Monday, January 29, 2007

Counter Protest

It really is great to live in a country where the citizens of our country can organize and protest the actions of our government without fear of retribution.

It really is ironic to live in a country where some of our citizens use this freedom to oppose government actions as a tool to oppose acts of freedom.

It really is shameful to live in a country that shed the blood of patriots paying for this freedom to protest where some citizens use their right to protest to denounce acts of patriotism in another country.

It really is sad to see so many protestors claim that America did not learn the lessons of Viet Nam when it is the protestors themselves who did not learn the right lessons of Viet Nam.

It really is comical to see so many protestors patting themselves on the back for bravery when their protest message represents the majority view in our country.

It really is pathetic to have so many mainstream news organizations report on the Iraq anti-war protests this weekend without any hint of appropriate criticism.

Most American soldiers serving in Iraq want to be in Iraq fighting so the Iraqi people can have the same freedom we are blessed with in America. Nobody wants to die a premature death, especially a soldier who is more valuable to the military alive than dead. However, soldiers in the American military have all chosen to risk their lives in order to fight for freedom in Iraq. Protesters are not representing or speaking for soldiers when they claim Iraq is not worth the loss of American lives. Soldiers represent and speak for soldiers. The soldiers believe, and have made it clear, that Iraq is worth the risk to their lives.

Two million people are estimated to have been murdered in Cambodia and Viet Name after the Untied States turned Viet Nam over to the communists. The lesson of Viet Nam is that a commitment of military personnel and resources to another country is a sacred obligation. There really are bad guys in the world who do not hesitate to murder anyone and everyone who is a challenge to their authority. Iraq is not yet ready to withstand the authority of the leaders of Iran.

What is best for Iraq and what is best for America are legitimate concerns, but there is only one question that needs to be answered regarding the continued American presence in Iraq: What is best for the future of freedom in the world? The anti-war protesters are unable to answer this question.

I suspect organized protests nowadays don’t have the same impact as in the past. Political polling is a more accurate, although still flawed, reflection of public sentiment and diversified sources of news and information insures that minority views get represented now.

Here is one minority view: We should learn the right lesson from history and we should listen to the soldiers, not the wet-finger-in-the-air Senators and certainly not the stuck-in-time protestors.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

State of the President

There are very few people in the public eye who I consider worthy of my admiration. My admiration is limited to public figures who can understand and articulate competing moral positions and points of view. I make every effort to be fair when evaluating the character of public figures, but I am usually disappointed because most public figures only represent one side of an issue. Most Politician’s, Pastor’s, and Pundit’s become so obsessed with selling their own point of view, they inevitably discount all other points of view.

As I watched and listened to the State of the Union address by President Bush Tuesday night, I was amazed at how fair he was to competing points of view. He said he wanted to resolve illegal immigration without animosity and without amnesty. This one powerful sentence represented the entire tone and substance of his speech.

President Bush believes government has an important role in helping improve the lives of people throughout the world. I disagree with him. I believe government has a small role, but mostly should be limited so free people making their own decisions can improve their own lives. However, as the speech progressed, I realized I mostly agreed with everything President Bush stated even as I also realized his ideas involve much more government than I would like. I suspect the Democrat’s who are fair in their assessment of President Bush's speech would agree with most of what he said while also wishing for more government involvement.

In his State of the Union speech, President Bush was extremely fair to both sides on most issues. My admiration for the character of George W. Bush continues to grow.

I found this analysis regarding public policy towards the poor by Nathan Smith to be very thoughtful:

Poor Arguments: Bush, Webb and Poverty

Selected excerpts:

Last night, President Bush's State of the Union address and Senator James Webb's Democratic response provided a useful juxtaposition of views. Among other things, it showed how the parties' positions on poverty have changed.

President Bush seeks to inspire altruism by encouraging Americans to compare themselves with those who have less:
"American foreign policy is more than a matter of war and diplomacy. Our work in the world is also based on a timeless truth: To whom much is given, much is required. We hear the call to take on the challenges of hunger and poverty and disease."

Sen. Webb, by contrast, encourages Americans to compare themselves to those who have more, and feel envy. Although Sen. Webb borrows John Edwards' "two nations" theme ("it's almost like we were living in two different countries"), unlike Edwards, Webb makes no mention of helping the poor. Sen. Webb's message is that "the middle class of this country, our historic backbone and our best hope for a strong society in the future, is losing its place at the table."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Line in the Sand

Throughout our lives, we are establishing, maintaining, and enforcing boundaries. Some boundaries are permanent walls and some boundaries are lines in the sand. Walls for some people are lines in the sand for others and vice versa. My marriage is a wall that limits my intimate affection to one person only, my wife. My property line is a wall that limits the benefits and responsibility for my property to me, my family, and our guests. My lunch menu decision is a line in the sand with very little long term consequences.

