gRegorLove little g big R

Are You Listening?

I urge everyone, particularly Christians, to take a few minutes and read The Bible and Iraq.

Do you get it? The ends do not justify the means! It doesn't matter what George Bush says about the need to defeat terrorism or “protect the Homeland” - he did not have the authority to go to war.

Meaning he violated the Constitution.
Meaning he broke his Oath of Office.
Meaning no serious, self-respecting follower of Jesus should vote for this man.

Oh, and voting “for the lesser of two evils” seems cowardly, in my opinion. Find someone that you can stand behind 100%, or don't vote. Not voting is a legitimate option, I think.

Let's take off the but-he-is-a-Christian! rose-colored glasses.

View responses or leave your own response


ron ron
To further the grinding of the gears the prefix anti in the greek means "in the stead of..." not against like how we have intepreted it.
You make a good case in your support of this article, and in your political views. However, at the end, I think you came off a tad beligerent. Something to think about in future posts such as this.

eh, yeah, I guess I can see that. not really my intent, but when I read it, it really annoyed me to think how many people will actually defend unconstitutional actions..

so yeah, I was being a bit aggressive at the time. I just toned it down a bit, while still making my point.

BurnDark BurnDark
yeah, 'cause you know, there is no other reason why a Christian (or anyone else) could support Bush. I mean the war is all that matters, right? That's all that the media talks about, so that must be the case.

And not participating in your country's election process is always a good way to let your opinion be heard. I mean, if enough people don't vote, maybe someone or some group will try to get them to vote. And when they do, I bet it will actually work!

Kathy Kathy
Ian! He violated the constitution and his oath of office to uphold the constitution! It's not just an issue of the war... it's something so much more fundemental than that.

BurnDark BurnDark
You're not considering the second paragraph of what I said and what you know of gRegor. I suggested that the decision to not vote was ridiculous. You also know that gRegor is totally against programs that Democrats are for. If the Democratic Party candidate and Bush were the only two people he had to choose from, he would likely not vote. I think that is ridiculous.

Don't assume that I'm all for Bush just because I pointed out some things in the post that I disagree with. Let's not bring false dilemmas into the discussion.

Ian, if there is NO candidate that one can find that they can support 100%, not voting is a legitimate option.

This scenario might be unlikely, since there ARE a lot of third parties, but if one doesn't know about them or have time to find a candidate amidst all of them that he can support, I believe not voting is better than "voting for the lesser of two evils", or however many evils.

Check out this article about not voting (at least certainly for the two major parties):

NOT voting is a way of casting your disgust with the current system. I only advocate it as a last resort or if you cannot stand behind someone 100%.

And in case this isn't clear, my comment about Christians not voting for Bush is just a matter of Bush's disregard for the Constitutional limitations and violating his oath of office.

Then again, most every politician today has violated their oath of office. But many of them thankfully don't do so under the guise of God telling them to do so.

That's what I was getting at.

Sheryl Sheryl
Is it really likely you're going to find someone you're behind 100% totally and completely?

Kathy Kathy
This has been quite the controversial post... and I'm probably to emotional to comment on it. With Ian's permission I'm posting an AIM chat that we had today about this post (edited for clarity). I think I made at least one good point while also pointing out the fact that it's likely in my best interest to refrain from this debate.

indykitty21: I read your comment..
indykitty21: I don't completely agree with you either..
indykitty21: I agree with gRegor..
indykitty21: I just don't like the way he worded things.. but I understand what he's saying.. *throwing hands up*
indykitty21: I'm to emotional to enter into this particular debate..
BurnDark327: Technically I dind't make a point. I just pointed out a flaw in his point.
indykitty21: I don't agree with that..
BurnDark327: Don't agree with my comment or don't agree that I didn't make a point.
indykitty21: I don't agree with your comment..
indykitty21: I don't agree that his point is flawed
BurnDark327: Consider this. Bush is pro-life. Most Christians are pro-life. They may vote for Bush for that reason only. Gregor is saying don't vote, even if that means allowing someone to be elected who hold views that you find at best to be illogical and at worst immoral.
indykitty21: hmm
BurnDark327: Bush is the only pro-life candidate that I know of. Democrats are pro-choice. Libertarians are pro-choice. I'm sure that the Greens are too.
indykitty21: It doesn't matter if the president is pro-life or pro-choice... that is... if congress still gets to make laws anymore...
indykitty21: it's to controversial an issue for any president to make any huge stand on it..
indykitty21: it's an election promise... to lure votes..
BurnDark327: The president appoints people to the Supreme Court (with congressional approval of course)
BurnDark327: That is where the abortion fight has to be fought.
BurnDark327: Only the Supreme Court can overturn Roe v Wade.
indykitty21: don't you see by giving away the congress's power to wage war to the president.. we're setting a precedent to let the prez get away with anything... so maybe someday (probably not to far in the future) he won't need congressional approval.. then we're screwed... unless we stand up and say.. "no we will not tolerate a president who violates the constitiution!"
BurnDark327: But new laws are important too. If Congress passes a new law, someone will challenge it, it may make it to the Supreme Court, and then the decidion will be made.
indykitty21: and not only that.. the constitution does not give the supreme court as much power as it now has...
BurnDark327: I understand that.
indykitty21: There shouldn
indykitty21: grrrr..
indykitty21: n/m
BurnDark327: But I'm more worried about babies living that my own liberties.
indykitty21: what!?!?!?!!
indykitty21: screw it.. I can't talk to you...
indykitty21: I'm gonna go take a nap...
BurnDark327: Okay
indykitty21: can i post some of this conversation on my weblog or gRegor's?
BurnDark327: Sure.
BurnDark327: Are you going to rant on about how I am selling my rights away to the highest bidder?

