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No Proof Would Be Enough

No matter what the evidence, some folks will just never come around to the notion that America could be right.

11:00 PM, Feb 24, 2003 • By LARRY MILLER
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IN THE COURSE of our adult lives, we all learn lessons about humanity that disappoint us, but, for me, this one has been stunning.

I swear, I cannot fathom the people who insist that Saddam Hussein is not going to merrily kill us and everyone he can reach as soon as he is able. What is it about some people that makes them live in this suicidal denial? I could normally shrug it off, except that now it's not just suicidal. They're going to get us all killed, and that makes it homicidal as well.

They have their mantras:

"Osama bin Laden hates Saddam Hussein and would never work with him." Really? Bin Laden is nothing if not shrewd, and he knows that job number one is killing Americans and Israelis. After that, when the carnage is complete, he'll have plenty of time to turn his attention to Iraq. Hate Hussein? So, what? If he thought he could get the same results with Larry Flynt, he would do it in a New York minute.

"Peace is good; war is bad." I don't even know what this means. Which peace? Which war? Did the people of Europe have peace after being conquered by Hitler? Should we have dealt with him in "peace" in the interest of "stability?"

Do the people of Iraq have peace? Surely not the ones who find themselves led into a basement to find their children hooked up to electrodes. Surely not the Kurds. Surely not anyone who doesn't work for the government. Who, then? The generals on the file footage who bounce up to The Great Uncle with frozen smiles for a kiss and a chat? The soldiers of the so-called elite Republican Guard? What horrors have they all committed to earn their privileges? What does a man have to do over there to be called "elite?" One shudders to imagine. I can't help but think of the old restaurant motto from years past: "Where The Elite Meet To Eat." I wonder where they meet in Iraq. Now there's a nightspot where the waiters don't want to screw up an order. (One thing you've got to hand the Iraqi General Staff: They all have terrific moustaches. Not as well sculpted as the Saudi princes, but who has that kind of time?)

"This is just about oil." I know facts don't matter to people whose favorite hobby is shouting, but has no one noticed that if we wanted Iraq's oil so much, all we'd have to do is make a deal with Saddam tomorrow? Oil companies aren't running policy, because if they were, that would be it: Sign a deal with the man. So why don't we? Saddam would be happy (or, at least, as happy as a guy like him gets), the left would be happy, and Old Europe would be happy. (Shouldn't we be spelling that Olde Europe?) Yes, everyone would be happy. Ah, but then we'd all have to pretend we don't know he's building a giant scimitar out of radium. Aye, there's the rub.

Of course, what the "just-about-oilers" mean is that President Bush is going to get a skadillion people killed "just" so he can steal Iraq's oil; and it may be overstating the obvious, but we don't do that. The phrase "Spoils of War" is as dead in America as Cotton Mather. In fact, if there's one thing history has taught us, it's that the best thing that can ever happen to a country is to go to war with us and lose. This was so obvious after the Second World War that a wonderful satire was made, "The Mouse That Roared," about a little, impoverished country that decides to declare war on the United States for the express purpose of immediately surrendering and being rebuilt afterwards with foreign aid.

No, we'll never take their oil, and everyone knows it. After this thing is over, whatever this "thing" winds up being, we'll sign a deal and pay for it, rebuild their country with foreign aid (uh-huh), and show them how to have a government where Tom Daschle and Bill Frist can work together in friendship and respect. Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind learning how that one works, too.

"Most people in the world are against this." So? Most people in the world want us to be as miserable as they are. Sure, after September 11 everyone said, "We're all Americans today," but that was baloney. As soon as they got home and closed the door, they all danced a jig. It's a sad fact of human nature, but most people don't look at success and try to emulate it. Instead, they look at success and hate it, and hate themselves, and do whatever they can to bring the successful people down a peg. "Most people in the world" don't mind being buried in boiling dung up to their necks as long as we're buried there with them. And I don't know about you, but, as a rule, I hate being buried in boiling dung.