Wednesday, September 29, 2004
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Open debate thread
What questions about foreign policy would you like to see put to the candidates tomorrow evening?
UPDATE: Hey, Jim Lehrer!! Over here!! Read these questions -- they're all very good!!
My question is to the Commission on Presidential Debates:
[Don't the campaigns set these ground rules in their own bargaining?--ed. Yeah, but the Comission has given its official imprimatur to this, so they're at least somewhat complicit.]posted by Dan on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM
Recent administrations have invoked humanitarian reasons for military intervention in Somalia, Kosovo and Iraq. If elected, under what circumstances, if any, would you take on humanitarian and/or peacekeeping missions?posted by: Brian Ulrich on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Will your administration invite Israel to
Nuclear capabilities. While impossible to come up with a blanket strategy what do you intend to do about Iran, North Korea and, equally important, Pakistan and the strong likelihood of nuclear technology/equipment floating around in Central Asia?posted by: Pieter Dorsman on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
What position should the United States take on the dispute in Kashmir? Should we respect India's desire not to "internationalize" the issue given our stakes in the war on terror?posted by: James on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Mr. President: Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and other wartime Presidents did not hesitate to remove substandard officials when things went badly. America was taken by surprise on September 11, and our intelligence and postwar planning for the Iraq war plainly got many things wrong. Yet you never fired anyone. Why not?
Senator Kerry: The Clinton administration entered into an agreement with North Korea in 1994, in which North Korea undertook to freeze its nuclear weapons program. The North Koreans broke that agreement, and you have criticized the Bush administration for how it has handled North Korea since. What would you do differently, and how would you avoid getting suckered the way President Clinton was?
Mr. President: The United States supports the state of Israel with billions of dollars in aid, allowing the Israeli government to spend its own money on such things as subsidizing settlers on the West Bank. What American interest is served by Jewish settlements on the West Bank?
Senator Kerry: Consumer prices for many good are low because of imports from China, yet imports from China have cost many more American jobs than the outsourcing to countries like India that you have criticized. What specifically would you change in our trade relations with China?
Mr. President: After your first meeting with Russian President Putin you expressed optimism about the future of our relations with Russia, saying that you had looked into Putin's soul. With President Putin now turning Russia away from democracy toward dictatorship, did you make a mistake by staking so much on your relationship with one man?
Senator Kerry: President Bush has criticized past American policy toward the Arab world for neglecting democracy in favor of good relations with repressive but stable governments. Do you agree with his criticism? Why should we assume that Arab countries that have never known democracy in the past can sustain it now?
Mr. President: Fidel Castro will die someday. What do you think that will mean for Cuba? What preparations has your administration made to prepare us for a post-Castro government?
Senator Kerry: Al Qaeda grew and prospered for eight years while the Clinton administration was in office. What did the Clinton administration do wrong, and how would you avoid its mistakes?
Mr. President: After the four Blackwater contractors were murdered in Fallujah last March, did you order the Marines' attack on that city? Did you order the attack called off after three days?
Senator Kerry: Except on reestablishment of relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, you have never been in the forefront of Democratic Senators active on foreign policy, and you've never chaired a major committee. Why should American voters believe you can do better than the incumbent administration at managing foreign policy?posted by: Zathras on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
What do you intend to do about the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan?posted by: phil on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
For both the candidates.
1)President Fox of Mexico and other Mexican officials have openly interfere in the electoral and legislative processes of several states in the Union. What will you do to discourage this interference?
2)Armed Mexican soldiers have crossed into the United States repeatedly, according to reports by the Border Patrol. What actions will you take to address this violation of our sovereignity?
3)In an attempt to subvert passport and visa requirements for Mexicans in the United States, Mexican consular officials have issued thousands of identification cards -- the so-called 'matricula consular' --which have traditionally been used as identification for a limited number of diplomatic personel. When will you a) call the Mexican ambassador to task for this blatant abuse of a diplomatic privilege and b) instruct all federal agencies and federally regulated banking institutions that the 'matricula' is not to be accepted as valid identification or proof of right to be in the country?
