Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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An Argument: My Reponse

Below you will find a point-by-point breakdown of Josh’s statements followed by my responses.

1. Don’t blame the republicans because the world hates us. The world hates us because they are jealous of what we have.

Response: This is silly and naive. What do we have that Europe does not? Their money is worth more than ours. They have free speech and democracy. They are not jealous, they hate us because we have, thanks to the policies of George W. Bush, become an egotistical nation who believes they can take on the world without any help. Going into Iraq without any coalition was a huge mistake (and yes I know about Poland). We have alienated our allies at a time when they were behind us completely (after September 11th when we invaded Afghanistan the world stood by our side).

2. As far as the Arab world is concerned, they will always hate us as long as we support Israel.

Response: While part of the disdain for America comes from our relationship with Israel, that is not why the whole Arab world hates us. In fact, before September 11th, there was only a small faction of radical Muslims that truly hated us and instead of killing them (Osama bin Laden is still at large), we decided to begin the process of bringing democracy to the Muslim world.

3. The best way to undermine that hate is with education.

Response: I don’t completely disagree with your point on education. But what about us? Maybe if we had a better understanding of their religion and culture we’d be able to get along better. How much do you know about Islam?

4. The main problem is that the Arab people have been secluded from the rest of the world.

Response: Josh, we are secluded from the rest of the world as well. Have you noticed? We have alienated our allies and we essentially stand alone at this point in our beliefs.

5. Once they are exposed to modern culture they will adapt and embrace it. When you have a group of people that is born to hate, you need to do something.

Response: It is not our duty to expose other cultures to modernity. They will not adapt and embrace it because it is a foreigner coming in and telling them how to think. Don’t you understand that this is just how extremists feel? They are trying to bring Islam to the uncultured world (America). What right does either side have? Why are you right and they’re not? They believe they’ve got God on their side too.

6. As far as you worrying about your safety in New York, we probably have never been safer.

Response: First off, do me a favor and don’t tell me how safe I feel. I am more scared to be living here now than I have at any other point. I live here, I saw September 11th and I don’t feel safe. If I didn’t love this place so much, I probably wouldn’t be here.

7. The reason 9-11 happened is because the previous administration was far too passive in dealing with the terrorist threat. You can’t tell me that 9-11 was Bush’s fault.

Response: There are a lot of reasons that September 11th happened. I am not putting all the blame on Bush. Osama bin Laden was given weapons by the United States in the 1980s (Reagan’s reign) to fight the Soviet Union. That is part of the problem. However, Bush ignored evidence that there was going to be an attack. It says so in the 9/11 Commission Report.

8. He is the perfect remedy. The only thing the Arab world has understood up to this point is force, so force they will get until it is safe in the world. You can’t sit back and hope that peaceful diplomatic solutions will work. You need to be on the offensive, and John Kerry was not the leader to do that.

Response: What evidence do you have that the Arab world has understood force? There are suicide bombers blowing themselves up practically everyday, what do they care about force? Why do you think young people in the middle east are willing to blow themselves up?

9. Since 9-11 there has not been a strike here at home. That is a promising thing.

Response: Between Pearl Harbor in 1941 and September 11th in 2001 there had not been an attack on American soil. You’re celebrating that we’ve gone three years without one? What about the attacks around the rest of the world? In Spain, for example, where 191 people died in an attack on a train by Muslim extremists. This world is a more dangerous place and it’s just a matter of time before they come back to get us.

10. After a few years of introducing democracy in the Middle East and education, things will be much safer.

Response: I disagree that bringing democracy to the Middle East is the answer. I believe that this will only bring more resentment and create an even more dangerous atmosphere for Americans, both at home and abroad.

11. There is no quick fix, it is a process and will take time.

Response: Finally, we agree. Although I don’t agree with the way you believe it should be handled, there is no quick fix to terrorism and thanks to the situation that Bush worsened, it is a long road ahead.

