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This world is one big game of "Go"-- Black against White, Light against Darkness --and we all have a choice to make: Do we war FOR the Light?

...or against it?




Addressing Dan's Incredibly Optimistic Claim




"If a nation should choose to use a nuke against the US, we could handily respond to any such attack with our conventional military."

Prior to this statement Dan said:

"Iran would not bomb the US even IF they had nukes and even IF we didn't. We still possess enough conventional WMDs and military strength to wipe Iran from the face of the earth and Iran knows that.

It would be suicide for them to take that step, and they know that. Ahmadinejad may be crazy but he's not nuts."

This from the same comment wherein Dan says NewsMax is just a step up from WND.

This is what I find so incredibly naive and optimistic about Dan's assertion that should Iran choose to use nukes against us we could "handily respond... with our conventional military."

Dan has completely disregarded the NewsMax story, that incidentally, was first heard on the CBS Evening News.

1) Iran has successfully test fired scud and shahhab missiles from the deck of an ocean going vessel.

2) They were testing their ability to detonate at apogee said missiles.

3) IF Iran were to detonate a nuke at apogee over the continental United States, launched from the deck of a legitimate cargo vessel entering U.S. waters, this nation would, in short order, be sent back to the late nineteenth century.


Now, Dan says Iran knows that the U.S. possesses "enough conventional WMDs and military strength to wipe [them] from the face of the earth."

Dan believes Iran knows "it would be suicide for them to take that step," that "Ahmadinejad may be crazy but he's not nuts."

Okay, that's fair by western standards. But Iran detonated a nuke at apogee over the U.S. the EMP blast would destroy America's ability to move ANYTHING let alone troops bearing conventional weapons and armor. A fact that Dan has failed to note.

Iran keeps boasting that America will soon be taken out of the picture. Perhaps what they really means is that America will no longer be able to respond to overseas crises, or help Israel. All Iran needs is to get a few nukes under their belt-- and Israel claims that day is within the next year... to have acquired enough weapons grade material to begin building.

How are these times any different that the pandering and conciliatory days of Neville and Adolf? discounting the fact that nukes are now in the mix? None whatsoever.

And for the record, when I or someone else uses the word "insane" to describe men like Ahmadinejad we don't use it in the clinical sense, and you know it. The man IS insane to spout the nonsense that there was no holocaust against the Jews. The man is insane if he desires to wipe another sovereign nation off the face of the earth-- ostensibly with nukes since Iran is feverishly working to build them. He is insane if he dreams of destroying America... that he has confidence and audacity enough to say it with a straight face-- albeit with a knowing smirk. The man is a lunatic. And you're teetering on that very edge if you think the man is not a bona fide threat to not just Israel, but the United States of America as well.

I'm not advocating nuclear war with Iran. Nor a conventional one. But if we can prevent a modern day "nuclear pearl harbor"? That would save hundreds of thousands of lives.... I'm all about saving lives. But to do that sometimes you have to kill the man with the gun to your head.

And the idea of such a "sunset" gun in the hands of Iran is, to say the very least, frightening.


posted by Unknown @ 2:19 PM,

42 Comments:

On August 8, 2008 at 2:44 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Hey, you are free to live in fear of the nasty Iranians if you wish. I think it makes more sense to try to engage in diplomatic efforts to rid the world of the nuclear weapons YOU agree are horrible. I further think that we would be better served by developing int'l consensus, codes and peacemaking/justice approaches to dealing with WMD/rogue nations kinds of concerns.

I am not saying appeasement. Never have.

I am not saying ignore threats. Never have.

In fact, I've said that is one of the problems of a weaponry-heavy, war-as-solution approach to dealing with int'l problems: That approach FORCES us to ignore problems.

The US simply can't invade Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Rwanda, Darfur, Congo, China, Colombia, etc, etc, etc in order to deal with trouble spots around the world. We're already military-bloated (causing some legitimate US needs to go ignored) and we're doing all we can do to manage dealing with Iraq and keep our military budget under $1 trillon. And that from an already defeated country before the invasion began.

War-as-solution is expensive, expansive and extensive (setting aside the morally questionable nature of the approach) and REQUIRES that we ignore problems elsewhere to deal with the problems in, in our current case, Iraq and Afghanistan (and Iran?).

Even if you want to hang on to war-as-solution, it behooves us to work to find better, smarter, more effective diplomatic approaches to dealing with problem countries.

We can fear-monger our way up to a $2 trillion or $3 trillion and 10,000 or 100,000 nuke (at what price and what number of nukes would you feel safe?) solution and still not have anything safely resolved, or, it seems to me, we can wage peace in smarter, more effective ways.

For myself, I am utterly convinced that waging peace is every bit as effective and secure (and a good bit more) than waging war as a way of dealing with world problems. If we spent half as much on Just Peacemaking solutions as we did on Just War (sort of) solutions, we wouldn't need nearly as much on the war budget side of things.

"Overcome evil with good:" not just an empty platitude, says I.

 
On August 8, 2008 at 3:17 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Dan, once again, it is very glib to appeal to "overcome evil with good," since it begs the question whether the use of military force is or isn't moral. You seem to think that war is always evil, but so far as I know you have NEVER justified that position with an appeal to Scripture.

Instead, you seem to have ignore Scripture, because immediately after writing that we should overcome evil with good, Paul writes that the government is God's agent of justice against the wicked and that it does not bear the sword in vain.


And, on the subject of rhetoric, I'm not sure it's at all helpful to suggest that EL and I are guilty of fear-mongering.

Neither of us use the term. Never have.

If you're going to say that we mischaracterize your position by calling it naive and dangerous appeasement in the mold of Chamberlain, perhaps you shouldn't attach words to our position that we would not ourselves use.


Anyway, you say that "waging peace" -- which is a ridiculous phrase, bereft of any real meaning -- isn't to ignore a threat. That may well be true, but that doesn't mean it's effective. A person who who applies band-aids to his chest because he has the flu isn't ignoring the illness, but he's hardly treating it.

You say that it's not appeasement, and that's a harder case to make. "Diplomatic efforts" to get a regime to change its mind on a particular issue involve one or both of the following:

- the promise to give carrots

- the threat to apply sticks

You've taken the latter off the table altogether, so what does that leave? Concessions, bribes, and inducements in an effort to--what? That's right, appease the other party.

