Facts, those stubborn things
It seems that whenever conservatives criticize others, they claim that their arguments are superior because they are based on “facts”. Two letter writers (Trent Winegar and Jack Williams) whose letters appeared in the SDN on April 14 make such claims. However, as often happens, it is they who are lacking facts.Mr. Winegar, who believes that we must live in a constant state of fear, misleads on the issue of Iraqi WMDs to the point of outright mendacity. He claims that “dozens of chemical weapons” were found in Iraq, but fails to add that these chemical weapons were from the Gulf War period of the early 1990s which had lost their potency, and that, as one expert stated, they were no more dangerous than what anyone might have under their kitchen sink. Even the Department of Defense stated that these were not the WMDs that the U.S. had expected to find.Nor does Mr. Winegar admit that our last reliable human intelligence on Saddam’s weapons capabilities was in 1998 (something even Donald Rumsfeld was forced to concede), some five years before we invaded Iraq to rid it of its mythical weapons, or that our sole “source” for most of the WMD allegations was a mentally ill alcoholic Iraqi codenamed “Curveball.” West German intelligence had warned the U.S. that Curveball was a lying loon, but, what the hey, he told the Bush administration what it wanted to hear, so what’s the problem?Mr. Williams’ citations to Hitler and World War II are ironic. The Nazis maintained their hold on the German people by keeping them in a state of fear. Hitler and his henchmen believed that the way to hold onto power was to foster fear of “the other” (Jews, gays, etc.) to have the people believe that their very survival was under constant seige, and that only the state had the information and methods to keep them safe. The state was never to be questioned. Mr. Williams’ statement that “one has to assume that (our) leaders have more information” than we do and that we must place our trust in them, while superficially reasonable, is in fact completely consonant with fascist power theory. Mr. Williams betrays a disturbing ignorance of history by seeming to approve of our involvement in the Vietnam War. Contrary to the “domino theory,” which posited that if Vietnam fell to the communists the rest of Southeast Asia would follow, Thailand, Indonesia and other states in Indochina did not in fact turn communist after we withdrew from Vietnam.The true lesson we should learn from the Vietnam War is not that the U.S. will fold if an enemy resists long enough. It is that we should avoid needless wars that involve no true U.S. interests. Perhaps if Bush had majored in world history (and unerstood it), we would not now be bogged down in a foreign civil war spawned by our own arrogance.The true lesson we should learn from the Vietnam War is not that the U.S. will fold if an enemy resists long enough. It is that we should avoid needless wars that involve no true U.S. interests. Perhaps if Bush had majored in world history (and unerstood it), we would not now be bogged down in a foreign civil war spawned by our own arrogance.
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