Is it just me, or is this the most confusing debate ever?
Read Andrew Sullivan and you’d believe anyone opposed to war with Iraq is either an idiot or a Frenchman. Read Nicholas Kristof and you’d believe the whole thing is a canard, the product of alarmist hysteria.
I decided a couple of months ago in favor of invasion, despite my left-leaning tendencies. Now, I’m starting to wonder again. While I hate seeing idiotic peace marchers claiming that Bush is the “barbarian” and not Saddam, I have to question the logic and the necessity of invasion. Kristof’s words today are thought-provoking indeed:
In the 1950s and 1960s, the hawks magnified the threat from Vietnam and Cuba. In the 1980s they obsessed about Nicaragua (only a one-week bus ride from Texas!). None of these threats were imagined, but they were exaggerated.
Now the focus is on Saddam, and it’s true that he has been brutal and threatening for 25 years — particularly in the 1980s when Don Rumsfeld was cozying up to him in Baghdad and the U.S. was shipping him seven strains of anthrax. The last 10 years have been the best behaved of Saddam’s career (not saying much), and he is now 65, controlling an army only one-third its peak strength, and in the twilight of his menace.
Alas, what to think, what to believe! Bouncing from one blog to another, I get even more confused. What is The Truth? How can such smart people come to such vastly different conclusions? It’s so confusing, I’m ready to SCREAM.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.