President Bush’s Biggest Blunder?

Douglas Feith was under secretary of defense for policy from July 2001 until August 2005. He was in the thick of things before and during the war in Iraq. In Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, he explains how the President “nearly cost the U.S. the war.” In my view, Feith’s piece is the best analysis of the case for war that I have read all year. He writes:

‘In the fall of 2003, a few months after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow, U.S. officials began to despair of finding stockpiles of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The resulting embarrassment caused a radical shift in administration rhetoric about the war in Iraq.

‘President Bush no longer stressed Saddam’s record or the threats from the Baathist regime as reasons for going to war. Rather, from that point forward, he focused almost exclusively on the larger aim of promoting democracy. This new focus compounded the damage to the president’s credibility that had already been caused by the CIA’s errors on Iraqi WMD. The president was seen as distancing himself from the actual case he had made for removing the Iraqi regime from power. . .

‘The stunning change in rhetoric appeared to confirm his critics’ argument that the security rationale for the war was at best an error, and at worst a lie. That’s a shame, for Mr. Bush had solid grounds for worrying about the dangers of leaving Saddam in power. . .

‘The most damaging effect of this communications strategy was that it changed the definition of success. Before the war, administration officials said that success would mean an Iraq that no longer threatened important U.S. interests – that did not support terrorism, aspire to WMD, threaten its neighbors, or conduct mass murder. But from the fall of 2003 on, the president defined success as stable democracy in Iraq.

‘This was a public affairs decision that has had enormous strategic consequences for American support for the war. The new formula fails to connect the Iraq war directly to U.S. interests. It causes many Americans to question why we should be investing so much blood and treasure for Iraqis. And many Americans doubt that the new aim is realistic – that stable democracy can be achieved in Iraq in the foreseeable future.

‘To fight a long war, the president has to ensure he can preserve public and congressional support for the effort. It is not an overstatement to say that the president’s shift in rhetoric nearly cost the U.S. the war. Victory or defeat can hinge on the president’s words as much as on the military plans of his generals or the actions of their troops on the ground.’

I think Feith’s analysis is spot-on. I for one have been frustrated with the administration’s inability to present a coherent, consistent message on the rationale for the war. On Just War grounds, there was and is an argument to made, but the President has not been making it (see George Weigel, “Just War and Iraq Wars,” First Things).

As a consequence, many Americans do not even remember what the primary rationale for the war was. Many Americans think that the U. S. attacked Iraq to keep Saddam Hussein from attacking us. That’s just wrong historically. No one really thought that Iraq’s military was a serious threat to the U.S. homeland.

The main rationale for the war was to prevent WMD from falling into the hands of terrorists who could reach the homeland (as 911 so tragically demonstrated). At the time, Iraq was at the top of the list of possible WMD vendors to terrorists, with the other members of the “axis of evil” (Iran and North Korea) following closely behind.

Feith’s piece is a must-read. Here’s the link:

“How Bush Sold the War” – by Douglas J. Feith (Wall Street Journal)

78 Responses to President Bush’s Biggest Blunder?

  1. Truth Unites... and Divides May 29, 2008 at 8:05 am #

    Denny: “The main rationale for the war was to prevent WMD from falling into the hands of terrorists who could reach the homeland (as 911 so tragically demonstrated).”

    Yes, that’s right. I remember Colin Powell’s speech where he cited all the UN violations by Hussein. And I think he also quoted officials in the Clinton administration who also firmly believed that Iraq was a WMD threat which posed a clear and present danger.

    Not to mention that there were many liberal Democrat politicians who also believed that Iraq was an imminent WMD threat.

  2. Paul May 29, 2008 at 9:30 am #

    “I remember Colin Powell’s speech where he cited all the UN violations by Hussein.”

    A speech that was written for him. Watch Frontline’s “Bush’s War” and “Cheney’s War” for a fairly balanced account of the lead up to the Iraq war. Powell wasn’t exactly eager to go in.

    “Not to mention that there were many liberal Democrat politicians who also believed that Iraq was an imminent WMD threat.”

    Yes, when given faulty information by the CIA and Bush’s cabinet.

  3. John Mark Inman May 29, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    So, the White House effort to spin the war cost our country in the end? Rather than admit they were wrong they tried to change the subject.

    I know that’s a very ungenerous reading. This is unrelated, but one of the biggest disappointments for me is that the religious leaders who justified the war have never apologized for buying into the war hype and convincing their “flocks” that the war was good and noble.

    I lost a lot of respect for SBC leaders because they never admitted they were wrong. Maybe they have and I missed it, or maybe they don’t feel they need to.

  4. Darius May 29, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    Why was the war wrong, John Mark? Some of the intel was wrong, but that doesn’t necessarily make the war wrong. After all, WMD’s was only ONE of over TWENTY reasons to go to war. Furthermore, all evidence since the war began has indicated that Saddam was still interested in WMDs and was only a few years from having nuclear capabilities.

  5. Truth Unites... and Divides May 29, 2008 at 10:59 am #

    John Mark Inman: “I lost a lot of respect for SBC leaders because they never admitted they were wrong.”

    Everyone’s certainly entitled to their opinion.

    I’m actually of the diametrically opposite opinion. I don’t think any Christian leader has anything to apologize for with respect to their support for the President, the military troops, and the decision to go to war in Iraq. In my view such an apology, if not sincere, would be shameful pandering.

    In all candor, I have lost tremendous respect for theologically/politically liberal mainline protestants and evangelicals for not owning up to and apologizing for their continuous undermining of the morale of our military.

  6. Darius May 29, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    Paul, you claimed that the Democratic politicians based their belief that Saddam had WMDs on information given to them by Bush. I am merely pointing out that you are dead wrong on this point; they believed that Saddam had WMDs BEFORE Bush was even President because ALL global intelligence agencies had determined that he did and the FACT that just 10 years earlier, he DID have them. This “more than a hunch” idea was further confirmed in everyone’s minds by the FACT that Saddam was playing a shell game with the inspectors and repeatedly ignoring U.N. resolutions.

  7. Denny Burk May 29, 2008 at 11:05 am #

    John Mark,

    The point of highlighting Feith’s essay was to show that the original rationale for the war still has merit on Just War grounds. The problem is that the administration gave up on its original arguments when WMD stockpiles were not discovered in Iraq.

    The belief that there would be stockpiles of WMD in Iraq comprised only part of the rationale for war, not the whole of it. That’s what the country has lost site of–no doubt due in no small part to the President’s failure to communicate with the American people after the start of the war.

    You say that you lost respect for religious leaders who have never admitted that they were wrong about the war. Believe it or not, there are many such leaders who don’t think that they were wrong about the war.

    No one should take for granted the notion, “Now we all know that the war was wrong.” Like I said before, there’s a case to be made for the War on Just War grounds.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  8. Paul May 29, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    Darius,

    and now you yourself play the shell game too.

    Sure, in 1997, there was an Iraq Liberation Act, and people thought that he might have WMD’s. Maybe at that point, he actually did. We really don’t know at this point.

