Tuesday, September 23, 2003

But You Knew I Was a Snake All Along
Punch line of fable

There are various versions of an old fable about snakes, namely that they aren't to be trusted. In one version a bird is enticed to give a ride to a snake. The bird at first refuses, fearing that he will be bitten. But the snake assures him. After all, he could neve bite the bird because then both would die. Of course, the bird agrees to give the snake a lift and the snake promptly bites him, causing both to fall to their deaths.

I was reminded of this story while reading salon.com yesterday. Some liberals were swayed into backing the war in Iraq, mostly because of Saddam Hussein's dismal human rights record. I and many other anti-war protesters were equally concerned about human rights abuses in Iraq and elsewhere around the world.

But I never believed that human rights concerns were the true motive for the war. When Saddam Hussein was using poison gas in the early 80s he was our friend. He was gassing Iranians, who were our enemies at the time, so the Reagan administration dispatched Donald Rumsfeld to go to Baghdad and make nice with the evil dictator.

Now of course the chickens have come home to roost. We have no intention of handing over power to the Iraqis who we said should live in a democracy of their own making. We are selling off Iraq's assets to the highest bidder. We have taken a country that posed no terror threat and turned it into a magnet for jihadists. We kill Iraqi police in "friendly" fire incidents and can't even keep the lights on.

What is a pro-war liberal to do? Whine, for one thing. One shocked would be do-gooder said, "I never imagined that it would be such a screwed-up situation." Well, I did. I never trusted this administration when it was reported that their hand picked leader from the Iraqi exile community, Ahmad Chalabi, was a crook. He was forced to flee from Jordan in the trunk of a car after perpetrating a fraud totaling millions of dollars. I couldn't believe that Iraqis, even if they hated Saddam, wanted a country ruled by foreigners who were pro-Israeli infidels.

I also knew they were snakes all along.