No, Ian I'm not ranting on how you're selling your rights to the highest bidder. Actually I'm just trying to point out something very basic that you must understand... unborn babies have no liberties at all unless we have liberties... without that what is the *right to life*?

hhhheeeeiiiidiiii hhhheeeeiiiidiiii
i don't believe that's right.
other parties are going to do worse things.
bush has fought for abortion
and, with democrats in office, it's going to continue to happen.
i support bush .

- h e i d i -

ron ron
do you honestly think that if it is made illegal it will go away?
and if you vote for somebody that only agrees with you on one point then you are civically irresponsible. It's like your voting because you like the color of the candidates eyes.
maybe the liberals are mucking things up, but at least they are trying to achieve the greater social good, whereas the greater good of the conservative doesn't go beyond his wallet.

jgthree jgthree
gRegor, I was going to e-mail you privately about this one, but I decided against it. I've read the other responses to your post and nobody is taking you on, except on the petty things ...

You've made your point, but you're alienating people who might otherwise might be happy to peacefully disagree with you by ignoring the merit in their contrasting points of view. Additionally, you're belittling the faith of millions of people by claiming that their views on social and political matters are unacceptable in light of their claims to believe in the same Jesus you do.

First things first ... Your opposition does not claim something so simple as "The ends justify the means." If you think that's what the debate is all about, you'll never get anywhere with someone like myself. Furthermore, your insistence that George Bush's lack of authority to go war is fundamental to the disagreement is nothing short of ridiculous and closed-minded (yep, that's right, a raving conservative used the term closed-minded). If you can't suspend your beliefs momentarily and note that the assumptions implicit in the arguments of those who oppose your view are not the same as yours, you'll get nowhere. You will never understand the roots of your frustration or that of your opposition.

Secondly, who are you to dictate what socio-political conclusions a fellow believer in Jesus Christ should come to!? Politicization of religion is a very dangerous way to go. The comparisons drawn in the article you linked to by Carl Schmahl were absolutely sickening and Jerry Falwell was wrong to go there as well (although at least he was reasonable about it). Anyway, according to you, I and others like me will never be "real Christians" and, hell, we don't have any self-respect anyway, so what does it matter if we flounder about in life and take on all the "wrong" views.

And finally, the claim that people who lean my way are looking through "but-he-is-a-Christian! rose-colored glasses" is hateful nonsense. I'm not the solid Christian I once was; I'm not really a Christian at all by definition any more. But I still believe in God and my values have not changed. I know that I speak for many Christians when I say that George Bush is a respectable President even outside the perspective of his religious convictions. Please, cut the generalizations and hate crap and just make your point. Even though we've never met, I had a great deal of respect for you because you were fair in your responses to my posts. Well, there's quite a dent in that respect now and it's not because we disagree.

Jim, you yourself have claimed that "the ends justify the means" in our comments back and forth, in the past. No, that's not the crux of your argument of course, I know that much.

I don't recall "insisting" that GW's lack of authority is fundamental to the disagreement. Indeed, "the authority" to do anything is hardly EVER an issue because people honestly do not understand the form of government established by the Constitution. It is not stupidity, it is just ignorance, and probably a good amount of "conditioning", too.

But because of this fact, and because the Constitution *does* matter to me, I raise it as one of my key points in *my* disagreement.

The Constitution either means something in this country, or it means nothing.

All I am saying is THIS:

The Constitution says Congress declares war.

President Bush went to war without a Congressional declaration of war.

Therefore Bush violated the Constitution, as well as his OATH to uphold and defend it.

These facts, in themselves, are enough to give *me* strong distaste for *any* politician, no matter what their political or spiritual affiliation might be.

But, in my opinion, it is even *worse* in this instance because George Bush claims to be a Christian, and many people support him because of that claim.

Should Christians support a leader who supposedly follows the same God, yet believes he does not have to abide by the rules put in place over him (read: Constitution)? That is a very honest question, of which no one commenting seems to have seriously addressed in this discussion.

Does not God say "let your Yes be YES and your No be NO"? Yes. Well Bush made an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. And he has not. I do not find in Scripture how I can support such a leader.

Jim, you said "Polticization of religion is a very dangerous way to go". Thank you. You yourself made a good point against GW, because that is what he has essentially done. How have I politicized it?

I never said people weren't "real" Christians. I pointed out that these are some serious points that serious Christians (i.e. not nominal Christians) should take into account.

