Friday, April 4, 2003


My father, a college professor, is exposed to wayyyy more peacenik mumbo-jumbo than any human being should ever have to endure. Here is an "Iraq War Test" that he recently received from a half-wit professor who will remain nameless. Well, not exactly nameless, as I've got to call him by some name, albeit a fictitious one. His screed was such a jewel, and his conclusions so congruent with those of the German government, that I think I'll give him a pseudonym based on the German word for jewelry, and call him "Professor Schmuck." I won't divulge his university or discipline, either; suffice it to say that the school isn't exactly Harvard, and his discipline isn't exactly history, political science, Arabic, Iraqi Literature, or any other field that might give Professor Schmuck any above-average insights into geopolitical concerns affecting the Middle East.

    Take the Iraq War Test
    1. The anti-war movement supports our troops by urging that they be brought home immediately, so they neither kill nor get killed in a [sic] unjust war.

Some do, while others burn flags, harass children whose parents are fighting overseas, accost innocent citizens or publicly call for "a million Mogadishus." Just because someone in the U.S. opposes the U.S. in this war does not make him a "peace" activist; maybe he's just on the other side. For that matter, just because Professor Schmuck labels a war "unjust" does not make it so, either. When the war is over and the troops are gone, maybe we can have a show of hands among the Iraqi population to determine whether or not the war was just. Professor Schmuck's mea culpa is graciously accepted, in advance.

    How has the Bush administration shown its support for our troops?

    a. The Republican-controlled House Budget Committee voted to cut $25 billion in veterans benefits over the next 10 years.

    b. The Bush administration proposed cutting $172 million from impact aid programs which provide school funding for children of military personnel.

    c. The administration ordered the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to stop publicizing health benefits available to veterans.

    d. All of the above.

Conspicuously absent from the quiz were any of the following choices:

    e. By having them do what they are trained to do, when appropriate.

    f. By sending in a group of special forces, on a high-risk mission, to rescue one private in captivity.

    2. The anti-war movement believes that patriotism means urging our country to do what is right.

Many in the "anti-war" movement scorn the very concept of patriotism. The less offensive "peace is patriotic" contingent believes that patriotism means clogging streets, committing coordinated denial of service attacks, puking on federal buildings, and doing countless other horrendous things to attempt to bully our country into doing what they think is right. Which, of course, is not to be confused with what is right. Even if it were, it would still be a pretty weak definition of "patriotism." A moralist urges his country to do what's "right;" a patriot urges his country to do what is in the long term interests of his own country.

    a. Patriotism means emulating Dick Cheney, who serves as Vice-President while receiving $100,000-$1,000,000 a year from Halliburton, the multi-billion dollar company which is already lining up for major contracts in post-war Iraq.

Of course, Professor Schmuck overlooked the fact that Halliburton has dropped out of the bidding process, and now denies it ever placed a bid at all. He also overlooked the fact that Cheney has sold his stock in Halliburton, and that his deferred compensation is insured and thus does not depend on how well/poorly Halliburton does. Other than that, the good professor's analysis is right on the money.

    b. Patriotism means emulating Richard Perle, the warhawk who serves as head of the Defense Intelligence Board while at the same time meeting with Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi on behalf of Trireme, a company of which he is a managing partner, involved in security and military technologies, and while agreeing to work as a paid lobbyist for Global Crossing, a telecommunications giant seeking a major Pentagon contract.

Now, there's a humdinger of an argument if I've ever heard one: Global Crossing is now a Republican issue! Where was Professor Schmuck when DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe needed him?

    c. Patriotism means emulating George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, Tom DeLay, John Ashcroft, Lewis Libby, and others who enthusiastically supported the Vietnam War while avoiding serving in it and who now are sending others to kill and be killed in Iraq.

And Vietnam has what, exactly, to do with Iraq? Oh yeah, I almost forgot: the same thing Vietnam has to do with every foreign conflict the peaceniks want us to stay out of, i.e., nothing.

    d. All of the above.

