Tackling Iraq was a prudent choice. We have interests in the country economically, as well as tackling tyranny specifically in that area of the world, sending a message to countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Liberty has gained a foothold in the middle east, and we need to help it to hold on and grow stronger. Iraq had a stated goal of aggressiveness against Israel, the US and its other neighbors, has aided terrorists in the past and openly given them shelter. No, they didn't have stockpiles of WMDs, but they were actively seeking them and had the ability to begin manufacture of them in a short period of time. On top of that they were run by a tyrannical dictator and his insane sons.An organized withdrawal will hurt our perception with the Muslim world. It will show that we are weak and that Islamofacists can defeat us militarily. A far greater recruiting tool will be the message that the western powers can be defeated. A withdrawal in Iraq will only lead to stiffer resistance in Afghanistan. After all, if they pushed us out of one country, they'll be even more confident they can push us out of another.Very simply put, when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan in 1989, what was the world perception then? The world saw them leaving with their tail between their legs, and bin Laden used the victory as a major recruiting point saying that they were responsible not only for winning the war but for the collapse of the Soviet Union. People are attracted to strength, and pushing us out of Iraq will be a major victory for our enemies, and a powerful recruiting tool. Remember, perception of the truth is often more important than the truth.Regardless of whether you think we should have gone to Iraq in the first place, we are there now, and the relevant issue at hand is what to do next. Saying we should leave because we shouldn't have gone in the first place is not an acceptable line of reasoning because that ignores the present realities and our present goals.Defeating Al Qaeda is more than just hunting them down, we must defeat their objectives as well. The world is still a big place, and Al Qaeda exists in many countries (obviously they existed even in the US), so we must defeat them in every way we can because completely eradicating them is unlikely.Al Qaeda's stated goals in Iraq are to expel the US, establish an Islamic government, spread the conflict to Iraq's neighbors, and eventually destroy Israel. Now how do we defeat these goals other than by staying and fighting on?"Won't staying in Iraq just cause the terrorists to fight harder to defeat us?"Regardless of how angry the enemy gets, two countries have fallen to our armies, and that is a major defeat for their cause. The longer we stay, the more impotent they will look. Think about their situation:Bin Laden called Afghanistan "the only Islamic country in the world" and now that version of an Islamic country has fallen and failed. Israel still stands, and they aren't going anywhere, and neither is the pro-western governments in countries like Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden wants to unite all muslims into one nation and get rid of all western influence, and he's further from that than ever. Al Qaeda is not getting any of its goals accomplished and that is thanks to our aggressive actions to prevent them.Is it dangerous to take aggressive actions that will lead to aggression in return? Yes, but I think it is far more dangerous to turn our backs to them and not face the danger now.I don't think it's lost on the people just how quickly our forces were able to defeat's Saddam's army and topple his government. As much as the left wants to talk about us losing the war, we must stop and think about the other side's perspective to see if they are really winning the war.For our enemies, harassing our troops and killing some here and there is not their goal. The ONLY way they can declare victory is by ousting us from the country. We are building permanent bases (and our huge embassy) and we plan to stay for a long time. No matter who the next president is, we aren't going to abandon those bases, and we won't abandon the government we've spent so much money and effort into establishing. We are there to stay, and that is defeat for our enemies."These people don't want democracy"People who do not live in democracies don't understand concepts of limited government or human and civil rights the way we do, as their personal experiences with these concepts are not substantial. There is not much we can do about this other than to support democratic institutions within these countries so that these people can experience them.People won't want to live in a democracy if they don't see any benefit for them. The two biggest reasons that motivate people to want democracy is they see an economic benefit to it and a military one. The economic benefit is surely more powerful and long lasting, but the military one is far more dramatic and noticeable. "[E]ach wave of democratic enthusiasm in the non-democratic world has been preceded, and in large measure encouraged, by some striking military victory of democratic powers over less democratic or undemocratic operations."This is why military victory in Iraq and Afghanistan is so important. "Staying the course" may seem like a cheap slogan to some, but it is a relevant means to achieving our ends, which is to make democratic inroads into these countries, because as our history shows, those countries with democratic, constitutional, representative governments are our allies, and from whom we have nothing to fear.By giving up now, we will only reinforce the notion that these people have, which is that democracy is what is weak. By showing them that our form of government is not only economically strong but militarily strong as well, we can give them the incentive to support democratic institutions in their countries as well.