Throughout our lives, we also reevaluate our boundaries. Some walls become fences with gates, some fences become lines in the sand, some lines in the sand become fences and some fences become walls. Some alliances and friendships grow while other alliances and friendships weaken. My marriage is a permanent wall that will never change, but my property line will almost surely change when it no longer meets the needs of my family.

When President Bush, and the American people through our elected officials, made a decision to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power as the ruler of Iraq, we established a boundary. Mission accomplished; the primary objective was accomplished when Saddam Hussein took his last breath.

In the process of getting Hussein, Americans established other boundaries. Americans took responsibility for rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure and Americans took responsibility for establishing and maintaining security for the Iraq people until the Iraqi people are able to maintain their own security.

Some Iraqis have their own boundaries, as do the Syrians and the Iranians. Many Iraqis have built walls to prevent forgiveness of the harms caused by other Iraqis, and many of the Iraqis, Syrians and Iranians have built walls to prevent freedom.

If the American boundary in Iraq is a line in the sand, the American boundary in Iraq will be decimated by all of the historic walls in the Middle East that have been built and maintained for centuries. However, if the American boundary in Iraq is a wall that is stronger than the existing walls in Iraq, then freedom and peace do have a chance.

20,000 more troops and a short term commitment in Iraq isn’t even a decent line in the sand. It’s better than withdrawing troops, and it’s better than no commitment, but it doesn’t give much hope to all of the soldiers and Iraqis who have already made tremendous sacrifices to bring freedom to Iraq. Shouldn’t the American commitment to Iraq be a permanent wall and not an insignificant line in the sand?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Two Blogs

Buz and I have been participating in on-line discussion for a long time. I am glad to see he has FINALLY started his own blog at One Man's Point of View. I think he is off to a fantastic start.

Michael Kruse at Kruse Kronicle is one of the hardest working bloggers I’ve wandered into. He makes a lot of sense too.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Tribal behavior puzzles me.

As I watch the college football bowl games, I see fans who spend hundreds of dollars on team merchandize, fans who cover themselves in paint, fans who travel across country to see a football game, and fans who behave in ways that would never be tolerated anywhere except at a sporting event.

As I read about the conflict in Iraq, I read about Iraqi’s who all belong to one of three historic ethnic groups, Iraqi’s who kill for honor, and Iraqi’s who consider ethnic conflict an inheritance from a previous generation that should be passed on to the next generation.

As I watch my daughters grow, I see girls who want to be part of a group and I see girls who want to limit membership in a group. Most of their mothers behave the same way.

As I read blogs, I notice a clustering of like minds. Agreement with a blogger usually results in a warm reception while disagreement usually results in an insult and condemnation as the regulars pile on; not always, but most of the time.

Church behavior also puzzles me.

Almost every Church leans over backwards to make visitors feel welcome. As a Church member, I’ve been a part of this effort. But I’ve noticed through the years that visitors, who don’t identify with the Church culture, don’t often return. I’ve also noticed an informal enforcement of Church culture in most Churches. Church regulars want new members to think and act the same as the other regulars.

In many ways, Churches are tribal, just like football fans, ethnic Iraqi’s, young girls, mothers of young girls, and bloggers, are all tribal.

I’m a little different.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I wanted to be known as a member of a group. I never considered my identity to be linked with the schools I attended, the teams I was on, or the activities I enjoyed, so I didn’t want others to consider my groups part of my identity either

In High School, I loved sports, but I didn’t want to be a jock; I made good grades, but I didn’t want to be known as a scholar; I would occasionally spend a major portion of the night partying, but I surely didn’t want to be known as a partier. Most of my friends, though, did consider themselves to be a member of one of these three main groups in High School. In some ways, not being a member of a group, limited my friendships.

I’m very proud now that I served four years of active duty in the Marine Corps, but when I was on active duty, I counted the days until I would no longer be known as a Marine. The term “Marine” didn’t come close to fitting who I am or describing who I was.

If I am ever going to be able to be an active member of a Church again, which I truly believe is the will of God, somehow I have to get comfortable with the idea of being a member of a group, and somehow I have to be able to convince other Christians of the need for Churches to be less tribal.