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Thursday, November 13, 2003

Where's the Data?

Jim, regarding three quotes from Bush and senior administration officials, you write that "it's pretty clear these are outright lies or at least great leaps beyond the facts." Unless you have access to all classified intelligence data worldwide, or at least what Bush and his Administration have access to, I'm baffled as to how you could possibly know that with such confidence. Especially to the confidence level that Bush should be "put in jail" for those statements. I'm not saying I'm sure he didn't lie (or even that I have any clue one way or the other). I'm just saying the evidence that he did lie is totally lacking, primarily because it's extremely difficult to prove a negative (i.e., prove that Bush and his Administration did not see intelligence that supports his statement).

You also asked, "would you want one of your kids to serve in Iraq?" I would be honored if one or both of my daughters served in the United States Armed Forces one day in a situation such as Iraq if they so choose (they're a little young at the moment).

You state "Hitler overran other nations. Saddam not only didn't overrun another nation, he didn't even have the means to do so." Ummm, doesn't Kuwait count as a nation? He tried to overrun Iran. Does that not count because he didn't succeed?

The situation in Iraq in 2002 was much more similar to the situation in Germany in 1938. Who, from that era, if they knew what the future had in store, wouldn't have supported pre-emptively attacking Hitler before he got his war machine in full swing? Yet there was less evidence at that time to support taking action against Hitler than there was supporting taking action against Saddam. At that point Hitler hadn't actually invaded any countries. Saddam had.

As Howie will vouch from our conversations one to two years ago, I wasn't particularly keen on invading Iraq at that time. But then I had a long political conversation with my Dad, who clearly remembered the late thirties. He described to me the peace protests, Neville Chamberlain's "Peace in our Time" speech, the antiwar media, the French wringing their hands and imploring and threatening Hitler not to continue violating the Treaty of Versailles (but doing nothing). He was stunned by the similarity of that time with 2002. He asked me, "when is the world going to learn that you shouldn't ever appease power hungry dictators?" I couldn't come up with a good answer to his question and since then I've supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Are there other power hungry dictators? Of course. Should we remove them from power? If they have the resources to actually achieve the power they crave, I think we should. Saddam, with his hunger for power and oil fields, was, in my opinion, the most obvious target at the time. The other power hungry dictators simply don't have the resources to wreak as much havoc as someone like Saddam.

I need clarification on one thing. Do you think that Ends can never justify Means (that are not just in and of themselves), or that in the case of the Iraq war in particular the Ends didn't justify the Means, if the Means were that Bush lied?

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