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Drag Out the Clowns

by Aaron Schmookler (Age: 40)
copyright 01-23-2003

Age Rating: 13 +

I am one liberal who is having trouble knowing just where to stand on the question of war with Iraq. My ambivalence is due largely to my inability to trust the people I hear talking on both sides of the issue.

On the hawkish side, our president, George W. Bush, says that Saddam Hussein is part of an “Axis of Evil”. While I certainly would agree that Saddam is a dangerous despot, and while I might even agree that he is evil, this “Axis” mumbo-jumbo smacks of sensationalist propaganda that doesn’t even mean anything. It seems to be designed simply to get our hackles up by recalling to our hearts the terrors of World War II.

This so called “Leader of the Free World” then said, to paraphrase, “Saddam is a dangerous man who must be punished for flouting the will of the international community.” He went on to say, “The will of the international community be damned. Whether the UN is with us or against us; we’re going to rain down judgment upon him.” No one in the media seemed at all troubled by the paradox he employed. I am.

Paradox, though, seems to be a staple of Bush’s hawkish rhetoric. Upon the recent release of the inspectors’ report claiming to have found “no smoking gun”, he claimed that the burden of proof that Iraq had disarmed was on Iraq. This is another way of saying that Saddam must prove that Iraq has no weapons. It is a generally accepted philosophical principle, however, that you can’t prove a negative. There is no void-of-weapons that Saddam can show to satisfy Bush’s demand for proof.

Bush’s hawk buddy Rumsfeld is also dabbling in paradox in response to the dearth of smoking guns. “The fact that the inspectors have not yet come up with new evidence of Iraq’s WMD program,” Rumsfeld posits, “could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq’s non-cooperation.” This sounds to me an awful lot like Salem’s trial by ordeal – We’ll put you under this impossibly heavy pile of rocks; if you die, then God saw your guilt; if you live, that’s proof you’re a witch.

On the side of the doves, however, no one seems to want to acknowledge the danger that Saddam poses. They site as reasons to avoid war, the so-called fact that the U.S. is a sponsor of terrorism. They seem to be completely unable to imagine an instance when military force on the part of the U.S. would be justified, as though they cannot remember the intended genocides of Hitler and Milosovitch. My neighbor has posted a sign outside their house that reads, “war is terrorism”.

I can’t believe a word said by any of these people since they’ve proven themselves incapable of, or indisposed to careful, honest consideration. Let this be my plea to the media to boycott this extremist, unintelligent babble in favor of the reasoned, and honest debate that must be going on somewhere. Let me hear it.

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