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Election '08

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Independent Voice From the Campaign Trail: Iraq

Since you can't turn on the news or open a newspaper without hearing about Iraq, I feel an obligation to give my thoughts on the subject in three parts.

How to avoid this situation in the future:

In my opinion the main reason we went into Iraq was because of faulty intelligence. I believe this faulty intelligence was greatly the result of the group think that occurs when one hires only those who are politically acceptable to the man in charge. In other words, the President hired a bunch of "yes men", let it be known what he thought and what he really wanted the outcome to be and they made it happen.

As we have seen way too many times in the past, intelligence information can be made to look one way or another if the people gathering the intelligence are inclined to do so. Given that almost all of the "proof" we were presented concerning Saddam's role in arming the terrorists and creating weapons of mass destruction has been proven false, the only conclusion that can be made at this time is that the analysts made the information fit the result the boss wanted to hear.

This will not be allowed to happen in my administration. I will only hire the best people for the job regardless of political affiliation. They will be allowed to do their job without political influence and alternative points of view will always be welcome.

How we got ourselves into this mess:

There are a lot of complicated theories on how we got ourselves in the current situation in Iraq that could take up dozens of pages and put everyone to sleep. However, I believe that the simple explanation is that we, as an American people, do not have the will and the attitude to properly deal with a situation such as Iraq at this time.

When one goes in and removes a dictator two things usually occur after the dictator is gone. First a tremendous power vacuum is created and, second, people who have been operating under repressive policies are suddenly set free from that repression. As we have seen, this creates tremendous problems. Unfortunately, when we chased Saddam out of power, everyone in the administration just assumed that everyone would like us and everything would just be great. They never gave the entire process any decent thought.

If you are going to remove a dictator, in order to keep chaos from ensuing you must replace the dictator first with another dictatorial form of government that will gradually move towards democratic rule. The last time we effectively removed dictators was in World War II and, while both Germany and Japan are now firmly Democratic in their form of governments, we initially started out ruling those countries in a fairly dictatorial and military way. That allowed those countries to slowly develop and grow into a Democracy while keeping a lid on the type of chaos we are now seeing in Iraq.

As Americans, we are not willing to be dictatorial at this time (no matter how good it might be for the people we are dictating to - sounds like being a parent, doesn't it), nor are we willing to accept and deal with the criticism from the rest of the world, so the simple fact is we shouldn't do it except under extreme circumstances where we are forced to take such an action.

What do we do now?

Well, we shouldn't have gone in and we shouldn't have done it the way we did, so what should we do now? I have a couple of serious problems with Congress' current stance on the situation.

First, not all of Iraq is a complete disaster. The oil fields are pumping oil without disruption. The northern, Kurdish part of Iraq appears to be working well. There appear to be a lot fewer problems in the southern part of the country so that only leaves the middle of the country as the complete disaster that we hear about every day. What happens to those people and parts of the country when we just cut and run? Is that fair? Is it right? No.

Second, how can we justify not finishing the job we started. A simple comparison would be that of a hiring someone to remodel your house, they come in tear the house apart, try to make it right and then just give up and walk away. How mad would you be? Do we need to make the people in the Middle East any madder at us than they already are at this time?

So we have to stay and finish the job. This means we have to get a lot tougher and dictatorial in our ways of dealing with the situation that has developed. We have to allow the marines and army to do their job without a lot of political interference, even if that means the draconian step of house-to-house searches of every house and in this zone. We have to greatly reduce the restrictions on our personnel that they are operating under because of the "rules of engagement". We have to stop worrying about what the rest of the world, the politicians and the general public thinks and do what it takes to get the job done and get Iraq back on the path towards some sort of normalcy. Members of Congress are correct in calling this our "second Vietnam" because they are doing exactly what they did during the Vietnam War to make it an un-winnable situation.

