Wednesday, March 9, 2005
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (1)
Help out this fifth grader!
I just received the following e-mail, which I've edited a bit:
Alas, as a professor I'm
Dan, haven't read the book (and have no interest in doing your homework assignments for you), but as suggested inspiration, just think what Mr Brucker, Mr McKiernan or Ms Woloszyienski (sp) would have wanted. Wow, the 5th grade was a long time ago.posted by: Jay on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
That linked essay certainly doesn't look like it's at the fifth-grade reading level. And wouldn't it make more sense to look on the Internet for opinions on the war rather than asking people on the Internet for their opinions of an essay about the war? This sounds like a thinly-veiled excuse for the father to send an anti-war essay to various bloggers.posted by: fling93 on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
I tend to agree with fling93 that there's something a little fishy about this e-mail that you received. My antennae are up.posted by: Klug on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
God...I loved being in the 5th grade...so long ago...sigh.
It is true that when a human being 'turns' into a
The mysterious force also affects human beings
Just like those many 5th grades of times long past.
Ahh...the circle of life continues.posted by: James on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
Having read (waded through, would be more accurate) the essay, it's a steaming pile of regurgitated leftista screeching points. Translation into smaller words: The author is simply repeating things he's been told, and many of them are not true.
Some advice for the young man ...
1) Anybody who starts off by saying all Republicans are cold-hearted businessmen (or religious zealots), all Democrats are spineless cowards, all politicians are corrupt, and/or all voters are stupid and ignorant is a bigot. Being an equal-opportunity bigot doesn't make him a centrist, it makes him a hateful fool.
2) If you want to see some clear-headed, informed pro-war essays, read Charles Krauthammer, Victor Davis Hanson, Michael Ledeen, and/or Mark Steyn.
If you want a quick summary of the main pro-OIF argument, it goes like this:
Dan, assuming posters upthread are wrong, I would respond in this way:
It is not often helpful to base one's opinions on the belief that people who disagree are psychotic, suffering from a special kind of mental illness. Illness of this kind does exist, but it is somewhat rare, and people suffering from it are usually unable to reach positions of great power or responsibility.
The Iraq war is a difficult issue, but in thinking about it one may start by asking two questions. First, was it right? Second, was it wise?
The first question is a moral one -- did the United States have the right to invade another country, even though that country's government was one of the most cruel and vicious anywhere in the world and had attacked its neighbors many times in the past? The second question is a practical one -- what does the United States get from invading Iraq? Do we destroy a threat to our own country, or strike a blow against terrorism, or give other people a chance at freedom? And if we do, is it worth the cost to us, especially in the lives of our soldiers but in other ways also?
After thinking about these questions, there is a third: what should we do now? The invasion of Iraq, after all, has already happened. It can't be undone even if we wanted to undo it. Our country has made a commitment to the people of Iraq. This is a great responsibility; what is the best way to be worthy of it?
Personally, I think now that the invasion was right, but not wise. I do not think it was wrong for the United States to remove so evil a government as Saddam Hussein's from power. But, the deadly weapons Iraq was thought to have before the invasion turned out to have been destroyed already, and these were the greatest threat to us. Also, some of the supporters of the war back in 2003 thought it would be much shorter and less expensive than it turned out to be; difficulties that should have been planned for were not, and this has cost the lives of many American soldiers. So, knowing what I know now I would not have supported the invasion, though I did support it at the time.
Now, I may be wrong about this. We cannot tell what would have happened had Saddam Hussein been allowed to remain in power -- he may have just gotten chemical or biological weapons as soon as our backs were turned, and given them to terrorists. And it is possible that if the Iraqi people are able to build a democracy with American help, the region Iraq is a part of may become more peaceful than it has often been in the past.