The following choices are missing in action:

    e. Attempting to do what's best for one's country. This means lobbying for war when the war is in your country's interest, and against it when it's not. It very rarely means actively protesting against a war that is currently in progress. Reasonable minds may differ as to whether or not the U.S. should have gotten involved in Iraq in the first place, but anyone who thinks we should pull out now is smoking crack. Even such certifiable nutcases as Pat Buchanan and Jimmy Carter have acknowledged as much.

    f. None of the above. No one, inside or outside the Bush Adminstration, has indicated that any of the above actions, good or bad, have anything to do with patriotism, one way or the other.

    3. The Bush administration has accused Saddam Hussein of lying regarding his weapons of mass destruction. Which of the following might be considered less than truthful?

That's the tired tu quoque (Latin for "you, too!") defense, as though George W. Bush's alleged lack of truthfulness had any bearing on Saddam's. It is not intended as a serious argument; it's just there to muddy the waters.

    a. Constant claims by the Bush administration that there was documentary evidence linking Iraq to attempted uranium purchases in Niger, despite the fact that the documents were forgeries and CIA analysts doubted their authenticity.

Even Hans "Neville" Blix doesn't doubt that the U.S. passed those documents to UNMOVIC in good faith, nor does the U.S. doubt that the Italians gave it to us in good faith. The only real question is who falsified those documents, and why. If the CIA were behind it, they would have done a much better job.

    b. A British intelligence report on Iraq's security services that was in fact plagiarized, with selected modifications, from a student article.

Contrary to popular opinion, plagiarism has nothing to do with falsification. To the best of my knowledge, the British government stands by the substance of that report to this day. It certainly did at the time.

    c. The frequent citation of the incriminating testimony of Iraqi defector Hussein Kamel, while suppressing that part of the testimony in which Kamel stated that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed following the 1991 Gulf War.

Who's "suppressing" anyone? Has Professor Schmuck been arrested for distributing this subversive information? Oh, no, now I'm really skeered! Maybe I can be prosecuted, too. Is there a "fisking exception" to whatever law is being used to suppress the public dissemination of Mr. Kamel's testimony?

    d. All of the above.

The following choices are AWOL and should report for duty immediately:

    e. Hussein's claim that he doesn't have WMD.

    f. Hussein's claim that he was democratically elected.

    g. Tickle Me ElmoMohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's claim that the coalition was tied up at the Kuwaiti border, when in fact it had overtaken roughly half of the country.

    h. Tickle Me ElmoMohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's claim that the coalition was nowhere near Baghdad, when in fact it had the city surrounded.

    i. Tickle Me ElmoMohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's claim that the coalition had been massively slaughtered while trying to take Saddam Baghdad International Airport, when in fact it had overtaken the airport with relative ease.

    j. Tickle Me ElmoMohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's insistance that while the coalition might be "on" Baghdad, it had not entered the city and had lost its grip elsewhere - when in fact coalition forces have run tanks through Baghdad and had not lost control of a square inch of Iraq.

    k. Multiple videos purporting to show that Saddam is still alive and in control, each of which has obvious problems (e.g., praising the victories of generals who had actually surrendered, claiming a nameless peasant had shot down an Apache with an old rusty rifle, mixing with Iraqi citizens wearing coats in 100-degree temperature, etc.).

    l. Far too many other claims to list here.

    4. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher [sic] stormed out of a press conference when the assembled reporters broke into laughter after he declared that the U.S. would never try to bribe members of the UN. What should Fleisher [sic] have said to defend himself?

    a. It wasn't just bribery; we also ordered the bugging of the home and office phones and emails of the UN ambassadors of Security Council member states that were undecided on war.

    b. Oh, come on! We've been doing this for years. In 1990 when Yemen voted against authorizing war with Iraq, the U.S. ambassador declared "That will be the most expensive 'no' vote you ever cast."

    c. Why do you think the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act makes one of the conditions for an African country to receive preferential access to U.S. markets that it "not engage in activities that undermine United States national security or foreign policy interests"?

    d. All of the above.