12. Our country and our interests world wide will be better off because of this war.

Response: Our country and our interests will be in great dangers because of this war. Also, while we’re on this war, why is it justified? Iraq was not a Muslim nation, in fact Saddam Hussein fought to keep his country non-secular. Now what we’ve done is create a place for Muslim extremist to congregate and fight an enemy they hate even more than they did before.

13. If the rest of the world doesn’t like it they can fuck off.

Response: Have you ever left the country? Do you know how it feels to have someone walk up to you and ask you who your country thinks they are and have to explain that you didn’t vote for George W. Bush? I do. I love traveling the world, seeing other places and now that is harder than ever because of the image we’ve created for ourself abroad. Moving on from my personal problems here, telling the world to fuck off is not a smart political move. We hardly have enough troops to fight the war we’ve started in Iraq, how do you propose we fight all these other countries? We need the world on our side to fight terrorism and they would be if we weren’t so busy being missionaries.

14. We should also pull any aide that we provide to them as well.

Response: First off, we don’t need to piss anyone off any more than we already have. Pulling aid would be political suicide, not to mention the effects it would have on our economy when they retaliated with their wallets.

15. They don’t seem to mind when we interject to assist them, but when it comes to freeing a people of a murderous dictator people get their panties in a wad.

Response: They were not behind us in Iraq because we had no right to be there. It was never our foreign policy to strike first and then we lied about our reasons for doing it. Hussein never had nuclear capabilities and we knew that. I understand that Hussein was a murderous dictator, but that was not the reason we attacked Iraq. Whatever you say, the official reason given for attacking was that we were in danger, which has since been proven to be a complete lie.

16. All the democrats did this election was complain about what is wrong with this country. You know what is wrong with this country?? Too many people complaining and not enough people doing something to change it.

Response: Josh, I am not going to argue that this campaign was run perfectly by the Democrats. I have said myself that they needed to state their policies and intentions more explicitly. However, saying that the problem with this country is too many people complaining is absurd. All these people are complaining about the things that George W. Bush is doing throughout the world. They have a right to complain and we did our best to change things by changing leaders. Unfortunately, when it came time to choose a leader a large portion of people let their religion guide their choice, despite this country’s constitutionally mandated ‘separation of church and state.’

17. If anything Bush has set forth what he believes will solve some of the country’s problems, Kerry just pinpointed what the republicans were doing wrong.

Response: I agree that Kerry may not have set forth enough strategies, however, many of his plans were to reverse the damage that Bush had done. Yes he pinpointed what Republicans were doing wrong, but that was so that he could fix it. Kerry saw the problem, Bush didn’t. When asked if he would invade Iraq again, knowing what he knows now, he said yes. How can you explain that?

18. If you don’t like the way things are in this country I hear that Fallujah is nice this time of year. Just remember that the people over there this time a few years ago had no influence on who ran their government, now they are having elections. I’d say those are some impressive strides for a country that has been supressed for several decades. If that is not progress in the right direction I don’t know what is.

Response: Thanks, I’ll go check out Fallujah, I appreciate the open invitation. As for the elections, they are hardly legitimate, at best. Iraq is in far worse shape then it was before we went in there. That’s not to mention the over 100,000 civilians that have been killed at the hands of the United States. I’m not going to disagree that Saddam Hussein was a dictator and a murderer, as well as a very evil man. However, we have made that country a more dangerous place and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. How do you propose we finish this? If we leave there and pull our troops the situation will deteriorate more quickly than it is now. If we stay, extremist from around the Arab world will continue to travel to Iraq because we’ve created a place to fight against America. Don’t you get it? We’ve made this situation worse.

19. A toast to four more years of moving in the right direction.

Response: I’m sorry that you believe this is the right direction because I believe the opposite. On November 2nd the United States had a chance to reverse our course and try to find the right direction but the wrong man was elected. Now we find ourselves heading down a long and dangerous path without the assistance of anyone. We stand alone and I fear our safety. To quote something my mother wrote, “I’m beginning to think that our history of wealth and power has blinded our citizenry to the kinds of immorality that bring down civilizations.” We can’t afford to be a nation of chest thumping cowboys anymore because there are a lot of people in this world with a lot less fear of death than we have.

November 5, 2004