, and repressed liberals all in one. That has a particular effect on what you think you may or may not be able to agree with them on. See this for why.
I consider Ted Kennedy’s defense of his nephew in 1991 much more sinister than what he did at Chappaquiddick in 1969. The latter was motivated by panic, confusion, and possibly alcoholism. The former was intentional, and revealed something uglier about Ted Kennedy’s character. But you almost never hear about it from those who obsess about Chappaquiddick. We’ve got rape culture to thank for that.
Rape culture. That’s the culture supporting Polansky, the Hollywood sexualized culture that makes females into vulnerable meat, for the Islamic ‘cat’. But she isn’t talking about Hollywood or defenders of Kennedy. She’s talking about you, or rather more pertinently us.
I wrote that summary for the benefit of any readers who have never been in the presence of a conservative when the name “Ted Kennedy” came up [Chappaquidick]. So now you know.
You see, it doesn’t matter whether you and she can agree on some particulars like this incident in Kennedy’s life. Because what matters is how she came to that conclusion, and she came to that conclusion based not upon the rule of law, not upon equality of class and gender, of rich and poor, but upon the world view that stipulates and bases its judgments upon ‘rape culture’.
She is completely unable to fathom that conservatives would focus on an untried injustice than an injustice that had already gone through the system and to which the verdict had been cast. The rule of law, she does not respect, except for purely partisan and tactical requirements. Her ideology is more important; her world view is more important. This has some curious effects, on top of the ones I have already mentioned. For one thing, her post expresses her feeling that she is sick, not at Kennedy but at conservatives for mentioning Chappaquidick. In her world view, there is a hierarchy of victims. Charges of rape, though not convictions of rape, deserve more attention and worth. THis is not a classical liberal viewpoint based upon human rights, but upon certain special rights for groups. It’s identity group politics.
She would prefer to believe that conservatives have an ideological reason to focus on Chappaquidick over Edward Kennedy’s nephew. Even though conservatives have time and time again spoken about their prime priority concerning personal responsibility. That a person is responsible for his actions, not the actions of his family, ancestors, race, nation, or whatever. In that world view, Kennedy’s direct actions in Chappaquidick, intentional or not, provides more moral consequence than Kennedy’s indirect support of his nephew’s acts. It’s not the same. But to the Left, it is the same. You associate with evil? You are evil. They’d bomb you, and anyone else you loved in the vicinity and call that as collateral damage in purging a ‘bad thing’ from the human species. But really, who has the real ideological reason to do the things they do when it comes time to prioritizing which issues are the most important to raise in the public conscience? The Left when it comes to not supporting the women of Afghanistan because that was Bush’s war, or the Right when they prefer to attack Kennedy by focusing on the negligent homicide he committed rather than the character witness testimony he gave for somebody’s else trial on rape?
This, of course, can easily turn into a tu quoque justification. THe Left does things, and we do things, and this makes us all even. Except it doesn’t. Here’s the trick. The Turn and Prestige. What is the Prestige?
Every great magic trick consists of three acts. The first act is called “The Pledge”; The magician shows you something ordinary, but of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”; The magician makes his ordinary some thing do something extraordinary. Now if you’re looking for the secret… you won’t find it, that’s why there’s a third act called, “The Prestige”; this is the part with the twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance, and you see something shocking you’ve never seen before.”
I use this artificial terminology from the movie because it is an apt description of written communication. You know, like the 3 parts to a movie or the scaling to the denoument for written works.
Right-wingers have had the opportunity to latch onto this for a while now. But rape doesn’t bother them that much, which is why they almost always throw all their eggs into the Chappaquiddick basket.
Clarification: Rape committed by straight white males doesn’t bother them that much.-SarahMC
That’s the Turn. I first gave you a topic about people talking about the injustice of the justice system when it comes to prosecuting rich and powerful families like the Kennedies. I showed it as sensible, common sense, and agreeable (the Pledge)… and then I make it reappear in another form, not from my own hand, but from her hand, by her own words, into something not ordinary or sensible. It is not me telling you what I have decided this means concerning rape or conservatives. This is her speaking to you. Believe me, if you wish. Disbelieve me if you wish, but it is not me that is making such claims.
That’s not the prestige, however, so divert your attention to something beyond simple extraordinary sentiments by the Left. Which is this.
This is the prestige.
I really hope nobody interprets this post as an anti-Kennedy one. As I said yesterday, I worked for the man, I am overwhelmed with admiration for his political accomplishments, and I consider his death a huge loss.-SarahMC
This is where life and death hangs in the balance.
