Something I can’t understand

July 25th, 2006

I can’t understand Bush’s (and the typical Republican position in general) opinion on life issues. He recently said that it is wrong to “destroy life to save life” and that every being is a valuable person in the context of the stem cell debate. He also said last year that 30,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed as a result of the Iraq war.

So, here’s a Handy Chart:

Topic Bush Theory Bush Moral Judgement
Death penalty Kill known murderers so others won’t kill more people OK
Iraq war Kill 30,000 Iraqi civilians during operation to overthrow Iraqi government OK
Stem cell research A small minority could become babies if implanted Wrong
Abortion Killing an unborn person Wrong

I can’t figure out any possible way that the first two should be OK for someone that believes that the last two are wrong.

In fact, to me, the items in this list that most clearly are wrong are the first two. There is no question about whether life has begun with them. Treating 30,000 people as regrettable results of an operation is not treating them with full human dignity. 30,000 people were killed. That’s more than 10 times the number of deaths from Sept. 11.

Categories: Politics

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  1. gary ng

    Don’t forget the latest Lebanon saga where Israel is effectively saying to a thief/killer(as in our everyday scenario analogy) : “Either you kill yourself or chop your hands off, I am going to continue to kill your family or people that remotely related to you, even though I may not be able to get you”. US and surprisingly a traditional peace loving country Canada is giving strong support to this stand.

    Reply

  2. Adriano

    I think some of the reason is that, deep down, he doesn’t see those dead as “people”. It’s something us humans do with a depressing ease. When you don’t think of your enemy as “people”, it’s suddenly easy to speak of “collateral damage” and the such. Sad.

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  3. me

    People pro abortion or stem cell research are terrorists!

    Seriously, I don’t see why you need to work with embryonal stem cells. There has been a lot of progress in using stem cells from other sources AFAIK. So avoid mixing these up.

    Also I don’t believe this “stem cells are the only way to cure $your-favourite-illness” crap. Thats just speculation; it may as well be some regular medicament… stem cells aren’t the magic super weapon against all illnesses.

    Oh, and don’t forget the 1000+ US soldiers killed in Iraq.

    Reply

  4. JP

    Not that I want to get inside his sordid little mind, all that the powerful think of is power.

    Number 1 is a populist stance that gets me in power.
    Number 2 is die for oil sucker, that gets me money, oh and power.
    Number 3 is a populist stance that keeps me in power.
    Likewise number four.

    “Destroy life to save life” is just a handy soundbite to whip up the Christian Right, (since when was Christ a capitalist anyway, Matt 21:12).

    Seems to me that he is completely reactionary and so is not concerned with the truth or even a constitent world view, just hanging onto power.

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    That sounds plausible, and I don’t doubt that there is a fair bit of power hunger for most presidents. You may be right with regard to Bush.

    But it seems that quite a few voters hold the same set of opinions.

    I honestly am struggling to see why.

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    Frank Gervase Reply:

    I realize you’re against the war or any conflict but there must be a point where you are willing to fight for your way of life, religion or family. Am I correct in assuming that?

    I believe the US stance in these matters is to side with those that respect others and their way of life.

    The Islamics do not follow this thought process, rather they fear it. This is what makes people like Bin Laden and the like minded so dangerous. They fear losing their culture due to external influences so they try to stop the world from turning rather than turning with it and propagating their way of life.

    In their words they have expressed time and again that their is only one true and right religion and way of life, theirs.

    Their mission is to destroy the western influence (not perfect but it is a Christian based society)and they will continue to chisle away on every front that tolerates our existence or believes differently than they do. This is just one reason why I believe we must support our neighbors be they Jewish, Hindu, Bahai or what-have-you.

    If I stood in front of your church and told you that you could not go in to worship Christ unless you went through me first would you back off or pray for forgiveness for whoopin the hell outta me on your way in?

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    Yes, there are things I am willing to fight for. I’m willing to write legislators, draw media attention to an injustice, try to work for a reasonable solution. I don’t think there is anything I’m willing to kill for.

    My religion is one of peace — perhaps the “turn the other cheek” parable is the most apt. It’s not the easy path. I feel that we are called to love our enemies, to show them compassion, even if they fail to show compassion towards us. To recognize that they are people too, loved by God even if they’re shooting at us, and may be simply standing up for their beliefs just like we are.

    If I kill, I am saying that I believe my life is more important than someone else’s.

    The terrorists seem to view the 2500 9/11 casualties as “collateral damage”. But to us, those are victims, they are relatives, they are countrymen.

    We call the 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths “collateral damage”. To the son who has just lost a father, the family that has just lost a daughter, the husband that has just lost a wife, it’s not collateral damage — it’s the loss of an innocent family member.

    Should we kill 30,000 innocent people in response to an act that killed 2500 innocent people? I think this is not really respecting life. It is saying that 2500 American lives are more important than 30,000 Iraqi lives. It is forgetting that every one of these 30,000 dead people has family that are grieving. And down the road, we may have given 30,000 peaceful families a reason to attack us.

    These 30,000 weren’t militiamen; they were innocent civilians by Bush’s own admission.

    There are a lot of Americans that have feared losing their culture over our history. Immigrants of so many nationalities have been targets of hate and violence, clear back to pre-revolution days. Chinese, Irish, Jews, and Germans are just some examples. Segregationists claimed that blacks were destroying their culture.

    There was a day when people thought Kennedy couldn’t ever become president because he was Catholic. There are people that still believe a Jew shouldn’t ever become president, and I’d bet there are quite a few that would say a Muslim shouldn’t be president.

    Today, we hear that Mexicans are destroying our culture and threatening our language, that homosexuals are threating our marriages, that Muslims want to destroy us. None of these are really true.

