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us/them with/against black/white

If you vote for George Bush that means you are pro-torture. Oh, Mr. Abu Aardvark, if only the election were as simple as you make it out to be. See, the problem with trying to make things black and white like this is all the shades of gray that are ignored. I am voting for George Bush, yet I don't condone what happened at Abu Ghraib. To insist anything else is disingenuous, at the very least. It is also, for lack of a more elegant word, stupid. This election is not about Abu Ghraib, as much as you would like it to be. If we were going to the polls and inside that curtained booth was a lever that said "torture" and one that said "no torture" I don't think many people among us Republicans and other Bush voters would have a hard time choosing the former. Suppose someone posted this picture: And then wrote:
Vote for this or against it. It really isn't that complicated.
You would have a cow. A big, loud, heavily-linked cow. Here's what's written on the above linked blog, under the now infamous Abu Ghraib photo, the one that has become the left's catch-all symbol of this election.
The world is watching. The world wants to know which America is the real America: the one which offers a vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world... or the one in this picture, a world brought to you by George Bush and his administration and for which no-one of any consequence has been held accountable.
Peace and democracy is not an either/or proposition. Bad things will happen during wartime. Ugly things, horrible, unspeakable things. Just ask John Kerry. But those things do not mean that everything we are working for in Iraq will be null and void. Abu Ghraib does not spell the end of good in Iraq. We can still have our vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world. I am a Bush voter and I want all those things. In the eyes of someone who believes it as simple as torture/no torture, I don't expect that reality to be seen. I don't expect that you will believe that's what I want because it does not fit in with your pre-conceived notions about who I am and what I stand for and against. To open up your mind to the possibility that not all Bush supporters are fondling themselves to pictures of Lynndie England would just poke an enormous hole in your theory that we are all redneck, violent thugs who hate all Arabs. For me, this is the symbol of Iraq. Not this. I deal in hope, not despair. Which, when you think about it, sort of sums up how the left and the right use Iraq in their campaigning. When George Bush said you are either with us or against us, the left called him simplistic and divisive. But aren't you saying the same thing now? You are either for torture or against Bush and there's no wiggle room in which you can be against torture and for Bush? That doesn't sound simplistic and divisive to you? I understand your point to an extent, and I understand that you are using Abu Ghraib as a metaphor for the entire Bush administration and everything it has done in the past four years. I understand your point, but I do not agree with it. However, it would take me hours and pages to write here why I don't agree with you. Because I understand that the choice we will all make in nine days is not one as simple as black v. white.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference us/them with/against black/white:

» The Election Made Simple from RIGHT ON RED >>
Vote for this or against it. It really isn’t that complicated. [Read More]

» Morality Morons on Parade from Darleen's Place
:::sigh::: Michele has an excellent post in response to the usual Left refusal to make any moral distinction beyond "America bad/anti-America good." This time is a blatantly gin-soaked raisin-brained piece of moral idiocy from Abu Aardvark. He merely p... [Read More]

» Step Away From His Logic from Overtaken by Events
Our favorite Twinkie-loving moonbat has an incredible reason why you MUST vote for Kerry. Of course, it has nothing to... [Read More]

» I take back half of what I said from The Asylum
Abu Aardvark believes all Bush voters support American torture. And no, I don't mean people torturing Americans. His other posts were still decent, I hold to that belief. I should make it a point of scanning more than the front [Read More]


But isn't that what all politics comes down to? In the end regardless of what good or ill the candidate in question has done, most voters either vote their conscience or they vote on a single issue.

I think the difference here and the one that you make is very clear: this one issue cannot be tied onto the coattails of the Bush administration no matter how much his opposition wants it to.

Furthermore, we must look at the parties more than the candidates in every election. The President is powerful, sure, but the party as a whole is really what will be guiding the course of the country for the next four years. Having the president of your party in place is just that little bit of oomph needed at the end.

That, I think, is why the Left is going to lose big time this election. Instead of focusing on the difference between Republicans and Democrats, they've chosen to try and attack, relentlessly, the candidate of the Republicans and hope that no one notices anything about them or their policies.

