Sunday, October 13, 2002

Antiwar dictionary

Hooray for unilateralism by a cowboy president

The modern antiwar movement is like one of those 500-page sword-and-sorcery novels by J.R.R. Tolkien.

It's based on mythology. The story began in a time long, long ago (Vietnam). And to understand it, you need a glossary to figure out the difference between an aging hippie hobbitt and a 20-something anti-American elf.

Those who try to sort it out without the code can get as hopelessly lost as Frodo in Mordor.

So here are some helpful translations:

Unilateralism: Often used as an insult to President Bush, it actually means “leadership.”

Multilateralism: Waiting for permission from France, China, Paraguay and the rest of the United Nations to defend America. Also known as “the Clinton doctrine.”

“Cowboy”: An insult from liberals, but to conservatives it is Gary Cooper in High Noon, standing alone against the outlaws while France, China, Paraguay and the rest of the U.N. cower behind their curtains.

International opinion: America-hating French socialists quoted by liberals in The New York Times.

“Make the case”: When opponents of “unilateral” action by the “cowboy” president say this, they really mean, “My mind is made up, and I won't listen to anything that contradicts international opinion.” The TV networks oblige by refusing to broadcast the speech when the president actually does “make the case.”

Patriotism: Congressmen Jim McDermott and David Bonior — both Democrats, of course — said they were “patriots” for going to Baghdad to call President Bush a liar. Conservatives call it treason.

Vietnam veteran: News stories called Reps. Bonior and McDermott “Vietnam veterans.” But some veterans who actually went to Vietnam objected. According to their biographies, Mr. Bonior spent his service “slinging hash” and working on his master's degree at an Air Force base in California; Mr. McDermott was a psychiatrist at Long Beach Naval Station.

Addled old crank in the U.S. Senate: Liberals say “Strom Thurmond,” but it is obviously Robert Byrd.

Sovereignty: The United States has no right to overthrow a foreign dictator, until he has already launched a devastating biological, chemical or nuclear attack on us. Then we file a complaint to the United Nations.

The smoking gun: Liberals want to see one, but conservatives hope we don't because a gun that's smoking has already been fired.

“The economy is more important”: Gollum bin Laden was right about 9-11 — some Americans really are decadent materialist dogs.

“Public opinion”: This is a New York Times poll buried deep in news reports that shows two-thirds support for war, always followed by the disclaimer that support declines if there are massive casualties. Well, duh.

Former Clinton pollster Dick Morris says, “The phrasing of the questions is so slanted and biased that it amounts to journalistic 'push polling' — the use of "objective' polling to generate a predetermined result, and so vindicate a specific point of view.”

“Legitimate concerns”: There are many, but pretending we can hide in our hobbitt holes is not one of them.

As the president said in Cincinnati:

“Failure to act would embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events. ... And through its inaction, the United States would resign itself to a future of fear. That is not the America I know. That is not the America I serve. We refuse to live in fear.”

No translation is needed.

E-mail or call 768-8301.

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