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Debate

One of the goals of EphBlog is to provide a forum where Ephs of all ages might discuss topics of the day. It’s been my experience that once you are out of school, your opportunities for such debates drop dramatically. Talking politics at work, much less on the sidelines of you daughter’s soccer game, is generally not wise.

In that spirit, I thought it would be fun to highlight some comments that (d)avid made the other day.

The nation has to have an honest debate on the nature of terrorism and the best way to combat it. They “want to kill my daughter” only obscures the debate and contributes nothing. The goal of the terrorists is not to kill your daughter. The way to fight terrorism is not to protect your daughter. Law enforcement and programs similar to witness protection are the way to protect your daughter, but would make for extremely poor public policy (note: in Columbia where kidnappings are a large problem, your formulation of the question might be valuable).

I found the Presidential election very frustrating because it pitted two different views on terrorism and how to fight it, but an open and honest discussion never ensued.

Should the war on terrorism target sponsor states (Bush) or should terrorists be viewed as a loosely affiliated network similar to organized crime (Kerry)? [Note to those who think I am being unfair to Kerry: when a city government has ties to organized crime, the feds arrest city officials as well, Afghanistan might be a good move under the Kerry worldview.]

Should the U.S. create a minimalist alliance among governments who can act decisively (Bush) or should the U.S. try to justify our actions to a larger set of countries and achieve a broader coalition and general concensus (Kerry)? [Note: Again, I don’t think I am being unfair to Kerry — unilateral action isn’t forbidden under this scenario, but large endeavors require a strong enough reason and evidence that other countries can support.]

Both Bush and Kerry would agree that mainstream Muslim culture needs to be won over/changed. Bush thinks that creating a democracy in Iraq will force Arab muslims to stop blaming the west for their country’s problems and start looking towards their own leaders. Kerry thinks that the war in Iraq was a distraction from the war against Al-Qaeda and only confirmed mainstream Muslim opinion that the U.S. is a brutal colonizing power. The goal of U.S. foreign policy should be to get mainstream Muslims to view Al-Qaeda as a bunch of dangerous, extremist loons and stop supporting the group (who are now cult heroes in many circles). Independent of how well the democratization of Iraq has been conducted, this is a worthy debate.

How much emphasis should be placed on security at home? Bush seems to place very little emphasis upon securing ports and borders, prefering “to take the fight to our enemies.” Kerry’s strategy involves more attention to domestic weak points.

Sadly, we didn’t have this type of debate.

True, but we can have it on EphBlog!

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