Thank you.posted by: stari_momak on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Can you post a link to information on these issues with Mexico? I'm not familiar with them.
Here's a tangible example. From St. Clair county in Michigan: County to decide on Mexican ID card; Consul: Document should be accepted as legal identification:
Here's the way it works: Mexico sends us people, and in exchange those people relieve Mexico of having to care for them and those people also send billions of dollars back to Mexico. In fact, "remittances" are now Mexico's second highest source of income, equal to 4/5 of their income from oil. Tourism is in third place.
In other words, there's big money in both legal and illegal immigration, and Mexico is one of our largest suppliers.
Those who supply goods or people tend to protect their territory, and work to ensure that the riches keep coming.
Now, since those people are illegal, they're (supposedly) forbidden from doing various things like opening bank accounts, getting driver's licenses, etc. etc.
But, with a bank account, they can more easily send money back to Mexico. So, Mexico does two things:
1. It encourages banks and state and local governments to accept Mexican ID cards ("Matricula Consular cards"), as the example above shows. (More examples below)
2. It passes out those MC cards to its citizens in the U.S. So far, 2 million+ MC cards have been distributed.
Now, there are a few sticking points here. Some people might think it's a threat to our sovereignty to have a foreign power give ID cards to their citizens in our country which are specifically designed to evade our laws. And, the FBI and the DOJ consider MC cards a security threat. Despite that, banks can now accept those MC cards.
Here's the links:
Bush Bill Would Aid Mexico's Meddling in U.S.: in the 1990s, Mexico embarked on a campaign of extending its political authority into the United States - not just over Mexican immigrants, but also naturalized and native-born Americans of Mexican ancestry... There's nothing secret about this effort. President Vicente Fox once referred to himself as president of all 118 million Mexicans - the 100 million in Mexico and the (then-)18 million in the United States, the majority of whom are U.S. citizens. And this is a long-term proposition for them: In June 2001, Juan Hernandez, former head of Fox's cabinet-level office for relations with Mexicans abroad, said on ABC's "Nightline," "I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think, 'Mexico first.'" ...[ details the "how": Dual citizenship, Mexico's consulates in the U.S., and IDs for illegals.]
From Jan. 2003: The Mexican government, despite concerns by U.S. law-enforcement authorities and immigration officials, is handing out thousands of identity cards ["Matricula Consular cards"] to Mexican nationals in this country, including those here illegally... Last week, in a letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, 12 House members questioned the propriety of the cards, describing them as an "issue of enormous significance that has massive implications for the nation..." ..."While the issuance of national identification cards is nothing new, providing them with the express purpose of evading U.S. law is something entirely different," the lawmakers said. "The active lobbying of local and state governments by consuls of foreign countries is, at least, a breach of international protocol deserving of a serious response by our government."
Their money or your safety: excerpts from several gullible local newspaper stories about the Mexican consul coming to town to hand out ID cards and provides several other links.
- "Conferring Legitimacy, This Card Draws a Crowd" (LAT). From the 14% of the article they devote to the downsides: The matricula consular stirs the ire of illegal-immigration opponents who see the card, and the Mexican government's promotion of it, as a well-orchestrated campaign to bestow quasi-legal status to those who have entered the country illegally... Although more than 1 million people in California carry the cards, which resemble driver's licenses and display the bearer's U.S. address, the FBI does not consider them a reliable form of identification...
- "Mexican government honors local politician": AUSTIN — State Rep. Miguel "Mike" Wise recently received one of Mexico’s highest honors for civilians, in part for his work in trying to secure driver’s licenses for undocumented workers... The Republic of Mexico gave Wise the Ohtli Award, awarded to people or organizations that impact the lives of Mexican nationals living abroad...
