Well, we’ve heard the speeches from Powell and the replies, and I haven’t found anyone, leader or layman, who has changed his or her mind as a result. What seems to be lost in all the rhetoric is that the reason Bush wants to go to war with Iraq is he thinks he can ‘win’. The moral and humanitarian issues, the alleged threats of WMD, even the economic (oil) issues are all smoke. Bush’s hawkish advisors have told him that, thanks to amazing improvements in technology since Desert Storm, a fast, decisive win is possible, the end result of which will be unconditional surrender and regime change. I think he believes that 50,000 civilian Iraqi deaths are politically manageable if they all occur within 48 hours. I think he believes that the previous unsuccessful U.S. military efforts (like Vietnam) failed due to length and attrition rather than bad strategy and immorality. I think he believes Americans and Middle Easterners alike will be stunned into silence by the speed of the war, and that the ‘success’ will cow totalitarian regimes everywhere into becoming democratic, placid and capitalistic. And worst of all, I think he believes that once he’s ‘showed Saddam’, the fear of such American ‘preemption’ (love that word) in other areas will compel enemies to set aside millenia of hatred and drive them to coalesce and evolve to produce, presumably by magic, modern U.S.-style regimes. In short, he believes in the Hiroshima Gambit, that the end not only justifies the most unimaginably horrifying means, but that the ‘end’ can be accurately predicted by people who are utterly ignorant of the lessons of history, the realities of geograpy and economics, and the diversity and motivations of different cultures. That he can believe these things is what is truly terrifying, and probably why, in a recent poll, more Canadians thought he was a threat to world peace and stability than Saddam.

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