Jewish World Review Dec. 24, 2002 / 19 Teves, 5763

Burt Prelutsky

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Saddam's fifth column | Every time you turn around, some yahoo is demanding to know why the present administration wants to take on Iraq instead of North Korea. The basic problem with the question is that it's being asked by people who are no more anxious to take up arms against the one than against the other.

For anyone but liberals, the answer would be obvious. It's true that North Korea, like Iraq, is ruled by a despot. However, it has not invaded any of its neighbors in the past dozen years, has not rained Scud missiles down on a noncombatant nation, has not used chemical weapons to murder over a million of its own citizens, has not fired on British and American aircraft, has not violated U.N. sanctions, and has not, so far as we know, financed and applauded Islamic terrorism.

The question that should be asked is, why are these Chamberlain-like appeasers so reluctant to declare war against a tyrant who poses such a real threat to the world?

While some of us fear that Saddam Hussein is actively pursuing nuclear capability, the liberals insist that we have no actual proof. No smoking gun, no mushroom cloud, as it were. The only proof that would satisfy them, one assumes, would be Tel Aviv or London or New York reduced to radioactive ash.

Why is it, one can't help wondering, that the appeasers are always so willing to give Hussein the benefit of the doubt? What on earth has he ever done to warrant it? The liberal position on the issue is so duplicitous that, in putting it forth, they can't help but indulge in the silliest sort of double-talk this side of an Abbott and Costello routine. On the one hand, they will insist that America has no reason to assume Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction; on the other hand, they quail at the thought of American forces invading Iraq because of the danger they'll face from those very non-existent weapons!

Some of Saddam's defenders go so far as to demonize Bush based on one of three assumptions. One, it's assumed that the President is trying to avenge his father; two, that he's trying to make political capital out of Baghdad's bogeyman; or, three, that he's out to gain control of Iraqi oil. Taken in order: One: George W. beat Al Gore. Frankly, I suspect that was all the revenge his old man really wanted. Two: Everything a politician, any politician, does is done with an eye to improving his chances of getting re-elected. (That doesn't mean it's always a bad thing.) And three: I, for one, would hope that the upshot of removing Hussein from power would mean we'd control Iraqi oil. But I wouldn't count on it. Whenever our enemies refer to the U.S. as imperialistic, I have to laugh. If you've checked out our borders lately, you may have noticed we're the one being invaded.

On the subject of oil, I think we all need reminding that, as a modern, industrialized nation, a steady supply of the stuff is essential to the continued well-being of our society. The idea that so much of the world's oil supply is under the control of various sheiks, creeps and ayatollahs, is a tragic state of affairs.

Whenever I hear the peaceniks insist that blood should never be shed for oil, I wonder if they'd also say that blood should never be shed for water. In terms of our survival, the one is as essential as the other.

The truly na´ve claim that we could free ourselves of our dependence on fossil fuels if only President Bush weren't beholden to the oil industry. That's odd thinking, seeing as how he's only been in office for the past two years. In fact, isn't it strange that although one Democrat or another has been residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for half of the prior forty years, nobody ever accused Kennedy, Johnson, Carter or Clinton, of selling out America to the oil interests?

In fact, having had all those ecologically-minded Democrats at the helm, one can only wonder how it is that the ship of state isn't running entirely on solar power, wind power or fairy dust, by this time.

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JWR contributor Burt Prelutsky is a veteran TV writer whose credits include, among others, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show and Diagnosis Murder. Comment by clicking here. Visit his website by clicking here.

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11/25/02: Andrew Carnegie Day
11/21/02: A welcome guest

© 2002, Burt Prelutsky