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Jewish World Review Feb. 10, 2003 / 8 Adar I, 5763

James Lileks

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Found: League for International Justice and Peace talking points | Memo: Steering committee of the League for International Justice and Peace (cc to International Peace and Justice Committee, Worker's League for Peace and Justice, Just Peace Now! et al.)

Topic: Negative repercussions of positive outcome in Iraq

Friends, it is obvious that our placards and giant mocking puppets were for naught, and the unelected fascist oil clique will invade the sovereign nation of Iraq. We must not only consider the possibility that the war will occur, but face the chance that it might go well. Since we've predicted nothing but disaster, the corporate media might interview our members and ask them to revisit their predictions. Frankly, we advise leaving the phone off the hook and changing your group's name - just change the order of "peace" or "justice", for example. But if you must talk to the media, use the following talking points. and you'll be able to turn any good news into depressing predictions that spell doom for the US, death for the planet, and increased contributions for your organization.

Corporate Media Accusation #1: "the coalition forces liberated special jails for children in Iraq; does this change your mind about opposing the war?"

Your response: "That's good news if indeed it's true, but meanwhile we are not only tolerating chid labor in other countries, we're encouraging it through globalization, and if a Nike shoe factory isn't a prison it's rather close. But back to Baghdad - the issue isn't the children's prisons, but the hospitals full of children born with gross defects caused by depleted uranium shells fired by the US in the previous Gulf War. These are the issues we'll have to address in the future."

That last point is tricky, since depleted uranium is, unfortunately, as radioactive as a tree stump. And it turns out the US didn't fire those shells into schools as we thought, but on the battlefield in Kuwait. Your interviewer probably won't know this, however, and won't feel qualified to challenge you if you're using Facial Posture #84, Righteous Compassion. (Check the handbook if you need a brush up, and practice; it's perilously close to #21, Passionate Concern.) We continue:

Corporate Media Accusation #2: "Take a look at this film of people celebrating Saddam's death - doesn't it make you rethink your opposition?"

Your response: "Not really, Dan / Peter / Tom - they're celebrating the downfall of a tyrant we created, installed in power, armed, supported in a war with Iran - few people remember how we loaned him the use of the USS Enterprise for an entire month. I don't think they're thanking the US as much as the fact that the sanctions will now be lifted and US blockades will no longer kill 75,000 people a day."

Again, we're fudging a little here, since Saddam's military was overwhelmingly made up of Russian, Chinese and European equipment - but we've had great success convincing people that the US grew Saddam in a petri dish and put him in power, so you're not likely to face a challenge here. And feel free to inflate that sanction-casualty figure up - no one ever challenges that.

If the corporate media stooge points out that US troops found tons of chemical weapons:

"Well, it's an argument for continued inspections, not military action, and it doesn't change the fact that the US won't destroy its chemical weapons until 2004, which puts us in no position to lecture anyone."

If Saddam attacks Israel with Scuds, killing thousands:

"And who supplied those missiles? North Korea - a nation provoked into resuming is nuclear-weapons production by Bush's relentless bellicosity."

Final note: if the interviewer asks you to comment on footage of people toppling a statue of Saddam, or an interview with a legless journalist held in jail while his children were tortured and his wife raped, or scenes of American technicians attempting to cap oil-well fires, or scenes from an Israeli hospital, don't lose focus. Remember your key issues: Palestine. Mumia. Kyoto. SUV mileage. This could be our worst-case scenario - a war that not only kills few and liberates a nation, but distracts people from our goals.

Let's hope it doesn't turn out to be that bad.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


01/30/03: The US can go to war whenever it likes for its own reasons, and all the UN can do is pass more worthless paper
01/23/03: People who'd volunteer for the Iraqi army if they saw Saddam wearing a "Free Mumia" button
01/16/03: One of those head vs. heart things
12/27/02: Whistleblowers?
01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2003, James Lileks