I think Karl Rove is to blame.


You know I like ya, but ...

To be fair, I don't think it's any more simplistic than pointing to a photo op of Bush hugging a 9/11 victim's child and saying that symbolizes why you're voting the way you are voting. I think this election has folks on one side who obsess on the WTC and those who obsess on the torture photos. Makes it a clean, easy decision for most.

To Gabe's point, I think he's right about the Left focusing too much on one candidate and not the policies of the party as a whole. But, there's a growing rift in the Republican party now between the traditional conservatives and the neos and it makes figuring out what to attack complicated. I predict this will be much more a major issue in four years when there's no incumbent and no current VP running.

Roxanne, I see your point, but...I don't point to the picture of bush hugging that child and say you are either for comforting the victims of 9/11 or against it.

I know I've made a big issue of terrorism and 9/11 this election, but I really don't think that most people voting for Kerry are for terrorism. It's their ideas for fighting it that I'm against. Terrorism is not a for/against issue for the voting booth and neither is torture. A vote for Bush is not a vote for torture and a vote for Kerry is not a vote that says "I love terrorism."

I do agree with you about four years from now. We could see a rift in the Republican party much like the Democrat party is seeing now.


torture -- you're right -- it's simple only if you ignore the complexity.

but i can't agree that voting for this administration will help us win the war on terror and make this country safer when this administration:

- refuses to stop playing games with the definition of what torture really is and is not
- hides prisoners from the red cross
- outsources its really brutal stuff to syria and other countries
- oh and just about anything in google

what message does it send to those that we would inspire to reject terrorism that we will not completely reject and renounce torture? a bad one... dontchathink?


ps: i find it interesting you've made the WaPo and google 'questionable content'. next we'll be signing loyalty oaths before being able to post here.

blarg, please stuff the "loyalty oath" bullshit. It just makes you look stupid.

Here's something more from Aardvark:

"In other words, Season 7 of Buffy always struck me as a fairly explicit critique of Bush's foreign policy (even if dullards on the right missed it), and a foreshadowing of a superior Kerryist alternative. Even Willow's tentative embrace of her own power and overcoming of her own fears about how she might use her power for evil echoes the European (and especially German) struggle with the past;"

Maybe Kerry will replace Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice with Wesley Clarke and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That's a real Halloween scenario.

Blarg, that's just a by product of my spam blocking. I'll fix it. And then you can sign your loyalty oath. In blood.

well - i guess i was asking for that for trying to start a discussion and all.

With all the attacks leveled at Bush and his horrible 'mishandling' of the GWOT, I'm still waiting for one person on the left to tell me what John Kerry will do that will be ANY different from what GWB is doing. And no, I'll not accept an answer of 'He won't do X like GWB did.' That's a cop out. I want to know what policy he will institute that will change the way the GWOT is being waged and how that will be more effective.

Any takers?

Your conversation starter would have gone over better without the uneccesary snark.

ok - i agree. apologies. so, any feedback on what i said? i just can't see how anything bush has said or done has made us safer since 9.11.

Hrm, I call the taking of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the resulting disrupting of terrorist networks and funding sources, to be quite significant in securing our safety. Any more bombings in American soil since then? No?

And kindly don't point to Spain, et al. as examples of failure of that policy. We're not trying to secure the WORLD, are we.

But remember, Sekimori, if you can't prove that it made us safer and you can't prove that it didn't make us safer, you can say whatever you want to.

/Michael Moore

The way I look at it is like this: the high likelihood is that John Kerry, if he has half a brain, would do exactly the same things as GWB on foreign policy if elected. Why? Because they are working. The proof is in the things we never hear about. If he decided that doing something drastically different would be a better idea, there are always ways to prove that. And yes, most of those ways will result in us losing lives on American soil.

Okay, Gabe. I'll bite, but with the disclaimer that not being privy to Kerrys thoughts it's only speculation mixed with hope.

