December 21st, 2006

Why We Fight

Why We Fight

Last night I watched the documentary “Why We Fight”. Several thoughts came to my mind as I watched it. The following are a few I thought I’d share.

The film starts with a portion of President Eisenhower’s intriguing farewell speech:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States cooperations — corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

This call for restraint reminds me of a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson:

In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

With more and more power being hoarded by the Executive, the balance of power has become unstable. The American people at large are asleep at the wheel, oblivious to the government’s “acquisition of unwarranted influence”. This is supported in the film with a statement by Gore Vidal:

We live here in the United States of Amnesia. No one remembers anything before Monday morning. Everything is a blank. We have no history. (Gore Vidal)

One of the most emphasized themes in the Book of Mormon is the need to remember. We are slow to remember our history, slow to remember Who has delivered us, and slow to remember the evils of men long since forgotten.

This is also demonstrated at the end of Fahrenheit 451, where Guy Montag’s new friends speak of their desire to remember and rebuild after witnessing the destruction of their society:

And when they ask us what we’re doing, you can say, We’re remembering. That’s where we’ll win out in the long run. And someday we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest *** steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. (Fahreinheit 451, p. 451)

We are slow to remember the atrocities of war. We are quick to forget and prone to ignore and excuse the deceit of leaders. Those of us who profess a belief in the Book of Mormon should know something about politicians with hollow promises, deceitful intent, and evil actions. But we don’t remember. We are living in the United States of Amnesia.

This is not about one President or one party. We fight as a nation because we perceive it is in our interest to fight and we then mention words like “freedom” and nice common values… Who can be against freedom? When in fact much more has been going on privately. (Charles Lewis, Center for Public Integrity)

This quote struck me as interesting. Whether it be oil, globalism, domination, or otherwise, there is always another motive behind “why we fight”. But the proles are told, via the propaganda machine, that it’s all about “spreading democracy”, “freedom”, and “liberty”. War is never that simple. Foreign policy is far more convoluted. But to sell it to the public, “nice common values” are stamped as the fundamental principles behind the war.

Today, we don’t have a broad-based American feeling about why we’re fighting in Iraq. People’s confidence in the United States is not what it was fifty years ago. It’s not what it was during World War II.

You know, it’s interesting. “Why We Fight” was actually the title of a series of World War II films that were done by [Frank Capra]. The Frank Capra films, even back then, were propaganda, to kind of build up a war fever. (Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, U.S. Dept. of Defense (ret.))

Propaganda most certainly exists today, bu top-down editorial restrictions have been somewhat snuffed by the advent of the Internet and the rapid dissemination of data to people the world over. The mass media still holds a tight grip on what the vast majority of people see, hear, and learn about current events, but the grip will continue to soften (so long as net neutrality is assured!). For this reason, people have more independent thought and opportunity for dissent. This trend must continue if we are to reverse the detrimental state we are currently in, as Michael Parenti describes:

The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments of the dominant political mythology. (Democracy For the Few)

Indeed, as described above, there most certainly are more reasons for “why we fight” than one-word taglines thrown around to make us feel good about so much death. But given the disparity between the government’s intentions and knowledge and that of the American people, some target is needed to be the object of fear, hatred, and contempt by the public. War cannot receive the support of the people unless there is a person whom they can blame, an object they can wrap their minds around, and a name they can scorn—all creating within them a sense of patriotism for opposing “the enemy”. George Orwell said it best:

Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac. (George Orwell)

Think about all the wars you can. Whom was the enemy? Whom was the provided target? Whom was the excuse for the use of pre-emptive war and military offense? To what ends did we allow our government to go in the cause of deposing “the enemy”? Was the world better off before or after?

The point in many ways, for these guys, wasn’t just to topple Saddam—it was to transform the Middle East. They wanted to take in the U.S. military and go in and shore up American interests in the key area of the world. And that’s their vision. They want to spread democracy around the world on the point of our bayonetts. (Joseph Cirincione, Carnegie Endowment for Peace)

Speaking of bayonetts, the film then shows a clip of Eisenhower reciting his “Chance for Peace” address, wherein he said the following:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. (http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/chance.htm)

Imagine what the world would be like today if we would all work harder to sue for peace. Imagine what prosperity those in poverty would enjoy, if countless trillions of dollars had not been wasted on armaments. Imagine what the population of the world would be if we didn’t all have the barbaric tendency to kill one another. Just imagine…

Today, the United States spends more on defense than on all other discretionary parts of the federal budget combined. (Movie narration)

Sound outrageous? View the death and taxes chart to see for yourself. Take a few deep breaths to counteract the urge to vomit.

President Eisenhower’s concern about the military-industrial complex.. his words have unfortunately come true. He was worried that priorities are set by what benefits corporations as opposed to what benefits the country. (Senator John McCain)

What? Corporations making a profit from war? Absurd, right?

You know, people sometimes think of a defense budget as “you gotta arm the troops, defend the nation”, but for most people that are involved in it you realize this is business—competition for contracts between very large corporations. (Joseph Cirincione, Carnegie Endowment for Peace)

Industry has to have a bottom line that’s black, otherwise their share holders don’t like that. So they have to find ways to interest the government into continuing to buy the product. (Col. Wally Saeger, Director, U.S. Air Force Munitions)

Just as Senator McCain said, the U.S. war machine now serves the interest of private American shareholders and wealthy corporations rather than the peace and prosperity of the U.S. citizen. I don’t think any enlightened individual would dare disagree. The situation gets worse with the intermingling of public and private interests:

All of the top 10 companies had former U.S. officials who had worked in the Pentagon or other parts of the U.S. government on their boards of directors, or as their top executives. It’s known as the “revolving door” and people cash in all the time. Public officials go to work for companies and they make triple, quadruple, ten times (sometimes) as much money as they used to make in public service.

The number one recipient of contracts was Vice President Cheney’s former company Halliburton, and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, & Root. (Charles Lewis, Center for Public Integrity)

The privatization of the war machine is all the more telling in light of financial aspect:

The defense budget is 3/4 of a trillion dollars. Profits went up last year well over 25%. I guarantee you, when war becomes that profitable, you’re going to see more of it. (Chalmers Johnson, CIA 1967-73)

Or how about a little propaganda?

Between 2002 and 2003, the Pentagon spent $1.2 billion on advertising intended to increase recruitment. (Movie narration)

Well I’m cutting it short here. The second half of the documentary completely enthralled me and I lost all desire to continually pause the film while transcribing the quotes. If you’re at all interested in the history and pretense of war I highly recommend getting a copy of the film. Or come borrow mine. :)

66 Responses to “Why We Fight”

  1. Kelly Winterton
    December 21, 2006 at 10:38 am #

    Christ’s message is one of peace on earth. Satan’s message is the buying up of armies and navies to oppress with blood and horror on the earth. When we realize that the military budget of the US is larger than the combined military budgets of all the rest of the nations on earth, one has to ask if Satan is behind it all. I read somewhere that for the price we are currently spending in Iraq alone, that same amount of $ would be sufficient to end world hunger. If I had a vote, I would rather my tax dollars to go to world hunger instead of to the killing of innocents in Iraq. Just think of the good we could do in the world if our military budget were instead directed to peaceful endeavors.

  2. Chris
    December 21, 2006 at 10:41 am #

    Glad I recommended it. Sounds like you got your monies worth. Brilliant post!

  3. Dan
    December 21, 2006 at 10:46 am #

    We fight because we don’t know how to live in peace.

  4. Curtis
    December 21, 2006 at 11:41 am #

    Nice post Connor,
    Very thoughtfully written. Of course you are preaching to the Choir with me.

    This flick can be seen for free online at:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8494.htm

    I’d also recommend highly the documentary entitled, “War is Sell.” It talks alot about the propaganda machine in the US for war. My favorite part is the part about the Kuwaiti ambassador to Canada’s daughter faking her testimony (coached by a PR agent) about how Iraqi soldiers were taking babies out of incubators. This can also be seen for free at:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14800.htm

  5. The Silent Observer
    December 21, 2006 at 2:32 pm #

    I was under the impression that Defense spending was not the largest federal expenditure. According to this:

    http://www.federalbudget.com/

    that distinction belongs to the Dept. of Health and Human Services. I looked at the Death and Taxes graph, but it baffled me.

    The main problem I have with this documentary and others like it is that it points out a significant problem (viz. the military industrial complex) but offers exactly zero alternatives. The government could build its own weapons, but taking the competition of private defense contractors out of the equation would only increase the costs and reduce efficiency. The M-I-C has its problems, but I don’t see any other way to get the job done.

  6. Curtis
    December 21, 2006 at 2:55 pm #

    Silent,

    I think that using the MIC while not being beholden to them is probably the best way to go. Right now, those who sit on the boards of weapons producing companies are also embedded in government and are also sitting on the boards of major media outlets. Thus, the thought goes, the MIC has a lot of say in our war adventures and in stirring the public up to a furor over our enemies via our favorite propaganda outlets. I’d say that’s a fairly accurate assessment.

  7. The Silent Observer
    December 21, 2006 at 3:17 pm #

    Curtis, I believe those claims are unsubstantiated. For example, “Why We Fight” tries to make a big deal of the Dick Chainey’s ties to Halliburtons, but the best they can come up with is some disgruntled ex-Air Force Pentagon employee chica saying that the VP didn’t have to explicitly make arrangements to award his former company the contracts, because it was just expected. Whatever.

    Also, I think you can hardly characterize the media at any point as “stirring up furor” for the war. The people who run the outlets are nauseatingly biased against the war, with the possible exception of Fox News.

  8. Curtis
    December 21, 2006 at 5:00 pm #

    Silent,
    As far as unsubstantiated claims goes, you’d have to look into the history of who profits from war and how the same people are in charge of running the propaganda campaigns to manufacture the consent of the masses. A great exzmple of this is the pro-war Seattle Times in the runup to Gulf-War 1. Raytheon owned 49% of the paper. Raytheon was the producer of the Patriot missile. The Times wrote editorials only promoting the war. Raytheon makes big bucks from government use of its weapons.

