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October 3, 2003

Every night, for the past few nights, I've gone home and gotten into conversations with my older brother (who I live with), about politics. He is more liberal than I am, but we agree on some things and disagree on others.I would say there are two main issues going on in the world that we talk about -- the Bush Administration's job in the reconstruction of Iraq, and the Israel/Palistine issue. There. Has it been a minute yet?Well, anyway, while we both credit some fault to Bush, he's much more critical, basically falling in line with a lot of the current Anti-Bush rhetoric, though he wasn't against the war in the first place. As for the Middle East, he's very critical of Israel, and has even raised the possibility of a conspiracy theory dealing with strong Israeli ties to the current Administration.I thought the latter was absolutely ridiculous, and the former to be to extreme. On the Middle East thing, I agree that the "Road Map" is dead, that there are problems on both sides, and that there is no easy solution. However, I would fault the Palestinians more than the Israelis. Here are my reasons: For one thing, the Israelis do retaliatory attacks on Palistinians. Except for the chasing of top terror officials of Hamas (which the US, and any other state would go after), they only attack (albeit very harshly) when they are attacked. That means the Palistinians need to stop their terror attacks first, and Israel can stop theirs. As for the Road Map, the Palistinians didn't do a darn thing except agree to stop bombing Israeli civilians, and even that promise they broke. Israel didn't do a whole lot, but they did something at least. They dismantled a few (out of many) outlying settlements, enraging some Jews, and they pulled their troops out of some areas, opening up roads and reducing checkpoints. Many Palistinians criticized this as not meaning much, but again, I say it was a lot more than what the other side did. Remember Bob? Baby steps. I realize Abbas (the now ex-PM), didn't have a lot of power, but the people could have done something. They didn't.While Bush and his administration have made many mistakes, I think he gets more criticism than deserved. I think many people are looking at the problems with their perfect hindsight. The problems are also overstated by the media. That said, I think much of the $87 billion that is going to Iraq could be better spent, and I think L. Paul Bremer was foolish to just disband the Iraqi army in May, leaving lots of men bored, with guns, and no pay (this was from Time). I don't understand why they can't mobilize tons of Iraqi's for a decent wage, and have them guard the power and oil infrastructures of the country. Let the Iraqi's have some investment in their own country for heaven's sake. I also think they need to do a little PR and let the Iraqi's know that the American's really do want to get the heck out of there, but can't do so until the Iraqi people help them stabilize the country. Obviously, I haven't been over there, so I rely on several media sources to try to get a more balanced view of things, but I think it's obvious things aren't going as planned.

Posted by charr at 11:16 AM
Reader Comments

I’m shocked. Here I had you pegged as a right-wing loon and here I am agreeing with you. J What’s the world coming to?Well, I mostly agree with you. I’m a little harsher on the Palestinians. I don’t believe that they want peace with Israel. Had they truly wanted peace, they would have taken the offer Clinton gave; they would have been granted 98% of the lands they claim to want. Had they accepted, it would have been a huge blow to Israel. But no, they declined. This leaves me to believe that they don’t want peace with Israel; they want to wipe Israel off the map. As for a solution, I have no idea what Dubya should do. It’s why I don’t criticize his actions in that whole conflict; I don’t think there’s going to be an easy resolution if any.As for Dubya’s performance in other areas, I can’t fault much in his handling of Iraq. I could wish that part of the $87 billion would be a loan to the Iraqis instead of a gift, but that’s minor. I can blame him a tiny bit for the disinterest he seems to now show towards Afghanistan. I can certainly blame him for caving in to Ted Kennedy a little while ago on that education thing. I wish that he would do something about taxes. But all in all, he’s doing a pretty good job. I honestly can’t fault his performance much.

Posted by Jan at October 3, 2003 12:12 PM

So, are you saying I belong here: ? ;)And do ducks have more proficiency in one wing over the other -- like right-handed people vs lefties?

Posted by Cameron at October 3, 2003 12:26 PM

I don't think the govt wants to walk away from Iraq and let the people rule themselves. I think Bush wants to stay in control there and try to keep the Muslim countries from banding together against us. They killed 3 of our soldiers yesterday (1 woman) and are proving very successful at picking one off every day or so....I think it's going to eventually boil over and they will do something like blow up a part of a sleeping platoon of soldiers, kill a bunch all at once and then it'll be the top news story again. I'm a little disgusted that the killing of one soldier a day doesn't get more notice in the news.
I think eventually it'll become a big, messy Muslim vs. Christian war.
I'm reading In the Presence of My Enemies and it's really a good read - the missionary couple from America who were held hostage in the jungle of the Philippines for over a year by the Abu Sayaf, a Muslim terrorist group with very good funding. Some of their soldiers returned to the Philippines after having fought in the jihad against Russia in Afghanistan, and started this group. They want to capture as many Philippine islands as they can and start Islamic law, sharia. It explained more about the "70 virgins" thing- if you aren't killed as a fighter, you must stand around for 14,000 years and wait for Muhammed to judge everyone. So dying in battle is better than standing around forever!! They believe Jesus was a prophet but when He is approached and asked to judge the people He will say He is not worthy, so everyone must wait for Muhammed.