Whether I am right or wrong, we still must think and act responsibly toward Iraq and the war there. It is no good saying "I am against the war" as if by holding our breath it would go away. It doesn't make much sense to carry on as if Americans who disagree with us are crazy or stupid, either. Instead, we need to think about what is the most we can do in Iraq, and how much time and money we can afford to spend in doing it. I don't have a short or easy answer to the question, "what should we do now?" I think, though, that this is the most important question of all.
posted by: Zathras on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
I began to read the 'Wolf' essay and I think it sucks. There are a couple of big reasons and several small reasons for this.
Big Reason #1 - Contradiction
Every war is very complicated and everybody brings a whole lot of reasons why they are for it, against it, neutral and all of those opinions change over time. Yet he has chosen to ignore that as he looks at history, and history has more information written down than the present.
Big Reason #2 - Cynicism
Big Reason #3 - Loaded Language
These are the big reasons I distrust the author of this essay 'Iraq, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Couch Potato's Burden'. Like many people who have differing opinions on the war, I strongly believe that the author believes that anyone who disagrees with his position is evil, stupid or both.
posted by: Cobb on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
For more letters along the same lines by other authors, see this. My efforts are in my right sidebar.posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
On another note....
"...the (iraq) invasion was right, but not wise."
Correct action Not Equal to Wise action?????
I thought it was the other way around.
There has got to be a proverb, or a chinese
"A wise person knows that a wise action taken
Master Fung, From "Xiaolin Showdown"
Gee...No wonder he drives his students crazy...
(My apologies if I got the master's name wrong.)
posted by: James on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
He meant right as in morally justified, not right as in correct. Or were you just being funny?posted by: fling93 on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
One of my website's readers noticed this piece and informed me of it. As the writer of the linked piece I can only respond that it's sad to see that so much of what I decry in it is manifested here:
1)'Anybody who starts off by saying all Republicans are cold-hearted businessmen (or religious zealots), all Democrats are spineless cowards, all politicians are corrupt, and/or all voters are stupid and ignorant is a bigot' Apparently this person missed the part where I speak of parties, not individuals. I also state 'I do not shrink from the term â€˜benightedâ€™, nor buy into the political platitude of â€˜the American publicâ€™s wisdomâ€™. Were that true Madison Avenue could not have thrived.' Can anyone seriously refute that?
2) As for his war rationale, I pretty well destroy it in my demolition of the Joint Resolution.
3)Zathras- up and leave. The tyrant is gone- and the Iraqis have ethical agency. If they choose to war, so be it. It's their choice, although I doubt we'll willingly leave the well-guarded oil fields.
Pt 2- I actually grant the Pres the best of motives, and defend the First Lady, if you actually read the piece. Even granting he's simply wrong, the war was and is unsupportable- as I show by vetting the Joint Resolution. In fact, to show how off-center you are, as are Leftists, when I've tried to send or link the piece to political/anti-war websites many refused to allow it because I wd not declare myself a Liberal and/or they did not like that I did not solely blame Bush for the war, but also the cowardly, anomic Left. And it's worth noting that I differentiate between Cons & the Right & The Left & Liberals, because I quote from a flaming Reaganaut who is against the war, as are all true conservatives. You can call yourself a con and be for the war, but that ain't gonna make you one. Both extremes are noxious, but the Right's worse cuz they're the powerholders who've consigned so many to needless deaths.
Pt3- the piece is subtitled as an Attack, but even so it is open about it and states '6)I hope this essay can become a template to help argue the Anti-War cause against the incessant Orwellian revisionism and lies that are fundaments needed to propagate war, regardless of whether your opposition is based in conservative or liberal politics, or mere pragmatism and a rejection of deceit and delusion, as mine is. I offer specific talking points, often apolitical, and provide sloganeering hooks to win converts.' I am up front about my aim, far more than you are in this post when you claim, 'I strongly believe that the author believes that anyone who disagrees with his position is evil, stupid or both.'
