Let us not launch the boat ...
NY Times - (N.D. Kristof editorial)
Missing in Action: Truth (NY Times)
You know, one of the reasons I know we'll find the weapons eventually is that I cannot bring myself to believe the American people bit for such a two-bit three-ring circus.
Let's fervently hope that tomorrow we find an Iraqi superdome filled with 500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, several dozen Scud missiles, gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, 18 mobile biological warfare factories, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles to dispense anthrax, and proof of close ties with Al Qaeda. Those are the things that President Bush or his aides suggested Iraq might have, and I don't want to believe that top administration officials tried to win support for the war with a campaign of wholesale deceit.
I would expect this or any administration to exaggerate to a certain degree when pursuing something it wants, but is it really time to consider the idea of a wholesale snow job? The article goes on to assert:
Now, as far as I can tell, any self-respecting human being from idiot to genius would probably get tired of being horsewhipped for being wrong over and over and over again. Myself, I'm going to need something more than the table scraps of a program of dubious viability. I sincerely hope for the big catch. We are Americans, after all. There's not much we can't do, though I admit I'm left scratching my head at the things on that list ....
. . . . the abuse of intelligence from Hussein Kamel, a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein and head of Iraq's biological weapons program until his defection in 1995. Top British and American officials kept citing information from Mr. Kamel as evidence of a huge secret Iraqi program, even though Mr. Kamel had actually emphasized that Iraq had mostly given up its W.M.D. program in the early 1990's. Glen Rangwala, a British Iraq expert, says the transcript of Mr. Kamel's debriefing was leaked because insiders resented the way politicians were misleading the public.
But Mr. Kristof has laid the gauntlet that I'm not prepared to offer: I have no timetable for the administration; at some point, the case for Iraqi WMD will be proven or become utterly ridiculous, and at the point it becomes ridiculous, then I'm ready to throw down the gauntlet and demand the best they can give me.
Is there a fair timetable? When is the administration officially out of time? Do you think Americans in general (e.g. the 73% that supported the war) care?
Our society is only as strong as its weakest link. We are setting our standards too low.
Bring me heaps of WMD, or else this whole war becomes a crime.
(It already is, but that's a mere technicality that Americans like to overlook.)
Sadly, for most Americans I interact with in daily life, almost nobody cares. We have had another splendid little war as far as they are concerned, and everything is just fine and dandy in a superficial view of the world outside. A majority feels satisfyingly proud of our Commander-in-Chief strutting in pilot regalia, and speaking of peace and prosperity before multiple backdrops of nifty weapons. America is presently feeling less need for self-examination. I know many Americans who have become increasingly content to accept many myths as fact- Osama fades from thought, and "Saddam is responsible for 9-11- all is being put right with the world, thanks to our President, who has Road Maps that will lead us out of all doubt and darkness very soon, so long as we continue to trust his administration: They know more than we do."
I am in denial too, going about building a small business with all the energy I can muster, knowing that the entire economy it depends on is teetering on a precipice. I am in my own denial, biting my tongue as customers express satisfaction with what they perceive as our country's bold and promising new attitude. I am in my own denial, backing down in social conversations so as not to offend a friend or acquaintance who, it becomes suddenly obvious, has never given the world much thought.
I'm left just "hanging on in quiet desperation". Well. Off to work.
Why do we try to justify everything? Do we actually believe that America (or any other country) can be righteous? Why can’t we just accept, conform, and follow? Are humans as a social species more virtuous today than they were 1000 or 10000 years ago? Are we going to raise our children and teach them to pursue truth at all costs. Do we want our children to be happy or “hanging on in quiet desperation”?
tiassa: "But Mr. Kristof has laid the gauntlet that I'm not prepared to offer: I have no timetable for the administration; at some point, the case for Iraqi WMD will be proven or become utterly ridiculous, and at the point it becomes ridiculous, then I'm ready to throw down the gauntlet and demand the best they can give me."
I think that if months go by and nothing is found, then it will be an embarrassment. The good will have been done, but the argument will have been erroneous. I think, though, that many of those who put forth the argument they do, Kristof included, need to find the next thing to hit the administration with, considering their prognostications on the war have been proven wrong. It's still too early to say that we "should" have found weapons by now.