I’ve received two very different kinds of email for today’s column. Most are supportive, but there’s a sizable minority of the scandalized and horrified. This is my favorite so far:
Wow!! Last time I wrote to you I simply summarized your amazingly ignorant comments and asked if I could possibly be right in my understanding of what you were saying. You simply answered that I had the gist of it. This time I must address some of the things you said directly.
Regarding the sheriff in the bad town, the inmate in prison, and the kid in the schoolyard. Do you need to be reminded that we are not in a Wild West town, a prison, or a schoolyard? I would hope that we might not simply take the attitude that we should respond as if we are. Each of those situations is basically an “every man for himself”, “the biggest bully on the block wins” atmosphere. This is the real world, not the movies. If you are that sheriff, that prisoner or that schoolboy, what is bound to happen is that someone will ambush you on your way home, stick a shiv in you while you sleep, or the school bullies will catch you when you are one against a dozen and beat the living crap out of you. (Remind you of anything, like the Twin Towers or what is happening in Iraq post-war?)
Why attack Iraq? WHY NOT!!!? Are you certifiably insane? We should attack another country just because we want to hit somebody and they are a good target?!! Are you a distant cousin of Osama Bin Laden or Mohamar Khadaffi?
You say that it is impossible to make a logical argument that Bush lied about WMD because, in order to have lied, he would have had to know that Saddam did not have WMD? Here is the logical argument. Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Powell all said that they KNEW that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and KNEW exactly where they were. They didn’t say they didn’t know whether he did or not, they didn’t say he MIGHT have them, they said they KNEW he had them. But, obviously they didn’t know any such thing. That, my friend, was a lie.
You said, “the kicker for me was simple: We needed to kick someones butt…and Iraq was by far the best candidate…The United States needs to go to war with Iraq because it needs to go to war with someone in the region and Iraq makes the most sense..sometimes the smartest thing you can do is beat the tar out of a bad guy—even if that bad guy was ‘innocent’ of the specific offense that ticked you off.” This is the attitude of a criminal, of a mob boss, of a cretinous idiot who has a strong back and no brains.
My response I won’t spend a lot of time on this. But my short answer is quite simple. The global arena is a state of nature. It is not bound by law. What we call “international law” is in fact a set of agreements between relatively like-minded nations and governments. Saddam Hussein, who was a one-man State, lived and operated outside all of those agreements and arrangements. We operated through the United Nations until it became clear the UN was unwilling to enforce its own judgements and rules. We decided to enforce them anyway. Again: We’ve got nothing to apologize for.