I recently came upon a post by someone on Epinions. Normally I would ignore the drunken ramblings of a liberal, but two phrases struck me, and since the author wrote that he seriously wants my feedback and opinions, I will share them with him and the general public.

Chad, who posts under the name of lemon_lime on Epinions, recently wrote a disjointed screed about school teachers, their pay, and a bunch of other (un)related issues. Here was the first sentence that struck me:

“In other news, and just for certain readers, anybody willing to vote for George W. Bush in the upcoming election is officially insane.”

Referring to someone with whom you disagree politically as “officially insane” is merely a debate trick designed to shut up the opposition. There are a multitude of these ad hominem “debate stoppers,” but the most common ones include calling one’s opponents insane, or book-burning Nazis, or sheet-wearing Klansmen. Once these phrases are used, the debate effectively dies, and the name-caller’s objective has been achieved.

Orson Scott Card very recently touched on this subject:

“Folks, it’s the first mark of fanaticism when you assume all your opponents are either stupid or immoral. Even if it’s true, it’s very bad manners to say so, and doesn’t promote rational discussion.”

Back in the heyday of the Soviet Union, political dissidents were often judged clinically insane because, after all, only the truly insane would stand up to the Politburo or disagree with them. Total conformity was the rule, and woe be unto the nonconformist “nails” that stood out from the crowd. The Soviet hammer came down hard on them. Since Chad is willing to judge Bush supporters as insane, how close is he to endorsing the Soviet re-education camps of yesteryear?

Here’s the second bit of Chad’s post that struck me as interesting:

“Rather, I am voting for Kerry (though fully admitting that he was not my first choice for Democratic candidate) because of the fact that he is pro-choice and pro-international involvement in the ‘war in Iraq’ that Bush, sadly, guided us into.”

I realize it would be useless for me to argue the point about abortion. In my decades of debating the issue, I have yet to encounter a person whose opinions and views on the subject have not become fixed and immovable. But Chad’s claim that Kerry is worth voting for because he is “pro-international involvement” seems to ignore the fact that the Iraq war already is international. Back in 1991, President George H. W. Bush amassed over 30 countries in his coalition to remove Saddam from Kuwait, but his son brought together over a dozen more countries in his coalition to remove Saddam from power. Granted, this number was reduced by one when Spain suddenly turned French and surrendered to the 3/11 terrorists by electing their new, craven Prime Minister. But apart from the Spaniards’ lack of political spine, about 25% of the world’s nations have followed the lead of President George W. Bush and joined the coalition. If one-quarter of the world’s nations doesn’t count as “international,” what would?

I can tell you what would make this coalition truly international for many liberals: the addition of France, Germany and Russia to the list.

But why should we bother? Russia was once a great power, but now, like an old and worn-out boxer, has the mere shadow of the military might it once commanded. The last time Germany was a major military player, Panzer IV tanks were rolling down the Champs-Élysées. And speaking of the French, their military history is far from impressive. But taunting the French aside, there is a very simple explanation why France, Germany and Russia were not eager to oust Saddam from power: Saddam was bribing these nations with the “Oil for Food” program. So they dug their heels in and resisted shutting off their gravy train.

But John F@#$%ing Kerry is Chad’s main man because Kerry wants to suck up to the French, Germans and Russians to make this coalition “truly international.” Kerry must be as ignorant as Chad when it comes to recognizing the international nature of the coalition that has already removed a tyrant from power. But let’s pretend for the nonce that Chad’s idea of a more international force is a good and needful one, and let’s also pretend that John Kerry is the U.S. President instead of George Bush. If Kerry were President, the 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions against Iraq and Saddam would not have been enough. He would have shown Saddam no mercy by introducing an 18th, 19th, and yes, if necessary, a 20th UNSC resolution. Boy, that sure would have shown Saddam who’s boss, wouldn’t it?

What bloody good is the United Nations, anyway? Can anyone point to a concrete benefit that derives from being a member nation? What exactly does the UN do for America that America couldn’t accomplish confidently and competently on its own? Other than taking up expensive New York acreage, what does the United Nations offer to America?

