Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Good Time To Declare Victory and Go Home


Congratulations are in order for our armed forces. Abu Zarqawi was a mad-dog and had to be put down.

It occurs to me that this would be an excellent time to declare victory and go home. Our troops have already won every kind of victory that you can expect a military force to win. What is left are things that cannot be done with military force- such as turn a diverse population seething with hate into a functional and peaceful Constitutional Republic. To do that requires the hearts of people to be changed and that is not the job of our soldiers. Will there be a civil war if we pull out? Yes. Will there be one if we stay? Yes. They have been killing one another for 400 years and we are not going to make them stop. Not unless we become as ruthless as the man we are about to hang for atrocities.

Unless we are planning a war against Iran, it is time to come home. We are a Republic, not an Empire, yet we seem to go into places and never leave unless made to. We still have troops in Yugoslavia, in Hati. Why?

39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, we have won - let's come home or at least move to Saudi or Kuwait - where if we need to we can go back and put down a civil war.

10:00 AM, June 10, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Nations without a Christian-effected worldview have historically been proven to be unable to sustian a Republican form of government- limited government in which the majority rules but the God-given rights of minorities are respected. Japan might be the closest thing to a success at this, but they are a homogeneous society with a strong sense of repressing individual desires for "the team".

11:23 AM, June 10, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Our state department seems intent on using our blood and treasure to "nation build". That is, imposing Republican governments on societies that do not have the underlying values in the population to sustain it. Our own state department does not seem to be aware of what it takes to sustian our form of government.

They mistakenly believe that "education" is the answer. C.S. Lewis remarked that absent God and the renewal of the heart, education only makes man a more clever devil.

The state department thinks that their values are simply an innate sense of right and wrong that every person has. In truth, the only reason they have such feelings is that they have grown up in a culture that retains Christian assumptions about human life, even while jettisioning the Faith itself.

To an extent they are correct, but those feelings must be nutured and established by one's culture and religion. It is not "natural" for people to have empathy and respect for minorities and the personal and property rights of others. Somewhere in their heart they may know that is right, but the unregenerated heart of man "naturally" rationalizes that away.

11:31 AM, June 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Islam is the official religion of Iraq as stated in it's brand NEW constitution. Should we really be over there spending our blood to convert secular nations in to Islamic ones? Did anyone bother asking the Christian portion of this "new" country what they think about all this?

4:02 PM, June 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we pull out immediately how do we keep Iraq from degenerating into what Afganihstan did in the 1990's? Answer: we won't. We are not safe (as we know) being thousands of miles away. Therefore, isolationism is not the answer to our national security.

I think at this point we must see this effort through and hope (becuase that's the best we can do at this point) liberty chokes off their Islamofascism. Look at Jordan, for instance, they are Islamic, yet quasi-allies with us.

I think there is still hope. You correctly point out that Japan is a Godless society yet they transitioned into a free society which has been harmless for many decades.

I think there is still hope. If we pull out now we assure Iraq degenerating into Afganihstan and all our soldiers will have died in vain.

8:49 PM, June 10, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

How do we keep places from becoming like Afganistan was in the 1990's (a base for terrorists against us)? Very simple. We make it clear that any government that does this will suffer "regieme change".

It is not necessary for us to hang around for 20 years after that interposing ourselves inbetween groups of people who desire to butcher one another. If a country harbors terrorists, we overthrow the government of that country. Then we go home.

Kill any strongman who lets his country be used as a base of operations against us. Our threat to kill him- That is the deterrent. Our "threat" to hang around and try to make them over in our image after he is gone is no deterrent at all. The strongman does not much care whether we hang around after that to try to make his countrymen into a copy of Indiana.

In that sense the Afganistan model was ideal because we found a faction within the existing population to do most of the ground fighting. We just provided most of the "called in" firepower that they needed to do it.

As to your other points, Japan is the exception that proves the rule- and they are a unique- some would say stifeling- culture.

If Isolationism is not the answer then neither is imperialism- trying to remake other societies into copies of our own at gunpoint. This makes terrorists out of people who would never otherwise think of killing us. I for example, have no desire to go to an Islamic country and kill some of their soldiers, but if an Islamic army occupied America, I would. Same over there.

As to our soldiers dying in vain, they don't when they die defending our country. When they die trying to "nation build" some other country, a job that can't be done with guns, it makes my blood boil. That is not what they signed up for and it is not something that an Army can realistically do.