And if there aren't enough carrots to induce cooperation, you're effectively back to ignoring the issue.


There's no doubt that -- if it's effective -- "waging peace" would be a cost-effective alternative to war. I doubt anyone would disagree with that.

But you spend an inordinate amount of time arguing the cost benefits while ignoring the more important, more foundational question: DOES IT WORK?

I've never seen a good argument that it does.

 
On August 8, 2008 at 3:26 PM, Blogger ELAshley said...

Yes, yes, but none of this addresses the very real-- in this nuclear age --of a nation like Iran setting us back 140 years with a single nuke detonated at apogee over our fair fruited plains!

 
On August 8, 2008 at 3:33 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

I wonder if the presentation of facts and scenarios that present difficulties to, erm, "waging peace" are ipso facto fear-mongering. The facts could very well be true, but they're inconvenient. The scenarios could be plausible given the horrors that we've already seen, but they're not useful.

 
On August 8, 2008 at 3:42 PM, Blogger ELAshley said...

The very real "possibility" that is...

 
On August 8, 2008 at 5:44 PM, Anonymous BenT - the Unbeliever said...

1. To effect the entire United States the missile would have to be high enough to be visible from the entire united states, because EMP fields are only effective in line of site. So your fictitious scenario would have the missile higher even than the international space station.

2. To effect the entire continental US, you have to get the bomb over Kansas-North Dakota area. So it would be a major feat for Iran to bring a ship capable of launch such a powerful missile within range.

3. The EMP blast is not an automatic death sentence for all electronics in the blast radius. The power of the pulse falls off as the square of distance.

4. The American military knows this stuff just as well as the 007 writers. You can expect that all major military systems require shielded electronics. Not to mention the fact that we have various forces posted all over the globe, including nuclear weapons.

5. Any country launching an attack of this nature would come under immediate attack from every other country, not just the American allies. No other country would want to let an episode like this stand unopposed.

6. The worst an EMP bomb could do to the US is decimate a coast. The chances of this happening are very slim. The more likely scenario is that the blast destroys the electronics in one large city and about 40 surrounding miles. How many people actually depend on electricity for survival? Hurricanes and other natural disasters show us not so many as we might assume.

7. Nuclear weapons are the same. In the 1940's, America got away without being attacked by every other country in the aftermath of the bombings. Today that wouldn't happen. No country can launch a nuclear attack and not expect international reprisals from all sides. The only use nuclear weapons have is as a threat.

8. At our peak in the 1960's America had 30,000 nuclear bombs. Since then we have reduced that number in half. We still have enough bombs to destroy the world ten times over. Lets reduce our numbers in half again I say. 7,000 nuclear weapons is plenty for me to feel safe at night. It gives us a moral edge, and reduces the chance of mishap.

 
On August 8, 2008 at 9:48 PM, Blogger ELAshley said...

Effects of Nuclear Weapons Tests: Scientific Facts

 
On August 8, 2008 at 11:19 PM, Blogger Marshall Art said...

Wow, Eric! What a lengthy link. I have to save it for when I can't sleep. Did you read the whole thing? Kudos if you did. I'll have to take it in bite sized pieces.

"How are these times any different that the pandering and conciliatory days of Neville and Adolf?"

We didn't have such detailed knowledge of how stupid Chamberlain's approach truly was. Now we have it. We also have numerous failed peace talks between Israel and the Pallies. In fact, we have fourteen hundred years of failed negotiations with Islamofascists, and somehow, Dan thinks some wacky "Just Peacemaking" will sway the likes of any average Islamofascist. I say once again, if you can use such strategies to end gang activity in the inner cities, or criminal biker activity everywhere else, I might be inclined to listen. But to try it on people who think dying for the cause is glorious and think you've got a snowball's chance in hell is the height of naivete and fantasy-land thinking. We don't need such nonsense from our Commander in Chief anymore than we need it from fellow Americans. Here's a clue: Just Peacemaking only works on other pansies who want peace more than liberty, justice, human rights, self-determination and other blessings of a truly free country.

Whether or not it is a pleasant experience that brings blissful joy to anyone, war-as-solution is a time-tested strategy for dealing with the truly despotic and insane. And it's pretty dishonest to suggest that it is used as a first resort or has been under this administration.

Also, I believe our total military budget does not comprise a large percentage of the USA's total expenditures. In addition, at the start of the Iraq war, I distinctly recall some "expert" saying that at minimum, we should be able to sustain two fronts, like Germany and Japan in WWII, but whether we're big enough to do that is not certain. I've never heard anything to counter that statement.

To re-iterate, we do NOT use war as a solution to int'l problems until all peaceful attempts have run their course. Twelve more years of negotiations with Sadam would not have changed a thing.

 
On August 8, 2008 at 11:32 PM, Blogger Marshall Art said...

Bent,

1. Look at the effect of 9/11 on business. One attack was a pebble in a pool and affected all businesses connected with those in those buildings. But the real question is do we even want to chance a scumbag like Mahmoud and his mullahs to have control of such weapons. I say no. I don't care what the actual impact would be, I want NO impact.

2. Do you know the details of the plan the Iranians say they don't have and the extent of it's progress? See the end of #1.

3. Same as above.

4. But the military is still concerned about the effects of such a strike, and even if we assume the military is impervious, which I doubt, does that make it better for those of us affected by the explosion?

5. This is wishful thinking on your part and something upon which our military leaders should never count. With world opinion so terribly against us, according to the left, it doesn't make sense to think that we'd be getting immediate help from anyone but a few allies.

6. Even if the effects are as miminal as you like to believe, why should any of our people endure it at all? Are we to assume that you think the economic damage wouldn't be bad enough from the loss of necessary electronics?

7. You assume much. For example, your statement assumes that there don't exist at least a few countries that would love for us and/or Israel to open up on Iran and solve that problem for them.

8. "destroy the world ten times over". Scare-mongering rhetoric. How can that possibly be calculated. Based on your own description of the minimal effects of an EMP blast, perhaps 30,000 was the right amount. Yeah, I don't think we need so many either. I just hope we have the right amount, whatever that turns out to be.

 
On August 9, 2008 at 3:15 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

1. It is my opinion that wars have evil/ugly/horrifying results.
2. Innocent people die. Horribly. In great numbers.
3. I agree with the pope who questions whether or not there can be a Just War today, that is, whether or not we can conduct a war that meets Just War criteria
4. I’d suggest that Just War criteria is roughly what our laws (US and international) are shooting for
5. In a civic secular nation/world, I think Just War criteria is a relatively reasonable set of criteria to shoot for (excuse the metaphor), IF we truly seek to meet Just War criteria
6. That is to say, I might argue amongst Christians that we ought obey some criteria above and beyond JWT – something that comes closer to pacifism/Just Peacemaking Theory (which, by the way, IS a real theory with some specific definitions and parameters connected to it, just as with JWT) – but this, in my mind, more Christian way of living is not something I would require the nation or secular world at large to abide by, any more than I would find it reasonable to expect non-Christians to have to be baptized or heed some church’s teaching on polygamy or on gay marriage or other specifically “religious” teaching
7. In a world that accepts JWT as a relatively reasonable criteria for when and how to wage war, we STILL need to have the most effective diplomatic/peacemaking efforts in place – even if we believe in JWT, we can not wage war to solve all our problems even if we wanted to, it’s too expensive and ethically questionable and not especially ffective
8. A good example is this invasion in Georgia right now? How ought the world respond? Just give Russia a warning and if they fail to heed the warning, wage war to try to solve it? Then what of Rwanda? Darfur? Colombia? China? We simply cannot “war” our way to world peace, even if we wanted to. We must have other means
9. We currently do, in fact, have other means; we DO try to use UN and individual diplomatic efforts to resolve problems
10. These too, have not historically been effective enough; genocide has still happened, apartheid still happened, slavery still happens, oppression still happens
11. This is an argument, at least to me, for investing more effort, energy and money into diplomatic efforts, even if we hold on to war as a solution at some point
12. Any time we contemplate entering war, we must do so with the grieved acknowledgment that our peacemaking efforts have failed and what will result WILL be evil – we’re just hoping (we can’t know, of course) that it will be less evil than continued efforts to resolve the problem diplomatically; we enter war knowing without a doubt that war is hell, quite literally - not glorious, nor heroic, nor anything but a failure of humanity to stop horror without resulting to horror.
13. Having said all that, it would behoove us in the US to invest less in war-as-solution and more in diplomacy/peacemaking-as-solution; whatever our position on war, we all agree that it is to be avoided if possible and we all ought to agree that it will have hellacious and atrocious results.

“Why are men violent but not illiterate? Because we are taught to read,” the quote goes. It would behoove us to invest more in peacemaking IF we value peace.

These are my positions and I think they are entirely reasonable enough that we all ought to be able to agree with them.

 
On August 9, 2008 at 3:47 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Dan, war is not "literally" hell. War is war. Hell is hell. The two are not literally identical.


I also don't believe that war is inherently evil or inherently results in evil.

"Any time we contemplate entering war, we must do so with the grieved acknowledgment that our peacemaking efforts have failed and what will result WILL be evil..."

I disagree; more to the point, I don't believe that your view is biblical, and I don't believe that you can put forward a persuasive argument to the contrary without resorting to question-begging.


I do wish you would be more clear on what you actually support regarding the U.S. government.

You write, "this, in my mind, more Christian way of living is not something I would require the nation or secular world at large to abide by, any more than I would find it reasonable to expect non-Christians to have to be baptized or heed some church’s teaching on polygamy or on gay marriage or other specifically 'religious' teaching."

If that's the case, why even bring up just war/just peacemaking? It seems to me that you do want to be able to argue for pacifism but still have as an escape hatch this idea that you don't really mean for it to apply to state governments in the real world.


Finally, of course diplomacy should be employed more frequently; about that none of us would disagree. But this lengthy list of very qualified semi-pacifism -- where you could support just wars, but then again you don't know whether such wars are still feasible, but then again you don't apparently advocate this as actual foreign policy -- is very different from the rhetoric you used earlier.

If your position is truly this qualified and nuanced, perhaps you shouldn't so quickly accuse others of fear-mongering, and perhaps you shouldn't so glibly appeal to "overcome evil with good" as if that requires strict pacifism.

 
On August 9, 2008 at 4:20 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

One more thing, about the idea that war can't solve all our problems -- "even if we believe in JWT, we can not wage war to solve all our problems even if we wanted to, it’s too expensive and ethically questionable and not especially ffective."

No one has argued that war should or even can solve every problem, so to say that it can't solve every problem is true, but it is truly nothing more than a response to a strawman that no one has defended.

War won't solve all problems, but it does solve some problems.


Thomas Sowell wrote something that applies here.

"Many have argued that capitalism does not offer a satisfactory moral message. But that is like saying that calculus does not contain cabrohydrates, amino acids, or other essential nutrients. Everything fails by irrevelant standards."

Again: "Everything fails by irrevelant standards."

War doesn't solve everything! Okay, but that doesn't argue against the idea that, as Ecclesiastes put it, there is a time for war.

Man can't live by bread alone, but bread does address particular ills, most notably hunger and malnutrition.

 
On August 9, 2008 at 7:04 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

No one has argued that war should or even can solve every problem, so to say that it can't solve every problem is true...

Didn't intend to suggest that anyone was suggesting that war can solve every problem. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

My intent was that we rely upon war-as-solution way too much. This debacle in Iraq is a good example of why we ought to have a truly defensive military (ie, defend the homeland, not military adventurism around the globe - with our sons and daughters in harm's way in dozens of countries).

My intent was to say that we if we cut our military budget so we are no longer funding military adventurism and America-as-global-cop, then we could have more money to invest in peacemaking efforts and that this would be a wiser, more fiscally responsible and more efficacious approach.

The State dept budget:

* Foreign Operations – $23.7 billion
* State Operations – $9.3 billion
* Food Aid and Famine Assistance – $1.3 billion
* International Broadcasting – $672 million
* Other Programs – $93 million

We spend an additional ~$1 billion on the UN and UN military efforts (~$430 million to the UN and ~$500 million to military efforts) [in 2006]

That means we spend ~$36 Billion on foreign relations, foreign aid, etc.

This compared to our ~$800 billion we are spending on the military.

If your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail. We've spent hundreds of billions of dollars on hammers and a relative pittance on peacemaking efforts.

