Character matters, therefore inaccurate claims about ones character should be corrected.
Recently Mbecker wrote an excellent diary thanking President Bush for the Man that he is. One of the points was President Bush’s character displayed by his continued meetings with the families of those who gave their life in defense of freedom. Unfortunately, one of the comments stirred some commotion down in the thread which resulted in a banning.
I am not writting this to in order to get that RedState member re-instated. I am merely relating Bird’s explanation and apology so that his character doesn’t get the same treatment that the left gave to our President. Below is the text of Birdmojo’s explanation of his comment and overall conflict with the war in Iraq. I hope this gives you a bit more insight about Birdmojo and why he responds the way he does used to.
(I suppose that there may a discussion revolving around whether I was coving up for my sarcasm or whether I was sincere. Here’s an essay that I’d be happy to make into a diary if I am re-instated. If nothing else, perhaps seeing my take on the war could help resolve the question of whether my post was sarcasm and I’m lying by saying it wasn’t or whether my post was sincere and misread as sarcasm.)
9/11 blew me away. I was working 3-11PM at a tech support job at the time. I had a friend call me up from a sound sleep (my sleep hours were messed up) and he told me to turn on the television.
I was floored. I couldn’t believe that this had happened. Half of me stared in disbelief while the other half went down a checklist of the people who might have done this. The Russians? Nah. They’re preoccupied. China? Nah, not their style. Terrorists? Yeah, probably terrorists. I kept trying to get to news websites but they were down. I knew about sites like “instapundit” and he did a good job of posting links to sites that weren’t down… and I got information that way.
Half of me hoped that the American response wouldn’t include nukes, the other half of me hoped it would. Neutron bombs were cleanish, right? Drop them, they kill everybody, then you don’t have to do a whole lot of cleanup, right? That’ll make it okay on the neighbors of whomever we nuke and allow them to move into the now-vacant real estate.
Half of me wished that Clinton was still president. Half of me was glad that this had happened with a Republican in office.
As the weeks passed and the red faded from my eyes, I realized that, yeah, I was probably glad that we didn’t nuke two or three countries. That probably would have been a bit much… but what do we do? Well, Afghanistan was a gimme. Of course we had to go in there… and I was surprised that the Americans sat down to talk with the Taliban first… remember that? “Give us bin Laden.” We didn’t go in there with guns blazing, we didn’t go all Jack Bauer… we sat down to talk. And, of course, the Taliban were lying. Every thing they said was a lie to buy time and to hope/pray that the UN and the rest of the world would talk us down. Well, we went in… but we didn’t go in guns blazing. Every measure was made to protect civilians. Sure, we’d drop daisy cutters on the fighters in the mountains (remember reading about that? I read an article that quoted some British soldiers as saying “oh my god, the yanks are using nukes!”)… but in, say, Kabul, the Americans were downright acting against their own best interests.
Half of me still wanted blood, though.
When Iraq came up, I supported it whole-heartedly. I pointed out that the UN wasn’t certain that Saddam got rid of his weapons. When my lefty friends talked about how that wasn’t sufficient, I went through mailing lists and found quotes from them where they had defended Clinton’s bombing of Iraq against the isolationist Republicans using, wouldn’t you know it, UN reports saying that Saddam had not demonstrated that he had gotten rid of his weapons. I argued that Saddam was a monster, I argued that any country that had Official Secret Police *REQUIRED* intervention by anyone with the strength to do something. Well, that was the argument from half of me. The other half knew that if someone punched you in a bar and knocked you flat, you had dang well stand up pretty quickly and punch *SOMEBODY* out. Maybe the right person, maybe not. The important thing was to send the message to everyone else in the bar.
Iraq fell in, what? A time period better measured in days than weeks? Certainly better in weeks than in months. I watched Baghdad Bob and cackled at his audacity. Before you knew it, the Saddam Statue was being toppled and Iraqis were hitting Saddam posters with the soles of their shoes. See? I pointed out to my lefty friends. SEE???
A short while after that, Saddam was captured… and after that the mission was accomplished.
Half of me thought we should just leave a note on Saddam’s throne that read, in English and Arabic, “We don’t care who sits here. Sunni, Shiite, Baathist, Kurd, Iraqi, Iranian, or Israeli. Don’t make us come back.”
The other half of me thought that, well… we toppled Iraq, we should help it stand back up. These people were oppressed by Saddam for so long that they had forgotten how to be a free people. We needed to Kipling up. Help them back on their feet. Make them a beacon to the rest of the Middle East.
