Weapons of less destruction

The White House scoffed last week at what we at the RN&R view as possibly the most practical suggestion to relations between the United States and Iraq. When Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan suggested that the leaders of the world’s greatest superpower should battle the Iraqi leaders face-to-face in a political death match, White House spokesman Air Fleischer replied: “There can be no serious response to an irresponsible statement like that.”

Instead, the Bush administration is willing to risk the lives of possibly thousands of average, non-wealthy American soldiers in order to uphold … what was it again? … oh yeah, freedom and the American way of life for Iraqis, complete with radio broadcasts of Eminem and Britney. This should make the world safe from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, if, indeed, they have a few nukes in the palace closets. It doesn’t address the weapons of mass destruction that our own nation possesses, develops and proliferates and gloats over.

But wait, you say, a duel to the death between Saddam and G-Dub? What if the Sadd-man wins and we all have to become sub-Iraqis? No worries. If the two leaders met with the weapons of their choice to wrastle in, maybe, an oil-filled pit, the RN&R’s money would on our fine presidential specimen. Bluntly put, George W. is buff. At 5-foot-9, weighing in at a fairly lean 189 pounds, the Prez jogs a seven-minute mile. He survived choking on a pretzel. As for weapons, it’s said that George is a crack shot—though a New York newspaper notes that he was “fined in 1994 for killing a protected bird called a killdeer.”

Why is it that two men facing off on neutral territory seems more barbaric than the U.S. military flying over a much-weaker country, dropping real weapons of mass destruction that kill thousands of soldiers and civilians? How will this make our nation feel better about Sept. 11? Can Bush and his cronies offer any evidence that connects Saddam Hussein to the terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center? Nope. This is all about saving face. Last year, we bombed the hell out of Afghanistan, freeing the people from the Taliban—but failing to nab the world’s most hated villain. Remember him? Osama bin Whatshisname? Bush and Co. seems to want to redirect your anger toward Hussein. Why? Here’s a bad guy that we can find and beat, claiming victory for the Bush administration.

OK, maybe this view is too cynical. We’d like to think that Bush really gives a hoot about the people of Iraq and actually thinks he’s doing what’s best for them. His speech Monday night, rife with images of suffering Iraqi women and political dissidents, was geared to this kind of emotional reaction.

But even so, we can never agree that military intervention is the ticket to solving problems with Iraq. Like the economic sanctions that have wrought havoc in that land for years, bombs will only hurt the very women and children that Bush says he wants to help. War won’t work.