Running One Up the Flagpole

No Lapels BushEach election season, flag burning crops up like an unusually persistent weed. It’s a favorite dodge to distract voters or pander to some hairy-edge group within a party. But this season, we have a twist on the old story. In between “mistaking” Obama for Osama and bitching about him being sworn in on a Koran, the flag lobby has complained loudly and disingenuously that Obama doesn’t wear a flag lapel pin or hold his hand over his heart when the national anthem plays.

Horrors! Where is the country going and why is it in this hand basket?

I love the flag as much or more as the next guy. I follow the old school ways, putting my hand over my heart for the national anthem. I fondly remember how the military stops traffic and gets you out of your car for taps. I fly the flag every day - not just on holidays to add a little color to the family cookout as many of the complainers do. Heck, I’m even an amateur vexilologist.

Having the flag as part of my daily life, I fail to see how the sartorial use of the flag makes much difference one way or another when it comes to legislating. Ditto for the hand-over-heart salute. These days, putting your hand over your heart has become as antiquated as fedoras for office wear. That’s not an excuse, but a simple fact.

I love the flag of my country. I see its beauty and strength and believe that part of what makes it beautiful is as a symbol of citizens’ right to wear, or not wear, lapel pins of their choice. Clergymen and church-goers often wear crosses at the expense of flag pins. Many of the supposedly aggrieved don’t wear lapel pins or cross their hearts at all. Yet, they would rather call others’ patriotism into question for the omission. We still live - at least for now - in a country that allows such things.

The disrespect the flag lobby shows is exactly what they often accuse their fellow citizens of doing - exercising naked political correctness. By calling Obama’s patriotism into question, they sound as loopy as those who insist that God is always a her or that every high school mascot is offensive to the point of tears. Political correctness of these kinds doesn’t engender anyone to their causes, it simply makes people roll their eyes and consider them tin-foil hatted gophers.

Sure, I’d prefer Obama wore a lapel pin and put his hand over his heart. I’d prefer that people not burn the flag or desecrate it. But what I’d really prefer is for sanctimonious vexiloboobs to drop the phony crap and stop desecrating the flag by wrapping themselves in it. I’d prefer an intelligent electorate that gives the flag the respect it deserves by not falling for these faux crusades. I’d much prefer an electorate that worried about real problems than phony, flag-draped symbolism.

Let’s run that one up the flagpole and see who salutes it.

 


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60 Responses to “Running One Up the Flagpole”

  1. Liberal Jarhead Says:

    As you noted, this distraction gets trotted out every election, another variation of “pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain.” I also share both your appreciation for the symbolism of our flag and your scorn for those who use it this way.

    Reminds me of a syndrome that used to really bug me when I was in uniform - a lot of people judged how “motivated” a person was by how loudly he/she yelled “oorah!” (in the Army it would have been “Hooah!”) rather than by what the person actually did in terms of work accomplished, skills demonstrated, etc.

    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” - Sinclair Lewis

  2. manapp99 Says:

    OP, I agree with everything in your post…however.
    Politics is a game of perceptions. In this respect I think Obama is making a mistake. Look at the other perception all serious candidates embrace at election time, faith. Even though we would probably agree that a candidates personal faith should have no bearing on his/her ability to govern, they all (Obama included) fall all over themselves trying to get to the nearest church to talk about their faith. This is due to the desire to get elected and the willingness to play the game. Being a candidate for the highest elected position of the country, any country, requires one to “wrap themselves in the flag”. Patriotism is a must and people will want to see that flag pin and the hand on the heart. Perhaps a little tearing up when the national anthem is played. I respect what Obama is saying about this but I feel that if he wins the primary, this will come back to bite him in the general. It is less about what the candiate believes and more about what the electorate wants to think he/she believes.

  3. Paul Watson Says:

    manapp,
    Actually, that’s not true everywhere in the world. Anyone in the UK who wore a Union Jack, or worse the cross of St George, around election time would be thought of as a member of the racist and thorughly unpleasant British National Party, rather than a serious politician.
    That’s not to say “Britishness”, whatever the hell that is, or the flag isn’t used heavily as a backdrop, but pins or other ostentatious displays of patriotism? They don’t work so well over here.
    And what you’re basically saying is “Substance doesn’t matter, only the surface counts”. No wonder the choices on all sides are so bad.

  4. Lisa Says:

    Paul I bet if they were wearing a crescent moon pin they would get more support in your country.

  5. christopher Radulich Says:

    Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
    ATTRIBUTION: SAMUEL JOHNSON.—James Boswell, Life of Johnson, entry for Friday, April 7, 1775, p. 615 (1970).

    As this administration and many before it have amply proven.

    Does any remember the GDR (German democratic republic). It was german but certianly not democratic or a republic. I have found that the more a nation has in its title that it is democratic or a republic the less it is so.

    So it is with patriotism. The louder people shout about it the more I believe they are trying to hide behind it. Especially in this country we are suppose to honor dissent. My country right or wrong is wrong.

  6. Omnipotent Poobah Says:

    Manapp,
    That’s true enough, but it’s still nice to dream of a place where people can win or lose elections solely on their merits. Sigh.

    Paul,
    I know that about the UK. IN fact, they used to brief US military members going there about that very thing to avoid problems. And I’ve been on every continent and would say the UK way of things is the rule. It’s another case where the US is a bit of an odball.

  7. me Says:

    I honestly don’t care whether someone wears a flag-pin or not. My understanding is that wearing a flag in any form is (or used to be) considered an offense against the flag, along with commercializing the flag in a way that would allow the wearing of it. Flags are to be flown from flagpoles and saluted, not worn in my opinion.

    But flag etiquette among many people in this country hasn’t been that way for a long time. Now many people consider it patriotic to wear them either as a pin on the clothes or imprinted on the clothing. Here in Indiana, “In God We Trust” license plates are very big.

    It is, to me, a matter of complete disinterest whether a person wears a flag-pin (I don’t) or even flies a flag upon his or her property (I don’t). I do, however, internally salute any time I see the stars and stripes flying from a pole. I think of what it stands for and get a warm-fuzzy feeling inside that I suppose is proof to myself that I love the flag and the country for which it waves.

    In short, Senator Obama may wear or not wear a flag lapel pin as he chooses and for any reason he chooses and his explanation of patriotism is as good a one as any I’ve heard.

    He wants America to be great and telling people what he thinks we need to do to make America great is what Obama says counts for his patriotism. I wouldn’t put it quite that way because the logical implication is that Obama doesn’t think America is great now. I do. Certainly the country as it exists today and as judged by the past and present policies that have been executed here and abroad has flaws. What country doesn’t? But I do think her a great nation with flaws that can and should be amended because she will then be greater still.

    One final comment, even when she is wrong, this is my country and I love her just as my two sons are my two sons whether they are right or wrong so, yes. My country right or wrong.

  8. Christopher Radulich Says:

    I love my country too. Loving ones country does not mean supporting it when it does the wrong thing. To bring up the worst case scenario, my country right or wrong led to the excesses of Nazi germany.

