Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Aplomb

You have to hand it to Saddam, Bush, for sheer bloody aplomb. Sitting there in the dock, on trial for his atrocities, he calmly writes a poem. A poem! And then he has the gall to read it aloud during a court break! Forgive me, Bush, but I can't quite see you doing that. Not the poem part, anyway. What I found amazing, as I watched those little snippets that they played on the evening news, was the way this maniac managed to control the courtroom, even with that distracted and dishevelled look about him. Protesting his shackles. Instructing the presiding judge to ORDER--not request, Bush, ORDER--the American guards to attend to his complaints. "They are in our country," he snapped back at the judge: "You are an Iraqi. They are foreigners and invaders, so you must condemn them." Talk about turning the tables, Bush! Talk about balls! No doubt about it, he's going to be a tough one to prosecute.

And while we're on the subject of atrocities, I've been hearing more and more about our country's use of white phosphorous--in Falluja, last year, if not elsewhere. This morning's New York Times comes out with a lead editorial on the subject, and I have to say, I'm thoroughly appalled. Our military leaders argue that the use of this chemical weapon is legal on the battlefield; and Falluja, so the argument goes, was considered a battlefield at the time. But to resort to such techical arguments in defense of the legality of a weapon that "rains balls of flaming chemicals, which cling to anything they touch and burn until their oxygen supply is cut off" seems outrageous beyond belief. Hardly a "precision weapon", Bush, I think you'll agree. And it was deployed by our own troops in a city still known to be home to plenty of innocent civilians.

Aside from the moral questions the use of such weapons raises, how about the purely practical ones? Is this any way to win the hearts and minds of a people we're supposedly trying to liberate? Is this any way to persuade them of the glories of democracy? It's a peculiar and unpleasant irony, too, that this was precisely one of the chemical weapons that Saddam himself is accused of having used against the Kurds.

So what makes it any better for us to employ such tactics? Explain to me the difference, Bush. Is it okay to use weapons of mass destruction when we, in our special wisdom, consider the cause to be just? Are we so righteous in our cause that we can do these things without answering for them? Should someone--whoever authorized the use of this dreadful weapon--not be sitting in that dock along with Saddam? Not that this in anyway exculpates him from his crimes against humanity. But do we really have to stoop to his level of cruelty and ruthlessness in order to vanquish him?

1 comment:

dennis said...

Good, I like it when there is some edge in your writing. Shows passion for what is right!

Just back from a little Sideways wine tasting and Cambria. Not going to let the stupid bastards in this world stop us from having better lives. LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE. denn