All social ills will always exist, the only question is in what quantity. Divorce rates can go up or down, marriage rates can go up or down, out-of-wedlock childbirths can go up or down. Just because they already exist to a certain degree does not mean they cannot get worse.Changing the definition of marriage can have effects upon these social ills, for better or worse. Allowing for gay marriage changes the definition so that it loses meaning, and will have a negative impact upon society. As for how, normative definitions are agreed upon societal rules and expectations specifying appropriate and inappropriate ways to behave. In other words, definitions affect behavior by directing people how to act. It used to be that a family was a married couple and children, and other styles of families were considered deviant at worst, or alternative at best. With acceptance of single parent families and unmarried cohabitating couples with children as families, the definition has changed, and the effect upon behavior has as well. People who don't meet the 1950s style nuclear family don't feel compelled by the social rules and expectations to conform to that normative definition anymore. So for example, if you are a co-habiting couple, you don't need to be married to be considered a family, as you already are one. By making the definition more inclusive, it has lost its ability to affect people's behavior as it really means nothing because a family can be anything."Although many people think of themselves as individuals, the strong tendency of people to conform to group patterns and expectations is consistently documented in laboratory experiments, social surveys, and observations of mass behavior." Professor H. Wesley Perkins, A Brief Summary of Social Norms Theory and the Approach to Promoting HealthBy redefining marriage we will only make this situation worse. Marriage will lose its normative definition completely as a required part of having a family. Marriage will no longer be the building block of a family, but simply a confirmation of a relationship, or a commitment ceremony, and little more. It's not that divorce rates will go up, but marriage rates will go down. There just won't be a point anymore because it won't be what people are supposed to do anymoreThe danger comes from the change in the definition of what a marriage is in general. Our cultural belief is that if you want to start a family, you need to get married, but by creating the legal fiction of a "gay marriage" you are saying that having a family is not what marriage is about, but simply two people who want to be together, being together. The danger is that people just won't get married anymore when they start having kids, they won't see it as the required step. So they don't have the legally enforcement monogamy or the property rights that come with marriage. This is indeed what we see in countries with these legal fictions: people often wait until they have their second child before getting married. Their divorce rates haven't gone up because people aren't getting married in the first place.Marriage is a contract, and an extremely important one at that. One of the important agreements the couple makes upon entering the marriage is that they will be monogamous. The state has an important interest in encouraging people to be monogamous. It ensures that the fatherhood of the children will be more certain, so that fathers will stick around and help raise the children. Also men are not out fathering other children with other women that will become a burden on society. This interest simply does not exist among gay couples.The property rights of women in particular are what this is about, and creating the fiction of gay marriage will hurt women the most in this area. Women are the stay at home partner far more often then men, and as such they don't accumulate assets, experience, or promotions, so that upon a separation--without the marriage contract--they would be left with nothing to show for their years of work. Sending people the message that marriage is not the step you take when having children, but is just two adults wanting to be together, will have the harmful effect that people will not get married when they start having kids, like they do in Sweden and Denmark. Their generous nanny-state programs pay for raising out-of-wedlock children there, we don't have that kind of money here."Look at all the divorces, saving marriage is not a good reason to deny gay marriage."The central issue has to do with enforced monogamy. The father knows the children are likely his, and he's not out fathering other children of which the state will have to help take care. I'm sure you might say that people still cheat on their spouse, so there's no point. That is not true. If a crime prevention program lowers crime, then it is successful. If state enforced monogamy contracts (marriage) lead to more monogamy then it is successful. It is enforced by a financial penalty upon divorce. What point is there to enforcing monogamy among gay couples?As for the rise in single parent families and divorce occurring without gay marriage, yes, that's true, there are other factors that contribute. This is not a vacuum, and gay marriage would be one among many factors. Do you then wish to enact policies that would worsen the economy in the midst of a recession? I hope not, and saying that marriage is not in a good state is no excuse for worsening it."Outlawing gay marriage is the same as outlawing interracial marriage--it's based on hatred and bigotry."Comparing gay marriage to interracial marriage is misleading at best. Interracial marriage still accomplishes all the goals of the state in providing for children and for the child-raiser and so on. It does not change the definition of a marriage or the purpose of marriage. Interracial marriage bans were based on racism, gay marriage bans are not based on hatred of homosexuals, but on not changing the definition of a societal norm.Looking at the actual arguments made in the Loving v. Virginia interracial marriage case, the arguments were mostly based on eugenics, "improving" the races and "keeping the white race pure." In the appellate brief to the Supreme Court written by the Attorney General of Virginia Robert Y. Button, he states that: "there is authority for the conclusion that the crossing of the primary races leads gradually to retrogression and to eventual extinction of the resultant type unless it is fortified by reunion with the parent stock.""The results of racial intermarriage have been exceedingly variable. Sometimes it has produced a better race. This is the case when the crossing has been between different but closely allied stocks...It is an unquestionable fact that the yellow, as well as the negroid peoples possess many desirable qualities in which the whites are deficient. From this it has been argued that it would be advantageous if all races were blended into a universal type embodying the excellencies of each. But scientific breeders have long ago demonstrated that the most desirable results are secured by specializing types rather than by merging them.""the intermixtures which have been beneficial to the progress of mankind have been between nearly related peoples and that the results of a mixture of widely divergent stock serve to warn against the miscegenation of distinct races.""where two such races are in contact the inferior qualities are not bred out, but may be emphasized in the progeny, a principle widely expressed in modern eugenic literature. "The only social concern it raises about divorce is that interracial marriages will have a higher divorce rate since their racist families will make life hell for them. But this was an afterthought. No one today is arguing that gay marriage will cause harm to the purity of any race or that any specific harm will result from individual gay marriages. It is the broader social harm of redefining marriage that is the concern, and the negative consequences that this will bring.
