Readers on things besides Iraq

What's happening in our readers' forum.
Sept. 28 2002 2:31 AM

Things Besides Iraq

The Fray discusses more than the war.

(Continued from Page 3)

But The Bell says all this attention to sales misses the point (apologies for the truncation):

Kinsley says facts do not matter, sales pitch matters; and since President Bush has not been a good salesman, he is a fatuous hypocrite even if he is ultimately right. The converse being that he is a great leader if he knows he is wrong but can lie convincingly. For my money, THAT makes Mr. Kinsley the reductio ad absurdum of Marshall McLuhan.


Rhyme and reason: Regular contributors to the Poems Fray are hanging out in Readme to give Kinsley's "Charge of the Right Brigade" some Tennysonian support. Persephone leads off here:

"Forward the Right Brigade"
Was there a fear allayed?
No tho the people knew
Some one had bluster'd
Is this a casus belli?
Should W provide a "why"?
Can we do naught but sigh?
Into the alley bereft
are shoved the one hundred

Those crazy kids: From the metaphor alert file: Southern Gentleman here thinks we are children who need Bush's fatherly protection; &kathleen here thinks kindergartener Bush needs to get his name on the board ... 12:00 p.m.


Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2002  

Babylon's abacus: Michael O'Hanlon's attempt to forecast potential casualties in any Iraq invasion is posted on, and this makes the War Stories Fray very hard reading. Up to now, though, there are only a few notes in this tune and a surprising dearth of star posters. Many readers pose the question "How many Americans will die if we don't attack Iraq?" (See here and here and here and here.) One can glimpse what O'Hanlon's answer might be based on his discussion of possible civilian casualties in retaliation for an American-initiated war. The relevant paragraph begins "Of course, Iraqi attacks against civilian populations in places like the United States could be serious."

Others are pointing out that casualty estimates are routinely faulty. Observer does this well:

Our local PBS station is showing the Ken Burns Civil War series this week. We were disastrously wrong about how long the war would last and how many casualties we would sustain then. We were wrong again in WWI. Korea, Vietnam, Granada, Panama, the Gulf War. ... Remember when Sadam Hussein was supposed to be a military genius leading the fourth largest (and "battle hardened") army in the world?

Several others note that the numbers of dead are beside the point when the cause is just—Phishtar's thread here is the best. P notes:

There are many rational, sensible arguments against going to war (some of which have been featured on this site). The specter of Americans in body bags isn't one of them.



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