Thursday, January 20, 2005

George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it."

It's interesting that George W. Bush invoked Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address today. Because just this morning I was thinking about Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

In 1865, Lincoln addressed only half the nation, which was fighting a war against the other half. The purpose of the war was to free the slaves. (Despite what hate-America leftists say, the Civil War was about slavery.) Abraham Lincoln's message was to stay the course because we were doing the right thing.

Today our soldiers are in Iraq, and Bush, like Lincoln, is saying that we need to stay the course and continue to do the right thing. In both cases, the goal is to free people who otherwise would not be able to free themselves.

People complain about the cost of the Iraqi occupation. Compared to the cost of the Civil War, which exacted a terrible price on our nation, the Iraqi war is comparatively inexpensive. But slavery was our fault, and as Abraham Lincoln explained in his Second Inaugural Address, we deserved the price we paid in the form of the Civil War on account of our moral guilt. On the other hand, the plight of peoples in the Middle East is not our fault (although hate-America leftists think all of the world's problems are our fault). If we have any blame, it's because we have not been aggressive enough in pursuing military options to promote freedom (the opposite of the pacifism preached by leftists).

There is a less expensive way to remove anti-American dictators from power. We can replace them with pro-American puppet dictators. Surely we could have found a general in Saddam's army who would have been willing to play ball with us in exchange for being made the new dictator of Iraq.

Which way is right? Should we be responsible for establishing democracy in every nation we attack in self defense? Why not just look out for our own interests, preserve our own security, and not worry about whether the new government is any more democratic than the old government?

Whichever path we follow, both are better than doing nothing and allowing militant Islam and anti-American totalitarian governments developing nuclear weapons to flourish unopposed.

LINKS

George W. Bush's Second Inaugural Address.

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

The Moderate Voice - links to some other posts about Bush's Second Inaugural Address.

20 comments:

mikeca said...

This is something I wrote some months back, but I think it is still true:

We are trying to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq, but we cannot give Iraq the gift of democracy and freedom with the sacrifice of our blood, we can only offer them the opportunity to win it. Iraqis must be willing to fight and perhaps die for democracy and freedom, just as our founding fathers did.

The insurgents say we are just an Imperialist power there to steal the oil and they are Iraqi nationalist trying to free Iraq from western occupation. In the end it will be the Iraq people who decide which cause is more worthy of their sacrifice. That is the lesson of Vietnam.

George Bush has tried to project clear moral goals, but being a strong leader requires more than clear goals. It requires wisdom and judgment.

George Bush is a Don Quixote with noble goals, but lacking in wisdom and judgment. He has taken our clear, moral goals of 9/11, and confused them with his own fantasies. We have forgotten who attacked us on 9/11. Our armies are overworked and overstretched, and our enemies know it and are taking advantage of it. The mastermind of 9/11 has grown in mythic stature, while our own President tilts at windmills in his fantasy world.

Old Blind Dog said...

"In 1865, Lincoln addressed only half the nation, which was fighting a war against the other half. The purpose of the war was to free the slaves. (Despite what hate-America leftists say, the Civil War was about slavery.)"

Sorry, but that is revisionist history. Besides it is the "hate-America leftists" that claim it was about slavery. Slavery was nothing but a pretext for war and an effort by the North to villify the South. The actual cause for the war was states rights. Like so much else in this country, just because you were taught a lie in school doesn't make it true.

Here are some facts:

1. Slavery was a "Southern" institution. (Actually, most of the slave trade was conducted by Northerners, and Northerners owned slaves too.

2. Slavery was an attempt solely by the white race to subjugate the black race. (Actually, slave owners were white, black, AND red, and slaves themselves were black, white, AND red).

3. The Civil war was waged by the Northerners to defeat slavery, and the Southerners were motivated solely by a desire to protect slavery. (Actually, slavery was not the major cause of the war on either side. "States rights" indeed were the major issue; slavery was merely the trigger issue.)