Posted by Ellen at October 3, 2003 1:56 PM

It would be foolish to walk away right now (something the French are suggesting). The country is anything but stable, and we need to get a decent government going over there, with a non-theocratic constitution, and law enforcement. Then we need to leave as soon as possible. No one likes foriegn troops in their streets.

Posted by Cameron at October 3, 2003 2:07 PM

I can't believe some people honestly want the US to leave right now with Iraq in the state its in. In my experience, everyone who's telling us to leave is also kvetching about when we pulled out of the Gulf War the first time without "finishing the job". Can't they make up their minds? We can't leave, or we will end up with another country that really hates us.As for Israel and Palestine, I don't think there is a road map. Why? Because I agree with Jan. Palestinians don't want peace, they want all of Israel dead. They even have a holiday that serves no other purpose but to celebrate their hatred of the Jews. That should tell us all something right there. They hate Jews, they want them dead, and they're proud of it. How can you reason with that kind of ingrained hostility? It's impossible. It's Isaac and Ishmael, a battle that's been going on for thousands of years and has been prophesied to continue until the second coming - any Christian who believes in the Bible should remember that and recognize it. With the hatred and the history of violence between these two peoples that stretches back anciently, how can anyone possibly say it's Bush's fault? I swear, these people would blame Bush if they stubbed their own toes.

Posted by Heather at October 4, 2003 10:22 AM

Jan, Heather,
There is truth to your comments about the Palistinians not wanting peace with Israel:

Posted by Cameron at October 4, 2003 3:59 PM

Cameron, I may wade into arguments over politics and I may flounder my way through comments on relationships and I may occasionally dabble in the technogeek babble that is way over my head, but there is no way I am getting into a debate on righties vs lefties. Er, right-handers vs left-handers, that is. Even I am not that brave. :)And frankly, I think all loons need to be protected. Even the crazy left-winged ones.As for Bush's reasons for staying in Iraq, I'm not sure that it's for controlling an Arab block so much as it's to make sure another 9/11 doesn't happen again. I think that he thinks that overseeing the formation of a new government in one of the more feral anti-American countries in the middle east is the best way to do it. I can't entirely disagree.

Posted by Jan at October 5, 2003 8:53 PM

I'm not sure you really can argue left vs. right anymore, since they're all so very different and yet still technically classifiable under left or right. Has anyone ever tried the Political Compass test? I'm not sure if this site is the same one where I took the quiz originally, but it's pretty interesting:
Give it a shot and see where you end up. Strangely enough, I ended up nearly smack-dab in the middle, just one square over to the right. This is one case where I'm actually happy to be in the middle. Hamas! That's what I was trying to remember but couldn't. Thank you, Cameron. I think it's just really sad that so many "road maps" never work. I have a very dear friend living in Haifa, Israel. He's an amazingly brilliant young boy that I've known since he was only 12 - one of the smartest, wisest kids I've ever met and every day he has to deal with this crap. He's one case where if I had enough money, I'd definitely fly him and his family out of Israel. I hate the worry that always accompanies news stories about yet another attack in Israel. But the sad part is, just taking one family out would never be enough, you know? I'd still worry every time I see the news. Which is why I had to stop following the news, which is also why I'm often very bad at remembering details or keeping track of the latest events.Dang, that got depressing real fast.

Posted by Heather at October 5, 2003 11:54 PM

I took the political quiz and scored pretty much as I expected: Libertarian, Right. I felt that some of the questions were kind of unfairly weighted, though. Here's another political quiz. This one is short. scored Libertarian on that one, too.

Posted by Jan at October 6, 2003 5:58 AM

Yikes! I got authoritarian left. As with any survey, I don't know how much trust I can put in that test. On Jan's quiz, I'm a centrist, with a slight tinge to the right.

Posted by Cameron at October 6, 2003 8:26 AM

Ha. Cameron, you're on the Authoritarian Left with Hitler! Funny.

Posted by Jan at October 6, 2003 9:32 AM

That's right Jan. You better watch out.Funny, I would never consider myself on the left. While I'm for civil rights, I'm pretty right in most other areas

Posted by Cameron at October 6, 2003 10:07 AM

I scored Authoritarian Left on Jan's quiz, which I definitely don't think fits me. Jan - you're actually one of the first Libertarians I've ever met. I've only met two before, that I know of anyway. I have a question - I know Libertarians are for self-government, but what about all the other people in this country that aren't logical or smart enough to govern themselves? Who decides who's smart enough for that plan? I've always wondered what the Libertarian viewpoint is on that, but haven't found a Libertarian in order to ask.

