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The Assault on Reason


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Al Gore's new book is titled "The Assault on Reason." He describes how American culture had degenerated from a culture of citizens to a mob of consumers demanding to be entertained. The Bush administration is arguably the worst manifestation of this problem, but by no means the only one.

The assault on reason includes denial of global warming, denial of unchecked population growth, failure to address our energy needs and oil dependence, failure to develop and employ sustainable technologies, failure to consider how an interdependent world can survive in the long term and failure to address the real threat of terrorism, focusing instead on irrelevancies. We have become a culture of demanding consumers whose only concerns are our own short-term satisfactions. We vote according to what pleases us, not according to what is best for our country. That state of affairs cannot be maintained indefinitely. Bushbacker's new topic represents that juvenile mode of thinking and prompted me to open this new topic.

The reason the Democrats are likely to continue to ascend politically is that they are more willing to address these real issues, which the people are beginning to see more and more clearly, than the Republicans, at least for now. Whichever party challenges us to restore our commitment to responsible citizenship will merit our support.

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The reason the Democrats are likely to continue to ascend politically is that they are more willing to address these real issues, which the people are beginning to see more and more clearly, than the Republicans, at least for now. Whichever party challenges us to restore our commitment to responsible citizenship will merit our support.

The reason we are may see a slight trend towards Democrats is because the Republicans have forgotten that classic conservatism and the religious right are not the same thing. The only nominee espousing conservative belief is Ron Paul, and the neocons are lambasting him for it. Republicans managed to win some of the recent elections using the war on terror, but they didn't need anything but classic conservatism to kick rear in '94. The fact is Americans want less government intrusion into their lives, lower taxes coupled with a balanced budget, and responsible foreign and domestic policy. The current batch of Republicans have failed miserably.

The Republicans have forgotten that they have a diverse party. Mexican-Americans used to vote overwhelmingly Republican-last election they shifted big time. Many Goldwater Republicans like myself left after the Patriot Act and redefining torture crap. I predict either a shift towards actual conservatism or a string of losses for the GOP.

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Al Gore's new book is titled "The Assault on Reason." He describes how American culture had degenerated from a culture of citizens to a mob of consumers demanding to be entertained. The Bush administration is arguably the worst manifestation of this problem, but by no means the only one.

Bold emphasis added.

The assault on reason includes denial of global warming,

Bush accepts global warming. But still the worst manifestation, right?

denial of unchecked population growth,

Can you draw an example for Gore's book? Population growth in the US would be flat except for immigration. Is the United States supposed to check population growth elsewhere? High and mighty are we?

failure to address our energy needs and oil dependence,

That one's a riot. It's been the left that opposed exploitation of domestic gas and oil resources, opposes nuclear energy, opposes construction of new refineries, and even opposes wind-power stations (see Teddy "Not in my backyahd" Kennedy).

failure to develop and employ sustainable technologies,

That's a planet-wide failure (but it's fun just to blame everything on Bush, isn't it?).

failure to consider how an interdependent world can survive in the long term

That's a bit ambiguous. Could you review the dust jacket again and give us Gore's expression of the concept? Perhaps it will seem coherent by then.

and failure to address the real threat of terrorism, focusing instead on irrelevancies.

Like leave al Qaida in Iraq alone, bring the troops home now?

We have become a culture of demanding consumers whose only concerns are our own short-term satisfactions. We vote according to what pleases us, not according to what is best for our country.

You probably don't count single-payer healthcarre among the things that please us but are not good for the country--right?

That state of affairs cannot be maintained indefinitely. Bushbacker's new topic represents that juvenile mode of thinking and prompted me to open this new topic.

This one?

"The Defeatocrats blinked. They are now offering a bill without a surrender date. Never in the history of the world has a surrender date been proposed in any war, but our Defeatocrats thought it was a good idea. "Rudy For President" !!"

Is it good for our country to leave Iraq to sink into sectarian turmoil, with a likely future in political orbit around Iran?

Why don't you try engaging the ideas instead of making fun from a distance?

The reason the Democrats are likely to continue to ascend politically is that they are more willing to address these real issues, which the people are beginning to see more and more clearly, than the Republicans, at least for now.

