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percy-l - Re: [percy-l] Percy-L Digest, Vol 59, Issue 2

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Subject: Percy-L: Literary, Religious, Scientific, and Philosophical Discussion of Walker Percy

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  • From: Wade Riddick <wriddick AT>
  • To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" <percy-l AT>
  • Subject: Re: [percy-l] Percy-L Digest, Vol 59, Issue 2
  • Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2008 21:36:57 -0600

>I agree with Marcus. Forced reconciliation? What a joke. I don't want
>to be unsympathetic with anyone in the military, but we can't paint
>this invasion in a good light. Bush told us that Saddam had WMD. That
>was a lie. Moreover, he lied about the uranium that was supposedly
>coming from Niger (the so-called yellow cake documents).

What was most disgusting about this lie is that Hussein already had tons of
yellowcake uranium in Iraq under U.N. seal. He had purchased it years
earlier. Bush went to the U.N. and lied and said Hussein hadn't allowed
the weapons inspectors back into Iraq when he had in fact done exactly. So
we had to pull those inspectors out of Iraq so we could bomb the Iraqis for
not letting the inspectors into Iraq.


Pulling inspectors out of Iraq left that uranium depot unsupervised. Bush
was so concerned about that uranium that for months after the invasion, he
left it unguarded like so many weapons depots that terrorists just walked
into and stole supplies from to make the bombs that killed our troops.
Those of us who pointed out you had to invade Iraq with at least half a
million men to do it right, those of us who pointed out the country should
be partitioned1 - we were denounced as weak or socialists or atheists or
American-hating terrorist sympathizers.

Bush might have denounced will-to-power in his post-9/11 speech but it's
the sword by which his political career lived and died.

Know thyself.

Remember Benjamin Franklin. Our critics are our friends. They show us our
faults so we can improve ourselves.

Or as I heard some woman on TV relay from her grandmother, "Being a
Christian means fixing yourself and helping others. It doesn't mean
helping yourself and fixing others."

I told this list eight years ago that if we allowed Bush to get into office
by breaking the law2, he would hardly be deterred from law-breaking in the
future and that's exactly what happened. He unilaterally broke half a
dozen major treaties his first year in office. He's violated the Geneva
Conventions and ordered the torture of detainees in U.S. custody (Clinton
at least tried to keep his hands clean via "rendition"). He's committed
millions of felonies by wiretapping American phone conversations without a
warrant (read the FISA statute if you don't believe me). Then there are
the Hatch Act violations in the hiring and firing or prosecutors and
Justice Department officials. What's stunning is how there is no real
major disagreement on the basic facts. The Republican leadership just
thinks they should be able to do and justify whatever they want.

It reminds me of that line in "Murder in the Cathedral." If the laws were
trees, would you chop down every tree to get at the Devil until there was
none left to hide behind when he finally turned on you?

I know politics isn't easy. I know nobody's perfect and campaigns take
their tolls on the families involved. Politicians have always been lucky
to get into office if a third of the electorate doesn't hate their guts.

Life is complicated. Whether we intend to or not, we all sin and we all
break laws whether it's jay walking, pot, copyrights or something worse.
We all need forgiveness.

But there's bad and there's worse. Government can't deliver utopia but it
can make it easier to behave better and harder to behave poorly.

What have our leaders been doing lately?

The Republican Party has confused ethics with self-interest. Anything it
wanted to do was by definition right. There was no doubt. There was no
debate. It's not for no reason that Republican operatives hung posters of
Lenin in their offices and talked about character the way Goebells did
("Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character"). When
Watergate broke, you had plenty of horrified Republicans. To invoke Bob
Dole, where's the outrage lately?

George Bush is like this drunk who's been your buddy all your life. He
finally sobers up and finds real life isn't nearly as fun without the bear
goggles on.

So he gets depressed. To cheer him up, one Saturday you take him target
shooting in the country - but his hands are kind of shaky from the D.T.'s
so you give him a shotgun and to make sure he hits the target you line him
up in front of the side of a barn. He takes aim at the bullseye you
painted, pulls the trigger and - BLAM! - promptly proceeds to blow his own
foot off.

While he's hopping around on his remaining foot, you criticize his aim.
"George, that it the worst shooting I've ever seen."

George turns to you and says, "Why do you hate my freedom? Why do you
support the terrorists?"

I think that sums up the last eight years.

1. Which is why we have peace today. Iraq *has* partitioned itself -
neighborhood by neighborhood instead of region by region, as Biden
suggested years ago. You have no more neighborhood violence because you
have no more heterogeneous neighborhoods. The successful parts of the
"surge" has been nothing more than bribery to sop Sunni disenchantment
combined with a Sunni/Shia rejection of nihilistic extremism. That hardly
precludes an all-out civil war in the future.

2. It's against the ethics clause of the bar oath for judges to rule in a
case where one of the parties has paid one of judge's kids or will pay as a
result of the ruling. Bush hired two law firms to represent him in front
of the Supreme Court. Those firms, in turn, paid two of Scalia's sons as
their employees. Bush then turned around and appointed Eugene Scalia and
Janet Rhenquist, children of justices, to high office. Eugene Scalia was a
pocket appointment, never approved by congress.
If you think that's an unfair characterization of the situation, ask
yourself what you would have thought if the most recent judge in the last
O.J. Simpson case had dismissed all the charges against Simpson with
prejudice and then four of the judge's kids had turned up six months later
on the Simpson payroll.

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