Thursday, July 06, 2006

"Do me proud son."

I found myself in a bank today (something that I feel that I do much too infrequently), and they happened to be showing CNN on their televisions. While I waited I watched part of an interview with the Iraqi Prime Minister. As many of us know, there have been recent allegations and charges of a rape and the subsequent massacre of an Iraqi family by U.S. soldiers. The Prime Minister was discussing how American troops in Iraq cannot be charged with a crime by the Iraqi government, any charges must be brought forward by the United States. He spoke against this immunity, and how he felt the soldiers should stand trial there.

I don’t mean to debate the issue of the immunity (I am personally in favor of keeping it), that isn’t the point that I found interesting.

What I found great about this interview, is the spirit that it brings. Here was an elected official of Iraq, speaking out for change. While some may call them (those that agree with him) ungrateful for what we have brought to their country, what he was doing is what we brought to their country. We brought free speech and democratic process.

The actions of the prime minister show that the new Iraq government isn’t going to be a simple American puppet. They aren’t going to be a “Vichy” government. Even though his desire will likely not be fulfilled (for better or for worse), it is a spark of national spirit and independence, that shows a willingness to speak out about national interests. At some point the Iraqi leadership needs to become leaders, and the fact that they are willing to speak up about something that they feel needs to be changed is a great first step.

While there is certainly much ground to be won and many obstacles to overcome, I find the future promising. The old phrase comes to my mind, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend tot eh death your right to say it.” I may not agree with what he said, but I am grateful that he has a chance to say it.

21 comments:

Chaucer Arafat said...

I am glad that you are optimistic about the established government there, although it is a point of fact that the heads of state ALWAYS retain the right to free speech for themselves..I mean, when Saddam was in power he could say whatever he wanted as well..but that is once again beside the point I wanted to make: I have my personal doubts about the democratic government in Iraq--I think time will have to be the litmus test, obviously.

But like I said: I enjoy your optimism, and I hope that your sentiments are correct. I think there may be some definite cultural barriers that might hamper progress for some time (its a very occidental system of government that will need some fine tuning in a place like Iraq), but I hope for the best--it could prove to be one of the few bright spots to shine through the whole campaign.

Andrew Clark said...

I think that this is a very good step for Iraq. I do not think that the US troops themselves need to stand trial by a foreign government, that's absurd, but as you said, you at least have to applaud him for having the gonads to come out and say it.

Blake Roberts said...

You are correct, heads of state do retain the right to free speech. What I meant was how he felt free to speak out even though our military doing so much to help with security. There are few heads of state that will take actions that seem to "bite the hand that feeds them", and while I don't feel his comments were negitive towards the U.S., the fact that he is willing to express his concerns shows (in my opinion) that he is thinking not as a govenor (sp) but as a leader.

Dan said...

Peter, you have asked a question of who I am, and I will tell you who I am. My name is Dan and I go to BYU-I just like you. Yes, I am a College Republican, and I have always been hostile (as you put it) towards you, and just you (not your organization). Just because I agree with you on one issue does not mean I like you. I speak for a lot of College Republicans in saying that we do not trust you at all. I feel you have been unfair to us in the Scroll, and on campus. I know for a fact that we have extended our hand out to you. I also believe you have stabbed us in the back to many times. Yes, we have never met that is granted, but if I had a chance to meet you I would refuse it. The reason is that the impressions that I get from your articles and the things that you do on campus leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, I know that you are trying to mend theses fences, but like they say “first impressions died hard”. Even though the College Republicans have different views then you on government at least we care enough to get involved. I know a lot of students that could care less.

Now I would like to get to your point about the debate. I can understand you being a little to busy with the election cycle, heaven knows we are and will be until November, but on the other hand what better time to have a debate then in an election year. An election year as you may know will be the time when students will want to become more involved, and become more educated on the political process.

As for the College Republicans not offering to have a debate with you guys this semester all I can say is that why don’t you offer to have a debate with them. Let us be proactive here, Peter. You should not take this issue as an excuse of why you have not had a debate with us. Like I said before the College Republicans are ready to debate any day. We have asked you last semester, and we got denied. I know that we made up an outline for a debate last semester, and emailed it to you guys to get the final O.K. We heard nothing from you guys after that. Except only a little post that was posted on your Blog entitled Why not have a debate? Obviously, you have forgotten about that or you didn’t receive the email. Maybe you need to check with Heather or Hanna on that. We also thought that this format was fair to both sides, and we would have changed it if you didn’t like it. We also stated this in the email. I know both sides were busy last semester, but we did all we could to have a debate with you last semester.


