Monday, October 25, 2004

Democrat First

Soon it will be over. The US Presidential Elections. Which for many people I think will be a relief. Many people seem confused and bewildered, unable to find a canditate that suits their political outlook. And if I were an American citizen and had to vote (which I of course am not), I would probably give Bush a reluctant vote.

Some Left-Liberals have spoken out in favour of Bush (Hitchens and this life-long Labour voter, via Michael Totten) and some Conservatives are promoting Kerry (Andrew Sullivan, Michael Portillo). This may seem confusing at first, but it needn’t be.

The most important thing to many people is the belief in certain inalienable rights.

To these people (of which I consider myself to be one) Democracy acts as a kind of super-structure: a democrat first – democrat and antitotalitarian. Only then are you a Liberal, Socialist, Social Democrat, Conservative or what have you. Ideology is secondary.

It is how strong your democratic and antitotalitarian conviction is that decides which way you will vote, and not solely your ideological leanings.

I don’t think it’s that uncommon that in certain periods of history there are shifts whithin ideological movements. For instance, during the Second World War you had Socialists (like George Orwell) supporting the Conservative Winston Churchill and there was probably Conservatives opposing Churchill. During the Cold War there were Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists combating the so-called “Socialist states” in Europe, as were neoconservatives on the Right.

And now, in our days we have certain individuals within both the Left and the Right who understand the grave issue of Islamofascism and its totalitarian threat to our democracy and our Western ideals, our way of thinking and living.

To me it seems clear that George W. Bush is the candidate that will be best at combating Islamofascism and continuing with the process of democratizing the Middle East. I’m not saying Kerry wouldn’t also try to do this, I just think that President Bush is of a stronger conviction. We can’t afford to give Kerry the benefit of the doubt. Not at this point in time. I won’t cheer if Bush wins, but I will probably draw a sigh of relief.

So what it comes down to is not about ideology, but knowing what’s at stake.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Thugs

Ken Bigley was murdered. Once again, it should be clear what we are up against. Murdering thugs. These people WANT mayhem. They WANT bloodshed. Several times now, terrorist groups have made statements about “the righteous” (i. e. theocratic Fascists) loving death. Death, mayhem, bloodshed, constant war, oppression, spitting on human dignity. You cannot, as some dangerously naïve people have tried to, explain this kind of behaviour. Nor is it desirable. It is the antithesis of everything our Western democratic and humanistic values stand for. And I think Tony Blair put it succinctly when he said:
"They are not provoked by our actions; but by our existence."


Friday, October 01, 2004

Bush vs. Kerry

I was watching the Presidential Debate today and consequently had some thoughts about who would make the best president.

As I was watching the debate, I came to realise that I feel that Kerry comes across as the more intelligent and cultivated of the two. But I also feel, that I agree on principle with President Bush.

On domestic issues (social security, economy, jobs), I am probably closer to Kerry. And when it comes to issues as abortion, research on stem cells, gay marriage, environmental issues and economics, I don't agree with President Bush.

However, since Iraq is such an inflamed issue, this is of course what the whole elections is based on. Basically, I believe that Kerry and Bush share the same view on Iraq. But in order for Kerry to win votes, he needs to distance himself from Bush. How to do this? Easy, just say something about Iraq that goes against what President Bush is saying.

The problem is that Kerry isn't disagreeing enough. He keeps entangling himself in details on how to secure victory in Iraq. On one hand, he supported the war in Iraq and has himself said that he saw the need for the removal of the dictator Saddam Hussein. On the other hand he has said that the war is wrong. Or that the timing was wrong. That he would have done it another way.

It is all good and well to be saying this now, in the light of what has already happened. And of course, Kerry has to say these things. That's part of the problem. Kerry's and Bush's view on foreign policy and the war on terror isn't all that different. This makes Kerry's campaign filled with paradoxes and oxymorons. He has to play the charade of being a sharp critic of Bush's Iraq policy when he is not. Otherwise he would be handing over the victory to Bush.

I didn't like George W. Bush before the last elections. I didn't think he was suitable for the job. But after 9/11 I changed my mind. This was, and still is, a nightmarish situation for any president or leader, and I must say that I think that "Dubya" has done a great job to combat more terrorist acts. One must also remember that prior to 9/11, George W. Bush was much more of an isolationist with an "America First" mentality. The small group of Neocons like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle made the president aware of the true nature of the problems of the unstable regimes in the Middle East. This combined with good advisors like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice helped President Bush to become a strong and conscientious leader.

If Bush wins, we know what we'll be getting. If Kerry wins, well he's something of a wild card. And I'm not sure that a wild card is what we need at this moment in time.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

I was reading an article yesterday on the bombings in Bagdad which killed and maimed innocent bystanders -- amongst them many children.

The article was published on Dagens Nyheter's website, which is one of the major newspapers in Sweden. In connection with the article, there was a photograph of an Iraqi woman who, according to Dagens Nyheter, was "screaming out in anger at the United States".
Now, you might be misled to think that it was in fact US bombs that had done the damage. But it wasn't. This bloodshed was caused by homicidal and fanatical islamist terrorists.
(the photograph was later removed from the site. Coincidence?)

I find this sort of biased reporting typical of the Swedish media: whatever happens, the US or Israel is to blame. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

In this case, it was perfectly clear who the perpetrator was. The woman could of course be screaming out her anger at the US. But to put this picture in a context where the US is not in any way to blame for the loss of innocent human life is plain irresponsible, misleading and simply in bad taste. Very bad taste.