  9. Dusty Says:

    Gee, the Teddy Roosevelt line would go great here:

    “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

  10. Dusty Says:

    And we can apply Teddy’s logic to the nation as well Craig, imho.

  11. Dusty Says:

    here is another one that is appropriate:

    The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain. George McGovern

  12. Paul Watson Says:

    Lisa,
    How interesting. I simply say that in the UK the osteatious display of the flag is regard as a sign of racism, which it is, and you immediately link it to Islam and imply that somehow that would make people more popular. Could you please explain this rather odd juxtaposition?

  13. Lisa Says:

    Wow Paul racism has new meanings al the time. Now using a flag as a backdrop is considered racist? In what way?
    Okay what I meant tha it would probably me more accepted if one were to wear a pin with the Islam symbol as opposed to a symbol that resembles your own country.

  14. me Says:

    To Christopher and Dusty,

    I have no objection to criticizing specific policies pursued by America, whether foreign or domestic, just as I have no problem criticizing my sons when they do wrong. I mean to say only that they are my sons, no matter what they do. Same with the country. She is mine and I love her even when her leaders pursue specific policies with which I disagree. Supporting the country, whatever that might mean, does not mean that Americans and America’s leaders can’t be criticized for specific actions. I do it all the time. If I ever get to thinking of America as something other than my nation, or that I cannot support my country even as I criticize specific policies and behaviors, I shall expatriate. I just don’t ever see me or America getting to that point.

  15. me Says:

    Paul,

    I’m wondering how it is, in your opinion, that what you label an ostentatious display of the Union Jack has come to symbolize racism. Are not all British citizens, whether they can trace their family’s origin to the British Island back to before the Roman Empire arrived or whether they patriated last week, generally considered to be Brits? How does a flag of a nation of people who are as diverse as those of Great Britain come to symbolize only one race of people?

  16. Independent mind Says:

    To Liberal Jarhead, the Fascists are here! They want to take the citizenry’s guns away. They want to keep you from hearing conservative talk radio show hosts, while promoting the ultra liberal television news anchors. They want to open the floodgates that are our borders and allow in all comers, whether they are here to earn an honest living, or destroy our way of life. They want all caucasians to pay reparations for slavery, when there are no slaves or former slave owners alive today. They want to force you to become an herbivore, because hunting and ranching are harmful to tasty animals. They want your children to become dependent on the government for all of their needs, rather than be self sufficient. They want to take from the hard working middle class and the wealthy and give to the lazy and unmotivated. They want to take away the first amendment rights of anyone who opposes their views. They are in the schools and colleges, brainwashing the youth of America. They speak ill of their country in a time of war. They DO NOT PUT THEIR HANDS OVER THEIR HEARTS DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM! The Fascists are not wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross, they are Latte drinking, pot smoking, gun hating, animal loving, human baby aborting, death sentence opposing, religion bashing, environmental nazis that currently make up the Democratic party!

    Obama is no American Patriot! Hillary Clinton couldn’t run her household and keep her husband happy; so what makes you think she’ll be able to run the country and negotiate peace with a race of people that subjugate women? John Edwards is about the best of that bunch, but he’s as shifty as the wind.

    Now, in all fairness, the Republican party isn’t any better. Corporate America has it’s hand so far up the Republican Party’s fourth point of contact it’s a wonder any of them can walk on their own! They have to ask for permission from the Corporations to go to the bathroom.

    If the war in the gulf was for oil, why are we paying so much for gas? Because the Corporations want it that way. Why did Bush try to legalize millions of illegal aliens? Because the Corporations wanted it that way. Why isn’t the US Government trying to protect American Jobs and manufacturing? Because the Corporations want it that way. The Republicans don’t care about the common US Citizen. They only care about their stock portfolio and their legacy. Most want to keep their guns, they like free speech as long as it isn’t pornographic, and they absolutely love entrepeneurial spirit. If you want to start your own company, work hard, and become successful, the Republicans are right there….once you become a successful corporation with enough money to contribute to their campaign funds, of course! About the only one I kinda like is Duncan Hunter, but only because he is the strongest against illegal immigration and he won’t take away my guns! Too bad he’s owned by the Corporations!!!

    I think I’ve sufficiently offended nearly everyone equally, so I will sign off. I don’t care if a politician wears a Stars and Stripes lapel pin. I think the Libs should wear a red flag lapel pin with a gold sickle and a black swaztika on it, while the Republicans should wear the lapel pin of the Corporation that owns them! At least then there would be some truth in political advertising!

  17. Liberal Jarhead Says:

    Independent Mind,
    You use the word “they” a lot, but I doubt there is any one group that could be doing all the things you talk about. For a lot of the aims you mention, the support is limited to splinter groups who may claim to speak for larger numbers but don’t.

    Wanting to disarm the populace is a sign not only of fascism but of every other kind of authoritarianism, and the folks pushing it now don’t have most of the other stigmata of fascists.

    As far as I can tell, no one is censoring neocon talking heads; Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are still out there with a huge audience to hear them say any damn fool thing that pops into their hateful little heads. There are no ultraliberal news anchors in the major media; for that you have to look to places like Democracy Now and people like Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill. The news media are owned and operated by big business - no way Rupert Murdoch is a liberal, for example, and his media all reflect his biases. Where we had probing, aggressive media digging into Nixon’s administration, now we have emasculated poodles whiffing softball questions a la Jeff Gannon. The mainstream media is a corporate fascist echo chamber.

    Immigration has always been one of this country’s sources of strength, although those already established here but still struggling have always resisted the addition of more competition to the work force. When people come to the U.S. we get the brightest and most energetic from their home countries; the less able or ambitious don’t make the trip. But anti-immigrant movements have flourished since before the Civil War, always targeting the newest culture or ethnicity to show up.

    There are some who advocate reparations for slavery, but not anything like even a large minority, and they’re typically looking to government, not individual “caucasians” - you make it sound as if there is about to be some special ethnic tax levied on us whities. No way. Personally, I favor some forms of affirmative action to help people who were born behind catch up, but not reparations. If any former slaves were still living, I’d say maybe they rated them, like Holocaust survivors getting some repayment from the German corporations that used them as slave labor.

    Is anyone advocating legislating vegetarianism? Who? PETA isn’t a lobby in that sense, and there’s no legislative move to do anything like that because there’s no percentage in it for big business. Can you imagine the lobbying blitz just from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King?

    If by the “they” that are in favor of economic class war against the middle class you mean the current version of the Republican party, I agree. The shifting of the fiscal burden of government away from corporations and the very rich and more onto the backs of the middle class and the poor has been unprecedented, even as the share of the nation’s wealth owned by those same corporations and rich people has multiplied.

    The neofascists do usually put their hands over their hearts and sing the National Anthem - they’re among the lustiest of flag-wavers. Of course, they’re trampling all over the respect for the rights of others that the flag actually stands for.

    Your assumption that Bill Clinton’s infidelities were his wife’s fault will endear you to women everywhere; he cheated on her because she “couldn’t keep him happy” the way OJ killed his wife because she didn’t make him happy, whatever that would have meant. He did what he did because he chose to. Regardless, no one got killed, and I tend to think it was their business and not ours.

