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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

All They Need Now Is Diebold Machines!

Posted: 12/14/05 00:12, Edited: 05/26/13 11:25

by Dave Mindeman

3 recent news stories give us the big picture:

1) Iraqi soldiers have learned to torture and abuse the prisoners that are their Iraqi brothers.

2) The newspapers have accepted payment from the US to print Western friendly news stories.

3) Truckloads of fake Iraqi ballots were detained in the Wasit province.

You know, I am beginning to believe Iraq really IS making progress toward a US style democracy!
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Is Evolution Really Anti-Anything?

Category: Society
Posted: 12/10/05 13:06

by Dave Mindeman

It is disturbing that proponents of Intelligent Design have defined the debate as Christian vs Non-Christian. Changing the wording to sneak it past the Church-State divide is deceitful, but to classify Christians who accept evolution as, somehow, being against religion is just plain idiotic. Is evolution really that inconsistent with Christian beliefs?

Here is an excerpt from an article by Ted Peters on Sojourner's website... it is a very balanced look at the question and I would encourage you to read the entire article:

It?s very possible that one could embrace the science of the Darwinian tradition and also embrace a Christian understanding of God at work in the natural world. I believe that God has used the evolution of life over deep time to serve a divine purpose for creation. This requires distinguishing between the strictly scientific Darwinian model and the atheism and related ideologies that have frequently been associated with evolution. The science is solid.
Christian faith seeks understanding, as St. Anselm put it. Historically, Christians have fallen in love with science. Faith loves science. Today, the Christian faith demands that our schools teach the best science, and only the best science. To teach inferior science would be stupid and, yes, irreligious.

Ted Peters teaches systematic theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

Well said.
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GOP "Cut and Runs" from Solutions

Category: US Politics
Posted: 12/10/05 11:31

by Dave Mindeman

Cut and run. The new Republican term of derision. Yet, they must be aware that they have lost the argument -- the American people want us to leave, the Iraqi people want us to leave. Rather than engage in a debate about solutions, the Republicans trot out the old Vietnam mantra -- pulling out is declaring defeat. Simple terms for simple minds.

The Democrats need a unified message. Vague positions are not going to work. The Republicans relentlessly criticize timetables or immediate pullout. Yet, at some point, a time has to be appointed that our troops and the Iraqi military can look to, with the understanding that a full turnover of power will occur. The key is "conditional withdrawal".... use concrete benchmarks that clearly gives the Iraqis more control and allows us to leave. The key difference the Democrats need to stress is that their plan must put pressure on the withdrawal side. The Republican plan (if anyone really knows what that is) skews towards stonewalling any change because of a lack of confidence in their own ability to get the Iraqis ready.

The Iraq War is over. It is. The purpose, rightly or wrongly, was to remove Saddam Hussein and, well, for a lack of a better definition, the "invisible" WMDs. That's done, its over.

What we have now, has been morphed by this administration, into some kind of continuation of the war. It's not. If the war had been done properly, if it had been planned out... what we would be doing now is general peacekeeping -- probably with the help of the UN and a multitude of nations who all have a stake in a stable Iraq.

Instead, we have become the targets of increasingly militant factions. It is a true insurgency and NOT a battle involving the war on terror. We are bogged down in a situation which uses up resources and personnel;... money and people that could be used to break up the growing number of terror networks around the world.

This administration wanted a battle that was visible and tangible. Instead of fighting terrorism in the only effective way -- covertly, the neo-cons opted for opening a visible, conventional front that has kept the bulk of our forces concentrated into a limited target area and has given the broader terror networks time to strengthen and observe what our tactics will be.

It is time to force the issue. As long as our troops are in Iraq, the government will continue to be dependent on them. The Iraqis must begin a painful "weaning" process and it will not be pretty. Their casualties will be high and the political solution will be complex and always on the precipice of civil war. But they have to find their own way. Howard Dean is right...WE can't fix it. We are part of the problem, not the solution. A plan for Iraq's future cannot be dependent on American troops. The slow Iraqi training process, that the Pentagon has finally ramped up, has made the draw down process even more difficult.

We can't "cut and run" (whatever that term really means).. but we can't continue our current policy either. Conditional withdrawal must happen. It must be flexible...but it must be accelerated. We must do whatever we can to leave Iraq with a stable government, but we cannot prop it up indefinitely, either.

Our country cannot choose a course for Iraq... the current administration has tried, but that has been a mistake. Democracy is not something that can be forced on a people any more than dictators can force all of a country's people into compliance.

The foray into the pottery barn has been disastrous. We have to pay for what's broken but to stay there and hope the pieces will magically put themselves together is a hopeless undertaking. Sometimes you just have to apologize, offer restitution, and let the true owner decide its fate.
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