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Old 08-30-2006, 03:43 PM   #21
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Originally posted by Irvine511

you're missing my point -- the reason SHE introduced it from a spiritual perspective (and we're inferring a lot here, i'm quite surprised my comment has been taken so far, but i'm prepared to defend it, and i suppose i shouldn't be so surprised at the defensiveness) was because she couldn't think of another way that HE could understand the senseless loss of life. she appealed to him as a Christian because that was the only perspective that he could possibly understand, thus demonstrating his blinkered worldview.
Not necessarily. Invoking faith, at least among those who are religious, always carries with it a certain moral weight and implicates a certain moral action -- as her comments demonstrate. (Arguing whether it should is probably a topic for a different thread.) One also can't deny the latent politicization of her comments, given his support from Evangelicals. (As well as the religious superiority implied in the notion that as a Christian there is only one response to this war.)

Defensiveness is very much in the eye of the beholder, but condescension and sarcasm is probably not the best way to proceed with reasonable discussion.

You raise an interesting point earlier in this thread:

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it upsets me because it seems as if i must couch everything in Christian terms. with someone like Bush, i can't say, "i'd like to help a homeless person" and get an emotional response. i'd have to say, "as a Christian, it is incumbent upon us to help the homeless. WWJD?"
If Bush had agreed with her, I would probably agree with you. He didn't though. I'd probably be more concerned if he slapped his head and said, "You're right!" Then I think your comments about how "the only way to get through to this President is religion" would carry more weight.

Of course, it raises the question, "what would get through to him?", but again, that's probably for a different thread...
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:58 PM   #22
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Not necessarily. Invoking faith, at least among those who are religious, always carries with it a certain moral weight and implicates a certain moral action -- as her comments demonstrate. (Arguing whether it should is probably a topic for a different thread.)


perhaps it is for a different thread, but this is precisely what i'm talking about. for someone who has seemed so detached -- purposefully detached, perhaps -- from the violence in Iraq, for someone who has only in recent months acknowledge any other viewpoint on the situation in Iraq that differs from the Pollyanna pronouncements from "last throes" Cheney and "stuff happens" Rumsfeld, to see him actually responding emotionally and meaningfully to death is important, i'm just a bit bewildered as to why plain old facts, logic, and reason aren't enough, and it's necessary to invoke a higher power:

[q]Halley said that the President appeared moved by what she'd said, but that she doubted it would bring about any real change. "He cried with me," she recounted. "I feel he responded to me emotionally. I don't know if that's going to change policy. It probably won't. But I hope it makes him think a little bit further."[/q]

my emphasis.

and, to be totally honest, yes, it does bother me that our president consults his faith (apparently) as much as he consults his generals, his advisors, and his father when it comes to waging war. drawing strength to make tough decisions is one thing; to use faith as a source of information from which to actually make decisions -- especially decisions that result in the death of thousands upon thousands of innocents -- that i view as a dangerous thing and not all that divorced from the mullahs of Iran.

just look at where it has gotten us.
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:02 PM   #23
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Personally, either he really is a "special needs child" or he just uses religion as a way to deflect any and all criticism. After all, if you co=opt God, that's the ultimate ally, and it leaves your enemies grasping and powerless. Maybe he is a "christina", but 1) it is the Old Testament God of fury and wrath, and NOT the Christianity of Jesus. If Bush's motto is "I came not to bring peace, but a sword," there has never been amore blatantly arrogant and dangerous and heartbreaking misinterpretation of a Bible verse.

Maybe he really is that blind, but religion for him, politically speaking, is the "opiate of the people", and when it comes to his policies, he really does NOT care aobut Christinaity on a personal level. Bush the politican is VERY different from Bush the person. But like Irvine said, this isn't Iran. We are not ruled by religius parties. Diplomats and politicans and everyday people look to forces of rationality and common sense to make decisions. Like, for example, during, Katrina...?