We need to get our troops out of the "nation building" business. The people of Iraq have a chance for a Republic, but it takes VIRTUE to sustain a Republic, and our brave service members cannot do that for the Iraqi people.

9:41 PM, June 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:49

Better to have them die to install an islamic goverment being forced upon Christians than to move out and risk more turbulence in the mideast? (God knows the mideast has never exeprienced violence before).

The problem with your argument is that it's open-ended. Using your logic, America is responsible anywhere their MIGHT be a hope that we could quell violence in the world. You people don't even pretend that we're over there for American security anymore, now it's all about what will happen in IRAQ after we're gone.

Oh I know, if Iraq is unstable, then we may have to contend with it in the future. But consider the fact that WE put Saddam where he was.

We need to put an end to a foreign policy that consists of grabbing proverbial dogs by the ears.

9:44 PM, June 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, again I just don't know what to say to you Mark. Why don't we just pull out?

9:49 PM, June 10, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

The population of Jordan is kept in check by their rulers. If there was a vote, the population of Jordan (mostly Palistinian) would likely vote like the rest of the Palistinians across the Jordan river (in Israel) just voted. They voted for Hamas!

You are dealing with people twisted by irrational hate, blinded by devilish ambitions. You cannot allow them to have a government that reflects the popular will.

The reason their rulers keep them in check is that they want to stay the rulers, not because Jordan is a functioning constitutional Republic. It is not, it is a monarchy.

Jordan is an example of what I am talking about, not an example of what YOU are talking about (the West successfully converting a Moslem society into a peaceful Constitution Republic). The King of Jordan knows that we would act to remove him from power if he let his unruly subjects do what was in their heart towards the U.S., so he keeps them in line.

9:55 PM, June 10, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

yes well that was the point of my original post, this would be an excelent time to declare victory and go home!

9:56 PM, June 10, 2006  
Blogger ayman_elgendy said...

u think whae u killed elzarkawi war is finished and it si time to go home.....sorry...but u understand nothing....killing zarkawi or thousands zarkawi will not finish this war....coz u r invaders.....is it hared for u to confess that u r invaders

iraq people will fight u till u get out not till u kill zarekwai

zarkawi was just man ...but they fight for beliefs.....u r killers....murderers

did u forget abou gherib??

gowantanamo??

5:08 AM, June 11, 2006  
Blogger ayman_elgendy said...

we have been killing each other for 400 years??

is it real??

r u sure??

where did u read this piece of information??

did y really read our detailed history from our sources not yours??


why r u in iraq??

to make them stop killing each other?? to get rid of sadam?? for oil??
for isreal?? for american empire that hide numbers and pictures of american killed soldiers from ameriacn people??

u still have mission in iran ...syria...yugoslavia...hati....somal...coz ur bush is the greatest terrorist of the world

greetings

5:16 AM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a slave to your dead religion, and are not qualified to lecture anyone on this topic.

6:33 AM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Isolationism is not the answer then neither is imperialism- trying to remake other societies into copies of our own at gunpoint."

That is a false premise. The Iraqi's voted in droves, risking life and limb for a government made up of their choosing. It was not the same government the U.S. would have drafted for them. It guaranteed basic freedoms that we take for granted (not all of them unfortunately) but it was not forced on them by gunpoint.

And if we used your logic of "we should pull out now" in Japan then there is no telling what the result would have been but its hard to believe that they would have wound up as peaceful as they have been for this long.

Let's not go Kerry and Murtha on this just yet (i.e. get weak-kneed and cut and run). Let's see this through. This will not happen on anyone's time table. This is hard work but a noble effort.

It may fail, granted. But to pull out now would assure failure. While we are there we should finish the job.

And as for the nut that says that Bush is the greatest terrorist of the world, go back to cave...and by the way good luck with those virgins.

7:54 AM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Isolationism is not the answer then neither is imperialism- trying to remake other societies into copies of our own at gunpoint."

That is a false premise. The Iraqi's voted in droves, risking life and limb for a government made up of their choosing. It was not the same government the U.S. would have drafted for them. It guaranteed basic freedoms that we take for granted (not all of them unfortunately) but it was not forced on them by gunpoint.

And if we used your logic of "we should pull out now" in Japan then there is no telling what the result would have been but its hard to believe that they would have wound up as peaceful as they have been for this long.