While I do not doubt you believe that you are manifesting your own prejudices, not mine, as I state, 'There are some anti-warriors and Leftists who hate all America stands for, as there are Apocalyptic pro-warriors and Rightists who support â€˜freedomâ€™ abroad, but anti-libertarian causes at home. There are Leftists that shamelessly grandstand, such as the disingenuous networking tool that was Poets Against The War. I denuded their senseless rebuke of First Lady Laura Bush- a great friend to the arts. Neither has a grasp of American nor world history in toto, for America has committed atrocities, but so has virtually every other nation, and it is American to be for freedom anywhere, not just in places politically convenient. There are Leftists who are sincere, fear not a â€˜realâ€™ win, but a victory of might makes right. I disagree, to a degree, but am wary, and worry over American losses, and possible future wars in Iran or Syria. There are Rightist who are sincere, not â€˜in itâ€™ for corporate oilâ€™s greed, but many slavered over profit and war spoils. I do not accuse lay pro-warriors of lack of patriotism, nor malign motives, merely gullibility, and immaturity, in their inability to admit error- in going to war, then conduct of the war, as well an inability to see consequences that can do incalculable, unforeseeable harm to the nation, in ways we cannot see now, but in 2030 will seem inevitable outgrowths of our choices. The integrity of the majority of pro-warriors I do not question, merely the intelligence of their choice. Neither extreme, however, is the majority.' It's hard to get more cogent and evenhanded than that.
As for the kid, I'm flattered that he and/or his dad thought enough of it to base an essay on it, or rather reactions to it and the war. Unfortunately, if your posters' replies are typical, they've merely reinforced the very same and sad points about the blogosphere, that most do not read what is written, but what they believe their foe must be stating, for they cannot freeform and can only reply with canned answers- although I agree that you are one of the few non-angry types out there. DAN
PS- send the kid my way and I can put him in touch with some of the real assy Leftists and Rightists who have screeded against the piece. On 2nd thought, I don't wanna be accused of interstate corruption of a child. Damn! DANposted by: Dan Schneider on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
"He meant right as in morally justified, not right as in correct."
Ah...The more accurate sentence fragment should be:
"...invasion was a morally right thing to do, but was done very very badly."
If this is what Zathras meant, then it involves
The Fung (Fong?) proverb is convoluted.
Apply it to Iraq...is iraq convoluted?
What was so moral about invasion? Where was
How to does one obtain a definition of wisdom?
and so forth.
Student:"But Master Fung. We have to do something!"
"One must be careful with good intentions. Unwise
Student: "Soooo..Is that a yes or a no???"
The War in Iraq (from a 5th Grader's perspective:)
Imagine that you decided one day to break into your neighbor's house and eat up all his Captain Crunch.
And just suppose that, a few years earlier, when you were in third grade, that you had broken into your other neighbor's house and stolen all of their Milky Way bars.
Suppose you got caught and your father grounded you. When he grounded you, he says to you: "If you stay in your room after school and promise to do your homework and be a good boy, we'll let you off your grounding and restore your allowance."
"In the meantime," says your father, "We're gonna continue to feed you, educate you, and let you stay with a roof over your head - but we're gonna be watching you to make sure you stick to your word."
"Sure," you say. "I agree."
Of course, you don't really agree. That night, you climb out your bedroom window, sneak next door and throw a rock through your neighbor's front window.
Everyone knows you did it, but nobody sees you do it.
The next night, you again sneak out, but this time, the police happen to be patrolling the neighborhood and they spot you, rock in hand, about to toss it into another neighbor's window.
They nab you and turn you over to your parents. And they tell your parents that if they catch you out again, about to throw more rocks through your neighbor's windows, they'll put you in jail.
The next night, you again sneak out and throw a rock through a neighbor's window. And for the next 17 nights, you manage to sneak out and break all the windows of all your neighbor's houses.
Finally, your father pulls you aside and says to you, "Son, if you sneak out tonight and plan on throwing more rocks through our neighbor's windows, we're gonna let the cops arrest you and take you to jail."
That night, you go out, and just before you heave a rock through a neighbor's window, the cops pull up. They don't shoot you or the neighbors, but they arrest you and take you to jail.