If Gore is right about American culture, then the culture either has to change or we should not expect Democrats to ascend politically based on your rationale.

Democrats want to appear to be willing to address these issues, but they don't have a plan that will do anything except weaken the United States internationally, increase prices and possible start an inflationary cycle, tank the economy, and promote their ideal of LCD equality (with rich Democrats being a happy exception).

Whichever party challenges us to restore our commitment to responsible citizenship will merit our support.

Both will come up with ways to challenge a commitment to citizenship, but it will be watered down (on both sides) until the electorate actually wants to vote for it. The Democrat vision is likely to lead in the direction of socialism and a nanny state--socialist failures in Europe and Canada will be ignored, and the Democrats will use scare tactics to implement freedom-restricting policies (cars outlawed because of global warming, perhaps? Think GM will last long after that?).

The best Republican option is the encouragement of free market solutions, but they'll probably find a way to foul that up. :ninja:

Ask for the plan before you vote Democrat. Chances are it stinks.

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The truth of the matter is that Americans want a leader that will stand true and serve the people. Right now we have taxation without representation. For example, most polls show that a majority of Amerians are against the amnesty bill,but the elected choose to ram it down our throats. Who do these people represent? We are taxed and taxed again. Where will it stop. We need less government and less legislation banning trans fats. Talk about responsibility! When will our representitives be responsible to us the tax payer. Call your rep and tell him your tired of him taking your hard erned money and to start being responsile, cut the cost of government.

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The truth of the matter is that Americans want a leader that will stand true and serve the people. Right now we have taxation without representation. For example, most polls show that a majority of Amerians are against the amnesty bill,but the elected choose to ram it down our throats. Who do these people represent? We are taxed and taxed again. Where will it stop. We need less government and less legislation banning trans fats. Talk about responsibility! When will our representitives be responsible to us the tax payer. Call your rep and tell him your tired of him taking your hard erned money and to start being responsile, cut the cost of government.

Boy, now those are real forward-looking issues.

Blind as a bat.

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The truth of the matter is that Americans want a leader that will stand true and serve the people. Right now we have taxation without representation.

No, not really.

For example, most polls show that a majority of Amerians are against the amnesty bill,but the elected choose to ram it down our throats. Who do these people represent?

The people in their districts. That doesn't mean that they have to vote according to what the majority in the district want.

One bad thing Congress has been into is doing their voting so that people don't know what their representatives are voting *for*.

That's a problem.

We are taxed and taxed again. Where will it stop.

Hmm. When we go on the dole, maybe? :)

We need less government and less legislation banning trans fats. Talk about responsibility! When will our representitives be responsible to us the tax payer. Call your rep and tell him your tired of him taking your hard erned money and to start being responsile, cut the cost of government.

Not a bad idea, that. It would be nice to see the Democrats move on earmark reform, since that's something they said they'd deliver. Not that I thought they'd really do it. The Republicans (who should actually believe in cutting pork, in principle) found they liked it so much they couldn't bring themselves to do anything about it when *they* were in power.

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Like leave al Qaida in Iraq alone, bring the troops home now?

Is it good for our country to leave Iraq to sink into sectarian turmoil, with a likely future in political orbit around Iran?

Well, since you put that way, the answer to the first question is yes. However, I'm not quite sure what you mean by al Qaida in Iraq. How connected to 'al Qaida in Iraq' are to the folks who planned 9/11, is very very questionable. They are, more likely, radical Sunni fundies from within Iraq and a few outsiders who fancy themselves 'al Qaida'. Does that make them less dangerous? No. However, it is not within the power of our military to defeat them completely. In fact, I believe that our military presence helps them recruit new members. The stratagy of having the local warlords in Anbar, for instance, weed them out seems to be working. This is an example of Iraqis solving their own problems. Our military engaging them in battle only make heros out of them and hurts that effort. It's time for us to go and let them settle their own problems.

The answer to the second question is that both of the things you warn against, 'sectarian turmoil' and 'orbit around Iran' have already occured and are likely to get worse. It is not within the power of the US Military to make either of those things go away. Again, whatever military stratagy we have taken so far, has not improved the situation in any meaningful way. The current Iraqi government is hanging on by a thread and folks like al Sadr are waiting in the wings to take over. Wouldn't that be nice, a democratically elected Islamic Fundementalist Government. Wonderful.

