Tuesday, November 09, 2004

My bitter Liberal response to Mark Steyn

I guess since we have lost the elction, some of the acid invectives are okay, and I will not react to them. But please do not take the high moral ground. Moral Values? So Morals are limited to below the belt issues and their consequences? Give me a break!!

Mark Steyn makes a good point, that the War in Iraq is a Moral issue, but I disagree that the Democracts were on the wrong side of it. The Democrats supported (and indeed still support) the efforts in Afghanistan (even though being fron the 3rd World, I know that imposed democracy, or as I lime to call it "Democracy of the Strogest", never works), because there was a clear logic to going to War! The country's government directly supported a group that launched an attack on the US. I have no qualms in ismantling the Taliban for that reason. Now, to claim that the Taliban were removed to give women more rights is dishonest and insulting. It was a welcomed side-effect, but that's it! Because this country did allow people to negotiate trade agreements for a pipeline with the Taliban, so I do not buy the moral argument here. Today the pipeline is being constructed by the way...

Now for Iraq, I want someone to lay for me President Bush's argument for that war, in a way that justifies it. Because I don't see how, really. WMDs? not there. Was it to remove Saddam? Why didn't you say so? Oh, that's right, you do not engage in reckless regime change. It would be against International Law, right? That's what I thought.

Amoral UN? Why, because it often rejects Israel? I bet you would have liked for the UN to support you in your claims for self-determination, when you were under the Brits rule. Well, for the Palestinians, I believe it is just fair that an estranged people claim the right to a land that they were kicked-out of illegally (no matter how much the Jewish lobby and evangelical Christians want to distort recent History), and they should claim it until the establishment of a safe, viable and democratic Israel, and a safe, viable and democratic Palestine, SIDE BY SIDE. We cannot have a US-Haiti type of relationship, because it is simply a recipe for disaster. And the UN should support this claim, or it loses all claim to morality. The UN supported all our rights to be independent (And in those times, the US was with us, and so was the USSR by the way). Oh, but the US is afraid that the next in line, if they allow Palestine to be, would be the Native Americans that they savagely massacred, and reduced to a mere shadow of themselves, because "this land was the land God had given them"... Ring a bell anyone?

As to the corruption in the UN, they learned from the master (US). The difference is that they are so bad at hiding it. Here is my thing though, the US can't have it both ways. The US cannot be the most powerful nation on the Security Council (Always putting vetoes on everything that does not go their way to the letter), and simply decide to side-step it whenever it pleases. There are responsibilities for being the hegemon (not just rights and perks). You have to understand that many countries in the World (including my own) feel side-stepped by the powerful every day, except in UN debates. So by side-stepping the UN, the United States efectivelly side-steps the rest of the World! All 5.n Billion of them! The only country that has the power to bring about reforms in the UN is the US, and they choose not too, because they are afraid to lose their power, so they cannot come to whine about the UN all the time (And in all honesty, Europe isn't all that better... They are just more sensible about it). You know what, I know what to do. Let the US simply side-step the whole International Law compact, and take over the World, and implement Ann Coulter's plan (invade their countries, kill heir leaders, and convert them all to christianity), and maybe we'll have peace in the World, and god - what am I saying, GOD - will just open th Gates of heaven for the chosen people of this mighty land, the people of the "'shining city upon a hill", to join him at his side.

