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Defending Dean against the Mean

by Jessica Woelke Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 12:29 AM

Dean may or may not be right in arguing that we should stay in Iraq, but it doesn't mean he is hypocritical and it definitely does not make him worse than Bush! Your arguments against Dean resemble those of the warmongering patriots.

Dear Justin Raimondo,

I think the insults you are throwing at Dean are completely unwarranted. I would have no problem with you merely arguing that Dean's position towards Iraq is wrong, but you have no basis to use the insults that you did. Come on! You called him as a "double-talking, double-dealing, dubious Dean, a snake in the grass if ever there was one, slimier even than Bill Clinton" and you suggested that he would be worst then Bush. Regardless of whether Dean's position towards Iraq is the correct one, his position is not a hypocritical one. To my knowledge, Dean has never claimed to be a pacifist and he has definitely not claimed to be a libertarian. He has not changed his position and therefore does not deserve the remarks you made. Just because one is not a pacifist, doesn't mean they have to automatically support every war their government comes up with and every use of military force. Dean is able to see shades of gray and believes that there are some cases that justify the use of the military and some that do not. This position is not hypocritical.

I think you misunderstand Dean because you are viewing the world through your libertarian glasses and are forgetting the fact that most people do not look at the world this way. When a libertarian wants to evaluate the rightness of an action, they look to who is performing the action. If it's the government doing the action, then it's an immoral action. Most people, however, Dean included, look to other factors to determine the morality of an action. Rather than just looking at who is doing the action, they look to the action itself and the consequences that will ensue from it. This explains the differing reaction to Iraq and Liberia. In one case, we have a country that poses no threat, does not want an invasion, an international community that is against an invasion, and a President that lies about the reasons for going to war. In Liberia, we have a situation where the people clearly want our intervention, where the president is even willing to step down for peacekeepers to come, where an intervention could save lives and be a lot less likely to result in deaths to our troops than Iraq. I am not even for intervention in Liberia, but I am able to recognize the moral differences in these two cases. Going into Iraq was completely immoral; going into Liberia is probably just not such a good idea. But you seem unable to see that one is a lot worse than the other.

The same applies for Dean's argument that now we are stuck in Iraq and have to stay there. There is a huge moral difference between what Dean would do in Iraq and what Bush has already done. You really think there is no difference between a President that lies to get us into an unnecessary war and a candidate that recognizes that the war was wrong, but is afraid that if we leave Iraq, radical, fundamentalists would form a government and sponsor terrorism against the United States, so therefore does not support leaving Iraq based on that reasoning? I have friends and family from both the right and the left that opposed the Iraq War but firmly believe that we are stuck now and leaving would only make things worse. These are not evil politician people, just intelligent people who aren't libertarians. Dean may or may not be right in arguing that we should stay in Iraq, but it doesn't mean he is hypocritical and it definitely does not make him worse than Bush!

Your arguments against Dean resemble those of the warmongering patriots. They believe that since we are at war, we must always support the President no matter what. Everything is black and white, if you don't support the President you're a traitor. It doesn't matter if you just thoughtfully question the war or you hide Saddam Hussein in your house, you're a traitor and that's the end of it. You're arguments sound just as extreme as you seem unable to distinguish any shades of gray Everything the government does is always wrong. To you, staying in Iraq to help them form a functioning democracy is as equally immoral as fighting a completely unnecessary war that kills thousands of innocent civilians.

Dean wants to restore ties with the international community and bring foreign troops into Iraq, so that American troops can be pulled out and the occupation can be more palatable to the Iraqis. Is that something a true imperialist would want to do? I know you wouldn't agree with that course of action either, but isn't it better than what Bush is doing now, allowing American troops to die and preventing any real international assistance due to US arrogance? We know for sure that we will never get anywhere with Bush's plan. That's why I think it's way too much to say that Dean is the same or worse than Bush. And to say that Bush is better because at least Bush is lying about being in Iraq a long time, while Dean is being honest about it; that's crazy! Dean is living the in the real world. What would have happened if, immediately following the cessation of World War II, Libertarians took over the US government and withdrew all troops from Germany and Japan? The result most likely would be similar to what happened after World War I, when a battered Germany was left to restore its country on its own devices and ended up becoming Nazi Germany, which, most historians agree, was not good. There is no reason the same type of chaos wouldn't occur in Iraq.

There aren't any easy solutions to this Iraq problem and I'm not even trying to convince you that we should stay in Iraq. I just am trying to make you realize that there will be negative consequences to just leaving Iraq (there will be negative consequences no matter what we do), there are convincing arguments for both courses of action, and it's possible for good, intelligent people to disagree.

You don't have to agree with Dean's position, but it's wrong to demonize him simply because he doesn't subscribe to the libertarian mindset. Try to be a bit more open-minded. Usually your columns are much better than this one.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 32 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Just how Libertarian is Justin? Dennis Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 12:30 AM
Without having read the article, only the title mike Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 3:24 PM
Better than Bush Geoff DeWan Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 3:54 PM
Fixing your mess Ahref Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 3:56 PM
correction mike Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 4:21 PM
correction mike making a correction Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 4:35 PM
comment about missing correction michael Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 4:59 PM
Defending the attack of Dean David Peterson Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 5:36 PM
Kucinich Audio-Video FluxRostrum Tuesday, Sep. 02, 2003 at 6:22 PM
Dennis Kucinich hehe Tuesday, Sep. 02, 2003 at 9:55 PM
"watch Dennis tear Bush a new one" nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 12:02 AM
Funny Politicians Brandon T. Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 4:02 PM
Funny Politicians Brandon T. Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 4:02 PM
Brandon nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 8:14 PM
On second thought nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 8:17 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 8:25 PM
KPC, don't you know any other song? nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 8:36 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 9:00 PM
You truly are a moron, Chicken Boy. nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 9:08 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 9:13 PM
You said it: nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 9:25 PM
I've spent a lot of time in there. Nudge-nudge...wink-wink Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 9:36 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 10:16 PM
What's it like in here? nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 10:32 PM
this mantra.... again Sheepdog Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 11:08 PM
SD problem is... Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 11:16 PM
if this is a problem Sheepdog Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 11:20 PM
SD it's not ours either Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 11:31 PM
Justin Raimondo The ghost of Sen. Joseph McCarthy Thursday, Sep. 04, 2003 at 6:47 PM
Howard Dean is Israel's bitch boy Nobody Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2003 at 11:59 PM
dean on drugs FluxRostrum Thursday, Sep. 11, 2003 at 1:00 AM

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