- The FDIC is working with the Mexican consulate to give home loans to illegal aliens.
education too: Los Angeles County school districts recently received a gift of 27,000 textbooks written for 1st- through 6th-graders in Mexico. "About 45% of our students are Hispanic," a Los Angeles County elementary school teacher specialist said. "It's beautiful for all of our kids to have access to that." Colorado schools received 90,000 textbooks last year, the most of any state. The Mexican consul general has contacted Wyoming to offer Spanish books and instruction guides there, on subjects ranging from math to geography...
Never fear, it works the other way too:
There are many many more examples in my Immigration category.posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Questions are irrelevant. Bush has already won the debates -- c.f. Krugman Tuesday NYT column. Everyone with half a brain already knows this. Moreover, Bush will not answer any significant question -- he will either (1) lie (2) ignore the question and ramble (3) lie (4) repeat meaningless stump speech cliche. The debate is a gigantic sham, no back and forth. Kerry can't even ask Bush a question. Bush has to debate big, bad old mean Kerry with out Grandpa Cheney. Townhall meeting questions are "screened". Long live democracy. I'm sure some wingnut will find a creative explanation for all this sham by how its protecting us from the terrorists! the terrorists!
We all know, although Shrub will win the election and probably win the debate in terms of marketability -- he will utterly, utterly lose the debate of ideas. The wingnuts will ignore Shrub confusing OBL and Saddam, forgetting how many states are in America, or choking ona pretzel -- but they will pounce on a response when kerry goes over the time limit
I'd just like to tell you to know that you've hedged long enough. You've jerked off on this policy shit long enough to knonw the facts are completely against another Shrub term. Your silencec, implicates you as a Bush supporter. You, and your fellow spineless republicans who know better, will be MORALLY RESPONSIBLE for EVERY action a SECOND SHRUB term reaks on America. I'll make sure to remind you of your utter cowardice, OVER and OVER again, through the next four years.
What are the criteria you would use to decide whether to invade a foreign? (and how would you weigh those criteria?)posted by: Tadhgin on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Nice rant, Jor, but let's not wave the white flag quite yet. It seems the GOP thinks the Democratic candidate is all but dead already. Let's hope "Shrub" again decides to take a day off during the final week, and that they again divert resources to California since Rove wants a "landslide".
MARCU$posted by: Marcus Lindroos on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Mr. President: Can you give us the name of the leader of Iran?
Mr. Kerry: Can you give us a quick summary of the history of Iran, starting with the great Persian leader Xerxes?posted by: altec on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Two simple questions, one for each candidate.
Bush: Mr. President, do you regret anything specific that you've done regarding foreign policy since becoming President?
Kerry: Senator Kerry, can you honestly tell me that your foreign policy positions have been consistent throughout your campaign for the presidency?
And both had better elaborate, otherwise I'll be completely disgusted.posted by: Brian on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
How long will the Executive branch continue to use the World Bank and IMF as tools to advance American foreign policy at the expense of the third world?posted by: Stiglitz & Wade on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
"Would you consider giving French companies a slice of the oil action in Alaska, in order to get the principled humanitarian Mr Chirac on side in the war on terror?"posted by: Eric the Unread on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
The Clinton administration entered into an agreement with North Korea in 1994, in which North Korea undertook to freeze its nuclear weapons program. The North Koreans broke that agreement... how would you avoid getting suckered the way President Clinton was? -- Zathras
According to Fred Kaplan, that's not what happened:
Initially, North Korea kept to its side of the bargain. The same cannot be said of our side. Since the accord was not a formal treaty, Congress did not have to ratify the terms, but it did balk on the financial commitment. So did South Korea. The light-water reactors were never funded.
posted by: Carl on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Mr. President, your recent plan to promote democracy in the Middle East says that "change [to the region] should not and cannot be imposed from the outside." Do you agree with that, and if so, why do you think Iraq is an exception?
posted by: Carl on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Simple: what does military power mean in an age when a handful of dead-enders can hold the mighty at bay? What is the point of American
All great questions, but improbable. They require direct answers, and are difficult to slip or spin from. Each one likely breaks one or more rules for allowable questions in the 32-page debate agreement.
