War talk lacks clarity | VailDaily.com

War talk lacks clarity

Don Rogers

W. ought to heed this wisdom. The first President Bush had an occupied Kuwait to free and in a controversial decision called off the dogs – the military – ready to roll right on into Baghdad to finish a job for which Senior said they had no mandate. He was pretty scrupulous about it, if you think about this. Saddam was thisclose.

Of course, the undercurrent to all that was the U.S. and the U.N. had no plausible leader to take ol’ Saddam’s place and keep Iraq in check.

The current administration’s hawks, most notably Vice President Cheney are vague where they need to be clear, and they have yet to back their insistence on war with good hard evidence that there is no other recourse. They haven’t shown that they have this evidence of Saddam’s imminent misdeeds, scary as they sound.

America can’t afford to take pre-emptive action on whims and “no doubt” speculations. For one thing we would lose our moral strength of purpose. The case must be solid, more so even than the Gulf War days when the call to arms was clarion.

James Bamford, author of “Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency,” reminds readers in a column for USA Today on Thursday that President Johnson turned false claims of an attack on a Navy destroyer set provocatively close to the North Vietnam shore into a pretext to declare war. We lost 50,000 American lives in the quagmire that followed, lost the war, achieved nothing.

Zeal is no substitute for compelling evidence when we are talking about starting a real war, or at least a more real one than we have now hunting down stray bandits in Afghanistan and trying to figure out which warlords are on our side today, and which are just trying to take down a rival by calling him Al-Qaida. As Senior seemed to understand very well, recklessness bears its own perils.

Moving on

On to trite matters in this celeb-driven world, or so the newspapers and pop culture mags tell us. Here’s the question of the week, apparently: Can Britney reinvent herself before she becomes a has-been at the ripe age of 20? Hopefully, she already is. Don’t the generations of kid stars tend to prove that teeny-boppers tend to gravitate to teeny-boppers. The kid has grown up, at least physically she has. The 20somethings have moved on from the Michael Jackson thing, and the kiddies want to worship some other kiddie by now. Britney should soon have a chance to board at Vail in relative peace. That’s a good thing. D.R

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