Amoral Chirac? Well, I am not a big fan of President Chirac myself. I am after all from French speaking Africa. But I would take France, instead of a Bushist US anytime of the day (Now this is the African in me speaking, not the US resident). Why? The fact of the matter is - for whatever reason - France has been the only Security Council power to stand for the lesser powerful nations, and that resonates among many of them (and I am sure France is not totally impervious to that. Now I know in the US, France has this reputation of being weak, and refusing to go to war. And Africans have never really forgiven France for the Rwanda genocide blunder. But France (and for that matter, Great Britain) is one of the White, wealthy and powerful people's countries that are willing to intervene in tough humaniarian situations, like in the Ituri, in the DRC, or in Ivory Coast. In many of these countries, the US is seen as powerful cowards, who will only go into places thats serve their own interests (as opposed to mankind's), into places where they are almost guaranteed minimum casualties, where they can bomb a lot from the air, and where people really don't have much to resist them. Now this characterization is not totally true, but its is something to take into consideration when crafting policy, and taking action. France and Great-Britain (when it is not the US's pet) have learned this a long time ago, and are generally good at using it. They have also learned (at least in public) not to appear condescending and paternalistic, because it always comes to bite you in the B-HIND! Now did France have interests in Saddam's Iraq? Probably! But that is a cheap shot, coming from the US, that only takes positions based on its own selfish interests too!
(Back to the US Resident) But I do understand that the US wants to look after its interests; it's unfair, but that's the way it is. However, as Bush put it, it is an American interest to see the furthering of democracy all over the World, and particularly in the Middle-East, right? (hence his motto "Freedom is on the march", which have strangely turned into the argument for war. What ever happened to those WMDs, and those capsules Colin Powell - I feel so bad or this man - brought to the Security Council). First of all, this whole freedom thing... please! What is freedom? McDonald, KFC and WAL-MART? And please do not answer by a series of lacks-of-freedom that existed before the US-invasion (most of which haven't totally disappeared, considering Abu-Ghraib). And in addition, what is freedom in the context of Middle-Eastern/Muslim culture? Has anyone thought of that? Arguably, Iran is a pretty pogressive state, considering the ones that the US is allied with (Saudi Arabia, anyone? Women can't drive there!.. They can in Iran, and they can be Professors, Doctors, even Vice-President!). And where have anyone imposed democracy, in a land that is totally hostile to the imposer? Those are the questions that we need to answer if we want to win Hearts and Minds.

As to Afghani women voting, it is a beautiful thing !! But how long will it last? How are they treated at home? Not for the wonderful cameras of CNN and FOX, but at home? What unbiased, and non-proselitizing education processes have been put in place to bring about change in that society? Those are the questions we want to ask in the left.

See moral values (and all other things) can be argued, and defined very differently, depending on what someone's beliefs and experience is. They can be very heated and provocative (as my piece above, or Mr Steyn column everyday). But the problem is that when the Right-wing and/or Right-wing Christians claim that we in the left do not want to even acknowledge and dignify their take on the subject (which might be very true sometimes), I would argue that they hold us in just as much contempt for the simple reason that they also come from the perspective that we are so wrong (and for some, that we are going to hell for it), that an argument with us becomes either proselitizing or condescending (or at least that is how it feels). Until both sides acknowledge a bit of that, we are going nowhere, in the Left OR in the Right.

Now, back to the debate. Mr Steyn states that the Left has had no ideas sinc Roe v. Wade. Alright. I want a clear description of the oh-so-great and "strong ideas" of the Right. Additionally, I would like Mr Steyn to show how many of these so called strong ideas were not the result of an outside event, or a campaighnploy that was never followed through. See, the difference between the Left and the Right, in my humble opinion, has to do with what we are willing to do to reach a goal. We don't want a Karl Rove, playing on people's emotions and beliefs, in order to win an election. We would like to think that Americans are intelligent enough to see past the ploys, but it is not always the case. It was an uphill battle, we were battling he party that was in power during a tragedy, and created a bond with some of the people, and built on it in the campaign. It is very hard to bring reason in matters of feelings of safety, and religious beliefs. And we Dems have to do a better job at it. But I would like to believe that it will be an improvement in the delivery of the message, and in the understanding of the other side, more than a change of the message itself. I still believe that we are the party of tolerance and respect for all people, the party of realistic social justice, reason, and science, the party of religious diversity and compassion, and the party that promotes freedom, democracy, personal responsibility, conscience, integrity, honesty and above all, truth. If, in order to gain the Red States, we must shift from this message and indeed these beliefs, it would denaturate (I am not sure that is a word) the Party, emasculate the Liberal movement that it stands for, and I don't think it's worth it. No matter what the - now - gloating Republicans and Conservatives want to say about it. If we can explain the moral basis for our arguments better, I do believe most Americans, even the church going evangelicals, and people that are uncomfortable with homosexuality, would agree with us.

As usual, sorry for my english, and God Bless you all.

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