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I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's
running out of patience. And so am I! For some time now I've been really
pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street.
Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me
queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but
so far I haven't been able to discover what.
I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's
got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is. As for Mr Patel, don't
ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in
reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if
we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one. Some of my neighbours say,
if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply
ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with
which to charge my neighbours.
They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and
wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be
finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be
secretly murdering people.
Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic
firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until recently
that's been a little difficult. Now, however, George W. Bush has made it
clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in
and do whatever I want!
And let's face it, Mr Bush's carefully thought-out policy towards Iraq
the only way to bring about international peace and security. The one
certain way to stop Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers targeting the US
or the UK is to bomb a few Muslim countries that have never threatened us.
That's why I want to blow up Mr Johnson's garage and kill his wife and
children. Strike first! That'll teach him a lesson. Then he'll leave us in
peace and stop peering at me in that totally unacceptable way.
Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bombing Iraq is
that Saddam is a really nasty man and that he has weapons of mass
destruction - even if no one can find them. I'm certain I've just as much
justification for killing Mr Johnson's wife and children as Mr Bush has for
bombing Iraq. Mr Bush's long-term aim is to make the world a safer place by
eliminating 'rogue states' and 'terrorism'. It's such a clever long-term aim
because how can you ever know when you've achieved it?
How will Mr Bush know when he's wiped out all terrorists? When every single
terrorist is dead? But then a terrorist is only a terrorist once he's
committed an act of terror. What about would-be terrorists? These are the
ones you really want to eliminate, since most of the known terrorists, being
suicide bombers, have already eliminated themselves.
Perhaps Mr Bush needs to wipe out everyone who could possibly be a future
terrorist? Maybe he can't be sure he's achieved his objective until every
Muslim fundamentalist is dead? But then some moderate Muslims might convert
to fundamentalism. Maybe the only really safe thing to do would be for Mr
Bush to eliminate all Muslims?
It's the same in my street. Mr Johnson and Mr Patel are just the tip of
iceberg. There are dozens of other people in the street who I don't like and
who - quite frankly - look at me in odd ways. No one will be really safe
until I've wiped them all out. My wife says I might be going too far but I
tell her I'm simply using the same logic as the President of the United
States. That shuts her up.
Like Mr Bush, I've run out of patience, and if that's a good enough reason
for the President, it's good enough for me. I'm going to give the whole
street two weeks - no, 10 days - to come out in the open and hand over all
aliens and interplanetary hijackers, galactic outlaws and interstellar
terrorist masterminds, and if they don't hand them over nicely and say
'Thank you', I'm going to bomb the entire street to kingdom come.
It's just as sane as what George W. Bush is proposing - and, in contrast
what he's intending, my policy will destroy only one street.
The statement, the cable said, was not intended to imply a shift in policy, and the U.S. desire "to improve bilateral relations, at a pace of Iraq's choosing," remained "undiminished." "This message bears reinforcing during your discussions."
The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the nonprofit National Security Archive, provide new, behind-the-scenes details of U.S. efforts to court Iraq as an ally even as it used chemical weapons in its war with Iran.
Throughout the 1980s, while Iraq was fighting a prolonged war with Iran, the United States saw Saddam's regime as an important ally and bulwark against the militant Shiite extremism seen in the 1979 revolution in Iran.
Publicly, the United States maintained neutrality during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, which began in 1980.
Privately, however, the administrations of Reagan and the first President Bush sold military goods to Iraq, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological agents, worked to stop the flow of weapons to Iran, and undertook discreet diplomatic initiatives, such as two Rumsfeld trips to Baghdad, to improve relations with Saddam.
An earlier trip by Rumsfeld to Baghdad, in December 1983, has been widely reported as having helped persuade Iraq to resume diplomatic ties with the United States.
An explicit purpose of Rumsfeld's return trip in March 1984, the once-secret documents reveal for the first time, was to ease the strain created by a U.S. condemnation of chemical weapons.
The documents do not show what Rumsfeld said in his meetings with Aziz, only what he was instructed to say.
It would be highly unusual for a presidential envoy to have ignored direct instructions from Shultz.When details of Rumsfeld's December trip came to light last year, the defense secretary told CNN that he had "cautioned" Saddam about the use of chemical weapons, an account that was at odds with the declassified State Department notes of his 90-minute meeting, which did not mention such a caution.
Later, a Pentagon spokesman said Rumsfeld raised the issue not with Saddam, but with Aziz.
Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita said yesterday that "the secretary said what he said and I would go with that. He has a recollection of how that meeting went, and I can't imagine that some additional cable is going to change how he recalls the meeting."
"I don't think it has to be inconsistent," said Di Rita. "You could make a strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons, or any kind of lethal agents, and then say, with that in mind, 'Here's another set of issues' " to be discussed.
Last year, the Bush administration cited its belief that Iraq had and would use weapons of mass destruction — including chemical, biological and nuclear devices — as the principal reason for going to war.
Tom Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archives, a Washington-based nonprofit research center at George Washington University that seeks government documents, said the secret support for Saddam offers a lesson for U.S. foreign relations in the post-Sept. 11 world.
Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company