These pieces of trash dare to call us supporters of rape, rape culture, and that we do not particularly care, due to ideological reasons, when a straight white man rapes somebody? There’s a reason we don’t have duels in this country any more. Half the population killing the other half wouldn’t really work for modern times, you see.
There’s the Prestige. Did you enjoy the trip? This enemy you cannot defeat. You can only drive it back into the depths of the sea, and teach the next generation to be vigilant when it returns. Of course, the next generation is never vigilant enough.
As a side note, I made a comment there about Roman Polansky in response to SarahMC’s reference about conservatives not caring about rape. This was her response.
September 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm
Roman Polanski doesn’t have a Chappaquiddick to trump his rape. But he is a “Hollywood liberal,” which is the only reason right-wingers are up in arms about the case.
So, ideological Leftists believe themselves morally superior because they care about rape while we do not. Thus when we decry rape, it is because of political, partisan, or tactical perceived benefits, and not actually due to real genuine concern. No, real genuine concern, you see, comes from (not) criticizing a Great Lion of a man like Ted Kenned, who supported rape and rapists, because of all the other ‘good works’ he has done. Rape is acceptable, so long as you are high enough in the hierarchy. The only reason ‘right-wingers’ are upset about Roman Polansky is because he is a ‘Hollywood liberal’ (and not a Jew), which is why we neither support Polansky, work for him, or applaud him as a ‘great man of talent and good works’.
THe Left is sickening. And you are reading this being written by a man that finds it perfectly sensible and normal to see executions in video captured live blood and guts. Spiritual and moral corruption, however, is far more nasty than any blood, guts, or brain/fecal matter may ever be. To me, at least. Maybe not to you.
There is another aspect here that I believe is worthy of your attention. Conservatives in attempting to make a life for women and men in Afghanistan, wouldn’t have refused an offer of genuine alliance from Leftists, fake liberals, or whatever. Certainly the military, in the form of Petraeus, did not refuse Ambassador Crocker’s aid, even though the DoD and State had notoriously bad working relationships historically and even recently. But, in order to accomplish the military mission duly authorized by Constitution authorizations, any willingly ally would not be shunned, but rather accepted and the attempt at least made to make people’s lives better through cooperation of UN diplomats, State Department diplomats, and US military officers.
Now take a look at the disgusting and perverted Leftists. Take a good, long, hard look. THe kind of look most people are physically and mentally unable to give to watching real suffering, ala Nick Berg, executions, mass murder, or rapine. When the Left is presented with some political aid on rape, even if they see it as being limited to particular situations, they refuse such offers of alliance. Because it comes from us. They continue to bicker about partisanship and continue to denigrate other people’s cultural values. Instead of seeking allies to help their ‘rape victims’, instead of doing what is good and sensible, they support and praise Ted Kennedy, who helped destroy rape victims, and instead blame us, for blaming rapists like the Kennedies and Polansky. When the Left talks about how we are the ones faking genuine concern, I truly wonder what kind of new recreational drug have they stumbled upon.
The reality of priority is based upon, not words, but actions. What we do determines for us what we consider our highest priority. When we say that our family is our highest priority, but we sacrifice family time for careers that benefit other people, not our families, then what is our highest priority, really? If we say that our highest priority is women’s rights, and we don’t support the war to liberate Afghan women, nor help to defeat their enemies after the war was over, what is our real priority?
The Left can claim they are fighting a ‘rape culture’ all they wish. Every single feminist allied to Leftists create, maintain, and defend the rape culture. THey need it to gain power. And they would rather sacrifice individual women, powerless to defend themselves, to their corrupt oligarchy of Kennedy clan allies and political goons than support us in helping those that are trying, but failing, to defend their human rights.
They are all complicit. They will receive no mercy from me. Nor would I expect them to give me or the victims of corrupt, venal, evil men like their “Great Kennedy Clan” mercy in return. This enemy you cannot defeat. You can only put them to sleep for a single generation. But that’s enough. Against such corruption, such sickness of the soul and mind and heart, it is more than enough. Even one generation will spare untold billions of innocents. And that’s worth a field littered with corpses rivaling the hundreds of millions to me. But perhaps not to you. In the end, I believe. They believe we’re faking it. They believe, as the Southern plantation class did, that the Northerners (us Republicans and extremists) had no real spine for a fight. That they (we), being dishonorable (gun happy), crude (plain speaking hicks), and rude (politically incorrect), didn’t have the true valor (genuine concern) and courage (speaking truth to power) of an honorable (sensitive, well spoken, articulate, and inspirational) man (Black Man). Well, those Democrats had a small lesson in incorrect prejudices there. And so will the Left.
