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When Clinton lied, no one died

  1. Nov 1, 2005 #1

    russ_watters

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    "When Clinton lied, no one died"

    By request, a debunking of this rhetorical-nonsensical bumper sticker. For clarity, the complete thought that it is meant to imply would read:

    'When Clinton lied about sex, no one died as a result, but when Bush lied about the WMD in Iraq, 2000+ American soldiers and countless Iraqis died as a result'

    There are several glaring problems with this bumper sticker:

    First, yes, it is trivially obviously true that no one died as a result of Clinton's lie about sex - but so what? Is lying the key or is it the blood that matters? Clinton did cause the deaths of a great many people, so if that's the point of the bumper sticker (the deaths, not the lies), it misses its own point: Whether directly caused by a lie or just due to incompetence/failure to act shouldn't be relevant. Clinton's list is a healthy one. Off the top of my head: Somalia, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sudan, Afghanistan, the Cole, Khobar towers, WTC 1, 9/11. I'm sure I missed some.

    We can debate the depths of his screwups or compare body counts if you guys want, but the best example, to me, is probably Somalia. 18 soldiers and several thousand Somalians died as a result of a botched snatch-and-grab job. In the aftermath, the Secretary of Defense resigned because he personally denied a request for armor. But that was part of Clinton's policy on minimalistic warfare, and is absolutely his fault.

    Though they aren't Americans (does that matter?), I consider the Rwanda thing worse. Upwards of a million people were hacked to death with machettes while military analysts figured we could have stopped it with 10,000 troops, in a matter of days. This failure to act (other countries hold some blame, but as always, we are the most capable of acting in that type of situation) was cited by numerous international investigations into the genocide. But even worse, many of those investigations concluded that mere international pressure could have had a big impact. Clinton failed to even denounce the genocide, or even label it as such, until long afterwards.

    Obvious, but less important is the assumption on which the slogan is based: that Bush lied. Now the case for that is far from clear-cut, and while I have no desire to argue the case itself, I will say that it is irrelevant. What matters is whether we were right or wrong to go into Iraq - and no, even if it was based on a lie, that doesn't automatically make the actions wrong. Again, we can debate the right-ness or wrong-ness of the war till the cows come home, but that doesn't change the fact that the slogan is based on that logical fallacy (lie automatically equals wrong). I can hear the huffing already, but let me repeat that a little more directly: deception is not always wrong. And before you reply, stop and think about it: you already know that it's true. If not, search our philosophy forums for discussions about it before replying.

    To sum-up:
    "When Clinton lied, no one died" - is factually true, but logically flawed and pointless and therefore just mindless, useless rhetoric.

    edit: Some may note that there are no links in this thread. The Somalia and Rwanda debacles are well-documented pieces of history and if people don't know what happened in those two incidents, you should be ashamed of yourself - but I'll provide some documentation if you need it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2005 #2
    Oh, Lord. Now that's stretching it.

    Did you really think this through before posting it? Sure doesn't read like it.

    Clinton lied about a BJ. It didn't hurt nobody in any way, shape, or form.

    Bush lied because he wanted a war in Iraq and he was going to do anything to justify it for the American people. Because he wanted that war in Iraq, 2026 American troops and several hundred thousand innocent civilians died.

    If you want to link to some documents showing how a BJ led to Somalia and Rwanda, be my guest. It couldn't hurt your credibility at this point.
     
  4. Nov 1, 2005 #3

    arildno

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    Bill Clinton was in his perfect right to lie about a BJ, including lying to members of any jury. It was none of their business, and bringing this matter to a court of law was an utter disgrace of the US judicial system.
     
  5. Nov 1, 2005 #4
    It seems to me that your argument is completely based on this premise. Nevertheless, it is relevant, and should be relevant. Otherwise, there would be no distinction between murder and manslaughter. Continuing this analogy further, the worst of Clinton's misdeeds would be involuntary manslaughter, while Bush's would be considered felony (or even first-degree) murder.
     
  6. Nov 1, 2005 #5

    Astronuc

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    I agree with you Russ for the most part, particularly Somalia, Rwanda and Kosovo. (And I don't care much for bumper stickers like that anyway.)

    However consider the first attack on the WTC - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Center#1993_terrorist_attack
    -from Wiki. Clinton had been in office for 5 weeks (inauguration - January 20, 1993), so really the plot was in motion during the Bush I administration.

    The 9/11 attack happend 8 months into the Bush II administration.

    Certainly the Clinton administration blew it in uncovering the al Qaida plot, but then so did the Republican controlled Congress, which had its attention and efforts on undermining Clinton's presidency.

    Bush the was focussed on Iraq and not al-Qaida. Had the US enforced the policy of no-one but flight personnel in the cockpit - which goes back to the domestic airline hijackings (skyjacking) of the 1960-70's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_hijacking) - the hijackings most likely would have failed. Had airport security been at the appropriate level (and properly regulated), the hijackers might have been stopped. The Republicans in Congress are notorious for de-regulation and less government - including where national security is a concern.

    So I would put the failure to stop 9/11 on Clinton and Bush, and the Republican congress.

    Clinton was sloppy on foreign policy, particularly use of military intervention, but George Bush is sloppier.

    And BTW - the US borders are like Swiss Cheese - there are gaping holes if one knows where to look. But HS doesn't have the vision. :grumpy:
     
  7. Nov 1, 2005 #6

    russ_watters

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    You sure you read it? Your response is just an echo of the thread title and doesn't address anything at all that I said!
    Oh dear lord! Please reread - I said nothing of the sort.
    Please note, that has nothing to do with my post, but just out of curiosity, what basis do you have for that? Is there basis for a right to lie about personal matters in the US Constitution, US law, western political theory, or western philosophy?
     
  8. Nov 1, 2005 #7

    arildno

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    Bush&Blair lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction, and used that to spur the opinion towards war, completely ignoring the appeals of the UN inspectors not to go to war.
     
  9. Nov 1, 2005 #8

    russ_watters

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    Well, that's a stretch, but I think you're missing the point. The bumper-sticker is meant to imply:

    Clinton=Good
    Bush=Bad

    In your analogy, both are bad, it's just a matter of degree - which is something I agree with, even if I disagree on who'se degree.
     
  10. Nov 1, 2005 #9

    Astronuc

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    BTW - I think Clinton should have resigned after that lie, but also for the fact that he engaged in an inappropriate activity with an employee and subordinate for which he felt compelled to lie. And I won't cut him any slack for the technicality regarding 'relations'. He's a grown man, and he knew what he was being asked (even if he was an idiot in this regard).

    Any business executive would have been asked to step down (at least I would hope so) for such conduct. One just doesn't do that.
     
  11. Nov 1, 2005 #10

    arildno

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    By choosing not to refuse participating in this degradation of the US judicial system, the jurors showed themselves to be morally corrupt individuals who ought to be kicked out of offices in which they do not belong.
     
  12. Nov 1, 2005 #11
    While I'm not arildno; I think he's perfectly correct in saying that it's perfectly fine to lie about one's own sexual habits.

    It's nobody's business what goes on in the "bedroom." If I ask you if you're into kinky S&M watersports, and you lie about it, you're perfectly justified in lying about it. I shouldn't have been asking in the first place.

    But you already knew that.
     
  13. Nov 1, 2005 #12

    arildno

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    Besides, I sort of sympathize with Bill: To get a BJ from Hillary? Horror of horrors..:yuck:
     
  14. Nov 1, 2005 #13
    Actually, what the bumper sticker is directly implying that that Republicans are hypocrites. It's a direct take on the phony

    "It's not about the sex, it's about the lying."

    argument that Republicans so often used during the Lewinsky episode.

    It does indirectly imply that Clinon was morally neutral while Bush was bad. Of course, that's an opinion based an a whole lot of evidence.
     
  15. Nov 1, 2005 #14

    russ_watters

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    I didn't specify in my little list, but for a great many incidents, the failures can absolutely be spread around. For lack of a better way, you could divide-up the death tolls between Presidents that had a hand in not preventing things. Not really relevant to my point, but worth clarifying.
    I'm a little more ambivalent about the adultery and misconduct in office things because one of the things about being President is that you make the rules for how your company (your administration) runs. While a private company has rules about sexual harassment and fraternization that go beyond the law, there isn't anything beyond the law that applies in government (and the laws get a little thin in some spots). Nevertheless, I agree that adultery and fraternization are wrong and I'm glad they are flat-out illegal under the UCMJ.
     
