« TSABTV »
10.09.2002

Disgusted

What a bunch of craven, craven people in the U.S. Senate. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in Bizarro World, where everything is inverted; I can't think of any other way that Bush could be making a weak, disjointed argument for attacking another country, and everybody votes for it.

A few weeks ago I was watching one of those crossfire-type argument shows on television ( in hotels I am an addict, because there is no reception at home ), and one of the guests was a very unkempt Pat Buchanan. Pat Buchanan and I have pretty much the entire political spectrum separating us, but I have always had a grudging respect for his willingness to think things through. He is a shocking nativist and his conclusions are infuriating, but the fact that he will argue points and lucidly defend them stands in such glaring contrast to our President, who seems to find synaptic activity of any kind a sign of personal weakness, that I have to respect the man.

They had primed Buchanan up for a big debate on Iraq, against some white-haired liberal dove, and instead he talked about the fact that Saddam Hussein was nothing but an overgrown tribal chieftain, that he valued nothing more than his own grasp on power, and that despite his demonstrated ability and willingness to kill people with poison gas, he had refrained from using chemical weapons in the Gulf War. Saddam Hussein's entire motivation being his own political survival, there was no reason a sound aggressive policy of deterrence and inspections couldn't continue to work, as long as the dictator wasn't backed into a corner. All the white-haired guy could do was agree.

When even Pat Buchanan gets it, why is the Senate voting for war? Iraq has been successfully deterred from using its stockpiles of chemical weapons, and it's pretty clear that they're willing to cave on inspections, too. Doesn't this insistence on regime change seem to be precisely the kind of nation building and meddling that Bush was so snarky about during his debates with Gore? Why push a dictator desperate to stay in power to the wall - why not let him live out his reign as a two-bit Saladin, like the Castros and Kim Jong Ils of this world? Of course he's evil as hell, but what makes his regime qualitatively different from so many other dictatorships out there?

Listening to Bush make his speech was frustrating and sad. The arguments he made so carefully were sound, but all of them applied much better to Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea than they did to Iraq. Known ties to terrorists? Known nuclear capability? Aggression towards neighboring states? Repressive regime with ties to Al-Qaeda? Why aren't we invading Pakistan yet?

At this rate, who knows. I might be eating those words a few months from now.

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