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Escaping The Legal And Moral Quagmire of Guantanamo

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To those of us on the right who still vigorously support the President in the War on Terror, the Hamdan ruling presents us with a golden opportunity to start repairing the damage our detainee policy at Guantanamo has inflicted upon our Constitutional principles as well as our image abroad.

To those on the left who, despite the unambiguous ruling by the Supreme Court in Hamdan that we are indeed in a shooting war with al-Qaeda, but still insist that the War on Terror is some kind of gigantic Rovian plot to win elections, the decision is a godsend. It gives liberals a second chance to prove they are serious about protecting America from her enemies by joining with the President and Republicans in Congress in resolving the legal status of detainees in such a way that satisfies both the demands of justice and our national security.

Camp Delta has become an iconic symbol worldwide of American hypocrisy in the War on Terror. The name "Guantanamo" will go down in history with other notorious prisons such as the French nightmare penitentiary on Devil's Island and the North Vietnamese disreputable POW camp known as "The Hanoi Hilton."

Regardless of whether or not Guantanamo matched those two facilities in sheer brutality and horror, the fact remains that the narrative supplied by western media to describe Guantanamo to the rest of the world has made it so. And in propaganda, perception is everything. There are no starving skeletons or daily beatings as there were at Devil's Island and the Hanoi Hilton. But the brutality that has been confirmed by independent observers, including our own military and the FBI, is real enough and has brought shame to the United States and damaged our reputation as a champion of justice and human rights among friend and foe alike.

These are simply the facts. It does no good to argue that what goes on at Guantanamo doesn't rise to the level of torture. Not anymore. One of the main findings in Hamdan was that the detainees at Guantanamo – no matter how bloodthirsty and heinous their crimes – are entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention. This includes being protected against "[o]utrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." This means many of the relatively mild "stress techniques" of interrogation well-documented elsewhere were, and are, illegal.

And that's only the half of it. The Hamdan decision also knocked the chocks from underneath the government's position that it could try Guantanamo detainees using the rubric of military tribunals. While sympathetic to the reasons given by the government for using the tribunals – namely that trying terrorists in open court could endanger the innocent – the Supremes nevertheless firmly ruled that such tribunals violated the Geneva Convention and hence, U.S. law.

The bottom line is that the Supreme Court ruled that the United States government acted illegally and unconstitutionally in the way it has treated detainees at Guantanamo. So the question is no longer one of right or wrong but rather what to do about the mess we have made in Guantanamo.

This mess includes the fact our government lied to us when they informed the American people that the prisoners at Guantanamo were "the worst of the worst." The facts contained in the military's own records simply do not bear that out. And it is clear, at least to this observer, one of the main reasons the government insists on holding many of these detainees is not the fear that, if released, they would commit heinous acts of terror but rather because by releasing them now it would prove that the military made many, many tragic mistakes in capturing, interrogating, and holding dozens of innocent men and boys.

An exhaustive examination of the military's "Combatant Status Review Tribunals" by two National Journal reporters last February revealed this shocking conclusion:

Many of them are not accused of hostilities against the United States or its allies. Most, when captured, were innocent of any terrorist activity, were Taliban foot soldiers at worst, and were often far less than that. And some, perhaps many, are guilty only of being foreigners in Afghanistan or Pakistan at the wrong time. And much of the evidence — even the classified evidence — gathered by the Defense Department against these men is flimsy, second-, third-, fourth- or 12th-hand. It's based largely on admissions by the detainees themselves or on coerced, or worse, interrogations of their fellow inmates, some of whom have been proved to be liars.

Perhaps most shocking of all is that despite repeated assurances from Administration officials that the Guantanamo detainees were captured "on the battlefield" in Afghanistan, the facts contained in the military's own records do not support that contention. In fact, it appears that many of the detainees were captured in Pakistan and were handed over to the Americans by:

"…reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords and by villagers of highly doubtful reliability. These locals had strong incentives to tar as terrorists any and all Arabs they could get their hands on…including noncombatant teachers and humanitarian workers. And the Bush administration has apparently made very little effort to corroborate the plausible claims of innocence detailed by many of the men who were handed over…"

How little effort has been made to establish claims of innocence? The Guardian features a story today about one Abdullah Mujahid who the government claims was plotting against the United States. Two years ago, the military invited Mr. Mujahid to prove his innocence by calling witnesses in his defense before a tribunal.