Regardless of the nay-sayers in the UN and at home, President Bush has been responsible for the liberation of more than 50 million people from the oppressive governments that once dictated their lives. While the UNSC dithered and scribbled endless resolutions, and liberals wrung their hands and demanded that we give the sanctions still more time to work, President Bush saw no need to wait for France, Germany and Russia to stop accepting oil bribes before he took decisive action. After all, a leader rarely has the luxury to wait for a consensus that may never come, nor should he stick his finger into the wind to determine his opinion for the day. A leader must learn to make decisions and proceed, accepting the consequences. President Bush has shown he is quite capable of doing just that. John Kerry, on the other hand, wants to build consensus with the same nations who were elbow-deep in Saddam’s pocket. This is one reason why I could never, in good conscience, vote for Kerry.

But what do I know? I’m just one of Chad’s “officially insane” conservatives. I guess that means I should shut up now.

Addendum (7/07/2004): While talking about abortion is often useless because of the deep-seated opinions people hold on it, Senator Kerry recently exposed himself as the flip-flopping hypocrite that he is. He said, “I oppose abortion, personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception.”

I would understand if this revelation were devastating to Chad, who identified Kerry’s stand on abortion as a primary reason he would vote for the man, but it should also be disquieting to anyone who truly considers the implication of Senator Kerry’s words. Since Kerry believes that life begins at conception, the taking of such a human life by abortion cannot be seen as anything else but murder. Well, unless you are a liberal.

Addendum (7/27/2004): I sent this article to Chad after I wrote it. After he replied, I sent him the following on June 14th in response:

> Oh, and come on man, the idea that the war in Iraq was an International Effort is a joke. You lost a bit more credibility when you tried to claim otherwise in your essay. I’ll concede some points, but that’s just a joke.

Well, let’s look at it. Our strongest ally in this conflict has been the UK, and last time I counted, the U.S. and the UK made two nations. The simplest definition of “international” is comprising two or more nations, and this coalition contains over forty member nations to date. So, yes, the coalition is an international effort. It just isn’t, obviously, international *enough* for your tastes. So what would make it international enough for your liking? As you have probably already read in my article, France, Germany, and Russia had no intention of joining this international effort while they had sufficient financial reasons not to join–in essence, they were receiving lucrative oil bribes from Saddam’s government in exchange for their opposition to the war.

Had President Bush decided that we needed the backing of these three bribed nations, we would still be wrangling with the UN Security Council about what to do with Saddam. Are the Iraqi people better off now that Saddam is out of power? Dr. Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, seems to think so. When giving a recent address in Arabic, he broke into English to say, “I would like to thank the coalition led by the United States for the sacrifices they have provided in the process of the liberation of Iraq.”

Approximately fifty million people are no longer under the thumb of oppressive, dictatorial governments in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’d say that is a notable accomplishment on President Bush’s part, and one you need not be insane to appreciate.

Three weeks ago I sent him a follow-up message letting him know I had posted my comments as to why I will vote for President Bush this November. There has been no response, even though he stated in the Epinions article that he really wanted feedback and opinions.

On May 23rd, American author E. L. Doctorow was booed while he gave the commencement address at Hofstra University. Rather than using this opportunity to talk to the graduating class about their accomplishments or what they could expect in the near future, Doctorow used his time to bash President Bush and call him a liar.

One story he [Bush] told was that the country of Iraq had nuclear and biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction and was intending shortly to use them on us. That was an exciting story all right, it was designed to send shivers up our spines. But it was not true.

Another story was that the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, was in league with the terrorists of al-Qaida, And that turned out to be not true. But anyway we went off to war on the basis of these stories.