    I suspect that you amused people more than you offended them. Generally, your attribution of all these evil plans to a hypothetical group described by almost every liberal-bashing cliche in current use (you forgot Birkenstock-wearing and Volvo-driving) was great. But I’ve met very few people who fit cliches so perfectly - left or right, red or blue - and if you have, I’d like to go see them in their native habitat. Do you have any pictures?

    Just out of curiosity, where does a liberal like me fit into this scheme of things? I’m in favor of a social safety net but not government intrusion into people’s lifestyles (i.e. I’m pro-choice, in favor of letting anyone get married that wants to, and believe we need an absolute wall between church and state); I’m a psychotherapist and a retired Marine and gun collector with a lifetime membership at the NRA’s Whittington Center and a strong opponent of more gun restrictions, but I’m also a strong opponent of the death penalty and a harsh critic of our current prison system (I used to work there!); I’m an environmentalist but I support hunting as a sport having a place in wildlife management and I do like eating meat. I’ll be damned if I’ll be pigeonholed. And I don’t drink lattes, I take my coffee black, but I like herbal tea too.

  18. Paul Watson Says:

    Craig,
    Because the party that uses it most, the BNP, is racist. They’ve been using it for a long time, almost exclusively, and so it has become associated ith them. That is partially the fault of everyone else for allowing it to happen, but it has.
    Everything else you say is 100% correct. People are British regardless of ancestry. Given my ancestry includes English, Scottish, Irish and Hungarian Jew within recent generations, I’m certainly as mongrel as they come. But because the flag has become associated with isolationist xenophobes and racists, it is now associated with that. It shouldn’t be, but that’s the first reaction.

  19. me Says:

    Paul,

    Thanks for explaining. Sad. I guess the same sort of thing has happened in the US with the Confederate Flag. Used to be quite popular, and not just in the South, owing perhaps to a television program, The Dukes of Hazard, who had the flag painted on the roof of their car. Today, of course, owing to the historical connection with a civil war to, in part at least, protect the institution of slavery, the Confederate Flag is no longer the symbol of a brave stand, of courage in the face of an overwhelming and at times ruthless invading enemy, and a source of pride for a people who had been crushed and humiliated by their northern conquerors but no more than a symbol of racism and a historic attempt to keep an entire race of people down and deny them rights.

  20. Independent mind Says:

    Liberal Jarhead,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your response. You are articulate and obviously very intelligent. It is an honor discussing these issues with you.

    I am surprised that I agreed with many of the points you raised. I agree with your point that the extremes of both parties are not representative of the majority of members of those parties. I agree with you that gun control advocates are fascists disguising themselves as something else and are not facing the label of Fascist. I agree that hunting as a sport has a place in wildlife management and I absolutely love a good ribeye steak! Alas, there are points at which we disagree.

    Have you seen recently the discussions about bringing back the “fairness doctrine?” The reason this was brought back up, was due to the fact that a whole lot of people flooded Congress with calls, faxes, emails, and letters over their attempt to have another amnesty program. The flood of action by the people was prompted by Conservative talk radio show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Roger Hedgecock, Rick Roberts, and others. It is for this reason that Senator Feinstein and others have called for a return of the fairness doctrine. On the other hand, the television news media will have a news report on the plight of illegal immigrant farm workers in California that had to choose between their lives or their illegal jobs at a farm near the wildfires, but ignore the problems these illegal immigrant campsites create. ABC Nightly News had such a story and they seem to enjoy putting up Enrique “the Moron” Morones who talks about these poor migrant workers and their rights, but Mr. Morones and ABC News fails to acknowledge the growing problem with young underage girls being forced to prostitute themselves at these same Illegal immigrant worker camps in return for being smuggled into the United States. The Liberal news media loves to bash Bush, but Hillary can do no wrong. Why do you think conservatives call CNN the Clinton News Network?

    With regard to separation of church and state, the Constitution states simply that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. It doesn’t mean that God can’t be acknowledged. I’m no bible thumper, but I resent the atheists’ attempts to take away my right practice my religion. My kids should be able to quietly pray at their desks at school if they want to! God knows they do anyway, especially at test time! What I would be against, is a teacher forcing my kids to face the east, kneel on a carpet, and recite Islamic prayers. That is where I see the separation of church and state.

    Immigration as it is today is not the same as it was at Ellis Island over a century ago. Back then, one had to have a skill that was needed to be able to legally immigrate here. Today, the people coming in have no skills save a strong back and a willingness to work for less money than United States Citizens. They also have no respect for this country’s laws and no desire to assimilate into the American society. While there are some that bring some needed skillsets to the table, the method they used to enter this country was and is wrong. There is a proper way to enter this country. If one follows the right path, gets an immigrant visa, supports himself or herself and doesn’t violate the law, I am right there greeting them with open arms! Unfortunately, a majority of people do not follow the law. They should be deported as soon as they are caught, no hearings, no rights, no appeals! What is really sad is, the terrorists of 9/11 legally entered the country, but they overstayed their visas in some cases or otherwise should have been deported for violating the terms of their visas and the government agents could not go after them without being called racists and mean spirited. Hogwash, I say! The Border Patrol should be able to go to any farm, ranch, construction site, school, church, or anywhere else to locate, arrest, and deport illegal immigrants they find! The amnesty of 1988 was supposed to be the end of illegal immigration, but what it did was cause MORE illegal immigration. These people know that they will be legalized if they can keep from getting caught long enough. That, or have a child born in the US! I believe a child born to illegal immigrants on US soil should still be an illegal immigrant!

    I don’t agree totally with Global Warming and I don’t believe land should not be built upon because some albino rodent nests on the land. If I own an acre of land and I want to build on it, I should not have to do environmental impact reports. It’s my land, as long as I’m not dumping toxic waste on it, it is my land to build on. I don’t care about whether a varmint is going to die out because I want to build a house for my family on their nesting grounds. Screw them. As far as Global Warming, I believe the Earth is naturally going through a warming cycle. That does not mean that Mankind is not harming the environment, I just think don’t think it is on the scale being presented.

    As I’m sure you guessed, I’m not a big fan of Hillary Clinton. I think she’s too weak to be President of the United States. I know if I was caught cheating on my wife, she would leave me in a heartbeat. I’m sure there are many women out there who think like my wife that Hillary is weak and will not make a good President.

    I don’t like our current prison system, but I blame liberal judges who’ve all but made it impossible to impose the death penalty. I think the whole country needs to do like Texas does, install an express lane for the worse of the worse and light up Ol’ Sparky! I don’t care if a mass murderer feels pain before he dies. The Constitution only prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment! It does not state that criminals are protected from feeling pain as they are punished! At the time this was written, hanging was a usual form of punishment! Firing squads was a usual form of punishment! Death as a form of punishment is a deterrent, I don’t care what anyone says. I wonder if that american teenager who was caned for grafitti has done any grafitti since he was caned? I bet he hasn’t done it in the country where it happened! He’ll do it here, because he is not held to account and there are no consequences for his actions.