The following answers must have buggered off somewhere while no one was looking:

    e. It's Fleischer, dammit, Fleischer! F-L-E-I-S-C-H-E-R. OK? Now, where were we?

    f. OK, you got me there. Of course it was bribery! Welcome to the sausage-making process of U.N. negotiations. Why do you think Turkey refused our bribe, out of principle? Of course not! We offered them a pretty sweet deal, but our French non-allies made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

    5. George Bush has declared that "we have no fight with the Iraqi people." What could he have cited as supporting evidence?

    a. U.S. maintenance of 12 years of crippling sanctions that strengthened Saddam Hussein while contributing to the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

Contrary to popular opinion, the oil-for-palaces program was actually intended to bring food to the region. It didn't, but how is that the U.S.'s fault? Actually, I take that back; we now know that the program did bring plenty of food to the region, just not to the individual Iraqis who actually needed it. I'm sure that if you were to ask Professor Schmuck, I'm sure he'd find some tortured argument to make this the U.S.'s fault, too.

That said, all this is the U.S.'s fault in one sense, and one sense only: we should have told the UN naysayers to go to hell in 1991, and taken Hussein out then and there. We didn't, which is why we ended up needing those "crippling sanctions" that didn't seem to accomplish much anyway (except, of course, when peaceniks use "containment" as an argument to show why the current war is unnecessary; then, these same sanctions work just peachily); and which certainly didn't cripple Hussein's ability to create the fedayeen, maintain torture chambers, etc. So now we're stuck with a second war that should never have been necessary, which I have thus dubbed "Operation Thanks, Dad." And we're also stuck with thousands upon thousands of dead Iraqis who would be alive today if we'd finished the job in 1991. So if Professor Schmuck's entire protest boils down to the fact that one Bush is doing in 2003 what another should have done in 1991, then with 20-10 hindsight, I don't disagree.

    b. The fact that "coalition" forces have indicated that they will use cluster bombs in Iraq, despite warnings from human rights groups that "The use of cluster munitions in Iraq will endanger civilians for years to come."

Tell that to Salam Pax, the Baghdad blogger. He's been a frequent critic of our war in Iraq, but he does concede that our precision bombs are indeed precise. Not that I'd expect a peacenik from outside Iraq to let such an inconvenient fact get in the way.

    c. By pointing to the analogy of Afghanistan, which the U.S. pledged not to forget about when the war was over, and for which the current Bush Administration foreign aid budget request included not one cent in aid.

Not that we owe Afghanistan or any other country one red cent in aid, but it bears repeating that while Professor Schmuck might have forgotten about Afghanistan, the Great Satan the USA clearly hasn't.

    d. All of the above.

The following answers must have gotten lost in the sandstorms:

    e. By giving food to Iraqi civilians and attempting to restore order - to the extent the fedayeen allow this to happen.

    f. The fact that Iraqi POWs, unlike their American coalition counterparts, are treated in full accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

    g. The fact that the Iraqi government is using Americans' concern for the welfare of Iraqi civilians as a weapon in this war, probably the only weapon that prevented it from ending the war at least a week ago. After all, if the object had been simply to pave Iraq, we could have pulled that off in a matter of hours.

    6. The Bush administration has touted the many nations that are part of the "coalition of the willing." Which of the following statements about this coalition is true?

    a. In most of the coalition countries polls show that a majority, often an overwhelming majority, of the people oppose the war.

Which should be irrelevant to anyone who attempts to define a true patriot as a person who urges his nation to do the right thing, rather than the popular or politically expedient thing.

    b. More than ten of the members of the coalition of the willing are actually a coalition of the unwilling - unwilling to reveal their names.

If they were really that unwilling, they'd refuse to participate at all, anonymously or otherwise. And what does this say for the 50-odd countries who are willing to stick out their necks? Oops, I almost forgot, they're not real countries anyway. Nicaragua was a Very Important Country when it was run by every leftist's favorite child molester and his fellow Sandfuckersinistas, but now that the country is a bona fide democracy, I guess it's chopped liver.

    c. Coalition members - most of whose contributions to the war are negligible or even zero - constitute less than a quarter of the countries in the UN and contain less than 20% of the world's population.