    This sort of thing has been documented for a long time now. I’d also recommend a pamphlet written by General Smedley Butler entitled, “War is a Racket”. It can be found online here:

    http://lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

    Sorry to “hand out homework”, but this guy was the most decorated soldier of his time. and was well acquainted with the secret combinations that profited from the wars and the real reasons that we went to war… even in his era of WWI.

    Of course some of the classic works on this subject are from Noam Chomsky with works such as, “Manufacturing Consent”, “Necessary Illusions”, and, “Deterring Democracy.”

    Oh, and one more proof that I’ve really been amazed by lately is John Perkins’, “Confessions of an Economic Hitman.” Look up his interview with Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now,” in 2004 and it will give you a nice overview of the book that will blow your mind.

    As far as the media coverage of this war… in the beginning they shamed investigative reporting and obediently reported the official line from DC and nothing else. There was no serious opposition to the war in the media then while there was plenty to oppose. Now that it has become popular to criticize Bush, there is a different tune. However, there is a new enemy to go after in the press right now. There is practically no voice in opposition to the prospect of some sort of military action against Iran in the media. Again, an obedient media with ties to major corporations that are going to gain big bucks in a war with Iran, have blood on their hands. Again, there is plenty to oppose if you look for your sources outside of the government.

  9. Ken Larson
    December 21, 2006 at 7:15 pm #

    There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

    I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

    If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”

    http://www.rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com

    The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

    How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def.Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

    Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

    From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

    This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

    This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

    We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

  10. Grant Cox
    December 22, 2006 at 7:15 am #

    to all those that think america can save the world from hunger, read this.
    “We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”
    if you guessed, as i did, that this is a G.W. Bush quote you would be wrong. those are JFK’s words in his 1960 presidential address to the nation.

  11. Curtis
    December 22, 2006 at 9:45 am #

    Grant,
    And your point is? Kennedy was also a war-monger. HIs secret bombing of South Vietnam sort of showed that there was no doubt that he was employing our arms bigtime. But, as Ken points out above, he was probably just going along with the establishment.

  12. Kelly Winterton
    December 22, 2006 at 10:06 am #

    OK Grant, you can buy guns with your excess money, and I will buy food storage.

  13. Grant Cox
    December 23, 2006 at 4:08 am #

    mypoint is simple. liberals hold JFK upto be some shinning light of democracy, and as curtis claims, was simply going along with the establishment. my question is this. What kindof president simply goes along with the establishment? he is no better than bush, clinton, kerry, or any other politician. he was a lying scumbag who was in love with his own image, and the poster boy for the left.

    to kelly:
    what good will your food do in the sudan? or in the east block. food wont stop the viscous from killing the innocent. only well intended free people with guns can stop them.

    i am on your side, i say every day what a waste of money and life world conflict is. that doesnt change the fact that ther will always be evil,power hungry people. you can stand upto them in kind, your you can cower before their might. i would rather have the united states free the world from tyranny rather than live under its iron thumb. if you think cansof soup and loaves of bread will stay the hand of the wicked, you have a lot to learn about the world. maybe someday the world you are dreaming about will exist, and i will rejoice, but it isnt today and it wont be tomarrow. unfortunatley.

  14. Kelly Winterton
    December 23, 2006 at 12:48 pm #

    Grant, I understand your point, but I really wanted to make the comparison that equivalent amounts of money could possibly 1) create the fiasco we now see in Iraq, or 2) could buy enough food for the planet. It is astounding to make a comparison like that. I then wanted to express my preference, IF that amount of tax dollars MIGHT by spent, where I’d rather it be spent. However, which ever choice of those two might be made, either choice is merely “trusting in the arm of flesh,” not trusting in the mercies and judgement of God because of our keeping of the commandments. I happen to be of a different mind than you, I perceive, in that I believe a military should ONLY be for defense, NEVER for offense as it is right now being used for (Pre-emptive war is NOT supported by scripture or Church doctrine).

  15. Curtis
    December 23, 2006 at 2:48 pm #

    Grant,
    Curtis didn’t claim Kennedy was just going along with the establishment. That was what Ken Larson showed us above in comment #9. Read it to find out more of what he told us. It’s quite educational in my humble opinion.

    Noone is defending Kennedy here. As you know, he bombed South Vietnam for years before the official start of the war with the fake Tonkin incident. Partisan politics are not much of a part of the discussion when it comes to war in this country. Each party tries to show how much tougher they are than the other and the wars still happen no matter if liberals or conservatives are in power.

  16. Grant Cox
    December 23, 2006 at 5:28 pm #

    kelly,
    thats good that you dont what to start any war, but yourlogic is flawed, unfortunatley. when you waitfor an enemyto attack youyouget what we had in world war two. no one wanted to start another war, undertandably. but when you allow an opposing powerto gain more and more power, fortefiying theirpositions you get battleslike the normandy invasion. 10,000 casualties in a single day.no one wants that. i wish that more people thought like you, but they dont. Our military should be used for defence, but everyones, not just ours. I see it as americas obligation to see that evil governments dont go unchecked for too long. If we didnt use our great power for great good we wouldnt be the americans that we are. People in other parts of the world can say a lotof thins about america, some true, some not true. one thing has always been true, the american people have always been on the side of good, we dont cheer for the underdog, we fight for them. i understand that our cultures clash when we do, but the goalof freeing and education the worldspoor is and undertaking that we can and should be proud of. fear of failure is not agood reason for not trying to help people, as always, the effort is as important as the outcome. if you remember,we did try something like you are saying, remember food for oil. we gave them food, they gave us oil,sounds great doesnt it. as usual corrupt, dishonest thieves take the food, turn it into money, and pocket it. we gave iraq food for a decade, their government used those resources to make themselves stronger militarily, not feed thier people. “maybe if we worked a little harder we would make a difference.” that is a quote by george orwell, in animal farm. he wasoutlining the working class mentality. we are willing to work hard and do good things, the problem is that bad people exploit our willingness to killourselves for the greater good, to achieve their own ends.

    my apologies to curtis, and i think we are on the same page. the point i was trying to make is that hisotry judges us all. kennedy did what he thought was right, like our current president is doing. you keepbringing up vietnam, so letstalk about it. was it realy so badto try and give the south vietnamese people the choice between capitalism and communism? we went half way around the world so that it could be their decision. by their unwillingness to stand and fight with us, they made their choice. just like the iraqi people are doing now. if they wanted free enterprise they would have faught with us, evidently they did not want free enterprise. once again that was their choice. if you look at the events of the vietnem war you will see that oncew it was clear that they were simply riding the fence, waiting to see who won,westoped our offensive actions and tookon a defensive role. which eventually led to our withdrawl from the conflict. the whole point of this soap-box preaching is that politicians do their best. the problem is that their best, meaning people who want to be in politics, isnt very good. we havent had a very good president for a long time. what they have been good at is trying to make a name for themselves. in that undertaking, they were successful. but their name has become self-oriented, and uneffectual. you can look at every president in the 20th century and point out the bad things they put into action. i am not terribly familiar with the very earlyu 20th century, but starting with the 20’s: hoover ushered in the great depression, roosevelt implemented publis help programs such as welfare, and social security which are both horribly flawed. truman allowed he nameof dead american soldiers to de disgraced in france. men who faught for french freedom were asked to vacate their country, and take their dead with them. Eisenhower was a pretty good president, but he also took part inthe red scare an blacklisting. kennedy, was a womanizer who allowed the western block countries to be dominated and oppressed byt he soviet union. LBJ tured the vietnam conflict into a war of attrition. i dont think i need mention nixons flaws. ford was just a talking head, and did very little, goodor bad. carter gave away the panama canal and allowed the takingof U.S. hastages in Iran. reagon continued to build our miltary while allowing aflictions such as aids to proliferete, why, because ther vast majority of aids cases were poor. Bush Sr. did very little. clinton signed nafta and the brady bill into law, along with lying to the american public, under oath. and here we are. Bush Jr., no better, but no worse. American presidents willalways be judges harshly. i think this is because the dreams of the american people are so grand, and idealistic. they are probably impossible to achieve, but that doesnt mean we shouldnt try to achieve them. a world without hunger is a hell of a goal, but americans dont see why it cant be possible, i dont think any other country in the world could look at a problem like world hunger, then seriously consider how we as a single country can solve it. so iguess my point is this. dont look down your noses at conservative people, they want what you want. they just see a different solution. i willlisten to your arguement about this country, becauseyou are an american and should question our leaders. but i will not listen to foreign socialists put this country down.when they have done as much for this world as the united states then i will listen to their suggestions. If you are going to talk about solving world problems, belly up to the bar and make the investment. ideas are cheap, and action costs more than money, it costs lives.

  17. Curtis
    December 24, 2006 at 12:38 am #

    Grant,
    I’m sorry, I don’t really accept the ‘noble but clumbsy leader’ hypothesis of our past presidents.

    First of all though, the bringing of the choice of capitalism vs. communism to South Vietnam question. I don’t think that is what we were doing there. History shows that we essentially installed a corrupt ruler there in Diem, under whom capitalism had its free reign. Poor land renters had to pay 80% of their income to rent and had nothing left for themselves. The people were starving while rice was sitting in huge silos going bad. About 75,000 political opponents were jailed under Diem, who put his family and friends into high positions in the government. The Vietnamese said enough is enough and decided to free up the rice for the starving people. Ho Chi Minh led this effort and the people saw the benefits of socialism over capitalism in that they were able to stay alive under socialism while capitalism had them unable to feed their starving children.

    Kennedy started bombing South Vietnam… not the North, where the communists had hold. He did this because he was bombing the poor civilians to keep them from rebelling against Diem and going to Minh’s side. This went on for years and when the war was officially begun, the North was finally bombed as well, but the South (remember, these were supposed to be the good guys) was bombed at about a 3-fold rate. During the late 60’s we also began a secret bombing campaign in Cambodia and dropped more tonnage on that country alone than all of the allies dropped in all of WWII. We destroyed that nation and prepared the atmosphere for Pol Pot to take control and start his killing fields. We killed upwars of 3 million people in Vietnam, and as many as 600,000 in Cambodia. This is what we call giving them a choice between communism and capitalism?

