Monday, July 21, 2003

I just got back from Berlin. What a fine city. What a fine country! Truly, a nation of hippies. I rode around on those public bikes I'd heard about, but never really believed in. (I think they first introduced them in Amsterdam.) In a sentence, you basically grab a bike off the sidewalk, rent it via your mobile phone, and when you're done, deposit it at any major intersection in the city. And somehow it all seems to work.

Here's something I just wrote, belatedly, in response to a recent Steve post at Pragueblog. But wait. First, I'll cut and paste that part from his post I'm responding to, to save you the hassle.

Josh Marshall provides a useful, occasionally amusing service. ["Amusing" was linked to an archived post but the permalink seems to be messed up, so I'm not sure which post Steve is referring to. -S]

I sometimes worry about him and whether he's getting enough sleep, though. He's behaving lately a little like a dog chasing cars with a bloodthirsty vengeance.
I was meaning to respond to this before going away for the weekend, but I didn't have a chance, and now you, Steve, won't read it for a whole 'nother week. Damn.

Josh Marshall wrote something a while back that has stuck with me. It went something like this: Yes, it's true that harping on the issue of Bush's WMD lies (misrepresentations, inaccuracies, things that don't rise to the level of a presidential speech, whatever you want to call them) is a political dead end for the Democrats. Most Americans, after all, feel the war was justified even if we don't find any weapons. But there are some things, Marshall wrote, that you just have to say simply because they're right, regardless of the political expediency of saying them.

This is one of those things. That car he's chasing is the most outrageous campaign of deception launched by a US government in a long time -- certainly in my lifetime. Just because he's never going to catch the car doesn't mean he shouldn't be chasing it.

In fact I think pro-war liberals should take this more seriously than the anti-war faction. After all, this just gives people like Erik Alterman a leg to stand on -- scratch that, it gives them a huge motherfucking pedestal. Indeed, most anti-war liberals are pretty dismissive of the whole Niger yellow-cake thing, arguing that it's just one of a litany of Bush's lies.

I don't really buy that. Yes, politicians lie, always -- but if there was ever a lie that went too far, this was it. The statement about African uranium was included in the State of the Union for one reason, and one reason only: To scare the bejeezus out of little old ladies in Kansas who might otherwise think twice about a US invasion of Iraq. Bush had every reason to know the evidence was shaky at best. He said it anyway, because he wanted to go to war.

This is not to say that the war wasn't justified for a host of other reasons -- reasons that we're all too aware of by this point. But the idea of Saddam getting his hands on nukes tipped the scales for a lot of people. And I'm sorry, but you can't just go around making shit up like that.


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