Thursday, February 07, 2008

Musings of an anti-(Iraq) war Republican.

So, it's been very interesting these past few days - jumping back into the Conservative blogosphere. I've just started, but I have a feeling that my new posts might be met with confusion by some of my old blogging buddies. You see, I have changed my positions on a few things: The Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and the Republican "establishment," if you will.

Allow me explain my positions, then feel free to attack them.

In about 2003 and 2004, I began remarking to my family and friends "Gosh, I hope my first vote isn't John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton." The closer it got to the election, the more it seemed that my childish prediction would be proven true. Starting out 2007, I was barely following politics at all. I really didn't like any of the candidates, but more than that - none of them were truly Conservative! Taxing, abortion, gun rights - none of them had held consistent views on the Conservative side of all of those issues.

By this time, I was becoming more and more apathetic about the War, and all of the candidates said the same thing about it "stay the course, stay the course, terrorism, freedom, PATRIOT! And don't question!" It was as if there was a new litmus test for Republicanism, and that was blind support for all wars and increased Federal power. No matter that they threw values aside that once defined Republican and Conservative.

It wasn't until I heard about Ron Paul in about June or July that I found a candidate I can truly support. The first time I heard of this Republican Congressmen from Texas, I didn't think too much of him. There were 12 or so Republican candidates at the time, and Ron Paul certainly didn't get equal debate time. When he spoke, he was attacked and mocked for his non-interventionist ideas. At that time I was considering supporting Mike Huckabee, believe it or not. I saw a clip of Ron Paul on The O'Reilly Factor, and found him to be very unarticulate. It was easier to dismiss his views when he was being shouted down and called a "nut." It wasn't until a few months later that I allowed myself to actually listen to Ron Paul, and the more I heard, the more I liked. I didn't agree completely about the War at the time, but I allowed myself to think about the logic in opposing ideas.

I actually began to reconsider my long held views about the war in Iraq. After five years, I wondered what exactly our objective had become. You know, right after September 11th, it was really easy for me as a young person to say "we're over there to fight terror," "the world changed on September 11th," "We have to share our God-given freedom," and so on. And some of that might be partly true. I realize what an emotional, horrible event September 11th was. But I think that the emotions surrounding it helped the Government mislead us about Iraq, about their purpose of freedom.

First of all, I no longer believe that Iraq had the capability or the incentive to attack us. Yes, Saddam was a brutal, horrible dictator. But that alone doesn't mean that he was willing and able to attack a nation thousands of miles away, one which could turn his country into a wasteland in a matter of seconds if we were attacked. Even if he did have WMD's, I can't see how he could have any reason. And you're saying out there (I know, because I've said it myself too many times) "Well, Saddam attacked his own people, what would stop him from attacking us?" True, he did. And it was horrible. But attacking a helpless minority in his own country is a far cry from attacking one of the most powerful nations in the world.

Now we get to the freedom part of the argument. "Operation Iraqi Freedom." Again, Iraq was a horrible place, I'm not denying that. But if we're really in there to free people enslaved (or on the brink of being enslaved) by dicatorships, we should also by the rules of morality be in Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Darfur, and more. We simply can't. It's neither our place, nor in our power. And if we have our troops spread around the world, doing police work, what about back at home?

What about "finishing the job"? Well, my question is this; how long do we have to be there? Presidential candidates have suggested as many as 100 years. How many lives have to be lost? And on a larger scale, look at the Middle East. Five years is nothing in middle-eastern society. Dictatorships have fallen and risen again after years and years! I really do hope Iraqis the best, but I truly believe at this point that the best thing we can do is leave them to police their own country.

But before I ramble too terribly long, let's move on to the Patriot Act and the suspension of Habeas Corpus. Again, this was something that was easy to argue for in the months and even few years following September 11th. Emotionally charged buzzwords, like Patriot, and "Real American" were thrown around, and in while eating Freedom Fries and singing Toby Keith songs, the wool was slipped over our eyes. While railing against terrorists, we allowed -rather, vigorously argued for -the Government to take away some of our basic rights. Do I think that spies are looking in my window and reading what I'm writing right now? No. Seriously, I doubt they care. But things like the Patriot Act give them the ability to, and that's wrong.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

And an argument that's been used (at times, by me) in favor of suspending Habeas Corpus is that Lincoln suspended it for Secessionists before the Civil War. The thing is, two wrongs don't make a right. I'm probably going to get chastised for this post anyway, so I might as well say this: I personally believe Lincoln to be one of the worst Presidents we've ever had. I think he was very close to a dictator and his policies and war were absolutely, 100% un-Constitutional. So why did I use him as a way of justifying Bush? I guess that was the best I could come up with. But simply put, just because something's been done horribly wrong in the past doesn't mean it's right today.

Well, this has gone on and on, I really must go. Please, before you comment, take time to read over my post carefully and not just attack my views. Think about what I'm saying logically, and allow yourself to think of things a different way. :)

~Mary Ann