If Jeb knew then what he knows now...

If Jeb knew then what he knows now…

A number of Republican candidates for President are being asked a question that I’d like to pose to you. This is a hypothetical that is really trying to “Monday morning quarterback” decisions from the past, but let’s try this exercise. I’ll pose the same hypothetical question to you. Or will I?

And once again, it’s time to Name That Quote! Can you guess the person before I reveal it (or before you read it below in the show transcript)?

Mentioned links:

United States military casualties of war [Wikipedia]

Singling Stephanopoulos out misses the point

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Show transcript

A number of Republican candidates for President are being asked a question that I’d like to pose to you. This is a hypothetical that is really trying to “Monday morning quarterback” decisions from the past, but let’s try this exercise.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have invaded? Now remember, at the time, the country was run by an iron fist, a guy who was killing his own people, partly because they were of the wrong religion, but partly just to keep himself in power. He had also already shown a propensity for invading and occupying his neighbors, so this wasn’t some tin pot despot talking big but not actually doing anything.

But it’s not just what was known before the war; would you have gone in if you knew what would happen after the war? What if you knew that, when the war was over, something even worse would rear it’s heard? And that this group would also butcher people under its control. It would have an expansionist agenda, trying to grab as much vital territory from other countries as it could.

It’s not really fair to judge decisions of the past based on information from the present, but the media seem to enjoy posing this question to the Republicans, as though a particular answer from them, with knowledge from the present, would show that their decisions from the past were “ill-informed”. The answer to the question is of little use, but they demand an answer to it, so I’m posing it to you as well. What do you think? Should we have invaded … Germany?

Hmm? Excuse me? The Iraq war? You thought I was talking about the Iraq war? I’m sorry, I was talking about World War II, but I guess I can understand the confusion. OK, I created the confusion. But now let’s think about that. You might want to go back and listen to it. It’s amazing how many parallels there are between Hitler and Hussein.

Both killed people to stay in power, and because they were of the wrong religion; Hitler vs the Jews, and Hussein vs any Islamic sect other than his own. Both invaded and occupied neighboring countries; Hitler invaded France, and Hussein invaded Kuwait. Something even worse came from the war; after World War II, communism, and after the Iraq War, ISIS. Both communism and the Islamic radicalism of ISIS butchered people under their control, and both grabbed land from other countries, though at this point it remains to be seen if ISIS can keep control of territory it claims for the Caliphate.

One thing that was different was the casualties. In World War II, there were over 1 million American dead and wounded. That’s a little over one-third of the number from every conflict in this nation since 1775. In the Iraq war, the number is a little under 37,000. Perhaps we should add that to the calculus. If you had the Wikipedia article that I’ve linked to in the show notes with those stats before both WWII and Iraq, would you have done anything differently?

I’m sorry. As I said, it’s unfair to make you second-guess a decision based on a perfect knowledge that we never, ever have before the fact. And yet the media insist on asking that of the Republicans, all the time.

I’m still waiting for someone to ask Hillary Clinton that, if she knew then what she knows now, would she have been in favor of the complete pull-out of Iraq? Will someone ever ask her that? Some say it created a power vacuum that gave a boost to the formation of ISIS? We’ve got about 30,000 troops still in South Korea, for cryin’ out loud.

So there’s a question for you? Do you want to give it a shot?

It’s been a while since we played “Name That Quote”, so I’ve come up with one that should really give you a challenge. This is someone speaking about the brouhaha over George Stephanopoulos giving the author of the book “Clinton Cash”, Peter Schweizer, a hard time in an interview, going after him for his partisan interests in writing the book. Schweizer was, for one thing, a speech writer for George W. Bush for four months. Of course, later it came out that Stephanopoulos himself had donated some of that “Clinton Cash”, so he had an even bigger conflict of interest, but of course, he didn’t see any problem with that.

So commenting on the more general bias issue, our mystery person wrote this in USA Today:

Presuming guilt among Republicans and goodness among Democrats is so reflexive and rewarded in today’s mainstream media culture, it’s not that hard to see how Stephanopoulos truly would not have understood he had an egregious conflict of interest as he faced down Schweizer. Like a fish doesn’t notice the water, today’s mainstream journalists are impervious to their bias in favor of Democratic candidates or liberal issues. They believe they are being objective because they have mistaken their ideological belief system for truth.

Long-time listeners to this podcast will know that, as much as this may sound like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, or some other person from the Right, the whole point of this challenge is to highlight quotes from those on the Left that certainly sound like they could come from the Right. OK, so here are some hints. She wrote this in a USA Today column in the past few weeks. (I shared this on the Facebook and Google+  pages recently, so if you follow them, you know the answer already.) While she does hold rather liberal ideas on economic and social issues, she is truly for openness and transparency in the media and in government, and is concerned that her side is shutting down debate, so that no one is truly able to discuss important issues. She’s documented that silencing in her new book, “The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech”. And, a big hint, while she disagrees with Bill O’Reilly on many issues, she is a regular guest on his show.

Figured out who it is? It’s Kirsten Powers. As I said, a regular foil for O’Reilly, but one who can still see one of the major problems with the Left; intolerance and silencing of anyone who doesn’t agree with them. You know, the very things they accuse the Right of. A clearer case of “projection” you will not easily find.

Filed under: ElectionsForeign PolicyFree SpeechGovernment