Thursday, March 13
Mr. Bush Goes For The Kill
Terry Jones, The Observer, March 13, 2003

Mr. Bush is right, Saddam Hussein is a nasty man and nobody I know has the least objection to Mr. Bush killing him. It's just the way he proposes doing it that worries me. Dropping 3000 bombs in 48 hours on Baghdad is going to kill a lot of other people who, as far as I am aware, are not nasty at all.

That's the bit of the 'moral' argument I don't follow. It's a bit like the police saying they know a murderer comes from the south of England so they are going to execute everybody in Epsom. [...]

The Xanax Cowboy
Maureen Dowd, New York Times, March 9, 2003

WASHINGTON — You might sum up the president's call to war Thursday night as "Message: I scare."
As he rolls up to America's first pre-emptive invasion, bouncing from motive to motive, Mr. Bush is trying to sound rational, not rash.
Determined not to be petulant, he seemed tranquilized.

But the Xanax cowboy made it clear that Saddam is going to pay for 9/11.[...]

We are scared of the world now, and the world is scared of us. (It's really scary to think we are even scaring Russia and China.)

Bush officials believe that making the world more scared of us
-- is the best way to make us safer and less scared.
So they want a spectacular show of American invincibility to make the wicked and the wayward think twice before crossing us.

Of course, our plan to sack Saddam has not cowedthe North Koreans and Iranians, who are scrambling to get nukes. to cow us

It still confuses many Americans that, in a world full of vicious slimeballs,
we're about to bomb one
that didn't attack us on 9/11 (like Osama);
that isn't intercepting our planes (like North Korea);
that isn't financing Al Qaeda (like Saudi Arabia);
that isn't home to Osama and his lieutenants (like Pakistan);
that isn't a host body for terrorists (like Iran, Lebanon and Syria).

I think the president is genuinely obsessed with protecting Americans [...]

Fire, Ready, Aim
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, March 9, 2003

I went to President Bush's White House news conference on Thursday to see how he was wrestling with the momentous issue of Iraq.

One line he uttered captured all the things that are troubling me about his approach. It was when he said: "When it comes to our security, we really don't need anybody's permission." [...]

Fact: The invasion of Iraq today is not vital to American security. Saddam Hussein has neither the intention nor the capability to threaten America, and is easily deterrable if he did. ...When Mr. Bush takes a war of choice and turns it into a war of necessity, people naturally ask, "Hey, what's going on here? We're being hustled. The real reason must be his father, or oil, or some right-wing ideology."

A story. In 1945 King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia met President Franklin D. Roosevelt on a ship in the Suez Canal. Before agreeing to meet with Roosevelt, King Abdul Aziz, a Bedouin at heart, asked his advisers two questions about the U.S. president: "Tell me, does he believe in God and do they [the Americans] have any colonies?"

The real question the Saudi king was asking was: how do these Americans use their vast power?

Like the Europeans, in pursuit of colonies, self-interest and imperium,
or on behalf of higher values?

That's still the most important question for U.S. national security.

... the world is still ready to be led by an America that's a little more humble, a little better listener and a little more ready to say to its allies:
how can we work this out?
How much time do we need to give you to see if inspections can work for you to endorse the use of force if they don't?

Think about F.D.R. He had just won World War II. America was at the apex of its power. It didn't need anyone's permission for anything. Yet, on his way home from Yalta, confined to a wheelchair, F.D.R. traveled to the Mideast to meet and show respect for the leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Why?

Because he knew he needed them not to win the war, but to win the peace.
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