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Pangloss

The shame of Cindy Sheehan

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Cindy Sheehan's son was killed in Iraq. She was already, at that time, opposed to the war. But she and the family did meet with President Bush, and after that meeting she expressed that she felt better because of the meeting, and that the president had been sympathetic, and helped the family a great deal. Her family continues to feel that way, and in fact her husband has separated from her over this issue.

 

But Mrs. Sheenan took a different route, hooking up with extremist groups and Michael Moore, and is now camped outside the president's home in Texas, lying about her background, her connections, her feelings, her previous disposition, and her previous meetings with the president. And the press is soaking it up like a sponge, with over 1100 stories currently on Google News on the subject. (Would there be 1100 stories if 100 families of dead Iraqi war soldiers had showed up to support the president instead?)

 

I am extremely sympathetic with Mrs. Sheehan's loss. I also think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with what she is doing. More power to her. (Except for the lies -- that's just wrong.)

 

But I also think it's a mistake for anybody to view this as a case of an aggrieved mother who has been slighted by an uncaring administration. That is a fallacy, clearly debunked by the facts of the case.

 

Furthermore, there is a nasty logical trap here that I fear many will fall into, which is this: President Bush did not kill her son. Extremist terrorists did. People who, in fact, have about as open a mind as hers.

 

So what, exactly, is the lesson we can learn here? What purpose is she serving? What greater good is produced by her demonstration? Is the lesson here that if we simply close our minds and let extremists tell us what to do, everything will be okay? Is that really the way we want our country to be run?

 

To my mind, the whole thing is just a tragic waste. Not only have we wasted lives, money and time in Iraq, but now we find that we are also wasting our self-esteem, our intellectual and moral bravery, and our willingness to do the right thing. All sacrificed on the false alter of "security."

 

It's a damn shame is what it is.

 

 

 

Here are a couple of articles for background:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5206400,00.html

http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110007102

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Obviously only extremist terrorists would try to expel the U.S. from Iraq after an illegal invasion of that country. It is a foregone conclusion that they are terrorists, not people who are fighting for the freedom of their country.

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Furthermore' date=' there is a nasty logical trap here that I fear many will fall into, which is this: [i']President Bush did not kill her son.[/i] Extremist terrorists did. People who, in fact, have about as open a mind as hers.

 

I know you don't mean to say she is the same as they are, but some may read that between the lines. While having an open mind is nice, it doesn't make you wrong if you don't. Although with conservatives, I think so. :)

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While having an open mind is nice, it doesn't make you wrong if you don't.

 

You could be right, but I'm actually becoming more and more convinced that it does. I.E. having a closed mind makes you wrong, even if the opinion you happen to hold happens to be something that most people agree is the right way to go. I'm still pondering this POV, though.

 

Maybe I'm being overly blunt, but I'm not sure I see much of a difference between a terrorist and an anti-war extremist. Certainly the peacenik isn't going to whip out a gun and shoot you. But we're talking about society as a whole at the moment. Both are equally dangerous in the wider arena, IMO.

 

It's not extremist viewpoints that are dangerous. As you say, they serve a purpose in society, in terms of marking off the bad places you don't want to stray into. What's dangerous is when people become convinced that that bad place is maybe not so bad after all.

 

Cindy Sheehan wants to take us to a very bad place, and she wants to do it for a very selfish (if understandable) reason. Note that I'm not talking about withdrawl from Iraq, or even impeaching Bush. Those things are trivial in comparison with the country that Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, and Al Franken (and Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc) want to build.

 

That doesn't mean, for example, that people who have closed minds should be disrespected. I'm reflecting Thomas Kirby's comments on this board, but I'm only reflecting them, I'm not trying to personally attack him (although I'm sure he feels that I am). There's a method to my madness.

 

Everyone has a right to their opinion. Most people will never seriously challenge or critique their opinions. But (arguably) more people are doing so today than ever before, which I think is the good news. The bad news is that they're every bit as maleable and porous as they've always been. It's up to us, the few who've been through the debates, who've fought the good fights over the years, to lead them through the morass of extremism and into the light of objective, spin-free decision-making.

 

God help us. ;-)

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IMHO: Sheehan would undoubtedly deserve sympathy in the case of a draft. However, her son knew what he was getting into when he signed up for military and she is grossly disrespecting that decision by taking his death to the level she has.

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You could be right, but I'm actually becoming more and more convinced that it does. I.E. having a closed mind makes you wrong, even if the opinion you happen to hold happens to be something that most people agree is the right way to go. I'm still pondering this POV, though.