    You’re right about another thing, I can’t pigeonhole you. You seem to be fairly moderate. What would you say of me? I’m pro-bill of rights. I’m pro-choice in thought, but pro-life in practice. I think marriage is a religious institution reserved to a union of a man and a woman, but I see no reason why gay and lesbian couples can’t obtain the tax benefits, insurance benefits, and probate benefits associated with married couples. I don’t see the two as mutually inclusive. I believe the 1988 amnesty for illegal immigrants was the last amnesty the US should ever have and those found to be in the United States illegally should be deported without the necessity of a hearing. Children born to illegal immigrants, even those born on US soil, are themselves illegal immigrants. I believe in free markets, but I believe the oil companies have conspired to control price and demand of gas. I believe if the Gulf War was for oil, then I should be paying less for gas. I believe government should not start a state church, but I see no problem with displaying the ten commandments in a court room. I think the courts give too many rights to criminals and cause more harm to victims. I believe there should either be a flat tax for all taxpayers, or have a national sales tax and eliminate the income tax entirely. The very wealthy can reduce their income tax to near zero, but they cannot completly escape sales taxes. I’m no environmentalist, but I love to wander in our national forests. I believe we should pump out more oil out of Alaska, but fine the oil companies if they don’t take extreme care to protect the surrounding environment from oil spills. I believe the Death Penalty is a deterrent, but we should do all we can to ensure the one found guilty is truly guilty.

    But above all, I believe I’ll go home and get myself a beer!

  21. christopher Radulich Says:

    With regard to separation of church and state, the Constitution states simply that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishmen t of religion. It doesn’t mean that God can’t be acknowledged . I’m no bible thumper, but I resent the atheists’ attempts to take away my right practice my religion. My kids should be able to quietly pray at their desks at school if they want to! God knows they do anyway, especially at test time! What I would be against, is a teacher forcing my kids to face the east, kneel on a carpet, and recite Islamic prayers. That is where I see the separation of church and state.

    Exactly when was the last time we atheist closed your church or prevent your private or public display of faith so long as it was not carried out as a government function?

    As for gun control people being fascist. How much more are the good people who complain about pornography. Every study has shown that pornography has no bad affect on society, yet we continue to try and control it. then too we should get rid of the fascist who insist on controlling drivers licences, hunting licences, medical licences, and all the other government regulations.

  22. Independent Mind Says:

    What about the atheist who was using his daughter to try to get “Under God” taken out of the pledge of allegiance? Are you going to try to take “In God We Trust” off of our money too? What about federal holidays? Should the government not allow their employees to have religious based holidays like Christmas and Easter off? Maybe they should go the other way and let them have Ramadan, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa as well!

    The fact of the matter is, this country was set up by Christian people. They made it acceptable for people of all faiths, and those without faith, to live in the United States without fear of being forced to accept one faith for the entire nation. The fact that a war memorial on government land has a cross on it doesn’t mean the government is forcing a particular religion upon the populace. The fact that a public school sets aside time for students to say a prayer, or quietly collect their thoughts without praying, doesn’t mean that the government is forcing a particular religion upon the population. The fact that a high school football coach kneels down with his team and joins quietly in a pregame prayer led by one of his players doesn’t mean he is forcing his religion upon his players. I think the atheists go too far when they try to take the rights of these people away from them.

    I’m with you on the pornography thing. I’m still young enough to enjoy the sight of a young, beautiful, naked woman in the troughs of passion with a man. As long as the people involved are consenting adults, I say go ahead and do what you will. God may not like, but one’ll have to answer to Him when the time comes. Child Pornography is something I would like to see wiped of the face of this earth and the people who do it given the death penalty! Sounds harsh, but those poor kids have no choice and do not know what is happening to them to be able to make an adult choice in the matter. Even kids over twelve really do not know what sex is and cannot make an informed choice to engage in that type of activity with an adult. It is wrong and it needs to be stopped! I know that’s not what you are talking about wanting to be able to do, but I had to make the distinction, because I think the far right thinks there is no distinction between the two.

    I don’t agree with you on the licenses issue. Without some restrictions and requirements to do certain things, anarchy would result. Imagine going to a “Doctor” that has had absolutely no medical training and experience. That is just plain insane. Along the same lines, what are your thoughts with regard to a national identification card? Personally, I’m for it, if we can prevent Illegal Aliens from getting the cards issued to them as well. The problem is, I don’t trust our government to do the job right.

  23. me Says:

    Independent Mind,

    What about the atheist who was using his daughter to try to get “Under God” taken out of the pledge of allegiance?

    What about him? The same Constitution that forbids the government to hinder your free expression of religion also forbids the government to force religion on those who aren’t interested in acknowledging God. It works both ways. I can think of worse things than beginning the school day saluting the flag (although certain religious people might find that objectionable) and celebrating the nation for which she waves but the government cannot make atheists revere God or force them to verbally acknowledge God.

    Also, no one forbids your child from praying quietly at his or her desk. The teacher, however, cannot lead the class in prayer for the same reason that they can’t pressure atheists to acknowledge God with the “under God” laden Pledge. Heck, public school children are allowed to hold prayer and Bible study group meetings on school grounds during open periods as long as those meetings are open to all.

    As for religious expression, that’s what Churches are for. I don’t know about your town but here in Fowler, Indiana, a small town in what is traditionally known as The Sticks, there are at least four Churches, at any one of which anyone can go and worship as they think best. The first amendment is alive and well in America.

    Are you going to try to take “In God We Trust” off of our money too?

    Not me, no, but what if they did? How, exactly, is the presence or absence of “In God We Trust” related in any way to the free expression of religion? It’s all legal tender, with or without the slogan, and suitable for paying taxes, purchasing goods and services as well as for donating to the house of worship or charity of one’s choice. One can even say a prayer with each purchase or donation, thanking God for the purchasing power, if that’s what one’s religious view-point calls for.

    On the other hand, “In God We Trust” on the money doesn’t make the money (which the Bible calls filthy lucre and unholy mammon and calls the love of which, the root of all evil) holy. The money used to facilitate 9/11 had “In God We Trust” on it. That didn’t make 9/11 a righteous act. The only thing that can make money holy is the attitude, intention and utilization of that money. A murder for hire with money imprinted with “In God We Trust” is just as unholy as the same money absent it. Buying a hungry person a meal with money without “In God We Trust” imprinted on it is just as holy as the same money used for the same purpose with the slogan. It’s not what’s imprinted on the money that makes it either holy or unholy; it’s what’s done with the money and why.

    What about federal holidays? Should the government not allow their employees to have religious based holidays like Christmas and Easter off? Maybe they should go the other way and let them have Ramadan, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa as well!

    Personally, either works just fine for me but I do think that making seasons like Christmas and Easter holidays but not the holidays of adherents of other religions holidays is simply an example of inequality that should not exist. Accommodations made for some religious people should be made for all or for none.

    The fact of the matter is, this country was set up by Christian people.

    I fear I’ll have to disagree with you there. Many of the founders were not Christians. Deism was all the rage back then, particularly with the elite that made up the nation’s leadership and the religion of many of them simply would not be recognized as Christian by any Christian denomination unless you count Unitarian Universalists as Christians. Not to dis Unitarians or anything but they aren’t recognized as Christians by most Christians. Neither were the Deists among the founders who set up this nation.