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Well, since you put that way, the answer to the first question is yes. However, I'm not quite sure what you mean by al Qaida in Iraq. How connected to 'al Qaida in Iraq' are to the folks who planned 9/11, is very very questionable.  They are, more likely, radical Sunni fundies from within Iraq and a few outsiders who fancy themselves 'al Qaida'. Does that make them less dangerous? No. However, it is not within the power of our military to defeat them completely. In fact, I believe that our military presence helps them recruit new members. The stratagy of having the local warlords in Anbar, for instance, weed them out seems to be working. This is an example of Iraqis solving their own problems. Our military engaging them in battle only make heros out of them and hurts that effort. It's time for us to go and let them settle their own problems.

The answer to the second question is that both of the things you warn against, 'sectarian turmoil' and 'orbit around Iran' have already occured and are likely to get worse. It is not within the power of the US Military to make either of those things go away. Again, whatever military stratagy we have taken so far, has not improved the situation in any meaningful way. The current Iraqi government is hanging on by a thread and folks like al Sadr are waiting in the wings to take over. Wouldn't that be nice, a democratically elected Islamic Fundementalist Government. Wonderful.

"It is not within the power of our military to defeat them completely" ??? You're a military expert !! I'm impressed.

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Well, since you put that way, the answer to the first question is yes. However, I'm not quite sure what you mean by al Qaida in Iraq. How connected to 'al Qaida in Iraq' are to the folks who planned 9/11, is very very questionable.  They are, more likely, radical Sunni fundies from within Iraq and a few outsiders who fancy themselves 'al Qaida'. Does that make them less dangerous? No. However, it is not within the power of our military to defeat them completely.

Will we defeat them even partially through withdrawal?

In fact, I believe that our military presence helps them recruit new members.

You're probably right.

Of course, they could use the withdrawal from Iraq to show how effective they are at waging war against the United States (accomplishing political goals through terrorism), just like they did after the debacle in Somalia.

But you're counting on that not happening, right?

The stratagy of having the local warlords in Anbar, for instance, weed them out seems to be working. This is an example of Iraqis solving their own problems.

The local warlords probably would not have been able to win against al Qaeda without Petraeus' surge strategy. U.S. forces provided the security that allowed the Anbar Sunnis to effectively turn on al Qaeda.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion...newsopinion-hed

You want to take that away. If al Qaeda sweeps in a kills off or former Sunni allies in Anbar, do you think that will improve U.S. standing in the world?

Our military engaging them in battle only make heros out of them and hurts that effort. It's time for us to go and let them settle their own problems.

Which makes the better recruiting hero? A dead one, or one who claims, with some plausibility, that he helped drive the Americans out of Iraq?

Join now! Saudi Arabia next, then Israel, then the Great Satan proper.

The answer to the second question is that both of the things you warn against, 'sectarian turmoil' and 'orbit around Iran' have already occured and are likely to get worse. It is not within the power of the US Military to make either of those things go away.

Yes, U.S. involvement can prevent a sectarian genocide that might otherwise occur. It's a matter of providing enough security so that Iraqis can learn to support and trust their government to provide the security. If the elected government doesn't do that, then who do you think will do it? It will fall to sectarian militias, and if that happens, then the sectarian violence is likely to get much worse.

No, Iraq is not current allied with Iran politically. That will happen only when Shiites firmly take control of the government, and the more radical element among the Shiites, at that.

Again, whatever military stratagy we have taken so far, has not improved the situation in any meaningful way.

So you think that warlords turning on al Qaida in Anbar would have happened without coalition support. I think you're nuts if you think that.

The current Iraqi government is hanging on by a thread and folks like al Sadr are waiting in the wings to take over. Wouldn't that be nice, a democratically elected Islamic Fundementalist Government. Wonderful.

Al Sadr is currently in no position to take control in Iraq under anything resembling the current system. He broke with al-Maliki over the engagement rules for the surge strategy and then made himself look weak by running away to Iran for the first few months of the surge. His behavior has made his militia a target of the surge strategy, in fact, and when he left his militia began to fragment.