Benefits:1. Meritocracy of ideas--here it's just a screen name and your posts. Whether you're a doctor, professor, lawyer, janitor or unemployed, your ideas are equal here in that they are judged solely upon their own quality, and not on who you are. In face-to-face discussions, we make judgments about the person, and so our respect for their ideas might vary depending on their identity. In online discussions, race, age, sex, employment, appearance, handicap, sexual orientation, marital status, education etc. don't factor in to how your ideas and arguments are received. The online forum is a true marketplace of ideas, where no one will buy what you say unless there's something of value in it.2. Breadth of coverage--you may not get the opportunity to discuss certain issues with the people you know. Often times no one you know cares or knows much about certain topics that you are dying to discuss. Here you can comment on whatever news of the day that interests you, or write a blog about a topic you think important. Chances are, someone else wishes to communicate their point of view as well.3. Many opposing viewpoints--With all the different points of view expressed, you are really challenged to examine your own beliefs, often in ways you never thought of before. Not only that, but you get the opportunity to hear people with similar points of view make arguments of which you might not have thought. For a true marketplace of ideas to exist, there has to be many options to hear from, and with a limited number of people to discuss with face-to-face, we often miss ideas or arguments that we never heard of or would know about otherwise.4. Freedom from judgment--anonymity and impersonality make it so that one can express their views on controversial topics without fear that their boss, friends, co-workers, family etc. will think poorly of them. Your evangelical sister and her husband, the pastor, probably don't want to hear about your passionate atheist views around the dinnertable at thanksgiving. Responsibilities:1. Honesty--In all forms, whether it is regarding a source that you are citing, or conclusions that you are making. Don't go around comparing everyone else to Hitler and the nazis. That's intellectually dishonest and just plain lazy. If you can't say why their ideas are bad on your own, then maybe they aren't bad. 2. No personal attacks--one of the best parts of online discussions is the meritocracy of ideas that is free from arguments from authority or positions of personal interest. We all, however, often try to diminish others' views by making assumptions about their interest in the matter based on their personal attributes. Calling someone a racist or a communist doesn't refute what they say, it is a dismissal of the person behind the statement. 3. Listening--perhaps the most common problem is arguing past each other, and not addressing the other side's point of view. It only serves, in their mind, to validate their argument--the one that you didn't address. This is because it appears you cannot address it or don't want to because your argument is weak. A good argument will examine both points of view and then state which side is stronger and why. 4. Double-check your posts for correct English--it should go without saying that if we can't understand your English, we won't understand your ideas. Small slips in grammar or spelling can happen, but when they change the meaning of the sentence, you have failed to communicate. 5. No grammar or spelling police--most posts are done hastily without the benefit of a word processor. Calling someone an idiot because they misspelled a word is just another way of making a personal attack and not addressing the merits of a statement.
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... observations about the first debate:While the moderator tried to get the candidates to address each other directly, it only happened one time. Obama directly called out McCain about Iraq saying he was wrong on many issues. This was pretty effective as McCain wouldn't look at him while Obama was chastising him. Obama was rather conciliatory, saying McCain is right several times. A few times looks generous, but too many times looks defeated.http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... seemed to talk down to Obama saying that he didn't understand several times and in general implying that Obama didn't know what he was doing.Even with the camera angles being changed to make their heads at the same level, you could tell that McCain was much shorter than Obama.McCain's tie was tied in a symmetrical knot, while Obama's was tied in an asymmetrical knot. For those of you who don't wear a tie often, an asymmetrical knot is considered younger and cooler. They are easier to tie as well.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Sep/26/McCain.bmpNeither really wanted to talk about the bailout, but they both used the cliched terms of comparing "wall street" and "main street." (gags)Obama got upset a few times regarding some of the things McCain was saying about him, interrupting to say "that's not true," losing his cool.Obama stumbled out of the gates a bit, not making a lot of sense, but then came on strong, especially when he directly spoke to McCain about Iraq, but then faded down the stretch as McCain painted him as unexperienced.