Texas Liberal

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Burnt Orange Writer Has No Need To Apologize For Support Of Iraq War As People Must Follow Conscience—I Don’t Lament My 2000 Nader Vote

A writer on the Burnt Orange Report here in Texas recently made a post apologizing for his initial support of the Iraq War.

While he was certainly free to make that post, I felt he had no reason to do so. He supported the war based on his conscience and his best guess at the time. It’s all we can ask of anybody. 

It’s one thing to be mad at the dishonest people who started the war, it’s another thing to bear a grudge against one person doing his best in a difficult world.  

I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. While because of the Electoral College it did not matter so much in Texas, I’m certain I would have done the same if still living in the battleground state of Ohio. I lived in Ohio up until 1998.

I’m asked sometimes by friends if I regret my vote for Nader in 2000. I don’t. I did the best I could at the time.

There is often pressure to conform to certain views in the Texas left blog world. (And, of course, in the rest of the world as well.)  The hell with that I say. People must do as their conscience guides them to do.



May 13, 2007 - Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas


  1. Nice post. Here’s to being principled.

    Comment by Alex | May 15, 2007

  2. Open Letter to the Latter Day Converts:

    One must recall the heady days in the run-up to the invasion, when the U.S. was in the heat of passion to kick somebody’s tail, it didn’t matter whose. To speak out against the war was considered treason by the vast majority of the population. Rove and Bush cynically used the war to destroy the Democrats in 2002, with still plenty of inertia in 2004, while many Democrats cravenly aped the Republicans. French fries were renamed “freedom fries” because of what was denounced as France’s betrayal. How far we have come from the days when we were excluding French companies from the “reconstruction” because France had refused to sanction or participate in the “liberation.” The very proprietary assertion of authority over who would do business in Iraq betrays the underlying expectation that we would simply assume sovereignty there.

    But it is hard to overstate the frenzy of the moment. Everybody who opposed the invasion, from those who were worried sick about the practical logistical enormity of what was being contemplated to those who opposed it for political or humanitarian reasons, were dismissed as a “focus group.”

    When Shinseki predicted that the army would need 200,000 troops to do the job, he was denounced and Rumsfeld chose his successor a year early and pointedly did not attend his retirement.

    The frenzy ran through the whole population. Crowds destroyed the CDs of the Dixie Chicks. My wife, who is French was repeatedly taunted. As she is French, she was as great an enemy as Saddam Hussein himself. I raised concerns with my own friends who were clamoring for the invasion, only to be derided. These issues had been addressed, I was told. I would see. One of these even referred to me as a “Nervous Nellie” when I expressed concern at the higher than expected initial resistance. His use of the expression was doubly ironic in that it is the same one used by Lyndon Johnson to describe critics of his policy in Vietnam. Here, my friend was showing the same arrogance as Rumsfeld and Bush, himself. He knowingly used this expression, despite the fact that Johnson obviously had his head way up his posterior orifice when he uttered it, because my friend was so sure he was right.

    In fact, the issues that I (and so many others) raised were never openly addressed. If they had been frankly discussed, we never would have invaded to begin with. And for that reason, these issues were always summarily dismissed. Further, in an age of terrorism, it is the simplest thing in the world to classify information that is politically unhelpful.

    It is said that the ancient Persians always reviewed a proposed battle plan twice, once sober and once drunk. Only if it passed both tests was it adopted. It may have been helpful if Bush and Rumsfeld had invited the junior military staff over to the Crawford ranch for a few drinks before pulling the trigger.

    This is really not a conservative or liberal issue. As Ronald Reagan, a greater conservative than any now alive, once said: “Facts are stubborn things” and, “Don’t be afraid to see what you see.”

    To those who now recognize that we were very poorly served by the well-orchestrated rush to war, I say to you, “Welcome!” But my welcome to you is conditional. I ask that you foreswear giving or accepting simple or categorical explanations, and that you demand transparency of your government.

    Comment by Joseph R. Larsen | May 17, 2007

  3. Maybe you shouldn’t lament your Nader vote (I would) but please take the knowledge gained in hindsight and teach others. Elections have repercussions oftentimes bigger in force than your “protest” vote.

    Comment by carsick | May 17, 2007

  4. J. Larsen—Much of what you say is true. The person in question I wrote about never engaged in any of that worst behavior is my guess. He was a student, now in college, who was always a Democrat, for what that is worth at times. You’re right though that not all folks can just get a free pass.

    Carsick– I did not address if my vote was worth it. It was not as it turns out. It’s just that I did what I could at the time and it’s done. It seemed more than a protest vote at the time. I hoped something would grow from it. In any case, I won’t just promise my vote to Democrats ebcause if you do they’ll just use you as they use black voters.

    Comment by neilaquino | May 17, 2007

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