We watched a bit of the vice-presidential debates. It remains the case that John Edwards looks almost old enough to legally drink, and that Vice President Cheney looks like he might explode at any moment. We were most unimpressed by the evasiveness displayed by both candidates. However, actual policy seems to take second fiddle in this election to how people deliver their policy. Which, of course, is disheartening.
What we find most interesting is the recent report that from weapons inspectors (ours this time) that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That seems to have gone over most people’s heads here, given that they believed that already anyway. Here’s an issue: going after Iraq because it was the “most probable nexus” of terror and WsMD (says the grammar nazi) presumes that you actually thought that Iraq was sponsoring terror as well as having WsMD. OK, I’ll admit that I was fooled, I thought that Iraq probably had loads of chemical and biological weapons too, just like the rest of you. However, I never believed that Iraq was any international Islamic jihadist terror threat. Ever ever ever. And despite the statements of College Republicans at the Yale Daily News that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” I’m going to need a tad bit more evidence than a platitude from Pierson College, fourth floor. Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Wolfie, Condie, you were dead wrong.
There is a more unsettling possibility. Instead of the White House failing to think logically about the fact that secular militantly dictators do not get along with millenialist religious fanatics, maybe the White House didn’t really believe there was a difference. Maybe they thought that all Muslims really are terrorists. I’ve been giving this White House the benefit of the doubt about this. Who knows if I’m dead wrong too?
Joshua Miller October 8, 2004
Please tell me you don’t write ‘RsBI.’
Here in the West, we are reluctant to call dictators who commission copies of religious books written in their own blood ‘secular.’
Tom October 8, 2004
No, I don’t write RsBI. But I might start, now that you pointed it out.
Now, I know that people like to repeat sensationalist stories about Saddam’s blood and the Koran. I’m gonna have to call BS on this one. Just because it’s written on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Check out the Telegraph’s story on it. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/07/29/wirq29.xml
Now, OK, even if he did write a Koran in his own blood, anyone who’s taken Islam for Dummies knows that it’s about the worst possible affront to true believers that you can imagine. Worse than drawing a picture of the prophet. Saddam used religion to shore up support from time to time. Read the story for a better analysis than I can provide here.
Let’s get back to the truth of the matter. Study Saddam’s leadership. Saddam was a Ba’athist. Ba’athism is secular. Arab nationalism mixed with national socialism. This is absolutely against the interests of Al Qaeda types. There was no link between Saddam and Al Qaeda. It only takes a little actual understanding to see why.
Josh October 8, 2004
My point is not that Saddam was a particularly religious person, but rather that he didn’t take secularity seriously. As you said, “Saddam used religion to shore up support from time to time.” He was more than willing to use religion for his purposes when necessary, why the disbelief that he would ever collude with religious nutballs?
Tom October 9, 2004
Yo– You’re right, he wasn’t particularly religious, but giving legitimacy to religious nutballs undermines his regime. The disbelief comes from the fact that people like OBM can’t even stand the Saudi royal family, much less Arab socialists. It’s a tough stretch of the imagination to have OBM and Saddam agreeing on anything besides “America sucks balls,” and that’s a long way from actually sponsoring terrorism. If you think about WsMD-producing countries that are likely to support religious fanatics, and are looking for the “most probable nexus” or however he put it, might I suggest a little nation called Iran?