And finally, I did not make any such claim that people "leaning your way" look through "but-he-is-a-Christian!" rose-colored glasses. Where do you read all this? MANY people do support Bush largely because he is a Christian. That doesn't mean EVERYONE does. There are many Bush supporters who probably aren't even remotely religious.

But there are those out there who probably voted for Bush because 1) he is a Christian and 2) he is a Republican. I've met and talked with people who seriously think the Republican party is the only party a real Christian can vote for, the Democrats are "evil" or something. That's what I mean when I refer to "but-he-is-a-Christian!" rose-colored glasses.

I wasn't generalizing or painting anyone as a bad Christian or anything like that. I'm sorry if it was mistaken for that, but it honestly isn't. You say you've lost some respect for me over this, well should I lose respect for you because you jumped to conclusions (that were not stated in my post OR my subsequent comments)? [and no, I haven't]

You should realize that the points I've made in this post are nothing really beyond what I have stated before, especially given our lengthy comments back and forth. This was just a revival of one of my points because I felt the article explained it poignantly.

BurnDark BurnDark
gRegor, you wrote: "Meaning no serious, self-respecting follower of Jesus should vote for this man" I think this is one of the things that Jim got upset about.

Ron, I wasn't saying that a person should look at only one issue. I was using that as an example. And you too are throwing false dilemmas into this.

BurnDark BurnDark
I also agree with Sheryl. I don't think that I could find a candidate that I fully support. I think that most people are that way. It is ludicrous to think that most people would be able to find someone they fully back.

Kathy Kathy
Ian... are you not holding the abortion issue as more important than the issue of the president's disregard for the constitution by continuing to support Bush?

Kathy Kathy
I need to agree with a canidate at least 80-90% of the time. And they cannot do things that I am strongly opposed to.

BurnDark BurnDark
Yes, but I'm not saying that it is the only issue that matters. More important does not equal the only issue.

Kathy Kathy
It is NOT more important! I will say it again... no unborn child will not have any liberties if we do not hold fast to our own liberties and do whatever we can to win back the liberties that our complacency has already cost us.

BurnDark BurnDark
So you're saying that a person's right to live is equal to a person's right to view porn?

ron ron
i was referring to heidi's comment ian; go with the flow. who is reading into who?

Kathy Kathy
Ian!?!?! I cannot respond to that without swearing... I'm gonna go with what I said to Ron earlier today... I'm just gonna be 1940's Kathy and leave the politics up to the men... I'll just find a man I can cook and clean for and have his babies while he does my thinkin' for me....

Kathy Kathy
I'm kidding about the 1940's thing.. I'm just frustrated...

everyone chill out, or I'll lock comments here.

actually, most everyone is chill, I think.. Ron, Kathy, Ian.. we all know each other and (hopefully) aren't really too upset by my initial post, or at least understand better what I meant.

My primary hope is that Jim understands better what I meant and isn't pissed off at me.

Everything else can really just go on in face to face talks, or via AIM.

BurnDark BurnDark
Sorry Ron. I should have read more carefully.

BurnDark BurnDark
I also apologize to Kathy. I was accusing others of making logical fallacies, and there I go and make one. I see what you are saying, but I'm not convinced that not electing Bush is the best way for both you and I to both win on this issue.

Kathy Kathy
I forgive you...

Rothan03 Rothan03
Ok, my simple little clarifications to this little conversation:

What good are threats if we don't have the stomach to back them up?

I think that Iraq ought to be considered a wakeup call to all the dictators and agressors of the world, that we, the United States do not support dictatorships, that we are fully willing to do whatever it takes for humanitarian purposes, for world advancement and for overall peace. It shows that we, as a nation, can step up to the plate and make tough choices, stand up for ourselves as a Nation, can back up our policys and stand up for the rest of the world by encouraging democracy and advancing human rights. That's what I think Iraq is about. That's why I fully support the Iraq conflict, the removal of Hussein the destruction of his army and the rebuilding of Iraq to a free, independent democratic nation.

That is Bush's goal (I think) and that is why I fully support him.

And even though I gave explanation to why Iraq isn't a war... screw the bureaucracy and maneuvering to achieve the political cause for war. Screw bureaucracy, screw congress, screw politicians. What we did was, is and continues to be the right thing to do. Support freedom, destroy the enemy, remove the dictators and kill the terrorists. I'm sick of politicians using the language of the constitution to achieve political goals. I'd like to see politicians use the spirit of the constitution, the morals it represents, to achieve great things for the United States of America, not themselves.

jgthree jgthree
Fair enough, gRegor. I understand what you mean, but I still do not take back my reaction to what you originally posted. Your qualifications (in your response to my comment) of what you originally said make infinitely more sense, but your original post was ridiculous. However, I'm sorry that I misinterpreted your meaning and responded presumptuously. And I am certainly not "pissed of" at you, just extremely frustrated that we can't find a common ground.

I truly believe that if you feel that "the article explained it poignantly," then we are coming at this from absolutely irreconcilable views. Carl Schmahl's article itself espouses everything I detest about your origninal post and plenty more ... So, I guess I'll stick to being pissed of at Carl Schmahl ... and just annoyed with you for lending him credence. I would greatly appreciate it if you could further explain what it is you see in his article. As I said before, I found what he had to say sickening.

