Jewish World Review May 25, 2004/ 5 Sivan 5764

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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The dumbest statements I've heard about the war | Reasonable minds can differ on foreign policy. But Michael Moore fans repeat trite talking points with the intellectual stimulation of "99 bottles of beer on the wall." We must still endure 165 days until the presidential election, plus 40 days after that for hanging chads, usurping judges, and thumping histrionics on electoral votes. I may watch "Friends" reruns just to step up to inane. However, pointing out the flaws in the leftist war phrases will be to my weary brain what Tagamet is to heart burn.

"The war in Iraq is another Vietnam." Walter Cronkite may have neglected to cover it, but I cannot recall that the North Vietnamese landed in the United States. The Ho Chi Minh trail and guerilla warfare occupied the majority of their time, so no Vietnamese land mines found their way to San Francisco's Transamerica Building. LA wasn't worth the trouble.

Terrorists have invaded the U.S. Sleeper cells operate here, enjoying immunity from a society obsessed with political correctness. Our fear of "racial profiling" is greater than our fear of suicide bombers. The FBI warned us to watch for persons in bulky clothing with tense hand postures. The locals will be cuffing NFL quarterbacks. How about, "Look for young Arab males in ski parkas." Our PC nature mandates war in the geographic epicenter for terrorist funding and training for diabolical minds.

"There is no proof that Hussein had any connection with terrorists." Stephen F. Hayes' work has put the lie to this assertion. Even without his documentation on meetings, finances and other proof of interconnection, is it such a leap in logic to conclude that Hussein's hatred for the U.S. might migrate to the arms of marauding terrorists with the same feelings and goals?

"George Bush got us into Iraq for the oil." Given oil prices, it seems the war has not produced a Jed Clampett bonanza. Mr. Bush proposed an energy package 3 years ago that included drilling at ANWR, a wild and crazy idea to use our own resources. Environmentalists and antiwar activists (one and the same) held organic carrots to their wrists and threatened Odwalla juice fasts if moose were forced to cohabit with drilling rigs.

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"George Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to justify the war." The law makes a distinction between mistakes of fact and deception, and between innocent misrepresentation and fraud. Those issuing this superficial point presume malice on the part of Mr. Bush. Mr. Clinton, Prime Minister Blair and most of the free world believe Hussein had WMD. But, Mr. Bush was a hold-out. Bob Woodward's new book, Plan of Attack, describes Mr. Bush's skepticism when CIA Director George Tenet initially tried to make the case on WMDs. "Nice try," were the president's words. This past week found our troops defusing WMDs, the most underreported story of the war. Perhaps we should be asking where the bounders are, not whether the president "lied" about WMDs. I'd look in Syria first.

"The war in Iraq is dragging on." The war has not lasted as long as "An American Idol" series. How did our parents survive four+ years in World War II? Troops invaded Iraq in March 2003. Hussein's statute in Baghdad was toppled by Iraqis in April 2003. Now, on the eve of democracy, we have kidnappings and violent resistance by those who are about to lose the perks of their reign of terror. Neither despots nor their followers go gently into their good nights.

"The lack of a coalition for the war has left the U.S. with a quagmire (note: Vietnam springs up here, too)." One could argue, as Mr. Bush did in his 2004 State of the Union address, that the U.S. has a coalition: Britain, a couple of colonels from Australia, and some Polish armed forces. The Spaniards cut and ran, assuming resulting immunization from further terrorist attacks. They, along with Germany and France, have the luxury of disdain because the U.S. and Britain will step in to save them when their plan of abstinence fails. The conflicts of interest among these countries and the UN regarding their financial deals with Iraq should be grounds for stripping their moral authority to criticize the U.S. Perhaps the media could cover these nations' unabashed dances with the Hussein devil when they decide to cover the WMD discoveries.

"People in Iraq are not capable of governing themselves." Nor were the people of Japan, Germany, and the former USSR. But, they managed. Democracy takes time to function efficiently especially in a society where the definition of due process for the past 30 years has been the right to scream during torture.

"The American people don't have the fortitude for finishing the job in Iraq." I slipped this one in. Based on the first seven whines, I agree. War is hell. You can't fight it without casualties. And when the enemy is diabolical, you may have to get rough. So far the only ones going to prison are our soldiers. The Dennis Hopper explanation in Easy Rider for what happened to the greatness of our country was prophetic, "Everybody got chicken." We don't even have the guts to ask moose in Alaska for a drilling easement. Iraq may well turn out to be a quagmire, but if it does, blame these silly seven and their authors and proclaimers for leading us down this path of self-destruction.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

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