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August 16, 2002

And after Baghdad, Delaware! This morning’s New York Times fronts a story headlined “Top Republicans Break With Bush on Iraq Strategy.” As we’ve begun to hear over the last few days, antient GOP figures as substantial as Henry Kissinger, Lawrence Eagleburger, and Brent Scowcroft are now joining current-day elected Republicans like Dick Armey and Chuck Hagel in a swelling chorus of Hey, Wait A Minute.

What I found striking, though, was this response from Richard Perle, intellectual leader of the Iraq hawks:

“I think Brent just got it wrong,” he said by telephone from France. “The failure to take on Saddam after what the president said would produce such a collapse of confidence in the president that it would set back the war on terrorism.”
In other words, we’re no longer arguing the merits of a “pre-emptive” strike against Iraq. Rather, we’re arguing that we have to do it because our credibility depends on it. My own carefully-considered, weighing-both-sides opinion: Uh oh.

Senator Hagel, the piece says, shares Kissinger’s concern that a new American doctrine of “never mind the evidence, we get to conquer you if we feel nervous” would have regrettable effects on, say, the ongoing India-Pakistan conflict. But I was particularly struck by the Senator’s response to Richard Perle.

He added, “Maybe Mr. Perle would like to be in the first wave of those who go into Baghdad.”
[08:53 AM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on And after Baghdad, Delaware!:

Charles Kuffner ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2002, 09:30 AM:

Apparently, Stormin' Norman Schwartzkopf is also against an invasion of Iraq at this time. See this item on MaxSpeak.

steve ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2002, 04:30 PM:

Oh, you think you're kidding about Delaware? I say we hit them before Iraq!

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2002, 04:38 PM:

Um, yes, that was the leetul joke.

Simon Shoedecker ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2002, 04:52 PM:

Well, uh, I don't think you have to volunteer for the first wave to think it should be done. Was FDR in the first wave in Normandy? Was George Marshall? (For that matter, when did Ike cross? I don't know.)

Other than that, though, right on. Nobody's denying that Saddam is real bad, and a loose cannon to boot. (Whatever happened to that Qadaffi guy we used to hear about?) But I haven't seen anything that even attempts to explain why it's more important to wipe out Saddam after 9/11 than it was for ten years previously.

And as long as we're denouncing countries that are building weapons of mass destruction and loosely threatening to use them, well, "We have met the enemy and they are us," to borrow an old phrase.

And how about that Delaware article, eh? Perhaps never has a two-hour traffic jam on a freeway inspired such a marvelous piece of invective.

Iain J Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2002, 06:49 PM:

Churchill was very keen to be in the first wave at Normandy. On balance, it is probably for the best that he was dissuaded.

Gary Farber ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2002, 04:50 PM:

Qadaffi became much quieter, and has pretty much stopped supporting terrorism, and made plentiful gestures towards amends, including, you'll recall, Simon, handing over his men for trial in Scotland, agreeing to pay reparations, and so on.

Some feel this is directly related to Libya being bombed, against Qadaffi's expectations that the US would never do such a thing. Others disagree. One of his sons has spoken out a considerable amount in the last couple of years, and I recall blogging about this many months ago.

I will second the point that W. Churchill I was scarcely reluctant to show up on a battlefield, whether as a lad in Sarf Africa, to his time in France after resigning after the Gallipoli debacle, to his time in France during the Phoney War, to his later post-D-Day excursions, etc. I may be misrecollecting that "there is nothing quite so exhilarating as being shot at and missed" as his, but that's what my fallible mental index currently says.

(P.S. Patrick, I, obviously, finally cured my system of its temporary inability to deal with your pop-ups; I think it was killing Java Run-Time Environment 2 that did the trick.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2002, 04:59 PM:

I'm glad. For what it's worth, I can see your comment section again, too. (It's weird. For a day or so, your site would take several minutes to load -- and when it finally appeared, the links to the comment threads weren't there. You use Enetations, yes?)

Your fallible index appears to be correct; Google finds several attributions of that line to Winston Churchill.

Simon Shoedecker ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2002, 01:50 PM:

I was being kind of sarcastic about Qadaffi, Gary, though this might not have been apparent.

The point: Once, Qadaffi was viewed as the world-class nemesis, just as Saddam is now. (Favorite memory: an editorial cartoon depicting Qadaffi Duck saying "I'm dethpicable!") Yet, somehow things have changed.

Not to argue that we should just let Saddam be and he'll "mellow". (As if even today's Qadaffi were huggable.) Rather, if we'd had GWB then, he could have argued about Qadaffi then as he is about Saddam now - yet, such a desperate urgency to turn to the last resort would have been misplaced then. And now? Well ...