Clever semantics, Rothan.

Yes, we did go to war. Invading a country, dropping bombs, killing people, etc - that is war. Call it a "police action" or whatever you will, it is still war. It doesn't matter if it's not NATO's definition of war or not, "war by any other name is still war" :-]

Even if it truly were a "police action" (or some other clever term for WAR),unfortunately no branch of government is authorized to perform "police actions" or [insert-term-here]. Meaning it was still unconstitutional.

Congress alone is allowed to declare war.

You refer to the War Powers Act, which claims to arbitrarily expand the power of Congress to the President (for 60 days). It is unconstitutional, because legislation cannot arbitrarily expand the scope of the Constitution, short of an amendment.

Who gave America the right to threaten any nation it desires?

"Spirit of the Constitution"? Nothing about Iraq resembles the spirit of the Constitution. If our founding fathers were around today, they would be disgusted with how their Constitutional Republic degraded into a Democratic World Policeman.

Your language scares me, honestly. Welcome to neoconservative 21st century America, I suppose.

Does anyone care to address my question?

Should Christians support a leader who supposedly follows the same God, yet believes he does not have to abide by the rules put in place over him (read: Constitution)?

[Ian already answered "I guess so" on AIM]

BurnDark BurnDark
No, I said "I guess not"

Oh, duh.. sorry. That was a typo, or a thinko.

jgthree jgthree
There is not a single political figure I agree with 100% of the time. That goes for pundits as well as politicians. Somewhere in their words, actions, assumptions, convictions, and vision for the country, there will always lie something that I can't agree with. I should add that President Bush has done plenty that I cannot back him up on.

It seems, to me, that it is the <i>unacceptable nature</i> of your issue with George Bush's actions that you believe "trumps" a possible agreement with him on other fronts. Perhaps it would take something entirely different to trump everything else from my perspective. I can't say that I can call what has happened strictly constitutional, but I will maintain that he acted properly. I will not withdraw my support for the President over this one thing and I will continue to claim that it has nothing to do with religion or spirituality, nor should it.

jgthree jgthree
crap! ... didn't realize html stuff doesn't work on your reply page :-)

So your answer to the question is essentially "yes" - with some possible reservations - right?

Even if I were to take the Constitution issue out of the picture, there are many things I disagree with Bush on. The Constitution issue doesn't blind me to possible areas of agreement with the man.

I just don't understand how you can essentially say it is OK for a leader to bend or break the rules, yet still say he acted properly. That is contrary to the definition of "acting properly" to begin with, but even worse is the precedent it sets.

So OK, for sake of discussion let's say that Bush acted properly in the Iraq war. The message sent to *the entire world* is that a pre-emptive attack against presumed threats is OK in a nation's "self-defense". We just justified other nations attacking the United States.

After all, we have a lot of big nasty weapons in America, and if they feel threatened by us, well "we can't wait until a threat is imminent", to quote President Bush.

Plus, even if Bush used this new power "justly", there is no way to guarantee it will be used "justly" in the future by other Presidents. And once government assumes a power, they don't give it up (at least not in my experience with American history). There is *good reason* war power was vested in Congress and should remain so.

And finally, if the man is willing to break the rules in one area, who is to say he's not willing to break it in other areas? (Indeed, I believe he has) I'm just really baffled that the President - whose powers come from the consent of the governed, and are limited as described in the Constitution - can violate those limits, yet it still is mostly a "non-issue" to you. Is it because you happen to agree with the result? Will you be upset when a President violates those limits toward a result you *don't* agree with?

ron ron
hear! hear! gRegor! That is what is similar to what I posted on my log. Bush is accomplishing a goal in the short run that could be a detriment to this society down the road.

Rothan03 Rothan03
Alright, for the sake of argument:

Yes, I do believe in the constitution and what it says. I am disgusted that it is constantly spit upon by congress, past and present presidents, lawyers, the judicial system and the like. There are many things that I disagree with Bush on, but many things I do agree with them. However, if your thought is that the Constitution has been ignored, then admit that the Constitution has been ignored by politicians for the past 40 years (if not longer). Some (very few) of the policys of politicians in the last 40 years I fully believe in, hence the belief in the spirit of the constitution and the spirit with which it was written, not just the language used (besides, language changes anyway).

But for me, I've always looked at the constitution as more of a guideline. Rules change by their very nature. In fact, the very nature of a rule is to prevent something that 'has' happened (I'd like to hear examples of rules that have been made to prevent things from happening in the future, not based on past circumstances). They're never really made to prevent future happenings. That's because it's incredibly tough to come up with justification for something that hasn't happened (and why I think many people are blind in general, the whole tunnel vision, narrow mindedness).

So, by that thought, a rule is to prevent things from happening again that have happened. However, they need to adjust to things that do happen. War involving non-combatents has been against the rules since, gosh, since recorded history really began. I can't think of very many examples where non-combatants were deliberately targeted in war (outside of slavery, inquisitions, pogrom...). The new tactics of the enemy demand that rules be adjusted to meet the new threats.

