Saturday, October 25, 2003

What the hell has happened to Gregg Easterbrook? The guy has had a respected twenty-five year record as a top journalist and commentator. He wrote the best single book I've ever read about environmental policy. Then, a couple of weeks ago, he gets his words all tangled up, enough to make him look anti-Semitic, which we all know he's not. (Easterbrook's mangling of logic is certainly nothing to compare, as far as anti-Semitism goes, with what we read in La Vanguardia every day. The Vangua uses "judio" and "israeli" as synonyms, so you'll read about the "Jewish army" or the "Jewish government". Of course, most Jews are not Israelis and many Israelis are not Jews.)

And now this. Where did he come up with this crap?

IT'S THIS SIMPLE: COME CLEAN ON WMD, OR LEAVE IRAQ: I'd like to propose a simplification of the entire Iraq/WMD debate. It's this: If the reason we went into Iraq really, truly was that the Bush administration really, truly believed Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, then there is nothing of which the administration need feel shamed --but the United States must immediately leave Iraq.

We now know there is no significant banned-weapons program in Iraq. Any serious manufacturing facilities for banned weapons would have been detected by this point. If we went in to stop a banned-weapons program genuinely believing one existed, and now know one did not exist, then our military must depart immediately. This is the only honorable course.

Alternative: The administration admits that other reasons, possibly valid, were the real reasons all along.

posted 10:24 a.m.

Where did Easterbrook get the idea that leaving Iraq would be the morally right thing to do? Does he want us to leave those people with no government, with no security, with no hope for the future? That, to me, would be the height of amorality, to abandon twenty-five million people to their fate over an abstract question of principle. It would be neither just nor kind nor decent nor reasonable nor logical nor in American interests.

As for weapons of mass destruction, we KNOW (not just "really, truly believe") Saddam had them because he USED them on the Kurds and the Iranians. We KNOW, through David Kay's report, that Saddam DID continue his WMD programs after the first Gulf war. We KNOW that Saddam stopped cooperating with UN and American authorities regarding inspections in 1998 and that that, in itself, is a casus belli.

The most important reason we went after Saddam was not his possession of WMD, which we know that Israel and South Korea and Taiwan and Turkey and Pakistan and several of our other pals have. The thing is that we're not afraid any of them are going to slip a few tons of anthrax or a battlefield nuke to some terrorist gang. (Well, the Pakistanis...) We were justifiably afraid that Saddam would do exactly that because Saddam was a wealthy, powerful dictator with a serious bone to pick with the United States; we KNOW (not just "really, truly believe") that Saddam had terrorist connections (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Ansar el-Islam), that he gave money to the families of Palestinian suicide terrorists, that he recruited thugs from all over the Middle East for his Fedayeen, that he gave shelter to wanted terrorists (Abu Nidal, for example), and he bought arms illegally from lovely countries like North Korea and France. (The US sold him some sixty helicopters after the end of the Iran war and before the Kuwait war. That's all we ever sold him.)

Oh, by the way, as a "collateral benefit", we got rid of one of the worst dictators ever and are now trying to build Iraq into a stable nation. Got any problems with that, Mr. Easterbrook? Or was that immoral? And wouldn't it be the absolute worst thing imaginable if we pulled out right now and let Saddam Hussein come back to power? That would be beyond immoral. That would be perverse and evil. That would be much worse than Bush's alleged lying about whether he "really, truly believed" Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Which he did, I genuinely think. Believe, that is, not lie.

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