  16. Nov 1, 2005 #15

    russ_watters

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    Besides being gibberish (jurors? offices?), that doesn't answer the question: what is the basis for your stance? In a country ruled by the law, there needs to be a real reason to disregard the law. 'arildno thinks what goes on in the bedroom should be free from scrutiny' is not a logical/legitimate basis for an argument.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2005
  17. Nov 1, 2005 #16

    arildno

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    They had no obligation whatsoever to ask those questions. The fact that they did, is the degradation of the judicial system.

    Simply put, it is an abuse of power. Whether or not there exist laws to prevent that particular type of abuse, is irrelevant.
     
  18. Nov 1, 2005 #17
    russ that doesn't make any sense.. why would you support laws that mediate what people can and cannot do in their own personal lives?
     
  19. Nov 1, 2005 #18

    russ_watters

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    Hmm. I hadn't considered that. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, though - it doesn't seem like a worthwhile point to make unless concurrently it is meant to be a reason not to vote for (or to impeach) Bush.
     
  20. Nov 1, 2005 #19
    Now to address the actual incidents:

    1. Somalia. Actually, it was Bush Sr. that got us into Somalia. Not that I fault Bush Sr. either. Unlike Iraq, we actually had a noble reason for being in Somalia. I assume you're referring to the "Black Hawk Down" incident. Since it was basically a small unit action, I fail to see what it has to do with the Commander-in-Chief. Especially there are "Black Hawk Down" type screw ups occurring on a regular basis in Iraq.

    2. Iraq. I assume you mean the cruise missle attacks. These just illustrate why Clinton was better than Bush. When Saddam didn't let weapons inspectors into buildings, Clinton just blew up the buildings in the middle of the night with minimal loss of human lives. Saddam couldn't hide anything, so he started letting inspectors back in everywhere.

    3. Yugoslavia. Another illustration of Clinton's competence over Bush. The U.S., with support from NATO and the U.N. actually stopped genocide and with minimal loss to human life. They also overthrew the bloodthirsty dictator responsible. They didn't require a full scale invasion to do it, they didn't immediately set to work at taking Yugoslavia's natural resources, they didn't award billion dollar no-bid contracts to the military contractor that Al Gore owned a lot of stock in, they didn't stick around for years after as 2,026 US troops got killed.

    4. Rwanda- I'll agree, this was Clinton's biggest failure. He admits it was his biggest failure.

    That said, I'm sure that if Clinton had gone into Rwanda the Republicans would have been furious about it. If 18 US troops had lost their lives to save thousands of African lives they'd still be carping on it as if it was some kind of failure.

    How do I know? Look at the Sudan. Rwanda is essentially repeating itself and Bush doesn't raise a finger.

    5. Sudan. I assume you mean the bombing of the pharmaceutical factory. It was a CIA screw up. It's actually a good example of bad analytical chemistry. The CIA told Clinton that Saddam was in cahoots with a WMD factory, intending to harm American lives- so Clinton went after them. Unlike Bush, Clinton actually read intelligence reports about bin Laden and followed up on them. Unlike Bush, Clinton actually tried to get bin Laden. The Republicans at the time, if you remember, thought that bin Laden wasn't a real threat and criticised Clinton for going after him.

    6. Afghanistan. What about it? Afghanistan was never an issue.

    7. The Cole. Khobar Towers. What about them? Al Qaeda attacked the U.S. Clinton went after them. Republicans criticized Clinton for going after them; they said Clinton exaggerated the threat.

    8. WTC 1. What about it? What should Clinton have done differently?

    9. 9-11. Happened under Bush II's watch.
     
  21. Nov 1, 2005 #20
    A bumper sticker?

    You started a whole detailed thing about a stupid bumper sticker?

    Did someone like write that on your car with shaving cream last night, or was this just totally random?
     
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