Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Death By The Numbers

Today's edition of RedEye (published by the Chicago Tribune) reports that the total number of Americans killed in the Iraq war (which has lasted for five years) hit 4,000. So we're talking an approximate average of 800 deaths a year.

Democrats are appalled --- appalled, I say! --- by that number.

Now, I personally think that one unnecessary death is one unnecessary death too many. As one who obtained official status as a conscientious objector when I was called by my draft board in 1974 (shortly before the draft was abolished), no one with any brains would accuse me of being a warmongering ultraconservative.

However, I'd like to point out some inconvenient truths (to borrow Al Gore's phrase) which Democrats would prefer to gloss over or ignore.

  1. The total number of Americans killed during the Iraq war is roughly equivalent to the average number of unborn children killed in abortion clinics every single day of the year. (In an excellent article about how African Americans have been sold down the river by the Democratic party, Rev. Clinard Childress writes, "Each day, 1452 African Americans are murdered by abortion. 4,000 children over all.") Hey, Democrats, how about a sense of proportion? Is that asking too much?
  2. Unlike the aforementioned unborn children, most of the Americans killed in Iraq had a choice about whether or not to put themselves in harm's way, and most of them were well equipped to defend themselves.
  3. Unlike the aforementioned unborn children (many of whom have been killed for reasons which could only be described as frivolous), the Iraqi war was initiated at least partially for the purpose of deposing an incontestably evil dictator who was oppressing his own people. One may legitimately question whether the circumstances met the criteria of St. Augustine's "just war," but regardless, there is a world of difference between killing people in order to depose a leader who is guilty of gassing his own people to death and killing an unborn child because having a child would interfere with one's career plans.
  4. Very few Democrats are the pacifists they'd like you to think they are. With the notable exception of Mr. Obama, most Democratic leaders (including Hillary) voted to go to war. They now claim that they were deceived into doing so. Hey, since when are congressmen and senators incapable of conducting their own independent investigations? If they conducted such investigations and found nothing to persuade them to vote against the war, then how can they claim that they were deceived? If they found evidence that there were no actual weapons of mass destruction, and if they went ahead and voted to go to war anyway, then doesn't that make them even worse than President Bush and Colin Powell? If they didn't even bother to conduct their own research into the matter, then doesn't that just make them lazy and irresponsible? Any way that you look at it, it's utterly specious to claim that the Iraq war is solely a Republican war. The Democratic party bears a fair amount of the blame for the 4,000 deaths cited by RedEye. Therefore, it is irrational to base one's political affiliation on one's perception that this is somehow "Bush's war".
As I say, I am never happy when I learn about the preventable death of anyone. But it's clear to me, when I look at the actual facts of the matter, that it is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who deserve to be described as bloodthirsty.

That's particularly true of Barack Obama (notwithstanding his mild-mannered public demeanor). Not only is he extremely pro-choice when it comes to abortion, but he has even refused to endorse Illinois legislation which had the sole purpose of prohibiting infanticide, and which was written in such a way as to specifically limit the scope of that legislation to the killing of babies after they had been born.

What's particularly ironic is that many of the people now backing Obama are the same people whose denunciations of American soldiers during the Vietnam war included claims that our troops were "baby killers". Back then, they seemed to believe that killing babies was morally wrong and repugnant. Sadly, they seem to have changed their minds about that idea. Either that, or they're ignorant about what Obama really stands for.

John McCain might not be my first choice as President of the United States, since I would have preferred Alan Keyes or Mike Huckabee. But McCain is still a far better choice than anyone the Democrats currently offer to the American public.

UPDATE: McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate speaks very well for him indeed.


Katrinka Yobotz said...

I have good news for you. We needn't settle for the lesser of two (or three) evils. Rumor has it that Alan Keyes is still in the race, leaving the Republican Party and is thought to be seeking the nomination of the Constitution Party.

Now's a good time to join the Illinois Constitution Party.

Mark Pettigrew said...

Katrinka, I think that Alan is a man of great integrity. He makes Barack Obama look like a kindergartner when it comes to his reasoning abilities and his writing and speaking skills.

He's also a brave man, since he actually dares to think for himself. I'm sure it hasn't escaped your attention that there's a huge amount of pressure in the black community to fall into lockstep with the Democratic party.

Alan would have been my first choice, and still would be if I thought he had a snowball's chance in Hades of winning the general election. Maybe in four more years, he will have laid a sufficient foundation that he will be a viable candidate. But I don't see that happening in 2008.

I'm interested in knowing about the Constitution Party, but I'm not very optimistic about its chances for success. Sadly, we still live in a country in which the two major parties dominate the process. It's kind of like going into a restaurant and learning that there are only two "specials" on the menu, and no ala carte items at all. It stinks, but it isn't likely to change any time soon.

Allowing citizens to vote directly on crucial issues such as abortion, in binding referenda, would be a real step in the right direction. Such referenda would effectively add "ala carte" items to the menu rather than forcing voters to choose between two equally unappetizing package deals and then hope that candidates would actually keep their promises.

However, when it comes to the abortion issue, I think it's a virtual certainty that the so-called "pro-choice" people in this country would fight such a referendum tooth and nail. Despite their rhetoric about choice, they don't really want the American people to have the opportunity to vote on the matter in a binding manner. Otherwise, why would they be so frightened of the idea that Roe v. Wade might be reversed?

I'd definitely get excited about a candidate who actively promoted the idea of allowing voters to vote directly on such issues. Meanwhile, however, we're stuck with the current situation, in which the only real way for us to have a voice in the matters which affect our nation is to do the best we can do to elect candidates who best represent our values. And that means making strategic decisions which maximize our chances of success.

Despite the increasing influence of cable TV, talk radio and "new media" such as the Internet, the fact remains that face time on the major TV networks is extremely important. Alan's e-mail newsletter, Renew America, admitted that Alan had been shut out of major debates featuring the other candidates. Without access to the major networks, the only way Alan could ever win would be to mobilize a vast army of dedicated followers to spread the word via "viral marketing," using e-mails and phone calls and blog posts and podcasts at every opportunity. I think it could be done, but Alan would have to start the process much earlier than he did this time around! He kept hedging about whether or not he would announce his candidacy. As brilliant as I think he is, I think that was a major mistake.

The fact that you're still so uncertain about his candidacy that you're relying on "rumor" says something, don't you think?

Elections aren't won overnight. They have to build up steam. I don't think Keyes has enough time in which to do that.

Strategically, it seems to me that a vote for Alan in 2008 is effectively a vote for the Democratic candidate, whoever that candidate may be. And even though I agree that John McCain might not be the ideal candidate in some respects, the same thing could have been said about Bush in 2000 and 2004. I voted for Bush because he was simply the best available viable candidate at the time.

I wasn't naive enough to think that the pro-life agenda was Bush's top priority. But at least Bush gave lip service to pro-life ideas (and he did make some minor contributions to the pro-life cause). For all of his flaws, Bush was a much better President than Gore or Kerry would have been.

Likewise, McCain has given lip service to pro-life ideas, which is more than can be said for a certain Republican ex-mayor from New York, and a whole lot more than one can say for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.