    Sorry, I can’t go along with that.

    Now, I do think that the presidents are mostly figure heads and that those who are really making the decisions are those that we don’t really see much of such as the M.I.C. etc… those who are always there no matter who is in power. However, you’ve got to increase the list of sins presided over by the presidents of this century quite a bit. Every president has blood on his hands and every president since WWII would probably be hung by Nuremburg standards. If you want me to elaborate I will, but I really must be getting my daughter to bed now. Good night.

  18. Kelly Winterton
    December 25, 2006 at 12:49 am #

    Wow Grant! you write:

    “I see it as americas obligation to see that evil governments dont go unchecked for too long. If we didnt use our great power for great good we wouldnt be the americans that we are. ”

    Apparently you feel USA should be the world’s cop. I disagree with you 100%.

    You write: “one thing has always been true, the american people have always been on the side of good, we dont cheer for the underdog, we fight for them.”

    Apparently you believe that we Americans always wear the white hats. I believe you have been deceived.

    You write: “if you remember,we did try something like you are saying, remember food for oil. we gave them food, they gave us oil,sounds great doesnt it.”

    You need to study up on the oil for food stuff. We should be giving them food and water and electricity and security right now, but we’re not – – we just keep making it worse for them. Instead, we just take their oil from them without giving them any food in exchange. You apparently feel it is possible for USA to solve the problem of evil in other countries’ governments, yet you in the same breath suggest it is NOT possible to solve hunger problems.

    9/11 was an inside job, even worse than Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt knew well in advance the attack was coming, and let it happen anyway. Study up a bit on Gulf of Tonkin and the Northwoods documents. Ditto with Cheney and his complicity with 9/11. We do NOT wear white hats.

  19. Grant Cox
    December 25, 2006 at 4:05 am #

    kelly
    i will trytokeep this short, but often times my feelings are as complicated as the issues.
    you do not want to see america as the worlds police, but if wedont, who will? if you aregoing to say the UN, save your breath. the UN is the most unaffectual organization in the world. The UN coulddo alotof good, if their threats were not so hollow. we put trade sanctions on countries that wont comply UN decisions, then members of the security council(China, Russia) as well as other prominent members of the UN trade witht he sanctioned countries under the table. they pretend to work with the other members of the UN, but undermine the few actions the the organization are willing to take.
    regarding food for oil. you are right,weshould still be giving them all the supplies they need, but how do we ensure they get it. when governments like North Korea and the former Iraqi government, take evrything from their people, including foreign aid. in that same breath, we have international leaders like Kofi Annan that claim to be humanitarians, but line theirpockets while they are in power. i dont think the goal of ending world hunger is impossible to achieve, just impossible while people like him are in charge.
    now you go on to accuse FDR, oneof america’s truly unselfish leaders of conspiracy and murder. i assume you are refering the radio transmissions recieved about japanese carrier activity just prior to the attack at pearl harbor. Have you ever heard of the military strategy of misinformation. if you have studied these events as you say, asi have, you would certainly come across it at least a few times. every government used misinfrmation and still do, it is just alot harder now, becauseof our supremely advanced telecom satilites. Was FDR a fortune teller, could he see the future and verify the authenticity of those transmissions? of course he couldnt. and neither could you.
    Yes, i have heardof the gulf of tonkin, is that where the U.S.S maddox was sunk of the coast of south vietnam in 1965? dont assume that i am ignorant of americas falsehoods and outright lies. i dont believe weshoudl dwell on what we cannot change, i think we should learn from those mistakes.
    your are right, wedo not wear white hats. they dont let people playing the game make the rules. we just play the game as best as we can. little girls are not made of sugar and spice, and niether is the world. the world runs on money and blood, our money and our blood.
    I say again, the world will not take care of itself. you cant beat an opponent that doesnt play by the rules, they just cheat. so when you are faced with an opponent that doesnt play by the rules of the white hats(the UN) you have two options. you can choose the lesser of two evils and break the rules to stop them, or you can take your ball and go home. how does taking our ball and going home help the starving and the oppressed? if you can show me a way in which we can help them and not get involved, i am all ears.
    With great power comes great responsibility, it soundslike you would rather not have the power, maybe you are scared of making a mistake. mistakes will be made, murphy’s law if you will. when you add up all the good we have done, and then subtract all the mistakes we have made, you will see that we are still in the positive.

    i will leave you with these parting words. those witht he power to change things have the obligation to do something. where is the dignity in not trying?

    sorry, i did try to keep it short, i just never works out that way.

    to curtis
    wedid not design the government of south vietnem, even though we did install a currupt leader. charging 80% for land usage was not our idea, if you can prove it was, then tell me where and how.
    moving on to the bigger issue, democracy. giving a foreign people the ability and right to elect their own leaders is the only solution to currupt puppet gov’ts. when apeople begin electing thier own leaders, the curruptionbecomes their fault. wepick the wrong guy in diem, but he was the only man who could have dont he job, all other possibilites were too weak to stand up to foreign pressure. i have no doubts that we will be blamed for a corrupt iraqi government in the distant future. i should have said that it was a choice between a democratic captialism and a communist system in which there is only one candidate. Mao was unanimously elected how many times? every one voted for him because they would have been killed otherwise.
    also killing all those people in south east asia is exactly what i call giveing them a choice. they chose their side, and we faught for the people who didnt want what communism. If you had been in south east asia in the late sixties you would know that the people were not prevented from getting rice from the stockpiles. we did require that you be a citizen of south vietnam however. giving your enemy the resources they needto defeat you is no way to win a war.
    please elaborate when it is a better time, but before you do consider this. we all have blood on our hands. every time you see a starving child on the TV in africa but dont pick up the phone and donate money. you will say that you have your own kids to worry about, you are absolutly right. raising kids is a 24/7 job, its never done. I have only one question, why do they keep having kids if they cannot afford to feed them. why do they have to tug a my heart string and make me feel guilty for being responsible with my money and my children?
    you say that you dont believe in the ‘noble but clumbsy leader’. who do you believe in? If youthink Ho chi Mihn or Mao, or Stalin, or Kim Jung Ill or any other socialist leader who “cares about their people.” curruption was around a long time before america, and it will still be their when america is gone. If all the peole of asia wanted communism so bad, why did the governments of those countries have to put down rebellions with bloody results. you alos refer to 600,000 killed in cambodia, would it have been better to let Pol Pot kill those people instead” ifyou recall he killed about 1.5 million of his own people, but i am sure they loved him for it. americans on the other hand, can rot in hell according to them.

    good luck with those bright ideas about sugar cane dreams and gum drop smiles all around the world. that is all they are, dreams. you jump from one fight to the other. and by the time you get done helping one group of people. another group of people has allowed some tyrannt to take over thier country. they beg the UN for help, then complain about the manner in which we provide it. it is easy to sit in your lazy boy and ask why they dont just take the food we give them and stop fighting. because they are uneducated, and will never be able to see a tyrannt coming as long as they are ignorant. we could send teachers to those places to fix that problem. but what happens when they start getting killed because the region is unstable. well, we get sick of hearing about people doing humanitarian gtting killed. so we go in to protect those people, and you sit in you lazy boy an complain about a different war, in a different country, but the same complaints. We are evil, opressive, power hungryimperialist who just want to take all their resources an kill all their people. when the war start because we triedto educate the population. there has never been a tyrannt who wanted an educated people to oppress.

    you can sit up in your ivory tower and pretend that you are any better that the people you oppose, but you arent,you are the same. you inaction is no different than their misguided mistakes.

  20. Grant Cox
    December 25, 2006 at 4:10 am #

    to every one who thinks america is the greatest evil in the world

    there will coem a day when you will wish you had done alittle evil to do a great good. no one wants to shoos e the lesser of two evils. i think that courage is not ignoring those decisions. courage is looking the devil in the eye and damning your own soul to save others dont have to.

  21. fontor
    December 25, 2006 at 8:48 am #

    I thought this was a terrific post, and it leaves me with the impression that Connor is a sensible guy with keen insight.

    That impression will last just until Connor’s next post about sex or Ayn Rand. :)

    Will check out the movie though. Eisenhower was a legend.

    Grant: We have a habit of thinking that the evil we do is in the service of some greater good. Unfortunately, we’re not always very good at realising that it’s actually just evil. Cause we’re just so gosh darn good and all.

  22. Curtis
    December 25, 2006 at 11:37 pm #

    Ah, Grant. You don’t see the hypocrisy here? You say that the Vietnam war was good because we were able to give the people a chance to choose between “Communism and Capitalism.” Let me get this straight. We need to bomb a country to hell and kill 2-4 million people in order to provide that choice for them?

    Usually, choices between economic systems or different kinds of governments are made by voting at the ballot box. The Geneva Conference of 1954 provided for this. Vietnam was to be partitioned until 1956 at which time an election was to take place and the people would be allowed to choose for themselves between different types of government.

    In 1955 the US flew Diem in from New Jersey (no less) and installed him as the dictator of South Vietnam whose greatest delight was nepotism and the destruction of his political enemies. (The US didn’t tell him to charge high rents to the poor renters, it was a natural consequence of a system which did not protect the poor, a capitalist system that never allowed the poor to compete).

    The US and Diem knew that if there were free elections the communists would win. Therefore, the US and Diem BLOCKED THE PEOPLE’S CHANCE TO CHOOSE between “capitalism and communism,” by not implementing the Geneva Conference decisions.

    You say we picked the wrong man in Diem, but what were we doing picking anyone at all in the first place? Obviously that was the job of the Vietnamese people.

    There was no doing-a-little-evil-so-that-there-could-be-a-good-outcome-in-the-end here at all. Killing 3 million people is not considered on the small side things as far as evil actions go.

