An exchange imagined on August 28, 2002 by John Deering, the political cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Frame One: The Democratic donkey comments to the Republican elephant about how President Bush did nothing to prevent the attacks of September 11.
Frame Two: The Republican elephant replies with a rhetorical question: "So, you're in favor of a preemptive strike against Saddam?"
This cartoonish spat is intended to prove how foolish Democrats are to oppose a preemptive invasion of Iraq by the United States. Actually, it reveals the confused logic with which extremist Republican hawks are pushing for a war against Iraq.
First of all, the cartoon completely misrepresents the debate about invading Iraq by depicting it as an argument between Democrats and Republicans. In fact, prominent Democrats and Republicans both are opposed to this new installment of Bush's ill-defined War On Evil.
Second, the issue of whether George W. Bush could have prevented the tragic violence of September 11 if he had been paying closer attention to the warning signs is a completely different issue from whether Iraq ought to be invaded. Remember, there's no evidence that the Iraqi government had anything at all to do with the attacks of September 11. What's that? You've heard Rush Limbaugh talk about how a low-level Iraqi government official might have met with one of the hijackers? That conspiracy theory has been debunked. It turns out that the Iraqi official was actually thousands of miles away from the hijacker on the day of their supposed meeting.
Third, there is no sign whatsoever that the Iraqi government is intending to attack the United States. That's right, none. In fact, the Iraqis have said that they will defend their country with whatever desperate measures are available to them IF we attack. In the meantime, the only Iraqi military action of late has been to turn on its radar systems to track the American warplanes that have flown over Iraqi territory and dropped bombs here and there over the last ten years. So, it seems that the likelihood of violence in general and the use of weapons of mass destruction in particular will increase, not decrease, if the United States invades Iraq.
Fourth, the Republican elephant's assumption that only two choices exist (doing nothing and turning the United States into an aggressor nation by invading Iraq without provocation) only illustrates the simplistic, emotionally-driven perspective of conservative Hawks.
It's also essential to keep in mind that, as much as Dick Cheney likes to call Saddam Hussein evil and depict Iraq as a threat, almost no other nation in the entire world believes that the United States would be justified in invading Iraq. Even Iraq's neighbors are against an invasion. These opponents of war include Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the countries that the last Gulf War was supposed to defend.
In the last frame of the cartoon, the Democratic donkey calls the Republican elephant-hawk a "warmonger". The Republican elephant responds with eye-widened shock. Pardon me if I don't share the confusion. The shoe fits.
The only value that I find in this ridiculous political cartoon is that it reveals the strategy of the pro-invasion extremists who are encouraging George W. Bush to invade Iraq even without the support of the American people. As George W.'s approval rating keep declining, and as it becomes ever more clear that there is no compelling need to send 200,000 young Americans to go invade Iraq, the hawks within the Bush Administration will increasingly attempt to connect their plans for waging war against Iraq to the tragedy of September 11. Given the fact that there is no actual connection between Iraq and the attacks of September 11, such a ploy is pathetically desperate. Even worse, this strategy amounts to a profoundly morbid political exploitation of the deaths of thousands of Americans.
The time has come for George W. Bush and his militaristic goons to stop playing war games.
J. Clifford Cook, Irregular Times contributing writer
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