Now I realize that this trying to sum up the entire Iraq situation in a short space is very difficult and, quite honestly, I could go on much further, but the purpose of these postings is to give you a sample of how I would deal with problems as President in my own words. As my campaign progresses and I start to receive more questions from the media, I will expound in greater depth on my policies and positions. However, doing the right thing is usually a fairly simple process and if it requires an extremely long explanation then maybe there's just too much justification trying to go into a decision than is necessary.
Frank McEnulty - Independent Candidate for President | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit the campaign website

What Laws Should Be Obeyed?

In this nation, we have literally hundreds of thousands of laws on the books. Some laws have been on the books since this nation was founded while others have only just been written. How can we decide which laws are just and which are not?

Over the past several weeks, a number of cities in California have either declared or re-affirmed their status as “sanctuary” cities and have vowed not to use city resources to support Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on illegal immigrants in their cities. Are they justified in their decisions? Some would argue that the people are here illegally but they deserve to be able to live and work here just like Americans. They are entitled to their opinions, as are the people who disagree with them. A good question on that issue might be should the federal government continue to provide funds for law enforcement to cities that refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers?

On another legal front, many cities support medical marijuana dispensaries and needle exchange programs for IV drug users. They do this with the belief that their ideas are more right than the federal government’s laws regarding those substances. Again they are entitled to their opinions on the matters as are those who disagree with them. The question again becomes should the federal government provide them with federal law enforcement dollars if they don’t support federal laws?

When cities begin to decide which federal laws they will and will not enforce, they should be subject to consequences that may arise from that departure from federal guidelines. Cities receive federal SCAAP funds in part for their cooperation with the federal government on immigration enforcement and DER funds for drug enforcement efforts. They are not necessarily entitled to those dollars if they don’t support the structure of government that supports them. It stands to reason that they should lose any dollars related to areas in which they are in conflict with the federal government but receive funds to cooperate with them.

Another issue that is rarely discussed is what about the taxpayers who don’t agree with the city leaders who disregard the federal laws. Should their tax dollars go to the cities’ law enforcement coffers if the cities don’t uphold the laws they pay their taxes to have enforced by the government? At what point should the taxpayers revolt and demand that the federal government not use their taxes to fund the cities that refuse to uphold federal law? Would anyone listen if they made such demands?

If an individual refuses to follow the law or aids someone that has broken the law, they are charged as an accessory to the crime. Should city leaders be subject to criminal charges for refusing to allow their sworn law enforcement officers to aid federal law enforcement officers in enforcing the laws of the land? When does disobeying an “unjust” law become aiding and abetting a criminal? While some may not like the term, when somebody breaks the law, “just” or otherwise, that person is in fact a criminal. Illegal immigration is still illegal and therefore subject to penalty. Just because one might feel badly for the circumstances that led to the breaking of a law, it does not negate the fact that a law was broken. Currently, marijuana is against the law in America. Agree or disagree with the law, you are still breaking it if you possess, sell, cultivate or smoke marijuana. Until the law changes, if you do something that is contrary to the law you are a criminal.

The question here is not whether the law is right or wrong. The question is, if you don’t follow the law, should there be a consequence? If not, then who decides which laws are just and which are not? To the members of NAMBLA, there should be nothing wrong with an older man having sexual relations with a young boy. Should they be allowed to break that law because they believe in their hearts that it is an “unjust” law and can cite precedent going back to ancient Greece for why it should be OK? What about the jihadist who believes at the core of their soul that Allah has ordained that they must kill infidels? Should they be able to kill non-believers because their interpretation of the Qur’an says that they must in order to cleanse the world of all who do not believe?

These may be extreme examples but there are people who strongly believe that just about any law you can name is wrong and “unjust”. Where do we draw the line and who has the ultimate authority to decide which laws to follow? Cities should carefully consider all the ramifications of picking and choosing which laws to follow. While there may be a time for civil disobedience, it is not always as clear cut as right and wrong when you look at why laws are written. Sometimes there are larger concerns than local government officials can readily see. There is not always a slippery slope awaiting those who disobey laws but sometimes there is and it is important to be sure which is the case when you decide to make a stand against a law that you disagree with.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

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