 

sort of like a logical falicy? ie, your manner of ariving at your conclusion is wrong, even if your conclusion coincidentally happens to be correct?

 

or do you mean that an oppinion would be incorrect if its the result of closed-mindedness, even if the same oppinion from an open-minded person would be correct?

 

by-the-by, iv just realised your name is pangloss, and not pangaloss. my appologies for consistently spelling it wrong up untill this point :embarass:

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Yes, the latter, exactly. But maybe it's just another form of ideology. That's the dilemma.

 

No worries, I get all sorts of variations.

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Obviously only extremist terrorists would try to expel the U.S. from Iraq after an illegal invasion of that country. It is a foregone conclusion that they are terrorists, not people who are fighting for the freedom of their country.

 

 

No matter how badly you and Michael Moore wish it, the insurgents of Iraq will never be "Freedom Fighters". One simple difference alone is enough to make the distinction: Freedom fighters don't slaughter their own people to get what they want.

 

And the fact that you don't understand that is why you don't have anything interesting to add to this discussion.

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Yes, the latter, exactly. But maybe it's just another form of ideology. That's the dilemma.

 

interesting. I kinda agree, but i cant see how two identical oppinions could be of different validity due to how they were arived at :confused:

 

As for the terrorist/freedom fighter comments: iv always felt that if someone atacks soldures or empty buildings, they are a freedom fighter -- if they intentionaly kill civilians, they are terrorists. Not a standard definition, but i feel it highlights an inportant distinction.

 

If the insurgents in iraq are only targeting soldures, then id say that there is a significant difference between them and the terrorists. (iv not been following it that closely, so i dont know who theyre targetting)

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Oh the opinion is fine. That's not the problem. The issue is one of trust.

 

We're all here because we want to listen and learn and occasionally, once in a blue moon, say something intelligent that contributes to the debate, right? And perhaps we also want to go on to apply some of that experience in the "real world", where maybe we can make a difference with those who haven't been "in the debate".

 

But you cannot be that person, that mind-changer, that world-changer, if your mind is closed. And this is true no matter what it is that you happen to be closed-minded about. Anybody who comes to a debate forum intending to talk and not listen is a loser even before they type in their first post, and from that point on they're doing nothing but waste everyone's time. And no matter how hard they try, no matter how loud, vociferous, elegant, literate, nasty, degenerate, or decent and kind they try to be, everyone will know the truth -- that they cannot contribute anything interesting to the debate. Ever.

 

Sadly, it's also something they'll never understand. So perhaps, in the end, there's little point in harping about it. :)

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If the insurgents in iraq are only targeting soldures, then id say that there is a significant difference between them and the terrorists. (iv not been following it that closely, so i dont know who theyre targetting)

 

The Iraqi insurgents regularly make intentional attacks on Iraqi civilians. Cafes, hospitals, food markets, are all fair game to them, and these are their normal targets. They also go after any infrastructure they can find, such as electricity, water, sewage, emergency services, and anything else they can think of.

 

The idea that they're fighting to free the people they're busy blowing up is really pretty ludicrous. It'd be like the IRA blowing up Irish catholics and then saying "nya nya" to the British. Or the Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up Palestinian school children and then saying "Look what you made us do!" to the Israelis. It simply makes no sense.

 

But that's what Michael Moore and Al Franken would have us believe.

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Oh the opinion is fine. That's not the problem. The issue is one of trust.

 

I get the rest of your post, but im a tad confused about the trust bit. The only way i can relate it to trust, is 'an open minded person will actually asses the problem, and attempt to contribute; a closed minded person will just try and think-up a justification for their view, or outright preach'?

 

Sorry for being off-topic, but it intruigued me. No need to reply if you dont want your thread off topic :)

 

The Iraqi insurgents regularly make intentional attacks on Iraqi civilians. Cafes, hospitals, food markets, are all fair game to them, and these are their normal targets.

 

Ah, cant see how they cant be terrorists, then -- by my definition or anyone elses.

 

Terrorists with more justification for fighting than other terrorists due to the fact that their country was invaded, but imo theres no justification for fighting in the way that they are.

 

They also go after any infrastructure they can find, such as electricity, water, sewage, emergency services, and anything else they can think of.

 

hmm... with the exception of the emergency services, thats how we attacked them.

 

Although, for people who actually live there to do it, it is kinda cutting off your own nose to spite your face, even if you ignore the civilian casualties.

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[Thread Derail]

Pangloss, I just had a look at your blog and that old DOS games site you link to is going to keep me busy. :) I keep an old 266 compy with DOS 6.22 just for those old games.

