micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
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Friday, February 07, 2003
A lesson that hawks should learn
Yesterday's final post, "Dominating the world," was my intellectual response to President George W. Bush's wail for war. My response yesterday afternoon when I heard Bush's comments live on the radio was "Shut the fuck up!"
I linked to this post by Jim Henley in "Dominating the world" but I feel the need to emphasize this section:
I have two letters in my in-box that I've been meaning to get to. Both say, in similar words, "But we have to do something. What's your alternative?" But "we have to do something" is precisely what I'm not convinced of.I have no doubt that at least some of what the Bush Administration is telling us about Iraq is not true -and I would add the Iraqi plot to assassinate George H.W. Bush to the list of lies- but what strikes me about the situation, and what I argued in "Dominating the world," is that even if everything the Bush Administration says about Iraq is true, that they have not provided us with anything approaching a good reason to escalate the war with Iraq. What they have done successfully, if the poll results such as these are accurate, is play on the public's ignorance about the fact that weapons of mass destruction are already in the hands of a number of countries that the U.S. doesn't get along with and that there are logical reasons why countries would want weapons of mass destruction that do not involved attacking the United States. The entire debate has been focused on to keep Iraq from having weapons of mass destruction. Even liberals, or perhaps especially liberals, have bought into this.
When I hear people assuming that Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction amounts to Iraq using weapons of mass destruction, I recall the moment in the fall of 1988 when an 11-year old Micah Holmquist realized that both the U.S. and the Soviet Union possessed nuclear weapons that could destroy all humans many times over. Believing the propaganda that the Soviet Union was out to kill all Americans, I assumed that it was only a matter of time before the world ended. I told as many people, including adults, about this as I could but nobody agreed with my assessment, although to be honest nobody explained why this wasn't going to happen either. The adults knew it was wrong to assume that all humans would die from nuclear war because they knew nuclear weapons has long existed side by side with humans. (The kids I told thought I was crazy, just as they had before my big announcement.) At the same time, it seems they didn't want to deny the dangerous aspect of nuclear weapons. The implicit message, which admittedly I didn't figure out for quite a number of years, was that the world was a dangerous place but that doesn't mean assuming that the worst possible outcome is a sure thing.
I wonder what the adults I talked to about this think of the plans to escalate the war with Iraq. Some no doubt oppose the drive to a heightened war but probably others have bought into it. Regression can be quite sad.