I guess the crux of the issue with Iraq is that many (you included) do not believe that Iraq was a threat.
I did.
I believe that information will come out in the coming years that lends justification to that belief (even if there isn't any currently). I think that oil money from Saddam Hussein was used to fund terrorists, terrorism and Islamic Fundamentalist Jihad. I also believe that Saddam Hussein was intent on rebuilding his military (specifically against the UN resolutions signed at the end of the Gulf War). I believe that Hussein was intent on exerting undue influence in the middle east, continuing his reign of terror against innocent non-combatants (which has been proven) and continuing to ignore UN resolutions... along with shooting down planes in designated demilitarized zones.

What scares me most isn't people in disagreement with me... it's the fact that a majority of people have to literally see the effects of something before they recognize it as a threat. Have to have your hand burned to know the pot is hot, to see a busted up car to know that driving too fast is dangerous, to have things happen to you personally before you recognize danger or intent. It would be nice to be innocent like that, but the world isn't like that. The world isn't a nice place.

What gives us the right to dictate or threaten any nation it desires? The very fact that America has the longest current running government of any nation in the world. We can dictate to others because our system works, it encourages freedom, promotes free ideas and thought. It rewards hard work, punishes the wicked and allows for dreams to be accomplished. Besides, what right does any other nation have to dictate to us what we ought or ought not to do? America won't do something so outrageous as to provoke an entire world war. It will, and rightly should take pre-eminant action to protect itself.

Yes, if history has any example, our founding fathers would rather have Europe destroy itself during the World War's and we had never gotten ourselves involved. But things change and times change. We need to adjust accordingly.

I don't go around dictating my opinions on others. But I do say that there are many groups out there trying to do just that to us and we'd be fools not to take action to prevent such happenings.

My Final Thought,
Violations of the written language of the constitution depend entirely upon the actions of the violation and the spirit of the violation. If the president takes action against the written rule of the constitution with the firm belief that the safety and prosperity of America depends vitally upon such action, I fully support it (even if they end up to be wrong). Violations of the constitution done solely for political or personal gain, I completely disagree with. I guess you could say I'm more for understanding motives rather than following rules. I appologize for coming off as a neoconservative wacko. Motive is important to me, rather than just a strict interpretation of rules and regulations.

Oh, I totally recognize that the Constitution has been trashed repeatedly over the last 50 years or even the last 100. I believe Lincoln trashed it in some horrible ways, too, regarding the Civil War and state sovereignty. [But that is another topic entirely, and I am not well-versed enough to go in-depth anyway. I've read bits of the first chapters of "The Real Lincoln" by Tom DiLorenzo (sp) and it was eye-opening]

Anyway, my intent was not to say this is something new.

You make an interesting point about rules being designed to prevent things that have happened. And I think the adaptation you refer to in some regards (not many) is legitimate, however there is a system in place for that to happen with the Constitution: the amendment process.

In the words of US Rep. Ron Paul, in an interview I just read, "the greatest threat to our national security is our own bad policy". The world isn't a nice place, you're right. But people don't hate us because of our "freedoms". I don't subscribe to what (it seems) you have put forth, that some people have to "be burned" before they recognize a threat. Well, certainly not for myself, at least.

After all, it is not like if we had not invaded Iraq we would some day down the road receive a surprise attack from Iraq out of the blue. This nation could barely defend themselves, as demonstrated by 12 years of US-enforced No Fly Zones. They attempted to shoot down our jets, but couldn't. If they couldn't even do that, how much of a threat were they really? We would know if an attack was imminent, and Iraq was not an example of an imminent attack. They could barely attack their neighbors.

And, going back to Ron Paul's quote, need I remind you that we supported Saddam. We also supported Bin Laden. So is Iraq the imminent threat to America, or how about a US government meddling in unconstitutional areas?

Having the longest running government does not give America the right to threaten or dictate its will to any nation it desires. You contradict the very principles of *freedom* embodied in this great country by saying that, as well as show a disregard (or lack of understanding) for the basic concepts of national sovereignty.

One moment you seem to be saying America can dicate or threaten as it pleases simply because "we can", yet then you turn around and say that no other nation has the right to do this to us. Actually, you say so rightly on the latter count, because that is national sovereignty. Other nations cannot tell us what to do and vice versa.

The only justification to violate another nation's sovereignty is if 1) they have already violated your sovereignty or 2) such an attack is clearly imminent. Iraq was not an imminent threat to America's sovereignty.

If Iraq started sending jets over to America to enforce "No Fly Zones" for whatever reason they saw fit, then yeah, Iraq would have violated our sovereignty by doing that and retaliation would be allowed. Mind you, this situation is what we have done to Iraq for the last 12 years. The NFZs were not mandated by any UN resolution, nor were they ceded by Iraq in any ceasefire agreement. This means we have violated Iraq's sovereignty for the past 12 years.

Do you realize that your description of America's "right" to impose on the world, and the justification for the President going against the rule of law - "with firm belief that the safety and prosperity of America depends on such action" - sound a lot like WWII-era Germany? You fully support it even if you find out later they were *wrong*??? Wow. Just.. wow.

"We come not as conquerors, but as liberators" - Hitler

[No, I'm not calling Bush - or anyone - Hitler, so nobody get their panties in a ruffle, please.]