    Five years later, in 2002, Bush starts banging the war drums, and without conclusive evidence (you know, A HUNCH) decides to go to war. This is all I’m saying: if the goal was to go to war to ensure that there were no weapons of mass destruction, we owed it to our soldiers and their families, much less the civilian Iraqi population to KNOW, not think, not have an educated guess, but KNOW that Iraq had WMD’s. Without that knowledge, we had no business going in there.

    Had the US known that Iraq did indeed have WMD and grabbed them after toppling Saddam, I would have said, “okay. I didn’t agree with this war, but they were right and I was wrong.” But, that’s not the case, and 4000 dead soldiers and untold numbers of wounded soldiers can thank Bush for his hastiness.

    There WERE other decent pro-life Republicans running in 2000. Thanks for voting for the dumbest guy of the bunch. We’ve got you to thank for 8 years of death and destruction to show for voting for the guy that’s the “most like us.”

  9. Paul May 29, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    Denny,

    according to you, there’s reason to go to war with anyone and everyone, and because one centurion in the Bible had faith in Jesus, you think that pacifists have no standing in the kingdom of God.

    All of your yammering about just war is just that. The only just war is war in defense or as a reaction to a declaration of war against you. Anything else is empire building. Never thought you’d have more in common with Constantine than with Christ. Nice work, Denny.

  10. Darius May 29, 2008 at 11:23 am #

    Actually, I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000.

    And Paul, how in the world do you have the gall to say I should lose my attitude when you say things like this “Never thought you’d have more in common with Constantine than with Christ. Nice work, Denny.” Welcome to the kitchen, pot.

    Again, Paul, though as usual you will likely continue ignoring this point, Denny and I have both said that WMDs was a SMALL part of the overall rationale for going to war in Iraq.

  11. Paul May 29, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    Darius,

    I know that you guys say that WMD’s were a small part of the rationale for going to war in Iraq. Fine, but what were they?

    Saddam was a bad guy!

    okay, fine. He was a bad guy. The world is filled with bad guys. Who are we to go into a sovereign nation and tell them who their leader should be? Especially after we didn’t step up in Cambodia, Rwanda or a thousand other places around the globe? Where was the precedent for us to be the world’s police force, especially in light of the fact that both Bush and Cheney had said in the run up to the 2000 election that they wouldn’t do such a thing?

    It makes no sense, with a war going on in Afghanistan that we only committed 11K troops to, that we would go fight another nation while we were still trying to find OBL.

    The only rationale that makes any sense is that they either (a) wanted a reason to have a presence in the middle east, or (b) wanted to topple a government in order to control its oil reserves (I know, we get most of our oil from Canada, blah, blah, blah…).

    Neither of which is a good reason for a “good” nation to go to war.

  12. Scott May 29, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    Can someone explain to me why the concept of Just War is the best way for judging the Iraq war? Apart from the missing WMD’s, and apart from Hussein’s past criminal acts and future intentions, why don’t we ask whether the war served America’s interests? This is a question, I think, that not only addresses the historical questions of our initial invasion, but also addresses the problem of our continuing presence in Iraq and the Middle East.

    To that end, I’d be interested to hear Denny address an argument that is by no means an original one on my part, but one which I think deserves comment, namely: the Iraq war has actually proven counterproductive with regard to American interests. Whereas we previously had in Iraq a primarily secular government that served as a strategic counter point to the Shiite Iran, we have actually strengthened Iran by removing Iraq’s Sunni leader and enfranchising Iraq’s Shiite majority. This has also strengthened the religious fanatics in the country, those who are more likely than Hussein ever was to collaborate with the likes of Bin Laden. In the aftermath of the invasion, too, the largely pro-western middle class of Iraq has left the country.

    The question of Just War is completely irrelevant, as I see it, to these real problems. Instead, it might make more sense to question the doctrine of preemption, particularly as it has been applied to regions of the world of which we remain largely ignorant.

    -Scott

  13. Mark May 29, 2008 at 1:03 pm #

    We installed Saddam, and armed him. We have all of the receipts for the WMD’s. We have installed all of the Mid-East dictators and have armed all of them as well. The war is meant to serve corporate interests only. To believe that there was ever any “National Security” involved in the Iraq debacle is foolish. After 30 years in Military Intel, I know all too well, wars and their (public) justifications never have anything to do with the realities of the situation.
    “…why don’t we ask whether the war served America’s interests?” Ask yourself Scott, whose interests are being served by this occupation? Who profits? Answer that and you will know why we are at war.

  14. Adam Omelianchuk May 29, 2008 at 1:22 pm #

    Just War theory is what I subscribe to, but I would not say that it was just for us to go to war with Iraq by classical Just War criteria. There are two that could not be sufficiently met: Last Resort and Probability of Success. The latter of the two was believed, but on flimsy ideas about reconstruction and the former was dubious.

  15. Denny Burk May 29, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    Scott,

    I couldn’t disagree more with your assessment. Are you arguing that it’s a bad thing for the Shiite majority to have the franchise in Iraq? I hope not.

    Adam,

    Read all of my argument here: http://www.dennyburk.com/?p=1352. There are brief remarks on “last resort.” It’s important to remember, that “last resort” always boils down to a prudential judgment. So this point will always be disputed.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  16. Darius May 29, 2008 at 1:37 pm #

    Mark, you vastly exaggerate our role in enthroning and arming the dictators in the Middle East. Furthermore, you ignore the reasons where we did get involved on the side of a dictator: fighting an even worse dictator or regime. I assume you recall that we allied with Stalin during WWII… not because we liked the guy or because he was “good,” but because we needed him to fight an even bigger enemy. People who blame us for helping Saddam against Iran in the 1980’s are ignorant of our historical foreign policy and the reasoning behind it.

  17. Darius May 29, 2008 at 1:39 pm #

    Furthermore Mark, in the early 1970’s many in the West thought quite highly of Saddam because he appeared to be an up-and-coming leader who would fix a lot of the problems in the region. Of course, what we now know is the methods by which he would solve those problems. Hindsight is always 20/20.

  18. Paul May 29, 2008 at 1:42 pm #

    Denny,

    although (a) you probably don’t want to read anything I have to say and (b) I’m not Scott, I want to address this…

    “Are you arguing that it’s a bad thing for the Shiite majority to have the franchise in Iraq?”

    Well, putting the Shiites in control makes it pretty plausible that an Iraq without US occupation will become an ally of Iran. At least Saddam led a secular government that had little use for Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood. Now you’ll have a situation where a democratic Iraq will now be able to elect these terrorists to office and that President and Iran’s president can run throughout the middle east causing havoc like Thing #1 and Thing #2 in Cat in the Hat.

    Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Bremer didn’t think this one through at all, and now we’re all paying the price.

    Moral of the story: All you have to do to get the complete support of the evangelical right is say you’re pro-life, and then you can get away with almost anything, no matter how stupid it is!

  19. Mark Gibson May 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    Scott,

    It wasn’t a preemptive strike. Saddam broke a cease fire. We had the right to go in and take him out anytime we felt necessary. All of the intelligence services in the world believed that Saddam had WMDs. Saddam even wanted everyone to believe he had WMDs. He was afraid of Iran invading.

