An insightful and worrying article about the new McCarthyism talks about America's growing habit of...

posted 11 March 2003
An insightful and worrying article about the new McCarthyism talks about America's growing habit of self-censorship in the name of patriotism, and the backlash faced by celebrities who attempt to speak out to compensate for the void of coverage anti-war protests have been getting. It claims that Americans have a reverence for their President, and that in times of war it just simply is not done to question the motives of the oval office. Is this true? What is the real explanation for America's enthusiasm for this war, given their more usual lack of enthusiasm for sending their troops out to be killed in foreign lands?

More and more -- especially if Blix's new drone turns out to be real -- I believe that yes, we should probably attack Iraq and get rid of Saddam and his weapons. I wish we could sort out North Korea first, but dealing with Saddam before he has nukes is a lot easier than dealing with North Korea after it already has them. I worry about how Iraq will rule itself after the war, and whether the people of Iraq will really welcome democracy, or if we are just imposing an external culture on them. I think it's ridiculous to suggest that Iraq poses a threat to America or even Europe now, any more than Hitler posed a threat to America just before invading Poland. But Saddam clearly would attack both Europe and the US if he thought he would win, so it's in everyone's interests to make sure he doesn't invade his Poland. And we will incidentally stop a whole lot of Poles getting clobbered, which is all to the good.

And yes, I don't think these reasons are the same ones the Bush administration has for attacking Iraq: I think this war is all about oil for them, and that disgusts me, but doing the right thing for the wrong reason is fine by me; when they take control of the oilfields and start shipping it tax-free to Texas, I'll start complaining again. And again yes, we will end up killing thousands if not hundreds of thousands of innocents to prevent a harm which is not yet inevitable. But if you could have killed a hundred thousand people to stop the holocaust, would you have done it? In world war 2, we waited until the threat was obvious. That turned out to be a bad idea. This time, let's try it the other way around.

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