One thought about a common republican talking point that I've always found particularly annoying and nonsensical:
On Saturday, Bush defended his foreign policy in a nationwide radio address that linked the military offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"On that day, we learned that vast oceans and friendly neighbors no longer protect us from those who wish to harm our people. And since that day, we have taken the fight to the enemy," Bush said. "We're fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, striking them in foreign lands before they can attack us here at home."
I don't know why it never occurred to me -- because they say this stuff all the time -- but this talking point seems conflict weirdly with the other way in which they talk about Iraq. The other thing they always say, increasingly laughable as it is, has to do with Iraqi liberation, with freeing the good people of Iraq. In this defense, the focus is on some sort of beneficial effect for Iraqis and the magnanimity of the US.
And this model, the Iraqi liberation model, seems to conflict with the notion quoted above that "we're taking the fight to them," that we're "striking them in foreign lands" so we don't have to face the "here at home." By saying that we're fighting them in foreign lands, there is an implicit disrespect for and devaluation of those foreign lands. Somehow, those foreign lands, we're made to think implicitly, are lesser that "here at home." Look at what a good president I am -- I'm keeping the terrorists killing the brown people over there, rather than killing US citizens here.
To me this rhetoric is, therefore, not only dishonest, but deeply unethical because it undervalues the lives of the innocent Iraqis that are dying. The logical consequence of this rhetoric is an 'at least they're not Americans' assumption that is always there but never spoken explicitly.
In a real sense, of course, it's the president's job to keep Americans from getting killed. But I'm sorry Mr. President, you can't both deflect the terrorists off on to the Iraqis, let them be the ones who get blown to bits, and pretend like you're doing them a favor at the same time. Of course, not that you're doing either particularly well, but please don't pretend like you're doing both.