Wednesday, June 04, 2003

We still haven't found much of any evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been loudly, lonesomely decrying the implications: that Saddam Hussein's imminent threat to our safety was chimerical; that the much-touted rationale of pre-emption now looks much more like bullying; and that our leaders either are deceivers or grotesque incompetents.

So where's the rest of the outrage? Why aren't more people upset about this?

Fact is, our Coalition of the Willing (thank you, Palau) won the war, and it was a popular war. Americans don't want to hear about the missing WMDs, especially now that summer's here and "America's Most Talented Kid" is proving more suspenseful than the Battle of Tikrit. As things now stand, people just aren't going to get mad.

This could become an Iran-Contra-scale scandal, though, if Americans come to regret the war. But that will happen only if things change--in, for example, one or more of the following scenarios. I list them in escalating order of the likelihood that they will stir up some Yankee gumption.

1. There's lots more terrorism. That is, despite our sacking Saddam Hussein, who, to hear the administration tell it, was directly responsible for 9/11. Actually, this scenario would play directly into the Bushies' hands, and they would probably not hesitate to invade more countries and further enrich Halliburton.

2. Global pique finally filters its way Stateside. Also unlikely to change Americans' minds--after all, eight zillion people protesting before the war barely registered over here. The only thing I can imagine having any effect is if the British parliament has a vote of no confidence in Tony Blair and calls for early elections, and Blair is ousted. Britons do appear to be altogether less credulous than Americans about the war rationale. But if Blair got zapped, would Americans care?

3. American casualties continue to mount in Iraq. The quagmire scenario, and it appears this could actually happen--American soldiers still are getting shot at regularly, and an amnesty program for heavy weapons so far has failed to spur many Iraqis to turn in their rocket launchers. If things start to get worse, Bush--who either lied or blundered us into this--might finally have some 'splaining to do.

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