Second thing is that I don’t think you understood my point on gay rights and abortion rights. I know that the College Democrats are against abortion and against gay rights. I understand that, and I commend you on the petitions that you filled out for the constitutional amendment. What my point is though is that it does not matter what your own political philosophy is today, but what matters is the platform you vote for at the end of the day. It is sad to say but it is true. Yes, there are a lot of conservative Democrats in the party, but it is not their ideas that are being push in the Democratic Party. The ideas that are being pushed are the ideas of Pelosi, Kennedy, Dean, Clinton, and the far left. Like it or not you guys are contributing to this agenda by voting for Democrats. I ask you what the Democratic Party would be without the platform of gay rights and the agenda of the pro choice. I would sure like to know and see it. If the Democratic Party was pushing the ideas of Brady and the conservative Democrats then we would not have a problem. Yet, in the real world theses ideas are not being pushed. If you think you guys and Brady can change the agenda that is great, but I could name a list of conservative Democrats that have tried and failed. The Democrats care as much for your vote as you might think the Republicans party cares for ours. The far left has hijacked the Jack Ass and they are riding it down to hell and guess what you guys have come along for the ride. Now I understand that there is no perfect political party, and I know there are both good and bad people in both parties. Yet, what my point is that I believe that out of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Republican Party pushes more issues that are more in tune to our church’s views then does the Democratic Party. Now all of this is just my opinion, and of course what do I know I am just some angry Republican, right!


http://www.vernonrobinson.com/twilightzone.shtml

Peter Nguyen said...

Dan,

First, I'm sorry about the way that you feel about me. In all sincerity, what can I do to make things better. If I have sinned by you and God than please, email me privately and tell me what I have done and what I can do. You can even call me. Email me and you'll get my phone number.

Second, I (of course) don't feel that I've been unfair to you in terms of what I've written in Scroll. If you're talking about the opinion page, off the top of my head I can only think of maybe 3-4 articles where conservatives could take issue, and that's stretching it.

If that's the case, well first NO ONE should take the opinion page too seriously let alone Scroll, second, I have written well over 50 articles on the opinion page and none of them have ever been about the College Republicans. If you discount the opinion pages, I have actually written favorable articles towards the College Republicans and conservatism — yet (as expected) no one ever mentions those.

Third, I've already listed the reasons for why we haven't pursued a debate, I don't think I need to list them again. Although, you did get one small detail wrong. We did eventually reply to your email telling you that we were unable to meet your challenge.

Lastly, for the record, the Democratic National Committee does not require its groups to "fall in line" with their platform. Different groups within the party can have varying platforms. The governing system is more planar than vertical. We, the BYU-I College Democrats have also never taken money from the National organization. So, besides the word Democrat, we have little affiliation with the National group.

Now, don't misunderstand, we are primarily different in terms of abortion and same sex marriage. But, we are still very much "progressive", "liberal" whatever you want to call it.

My point is, we are our own identity.

Lastly, I just want to emphasize that beyond all of this political mumbo jumbo it's more important for me to be a good Saint and to be at peace before God and man. If you genuinely feel that I have wronged you or anybody else, tell me what it is privately and I'll see what I can do.

Cheers!

Peter Nguyen said...

Blake,

I thought your post was thoughtful. As I read it, I felt some hope for the future in Iraq.

Great comments.

dan said...

Fetch, Peter I don’t hate you I just dislike you. There is no need to get all sentimental over that.

Jessica said...

Dan just reminded me why I left the Republican Party, or at least reminded me of a few reasons. Thanks Dan.

Joe Strickland said...

Dan,

I don't know for sure which Dan you are, but I think I have a good idea and I know that you are more level headed than your comments suggest. I think that you can find a more appropriate venue to voice your concerns (like, as Peter said, through email.)

I currently serve as the 1st Vice Chairman of the College Republicans and last semester I served on the Executive Board as Chairman of Recruitment. I am well aware of the offer that was made by the CR leadership to the CD leadership, and I must say that Peter is correct; they did not ignore us on that issue; they officially declined our offer for a debate.

The leadership of the BYU Idaho College Republicans strives to encourage our members to be courteous and respectful when discussing politics and especially when dealing with the CDs, because we know that we have a lot of common ground to build on.

JamesP said...

What my point is though is that it does not matter what your own political philosophy is today, but what matters is the platform you vote for at the end of the day.