    Paul,

    What is wrong with Rumsfeld’s statement? Also, who gutted the military? It is ridiculous to think that our military has ever entered combat with the army we want. Everything changes once combat starts. Americans know how to adjust, and that is why we win.

  20. Scott May 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    Mark,

    Again, I’m not concerned with the issue of “right,” I’m concerned with the wisdom of the war given its (entirely predictable) adverse consequences. Just because I have a right to do something doesn’t mean that asserting that right actually serves my best interests, which is exactly what I’m arguing about the Iraq war. The administration repeatedly cited the doctrine of preemption, not the broken cease fire, as the primary justification for the war.

    If I’m right, then not only have we lost thousands of troops and killed countless more innocent Iraqi’s, but we’ve done so in a way counterproductive to our own interests. That you would justify such an incredible loss of life with a broken cease-fire is troubling at best, immoral at worst, and without a doubt unsympathetic to the real consequences of our so-called “justified” actions.

    -Scott

  21. Paul May 29, 2008 at 2:02 pm #

    Mark:

    1) I’m on to your game. I like it actually.

    a) refute everything by blaming it on a democrat.

    b) make flimsy excuses for why your not even really conservative guy is not to blame at all.

    c) hooray America at the end of every post.

    so, now that we know how you argue, we can battle on the same terrain.

    2) Okay, Clinton gutted the army. Fair enough. No one is claiming that the guy should be canonized. He was just light years better than the stuttering chimp that we have in office right now. Bush and especially Rumsfeld did nothing to try to replenish the Army once they got in. So, quit trying to blame everything ever on the democrats. Your boys are just as much to blame.

    3) I would have actually agreed with Rumsfeld if he had sent a sane number of troops (i.e., practically everyone we had in a uniform) into Afghanistan. But doing a preemptive strike against a paper tiger when we couldn’t even send our guys into the field with proper armor is a much different scenario. There was no need to rush into Iraq, especially ON A HUNCH!

    4) We’re not winning. Try again. Winning would mean that we’ve subdued our enemies without having to pay them. Unfortunately, that is not the case. That said, I am certain that this is not an issue of Armed Forces incompetence, but the incompetence of people higher up the food chain that couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag.

  22. Mark May 29, 2008 at 2:03 pm #

    It is no exaggeration at all. It is actually very simple. We arm both sides in a conflict, then sit back and watch the profits roll in. We arm Israel, then we arm Egypt, then we arm Saudi Arabia, then Libya, we’ve sold arms to Syria, Iran, stinger missiles to Oman. Typically, when the United States sells arms in the Middle East, it says it is not trying to tip the balance in favor of any country but wants to maintain a strategic balance to reduce the likelihood of war. That’s American logic for you. Plus foreign arms sales lower the unit costs of many weapons so we can sell even more of them. What happens then? Well, countries in the region have become so accustomed to infusions of American weaponry that they assume they can get such arms without acquiescing to Washington’s political demands, and usually succeed because to stop the shipment of arms would cut profits and we can’t allow that to happen.
    This isn’t WWII, this is America, a corporatocracy pure and simple, a country where corporations enjoy the same, (perhaps even more), protections as any individual. There is no one country in the Middle East, aside from Israel, that is capable of doing the US any harm. If we wish to bring peace to the Middle East then we need regime change in Israel first. It’s all about money. There is no higher purpose, no patriotic testaments, and no desire to bring peace and happiness and fulfillment and reconstruction to the lives of those Iraqis that are so caught up in this. Do you seriously believe that our government, George Bush, has any concern for the future of that country? Don’t be so naïve. This is a money grab pal. To think that there has ever been any other reason for the Iraqi conflict shows a rather shallow world view. Arms sales are just a substitute for diplomacy, and diplomacy never paid the rent.

  23. Darius May 29, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

    Paul, you might want to stop drinking the koolaid at DailyKos or wherever you get your news.

    Regarding Saddam’s ties to Al Qaeda, Hamas, terrorists, etc… http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/378fmxyz.asp?ZoomFont=YES

    And it is common knowledge that Saddam funded terrorism against Israel.

  24. Paul May 29, 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    Darius,

    I’ll stop reading DailyKos when you stop reading the Weekly Standard.

    Bill Kristol is a nutjob, and the fact that you link to LGF on your website proves that, well, you’re a nutjob, too.

    You wanna quote CNN or NPR? Fine. But don’t counter the fringe with fringe from the other side.

  25. Darius May 29, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    Nevermind Mark (not Gibson), I can’t handle conspiracy nuts and tin-hat lunatics.

  26. Darius May 29, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    Wow, Paul, you don’t even care if what the Weekly Standard says are facts. There is no one more biased on this thread than you. And equating DailyKos with LGF, seriously? Again, you prove that you don’t care about evidence, facts, or reason, just your emotional response to it all. I’ve got news for you, I don’t care what you feel about an issue. Even if you say that you feel really strongly about it, that is still not a valid argument.

  27. Mark May 29, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    I stated nothing but the facts. In what regard do you take my statements as conspiracy theory? We armed virtually every country in the Middle East, right? Corporations in America have legal personhood, right? Show me the conspiracy theory pal. Prove any of my statement as false.

  28. Paul May 29, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    Darius,

    You don’t care about facts or reason, either, just whether something fits your worldview.

    And, yeah, LGF and The Weekly Standard are the right wing equivalents of DailyKos or something like minded.

    Am I biased? Yeah, I won’t debate that. Of course I am. But so are you. Trying to paint yourself as some sort of centrist while you link to websites that sell shirts that say “I’d Rather Be Waterboarding” is intellectually dishonest AT BEST.

  29. Darius May 29, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    For your information, since you choose to slander LGF while being completely ignorant on the subject, that website links to information and stories from around the world (usually related to radical Islam) that the mainstream media doesn’t bother to cover.

  30. Darius May 29, 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    Mark, Mark, please. “Prove any of my statement is false.” Really? You claimed that Bush doesn’t care for the Iraqi people and his real motives are completely self-centered and driven by corporations. How can I prove that wrong??????? It’s like saying “Barack Obama hates Mexicans, prove me wrong.” All I can tell you is that your thinking is prima facie wrong and verging on lunacy.

  31. Darius May 29, 2008 at 2:38 pm #

    Paul, don’t equate us man, it’s not even close. You consistently ignore all facts and evidence on these threads. You almost always respond with a logical fallacy (usually of the ad hominem/argument against the person or organization) instead of addressing the points or facts laid out.

    So as to avoid your further obfuscation of this topic, let’s get back to what the Weekly Standard REPORTED from a memo and was repeated elsewhere (it doesn’t matter if CNN, NPR, PBS, NYT, or Weekly Standard reported it if they’re the accurate truth). You claimed that Saddam wasn’t connected to Al Qaeda, Hamas, et al. You are horribly wrong on this point, and the above link was only one of many with which I could provide you as evidence of your ignorance or intellectual dishonesty.

  32. Paul May 29, 2008 at 3:02 pm #

    Darius,

    You seemingly have one goal in life: to complain about liberals.

