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Posts Made By: Terry Friedrichsen

September 9, 2008 06:37 PM Forum: Polls

The QUESTION - some of you shouldn't look - you have been warned

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

Chris Myers said:
Well, for what it's worth, the GOP has had the upper hand in both the house and the senate for most of the time since 1994. Why do the right wing loyalists always seem to ignore that fact? For six of Bush's eight years the Republicans had near total dominance.

Well, speaking only for myself (though I'm not a "right-wing loyalist", by any means), *I* don't "ignore" that fact; I simply see it as a positive thing, on balance. The only major complaint I have about the last 8 years is that the national debt was increased WAY too much. Some of that was due to post-9/11 consequences, but still ...

You have to keep in mind the fact that, with the presidential polls pretty evenly split right now, *half of the country* disagrees with you. That doesn't mean they're "ignoring" anything; it just means that they evaluate things differently than you do.

(And, of course, half of the country disagrees with *me*, so there ya go.)

Terry (astrotrf)

September 11, 2008 04:31 PM Forum: Polls

The QUESTION - some of you shouldn't look - you have been warned

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

Daniel Perry said:
More than 2500 people were killed in a terrorist act against the US. We know the specific Afghani who is responsible. Two years later, there's almost no talk about Osama bin Laden and we're occupying Iraq...? What, what what? If that's the kind of leadership you get with an "experienced" Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, I think I'll look elsewhere.

All this means is that you think that there is only one threat at a time in the world, and that the U. S. can't handle more than one problem simultaneously. A Commander-in-Chief has to have a wider view than that.

We are, after all, fighting in Afghanistan, too.

By the way, bin Laden is a Saudi. Not knowing that calls into question the rest of your criticism.

As to "occupying" Iraq: are you aware of the fact that, having deposed the previous government, we are under the obligation of "international law" to stabilize the country and help emplace a sound government? And that is to say nothing of having a *moral* obligation to do so.

All McCain will do, with all of his supposed qualified experience, is continue the policies of a president who has one of the lowest approval ratings in history.

As an illustration that this is meaningless, consider the fact that the Democratically-controlled Congress has an even *lower* approval rating, yet I'll bet you think *more* Democrats should be elected to Congress.

It's very difficult to get a high approval rating, especially in a time when numerous controversial decisions have to be made. Nearly everyone can find *some* reason to disapprove of what you're doing. (Heck, there are people who don't approve of *me* ...)

You have to keep in mind that for every policy you disagree with, for every decision you think is incorrect, there is someone out there who is at least as intelligent and at least as knowledgeable who believes that your judgment of the situation is wrong. There are few if any absolutes here.

Regarding Abraham Lincoln: one can hope for an excellent outcome like that, but there's no *guarantee* that it will happen. There are inexperienced Presidents who've *sucked*, too.

What, what what?

If you don't know *why* we are in Iraq, take the trouble to *find out*. Then you can either agree or disagree with that decision. Bear in mind that most folks agreed with the decision when it was taken; some decided later that they'd been "lied to" when the intelligence assessment of WMDs in Iraq turned out to be wrong (though there's no denying that Saddam *had* WMDs and *used* them in the past, and was actively engaged in a campaign to make it look as though he still did). But simply not knowing why is an insufficiently-informed reason to "look elsewhere".

Terry (astrotrf)

September 11, 2008 04:45 PM Forum: Polls

The QUESTION - some of you shouldn't look - you have been warned

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

Oh, and I shouldn't fail to point out that the ultimate outcome in Iraq appears to be hugely positive. An unintended consequence of the war is that we've dealt a HUGE blow to al Qaeda, and that, after all, is what the post-9/11 conflict is all about. We failed to anticipate it and failed to react to it correctly for a while, but in the end, we crippled a sworn enemy.

And that's a Good Thing.

Terry (astrotrf)

September 12, 2008 02:26 PM Forum: Polls

The QUESTION - some of you shouldn't look - you have been warned

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

Daniel Perry said:

I'm quite aware of the various "threats" around the world.

I'm glad to hear that; it's certainly not the impression left by the first paragraph of your original posting, though. Even as I re-read it now, it says "bin Laden is our problem, so why are we in Iraq?".

People didn't "decide" they were lied to about the status of Iraq and WMDs. They WERE lied to.

The fact is that every major western intelligence service believed that Iraq was concealing WMDs. It's not a "lie" to believe something based on evidence that only *later* turns out to be incorrect.

are we to assume that you believe invading Iraq was absolutely the only way to deal with al-Qaeda? That's what it sounds like you're saying.

It's statements like this that reinforce my original conclusion that you believe there is only one problem in the world. al Qaeda had only a minor presence in Iraq before the invasion, and had little to do with why we removed Saddam Hussein from power.

And as to what it "sounds like" I'm saying ... I clearly stated that the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq was an "unintended consequence" of the invasion. So your question demonstrates that you completely misread what I wrote.

And anyone who believes that any country's "ultimate outcome" can be known based on the last 5-10 years, seems to be a bit shortsighted.