I think we may see a reduction in the scope of the GWOT -- maybe removing the 'G'. The United States military is simply not capable of waging war on several fronts at once, at least not without calling for sacrifices most of us are not willing to make. This may lead to a more focused effort and an increase in surgical strikes as oppossed to lengthy long term occupation. With the technology available to us I'm hard pressed to see a great advantage to massive numbers of troops on the ground when we can shoot a missile through a garage door from hundreds of miles away.

This will reduce American casualities, minimise collateral damge and cost a whole lot less. As the Soviets in Afghanistan and our expierience in Vietnam shows fighting a conventional war against ____ (insert one of the following: terrorists, insurgents, criminals, drug dealers, freedom fighters or sociopathic maniacs) doesn't always turn out well. Actually, I'm not sure it has ever turned out well.

I would hope that Kerry will devote more resources to Homeland Security. The airports, ports and borders remain porous. Police departments, EMS agencies and fire departments remain woefully underfunded -- it's not impossible that reducing our global presence will free up resources for these and other first responders. IMO, this will do more to protect my family than massive military action thousands of miles away.

I think that Kerry will bring accountability back to the office of the President. Even the most optimistic acknowledge that there are serious command and control problems in Iraq and elsewhere -- however, Bush continues to allow those responsible to remain in authority. Abu Ghraib is more than an aberration, it is an indication that some of those in our military felt, for whatever reasons, that they could act with impunity. I want to see some heads roll above the level of Sgt. I'd like to see the back of Rummy. His tactics in Iraq while allowing us to quickly gain control have turned out to be woefully inadequate when it comes to keeping control. He made a mistake, that's not a crime and I'm not questioning his motives, but it is also no reason to allow him to keep his job. Ditto, Rice.

Diplomacy. I know the 'global test' is a joke but an effective diplomatic corp that does more than pander to already solid allies is a valuable tool that Bush has neglected. In an already cliche laden comment, I'll only point out that 'winning the peace', like all cliches has an element of truth. Dubyas so-called tendency to polarize people is probably much more meaningful in a global rather than national context. If we truly want to spread democracy and human rights we need a little more carrot and a little less stick.

I could go on, but it's not fair to M. and this comment is certainly long enough.


Those missiles capable of going through a garage door worked out so well in answering the various terrorists strikes before 9/11. The entire maze of Islamist groups just trembled in fear.

OK, I'm about done with this "George Bush didn't do enough to involve the rest of the world in the decision to invade Iraq" meme. We asked France, Germany, Russia...they all politely declined. The UN gave us permission to invade. The US Congress gave GWB permission to invade. The VAST majority of Iraqis are today glad we invaded.
Today, Iraq is a sovereign nation that needs help gaining stabiliity. Is anyone other than the US and it's Coalition of the Willing (er, Bribed) offering that help? If the UN, Amnesty International, the EU, et. al. were REALLY commited to the people of the world, ALL people of the world, they would be in Iraq right now standing up to those who would return Iraq to a brutal dictatorship.
Never mind how Iraq became a sovereign nation. That's what they are now. They now wish to voluntarily elect their own government. How selfish is it not to support THAT? Wanna make sure we didn't do it just for the oil? Get in there and work with us, and keep an eye on us, hold us responsible to our promises.
But no. Apparently it is more important to oppose GWB and/or the US than it is to support millions of newly freed Iraqis.

There you go Peter, take a phrase out of context and fire off a snarky comment. That's why I love weblog discussions.

But your probably right, they're clearly trembling in fear now -- I mean they are just running off and hiding. No bombs going off now, nope not a one.

Bill, I was writing in response to someone who asked what I thought would change under Kerry. Not about the war in Iraq. I don't anticipate Kerry withdrawing from Iraq, what's done is done and for better or worse we're committed and damn well better win the thing.

Iraqs done with and I have no doubt we'll prevail in the end. I'm more concerned about what comes next.

My complaint about Iraq is that I see it being mismanaged. There is something very wrong when the full might of the worlds most powerful country cannot guarantee saftey in the Green Zone. I'm not a general and got thrown of the 101 Fighting Keyboarders for subversion, but I do know that there is a problem. One of the definitions of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results -- maybe it's time to try something different.

