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I had occasion today to spend some time arguing about the war with an air force captain today, and it was fascinating! At first he thought I was just a stupid kid, then I think he thought I was a stupid liberal. But by the end he said that about half my arguments were balanced, and that while he didn’t have time for left wing conspiracy theories, he would read material I sent him if it was from a real newspaper and not from a blog. A huge victory in my opinion.

Here’s some of what I learned from our argument:

1. I learned that military people like arguing about this stuff, but only if you can go mission by mission and point by point. (I live with a soldier, so this was not a big surprise.) He wanted to argue these questions each separately:
a. Why Iraq?
b. Why 2003?
c. Why not let the inspectors finish?
d. What DID the rest of the world think at that time?
e. Who in Congress voted for the war and who didn’t? (Captain B thought all but 1 representative voted for the war.)
f. What exactly were they voting for? (Captain B didn’t know what was in the resoltion but I did.)
g. Why didn’t the US go back to the UN?
h. Why didn’t the Rumsfeld expect an insurgency?
i. Why was a long occupation unplanned and unprepared for?
2. I was SHOCKED that a well-informed military officer who flies F-16’s had never heard of the Downing Street Minutes. He refused to argue about whether the Bush Cabal lied us into war.
3. I learned that many of the US contractors working in Iraq actually have clean records and are no corrupt, even after the recent audits.
4. Apparently, much of the things I learn about on Air America and Head On Radio Network are considered to be conspiracy theories.
5. It is very hard to say, “No I didn’t know about that, but I will look into it.” instead of just telling the person they are wrong.
6. I learned that there are people on the other side who can argue intelligently about these matters, even military officers. And I think Captain B learned that there are some people on the liberal side who can also argue intelligently and with the facts at their fingertips, even teenagers with political blogsites.

Questions for you:

1. Do you like to argue politics with other people?
2. Do you prefer to argue with people your own age or people of different ages?
3. Can you tell someone they are wrong and not insult them at the same time?

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