Y, I think DQ might like to hear the explanation from Helen. I know I would. But since Helen’s explanation may not be forthcoming, I’ll bite. You do provide lots of interesting analysis, so please give me your take on that one.
I’ll read Helen’s response about White Privilege first, since I’m interested in her views as well.
the fact that he called me “his old nemesis” in his first comment. He started it; he set the tone.-Helen
Your old nemesis, ExPreacherMan, is watching you… EPMan
He also put a smile face on, Helen. Weren’t you the one that said smile faces means things are a joke and shouldn’t be taken personally? You use them plenty when you are criticizing or otherwise commenting on other folks. So if “he set the tone” then it obviously wasn’t a tone of hostility, eh.
for trying very hard to explain what he’s reading.
Just for clarification for the benefit of folks, my comment 118 wasn’t intended primarily as a description of Helen’s beliefs. It was intended more to describe Leftist and Democrat beliefs. Since the topic isn’t how much helen is or is not a Leftist, comment 118 shouldn’t be considered a translation of helen’s beliefs here, more or less. Be assured, if I think helen is advocating totalitarian thought police beliefs, I’ll say it directly without any kind of circumlocution. But until then, take my words as they were intended.
Comment 109 was explicitly intended to illustrate helen’s views, though. I have to take into consideration that helen might have been thinking about comment 109 rather than 118 when she said 118.
Judy, here begins the great quest for truth and clarity.
DQ, You are playing “lawyer games” by twisting every statement of mine or Wright’s to make us appear silly.
Applying logic to certain things “twists” the basic reality matrix of an idea, statement, belief, or action. This is because logic is an “overlay” on the thing it is used on. Logic is comprised of many parts, all of them cataloged and named with specific command phrases. Logical syntax is a field of study in itself, and with many derivatives such as logical and/or gates used in computer hardware/logic design and computer programming.
Logic “twists” things by making it flow through certain gates and pathways. This is true, what helen has said, but what she sees as a negative is something I see as a positive. Since sewer must also be forced to pass through specific gates and pathways, otherwise we have open sewers and water contamination.
DQ is not wrong to apply logic and twist the basic reality of Wright’s words or yours, helen.
DQ is only wrong in that he is applying logic and honestly expects you to meet him halfway on this subject. You aren’t going to meet him halfway, helen. Not because you don’t want to, but because you can’t. To meet DQ halfway, you must adopt or at least accept the right and duty of logic to “twist” things. You can argue about it or argue that DQ’s use of logic is wrong, but I tend to think you just don’t want logic to be used at all, since it does de facto twist words and actions through certain gyrations.
Lawyers do use logic in order to pass a sentence of guilt or innocence through loopholes and what not. But that’s not what DQ has been using.
You don’t have to agree with me to accept what I say at face value.
DQ is unwilling to accept that Wright is such a fanatic that he would actually believe the things that he has stated or suggested, such as the extent of the evil of America for example. So that is why DQ said Wright “lied” about HIV.
But I don’t think Wright lied. I think he told the truth. In his world, the American government not only has done such a thing but would do more of them if wasn’t for the efforts of people like Soros, Sharpton, Jackson, Wright, Malcom X, and so forth.
The meta-truth, as opposed to the parochial truth that people percieve to be true due to superstition and ignorance, is that if people like Wright were put into power the US government would become exactly what Wright has criticized it for being. In that way, Wright speaks the truth, but in a way that can only be recognized by an outside observer like me.
But you don’t seem to have a clue what racism is and isn’t.-helen to DQ
That is true, in a sense. DQ truly does not have a clue that racism is not about treating people based upon their character and individual actions. Racism is about a race and treating a race differently and making it inferior. Classical liberals don’t look at racism the same way others, anti-classical liberals, do. DQ may not be a classical liberal, ala Bookworm, but he’s pretty close, for a conservative.
Yes. I’m just ready to move on.
You’re ready to “get over it”? Hurray… or maybe not.
give me your take on that one.
As for Judyrose’s original topic of choice, here’s my take.
Using some quotes from helen’s link in order to cover my backside from accusations that I am just making stuff up as I go along,
I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious.