Rothan03 Rothan03
Yeah, I do fully support the idea of imposing on the world with the firm belief that the safety and prosperity of America depends on such action.

Annexing Poland was not for the safety of Germany at the time, so... Hitler's commentary to the contrary, I have to believe that the spirit of the use of that idea (safety and prosperity) would be at least decent. We aren't in total massive depression right now (unlike 1931 Germany at the beginning of Hitler's rise).

I haven't lost all faith in our government doing things properly... they do act in good faith at times I would hope. So, yeah, my language might 'seem' the same as Hitler's germany, I grant you, but times are different and hopefully my context is completely different than WWII Germany. We don't just up and annex other countries, we don't just blow them out of the sky. We encourage a change in government that makes the world safer. Hence the whole, Iraq will still be Iraq, the only change will be that it's ruled by Iraqi's and not a lone dictator.

I ought to make my context clearer so as not promote confusion. Tough in text sometimes... language and translation is lost solely in text.

jgthree jgthree
I'm reaching back a bit to answer your question: "So your answer to the question is essentially 'yes' - with some possible reservations - right?" ...

Yes, it is perfectly fine for Christians and non-Christians alike to support President Bush despite the issues you raise. It is certainly fair to argue that the issue of this war's constitutionality and George W. Bush's part in it leave questions to be answered. However, to say that what he did was undeniably wrong is far from realistic.

Moreover, to claim that "no serious, self-respecting follower of Jesus should vote for [him]" is demeaning. You said before that what you meant was that the issue should raise serious questions for serious believers. However, what anyone reading that statement hears is: "If you vote for George Bush, you are not taking your faith seriously enough to be enlightened as to the real truth. You're a marginal Christian just like him." I do not mean to sound like a little brat telling you how you should address people about their faith or yours, only to point out that you came off sounding very condescending.

Rothan made some good points and set out some opinions to which I also subscribe and a few that I would shy away from. Overall, though, I agree. I don't recall the details, but I do remember a great deal of talk about President Bush's obligations before sending in troops back in late 2002. It was being said in the news that he did not have to go before Congress in order to declare war on Iraq (presumably because of the War Powers Act). He *did* go before Congress, though, as it was said that this would lend greater credibility to his actions. I will have to accept as truth that there was no formal declaration of war by Congress because I do not remember, but he essentially received the okay from Congress to go to war.

I realize that to be "strictly constitutional" an actual declaration would be issued by Congress itself but, in my estimation, there was no egregious casting aside of the law in the way this transpired. Both Congress and the President acted in good faith and within the spirit of the law. When put in the context of what was at stake, I am even more certain that the constitutionality of the war was, and is, a non-issue. The President is in an unimaginably difficult role, responsible for the security of the nation and the safety of millions of people from those who wish us harm. He was in a true "damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't" situation when it came to the question of war with Iraq. I believe he made the right decision, not just in his own best interest, but in the best interest of The U.S. and the world.

To answer some of what you have said since my last comment ... The United States is not a threat to the rest of the world in the same way that Iraq was perceived as a threat to us. First of all, Iraq was under the the leadership of a deranged despot who did not even have respect for the lives of his own people. Secondly, there is a long history of religious and political unrest in Iraq and in the entire region. Third, it happens to be a region where terrorism is firmly rooted and is not being strictly undercut by any local governments as it should be.

Even if Saddam Hussein had no ties to terrorism (and I'm not saying that was/wasn't the case), he wasn't lifting a finger to prevent it. His enemy was the terrorists' enemy. We sided with him at one point for the very same reason. Some call it foolish and duplicitious; others call it effective strategy. Regardless, Hussein screwed up and found out that, unlike the UN, the United States does not make idle threats ... especially when national security is at stake. As a result, Libya has started to pay attention. So has Iran, although they leave much to be desired. I don't understand how one could equate Iraq's threat to us with the U.S.'s threat to other nations. You can argue that we should not dictate morality, political systems, or policy in general for the rest of the world, but that's not what we're doing when we're protecting our own interests and, in this case, our very security. After all, at the same time, many are essentially saying that we should allow the UN to dictate *our* policy. Why? The UN's objectives and interests are not ours.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Congress *did* issue a declaration of war. Then we'd have a whole new set of questions. Was the war justified even if it had been started in a way that everyone found to be absolutely acceptable?

