February 6, 2003
Hey! What's with this Powell

Hey! What's with this Powell slideshow and all? Was that PowerPoint? Couldn't he have a made a really cool movie instead?

That Powell guy has all the vocal enthusiasm of a tenth grader reading a thousand-page contract aloud during detention. I heard his speech on the radio, in a cab, thinking this isn't Rush Limbaugh, but some right-wing AM talk-show host whose following must be the over-70 crowd. His delivery reminded me of Paul Harvey, who used to announce his page-turns on the air -- as if he couldn't distinguish between the real copy and the scripted instructions to the announcer -- but without the verve and flair that made Harvey beloved by those people who beloved him.

I found his speech much more compelling when I read it the next day in the paper.

For the non-politically minded, his speech boiled down to: Hey! That Hussein guy really has a lot of weapons he was supposed to have ditched a long time ago! And he's trying get more! And he's lying about having them!

Dude, was this a shock to anyone except for people who don't know American Idol is a show on Fox? The question is, like, should anyone do anything about it?

Is this guy really dangerous, or what?

And then there's this question: Man, should we just be bombing these guys when those French and German dudes don't think we should be doing it? Does that German guy really wear a helmet or is that, like, his name?

Seriously: How big a priority is getting rid of Hussein and how doable is it? Can't we just bomb their weapons facilities? We've seen a lot of Mission Impossible lately and the IMF force should be able to just go into Iraq and straighten the whole mess out --- I'm guessing frame Saddam's son for plotting a major coup while Barney destroys the weapons facilities. Couldn't something covert and special ops-like be worth trying? (I don't really think so.)

And what about North Korea and, especially, Pakistan. Pakistan has members of Al Qaeda completely protected in their strange southern wasteland, which is known as the "lawless region" -- I'm guessing something like the old west badlands but without sheriffs (plural should be "sherr-i"?), marshals, or posses -- you know, like that place James Brolin hid out in Westworld after he broke out of the jail.

Plus, the SIS -- the Pakistani secret service -- is openly sympathetic to terrorists, those that invade India, as well as al Qaeda. So, members of the Pakistani government work with al Qaeda, basically. And the anti-al Qaeda faction, if you will, including the general who leads the country after a successful coup -- not the most stable form of government there, mind you, and wholly undemocratic -- cannot reliably be counted upon to hold these other forces in check, or to stay in power at all. And they have a whole bunch of nuclear weapons. How hard would it be for some of that processed uranium to find its way to a suitcase bomb?

And of course, Russia has bombs -- and biological weapons -- which they have not accounted for and for which there are no inspections, and how secure is that stuff and where is it? Shouldn''t we know?

So why does the current administration refuse to sign onto any nuclear non-proliferation treaties -- and refuse to sign any treaties providing for meaningful inspections related to worldwide biological weapon control and non-proliferation?

Posted by Tom Burka at 9:49 PM in Commentary