White privilege means that you are part of an aristocracy, judy, that has exploited its way to your current technological, social, and economic status.
The world is based upon a zero-sum principle that for one person to get rich, someone else must get poorer. This is called by Shrinkwrapped, which I pasted his post on this subject recently here, as a “Prime Divide” society. It is primarily divided between the haves and the have nots, Judy.
As we in women’s studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, “having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?”
Most classical liberals will answer to the question of “how do we lessen the power of the aristocracy to exploit the peasants like the United Nations exploits poorer and weaker nations for sex slaves and parties?” with the answer of “by empowering the weak nations and their citizens with the rule of law, American style military security, and justice”.
Helen’s White Privilege answer, however, tends to end up more like “we lessen exploitation by the rich over the poor by taking money away from the rich and redistributing it to the poor”.
Notice the difference between the two philosophies, Judy. One is based upon the Prime Divide and the other is based upon cooperative wealth making and teamwork, which essentially are derivatives of personal responsibiltiy and the frontiersman spirit that builds a house in a place of nothing.
I began to understand why we are just seen as oppressive, even when we don’t see ourselves that way.
Judy, whites oppress blacks because whites have more people in the US than Blacks, whites have more money than blacks, whites have more political power than blacks, and so in conclusion whites have more benefits than blacks. This means that blacks are being exploited by whites because there is no way that anybody can become wealthy without finding someone to steal that wealth and success from. So technically speaking, white people never earned their wealth. Poor people earned their wealth and it was taken by the rich and that is why the rich is rich and the poor poor.
My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will.
Obviously one can be “re-schooled” if the original education never took deeply. Re-education camps use the same principle to convert new diligent neophytes to the cause, you know.
For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one’s life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.
It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.
A lot of the stuff at the end had me lost. Even I cannot 100% sink into the thoughts and psyches of such folks. Perhaps if I enter a trance and craft numerous layers of double think in order to reject my core philosophical beliefs and parts of my human decency indoctrinated into me by societal laws and my personal philosophical beliefs, I could come close to that 100%. But currently I have to say my comprehension is a little bit more than 50% but less than 80%.
Was there anything about my attempt you found unsatisfying, Judy?
Don’t miss out on these great takes from FLICKR.
The thread I was replying to is here. Read this only if you want an elaboration on why I wrote what I wrote.
The problem with discarding entirely the previous template on which a person saw Iraq in 2005 due to whatever, is that the newly arisen philosophy and views are just as unproven and mistaken, potentially, as the 2005 view that said back up the military and the President without accepting any criticism as being valid.
Shifting from a fervent believer in one cause to another, does not make a fundamental basis for good judgment. I prefer for people who do change their views, to change their views while maintaining their basic philosophical axioms. People like Neo-Neocon and Bookworm have policy changes, but their fundamental classical liberal preferences never became diluted, in fact such preferences became even more reinforced after 9/11.
I’ve argued with a couple of people who made anti-war and negative criticisms of actions having to do with Iraq look very palatable, or at least more palatable than the usual Democrat rhetoric. That has never changed the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Constructive criticism has always followed the staff officer standard when it came to disagreeing with the senior commanding officer. The duty of a staff is to provide feedback, both negative and positive, in order to iron out the holes in strategies, tactics, and logistics so that their leader can get the most bullet proof plan it is humanely possible to get. The ultimate decision to go with such a thing or not, rests far above the pay level of a staff officer, however.
Destructive criticism may look oftentimes very much like constructive criticism. Except destructive criticism is designed to tear down a plan, not in order to benefit the leader by building that plan back up with less flaws, but breaking things down in order to benefit ulterior motives, factionalism, partisanship, or just because somebody had a pet theory and was willing to go past the point of insubordination in arguing for it.
The standards for a civilian+military world, as opposed to a purely military circumstance in a time of war, is a bit looser. A bit, but not that much looser.
Unfortunately for Bush and the half of America that had a wisdom co-efficient greater than a tribal member, most of the criticism pre 2006, with the exception of some few individuals like Yon who truly was loyal to the US in addition to the President’s intentions for Iraq, was destructive criticism and heavily destructive at that. Whether such complaints about Iraq was due to local partisan gain, alliance with foreign insurgents, selfish ambition to advance one’s career ala Plame and Wilson, or some other ulterior motive that conflicted with Team USA’s goals in Iraq, all could be characterized as destructive criticism.