    The fact is, this has always been a religiously (and irreligiously) diverse nation.

    They made it acceptable for people of all faiths, and those without faith, to live in the United States without fear of being forced to accept one faith for the entire nation.

    You are correct here.

    The fact that a war memorial on government land has a cross on it doesn’t mean the government is forcing a particular religion upon the populace.

    I agree with you. On the other hand, war memorials memorialize all those who fought in wars, not just the Christians, and so any war memorial that has a cross upon it ought also to have symbols appropriate for the memorialization of soldiers of whatsoever religion some soldiers identified themselves with, or the memorial should have no particular religious symbols on it. Also, a huge cross that can be seen for miles around upon public land does seem, to me at least, to place one particular religion among the many that Americans associate themselves with, the Christian religion, as being superior, else, why not a huge star of David, a crescent, a Buddha and so forth? As far as I’m concerned, public land can be used to display the religious sentiments of the American people but, in doing so, they may not, in my opinion, emphasize one to the exclusion or minimization of others.

    The fact that a public school sets aside time for students to say a prayer, or quietly collect their thoughts without praying, doesn’t mean that the government is forcing a particular religion upon the population.

    Again, I agree, as long as there’s not a prayer that is being vocalized. As far as I know, the first amendment establishment clause jurisprudence by the courts does not forbid the silent prayers of students (after all, if they are silent, who would know who was or was not praying in their hearts?). It is prayers lead by a teacher (or, I would suppose, also one lead by a student) that has been found objectionable. I’m not sure what you are speaking of here is a problem.

    The fact that a high school football coach kneels down with his team and joins quietly in a pregame prayer led by one of his players doesn’t mean he is forcing his religion upon his players.

    Well, now, this could be a problem. Are there atheists on the team? If so, they would be forced to either sit through a prayer or exclude themselves from the company of their team-mates during the prayer but team sports, particularly in schools, are there for the purpose of building teamwork, not exclusion and yet, a student led prayer in such a situation becomes an occasion for excluding those outside the religious mindset. Sure, atheists should be willing to tolerate the prayer of their religious team-mates. A pluralistic society requires tolerance in order to work. I just don’t think, personally, that public schools are the appropriate place for vocalized prayers (as opposed to the silent prayers of the faithful). That’s what all those Churches are for.

    I think the atheists go too far when they try to take the rights of these people away from them.

    Look. When you go to a Church, corporate prayer is not a problem. Everyone there (except the children who are taken to Church whether they want to be there or not) are there voluntarily. No one is having the religiosity of others foisted upon them involuntarily or being forced to exclude themselves from what is properly an act of public worship. Being forced into this situation is not acceptable to me, personally. I don’t have a problem with individual believers praying silently. But vocalized prayers are different.

    Thing is, schools are places where rights are ruitinely denied to students that are not denied adults or even to those same students when outside of school. For example: school lockers are subject to inspection without notice, certain expressions, for example the Supreme Court last term ruled that a principle who decides that a banner with the words “Bong Hits For Jesus” is a verbal promotion of drug use at an official school function may be confiscated even though it is displayed off of school property, speech that may reasonably be supposed to be disruptive to the learning environment may be squelched. The simple fact is that schools are not havens of the rights of the people. One may find this lamentable but it is a fact. Public schools are not Churches. Students who cannot afford private schools are forced to attend public schools and, for this reason, ought not be forced into a situation where they are forced into sitting silently for an act of public worship that is appropriate for Church and home but not, I think, for public schools or separate themselves during the time of worship.

    That’s just my take on the subject.

    Craig R. Harmon

  24. christopher Radulich Says:

    What about the atheist who was using his daughter to try to get “Under God” taken out of the pledge of allegiance? Are you going to try to take “In God We Trust” off of our money too?

    Absolutely and Teddy Roosevelt agrees with me. Besides the only reason it was but on our money was out of fear.

    As for the pledge. It was written by a socialist, who I am sure is spinning in his grave over the addition of under god to it. This also was added because of fear.

    What about federal holidays? Should the government not allow their employees to have religious based holidays like Christmas and Easter off? Maybe they should go the other way and let them have Ramadan, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa as well!

    I see no reason if you do one not to do the other. Let us not forget that most scholars agree that Christ was probably born in the spring. Christmas was invented to co-op the winter solstice and later added some swedish? pagan rites to it to make it more fun. Christmas did not become a major holiday until it became a major shopping event and is still opposed by some Christian groups.

    Frankly I do no care if your kid prays in school. I don’t even care if he/she says them loudly in school ( as long as it does not disrupt a class). I object to official lead observences.

    Child Pornography is something I would like to see wiped of the face of this earth and the people who do it given the death penalty!

    This I agree with.

    I don’t agree with you on the licenses issue. Without some restrictions and requirements to do certain things, anarchy would result. Imagine going to a “Doctor” that has had absolutely no medical training and experience. That is just plain insane.

    And why does this not apply to Gun control.

    No I do not want a nation Id, but we already have one. Your SSN , as originally passed by congress, was suppose to be a secret known only to you, the SSA, and your employer. The only thing the employer was to use it for was paying the tax. To all extents and purposes your SSn is now your national identity number.

  25. Dusty Says:

    Alrighty Chris! Good one, touche’ :)

  26. Omnipotent Poobah Says:

    And here I thought this post was about flags. Who knew?!

  27. Independent Mind Says:

    Yesterday I posted a reply to “Me,” though I think I erroneously addressed my post to Independent Jarhead, and Cristopher Radulich. For some reason, the post I placed no longer appears on this page. I’m not going to go through and rewrite my response all over again, but I will paraphrase it.

    To “Me,” what I said to you in short, was that it is already acceptable to refrain from stating “Under God” when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. “In God We Trust” is our national motto, which is why it appears on our money, and atheists lost this argument in the most liberal Circuit Court in the country, the Ninth Circuit. I can agree that future war memorials could be built that do not include religious symbols, but the fact that current memorials do does not mean that the government is forcing the population to be of one faith. We can agree to disagree about whether the founding fathers were largely Christians. I understand your point about Deism, but these men were still largely Christians. You seem to make reference to churches and the home as the only place where prayer is appropriate, yet I have the right to pray in public if I choose to. I may need to get a permit from the local government, but I still have that right. Just as you have the right to go around stating that there is not God and religious people are morons, if you choose to. I may disagree with you, but I will fight to the death for you to have the right to say it. Have the decency to support my rights as well.

    To Cristopher Radulich, my response to your post was, Theodore Roosevelt’s opposition to God being placed on our currency was due to the fact that he considered it sacrilegious to have God’s name on the currency, not because he believed it would violate the separation of church and state. The man who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance was a “Christian Socialist” and a Baptist Minister. I doubt he would have a problem with the phrase “Under God.” As for holidays, I say let government employees have all of those religious holidays off. That way Congress will have less time to pass laws that restrict my freedom and take my hard earned money away from me. As for licensing, the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution, whereas the right to drive a motor vehicle or practice medicine is not. The Social Security Card would make an excellent national id card, if your photo and biometric information were placed on the card along with your citizenship or immigration status.