Let's not go Kerry and Murtha on this just yet (i.e. get weak-kneed and cut and run). Let's see this through. This will not happen on anyone's time table. This is hard work but a noble effort.

It may fail, granted. But to pull out now would assure failure. While we are there we should finish the job.

And as for the nut that says that Bush is the greatest terrorist of the world, go back to cave...and by the way good luck with those virgins.

7:54 AM, June 11, 2006  
Blogger ayman_elgendy said...

You are a slave to your dead religion, and are not qualified to lecture anyone on this topic.

thanx alot for ur democracy....is it ur freedom of expression???

am i nut to call bush the greatist terrorist??

it is not my point of view....it is ur thinkers views
u call me nut i can cheat u too but i will not

my dead religion???!!!

so i,m not free to believe what i want to believe....r u fighting us for that??.......believing in islam

3 muslim committed suicide in ur illegal gowantanamo??? u know this news??

dead religion??

is it dead.....u do not know how it is live inside us...and we r fighting for it by zakawi or by ourselves

think again man....do it

sorry for disturbing...it is my last time to comment coz as u said i,m not qualified...mr racism

greetings

8:44 AM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

"but it was not forced on them by gunpoint. "

Then what did our soldiers have in their hands, dry erase markers? This government was very much imposed on them at gunpoint. They are voting because with us on hand with the biggest guns voting is the way to secure power. If our big guns leave will they go back to trying to use force to oppress each other? My guess is yes, but I hope I am wrong. Either way, it ultimately depends on THEIR CHARACTER.

Japan is once again the exception that proves the rule. They are the only nation without a Christian heritage that I can think of that has successfully managed a Constitutional Republic. Even with that, the Japanese are a homogeneous society. Once the Emperor surrendered that was it.

Even though they used suicide bombers in war (Kamakazis) they stopped right away once the war was over. Also, their population was a peace with each other, not divided into several groups each distrustful and willing to oppress the others.

"(i.e. get weak-kneed and cut and run). Let's see this through. This will not happen on anyone's time table. This is hard work but a noble effort."

The military forces of the United States are to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, not re-make other nations in our own image. It is arrogant folly, at the cost of America's blood and treasure, to presume that we can impose good government on other nations. Indeed we are having trouble maintaining it for ourselves!

The job you say we should "see through" is NOT A JOB THAT IS ACHIEVABLE WITH MILITARY FORCE. It is like saying we will occupy the country until each citizen of Iraq quits being self-centered or lazy or cowardly or whatever other personal trait comes from within. How can I state it any clearer- a virtueous populace is essential to maintain our form of government, and you cannot impose virtue on people by force of arms.

If we pull out now, the country is almost certain to have a bloody civil war- (in fact it is already having one, very low key death squads on many sides are operating). If we stay there another 10 years (and 50,000 young American soldiers give up their lives and bankrupt our country) and THEN pull out they are ALSO almost certain to have a civil war.

You are setting our troops up for failure by asking them to do something that has never been done by military force and cannot be done by military force. It is time to quit being so hard headed and free our troops to do their real job- protect our country.

8:45 AM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

ayman,

I agree that the longer we stay the more we will be seen as invaders rather than liberators. That is why I favor taking this opportunity to declare victory and then withdraw. Our troops have already won every kind of victory that troops can win.

President Bush may not be perfect, but he is no terrorist. Terrorists deliberately strike non-military targets. Bush does not do that. Zarqawi did. America has shown great restraint considering how much more powerful she is than her enemies. In 1946 we were the only country on Earth with the atomic bomb. If we had wanted to, we could have conquoered the entire earth right then. We could depolulate every Muslim nation on Earth right now if we so desired. We don't. If the shoe had been on the other foot, if only Islamic nations had nuclear weapons, it is obvious they would tread the rest of the world underfoot.

Chritianity is not imperialistic like Islam is. That is one thing that bothers me about all of this. People think because President Bush is personally a Christian then his policies are bibical Christianity policies. They are not, except the ones that he mentions around elections and does not follow up on.

Anyway, Christianity cannot be IMPOSED on anyone, because it is a relationship in the heart of the person, not a series of outside acts or practicies. Islam can be imposed, and the Quran commands that it be imposed. In Christianity, you just do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with God. You try to persuede, not force.

