Iraq Doesn't Make The List

Credibility gaps grows as President Bush ramps up the rhetoric

By Patrisia Gonzales & Roberto Rodriguez
Published on LatinoLA: October 4, 2002

Iraq Doesn't Make The List

Opposition to the president's proposed war against Iraq and the forces of evil continues to grow daily. The basis for that opposition is not that Saddam Hussein is a good guy, but rather that an "Iraqi threat" is virtually on par with the United States being invaded by African killer bees.

Here's a simple test that illustrates the president's credibility gap regarding the imminence of an Iraqi threat. In the next few weeks/months/years, which is most likely to occur?

A: The United States will be attacked by Iraq.

B: Earth will be struck by a giant meteor.

C: Dinosaurs will again roam the planet.

D: Atlantis will rise from the ocean.

E: Bigfoot will be found alive in our forests.

F: Aliens will invade Earth.

G: Elvis will make a White House appearance.

H: CEOs will henceforth accept the minimum wage.

I: Congress will rediscover its check-and-balance function.

J: The president will continue to use Iraq as a fund-raising device.

The correct answer should be I, but instead it is J. Most of the world seems to believe that the notion of an Iraqi threat is pure poppycock. The war's support is weak even at home. The misperception that the president enjoys solid support here is based on media misreporting of polling data that clearly show that three-fourths of U.S. respondents oppose the president's unilateral policies. The media instead twist the numbers and report that the majority of respondents support the war, but that support drops significantly unless an attack is sanctioned by the United Nations.

That's a pretty fancy (deceptive) way of reporting that opposition to the president's policies is overwhelming.

Part of the reason for such widespread opposition, we suspect, is that the president operates in the realm of "secret government," carrying on as though only he and his posse really know what's going on in his battle against the guys in the black hats. (No such secrecy was required to oppose Hitler.) The rest of us are simply supposed to trust him, this while he attempts to consolidate all power at home by creating a "Homeland Security" department answerable only to him.

Additionally, his contempt for the United Nations is akin to the contempt many conservatives also show for the ACLU. The reality is that opposition to the war comes not from an organization called the U.N., but from the world's community of nations. Simply wrangling three votes from the five permanent members of the U.N.'s 15-member Security Council does not a consensus make.

The president seems quite oblivious to the message he's sending out. He now quotes himself and invokes "our heritage" (manifest destiny) as a reason (or right) for war, and thinks his calling and legacy are to preside over a permanent worldwide war. Coupled with his insistence on exempting U.S. soldiers from the International Criminal Court, his "pre-emptive war" policy is seen by many people worldwide as the single greatest threat to world stability. The exemption gives the U.S. military carte blanche to act with impunity worldwide. Worse, it also opens the floodgates for other militaries to do the same.

The actual reason people are opposed to his war, we surmise, is because Iraq doesn't even register on the list of the world's most urgent threats. Aside from the "pre-emptive war" doctrine, there indeed are other grave dangers.

The Middle East conflict is No. 1 on everyone's list, as it's always a trigger away from a nuclear holocaust. India-Pakistan is a close second. Nowadays, the "war on terror" itself is causing nervousness around the world as civilian populations fear governments will use it as a ruse for naked aggression and as an opportunity to viciously clamp down on human rights. Seething with resentment, particularly if pre-emptive wars become the norm, extreme radicals worldwide may indeed make anti-American terrorism, abroad and at home, the No. 1 danger to Americans.

Other grave worldwide dangers are: extreme poverty, out-of-control diseases, hunger, exploitation by global pirate corporations, lack of human rights for most of the world's population, and the continuing extreme degradation of the environment.

Precisely because we have the most lethal military the world has ever known, chances are greater of being stung by a killer bee in the United States than of us being attacked by Hussein's puny little weapons.


About Patrisia Gonzales & Roberto Rodriguez:
Gonzales & Rodriguez can be reached at

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