I don't remember Nicaragua making a huge contribution World War II, either, nor can I think of a single war, UN-sanctioned or otherwise, that has been waged by more than a quarter of the countries in the UN. And why should we even care about the official positions of governments that weren't even elected democratically? Did it even occur to Professor Schmuck that these states might have an ulterior motive for opposing the war?

    d. All of the above.

The following answer was killed in action:

    e. Our "unilateral" coalition of the willing is the second largest coalition we've had in any war since World War II. Only the first Gulf War beat it out. Never in history has "going it alone" been so unlonely.

    7. The war on Iraq is said to be part of the "war on terrorism." Which of the following is true?

    a. A senior American counterintelligence official said: "An American invasion of Iraq is already being used as a recruitment tool by Al Qaeda and other groups. And it is a very effective tool."

Of course it is, in the short run. It will be less effective on the long run, however. "Violence begets violence," but not if you hit him hard enough. Besides, 9-11 has demonstrated that a "play nice" attitude isn't very effective in combatting terrorism, either. Better that we pick the time and place of the war now, rather than wait for Hussein's answer to 9-11.

    b. An American official, based in Europe, said Iraq had become "a battle cry, in a way," for Al Qaeda recruiters.

See above. Our very presence in the region was bin Laden's original battle cry. Does that mean the first Gulf War was the wrong thing to do? If your answer is "yes," bear in mind that millions of Kuwaitis will beg to differ.

    c. France's leading counter-terrorism judge said: "Bin Laden's strategy has always been to demonstrate to the Islamic community that the West, and especially the U.S., is starting a global war against Muslims. An attack on Iraq might confirm this vision for many Muslims. I am very worried about the next wave of recruits."

One-third of all Frenchmen hope that Saddam wins this war and remains in power. Even Dominique de Villepin, a man, had a hard time clarifying that he did not subscribe that that position himself. So will someone please remind me why, exactly, any American should care what the French think about anything?

    d. All of the above.

The following answers are unaccounted for, and are generally believed to have surrendered to enemy forces the minute the first shot was fired:

    e. As most of us knew prior to 9-11, but many seem to have forgotten since, there are terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda out there. For example, Saddam Hussein's government has been promoting suicide/homicide bombings in Israel for years, by paying off the families of the "martyrs" who conduct them.

    f. Saddam Hussein's regime attempted to assassinate the former President Bush during Clinton's tenure - i.e., at a time when Bush himself could not have reasonably been viewed as a legitimate military target.

    g. Intel indicates that the Iraqi regime has shared chemical weapons recipes with al Qaeda.

    h. Al Qaeda training camps have been run in Iraq.

    i. Whether or not Saddam had a hand in 9-11 has zero, zilch, nada, squat to do with the probability that he might play a role in the next 9-11, if left unchecked.

    8. The Bush administration says it is waging war to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Which of the following is true?

    a. The United States has refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, viewed worldwide as the litmus test for seriousness about nuclear disarmament.

I tend to be skeptical of anyone who claims to speak for an entire country, let alone for an entire world, but that's just me.

    b. The United States has insisted on a reservation to the Chemical Weapons Convention allowing the U.S. President the right to refuse an inspection of U.S. facilities on national security grounds, and blocked efforts to improve compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

    c. Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified on Feb. 11, 2003, "The long-term trends with respect to WMD and missile proliferation are bleak. States seek these capabilities for regional purposes, or to provide a hedge to deter or offset U.S. military superiority."

    d. All of the above.

The following answer attempted to surrender prematurely, and was promptly handed over to his superiors. As a result, it was probably executed, or worse: e. Neither Bush nor any other U.S. President has used chemical weapons to kill thousands of his own people.

    9. The Bush administration says it wants to bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East. Which of the following is true?

    a. If there were democracy in Saudi Arabia today, backing for the U.S. war effort would be the first thing to go, given the country's "increasingly anti-American population deeply opposed to the war."