Kathy the Domestic Terrorist Kathy the Domestic Terrorist
1. This war is unconstitutional *and* unjust! gRegor has time and again stated how it is un-just. I will not repeat his arguments? simply see above. Remember, Iraq was NOT an imminent threat. If you disagree then perhaps we should suspend arguments about the constitution and argue the definition of ?imminent threat.?
2. And about President Bush?s responsibility for ?the security of the nation and the safety of millions of people? none can say it better than Benjamin Franklin. I echo his sentiments. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Kathy Kathy
I can never agree with anyone who believes this war is just. People are suffering for no reason. Maybe I am just a simple girl who is against this war because I am emotional about it. Nevertheless I am outraged by needless suffering. All of God?s people should also be outraged. I pray that they rally and fight their own battle for liberty and safety, their weapons being prayers and humble words and compassion. I pray that they also remember those who have died in the name of freedom and liberty and be prepared to do likewise. I am a simple girl who is herself willing to die because I believe in God and I believe I was born to be FREE. In the words of another simple girl?
?Every man and woman gives their live for what he or she believes. Some people believe in little or nothing and they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have ?we live it and it?s gone ?but to live without belief is more terrible than even dying, even more terrible than dying young.? ?Joan of Arc

PART I: [had to break into two parts because it was too long for one comment to accept it]
I'm banging my head against a bloody wall here, aren't I? This will probably be my last comment on this issue for a while - certainly on this weblog post at least.
Lest anyone forget, my original question was:
“Should Christians support a leader who supposedly follows the same God, yet believes he does not have to abide by the rules put in place over him (read: Constitution)?”
Jim's answer: “Yes, it is perfectly fine for Christians and non-Christians alike to support President Bush despite the issues you raise.”
Clever answer, but I notice how you changed the wording to better suit your 'case'. “the issues you raise”.. please, Jim. It is a FACT that the Constitution says only Congress declares war. It is a FACT that Congress did not declare war. Bush broke the rules. If you are answering “Yes” to my question, you are saying the rules mean nothing in this country, and you SPIT upon the very liberty that you think this war effort defended. Two wrongs do not make a right.
You rebuke me for coming off condescending, yet you defend some mysterious “right” for America to condescend, intimidate, dominate, and control the entire world. Oh, but it's “in our own safety interests” so suddently it's noble, huh? [By the way, I must give credit where credit is due: “Dominate, intimidate, control” is the motto posted at the Transportation Security Administration's air marshal training center. I'm sure they have every citizen's best interest at heart, of course].
There was no declaration of war in Iraq, you are correct. There was a resolution “authorizing” President Bush to send in troops. This is essentially the same thing we have had in every war since WWII, and it has always been unconstitutional for the same reason. As I have explained to both my senators in recent letters [which will be posted in the new section of my site I'm working on], Congress cannot arbitrarily expand the scope of the Constitution with legislation. If Congress has the power to do A, B, and C, they cannot assume to do D. Nowhere are they given the authority to “authorize” the President - or anyone else - to wage war. Plain and simple. In order to change the scope of the Constitution, it must be amended.
Also as I told them, I honestly view the Iraq resolution as simple political maneuvering. The politicians win either way if they give the authority to Bush. If the war is a success, they can pat each other on the back and say “see? we did good, we authorized it”. If the war isn't a success, or there is massive outcry against it, they say “well we had no idea; President Bush made the decision to go to war, not us.” Grow some balls, senators. Either declare war, or don't.

Yes, there was egregious casting aside of the law. When US Rep Ron Paul brought a proposal for legislation actually declaring war - you know, since that's only Constitutional (Ron Paul is silly like that) - Chairman Henry Hyde said:
“There are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events, by time. Declaration of war is one of them. There are things no longer relevant to a modern society. Why declare war if you don't have to? We are saying to the President, use your judgment. So, to demand that we declare war is to strengthen something to death. You have got a hammerlock on this situation, and it is not called for. Inappropriate, anachronistic, it isn't done anymore.”
This is an elected representative, in Congress, who swore an oath on the Bible:
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
You don't swear such an oath to support and defend “parts” of the Constitution. All of it. IF parts of the Constitution become “no longer relevant”, then it can be changed via ammendment only. Not only was the law egregiously cast aside by an overwhelming majority of Congress in passing the Iraq resolution, we also have Henry Hyde making treasonous comments about the Constitution. Lovely.
Jim, you said “The United States is not a threat to the rest of the world in the same way that Iraq was perceived as a threat to us.”
So what? Clearly the precedent that we have set is that 'perceived threat' is in the eye of the beholder. You may think that the US is not a threat to the rest of the world - but is that how the rest of the world see us? I believe you are ignorant if you honestly think so. For starters, if we are not a perceived threat to the world, explain Sept 11. If we are not a perceived threat to the world, explain why Libya disarmed. Oh, they got a sudden boost in global conscience or something, right? No, it couldn't be because they felt threatened of having their ass bombed off the map like Iraq.
Or is only America justified in perceiving threats in the world? Do we have some magical divining rod to tell us who the real threats are?
You keep repeating empty rhetoric about our national security - “we don't make idle threats when our national security is at stake”, yet you have never, ever offered one iota of evidence that Iraq was a threat to our national security.
You bring up the UN again. I don't like the UN, either. Let's get the US out. But, you know, for disliking the UN so much, and making comments as you have that “the UN's objectives and interests are not ours” - well then why did the Iraq resolution (mentioned earlier) rely on UN resolutions as its justification? [It did] So which way will you have it?
Congress should have declared war, that is all there is to it. “Authorizing” the President to wage war, and declaring war are not the same thing at all. It was not in line with the “spirit” of the Constitution, because the “spirit” of the Constitution is that the government is restricted to do only what it is authorized to do in the document.
Perhaps some closing words from James Madison (Father of the Constitution) are in order:
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few...
The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war ... the power of raising armies ... the power of creating offices...
A delegation of such powers (to the President) would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.
You can read more of what Madison wrote, as well as a good essay on this entire topic of ”authorization for war" at this website:

BurnDark BurnDark
Kathy, the arguments regarding suffering could be used for either side. Jim could say that there is less suffering now as the Kurds don't have to fear attacks from Hussein.

