Rumors of War
What Barnabas had to say before the shock and awe.
January 7, 2004
Charges of Manslaughter, January 8, 2003
If we attack Iraq, hundreds, if not thousands, of wrongful deaths will follow and most will go unacknowledged. There is nothing proportional about it. “I am going to shoot you before you shoot me. I am also not going to fight fair. If I have more and bigger guns than you, I am going to use them.” If we apply the concepts of criminal law to such uncivilized thinking, we are too morally confused to go to war at all.
Civil Wrongs, January 15, 2003
How can one of our own citizens be our prisoner of war? A citizen cannot make war against his own country. He may commit treason against it, which is worse; but if he is suspected of treason, he has the right to an attorney. Prisoners of war who are from nations at war against us do not need attorneys because war between nations is not, per se, a crime. Treason is a very serious crime, requiring ernest protection of the rights of those suspected of it.
The Smoking Gun, January 22, 2003
So when you see “smoking gun,” you may be sure of one thing: you have been told nothing at all. What is really scary is that the people who stand behind this metaphor —- and the journalists who ritualistically repeat it -- may be thinking nothing at all. ...I would hate to see World War III start as the result of committee speculation. “Is this what we meant by a smoking gun? Do you think? Oh well. Bombs away.”
Superman Redux, January 29, 2003
Good guys don’t start wars; they finish them. They fight wars that bad guys start, in order to end the disaster with as little loss as possible. At the end, a lot of people may be free that were not otherwise, but that is a happy accident instead of a predictable result. A great many others will be dead.
I Won’t March, Don’t Ask Me, February 19, 2003
Those who follow this column know that I have been pointing out for nine months those aspects of administration policy that I find ethically doubtful or strategically absurd. But as a citizen I have delegated war-making powers to an elected government. When it comes to war, we do not make policy or set strategy by counting the heads in a shouting mob. War may or may not be the right solution in this instance, but I don’t know that and neither do the marchers. Neither, perhaps, do the people in the White House; but theirs is the fearful responsibility to get it right.
Why the Iraqis Lie Like Crazy, February 26, 2003
History has proved over and over that half-hearted pursuers (even parents) would rather believe lies than resort to unpleasant consequences. Since war is the most unpleasant consequence of all, the avoidance of it--even at the expense of truth--appears to be a supreme virtue. Liars take advantage of this tendency for as long as anyone is willing to listen to their lies.
The Insecurity Council, March 12, 2003
Primary blame for the Iraqi crisis rests almost entirely on Saddam Hussein’s shoulders. He has prolonged the Gulf War to the present moment by holding the cease-fire agreement in contempt. For a decade it has been in his power to end the crisis by meeting the conditions of the agreement. He has not done so.
Secondary blame, however, lies with the Security Council itself, which has allowed him to get away with it—even now, when matters are coming to a head. Resolution 1441 is in force, it is a mandate, and it is one of the most straightforward products of bureaucracy that I have read—clear, unequivocal, simple, and direct. Or at least it would be if it meant anything.
Taking Your Gun to Town, March 19, 2003
The United States will not be humiliated if we succeed in humiliating Saddam beyond recovery. But if the conflict is very bloody, the world may perceive us as bullies and thugs... To take your gun to town and lose is to lose everything. But winners may also lose big.
About the Author:
Barnabas admits that pointing out the obvious isn't exactly prophecy, but the news wasn't noticing the obvious much last winter. He will return to the present next week.
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