You have a lot to learn, young man. I hope after college you take the opportunity to step outside of your small world and experience how people who think differently than you live.

If you support Vernon Robinson, I don't know if there's much help out there for you, though.

Oh, and Chaucer, you probably know me, but do I know you? Don't recognize the picture...

Anonymous said...

I wonder if jamesp is the one and only James Patterson... maybe.... just maybe.

JamesP said...

Is that a question?

As long as we're talking about Democrats vs. Republicans and Conservatives vs. Liberals, let me say how disappointed I was with Stephanie Long's column this week in the Scroll.

pmoney said...

what about her column disappointed you?

JamesP said...

I had come to despise listening to the other students’ opinions on modern America and the media.

Right off the bat, she is dismissive of being at all open-minded about other people's opinions. I understand that it's frustrating to be a left-leaner on a Church campus, but the editor of the newspaper pretty much saying 'f-you' to the opinions of everyone she disagrees with? Doesn't fly with me. Or with the standards of journalism.

As I look around, I let out a little laugh. “Pathetic,” I mumbled to myself. There were 15 women in my class, all of whom were perfect little Mollys and 10 guys who were self-proclaimed “defenders of the American dream.”

More dismissiveness -- and even contempt and judgment -- for those who dare to disagree with her.


“I am a liberal,” I whispered to myself, smiling at my newfound label.

This, and her whole conversation with Mr. Pompous, as she puts it, shows her immaturity and inability to rise above labels and parties and sincerely talk about the issues. Instead she spouts off the same old talking points with the same caustic tone she is assaulted with. She's no better than the Mr. P she is attacking.

Like I said, not the best example for the Scroll to be putting out there. This is who is supposed to be in charge of the so-called "voice of the campus"?


Very disappointed. You need to grow up, Ms. Long.

Anonymous said...

I just read the column and decided that you can disagree with Ms. Long if you wish, but what I find interesting is that you read so much into what she wrote. I believe that you wrote some opinion columns back in the day that could be viewed as immature, judgmental and contentious, yet I doubt you see it that way because you wrote them.

It is sad that you choose to judge Ms. Long and her character solely on this column. If I were to do what you have done and judge someone so quickly, I would judge you quite harsh myself. But I honestly believe there is more to someone than what is put in a newspaper. The natural man is judgmental by default, but perhaps you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your own judgments.

JamesP said...

Actually, I'm have no problem acknowledging that some, or most of, my columns fell under any or all of those three categories.

I'm an opininated person. I put myself out there when I wrote and had my fair share of criticism. I just don't think that Ms. Long is necessarily immune from the same criticism. It comes with the territory.

Chaucer Arafat said...

how dare someone misrepresent The Scroll; the bastion of insightful expression that it is...

JamesP said...

Yeah, I know.

Some of us do try and take the Scroll seriously, though. It has won several very prestigious awards, has had award-winning writers and largely because of it and my experience there, landed the job I did.

I've been gone for a while, but I still care about how it does.

Andrew Clark said...

I find it odd that anyone can get emotional about the liberal article. First off, she's really not that liberal to start with. she's just in a town that's so right wing that it's almost in favor of a dictatorship, well, probably more an an autoritatize theocrocy, but still, she didn't say anything that was really all that liberal to start with.

On top of that, she may have been a touch dismissive, but no more then 99% of the school here is in the other direction.

In my opinion, it was too weak. Stephanie cannot possiblly swing far enough left for this school. If we are to bring intelligence and thought into the society here it means we need someone to swing radically left.

So, be nice to Stephanie because if I wrote for the scroll you'd see me crucified next week outside the MC.

JamesP said...

Wow, what an argument.

99% of BYU-I is dismissive and close-minded, so why not jump on the bandwagon?

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem with Ms. Long's article is that she was actually looking to be labeled. It was like she was excited to be called a liberal, just because that made her different than the majority of the people at BYU Idaho.

I am all for standing up for what you believe, but make sure that you are really standing up for what you really believe and not what you want others to believe about you. While there are some students here that may truly be classified as "liberal," I know that there are also some that want to call themselves "liberal" because it goes against the grain and they want to be different.

Also, she did not really even express any "liberal" views in her article. All she does is express her negative views about the war in Iraq, but that does not make you a liberal. Most likely that makes you a Bush-hater, and sometimes that is enough for people to turn their backs on the Republican party and call themselves democrats or liberals even though they still believe in conservative economic and social ideals. It would be interesting to question Ms. Long on a number of political issues and see where her views, and not a label, really place her on the political spectrum.