Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Discussion Topic for December 14, 2004

Long time reader and contributor 2cents left a fairly critical post yesterday in the Today in Iraq Comments that sort of rocked my boat. It made me stop for a moment and do a little cross checking of my assumptions. I mean, I've read a lot of 2cents' posts and I've come to respect him (her?) as a thoughtful and passionate person with opinions worth listening to. When someone like that states something forcefully, you want to consider it.

Now, I don't want this discussion to be about the whole comment, which related to a perceived failure of the blog. Different people see Today in Iraq in different ways and I'll leave it to YD to debate what it ought or ought not to do.

What I'd like to focus on is a general statement within the comment which particularly made me think, specifically: "...the comfortable John Kerry mode where no American fundamentals are ever challenged."

If I understand this correctly, 2cents is saying that there are certain fundamental assumptions, certain basic underlying American attitudes which lead, by their own inexorable logic, to perversions of stated American ideals such as the present war in Iraq and which are never properly challenged in mainstream political discussion.

An example might be the blithe American expectation that the world owes us unlimited access to energy so that we can maintain an opulent lifestyle regardless of its effect on the planet or the rest of humanity. I would certainly agree that this assumption is basic to American perceptions of our 'right' to be in Iraq and that Kerry failed to challenge it, and further, that not confronting it all but guarantees more of the same.

So the discussion topic is: What are the fundamental assumptions that allow a significant part of the American public to support or at least passively acquiesce in this Iraqi misadventure? And what could be done at a grassroots level to educate people and challenge these assumptions?

And 2cents, if I've misinterpreted your point, please jump in and set me straight. I'm very interested in reading whatever you may post to expand on your comment.

Thanks, matt