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Iraq war

And now, what about bin Laden?

Oh, okay, I get it. It was personal.*

The old George Bush had failed to "get" Saddam Hussein. Saddam, later, had tried to kill the old George Bush. Or so the story goes.

When George W. Bush took office, he and his friends had immense power. This was nice for them, but it turns out that it wasn't very satisfying. It grew old. Flouting international law on paper was fun — but it became to seem like just the same thing over and over again. They talked a lot about things that they'd like to do. What they needed was to figure out how to do some of them. George W. Bush really hated Saddam Hussein.

They had too much time on their hands.

By the time the planes hit the towers, talk of Saddam was already around the table.

The diversion of American shock and grief and anger from the Twin Towers to Iraq was a brilliant trick—mostly because it was no trick at all. It was right out in the open. Nobody questioned it. Nobody even noticed. Osama bin Laden? Saddam Hussein!

Most people agree that a very foul man is off the street. Saddam Hussein was a vile dictator, it's true. But a dictator, a head of state. Bin Laden is a pantload horror-crime genius who really needs to be hunted down and stopped. His danger to the world makes Saddam look positively quaint; Saddam was just an old-style dictator. An evil man, but not a danger to civilization.

Saddam didn't hijack civilian jets and kill thousands of people.

Saddam is captured. But wait, didn't we forget something? Oh yeah—Osama bin Laden.

—15 December 2003

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*Re "Personal" ... well, of course, corporate friends of the White House are making heaps of money, too.

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