Monday, September 15, 2003

An honest man in Washington?

Reading the news from Washington sometimes makes me feel like Diogenes on his futile quest for an honest man in Athens. Luckily, I have found Dick Cheney, who has finally admitted:

"Yeah, I did misspeak," Cheney said. "I said repeatedly during the show, 'weapons capability.' We never had any evidence that [Hussein] had acquired a nuclear weapon."

"Misspeak" is, of course, Washington-speak for "lied."

Unfortunately, this is the only scrap of honesty in a maelstrom of frantic spinning:

"'That's physical evidence that we've got in hand today,' Cheney said. 'So to suggest that there is no evidence that [Hussein] had aspirations to acquire nuclear weapons, I don't think is valid.'"

No one ever doubted that Hussein had aspirations to acquire a nuclear weapon. But every two-bit thug in the world has aspirations to acquire a nuclear weapon. What matters is whether he had the means to acquire one quickly because that was (part of) the rationale that was given for invading Iraq now. And it is becoming quite apparent that he did not.

The bankruptcy of the pro-war position is made starkly evident in the discussion following this essay by Rand Simberg, the latest in a series of faux-news stories that cast the arguments of those opposed to the war in Iraq into the context of World War II. In the course of defending this untenable and offensive comparison Rand is forced to resort to theories like "Iraq and Saudi Arabia are allies," a claim so ridiculous as to hardly merit refuting.

What those on the right don't get is that we who oppose the war are not "appeasers". We share the goal of defeating terrorists. What we differ on is the means by which this is best accomplished. But when one has backed onesself into a rhetorical corner it is always easier to start spewing nonsense and attacking straw men than to admit that you were wrong, especially when you've been acting like an arrogant prick.

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