 

Have you seen http://www.the-underdogs.org/ ? They have heaps of old games, some DOS and some early windows compatable.[/Thread Derail]

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I'll check it out, thanks. :) (Interesting... that site has pop-ups that get around Mozilla's pop-up blocker too. Better check your HD for spyware, JB.)

 

The only way i can relate it to trust, is 'an open minded person will actually asses the problem, and attempt to contribute; a closed minded person will just try and think-up a justification for their view, or outright preach'?

 

Sounds about right.

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Interesting response from an Iraqi blogger to Cindy Sheehan:

 

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/

 

Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause…No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom.

 

You are free to go and leave us alone but what am I going to tell your million sisters in Iraq? Should I ask them to leave Iraq too? Should I leave too? And what about the eight millions who walked through bombs to practice their freedom and vote? Should they leave this land too?

 

We live in pain and grief everyday, every hour, every minute; all the horrors of the powers of darkness have been directed at us and I don't know exactly when am I going to feel safe again, maybe in a year, maybe two or even ten; I frankly don't know but I don't want to lose hope and faith.

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Thanks, I'll run a scan. Odd though, none came through the Google toolbar pop-up blocker.

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No matter how badly you and Michael Moore wish it' date=' the insurgents of Iraq will never be "Freedom Fighters". One simple difference alone is enough to make the distinction: Freedom fighters don't slaughter their own people to get what they want.

 

And the fact that you don't understand that is [i']why[/i] you don't have anything interesting to add to this discussion.

Unless you want to count the founders of the United States of America as a bunch of terrorists, you might what to rephrase that opinion to cover civil war ^_^

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Well I think this it's pretty obvious what I meant, but if you like you can replace the world "people" with the word "civilians".

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No matter how badly you and Michael Moore wish it' date=' the insurgents of Iraq will never be "Freedom Fighters". One simple difference alone is enough to make the distinction: Freedom fighters don't slaughter their own people to get what they want.

 

And the fact that you don't understand that is [i']why[/i] you don't have anything interesting to add to this discussion.

 

One thing that I understand is that the people who support this "war" against Iraq will stop at no indecency in their speech to hurt and humiliate those who oppose the war. I get a little tired of the popularity of each new version of Sherman's march to the sea over the newest bunch of "ragheads" and "sand niggers" that our usual bunch of braindead rednecks are mad at this week. Sometimes they sound more like they are trying out a new form of sexual kinkiness than actually fighting for any real US interests. I get tired of the mental and physical abuse that this bunch is willing to heap on people whose crime is to believe that we can live at peace with the world if we simply fail to stir trouble for fun and profit. The thing that is almost the most sickening about it is the people who act like going to war like this makes them superior to those of us who think that there are better things to do with life. The most sickening is those of us who buy into that "morally superior" act.

 

Now do you have anything interesting to add to that?

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Originally Posted by Pangloss

No matter how badly you and Michael Moore wish it' date=' the insurgents of Iraq will never be "Freedom Fighters". One simple difference alone is enough to make the distinction: Freedom fighters don't slaughter their own people to get what they want.

 

And the fact that you don't understand that is why you don't have anything interesting to add to this discussion.[/quote']

One thing that I understand is that the people who support this "war" against Iraq will stop at no indecency in their speech to hurt and humiliate those who oppose the war. I get a little tired of the popularity of each new version of Sherman's march to the sea over the newest bunch of "ragheads" and "sand niggers" that our usual bunch of braindead rednecks are mad at this week. Sometimes they sound more like they are trying out a new form of sexual kinkiness than actually fighting for any real US interests. I get tired of the mental and physical abuse that this bunch is willing to heap on people whose crime is to believe that we can live at peace with the world if we simply fail to stir trouble for fun and profit. The thing that is almost the most sickening about it is the people who act like going to war like this makes them superior to those of us who think that there are better things to do with life. The most sickening is those of us who buy into that "morally superior" act.

 

Now do you have anything interesting to add to that?

 

 

Was this directed at me? Your quoting of my post seems to indicate that it was. Do you feel that I've done that to you here, Thomas? Is that your contention? Or are you speaking hypothetically?

 

Choose your next words very carefully, son. If you think you can put a word like "nigger" in my mouth and get away with it, then you and I are about to have a very different kind of conversation, and it's not one that you're going to enjoy.

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Pangloss it is sort of about you. You seem to have the same general attitude. You may be a bit more refined about it. You do seem to lump anyone who is anti-war into a category of people who have some kind of personality disorders. What you said about Cindy Sheehan, your talk about her "hooking up with Michael Moore", the way you present your views says something about the way you look at this thing. Even if you don't use the word "nigger" to try to look better, you still seem to push war-hawking as some kind of morally superior thing.