I'm suggesting we'd be better served and more secure making those numbers meet somewhere closer to the middle (although I don't think that we need to spend anywhere near as much on peacemaking to be effective as we do on the military).

 
On August 9, 2008 at 7:09 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Out of curiosity, what ideas are brimming from you all about what exactly we SHOULD do if Iran decides it wants to be like the US and get nuclear weapons?

What SHOULD we do about Russia rolling through Georgia right now?

 
On August 9, 2008 at 9:09 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Clearly, we should slash our military budget, creating a "a truly defensive military" that could do absolutely nothing about a nuclear Iran or an aggressive Russia. We should take that money and give it to the United Nations, since clearly the problem with the UN isn't either a lack of will to act against nations not named Israel or a deep-rooted corruption: it's just a lack of funds.

Yeah, that will solve the world's problems with Iran and Russia.

--

In all honesty, I'm not sure there are easy and obvious ways to address Iran and Russia.

But we can certainly start by eliminating ideas that are positively suicidal. Pointing out the rank foolishness of eviscerating our military strength in the face of an increasingly dangerous world isn't as good as advocating a specific alternative, but it's not nothing either. It is a public service to repudiate nonsense even if it isn't followed up with anything else.

 
On August 9, 2008 at 9:14 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

It seems to me that we have three broad options that have been advocated for situations like this.

1. The US should not take part in World Courts, in international legal agreements or international law. That being the case, we also not to intervene in other nation's troubles, since we'd have no legal ground for doing so.

Isolationism, basically. Usually the stand of so-called libertarians.

2. The US should not take part in World Courts, in international legal agreements or international law. But if there is a situation like Russia/Georgia or Iran acquiring nukes, we should act outside of any international laws and do whatever we think best.

Might makes right/every nation for themselves, basically. The stand of some so-called conservatives and more accurately, neo-conservatives. I believe.

3. The US should take part in World Courts, in international legal agreements and international law, strengthening procedures, policies and strong plans of actions for situations like these.

International cooperation, basically. Usually the stand of so-called liberals.

There may be others, but that seems to be the general options usually discussed.

 
On August 9, 2008 at 9:16 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

It is a public service to repudiate nonsense even if it isn't followed up with anything else.

Actually, it's not offering much of anything. The suggestion that we MUST have a military larger than the rest of the world and if not, we'd all perish is demonstrably false.

No other nation in the world has a military budget like ours and they aren't perishing.

 
On August 9, 2008 at 9:20 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

To say, "I don't know WHAT we should do about hard situations like Iran or Georgia, but we DO need to keep a hypersized military," isn't any more helpful for a conservative to say than it is for a peacemaker to say, "I don't know WHAT we should do in hard situations, but we DO need to cut our budget in half."

It is the hard situations we're talking about. I have nowhere advocated that a nation ought not defend itself against an invasion, what we're talking about, it seems to me, is what to do about hard situations and whether or not a military larger than the rest of the world is helpful at all or just an example of Massivebig Government.

 
On August 9, 2008 at 10:06 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Dan, it's not the case that libertarians are isolationists, nor is it the case that neo-conservatives believe that might makes right. You don't know what you're talking about, so you look very foolish when you act as if you do.


The suggestion that we MUST have a military larger than the rest of the world and if not, we'd all perish is demonstrably false.

Since nobody made this suggestion, I'm not sure why it matters whether it's demonstrably false; or is this perhaps another instance where, by arguing against some particular suggestion, you don't actually mean to imply that anyone here (or anywhere) has made the suggestion?


And if you're complaining about my not having provided an answer as to what to do about Iran or Russia, perhaps you should step up and provide your own answer. It doesn't seem like you've done so.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 12:51 AM, Blogger Marshall Art said...

"No other nation in the world has a military budget like ours and they aren't perishing."

That's basically because WE'RE the ones with the biggest and best military. If Sadam had a budget like ours, the other small budget nations would be perishing. A country like the United States of America being the biggest badass on the block is good for the world. It makes the scumbags think, "Can I mug this person, or is the badass nearby to stop me?" One can't place a price on having that thought course through the mind of a scumbag up to no good. Peacemaking efforts make scumbags laugh. Peacemaking efforts do not take into account the nature of the despotic.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 1:31 AM, Anonymous BenT - the Unbeliever said...

Here's what we could do if we doubled the budget for the State Dept.

1. fund technical, primary and secondary schools in the middle east that didn't teach from a religious viewpoint.

2. expand the broadcasts of Voice of America into places where pro-western ideas aren't heard.

3. Support pro-democracy factions in anti-american countries.

4. start micro-loan programs in the poorest regions.

5. voice and give stronger support for election monitors.

6. be better able to influence corporations in their dealings with rouge states.

All of these are ideas it took me about 5 minutes to come up with. None of them are bribes to dictators. This is what we could do if we worked to balance the equilibrium between our armed services and the state dept. $600 billion per year will not hamstring or moulder our military. An extra $100 billion invested in foreign relations though could return great dividends.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 1:49 AM, Anonymous BenT - the Unbeliever said...

"I disagree; more to the point, I don't believe that your view is biblical, and I don't believe that you can put forward a persuasive..."

Bubba you are holding Dan to a standard that he hasn't expressed. You subject every statement he makes to the idea that he interprets the bible and evaluates every moral choice from that viewpoint. I've never heard him make that claim.

You also criticize him for logical and rhetorical measures that you employ as well.

Perhaps you have a perfectly coherent internal logic structure. You have no opinions that are contradicted elsewhere. The rest of us mere humans are not so blessed. EL is conflicted about nuclear weapons. I occasionally suffer bouts of religious belief. If Dan has varied views between his religious opinions and his civic opinions that is no less a failing than anyone else's.

Lay off Dan's posts or start treating everyone else equally. You only appear a troll otherwise.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 7:44 AM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Ben said:

Here's what we could do if we doubled the budget for the State Dept.

Excellent ideas, Ben. And that's from someone with just a few moments of thought. What if we devoted a significant amount of energy, thought and planning (and a few dollars) into developing Peacemaking strategies?

The thing is, as in Nicaragua, South Africa, the Civil Rights movement, etc, there is a history of effective non-violent or less-violent approaches that HAVE worked in the past and can work now. I'm just saying that it pays (literally) to develop Just Peacemaking (or "diplomatic" or whatever label you want to put on it) initiatives moreso than what we're currently doing.

