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Some (hopefully) brief ramblings....

My baloney has a first name it's M-I-C-H-A-E-L...

Hmmm.... I hadn't really planned on saying much about the war or anyone's Oscar crap, but upon reflection, I couldn't quite let it go.

I'm not a big fan of war. I wouldn't want to fight in one and I don't think anyone else should have to either. That said, now that we are in a war, I think it would be a surpemely Bad Idea to back off before accomplishing what "we" set out to do. On some level I have a hard time believing that so many random nutjobs out there seriously believe that they can attack the U.S. and it's interest with no fear of reprecussions. At times like this I wonder, how much the general anti-war/millitary sentiment demonstrated by Hollywood and other avenues of pop culture has hurt us in the world stage. I'm reminded how eerily various statements made by Al Qaeda after 9/11 mirrored those of Japan after Pearl Harbor. How is it that the country with one of the biggest freaking arsenals in the world is seen as weak and easily threatened by folks who's military force is malnurished and horribly outgunned? Speak softly and carry a big stick [*] seems to have been replaced by whine shrilly and wring your hands. In our complacency and relative comfort. we seem to have forgotten that people will invariably try to take advantage of those that they see as weaker in order to acheive their goals. Throw in religious dogma and you have a very unpleasant situation where it's in our best interest to look like we can kick someone's ass if they mess with us.

I find it odd that so many hardcore liberals are opposed to removing a government that is openly beligerent to the west (i.e. us) and which tends to be based on systems that rely on keeping some people (i.e. men) in power over others (i.e. women, homosexuals, minorities/non-God's people, etc...). Recently I've started to hear increased dissent with our entry into Afghanistan. People are upset that we used our millitary force to do something about a government that oppresed more than half of its population, killed anyone who spoke out against them and was even going so far as to destroy ancient monuments that they found religiously objectionable. So maybe going in there was not as much about getting rid of a bad form of government as it was about getting even for an attack on us. Why is it so shocking that this happened? It happened in the American Civil War. That didn't start as a battle to free the slaves, that got tacked on after a good bit of fighting. It started out as a largely political/economical conflict. Why is it ok to fight a war for a single good reason but it's not ok to fight a war for multiple reasons, some of which you agree with and some of which you don't? It seems that the smartest thing to do would be to express how much you don't like war, but since it's going on, maybe you could voice opinions about what forms of government might be acceptible if we depose Saddam. Considering what we definitely knew about Nazi Germany during WWII, I wonder how we would have handled the same situation today. Fine, dubbya is not the most inspirational of leaders, but maybe we could spare some of our criticism for the other guy. You know, the one who has people killed when the disagree with him. That dictator guy. Yes, I know we helped put him in power, but I figure if modern Germany can be forgiven for the Holocaust, we can be forgiven for some bad judgment in who we helped put in power 20-30 years ago.

Yes, in this country we all have the right to have our opinions and I respect people's right to express those opinions freely, however, when people start making a production out of it and calculating how they can get attention by expressing those opinions, I tend to lose some sympathy for their positions. Moore's speech at the Oscars was a calculated maneuver that will probably get him quite a few interviews and loads of free publicity. I respect his ability as a filmmaker, but I have always had a very strong dislike for how he approaches his subject matter. He's full of shit if he believes that he's a fan of non-fiction. He's a fan of his beliefs. Ultimately no major political issue can be summed up in any movie. Moore can find information that supports his beliefs just as easily as other people can find information that supports their beliefs. This is why the subjects are controversial. Gun control is controversial because both sides have legitimate points. Child abuse and rape is not as controversial because the abusers and rapists don't really have many/any compelling points (Mr. Polanski might have some insights in that area). That's the nature of the "global village". With enough information, almost every point of view can be right in the right circumstances. Honestly, I tend to find Moore's actual subject matter more reminiscent of a Geraldo Rivera Expose, than of a serious documentary. He has a belief and then he makes a movie to support that belief. His movies have that certain 6 o'clock evening news investigative report feel to them that makes me a fan of the morning newspaper.

Ok. I'm going to do some work stuff now. I may ramble some more later.

[*] Nathan Miller in his book "Theodore Roosevelt, A Life", page 337, writes: Looking back upon his handling of the incident, Roosevelt thought he 'never saw a bluff carried more resolutely through to the final limit.' And writing to a friend a few days later, he observed: 'I have always been fond of the West African proverb: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." ' "


I find it odd that so many hardcore liberals are opposed to removing a government that is openly beligerent to the west (i.e. us) and which tends to be based on systems that rely on keeping some people (i.e. men) in power over others (i.e. women, homosexuals, minorities/non-God's people, etc...).

