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Hypocrite and Warmonger


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I just watched Willard Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention and I am horrified that he said NOT ONE WORD about the War in Afghanistan, yet ended his speech with a call to war in Iran. Fifty thousand American troops in Afghanistan IGNORED by the man one would think would support them the most, but he's already salivating for the NEXT war. And, let us remember he spent a year in France as a Mormon missionary rather than serve in the military during the Vietnam War. He says he wish he could have served, but tellingly, when he returned from France, he could have served, but chose not to, like the other chicken-hawks in the Republican Party who used exemptions and deferments to avoid service in their war, Little Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh the most obvious examples.

And, yet, unfortunately, the people will eat it up.

Let us think about about the heroic men and women who will be called upon to fight Willard's war in Iran, the soldiers who will be called upon to serve three or four or five tours of duty, the families in America who will see their sons and daughters, their brothers and sisters, their fathers and mothers called upon to make Willard a "great wartime President" and to enrich his friends in the defense and financial industries. Did we not go down this path ten years ago? Are we really that nostalgic for a return to the Bush years?

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Yeah, note also that they never had Bush in to the convention, no speeches, no interviews, nothing.

But the media is reporting that Clint Eastwood's speech made a huge spike in voter approval for the Repubs. My observation is, what does Romney have in common with Eastwood? "A fistful of dollars."

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I ended up covering a middle school English class, yesterday. They were reading a short story about Japanese internment camps, which spun off into a discussion about war in general.

After taking a few questions, I had to stop and ask "You guys realize we're at war right now, correct? Does anyone know what country America is fighting in right now?"

One kid raised his hand. His guess was "South Korea."

They had no idea that a war in Afghanistan had been going on for the majority of the time they've been alive. I pulled up a world map and showed them where Iraq and Afghanistan were. Then a kid raised his hand and said "So...where are we on that map?"

Yep. Not only did these kids not know that we were at war, but they did not know where to find America on a world map.

Kid: "So, those guys like, got on a boat and came over here to fight us?"

Me: "Well...funny story about that..."

Every now and then, you'll hear someone speak about how we're disconnected from the war, but it came as a surprise exactly how disconnected some of my students were.

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Perhaps the only way to keep the American people focused on the war in Afghanistan is to present it as a reality show on television. Couldn't be more real as many of us know. Remember, if it's on television it has to be real, doesn't it?

We went into Afghanistan to find one man and stop the Al Quieda from spreading terrorism. Bin Laden is gone and AQ is pretty much destroyed, so why are we still there? We talk about these concepts of democracy for the Afghan people when for centuries this has been an area of warlords and tribal bandits. Opium used to be the number one cash crop, but that has been subplanted by American dollars. If we destroy the opium crops the people will starve...so what? They made the wrong choices, we are not responsible for that.

The Taliban will not go away, they are just waiting for us to leave, and we will...eventually. Radical Islam has a lot in common with radical Christianity, and neither can be bombed out of existance. The biggest threat is that we do nothing for Afghanistan and that is where we are heading. The kids of today will need to be taught their middle eastern geography before we send another generation of young soldiers to cover up the mistakes of our politicians.

Did anyone watch Romney last night? Sounds like he would embrace a war with Iran. What fools we have become.

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Geography, history and current affairs were but three subjects in which I thought I never had an interest, but I have to admit, I did know where most countries were on a map of the world, and where wars were being or had been fought. I flunked all three subjects in high school, but retained a basic knowledge that seems to have escaped many people. Then there was chemistry, physics and maths; all subjects which I have heard arguments against being taught, as people don't need them in the real world of today. As for English, well that's okay when you are in grade school but who needs all that Shakespearean crap? As for learning another language, that's only for those who don't speak English, isn't it?

To listen to some people you could be forgiven for thinking that anything other than home schoolin' after the age of ten or eleven is totally unnecessary. It's enough for them to know that the war against evil is fought in the hearts and minds of people between the devil and the Lord.

I have worked with Americans (from Arizona) who informed me that Australia is a long way from America, but they didn't exactly know where either were on the world map. They just knew that they thought the plane that got them here was never going to land.

All things considered, the older classical method of education had an element of awakening cognition in the minds of the young. Unfortunately if the rationale behind such an awakening is not part of the lesson, then the cognitive process may well become dormant, and perception never questioned in the light of reality. It's very difficult to read a map if you don't know what a map is, even more so if the lights aren't on.