    You say that the peoples of Southeast Asia rebelled against communism, but I tell you that people rebelled for the most part against their corrupt leaders, be they communist or capitalist or whatever. Communism, or what should more appropriately be called Socialism, was not the subject of the people’s ire. In fact, when applied democratically, socialism is supported by people as they see the obvious benefits from socialism as we see in Europe and especially currently in Venezuela, where the socialist democrat Chavez won in a landslide earlier this month, by a bigger margin than any US president has won since 1824.

    As far as Pol Pot goes, recent studies show that Pol Pot would never have been able to take control of the government of Cambodia were it not for the conditions created by the US bombing of Cambodia which absolutely devastated the country. Before the bombing, Pol Pot commanded a ragtag band of about 10,000. By the time we finished bombing them, he controlled 200,000. If it were not for the US bombing of Cambodia… there would likely never have been any killing fields.

    Interestingly, when Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978 to stop Pol Pot’s atrocities, the US condemned the invasion and lent support to Pol Pot’s government.

    Grant, you said, “courage is looking the devil in the eye and damning your own soul to save others dont have to.”

    Need I comment? It is obvious that you are fine with doing stuff so horrible that you will go to hell, as long as the corrupt leaders you trust in tell you that it is for the good of the people we are killing.

    It is sad, but you probably represent a large part of the US populace.

  23. Grant Cox
    December 26, 2006 at 5:42 am #

    curtis
    you assumptions regarding my willingness to evil could not be more correct. i do not fear going to hell, i am the way god made me. If thier is a heaven and a hell as you evidently believe, where is it. The only thing that matter is the actions we choose, and how history remembers us. there is not going to be an everlasting reward for youor me. whatever happens after we die has nothing to do with what we did when alive. by your logic it was wrong to defeat the nazis, at a cost of 50 million lives. should we have acceptd their domination to avoid war? We were giving the people of europe a choice between freedom and fascist nazism. was it worth 50 million dead? If you think that a war against the Nazis and the japanese was so much more moral, i would like to know why. the nazis never attacked us, they never even threatend us with war, until we declaired war on them. also, to clearify, i never said that the vietnam war was good. it accomplished nothing, and was an utter waste of life. if we had won i would not be so down on the vietnam era americans. I know you cant understand this, but i believe that the ends justify the means. You dont believe in this country or its wars because you are too buisy asking what’s in it for you. you talk ofpeace and living in harmony but youdo nothing to see these goals through. you sit at home and hope that someone else does it for you. if america is so evil and needs to be stopped why dont you join the enemy and stop us. because you are all talk. stand up for what you believe in. dont just sit in the back and talk shit, stand up and be counted if that is how you feel. or are you too much of a coward to follow your feelings. it sounds like you have some very stong feeling against “american oppression.”
    sadly i think that a large portion of this country thinks like you, and it will be our downfall.
    great men like thomas jefferson and george washington created this country so that our people would have a say in their own future. people like you have turned their dream of a republic into a bastardized version of democracy. a country that cares more about the worlds opinion of us rather than our own opinion of right and wrong, it makes me sick.
    before you jumpon the iraq wara nd say they never attacked us i willbroach it. yes they did. we are not fighting a country in the middle east, we are fighting a groupof religous fanatics. islamic fundamentalism has no country of origin, they go where they want, when they want. if their own people will not stop them, then is say that it does not concern them what wedo to stop them. 9/11 is as much the fault of innocent civilians in that region as it was the terrorists. why dont american fanatics start killing all the islamic people in ameirca who stand against us, because we would not allow them to. they on the other hand could care less what is done to americans, an i feel the same about them. If your headisburriedto far up your own assto see that theni feel sorry for your family, for their patriarch has not backbone, and will not protect them. you are the meak, and who will protect you once you have alienated all the storng men. the saying, “the meak shall inherit the earth” is correct. not because they are better, but because the strong will have been so sickend by you cowardess rhetoric that they will stop defending the weak and leave you to your own devises. i fearfor the futureof the western world when that happens, for the east does not think that way. pity and compassion are not virtues in the eastern mentality, they are weaknesses to be exploited. i will not feel sorry for anyone who would gladly open my throught given the oppretunity. to continue the philosophical/religous
    discussion, i have a question. you feelsorryforour enemy, but what about the enemiesof god, if he does exist. the bible is a bit one sided, wouldnt you say? do you even care what the “devil” has to say? no, you dont. you have been so convinced of his evility that you wouldnotlisten, given the oppretunity. maybe it was the devils intention to free mankind from the oppression of man. youwont hear that from gods camp,of that i can assure you. the truth is,you want to be indoctrinated, that way you dont have to make any decisions for yourself. you can sit on your high horse and blame everyone else for the mistakes they made.
    to sum up my arguement. god will not save you, he has washed his hands of this world. the future will be of our making, not some invisible man in the sky. and if there is a god and a day of judgement, we will be judged according to his laws not our own sense of morality. dont pretend to know the mind of the creator, you cannot know it. even if it was possible, you head would be too deep in the sand to heed his call. but by all means keep riding that fence and wait for the fighting to stop, but knwo this. whoever comes out on top will hate you. because you would not fight along side them. they will know your lies and falsehoods for what they are, a desperate attempt to save yourown life. forpeoplelike you would say and agreeto anythingto avoid a confrontation.i for one would rather die than bow my head to some foreign despot and beg his mercy. to each his own i guess. if you prefer a slavery over death, that is you own perogitive. but dont look down on those who will not live with your shame, they know that there are other world than these. and they dont fear their passage into thenext, whatever it may be.

  24. Grant Cox
    December 26, 2006 at 5:46 am #

    i forgot to mention
    you said that choices aremadein the ballot box, what happens when the government desides they dont like the way their people think. or rather,dont trust to the good sens eof the people. ifyou are refering to elections like the ones held in china or korea, then you are as blind as your are high and mighty. how do you respect and election that is held at gunpoint? what kind of democracy only has room for one cannidate?

  25. fontor
    December 26, 2006 at 6:35 am #

    Grant:

    You speak of cowardice. It was not bravery that got us into Iraq. It was cowardice.

    A cowardly president who’d dodged the opportunity to serve in Vietnam, and who didn’t dare play it straight with the American people on Iraq because he knew they’d never go along if the facts were known.

    A cowardly press who didn’t dare to hold a president accountable.

    And above all, a cowardly American public who were happy to go to war with anybody as long as it made them feel safer about terrorism. I have never seen a bigger bunch of pants-wetters than the ‘they’re-coming-to-kill-us-all’ American conservatives that populate the blogosphere. Just mention 9/11 to them and their testicles fall off. I’m talking about you, Grant. This is the group that enabled Iraq and allowed 2,800+ brave men and women to die in a senseless and counter-productive conflict.

    The brave thing to do is believe in the principles that made America strong: freedom of (or from) religion, the rule of law, and the assumption of innocence. From reading your comments, I can see that you don’t believe in any of these. You are a Coward, Coward, Coward. You advocate killing American Muslims. You’d take your imagined safety over American principles any day, even if the price is the blood of other Americans.

    You are weak.

  26. Grant Cox
    December 26, 2006 at 8:59 am #

    fontor
    i am sorry for the misunderstanding, but i never advocated the killing of american muslims, i asked why we do not if that is what we want. i then go on to say that we would never allow the killing of american citizens, no matter their religion. i was pointing out the difference between our cultures. There is no room for western secularism in an islamic world. their leaders wish us either dead or converted, when it comes to that subject to them there is no middle ground. i understand why you would misquote me, your arguements would not have made sense if you would have actually spoken to what i said. let me quote it in its enitrety.
    ” why dont american fanatics start killing all the islamic people in ameirca who stand against us, because we would not allow them to.”

    you see, i say “…we would not allow them to.” you see how that makes your arguement irrelevent. the second half of the sentence is pretty important, it makes the whole point. seperating the fanatic arguement from logical thought. then again, argueing is so much easier when you dont listen to the other side, just put words in their mouths and you cant go wrong. i would never advocate the killing of an american who did not already commit such a crime. you people hear what you want to hear, and image whatever suits your mood. and why did you bring Pres. Bush into the arguement, you wont offend me by berating him, i am one of his most steadfast opponenets. i have no love of any politician, they all serve their own interests. and i am not in fear of my safety, because i know that safety is an illusion. If you think you are safe, you are dillusional. you are not in any danger from terrorism, anymore than i am. you are in danger of dying at any moment, i dont care what the circumstances are.

    you call the american public “pants-wetters” well lets discuss that.
    which group or pants-wetters are you refering to. the ones that are afraid of what the rest of the world thinks,or the ones who are afraid that of they do nothing it will only get worse?

    you say:
    ” The brave thing to do is believe in the principles that made America strong: freedom of (or from) religion, the rule of law, and the assumption of innocence.”
    I dont see anything in here about action, just a belief in some invisible principles. andwe should believe in them, because they are the greatest principles. but what good will they do you when a ruthless enemy is at you gate?
    —————————————————-

    now here is the real me talking, not some polarized opinion.

    i play the devils advocate because no one else on this site will. i have yet to hear anyone disagree with your opinion. all i have heard is the same opinion expressed in different words. if i didnt know better i would think that you are all the same person. l dont care what you think of me, or the spin that can be put on my words. i know what i believe and what i am made of. i do believe in all of those things you talked about, i believe in them deeply. i just want people to see that beliefe and faith are not enough. you can believe in freedom and still have it taken from you. believing in justice is not the same as serving justice. i believe in all peoples inalienable right to live their lives as they see fit. but if i do nothing to gaurantee them that right, does it really matter what i believe?

    i have an unassuming question for you, and i am genuinly interested in your respose. you say i would take my imagined saftey over american principles. what would you do to make america more safe and secure? Pres. Bush claims that he believes to make america safeyou have to take the fight to the enemey. if you disagree with that, which i think fairly likely, what would you suggest. i am not suggesting that war is the only answertoour safety, i just havent heard any other possibilities that will work. not to say that war is working, i agree that we are not any safer. i just dont see what you have in mind.

    at the end of your reply you say that i would have safety at the price of american blood. the price for safety has always been blood. once again i wish that you could give me an alternative, an alternative that will work mind you. Put some thought into it, dont just give me the standard response, do some of your own thinking.

    i wish the islamic world all the best, but i dont want my kids fighting a war again in 20 years either, when it will be their problem and not ours. that is the “conundrum” if you will. do we wait and hope they just leave us alone. or do we make sure that they leave us alone, by trying to give them a prosperous country of their own? i will grant you the firsti by far the easier, and amybe more attractive solution, but not the best. the later is by far the uglier, and no the best. but i believ the the later offers both our people the only true chance for peace and prosperity.

    i am serious when i say i look forward to your alternative stategies. it will be interesting to see if you have any ideas of your own.

    and the next time you are going to quote me, please take it directly from the text. at least then you will be debating with some integrity. dont be like the media. people dont need to be told what to think using misdirection and half-truths. just give it to them strait,let them make their own conclusions.