9:42 AM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
--- John Adams


“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”
--- Samuel Adams

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.
John Jay, letter to Jedidiah Morse 28 Feb 1797

The ONLY foundation for...a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be NO virtue,and without virtue there can be no liberty,and liberty is the OBJECT and life of all republican governments."
---Benjamin Rush...Founding Father


"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
Benjamin Franklin

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.
Thomas Jefferson
Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-1785) Query 18

10:04 AM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so i,m not free to believe what i want to believe....r u fighting us for that??

How can anyone have a serious discussion with muslims who believe that lying to "infidels" is but a tactic necessary to bring them into ultimate submission? You disqualify yourself by the lies you both believe and force others to "respect."

Just look at the fruit of your religion. There's nothing but fighting and bloodshed everywhere it thrives! You even fight to the death among yourselves when there are no "infidels" nearby to unite against.

12:02 PM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Iraqi's voted in droves, risking life and limb for a government made up of their choosing.

Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

Regime change is a way of life for these people. If they REALLY were to get what they wanted, they would not be forced to be united under one country. The Sunnis hate the Shia hate the Christians. But Rumsfeld never bothered to ask them whether they all wanted to be forced to stay together as one country. That was a given that the "voting" people didn't have a choice concerning.

The reason that it's a given is because the Neocons assume that, given the right type of government, any mixture of cultures and religions can be expected to get along and function as a healthy society. You can choose to believe such nonsense, but I prefer to believe people like John Adams as quoted by Mark above.

12:51 PM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but it was not forced on them by gunpoint. Then what did our soldiers have in their hands, dry erase markers? This government was very much imposed on them at gunpoint."

So you agree with me that "The Iraqi's voted in droves, risking life and limb for a government made up of their choosing." It's just that you believe that the Iraqis were under the threat of annihiliation from the U.S.?

Surely that is not what you are saying. If not then what are you saying?

And as for Adam's quote, I certainly agree with its premise. The founders wanted the populace to be self policing because no government is capable of restraining every citizen at all times. But to use that quotation in this context is a little off-base. I don't expect Iraq to become the next great republic, necessarily. But I think that Iraq transforming into a form of government that is not supportive of terrorism is a reachable goal (and necessary for our long term security). In other words just because you are not a "moral and religious people" doesn't necessarily mean that you will automatically seek to become a terrorist. Iraq can become a middle ground. Not exactly like Japan but similar in that it will be "Godless" for the most part (or at least misguided in respect to God) yet harmless as well. Again, you don't have to be at either extreme. I think that is where Iraq will be at the end of the day.

1:05 PM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've cherry picked from each argument, and have successfully addressed neither.

I believe Adams, in the context of his quote, would proffer that Muslims would be better off in tyranies similar to the gig Hussein had going rather than establishing a "democracy" which places them over people who do not want to be ruled by them.

How would you like to be ruled by a Muslim government? Then why should we be foisting one on others simply because they were outnumbered in some "sacred" vote "by the people?"

We've honorably won the war, but what we're doing in nationbuilding is a travesty.

1:58 PM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, we act like Iraq is some ancient country that has never had the benefit of Western government introduced to them. Guess what- Britain created Iraq less than a hundred years ago, and they quickly devolved into rule-by-factions until Hussein finally became their first contemporary long-term ruler.

What makes you think it will turn out any better this time? Do we get our "money" back after a century proves your theory wrong again?

2:06 PM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't look at the world through your fatalist eyes.

Your solution would virtually assure that a Taliban style government would emerge. Therefore, your solution would most assuredly lead to another Afghanistan. My solution may not work either, granted. But at least there would some hope. It didnt' work in the past. I don't know why. But that doens't mean that it will not work this time.

There is not a perfect solution to this mess and if it were not for the fact that a nuclear bomb (or bio weapons for that matter)obtained by these madmen could destroy so much I wouldn't really care.

"I believe Adams, in the context of his quote, would proffer that Muslims would be better off in tyranies similar to the gig Hussein had going rather than establishing a "democracy" which places them over people who do not want to be ruled by them."

I don't pretend to know what Adams would think about this situation. His quote concerning a "moral and religious people" was not stated in the context of the situation of what we have in the middle east, which was the point I was trying to make. To use his quote in this situation is using it out of context (grossly). Thus, to make a leap of logic that he would prefer a thug dictator rule over millions of people is not persuasive. Maybe he would, but his quote certainly doesn't indicate it.

