February 13, 2003

Amazing how times change. The Washington Post editorial board has become a haven for conservative thought (Bush cheerleaders but without those nifty uniforms) and the New York Times editorial board has tilted a little to the left. Today, in an editorial entitled "The Perils of Passivity," the Post correctly noted that attacking Iraq is ratcheting up anti-American sentiment and that the path to war is a dangerous and reckless (I would even say feckless) path. Astonishingly, the Post concluded that those who feel this way do not advocate peace because it might promote a stable and safer international and domestic envornment; they do so simply because of "anxiety." The Post further argues that diplomacy has been exhausted and that war is the only option available to America.

The New York Times editorial board today came out with precisely the reverse conclusion: the U.N. may still resolve the problem of Saddam Hussein, if given a chance, and America cannot and should not go to war without U.N. approval.

Frankly, the Washington Post's reasoning is almost entirely circular: the reason for the increased threat of terrorist action is not because of the fiery rhetoric and warmongering of the Bush Administration, they posit; it is because we didn't do anything before. The beasts were always there, but we're just rousing them by moving to meet them in open battle.

This argument entirely misses the mark. If only we were meeting the beast in open battle -- that beast being bin Laden. The Post fails to make any meaningful distinction between Saddam Hussein and bin Laden even though the links between them are incredibly weak. Bin Laden's recent radio address was careful to avoid any praise for Saddam -- he referred to him merely as the "communist government" and his appeal was to Iraqi moslems. We have given bin laden the opportunity to reach out to Iraqi Moslems because of our reckless campaign against Saddam Hussein. (Hey, that rhymes!)

The beast has many arms, surely, but Saddam Hussein is not one of them. When America wars against Iraq, we're playing right into bin Laden's hands.

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:33 PM in Commentary