“To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible”

The thing I find the most disheartening about the current political situation is lack of what I would call responsible dissent. We have plenty of dissent, yet most of it is not “responsible”.

Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to an idea (e.g. a government’s policies) or an entity (e.g.. an individual or political party which supports such policies). Antonyms include agreement, consensus and consent.

Dissent may be expressed in many ways. In some political systems, dissent may be formally expressed by way of opposition politics, while politically repressive regimes may prohibit any form of dissent, leading to suppression of dissent and the encouragement of social or political activism. Individuals who do not conform or support the policies of certain states may be described as “dissidents” or in extreme cases, “enemies of the state”.

I would define “Responsible Dissent” as a sharing of opinions and ideas designed to lead to a further understanding and part of a move to formulate a better plan or idea than may currently be proposed.

Basically, when the President says; “I believe we need twenty thousand more troops in Iraq, and his is how and why this is going to work…” It should be the responsibility of those who disagree with him to put forth a plan that they could live with.

To simply say…

You’re going to have to do a much better job,” said Senator George Voinovich, a Republican. “I’ve gone along with the President on this and I bought into his dream, and at this stage of the game I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Madam Secretary,” said Senator Bill Nelson, a moderate Democrat, “I have supported you and the Administration on the war, and I cannot continue to support the Administration’s position. … I have not been told the truth over and over again.”

…is irresponsible. Especially when you claim that the President is a liar, yet cite no evidence to prove it.

The President addressed the idea of a drawdown in his speech, he demonstrated responsible dissent by presenting a plan to move forward, and then addressing specific concerns:

Many are concerned that the Iraqis are becoming too dependent on the United States, and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting Iraq’s borders and hunting down al Qaeda. Their solution is to scale back America’s efforts in Baghdad — or announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces. We carefully considered these proposals. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear the country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

Compare that to this…

I think this speech given [Wednesday] night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out,” Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a potential 2008 presidential contender, told Rice.

Or to Barbara Boxer’s comments to Dr. Rice….

Or compare it to Sen. Edward Kennedy who is trying to pass a bill that would defund the “surge”, without proposing a way forward.

The country is divided. We are war weary. Everyone wants out of Iraq. However, the way to leave Iraq is at the heart of this debate. Do we leave now, and just throw the Iraqis under the bus?

Do we choose to ignore the word of the Iraqi Vice President?

Despite all the hardships, however, we Iraqis were able to raise the rudimentary pillars of our nascent democracy by writing a constitution, electing a parliament based on that constitution and granting a vote of confidence to a government through that elected parliament. It is not fair to look at Iraq as a collection of failures without identifying its successes. The birth of a new nation is not easy, but just as your nation has become a beacon for democracy, we hope that Iraq will one day do the same.

Why can’t the children in Congress come together to find a way forward they can agree on? Why must be have the ugly public dissent?

As Americans it is as if we are living with two abusive parents. Constantly arguing, constantly back-biting the other one, rarely if ever doing what’s best of the family/country.

We have Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy as grandparents, and Nancy Pelosi as a mother on one side, and on the other we have John McCain and Elizabeth Dole as grandparents, with George W Bush being our Father.

Is it any wonder why we as Americans are as screwed up as we are? We are locked in the middle of this popularity contest we call elections. No one in government seems to be concerned with the welfare of us kids… but only in their own self-interest and partisan bashing.

Why can’t our “parents” take their argument behind closed doors and come out united with a real plan for the war? Arguing in front of the children like this is simply traumatizing to the country.

It breaks my heart that we have turned our country over to such petty and idiotic people.

We should be working towards the common good and what’s best for us and the world.

Withdrawing from Iraq and leaving it to de-evolve into a real civil war is not in the country’s best interest, nor is it in the best interest of the world.

Now that you’ve read my take on it,go over and read the famous Jane’s. She bloviates far less than I. 

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Sniper One is a mid-career Information System Administrator/Information System Security Professional currently living in Huntsville, Alabama. He is married, and the father of three sons.He has returned to the United States after working as a military contractor for a year near Kabul, Afghanistan; and several months in Iraq’s “Green Zone”. 

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