By the way. I'm not in favor, generally speaking, of nation building. You say that we honorably won the war. You are correct. But after we throw out the murderous dictator (honorably at that), we shouldn't cut and run when another Taliban style government is seeking to take over the country. How foolish! We should first put down the Taliban style government and then leave. It may take a long time, granted, but at least we're fighting them over there rather than over here.

5:29 AM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Mark M said...

The Admas quote is very much in context. People willing to use power to plunder their less powerful neighbors are not ready for self-rule. A nation that votes in Hamas and the Mahdi army is a nation better off not voting.

As long as they do not sponsor terrorism against us, it is really not our business what kind of government they have. Nor is it their business to come over here and try to impose Islamic government on us.

You say there is no hope for anything but a Taliban style government if we do it my way. I don't believe that in the long run. First of all, whatever government their was would leave us alone. We would have no troops their to kill and as long as they did not start trouble with us they could stay in power. Second, a religious revival could come to their lands as it came to ours. The dark shackels of Islam could be loosed. The rise, or resurgence, of Christianity would prepare the hearts of this people for self-rule as it did the hearts of our ancestors.

Once again though, this is something that happens through sending prayers to Heaven, not missles to Tikrit. It comes by sending missionairies, not ground troops. What our state department is doing is seeking a military solution to a spiritual problem. They will fail to establish a government like ours because they have forgotten how it was that our own government came to be.

6:09 AM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct, Mark- Japan had MacArthur, who banned Shintoism- the religion of the day there, and begged American missionaries to come to Japan.

Today's planners put way too much emphasis on forms of government. Because they oversell a product that can be supplied by force of arms (meaningless constitutions), they distract attention away from the real cure (culture/religion) which is beyond the ability of our military to provide.

Indeed, the Commander-in-Chief himself insists that there's nothing wrong with Islam, that today's terrorists are merely a few bad apples who are mischaracterizing the religion!

7:29 AM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your solution would virtually assure that a Taliban style government would emerge.

You mean, as opposed to your solution? Just look at the new constitution:

Section One: Fundamental Principles:

Article 2: First:
Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation: A. No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established...


Article 89: Second: The Federal Supreme Court shall be made up of number of judges, and experts in Islamic jurisprudence and law experts whose number, the method of their selection and the work of the court shall be determined by a law enacted by a two-third majority of the members of the Council of Representatives.

No firearm ownership allowed, no mandatory public trials ("My neighbor was mysteriously whisked away by the police last night. Wonder if we'll ever know why?"). And this is besides the huge socialistic programs placed IN THE CONSTITUTION: Guaranteed healthcare, jobs, etc.

For example:
Article 30: First: The state guarantees to the individual and the family — especially children and women — social and health security and the basic requirements for leading a free and dignified life. The state also ensures the above a suitable income and appropriate housing. Second: The State guarantees the social and health security to Iraqis in cases of old age, sickness, employment disability, homelessness, orphanage or unemployment, and shall work to protect them from ignorance, fear and poverty. The State shall provide them housing and special programs of care and rehabilitation. This will be organized by law.

Article 31: First: Every citizen has the right to health care.

Who's paying for all this? Do you think it's the Iraqi's? Of course not, because no aged economy could ever pay for this long term, let alone a brand new one!

7:50 AM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
--- John Adams

John Adams was specifically referring to "our Constitution" (and our country). And he was, incidentally, correct. but his quote cannot be applied on a blanket basis to all countries and all situations (this one in particular - to do so would be similar to what the courts have done with the 14th Amendment - apply it in unrelated ways from its original context).

As I said earlier (in not so many words), their Constitution does not guarantee all of the liberties that we take for granted. Yet, it does not mean that Iraq has to be committed to terrorism. Iraq can become a quasi-ally. The government of Pakistan is allied with us (at least minimally - which is a lot better than what the Taliban was).

So I'm not endorsing the Iraqi Constitution, yet considering the alternatives of:

1) Saddam still being in power funding terrorist worldwide; or

2) A taliban style government taking over Iraq and becoming the next Afhanistan.

I'll take a quasi ally (much like the government of Pakistan - and I realize there are radical elements in that country as there will probably always be in iraq).

Under the circumstances, unfortunately, that is as good as it is going to get.

Cutting and running will not result in whatever government that prevails "leaving us alone" (as Mark asserted). That is why I keep bringing up Afghanistan. They didn't leave us alone did they? Next time they will unleash a much more devastating attack on our homeland. Foolishly leaving too early will only expedite the attack.