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They had no idea that a war in Afghanistan had been going on for the majority of the time they've been alive. I pulled up a world map and showed them where Iraq and Afghanistan were. Then a kid raised his hand and said "So...where are we on that map?"

Shoot me now! Suicide.gif

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Let us not forget that the United States is still at war with N. Korea, so that kid was actually correct. There is a DMZ for a reason, and troops still die yearly in that 4km wide zone, even if there is a truce.

Somes of us still learn our lessons using a blackboard... and a computer-aided dad.

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Fact Check: President Harry Truman called the conflict in Korea a "police action" not a war. Still, I doubt if the kids in that English class could fine Korea on the map either.

So go to the head of the class, Paul...someone actually knows why there is a DMZ. And here I thought it stood for Diminished Market Zone because the people of the north are starving to death while their Great, Honorable, Magnificient, Egotistical Leader eats caviar and watches American porn. Not laughing.

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Let us not forget that the United States is still at war with N. Korea, so that kid was actually correct. There is a DMZ for a reason, and troops still die yearly in that 4km wide zone, even if there is a truce.

Indeed - but I'd give him half credit, since he followed his answer with "When are we finally going to bomb those South Koreans?"

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While you are busy trashing Americans over stuff you only half understand, I might point out that it is Iran that has threatened to "burn Israel to the ground".

Iran's president has on numerous occasions threatened to destroy Israel: the only nation in the Middle East that isn't actively fucking US over.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has even denied that the Holocaust even occurred.

It's rhetoric like this from democrats that consistently takes the side of our enemies over our own people that makes me very leery of the democratic party.

If they weren't gay friendly, I would have absolutely nothing in common with them and for a lot of gay people, even that's not enough.

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Guest Dabeagle

While you are busy trashing Americans over stuff you only half understand, I might point out that it is Iran that has threatened to "burn Israel to the ground".

Iran's president has on numerous occasions threatened to destroy Israel: the only nation in the Middle East that isn't actively fucking US over.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has even denied that the Holocaust even occurred.

It's rhetoric like this from democrats that consistently takes the side of our enemies over our own people that makes me very leery of the democratic party.

If they weren't gay friendly, I would have absolutely nothing in common with them and for a lot of gay people, even that's not enough.

Wow. I had no idea how ignorant I was. Oh, wait...

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I deleted a number of my rebuttals to James' posting, however, I think I should repost them in a more organized way.

1. I don't and I don't think most Americans opposed to the next war doubt that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel. However, it is the history of Republicans who use exaggerated threats to the United States as excuses for war that makes us skeptical of GOP beating of war drums. Israel is quite capable of defending herself and if they need assistance, we will of course come to their aid. However, let us look at the history of Republicans and conservatives in this area:

2. Several books written by former Bush Administration officials quote Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the night after the 9/11 attacks as expressing disappointment that the evidence already pointed toward Al Qaeda and not to Iraq, saying that Iraq was a "sexier" target than Afghanistan.

3. Neo-cons had been urging since the first Gulf War to use Iraq as a base of operations to fight Iran. 9/11 was simply the excuse to launch the Second Gulf War.

4. The New York Times reported on an August 2002 memo by Karl Rove suggesting that a war in Iraq would guarantee Republican control of Congress in 2002 and 2004 and also guarantee the re-election of President Bush in 2004, creating the image of Bush as a "great wartime President."

5. A Pentagon review in 2005 of the intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq War, based on investigations in all 17 intelligence organizations utilized at the time showed NO evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq prior to the war.

6. In an interview with Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in Vanity Fair, the leader of the neo-cons in the Bush Administration admitted that WMD were the only excuse they could sell to the American people to justify the war.

7. A number of no-bid contracts were awarded to defense contractors, including Raytheon, of which Rumsfeld had been CEO, and Halliburton, of which Cheney was CEO. In most of these contracts, the work was shoddy and even, in the case of a Halliburton subsidiary, resulted in the electrocution of American service men in defective showers. Other companies with political and financial ties to the Bush Administration also received no-bid contracts and were granted overpayments.

8. I assume you weren't really calling Ahmadinejad a "Democrat," with your use of a small "d." However, you then turn around and use a small "d" in referring to the Democratic Party, which makes me think you were trying to connect the dictator of Iran with Democrats, which is as scurrilous and slanderous as other conservative, Southern Republicans who accuse President Obama of being a Muslim Kenyan Terrorist. Shame. Shame.

