How Stupid Are You, Richard?
As we all know by now, Richard Cohen
is an idiot.
has been vivisecting Richard and his puerile columns to great effect, but he's been busy this week, so as someone who's also got issues with Mr. Cohen, I'll take up the slack today.
The true enemy of the Bush administration's war wing (Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.) is not at the moment Saddam Hussein but time itself. The further we get from Sept 11, 2001 -- the more the clock ticks and passions cool -- the harder it gets to make a case for war. Speaking just for myself, time has taken a toll. I may just settle for peace.
It's good that at least you're speaking for yourself, Rich. I'd pity anyone else you let you speak for them.
Richard may believe that it'd getting harder to make the case for war, but then, as he notes later, Richard doesn't actually know what he believes. Of course, since the case has been made, convincingly and repeatedly, Richard's wrong, as usual.
My conclusions are still tentative -- there is much we still don't know -- and I am stuck in neutral. But the urgency I once felt for attacking Iraq has somewhat dissipated. After all, it was based not just on a hatred of that beast Saddam Hussein but on the assumption that he was somehow linked to last year's terrorist attacks. I wanted something more than "regime change." I wanted Hussein's head.
What urgency? You've been whining about the lack of a case for removing Saddam for a while now.
But there appears to be no link between Hussein and the terrorist attacks. "Proof" of it exists only in the writings of certain conservative commentators who hankered for a war against Hussein even before Sept. 11. But at the CIA and the State Department, that purported justification has largely been abandoned. It has no basis.
There's the Prague meeting that the Czechs insist happened. There's the Al Qaeda camps in Iraq. There's Saddam's funding of other terrorist organizations.
Oh, and there's Saddam's attacks on U.S. and British aircraft, and his ongoing refusal to honor the agreements he signed in 1991 as part of the cease fire.
And the weapons of mass destruction.
That's plenty of basis for any sane person.
Many Americans have not yet caught on. A poll done by the Gallup organization last month showed that 53 percent of Americans believe Saddam Hussein "was personally involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." Little by little, that number will drop and so, as a result, will support for the war.
Why will it drop? Because Richard says so?
This presents the Bush administration with a dilemma. After all, if Hussein is unconnected to Sept. 11, then the only thing that has changed since that awful day is public sentiment. The Clinton administration also wanted to do away with Hussein. But Bill Clinton was mired in a sex scandal and in no position to do anything more than bomb Iraq for five days. Even that bombing was denounced by congressional Republicans as a way to divert attention from what really mattered -- Monica Lewinsky.
Well, because that's what it was. The former Narcissist-in-Chief had mostly ignored Iraq for the preceeding six years. President Bush has made it clear from day one that he'd like to see Saddam gone.
In contrast, President Bush for the moment has public backing for war. But that moment cannot last much longer, and Saddam Hussein -- no fool he -- clearly is playing for time. He has unconditionally accepted the return of U.N. arms inspectors to Iraq. There's a good chance Hussein is insincere, but there's also the chance that this time he knows America is serious. He'd like to rule the Middle East, but he'd settle for just keeping his head.
You'll pardon me here, because I have to use profanity:
Richard, you are a fucking moron! You are ignorant to a degree that I'd have thought was impossible for a literate, educated adult.
We know, from his previous column, that Richard can "cleverly" search computerized databases. Surely he could have done the minimal research necessary to fild the text of Iraq's letter to the U.N., in which the "unconditional" assent to inspectors was laced with conditions.
He could have done a bit more clever research in those computerized databases to find that Iraq only agreed to inspections at sites they deem to be "military". An awfully big condition, that.
It's garbage like this that ought to lose Cohen his column; it's not just a matter of opinion, but the paroting of a stupid and already-discredited lie ("unconditional acceptance") that literally ten seconds of research would have clarified.
Cohen is an embarrassment to the Post, to his profession, and to his species, whatever one it might happen to be.
Hussein's sudden reasonableness puts the Bush administration face to face with a cliche: Can it take yes for an answer? Another way of asking that question is what, precisely, are its war aims? If one is revenge for Sept. 11, that's already a non-starter. If another is to ensure that Iraq is stripped of weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological and, above all, nuclear -- then thorough inspections might suffice. If, however, the aim is to put Hussein in the past tense, then that's a different matter and raises a critical question: Is the elimination of one man worth the lives of possibly many Americans?
See above. If the answer had actually been "yes", there might be a point here. As it wasn't, there isn't.
And again; any person who believes that inspections - even "thorough" inspections - will remove the threat of Iraqi WMD, is living in Cloudkookoo Land.
After all, Saddam Hussein is not the only beast in the jungle, and we are not in the habit of going to war just to rid the world of bad guys. If he can be contained, if he can be treated as we have treated Cuba's Fidel Castro -- sanctions, maybe some covert activity, support for the Iraqi opposition, etc. -- then that might be sufficient.
Well, except for Manuel Noriega and Slobodovan Milosevic, right, Richard?
And there's another reason we didn't act more aggressively towards Cuba. It was called the Soviet Union. You might remember it, Richard, but then, it was a long time ago so I guess I shouldn't expect too much.
It's up to Bush to define and narrow his war aims. Does he want a neutered Iraq or a dead Hussein -- or both? I'd like both, to tell you the truth, but only the former seems a reason for war. If Hussein has -- and is about to develop -- a nuclear capability, then he presents an unacceptable threat to the region and, by extension, to America's interests in the Middle East. If, on the other hand, he is humbled and truly disarmed -- if he is forced to comply with a gaggle of U.N. resolutions -- then he may remain a cur and a lout, but outside of Iraq he can do no real damage.
The President has defined it. "Regime change" is fairly clear.
The drums of war, once sharp and snappy, are sounding muddled. Do we want an Iraq without Hussein or merely one without weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear ones? Frankly, I don't know anymore, and I don't think the Bush administration does either. The more time between windup and delivery, the more questions get raised. Since last Sept. 11, a cause for war has become a cause to wonder.
Well, you may not know what you want, Richard, but the President does, and he has made it abundantly clear, over and over. If you can't read the coverage in your own newspaper that has detailed it, well, that's your problem, not ours.