Boxing Days: Readers on Saletan.

What's happening in our readers' forum.
Sept. 11 2002 1:51 PM

Boxing Days

Our readers respond to Saletan's changes of heart.

Ballot Box has been especially busy keeping up with Bush's major policy statements: the NYT op-ed, the speech on Ellis Island, and the address to the U.N. Put all that into the Ballot Box Fray, where it runs into the boisterous background of party-bashing, political news flashes and polls (Q: Will there be a vote in the Senate  on war with Iraq?), and it can be hard Fraying. As usual, a time-constrained reader can simply View Fray Editor’s Picks (there are a passel) or go to any of the selections below. ...

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I. More government by op-ed: The Bell started perhaps the best Op-Ed thread here. Arrow read the piece as legitimate strategic thinking here:

Saletan is probably correct that the one thing of importance in "Bush"'s essay is the addition of delivery capability to the criteria for pre-emptive military action. It suggests that the suitcase theory enunciated by Cheney and company is being given a well-deserved burial.

In contrast, Lee saw Bush becoming Clinton here:

Slowly, the president is expanding the appeal of his desire to invade Iraq. He's trying to push everybody's buttons by telling them Saddam threatens something they cherish. Shades of Bill Clinton!

So, is he reaching out, or grasping at straws? Will he resort to humanistic, liberal ideas to justify toppling Saddam? Keep in mind that he snubbed his conservative/free market/libertarian friends with his action on steel tariffs. He could just as easily get all weepy & liberal if he thinks it would gain him the support he needs to whack Saddam.

Matt continued the rights discussion here.

II. Islands of influence: Walt was one of the few to single out the Ellis Island speech for scrutiny here:

Saletan has a very curious take:"Bin Laden won't get the showdown he sought between Islam and Christianity." Let's hope not. But the Bush administration, by pounding the invade-Iraq war drum, seems to be attempting to precipitate exactly that. If we invade Iraq over the objections of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc. won't we be instigating such a showdown?

Of course, this was before the UN speech, and Bush's newfound multilateralism.

III. U.N.-expected: After Bush's speech to the U.N., Saletan made essentially John's argument below (see Tuesday's Fraywatch). The Slasher made it, too, but with the rhetoric ratcheted up here: