The Bush Administration Through the Looking Glass

By Peter Fruendlich, National Public Radio.


    "All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly.  We
are going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam
Hussein that the United Nations cannot be ignored.  We're going to wage war
to preserve the UN's ability to avert war.  The paramount principle is that
the UN's word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word
to guarantee that it is, then by gun, we will.  Peace is too important not
to take up arms to defend it.

  "Am I getting this right?

  "Further, if the only way to bring democracy to Iraq is to vitiate the
democracy of the Security Council, then we are honor bound to that too,
because democracy, as we define it, is too important to be stopped by a
little thing like democracy as they see it.

  "Also, in dealing with a man who brooks no dissension at home, we cannot
afford dissension among ourselves. We must speak with one voice against
Saddam Hussein's failure to allow opposing voices to be heard. We are
sending our gathered might to the Persian Gulf to make the point that might
does not make right, as Saddam Hussein seems to think it does. And we are
twisting the arms of the opposition until it agrees to let us oust a regime
that twists the arms of the opposition.  We cannot leave in power a
dictator who ignores his own people.  And if our people, and people
elsewhere in the world, fail to understand that, then we have no choice but
to ignore them.

  "Listen.  Don't misunderstand.  I think it is good that the members of the
Bush administration seem to have been reading Lewis Carroll.  I only wish
someone had pointed out that "Alice in Wonderland" and  "Through the
Looking Glass" are meditations on paradox and puzzle and illogic and on the
strangeness of things, not templates for foreign policy.  It is amusing for
the Mad Hatter to say something like, "We must make war on him because he
is a threat to peace," but not amusing for someone who commands an army to
say that."