Saturday, September 28, 2002

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GRAB BAG ON IRAQ: Some not-so-random weekend thoughts about the Iraq situation:

1) David Sanger’s NYT article on the proliferating historical analogies regarding Iraq is pretty good at pointing out the flaws behind some of the pro-attack examples. However, Sanger fails to mention that the anti-attack analogies are just as flawed. Ted Kennedy, for example, evoked the Cuban Missile Crisis as a counterexample to attacking in a speech he gave to SAIS. As I’ve said before, this is an awful analogy. If taken seriously, however, ask yourself this question: would JFK have let them embargo go on for more than ten years? That’s essentially the situation has been during the Gulf War.

2) You have to admit, the U.S. has excellent taste in enemies. At a crucial juncture in the global debate about whether to provide multilateral support for an armed attack, the Iraqis respond “diplomatically” and get caught trying to acquire weapons-grade uranium.

UPDATE: Sounds like they weren't acquiring a lot of uranium. I'm glad the International Atomic Energy Agency found something to laugh about.

3) As the debate progresses, how will we know if the neocon position is losing momentum? If you hear warnings about the damage to America’s reputation if we fail to take action, that’s a good sign of desperation. I don’t like this argument, because taken at face value, it’s a license for the executive branch to do anything it wants. As a branch of government, Congress can be incoherent, obstreperous, venal, petty, clueless, and downright nasty. But they are an excellent check against executive power.

4) How will we know if the anti-war position is losing momentum? If you hear arguments that the economic costs of the war will put the economy into a recession. This ranking of priorities is just a polite form of isolationism.

posted by Dan on 09.28.02 at 02:39 PM