My words were "appears to be hugely positive". And that's certainly the way it looks right now. Could it all still go south? Certainly; but that's not the way to bet at the moment.

The meta question is should we have taken the initiative to depose the government in the first place.

You are absolutely correct; this is indeed the question. Invading another country to depose its government is a serious action. We elect a national government (both Congress and the President) to make those decisions, and then we get to second-guess them after the fact and replace them in the next election if we decide they chose wrongly.

Was it also our "moral obligation" to invade the country in the first place? If the answer to that is "yes", then we should be invading MANY other countries right now as we speak.

This is another indication of why I believe you are missing the point. The decision to invade another country is a very serious one that should only be made on a case-by-case basis, not under some blanket rule that paints many different countries and situations with the same broad brush.

Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a most unique situation. He had in the past actually *used* WMDs in a war, and also against his own civilian population. He was in violation of numerous U. N. sanctions commanding his behavior. He was widely believed to be maintaining an active WMD program, and was systematically thwarting the efforts of weapons inspectors. He invaded a tiny neighbor merely to possess its oil fields; he threatened other neighboring countries as well. He responded to being counterattacked in 1991 by firing missiles at a country that had quite deliberately *stayed out* of the conflict. And there's lots more.

I don't think there are "MANY other countries" for which you can cite a similarly-egregious pattern of errant behavior.

Besides, most liberals seem to believe that we're incapable of fighting in *two* countries at once; I'm pretty sure they wouldn't go along with the idea of "many".

In other words, there's no need to talk down to someone just because they don't agree with you.

Well, it's a difficult balancing act, especially in the written (vice spoken) word, to question someone's command of the facts, or explain why you believe their conclusions are illogical based on the facts, without appearing to be arrogant or "talking down". That appearance is not my intention.

I pointed out to another poster that, with the national polls being pretty evenly split right now, while half of the country disagrees with him, half of the country disagrees with *me*, too.

I don't mind dissenting opinion; I like to point out to folks that I don't *learn* much from people who *agree* with me. But I do demand that opinion be based on a rational assessment of fact, rather than illogic and half-truths. Also, I tend to favor straightforward explanations over byzantine conspiracy theories, and, where circumstances admit multiple explanations, I tend to accept explanations presupposing good, rather than evil, intentions without credible evidence to the contrary, all things being equal.

You may or may not be surprised to hear that there are folks who do just the opposite.

Terry (astrotrf)

September 11, 2008 10:42 PM Forum: Polls

The QUESTION - some of you shouldn't look - you have been warned

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

Luca Grella said:
Then why has Bush only now started to attack al Qaeda
and the talibans in Pakistan?
Maybe because he heard that from the Obama's speeches?
Or is it because it took him 7 years to figure that out?

Or maybe because Pakistan's government has been, in the main, cooperative, and we wanted to give them every chance to succeed before deciding that we had to begin taking matters into our own hands? Especially when the new Pakistani government started signing "peace deals" with the Taliban (which hasn't worked out so well for the government) that effectively provided the terrorists safe haven?

Or maybe because we made a promise to Musharraf, way back when the Afghan war began, not to operate in his country so long as he was president?

I don't know the reasons, but it's easy enough to imagine some compelling ones; see above. So not knowing the reasons is a long remove from assuming there aren't any.

Sometimes situations are more complicated than we'd really wish they were.

Terry (astrotrf)

September 12, 2008 04:42 AM Forum: Polls

The QUESTION - some of you shouldn't look - you have been warned

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

Joe Bergeron said:
... plus their usual spinelessness ...

I'll spare you a drive through *that* opening!

International law: of course the USA heeds it only when it suits our purposes.

Yeah, the big, bad, old, awful USA. Never does anything for anybody but themselves. What a horrible country.

Are you saying there's some codified international law which says that if you invade a foreign country and overthrow its government, you are required to set up a nicer one in its place?

Well, I never said "nicer". But, while I'm no expert on international law, I've heard it mentioned several times that there are international legal obligations which, assuming the nasty rotten no-good US government follows them, obligate us to help put the country back on its feet.

(Note to the sarcasm-impaired: WARNING. The previous few paragraphs contain actual easily-recognizable sarcasm. If you can't spot it, you should take a self-help class or something, but do NOT write me to complain.)

Are you appealing to the UN for justification?

Only to make it clear that we weren't the *only* country that was disgusted with Saddam Hussein.

Or are you referring to the earlier resolutions demanding that Saddam give up his WMDs? How could he have complied with that, given that he didn't have any at the time?

The resolutions aren't nearly as simplistic or naive as you suppose. The resolutions ( ) are detailed and specific on a number of points, including full and complete cooperation with weapons inspectors.

Instead, Saddam hindered the weapons inspectors and actively engaged in programs to deceive them.

I'm curious about your assertion that we've crippled al Qaeda. What's your basis for saying this?

al Qaeda moved into Iraq in a big way, and tried hard to destabilize the country and provoke a civil war. They operated pretty much unopposed in a large part of the country, yet now they've been soundly beaten, as you yourself note, and have been denied yet another country they intended to use as a base of operations. A number of their highest-ranking leaders have been killed, the tribes have turned against them, and they're even having a great deal of trouble recruiting suicide bombers these days.

