Peter Freundlich on NPR on Iraq war
Source Ken Hanly
Date 03/03/25/23:49


All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly. We are
going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein
that the United Nations cannot be ignored. We're going to wage war to
preserve the UN's ability to avert war. The paramount principle is that the
UN's word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word to
guarantee that it is, then by gum, we will. Peace is too important not to
take up arms to defend. Am I getting this right?

Further, if the only way to bring democracy to Iraq is to vitiate the
democracy of the Security Council, then we are honor-bound to do that too,
because democracy, as we define it, is too important to be stopped by a
little thing like democracy as they define it.

Also, in dealing with a man who brooks no dissension at home, we cannot
afford dissension among ourselves. We must speak with one voice against
Saddam Hussein's failure to allow opposing voices to be heard. We are
sending our gathered might to the Persian Gulf to make the point that might
does not make right, as Saddam Hussein seems to think it does. And we are
twisting the arms of the opposition until it agrees to let us oust a regime
that twists the arms of the opposition. We cannot leave in power a dictator
who ignores his own people. And if our people, and people elsewhere in the
world, fail to understand that, then we have no choice but to ignore them.

Listen. Don't misunderstand. I think it is a good thing that the members of
the Bush administration seem to have been reading Lewis Carroll. I only wish
someone had pointed out that "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking
Glass" are meditations on paradox and puzzle and illogic and on the
strangeness of things, not templates for foreign policy. It is amusing for
the Mad Hatter to say something like, `We must make war on him because he is
a threat to peace,' but not amusing for someone who actually commands an
army to say that.

As a collector of laughable arguments, I'd be enjoying all this were it not
for the fact that I know--we all know--that lives are going to be lost in
what amounts to a freak, circular reasoning accident.

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