    To Omnipotent Poobah, I agree that there are better things to argue about than whether or not a particular candidate for public office wears a flag lapel pin, but think it is absolutely appropriate to question a candidate’s allegiance to our country when he or she does not place his hand over his heart when reciting the Pledge, or when the National Anthem is playing. At least Obama wasn’t wearing another country’s flag or a Hamas pin on his lapel!

  28. me Says:

    Independent Mind,

    Sorry your comment got lost. That’s happened to me as well. You wrote:

    it is already acceptable to refrain from stating “Under God” when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

    I understand that. I’d just as soon it not be in there anyway. Look. I’m a retired Lutheran pastor so what I’m saying is not out of any antipathy toward the expression of religious conviction. Rather, it is out of thinking that public schools are not the place for state school administered religious expression. People of all faiths and of no faith send their children to these schools in order to gain a basic secular education. If they wish their children to be taught religious dogma, Churches are open to all and most charge nothing but a free-will offering for the overhead of providing community service. Those who are not interested in their children being fed religion should not find religion in their public schools. That’s just the way I think.

    “In God We Trust” is our national motto, which is why it appears on our money, and atheists lost this argument in the most liberal Circuit Court in the country, the Ninth Circuit.

    As I said, I have no objection to the slogan appearing on our money. I merely stated that, were it to disappear therefrom, I would not care. I stated my reasoning pretty clearly, I think. The appearance of “In God We Trust” on our money has no connection whatsoever to the disposition of those utilizing money. Its appearance, that is, does not make the money and that for which it is used holy nor does its absence make the money or that for which it is used unholy. Only the intention and purpose for which said money is used can do that.

    I can agree that future war memorials could be built that do not include religious symbols, but the fact that current memorials do does not mean that the government is forcing the population to be of one faith.

    That wasn’t my point. My point was that a memorial that includes a cross but not a Star of David and symbols of the religious sentiments of others memorialized singles out one religion for recognition and fails to recognize others. This discrimination in favor of one religion above other religions runs counter to my reading of the establishment clause, which I do not read to merely forbid the federal government to establish a state religion. Rather, I read it to forbid the government at any level to favor ANY religion over any other religion or over irreligion. The establishment clause, as I read it, takes government out of the business of religion altogether. I don’t mean to say that it cannot recognize the religious sentiments of its populace or that office holders cannot express their own religious sentiments. It does mean, as I think, that government cannot elevate religion above irreligion or one religion above others and deal with some differently than they deal with others.

    We can agree to disagree about whether the founding fathers were largely Christians. I understand your point about Deism, but these men were still largely Christians.

    Fair enough. However Christian they may have been, however, they produced a godless Constitution and went out of their way to ensure that the realms of religion and governance did not mix.

    You seem to make reference to churches and the home as the only place where prayer is appropriate, yet I have the right to pray in public if I choose to. I may need to get a permit from the local government, but I still have that right. Just as you have the right to go around stating that there is not God and religious people are morons, if you choose to. I may disagree with you, but I will fight to the death for you to have the right to say it. Have the decency to support my rights as well.

    As I wrote in a comment above, no one is taking your children’s right to pray wherever they are. They can say a silent prayer every day, throughout the day, whenever they feel the need to connect with God. They can even, if the spirit moves them, gain permission to hold a time of Bible study and prayer during open periods in an empty class-room with their like-minded friends. They can talk about Jesus with their class-mates in the halls between classes, and so forth. Their religious rights are in tact. I just don’t see public school as a place for religious expression in any sort of formal, state or school run form. It is not the state’s job to entangle itself in religion.

    No, I don’t think that Church and home are the only appropriate place for prayer or religious expression but I don’t see it as being a part of the public school’s mission. I believe that the Supreme Court has agreed with me for the most part. As for the ninth circuit’s ruling regarding “under God” in the pledge, they ruled that the father lacked standing on the question. They did not decide on the constitutional merits of reciting the Pledge containing the phrase “under God”. We have no idea how they would have ruled on the merits. Had the daughter, herself, actually been uncomfortable with the phrase (she wasn’t; she liked it), had the father had full custody of his daughter (he didn’t), or had the mother rather than the father brought suit, we very likely would have seen the ninth strike down the phrase. I don’t guarantee it, nor do I guarantee that the ninth’s ruling would have been upheld upon appeal, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that that’s how they’d have ruled on the merits if the standing issue were not there.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

  29. Christopher Radulich Says:

    The article I original read said that it was also unconstitutional. Having checked further I can see that that article was incorrect.

    gun control
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Here’s a test you can try.

    Bring your weapon down to your nearest National guard office nad tell them that you will only enlist if they let you use your weapon.

    Gun control does not mean people can not own weapons. We all ready prevent people fom buying 50 cal machine guns and rocket launchers. Besides the gun control lobby has pretty much proven that they have no respect for the constitution. There has been no hue and cry about this administrations breaking the 6th amendment. If the minimum risk of a terrorist attack is good enough to abandon the constitution, then the much more real risk of people owning guns is certain reason to disregard the 2nd amendment.

  30. Dusty Says:

    Our money did’t get the phrase until the civil war. The Constitution mentions religion twice..and one of those is that the government will make no laws identifying one religion as the state religion.

    You want to pray in public, knock yourself out. No one gives a rats ass if you spend the rest of your life praying in public, put a hat out there and you might make some money while you do it, like church’s do when folks show up to worship their God.

    As for this part of your comment: “but think it is absolutely appropriate to question a candidate’s allegiance to our country when he or she does not place his hand over his heart when reciting the Pledge, or when the National Anthem is playing.”- your out there. We have so much corruption in our government, and your thinking just because they put their hand over their heart when they recite the Pledge is going to tell you how good or loyal a person is? Get a grip on reality. I bet ol’ Mark Foley put his hand over his heart and he is a perv not to mention a liar and a fraud.

  31. Jersey McJones Says:

    I wear a flag pin on my ass.

    JMJ

  32. me Says:

    Ouch! Damn, man, THAT’S what I call devotion to one’s country!

  33. Jersey McJones Says:

    Idol worship is for morons.

    JMJ

  34. me Says:

    I mean, I just figured you had a hemorrhoid.

  35. Independent mind Says:

    To all who’ve commented on my posts, thank you. It has been an honor debating these issues with you. We may not agree on the issues, but it is good to hear all points of view.

    To Cristopher Radulich, I served fourteen years in the US Army and Army Reserves. They have much better guns than my little handgun. The phrase “A well regulated militia,” does not refer to the standing armed forces. It means that all Americans may be called upon to defend our great nation, bringing their own arms to the fight. The antigun lobby would have you believe the opposite. I live in the Peoples Republic of California, where if it looks mean, it’s illegal. This state is an example of extreme restrictions on the peoples second amendment rights and I hope to elect people into the legislature that will repeal those laws.

