[SPORK] Holy Shiite! US pulling out of Saudi Arabia

Gordon Mohr gojomo at usa.net
Wed Apr 30 01:09:47 PDT 2003

Russell Turpin writes:
> Gordon Mohr:
> >What was the alternative? Honestly saying to the UN and its club, "even if 
> >Iraq's WMD program is now in shards and remnants, the fact that they lust 
> >for regional dominance and WMDs, and are holding their own citizenry 
> >hostage until they again have a chance to grab at those prizes, means we 
> >won't be safe until the Baathists are ousted"?
> Sometimes people ask me, in a hot political
> meeting, what they should say about some
> issue. My constant response is: start with
> the truth.

If a friend were on trial for a hotly political 
drug-related offense, would you recommend his
defense concentrate on the fact that drug laws 
are misguided -- even though the judge won't 
consider such arguments, as a matter of

Or would you suggest his lawyer bend to rules 
of the forum, and make arguments such as superficial 
procedural objections (which could result in 
dismissal) or advance truthful evidence suggesting 
his innocence (even if in fact you know him to be

The first course of action might make you feel 
righteous but would lead to an unjust result. The
second course involves steering around the truth,
and instead focusing on what the audience (the
judge) wants to hear, but can squeeze a just
result from an unjust system.

Your complaints about the prewar case are really
complaints about the absurdities of the world
forum in which that case had to be made. That the
US played by the rules necessitated the approach
that you found misleading. 

> >No matter how right that case would be, it's not within the UN's nature to 
> >even consider such a rationale. ..
> Which means we'd have to go to war without
> the UN or its approval. Which we did anyway.

But if we hadn't genuflected to the UN process,
and made its resolutions and ass-backwards standards
for intervention a keystone of our case, we might
have had their active disapproval. We may have faced
a resolution *against* our action -- which we would
have had to veto. That would have been a disaster
endangering the whole endeavor -- an endeavor you
agree was worthwhile in its end results, and for
reasons other than those emphasized.

> >If the UN got an incomplete and somewhat
> >misleading case, it's because that's the only sort of case they'd accept. 
> >..
> Are we getting some news stream unknown to
> me? In all the versions I saw, the UN did
> NOT accept the case we made.

Our case brought the UN to a state of no-action.
That we endeavored to make the case paid respect to 
the UN, with all its problems. They accepted our
argumentation of that case, even though they
were not ultimately convinced. 

But the case you seem to be suggesting the US should 
have made would have been ruled completely out-of-order.
There's no precedent for that case, they'd say, and
they'd be right. We, as a body, condemn the US for
their expansive new rationale for unseating a fellow
member of our club of governments, they'd say. 

It may be nice to fantasize about making a purely
principled case, even when the audience isn't
interested in hearing it, just like it'd nice to
think you could pass out jury nullification pamphlets
at a friend's trial for a victimless crime. But 
neither action is likely to carry the day in
the real world, and it just might make your 
prospects worse.

- Gordon

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