 

What I also encounter, on the net, at work, and on the streets, are chest-beaters who dinosaurs would think of as having small brains, who don't even seem to understand that there is a possibility that they are being rude when they strut around people who are non-military or who don't have the killing of other human beings as one of their favorite goals in lives. They make these jokes about Moslems that have a lot of viciousness behind them. They feel free to use a lot of racial epithets against them. A lot of the bully comes out. They've found someone to crap on, they want to enjoy this, and even more than the idea that some of them had something to do with 9/11, they just want to exercise their violent natures.

 

So you don't use certain words, Pangloss, but you definitely seem to have a lot of common cause with them, and you don't seem to understand when your rhetorical tactics have gone too low, not the way you talked about Cindy Sheehan. Yes, you have done a little bit of that to me. I feel like you look down on people who oppose war. I also feel like you look down on anyone who thinks that the U.S. could ever commit a war crime.

 

Whatever it is you aren't, you still seem to find it far too easy to excuse an illegal war against a country that is almost 20 times smaller than the U.S. and has over a hundred times less military capability. You act as if this makes you morally superior to anyone who feels differently, too.

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So just because I don't agree with your position, that makes me pro-war, pro-Iraq-war, a racist against Moslem people, a person who doesn't respect human life, and a bully? You think that I am all of those things, I'm just a bit more "refined" about it? I see.

 

Who exactly is doing the labelling here? Is it really me, or is it, in fact... you? I was opposed to the war, but you're accusing me of being in favor of it. I certainly never accused you of racism, but that's exactly what you just accused me of. I certainly have never said anything in any thread on any board in this forum to justify that kind of remark, but you've painted me with that brush, just the same. I guess it's simply inconceivable to you that anybody could disagree with you without being a racist.

 

And you say you are the one who feels humiliated? I see. Is that why you're trying to label me, then?

 

And you actually believe that by labelling me in that manner, you're saying more about me than you are about yourself?

 

Hey man, all I can say is -- keep talking. Because you're making my argument for me, every time you click that button.

 

This quote says it all, really:

 

What I also encounter, on the net, at work, and on the streets, are chest-beaters who dinosaurs would think of as having small brains, who don't even seem to understand that there is a possibility that they are being rude when they strut around people who are non-military or who don't have the killing of other human beings as one of their favorite goals in lives.

 

And you think I'm the racist?

 

Wow.

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Pangloss: Your arguments that you are fair and balanced here would carry a lot more weight it you did not dismiss Michael Moore as an extremist nutcase while I perceive him as someone who actually dug up the truth to put in his film. One person will say "These are verifiable facts. Let's go with them no matter where they take us." Another person will say that they aren't facts if they lead us where we don't want to go. I perceive you as the latter type. I also think you've called Cindy Sheehan a liar when you don't know if she lied or not.

 

You seem to excuse US actions as necessary when if other people did them you would condemn them as war crimes. I think that the basis for your counterarguments is that what is good for the U.S. is good, period.

 

This is just one more very similar sort of irritant to the whole pile of "this war is good no matter how stupid the reasons why it is good" irritants. I cannot penetrate the hypocrisy or the dissociation anywhere, or the barriers of violence and verbal abuse. The last thing that my fellow Americans want is to be reminded that an unimpaired conscience would not have allowed us to invade Iraq in the first place. Among the people I have seen supporting the war, I have not seen any who didn't find some way to give up some element of their personal integrity to enable that support.

 

With you, any person who opposes the war in Iraq is automatically inferior, suspect, and probably talks during the movies.

 

And the next time you want to accuse me of racism, why don't you do the audience the favor of finding something that actually indicates this? If you want to believe that you are accused of racism, find something where I said you and not these rednecks whose puerile antics I have to try to survive? You irritate me by supporting the war the way you do, this is true. I do not think that your methods are much superior to those of the racist rednecks, or even much less overbearing. At least you are not using a drill sergeant voice to conduct ordinary business, physically getting in my face acting like you are the caulk of the walk, physically present to shove me out of your way because I'm a "*****" and you're a "big man" because you "served." Not that I'm all that sure that you wouldn't.

 

It does happen that I believe that some of the worst consequences of a war like this are what it does to a society. A substantial increase in overbearing idiots who will grow up to be cops who shoot innocent people, among other bad things, is not good for society. Neither is a substantial increase in people who think that they are superior to others and have the right to bully them. Even more not so is an increase in the acceptance of bullying. That's one thing I see war as, a training ground for bullies to prepare them to play with the big boys.

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