Don't hang your hopes for a U.S. defeat on Sadr. :lol:

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"It is not within the power of our military to defeat them completely" ???  You're a military expert !!  I'm impressed.

Are you a military expert? If you are, try reading the following article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/28/world/mi...15d9&ei=5087%0A

Put yourself in the boots of Staff Sgt. Safstrom. Then give us the benefit of your expert opinion.

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Guest Radagast
"It is not within the power of our military to defeat them completely" ???  You're a military expert !!  I'm impressed.

Gee, thanks 2smart! That's about the most enlightened thing I've seen you write on this board.

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Don't hang your hopes for a U.S. defeat on Sadr.  :lol:

I've always felt that we sowed the seeds of what you want to call 'defeat' the day we invaded so al Sadr was not a factor. The one goal that the military could achieve was achieved when Saddam was tossed from power. I still wonder about the overall wisdom of that goal after watching Iraq become far worse than Yugoslavia after Tito. However, since Saddam's demise we have achieved very little and, on most levels, things have become far worse.

Just how long are we supposed hold the Iraqi governments hands? Ten? Twenty years? We've already spent 3500 American lives and half a trillion dollars and what do we have to show for it? What evidence do you have that another ten or twenty years will make things any better? News coming from the UK indicates the new Prime Minister will pull the balance of its troops out by 2010 at the latest. Even the Republicans are making noises like they want a draw down starting in the fall.

The writing is on the wall in big letters. You can call it defeat if that's what you want. I consider it more a withdrawal and regrouping in order to come back and fight our enemy again more effectively in a theater that makes sense. We will never be able to reorganize our efforts into a successful program until we stop spinning our wheels in Iraq.

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I've always felt that we sowed the seeds of what you want to call 'defeat' the day we invaded so al Sadr was not a factor. The one goal that the military could achieve was achieved when Saddam was tossed from power. I still wonder about the overall wisdom of that goal after watching Iraq become far worse than Yugoslavia after Tito. However, since Saddam's demise we have achieved very little and, on most levels, things have become far worse.

Just how long are we supposed hold the Iraqi governments hands? Ten? Twenty years? We've already spent 3500 American lives and half a trillion dollars and what do we have to show for it? What evidence do you have that another ten or twenty years will make things any better? News coming from the UK indicates the new Prime Minister will pull the balance of its troops out by 2010 at the latest. Even the Republicans are making noises like they want a draw down starting in the fall.

The writing is on the wall in big letters. You can call it defeat if that's what you want. I consider it more a withdrawal and regrouping in order to come back and fight our enemy again more effectively in a theater that makes sense. We will never be able to reorganize our efforts into a successful program until we stop spinning our wheels in Iraq.

People keep talking about winning the war in Iraq. Our military did that in a few weeks. What we're doing now is not war. It's trying to force a government on a people that doesn't agree on it. That's not mainly a military operation, and our failure to do it can't be considered a military defeat. Yet for some reason, politicians from both parties keep talking about it that way. As long as we set impossible goals for ourselves, we're going to keep making mistakes.

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I've always felt that we sowed the seeds of what you want to call 'defeat' the day we invaded so al Sadr was not a factor.

Hmmm. Too bad the Pentagon didn't realize that your feelings would determine the outcome. They could have spiked your water with Elavil or something.

If you think that an insurgency cannot be defeated, then why aren't you pushing for the US to surrender to al Qaida before it's too late?

The one goal that the military could achieve was achieved when Saddam was tossed from power. I still wonder about the overall wisdom of that goal after watching Iraq become far worse than Yugoslavia after Tito. However, since Saddam's demise we have achieved very little and, on most levels, things have become far worse.

Well, that's not true. Oil production is in the neighborhood of pre-war levels, and various aspects of the infrastructure have markedly improved. It would be much better, in fact, if the insurgency did not make sabotage of the infrastructure one of its primary goals. Interesting that one of their main tactics is to make Iraqis miserable, isn't it?

You're next. ;)

Just how long are we supposed hold the Iraqi governments hands? Ten? Twenty years?