That's "crippled" in my book. Your mileage may vary.

Does that mean we can ramp down the security circus at airports now?

Unfortunately, no -- all it takes is *one* individual. You've probably heard the security folks say this yourself, and more than once: the good guys have to be right *every* time; the bad guys only have to be right once.

Terry (astrotrf)

September 13, 2008 02:04 AM Forum: Polls

The QUESTION - some of you shouldn't look - you have been warned

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

Joe Bergeron said:

"Yeah, the big, bad, old, awful USA. Never does anything for anybody but themselves. What a horrible country."

I realize that sarcasm is fun, but does this response actually clarify or illuminate anything?

I think it does, yes. It pretty much defines, clarifies, and illuminates the prevailing liberal opinion of the United States. I would be fascinated by recent evidence to the contrary.

Do you believe that the USA should comply with international law at all times? If not, isn't it awfully self-serving of you to invoke it when it's convenient to you?

No, in fact I do not believe that. As with U. S. law, there are circumstances under which the law should not be applied. (I may be wrong about this; don't quote me: but I seem to recall that California law, in particular, specifically empowers juries to decide cases in accordance with this very point.)

Beyond invoking it when convenient, I invoke it when it makes sense to do so. That's the vast majority of the time, but there are exceptions.

And I would support violating international law when it is in the best interest of the security of the United States and its allies to do so. If that's "awfully self-serving", then so be it.

I realize that it's a liberal tenet that the United States should leave it to international law and the World Court to guarantee U. S. security, instead of the U. S. taking action on its own when it is deemed necessary.
Heck, you can't get most of Europe to fight al Qaeda *even now*.

In fact, there's plenty of evidence that indicates that liberals believe that *Europe* should decide U. S. policy on our behalf. They certainly attach huge amounts of significance to the fact that liberals in Europe don't often like what we're doing.

Yeah, I remember the games he [Saddam] played.

Yet you attach no significance to them. You act as though he should have been able to go on freely playing those games forever, without consequence. I imagine that he thought the same; he was wrong.

I also remember it was absolutely clear there was nothing Saddam could have said or done to halt the invasion.

That's completely incorrect. He could have *cooperated* with the weapons inspectors, invited them into places he'd previously denied them access, and provided the documentation they were seeking.

There were a number of other actions demanded by the resolutions, too. All he had to do was comply. None of what he was being asked to do was impossible.

He certainly couldn't have handed over the non-existent WMDs which were being demanded (unless he launched into a crash program to develop some, or fake some, so he could hand them over).

There you go again. The actual U. N. resolutions went much farther than demanding he turn over WMDs. All he had to do was cooperate and openly demonstrate to the inspectors that there were no WMDs.

Possibly if he had walked out of the desert to turn himself over to the US commander with a noose around his neck, that might have slowed things down a bit.

This statement completely ignores the fact that, even at the eleventh hour, he was given the option of simply leaving the country with his two sons. I'm sure he could have found some country that would be willing to let 3 such vile people live within its borders.

By the way, I'll hold few Democrats up as standard-bearers of integrity. I was living in California during the lead up to the war (which I always opposed). When she voted to allow the use of force I wrote to Diane Feinstein requesting that she consider not running for re-election, so a real Democrat might have a chance. She responded by saying she had secret information which made it clear an invasion was necessary. Mmm hmm. Sure you did, Senator.

What this says is that you were against the war NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE. And since she voted for the war, even when in possession of secret intelligence, then she's not a true Democrat. She made a judgment based on the information she had, and you, acting with far less knowledge of the situation, automatically labelled her a traitor to the liberal cause.

You had no basis for believing that she *wasn't* in possession of secret information; you just decided it wasn't true because that better fit your world view as a committed liberal, and you weren't going to let any possibly-contradictory facts sway your decision.

Terry (astrotrf)

September 19, 2008 01:59 PM Forum: Polls

The fundamentals of our economy are ---

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

While I disagree with Joe's assessment that your reading was "sloppy" (the sentence means exactly what you interpreted it to mean; Joe's reinterpretation is rather less literal), I have to come to his defense. Joe is not a "moderator" anywhere but within the forum(s) he moderates; out here, in controversial-poll-comments land, he's just another one of the gang. It's unfair to cast aspersions on his performance as a moderator based on his expressions of personal opinion here.

Heck, I disagree with nearly every word that comes out of Joe's keyboard in these polls, but that would not and should not affect my perception of his job as a moderator in the forums.

Terry (astrotrf)

September 19, 2008 03:16 PM Forum: Polls

The fundamentals of our economy are ---

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

You did read that I compared his comments/attitude to mine? If I "cast aspersions" on him then I was also did so on myself.


October 22, 2008 01:01 AM Forum: Polls

Wins the 2008 World Series

Posted By Terry Friedrichsen

I'd say that sorta makes it the "World Series" by default then, doesn't it?

Terry (astrotrf)