    Okay, you have an article from the Weekly Standard. It looks pretty impressive. But can you back it up with a mainstream news source not named Fox?

    If you can’t, then this might very well be just like the Fox News report that we found WMD in Iraq.

    So, prove to me that this is legitimate. Find it in a source other than a known hangout for right wing moonbats.

    If it’s the truth, it shouldn’t be hard to do.

    Ball’s in your court homeslice.

  33. Mark May 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    When I came back from Viet Nam and started telling people about the convoys of booze and drugs and furniture (among other things) that we had to escort, people called me a lunatic. We know now that what I witnessed was true. When my son came back from Iraq and started telling me the same stories about the theft of antiquities and money, the running of drugs and alcohol by our mercenaries and protected by our soldiers I knew that nothing had changed. I’m no lunatic amigo. I’ve lived it and seen it. War, like religion, exists for one reason, the acquisition and maintenance of great wealth and political power. Remove the politics and the money from either and what have you got left? Nothing. Tell me, what has Bush done lately, aside from giving up golf, to show his support of the Iraqi people? You said it precisely; this administration does not care one whit about the eventual outcome of the Iraq occupation. And yes, his motives are completely self-centered and driven by a corporate mentality. Lunacy? The lunacy is being so caught up in patriotic rah-rah that you refuse to allow yourself to see the truth.

  34. Darius May 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm #

    Well, Mark, I’m glad that you are God and can see the hearts of men like Bush. As for me, I’ll leave that to the real God. I judge actions and words, not hearts.

  35. Darius May 29, 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    Paul, I found that link on Wikipedia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_al-Qaeda#2008_Saddam_and_Terrorism:_Emerging_Insights_from_Captured_Iraqi_Documents

    But either way, Hamas was KNOWN to have worked with Saddam in the past, and his ties to terrorism against Israel are well-documented.

  36. Paul May 29, 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    Actions of Bush:

    1) very first action in office is to wipe out funding for empowerment zones. Which, by all accounts, was a program that was working well.

    2) Blows off memos about terrorists using airplanes to destroy buildings until 9/12.

    2a) while no one else in the country can fly or travel abroad, gets the Bin Laden family on jets and scoots them out of the country. The ONE GROUP that might have had some insight into Bin Laden, and Bush lets them split.

    3) Sends 11K troops to one of the most rugged terrains on earth to find one of the few men that the entire world agrees is evil.

    4) Uses spurious intel to invade a sovereign nation.

    4a) Puts biggest group of nitwits ever assembled together to oversee war and impending occupation. Even most conservatives I’ve talked to can’t seem to say much nice about Wolfowitz or Bremer.

    5) In showing of the constant nepotism surrounding the White House under Bush, he appoints a guy that can’t even be trusted with horses to lead FEMA.

    5a) Also attempts to appoint Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

    6) Underlings of Bush fight like mad to put divisive and politically impotent agendas like banning gay marriage on ballots, thus ensuring that small minded bigots throughout the country will vote for small minded bigot president.

    7) Does little to direct help to Louisiana or Mississippi in the aftermath of Katrina (I’ll fully admit that much blame can also be laid at the feet of the awful democratic leadership in LA as well).

    Need more?

    If what you go by is the actions of a man, Darius, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do for EVER defending Bush.

  37. Paul May 29, 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    Darius,

    I can find a link about how some kid in Wheaton, Illinois likes fat girls on Wikipedia, too.

    CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Tribune owned newspapers (which do tend to lean to the right most of the time), heck, I’ll even take the Washington Times or the New York Post!

  38. Mark Gibson May 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    Scott,

    If you reread my post you will see that I stated my belief that the Iraq war was necessary. I didn’t once state that we invaded because we had the “right” to. I am just bring up the fact that it was not a preemptive war.

    Paul,

    1) Your game:

    a) Throw a liberal bumper sticker slogan out there. Ex. Blood for Oil (See #13)

    b) Change the subject when an opponent presents fact contrary to your claims

    c) When opponent calls you out on changing the subject, stoop down to the mentality of a 3rd grader and call everyone stupid

    2) Bush added a supplement for military spending to Clinton’s last budget. In 2002, Bush had increased military spending by $45 billion. It was the largest increase since Reagan was president.

    3) There was no rush into Iraq. It took a year of debating.

    4) We are winning. You don’t want to admit it because of your hatred of Bush.

  39. Darius May 29, 2008 at 4:05 pm #

    Sighs…

    I may indeed be stupid, but only because I keep trying to bang my head against the proverbial wall of your “argument” and think I can somehow convince you otherwise. But, in the words of the band Whitesnake, here I go again.

    1) I’m not very familiar with what he did to the EZs, but to my knowledge, they’re still in business. And I don’t see why it is the federal government’s responsibility to take care of what should be left to the states or private organizations.

    2) I direct you to the 9/11 Commission Report… “Most of the intelligence community recognized in the summer of 2001 that the number and severity of threat reports were unprecedented. Many officials told us that they knew something terrible was planned, and they were desperate to stop it. Despite their large number, the threats received contained few specifics regarding time, place, method, or target. Most suggested that attacks were planned against targets overseas; others indicated threats against unspecified “U.S. interests.” We cannot say for certain whether these reports, as dramatic as they were, related to the 9/11 attacks.”

    As this shows, Bush can’t be held accountable for not knowing where the attacks were going to come. What would you have had him do (keeping in mind the pre-9/11 mindset inherent throughout the American government)? Come on, be intellectually honest and admit this is an idiotic point.

    2a) This is a pathetically ignorant statement, and one which makes me want to stop answering your foolishness.

    http://www.snopes.com/rumors/flights.asp

    3) How many troops would have been enough to find Bin Laden? When it comes to finding someone in that part of the country (especially one who doesn’t want to be found and has the resources to match that desire), what does more men do?

    4) We’ve been over this before… by “spurious intel,” you must mean EVERY SINGLE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY IN THE WORLD?

    5 and 5a) An occasional poor choice in political or judicial appointment is hardly proof that the guy has evil motives.

    6) This bigot believes that all political agendas are divisive, genius, not just those you with which you disagree. And it wasn’t Bush or his “underlings” fighting like mad, it was the gay lobby and activists judges who put the issue on the front burner. Christians and social conservatives merely responded, demanding that our leaders put a stop to it.

    7) The poor response of FEMA only goes to PROVE conservatism is better. The larger the government, the more ineffecient. The aftermath of Katrina is entirely to blame on two things: one, bad things happen and people or governments can’t protect us from all of them; and two, the Louisiana and New Orleans politicians (both liberals). The federal government should not be responsible to do the job of the local or state government.

    Furthermore, none of these actions show any malice on the part of Bush, which is what we were talking about. I have never seen anything but genuine concern for people from President Bush. That doesn’t mean all of his decisions are right, but he does make them for the good of people (as opposed to the good of self and corporations).

  40. Darius May 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm #

    Ouch, Mark Gibson, you nailed Paul’s game to the T.

  41. Paul May 29, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

    Mark,

    not calling the Iraq war preemptive is a bit misleading, don’t you think?