Best to stick to: "Will you dedicate your Presidency to accomplishing a manned Mars mission?"posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Zathras would ask Kerry about why AQ grew under Clinton. The better question is why AQ has grown faster and prospered even more under Bush than it did under Clinton. Terrorism was a small fraction of current levels uner Clinton.
The better question would be to ask Bush why he is "throwing" the war of terorism.posted by: spencer on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
To Bush: Over the last two years, you have stopped referring to a "war on terrorism" and instead called it a "war on terror." What does this change mean? What is the difference between "terrorism" and "terror"?
Also to Bush: Prisoners taken during the war in Afghanistan were initially referred to as "illegal combatants," a categorization which your Administration used to argue that laws prohibiting abuse and torture did not apply to them. Now those prisoners are referred to as "enemy combatants." Since one assumes that all prisoners taken during armed conflict are 'enemies,' what does it mean when you call them "enemy combatants"? Does it mean that you've decided international, Constitutional, and treaty laws do apply to these prisoners?posted by: CaseyL on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Mr President: Why did we go to war with Iraq? Have the reasons changed over time? Whichever reason you give now, could you point to when you first gave that reason before?
Mr President: Is it part of our stratgey to lure terrorists into Iraq so that we would not have to face them at home? If yes, when did this become part of our strategy and how do you think the Iraqis are feeling about this?
Mr President and Senator Kerry: If forces unfriendly to the US win the Iraqi elections and ask us to withdraw our troops, will you comply with that request? Will a democratic Iraq have the choice to become a country hostile to the US? If you consider this scenario to be unlikely, what will you do to prevent an event like the Islamic Revolution in neighboring Iran in 1979 from occurring in Iraq?
Mr President: Your campaign has stated that one should not change leaders during a war. But the war on terror is not likely to be over in 2008 either. Are you planning to repeal the presidential term limit to address this issue?
"What specifically do you plan to do to get more non American troops on the ground?"
"You indicate that the War in Iraq and the War on Terror are not related. Please define the war on terror from your perspective and indicate how you plan to prosecute that war. Specifically, are problems in Iran and N. Korea similarly unrelated to terrorism?"
"Under what conditions should troops be leaving Iraq? What do you plan to do to bring those conditions about?"posted by: Jason Ligon on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
For Mr. Kerry: Did the United States make a mistake by not carrying out an all-out assault against Fallujah and crushing the rebellion there, regardless of the cost in civilian lives?posted by: DBL on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Boxers or briefs?posted by: scuffy on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
To President Bush: You have stated that Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. What is your immediate strategy towards that end? At what point will it be clear that diplomacy has failed? What sort of time frame are we realistically looking at?
posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Well, looks like lonewacko beat me to the RFI from washerdreyer, but here are some links about border incursions from the Mexican military
First a 'mainstream' media link.
And I will have to go with 'right wing' links, as this issue definitely does not get much play in the mainstream media
posted by: star_momak on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Senator Kerry: Why did you vote against the war in Iraq in 1990, given that it met practically all the criterion of war that you claim to favor (clear exit strategy, widespread international support, clear humanitarian grounds) ?
President Bush: How is your support for President Musharaf consistent with your claim to support Democracy ? Also, if iraq democratically elects a Shia Islamist government that is hostile to the US, what will you do ?
President Bush: When the vast majority of people in a democratic country oppose sending troops to help us in Iraq, and the leaders still send troops, do you think its a victory for Democracy ?
Senator Kerry and President Bush: Historically, no insurgency on the scale seen in Iraq has been dealt with without a political solution. Would you support some sort of deal that would provide amnesty in Iraq, even for the killers of American soldiers if it helps to stabilize Iraq ?
Senator Kerry: Do you regret your decision to vote for war authorization in Iraq ?
President Bush: Do you regret announcing mission accomplished prematurely ?
Bush and Kerry: How do you view China ? As an ally, as a rival ? [ Bush] -- before 9/11, your staff seemed to place a great deal of focus on containing China. Have you abandoned that goal ?
Bush: In a 2nd Bush administration, would some of the people responsible for the failures of post-war Iraq planning be retained ?
