INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Wake Up Sonny Boy and Be Like Pops

Shelley Powers does a nice job today of summarizing some of the war discussion going on, and adding her own excellent perspective. I said I was going to stop with the war shit, but I can't seem to get away from it.

I think I know the reason. The discussion that's capturing my interest is the back and forth about the possibility of going into Iraq. There's a difference between this conversation and the one which turns me off, and which I've assiduously avoided. That would be the endless screeds about revenge against "filthy terrorists;" or the equally tiresome laments for peace-at-any-price; or putdowns of the Palestinians; or putdowns of the Israelis. This conversation, IMO, is just hot air--whining about what's already occurred. A conversation without power, devoid of any ability to change anything except to fan the flames of those already in agreement with the writer.

The conversation about Iraq is of another realm entirely--the realm of what MIGHT occur. Therefore, a conversation for possibility. A conversation with meaning, even power. That's why I'm having difficulty letting go of it. Not that I think my words are going to make any difference. I'm not that kind of a writer, or that deep a thinker. But I can be one voice for moving the conversation along. And this, folks, is a conversation that needs to be rolled forward and around and about, if there ever was one.

So, when I encounter words of interest and relevance to this profound subject, I'll pass them along. God knows, I certainly appreciate the bloggers that are already doing that, including the ones with whom I disagree.

Anyway, the item I want to pass along today is a piece by the outstanding and brilliant Newsweek columnist, Fareed Zakaria ( a Muslim, by the way). I've been pointing out, as has Doc Searls, that maybe a case can be made for going into Iraq, but Bush sure as hell hasn't made it so far. If he can't make it and becomes faced with going it alone, that would be a terrible fix indeed.

Zakaria's highly interesting column in the current issue is entitled, " It’s Time to Do as Daddy Did," with the subhead, "Bush Senior was masterful at a kind of diplomacy that is now seen as window dressing by some in Washington. It isn’t ," Zakaria writes:

" On Iraq, it’s time to move beyond vague declarations about regime change—which is a wish, not a policy—and start building support for military action. That means rounding up allies and taking the issue to Congress and the public. Were the administration to try, it would even be able to get the United Nations to bless the intervention. A senior diplomat at the Security Council told me, “If the United States wanted us to authorize action against Iraq and pressed for it, and seriously outlined its case and postwar goals, no one in the Council would mount an opposition.”

I find this last sentence highly intriguing--if, in fact, it's true. Zakaria is highly respectable and definitely not a hawk, so I'm inclined to accept it.

Well, check out the entire column and see what you think. This debate is just getting started, and thank god that it is.


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