The Washington Post got one column for the price of two today. Michael Kinsley and E..J. Dionne turned in basically the same pettifogging piece about President Bush’s State of the Union address. Both were troubled by Bush’s comments about the evil nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime. If this is why Bush wants to attack Iraq, they wonder, then shouldn’t we also attack a host of other oppressive regimes throughout the world? It is astonishing that the Post would pay for even one column that makes such an argument. Iraq, of course, is at the top of a very short list of countries that, in addition to oppressing and torturing its citizens, (1) are extremely hostile to us and (2) have developed weapons of mass destruction, but not to the point that the cost of attacking them may be prohibitive. Indeed, Iraq may be the only country on that list. If not, then we can consider our options after we deal with Iraq.
Kinsley and Dionne argue, though, that Bush was wrong (indeed, “morally unserious” in Kinsley’s view) to discuss Iraq’s human rights record, if the danger that Saddam will develop and use weapons of mass destruction is sufficient reason to remove him. In that event, Kinsley asks, what does torturing children have to do with it? Here, Kinsley is outlawyering himself. Would FDR have been morally unserious if, in defending World War II to the American people, he had mentioned the death camps? Serious leaders know that the most just wars are ones that defend one nation’s security interests while liberating another’s oppressed population. Bush sounded just the right note when he explained to the American people why our action against Iraq will be such a war. Apparently, it was more than Kinsley and Dionne could stand.
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