Mr. President: Senator Kerry has said that going forward the War on Terror will primarily be a law-enforcement exercise. You have disagreed. What exactly to you foresee for the War On Terror during your second administartion.posted by: fatinspanish on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Lehrer holds up 32 page agreement. "Mr. President, Senator Kerry, a lot of people have concluded that with this document, the American people will be ill served by this agreement. Would you be willing to forgo the restrictions contained therein and allow a more open free wheeling debate?"
Yeah, I can dream.posted by: Aaron on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
What I definately dont want to hear: anything referring to the years between 1961 and 1975. Verdict? Unlikely.
Who's up for a drinking game?
1 drink every time Bush says 'terra' (terror).
*To Senator Kerry: Are you willing to state, unequivically, that Iran will not be allowed to field nuclear weapons? Yes or no. Yes or no*
MB - very kind of you to ask "yes or no" questions, I'm sure in an attempt to help the candidates work within their time limits, eh?
But your question above is a spinmeister's trap. How do you suppose the pundits will interpret a "yes or no" answer to that: That Kerry will/won't allow Iran to field nukes, or that Kerry simply is/isn't willing to state it?
These would be the same pundits that help confuse the difference between granting war powers to a President, yet disagreeing with the eventual war plan.
Aaron - a paradox. I'm sure your "dream" question itself is disallowed by the rules.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
I'm not sure if this fits in the Foreign Policy debate or not, but...[Both Candidates]: Will you consider a military draft? If not, how will you maintain our military at an appropriate strength?posted by: Herostratus on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
"But your question above is a spinmeister's trap. How do you suppose the pundits will interpret a "yes or no" answer to that: That Kerry will/won't allow Iran to field nukes, or that Kerry simply is/isn't willing to state it?"
Eh? I could have sworn that was a pretty direct question. The man is trying to get elected president, if he expects to have the opportunity to impliment any of his ideas, he better start expressing them. Kerry has done zero to deserve any benefit of the doubt. If he is willing to say he will prevent Iran from obtaining nukes (read 'through any means necessary'), at least he's on the record. I'm not buying into this secret plan business. If he wont say it, I'm forced to assume he would suffer Iran to have nukes under certain circumstances. I admit its hard to wade through Kerry's flip flopping and BS but it seems pretty clear he wont be launching unilateral strikes on Irans facilities if all else fails.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
For Bush: Can you say "Nuclear?"
For Kerry: Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?posted by: Patrick on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
A consensus seems to have emerged over the past few months that Afghanistan is moving inexorably towards democracy, and away from chaos, while Iraq is "falling apart". Do you agree with this consensus, and what are we "doing right" in Afghanistan that we are not doing in Iraq?
(A hat tip to Al Gore's NYT op-ed...)
In the 2000 debates, you pledged that if you put American troops into combat, "The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well defined." What is your answer to your critics who insist that you have broken this pledge?
I wish I didn't have to work tomorrow, otherwise I'd be picking up a 12 pack and a bottle of Knob Creek on my way home. I'm printing this and saving it for a Friday debate.posted by: Jim Dandy on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
How, exactly, is anyone supposed to stop them? Blow them up? Invade? And if so, why hasn't Bush then done these things?posted by: flaime on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Slightly off-topic, but so delightfully snarky and bipartisan in its ability to make both these guys squirm:
In January 1977, as his first act as President, Jimmy Carter pardoned the Americans who had fled overseas to avoid being sent to Vietnam. Do you support President Carter's pardon of the draft dodgers, or do you deplore it?
Mark Buehner: Good point on the "random citizen" references. God, but I hate those. They should be banned by the debate rules, but I'd bet good money that Bush will have a quote from some 9/11 relative he met with and both Bush and Kerry will quote from some soldier just back from Iraq.