Y'know, that Abu Ghraib picture really bothers me ... it is eerily reminiscent of a scene I saw played out before my eyes at this dungeon club off of Christopher Street back around '80-'81, when me and a couple of buddies were looking to score some coke and got shuffled through their door.

Michele, you don't really need torture as a "metaphor for the entire Bush administration", and loyalty oaths are not the half of it!

You can read in exhaustive detail in today's NYT (and next Sunday's too!) how the Bush Administration attempted to set up an entire set of military courts completely separate from any check or balance on the power of the President, through the Pentagon, to try, convict, and imprison anybody whom the President pleased:


This system was planned all the way down to the legal justifications for the application of military force inside the United States, such as military checkpoints in cities.

What this article describes is the route to an American tyranny. Period. The worst, perhaps, since the Alien and Sedition Acts. Luckily we haven't gotten very far down it. Luckily there are those in this country and abroad who will not stand for it, and, so far, have largely stopped it.

And barring the triumph of the inanity of the supporters of George W. Bush, we will continue to stop it.

I will repeat a question I have posted here before that you have NEVER had the face to answer: For the so-called "security of your children" would you give this sort of power to President Hillary Clinton?

I have a friend, living in Boulder, Colorado, who grew up in Argentina in the 1970's with memories of things like soldiers with M-16's barging into his house, to search it, just before he was to leave for school.

He was so "secure" as a child with all sorts of "bad" people he and his parents knew simply and conveniently "disappearing".

Today he is an obsessive/compulisve neurotic who must do things like shower only with dandruff shampoo and never encounter the sight of broccoli and mushrooms near any of his food.

His intellect knows perfectly well that these compulsions are silly, that they came from the traumatic stress of growing up with military tyranny, but he cannot overcome them.

You can perfectly well have that kind of "security" for your children if you want it. The man you assert you will vote for has the plans for it already in place and you can read about them this weekend and next.

And Hillary Clinton would make a fine Eva Peron for the new millenium, wouldn't she?

I'm so friggin' angry at the moral idiocy of Abu Aardvark I immediately wrote my own post, PLUS reposted a picture (since these idiots are so enamored of quick visuals, no debate allowed) that cuts to the moral question these wanna-be dhimmis refuse to address. What is it about Leftist dogma that emasculates and lobotomizes so many potentially intelligent people?



You might try reading this from the ABA (such a well-known rightwing organization) in regards to military tribunals.

Doesn't an 8 year conviction and the rule of law influence this at all?

I am voting for Bush because he can withstand an overwhelming litany of uncivil hate speech motivated by lies and fabrications created an elite intellectual class whose ideology is determined to undermine the goodwill of the American soul.


>I am voting for Bush because he can
>withstand an overwhelming litany of
>uncivil hate speech

can he? if that were truly the case, then why make people take a fricking loyalty oath before they are allowed to be in the same room as him? why turn away serving members of the military (who support you) from your rally before it even starts because you don't like the look of them?

that doesn't sound like a man who can withstand much criticism at all, let alone an "overwhelming litany". i swear to god -- i'll vote for the guy if you can explain these motivations to me.

and syn - while you're at it - explain this one to me as well.

with the largest national deficit in HISTORY -- he's still selling the future of our children up the river. get this -- yesterday he just gave a universally criticized $140 billion dollar tax cut to special interests.

can we afford to be giving away $140 billion dollars right now to the very companies that are shipping our jobs overseas? can anyone say "priorities"?

well, blarg

Can you explain wanting to vote for a man who gets all misty-eyed and weak in the knees when he eagerly considers his opportunity to kiss this man's tuchis?

That's the most damning thing you could find about Annan?

"The secretary-general carries the ultimate responsibility for the scheme and the problems with it were repeatedly drawn to his attention, yet he chose to do nothing," this sounds oddly familiar, or, do you feel that the POTUS should be held to a different standard?

