What They’re Fighting For

I’ve been thinking about writing about something since I commented on Matt’s blog. Now having come across something else on Steve’s blog, especially as I am not a regular reader of The Independent, I am compelled to spout off.

I have much more of a problem with the war in Afghanistan than I do with the war in Iraq. Or perhaps I should phrase it more accurately: I have a bigger problem with propping up an Islamofascist regime where Christianity is illegal and evangelism or conversion (along with many other things) is punishable by death, than I do with propping up a regime that still has the potential for being an almost secular Muslim state where Christianity can still be practiced. As hope fades for the latter, my supports fades as well.

In the wake of 9/11 we (America and all our sympathetically outraged friends) needed some place to attack. You just can’t let something like that go unpunished. Even if you can’t find the actual culprits – or they deprived you of the right to string them up by killing themselves – somebody has to pay. The Taliban government of Afghanistan never attacked the US. It did allow the mostly Saudi-funded mostly Saudi terrorists a place to train, or at best didn’t actively get rid of them. However, it wasn’t a strategic ally of the US like other places they trained, such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. And never mind that the US Government funded the Taliban to push out the Soviets in the first place. No, Afghanistan drew the short straw.

And how dare the Taliban not give up power and walk away when they were told to do so by the US Government. Don’t they know that all countries are ultimately subject to the sovereignty of the United States, as there is no corner of the global that is outside “American interests”. Not that the US really wanted them to walk away. They needed to do some killing. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, and all that.

Even though the US wouldn’t have taken on the 6th most populous country in the world – and a nookular power to boot – the military dictator of Pakistan quickly made sure he was on the right side of the Administration. The Wahabist absolutist monarchy of Saudi Arabia, with criminal law and social policies virtually the same as Afghanistan under the Taliban, knew that oil is a much more important export than heroin so they were safe. No matter that they actually provided the funding for extreme Islam around the world. Yep, Afghanistan definitely drew the short straw.

It seems to me that the case of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh is being a bit misrepresented in the headlines. He hasn’t been sentenced to death for just downloading and reading an article on women’s rights. No, he actually gave copies of it to other people. Islam respects the freedom of conscience. Kambaksh is allow to think whatever he likes. His truly fatal error was in telling someone else what he thought. That cannot be tolerated in liberated Afghanistan.

And that’s what US, British, and a handful of other forces are fighting to preserve. Not the democratic freedoms of the US or Britain or anywhere else. Not your freedom of speech. Not your freedom of the press. Not your freedom of religion. And certainly not anyone else’s. Aren’t you proud?

Character and Moral Leadership

I wish I could remember which blog (or blog combox) I read that said Mike Huckabee seems to be running for America’s pastor rather than American’s president. I don’t do lots of blog surfing, so it may be a sentiment that has been oft-repeated or picked up from an MSM expert or pundit.

Tonight as I was washing the dishes, I realised that if that’s what Mike is trying to do, then he has the right idea. What are Americans looking for in a president? They are looking for someone who is caring and comforting in time of need. They are looking for someone who can articulate a vision and inspire hope and courage. They are looking for someone who is not afraid to call evil “evil” and good “good”; someone with a fixed moral compass.

Should voters care about a candidate’s view on foreign policy? Not really. It doesn’t change much from administration to administration, because each has to deal with the exigencies of the day in a pragmatic way. Bush policy didn’t different much from Clinton policy until 9/11 and there’s nothing to say that Gore dealing with post 9/11 would have done it any different than Bush. Would Gore have been more forbearing of Saddam’s flagrant disregard for sanctions and the no-fly zones? Frankly, we don’t know who he would have had running State, Defense, and the NSA, so we don’t know which ways he would have been pulled. Had he invaded (an idea most everyone loved at the time), would he have been stuck in the same mire as the Bush administration? Probably so.

So much of the hype and focus by the MSM is based on red herrings. I would hope for more honesty in the blogosphere. From what I can see, the bloggers of the Northeast and the West Coast, as a few wannabes caught in the Red States in between, are stropping around the blogosphere, furious that a lot of Republicans don’t want gee-everyone-makes-mistakes-like-two-openly-adulterous-relationships Guiliani. They can’t for the life of them understand why Americans might not want a contest between a pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion Republican and a pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion Democrat.

Both sides know that these issues and others have little to do with the Presidency. It’s like Mike Huckabee’s answer about evolution. Why is somebody asking this of a candidate for president when it has nothing to do with the presidency? Those asking the questions are trying to show that Huckabee is a religious idiot – that’s what Blue Staters want to see and will see regardless of how he answers questions on evolution. No one in the Red States believes in evolution anyway, so all it does is convince them that Mike’s their man.

And for all of Bill Clinton’s “It’s the economy stupid” slogan, the Chief Executive actually doesn’t have a lot of control of that either, the OMB and the Departments of Treasury and Commerce notwithstanding. At the end of the day, it is about character.

It is not about competence. Just about every candidate running in the two main parties is competent to be president. All the Republicans want to be like Ronald Reagan and he slept through much of his second term, still managing to combine his moral leadership with that of some pastors in Eastern Europe to being down the Iron Curtain.

All the Democrats want to be like JFK, whose presidency was about fiascos and philandering. Oh, and he got himself killed. Assassination is the civil religion equivalent of martyrdom, so he’s now a saint.

No, it’s about character. It’s about moral leadership. I’m a firm believer that elections give the electorate what they deserve. If the Red States lose their focus on values, they deserve to get a valueless president.