Based on their history in Iraq, I doubt any Republican call for war.

9. I, too, was a Republican at one time. I grew up in Oklahoma surrounded by Goldwater Republicans, but I was able to avoid absorbing their bigotry and became a Democrat when I could no longer stomach being in a party that equates money with speech, that believes a woman should be forced to give birth to the offspring of her rapist, that profits and stock price are more important than clean air, clean water, worker safety, and the safety and health of consumers. I was appalled to hear Republicans in the audience at the CNN Republican Primary debate yelling "Let them die!" when candidates were asked what to do about the uninsured. I was disgusted that Todd Akin isn't the only Republican who believes that a woman's body will "shut down" a pregnancy induced by violence. Can one single Republican cite evidence to back up that ignorance? I'm disgusted that the Texas Republican Party called in their platform -a link to which Des provided here on AD last June- for the end of teaching "critical thinking" to Texas students for fear they might start questioning what they are told by the authorities. I'm disgusted that Republicans deny the science behind evolution and climate change, preferring to follow the example of previous conservatives who burned at the stake those who dared say the earth orbits the sun. I am disgusted that the County Republican Convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1996 voted that "sodomy" should be a capital offense.

10. I am disgusted when Republicans call for sacrificing other's children when those same Republicans used every loop-hole to avoid service in their own war. Example- Dick Cheney used FIVE student deferments to avoid Vietnam. Rush Limbaugh used a boil on his ass for a medical exemption. Willard M. Romney used his year as a Mormon missionary in France to avoid Vietnam. In the years since, he says he wishes he could have served- Really? Then, then why didn't he go during the SECOND year of his draft eligibility? And, of course W. played around in the Texas Air Guard defending Dallas from the North Vietnamese and disappearing from service for an entire year- and on his sign-up sheet, he refused to check the box that asked if he would be willing to serve in combat. These are the leaders you respect?

James, you say the only thing you have in common with Democrats is their stand on gay rights. I'm sorry you feel more comfortable in the party I described above.

People who disagree with the government are not traitors or ignorant and are not America-bashing. I love America and I am proud of all we have achieved. I am proud that when people seek to flee tyranny, they come to America and are welcomed- unless they have dark skin or don't pray the way Republicans pray. I am proud to be an American. But, I will not stand by and allow myself to be called "America-bashing" simply because I question the accepted wisdom handed down by Republican authorities. Sometimes, a patriot questions his government. Sometimes a patriot questions the majority. Sometimes a patriot HAS to tell his country when it is ignoring the principles that make it great. Blindly accepting whatever the majority or the government dictate us to believe is NOT patriotic.

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As a complete outsider who is cynical when it comes to politics, I'll just state that from what I've heard, there are things to despair about both Republicans and Democrats in the USA. Neither party is particularly good and in many ways it is picking the lesser of two evils (we have the same problem here in Australia - Julia Gillard appears incompetent and Tony Abbott appears to be a megolmaniac - which will do more damage to the country?).

In case FreeThinker isn't aware, James has publicly stated in the past about one particular interaction he had with the Southern Democrats. With their encouragement, he spoke up about same-sex marriage rights prior to one of the past elections (I can't remember which). They told him that they'd support him. When he needed that support, though, they abandoned him and he lost his job as a consequence - simply for standing up for gay rights. He is therefore quite cynical when it comes to what the Democrat politicians truly believe, as distinct to what they say. Please note I said Democrat politicans, not Democrats. Individual Democrats can truly support gay rights, but it's the ones they elect to Congress that have the power.

Having said all of that, as a complete outsider I think the Democrats are possibily the better party to have in power at this point in time, but I certainly sympathise with the Republicans concerns regarding debt and government spending (I just dislike how they propose solving that problem). But from what I've seen of him, Romney would appear to make a much better President than many of the other options. Indeed, I see a lot of similarity between him and Obama in terms of how I think he'll govern. I'll leave it up to the reader to determine if that's a complement or an insult....

Now, if we could leave attacking each other and move back to the topic of... er... changed my mind. I hate politics and don't really want to discuss it. I just hate it more when we start attacking and insulting each other.

