jfwiw ... the last one for today -

  1. dub
    29,576 Posts.
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    Good morning,

    In an attempt to explain what these have been about - I try to read as widely as I can about whatever I think is of interest. I thought some of these articles might be of interest to some of the HC readers/thinkers.


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    Web Exclusives
    Editor Matthew Rothschild comments on the news of the day.
    January 3, 2003

    Bush's Messianic Military Mode

    I suppose it's too much to ask for profundity from Bush when he's on his way into a coffee shop in Crawford or out giving tours of his ranch, but could the guy prepare a little more before he meets the press?

    The United States may be within weeks of waging war against Iraq, and the commander in chief can't make a coherent argument to save his life as to why Baghdad is more threatening than Pyongyang.

    Granted, it's not an easy argument to make.

    Let's see: Bush is worried that Saddam Hussein might get nuclear weapons in one year or maybe five years, but Kim Jong Il, according to the CIA, has one or two right now and might have half a dozen more in six months or so.

    And Saddam is letting U.N. weapons inspectors roam all over his country, while Kim Jong Il has kicked out international weapons inspectors.

    To top that off, North Korea has long-range missiles that could potentially carry nuclear weapons to Hawaii or Alaska, and Saddam doesn't have any long-range missiles.

    So what's behind Bush's Baghdad obsession?

    For one thing, Iraq has oil; North Korea doesn't.

    For another, Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney think a war against Iraq would be a piece of cake while a war against North Korea would be a headache.

    Aside from the threat of nuclear retaliation, North Korea poses a conventional threat of enormous magnitude: It has a million-man army, and it could rain missiles and artillery down upon Seoul, a city of ten million people, and it could kill tens of thousands of U.S. troops in the process.

    Besides, Bush appears to have had "toppling Saddam" on his personal to-do list all along, while Kim Jong Il was one of those foreign names that did not easily trip off his tongue on the 2000 campaign trail.

    But this doesn't mean Bush isn't itching to knock off Kim Jong Il, as well.

    Here's how Bob Woodward records the President in "Bush at War" when the subject of North Korea came up: "The President sat forward in his chair. I thought he might jump up he became so emotional as he spoke about the North Korean leader. 'I loathe Kim Jong Il!' Bush shouted, waving his finger in the air. 'I've got a visceral reaction to this guy.' " And Bush said he didn't buy the argument that toppling Kim Jong Il would create too many problems.

    These kinds of comments--along with the "axis of evil" and the new preemptive strike doctrine--give Kim Jong Il every incentive to build up his nuclear arsenal as quickly as possible as a self-defense.

    "The Bush Administration is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy," says Stephen Schwartz, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. "The United States should change its tune, suck it up, and give a little in order to achieve its goals of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and a reduction in proliferation."

    That doesn't appear likely, not with Bush in messianic military mode. "I will seize the opportunity to achieve big goals," he told Woodward, explaining that overthrowing Saddam and Kim Jong Il would reduce the "immense suffering" in those two countries.

    But don't expect him to bother to articulate his reasoning.

    "I'm the commander," he told Woodward, in the context of cabinet meetings. "See, I don't need to explain-I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

    He owes the American people an explanation, and he'll owe the world an explanation if his reckless speech precipitates a war on the Korean peninsula, or his reckless action in Iraq brings catastrophe.

    -- Matthew Rothschild
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    bye.dub
 
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