Thursday, September 20, 2007

My, This is Fun

I think I'm going to enjoy the free NYT archives.

I found a September 2002 opinion piece by David Sanger attacking the administration's defense of preemptive war.

But that isn't the good part. The good part is why we knew Saddam wasn't about to attack us and thus justify preemptive war:

''There's a standard distinction here, and a very important one,'' said Michael Walzer, whose 1977 work ''Just and Unjust Wars'' has remained a staple of undergraduate courses on international conflicts. ''Condoleezza Rice says we don't have to wait to be attacked; that's true,'' said Professor Walzer, now at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. ''But you do have to wait until you are about to be attacked.''

As the debate has matured in recent days, Vice President Dick Cheney has crumpled the concepts together with the ringing phrase that the cost of inaction may be greater than the cost of action. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has insisted there is nothing new here: American history, he suggests, is full of both pre-emptive and preventive military action. But his critics and purists about language offer another explanation: the fuzziness is deliberate. After all, it is hard to argue that Iraq is going to strike us in hours or days when Saddam Hussein has possessed chemical and biological weapons for years, and the British said this week that he is two to five years from having a nuclear device. Thus, attacking Iraq doesn't quite fit under the classic definition of pre-emptive self-defense.

Got that? Since Saddam has had chemical weapons and biological weapons for years, we had signalled we could live with them. And Saddam is at best five years from nukes (that would be right about now, apparently).

Instead of a history of President Bush lying us into war, we have a history of war opponents assuming Saddam had WMD and a vigorous nuclear program--yet still opposing war.

Yes indeed, I'm going to enjoy the NYT archives.