Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Poisoned discourse

Two of the seven soldiers who wrote an op-ed for the New York Times recently that was critical of the Iraq war were killed the other day in a vehicle accident in Baghdad that also killed several other soldiers.
Somehow it just doesn't seem right, but then nothing about this war is.
We were supposed to have the flags flown at half-mast yesterday in San Antonio for another local kid killed in the war, but it also happened to be the sixth anniversary of 9/11 so the flags were all at half-mast anyway.
This war that should never have been started has dragged on too long and has become a quagmire in more ways than one. It is a quagmire in the sense that we cannot withdraw the troops without leaving behind a bloody, chaotic mess. But it is also a quagmire at home where many people have invested a great deal into supporting the war and many more have invested a great deal into opposing it. The longer this thing drags on the more these people dig into their positions.
The vast majority of Americans have soured on the war and want to bring the troops home. But our democracy is so skewed and unrepresentative right now that it is nearly impossible for our government to respond to the will of the people. Democrats do not have a large enough majority to overcome Republican-led filibusters and presidential vetoes, so they are helpless to change the course of the war or make any meaningful changes. So they are in a bit of a fix. Even though the Democrats are on the same side with the majority of Americans, they are still being vilifed on ones side by the Republican opposition as "traitors" and "defeatists" and derided on the other side by frustrated war opponents for not doing enough to end the war.
All of this has served to poison the atmosphere for political debate between the two sides. It's hard to have a meaningful discussion or dialogue with someone who starts out with the assumption that you are a traitor and a terrorist appeaser. Likewise, it does not advance the discussion to assume that the other person is a bloodthirsty warmonger.
Things have gotten so bad at All Things Conservative, my friend Bill Crawford's blog where I have been a frequent commenter from the start, that I have decided to step back for a time and not comment over there. Lately, Bill's blog posts have devolved into a never-ending stream of vicious swipes at Democrats and Liberals (or the Left) and my comments are not helping to moderate the discussion. Instead of debating the issues of the day, we end up just yelling at one another. That, or writing the other person off and ignoring their comments altogether. Either way it does not make for a very enjoyable or fulfilling exchange and since I do not go there to pick fights I will refrain from commenting and instead concentrate on my own neglected blog here.

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