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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary


July 23, 2003

Perhaps this is why I normally don't broach politics on here... My friend Ryan Priest sent me this today concerning the Iraq situation:


"The controversy surrounding Iraq and the Weapons of Mass Destruction seems insane to me. The U.S. went in there and removed a dictator from power who is responsible for the torture and murder of tens of thousands of innocent people. Now there are some who, for their own political gain, are working to demonize the motivations for the events that lead to the ousting of that evil regime."

The problem with this statement is that GWB and his administration said the United States was in imminent danger if we did not go in there and dispose of WMD's. He drilled it into our collective heads over and over. Weapons of Mass Destruction. There was never mention of deposing a tyrant. It was all WMD's all the time. If GWB had portrayed it as a hunt for a dictator, I think the backlash would be much less. Hussein's ouster is just a convenient fallback to take egg off the administration's face because the primary objective has not been realized.

Come on Lou, look at how slowly Baghdad is being rebuilt. The oil ministry was secured first, and the US will get around to helping restore basic services when we get around to it. This war was not motivated by the need to depose an evil regime. But, he's out and his sons are dead. Which I'm all for. But let's not go doubletalking the American people that this is what it was about. Because there are a lot of of other asshole tyrants we need to go after next. Especially the ones in Southeast Asia.

As usual, Ryan makes a great deal of sense. My friend Scott Massey (not to further perpetuate a four-word cliché) agrees with much of this, and when the two of them give me similar feedback, it tends to be balls-on accurate most of the time.

Both pointed out how the oil supplies in Iraq are being protected above and beyond. And, to agree with that take, let's be honest: that's what it's all about. Kim Il-Sung is tyrannical in his own right, yet he remains in power. But North Korea, while it does not have massive oil supplies, does curtail the freedoms of its own people to the point of insanity.

I support President Bush... but to a point. I think that the so-called "Patriot Act" was an abhorrant erosion of the civil liberties of Americans that have already been taken away to a disturbing level in the past twenty years. I fear that the "religious right", or more accurately the pro-government control wing of the Republican party, influences President Bush far too much.

It does remain to be seen if we were in imminent danger (like we were in the Cuban missile crisis -- if you want to be scared, read The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh to see how close we came to nuclear war with Cuba). And not to take an "end justifies the means" angle, but after what happened on 9-11-01, do we need to secure bona fide evidence that we have an imminent threat posed against us? Doesn't some pre-emptive effort, even if perhaps not entirely accurately guided, have justification in the prevention of the loss of American lives?

In another point: wouldn't you love to know how things would've been had the Gore/Lieberman ticket captured the White House in January 2001? And don't give me the "they really won" speal; tell that to Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland (who both lost the office in similar fashion, yet ran later on and won in a subsequent campaign). Okay, so maybe the movie industry would be forced to keep more sex and violence out of films, and taxes would be a little higher. But aren't you curious as to how Gore/Lieberman would've handled 9/11? And the economic downturn that started in 2000? I still think that the 2000 election was a suckers election for a one-term president... though George W. Bush has the fundraising skills (much like Bill Clinton) to actually make a second term a viable possibility. I had the chance earlier this month to bet against GWB getting a second term in office, and I quickly passed it up. Much like betting against Brett Favre or Michael Vick, there are some things that are advisable not to do...

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