I've said before that I don't agree with the pessimism of some Kerry supporters about tonight. Even with the constricted rules I think the first debate gives Kerry some good openings. On the theory that in this kind of campaign you need to knock down your opponent's strong positions, I expect Kerry to go after Bush's reputation as a strong, consistent leader. This reputation Bush has reinforced by repeating the same lines over and over, but doing this and actually being a strong leader are not the same thing. Staying on message is a virtue in campaign politics, but being seen as calculating is not. I wouldn't let Bush segue into lines from his standard stump speech without making note each time that this is what he is doing.posted by: Zathras on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
*I'm not buying into this secret plan business.*
Mark, you've been the champion of "secret plan" analogies on many of these discussions:
-The Iraq war was really a Bush plan to change cultural/political dynamics in the ME
You are very accepting of alterior goals when it comes from the current WH. They never seem to require the same "say it on record" conditions that you require of Kerry.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Senator Kerry: President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder have both said that, even if you win the election, there is no way that they will put troops into Iraq. Are they lying or is your "plan" a fraud?posted by: Al on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
President Bush: Georges Clemenceau once said "War is too important to be left to the generals." You have repeatedly said that you have in Iraq all the troops that you generals have asked for. Why have you decided to simply acquiesce to what they "ask for"? Regardless of what your generals ask for, why don't you think we could achieve stabilization of Iraq any sooner if we would simply increase the number of troops there?posted by: Al on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
"How, exactly, is anyone supposed to stop them? Blow them up? Invade? And if so, why hasn't Bush then done these things? "
Um, blowing up their nuclear facilities? Like Israel did to Saddam's years ago? Bush hasnt done these things because they havent reached the point where they are actually making nukes yet, so there is a small window of opportunity for our UN allies to prove that this diplomacy bullshit they go on about is worth anything. When it fails, we try something else, whether it be bombing the sites, embargoing Iran, or arming an insurgency (my personal favorite).
"O'REILLY: Is it conceivable that you would allow them to develop a nuclear weapon?
BUSH: No, we've made it clear, our position is that they won't have a nuclear weapon.
Thats what i'm looking for out of Kerry. I entirely doubt it will happen.
"You are very accepting of alterior goals when it comes from the current WH. They never seem to require the same "say it on record" conditions that you require of Kerry."
posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Aaron, that question friggin ROCKS!posted by: bk on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Someone, especially Mark, please explain the principled arguements which lead to the following two conclusions:
How do you argue the tenants of morality? They are either a social construct or a religious dictate depending on your pov.
Personally I find the question amusing because the implied reasoning is based on the notion that Iranian Mullahs and the United States are moral equals. How can you have a moral argument based on a premise rife with sophostry?posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Mr. President, at the Republican Convention you said America had a "calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom." Have you actually been in contact with the Klingons? Is it true that when Prime Minister Allawi was in Washington last week you wished him "K'Plaa!"?
Are you preparing to address Mexican immigrants to this country by telling them to prepare to be assimilated? Resistance is futile!
I crack myself up sometimes.posted by: Zathras on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
What's an imprantur?
A google search shows only one other use of the word, and it was also by Daniel W. Drezner.posted by: sebastien on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Senator Kerry or President Bush:
You have both said that you didn't read the CIA's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq before making your decision to go to war. Why the f**k didn't you?posted by: Carl on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
First off and not entirely on point, saying that morality is a social constuct, which I take to mean sentient life is a necessary condition for morality to exist, has nothing to do with the question of whether or not the actions of State actors should be morally justified. The conversation I'd like to have would be impossible with someone who holds that there is no need to morally justify state action.
Zathras, you're not the only one you brought a smile to.posted by: Jim Dandy on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Bush didn't say what he was willing to do either. If the Iran nuclear weapons question is going to be asked, then I want a complete answer. I want possible actions enumerated, especially when the speaker is a proven incompetent, like W.
he doesnt get the benefit of the doubt. Only the acting commander in chief gets that.
Nobody should get a benefit of the doubt. Neither candidate is a good candidate. We are clearly trying to pick a president who will cause as little harm as possible. And one should be especially critical of a sitting president, as he has had 4 years to implement policy.