4. The Northern Abolitionists were motivated by goodwill toward blacks. (Actually, anti-black sentiment and racism was much more widespread in the North than in the South. Slavery was abolished in the North not because of any moral superiority, but primarily because whites wanted to protect jobs for white laborers.)

5. Abraham Lincoln, the "Great Emancipator," was a friend of the black race. (Actually, Lincoln was a racist who believed (and publicly stated this belief) in the superiority of the white race. Lincoln trampled on the Constitution, going so far as to have his political enemies arrested without warrants of any sort, and held in jail without allowing them legal counsel as guaranteed by the Constitution.)

The South Was Right!Myths of American Slavery

Old Blind Dog said...

I've expanded on my comment here.

mikeca said...

Old Blind Dog:

The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;”

Now exactly how is slavery justified? Yes the South wanted “states rights”, they wanted the right to continue slavery, to continue to deny the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to black slaves. Isn’t the protection of those rights the very reason our government exits?

Publicola said...

I was gonna address what Old Blind Dog did, ut he beat me to it.

Mikeca,
I don't think anyone said slavery was justified. The point was that the feds didn't wage war on an independent nation (i.e. the Confederate States of America) in order to aolish slavery. They did it to keep from having to change their political maps of N. America. Slavery was an issue that caused a few southern states to secede, but it was not the main issue for quite a few.

The Constitution did not prohibit slavery; in fact it accomodated it. a few southern states felt that there was a move in certain parts of government to abolish slavery despite not having the power to do so (according to the constitution). So slavery was a symptom but the underlying disease was a perceived desire to assume extra-constitutional authority. That's what drove the initial batch of southern states to leave. The rest followed when that usurping bastard lincoln decided to wage war on independent states.

For the feds - there was an abolitionist movement in the republican party way before the War of Northern Aggression, but they didn't start to get real power until after the shots at Ft Sumter. Slavery was simply not the reason lincoln did what he did. It only came up as a justification about part way through the war.

The protection of "life, liberty & property" (that's the oriniganl phrase Jefferson borrowed from) is a function of government, but the way government is supposed to help protect those things is very important. While we look on the abolition of slavery as a good thing, the method used to do so has been the precedent for many infringements on those very things it sought to protect. What lincoln did was to mortally wound federalism, which was arguably as important a safeguard as any other concept of government interaction.


So no one to my knowledge has been trying to justify slavery as a legitimate practice. It was constitutional & that may or may not have been a flaw of the constitution (depending on what you think the proper role of federalism should be) ut it was in no way morally justifiable. But neither was the method used in its abolotion.

BTW, the Decleration of Independence, while having important moral weight, has absolutely no legal weight. It's persuasive on occassion ut not binding on the government I'm afraid. If you doubt me then look around at all the instances where the government denies life, liberty or property to people who have done no harm to anyone else. Not that I think it's proper - it's just the way it is now.

Aaronlane said...

Old Blind Dog:

Might I also recommend The Real Lincoln by Dr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo.

While you're at it, you might enjoy "How Capitalism Saved America" as well.

D.C. is cold, snowy, and miserable. I want to go out drinking now, please. Then I want to go home.

TWM said...

I suppose I am just an optimist, but I believe George Bush is "tilting at windmills" much like Ronald Reagan did a couple of decades ago. And we all know what happened to the windmill Reagan tilted against.

Fantasy world? It seems to me the only fantasy is the world of those liberals who refuse to see the reality of today, much like they refused to see the reality of those times.

And the only evidence anyone ever presents that Bush lacks wisdom or judgment is that he refuses to do as liberals and corrupt foreign governments want him to do.

I firmly believe Bush will be judged well in history.

David said...

The "dictator" idea was very unlikely to work. Given the levels of surveillance and distrust in Saddam's regime, it's not probable that any high-level individual would have been (a)willing to take the risk, and (b)able to get enough others to follow him before the plot was discovered. Consider the lack of success of the German military plots against Hitler during WWII.

