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Bring on some thoughtful criticism

As a skeptic of the present war and the prospects of the U.S. military converting Iraq into a thriving constitutional democracy in a matter of months, I was surprised last weekend when I was informed that I’d achieved the esteemed rank of “right wing nutcase.”

Agustin Goba is certainly no stranger to hyperbole (“King George’s Lies,” July 18), interpreting my defense of Bush against scurrilous indictments regarding the now infamous Iraq-Africa uranium connection as an accusation of sedition against anyone who “dares to suggest anything negative concerning King George.”

According to Mr. Goba, “a mark of intellectual sophistication is the ability to listen or to read a statement, then examine the facts that concern the statement, and be able to decide whether it is true or false.”

Yet he doesn’t even manage to clear the first hurdle of his tripartite test when he references a CIA report that “included information … that the intelligence was based upon … forgeries” to prove Bush was either lying or “criminally incompetent” in inculpating Iraq for attempts to acquire uranium from Africa in the State of the Union address.

Why? Because Bush never attributed the claim to either the CIA or the forged documents. He attributed it to British intelligence – intelligence M16 continues to stand by to this day and which Tony Blair asserts is wholly independent of American intelligence or the forgeries Goba cites.

And as far Mr. Goba’s outrage about the absence of weapons of mass destruction, recent news reports quoting U.S. Senators on the intelligence committee indicate that answers are soon to come; answers which he will predictably identify as yet another constellation of lies.

But whether they were destroyed, exported, hidden, or not as extensive as originally thought, all should keep in mind that the “where are the WMD?” slogan isn’t so much a question as it is an accusation. In responding, it should be made clear that friend and foe of the war alike – from Dick Cheney to Jacque Chirac – ceded that Saddam Hussein continued to have active weapons programs in violation of U.N. mandates.

The only question was whether or not such actions constituted a sufficient threat to justify military invasion and overthrow of the Baathis regime. Some reasonably thought it was. Others reasonably thought it wasn’t.

Yet it’s a safe bet that Mr. Goba would have continued to characterize the invasion of Iraq as an illegal, immoral and imperialistic oil grab even if we had, by now, found six-dozen silos packed with nuclear warheads ready to launch. Sadly, this form of over-the-top polemicization has become an all-to-common staple of the “anti-Bush” coterie.

There are thoughtful criticisms being made about the war in Iraq and of other Bush policies. However, they are not being proffered by those who are incapable of putting pen to paper and expressing an opinion on Bush without continuous use of monikers like “King George,” describing him at every opportunity with childish epithets, declaiming he was really “appointed” to the presidency, or that his support derives from either the fabulously rich or patently stupid.

Jay Pate

Snowmass Village


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