    With regard to the sixth amendment, I’m not sure what you are referring to. Suspected Terrorists caught within the US are afforded their legal rights, as far as I know. I know “Enemy Combatants” in Guantanamo are not, but those are men who were fighting our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can see an argument for Geneva Convention rights for those men, but not Habeas Corpus under the laws of the United States. Personally, I would have put a bullet in their heads during the heat of battle, but I know the military wanted some of them captured for interrogation.

    To Dusty, I do not rely solely on whether or not one puts his hand over his heart when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to determine if one is patriotic or not. I absolutely do question one’s patriotism if one steadfastly refuses to do so. I have a very firm grip on reality.

    To Me, what part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,…” means that war memorials must be free of religious symbols, or equally represent all religions? All it says is that the government may not set up a state religion. I was in Operation Desert Storm. If a memorial was set up to honor DS Vets, and that memorial had the Star of David prominently displayed on it, and no cross, I wouldn’t think the government was telling me to become Jewish. That’s ridiculous!

  36. christopher Radulich Says:

    Independent mind

    that is why I choose the national guard.

    mi·li·tia /mɪˈlɪʃə/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mi-lish-uh] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
    –noun
    1. a body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies.

    So I am glad you agree with me that owning a gun nowadays has nothing to do with the second amendment.

  37. Independent mind Says:

    Christopher Radulich

    Actually, I prefer this definition of Militia:

    4. a body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government.

    The ownership of guns today has EVERYTHING to do with the Second Amendment. In a time of war, every able bodied citizen could take it upon themselves to defend our nation against foreign invaders. It takes time to mobilize our military. In the meantime, we citizens can grab our guns and resist the foreign invaders. That is one of many points for the rights of the law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

    I have a right to protect myself, my home and my family from criminals who would attempt to invade my home. Don’t tell me that is what the Police are for, I work in law enforcement. If you can get to a phone and make a call before the perpetrator kills you, it would still take a long time before the Police show up. Better to have the means to protect yourself, then ask the Police to come over and take the perpetrator into custody, if not the morgue.

  38. Christopher Radulich Says:

    A. I actual do not really care that much about gun control. I do care about the constitution and all the arguements that have been used used to suspend things like Habeus Corpus can be used on the second amendment.

    B. . a body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government.

    Don’t we label those people terrorist nowadays.

    C. The ownership of guns today has EVERYTHING to do with the Second Amendment. In a time of war, every able bodied citizen could take it upon themselves to defend our nation against foreign invaders. It takes time to mobilize our military. In the meantime, we citizens can grab our guns and resist the foreign invaders. That is one of many points for the rights of the law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

    You can not seriously believe that we are going to be invaded anytime within your life time.. If we are let me know how your rifle/handgun is going to work against tanks and armered personnel carries.

  39. Independent mind Says:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Thomas Jefferson and the other co-signors of the Declaration of Independence were the terrorists of their day and would be considered terrorists by this government if they were alive today, yet it is because of these fine men that we have the freedom the federal government is slowly taking away from us right now. I still believe that we can change our government through the election process, but those elected officials must realize that they work for us, and we can take them out at any time, if it becomes necessary. We must protect our right to keep and bear arms to keep our elected officials in line!

    “You can not seriously believe that we are going to be invaded anytime within your life time…”

    It is statements like this that make us vulnerable to invasion from foreign forces. Do not be so complacent! It can happen. Indeed, I consider the current level of illegal immigration to be an invasion by foreign forces. They may not be using guns, tanks, mortars, or aircraft, but the government of Mexico is waging an unconventional war with the United States. It is brilliant really. Send your people to the United States, have them take jobs from Americans and use public assistance that is not afforded to them in Mexico, send their incomes back to Mexico, let them become US Citizens and still retain their Mexican citizenship, then encourage them to become politically active in the US Government and pass laws that are friendly to Mexico. Eventually, Mexicans will have the voting strength to completely take over portions of the United States. They want to take back the land we purchased from them after the Mexican American war. They will succeed if we are not diligent in preventing it. If we aren’t careful, we may all be speaking Spanish as our primary language soon!

    My handgun may not do much against a tank or armored personnel carrier, but it will allow me to take out foreign troops, after which I will take their rifle and grenades and go after a tank or APC. I am willing to give my life in defense of our freedom. Are you?

  40. me Says:

    Independent Mind,

    You wrote:

    I still believe that we can change our government through the election process, but those elected officials must realize that they work for us, and we can take them out at any time, if it becomes necessary. We must protect our right to keep and bear arms to keep our elected officials in line!

    You’re seriously contending that you have a right…a God given right…to assassinate our elected officials “to keep our elected officials in line”? Yeh. Assassinate a Senator and go into court with that line of defense. Good luck!

  41. Christopher Radulich Says:

    I spent 3 years regular army 9 years reserve. Volunteer 3 time for nam never was sent. None of which has anything to do with the second amendment.

    If that is the mexican governments plan, it is a good one. It worked for us when we took texas from them.

  42. Christopher Radulich Says:

    By the way since you believe in your definition of a militia and your right to defend this country if attacked, I assume you support the Iraqi’s who are fighting us.

  43. Independent mind Says:

    I posted a response to Me a short while ago, but it apparently didn’t take.

    In short Me, I ask you to read the quote from the Declaration of Independence that was on the post you responded to. I said nothing about assassination. Those were your words, not mine. I don’t believe assassination would bring politicians in line. A full scale revolution by the people would! That can be done through lawful elections, or violence. I prefer elections, but valid elections can only be secured by an armed populace willing to take up arms to defend their freedom!

    Why are career Democrat politicians afraid of the second amendment? The answer is simple. They cannot take away your other rights and impose their will upon you until your right to keep and bear arms is taken away from you. The right to keep and bear arms guarantees the right to revolution and thus the ability of the people to keep their elected representatives in line.

  44. Independent mind Says:

    Christopher Radulich,

    Thank you for your service and I mean that with all sincerity! I am honored to have you as an Army brother!

    I do NOT support the Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Saudis, Al Queda operatives, the Taliban, or any other enemy combatants that are killing our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan! As I said in a previous post, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. These groups are terrorists. They do not belive in the individual rights we enjoy. They would take away all of our rights and force us to worship their God, or die! They are not fighting for their right to self govern, they are fighting to enslave the world! I am deeply offended by your suggestion that I would support such terrorism!

  45. Paul Watson Says:

    IM,
    But the Iraqis are defending their country from a foreign invasion. The fact that it’s the Americans invading doesn’t mean you’re not an invading foreign force. That puts them exactly in the same territory as you would be defending your country from a foreign invading force. America might have had noble motives for the invasion, it might be legal under international law but that doesn’t stop it being an invasion.

  46. Independent mind Says:

    PW,

    I understand your point, but I am not an Iraqi. I’m an American and I support what our troops are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Insurgents in Iraq are not the same in my mind as what I would be if a foreign invasion occurred on our soil. True, the Sunni led government was toppled when the US invaded Iraq and many of the insurgents are Sunnis attempting to regain power, but I have no sympathy for them. Saddam and his followers were brutal people. The Iraqi people as a whole are better off now than they were under Saddams dictatorship. There is no way a foreign invasion of the United States would make my life better than it is right now. The two situations are not the same.