    And Americans did resort to violence over this. Lynchings used to be common in parts of this country, an entire war was fought over the issue (again, some feared losing the plantation culture), and there has even been violence against homosexuals in recent times.

    Perhaps some of the terrorists hold these views. Some probably just want power and attack whatever is in their way. Some want to be free from stifling oppression (such as the Palestinians). Some want democracy, and are mad that the United States has been propping up dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

    As to your hypothetical question about a church: I would hope that I would first try to talk to the person and understand why he was doing this.

    But if the person was immobile, I would remember that Christ’s church is not a building, but a community. The church is wherever Christians are, and if we all move to a school and worship there, we will have defeated oppression just as surely as if we had shot him. Imagine this person’s frustration as he failed to provoke any anger in us — if we all just walk away, he has nothing to do but stand there uselessly.

    But perhaps someday he will remember this, will remember that people would have been within their rights to attack him, but didn’t. Perhaps he will change as a result.

    Maybe that incident was our opportunity to be Christ’s ambassadors for peace and love.

    Frank Gervase Reply:

    Hi John,
    You are wise beyond your years. Thanks for the insight into a world I had no understanding of. It’s good to know there are some people in the world that believe as you do. I have a friend at work that shares the same philosophy. It’s a long hard road no matter which path we take. Take care.

    John Goerzen Reply:

    Thanks, Frank. I’m not sure I deserve such a compliment, but I do appreciate it. Thanks also for the dialog; I’ve gained insight, too, and I appreciate your comments.

    — John

  5. nobody

    Since Jaldhar is such a pussy he doesn’t allow comments, I thought I’d spew some here.

    Right to life. If it isn’t absolute, (because it’s ok to kill some people) then it should be ok to have an abortion.

    Why? If we could easily rehabilitate criminals and terrorists, we would have to if we believe in the sanctity of life. How could a Right to Life person believe that ending a second or third life is the answer to the ending of the first (the victim’s) life? Forgiveness and rehabilitation would certainly be “Jesus’s choice” if you believed in that stuff.

    Since we don’t know how to rehabilitate easily (to preserve life) and we don’t know how to easily raise people who do the right thing because they want to vs. being afraid of consequences, we find it more convenient to kill as punishment, to avoid recidivism, and as a warning to others. This is killing for convenience which is the same as abortion. Abortion saves a lot of money beforehand which one would think would appeal to a Republican.

    :-)

    Incidentally, I went to law school with an east indian right wing guy who was right to life, anti-abortion, pro-gun (he had one and did practice which is unusual in Canada), and pro capital punishment. I always found it pretty weird but ideologues always have their own twisted logic much as Einstein invented that little constant to make his equations work.

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  6. Cluestick McCluestick

    Why is this hard to work out?

    1. Murderers are not innocent.

    2. Please, where does the President teach that it is OK to deliberately kill civilians? I think you’ll find he views it as a sad side-effect of necessary wars.

    3. Killing babies, even really tiny ones, is the killing of the innocent.

    4. Ditto 3.

    It’s very simple, unless ultra-liberalism has befuddled ones brain.

    Reply

  7. Ashish

    “Iraq war Kill 30,000 Iraqi civilians during operation to overthrow Iraqi government OK”

    LOL! Iraqi government? Wow! That must the one that got elected with 100% of votes!

    Were you afraid that if you had put Saddam Hussein there your argument would have lost its strength!

    Let’s turn the question around! How sane it is for those who think it is okay to abort babies (sorry, make it fetuses), to think that it is not okay to kill a murderer?

    Churches are ready to take care of the babies! There are hospitals that will take care of babies if you just leave the baby at their door steps! No questions asked! Even after that people want to have right to abortion! Yeah, right! What was that Clinton said? Oh, Safe and Rare!

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    Don’t try to find conspiracy where there is none. I don’t think it was worth killing 30,000 innocent civilians to get rid of Hussein, either.

    Reply

    Ashish Reply:

    So, how many innocent civilians are worth killing to get rid of Hussein? 10, 20, 30? How do we do the calculation?

    Also, you seems to make a very serious mistake! Did Bush knew that invading Iraq would have caused so many innocent civilians to have killed? Obviously not!

    If you think that was a reasonable guess based on past wars, we can make the same arguments for guessing future possible innocent deaths caused by the Saddam Hussein. Maybe, left to himself Saddam would have killed more than 30,000 innocent civilians.

    You are judging Bush’s morality based on hindsight as if when he launched the invasion he was weighing lives of 30,0000 innocent civilians vs getting rid of Saddam Hussein.

    Well, if Bush is really capable doing that kind of future analysis, then he must be justified in killing a known murderer in order to prevent future murders. Afterall, he has a crystal ball that can tell how many innocents are going to die!

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    Bush has stated himself that he found the tradeoff acceptable. That is itself horrifying.

    Ashish Reply:

    Yes, after the fact maybe! What about you? What kind of trade off will be acceptable to you? Also, about the other tradeoff where we don’t do anything and let Saddam kill innocent people! Is it acceptable to you if Saddam Hussein kills, say, 10,000 people and not to do anything? How about the Holocaust? Will it have been okay for you to sit idle and not do anything while Hitler was killing millions in the concentration camp? What about the possibility that Hitler would have developed the nuclear bomb? Just when would you act?

    I think it wrong to assume that only those who act have to do the tradeoff! peaceniks have to do the same thing! They cannot escape the responsibility by default!

    What if you had been the President? Being responsible for others rather than just yourself? Would your tradeoff be different? Afterall, you will be charged with security of millions!

    adam Reply:

    I think we should get rid of you as well as Saddam. He could have destroyed all America. You could have destroyed the whole world.

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