Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Freedom to Question

A large portion of the American public honestly believes it is wrong to question our government's foreign policy decisions. They do not care if the weapons of mass destruction ever existed anywhere but in the minds of Bush administration leaders. They stand squarely behind the president because they trust him to know what is going on and to act in their best interest.

The people I am talking about are not stupid or uncaring. They care deeply about the troops. Many of them served in the military and have to face the same kind of dangers our troops are facing now. They may not know or want to know anything about the lives of ordinary people in Iraq, but they believe what we are doing there is going to make those lives better. Iraq may be half way around the world from the problems they deal with on a daily basis, but I doubt that it is far from their prayers.

A lot of good, honest, hard-working people disagree with me about the president, the war, and US foreign policy. When those disagreements are based on more than blind faith in the motivations of the president they are worthy of respect. Disagreeing is the first step in a healthy debate and America needs all of us to engage in healthy political discourse. The problem occurs when blind faith in the president becomes suppression of dissenting views. When citizens believe leaders share their values, and act in accordance with those values questioning should be met with answers. Instead of answers, what I am getting is accusations that questions are un-American.

Questioning the president's actions is now akin to treason. Administration officials screen media questions before hand to determine which they are prepared to answer. Most of the time the Whitehouse staff spoon-feeds the media prepared statements instead of answering the hard questions. Those of us who would ask more difficult questions or publicly challenge the administration are denied access. It has become so accepted to stifle the press that half of high school students believe there should be suppression.

We are in danger of losing both free speech and a free press if we do not challenge this trend. These freedoms are essential if we are to remain to a free nation. Even if you believe the president is right in his foreign policy consider the risk we take to give up freedom at home to spread it abroad.


Anonymous JB said...

I am sorry you feel that way.

But perhaps people would have more respect for your opinions if you didnt write things like: "They do not care if the weapons of mass destruction ever existed anywhere but in the minds of Bush administration leaders."

The weapons did exist, ask the families of thousands of Kurds gassed to death, and Saddam has never accounted for them. Also, the Clinton Administration, UN, France, Germany, Russia all thought they existed in 2003 also. Thus, the weapons did not exist in solely in the "minds of Bush administration leaders." Nobody opposed the war before it began on the grounds that Iraq did not have WMD. A simple Nexis search reveals that.

You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. That is the American way.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Gwen Mayo said...

The UN did in fact believe in the possibility of WMD's as did the Clinton Whitehouse and many other nations. Clinton's "Operation Desert Fox" was a direct effort to prevent development of these weapons. Much doubt still remained as to his success at preventing Saddam from continuing his weapons program. At the time of the invasion many thought the Iraq government could have WMD's.

Nobody opposed the war on the grounds that Iraq did not have WMD because there was doubt. Many of us believed the weapons inspections should have continued but that there was not enough evidence of WMD's for the invasion. It is a major jump from Clinton "wanting to deminish his ability to wage war on his neighbors" to the Bush administration declaring "deplomacy has failed." Most of the world disagreed then and refused to follow him into Iraq.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous JB said...

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

"We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction."
- Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Jb said...

And a few more.....

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

I make these posts to make a point: everybody was wrong about the wmd threat - especially the Bush Administration. Lets get passed this, and move on to work together to see this thing through.....

5:51 PM  
Blogger Gwen Mayo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Gwen Mayo said...

Bad examples. Your 1998 examples are before "Operation Desert Fox" which destroyed the Iraq nuclear plant and prevented the country from developing nuclear weapons. This was followed by ongoing UN weapons inspections.

Your later examples fall after the Bush delivered his Cincinnati speech and waved the theory that Iraq had "yellow cake” uranium, that speech started this whole mess. The speech was a masterstroke of fear mongering. We can hardly blame congress, on either side of the aisle, for being human. Believing the president and acting in good faith on his request for troops was much faster in the house than in the senate, but within a week the president had his troops.

By the time it was proven that Iraq had not purchased uranium and that the 1998 dismantling of their nuclear plant had effectively stopped the nuclear program in Iraq the troops were already in Baghdad.

More than 1500 American deaths and many times that number of Iraqi deaths we are still there. The saddest part is that we are not in a position to leave and may not be able to get our troops out for many years to come. I can only hope that out of this mess we have helped create we really can make it possible for them to build a better government.

4:19 PM  

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