A few months later, the government informed Mujahid that the witnesses could not be found which meant that his incarceration would continue indefinitely. The newspaper however, found three of the witnesses within three days. One was working for President Karzai, advising him on tribal affairs. Another teaches at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

The Guantanamo records are replete with examples of such incompetence or deliberate malfeasance, depending on your point of view. And herein lies the root of the quagmire at Guantanamo; our inability to admit we were wrong about some of these people and work to redress the injustice.

Clearly, there are many detainees at Guantanamo who should never see the outside of prison bars again. And now that the Supreme Court has offered guidance on what to do with these terrorists – specifically asking the President to go to Congress to get the legal authority to try them – those of us who are interested in both justice and our nation's security should wholeheartedly support this effort.

But what can we do to determine the status of hundreds of others whose incarceration is a blot on American jurisprudence and shames our Constitution and our most cherished values? Clearly there must be procedures using our civilian courts to weed out the innocent from the dangerous. And Congress can also intervene here by developing guidelines in concert with the Justice Department and the Department of Defense to insure that justice is done and our national security is protected.

One of the major stumbling blocks is the fact that much of the evidence gathered against detainees is of a classified nature. And evidence gathered as a result of interrogation of other prisoners, if released in open court, could endanger the person who supplied that information. For this reason, detainees cannot enjoy all the rights afforded American citizens in similar circumstances. But they should have the right to an attorney, the right to a speedy review of their case, the right to an examination of the evidence by an impartial judge, and perhaps a limited right to face their accuser if possible.

At the very least, the above gives us a basis for action. Congress has been dithering about this issue for more than three years, passing the buck to the Department of Justice and the Defense Department. Now that the Supreme Court has cleared up some of the issues surrounding detainees at Guantanamo, Congress could indeed clear up most of the others by dealing with detainee rights in a forthright manner that could begin to repair some of the damage done to our reputation as a champion of human rights and the rule of law.

We will be at war with international jihadism for many years. Besides winning on the battlefield, it is absolutely essential that we also win the hearts and minds of the hundreds of millions of Muslims who reject the violence and nihilism of the extremists and really do wish to rid themselves of the terrorists. This won't happen as long as some of our policies reveal us to be hypocrites and worse, little better than the governments that oppress them on a daily basis.

We simply must stand for something better, something that we can be proud of. But as long as our detainee policy continues to show us at our worst, it will be impossible for many to see us at our best.

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About RIck Moran

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Right on target, Rick. I wonder if some extra-governmental group could be formed to research the prisoners, figure out which ones really are a threat, get them tried in a legitimate court and set the rest free. It might be a way for Bush to get rid of responsibility for the prisoners – who he clearly has no idea what to do with – and get the situation resolved.

    Dave

  • http://www.rightwingnuthouse.com Rick Moran

    Dave:

    Don’t go there.

    The ACLU and others want the United Nations “Human Rights” Commission (in parenth because the representatives of the member states who sit on that excreable commission wouldn’t know a human right from my pet cat Ebony)to take over adjudicating the cases.

    That would be a monumental slap at our soveriegnty as well as impracticable.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Well, that would be a terrible idea, agreed. I was thinking more along the lines of a special commission authorized by congress and the president made up of elder statesmen and experts and maybe headed by someone like GHWB.

    Dave

  • http://www.rightwingnuthouse.com Rick Moran

    Ah. That’s doable.

    Wonder if it could be kept non-political?

  • Gary Niederhelman

    Get your head out of the sand people. There’s a bigger picture here. GWB IS wasting 2 billion of your tax dollars a week, and he’s NOT even doing the job he’s supposed to be doing. By the way, where IS Osama? Probably hiding under the make believe stockpile of WMD’s GWB swore on a stack of bibles were in Iraq.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I think that people like GHWB and some other moderate elderstatesmen could impose neutrality on it – personally I’d love to see Bob Dole involved. Can’t beat him for pure honesty.

    And Gary, while you have a valid issue, it’s entirely separate from the Guantanamo business. Perhaps you should write up all your concerns and submit them as a post to BC. I’d love to hear your definition of what GWB is supposed to be doing. I need a good laugh.

    Dave

  • Jennifer Ryan

    It is such a relief to hear someone from the right who is concerned about the stain that Guantanamo is leaving on our values and our our constitution.

    I am a proud liberal, and (in spite of what some on the right may say about liberals) I’m a patriotic American. I’m deeply concerned about restoring and protecting our core values and our reputation around the world, as well as protecting our national security. Maybe this shameful chapter will give some of us on the right and left a chance to rise above the nastiness of recent politics and work together on something that’s important to all of us. I can only hope!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    For what it’s worth, this ‘shameful chapter’ as you call it has been very helpful in showing us who our real friends are around the world and who we can ignore the next time they ask for help. That’s got some real value.