Maybe Bush would be willing to, "...waive his diplomatic immunity and face legal action if any wrongdoing is uncovered," even though the actions in question may have been taken entirely without his knowledge? Myself, I'm having a hard time seeing Bush acknowledge any authority other than himself -- well, maybe God, providing he's a Republican.

Great reading comprehension there, Al.

Kofi is up to his scrawny neck in both conceiving of the ::ahem:: "of the most controversial aspects of the discredited humanitarian programme." and frustrating all attempts to correct it.

Yeah, suuuureeee he didn't personally profit from it. And considering how the Hague works I'm sure he's not all that worried about this "investigation" and the outcome..if it ever gets here.

Nope.. 2006 will come and off he'll go to some beautiful, tranquil spot totally totally Saddam financed.

Kerry believes America must be second to the UN.


I would really like to hear a reasonable response to Blarg's initial point, not the loyalty oath comment. Why isn't it a bigger issue in this campaign that the Bush administration has played fast and loose with some pretty important codes of conduct like the Geneva convention and the fourth amendment?

And just to head off the inevitable response... no I don't think that 9/11 changed "everything". And yes I knew people who were there.

Ok! Guess I'm pro torture then. Works for me.

See, yes, I'm for john kerry in that picture as well. He was a patriot. Against vietnam, but followe the call to duty, served with courage and honor, and came back to tell america and the world what was really happening.

Are you for an administration that condones the use of torture, the wholesale abandonment of the geneva conventions, preventative war ( at the risk of breaking godwin's law, the same crime that the germans were accussed of and put to death at nuremburg).

Are you for or against that?

No high level officials hae been fired for Abu Ghraib. none.

Vote for torture or against. Bush sees the world in black and white. He is a moral man. That, apparently is why everybody like him. Make a moral decision. Make a stand. If strong unwavering beliefs are a good thing (i think they are not, but apparently you guys think that changing your mind based upon new information is a bad thing....) then choose good versus evil torture, versus a history of fighting against human rights violations, no matter who was to blame.

Choose. Do so boldly, and with conviction, and be able to stand by your choice.

from The Battle of Algiers

Colonel Mathieu ... Much has been said
lately not only of the successes
obtained by the paratroopers, but also of
the methods that they have employed ...
Can you tell us something about this?

The successes obtained are the results
of those methods. One presupposes the
other and vice versa.

Excuse me, colonel. I have the impression
that perhaps due to excessive prudence ...
my colleagues continue to ask the same
allusive questions, to which you can only
respond in an allusive manner. I think it
would be better to call things by their
right names; if one means torture, then
one should call it torture.

I understand. What's your question?

The questions have already been asked. I
would only like some precise answers,
that's all ...

Let's try to be precise then. The word
"torture" does not appear in our orders.
We have always spoken of interrogation as
the only valid method in a police
operation directed against unknown
enemies. As for the NLF, they request
that their members, in the event of
capture, should maintain silence for
twenty-four hours, and then, they may
talk. Thus, the organization has already
had the time necessary to render useless
any information furnished ... What type
of interrogation should we choose? ...
the one the courts use for a crime of
homicide which drags on for months?

The law is often inconvenient, colonel ...

And those who explode bombs in public
places, do they perhaps respect the law?
When you asked that question to Ben
M'Hidi, remember what he said? No,
gentlemen, believe me, it is a vicious
circle. And we could discuss the problem
for hours without reaching any
conclusions. Because the problem does
not lie here. The problem is: the NLF
wants us to leave Algeria and we want to
remain. Now, it seems to me that, despite
varying shades of opinion, you all agree
that we must remain. When the rebellion
first began, there were not even shades
of opinion. All the newspapers, even the
left-wing ones wanted the rebellion
suppressed. And we were sent here for
this very reason. And we are neither
madmen nor sadists, gentlemen. Those who
call us fascists today, forget the
contribution that many of us made to the
Resistance. Those who call us Nazis, do
not know that among us there are
survivors of Dachau and Buchenwald. We
are soldiers and our only duty is to
win. Therefore, to be precise, I would
now like to ask you a question: Should
France remain in Algeria? If you answer
"yes," then you must accept all the
necessary consequences.

