Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Why history is important: My reply to a long comment

Blogging, History, President Obama, Religion, Truth, War

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As a military veteran, the USA has a history of conciliation with our enemies. After Revolutionary War a b ond developed between the Brits and us; after the Lewis and Clark led the way to expansion we decided to compromise with then American Indian; The USA became friends with the French well enough to hit the jackpot with the Lousiana purchase; after the Alamo fell we worked out a deal with the Mexican dictator, Santa Ana; In the 1st world war we ended up with the League of Nations, which was at least a good faith attempt to conciliate universal issues; after World War II, we reconstructed both

Germany and Japan, and later those countries destroyed by the USSR; After the Pesident Bush's involvement in Iraq we are and will be revamping the country we fought.

All of these diplomatic ventures paid big returns, especially, the countries who now support us such as Germany and Japan. We must be more praqgmatic and less partisan about our relations with the rest of the world.

We all realize that this so-called war against enemies that are not always identifiable is difficult and needs more moxy than we have had in the past.

President Bush called our enemies "evil doers", and he was right, but there are those who do not agree with the American way of life that we love and cherish, maybe because they never had it and resent us for it. But, let's not call them names. Remember "sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but names will never harm me".

The bible teaches us to turn the other cheek.

apparantly I lost my detailed reply. in conclusion, in every was or military conflict the USA has been conciliatory with the enemy. It has paid big dividends, Germany, Japan, Mexico (the Alamo and Gen. Santa Ana); The Free French and the Louisiana purchase; and on and on. It is called DIPLOMACY. They all know we are big and free people and they either resent us or would like to be like us. In War our Generals have met with the enemy, with mixed results, but at least they know that we have the courage of our convictions to face the music. Our forefathers had Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson,amongst many others , to lead us to diplomatic success.

War is mean, dirty and brutal, contrary to our way of life. The Bible teaches us to turn the other cheek. That takes both moral fibre and guts.

Kyle’s reply: I do thank you for your service to our country, Judge Steinberg, but with all due respect, I have to disagree with much of your comment. You are right in that the Untied States has reconciled with enemies, but only AFTER a war was over. Last time I checked, we are still battling the Taliban and al Qaeda. Japan would be a great example of reconciliation—post war. General Douglas Macarthur was surprisingly respected in Japan after they LOST the war and he was there as Supreme Commander. Macarthur helped shape our former enemy, Japan, into a democracy. (I think Bush hoped Iraq would follow this same model of reconstruction.) However DURING the war, we did not reach out to moderate Japanese. In fact, we imprisoned Japanese US citizens! I do not agree with that terrible treatment of Japanese Americans, but it does speak to the issue of being wary of those with any connection to a member of the Axis powers.

From what I have studied, your chronology glosses over important details of our early history and is too rose colored.

First off, America was not pals with the Brits as you suggest after the Revolutionary War. England could not believe an upstart like America beat them. They were sure we would never last and they could take us on then. They based that on the tensions over writing the Constitution and problems within our borders such as the Whiskey Rebellion. Nearly 30 years after the Revolutionary War ended, we were at it again with England fighting the War of 1812. It was basically a draw, but at least we held our own. Fast forward about 50 years, and there was real fear that England would join the south during the Civil War against the north to protect their cotton sources for England’s mills. (Queen Victoria’s hatred for war and alignment with the north’s cause kept England from entering our war, but there were dicey moments.)  There was another crisis in 1872 when the US charged England with violating neutrality over a southern ship, The Alabama, being “outfitted with British munitions.” I’m a bit sketchy here, but I don’t think we really became solid allies until WWI.

As for France, in between the Revolution and 1812, we (President Jefferson) did purchase the Louisiana territory from France. Not because we were buddies, but because Napoleon needed the money to fight his numerous wars trying to conquer Europe. His Napoleonic wars lasted from 1799 – 1815, ending when Napoleon met his Waterloo! (Although we were allies with France during the Revolutionary War, our alliance had more to do with the fact that France, always at war against England, decided they better help us fight against England too—France would not want England to be successful, thus growing their empire.) Napoleon reasoned after he conquered Europe, America was next. He had visions of an empire in the west (America).  He calculated he would get the $15 million for Louisiana from Jefferson, and then win back his turf from America later on. To add more intrigue, Louisiana really did not even belong to France. It really was Spain’s! Napoleon finagled it away from Spain in 1800 with a secret treaty promising an empire for the Spanish King’s son-in-law.    

After the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark went on their expedition in 1803. We were still fighting with the Native Americans 73 years later at Custer’s Last Stand. The Wounded Knee massacre was in 1890. The Apaches still fought until 1900.  The horrible practice of requiring Native American children to live at boarding schools and reject their Indian culture didn’t end until 1930. I don’t know that the Native American’s would agree with your assessment that we compromised with them. (We should have done much better.)

As for working out a deal with Santa Anna, we poked a fight with Mexico to gain the present territory of southwest Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and the real prize, California. I always thought it very coincidental that gold was discovered in 1848 about 3 minutes after the ink dried on the peace treaty.

I don’t believe identifying a person with their behavior is name calling as you suggest. If someone bullies, we call them a bully. If someone murders, we call them a murderer. Sometimes we characterize their behavior. Jesus himself called; the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees white washed sepulchres or referred to some as a generation of vipers. Calling a group evil, when they do evil is just identifying them by their deeds.

It is very difficult to think of any true follower of Islam as moderate, if they truly believe their teachings. Maybe there is the C&E crowd in the Islamic world too, but we see inter-religious fighting amongst the Sunnis and Shiites because each believes the other does not believe in Islam the right way. (C&E stands for Christmas and Easter church attendance only for a person who is a cultural Christian.) According to the Qur’an there is no such thing as peace as we know it. Their word for peace refers more to the calm after an infidel has been eliminated than the live and let live definition we ascribe to the word.

I recently went through a class in what Islam is all about. I found out that Islam teaches the “expulsion or destruction of the ‘unbelievers’.” There are 12 references to that in the Qur’an. “Converts from Islam to Judaism or Christianity are to be killed, Hadith 9:57” (Unveiling Islam, Ergun Caner and Emir Caner, Grad Rapids: Kregel, 2002, p. 187) It isn’t just a teaching that no one follows anymore. Converts from Islam to Judaism or Christianity face persecution or death. I support a group that gives Bibles out in Iraq; the threat of persecution or death is real to those who convert. How can one be a moderate Taliban if they follow Islam that teaches “expulsion or destruction of the ‘unbelievers’.”

Author Joel Rosenberg spoke about Muslims becoming Christians Monday on Jay Weber’s radio show. He is a Christian himself and wrote a book called Inside the Revolution.  Jay asked him about the idea of a moderate Taliban. He said, “You cannot be a moderate and stay inside the Taliban.”

As for turn the other cheek, that was what Jesus instructed His followers, believers, to do in contrast to the Old Testament law of being able to obtain an equal payment for an infraction: eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. In other words, if someone knocked out your tooth, you could knock out his, but no more than that.  Jesus advised Christians to turn the other cheek when dealing with individuals rather than seeking revenge for hurtful dealings. It was not given as a national defense strategy. The Israelites went to war in Old Testament times quite successfully with God’s help—even when they were greatly outnumbered. (The story of Gideon comes to mind. ) in Judges 7 They did not turn the other cheek, but relied on God to fight for them.

Our culture today does not deal in absolutes but relativism. But we cannot just gloss over the past and assume things about our history that were not true to justify today’s decisions. I believe it is important to look into all the facts when deciding foreign policy, especially when it is inconsistent with our past practices.




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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, BetterBrookfield, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Randy Melchert, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News


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