Destructive criticism is not just harmful to the men, women, and children in Iraq in that it destroys people’s ability to fix the problems that will kill them if left unfixed, destructive criticism also takes away much needed energy and concentration from the very attempt to fix those problems. The people defending Bush from 2003-6 expended so much energy dealing with the partisan criticism of the Democrats, that the real problems and the introspection required to criticize the applied solutions to those problems, simply were lacking the manpower and attention needed.
Though I tend to see it in this case as an abject lesson in being far more humble about our ability and “right” to engineer other societies how we see fit, and far more skeptical of anything the government and/or military says about its successes, failures, and internal expectations of both
I don’t agree with Josh and that’s pretty obvious. What isn’t obvious is that it just isn’t a knee jerk reaction to some stranger on the net, either. The more I read about Josh’s views or the way he came about them, the less I respect such views. Assuming I had any respect for those views to begin with, which is an entirely different topic for discussion given that I was against the Democrat plan to put more troops in Iraq because the Democrats could never justify their plan except as something used to feed their local political ambition at the expense of sending men and women into the meat grinder of war with all the harshness and sacrifice that such would entail.
I am not, though, sympathetic to Josh’s views that, now all of a sudden, we should be worrying about the sacrifices the military has to take on itself for this war. It is not a policy disagreement so much as it is a philosophical disagreement, since I have done the same kind of switch on policies, although different policies.
I would never agree to send more troops and put more burdens on the military solely to benefit Democrats or the destructive criticism that “things aren’t working, so let’s just pick something at random that appeals to people and do it”.
Petraeus’ surge and the little group of staff officers and subordinates that Petraeus has wielded to his strategic vision, however, is far far away from the destructive criticism and ulterior motives I encountered from 2002 to 2006 and even 07 from war critics.
Like Neo-Neocon and Bookworm, I have never discarded my fundamental philosophical views concerning Iraq or humanity in general. What has changed is simply the people making the criticisms, the criticisms themselves, and the progress and events on the ground in Iraq. I was against burdening the military when there was no sign that it would gain us something tangible, and I am against people now telling us Iraq is a waste, because it is wasting military manpower, now that tangible benefits are appearing from the military sacrifices of 2003-8.
Before the surge in 2006-7, around the time of the Democrat won elections, the sentiment from military blogs and commentators that I got was that we knew that something fundamental was wrong with the war but we also knew that the solution to it didn’t and wouldn’t be coming from the Democrats or the usual war critics. Or rather, we could not accept that the solution to America and Iraq’s problems would come from traitors and selfish greed merchants. Similar to how the Left sees Republican efforts to ‘free” people. Since few comprehended the situation in Iraq in its entirety and also had the power to do something about it, there was no pole of power from which to attach for better results in the war, except slogging along it with Bush while complaining about Bush’s lack of initiative in stamping down on Democrat destructive criticisms and leaks and what not. Even Yon either could not or would not explain the difference between a Casey strategy vs a Rumsfeld Afghanistan SF strategy, to a SF Counter-insurgency strategy, to a “New Strategy” for Iraq. Yon recommended certain things, but it never had the detail of what Petraeus and his officers did when they wrote the new COIN manual and doctrine material. Obviously Yon did not have much free time to do such things, and that is not his fault because he had devoted his time and life to something else that was helping us.
I did not agree with Yon’s characterization of Iraq as a Civil War, not because it would mean saying the Democrats might have something valid in their criticism, but because Yon did not provide a suggestion on how to solve this problem other than with more troops. Under Casey’s light foot print and off hands strategy with Iraqis, I didn’t really see how more troops would do anything to stop a war between Sunnis and Shia, especially given mosque ROEs and various other ROE limitations. And I’m not even sure Yon back then knew how either, except that he trusted the strategic corporals to figure something out. Unfortunately, the strategic corporals can’t do jack if High Command doesn’t let them. Given the Rules of Engagement and encroaching lawfare in the US military, I was never really sure enough in High Command’s wisdom to support an increase in troops pre 2006 elections. Democrat use of retired generals to destroy the support for the war via advocating a 24/7 hindsight view of “more troops”, didn’t help either.
Nor do I automatically agree with Yon’s statement that we should surge more troops now, I simply hold the position that it should not be discounted if it is needed. And certainly, we should not withdraw troops, even if Yon’s demands are unrealistic or unfavorable.