In other words:
"First off and not entirely on point, saying that morality is a social constuct, which I take to mean sentient life is a necessary condition for morality to exist"
Its the entire point. Either morality is some sort of universal, supernatural, superhuman ideal, or its a pragmatic response to evolutionary pressure (i dont smash Johnny head because i dont want my head smashed).
"The conversation I'd like to have would be impossible with someone who holds that there is no need to morally justify state action."
There is a difference between saying a state is morally bound to moral actions because its 'the right thing', and doing so because it is pragmatic. Pragmatically, it is never in our interest to intentionally murder children, that is a response to moral agreements between humans that such activity is abhorred and hence counterproductive. A state can hardly act out of fear of god. What else is there but interest? To act as is deemed moral is in our interest, but if some other interest supercedes it, we might choose differently. If our allies have different view of morality, so much more so. Is it better to act in our immediate interest to defang Iran or to placate the sensibilities of quasi-pacifists in Europe? That is the question.
"Secondly, I don't want to let particular facts about Iran get in the way of the question I'm trying to answer."
Dont let the relavent facts get in the way of the answer? Do you work for CBS? Again, its a pointless question. Circumstances are everything. Is it wrong to shoot someone? How can you answer that without knowing the circumstances. If my wife is being raped at knifepoint, it is certainly moral. Comparing Switzerland to Iran is a pointless excercize. Switzerland in possession of nukes is not counter to the interests of the Western world. Iran most certainly is. Im not concerned about the cop down the street owning a 44. I most certainly am concerned about the felon who has one. Again, this is an argument about morality with its underpinnings in non-judgmentalism. That is absurd.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Mark starts with
"[Morals]are either a social construct or a religious dictate depending on your pov."
and then goes on to say
"Morally i personally find it imperative to deprive an evil regime of terrorist supporters from the ultimate weapons ..."
"To put it succinctly, it is entirely moral for a policeman to disarm a convicted felon. It is not moral for the felon to shoot back in response"
And to cap it off
"How can you have a moral argument based on a premise rife with sophostry?"
Sophistry is noticable here for more than being misspelt! This is what gave the Jesuits a bad name (though they generally make much better arguments)
"Bush didn't say what he was willing to do either. If the Iran nuclear weapons question is going to be asked, then I want a complete answer. I want possible actions enumerated, especially when the speaker is a proven incompetent, like W."
The president is the commander in chief, a general in essense. To expect him to literally divulge his battle plans is wrong. He has a track record of living up to his word. He says Iran will never have nukes. You either believe him or not, but you must realize that if reelected that promise is on the books so dont be surprised if bombs fall on Iran at some final point.
John Kerry is not CIC. He has no track record as an executive to point to to make us believe he will deal with Iran no matter what. _And he wont even say one way or the other_. I was very worried about Bush vis-a-vis Iran until his O'reilly interview. No longer. I am dreadfully worried about Kerry. There is zero indication that Iran with nukes is an intolerable situation for him.
"Sophistry is noticable here for more than being misspelt! This is what gave the Jesuits a bad name (though they generally make much better arguments)"
Spelling flame. Last refuge of the terminally useless. You might have noticed I made an intentional distinction between universal morals and my opinion or personal morals. I happen to believe in universal, god given morals, but I respect the fact that others do not, and may be wrong. Excuse me for making such a subtle distinction.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
"but I respect the fact that others do not, and may be wrong. "
and _I_ may be wrong.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
'He has a track record of living up to his word.'
Really ? Didn't he also draw half a dozen red-lines in the sand on the NK nuke issue, backing away at each juncture.
Bush has a track record of swaggering and nothing else.posted by: ring on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
You just stated that there are 10.5 million Afghans registered to vote,
(source: Paul Krugman, NY Times, 10/01/04)posted by: Xiran on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
"How, then, do you explain, that 10.5 million people is significantly
(source: Paul Krugman, NY Times, 10/01/04)"
Millions of refugees returning, as well as more being registered in their camps in Pakistan. Oh, and Paul Krugman being a twit.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.29.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
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