Posted by Heather at October 6, 2003 10:33 AM

I scored just a bit to the left and libertarian of center, which I think pretty accurately reflects my views. Extremists worry me, but I suppose the political system would not work as well without them making fusses about issues.Sometimes I feel like the political views I hold on different topics would be difficult to reconcile into a consistent political philosophy. This bothers me a bit, because I tend to be analytical about things, but I suppose compromise and illogical behavior are at the core of what it is to be human. I think this is the core of the reason that political discussions often become heated arguments; it's impossible to be completely rational.Yow, that was rambly. Sorry. :)

Posted by Levi at October 6, 2003 8:40 PM

Heather, Libertarians think that all people - even the stupid ones - should be free to make their own decisions. There's nothing in the Constitution about IQ or intelligence being a prerequisite for political decision-making. I mean, just look at most of our current politicians. :) Levi, I completely understand the problem with finding a political philosophy that agrees with everything you personally believe. Honestly, there's a lot about the Libertarians that I don't like. But there are more issues with the Dems and Reps that I completely don't agree with. Basically, I chose the party with which I disagreed the least.

Posted by Jan at October 7, 2003 5:13 AM

Jan - That's my issue with the Libertarians. I think some people are too irresponsible to govern themselves. I don't mean that in an insulting way, it's just a fact. What about the handicapped? The homeless? The less fortunate? The only outcome I can see from everyone governing themselves is that there won't be any support structure whatsoever for any of the less fortunate. All I can see resulting in that is selfishness. Also, I've met way too many people whose ideas of government are total anarchy, and with the millions of different ideas swarming around in the heads of this nation's citizens, we would have anarchy with all these different people running around governing themselves.
It also bothers me that the Libertarians don't seem to have any plan for international relations, that the government's just there to keep everybody safe from boogeymen. What about diplomacy? The Economy? If the Government doesn't have any control over the nation's business, that only leaves big businessmen to run things. And we've all seen recently what happens when big businessmen are in charge. I don't like that idea at all. Government has to have a teensy say in what goes on in our economy, otherwise it's chaos.
Not that I think Republicans or Democrats are any better. Or that some of our leaders are the best people around. Or any other party for that matter. I'm still having a hard time struggling with who to vote for. This is my first time actually having to contemplate this seriously, since I actually had to register to vote and everything. I'm still trying to feel out all the different political parties, which was why I wanted to ask you about Libertarians. I don't really belong to any political party (even though when I got my driver's license the evil DMV lady forced me to register to vote and marked me as a Republican - can she do that?) I figure I'll just belong to my own party, the Repubocrats, for the folks who are nicely in the middle. I actually plan on writing up a list of issues one of these days.

Posted by Heather at October 7, 2003 9:42 AM

Heather, I don't think we're thinking of the same Libertarian Party. The LP has never advocated anarchy. The LP has endorsed an economic plan I happen to love. It's called the Fair Tax. You can find it at The LP isn't about removing all government; it's about making sure that the government doesn't infringe on the rights given to us in the Constitution. Maybe you should go check out You can find all the info you want on the Libertarian Party's stand on diplomacy, foriegn relations, etc.As for stupid people running the government or people who are in your opinion unfit to run the government, tough. Are you suggesting that the homeless, the "less fortunate" (I hate that term), and the handicapped shouldn't be able to vote? I think I may suspect why you scored Authoritarian on that quiz. :)

Posted by Jan at October 7, 2003 2:05 PM

Jan - Hmm. I think maybe the two other Libertarians I met were a wee bit confused, then, and subsequently confused me. Also, I've read about some Libertarian Presidential candidates, which is where I got some of my other ideas about the party. I'll definitely check out the site you suggested.And oh no, please please don't misunderstand me. I don't mean that the handicapped, homeless, or whathaveyou shouldn't be allowed to vote. That would be ridiculous for me to think that, since legally I'm handicapped as well. I was trying to say that the government does so much more than just try to keep us safe from boogiemen (which is what the other Libertarians told me they stood for). I was thinking more along the lines of government services, programs, etc. I definitely think they should vote and have a hand in government. Sorry, I don't think I'm explaining myself well at all. I'll read that site and keep my mouth shut. :)

Posted by Heather at October 7, 2003 5:00 PM

Heather, There are a lot of, um, fringe Libertarians out there. Every party has them, but it seems like only the weirdo Libs get the press coverage.Perhaps I'm explaining this poorly. Try taking a good look at your party's web page. Chances are you're going to find some stuff you don't agree with. But you still call yourself a member of that party. That's because some elements are really far out there in left or right field, but you still agree with the core subjects. For some reason people expect Libertarians to have the same mind on issues; in reality, trying to get a group of Libs to agree an a subject is worse than hearding cats. We all have the same general feelings on some subjects (property rights, free speech, etc), but we all differ on other issues (international relations, terrorism, etc), just like any other political party.And I've never agreed with any Lib persidential candidate for that very reason; they're fringe. It's why I've always voted for Rep presidential candidates. Harry Brown is a madman; I will tell you honestly, if he were elected president our economy would really tank.

Posted by Jan at October 7, 2003 8:04 PM

It looks like the Iraqi Governing Council agrees with having the Iraqis do more:

Posted by Cameron at October 20, 2003 2:45 PM

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Last Updated 11/07/03