Actually, Bush's praftice, from what I understand, is that he is priud that he never reads newspapers, hardly ever books, and never watches TV. That right there should be a disqualification from anybody holding public office, let alone POTUS!!! You wouldn't hire a CEO for a corporation with that lack if intellectual fiber (though these days less and less CEO's are albe to write a coherent sentence, but that's beside the point...) He apparently releis on a close ciricle of cadres to filter out anything that is bad news. He orders them to tell him only what they think he would allow them to hear. This, for example, would be why he didn't get the info on the impending 9/11 attack from the President's Daily Briefing in August 2001. It's absolutely mind-bogglingly brilliant: Orwell would weep. This makes his actions absolutely impossible to ever prove in court. It has worked brilliantly. If it can't be legally prosecuted, it's okay.

Which is for him an end and means to itself....
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:06 PM   #24
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Originally posted by Irvine511




and, to be totally honest, yes, it does bother me that our president consults his faith (apparently) as much as he consults his generals, his advisors, and his father when it comes to waging war. drawing strength to make tough decisions is one thing; to use faith as a source of information from which to actually make decisions -- especially decisions that result in the death of thousands upon thousands of innocents -- that i view as a dangerous thing and not all that divorced from the mullahs of Iran.

Do you know for a fact that is the case? What evidence do you have aside from the typical jokes and political attacks that suround the president. What is the ratio of how often the President actually consulted his "faith" as opposed to seeking the advise of his generals, advisors, and father?

This all seems to much like a liberal fantasy about the Bush administration.
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:19 PM   #25
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Originally posted by Irvine511

for someone who has seemed so detached -- purposefully detached, perhaps -- from the violence in Iraq...
Appearances aren't everything. LBJ was all for the Vietnam War publicly (probably necessary from a leadership standpoint), but privately he was massively conflicted. We don't know what happens behind closed doors, particularly with this buttoned-down administration, and we probably won't until the tides of history have carried us far away from here.

[q]Halley said that the President appeared moved by what she'd said, but that she doubted it would bring about any real change. "He cried with me,"[/q]

It sounds like there was a great deal that was said, and I don't think we can know if it was the invocation of religion, as you imply, or simply the common humanity present in moments of grief that moved him.

The grief of a mother would hardly effect massive geopolitical in a terribly complicated region of the world.

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and, to be totally honest, yes, it does bother me that our president consults his faith (apparently) as much as he consults his generals, his advisors, and his father when it comes to waging war.
I don't know the extent to which his privately-held faith influences such decisions. Do you?
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:27 PM   #26
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Do you know for a fact that is the case? What evidence do you have aside from the typical jokes and political attacks that suround the president. What is the ratio of how often the President actually consulted his "faith" as opposed to seeking the advise of his generals, advisors, and father?

This all seems to much like a liberal fantasy about the Bush administration.


[q]Did Mr. Bush ask his father for any advice? “I asked the president about this. And President Bush said, ‘Well, no,’ and then he got defensive about it,” says Woodward. “Then he said something that really struck me. He said of his father, ‘He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength.’ And then he said, ‘There's a higher Father that I appeal to.’"

Beyond not asking his father about going to war, Woodward was startled to learn that the president did not ask key cabinet members either.

”The president, in making the decision to go to war, did not ask his secretary of defense for an overall recommendation, did not ask his secretary of state, Colin Powell, for his recommendation,” says Woodward.
[/q]


further, most of Bush's speeches are littered with cryptic bible allusions, and he couches everything in moral, righteous terms -- what he "believe in your core" and in his "heart of hearts." that democracy is God's gift to humanity, and that in the battle of Good vs. Evil, "God is not neutral."

this is not secular language. this is not the language of reason and facts and logic. this is emotional language when you talk about wonder-working power.

after all, his favorite political philosopher is Jesus, so i suppose it's only a good idea to declare "Jesus Day" in Texas.
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:37 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Irvine511




this is not secular language. this is not the language of reason and facts and logic. this is emotional language when you talk about wonder-working power.

after all, his favorite political philosopher is Jesus, so i suppose it's only a good idea to declare "Jesus Day" in Texas.
Woodward was not actually there, and his first book has already been discredited by many. W had Dick Cheney by his side, just as his father did. He also had Colin Powell. Rice studied under Scowcroft and so one could say that W also had Scowcrofts wisdom when he made these decisions as well. The only real new guy in the mix was Rumsfeld and the only guy missing was Baker.