Kathy Kathy
*sigh* puh-leeze
Ian, that is not... our.. problem!!! It does not justify us sending our troops to suffer and die... it does not justify bombing innocent civillians!!!

BurnDark BurnDark
I want to be clear on this, as people seem to think that I am saying things that I am not. I'm not arguing a position. I never have been throughout this whole thing. I have only pointed out when I percieved someone said something that could put people off (parts of the original post) or a fallacy in the argument. That is why I said early on to be careful about bringing false dilemmas into the argument. Just because I point out a fallacy in the argument of someone who supports A does not mean that I support NOT A. My whole reason for posting is to keep the argument on track.

jgthree jgthree
gRegor, you're making an assertion that I do not agree with. This is why I could not maintain your wording in answering your question. I could call your wording clever as well, since I was left with only two options: answering to it directly and conceding your point, or changing it in order to make mine. I took a calculated risk, knowing that you would accuse me of dodging the facts.
I am NOT saying that rules mean nothing by claiming that the President acted justly. And I am NOT spitting on my liberties or on yours. And you know full well that I agree with you when you say “two wrongs don't make a right.” Have you not gotten my hint about dropping the holier-than-thou crap!? Every time I bring it up gently, you fire something right back. I absolutely resent it because I used to be able to hear you out objectively ... Now I feel like I'm constantly defending myself.
You've once again brought up the false dichotomy that has irked me since day one of your argument ... the fact that I don't agree that this is an issue of constitutionality does not mean I don't give a damn about the Constitution! If we cannot agree on the terms, then I don't have much more to say. We are doomed to argue over issues of semantics and, as it stands, we're both arguing past each other.
I'll briefly answer to a couple of your points, though ...
- September 11th was not about anyone perceiving us as a threat. It was about the religious convictions of Islamic Jihadists that don't jive with common standards of decency. Perhaps you could argue that we threatened their culture or religious freedom through the so-called Westernization of the world, but even that is conceding too much to psychos. There is NO comparison between what happened on September 11th, 2001 and the actions we have undertaken since. We are not waging war on the basis of religious zeal.
- You seem rather upset that I did not lay out the entire justification for aggression against Iraq. I purposely avoided going into specifics regarding the threat from Iraq because that's another issue entirely. What I did point out were three general things (despot, unrest, terrorism) that, in the context of those specifics, produced a clear threat.

jgthree jgthree
Kathy, you're essentially saying that war is inherently unjust because of the possibility for civilian casualties. If we used that as justification for avoiding war, we would NEVER be at war because it will ALWAYS be a risk. We would sit around and wait for another Pearl Harbor until we got serious ... Because, only then, would the stakes be too great to worry about civilian losses. You, too, are sitting at one end of a utopian false dichotomy. At the opposite end are those who (like maniacal Jihadists) welcome civilian casualties. The Unites States lies in-between the two, realizing and accepting that there are always trade-offs to be made, however difficult both morally and intellectually.
Moreover, if you're truly “outraged by needless suffering”, then Ian's right. You should be overjoyed that Saddam Hussein is no longer in a position to inflict it on his own people.

BurnDark BurnDark
I must clear up some confusion here. I did not mean for my post regarding suffering to be taken in this light. I should have stated this directly instead of imlpying it. I am not saying that ousting Hussein was the path to less suffering. I'm saying that a good argument could be made either way. The fact is, we don't know if Hussein would have continued in his pattern of harassment. He may have cleaned up his act upon the threat of invasion alone.
Since we don't know either way, and compelling cases can be made for both sides, then I am saying that it should not be part of the discussion or both sides should concede that the viewpoints of both sides are valid for this issue.

BurnDark BurnDark
As far as this not being our problem that civilians are suffering, there are two points of view to this. As far as the interests of the US go, I would agree. It is not in the best interest of the US to intervene solely in the case of civilian suffering. However, Christians are called to end needless suffering in the world. On those grounds a Christian could support the war.
Yes, I know the US is not a Christian nation. My point is made from the perspective of a Christian individual, not national policy.

jgthree jgthree
Agreed, Ian. Sorry if I confused things. I'm not saying that ousting Hussein was the path to less suffering either; just agreeing with you in that that the current state of affairs leaves the Kurds better off, whether or not it could have come about a better way ... and hoping that Kathy will recognize that regardless of her disagreement with the process that brought it about.

elizabeth elizabeth
i am way, way behind on my internet reading and therefore have not read all 450 comments but i will share my two cents. Lots of stupid things have been done by Christians. Yep that was my dramatic statement for the day that is a means of saying 'of course i like biting political comments by an evangelical; it's fun!' and that clearly I agree with you.

This is an older post, so the public comment form is now closed. You can still use the form above to send me the link of your reply or sign in with your email to leave a comment. You can always send me a message, too.


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