The title of Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points last night "Why Liberals oppose helping the people of Afghanistan" got me thinking in bullet point format:
- "Liberals" prosecuted: World War I (Wilson), World War 2 (FDR), Vietnam (LBJ), Bosnia (Clinton) so you (O'Reilly) can't pretend Democrats are anti-war or anti-intervention.
- The "Left" "Right" framework falls apart when you put a Democrat or Republican in a "War" or "Peace" category. Most wartime presidents were Democrats. Most peacetime presidents were Republican.
W. Bush was a neo-conservative exception. The Neo-Cons are not traditional Republicans. Neo-cons believe in a world sculpted by American war craft. Traditional Republicans believe in fiscal responsibility and see war as American money wasted abroad. Neo-Cons want war. Neo-cons can be Republican or Democrat as we see in Cheney, Lieberman and (will see in) Hillary Clinton.
O'Reilly went on to highlight "über-liberals" who voted against the $37-59 billion surge that Obama signed into law after the House was done tacking on $10 billion in pork barrell spending that helped buy the vote. O'Reilly said nothing of the dozen Republicans that also voted "nay" (see list of Republicans below).
-If these 12 Republicans are über-anything, they're über-conservative for voting down more tax-wasting on undefined Afghan objectives. First it's Osama. Now it's to free women. There's no reason to bog down in Afghanistan like the Russians did before losing their Soviet Union because money ran out on war budgets.
-The cost of the wars are hard to pin down in the press, but the most conservative range is that $2 trillion will be needed by 2019. This does not factor in moves against Iran.
-American roads, bridges, sewage systems, transportation networks, internet lines, etc need $2.2 trillion to be brought up to Asian standards.
- The total cost of fixing America's D-grade infrastructure is $2.2 trillion according to the people that know: American engineers. The total cost of bombing and then fixing Iraq and Afghanistan is estimated to be between $1 trillion and many more trillions than that if we factor in the way these public numbers always balloon from original promises.
-After Vietnam was all said and done, 58,000 Americans were dead, $689 billion spent, and the outcome was undefined. What did the USA get for Vietnam? The 1970s: infrastructure decay and social unrest at home. Niall O'Dowd's piece on"Vietghanistan" describes the Democratic sense that we've been duped into another tax-drainer and soldier slaughter house.
-Fox News may align with the tea-party, but the tea-party abhors wastefulness, and the 9 Year War in Afghanistan is wasteful par excellence. Fox News will decry spending domestic stimulus, but trumpets spending stimulus to re-build Iraqi and Afghan infrastructure.
-There is no major media outlet that represents the traditional Republican view that strong tarrifs like those China uses to prosper and no wars (as is China's policy) bolsters native industry and infrastructure.
O'Reilly then accused the "nay" voters of not caring about the 18-year old woman who appeared on the cover of Time magazine with a scarred hole where her nose used to be. O'Reilly rightly deplored this brutality committed with Taliban blessing, before the US invasion, and he rightly deplores the brutality that would follow if US forces withdrew.
--The United States has happening within its own borders, horrific acts of violence and barbarity that require the soothing hand of education and civility. 46 states, according to Bloomberg, are facing "Greek-style" bankruptcy at a cost of $112 billion. The war chest could pay off America's bleeding state deficits, and re-build most of our infrastructure.
-The civilian death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan affect families there as traumatically as barbaric customs. Better to change backward ways with American culture than with thousands of civillian casualties and all the bad will that brings.
-Using the image of the girl's nose cut off, when we don't show the wounds and injuries of American troops on television is crass. We need to appreciate the pain and suffering of each soldier that loses limb and life for undefined missions. If we did adequately, Americans would popularly demand clear reasoning why we are fighting wars that are taking longer than the World Wars, and without objectives?
Most worrying about O'Reilly's talking points is his slippage of Iran into the mix, along these same moral lines used to justify Afghan war, as though we would invade just anywhere to stop barbaric customs. While disclaiming the evil Nazism of Afghan behavior towards their women, he threw in his observations of Iran, and the stoning trial, and alluded to their backwardness. It all feels like a moral-justification set-up.
-Iranian society is surprisingly westernized, and young, professionalized and technologically savvy. A great mass of Iranian people want no war, and don't deserve war and much prefer plastic surgery to Shia. Giving them war in the name of their own liberation would be more cruelty. They have elected moderate politicans in the past, and would do so again. Iran has every potential to be wooed to the west as was Turkey.
-O'Reilly seems prepared to make the case that the bombing of Iran will be morally justified because there is still the remnant of stoning practices present among Iranian minority communities. Iranian society is backward for reasons of complicated history that include American coups to overthrow the modernizing president of Iran, Mosaddegh. Better to catch them up with investment and trade and cultural exchanges than with bombing campaigns.
None of the pro-war arguments justify the bankrupting of America, and yet all exacerbate that greatest of looming threats.
Republicans that voted "Nay" to a surge in Afghanistan:
CA-46 Rohrabacher, Dana [R], Nay TX-14 Paul, Ronald [R], Nay GA-7 Linder, John [R], Nay IL-15 Johnson, Timothy [R], Nay GA-11 Gingrey, John [R], Nay MI-3 Ehlers, Vernon [R], Nay TN-2 Duncan, John [R], Nay UT-3 Chaffetz, Jason [R], Nay CA-48 Campbell, John [R], Nay GA-10 Broun, Paul [R],