    As for your baiting, let’s bait back, shall we?

    a) like every other conservative, complain loudly from the rooftops whenever you hear something you don’t like (like the fact that I can’t find one good reason why we would invade Iraq if we didn’t know for sure that he had WMD).

    b) complain when someone makes sure that said conservatives are quoting from reliable sources. (and if the Weekly Standard is a reliable source, then so is Mother Jones)

    c) I haven’t called anyone stupid yet, though some of the conservatives that post here have given me ample evidence of just that.

    2) if you can’t afford armor for your troops, then they didn’t raise military spending enough. Or at least they should reappropriate the $7 Billion/year spent on helium reclamation. Sorry to tell you, but I don’t think we’ll be going to war with blimps anytime soon. Military spending is riddled with stupidity like this while not providing basics to the troops.

    3a) anything would be a rush to war when we should have been committing 10x as many troops as we did to Afghanistan.

    3b) if you can’t provide armor for your fleet or for your soldiers (as Rumsfeld didn’t), you’re rushing to war, especially in a situation like this where we didn’t have conclusive proof of WMD in Iraq.

    4) Okay, Mark, if we’re winning, why aren’t you over there being part of the effort? Not because you’re not called, because you’re scared yellow. You’re so afraid of what would happen to you over there that you won’t do anything about it. But those darned Iraqis (including innocent civilians) had it coming to them, right?

    Frankly, I wish we were winning. I wish that Bush would have followed through on his promises made during the 2000 campaign to not be divisive, to not attempt to build empires, to be the compassionate conservative that he claimed to be (and my, how quickly he dropped THAT one). Then, even though he’s a republican, I would’ve loved him. But he’s a sniveling little liar that doesn’t know from incompetence, so he continually pulls from an incompetent pool, and the results have been devastating.

    But, he claims to be pro-life, who cares how much he messes everything up! He gets to appoint judges! Wooo!

  42. Mark May 29, 2008 at 4:27 pm #

    “Furthermore, none of these actions show any malice on the part of Bush…”

    Are we talking about the same Bush, the one who joked about not finding any WMD’s, the one who refused to help our veterans and clean up the VA hospitals, the one who demanded that wounded vets must return any enlistment bonuses since they were wounded and could not complete their obligations? The same Bush who spent 15 minutes reading to children after one of the worst disasters in our history and then lied about seeing the first plane hit the tower on TV? The one who lied over 700 times to push us into a needless, senseless war against a country that posed absolutely no threat to us and wound up killing millions? That Bush? The same one who Vincent Bugliosi has written a very clear and concise case calling for his trial on the charge of murder? That Bush? The one that only 25% of our country supports? The one who is now the single most vilified and hated man in the world, more so than even Bin Laden? That Bush? Yeah, some great humanitarian he is.

  43. Darius May 29, 2008 at 4:27 pm #

    Oh, finally, Paul brings out the chickenhawk fallacy. I was wondering when he would. Pretty good job, Paul, you lasted 43 comments.

  44. Darius May 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    Mark, until you stop repeating propogandist lies, I will not address you. You make Paul look positively rational.

  45. Mark May 29, 2008 at 4:32 pm #

    Propagandist lies my Aunt Fanny. Refute with some intelligence or go home.

  46. Darius May 29, 2008 at 4:39 pm #

    You want me to address someone who says the following with (I presume) a straight face and appears to believe it himself: “The one who is now the single most vilified and hated man in the world, more so than even Bin Laden?”

    Really?

  47. Mark May 29, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    You got it pal. Get out of your U.S. mentality. Go to Europe, Mexico, Japan, anywhere outside of the US and ask anyone, who is the most hated man in the world? I’ve been to Europe and Mexico in the last couple of years and have had many conversations with people in England, Germany, Italy. They all say the same thing, Bush is the real terrorist.

  48. Paul May 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    Darius,

    I will give you props on one point: in quoting Snopes, you finally quoted a source that does some fact checking. Good for you.

    As for your points…

    1) EZ’s have been taken up in many areas by local governments. That said, your precious private companies never seem to want to make it to the very areas that the EZ’s are helping. If they had, there would have been no need for the empowerment zones in the first place.

    2) We knew beforehand that they were going to use planes. We also have Zarqawi in custody prior to 9/11, but no one from the FBI questioned him until 9/12 if I remember reading that one right. And given Zarqawi’s yearning to talk after 9/11, he might have been willing to talk beforehand as well, had we only tried.

    3) I don’t know for sure, but it’s certainly more than 11K. The entire Afghanistan campaign has seemingly been treated as an afterthought.

    4) Really Darius? Where were they when we were getting ready to invade? Everyone except for Tony Blair and the President of Poland was in on the global disdain of the invasion. With solid evidence of WMD, they wouldn’t have said a word.

    4a) you didn’t address this one. So we agree here, the Iraq war has been handled by nitwits.

    5) okay, fine. Bush isn’t evil. He’s just too stupid to be holding office in any country more important than Lichtenstein.

    6) That’s right. You’re a bigot who can’t deal with the idea that a country that claims to be secular from day one has no business putting religious conditions on a secular contract.

    7) You’re right, Darius. The conservative federal government that presided over the Katrina disaster really proved that conservatism is better. Again, where were those private agencies? Oh, they never showed up. Instead, how many people died waiting for federal help when no capitalists would step in to help in a situation where they weren’t bound to see any profit?

    As for trying to prove that “liberals” were to blame for the aftermath at Katrina at the local level, I will remind you that it wasn’t their liberalness that did them in, it was the fact that they were corrupt. And I will remind you that there are just as many horribly corrupt republicans out there. Come hang out in Illinois some time for proof.

    You see no malice in Bush because he’s not wearing horns and a cape and looks nothing like Al Pacino.

    I see nothing but malice in Bush because he thought about hiring the best person for the job exactly once in his career as president — John Roberts for the Supreme Court (even if I don’t like his ideology, I can’t argue with talent when I see it). That disregard for his country is most certainly evil.

    Sorry dude.

  49. Paul May 29, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    In #45, Darius once again decries the chickenhawk argument.

    Dude, at least I can claim to have tried to serve. It’s not my fault they didn’t take me (and after I scored a 98 on the ASVAB, too!). I consider the idea of serving to be an honorable thing, and I consider it to be one of the great shames of my life that I didn’t get to serve my country.

    That someone would dare bang the war drums and be so small as to let others die for him while he sits at home watching Hannity and Colmes while fawning at his picture of Rush Limbaugh on the wall makes me absolutely sick.

    If you’re going to scream for blood, be ready to spill your own. If you can’t do that, then sit down and shut up.

  50. Mark Gibson May 29, 2008 at 4:53 pm #

    Internet Tough Guy a.k.a. Paul,

    No, it is not misleading.

    1) This is easy

    a) You are the poster boy for this behavior on Denny’s website

    b)What are you talking about?

    c)You just did.

    2) The military took Baghdad in three weeks with approximately 100 KIA. The insurgency from foreign countries was unexpected but we made the needed adjustments.