Darleen my question is:

See, we should be better than that. We should

A) never have allowed that to happen.

B) fire everyone in the chain of command( that is what a cain of command is for)

C) not have an extensive system of jails strewn throughout the world whose sole purpose is to torture suspected terrorists into giving us information.

D) never, ever, ever violate the geneva conventions, much less had ashcroft's justice department publish a memo describing how the president somehow has the right to violate the constitution and law and approve of violations of the geneva convention.

See, that's why.

Plus i want to fire everyone who for some odd reason really didn't think it was important to safeguard 350 tons of the most powerful conventional explosives in the world. (one pound drop flight 800 out of lockerby) Plus they tried to coveru their whole massive cockup.... a bunch of retarded monkeys could do a better job... literally anyone. Bring it on? What the fuck.


Well Blarg
Here we go, your link is a perfect example of the uncivil hate speech motivated out of lies and fabrications created by the elite intellectual class who worship an ideology determined to undermine the goodwill of the America soul.

First, I must note the date of this story is Oct 23rd. Hmmm? The story you linked sounds familiar to the DNC's agenda of having members take a "pre-emptive strike" against the RNC (the intellectual reporter should know that's committee not convention)even if there is nothing to strike down. A soldier(make sure to state he is a Republican) asked a 'lone' stranger (of course the secret police knows the identity of each and every DNC member in the country even those not registered) to join him and the secret police immediately sieged the soldier(Republican) and lone stranger as enemies of the State! Please spare me the drama of this fake trama.

Check your history facts, this deficit is the second highest next to the deficit during WWII, the big difference is that in our time of war against Islamic Terrorism today our ecomony is far superior to the days when America fought against Nazism. Today, America is not forced to ration it's resources.

Regarding your question to outsourcing. My response is that if it good enough for the companies held by Teresa Kerry-Heinz and her husband to outsource jobs overseas then it must be okay because they have managed to acquire billions from their businesses.

And, more importantly, if it is good enough for Hollywood to outsource the majority of their films to Canada then outsourcing must really have it's benefits. By the way, does anyone actually work anymore in Hollywood or do they just hang around for the premiere parties?

Our choice is to accept an Islamic state in Iraq, or to conduct bloodletting that would make Saddam look like the easter bunny. Some demonstration of the virtues of "Democracy"! Setting a date to depart would show we're not trying to colonize the country. Set up a fair and neutral organization to conduct the transition. Forget Alawi, who used to assassinate dissidents for Sadam before goint to work for the CIA.

If you want to bring democracy to the middle east--start with Israel.

i'm still waiting for someone to tell me why it's ok for Bush and Rumsfeld to act as if the Geneva convention only applies when it's convenient for them. I know it's tough, and I know that the terrorists are evil, but unless the united states holds itself to the strictest standards we don't have a prayer of convincing the Arab public that we are truly fighting for their freedoms and right to self-determination. We are on the slippery slope toward a truly global east/west conflict and the Bush administration seems intent on pushing us down the hill.

Well, since the Geneva convention only applies to 1)Signatores of the treaty, and 2) Soldiers wearing a uniform of the nation they represent, I do not see where Bush has broken the Geneva convention at all.

Besides, non of the Signatores wanted their forces constrained when faced with an enemy who refuses to follow the rules of war. If you break to rules to try to win, fine, but don't bitch when your enemy stops playing by the rules as well. Being morally superior is pretty pointless if it gets you dead.

"Being morally superior is pretty pointless if it gets you dead."

Perhaps, but superior morality lends one credibility, something we've lost since the justification of the torture of prisoners under our watch. Do we need to reiterate that these prisoners were picked up under spurious circumstances in the first place?

Finally, a question for Michele. If understanding nuance is imperative in the upcoming election, and in the next four years to follow, why elect a guy who puts little credence in nuance and frames nearly all his positions in black and white? And why criticize a guy who runs on the basis of political nuance? I thought "black and white" was bad. Or is that a nuance in itself?