As for the christian stuff, Bush Jr. is far from being the first president to use religious terms in his speaches. Remember Ronald Reagan?
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:41 PM   #28
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This is exactly the problem. When you are making decisions from a platform of an amorpohous term like "faith" (which I think for him is a catch-all phrase that is intended to deflect any and all criticism; has anyone ever been able to ask him what "faith" means? Has anyone ever been allowed to grill him on it? Of course not).

As to producing evidence of the above3, someone could help me out here...the problem is that he DOESN'T consult anybody....the problem is that he is unreachable. His generals, advisors, and maybe even his father, have tried to warn him about Iraq for years, for example. But as I said in my post above, he only listens to things he wants to hear; his advisors do not tell him anything that isn't good news. Intelligence is even doctored to this fact...well, maybe not so much "doctored", as selictely interpreted..which is even more dangerous....then, when things go wrong, he turns around and says, "Oh, they gave me the wrong intelligence," when it was he and Rummy who truned a deaf ear to common sense in the first place and ordered the books cooked. This is what happened with Iraq and, as Seymour Hersh has just written, it is now in the process of being repeated with Iran. Like I said, it's a brilliance that would make Orwell weep...and I think the sole purpose of it is to be able to stay out of court.

It just amazes me, AMAZES me, that defenders of Bush STILL do not see what is so dangerous about letting "faith" be the sole guide of policy. That they do not see the wisdom of the Founding Fathers having the US be a secular nation--secular in that it is not ruled by a king-like figure who claims Divine Right. Washington, Jefferson, etal came from a generation where they saw the firstfruits of those who claimed Divine Right, and our nation's existence is a protest against those who did so. That's what this is, what Bush claims, that in so many words he not rules by Divine Right but his policies are God's, ie, Divine Right.... and a patrotic AMERICAN, this is not only abhorrent but dangerous to me. It insults me, as an American.

Other Presidents have spoken of God but if you study history they were not consumed by Him. They talked the talk, but had their feet on the ground. Thier actions said so. I place limits on what political figures claim is their by God's will. We are a Christian nation, but that's not a virtue in itself; our catalgue of crimes is pretty long, starting with the dicotomy of being a nation born in blood, built on the twin pillars of slavery (which has been abolished) and the destructon of the Native American (whole tribes which were wiped off the face of the earth.)which we can never fully atone for.) "Manifest Destiny", for example...has anyone forgotten? We can all regret this today, but this was enacted in its day by "people of faith." as America's right as a "Christian" nation. Our politicans over the centuries, with a few notable exceptions, have NOT let "Christianity" be the guilding light in their actions. They haven't been hypocritical enough to do so. Or at least claim imunity from accountability for doing so.

America is merely a Christian nation as Indonesia is Islamic or India is Hindu. Maybe we were a "light unto the nations" before, but we can't in all truth morally claim to be so any longer. In that regard, we have always been "Christian" but never Christian, if you get what I mean. I 'm sure many people won't.

As as regards Irvine..what he says is not imflammatory at all. He wasn't isnukting anyone in the post. I know an inflammatery post. He's just stating fact. That's another hallmark of the regime of a King or a dictator: that it somehow becomes a capital crime, allof a sudden, to criticize the leader by name, and any time anyone does so (such as Kanye West last yr) it is a national scandal. if you stduy history, people use to criticize their Presidents every day. they said things on the radio, on TV, in street protests, and while it made headlines, it wasn't the national show-stopper it is now. When did criticizing Bush by name in public become tantamount to a capital crime, and why is protecting his image the most important priority? More than his policies? On Katrina's anniversary, why are we reading headlines on the front page of the NY Times that say, "A Yr After Katrina, Bush Struggles To Repair His Image," instead of other things about the disaster?
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:57 PM   #29
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Originally posted by Maoilbheannacht

As for the christian stuff, Bush Jr. is far from being the first president to use religious terms in his speaches. Remember Ronald Reagan?

yes, but no one has used such a large amount of coded language so extensively in virtually all of his speaches.

and while i am a bit young for Reagan, i do know that people were just as scared of Ronald Reagan who also spoke openly of a rapture, battles of good and evil, etc.

to paraphrase Ghandi, religion and politics don't mix because one doesn't know anything about the other.
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:59 PM   #30
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Appearances aren't everything. LBJ was all for the Vietnam War publicly (probably necessary from a leadership standpoint), but privately he was massively conflicted. We don't know what happens behind closed doors, particularly with this buttoned-down administration, and we probably won't until the tides of history have carried us far away from here.