  27. Kelly Winterton
    December 26, 2006 at 12:20 pm #

    Wow, I think Grant may be smoking something.

  28. thomas
    December 26, 2006 at 1:48 pm #

    I think you are probably right, he couldn’t be farther from the truth in most cases. He is right when he says you all sound like the same person.
    He is wrong to think that war is ever the answer, but not doing anything isn’t any better. Being a war monger makes you wrong, being a pacifist makes you a burden. If people did things for themselves the rest of the world would be able to just mind their own buisness.

    War hasn’t worked in the middle-east, i think we can all agree on that. Diplomacy hasn’t worked either though.
    I don’t think he is as stupid as you all think, he just sees the world from a different perspective.

    Grant
    it is easy toget frustrated and turn to violence to solve big problems. In the end, it just makes more problems. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the rest of the world.not everyone can be and think like Americans.

  29. Curtis
    December 27, 2006 at 2:46 am #

    Grant:
    “by your logic it was wrong to defeat the nazis, at a cost of 50 million lives. should we have acceptd their domination to avoid war?”

    You’re not following my logic at all buddy. There is no comparison between the Nazis that were out to conquer the world apparently, and the North Vietnamese who had nothing to do with conquering the world… but were more interested in disposing of a wicked tyrant in South Vietnam. Your comparison has no validity, and I never gave my opinion on WWII.

    Grant:
    “I know you cant understand this, but i believe that the ends justify the means.”

    I understand that this is the argument made by our current leaders who imagine they are doing the world a favor with their malignant means (when they are actually making the world a pretty sad place… now and in the future), and of course I don‘t accept such a dishonorable principle.

    Grant:
    “You dont believe in this country or its wars because you are too buisy asking what’s in it for you. you talk ofpeace and living in harmony but youdo nothing to see these goals through. you sit at home and hope that someone else does it for you.“

    Wow. You sure do know a lot about me here Grant. I have no need to defend myself here. If you want to know what I do for my country and for my brothers and sisters on this rock you can ask me some other time.

    Grant:
    “if america is so evil and needs to be stopped why dont you join the enemy and stop us. because you are all talk. stand up for what you believe in. dont just sit in the back and talk”

    America is not evil. The powers that be are another story. I fight against them thru various means. Talk is often much more effective than the sword.

    Grant:
    “before you jumpon the iraq wara nd say they never attacked us i willbroach it. yes they did. we are not fighting a country in the middle east, we are fighting a groupof religous fanatics.”

    You mean that 61% of Iraqis that say they support attacks on American troops are fanatics? So we are to take on the entire Muslim world then?

    Grant:
    “9/11 is as much the fault of innocent civilians in that region as it was the terrorists.”

    I really don’t see this. How so?

    Grant:
    “why dont american fanatics start killing all the islamic people in ameirca who stand against us, because we would not allow them to. they on the other hand could care less what is done to americans, an i feel the same about them.”

    Obviously you don’t know the teaching’s of God on this subject who said to love our enemies and to do good to those who despitefully use you. You also are unaware of Abraham Lincoln’s teachings on enemies when he said, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.”

    Grant:
    “dont pretend to know the mind of the creator, you cannot know it.”

    Ah, but we can know the mind of our creator. His mind is in each of us if we listen to it. We are all connected to the divine and our heads will be out of the sand to hear his call if we seek after him. Our teachings tell us that every man that is born into the world has the Spirit of Christ to lead them to the Father and that this Spirit is the Word that we are to live by, even every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God.

    Grant:
    “you said that choices are made in the ballot box, what happens when the government desides they dont like the way their people think.”

    You must be referring to your own government (if you are a US citizen). Our government has railed against democracy around the world as the people of Palestine have elected Hamas for example, or the people of Venezuela have elected Chavez, or Bolivia with Morales, or Nicaragua with Ortega, or Haiti with Aristide, or Chile with Allende, or Guatemala with Arbenz, or our blocking of the vote in Vietnam in the 1950’s as we didn’t trust the good sense of the people etc…

    Grant, I don’t understand what is going on in your head. I only answer your post in hopes that readers will gain insight into truth and so that the things of darkness will be brought out into the light. I don’t know if you actually believe the things you are saying. I hope that the coldness of your attitude will warm up and you will begin to be able to see the divine in all of our brothers and sisters and learn that principle is more important than power, or that true power lies in a man’s righteousness, and integrity, and not in his ability to stand on the side of the military victor.

  30. grant
    December 27, 2006 at 4:03 am #

    i know you dont understand what is going on in my head. that, if nothing else, has become very clear. I did not say that north vietnam was trying to take over the world. I think that the communist system at large would have, if left unchecked. We, in america, are very nationalistic. that is why we insist on grouping our conflicts into wars between countries. We were not fighting the north vietnamese because they were in the north vietnam, but because they were spreading communism without regard to the consequences or the wishes of the people.

    you seem to think that switching to communism is a resonable choice and affects only those that live in that country. communism is not an affective means of self-government. Cuba has been communistfor 50 years and is worse of than ever. i understand why they did it, because they rich owned everything and the poor were starving. well the poor are still starving but now the government owns everything. how is that better? If communism has worked so good, why is castro being treated by spanish doctors? if communism is a reasonable reponse to the seperation of classes, why does their school system have to beg for supplies and donations from other countries?

    you say that principles are more important that power. are you 12-years-old or somthing. that may be a nice thought and somthingto teach kids when they are young. without power principles will fall by the wayside. the principle of healthcare for everyone is a good principle, but meaningless. what good is a brand new hospilte if there are no jobs to pay for medicine. how does a broken government intend to pay trained doctors? No medicne can compensate for nothing to eat.

    they people of communist countries jump into it because they are told that if they do all their wildest dreams will come true. and they are not educated enough to know that it will never happen. they redistribute the wealth and everyone but the rich is happy. then 50 years later, they are in the same boat, starving and no jobs on the horizon. what does their government tell them? sorry, we have failed you. no, they tell them that it is the rest of the worlds fault that they are starving. that the american capitalist pig dog is to blame for thier poverty, not their beloved communism. the truth is that they were poor before communism, they arepoor aftercommunism, and they will continue to be poor until they make a commitment to educating their young. they believe in the principleof education, but lack the power to see that it is done. that is why power is more important that principle. someone probably to you that money is the root of all evil. they are wrong, people are the root of all evil. their is no desdain in nature, only in human nature. How do you think we pay for our school system in america? where 80 million people go to school. we pay for it with power of industry and foreign trade.

  31. Kelly Winterton
    December 27, 2006 at 9:08 am #

    Most 12 year olds can spell better than that!

  32. grant
    December 27, 2006 at 9:53 am #

    Your powers of observation astound me. Never in my short years have I been confronted with such wit. I may not be able to spell as proficiently as you might like, but at least I can articulate an idea. I can debate an issue without being reduced to combating my opponents spelling ability. I guess I would prefer that you don’t speak to the issue, that way I only have to read one nonsensical response. I try to discuss the education of the lower class and you try to belittle my argument by pointing to clerical errors I make.

    I think Trey Parker and Matt Stone had it right when they said that ¼ of the population is retarded. I have not once insulted your intelligence, I was taught to argue with ideas, not insults.

    I have an idea. The next time someone engages you in a discussion that you don’t have any thoughts of your own on, just call them ugly. That will really make them look like an asshole wont it. Well, it will make someone look like an asshole anyway.

    “When confronted with a superior intellect, it is better to listen than to pollute the air with ignorance.”

    I don’t think I have anything else to say to you snide, arrogant, redundant child. If my words have overwhelmed you ability to come up with something original, just repeat someone else’s ideas. Pawn them off as your own. You may not be original, but at least you can fake it. You should turn on the TV; plagiarize some fresh rhetoric, for you have clearly run out of things to say. When all of you liberal; tax crazed, yes-men get done patting each other on the back maybe you will have time to pick up a book and learn something that isn’t already in your agenda. You all sicken me with your holier-than-thou attitude.

  33. Kelly Winterton
    December 27, 2006 at 11:54 am #

    Wow Grant, I’m speechless.

  34. John Anderson
    December 27, 2006 at 12:14 pm #

    *Throws the Ad Hominem Flag on the play* Ad Hominem on the defense, and the offense. Penalties offset. First down.Hey you guys, how about you start over and address the facts instead of each others shortcomings?

  35. Curtis
    December 28, 2006 at 2:51 am #

    Grant:
    “i know you dont understand what is going on in my head. that, if nothing else, has become very clear. I did not say that north vietnam was trying to take over the world. I think that the communist system at large would have, if left unchecked.”

    So, a system would have taken over the world. Yes, it was a system that Americans have been afraid of for a long time. We were taught to fear it pretty early on. I guess mainly because it would impede the ability of our big businesses to make massive profits in nations where the proceeds from local resources went to enrich the general population instead of lining the pockets of foreign corporation stock holders.

