John McCain in denial

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
June 16th, 2003 • 10:00 pm

There is something mind-boggling in the way that a Republican senator such as John McCain continues to try and justify — by stating that we are “past the point of justifying”, no less — the actions of the current US administration.

What is mind-boggling is that he is continuing to use the “weapons of mass destruction” issue even though members of the US administration itself are now trying to distance themselves (very clumsily) from that very issue.

McCain is right when he says that it is highly unlikely that Saddam Hussein actually precipitated the withdrawal of U.N. inspectors from his country in 1998, then decided to change course and disarmed himself over the next four years, but refused to provide any realistic proof that this disarmament occurred.

The problem was not and never was whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. The problem was not whether Saddam Hussein was a dictator, murderer, torturer, etc. The problem was, and still is, whether there was any immediate need to remove Saddam Hussein from power while leaving other dictatorships or dictatorial military regimes in place.

Right now, I’m reading this book by Bernard-Henri Lévy about the killing of Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl. More than the controversial theory that forms the core of the book (that Daniel Pearl knew too much about the current Pakistani regime itself), what strikes me is the existence of violence, murder, torture in Pakistan under that regime. Yet this is the very regime that is supposed to be an “ally” of the USA. So, once again, I have to ask: How was Saddam Hussein’s murderous regime any worse, any more urgent to “disarm” than the regime in Pakistan? I guess the main difference is that Saddam Hussein refused to “cooperate” with the US administration on a superficial level.

Far be it from me to say that Saddam was “better” than Musharraf. But I cannot help but notice that Pakistan has nuclear weapons, that the al-Qaeda-sponsoring Taliban regime in Afhganistan pretty much originated in Pakistan, and that, well, Pakistan is hardly a model of democracy and freedom of thought, and its population and army are far less “under control” than the US would like to believe. If that doesn’t sound like a threat to the national security of occidental democracies, including the US, I don’t know what does.

What is it going to take for the US to finally wake up and smell the coffee? A second Sept. 11? We are not “past the point of justifying” by any stretch of the imagination. We’re just beginning.

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