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“Give Diplomacy A Chance?”

To The Editor:

Last Thursday’s headline was, “All options open in dealing with Iran, Bush says.” Doesn’t that make you a bit nervous? Though his host, Angela Merkel, explicitly stated that “I pin my hopes on diplomatic efforts,” George Bush indicated he was “willing to give diplomacy a chance to work” [remember when we heard that before?] but that “all options are on the table.”

From Inauguration Day, Bush was determined to attack Saddam. At the first meeting on national security, Secretary O’Neill reports that all attendees were ordered to “Go find me a way to do this.” When informed by intelligence officers the evidence against an Al Qaeda link with Iraq was overwhelming, Bush demanded “any shred” of evidence against Iraq and when subsequent reports continued to deny a linkage the reply was, “Wrong answer; do it again.”

Skipping over all the backstage movement concealed from the public, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said on September 7, 2002, “From a marketing point of view you don’t introduce new products in August.”
But the Republican establishment began to talk about the “aluminum tubes,” “mushroom clouds,” the “Axis of Evil,”  mobile biochemical laboratories, “yellowcake,” and it became evident to all that the decision had been made, despite the fact that the Downing Street Memorandum had already declared the evidence provided by the US “frankly unconvincing,” sounding more like “a grudge between Bush and Saddam.”

So today’s events resemble the same scenario that we’ve been through before.  But this time Bush has an even stronger motivation. His approval ratings below freezing, it seems there is no positive way that he can improve them before January. The Warren G. Harding Club is already dancing with glee. But there is one way that GWB can improve his legacy, and that is to be followed by a president with lower ratings than his – and what easier way to do that than to saddle him with another unwinnable war.

So stand back and watch it unfold through the same stages as before: claims of efforts at diplomacy, efforts at enlisting the support of other countries and then-particularly if a Democrat is elected in November-a midnight attack on Iran, leaving the new president with not two, but three, impossible wars, his hands further tied by the Bush directive that troops will serve shorter deployments with longer intervals between them.
Somewhere, Machiavelli is surely applauding.

D. Ferrel Atkins -Charleston, Il

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