    Grant:
    “We were not fighting the north vietnamese because they were in the north vietnam, but because they were spreading communism without regard to the consequences or the wishes of the people.”

    This statement is a lie. The people of Vietnam were overwhelmingly in favor of the leaders of North Vietnam over the corrupt Diem. A vote was not held because the US knew that the communists would win. There was no force here. The people in general wanted it.

    Grant:
    “communism is not an affective means of self-government. Cuba has been communistfor 50 years and is worse of than ever. i understand why they did it, because they rich owned everything and the poor were starving. well the poor are still starving but now the government owns everything. how is that better? If communism has worked so good, why is castro being treated by spanish doctors? if communism is a reasonable reponse to the seperation of classes, why does their school system have to beg for supplies and donations from other countries?“

    I don’t know… how about a massive embargo by the richest nation in the world that also happens to be right next door?

    Grant:
    “you say that principles are more important that power. are you 12-years-old or somthing. that may be a nice thought and somthingto teach kids when they are young. without power principles will fall by the wayside.“

    You do not understand that principles are the very foundation of true power. The power you support will fade away like grass and a puff of smoke. The power based on true principles will endure forever.

    Grant:
    “the principle of healthcare for everyone is a good principle, but meaningless. what good is a brand new hospilte if there are no jobs to pay for medicine. how does a broken government intend to pay trained doctors?”

    Ask Canada how they do it. In fact, ask every other industrialized nation in the world how they do it. They all have socialized medicine except for us here in the USA. It seems to work for them.

    Grant:
    “they tell them that it is the rest of the worlds fault that they are starving. that the american capitalist pig dog is to blame for thier poverty, not their beloved communism. the truth is that they were poor before communism, they arepoor after communism”

    The truth of the matter is that much of the world today exists in at least partially socialist states. Social Security here in the US is one of our socialist policies that has been wildly successful in caring for the poor elderly for a while now. If it is not dismantled by Wall Street and the politicians they have in their pocket, it will continue to support the elderly in our country for another 40 years… at which point it will be able to pay 75% of the current level. All we need is to tweak it a bit and it will continue its success for a long time.
    Much of Europe is socialist. Much of South America is going that way. The poverty seen in Cuba is largely due to US intervention. The reason Vietnam didn’t take off was due to being bombed back into the stone ages. Chile was strangled by the US financially and its leader overthrown. Arbenz of Guatemala and Ortega of Nicaragua had similar problems with US intervention. Who knows what successes they would have had if the US hadn’t intervened in their internal affairs? There are many reasons for poverty in the world. US foreign policy is responsible for a large percentage of those reasons. Not all of them… but a large part.

    P.S. Thanks for using your spell checker in subsequent posts.

  36. grant
    December 28, 2006 at 9:13 am #

    Socialized medicine works for Canada because their tax rate is around income tax rate is around 50%. Alberta is the most profitable province in Canada; they pay the largest share of government spending. Ask them what they think of socialized medicine. Also, it is easy to have good social programs when you don’t have to defend yourself from the rest of the world. They have an almost non-existent standing army; they have ridden our coat-tails since the mid-19th century. Also, concerning Cuba. There was a little thing called the Cuban missile crisis. Maybe you have heard of it. That is what initiated the trade embargo. Forgive the U.S. government if they didn’t want offensive nuclear weapons pointed in our faces. The only reason the trade embargo still exists is because Castro continues to thumb his nose at western free enterprise.

    You keep hitting on this idea that principles are more important than power, but you fail to even consider that power affords a people the right to see those principles to their ends. The principles of the American Revolution would have gone nowhere without the power of the American continental, and French imperial militaries. Patrick Henry could have talked himself into a comma about liberty and death. Without a military revolution, it would have been nothing more than talk. If you can’t see that, I don’t see a need to discuss this issue any further.

    You say:
    “You do not understand that principles are the very foundation of true power. The power you support will fade away like grass and a puff of smoke. The power based on true principles will endure forever.”

    Wrong, what about negative principles. How about the principle of a pureblood superior Arian race. That principle had power behind it to. Power is unrelated to principle. Power comes from ambition. Power need but one principle; only the strong survive. That is the only true principle behind power.

    You see Social security as a success? It needs a bit more than some “tweaking.” Americans have paid into social security for a little more than 60 years, and it has already begun to break down. What you are saying is that a financial system which will have broken itself in around a hundred years is, “You do not understand that principles are the very foundation of true power. The power you support will fade away like grass and a puff of smoke. The power based on true principles will endure forever…” you do see the problem, don’t you? As long as people live longer and our population continues to grow, the system will only get worse. If, as you say, only some minor tweaking is needed. What would those changes be? An increase in the age eligibility requirements? An increase in the amount that is taken from each individual? That always seems to be the answer that a liberal minded person wants to give. Just tax the people more, they won’t care. Taxes are what start the majority of national revolutions. And before you start, I already know where you are going. Well, lets just increase the taxes on the rich; it’s not like they don’t already pay that much. Just about 80% to 85% of the national taxes come from those in the highest bracket. Let’s just jump that number up to 95% that sounds fair. They can pay for everything while unemployed, system leaches, reap the benefits of their hard work.
    I don’t think that an increase in spending is the answer; a change of management is what we need. To have the best medical treatment possible, it must be private. Without competition for patients our hospitals will become lax in their treatment. I think the nationalization of insurance would be a much better idea. Everyone who has a job, or has had one in the last 6 months should have health insurance. The reason social security and welfare are failing is because half the people who draw on it, never paid into it.

    You think that Vietnam floundered because of U.S. bombing? They floundered because they have no industry, in an industrial dominated age. What do they produce besides rice? That goes for Cuba as well. In the last fifteen years they have received a lot of outsourced jobs, and we can see all the good that has done here in the U.S… Germany and Japan were bombed much more intensely and bounced back very quickly, why? Because of industrialization. I Cuba am not cut off from all trade, just form the U.S. and her allies, and it is our choice who to trade with and who not to. Cuba is poor because they are not invested in their government like we are. If the U.S. government failed, we would all be thrown into poverty. If the Cuban government fell, they would probably see an increase in the standard of living because of international aid.

    You say that much of Europe is socialist. But how did they get their wealth to start with. From free enterprise. They have shifted to socialized programs, and look what it has gotten them. They have had to convert to one currency just so their individual systems wouldn’t collapse. They have used American dollars to facilitate this conversion to socialism. America rebuilt Europe after WWII, at a cost of more than just money. They destroyed themselves, and now resent America for the debt they owe the American people.
    The true test for communism was the society union, which fell. China is still around, but they can scarcely afford to feed their own people. Females are subjugated and prevented form working real jobs because that would mean the men would be out of work. A large majority of socialized countries also have mandatory military service; maybe we should fallow their example.

    And if what you say is true, about “Who knows what successes they would have had if the US hadn’t intervened in their internal affairs? There are many reasons for poverty in the world. US foreign policy is responsible for a large percentage of those reasons. Not all of them… but a large part.” That is like blaming a successful businessman for the poverty of American homeless. If that person would not have been successful in his or her enterprise maybe that homeless person would have had the idea. If the Middle East doesn’t like the U.S. making money of their oil maybe they should build their own refineries and do it themselves. Wait, they can’t afford to build refineries. They didn’t see the tremendous wealth of oil in the 40’s and 50’s like America did. Is it our fault that our predecessors saw the opportunity and jumped at it? If they would have been educated like the western would they would have seen the same opportunity. My answer to them is this. If you are tired of rich countries making money of your oil, stop telling you kids to blow up Americans and tell them to learn how to read, and think.

    P.S. i dont care if you liek it when people use spell check, i just did it so your “comrades” would stay on task. stop blathering about misspelled words and concentrate on the problems at hand. you perfect spelling an grammar does not impress me, and it should not impress you.

  37. Kelly Winterton
    December 28, 2006 at 1:13 pm #

    I repeat: “Wow, I’m speechless.”

  38. thomas
    December 28, 2006 at 2:13 pm #

    Kelly
    If you are speechless, why tell everyone about it? Why do you write if you have nothing to say?

  39. Kelly Winterton
    December 29, 2006 at 10:09 am #

    This was a compliment to Grant because his powers of reason are so great, even if he can’t spell very well.

  40. thomas
    December 29, 2006 at 10:14 am #

    My apologies, I took it for sarcasm. You are right. He might not be able to speel very well, but he can think.

  41. James Carroll
    December 30, 2006 at 5:01 pm #

    Connor,

    Please check your facts. The propganda series during WWII entitled “Why We Fight” was done by Frank Capra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Capra), not Frank Cappa (nor Robert Capa).

    James

  42. Connor
    December 30, 2006 at 5:09 pm #

    James,

    What you label as an incorrect fact I write off as a transcription typo. :) But thanks for the catch. I’ve fixed the typo in the post.

  43. Sam Hennis
    December 30, 2006 at 6:31 pm #

    Connor, I like your post. I want to share some words from Spencer W. Kimball which are still relevant today:

    “…We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

    “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

    “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44-45.)

    We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us (Ex. 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many)…

    …Enoch was a man of great faith who would not be distracted from his duties by the enemy: “And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch.” (Moses 7:13.)

    What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? …Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.”

    Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, June 1976

  44. thomas
    December 30, 2006 at 8:11 pm #

    Why did your god give man the ability to defend and provide for ourselves, yet expect man to await his providence?

  45. Sam Hennis
    December 30, 2006 at 11:03 pm #

    Thomas, I’m not sure if you believe in God or not, from the comment you made.

    God expects us to put our trust in him, not in “the arm of flesh,” or man’s own ability for defense.

    We’ve been given a promise from God:
    “Wherefore, this land(meaning America) is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.” 2 Nephi 1:7

  46. thomas
    December 31, 2006 at 1:37 pm #

    You still haven’t answered my question. Why give us aggressive spirits and violent natures if he didn’t think we needed them? Why give a bird feathers but to fly. Why give a fish gills except to breathe under water. Why give the beasts claws if not to fight.

