Saturday, March 15, 2008

March 15, 2008

March 15, 2008

I have a friend who is conservative both theologically and politically. For him, abortion is the most compelling and urgent moral issue of our day and it is the single issue, above all others, that will determine how he will vote in an election. He believes that every potential human has the moral status of a human and therefore abortion is murder. He believes that Jesus died as a substitute for us and a punishment for sin. On Good Friday he tells the children of his congregation that as they think about Jesus on the cross they should think about how that should be them up there because everyone of them was ‘born in sin’ and God’s goodness or honor must be satisfied with the shedding of blood. On these and many other issues I have said to my friend that if I agreed with his premise, I would have to agree with his conclusion. I neither think that a zygote, while a potential human in most instances, has a moral status that trumps all others, nor do I believe that God needs bloodshed to satisfy honor or expiate sin.

If I were a U.S. citizen and therefore a voter, I would be a single issue voter myself in the next election. I believe that our war in Iraq is wrong and immoral and that congress and country were ‘sold’ on it based on lies. I do not mourn the death of Saddam Hussein (although found his trial and sentencing to be ugly), but I do mourn the loss of American status and respect in the world that is a result of many policy decisions of the past eight years, none more so than the decision to invade Iraq. I cannot think that any of the ‘pocketbook issues’ that seem to be coming to the fore in candidate debates and opinion polls are unrelated to the growing debt attributable to this ‘misadventure’. Our troops are not dying for their country and appear to be dying for people who have no will to overcome their internecine conflicts and govern themselves. They must be brought out of Iraq and some kind of protection must be offered to those Iraqis who have risked life and limb to support us. (I’m not sure that anything less than an offer of U.S. citizenship will do.)

That said, I am persuaded that Barak Obama should be the Democratic nominee. While I would prefer Hillary Clinton, it seems that her only chance is to persuade enough super-delegates to go against the popular democratic vote which I fear would be a pyrrhic victory at best. I find it difficult to imagine that either democratic candidate would see Hillary Clinton as Vice President, but shouldn’t they begin having private conversations about a role for her? How about her at the State Department (with Bill as a kind of ‘roving ambassador’ or perhaps ambassador to the UN)? I’m sure there are a million reasons why this, or something like it, isn’t a good idea in the world of realpolitik, but surely something that allows both to campaign with integrity in the fall should be worked out and worked out soon. Individually they both have liabilities against McCain. (He, of course, has his own challenges as well.) Together there is a chance that getting our troops out of Iraq and getting our economy and status in the world back on track will appeal to a majority of voters in November. I don’t know how the campaigns can have a conversation about this (and especially a conversation without the ‘help’ of the media) but hope that they will try.


Jetteye said...


First, let me get it out of the way and savor a childish glee that Geoffrey has endorsed my presidential candidate, Barack Obama. Yes, we can!

OK, that's done. Now, let me say that the reasons Geoffrey gives for his endorsement are some of mine and let me add that it was Sen. Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, that did it for me. There are bumper stickers available that read, "Barack Obama: This time I want a smart president." A little snide, but it does do what bumper stickers do, that is, sum it up quickly enough before you pass the next car. Sen. Obama's book contains all that is necessary to begin what will likely be a long slog to recover our nation's sense of hope, world reputation and integrity, and economic steadiness. Implementation, with all the entrenched political machinery in place, will be extremely difficult, but perhaps that is where Sen. Clinton can offer some help.

OK, you, there, in the blue shirt, can you share with the class what you were thinking?

Gretchen R. Chateau

Bruce Garner said...

Well said, Geoffrey. On the flip side of this war we are waging is the toll it is taking on those actually fighting it. A segment of the Law and Order series dealt with this this week. Realizing that this type of television is supposed to be fiction, it still managed to get at some real truths about the Iraq war and its consequences.

During the cross examination, the DA asked a VA doctor about the pathetic level of care returning veterans are receiving. The response was that the system was overwhelmed...because they never expected so many to survive their duty assignments in Iraq. Again, while fiction, it's also a chilling possibility.

My hunch is that we are treating our returning wounded veterans very poorly at the moment. Looking at Federal budgets, it's easy to see why. We are devoting a fraction of the resources to caring for our returning veterans that we are devoting to actually waging the war. A sad commentary.

The lessons we should have learned from Vietnam don't seem to have stayed with us. Apparently we will be repeating history.

Bruce Garner

david feldman said...

As with most topics surrounding the claim of the “different” and “hope filled” politics from the Obama campaign, I must take a deep breath lest I spew vile comments that would make Ann Coulter look like a saint. While I do feel that Senator Obama is not the ideal choice for president, I do feel that he offers a good choice; a reasonable choice. As for Hillary, I believe she needs to stay outside an Obama administration. For too long, she stood in the shadow of a president and provided aid and comfort.

Like Geoffrey, I am looking for the candidate who will get us out of the horrible police action -- to my knowledge Congress never declared war only the Bush administration and the ruling party started using this term. (That’s another example of how the current administration has betrayed the foundations of this country, and the populace was willing to be lead by the person they “want to have a beer with,” but that is a topic for another rant.)

I believe that we should get out of that action as quickly as we can pack up and go home. We would be best to provide aid to Iraq from afar. Get our people, and theirs, out of harms way. I can almost see the logic that we went in to enforce what the UN would not enforce. But, that was done by 2004. Why are we still there? Why do we continue to send the children of this country, many of those who have very few options other than military service, off to be maimed? For what end? For what Christian purpose? What successful and/or righteous example are we following?

To be clear, I think that we should help them. I think that we should work to try to bring about a democracy and freedom. However, is that what they want? Is that the right response to a region of the world that appears to be submerged in its “Dark Age?” Its “Medieval Times?” We need to be focused on how not to become the Ottoman Empire to their Christendom. We need to focus on how to change the game completely. We need to be looking for how to bring about the kingdom of God without having to use coercion and force. Unfortunately, that does not get people excited.

So, let’s take the first step towards not suffering the fate of the Ottoman Empire. The best start I see is by getting a US President elected who is committed to getting us out of Iraq.

David W. Foerster, Jr. said...

I completely concur with Bruce Garner's astute comment about the completely inadequate medical/psychiatric care our disabled troops are receiving not only in country, but also here in The United States of America have , are & will receive regarding their often life-lasting impairment caused by the Bush/ and his nefarious VP's 'bogus' violent engagement in Iraq. It is the great American (unspoken) shame. Our troops, who are most often receiving poor medical care ...if medical care at all, are in many cases facing economic ruin, loss of family( companions & spouses) and find themselves disposed, forced in many cases to rest on street grates or under bridges. I, too, am most angry about this. And now The President wants to discontinue the GI Bill during an unjust war that has lasted longer than WW II. It is a complete and utter outrage. Bruce has nailed it! Wake up America, Even we do not deserve this President. Senator Obama may be our last best hope for political redemption. David W, Foerster, Jr.