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Monday, June 28, 2004

Response to a Comment

I was, at first, tempted to reply to a comment left on a post last week by simply replying in the comments section, but as my response grew, it seemed more appropriate to post here.

First, it is interesting that, even on the inherently anonymous internet, folks still feel a need to do verbal "drive bys" with no context to their comments, but, I suppose that is part of the "fun" of having a blog. I mean, I might take the criticism more seriously if there were some context by which to judge the comments...

Anyway, the poster took exception to my post about the schizophrenic news coverage regarding the presence of a “tie” between Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government and the terrorists which our country is at war with, Al-Queda.

"Tell it to the parents of the 850 U.S. soldiers that died and the 2000+ Iraqi civilians that died and the 5000 Iraqi civilians that have been wounded," a reader writes. I'm unsure what the "it" is I'm supposed to be telling people.

Now, I finished the post with this line:

“Basically, it comes down to this: we can't prove Iraq was active in the 9/11 planning, but there was a relationship there. Everyone knew it. The President said he worried about the WMD capabilities (or weapons themselves) being funneled to al-Queda from Iraq. It was one reason to prosecute the war.”

I suppose the “it” I’m supposed to be “telling” is in response to this line. It seems like a level-headed enough line, to me. It doesn’t say, for instance, that because the news media is screwing up the coverage of this issue, you, dear reader, are a duntz for still being against the war. In fact, this post was aimed at the reporting, and did not address the necessity of war in this action at all. Granted, we would obviously disagree on this issue, but you picked an odd place to do so, and failed to engage the conversation on any rational or reasonable level. But you go on to criticize MY ability to be rational:

"You are rationalizing an irrational act that could have continued to be handled by diplomacy. There is much stronger evidence of Saudi Arabia ties to Al Qaeda. Yet Bush continues to kiss ass." the writer continues. I find it sad that you, or anyone, considers the 12 years of bungling that went on after the first Gulf War a situation "handled by diplomacy."

Perhaps, to use your own brand of rhetoric (although, I will clarify so you know what "it" you should tell), you should ask the families of the tens of thousands of people killed over those 12 years by Hussein’s government, whether or not they felt the UN oil for food program was a good bit of "diplomacy". You know, those mass graves, right? And, maybe talk to the women and the families of the women who were raped and slaughtered by Saddam and his sons. Or the Iraq athletes who were sodomized and killed when they didn't perform for Saddam's boys. Or the millions of people who lived in worse and worse conditions, with less and less food and medicine, while Saddam, the French, the Germans, the Russians, and Kofi Annon himself profited from the diplomatic solution you claim was "working". Or tell it to the people who might have suffered from a nuclear or dirty bomb, supplied by Iraq to any number of terrorist organizations.

Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the US-led invasion, senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times.

Beyond that, you make equal the state-sanctioned murder, rape, torture, starvation, and other various abuses on the part of the Iraqi dictator with the elements within Saudi Arabia who act contrary to their government. At the same time, you assume you know where I stand on the issue of Saudi Arabia, when, in fact, you do not.

Basically I said the same thing in my post that the bastion of conservative thinking (please note the tongue implanted in my cheek) the SanFrancisco Gate:
"The main problem is that these headlines are simply not true. The 9/11 Commission essentially agreed with the analysis of the president and his administration. Part of the problem feeding this media hysteria is that much of the media is lazy and carries an ideological bias. Rather than follow up on their own leads and conduct their own independent investigation, journalists rely on draft reports written by government sources. Bad idea."

If you want to have a reasonable discussion (even though neither of us should have the delusion that we might “change each other’s minds”) that’s all well and good. Feel free to comment or email.

If you insist on “drive by” posts, then why even bother?


At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If President Bush had approached the Congress and the American people and said, "I am taking the Nation to war because of the tens of thousands of people killed over those 12 years by Hussein’s government, the defective oil for peace program, all of the women raped and slaughtered by Saddam and his sons, the Iraq athletes who were sodomized and killed when they didn't perform for Saddam's boys and the millions of people who lived in worse and worse conditions, with less and less food and medicine." we would have have had the opportinity to evaluate the merits of his proposal.

Instead, we were fed half-truths and fabrications that served his administration's desire to punish Saddam. This transferrence of attention from the terrorist you can't find to the despicable dictator you can is disturbing.

I'm not trying to bash you. I'm just trying to make the point that the President was trying to show the American people that he was doing something about 9/11. Unfortunately, many of our citizens, such as yourself, seem to believe that Saddam and Al Queda are one and the same.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Eric said...

I would, first of all, submit that what you suggest in the first part of your comment was, in fact, part of the rationale behind support for the war. It certainly was on my behalf. Whether you felt the administration presented sufficient amounts of reasoning or not, as far as these humanitarian-tied-to-the-first-Gulfwar issues goes, it WAS and IS a major component of the reasons for support that I hear.

Beyond that, though, I think the idea that we were fed "half-truths" and "fabrications" needs to be viewed in context, and that is part of what I'm trying to provide with my recent posts. When you use the inflamatory words of "half-truths" and "fabrications" you are accusing the President of lying about the following: WMD's (both real and potential), the connection between Iraq and other terroritsts (including al-Queda), and some sort of threat to our national security.

There is not a serious inteligence organization in the world that, prior to 9/11, would have doubted Iraq's ability to produce and distribute biological and chemical weapons, and few who would have doubted the intent, at the very least, to obtain and use nuclear weapons. Even the countries who disagreed with military intervention (France, Germany, etc) had no reason to doubt the WMD intel. That, coupled with the information found in Iraq since the war has vendicated that the capabilities were there, the intent was there, and, very likely, the weapons themselves were there up until the 12 month build up of forces allowed time for them to be re-distributed throughout the terrorist world.

Add to that the fact that the Bush administration was saying the exact same thing the Clinton administration (and folks like Gore, Kerry, Lieberman, Kennedy, and others had said when it was a political issue THEY could benefit from) and using words like "half-truth" and "fabrications" strikes me as disengenuous.

All that said, let me say that I appreciate the tone of this anonymous post and welcome further discussion.



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