[Vision2020] Re: Courageous Barbara Lee!

Joan Opyr auntiestablishment at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 13 14:59:33 PDT 2004

Ted (Moffet) writes:

>I understood this but I took your arguments to be some sort of defense of Kerry's position.  I guess you were attempting >to make bad logic based on false information seem sensible?  That's how I would characterize the decision by the US >Congress to give Bush support for the invasion of Iraq.

>False information: the Iraq threat to the US: Saddam Hussein represented less of a threat to the US than the funding for >Al Quada coming from Saudi Arabia.  There were no calls from W. Bush or the US Congress for the Saudi totalitarian >dictators to give up the people who fund Al Quada or we will bomb them.

I don't disagree with your arguments, Ted.  They're exactly my own arguments against the war.  Long before Bush was granted the authority to use force, experts on Iraq and those most knowledgeable about the region were agreed that an invasion of Iraq would not be easy; that it would require a much larger number of troops than the Administration was willing to send; and that we would be obliged to occupy the country for at least a decade just to stablize it.  (Democracy, my eye.)  Now we're there, we're stuck, and we don't have enough troops to finish what we've started.  That's what I mean by a hash: unilateral action, international condemnation, and the inability/unwillingness to follow through.  Does the United States want to occupy Iraq for as long as we occupied Japan?  And with as many troops?  The Congress authorized the use of force, but it was Mr. Bush who decided on unilateral action without a plan for the occupation.  There's plenty of blame to go around.  The bulk of it, however, falls squarely on Mr. Bush.  He's the boss.

Where you and I disagree is in what constitutes "bad logic."  Was it bad logic to assume that the threat of force would compel Saddam Hussein to allow UN weapons inspectors back into the country?  I don't think so.  I also don't think it was bad logic, per se, for the Congress to accept the intelligence information the Bush Administration supplied.  It wasn't bad logic but a foolish and misplaced trust in the Administration's integrity.  You yourself have pointed out that those of us who doubted the Administration in the run-up to the war were branded as unpatriotic, soft on terror, and mindless Bush-haters.  The Iraq War was marketed, if you'll excuse the expression, as part and parcel of the War on Terror, and many reasonable, smart, logical people were willing to give the Bush Administration the benefit of the doubt.  Should we write them all off as dim-witted morons?  Should we wave at them from our lofty perches and yell told-you-so?  What good will that do?  Some of our best newspapers also fell into the abyss on this one; witness the recent mea culpas by the New York Times and the Washington Post.  Others news outlets, like Salon and Slate, aquitted themselves more admirably.   

I'm not defending John Kerry's logic as right, but I won't condemn it as bad.  I make a distinction here between bad logic and logic based on false information.  Stories about Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were page one news; investigations into the Administration's use of dodgy intelligence were relegated to page A14 below the fold.  Should the Congress have asked more questions?  Absolutely.  Should the American people?  Yes  From time to time, we ought to put down the flag and pick up a book.  We ought to be more skeptical, more considered, more thoughtful and careful.  It's a very small minority who come out this thing smelling like a rose: a handful of firebrands in the Congress, and (if I recall correctly) only two or three US Senators.  The Bush Administration's arguments fooled a lot of people, and not just those who lack the capacity for sound logic.
We can damn them to perdition for aiding and abetting this tragedy, or we can point the finger of blame where it most clearly belongs: on the man in the White House who took us into war under false pretenses.      

Joan Opyr/Auntie EstablishmentGet more from the Web.  FREE MSN Explorer download : http://explorer.msn.com
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