mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Stop! He's got a gun!

I don't agree with a lot of what Mickey Kaus says - he has said that Bush has forced the clash of civilizations with Muslim extremism, while I think it's the other way around, and he called my car vulgar.

But sometimes he totally gets it right (scroll down to September 8 1:20am, Kausfiles is stupid! - amazing that blogspot can handle permalinks, but Microsoft's Slate mag can't)

1) If a man says he has a gun, acts like he has a gun, and convinces everyone around him he has a gun, and starts waving it around and behaving recklessly, the police are justified in shooting him (even if it turns out later he just had a black bar of soap). Similarly, according to the Duelfer report, Saddam seems to have intentionally convinced other countries, and his own generals, that he had WMDs. He also convinced much of the U.S. government. If we reacted accordingly and he turns out not to have had WMDs, whose fault is that? Why doesn't Bush make that argument--talking about Saddam's actions in the years before the U.S. invasion instead of Saddam's "intent" to have WMDs at some point in the future? (It wouldn't necessarily make the Iraq war prudent, but it would make Americans feel more comfortable about it than what Bush has been telling them.)

It amazes me that the debate seems to be between either a)Saddam had WMD's or b)Bush made the whole WMD thing up as an excuse to go to war. I'm not entirely convinced that Saddam didn't have any WMD's, but I'll accept it for the sake of argument. Even if we accept that he didn't have them, he sure acted like he did. He kicked the inspectors out, and when he allowed them back in he kept refusing them to let them inspect a ton of places like his palaces. He was making every effort possible to make it appear that he had them. Keep in mind what the debate was before the war - it wasn't if Saddam had weapons or not, but rather if we should go to war or if "inspections would work". For inspections to "work", one of two things would have to happen - either weapons would be discovered or we would conclusively know that there were no weapons to be found. But with Saddam refusing to allow inspections in many of the places that seemed likely to contain weapons, there was no way that inspections would "work" by definition. Saddam was hoping that he could get the benefits of people thinking he had weapons (power/fear) without actually having them. With that as Saddam's plan, there was no reason for him to ever allow inspections -they would only prove that the emperor had no clothes.

In many states (at least this is the way it was in NJ when I took driver's ed there), if you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving and fail the field sobriety tests) you have to take a breath test. Refusing to take the test carries the same penalty as taking the test and failing - it's assumed that you were drunk unless proven otherwise. If that kind of standard is good enough for American drunks, it seems reasonable enough for murderous dictators as well.


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