TCS Daily


Existence Is Futile

By Evan Coyne Maloney - June 11, 2003 12:00 AM

Does Saddam Hussein exist? How about Osama bin Laden? Or Eric Rudolph?
Saddam and Osama must not exist. Why? Because they cannot be found. And, as we all know from witnessing the recent hyperventilation about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, if something can't be found, it must not exist.

The case of serial bomber Eric Rudolph is trickier. He was missing for five years. If a few weeks of being unable to find weapons in Iraq is cited as evidence of their nonexistence, then surely five years was plenty of time to prove Rudolph wasn't real. But, like a miracle, the nonexistent man was discovered dumpster diving behind a supermarket.

Obviously, there's plenty of evidence supporting the existence of Saddam, Osama and Rudolph. If Saddam never existed, then how did all those body-doubles end up looking alike? Was it mere coincidence? Or were they modeling themselves after the Soup Nazi? And if Osama never existed, then who is that guy in all those video tapes? Did a member of ZZ-Top dye his beard, become bulimic and fall asleep on a tanning bed? And what about Rudolph? Those bombs didn't wire themselves.

Yet, because a cache of chemical or biological weapons hasn't yet been discovered in Iraq, we are now being told that they don't exist and that President Bush lied to us. Of course, we can ask of the accusers why it is they were willing to give U.N. inspectors an unlimited amount of time to find these weapons, but the U.S. doesn't even get a full two months.

Who's Lying?

When the U.N. inspectors left Iraq in 1998, a substantial stockpile of Iraqi weapons remained. This stockpile was no figment of faulty intelligence reports; it was catalogued in great detail by the United Nations. And, on January 27th of this year, Hans Blix reiterated the inventory of weapons that - after five years - Hussein still hadn't accounted for: 8,500 liters of anthrax, 1,000 tons of poison gas, 6,500 bombs capable of delivering chemical weapons, and "thousands" of poison gas rockets. Was Blix lying about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction?

On December 17, 1998, Bill Clinton launched a military strike against Iraq, saying the mission was "to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs." Was Clinton lying about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction?

In 1998, Senator Robert Byrd argued strongly for military action against Iraq, saying, "the administration needs to act sooner rather than later." Apparently, Byrd's sense of urgency was much more acute when a fellow Democrat occupied the White House; even though President Bush cited the same reasons as Clinton, Byrd accuses the Republican of lying.

Twelve Galaxies

If Bush did fabricate evidence of Saddam's weapons, he must have done so in the 1990s, before becoming president. What else could explain the prior involvement of Clinton, Blix, the U.N. inspectors and everyone else who "knew" about the Iraqi weapons program? Maybe they all hatched the scheme at a meeting of the Secret Government Where Jews And Space Aliens Control The Fate Of The World. Or, maybe President Bush planned it more recently. Yeah, post-September 11th hubris. But that would require Bush to travel back in time and brainwash all those people. It could happen - it's about as plausible as Saddam Hussein unilaterally disarming.

Ultimately, this war was a Rorschach test for the world. Some people simply believe that Saddam Hussein - trustworthy chap that he is/was - voluntarily disarmed while nobody was looking, and that President Bush lied to lead us to war. Frame the argument however you want, this fundamental division still underlies any discussion about the war: you either trust President Bush more than you trust Saddam Hussein, or you don't.

Evan Coyne Maloney is a political commentator based in New York City. More of his work can be found on the website Brain Terminal.
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