Well… let’s just say that a lot has happened since then. The whole “Weapons of Mass Destruction” thing didn’t pan out the way I thought it would. I honestly thought that he still had them, or (at the very least!) that he had a way to quickly make them again and get back to where he needed to be though, technically, he may have been following the letter of the law by not having the weapons, I thought that the components would be found in amounts that would allow me to point and say “see? He could have had weapons in days, if not hours!” For a while, I jumped on every report that mentioned stuff like proof that they had been smuggled into Syria or proof that they had been dumped in the desert or that a stockpile of mustard gas shells had been found… then I just went back to pointing out that, hey, nobody could have known that the WMDs weren’t there. Not even the UN was able to confirm it. Even Saddam was surprised that he didn’t have them.
But I was ticked at having been wrong.
I then focused on the burgeoning democracy. Remember those purple fingers? Man, I was proud of those. But the Iraqis kept fighting. They kept bombing. Police stations! These were people who were blowing up car bombs in front of POLICE STATIONS. I began to really resent the Iraqis. How could we have freed them from Saddam and have them blowing up car bombs in front of police stations in response? I began to wonder if staying in Iraq wasn’t a mistake. The cultural differences were far, far too much… we should have left a note in Saddam’s chair after all. These people were going to be killing each other whether or not our soldiers were there, why keep our soldiers in harm’s way?
But I kept reading reports from the soldiers who were there who kept saying “I believe in what we’re doing over there.” The soldiers who argued otherwise? They tended to be nuts like Jesse MacBeth. The soldiers who were on the ground and fighting… they wrote back saying that they believed in the Iraqi people. So I figured then, and figure now, that the soldiers know more about what’s going on than I do.
It still galls me to have been wrong about the WMDs and twice as much to have been wrong about how the Iraqi people would have responded to Saddam being gone. Half of me thinks “If I had known then what I knew now, I would have argued against the Iraq war, rather than for it.” The other half of me thinks that that’s wasted effort and, looking back, nobody knew that Iraq didn’t have WMDs, not the UN, not even Saddam.
As much as my being “wrong”, if you want to call it that, about the war galls me, Bush has met with the parents of the soldiers who died in Iraq. I merely defended Bush’s decision but *HE* is the guy who made it. As awful as I feel looking and seeing no WMDs, imagine what Bush feels when he thinks about it. As awful and resentful of the Iraqi people as I feel, imagine what Bush feels when he thinks about it. I guess part of me sort of assumed that he slowed down or even stopped meeting with parents after the Cindy Sheehan thing, but it looks like he didn’t. Even after being wrong about the WMDs and wrong about how the Iraqis would respond, Bush has the humility and strength to meet with the parents of the soldiers who fall in Iraq… these same soldiers who, surely, were writing home and saying stuff like “I believe in this mission” to their parents.
Bush sits down with the parents and looks them in the eye. That’s amazing.
That’s the essay I suppose I should have written rather than the comment that I left. Neil and Streiff probably think that it couldn’t have been written by the real birdmojo as it doesn’t mention “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” once.
And, I suppose, I should look at how the general response to my post was an automatic assumption of sarcasm rather than an automatic assumption that I meant the whole “amazing, wow, mind-boggling” thing (which, I assure you, I did). I don’t talk about the whole Iraq war because I have so many internal conflicts about supporting it in the first place (you know when people were shouting “NEOCON!!!” so much in 2003 and 2004? I knew that they were shouting at the Fiscal Conservatives who weren’t really Social Conservatives but believed in a vigorous Foreign Policy which is to say… I knew that when someone said “neocon”, they were talking about someone just like me). The main lesson I’ve learned from the Iraq War is to not automatically assume that the isolationists/non-interventionists are automatically wrong but I temper that with the whole “you didn’t and couldn’t have known” thing.
Anyhow, the post that got me blammed was *NOT* sarcastic, though I see now how it could have been interpreted as being so.
Birdmojo has never denied that he is not a registered republican. Birdmojo was in fact closer to the classical liberal than the modern libertarian. I knew Birdmojo (Jay) briefly while I live in Colorado, I know that his personal moral compass is true. I know that I could agree with him 95% of the time, even if I didn’t agree with his way of getting his point across. I know that his wit will be missed, at least by me. I hope Birdmojo is not remembered as the guy who took President Bush’s commitment to character lightly, because that would be the absolute opposite of the truth.
Hopefully this will not be my last post, but if it is at least it will have been done for the right reason. Truth.