Tuesday, March 18, 2003

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Impending war roundup

In no particular order:

1) I've just read the best, fairest, and most accurate summary of why the Anglosphere is about to go to war with Iraq, why multilateral support for such action is thin, and why it is still the right thing to do. The author? Bill Clinton. The final two grafs:

I wish that Russia and France had supported Blair's resolution. Then, Hans Blix and his inspectors would have been given more time and supprt for their work. But that's not where we are. Blair is in a position not of his own making, because Iraq and other nations were unwilling to follow the logic of 1441.

In the post-cold war world, America and Britain have been in tough positions before: in 1998, when others wanted to lift sanctions on Iraq and we said no; in 1999 when we went into Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing. In each case, there were voices of dissent. But the British-American partnership and the progress of the world were preserved. Now in another difficult spot, Blair will have to do what he believes to be right. I trust him to do that and hope the British people will too.

2) Op-eds like Stanley Kutler's in today's Chicago Tribune always puzzle me. Here's Kutler's two first paragraphs:

As we march to war, the Bush administration's interest is to discredit, even foreclose, dissent.

Passivity and a sense of powerlessness are pervasive everywhere. Tabloids and cable channels refer to the 'treason' of celebrities who oppose President Bush. Our political leaders march in lockstep with the president. The so-called 'opposition' hedges its bets, 'patriotically' supporting Bush's actions, but ever hopeful he will stumble on the economy and give them the opportunity of 1992 all over again.

It's painfully obvious that dissent is not being stifled. It's painfully obvious that serious media organs have raised qualms about the Bush administration's actions. It's painfully obvious that some Democrats support the President on principle and some oppose him out of principle (then there's John Kerry). Why would Kutler write these patently silly lines?

Perhaps because anti-war advocates are losing the argument with the American people. Why are they losing their argument? Click here for one possible answer.

First rule of politics -- if you lose an argument, blame the messenger, not the message.

3) Josh Chafetz beats me to the punch on a point worth stressing:

I believe that war is the right option. I believe that it will result in sparing more innocent lives than it takes. But it is not something to exult over. It will take innocent lives, and it will take the lives of allied soldiers. It will take the lives of Iraqi soldiers who joined the army, not because they wanted to, but because they were forced to. Each and every one of these deaths will be a tragedy, and for their family and friends, it will be a tragedy beyond measure.... I am not happy about war. I am scared, and I am nervous.


Remember, that's the perspective of someone who's outside the field of fire. Here's the take of someone who will be in the line of fire.

posted by Dan on 03.18.03 at 10:07 AM