  47. Dusty Says:

    The two situations are the same. We invaded a Sovereign nation. Indy..how can you not see that?

    The insurgents came AFTER we bombed them and tore their economy to shreds and ruined their infrastructure.

    Normal people, when driven to the same horrible conditions the Iraqi’s now live under will do anything and everything..we is what I would hope would happen here if we were invaded or Bush declared martial law and stopped the elections.

  48. Christopher Radulich Says:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident , that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    as best I can tell by your responses you belive this only hols for people who you agree with.

  49. Dusty Says:

    Oh hell yeah they are better off..they have no running water, electricity is available maybe 3-6 hours a day, they have no economy to speak of, no jobs, and a host of other ills..

    How in the hell can ANYONE say they are better off? With the lives they are trying to hold together, how can anyone deny them their feelings of hatred towards the occupying nation..aka America?

    The US refuses to acknowledge that the Shia’ are performing an ethnic cleansing right under their noses in Iraq? Because they don’t care..its just like the dictators we have propped up over the years..as long as they are ‘for us, as in the U.S.”..we don’t care what they do to their own people.

  50. Independent mind Says:

    Dusty,

    The Iraqi people would have much more creature comforts if they weren’t sabotaging our efforts to rebuild their country. Again, I have no sympathy for those who would purposely make their own people suffer in order to garner sympathy from weak minded bleeding hearts in the U.S. and around the world.

    The only thing I will admit to with regard to the invasion of Iraq, is the timing. This should have been done when I was a soldier in Desert Storm in 1991. Bush’s Daddy caved to pressure and didn’t let us take Saddam out when we had the chance.

    Are you in Iraq? Have you been to Iraq since the war began? You sound as though you have first hand experience on the ground there. I haven’t been there since 1991, so I can’t say with any certainty, but I understand that there is “ethnic cleansing” happening on both the Sunni and Shia sides. None of them are innocent in this regard.

    So what would you have the U.S. military do? We can’t do what the old Infantry saying was and “kill em all and let God sort them out,” since that would be ethnic cleansing and genocide on our part. Diplomacy isn’t working and they apparently do not like Democracy and freedom. I’m fresh out of ideas, so let’s hear your solution.

    Chris,

    I’m not sure what you mean by your comment. I strongly disagree with you on many issues in this forum, but I don’t wish you ill and nor do I want your right to disagree with me taken away from you. I’d like to see the Iraqi people, all of them, living the kind of life we enjoy here in America. The problem is, they are so brainwashed by their religion that they cannot accept our freedom as anything but an abomination. If their disagreement with us was only philosophical, I wouldn’t want our military there fighting them. The terrorists are to blame for our military action. They should have left us alone. Saddam should have complied with the U.N. It’s his own fault he lost his empire, had his face put on a deck of cards, and found himself hanging from the gallows! I’m not sad for him!

  51. Dusty Says:

    Christ Indy..they are suffering because of the American Occupation. What does the insurgency have to do with having clean running water, electricity? Nothing..absolutely nothing.

    Evidently your one of those people that blame the Iraqi’s in general for the actions of a minority of them. Shame on you, its pathetic.

    Also, reports have come out that show the majority of the so called insurgents are from out of state..so again..do not blame the actions of a few for the entire population living worse than a third world country at this point.

  52. Independent mind Says:

    Okay Dusty, you need to decide which argument to stick with. Are the insurgents Iraqis fighting off an occupying force, or are they foreigners? The insurgents are preventing us from rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure. Who would want to go out and make sure the average Iraqi has running water and electricity if it means they may end up in an internet video getting their head sawed off? Put the blame where it belongs, with the terrorists.

    You still haven’t offered a solution to the problem. If what we’re doing now is wrong, then tell me, oh great and wise one, what would you do if you were Commander In-Chief?

  53. Omnipotent Poobah Says:

    I have to say I’m impressed by the depth and breadth of these exchanges…and here I thought it was about flag pins and putting your hand over your heart….Show what I know.

    Independent mind, I just happened to notice this morning that you seem to be coming from a DHS server. If I could be so bold, could you tell me what you do? I’m just curious.

  54. Dusty Says:

    I don’t have to pick anything..or stick to anything..your logic is to blame the Iraqi’s for all the problems in Iraq, I merely pointed out that there are news accounts that state many of the insurgents are from other areas of the middle east.

    BushCo is the biggest recruiting tool for the insurgents, and if you don’t buy that then you are in the BushCo camp.

    Interesting how they have managed to build that giant homage to the US aka the embassy, but they can’t get clean running water to the Iraqi’s or electricity to the masses.

  55. Independent Mind Says:

    Dusty,

    You STILL haven’t offered a solution to the Iraq problem! I’m anxiously awaiting to read how you would handle the situation if you were the Commander In-Chief. Who knows, your idea may just be brilliant enough to work! Please, share your solution with me.

    I disagree with your statement that BusCo is the biggest recruiting tool for the insurgency. It is the weakness of the Democrats and their “cut and run” rhetoric that is encouraging the insurgency to keep up the fight. I’m not a big fan of how BushCo has conducted the war on terrorism, but I think cutting and running at this point will only embolden the terrorists.

    The U.S. Embassy is an example of what the Iraqi people could have if they simply renounced the insurgency and allowed us to rebuild Iraq the same way we rebuilt Germany and Japan. Last I checked, both of them seem to be doing well since WWII. It’s not a bad thing to be occupied by the U.S.A!

  56. Paul Watson Says:

    IM,
    And why does what you think matter? Dusty’s solution is to get out of Iraq and let the Iraqis sort out their own country. The fact that you don’t like that solution doesn’t mean it’s not valid. We don’t like your solution or think it will work either. Does that mean it’s completely invalid?
    Or the US embassy is a symbol that America intends to continue to run Iraq as its personal fiefdom and trample all over their native culture and traditions. It’s all in the perspective. Yours is no more necessarily the right one than mine.

  57. Jersey McJones Says:

    There is no “solution” to the Iraq problem. It will be a lose/lose no matter what happens.

    JMJ

  58. Independent Mind Says:

    Elementary my dear Watson! My thoughts matter to me, because they are my own! Your thoughts matter to you, because they are your own! We express our thoughts on blogs such as this one, so that hopefully we can convince others that our thoughts are more correct than theirs! What we find, however, is that often the people we are trying to convince are so entrenched in their own ideology that they refuse to listen to anyone else. Admittedly, I am guilty of this as well.

    I understand why many people such as yourself and Dusty believe in the cut and run option. I believe such an option to be weak, cowardly, and utterly irresponsible considering we are the cause of the destruction in Iraq. I think we need to stick it out, crush the insurgency, and rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, so that they can then take over and govern themselves. As soon as that happens, we should leave. Having read Jersey McJones’ post, I am in agreement that even my option will not work. We are damned if we do my option, and we are damned if we cut and run. I believe, however, that history will judge us more harshly if we cut and run than if we stay and rebuild.

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  60. Naomi Campbell Says:

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