Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Bring Back The French Fries

Why is it that the word hypocrisy comes to mind so often these days? OK you don't much like the French and you still suspect their motives. But let's look at the record, not at the spin. Before we went to war in Iraq, Secretary Powell unashamedly appeared before the world at the UN to make his case about the threat of WMD's. Yes Saddam Hussein was a bad and brutal guy, but that wasn't our primary reason for action. How could it have been given the large number of equally bad guys around the world whom we regularly ignore? No, we had to take immediate action because of the clear and present danger of Iraq's WMD's. We had non-compliance with a UN resolution. The French Foreign Minister responded. He never questioned Saddam's evil character, he did however question the existence of the alleged WMD's as did the UN Inspectors on the ground. You probably remember he received unprecedented applause from the many diplomats observing the session.

So here we are. I watched the articulate and still attractive Tony Blair fend of questions before Parliament yesterday. Wonder how George W would fair in such an open forum? Blair is adamant both about the WMD's and not having cooked the books of the intelligence community. The British are focusing on those 45 minutes and I couldn't help but think of Rosemary Woods. Blair's leadership and, more importantly, reputation are on the line. Don Rumsfeld, doesn't have the Blair problem. He dismissively says may never find these alleged WMD's and should "get a life." With a silent Congress, the Bush Administration simply changes the subject, talking only about how wonderful it is that the bad guy is gone. So it is, but that doesn't change the fact — WMD's are why they told us that we had to risk the lives of our children and thousands of Iraqi civilians. Tom Friedman, says we shouldn't have been talking WMD's in the first place, that Saddam's cruel regime was enough reason to go, so we should "get a life." Well that's not the point. "Should have" is not the issue. Manipulating the world and all of us in the "Homeland" is.

Our Administration now suggests that the weapons have either been destroyed or remain hidden. Perhaps we'll never know which. Thoughts of Watergate again, perhaps we'll never uncover Deep Throat. I have just one simple question. If these WMD's were such a present and immanent threat and if Saddam knew we would fight to his end (which he most assuredly did), why didn't he use them against us in battle? Wasn't that what they were for? Why didn't he lob dirty missiles over to Israel, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait? Why didn't his Guard gas our troops? He certainly wasn't protecting his humanitarian reputation. Perhaps there were indeed no WMD's, only a the myth of them to prolong his power and justify the deteriorating quality of life in his beleaguered country.

In light of the facts at hand, isn't our finger pointing at the French a bit disingenuous? Perhaps they had ulterior motives, but the questions they had the temerity to ask of Emperor George were valid then and remain unanswered. I wish more of our own Senators and Representatives had been equally challenging. Perhaps Powell's erroneous claims reflect honest failure on the part of our intelligence. Perhaps he and the entire Bush Administration were knowingly extrapolating fact out of fiction. We may never know. Clearly the jury is still out and it will be fascinating to see the outcome of the CIA's internal review in that regard and what action follows.

The other day a huge gas guzzling Cadillac SUV pulled up in front of my building. It had a flag with a patriotic slogan on its rear bumper. If that wasn't a sufficient show of colors, it also had a big flag on its side window and other even bigger one on the passenger side dash. Wow. I couldn't help rewriting the slogan on that back bumper in my mind. It would have been far more honest and accurate to say,: "go baby, keep the oil flowing." We claim the United States didn't go into Iraq for oil, but we quickly secured the oil fields while letting the treasures of our mutual civilization fly out the museum doors and archeological digs under our noses. We secured the oil fields while the hospitals were stripped of their bandages and medicines. And what is most disturbing, is that both our press and politicians continue to give these people a pass. Yes many of these things are reported, but for the most the focus on how wonderful it is to have that terrible dictator out of power. So it is, but what were our real reasons for instituting regime change?

At this very moment in Iraq anarchy continues and basic necessities are scarce, while good and loyal Administration friends are lining up for contacts. This is truly the coalition of the willing. The boys from the Oil Patch are on the move and, while George Bush may not always know how world leaders stand or feel about him, he sure can count on these people. Make no mistake about it, they will prosper regardless. As for me, I'll stop drinking French Wine, when the patriotic Hummer owners stop using the oil of dictatorships, stop winking at the deeds of these "needed" suppliers, and stop calling them allies. I guess it won't be necessary to abandon my wine rack any time soon. And as for those cholesterol laden French Fries, don't tell the President, but most Americans won't give them up either, not even their name.

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