    To answer your unasked question, I do believe in god. Not your god, of that, I am most sure. God; as the creator of heaven and earth, maybe, but not as some guardian of the meek. Guarding the rights of the meek is the job of every man, woman, and child.

  47. Connor
    December 31, 2006 at 5:23 pm #

    Thomas,

    What scriptural basis can you find to support your theory that God gave us aggressive spirits? I find just the opposite to be the case.

    You do not see God as guardian of the meek? What about the sheep? The prodigal son? The chicken gathered under the hen’s wing?

    How do you assume that those who are meek are not guarded by God? How do you argue your point in light of the following verse?

    And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.
    If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart(Moroni 7:43-44)

    Indeed, the scriptures are replete with examples of the virtue of meekness, and the commandment for all of us to emulate this quality. Only then will we be worthy of the Lord’s protection.

  48. thomas
    December 31, 2006 at 7:59 pm #

    What does scripture have to do with rational thought? You come up with some obscure biblical verse and accept that as absolute truth. Forgive me if I don’t consult the bible when I am presented with a problem. I prefer to do my own thinking. You might want to try it sometime.

    You ask:
    “What scriptural basis can you find to support your theory that God gave us aggressive spirits?”
    My answer is this: I didn’t refer to any biblical passage to make that statement. I used my own empirical observations to come up with that analysis. I don’t some 1st century theologian to tell me man is an aggressive being. I see aggression in people every day. If god is providing protection for the weak, has he forgotten about the people in the Sudan? I don’t see a lot of divine providence there. It seems he has forsaken those people. What about the American Indians, were they not worthy of his protection? They certainly could have used some.

    To sum up my argument, I don’t put much faith in scripture. I believe in the message of Christ, his only true message. Love thy neighbor, and try to be a good person. You can take the bible literally if you wish; I think the message is what really counts.

    Not to pick on your faith as a Mormon, but I wonder what god would say regarding some of the deeds of the early Mormon settlers. Maybe you have heard of the mountain meadows massacre. If you haven’t I suggest you read about it in this article: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/old_west/60664

    The article describes how the early Mormon settlers, under the leadership of Brigham Young, inflicted bodily harm upon themselves and other non-Mormons to save their souls. President Buchanan heard this and sent the army to restore order. Here is where it gets really interesting.
    “The years of 1855-56 had been particularly harsh on the Mormon settlements around the Great Salt Lake. Though their difficulties were due to normal things like drought and insect infestation, the Mormons believed they were being punished by God for their sins. All people were called upon to confess and repent. For some sins, the only way of achieving forgiveness was the doctrine of “blood-atonement.” This meant that one had to shed their own blood. Unfortunately, things got out of control when some Mormons extended the shedding of blood to others to save themselves. At the same time, they claimed, they were “saving” the person who was sacrificed.
    The atrocities reached the ears of leaders in the east. President Buchanan sent troops to Utah to return order. The Mormons heard about it in advance and prepared for a long siege. They stockpiled grain. They found places to hide. They got ready to leave at a moment’s notice. They burned down Fort Bridger and Fort Supply so they could not provide shelter to U.S. troops. Brigham Young declared that army troops would not be allowed to enter the Salt Lake Valley for any reason. He declared that all citizens must be ready to bare arms against them.”
    I know that this has nothing to do with what modern Mormons believe, but Brigham Young advocated the taking up of arms against the United States military. Would you please speak to that? Don’t give me what the bible says, give me what you say.

  49. Curtis
    December 31, 2006 at 8:30 pm #

    Thomas,
    What of it? The army was coming to fight the Mormons. Would you not defend yourself? The Mormons had experienced the barbarism of the US for years. In Missouri they had an exterminating order against them and were raped and massacred and robbed and suffered the worst privations at the hands of the governor of that state. They appealed to the highest government of the land and found no relief. They were then burned out of their home in Nauvoo, Illinois. Their prophet was murdered in cold blood while he was supposedly under the protection of the governor there. The murderers were never brought to justice.

    If there was ever a people that had reason to be upset with the US government, it was the Mormons. Now the army was coming to kill them. I see nothing inconsistent with Brigham Young’s actions and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this instance.

  50. Connor
    December 31, 2006 at 11:08 pm #

    Thomas,

    The following statement made in your comment above is one of the most contradictory I’ve ever heard:

    I don’t put much faith in scripture. I believe in the message of Christ…

    Where do you read and learn of the message of Christ? Whom communicated the message before and after His ministry? How are those words passed on to others? Casting aside scripture while claiming to adhere to Christ’s message is like saying you want the mail without the mailman. Removing the messenger eliminates the possibility of receiving the message. Disbelieve the provided scriptural citations all you want, but don’t pretend to follow and live and message of Christ while disparaging the vehicle by which you have received it.

  51. thomas
    January 1, 2007 at 12:08 am #

    To curtis
    WHAT OF IT? THIS IS WHAT
    I would have absolutely defended myself, but i thought god was the only defense that people needed. All i have heard from you people is that we dont need to take up arms against other people. If our cause is righteous god will provide for us. you cant honestly say that god will defend us, and in the same breath claim that Brigham Young was right to defend himself. Was the cause of the mormons not worth gods effort? evidently Brigham Young didnt believe god would provide for the Mormons of salt lake city. that is my point. you say that his actions were not inconsistant with the teachings of christ. why was the government coming to fight the mormons? what about the settlers that were sacrificed to save their souls, speak to that if you will. was that consistent with the teachings of christ? also, you failed to address the fancher emigrant train massacre at mountain meadows. Did the bible tell the 54 mormons and 200 indians to do that. were those people planning to attack the mormons too? i dont see how you could fail to see the falseness in that. Maybe you should stick to reading the bible, it does the thinking for you. I dont know how to say it any clearer than that. hopefully you wont miss the point by miles this time. Just in case you missed it again I will put it into one sentence, here it is. APARENTLY IT WAS OKAY FOR THE MORMONS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES BUT IT IS NOT OKAY FOR STRONG PEOPLE TO DEFEND THOSE THAT CANT DO FOR THEMSLEVES.

    to connor:
    what i meant was, you should not interpret the bible literally. people wrote the books of the bible, not god, and not christ. that is all i meant. Judas was, at one point, a student of christ. where is his book? i will tell you. it was thrown out with all other books that were not in line with the ideas of the council of nicea. His observations of the life of christ are just as relevant as paul’s, yet judas’ book was not included and paul’s was. You can know the message of christ without reading the bible. i dont need to read the bible to know that killing innocent people is bad. Maybe you need the bible to tell you what to do in every situation, i dont. You can quote scripture until you are blue in the face, all that it proves is that you have read the bible. good for you. i could quote William Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln but they wouldn’t be any more relevant to 21st century conflict than biblical scripture.

    I don’t care what John, Mark, Luke, or Daniel thought 2000 years ago. i want to know what you think today, in this circumstance. I think, in the future, we will need people who have strong minds and compassionate hearts; not theologians who spend all their time memorizing bible passages. If you don’t have any thoughts of you own, fair enough. I know its easier to do what you are told, but someday you will have to think for yourself. There will be questions that the bible has no answer to, what will you do then, bury your head in the sand while the rest of us solve the problem for you. I don’t think the bible mentions cloning anywhere. But I bet you think its bad. What if cloning leads to the cure for cancer, or aids, or all disease? Would you forsake the rest of mankind for your fear of an afterlife that we cannot know? I think you would, I think a lot of you would. And that is the most terrifying thing of all. You spend your time worrying about what will happen to you after you die, I will spend mine worrying about what is going on while I am alive.
    Good luck and god’s blessings in the future. If you don’t start thinking for yourself you are going to need both very much.

  52. Connor
    January 1, 2007 at 2:08 am #

    Thomas,

    1. In reference to your question about God defending people, I quote the following relevant quote by Brigham Young, of whom you find so much need to discuss on this thread:

    We all believe that the Lord will fight our battles; but how? Will He do it while we are unconcerned and make no effort whatever for our own safety when an enemy is upon us? If we make no effort to guard our towns, our houses, our cities, our wives and children, will the Lord guard them for us? He will not; but if we pursue the opposite course and strive to help Him to accomplish His designs, then will He fight our battles. We are baptized for the remission of sins; but it would be quite as unreasonable to expect a remission of sins without baptism, as to expect the Lord to fight our battles without our taking every precaution to be prepared to defend ourselves. The Lord requires us to be quite as willing to fight our own battles as to have Him fight them for us. If we are not ready for an enemy when he comes upon us, we have not lived up to the requirements of Him who guides the ship of Zion, or who dictates the affairs of his kingdom. (Journal of Discourses 11:131)

    2. I do not merely stick to the thoughts and teachings of men from 2000 years ago. God has called a prophet and apostles in our day to give us His teachings so that we can know what His will is at this time. So in a sense you are correct that we should not rely solely on what men 2000 years ago wrote.

    The following words of Marion G. Romney apply:

    In each dispensation, from the days of Adam to the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord has revealed anew the principles of the gospel. So that while the records of past dispensations, insofar as they are uncorrupted, testify to the truths of the gospel, still each dispensation has had revealed in its day sufficient truth to guide the people of the new dispensation, independent of the records of the past.

    I do not wish to discredit in any manner the records we have of the truths revealed by the Lord in past dispensations. What I now desire is to impress upon our minds that the gospel, as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, is complete and is the word direct from heaven to this dispensation. It alone is sufficient to teach us the principles of eternal life. It is the truth revealed, the commandments given in this dispensation through modern prophets by which we are to be governed. (“A Glorious Promise,” Ensign, Jan 1981, 2)

    Also pertinent is the following quote by N. Eldon Tanner:

    Today there are many issues under debate as controversies rage all around us. It should be evident to all that we need divine direction, as men and women who argue their causes seem to be unable to come to workable or peaceable solutions. It is sad indeed that the world does not know or accept the fact that in our midst is a prophet through whom God can direct the solution of world problems.