9:20 AM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you don't agree with the Iraqi constitution, then why do you ask others to face death in order to force it onto other people?

You claim, as the answer to that question, it is because such a government is better for US than leaving the country to their own devices (which is but speculation). But we could've done many different things aside from your options #1 (our doing in the first place) & #2 (which, again, is speculation) or forcing islamic rule on the other people-groups there. For example, dividing the country- a tactic regularly used by conquerors who do not want to again face an enemy a short while later (Virginia after the Civl War comes to mind).

Yet, of all options available, we insist upon leaving- indeed, expanding, the influence of Islam as a component of our "solution" to the threat Iraq poses to America.

In spite of the fact that the vast majority of us all agree that Islam is the root problem, we continue to handle this situation as if the form of government is the problem. Until that changes, there will never be a long-term solution to terrorism against the United States.

9:58 AM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

"I'll take a quasi ally (much like the government of Pakistan"

That is exactly what I am suggesting as well. Appoint a favorable strongman and depart. If he needs a few cruise missle strikes on rebel Taliban bases to help supress them, then give it to him.

What you are suggesting is to keep 130,000 American service men and women around for years to try and manage the chaos and stand inbetween groups of people whe REALLY want to get busy killing each other to find out who will be in charge for the next 30 years. Above the sound of gunfire, we are supposed to lecture them on the finer points of running a democracy!

They will all wind up hating us for being in the way.

10:44 AM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok then we largely agree. It's just a matter of timing. The much needed strong man is not sufficiently identified/entrenched yet (IMHO).

"If you don't agree with the Iraqi constitution, then why do you ask others to face death in order to force it onto other people?"

The Iraqis have drafted their own Constitution. It is flawed (so is ours by the way) but they have drafted the document and have voted on it. No one is forcing anything on them.

We just need to stay until the "strong man" and his government are in place so they can adequately deal with the Al Quada faction that wants to turn Iraq into Afg (sorry for being repetitive).

11:56 AM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is forcing anything on them.

There are at least 800,000 people there who would vehemently disagree with you (there is certainly more, but Islam being Islam, not everyone is brave enough to openly declare their beliefs).

By the way, thanks for keeping this discussion clean and cordial.

6:14 AM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger Matt Lagrone said...

As a spectator, this is by far the cleanest and most respectful thread on Iraq that I have seen in a long, long time. Not only that, you all have reasonable arguements. It's refreshing not to read "Bush Lied People Died!" as a reason to leave Iraq or we ought to "kill all 'em ragheads" as a reason to stay. Nevertheless, I can't help but throw in my opinion.

Mark, your points are very good. But I'm not wholly convinced that democracy, or a republican form of government will not work. Of the top of my head I'm wondering: since all government is a man-made institution anyway, is it a prerequisite for the populace to be moral or virtuous to make a republic work? Certainly it would be more feasible or it would risk turning itself turning into a police-state just to maintain order. But a requirement? I don't know, maybe you can enlighten me.

I think that the biggest problem setting up a democracy over there is that we are doing it all wrong, and too fast. The culture gap is so so great. The people as a whole have a near socialistic view of what government is supposed to do for them. As pointed out, the constitution does not guarantee civil rights or liberties on the same level as ours.

The people are generally uneducated or were taught from non-western schools and universities. And we want them to adopt a western form of government? Consequently they equate democracy as simply voting or even worse, a copy of our culture. Soldiers build schools and help children. But what we need to be doing is teaching who John Locke was in those schools...or Hobbs, Aristotle, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, anybody. How are they supposed to accept, appreciate, and participate in a democracy if they have no concept of the guiding philosophies (including the undertaught Judeo-Christian input) that have shaped its present form? Even many Americans don't know their own constitutional history, but they at least know "the way things are" and can think critically enough to figure out on their own why we do things the way we do.

Also, after WWII (and others really) we succeeded in establishing democracies not just because of their western influences prior to the war. I believe it was also because of how we waged the war-against the people. Military doctrine was even to bomb civilians. We demanded an unconditional surrender, we took over the country, schools, everything. We bombarded them with propaganda, made them take oaths, banned anything that resembled fascism, and swiftly put their leadership on trial. I'm not advocating killing innocent people. My heart goes out to Iraqi friends that I made over there. Innocent people do die regularly over there and frankly it troubles me. But I want to point out that modern military doctrine (the kinder, gentler) is much different than it used to be, and really it is unproven in a historical context. We literally risk our own lives not to harm civilians. I suspect that more of the enemy "gets away" though.