Also, what assurance would we have that such a dictator--or his successors--would not act in a manner to threaten U.S. interests?

And I have an ethical problem with the whole idea. Do you want to support someone who would torture people to death and order women to be raped because of something their husbands said? Because that's what the word "dictator" means, when concretized.

Old Blind Dog said...

For the record I consider slavery to have been a bad thing (as would just about anyone today). The Constitution does, however, accomodate them as Publicola says, even going so far as spelling out how to properly account for slaves in a census.

From Constitution on SlaveryWhether slavery was to be permitted and continued under the new Constitution was a matter of conflict between the North and South, with several Southern states refusing to join the Union if slavery were disallowed. Thus, in spite of a warning from Virginian George Mason that slaves "bring the judgment of Heaven on a country," the continuance of slavery was clearly sanctioned in the U.S. Constitution, although the words slave and slavery are not found anywhere in the document. Section 2 of Article I states that apart from free persons "all other persons," meaning slaves, are each to be counted as three-fifths of a white person for the purpose of apportioning congressional representatives on the basis of population. Section 9 of Article I states that the importation of "such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit," meaning slaves, would be permitted until 1808. And Section 2 of Article IV directs that persons "held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another," meaning fugitive slaves, were to be returned to their owners.

The Bill of Rights, adopted in 1791, says nothing about slavery. But the Fifth Amendment guaranteed that no person could "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Slaves were property, and slaveholders had an absolute right to take their property with them, even into free states or territories.

Fascinating Fact: The rhetoric in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence about liberty, freedom, being created equal, and so on, was seldom considered applicable to blacks, slave or free. Seen a subservient race, they were excluded from consideration as members of society and had few rights.

dadahead said...

Since when do leftists deny that the Civil War was about slavery?

Maybe some leftists somewhere have, but it is hardly an idea that is characteristic of or associated with the Left.

More drivel from Libertarian Girl.

If anyone's interested, I continue the smackdown of Libertarian Girl on my new and exciting blog.

I think I could devote an entire blog to pointing out Lib Girl's inanity!!

Steph said...

>(Despite what hate-America leftists say, the Civil War was about slavery.)

Right... and the Iraqi invasion was about WMDs (take that as you will)...

I mean, really, slavery *was* a factor, but there were many other factors as well. States rights, as previously mentioned, the election of Lincoln w/o the votes of any Southern states. The latter was the immediate cause of the war, as the pride of the Southern states was knocked down. Obviously, it wasn't slavery alone, or the South would have been attacked 100 years earlier.

>The Constitution did not prohibit slavery; in fact it accomodated it.

Only b/c the Founding Fathers knew that the Constitution wouldn't be ratified otherwise. Putting off the problem for another day, so to speak.

>there was an abolitionist movement in the republican party way before the War of Northern Aggression, but they didn't start to get real power until after the shots at Ft Sumter.

Actually, the tone of the abolitionists changed around the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin, IIRC.

>If you doubt me then look around at all the instances where the government denies life, liberty or property to people who have done no harm to anyone else.

Couldn't the 14th Amendment cover that? I'm not a Constitutional scholar or anything, but... "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" would seem to cover it...

>And the only evidence anyone ever presents that Bush lacks wisdom or judgment is that he refuses to do as liberals and corrupt foreign governments want him to do.

Yeah, god forbid the US actually attack a nation with *valid* evidence or something (though I am neither a liberal nor a foreign government)...

Phoenician in a time of Romans said...

Which way is right? Should we be responsible for establishing democracy in every nation we attack in self defense?.

Do you ever read what you're writing?

Still waiting for an explanation of how Iraq was a danger to the US...

mikeca said...

