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The Duct Tape War

by Robert Manis, The Manis Report, February 17, 2003

American audiences were treated to a comedy and a tragedy on the world stage last week.  The comedy was the  Keystone Kops performance of Homeland Security Secretary Thomas Ridge, advising the nation one day to stock up on duct tape and plastic, then two days later, telling us not to use it. A day later, the threat behind the Orange Alert mounted so dramatically last week was revealed to be yet another hoax. 

The tragedy was seeing Colin Powell, the most respected man in the current administration, eyes wide as the proverbial deer in the headlights, as Hans Blix refuted his speech of the week before, and the UN assembly (defying forty years of tradition) applauded the French denunciation of the US attempt to go to war. 

The United States has never sunk so low in world opinion. Our incredulous question, “Why do they hate us” is not asked of the Muslims anymore, but of the French, Germans, Belgians, Chileans, Angolans, and many more.

The sad truth is the duct tape debacle is a metaphor for the whole Iraqi adventure from start to finish.  The administration has offered so many (let's be blunt) lame justifications for the war, it is as if they have duct taped the war to whatever rationale they can find. 

For the record here they are:

– Al Qaeda is in Iraq. (But they are also in the US, so says Tom Ridge)
 – There’s a terrorist training camp in Iraq. (But its under Kurdish [our friends] control, not Iraqi.) 
 – Iraq may be trying to build nuclear weapons (But N. Korea already has them, and Iran is farther along)
– Iraq isn’t fully cooperating with the UN (and neither are we).
 – Iraq may still have chemical and biological weapons. (and so do we, but theirs is a decade old, and we sold it to them).

On the other hand, there is a single compelling argument against the war. Saddam Hussein just plain hasn’t done anything, and there is no evidence he was even planning anything.  In comparison, the Bush Administration’s first act upon taking office in January 2001 was to threaten Iraq. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

So who looks like the aggressor here? The final and saddest truth is that the United States has squandered the tremendous sympathy and opportunity it had after 9/11 to root out terrorists worldwide. Now we are no safer than in a plastic and duct tape shelter.

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