About 10. We held Germany's and Japan's for longer than that (we still have substantial military forces in both countries).

We've already spent 3500 American lives and half a trillion dollars and what do we have to show for it?

1) No more Saddam Hussein

2) The best possible assurance that Iraq's WMD capabilities are known and accounted for

3) The beginnings of a constitutional republic in Iraq

4) A solid alliance with the Kurdish north

5) A great deal of practical experience fighting the future face of war

6) Intimidation of Libya to the point that it abandoned its WMD programs (not the only factor, but an important one), which also led to the discovery of a Pakistani scientist in sharing nuclear secrets with naughty countries.

7) Forward positioning of U.S. forces while Iran plays a belligerent role.

On the downside, the political left has made it plain to the world that time is the only obstacle to breaking America's will on the battlefield.

What evidence do you have that another ten or twenty years will make things any better?

History. You should check it out sometime.

Giving up can always guarantee a quick defeat, of course.

News coming from the UK indicates the new Prime Minister will pull the balance of its troops out by 2010 at the latest. Even the Republicans are making noises like they want a draw down starting in the fall.

Some public officeholders place their position of power higher than the good of the country, I suppose.

The writing is on the wall in big letters. You can call it defeat if that's what you want.

Didn't you admit at the start that you thought we were defeated as soon as we invaded? Have you changed your mind? Or do you call it a win when you run away from the insurgents?

I consider it more a withdrawal and regrouping in order to come back and fight our enemy again more effectively in a theater that makes sense.

Which theater is that?

We will never be able to reorganize our efforts into a successful program until we stop spinning our wheels in Iraq.

We can't win unless we lose?

:angry:

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Well, since you put that way, the answer to the first question is yes. However, I'm not quite sure what you mean by al Qaida in Iraq. How connected to 'al Qaida in Iraq' are to the folks who planned 9/11, is very very questionable.  They are, more likely, radical Sunni fundies from within Iraq and a few outsiders who fancy themselves 'al Qaida'. Does that make them less dangerous? No. However, it is not within the power of our military to defeat them completely. In fact, I believe that our military presence helps them recruit new members. The stratagy of having the local warlords in Anbar, for instance, weed them out seems to be working. This is an example of Iraqis solving their own problems. Our military engaging them in battle only make heros out of them and hurts that effort. It's time for us to go and let them settle their own problems.

The answer to the second question is that both of the things you warn against, 'sectarian turmoil' and 'orbit around Iran' have already occured and are likely to get worse. It is not within the power of the US Military to make either of those things go away. Again, whatever military stratagy we have taken so far, has not improved the situation in any meaningful way. The current Iraqi government is hanging on by a thread and folks like al Sadr are waiting in the wings to take over. Wouldn't that be nice, a democratically elected Islamic Fundementalist Government. Wonderful.

The US Military has within its power the ability to win any battle. The problem is that people like you want to use soldiers as social workers.

If we are there to destroy an enemy than we should do it by any means necessary or get out.

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People keep talking about winning the war in Iraq. Our military did that in a few weeks.

Huh. I thought Bush lied about that? :angry:

At least Paul will defend the president on that point.

What we're doing now is not war. It's trying to force a government on a people that doesn't agree on it.

Hmmm. Kind of like the American Civil War that way.

Historians take note: The Civil War and many other wars (such as the Angolan colonial war) were not wars. Paul has spoken. This ends the discussion.

;)

If the Iraqis don't want representative government, then why did so many vote, by percentage? Wouldn't you have a good argument that the citizens of the United States do not want their democracy?

That's not mainly a military operation, and our failure to do it can't be considered a military defeat. Yet for some reason, politicians from both parties keep talking about it that way. As long as we set impossible goals for ourselves, we're going to keep making mistakes.

Training Iraqi security forces is a military operation, and there is no other body capable of providing any type of security in Iraq until Iraqi security forces are trained for the job.

Guerrilla warfare is not the invention of Iraqi insurgents. It has been used for many decades to topple governments.

Historians have always called guerrilla warfare what it is: war.

Now Paul wants to fiddle with the definitions to make defeat more palatable.

Isn't that cute?

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