Given the current political climate within the US and other places around the globe there is a natural outpouring of comments on the events that impact our lives. Clearly one of the more popular topics is the war in Iraq.
I am a big proponent of free speech. I think that it is a key ingredient for ensuring a free country. If you cannot speak your mind without fear of repurcussions then you are in big trouble. I also believe that the ability to speak does not mean that you have anything of substance to offer.
There are a couple of things going on right now that I find particularly troubling. One is the polarization in which people try to assign value to commentary based upon political affiliation and not upon substance.
It is a bad habit to make blanket judgements about the merits of a person’s thoughts because you see them as being a democrat or republican. And there are many people who know better but try to camoflauge this by using terms like Red State or Blue State.
And what I find particularly troubling about this is that is a dumbing down of the dialogue, assuming that there is a dialogue regarding how to best handle current events. In conjunction with this I am gravely concerned by the clear misunderstanding of the power of words that I continually see, as well as the intellectual disconnect between groups.
I want to pick on a few people and their comments to serve as an example of what I am talking about. Here is an excerpt from a post made by another blogger.
“America has a responsibility to the people of Iraq, and of Bagdhad in particular, where the most thorough-going anarchy seems to have taken hold. They have taken a repressive, sadistic dictatorial regime and replaced it with a Road Warrior, post-apocalyptic â€œfreedomâ€ that makes Saddam look quiant and cartoonish.”
I don’t mind the disagreement about whether the US & Company should have invaded Iraq. I supported doing so and I think that Bush could have made life a lot easier if he would have done a better job of defining why we went in and what we should expect.
But I do have a problem with people who serve as Saddam Hussein apologists and try to make specious claims and comparisons. Does this guy really think that life under Saddam was better. Has he not spent any time reading about what Saddam did to dissenters. Has he not read about Uday Hussein and his treatment of Iraqi athletes.
“ THE BUTCHER’S BOY , as he is sometimes called, is reputed to be the most brutal member of Iraq’s notorious ruling family. As an infant he reportedly played with disarmed grenades. By 10 he was accompanying his father to the torture chamber at Qasr-al-Nihayyah (the Palace of the End, where many political enemies, including deposed King Faisal II, were killed) to watch Saddam deal with dissidents. By 16 he bragged of committing his first murder, telling classmates he had killed a teacher who had upbraided him in front of a girlfriend.”
The situation in Iraq is not great and it could easily be argued that it is very bad, but under Saddam it was a system of brutality and totalitarian government. Regardless of what is going on now there is a strong effort to replace that with a freer more open society. Will that society come to be? That remains to be seen.
Cindy Sheehan, the current poster girl of the antiwar movement is another prime example of making stupid and ridiculous comparisons.
“Is there anyone in America who cannot yet see that Donald Rumsfeld is a liar…that he, as with Hitler and Stalin….will say anything so long as he thinks it will help shape the world to his own liking?”
Does she really think that is fair to compare genocidal maniacs with the Sec. of Defense. Does she really think that the US has established death camps, that we are sending people to Siberian gulags for speaking out against the government.
Maybe she does. Some of the people she associates with call themselves activists for peace yet they support terrorists. Let me qualify something here because some of you have accused me of having divided loyalties, (which I find funny because you go nuts if someone questions your patriotism) I don’t have any problem with criticizing Israel. I think that it should be subject to criticism like any other country.
However if you want credibility you need to hold all sides accountable and not excuse terrorist acts as being part of a resistance. The lack of balance is glaring, not to mention very telling.
The real point of this is that there are many ways to offer criticism that do not involve ridiculous and intellectually dishonest comparisons. There is opportunity for dissent based upon substance and not emotional outbursts that are rooted in fallacy.
It is time to reel in the attitudes on all sides and try to work together and not against each other.