As to my religious/civic "inconsistencies," I have always tried to make it clear that we ought not legislate all our religious beliefs. This is a thought that very few religious types would disagree with. We ought not legislate Baptism or a belief in Jesus as Christ. We ought not legislate a ban on gay marriage just because it does not agree with some religious traditions and we ought not legislate pacifism, just because war-making does not agree with some religious traditions.

I don't find anything inconsistent about that.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 1:12 PM, Blogger Marshall Art said...

Bent,

Your ideas aren't bad, and in fact, many of them are already being persued on one level or another. The problem would be in taking military funding away to do these things. If that's what you're suggesting, I disagree strongly. Though Dan likes to believe our military is bloated, others cry out for more for the troops. Money is needed to replace equipment that is outdated or just plain too old to be dependable. Money is needed for GI and VA benefits and assistance. Money is needed to insure that our military is capable of handling two major fronts at all times.

Yet at the same time, we know that there is a ton of tax dollars going to areas not of federal concern and that dough could be used to shore up efforts you've listed.

Regarding Bubba, I am always impressed by the clarity, intelligence and focus of his debate abilities. As this medium is for the purpose of exchanging opinions with the goal of persuading the other side of our rightness as well as the other side's wrongness for the benefit of all, he is exactly the type of debater from whom we should all take a lesson or two.

Forgive me for taking such a liberty, but I think Bubba's comments expose the real problem with Dan's POV. They are based on nice sounding notions with no way to support them logically as regards real world application. He does use the Bible to support his positions but then pulls that away so as not to seem as if he wants his own version of theocracy. I would encourage you to question Bubba directly when you are troubled by a comment he makes. Personally, I thought you were bright enough to follow him.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 1:26 PM, Blogger Marshall Art said...

Dan,

"The thing is, as in Nicaragua, South Africa, the Civil Rights movement, etc, there is a history of effective non-violent or less-violent approaches that HAVE worked in the past and can work now."

None of whom place a high value on so-called martyrdom to further their ends. There has never been ANYTHING with such appeal to people such as these. Thus, such sentiments regarding peace initiatives is pathetically naive and stupid, because it leaves the good guys open for devious and dangerous actions by the bad guys. You couldn't get gang-bangers to quit the thug life with such insipid musings. Peace talk only works on already peaceful people. Peace talk to scumbags only get peaceniks killed. "Just Peacemaking" is immature, naive, and bad for peace-loving nations.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 2:37 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Yet at the same time, we know that there is a ton of tax dollars going to areas not of federal concern and that dough could be used to shore up efforts you've listed.

US military budget: ~$800 billion

US welfare budget: ~25 billion

US State dept budget: ~$36 billion

There are always places we can trim budgets, but clearly the one area that is getting most can stand to trim the most.

We can trim $25 billion from the military budget without blinking. If we trimmed $25 billion from State or Welfare, they'd cease to exist.

A budget is a moral document (among other things) and shows where one's values are. Are budget reflects a value of trusting in a military primarily for our defense. A more peace-seeking budget would be reflected with money/energy being spent.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 7:35 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Dan, I would like to see your source for those numbers, because -- as shown in the chart in the bottom right of the image available here -- the big three social welfare programs at the federal level (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) do not account for merely $25 billion.

Instead, those three programs alone account for $1.268 trillion.

You're actually pretty accurate in noting that discretionary defense spending is about $799 billion, so I wonder what could cause you to be so ridiculously off regarding social spending, to report no more than two percent of social spending.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 7:50 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

One other thing.

A budget is a moral document (among other things) and shows where one's values are. Are budget reflects a value of trusting in a military primarily for our defense. A more peace-seeking budget would be reflected with money/energy being spent.

First, I don't think a government's budget is a great reflection of that nation's priorities. That view is a bit statist. I think housing is an important priority for most people within any given nation, but if our federal government doesn't have the constitutional authority to provide housing -- and it doesn't -- its absence from the budget doesn't mean a thing about our priorities, except to suggest that we take the Constitution seriously.

Second I think the premise being made here is that diplomacy doesn't need nearly as large a budget as the military, purely as a matter of costs. Well, okay then: we shouldn't inflate our diplomacy budget or slash our military budget for some silly belief that, because we should (and do) use diplomacy first in foreign relations, we should spend more on that approach.

But I do wonder what Dan would like to see spent in the name of democracy? Direct aid to countries with whom we're trying to negotiate? Aid through further funding to the United Nations?

At some point can this spending really be anything more than attempts to bribe our enemies not to hurt us?

There's a saying. I think some would find this saying grossly offensive, for the priorities and the principles it reflects.

Trillions for defense, not a dime for tribute.

No doubt some think this is barbaric and bellicose. Too bad then that I don't really care what they think.

 
On August 10, 2008 at 9:28 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

I said "welfare," indicating TANF (what used to be called AFDC, Aid for Families with Dependent Children), which is what people are generally talking about when they say welfare.

Social security is money people put in to get back eventually. It's not the case that it's merely gov't handing out people's money, but returning what they've already put in. Same for Medicare, if I'm not mistaken.

Medicaid might more closely fit the definition of welfare. Medicaid was ~$338 billion (in 2006).

We as a nation decided to create Medicaid so that we didn't have the poor, elderly or children dying in the streets. I have no real strong opinions on Medicaid one way or the other - I'm probably not as informed on it as I should be - but the idea sounds legitimate to me.

So, if you would like to include that figure in with welfare, then that would bring welfare up to about half what we're spending on the military.

So, what would you like to see us do with Iran and Russia?

 
On August 10, 2008 at 9:57 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

If you like, I'll answer your question first. It's a good question.

But I do wonder what Dan would like to see spent in the name of democracy? Direct aid to countries with whom we're trying to negotiate? Aid through further funding to the United Nations?

At some point can this spending really be anything more than attempts to bribe our enemies not to hurt us?


I have said some of this before but I'm glad to repeat it.

We need to seek ways to avoid war. We all agree with this. War is costly. War has horrible deadly affects for innocent and "guilty," "winners" and losers alike. And war is simply not an effective or even possible solution for each case where we have nations behaving badly.

We need to seek ways to avoid war.

