Tuesday, January 23, 2007

thoughts on the state of the union and rebuttal

a great deal of fodder for thought.

i'm still watching rebuttals - hillary clinton at the moment.

my overall feelings on the address are lukewarm. as was bush's delivery, i thought. the only moments when i got a sense of genuine emotion from the president was during his discussion of iraq and when he presented the heroes in the audience. you can easily see where his real fervor as president lies - with staying the course in iraq and seeing the war through to its finish. his immigration policy - eh, not so hot. his healthcare spiel - eh, it sounded equivocal to me. bush pandered to both sides a bit - advancing the idea of somewhat socialized healthcare but just toeing that line, so as not to offend the moderates and hardcore conservatives.

the rebuttal by senator webb (on behalf of the democratic party) was - i thought - well done. he might have harped a bit too much on his family's history of service to this country (as jim snidely phrased it, 'his political bid for a future presidency'), but overall, he raised good points. i'm still not 100% sure why we did go to war with iraq. yes, i realize that terrorism is a real threat. and no, i'm not naive enough to believe that saddam had no links or interest in funding terrorism. i'm just not sure that our troops and resources couldn't have been expended better elsewhere. but i fully admit that i might be wrong about that, and i am woefully underinformed when it comes to topics of war. after all, i have to rely strictly on the media for information. i do know that our intelligence agencies and our military, since the start of the war, really since 9/11, have foiled several plots to kill american citizens. furthermore, we have captured many important operatives high in the ranks of al-quaeda.

whatever the quibble on whether or not we should have gone into iraq - my current feeling is this - whatever the reason we went into a war, we're in it now. 3000 military men and women from this country have died in service to the freedom of the iraqi people (and for the freedom of americans from terror). to back out now would be a concession; the US admitting that we bit off more than we could chew, and that terrorism wins. and THAT would be a huge mistake.

it's like antibiotics, people. you can take 3 days of your 10 day prescription. on that 3rd day, you're feeling perky, feeling good. you think, why do i need the next 7 days of drugs? and you stop taking the antibiotics. and for a little bit you're ok. and then what? the bug comes back - only now it's super-tenacious bug, and you're way sicker this time around. the terrorists are like that. we could be diplomatic now, withdraw from an 'occupied' iraq, and wait. because it won't be long before the terrorists are emboldened. not long before iran and north korea see what cowards the americans turned out to be. and why then would they listen to anything we have to say?

no, i think - whatever your original feelings on the war were - you cannot logically argue that pulling out and leaving iraq to the wolves is the right answer. everything else is irrelevant. we either stay and show the world of what america is made, or we back out and we wait. we wait for the next sept 11th, the next USS Cole, the next US Embassy bombing in a foreign company. and i don't like that idea at all.

whatever our shortcomings as a people are, bush had it right at the end of his address. the american people are a generous and good-spirited people. we are a worthy nation. i am proud to be american, and i have no shame in saying it.

i've been accused of being hard-headed, opinionated, and a know-it-all frequently. what surprises people is that i really don't know that much. i fully admit that my opinions and political viewpoints have been strongly shaped by my environment, my childhood, and my family. but despite all that, there are fundamental truths that seem evident to me. we live in the greatest country in the world. and we have to protect that country. war is a terrible, ugly thing. but, as someone famous once said, 'there is a peace only to be found on the other side of war.' as ugly a thought as that is, it's also a true one.

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