Thursday, October 17, 2002

A friend in London has drawn my attention via email to Attillah Springer's weekly column in the online Trinidad Guardian. (I've had to remove the link to the actual webpage, because the Guardian has no permanent online archive.) I hope she meant this rant as some sort of joke; then it would be no more than supremely tasteless, but I fear this is a display of utterly sincere idiocy. She's writing about the possibility of war with Iraq. This is a seriously troubling issue. Many of us, including myself, have not made up our minds; the pro-war aggression of the White House & its allies is deeply worrying, but not more so than the genuine dangers of Saddam Hussein or the genuine horrors he is wreaking upon the people of his country. We urgently need more intelligent, informed debate. Whether there's a war or not isn't up to most of us, but we'd better figure out where we stand. What we don't need is this kind of nonsense:

"I still think Dubya is too stupid to be the anti-Christ, but he’s trying so hard at it, I guess I could give him credit for his attempts at being one of the most evilous souls to grace this here planet Earth."

(Just for comparison, the worst Springer can say about Saddam is that he is "by no means a saint". For the record, he has slaughtered his own citizens, brutally repressed minority ethnic groups, expelled Iraq's intellectuals & artists, tortured & killed political dissidents, & generally presided over the delapidation of what was once the centre of culture & civilisation in the Middle East.)

I'm not a Bush Jr. fan, & I wish some other, broader mind were at the head of the US government these days, but Springer's characterisation of the president ticks me off. It is so foolish, so gratuitously unhelpful, as to betray a complete failure to understand any of the political or ethical issues at stake. This kind of wilful ignorance is deplorable. I've been increasingly dismayed over the last few weeks by the opinions of the formidable global cadre of conservative bloggers & columnists, but nothing I've read so far has got my blood pressure this high up.

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