Loud boos erupted at these words. At one point, Doctorow stopped speaking and just stood there at the podium. Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz stepped up to the mike and asked that the crowd allow Doctorow to continue, but some people continued to boo the author nevertheless. While this is one of the latest examples of commonly-held leftist ideas about the war in Iraq, this certainly won’t be the last time they are brought up. So let’s look at the “stories” that Doctorow claims Bush told.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

A common claim by the liberal left is that President Bush lied to us about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Leftists often claim (as does Doctorow) that President Bush said that “Iraq had nuclear and biological and chemical weapons,” but what President Bush really said was that “[Iraq] possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.” That is what President Bush said on Oct. 7, 2002. The President also didn’t claim that the threat was imminent:

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

What did we know before we toppled Saddam’s regime? We knew that Saddam had both biological and chemical WMDs. How did we know this? Because Saddam had used them. This is not conjecture, nor is it speculation. This is a historical fact. Saddam had such weapons, and he was willing to use them. Since Saddam couldn’t account for these WMDs, nor would he allow inspectors to verify their destruction, the only logical conclusion is that Saddam still had them.

Fast forward a year after the overthrow of Saddam, and liberals are calling out, “Where are the WMDs? Bush lied!” But let’s look at a little bit of what has come out in the news recently. In May 2004, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said, “The Iraqi Survey Group confirmed today that a 155-millimeter artillery round containing sarin nerve agent had been found.” This round of (all together now, kids) sarin nerve agent was hooked up as an improvised explosive device, or IED. But this wasn’t an isolated event — two weeks earlier, terrorists had exploded an IED that contained mustard gas. The servicemen were fortunate in that the shell had been stored improperly, making the mustard gas ineffective; the sarin shell was exploded incorrectly, reducing the threat from it as well.

But when you find two dead cockroaches, it is foolishness to claim that is the extent of the infestation.

“Gazi George, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist under Saddam’s regime, told Fox News he believes many similar weapons stockpiled by the former regime were either buried underground or transported to Syria. He noted that the airport where the device was detonated is on the way to Baghdad from the Syrian border.” (Fox News)

In April, Jordan broke news of a planned bomb plot that could have killed tens of thousands of people in the city of Amman. At least three trucks came over the border from Syria laden down with detonators, explosives and the raw materials to create more explosives. Amid these “raw materials” were VX, sarin and 70 other chemicals. Could Syria have created the VX and sarin? Sure, but only Iraq had the facilities to create them in the quantities that were found. Is it a coincidence that military convoys were seen heading from Iraq into Syria before the war, and now we are capturing terrorists leaving Syria with chemical WMDs? Not according to Jaffar Jaffar, regarded as the father of Iraq’s nuclear program, who recently surrendered to American forces.

But what about Iraq’s nuclear program? On Sunday, May 23rd, 2004, former Justice Department prosecutor John Loftus talked about the nuclear program in the Middle East. This is transcribed from my recording of his interview:

“Now the British discoveries date back to just after September 11th, when British intelligence wiretapped a frantic phone call from North Korea to Libya. The North Koreans were saying, ‘Oh my God! If the Americans do go into Iraq, they’re going to find all the documents about our nuclear weapons program.’ ‘And who’s going to pay,’ the Libyans inquired, ‘all the nuclear scientists from Iraq in Libya once Saddam falls?’”

We now know that Libya had an ongoing nuclear program, but why was Iraq paying Libya to house nuclear scientists there? The simplest answer is that Libya’s nuclear program was really Saddam’s nuclear program outsourced. Loftus continued:

“Well, that tape was played to the North Koreans. They said, ‘Yeah, we have a nuclear program. So what? Bribe us.’ We played that tape to Kaddafi and he said, ‘Let’s make a deal.’ So Kaddafi has secretly confirmed that there was this Arab consortium on nuclear weapons. That Saddam decided because he knew where the blind spots were in Hans Blix’s staff to move his key nuclear scientists into Libya. 408 were transferred into that country. Kaddafi provided a hollowed-out mountain…. Some of these guys were actively working on Saddam’s payroll. He knew where the blind spots were. That’s how they knew to hide the entire weapons of mass destruction program. Blix is going to go down in history as a bloated bureaucrat whose arrogance was only exceeded by his incompetence. The spread of nuclear weapons took place right under his nose.”