    3)A huge military presence is not going to help you in the terrain of Afghanistan (see USSR). If you want to capture OBL, then a fast mobile force is needed. Don’t forget that NATO troops are over there also.

    Why didn’t Clinton build up huge reserves of body armor?

    The fleet is armored when the ships are built. I’m not sure what that had to do with anything.

    4) Okay, Paul, if we’re losing, why aren’t you over there being part of the effort to help save the country you supposedly love? According to your logic 99% of Americans are cowards (that includes you). Those darned Iraqis had it coming to them the past 30 years by Saddam.

    By the way, thanks for proving me right in #40.

  51. Darius May 29, 2008 at 4:58 pm #

    Umm, Paul, I know I’ve said this before, but I will repeat it for those who are reading this and actually care for intellectually honest discussions: I don’t watch Fox News and I did apply to a military academy, but was turned down due a head injury within the previous two years (cue the “so that’s why you’re a conservative” jokes 🙂 ) as well as a lost-in-the-mail recommendation letter. Yes, I could have then enlisted or tried again later, but I felt that God was closing a door and meant for me to take a different route. Just because I haven’t served doesn’t mean I can’t support the war. Again, the chickenhawk argument that you employ is so full of holes, it’s laughable.

  52. Ferg May 29, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    Wow, this is intriguing. as someone from Europe, it’s fascinating reading!

    All i’ll say, is Bush is absolutely hated in Ireland. He is vilified. He came to visit a while back and there were huge huge protests. I was pretty shocked. I won’t share where I stand as I don’t think it’s appropriate, but he is more hated here than bin laden.

    I will also add that the amount of money spent by America on war is disgusting and insane. If all that money was put to good use, it could feed and house every hungry and homeless person in the world for 7 years. yes, 7 years.

    I do not single out America in this as i truly believe that if my little country (Ireland) was as big as America we’d be just the same. We allowed your troops land in our country so we have our own part to play in the countless lives that have been wasted and lost in the war on whatever it is.

    I don’t particularly think there will be any ‘winners’ in this war.
    I would suggest people read ‘myth of a christian nation’ by Greg Boyd, but I don’t think his name is respected much around here.

    some people reading the comments on this post mightn’t think it’s a place for christians to have discussion.

  53. Paul May 29, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    Internet caricature (do you know what that is?) of a conservative a.k.a. Mark Gibson,

    1) Easier and easier all the time.

    a) If I’m one of the poster boys, then you and Darius are right up there as well. You’re not nearly as guilty as Darius is in this respect, but it’s nigh on impossible to have a rational discussion with either of you because you refuse to believe that someone from the other side of the aisle could EVER do anything right. Face it hombre, you’re a mirrored reflection of me, but I was here first. You’re just a backwards copy of an original.

    b) the only time I “changed the subject” here was when Darius started quoting from the “right-wing moonbat news”.

    c) I still never called anyone stupid. If you feel insulted, maybe you’re standing too close to intended targets?

    2) Great. We took Baghdad. We’ve got a green zone to show for it.

    3) with NATO’S troops, you’ve got 20K troops, and of those, you’re back to 11K that have a vested interest. And never once did I say that you have to involve ALL of your troops in one battle at a time. But 11K troops doesn’t even get you started. Defending such a small amount of troops in Afghanistan can only be seen as defending a poor position.

    Insofar as Clinton goes re: military spending, I will state again…I am not trying to canonize the guy. He was just infinitely better than the corky-in-chief that we’ve got in charge now. I can’t defend everything he did. Just like you can’t with Bush. Once again, mirror image, sir.

    4) explained in #51. Read before you post.

    Have a wonderful day.

  54. Darius May 29, 2008 at 8:06 pm #

    Weekly Standard is “moonbat news”??? I guess to you, Paul, anything that you disagree with is moonbat. I suppose U.S. News and World Report is also moonbat news. And probably the City Journal.

  55. Phil May 29, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    Some of you guys need to take a cold shower, a valium, and break from reading or posting on this blog for at least a week. The quickness with which the discussions here degrade into ad hominem attacks and insults has all the class and thoughtfulness of a brawl on a kindergaarten playground.

    It is possible for liberals and conservatives to disagree civilly (although no one would know it from reading these threads). And really, is this what Christians want to be known for? A tone of discourse which is so grotesque, so vitriolic, so uncaring of the brother to whom it is addressed that the whole becomes putrescent?

    I do give some of you guys props. No matter how hard the other side tries to get you down in the gutter with them, you don’t respond with personal insults — a tactic they are all too comfortable in using.

  56. Paul May 29, 2008 at 11:55 pm #

    Darius,

    Weekly Standard: Bill Kristol’s magazine. Definitely moonbatty. See also, LGF, Rush Limbaugh, Tony Perkins’ newsletter and anything else with a right winger’s chicken little spin to it.

    (cue Darius’ condescending apprehension of this remark, and a link to World Net Daily telling me how it’s wrong…)

    (for all that y’all accuse liberals of the chicken little mentality, it’s conservatives that spin yarns about judicial activists and gay plots against the moral majority of our country)

    National Review: can’t say that I agree with them much of the time, but at least it’s run by real right wingers, not neo-con loons. Not moonbatty. Sometimes enjoyable to read. The civil libertarian in me even finds myself giving the occasional fist pump and what-what to George Will’s columns.

    US News and World Report: Not moonbatty, just boring.

    Now, you could have made this more fun by mentioning the fact that I’ve mentioned Mother Jones and The Nation as publications that I read, and you could have called them moonbatty as well. And I would have to sigh and agree with you. But if you think that the right fringe is just and right and moral and never wrong and that the left fringe is the complete polar opposite of that position every time, I have some great psychotropic drugs that you might want to check out at some point.

    And Darius, you’ll find that if you drop the rhetoric and the attitude and the talking points blathering, I’ll probably do likewise.

  57. Darius May 29, 2008 at 11:56 pm #

    Just so we’re clear, an “ad hominem” is defined as arguing against a person/group instead of addressing the argument itself.

  58. Darius May 30, 2008 at 12:00 am #

    Ha, now you’re sticking the tail on me? You, the one who rips Denny every chance you get (and usually not so subtly), are making me the scapegoat? Please, that’s a buck that can’t be passed, amigo.

  59. Paul May 30, 2008 at 12:43 am #

    Darius,

    I don’t rip Denny every chance I get. I do however, rip Denny every time he deserves it.

    And deserve it he does every time he rips on Greg Boyd, N.T. Wright or Jim Wallis for their politics. Got a problem with their theology? I would certainly welcome reading what an expert on the New Testament would have to say about that. But calling their faith into question because of their politics (which he has done) is completely without merit. Especially in the case of Wallis, who has gone to the mat for orthodoxy.

    And the just war arguments are tired too, because they’re not found in the Bible, they’re found in Augustinian writings. And his reasoning which he gave at one point a year or two ago as to why the Mennonites, Amish and Brethren were lesser churches (as quoted above) is questionable at best and frankly, I think it’s a dangerous way to look at your brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Face it, Denny is teaching young minds how to look at and interpret the Bible. To leave someone like that unchecked as he makes questionable value judgments is like throwing those young minds to the lions. He might not agree with me, but unless he’s ignoring my replies (which is probably likely), he at least has to skim through my replies and understand that there’s more than one way to apply our faith and that his way is not the only way. And frankly, there’s a chance that it is the wrong way.

