I heard back from Ted/Phil. Turns out he’s just Phil which is kind of a shame. What with hyphenated names being soooo 5 minutes ago, I was thinking slashed names might be a new trend. Alas…

Anyway, Phil had a couple of additional comments, and I wanted to share them. They are unedited below (except for removing the all-caps text) in Sorta Brown Text. Italics are my words (posted previously) that he is responding to.

I admit to being a bit relentless, but I’m curious what you find ignorant. I’m always open to learning something new if you’d care to share.

As I see it, ignorance of the their own agenda and the motivations behind it. The intense hatred that clearly comes through surpasses the usual bickering of partisan politics.

I’m confused by the first sentence. I wouldn’t argue that some in the anti-Bush camp are blindly following someone else and have no actual awareness of their motivations for their beliefs. But I’d also argue that Bush has at least as many, if not way more, followers in his camp who can’t explain their motivation. And I really don’t see the Bush-bashing as surpassing usual partisan politics. If anything, Bush got many months of relative quiet during the war where naysayers kept relatively quiet. Let’s not forget the perpetual witch hunt the Republicans led against the Clintons. If you listened to AM radio at all in the 90’s, then you’d know that Bush isn’t getting treated any rougher than his predecessor. And likely the next president will get his share as well. Hopefully starting next year. {:-)

It’s just the Bush administration that scares the hell out of me.

Exactly what it is you’re afraid of?

I’ve devoted a pretty fair amount of that time to this topic in the blog already. I’d suggest you go back through the archives if you’d like to read about it.

I empathize with the disgust of those personally touched by “one of the worst tragedies in recent memory”. There is a certain moral repugnance to using that event for personal gain.

How about one’s opponents doing their best to cast one’s every move in a light that benefits him?

I think this is pretty standard politics. All politicians play the spin game and try to make everything they do look wonderful, while making everything the opposition does look stupid or damaging. My only point was that I empathize with the families of the 9/11 victims as they are being dragged into the game unwillingly. Kerry and Bush can beat on each other all they want. We’ve all come to expect they will.

The point of the entry had more to do with the dichotomous nature of the message he now has to sell to be reelected.

Dichotomous how?

To quote from that entry, “Curiously, this means he (Bush) needs to incite fear that more terror is coming, and at the same time convince us he has done an exceptional job of keeping us safe from it.” That’s a dichotomy.

We kicked a few elephant’s butts, but we are likely not much safer from mosquitoes.

Do you really believe president Bush feels he has finished the job? To get rid of mosquitoes you start by making it harder for them to breed openly. Then you go after their hiding places, and at the end of the day you never get rid of them completely. So what? You do what you can do forever.

First, obviously Bush doesn’t think he’s finished. He can’t. His reelection is contingent on convincing us we need him to “finish the job”. To continue the mosquito analogy, I agree that there’s value in draining the swamp in the backyard. To that end, I think the Afghan war was warranted and effective. But I don’t think you “do what you can forever”. You can’t get all the bugs. The cost doesn’t justify the risk. At some point you put on a little Deep Woods Off and venture into the back yard for a barbecue.

I do think that out overseas military exploits have kept the terrorists out of America as there are so many more targets abroad now. But that’s an expensive and fruitless strategy, and arguably not an intentional one by the government.

I’m not so sure we have kept the terrorists out of America, but if we have that is hardly fruitless.

Again, it comes back to a cost benefit tradeoff. And by “cost” I mean not only money, but lives, time, and attention. We’ve spent billions of dollars and hundreds of lives in Iraq. What else could we have done with that money and those people?

I would really welcome debate here if you have a line of reasoning and/or facts that suggest we are really safer now.

How about a line of reasoning and a line of feeling?

I’m reasoning that there’s beer in the fridge, and I’m feeling like I’d enjoy one.

I’ve also never shown anything but support for those doing the fighting.


I would go myself if so called.

Outstanding! Would you volunteer?

I would have volunteered for Afghanistan, but not for Iraq. I don’t believe we should be in Iraq.

This is not a question of patriotism or bravery…

Yeah, in some, cases it really, really is.

Sometimes, but not in my case, and that was all I was referring to.

…but by your logic (I think) you would claim any fight a just and noble one.

Not at all, but if Iraq wasn’t just, then what is? Opponents of wars have always found reasons why the war wasn’t just.

Sorry, but I find nothing just in the Iraq war. There were no WMDs. There were more U.S. hostile terrorists in Saudi Arabia than were ever in Iraq. The only just reason for attacking Iraq was the rationale that we freed those people from an oppressive regime. Did we? Sure. But now we’re desperately trying to impose our morals and values on them. It’s pretty culturally arrogant of us to “free people” and then insist that once they’re more like us that we’ll let them rule themselves. Besides, we lack the resources to save the world from itself right now. We have too many problems at home to worry about.

To oppose a fight would be a sign of cowardice.

Not always.

I disagree.

Me, too.

In many cases it requires more strength to not fight.

True enough.

Brute force rarely solves problems. We simply cannot eliminate terrorism through sheer and overwhelming force.

True, it will require a unyielding willingness to do whatever it takes and support the one making the decisions by thoughtful respectful debate, and not political assassination.

Hopefully I’m managing the “thoughtful respectful debate”, but “unyielding willingness to do whatever it takes” only works for me when I believe personally in the goal. I don’t blindly follow anyone. And this is hardly political assassination. Politicians do not have skin that thin – especially ones who have risen as far as president.

There’s an appealing vengeance angle to it, but it doesn’t fix anything.

Sure, if that’s what this is about, but I don’t think it is.

I won’t apologize for entering into intellectual dialog.


I think this country needs more of that, not less.

True, as long as it isn’t just intellectual dialogue, i.e. Discussion that sees logic and reason as the only tools of perception.

As a people we are too often swayed by emotions. We opt for what feels good and has immediate gratification. I contend it will be our undoing.

To other than western minds, being swayed by emotion is no less legitimate than being swayed by empiricism. Either alone can lead to our undoing.

Granted. I’m not advocating ignoring emotion. But at least in this country I still contend there is too much policy created for its emotional appeal. We could use some more intellectuals. Perhaps we could outsource all our deep thinking?

Well, stated positions Tim.


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