So Saddam had and used biological and chemical weapons, and these weapons have turned up in Iraq and surrounding countries. While it appears that Saddam may not have been active inside Iraq with a nuclear program, he had outsourced such a program into Libya with the assistance of North Korea. President Bush’s claims were true when he said that “[Iraq] possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.”

Any liberal who tells you otherwise either has his head buried in the sand, or is outright lying to you for his political gain.

Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda

So is Doctorow correct when he claims there is no connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda? Well, let’s look at what we know.

Czech intelligence reported in October 2001 that Mohammad Atta, the terrorist who flew the first plane into the World Trade Center, met with Iraqi Counsel Ahmad Al-Ani. Why would Atta break his cover a few months before the September attack to meet with an Iraqi in Prague? Could this meeting have been related to the plane hijacking training provided by the Salman Pak training camp in Iraq? According to Sabah Khalifa Khodada Alami, an Iraqi military officer who defected from Iraq in 1999, Salman Pak was a training site for the Fedayeen Saddam in airline hijacking and sabotage. Also training in this camp were non-Iraqi groups, who received similar hijacking training using the Boeing 707 plane parked in the camp.

But there is another link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. The Jordanian bomb plot mentioned above was planned by Abu-Musab al-Zaqawi, a close follower of al-Qaeda. The people captured in this plot confessed on Jordanian television that the plot was hatched by al-Zaqawi in 1999, while he was in Iraq, as an al-Qaeda attack. The attack was attempted with Iraqi WMD supplies, but fortunately was stopped before thousands died.

Does the name al-Zaqawi ring a bell? He’s one of the ghouls who chopped off Nick Berg’s head. Know where he is right now? If you say Iraq, go to the head of the class. So here we have al-Qaeda: trained in Iraq, supplied with weapons from Iraq, plotting attacks in Iraq, launching attacks now in Iraq and, thanks to the corruption of the U.N.’s “oil for food” program, funded by Iraq. But if you listen to people like Doctorow, there is no connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

Yeah, right.

Addendum (5/26/2004): Al Gore has stepped forward and bloviated about the war in Iraq. He is calling for the resignation of the Secretary of Defense, two deputies, the intelligence chief, the National Security Advisor, and the head of the CIA. If a bomb were to claim the lives of these six people, it would be a terrible blow to the American government. But Gore is calling for them to fall on their own swords. He is also calling for the removal of President Bush at the ballot box this November. Yep, Al Gore, the sore loser, is calling on America to cringe and crawl before the terrorists and piss on themselves, much as Spain did after the March 11th bombings in Madrid. Thanks, Al.

Lemme clear up one simple thing that Gore missed when he said “[Bush] decided not to honor the Geneva Convention.” The GC specifies how soldiers, prisoners and civilians are to be treated. But there are three basic caveats to the GC. First, the GC only applies to the nations who sign it. Second, if a signatory nation violates the rules of the GC, the other nation(s) are no longer bound by it. Third, the rules about treatment of soldiers apply only to people wearing uniforms, insignia or other clear indications of military membership. Clearly, al-Qaeda does not fit the last category since they are not a clearly identified military. Nor have they shown that they will honor the GC, setting off IEDs with mustard and sarin gas in them. And they are not signatory members of the GC. So how exactly do al-Qaeda and the other terrorist rabble attacking Coalition soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan fit with the Geneva Convention? They don’t, but this won’t stop liberals like Al Gore from beating their breasts over it.

This speech by Al Gore will be translated and broadcast throughout the Muslim world, and it will strengthen the resolve of those who delight in the shedding of American blood. With this speech, Al Gore is giving real aid and comfort to the enemy. This is treason. But because Gore is a Democrat, nothing will happen to him.

Oil

One of the rallying cries during the lead-up to the liberation of Iraq was the oft-shouted “No blood for oil!” This is a cute and snappy slogan, but it has no basis in fact. If the U. S. were really that greedy for oil, Kuwait would have become the 51st State a decade ago. Nor would it take much force to occupy Saudi Arabia. But oil did play an important part in the lead-up to the fighting in Iraq.

