Principles are generally described as standards of ethics. To act in a way that is moral. Principles are not possible when a president and his disciples act based on distortions, half truths, and complete fabrications. In layman’s terms or more sophisticated philosophical arguments fabrications, omission of essential information, and maliciously distorting the issue are symptomatic of manipulators, not the tools of good governors. Political leaders have told lies and then claimed some good was done thus the initial lies were then justified. So called lies for the greater good are something of a myth. In modern political history no lie has ultimately lead to any greater good. The victims of the lie have simply dealt with the victimisation and tried to repair the damage – see Johnson and the Gulf of Tonkin, Nixon and Watergate, Reagan and Iran-Contra, Bush and Iraq-the battle against Islamic terrorism in general. It is odd that Bush and his supporters use words like principles, honor, and freedom and when their actions betray those words. Words that once meant something conservatives have reduced to nothing more then the cheesy barking of a carny. That so many people have been convinced that there is some substance beneath the sales pitch is a sad tribute to the snake oil salesmen, astrologers and rainmakers of another age.
There are, however, essential principles common to every successful society, in every culture. Successful societies limit the power of the state and the power of the military — so that governments respond to the will of the people, and not the will of an elite. Successful societies protect freedom with the consistent and impartial rule of law, instead of selecting applying — selectively applying the law to punish political opponents. Successful societies allow room for healthy civic institutions — for political parties and labor unions and independent newspapers and broadcast media. Successful societies guarantee religious liberty — the right to serve and honor God without fear of persecution. Successful societies privatize their economies, and secure the rights of property. They prohibit and punish official corruption, and invest in the health and education of their people. They recognize the rights of women. And instead of directing hatred and resentment against others, successful societies appeal to the hopes of their own people. (Applause.) President Bush Discusses Freedom in Iraq and Middle East, Office of the Press Secretary, November 6, 2003 .
To limit the power of the state, in the context of Bush’s speech means the government, which would include the executive branch. Bush has by-passed constitutional principles to attach signing statements on more than 750 new laws. An unprincipled and illegal use of power. Bush has used the military in the same way an abusive parent abuses a child, but has also used the U.S. military as a shield against criticism. To criticize Bush , to disagree with his policies is to be anti-military. For an elitists frat boy from Connecticut to morph himself in the entirety of the U.S. military is quite a feat of mass manipulation. An arrogant unprincipled manipulation of his authority. The media, owned by a handful of conservative leaning corporations also lead their support manifestly by echoing the rhetorical framework that conservatives put out, and also in a latent way by asking so few questions and doing so little research on the facts. Facts have been bent and bludgeoned, victims of what sounds like high minded rhetoric, and even if they’re lies, dangerous lies, it is alright because it is for some greater good defined by the same people telling the lies…The Principled Neocon Merry-go-round. Bush talks quite a bit about democracy, freedom, and values. None of those things can exist in reality where they are just hollow words in a speech. Time after time Bush’s assertions do not measue up to the the facts on the ground Six Questions for Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh on the CIA and the Iraq War
1. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, administration officials claimed that Saddam Hussein’s regime had links to terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda. What was your view on that question?
We had no evidence that there was a Saddam–bin Laden axis. Saddam was a butcher, but he was a secular butcher, and we knew that. Saddam only started employing religion when he felt defeated. He decided it would be useful to develop an Islamic cause after he was evicted from Kuwait in 1991. He even started going to the mosque to pray.
Everyone in the Middle East knew it was a joke; he had no religious credentials. Iraq was a secular state; women had more rights than in most places in the region, and Shiites were the backbone of the Baathist and even the Communist Party. It was almost a year after the 2003 invasion before Al Qaeda decided to make Iraq a jihadist cause because [before that] they viewed Iraq as a secular state. People at the CIA didn’t believe there were links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The source for much of the information of that sort was Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress, and their positions jibed with the positions of those in the administration who wanted to wage war in Iraq—Wolfowitz, Feith, people in the vice president’s office. So they relied heavily on that reporting, but there was never any evidence to support that link.
Iraq, to Karl Rove’s delight everyone is sick of Iraq and most people except for the families of those fighting there have nearly forgotten about Afghanistan. After WW II the British tried to subdue the Iraqi resistance with a much better troop to insurgent ratio, they used plenty of air power and they ended up leaving. Maybe some how some way the tough talking team that hasn’t been able to stop a civil war and let Iraq fall into chaos will be able to define what a victory would look like and push toward that victory. Only it will be too little too late for this generation,
We’ve lost a generation of goodwill in the Muslim world. The President’s democratization and reform program for the Middle East has all but disappeared, except for official rhetoric. That was the centerpiece of the President’s policies for the region, and now no one is talking about it. We have lost credibility across the Islamic world regarding “democracy” and “representative government” and “justice.” We are devising new rules and regulations for holding people without charge. The FBI has been at Guantanamo for years, and no charges have been brought against anyone. The Islamic world says “you talk about human rights, but you’re holding people without charging them.” The Islamic world has always viewed the war on terror as a war on Islam and we have not been able to disabuse them of that notion. Because of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and other abuses we have lost on the concepts of justice, fairness and the rule of law, and that’s the heart of the American idea. That’s very serious, and that’s where I see the danger in the years ahead.
The result of the neocon’s fractured, unfocused excursion into Iraq and its so-called “war on terror” has been a failed state in in spiraling chaos while Afghanistan withers from neglect. That most Democrats and quite a few conservatives have noticed this doesn’t begin to add up to being unserious about terrorism, though amazingly enough a well known liberal has bought into that idea, (note: I updated this after I noticed that this paragraph wasn’t updated after I clicked publish. One of the ghosts in wordpress that I’m still trying to keep up with) Head-in-the-Sand Liberals
Given the degree to which religious ideas are still sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb — and to believe that he will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism.
I like Sam and if I looked hard enough I could probably find a few pig headed liberals who believe the conspiracy garbage and some that don’t think there are Muslims that hate the U.S. Though for the most part it is a straw man argument. The problem with the current “war on terror” to fighting Islamic terrorism is that it is not very effective, in fact it is creating more terrorists. I find it weird that right-wingers accuse Democrats of being soft on terror and yet acknowledge that Democrats are inherently suspicious of authority. We can’t be both and it is deeply unequivocally insane to suggest that liberals sympathize with authoritarian fundamentalists of any stripe. This may seem like an overly simplistic analogy, but it is not. Imagine you have terrorists living next door. Bush sends someone to blow them up, but in doing so kills your children plus the terrorists in the process. I’m a rationalist from way back, but if you killed my children, regardless of what your intentions were or how good a person you think you are, I would hunt you down. That is what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan everyday. Contrary to what Mr. Harris , other contrary liberals, or right-wingers say mainstream liberals do see Islamic fundamentalists as a serious threat. A threat that is best dealt with through intelligence, the CIA, special forces, and a concerted international cooperation; not vast armies stationed indefinitely in Muslim countries. That is an approach that is doomed to multi-generational small wars. Some more from Dr. Nakhleh,
6. Is there an inherent threat to Western democracies from the Islamic world?
No, there’s only a threat from those who use Islam for ideological reasons and who are willing to employ violence. There are
Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us? -Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas