Thursday, April 15

Voting for life. Confusing wars.

[The brief introduction to this exchange is posted on April 19 as VOTING FOR LIFE: PREAMBLE. The following was written on April 4.]#3
Fanni writes: A little follow-up to your assertion that it is principally a charge of the pro-abortion camp -- you said: "the president's adversaries" -- that the justifications used to perpetuate war in Iraq were misleading and false. You can keep deluding yourself into confounding the hasty aggression in Iraq with stakes in the fight against abortion, but eventually the truth will out (and it already has, long ago, to all those who do not suffer from the sluggishness that results from uncritical over-exposure to Fox News).

Charges based on reports known by the administration to be fraudulent (as was the charge made in the State of the Union about substances obtained from Niger for making nuclear weapons), outdated and irrelevant reports (as was the material plagiarized from a student's essay in California), and discredited or disreputable and lying defectors from Iraq do not require pro-abortion adversaries to the president to be exposed to the public. Neither do contradictory statements and outright lies, of which this administration has offered up many (see Representative Waxman's report whose link I sent you for a generous sampling thereof).

I do not know what it's like to be a single-issue constituency such as yourself, but it must be a painful task to have to deny the validity of all these emerging facts simply not to feel that you may have lost a little ground on your One Issue. It's too bad, too, that your anti-abortion candidate for the presidency has pulled off one of the most grotesque attempts at justifying a war of aggression since Hitler sent Germans, disguised as Polish thugs, to kill German sentinels in Gdansk as a way of provoking fear and anger among the Germans at the Poles, just days before September 1, 1939. It must be painful, too, when you consider that experts on terrorism are asserting today that this war of aggression in Iraq has promoted, not combated, terrorism abroad. In a time of international terrorism that demands intelligent, investigative solutions and international cooperation of the highest degree, we are saddled with "I'm-a-war-president" Bush, and it's sad to think that this thug and all his incompetent conspirators, who have siphoned off the national treasury to the wealthiest of the land and compromised international peace and security on the basis of "the best intelligence" (which is to say, rubbish), are the best you can do in finding an anti-abortion proponent to fight your one big fight.

But I try to empathize with your plight. I know that it stems in large part from the fact that we have a winner-takes-all political system in the United States that penalizes people for not herding their votes together into two separate camps. As long as Kerry remains a "baby killer" intent on conducting, as you say, a "war on the unborn" and as long as Bush talks about something called "the culture of life," Bush can do just about anything in the world and he will still pocket your vote. This unconscionable bind you find yourself in is in fact understandable. In America, we have gotten used to voting for the less bad candidate. That is how our political system works. Moreover, it practically assures that our candidates will continue to get worse and worse in the future, since the party-appointed candidates know that all they have to do, to remain electable nationally and win it all, is appear one notch less undesirable than their one major adversary. But I wonder if it truly excuses the posture of single-issue voters such as you.

If you would like now to answer the questions I raised in my first e-mail on these topics, I still have no idea if there exists a point at which you would withdraw support for an anti-abortion candidate, however bad that politician is. And I am beginning, in fact, to doubt it. I am beginning to think that, if you had to choose between, on the one hand, a candidate who promised to lop the head off of 10 innocent five-year olds, or let 10 innocent five-year olds die from an easily preventable disease and, on the other, a candidate who would allow 10 fetuses to be torn rudely from their mothers in accordance with the mothers' wishes, you would without hesitation choose the former candidate, because something other than LIFE is at stake for you in your fight against abortion. But I am not sure. And I am not sure, either, what this "something other" that is bigger than life itself is for you that allows you to prioritize the destiny of fetuses in such a way. In short, my main question remains unanswered. So far, you have shown yourself to be good at parroting the Fox News view of the world (Bush, righteous; French and Germans, bad; Saddam, evil, imminent threat -- mushroom cloud, tortured and gassed his own people, etc. -- all those not with us are against us, etc.) and at demonizing John Kerry (who is someone I had not even mentioned). You haven't, however, answered my questions, as you said you have.

I know you're someone who has enjoyed consuming and disseminating images of war, both on the born and unborn, and so I thought you would appreciate these photos from Iraq. They probably did not make it to your Fox News TV screen in between images of Mr. Bush wearing a soldier's jacket, serving up Thanksgiving dinner to soldiers, or crawling out of a fighter plane. (It's always very quaint, isn't it, when a civilian dresses up in soldier's clothing? We certainly had never seen a president do it before.)

And I politely request that you not maintain, in the face of all evidence, that your vote for an anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, pro-war president can have only one meaning (i.e., "abortion is wrong"), and be free of violent consequences.

While weighing in your mind the righteousness and virtues of Mr. Bush, you might also find this report, coming from a Republican, to be worth taking into account:

Worse Than Watergate: Former Nixon Counsel John Dean Says Bush Should Be Impeached

Finally, it's a sad temptation I can't resist: sharing today's news from Bush's "mission accomplished" in Iraq. I'm sorry I don't have photos of the scores of innocent victims, torn to shreds by US firepower as they prayed in a mosque. Perhaps the photos will be made available in the foreign press. If so, and if I can locate them, I will be sure to pass them on. I am sure that there are enough images of murdered innocents in Iraq to counterbalance all the gruesome photos of aborted fetuses you show others. We can perhaps swap our favorite pics. And if Bush is reelected, we will have years of image sharing ahead of us, I'm sure.

It's nice that I can share this information with you, though, in this way, 'cause I am sure that, on Fox, if this report of yet another abuse of power and outrage to human rights on the part of the U.S. occupiers gets through at all, it will be wrapped up in deceitful rhetoric from our commander-in-chief, who will falsely claim that the Iraqis resisting foreign occupation hate freedom and liberty, and who will falsely confound this nationwide resistance to U.S. occupation with his supposed "war on terror." Lost in Bush's rhetoric, as I'm sure you can generously appreciate, is that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is very obviously fomenting resistance and violence across Iraq and the Middle East.

If you have begun to look for news outside the comforting and self-deceiving little world of support for American international vandalism and hooliganism called Fox News, maybe I don't need to keep sending you these updates? Just let me know.

U.S. Hits Fallujah Mosque; 40 Said Killed
By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer
FALLUJAH, Iraq - U.S. Marines in a fierce battle for this Sunni Muslim stronghold fired rockets that hit a mosque filled with people Wednesday, and witnesses said as many as 40 people were killed.
The fighting in Fallujah and neighboring Ramadi, where commanders confirmed 12 Marines were killed late Tuesday, was part of an intensified and spreading uprising involving both Sunni and Shiites stretching from Kirkuk in the north to near Basra in the south.
An Associated Press reporter in Fallujah saw cars ferrying the bodies from the mosque, which witnesses said had been hit by three missiles
Robert writes: The innocent civilians in that mosque were firing on U.S. troops.

In studying the abortion question, I have learned to be wary of unsubstantiated statistics. Some groups just seem to make them up as they go along. For example, you stated, "Calling the death by US firepower and cluster bombs of tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq ..." To the best of my knowledge, cluster bombs were not used in cities in the 2nd Iraq war. Smart bombs were. "Tens of thousands" is a gross exaggeration. If you can document otherwise, let me know.

A second possible example: You stated earlier that something like 10.5 million children died because Bush would not send them needed aid. Without documentation, this again sounds like a figure that someone pulled out of the air. Although even one child's death is a tragedy, Bush's "complicity" in these deaths is indirect and remote. He was not responsible for the circumstances or actions which caused their illnesses, and other wealthy nations share in the responsibility to help them out.