War Against Illogic and Hypocrisy.

Old Blog Import

Michael Kinsley has a nice piece on the lack of logical and hence moral grounding in Bush’s State of the Union speech.

On Saddam as evil”:

If Saddam’s human-rights practices morally require the United States to act, why are we waiting for Hans Blix? Or if the danger that Saddam will develop and use weapons of mass destruction against the United States justifies removing him in our own long-term self-defense, what does torturing children have to do with it? Bush was careful not to say explicitly that Iraq’s internal human-rights situation alone justifies going to war—though he was just as careful to imply that it does. But Bush has said clearly and often that Saddam’s external threat does justify a war all by itself. So, human-rights abuses are neither necessary nor sufficient as a reason for war, in Bush’s view, to the extent it can be parsed. Logically, they don’t matter. That makes the talk about the torture of children merely decorative, not serious.

On Compassion:

Bush declared that the best thing to do with government money is to give it back to the taxpayers, and then put on his compassionate conservative” hat and proposed billions in government spending on the environment and on AIDS in Africa and on a program to train mentors for children of prisoners and on and on. The dollars don’t exist to either give back or spend, of course, let alone both, so we’ll be borrowing them if Bush has his way, a point he didn’t dwell upon.

Even more damming, however, than Kinsley’s tame piece, is an article by Stephen Zunes posted on CommonDreams. Here is an example of the kind of point-by-point critique Zunes provides:

BUSH: We’re strongly supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency in its mission to track and control nuclear materials around the world.”

ZUNES: The IAEA has received very little support from the Bush Administration. For example, the U.S. has blocked the United Nations from enforcing UN Security Council resolution 487, which calls on Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the IAEA. In addition, administration spokespeople have repeatedly belittled the organization and its effectiveness.