[q]Halley said that the President appeared moved by what she'd said, but that she doubted it would bring about any real change. "He cried with me,"[/q]

It sounds like there was a great deal that was said, and I don't think we can know if it was the invocation of religion, as you imply, or simply the common humanity present in moments of grief that moved him.

The grief of a mother would hardly effect massive geopolitical in a terribly complicated region of the world.



and, ultimately, all this is simply speculation and inference -- but i think there is enough evidence to surmize an educated guess.

also, the lack of any change in strategy, and the absence of any clearly articulated goal, demonstrates, to me, a lack of concern with all the death on the ground.



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I don't know the extent to which his privately-held faith influences such decisions. Do you?
i'd point to stem-cells as a great example of his personal faith in action.
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Old 08-30-2006, 05:49 PM   #31
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Originally posted by Irvine511

and, ultimately, all this is simply speculation and inference -- but i think there is enough evidence to surmize an educated guess.
Or in your case, a foregone conclusion.

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also, the lack of any change in strategy, and the absence of any clearly articulated goal, demonstrates, to me, a lack of concern with all the death on the ground.
The loss of life, though tragic, pales in comparison with previous wars. I'm personally more concerned with the Iraqi loss of life and the civil war issue, but I'm not sure whether the American presence there is serving as an incendiary presence or a controlling one. (A topic for a different thread, for people more knowledgable than myself.) If we, in fact, are keeping the sides (barely) in check, then I suppose the American loss of life can be seen by some in a larger context.

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i'd point to stem-cells as a great example of his personal faith in action.
An entirely different issue, and one with much thornier ethical and political implications for Americans (as we have discussed elsewhere). We were talking specifically about the war.
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:14 PM   #32
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Or in your case, a foregone conclusion.



then let's point to the evidence that shows he doesn't place too much emphasis on his faith when it comes to decision making. let's point to evidence that he's most concerned with evidence and facts, rather than guts, instinct, and faith. let's point to the evidence that shows he's made a good decision (any good decision) regarding both the choice to go to war and then, most especially and tragically, the conduct of the post-war.



[q]The loss of life, though tragic, pales in comparison with previous wars. I'm personally more concerned with the Iraqi loss of life and the civil war issue, but I'm not sure whether the American presence there is serving as an incendiary presence or a controlling one. (A topic for a different thread, for people more knowledgable than myself.) If we, in fact, are keeping the sides (barely) in check, then I suppose the American loss of life can be seen by some in a larger context.[/q]


sorry, the whole "WW2 was worse" doesn't hold any water. this was a war of [i]choice/i], it had nothing to do with the safety and security of the United States, it was sold to the American people as a cakewalk, as well as necessary to prevent all those mushroom clouds leveling the Upper East Side. this was never pitched as WW3, or even Vietnam 2 (which it was) or EVEN Gulf War 2. remember -- they were going to throw roses, greet us as liberators, and the oil was going to pay for reconstruction (i point you to various Cheney "Meet the Press" appearances). 2,600+ americans have died for reasons and rationale that, if now known to the American public, they would have never, ever supported in numbers large enough to make a voluntary invasion politically possible.

i share your concerns about a Civil War, because there's already one going on. i think what prevents 30,000 dead iraqis a month (instead of 3,000) is the presence of American troops. i do think a quick withdrawal would be a mistake (a position i do not share with what might be called "the left"). but i'm really not sure what else to do.



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An entirely different issue, and one with much thornier ethical and political implications for Americans (as we have discussed elsewhere). We were talking specifically about the war.

you had asked me for other examples, so i gave you one, though i didn't realize you were looking for more faith-based decisions about the war (though the belief in WMD's was certainly one of faith, though we might more accurately call it gullability in this non-religious context). and we can contrast this with Jimmy Carter, who was extremely careful not to use scripture in public.

when you say "Saddam Hussein is evil, and compared to him we are pure and good" you are presenting a battle in righteous, God vs. Satan terms where the enemy isn't a person or a nation, but a monster to be vanquished.
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