  60. Paul May 30, 2008 at 12:46 am #

    Darius,

    congratulations on proving that you can’t read.

    I’m not making you the scapegoat if I am saying that I too am guilty of a behavior.

    However, it should be noted that many of the other conservatives here have stated that I can be engaged in civil discussions with them. If, for some reason, we can’t be in civil discussions, maybe, just maybe, you might want to take a look in the mirror, senor.

  61. Jason May 30, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    To all who read this blog,

    I am writing because after 62 posts of unbelievable banter, horribly constructed arguments, and gross misrepresentations of personal character, I’ve had enough.

    There is no winner and will be no winner when the arguments become enraged and personal attacks like those expressed in this thread. 90% of the comments on this blog end up that way, and none of the comments originate from the owner of this blog. Denny does not resort to personal attacks and discourages them from being used. Instead the same commenters over and over resort to personal attacks and very vague and unsubstantiated claims and irrelevant arguments (in most cases) that will never be conceded by either side. Every one is entitled to express his opinion (however wrong it may be), but to resort to insults and character assassination is distinctly unChristian for a majority of claimed Christian commenters.

    Paul, I know that you despise all of what Denny stands for politically, but to hint at Denny’s teachings to be dangerous and like a lion waiting to devour young minds lets me know that you have no idea in this world who Denny Burk is. To me he is one of the 2 most influential Biblical teachers for me personally (the other being my current pastor Pete Briscoe). To hear these two men open up the word of God and teach is to experience true spiritual gifts. Every time I’ve heard Denny speak, he starts and ends with a GENUINE prayer asking God to help those listening to forget anything he says that is not beneficial and to grasp on to the words that are. I have the privilege of personally knowing him and seeing how he lives his life and interacts with people. His true passion in life is Christ and Him crucified. The gospel is his guide, and he lives it everyday. So please refrain from personal attacks on Denny, a subject on which you have absolutely no basis to comment.

    I haven’t written in a while because I get so frustrated at the lack of intelligible debating that rages on that I’m tempted to join in. Rather than contribute to the problem, I’ve been refraining; perhaps I’m growing. Perhaps its time we all realize that Republican & Democrat (conservative & liberal) don’t matter. They’re buzz words, they’re meaningless. There is only one Truth, and I suspect He would be frustrated with the way arguments are presented here.

    Jason

  62. Stacey May 30, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    Jason,

    Thank you! My goodness, that was exhausting and ridiculous to read, and I was going to say similar things to what you said had I not seen your post.

    The things Denny must think when he reads some of the comments left on his site…and the things Jesus sees when He sees the hearts of those typing them!

    Stacey

  63. Paul May 30, 2008 at 11:23 am #

    Jason,

    First off, let me say that I agree with you more than you realize. And also, let’s get one thing absolutely straight: republican and democrat ARE simply meaningless buzz words that have little to do with us as Christians. And frankly, this evangelical left/right divide is kinda pointless too, as we’re all serving the same God.

    And I don’t deny that Denny is probably a fantastic teacher with a heart for God. What muddies the waters is when he questions the faith of those whose POLITICS don’t line up with his. And so his targets become folks who are pretty orthodox in their theology (Jim Wallis, the sojourners crowd, socially active Mennonites, etc, etc, etc), but differ with him on politics. I have all the problem in the world with that, and I cannot sit by idly while he calls into question the faith of people that I know love God and keep his commandments to the best of their ability.

    Jason, you’re right, Denny doesn’t stoop to personal attacks. Instead, he attempts character assasination on an entire movement because he doesn’t agree with their POLITICS. Not their theology, their politics. I only shoot back because he shoots first.

    Now, how does that fit into this subject? Well, every time Denny gets onto the “just war” high horse, he’s endorsing a certain view of Christianity whose basis is extra-Biblical, and frankly, to me and many others, pretty offensive. To attach those Augustinian (not Christian) ideals to Christianity and then claim that he is somehow more right than those who state that this war is not just is also offensive.

    I read this blog, and am edified through it when the topics are religious. And as someone who is simply a musician, I am often fascinated by the breakdowns of scripture and the like that are posited here. They expand my mind and often times my heart as well. And that’s why I keep reading. Stumbling onto this blog has been a blessing in that regard.

    But politics, especially when religion is attached to it, is a fiery subject. If treated with the respect that the subject deserves, there can be some constructive dialog that goes on. But constructive dialog recognizes the many sides of an argument, and makes the concession that when talking ideologies and philosophies that someone else might actually be right. So, when someone states “this is how it is” (as I am guilty of as well), you can guarantee that the fireworks will start. In that regard, Denny is at least somewhat responsible for the tone of the dialog here.

    I would hope that we all could treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, with courtesy, with respect, and most of all with grace. I apologize for my part in poisoning the waters, but it’s kinda hard to take much “liberals are bad, conservatives are good,” especially if you’re on the “bad” side of that statement.

    Fair enough?

  64. Adam Omelianchuk May 30, 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    Actually, I think Denny provides a forum for good discussion, something a good (read: cantankerous) college professor does. He sure does have his opinions which often are controversial and disagreeable. There are a number of areas that he and I don’t agree on (I’m an Egalitarian, Arminian, many-issue voter that likes NT Wright and thinks Bush was wrong on entering into war with Iraq), but that doesn’t stop me from respecting his opinion. I think the attacks on his character are grossly unfair.

  65. Darius May 30, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    “I think the attacks on his character are grossly unfair.”

    You can say that again.

  66. Paul May 31, 2008 at 2:45 am #

    so is labeling every member of the evangelical left as people who don’t care about the unborn. Which he has implied.

    Why shouldn’t people be called to task for saying outlandish things like that? Y’all certainly aren’t doing it…

  67. Darius May 31, 2008 at 8:17 am #

    A person who would vote for Obama doesn’t care about the unborn. No matter how much makeup put on that pig, those are the facts.

    Now I have not seen (correct me if this has happened) Denny say that voting for a pro-choice/pro-abortion candidate means one is not a Christian. It just means that in that area, a person is sinning. I too wouldn’t say that voting for someone like Obama means a person isn’t saved, but I do wonder about their moral compass. Furthermore, I’ve found that USUALLY (not always) political liberalism keeps close company with weak theology (Greg Boyd anyone?). This is not always the case since sometimes people just don’t think through the ramifications of their political views yet love God and understand His qualities and our calling perfectly.

  68. Adam Omelianchuk May 31, 2008 at 10:06 am #

    “Why shouldn’t people be called to task for saying outlandish things like that?”

    They should be called to task, but there is no reason for getting personal. If you have a case to be made against such an idea then make it.