    True Latter-day Saints have no such dilemma. They know that the messages of the prophet have come from the Lord and have the concurrence of all the General Authorities, who are men of vision and integrity, and who themselves try to keep in tune with deity. They are not, as some would suggest, following blindly and acting without their own agency to speak and think for themselves. Through prayer to our Heavenly Father each of us can have the assurance that the course we choose has his divine approval. … Whose side are we on? When the prophet speaks the debate is over. (Ensign, August 1979)

  53. Curtis
    January 1, 2007 at 3:31 am #

    Thomas:
    Self Defense is allowed in Mormon beliefs. See section 98 of the Doctrine and Covenants for more details. Fighting an aggressive war and massacring 600,000 people is not justified anywhere in LDS scripture. It was the Iraq war that you were defending right? If you had any understanding of Iraq/US historical relations, you would see that we had plenty of opportunity to help the Iraqi people but instead did them immeasurable harm by supporting their brutal dictator (thru the horrible Iran/Iraq war that killed upwards of 1 million people) and enacting a devastating sanctions regime that killed over 1 million people… all for reasons of strategic value to the US “interests.” We cared nothing for the people of Iraq, only for stability and oil and obedience to our will.

    The Mountain Meadows thing was undertaken by LDS individuals and not sanctioned by the Church as far as my understanding goes. You can’t pin that one on the Church amigo.

  54. thomas
    January 1, 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    one of the many burdens of leadership is responsibility for your peoples actions. The mountain meadows massacre was undertaken during the tenure of brigham young.

    and no i wasnt defending the iraq war, i was reply to comment 43 left by sam hennis. maybe you should read before you open your mouth.

    connor:
    there you go again, telling me what someone else thinks about the issue. are you affraid of what you might say. i dont get it. If you are incapable of original thought i will quit harping on you. if this is the case, let me know and i will drop it. just write back telling me that you have no independant thought of your own and i will stop this arguement.

    you say “god calls upon prophets to give us his teachings”
    says who, the prohpets. David Koresh said he was a prohpet of god too. do you consider him a prophet because he said so. I dont believe he was aprophet any more than i believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He braught down new commandments from god i believe, but no one could see them. thatr seems odd. at least people were allowed to look at the commandments mosses braught down from the mountain. this seems a bit out of sorts to me. And the thought that indians skins are darker because they are being punished for their ancient sins. wow! I imagine that black people are even more evil that indians because their skin is darker, and that asians are short for the same reason.

    I just see the LDS church as hypocritical. at first you werenot allowed to drink caffine, right. but now the mormon church owns over 50% of coca-cola bottleing company. did god tell someone it is now okay to drink caffine, or was it just a shameless attempt to make money? i bet mormons are not allowed to drink pepsi, just coke. This all seems very odd to me, almost like they change their minds whenever it suits them.

  55. Connor
    January 1, 2007 at 2:13 pm #

    one of the many burdens of leadership is responsibility for your peoples actions. The mountain meadows massacre was undertaken during the tenure of brigham young.

    Nice try, but that’ts a pretty fallacious argument. That’s like saying that President Bush is responsible for every misdemeanor and petty theft committed by citizens of this country. People are accountable for their own actions.

    connor:
    there you go again, telling me what someone else thinks about the issue. are you affraid of what you might say. i dont get it. If you are incapable of original thought i will quit harping on you. if this is the case, let me know and i will drop it. just write back telling me that you have no independant thought of your own and i will stop this arguement.

    Thomas, if you can’t argue your own point without acting like a monkey throwing its feces at others, then don’t bother commenting any longer.

    The reason for citing quotes of men far wiser than I is that their words harmonize with my own thoughts and sentiments and are more succinct and eloquent than my own would be. To argue that I’m incapable of independent thought illustrates that you haven’t read a single thing on my blog. Before you level childish accusations at others, make sure you’re on solid ground. In this case, you’re not.

    I’m not going to bother responding to your other idiotic arguments that have no factual backing or relevance to the topic on this thread. This is not the place for you to argue why you disagree with LDS teachings, of which you apparently understand very little. Should you wish to constructively debate and discuss the topic on this thread, I invite you to do so, but with the warning that the next comment containing a vacuous, asinine tangent will see you banned from my blog.

    Thanks, and happy new year!

  56. Sam Hennis
    January 1, 2007 at 3:20 pm #

    Wow, there’s been quite a bit of discussion since I visited last. Those are some good quotes, Connor.

  57. thomas
    January 1, 2007 at 8:44 pm #

    Connor, you can’t kick me off your site, I will just log in using a different name and email address. If you want to quote from the book of mormon or the original bible don’t be surprised if people use the history of that organization to discredit the “wise quote.” just because you consider the bible to be absolute truth doesn’t mean everyone or anyone else does. The Nazis believed that Jews and gypsies and the mentally retarded were genetically inferior. Would I be wrong to discredit that argument by saying that the Nazis were murderous power mongers that killed 30 million soldiers and civilians? If i have said things that are untrue about the history of the LDS church I would encourage you to point them out. The bodily harm inflicted on themselves and others as penance for sins is widely accepted in the historical community, you know, the experts. If you want to ignore the facts, that is your prerogative. After your response i did a little research regarding LDS and coke, and found out that they do not own half of the company, they just own stock in it. my apologies regarding that, I was misinformed. i will not apologize for calling it hypocritical to change their stance on caffeine. it was against the rules and now evidently it is not. If my information regarding your beliefs about the American Indians is wrong then say so, but I was told that by an ex-mormon, a full member. I have heard that more than once as well. Forgive me for discrediting a belief system that expects people to believe that the color of the Native American’s skin is a punishment. What a joke. That is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. If you believe that then I would welcome you banishment, for I do not wish to banter words with an ignorant bigot.

    If you don’t like people arguing against your belief system then stop quoting it. If don’t want the discussion to touch close to home then don’t bring biblical scripture into the argument. You are a child, an irrational emotionally controlled brat if you take this so personally. It is obvious that you do not like me, and that is great. It does not bother me in the least bit, why should it bother you if I disagree with the teachings of some grouping of beliefs that less than 0.3% of the world adheres to.
    0.3% = 17,000,000(mormons)/6,000,000,000(approx. world population)

    there are 1.3 billion Muslims, that say Mohammed is the only true prophet of god, does that make them right?

  58. Connor
    January 1, 2007 at 8:51 pm #

    You are a child, an irrational emotionally controlled brat if you take this so personally.

    Far from it, Thomas. I have simply chosen to take the higher ground and not assist you in devolving this discussion into a tit-for-tat round of potshots at the faith of others. Your facts are so out whack that I feel no desire whatsoever in even responding to them.

    You’ve now been banned since you’ve yet to learn your lesson. Have fun in the time out corner.

  59. Sam Hennis
    January 10, 2007 at 12:43 am #

    “Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”
    — Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

  60. nick
    January 23, 2007 at 7:46 pm #

    had an interesting time reading this discussion. it was very engaging until it decended into internet mudslinging, and then onto squabbles over religion. personal insults/attacks have no place in a debate, and religious preference is simply a personal opinion/belief that should not be a means of justification in an argument if it is to remain factually based. but hey, that’s just my take on it. you guys take care.

  61. Sam
    March 14, 2007 at 9:05 pm #

    Right on. i agree almost wholeheartedly. I watched it for the first time two weeks ago and wanted to hug Ike.

  62. L. Brown
    December 1, 2007 at 2:09 am #

    There is an underlining problem to all the wars, to drugs, to money. It’s the power of the International Bankers and their hunger for power. The government doesn’t control anything. Why do we always have the same problems with every President, Republican or Democrat? The government is controlled by a secret combination. They tell the President what to do. They tell Congress what laws to pass. We have little control, and we lose more everyday. The solution? Well, first we need to WAKE UP! The repentance process comes in handy so that we may start doing what is right. God has given to man the ability to think for himself and herself and to engage in doing good continually. So, if you have a brain, and a heart, then I suggest stop the menial routines….AND DO IT! Long live the Republic, may God have mercy on our souls.

  63. Curtis
    December 1, 2007 at 10:08 pm #

    L. Brown
    Agreed. I uncovered this article a while back and it matches nicely with what you say here:

    http://www.democracyandsocialism.com/Articles/FinanceMilitaryComplex.html

  64. Patrick
    August 3, 2008 at 6:48 am #

    I can’t believe the Mountain Massacre was brought up on this thread of comments, but I guess it did vaguely relate. Conner did supply quote by Brigham Young to that squabbling, petulant atheist giving a reason for why those particular Mormons amassed armaments and fought. Why we fight, haha.

  65. js
    August 3, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    i am sure that conner could also supply us with a weight of quotations of Brigham Young’s with regard to plural marriage and his 50+ wives. just because quotations are provided doesn’t mean an argument is valid. it just means that conner has been taken in by what he has read, or what has been read to him. what is even more curious is that among his 50+ wives nearly all of them were declared later day saints. i guess it pays to know people in high places.

  66. Carissa
    January 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    I came across this interesting quote today by President Taft from 1951:

    If we confine our activities to the field of moral leadership we shall be successful if our philosophy is sound and appeals to the people of the world. The trouble with those who advocate this [interventionist] policy is that they really do not confine themselves to moral leadership. They are inspired with the same kind of New Deal planned-control ideas abroad as recent Administrations have desired to endorse at home. In their hearts they want to force on these foreign peoples through the use of American money and even, perhaps, American arms the policies which moral leadership is able to advance only through the sound strength of its principles and the force of its persuasion. I do not think this moral leadership ideal justifies our engaging in any preventive war, or going to the defense of one country against another, or getting ourselves into a vulnerable fiscal and economic position at home which may invite war. I do not believe any policy which has behind it the threat of military force is justified as part of the basic foreign policy of the United States except to defend the liberty of our own people.

    What stood out most to me was the comparison of foreign intervention to domestic New Deal-type programs. I guess the common element between the two is force. But all for the “benefit” of mankind, of course.

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