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Down the Rabbit Hole
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Jill sent me this sarcastic little commentary from Peter Freundlich, apparently broadcast on NPR a couple of weeks ago. Here it is, with my own sarcastic little commentary:

> Written by: Peter Freundlich of NPR
> Food for thought... I'll take some mushroom tea,
> please...

And pass the peyote biscuits.

> All right, let me see if I understand the logic of
> this correctly. We are going to ignore the United
> Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein
> that the United Nations cannot be ignored. We're
> going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to
> avert war. The paramount principle is that the UN's
> word must be taken seriously, and if we have to
> subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then by
> gum, we will. Peace is too important not to take up
> arms to defend. Am I getting this right?

Not exactly.

Rather, we should enforce international will by not enforcing international will. We should back up what we say by not backing up what we say. We should listen to the U.N. when it says that Iraq should disarm, but not listen to the U.N. when it says that the penalty of not doing so is "serious consequences". We're going to ensure the stability of international order by allowing anarchy. We're going to limit the power of despots by letting them run ramshod over multiple U.N. resolutions.

Am I getting this right?

> Further, if the only way to bring democracy to Iraq
> is to vitiate the democracy of the Security Council,
> then we are honor-bound to do that too, because
> democracy, as we define it, is too important to be
> stopped by a little thing like democracy as they
> define it.

And instead we should honor the democratic voices of countries like Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and China, because when it comes to upholding democratic ideals living in accordance with them, these are the shining examples, the truly democratic voices we want to listen to, right?

> Also, in dealing with a man who brooks no dissension
> at home, we cannot afford dissension among
> ourselves. We must speak with one voice against
> Saddam Hussein's failure to allow opposing voices to
> be heard.

No, instead we should be as divisive as possible, arguing with stances on foreign policy and national security, not on their merits, but along political lines, on how much we hate the current office holders, and on how we think a particular political party was cheated in the Presidential election of 2000. That's a much sounder approach to policy decisions.

> We are sending our gathered might to the
> Persian Gulf to make the point that might does not
> make right, as Saddam Hussein seems to think it
> does. And we are twisting the arms of the opposition
> until it agrees to let us oust a regime that twists
> the arms of the opposition. We cannot leave in power
> a dictator who ignores his own people. And if our
> people, and people elsewhere in the world, fail to
> understand that, then we have no choice but to
> ignore them.

Instead we should ignore the voices of dissidents, of those crying out for a decent shot at life from under the iron heel of Stalinist oppression. Let 'em beg and scream for freedom, for opportunity, for a better life, right? Better to let Saddam's goons twist the arms off the political opposition, literally, than for us to metaphorically twist the arms of the unwilling to actually enforce international will.

> Listen. Don't misunderstand. I think it is a good
> thing that the members of the Bush administration
> seem to have been reading Lewis Carroll. I only wish
> someone had pointed out that "Alice in Wonderland"
> and "Through the Looking Glass" are meditations on
> paradox and puzzle and illogic and on the
> strangeness of things, not templates for foreign
> policy. It is amusing for the Mad Hatter to say
> something like, `We must make war on him because he
> is a threat to peace,' but not amusing for someone
> who actually commands an army to say that. As a
> collector of laughable arguments, I'd be enjoying
> all this were it not for the fact that I know--we
> all know--that lives are going to be lost in what
> amounts to a freak, circular reasoning accident. --
> Peter Freundlich / National Public Radio / 13.03.03

And I'd rather sit down for a cup of tea at Bush's table than revel in the unjust illogic of Freundlich's demented world, in which pointless international bodies issue edict after meaningless edict, in which ideals are endlessly talked about but only upheld for those that only have them and never for those that don't, in which international security is ensured by letting the world get more and more dangerous.

Which world would you rather live in?

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