    As for the nastiness of recent politics, that’s all on the Democrat side of the aisle. Maybe if they turned down the nastiness they could tell the difference between real shamefulness and the cheap veneer of shame they want to paint on anyone they disagree with.

    Dave

  • Ngoni Simelane

    Well I am not an American and don’t live in America; but I can attest to the damage that Guantanamo is doing to everything that the world saw as American. As a regular visitor to the United States, I am always amazed at how ignorant Americans are of the world outside their borders and the global effects of George Bush’s “War on Terror”. I do not mean this out of disrespect and of course it is unfair to generalise in this way as I regularly meet very knowledgeable American’s with very strong views about the “War on Terror”, but by and large Americans see the world through American eyes – as opposed to Europeans and Asians that tend to see the world both through their national perspective as well as through global eyes.

    The “War on Terror” has made us all turn a blind eye to global atrocities and injustices – as long as they can be defended in the name of the “War on Terror”. It is useful to paraphrase London Mayer, Ken Livingstone, who rejected the wholesale erosion of core values and human rights in the name of the “War on Terror” on the basis that most of the proposed legislation failed the “Mandela Test”.

    The “Mandela Test” cuts to the heart of some of the problems with the “War on Terror”, it fails to clearly define the terms “Terror” or “Terrorist”.

    I have no doubt that in years to come, the entire world will be grateful for George Bush’s bold steps to lead the world in the eradication of the scourge of terrorism. When this war is over, I have no doubt that the world will be a much better place. I am also certain that history will judge the cost of the war as having been too high a price to pay. Historians will argue that terrorism had been contained for many years and could have been overcome sooner and more sustainably by bringing the values that we enshrine so much to those parts of the world that are oppressed by sponsors of terror. Someone once said that Cuba’s Castro could have been overcome many years ago, if America had simply smothered the country with all the values, lifestyle, and luxuries that most Cuban’s covet. Even the Chinese have not been able to keep the tide of capitalism at bay, and soon that tide will wash ashore with the overwhelming surf of democracy; what hope then do the likes of Cuba and Iran have of withstanding the temptations of McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Ford, Disney, IBM and Citi Bank – all people aspire to a better life, with guarantees on basic human rights and dignity, even communists and Islamic fundamentalists.

    Fighting the “War on Terror” by getting into bed with repressive regimes in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait cannot be sustainable. Sustaining war lords that have held an entire country hostage in Somalia cannot be the way with which to wage war on behalf of the very values that such people trample upon. How can America claim to be defending the very set of values that they are eroding all over the world. You do not have to be smart to realise that turning a blind eye to the atrocities in Palestine and Chechnya is eroding the credibility of the alliance of the willing as much as Guantanamo is.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    t is useful to paraphrase London Mayer, Ken Livingstone,

    It is impossible to mention Ken Livingstone in a comment and have anyone who knows who he is take the rest of what you write seriously.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    “As for the nastiness of recent politics, that’s all on the Democrat side of the aisle. ”

    ?!

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, that’s simply a load of BS. Mind you, it is a fate that you yourself are fast approaching.

    Your political “opinions”, if such a bizarre mish-mash of delusion and wishful thinking can indeed be called “opinion”, totally lacks credibility. Furthermore, attacking people in the way you do does neither the topic or this site any good. In my opinion.

  • Arch Conservative

    You lefties really have no fucking clue as to the threat posed to western civilization by radical islam and what it’s going to take to defeat this threat.

    While you’re bitching and moaning about Gitmo, Abu Gharib and George Bush there are thousands of islamofacists plotting on how to further reak havoc on our society.

    You people need to get your heads out of your asses and start living in reality. THE THREAT IS REAL! IT IS NOT HYPE!

    Just look at what muslims living in european nations are doing at this very moment. In France, England, Italy..etcc….. The muslim immigrants are calling for Sharia (muslim law) to replace that of the native law in these nations when concerning muslims. The arrogance and contempt of immigrant muslims in europe knows no limits. While living in these european nations many muslims express outright contempt and hostility for these nations.

    The recent carton contreversy……….the murder of theo van gogh, the head scarf issue in france …………..

    C’mon people………..what is it going to take for you to wake up and realize how intolerant and controlling a large portion of the world’s muslims are?

