September 24, 2002

'War is a lousy way to win an election'

With no evidence of any threat from Iraq that did not exist in January 2001 or January 2002, why the mad rush to war at this particular time? The inescapable conclusion is that it is the coming elections. War hysteria led by a Republican president is almost certain to lead to Republican gains in Congress.

With the economy ailing, the war in Afghanistan bogging down and the administration trying to dodge growing indications of security failures related to 9/11, a war build-up is a perfect political answer. It diverts attention from inconvenient issues and puts Democrats in a lose-lose situation. If they dare to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes, they will be attacked as unpatriotic. If they bend to the hysteria and try to out-warmonger the warmongers (as some have clearly chosen to do), they will be perceived as a pallid imitation of the real thing.

This war-hysteria-as-electoral-strategy is callous beyond comprehension. It will cost many thousands of lives, both of our troops and innumerable Iraqi civilians and conscripts. It will require a massive U.S. occupation for years to come. And most important, it will make Americans less, not more, safe. - Larry Weiss, The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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