RE: Tracking down the truth...

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sat 14 Dec 2002 - 03:32:23 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Another Example of the Radical Islam Memeplex"

    Thanks, Joe, for the Rushdie piece.

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On Behalf
    > Of
    > Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 7:53 PM
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: Tracking down the truth...
    > >
    > > Scanning today's news, I found this in a BBC article:
    > >
    > > Referring to a US-sponsored conference on why their is so much
    > > anti-American opinion world-wide, "But before it started, the author
    > > Salman Rushdie had some very public advice for everyone involved.
    > >
    > > "He warned that attacking Iraq would unleash what he described as a
    > > generation-long plague of anti-Americanism that could make the present
    > > epidemic look like a time of good health. "
    > >
    > > Yet, we have Rushdie cited here as supporting a US attack in Iraq...
    > >
    > > Does anyone have an accurate and reliable quote from Rushdie and the
    > > US and Iraq?
    > >
    > > Best regards,
    > > Lawry
    > >
    > Read below or go to:
    > dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A49220-
    > 2002)ct31&notfound=true
    > A Liberal Argument For Regime Change
    > By Salman Rushdie
    > Friday, November 1, 2002; Page A35
    > Just in case it had slipped your memory -- and as the antiwar
    > protests grow in size and volume, it easily might have -- there is a
    > strong, even unanswerable case for a "regime change" in Iraq.
    > What's more, it's a case that ought to appeal not just to militaristic
    > Bushie-Blairite hawks but also to lily-livered bleeding-heart
    > liberals; a case, moreover, that ought to unite Western public
    > opinion and all those who care about the brutal oppression of an
    > entire Muslim nation.
    > In this strange, unattractive historical moment, the extremely
    > strong anti-Saddam Hussein argument isn't getting a fraction of
    > the attention it deserves.
    > This is, of course, the argument based on his 31/2-decade-long
    > assault on the Iraqi people. He has impoverished them, murdered
    > them, gassed and tortured them, sent them off to die by the tens of
    > thousands in futile wars, repressed them, gagged them,
    > bludgeoned them and then murdered them some more.
    > Saddam Hussein and his ruthless gang of cronies from his home
    > village of Tikrit are homicidal criminals, and their Iraq is a living
    > hell. This obvious truth is no less true because we have been
    > turning a blind eye to it -- and "we" includes, until recently, the
    > government of the United States, an early and committed
    > supporter of the "secular" Hussein against the "fanatical" Islamic
    > religionists of the region. Nor is it less true because it suits the
    > politics of the Muslim world to inveigh against the global bully it
    > believes the United States to be, while it tolerates the all-too-real
    > monsters in its own ranks. Nor is it less true because it's getting
    > buried beneath the loudly made but poorly argued U.S. position,
    > which is that Hussein is a big threat, not so much to his own
    > people but to us.
    > Iraqi opposition groups in exile have been trying to get the West's
    > attention for years. Until recently, however, the Bush people
    > weren't giving them the time of day, and even made rude remarks
    > about Ahmed Chalabi, the most likely first leader of a
    > democratized Iraq. Now, there's a change in Washington's tune.
    > Good. One may suspect the commitment of the Wolfowitz-
    > Cheney-Rumsfeld axis to the creation and support of a free,
    > democratic Iraq, but it remains the most desirable of goals.
    > This is the hard part for antiwar liberals to ignore. All the Iraqi
    > democratic voices that still exist, all the leaders and potential
    > leaders who still survive, are asking, even pleading for the
    > proposed regime change. Will the American and European left
    > make the mistake of being so eager to oppose Bush that they end
    > up seeming to back Saddam Hussein, just as many of them
    > seemed to prefer the continuation of the Taliban's rule in
    > Afghanistan to the American intervention there?
    > The complicating factors, sadly, are this U.S. administration's
    > preemptive, unilateralist instincts, which have alienated so many
    > of America's natural allies. Unilateralist action by the world's only
    > hyperpower looks like bullying because, well, it is bullying. And
    > the United States' new preemptive-strike policy would, if applied,
    > make America itself a much less safe place, because if the United
    > States reserves the right to attack any country it doesn't like the
    > look of, then those who don't like the look of the United States
    > might feel obliged to return the compliment. It's not always as
    > smart as it sounds to get your retaliation in first.
    > Also deeply suspect is the U.S. government's insistence that its
    > anti-Hussein obsession is a part of the global war on terror. As al
    > Qaeda regroups, attacking innocent vacationers in Bali and
    > issuing new threats, those of us who supported the war on al
    > Qaeda can't help feeling that the Iraq initiative is a way of
    > changing the subject, of focusing on an enemy who can be found
    > and defeated instead of the far more elusive enemies who really
    > are at war with America. "We don't want to change your mind," as
    > one Islamist leader put it recently in Lebanon. "We want to
    > destroy you." The connection between Hussein and al Qaeda
    > remains comprehensively unproven, whereas the presence of the
    > al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, and of al Qaeda sympathizers in
    > that country's intelligence services, is well known. Yet nobody is
    > talking about attacking Pakistan.
    > Nor does America's vagueness about its plans for a post-Hussein
    > Iraq and its own "exit strategy" inspire much confidence. Yes, the
    > administration is talking democracy, but does America really have
    > the determination to (a) dismantle the Baathist one-party state and
    > (b) avoid the military strongman solution that has been so
    > attractive to American global scenarists in the past -- "our son of a
    > bitch," as Roosevelt once described the dictator Somoza in
    > Nicaragua? Does it (c) have the long-term stomach for keeping
    > troops in Iraq, quite possibly in large, even Vietnam-size numbers,
    > for what could easily be a generation, while democracy takes root
    > in a country that has no experience of it whatever; a country,
    > moreover, bedeviled by internal divisions and separatist
    > tendencies? How will it (d) answer the accusations that any
    > regime shored up by U.S. military power, even a democratic one,
    > would just be an American puppet? And (e) if Iraq starts
    > unraveling and comes apart on America's watch, is the
    > administration prepared to take the rap for that?
    > These are some of the reasons why I, among others, have
    > remained unconvinced by President Bush's Iraqi grand design. But
    > as I listen to Iraqi voices describing the numberless atrocities of
    > the Hussein years, then I am bound to say that if, as now seems
    > possible, the United States and the United Nations do agree on a
    > new Iraq resolution; and if inspectors do return, and, as is
    > probable, Hussein gets up to his old obstructionist tricks again; or
    > if Iraq refuses to accept the new U.N. resolution; then the rest of
    > the world must stop sitting on its hands and join the Americans
    > and British in ridding the world of this vile despot and his cohorts.
    > It should, however, be said and said loudly that the primary
    > justification for regime change in Iraq is the dreadful and
    > prolonged suffering of the Iraqi people, and that the remote
    > possibility of a future attack on America by Iraqi weapons is of
    > secondary importance. A war of liberation might just be one
    > worth fighting. The war that America is currently trying to justify
    > is not.
    > Salman Rushdie is the author of "Fury" and other novels.
    > 2002 The Washington Post Company
    > >
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    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
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