Thursday, August 05, 2004

Iraq, ect.

Large questions remain unanswered.Was invading Iraq in the interest of the long term security of the UnitedStates? Even if so, is the benefit worth the cost in blood and treasure?Is a more surgical approach possible and ultimately lest costly and moreeffective? Was and is the effort to more specifically identify, and dealwith, those that have done and will do us harm given short shrift in favorof toppling Saddam?How, if at all, does the invasion of Iraq diminish the prospects of findingand killing the specific people who are a threat? I have no truck withmulti-lateralism when it comes to American security, but when we need to beoperating overseas finding folks who have so far proved elusive, we needsome cooperation outside our own borders.Is a revival and modification of the cold-war MAD doctrine appropriate (I'msurprised Rumsfeld has not floated this; perhaps he has internally)? Couldwe not announce that, we are not changing one thing at home (see nextsection), and the next time Americans are killed on American soil byjihadists we will drop sufficient bombs, including nuclear if needed, tokill residents of _______ (name an Islamic city) in the ratio of 10,000 or100,000 to one?Why have we adopted what seems to be a dangerous middle ground between thepolicies articulated in the preceding paragraphs?****Are the efforts at home paying dividends? Is the compromise of fundamentalliberties and the quality of life of Americans attendant to the Patriot Act,airport security, etc. a rational and effective tool to prevent furtherattacks on American soil? Are there some in the government who would usethis crisis to permanently curtail some liberties?****Can a citizen in good conscience consider that a Democratic administrationwould be as or more effective as the current one in fighting our enemies?If so, is it not legitimate to vote for a change based on other issues?Protecting privacy and personal libertyProtecting freedom of religion and expression; maintaining church-stateseparationSensible economic policy (Who remembers when the GOP stood for balancedbudgets? Remember Gramm-Rudman?)Protecting the right to trial by jury in civil mattersProtecting the power of the courts to provide relief from laws infringing onpersonal libertyOpposing federal judicial appointments that reflect a narrow view ofpersonal liberty, unless the activity in question makes money, in which casethe liberty is infiniteGetting the government out of the culture war (With record deficits, why notsave the $57 million slotted for abstinence-only sex education?)Funding for basic science, irrespective of religious objectionsScience education based on the scientific method, not anyones religiousbeliefsRational, science-based environmental policy allocating environmental coststo those that generate themEnforcement of anti-trust, fraud and other laws that protect our marketeconomy from unfair distortions -- irrespective of how big or rich theoffender isMaking sure charitable organizations -- i.e.churches -- stay out of politicsor lose their tax exemptionsA chief executive who professes respect, not ridicule, for intellectualpursuits, academic excellence, and informed analysis; one who believes inevolution