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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Simple Answer to the War in Iraq

I'm a branding guy. I have no political ambitions. My beat is
mainly figuring out why people do the things they do. The way I see
it, if I can piece together what motivates one person to buy whatever
another person is selling, I'm doing my job.

That's what branding is about, you know. I'm famous for saying that
it's not about getting your prospects to choose you over the
competition, but about getting them to see you as the only solution
to their problem. To do that, you have to be really good at stepping
out of your sneakers and walking a few miles in theirs.

So it's with great wonder that I sit amongst my more dogmatic buddies
who pride themselves on their J.D and M.B.A degrees, listening to
them go on about why America finds itself hip deep in a war halfway
around the world.

The popular notion among these geniuses - many of whom who have
attended the finest universities in the land, if you can believe it -
is that George W. Bush is finishing what his father started back in
the 1990's. One talking head on FOX News insists that Bush II is
trying to curry his father's favor, by following in his ass-kicking
footsteps. Another completely contradicts that notion by speculating
Bush II's actions are Oedipal in nature: Bush II is actually trying
to show up the old man by doing the job his father couldn't do.

I've given these notions a lot of thought and come to the conclusion
that all of these people are really, really stupid. In fact, I find
it frightening that people this clueless are allowed to be walk
public streets unsupervised. Yet I can hardly blame these simpletons
and their one-cell brain farts, given the media-driven world in which
we live.

Let me explain:

First of all, there is never, ever one single reason for going to
war. War doesn't happen because one man decides it would be fun,
popular or garner his dad's approval. The reason why it doesn't
happen like that is because war - especially here in the United
States - is declared by consensus. You have to get a lot of people
to agree with you that it's worth sacrificing young lives and
taxpayers' money to push your agenda. The agenda is rarely
single-focused and never personal. You couldn't get anyone to buy
into it if it were.

Have you ever taken a long, hard look at any bill passed by Congress?
It's not pretty. You have to dig mighty deep, through all the
amendments and tacked-on nonsense, before you get to the meat.
Senators argue, Representatives compromise and if you're lucky, the
President signs off on what can only be described as a
committee-driven mess.

Even if you've never looked at a congressional bill, try watching a
chamber session and see if you can spot anyone acting rationally or
even in the spirit of cooperation. It amazes me how simpletons try
to dismiss this war as a single cause-driven action, when those same
fools bleat about Congress's inability to rise above partisanship on
every other matter set before them.

The next trick these dopes try is the old character assassination
scam. They call Bush a liar. But that doesn't hold up, either, when
you go back to the consensus model. If Bush really were a liar,
misled by whatever information the Keystone Kops at the CIA were
feeding him, it was good enough to fool everyone else who had to vote
"yea" on war authorization. How come nobody is dumping on them? Or
are all these morons convinced that Bush could really line up 532
members of Congress and convince them to help him invade Iraq for
kicks?

It gets curiouser and curiouser.

As I've said before, I'm no Bush fan. And if I could sell John
Ashcroft and Dick Cheney into white slavery, I wouldn't dicker with
the buyer. But time again, the same simpletons who dismiss Bush as a
single-minded dope are the very same people who rely on
overly-simplistic arguments to attack him.

There's more than one reason why the United States is involved in
Iraq. Now, you may not buy any of those reasons. You may not be
able to think of any more, either, and that's fine with me. But that
doesn't mean they don't exist. As long as you consider all the
reasons -- along with the possibility that you may not know those
others -- it makes no sense to simply dismiss such a weighty decision
as if it were deciding which shoes goes best with that dress. Anyone
who sends people to their deaths or disfigurements has to live with
his decision. That's not as easy as it sounds. And if it sounds
easy to you, it's likely because you've never had to make those kinds
of decisions.

It's just that simple.

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