    I am so fucking sick of hearing people like Jennifer and bliffle and Gonzo whine about Bush and our rights. Bullshit………

    During world war 2 the governments of england and the US were far more invasive and limiting on it’s citizens rights. you know why? because they recognized the threat before them and acted……….they weren’t a bunch of whiny little pussies trying to win a popularity contest and appease everyone….THEY WERE PROTECTING A CIVILIZATION

    But today instead of Winston Churchill and FDR we have the ACLU, Nancy Pelosi, Jennifer Ryan and Gonzo marx……….bemoaning the inuustices that have befallen AL QUEDA at the hands of our own military. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

    The rest of the world thinks poorly of us because of gunatyanamo? So fucking what? The rest of the world thinks the UN actually is a force for good. The american and european mainstream media are ultra-left and sympathetic to the same people that are responsible for 911, the spanish train bombing, and the London subway bombings.

    Instead of bowing down before political correctnesss and lofty unrealistic ideals maybe they should get with the fucking program. Radical islam is a threat to our way of life. Anyone who denies it is a fucking moron. And if you ultra left zealots insist on impedeing every defense of our way of life it will be your fault when it is gone. I hope they kill you first.

    Fuck all of you……….you’re not much better than Bin Laden himself!

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    The comical part is that he expects anyone to read that past the first sentence or two!

  • MCH

    Re comment #12;

    Dittos!!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, that’s simply a load of BS. Mind you, it is a fate that you yourself are fast approaching.

    A statement which I find charming, but which makes no sense at all. How can a person be a load of BS – but everyone has their own style of personal attack.

    Your political “opinions”, if such a bizarre mish-mash of delusion and wishful thinking can indeed be called “opinion”, totally lacks credibility. Furthermore, attacking people in the way you do does neither the topic or this site any good. In my opinion.

    I’ve seen your version of discourse, Christopher, and I’m not impressed. The fact that you can’t understand my beliefs or even the most basic reasoning dismays but does not suprise me. You have clearly demonstrated here on BC that your approach to discourse is largely defensive and reactive and you lack much of an interest in analysis or even engaging in a coherent exchange of ideas. You hold your opinions to be absolute and sacrosanct and will not even consider the possibility that other points of view might be valid. Your mind is closed and I don’t seem to have the proper key to open it.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Arch, you have many good points – not that any of the people you’re trying to address are going to listen to you one bit.

    But you’re off the mark when you say:

    “I am so fucking sick of hearing people like Jennifer and bliffle and Gonzo whine about Bush and our rights. Bullshit………”

    That’s the one area where there is genuine cause for concern. Both parties, working together, have taken a real run at diminishing our rights using the pretext of the war on terror. Bush’s actions which impact very few people on a selective and generally acceptable way aren’t the real problem. What you and the others you mention should be worrying about is The Patriot Act which – unlike Bush’s emergency measures – permanently threatens our rights in a truly serious way.

    Dave

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    You what Dave, If Arch ever started listening to us, we might actually start respecting some his opinions, but talking to him is like going out on a highway and talking to a right turn only sign…

    Solus mei sententia
    Jet

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I give him more credit than that. Even when ranting he makes some valid points. The problem is that he makes it hard for us to take him seriously by saying an equal number of silly and poorly thought out things.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    What poorly thought out points?

    The threat from radical islam is real and the steps that have been taken to combat this threat have been roundly critisized and blocked from the left.

    It’s the ACLU that objects to profiling not Jerry Falwell. Hello? If you have a young arab man acting suspicious at an airport we can’t stop and question him because it isn’t PC? Give me a break. The left has sacrificed all common sense in the name of political correctness. Common sense and recent history dictates that future terrorist attacks will be carried otu by young arab middle eastern men.

    it is those on the left that are up in arms about gitmo and abu gharib. They’re more outraged by that than by videotapes of behadings of civilians by islamic terrorists being circulated. Where i s there moral outrage there? It’s sickening.

    The fact is that we cannot make some comprimises as a society in order to preserve our society in the face of this threat.

    The left wants us to inform the terrorists ahead of time that we are spying on them, they want us to grant the terrorists the same rights as american citizens have, they want to impede every attempt by the current administration to find out who the terrorists actually are and what they’re up to. Then they’d turn around and scream the current admin didn’t do enough to protect us if we had another attack. they want it both ways.

    So what exactly about anything I said was so silly Dave?

    I realize that most Americans are blissfully unware of the trouble muslim immigrants are currently causing in European nations but maybe we should pay closer attention because it is vital to our own national security.

