July 15, 2002
Q: President Bush said the other day that he would "use all the tools at
our disposal" to bring down Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Can he do
A: Do you mean 'can' he? 'will' he? Or 'should' he?
Q: Unh, what's the difference?
A: Those are three different questions. The answer to the first question is, yes he can. He has at his disposal the most massive military machine in human history.
Q: Well, will he?
A: God only knows. Or maybe He doesn't. Bush has the IQ of a turkey and I'm not sure even God knows what he'll do next.
Q: You don't sound like you think he should go after Saddam?
A: Why do you think he should?
Q: Well, Saddam is a monster, isn't he?
A: Certainly, by most civilized standards.
Q: Then why shouldn't we get rid of him?
A: Ah, it's 'we' now, is it? Where did we get that right?
Q: Well, someone has to do it.
Q: What do you mean, "why?" You just said he is a monster.
A: There are a lot of monsters in the world; take Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, for example. Should we get rid of him?
Q: You can't compare Sharon to Saddam Hussein!
A: Why not? His treatment of the Palestinians is about the same as Hussein's treatment of the Kurds.
Q: But Hussein is threatening us with weapons of mass destruction!
A: He is? His bombers are poised to bomb New York? His missiles are aimed at Washington?
Q: Well no. He doesn't have any. But how about those biological, chemical or even nuclear weapons he's giving to terrorists to use against us?
A: There isn't any credible evidence that he has any such weapons. Scott Ritter, the former U.S. Marine who headed the UN weapons inspection program has said repeatedly that Iraq had effectively disarmed at the end of the Gulf War. But even if he had such weapons, by what right could we attack his country?
Q: We have to protect ourselves!
A: Against non-existent weapons from a weak and helpless country? Perhaps we ought to go after other nations who we know have weapons of mass destruction.
Q: Like who?
A: Well, there's us, of course. We have extraordinarily large stocks of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Maybe we should launch a war on ourselves.
Q: That's ridiculous. And besides, we aren't threatening anybody.
A: There are a lot of countries which would disagree with you -- Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Panama, Granada, Vietnam....
Q: That's not the same thing!
A: No, of course not. Let's try some other countries which have large stocks of weapons of mass destruction -- England, France, Russia, China, Israel, for starters.
Q: But they are our friends.
A: Russia? China?
Q: Look, you said yourself that Hussein is a monster. The world will be better off without him.
A: Perhaps. But we'll be better off if we don't play executioner, since the war would be illegal under international law, unconstitutional if Congress doesn't declare war, and clearly immoral. There would be massive destruction and scores of thousands or hundreds of thousands dead, many if not most them innocent Iraqi civilians. And at least a few hundred of the casualties will be American soldiers.
Q: You're saying we should do nothing?
A: Sometimes that's the best option, particularly when doing something is so dangerous that it could lead to Armageddon.
Q: You're being melodramatic.
A: Nuclear war is melodramatic.
Q: Now you've really gone off the deep end. How could this turn into a nuclear war when you said yourself that Iraq doesn't have any nuclear weapons?
A: A Pentagon position paper leaked to the media earlier this year offered some possible scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons. One scenario, the Pentagon paper said, was if Israel were attacked by Iraq. Therefore, it could go like this: Bush launches his war on Iraq; part of Iraq's response is to send a few missiles into Israel; Bush then orders a nuclear strike against Iraq.
Q: That will never happen.
A: You're sure? The U.S. remains the only country in the world which has used nuclear weapons in war. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki? But even if Bush doesn't order a nuclear strike, Sharon might. Israel is the only Mideast country with nuclear weapons.
Q: You're beginning to scare me.
· · · · · ·
Deck Deckert has spent nearly two decades as copy editor, wire editor and news editor at several metropolitan newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Miami News, before becoming a freelance writer. His articles and stories on everything from alligator farming to UFOs have appeared in numerous U.S. publications. He has written two young adult novels under a pen name, and co-authored a novel about the NATO war on Yugoslavia, Letters from the Fire, with Alma Hromic.
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