If your aunt had balls, she'd be your uncle. If Saudi Arabia were a democracy, with free and open elections, a free press, etc., it would be a completely different society from what it is today, and it's anybody's guess what its citizens might think. Come to think of it, it's anybody's guess what the average Saudi does think, even today. It's not as though you can rely on any opinion polls taken in a country where it is illegal to hold certain opinions.

It's also anybody's guess why we should care. Iraq isn't our country, but it doesn't exactly belong to the Saudis, either.

    b. The United States subverted some of the few democratic governments in the Middle East (Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953), and has backed undemocratic regimes in the region ever since.

Well, gee, if we haven't opposed every undemocratic country, we'd better be consistent and not oppose any of them. By that logic, if we can't feed 100% of the starving people around the world, we'd better not feed anyone.

    c. The United States supported the crushing of anti-Saddam Hussein revolts in Iraq in 1991.

Not exactly. Unfortunately, we didn't do nearly enough to oppose such crushing, either. That's because we were too concerned about what "the world" might think if we exceeded the UN's stated objective of liberating Kuwait.

    d. All of the above.

The following answer was hiding in a bunker during the first attack and has not been seen in public since:

    e. Whatever government ends up in Iraq probably will not be a model democracy, but will almost certainly be an order of magnitude less repressive than Saddam Hussein's existing regime.

    10. Colin Powell cited as evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link an audiotape from bin Laden in which he called Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party regime "infidels."

One has to wonder: did Adolf Hitler ever figure out that Benito Mussolini - to say nothing of Emperor Hirohito - wasn't really an Aryan?

    Which of the following is more compelling evidence?

    a. An FBI official told the New York Times: "We've been looking at this hard for more than a year and you know what, we just don't think it's there."

Definitely not answer (a), as conclusions are not evidence. They aren't particularly persuasive, either, when the only name given for the source is An FBI Official.

    b. According to a classified British intelligence report seen by BBC News, "There are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network."

First, same objection as before regarding conclusions vs. evidence. Second, consider the source: the Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation's coverage of the war has been marginally more objective than al-Jazeera's has. Third, if the evidence was classified, why did the BBC have access to it? Might they have drawn a different conclusion if they had seen the other classified information, which was properly withheld from them since it was ... um, classified?

    c. According to Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, "Since U.S. intervention in Afghanistan in October 2001, I have examined several tens of thousands of documents recovered from Al Qaeda and Taliban sources. In addition to listening to 240 tapes taken from Al Qaeda's central registry, I debriefed several Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees. I could find no evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

I guess he missed the al-Qaeda camps our troops have overtaken in Iraq.

    d. All of the above.

The following answers have deserted their battalions and are now seeking semi-honorable discharge after becoming instant conscientious objectors and discussing their sexual preference openly:

    e. Al-Qaeda members and other non-Iraqis are now fighting alongside the Iraqis to preserve the very regime they supposedly have nothing to do with.

    f. Abu Nidal lived in Baghdad for years, with the knowledge and consent of the Iraqi regime, until he became useless to them last fall and died in a "suicide" involving multiple bullet wounds.

    g. There is some evidence, though by no means conclusive, that Saddam's government played a role in the OKC bombing.

    h. Whether or not there is a direct link between Hussein's administration and al-Qaeda and/or OKC, there is absolutely no question that he provides he funds international terrorist groups.

Last and least, take a gander at the snarky comments they make for those who answer too many of the questions accurately to get a high score:

    6-8 Correct: Fair. You've been watching a few too many former generals and government officials who provide the "expert" commentary for the mainstream media. Read the alternative media!

What might the "alternative" media be? Al-Jazeera, perhaps? Or maybe those nice guys over at IndyMedia who are gloating over journalist Michael Kelly's death?

    0-2 Correct: Failing. You have a bright future as an "embedded" journalist.

Heaven forbid someone may serve as an embedded journalist, and encounter any facts firsthand which may not jibe with The Truth (TM)!

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