    So the ultra-left bush/america haters can go on bitching about abu gharib and gitmo and continue to ignore the looming clash of civilizations. As for myself I say America can and must do everything in it’s power to protect her people and her way of life. And if our friends in europe from whom we were spawned are not willing to join our side in the fight it is only to the detriment of thier own individual societies and cultures as muslims continue to threaten them.

    The fourth of July is onyl a few days away. I hope in the spirit of patriotism the troops down at gitmo give those terrorists scumbags a heaping helpful of torture and misery all fucking day long.

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    Terrorism only works if you let it terrify you, Arch Conservative. You give these “islamofacists” more credit than they deserve when you suggest that they are “a threat to our way of life.”

    Western Civilization, whose very foundation rests upon the notion that all people are equally deserving of civil and human rights, is strong enough to resist the anachronistic forces outside of it that are “plotting on how to further reak havoc on our society.”

    If we succumb to our fears of terrorist attacks to the point where we lower and redefine ourselves as we see these terrorist enemies, they will win by default.

    President Bush says that these terrorists “hate us for our freedom” and, while some people may scoff at his words to place the full blame upon our past and present foreign policies with regard to the Middle East, he is fundamentally correct in that assertion.

    These radicals who call us “infidels” because we are not just like them are indeed intolerant and controlling, for they do not believe that all people have the same rights. They lack the maturity and character to respect and embrace the diversity that is unavoidable in this modern world they have rejected.

    We must do better than that. They have no honor and they do not respect human and civil rights. We must make every effort not to become like them, because we are better than that.

    We respect that everyone has the same rights, regardless of their beliefs, and we have the honor, responsibility, and fortitude to show our enemies greater mercy than they have shown us and the rest of the world.

    We must believe in ourselves and our way of life, for it has already equipped us with the tools we need to fight terrorism without taking the easy and dishonorable way out and becoming terrorists ourselves.

    If we all do not share the same rights, what exactly is it we are protecting and defending from terrorists and their desire to tyrannize and oppress us by using our fears against us?

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, I’m going to be laughing for months over your remark that I’m the one with the closed mind. Talk about projecting onto other people!

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    As cranky and defensive as he’s been lately you’d think he was having his period?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    So what exactly about anything I said was so silly Dave?

    I’m kinda the only person defending you here, so you might want to tread lightly.

    As for the silly things you’ve said, blowing off the entire international community is one. Constantly mistaking the ACLU for a purely left wing group is another. And how about:

    ” they want us to grant the terrorists the same rights as american citizens have, ”

    Which is a position which is probably held by more people on the right than on the left.

    Plus, your spelling and grammar are painful. But like I said, you’re basically right.

    Dave

  • Jennifer Ryan

    I guess what I’d like to do is find some people on the right who are interested in opening up some real dialogue. I can even find a few points of agreement with ArchConservative’s rant, so I’ll start there.

    First of all, I’m fully aware of the threat posed by radical Islam. I agree with you: it’s intolerant, reactionary, fascist, misogynistic, murderous, and very real. I also agree that we need to take the threat seriously and protect ourselves from it.

    What’s more, I find the beheadings and other killings of innocent people by Islamic militants absolutely repugnant and abhorrent. It is outrageous and those responsible deserve whatever they get — you won’t see me crying about the death of Zarqawi, for example. Justice was served on him… good riddance.

    So are we in agreement so far? I honestly don’t think that we’re that far apart in terms of our feelings about the threat of radical Islam. Where I think we differ is in terms of our assessment of the level of threat from within. I think that western civilization must be defended — but my point of view is that the crown jewels of western civilization are freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. If we abandon those, then what are we defending?

    Do I want to warn the terrorists before we attack them? No. Do I think we should adhere to our principles in this fight? The principles that make us great? Yes.

    I guess the questions I’d ask the conservatives are these:

    1) Do we need to respect our core values (freedom, democracy, due process, rule of law) during times of war at all or does anything go?

    2) If there is some limit on what’s acceptable, are we anywhere near it now? Can you imagine a scenario that would make you uncomfortable that our nation had “stepped over the line”?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, I’m going to be laughing for months over your remark that I’m the one with the closed mind. Talk about projecting onto other people!

    All I can do is call them as I see them, Christopher. But keep being dismissive. Your preconceptions are, of course, perfect – no need to question them.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’m not Archie, but I’ll answer your questions, Jennifer.