David:

Many top Bush national security officials believed the conspiracy theories of Laurie Mylroie (Saddam Hussein was the real sponsor of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and that al Qaeda was an Iraqi sponsored terrorist organization). Her theories were investigated by the FBI and CIA and found to be without merit, but Paul Wolfowitz wrote the liner notes to one of her books and she was made an adjunct fellow of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The AEI also promoted her conspiracy theories at conferences and other gathering. Now that we have all the papers from the Iraqi intelligence service plus many ex Iraqi intelligence officials in custody, and have heard nothing about this theory, it is clear the FBI and CIA were correct.

In the days immediately after 9/11 some top Bush official, like Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, argued that our first response to 9/11 should be to invade Iraq, because they were sure that Saddam Hussein must somehow be the real sponsor of 9/11.

The truth that everyone except the AEI/Bush people understand is that it was a group of Islamic Fundamentalist who attacked us on 9/11. Their goal is to overthrow the secular governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, ect and replace them with Islamic Fundamentalist governments. Attacking the US is a device to gain support in the Middle East without overly alarming the local governments, until their support is so broad that they can topple these governments.

Saddam Hussein was heading a socialist, secular government in Iraq that al Qaeda wanted to overthrow, but Saddam Hussein had ruthlessly suppressed Islamic Fundamentalist in Iraq the same way he did all his opponents, so there was very little chance of that. Now that we have overthrown Saddam, and sent too few troops to restore order, we have given the Islamic Fundamentalist an opportunity they never would have had on their own to control Iraq or part of it. In fact, Iraq has now become the main training ground for international terrorist.

That is right. When Islamic Fundamentalists attacked us on 9/11, part of our response was to overthrow one of the governments they were trying to overthrow, and do it with too few troops so they could have a chance to take it over too.

Ronald Regan did have strong moral anti-communist believes, but he was also a realist. Regan recognized that Gorbachev was someone he could work with, against the advice of most of the hardliners in his administration, like Dick Cheney. The Regan Gorbachev relationship was instrumental in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

mikeca said...

Slavery was an issue at the time the revolutionary war, but the founders were realists. They recognized that they could not hope to fight and win a war against England unless they were united, so the opponents of slavery set their opposition aside for the cause of independence. Likewise after they had gained independence, the realists recognized that the newly independent colonies had to stick together to survive, and buried the issue of slavery, writing support for it into the constitution.

As time passed and the US became more secure, the opponents of slavery became more vocal. Yes the Civil War was about states rights, but the state right that the South was concerned about was the right to continue slavery. It had become clear that eventually, the Northern anti-slavery forces would force this issue to a head, and the states of the Confederacy simply decided to preempt any attempt to abolish slavery.

It is true that the Declaration of Independence is not a legal document, but it is a statement of the moral principals upon which this country was founded, and it is very difficult to reconcile slavery with those moral principals, although many of the authors of the declaration where slave owners.

Joel said...

umm, LibertarianGirl, your not very Libertarian. And the fact the you know that and still label yourself Libertarian only accentuats my point.

While I disagree with Libertarians on many points, I do admire their dedication to what they see as a pure system of governance. I think you cheapen that. But hey, your hot, and most Libertarians are dweebie geeks, so screw them.

EZE said...

I will merely add that the civil war was very complex and is too often over simplified by people who wish to see everything as clear evil versus clear good. Lincoln did things like suspend habeas corpus for US citizens that even Bush would not dare do. He campaigned on raising the tariff on machinery that the South used despite knowing that South Carolina had nearly voted to succeed previously over the very issue. I love the ideal that is America. But we were not conceived in liberty despite the pretenses in the Declaration; and we have a long way to go before we will be trully free.

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

Hey, I'm hot too, and I'm a real Libertarian. :)

But, I don't sleep with guys on the first date so I suppose I'm less interesting than Libertarian Girl. :)

TWM said...

Hmmmm, frankly I think it is hotter when the "hotness" is subtle.

And I am a pushover for brunettes - LOL

rokkgod said...

I was surfing around and found another George Bush site.George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People This place has a ton of funny videos and mp3s.

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