1. We do this by investing more energy and money into peacemaking and diplomatic efforts. Into research as to what ways work best to combat terrorism, to end internal strife, to prevent invasions and genocides.

We would not go to war without research and plans (well, some would, but it's not advisable...), neither ought we think we can wage peace without research and plans.

2. We do this in part by supporting international laws. Having clear standards of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. And not letting some nations get away with stuff while holding other nations accountable for the same actions.

This is just common sense. Nations need to know what is and isn't acceptable. We can't invade a nation because "We decided what you're doing is wrong, so we vested ourselves with the moral authority to invade and overthrow your sovereign nation."

We can't tell Russia that they violated US law, therefore we're going to start bombing. Russia is not beholden to US law. We need international rules and we need to hold people accountable to those rules (and, it should go without saying, we ought to obey those rules ourselves).

3. Since we need international rules/treaties, we need some form(s) of coming to agreement about those rules - the UN, the ICC, something. If the US says, "Okay everyone, we're the biggest power in town and we're laying down the laws. Here's how we want you to behave... Otherwise, we'll destroy you."

Such an approach would not be morally/ethically valid and it would not allow people to buy into/support it. In fact, it would work against our security interests because people would chaff at being given such an ultimatum. I know this because WE would chaff if Russia (China, whoever) gave us that sort of ultimatum.

4. Because such institutions (UN, ICC, whatever) are made up of people and because power tends to corrupt, those institutions would be prone to corruption and problems. But the problems are an indication that we need to work to strengthen the institution, not abandon it.

If we abandoned institutions because of corruption of some within it, we'd have to disband congress and throw out the presidency and, well, just resort to anarchy, because people WILL tend towards corruption, given half an opportunity.

4. Having started working on strong bodies of international cooperation and strong agencies given to the task of diplomacy, we could do things like Ben suggested earlier.

Does research show that poverty in third world nations help lead to improved recruitment for terrorism? Then we aid with poverty relief programs. We encourage NGOs and faith based institutions to live up to their ideals and work to ease poverty.

Does research show that Superpowers who appear to be rogue (ie, are not held accountable for breaking international law) tend to aid in recruitment for terrorist organizations? Then we change the perception. We hold nations equally accountable.

We look at the root causes of violence and terrorism and address those proactively, rather than react when terrorism or genocide happens.

I think you get the drift.

Again, I don't this is all that radical, it's just sort of common sense and somewhat stuff we're doing now. We just could do a better job of it.

And no, it is clearly not bribery, saying "Here's some money, please don't commit genocide. Pretty please???"

It is smart, researched, well-planned direct action intended to preempt violence before it happens and to wisely deal with it after it happens.

I mean, one could say that giving money to schools to teach children is bribery. "You're just saying to the kids, 'Here's some money to be educated, please don't grown up to be criminals. Pretty please??"

You could say that, but it wouldn't make much sense. We invest energy, time and, yes, money on things we hope to achieve. Failing to plan means we're planning to fail, as they say.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 8:41 AM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Dan, you have not explained how you would handle Iran or Russia, either. If you seem so eager to discuss both crises in detail, I will (again) ask that you provide your own detailed strategy first.


It's not the case that Social Security is "money people put in to get back eventually." The money productive citizens are paying right now is being used to provide benefits to people on SSI RIGHT NOW.

There is no Social Security trust fund. It's a giant Ponzi scheme and should be considered a welfare program because that's exactly what it is.

If you add the $644 billion in what we spend on Social Security to the $215 B on Medicaid and the $25 B on TANF -- and we're not even considering Medicare and the numerous other social welfare programs, including housing programs -- and you have an amount that exceeds discretionary military spending.

But the question isn't whether military spending exceeds social spending -- the answer is, it doesn't; social spending, which is unconstitutional at the federal level, is about twice what we spend on defense -- but whether we're comparing similar things. To compare total military spending just to TANF and act as if the latter is all we spend in the "US welfare budget" is remarkably dishonest.


About international law, you leave a couple questions unanswered:

1) Is the body that writes international law composed only of democratic governments, or does it include all governments?

I think I've raised this issue before, and I don't believe you addressed it, but if a world body includes even despotic regimes it is NOT a legitimate body because it doesn't have the full consent of the governed. If it excludes these despots, then it's not a truly global body.

Because some regimes are granted the legitimacy of free elections but others are not, it is currently not possible to construct a legal body that is both truly global and truly legitimate.

I would have much less of a problem of an exclusively democratic UN -- or a more global NATO -- where only democracies work together to agree on international law; that law would arguably only apply to those who agree to it, but that would ensure the law's legitimacy and morality. But it seems to me that you fetishize full international participation above even the fundamental question of whether all the participating governments are legitimate. It seems that you have no qualms allowing a cabal of tyrannies to participate in international law-making that will disproportionately constrict the democratic governments who are largely more concerned about the rule of law.

2) Does this international body use military force or not?

If it does, it's hardly true that your position reflects strict pacifism. If it doesn't, it's hard to see how international law can be enforced against those who refuse to abide by it -- like, say, Russia.

You've twice now appealed to strength, to "strong plans of actions," and to "strong bodies of international cooperation and strong agencies given to the task of diplomacy".

Does this strength include military force? You haven't made clear whether it does or not.


Finally, about the possible correlation between terrorism and poverty, two things should be noted.

First, a disproportionate number of jihadist terrorists are well-educated members of the middle class. All but one of the eight suspects arrested in the July, 2007, U.K. terror plot were doctors. The eighth was a doctor's wife and a lab tech. Since there's no correlation between poverty and terrorism, asserting that there is and acting accordingly in a futile attempt to address "root causes" doesn't seem like the results of very thorough research.

My second point is that this approach subsidizes bad behavior, about which I have much more to say.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 9:41 AM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Dan, I believe your approach -- and the Left's approach to most and possibly all issues -- ultimately subsidizes bad behavior. This is both counterproductive and dangerousl because subsidizing something typically results in more of that thing.

There are three examples in your most recent comments.


1. UN corruption. You write, regarding the United Nations and its systemic corruption, "the problems are an indication that we need to work to strengthen the institution, not abandon it."

This sounds very familiar, and it echoes what you wrote about Ahmedinejad:

And, assuming we question a leader's rationality, that is also not a adequate reason for us to not talk to them. In fact, if a leader is behaving irrationally, that is all the more reason for us to have dialog going on between our leadership and that country.

