Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

“To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition.”

with 6 comments

I’ve had some interesting comments made by a certain Joshua on an old post. Interesting might not be quite the word, but close enough. As the persons in question took the time to criticize my posts at length, I feel the need to reply. For one thing I think I expressed some of my points poorly so I’m going to clarify myself. And I disagree with some of the points raised in the comments. However, rather than try to make some sort of point by point reply, which usually just further confuses a debate, I am simply going to restate various aspects of my argument. Including how they relate to some of the comments.

First of all, dissent is not unpatriotic, it’s OK for someone to argue that the war in Afghanistan is a mistake and that we should pull out. This is not disrespecting the troops or encouraging the enemy, it is simply the sort of healthy dissent that exemplifies the principles our nation was founded on. And if our troops are “defending our freedoms,” isn’t the freedom of speech one of the most important freedoms? And no, I’m not advocating surrender, exercising my freedom of speech is proof that we are still a free country. Frankly our troops should be proud that Americans can and do openly disagree with our government’s policies, doesn’t that make us better than the Taliban?

Secondly, supporting the troops is not the same thing as supporting the war. One can support the troops and be opposed to the war. In fact I maintain that my desire to bring the troops home  is supporting the troops. I don’t want to see a single American killed or maimed in a pointless overseas war.  And pointless the war is, as Yoda would say. The Taliban are no threat to the United States. This was a war we chose, not them. The last time a foreign power seriously threatened American’s freedoms was 1781. George Washington took care of that shit, see illustration above.

Certain allegations were made regarding my understanding of the exact nature of the war the USA is pursuing in Afghanistan. Mea culpa, I was using figurative language to describe events, and the meaning may have been lost. I don’t want to get into the nuts and bolts of what our troops are doing in Afghanistan. Because it doesn’t matter. Two administrations have had more than ten years, and whatever they wanted from Congress, to do whatever it is they are doing in Afghanistan. Ten years later, the Taliban is still unvanquished. The longest war in American history, and we appear to be no closer to “victory,” whatever that means, than when we started. I don’t have to go to Afghanistan to see that what we are doing there isn’t working.

Afghanistan is a war we started, with a poor nation on the far side of the world that posed no threat to the USA, not some epic struggle against global powers like World War Two. I’m also a little unclear on exactly what we are trying to accomplish. What is the goal? If the idea is to defeat the Taliban, well, they seem no closer to defeat than ever. Establish a modern secular regime that can hold its own against the Taliban? That doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon either. In fact the warlords we put back in power in Afghanistan were the same warlords whose corruption and violence created the Taliban in the first place. Giving them modern weapons will no more ensure their survival than arming the South Vietnamese government to the teeth ensured its survival.

Lastly I think it’s funny that someone says I should go to Afghanistan since I oppose our war there. Gee, I thought that it was people who approve of our foreign wars that should be forced to participate in them? I should also point out that someone who is in the midst of a war has powerful psychological reasons to agree with what they are doing. The bandwagon effect for one. Nonetheless, anyone who interprets my writing as somehow being insulting to the military personnel who are serving has clearly missed my point. And frankly it’s an attitude very close to “If you aren’t with us, you are against us.” That’s not an attitude that people of a free country should be taking, in fact it’s kind of the opposite.

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
                                                                                                                        — Voltaire
 
(The above image is public domain under US copyright law, having been painted in 1820. It’s titled “The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis.” The artist was John Trumbull, 1756-1843. The title was a quote by Woody Allen. Another favourite quote by him: “My draft classification is 4f. That means that in the event of war, I’m a hostage.” One can only hope America isn’t going that route.)
 

 

Written by unitedcats

August 29, 2012 at 8:49 am

6 Responses

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  1. 1881? George Washington lived a loooong time didn’t he?

    Typos aside, it’s a good post.

    Chris Hunt

    August 29, 2012 at 9:11 am

  2. Well said, sir, well said.

    Matt Johnsen

    August 29, 2012 at 9:51 am

  3. It goes so far beyond war policies; Americans live in a FREE country? Tolerance is the unerlying factor. In order to have things like free speech, you have to be tolerant of the people (citizens) that openly disagree with your beliefs and opinions. Sadly, so many do not understand what that really means. As far as supporting the troops, I was a military wife for 17 years; and never once did I not support our Canadian troops. However I still did not agree with our involvement in Afghanistan or any other country in the last decade. No military family wants to see one of their own come home in a box for a meaningless cause. You can support the troops, and be opposed to the government agenda sending them into harms way. As for any threats to the United States, I have to agree, not for the last 200 years has any power really been a huge threat to the USA, not even in WWII. Yes there were losses on all side, but other countries did not recover as well as the USA. I think people in general will belive anything the government will push on them, unless of course you are a freethinker and are off the grid a ways. lol.

    Jennifer Goodyear

    August 30, 2012 at 11:09 am

  4. Washington died in 1799, no? I agree with you about Afghanistan, should’ve left yesterday…

    Steve

    August 30, 2012 at 11:20 am

  5. Afghanistan: Alan Grayson quotes Sun Tzu – poignant

    JO

    August 31, 2012 at 12:13 am

  6. I think orignally we went to war oh so long ago in Afghanistan because there was another country there that we didn’t want there. As far as why we are still there is because those dang terrorists won’t come out and give up. Do I believe that is the real reason. I think the real reason is because they won’t give up, how dare they stand up against us. then in their tiny, little dirty country that has nothing to offer the world.

    LOOK HERE: I don’t agree with what I wrote but I know lots of people who do. There are many reasons why we find ourselves in a war that makes no sense to us. I support our troops ALWAYS and to a degree war (only because war is how chaos is done when there is no other way and from chaos, order will arise.) Do I think we should be there? No but I don’t think we should have ever been there. No matter what the terrorist did to us (even if those were the same ones).

    I always wonder if the conspiract theories are true. The CIA gives flight lessons and pays for various men that look Arabic to fly the planes into the towers to fund a war. Hmmmm if not it sure worked out to some one’s advange.

    Liz Doyle

    September 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm


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