Sorry for ranting and I'll close: I think the war is winnable, and democracy is possible if America is willing to pay to invest the time, resources and blood do this thing right. The question to me is: is America willing to do what it takes? More importantly is the question of if it is worth it. I don't know and I don't know.

3:44 PM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Matt,

Your post is far from a rant. The key question you have is "is it a prerequisite for the populace to be moral or virtuous to make a republic work? Certainly it would be more feasible or it would risk turning itself turning into a police-state just to maintain order. But a requirement? I don't know, maybe you can enlighten me."

On the one hand, you were there so I have to respect your view that it might be possible. (ANYTHING is possible I suppose. Some things though, are unlikely at any reasonable cost.) And there is the execptional case such as Japan where something much like a Republic is working fairly well. I would argue that this anomaly is an artifact of the extreme homogeneity of the population. That being the case, it cannot be relevant to the Iraqi model.

Now you mentioned that we succedded in establishing democracies after WWII. You credited that to the way we waged it- the population really knew that it was beaten. There may be something to that, yet I am unable to name the countries (without a Christian Heritage) in which were successfully able to impose a Republican form of government. Can you name examples of such countries? I suppose there are over a hundred such countries in which we tried. Of the non-Christian nations and colonies that were occupied less than a century by a Western Republic with Christian roots, I can think of only one, Japan, where it has basically taken root. Of countries that were occupied for many decades, over a century, perhaps you can add India to that list- and India still has serious problems. Most of its population does not lead what I would call a life of liberty and freedom. Remember that the West occupied essentially the entire Earth including all the Moslem World save Turkey by WWII's end.

For a map of British colonies go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Map_of_the_British_Empire_in_the_1920%27s.png
For a map of French colonies go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:France_colonial_Empire10.png
After WWII the Brits controlled the Mid-East from Morrocco to Bagdahd.

Look over those maps and re-think the idea that we successfully imposed a Republican form of government on countries with non-christianized populations. The reverse is true. As a rule it only "took" to the extent that the population was Christianized and only well AFTER the colonizers left. The totally non-Christian nations still don't have it (like the Moslem nations), the ones that were partially Christian (Nigeria) or nominally Roman Catholic with a large number of indiginous religions mixed in (like the Phillipenes and most of South America)took decades to get even the rough democracies they have now. It is simply not true that we set these countries up after WWII and they shortly thereafter became democracies. Almost none of South America was a Democracy until the 1980's, and those are countries that have the advantage of a(Roman Catholic)Christian heritage.

If their quotes are any indication, the Founders and I shared the same view. Here again are some of their quotes...

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
--- John Adams


“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”
--- Samuel Adams

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.
John Jay, letter to Jedidiah Morse 28 Feb 1797

The ONLY foundation for...a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be NO virtue,and without virtue there can be no liberty,and liberty is the OBJECT and life of all republican governments."
---Benjamin Rush...Founding Father


"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
Benjamin Franklin

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.
Thomas Jefferson
Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-1785) Query 18

Now you are so right to point out that many American's no longer know what they should. I think we are in real danger of losing our own freedoms, and for the very same reasons that the Founders warned about- we are losing the virtue that is needed to sustain liberty. I know what the folks at the state department are thinking. They are thinking that even though the West largely failed to impose democracy on those countires after WWII that is only because Churchill et al were not as SMART as they are. Statists are like that. They don't see that top-down command (big government) is inherently incapable of solving some problems, they just think the guys pulling the levers need to be smarter- like them. If they were wise, they would see that some problems can't be fixed by building big government machines with lots of levers to bother lots of people at great expense to the taxpayers. You can't solve a spritual problem with guns, or with a big-government program machine with lots of levers. Spritual problems require spritual solutions. To be capable of self-government requires that at least a significant minority of the population be capable of outrage over injustice done to a stranger and that the majority of the population trust the system to sort out injustices done to their own.

In conclusion, I don't want to strictly argue that it CAN'T be done, but rather that it propably can't be done, and should not be done even if it can be. Not like this. After enough blood is spilled, after generations of the most violent have killed one another, and after the Gospel of the Prince of Peace has found a home in enough hearts, then perhaps peace will come. And when it comes it will be THERE CHOICE. It will be because they made the sacrifices they had to make to live as free men, not because we handed it to them against their will.