Fund the UN if it's moral and competant, but if it's thorougly corrupt, your solution is more support.

Talk to rational actors on the world stage, but if they behave irrationally, your solution is more talk.

It looks like your support for international organizations and endless dialogue is at best independent of the "facts on the ground," that your support is divorced from reality. You support these things in any and all circustances. And, at worst, these circumstances that should cause a person at least to pause and reconsider his support, prompts you to ratchet up your enthusiasm.


2. Enemy propaganda. You write, apparently quite sincerely, that we ought to take seriously our enemies' accusations against us.

Does research show that Superpowers who appear to be rogue (ie, are not held accountable for breaking international law) tend to aid in recruitment for terrorist organizations? Then we change the perception. We hold nations equally accountable.

This is a very vague appeal to the idea that we ought to take seriously enemy propaganda; after all, it's not our allies who think we're a rogue superpower. (And here you surely don't have in mind Russia's current belligerance or China's human rights abuses.) You imply that we "appear to be rogue", but appear to whom? Whose "perception" are we trying to change?

It's worth remembering that some of our enemies assert that Jews are the descendents of apes and pigs and that they use the blood of Gentile children in their Passover ceremonies. It's entirely possible that their chief concern is not a stalwart defense of what's actually true.


Failed regimes. This brings me back to the last point in the previous comment.

Does research show that poverty in third world nations help lead to improved recruitment for terrorism? Then we aid with poverty relief programs. We encourage NGOs and faith based institutions to live up to their ideals and work to ease poverty.

The correlation between poverty and terrorism simply isn't there, but there is a correlation between poverty and the type of government that is in place.

There are some very wealthy countries, such as Hong Kong, that have no natural resources to speak of. Subsaharan Africa is overflowing with resources, and in many countries the per capita GDP is about one percent that of Hong Kong.

What's the difference? The absence of the rule of law, the absence of free markets and freely elected governments. The presence, instead, of basketcase kleptocracies.

And you want to give aid to the people in these countries, when that would invariably lessen the pressure on their despotic governments.


In all three cases, you support subsidizing bad behavior, giving more funding to the United Nations despite (or pehaps even because of) its corruption, validating enemy propaganda by taking their accusations seriously, and propping up the world's most dysfunctional regimes by letting them limp along and easing the pressure that would otherwise lead to their collapse.

When you subsidize something, you get more of it, a truth you seem to recognize only when it comes to government funding for highways and the resulting automotive culture.

The positions you support would result in more U.N. corruption, not less, because their corruption is being positively rewarded; in more enemy propaganda, not less, because they see its effectiveness; and more third-world government dysfunction, not less, because we're essentially creating world-wide WIC programs to supplement deadbeat regimes.

Your positions sound noble and compassionate -- what could be better than helping the poor and holding ourselves accountable? -- but the results matter.

I know you disagree with my assessment of the results; if only we do enough research, you seem to argue, we can figure out "smart" approaches that somehow circumvent human nature. I am extremely skeptical of the claim.

I believe there's a large dose of utopian wishful thinking in your political philosophy, and I believe that such wishful thinking is dangerous in the face of real threats and in the face of real consequences for what policies we implement.


Diplomacy, international cooperation, self-criticism, and foreign aid? Of course, but not in all circumstances, not when it would encourage precisely what we want to lessen. And, in doing these things, we should NOT ever abandon the option of using military force.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM, Blogger ELAshley said...

"Your positions sound noble and compassionate -- what could be better than helping the poor and holding ourselves accountable? -- but the results matter."

Indeed. What's the sense in giving 5 bucks to a man crying about being hungry outside an ABC store? Turn your back and he'll run right into the ABC and get a bottle.

There is such a thing as responsibility.... We must insure the TAXPAYER'S money is not wasted. giving to the U.N. IS a waste.

That's why a Christian should never just give out money to folks on TV who say God wants you to sow a seed of faith. God expects you to be a good steward with the resources He's given you. We as taxpayers should expect nothing less of our government.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 11:54 AM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Then we're all agreed. Results matter.

We ought not just hand a person $5 merely because he asks for it. We ought not give our military $1 trillion just because we can.

Results matter. No one is arguing otherwise.

What I am saying is that the results of us spending trillions of dollars on the military, Iraq and Afghanistan - and all the accompanying energy - is that we did nothing about Rwanda, about Darfur, about the many places around the world where nations have behaved badly. We were/are so invested in trying to "stop terrorism" with our attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have no resources for other problems.

I'm asking, IS this the most efficient means of dealing with nations behaving badly? I don't think so. I think the evidence supports that not enough has been done to deal with genocides, with oppression.

Yes, results matter, absolutely.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 12:09 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

you have not explained how you would handle Iran or Russia, either. If you seem so eager to discuss both crises in detail, I will (again) ask that you provide your own detailed strategy first.

But I have. I gave some good bit of info on what we need to do in generalities to more effectively wage peace up at "August 10, 2008 9:57 PM."

By investing more energy, thought, research into peacemaking, those responsible could come up with the more specific plans.

As I've noted before, the specific plans might include placing peace-keepers/witnesses on hand (as worked extremely effectively in Nicaragua and other latin american nations with the Witness for Peace organization), it might include economic sanctions (as worked well in South Africa), it might involve peace negotiations (as worked quite well with Jimmy Carter and his peacemaking efforts between Egypt and Israel) - each situation is unique to a degree and needs to be well-considered.

I'm not asking you for specific battle plans on how to deal with Russia and Iran, I'm speaking in generalities. My answer is given in generalities and that's all I'm wanting from you.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 12:16 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

So, what would you have us do with Iran? With Russia? With Darfur? With Rwanda? With Colombia? With Congo? with Liberia?

Anyone?

 
On August 11, 2008 at 1:19 PM, Blogger Marshall Art said...

I thought I had responded to Dan's approach. Suffice it to say that I found it wanting. It was not reality based, and it didn't account for the actions of the bad guys while we're doing his peace-dance. In other words, while he's talking, people are still suffering.

It also puts too much faith in int'l organizations that would compromise our sovereignty.

