rhetoric soup

what is one to believe?

if one were to believe our president, iraq and saddam hussein will be spreading death and destruction across the middle east, and perhaps the world, if we don’t do our “duty” (i.e., bring death and destruction to the iraqi regime as soon as possible).

then again, there are many people far more informed than yours truly who would say the opposite – hussein does not pose an imminent threat, and we should let weapons inspectors do their job. after all, how hard do you think it would be to find a few roomfulls of nasty biological agents in an area the size of california?? i think i’d like to have more than a month or so to do the job…

and so, i will sit briefly in my political analysts’s virtual armchair and offer my thoughts…


logic does not appear to be in the extensive vocabulary of our president. or at least, he doesn’t appeal to logic in making his arguments. emotion rules the day when he speaks about the “threats” to american liberty posed by iraq.
a few points…

1. iraq probably has some nasty stuff, but why would they use it?
saddam hussein may be a lunatic, and an oppressive dictator who tortures his own people, but i would argue that he is not stupid. he has not stayed in power this long, with this much opposition, without having a few high-octane brain cells. what could he possibly gain by using WMDs (weapons of mass destruction, for those not in tune with the argot of global warfare)? if he has them and used them, the world would come down on him like rain in seattle…it would all be over. it just doesn’t make sense that iraq would poison israeli infidels with anthrax, or blow up the saudis just for kicks, or lob a few SCUD missiles towards the US (damn, you mean they don’t fly 10000 miles?).

2. why are we so concerned about this NOW?
saddam hussein has always been a bad person. ok, so maybe we didn’t think he was so bad when we gave him weapons to fight iran, but who’s counting? since the gulf war, he has been a megalomaniacal tyrant bent on building weapons and bolstering his position within the country. what has changed in the last few months to merit this intensity of attention, this drive to disarm now, or face the consequences? hmmm…let’s see…we haven’t caught osama bin laden. the US economy is flagging and dragging. the so-called “war on terrorism” isn’t really playing as well as it used to. i know! let’s manufacture a new enemy to distract and despise!

3. links to al qaeda? give me a break…please.
i have read numerous articles by supposedly intelligent journalists, and heard countless reasons, that make a good case why the iraqis would have absolutely no interestin dealing with terrorists like al qaeda. hussein’s regime is secular – they have no links to islamic fundamentalism or its cause. they don’t even like those guys, because they’re more nuts than hussein is himself. where is the evidence that hussein has been concocting nefarious plots with osama and his buddies? (silence) well, there was that meeting that might have happened in prague between an iraqi official and some al qaeda operative… (silence) maybe colin powell will lay it all out for us next week at the UN.

4. hussein does not hold a monopoly on brutal despotism. why do we turn a blind eye or seek diplomacy over war with nations other than iraq?
hussein is a convenient, recognizable, target. with sufficient horsepower in the propaganda machine, he can be portrayed in a way that creates fear and doubt and the apparent need for action. brutal, tribal regimes in africa that slaughter their enemies with abandon? not our problem. north korea? hmmm…that’s a tough one. let’s let diplomacy take its course. saudi arabia? well, yeah, they don’t really treat their women very well, and they’re kind of mean, but they’re our buddies!

in short, i would argue, from a strictly logical standpoint, that military action in iraq makes no sense, at least not at the moment. the downside would be terrible. the upside? what upside? regime change? put it this way – any person who can unify the Ba’ath party, the Kurds, and the sunni muslims deserves the nobel peace prize – twice.
and now it is time for me to leave the political armchair and move someplace a little more comfortable and a little less ambiguous…

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3 thoughts on “rhetoric soup

  1. Andrew Lynch

    Boy oh boy oh boy, are you singing to the choir!
    In answer to point 1: because Bush says so. I was assaulted by the Right on Slate’s message boards for daring to propose that many agendae are at work here. Bush says so, so you should just shut up about it.
    In answer to point 2: There’s no time like the present (except for the past or the future, but let’s not complicate the matter in ways that might influence re-election).
    In response to point 3: Don’t you worry, before the end of February, Rummy, Wolfy, Cheney-y, and others will bare our intelligence linking al-Qaeda to the French and German governments. Those crepe-eatin’, beer-swilling pinko fascists will be revealed to the world for the fundamentalist sympathizers they are. I just hope we don’t bomb the Champs Elysees, cause there’s no better shopping to be had in the world.
    Point 4: Oh, yeah? You think you know everything, don’t you, Yankee Boy? Maybe you’d like to take a little trip to John Ashcroft’s offices for a very special interview in sub-basement 16, which is reserved for unpatriotic Lefties like yourself. I bet you don’t even pronounce the word terrorist “tairst.”
    I KNEW you were too intelligent to be a REAL American. Watch your back, man, watch your little-brown-people-loving back!

    Reply
  2. michele

    “In response to point 3: Don’t you worry, before the end of February, Rummy, Wolfy, Cheney-y, and others will bare our intelligence linking al-Qaeda to the French and German governments. Those crepe-eatin’, beer-swilling pinko fascists will be revealed to the world for the fundamentalist sympathizers they are. I just hope we don’t bomb the Champs Elysees, cause there’s no better shopping to be had in the world.”
    Oh Andrew,
    Your last sentence there has condemned you. We here at the Office of Homeland Security have suspected you for some time. We now know your latest purchases made with your credit cards, the last convenience store you stopped at, your mother’s maiden name, and are presently triangulating your unamerican ass using your cellphone signal.
    Everyone knows REAL Americans don’t shop in fucking Paris. We’re only surprised you could have made such an obvious blunder. ;)

    Reply
  3. robert keil

    I was chatting with a pal in the air force this december. He’s a major who does intelligence work, and thinks the war is stupid and counter-productive. So I ask him, what are the chances we’re going to do this?
    he just looked at me and said, “end of february or march.” hey, but what if… and he cuts me off, “there’s no way to stop it now, we’re going, they made the decision months ago.”
    he didn’t know anything specific, but he said the mood in the pentagon was just like the gulf war, all about when, not if. totally chilling. just check your calendars and look for the next new moon cycles, and remember that we always try to strike in the dark.
    Bush is taking an amazing gamble; if this works, it means we can re-order the world to take out any nutjob who opposes us. Or it could be a total urban warfare bloodbath. the crazy part is that I think that his reasons are exactly what he says: he think S.H. is evil, and the world will be better off w/o him and that’s basically it.
    Christ I miss Clinton…
    robert

    Reply

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