I guess I would considered a "moderate Republican." -
socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I was led to this
site by a good "liberal" (socialist, really -by
her definition not mine!). I was expecting this column to
be very "left leaning" but what a nice surprise
- it's not. That doesn't mean I agree with everything you've
said as I've scanned through your archives but it makes for
an intelligent, lively debate which is pleasantly surprising
- if rare. I have a couple of questions.
1) While I did vote for Bush in the 2000 elections and
would rather not re-live the Florida re-count (yet again!),
don't you think it's time that Democrats everywhere move on?
While I don't agree with the assertions that have been made,
I do believe that if they do want to take back the White House,
Congress and Senate that they need to focus on the present
and quit living in the past.
2) One of my biggest gripes with the Democrats (Dean
especially) has been this obsession that we need to involve
the UN in the handling of Iraq. They have proven (in my view)
over and over again that they were unable or unwilling to
enforce the sanctions of the 1991 Gulf War and Kofi Annan
had once said that Saddam was a man "I could do business with."
While we may disagree on the Iraqi War, the aftermath of the
war, and the insurgency that continues to go on (and some
issues I would agree with you on, I'm sure), I find the UN
to be completely out of its league - especially knowing that
of the 17 members of their new committee on the future of
Iraq, not one is an Iraqi. The UN folded its hands for 12
years while these atrocities were going on and never did a
thing about it.
Thank you for your kind words, although Auntie is a little
miffed at the accusation of not being particularly "left leaning."
Unless perhaps you mean that I'm not actually leaning,
but have firmly established myself in leftwards territory?
If so, thank you! I consider myself highly typical of large
numbers of people who self-identify as being ideologically
to the left. And I think it's a wonderful, meritorious place
to be - progressive, thoughtful, adventurous, altruistic,
pragmatic, visionary, steadfast, sensible, and empathetic.
Now, on to your questions:
First, Auntie disagrees with you that in order to succeed
in the upcoming elections, Democrats must focus on the present.
I think we need to focus on the future, because that is what
matters most: will our children live in a better world than
the one we live in today? While the past four years have resulted
in some terrible damage being done to both the quality of
our world, and the quality of America's democracy, Americans
are most inspired by hope for a better future.
This doesn't mean, however, that we should ignore the past,
or "move on" as you put it. America's freedom - the confidence,
even the very capacity, of our citizens to renew our self-government
as the Constitution provides - was damaged. To many of us,
that is an issue grave beyond the consideration of temporary
political advantage or disadvantage (and it is not only Democrats
who are worried about this, Steve!). While I deplore attempts
to cheapen and exploit this issue from both sides of
the political aisle, I cannot agree that it is something that
can be "moved on" from, without serious examination of how
was allowed to happen, how to keep it from ever happening
again, and how to restore the confidence of all Americans
in our electoral system.
Now, as far as the UN and the reconstruction of Iraq is
concerned, I'm not sure that believing that Saddam Hussein
was someone with whom business could be done necessarily disqualifies
any world leader from being involved in the reconstruction.
It was not all that long ago that Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld
were "doing business" (very profitable business indeed)
with Mr. Hussein, at the very moment he was applying weapons
of mass destruction to his own people. A great many world
leaders have done business with Mr. Hussein (not to mention
other gruesomely brutal tyrants.) While I would love to see
more world leaders allowing their humanitarian ideals to guide
their economic, political, and diplomatic actions, I don't
think we yet have a critical mass of leaders who can exemplify
such a model in practice.
It is Auntie's personal opinion that, regardless of what
help we can arrange from the UN or other nations individually,
the United States and Britain, and we alone, have the primary
responsibility for the reconstruction of Iraq. This is on
the "you break it, you buy it," principle. We are morally
obligated to provide restitution to the people of Iraq for
the damage our war has wrought upon the physical and spiritual
infrastructure of their country.
Having destroyed their (terrible, brutal, and tyrannical
- but functional) infrastructure of domestic order and security,
we are now faced with the insurmountable challenge of trying
to rebuild the entire national infrastructure in an environment
of conflict and chaos. And the Iraqi people have no trust
in our motives or our capacity to abate that conflict and
chaos sufficiently to allow the rest of the rebuilding to
In other words, we're not going to be able to fix what we
broke with bullets whizzing and car bombs exploding. But the
harder we try to control the whizzing bullets and exploding
bombs, the more mistrust we provoke.
We can't clean up the mess until some level of order is
restored, but it should be pretty obvious by now that the
harder we try to restore it, the worse the chaos is going
to get. (Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same
thing over and over, and expecting the results to change?)
The only way we could effectively restore order would be to
reinvent ourselves as Saddam Hussein - brutal, repressive,
and tyrannical (all in the name of "democracy," of course.)
And the economic and moral costs of such an effort, not to
mention the loss of life, would be completely unacceptable.
So we're not the best candidates for restoring order. And
it would be a surpassingly tough challenge for anyone suspected
of being our stooges.
Well, Steve, there's no way anyone could suspect the UN
of being our stooges (unless of course we tie too many strings
to whatever funding we provide them to help us clean up the
Now, it's possible that we could persuade a coalition of
nations not necessarily under the aegis of the UN to take
on the task. But the problem with that is that we have pretty
much blown our budget of any international good will and cooperation
we might be able to apply to building such a coalition diplomatically.
We might, if we wanted to put enough cash into it, be able
to buy such a coalition - but then they, too, would be suspected
of being our stooges, and their task would become impossible.
Auntie is certainly willing to consider other alternatives,
but so far nothing really possible-sounding has surfaced.
So for now, I'm willing to quit living in the past as regards
the UN's abysmal record of enforcing the post-Gulf I sanctions,
and focus on the future. Thanks for asking Auntie Pinko, Steve!
Do you have a question for Auntie Pinko?
Do political discusions discombobulate you? Are you a liberal
at a loss for words when those darned dittoheads babble their
talking points at you? Or a conservative, who just can't understand
those pesky liberals and their silliness? Auntie Pinko has
an answer for everything.
Just send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org,
and make sure it says "A question for Auntie Pinko"
in the subject line. Please include your name and hometown.