On Tue, 2004-11-02 at 15:44 +0900, Hal Fulton wrote:

> The main reason I'm answering is that I'm tired of keeping quiet. For more
> months than I can count, I have felt surrounded by people (online and off)
> who not only believed the opposite from me, but (which is the worst part)
> *assumed* that I agreed with them.
> 

Thanks Hal. I understand people's fear of this creating a division,
However I must say that it helps me. I typically feel angry at Bush.
Getting the opinion from intelligent people whom I respect, such as
yourself, helps me understand what people are thinking. It doesn't
change my mind, however it does calm the anger and engage me at an
intellectual level.

As for my own point of view.... As a US citizen who has lived abroad for
a long time I've sampled information from various sources, and I simply
believe that a lot of people in the US do not understand this "war on
terror". 
I don't believe it's safe to portray a pure evil that is plotting
against the USA. This is not because I doubt the existence of evil-doers
but because it avoids many many key questions. Though there certainly
are extremist leaders that do not deserve any compassion, you must ask
yourself why is there a flow of people ready to blow themselves up
amongst innocents or fight an ill-equipped battle against US troops that
have vastly superior fire power ? Saddam loyalists are not the ones
ready to lay their lives on the line. The people offering themselves as
cannon fodder are idealists. Even though you may not like them, or their
cause, one must ask why they wish to fight in the first place, and how
come we fail to engage their sense of idealism.
The people in charge of the foreign policy now are the same people who
before let the Taliban take over in Afghanistan. They know more than
they are willing to discuss. Portraying Kerry as a slime-ball is
misleading when you consider the fact that you are faced with a
government that simplifies everything until they can repeatedly drill it
into everyones head with one line slogans. This is not conviction. It is
avoiding questions. Questioning our policies is not a weakness but the
strength on which democracy is built and should stand.
Fighting terrorism is a challenge. However for me the challenge is not
simply how much it's going to cost in human lives and billions of
dollars, but how to fight the battle and where do we fight the battle.  
Guantanamo Bay, Abu Gharib, a huge deficit, the eroding of civil
liberties, the continuous meddling of the government with it's citizens
lives... these for me are the current wave of neo-conservatism, not the
traditional conservatism that defines a great part of the US. 
I hope that when people vote they are aware of this.
 

	-Daniel