I want to deal with something Josh said here that I felt was rather important.
far more skeptical of anything the government and/or military says about its successes, failures, and internal expectations of both
Philosophically, I don’t agree that just because a person was not skeptical of government/military claims pre 2005, that they should suddenly now be “very skeptical” of government/military claims post 2006 elections.
Philosophically speaking, I also don’t think that people who fervently believed in the war and are now bailing when it is fundamentally improving and changing strategically and tactically on the ground, were ever fervent believers in what President Bush, Michael Yon, Michael Totten, Petraeus, Grim Beorn, Matt of Blackfive, or various other classical liberals saw as the potential rewards of a successful Iraq. The mind is a hard thing to change, since classical liberals that were once Leftists and Democrats are still classical liberals in the Republican party, even though they switched parties. I find it difficult to believe that support for the war in Iraq was ever based upon a fundamental premise in alignment with classical liberal beliefs, if individuals, Josh included, can switch their views on Iraq so easily and drastically.
I could be wrong in some of the details concerning which beliefs were switched around by people, Josh included, but that’s probably due to a lack of knowledge concerning the beliefs of everyone involved who became disillusioned with the war rather than a fundamental mistake in my logic or philosophical axiom.
There were many conservatives or neo-cons as they were called, who the Democrats used to bludgeon and fragment war support with the argument that “look at all these chickenhawks that once supported the war now bailing when we have succeeded in making the war unpopular”. I mention this because I don’t necessarily relate these people to Josh, because every individual may have their own personal motivations as to why they have become disillusioned with the war, assuming they ever supported the war in the first place.
To get back to the main topic for the conclusion, I far prefer constructive criticism to destructive criticism. When people say that it is better to have criticism than to not have it, they should really include the dangers of destructive criticism with that risk-rewards statement. It is already there, after all. It is worth it to have constructive criticism or some chance of improving your plan and finishing your goals, even at the cost of having destructive criticism since constructive will always in the long term be recognized as better than destructive. Petraeus winning over of Bush on troop increases when the Democrats failed to, is one potential example for why my statement is true. The thing is, you can’t have constructive criticism if you want Iraq to fail because if it was successful, it would make this statement wholly wrong and unjustified.
Though I tend to see it in this case as an abject lesson in being far more humble about our ability and “right” to engineer other societies how we see fit, and far more skeptical of anything the government and/or military says about its successes, failures, and internal expectations of both.
How does being humble translate to “giving up”? I, personally, don’t know how. So I can’t say. Most classical liberals owe some kind of duty to humanity to use whatever power they have in their possession to improve the government and security of other human beings. MacArthur did a very good job re-engineering Japanese government and laws. The basic philosophical foundation of societal re-engineering, when connected with classical liberalism, is sound and just.
How does a staff officer, to use that analogy, work to better the Admiral’s plans and goals by telling the Admiral he should just quit because his government, his advisers, his staff, except for that specific staff officer, are all not telling the truth about the war progress and benefits? If you aren’t willing to obey or accept the leadership’s decisions, then any criticism you create will be destructive. Since it is now no longer a team environment in which the staff works with the admiral, but a destructively competitive war environment in which the staff officer must now win against the Admiral in order to be proven right.
That’s the difference in the end. Even when people like me didn’t like Bush’s actions, we wouldn’t agree to destroy his plans simply because we disagreed. Nor would we tell Bush to do things that are counter to his goals and the goals of the Presidency’s mission in Iraq. We, or I, are not the President, he is. Even though some of his actions are stuck on stubborn and pretty naive, there’s nothing to be done about it except to try to give him a better alternative. The “Loyal Opposition”, which only ever really included Republicans, were supposed to adopt a similar view of the President’s policies in war. Obviously “supposed to” and “in reality” are two different things.
Destructive criticism doesn’t give a better alternative. What it does is say “my way or the highway”. That’s not conducive to teamwork and it sure as heck won’t increase the chances for success in Iraq.
I never particularly liked the idea of pre-emptive invasion since it seemed to me like a great way to create eternal warfare and a cycle of violence. Since winning in Iraq will prevent future generations of human beings, Americans included, from needing to fight a cycle of violence there, I support it. Thus, for me, I never really bought into the “we have to stop cause we’re getting tired” rhetoric about warfare. Stopping just means the enemy comes in and starts up a cycle of violence on you. With the cycle being, you taking the violence and him giving it. I don’t like cycles of violence, so if pre-emptive war is going to cause it, I’m against it, but if pre-emptive war and continued reconstruction of Iraq will prevent cycles of violence, then I am not for giving up just cause some people feel tired.