Maybe you and I know different liberals (and I know ALOT of them), but this was not the issue for most that I know. Nobody thinks Saddam is a good guy. Most people really do want him out of power. However, the objection is to how it is being done, who is making the decision to do it, and why they are making that decision. Almost all the comments in the Oscars were along the lines of "peace is better than war", a pretty generic statement with no comment about how that peace should be had. And regardless, everybody supports our military in doing their job. We all want them to come home safe. It's just a difference of opinion on whether we think having our men and women die is worth it to get Saddam out. The people I know think losing our soldiers is not worth it and find Bush's reasons for this whole war very suspect. Most also think that there were other avenues that could be pursued in ways that could have saved many lives.

But it's too late now. Now people protest as a way to tell the pres and his cohorts that there are other opinions out there. It's not about forcing the war to suddenly stop and it's not about rallying for the survival of Saddam, it's about expressing to our own government that we want them to think carefully about what they're doing because we're paying attention.
I think I failed to emphasize that most of my rant was directed at the hardcore liberal [*] types. My friends tend to fall somewhere between moderate and liberal. I do know a few of the rabidly hardcore liberals, but they're (fortunately) somewhat rare. I think Moore is definitely wandering well into the land of the hardcore liberal.

I guess I'm frustrated that so many folks seem to be determined to cheer on France, China, & Russia for "standing up" to us with no concern for their records. France & Russia have significant business interests with the current regime. China is occupying Tibet and constantly and openly threatening Taiwan.

Sure, our leaders' motives aren't 100% noble, but if some good were to come of the war, wouldn't that make it a little ok? I don't particularly like this war, but now that we're in it, perhaps we could try to do some good. Dubbya started it, why not try to appropriate it an use it for good?

The people I know think losing our soldiers is not worth it

I've heard that sentiment a lot lately and I wonder how that plays in places outside of the U.S. Considering how (apparently) evil Saddam's regime has been, doesn't that sentiment imply that our people are worth more than their people? We're really sad if a few dozen Iraqis die in any given year, but their lives don't compare to the lives of our soldiers so we'll just keep them home. That sounds a lot like the isolationist sentiment that kepts us out of WWII for so long.

I'm not saying that this is what most people have in mind when they say that, but it's not unlike the "We want peace not war" sentiment. As a country we come off as somewhat callous (and somewhat weak) when we go on about how much we want peace when there are people in the world who live in constant fear. Peace starts to sound less like a noble aspiration and more like a convenience. Perhaps this is why so many countries see the U.S. as weak/lazy. We seem to be focused on always wanting peace regardless of what is going on. There's never anything terrible enough to make us say "this must stop, we think what those people are doing is wrong and we're prepared to do something about it".

This is what I was wondering about when I mentioned Germany and the Holocaust. Would we (present day U.S>) be prepared to fight WWII given today's proliferation of "Peace not war" advocates? I have my doubts.

I think that protests and rallys are a Good Thing, but it seems like those of us in the moderate and liberal camps forget that a lot of this country is very conservative. Even after this weekend, I still here quite a few people talking about the war and how they hope we get rid of Saddam etc...

Ultimately what I found most offensive about Moore's speech is that he wasn't talking for himself. He was talking for everyone. At first I thought he might have just been referring to the directors with him, but his comments after the show seemed to imply that he believed that the entire theatre was on his side except for 5 random people who loudly booed. Not only was he speaking on behalf of us, but he was doing it in a way that was meant to get him more publicity. It was a calculated act which is likely to benefit him the most.

I live within a few miles of a millitary base and I've grown up within a few miles of another country. I know people who are hardcore millitary types and folks who still identify primarily as Mexican after living in the U.S. most of their lives. A lot of what I wrote above is a result of observing and talking to these folks and comparing them to my liberal & moderate friends.

[*] - Normally when I label someone hardcore *insert political label here* I'm thinking of folks who make their agenda more important than their fellow man. Examples of this would be folks who spike trees in the hopes of causing some injury to loggers, anti-abortion folks who support the murder of doctors etc... Those are people who have lost sight of the human side of any debate and I really dislike them.


I understand.

But as much as he can go off the deep end, I'm glad there's a Moore out there speaking up. He's more radical than I am, but he's also more active in speaking up than I am and I admire that.

A bit of the absurd...

Anti-Bush...Pro-Murder? hehehe... Some liberal types deserve a Carlos Mencia-esque "Fuuuuck!"

Re: A bit of the absurd...

I guess those folks get to join the proud ranks of the anti-abortion protesters who support murder of doctors and anyone else who does something they don't agree with.

I love the fact that we have freedom of speech, but sometimes I wish that came bundled with an obligation to really stop and think first.

Re: A bit of the absurd...

very good point!

and here's a scary though... what if they DID think first?

yikes...just yikes