  69. Ferg May 31, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    Darius, I’m disappointed to read what you wrote in post 67. Have you ever listened to Greg Boyd talk about bringing the kingdom of God to America?? his love for people? You’ve put him in a box and I’m not sure if you truly understand what the man is about.
    Also to say that if someone votes for Obama they are sinning…you could also say that about ANY candidate for this election as NO candidate has a perfect agenda. It’s stinks of arrogance to say something like all who vote for Obama are sinning.

  70. Darius May 31, 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    Ferg, I live just a few miles from Boyd, and have listened to some of his sermons in the past, so I know enough about him to “put him in a box” (though I readily admit that I could know plenty more, if I were interested in studying wrong theology). I’m not saying Boyd is a heretic (though he is dangerously close with Open Theism). He just has a weak theology on some points to go with his even weaker political views. His debate with Chuck Colson and Shane Claiborne was pathetic, he eschewed moral relativism and promoted the idea that Christians have no more insight into morality and good government and good society than anyone else.

    Perhaps a better example would have been the Rev. Barry Lynn, but that’s a bit too extreme and obvious.

  71. Darius May 31, 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    It’s pretty simple, Ferg. Is abortion inherently evil and wrong (and I don’t mean equally wrong to, say, throwing a pop can in the ditch)? If so, then is the promotion (via courts and legislation) of that wrong also wrong? If so, is it wrong (sin) to vote for someone who supports the abortion and promotes it in his policies?

  72. Mark Gibson May 31, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    Adam and Darius,

    There is no longer any point in calling out Paul on personal attacks. It doesn’t matter to him. Look back at my first post(#19) then compare Scott’s response(#20) to Paul’s(#21). Scott is debating, while Paul is attacking.

    When frustrated, he resorts to attacks like he does in #41 and #49. It doesn’t matter to him that it is a logical fallacy. He scored a 98 on an aptitude test. I guess he forgot that the military is also interested in physical fitness.

    We should debate him when he is debating, and we should ignore him when he is attacking. It doesn’t seem to bother Denny. Why let it bother us?

  73. Paul June 1, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    Mark,

    enough already.

    My tone at the top of this thread started off as nice enough, until Darius started off with massive attitude (both posts deleted, so it seems).

    Insofar as “attacking” you, fine, I see where I was wrong. I apologize.

    As for engaging in rational discussion, how is that possible with either you or Darius? You absolutely refuse to acknowledge American missteps or failures where they have clearly occured, and instead of owning up to those missteps, call me a blame America first liberal (you’ve done it before, don’t say you haven’t).

    Insofar as personal attacks on Denny, the only two I found were one in the blatant “Paul’s a jerk and should apologize” category (the comparison to Constantine)…

    So, Denny, here it is…

    DENNY BURK, I, PAUL, APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT WAS CLEARLY (A) AN OVERSTEPPING OF BOUNDS AND (B) AN UNNECESSARY ATTACK. PLEASE FORGIVE ME.

    (typed in caps so that it is eye-catching to Denny and others)

    and the other one that could be labeled a personal attack, though, I stand by.

    I hardly think it’s unfair to call Denny dangerous for a wholesale disregard for the evangelical left. A one by one picking off of guys like Shane Claiborne? I’m all for it and will join him in the attack against that idiot. His words and many of his actions are empty, and therefore meaningless. But guys like Jim Wallis, many of the people at Sojourners, and many others have completely orthodox theology, and yet they get thrown under the bus by Denny because they don’t share his political views. I don’t know if his views on the evangelical left make it into his classroom, but if they do, those views are bound to turn at least some of his students against people who, in the end, have the same goal that he does: to spread the word of God throughout the nations. What good does it do to trash their good names because he doesn’t agree with their political stances? We’re supposed to keep each other on the right track spiritually, but I don’t see how trashing someone’s politics is good for God or Christianity in general. And with that in mind, without making it personal, I have to call Denny a dangerous person for causing division where none need be. And, quite humbly, I ask for Denny to rethink his position on those of us who find ourselves leaning quite far to the right theologically, but lean to the left politically.

    Mark, I’m willing to throw an olive branch out there. So, here it is. Fair?

  74. Paul June 1, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    re: Darius in #67…

    Many points here.

    First, the comment that I really take issue with…

    “Furthermore, I’ve found that USUALLY (not always) political liberalism keeps close company with weak theology (Greg Boyd anyone?).”

    Darius, we simply travel in vastly different circles then. I go to a church that prides itself on its theological conservatism AND its social progressivism. My wife’s friends from college, while politically further to the left than me (I know, I know), are even more to the right than me theologically (I honestly never thought that I’d meet a young earth proponent that also made it to anti-war protests). I guess your exceptions to the rule are my rule.

    But that gets me to the second half of that quote…

    “This is not always the case since sometimes people just don’t think through the ramifications of their political views yet love God and understand His qualities and our calling perfectly.”

    Not so fast, sir. Most of those lefties that get it right that I mentioned above HAVE thought through their ideas. Insofar as the social justice aspect of their liberalism, they tend to think the same way that I do: yes, it’d sure be nice if everyone was the nicest person on the planet and helped to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick and care for the elderly. However, that’s not the case, but that stuff still must be done. No matter how it gets done, it MUST get done.

    A lot of us are pro-life, but to say that a vote for a pro-choice liberal is a sin is a half truth, at best. What you say would be absolutely correct if either:

    (a) the republicans ran Huckabee as their candidate,

    or:

    (b) there were 9 major party candidates that all had a shot at winning, and at least one was essentially an evangelical lefty.

    However, when it comes down to someone who I share one or two political stances with or someone that I share 20 or 30 political stances with, it’s unfair to tell me that I have to vote for the guy with the one good stance. Especially considering that I live in a state that will NOT criminalize abortion in the unlikely event of an overturn of Roe v. Wade. And given the fact that there will never be a constitutional amendment to criminalize abortion, why would I utilize my vote the same way that you would in a state where abortion laws have a good chance of being rewritten?

    Face it, Darius, that line about all politics being local is very, very, very true. And to tell me that my vote is a sin when I live in a very different part of the country than you do doesn’t take that into account, at all.

    Let the flaming begin…

  75. Darius June 1, 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    Paul, thus I said “usually” political liberals are also theologically liberal. I don’t know enough about your theological beliefs, but I’ll take you at your word that you are “conservative” in them. But let’s take this blog as a sample of Christians. Not counting you, most of the same people who comment on the side of political liberalism also speak up for Biblically-dubious theology (egalitarianism most recently).

  76. Darius June 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    Huckabee, huh? I can’t stand the guy’s policies (as a perusal of my own blog posts on the guy a few months ago would show), but in a general election, if I felt that he would significantly further the pro-life cause, I would put up with the damage he would otherwise do to the Republican Party and vote for him.

  77. Darius June 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    Paul,

    Regarding “local politics”…

    So what you’re saying is that you don’t care if your vote helps save lives in another part of the country, you only care about your city or state and how it is affected? I think that is incredibly near-sighted; I don’t care that my state (Minnesota) is likely to keep abortion legal if Roe v. Wade is overturned, I care that at least some lives somewhere in this country will be saved. Whether a human life is saved or improved in Minnesota, Illinois, or Morocco, I don’t base my vote at all on how it will affect me or my city or state.

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