29. January, 2004 - changing attitudes

I’ve had a few readers comment that they aren’t thrilled by me talking about Bush and WMDs. Well, that’s understandable. Few people are going to change their opinions about the situation. But there are too many evenings in the bar when I hear the refrain of Bush Lied! and I think that people need to look at some of the facts behind that. It’s pretty clear that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons at some point, and it’s also pretty clear that one of the reasons given for attacking Iraq was because of the fear of those weapons. I don’t think a reasonable person could argue either of those facts, and yet some seemingly reasonable people still do.

I think that the weapons of mass destruction (a horrible name) weren’t the primary reason for attacking Iraq, they were a convenient (and UN-provided) excuse. I don’t think the excuse was needed, but it’s a lot easier (politically and diplomatically) to say We attacked Saddam Hussein to remove his capability to use WMDs than it is to say what I think was the real reason: We attacked Saddam Hussein to drag the Middle East kicking and screaming into the 21st century since that latter wouldn’t go over very well.

We’re still seeing how things will play out, but if there ends up being some real change in the Middle East, I think that will be a good thing. I don’t expect to change a lot of people overnight, but I also don’t think the vast majority of people there need changing. Just the ones who want to use weapons of terror against the U.S. They need to have it explained to them that that sort of behavior just won’t be tolerated. I think overthrowing the Taliban and Baath Party explains that fairly effectively. What remains is sorting out the unteachable. That’s probably going to prove pretty difficult, as years of experience in Israel has shown.

If you want a slightly different way of presenting almost the same views, Mitch Berg’s The Big Mean World Awareness Test might be fun for you.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:55:57.