    1) Do we need to respect our core values (freedom, democracy, due process, rule of law) during times of war at all or does anything go?

    Of course, and absolutely. What we do not need to do is to start changing and extending the definition of these things out of a paranoid belief that the administration is out of control. As things stand now, the administration is being taken to task for actions which at any other time would have been largely ignored. There ARE some real points for concern, but making a huge issue out of every minor step into a gray area reduces the effectiveness of the legitimate criticisms that do exist.

    For example, the false reports in the media about abuse at GITMO diminish the effectiveness of serious concerns about the abuse that happened at Abu Ghraib. In the same way, the incredibly trivial FISA issue obscures genuine issues of individual liberty threatened by the Patriot Act.

    The left needs to learn how to pick its fights, find the real issues and focus on them and not go after every single red herring that comes their way. It’s partisan, it’s divisive and it’s counterproductive.

    2) If there is some limit on what’s acceptable, are we anywhere near it now? Can you imagine a scenario that would make you uncomfortable that our nation had “stepped over the line”?

    For me there are very clear lines. When the government does harm or allows harm to be done – especially to innocents – then there is a problem. That’s the absolute ethical divide. The gray area that goes along with that is the everpresent question of whether harm to a few is justified by protecting the many, and that’s well worth debating. But things which the government does which cause no reall harm should not be treated the same as genuinely harmful acts.

    Dave

  • Jennifer Ryan

    Dave,

    Thanks for the answers to my questions. You definitely sound like the kind of guy I could have an interesting discussion / debate with.

    I’m really interested in trying to reach out to conservatives and start some civil conversations about what’s going on in the world these days. I don’t think leaders on either side of the aisle are doing much to raise the level of discourse in this country and as ArchConservative points out, we really are (I think) in a critical time. We need to start listening to each other a little bit — it’s okay (even good) to disagree, but the shrillness and insult hurling from right and left these days is really depressing.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, you sure do call them as you see them. Alas you have the same broad vision as that guy who sealed his family in a fallout shelter for thirty years in that movie “Blast From The Past”.

    That’s why your political “thinking” is one-dimensional, unimaginative and based upon an entirely theoretical understanding of the world.

    As to my preconceptions, if you took the time to get over yourself and your rigid world view, you might notice that I have very few. Believing in stuff too much is nearly always the cause for strife.

    For me, every day is a new day, full of hope for new possibilities, yea, even that you can master the art of joined up thinking one day. I guess that must make me an optimist! Until that happy day arrives, please feel free to keep pounding that intellectual treadmill of yours…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Jennifer, I’m all for dialog, but if you’re willing to talk and I’m willing to talk, we might have fun, but I wonder if we’re really the people who we both want to reach. It’s not those of us who are reasonable who are the problem these days, it’s the folks who are mired in little ideological/defensive niches and refuse to come out or even see the opposition as human.

    I’m hardly a traditional conservative, but if I say one positive thing about the administration or try to present anything from a relatively conservative perspective there are people who will turn on me in an instant and revile me and stereotype me as some sort of paleolithic nutcase just because they assume with the strength of faith that no one could believe in tax cuts or limited government or social security privatization without at the same time having all sorts of other unsavory beliefs.

    Both extremes tend to see the other side as monolithic and marching in lock-step with a single mind, when nothing could be farther from the truth. The diversity on both sides of the political divide is much greater than the ideologues would like to believe.

    Four legs good, two legs bad is the rule of the day.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    For me, every day is a new day, full of hope for new possibilities, yea, even that you can master the art of joined up thinking one day.

    I’m not even sure what that means, but I think that if I did it would scare the hell out of me, and that the fact that you can even use the phrase ‘joined up thinking’ defines why you and I don’t see eye to eye. I’m just not ready to become part of the hive mind, thanks.

    Dave

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Dasve, you sure seem of a mind to keep making a complete nitwit out of yourself and I’m just the chap to help you.

    “Joined up thinking” means that bits of data aren’t isolated but related to other data, just like the web is interlinked. The very fact that this phrase has gone right over your mental barriers against thinking is evidence of what a shuttered and compartmentalised mindset you’re running.

    Nice little dig with the hive mind remark, though of course it’s also completely unrelated to anything I said. Thanks for the further evidence of not one but two of your favourite “techniques” – when looking extremely foolish, either change the subject or attack the source.

    You’re just not ready to use your mind, Dave, so just keep trotting out the surreal conflation of nonsense you believe; its comedic value is high, even if its political insight or even pragmatism is low to absent.