Thus, Johnny, you have just experienced the Iraq war.
Johnny ... you are Saddam Hussein. Your parents are the United Nations (they warned you).
George W. Bush was the cop.
You see Johnny, whatever the United States did that got Saddam in power allowed him to pick on his neighbor countries. In 1999, he invaded Kuwait (in other words, he started throwing rocks). And it looked like he might next break into Saudi Arabia and steal all of their Captain Crunch.
The cops showed up (in other words, the US military). They arrested him, but instead of putting him in jail, they sent him home and grounded him. They made him promise that if he was a good boy, they'd lift the sanctions the UN put on him (in other words, they told him they'd give him his allowance back). In the meantime, he was fed, clothed, housed and educated.
But instead of being a good boy, Saddam started throwing rocks at those who were watching him to make sure he was a good boy (in other words, he started shooting at US military jets in the No-Fly Zone).
Also, instead of doing his homework, he started figuring out ways around his grounding (in other words, he figured out how to evade UN sanctions by bribing some French and Germans).
So, eventually, the UN said to Saddam: "If you keep doing this we're gonna let the cops arrest you."
He kept doing it, despite repeated warnings that he was eventually going to be arrested and put in jail.
When the US invaded Iraq, we didn't start shooting innocent Iraqi's. Could it have gone better than it did? Probably. But hey, war is heck. Are there still problems? Sure. That's why we tend to not want to go to war in the first place.
Saddam is now in jail. As a side bonus, the innocent Iraqi's don't have to worry about Saddam gassing them in their homes. And hey, they had their first real election in 33 years.
For his part, Saddam probably gets all the Captain Crunch he wants.
But no more rocks.posted by: slim999 on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
Slim99, that's pretty good.
If Bush had not invaded Saddam, Saddam would still be ruling Iraq. Those against the invasion were FOR Saddam, whether they wanted to be or not. (They could also be unhappy about both invasion and Saddam and be neutral--"both are bad".) Logically, whenever there are two alternatives, to be against one is supporting the other.
The most important comparison today is with Sudan. Bush has called it genocide, but the UN has said it is not. If it was genocide, the UN would have to "take action", according to their charter. If it is not genocide, no action needs to be taken -- so Sudan remains on the UN Human Rights Commission.
Most folk against the Iraq invasion include an idea that the "UN should lead". The UN is now leading on Sudan. As the days and weeks go by, and the numbers of murdered black Muslims increases, remember that this is a direct result of UN leadership.
Those who support the war must admit some responsibility for the bad things: 1500 US soldiers killed; 30-100 000 Iraqis killed, including those murdered by death squad terrorists, and Iraqi terrorist murderers who look just like civilians; and inevitable soldier abuse of Iraqi prisoners and suspects.
Many of those against the Iraq war were also against the Vietnam War, wanting the USA to leave Vietnam. Protesting increased from 1968-1974, when the US left.
Every policy that is taken has desired and undesired results. When one argues for one policy over the other, the good and bad points should both be examined. When your policy is taken, you are somewhat responsible for the good and bad results.posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
Slim- that analogy is laughably shady. But let's continue it.
You see, Johnny, what slim shady believes is known as delusion. There is a psychological condition known as psychosis that describes it. That is when someone, like slim, believes things that are false or never happened.
And Tom- wdn't it be far more cogent to blame the Killing Fields on the pro-war Right? After all, they supported the CIA in the installation of the 1st Indochinese death camps in Operation Phoenix? Perhaps your analogy is flawed? Like begets like. When we support murderous tyrannies- wherever- the result is usually not good- Latin America, Saddam. Marcos, Suharto, S. Vietnam, etc. If you're gonna assign blame it's prob best to start with those that actually did killing, not those who were against it, in all its forms. The Left of the 20th C. can rightly be chided for its Stalinist delusions, but its claims in Vietnam, unfortunately, were all borne out one by one. Dan
posted by: Dan Schneider on 03.09.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
Post a Comment: