One of advantages of the Internet is the ability to scan the world’s leading newspapers and find out what others are saying and thinking.
Over the years I have a number of favourite columnists, two of whom happen to be Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman of the New York Times.
Dowd is well known for her humorously caustic wit, which, these days, is largely directed at George W. Bush and his administration. Krugman is a cerebral economist and no less of an ‘admirer’ of the US President.
Their latest columns on Bush and Iran are seriously worth reflecting upon.
Here is an excerpt from the funny one:
Wag the Camel
by Maureen Dowd
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
New York Times
Talk about a fearful symmetry.
Iran was whipping up real uranium while America was whipped up by fake uranium.
Obsessed with going to war against a Middle East country that had no nuclear weapon, the Bush administration lost focus on and leverage over a Middle East country hurtling toward a nuclear weapon.
That's after the Bush crew lost focus on and leverage over an Asian country [North Korea] that says it has now produced a whole bunch of nuclear weapons.
To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, if brains were elastic, these guys wouldn't have enough to make suspenders for a parakeet…
Speaking before a mural of fluttering white doves, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bragged that his scientists had concocted enriched uranium. They will now churn out nuclear fuel as fast as they can.
Are they making a bomb? Nah, said the Iranian president, furthest thing from their minds.
Are we going to bomb them before they can get a bomb? Nah, said the American president, furthest thing from our minds.
The nuclear doves announcement was embarrassing for Mr. Bush, who had said on Monday that he was determined to prevent Iran from getting the know-how to enrich uranium. But the Persian logic cannot be faulted. If you pretend to have W.M.D., the U.S. may come and get you. Ask Saddam. If you really have W.M.D., you're bulletproof. Ask Kim Jong Il…
And now for an excerpt from the scary one:
Yes He Would.
by Paul Krugman
Monday, April 10, 2006 - The New York Times
"But he wouldn't do that." That sentiment is what made it possible for President Bush to stampede America into the Iraq war and to fend off hard questions about the reasons for that war until after the 2004 election. Many people just didn't want to believe that an American president would deliberately mislead the nation on matters of war and peace.
Now people with contacts in the administration and the military warn that Mr. Bush may be planning another war. The most alarming of the warnings come from Seymour Hersh, the veteran investigative journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal. Writing in The New Yorker, Mr. Hersh suggests that administration officials believe that a bombing campaign could lead to desirable regime change in Iran - and that they refuse to rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
"But he wouldn't do that," say people who think they're being sensible. Given what we now know about the origins of the Iraq war, however, discounting the possibility that Mr. Bush will start another ill-conceived and unnecessary war isn't sensible. It's wishful thinking…
And it's not just Mr. Bush's legacy that's at risk. Current polls suggest that the Democrats could take one or both houses of Congress this November, acquiring the ability to launch investigations backed by subpoena power. This could blow the lid off multiple Bush administration scandals. Political analysts openly suggest that an attack on Iran offers Mr. Bush a way to head off this danger, that an appropriately timed military strike could change the domestic political dynamics.
Does this sound far-fetched? It shouldn't. Given the combination of recklessness and dishonesty Mr. Bush displayed in launching the Iraq war, why should we assume that he wouldn't do it again?