I also have a problem with the statements regarding, "What about Darfur?" This is a poor reason to reverse or halt our activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because no one else in the world seems to share our compassion for others, places like Darfu will have to wait their turn. We only have two hands and as we are providing the aid, it is up to us to decide where best to send it.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 1:23 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Dan, I seem to remember that, not too long ago, you were criticizing the idea of our "playing world police" as being antithetical to conservatism.

Now you're asking what I think we are to do about Iran, Russia, Darfur, Rwanda, Colombia, Congo, Liberia, and who knows where else.

You seem to think, not only that the United States should address all the world's biggest problems, not only that it should do so essentially unarmed, but also that we can only address these problems by disarming -- that slashing our military budget will give us more than enough funds for the task.

Such wide-eyed utopianism demonstrates that you invoke conservatism only when it's convenient, and that you really don't know the first thing about conservatism, which are two of the biggest reasons I find it so thoroughly grating that you invoke the philosophy at all.


My answer is, our government should protect our own national intersts, first, doing so as fairly as possible and as peacefully as possible but not ceding the right to use military force when it's appropriate. That is no more vague than your answer, a call to spend more money to research peacekeeping.


I'm glad to see you recognize that results matter; perhaps you could go further and address the particular point that I was making, that -- by supporting increased funding of the UN regardless of its systemic corruption, by supporting self-reflection that validates our enemies' propaganda against us, and by supporting poverty programs that prop up dysfunctional governments by meeting their people's basic needs -- you advocate subsidizing bad behavior at the international level.

And perhaps you could answer my two questions regarding your support for international bodies.

1) Is the body you support for the writing of international law composed only of democratic governments, or does it include all governments?

2) Would this international body that you support use military force or not?

 
On August 11, 2008 at 2:15 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Bubba said:

and that you really don't know the first thing about conservatism

Except for the fact that I was a conservative for some 25-30 years and that I've continued to study conservative ideals since then, you might be right. I think there's a great deal of value in honest conservatism.

Bubba said:

You seem to think, not only that the United States should address all the world's biggest problems, not only that it should do so essentially unarmed, but also that we can only address these problems by disarming -- that slashing our military budget will give us more than enough funds for the task.

To clarify then:

1. I don't think the US should address all the world's biggest problems.

2. I don't think the US should try do deal with problems "essentially disarmed."

3. I don't think the only way we can deal with these problems is by disarming.

4. I DO think that our military budget is too large (which is not to say that I believe in disarming the US - note the difference). Grossly too large. However, I think a reasonable compromise would be to cut our military budget in half - to where we "only" have a military budget 2 times the size of China's and Russia's combined, instead of 4x the size of their budgets.

5. I DO think that one way of freeing up resources to invest in peacemaking is by this reduction - and that it would only serve to increase our security, but I don't think it's the only way.

6. I do think it behooves the US to work with the rest of the world to attempt to deal with misbehaving nations/deadly regimes/genocide/oppression.

Hope that helps with the misunderstandings.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 2:49 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

Dan, you now have a speficic goal for cutting the U.S. military budget -- cut it in half, you say -- but I don't believe you've retracted your position (expressed earlier in this thread) that "we ought to have a truly defensive military." You haven't made clear that we should reserve the right to use military force in situations that don't involve our repelling a direct invasion on American soil, nor have you affirmed that we should sometimes exercise that right.

(You haven't even answered whether the international organizations you support should use military force, one of two questions I've raised more than once in an attempt to better grasp precisely what sort of international cooperation you support.)

I think it's entirely fair to conclude that you support foreign policy efforts that are "essentially unarmed."


About your claim to understand conservatism, I will reiterate what I wrote here.

"...about your past as a political conservative, I do wonder how deep those roots were in the first place. You now seem to think fiscal conservatism means subsidizing corporations, which implies that you missed the fundamental respect for a truly free market that you could find in the writings of Adam Smith, Hayek, and Friedman. In your criticism of American foreign policy during the Cold War, you seem to have rejected whole-cloth the conservative concern of the threat of Soviet Communism, a concern that animated Buckley and then Reagan: in downplaying the threats we face (then and now) you don't even seem to acknowledge that reasonable people to your right may be more concerned about our foreign enemies and it is that concern, rather than some barbaric bloodlust, that motivates our hawkishness. In matters of culture, you don't seem to have the respect for tradition that Burke and Chesterton had, the idea of Burke's that we 'must bear with infirmities until they fester into crimes,' because radical change results in costly chaos and destroys much of the accumulated wisdom that brought us prosperous, reasonably civil society in the first place. And, I think our recent conversation regarding the Constitution makes clear that your rejection of the idea that its authors intended Congress to be limited to the enumerated powers given to it, didn't come from a close study of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, or the other writings of Madison, Jefferson, and our other Founding Fathers.

"You may have grown up immersed in politically conservative media, like Dobson, but if you hadn't read about -- or in particular, grasped -- the philosophical underpinnings of conservatism, then it might not have taken much exposure to an opposing view to cause a sea change in your belief system."

To go further than that, here you denounce "so-called" libertarians as isolationists and "so-called" neoconservatives as supporters of the philosophy that might makes right. Neither denunciation is based in reality.

Your appeal to your decades of having been a conservative is as persuasive as your claim that your position on homosexuality is the result of careful, prayerful Bible study. That is to say, not very persuasive at all.

Telling me that you understand conservatism is a poor substitute for showing me: the claim is a poor substitute for the demonstration.

If it were clear that you really do understand political conservatism, you wouldn't have to point to your biography. Your words would speak for themselves.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 3:22 PM, Blogger Dan Trabue said...

That I disagree with one person (or a few) who call themselves conservative is not evidence that I do not understand conservatism.

Unfortunately, you misrepresent my positions in so many wrong ways here that it is difficult to respond.

I have stated what I believe. I further believe that I am correct in my assumptions about what I believe and that you are incorrect.

 
On August 11, 2008 at 4:05 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

That I disagree with one person (or a few) who call themselves conservative is not evidence that I do not understand conservatism.

I didn't suggest otherwise. I didn't list that particular claim among my reasons for my skepticism at your claim to understand conservatism -- unless, that is, your disagreements with a few who call themselves conservatives isn't limited to EL and me but is, instead, extended to such foundational figures as Smith, Buckley, Burke, and Madison. In which case, your definition of conservatism is probably too eccentric to be worth bothering about.

 

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