7:27 PM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger Matt Lagrone said...

I think that we pretty much agree on just about everything. You have great insight. And you are right in that Republican forms of government have only been established and thrived in those countries with a Christian heritage. I think I would throw in modern day Isreal as an exception. And yes, Japan is homogenous; they also had long historical ties to the west as well, economic etc.

I cannot imagine a government that preserves liberty could exist without a moral sense in its populace. If we want government out of our lives as much as possible then the people must be able to interact with civility...

I'm probably contradicting myself, but strictly theoretically speaking it seems to me that perhaps it may be possible since government is a man made institution anyway. If the people can get along with their neighber, are educated enough to appreciate it, and empower it without giving it too much power, maybe it could work.

I have a random thought and a question here. Take a deep breath...I'm not crazy or trying to blaspheme here...but: could Islam suffice as the virtue of the people in the Middle East? The virtue that would make the republic work? I abstractly think that perhaps it is possible (with no Wahhabi's et al) But history doesn't seem to show otherwise.

I do believe that the single greatest mistake that has been made is the glossing over of the Islam factor by our government, and even Republican leadership. It seems their solution is to appease the religion in speeches. But, what they need to do is bring in some top intellectuals and theologians and "talk religion and politics" before drafting policy. I don't have the answer as to whether or not Islam is compatible, but it needs to be discussed. Is the "moderate" Islam really the majority of people? Is it even moderate. Is it peaceful? The "conservatives" in Islam sure do not like them. Is it really a minority that is violent?

I do think that the clash of civilizations has hit. I think it will be years before this works out. Iraq is just a small piece of the pie.

10:18 AM, June 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"since government is a man made institution anyway"

Government is not a man mand institution. Please refer to Romans 13: 1 - 4. You will see that civil government is actually the "minister (servant) of God" and that "the powers that be (civil government) are ordained of God"

Government is God's institution (so is the family and the church, incidentally). The founders unquestionably believed (in the biblical principle) that our liberties came directly from God and then "we the people" gave to the government certain powers so that the government could maintain order and provide justice.

If the government is man made then our freedoms are the "gift" of government. WRONG! Our freedoms (i.e. the freedom of religion) are the gift of God over which government has NO JURISDICTION. The purpose of the first amendment was designed to enshrine this God given liberty into the Constitution so that it could never be diminished. The founders didn't envision the courts making laws so they only restricted the Congress from restricting religious liberty (unfortunately).

11:24 AM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Matt Lagrone said...

I stand corrected. As I was typing I was recalling "render unto Ceasar..." but not verses. That's what happens when you don't think before you type. Interesting exegesis on Bible.org by the way. Also, I've always agreed with the rest of what you posted about family, the founders, freedom etc.

Have a good day!

12:34 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I also stand corrected. I count Christianity as fullfilled Judaism in my mind so much that as regards to government (not personal salvation) the two are essentially the same faith.

Christianity draws many of its principles of government from the Torah.

I guess what I am saying is that not all views of the world will produce good government equally. Some flavors of Christianity will produce better government than others. A Judaism which is taken seriously will produce a better government than a Christianity which is not.

Islam on the other hand, by its very nature is incapable of producing good government when taken seriously by the population. It is authoritarian and capricious, and degrades one half of the population (women) below their God-given station right from the start.

So it is not just COINCIDENCE that of all the world's free countries not one of them is a land where Islam predominates. Nor is it a coindcidence that lands where prosperty and freedom is enjoyed are almost exclusively nations with a judeao-Christian heritage.

These are not co-incedences. Instead, there is a cause and effect relationship. Something about Bibical Judeo-Christianity produces freedom (in part by separating the INSTITUTIONS of the church and the state) and something about Islam produces tyranny.

Incidentally, some might gather that since Judaism and Christianity both have limited roles for government and seperate the roles of king and priest then the real key to success is "freeing one from the shackels of religion". Bzzzt. Wrong answer secular-boy. Compare the French revolution with the American one if you want to see what revolution looks like separated from the knowledge of God. Men don't respect the rights of their enemies unless they truly hold them to be a gift from God.

As for the "give unto Ceasar" thing, I once wrote an article on that...

http://www.cparkansas.org/caeser.htm

a bit tedious for our MTV age, but there is truth there I think, if one troubles to seek it.

1:08 PM, June 14, 2006  

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