Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

I get to be as self-indulgent as I want without wasting anyone's time. Guilt-free solipsism -- excellent!

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Wednesday, February 05, 2003
So Iraq is a tricky one. I find myself in the reluctant-war-if-need-be camp, along with Thomas Friedman and Rafe Colburn, who I've found to be the most thoughful commentators on the subject, and whose evolving thinking on this issue has mirrored my own (a sly self-pat on the back there, eh?) Despite my innate dovish tendencies, I'm frustrated by what I perceive to be the overly simplistic stance of the anti-war camp. Marching on Washington with pictures of Bush-as-Hitler is not a terribly articulate argument for not going to war, and is somewhat offensive to boot -- lest it need pointing out, for all his faults, W is not and cannot be equated to Hitler. (Remind me to post about my neatly reductive but possibly quite insightful aphorism about the difference between liberals and conservatives). The best argument against is timing -- why now? That said, the UN was clearly never going to do anything about Saddam's brazen contempt for the various UN resolutions, and they should be ashamed that it took the US holding their feet to the fire to scramble into action.

I have a strong suspicion that the Bush administration uses their "cowboy" reputation as an instrument of foreign policy -- other countries think, "They're hellbent on war, we have to stop them", thereby engendering all kinds of serious diplomatic work that never would have happened had the Americans presented themselves as multilateralists completely devoted to finding a peaceful solution to every problem. There's no question in my mind that a credible threat of war/unilateral action makes diplomacy a much more attractive option.

Anyway, I was thinking on the car to work today, I said to my lovely wife, I said: "The people who should be most in favor of going after Saddam are the people who feel that the UN rather than the US should be the primary player in international relations, because he has badly undermined their credibility with [the aforementioned] brazen contempt for their various resolutions. If they really feel the UN is the true enforcer of human rights and non-proliferation, then they ought to be in favor of flexing some UN muscle."


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