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I didn't intend my comments to be insulting, and I did originally remove them from my post. If they appear insulting, it was not my intention, but it is too common in the US to accuse people of America-bashing when they question the actions of our leaders. And, regarding James' unfortunate experience with Southern Democrats, that's more a problem with Southern politicians in general; there used to be little difference between a Southern Democrat and a Southern Republican. The point I am trying to make is that James' initial insult to anyone who questioned Republican foreign policy needed to be rebutted. If I came off as strident, I apologize, but Republican have been vicious and venomous in their attacks on their opponents this year and its not fair to characterize those of use who posted earlier in this threat as "bashing Americans" and only half-understanding what w're talking about.

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Tit for Tat, politics on both sides of the pond are in meltldown. Conservative elements find comfort in religious fanatics because they seek the same objectives...power and control. Here in the US of A, there is little difference in those who support a literal view of the Constitution and those who embrace the Bible, it takes blind faith to think either document is flawless.

If we accept every period and comma in the Bible as literal truth then Christians would be stoning one another at a frantic pace because everyone is a sinner. As for the Constitution, I am not against gun ownership if we took the literal meaning behind the Second Ammendment. Then every gun owner would have a muzzle loading device with a power horn and little round shot. That would make gang warfare rather inconvenient. Neither the Bible or Constitution was a very far reaching document. neither had a long view of human society and any foresight towards future developments.

We look at government which is filled with people on the cutting edge of technology while the jobs they serve are years behind. The average school child seems to have more computing power at their fingertips than the average government entity. And so Al Gore is back in the news suggesting it is time for the Electoral College to be retired as an irrelevant past of our voting process. Despite that fact that he was screwed in his presidential bid by just such a system, what he has to say makes sense.

In fact we could have direct government, every nation can. But that would require an informed public unswayed by the religious fanatics and the slanted media who certainly tell people how to think. Okay, this rant is over.

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What an interesting discussion.

There is much to be said about politics on a global basis, that we sometimes forget when we discuss local issues in whichever country we live.

However there is a difference between applying local political views for practical outcomes in one's own country, and trying to find diplomatic solutions between countries, and nations who are simply at odds with each other or even another country.

You need look no further than this very thread, to see disparate views on the nature of political parties, and personal political philosophy.

That is going to happen during elections.

It doesn't hurt us to remember that, all of us, will always be better at sorting out the problems of office, than the politicians who get elected.

Such are the demands and rewards of living in a democracy.

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I'm going to carefully dip my toe into the discussion here, though I admit I already know I may end of regretting it.

Getting back to Afghanistan: My country is at war. It is not the United States. Canada has been fighting and dying in Afghanistan for years now. This gives me incentive and, thanks to research and reading, knowledge on what is going on over there. Our current right-wing conservative government insists what we are doing over there is good and right, and protects all of us.

Many young brave Canadian soldiers have died in the past few years. I wish I could say they died protecting our freedom, or our country, or something tangible. They did not. I wish I could say they died to help those being viciously oppressed. They did not. There has not been one single convincing argument for what exactly we hope to accomplish over there. Yet, there we are.

Like Elecivil's story, many kids and even adults are unaware of what's going on there, or even that we are there. There are very, very few explanations for all this that make any sense, but one or two stand out clearly: Someone is making a shitload of money out of all this.

Human lives for cash? I cannot, and absolutely never, ever will support or agree with what our conservative government is doing internationally. They have, in three short years, undid decades of hard work effort in establishing this country's global reputation. More importantly, and fundamentally the only issue that matters: young people's lives are being lost or ruined due to old, wealthy people's decisions. Decisions they will not have to pay any significant consequences for.

As to Iran and Israel? Israel, as is obvious with anyone who follows history and in-depth news, is far from a golden upstanding example of a shining, free, middle eastern country. Of course, neither is Iran. That's not the point. Taking sides implies that there is a side to be taken. It implies the issue is simple. Black and White. Good and bad. It also implies to some degree that force must be used, that it is the only option. Each side believes that if their side won, then all would be well. Despite millenia of contradictory evidence.

As long as this is the mindset prevails, nothing solid and long lasting can or will be done. And that thought, along with the global implications, breaks my heart and terrifies me.

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Thank you, Gee, for reminding us that its not just Americans dying in Afghanistan, but our friends and allies from Canada, Britain, Australia and other countries, as well. Americans must remember that our decisions in the November election affect not just our own country, but our friends and allies, as well.

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