Saturday, February 26, 2005

A response to Paul's accusation that Kennedy wants US soldiers to die

As for Kennedy, what he said can be found here.

He doesn't say elections in Iraq are a bad thing. He says:

“We all hope for the best from Sunday’s election. The Iraqis have a right to determine their own future. But Sunday’s election is not a cure for the violence and instability.”

That sounds very different from “Iraqi elections [are] bad”. He does warn that:

“General Brent Scowcroft, who until recently served as Chairman of President Bush’s National Intelligence Advisory Board and who also served as the first President Bush’s National Security Adviser, recently warned of an 'incipient civil war' in Iraq. He said, 'the [Iraqi] elections are turning out to be less about a promising transformation, and it has great potential for deepening the conflict.'”

This is a statement about what a US general believes to be the facts on the ground. It is entirely within the realm of possibility and you don't need to be a traitor to believe it. I'm not interested in arguing whether this assessment is correct, but clearly it is not anti-American.

As for “Iraqis start dying”, you might be surprised to find out that Sen. Kennedy complains about just that happening:

“The tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed last year included nearly a thousand members of the new Iraqi security forces, and a hundred more have been lost this year. The recent killing of a senior Iraqi judge was the 170th assassination of an Iraqi official since June of 2003.”

He then proposes a solution:

“The elections in Iraq this weekend provide an opportunity for a fresh and honest approach. We need a new plan that sets fair and realistic goals for self-government in Iraq, and works with the Iraqi government on a specific timetable for the honorable homecoming of our forces.”

You may disagree with him on the wisdom of setting a specific timetable (I'm undecided on the merits of one), but reading this speech, it is clear that he is proposing what he believe to be in America's best interests.

Now we get to the interesting part. You are mad that Kennedy had the temerity to complain *out loud* that the soldiers are being ill-served by the continued poor planning of the Bush administration - an administration that (as we see it) fails to reprimand or demote those who showed poor judgment in the past.

Where to begin? Let's take my Universal Healthcare example. Let's make my hypothetical world even more outlandish by assuming that UH was as badly planned as Iraq and that the system was doing a poor job of combating a new outbreak of influenza. Let's also say that Republicans believe that the outbreak of influenza was being spread by doctors poorly equipped by Clinton's plan to save money by reusing surgical gloves. You would be right to laugh at me if I proposed that “Republicans are telling doctors that it doesn't matter what you do because the system is so broken. The are telling doctors 'What you did accomplished nothing. Good work. Give it up.'” You'd laugh at me if I said that Republicans are being “anti-Doctor” and that they are motivated by love of influenza. You'd be right to call me an idiot for saying that Republicans were knowlingly acting against America's best interests in questioning UH on the very day that doctors go through the old surgical gloves to find the ones that don't have any blood on them. And yet you are asking me to keep a straight face while you question the patriotism of a man who has served in congress for longer than you or I have been alive.

Please don't drag me into the minutia of whether Kennedy was right or wrong in his assertions or whether his plan is a good one. I don't have a strong opinion on whether a timetable should be drawn up or not. The question at hand is whether he is motivated by a hatred of America or the troops or something along those lines.


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