In 1996, a U.N. plan was implemented to feed the people of Iraq. For years Iraq was under a trade embargo as a result of invading Kuwait. The plan was informally called the “Oil for Food” program, and it allowed Iraq to sell its oil at dirt-cheap prices in exchange for humanitarian aid, mainly food and medicines. This plan ran for about seven years under the direct control of the U.N. In January of this year, the Iraqi newspaper al-Mada published a list of 270 names of people and organizations whom the newspaper found in Iraqi oil ministry documents. These were the people and organizations who took part in the Oil for Food program. Dick Morris sums up some of the people involved in a New York Post article:

The list of those receiving these bribes includes France’s former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua (who’s a leader of Chirac’s party) and Patrick Maugein, the head of the French Oil firm Soco International. France’s former U.N. ambassador, Jean-Bernard Merimee, got vouchers to sell 11 million barrels.

In Russia, the payoff chain reached right into the “office of the Russian president.” President Vladimir Putin’s Peace and Unity Party also got vouchers, as did the Soviet-era Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov and the Russian Orthodox Church. Nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky shared in the largesse.

Who were the three biggest opponents to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq? Who were the three biggest beneficiaries of the Oil for Food program? Why, in both cases these were France, Russia, and the U.N. Basically, Saddam had bought their opposition to the war with oil bribes. Oil certainly did play a part in the fighting in Iraq, but oil wasn’t the reason why the U.S. invaded. Oil was the reason behind the people crying out for the status quo. After all, they had a sweet deal going on.

If someone tells you the U.S. invaded Iraq because of oil, congratulations! You have just discovered someone who doesn’t have a clue. Feel free to give them their sign.

Torture

In April, news broke of Americans and other Coalition soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners. In one photo, soldiers grin behind a pile of naked Iraqis. Another shows a female soldier grinning and pointing to naked Iraqis. Americans and Arabs are understandably upset about this. After all, Americans value human dignity, and the Iraqis in the pictures have had this dignity robbed from them. And Arabs are upset because the photographs seem to show just how evil the satanic American crusaders have become.

I want a full investigation of those involved because I value human life and dignity. But to be honest, I’m not all that torn up by these photos. Regardless of how much is true and how much is fake, the “torture” displayed by the Coalition doesn’t hold a candle to the real torture the Iraqis endured under Saddam’s rule. On one hand we have a pile of naked people, and on the other hand we have thousands shot, starved, macheted, stung, and maimed by Saddam.

America is being blamed for this because we have standards and we clearly failed to live up to them. But Saddam didn’t have any standards, and the world seemed willing to give him a pass. If France, Russia, the U.N., and American liberals had their way, Saddam would still be in charge, and the real torture and rape rooms would still be in full swing.

The Draft

Early this year, Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel introduced a bill to reinstate the military draft. “I truly believe that those who make the decision and those who support the United States going into war would feel more readily the pain that’s involved, the sacrifice that’s involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who historically have avoided this great responsibility,” Rangel said.

Liar. This has nothing to do with making sure the children of the rich serve, and everything to do with forcing people to serve against their wishes.

During the Vietnam War, college campuses rocked with anti-war demonstrations. One main reason was the understandable anger of being forced to serve a cause that one did not believe in or support. Modern liberals like Rep. Rangel hope that by reinstating the military draft, they will foment the same anti-war emotions and demonstrations in which they participated during the ’60s and ’70s. These liberals care less about making sure our military is fully staffed and funded than they do about creating the same kind of anti-war demonstrations they remember from their younger, less informed days.

I cannot support this push for the draft because I can see the cynical purpose behind it. But even if the draft were proposed by conservative leaders, I would still be against it. This is one area where my libertarian feelings rise to the surface, and I agree wholeheartedly with what Robert A. Heinlein said back in 1961:

Conscription is slavery – and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone – no matter what name it is called. We have had a draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say: Let the damned thing go down the drain!

America will go down the drain if it cannot inspire enough citizens to put their lives on the line to defend it. Or as stated in another place:

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.

And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.